• by Winston Chua 

    ARCADIA – Cities in the West San Gabriel Valley, including
    Arcadia and Alhambra, along with local churches, are weighing in on the crisis
    that lies in Haiti. Around 200,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands
    of people are now homeless. Though the methods of people willing to help may be
    different, they are united in intention.

    Arcadia City Councilman Gary Kovacic said of the positive
    response to the crisis, “It truly demonstrates what a family we have in the entire
    world. It’s good toknow that we are available and motivated to help out in a
    time like this.”

    Tuesday night Kovacic urged Arcadia to give by texting the
    word “Haiti” to 90999. Every text contributes $10 to the relief effort through
    the Red Cross. As of Sunday the organization had collected pledges of $103
    million, $22 million of which came through the text-messaging program. A Red
    Cross spokesman said that $500,000 was coming in per hour during promotions by
    the National Football League.

    Although there may be nothing but goodwill in these gifts,
    Mandarin Baptist Church of Pasadena pastor Ray Petzholt said people should
    exercise caution in terms of how they give.

    Working with victims of Hurricane Fifi in the 1970s, he saw
    resources squandered by people who mismanaged charitable contributions. He also
    experienced this in other missions to El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico during
    that same decade, where lives were shattered.

    “When we went through Latin America after the hurricanes,”
    Petzholt said, “the Guatemalan government aid was put in big bodegas. After
    some time had passed, we found all this rotten stuff in those same places.”

    In his Honduras experience, Petzholt said that much of the
    aid designed for the less affluent goes to the people that do not need it, some
    through powerful connections. Sometimes those resources get wasted.

    To fight that corruption, his church teams up with the
    Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board to pool their resources specifically for
    5,000 missionaries internationally, where they know more directly how food and
    essentials are distributed. World Vision and other religious organizations, he
    said, “get aid there to people that really need it.”

    Petzholt is optimistic about Haitian recovery. The island is
    more receptive to aid than China was, and former Presidents Clinton and George
    W. Bush are lending their support.

    The non-denominational Alhambra Church of Christ said it
    would take up a donation this coming Sunday and are open to contributing more
    than a one-time offering.

    ALHAMBRA – The Alhambra Police Department is urging the
    public to help them stop the rising theft of copper wires, two recent thefts in
    a four-day span alone. Alhambra Police Sergeant Brandon Black said that thieves
    target streetlamps, possibly in broad daylight.

    “If anyone sees someone tinkering with a lamppost or
    electrical facility, call us,” said Black. “If you don’t see the city of
    Alhambra seal on a white truck, they are not genuine. There is no need to
    confront these guys.” The APD has in its possession a picture of a red truck
    which they believe is a truck the thieves have been using.

    It appears that the thieves are cutting from under
    streetlamps, not in major intersections but along smaller streets. In two days
    the city lost about 4,000 feet of copper wire, which the thieves typically take
    to recycling centers. Legislation is in the works for recycling centers to
    mandate identification before exchanging metals in bulk for cash. The price of
    copper currently hovers at around $3 per pound. Six years ago copper was just
    75 cents a pound.

    Black said that it is important to catch these people sooner
    than later, because it costs the city between $8,000 to $10,000 to replace the
    wire. This week alone 20 streetlights went out on Westmont Drive and another 10
    lamps went out on Ramona Road.

    More important than the financial impact is that safety is
    being compromised. City lights could increase the chance of crime, as criminals
    typically work in the dark. Copper wire thefts are nothing new to Alhambra or
    other parts of Los Angeles County. By the winter of 2008 alone more than 4,000
    lights had been affected in L.A., causing more than $1 million in damages.


    ALHAMBRA – On two separate occasions, thieves have removed
    copper wire from City street
    lamp poles. The first of these thefts occurred on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 during
    the daylight hours of 1 pm to 2 pm in the 100 block of south Westmont Drive in the City of Alhambra. 

    The suspects wore orange vests to give the
    appearance that they were City Utility workers or otherwise authorized to work
    on the street lamps. Both suspects are described
    as male, Hispanics in their 30’s with brown hair. They were seen using a red Chevrolet crew cab
    pick up (see attached photograph). Thus
    far the thieves have stolen over 4000 feet of electrical copper wire from City street
    electrical systems.

    The second incident took place between
    Friday, December 18, 2009 and Monday, December 21, 2009 and was discovered by
    City workers who were checking a street lamp that was reported not working by a
    local resident.

    The Alhambra Police Department is seeking the
    public’s assistance in identifying the suspects and / or the red pick up. We are also asking local residents to contact
    the police department if they see anyone, not clearly identifiable as a bona
    fide City of Alhambra
    worker, working on or tampering with City
    street lamps or poles. Anyone with information about either of these
    thefts is asked to contact the Alhambra Police Department immediately at (626)

    ...Read More

    by Winston Chua

    ARCADIA – Bringing with him a wealth of experience, Arcadia
    City Councilman Bob Harbicht is seeking
    a fifth term for a seat on the City Council. Harbicht, who has the distinction
    of becoming the youngest serving mayor of the City of Duarte, at 31, has served
    in Arcadia city politics over a span that encompasses 24 years. Elections are
    in the spring of 2010.

    Harbicht stumbled into politics after a friend of his asked
    him to be his campaign chair in Duarte. He liked it so much that he said he was
    “bitten with the political bug” and ran for City Council two years later. “Before
    that I hadn’t quite considered the idea of running or serving,” Harbicht said.

    Despite his years of work and service to Arcadia and Duarte,
    he said he is most proud of his family. They include his wife Patsy, whom he
    met at Citrus College; his son Rob; his daughter Jill; and what he calls “the
    four smartest and cutest grandkids in the world.”

    The 69-year-old councilman, husband, father and grandfather
    arguably has more in his tank than men half his age. He recently came back from
    a trip to New Zealand, where he and Patsy rode 250 miles over the course of a
    week. An average week of cycling with Harbicht ranges anywhere from 250 to 500
    miles. On top of that, he has been playing racquetball every day for the past
    30 years.

    The councilman moved from Duarte to Arcadia because of the
    city’s reputation for good education. Harbicht himself went to Citrus College
    before transferring to Cal State University, Northridge. He started a marketing
    and research consulting firm from scratch, working on product development and
    has since retired.

    Regarding Arcadia, Harbicht said, “Arcadia is an ideal city
    and I’m just trying to stay the course.”

    He points to the low crime rate, excellent library and said
    he does not want to overdo the unnecessary development in the City. If
    development does happen, he wants to make sure the development is compatible
    with the City.

    One definite point of Arcadia that he would like to develop
    is the Caruso project, which was passed unanimously during the initial Council
    vote before Westfield slapped a lawsuit to Caruso’s Environmental Impact
    Report. Harbicht chided, “If Westfield is really concerned about the EIR, I
    have a bridge I’d like to sell you.”

    “I am committed to making the Caruso project a reality. Some
    of my peers feel the same way,” said Harbicht. “The Caruso project is far and
    away the best alternative for the land [that would take over the current
    racetrack parking lot].” He said it would become the new Downtown for Arcadia.

    Harbicht credits his parents’ community service as a
    motivating factor for his involvement in city politics. On a less physically
    intensive level, he is very much into crossword puzzles.

    ...Read More

    by Winston Chua

    total of seven candidates have pulled out paperwork they must complete if they
    wish to be considered for a City Council seat this spring. 

    Arcadia Mayor John
    Wuo is terming out in the spring of 2010 and incumbents Bob Harbicht and Peter
    Amundson are running for reelection. Tammy Woloski, Sho C. Tay, 33-year-old
    Paul Cheng, George Young and Jason Lee round out the list of potential
    candidates. Some of the seven may choose not to run. In the 2008 Municipal
    Election, eight people pulled papers and only three filed.

    Kovacic and Roger Chanlder led the way in 2008, with nearly 3,000 votes a
    piece. As of Nov. 29, there were exactly 28,667 registered voters in Arcadia.
    Elections in Arcadia are held the second week of April every two years, according
    to the City charter, with each year being an even numbered year. Those who are
    able to pass the 3,000 vote threshold may not necessarily win a seat, according
    to Lisa Mussenden, the chief deputy city clerk of the City of Arcadia.
    Mussenden has been serving the community for more than 26 years. The top three
    most certainly vote getters certainly will.

    candidates can officially consider themselves as potentials, they must finish
    paperwork that contains between 20-30 signatures and submit it to the City by
    Jan. 18. Candidates must be over 18, an Arcadia registered voter and a resident
    of the City. The top three candidates earn a spot on the City Council and may
    serve two consecutive terms in a row before they term out. After two years they
    can run once again.

    ...Read More

    December 10-11, over 100Maranatha students
    performed a “Madrigal Christmas Dinner Theater”,a
    wonderful holiday dinner theatre experience for the whole family. Tickets
    included a full, sit down dinner, as well as performances by the Concert Choir,
    Mixed Ensemble, four Dance classes and the Drama 2 students performing the
    play, “The
    Summoning of Everyman
    Guests enjoyed the dinner and entertainment and it got everyone in the holiday

    CAPTIONS (Photos by Diane

    5846 Imani Simone, Adrienne
    Williams, Selena Ma from the Advanced Dance class

    5845 Lauren Turner (front) and
    Laurel Cipolla from the Advanced Dance class

    5880 RJ Schines (as the jester),
    Gianna Pilato (as Deeds) in the”The Summoning of

    5854 Emma Fischer (front) Deandre Suarez
    (left), Monica Estacio (back) from Intermediate Dance

    The Concert Choir and the Mixed Ensemble signing “We Wish you a Merry

    ...Read More

    Alhambra Chamber of Commerce will once again bring the Lunar
    New Year celebration to our community. The Lunar New Year is a time to cast
    away the bad blood of the previous year and wish for good fortune in the coming
    year. Now in its 19th year,
    the celebration is recognized as one of the most prominent ethnic events in the

    To kick-off the celebration, a three-week long art exhibit
    will be held at AlhambraCity Hall from January 7th-29th.
    Sponsored by Wells Fargo and
    co-sponsored by Around Alhambra, Phoenix TV, and The China Press, the exhibit
    will present twenty-four paintings from two prominent local artists as well as three
    from the People’s of Republic of China to welcome the year of the tiger. Sculptures of this mighty cat made of jade
    and crystal will also be on display.

    Under the global economy slowdown, this year the parade has
    been cancelled. However, the festival will be enlarged with an additional stage
    and more activities to be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010. The one-day street festival will be held on
    Valley Blvd., between Garfield Ave. and Almansor St., an area known as the
    heart of the largest Asian-American commercial district in the Southland. With
    250 booths, it offers the community a glimpse of Asian customs and traditions.

    A variety of activities will be available including: examine
    the latest models of cars at Toyota

    Auto Square; taste the gourmet coffee at McDonald; enjoy a floral exhibit accompanied
    by the music of piano and violin at the HSBC
    Court; enter the drawings to win New Year calligraphy greetings and Chinese
    knots from Chaseand personalized
    name art at the Wells Fargo booth.

    Children can dress up and taking picture in traditional
    Asian costumes on the AllstatePhoto
    stage. Alhambra Hospital Medial Center
    will provide raffle prizes and health information. Visit the booths of JCPenney and Cathay Bank
    to play fun games and win prizes. Ethnic
    foods will be offered at Maggi Food Court.
    At Macy’s Almansor stage,attendees
    will have the photo opportunities with the Tournament of Roses Queen and Court.
    Cultural and modern performances as well as Silhouette Puppet Shows can be seen
    at the Chapel stage throughout the day. Our
    appreciation goes to Time Warner, Charter Communications and Pacific Square on Valley for the

    There’s nothing more precious than spending a day with
    family and friends to experience the colorful, festive celebration of the New
    Year. Admission is free. There will be
    abundant parking on the streets and at the adjacent shopping centers. For more event information or to join as a
    vendor, please contact Pinki Chen at K & K Communications, (626) 395-9995
    or visit www.lunarnewyearparade.com.

    by Winston Chua

    ALHAMBRA – Nearly 2,300 Boy Scouts come form the Mission
    Amigos District, an area that includes Alhambra, Rosemead, San Gabriel and
    Monterey Park. Though diverse, the values they share are similar. But one thing
    that is unique is this year’s centennial float in the Rose Parade.

    “We don’t have a float in the Parade every year, so this is
    special. People are not aware that Boy Scouts are still around. Some are even
    surprised we exist,” said Wendy Chien, Mission Amigos District executive

    This year’s float will feature activities common in
    scouting, like mountain biking, kayaking, tents and the wilderness. The
    activities portrayed are meant to convey a taste of what scouts do when they
    are out. During the parade, scouts will carry magnified merit badges as the
    float moves along and some will ride the float itself, complete with a zip line
    that scouts will use to transport themselves. The construction of the float is
    finished and the flowers will be put on the 30th of December.

    “We are here to show everyone that we’re alive and well and
    this is a great program for the boys,” said Chien, who has been with the scouts
    since 2007. Cub Scouts range in age from 6 to 11. Boy Scouts range in age from
    11 to 18.

    by Winston Chua

    ARCADIA – The Arcadia Unified School District Tuesday night
    received two unqualified audits reports for the fiscal year ending in 2009,
    meaning an independent auditing company found no errors or misrepresentations
    in their budget, programs and financial records. The reports centered on both
    general and Measure I funding.

    “We’re proud that
    we’ve been able to continue to achieve despite the budget problem,” Arcadia
    school board member Joann Steinmeier said. Still she says the district will
    likely get “whacked” when the governor’s budget projections come out next year.

    The second unqualified audit focused on the $218 million Measure
    I bond to pay for school construction on all 10 of its campuses. As far as the
    high school is concerned, there will be a new student services building on
    Campus Drive in late summer of 2010 and a new science center along Duarte Road also
    by the end of summer, 2010. Construction for a new performing arts building along
    Campus Drive should begin in the fall of 2010.

    Arcadia is also in the midst of ushering in a new student
    data system that promises to revamp the old one. Called Power School,
    Steinmeier said the new system will have
    greater capacity for integrating test results, attendance, pulling reports from
    disparate places, record keeping and grade books, to name a few. The project
    has been in the making for a year and a half. The project should be complete in
    the fall.

    The Arcadia district is hoping there will be no mid year
    cuts for staff and faculty. If cuts are deep, they could start to layoff
    workers by March 15.

    by Winston Chua 

    ARCADIA – The Girl Scouts of Arcadia Saturday helped to
    raise more than 31,000 pounds of food for local foodbanks as they set up in
    front of participating Vons and Pavilions locations for Girl Scouts of Los
    Angeles’ Feed Your Neighbor Food Drive and Service Day.

    The Arcadia and Pasadena scouts were part of 3,000 Girl
    Scouts in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino and Kern counties whose original
    goal had been simply to raise 4,000 pounds of food. The actual amount the
    scouts did collect will provide roughly 23,466 meals.

    Some Girl Scouts also volunteered at the Foothill Unity
    Center in Monrovia, while all of them sorted and packaged food to be
    distributed to those in need and brought donations. The day of service was a
    culmination of activities and opportunities the girls have participated in over
    the last six weeks as part of a patch program that taught the girls about
    hunger in real-life situations.

    They also learned about nutrition, budgeting and learned
    about the staggering number of children at risk for hunger in California alone.
    The scouts who helped collect food are part of the 45,000 girls that make up
    the scouts from the greater Los Angeles area.

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