Category Archives: Walnut

Pastor’s Corner: To Tell or Not To Tell

Mark Hopper

Many years ago we took our children on a trip to California. We spent two days at Disneyland and then drove north to visit my brother and his family in Grass Valley. Our kids enjoyed time with their cousins and we enjoyed catching up with my brother and his wife.


One day we went to a pumpkin patch and each of our kids and the cousins selected their own pumpkin. They looked forward to carving and decorating their own pumpkins for Halloween when we got home. On our way back to Arizona we realized we would need to stop at the border for an agricultural inspection. We knew we would be asked by the border agent if we had any agricultural products that we were bringing into Arizona from California.

My wife and I had a lively discussion about what we should say to the agriculture inspector. If we said that we did not have any agricultural items – our children would get to keep their precious pumpkins. But, our children would also know we did not tell the truth. On the other hand, if we did tell the border agent that we did have some agricultural items – their personal pumpkins might be confiscated at the border and they would have nothing to carve for Halloween.


What would you say if you were faced with a similar situation? Do you tell or not tell? Do you disclose or conceal. Do you tell the truth and risk the loss of the precious pumpkins? Or to you tell a lie and hope you don’t get caught?


A man named Abraham faced a similar test. His wife was beautiful. He told her to lie and tell people she was his sister. He told the same lie when he was asked about her. Abraham was afraid someone might kill him and take his wife (Genesis 20). Years later his own son Isaac did the same thing following of his father’s example (Genesis 26)!


I know people are more important than pumpkins. I believe it is better to tell the truth and face the consequences than to tell a lie. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Put aside falsehood and speak truthfully” (Ephesians 4:25). Your reputation is on the line and your children may follow your example. When we got to the border we decided to tell the inspector about our precious pumpkins. We held our breath – then he said no problem. Pumpkins are permitted! Let me encourage you to tell the truth. We were glad we did and you will be too.

You can find more stories and articles by Mark Hopper at his web site – letmarkencourageyou.com. His book with 365 stories and articles (one for each day of the year) is available for $25 which includes postage – contact him at markh@efreedb.org.

What Lessons Should We Have Learned from This Pandemic?

Nancy Stoops

First and foremost, I want to say we take so many things for granted.  Hopefully this pandemic has taught us to be grateful everyday for our lives, our health, our families, our friends, our pets, the beauty of nature, all the freedom we have and the abundance of basic necessities that most of us have. Hopefully we all have learned to be more patient and understand that after a storm we can find a rainbow if we take the time to look. I also hope that people have learned to be more present and mindful and have learned to live in the moment. Each moment we have the honor of being in is truly a gift.  This is why it is called the present and hopefully you don’t throw presents away, instead you embrace them.

            I hope that if you had some extra money, time, food, clothing or other basic essentials you made some donations. There is still a huge need and I promise it will make you feel better. There are many people that don’t have the basics right now due to the pandemic and also the wildfires and could really use a hand right now.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself do something great with all of that emotion. By helping others whether they be people or animals you are making a difference.  If everybody could give a little right now, we’d all feel better.

            I hope all of you have found some inner strength you didn’t even know you had.  So today and every day pat yourself on the back for who you are with the promise that tomorrow you will be an even better version of yourself. I hope all of you are doing well and know that we will all survive and come better versions of our already amazing selves!!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at 909 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net  You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

Autism Mom: School Lunches

Melody Kraemer

Philippians 2:4 NKJV.

“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.”

My boys and I go out almost every day to pick up school lunches. If anything, it gets us out of the house for a bit and gives us a break from on-line school.

On this one particular day, as I turned down the school street, there was a car in front of me that was going very slow. It was obvious this person was looking for something or someone. I just drove around them and proceeded into the school.

I was anxious to get the school lunches and get home before school started again. I still had to drop off something to a friend of mine, but she lived just right behind where the school was. 

As I left my friend’s house, I got in my car as a car pulled up beside me. They rolled down their window ( it was that same car in front of me at the school going slowly). She asked if I knew how to get to the school. ( I was confused a bit since she was right in front of the school.) I started to explain to her to go down the street, turn right, turn right again, and go to… I could see her face was saying, “what?” 

At that moment, I said, follow me. So I had her follow me to the front of the school. I pointed to the open driveway to get in, and I made a U-turn to go home. My son asked what I was doing, and did I know her? I said, no, I don’t know her, but whenever you can help someone do it. He said, I bet she appreciates you getting her to the school. I replied, Well, we may just have answered her prayer. 

“Remember, whenever you’re in a position to help someone, be glad and always do it because that’s God answering someone else’s prayers through you.”

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Autism Mom:Frustration

Melody Kraemer

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I’m frustrated, are you frustrated?  I wake up, click my heels together, and say, “I wish we had  school on campus.” Though nothing happens, maybe it’s because I’m not wearing ruby red slippers. Does anyone know the way to “OZ?” 

Distant learning is not something my kids are not getting adjusted to at home.  I know it’s hard for the teachers and staff as well. The principle of their school stated this is all uncharted waters, but everyone is doing their best. 

Some children are probably doing wonderfully, though not the case in many families. I know how these parents feel, I am one of them. Have we looked at the impact of how it’s affecting our children, on the spectrum or not? 

Many children I have interviewed have expressed that they are angry, sad, bored, miss their friends, and are scared. 

There are so many emotions flying around for our little ones.  

We always think our children are resilient and happy in their childhood. But on the contrary, they are experiences far more than they may be showing. Kids may not be open to how they are feeling, for not wanting to disappoint mom or dad. 

Kids may think they don’t want to share their feelings since mom and/or dad may already be upset over this pandemic. 

Some kids can’t even express what they are feeling.  As parents, we need to hug our children more, reassure them they are awesome, and we will get through this. It’s time to remind them they will see their friends again and never give up hope. It’s a time to remind them God is in control and won’t leave us. We have to remember kids may not share their feelings fully, so sit down and have a heart to heart with them, if that’s feasible. If not just stay as positive as you can.

Staying positive is not always easy through this pandemic. For me anyway, but I see my children and look into their eyes, and it confirms they are trusting me to protect them, love them, and stay positive. So I smile and remind them they are the absolute best, and we are in this together along with everyone else. We all need to keep praying, keep loving, and stay positive. God is good and will take care of us and we should not be anxious about anything.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Take This Time to Become Your Best Self

Nancy Stoops

I know many of you are struggling with the Pandemic and all that goes with it.  Think about how many times you wished for sometime for yourself.  Well now you finally have it.  Use this time that we are all needing to stay home and lower the number of cases as a way to improve yourself.  Think about what it would feel like to become your best self. 

            Take out a piece of paper and fold it in to three sections. In the first section write all your qualities you want to keep.  In the second section write all the qualities you don’t want anymore.  In the third section write down all of the qualities to wish you add to your already wonderful self.  Now set some goals on how to start working on your plan.  For example, if you are feeling depressed start exercising and keeping a mood journal.  Each day write down how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way.  Look for the day you feel better and create a recipe based on what you did that day to make you feel better.  You can do the same thing with anxiety.  Write down all of the lies that are causing you fear and then find the truth through evidence from your past.  Think about all that you have already survived.  Meditation can be a very effective tool as well to quiet our minds and combat anxiety.

            Use this difficult time to your advantage.  Take this time to work on you.  I also recommend taking time to enjoy nature. Witnessing a beautiful sunrise or sunset can be a very wonderful way to adjust one’s attitude and mindset.  Please know I have faith that we will all come out better versions of ourselves and grow from all that we are dealing with.  Please don’t lose faith in yourself or this amazing world that we are so very blessed to live in!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net.

Pastor’s Corner: The Man In The Mirror (Part Two)

Mark Hopper

In my previous article I shared about how we need to take a look in the mirror and see what changes we need to make in our own life. The words of the song Man in the Mirror and the story of the pastor with the rebellious daughter really drive home the principle that change needs to begin with you.

Many years ago I attended a helpful seminar on leadership. I picked up some useful ideas on how to be a more effective leader of our staff and our church. One of the speakers was Ken Blanchard, he was well known for his best-selling book – The One Minute Manager.  He shared an illustration that he often used with business leaders that has been very helpful to me as a husband, pastor and leader.

He said that when things are not going well, a foolish manager will look out his office window and place the blame on his workers. Why are sales and production declining? The employees must not be doing their jobs. On the other hand, when things are going well, a foolish manager will look in a mirror and congratulate himself for the great job he is doing.

Blanchard went on to say that when things are going well and sales are up and production is growing, a wise manager will look out the window and recognize the success is due to the hard work of his employees. And, when sales are down and production is declining, a wise manager will look in the mirror and ask himself – What am I doing wrong? What steps do I need to take to help our business improve?

There is a passage in the Bible where King David ignored the warning of his own advisors and demanded that his staff count the number of troops under his command. This action resulted in the death of a number of innocent people. David realized his mistake and asked God to forgive him and stop the devastation and destruction. He accepted responsibility for his arrogant behavior (Second Samuel chapter 24). If things aren’t going well in your life or business, let me encourage you to take a good look in the mirror. Ask yourself – what changes do you need to make in your life? Accept responsibility and change what you are doing. And if things are going well in your life or business, I hope you will give the credit to God and to the people who have made it possible. They will be glad you did and you will too.

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You”. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

My Little Miracle Named Jaida

Nancy Stoops

A few weeks ago, I had to put down my Midnight. He was thirteen years and four months old.  I was devastated and to my surprise this wonderful girl named Jaida came along to adopt.  I couldn’t believe she came along the same week I had to put my Midnight down.  My dogs have to be exceptional because they are therapy dogs.  I got her on a Saturday and on Sunday she was in the office seeing patients just like Midnight did. I believe Midnight sent Jaida to me.  It’s crazy how much they look and behave alike.  I feel so very blessed to have had Midnight and now to have Jaida.

We are going through some tough times but we need to focus on what we have not what we have lost.  We need to be filled with gratitude each and every day. We need to take sometime and look for the blessings that are bestowed upon us on a daily basis. Take this time that we are all needing to staying home to work on becoming your best selves.  Don’t be anxious and depressed instead practice being hopeful, grateful, relaxed, positive and have faith in yourself and in our world that we will come out better individually and as a nation.

Every morning when Jaida and I walk I celebrate another day by witnessing the sunrise and I’m truly honored by another day of life and being witness to such natural beauty.  Every evening as the sunsets and fills the sky with a rainbow of magnificent colors I feel peace in knowing I survived yet another day and was filled with gratitude, joy and hope.  Please keep believing in miracles and in our world. Both Midnight and Jaida my miracles have changed my life!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net

Pastor’s Corner: The Man In The Mirror

Mark Hopper

Many years ago, I heard a pastor share his story about his relationship with his teenage daughter. He was discouraged and concerned that his daughter was angry and frustrated with him. One day he took his whole family to a local park. As they sat on some tree stumps, he asked his wife and each of their children this question – “What changes do I need to make in my life that can help heal our family”? He said it hurt deeply as each of them shared some of their frustrations with him. His teenage daughter was the most vocal. She told her father that he was too busy and he never listened to her.

After each of them shared, he told them he needed some time to be alone and think about what they had said. As he got up to leave, his daughter stopped him and said she needed to ask him the same question. “What changes did she need to make in her life?” This was a turning point in their strained relationship. His heart was softened and he began to make some changes in his schedule and he spent more time with his daughter. The daughter’s heart was softened and she began to make changes in her life too.

There is a passage in the Bible where Jesus said, “Before you try to remove the speck from your brother’s eye, you need to remove the log from your own eye” (Matthew 7:1-5). If there is a problem in your family, marriage or other relationship – the place to begin is in your own life. Look in a mirror and ask yourself this question – what am I doing that is causing problems in our relationship? What changes do I need to make in my life that will help heal the wounds and restore my relationship with others?

There is a song from the 1980’s written by a famous singer with the title – Man in the Mirror. Some of the words are, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways”.

I love the phrase – Changed people change people. I believe that when you make positive changes in your life it will produce positive changes in others too.  Your words, attitudes and actions can have a positive or negative impact on others. Let me encourage you to look in the mirror and ask yourself – what changes do I need to make in my life. You can ask your spouse, children or a trusted friend too. Pray and ask God to reveal some things to you that you need to change in your life with His help. You will be glad you did and those around you will too.

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You”. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

Autism Mom: School

Melody Kraemer

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths

We had made it through March, April, May, June, and July, and we anticipated August. August was when school was going to start. It may not have been the traditional full learning days or even five days a week, but we would be back on campus.

Every day my little one asks me for school. I told him on August 10th. That was my mistake; I had high hopes. As the days got closer, the excitement got higher and I was so happy for him.

He doesn’t understand why he is home. He doesn’t understand anything about this pandemic around him. All he knows is he stopped going to school. I know he misses his daily routine, his classes, his teachers, and learning.

Every day he would tell me, “We go school August,10th!”

Then one afternoon, the governor came on and declared it was not safe to go back that only distance learning will take place until at least the end of August. Sadness filled my heart and the worrying about how I would explain this to him crossed my mind as I looked at my little boy.

Now I am all for safety and health, so when it is safe to go back, we will go back to school. Though try and explain that to an autistic child. 

I have to tell him his teacher is sick, that is why he can’t go to school. That statement does satisfy him. Thank goodness, he understands that much.

I am frustrated that distance learning will be part of our lives once again, which did not have a positive impact on our daily life back in March, April, and May. My two autistic boys had the hardest time with distant learning, but we will have to make the best of it and see where it takes us. We can only hope and pray that by the end of August, we will be able to step back on to the school campus and move forward. Though until then I have to trust God above and lean on his understanding and not mine. Better days are ahead; I do believe that. 

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Autism Mom: Patience!

Melody Kraemer

Ephesians 4:2 | NIV
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in
love”


Someone once told me that they don’t pray to God for patience because if you ask God for more patience, he will give you more things to be patient about in the day.
With my two boys, I sure don’t need that.


So how do I ask God to get me through the day? I pray for peace and
calmness within myself. My (autistic) boys will jump, climb and put anything
they find in their mouths. They will lick windows, pick up bugs, once my son
put a bee in his mouth!


Some days I feel like I’m a jumping bean watching after them. I find myself looking up to the heavens many times and saying, “I’m losing it here, help.” Usually, by noon, I am so drained, all my patience is gone. Though I know God heard my prayer because at that moment, my oldest boy will come up to me, put his arms around me and say, “Mom, I think you need a hug”. Or my little one who is not much on words will crawl up in my lap and put his head down on me, just at that moment when I feel I no longer have the patience to deal with life. I may get pushed over my limit on patience throughout the day, but I know God is there, putting calmness in my heart. Life and raising kids is all about love, understanding, grace and a whole lot of patience. I thank God daily for the patience I have.


Melody Kraemer is the Editor
and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For
more information or general encouragement, feel free to email
her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Saying Goodbye to Midnight

Nancy Stoops

I rescued Midnight was he was two years old.  He was so well behaved that I got him on Saturday and on Sunday he was going to work with me to see patients.  He was very calm, highly intelligent, loving, compassionate, he had a fabulous read on people, and had a zest for life that few do. Just like myself, he was very clear that he was put in this world to help people.  At two he tested to be a registered therapy dog and passed with flying colors the first time.  This was important because I had an emergency hysterectomy that I should have died from but St Jude’s Hospital saved my life. During my stay they brought a therapy dog to visit with me.  I felt to pay them back for saving me Midnight and I would volunteer there and we did for the next seven years.  We also spent seven years in their cancer center visiting patients as well

            Midnight seemed to just be abandoned by his family and was in a shelter when Westside Shepard Rescue found him and brought him to their Los Angeles location.  Nobody wanted him because he was a black dog.  Well I was the one that got lucky and got to adopt him.  You can read his story in a book on Amazon entitled Midnight the Therapy Dog. My grandson Taiko and him are the same age and literally grew up together.  When Taiko would play Midnight would guard him and look out for him.  They would play fetch but Taiko enjoyed sleeping over and his morning walks with Midnight the most.

            Midnight lived to take care of me and he did that so well.  He was the best friend I have ever had. His entire existence was about making sure I was good and happy.  He refused to sleep till I was in bed sleeping.  When my mom passed last year, he laid by her bed for three days until she took her last breath.  Everybody loved him and he was famous in our community and around the world with the people I met on my travels. He will be so very missed but will live in my heart and soul eternally!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger.    For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net

Pastor’s Corner: Water Pressure

Mark Hopper

When was the last time you checked the water pressure in your house? Most people have never checked it. We just turn on the faucet and we are thankful to have running water in our homes. We assume the water pressure is fine until we have a problem. Recently a hose burst in our bathroom in the middle of the night. My wife heard a noise and woke me up at 3:00 AM.  The noise came from the bathroom at the other end of the house. The hose that supplied water to the toilet had burst and it looked like a fire hose was flooding the bathroom, bedroom and hallway. I quickly turned off the valve but the water damage was extensive. I wondered why the small hose had burst and flooded the rooms. The next day I checked the water pressure in our house and discovered it was 120 PSI – twice what it should be. A few weeks later I was able to replace the water pressure regulator which reduced the pressure down to a normal 60 PSI.

Just as high water pressure can damage your home and high blood pressure can damage your heart, outbursts of anger can cause serious physical and emotional damage to yourself and to others. Two different words are used to describe anger in Ephesians 4:31-32. One word is thumos which describes outbursts of anger when people lose their temper and vent their anger with words and deeds. The other word for anger is orge which is a slow, simmering temper that gradually builds up like a volcano until it finally bursts or explodes.  Both of these types of anger can be harmful and destructive just like high water pressure and high blood pressure.

In the same passage there are two different words – kindness and compassion. These are helpful and constructive. They are the antidote of anger.  Kindness and compassion seek to resolve problems and restore relationships. Words and acts of anger damage and destroy relationships. If anger is simmering beneath the surface in your heart or revealing itself in harmful words and deeds, let me encourage you to get help.  A new ministry called Domestic Kindness is equipping churches to be part of the solution to domestic abuse. Find them at domestickindness.org. Let me encourage you to ask God and ask those you have hurt to forgive you. Ask God to give you a heart of kindness and compassion that comes through faith in Christ. You will be glad you did and your family and friends will too!

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You“. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

The Eye Of The Beholder

Michael Armijo

It was a warm yet windy day filled with strong sorrow. The air reflected a deep sense of respect as people gathered to say goodbye to a friend whose spirit had left the earth.

As everyone gathered, the vibrant, wooden casket lay atop the ground as the family huddled closely around. The youngest, a young man, gazed at the casket while tears flowed from his swollen eyes. He walked up and laid his cheek on the rigid, shiny, wooden box, as his white-gloved hands gently caressed the top of the last home his father’s body would ever have. He laid gentle kisses on the top of the casket, as his unconditional love was reflected in front of all those who watched. A gentle whisper was heard a row back, “Did you see that? How sad.”

When I heard those words, I felt something deep inside that disagreed; something that didn’t see the message of sadness when the boy showed his emotions. Instead, I saw an act of love. A love so strong, it displayed the true meaning of unconditional love. Something deep inside that didn’t care if the world looked on or what people felt. A feeling of purity, of joy, and of strength.

I believe the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I believe we all see life in certain light, and sometimes, in certain darkness. I also believe that when we express the darkness which surrounds our lives, it spreads like a contagious and cancerous disease. It attaches by simple contact, clings like a dependent child, and deteriorates in a short amount of time.

I’ve learned that opinions are only perceptions of a person’s immediate thinking, and reflections of someone’s inner self. What we see is usually what we feel, what we feel deep inside. Without realizing it, we express past experiences, deep histories, insecurities about our future, and we reflect the perception of our own lives.

I also believe that when we see life in its darkest hour, we have the opportunity to see life through the brightest light. For some, it’s a short path traveled to a place inside that holds our mind hostage from our heart. For others, it’s a level of confidence that sits deep within that’s been damaged by a careless act from another.

I believe that the true meaning of life can only be understood through the light of beauty and the inner joy that sits deep in our hearts. I believe the vision of what will come can only be seen through the eyes of a believer. I feel the truest form of emotion can only be felt when a person can feel the presence of a higher power, a stronger entity, something or someone greater than themselves.

I understand that life is not always what it is expected to be. It changes moods like a spoiled child. But I also understand that life can be what we want it to be; all we have to do is apply our hearts in front of our minds. Following what we truly feel, not what we think we see, is the only way to put aside our petty angry thoughts and our insignificant bitterness. Because just as the young man who helped bury his father, the tears that flow from our swollen eyes are tears of love that can only be seen when beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Voortman’s Egg Ranch

By K.P. Sander

Ontario – Voortman’s Egg Ranch has been in the business of providing farm fresh eggs to friends and visitors to the local area for over 60 years. Originally from Bellflower, the Voortman family – who has always been in the egg ranching business – moved their operation to Ontario in 1951.

(Photo Courtesy: Voortman’s Egg Ranch)
The Voortman Family circa 1956. Voortman’s Egg Ranch is located at 13960 Grove Avenue in Ontario. You can reach them at (909) 465-1319. They are open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voortman’s has a small-town farm ambiance, with the latest in technology.  Their happy chickens are enjoying their newly remodeled home; and their egg-processing machine can handle about 36,000 eggs per hour at its peak. If the average bird lays one egg about every 26 hours, that equals a lot of chickens at the Voortman ranch!

Did you know that you can tell how fresh an egg is by how high the yolk stands up in the frying pan after you crack it?  Voortman’s will have your over-easies standing tall.  Their fresh eggs are the highest in quality, with dark, nutrient-dense yolks.  You will immediately notice a difference in your cooking and baking.

Have you ever wondered how long the eggs in the grocery stores have actually been sitting around?  Despite the use-by date, there is really no way to know how long ago they were produced.  With Voortman’s, the eggs are selected daily, on site, and readied for you in their store.

Third-generation egg rancher, Eddie Voortman, says, “We are a local, family-owned business that provides fresh, quality products to the public.”

Customers of Voortman’s rave about their all natural, cage free eggs, touting the freshness, and great pricing.  One customer said, “They make the fluffiest scrambled eggs!”

The eggs come in all sizes and colors, depending on your needs.  Whatever you choose, you will not be disappointed.

Voortman’s is centrally located just minutes from Chino at 13960 Grove Avenue in Ontario (just north of Edison).  You can reach Voortman’s at (909) 465-1319; and Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Voortmans-Egg-Ranch-101350886592418/

Stop by any time Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WVUSD Offers Free and Reduced-Priced Meals Through National School Lunch, Breakfast Programs

Kelli Gile

Walnut – Walnut Valley Unified School District announces its program offering nutritious meals to every student, every school day under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

Online meal application is available now www.lunchapplication.com or visit us online at www.walnutnutrition.org.

The household size and income criteria identified below will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price, or full-price meal benefits. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown here are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Children who receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR benefits may be automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside. Please contact Nutrition Services to verify if you have been Directly Certified, otherwise you may be asked to pay full price for meals.

Effective July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.

Households do not need to turn in an application when the household receives a notification letter saying that all children automatically qualify for free meals when any household member receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR. Children who meet the definition of foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway, and children enrolled in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals. Contact Nutrition Services if any child in the household is not on the notification letter. The household must let Nutrition Services know if they do not want to receive free or reduced-price meals.

Applications will be sent to the household with a letter about the free and reduced-price meal program. Households that want to apply for meal benefits, must fill out one application for all children in the household and give it to the Nutrition Service Office – 880 South Lemon Avenue, Walnut, CA 91789.

Households may turn in an application at any time during the school year. If you are not eligible now, but your household income goes down, household size goes up, or a household member starts receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR, you may turn in an application at that time. Information given on the application will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school officials. The last four digits of the Social Security number from the adult in the household completing the meal benefit application or checking that you do not have a Social Security number is required if you include income on the application.

Households that receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals by filling out an application.

Foster children are eligible for free meals and may be included as a household member if the foster family chooses to also apply for the non-foster children on the same application. Including foster children as a household member may help the non-foster children qualify for free or reduced-price meals. If the non-foster children are not eligible, this does not keep foster children from receiving free meals.

Your child’s eligibility status from last school year will continue into the new school year for up to 30 school days or until Nutrition Services processes your new application, or your child is otherwise certified for free or reduced-price meals. After the 30 school days, your child will have to pay full price for meals, unless the household receives a notification letter for free or reduced-price meals. Nutrition Services does not have to send reminder or expired eligibility notices.

If you do not agree with the decision or results of verification, you may discuss it with school officials. You also have the right to a fair hearing, which may be requested by calling or writing the hearing official:
Brandon Dade, Director of Pupil Services ~ 880 South Lemon Avenue, Walnut CA 91789 ~ (909) 595-1261 x 31311

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at the Filing a Program Discrimination Complaint as a USDA Customer page External link opens in new window or tab., and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: 202-690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT
Based on your annual earnings, you may be eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit from the Federal Government (Federal EITC). The Federal EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. The Federal EITC has no effect on certain welfare benefits. In most cases, Federal EITC payments will not be used to determine eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, low-income housing, or most Temporary Assistance for Needy Families payments. Even if you do not owe federal taxes, you must file a federal tax return to receive the Federal EITC. Be sure to fill out the Federal EITC form in the Federal Income Tax Return Booklet. For information regarding your eligibility to receive the Federal EITC, including information on how to obtain the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 797 or any other necessary forms and instructions, contact the IRS by calling 1-800-829-3676 or through its Web site at www.irs.gov.

You may also be eligible to receive the California Earned Income Tax Credit (California EITC) starting with the calendar year 2015 tax year. The California EITC is a refundable state income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. The California EITC is treated in the same manner as the Federal EITC and generally will not be used to determine eligibility for welfare benefits under California law. To claim the California EITC, even if you do not owe California taxes, you must file a California income tax return and complete and attach the California EITC Form (FTB 3514). For information on the availability of the credit eligibility requirements and how to obtain the necessary California forms and get help filing, contact the Franchise Tax Board at 1-800-852-5711 or through its Web site at www.ftb.ca.gov.

Potential 3/4-Cent Sales Tax Measure on the November 3, 2020 Ballot

Staff Reports

Diamond Bar – In 30 years as an incorporated city, Diamond Bar has maintained its status as a desirable community in which to live, work and visit. Contributing to this status are the safe neighborhoods, well-maintained roads, and clean and attractive parks, trails and recreation facilities. The City has been able to do its part to keep Diamond Bar looking and operating its best and to provide the programs and services valued by the community by practicing responsible fiscal discipline and thoughtful budgeting.

Although the City’s current financial condition is strong, Diamond Bar faces long-term financial challenges that will impact the City’s ability to continue to meet the community’s needs and priorities. In 2019, the City completed an extensive effort to assess its long-term financial outlook in light of growing costs and the absence of new revenue streams. This effort concluded that Diamond Bar is approaching a financial crossroads where measures will have to be taken to align expenditures with revenues. These measures may include deferring maintenance of roads and landscaped areas, delaying or abandoning plans for new construction or renovations of parks and public facilities, or paring down municipal services to core necessities.

Potential Sales Tax Measure: With expenditures anticipated to outpace available resources in the near future, the City is taking steps to ready itself for this fiscal challenge. Identifying new locally-controlled revenue streams to ensure the City can continue to provide and improve on existing service levels is one of these steps. Placement of a three-quarter sales tax increase measure on the November ballot is still under consideration by the City Council. For more information please sign onto www.diamondbarca.gov.

Diamond Bar, Walnut High Make U.S. News’ Best of 2020

Walnut – After crunching the numbers, U.S. News and World Report released its annual report of top performing public high schools in the country on April 21.

And it’s no surprise that Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools continue to lead the way through exceptional dedication to the success of all students.

This year, Diamond Bar High ranked #25 in Los Angeles Metro Schools, #68 in California, and #519 in the nation. Additionally, Diamond Bar placed #77 in STEM high schools.

Walnut High scored #35 in Los Angeles Metro Schools, #84 in California, and #601 in the nation.

The U.S. News Best High Schools rankings include data on more than 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Nearly 18,000 schools in the country, and 1,612 in California, were reviewed for performance in state assessments, graduation rates, and how well they prepare students for college.

Diamond Bar and Walnut offer an extensive roster of IB and AP courses to provide students with an opportunity to challenge themselves with college-level course work during high school.

“I’m very proud that Diamond Bar and Walnut High continue to be recognized on a national stage in preparing students for the next chapter in their lives,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

“This is a wonderful recognition for our students, parents, teachers, and school leaders!”

Additional information at: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.

C.J. Morris Elementary Teacher Bakes Through Pandemic

Kelli Gile

Walnut —On a recent Saturday, C.J. Morris Elementary teacher Jennifer Veneracion eagerly removed the jar containing a bubbling yeast concoction from her kitchen cupboard.

After four days of stirring and waiting, the fermented starter was finally ready to be combined with a few cups of all-purpose flour and mixed into silky dough.

She would spend the next several hours methodically kneading, allowing for rising, and repeating before shaping and popping in the oven.

And when the timer sounded, out came the steamy, crusty loaves of success.

The C.J. Morris Elementary Title 1 Specialist has joined legions of homebound bread bakers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Veneracion decided to learn a new skill at the onset of stay-at-home orders that began in mid-March.

“Bread making seemed fun to do as well as something the entire family could enjoy, and it could carry on after the quarantine,” she explained.

The novice baker had always been too intimidated to attempt baking from scratch.

“I was afraid the rising dough would grow so big that I couldn’t handle it,” said admitted.

“It feels silly now that I’ve learned more!”

The baking got off to a slow start because the educator first became a student desiring to learn all about her new hobby before donning an apron.

First, she bought a bread book for beginners, and then became immersed in reading recipes, articles, and following popular bakers including Amber’s Kitchen and Bonnie O’Hara on social media.

And then there was the shortage of flour and yeast on supermarket shelves due to the surge in quarantine baking.

But once Veneracion started, she was “hooked.”

During the past several weeks, she has cooked up traditional Filipino Pan De Sal bread, ventured into loaves, sandwich breads, tortillas, cinnamon rolls, and more.

Her tried-and-true techniques include keeping the right tools at hand: a big bowl, kitchen towels, kitchen scale, and food thermometer.

And before each baking session she measures out all the ingredients, puts them in different containers, and then combines as directed.

“Kneading the bread is key,” she added to the list of tips.

“You might think the dough is too wet, but if you continue to knead it, it will develop gluten which will make it firmer.”

Veneracion has discovered the restorative magic of the experience.

“Now that I’ve learned a lot, bread baking as become a form of therapy for me,” she said.

“Teaching remotely and getting my three kids on track with their work is rough, so unplugging and working on a recipe is both relaxing and rewarding.”

In the end, Veneracion’s family decides if each bake is a winner.

“My kids are pretty honest and will tell me if the bread is a hit – with reactions ranging from ‘Mom, this is amazing’ to ‘Whelp, it’s bread, I guess,’” she said.

“Either way, I’m hoping they see the importance of learning a new skill, celebrating the successes, and powering through the failures.”

Diamond Bar, Walnut High Robotics Teams Help Fight Pandemic

Walnut — Over the past several weeks, tech savvy teens from Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools quietly answered a call to aide first responders during the global pandemic.

When students learned of the dire shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff and how anyone with a 3D printer could fill the void – they sprang into action.

Diamond Bar High’s DB Engineering and Team Sprocket robotics partnered with parent Joe Bloomfield, owner of Spyder3D, to design and manufacture reusable 3D printed facemasks and face shields.

Six members of the school’s Printed Works Club are creating a facemask that must be easily printable by those new to 3D printing, require little post-production work, be reusable, and accept multiple types of filters.

“Our team has developed a working prototype that meets all of our requirements,” said senior Logan Tang of the facemask that can also be easily scaled to fit different face sizes.

Next steps include calibrating the strap attachment points to increase comfort while holding the mask in place, he said.

Instructional Dean Gabriel Aguilar’s living room is currently in production mode on the project.

Since the school is shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Diamond Bar High administrator brought a bay of 3D printers home to aid a special effort.

“Several community partners contacted us to see how we could leverage our 3D printing and manufacturing capabilities to support the need for face shields,” Aguilar said.

“Rather than collecting dust, these machines are now producing 30 face shield frames per day, using materials donated by Spyder3D.”

WVUSD FIRST Robotics Teams joined forces with the SoCal Makers COVID-19 Response Team to create face shields using 3D printed frames and clear plastic transparency sheets.

To date, Team Sprocket, Walnut Valley Robotics, Aluminati and 2nd Rebellion have provided approximately 600 free face shields to this initiative, which has supported nearly 100 medical centers, including West Covina Medical Center, Pomona Valley Medical Center, and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Walnut High’s Wolf Corp Robotics team members are making do-it-yourself (DIY) face shields for health care workers and those providing essential services, including Walnut Valley USD Nutrition Services staff serving weekday Grab & Go meals.

The shields are low cost and very easy to make with three main components: foam, elastic band, and a transparency sheet.

Each member has pledged to construct 15-20 protective face shields from home and over the weekend 50 additional gifts were delivered to essential workers in the community.

Aerospace engineer and mentor Eric Gever established the SoCal Makers initiative organizing groups of colleagues, robotics students, and local makers interested in making a difference and helping to produce the face shields.

Teens are not only solving real-world problems, but getting more interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic.

“While many students may be thinking of this time away from school as an extended break, those who have remained involved in the Socal Makers Response Team have stood to benefit greatly though their participation in this project,” Gever said via Go Fund Me.

Feeding Our Walnut Valley Families During School Closure

Walnut – Walnut Valley USD Nutrition Services Division is ready to feed children each day during the COVID-19 school closures.

On Monday, over six hundred “grab and go” meals were distributed at Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools.

“We’re passing out a breakfast and lunch item with milk, chips, juice, and fruit,” explained

Josette Macias, a Nutrition Services Worker, as her team met cars in front of the gymnasium at Diamond Bar High.

The free meals are available to all children under 18 years old, who must be present during pick-up, for the drive-through service that runs 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.

“Yesterday we served over 300 and are expecting a lot more today,” shared Walnut High staff member Ana Aguilera on March 17 as a steady stream of cars entered the staff parking lot.

“We’ve got to take care of our kids – kids come first!” said Eva Generalao who was in kitchen helping prepare meals at 6:30 a.m.

At the end of the morning shift, over 1,800 meals, triple the number from the previous day, had been served at both high schools.

“It’s a good feeling because the District can share this food with our students,” Aguilera said.

“And the people are so appreciative!”

“It’s nice to help at a time like this,” shared Rachelle Serrano as she provided the curbside service to families.

Parents signaled the number of children in each vehicle and then staff quickly handed off the packaged meals.

Serrano also delivered something special to each car – a friendly smile, a wave, and a “have a good day!”

For more information, please visit www.walnutnutrition.org.