Category Archives: Healthy Living

Pastor’s Corner: A New Four Letter Word

Mark Hopper

There is a new four-letter word in our vocabulary. I know there are many appropriate four-letter words that people say like – love, hope, help, kind, sure and more. There are also some four-letter words that people use that I don’t think are necessary nor appropriate to mention.

But there is a new word that has become part of our vocabulary during the Corona Virus outbreak.  The word is Zoom.  I’m not sure if it is a noun or a verb. Maybe it can be used both ways. But I hear the word in many conversations by both older and younger people. Even our grandchildren are including Zoom in their vocabulary as they describe going to school and connecting with their teachers and classmates.  

Previously we used tools like Skype and Facetime to talk with people on the internet. But Zoom seems to have surpassed them in popularity. I teach an adult Bible class on Sunday mornings using Zoom. Many churches are using Zoom to broadcast their church services to people at home. Schools are using Zoom to teach their students. Doctors are meeting with their patients on Zoom instead of in their office.

In many ways. Zoom and similar tools are changing the way we do business, education and the way we connect with family and friends. This has been a very useful and helpful tool during the Corona crisis. We have a Zoom call with all of our children and grandchildren once-a-week. But I sense most people feel it is not the same as meeting with people face-to-face. Many teachers feel that online instruction is not the same as classroom instruction. Many students miss the benefit of connecting with their classmates in the classroom and on their school campus.

The Apostle Paul wrote to some church leaders in Corinth expressing how his written letters may give a different impression than when he met with them face to face (Second Corinthians 10:1). Phone calls, email and text messages can be useful. Cards and letters are too. But I believe that Zoom will never replace meeting face-to-face with grandkids, clients, customers and classmates. When this pandemic is over and restrictions are lifted, let me encourage you to spend more time with other people face-to-face. Theywill 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.

Celebrating the Simple Things

Nancy Stoops

I believe each day that we have the honor of being alive is call for celebration. Every morning as I awake and see the sun rising and filling the sky with majestic colors I am reminded of how lucky we are. As I step out in the morning with Midnight my therapy dog I feel blessed for his friendship and for the health that we both have. As we start our walk through our wonderful community I am proud to be part of it and I enjoy the morning song of the birds around us. As we walk I enjoy the trees and flowers that represent life in the neighborhood. Midnight and I are greeted by the other daily walkers with a friendly smile and warm hello. It’s so nice to be part of such a wonderful neighborhood filled with such lovely people. Sometimes the other dogs will visit with Midnight as we make our way through our neighborhood and that makes Midnight a very happy soul.


I think the feeling of the sun on my face is just magical. The fragrant plants and flowers are intoxicating and so very delightful. Swimming or floating in water has always been very freeing for me. Laughter truly is the best medicine and I think we all could do a lot more of it. Looking up at a night sky filled with stars and a full moon can be an experience that provides a wonderful kind of solace. Just hanging out with my grandson is fabulous.


These simple things I speak of don’t cost any money but are literally priceless. I think if we all take time to appreciate the simple things that are so wonderful in our world we will be more positive. I think then we will not dwell so much on what is wrong but focus on what is right. I know we are all struggling to look at what’s right in our world and celebrating the simple things helps us do just that. I have faith that we all are going to get through these difficult times and come out better people for it!!


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 Life Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.net.

Pastor’s Corner: Snow Days

Mark Hopper

It only snowed 2-3 times a year in Dallas. It was a nightmare to drive in the traffic. Most residents had little experience driving in snow and on ice covered roads. One time in early January, the Superintendent of the public schools canceled classes because of the weather. It seemed like a wise decision but the sun came out by noon, the snow melted and the Superintendent looked foolish.

A few weeks later, when snow was again forecast for the Dallas area the Superintendent did not cancel classes. Students and teachers were expected to report to school. Unfortunately this was a serious snow storm and there were many accidents on the roads. In fact, my wife and I were in an accident as a car slowly slid down a hill into the side of our car. A mother who was trying to get her children to school hit our car while I was trying to get their teacher to school!

Many people were critical of the Superintendent when he canceled classes on a snow day in January and many people criticized him when he did not cancel classes on a snow day in March.

This sounds strangely familiar as we face the current Corona Virus situation. It is easy for people to be critical of government officials for decisions and actions they have and have not taken. Some feel leaders did not act early enough. Others feel that many of the actions and restrictions are an overreaction. State and local officials are making decisions regarding school closures, canceling public events and restricting travel. It is easy to criticize them.

We are living in an uncertain time. It is easy to focus our frustrations on our government and business leaders. Many people are fearful and concerned about how long this will last and how bad it will get. I think our parents and grandparents felt the same way when our nation was attacked by the Japanese in 1941. I’m sure there was fear and concern about how long the war would last and how bad it would get.

There is a wonderful promise found many places in the Bible that says, “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 / Acts 18:9-10). Let me encourage you to open your Bible and read these verses for yourself. Pray for our country and our leaders. Help a neighbor or a classmate.


With God’s help and by helping one another we will get through this together.

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.”

Autism Mom: Mother of Two Autistic Boys

Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)-
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”


This time of “social distancing” and “shelter in place” has presented challenges for all of us.


The kids are adjusting to a new routine, and we adults are trying to be creative and positive.

My life before “shelter in place.”


Kids attended school. They had homework and weekends off. We went out to eat, attended events, saw movies, said hello to people, and gave them hugs. Family gatherings and seeing friends were a part of our life. Parks, playgrounds, shopping, and socializing is what we did.
After “Shelter in place.”


Kids are home all day. Teaching autism kids from “social distancing” is not my forte. Many tears have been shed, mostly by mommy. Video conference calls have become the norm, and we can have up to five a day with all the boy’s services and school. Masks now has to be worn when we are out. We no longer visit people or go to places. The confusion and lack of understanding bring frustration to my boys.


We are thankful for the technology we have to be able to communicate by all means and even have a face to face talk with loved ones. Being creative, making the best out of the situation, having faith and staying positive is vital. We are taking a day at a time and riding this wave out. Life changes all the time, sometimes more extreme than we would like, but it happens

.
All we can and must do is trust in God above.

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.

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.

A World Full of Anxiety

I have always been told that worrying is an insult to God. I always had interpreted this as that we are in good hands and need to trust the plan for our life. I believe being the best version of myself daily is really all I can do. I have come to realize that all I really have control over is myself and how I react to my life. I have no control over others or over their behavior. I can be helpful as a therapist and plant seeds for change in people. It’s not up to me whether those seeds get nurtured and grow into the very thing that provide tools for change.


The definition of anxiety is that our demands outweigh our means. For example feeling as if there isn’t enough time to get everything done. I think we can always work on improving our time management skills and sometimes we need to set more realistic expectations for ourselves and others. We need to learn that Rome really wasn’t built in a day and we need to learn patience. We need to pay attention to our bodies when we aren’t handling our anxiety very well. We need to practice our deep breathing and our meditation. We need to take time to pet and cuddle with our animals. We need to work on staying in the moment and not thinking so ahead of ourselves. We need to just relax and have faith in ourselves, in others and in our life plan.


More than fifty percent of all illnesses are stress related. If we can learn to relax and manage our stress than we won’t make ourselves sick. Slow down, breath and have faith in yourself, in others and your life plan. Learn to manage your life and your stress so that it won’t control you and your 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.

Relax It Will Be Better Soon

Since we all have been hit with the fear of the Corona Virus many people are very anxious. We all need to relax and practice a lot of selfcare care right now. We need to exercise, meditate, eat well, take vitamins and supplements, get lots of rest, drink lots of water, do things we enjoy and have some faith. Many people are hoarding items but we have been told repeatedly there is no need for that. We need to stay up to date but we don’t have to listen to the news all day long. We need to maintain a very positive outlook. Stress actually wears down our immune systems and now especially we need strong immune systems. Echinacea is a wonderful herb that can help strengthen our immune systems. I have taken it for most of my life and I rarely get sick.


I also think we must practice being grateful everyday and continually think about all we are blessed with. We must be kind to each other and look out for our neighbors. We can check in with each other and make sure we all have what we need. This is a great time for all of us to practice being better human beings. Anger and fear are not the way that we will heal from all of this. We must practice kindness, tolerance, patience and humanity. We all must learn from this as I believe there are many lessons we could learn here.


Take advantage of working from home. Take advantage of your children being home with you. Take advantage of all the clean air we have from all of the rain. Look around everything is so green and beautiful and we live in such a lovely community. Start a new hobby, play with your children, take walks together with the dog. Try to enjoy your time at home with each other. Play some games, cook together, listen to some music, watch some movies, and take this time to enjoy your family. May God bless us all and may this be over very soon!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She also works as a motivational speaker. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs. For more information about any of these services contact Nancy 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. Join Nancy’s wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.ORG and receive a daily wellness message.

Pastor’s Corner: Snow Days

By Mark Hopper

It only snowed 2-3 times a year in Dallas. It was a nightmare to drive in the traffic. Most residents had little experience driving in snow and on ice covered roads. One time in early January, the Superintendent of the public schools canceled classes because of the weather. It seemed like a wise decision but the sun came out by noon, the snow melted and the Superintendent looked foolish.

A few weeks later, when snow was again forecast for the Dallas area the Superintendent did not cancel classes. Students and teachers were expected to report to school. Unfortunately this was a serious snow storm and there were many accidents on the roads. In fact, my wife and I were in an accident as a car slowly slid down a hill into the side of our car. A mother who was trying to get her children to school hit our car while I was trying to get their teacher to school!

Many people were critical of the Superintendent when he canceled classes on a snow day in January and many people criticized him when he did not cancel classes on a snow day in March.

This sounds strangely familiar as we face the current Corona Virus situation. It is easy for people to be critical of government officials for decisions and actions they have and have not taken. Some feel leaders did not act early enough. Others feel that many of the actions and restrictions are an overreaction. State and local officials are making decisions regarding school closures, canceling public events and restricting travel. It is easy to criticize them.

We are living in an uncertain time. It is easy to focus our frustrations on our government and business leaders. Many people are fearful and concerned about how long this will last and how bad it will get. I think our parents and grandparents felt the same way when our nation was attacked by the Japanese in 1941. I’m sure there was fear and concern about how long the war would last and how bad it would get.

There is a wonderful promise found many places in the Bible that says, “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 / Acts 18:9-10). Let me encourage you to open your Bible and read these verses for yourself. Pray for our country and our leaders. Help a neighbor or a classmate.


With God’s help and by helping one another we will get through this together.

Pastor’s Corner: 10 Confessions of a Christian- Confession #1: I’m a Liar

By Chris Kirish

I confess… I’m a liar.

Perhaps you can relate? Someone approaches and asks me how I’m doing.

Conjuring every ounce of strength I have left I force a smile.

“I’m good! How are you?”

Why did I just lie? Is it because I think it’s what they want to hear? Is it because it’s what American culture has trained me to do? Is it because I don’t really want to think about it? Is it because I don’t even know? Is it because I don’t know them? Is it because I don’t want to go that deep right now? Or is it because hidden somewhere deep down inside of me I’m afraid they won’t care if I told them the truth, and that would be worse than if they never asked me in the first place.

Whatever reason we have let’s be honest – we all lie. We lie about how we’re doing. We lie about who we are. We put on a face. We play the part. We act it out. We behave the way we think people want us to behave. We bury the feelings.

Now we have a million reasons why  we do this. It could be our up bringing, our lack of trust, or it could simply be because John Wayne said it’s “What a man’s got to do.”

Why is John Wayne so awesome?

But whatever the case is, we continue to suppress what we’re going through and we hide our struggles and sins from others. But, that does not erase the ever nagging question in the back of our minds… is this is the way it was supposed to be? Is this how life is supposed to be? Am I hardwired in my DNA to deal with everything on my own? Is this the way God wanted it to be? Does God want me to carry this weight alone?

I mean sure, not everyone needs to know your deepest darkest secrets and not everyone needs to know you’re not having a good day. But maybe someone should know. Maybe suppressing the pain, hiding our struggles, and lying is not what God wanted for us.

I find it to be fascinating that Jesus had a tremendous amount of compassion and grace for every sinner He came into contact with and yet He was extremely hard on the people who acted like they had it all together. We don’t have to guess as to why He felt this way – Jesus made it clear for us:

Matthew 25:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombswhich look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appearto people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

I’m no theologian but it seems to me that Jesus really didn’t like it when people faked it. And although we like to picture Jesus as a blond haired hippy surfer, carrying a lamb on his shoulders, smiling all the time, and saying “God bless you” – it may not be too far of a stretch to say Jesus was pretty angry at these religious leaders and He may not have been smiling or carrying a lamb at this moment.

And if you think about it God has never liked it when we hide. In fact, this problem of hiding goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells us that when God came walking in the Garden after Adam and Eve sinned and ate from the tree God commanded them not to eat – they hid from God. This made God angry. And they weren’t the only ones. Jonah once tried hiding from God too. He got on a boat that was headed in the opposite direction from where God was calling him. Jonah though he could run and hide from God. I remember that not going very well for him.

Something about a big fish?

In the same way, many of us are still trying to hide from God today. We hide behind a smile. Behind a title. Behind a façade. A part we play for the people we think will judge us if they really knew us. Can I encourage you today? Drop the mask. You may be fooling people but you’ll never fool God. And God doesn’t want you to be perfect but he does demand that you’re honest. God can help a sinner but He can’t help someone who pretends like they’re not a sinner. God can do anything and He can save anyone but one thing God won’t do – He won’t save someone who won’t admit they need a Savior. Drop the mask. Tell God the truth and then go tell someone else the truth.

Pastor Chris Kirish is the Pastor of Ministries at VantagePoint Church. Contact at http://www.vantagepointchurch.org o: 909-465-9700 ex.711.

Autism Mom: Why the World May Be Shutting Down

By Melody Kraemer

The world is shutting down, so it may seem. Though is it? Or is the universe telling us something? We have been ‘social distancing” for years. Ever since we became the electronic world, people don’t seem to talk nor communicate.

Everywhere you look, people are on their electronic devices. Many people for a very long time have not looked up from their phones.

I have seen people in restaurants on their phones and not focusing on the person in front of them. I walk by people on the streets and they will bump into me not paying attention. Many car accidents I have read are caused by texting. So this social distancing is not new, it’s just now we can’t stand next to each other unless they are six feet away. But let’s be honest, many people never realized there was someone who was standing next to them.

Maybe now we can get a grasp on life and think about what there is out there. There is a world of beauty and people that will smile at you.

Sometimes I felt so alone in a world of people, why because some have no idea who or what is around them. Some never look up from their phones to see a smile in front of them. Or they are too busy worrying about the next selfie to post from where they are.

Now that everything has shut down and nowhere to go, maybe, just maybe, some will look up from their phones and see there’s a beautiful family in front of them and put down the electronics and get back to basics.

Enjoy the quiet moments, smile at the simple things, and have fun by talking, what a concept. Hopefully, on the other side of this crisis, life will be better, friendships and families will be stronger. Plus, the love of electronics will subside and the world will become a more delightful connected place between one another.

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.

Pastor’s Corner: Sharing With Others

By Mark Hopper

Several years ago after my wife finished an extensive series of treatments for breast cancer, some friends invited us to use their house while they were away to give her an opportunity to rest and recover from this exhausting journey. Their home was on the water in Newport Beach, California. When we walked up to the house, we were amazed at how beautiful and peaceful it was. It was not on the beach with all the tourists and bicycles but on Newport Shores where it was quiet and restful.

She began to regain her strength as we went for short walks along the water. As the days went by, she felt more ambitious and determined to walk further. By the end of our stay she was walking all the way from the house to the pier and back. It felt like we were on an extended vacation even though we were only thirty miles from home.

On several occasions over the years other friends have shared their cabins in the mountains east of Los Angeles. My wife was a school teacher and after the end of a busy school year, we often went to the mountains to get out of the foggy June Gloom and enjoy the blue skies and warm sunshine. Our wedding anniversary was also in June so this provided a perfect setting to rest and celebrate together. When our children were younger, a friend loaned us his motorhome for our family vacation.

We are so thankful for the people who have shared so much with us. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share” (First Timothy 6:17-18).

You may not think of yourself as rich but I am confident that you do have things that you can share with others. You may have a mountain cabin, a beach house or a motorhome. You may have an extra car or some tools that you can lend. You may have experience, knowledge or skills that you can share with others. Let me encourage you to watch for an opportunity to share some things you have with neighbors, friends or people in need. You will be glad you did and they will too!

Instrumental Music Building Construction Begins at Diamond Bar High

Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor, Principal Dr. Reuben Jones, Board Members Helen Hall, Cindy Ruiz, Larry Redinger, Dr. Tony Torng, Layla Abou-Taleb, DBHS alumni Janeen Yamak, Katie Samrick, Teachers Marie Sato and Steve Acciani.

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BAR, CA—Walnut Valley USD marked the groundbreaking of a three-story Instrumental Music Building at Diamond Bar High School on February 19.

Over 150 residents, parents, students, staff, and community leaders attended the celebration for the state-of-the-art addition to the premier music program.

“It’s truly going to be amazing!” exclaimed Principal Dr. Reuben Jones at the site of the building located on the northwest end of the campus at Brea Canyon Road.

“I am so excited to say that we’re going to have the best instrumental music building in the country!”

The nearly $9.8 million project was made possible by voter approval of Bond Measure WV passed in November 2016.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor celebrates groundbreaking of new instrumental music building at Diamond Bar High School on Feb. 19.

“We are tremendously grateful for the support of our community,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

The new 15,700 square-foot “Music Box” will feature three strategically designed levels with a 4,320 square-foot band room at the ground level, mid-level floor ensemble rooms, recording studio, library, and office space, and upper level 3,631 square-foot orchestra classroom with adjacent rehearsal spaces for piano, harp, percussion, and individual practice.

The 465-day construction project is slated for completion in Summer 2021.

“I am truly moved to think about how many thousands of students will pass through this building in the next 10 or 25 or 50 years and the impact it will have on the lives of so many young musicians,” Taylor commented.

DBHS Principal Dr. Reuben Jones, Alumni Janeen Yamak, Katie Samrick, Teachers Marie Sato, Steve Acciani, and Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

The District chief also praised music teachers Steve Acciani and Marie Sato for their “relentless commitment and dedication to the program” and for engraining a love and appreciation of the arts into the school community.


“It is truly a part of the culture here and we’re thankful for that,” he said.

“I’d to thank our spectacular Diamond Bar High students and staff who gave up their time to help the Measure WV campaign and our amazing community for responding to their efforts,” said Board President Larry Redinger.

Diamond Bar High’s comprehensive, 700-student, instrumental music program comprises nearly one-third of the school’s population.

The program has earned the prestigious Grammy Signature Award as the top school in the nation.

For the past nine years, Diamond Bar High has broken records with the number of high school students selected for the SoCal and All-State Bands and Orchestras.

“The best thing about the new building is that it is designed around the specific needs of the uniqueness of our program at Diamond Bar High,” Acciani explained.

“Even though we have tremendously successful large groups, the program is structured around the maximizing potential of individuals.”

Two teen leaders spoke of their passion that generated impressive student involvement during the campaign.

“Measure WV gave us the opportunity to give back to our school and leave a legacy behind,” said 2017 graduate Janine Yamak.

“I remember spending every weekend knocking on people’s doors and calling people,” Yamak said.


“We did it for a purpose because we knew that all our hard work would pay off with a new three-story band building. I’m very excited to see the end result!”

Diamond Bar High alumni Katie Samrick, Janeen Yamak take stage during groundbreaking ceremony.

Katie Samrick, a 2019 graduate, hoped the efforts of fellow band members would make an impact on future generations who spent weekends walking precincts in the “blazing sun to inform homeowners of the benefits.”

And it did.

“The morning after the election day, November 7, 2016, Mr. A. (Acciani) informed us that Measure WV had passed!” We couldn’t be happier!”

Attendees were able to take a tour of the plans using 3D virtual reality goggles and view architectural renderings on display.

“Music is such a powerful thing,” said Principal Jones. “It will be truly wonderful to have it coming from this new building.”

To view a virtual walkthrough video, please visit: http://bit.ly/2w16AzY.

Centro Basco: Menu and Temporary Hours of Operation

WVUSD Closes Due to COVID-19

Staff Reports

Walnut – On March 13, Superintendent Robert P. Taylor announced that all Walnut Valley USD schools will be closed for five weeks, effective Monday, March 16. The schools will re-open on April 20.

“I appreciate your support during this challenging time,” said Taylor in a statement he sent to all parents and guardians. “As the parent of three children, I certainly empathize with the stress, fear, and inquiry that this time period has caused for many parents/guardians.”

Taylor said that the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) recommended that all schools in Los Angeles County close and/or be dismissed for a minimum of two weeks due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). After this announcement, the WVUSD Board of Trustees held an Emergency Meeting to discuss their plan of action. According to Taylor, the Board “approved a resolution through an emergency measure” that granted the Superintendent the authority to “take all appropriate action to respond to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

“I have decided to dismiss (‘pupil free’) schools effective immediately, followed by all schools being closed through Spring Break (5 weeks),” stated Taylor.

From March 16 to 18, students will be dismissed, and it will be considered a “Pupil Free” day. However, the entire school will be closed from March 19 to April 17. Additionally, all extra-curricular activities and athletics have been postponed.

“We continue to prioritize the health and wellness of students and staff as our highest concern,” said Taylor. “Given the advisement of Public Health, medical experts, and other state and county entities, we have decided to allow an appropriate amount of time for students, staff, and families to follow advice of medical practitioners and experts, practice healthy habits, and lessen opportunities for the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

“I recognize that my decision will impact everyone differently,” continued the Superintedent. “Our District will be working with staff to lessen the academic gap that typically occurs over extended recesses from school. Next week, parents and students will be notified of curricular resources that can be utilized during the school closure.”

In addition, he said that additional information will be provided next week, and all schools will answer questions and discuss next steps. “While this is an extremely difficult decision, I also am confident that it was made with the best interest of our staff and students in mind,” stated Taylor.

COVID-19 Patient Visits Walnut, Dies in Pomona

Staff Reports

Walnut – On March 11, the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PCHMC) announced that a patient who passed away at their hospital confirmed positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This was the first reported COVID-19 death in Los Angeles County.

On March 9, the patient went to the hospital by ambulance and was in full cardiac arrest. Staff provided lifesaving care to stabilize her condition. Based on her travel history and symptoms, the patient was placed in isolation and infection control protocols were implemented according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). LACDPH authorized to obtain samples for COVID-19 testing, but the patient died shortly after “due to complications from their illness,” according to a PCHMC statement. On March 11, LACDPH confirmed the patient tested positive for COVID-19.

A family member disclosed the patient’s travel status, which included a residence in the City of Walnut. However, the County confirmed that the individual “did NOT circulate around the City of Walnut and stayed primarily at the residence,” according to Walnut Public Information Officer, Melanie Tep. She stated that the City is communicating with LA County’s Department of Public Health for more information regarding the patients’ travel details. “We will communicate more information as it becomes available from the County.”

In addition, the LA County Department of Public Health confirmed that the patient’s family members are currently in quarantine.  PCHMC is also following LACDPH guidelines for the staff that came into contact with the patient.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the patient and family,” said Daniel Gluckstein, MD, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at PVHMC. “At this time, our top priority remains protecting public health and ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, Associates, physicians, volunteers and community.”

“We understand people are feeling anxious about potential exposure to coronavirus, but we want to reassure our patients and their families that the risk of exposure from this case is low,” stated a PVHMC statement. “PVHMC remains a safe, high-quality facility to seek medical care.”

The City of Walnut issued a reminder stating that Public Health continues to recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves and others from respiratory illnesses:

• Stay home when you are sick.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
• Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and and those directly caring for people who are sick and by people who are sick (source control).
• Get a flu immunization if you have not done so this season.

Autism Mom: Are You Happy?

Columnist Melody Kraemer, AKA: Autism Mom

By Melody Kraemer

Are you happy? I am. I wake up each day with a grateful heart. I do get questioned at times of how I can be happy and stay positive with so much going on in my life. Plus, raising two autistic boys who need constant care and attention.


I am not saying my life is perfect. I’m not saying I don’t cry most days and I’m not saying life is easy. I am saying I am happy.


But you cry, how can you be happy, another question I get asked.


God chose me to have, love, and raise these two special boys.


They may be a handful and life can be overwhelming though, at the end of the day, my heart is filled with joy and love.


I have the patience that I didn’t know I had. I have learned to be so understanding, and I’ve learned to enjoy the simplest smallest things in life. I’ve learned to stop and smell the flowers, though my little one will eat them if I let him. I’ve learned to enjoy life and be silly, along this autism road I am on.


I have met some of the most exceptional people on this autism road who have become my supporters, my cheerleaders, my sounding block and close friends.


I am thankful and happy every day that God chose this road for me. Did I want or ask for the autism world? No, I didn’t! The autism world chose me. I’m happy despite the obstacles in the road of my life. I have the most amazing kids and the most gracious God who loves me unconditionally and will never leave me and just knowing that is comfort and happiness. “Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have.” ― Rabbi Hyman Schachtel


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.

An Invitation for Wellness in 2020

By Nancy Stoops

Make 2020 the year you celebrate yourself.  I would like to extend two invitations to all of you. The first one is to join my new wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.org and receive a new wellness message daily and lots of other wellness ideas as well. The second one is to attend the Taste of Wellness 2020 event sponsored by the city of Walnut This wonderful and free event will take place Saturday March 28, 2020 from 8a.m. till noon at the Walnut Senior Center located at 21215 La Puente Rd. in the city of Walnut.  Their phone number is (909) 598-6200 and all you have to do is call to reserve your spot today.  This event will offer classes on meditation, the myths of diets, proper stretching techniques, yoga, a sage burning ceremony and a free tea and snack bar. Midnight the therapy dog will be there to comfort your souls and make you smile. This will be the fourth wellness event.  For those of you that have attended before keep on coming back and invite everybody you know.  If this will be your first time attending a wellness event be prepared to be delighted!

              I can’t think of a better way to help you meet your goals then by attending an event that will teach you so many wonderful ways to embrace wellness into 2020!  I personally will be running two of the five workshops offered and would love for all of you readers to come out to this amazing opportunity to enhance your wellbeing. I’m very excited to share all the facets of my very healthy lifestyle that have served me so very well for my life.  I will be discussing so many common sense ways to help yourself and just feel better so you can all improve the very quality of your life.  I look forward to seeing all of you there and sharing all of the secrets that have provided me and my patients with a life of quality and joy!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy is now accepting new clients.  She also works as a motivational speaker.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs.  For more information about any of these services contact Nancy 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.

Pastor’s Corner: Navigation

By Mark Hopper

I grew up during the Space Race of the 1960’s as America and Russia worked furiously to be the first to land a man on the moon. It was an amazing time in our nation’s history. Apollo 8 was the first time men orbited the moon and Apollo 11 was the first landing of men on the moon in 1969. America won the Space Race.

It is hard to believe that was fifty years ago. In 2019 I enjoyed reading several books and watching TV documentaries and movies about both of those remarkable moments. One of the things that caught my attention was how essential reliable navigation was to the success of those missions. I learned that the American astronauts were required to memorize the locations of a number of stars and constellations. Even though they had computers and sophisticated navigational equipment the astronauts knew they could rely on the locations of constellations and stars to chart their course to and from the moon.

I have read that Polynesians used the stars to navigate their way across the vast Pacific Ocean. They rested in the day and paddled and sailed by night aiming toward certain stars and constellations. The European explorers like Henry the Navigator from Portugal and other nations used the location of the sun and the stars to identify their location and chart their courses, too. They knew the locations of the stars were predictable and reliable in ancient times and they still are today. Now we have GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) to chart the paths for ships, aircraft and our own automobiles. These provide a reliable source for navigation and travel.

The Bible says that God created the universe. He placed the sun, moon, earth and stars in their places. The planets follow predictable orbits and the location of the stars are consistent and trustworthy. The Bible says, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens – who created all of these? God calls each of the stars by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).

Let me encourage you to reflect on the beauty and order of the stars in the sky. When you see a beautiful full moon rising up in the eastern horizon I hope it reminds you of the regularity of the seasons and the reliability of each day and month. Give thanks to God who created the world we enjoy. You will be glad you did and He will too!

Intro to Composting: Free Smart Gardening Workshop