Category Archives: Weekly News Columns

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.

Diamond Bar High Freshman Runs 30 Days to Feed Families

Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar – After months of being cooped up in quarantine, incoming Diamond Bar High School freshman L’Mio Edwards decided to get moving to help make a difference during the global pandemic.

Diamond Bar High freshman L’Mio Edwards ran a 5K a day for a month to raise funds during COVID-19. Photos courtesy of Smotherman Images.

During the summer, the talented track star ran a 5K (3.1 miles) for 30 straight days in her quest to feed families impacted by COVID-19.

Step by step, her efforts totaled 93 miles while raising funds for the New Earth non-profit organization that distributes free weekly groceries.

“People need to eat, especially during this coronavirus,” the 14-year-old said.

The #5KaDay4Food Challenge kicked off May 26 and has netted $9,600, just a few hundred dollars shy of her $10K goal.

“I’ve been running since around the third grade,” she said during a recent KNBC interview.

“After running for so long I thought I might use it for something if I’m going to be stuck at home.”

L’Mio began preparing her mind and body for the feat by completing a 6K each day for two and a half weeks prior to the event.

Her father, Deon, drove by her side during every run to ensure his daughter’s safety during the entire fundraiser.

The teen now happily sees others partnering in the #5KaDay4Food Challenge that provides assistance to food banks around the nation.

They donate and pledge to run their own 5Ks for 30 days, she said.

“Some people choose to run only a few days or whatever they can handle – which is equally awesome!”

She also joins 5Ks in various communities to continue raising funds for the cause.

“If you want to see a positive change in the world, it starts with yourself,” L’Mio says of her personal motto.

“This was a cool way of getting to know more people in the community and overall a great experience!”

Additionally, U.S. Congressman, Representative Gil Cisneros recognized the Diamond Bar teen for her successful fundraising efforts on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on July 21.

“Using her gift as a talented runner, she committed to running a 5K a day for 30 consecutive days in order to raise money for local food banks and help families in need. Our CA39 is so proud of her!”

Visit www.GoFundme.com/f/5KaDay4Food to support the fundraiser.

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.

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.

LA County Fair Canceled Due to COVID-19

Staff Reports


Pomona – The LA County Fair, slated for Sept. 4-27, was recently canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is the first time the LA County Fair has been canceled since World War II. Since the fair’s opening in 1922, the fair has only been canceled once from 1942 to 1947 due to the war. The fair did close for one day on Sept. 22, 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it reopened the following day.


The 2020 LA County Fair was canceled due to the “limitations placed on large public gatherings by state and county public health officials because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Renee Hernandez in a news release. “For the safety and well-being of guests, Fair officials are following the guidelines of public health officials who are advising against large public gatherings for the remainder of the year,” added Hernandez.


The LA County Fair sees approximately “1.1 million guests during its 19-day run and has an estimated economic impact of $324 million annually in Los Angeles County, with $58 million in the City of Pomona and securing more than 500 full-time equivalent jobs,” according to the news release. The Fair is expected to celebrate their 100-year anniversary in 2022.


Fairplex President and CEO Miguel A. Santana says that the decision to cancel the event was not easy to make. “My heart is heavy, for our guests who come out to make memories, our vendors who rely on the Fair circuit for their income and our employees who work so hard all year-long to create this special event,” Santana said. “The LA County Fair is an iconic event that celebrates the best of Southern California. It is beloved by many. But we had to take into consideration the health and safety of everyone.”


Los Angeles County Fair Association Board of Directors’ Chair Heidi Hanson agreed by saying they had no choice but to cancel, even though it was hard to do. “The one thing we can promise is that the LA County Fair will be back, better than ever – especially as we plan for our Centennial,” added Hanson.


Los Angeles County First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis also spoke about the cancellation, since the Fair resides in her district. Solis said it will be disappointing, but necessary to miss the end-of-summer celebration, according to the release.


“Like many of you, I grew up eagerly anticipating each year’s opening of the LA County Fair, and I cherish my family memories of this special yearly event,” said Solis.

“Unfortunately, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the LA County Fair due to our current public health crisis. We must make these short term sacrifices to preserve the health of the people we love. We do this to protect our communities. I am certain that once we get through this challenging time, we will come back stronger and even more appreciative of the things we love and hold dear.”


Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger also commented on the closure, since a portion of the Fairplex is located in her district.


“Like every fan of the LA County Fair, I am saddened to hear of its cancellation this year. I love the Fair and have many fond memories from my experiences with family and friends,” Barger said. “But we are in the middle of a major public health crisis and our priority is the safety and well-being of all of our residents. Through our efforts to slow the spread, I know we will soon be able to enjoy activities like the LA County Fair again.”

That sentiment was echoed by the head of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd. “Our recovery journey is underway, but it will be a slow one. Working together to slow the spread of COVID-19 is our new normal for the foreseeable future. But I have faith that if we continue to make these difficult but necessary decisions now, we will be able to enjoy all that the LA County Fair has to offer next year.”


Those who have already purchased season pass boxes were informed that they can receive a refund. The following three refunds options are available: credit toward the 2021 Fair plus one extra season pass; turning their purchase into a donation to the Fairplex COVID-19 emergency fund for the community; or a full refund. Information on refunds can be found at www.lacountyfair.com/refunds.

The Fairplex in Pomona, CA has been the home of the LA County Fair for years, in addition to the 300 year-round events. However, they announced they are canceling the remainder of its self-produced events for the rest of 2020, including June’s Cheers Wine, Beer and Food Festival; Fourth of July spectacular KABOOM!; Oktoberfest; and the Day of the Dead celebration En Memoria.


However, the Fairplex has continued its community benefit mission by working with partners to offer coronavirus testing, hold drive-thru food pantries and offer free childcare for the children of healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers at its Child Development Center. For more information on Fairplex, visit www.fairplex.com.

Diamond Bar High Crowns Prom Royalty With Surprise Home Visits

Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar – Diamond Bar High School made some special deliveries on Saturday afternoon.

Students are missing out on end-of-year experiences due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the “Night of a Thousand Lights” Prom which was to be held that evening.

So, Class of 2021 advisors Shari DeCambra, Jazmine Silver, Lisa Arionus, with class officers Daniel Min, Philip Ma, Aileen Park, and Chris Tan quickly began brainstorming ideas.

“As soon as our school was closed, staff went to work planning activities and trying to create memories for our students,” said Principal Jones who was excited to join the coronation.

A crew of Brahmas gathered up the glistening crowns, personalized banners, candy necklaces, and buttons and carpooled to homes to crown the royalty right in their front yards.

“We love our students and are determined to make the most of this difficult time,” he added.

Wearing protective masks, junior class vice president Philip Ma and committee member Cameron Tsai took turns ringing doorbells and then the royal winners were greeted with shouts of congratulations by the group.

King Irwin Chen, Queen Charlotte Tu – Class of 2020 and Prince Cristian Vargas, Princess Keili Ishitani – Class of 2021 were selected by student body online nominations and voting.

“It was exciting to still have a vote for prom court and honor the winners!” DeCambra said afterward.

Families marked the moment joining the celebratory photos on the lawn.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Diamond Bar High Students Perform Virtual Recital

Diamond Bar – When Diamond Bar High’s Performing Arts Academy spring recital was cancelled due to COVID-19 school closures, students decided that the music must play on.

The advanced musicians, who were quarantined at home, took to the internet’s world-wide stage during a live virtual concert held Wednesday night.

The teens were able to join online rehearsals before the big 8 p.m. performance with the help of industry professionals that provide assistance to the program that boasts 700 students.

“They are working diligently through these tough times to provide much needed opportunities for the kids to express themselves and stay connected,” said director Steve Acciani.

Then, through the magic of technology, the first group of students began playing with a flute, clarinet, French horn, oboe, and bassoon if they were in the school’s theatre.

Quartet members Alex Hong, Erin Miyahara – euphonium, Patrick Zhang, and Alan Lu – tuba performed a moving rendition of “It’s A Wonderful World” while sequestered in their homes.

A special “furry” guest audience member made an appearance during the finale of the 45-minute concert.

Lu, a sophomore, was joined on the sofa by his trusty golden retriever, Thunder, who was looking for some attention.

In the opening notes, the adorable pet began gently pawing at Lu until he freed a hand from the glistening silver instrument to offer a quick pat on the head.

And then the content companion laid down and appeared to be listening as the talented foursome played the remainder of the song.

“At first. Thunder didn’t enjoy it very much (when I played), but now he’s almost always next to me when I’m practicing,” Lu said.

“The virtual concert was a lot of fun since it was something new – and it kept me busy for the day!”

The complete concert may be viewed on Facebook.