Category Archives: Weekly News Top Stories

Vejar Elementary 4th grade celebrates the Golden State

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
“California history is the heart of fourth grade and we wanted to celebrate the day it became a state in 1850!” said teacher Janine De Vera.

California Day!

By Kelli Gile

Walnut – Vejar Elementary fourth graders are becoming map masters while learning about California’s unique coastal beaches, mountains, central valley, and desert regions.

To wrap up the recent geography studies, an entire day was devoted to paying tribute to the Golden State on Monday.

“California history is the heart of fourth grade and we wanted to celebrate the day it became a state in 1850!” said teacher Janine De Vera.

About 100 students kicked off the morning by making California-shaped cookies and marking each region with colored sugar.

“We’re singing songs and making cookies today!” Nathan Chavez shared after creating his confection.

“We shaped the dough with our hands,” he added.

“And we painted the coastal areas green, the central valley yellow, the mountain areas purple, and the desert region orange” explained Caden Sakai.

Then the children dotted the different mountain ranges with chocolate chips.

They admitted that a few of the delicious morsels may not have made it onto the cookie dough.

“We got to eat a couple!” shared Jaxson Highstreet.

“They smell so good!” chimed in Colete Drake as parent volunteers took dozens and dozens of the sweet treats out of the oven.

In preparation for California Day, students researched and prepared state landmark projects.

They also searched for information about national parks, colleges, museums, and popular vacation destinations.

While the cookies baked, students presented their landmark reports in classrooms.

They ended California Day by inviting parents to see the projects on display in the multipurpose room at 2 p.m.

The children performed “I Love You, California”, “Oh California” sung to the tune of “Oh Susanna” the traditional Gold Rush song, “Latitude and Longitude” that helped them learn geography and map skills, and “California Regions” sung to the tune of a popular Katy Perry song.

“You can travel the world,” the group sang on the amphitheater stage.

“But nothing comes close to the Golden Coast. Once you vacation here, you’ll be falling in love!”

And, of course, they gobbled up the freshly-baked cookies!


Chino Hills Photo, Essay, Poster Deadline October 5

Staff Reports

Chino Hills – The twenty first annual family poster, essay, and photo contest ends on October 5you’re your entries submitted. Young artists from kindergarten through high school are invited to submit entries to the 21st Annual Celebrate the Family Poster, Essay, and Photo Contest. Entries are due by Friday, October 5. Participants must be a Chino Hills resident or be a student at a school in Chino Hills to be eligible. Visit for more information and to print the entry form.

Entries may be returned to the school office at participating Chino Hills schools by the end of the school day, on October 5. Entries can also be returned by 4:00 p.m. to the Recreation office at Chino Hills City Hall, 14000 City Center Drive, CA 91709. Two categories are available for entries, based on the child’s grade level: • Students in kindergarten through grade 4 can create a poster sized 9” x 12” using hand applied mediums, such as crayons, paint, pencils, or pens. • Students in grades 5-8 may submit either an essay (one page, typed, and double spaced) or a 9” x 12” poster using hand-applied mediums such as crayons, paint, pencils, or pens. Winners will be acknowledged and prizes awarded at the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, November 13. Winning entries will be displayed at City Hall or the Chino Hills Community Center during National Family Week, November 18-24. For more information, call the City of Chino Hills Recreation Department at (909) 364-2700.

Fatal Traffic Collision In Diamond Bar

Staff Reports

Diamond Bar – Detectives of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Walnut/Diamond Bar Station are investigating the circumstances of a single vehicle fatal traffic accident that occurred in the 23000 block of Golden Springs Drive in Diamond Bar.

On Tuesday, September 11, at approximately 11:41 p.m., deputies were dispatched to the location of a reported single car collision. The vehicle was traveling southwest on Golden Springs Drive apparently at excessive speeds when it seems the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle slammed into the west curb and caused it to roll and strike several trees. When the vehicle came to a stop it had hit apartment complex and caused property damage and minor injuries to a passenger. The passenger was treated at the scene by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Two of the three adult male occupants in the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. The third occupant was transported to a local hospital via ambulance in an unknown condition.

The investigation is ongoing and there is no further information available.

Investigators are asking that anyone who may have witnessed this collision to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Walnut/Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station at 909-595-2264. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google Play or the App Store, or by using the website

Walnut / Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station protects and patrol the City of Walnut, the City of Diamond Bar, and the unincorporated communities of Rowland Heights, Covina and West Covina

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Program

Staff Reports

Walnut/Diamond Bar -Back in the 1800’s, the Sheriff would look to the community to form a posse and deputize citizens to assist him in the apprehension of horse thieves, murderers, or other criminals.  Thankfully, we have thousands of full-time deputies to perform those duties today, but in 2018, just like the 1800’s, the Sheriff is looking to the community to find citizens to volunteer and help by becoming reserve deputy sheriffs.

Reserve deputies undergo the same training and background checks that full-time deputies receive.  It’s a year-long process, but after graduation reserve deputies can perform a wide array of duties and service to the community.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Program is one of the largest in the country, with over 600 all-volunteer sworn reserve deputy sheriffs.  Last year they worked 182,000 hours keeping the citizens of Los Angeles County safe.  Those 182,000 hours represent millions of dollars in savings to taxpayers.

Patrolling our communities is only one of many functions performed by reserve deputies.  Lifesaving search and rescue missions are performed every week by reserves as part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Search and Rescue Program.  Last year reserve deputy sheriffs performed 684 missions throughout the county, saving countless lives.

Another opportunity for reserve deputy sheriffs to serve is by becoming a member of the Sheriff’s Department’s Posse.  Posse members work patrolling trails and various community events on horseback.

Reserve deputies also help solve crimes by working in many of the Sheriff’s Department’s detective units, such as Homicide Bureau, Narcotics Bureau, Fraud and Cyber Crime Bureau, and Special Victims Bureau.  We also have reserves who ride street and off-road motorcycles for the Department.

Reserve deputies come from all walks of life and from a wide variety of professions.  The common thread of all is a burning desire to give back to their community and assist their fellow citizens.

If you are interested in signing up, just like citizens did over a 150 years ago, there is a reserve deputy academy scheduled to start in February 2019.  If you are interested in this rewarding opportunity please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Forces Detail at 323-526-5100 and ask for Assistant Director Mike Leum to get started.


Chino Hills PD Searching for Burglary Suspect



INCIDENT: Burglary

LOCATION: Chino Hills

SUSPECT(S): Black male adult/juvenile , wearing heavily ripped sagging denim jeans, multi-colored blue/purple hoodie with white stripe under sleeves, yellow and black boxers, black shoes, blue work gloves, and red patent leather backpack with gold zippers.

VICTIM(S): Confidential

SUMMARY: On Friday August 3rd, 2018, at approximately 10:41 am, a black male adult wearing, blue jeans, purple hoodie, blue gloves and a red backpack was captured on the victim’s video surveillance shattering the glass to the residence rear slider door with an unknown tool (possibly a glass punch). The suspect never entered the residence and is heard on the victim’s video saying “the cops are coming.” The suspect leaves the backyard by jumping over the south wall and was unable to be identified. The suspect left the incident location i n a gray Ford Mustang with a cloth top.

During the attempt burglary it was discovered the residence was occupied by the home owner, including a newborn. The suspect is believed to be related to similar burglaries in Chino Hills and surrounding areas.

Any questions, please contact the Chino Hills Station.

Refer: Deputy G. Perez at the Chino Hills Station Email:

Station: Chino Hills Police Station

Phone No. (909) 364-2000

Case No. 221802480

CAL FIRE Awards $170 Million to Reduce Fire Threat and Improve Forest Health

Projects part of California’s goal to reduce greenhouse gases


By CA Dept of Forestry and Fire Protection


Sacramento – While California experiences another destructive fire season, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced that more than $170 million has been awarded in grants to prevent catastrophic wildfires, like the Carr Fire and Mendocino Complex, and restore forest health. More than 100 agencies and organizations across California will receive funding to help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions from wildfires and sequester carbon.

With funds provided by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for California Climate Investments (CCI), CAL FIRE awarded 142 fire prevention grants totaling $79.7 million and 23 forest health projects totaling $91.5 million.

The Fire Prevention grants will enable local organizations like fire safe councils, to implement activities that address the risk of wildfire and reduce wildfire potential to communities and forests. Funded activities include hazardous fuel reduction, fire planning, and fire prevention education with an emphasis on improving public health and safety, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“California continues to invest millions of dollars into creating healthier, more resilient forests that benefit all of us,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester.  “Already this year more than 700,000 acres have burned across the state creating significant carbon releases that counter our efforts at reducing greenhouse gases. Local projects funded by this money will prevent wildfires before they start, and when combined with our fire prevention activities, will help move us toward our greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

CAL FIRE’s Forest Health grants were distributed to non-profits and local and state resource agencies to implement collaborative projects that extend across multiple land ownerships. These projects seek to improve water quality, manage forest pests, and increase the use of tools such as prescribed fire and hazardous fuels reduction to create resiliency in California’s forests. Multiple projects include a bioenergy component—turning trees killed by drought and bark beetles into energy.

Five of the Forest Health grants will enable the purchase of conservation easements under CAL FIRE’s Forest Legacy Program. These grants will protect more than 14,000 acres of forestland in Humboldt and Sonoma counties from urban and agricultural development which would increase greenhouse gas emissions. To date, CAL FIRE’s Forest Legacy Program has conserved nearly 111,996 acres of working forest lands in California.

The 165 grants announced today were made possible by proceeds from California’s cap-and-trade program to combat climate change. Through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, CAL FIRE and other state agencies are investing in projects that directly reduce greenhouse gases while providing a wide range of additional benefits in California communities.

This May, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the creation of the Forest Management Task Force to address the issue of the health of California’s forests, which have been adversely impacted by drought and climate change. The Task Force held its first meeting on June 11 and has scheduled a second meeting for August 13.  The Task Force is working to facilitate strategies to reduce risk of wildfire and increase the pace and scale of forest restoration activities leading to improved watersheds.

You Can Get A Ticket For Walking In The Street

By Michael Armijo


California – As kids, our parents warned us heavily to never ever walk in the middle of the street. It was viewed as a spot where no one could go. However, looking around today, it is clear to see that the sidewalk has become more of a suggestion than a requirement. More and more people every day are walking just by the curb or close to in the middle of the street. Even though it seems that this is simply just accepted by the law, it is very much illegal and you can get cited.

California Vehicle Code 21956 states, “No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the roadway.”

“Walking in the street is a very citable offense,” said LA County Sheriff Captain Alfred Reyes, “it’s about safety more than anything else.”

The Captain explained that cross walks are in place for a reason, and so are sidewalks.

“It’s definitely not wise for anyone to walk in the street,” Reyes added, “the best practice are utilizing sidewalks for pedestrian traffic, sidewalks are safest, do not place yourself in harms way.”

Runners and walkers can sometimes use bike lanes, and bike lanes may not be always safe for runners or pedestrians, but no lane is definitely not safe. It is safest to utilize the sidewalk.

At night always wear reflective clothing, joggers and bikers, Captain Reyes recommends. “If you choose to jog in a bike lane there is always the distracted drivers element. It’s amazing how we see sooo many people look at phones, even on the freeway,” he said.

Just a few months ago, Pastor Mark Lee from Vantage Point Church in Eastvale, sister church from Diamond Bar’s E-Free Church, was running in the bike lane at 9 am when he was struck by a passing truck’s right side view mirror. He spend weeks in rehabilitation and is still reluctant to do certain activities. The driver was cited as being at fault. Fortunately he delivered an inspiring sermon on the importance of cherishing your life.

The Sheriff’s Department will cite runners and bikers in the bike lake who do not wear reflective clothing and bikers who do not have reflectors and a headlight. You are required to have lights on yur bike at night.

Many people do not get ticketed for walking in the street and it appears because of priority. In fact, if you are getting stopped, odds are the officer is concerned about your safety. Sure, walking on a roadway might not get you a serious ticket, but it might get you a serious injury, even death.

In Eastvale, California (bordering Chino), a 28 year old woman was killed last month when she was struck by a vehicle. 28 year old Janine Chavez of Eastvale was walking in the roadway, not inside a crosswalk, Eastvale Sheriff’s officials said. The Eastvale death happened about 7:45 p.m., Chavez was hit by a southbound a Honda Accord driven by a 51-year-old Ontario man, sheriff’s officials said in a press release.

Chavez was pronounced dead at the scene.  It has not yet been determined who’s at fault but the report stated she was not in a sidewalk and appeared to be walking in the road. Details are being gathered, and  according to the Sheriff’s Department, avoiding the street can avoid injuries and fatalities.

According to, over 4,500 people in America are killed just crossing the street. The website also claims that over 68,000 people are injured every year from crossing the street. This is even worse in crowded cities like New York, where it is estimated that a pedestrian is killed or injured by a vehicle every two hours.

The only one who can prevent such actions taking place is the pedestrian. Using sidewalks and obeying traffic signs will keep you safe and lawful. If you want to know more about other laws in the California Vehicle Code, has the complete Vehicle Code on their website. (Chandler Holloway contributed to this story)

Chaparral DBL Students Team Up For Hands-On Learning

By Kelli Gile


DIAMOND BAR, CAChaparral Middle School students were given a design challenge that took some imagination during the second week of school. Seventh graders in the Design-Based Learning (DBL) core were tasked with building a wall perch for a two-inch pompom named Harry. The innovative designs needed to have good visibility (so the tiny ball of fluff could see every face in the class), be safe so he wouldn’t fall off, and feature creative architecture. After learning about the engineering process, scientific method, and DBL process, students compared and contrasted the systems using Venn diagram circles. “They realized there are a lot of similarities,” said science teacher Jennifer Najera. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrates the engineering design process as an important element in science. “I think the engineering process helps people think creatively about problems and is a great way to tackle just about any project!” she said. With just two class periods to complete the assignment, the small groups quickly got busy planning, building, testing, and improving their designs. Teams needed to make creations come alive using limited resources of cardstock, construction paper, tape, glue, plastic cup, rubber band, plastic spoon, and paper clip.

On Monday, groups presented the crafty projects in front of classmates who would later be voting for the design that best met the criteria. One group created a hot air balloon that gave Harry a 360-degree view of the class. Another showed off a three-tier hideaway featuring a rubber band swing, windows, and throne. “We kept him safe by adding walls and made sure he could see, but not fall off,” said Nathan Chang. Another team added a hammock to Harry’s cozy home. “We really liked the idea of having a hammock for Harry,” said Clarissa Lee Baladejo. “We thought it would be cool and didn’t think anyone else would make one out of a spoon, rubber band, and paper!” “And there’s a slide on the back so Harry can roll down from his throne into his home!” added Mikaya Griego. She shared that the final project had noticeably changed from the original plan. “It had a cage on top to hang the swing from – but that didn’t work!” “It wasn’t easy, but in the end, it came together!” Lee Baladejo added. “The winner of the Good Design Award will be on display all year so that Harry can watch over my students!” Najera said. The innovative DBL program launched at the Diamond Bar school nearly 20 years ago has been recognized with a prestigious Golden Bell Award by the California School Boards Association.“A lot of times people think all we do is build in DBL,” said Najera who emphasized that students make connections to their designs using standards across multiple curricular areas.“Attaching content to each project allows students to create deeper meaning and retain information longer,” she added. The inaugural class assignment this year, called Never Before Seen, in which students created pintsize art objects to subtly illustrate their unique personality and interests. The 35 projects ranged from colorful designs with spiral shapes to dark geometric models. “This is the core of DBL,” Najera said standing at the display. “If you were just to look at it, you wouldn’t know the meaning.”The Chaparral students said they prefer the collaborative style of learning.“It’s really cool how we have a lot of hands-on projects and it’s really good for different types of learners,” said Aslin Choi. “I’m a picture-smart person and I love working with people!” “We have a lot of group projects in DBL,” said Ryan Wallace, a second-year student in the specialized core. “Last year we used green screens, made films, and did a news broadcast,” he added. “It’s better than doing it by the book. It makes the learning fun and not boring!”


WVUSD Announces Leadership Team Appointments

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT—The Walnut Valley Unified School District is pleased to announce the following administrative appointments:


Education veteran Dr. Resma Byrne has been named director of educational projects and assessments.  Byrne served as Castle Rock Elementary principal for the past four years. Prior to that, she was assistant principal at Clara Barton Elementary in the Corona Norco USD and a teacher in the Montclair USD. She is also an adjunct professor at California State University, Pomona. She holds a bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, master’s degrees from Cal State University, San Bernardino and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and doctoral degree in educational leadership from California State University, Fullerton.  Byrne succeeds Jacqueline Brown who was named interim assistant superintendent of educational services.


The Board of Trustees appointed two new school leaders with extensive experience during the summer. Jennifer “Jen” Alcazar was named the new principal at Castle Rock Elementary. During her career in Walnut Valley, she served as assistant principal at Chaparral Middle School and principal of the Walnut Valley Institute of STEAM and Humanities.  She was also a science teacher and technology coach at Chaparral for nine years.  Prior to that, she spent a decade working with University of California, Irvine facilitating professional development offerings in technology and science for K-12 teachers. She also taught science in the Santa Ana Unified School District. Alcazar earned a bachelor of science degree from Loyola Marymount University, master of arts degree from Concordia University, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree. She is married with two children that attended Castle Rock Elementary, Chaparral Middle School, and Diamond Bar High.


Sandra Lee was approved to take the helm as the new principal at Westhoff Elementary. This accomplished educator brings over 12 years education experience to her new post and comes highly recommended by administrators, teachers, and support staff. Most recently, Lee served as the director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in Aspire Public Schools in Los Angeles. Some of her additional educational experiences include being an elementary principal for five years, a lead literacy specialist and Response to Intervention coordinator, and has taught multiple grade levels.  Lee earned bachelor of science, master of science degree, K-12 Literacy specialist credential from California State University, Fullerton, along with her K-12 literacy specialist credential and administration credential. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education focusing on common core standard of complex text.  She is married with a daughter. Lee succeeds Denise Rendon who retired in May after a 33-year career in Walnut Valley USD.


Matthew Brummett was named assistant principal at Suzanne Middle School. He brings eight years of educational experience, all at Diamond Bar High School, to his new post. Brummett served as instructional dean and assistant summer school coordinator for the past three years. Prior to that, he was a social studies teacher for five years. He also coordinated SBAC testing and co-wrote a WASC accreditation application. Additionally, he served as girls head varsity soccer coach for five years. Brummett earned bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees from University of California, Irvine. He is married to a Diamond Bar High grade level coordinator and they have one daughter.


Lam Bui was approved as information technology manager. Bui brings 20 years of experience in the field of technology to his new position. He previously served as database engineer in Walnut Valley for two years. During that time, he successfully managed the process of converting the student information and student assessment systems. He was previously a claims analyst and senior IT specialist at Construction Program Group. He earned a bachelor of science degree from California State University, Los Angeles. Bui is married with two children that attend Walnut Valley schools.


Sarah Ammon brings 17 years of educational experience to her new position as coordinator of special education. She served as program specialist in Walnut Valley for the past three years.  She also served as a District school psychologist, inclusion specialist, and special education teacher.  Additionally, she was a program specialist, autism spectrum disorders at East San Gabriel Valley SELPA for two years. Ammon holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach and masters of education in educational psychology from Chapman University. She succeeds Jean Hicks who retired in May with over 25 years of service in Walnut Valley.


Denise Loera joins the Diamond Bar High School staff as an instructional dean. Loera brings nearly 20 years of educational experience to her new post. She served as a mathematics teacher, department chair, BTSA Mentor, and technology coach at Chaparral Middle School for the past 11 years. Prior to that, she was a math teacher in MUSD at Eastmont Intermediate School and Schurr High School in Montebello.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from California State University, Los Angeles and master’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles. Loera is married with three children, two that attend Walnut High School and one attending Evergreen Elementary School.


Julie Galindo brings over 24 years of educational experience to her role as instructional dean at Diamond Bar High School. She served as interim instructional dean during the 2017-2018 school year. Prior to that, she was an English teacher at Diamond Bar High for 21 years.  She was also an adjunct English teacher at Chaffey College for two years. Galindo earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Azusa Pacific University and masters of arts in English from California State University, Fullerton. She is married with two children.


Two Arrested for DUI at Checkpoint

By City of Chino

The Chino PD Traffic Unit conducted a DUI/Driver’s License checkpoint on Friday, August 24, 2018, at 11900 Central Avenue between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public.


In recent years, California has seen a disturbing increase in drug-impaired driving crashes.  Your PD supports the new effort from the Office of Traffic Safety that aims to educate all drivers that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.”  If you take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving or operating machinery warning on the label, you might be impaired enough to get a DUI.  Marijuana can also be impairing, especially in combination with alcohol or other drugs, and can result in a DUI.


Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent).  Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.


The checkpoint resulted in the following:

  • 963 vehicles screened
  • 2 DUI arrests
  • 3 other arrests (two warrants/one for drugs)
  • 7 drivers cited for operating a vehicle unlicensed or while suspended or revoked
  • 18 other citations for various infractions
  • 6 vehicles impounded or stored


Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP, or “DDVIP,” free mobile app for Android or iPhone.  The DDVIP app helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated sober driver, from free non-alcoholic drinks to free appetizers and more.  The feature-packed app even has social media tie-ins and even a tab for the non-DD to call Uber, Lyft or Curb.


Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspension and other expenses that can exceed $10,000 not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.


The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driver – Call 9-1-1’.

City Of Chino Hills Adopts Extra Fee for Credit Card Users

Staff Reports

Chino Hills – Beginning September 10, the City of Chino Hills will be adding a 2.5% convenience fee when payments are made via credit and/or debit cards. This fee passes the cost of credit card transactions to the customer paying by credit or debit card. The extra charge will affect customers registering for City classes, programs, and events; and paying for facility rentals; permits; document copies; passport execution and passport photo fees; and, other payments made to the City. Customers making payments by cash or check won’t be affected by the new fee. This convenience fee will also not apply to utility bill payments, or any charges related to utilities, because those credit card transaction charges were already built into the rates. “The City of Chino Hills works to allocate the cost of service to the person benefiting from the service,” said Christa Buhagiar, Finance Director. “This credit card convenience fee is a continuation of that philosophy and charges the credit card customer the costs associated with processing the transaction.” According to Buhagiar, the City is currently absorbing approximately $20,000 for non-utility credit card transactions over the course of a year.

Residential Burglary Suspect Arrested

Staff Reports 

CHINO – After an intensive investigation Chino Police Department Detectives identified and arrested a man in connection to an ongoing residential burglary where the victims had over $50,000 in valuables stolen from their home.


The incident occurred on July 11, 2018, at a residence in the 14700 block of Willamette Avenue in Chino. The suspect’s image was captured on video and was then shared on the Chino PD Facebook page. That post resulted in a citizen calling in with a tip. Detectives were able to follow up on the investigative lead and identify the suspect as Octavius Jamal Woodard – age 43 of Pomona.


After some very thorough investigating methods Detectives were able to locate and arrest Woodard in the city of Long Beach. They brought him back to the Inland Empire and booked him into the West Valley Detention Center on burglary charges.


During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that several pieces of the victim’s property had been sold to a pawn shop by Woodard. The merchandise has since been recovered from the shop.


The investigation is still ongoing.


Man Found Dead on Brea Canyon Road

By Anthony Saude

Diamond Bar – The body of a 24-year-old Rowland Heights man, Javier Jose Velasquez Grimaldo, was found at approximately 4:30 a.m. Monday morning, August 27 on Brea Canyon Road near the southbound Orange (57) Freeway in Diamond Bar. The CHP reported that the man had sustained serious head injuries.

The California Highway Patrol’s investigation into the accident concluded that he had been involved in a rollover crash.  Grimaldo then tried to gain entry to an occupied Freightliner big rig truck but the truck driver didn’t let him in and drove off but said he heard banging on the truck according to CHP reports.

The CHP’s initial investigation stated that Javier Jose Velasquez Grimaldo was driving his 2004 Mazda 3 on the southbound 57 Freeway at about 4 a.m The Mazda veered left, for unknown reasons,  just south of Brea Canyon Road, then hit the center divider and flipped over several times before finally coming to a rest on the right shoulder.

California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez told reporters that Grimaldo took off running down Brea Canyon Road. Other reports say that Grimaldo also tried to force his way onto the Freightliner truck that was parked with the engine running.

Whether the man’s death was related to the crash or discovered as a result of it was part of the investigation is still unknown according to CHP reports.

Both northbound and southbound lanes of the 57 freeway were closed temporarily, and Brea Canyon Road to Tonner Canyon was shut down south of Diamond Bar Boulevard Monday morning during the investigation.

All lanes had been reopened before 8 a.m.


A Great Start!

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
2018-2019 Classes begin in Walnut Valley

By Kelli Gile 

Walnut — Summer break is over and students will soon be getting into the rhythm and routine of the new school year.

Teachers and staff members on 15 campuses welcomed nearly 14,400 students in the Walnut Valley Unified School District on Monday morning.

By 7:30 a.m., Vejar Elementary Principal Whitney Prenger was out front offering high fives and hugs as families began arriving.

The energetic school leader also brought something special to kick off the new school year – a bubble-blowing machine.

The children toting new backpacks and lunchboxes were happily surprised as they walked through the stream of iridescent soap bubbles at the front gate.

“I wanted the children to have a memory from their first day at Vejar that would last a lifetime!” Prenger said.

During the opening lesson, transitional kindergarten teacher Irene Carter admitted to her new young charges that she was a little nervous.

“There are lots of parents here in our class and I had to get up early and leave my dog, Phillip!”

“And I don’t like leaving Phillip,” she shared.

“So, I’m happy, excited, and a little nervous.”

Next, the clever educator encouraged the youngsters to raise their arms like a sliding snake if they were a little scared or nervous too.

Several little arms cautiously went up in the air.

Then she invited the children to raise their arms like a wiggly worm if they were exited to begin school.

More arms went up.

And finally, she asked the kids to wave their hands to signal they were happy.

All of the hands eagerly shot up in the air!

“Monday went well, Tuesday was OK, and Wednesday was super with barely any tears!” Carter happily reported later in the week.

Over 45 new educators were hired for the new school year, including Chaparral Middle School 7th grade math teacher Macy McGuire.

“I’m excited to meet the kids and get the ball rolling!” she said.

“I already have my first month planned out – every homework assignment and every activity,” McGuire added.

“The fish tank is set up and we’ll name our beta as a class!”

“I think it’s going to be a great school year!”

Over the summer, the Board of Trustees appointed new principals Jennifer Alcazar at Castle Rock Elementary and Sandra Lee at Westhoff Elementary.

“I am thrilled to have served in Walnut Valley as a teacher, administrator, and parent,” Alcazar said.

“It is truly an honor to be given the opportunity to return to Castle Rock where my children experienced so much love and growth!” said Alcazar.

“We are so excited to welcome our students back to their second home,” said Lee, a District newcomer who brings over a dozen years of educational experience to her new post.

“It’s going to be a fun school year filled with amazing memories!” she added.

Westhoff Elementary kindergarten teacher Roxanne Dennen is beginning her 25th year in Walnut Valley.

After a morning snack and water break on August 13, students took their places on magic carpet squares to join their teacher in the classic “The Wheels on the Bus” song.

“My 25th first day of school was as exciting as my very first day,” Dennen said.

“I do what I love because I love what I do!”

Over 2,700 Diamond Bar High students gathered in the gymnasium during two opening-day assemblies featuring pep and band performances.

Principal Reuben Jones encouraged the teens to set goals for themselves this school year.

“We want everyone to achieve, create opportunities for learning, and respect yourselves and each other,” he said.

Walnut High Principal Brandon Dade visited every classroom to welcome the Mustang-powered teachers and staff members.

“I’m going to do this every week throughout the year!” he said.

At Suzanne Middle School, students dashed to classes during passing periods with schedules in hand.

“I’ve been all over the school this morning!” said 6th grader Melody Yu.

“I’m excited to see my friends and meet my teachers,” shared Chloe Siu.

Suzanne Language Arts teacher Alice Chen utilized Google Classroom to connect with students a week before school began.

She was able to post a welcome message along with course information for her 120 students.

When Chen saw that some students responded with personal messages, she was absolutely thrilled.

“Digital tools gave me the ability to get to know my students before I met them face-to-face,” the tech-savvy educator said.

“I love that my students were just as excited as I was for the start of the new school year!”

Language Arts teacher Lauri Ujita begins each year with three simple rules she asks her 6th grade students to live by: Work Hard. Stay Humble. Be Kind.

“These are the rules I try to live by too!” she shared.

Fifth-grade students in Kari Penzes’ class at Westhoff Elementary were eager to log onto new laptop computers on Tuesday.

“These one-to-one Chromebooks benefit students by providing immediate access to the most current technology and keeping pace with the 21st century world,” the teaching team commented.

The children were lined up outside Janine De Vera’s 4th grade class before the first bell rang at Vejar Elementary.

“The beginning of the year is such an exciting time – everyone gets a fresh start!” De Vera shared after greeting each youngster..

“I’m looking forward to California day, track, and recess!” beamed nine-year-old Taryn Schilz.

“I’m excited to go to class and see the panda decorations,” added classmate Eleanor Reyes after peeking through the window.

Quail Summit elementary learning specialist Leann Legind used social media to communicate with educator friends the night before school began.

“Tomorrow get ready to change the world – one sweet student at a time!” she offered.


Walnut Man Faces Federal Conspiracy Charges

Photo Courtesy:
A Walnut man pleaded guilty to providing tactical gear to Syrian rebels, including night vision scopes, boresighters & bulletproof vests.

Staff Reports

WALNUT — A Walnut man plead guilty Tuesday to conspiring to export U.S.-origin tactical gear to Syria. Rasheed Al Jijakli, 57, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen of Walnut, plead guilty Monday before United States District Judge James V. Selna, a Department of Justice spokesperson said. According to the Justice Department that is in direct violation of U.S. sanctions against Syria,.

“In a plea agreement filed in this case, Jijakli admitted that, from April 2012 through March 2013, he conspired with other individuals to export tactical gear, including U.S.-origin laser boresighters, day- and night-vision rifle scopes, and other items from the United States to Syria,” they said.

In July of 2012, Jijakli and another co-conspirator purchased and traveled with the tactical gear from Los Angeles to Istanbul, Turkey with the intent that it would be provided to Syrian rebels training in Turkey and fighting in Syria, the DOJ reported.

Jijakli provided some of the equipment, specifically the laser boresighters, to a second co-conspirator, a member of Ahrar Al-Sham. Jijakli also provided the goods to other armed Syrian insurgent groups in Syria and Turkey, they said.

Jijakli and his co-conspirators provided at least 43 laser boresighters, 85 day rifle scopes, 30 night-vision rifle scopes, tactical flashlights, a digital monocular, five radios, and a bulletproof vest to Ahrar Al-Sham and other Syrian rebels in Syria, with the knowledge that the tactical gear was earmarked for shipment to Syria.


Thousands of dollars were withdrawn from Palmyra Corporation, a check-cashing services company where Jijakli was the chief executive officer. He used to pay for the tactical gear that got sent to Syrian rebels.

Judge Selna is scheduled to sentence Jijakli on December 4, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in a federal prison.


2 Chino Women Arrested for Kidnapping, Attempted Murder

Staff Reports

Chino – Two women were arrested, following a vehicle pursuit in Chino. Police discovered an unconscious woman in the passenger seat of their vehicle with a cord wrapped around her neck, said officials on Wednesday, August 22.

Authorities indicated the suspects and the victim may be acquainted. It seems they had been involved in a disagreement while they were traveling together from Los Angeles to Indio.

The victim fell asleep during the first half of the trip Tuesday morning. The suspects, Kyanna 23, and Brittney Patterson, 21, allegedly began suffocating and strangling the victim until she lost consciousness, the Chino Police Department said in a news release.

Authorities have not disclosed whether the women, both Monrovia residents, are related.

Officers responded to a call made by a witness who reportedly saw a distressed passenger screaming for help from a silver sedan near the Circle K gas station at 12895 Mountain Ave. at around 7:20 a.m.

Responding officers were able to locate the four-door sedan on Benson Avenue. The officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver failed to stop, police said.

The woman behind the wheel was speeding and driving recklessly before she eventually collided with two other vehicles at the intersection of Riverside Drive and 10th Street.

The suspects were seen running from the car on foot, and officers pursued on foot and shortly caught up the suspects. Both women were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and attempted murder, according to police reports.

When officers approached the vehicle, they discovered the victim unconscious in the passenger seat of the vehicle. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital via ambulance, where she was listed in stable condition, authorities said.

Officials have not released the victim’s name only that she is 28 years old.

Inmate records show both suspects were being held on $1 million bail at the West Valley Detention Center and were scheduled to appear in court Thursday, August 23.


Sobriety Checkpoint In Diamond Bar Nets Two Arrests

Photo Courtesy: Shutterstock
Sobriety checkpoints are police stops, or checkpoints, where officers are set up on a roadway to randomly stop vehicles to check for impaired drivers.

Staff Reports

DIAMOND BAR – During this past weekend the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department conducted an overnight driver’s license/sobriety checkpoint in the city of Diamond Bar. The 32 hour checkpoint produced two arrests, the Sheriff’s department reported on Saturday. One of the people that were arrested was booked on suspicion of drunk driving. The 2nd motorist was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license, the Sheriff’s Information Bureau reported. Deputies also issued one citation.

The checkpoint at Diamond Bar Boulevard and Highland Valley Road began at 6 p.m. Friday and ended at 2 a.m. Saturday.

The Sheriff’s Department reported that 838 vehicles were stopped and diligently screened at the checkpoint.

Sobriety checkpoints are police stops, or checkpoints, where officers are set up on a roadway to randomly stop vehicles to check for impaired drivers. These are usually set up during times when impaired driving is known to happen, such as holiday weekends.

Due to legal issues surrounding their use, not all states conduct sobriety checkpoints. Some states have laws authorizing their use. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has found sobriety checkpoints to be constitutionally permissible, ten states, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have found that sobriety roadblocks violate their own state constitutions or have outlawed them.

Walnut Valley USD is a Great Place to Be!

Photo: Kelli Gile
Nearly 1,000 teachers, classified personnel, and district leaders gathered to kick off the 2018-2019 school year during a Welcome Back celebration held this week at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.

Staff members kick off 2018-2019 school year

 Kelli Gile

WALNUT – Nearly 1,000 teachers, classified personnel, and district leaders gathered to kick off the 2018-2019 school year during a Welcome Back celebration held this week at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.


The 15th annual rally featured recognitions of over 200 long-service employees, Teachers of the Year, Cornerstone Award winners, and keynote message by Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.


As staffers from all 15 schools and departments mingled and visited during the outdoor continental breakfast on August 8, they enjoyed music provided by the Diamond Bar High commercial music rock band under the direction of Steve Acciani and Daryl Hernandez.


Inside the venue, the program began with pep music provided by 100 members of the Walnut High Blue Thunder marching band under the direction of Corey Wicks and Katie Takahashi.


Diamond Bar High junior Taylor Moore took the stage to perform the national anthem and Boy Scout troop #777 led the opening flag ceremony.


“Regardless of what your job is and what you do – all of you touch kids in a way that betters their education. And for that, I really thank you,” Superintendent Dr. Taylor said to the assembled group.

The schools chief reminded educators that the impact they have on their students lasts “forever and is truly immeasurable.”


Over the summer, Walnut Valley was recognized as a National Schools to Watch District – one of only 17 out of more than 11,000 school districts in America.


“This is truly an amazing achievement,” Dr. Taylor said.


To mark the occasion, every employee received a “I work for a nationally recognized school district” t-shirt symbolizing the District’s 48 years of excellence, tradition, and history.


In addition, the WVUSD staff members were given backpacks filled with classroom supplies made possible through a generous donation.


“We want to say thank you for all that you do and hope this helps you have a fresh start to the new school year!” Dr. Taylor said.


Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matthew Witmer and Administrative Director Dr. Sergio Canal hosted the special event that included over 30 raffle prizes provided by local businesses.


Criss Sykes, the District Teacher of the Year and Kathy Frith, the Classified Employee of the Year, offered encouraging words to their peers during the program.


“It just takes one teacher, who teaches with passion and warmth to spark a child into a life of amazement. And here in Walnut Valley our students have 600 such teachers!” said Criss Sykes, a third-grade teacher at Quail Summit Elementary.


“This is a fantastic community and I am so proud to be a small part of it,” commented District Office receptionist Kathy Frith about the caring and supportive culture at the schools.


“Classified or certificated, it is the people here in Walnut Valley that make it such an amazing place!”


Chino Loses $1.5 Million Dollar Lawsuit

Staff Reports

Chino – The City of Chino reached a $1.5 million settlement with a mobile home park owner who brought a lawsuit against the city, alleging the council’s actions caused a loss of income by delaying and interfering with plans to convert the park to resident ownership.

The lawsuit originally asked for $34 million when it was filed in 2010 by Chino MHC the owner of Lamplighter Chino Mobile Home Park located on the northwest corner of Philadelphia Street and Ramona Avenue.

The debate that has been going on for years between the city and Chino MHC began in the spring 2010. The planning commission approved a tentative tract map to the mobile home park owners who wanted to require residents living there to purchase the individual spaces their homes sat on, along with shares in common facilities such as the clubhouse.

In April 2010, the city council overturned the planning commission’s decision based on a plea for help from the residents.

The council’s decision prompted Chino MHC to file two lawsuits, one alleging the loss of income, and a second, asking the court to approve the mobile home park owners’ conversion plan.

In early 2011, Superior Court Judge Joseph Brisco ruled that the city could not prohibit the conversion of the park, regardless if most of the residents were against the plan.

The city appealed and lost in October 2012, when it was ruled the city council doesn’t have the power to stop the conversion of the mobile home park to tenant ownership.  Unless the city could prove the owner was taking the step to avoid the city’s rent control policy unless mobile home parks they just don’t have a case.

In October 2013, after a three-hour public hearing, the council voted 3-0 to allow Chino MHC to sell the lots in the park thus ending the legal battle that the city estimates had already cost the taxpayers half a million dollars. The only comfort the residents who opposed the plan got was a written guarantee by Chino MHC that no one would be evicted.

One of the documents filed by the park owner during its lengthy confrontation with the city was a “tenant impact report” that waives the owner’s right to evict any tenant.

About 80 percent of the residents qualified as low-income tenants 2013 according to court documents. The park owner will be allowed to increase those rents at the same rate the cost of living index allows each year after the park is converted and the city’s rent-control ordinance was no longer in effect.

Fred Galante, the City’s Attorney, said, “The Settlement Agreement resolves long-standing disputes and litigation between the parties.  The settlement makes clear that it is not an admission of any wrongdoing whatsoever on the part of the City. The City believes it had good defenses, the settlement resolves long-standing litigation and saves further expenditure of legal fees and eliminates any risk of potential liability.”


As part of the settlement approved by the council on July 17, the city must approve, permit, and allow the recording of the final tract map for the mobile home park conversion by the end July.

The settlement gave the City until the middle of this month to pay the 1.5 million dollars awarded to Chino MHC.


Deputy for a Day

By Anthony Saude

Diamond Bar – Five year old David Corrales was honored to be “Deputy for a Day” at the Walnut Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station. “It was sort of an impromptu situation, I got a call from a friend of mine who was a former commander on the force that a teachers grandson wants to be a police officer,” said Captain Reyes. David showed up dressed in his own law enforcement uniform so Captain Reyes pulled out the red Carpet for the young man. Captain Reyes with the help of a couple of deputies gave David a tour of the station, let him visit dispatch and he was given a ride in a radio car. Captain Reyes said he had an experience when he was in the 6th grade that cemented he desire to go into law enforcement. The school had a safety assembly about looking both ways before crossing the street, a highway patrol officer gave a riveting presentation. “The officer picked me out to take a ride in the patrol car to show us that a car isn’t able to stop on a dime. We got in the car, sped down the street, slammed on the brakes and came to a skidding stop about 50 feet later.  “That childhood memory has stuck with me all these years, so I took the opportunity to give another young man a childhood memory of his own in hopes that it may make an impression enough for him to take the same path,” said Reyes. David was sworn in by Capt. Reyes as an honorary deputy for a day while he was at the station. Everybody at the station would like to extend our gratitude to David Corrales for visiting our station and wanting to follow in the footsteps of our deputies.