Tag Archives: City of Walnut

Walnut Hills Optometry, Stop In and SEE the Difference

By Anthony Saude

Walnut – For decades, Walnut Hills Optometry has taken excellent care of the vision needs of the communities of Walnut, West Covina, Diamond Bar, and Chino Hills and La Puente, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights and Whittier. The quality of service and care provided by the doctor have patients gladly traveling from all over the Los Angeles county and the Inland Empire as well.

The staff knows what a precious gift vision is and it is abundantly apparent as soon as you walk in and see the pride that is taken in providing exceptional service from the comprehensive eye exams all the way to shopping for frames from their extensive selection.

Quality eye care involves consistent care by a professional.  Dr. Carmela Larino, O.D. and her loyal staff are always intentional about giving your eyes the personalized care and attention they deserve.

Dr. Larino takes great pride in giving back to the community she grew up in. She attended Rowland Unified schools from elementary all the way through high school.  She received her first degree at U.C. Irvine before receiving her doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry.  In 2003, Nogales High School, Dr. Larino’s Alma mater bestowed the honor of being placed on their Wall of Fame.  She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the California Optometric Association, and the Rio Hondo Optometric Society. She takes great pride in continuing her education in the most current techniques and technology in eye care.  As a local resident, you might find Dr. Larino eating at your favorite restaurant, shopping in a local store, or attending a community event.

Personalized eye examinations, diabetic and eye health exams, and the management and care of a multitude of eye and vision concerns are but a small piece of what you will find on your next visit to Walnut Hills Optometry.  A wide variety of eyewear is also available, from progressive and polarized lenses to silicone high-oxygen contacts, and even designer frames. They also offer Lasik Surgery co-management. If you have used eyeglass frames scattered around the house, bring them with you on your next visit and they will donate them to those in need of frames.

Walnut Hills Optometry is conveniently located near the 10, 60 and 57 freeways, on the border of Walnut and West Covina, at 18800 E. Amar Road # A5, inside the Walnut West Plaza (across Louis Doors, between Francesca Dr. & Amber Valley Dr.). Their hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  You can reach them at (626) 965-3878 or (909) 594-1153.  For more information visit their website at www.walnuthillsoptometry.com.

Walnut Hills Optometry thanks you for twenty years of support and look forward to serving the communities for another 20 years!

 

 

Collegewood Students Join Flashlight Fridays

By Kelli Gile

 WALNUT–Collegewood Elementary 2nd graders are benefitting from an innovating approach to fostering an interest in reading. Every other Friday, students grab a book, a flashlight, and a fruit snack for a special “lights out” silent reading time. Teacher Diane Zell taped black construction paper over the windows as the children settled with book boxes in cozy places around the room during the September 14 session. “They get so excited for this fun activity,” Zell shared. Before the reading began, the teacher flipped off the switch cueing youngsters they could shine the little beams on the ceiling for a five-second light show in the darkness. “It’s one way we make reading uniquely exciting,” she added. On a Flashlight Friday last year, the youngsters unanimously voted as a reward to read to favorite stuffed animals. This year, Zell plans add to the fun by having students bring in blankets and make reading forts below their desks.

Watch out for Fort Flashlight Fridays coming soon at Collegewood!

Walnut High Teacher Goes Above And Beyond To Support Special Needs Student

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Walnut High School junior Bradley Conrad gives his teacher Kirsten Thibeault a thumbs up for a special Lego birthday gift.

Teachers are long known for dipping into their own pockets to provide classroom supplies. This Walnut High educator went a step further for one of her students.

By Kelli Gile

Walnut–Walnut High School teacher, Kirsten Thibeault, usually spends time in the evenings correcting homework and creating lesson plans for her six English courses. On Tuesday night, however, she put aside the schoolwork to sort through boxes and boxes of Lego building blocks, platforms, and characters. Thibeault was motivated to comb through her son’s long outgrown collection to offer a personalized birthday gift to one of her students. “I have this amazing special-needs student named Bradley Conrad who is in my general education College Prep English class,” she said. This is his first time in his high school career the senior has been in this type of English class. “Bradley makes everyone smile, he volunteers for everything, and his optimism is contagious,” she described.

The teen had recently written an essay about how the Thomas the Tank television show along with Lego “guys” help him, and other kids with autism, learn to navigate the world. Conrad also shared with his teacher that his 17th birthday was coming up and he wanted to start a YouTube channel about the railway series. Thibeault mentioned that her son had a ton of unused toys and would he want them? “That would be the greatest birthday present ever!” he replied. After two hours of sorting, the giving educator ended up with a huge plastic box of pirates and knights and dragons and boats along with about 200 additional tiny Lego figurines.

Thibeault made true on her promise and presented the wrapped gift on September 21. She even created a huge birthday card with Lego stickers that all his classmates signed. “I was very surprised!” Conrad said after receiving the thoughtful present. “No other teacher has ever remembered my birthday,” he commented. Conrad came up with the idea to use Lego figurines to create custom characters because they are small enough to fit inside Thomas’ cab and on the wooden train track. “One of the first customs I did was Mr. Fergus Duncan, the railway controller, and his arch nemesias, Mr. Peregrine Percival,” he proudly recalled. “I have a lot of ideas for these new pieces,” he offered.

Conrad is excited because the first period class is already helping him stay on course for plans after graduation. “It’s not just English, Ms. Thibeault is giving life lessons and helping me prep for college!” he said.

 

WVUSD Trustees Appoint Matthew Torres as Assistant Superintendent

By Kelli Gile

Walnut- The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Dr. Matthew Torres as Assistant Superintendent of Business Services during the September 19 meeting. The veteran educator brings over 20 years of experience and expertise to his new post. Torres has a strong background in the Business Services Division, serving the past 13 years in the Fruitvale School District in Kern County. Since 2011, Torres successfully led the team as Assistant Superintendent of Business Services and Chief Business Officer (CBO). He has previous administrative experience as Director of BusinessServices, Director of Specially Funded Programs and Evaluation, and Coordinator of Specially Funded Programs.

Torres offers expertise in budget development, position control, categorical program monitoring, municipal bonds, and collective bargaining. “He possesses leadership qualities, technical knowledge of the position, and proven ability to perform effectively in this administrative role,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor. Torres has also served as adjunct professor in a variety of areas in fiscal analysis at California State University, Fresno, California State University, Bakersfield, and Point Loma Nazarene University. Prior to joining the Fiscal Division, he was a fifth-grade teacher at Columbia Elementary in the Fruitvale School District for eight years.

Torres holds a bachelor of arts from Pepperdine University, master’s degree in education leadership from University of La Verne, and doctoral degree in educational leadership at University of Southern California (USC). Additionally, he completed the School Business Management Certificate Program at USC. “This is a chance of a lifetime,” Torres said during the meeting.

“The opportunity to join a District such as Walnut Valley Unified which has proven leadership, a collaborative culture, a rich history of excellence, and a deep commitment to the students, staff and community, is what every educator hopes for,” he added. He and his wife, Tina, will be relocating from Central California. “We’re excited to move to the community!” This appointment fills a vacancy in the department.

 

33 WVUSD Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

By Kelli Gile 

WalnutThirty-three Walnut Valley USD seniors from Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools have been distinguished as 2019 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Congratulations to the following teens who have been recognized for demonstrating exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies:

Diamond Bar High: Grace Ge, Samantha Hong, Wesley Ip, Christine Lee, Ryan Li, Amy Miyahara, Isaac No, Ashley Pang, Phoebe Scaccia, Andrew Seo, Alice Wang, Yuwen Wang, Keith Wong, Ted Yarmoski, Timothy Yeh, Angela Zhang, Catherine Zhang, and Christine Zhou. 

Walnut High: Angela Cao, Jeremy Chang, Ashley Chen, Flora Jin, Karen Liu, Amy Lo, Dylan Song, Jordin Wang, Justin Wang, Christopher Yang, Michelle Yee, Tiffany Yeh, Brandon Young, Alice Zhang, and Angela Zhu.

 “We are extremely proud of these 33 seniors for receiving this nationwide honor!” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

 “This level of success is a testament to the caliber of educational experience they are receiving at our high schools each and every day.”
More than 1.6 million students entered the Merit Program as juniors by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

High scorers were designated semifinalists, representing less than 1% of the state’s graduating class.

In total, just over 16,000 talented seniors qualified nationwide.

These students will continue to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships that will be offered in the spring.

The WVUSD senior scholars will advance to the finalist level upon completion of additional requirements.

They must maintain an outstanding academic record throughout their senior year, be endorsed and recommended by their principal, submit SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test, and complete an essay and scholarship application detailing their leadership and community activities.

The 2019 National Merit Scholarships will be awarded beginning in April and concluding in July.

 

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!

 

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.

 

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: uomustansiriyah.edu.iq
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.

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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.

 

Mt. SAC Sporting Complex

Photo: Mt.SAC Athlectics
The opportunity to build a sporting complex nestled amongst mountains and valley’s in such a natural setting is a unique opportunity in California.

By Anthony Saude

Walnut – Mt Sac may have lost the Olympic Trials but that will not deter them from moving forward with the planned upgrades they had in place when the trials were coming to town. The athletic tradition runs deep at Mt. Sac and the new upgrades will carry that tradition well into the future.

“All the construction on the major buildings has begun, the finish work is pending, the project is about 25-30% completed,” said Gary Gidcumb, the manager of the design and construction of the project. ““We have the opportunity to build a sporting complex nestled amongst mountains and valley’s in such a natural setting is a unique opportunity in California. The complex is in the city but the location makes one feel that they have escaped to an urban setting if even for an hour or two,” said Gidcumb. Nobody knows what the future brings and if it brings the Trials back someday, they will be ready.

Mt. SAC has always prided itself on providing service to the sport by hosting world-class events. Like the Mt. SAC Relays and Cross Country Invitational that they have hosted for more than 60 years. Gidcumb said that the motivation for the design is to preserve the integrity and history of the past but overlaid with new, said Gidcumb. We wanted to preserve the most loved traditions of the program without remaining stagnant.” We are proud and passionate about the role this new complex will play in the future histy here at Mt. SAC,” concluded Gidcum.

The college’s plans to build a stadium for their students and community and to keep hosting top notch sporting events remain remains unchanged. Mt. SAC officials are confident that they can continue to be the place where the world’s best athletes compete.

 

Help Needed to Identify Hit and Run Suspect

Staff Reports

WALNUT –Authorities are requesting help from the public in identifying and locating a hit-and-run suspect that was involved in a collision that killed a motorcyclist last month in the Walnut area.

The incident took place at about 8 p.m. on July 10 on the eastbound side of the Pomona (60) Freeway near Grand Avenue according to reports from the California Highway Patrol.
Daniel Gutierrez, 39, of Riverside was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later according to CHP reports.

The vehicle hit-and-run suspect was driving was described only as an older-model red Freightliner semi truck that was pulling a red trailer.

Gutierrez was riding a 2016 Harley-Davidson when was struck by a car that was spinning out of control after it had collided with two big rigs, the red freightliner continued driving as if nothing had happened, the CHP reported.

A news conference was planned by CHP officers later to appeal to the public for their help in finding the driver of the red freightliner.
Anyone with any information about the accident is urged to call the CHP’s Baldwin Park Area office at (626) 338-1164

 

Aquatic Center Study Session Postponed

Staff Reports

Walnut – It’s true that public pools bring good things to a community. From swimming lessons and healthy exercise to organized water sports, water safety and of course, fun, which is why a new Aquatic Center that may be in Walnut’s future has once again been delayed by the city.

“The reasoning behind the cancellation is the never-ending approval of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR),” said Walnut resident and advocate of the center. “The report was sent showing a two-story recreation building and the stage area to accommodate entertainment, i.e., Concerts in the Park, etc. but the Council did not make a timely decision; therefore, the construction with the biggest impact on the property was reported.”

The City of Walnut currently provides a program utilizing the Walnut High School pool. The Walnut Unified School District allows public use during the summer, offering a multitude of courses for swimmers of all ages and abilities; but priority belongs to the high school’s aquatic team. Nearby Mt. San Antonio College also allows public use of their pool with organized programming, but Walnut itself doesn’t have an aquatics center to serve its nearly 30,000 residents. One individual in particular feels the Walnut High School’s nearly 40-year old pool does not meet the needs of the community. Stines, who has lived in the city since 1973, seems intent on formulizing a plan that would help the city approve the project. But the city hasn’t met the projections according to community members.

“The amenities for the Center have not been approved by Council, which would determine the financing costs, added Stines. “ The study session is to discuss the amenities and the financing options; therefore, it was prudent to cancel the session.”

Stines has spent the several months gathering information on the benefits of an aquatic center, and has made some progress. According to recent information from Stines, she hosted a Community Awareness booth at the Walnut Family Festival last October just to provide information and facilitate the collection of signatures on a petition for this project.

Stines reports that back in 2007, the Park and Recreations Commission formulated a proposal to the Walnut City Council regarding the development of an Aquatics Park and Building Complex in the Three Oaks housing development. Due to the economy at that time, the $10 million budget item lay dormant. Six years later, Stines was happy to report that the City of Walnut Parks and Recreation Department has agreed to place the topic on their November 2017 agenda. Up for discussion was the feasibility of using the nine acres selected for an Aquatic Center back in 2007, currently owned by the City, Three Oaks and Walnut Ranch. There is also acreage in the hills above Country Hollow Drive, currently adjacent to tennis courts and a soccer field that might allow for an expanded version of an Aquatic Center.

“We continue to hear from the City there are no residents coming forward to voice their need for this center,” added Stines. “Council continues to play the waiting gaming knowing residents become complacent and will eventually give up the idea of our need to make our children safe and a place for older adults to come for the therapeutic waters.” To voice your opinion go to www.cityofwalnut.org.

Free, Reduced Price Lunch and Breakfast

Kelli Gile

WALNUT – Walnut Valley Unified School District announces its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

The household size and income criteria identified below will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price, or full-price meal benefits.  Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown here are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Children who receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR benefits are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside.

Effective July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.

 

Free Eligibility Scale for Breakfast, Lunch, and Milk                          Reduced-price Eligibility Scale for Breakfast and Lunch

Household Size Year Month Twice Per Month Every Two Weeks Week Household Size Year Month Twice Per Month Every Two Weeks Week
1 $15,782 $1,316 $658 $607 $304 1 $22,459 $1,872 $936 $864 $432
2 $21,398 $1,784 $892 $823 $412 2 $30,451 $2,538 $1,269 $1,172 $586
3 $27,014 $2,252 $1,126 $1,039 $520 3 $38,443 $3,204 $1,602 $1,479 $740
4 $32,630 $2,720 $1,360 $1,255 $628 4 $46,435 $3,870 $1,935 $1,786 $893
5 $38,246 $3,188 $1,594 $1,471 $736 5 $54,427 $4,536 $2,268 $2,094 $1,047
6 $43,862 $3,656 $1,828 $1,687 $844 6 $62,419 $5,202 $2,601 $2,401 $1,201
7 $49,478 $4,124 $2,062 $1,903 $952 7 $70,411 $5,868 $2,934 $2,709 $1,355
8 $55,094 $4,592 $2,296 $2,119 $1,060 8 $78,403 $6,534 $3,267 $3,016 $1,508
For each additional family member add $5,616 $468 $234 $216 $108 For each additional family member add $7,992 $666 $333 $308 $154

 

 

Walnut Hills Optometry, Stop In and SEE the Difference

By Anthony Saude

Walnut – For decades, Walnut Hills Optometry has taken excellent care of the vision needs for the communities of Walnut, West Covina, Diamond Bar, and Chino Hills and La Puente, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights and Whittier. The quality of service and care provided by the doctor have patients gladly traveling from all over the Los Angeles county and the Inland Empire as well.

The staff knows what a precious gift vision is and it is abundantly apparent as soon as you walk in and see the pride that is taken in providing exceptional service from the comprehensive eye exams all the way to shopping for frames from their extensive selection.

Quality eye care involves consistent care by a professional.  Dr. Carmela Larino, O.D. and her loyal staff are always intentional about giving your eyes the personalized care and attention they deserve.

Dr. Larino takes great pride in giving back to the community she grew up in. She attended Rowland Unified schools from elementary all the way through high school.  She received her first degree at U.C. Irvine before receiving her doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry.  In 2003, Nogales High School, Dr. Larino’s Alma mater bestowed the honor of being placed on their Wall of Fame.  She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the California Optometric Association, and the Rio Hondo Optometric Society. She takes great pride in continuing her education in the most current techniques and technology in eye care.  As a local resident, you might find Dr. Larino eating at your favorite restaurant, shopping in a local store, or attending a community event.

Personalized eye examinations, diabetic and eye health exams, and the management and care of a multitude of eye and vision concerns are but a small piece of what you will find on your next visit to Walnut Hills Optometry.  A wide variety of eyewear is also available, from progressive and polarized lenses to silicone high-oxygen contacts, and even designer frames. They also offer Lasik Surgery co-management. If you have used eyeglass frames scattered around the house, bring them with you on your next visit and they will donate them to those in need of frames.

Walnut Hills Optometry is conveniently located near the 10, 60 and 57 freeways, on the border of Walnut and West Covina, at 18800 E. Amar Road # A5, inside the Walnut West Plaza (across Louis Doors, between Francesca Dr. & Amber Valley Dr.). Their hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  You can reach them at (626) 965-3878 or (909) 594-1153.  For more information visit their website at www.walnuthillsoptometry.com.

Walnut Hills Optometry thanks you for twenty years of support and look forward to serving the communities for another 20 years!

 

 

Mt. SAC Board Considers Bond Measure

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org
The meeting is to consider a resolution that would place a general obligation bond measure on the November ballot.

By Anthony Saude

Walnut – The Mt. San Antonio College Board of Trustees scheduled an additional regular meeting for Tuesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m., in Founders Hall. The meeting is to consider a resolution that would place a general obligation bond measure on the November ballot.

The college’s Educational and Facilities Master Plan has been approved by the board and it lays out how to best serve Mt. SAC’s students for the next decade and beyond. A bond measure would help fund infrastructure repairs, expand career technical education programs and improve the college’s security and emergency systems.

An independent community survey was recently taken and it shows that residents strongly support the affordable, quality programs Mt. SAC offers. The survey provided insight into constituent perspectives on current academic needs. Concerns about safety, vocational education and affordability are at the top of the list. Eighty five percent of respondents want Mt. SAC to expand access to its high quality, affordable education so that more students can attend college.

Residents identified a number of their priorities including: preparing students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, repairing deteriorating gas, electrical and sewer lines, repairing decaying walls, drainage systems and leaky roofs, improving student safety, improving access for disabled students, and expanding career technical education programs.

Residents recognize the need to keep students safe and expressed their support for upgrades and improvements to the college’s security and emergency systems through the installation of cameras, lighting and other measures.

Up to 76 percent of respondents indicated they would support a 55 percent requirement education bond to make essential upgrades to Mt. SAC.

For the complete report of community survey results, visit http://www.mtsac.edu/efmp/documents/Community_Survey-2018-05.pdf.

 

Mt. SAC Students Win Seven Medals at Nationals

By Anthony Saude

WALNUT– Mt. San Antonio College health careers students won seven medals at the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) national competition. More than 9,000 secondary and post-secondary students competed in 57 different health-related events at the national leadership event held June 26-30 in Dallas, Texas.

Derek Hawkins (Pomona),  Sho Kitada (Rowland Heights), and Griselda Venezian (Chino Hills) won silver medals in the biomedical debate competition. Hector Alvarado (Montclair), Ezra Dureault (Pomona), Hector Herrera (La Puente), and Robert Solis (City of Industry) won bronze medals in the creative problem solving competition.

“The majority of the teams that they competed against were from universities around world, and amazingly, they surpassed the university competitors,” said Mt. SAC psychiatric technician professor and HOSA advisor Mary Ellen Reyes.

HOSA, established in 1976 by the U.S. Department of Education, is the national organization for secondary and post-secondary health career students. The mission of HOSA is to empower HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience.

The organizations core values are We value learning. We are committed to learning and becoming respected, knowledgeable and skilled health professionals.  We will respect the experiences and contributions of our teachers, peers and patients and seek to learn from them.

We value leadership. We will serve as role models in our academic program, profession and community. We will be ethical, accountable and trustworthy.  We will use our influence to empower others to strive for excellence.

We value service. We are dedicated to serving others with compassion. We believe that individuals are important, and we will treat everyone with respect and care.

We value innovation. We are dedicated to enriching the lives of others. We will continuously seek the knowledge and skills to address challenges and improve the health professions.

 

 

Students Take Top Awards in National Math Olympiad

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT – More than fifty students from Suzanne Middle School joined nearly 150,000 students in the United States during the 2017-18 Math Olympiad.

 

The annual contest enables “mathletes” to challenge themselves and to compete against other students nationwide.

 

Math Olympiad is comprised of five monthly contests held from November through March, each containing five high-level math problems.

 

For the first time ever, Suzanne 7th and 8th grade students scored in the top 10% of all teams in their division nationwide earning a highest team achievement award.

 

The 6th through 8th grade students also competed among schoolmates during nationwide challenge.

 

Eighth grader Joshua Hsu earned the title of top school winner with a perfect score of 25. He was awarded the individual George Lenchner Award of Excellence.

 

Additionally, Joshua received a 1st place trophy and gold pin signifying his outstanding top 2% in the nation score.

 

Seventh grader Chandrark Mudddana took the 2nd place award and silver pin for scoring in the top 10% nationally.

 

Eighth graders Daniel Ji and Deven Tseng tied for the 3rd place award scoring in the top 10% nationally.

 

The top 6th grade winners were Lucas He and Louis Xie, both scoring in the top 10% nationally. They earned 1st place trophies and silver pins.

 

Second place winners Adora Ma and Harris Song also scored in the top 10% nationally and earned silver pins.

 

Phillip Chen took the 3rd place award and recognition patch for scoring in the top 25% nationally.

 

In addition, several 7th and 8th grade students were honored for their high scores.

 

Serena Huang, Benjamin Jin, Lewis Lui, and Kevin Yu scored in the top 10% nationally and received silver pins.

 

David Hu, Bella Liu, Andrew Shi, Max Eibert, and Eric Wang scored in the top 20% nationally and received silver pins.

 

Oscar Chen and Siarra Huang scored in the top 25% nationally and received patches.

 

Allison Lin and Joseph Shen scored in the top 30% nationally.

 

Jayaraman Donath, Kevin Zeng, Matthew Carreon, Andrea Florendo and Ella Lin scored in the top 40% nationally.

 

Megan So, Andrew Wang, and Aaron Zhang scored in the top 50% of the nation.

 

Several 6th grade students were recognized for their high scores.

 

Andrew Qi, Nathan Chung, Aidan Do and Eric Tsou scored in the top 40% nationally. Vito Lin and Lorraine Wu scored in the top 50% nationally.

 

Congratulations Suzanne Middle School students and coach Amy Erickson.

 

Suzanne MS Students Join Special Olympics

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Blue Ribbon Day! Four Suzanne Middle School student-athletes participated in the Special Olympics Southern California held May 18 at John Muir High in Pasadena.

By Kelli Gile 

WALNUT – Four Suzanne Middle School student-athletes participated in the Special Olympics Southern California held May 18 at John Muir High in Pasadena.

 

Several months before the games, the children began training with adapted physical education (APE) teacher Greg Sasaki.

 

“Preparing is its own challenge,” said special education teacher Melanie Kobayashi.

 

The children had to learn that the very loud sound from the starter pistol was the cue to begin racing.

 

“Loud sounds can be very disturbing to people with autism and the students had to get accustomed to that and react appropriately,” she explained.

 

The racers learned how to take their place at the starter line and run in the lane, focusing on themselves, not the stranger competing next to them, all the way to the finish line.

 

And they had to do it with hundreds of unfamiliar faces around them in a place they had never been before.

 

All four students participated in either a 25-meter walk or run earning the highest reward – a 1st Place blue ribbon.

 

They also received green participation ribbons in the softball throw event.

 

To prepare for the ball throw, they had to learn to step and throw overhand from behind the line.

 

“They were amazing!” Kobayashi shared.

 

“It was a lot of work and they made us very proud!”

 

Walnut Valley Tapped For New National Award

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT—Walnut Valley Unified School District will be honored with a new national recognition as a Schools to Watch District on June 30.

 

The award celebrates Walnut Valley’s dedication to providing an exemplary educational experience for students.

 

In the past two years, all three middle schools – Chaparral, South Pointe, and Suzanne – earned the prestigious Schools to Watch designation for demonstrating academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents, and social equity.

 

These model schools have been recognized at the state and national level and have become examples for middle schools across the country.

 

Walnut Valley is among only eight school districts in California and 17 in the nation that have earned this distinction.

 

“This is truly a compliment and a reflection of the commitment, dedication, and pride that all of our teachers, classified employees, support staff, administrators, board members, and personnel commissioners have placed in our 15 schools and our wonderful school district,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

 

The Schools to Watch District award will be presented by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in Washington D.C.

 

IB Students Present Exhibitions

Courtesy: Kelli Gile
Groups research topics of their choice based on modern-day issues including climate change, poverty, GMOs, and cyber bullying for the year-end IB Exhibitions.

By Kelli Gile 

WALNUT Castle Rock and Cyrus J. Morris Elementary 5th grade students present collaborative inquiry-based research projects during the culminating weeks of their K-5 learning experience.

 

Students use IB skills, attitudes, and attributes acquired through the elite Primary Years Programme.

 

Groups research topics of their choice based on modern-day issues including climate change, poverty, GMOs, and cyber bullying for the year-end IB Exhibitions.

 

For the past three months, groups worked on exhibition projects with the support of mentor volunteer teachers.

 

Each plan was well-researched and thoughtfully prepared as the students took turns publicly sharing results at the microphone while incorporating the use of visual displays, posters, and multimedia presentations.

 

A six-person team at Castle Rock took on the impact that cell phones make on society and presented their findings in the comprehensive report for attentive parents and family members.

 

The group’s lines of inquiry included effects on people, effects on society, different types of usage, and effect on ecosystem.

 

Cell phones effect the ways people communicate with each other and types of usage include banking, job searches, maps, online shopping, social media, and more, the poised hosts explained.

 

“Cell phones can help people find jobs and connect with the world,” said Emily Zhao.

 

The students also presented a video survey of schoolmates and staff along with tips to reduce radiation exposure during usage during the May 24 exhibition.

 

“Try to keep phones at least an inch away from the neck or use Bluetooth,” suggested Fang Hong Foo.

 

For the project’s action plan, the team posted “Cell Phone Free Zone” signs along the school drop-off zone.

 

“We’re hoping parents will stay off their phones!” said Angel Wei.

 

“Texting and driving increases the chance of traffic incidents,” added Michael Wu.

 

A group of C.J. Morris students worked hard investigating the effects of terrorism for their exhibition project.

 

“There’s been so much damage around the world,” commented Marcos Davaloz.

 

The children fielded questions from parents after the May 17 presentation.

 

“We can enhance security to make it harder to smuggle in bombs,” said Diego Suviate responding to an inquiry about methods to stop the attacks.

 

For the culminating action plan, students sold water and fruit drinks for a dollar during recess.

 

“We decided to donate to the Washington Institute which helps end terrorism around the world,” explained Audrey Chavarin proudly reporting the team collected over $22.