Neighbors rally around grieving Whittier family

first_imgWHITTIER – After spending nearly four decades in Whittier, Rosalinda Valdez said she has always loved this community, though there was never really anything concrete she could point to that would explain why. But in the wake of her 12-year-old grandson Elijah’s death in a traffic collision with a big rig last week, Valdez said the reason she never left has become quite clear. “The support we’ve gotten from everybody is amazing – even people we don’t know have come to us to help us out,” she said Thursday as the family was preparing for the boy’s memorial service. “This was my grandson’s home, and I’m just at a loss for words,” she added. “It’s a shame it took something like this to see what the community is like, to see how good it is.” The death last week of East Whittier Middle School seventh-grader Elijah Ernest Valdez was a tragedy, said Don Rivera, a neighbor of the Valdez family. The boy was killed Feb. 8 at Painter Avenue and Lambert Road as he was making the two-mile bike ride home from school. Since that time, Rivera and his neighbors have been making sure the Valdez family has plenty of food and groceries, even opening up their homes to take in dozens of relatives in town to attend the boy’s funeral. Elijah’s death even prompted local Boy Scout leaders to organize a bike safety rodeo that will be open to all local youth, said Barbara Sandoval, vice chair of programs for the Boy Scouts’ Rio Hondo district. “Right now, we’re trying to see which school will allow us to host the event there, and we’re also contacting law enforcement agencies and a local bike shop,” Sandoval said. “We’re hoping to do it soon, but we also want to put on something of quality that serves as many people as possible,” she added. A fund for Elijah’s family to help offset the costs of the funeral has been set up at the Washington Mutual branch in Uptown, Rivera said. “I can’t tell you what a quality family this is,” Rivera said. “This is a family that when anyone was in need, they were there. And now we’re just trying to be there for them.” Valdez said she and her husband, Ernest, and Elijah’s mother Naomi, are extremely thankful for the efforts of their neighbors and the Boy Scouts. She said she hopes to help the school district re-establish busing for middle school students. But she also had words of advice for parents everywhere. “Just make sure, always, that before your children leave home, tell them how much you love them and kiss them and tell them to be careful,” Valdez said. “That’s what I did. When \ left that day, he turned around and said, `I love you, grandma. I’ll see you later.’ Never go one day without telling them you love them.” tracy.garcia@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img


first_imgFRIDAY Fitness Walk, 9:30 a.m., Soka University, 26800 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas. Open to public. Call (818) 878-3703. Used Book Sale, 6-9 p.m., Newbury Park Library, 2331 Borchard Road. Call (805) 498-2139. Mail Datebook entries – including time, date, location and phone number – to Daily News City Desk, P.O. Box 4200, Woodland Hills, CA 91365; fax (818) 713-0058; e-mail dnmetro@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


Classroom style earns praise of schools chief

first_img• Photo Gallery: Secretary of Education LA MIRADA – Acting state Secretary of Education Scott Himelstein could not get over how high school has changed when he visited La Mirada High School on Friday. Instead of rows of individual desks and long-winded lessons, groups of students read aloud as teachers pointed out literary concepts and asked questions. Elsewhere, small groups of students worked together on projects. “It is very clear to me that teachers aren’t just lecturing,” Himelstein said. “There is true communication and learning going on here.” Himelstein toured an elementary, middle and high school to see what strategies educators are using to implement Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s literacy initiative. That initiative, adopted several years ago, called for nine of every 10 students to be reading at grade level by the end of this school year. The district will not be able to reach that goal this year, Superintendent Ginger Shattuck said. But teachers and principals will continue to implement strategies to help all students reach that literacy goal, she added. “It’s an honor for us to have \ come down to see our schools,” she said. “He wanted to see how far along we were and how we were doing it so far.” Some of the district’s teaching strategies include breaking students into smaller groups, bringing them closer to the front of the classroom for instruction, conducting benchmark assessments four times a year, and developing classroom libraries. “The classrooms themselves are very print-rich,” said La Mirada High Principal Don Jones. “For the class libraries, there are eight books or textbooks for every student. “And we don’t leave the students in isolation – they learn in groups, or pods, or triads.” Himelstein said efforts like the Norwalk-La Mirada’s literacy initiative are a step in the right direction. “I’m heartened by the attention being paid to students’ ability to read and write,” he said. “This is something we need to do a lot more of, and to see it happening at this level is very heartening. It will serve students well, whether they choose to work after graduation or go into higher education.” Later in the day, Himelstein met with leaders from Cerritos College, ABC Unified School District and the Southeast Regional Occupational Program to discuss a collaborative career tech program with Norwalk-La Mirada officials. tracy.garcia@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


2 studies link hormone use, higher cancer risk

first_imgATLANTA – Research on two continents signaled more bad news about menopause hormones, offering the strongest evidence yet that they can raise the risk of breast cancer and are tied to a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer. New U.S. government numbers showed that breast-cancer rates leveled off in 2004 after plunging in 2003 – the year after millions of women stopped taking hormones because a big study tied them to higher heart, stroke and breast-cancer risks. Experts said the leveling off shows that the 2003 drop in the cancer rate was real and not a fluke. From 2001 to 2004, breast-cancer rates fell almost 9 percent – a dramatic decline, researchers report in today’s New England Journal of Medicine. The trend was even stronger for the most common form of the disease – tumors whose growth is fueled by hormones. Those rates fell almost 15 percent among women ages 50 to 69, the group most likely to have been on hormone pills. At the same time, a study of nearly 1 million women in the United Kingdom showed that those who took hormones after menopause were 20 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer or die from it than women who never took the pills. That study was published online by the London-based journal The Lancet. For consumers, the new research doesn’t change the advice to use the lowest dose for the shortest time possible for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms that can’t otherwise be controlled. For cautious scientists, the new breast-cancer numbers were more evidence of the hormone-breast cancer link. “The story has gotten stronger,” said Dr. Peter Ravdin, a biostatistician at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston who led the research. Some were skeptical several months ago when Ravdin and National Cancer Institute researchers first reported the 2003 drop in the breast-cancer rate. The new numbers, which add 2004, prove this was no fluke, said Dr. Julie Gralow, a spokeswoman for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a cancer expert at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Because it didn’t bump back up again,” it supports the idea that the rate has stabilized at a new lower level, said Gralow, who had no role in the study. Brenda Edwards, one of the journal authors and a National Cancer Institute researcher, agreed. “Now we have a statistically significant decline” over three years and clear proof of a trend, she said. Although some recent analyses suggest that heart risks from menopause hormones are not as great as had been believed for younger, newly menopausal women, the statistics out this week add to the worries about cancer. After rising steadily through the 1990s, the breast-cancer rate dipped from 2001 to 2002, from 138 cases to 135 cases per 100,000 women. After the federal Women’s Health Initiative study reported in July 2002 on the health risks of hormones, use of the pills plunged. So did the breast-cancer rate the following year – to 126 cases per 100,000 women. It was the steepest fall since the government started keeping records in the 1970s. The drop was seen in all of the cancer-statistics registries reviewed in the study, and no other cancer rate changed as dramatically – strong signs that hormones were playing a role, specialists said. The 2004 rate held steady at about 126 cases per 100,000. Stopping hormone use may have stopped some cancers from growing and caused them to disappear, scientists speculate. Or it may have just slowed them down so that they won’t appear until years later, said Ahmedin Jemal, an American Cancer Society researcher. Only time will tell which is true, he said. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which makes top-selling hormone pills Prempro and Premarin, criticized the study as overly speculative. Company spokesman Dr. Joseph Camardo said hormone prescriptions continued to fall in 2004 but breast-cancer rates did not decline proportionately. Ravdin said the company’s criticism does not invalidate the cancer trends. Breast cancer is the most common major cancer in American women and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in women. About 180,000 new cases are expected to occur in the United States this year and more than 1 million worldwide. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


Local deputies collect goodies for those serving in Iraq

first_img“It seems like this war has been going on for so long that people have forgotten about those stationed over there,” he said. “And Wanda’s been doing this for so long that I didn’t want to let her down either.” Smith said her first collections started at about 800 pounds. Six years later, they’re topping the scales at 25,000 pounds. “I just want them to feel like they’re at home, or like a piece of home is coming to them,” Smith said. Anyone interested in donating can call Smith at (562) 944-6072. tracy.garcia@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955 Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I started doing this three weeks after the war started because I saw it was something that needed to be done,” said Smith. She gets support from deputies at the sheriff’s Norwalk Station, where she’s been a volunteer for more than six years. Donated items are dropped off at the Norwalk Station, and Smith also solicits donations from local businesses, such as See’s Candies and Sam’s Club. She brings the items home and packs them into boxes and ships them to Camp Pendleton, where they are divided into smaller care packages and shipped overseas. Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom McNeal was among a half-dozen faithful volunteers who gave Smith a hand Thursday – a task he has gladly taken on the past three years. SOUTH WHITTIER – As sheriff’s deputies helped load dozens of boxes of supplies destined for U.S. Marines in Iraq, Wanda Smith fondly recalled a recent e-mail she received from “a boy” stationed there. “He said, `Can you imagine how it feels to be so far away and be able to open up a package of Famous Amos cookies?”‘ said Smith, 73, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department volunteer, who has worked tirelessly over the past few years to collect and ship goodies and extra supplies to Marines in Iraq. That’s why she always makes sure the shipments include plenty of the popular cookies – and Rice Krispies treats, the Marines’ No. 1 favorite. Her shipments go from her home every spring and winter to Camp Pendleton as part of Operation Interdependence. last_img

Have helmet, will drive as autos of future debut

first_imgOur tour guide was John Heinricy, director of high-performance vehicle operations at GM’s Performance Division. He knows his way around a track, too, having won a bunch of Sports Car Club of America national titles. In the morning briefing, he told us that this particular track had some of the tightest turns he’d seen and substantial elevation changes. Then he took us for a familiarization ride in a souped up Trail Blazer. Anticipation turned to trepidation. But, hey, I’d already driven a Solstice so no problem, right? The review model had doors. This Solstice, the GXP ZO Club Sport version, had a roll cage. Let’s just say that sliding through the window into the seat takes practice at becoming a pretzel. The next ride was in a 2004 GTO with an LS 7 crate engine that turned out 505 hp, one of the fastest cars out there. This had regular doors, though. And the question is: How fast did I go? Got no clue. Didn’t dare take my eyes off the road because it comes at you real fast. Didn’t miss any gear changes and kept both cars on the asphalt. John Lazar, our photographer, accused me of causing a traffic jam, though, and claimed he has a photo to prove it. (It shows me in front and another car a couple of turns behind.) Then came the Camaro, and while it was speed-limited to about 35 mph around a course set up in a parking lot, it stole the show. “I really like it. It has enough sharp angles to it for a mid-’60s look that looks just right,” said Marshall Pruett, automotive editor for SPEEDtv.com. “I would call the concept drool-worthy. You want to drive it?” This is the fifth generation of the iconic brand that will be in showrooms for the 2009 model year. Automobilemag.com says the concept is “a retro-styled, two-door coupe with a honking big V-8 that harks back to the glory days of Motown.” And that’s the point, said Brian J. Smith, design manager at GM’s Advanced Design Center in Warren, Mich. “I think the biggest challenge was working the balance of heritage versus keeping the car really fresh and modern,” he said. “We worked really hard trying to capture the style and spirit of the ’69 Camaro. And we wanted to keep the car relevant for the 21st century.” He was the exterior design manager on the project. The production model, a coupe first, will feature V-6 and V-8 power plant options. It will be priced to compete with the Ford Mustang, which means affordable, much like the originals were in their day. The showroom model won’t stray far from the concept, Smith promises. “I think the layperson will struggle to tell the difference. There are very minor proportional changes. Things had to be scaled down for production feasibility.” greg.wilcox@dailynews.com (818) 713-3743 What a concept! The GM vehicle lineup for the day at Willow Springs Raceway: 2007 Camaro Convertible concept 2007 Holden EFIJY concept, right 2007 Chevy Beat concept Solstice GXP Club Sport Cobalt SS Open Air Coupe G6 Performance Coupe 2004 GTO with an LS7 crate engine Cobalt SS SC w/Stage 2 GM Performance Parts Kit Trail Blazer SS w/GM Performance Parts Brake Duct Cooling Kit Solstice Weekend Club Racer (SEMA) Summer School 1972 Chevelle with a 572 crate engine Hot Rod Solstice with LS7 crate engine COMING NEXT WEEK: Jaguar XJR160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ROSAMOND – Had a license to thrill, courtesy of General Motors Corp.’s Performance Parts Division. OK, I exaggerate a bit. It was more like a learner’s permit and it was only valid for a day. But it came with a crash helmet, the keys to several powerful race cars, Chevrolet’s approximately $6.5 million Camaro concept car and a restored 1972 Chevelle convertible. Oh, yeah, I also had permission to tear around a track at Willow Springs Raceway in a few of these gems with no speed limit signs in sight. last_img read more


Serious vehicle collision south of Grande Prairie

first_imgInvestigating officers indicated traffic could be disrupted for an extended period of time, and so far there’s no indication the crash site has been cleared for normal traffic flow. Thus, motorists with travel plans south of Grande Prairie to Grande Cache are still advised to determine alternate travel routes.  – Advertisement –last_img


Annual Taylor bridge washing starts

first_imgTAYLOR, B.C. — Yellowhead Road & Bridge will start washing on the Taylor Bridge from April 18 to May 5.The Peace River Regional District says the washing will be done between 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through to Thursdays.In this time, the bridge will be reduced to single-lane, alternating traffic with up to 20 minute delays. There will also be two traffic control personnel, as well as a pilot vehicle to control the flow of traffic.- Advertisement -Drivers are asked to be careful, as there will be workers on the deck as well as trucks moving on and off routinely.Check DriveBC for updates.last_img read more


Arsenal fans must get behind Wenger, says Gazidis

first_img“I want the atmosphere to be united,” Gazidis said at a fans event on Friday. “It has been a struggle because we haven’t had that.“There has been disagreement. There has been a lack of unity and dissatisfaction. The board knows that.“I beg you, please come together and give our manager and this team support.”Gazidis, whose own relationship with Wenger was reported to have become strained last season, promised fans that the club were aiming to secure ‘top-quality’ new faces.However, they have seen a big money bid for French international striker Alexandre Lacazette rejected by Lyon and their only signing so far has been Bosnian international defender Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04.They also face a battle to retain their star player Chilean Alexis Sanchez — who inspired them to salvaging their season with victory in the FA Cup over champions Chelsea — as he has been increasingly linked with a move to Manchester City.“We’re looking for top-quality players,” said Gazidis.“We’ve got three times as many scouts as we had four years ago. I believe that to be a world-class football club, you’ve got to be world class off the pitch.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lifts the FA Cup trophy at Wembley stadium on May 27, 2017 © AFP/File / Adrian DENNISLONDON, United Kingdom, Jun 30 – Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis on Friday urged fans to cease their heckling of Arsene Wenger and unite behind the long-serving manager.Despite speculation about his future the 67-year-old French coach finally signed a new two-year contract after the end of last season in which Arsenal finished fifth.last_img read more


Valencia storm to second in nine-goal thriller

first_img0Shares0000Valencia’s forward Goncalo Guedes celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match against Real Betis October 15, 2017 © AFP / CRISTINA QUICLERMADRID, Spain, Oct 15 – Valencia withstood a late onslaught from Real Betis to move up to second with an enthralling 6-3 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.The visitors looked to be cruising to a fifth win in eight games this season as Geoffrey Kondogbia, Goncalo Guedes, Rodrigo and Santi Mina fired them into a 4-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to go. However, Betis threatened a stunning comeback as three goals in five minutes from Joel Campbell, Antonio Sanabria and Cristian Tello set up a thrilling finale.More drama was to come, but at the other end as the on-fire Simone Zaza drilled home his seventh goal in eight games to make the game safe before Manchester United loanee Andreas Pereira rounded off the scoring in stoppage time.Valencia are now four points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona with third-placed Real Madrid a point further back.Leganes’s fantastic start to just their second season in the top flight also continued as they compounded more misery on Malaga with a 2-0 win at La Rosaleda to move up to sixth.Malaga remain winless and rooted to the bottom of the table, five points off safety.Cedric Bakambu’s double handed Villarreal a 2-1 win at Girona.And Eibar moved out of the relegation zone despite failing to turn their dominance into goals in a 0-0 draw at home to Deportivo la Coruna.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more