Photo Gallery: 9/11 ceremony at Southeast Academy

On the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Southeast Academy High School held a service to remember the thousands of victims lost that day.

The solemn event featured flag-folding and color guard ceremonies, patriotic music from the John Glenn HS marching band, community speakers and a 9/11 timeline event reading.

Fred Cruz, a veteran and academic support teacher at La Mirada High School, gave the keynote address.

Photos by Eric Pierce.


Shared Stories: Our Little Douglas Fir

There are so many themes in this story by Kacie Cooper – a mother and daughter road trip, a turning point, a fresh start, and a simpler time. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns

By Kathy “Kacie” Cooper

Back in 1973, while my mother was searching for an escape route to divorcing my father after 28 years of marriage, I was searching for a way to get my boyfriend of three and a half years to commit to marriage.

She and I were directed in our paths, unknowingly, when my mother was called back to her hometown of Provo, Utah. Who says you can never go home again? Sometimes one must go back to their roots to reclaim their lives and start anew.

My mama Jeri’s father Benny had just died, so we would be taking him back to his hometown in Utah to bury him.

Three days later, Mom and I hopped on a Greyhound bus, carrying only two suitcases apiece, and set out for the 700-mile trip. We knew we were going to Provo, but we were oblivious as to where our lives would head after the funeral.

Grandpa Benny’s funeral was lovely, as funerals go. Luckily, we were invited to stay with Keith and Shirley Jacobson for a few weeks. They were childhood friends of my parents.

During that time my mother never brought up the idea of divorce. I never spoke of my wanting an ultimatum from my guy. Instinctively I guess we just knew what needed to be done.

Within weeks we both got a job together working at Signetics, an electronics company located in Orem, making a whopping $2.00/hour. Soon we found the cutest little one-bedroom apartment for the outrageous amount of $90 a month. We split the rent. The apartment was fully furnished. We didn’t have to buy even one piece of furniture.

It was Christmas Eve in Provo and the air was fresh and crisp and freezing. But we bundled up accordingly. The coldness was something I had never experienced in sunny California. I loved it. I never felt so alive.

From the sweet smile on my mother’s face, she looked like she had just returned to her roots. She was home.

Since we didn’t have a car yet, we decided to walk the six blocks down the street from our apartment to where the tree lot was located. Families were laughing and tying Christmas trees on top of their cars, happily throwing snowballs at each other. We saw all these huge 8- and 9-foot trees, some flocked, some green.

“Well, we can’t carry them home. They’re too big,” I told Mom. Then it suddenly began to snow and we decided we’d have to choose a smaller one quickly.

Then we saw it – our Christmas tree. It was standing there all alone, away from all the other larger trees as if it were being punished for its short height.

“How rude,” I thought. But it looked like it was ready for a new environment – like we had been. It looked so lonely. But it looked the loveliest to my mother.

I quickly paid the man and while the snow kept falling even faster, together we carried this cute, pudgy little 4-foot Douglas fir tree back to our little castle.

We entered the front door with the tree in our arms as if it were a baby coming into its new home. It smelled like the woods, it smelled like heaven. It was fresh and full of life. It was made by God. It was the only thing we would actually own in our little furnished apartment.

As I heated up the hot chocolate, Mother sprinkled her favorite silver tinsel onto our 4-foot Douglas fir. It was fun watching her decorate the tree. It felt as though she were throwing magic fairy dust onto our lives.

After stringing the white lights around the tree and plugging them in, we opened the drapes behind our Douglas fir. Instantly we were transformed into a magical new world.

In front of us was a huge, fenced-in yard with two of the most beautiful Palomino horses – my favorite, gold-colored horse. Beyond the horses, in the distance, our eyes caught sight of those beautiful, moonlit, snow-covered Utah mountains that actually illuminated our sweet little 4-foot Douglas fir.

It was an omen. Things began to happen quickly after Christmas. My mother sadly received the divorce papers. Days after listening and crying to sad Patsy Cline records, she finally signed them. Also, my boyfriend agreed to get married in June of the following year. Thus, our new lives would finally begin.

I have been living in my home in California for decades now. And you could say that I am living in a very fully-furnished home– too many material things. I don’t need all this stuff.

Then I think back to 1973 when the only thing Mom and I owned was a cute little God-made, 4-foot Douglas fir. It was really all I needed – a wonderful, 4-foot Douglas fir and an even more beautiful, God-made mother. Life was so simple, but amazing, back then.

Cerritos College partners with Amazon for cloud computing course


NORWALK – Cerritos College will offer a cloud computing certificate program in collaboration with Amazon Web Services. 

Cerritos College is one of 19 community colleges in the Los Angeles area selected for the partnership.

Through the collaboration, Cerritos College will offer a regionally recognized cloud computing certificate. Students have access to a 15-credit certificate program that focuses on in-demand cloud computing skills.

 The College will be collaborating with at least one high school to offer concurrent enrollment in the 15-credit certificate program and professional development opportunities, including curriculum development workshops and Amazon Web Services trainings.

Cloud computing enables the delivery of on-demand computing resources, such as applications, networking, software, and data centers over the internet on a pay-for-use basis. The demand for cloud computing talent is increasing in Los Angeles County, according to a forecast by Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).

The project is a partnership among Amazon Web Services, the California Strong Workforce Program, LAEDC’s Center for a Competitive Workforce, and the Los Angeles area community colleges.

Norwalk-La Mirada school district launches contest for new logo

NORWALK – Do you have artistic talent? Do you have creative ideas or know someone who does? 

 Norwalk-La Mirada's current logo.

Norwalk-La Mirada's current logo.

If so, the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District could use your help. The district is now inviting submissions for its logo design contest.  

A new logo is needed to reflect and convey the positive message of the district’s new slogan, “Every Student. Future Ready. Our Promise!”  

The contest is open to all district students, teachers, support staff, and administrators. 
It’s also open to any community member residing within the district boundaries. 

NLMUSD encompasses the cities of Norwalk, La Mirada, a portion of Santa Fe Springs and part of unincorporated Whittier. 

“Our goal is to have a logo that represents all the great progress — and future potential — of our wonderful schools and students,” said NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian.
All entries must adhere to the design guidelines and be received by Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.  Submissions may be emailed to or postal mailed or hand delivered to:   

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
Superintendent’s Office
c/o NLMUSD Logo Contest
12820 Pioneer Blvd., Norwalk, CA  90650

The winning logo or logos will become part of the official identity graphics used by the district. The logo will be displayed on websites, social media platforms, business cards, stationery, banners, posters, souvenir trinkets and various other ways.  

 There are no age restrictions for participants. Students at any grade level can enter and participants may submit work(s) as individual entrants or as part of a group. There is no contest entry fee.  

All submissions must be turned in with a completed entry form. The entry form can be found online at  

One or more submissions per person or group is acceptable but each submission must be turned in with a separate entry form. 

The contest is now open, as of Aug. 21, and closes at 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Late submissions will not be considered.  

All logo artwork must be original and pertain to the theme, “Every Student. Future Ready. Our Promise!”  The artwork must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be a copy or duplicate of any previously published art, including photographs.

All winning entries will become the property of NLMUSD, which will have the right to adapt, edit, modify or otherwise use the winning submissions in part or in its entirety in whatever manner it deems appropriate.   

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:  visual appeal, artistic merit, how well it promotes the district’s tagline, original concept, quality of design, and ease of reproduction.
A panel of district staff and community members will review all entries. The superintendent and executive staff will select the finalists.  

Finalist entries will be submitted to the Board of Education for review and approval at a designated board meeting. The winner will be officially recognized at a subsequent board meeting.  

However, the district maintains the right to declare no winner if no artwork of merit is found.

Neighborhood watch meeting set for Wednesday

NORWALK – Norwalk’s Public Safety Department is hosting a neighborhood watch meeting this Wednesday, Aug. 29, starting at 6:30 p.m. on the 12000 block ofAbingdon Street. 

Residents from surrounding areas are invited to connect with their neighbors and Public Safety personnel to share concerns and discuss ways to make their neighborhood safer. 

The Neighborhood Watch program runs on the principle that an engaged community working together with law enforcement is the best deterrent to criminal activity. 

More importantly, neighbors that know one another are more inclined to notice strangers and report suspicious activity.

For more details, call Public Safety at (562) 929-5732.

Norwalk Community Hospital earns award for patient safety

NORWALK – Norwalk Community Hospital is the recipient of the 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award for the fifth year in a row (2014-18). 

The medical facility is officially named Los Angeles Community Hospital at Norwalk.
This designation recognizes superior performance of hospitals that have prevented the occurrence of serious, potentially avoidable complications for patients during hospital stays, according to Healthgrades.

The distinction places Los Angeles Community Hospital at Norwalk among the top 5 percent of all acute care hospitals reporting patient safety data for its excellent performance as evaluated by Healthgrades, a trusted provider of information to millions of U.S. healthcare consumers.

“If you have to go to the hospital, it’s important to choose a hospital that is dedicated to safety, and ours has a proven track record of preventing further illness and injury to its patients,” said Los Angeles Community Hospital at Norwalk CEO Hector Hernandez.

During the 2014-16 study period, Healthgrades found that patients treated in hospitals receiving the Patient Safety Excellence Award were, on average:

- 55.6 percent less likely to experience an accidental cut, puncture, perforation or hemorrhage during medical care, than patients treated at non-recipient hospitals

-  52.4 percent less likely to experience a collapsed lung due to a procedure or surgery in or around the chest, than patients treated at a non-recipient hospital

- 62,8 percent less likely to experience catheter-related bloodstream infections acquired at the hospital, than patients treated at non-recipient hospitals

-  54.3 percent less likely to experience pressure sores or bed sores acquired in the hospital, than patients at non-recipient hospitals

“We are proud to be able to offer the residents of Norwalk safe care that is nationally recognized,” added Keith Levy, hospital administrator.

In addition to the Patient Safety Excellence award, Healthgrades also recognized Norwalk Community Hospital in 2018 with Five Stars for Hip Fracture Treatment, Appendectomy, Esophageal-Stomach Surgeries, Treatment of Bowel Obstruction, Treatment of GI Bleed, Treatment of Pancreatitis, and COPD Treatment.

Norwalk man charged with murder for fatal DUI crash

NORWALK -- A Norwalk man was charged today with killing two people and injuring others in a DUI crash on the 605 Freeway.
Alex Barragan (dob 8/27/86) faces two counts of murder and one count each of driving under the influence of alcohol within 10 years of another DUI offense and driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol content causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense.
Arraignment was scheduled for Wednesday at Los Angeles County Superior Court, Bellflower Branch.
On July 16, Barragan was allegedly driving his car on the freeway near Alondra Boulevard when he rear ended a disabled van, prosecutors said. The van erupted in flames and two people died and three others were injured, prosecutors added.
If convicted as charged, Barragan faces a possible maximum sentence of 44 years to life in state prison.
Bail is scheduled at more than $2.19 million.
The case remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, Santa Fe Springs Area.

Norwalk man talks about life on a Navy supercarrier

PEARL HARBOR – A 2009 Norwalk Adult School graduate and Norwalk native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

 Thomas Kozlowski

Thomas Kozlowski

Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Kozlowski is a hull maintenance technician aboard USS Carl Vinson, currently operating out of San Diego. 

A Navy hull maintenance technician is responsible for welding pipes and fittings around the ship, and fabricating structures. 

Kozlowski applies the lessons learned from Norwalk to working in the Navy. 

“Having the drive to succeed which I learned from my hometown has helped me in the Navy,” said Kozlowski. "I always try to do better." 

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971. 

The theme of RIMPAC 2018 is Capable, Adaptive, Partners. The participating nations and forces exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious, counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations. 

“I'm most looking forward to being able to tour ships from the different participating nations, and experiencing their culture,” said Kozlowski. 

This is the first time Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as sea combat commander and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position. 

“I'm most proud of completing the Navy Dive School,” said Kozlowski. "It was the biggest achievement of my Naval career.” 

Twenty-six nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year's exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. 

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Kozlowski and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs. 

“The Navy has shown me that I'm not scared of anything,” said Kozlowski. “Serving in the Navy for me means being a part of a greater cause. I get to pave the way for the future of the Navy."

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach