High-tech help arrives at Norwalk middle school

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NORWALK -- Hundreds of students at Los Alisos Magnet Middle School in Norwalk received high-tech help by way of 300 Kano Computer Kits with screens that were donated and delivered to the campus by the Best Buy Community Foundation.
The Oct. 3 event featured assembly of the computers, right on the spot, by some 300 students, with special 1-to-1 instruction provided by 300 Best Buy managers from across the nation who visited the campus to lend their volunteer support.

In addition to helping build the computers, the managers, who were attending a corporate conference in the area, talked with the students about technology retail career pathways that can lead to exciting tech-related careers.
By the end of the mid-afternoon activity that took place in classrooms and computer labs throughout the campus, students had the colorful devices — all powered by Raspberry Pi 3 computers — ready for use by campus coding and engineering clubs and for other tech-related activities.

The award-winning school, which is part of the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, specializes in science-technology-engineering-mathematics programs. The student population is mostly Hispanic and from low-income households.
“This hi-tech help, by way of the donations and support, is a special gift for our students that  will not only help them in their academic progress, but also in their future career planning.  It truly is a gift that will keep on giving,” said NLMUSD Board of Education President Sean M. Reagan.    
Altogether, the event provided nearly $100,000 worth of in-kind donation and monetary grants from Best Buy for the campus.  The goal was to help the school personalize teaching and learning for better student outcomes in computing and coding languages.
The joint initiative, which also involved participation from Los Alisos teachers and support staff, is in keeping with the district’s 20-20 Vision. 
“Our vision is simple and forward-looking,” said district Superintendent Hasmik Danielian. “We will be a model for our neighboring districts to demonstrate how technology and personalized learning strategies accelerate student learning outcomes. And we saw some of that vision come true today.”
In addition to Best Buy, the event was presented in close collaboration with two local nonprofit partners, YWCA North Orange County and Break a Difference.

Norwalk woman chosen for inaugural UCLA scholarship

NORWALK -- The Southeast Bruins, a UCLA alumni association for southeast Los Angeles County, have awarded their first-ever "Southeast Bruins Scholarship."

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The inaugural recipient is Jennifer Tang of Norwalk. Jennifer is a Biology major and started this fall as a freshman and plans to graduate in 2021. 

The Southeast Bruins Board of Directors and its Scholarship Committee wish to thank all of the donors and everyone else who helped make the scholarship possible. An event is being planned where donors will be recognized and can meet Jennifer. 

Known officially as the UCLA Alumni Los Angeles Southeast Network, the Southeast Bruins network is officially sanctioned by UCLA and strives to create a sense of community among the region's more than 5,000 UCLA alumni, family, and friends.

This year's Southeast Bruins board members include Ricardo Perez (president, '04), Sergio Valenzuela (vice president), Jonathan Sanabria (treasurer), Tiffani Prater (secretary), Maywood Councilmember Eddie De La Riva (board member), Carlos Salas (board member), Giselle Del Carmen (board member), Miguel Duarte (immediate past president), and Daniel Fail (UCLA alumni affairs liaison) .  

For more information about the events or the group, or to get involved, please contact Ricardo Perez at rperez@alumni.ucla.edu. 

About Jennifer: 

Why did you choose UCLA?
I chose UCLA because of its academics and its diverse campus community.

What are your academic and career aspirations?
I aim to attend medical school and become a general doctor in hopes of traveling and practicing my profession out in the world. I want to either join the peace corps or maybe the army as a medical doctor.

What excites you about UCLA?
I'm most excited for the college experience: finding myself, making new friends, and pursuing my passion in the sciences and pre-health.

What does this scholarship mean to you?
This scholarship means a lot to me as a student who comes from a low-income background. I was worried about costs and though financial aid from UCLA alumni donors, FAFSA, and UCLA itself, I was able to attend the college of my choice without any burden on me or my family.

Final thoughts?
Dear Southeast Los Angeles Alumni Network:  Thank you so much for donating to and supporting UCLA students like me; students who have the aspirations, but not the help they need to achieve it. This scholarship only further motivates me to reach my goals and succeed in school because if there is someone out there who supports me in my endeavors as much as you do, then I have no reason to not believe in myself and achieve my dreams. Thank you.

Total value of Norwalk real estate increased by $352 million last year

Photo by Eric Pierce

Photo by Eric Pierce

NORWALK -- The total value of Norwalk real estate increased by $352 million last year, a 5.1% jump, according to data included in the Los Angeles County Assessor's 2017 annual report, which was released last week

The report reflects strong economic growth and a record-setting increase in the assessed value of all taxable real property and business personal property in the County of Los Angeles.

The report includes an updated ranking of the county’s 88 cities, including the highest valued cities and those with the highest percentage change from the prior year.
“The 2017 Annual Report helps the public easily access information about the Office of the Assessor, including how property values in each area of the county changed during the last year,” said L.A. County Assessor Jeffrey Prang.
The 2017 Assessment Roll provides a comprehensive view of the strength of the Los Angeles County real estate market. It reveals that in the last year, every city in Los Angeles County recorded an increase in assessed valuation compared to 2016.  

“I am pleased to report that the 6.04% increase in assessed property values in Los Angeles County represents the seventh consecutive year of growth,” said Prang.

The net assessed value, (excluding non-profit, homeowners’, and disabled veterans exemptions, and other State exemptions) is $1.416 trillion, $80.6 billion greater than in 2016.
The top five highest valued cities for 2017 are the City of Los Angeles, with an assessed valuation of $568 billion (6.6% increase), Long Beach ($54.0 billion, 5.0% increase), Santa Monica ($34.4 billion, 3.8% increase), Beverly Hills ($31.9 billion, 9.1% increase), and Santa Clarita ($30.7 billion, 7.1% increase).

The top three fastest growing cities in the county in 2017 were El Segundo at 11.6% growth, Hawaiian Gardens at 10.9%, and Avalon at 9.3%. The growth is attributed to a strong real estate market and increasing demand for new multi-family residential properties. 

Governor signs bill making tampons, pads free in schools

SACRAMENTO -- Governor Jerry Brown last week signed legislation to provide free menstrual products in bathrooms at Title 1-funded (low income) schools.


The bill, authored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) received bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate. 

“By signing this bill the Governor is sending a clear message that California values and respects all aspects of a woman’s health and education,” said Garcia, who is also the chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.

"Menstrual products are medical necessities and it is important we recognize not having access to these products impacts a young girl’s education. I’ve heard stories from many young girls that struggle with their period on a monthly basis, affecting their schooling, morale, and health."
Many young girls will miss 3 to 5 days of school each month because they don’t have access to these basic medical necessities, according to a press release from Garcia's office. Some girls expose themselves to serious illness when they try to make the products last longer or improvise products to absorb their periods using all types of materials that are medically unsafe. 
"This bill will help break down barriers in education and begin to address the stigmas many young girls struggled with due to their periods," added Garcia. "The young girls that shared their life stories of hardship, the various groups that advocated on behalf of the bill, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Governor are to be commended for passage of this bill."
Last year New York City ran a pilot program installing tampon and pad dispensers in 25 of its schools.  The outcome showed an increase in attendance. In August, Illinois passed legislation to provide menstrual products in all schools grade 6th-12th.
“I’m not quite ready to give up my Tampon Queen title so,  next year I will continue to work on eliminating the tax on menstrual products in California,” added Garcia.  “A woman’s menstrual cycle is basic biology and in no way a luxury.  Period!” 

Average price for 1-bedroom apartment in Norwalk reaches $1,370

NORWALK -- Norwalk rental rates grew by 14.2% in the last year, behind only Burbank and West Covina, according to figures released today


The Zumper Los Angeles Metro Report analyzed active listings in September across 19 metro cities to show the most and least expensive cities and cities with the fastest growing rents. The California state median was $1,699 last month.

The average rental price for a 1-bedroom in Norwalk is $1,370, just behind Downey ($1,400) and ahead of Whittier ($1,280) and Bellflower ($1,270).

West Covina rent had the largest yearly growth rate in the metro, up 15.4%. Burbank followed closely behind as second with rent climbing 15.3% since this time last year. Norwalk was third with rent up 14.2%.

Santa Monica rent grew to $3,350 last month, holding onto its position as the most expensive in the metro.  Pasadena, substantially less expensive than Santa Monica, ranked as the second most expensive city with rent at $2,190.

Palmdale rent, though the fastest growing in the metro last month, remained the most affordable by far at $760.

Pomona followed suit as the second priciest city with rent at $1,260. Bellflower barely inched out Pomona with rent at $1,270.

Norwalk projects to save millions through Edison buyback program

By Raul Samaniego

NORWALK – At a special meeting of the Norwalk City Council Tuesday, the five members voted unanimously to replace the current street lighting throughout the city.

The plan calls for the buyback and – when necessary – replacement of the current light poles and installation of a new LED technology light source, which would provide better lighting at a lower cost.

However, according to SCE’s Public Affairs representative Haig Kartounian, this does not apply to any current “distribution pole,” which supports electrical lines as well as other entities (like cable, telephone, etc).

With Southern California Edison currently owning most of the light and power distribution poles in the city, the original intent of the switch from white lights to the current low yellow glow ones through out the city, seems to be a mystery to most.

Because of this, Norwalk Public Service Manager Christine Roberto said, “I don’t know [Edison’s] decision making process,” when it came to answering the question of why the switch was made decades ago.

The change to LED lighting will be a plus for those dimly lit areas by enhancing the current level of light or for those areas lacking any lighting at all.

Nevertheless, the new LED technologies switch and pole buyback program is slated to save the city of Norwalk several million dollars over the long term estimated at 15-20 years.

October activities that go bump in the night

As Halloween approaches, here are some spooky activities to consider during the month of October.

Haunts / Haunted Houses

Knotts Scary Farm Halloween Haunt

Knotts Spooky Farm runs on weekends during normal theme park operating hours and offers activities for kids ages 3 to 11, including trick or treating, Peanuts costume contest, and a decorated Timber Mountain Log Ride.

Price: Tickets start at $45

For those looking for something more terrifying, this year “The Granddaddy of Halloween Events” features nine mazes, four scare zones, The Hanging, and the final year for Elvira. Halloween Haunt takes place on select days throughout October.  Not recommended for children under 13.

Price: Tickets start at $40

Select dates through October


Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

Price: Tickets start at $24

Select dates through October

This year’s Dark Harbor will include an all-new 4th maze on the haunted ship.  In addition, many of your favorite mazes will be intensified this year with more terrifying new scares.  Live your nightmares aboard the haunted Queen Mary and join our cast of ghouls, spirits, and undead for an unforgettable, frighteningly authentic haunted experience.


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Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Price: Tickets start at $65 online. Presale recommended.

Select Dates Through October

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights® brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse you in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror. From the movie studio that invented the horror film genre, prepare for the scariest, most intense Halloween event in Southern California. This year's event features more mazes than ever with 8 terrifying experiences based on the most frightening films and television shows, as well as a Terror Tram hosted by Chucky and performances by The Jabbawockeez.


Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest

Price: Tickets start at $54.99 and allow for entry into the park all day, however a maze pass must be purchased for maze entrance. Maze pass starts at $17.

Select Dates Through October

Be prepared to be scared as zombies and ghouls take over the park. Enjoy thrilling rides and activities for the whole family throughout the day and come back for a frightening evening after the sun goes down. At Fright Fest, you won't have any place to hide from the several mazes and scare zones located throughout the park. The stuff of nightmares lurk around every corner as the dark of night and dense fog washes over the park. The ghouls are set free for their daily hunting rituals.


Sinister Pointe

E Sports Arena, 120 W 5th Street, Santa Ana

Price: $45

Sinister Pointe presents Hex, a two-night Halloween gala that will feature a costume contest, music, special performances, and other terrifying surprises. Held on October 27th through 28th, this event is for ages 21 and over.


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The 17th Door: Locked Up

1851 W Orangethorpe, Fullerton

Price: Tickets start at $24 and change depending on the day. Pre-sale recommended

Select dates through October

Paula has committed a heinous crime. It’s now time to pay the price… A lengthy sentence to be served in the most gruesome and hellish of prisons; much worse than the troubled and miserable life of our depressed college sophomore. Welcome to Perpetuum Penitentiary. A place of darkness born only in nightmares. For within these stone walls you will meet true suffering and despair. Prayers for mercy unanswered. Evil pervading it’s every space. Paula’s space. This detour through hell is her new reality. The question is… will it be yours? The sadistic warden has agreed to unsupervised visitation. Go cautiously, one-by- one, as the residents of Perpetuum have no concept of confinement and no intentions of behaving. And they are thirsty. Longing for the smell and taste of new blood.  No one escapes. Your only hope is to survive. Are you scared? YOU WILL BE.

Those who enter will be required to sign a waiver and may experience touching, shock, smells, water and mature content. A VR experience can be added on for a small fee.


Escape Rooms

Crossroads Escape Games: The Hex Room

4245 E La Palma Ave, Anaheim

Price: Admission starts at $32 per person. Reservations are recommended

Can you survive a horror film? This murderous horror movie fan wants to watch you try. Each player will take a quiz before the game to find out which character they are: The Nerd, Virgin, Jock, Rebel, Prom Queen, or Detective. Your team will be divided up into separate rooms where you must work individually and as a team. Not only do you need to escape, but you must also survive! Who will live? Who will die?


Horror Movies

Happy Death Day

Release Date: October 13

Rated PG-13

Tree Gelbman is a blissfully self-centered collegian who wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a student named Carter. As the morning goes on, Tree gets the eerie feeling that she's experienced the events of this day before. When a masked killer suddenly takes her life in a brutal attack, she once again magically wakes up in Carter's dorm room unharmed. Now, the frightened young woman must relive the same day over and over until she figures out who murdered her.


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Leather Face

Release Date: October 23

Rated R

A violent teen and three others kidnap a young nurse while escaping from a Texas mental institution. Pursued by a vengeful sheriff, the disturbed young man embarks on a murderous rampage that shapes him into a legendary killer known as Leatherface.



Release Date: October 27

Rated R

A mysterious madman rounds up a group of victims to play sadistic games of life and death. Police soon find evidence that link the crimes to Jigsaw, the infamous killer who died 10 years earlier.


Pumpkin Patch

Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch

6815 S. La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles or 3443 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles

Price: No entrance fee, however activities inside do have a cost.

While families pick out the perfect pumpkin to carve, this attraction offers several activities for kids including face painting, pony rides, petting zoo, arcade games, and inflatable houses and slides.

Local Events

Halloween Festival - A Spirited Event

Price: Free

October 31

Don’t miss the annual Halloween Festival that brings the community together for a night of music, dancing and celebration at this costume-themed event.  Ghosts, goblins, witches, zombies, fairies and spirits of all kinds are invited; All ages are welcome to participate.  There will be game booths, a costume contest, a community scarecrow contest, raffles, music, crafts, lots of candy and much more.  There will also be food available for purchase.  The festival provides a safe alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating for children and promotes the safe celebration of Halloween.  For more information please call (562) 929-5702.