Major Weekend Closure On 710 Freeway Starts Tonight

March 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Motorists planning to the use the Long Beach (710) Freeway from the Monterey Park area this weekend may want to look for an alternate route or prepare for delays, thanks to a major closure that begins tonight.

According to Caltrans, the southbound 710 Freeway will have only one lane open between the San Bernardino (10) and Pomona (60) freeways to accommodate the placement of concrete slabs. Connector ramps from the 10 Freeway to the southbound 710 will also be closed.

The closures begin at 10 p.m. and will continue until 5 a.m. Monday.

The work is part of a $120 million pavement replacement project on the 710 Freeway between the Century (105) Freeway and the 10. The project is scheduled to be completed later this year.

Fugitive Eastside Murder Suspect Returned to L.A.

December 10, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

A 28-year-old man suspected in the beating death of his 21-year-old girlfriend, whose body was found next to a cemetery and freeway in East Los Angeles, was taken into custody in Mexico and has been extradited to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced today.

Antonio Medina, 28, was sought in the death of Kassandra Ochoa, whose body was found about 1 a.m. Nov. 21 in the 400 block of South Sydney Drive, between the Long Beach (710) Freeway and New Calvary Cemetery, according to the sheriff’s department.

U.S. Marshals and Mexican authorities took Medina into custody on Wednesday in the western Mexico state of Nayarit, Deputy Sara Rodriguez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.

Medina was located as a result of a tip received after media reports of the killing, Rodriguez said.

He was taken back to California and booked at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station on suspicion of murder. He was also the subject of a no-bail warrant for a probation violation, Rodriguez said.

“Medina … was seen fleeing the scene after he was heard arguing with the victim, according to witness accounts,” a previous sheriff’s statement said.

Medina was being held without bail at the Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles and is due in court on Friday, according to sheriff’s online inmate records.

 

 

Deputies Investigating Woman’s Death in East L.A.

November 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The death of a woman in East Los Angeles was being investigated as a homicide, authorities said today.

The body of the unidentified victim was found on the 400 block of South Sydney Drive, between the Long Beach (710) Freeway and the New Calvary Cemetery at 1 a.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Crystal Hernandez said

Deputies closed off the area for several hours to search for the suspect, thought to still be in the area.

The cause of death is not known, Hernandez said.

Boy’s Fatal Shooting In East L.A. Self Inflicted

November 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The 14-year-old boy found dead with a gunshot to his head in an East Los Angeles alley had been handling a loaded handgun and unintentionally shot himself, a sheriff’s deputy said Monday

The boy was at first identified only as “a documented member of a local street gang” by sheriff’s deputies.

The shooting was reported at 6:10 p.m. Saturday in an alley off the 3500 block of Cesar Chavez Avenue, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.

Deputies dispatched to the scene found the boy lying in an alley south of Cesar Chavez Avenue. Paramedics rushed him to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

It was not known yet how or where the teenager got possession of the handgun.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the shooting to call them at (323) 890-5500.

Free Concert Today at Union Station

May 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In the mood for some great music? Head to Union Station this evening where East L.A. based Camalanche will perform from 4-6 p.m in the East Portal.

The Chicano-Jarocho group plays and promotes the traditional Son Jarocho in the spirit of the fandango, a celebration of music and dance.

Get a taste of the groups exciting sound then head across the street for dinner and shopping at Olvera Street or take Metro to other local hot spots for an evening of great fun without the hassle of looking for parking.

East L.A.-based Chicano-Son Jarocho group Camalanche.

East L.A.-based Chicano-Son Jarocho group Camalanche.

Continue the weekend fun Saturday by celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month with a special Metro Art Moves tour. The tour, led by artist and curator Sam Lee, starts at 10:30 a.m., at the Gold Line Chinatown Station – street level – before continuing on to tour stops The Wheels of Change of Chusien Chang in Chinatown Station, Through the Looking Glass or Traveling at the Speed ??of Light (Rail) Clement Hanami station at East LA / Civic Center.

The tour ends at noon – just in time for lunch. We suggest you go to Purgatory Pizza, opposite the Pico/Aliso station. Show your TAP card and receive 10% off your order.

DTSC Director Apologizes to Eastside Residents

April 10, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

[Updated: April 16, 12p.m.]

“I’m sorry.” Two words Eastside residents never thought they would hear from the state agency charged with regulating a controversial Vernon-based acid-lead battery recycler found to have repeatedly violated toxic chemical air emissions standards.

For the first time since taking the helm of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, Director Barbara Lee personally addressed a public meeting discussing the now-closed Exide Technologies plant. DTSC has been heavily criticized for “failing” to protect the public from arsenic and lead emissions, chemicals known to cause cancer and neurological damage.

“I know many feel the department has failed you, I want to start of by saying I’m very sorry,” Lee told hundreds of residents and environmental activists during a meeting April 9 at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights to discuss Exide’s closure plan.

The tone at last week’s meeting was quieter and less combative then past meetings, but skepticism and mistrust still hung heavy in the air.

“We want to know what happened …we want to know who is responsible,” demanded Mark Lopez, director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justices.

DTSC Director Barbara Lee apologizes to eastside residents Thursday at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

DTSC Director Barbara Lee apologizes to eastside residents Thursday at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Lopez asked Lee if she would consider opening a criminal investigation into DTSC’s handling of the Vernon plant, which it allowed to operate on an interim permit for decades despite being found to have exposed eastside residents to cancer-causing toxins.

Lee did not at first directly respond to the request, instead denying any criminal activity on the part of the department, but Lopez pressed on.

“We want accountability. What happened before was not your fault, but moving forward is all your responsibility,” said Lopez, drawing loud applause from the approximately 200 people at the meeting.

“Would you be willing to let me think about it?” Lee asked.

Dozens of members of the Los Angeles Latino Business Chamber of Commerce attended the Distinguished Speakers Series event April 10. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Dozens of members of the Los Angeles Latino Business Chamber of Commerce attended the Distinguished Speakers Series event April 10. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Lopez agreed, explaining he didn’t expect the DTSC director to make a decision right then and there. “I just want to make sure you respond on the record in front of all of us,” he said.

Lee was appointed to head DTSC about four months ago and was not part of the protracted battle to shutter the troubled plant, but said she understands why residents mistrust the agency.

“It’s important we do not let this happen again,” she said, promising to do things differently moving forward.

For more than a decade, area residents complained to DTSC and the South Coast Air Quality Management District about Exide, but it took an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office to permanently close down the facility.

Federal authorities announced last month that they had struck a deal to close the plant in exchange for Exide and its executives avoiding criminal prosecution for their illegal handling of hazardous waste. The deal requires Exide to pay the entire cost to clean its plant and homes in the surrounding community found to have been contaminated. DTSC will oversee the closure and clean up.

“We won folks,” Monsignor John Moretta happily told the crowd.

However, not everyone is as convinced or ready to forgive.

“I don’t want to hear I’m sorry because nobody is more sorry than me,” said a tearful Terry Cano before she shared that her father had died from cancer she believes was caused by Exide’s emissions.

“You’re telling me this is the best you can do,” she said, angry that there will be no criminal prosecutions.

Boyle Heights resident Terry Cano shared her concerns with the way DTSC handled the Exide plant in Vernon last week at Resurrection Church. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Boyle Heights resident Terry Cano shared her concerns with the way DTSC handled the Exide plant in Vernon last week at Resurrection Church. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

The meeting drew residents from Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Maywood, Commerce and Huntington Park, the area most heavily impacted by Exide generated pollution. Several people said the deal did not do enough to compensate the people harmed by the Vernon plant.

Teresa Marquez told Lee she believes the director wants to move the agency forward, but questioned whether any DTSC employee had been fired over the agency’s handling of the facility.

Lee said DTSC is being overhauled and new deputy directors have been brought in to replace staff no longer at the agency.

That prompted Lopez to again push for a criminal investigation.

“We want to know where they are now and if they are working for another similar agency making those same [bad] decisions,” he said. There is no victory until a closer look is taken at the systemic problems that allowed a company like Exide to keep polluting the community for so long, without that, real change is not possible, Lopez said.

A Huntington Park resident asked Lee to consider expanding the area being tested for lead and arsenic to include more nearby communities. Currently, testing is focused on East L.A., Boyle Heights and Maywood, which Lee explained was determined by AQMD modeling that identified the areas most likely to be contaminated.

“Predictions also come in the form of weather forecasts and they’re not always right,” the resident responded.

DTSC Director Barbara Lee, pictured right, apologizes to eastside residents at Resurrection Church April 9 (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

DTSC Director Barbara Lee, pictured right, apologizes to eastside residents at Resurrection Church April 9 (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Moving forward, Exide has to submit a closure/post closure plan to DTSC by May 15. The agency will review the plans for compliance then present the plan to the public for comment sometime in the fall. Removal of the buildings and structures at the site is expected to start in spring 2016 and take 19-24 months to complete.

“For too many years we did not listen well to you,” Lee told the audience, acknowledging that many residents are not yet ready to trust the agencies responsible for regulating Exide.

“I don’t expect by standing here I will change that, I have to earn your trust,” she said. “I can’t promise you I will always get it right, but I will always give it my best. I hope you will be ready to take one step forward with us,” she said.

“It’s refreshing to hear a different tone,” remarked Maywood Councilman Oscar Magaña.

But for Boyle Heights resident Joe Gonzalez, the fight is far from over.

“We haven’t won,” he said, “we just threw the first punch that will change the momentum.”

 

 

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