Autoridades Se Esfuerzan Para Tramitar Seguros de Salud

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Las autoridades sanitarias de California señalaron que trabajan de manera continua para responder al número de solicitudes de seguros de salud originadas a raíz de la nueva ley de salud, y que estudian nuevos procedimientos para agilizar la tramitación de las solicitudes atrasadas.

El Departamento de Salud de California aludió de manera tangencial la decisión del juez del condado de Alameda Evelio Grillo, quien esta semana ordenó al servicio de salud estatal que ofreciera cobertura temporal a las personas que tuvieran 45 o más días de haber presentado su solicitud y aún no tengan respuesta.

Actualmente, las autoridades de salud de California calculan que hay cerca de 45.000 aplicaciones pendientes por definir, aunque parte de ellas presentaron información duplicada.

“El Departamento de Servicios de Salud de California ha estado trabajando continuamente para poder actualizar todas las solicitudes (a Medi-Cal) que sufrieron un incremento notable a raíz de la nueva ley de salud”, explicó a Efe Norman Williams, portavoz del departamento.

Según datos de la entidad, más de 2.7 millones de personas se han registrado en los programas ofrecidos bajo la nueva ley de salud que empezó a regir el 1 de enero de 2014.

De acuerdo con la Ley de Salud Asequible, las personas con ingresos inferiores al 138% del nivel federal de pobreza deberán recibir la cobertura médica subsidiada, que en California se conoce como Medi-Cal, en vez de pagar un seguro de salud en el mercado de seguros.

Así, una familia de cuatro personas con ingresos iguales o menores a $32.913 anuales que solicite un seguro de salud en Covered California deberá ser asignada de automática a la cobertura gratuita de Medi-Cal.

En su escrito, el juez Grillo determinó que las autoridades sanitarias del estado deberán informar del nuevo beneficio temporal a quienes apliquen a este seguro.

Para encontrar ayuda en persona o un evento de inscripción cerca de usted, los consumidores pueden visitar www.CoveredCA.com y haga clic en el botón “Encuentra ayuda en tu área”. La fecha límite para solicitar es el 15 de febrero.

AARP Lanza Esfuerzo Educacional Para Prevenir Fraudes

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Coincidiendo con la Semana de Concientización del Robo de Identidad Tributaria, La Red de Vigilancia contra el Fraude  de AARP (Fraud Watch Network) está lanzando un esfuerzo educativo para ayudar a las personas a protegerse de los fraudes fiscales, por medio de un nuevo video, una lista de consejos y alentando a las personas para que aprovechen los servicios gratuitos de AARP en la preparación de impuestos.

Muchos contribuyentes están en mayor riesgo de robo de identidad tributaria según un  reciente estudio nacional distribuido por La Red de Vigilancia contra el Fraude  de AARP y la campaña educativa para evitar que los estafadores se roben el dinero que con tanto esfuerzo los californianos ganan.

“Alentamos a todos los californianos a presentar sus declaraciones lo más temprano posible para vencer a los estafadores”, dijo Nancy McPherson, Directora Estatal Interina de AARP California. “También queremos recordar a los contribuyentes que ellos nunca deben tirar a la basura recibos de pago u otros documentos financieros sin antes  destruirlos. El riesgo de fraude es muy grande y los estafadores están más que dispuestos a escarbar en la basura si esto significa que pueden robar su identidad”.

De acuerdo a la  Comisión Federal de Comercio, California ocupa el tercer lugar en denuncias de robo de identidad. En este esquema de robo de identidad, los estafadores presentan electrónicamente una declaración de impuestos bajo el nombre de otra persona para recoger su reembolso de impuestos. Todo lo que necesitan es la fecha de nacimiento y el número de seguro social. Muchos contribuyentes hacen que su información personal sea fácil de obtener por medio de descuidos que pueden ser prevenidos.

Seis de cada diez estadounidenses no le pone llave a su buzón, lo cual permite que los criminales que roban facturas, formularios de impuestos y otros documentos obtengan su información personal.

Mas de la mitad (54%) de los estadounidenses de 18-49 han dejado por lo menos un objeto de valor personal en su carro en la última semana (por ejemplo: bolso/billetera, recibo de sueldo, laptop) que pudiera ser utilizado para robar la identidad.

Más de uno en cinco de estadounidenses dicen que nunca destruyen sus documentos personales que pudieran ser utilizados para robar su identidad.

Para protegerse usted y su familia del robo de identidad debe seguir los siguientes consejos:

• Solicite y envíe lo más pronto posible sus documentos necesarios durante esta temporada de impuestos.

• No de su información personal a menos que usted sepa quién le está preguntando por ella y para que la necesita.

• Destruya sus documentos personales y financieros.

• Conozca a su preparador de impuestos.

Cada temporada de impuestos, Tax Aide ayuda a millones de contribuyentes de bajos a moderados ingresos—especialmente aquellos de 60 años y más—a obtener los créditos y deducciones que se merecen. El programa gratuito es manejado por voluntarios y es considerado el más grande de la nación.

Para obtener estas sugerencias de prevención de fraude y otras, visite http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/. Para información adicional, contacte a la Unidad Especializada de Protección de la Identidad del IRS al 800-908-4490 y viste irs.gov/identitytheft

Crisis Counselors Sent to East L.A. Schools Following Killing

January 29, 2015 by · 5 Comments 

Students, teachers and staff at Griffith Middle School and Garfield High School in East Los Angeles are receiving counseling to help them deal with the fatal stabbing of a 14-year old boy on the middle school campus by reputed gang member, who authorities say is just 13-years-old.

The victim was identified as Steven Cruz, a student at Garfield High School.

Cruz was walking home last Friday but stopped at Griffith to visit friends, authorities said. The suspect asked Cruz where he was from, a common tactic used by gang members to determine gang affiliation, then stabbed him in the torso with a sharp object, according to authorities.

Lea este artículo en Español: Consejeros son Enviados a Escuelas del Este de Los Ángeles Después de Asesinato

Cruz was taken to the County-USC Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

A 13-year-old boy arrested Tuesday, whose name has not been released because he was charged as a juvenile, appeared in court Wednesday and denied the murder charge and gang and weapon allegations — the equivalent of a not-guilty plea in adult court. He remains in custody until a pre-trial hearing Feb. 10.

A second teenager, who is believed to have supplied the knife used in the killing, was arrested at 10:20 p.m. at his home Tuesday and charged with murder; he is 14-years-old.

A small altar was placed outside of Griffith Middle School, where Cruz was stabbed by a 13 year old. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

A small altar was placed outside Griffith Middle School, where Cruz was stabbed by a 13-year old. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Los Angeles Unified spokesperson Monica Carazo told EGP that the school district deployed crisis counselors to both Griffith and Garfield to help students and staff emotionally cope with the killing. Crisis counselors will remain at both schools indefinitely, she said.

“Students react differently, it can hit them tomorrow or another day,” said Carazo, comparing the situation to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut where some people had no reaction until three or more days following the killings.

East Los Angeles resident Luz Mercado’s two daughters attend Griffith Middle School and had stayed after school for cheerleading practice the day of the stabbing.

She said her husband received the phone call from the school explaining what had happened and instructing them to pick up their daughters in the school auditorium.

“They didn’t release them until 9:40 p.m.,” she told EGP in Spanish. “They were scared because it happened at their school, and when a lot of people were there,” she said.

The school, just starting its afterschool program, was locked down immediately following the stabbing “to ensure the students’ safety by making sure the grounds were safe and to give authorities a chance to see if anyone witnessed the fatality,” said LAUSD spokesman Daryl Strickland.

Investigators have not said how many people may have witnessed the stabbing, but according to Carazo, there were quite a few students still “hanging around” the campus when the stabbing took place.

Counselors are advising parents and staff to look for signs that may signal someone is having trouble dealing with the tragedy, such as trouble sleeping or nightmares.

Mercado said her daughters appear to be doing OK and do not want to speak with a counselor, but she added that she and her husband will make sure the girls receive help if it’s needed.

The killing has many people questioning how someone so young could commit murder, and what can be done to prevent others from following the same path.

In Mercado’s opinion, too many parents do not pay attention to what their children are doing, which leads to trouble.

“Parents should get their children involved in more activities,” she said. “If students are not doing anything [productive] they will end up in a gang or something worse,” she reasoned.

It was a sentiment echoed by the parent of a former Griffith student who still volunteers at the school.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said parents are responsible for their child’s actions. “This could’ve happened anywhere,” she said. “Parents should talk more to their kids and should be able to help them when they need it,” she said.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who represents East Los Angeles, released a statement expressing shock over the killing.

“It is chilling that this tragedy occurred at a school, which should always be a safe haven for our children,” she said. “I hope that by working together, the community and our law enforcement can quickly solve this crime and bring justice to the grieving family and friends,” she wrote.

Carazo said anyone interested in receiving help from a counselor can go directly to the main office of Griffith or Garfield to request assistance.

Information from CNS was used in this article.

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Commerce Begins Project to Improve Traffic Bottleneck

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The City of Commerce on Friday celebrated the formal groundbreaking of a $30 million project to improve Washington Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in the region.

The improvements, aimed at beautifying and improving the flow of traffic through the area, have been a long time coming, said Mayor Tina Baca Del Rio during the ceremony.

Not only will traffic be improved, so will the quality of life in Commerce, the mayor said.

The city council unanimously approved the project in 2010 but the recession and the state’s disbanding of redevelopment agencies made the project financially unfeasible at the time, according to the city.

The project involves the reconstruction and widening of a 2.7-mile segment of Washington between Indiana Street to the Santa Ana I-5 Freeway within the City of Commerce.

City officials celebrate the start of a long awaited project to ease traffic on Washington Boulevard in the City of Commerce.

City officials celebrate the start of a long awaited project to ease traffic on Washington Boulevard in the City of Commerce.

Commerce is home to a large number of industrial businesses and one of the busiest rail yards in the country. Washington Boulevard is a major east-west arterial serving as one of the most significant connectors between the I-710 and the I-5 freeways. The city says 35,000 vehicles travel through the area every day and 25% of the vehicles are trucks.

As a key link in the regional movement of goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the terminals of the Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railways, the infrastructure along Washington Boulevard is continuously strained. Traffic congestion is a major issue, as are the toxic diesel fumes emitted by the large trailer trucks that use the route.

Councilman Ivan Altamirano told EGP that improvements to the boulevard would allow traffic to move quicker. The widening will also provide for more parking in non-peak hours, he said.

The councilman said residents are happy the project is finally getting off the ground because “between 3 and 6 p.m. they have trouble coming in or leaving the city due to the heavy traffic.”

Washington will be widened from two to three lanes in each direction, said Maryam Babaki, Commerce’s director of public works. The project will add raised medians, LED lighting and ADA ramps at intersection corners for pedestrian safety, she told EGP.

“It will look very different and really nice,” she said.

The project could take up to two years to complete, disrupting traffic and business in the area. City officials hope work will take less time, but are asking the public to be patient as the work progresses.

“Construction is never easy but we are trying to mitigate the impacts” on the community, said Babaki.

She said all the project partners — the Federal Highway Administration, Caltrans, Metro, LA County and the Southern California Association of Government — are trying to find options to expedite construction. For example, there are segments that are not close to residences where the contractor can work at night, Babaki said. “Sometimes we don’t need the four full lanes closed, so they may work on segments,” she explained.

Del Rio said the city is also working with the Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol to assist in mitigating the traffic issues that are sure to occur. She said she understands that some businesses along the boulevard may be worried about the impact construction will have on their bottom line, and said city staff is reaching out to those businesses to help them during construction.

Property owners so far seem to be OK with the project, Altamirano told EGP, adding that the city is “trying to buy some property where needed” to widen the street.

A local environmental justice community has in the past expressed concerns about the Washington project, saying widening the street will increase the volume of traffic in the area, serving “industrial interests rather than the health of the community.”

According to the city, however, heavy congestion is a health concern and moving traffic through more quickly eases that burden.

Supporters of the Washington Project say they are glad the project is finally moving ahead, and look forward to improvements to the environment, pedestrian safety and traffic easing on the boulevard.

During last Friday’s groundbreaking, the mayor took a few minutes to acknowledge the many people within the city and from partner agencies that have worked diligently for years to get the project moving.

“It has taken a village to do this project,” said Del Rio.

For more information on the Washington Blvd. construction process call (888) 705-4009 or visit www.washingtonblvdcommerce.com 

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Monterey Park Crossing Guard Killed in Accident

January 29, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

A 76-year-old crossing guard who was struck and killed by a car in Monterey Park was identified Wednesday by the coroner’s office, while a collection of notes and flowers continued to grow in his memory.

Abel Castellanos of Monterey Park died at the scene, according to the coroner’s office.

Castellanos was struck at 3:42 p.m. Tuesday at Garfield and Elmgate avenues, directly across from Monterey Park Fire Station 42.

The driver of the car that struck Castellanos did not attempt to flee.

No arrests have been made.

 

On Wednesday flowers, candles and letters were placed on the corner where Abel Castellanos worked as a crossing guard.  (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

On Wednesday flowers, candles and letters were placed on the corner where Abel Castellanos worked as a crossing guard. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

The California Highway Patrol was investigating the collision, CHP Officer Peter Bishop said.

At the crash scene, a memorial grew in honor of Castellanos. One person left a note thanking him for keeping children safe in the neighborhood for the past decade.

Monterey Park City Manager Paul Talbot said Castellanos “was a fixture at this corner for the past 10 years and was highly regarded and respected by those who knew him.”

“He was especially close to members of the Monterey Park Fire Department who would exchange stories and coffee with him on a daily basis,” Talbot said. “The children at Macy Intermediate School and Meher Montessori School were especially fond of their safety companion. He will be dearly missed by all members of the Monterey Park Police Department.”

According to the city, Castellanos lived in Monterey Park for more than 50 years with his wife, Delores, who died in April 2014. He is survived by his daughter, two sons, grandchildren and in-laws.

Flags at Monterey Park City Hall were lowered to half-staff in his honor.

Bell Gardens Reflects on ‘Trying’ Year

January 29, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Bell Gardens Councilwoman Priscilla Flores was recognized for her service as Mayor Pro Tem during a difficult year for the city during the annual reorganization of council appointments on Monday.

Usually a festive event, the mood in the packed council meeting chambers was somber.

Alluding to the unexpected death of Mayor Daniel Crespo in September, several speakers thanked Flores for stepping in to perform his duties during “a very trying time” in the city.

Flores was presented with certificates of recognition from Sen. Ricardo Lara, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis.

Top clockwise: Mayor Pro Tem Pedro Aceituno, Councilember Jose Mendoza, Councilmember Maria Pulido, Mayor Jennifer Rodriguez and Councilmember Priscilla Flores during Bell Garden’s meeting Monday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Top clockwise: Mayor Pro Tem Pedro Aceituno, Councilember Jose Mendoza, Councilmember Maria Pulido, Mayor Jennifer Rodriguez and Councilmember Priscilla Flores during Bell Garden’s meeting Monday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“The city of Bell Gardens is a better city because of you,” said Garcia’s representative.

Flores, who seemed uncomfortable with the accolades, said she was accepting the recognitions on behalf of Crespo, who she said fulfilled the duties of mayor for most of the year, drawing applause from the audience.

During the brief meeting, Jennifer Rodriguez was voted in as mayor and Pedro Aceituno was chosen to serve as mayor pro tem. Both have been on the council for more than a decade.

Newly appointed Councilwoman Maria Pulido was also publically administered the oath of office.

Though no honors were posthumously presented to Crespo, the council made sure to recognize the legacy he left behind.

“I’m glad Mr. Crespo got to serve as mayor, I probably would have selected him again,” said Flores. “He did a lot for our community, there’s always going to be a piece of him in Bell Gardens.”

An emotional Rodriguez said the city got a lot done in the past year and though he is no longer around she continues to feel Crespo’s influence and presence.

“Though this has been a year of progress, tragedy…it has made us stronger.”

Monterey Park Housing Project Moves Forward Despite Council Split

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The time granted to a local developer to pay off nearly $3 million it will owe the city was nearly doubled Monday over the vocal objections of two Monterey Park city council members.

“We are not in the business of providing long term financing, we are not a bank,” said Councilwoman Teresa Real Sebastian.

She was referring to an $834 thousand loan of city-controlled, federally restricted HOME funds to build six affordable housing units in Monterey Park, and a $2 million acquisition loan for the sale of 25 city-owned affordable housing units on Pomona Boulevard and Chandler Avenue to the nonprofit LINC Development Corporation. LINC also plans to purchase a city-owned parking lot located across from City Hall on Ramona Avenue, and will pay the city $540 thousand when the deal closes, and provide the city with 19 public parking spaces at the site.

The request to extend LINC’s loan terms has been a hot-button issue for the council, prompting spirited debate at more than one council meeting. There is consensus on the council that building more affordable housing in Monterey Park is desirable, but Real Sebastian and Councilman Mitchell Ing want city loans to the developers of those projects, including LINC, to be paid back faster.

“Somebody had to say this is a good idea, this makes financial sense. Who reviewed it?” Real Sebastian asked city staff at the Jan. 7 council meeting. “How do I know that this time [the numbers are] going to be correct?”

Real Sebastian pressed staff to explain what has changed since the agreements with LINC were approved in 2013 and 2014, with terms that called for the loan to be paid back in 30 years.

The original numbers were conservative and the changing housing market has increased the estimated cost, responded a LINC representative.

According to a city staff report, LINC needs the extension so it can secure the third-party funding it requires to complete the projects and so the loans can run concurrently in compliance with government affordability covenants.

“The only way that the project is financially feasible” is to extend the pay off timeframe to 55 years, said Monterey Park’s economic development director, Michael A. Huntley.

His assertion, however, did not sit well with Real Sebastian, who said the project was fully vetted before the loan was made and deemed financially viable under the original terms of the agreement.

Real Sebastian and Ing, who are up for reelection in March, have repeatedly voiced opposition to change the terms of the city’s deal with LINC.

Councilman Anthony Wong, who is also up for reelection, initially expressed concern about extending the loan, but ultimately voted in favor of the extension.

Appearing frustrated with Real Sebastian’s questioning, Mayor Hans Liang asked the councilwoman to give others a chance to speak. She agreed, but not before emphasizing that her questions are important to the city.

In her support, Ing said he appreciated Real Sebastian’s due diligence on the issue.

“These are questions residents would have wanted to ask,” he said.  “The question is, is the city giving up way too much.”

Staff reiterated that the project is not financially viable if the developer has to pay off the loan in 30 years.

“LINC is not the only entity that could do it,” Ing shot back.

The longer term is in line with tax credit mandates, explained City Manger Paul Talbot, adding that the city is at risk of losing  federal housing funds if the project fails to move forward.

Ing and Real Sebastian testily implied the city manager was only interested in the views of the three council members in favor of the project, with Ing reminding Talbot that there are five council members, not just three.

Liang said he understood how the deal could raise concerns, but “everything in life has a risk.”

“I don’t ask questions out of fear, I ask questions out of a responsibility to the residents of Monterey Park,” Real Sebastian retorted sharply.

The council ultimately voted 3-2 to extend the terms of LINC’s agreements to 55 years.

The entire project was “not council driven” but rather “pushed by the city manager,” said Ing.

“Knowing that he had the [backing of the] majority of the council, he pursued it.”

Liang said it is inaccurate to say no one was asking questions, again expressing his view that the project would be beneficial to the city.

“It has to be a give and take and right now it just feels like it’s been a take and take,” said Real Sebastian.

Talbot told EGP that most items that go before the council are recommended by staff, but the items can only proceed if council expresses an interest to move forward.

He said the amended terms are not a bad thing for the city.

“That is a [55-year] commitment to low-income housing” in Monterey Park.

Exide Violates Hazardous Waste Laws

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent inspection led the Department of Toxic Substance Control Wednesday to issue eight new violations to embattled Exide Technologies related to their handling of hazardous waste.

The most serious violation observed at the Vernon facility by DTSC and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspectors was unauthorized tanks filled with contaminated sludge. The inspectors also found that the plant failed to “sufficiently protect against spills” in an area where battery acid is stored.

Other alleged violations include: improperly labeling and not closing containers with hazardous waste, a lack of adequate secondary containment and placing hazardous waste with liquids in a building without a functioning leak detention.

The two-day inspections took place Jan. 20 and Jan 21 as part of the company’s application for a permanent hazardous waste permit.

Newly appointed DTSC Director Barbara A. Lee told EGP the results from the recent inspections will be taken into consideration when she makes a decision on Exide’s permit. Exide must receive a permanent permit by Dec. 31, as required by Senate Bill 712, or face closure.

“I felt it was important we confirm [Exide’s] applications accurately reflects the present conditions of the site,” she said of the inspection.

This is the first set of violations issued since Lee was appointed to her position in December.

Exide must address all violations within 10 days or face penalties and additional enforcement actions.

“These violations represent our commitment to the community that we will keep a close watch on Exide and ensure that the facility is in compliance with all pertinent laws,” said DTSC Deputy Director Elise Rothschild.

Exide officials said the company will continue to work with state regulators.

“The company is already taking action pursuant to the notice and will continue to work with the DTSC so that all applicable standards and protocols are met. We intend to operate a premier recycling facility,” said Tom Strang, Exide’s Vice-President of Environment Health and Safety.

Smelting operations have been shut down at the Vernon facility since March 2014 as the company works to install equipment upgrades to comply with state air quality standards.

The plant located at 2700 S. Indiana St. is one of the only two lead-acid battery-recycling plants west of the Rockies. The facility has been a target by state regulators after years of arsenic emissions and numerous air quality violations.

‘New Beginning’ for Southwest Museum

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Long time supporters of the Southwest Museum in the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles are hailing last week’s naming of the 100-year-old site as a “national treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Southwest Museum is now one of just 55 such designations across the country. What the designation means in practical terms is not yet clear, however, the news is expected to open the door to valuable resources and alliances that could aid in securing the museum’s future, and most importantly, its long term financial sustainability.

During last week’s public announcement, Barbara Pahl, Western Regional VP of the National Trust for Historic Preservation — one of the nation’s leading private historic preservation groups — said the national treasure naming recognizes “the historic, architectural and cultural values that have made the Southwest Museum site a beloved fixture in Los Angeles for the past century.”

Supporters of the Southwest Museum celebrated on Thursday the naming of the museum as a ‘national treasure.’ (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Supporters of the Southwest Museum celebrated on Thursday the naming of the museum as a ‘national treasure.’ (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

“This is a wonderful new beginning for the future of this site,” said Mary P. Parker, a member of the Friends of the Southwest Museum coalition. The Friends group has long criticized the Autry’s management of the site, but now says it is willing to work with the Autry “to try to keep the museum open for more than one day a week,” according to Parker.

Likewise, Autry President W. Richard West Jr., reaffirmed the Autry’s commitment to work with the National Trust, Councilmember Gil Cedillo and the community as well as the growing group of interested experts of arts, philanthropy, education and native leaders in the important process and progress of the Southwest Museum.

“We at the Autry respect this site’s history, it is important to the local community and the region,” said West Jr.

The Autry had said it could not afford to operate the museum or pay the estimated $26 to $46 million cost to upgrade the Southwest to modern museum standards.

The partnership with the National Trust, however, could make the difference.

“We look forward to identifying a sustainable use that ensures that the Southwest Museum site actively contributes to the thriving
urban fabric of Los Angeles for the next 100 years,” explained Pahl.

This is “a very positive day” that has been long in coming, said several members of the community following the announcement.

Heinrich Keifer is one of those who has sought a resolution to the impasse with the Autry in hopes of seeing the museum reopened.

He says it’s no longer about whether the Autry failed to live up to its commitments, but finding the right equation “to make it a successful site” again. “This is a day to bring new partners into the scene,” Keifer said.

Pahl said the National Trust will hold public outreach meetings to gather opinions on how best to use the museum site, mostly closed since 2006, opening just one day a week on Saturdays.

According to the Autry, they have invested over $14 million since taking over. Two-thirds of the investment has gone to conserving the Southwest’s extensive collection of Native American and early California artifacts and art – which has been removed from the site – and the remainder to renovations to stabilize the museum structure.

West told EGP that it is unlikely the vast collection of art and artifacts removed from the Southwest will be returned, except for specific events such as an exhibition or educational program.

“But I don’t want to prejudge it because there are other parties in this process, not just the Autry,” said West.

A recent community-based survey showed overwhelming support for a fully functioning museum at the Mt. Washington site, and possibly a cultural community center with some commercial elements, such as a restaurant.

The National Trust will take the lead on planning and mediating the tense relationship between community stakeholders and the Autry, and could pursue government and private grant funding to support the eventual consensus on the museum’s future.

Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents the area where the Southwest Museum is located, hailed the national treasure designation.

“I applaud the National Trust for naming the Southwest Museum, a National Treasure,” stated Cedillo in an email; he was unable to attend the official announcement due to illness.

The “announcement confirms and validates the importance of preserving our historic resources,” Cedillo stated. “I am committed to working with the community and the Autry to help protect and ensure the next 100 years of the Southwest Museum.”

Commerce Freeway Fatality

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

California Highway Patrol is investigating the circumstances the death of a woman who was struck by a vehicle on the southbound Santa Ana (5) Freeway in the City of Commerce, a CHP officer said Monday.

The fatality was reported about 11:15 p.m. Sunday on the southbound Santa Ana Freeway just south of the southbound Long Beach (710) Freeway, according to CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.

A Fredrickson,Virginia resident driving a 2013 Hyundai sedan was southbound in the No. 2 lane at about 65 mph approaching Triggs Avenue when a 37-year-old woman walked onto the southbound freeway from the Triggs Avenue on-ramp directly into her path, and the driver could not avoid her, CHP Officer E. Zorrilla said.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, he said. Her name was not released pending notification of relatives.

The Hyundai driver was not injured, Zorrilla said.

All lanes of the southbound Santa Ana Freeway were reopened to traffic at about 1:15 a.m. Monday.

The incident remained under investigation and anyone who may have witnessed it was asked to call the East Los Angeles CHP office at (323) 980-4600.

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