Bell Gardens Bank Robber Pleads Guilty

May 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A man dubbed the “All Ears” bandit was sentenced Monday to 37 months behind bars for robbing a Citibank branch in Bell Gardens of $5,800 using a threatening demand note.

Stepan Dovlatyan, 26, pleaded guilty to the March 2011 robbery.

According to sentencing papers, Dovlatyan passed a demand note to the teller that read, “$6,000. Don’t make (it) murder. I have a gun.”

Feeling nervous and intimidated, the teller began silently counting out money on the counter. When she reached $5,800, Dovlatyan said, “That’s fine,” and left, according to the document.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, Dovlatyan wrote that he committed the robbery as a result of having “officially hit rock bottom in my life… At that time, I really believed I had no other choice.”

He apologized to the people he “hurt or scared in the process.”

Dovlatyan was indicted by a Los Angeles federal grand jury last July on one count of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery.

The heist to which he admitted took place March 12, 2011, while the attempted robberies occurred during the following week in Carson and Echo Park, said Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.

The defendant was identified based on evidence left at one of the banks, Martinez said, and was dubbed the “All Ears” bandit by the FBI based on witness accounts describing the suspect as having prominent ears.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Gorman, Dovlatyan used “force, violence or intimidation” during the robbery by showing the teller a note that “frightened” her.

The prosecutor said Dovlatyan has agreed to pay the stolen money back to the bank.

June Primary Vote-by-Mail Underway

May 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) – Californians who want to vote by mail in the June 5 Primary by mail can now do so, according to state election officials.

“When your mailbox is your polling place you can vote any time in the comfort of your own home,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer.
“However, no matter how you vote, make sure your county elections office receives your ballot by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day because postmarks don’t count,” Bowen said.

Election officials started mailing vote-by-mail ballots on Monday. The ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at any polling place in the county, or in person at county election offices.

The last day for a registered voter to request a vote-by-mail ballot is May 29. For more information, go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections/vote-by-mail/pdf/fill-in-vote-by-mail-app-instruct.pdf

Police Seek Suspect In Boyle Heights Homicide

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(CNS) – Police on Wednesday sought the public’s help in locating a suspect in the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in Boyle Heights.

Frankie Velasquez was shot around 9:50 p.m. Saturday, May 5, in the area of First and Gless Streets, police said.

Velasquez and a cousin were walking to a store when a suspect with a handgun walked up to them and opened fire on Velasquez, police said.

Velasquez was taken to a hospital and died the following day, police said. His cousin was not injured.

Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call homicide detectives at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck Station at (323) 342-8959 or (323) 342-8956.

LA Holds Guns Buyback This Weekend

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(EGPNews) – This Saturday, May 12, the City of Los Angeles in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) will provide Ralphs gift cards and pre-paid visa cards for firearms surrendered to law enforcement officers at 6 locations in the city. Officers will accept firearms from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the LAFD Fire Academy, Frank Hotchkins Training Academy, 1700 Stadium Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Individuals who surrender their firearms anonymously to law enforcement are eligible to receive up to $100 for a handgun, shotgun or rifle, and up to $200 for assault weapons as classified in the State of California. Gift card quantities are limited and subject to availability.

For other locations visit http://lapdonline.org/ or call 1-877-LAPD-247.

Charter School Facing Forced Moved from Van De Kamp Site

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The Alliance Environmental Science and Technology School, a charter high school located at the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Van de Kamps campus, could be forced to relocate at the end of this school year.

Last week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones sided with the Van de Kamp’s Coalition and ruled the LACCD failed to comply with environmental laws before leasing the college campus to a charter school operator, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

The Coalition has asserted they want a community college for adults at the site, as was planned when public funds were sought for the construction.

Alliance is expected to appeal the ruling.

Community Calendar: May 10, 2012 to May 16, 2012

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May 11 & May 12: Lola in Lincolnlandia - Teens Bring the Statues of East LA’s Iconic Lincoln Park to Life in Premiere Production. Middle and high school students in CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP)/Plaza de la Raza’s Theater Program create a musical dreamscape to explore issues of teenage identity and cultural heritage, this weekend at 7:30 pm at the Margo Albert Theater at Plaza de la Raza: 3540 N. Mission Rd. LA 90031. Cost: Free. Reservations advised. Call Plaza de la Raza at (323) 223-2475. Repeat performances will be held May 25 & 26 at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater) in downtown LA; 631 West 2nd St., 7:30 pm. Call REDCAT’s box office at (213) 237-2800

Today, Thursday, May 10
4-6:30pm—“3 on 3 Soccer Tournament in Bell Gardens at the Neighborhood Youth Center.
Free sign-ups for tournaments in three division, ages 7-9 (Division A), 10-12 (Division B), and 13-15 (Division C). Meet at the neighborhood center located at 5856 Ludell Street, Bell Gardens, CA 90201. For more information, call (562) 806-7667 or email rveloz@bellgardens.org.

Friday, May 11
10am-7pm—LéaLA (ReadLA), the Spanish Book Fair & Cultural Festival at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
More than 130 authors presenting books in Spanish; book signings & discussions; children’s programs and more. Continues through May 13. Free admission, for more info, visit: www.lea-la.com.

5:30pm—Bell Gardens Police & Faith-Based Community “Light the Flame-Candlelight Vigil”at Bell Gardens High School: 6119 Agra St. Bell Gardens 90201. All our invited.

8pm—Charity: Part III of a Mexican Trilogy opens at The LATC-Latino Theater Company in downtown Los Angeles. Written by Evelina Fernandez, and stars Mexican actress Ofelia Medina, Sal Lopez, Geoffrey Rivas, Lucy Rodriguez and more, under the direction of Jose Luis Valenzuela. Tickets: $40 general admission/$20 students, seniors & veterans; $10 Thursdays. The LATC is located at 514 Spring St., LA. For more dates and information, go to TheLATC.org.

9am-3pm—Too Toxic to Trash: Free Countywide Household Hazardous and E-Waste Roundup in La Mirada. Residents can safely discard of household hazardous waste such as antifreeze, unused medications, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides; sharps waste such as hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and intravenous needles; universal waste including household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and electronic waste (e-waste) such as TVs and monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos and cell phones. Drop off site: La Mirada Regional Park, Tennis Court Parking Lot on Adelfa Drive. For more information, call LA County Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to www.888CleanLA.com or the Sanitation Districts of LA County at 1 (800) 238-0172 or www.lacsd.org.

Saturday, May 12
11am-4pm—Free Fun at National Train Day at Union Station, marking the 143rd anniversary of America’s first transcontinental railroad.
Celebrate train travel by riding the rails to attend the event. Take Metro’s Red, Purple or Gold Lines, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner or Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line or Orange County Line to Union Station. Free fun activities include, interactive exhibits and model train displays; tours of Amtrak equipment, freight and commuter trains and notable private railroad cars; live entertainment and more.

1-4pm—2nd Annual Boyle Heights Community Dog Show at Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights. Families can enter dogs in a variety of categories. Resurrection is located at 3360 Opal St. LA 90023. For more info: www.bhdogshow.yolasite.com

4-8pm—Northeast Democratic Club Fundraiser Art Auction & Sale – 1950’s Theme! Tickets $20 on line at www.northeastdemocrats.eventbrite.com. For more information, call (323) 254-1084.

7-10pm—Opening Night Reception: Frank Romero in his first solo show with the Avenue 50 Studio: City and Country ˜ Recent Work. As a member of the 1970s Chicano art collective, Los Four, Romero and fellow artists Carlos Almaraz, Beto de la Rocha and Gilbert Lujan, helped to define and promote the new awareness of La Raza through murals, publications and exhibitions. Avenue 50 Studio is located at 131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park, 90042. For more information, call (323) 258-1435 or visit http://www.avenue50studio.com.

Sunday, May 13
3pm—Free Mothers Day Concert presented by The CalStateLA Symphony Orchestra/Olympia Youth Orchestra at the historic San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, 320 S Mission Dr., San Gabriel, 91776.
Concert will feature Brett Deubner, viola professor of Temple University in the North American premiere performance of the Viola Concerto by contemporary composer Amanda Harberg. Other work by Glinka, Mascagni and Mozart. Free tickets are available by visiting the website at http://www.olympiaphil.org.

Monday, May 14
6-8pm—Metro & Caltrans Host SR-710 Study Open House in El Sereno.
Hear about options to improve mobility and relieve congestion within the study area. Learn about the process and concepts under evaluation, including a “no build” alternative, improvements to local streets, more transit systems & freeway options. The open house will be held at El Sereno Senior Center: 4818 Klamath Pl., LA 90032. A meeting will also be held Thurs., May 17 at Eagle Rock Elementary: 2057 Fair Park Ave, LA 90041.

Announcements
Monterey Park Celebrates its Birthday with Play Days –May 17-20 at Barnes Park.
4-day carnival will include a roller coaster, live entertainment, great food and a Play Day Idols contest. Pre-sale tickets now on sale. Play Day Parade is May 19-on Garvey Ave at 11am. Barns Park is located at 350 S. McPherrin Ave. (behind City Hall). For more information, call (323) 307-1390.

5th Annual PEACE in the Northeast Day is set for May 19. The march promotes peace and unity, and includes a resource fair, 5K run, family activities, food and entertainment. Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies, 2050 N. San Fernando Rd., LA 90065. For more information email NEPeaceDay@gmail.com.

Tickets are now on sale for the May 29 Lummis Day fundraiser from 7-9pm at the Lummis Home: 200 East Ave 43, LA 90042. There will be food from local restaurants, beer, wine and soft drinks; silent auction of wines, artwork and collectibles. Tickets: $30 in advance/$35 at the door. Purchased tickets online at the www.lummisday.org. Tickets available at Highland Park businesses: Galco’s -5702 York Ave, or Antigua Café -3400 N. Figueroa St.

Submit an event or announcement to the Community Calendar: email calendar@egpnews.com. All submissions subject to space availability. Paid advertising available; for more information, email advertise@egpnews.com or call (323) 341-7970.

Paramount Blvd Bridge to Reopen In June

May 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Paramount Blvd bridge will be completed by June 12, a little ahead of schedule, Caltrans told a local senator recently.

Sen. Ron Calderon said he toured the bridge last week and found that it was close to completion. “I’m amazed,” said Calderon. “It just goes to show that when the federal government and local and state authorities come together, we can have a project done in six months instead of two years.”

The bridge was damaged after a gasoline tanker truck exploded on the 60 Freeway below it. Caltrans engineers said recommended the bridge be demolished.

The bridge now has 34 concrete girders in place and Caltrans crews are currently installing steel bars over the girders. There will also be a new drainage system, and when the project is completed the bridge overpass will have wider sidewalks, and the freeway will below will be able to expand its lanes.

Calderon’s spokesperson Bob Jimenez said the total cost of the reconstruction could come out to $40 million. Caltrans has received $2 million in emergency funded for the project.

Calderon said the bridge is a vital roadway for residents and local businesses, including the Montebello Town Center mall. “I’m especially proud of all the cities that helped inform people on the closure, re-routed emergency services and assisted worried business owners.”

School Board President Defends Roosevelt Progress

May 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles Unified School District School Board President Monica Garcia was the featured guest speaker at the Resurrection Church Neighborhood Watch on Monday night.

LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Garcia was scheduled to speak about dropout rates but the discussion was quickly refocused on the progress at Roosevelt High School under the management of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS).

Several attendees expressed dissatisfaction with Roosevelt’s single digit increases in academic subjects. Garcia, who is the target of a just started recall effort, said Roosevelt is making good progress, but added that she too would like to see larger strides being made. Earlier this year, Garcia committed to participating in a town hall style meeting to discuss Roosevelt progress under the PLAS. A date for the meeting has not yet been announced.

Montebello Nurses Sign First Contract After Year-long Battle

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(EGPNews) – Registered Nurses at Beverly Hospital signed their first contract on Monday, they joined the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) in Feb. 2011. The contract was not easily won.

The National Labor Relations Board’s local regional office in March concluded an investigation and determined it would prosecute Beverly Hospital for engaging in bad faith bargaining, including unlawful refusals to provide information needed for bargaining and other delaying tactics, according to a UNAC/UHCP press release.

LADWP Warns Against Uptick in Water Use

May 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A Department of Water and Power official Tuesday warned Angelenos that their water use is on the rise at a time when the utility is being forced to charge ratepayers more for water because of the recent dry winter.

The reduced Eastern Sierra snowpack this year is requiring LADWP to purchase more expensive water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which recently approved 5 percent rate increases for the next two years, according to the municipal utility. The LADWP passes those costs on to ratepayers.

LADWP customers successfully reduced water consumption by 20 percent between 2009 and last summer, when water use started creeping up. Water consumption was up 3 percent from last July through March, compared to the comparable prior-year period, according to the utility.

Single-family residential customers accounted for the bulk of the increase, using 5 percent more water during that period. Water use at apartment buildings was up about 1 percent.

“In 2011, our customers reached a per capita water usage of 123 gallons daily, the lowest in Los Angeles in more than 40 years and currently the lowest among any U.S. city with a population over one million,” said James McDaniel, senior assistant general manager of the LADWP Water System.

He said the utility has noticed water use is on the rise, and they are asking customers to see how they can use less.

The 2009 Mandatory Water Conservation program, which remains in effect, restricts sprinkler use to three days per week before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. for a maximum of 8 minutes. The restriction also prohibits customers from watering driveways and sidewalks.

DWP officials urged customers to check sprinkler timers, fix indoor leaky faucets and toilets and use a shut-off nozzle for watering gardens or car washes.

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