Schurr High School Band Invited To Play ‘Across the Pond’

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

After listening to the Schurr High School Band play their signature piece “Taco Mambo,” British dignitary Catherine Longworth beamed with delight and exclaimed that traveling all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and the United States to invite the band to play in London “was worth every mile.”

Her words caused the excited band members, crowded into an aging classroom crammed with trophies and posters, to let out a collective “awww…”

The students had already heard the news from their band director, but nonetheless expressed a sense of awe at the sight of Longworth, a former Lord Mayor of Westminster, who traveled to Montebello last Friday to formally invite the Schurr High School Band to play in the 2013 London New Years’ Day Parade. Current band members graduating before 2013 will also be able to attend.

Members of the Schurr High School band entertained British dignitary Catherine Longworth, pictured right, last Friday. (EGP photo by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou)

“Not many bands get to do that, and it’s just, wow. I always wanted to see London. Excitement is overflowing me, it’s crazy,” said Daniel Lopez, 17.

The parade is seen by 280 million people from around the world, according to former Lord Mayor’s consort, John Longworth. The weather in London will be a “wee bit colder” than what they are used to, he said.

One parent said Schurr High School Band’s booster club will be kept busy raising money for this trip. The furthest the band has traveled is to Florida, and never to another country, but not getting the students to London would be unthinkable, he said.

Montebello Battling to Stay In Almont League Title Race

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Coming off its most impressive win, Montebello High School will need another stellar performance Friday night, when the Oilers take on Alhambra in an Almont League football game at home.

Montebello is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in league, and needs to defeat an Alhambra team that has rolled to a 6-1 record and is 2-0 in league to stay in the league title chase.

The Oilers two weeks ago had a disappointing showing in their league opener with San Gabriel, losing 48-17. They managed to regroup quickly and overwhelm Bell Gardens, 33-21, last Friday.

“After the San Gabriel game, we stressed to our players that it’s all about how you respond after you lose,” Montebello Coach Pete Gonzalez said. “It shows what kind of character you have as a team.”

The Oilers responded by playing what Gonzalez called their best game.

Montebello High’s Marcos Portillo, left, rips off a gain as Bell Gardens’ Oscar Lopez tries to keep pace in last Friday’s game. Portillo rushed for 211 yards to lead the Oilers to a 33-21 win. (EGP photo by Mario Villegas)

“We were able to establish our running game,” he said. “We’d been working hard all season to get it working.”
Marcos Portillo, who was switched from wide receiver to tailback, had a big night for Montebello as the junior rushed for 211 yards on 30 carries.

Portillo was the Oilers’ return specialist on kickoffs and punts. He moved to tailback because the team’s other tailbacks were benched for missing practice during the week.

Quarterback Matthew Saenz attempted only five passes and completed four with two of them going for touchdowns. The touchdown receptions went to George Romo and Gilbert Herrera.
Gonzalez singled out the play of linebacker Gabriel Guevara.

“He played a really good game,” Gonzalez said. “He flew around the field and made a lot of things happen.”
Last Thursday, Alhambra defeated Schurr 18-8, the loss dropping the Spartans to 1-6 and 1-1. They play Keppel (2-5, 0-2) Friday night at Keppel.

With the loss to Montebello, Bell Gardens (2-5) drops to 0-2 in league. The Lancers play San Gabriel (3-4, 2-0) Friday night at B.G.

City Section
By defeating Huntington Park, 42-15, South East (7-0, 3-0) remained unbeaten in the Eastern League.
Rivals Garfield and Roosevelt have also been two of South East’s victims and the Bulldogs and Rough Riders are in a tight race for second place. They both defeated Jordan, the team widely considered to factor in the race.

Roosevelt defeated Jordan, 44-25, last Friday at home, one week after Garfield won at Jordan, 35-21. A win by the Bulldogs and the Nov. 4 game between Garfield and Roosevelt in the East Los Angeles Classic at East L.A. College will likely determine second place.

In the Northern League, Lincoln (6-1, 1-1) travels to league-leading Marshall (5-2, 2-0) for a 3 p.m. game Friday. Franklin (4-3, 1-1), which edged Wilson, 26-25, last Friday is at Roybal (2-5, 1-1). Wilson (2-5, 1-1) is at Eagle Rock (2-5, 1-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

‘Chain Snatch’ Robberies Up In Northeast L.A.

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) -The Northeast Division of the Los Angeles Police Department warned residents Tuesday that there has been a significant uptick in  “chain snatch” robberies in the area; seven in just the last month alone.

“Please do not wear any flashy jewelry while out in public,” cautioned police in a news alert. “Suspects are approaching victims and snatching necklaces worn around the neck. Avoid being victimized,” and help spread the word to your neighbors, advised the LAPD.

Man Killed In Mount Washington Identified

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – Authorities on Monday identified a man who was fatally shot as he stood near railroad tracks in the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles.

Enrique Francisco Ponce, 23, was shot about 12:30 p.m. Sunday near Avenue 51 and Marmion Way, said coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter. He died about an hour later at a hospital.

According to the preliminary investigation, the gunman approached Ponce on foot and shot him in the back, said Los Angeles police Officer Norma Eisenman of the Media Relations office. Northeast police are investigating the case. No arrests have been made.

Lincoln High Students Honor ‘Walkouts’ Teacher

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(EGPNews) – Students at Lincoln High School on Tuesday held a birthday celebration to honor former teacher Sal Castro, known for his active participation in the “East L.A. High School Walkouts” of the 1960s, and for advocating for education reform. Many of the students signed a pledge to name the entrance of the school “Castro Court,” according to Lincoln High School teacher and M.E.C.H.A. Sponsor, Art Lincon.

The students, spearheaded by M.E.C.H.A., decided on their own and planned the “naming” ceremony and birthday party, Licon informed EGP by email.

Jail Time for Commerce Clinic Operator

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(CNS) – The owner-operator of a Commerce medical clinic was sentenced to one month behind bars, followed by nine months under home detention, for failing to report to the Internal Revenue Service nearly $90,000 he received as income, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Dr. James Lemus, 58, of Shadow Hills was also ordered to pay a fine of $15,000, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Williams.

According to his plea agreement, Lemus Medical Center provided physicals and drug testing during 2003 to truck drivers as required by the Department of Transportation, and required most of the drivers to pay for the testing in cash, receiving about $90,000 from performing the physicals, according to the IRS.

However, Lemus admitted that he knowingly failed to report that cash to the IRS, resulting in $20,626 owed to the IRS for 2003, the agency said.

CDPH Warns Of Possible Salmonella Risk from Consuming Bagged Spinach

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), this week warned people not to eat certain bagged spinach and salad products manufactured by Taylor Farms Retail Inc., in Salinas, because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recall was initiated after a package of fresh spinach tested positive for Salmonella in the state of Washington. Symptoms of Salmonella infection may include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

Consumers can contact Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. at 1-877-323-7374 for more information on the products recalled and ask about reimbursement. They can also contact the store where the product was purchased.

‘History of Highland Park’ Mural Restoration Complete

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) – A collaborative effort to restore a faded, sprawling Highland Park mural first painted by renowned artists Judy Baca, Joe Bravo, Sonya Fe, Arnold Ramirez, Sonny Williams and others more than 30 years ago, was celebrated by the community and artists on Saturday, according to a press release from Councilman Jose Huizar, who attended the event.

The “History of Highland Park” mural, which wraps around two sides of the AT&T building on Ave. 56 and portrays the history of Highland Park and Garvanza, fell into disrepair over the years as its anti-graffiti protective deteriorated, forcing an end to efforts to remove graffiti in order to protect the underlying mural.

Beginning in 2007, Councilmember Huizar worked with AT&T and the original artists to reach an agreement over who should pay for the needed repairs. The estimated $78,000 restoration was funded by AT&T and overseen by Judy Baca and SPARC; with assistance from the Highland Park Heritage Trust, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, UCLA students, artists and restoration volunteers, according to Huizar.

Doctors Often Overrate How Well They Speak a Second Language

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Communicating with patients who do not speak English is a challenge facing all health care providers. New research shows that even those physicians who say they are fluent in a second language may be overestimating their actual skills.

In an effort to ensure equal care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls for health organizations to provide patients who have limited English proficiency (LEP) access to an interpreter or a bilingual staff person. But just how well does the health provider speak the second language?

“Part of the problem is that there are no standards for how bilingual staff are assessed, so it’s left to organizations to decide for themselves,” said lead author Lisa Diamond, MD, of the Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The study, appearing in Health Services Research, takes a look at how physicians at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) in the San Francisco Bay area describe their language skills.

Patients can search for a physician on the PAMF website by languages spoken, such as Spanish and Chinese. The old site categorized a doctor’s non-English proficiency as “basic,” “medical/conversational” or “fluent.”

However, in 2009, PAMF instituted a new, adapted version of a scale known as the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR), which has a long history of use by the U.S. government, private and academic organizations.  The ILR rates proficiency in five levels with explanations of each: poor, fair, good, very good and excellent.

After the new scale was introduced, 258 (75 percent) of the physicians changed their rating on the website—31 who had considered themselves “fluent” downgraded to “good” or “fair” on the ILR scale. And just 11 percent considered their proficiency as “excellent.” Seventeen percent used “very good” and 38 percent said they were “fair.” Being “fair” was defined as “…can get the gist of most everyday conversations but has difficulty communicating about health care concepts.”

“This is a very tricky area as this demonstrates how many providers overestimate their proficiency in another language,” said Joseph Betancourt, MD, director of the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “This can lead to miscommunication and even medical errors.”

Betancourt added that while he wasn’t familiar with the ILR scale, it “seems like a promising and necessary tool to objectively measure provider fluency in other languages.”

Diamond added, “At this point, we don’t know for sure which method of assessing non-English language proficiency is the most accurate and, thus, can’t set standards yet. Identifying such a tool is part of the focus of my current research.”

Emerging Public Health Crisis Linked to Mortgage Default and Foreclosure

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Researchers warn of a looming health crisis in the wake of rising mortgage delinquencies and home foreclosures. The study, released Oct. 20 in the American Journal of Public Health, is the first long-term survey of the impact the current housing crisis is having on older Americans. The study focused on adults over 50 and found high rates of depression among those behind in their mortgage payments and a higher likelihood of making unhealthy financial tradeoffs regarding food and needed prescription medications.

“More than a quarter of people in mortgage default or foreclosure are over 50,” says the study’s principal investigator, Dawn E. Alley, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “For an older person with chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension, the types of health problems we saw are short term consequences of falling behind on a mortgage that could have long-run implications for that person’s health.”

The study was prompted in part by the rapid rise in foreclosure rates that began in 2007 following a dramatic increase in subprime lending. By 2009, 2.21 percent of all homes in the United States, a total of more than 2.8 million properties, were in some stage of foreclosure. Previous research had shown that home ownership is associated with better health while financial strain is associated with worse health and higher death rates.

“This study has pinpointed an issue that until now has been somewhat under the radar, but which threatens to become a major public health crisis if not addressed,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Through research such as this, faculty epidemiologists and public health specialists provide valuable information and perspectives that are useful for government and private policy makers as they work to meet the health and economic needs of Americans.”

The researchers examined data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of Americans older than age 50. In 2008, 2,474 participants were asked if they had fallen more than two months behind on mortgage payments since 2006. The survey included questions designed to measure psychological impairment, general health status and access to important health-relevant resources. In predicting these health outcomes, researchers controlled for demographic factors, health behaviors, chronic diseases, sources of debt and annual household income.

Among participants who were mortgage delinquent, 22 percent developed elevated depressive symptoms over the two-year period compared to only three percent of non-delinquent respondents. Twenty-eight percent of mortgage-delinquent participants reported food insecurity compared to four percent in the non-delinquent group. In addition, the delinquent group reported much higher levels of cost-related medication non-adherence (32 percent compared to five percent).

The study also found that lower-income and minority homeowners were at higher risk for mortgage default. “Our results suggest that the housing crisis may be making health disparities worse,” says Dr. Alley, “because these groups had poorer health, lower incomes and higher levels of debt even before the current mortgage crisis.” The researchers note that it will likely take decades for African American and Hispanic communities to recover the wealth lost during the housing crisis and that minority communities are disproportionately affected by declining home values and lost tax revenue.

The study began just as mortgage delinquencies and subsequent home foreclosures began to rise in the United States, driven mainly by increases in mortgage payments related to adjustable rate loans. Dr. Alley says the health picture is much worse today because rising mortgage defaults are compounded by unemployment. “Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of Americans with depression has been increasing along with rising unemployment.”

Dr. Alley adds that mortgage counselors are seeing a rising tide of health issues. “We did a separate nationwide survey of mortgage counselors and found that almost 70 percent of them said many of the clients they worked with were depressed or hopeless. About a third of them said they had worked with someone in the last month who expressed intent for self harm or suicide. These are very serious and clearly ongoing issues.”

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. It was conducted with support, resources and use of facilities from the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center in conjunction with the Organized Research Center on Aging at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

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