Monthly Archives: August 2015

La Habra hitting the links with first girls golf team

By Shanin Thomas
La Habra Journal

The La Habra High School Highlanders will field their first women’s golf team for the 2015 season.
Last year, La Habra High School created a women’s golf club in preparation of creating a competitive team for this upcoming fall season.

2015 LHHS Girls Golf Team

About 15 girls joined the club with little to no experience but lots of enthusiasm and interest.
Head Coach Cody Verdugo said that most of the girls had never played before. “Only three girls had golf clubs, but at least 10 took a liking to golf. I am very pleased with the growth we have seen,” he said.
The golf club at La Habra High School included instructions for the basics of the sport. Not only did the girls in the club learn to hit a plastic golf ball in the football stadium, Coach Verdugo also taught the girls golf etiquette.
“Golf is like an onion. There are layers to the sport. It is not just about hitting the golf ball,” Verdugo said.

Interest in girls golf has not only sparked at La Habra High School but in other Freeway League schools as well.
Fullerton, Sunny Hills and Buena Park have decided to field a girls golf team this season. They will join Troy, which already had a team in place.

Troy High School will be the most competitive women’s golf team this upcoming season because they previously fielded a girls’ golf team and have competitive returners.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice. The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice. The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

In fact, last season Troy’s women’s team ranked No. 1 in Orange County, No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section, and No. 5 in the state of California.

Preseason will begin in late August and league competition will start on Sept. 13.
For Verdugo, the decision to move from being on the coaching staff of La Habra Football to take up the challenge of starting a girls golf team was to follow his passion.

Verdugo fell in love with the sport of golf in his senior year of college at Chapman University. Although he has played football his entire life, golf has become a sport he has become passionate about.
Additionally, Verdugo’s son and three daughters have also taken a liking to the sport and participate competitively as golfers.

Coach Verdugo proved his coaching ability last season as the La Habra men’s golf team finished eighth in the Southern division, the best finish in the school’s history. The Whittier Daily News honored Verdugo as 2015 Coach of the Year.

The amount of money invested in women’s golf college scholarships is another reason Coach Verdugo has created a women’s golf team to accompany the men’s team.

Although the growth rate of participation of women has almost tripled men in the last few years, women still make up less than 25 percent of golfers, according to

According to, in 2014 the number of male high school golfers is double the amount of female golfers. However, Division I universities offer six scholarships to female golfers as opposed to the four and a half to male golfers.

Alyssa Heidrich takes a swing during practice.

That growth rate was shown during the first day of La Habra’s women’s golf tryouts Wednesday afternoon at Westridge Golf Club.

Twelve returners from the golf club were present as well as eight additional girls. The additional girls who showed up at tryouts did not know much golf etiquette, but they were athletic, Coach Verdugo said.

“It would be rare for someone to show up and be completely ready,” Verdugo said.

Coach Verdugo is looking to field a team between 15 and 20 girls. Although only seven players compete in a match for both varsity and junior varsity, 20 girls is a good number to manage girls who are still developing their skills as golfers, he said.

“Returners will be the foundation of the varsity team,” Coach Verdugo said.

The Lady Highlanders hit the links for the first time on September 9 against Empire League champion Valencia at Alta Vista Country Club in Placentia at 4 p.m.


2015 Lady Highlander Golf Team Roster

Mandy Arriola
Alex Barber
Nikki Chamberlain
Kira Cauley
Alyssa Enriquez
Haylee Enriquez
Alyssa Heidrich
Aurora Heuermann
Charlotte Irirzarry
Samantha Parr
Janet Romero
Julia Sanchez
Jena Schuh
Dominique Tosunian
Galina Tressler
Frankie Valencia

La Habra Heights council broke open-meeting law, District Attorney’s Office says

By Mike Sprague, Whittier Daily News

LA HABRA HEIGHTS – The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office accused the City Council of breaking the state’s open-meeting law when on Jan. 2 it met in closed session to approve new language in the ballot title for the anti-oil initiative that was going to the voters in March.

The city had been sued over the wording and two days before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge found the ballot title was misleading.

The council then amended the title in closed session.

That was wrong, said Terrie Tengelsen, deputy district attorney in a letter to the City Council.

“In our opinion, once the City Council decided that the next course of action would be to amend the ballot language, the closed session should have ended with a report out on that action in public session,” Tengelsen wrote.

Amending the ballot language isn’t something that can be done in closed session, he said. The council should have adjourned the meeting and called for a subsequent meeting, he said.

“Instead the City Council circumvented this process by immediately holding its discussion and voting to amend the ballot language in closed session,” he wrote.

Tengelsen said there is no need to fix the situation because the council action was voided when the court struck down the language and approved alternative wording in the ballot title.

Voters defeated the measure in March.

William J. Priest, an attorney for the city, in a letter to the District Attorney’s Office, said the council did nothing wrong.

“Because the court’s ruling was open-ended, the litigation was not yet fully resolved and settlement discussions were ongoing,” Priest wrote.

“The council’s decision could have settled the litigation,” he wrote. “As a public lawyer, I know you understand how prejudicial it might have been to the city’s effort to settle this litigation if the council were required to confer with me in open session regarding the ballot label wording.”

Tengelsen said a month earlier the council dealt with a lawsuit over the same issue but a different part. That time it did everything in public session.

But City Attorney John Brown said the circumstances were different because the council was approving a settlement.

That wasn’t the case at the Jan. 2 meeting, Brown said.

“We had two parties to the litigation who were at great odds over this particular contentious matter,” said Brown referring to Heights Oil Watch, that put the initiative on the ballot and oil companies that were opposing it.

Mike Hughes, president of Heights Oil Watch, said it’s “late in the game” to get the letter but it shows there was a violation.

“It’s typical of the council’s reaction,” Hughes said. “They just ignore us. They have their own agenda.”

This isn’t the first time the District Attorney’s Office has sent a letter to the city, complaining about a violation of the open-meeting act, also known as the Ralph M. Brown Act.

In 2003, City Council members and Planning Commissioners were accused of illegally communicating by email about proposals to revise the general plan.

In 2009, a letter was sent to then-Councilman Howard Vipperman saying an e-mail he sent to then-City Attorney Sandra Levin asking to not take public comments on one agenda item, could have led to a violation of the state’s open-meeting law. Levin rejected his proposal.

In 2013, the Planning Commission was accused of not allowing a resident to speak at a meeting and the council was accused of approving spending by email. On the latter, City Manager Shauna Clark said there was no violation because she approved the spending for a surveillance system at City Hall on her own without council approval.

Source: Whittier Daily News

WDN High School Football Top 5

La Habra's Eric Barriere

La Habra’s Eric Barriere is the area’s top returning quarterback. He’s a reason why the Highlanders begin the season ranked No. 2 in the area. La Mirada is No. 1 (Correspondent photo by Chris Burt/Sports)


Strengths: The Matadores are loaded. La Mirada has been able to fill the void of graduation losses with some elite transfers, mainly receiver/defensive back Micah Croom (Servite), defensive lineman Keanu Salepaga (Long Beach Cabrillo) and quarterback Tevaka Tuioti (Long Beach Poly). They combine with some solid returners, including running back Sei-j Lauago to make the Matadores a formidable force in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division. Very few teams in the Suburban League and in the division will be able to match up athletically with La Mirada, which could lead to one of the school’s best seasons in recent memory.

Obstacles: The schedule that coach Mike Moschetti has laid out for his team might be the team’s biggest challenges. It’s a doozy. It starts with state power St. John Bosco, which was ranked No. 19 nationally by The slate also features traditional powers Charter Oak and Mater Dei. La Mirada concludes the nonleague portion of its schedule at San Clemente. If La Mirada doesn’t get it’s psyche damaged too much going through murderer’s row, it should come out of it hardened for a strong league and playoff run. La Mirada also has to adapt to its incoming transfers. If it can come together quickly, this could be a special season.

Outlook: It all comes down to whether or not the Matadores can win their last game, something that has alluded them despite being very talented. They were 9-2 last season, but fell short of expectations with a first-round playoff loss. La Mirada has featured a lot of visits from Division I college coaches in recent years, but eventually you have to live up to the hype. This seems like a team very capable of doing that. Will it? Time will tell.


Strengths: The Highlanders, after averaging 43 points a game last season, are again expected to be a juggernaut on offense. They return some key components, led by arguably the area’s top quarterback in senior Eric Barriere. He accounted for more than 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns last season and you can expect him to improve on those numbers this year. Another year of receiver Prince Ross should scare opposing defenses. The offensive line is solid.

Obstacles: La Habra’s Achilles’ heel last season was its defense, or lack of it. The Highlanders inability to slow the opposition down eventually led to an early playoff exit. They need big improvement in that area this season. They’ve added some good impact players on defense, but the question whether it will make a difference remains to be seen. There’s also a question at running back with Carlos Martin graduated.

Outlook: This is a team that comes into the season as one of the favorites in the Southwest Division. Barriere is as good as it gets in the area and in the division. The question is whether the Highlanders can replace Martin and get similar production. The defense, led by All-CIF linebacker Jake Colacion, also needs to improve. All signs point to a possible division title.


Strengths: The Lancers might be the best running team in the area, and that will again be their forte this season. Jonathan Wise is a key returner at receiver. The defense, which often gets overlooked, should be solid, led by senior Daniel Campos at linebacker.

Obstacles: For the second consecutive season, the Lancers, with Enrique Pacheco graduated, must find a quarterback. Justin Moreno and Kenny Coleman will vie for the spot, but it’s unknown if they can live up to what Frankie Palmer and then Pacheco did the past two seasons.

Outlook: The Lancers are usually the last team standing in the area. That might not be the case this season, with juggernauts La Mirada and La Habra expecting strong seasons, but this looks like another unit that can add to La Serna’s recent tradition of long playoff runs. The run game and defense will be there, and if they get some production from quarterback, another run at a division title seems to be in the Lancers’ future.


Strengths: The Raiders will again feature one of the top running attacks in the area. They rushed for 3,000 yards last season and that type of production is expected again. Running back Jacob Fimbres returns after gaining 1,622 and most of the offensive line is back at well. Sonora should also be productive in the passing game, which will make its run game that much tougher to defend.

Obstacles: Sonora is young on defense, including in the secondary. It’s a unit that could be its downfall, especially in a Freeway League that features some pass-happy teams such as La Habra and Buena Park. If the group can come together, it could be a special year. But it’s a major question mark to begin the season.

Outlook: The Raiders started strong last season, then fell off the map. They have enough quality players back that a quest to make the playoffs should become a reality. This is a team that if everything falls into place, it can compete for the league title. But the first step would be getting to the postseason, which should happen.


Strengths: The Oilers leaned on its run game last season and rode it to an Almont League title. It will be more of the same this season. Isaac Mendibles was the area’s top back in 2014, rushing for nearly 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns, and he’s back for more this season. Most of the offensive line, which paved the way for the senior, is also back. Montebello is also solid on defense, and it’s those two traits that will lead to success again.

Obstacles: Montebello lost some key players to graduation and it must fill those holes to succeed. It could be a slow start, especially with a schedule that includes CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division semifinalist Northview and finalist Paraclete. If it can come together quickly this is a team that will be a tough out late in the season. But it’s a concern early on.

Outlook: The Oilers won the league title and advanced to the Mid-Valley quarterfinals last season. They return some key skilled players and this looks like a team that can improve on its 2014 run. Another league title and a deep playoff run looks to be in Montebello’s future.

La Habra gets its first bar for craft beer lovers

Cask & Hammer - La Habra, Ca

David Mora pours a glass of beer at his newly-opened craft beer bar in La Habra– Cask and Hammer.
Photo by PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER – David Mora, who has opened up a craft beer bar on Harbor Bl. 

Locals are buzzing about Cask & Hammer, La Habra’s first craft beer bar.

Owner David Mora didn’t expect about 100 comments when he posted a picture on Instagram of the bar’s logo and the bar’s opening date, July 24.

Let’s go try this place out.

Take me here!!

It’s already on my calendar!

The first day of business drew a standing room-only crowd, said Mora, 29, who opened the bar with his father, Raymond Mora.

Craft beer is exploding all over the United States, and particularly in California: the Golden State ranks No. 1 with the most craft breweries in the nation and the biggest economic impact, raking in $6.5 billion in 2014, according to California Craft Brewers Association. The number of craft breweries in the state is up 60 percent, at 431 of the businesses in 2014, compared to 270 in 2011, according to the Brewers Association.

Richard Garcia of La Habra said that he went to the Cask & Hammer during its first week, after learning about the bar through Facebook. Garcia, 35, left one of the first Yelp reviews for the business – positive, of course.

“In La Habra you don’t have anything like this, that offers craft beer,” Garcia said. “You have to go to Red Robin to get Stone IPA on tap.”

La Habra’s bars are old-school, serving domestics like Budweiser and maybe a few Mexican brews.

Cask & Hammer is a little different. Murals of Los Angeles, La Habra and a barrel room adorn the walls, designed by a street artist who Mora saw painting electrical boxes in downtown L.A.

There are 30 rotating beers on tap, mostly from Southern California and Orange County, such as Stone, The Bruery, Left Coast, Bootlegger’s, Ballast Point and Golden Road.

Still, some customers are disappointed that Mora doesn’t serve mainstream labels like Coors or Budweiser. He tries to get them to try something similar – maybe a lager from Glendale’s Golden Road or a Mexican-style ale from San Clemente’s Left Coast.

Mora, who is living in downtown Los Angeles as he completes an MBA at USC, said he got some flack after telling people that he was opening a bar in La Habra. But, the monthly rent is about $2,000 less when compared to downtown Los Angeles or Uptown Whittier.

“Everybody was telling me it’s never going to work in La Habra,” said Mora, who grew-up in nearby Whittier. “I’m like, that’s not true.”

Like much of North Orange County, La Habra is an under-served market for restaurants, particularly because it’s far from any major freeway, said Greg Stoffel, a retail analyst from Irvine. In 2013, the city’s restaurants brought in $1,535 per capita compared to the county average of $1,996 per capita, according to state data analyzed by Stoffel.

“That means it’s not doing well now, but there’s plenty of potential,” Stoffel said. “If (Cask & Hammer) turns out to be good – even better, then it can have a wider draw.”

Mora’s bar could already have that wide draw. Michelle Dominguez drove about 30 miles from the Highland Park area of Los Angeles to visit Cask & Hammer.

“I actually found them on Instagram before they even opened up and I thought it was amazing that someone is bringing only cask and craft beer to La Habra, especially since no one else has that out there,” Dominguez said.

On a recent weekday, Mora was at the bar before it opened, taking a delivery of Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin.

Larry Johnson, 23, saw the sign as he drove by, recognizing it from Instagram. He walked inside and asked Mora if he could look around.

“I’ve been telling everyone about it,” Johnson said.

Mora says that happens quite a bit.

“I’m worried this place might actually be too small for how excited people are,” he said with a laugh. “People refuse to leave during the week.”

La Habra Heights – Fire Captain II Job Opening


The City of La Habra Heights is seeking a full-time fire professional to be an Administrative Fire Captain II.

The Captain II will assist the Chief on all administrative aspects of the department, including recruitment, analysis, special projects and training. This position would be ideal for someone looking to advance in professional fire service by providing the opportunity to work directly with the Fire Chief and exposure to command-level decision-making.

Experience/Education: The ideal candidate will have at least four years of professional Fire Department experience (Captain level preferred), the equivalent to two years of college with major work in fire science, public administration or a closely related field. Experience may be substituted for college coursework. Paramedic certification is a plus. First review of applications and resumes will be July 31, 2015.

Obtain an application at or at City Hall. Return completed application and resume to or at 1245 N Hacienda Road, La Habra Heights, CA 90631.

All questions should be directed to Gabriella Yap at (562) 694-6302 ext. 233. EOE.

Fire Captain II – Job Flyer

July 2015 – La Habra Heights, Real Estate Report

La Habra Heights Real Estate Recap: Currently average home sales in La Habra Heights is $1,182,857, 11.8 Months Supply of Inventory which was an increase of +15.7% from last July.  Also the average time on the market has increased by + 16.7% to 98 days.  One fact when digging through the numbers and checking what the homeowners success rate of selling their home in the heights is actually only 15%, that means 85% of homes are not selling during their listing contract period.  Again that goes back to the average days on market being 98 days… The best way to avoid part of the 85% of homes that do not sell is to hire a company who reinvests in marketing to make sure your home gets the exposure it needs to sell.  That means prominent newspaper advertising on saturdays and sundays, having a broker open, open houses, an open schedule for agents to bring their buyers, and as you know more and more buyers are finding homes worth visiting via the internet so hiring a company that pays to feature your home above all others on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Homes, and get you in front of luxury buyers via Luxury Portfolio and Christies International making your homes available to buyers all over the world.  That is why I chose to hang my hat with First Team Real Estate and we represent more buyers and sellers in Southern California than any other company.  If you have any real estate questions or need any help give me a call I’d love to help.

Kevin Allen​      

Broker Associate
First Team Estates
Christie’s International Real Estate
Office: 714-481-5831

La Habra Heights, Ca Real Estate Report July 2015


La Habra Heights Hiring Firefighter & Paramedic

 Firefighter/Paramedic Job Opening – City of La Habra Heights

La Habra Heights, Ca Firefighter / Paramedic Job Opening
Position Title: Firefighter/Paramedic

Position Type: EMT or Paramedic (EMS)

Position Location: La Habra Heights, CA

Closed date: 08/20/2015

Job Description

Minimum Qualifications for Firefighter / Paramedic: – Completion of a CA state certified Firefighter I academy within the last 3 years or FF1 certification. – Hold a current certification as a paramedic in ALS through the State of CA. Accreditation in Los Angeles County as an EMT-Paramedic within 30 days of the date of hire. – Current CPAT or Biddle. – Have a valid CA Drivers Lic. Class C and are able to complete a Class B license within 1 year of employment. – Must have a satisfactory driving record clear of misdemeanor convictions and have no felony convictions. – Able to work one 24 hour per weeks (0630-0630).
Job Requirements

Salary Information

Salary: $9 per hour
Contact Information

Louie Lacasella
City of La Habra Heights
La Habra Heights, California 90631
ph: (562)694-6302
Fax: (562)694-4410
How To Apply

If you feel you are qualified, please e-mail a completed city application (, resume, list of certifications, and cover letter to

Community leader celebrates 40 years of love with his Vietnamese family

APPLE VALLEY — Surrounded by friends and family, community leader Wally Linn celebrated what he calls “four decades of love, faith, and commitment.”
On Saturday, Linn’s Vietnamese family took center stage during a celebration in Apple Valley that began in the summer of 1975 when Linn and his wife, Vicki, visited Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and brought home the Thanh Cong Nguyen family, refugees from South Vietnam.
“This is quite the story of a family that escaped their war-torn country and began a successful life here in America,” said Linn, a Marine Corps veteran and field representative for Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley). “Today, they’re all successful through hard work and perseverance.”
Linn said for the past 40 years, the family has come together at the Linn’s home to celebrate family and to remember how much God has blessed them.
Linn introduced San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon and his wife, Michelle, to his Vietnamese family, which included Thanh Cong Nguyen, 74, and his wife Chuc, 73, and their daughter, Camtu (Christine) 42, all from Las Vegas.
The McMahon’s were also introduced to Thanh’s younger brothers; Trinh, 59, a computer engineer who lives in San Jose with his wife, Christine, and their son, Ryan, 7; and brother Tung, 57, a family physician who resides in Orange County.
“We are so fortunate to be living in America,” said Trinh, as family members began laying out containers of Vietnamese food. “If it wasn’t for the love of Wally and Vicki, and their church, I don’t know where we would be.”
Trinh said after his family survived a dangerous trip to the Philippines, aboard an old Vietnamese Navy vessel with 5,000 refugees, the family was sent to Guam before they were flown to California.
“When we got to Camp Pendleton on July 31st, there was a mass of humanity living in tents,” Linn told the Daily Press. “My heart broke as a I saw 50,000 people, young and old, who had escaped Vietnam when the Communists took control of the country.”
Linn said he first heard about the refugees in California when he heard former Vice President of South Vietnam Nguyen Cao Ky speak in Anaheim. Later, a friend told the Linns that they could sponsor refugees from the war-torn country.
“I told myself, ‘Instead of complaining, why don’t you sponsor one?’” Linn said.
Upon his arrival, Linn heard the announcement to Thanh that his family was there to meet him over the loudspeaker before he came to meet them, but it wasn’t long before they met his family too.
“Before you know it, he introduced us to his wife, Chuc, and their daughter, Camtu,” Linn said.
Just when he thought they had the entire family gathered, Linn said that Thanh asked if his brothers, Trinh and Tun, could come home with them as well.
“By August, Thanh’s family had joined our daughters, Faith and Lisa, as part of the family in La Habra Heights,” Linn said. “It was a blessing to be able to open our hearts and home to them.”
The Linn’s also have a daughter, Joy, 38, who lives in Apple Valley and son, Charles, 25, who serves in the U.S. Army, honored just last year by the town of Apple Valley for receiving an Army Achievement Medal.
Trinh said that if the roles were reversed in 1975, he doesn’t know if he would have taken in strangers from another country.
“When Wally and Vicki took us in, they gave us the VIP treatment all the way,” Trinh said. “They not only fed us and gave us a place to stay, they prayed with us, took us to church and treated us like their own family.”
After Apple Valley Mayor Larry Cusack honored the family on behalf of the Town and Council, Tung told the Daily Press that he could not believe how quickly 40 years has passed.
“As a doctor, my job is to care for people that need medical treatment, but as a grateful American from Vietnam, my job is to care for everybody, “Trung said. “It’s only right that I give back to a family and country that has given so much to us.”
Linn said the family, who also received certificates of recognition from Cook, has “set an example for others to follow.”
“They’ve taken care of themselves and worked so hard for their success today,” Linn said. “That’s why I’m so proud of them.”