Back to profile

OW Staff Writer

Stories by OW Staff

Tease photo

Summer Reading Program kicks off at Palmdale Library with cupcakes and crafts

The Palmdale City Library, located at 700 E. Palmdale Blvd., will kick off this year’s Summer Reading Program on Tuesday, May 30 at 3 pm with cupcakes for the first 100 kids and teens that sign up, and crafts for all who attend. This year’s theme is “Reading by Design,” and the program will run from May 30 to July 29. All ages are welcome to participate, and sign-up will be available throughout the session.

Tease photo

Cultural Broker program plans to empower families in the community

The Community Action League (TCAL) and The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will hold a press conference today to announce the Antelope Valley’s Cultural Broker program. This is an effort launched by DCFS and the community to engage more community members in serving their communities. The press conference will take place at the DCFS office located at 39959 Sierra Highway in Palmdale and will begin at 11 a.m.

Tease photo

Search for attempted kidnappers

Authorities this week sought public help to find two men who tried to kidnap a 14-year-old girl in the east Lancaster area on May 8. The crime occurred about 5:30 p.m. that day at the corner of 27th Street East and Avenue J. The men were in a late 1990s- to early 2000s black Honda four-door sedan with tinted windows. The first digit of the license plate was 5.”

Tease photo

County home prices edge up

The median price of a home in Los Angeles County rose by 5.8 percent in April, compared with the same month a year earlier, while the number of homes sold tumbled by 9.8 percent, a real estate information service announced this week.

Tease photo

New support for CalFresh program being offered

The Board of Supervisors signaled its support this week for increasing county enrollment in the state’s CalFresh food benefits program by 20 percent over the coming two years, noting that Los Angeles County’s participation ranks in the bottom third statewide and California ranks 48th out of 50 states. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl recommended the goal, saying that more than a half million county households experienced “food insecurity” in 2015.

Tease photo

DryTown Water Park opens tomorrow

Palmdale’s DryTown Water Park will celebrate its 13th year of operations, when it opens for the 2017 season tomorrow at 11 a.m. “The temperature may be rising, but never fear—DryTown is here to keep you cool all summer long,” said DryTown Water Park manager Eric Dombrowski. “A DryTown season pass is the best way to experience all the endless summer fun. And if you purchase your season pass between now and opening day, you’ll get a free one-day ticket to bring a friend.”

Man guilty in local murder

A 26-year-old Lancaster resident, who used a hunting bow and arrow to kill a man who tried to break up an argument between the killer and his girlfriend, was convicted this week of first-degree murder.

Tease photo

Memorial Day celebration set for Monday

The Antelope Valley Service Organization Association (AVSOA) will conduct its annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at Desert Lawn Memorial Park, 2200 E. Avenue S, in Palmdale. The event is free.

Tease photo

New name for Coliseum?

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans football team and temporary home of the Los Angeles Rams, could be getting a new name. According to a report by Sports Business Daily, United Airlines has tentatively reached a 15-year, $70 million naming rights deal for the nearly century-old stadium, which has played host to two Olympic Games.

Tease photo

South LA Wetlands receives grant

The South Los Angeles Wetlands Park at Avalon Boulevard and 54th Street emerged as the winner of a national park-improvement campaign and will receive a $20,000 grant for a native plant restoration project, city officials announced recently.

Tease photo

Charter school founder under fire; accused of embezzling $200,000

The founder and director of a now-defunct South Los Angeles charter campus and her son pleaded not guilty this week to funneling $200,000 from the school to a shell company she controlled. Kendra Uzoma Okonkwo, 51, and Jason Chiazom Okonkwo, 29, are charged with one felony count each of misappropriation of public funds, grand theft by embezzlement, money laundering and keeping a false account.

Tease photo

Review of Children’s Trust Fund ongoing

County Supervisors voted this week to explore alternatives to the Children’s Trust Fund uiit, a group within the Department of Children and Family Services charged with raising money to fund toys, summer camp and other extras for foster kids. A recent audit found that thousands of toys sat unused in a warehouse, funds were mismanaged and other gifts went missing. The Board of Supervisors expects a report within 60 days.

America’s Job Center of California to host job recruitment for driving school

The America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) (formerly the South Valley WorkSource Center), located at 38510 Sierra Highway in Palmdale, will host a job recruitment for Class C driving instructors for Right Way Driving School on Wednesday, May 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its Palmdale location.

Reward offered for missing worker

A reward was doubled this week to $20,000 for information that helps solve the disappearance of a Santa Clarita man.

Thousands of birds seized in cockfighting

More that 7,000 birds intended for use in illegal cockfighting were seized in the Val Verde area west of Santa Clarita, authorities announced recently.

New electric bus delivered to AVTA

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) announced recently the delivery of its first 60-foot articulated electric bus and the completion of the southland’s first WAVE (wireless advanced vehicle electrification) inductive chargers. The developments are said to represent major milestones in the transit company’s push to become “100-percent green” by next year.

Neighborhood Watch coming near you

The city of Palmdale’s Crime Prevention staff will introduce “Sidewalk Neighborhood Watch” meetings this summer in neighborhoods throughout Palmdale.

Tease photo

Lancaster courthouse deemed ‘unsafe’

A state study has found that more than 140 courthouses across California are seismically unsafe, including several in Los Angeles County, raising the risk of a substantial loss of life in case of a major earthquake. The Los Angeles County courthouse in Lancaster is one of those facilities listed. The study, which is raising alarm among court officials, also found that fixing only the worst dozen courthouses would cost more than $300 million.

Tease photo

Center to host fitness walk

Legacy Commons in Palmdale will host its annual fitness walk and continental breakfast on May 25 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Sponsored by High Desert Medical Group, the event will begin with a stretching warm up, followed by a walk from Legacy Commons to Poncitlan Square and back.

Covered California releases analysis; income gap factors in health coverage

While the U.S. Senate debates passage of the American Health Care Act, the percentage of adults in Los Angeles County without health insurance has declined to under one million, but disparities persist among low-income Latinos, according to a survey released this month by the county Department of Public Health. The decline—from 1.7 million adults in 2011 to 750,000 adults in 2015—was seen in both men and women, all racial and ethnic groups, all age groups, and all geographic areas of the county.

Tease photo

FCC push to kill net neutrality continues assault on communities of color

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will open a proceeding designed to kill net neutrality protections previously adopted by the Commission. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers should enable access to all content and applications.

Tease photo

Review of Children’s Trust Fund

County supervisors voted this week to explore alternatives to the Children’s Trust Fund Unit, a group within the Department of Children and Family Services charged with raising money to fund toys, summer camp and other extras for foster kids.

Slawson Southeast Occupational Center to host job fair today

Need a job? More than 20 employers, who are ready to hire, will participate in a career and resource fair at the Richard N. Slawson Southeast Occupational Center, 5500 Rickenbacker Rd., in Bell, Calif., today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tease photo

Lucas Museum one step closer

The Los Angeles Planning Commission has signed off on the development proposal for filmmaker George Lucas’ highly-anticipated Lucas Museum of Narrative Art at Exposition Park.

World on Wheels rollerskating rink set to re-open in L.A.

Los Angeles skaters won’t be forced to travel to other places around Southern California such as Cerritos, Chino and Glendale, to lace up anymore. World on Wheels (W.O.W) is set to re-open this summer.

Former Compton city official pleads guilty in embezzlement case

Compton’s former deputy treasurer agreed this week to plead guilty to a federal charge of stealing more than $3.7 million in city funds. Salvador Galvan, 47, of La Mirada, is expected to formally enter his plea to one federal count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds at a date yet to be determined.

Tease photo

Health departments challenged as Hepatitis infections increase

Statement by Laura Hanen, MPP, interim executive director of NACCHO

“New hepatitis C infections have nearly tripled over five years, according to new preliminary surveillance data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 3.5 million Americans are living with hepatitis C virus, making it the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States.

Positions available at Ralphs

Ralphs Grocery Co. announced this week it is hiring 800 people to fill open positions in its Southern California supermarkets. Hiring events will be held at all Ralphs stores on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Public Works Day May 25

The city of Lancaster will host on May 25 its annual Public Works Community Day at the City Maintenance Yard, 615 W. Avenue H, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event will be held in conjunction with the American Public Works Association’s National Public Works Week scheduled May 21-27.

Conviction in infant death

A Palmdale woman was convicted this week of second-degree murder and other charges stemming from the death of a nearly 5-month-old boy who was left in her care last year.

Local business settles with federal investigators

A Lancaster-based radiation therapy center paid $3 million to resolve allegations that it submitted fraudulent bills over a nearly 10-year period to three government-run healthcare programs for unsupervised radiation oncology services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this week.

Tease photo

Increase in child death rate

The number of children killed at the hands of a parent, relative or caregiver in Los Angeles County rose to 18 in 2015, up from 15 the previous year, while suicides among kids and teens more than doubled, according to reports released this week. The reports on child abuse and child deaths also found that the number of children referred to authorities for suspected abuse or neglect decreased slightly in 2015, and auto-pedestrian collisions caused the most accidental child deaths that year.

Tease photo

Baca vows to appeal sentence

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is vowing to appeal his conviction and whatever prison sentence he may receive for his part in a scheme to block an FBI investigation into abuse of inmates in the Los Angeles County jail system he ran, according to court papers filed this week.

Tease photo

Call for reforms in Palmdale

In response to a recent search by the District Attorney’s Office of the home and office of Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, Palmdale Councilman Austin Bishop has suggested a number of interim reforms to “protect the integrity, honesty and transparency” of city hall.

Tease photo

Record tourism boosts county coffers

The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board announced recently that a record-setting 47.3 million visitors injected an all-time-high $21.9 billion into Los Angeles County’s economy in 2016.

Tease photo

County shortage of ‘affordable food’

"Food insecurity” is a public health crisis in Los Angeles County, but many immigrant families are afraid to sign up for help, county officials said recently in proclaiming May as CalFresh Awareness Month.

Lancaster man in plane brawl

A 37-year-old Lancaster man who was involved in a video-recorded fight aboard a Southwest Airlines plane on the tarmac in Burbank was jailed this week. Airport police identified the man as Chaze Mickalo Cable.

CSU Dominguez Hills will bestow honorary doctorate on Danny Bakewell Sr.

Bakewell and LA World Airports CEO Deborah Flint to give commencement keynote addresses

Danny Bakewell Sr., founder and chairman of The Bakewell Company, one of the largest African American commercial real estate development groups in the western United States, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) during its 2017 commencement.

Twenty students get scholarships to attend HBCU tours next month

In the fall of 1987, an idea was born that was destined to have a tremendous impact on thousands of African American students throughout California and beyond. Gregory and Dr. Yasmin Delahoussaye conducted their first Black College Tour. Even though only 35 students participated, the first tour was a huge success. They experienced an educational environment that supported them and discovered a strong sense of belonging the moment they set foot on campus.

Joint statement from CBC chairman, regarding Trump and HBCU funding

On May 8, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s attempt to walk back his recent comments on HBCUs. While signing a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill on May 5 that would keep the federal government running until September, President Trump questioned the constitutionality of HBCU funding.

Film fees may be reduced

The Board of Supervisors voted this week to review film permitting fees, part of an effort to build a stronger relationship with the entertainment industry and increase local film and television production.

Conviction in Palmdale murder

An ex-convict was found guilty this week of first-degree murder for stabbing his girlfriend nearly 100 times at the Palmdale home she shared with her mother.

Tease photo

College campuses at record divide

Political polarization on college campuses is the most extreme it has been in the 51-year history of an annual study of first-year students, according to a poll released by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute.

Tease photo

Crash kills retired fireman

A man who died in a solo car crash near Palmdale was a retired Los Angeles County Fire Department captain, authorities said this week. John Bailey, 67, of Palmdale died at a hospital following the crash that occurred about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on West Avenue S, west of Tovey Avenue.

Tease photo

Lacey lauds office reform to help mentally ill persons

District Attorney Jackie Lacey highlighted efforts to help mentally ill individuals stay out of the criminal justice system in an annual report released by her office. The Report to the People 2015-16 leads off with a letter by Lacey that recalls the biggest convictions of the last two years. “One of the office’s greatest achievements was the successful prosecution of Lonnie David Franklin Jr.—who was convicted of the notorious ‘Grim Sleeper’ murders of nine women and a teenage girl spanning from 1985 to 2007,” Lacey wrote. “He was sentenced to death for his crimes.”

Tease photo

Summer movies set for Amphitheater

A selection of family favorite classic films is scheduled this summer at the popular Family Movie Nights at the Palmdale Amphitheater. First up on July 14 is Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, it is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott. He brings the strange creature into his suburban home and introduces him to his brother and kid sister as E.T. They must keep his existence a secret, but soon E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention for the kids and the alien. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” won four Oscars, two Golden Globes, a Grammy Award and stars Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote and a very young Drew Barrymore.

Tease photo

Appeal denied in Lancaster crash

An appeals court this week affirmed the murder conviction of a man sentenced 15 years to life in prison for driving drunk, crashing his pickup truck into a Lancaster home and crushing a 71-year-old woman to death in her bed.

Tease photo

Jerome Boyd, veteran with LAFD, dies in car crash

A solemn procession of firefighters took place on Tuesday for former Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Battalion Chief Jerome Boyd who died suddenly April 28 while driving on duty near downtown Los Angeles. Boyd, 55, had served with the department for more than 30 years. His last assignment was with the Fire Prevention Bureau’s Public Safety Section.

Tease photo

Architect tells “inside story” of history and culture

Los Angeles area residents can hear the inside story of the newly opened National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., from the architect who managed the project.

Police Commission asks for community input regarding LAPD body camera footage

Answer the survey today!

The Los Angeles Police Commission is preparing to address one of the biggest accountability and transparency related issues facing law enforcement today: When should footage from police body cameras be released?