Youth Center accepting nominations for ‘A Night Among the Stars’ awards

Top rated and award winning non-profit the Youth Center in Los Alamitos is now accepting nominations for their philanthropic youth awards ceremony the 4th annual A Night Among the Stars until Dec. 15. Individual community members, non-profits,schools, organizations and companies are encouraged to nominate outstanding youth volunteers between the ages of 5 and 18 years old who selflessly give time and talents in making the community a better place. “We want to identify and recognize youth who are giving back and making a difference in somebody’s life no matter how small,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “If somebody knows of a child who is doing things like helping out an elderly neighbor to bring in trash cans, get the mail or help around their home, we want to recognize their efforts. “This is an event that brings the whole community together and celebrates our youth volunteers who might be young but they are truly making a big difference,” said Lumme. “In the past we have had stellar youth volunteers nominated by Precious Life Shelter, We Care of Los Alamitos, Grateful Hearts, Girl’s Scouts, Los Alamitos Unified School District, the Seal Beach Lion’s Club, Honoring Our Fallen, just to name a few.” The review committee will select 15 outstanding volunteers who will be recognized at the formal red carpet event to be held on Saturday, April 30 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at The Youth Center. All will receive a Certificate of Recognition, letter of recommendation and will be formally honored. Three volunteers will be selected to receive $500 scholarships, one under the age of 12-years-old and two between the ages of 12 to 18. Additional scholarships will be provided by The Rotary Club of Los Alamitos/Seal Beach, something new this year. In the past three years, various city officials and congressman have also provided additional recognition. To nominate an outstanding youth, submit their name, age, mailing address, parent’s email address, phone number, total hours volunteered, and why they should be recognized for their volunteerism. Selected nominees and their families will receive an invitation to this special event. Submissions can be sent via snail mail, email or fax to The Youth Center. The Youth Center is located at 10909 Oak St., in Los Alamitos, 90720. They can be reached by email at theyouthcenter.org (click on “Contact Us”) and by fax at 562-596-4747.

Senator Tony Mendoza takes community oath of office

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti administered the community oath of office to Senator Tony Mendoza on Saturday at the Norwalk City Hall Civic Lawn. The ceremony featured community leaders and local dignitaries. Senator Mendoza was elected as Senator for the newly-drawn 32nd Senate District on Nov. 4.“I was honored to administer the oath of office to my friend Tony Mendoza at his community oath of office event on Saturday in Norwalk. I look forward to working with him to create jobs and strengthen neighborhoods across Southern California,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.“It was an honor to have Mayor Garcetti administer my oath of office. I am humbled to be elected by the voters of the new 32nd Senate District,” said Sen. Tony Mendoza. “I will work hard for my constituents and the State of California. There is a lot to do, but I am ready for the challenge.”Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former school teacher was elected on Nov. 4 to represent the 1.1 million residents of the newly-drawn 32ndSenate District. Sen. Mendoza previously served in the State Assembly from 2006 to 2012 representing the 56th District.Sen. Mendoza grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He is the first in his family of nine children to graduate from college. He earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach and his teaching credential at California State University, Los Angeles. He also obtained his Executive Masters in Leadership from the University of Southern California. For more than 10 years, Mendoza taught elementary school in East Los Angeles.In 1997, he was elected to the Artesia City Council, becoming the first Latino councilmember. A year later, he became the youngest to serve as Artesia’s mayor at the age of 26. Mendoza served three successful terms on the Artesia City Council before running for the State Assembly in 2006.While serving in the State Assembly, he authored significant legislation signed into law: Under AB 97, California became the first state in the nation to ban the use of Trans Fats in food preparation in all restaurants; AB 1291 allows judges to sentence the parents of children with first-time gang offenses to anti-gang parenting education classes; and AB 22 prohibits the use of consumer credit reports in the hiring process.Sen. Mendoza lives in Artesia with his wife, Leticia, their three daughters and son.The 32nd Senate District includes the cities and communities of Artesia, Bellflower, Buena Park, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Hacienda Heights, Hawaiian Gardens, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, Lakewood, Los Nietos, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Rose Hills, Santa Fe Springs, South Whittier and Whittier.

Los Al Race Course may expand

Los Alamitos Race Course officials are in preliminary meetings this month with the city of Cypress to expand the track and barn area to accommodate thoroughbred racing set possibly for early next year.“It’s a 50-50 percent chance that Los Al will host thoroughbred racing. We’ll know quite a bit more in the next 30 days as to if this will move forward,” Track Consultant Brad McKinzie said.“We don’t’ know even if we are going to apply for permits. This project is still a proposal,” McKinzie said.If thoroughbred racing comes to Los Alamitos’ owner, (Dr. Edward C. Allred), and if he wants to do it, Los Alamitos will move forward, according to McKinzie.“Right now we are just laying down basic plans. It’s all very preliminary,” he said. “Dr. Allred is very committed to making sure Cypress is up to speed on how we should move forward, if we want to move forward.”City of Cypress Mayor Dr. Prakash Narain was unavailable for comment but Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Mills said, “all that’s going on right now is typical exploratory conversations. As far as tax revenues, I cannot comment on that because the developer and owner hasn’t submitted finalized plans. I’m receptive (to the expansion), but I have to wait to see what all the facts are with the project.”The city of Cypress currently receives one third of one percent on whatever is wagered at Los Alamitos as well as sale tax from all activities that go on at the race course, according to McKinzie.The Los Alamitos now hosts nationally known, year-round quarterhorse meetings, and should the expansion be approved, will host two three-week meetings in summer and fall, replacing Hollywood Park’s dates. The racetrack, which currently employs approximately 700 people, would be considered a second thoroughbred venue in the Los Angeles area.In January to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), Hollywood Park officials said the track would race through 2013, but are not committed to hosting thoroughbred racing beyond this coming December. Los Alamitos would be a leading option to replace Hollywood Park, whose owners have stated a desire to tear down their racetrack, and possibly utilize the land for commercial and residential development.“If Hollywood Park goes away, it will create quite a hole in the industry, so they (the industry) will probably decide fairly soon about Los Alamitos,” said McKinzie. “Should Hollywood Park decide not to run in 2014, the vast majority of the race dates will be split up between Santa Anita and Del Mar,” he said. “But Los Alamitos might host a couple 3-week or 4-week meets, which is fine with us. We think it would be just perfect for our facility.”CHRB Public Relations Officer Mike Marten said, “It (Los Alamitos’ proposed expansion) is all industry conversation at this point, and that it hasn’t been presented to the CHRB.”Oak Tree Racing Associates, who have raced for the last 40 years at Santa Anita, have been looking at Los Alamitos, according to Oak Tree Racing Association’s Vice President Sherwood Chillingsworth. But he said it’s really an industry decision to create year-round training at Los Alamitos, and that the final decision is up to the CHRB. “If Los Alamitos is one of the possibilities, we would like to see the expansion happen. It’s good for the industry,” said Chillingsworth.The proposed expansion of Los Alamitos would include taking its current five-eighths mile dirt track and bring it up to a circumference of just less of a mile while also adding approximately 1,000 stalls to accommodate thoroughbred training and racing. “There will be no synthetic race track. We have a dirt track and we plan on keeping it this way,” McKinzie said. “We’re looking at a budget of about $12 million to improve the grandstand, barn area and lengthen our track.”Currently, Los Alamitos has handles that average about $1.3 million at night. There was $105 million betted last year on thoroughbred satellite racing at Los Alamitos for races at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park or Del Mar, or whoever was racing, according to McKinzie.“We feel Los Al would be a vibrant and live prospect for betting on thoroughbred racing. We will handle more than $2 million on satellite races for the Kentucky Derby Day,” he said. “The three richest horse races in California are run here, with one race having a purse of $2 million. But Los Alamitos isn’t big enough for a Breeder’s Cup to be held here.”“We feel horse racing is still a vibrant endeavor, “McKinzie said. “Dr. Allred has a passion for it. We feel thoroughbred racing here would be very success for the industry.”

Local boy battling bone marrow failure

Imagine being 10-years-old and told you can’t play in the park or at school due to a life-threatening illness. You’ve walked into the reality of Kai Quinonez of Rossmoor. This vibrant fourth grader from Hopkinson Elementary School lives with Aplastic Anemia, and is one in a million children known to have the rare disorder.Kai has spent most of the last two years in-and-out of hospitals, undergoing chemotherapy and blood transfusions. Aplastic Anemia can be best described as “bone marrow failure,” according to his father, Gus Quinonez of Keller Williams Realty Group, Quinonez Group of Los Alamitos.“It effects the production of red and white blood cells, causing them to be attacked by a person’s own T-cells,” his father said. “The only cure for Kai at this point is to have a bone marrow transplant. Until a donor is found, Kai is undergoing a second round of chemotherapy and blood transfusions. He’s a real trooper.”The Quinonez family has traveled as far as San Francisco and Milwaukee to learn more about the condition, and has faith that a bone marrow donor or National Institute of Health study can cure Kai.Until a donor is found, they are hoping the NIH study on umbilical stem cells mixed with either Kai’s mother’s and father’s blood, or his brother’s blood, comes out of clinical trials and can be a potential cure, too. Kai’s brother, 12-year-old Klaus, is not a match for a regular bone marrow transplant along with his parents.“The study at NIH looks promising,” continued father, Gus. “For the bone marrow or stem cell blood transfusion to work, Kai would have to be in a hospital in Milwaukee for 8 to 10 months, put into isolation, bringing his whole body down through chemotherapy and radiation, killing off the cells he has and injecting him with the new cells.” The Quinonez’s are working with a world renowned specialist in Wisconsin while Kai is also in treatment at Miller’s Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.“Donating bone marrow can be as simple as donating blood,” said father, Gus. “You are given medicine for 6 to 7 days to increase and bring stem cells to surface. It takes only an hour or two for anywhere from 1 to 3 days, and is covered by insurance or the National Bone Marrow Registry.” Gus is a member of the board of Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome. “There is a chance that Kai’s illness is developing into Myelodysplastic Syndrome where the body forms blood cells but they are not viable.” “Doctors have told us this (Aplastic Anemia) is eight out of 10 times worse than having leukemia,” he said.Kai has just started a new school year, and has been approved by his doctors to take tennis lessons. The boy who once played flag football has to be careful not to participate in any contact sports due to a high risk for hemorrhaging, cardiac arrest, brain damage and death. He also has to be careful not to catch a cold or flu due to his chemotherapy affecting his immune system.“One of Kai’s favorite things is to visit Wahoo Fish Tacos, but he needs to sit outside so he’s not exposed to other’s colds or viruses,” his mother, Beth, said. “The last time we ate out, he ran a 104 degree fever the next day, and had to be hospitalized for two weeks on heavy antibiotics.”“We are very grateful to all the community for their support,” she said. “Kai has been visited by his teachers, and works with a tutor at home.”Even the school principal took Kai’s brother, Klaus, out to lunch.The Quinonez family wants to give back by hosting the first annual “School Ghoul 5K Run & Fun Walk” on Oct. 28 to benefit all Los Alamitos schools. The event is being held during Kai’s favorite time of year, Halloween, and includes a kid’s art contest, music, food, games and a costume contest.“Kai’s school teachers and many other individuals have been wonderful in helping Kai and our family,” Beth said. The Quinonez family also has the support of Good Sheppard Presbyterian Church, where they attend services.Although Kai has been in the hospital most of the last two years, with the exception of two to three of months, he remains a typical child who copes well by drawing and writing stories such as “The Red Baron, The Flying Ace,” and has even won an award for one of his stories at school. He admires Batman and Spiderman, and hopes to become an actor in a Batman movie someday.Those interested in becoming a bone marrow donor can do so at www.kaispage.com, which has a link on how to do this. If interested in serving on the volunteer committee “School Ghoul 5 K Run and Fun Walk,” call Gus Quinonez at 714-469-6061 or email him at Gus@QuinonezGroup.com.

Cypress Mayor Rob Johnson delivers 2015 State of the City address

Cypress Mayor Rob Johnson delivered his State of the City address and presented Business of the Year awards at the Cypress Community Center on Wednesday, Jan. 21.Mayor Johnson’s speech recounted many of Cypress’ strengths: 17% year-over-year drop in serious crime; a vibrant, thriving business base; strong leadership and city management reflected in the City’s conservative fiscal policies and prudent budgeting. And In 2014, Cypress was ranked as the eighth best place to raise a family in Southern California by an online financial advice website.Mayor Johnson’s address focused on the long-standing tradition of dedicated volunteerism in Cypress. He highlighted residents and community volunteers from the Cypress Senior Center, the Cypress Community Festival Association and other groups such as the Friends of Cypress Recreation & Parks, Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club.“Corporate volunteerism is also alive and well in Cypress,” said Mayor Johnson, recognizing Van’s volunteer efforts and Bandai’s generous contributions to community non-profit groups. Mayor Johnson also recounted his work on the Habitat for Humanity project in Cypress and thanked Habitat for its efforts to provide homes to deserving families.Mayor Johnson also commended the various groups of volunteers that support City services. The Volunteers in Policing (VIP), Chaplains, and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) contributed over 4,000 hours in 2014. Mayor Johnson stated, “I would like to thank these volunteers for their efforts. They contribute immensely to the overall safety of the community and save thousands of taxpayer dollars.”Three businesses were honored during the event with the Annual BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT Business of the Year Awards. Additionally, the Mayor awarded a special recognition to Yamaha Motor Corporation in honor of their 35th anniversary in Cypress.The recipient of the BRACE Business of the Year Award was Los Alamitos Race Course. In attendance to receive the award was Dr. Edward Allred. Los Alamitos Race Course recently expanded its operations to include thoroughbred racing and brought fame to the community as the home of California Chrome, 2014 Horse of the Year and winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Los Alamitos Race Course also contributes to the community through its annual sponsorship of the Boys & Girls Club Fundraising event and provided seed money to establish the Challenger Baseball program in Cypress.The AGENT Business of the Year Award was awarded to SoCal Office Technologies. Mr. David Riener, President, was in attendance to receive the award. SoCal Office Technologies is an industry leader and has been providing document asset management solutions since 1977. SoCal Office Technologies pioneered the PrinteGration™ Workflow Assessment and has an expanding presence in the fields of digital imaging and 3D printing.The recipient of the SPIRIT Business of the Year Award was Brain Rehabilitation and Injury Network (B.R.A.I.N.). Ms. Sue Rueb, Founder and President of B.R.A.I.N. accepted the award on the company’s behalf. B.R.A.I.N. is a non-profit organization with the mission to advance the highest level of research, recovery and residual care for adults who have sustained a brain injury. They provide services without regard for a client’s ability to pay for service. “Clearly this is a phenomenal organization that not only services its client’s needs but also exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism that we are recognizing today,” said Mayor Johnson.Mayor Johnson concluded the event with a presentation of special recognition to Yamaha Motor Corporation in honor of its 35th anniversary in Cypress. Yamaha constructed its national corporate headquarters in Cypress in 1980. They were the first corporate tenant in Cypress’ business park and laid the foundation for its future development. “I am honored to recognize the anniversary of this milestone achievement and thank Yamaha for its commitment to the Cypress community and wish them continued success,” stated Mayor Johnson.For more information regarding the City of Cypress, the BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT programs, other City services for the business community, or for information on how to relocate your business to the City of Cypress, please contact Redevelopment Project Manager Steve Clarke at 714-229-6728. A video of the Mayor’s State of the City Address can be found on the City’s website at www.ci.cypress.ca.us.

One hundred years to celebrate

On Aug. 22, the Eagles Nest Clubhouse at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress California had the great honor of hosting Mr. Manuel Salazar's 100th birthday gala. His beautiful family, along with many friends from came to celebrate this special day.Salazar was elated to also receive a special birthday wish from President Barack Obama and his lovely wife, Michelle. Salazar was born on Aug. 21 in 1915 in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Gregorio and Adela Salazar. The couple also had five additional sons and one beautiful little girl.In 1926, the family came to the United States and settled in Benson, Arizona, where his father worked for the railroad. Just about 10 years later, Salazar married the love of his life, Dora Blanco. Dora passed away in June 2009. The couple were married for 73 years. Salazar has two sons: Jerry and Danny; two daughters: Olivia and Linda; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.Some of the hobbies he still enjoys are working in his garden, and watching the Lakers, Dodgers and Angels games on TV.

Narain shows support of Lowenthal

On Friday, Feb. 1, Cypress Mayor Dr. Prakash Narain and his wife, Veena Narain, attended the District Swearing-In Ceremony for Congressman Alan Lowenthal in the city of Long Beach.Lowenthal was elected in November 2012 to represent California’s 47th District to the 113th Congress, newly drawn by the State Citizens Redistricting Commission as a result of the November 2008 voter approved Proposition 11—the Voters FIRST Act.His district includes most of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Westminster and Garden Grove.A former Cal State Long Beach psychology professor, Lowenthal was first elected to the Long Beach City Council in 1992. He served in the State Assembly from 1998 until 2004, then in the State Senate until December 2012.Narain is serving his second term on the Cypress City Council. He also served as mayor from 2009 to 2010. He holds a medical degree with specialty in geriatrics and internal medicine. He is a former chief of staff of Los Alamitos Medical Center and was the chairman of the Governing Board of Los Alamitos Medical Center from 2008 to 2009.Narain has a history of community involvement. He served for eight years on the Cypress Senior Citizens Commission, three of which he served as chairman of the commission. He was an advisory board member of Acacia Adult Day Care and was a former volunteer physician advisor for the Cypress Police Department.Lowenthal’s district office is at 100 W. Broadway, West Tower Suite 600, in Long Beach.

Cypress College Swap Meet brings the city business

The Cypress College Swap Meet has been bringing the city of Cypress a wide array of business for decades now, and continues to be a traditional SoCal focal point for many of California’s top merchants and vendors. Various citizens from a wide array of backgrounds all converge on the Chargers’ campus to purchase, trade, and sell a plethora of consumer goods ranging from fresh produce, to clothing, to electronics.The bustling of excited and enthusiastic costumers fill the marketplace as everyone is off to purchase antique furniture, shoes, or hunting equipment.“I have been selling and doing business here for over seven years now,” says Edgar Jurado, who is an athletic shoe salesman at the Cypress Swap Meet. “My running and track and field shoes have been my hottest ticket items. I have been getting a good turnout and reception from both male and female athletes. They are very popular, and the runners really love them.”Jurado really enjoys the different people who visit his booth. He really enjoys the unity and diversity. “I love to meet new people from different cultures. I love the fact that everyone comes here to share time and do business with each other. There is always a heavy flow of wonderful people who are friendly.Everyone has a story to share. The venue is always packed and we make good business while making lifelong friends.” Lynn Bolder has sold rock and roll merchandise here at the Cypress College Swap Meet for over 20 years and concurs with all that Jurado has said.“I love the shoppers here because they are really friendly. It is a good place to come to sell consumer goods. We need more publicity and more people to come out to experience what we have going on over here. I don’t think people know that the swap meet is here.”With more publicity, Bolder strongly feels like the Cypress College Swap Meet could really blow up and expand into something more.“There is a ton of awesome stuff here, and all at good prices that are way cheaper than a bigger corporate store like a Target or Walmart. It is even better than the local mall. At least here, you will get the best one on one customer service, you will personally get to know the merchants who are selling the products to you, and you get to be outdoors and will get in some exercise.”Bolder himself had a wide variety of wonderful items that were for sale. He was selling rather unique and hard to find historical rock and roll musical memorabilia from all of the legendary bands of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Bolder had rocker T-Shirts of acts ranging from The Doors, to Nirvana, to Bon Jovi. He also had many different types of incense, soaps, and exotic candles for any hardcore rocker who wished to share in a little romance with that special “iron maiden,” in his life after the show was over.“These rocker shirts sell in the local mall and at concerts for 20 dollars and over, but I’m selling the best legendary rock band T-shirts for only five dollars,” exclaimed Bolder. “Tell me where you will ever find a deal like that?” Eric Olsen has been working for Bolder for five years and has been attending the Cypress College Swap Meet for over 30 years. “I still come out here and shop for whatever I need,” explains Olsen. “Whenever I am not working, I like to browse the lanes and halls looking for various items. This is a great place to find all kinds of rare goods that you won’t be able to find in a store here in this city, or even from this state, or country.” The thing that seems to warm the heart of Olsen the most is the interactions with people, and the many friends that he has made over the years.“There are many good people out there, and the SoCal folks are just so cool. The vendors and the citizens are what makes this place light up, they make it lively, and they are the reason why I keep coming back. It’s not a bad gig coming to sell here; I love our customers, and their hospitality.”Esther Cruz has been selling and doing business at the Cypress College Swap Meet for five years. She specializes in the sale of bedding, blankets, and bedroom décor.“I love interacting with the customers, I also love that they always compliment me about my visual displays and set ups. They seem to really appreciate my hard work and effort.” Cruz also enjoys the diversity of the crowd that comes through the Cypress Swap Meet. “We have a heavy population of various Latino and Asian people from the different cultures of each ethnicity, but we have been getting more people from other races coming through to sell, trade, and shop over the past several years."The people like the good prices, and the true customer service. Here you will get direct interaction with the merchant, more shops to choose from, and rare items from other states and countries that you cannot purchase locally. The experience is just different. You are outside enjoying the weather, the shops are condensed and aren’t so overwhelming like other large corporations tend to be, and you get to make new long lasting relationships.”With the Chargers’ campus packed to the brim, a diverse crowd assembles to share goods, ideas, stories, and friendships, and will continue to do so for generations to come. “If you got the time, come on down and take a walk with us. It’s a good time for everybody,” says Olson. Based on the filled hallways and isles, it looks like all of Southern California heard Olson’s call.

Woman’s Club of Cypress Annual Spring Tea

More than 150 women and men gathered on Feb. 6 for the Woman’s Club of Cypress (WCC) annual Spring Tea at the Cypress Community Center. The “Home is Where the Heart Is” event raised $6,200 through ticket sales, vendor tables, a silent auction and opportunity drawings.Members hosted 20 tables, each uniquely set with fine china and themed decorations. Guests feasted on scones, sandwiches and desserts along with an assortment of teas served by Cypress High School Key Club volunteers. Entertainment was provided by members of the Anaheim Union High School District GATE Orchestra under the direction of Music Director Julie Metz.Special guests included:• Assemblywoman Young Kim – 65th District• Cypress Mayor Mariellen Yarc• Cypress Mayor Pro Tem Paulo Morales• Cypress City Council Member Stacy Berry• Cypress City Council Member Jon Peat• Cypress City Manager Peter Grant• Woman’s Club Federated Orange District President Libby Buckley Centerpieces were donated by Forest LawnFlower Shop. Door prizes, auction items, and opportunity items were donated by many local businesses. Several specialty vendors had a variety of items for purchase on display.Attendee Jody Junor spoke for most guests when she remarked, “I enjoyed the warm sense of community during the event and appreciated the musical entertainment offered by our local teens. I was also impressed by the hardworking teen volunteers who served tea and food.”Project Chairman Carole Stone raised more than $600 at a special wine pull booth fundraiser for the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life program, which focuses on decreasing vaccine-preventable deaths in children globally.During the program Tea Chairperson Delight Sittman thanked committee members and table hostesses who worked diligently with her to organize the event. For more information on the year-round work of the Woman’s Club of Cypress, contact club President, Veena Narain, 714-236-0173.