Riding for the Wall

How are you honoring our Veterans this Memorial Day?Don and Kristine Wood of Cypress, Calif. are joining thousands of other motorcyclists in a 10-day, 2,715 mile journey across the country to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Arlington Va. They will average 15 hour days that will include driving in traffic, stops for gas and meals, climate changes and bugs.Don and Kris are the parents of nine children and five grandchildren. They have a dental practice in Cypress. They are active in their church and are members of the American Legion Riders and Daughters of the American Revolution.So, why would they put their lives on hold, pack one change of clothing in their saddlebags and jump on their motorcycle to ride across the county in 10 days?Kris is quick to respond.“Why do I ride? My family has fought in every war from The Revolution on down. My family has personally suffered from the affects of war. I want to give back to those who serve our great nation to keep us free.”So they began their journey on May 14 in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. with more than 200 bikers. The ‘Run to the Wall’ was organized by the American Motorcyclist Association. They coordinated three different routes across the country with places to stay, gas stops, meals and opportunities to meet with the communities they pass through.Their goal is to honor and remember veterans of all wars, and to educate future generations on the importance of accountability in wartime actions. In each State, breakfast, lunch and dinner has been prepared and served to them by local communities, American Legion Posts, churches, Elks Lodges and local restaurants.Riders have been touched by the generosity of those serving them. In Colorado City, Texas, a small town of five square miles and a population of 2,000, bikers were overwhelmed with the patriotism shown to them. As they rolled in to “fill ‘er up,” they found that the bill had already been paid. The American Legion Post fundraises all year to be able to buy the riders’ gas and feed them lunch.The Colorado City Fire Department hung a huge flag to welcome them. Lunch was provided with a spread of steak, chicken, potato salad and bacon wrapped poppers. The riders were treated to a program with tap dancers, a violin solo, a community band, veteran’s biographies shared by local students and finally a Boy Scout leader singing “Proud to be an American.”They left Colorado City Texas without a dry eye. Similar experiences have been repeated in other communities they have passed through. By the time they arrive in Virginia, Don and Kris will be one of 33,000 bikers. Kris wants to be sure to capture the spirit and stories of their great event.“I will be blogging along the way in anticipation of publishing a book commemorating the 2014 Run for the Wall, as well as honoring the Vietnam Veterans I meet along the way.”To learn more on the annual ride, visit http://www.rftw.org/. Follow Don and Kris’ journey on her blog: http://www.ridingforthewall.blogspot.com/or on twitter @rideforthewall or Facebook; Ridingforthewall.

Night out against crime in Cypress

@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }On Tuesday, August 6, neighborhoods throughout Cypress are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the 30th annual “National Night Out” (NNO) crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and co-sponsored locally by the Cypress Police Department, will involve over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases around the world. In all, over 37 million people are expected to participate in ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime.’ NNO 2013 is being supported in part by Target, a national corporate sponsor.National Night Out is designated to: (1) Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2) Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts; (3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.From 4 to 8 p.m. on August 6, residents in neighborhoods throughout Cypress and across the nation are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights, and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police.The Cypress Police Department will be hosting a NNO event at Oak Knoll Park (East side of the Community Center Parking Lot). The Community Services Unit, Traffic Safety Unit, K-9 Unit, and S.W.A.T. team will be present with displays and will provide crime prevention information. The California Department of Fish and Game will have an information booth. There will be a K-9 demonstration and games. Target will be providing free refreshments while supplies last.For additional information, contact the Cypress Police Department’s Community Outreach Officer,Julie Marquez, at 714-229-6626, or visit the National Night Out website at www.nationalnightout.org.

Coyote safety tips

@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”;}@font-face { font-family: “Courier New”;}@font-face { font-family: “Wingdings”;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0in; }ul { margin-bottom: 0in; }After a coyote attacked a two-year-old girl in Cypress last week, the Los Alamitos Police have passed along some safety tips from Long Beach Animal Care Services to those who might encounter a coyote.Coyotes are part of the natural habitat in California, and they are increasingly adept at searching for food in cities because their natural habitat has increasingly been encroached by development. Coyote conflicts with humans are extremely rare, even though coyote activity is higher during this time of year as this is the season when they are raising their pups.The City of Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) would like to remind the community that they can decrease their chances of a coyote conflict and protect their pets and family by following the these guidelines.Never feed any wildlife, especially coyotes, intentionally or unintentionally. Do not keep pet food outside, secure garbage cans and pick up fallen fruit from trees. Keep and feed your pets indoors, especially at night.If you walk your dog in or near any of the known coyote habitats, keep your dog on a leash at all times as required by municipal codes. If possible, avoid walking dogs in the early morning or at dusk, which are prime feeding times for coyotes. Keep small pets indoors, especially cats – they are an easy favored preyEducate children how to recognize a coyote and train them on what to do if they see one.Coyotes and other predators may be attracted to areas that provide protective cover. Remove hiding spaces by keeping brush and weeds from around buildings cleared.Many coyotes have lost their natural fear of humans. The best thing that you can do if you see a coyote is to “haze” them. This involves standing tall and making yourself look big while waving your arms; yelling at them to go away; throwing objects toward them; or spraying them with water. It is essential that coyotes retain their natural fear of humans. Never run from a coyote. Keep constant eye contact with the coyote and continue to move toward other people, a building or an area of activity.It is also important to remember that coyote attacks on people are extremely rare, with an average of only 10 coyote attacks on people a year in the United States and Canada, according to The Humane Society of the United States. To our knowledge, there has never been an attack on a person in Long Beach.In the event of a life-threatening emergency please call 911. LBACS advises residents to report coyote attacks, threats and aggressive behavior at 562-570-7387. If coyotes are sighted in areas where there are children (schools, parks, etc.) or if the coyotes are acting aggressively, an officer will be dispatched immediately. Additionally, LBACS takes reports of coyote activities and forwards any threats to pets or people to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife so that they may respond appropriately. To report a coyote incident online and for further information on reducing conflicts and hazing techniques, please visit www.longbeach.gov/acs/wildlife.

St. Irenaeus Giving Tree Parties gave many gifts

Health ministry members of St. Irenaeus Church in Cypress started working on their Annual Giving Tree Community Outreach Project early in November. The project depended on the assistance of many people to successfully share the Christmas Spirit with others.The Health ministry purchased 400 large brown paper bags and enlisted the help of the students, teachers and staff members of St. Irenaeus School to decorate them festively as gift bags.The students decorated the bags artistically with a variety of Christmas decorations and drawings.The 400 bags were prepared to be given as gifts for homebound parishioners and residents of five care centers which health ministry members visit each week to pray and bring the Holy Eucharist to them.St. Irenaeus Parish priests celebrate Mass once a month at each of the care centers at Anaheim Terrace in Buena Park, Knott Avenue Manor in Buena Park, Karlton Care Center in Anaheim, Knott Avenue Care Center in Buena Park, and Sunrise Assisted Living in La Palma.After Thanksgiving Day, parishioners were asked to help fill the 400 gift bags with suggested items for men and women. Because of the cold weather at this time, lap blankets were especially requested for both men and women. Parishioners responded generously and filled the 400 bags with their gifts in time for distribution during the week of Dec. 12-19.Parishioners were also invited to join St. Irenaeus Health Ministry members in singing carols and other holiday songs and help distribute the gift bags at the Giving Tree Christmas Party at the Care Centers.Teams of health ministry members brought the gift bags to each of the Care Centers on designated days. They were joined by parishioners and members of the St. Irenaeus Adult Choir who sang carols and other holiday songs and wished everyone a “Merry Christmas” and a “Feliz Navidad.”When possible, they walked through the halls of the care centers to deliver gift bags to those who were bedridden. They also sang carols on the way to each room.Health Ministry member Grace Francis arranged for different men to help give the gift bags to the residents of the Care Centers dressed as Santas.Parishioners Tom Nagle and John Lewallen volunteered to be Santas. Grace’s husband Ken and her grandson, Troy Kissell, were also Santas for a few days and helped deliver gift bags to each resident. At Knott Manor, Santa Troy was joined by his mother, Lucy Kissell as Mrs. Claus, and his son Kingston Kissell as an elf. Grace then had four generations of her family all helping at the Manor Christmas party.The fifth and last Giving Tree Christmas Party at Sunrise Assisted Living in La Palma was extra special because Mrs. Cathy Corkhill’s Sixth Grade Class at St. Irenaeus School made blankets themselves for the residents and delivered them in person. They also joined in singing Christmas carols and songs with parishioners and some of their parents. The residents were overjoyed with their special gifts and loved seeing and hearing the students sing.Health Ministry would like to thank everyone who helped to reach out to the residents of the care centers by donating gifts, singing songs, and helping to deliver the gift bags to residents and the homebound parishioners. The Giving Tree Community Outreach Project would not be successful without everyone’s participation.It was a wonderful opportunity for parishioners to be the “Hands, Feet and Voices of Christ” as they shared God’s Love and the Joy of Christmas with others.

Cypress Colleges receives history lesson from former Black Panther Aaron Dixon

Former Black Panther Aaron Dixon spoke at Cypress College on Thursday, Feb. 19. He held the floor for an hour and a half before opening up the room for questions. This Q & A session was followed by a book signing of his book, "My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain."Dixon founded the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in the spring of 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. He and several other local activists thought other forms of rebellion and protection were necessary. He was 19 years old at the time and captain of the chapter.The Humanities lecture hall was standing room only, and the full house was captivated from the introduction. “Black Power to black people, White Power to white people, Brown Power to brown people, Yellow Power to yellow people, Red Power to red people, All Power to the People,” said Dixon.Mr. Dixon’s composed and powerful passion flowed through these words and was felt by many in attendance.With the crowd on notice, Dixon began his lecture and sharing of history with his personal history. Born in segregated Chicago, his family moved to central Seattle when he was a young boy. This section of Seattle was very diverse; this newfound opportunity to socialize with different colored people was pivotal in his upbringing.He spoke of the oral tradition that was much more prevalent during the 1950s and 1960s and the presence of a strong cultural value system. The sense of family and community were much stronger than today, he recalled. His parents preached social justice to all of their sons, which had a profound impact on his life.Dixon also recounted his conversations with his great, great grandmother, who was a daughter of a former slave. These conversations along with his interactions with other cultures helped mold his societal curiosity, and helped build the courage of this renowned community and civil rights activist.His personal anecdotes about the likes of prominent party members such as Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale, Little Bobby Hutton, Eldridge Cleaver and many others, enthralled the audience who had been unfamiliar with these names and the stories associated with them.Tales of necessary gun-toting, police standoffs, codes of conduct, governmental conspiracies against the Black Panther Party, and community goodwill were enlightening and thought provoking.Dixon was instrumental in the creation of the Free Breakfast for Childrenprogram which fed over 10,000 children daily. In Seattle, he also founded a free medical and legal clinic for the impoverished community that still exists today as the Carolyn Downs Clinic.After his departure from the Black Panther Party, just before the party’s dissolution, he continued his political activism. In 2006, Dixon was the Green Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate in the state of Washington. He lost the election to Democratic rival Maria Cantwell. This unsuccessful bid did not damage his conviction. He continues to fight for social justice today, though he does not foresee another run at public office.His appearance on the college campus was informative and beneficial to those fortunate to have a seat during the standing room only lecture. His story is a tale of the times, which he convincingly connects to the present day and the days of his great, great grandmother. Dixon’s book, "My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain," is available at your nearest bookstore and definitely available online for purchase.

Cypress continues to work with California State Board of Equalization

California State Board of Equalization Vice Chair Michelle Steel, in partnership with the city of Cypress and California State Senator Bob Huff, hosted another Small Business Tax Seminar and Resource Expo on Friday, Sept. 7.The event unfolded at the Cypress Community Center, where Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Prakash Narain talked during the seminar to welcome the business leaders to Cypress.This seminar was designed as a one-stop and shop for local businesses to get free assistance from the local, state, and federal agencies, including the State Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), State Attorney General’s Office, Employment Development Department (EDD), Small Business Administration (SBA), and Service Corporation of Retired Executives (SCORE).The seminar was free to all who attended.For more information about the Board of Equalization and its services, contact Regional Outreach Manager Theresa Vina of the State Board of Equalization at 916-671-9034.For information about the city of Cypress and city services in regards to the business community, or for information on how to relocate to Cypress, contact Redevelopment Project Manager Steve Clarke at 714-229-6728.

Federal court upholds Sex Offender Ordinance in Cypress

A federal court rejected an injunction against the Cypress Registered Sex Offender Ordinance on Monday, April 8.The court action gives the council direction to begin its immediate enforcement.The ordinance adds additional city restricts to California’s Proposition 83, known to the public as Jessica’s Law, which voters approved in 2006.The restrictions eliminate any potential land-use conflicts in residential areas where registered sex offenders live close to neighborhoods with children, or places where children reside. The ordinance also restricts the number of offenders living together in multi-family dwellings, hotels, and motels.The ordinance brought a lawsuit against the city.“The council drew a line in the sand and said it would not reduce the restrictions,” Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Mills said. “The ordinance is the toughest in Orange County, and we are going to protect our young people.”The nature of the ordinance is not punitive and was written to protect the residents, he said, and remains firm behind the effort to maintain safety for young people.“Other cities have requested a copy of the ordinance and the judge’s ruling,” Mills said.The ordinance says registered sex offenders are prohibited from living within 2000 feet of any school, park, or child care center.Sex offenders cannot reside together unless they are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Additionally, a registered sex offender may not rent in a multi-family dwelling as a permanent resident if another unit is already renter by an offender, and cannot be a temporary resident in a single or multi-family residence.Property owners are also held accountable in the ordinance, and cannot knowingly rent a single or multi-family residence or hotel room to more than one sex offender unless they are related by blood marriage or adoption.Exceptions to the rule include a sex offender’s lawful tenancy that pre-dates the ordinance, and began prior to the construction of a child care center, school, or park.There is a 500-feet restriction from parks, schools, and child care centers unless the person is a mother, father or guardian with a child using the facility. The sex offender is only allowed to drop off and pick up the child, and cannot loiter in the area.Sex offenders cannot occupy a hotel room if another registered offender is already staying at the location.The next Cypress City Council meeting is Monday, May 13.

Los Al School Board honors Griffins tennis players

The Los Alamitos High girls' tennis team celebrated the end of a great season while being honored by the Los Alamitos Board of Education at its final meeting of 2013.The team dominated the Sunset League, winning that crown for the third year running. The final round of the singles and doubles at the Sunset League Final featured Griffin players on both sides of the net.Though Los Alamitos fell to Peninsula in the CIF Southern Section Championships, it scored more points against the undefeated powerhouse from Palos Verdes than any other team. Los Alamitos also topped a higher seeded team in the quarterfinal round.The Griffins also delivered one of their best performances, in doubles and singles action, at the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament.Los Alamitos head coach Kevin Garrett was pleased with his players performances on and off the court. He takes pride in the fact that nearly all of his players – at both the varsity and J.V. level – won Scholar Athlete awards.

Space shuttle flies over Anaheim

The students of Connelly School, an all-girls private institution in Anaheim, witnessed a historic occasion in the heavens. On Friday, Sept. 21, the entire student body and faculty gathered on the athletic field to watch the space shuttle Endeavor glide overhead during its farewell flight before retirement.“We look for every opportunity to make learning come alive for our students,” said Sister Francine Gunther, head of the school. “Experiencing this historic moment as a community was important to us.”Approximately 200 students watch as Endeavour, attached on top of a jumbo jet, flew over.Endeavor is the youngest of NASA’s shuttle fleet and the second-to-last to take a final trip to mark its retirement. It’s also the last one to do it by air.On Thursday, Sept. 20, Endeavor arrived in Southern California, leaving Houston and landing at Edwards Air Force Base. From there, it launched an impressive tour of California, starting at 8:17 a.m. on Friday. The tour began in Lancaster and Palmdale and then headed to Northern California, where the shuttle visited Sacramento and San Francisco.The carefully planned route provided thousands of California residents a glimpse of the shuttle, as well as a chance to snap a photographs as it made low swoops over museums, aquariums, designated aerospace sites, and state icons, like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood Sign, and, of course, Disneyland, where hundreds of people gathered to watch it sail over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.Connolly students saw the shuttle as it cruised along West Broadway Street en route to Disneyland, which it reached at about noon, delighting a crowd gathered in the theme park’s parking lot.“It was absolutely amazing,” said Bryan Somers, who works in downtown Anaheim and witnessed the flight. “It’s something I’ll probably never see again.”Several other Anaheim schools permitted students to watch the shuttle’s flight.EDITOR’S NOTE: Orange County schools continue to maintain an interest in space flights. For example, Pine Junior High School was renamed Christa McAuliffe Middle School in honor of the teacher turned astronaut Christa McAuliffe, who died during the ill-fated launch of the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986.The takeoff of the Challenger Space Shuttle was broadcast on television and viewed in classrooms across the country, including Orange County. The shuttle exploded 72 seconds after the launch at an altitude of 48,000 feet, a tragic event that deeply impacted all who witnessed it. A nationwide mourning ensued for the seven crew members who perished in the accident.

Art exhibition a big success for Cypress Art League

The Cypress Art League Open Show was held April 26 at the Cypress Community Center, 5700 Orange Avenue in Cypress. Once again, it was an outstanding exhibit with 221 pieces entered. The judge was Jason Dowd, an art educator who teaches at the Laguna College of Art and Design, and is a past member of the Disney team. The open show winners will be on exhibit at the center through May 17.The City of Cypress Best of Show Award went to Nancy Anderson and the Mayor's Award was given to Barbara Rogers. There were several special awards handed out, including the Frame Maker Award (custom framing), Art Supply Warehouse gift certificates, high-end jewelry from Diamond International Center, as well as certificates from Leon's Picture Framing and The Tile Zone.At the general meeting is on Sunday, May 17, the Cypress Art League will be awarding student scholarships. The club continues to support young emerging artists from Cypress College. This will also be the last time to see the show.The May meeting is the last general meeting before the art league takes a summer break. The demonstrator is Nohad Sabbagh, who will provide a demonstration in sculpting. Remember, when the art league as a body meet again in September, it will be time for the Autumn Show