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The Top Stories of 2011 in Photos

Based on your votes, we count down and reflect on the top stories of 2011

1.    Coach: ‘Fired For Being Gay’

A former Charter Oak High School Water Polo Coach claimed he was. Mitch Stein said he was notified of his termination after Facebook photos of Stein resurfaced and were brought to the school’s attention by an anonymous person. School officials deemed the photos inappropriate, although Stein called the photos harmless. The pictures depict Stein posing with a group of transvestites and another of him eating a corndog. While Stein’s claim , school officials remained firm in their decision. Stein told Patch he and his attorney plan to file a lawsuit against the school after the start of the New Year in 2012.

2.    Segregation Activity Backfires at Willow Elementary School

The activity was meant to honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. by teaching children the injustices of segregation. Instead, parents said the, causing a heated uproar and triggering controversy across the nation.

On Jan. 13, minority children were made to run laps around the playground at while white children played. The roles were to be reversed the following day, but children, distraught over the experience, told their parents, putting an immediate end to the lesson. The district issued an apology, but parents said the damage had been done. Others, including Belinda Jenkins, a black grandparent of a student at Willow, said the demonstration should have been allowed to continue.

“Parents come to conclusions too quick,” Jenkins said.  “They interfered in a role play; they should have let the role play continue to the next day to allow the white children feel what the children of color had felt before. It would have had an even result of the outcome.” 

3.    Wind Storm Wreaks Havoc on Glendora

As thend into the early morning hours early December, residents awoke the next morning to find their electricity out, and trees, power lines and debris strewn across the city.  With the power down for a quarter of the city, affected businesses were left with no choice but to close for the day. The damage and widespread power outage compelled

When the wind died down and most of the city regained power by the following day, the damage had totaled to about $300,000, money Jeffers said would be funded through the city’s reserves.

While cities declared state of emergencies, officials determined that the damage was not enough for federal assistance.

4. Shootout at Ralphs Leaves Armed Robbery Suspect Dead

It all lasted within a couple of minutes, but at the end of during evening business hours at Ralphs, one man was dead. Luis Varela, Jr., 29, aincluding , died from injuries he sustained in the shootout.

The shooting, said Police Chief Rob Castro, was eerily similar to the last grocery store shootout involving a Glendora Police officer in 1995, one that resulted in the death of. Instead, the most recent shooting at Ralph’s had a very different outcome.

5. Small Plane Crashes Into the Foothills

Two men were lucky to be alive after their near St. Priory High School on Jan. 31. Flight instructor Gene Yu, 50, and his student Joo Yung Park, 37, experienced heavy air traffic and were forced to make a hard landing. Many residents and students at St. Lucy’s Priory witnessed the crash, and thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the accident. The two survivors were airlifted out to a nearby trauma center with non-life threatening injuries. Their plane however, was less fortunate. Crashing into a steep ravine, it took days for it to be recovered again.

6. Peeping Tom Spies on Unsuspecting Women, Children in Starbucks Bathroom

This case made people take a good look around when using a public restroom. Glendora detectives arrested 25-year-old San Dimas resident William Zafra Velasco on May 4 after they found evidence. For two days, Velasco had been spying on unsuspecting women and children as they used the restroom. . Velasco pleaded guilty to all counts in a Pomona Courthouse and is due for a sentencing and probation hearing Jan. 17.

7. Voters Go With Familiar Faces in City Council Election

In a crowded City Council election that included new, younger faces,Incumbent Doug Tessitor, Former Monrovia Police Chief Joe Santoro and La Verne bookstore owner Judy Nelson of Mrs. Nelson’s Book Shop were the top three vote-getters in a decisive victory. Tessitor was selected as Mayor.

8. Car Accident Kills Horse, Sparks Safety Debate on Glendora Mountain Road.

The aftermath of an was so gruesome, a horse specialist was called to help console traumatized witnesses. According to police reports, a 17-year-old Valinda boy somehow lost control of his Lexus vehicle and crashed into a guard rail and a telephone pole. The car then went flying toward Peter Mark, 54, and his mare Sadie as they rode down Glendora Mountain Road. The impact sent the two flying, killing the horse instantly. While Glendora Mountain Road has been a favorite scenic route for decades, residents say the winding, steep road has also been a dangerous one. The story sparked ongoing , and had residents calling for more enforcement.

9. The Debate Over Redevelopment

. State lawmakers in support of the dismantling of redevelopment agencies – including Gov. Jerry Brown – argued that money funding redevelopment would be better used to fund schools and other municipal and fire stations during a deep budgetary crisis. However, opponents have called the state’s action illegal, going against the voter-approved Proposition 22. The court also ruled a separate law illegal, which would have allowed redevelopment agencies to function with the provision they pay a portion of their tax revenues to the municipality.

Despite the setback, redevelopment supporters said they would continue to fight for redevelopment, and are considering pushing for legislation that would allow special redevelopment projects to move forward.

Rodger Federer December 30, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Sex and violence, Sex and violence. Some things never change. Sad.

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