San Dimas Community Post | Issue 3 | 4/20/2021

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San Dimas

Community Post FREE

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Jitters and J oy

New rule bans family of councilmembers from being appointed to positions on commissions, boards. BY CHRISTIAN SHEPHERD Editor-in-Chief

Parents t orn, excit ed as studen ts return to in-person learning .

Photo Illustration by Evan Solano


Officials pass new policy in special meeting

he Bonita Unified School District joined local area schools in reopening elementary schools April 5 and secondary schools April 12 for on-campus learning. ¶ After a year of uncertainty regarding changing colored tiers, school site safety protocols and vaccine availability, BUSD reopened schools to mixed reactions. ¶ Students will be able attend school under a hybrid model for two days a week on-campus or remain fully remote for the remainder of the school year. ¶ With drastic changes to what in-person instruction looks like and the major accommodations families have made during the pandemic, the decision to send kids back to school is not an easy one.

— By Evan Solano

Automatic license plate readers make big impact BY KARA ROA Staff Writer

Vigil held to mourn slain woman in Lone Hill Park Saldivar before authorities arrived on scene. Councilmember Ryan Vienna thanked Cohen for his heroic efforts that day. "You’re a hero," Vienna said to Cohen. Edgar's son Justin spoke to the audience, reflecting on his mother's love for her walks, and then led the crowd in a prayer, giving thanks to the community. "The last thing she would want is for fear to grip the community and eliminate just one ounce of joy from the way in which you demonstrate love and commitment to each other,” Justin said.


New cameras help law enforcement fight crime, prompt privacy concerns.


Easter Sunday in San Dimas was not only a day of rebirth, but one of also saying goodbye as residents gathered in Lone Hill Park to pay respects to Jeanne Ann Edgar, 66, from Glendora who was killed on March 25. Edgar was walking her dog around the park when witnesses said she was stabbed and killed by Ricardo Saldivar in a seemingly random killing. The event was attended by city officials, including Mayor Emmett Badar, Sheriff's Captain Walid Ashrafnia, various members of Edgar’s family, as well as Joe Cohen, who helped subdue

Editor’s note: The following story involves the mention of Isabel and Phil Ebiner, who serve as the managing editor and a contributor for SDCP, respectively. Neither Isabel nor Phil had any input on the following story, did not receive any advance reading of this story and both were completely removed from the reporting and publication process. Isabel and Phil were involved in no way with the release of this report and will have no power to change, suggest, inform, add or remove any of its content online. In a 3-2 vote, San Dimas City Council adopted a new policy banning relatives of the city council or city manager from being appointed to any paid or unpaid city commission, committee or board. Mayor Emmett Badar and Councilmembers Ryan Vienna and Eric Weber voted yes, while Councilmembers Denis Bertone and John Ebiner voted no. The vote took place during a special

Justin Edgar, center, speaks with members of the community who attended a vigil in Lone Hill Park on Easter Sunday to honor the memory of his mother, Jeanne Ann Edger, who was fatally stabbed on March 25 while walking in the park. Rommel Alcantara, Staff Photographer

The city of San Dimas has installed 10 automatic license plate reader (ALPR) cameras at high-traffic intersections, resulting in close to a million license plate images in the first week and a half. The ALPRs were Inside: initially discussed at a Get to know San Dimas City Coun- San Dimas' cil meeting on Oct. new Sheriff's 27, 2020. The council Captian voted unanimously to Walid approve the $27,500 Ashrafnia. purchase from an At- PAGE 6 lanta-based company called Flock Safety that included a yearly subscription to both the hardware and software of the ALPR system. During a city council meeting on March 9, City Manager Chris Constantin said the cameras have been active since Feb. 15 with most San Dimas Sheriff’s SEE CAMERAS • PAGE 3

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San Dimas Community Post

‘The Good Stuff’ with Julie S. BY JULIE SALAZAR Staff Writer

Through the dedication and hard work of Ann Garcia, Senior Administrative Analyst for the city of San Dimas, community members can access the City of San Dimas Residential and Family Resource Guide. This guide is a comprehensive directory that includes information about programs such as the San Dimas Homeless Prevention and Diversion Grant Program and the San Dimas Cares Project. It also includes resources for citizens in need of financial, medical, utilities, educational support and much more. Here are some highlights from the Residential and Family Resource Guide: San Dimas Homeless Prevention and Diversion Grant Program • For income-eligible households experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 • Provides emergency assistance grants to qualified households to assist with rent, utilities or groceries in order to prevent homelessness • May also provide mortgage forbearance, a temporary pause or reduction of payments, for property owners • Application is available online at • Contact Ann Garcia at 909-394-6282 or for more information Utilities Resources • Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, Golden State Water Company, and Spectrum all have programs for customers in need of assistance with their utilities bills. Contact the company below for more information or to apply • Southern California Edison: https:// • Southern California Gas Company: • Golden State Water Company: or 866360-2279 • Spectrum Internet Assist Program: • Spectrum COVID-19 Remote Education Credit Program: https://www. Stay Housed LA • Provides free legal assistance and sup-

port for tenants at risk of eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic • Offers virtual “Know Your Rights” workshops • Connects tenants at risk of eviction with legal representation • Visit for more information The full resource guide is available at San Dimas City Hall or the San Dimas Public Library. Collaboration between Garcia and Monique Campos, Crime Prevention Community Relations Officer at the San Dimas Sheriff Station, ensures that our deputies have valuable resources to share with citizens while in the field. Additionally, Campos coordinates community projects and resources for the sheriff’s station, including: • Linking Deputy Explorer Program youth volunteers to community events and goods drives • Crime prevention programs such as Neighborhood Watch • Community Action Team that provides support for transient and homeless individuals • For more information about these programs through the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station, contact Monique Campos at 909450-2763. Below is a list of ongoing services in and around San Dimas: San Dimas Cares Project 201 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773 • For seniors 60 and over who live in San Dimas • Offers food packages on a first-come first-serve basis, delivered or available for pickup on Thursdays • Donations accepted at the Senior Citizen/Community Center on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment • Contact the Senior Citizen/Community Center at 909-394-6290 or sdcares@ to learn more Holy Name of Mary Food Pantry 724 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773 • Open to all members of the community • Offers food pantry services Monday through Friday (closed Tuesdays) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Donations accepted during food drives that are announced on the front lawn of Holy Name of Mary or through the St. Vincent de Paul Society • Contact 909-599-1243, ext. 138 to

coordinate donation or to learn more Shepherd’s Pantry 657 E. Arrow Hwy., Glendora, CA 91740 • Open to Los Angeles County residents • Provides food and clothing • Home delivery service is available on Wednesdays only. Register by Tuesdays at 1 p.m. • Contact 626-852-7630 for more information Faith Lutheran Church 505 E. Bonita Ave. San Dimas, CA 91773 • Accepts non-perishable donations for the Pomona Food Bank • Call 909-599-3978 to coordinate donation drop-offs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. • Food is also available at the church for individuals in need New Song Church 945 W. Covina Blvd., San Dimas, CA 91773 • Open to all members of the community • Offers food pantry services • Donations accepted during food drives or by appointment • Food baskets distributed on Apr. 15, 24, 29 and May 8, 13, 22, 27 from 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. • Contact the church at 909-394-9488 for more information As this resource list continues to grow, we thank all who have participated in these programs and for those who keep us posted on evolving information. It is so important during these uncertain times to ensure this information is available to those who need it. As a fun, new service for seniors in our community and in collaboration with the city’s Senior Citizens Commission, we would like to grant your “Senior Wish.” If you are a senior citizen, we invite you to relay a small wish (for example, a new blanket, shoes or phone call) that community members may grant. Send your wish to us at or contact the Senior Citizen/Community Center, and we will do our best to fulfill your wish. This will be a fun and practical way to make things brighter for our senior citizens by allowing others to help out where possible. Help us continue to spread the word about programs that serve food-challenged, homeless and senior members of our community. Email your resources and services to Julie S. at inbox@


UPCOMING EVENTS SAN DIMAS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Teacher of the Year Awards Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 6:00 p.m. Location: Virtual Event Info: The San Dimas and La Verne Chambers of Commerce are honored to host the annual Teacher of the Year Awards. This event provides the opportunity for San Dimas and La Verne teachers to be recognized as exceptional individuals who have inspired their students, colleagues and the community. For more information and to register, please visit www. State of the City Date: Thursday, June 24, 2021, 9 a.m. Location: TBD Info: The public is invited to attend the annual State of the City address. At this event, the community will hear an update about the city of San Dimas, recapping the events of the past year and looking forward to the upcoming year. For more information and to register, please visit


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Inter Valley Health Plan is offering their free Vitality Series classes online. To RSVP or see the complete schedule of classes visit You can also register by calling 800-886-4471 (TTY 711), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Vitality Series class schedule is subject to change.

Friday Fitness Classes Date: Fridays, April 21, May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4, 11, 18, 25, 2021, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Info: Exercise can reduce stress and weight, build stronger bones, improve our brain health and quality of life. This is an on-going class to learn new exercises and ideas to keep us healthy and well! Anyone may join in at any time. So, invite people you care about! Master Gardener Class: Summer-Blooming Bulbs Date: Thursday, May 13, 2021, 1 p.m. Info: Whether you have a large yard or small patio area, a local Riverside Master Gardener will show you how to plant bulbs now — for beautiful summer flowers blooming in pots or in your garden. Master Gardener Class: Bugs in the Garden Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021 1 p.m. Info: A local Master Gardener explains the differences between good bugs and bad bugs found in your garden. Learn which bugs can help you to avoid using toxic pesticides that are harmful to your garden and the environment.

FOR THE RECORD Correction: In “Residents Fight COVID-19 With Community Activities” Dorene Holm’s last name was misspelled as “Holmes.” Correction: In “Rioters Storm Capitol, San Dimas Looks to Future,” we incorrectly labeled Michelle Pasos as a Democrat. While Pasos was registered as a Democrat for the Democratic primary election, she identifies as an independent.

San Dimas Community Post




The Journey Home


Robbyne Spillman, 55, lives and works in San Dimas. She is a self-described “open book” who is known by locals as the friendly waitress at Pinnacle Peak with a genuine smile and crown of golden hair. But as she begins the interview, ready to share her story about homelessness, her hair is down and she wears a somber smile. “People are either sympathetic and very nice or very, very hostile,” said Spillman. Tales of homelessness encompass a myriad of experiences and stages, often characterized by pain, frustration and hopelessness for people without a fixed residence. “Everybody has a different story,” said Spillman. — By Kara Roa Read the full story at:


Station office staff trained by March 1. Although the system is owned by the city of San Dimas, the sheriff’s station is allowed to access the system for law enforcement purposes. San Dimas joins surrounding cities including Azusa, Covina and Walnut that have also opted to contract with Flock Safety to use ALPR cameras and technology to aid law enforcement.

How do ALPRs work?

Flock Safety has become popular in the San Gabriel Valley area because of its considerably low price point and its ability to provide law enforcement with more information than some competitors. During the day Flock Safety cameras operate similarly to regular security cameras. They capture images of pedestrians, bicycles and dogs in addition to license plates. At night the cameras use infrared technology to capture images and process information like license plate numbers and the makes and models of vehicles. The cameras are solar-powered and use cellular networks to communicate with law enforcement officials. “The Flock cameras themselves have the ability to capture 900 plates per minute at a distance of up to 75 feet,” said Administrative Services Manager Michael O’Brien at the Oct. 27 council meeting. Then-Captain Andy Berg described ALPRs as a strategic advantage. “It's like having 10 sets of eyes ... in high traffic areas that could potentially catch their stolen car or a car that's wanted for serious crime coming into the city,” Berg said. The sheriff’s department said there are no plans to post locations of the cameras. Every vehicle that travels past the ALPRs has a photo taken of it. The photo is stored for 30 days and footage encrypted, according to Flock Safety. “As of now, we've had 987,000, almost 988,000 license plates that have gone through the cameras that have been recognized,” Constantin said during the March 9 meeting. Constantin added that, of the nearly one million vehicles scanned, 305 were flagged as stolen. Of those 305, 17 generated a hit in the Flock Safety system, which helped to solve nine missing vehicle cases. Of those

Rommel Alcantara — Staff Photographer

A courageous Robbyne Spillman, who lives and works in San Dimas, shares her personal journey through homelessness to inspire and challenge others to get to know her story.

nine cases, three led to vehicle recovery and arrests.

Privacy concerns

“In any kind of digital visualization device, there's definitely potential for error,” Andrew Ferguson said. “One of the problems that tends to come up in these automatic license readers is that even if there's a match, they're supposed to have protocols in place where a human being double checks it before you sort of just accept the automated sort-of hit.” Ferguson is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law and the author of “The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement.” Ferguson wrote an article in March 2021 discussing the problems that big cities have had regarding regulation of data from newer ALPR technology companies and how local cities are now facing similar questions regarding privacy and policing. “Growing awareness over the dangers of policing technology should generate a collective response demanding not simply transparency, accountability and oversight, but also fundamental debates about police power,” Ferguson wrote. While the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 34 establishing requirements for ALPR systems and privacy as of January 2016, a state audit conducted in February 2020 found that all audited agencies “have not implemented all of the requirements in that law.” The Los Angeles Police Department was one of the four agencies where “the handling and retention of ALPR images and associated data did not always follow practices that adequately consider an individual’s privacy.” The audit recognized the value of the stored images for law enforcement personnel. Yet, with only 400,000 of the 320 million images accumulated over several years, 99.9 percent of the ALPR images LAPD stored were not on a hot list at the time the image was made. Former Captain Berg assured the city council that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies must report legitimate reasons to access data through queries at the city council meeting held on Oct. 27. “When a user logs in, they must put in the reason for the search. They're identifying information, acknowledging that the system is not being used for an improper purpose.

There is a built-in tracking system that keeps records of that data and those logins, as required by law,” Berg said. The sheriff’s department currently has a privacy policy and field operations directive “to establish basic procedural guidelines and responsibilities of personnel and units utilizing the Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) system.”

How is data used?

One major concern championed by the American Civil Liberties Union has been the use of ALPR cameras and databases for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As Flock Safety competitor Vigilant Solutions “hosts location information collected by law enforcement and private companies in a massive database called LEARN,” the ACLU claims ICE violates the Freedom of Information Act. “Together with time, date and location coordinates, the information is stored for years, generating a literal and intimate roadmap of people’s private lives,” claims the ACLU. Flock Safety confirmed that its cameras do not use facial recognition software and describes its technology as “ethically-engineered.” Josh Miller of Flock Safety emphasized that the accessed footage allows users to generate a “snapshot” that would be downloaded as evidence for law enforcement. “We do our best to adhere to local law and any evidence-related laws as well. We don’t capture any personally identifiable information. We don’t sell or share data to third-parties nor immigration enforcement.” Live “vehicle fingerprints” identified by Flock Safety ALPRs “capture make, model, color, whole or partial license plates, state of license, and time stamp,” says Miller. All data is owned by users and deleted off the Flock Safety cloud system following 30 days. However, Miller states that a “snapshot” connected to a crime may be uploaded by law enforcement agencies to the National Crime Information Center hotlist, a database of information available to federal, state and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies for a longer period of time. During the October city council meeting, Councilmember Ryan Vienna questioned the ALPR’s ability to aide against terrorism threats presented with the introduction of a mass transit station like the Gold

Line. Flock Safety stated that the cameras and footage have yet to be cited in stopping terrorism.

Future of neighborhood watch?

Private communities and homeowners associations are also able to buy Flock ALPR cameras for private use — a popular option at $2,500 per camera as suggested by Flock Safety. A “SafeList” would allow residents to register license plates and “quickly separate out who lives in the neighborhood and who doesn’t,” claims Flock Safety. An associated vehicle involved in a crime such as a “porch-pirate crime” would be helpful downloadable evidence states Miller. Former Captain Berg stated that footage captured would be an “investigative tool.” “The system was originally designed for HOA’s and has since moved into a ‘safety’ application to assist law enforcement. The use in HOA’s has a benefit from posting signage letting people know the area is being watched by these cameras. There is no benefit for law enforcement posting the information,” said San Dimas Sheriff’s Sergeant Robert Long in an email. Local law enforcement continued to clarify that the Flock cameras are not live footage cameras. “They only take pictures of the vehicle and license plate and report to the user if the car is stolen or wanted for a felony,” said Long.

Risk and reward

Flock Safety claims that in a study conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, its ALPRs produced 30% more accurate reads than the competition. Berg described the use of the Flock system as having value in both catching stolen cars and assisting in solving more serious crimes. “It’s great to catch a stolen car while it’s rolling down the street ... But as an investigating tool, it would be a big asset,” said Berg. Ferguson warns that while systems are often accurate, there is always a risk or error that could lead to a violation of rights. “There is always a risk of error in the system, and it is, you know, one of those cost/benefits. Are we okay with the vast majority of situations where it will collect information accurately? There may be some errors. ... Someone has to, you know, weigh that balance and say, ‘What are we okay with?’”

meeting on Thursday, April 8. Ebiner offered an alternative motion that would require applicants to disclose the relationship and city council members to recuse themselves from the interview process. The alternative motion failed 2-3, with Ebiner and Bertone voting yes and Badar, Vienna and Weber voting no. Many members of the community wrote to the city to express concern that Ebiner was using his position as a city council member to place family members in city commissions. “Some of the comments were suggesting that an individual councilmember had the ability to appoint someone to a commission or something, which isn’t true,” Bertone said. “We as individual councilmembers have no authority to appoint anyone for anything. It takes this entire council to make appointments.” Much of the conversation regarding the new anti-nepotism policy centered around Phil and Isabel Ebiner, son and daughterin-law to Councilmember John Ebiner. Prior to the policy being adopted, Phil joined the Housing Element Subcommittee and Isabel was an applicant for the Parks and Recreation Commission, which has been unable to meet since November of 2020, largely because of unfilled positions. Before the discussion about nepotism began, Vienna asked Councilmember Ebiner if he was going to recuse himself from the discussion because of the potential conflict of interest. Councilmember Ebiner did not answer the question directly, instead choosing to directly address the accusations of potential nepotism. “What I want to do is make sure we understand that what we are talking about is not nepotism,” Ebiner said. Councilmember Ebiner then read the following definition of nepotism from a large, unabridged Webster’s dictionary: “Favoritism shown to nephews and other relatives, the practice of appointing relatives to situations of amulument disregard of the claim of others better fitted for the office.” Note: Merriam-Webster currently defines nepotism as “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.” Councilmember Ebiner said the fact that the positions in question were unpaid and that the council would decide the position based on the merit of all the candidates disqualified this as a nepotism concern. Ebiner said he offered to recuse himself from the discussion that included the potential appointment of Isabel, but one of the concerns raised was the uncomfortable position that councilmembers and staff are put in when they have to vote for or against a fellow councilmember’s relative. “We have a working relationship that we need to maintain,” Weber said. Badar said there were many times when his family members wanted to join a commission or committee, but he always told them no because of his position and how it did not “pass the smell test.”




San Dimas Community Post


BUSD addresses reopenings at virtual event Superintendent Carl Coles updated parents on the district’s efforts to tackle COVID-19 and reopen elementary schools during the State of the District address. BY JOSHUA BAY Staff Writer

Bonita Unified School District Superintendent Carl Coles updated parents and community members on the district’s efforts to reopen elementary schools. The State of the District was hosted Thursday, March 4, during a virtual event hosted by the La Verne and San Dimas Chambers of Commerce to highlight local Career and Technical Education programs. Coles began by outlining key efforts made by BUSD to address immediate distance learning needs from last year’s COVID-19 school closures. “By August, every student that was in need of a Chromebook received one,” Coles said. “And by the end of September, we handed out hundreds and hundreds of hotspots for families

that did not have internet service.” Coles also mentioned additional support offered through online and in-person tutoring and childcare services. “Since fall, we have had hundreds of students on campus after their distance learning to get that support that they were going to need,” Coles said. “In addition to the face-to-face tutoring, we also purchased a 24 hours a day, seven days a week tutoring program called Paper.” Coles continued with the district’s efforts to mitigate mental health issues stemming from the isolation caused by COVID-19 safety protocols and distance learning. “About two years ago, our district committed about $1 million to fund eight mental health counselors to our staff,” Coles said. “You can imagine

how helpful that has become, and we can’t be more pleased with the support they are providing.” Coles recognized the 1,100 BUSD employees for their flexibility transitioning to distance learning. “The two words that describe our staff are skill and will,” Coles said. “Because they have the will to make it happen and they have the skill to back it up.” Following the superintendent’s update, BUSD CTE instructors were invited to describe their roles in providing meaningful career readiness opportunities for the district’s high school students, despite distance learning challenges. Bonita High School teacher Laurie Brandler provided insight on culinary programs offered. “Students come in as freshman or sophomores, and they take our intro to food class, which gives them a basic foundation of the kitchen,” Brandler said. “And then for our juniors and seniors, we offer culinary and restaurant management.”

Brandler described efforts to help students succeed beyond the classroom and into the culinary industry. “My goal for our students is to get a ServSafe Food Handler’s Certificate. They cannot get a job in the industry without it,” Brandler said. “So far this year we have been able to get about 140 students certified.” San Dimas High School teacher Jessica Truax explained her role in bringing the healthcare industry to students as an athletic trainer. “We are the people when there’s an injury on the field run out and do the emergency care, injury diagnosis and treatment of those injuries,” Truax said. “The students are getting an eye opening experience into this different healthcare field as opposed to the more traditional ones.” Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Anne Neal explained the importance of offering both career and college preparation for high school students. “A high quality CTE course means that it’s part of a sequence,” Neal said.

“In other words, it’s not just a one-off course, but actually a series of courses that’s preparing kids to advance in this skill.” BUSD high schools will be allowed to continue efforts in CTE since receiving a Career Technical Education Incentive Grant amounting to nearly $325,000. The grant will provide BUSD the opportunity to update culinary rooms, buy new video equipment and offer additional pathways for sports entertainment, medicine and child development. La Verne/San Dimas Educational Foundation Advisory Board Member Alta Skinner commended BUSD for their efforts to teach students about trade careers. “I wanted to thank Bonita Unified for getting past the old thought that everybody was going to a four year university,” Skinner said. “We have a lot of kids that would be much more successful, and now will be much more successful, because they’re going to learn their passion.”

Teachers union condemns board member’s anti-mask posts Bonita Unified Teachers Association condemned Krista Chakmak’s social media posts in February. BY JOSHUA BAY Staff Writer

Bonita Unified Teachers Association has condemned social media posts made by Bonita Unified Governing Board Member Krista Chakmak that declared her opposition to wearing a face mask in public and encouraged others to follow her lead. Chakmak, who was appointed to the BUSD School Board in May 2020 and re-elected in November 2020, posted a photo of herself via Instagram on Monday, Feb. 8 with the following caption: “Smiling! Just got back from the grocery store where I have worn a mask for almost a year. Today, no more. I have been miserable for most of the past year. Knowing stuff didn’t make sense, line up, just not right, I’ve done my research, kept up on CDC, controlled the controllables (my own health, vitamins, exercise, environment).” Chakmak then encouraged her followers to also stop wearing masks in public.

“I kept being told ‘just go “@big5 in Pomona, Ca I along with it’, ‘what’s the will never step foot in your store again. I will not spend a big deal?’, ‘don’t you care single dime at your business. about others?’, ‘this will end My sons and I were followed someday’. Well, 1 of those statements is correct, this around the store, asked severis ending, at least for me al times to wear a mask ‘because they want everyone in and im hoping for you too. I Chakmak know there are so many more people the store to be comfortable’ also, no feeling this also but just feel stuck, one was near us or even in the store,” scared and like you’re going to be Chakmak wrote. “We left and went judged. Well, you are! But if we don’t to @dollartree Pomona, ca where we start taking our power back now, this walked freely, never questioned and will only get worse. So, judge me, were treated respectfully. Another hate me, talk about me or join me!! customer walked up to me and said Most importantly, do whatever your ‘thank you!’ And took her mask off.” On Thursday, Feb. 11, Chakmak soul tells you to do!!” On the same day, Chakmak posted released a statement via Instagram another photo of an Abraham Lin- retracting her opinions after facing coln quote about discipline to Insta- criticism from the community. gram. “In a moment of frustration, I stat“What would I like right now? To ed that I would no longer be wearing shop without being harassed, person- a mask, taking back my power. After al choice, a peaceful experience and reflecting on the impact of my words, respect. What I want most? My chil- I have deleted the post. Like so many dren to know that I fought everyday of us, I am anxious to resume our way for their rights and freedoms, to not of life that existed before the panbe told what’s ‘best’ for my personal demic. However, I realize there are health and the freedom to live how I still stages to go through to reopen want to. I have already learned a lot our schools safely. I do intend to comply with state and local regulations to today.” Chakmak also posted her experi- allow the safe reopening to happen.” Chakmak also stated that her opinence at a Big 5 Sporting Goods and a Dollar Tree in Pomona, CA. ions do not reflect the views of Bonita


“I don’t feel comfortable with the reopening of the school and their protocols. … Most schools are doing temperature checks upon arrival, and Bonita Unified is not doing that,” said Esmeralda Rivera, mother to a kindergartener at Gladstone Elementary. “My son has bad asthma, and I did not feel safe sending him back. … It’s hard because I had to quit my job, and I can’t return back to work because I don’t have anyone to watch him,” she said. Amber Slater, a mother to an eighth grader at Ramona Middle School and teacher for another district, was torn about the decision to send her child back but was impressed with BUSD’s updates and safety protocols. “As a teacher, I love that we’re going back and that parents have the choice to make a decision that’s right for them, so I’m excited to return, and I’ve been fully vaccinated.” However, as a caretaker to her 85-year-old grandfather “who hasn’t been able to get his vaccine delivered to the house yet,” Slater decided to keep her son home over the risk of bringing COVID-19 home. “But, I think Bonita Unified has done a wonderful job keeping up updated on changes and what the expectations are,” Slater said. Many parents are concerned about the risks and rewards of sending their students back to campus so close to the end of the school year with continued COVID-19 risks. With a senior at San Dimas High School, Mel-

anie Henson shared the decision to return ultimately was left to her child and discussed as a family. Despite missing friends, Henson’s family decided to wait until more in the community are vaccinated. “If they were struggling, I believe we may have had a tougher time deciding to stick with it,” she said. Sam Evans is a mother to a first grader at Ekstrand Elementary who made the choice to return because she felt the situation was safe for teachers and her family along with concerns over her son’s struggle with distance learning. “We could really feel the change in his attitude. It was really affecting him, and I don’t think we really realized how much,” Evans said. “We were having a hard time getting him to stay in his seat. … So now that he had just this last week’s class for two days, when he was at home, he was able to sit virtually, undistracted,” said Evans. Still, others like Carolyn Tuba, parent to a freshman at Bonita High School, are excited to return to school in any form and are optimistic about the positive effects the long-awaited change would bring to students. “I feel that staying at home is no longer beneficial to most children … This has been difficult for their mental state. Teens especially are such social creatures and need to be interacting with their peers,” Tuba said. Tuba added that her daughter is “excited and ready for things to get back to some kind of normal.”

Unified School District or her fellow board members. “I have the utmost respect for our teachers, classified staff, and management, working tirelessly during distance learning and preparing our schools for reopening. I would never want to jeopardize the health and safety of anyone within the BUSD community. I sincerely apologize to any BUSD employee that has had to address my personal statement taking time out of their already busy day. I am continuing to learn and grow in my role as a member of the Bonita Unified Board of Education. I am looking forward to serving our education community together in our mission to prepare every student to live their purpose.” The Bonita Unified Teachers Association Executive Board issued a statement on Facebook condemning Chakmak’s original posts on Feb.11, stating their mission to return students, faculty and staff to in-person learning does not align with Chakmak’s opinions. “Ms. Chakmak’s publicly-stated position on pandemic safety and her encouragement that others follow suit is counterproductive and even detrimental to that mission. The BUTA Executive Board would like to assure

the families of our students, as well as the community we serve, that safety is our number one priority. We will continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC, as well as the wisdom and expertise of health care professionals in order to keep our students and their families safe while continuing their education.” Chakmak declined to comment further. The Bonita Unified School District Superintendent’s Office released a statement acknowledging Chakmak’s social media posts, stating “the Board of Education and the District want to assure the community we are fully committed to following all laws and rules set by our governing bodies which includes wearing face coverings on all District properties.” The letter also referenced Board Bylaw 9010, Public Statements, explaining that “board members have a right to express their personal views freely” and that Chakmak’s social media posts did not represent the views of the Board of Education or the district. The Board of Education held a Special Board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16 to “discuss and reaffirm the District’s commitment to the safety of our students, staff, and the communities we serve.”

Photo by Kara Roa

Parents wait outside of Allen Avenue Elementary to pick up their children during their second week back to in-person classes. Elementary school students in the district had the option to return to campus starting April 5 while middle and high schoolers started on April 12.



San Dimas Community Post



Black San Dimas High School art teacher E. Dominic Black mixes his love for art, teaching in his new book “Art Inside Out.” BY JOSHUA BAY Staff Writer

Grounded by warmth and goodwill, San Dimas High School art teacher E. Dominic Black enthusiastically spoke about his work for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA). Although Black’s pursuits demonstrate his personal success, they reveal more about his character as an authentic educator. Authentic educators possess the ability to be aware of themselves as both a teacher and learner. Black is a rarity to find because — as essential as his pedagogy, knowledge of his students and, of course, passion for art — he has the conscientiousness to create opportunities that embrace others the same way he celebrates his own identity. “To me, the purpose of education is to inspire, enlighten and get people to feel pride in who they are and where they’re from,” Black said. “And being able to fine tune the real art of education is very exciting for me.” Black serves as a member of the Teacher Advisory Council (TAC) for the NHMLA, an experiment that brought together a cohort of nine teachers to explore long-term museum-based educational projects, in contrast to the daily workshops already provided. Inspired by Chicana artist and activist Barbara Carrasco’s mural “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective,” Black created a self-portrait art lesson that celebrates one’s individual heritage and connection to Los Angeles. “She made this mural for the city, but they never put it up because they thought it was too controversial. There were some things included that are still touchy subjects, like Ruben Salazar getting killed during the East LA riots and the missionaries subjugating the Indians,” Black said. “But this wasn’t all of California’s history. It’s what was significant to Barbara Carrasco. And that’s the lesson I’m going towards — what’s important to you.” Although the TAC was initially intended to cycle new teachers every year, the NHMLA decided to extend the current cohort for a second year to complete all projects with ample time. This gave Black the ability to create and combine multiple art lessons in the form of a book called “Art Inside and Out,” referencing both the lessons

and its virtual experience. “In other words, some of the lessons literally require you to be outside of the museum because that’s where the inspiration is coming from,” Black said. From exploring color through the Nature Gardens to lines through the Gem and Mineral Collection, Black’s book teaches the seven elements of art through the lens of the NHMLA collections and exhibits. “The fact that they have such a dynamic and special collection lends itself to almost any lesson, in art especially,” Black said. “I’ve never found anything like this, and it’s weird because even art museums don’t have a book about making art.” Black’s book also incorporates visuals made by his own San Dimas High School art students. “Since I teach multiple levels, it’s great to get work from emerging artists to advanced artists,” Black said. “You look at an art history book and think, ‘I can’t do that,’ but when you look at these you go, ‘Okay, I see myself in there.’ And that’s the idea of each lesson.” However, it is the tie between Black’s own artwork and inclination for science that drives his passion for the book. “My personal artwork, the focus of it for the last 6 years, has been on natural forms. Whether it’s cracks in the mud, the way lava breaks up, or even street repair,” Black said. “One of my first loves was science, and I want people to appreciate the social, natural and cultural science housed inside the museum’s building.” Lawndale High School English teacher and fellow member of the TAC Katie Frank commended Black for creating a book grown out of empathy. “I know his intent wasn’t to create an empathetic art book, but I think that’s represented in his work because it’s trying to connect with people of any age, and that’s valuable,” Frank said. “Sometimes we think museums are where we go with kids on a field trip, and he’s really drawn to this idea of how to make museums feel important and feel like anyone can belong in those spaces.” Rachel Fidler, who serves as the manager for the School and Teacher Programs at the NHMLA, reflected on

what made Black such an easy choice to be part of the TAC. For Fidler, one benefit of working with Black was her knowledge of him through other NHMLA programs such as the workshop about malacology, the study of snails and mollusks. “We would walk away after to talk about his incredibly innovative, unique ideas for engaging art students in science, and I think that lens in particular is so important for all educators to consider,” Fidler said. “How we look at the world influences how we move through life, and how we move

through earth, and how we feel we can protect it and feel responsible for it.” Fidler also emphasized Black’s immense passion for the NHMLA and the positive impact he has already left beyond his work with the TAC. “Especially right now in a global pandemic, in which teachers have had to deal with immense challenges, listening to their voices and hearing their thoughts and truly incorporating their feedback is completely required of institutions like museums that are informal learning spaces,” Fidler said. “His approach to getting students ex-

Main: San Dimas High School art teacher E. Dominic Black paints in the backyard of his San Gabriel home. Black serves as a member of the Teacher Advisory Council for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, an experiment that brought together a cohort of nine teachers to explore long-term museumbased educational projects. He has combined multiple art lessons in the form of a book called “Art Inside and Out.”

Below: Much of Black’s work is based on natural forms found in geological phenomena. “Whether it’s cracks in the mud, the way lava breaks up, or even street repair. One of my first loves was science, and I want people to appreciate the social, natural and cultural science housed inside the museum’s building,” Black said. Photos by Rommel Alcantara, Staff Photographer

cited about things like science and art are really inspiring for the School and Teacher Programs team and other educators.” Although his work at the NHMLA has played a significant role in Black’s professional career, at the end of the day, he is still an art teacher at San Dimas High School, where he has taught for more than 20 years. “I was friends with the son of the vice principal at Nogales High School, who said I’d be great at teaching. So I tried it and became a substitute teacher for the district. I taught all grade levels and found that I liked high school the best,” Black said. “So when an opportunity came up to move from subbing to full-time at San Dimas High School, I had to take it.” San Dimas High School alumnus and Black’s former student Darius Johari could not help but share how Black’s mentorship and outgoing character influenced his professional endeavors. “I actually got a scholarship to travel with him, my first trip out of the country, to see the art and culture around the world,” Johari said. “My first trip was in Italy, and we would do on-spot location paintings. This helped me really find my love for art.” And yet, Black’s natural flair for teaching rings true even for his own colleagues. A memory that sticks out to San Dimas High School drama teacher Kelly Kocalis is the time Black taught a workshop for teachers on how to use Canvas, an online learning and teaching management software. “Canvas is daunting, and it’s not something you can teach yourself how to do,” Kocalis said. “Black taught a couple of workshops to teachers on how to use Canvas, and man, he’s really just a good teacher. He’s super patient, he can explain things very clearly, and he makes you think, ‘Wow, how could I not teach this to myself? This seems so easy.’” Kocalis views Black as a prime example of what other educators should strive to be for themselves and for their students. “Not only does he teach art, but he is an artist himself. He is constantly trying to show his students not just how to do art, but he talks about art as a career path, as something they might want to do with their lives,” Kocalis said. “If more people knew that teachers like Black were involved in programs like the Natural History Museum, it would really bring a respect for the arts community.”

San Dimas Community Post



Community rallies to “Stop the Hate”

Photos by Maydeen Merino — Staff Photographer

San Dimas High School student Chloe Jones, a young Mexican and Black woman, addresses the crowd at a Stop the Hate Rally and Vigil on March 27 at San Dimas City Hall. Jones shares about her personal experiences with racism and the importance of coming together to support one another.

Residents gather to condemn hate crimes against Asian Americans and individuals of color. BY MAYDEEN MERINO Staff Writer

On March 27, a Stop the Hate Rally and Vigil was held in front of San Dimas City Hall to condemn the recent hate crimes against Asian Americans and individuals of color. The rally was a response to a 150% increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the last year. Between March 19, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, there have been 3,795 incidents of discrimination against Asian Americans, according to a report from Stop AAPI Hate. According to the same report, ver-

bal harassment and deliberate avoidance (shunning) make up the two largest proportions of the total incidents reported at 68.1% and 20.5%, respectively. Physical assault comprises the third largest category, accounting for 11.1% of the total hate crime incidents. Los Angeles County reported 524 total hate crimes throughout 2019, the highest since 2009. White supremacist crimes increased by 38%, according to the same report. Gary Enderle, a long-time San Dimas resident, organized the rally to show that racism has no place in the city. “I hope to get the exposure and the awareness that we are concerned and we don’t want to be like a lot of other cities that have a big racial problem,” Enderle said. “As an Asian American female, I have gone through experiences, as a

person of color, as a woman who has experienced it. So I want to come out here today to show my support,” said Rebekah Hong, 25-year resident of San Dimas. Hong said she is proud and grateful for the city to allow a rally to support condemning hate against people of color. “I am glad that this community can rally together and show support,” Hong said. “Not just addressing anti-Asian but also just hate in general and violence in general.” Hong was joined at the rally by her friend Amanda Francis, who has also lived in San Dimas for the past 25 years. Both Hong and Francis said they were shocked to hear that the city was holding a rally and vigil for this cause. “Growing up here, San Dimas, it wasn’t really the most politically active place. Not the most diverse place either. So it’s changed a lot. Now I teach

Top: Faith Gutzkae (right), a student from San Dimas High School, carries a sign that reads “#StopAsianHate.” Bottom: A couple, accompanied by their young baby, holds up signs calling for love and an end to hate against Asian Americans.

kindergarten, and my classes are incredibly diverse. So it’s different from when we were kids,” Francis said. Both of them hope the city continues the conversation and educates one another. “We all play a role in this,” Hong said. “Playing an active role, whatever that may look like. There’s no judgment or shame in that. But the same with the local city council too — they also play an active part in this.” The rally brought out about 40 individuals, ranging from all ages and backgrounds. Faith Gutzkae, a student from San Dimas High School, attended the event with her sister and mother. “I think that it’s really sad to see people hating on each other because we all matter. And I think you shouldn’t be put down because of the color of your skin, the way you look or your race,” Gutzkae said. “I think using your voice is a big part of it. We should all use our voice. Speak up for what’s going on

because I think speaking up can go a long way.” The rally ended with speakers addressing a small crowd gathered on the steps of City Hall. The speakers included Pastor Nichole Johnson from Faith Lutheran Church, Father Chris Santangelo from Holy Name of Mary Church and San Dimas High School student Chloe Jones. Jones explained how, as a young Mexican and Black woman, she had experienced racism herself. “Every time I heard a student say the N-word in class, that chipped away an itty bitty piece of me. Every time I had kids touch my hair, whether it was in an afro, my natural hair, or up in braids, that chipped away an itty bitty piece of me. Every time I was told I couldn’t be Mexican, or that my cousins aren’t really my cousin because we don’t look alike, that chipped away an itty bitty piece of me,” Jones told the crowd.

Getting to know our new Sheriff’s Captain A law enforcement veteran with more than fifteen years of experience, Walid Ashrafnia says community involvement is key. BY GRACE DULCECOTTONHAM Staff Writer

On Jan. 26, San Dimas City Manager Chris Constantin announced Walid Ashrafnia would be the new captain of the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station. Ashrafnia previously served as operations lieutenant for four years. “I was raised here in San Gabriel Valley. I very much intimately know the job, and I love working in San Dimas because we have a great community that supports the sheriff’s department,” Ashrafnia said. Constantin said a panel, which included the mayor and city manager, interviewed five individuals for the position and unanimously selected Ashrafnia as the top candidate. “He has a high level of public engagement, which is what I saw immediately coming as a new city manager. That impressed me. ... I think he will do very well by our community,” said Constantin during the Jan. 26 council

meeting. San Dimas Councilmember Denis Bertone also believes Ashrafnia is well-connected to the community. “He seems very aware of what’s happening within the town,” Bertone said. Ashrafnia has been a member of law enforcement for more than a decade, but this was not his first professional job. An alumnus of Rosemead High School and a graduate of Cal State Los Angeles, he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a graduate degree in public administration. Ashrafnia was a man looking for purpose in his 9-to-5 career. He said a conversation with a friend who was a deputy sheriff influenced him to make a career move. “I wanted to do something where I can influence and serve other people,” said Ashrafnia. He insists that the power of community involvement is a force multiplier to combat crime. He prefers a low crime rate over a high arrest rate. He also enjoys getting to know all groups within the communi-

Photo by Rommel Alcantara , Staff Photographer

Walid Ashrafnia, who previously served as the operations lieutenant, was named captain of the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station at the Jan. 26 city council meeting.

ty, from businesses to the local youth. Pre-COVID-19, Ashrafnia was active in the local little league through coaching and mentoring young children. “It’s always good to know that the

person you’re working for is very interested in doing the right thing and making sure that if there’s some problem that’s developing, he is ahead of it,” said San Dimas Sergeant Matthew

Bodell. Ashrafnia is optimistic about what he can accomplish as captain. He believes spending time to partner with the community is important and that looking out for each other is key. “The key is community conversation,” Ashrafnia said. For example, since catalytic converter crimes have tripled in San Dimas since January, Ashrafnia's department engaged the community in a Catalytic Converter Etch & Catch Event, hosted in collaboration with Sanders Lock and Key and the city. During this local event, 87 community members had their catalytic converters etched with a unique identifying number to act as a theft deterrent. The sheriff’s station plans to do more Catalytic Converter Etch & Catch events and encourages the community to stay in touch via Instagram and Facebook for more crime prevention and community-related events. “My job is to ensure the community knows that we have their best interest at heart,” Ashrafnia said. “If you come through for the community, they’ll come through for you.”


San Dimas Community Post



San Dimas Community Post


Businesses remain resilient amid pandemic Many were forced to adapt in order to stay afloat during lockdowns. BY FLORA WONG Staff Writer

A wine shop embraces e-commerce, a restaurant reimagines takeout orders, and a trendy new eatery takes a chance on San Dimas. Like many small businesses throughout the state, San Dimas business owners have faced difficult challenges throughout the pandemic. “It’s been hard for everybody in

lots of different ways and at different points throughout the pandemic,” said Jennifer Baloian, co-owner of San Dimas Wine. “For us, we knew we had to immediately go online and start selling to our customers virtually.” San Dimas Wine used Square, a company that provides free online e-commerce sites to small businesses to create a virtual shopping experience. Square for Retail launched in 2017 to assist small businesses by offering a retail point-of-sale app with technology that helps businesses track sales and manage inventory. Baloian believes moving her business online was the right step. With

the new website, customers are able to view new arrivals, browse different wines and order curbside pickup. Limited capacity guidelines, mask mandates, dining restrictions, and social distancing orders have forced small businesses to change how they sell products and serve their customers. Owner and head chef of Twisted Sage Cafe Jolyn Thompson had to implement major changes to her restaurant to meet the requirements to stay in business. The restaurant originally seated up to 150 people, but the maximum capacity had to change to accommodate just 20. Thompson also had to downsize her staff of 35 to five.

“We’ve had to figure out how to make to-go food as appeasing and exciting as it is to sit and have an experience here,” Thompson said. Despite the challenges of running a business during a pandemic, there has been a rise in people filing business applications in California. In 2020, more than 436,000 applications were filed, which is a 19.9% increase from the year before, according to data from the United States Census Bureau. Kotsu Ramen & Gyoza, a new restaurant in San Dimas, opened in the middle of the pandemic on Jan. 18. Joaquin Cornejo, CEO of Kotsu Ramen & Gyoza, said it was not too difficult to open the business.

"Even during COVID, everything wrapped up in a couple of months; it was unusually fast," Cornejo said. "We didn't have much of a presence at first, which is fine because we want to ease into it." Cornejo and his business partners discussed opening a new ramen restaurant in San Dimas for about a year before it opened. “The interesting thing about San Dimas is you can tell there’s a sense of community, and people are proud of San Dimas. So that's really nice. And we love being part of San Dimas.” Maydeen Merino contributed to this story.

Linco reframes success Thanks to their owner’s adaptability and drive, a local framing company has endured the changing times.

Linco owner Steve Lindemann at Linco’s showroom on Arrow Highway in San Dimas. Lindemann began his career in the newspaper industry in 1966 before leaving the industry in 1999. While working at Oakland Tribune, Lindemann was approached by the Oakland Raiders in 1976 to do their team picture framing, which was only a hobby at that time.


Just like the mementos he frames, Steve Lindemann’s picture framing business Linco might stand the test of time. “When I came to San Dimas, we had five picture framers. We had Fast Frame, Aaron Brothers, Richards in Glendora, and one in downtown. Today we are the only framing company within Glendora, San Dimas and La Verne,” said Lindemann, a stout bearded man in his 70s with the energy of a teenager that just got his first car. In an era when more and more consumers are buying everything online, including picture frames, Linco has managed to buck the trend by developing a base of loyal customers who come from as far away as Yorba Linda and Murrieta to frame their pictures. Ryan and Andrea Stalder, a young couple from Old Town San Dimas, are some of Lindemann’s newest customers. They wanted to replace the frame of a photo project with an ornate mirror frame they owned. Their picture was a large map of the United States filled with photos documenting the 19 states they have visited. “Oh, it’s beautiful,” exclaimed Andrea as Lindemann brought out their newly framed picture. Nodding towards Lindemann, Ryan said, “This man is the best! … We’re first time customers, and we had a custom project and asked him to take that mirror out and put this map in — and you know, he can do anything!” “We have 78 five-star reviews on Yelp, which I am very proud of because we will go to the nth degree to make our customers happy,” Lindemann said after the Stalders left. “We are not happy until they are happy. And we’ve never had an unhappy customer.” Lindemann credits his success (and staying power) to his ability to adapt, something he has done throughout his career. He started working in the newspaper industry in 1966 — first at the Oakland Tribune, then later at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and the Daily Breeze before leaving the industry in 1999. While at the Oakland Tribune, Lindemann was approached by the Oakland Raiders in 1976 to do their team picture framing, which was only a hobby at that time. Raiders owner Al Davis liked his work so much that soon Lindemann was handling all

Phil Ebiner, Staff Photographer

framing for the team. “I worked directly with Al Davis, and there were different team pictures every year. And pretty soon we were framing about 200 pictures a week for the Oakland Raiders,” said Lindemann. When the Raiders moved to Southern California in 1982, Lindemann followed and continued working for local papers like the Los Angeles Times while framing for the Raiders on the side. He also took on additional work framing articles for area newspapers and national ones such as USA Today. After the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995, Lindemann stayed in Southern California, retired from the newspaper business and opened up his own framing store in an industrial park on Allen Avenue in San Dimas in 1999. “I wasn’t in a retail location although my location did face the street. In those days, we had dark rooms and that kind of stuff, and I needed a location to produce photos from negatives the newspapers would send me,” said Lindemann. Once newspapers began going digital in 2002, Lindemann sold his dark room equipment, cashed out his retirement and purchased Linco’s current location on Arrow Highway. Business boomed. Not only was Lindemann framing photos for local businesses such as Casa Del Rey, the Hat and Roady’s along with national chains such as the Yard House, but he also began producing acrylic display cases for model cars and eventually sports memorabilia. As COVID-19 swept through Southern California and shut down businesses, Lindemann again adapted,

this time transitioning from making acrylic boxes for cars to making clear acrylic shields for front-line staff at fast food restaurants, income tax offices, real estate agent offices, and banks. “The reason we are still here is that we’ve pivoted,” said Lindemann. “Whenever we’ve run into an obstacle or problem, we’ve done something different. When the newspapers were having a hard time, we went to magazines. When we wanted to get more business, we asked ourselves, ‘Why don’t we get into needlepoint? Why don’t we make acrylic [display] boxes for cars? Why don’t we get involved with sports memorabilia?’ — which has become a huge area for us. When our business went down [during COVID-19], we started making shields.” Adapting to the times might explain part of Linco’s success, but another factor is undoubtedly Lindemann’s unwavering passion for making his customers happy. In fact, Lindemann is known for never saying no to a customer, no matter what they ask for — which is how he got into shields. “The Hat was the one that pushed me into making shields. We frame all of their t-shirts and use acrylic boxes to display their t-shirts. One day, the owner called and ordered 44 shields. I told him, ‘We don’t make shields.’ He said, ‘Well, you use acrylic, and you make boxes, don’t you? Why can’t you make shields?’” said Lindemann. “So that was the push that got me into it.” Lindemann’s unwillingness to turn customers down has had the unintended effect of setting high expectations, with some customers asking projects to be turned around within days or hours, even during

busy periods. “One of our problems is that we work really fast,” said Lindemann. “When someone brings something in, we do it in two or three days. We usually tell everybody a week, but we’ll call them in two or three days. … Last Christmas Eve, I had someone come in here at 5:30 p.m. and say, ‘I need this framed for Christmas!’ And I said, ‘Which Christmas?’ And he said ‘Tonight!’” Lindemann said chuckling. “And we got it done. We’re fortunate we don’t have to depend on anyone outside our company, and we do everything here.” This dedication can sometimes exasperate his daughter Laura Lindemann-Delk, who serves as Linco’s general manager and plans to take over the business when he retires. If he retires. “Working for my dad is for the most part good … We do butt heads sometimes over time off, and he calls me after hours with questions. But we really vibe well,” said Lindemann-Delk. Lindemann’s staff also noted that working for Lindemann is a unique experience. Brian Liberty, a production manager at Linco, was hired by Lindemann from Aaron Brothers when it closed. When asked what working for Linco is like compared to Aaron Brothers, Liberty said, “There are a bunch of crazy jobs that we do that we wouldn’t do at Aaron Brothers. Steve, the owner, doesn’t like to say no to anyone, so we’ll take in anything that comes in the door.” Once, for example, a customer came into Linco a few years ago and asked Lindemann to fix the driver side mirror of his RV.

“The driver,” Lindemann explained, “had his mirror knocked off of his RV on the freeway.” Even though Linco does not fix car mirrors, the driver convinced Lindemann a car mirror was no different from the mirrors he sells. “So, we drew a pattern and stuck the mirror on,” said Lindemann. Lindemann acknowledged that he probably should say no to some jobs but insisted that it is part of who he is and he does not plan to change. “You know, I don’t turn anything down. A lot of my people have a problem with that. In fact, sometimes they like it when I’m not at the shop when a difficult customer comes in because I won't turn it down, and I’m going to make it happen,” says Lindemann with a grin. As more businesses open up and life moves past COVID-19, Lindemann is ready for the next phase of Linco and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. “I want the business to remain successful. I think we’ve got a great start, and I think there’s a lot of great opportunities. I love getting out, meeting people, making sales calls, and coming up with creative ideas. So my plan is, if I can leave Laura here with the shop and with the people, they can continue to maintain our business, and I can go out in the field and make new business and new contacts. Everytime I sell a frame, I know I’ve made a new customer for life,” said Lindemann. With Lindemann’s knack for adapting to the times and his passion for going the extra mile for each of his customers — whether they buy a picture frame or not — it is likely that Linco will remain a San Dimas institution for decades to come.

San Dimas Community Post



Local pet adoptions rose amid quarantine BY CINDY ARORA Staff Writer

At San Dimas Grain Co., one can often find people pressed against the big windows facing Bonita Avenue, watching kittens nap or puppies tumbling over one another. For the community grain store and pet shop, adoptions have always been brisk, but when COVID-19 sent people to shelter-in-place, the number of people taking home a furry friend soared. “It’s always super popular, just not in comparison to now. It has been insane,” said Cameron Castle, the son of San Dimas Grain’s owner. “We can’t keep any of them. People are pretty much waiting in the morning, before we open, when they know new animals are going to be here.” In order to keep up with the influx of pet adoptions, the grain shop has stocked up on pet carriers, dog houses and cat trees and also updates its social media accounts with videos of the new animals that have arrived at the shop. At the Inland Valley Humane Society in Pomona, Director of Community Outreach Melis-

sa Matherly has seen an increase in adoptions as people turn to pets during the pandemic. “I do think people are looking for companionship during the pandemic … I know I have turned to my own pet,” Matherly said. “Since people couldn’t leave their homes, they decided to adopt a little friend. And we’ve been adopting them at a rapid pace.” The private, non-profit, full-access animal shelter has made its mission to care for all animals in the community and to ensure that every animal that arrives at its doorstep has a place to stay until it finds a forever home. During the pandemic, small dogs and kittens were adopted as soon as their photos were posted on the shelter’s website. Even as kitten season began to start in February, a usual busy season for the animal shelter, the shelter found itself with very few kittens available. “I guess it’s a good problem to have because it means they are all finding homes,” said Matherly. “With pets, there is no judgement. They sit with you. They are your coworker. When you come home, they are waiting for you. Pets are a bright spot for people.”

While small lap dogs and cats have found homes during the pandemic, the animal shelter is still looking for homes for its large breed dogs that are not always easy to adopt. For the next few months, the shelter is waiving adoption fees and is hopeful people’s desire to bring home a pet will extend to larger breeds. “We are really trying to find them homes. Any large breed dog, 45 pounds and up, a lot of pit bulls, husky mixes, Labradors … It’s not as easy for them to get adopted,” Matherly said. Through spring, the animal shelter will host a number of events offering free adoptions and continue to offer a foster program for people who would like to open their homes to an animal. The use of emotional support animals has long been known as a successful way to help ease anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. According to the American Pet Products Association, in its latest “COVID-19 Pulse Study,” 11.3 million U.S. households have gotten a new pet during the pandemic. The study, published in September 2020, in-

terviewed 2,000 people and found three out of four pet owners said that spending time with their dog, cat or any other animal species helps reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being during COVID-19. La Verne resident Suzanne Evans has been searching for a kitten to add to her family of two kids and a dog. They recently put down one of their family dogs, and she said they had agreed a kitten would be a welcome addition to their home – especially during this time. But the process has not been an easy one. “It has been an interesting process. There are so many phenomenal rescues that foster animals, but you have to fill out paperwork, and they want to come inspect your home … which is fine, but with COVID, it now adds an extra layer,” Evans said. “So, between Petfinder, Adopt-a-Pet, Nextdoor, and Facebook, we should find a kitten soon. It’s all about timing.” “My kids haven’t had the experience of having a little 8-week kitten, I’d like for them to see that … They’ve missed so much this year. We just want to bring something home that is joyful.”

Residents start a new chapter in reading Free libraries are providing a sense of positivity for the communities they serve and filling the literacy gap.

Vanessa Calderon Falone and her children John and Jennifer Falone steward this Little Free Library just a few blocks from Lone Hill Park in San Dimas. Little Free Library is a nonprofit that builds community, inspires, readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries.

BY AMANDA LEE Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Due to COVID-19, interviews for this story were done via Zoom or phone in order to limit exposure. Vanessa Calderon Falone and her family steward a unique fixture in San Dimas — a red wooden children’s washer and dryer play set that can be found on West Juanita Avenue near Lone Hill Park. The fixture, despite its appearance, was not installed to give passing residents a place to do tiny loads of laundry. It is actually a library — more specifically, a Little Free Library that is part of an established nonprofit organization founded in 2012. The city of San Dimas has nine registered Little Free Libraries and several more that are unregistered. Little Free Library had humble beginnings in 2009 when Todd H. Bol built his first Little Free Library in Hudson, Wisconsin. Today there are more than 100,000 Little Free Librar-

Photo by Isabel Ebiner

ies registered around the world. Their website states that “Little Free Library is a nonprofit that builds community, inspires readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries.” People build Little Free Libraries for a variety of reasons. Falone shared how it is just part of her mission to help others in any way she can. While Falone was initially worried people would not use the library, she

has been pleasantly surprised with what seems to be a natural draw within her community. “There's a lot of community activity where I'm at, which is just why my box took off,” Falone said. On the other side of the city, another free community library can be found within the La Cuesta Encantada community. Diana Veloz, along with other community members, helps maintain this free community library. The La Cuesta Encantada

community board opted not to register with the Little Free Library database. “I think the advantage of [registering] is bringing more people to your library, but our library is full all the time. There's a constant change, so I guess we didn't need that,” Veloz said. Veloz said she thinks the library provides a way for community members to interact over a shared interest and have a reason to leave their homes. During the pandemic, many

new book deserts emerged as bookstores and public libraries closed or limited their offerings. According to the Little Free Library website, “by providing books all year ’round, [Little Free Libraries] can mitigate the ‘summer slide’ where kids’ reading skills slip.” Along with 24/7 access allowing community members to visit on their own schedule, free community libraries can be viewed as literacy support for all. “It's inspiring to see how people come together … It's giving humanity a chance to show a better side of them,” Veloz said. “When you see that people come and they clean out the library for you, or they are maintaining it, it's a really good feeling.” Little Free Library boxes sell online for $150 or more. You can also construct your own and register it online for a one-time fee of $40. Your Little Free Library will be issued a unique charter number and placed on their worldwide map. Resources are also provided for those assigned as a steward. The city of San Dimas currently does not require a permit for installing a Little Free Library. Any questions regarding building limitations for a Little Free Library on your residence can be directed to the San Dimas Community Development Department by visiting the planning desk at city hall or calling 909-394-6250.

San Dimas parks department completes projects BY LAYLA ABBAS Staff Writer

The San Dimas Parks and Recreation Commission has been unable to meet since November of 2020 primarily because of four vacancies, according to Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Jan Bartolo. Hector Kistemann, director of the Parks and Recreation Department was removed from his position and placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 14, 2020. According to a claim filed against the city, Kistemann was not told why he was being removed. Kistemann resigned from his position on Feb. 10, 2021. The city received applicants for the Parks and Recreation Commission last year, but on Nov. 24, 2020, San Dimas City Council postponed scheduling interviews to fill those and other commission vacancies, preventing the Parks Commission from meeting. “We currently do not have a quorum to conduct the commission meetings,” Bartolo said.

A quorum is the minimum number of people that are required in order to conduct an official meeting. “It has been hard to get together and convene anyway,” Bartolo said. “Some cities have temporarily held up on board and commission meetings. We did have some nice momentum when the board was meeting, so it will be nice to regain the traction again.” Despite not being able to meet as a body, Assistant City Manager Brad McKinney said the department has continued its normal operations. In an email on Feb. 5, McKinney said San Dimas Parks is monitoring and complying with LA County COVID-19 guidelines and continuing programs like San Dimas Cares. “Senior and Recreation programs continue to be provided virtually and programs will expand as COVID-19 guidelines allow,” McKinney said in the same email. McKinney said some recently completed projects include the Loma Vista Park playground installation, basketball court resurfacing, Pioneer

Park court resurfacing, SPLEX tennis court resurfacing, rehabilitation to the SPLEX fields and maintenance to the dog park. The city council began a special meeting regarding the policy about board, commission and committee appointments, membership and responsibilities on April 8, which continued on April 13. No date to move forward with commission interviews was scheduled.

Parks Departments Pivot During Pandemic La Verne

Yvonne Duran, recreation coordinator for the city of La Verne, said their top priority has been senior residents. “We have set up virtual coffee talks, bingo, curbside meal drop-off, and more to check up on our senior residents.” Duran said the department has started a senior newsletter that is available online and handed out

during curbside meal drop-offs. In addition, Duran said their Preschool on the Go program has been a huge success. “Our team delivers the educational items to the families that they can complete on their own time,” Duran said. “We have about 50 to 60 participants every month.” Duran and her team are planning a special and safe graduation celebration when the preschoolers graduate in May. Outdoor activities like agility, gymnastics and virtual classes offered through Mt. San Jacinto are still active.


Annie Warner, recreation superintendent for community services, said the Glendora commission took a sixmonth hiatus in 2020 because of no special events to discuss. The commission resumed monthly meetings in February, which take place the third Thursday of each month over Zoom.

“One activity we had to adjust and ended up being well-accepted from the community was concerts in your front lawn instead of concerts in the park,” Warner said. “Everyone gathered safely in their front yard and enjoyed hanging out.” Warner said outdoor activities like guided hikes, PE classes with recreation leaders and outdoor conditioning classes were still offered in a safe manner throughout the pandemic. Recreation leaders also dropped off activity boxes to residents and would demonstrate the activity via Zoom. Some activities included how to build a lava lamp, how to make a pizza and how to paint. Warner said it was important for her department to pivot and find new ways to ensure the community felt involved during a rather isolating time. Isabel Ebiner, managing editor for the San Dimas Community Post and daughter-in-law of Councilmember John Ebiner, edited this story for AP Style.

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Keep your garden alive and thriving Whether your garden is in, or you have yet to plant, here are some ideas that will help you optimize your efforts. BY KAREN BRIDGEWATER Staff Writer

Spring is a magical time in the garden. Tiny, young sprouts are pushing up through the soil, and newly bedded transplants are settling in. Everything is green and filled with the promise of flowers and vegetables ahead. Life is good, and you are feeling pretty jazzed by your new gardening skills. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, trouble strikes. Overnight, some critter cuts down tomato seedlings you carefully planted yesterday. Tiny bugs are crawling all over the beans. And what is that white fur covering the squash leaves? Panic begins to set in, and you start to doubt the magic of your green thumb. Take a deep breath. This is all part of the gardening adventure that can fill you with a sense of awe and accomplishment one minute and present challenges the next. Yet, challenges provide new gardeners opportunities to learn what plants require to grow and how to navigate potential problems. For some expert advice on how to keep a garden alive and thriving, I spoke with Yvonne Savio, one of the most experienced and respected gardeners in Southern California. Savio, now retired, was the director of the Los Angeles County Master Gardener Program for over twenty years. We discussed some common issues that gardeners face, and she shared a wealth of practical information on how to deal with them. Whether your garden is in, or you have yet to plant, here are some ideas that will help you optimize your efforts.

Feed the soil

“Soil is the beginning, middle and end of successful gardening. It doesn’t just prop up the plants,” states Savio in an article for new gardeners on her website https://www. It is important to prepare a garden bed prior to planting. This is especially true in San Dimas. Our city’s native clay soil, although fertile, can prove impermeable to plant roots and water due to its heavily compacted structure. To provide plants with a proper growing environment, Savio emphasizes the importance of adding compost and aged manure to the bed, then mixing it in to a depth of at least 12 inches. The goal is to break up the compacted clay, provide a boost of nutrients and create spaces through which roots and water can easily travel. This process will heat the soil, so it is important to wait a couple of weeks for it to cool down before planting. This will ensure young root systems do not get burned.

Water deeply and infrequently

Proper irrigation is another critical element of successful gardening, but one that is commonly approached using a “best guess” as to the duration and frequency of watering by many beginning gardeners. Savio explains that improper watering usually results in only the upper layer of the garden bed being moistened, which then encourages

Phil Ebiner — Staff Photographer

In Karen Bridgewater’s San Dimas garden, a hardware cloth cage keeps rodents out of a raised bed. Read the online version of this article at for more photos of various gardening tricks and tools.


Visit for photos of the various gardening tricks and tools mentioned in this article.

plant roots to remain close to the surface. When summer temperatures rise and that area of soil heats up and dries out, shallow-rooted plants suffer. The goal of irrigation should be to water deeply but infrequently. This encourages plants to grow deep, well-established root systems that will help them survive even when temperatures soar. Savio accomplishes this by digging a hole in the bed, large enough to place a one- to five-gallon nursery pot into it (letting a few inches stick up above the surface). She then plants right around the edge of the pot. When the vessel is filled, water drains directly to the root zone, encouraging plant roots to pass through the upper layer of soil and grow deeper to where the soil remains moist and cool, even on the hottest days. To get a handle on how much and how often to water, Savio suggests gardeners purchase an inexpensive moisture meter, a small probe you stick into the soil to assess its moisture content. This takes the guesswork out of the process by indicating whether or not you need to water. When it is time to water, just fill each sunken pot and move on. Achieving this same depth of irrigation through hand watering could take up to 30 minutes per bed — an unappealing task when temperatures approach triple digits. Although deep watering is crucial for developing deep roots, it is important to keep the entire bed evenly moist. Seeds require moisture to germinate, and tender, young plants need moisture to get established. Savio uses soaker hoses that “weep” water all along their surface. These hoses wet the soil to about five inches on either side and can be looped back and forth in the bed with vegetables planted in between.

Prepare for hot weather Get your garden in before the end of April Savio says this will give the plants time to get established before the heat sets in. Over the past three years, she has noticed that tomato transplants she used to add to the garden in May no longer grow into productive plants, even with great soil and extra watering. Provide shade on hot days Although most flowers and vegetables need at least six hours of direct sun to thrive, all plants require some protection from the sun, especially after 3 p.m. and when temperatures rise above 90 degrees. Plant your garden where it receives afternoon shading from a building or tree. Otherwise, you can pop beach umbrellas over your plants or cover them with shade cloth to protect them. Add mulch Maintain a thick layer of mulch on top of the bed to help keep soil cooler and reduce evaporation, but keep it a few inches away from the plants. Adjust your watering Savio recommends keeping an eye on the weather forecast. If temperatures are going to break 90 degrees, water before the heat hits. Just like with people, she says it is better to hydrate before the heat than to try to recover after being stressed. Cool down your plants Savio suggests periodically spraying the tops and undersides of the leaves when it is really hot. Do this early in the day so the plants are fully dry before nighttime to prevent fungus or other diseases.

Outsmart pests and diseases

There are few things more disap-

pointing than discovering something has eaten your homegrown vegetables before you can harvest them. Beans covered with aphids, tomatoes pecked on by birds, melons eaten by rodents, or squash plants covered in powdery mildew can dampen the spirit of even the most enthusiastic gardener. Aside from visiting your garden frequently to catch problems early, there are some other actions you can take to prevent problems or to deal with them when they arise. First and foremost, take steps to ensure that your plants develop deep root systems. Strong plants will fare better against insects and diseases than stressed ones. As you know, the healthier you are, the better able you are to fight off illness. Savio explains the same holds true for your plants. Take a less lethal approach first Try blasting aphids off your beans with the hose before reaching for the insecticidal soap spray. Practice companion planting Growing certain plants together can help reduce insects that target a particular vegetable. For instance, Savio suggests interplanting cucumbers and beans to repel cucumber beetles. Grow plants that attract beneficial insects Mustard flowers in the garden will attract ladybugs and lacewings that feed on aphids. Use barriers to protect plants Press a plastic cup, with the bottom removed, into the soil around the base of a tomato transplant to keep cutworms away. Covers made from plastic milk jugs with the bottoms removed can protect young plants from being eaten by mice overnight. Remove the jugs before the day heats up. Savio also suggests placing strawberry baskets over young lettuce plants to keep birds at bay.

By the time the plant starts to lift the basket, it will no longer need protection. Practice crop rotation Avoid planting the same crop in the same place each year. This will help prevent plant-specific diseases from becoming established in a bed. Line raised beds with hardware cloth Gophers can destroy a garden from below. Hardware cloth will keep them out. Reduce the pest population Carefully placed traps can help limit the number of mice and rats that visit your garden to dine. Limit access If all else fails, covers made from hardware cloth can be constructed to fit over an entire raised bed. Maintain a healthy growing environment To minimize the number and severity of diseases that attack your plants, Savio says it is important to know the three factors that interact and influence disease development: the plant, the pathogen and the environment. By understanding this, it is easier to avoid situations that may encourage a disease to develop. For instance, powdery mildew is a common problem in our area because it prefers a hot, dry environment. Knowing that powdery mildew often develops on squash plants, a gardener can take proactive steps to discourage its development and reactive measures when it appears. To learn more about methods presented in this article, visit Savio’s website, which contains a wealth of useful information, including monthly suggestions on what to do in the garden. She also invites people to sign up for her mailing list to receive notices about upcoming gardening events.



San Dimas Community Post

Go ahead, drink your fruits and veggies BY CINDY ARORA Staff Writer

Keeping healthy is top of mind these days. From vitamin supplements to daily exercise, there are many theories on how to help keep the doctor away. Fads aside, eating enough fruits and vegetables still remains a tried and true way to meet your vitamin and nutrient requirements. These days, fruits and veggies don’t have to be confined to your dinner plate or morning cereal – you can sip your way to good health. San Dimas, home to roughly 34,000 residents within a 15.4 miles radius, has the good fortune of having a number of juice bars and smoothie spots all over town. From small mom and pop shops to a popular national chain, there is more than one way to get your recommended fruits and vegetables for the day in San Dimas. We put together a roundup of some local favorites to visit. So the next time you head out for a weekend walk at one of the many local walking paths, grab a green juice or a power smoothie for the road. Squeeze Me Tucked away in a shopping center along Arrow Highway, smoothie shop Squeeze Me has something for everyone. The versatile menu offers fruit smoothies, slushies (ice blended fruit juice and real fruit), milk teas with boba, shakes, frappes, and acai bowls. But, if you are looking for a great source of vitamins, antioxidants and superfoods – they have you covered. The best seller is the Green Power Pump, a sweet and savory smoothie that combines kale, spirulina (antioxidant algae), banana, pineapple, and orange juice. The Immunizer (orange juice, pineapple, peach, bee pollen, and vitamin C) and the Health Nut (almond milk, banana, pineapple, peanut butter, kale, and oats) are also great options. Squeeze Me, 515 W. Arrow Hwy., San Dimas, CA 91773 MostXcellent Juicery This micro juice bar along San Dimas Avenue isn’t just fun to say out loud, it is also an excellent place to grab a cold pressed juice made with organic produce and a wallop of vitamins. MostXcellent has an impressive menu celebrating the bounty of fruits and vegetables in California. Served in a glass bottle, each juice ranges from $11 to $13. A local favorite is Happy#13, a

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pressed juice made with only two ingredients – cucumbers and pineapple – which makes you feel exactly as it says on its label. There is also the Circle K (kale, apple, celery, fennel, cucumber, and cilantro), Dr. Walker (peeled carrot, spinach, celery, and Italian parsley) and the kid-friendly Harriet (apple juice and cider blend). Patio tables are available out front, so take a picture with George Washington, smile with your juice and say, “Dude.” MostXcellent Juicery, 222 S. San Dimas Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773 Sweet Savory Café & Bakery This neighborhood café isn’t just a bakery! They have avocado toast and breakfast burritos, oatmeal and egg sandwiches, BLT sandwiches and something awesome called the Dalrymple (a roast beef sandwich). They also have a bevy of salads, bagels and an assortment of empanadas made in-store. As part of the café’s growing to-go business, they offer a selection of fresh juices, making it easy for people to stop in and pick up a 24-ounce bottle

of green juice (kale, spinach, celery, lemon, and apple juice) from a take-and-go refrigerator. The self-service juices also come in orange and apple. Sweet Savory Café & Bakery, 138 W. Bonita Ave., Ste. 103, San Dimas, CA 91773 Nekter Juice Bar This national juice and smoothie franchise has a San Dimas location kitty-corner to Krispy Kreme. Their menu is vast, offering smoothies, juices, acai bowls, fusion blends, grab n’ go cold-pressed bottled juices, parfaits, and even their own line of Nekter Cleanses. Some of their popular drinks include Slender Greens (spinach, kale, cucumber, pineapple, mango, chia seeds, and coconut water blended with ice), the immune system booster Turmeric Sunrise (pineapple, mango, coconut butter, coconut water, lime, and turmeric), and their signature The Greenie (parsley, spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, lemon, and apple). Download the Nekter app, and you can order online for easy curbside pick-up. Nekter Juice Bar, 1034 W. Gladstone St., San Dimas, CA, 91773

Jumpstart your post-COVID fitness goals BY YAJEN TAN Fitness columnist

Have you fallen out of shape during the COVID-19 lockdowns? You are not alone. A study, from the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows how regions across the globe saw reductions in daily step count drop as much as 50%. As we come out of this health crisis and step into a new normal, how can we start to take back control of our health and fitness? We build better habits. There is a quote that I love by Frederick Matthias Alexander: “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” How often do we let the Also: days go by without realizing Due to the that each and every little COVID 19 habit we choose or ignore is pandemic, Inter building the future that we Valley Health will experience? Plan is offering When someone steps into their free the gym for the first time in Vitality Series a long time, I always emphaclasses online. size that the goal is not about PAGE 2 fitness; it is about habits. It is about developing the habits that will support the type of life we want to live five, 10 or 20 years from now. So which habits are the most important to develop when getting back into shape again? I like to categorize these habits into three groups: sleep, nutrition and exercise. The reason why exercise comes last is because your body needs energy from sleep and fuel from nutrition to exercise. That fuel comes from a healthy diet, and proper rest ensures that you are able to show up on a regular basis without falling off the wagon due to low energy levels. Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology, noted in his book “Why We Sleep” that our population’s lack of sleep is the cause of many significant failings in our society. These include an increase in the rate of multiple chronic illnesses, massive reductions in production and efficiency at work and

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drowsy driving-related deaths on the road. For starters, over 99% of the population needs an average of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to avoid negative health effects. So what are some easy steps for you to improve your fitness? Step 1: Set an alarm for bedtime The secret to waking up early is making sure you are falling asleep on time. If you struggle with sleeping earlier, try dialing back your bedtime by 15-30 minutes each week. Step 2: Get 5-10 minutes of direct sunlight The timing and intensity of light exposure help our circadian rhythm regulate important functions in our body throughout the day. Get sunlight exposure as early as you can in the morning, and reduce intense light exposure in the evening. Step 3: Avoid consuming caffeine after lunch time and consuming alcohol in the evening Caffeine has a half life of around five hours. That means that roughly 10 hours after you have consumed that last cup of coffee, you still have around 25% of the caffeine consumed in your system. Step 4: Cut out ultra-processed foods Processed foods have a bad reputation, but there is a broad spectrum to food processing that is not all bad. Simple processing techniques like freezing, pickling or fermenting can help preserve fast perishing food and sometimes even introduce friendly gut bacteria that your stomach would be happy to meet. Step 5: Avoid added sugars A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but three spoonfuls of sugar in a soda and five spoonfuls in our coffee are way more

than our body knows what to do with. What you do most matters. Developing healthy habits and consistent boundaries with sugar are most important. Now that we have gone over some simple yet effective ways for you to fuel your body, it is time to finally move on to everybody’s favorite pastime — exercise! Step 6: Start a simple exercise routine Exercise is a lot like going to the mechanic for an oil change. You do not need it daily to get by, but sooner or later, skipping out really starts to wear you down. Local personal trainer Yoofi Monney shared his advice on how to get back to a workout routine: “Getting back into your fitness routine can sometimes be really difficult. ...If you’re really struggling to stay consistent, the key is to start off with something small, maintainable and build up from there. The goal is to build long term habits that we can sustain into the future. For example, starting off with daily walks can be an easy way to help you build some momentum to start moving again. Once going on the walks are easy you can slowly transition to jogging or using that time you set aside for walks to do something else like resistance training.” Some of the exercises that Yoofi recommends are push-ups, squats and lunges. All three movements are staples and can be done without any equipment. Challenge yourself to write these six easy steps down and actually commit to following them in the next 30 days. Take back control of your health and fitness, San Dimas! And, if you fall off the wagon, just start over. It happens to all of us — no biggie! Yajen Tan is a personal trainer and owner of Gimme Crossfit at 561 W. Arrow Highway in San Dimas. If you have health and fitness questions or would like to suggest topics to be covered in a future column, reach out to Yajen at

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The San Dimas Community Post is a free print and online publication produced by residents of San Dimas and the surrounding communities. Ads are not endorsed by the Community Post. Editorials are the opinion of at least 75 percent of the Editorial Board. All other opinion is that of the writer. Libel will not be published. All of our reporting and interviewing is done with strict social distancing measures in mind. The San Dimas Community Post welcomes feedback from our readers. If you have any gripes, questions or comments, we want to hear from you! Send your letters to inbox@ sandimascommunitypost. com. All correspondence must include your name. Letters may be edited for content. © San Dimas Community Post LLC, 2021

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