San Dimas Community Post | Issue 2 | 01/14/2021

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

After fighting on the front lines against the coronavirus, Ernesto Santos ultimately gave his life to help others.

As rioters storm the U.S. Capitol, locals look forward Residents share their opinions both during and after the 2020 presidential election. BY ROMMEL ALCANTARA & CHRISTIAN SHEPHERD Staff Writers

A legacy of sacrifice BY MAYDEEN MERINO

Main: A memorial dedicated to Ernesto Santos has been arranged in the Santos home. Throughout the altar, there are tokens from his life.

Staff Writer

“Whoever missed the opportunity to know him, well, they missed something special," Elmer Evangelista said of Ernesto Santos. Santos was one of many brave nurses on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. Unfortunately, he was also one of 1.92 million who have lost their lives during this pandemic. He was 47 years old. Intelligent, kind, family oriented and hardworking are just a few words family members and friends would use to describe Santos. "He was a nice guy who was dedicated to his kids, making sure that they never missed out on anything, and so giving, and everybody loves him,” said Evangelista, Santos’ best friend.

Left: Ernesto Santos raised three children — Lizzie (left), Ernest (center) and Andrea (right) — on his own, helping to provide love and stability in their lives. Photos by Rommel Alcantara, Staff Photographer

SEE SANTOS • PAGE 7

Weary community split on COVID-19 vaccine Citing concerns over its development and a desire to keep their loved ones safe, residents weigh the options.

BY LAYLA ABBAS Staff Writer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Dec. 10. Roughly 2.9 million doses of the vaccine were shipped around the U.S. following the approval. The vaccine was first given to U.S. health care workers on the front lines — a hopeful beginning to curb the pandemic that has claimed the lives of more

than 300,000 Americans. In an informal survey conducted by the San Dimas Community Post before the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, eight people said they would get the vaccine if approved, while seven said they would not. From the 15 people surveyed, all but one knew someone who had been infected by the coronavirus. For some San Dimas residents, their concerns lay in the

safety of an expedited vaccine. But for one small business manager and grandmother, the stakes are even higher. “I don’t believe in the flu shot,” Yolanda Mendoza, Chino Hills resident, said. “I got it one time in my life, and I got really sick.” “With that being said, I might consider getting the [COVID-19] vaccine. I have someone in my life fighting the virus right now. SEE VACCINE • PAGE 9

On Jan. 6, a surge of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol of the United States to interrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, resulting in five deaths and an unknown number of injuries. The mob was successful Inside: San Dimas in interrupting the certifiresidents on cation for only a short time. both sides of Within hours, they were the politcal cleared from the building spectrum while U.S. officials recon- want change. vened to finish the process PAGE 6 of certification. The attack was the direct result of a misinformation campaign led by President Trump, who has been sowing seeds of distrust in the election process before voting had even begun. On Jan. 7, President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was formally accepted by Congress, and President Trump issued a statement saying that there would be an “orderly transition” of power on Jan. 20 despite his disagreements with the outcomes of the election. The effects of the Trump presidency and this election season have had far-reaching SEE VOTERS • PAGE 6

Constantin begins City Manager position with 5-0 council approval BY BILLY LOPEZ & CHRISTIAN SHEPHERD Staff Writers

Chris Constantin was approved by a 5-0 San Dimas City Council vote on Nov. 10 , 2020 and began his new position as city manager on Jan. 4 despite concerns raised by residents on past controversies during a previous job. San Dimas resident Keith Buck posted concerns to a San Dimas Facebook group about Constantin’s role as an independent police auditor in San Jose. The Mercury News Constantin discovered that Constantin’s brother was in the San Jose police force, a fact that some members in the community felt was a potential conflict of interest given his duty to hold San Jose police officers accountable. Constantin said he did disclose his brother’s employment and felt his experiSEE CONSTANTIN • PAGE 3

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PAGE 2 San Dimas Community Post

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

As an ongoing service to the community, we will continue to use this column to share important resources for those in need. 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 pick-up 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@sandimasca.gov 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 the parish at 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 in need • 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 During these difficult times we thank all those dedicated volunteers and citizens who work so diligently to provide for our less fortunate neighbors. Please be generous this year with your donations because the need is so great. It is such a meaningful way to give back to your fellow neighbor. Giving is the best part of life. Stay safe and well. If you would like to spread the word about other programs that serve foodchallenged, homeless and senior members of our community in future issues of the San Dimas Community Post, please email Julie at inbox@sandimascommunitypost.com.

For the record Correction: In the graphic created for the article titled “Getting to Know the Bonita Unified School District Candidates,” we incorrectly identified Joe Otto as Jon Otto. Correction: In the photo caption for the article “Butter Brings Big City Taste to Local Spread,” we incorrectly identified Ryan Buan as Heather Sualeman’s husband. Buan and Sualeman are business partners.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021

Pro-Trump rally finds San Dimas venue BY MAYDEEN MERINO Staff Writer

On Nov. 21, 2020, an organized “Stop the Steal” demonstration occurred in San Dimas on the corner of Bonita Avenue and Arrow Highway. The rally intended to protest against the presidential election results. The “Stop the Steal” rally contained many enthusiastic Trump supporters, coming from the surrounding cities and several miles or states away. Post-election, President-elect Biden received 306 electoral college votes to President Trump’s 232. However, many Trump supporters believe the general election included massive voter fraud. Valentina Mentchoukov, a resident of Las Vegas, attended the San Dimas rally with her boyfriend. Mentchoukov explained she is passionate about politics and joined the rally to be around other “like-minded people,” she said. Mentchoukov explained that she is not upset with the results but is concerned about the election process. “There are so many stories about not all the votes being counted. How come every stack of votes that are being found are for Biden and not for Trump? Statistically, it doesn’t make sense for 200,000 votes to be found only for Biden,” Mentchoukov said. Allegations of ballot dumping like Mentchoukov’s became a popular claim throughout the election process, despite the lack of concrete evidence. “It seems to be based on a misunderstanding of how counting mail-in ballots work,” said Samantha Putterman in her investigation on PolitiFact. “Some of the numbers are simply wrong, while others represent exaggerated versions of misinformation we have already debunked.” Citizens from surrounding cities also joined the “Stop the Steal” rally, including Joanna Mendez, a resident from Glendora. Mendez explained she does not understand how Biden won the election with Trump’s base of enthusiastic supporters during his campaign. “We think Trump was cheated, and we think that the votes weren’t counted legally and that

we’d like to demand a recount — hopefully here in California as well,” Mendez said. Although many of Trump’s lawsuits failed in numerous courts, with many Republican judges ruling against the cases, most demonstrators still believe there was significant voter fraud in the election. “There were way too many Trump supporters, not just here in California, but like at that ‘Million MAGA March.’ There were like millions of people out there. He has so many supporters that it doesn’t make sense that the votes don’t match,” Mendez said. “The number of Trump supporters at the ‘Million MAGA March’ ranged from media estimates of ‘thousands’ to an estimate of hundreds of thousands by event organizers, neither close to nor more than, 1 million,” according to Reuters. The Biden campaign also used different tactics than the Trump campaign due to COVID-19 concerns. Biden did not allow sizable in-person campaign rallies, unlike the Trump campaign, which encouraged in-person events. At the time, Republicans controlled the Senate, which made Mendez feel more comfortable about Biden potentially winning the presidency. “He can’t pass anything because it must be voted on. So if he is president, it sucks, but I’m not super worried about it. Because I know there’s plenty of Republicans in the House and in the Senate,” Mendez said. However, the Georgia runoff election in January resulted in Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Ralphael Warnock winning both Georgia seats in the Senate, resulting in a Democratic-controlled Senate once the new administration takes over. From November to December 2020, Trump persistently suggested there were numerous cases of voter fraud throughout the country, the vast majority of which have been dropped or dismissed in court. Trump and Republican supporters perpetuated similar claims of voter fraud until rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, after which numerous Republican lawmakers revoked their objections to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.


THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021 San Dimas Community Post

PAGE 3 CONSTANTIN FROM PAGE 1

Photo by Rommel Alcantara — Staff Photographer

San Dimas resident Savannah Spillman was dubbed “skate park mom” by the teens that frequent Pioneer Park Skate Park. She has been skating at the park for three years and is now advocating for the installation of lights in order to extend the park’s hours of operation.

'Skate park mom' advocates for better safety for skaters BY LAUREN CHOI Staff Writer

Food, snacks and Band-Aids. Three essential tools in any parent’s toolbox. It’s no different for Savannah Spillman, the San Dimas “skate park mom,” who does her best to look out for those who frequent the San Dimas skate park. “She’s a very caring, open-armed person. She has a bright spirit,” said Sarah Campos, a 17-year-old San Dimas resident and regular at Pioneer Park Skate Park. Spillman recently began advocating for, among other things, the installation of lights at the park. During the public comment period of the Aug. 25, 2020, City Council meeting,

Spillman said it is her desire to make Pioneer Park safer for community members who use the park and its facilities. “That skate park is my second home,” Spillman said. In a proposal submitted to the city, Spillman explains that additional lighting will not only allow skateboarders to have a safe space to exercise, but it will also make the community safer by providing better visibility in the area for law enforcement. Spillman estimates the cost of the lights to be $5,900 based on the size of the 8,500 square foot skate park. To offset the routine cost of the lights, she recommends taking an approach

similar to the City of Jurupa Valley’s skate park, which charges skaters 75 cents to keep the lights on for 20 minutes. Other skate parks in the surrounding area have lighting that enables skating after the sun goes down, including Cahuilla Skate Park in Claremont, La Verne Sports Park in La Verne and Memorial Skate Park in Upland. Steve Farmer, the city’s landscape manager, presented Spillman’s request as an information-only item at the Nov. 17, 2020, Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. The proposal will be presented to city council at a future study session, the date for which has not yet been determined.

ence in law enforcement provided him a unique perspective to be even more effective as an auditor. Councilmember John Ebiner said he listened carefully to constituents and combined their feedback with his own judgment to make his determination when casting his vote. Ebiner admitted to being concerned with headlines of the past controversy, but when he learned that the allegations were never proven in investigations, he felt satisfied to move forward with Constantin’s approval. San Dimas Councilmember Denis Bertone said City Council was aware of the controversy in San Jose, but he believed it to be only a minor conflict of interest and more of an oversight. He does not believe the events in San Jose have an effect on Constantin’s ability to serve as the city manager. San Dimas Mayor Emmett Badar and San Dimas City Councilmembers Ryan Vienna and Eric Weber are all prior and current law enforcement. They hold three of the five total City Council votes. Bertone and Ebiner said they did not believe San Dimas City Council’s ties to law enforcement would bias their consideration of Constantin’s previous controversies. Ebiner said he believes Constantin will bring an outlook that is forward looking and modern and was especially surprised with how much Constantin had known about San Dimas, saying that Constantin had watched past city council meetings, read previous agendas and frequently drove and walked around the city to interact with community members. “I had the opportunity to meet residents while visiting,” Constantin said. “And I am absolutely ecstatic to be a part of their community. They care about their community, are involved, appreciate the essence of what San Dimas is and want to retain that.” “I really look at places that I think are good places to live, and I want to be a part of the community,” Constantin added. “We are most concerned about keeping a conservative budget in San Dimas,” Bertone said, confirming that the San Dimas budget has been strained by COVID-19. “We don’t want to cut any staff or programs, so we have to be very careful.” Bertone believes Constantin’s financial background will play a key role in the city’s financial success. Constantin will take over for Interim City Manager Brad McKinney who will return to his previous role of assistant city manager. McKinney became the interim city manager after the abrupt retirement of former City Manager Ken Duran, who, after working for the city for 34 years, was placed on administrative leave after a series of closed-session performance evaluations early in 2020.


PAGE 4 San Dimas Community Post

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021

New bill package aims to address housing crisis BY MAYDEEN MERINO Staff Writer

On Dec. 16, 2020, Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced “Building Opportunities for All Senate Housing Package,” a package of bills meant to overcome the housing crisis California has endured for years. The package includes six bills focused on housing solutions and is supported by Senators Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Proponents of the package say it empowers homeowners who want to help solve the crisis. The proposed legislation provides more land-use tools and flexibility to meet local governments’ and community partners’ needs and streamlines procedural hurdles. One of the six bills is Senate Bill 9,

proposed legislation that promotes small-scale neighborhood residential development by streamlining the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide an existing lot in residential areas, according to the “Building Opportunities for All Senate Housing Package.” SB 9 explains that the California Planning and Zoning Law allows for the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are smaller, independent residential dwelling units located on the same lot as a standalone single-family home. On Jan. 14, 2020, San Dimas City Council passed a municipal code text amendment easing ADU regulations, an act required by the state to help deal with the housing crisis. “California was in the throes of a housing crisis long before COVID-19 hit, but the pandemic has now intensified the need for housing af-

fordability, access, and opportunity,” Atkins said in a press release on Dec. 16, 2020. SB 9 was introduced at the start of the 2021 legislative session on Dec. 7, 2020, and is essentially the same as SB 1120, a bill that failed during the 2020 session. In February 2020, Atkins originally introduced SB 1120 to help alleviate California’s ongoing housing crisis. Despite SB 1120 passing through both houses, the California Assembly did not pass the bill in time to meet the deadline. Opponents of SB 1120 believed a lack of mandated affordability would result in more high-end housing in the state. They also claimed the bill stifled local government control. San Dimas Mayor Emmett Badar sent a letter on behalf of the city to Atkins stating his disapproval of the

original bill on Aug. 27, 2020. “SB 1120 imposes no requirement to build affordable units and continues a one-size-fits-all approach to the housing crisis by eroding local control and the ability of residents to plan for and shape the future of their community,” Badar said in his letter. SB 1120 affected single-family parcels by making it easier for a homeowner to build a duplex or subdivide an existing lot. There was some speculation about whether or not SB 1120 would help cities such as San Dimas. Henry Noh, director of community development for the city of San Dimas, believed the bill could have eliminated conventional single-family homes. “This [bill] has the potential to do away with conventional single-family suburban neighborhoods, where it’s going to significantly increase the

density in our cities,” Noh said. “The bad thing is they’re not talking about affordability. This [bill] doesn’t include any affordability at this point. Someone can still rent it out for market rate, and the market rate right now is pretty high for both rent and sale properties.” In 2020, the average home price in San Dimas was $683,011, with a predicted increase of 8.5% increase by this year, according to Zillow. Additionally, the state has a limited number of affordable housing units, making it difficult for Californians to find affordable housing, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office. The “Building Opportunities for All Senate Housing Package” will be up for debate throughout the legislative year at a time when Californians need access to affordable housing more than ever.

Grading restrictions stir tensions between homeowners association and area residents San Dimas City Council voted 4-0 to postpone their discussion to change a decadesold grading limit. BY JOSHUA BAY Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Mayor Emmett Badar and City Councilmembers Eric Weber and Denis Bertone did not respond to requests by San Dimas Community Post for comment. Councilmember Ryan Vienna declined to comment, and John Begin did not attend a scheduled interview with the reporter. San Dimas City Council voted 4-0 to postpone their discussion to change a decades-old grading limit for the Via Verde Ridge community during a study session with the Planning Commission on Oct. 13, 2020. Councilmember John Ebiner abstained from the vote. This months-long discussion began on Jul. 14, 2020, when the Council voted 3-2 to initiate a municipal code text amendment to the grading limit meant to preserve the natural hillside slopes in portions of the Via Verde Ridge community. Grading is the process of leveling dirt for construction projects. The grading limits in question apply to Planning Area I of Specific Plan 11, or SP-11, which refers to roughly 262 acres of land within the Via Verde Ridge community. The vote to postpone was initiated by Mayor Emmett Badar, who raised concerns about the community’s ability to participate in the discussion. “I personally would like to recommend that we continue this matter to a date uncertain when everybody can be in attendance face-to-face in this council,” Badar said during the meeting. “We’re receiving daily communications from different members of the community, and subsequently, I’d like to hear all of those things.” Councilmember Ryan Vienna said he also received numerous calls from community members. “Many people called me today alarmed thinking that whatever we were going to discuss today was somehow going to undo or undermine their HOA authorities... that’s just simply not the case,” Vienna said before the vote. “I really do encourage members of this community, when they have questions, to call their council members.”

Photo by Rommel Alcantara — Staff Photographer

A lot in the Via Verde Ridge community remains vacant. Some residents argue grading changes to Area I of Specific Plan 11 (see map below) could lead to more properties being developed.

Map courtesy city of San Dimas

City Council’s discussion to change grading limits would apply to Planning Area I of Specific Plan 11, as seen in the map provided by city staff on Sept. 22, 2020.

Some members of the community expressed that they were unhappy with the decision to postpone the conversation. “I wanted to mention how disappointed I am that you didn’t have your study session,” Gary Enderle, San Dimas resident and HOA board member, said during the Oct. 13 City Council meeting. “All the city council members were there, all the planning commissioners were there, our board of direc-

tors were there waiting to discuss this issue.” San Dimas City Council and the Planning Commission had reviewed the grading limit for the Via Verde Ridge community during a study session on Sept. 22, 2020, and were originally scheduled to continue the discussion on Oct. 13. Days before the Oct. 13 study session, Matthew Plaxton from the Tinnelly Law Group sent a letter to the

City Council representing the Via Verde Ridge Homeowners Association. In the letter the HOA claims any modifications to the grading limits would create a conflict between the HOA’s governing documents and the San Dimas municipal code. The letter goes on to explain that HOA members could ultimately end up paying for “meritless lawsuits” due to the discrepancies between the HOA and city’s regulations. The original intent of SP-11 was to allow for large single-family homes while still maintaining the natural slopes present within the lot. When SP-11 was originally established in 1983, no grading was allowed except as required for the main residence and driveway. In 1987, the Development Plan Review Board (DPRB) approved an additional 200 cubic yards of grading on a case-by-case basis. During the Sept. 22 study session, Assistant Planner Ken Fichtelman presented the City Council and Planning Commission with four options for grading in Planning Area 1. The first option is the most restrictive and supports the DPRB limits currently in place. Fichetlman said this is the most environmentally friendly option and ensures any development to the rear yards works with the natural features of the land. The second option proposes unlimited grading outside of the scenic

easement area and offers the greatest amount of flexibility to develop the rear yards of the lot. The third option allows grading based on the size of buildable area within each rear yard of the lot. And the fourth option treats all properties equally, regardless of size, allowing each rear yard the same amount of grading. This option would also increase the grading limit currently in place. Via Verde resident and civil environmental engineering student Madelaine Tew strongly opposes eliminating all grading limitations as proposed in the second option. “The main focus is how much land they can use and how many additional features they can add in to potentially increase the property value,” Tew said. “They aren’t going to be taking any of the surrounding environment into consideration.” During his presentation to the City Council on Jul. 14, Fichtelman said property owner John Begin suggested eliminating all grading limitations. “The current policy obviously does not work, otherwise this 37-year-old tract would be 100% developed,” Begin wrote in an email to the City Council. Out of 36 lots within Planning Area I, seven have not been developed. According to the HOA’s letter, “Mr. Begin’s statement is misleading and predicated on self-interest.” The HOA letter went on to say, “after inquiring with several owners of undeveloped lots, their decision not to develop is unrelated to the grading limitations imposed by SP-11 (or the Association’s governing documents).” However, Begin is not the only Via Verde Ridge resident to express support for eliminating all grading limitations. In addition, Via Verde Ridge resident Robert Prata, who lives in Planning Area I, called in during the Oct. 13 Council meeting to support unlimited grading due to an inability to build a basketball court on his property. “We could not get approval because of that restriction,” Prata said. “Because of that restriction, we have a basketball [hoop] on the driveway.” A footnote in the HOA letter further points out that Begin’s construction company, JB Contractors, Inc., made a “substantial campaign contribution to Councilmember Eric Weber.” According to California Form 460, Schedule A, JB Contractors, owned by John Begin, contributed $2,500 to Weber’s 2020 City Councilmember campaign. The HOA letter suggested Weber recuse himself from the discussion “to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”


THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021 San Dimas Community Post

PAGE 5 Main: E Bike

Cyclery owner Hector Tamayo test rides an electric bicycle in downtown San Dimas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tamayo says business has been thriving. Consumers have been especially interested in his e-bikes, which use a battery to assist riders with peddling. This helps riders travel farther and faster while requiring less physical effort than standard bicycles. Below: Tamayo stands in front of his store at 347 San Dimas Avenue in downtown San Dimas. He believes his shop is easily accessible to customers across Southern California since the city is located near numerous freeways. Photos by Phil Ebiner

Geared up for success "Once you ride an e-bike you can go faster and farther. Why would you want to go back to a traditional bike?"

Local e-bicycle shop is thriving during the recent biking boom. BY ERIC NAKANO Staff Writer

When California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Mar. 2, 2020, in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, Hector Tamayo worried the virus would have a detrimental impact on his electric bicycle store, E Bike Cyclery on San Dimas Avenue. “Initially I was really worried. Are we still going to be a business? Should we just shut down now? And I saw a lot of businesses that were closing up and couldn’t conduct business anymore,” Tamayo said. Like most businesses, E Bike Cyclery closed in early March but reopened a few weeks later after California declared that bicycle stores were an essential business. At first, Tamayo hoped to just sell enough bikes to keep his business afloat. Instead, business boomed. Across the country, consumers have flooded bicycle stores looking for alternatives to public transportation during the pandemic. “Once everyone was in lockdown, riding bicycles was one of the things people could still do. And this created a bike boom, and with that came huge demand for bikes and bike accessories,” Tamayo said. Consumers were especially interested in electric bicycles, or e-bikes for short. E-bikes use a battery to assist riders with peddling. This helps riders travel farther and faster while requiring less physical effort than standard bicycles. Doug Brooks, a 63-year-old Claremont resident and e-bike owner, acknowledges the ease of using an e-bike over a traditional bicycle for his 11mile daily commute to Upland. “In my case, the bike is heavier, so it’s a more stable, smoother ride than a road bike,” Brooks said. “The e-bike I have can do a constant speed of just around 20 miles an hour, and it’s got different levels of assist.” A recent study by The NPD Group found that while bike sales overall grew by 63% in 2020, sales of e-bikes

— Hector Tamayo, Owner of E Bike Cyclery in San Dimas

nearly doubled. All of this has translated into more business than Tamayo can handle. His store sells out of shipments almost as soon as they arrive, and manufacturers are struggling to meet the surge in demand, often missing shipment schedules because they cannot produce e-bikes fast enough. “The day a shipment comes in, we assemble them, and they would already be sold,” Tamayo said. One reason E Bike Cyclery has done so well is that customers prefer to test and purchase an e-bike in person. When customers visit a store like E Bike Cyclery, they can experience the differences between an e-bike’s speed, acceleration and maneuverability — which would be impossible to do if they purchased the bike online. An advocate with the La Verne Bicycle Coalition, Doug Strange agrees that actually riding and trying out an e-bike is a valuable experience. Strange says e-bikes make biking easier for those who may see traditional cycling as a challenge and can even convert some non-cyclists into bike advocates. “Every single person who rides an e-bike gets off of it smiling. That was universally my experience,” Strange said. Another factor Tamayo attributes to E Bike Cyclery’s success is its location

in San Dimas. He believes San Dimas is easily accessible to customers across Southern California since the city is located near the 10, 210 and 57 freeways. Despite his unexpected fortune, running an e-bike store during COVID-19 is not without challenges. Waiting lists for popular models stretch out for months, frustrating customers who come in wanting to start riding an e-bike right away. When customers visit the store, many have to wait outside for a long time since only two customers are allowed in the store at any given time, and a typical transaction takes about 30 minutes. Additionally the labor required to keep both employees and customers safe can be overwhelming. Staff wipe down bikes with disinfectant before customers take them out for a test ride and after they finish. To serve customers who are not comfortable visiting the store, Tamayo repurposed a van he owned to drop off e-bikes at customers’ homes and pick up bikes that needed repairs. But the additional service adds a significant number of hours to his day. Another major challenge is finding qualified employees to work at the store. Unlike a shop that sells regular bikes, selling and servicing e-bikes requires a level of technical skill that

most people, even those who have worked in regular bike stores, do not possess. At E Bike Cyclery, employees act as both mechanics and salespeople. “Before I was hired, I worked on both motorcycles and bicycles for four years, so the knowledge really helped me do the job here,” said Christopher Amarillas, one of the store’s employees. To service an e-bike, many e-bike manufacturers require a retailer’s employees to become certified before they will authorize them to work on their e-bikes. And selling e-bikes requires an understanding of not only the different types of bikes the store carries — from electric cruisers to electric mountain bikes — but also requires knowledge of the differences between brands, since most customers expect staff to educate them on the different options. “When customers walk into an e-bike shop, they expect you to educate them — what are the laws, what are the different types of motors, what are the differences between batteries, how fast can it go. There’s just an overwhelming number of questions that customers have,” Tamayo said. While there is no playbook for running a small business, let alone one during a pandemic, it was an especially steep learning curve for Tamayo, who never aspired to be an entrepreneur. In fact, being a small business owner, let alone an e-bicycle business owner, was never part of Tamayo’s plans. Tamayo studied criminology at Cal Poly Pomona in the hopes of becoming a police officer. After joining the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and later the Claremont Police Department, he worked his way up to the rank of detective before reassessing his career due to a back injury in 2017. Unable to continue his career in

law enforcement, he began customizing and selling e-bicycles to police departments in Southern California after test-riding one at the beach in San Diego. Surprised by how easily he could get around, Tamayo realized the impact e-bikes could have in assisting law enforcement. “I saw that there was a need in law enforcement for bicycles, but most cops don’t want to ride bicycles because the equipment they need to carry makes getting around on them overbearing,” Tamayo said. In his view, e-bikes made it possible for law enforcement officers to get around easily without requiring a lot of effort to peddle. After building a few prototypes and selling them to local police departments, Tamayo decided to open his store in San Dimas in December 2018, after finding a storefront that he could buy instead of rent. At first, business was slow, and the store only carried two brands. But after sales began taking off during COVID-19, Tamayo expanded the number of brands and the variety of brands his store carries. Today, E Bike Cyclery carries nine different brands, each of which Tamayo selects based on quality, availability of parts and company reputation. Tamayo also prefers carrying bikes that have a connection to California. He carries brands such as Vintage Electric based in San Jose, Intense based in Norco and Santa Cruz based in the city of the same name. Even the European brands the store carries have a connection to California — like iZip, which manufactures its bikes in Germany but was founded in California. While business has changed quite a bit over the past few months because of COVID-19, Tamayo’s future plans post-COVID-19 are more modest: he hopes to start a regular e-biking group to build a community of e-bike lovers in San Dimas and move to a bigger location within the area so he can carry more inventory. But even if sales taper off after COVID-19, Tamayo believes that the e-bike boom is here to stay. “When people start riding an e-bike they usually don’t go back. Once you ride an e-bike, you can go faster and farther,” Tamayo said. “Why would you want to go back to a traditional bike?”


PAGE 6 San Dimas Community Post

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021

‘Sleepy’ San Dimas is no longer dormant A city esteemed for its serenity has residents on both sides of the political spectrum who want change. BY KARA ROA Staff Writer

San Dimas is a small city, and, for those who don’t know, it is nestled unassumingly on the outskirts of Los Angeles County. It’s a quaint town humbly renowned for its friendly cul-de-sacs and well-attended family parks. In years past, the town has been notoriously quiet — so quiet that it has earned the nickname “Sleepy San Dimas” by its own residents and those who travel to the city. But recently, a wave of political and social unrest has risen to the city’s corners, fueled both by a worldwide pandemic and an increasingly partisan political ecosystem. This strife has led to residents vocalizing their concerns in any way possible — from flooding the phone lines of city officials to taking to the streets for a multi-city march. There is no doubt that this has been a unique bout of uproar for the historically tranquil city.

Photos by Genaro Salazar and Maydeen Merino, Photo Illustration by Evan Solano

Surpassing Nationwide Trends In the 2020 general election, the United States saw an increase in voter participation from 2016 of about 7.5 percentage points — the highest voter participation in more than 100 years. In 2020, 66.7 percent of eligible voters participated in the general election in the U.S. California was incrementally higher at 68.5 percent, while LA County spiked at 75.97 percent. In San Dimas, about 83.67 percent of eligible voters participated in the general election — 17 percentage points more than the national rate. According to the California Secretary of State, San Dimas also has one of the highest percentages of registered Republicans in California at 36.3%, with a strikingly close number of Democrats sitting at 35.8% — a split that can be felt throughout the city in tense election times. However, the recent presidential election shows that despite this nearly even split of its 33,621 residents, San Dimas’ registered voters crossed party lines, leading to an uptick in Democratic votes — continuing a trend that began in 2016. Prior to this Democratic swing, San Dimas voted Republican in both 2008 and 2012 against President Barack Obama. During the 2020 presidential election, 49.5% of San Dimas’ votes were cast for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and nearly 46.9% were cast for Republican candidate Donald Trump. The margin was even smaller in 2016 with 45.7% for Hilary Clinton

VOTERS

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impacts on everyone in our country, including the residents of San Dimas. Prior to the insurrection that unfolded at the Capitol, San Dimas Community Post interviewed locals across the political spectrum to discover how they were feeling both during and after the election season. For Jim Gallagher, a civil engineer and declared independent, the main issue was how unwilling both sides of the political spectrum seemed to be when it came to compromise. “Honestly, I’m very concerned about division within our country and in our society. It feels like there’s

and 44.8% for Donald Trump. That means in just four years, the number of votes earned by a Democratic presidential candidate increased by nearly four percentage points.

A Community Rarely In Revolt Current San Dimas City Councilmember Denis Bertone remembers only one time in recent history when the city was as restless: the 1986 Bonelli Park civic unrest. Bertone patiently shared his own experience with civic activism in San Dimas as both a resident and the longest current sitting councilmember. “The County of Los Angeles was trying to commercialize Bonelli Park by putting all sorts of types of activities in there like a hotel and restaurants, an amphitheater and everything. The community really rose up against this.” The Coalition to Save Bonelli Park, of which Bertone was a co-chairman, showed up to protect the area

a lack of compromise and meeting the middle ground with other people that have various beliefs,” Gallagher said. “The main issue I have with politics now is nobody’s looking for common ground. They’re just creating division, they’re creating fear, and I just think it’s really sad.” Gallagher’s sentiments were echoed by Republican Jayanne Hampton and registered independent Perry Hampton, who said the current political climate is “kind of a mess.” “I wish everyone would come together. People can have different viewpoints, but people should be civil to each other,” Perry said. Jayanne said she believes actions

After more than 30 years of slumber, from Bertone’s point of view, San Dimas has deemed that political climate reason enough to break silence. On Aug. 22, 2020, during one of the peaks of unrest, protestors gathered for a Freedom Rally under a wooden “Welcome to San Dimas” sign on the corner of Arrow Highway and Bonita Avenue. A wagon with the words “Pioneering a New Era” rested peacefully in the background. Surrounding that wagon: a sea of red, white and blue clothing worn by a multitude of people with signs for a

host of candidates and causes. In the front of the crowd, a red, homemade banner spanned the entire street corner. It read “Donald Trump 2020,” hand-painted in bold, white letters. At the height of the rally, over 200 were in attendance. A few months later, post-presidential election, a new, smaller rally gathered at the same welcome sign in November with new signs reading “Stop the Steal.” The messaging was clear: stop Democrats from “stealing” the election. A bold claim — one not unique to San Dimas — considering courts across the country have so far overwhelmingly denied lawsuits from Republican parties pushing for the presidential results to be overturned. More than 50 lawsuits in total were submitted. Nevertheless, these San Dimas residents were just one group of countless who had rallied in solidarity for this cause throughout the country. Organizers of the pro-Trump rally were unwilling to go on record with San Dimas Community Post, citing concerns over keeping their identities safe. But the general message of most people in the crowd was the same: they wanted a fair election, no ille-

are more important than character. “I’m judging someone based not on who they are, but what they’ve done and what they will do, and that person is Trump,” Jayanne added. Democrat Michelle Pasos said she was critical of our current two-party political system and that it will only continue to create division rather than unity. Pasos said she felt strongly towards a leader that “cares for all people and who believes in equality, equity and social justice,” qualities that she felt President Trump has not represented. Pasos got her wish after the 2020 election when Joe Biden was named President-elect. “I was so happy and that night, I allowed myself to feel all the feels,”

Pasos said. “It was a very historic moment to see a woman of color become vice president. So I felt really grateful to know that I was a part of that process.” Gallagher was more concerned about how Trump supporters were handling the defeat. “Everyone’s having a hard time figuring what to trust in terms of information. I feel that good people [are] latching on to a person and holding them in such a high regard to abandon their values, even though they argue that they’re not,” Gallagher said. “It just spins out of control, and I feel like it’s going to be difficult for people like that to break out of that cycle of self-evaluation.” Gallagher, despite feeling that

from commercialization prior to his election to city council. When asked about the resurgence of civic engagement, Bertone expressed his pleasure at increased involvement of citizens to the most local form of government, yet expressed doubt that these events are specific to San Dimas but instead reflective of the political climate of 2020.

Both Sides of the Aisle

gal ballots and those responsible for any potential voter fraud to be held accountable. With one of the largest Republican populations in LA County, San Dimas has been home to traveling “Freedom Rally” and “Stop the Steal” events. These protests are a hallmark of the Trump presidential campaign and have been echoed throughout the nation with accompanying signs of “Back the Blue,” “Protect the Children” and the California-specific “Recall Newsom.” Before the election, on Oct. 16, 2020, at the steps of San Dimas City Hall, a different group gathered for the “March for Change, Dance for Freedom” event. The event hosted a smaller group of people who gathered at City Hall to march from San Dimas to La Verne and back. Kirk Kranzer, who can give nostalgic descriptions of his storied past as a youth growing up in 1967 San Dimas, was one of the organizers of the “March for Change” event. A product of a proud Republican father and engaged Democrat mother, registered independent Kranzer has remained involved in city events and the community. He was recently motivated to work with San Dimas residents to create a self-described “homegrown” event with the goal of giving another voice to the city. He described the event as a way for locals to voice concerns and show their patriotism through marching for what they believe in — to provide representation for both sides of San Dimas. “I think people out in the streets actually does something. You know, I know people on the right like to say ‘Oh, you know rioters and looters.’ But, that’s not who’s out in the streets protesting. It’s people who want to make a difference.” Fellow organizer and San Dimas resident Rosita Sanchez, a self-described army brat and wife, expressed sadness at not being able to fly her American flag without becoming affiliated with the Republican party rather than just being patriotic. “When I see flags at a rally, I mean it’s great. It’s great. I love it. I love seeing the American flag being waved around. What I don’t like is people that think that one side or the other is less patriotic. We are all Americans. We all value the flag,” Sanchez said. “When we did the ‘March for Change, Dance for Freedom’ rally, we just wanted people to know that we are here. You’re not alone if you feel the way that we feel, which is all inclusive, black lives matter. We have to rally against the divisiveness and kind of start bringing people together again.” Sanchez couldn’t help but end on a note of concern for all of the people who surround her, regardless of their political affiliation. “This has been a very divisive four years, and it’s terrible because we’re neighbors.” Maydeen Merino contributed to this story.

America is in uncharted waters, still believes that our country will be well on its way to bringing itself together again. “If I had a crystal ball, we would be on the road to finding common ground with each other and being able to take positive steps to benefit not only our country, but humankind around the world,” Gallagher said. The Hamptons could not be contacted for a follow-up interview following the election. Before the results came in however, Jayanne said she felt that the best thing to do after the election was to simply return to ordinary life. “I hope this whole ‘this is ruining things’ stops and everyone just gets over it and accepts that they can’t change anything. Just live life.”


THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021 San Dimas Community Post

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Residents fight quarantine woes with activities BY AMANDA LEE Staff Writer

Dora Rodriguez, San Dimas resident, was hesitant to reach out online to see if anyone needed help during these hard times. Nearly 300 comments later, she was left blown away by the overwhelming number of people in need that responded to her post in a local San Dimas Facebook group. “Something was telling me, ‘No Dora, you need to do this,’” Rodriguez said. “I’m sitting there reading these comments, and I’m crying. So many people in need.” But there were also people responding to all the people reaching out for help, something that she said blew her away. Beginning in March of 2020, residents in California, and particularly those in Los Angeles County, faced a pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders that shut down businesses and required residents to shelter-in-place. But San Dimas residents found increasingly creative and inspirational ways to celebrate community resolve and face the rise in anxiety, depres-

Photo by Rommel Alcantara , Staff Photographer

A painted “rock snake,” located on West 2nd Street in Old Town San Dimas, has become a highlight for many locals, thanks to the San Dimas Painted Rocks group.

sion and lack of socialization with people outside their household over the past year. As businesses were limited by health regulations, many found themselves working from home, working fewer hours or, in many cases, unemployed entirely. Despite these setbacks, the com-

munity came together to find innovative ways to help one another. “People are being so humble. They were not asking for a lot, just the simple little things,” Rodriguez said. “People are responding with kindness and love and giving. It’s beautiful.” Random acts of kindness continue

to be increasingly frequent throughout the community, ranging from people offering to shop for seniors, to sharing scarce resources and even helping to clean yards and homes. Vanessa Villagran, who began the San Dimas Hunkered Down Hunt in 2020, was inspired by her own need to get out and use her time wisely. She felt that a scavenger hunt for neighbors would “pique people’s interest” and create a sense of community. Villagran would take photos of unique buildings or landmarks from around San Dimas and share them on social media to see if locals could identify the location. “It’s been great to see the creativity come out,” Villagran said of the community’s efforts to make COVID-19 realities more bearable. “It’s made San Dimas really special. I’m seeing unity, and that’s what I want to focus on. I would like to see more of that.” Ana Benitez, organizer of the San Dimas Runners, said these groups allow a sense of family, with members regularly checking in on one another. “Everyone started doing COVID in different ways. Different runners’ lives were affected differently,” Beni-

SANTOS

If you and your family have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and would like to share your story, please contact us at inbox@ sandimascommunitypost.com.

FROM PAGE 1

Santos was from the Philippines, coming from a family of doctors. Although he was a doctor in the Philippines, in the United States, he instead became a nurse. He raised three kids, his son Ernest and two daughters named Lizzie and Andrea Santos. Santos enjoyed watching Miss Universe pageants, even taking his family to Las Vegas to see it one year. He was a fan of UFO podcasts. But most importantly, Santos was a family man, always looking out for others in his family. "That was his purpose, taking care of not just his kids, but also our elderly extended family. He always had them over and always hosted little get-togethers to make sure that they were not lonely," Lizzie said. As a registered nurse, Santos spent his life taking care of others at the San Dimas Community Hospital. In March 2020, Santos was hired to work at a government facility treating COVID-19 patients, taking the job to support his family financially. Initially, Santos worked in the emergency room at San Dimas Community Hospital but then took a job at a Pomona COVID-19 facility, believing it was safer. The facility did not have many COVID-19 patients until one of the surges began. Evangelista advised Santos to reconsider working at the facility, but Santos did not. "[Santos] had underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, but he still took the job. It paid him a lot more than what he was usually being paid, and he wanted to do it for us," Andrea said. In late May 2020, Santos began feeling ill, eventually driving himself to Kaiser Baldwin Park, where he underwent a rapid coronavirus test, which yielded a positive result. Before being diagnosed with COVID-19, Santos believed he was sick with a UTI and needed antibiotics. Carol Caspe, a former co-worker of Santos at San Dimas Community Hospital, checked on Santos to see if he needed antibiotics. Once Santos mentioned he had a fever and trouble breathing, she immediately believed he had contracted the coronavirus. "I told him, ‘I have no problem giving you a more potent antibiotic. But before I do that, I would like to check your urine,’" Caspe said. "So the night before, I made food for him and the kids because I knew he was sick. He told me that day he was still working. And I asked him, are you still working at San Dimas Community Hospital? And he said, ‘I'm no longer working there. I'm working in Pomona Fairplex, taking care of coronavirus patients.’ And that's when I got scared."

tez said. “We also keep each other accountable … That was kind of my therapy. Running on the pavement and taking it all out.” There were many groups that were born from this pandemic that cover a variety of interests. For example, one group, the San Dimas Painted Rocks group, spearheaded by Dorene Holmes, encourages participants to paint rocks and hide them for people to find throughout the city. Holmes had previously been a part of the Monrovia Rocks group and began hiding painted stones throughout town before even creating the San Dimas group. Erin Houseman, an administrator for the San Dimas Painted Rocks Facebook group, said the group was a “new therapy that we will keep with us. It’s an easy therapy to do.” “[The rock group] helps me get outside, gives me an excuse to paint something … It’s good for me and just a nice way to treat people,” said Lori Ebiner, San Dimas resident and wife to San Dimas City Councilmember John Ebiner.

Photo by Rommel Alcantara — Staff Photographer

Photos from Santos’ life fill the family’s San Dimas residence. His children plan to stay in the city that their father called home.

Caspe checked his oxygen level, which was fluctuating from 89 to 93, so she then told him to go to the ER. "The last conversation we had when we parted, I was telling him, 'You owe me something. When you get better, we're going to eat outside. We're going to have lunch,’" Caspe said. "He kept saying, ‘It is going to be on me.’ I said, 'If the bill is on you, I will choose the most expensive restaurant.' I wasn't thinking that was going to be the last time I'm seeing him.” On his way to Kaiser Baldwin Park, Santos called his best friend, Evangelista. "I didn't want to show him that I was alarmed because I didn't want to scare him," Evangelista said. Evangelista kept ensuring Santos that everything would be OK. Still, Evangelista understood the positive diagnosis was not a good thing due to Santos' medical history. "He called me again, a few hours later, he was already in the bed. I would be telling him, 'No, calm down, you'll be OK.' But I was concerned," Evangelista said. "One thing about him: he doesn't want to show he's worried. He tried to maintain a straight face with something serious. But I can tell in his voice that he was a little bit worried." Evangelista continued to message Santos through text. Although Santos was not responding, Evangelista believed that he was reading his text messages. "My girlfriend and I were sending him messages telling him it would be OK and saying 'once you're out of there, we are going to be doing this and that.' Just trying to motivate him,"

Evangelista said. During the first days of being diagnosed, Santos seemed to be doing fine, but it became difficult for him to breathe as the days passed. "We were Facetiming him the second day, and we could tell he was just absolutely exhausted. He would fall asleep every five seconds, and it was really hard to watch. That was the last time we talked to him," Andrea said. Santos' condition gradually became worse, with his oxygen levels beginning to decline because of swelling in his lungs. The physicians then sedated and intubated him using a method called proning, a technique that lays the patient in a face-down position to allow more oxygen into the lungs. Although Santos was recovering throughout the first week, his body eventually could not continue to keep it up. "Talking to the doctor about it, and they told me that he was showing good progress after a week, and they've never seen someone who got so sick recovering so well," Lizzie said. "We had hope. We thought he was going to get out of the hospital after hearing that, but then the next day things suddenly went bad." Both Santos' heart and liver started to decline during the last two days. "We had just visited him two hours before because they called us in, told us he was in bad condition," Andrea said. "So we went to visit him, then we went home. And two hours later, we got the call. It was one of the most traumatic things I've ever experienced." At 3 a.m. on June 8, 2020, Ernesto Santos passed away. Ernest, Lizzie

and Andrea lost their only parent due to the coronavirus. Lizzie and Andrea believe their father's death could have been prevented. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus itself has become more and more political. Some agree that masks and social distancing help lower the virus's spread while others disagree. "Wear a mask, that's nothing. Social distance — how bad do you need to party with your friends? Have self-control. The culture in America is so individualistic. People don't have concern for others," Andrea said. There's a lack of education and lack of leadership, Lizzie explained. "We didn't have the best leadership throughout this pandemic," Lizzie said. "So I think that's why a lot of people are just going with what they believe and denying the science and facts." Santos' children barely saw him when he began working in the COVID-19 facility because he was continually trying to distance himself from his children for their safety. "We feel a little bit sometimes disrespected because my dad was a front-liner. He risked his life for people to not care about proper protocols. They don't think about loads of the hospitals and how front-liners aren't being able to go home to see their families," Lizzie said. As the oldest daughter, Lizzie now needs to figure out ways to support her siblings throughout these troubling times. She recently graduated from the University of the Pacific in dentistry. She never imagined she would be graduating and trying to find a job during a pandemic to support her

family after her father’s death. "Now it's like I have to find a good job and support my siblings. It's just a big change and lots of responsibility. I didn't see it coming. I feel like I took all that support for granted," Lizzie said. Andrea, the youngest, is currently attending Mt. San Antonio College, planning to transfer and major in graphic design due to her natural creativity. During a San Dimas City Council meeting, Andrea spoke to the council about her COVID-19 experience anonymously. Samar Yassine, a counselor at Lone Hill Middle School, listened to the council meeting when Andrea spoke. Yassine then searched to find who spoke about their COVID-19 experience. Once she found out it was Andrea, she organized a GoFundMe for the Santos family. "I have a huge passion for the community and giving back to our community. Not only do I work in San Dimas, I live in San Dimas. My kids also go to school in San Dimas. I'm all about community counseling and giving back to the community," Yassine said. Once Yassine heard that one of her students from Lone Hill Middle School lost a loved one, she was heartbroken and felt like she needed to do something. "We're all civil servants, whether you're an educator, a police officer or a health worker. We're all civil servants. And we make so many sacrifices, and our families do too, for us to have the opportunity to give back to others," Yassine said. "And I feel like this could have been my family, many of our families, and I was heartbroken for them. And I feel like setting up this GoFundMe was the bare minimum I could do." Ernest, Lizzie and Andrea plan to stay in San Dimas for as long as possible because the city is their home. They hope their story can be a reality check on how this virus can affect many families beside your own. "People need to see outside themselves," Lizzie said. "When they get sick, the front-line workers in the hospital and their families have to sacrifice themselves to take care of the people who could have prevented getting sick. Just think about everyone else.” As of Jan. 7, San Dimas has had 2,171 cases and 39 deaths. To donate to the Santos family, you can visit their GoFundMe page: www. gofundme.com/support-andrea-lizzie-and-ernest.


PAGE 8 San Dimas Community Post

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021

San Dimas Cheer tumbles through a pandemic For these national cheer champions, the pandemic has taken more than just a season. BY BILLY LOPEZ Staff Writer

The San Dimas High School cheer team won back-to-back National Championships in 2019 and 2020, but COVID-19 might hinder any chances at a three-peat this upcoming season. Days after winning their second straight National Championship in early 2020, the cheer team was back in the gym in the early mornings to get ready for the 2021 season. Unfortunately, the early March stay-at-home orders stopped all practices at San Dimas High School. At the time, no one was sure how long the shutdown would last. Some said days, others weeks. Few said months. As it turned out, from March through October of 2020, the cheer team was unable to hold practices in person. However, they did not waste the time they had. Instead, they used it to hold practices online via Zoom. During these Zoom calls they focused on conditioning and a few routines as best as they could. Head Coach Keyauna Thomas said these practices were astronomically different on Zoom. “It is very difficult to critique someone online when you can’t really see them in person,” Thomas said. Practicing and critiquing be-

came a bit easier for the cheer team when they were able to practice in pods starting Nov. 1, 2020. In these pods they were able to tumble, condition and strength train but still were not able to be in contact with one another, which made stunting nearly impossible. Tumbling, which an individual can do alone, is when an athlete performs gymnastics such as flips, twists and jumps. Stunting involves contact among team members as one athlete known as the “flyer” is tossed in the air or supported to build a pyramid-like formation. At the moment, CIF plans to hold Regionals in March of 2021 and then Nationals shortly after, but the likelihood of a season at all is very low due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Even if teams were allowed to begin contact practices in late January, as CIF anticipates, Thomas said she is unsure if three months is enough time to be ready to compete safely. “We have not stunted with our team this year, and so we really don’t know what to expect,” said Rylie Coleman, San Dimas High School senior, in regards to safety and chemistry. In normal circumstances, the cheer team would hold tryouts in May to pick their team for the upcoming season. They would then participate in a summer camp competition while practicing nearly all summer long, six days a week. Once the school year starts, they would be back in the gym practicing five to six days a week in preparation for Regionals in

January and Nationals in February. Thomas said she feels for her team, especially her seniors who might miss out on their final season. “This is not a ‘shake your pom pom every Friday night’ type of program. To give and give and give the past three years and lose out on the accolades and experiences for seniors is disheartening and discouraging,” Thomas said. “Now that last year might have been my last time competing on a San Dimas mat, I didn’t get to take it all in. I never got to experience it as a last time,” Coleman said. “It’s been really hard, it makes me tear up. I looked forward to being a cheer captain, and it feels like it’s all been taken away from us. You can’t social distance in cheerleading mentally and physically. You want to connect with your teammates on both levels,” said San Dimas senior Alexis Carrion. Carrion gave a message to future cheer teams at San Dimas. “I wish good luck to all the teams that get to experience what I didn’t get to experience. Don’t ruin it for yourself because you have to live everyday like it’s your last, and don’t take anything for granted. I know I’ve made mistakes in the past with cheer, and now that it’s all gone, it sucks. For future teams: be on your grind and work hard.” According to the California Department of Public Health, inter-team competitions may not occur before Jan. 25, and that date may be reevaluated depending upon the situation at that time.

Photo Courtesy of Keyauna Thomas

San Dimas High School cheer team wins their second straight USA Spirit Nationals Championship in February 2020 at the Anaheim Convention Center.


THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021 San Dimas Community Post

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Home is where the pod is Mother-daughter duo host insightful conversations to a global audience on their respective career-oriented podcast shows.

San Dimas local Dr. Shiloh Catanese co-hosts a truecrime podcast called “L.A. Not So Confidential,” while her 8-year-old daughter Sydney hosts a kid-oriented career podcast called “Career Quest with Sydney.” Photo by Rommel Alcantara, Staff Photographer

BY MYLES BRIDGEWATERJACKMAN Staff Writer

Children sometimes hide away in the seclusion of a closet, engrossed in make-believe and play. But for 8-yearold Sydney Catanese, the quiet closet in her parents’ bedroom has served a more professional purpose. Sitting across from an invited guest, the third grader opens up a smartphone app and presses record before kicking off conversation with a single request: “Tell me about your job.” Moments like this are a natural occurrence in the Catanese household. Residents of San Dimas, Sydney and her mother Dr. Shiloh Catanese have honed their talent as podcast hosts in recent years, finding success through the popular auditory medium. While Dr. Catanese dissects truecrime stories using psychological concepts on “L.A. Not So Confidential: The Premier Forensic Psychology Podcast,” Sydney’s show, “Career Quest with Sydney,” facilitates illuminating conversations with adults, helping those her age learn about different career choices. Dr. Catanese is a forensic and law enforcement psychologist, who works specifically with individuals who face the criminal justice system. She has spent 14 years working with high-risk sexual offenders, administering psychological assessments, facilitating therapy and mentoring early career psychologists. After growing up in a family involved in law enforcement, Dr. Catanese attended Cal State Fullerton majoring in criminal justice, knowing she wanted to stay in the “family business.” As a cadet for the Glendora Police Department, she developed a laser focus toward joining the FBI, earning a doctorate degree in forensic psychology. However, in the final stage of her degree, an internship working with offenders coming out of prison led her down a different path, convincing her to pursue psychology instead. A natural fan of true-crime podcasts, Dr. Catanese observed a distressing trend in popular shows she would listen to, eventually sharing her thoughts over lunch with her longtime friend and colleague Dr. Scott Musgrove. “I told him, ‘You know, there is such a void of true-crime podcasts out there where there’s actually professionals working in the field, talking about what they’re doing. It’s a lot of two girlfriends together, reading Wikipedia pages about crime,’” she said.

VACCINE FROM PAGE 1

I also have a 6-year-old granddaughter who I would do anything to be alive and healthy for,” Mendoza added. In the phase 3 study by Pfizer and BioNTech, the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 95 percent effective against COVID-19 beginning 28 days after the first dose. Efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity. No significant side effects were reported. Mendoza said people might consider the vaccine because they are “sick and tired of the virus.” “Some people say the virus is political and not real, and we don’t need it. It is so messed up,” Mendoza continued. A mother and daughter entering Al-

When she suggested that the pair utilize their knowledge and expertise to start their own podcast, Dr. Musgrove initially rejected the idea as “insane.” Minutes later, he had come up with a name for the show. “Let’s call it ‘L.A. Not So Confidential,’” he said. Equipped with laptops, over-ear headphones and Blue Yeti microphones, the pair quickly got to work churning out episodes from Musgrove’s apartment, packing the show full of “true crime, psychology and snark.” Since 2017, the duo have produced 58 episodes, garnering thousands of listeners from across the country and world. The hosts delve into topics such as cults, Disney crimes, serial killers, crisis negotiations, and cannibalism, using classic and contemporary cases to explore the subjects. The show has also featured appearances from guests such as Jennifer Haley, a writer for Netflix’s “Mindhunter,” and retired FBI criminal profiler James R. Fitzgerald, known for his role in the UNABOM domestic terrorism investigation. As recording became consistent in the Catanese household, Sydney started to become interested in the podcasting process as well. Initially, Sydney’s interest seemed to stem from a desire to be where the adults were. A creaking door during a “L.A. Not So Confidential” recording session would give away her presence in the room before she turned to run away giggling. Before long, Sydney began to ask technical questions about how podcasts get recorded and why equipment like headphones and microphones were important.

“I remember her putting on the headphones, playing in the microphone and her face lighting up with this amazing curiosity of like, ‘That’s what my voice sounds like?’ It was very cool,” Dr. Musgrove said. Before long, Sydney approached her parents with the idea to start a podcast of her own. “My mom did one. I wanted to know what it was like, and it was actually really fun for me,” Sydney said. Sydney’s first guest on “Career Quest with Sydney” was, fittingly, her mother. “I’ve done a lot of different things in psychology,” Dr. Catanese told her daughter on the show. “But essentially, I am there for someone when they need someone to talk to and when they’re having really tough times and struggling in their life.” Sydney jumps into her conversations asking guests a slate of questions covering topics like professional attire, the work that it takes to go into their career and what they wanted to be when they were a kid. After her many interviews, Sydney remains unmoved in her aspirations to become an astronomer. “It was kind of funny to have guests come in and then say, ‘Here, come to our studio, which happens to be a closet,” recalled Sydney’s father, Anthony Catanese. “It was a funny, funny experience at the beginning but it turned out to produce really good quality sound.” Searching for rooms conducive to recording can be tricky, as different materials can create variances in acoustics, such as echoes. After spending time recording at Dr. Musgrove’s apartment, in the Catanese closet

and even in a soundproof interrogation room within a law enforcement building, the Catanese family has transformed their home office into a recording studio, complete with sound blankets. During the era of COVID-19, the “Confidential” duo are using the video-conferencing program Zoom to continue their face-to-face dynamic in conversation. A quick download of the virtual meeting’s audio allows the pair to import the file to GarageBand where the episode is edited before publication. While Dr. Catanese and Dr. Musgrove maintain a running list of episode ideas, they frequently tap suggestions by their audience to cover requested topics. Inquiries, such as those on the QAnon or Incel movements, have even required the hosts to do additional research to understand questions like, “What kind of personalities are drawn to conspiracy theories?” “The most surprising thing is how incredibly engaged our audience is,” Dr. Catanese said. Numerous requests for advice pertaining to grad school applications and programs have even led the pair to record an episode titled “So You Want to be a Forensic Psychologist?” From professionals in the field to casual listeners, fans of the podcast praise the doctors’ ability to entertain while sharing their wealth of forensic psychology knowledge. However, the hosts’ appreciation for and willingness to engage with fans is really what sets the tone for the relationship between themselves and the listeners. Over the past few years, Shannon Nishioka of Meridian, Connecticut,

has kept up with the podcast’s episodes and participated in the show’s GetVokl interactive live streams. A moment that really stood out for her, though, was when Nishioka wrote in seeking help to understand the “defund the police” movement. After receiving the note, Dr. Catanese compiled a series of articles for Nishioka to read and texted them to her. “They were just very approachable and open to communication, and I have to tell you, that really meant the world to me,” said Nishioka in a recent phone call. Last year, “L.A. Not So Confidential” joined CrawlSpace Media and has since held conversations with networks about a television adaptation of the show. However, Dr. Catanese holds that the networks will have to work around her schedule, as she’s not dropping her day job for Hollywood. Meanwhile, the Catanese family is celebrating “Career Quest’s” placement on a new application called Storier. The recently launched app, which features kid-centric music and podcasts, highlighted Sydney’s show on their homepage. While Dr. Catanese and Anthony often joke that Sydney is “the third adult living in the house,” they emphasize that she’s also very much an 8-year-old kid into things like dolls, fashion, and chatting with her friends via Messenger Kids while playing Roblox. The two of them have made it clear to Sydney that there’s no pressure on her to continue podcasting if she loses interest, but for now, Sydney is excited and preparing to launch her second season in 2021. “We’re just lucky to have a kid like her,” Anthony said.

bertsons together had conflicting views. Selma Kasfy, San Dimas resident, said both her kids have had the virus, but she still would not get vaccinated. “No way. It came out really fast. Usually vaccines can take up to 10 years to be FDA approved,” Kasfy said. Her daughter, Reem Kasfy, said she would take it in hopes of minimizing the spread and boosting immunity. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of travel-related coronavirus in the state of Washington on Jan. 21, 2020, the coronavirus has drastically shifted the way people live as the virus continues to spread at a rampant pace. The FDA authorized an emergency rollout of a second COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc., a biotechnology company, and the National Institutes of Health on Dec. 18, 2020.

Similar to Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine met statistical criteria with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5%. Moderna’s vaccine reported short-lived and moderate side effects. A third COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by drugmaker AstraZeneca, has shown highly effective results at a cheaper cost and is easier to store but is still awaiting FDA approval. James Rocker, San Dimas resident, said he would without a doubt get the vaccine. “This decision is a matter of my personal health and others around me. I will bank on good science over fear.” One Covina resident visiting San Dimas said his decision comes down to his religious beliefs. “I am a Catholic. If the vaccine, for instance, uses artificial stem cells or

something else that contradicts my beliefs, I would have to reconsider,” Guillermo Nadales, Covina resident said. Marlo Marin, Covina resident and employee at a hair salon in San Dimas, said her decision is a firm no. “To be honest, I do not trust the government at all right now,” Marin said. “I do work for a small business, so if they wanted me to get it I would consider it. But I would have to do way more research.” For Bonita High School student Parker Svatos, who was skateboarding in downtown San Dimas, the decision will depend on who says the vaccine is approved. “I am young and don’t really have a say. If the media said the vaccine is approved, then no; but if the doctor said it, then yes,” Svatos said. Anthony Fauci, director of the Na-

tional Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Nov. 21, 2020 during a White House press briefing that we need to “put to rest any concept that this was rushed in any inappropriate way.” “The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety nor did it compromise scientific integrity,” Fauci said. “It was a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances in these types of vaccines, which allowed us to do things in months that actually took years before, so I really want to settle that concern that people have about that.” It is unknown when those considered not high-risk will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Access for the rest of the U.S. population is largely dependent on how many vaccines get approved and how quickly they can be made and distributed.


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THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021

It’s time to get growing Some tips and inspiration for beginning gardeners. BY KAREN BRIDGEWATER Staff Writer

January in San Dimas is a great time to think about gardening. Whether you are drawn to the idea of growing your own food, beautifying your surroundings or replacing a water-hogging lawn with drought-tolerant landscape, now is the time to get going. Gardening offers something for everyone, regardless of age or inclination. While adults may appreciate gardening’s practical purposes, for young children the garden is a magical place of exploration where they can enjoy the outdoors alongside a parent, digging in the dirt, planting seeds, observing newly emerged seedlings, and discovering the pollinators that come to visit. For school-aged children the garden becomes a hands-on learning lab — a welcome break for students who have been glued to a computer screen for all their lessons. Gardening offers science and math lessons at every grade level and provides inspiration for creative expression in the arts and literature. But how do you embark on a horticultural adventure? That is often the stumbling point. While the idea of gardening can be alluring, some people are just not sure how to start. Others may have tried, failed and given up. Do not lose hope! Usually the problem lies in a lack of information, so keeping some basic considerations in mind will greatly improve your chances for success.

Keys to Success

Good planning is one of the most important foundations to gardening successfully. Planning consists of several phases that help you to clarify your goals, choose an appropriate method, identify the best place for your garden, and decide when to get growing.

Question Phase

In order to choose a gardening technique that fits one’s lifestyle, Master Gardener Stephen Williams recommends people start the planning process by asking themselves basic questions. Answering the following questions can help new gardeners figure out what type of garden will meet their needs and fit their lifestyle: • How much time, energy and money do you have for gardening? • Who is committed to helping? • What types of fruits and vegetables does your family like to eat? •Do you want a flowerbed to enjoy outside or a garden that produces fresh cut flowers for your table? • How much space do you have to garden? • What type of soil do you have?

Site Selection

The next step is to select a good site for growing. Williams recommends you select a site that gets at least five or more hours of sunshine each day and has a handy source of water, especially for vegetables.

Method Selection

Pots If this is your first garden, consider starting small. Growing in pots filled with planting mix can be a great way to get your feet wet.

Photo by Phil Ebiner

January is the perfect time of year for residents to start planning their gardens. While the idea of gardening can be alluring, some people are just not sure how to start.

They can be placed close to the house and filled with your favorite herbs or patio-sized vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Raised Beds Gardeners who desire a larger harvest and are willing to make a greater commitment may choose to grow in raised beds. These are enclosed planting beds that sit on top of the existing soil. Raised beds can be constructed from a variety of materials and may be any length or design. In-Ground Beds Those who dream big may be inspired to start a garden in an area of their property that is currently covered with grass or weeds. This is the most labor-intensive method of gardening, especially in San Dimas. Our heavy clay soil is difficult to work and requires large amounts of compost to make it garden ready. • Soil-building enthusiasts like Debra Gibbs, a local San Dimas gardener, are finding success with sheet mulching, a less exhausting, no-dig soil improvement technique. This method involves covering an area with cardboard, compost and woodchips. This process kills off undesired plants and introduces beneficial organisms that break down the pile, resulting in healthier soil and fewer sore muscles. Gibbs said she was amazed upon discovering that the compacted clay soil beneath her pile of mulch had been transformed into a rich, soft soil teeming with earthworms. • Some gardeners have abandoned in-ground gardening altogether. Williams, who has more than thirty years of gardening experience, said, “I’ve just done that for too many years, fighting that hard clay soil, so now I am growing in raised beds.”

Get a Head Start

Now is the time to decide which plants you want to raise. Look for those suitable to your environment, and find out when to plant them. Williams recommends gardeners start preparing for spring planting in January.

“That means starting seeds indoors,” he says. “By doing this you can get a jump start on the season and have plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, ready to go into the ground in February or March when the weather warms up.” Many vegetables and herbs can be started indoors, while others can even be directly sowed outdoors this month. For a more complete list of gardening activities for January, see Yvonne Savio’s “January Gardening Tips for Los Angeles County Residents.” Savio is the former Master Gardener Coordinator for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County.

Additional Resources

If you are a new gardener, seek guidance from experienced growers. Ask for advice from successful gardeners you know, read books, watch webinars, or take a gardening class. Here are a few resources to get you started: “Vegetable Gardening for Beginners,” a free, downloadable book is an excellent resource for new gardeners. It provides all the basic information a beginning gardener needs. “Gardening In LA” is Savio’s fabulous website. She provides a treasure trove of information on just about anything having to do with gardening. Williams teaches a home gardening course for adults through Mt. San Antonio College’s Community Education program. His class covers everything one needs to get started, with an emphasis on organic gardening. Williams said, “My students often tell me how their gardens are so much better now, after being in my class.” This free, six-week course is offered online, and students may enter at any point. If interested, contact him at sowilliams@mtsac. edu. There is a gardening method for every person. Pick the one that best fits your lifestyle, and get growing!


THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021 San Dimas Community Post

PAGE 11

Oh, these ‘awesome opossums’ Setting the record straight about our often misunderstood furry friends. BY ELIZABETH EBINER Staff Writer

The opossums that wander into backyards from time to time are often misunderstood and persecuted because of false beliefs that they are aggressive and can transmit diseases like rabies. In reality, these creatures are easy-going animals that play a huge role in keeping local ecosystems clean. Before diving into the details of opossum behavior and how they benefit backyards, we should set the record straight about their name — is it possum or opossum? Although many people use the two names interchangeably, the latter is correct when referring to these friendly outdoor neighbors. Opossums are America’s only native marsupial while possums hail from Australia. Dave Tran, a rehabber at All Wildlife Rescue & Education located in Long Beach, helps rehabilitate wildlife. He frequently receives calls from community members about opossums and is happy to provide education about the creatures. “Opossums are non-native animals in California,” Tran said. “They were brought over as a food source, and they have basically escaped and multiplied.” Although non-native to the state, opossums still benefit city environments by eating rotting plants and fruit, insects and even dead animals. Opossums can eat thousands of ticks per year, which protects humans and other animals from tick-transmitted diseases like Lyme disease. As Tran explained, “They’re omnivores … They eat anything and everything. Smaller animals that they can catch, that kind of thing.” Aaron Hartney, a resident of San Dimas who is admittedly a non-expert when it comes to opossums, learned about how helpful the marsupials can be through his family’s own backyard encounters. “We were noticing some of the fruit that was on the ground was getting eaten by something,” Hartney said. Then, he spotted an opossum. “Initially my response was probably like everybody else’s, a little bit grossed out and, you know, not necessarily wanting something like that living in our yard. But at the same time, as I looked into it a little bit, they’re relatively helpful, and I believe that they deter some things that are less

San Dimas Community Post “WYLD

JOURNALYSM!” Issue 2 January 2021 STAFF Photo Illustration by Evan Solano

desirable like rats.” Contrary to widespread belief, opossums are in fact resistant to diseases like rabies. The animal’s average body temperature at 94.3 degrees Fahrenheit is “too low to maintain the rabies virus. So there’s no rabies issue with opossums,” Tran said. Animal Control Officer Tay Maxson, who works with the Inland Valley Humane Society & S.P.C.A. and provides animal control services to San Dimas and neighboring cities, offered insight to opossum behavior, explaining that opossums are not confrontational by nature. Maxson explained opossums “can be scary because they hiss, but that’s their only defense mechanism … Even when they have their babies on them, they aren’t territorial … They’re not aggressive animals.” Both Maxson and Tran agreed that an opossum would not bite unless you put your hand in or near its mouth, and Maxson reported she has never received a call for an opossum attack. Along with the hiss, opossums famously “play possum” or “play dead” in response to frightening situations. “If [the opossum] doesn’t run, there’s nobody to chase. And if they’re no fun to chase, [a predator] will go someplace else to look,” Tran said, explaining this typical behavior. When Maxson receives calls about opossums, she advises that they be left alone. Although the creatures are primarily active at night due to

better visibility in the dark, they may also be seen moving around during the day. However, pay special attention if you see a young opossum. Maxson recommends leaving these babies alone for at least 24 hours to see if they can find their way back to mom — unless they are hairless. In that case, they are unlikely to be able to find their way back and might need help from animal control. Regardless of what experts say, consider listening to neighbors like Hartney who have come to recognize the benefits of opossums in our neighborhood. “In an ideal world I’d probably prefer not to have opossums or anything else,” Hartney said. “But given the fact that there are rodents around LA County and things that get into not only your yard, but into your house, I don’t mind a natural deterrent out in the backyard every once in a while.” Currently, wildlife trapping has been paused due to COVID-19 regulations and limited staff. The best thing you can do if you see an opossum out and about is to let it do its job. They will help maintain a clean ecosystem and can be fun to watch with the right perspective! For further information about opossums or other wildlife in your backyard, the Inland Valley Humane Society & S.P.C.A. offers packets including general information and deterrents for the critters who share our city.

Advice column: “Be Excellent” with Eric Dear Eric, herself giving birth in a barn using After a very contentious election cya manger as a makeshift cradle. Yet cle, I was looking forward to spending they adapted and made do with what the holidays with my extended family they had. Now, reenacting their story and enjoying each other’s company has become one of the most common (and not talking politics). However, traditions in the Christian faith. with COVID-19 numbers skyrocketing, Similarly, do not be afraid to try we have decided to not do Thanksgivnew ideas and put a new spin on the ing and Christmas with the extended holidays or any special day. You may BY ERIC family. Do you have any suggestions be surprised by what sticks. To develop NAKANO Staff Writer on how to have a memorable holiday, new traditions, make sure you involve while trying to rebuild relationships your family in planning and give your after political disagreements? children the opportunity to unleash their creativThanks, ity. For an upcoming birthday, for example, you Home for the Holidays in San Dimas could make a cake together using an online video. One of my favorites is Emma’s Goodies, where she Dear Home for the Holidays in San Dimas, teaches you how to make a festive birthday cake Your letter specifically mentions the holidays, in the microwave in five minutes. but I think it is relevant and important any time Other new traditions could include decorating of year because we are always celebrating special for the special day, starting a family memory occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries and quilt, sharing a new board game from your childretirements with our loved ones. hood with your family, producing a family TikTok While COVID-19 has disrupted many things, video, painting with Bob Ross on YouTube, or COVID-19 does not take away your ability to make planting a garden. special days memorable. If you have children, it If you have a teenager who is less cooperative, is all the more important to help them manage specialists at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles their disappointment and focus on what they can advise parents to ask how your teen is feeling, control. This will help build resilience and equip empathize and thoughtfully listen without them for other challenges they will face in life. problem-solving. One strategy is to provide your COVID-19 has forced families to spend time teenager with a sense of control by giving him/her together, which is what holidays are about. The choices on how he/she’d like to spend the day. key is to ensure that time spent together is high Your other question — how to rebuild relaquality. USA Today recently ran a story noting tionships with extended family after political that COVID-19 provides families with an opportudisagreements — is more complicated. The first nity to develop new traditions. Your letter asked thing you must do is recognize that 2020 is a year specifically about the holidays. In my family, that of loss for everyone. People have lost loved ones, specifically means celebrating Christmas. I am income, homes, relationships, their identity, and reminded that in the Christian tradition, Mary even hope. The world feels scary and unfamiliar. and Joseph did not expect to spend the final days For many people, the election was about the of Mary’s pregnancy traveling to Bethlehem for future they wanted for themselves, and thus, it a census. And Mary certainly did not envision is a very emotional topic. You can (and should)

have empathy for your family members while recognizing you may need to give yourself and your extended family time and space before rebuilding. This does not mean you have to avoid them; you can check in on special days while politely keeping conversations focused and brief.In some cases, disagreements run deep and require more action. Take the time to decide whether you even want to rebuild relationships with your family now or in the future. A good therapist can help you do this. Sometimes, maintaining a healthy relationship with other family members is not possible, and spending time with people out of obligation when you feel anxious during every interaction is not in anyone’s best interest. If this is the case, let family members know you need time to evaluate your relationship and that you will be in touch when you are ready. If and when you are ready to rebuild, jointly set ground rules for how you will interact. These rules could include banning political talk, not airing certain television programs while together and setting expectations for when and where to wear masks. It is important that rules are not ultimatums but instead serve as agreed upon boundaries that will prevent conflict. Rules can also encourage what you would like to talk about and what you would like to focus on. Finally, you should make it clear that any party has the right to calmly leave if the boundaries are not respected. This year may be the most challenging of our lifetimes. But things will get better, and this too shall pass. Thanks for writing and remember to be excellent to each other. If you need advice, please send your letters to “Be Excellent” at inbox@sandimascommunitypost. com. Letters are edited for clarity and are published anonymously. Eric will respond to a letter in the next issue of the newspaper.

Editors-in-Chief

Staci Baird Christian Shepherd

Art/Design Director Evan Solano

Managing/Web Editor Isabel Ebiner

Assistant Editor Joshua Bay

Social Media Manager Danielle De Luna

Copy Editors Cindy Arora Megan Otto Kara Roa

Staff Writers

Layla Abbas Rommel Alcantara Karen Bridgewater Myles Bridgewater-Jackman Lauren Choi Elizabeth Ebiner Amanda Lee Billy Lopez Maydeen Merino Eric Nakano Joey Patton Julie Salazar Aaron Wang Amanda Wood

Photographers

Rommel Alcantara Danielle De Luna Phil Ebiner Maydeen Merino

Videographer Phil Ebiner

Social Media Producer Sumiko Rudisky

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