The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California on August 16, 1997 · Page 11
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The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California · Page 11

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San Bernardino, California
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Saturday, August 16, 1997
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Inside: Readers sound off in 'Feedback'B2 Inside: Flier naming killer may be a hoax, officials sayB3 Inland Empire Randall Bck At. Managing EditorMatro (909) 386-3874 Fax (909) 885-8741 Tha Sun faction B Saturday August 16, 1997 News digest Perchlorate clean-up could take years RIVERSIDE Officials with defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. can find no technology for cleansing drinking water of perchlorate, a hazardous chemical that leaked from the company's Mentone rocket factory in the 1960s and early 1970s. In a report filed with state regulators Friday, the company said it could take years and a major effort to develop technology to remove the chemical from groundwater used by residents in Redlands, Loma Linda and Riverside. Until that technology is discovered, the company will explore several options for delivering safe water to those communities in case perchlorate levels rise too high. Options include delivering bottled water, using wells that don't have perchlorate, blending tainted water with fresh water to reduce the concentration and importing water from outside the affected area. Steven ChurchThe Sun (909) 386-3889 Councilwoman's trial will be next month SAM BERNARDINO The embezzlement trial of Fontana Councilwoman Nancy Hooper was continued Friday until September. Hooper's attorney, Richard Carnero, sought the continuance because the investigator on the case is unavailable. San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Patrick Morris agreed to move the readiness hearing to Sept. 5. If no other continuances are granted, jury selection should begin Sept. 8. Hooper was indicted last year by the grand jury on eight counts of grand theft and one count of receiving stolen property. She is accused of taking more than $43,000 from her former employer, the Fontana Teachers Association. She paid back $25,000 of that through payroll deductions before she was fired in September 1995. Hooper has maintained her innocence and has refused to resign her seat on the City Council. Her term expires next year. - Rente HertmndezThe Sun r - " '. 909)822-8028 Judge gives trainee's family $1-4 million SANTA ANA An Orange County Superior : Court judge awarded $1.4 million to the family of a volunteer ski patrol trainee who died in 1995 at a Big Bear Lake resort: - In his ruling. Judge John M. Watson said John Kane's death stemmed in part from being coerced by a National Ski Patrol instructor to ski down an icy Bear Mountain slope he was unable to negotiate. - The National Ski Patrol, which serves resorts nationwide, was ordered to pay the damages. Bear Mountain previously agreed to a settlement. Kane, 47, of Laguna Hills, skidded 300 yards off Geronimo Run, the toughest at the resort. Kane ran into a canyon, where he hit rocks and trees. Watson's ruling on Aug. 7 said the patrol is liable because one of its instructors encouraged Kane to head down the steep icy slope after four students including Kane's wife, said they didn't want to. The ruling, if upheld, could have a lasting impact on California's ski industry. National Ski Patrol attorney Steven R. Par-mintersaid. Parminter said the ski patrol has not yet decided whether to appeal. Associated Press Riatto selling tickets for beach excursion RIALTO The parks and recreation department will sell tickets for Rialto's Metrolink trip to San Clemente at the train station before the 9 a.m. departure Sunday. Initially, plans called for ticket sales to stop Friday, but because of demand, officials decided to sell tickets at the Metrolink depot on Sunday. Tickets are $13 per person or $45 for a group of four. The six-car train will go directly to San Clemente for the daylong trip. Steve SebeliusThe Sun (909) 22-8245 Wrlghtwood fire cancels car show WRIBHTWOOD The Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce canceled Friday its Third Annual Mountain Classic Car Show because of forest fire burning toward the town. More than 300 cars were expected to participate in the event, which has been rescheduled for Oct. 4. The Sun (Crows LteaoD up affteir tasto fiw Firefighters who battled hillside flames for two days get a surprise meal from thankful residents. By Sonja Lewis Sun Staff Writer Firefighters Friday night completed cleanup of a blaze that began in the Loma Linda foothills and scorched 800 acres. The cause is unknown. While the fire made huge clouds of smoke Thursday evening, no structures were threatened and no one was evacuated. The Scotch INSIDE Lane fire Firefighters con- broke out in tinue battle with the hills south blaze in Angeles of Loma Linda National Forest. about 5:30 p.m. StoryA1 The cost of fighting the fire, contained at noon Friday, has not yet been determined, said Sharon Shanen of the California Department of Forestry and Fire. More than 260 firefighters battled the blaze, along with helicopters and planes that dropped water and fire retardant on the hills until sunset. Owners of the Sundance Ranch, on county land near the blaze, opened up their refrigerator to hungry firefighters. "Our philosophy is that they're out there to help us, and it's our job to help them out when we can," said Fred O'Connor. O'Connor, his wife, Janet, and a crew of seven served 60 to 70 firefighters from about 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fire crews parked their trucks at the end of the dirt road leading to the ranch and hikd up the road to the tables set out under a canopy. "It was just great," said Roger Saindon, a San Bernardino County firefighter. "Word kind of spread like wildfire that if anyone wanted to eat that was where to go. It was so good and a very, very good gesture." The menu included roast beef and ham sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad, German chocolate cake and ice cream, and sodas and coffee to wash it down. All the food except the sandwich rolls was on hand be cause of a party O'Connor hosted last week. It wasn't O'Connor's first time to feed to firefighters. During the Pilgrim fire in July 1995, O'Connor served dinner. That blaze, which lasted four days, raced across about 2,200 acres. It was started by a spark from a lawn mower. No structures were destroyed and no injuries were reported. Shanen, the CDF spokeswoman, said she watched the flames from her home. "I live near there and I'd like to thank the firefighters, too," she said. "They did a great job." AFFIRMING THEIR ABILITIES v ' Ah. ' ... '.!x ''4 frit 7 v:, ... 1 mm mmmM mm. V&- V .-'4:T. V Photos by LARRY DORTCKmie Sun Victor Ramos, a youth adviser for the Pasadena Police Department, supports the back of simulated accident victim DeannaMeelker while blind camper Tyler Dunn keeps her head still. Lara Hasler, youth consultant for the .eiraiiejnwiiuxe, neips pusn ine gin out aunng an over-ine-siae rescue insuucuon. , .-, . Camp teaches youth to beat challenges D Youth Emergency Services Camp teaches kids self-confidence, discipline and about career-path opportunities. By Christopher Lee Sun Staff Writer GREEN VALLEY RANCH As a blind camper with a prosthetic leg climbs to the top of the 60-foot tree, Vince Montoya can't help but feel a surge of humility. Vince, 14. of San Bernardino is petrified of heights. But the Youth Emergency Services Camp is about tackling fears and accepting challenges. It's about pushing beyond the inner-city norm and conquering the mountain unknown. "I was getting in trouble a lot, and one of my teachers talked me in to coming up this year," he said. "So here I am. I'm here to learn and challenge myself." YES Camp is sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena, the San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire. "The whole point of the camp is to provide self-confidence, discipline and career-path opportunities. We want to expose these kids to different avenues of emergency services," said sheriffs Sgt. Mike Tuttle. "And the first thing out of everybody's mouth is 'stay in school.' " The week-long program is for teens 14 to 17 and covers emergency service-related topics. This year, 100 campers attended. Among them are 10 Japanese exchange students and four students from the Braille Institute of Los Angeles. "They're here always looking for new programs that can challenge them and get them into the mainstream," Camp Director Paul Franklin said of the Braille students. "A See CAMPB4 -'I i&pik! ''"'-2 . j Veronica Garcia of Pasadena rap-pels down the side of a tree at the Grace Valley Ranch. Education President shares plans for college D Sharon Caballero discusses with faculty and staff her views on topics such as earthquake retrofitting and growth at San Bernardino Valley College. By Beth Szymkowski Sun Staff Writer SAN BERNARDINO Valley College's new president discussed her plans for the institution Friday in a speech that left the campus community laughing despite its serious message. Sharon Caballero got a standing ovation after outlining what she views as the critical issues facing San Bernardino Valley College to returning faculty and staff. Classes start Monday. Caballero has been in the job about a month. The first critical issue is the demolition and relocation of buildings located directly on the San Jacinto earthquake fault, she said. A campus-wide meeting to discuss the studies that led to the recommendation for moving the buildings will be held Sept. 4. The style and location of the new buildings will be decided by December. "This is our time to re-invent ourselves," she said. "This is our time to be something we may never have been before." Other issues include: Growth. Ordinarily, the state caps the growth a community college can experience in a year. But this year it hasn't. Caballero's goal is to add about 1,1500 students to the 10.000 now served so in the future when growth is again capped at a small per- : centage. Valley's base will be higher. Economic development. The college needs to develop a plan to handle new students generated by welfare reform. Organizational structure. Caballero installed a one-year executive vice president on a trial basis to improve communication between what was tra- ' ditionally handled by two vice presidents, one in student services and one in academics. She also wants to add a one-year management intern position and a one-year dean of instructional operations. Other critical issues included improving the college's use and approach to acquiring technology, its retention rate, its morale and its image. Caballero warmed the crowd by detailing her initial visit, incognito, to the campus before she applied for the job. One professor told her his tricks to get money from administration. "Isn't it amusing he would now find I'm his boss?" she said as the audience roared. She invited faculty and staff to her newly rented home in San Bernardino. "We're getting new carpet next week. I thought you should come now." At the end of the ceremony, faculty members placed a party tiara on her head, playing on her earlier analogy that becoming president was like finally getting to go to the prom after preparing for it for years. "I think as a result of her coming here the whole campus is going to be reinvigorated," said Gary Kelly, dean of the technical division. Others agreed. "I think she has captured what needs to happen on the campus," said Odette Salvaggio, president of the Academic Senate. "I think she's right on track," said Livio Martin, a professor of aeronautics. "She's certainly done her homework and knows what we need." Father of slain boy plans for better life By Chuck Mueller Sun Staff Writer VICTORVILLE Travis James, preparing to pick up the ashes of his slain son Friday, said the loss has given him a new perspective on life. "Our life came to a screeching halt the day our son died, and it will never be the same," he said. Tears welled in his eyes as James talked about the death of 2-year-old, Robert Xavier James, killed on Aug. 1 when someone in another vehicle fired at his car as the family was driving in Hesperia. "I know that I'll see my son in heaven some day and I want him to be proud of me. I want to do right by him and honor my son and his memory." One way he plans to do that is by marrying the boy's mother, Wendy Witte. 28, on Robert's birthday, Aug. 22. "He will be with us on this day. We want our son to be proud of his parents." James. 34, spoke outside the Victorville courthouse, where he was scheduled to be sentenced in Superior Court on one count of possessing a drug for sale. He pleaded guilty to the charge May 16. Judge Margaret Powers continued sentencing to Sept. 26. James said the boy's death was devastating. "This has put our lives into perspective. "One of the most precious things in my life was stolen from me." The youngster was shot In the head while strapped in the back seat of his parents' Chrysler Imperial as they drove on Hesperi-a's Main Street. "It was incomprehensible to see my child so helpless, strapped in his seat," James said. "The bullet went in and out of his little bear. Mo Mo, and into my son. "I've never had goals. But since the incident I've given my life to God and I want to be with my son when I leave the earth." HOW TO HELP A memorial fund to defray funeral costs for Robert Xavier James, 2, has been set up at Desert Community Bank in Victorville. The Hesperia City Council has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers. Two Victor Valley businesses have added $1,250 to the total. Anyone with Information about the shooting is asked to call the sheriff's homicide division at (909) 387-3589 or WE-TIp at (800) 78-CRIME. State fines company in military bomb fatality Sheriff's detectives are searching for the two men in the other vehicle, a blue mid-1980s Chevrolet Camaro. At least 12 shots were fired from the car as it passed nnd cut off James's Chrysler. "It appears to have been a random shooting," San Bernardi-See FATHERB3 By Sonja Lewis Sun Staff Writer Cal-OSHA this week issued four citations and civil penalties totaling $10,000 to the owner of an auto dismantling yard where a worker was killed in March while unknowningly taking apart a live military bomb. Richard Marca, attorney for Harry Hottel, owner of Dick's Auto Wrecking and Scrap Metal near Fontana, said he intends to appeal the most serious citations. Hottel was cited for not adequately disposing of explosive ordnance and not providing ade- 3uate training for workers han-ling hazardous materials. Marca called the charges illogical since his client deals in scrap metal that included inert, not live, military ammunition. Cal-OSHA Regional Manager Tom Hanley said those two citations related to the death of employee Martin Mendoza, 20, and therefore were valid. But regulators expect to hear during the appeal process that the wrecking yard has had nothing to do with explosives since then. For that reason, Hottel will not be expected to correct the violations, Hanley said. A general citation covered 20 less hazardous violations, including not having an adequate first-aid kit, having an uncharged fire extinguisher, and a lack of clear head space. Civil penalties totaled $10,085. Mendoza was killed March 18 while using a gas torch to dismantle what was thought to be inert ordnance so that it could be sold as scrap metal. Two other employees were injured. The wrecking yard has been closed since the explosion. Hottel should not be held responsible for the explosive disposals or employee training in handling explosive ordnance because that was not the type of business he was running, Marca said. Hottel wrote a check to the U.S. Treasury to buy scrap metal See F1NEB3

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