All I Want for Christmas…


first_imgAll right all you good little boys and girls, let’s think about what we want Santa put under the tree this year.How about a wool PISGAH jersey made by local Pisgah Works? It’s a full zip, with a silver pull ornately designed as a dragon. It has a hood, complete with tiny visor so that it can be worn under the helmet. The visor keeps your face from being leaked on by the annoying drip through the slits in the helmet. The extra-long sleeves have thumb-holes, which are perfect for those days you don’t want a gap between your glove and sleeves. It’s even perfect on the days you almost needed gloves. Of course it has snug rear pockets. The best part is how frigging cool you look, and everybody tells you so.You just can’t get enough base layers, either. That includes socks, which have become nearly as important as shorts. DeFeet, which is a local company, has always kept my toes comfy whether they’re wet in the summer or the winter. Everybody needs a thin, long-sleeve thermal layer with a neckline that doesn’t choke or bind and tucks down low into the shorts. As for tights, it’s that time of year that if you don’t have fleece tights, you probably won’t ride.Since buying whimsical, yet highly functional gear can be a little costly, a great stocking stuffer would be a cool riding shirt from Club Ride. Not only do you look like a sexy cowboy, but the material does not hold stink. You can finish an epic Sunday in it and still wear it to work the next morning. Not only is the line American made by some hot dude in Idaho, but he buys tricot material from a local company who also serves Patagonia.Who wants to struggle anymore with a hand pump. What we need is a sturdy floor pump with a gauge. It works well for cars and motorcycle tires too.It’s pretty much guaranteed that riders are going to go through some tubes, so might as well fill the stocking with a few to stash in the backpack. Other safety necessities might be a small first aid kit (with painkillers and a suture kit). Even a whistle is a good idea, as well as a fistful of Cliff Cubes, which are yummy gummies filled with the necessities for trail-burned legs on a long ride.Speaking of packs, Camelbak is no longer the only choice for hydration. Osprey has busted out with a system that craves details. The bladder has a long handle and screw top that never suctions on too tightly, requiring a Hulk grip to open it. It has a firm back that allows the bladder to slide easily into the pack, providing a smooth surface on the rider’s back. It has small, waterproof, zipped compartments that can be washed out. Never does the tube down to the valve flop around tapping your knee in that irritating fashion. The chest strap has a super magnet that holds the valve in place, just inches from your thirsty lips. Plus, they’ve got a cool purple one that funds breast cancer research.The only other thing I can think of beyond a Go-Pro video camera is a small private fridge in the garage filled with beer.last_img read more

Boy denies guilt to gun charges


first_imgHe will be back for a hearing May 29 at Los Padrinos Juvenile Court. The trial is set for June 14. Authorities aren’t releasing his name because he is a minor. However, Robert Meyer, 25, of La Habra, who was arrested last week on suspicion of providing the boy with the gun, is now a free man. “We did reject the case today. Insufficient evidence,” Robison said. Deputies identified Meyers as an ex-felon and a gang member. He was released Monday WHITTIER – A 14-year-old boy pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bringing a loaded gun to his middle school last week. Meanwhile, prosecutors declined to file charges against a man who allegedly gave him the weapon. “In Juvenile Court, he declined the petition, which is the same as entering a not guilty plea in adult court,” said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The charges against the Whittier teen include possession of a gun by an active gang member, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of a firearm by a minor. from the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station jail. Deputies in the sheriff’s gang unit said the boy recently joined a local gang. He allegedly took the firearm to Katherine Edwards Middle School last week for protection against rival gang members. Deputies found the gun hidden in a planter on campus Thursday afternoon. School officials were tipped off by another student who overheard the boy talking about the weapon he allegedly hid. All the students at the school were kept inside their classrooms and released a few minutes past the regular dismissal time. While the teen allegedly told deputies he took the gun to school for protection, he offered no explanation for joining a gang, according to investigators. Gang experts said there are myriad reasons why teens join gangs. It’s also not that unusual for a 14-year-old to be a gang member, they say. “Family issues – It could be the kid is looking for a something he’s missing. A lot of factors,” said Lt. George Zagurski of the sheriff’s anti-gang unit, the Operation Safe Streets Bureau. Wes McBride, executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association, said experts also have noticed that many gang members come from either single-parent homes or from families in which parents, siblings or other family members belong to gangs or were former gang members. “That doesn’t hold true in every case,” he added. Another reason young people cite for joining gangs is protection; a gang provides a measure of safety from other gangs, according to the National Youth Gang Center, which conducts a yearly study of the nation’s gang problem. A 1998 survey by two researchers found that of about 6,000 eighth-graders in 11 cities with gang problems, 11 percent were gang members. McBride said most violent gang members tend to be 17 to 25. But he has seen far younger members. “We’ve had kids as young as 9 say \ in a gang, but that’s on the low end of the spectrum,” he said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Exclusive – European football will change forever when Messi leaves Barcelona


first_imgChelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists European football will change forever when Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi hangs up his boots.The Argentine forward has won seven La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies, along with picking up the Ballon d’Or on four separate occasions.Messi’s influence at Barcelona almost saw manager Luis Enrique sacked earlier this season, when the pair reportedly fell out as a power struggle developed.And former Real Madrid boss Mourinho has exclusively told talkSPORT the Argentine is much more important to the La Liga giants than any boss.“In ten years’ time, without Lionel Messi, the map of European football is going to change,” he told Alan Brazil.“What Barcelona have won in the last few years was with Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique as manager, but it’s always with Messi.”You can listen to the full interview with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday, May 19 only on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast showlast_img read more

Business-friendly style pays off for Lancaster


first_imgLANCASTER – There’s no question a few jaws dropped last week when Lancaster, in the northernmost reaches of sprawling Los Angeles County, was named the region’s “Most Business Friendly City.” Among its top competitors for the honor were Burbank, with its glitzy entertainment studios and trendy shopping; Palmdale, with its aerospace industry and new commercial airport; and Santa Clarita, which boasts a vibrant film industry and dynamic local economy. But Lancaster – planted on the sands of the Mojave Desert – has no high-profile monuments to attract commerce and only in recent years is shedding its image as neighboring Palmdale’s stepsister. What it does have is low-cost land, special zoning that allows for tax incentives and credits, and a determination to create jobs and lure business. In 2006, the 30-year-old city crafted “Creating Quality,” a 23-page plan to improve Lancaster’s job market, work force, commerce and community. That effort, along with a business-friendly attitude in City Hall and lots of affordable land, proved to be the combination for investors in industrial, retail and other business development, Kyser said. Add to that the state enterprise zone designation, which allows Lancaster to offer tax credits to companies that employ certain disadvantaged populations, and redevelopment zones, which keep the increased tax revenue generated by upgrades in the specific area. The results already are visible, said Vern Lawson, Lancaster’s director of economic development and redevelopment. Right now, developers have more than 4.2million square feet of industrial and commercial projects in the city planning pipeline. Most of that’s been approved with construction either under way or set to begin next year. “We just go all out for businesses,” Mayor Henry Hearns said. “A few years back, we’d heard of a company that was in Pacoima that made recreational vehicles. We heard about them wanting to expand. Heck, we got in the car – two or three of us – and a year or two later we got them up here.” SYGMA Network Inc., a restaurant supply company and subsidiary of the Fortune 500 company SYSCO, opened a 230,000-square-foot distribution center two years ago on 20 acres near Lancaster’s Fox Field municipal airport. The attraction was the location for a company that covers California, Arizona and Nevada, human-resources director Rita Williams said. “I think the initial reason they looked here was that it was central for our business,” Williams said. The company, she said, offers some of the highest blue-collar wages in the area. Two facets drive City Hall’s effort to stoke Lancaster’s economic engine – improving residents’ quality of life and increasing the local tax base, Lawson said. Lancaster had evolved over the decades into a bedroom community, which takes its toll on residents who travel long distances to jobs. In fact, 60,000 commuters leave the Antelope Valley daily for jobs in the San Fernando Valley and other parts of Los Angeles. So the city set out an multiprong strategy to basically take commuters off the road and put them to work locally. First come the tax breaks, the easy permit process in City Hall, the Mayor’s Roundtable where business and city leaders problem-solve and, yes, the relatively low-cost land. Then the community rolled social issues including high crime and mediocre schools into the equation. The city took the bold step of creating a scholarship program where it pays college costs for locals seeking education degrees if they agree to teach in Lancaster for three years after graduation, Lawson said. The city also is working with its high schools and colleges to train workers for the jobs it expects to generate. Lancaster also is battling a growing street-gang problem and is boasting some success with its public-private task force. At the suggestion of a consultant, the city is working on redeveloping its deteriorating downtown with more upscale business to replace the gang hangouts, Lawson said. For those efforts, the judges in the friendly business competition lauded Lancaster for retaining a “family-focused hometown spirit,” even as the population topped 143,000. Lawson said the competition was tough, with Long Beach and Cerritos among the five other cities vying for the business-friendly title. “We were up against some of the most business-friendly cities in the nation,” he said. “This city has had to take a very aggressive role. Where the private sector is traditionally the leader, that hasn’t been the case because we’re geologically isolated. They don’t come to us unless we convince them to come to us.” [email protected] 661-257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “News flash: Lancaster is in L.A. County and it’s a great place to do business,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., which tallied the business-friendly vote. “It’s important for us to realize that Lancaster and Palmdale both have a lot of land, and a lot of people think L.A. County’s run out of land to build. You add that to the tax incentives and tax credits Lancaster offers, the climate in City Hall and you find a place that’s attracting business.” It was during a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton that Lancaster learned it had won the Eddy Award, which is bestowed annually by the LAEDC, a nonprofit business support organization. “It was kind of fun,” Kyser said. “They were jumping up and down, they were so excited.” The key to Lancaster’s success lies in its very precise strategy to ignite a stagnant economy. last_img read more