Husband of Montebello mayor arrested on drug-related charges
MONTEBELLO >> Ruben Guerrero, the husband of Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez, was arrested Thursday morning at their home on two drug-related charges.
Guerrero, 44, was arrested as he left his home in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue in Montebello on suspicion of sales of methamphetamine and the sales of narcotics near a school.
His bail was set at $60,000, and he was booked at the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station.
The arrest came during a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department raid in which search warrants were served at two homes in Montebello at 7:10 a.m. — one in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue, where Guerrero and Cortez live, and a second in the 1600 block of Los Angeles Avenue.
Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said Cortez wasn’t involved.
Cortez didn’t return two phone calls seeking comment.
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End of shutdown means national parks, forests are reopening
Closed signs were flipped to “Yes, we’re open” at Southern California’s federal parks, forest lands and nature centers Thursday for the first time this month, the result of signed legislation that funds the government for another three months.
Hundreds of furloughed National Park Service workers were back on the job at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Joshua Tree National Park and the other federally run parks, forests and monuments in the state, including Yosemite National Park.
Rangers with the U.S. Forest Service were scouring the vast Angeles National Forest and San Bernardino National Forest on Thursday to unlock gates, service restrooms and call in volunteers who regularly help run visitor centers and recreation sites.
Congressional primary set for Saturday
The whirlwind primary for the 5th Congressional District is almost here as voters are set to elect a new representative Saturday.
A number of municipal elections are also on the ballot. Polls open at 7 a.m. Saturday morning and close at 8 p.m. that night.
Fourteen candidates entered the race to fill the seat left vacant by U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, who announced in August he would resign to take a job in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration as the secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Candidates had little more than two months to convince voters, and voters have plenty of options from different political walks of life.
Among them are five Republicans, four Democrats, two Libertarians, two Independents and one Green Party member.
Wall of Remembrance comes to West Monroe
The Global War on Terror Wall of Remembrance has made its way to West Monroe, making it the wall’s first stop in Louisiana.
The mobile monument, which honors thousands of fallen veterans, will be on display Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside the Duck Commander warehouse in West Monroe.
One side of the wall, which is 6-feet tall and 100-feet long, features the names of the victims of 9/11 and those who died in the war on terror, while the other side features a timeline depicting the development of the war on terror dating back to 1983.
“The wall is intended to help honor Gold Star families out there and the veterans who have lost loved ones,” said Derek Hendershot, the wall’s escort. “The wall brings a lot of healing.”
Ragsdale removed as coach amid GSU chaos
GRAMBLING — A chaotic situation for Grambling’s legendary football program took an unexpected turn Thursday when interim coach George Ragsdale was relieved of his duties after the team boycotted practice for a second straight day.
Defensive coordinator Dennis “Dirt” Winston will act as the interim coach with Ragsdale out, although Grambling spokesman Will Sutton said Ragsdale will remain with the athletic department on reassignment.
“I was hurt. What do you think?” Ragsdale said when reached Thursday night. “I’m a football coach. You can reassign me, but I don’t want to make any waves. My plans were to restore Grambling back to its old days. I guess they couldn’t wait.”
Transportation and energy magnate Davison wins first Spirit Award
James Davison, a transportation and energy magnate, earned the inaugural DeltaBusiness Spirit Award during a luncheon Thursday at the Monroe Civic Center.
Davison and Spirit Award finalists and local business legends Gretchan Kovac and Wayne Williamson also were inducted as charter members of the new Northeast Louisiana Business Hall of Fame byDeltaBusiness.
DeltaBusiness is the monthly business journal published by The News-Star.
“It’s an honor to be chosen and to be included with two people like Gretchan Kovac and Wayne Williamson, who have accomplished so many great things,” Davison said.
New center for seniors wins Leland council’s OK
The Leland Town Council approved two motions Thursday night that mark the beginning of a plan to build a new Brunswick Senior Center on the town’s property adjacent to the new town hall.
The council agreed to a motion to proceed with the project on the town’s land and a second motion to begin contract negotiations for a 99-year land lease to the county for the center.
Jim Fish, CEO of the Brunswick Senior Resources Center Inc., presented a drawing of the proposed $14 million building that will have two stories and be designed to be consistent with the look of the new town hall. It will have an atrium and a cafeteria with a full-service kitchen so that meals for seniors can be prepared in Leland and not transported from Bolivia. Plans call for 100 parking spaces next to the senior center.
Brunswick County has authorized $225,000 for engineering and architectural design of the building, with construction starting in July 2014. Fish said it’s possible that construction could start sooner if the engineering and architectural work is completed rapidly.
The council also approved a plan for a new development in Brunswick Forest with 43 single-family homes. The 13-acre site is adjacent to Meadow Park. In a related decision, the council approved a sewer allocation of 9,030 gallons for the development.
The council is unanimous in its objection to any plan to change the sales tax allocation in Brunswick County from its present per-capita basis to a property-value basis. Council members agreed to draft a resolution opposing any switch in the allocation formula.
Carolina Beach to consider a conditional-use permit for a Hampton Inn & Suites
The Carolina Beach Town Council next month will consider a conditional-use permit for a Hampton Inn & Suites hotel that is proposed for the oceanfront near the Boardwalk.
The hotel, which would go up at 1 Harper Ave., is proposed for eight stories and 100 rooms, said town senior planner Jeremy Hardison.
Plans have been in motion for at least six years to build a beachfront hotel near Carolina Beach’s Boardwalk. A proposal for a 200-room Hilton Garden Inn on the site that was approved in 2007 fell through, a victim of the recession.
Current developers, Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial of Augusta, Ga., bought the land out of foreclosure.
CEO Vic Mills said the firm has been working on its Hampton Inn plan for two years. He said the company, which also will own the hotel, plans to break ground in February or March of next year with completion in April or May of 2015.
Mills added that timing is essential in building coastal hotels, to coincide with the tourist season.
The cost is expected to be $13-15 million. Mills said the developers will use very-high-wind impact glass, which pushes up the costs.
“Construction standards in Carolina Beach are higher than other coastal places we’ve been,” he added.
Mills said he hopes to have final approval in the next few weeks, and that the council’s scheduled Nov. 12 vote would be the final step.
“The town has been responsive and good to work with,” he said, adding that the council has been “positive and proactive.”
The hotel will have a pool, large deck area, outdoor bar and full-service dining. Mills said the rooms also will be equipped for extended stays with a small kitchenette.
Teachers, politicians clash over new pay policy
A group of teachers stood before a group of panelists discussing the state of education in North Carolina.
The teachers had questions about a recent change made by the N.C. General Assembly that would change how high-performing teachers would be rewarded.
Panel members were split in their answers. Some said the change mirrored the private sector and also would work in education. Others said public education should be handled differently.
Six panelists spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Thursday about the challenges in public education in the state. All panelists said they valued and wanted to improve education. But opinions differed on how to do so.
Panelists included state Reps. Ted Davis, a Republican, and Susi Hamilton, a Democrat; state Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Republican; Julie Kowal, executive director of CarolinaCAN; Edward Pruden, superintendent for Brunswick County Schools; and Bob Etheridge, former state superintendent of public instruction.
The two-hour discussion, which often felt more like a boxing match, focused heavily on pay for teachers. The teachers who spoke to the panelists were from Murray Middle School. They presented a petition, signed by every teacher at the school, asking that their school be exempt from a plan to reward teachers who move off tenure early.