Former Roadrunner makes it to the “Bigs”

Pitcher Andrew Morales gets drafted by St. Louis Cardinals in second round

By Ruthie Retana
VMA Communications

WHITTIER – Former Rio Hondo College Roadrunner pitcher and 2012 Foothill Conference Baseball Player of the Year Andrew Morales is headed to the majors after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The right-handed hurler, who had just completed his senior year at UC Irvine, was called up in the second round of the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft after he led the Anteaters to the College World Series. He received a $546,000 signing bonus.

Morales is ranked fourth in the country with 17 starts and 128 strikeouts. During his tenure at Rio Hondo, Morales earned the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association All-American and Pitcher of the Year awards, and won All-Foothill Conference first-team accolades in 2011.

“It was unbelievable, actually,” Morales told Sports Illustrated’s Redbird Rants regarding the draft. “(I’m) very blessed to have the opportunity; very thankful that the Cardinals believed in me to pick me in the second round. It was an awesome experience for (me) and for my family.”

Morales attended South Hills High School in West Covina where he was 8-2 on the mound as a senior. He helped guide the team to two league championships and a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division 3 title. At South Hills, Morales also earned All-CIF first-team recognition and was the 2010 All-San Antonio League first-team honoree.

“It’s just very well deserving for a guy who works so hard,” said Rio Hondo College Baseball Coach Mike Salazar. “He was 21-0 his two years at Rio Hondo until the last game, and 10-0 in his first year at UC Irvine. In three years he was 31-1 and during that time, he stood by his sister as she overcame cancer. Through all that adversity, it is very good to see him succeed.”

During his career at Rio Hondo, Morales made 28 starts and struck out 135 batters in 182 innings. He logged three complete games and a save, and with an ERA of 2.42, he walked only 42 players his freshman year. By the end of his sophomore year, Morales had walked just 23, earning an ERA of 2.01.

In 2012, Morales made the All-Pacific Association Division first-team. He went on to UC Irvine and racked up an impressive list of accolades, including the National Collegiate Writers Baseball Association pre-season first-team All-American; Collegiate Baseball “Louisville Slugger” pre-season second-team All-American; and College Sports Madness pre-season third-team All-American and first team All-Big West.

“Andrew Morales follows in the steps of great baseball players who got their start playing at Rio Hondo College,” said Rio Hondo College Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss. “The District is surrounded by great talent and it is an honor that they want to play with the Roadrunners. We are all very proud of Andrew and wish him nothing but the best in his professional baseball career.”

Other notable Major League players who got their start at Rio Hondo include slugger Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays and pitcher John Urrea, who pitched for the Cardinals and the San Diego Padres in the 1970s and ’80s.


How Hobby Lobby decision helps area churches

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute

By Brad Dacus
President, Pacific Justice Institute

I hope you were as encouraged as I was last week to hear that the Supreme Court took a stand for the religious freedom of family-owned businesses in the Hobby Lobby case.

At PJI, we noticed another positive aspect of the decision that will benefit churches. (Since the nuance that I’m going to explain next was completely overlooked by the media, I would encourage you to forward this e-mail to your pastor and make sure he is receiving our updates.)

The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby’s owners were protected by a federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In the process of interpreting that statute, the Supreme Court pointed to a related law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). This caught our attention because PJI has represented countless churches under RLUIPA and won one of the leading cases in this area at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We have used RLUIPA successfully on many occasions to help churches overcome opposition from local officials who do not recognize the value of churches and would rather have their properties used for tax-producing businesses like bars or nightclubs.

So here’s the good news: as part of its Hobby Lobby decision, the Supreme Court stated that federal protections of church property rights go even further than the First Amendment. This is exactly what we have been arguing in case after case for more than a dozen years! And it is the opposite of what has been argued by leading opponents of church property rights. We expect this little-noticed holding of the Supreme Court to have some very positive implications for years to come.

If you become aware of any pastors or churches that are encountering hostility from local officials in the process of trying to expand or relocate their facilities, please let them know that PJI provides free and highly effective assistance in this area.

At PJI, it is our mission to clear away legal obstacles so churches and ministries can focus on what they do best – reaching people with the Gospel. It is our privilege to serve pastors and the people of God.

Running the Race,

Brad Dacus, Esq.

This week’s special homily

By Douglas McArthur (as passed along by Thomas M. Boles, Ph.D)

Nobody grows old by deserting his ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear, despair, these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.

Whatever your years, there is in every being’s heart the love of wonder, the undaunted challenge of the unobtainable, the unfailing, childlike appetite for the ‘what next?’ and the joy of playing the game of life. You are as young as your faith. You are as old as your doubt. You are as young as your confidence, as old as your fear. You are as young as your hope, as old as your despair.

In the central place in your heart, there is a recording chamber, and so long as it receives the message of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long as you are young.”


Hell a ‘hot’ topic at Plymouth Church

Some may not know that Plymouth Congregational Church has an apologetic (rational defense of the Christian faith) ministry. Dr. Glenn Peoples of New Zealand is scheduled to address the matter in “Hell as an Apologetics Concern” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at the church, 12058 Beverly Blvd. in Whittier.

The Los Angeles Area Chapter of Reasonable Faith, which is sponsoring the event, believes hell is a hot topic right now, pun intended.

Traditionalists believe hell is a literal place of torment while others hold that non-believers are annihilated. Can we defend the goodness of God while proclaiming belief in a traditional view of hell? This talk explores how one’s conclusion about this influences one’s view of the task of apologetics.

Peoples is visiting from New Zealand where he has a wife and four children. He earned his Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Otago and is founder of as well as a published author and speaker.

After his talk in Whitter, Peoples will travel to the “Rethinking Hell” conference in Houston.

To get an idea of Peoples’ views on hell watch the podcast:

Also visit or e-mail

For more information call Chris Sandoval at 562-236-7515.



Rio Hondo plays on World Cup stage

By Ruthie Retana

VMA Communications

WHITTIER – It seems that every pub, restaurant and household in the United States has fully embraced World Cup fever, but did you know that Rio Hondo College has been a launching ground for some of the sport’s professional athletes?

The Rio Hondo Men’s Soccer program is one of the best in the Foothill Conference and Southern California. Coach Orlando Brenes, who is Costa Rican, has helped the Roadrunners win the conference title from 2002 to 2009 consecutively.

In the 2013 season, Brenes led the Roadrunners to a 13-5-5 overall record and a 7-1-0 conference record, clinching the Foothill Conference championship yet again.

“Many of Rio Hondo’s players have gone on to collegiate and professional careers,” Brenes said. “Soccer is by far the most popular sport on the planet. Because of that, scouts from around the world are always interested in players we produce here at Rio Hondo College.”

Such players include:

Marvin Quijano, Los Angeles Galaxy, pictured above

Marvin Quijano led the Rio Hondo Soccer Team to many victories while securing a slew of top honors, including All-Time Conference Most Valuable Player. He caught the attention of professional soccer recruiters and in 1999 Quijano found himself starting for the L.A. Galaxy. Quijano played for the Galaxy until 2002 when he began his tenure with the Colorado Rapids, where he finished his professional soccer career.

Luis Aguilar, Montreal Thunder A League

Luis Aguilar played on the Rio Hondo College Men’s Soccer Team in 2002 and 2003. In 2004, he transferred to the University of San Francisco where he completed his collegiate career in 2005 after winning back-to-back West Coast Conference (WCC) Division I titles with Second and First Team All-WCC awards. He has played with the Ajax Orlando Prospects of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League, the California Cougars of Major Indoor Soccer League and San Francisco Seals. In 2007, he signed with the USL First Division expansion team, California Victory, and later the Montreal Impact, where he made the starting squad for the playoffs.

“Our athletics program is definitely a crown jewel for the College,” said Rio Hondo College Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss. “Men’s soccer, particularly, has a long and illustrious record of producing quality teams with quality players who go on to play on the world’s stage.”


This week’s homily

By Thomas M. Boles PhD., DMin, D.D.

Many years ago, Sandy Koufax, a Jewish pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, announced that he wouldn’t play on the holiest day of his year, Yom Kippur. Koufax’s employer pointed out that it was the first game of the 1965 World Series. Couldn’t he pitch just a little?

“No,” Koufax said. But, he pitched a shutout in games five and seven, and the Dodgers won the series 4-3.

In 1996, Eli Herring, a 340 pound offensive tackle, who sported a 3.5 grade-point average, was expected to be the top senior offensive tackle in the pro draft. However, he turned down a possible multimillion-dollar deal with the Oakland Raiders because he wouldn’t play on his holy day, Sunday.

Unfortunately, most of the Raiders games were scheduled for Sundays. Herring could either sign up with the NFL and enjoy a very prosperous life, or teach math for $20,000 a year, keep the Sabbath, and enjoy a very honorable life. He chose honor and conviction over riches.

An old county-gospel song states the conviction underlying both men’s decisions: “You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.”

Compromise makes a good umbrella but a poor roof; it is a temporary


A good man is guided by his honesty; the evil

man is destroyed by his dishonesty.

Proverbs 11:3

‘New Frontier Players’ take to the stage July 1

The “New Frontier Players,” members of a baseball and soccer club for developmentally challenged children based in La Mirada and Whittier, are turning their sports acumen toward the stage when they perform in a play/talent show at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at the Whittier Community Playhouse, 7630 S. Washington Ave. in Whittier.
Coached by Ray and Jolene Marrero, the New Frontier Players promise to dazzle. Come laugh, cry, cheer and most of all applaud their efforts.

Donations are $5 and help support the baseball and soccer teams.

For more information call 714-253-6312 or 562-567-9470.


Something different for Father’s Day

By Carolyn Rosenblatt, R.N., attorney, mediator

Hello again:

My son, who is in his 20′s, called recently and asked what ideas I had about what he could do for Dad on Father’s Day. He lives at a distance and can’t come home this time.

He’s a struggling entrepreneur starting an Internet marketing business and, like most folks starting a business, he’s cash strapped. I did’t want to suggest any material thing he has to buy with his already too-high credit card debt.

So, I said this:

“How about taking the time to think about all the ways Dad has been thoughtful, kind, supportive and encouraging in your life and write to him about them, and how you appreciate him. Review some of the countless times he went out of his way for you. Recall how he always put kids first and asked so little for himself.

“Remember all the times he showed up for the awards you got in school, for your soccer games, your play, your DJ performances. He was there for just about everything important you’ve done.

“Think about how he never complained about working hard and putting in those hours year after year as a psychologist, dealing with tough stuff like other people’s anxiety and depression.

“He always made the time to listen patiently to you, no matter what and no matter how long a day of listening he’d already had. How about thanking him for the countless times he’s done that and still does?

“Maybe you can just sit down and write to him about what a fabulous father he is, no matter what faults he may have. Tell him you love him and appreciate him from the bottom of your heart and that you would not be the man you are without all he has taught you.

“That letter would be a wonderful gift to give Dad. It would mean more to him than anything you could buy.”

My son said, “Mom, you always think of such sweet things. That’s a great idea.”

And so, on Father’s Day, I look forward to what our son will say to the man I married. I love my husband for all the reason the kids do, and more. I see what a great Dad he is and has been for 30 years. None of us are perfect parents, but we all try our best. He always tried with good intention to put a lot into fatherhood. He knows a few things some Dads don’t. One of them is that you need to show up for your kids a lot more than you need to get them a lot of material objects.

As for anyone reading this, think about how we don’t acknowledge our Dads or even one another enough. It doesn’t take too much time to write down that we appreciate someone. You can make it a brief note or a longer letter. Tuck it in a Father’s Day card or email it in time. There probably isn’t a Dad out there who wouldn’t like to hear that his kids noticed all he has done, whether quietly or not, and that he is valued for who he is.
And if your Dad is gone, as mine is, I just say all those good things to him in my heart and I imagine him hearing me and smiling.
Until next time …

Together with her husband, psychologist Dr. Mikol Davis, Carolyn Rosenblatt is a founder of, a resource for families located in San Rafael. Together they provide expert advice and dispute resolution services to individuals, families and institutions. She is the author of “The Boomer’s Guide to Aging Parents,” a help for those who are taking on the caregiver role in their lives. She has a personal mission to protect elders, keep their caregivers in emotional control and to instill confidence in all of us as we face the challenges of aging.


The facts about transgenderism

By Robert Canales

Chief Executive Officer

Whittier Area Transgender Association

I am writing because I read the article by Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute. I am writing as the Chief Executive Officer of the Whittier Area Transgender Association.

We do not believe that Mr. Dacus has all his facts in order when it comes to transgender Americans. As part of our mission to educate the community about transgender issues, we would like to offer a response.

Scientists have found in study after study that transgenderism is caused by a combination of genetics and the biochemical interactions of mother and child inutero. Generally a child’s biological father has no impact on whether the child will turn out transgender. The trait can only be passed by the maternal line.

We have to be careful when it comes to children, however. For example the Association would never recommend sex reassignment surgery for anyone under the age of 21 because they are still developing, but we do recommend hormone replacement therapy starting no sooner than the onset of puberty. A child who is 4 years of age does not have the mental capacity to know whether he or she is truly the opposite gender. Remember, this is the age that kids tend to have invisible friends and believe themselves to be superheroes. We recommend that parents wait and see before rushing to put their kids on HRT. It is better to be cautious than to make a mistake.

It is the position of the Whittier Area Transgender Association that initiating sex reassignment surgery on children younger than adulthood and HRT on prepubescent children to be a form of child abuse at worse and child endangerment at a minimum.

Any person who seeks to undergo these procedures needs to be capable of rational decisions and needs to know the serious risks in addition to benefits. Children do not have the capacity to understand these things.

Now with regards to the restrooms policy, this issue should be handled on a case-by-case basis to protect the privacy rights of not only cisgender students but transgender students as well. No one, not event a parent, has the right to know if another student at their child’s school is transgender or not. To this end we find that the California restroom law is inadequate and that a better model for these situations is the Title VII 1964 Civil Rights Act. The US Department of Education has ruled Title VII applies to transgender students. Under this ruling transgender students, by federal law, must be permitted to use the restroom of the gender they identify as. Title VII, however, does allow a district to require proof of trangenderism unlike current state law which prohibits schools from requiring such proof.

What the Whittier Area Transgender Association recommends is that schools verify that a student is truly transgender. This can be accomplished with a simple note from a doctor or mental health professional. This note would then go into a private marked file which would be exempt from public records requests to protect the student from harrassment and discriminatory treatment. In this respect only the school nurse, principle, and the district superintendent would have the authorization to access or hold such information because of job requirements.

Once status is verified, the transgender student would then be required to use the restroom of his or her medically assigned gender which could be different from birth gender.

This is not to say that district should be prohibited from sending a transgender student to another health professional to get a second opinion.

As for the law itself, we believe that California’s law is invalid because it is superseded by federal law on the matter. Which is good for everyone because the federal law protects everyone, not just transgenders.


Rotary turns to 18th All-Star Baseball Classic on June 11

The Rotary Club of Whittier is hosting its 18th Annual All-Star Baseball Classic and 11th Annual All-Star Softball Classic to be held on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at York Field in Whittier.

York Field is located at the southeast corner of Santa Fe Springs Road and Slauson Avenue in Whittier. All-Star Coaches for Baseball are Bobby Ramirez, of Pioneer High School and Anthony Gonzalez, Jr., of La Serna High School; and for softball are Jim Maier of St. Paul High School and Mike Reed of La Serna High School.


The All-Star Softball game will commence at 3 p.m., and the All-Star Baseball game will follow at 6 p.m. The Home Run Derby will precede the baseball game. Admission for both games and the Home Run Derby will be $5 for adults; $3 for high school students with valid student ID;  and, free for children 12 years and younger.

A luncheon to honor the selected All-Star Baseball and Softball players will be held at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, June 10 at the Radisson Hotel Whittier. The luncheon will feature former Major League Baseball player Al Martin as the guest speaker. Tickets for the luncheon are $15 and include a ticket to the game day events. Luncheon tickets can be purchased at the door. Reservations can be made by emailing or via the website at:

Many community-minded organizations support this event including: Home Run Sponsor, Toyota of Whittier; Triple Play Sponsor, Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary, and All-Star Sponsors: Brookfield Residential, Consolidated Disposal Service, PIH, Popular Community Bank, and San Gabriel Valley Medical Center. The Snack Shack Sponsors are Orchard’s Fresh Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market, and the Banquet Sponsor is Radisson Hotel Whittier. Proceeds from the event will benefit local charities and fund projects in the community.

The thirteen area high schools represented in the Classics include:  California, El Rancho, La Mirada, La Habra, La Serna, Montebello, Pioneer, Saint Paul, Santa Fe, Sonora, Schurr, Whittier and Whittier Christian.


The Rotary Club of Whittier supports numerous charitable organizations in the Whittier area including the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, American Red Cross, The Whole Child and First Day Coalition.  In addition, the Rotary Club recognizes teachers from the Whittier Union High School District, donates books to the Whittier City School District and provides scholarships to students at Whittier College and Rio Hondo. Contact for more information or contact Rett Rasmussen, 562-822-0755, or or Jeff Nickell, 562-692-2255, or