Archive for September 13, 2013

Keeping the Faith

“Who Has Dirty Hands?”

By Pastor Dwight Sullivan

Recently I saw an interesting report concerning dirty hands. The article triggered in my mind parallels with spiritual truths.

The report tells about an event during the 2012 campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Members there with CHE (Community Health Evangelism) were sharing about a UN program for the whole country to learn the value of proper hand washing. In Congo they call the September 15 date, “The Day of Dirty Hands.”

The children listening were amazed. They learned you can get sick through having dirty hands! The children asked, “What kind of trouble from not washing hands?” Their hands didn’t look so bad!

Their Sunday school teacher told them that it has to do with prevention. Germs and dirt can carry disease through your hands. This can lead to you getting sick. It can cost money; medicines sometimes fail.

Who has dirty hands? We all can! How easy it is to get germs from shaking hands or even handling money. That is why we need to clean them constantly, especially in flu season.

This truth set me to thinking about spiritual matters. Psalm 24 asks who has right standing with the LORD? 3 … who shall stand in his holy place?

Listen to the psalmist’s answer: 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart …

To have clean hands means more than to possess physically sanitary hands. It is of course talking about being blameless in doing bad deeds.

Who has dirty hands? We all come spiritually before the LORD with dirty hands. The Bible tells us, 3 If You, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? (Psalm 130)

The Bible tells us the truth. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. None are righteous, no, not one. Not one of us can stand before the LORD claiming clean hands.


“How do I get rid of my dirty hands?” the African kids asked. The Sunday School teacher told them, “Wash clean with water, soap and good hard rubbing.” Not difficult. Once you recognize your condition, you are at least half way there to help.

How do you get rid of your dirty hands when it is spiritual dirt- sin? Jesus tells us the answer: You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. (John 15:3) We are made clean by Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5) Christ is the one who makes it possible to have clean hands and a pure heart before God.


When the children in the Congo village heard about the goal of teaching everyone in the country on Sept. 15 about dirty hands, they realized that many of adults were too busy to teach other adults. But children might be able to! Listening to the children’s suggestions, a CHE trainer mobilized 100 Sunday school kids from 5 churches.

On Sept. 15, 2012, the children paired off and visited houses. They were received well; some adults even asked where they had learned these things.

Later when TV crewmen came to village, they asked a child leader why they did this when no one was paying them? The reply: “How could I love my neighbors if I did not care that they were getting sick from not washing their hands?”

In the same way spiritually from the LORD Jesus, we have a mandate to reach the world with the good news that He brings salvation. We are to share about the free gift of eternal life that Jesus offers. What a truly loving thing to do to offer them Jesus!

If He is the one who brings a new life, clean hands and a pure heart, the gift of eternal life, then the greatest thing you can do is to offer Christ to others.

Might it be fair to rephrase the African child’s wisdom: “How could I love my neighbors if I did not care that they were getting problems from not knowing Jesus?”

Who has dirty hands? I do! Everyone does!

Who cleans our dirty hands? Jesus

What do you do with clean hands? You use them to help people
know about Jesus.

3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. – Jesus (John 15)

Dwight Sullivan is pastor of the Whittier Evangelical United Methodist Church on the corner of Lambert Street and Colima Road


Environmental ‘naturalist’ Ray Williams dead at 79

Environmental ‘naturalist’ Ray Williams

Rio Hondo, Cal High teacher left his footprint on the earth, in a good way

By Tim Traeger

WHITTIER – If you love nature and the great outdoors, you’re a kindred spirit to Ray Williams.
Known primarily for his passion for biology, his ’57 Chevy, longevity in teaching and his environmental stewardship, the longtime Rio Hondo College biology teacher died Aug. 15 at his home in Lake Arrowhead. He was 79.
Williams did many positive things for the environment over the course of his life. He helped found California’s first Earth Day, started the 80-acre Rio Hondo College Wildlife Sanctuary and stood on the front lines with other key people who helped save the Upper Newport Bay as an ecological preserve.
“Because of his efforts, many endangered birds still have one of the few remaining bays in Southern California to migrate to, and thusly are saved from extinction as they migrate from California to Mexico,” said his wife of 13 years, Tatyana “Mary” Melnikoff. They enjoyed a “27-year love-of-life” relationship.
She said among her husband’s many attributes, he worked tirelessly to preserve the Whittier Hills. “’No’ spells ‘now.’”
The couple met when she was a Rio Hondo student in one of his biology classes. Mary said they were both educators, she being a professor of poetry at Citrus College in Glendora. She also served a stint as a staff writer for the Whittier Daily News.
In 1968 Williams joined the Rio Hondo College Biology Department, where he helped originate its first ecological and environmental courses. Over the next 45 years, he led hundreds of nature hikes and taught literally thousands of students to embrace the outdoors in places like Hawaii. He traveled through the Amazon and enjoyed the Salton Sea and Morro Bay. He began teaching at California High in 1957.
“Everybody is saying the word ‘respect.’ He was very well respected,” said longtime friend and fellow Rio Hondo staple Don Jenkins. “His heart was out there with the animals and the environment. I always told him he was the voice of the environment. He took care of the earth. He saved Back Bay in Newport Beach and became mayor,” Jenkins said.
Judi Henderson, longtime dean of behavioral sciences at Rio Hondo, remembered Williams as a caring educator who loved biology and nature.
“He was for years an academic leader, a faculty leader,” Henderson said. “He was active in the union. He was a union leader. He taught environmental biology class. He took his students out on hikes. Until recently, he would lead hikes up around (Lake Arrowhead) and explain the plants. He engaged people in outdoor activities – a very popular teacher.”
In fact Williams served as president of the Rio Hondo College Faculty Association from 1982 to 1984 where he orchestrated the first community college strike in California history.
“Ray was a good man, a real man. He had the most gentle soul, powerful and wise, and he will always be so loved and appreciated. His greatest happiness was caring for us and our family,” wife Mary said. “Losing Ray, my life is forever changed and nothing will ever be the same.”
Ray Elbert Williams was born Dec. 20, 1933 at Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles to the late DeLoss and Min Williams of Whittier. He was the eldest son of two children. He graduated in 1951 from Whittier High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from San Jose State and a master’s degree in both education and environmental sciences from Whittier College.
Williams is survived by wife, Mary; stepdaughter Anya Seboldt; sister Phyllis Millard (Bill); children from a previous marriage, Jennifer McDonald (Dallas) and grandson Connor; sons Barry and Jeff.
Memorial services will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center in Newport Beach.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Newport Bay Conservancy; e-mail or mail to P.O. Box 10804 Newport Beach, CA. 92658

Tim Traeger is former editor of the Whittier Daily News. E-mail him at or call 626-646-7352.

Trinity to host Adam’s Road Band

Trinity Worldwide Reprographics will host Adam’s Road Band, a special guest Christian music band from Florida, this Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. They are a Christian nonprofit band of four men who once were raised in a Latter Day-Saints family and were members of LDS Mormon church.

Through Grace of God all have come to biblical Christianity and having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Their story is powerful and joining them, too, will be one of the young men’s parents Lynn and Michael. Lynn Wilder has a book titled “Unveiling Grace” published by Zondervan.

The Friday event runs from 9 to 10 a.m. and a continental breakfast will be served.

For more information call 562-567-2050 or visit Trinity Worldwide Reprographics is located at 10410 Pioneer Blvd. #2 in Santa Fe Springs.



Partisan poets’ corner

How the nuns flunked me in Spanish class

By Robert Rosenblatt
Staff Writer
A critical week in history is starting to unfold before us. Will the United States attack Syria in order to punish Bashir al Assad for using sarin gas to kill innocent civilians? Poets who favor peace over war could tip the final decision by President Obama.
Vladamir Putin of Russia has given the U.S. a way to avoid the conflict by having Syria turn over all chemical stockpiles to the Russians and the United Nations’ inspectors and then verifying the actual destruction of the chemical stocks.
We will know by Obama’s speech which course to take.
The change in course by the administration “red line” and a reluctant congressional vote of approval for war remain in doubt.
The pressure to do something, anything, reminded me of how I had flunked Introduction to Spanish my freshman year of high school.
The crisp, black and white “habit” or uniform of the Dominican nun who was our teacher was intimidating enough. The rules of proper classroom behavior were enforced by the classic yardstick across the knuckles of your outstretched hands. It really hurt if you know what I mean.
I was just able to pass the written part of the test, and now the moment of truth, the oral part of the exam had to be completed. I knew a few of the basic questions and answers but had no confidence in the more detailed part of the exam.
The moment of truth was about to unfold. Sweat drenched my whole body and I felt like an actor who freezes when their lines come up in the script.
The immortal words I managed to blurt out will remain with me the rest of my adult life. I will leave these desperate Spanish words to all my fellow poets, especially those who attended St. Paul High School.
I don’t quite remember the question but this was my final answer …
“Mi tio’ es infermo, pero la carrera es verde.”
Yeah, that’s right, say it loud and say it proud. Call your best friend, or perhaps your estranged relatives and simply repeat the phrase.
If the world is not right today, it will be tomorrow, for you just can’t be sad when you say the words. “My uncle is sick, but the highway is green.”
Don’t be afraid to send us your favorite traumatic schoolyard nightmares. Until next time, look to the 411 …
Robert Rosenblatt is a longtime Whittier resident. Contact him at or call 562-314-7669.

Area football preview

California High School participates in team practice on Aug. 22.

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Loads of local talent bode well for coming season

By Eric Terrazas

Staff Writers

Summertime has reached its final stages and the calendar is getting ready to turn to fall.

This time of year signifies the start of a new high school football season, which brings about a sense of optimism.

Hopes are riding high among the area’s teams as they prepare for the 2013 season.

La Serna, which captured the Del Rio League crown and advanced to its second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division championship game last year, will look to take that final step in 2013. The Lancers, who finished 5-0 in league play and 12-2 overall, fell to Downey 33-25 in last season’s Southeast title game.

California will also seek a return to the postseason. The Condors, who posted a third-best 3-2 record in the Del Rio League, are coming off an 8-3 season.

Pioneer (1-4 league, 2-8 overall) and Whittier (0-5, 3-7) will both look to improve from a disappointing 2012.

St. Paul, which features a new head coach in Rick Zepeda, is hoping for better days. The Swordsmen experienced a turbulent 2012 season, finishing 0-5 in the Mission League and 1-9 overall.

Whittier Christian, which captured the 2012 Olympic League title by posting a 4-0 record, will attempt to sustain its success. The Heralds, who turned in an overall mark of 8-4, advanced to last season’s CIF-SS Northwest Division quarterfinals.

Here is a closer look at the area’s six teams:


The Condors figure to face a season of transition due to the graduation of several key players such as quarterback Drew Castro, running backs Aaron Garcia and Josh Perez, offensive linemen German Ponce, David Escamilla and Jacob Gamboa, defensive back Bryan Limon and linebacker Aaron Licon.

California, however, does feature some returning talent in running back Manny Espinoza, wide receiver Julio Arce, linebackers Nick Gonzales and Thomas Vielma, offensive/defensive lineman Dominic Sanchez and defensive back Isaiah Almarez. Espinoza, Arce, Gonzales and Almarez are seniors while Vielma and Sanchez are both entering their junior years.

According to Condors coach Jim Arnold, promising newcomers include running back/linebacker Nathan Lowden, defensive back James Contreras and lineman Brendon Simpson, who figures to play on both offense and defense.

“It will definitely be competitive,” Arnold said of the Del Rio League. “We need to stay away from injury. I think we can be a pretty decent football team.”

The Condors opened their season Sept. 5 with a home victory over Montebello. They start Del Rio play Oct. 11 against archrival La Serna.

“We open up with La Serna – it’s going to be a big battle,” Arnold said. “We’re all about trying to get ready for league. We have a lot of guys (playing both offense and defense). Normally, we don’t like to do that but we have to do it this year.”

California opened its season Sept. 5 with a 24-13 victory over Montebello.


The defending Del Rio League champions appear primed for another successful season with a team that features returning talent on both sides of the ball.

Senior and three-year starting quarterback Frankie Palmer leads an offense that also features fellow senior returners in offensive lineman Enrique Huerta, tight end Luis Camacho and wide receiver Matt Rosales.

Camacho and Huerta, who play outside linebacker and defensive lineman respectively, figure to play essential roles for the Lancers defense, which also features senior safety Tony Ceron.

Promising newcomers include junior running back/defensive back Kevin Ramos, sophomore linebacker Daniel Campos and sophomore running back/defensive back J.T. Thompson.

Lancers coach Margarito Beltran feels good about their chances this year and they’re focusing on getting to the playoffs, and will take it from there.

La Serna is off to a 1-1 start, winning its Aug. 30 opener against Vista, 27-10, before falling 24-20 to Los Osos on Sept. 6.


The Titans will look to make strides under second-year coach Chuck Willig.

The Pioneer’s offense features key returners in senior quarterback Jonathan Jimenez and wide receivers Julio Reynoso (junior) and Matthew Rodriguez (senior). Jimenez passed for 959 yards and five touchdowns as a junior.

After losing several defensive players such as linebackers Angel Paez and Angel Marquez to graduation, the Titans will feature a youthful defense that hopes to make their presence felt quickly.

Since construction has started on a new football facility that is scheduled to open in 2014, the Titans will be on the road this year. Pioneer will play this season’s home games at California and La Mirada high schools and Cerritos College.

The Titans opened their season Aug. 29 with a 28-20 nonleague loss to Sunny Hills before defeating Glenn, 44-26, on Sept. 5.


The Cardinals, which feature a senior-laden roster, have high hopes for 2013.

“We have a lot of seniors on the team,” Whittier second-year coach Visko Ancich said. “We have a handful of kids who came out for football and who want to be a part of the program.”

Whittier features several returners that include wide receiver/defensive back Matt Acosta, running back/defensive back Anthony Figueroa, defensive linemen Zach Nicholson and Andres Garcia, offensive lineman Alex Pastrana, quarterback Jared Reza and fullback Eddie Orta. All are seniors except for Orta, who is a junior.

Senior linebacker Mario Espinoza, junior offensive lineman Albert Gonzales and senior wide receiver Jacob Cervantes will also look to make an impact.

“We need to stay healthy, do our job and play with passion,” Ancich said. “We’re looking forward to getting started.”

The Cardinals have started 2-0 with wins against Sonora (28-21) and Azusa (31-12).


Rick Zepeda, a 1988 graduate of St. Paul, returns to his alma mater.

“I love St. Paul,” said Zepeda, who previously served as El Rancho’s head coach for four seasons (2008-11). “This place changed my life when I was a kid. I feel really blessed to have this opportunity to give back to a school that gave me a lot.”

Zepeda added, “It’s going to be tough. We play the best teams every week. This year, we have a lot of young guys and first-time varsity starters. We have good quality offensive and defensive linemen. Our skill guys have to play above their means.”

Junior quarterback Jacob Maier will lead the offense, which also features fellow returning left tackle Junior Millan, running back Daniel Aguilar, center Jeremy Funk and wide receiver Matt Baker.

Key defensive returners include lineman Jamie Diaz and linebacker Aaron Miranda.

Defensive backs Nick Delgado and Brandon Garcia, along with linebacker Jacob Bertram and nose guard Joe Gallardo, will also seek to play major roles for the Swordsmen.

St. Paul started its season Aug. 30 with a 40-20 home loss to Buena Park and then fell to 0-2 with a 56-7 defeat to Mater Dei on Sept. 5.


The Heralds, armed with a roster that returns several key players, are aiming for more success in 2013.

Senior quarterback Ryan Esslinger returns to lead a talented offense that also features junior wide receiver Noah Evans, senior center Parker Subia, and sophomore running back/wide receiver Nick Watase.

The senior trio of safeties Dylan Murphy and Matt Triviso, along with linebacker Jack Huitt, figure to serve as the Heralds’ defensive leaders. Sophomore defensive end Ryan Seen will also look to make an impact.

Heralds coach Sergio Gradilla feels excited about their chances this year with key seniors returning. Their focus is on keeping both sides of the line strong.

Whittier Christian has started well, winning its first two games against Bishop, 41-20, and Cantwell Sacred Heart, 32-17.


The Partisan Poets Corner

By Robert Rosenblatt
Staff Writer
WHITTIER – Those local poets who went to school in Whittier as young students in the 1950s and 1960s experienced one of the finest educational systems in the nation.
California was a leader in sending students to college. Whittier took pride in producing great scholars and athletes on a consistent basis.
The traditional core values instilled by our parents, teachers and religious leaders have always made this city great for raising a family. Whittier schools remain a cut above elementary and high schools in Los Angeles in general, with higher test scores and unprecedented numbers of graduates going to college.

Whittier city management has kept us out of bankruptcy with a more responsible use of taxes for maintenance of schools, parks and roads. The trash is collected three times a week instead of once, as they do in Los Angeles. The police in Whittier and Santa Fe Springs help keep crime rates lower than most of our neighboring communities.
Two incidents in close proximity over the past few months have shaken my faith in humanity.
The desecration of grave markers at Founders’ Park and the early release of thousands of “low risk” prisoners due to overcrowding changed everything. There were multiple incidents of young girls being approached by ex-cons in our local parks. The original brass plaques representing the first people to settle in Whittier were stolen and melted down for scrap by thieves and thugs.
The shattered wood mountings and cost of brass have so far prevented the restoration of the Founders’ Park memorial. The history of the residents interred could be found by the excellent Whittier Historical Society. Local artisans could replace brass with less expensive etched marble to replace the brass. If you go near Calvary Cemetery on Whittier Boulevard, you will see some of the best family-owned artisan-monument-makers in the country.

Perhaps the good folks at Rose Hills could participate in a noble cause to restore some dignity to that hallowed ground.

In this way, we honor those poets who came before us.
In regards to the next prisoner release, the perps should heed the phrase, “Fear the Poets,” the motto of our beloved local college. The local martial arts academies are all in support of showing up to teach when they can at Penn Park and Founders’ Park. Local Kenpo master Steve Gallardo can be seen on Wednesday afternoons teaching his young charges.

The former Arizona State Sun Devil football player lost a foot to diabetes, but continues to inspire all of us by standing up to teach our future citizens.

“Good on you, mate,” I say. My fellow instructors will do what we can to back a very stretched thin blue line with our eyes and our cell phones.

The sight of martial arts training in the parks may help in a small way to deter the creeps from harassing our most precious assets, our children, from harm.

A peaceful life will usually produce better poets and certainly better poetry. We at will keep up with the local issues that concern us all. Until next time …

Robert Rosenblatt is a longtime Whittier resident. Write to him at or call 562-314-7669.