Passport mania

first_imgWHITTIER – Like hundred of other future travelers, Vanessa Gomez of Whittier is hurrying to get her passport. “I’m really concerned I’m not gonna get it on time” for her trip in four weeks, Gomez, 19, said. She’s not alone. According to the U.S. Department of State, millions of people are trying to get their passport applications processed. As a result, the waiting period is stretching out. It is now taking about 10 weeks to receive a passport, instead of the four to six weeks it took before a new law went into effect this year requiring passports for overseas travel. The library’s passport center has processed more than 276 passport applications so far this year, officials said. “Saturdays normally we would do a maximum of 12, but this Saturday we did 32 passports,” said Diana Erickson circulation supervisor at Whittier Library. But for Gomez, the concern is not only about the delay, it’s also about the fees. “I didn’t think it was gonna cost so much,” she said. The fees range from $97 to $185, depending on the applicant’s age and whether they need their passport expedited. “Sometimes they don’t realize that if the whole family is going to travel, it is going to cost them,” Erickson said. But there’s not much you can do if you plan to travel abroad by air. “Most people just accept it,” Shulkatis said. “If you want to travel, it’s just a fact of life now.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Business is booming at the passport processing center at the Whittier Central Library on Washington Avenue, where the increase in demand has been noticeable, library officials said. “We’ve had a huge increase in the number of people that are coming in, and the questions we receive over the phone have really increased,” said Debi Shulkatis, library services manager. “Most of that is because of the law changing this year.” Since January, the law requires everyone traveling by air to and from the United States from the Caribbean, Canada, Bermuda and Mexico to have a passport. By January 2008, everyone traveling outside the country will be required to have a passport, even if they are traveling by land. “As the year goes by and it gets closer to the deadline there will be more traffic,” said Kasey Weseloh, a library assistant at the Whittier Central branch. last_img read more

Salsa-slayer gets 11 years behind bars

first_imgLANCASTER – A 19-year-old Lancaster man has been ordered to serve 11 years in prison for throwing a bottle of salsa that fatally injured a volunteer collecting donations for the homeless. The case of Joseph Peterson started out as a relatively minor affair when he was accused of stealing M&Ms and Twizzlers from a discount store. When Peterson fled with the candy, Charles Hairston, a 51-year-old homeless-group volunteer, tried to stop him, sheriff’s officials said. Peterson threw the bottle, hitting him in the head. Hairston died three weeks later. Peterson pleaded no contest Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter after prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge of murder. He was sentenced to 11 years. Hairston then pushed a shopping cart into the car to stop it and a fight followed that carried into the store. Peterson threw items at Hairston, hitting him in the head with the salsa. Peterson was arrested, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor burglary and assault with a deadly weapon, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years’ probation. But three days after the incident, Hairston went to a hospital complaining of a headache. Doctors diagnosed a subdural hematoma, or bruising inside his head, and Hairston underwent surgery on July 20. He died of complications Aug. 2 and the murder charge was filed. [email protected] (661) 476-4586160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “It’s probably a fair resolution on the matter,” Deputy District Attorney Bernie LaForteza said. Peterson’s attorney, Tyson Beers, said there was no malice or intent to kill on his client’s part. “We think it’s a good resolution,” Beers said. “Getting it down from second-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter is pretty good and a pretty big jump.” Hairston, a Lancaster resident, was outside a 99 Cents Only store July 14, 2006, collecting donations when Peterson, his girlfriend and another couple went inside the store, prosecutors said. Employees saw them taking candy and tried to stop them. Peterson drove away, nearly hitting an employee who was trying to write down the license plate number, prosecutors said. last_img read more


first_imgFINN VALLEY AC athlete Dempsey McGuigan has set an astonishing new Irish record – throwing the hammer 69.67 metres at a meet in England this weekend.“It was a very encouraging start to the season and is actually just 23cms short of the qualifying mark for the World Junior Championships,” said the club’s Patsy McGonagle.“Dempsey has just returned from an intense three-week training programme in South Africa and this has really added to his performance.” Meanwhile his clubmate Paul Leck won the Scottish University 5k Championship in a time of 15:21. FINN VALLEY’S McGUIGAN SETS NEW IRISH JUNIOR RECORD was last modified: April 15th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:FINN VALLEY’S McGUIGAN SETS NEW IRISH JUNIOR RECORDlast_img read more

More green for greenery

first_imgWHITTIER – Just when you thought high gasoline prices had done their worst, several vendors say rising fuel costs also mean you probably will pay more this year for a Christmas tree. Christmas tree vendors getting an early start to their seasonal sales Tuesday said they have had to boost tree prices by anywhere from a dollar or two for smaller noble and Douglas firs to as much as $11 more for the larger nobles. “The prices have been going up yearly, and we have always absorbed the cost, but because of the high cost of fuel, we will have to pass a slight increase in cost along to our customers,” said Kris Yeno, manager of Big Top Trees 2 at Lambert Road and Greenleaf Avenue in Whittier. Tree retailers say their fuel costs for transporting Christmas trees from farms in Washington and Oregon to Southern California is costing them more this year. A better deal might be had at large retail chain stores like Home Depot on Washington Boulevard in Whittier, which started selling trees in the parking lot this week. Home Depot is selling Douglas firs at prices ranging from $22 to $33, and nobles for $25 to $90. That’s because the company was able to negotiate with tree farms to keep costs down, said Kathryn Gallagher, spokeswoman for Home Depot. Christmas tree purchases are expected to remain steady this season, compared to last year. In 2004, consumers bought 27.1 million Christmas trees nationwide, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. About 8 percent of households will buy artificial trees this Christmas, the association projects. Prices are driven by many local variables, so there is no way to gauge national price trends, according to an association official. James Noonan, who opened Thunder Mountain Trees at Greenleaf Avenue and Telegraph Road in Whittier on Tuesday, said he is selling Douglas firs for $20 to $35 and nobles for $40 to $70. “For me, it’s more like an experiment to see how the tree experience goes,” Noonan said. “Obviously I need to pay some bills, because it wasn’t free to do this. But I also want to donate some trees to the needy. Life is too short not to help out.” Staff writer Kevin Smith contributed to this story. [email protected] [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals As a result, consumers can expect to pay $26 to $69 for Douglas firs at Yeno’s tree lot. Last year’s prices ranged from $24 to $69, she said. A 6-foot Douglas fir will cost $32.95 at Big Top Trees 2, up from $29 last year. A noble fir that cost $46.95 last year will cost $47.95 this year. Want a 10-foot noble? They are going for $120 this year at Big Top, up from $109 a year ago. The same situation was true at a Christmas tree lot on Rosemead Boulevard in Pico Rivera, where higher gasoline prices increased the cost of transporting 1,000 trees from Oregon, lot operator Gracie Gallegos said. “With the high cost of fuel to bring them down here in trucks being what it is, that price will then be attached to the trees,” she said, adding that prices for a noble fir at her lot range from $60 to $90 and from $25 to $70 for a Douglas. last_img read more