Neighborhood fixes won’t be easy job

first_img“They gonna pick that (expletive) up?” the father of five daughters asked Sgt. Scott Engedal. For too long, Moreno said, crime, trash, prostitutes, drug dealing and gangs have dominated his neighborhood – an area of northeast Wilmington commonly known as Ghost Town. Residents like Moreno raise their children amid the rampant crime, blight and gang members that surround them. “We got kids, man,” Moreno said. “(Expletive) selling dope like selling cookies! I try to keep my house clean. We are paying a lot of money in taxes.” Gunfire at night – or even during the day – is common. By Larry Altman STAFF WRITER Mario Moreno put his hand into the air and flagged down the patrol car. For weeks a mangled Honda coupe, its back end crushed and its seats torn out, sat abandoned in the street across from his Wilmington house. Blue chalk lines in the street illustrated how many times parking officers had marked the wrecked car for towing, and how many times its owner moved it a few inches forward or backward to avoid it. “You see people – `Pow, pow, pow!”‘ Moreno said. Ghost Town is unlike any other neighborhood in the South Bay. Police and prosecutors say the drug dealing is controlled by nine families with connections to a single gang, which operated the business – at least until recently – almost unimpeded. “If you are going to Ghost Town, it’s because you have a purpose: Either you are going to buy drugs or you are going to visit someone you know there,” said Los Angeles police Cmdr. Patrick Gannon, who formerly headed the Harbor Division. “It was just its own community. If you lived in that part of Wilmington, nobody said you lived in Wilmington. You lived in Ghost Town.” The origin of its nickname isn’t clear. Most people believe it’s simply because Wilmington Cemetery sits to the west. Most of the homes in Ghost Town are protected by chain-link or wrought-iron fences. Some streets were repaved recently, but curbs are broken, weeds are growing through the sidewalks and gang tags mark the park’s jungle gym. Populated by about 1,200 primarily Latino and black residents, Ghost Town is bordered by Pacific Coast Highway on the south, Sanford Avenue on the west and East Sandison Street on the north. The eastern border, Drumm Avenue, ends at a brick wall. Barbed wire surrounds the north, west and east sides of the neighborhood. The sharp points are not to keep anyone out of the Wilmington enclave, but keep the residents from getting into any of the businesses that surround it. For three decades, police and prosecutors say, the East Side Pain gang has operated the drug trade. Buyers come from all over Southern California, looking to pick up rock cocaine and marijuana. According to interviews and affidavits filed in federal and state courts, Ghost Town is an easy place to deal drugs. It’s unique geography makes it difficult for police to patrol. There are only four north and south streets, with no entry from the north side. The streets are long and narrow, making it hard for officers to conduct surveillance and go undetected. The geography allows gang members to keep close watch on everyone entering and exiting the neighborhood. Gannon said gang members make “amazing use” of Nextel phones and other communication devices to alert drug dealers that police have arrived. “Everybody kind of keeps an eye out,” Gannon said. “They call it chirping and they chirp each other to let them know the police are in the area.” Court documents filed by city and federal prosecutors say police officers have watched Ghost Town drug dealers conducting counter-surveillance on them. Prosecutors say the ESP gang has 84 documented members. Most live in the neighborhood and are related by blood or marriage. The gang’s main function is selling drugs, but its members are responsible for homicides, assaults, criminal threats, intimidation and vandalism, court affidavits say. Its members carry guns and affiliate themselves with other Blood street gangs in Los Angeles, Compton and Long Beach. “They had their share of shootings over there, not as many as other parts of Wilmington, but I’m aware of – in the 21/2 years I was there – two officer-involved shootings that I responded to,” Gannon said. Established in the 1970s, ESP originally was a faction of the Eastside Wilmas gang. But now they’re rivals. Most of ESP’s members are black. After the Normont Terrace housing project in Harbor City was razed about seven years ago, ESP absorbed the project’s Blood gang, the Waterfront Pirus, federal documents said. Nine families call the shots, controlling eight to 10 homes in Ghost Town. At least one member of each family is an active ESP member, court records show. “Their way of life appears to have been passed down from generations, parents to children or younger gang members,” court documents said. “It is common for narcotic sellers in this neighborhood to deal drugs in the presence of very young children, especially their own.” ESP does not allow nonmembers or anyone not associated with ESP to sell narcotics in Ghost Town without paying some of their profits to the gang. ESP refers to them as “taxes,” prosecutors said. The drug dealers only will do business with people they know. Undercover police officers trying to make drug buys must recruit and work with a “hook,” someone previously known to the seller. The hook acts as a middleman between the officer and the dealer. Police say they have done their best to battle the drug dealing. As captain, Gannon said he participated in 20 to 25 search warrants in the area. “It definitely was a challenge for us to police,” Gannon said. “We worked that thing virtually every day. It has been a problem for a long time.” From January 2005 to May 2007, police made 312 drug-related arrests. But officials say they could not control the drug trade because new gang members immediately filled the void. “We hit it from a more traditional narcotics angle where you go after the sellers and try to find out where they are hiding their stash,” Gannon said. “We would never make any inroads into the hierarchy of that particular gang. That was very difficult.” This year, however, in a plan spearheaded by former Harbor Division Cmdr. Joan McNamara, Los Angeles police officers attacked the drug dealers differently. Federal, state and local narcotics officers teamed with LAPD officers, gathering intelligence on the gang’s leadership and everyone involved from the bottom to the top. “Instead of doing traditional police work where you go in and you don’t have the full story, we spent a long time gathering the intelligence,” said McNamara, who recently was promoted. On July 31, about 500 Los Angeles police officers and federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives agents swarmed into the community, arresting 43 suspected gang members and drug dealers. “We want to make a difference quickly,” McNamara said. “I think what we’ve done in the past is effective. It’s not effective long-term.” In addition to the arrests, federal prosecutors filed lawsuits designed to take over drug dealers’ homes under federal asset-forfeiture laws. The City Attorney’s Office additionally filed suit against four Ghost Town homeowners, charging that they failed to keep their lots free of crime. The actions could result in fines, orders to clean up the properties or potential seizure of the properties. “The way we did this, this simultaneous serving of the search warrants, the simultaneous arrests, the simultaneous taking of the homes, the simultaneous prosecuting them to the best of our abilities, really went to the heart of them,” McNamara said. One defendant is Portia Hodge, who denies involvement in the drug dealing and said she does not live in Ghost Town. The city attorney’s lawsuit against her, however, says Hodge’s nephew made repeated drug sales from a property she owns. Hodge said she should not be held responsible. “They are going to seize my house,” Hodge said. “You can’t seize my house.” Doniel Fox, whose brother Henry Hood was among those arrested, complained that the police action was unnecessary. “I think it’s bogus,” Fox said. “They came out really hard for no reason. I don’t believe what they did was right. Wilmington is a family.” Fox complained that the police “really only picked black people” and found just $14,000 cash when they believed they were going to “get millions and millions.” “They made it seem like Wilmington was the biggest drug cartel in the world and it’s really not,” she said. The City Attorney’s Office says it also is attempting to improve other neighborhood conditions. Deputy City Attorneys Kevin Gilligan and Rubin Harsoyo spent time recently examining streets and parks, taking photographs of work that needs to be done. Trees need trimming, weeds need removing, sidewalks need repairs. Some work is under way. Much of the graffiti has been covered, including a huge “Welcome to Ghost Town” mural that filled a long wall on O Street. “It took 30 years to get this way; it’s not going to be fixed in five minutes,” Gilligan said. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who represents the area, will hold a community meeting to discuss issues in east Wilmington on Oct. 2 at Holy Family Church. Hahn said she has focused on the Ghost Town community for some time. “We have resurfaced almost every street in this area,” she said. “We have repainted and restriped the curbs and streets. Within the next two months we will have trimmed every tree in this neighborhood and we have increased the pickup of dumping and the removal of graffiti.” Police are now working to elicit community help and establish leaders. Officers have patrolled on horseback and are working to gain the support of residents. “You have a community that’s literally been besieged by illegal activity for decades,” McNamara said. “I can understand why the trust was waning.” McNamara said the police action has improved conditions, but residents must now take the lead. “This is a really important time to let them understand, let them know it’s a different place,” McNamara said. “We are not done by any stretch. It began with taking the cancer out. ? Now it’s the time for the community to work together.” larry.altman@dailybreeze.com160Want 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 – West Ham ‘made the right decision’ to listen to fans and not sign Joey Barton, claims Sam Allardyce

first_imgFormer West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has told talkSPORT the club were right to listen to fans’ opinion and halt transfer talks with midfielder Joey Barton.The former England international, a free agent following his release from QPR, was reportedly close to signing for the Hammers on Tuesday.But supporters responded negatively to the news, believing the divisive player would not be a good fit for Slaven Bilic’s side, and West Ham listened, with co-chairman David Gold later confirming Barton would not be joining the club.Allardyce, who departed as Hammers boss at the end of last season, is disappointed for Barton – who he believes still has the ability to play in the Premier League – but insists the club made the right call.Asked if the club should take to fans’ opinion into account, Allardyce told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “Yes, I think so.“ I don’t think you need the added pressure if the fans aren’t happy with a player, even as good a player as Joey Barton.“I had it when El Hadji Diouf trained with us when I first got there and there was a big reaction against him. You get enough pressure as it is as manager without adding to it yourself.“So it’s probably the right decision in the end, as much as I am disappointed for Joey.“We all know he’s got the ability to play in the Premier league, he’s proven that over the years.“Everyone looks at Joey’s temperament, and I think that’s the only drawback to ‘do you or don’t you’ take joey on, that’s the only question you ask because it’s not about the football ability, we all know he’s got that.“If you need a good player with experience in the Premier League and his available in a really inexpensive deal, than you’ve got to decide as a manager and as a club whether you want to take that risk or board or not.”last_img read more

Pure imagination

first_imgWHITTIER – There is, of course, the black widow. In a pinch, one might use a purple popeye. But when Janet Ohrtman played marbles as a child, her shooter was always a limeade corkscrew. Ohrtman is one of the docents leading tours of the Whittier Museum’s Our Favorite Toys exhibit, which runs until the end of the month. From antique clay marbles to delicate figurines, the exhibit opens the toychest that many people tucked into the attic of their minds long ago. The exhibit features old board games, Barbie Dolls with beehive hairdos and classic Hot Wheels. Ohrtman, who did not give her age, remembers when her little brother used to melt lead into toy-soldier molds. “Boy, things have sure changed,” she said. “Could you imagine parents letting their children do that nowadays?” A walk through the exhibit shows how toy manufacturing has changed over time. The oldest figures are solid lead. Later, they become hollow and more ornate. “It kind of mirrors man’s discovery of technology,” said Judy Jansen, a Whittier resident with a few collections featured in the exhibit. “The oldest things are made by hand, then, later on, they are made by machines,” she said. Even marbles changed. The most senior are clay, while the newer spheres are glass. And “old,” in the case of marbles, is a relative term, Jansen said. “Marbles are so old, it’s such an ancient game, they found some in King Tut’s tomb,” she said. While most children play video games these days, there was a time when all a kid needed were a few figures and a big imagination, Jansen said. “I wonder if we’ve lost some of that,” she said. “Now, video games are so realistic. Back then, you had to use your imagination.” ben.baeder@sgvn.com (626) 698-8811, Ext. 2703 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want 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

McCann And Huston Sweep MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week Honors

first_imgST. LOUIS – For the fourth time this season, Drake University student-athletes have swept the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar Athlete of the Week Awards with Emma Huston (Des Moines, Iowa) and Robert McCann (Mississauga, Ontario) earning the honor on Tuesday, May 3. The award is the sixth of the season for Huston now gives the Bulldogs a total of 23 Scholar-Athletes of the Week this season.Huston, who has won the award in back-to-back weeks, finished second in the 1,500 meters at the 107th Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.  Running a tremendous race that finished in a sprint to the finish line, Huston was edged by just 0.04 seconds as both competitors dove across and collapsed at the finish.  Huston’s time of 4:23.14 is three seconds off her personal best, which ranks No. 1 in the Valley.  She is also the top-ranked MVC runner in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and has set four school records this season. Academically, she has a 3.97 GPA as a biology major and is a two-time Elite 18 Award winner. She has previously been named the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week on April 26, April 5, Feb. 16, Jan. 26 and Oct. 19McCann made history last week in winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the prestigious Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee with a winning time of 8:49.14 in driving rain and wind.  McCann’s win was the first for a Bulldog at the Drake Relays since 2013 and the program’s first Relays steeplechase win since 1981 and just the second all-time.  His time was just two seconds off his personal best in the event, which is easily the fastest in the MVC this season.  He currently ranks 12th in the West Region in the event and 18th nationally.  McCann owns a 3.93 GPA as an actuarial science major and is a two-time Elite 18 Award winner. This week’s awards continues Drake’s extensive collection of MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week awards. A Drake student-athlete has won the award 23 times in the 37 weeks the honor has been awarded in 2015-16 including four weeks in which the Bulldogs swept the men’s and women’s honors.To qualify for Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week laurels, student-athletes must carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.20, completed at least one academic year at a Valley institution and must be at least a sophomore in academic standing.Redshirt freshmen and first-year junior college transfers are not eligible. In addition to the academic qualifications, student-athletes will be evaluated on their athletic performance for a one-week period.2015-16 Drake Scholar-Athlete of the Week WinnersEmma Huston – Women’s Track & Field – May 3Robert McCann – Men’s Track & Field – May 3Emma Huston – Women’s Track and Field – April 26Reed Fischer – Men’s Track & Field – April 19Emma Huston – Women’s Track & Field – April 5Emma Huston – Women’s Track & Field – Feb. 16Reed Timmer – Men’s Basketball – Feb. 2Emma Huston – Women’s Track & Field – Jan. 26Reed Timmer – Men’s Basketball – Jan. 12Maddy Dean – Women’s Basketball – Jan. 12Graham Woodward – Men’s Basketball – Jan. 5Kale Abrahamson – Men’s Basketball – Dec. 29Reed Timmer – Men’s Basketball – Dec. 22Reed Timmer – Men’s Basketball – Dec. 15Reed Timmer – Men’s Basketball – Dec. 8Rai Ahmed-Green – Women’s Track & Field – Dec. 8Kale Abrahamson – Men’s Basketball – Dec. 1James Grunert – Men’s Soccer – Nov. 24Paul Ciszewski – Men’s Soccer – Nov. 16Steven Enna – Men’s Soccer – Oct. 19Emma Huston – Women’s Cross Country – Oct. 19Reed Fischer – Men’s Cross Country – Oct. 6Ben LeMay – Men’s Soccer – Sept. 22Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

Top Stories: Inbred Mammoths, Ringed Asteroids, and Shrinking Salamanders

first_img 00:0000:0000:00 A Dragonfly Mystery, Deformed Mammoths, and Why Dark Pigeons Rule Cities A Dragonfly Mystery, Deformed Mammoths, and Why Dark Pigeons Rule Citiescenter_img Saturn-Like Rings Spotted Around AsteroidResearchers have discovered Saturn-like rings around an icy asteroid far from our sun called Chariklo. This is the first time we’ve found rings around anything in our solar system other than a giant planet. At present, it’s not clear how Chariklo’s ring system formed, but the discovery may help us better us understand how rings behave and evolve. Did Inbreeding Doom the Mammoth?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)When we think about the mammoth, we don’t imagine genetically deformed creatures stumbling through a doomed landscape, going to desperate lengths to stay alive in a rapidly changing world. But maybe we should: An unusual feature on some mammoth fossils dredged from the North Sea suggests that inbreeding may have hastened the mammoth’s extinction 10,000 years ago.Intensive Day Care May Improve Long-Term Health of Poor ChildrenEarly childhood intervention may improve the long-term health of poor children. That’s the conclusion of a study, launched in 1972, tracking the effect of an intensive day care program on low-income kids. The results suggest that it is possible to prevent conditions such as obesity and heart disease in the poor.Scientists Fix Errors in Controversial Paper About Saturated FatsOn 17 March, a paper made headlines around the world for questioning whether unsaturated fats are really healthier than saturated fats, debunking a cornerstone of many dietary guidelines. But a new version of the publication had to be posted shortly after it first appeared to correct several errors. Now, a number of scientists are criticizing the paper and even calling on the authors to retract it.Warming World Shrinks SalamandersSalamanders are displaying one of the fastest responses to climate change on record. As temperatures in their habitats have risen over just the past 50 years, salamanders have gotten smaller. The discovery is the first confirmation that climate change can alter body size—and helps us understand another way it will affect the world as we know it.Spacecraft Returns Seven Particles From Birth of the Solar SystemAfter a massive, years-long search, researchers have recovered seven interstellar dust particles from the birth of our solar system. The whole sample weighs just a few trillionths of a gram, but it’s the first time scientists have laid their hands on primordial material unaltered by the violent birth of the solar system.last_img read more