Monthly Archives: October 2013

Remembering a fallen officer

It’s one of those anniversaries you wish didn’t exist but, out of respect, you don’t forget.

Twenty years ago this year, Master Officer Howard Dallies, Jr. of the Garden Grove Police Department was shot to death during a traffic stop on Aldgate Street, east of Brookhurst.

Dallies, 36, spoke some of his last words to fellow officers rushing him to the hospital; he described the Kawasaki motorcycle he’d stopped, and the driver who shot him four times.

Dallies, along with four other officers, is enshrined at the “Call to Duty” Garden Grove Police Memorial outside of the Garden Grove Police Department at 11301 Acacia Parkway, his plaque on a wall behind a sculpture of a mourning officer holding an American flag.

The crime remains the only unsolved killing of a lawman in Orange County history.

And there’s a twist.

The three-striker who law enforcement experts consider, to this day, the No. 1 suspect in Dallies’ killing is making a case that he should be freed from prison. John J. Stephens, doing 25 years to life in Folsom, is eligible for release because California voters changed the state’s three strikes law in 2012, offering leniency to criminals whose third strike is non-violent (Stephens’ third strike was for meth; his other convictions were for assault with a firearm and battery, among others).

As Judge Erick Larsh listens to both sides in a continuing series of hearings, Stephens’ family – including his wife and teenage son – is making the case that he is not a danger to society. A UCLA psychologist has backed them, saying Stephens is low-risk. They stress that Stephens has not done anything violent since his third-strike conviction for meth in 2003.

Many in these parts remember 1993. They remember the high-profile case that concluded with charges against Stephens being dropped because of alleged police misconduct. They remember Stephens sticking out his tongue at cameras after going free.

Now, those opposed to his release are stepping forward for the prosecution and telling their stories to Judge Larsh. Many are victims of Stephens’ crimes. Their testimonies are telling: Stephens was a meth-head and a thug in the 1990s. During one of two times he assaulted victims with a firearm, and was later convicted, a man took a bullet in the chest and survived.

Others are reminding Judge Larsh that Stephens – they believe – is a white supremacist and belongs to a prison gang.

Attorneys for both sides are making closing arguments this week.

I’ve been trying to get someone from the Garden Grove Police Department to comment, even about Dallies and what kind of man he was, but law enforcement is staying mum to the press, which is understandable. They don’t want to make any move that jeopardizes the state’s efforts to keep Stephens behind bars.

Last week, I visited the memorial, going left to right on the wall, reading the plaques of the fallen: Sgt. Myron L. Trapp in 1959, Officer Andy Reese in 1970, Officer Donald Reed in 1980, Officer Michael Rainford in 1980, then Dallies, the officer “… known for being a quiet, patient and sincerely polite man.”

–Brady Rhoades

UPDATE: GG High steamrolls to 49-0 win

I’m not surprised undefeated Garden Grove High scored 49 points against Los Amigos High Thursday night.

I am surprised that the Argonauts’ defense (a smashmouth D, but still…) held the Lobos — the second best team in the Garden Grove League, with an offense that had scored at least 45 points in each of its last four games – to 159 total yards and a goose egg on the scoreboard.

The Argonauts (8-0, 3-0) started the game ranked No. 2 in the CIF-SS Southern Division coaches’ poll and No. 22 in Orange County.

My guess is the first ranking won’t change and the second will.

Coach Willy Puga has created a perennial powerhouse and source of pride in Garden Grove.Two years ago, the Argos won a CIF title. Last year, the team went deep in the playoffs before losing. And don’t look now, but this year’s team might be the best in the school’s history.

Consider: the offense, led by quarterback Angel Martinez and tailback Sionne Masoe (who rushed for 200 yards in this latest game), is averaging 45 points a game. The speedy and physical defense is allowing an average of 8 points a game.

Puga’s squad is getting better, too, having shutout its last four foes and outscoring them 212-0. That’s Trojan-esque back in the Pete Carroll days.

Sometimes, cliches are true. In football, you really should prepare yourself with a One game at a time mentality.

That’s the great thing about this job. I don’t have to abide by that cliche. This team is fast, physical, well-coached and getting better each week.

Two more league games loom, but who’s kidding whom? Get ready for a long playoff run and a solid shot at making history as one of the great teams we’ve seen around these parts.

–Brady Rhoades

Funny faces photo contest

A photo of a boy making a goofy face at a local pumpkin patch that appeared in one of this media group’s newspapers prompted much laughter in our newsroom (I’d show it here, but I’m having technical troubles, so I’ll keep trying to update this post so you can see it).

It also prompted an idea from one of my colleagues: a funny face contest. So, a funny face contest it is. We want to see photos of Garden Grove and Stanton residents making funny faces.

Funny can be, literally, funny, or scary, or peculiar, or surprised, or downright weird. If you think it’s funny in any of these ways (or one we haven’t thought of), you’re eligible for this contest.

Here’s how it works: when the photos of funny faces come pouring in, we’ll organize and judge them after the Nov. 15 deadline. Then we’ll publish our top three picks – and maybe more – in the next week’s newspaper (possibly on the front page, but no promises) and on this website. 

Submit your photo or photos, in JPEG form and high resolution if possible, to Editor Brady Rhoades at brhoades@localnewspapers.org. Also, please identify the person or persons in the photo, their name and city of residence, and the name of the photographer.

–Brady Rhoades

Shhh! Or fork over $500

If you want to party in Stanton, you’re going to have to keep the music down.

With its police tired of fielding complaints and, with a toothless ordinance in place, unable to do much, the City Council last week approved tougher penalties for those who violate the city’s noise law.

Offenders used to get away with a warning. Now, they’ll get one warning from sheriff’s deputies – the Orange County Sheriff’s Department polices Stanton –and a $500 fine upon the second offense.

“People used to shine us off,” said Mayor David Shawver. “They won’t be able to do that anymore.”

–Brady Rhoades

Vets deserve war memorial

I believe what a lot of people in Garden Grove believe: the city that sacrificed more troops in the Vietnam War than any other city in Orange County – 41 young warriors — should have a war memorial to commemmorate this historical fact.

Thirty eight years after the war ended, we still don’t have one.

But I’m glad to report that city leaders and citizens continue to make the vision a reality.

So … practice your backswing and show your support for the Vietnam War Museum of America Foundation at its inaugural fundraising golf tournament. 

The tourney takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at the Navy Golf Course Seal Beach, at 5660 Orangewood Ave. in Cypress. 

Registration begins at 11 a.m., with a shotgun start at 12:45 p.m.

A limited number of spots are still open.  Sponsorships opportunities are also available. To register, call 714-741-5291 or email elainem@garden-grove.org.  

Golfers can enjoy a full day of competition and recreation while helping to raise funds to build a future Vietnam War museum in Garden Grove.  The $175 per player cost includes putting and long drive contests, a barbecue lunch, dinner, and a hole-in-one opportunity to win a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The tournament is capped off by a silent auction with prizes that include two roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines; 4-pack of Disneyland Park Hopper tickets; Samsung Galaxy Tablet; one-year social membership at Old Ranch Country Club worth $2,000; and a variety of gift certificates to popular attractions and golf courses.

Located in Garden Grove, the museum will be dedicated to honoring the millions of American and South Vietnamese veterans and civilians who served during the Vietnam War. 

To learn more, or to support the foundation, visit www.vnwma.com. 

–Brady Rhoades

In vino veritas…

You know what they say about wine: in vino veritas.

Rough translation: There is truth in wine.

That can be good AND bad, depending on whether you drink in moderation or with recklessness. So locals, you’ve been warned.

Seniors are invited to become a “Winemaker for a Day,” an excursion presented by the Garden Grove H. Louis Lake Senior Center, on Nov. 5.

Seniors will enjoy wine tasting at California’s oldest winery, Thomas Winery, and will bottle their own personalized wine.  The comfortable, air-conditioned bus will depart from the H. Louis Lake Senior Center, at 11300 Stanford Ave., at 9:30 a.m. and return at approximately 4:30 p.m.

The excursion also includes a visit to Casa de Rancho Cucamonga and lunch at Antonio’s Italian Restaurant. Casa de Rancho Cucamonga, also known as “The Rains House,” was built in 1860 by Ohio brick masons.  The first school in Cucamonga is said to have been started in this home in 1870.

The cost is $70 per person and includes bus transportation and a continental breakfast. A valid California Identification card, driver’s license or military identification should be brought on the day of the trip.

Advance tickets are required. To reserve your seat or to obtain additional information, call the H. Louis Lake Senior Center at 714-741-5253.

–Brady Rhoades