Bike Parties Invade OC
By Anibal Ortiz
He packed his bike in a free, used shipping box he got from a local bike shop, paid $86 for a ticket on Amtrak and joined his friends on a train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. But the big adventure was not the trip up, but rather the trip back down.
His drive for adventure propelled him on a seven-day bike ride from San Francisco down the coast to Los Angeles.
If you haven’t heard of bike parties or Critical Mass, you may have seen large groups of people on bikes, some in street clothes and some in professional gear, trekking through urban areas.
Brian Feinzimer, vice president of Cal State Fullerton Cycling, which is making a comeback after a hiatus on campus at Discoverfest this fall, is just one of many people who have been drawn into the bike scene. Feinzimer believes the cycling scene is getting bigger, putting emphases in the areas of fixed gear and single-speed bicycles.
“While this is good, (CSUF Cycling is) focusing on more serious road cycling and mountain cycling,” said Feinzimer. “The fixed gear, single-speed (bicycles are used) more recreational and leisurely.”
He also feels that it’s important for students to ride bicycles more often because it helps cut down Co2 emissions, reduces traffic, saves them money on parking and helps keep them healthy. Like Feinzimer, Zach H. Dinh, 22, who helps organize Critical Mass in Fullerton, likes the freedom he has by riding his bicycle. Having the ability to stop and not look for parking when he sees something “cool” helps give him a sense of freedom.
Dinh described his life before cycling, which involved working in order to pay for his car and only using his car to get to work, so he sold it.
“I figured I’d become a broke college student and accept it,” said Dinh.
On top of being cheaper and much easier to maintain, Dinh likes cycling because it’s fun, but does agree the fixed gear trend has become more of a hipster sport.
“Hipster and fixed gear go together,” Dinh said. “The Fullerton Critical Mass is more of a hangout. A bike party.”
Critical Mass initially started in 1992 as a form of peaceful protest in San Francisco to help encourage equal road sharing for both bicyclists and motorists. Since then, Critical Mass groups have ridden on the last Friday of every month in cities all over the world.
“But equal rights mean following the same road rules,” Dinh said. “Some groups keep together, while others go their own ways after meeting and create chaos.”
Leslie Calderas, 59, a computer graphics teacher at La Vista High School who used to ride his bike as a CSUF student in the ’70s, said large groups ranging from 30 to hundreds of cyclists blocking intersections as they run red lights are what create the chaos Dinh talks about.
Calderas also agrees biking is a trend these days.
“Cyclists used to ride to stay fit,” said Calderas, who rides his bicycle to work in Fullerton nearly every day. “Now it’s become a more appealing way to get around.”
While arranging and setting up events in Fullerton is an easy task for Dinh, who usually just sends Facebook invites, he finds a bigger challenge once on the road.
“Leading the ride is something I sometimes wish I wouldn’t do,” Dinh said. “It would be much easier not to worry about everything and just ride.”
Riders at Critical Mass events range from young to old and all ride different types of bicycles: beach cruisers, tall bikes, mountain bikes and the now trendy fixed gear bicycles. In a ride of about 100 people, which has become the average number in Fullerton, Dinh estimates 20 adults over the age of 30, about 30 kids and 50 college-aged riders.
The CSUF Cycling Club is in the process of being reorganized but will focus on increasing bike use and informing riders about bike safety and awareness to one day become a club sport that competes with other colleges, according to Feinzimer. CSUF Cycling meetings are planned for Tuesday and Thursday nights. Their first meeting is scheduled for Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Titan Student Union.
Not In My House
By Anibal Ortiz
Shattering perception, he walks into a room filled with bank and community leaders. His white collar highlights his all-black clerical clothing. As he sits down, the meeting begins.
Hard-hit in the housing crisis, Los Angeles County District 7, which includes the city of Pacoima, has attracted a diverse group of would-be saviors who are attempting to work together to keep homeowners from losing their property through a multi-pronged series of initiatives that address different needs.
Rev. John Lasseigne, a second-year pastor at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, has helped persuade, motivate and encourage not only district leaders but also homeowners that have been affected by the economic downfall.
Behind his priestly garments Lasseigne stores a distinctive knowledge about property laws and mortgages. In 1998 he became a licensed lawyer in Texas. He has become one of the key fighters against foreclosures in Pacoima’s predominantly Hispanic community.
Mary Immaculate is one of four churches in the Valley that have joined the non-partisan, non-profit organization known as One LA-IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation.)
The combined efforts of One LA-IAF, councilmember Richard Alarcón, Lasseigne, and countless others has helped launch the City of Los Angeles Foreclosure Prevention Demonstration Project, a $1 million city-funded pilot project designed to help struggling homeowners that have not been eligible for President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program.
At first, Lasseigne heard very little about the foreclosures in his area, but over time he learned that the problem was much larger than he anticipated.
Lasseigne sat down and spoke to Tom Holler, an organizer for One LA-IAF. Feeding him facts, figures and examples of the foreclosure problem in Council District 7, Holler was able to convince Lasseigne to join the campaign.
“I was getting a few families, one family in particular came and spoke to me, but it wasn’t anything like what Tom was telling me,” said Lasseigne. “He was telling me it was hundreds or thousands of families in this district.”
Over the next four weeks Mary Immaculate Parish was able to acquire 300 names.
“We’ve received request for help from homeowners throughout the Valley and even beyond the Valley, but it is true that we try to focus our efforts in that of Council District 7,” said Lasseigne.
The pilot project that Alarcón helped launch in September is designed to help an estimated 25 to 35 homeowners stay on their property by helping with their mortgage payments.
“Through his efforts we got one million dollars to launch a pilot project to put our plan into practice,” said Lasseigne. “One million dollars sounds like a lot but it really isn’t when you are talking about homes in the valley.”
Jose Hernandez signed up for help through the program in December 2008 when his family realized that they needed help with their payments.
“We’re still going through negotiations,” said Hernandez. “The feeling of not knowing who to turn to can be devastating.”
“Most people waited until the last minute,” said Lasseigne. “People were either embarrassed or they didn’t think the church would be of any help to them.”
“Despite our combined efforts we have not been able to help every homeowner in the original group,” said Lasseigne.
Although nobody has been helped by the pilot project yet, Lasseigne talked about what the combined efforts within One LA has done for the community. So far, Lasseigne claims that the campaign has been ‘moderately successful’ for those who have signed up from the start.
For those who can still make payments but not the full monthly total of their original contracts, the group has advised them on legal help to obtain mortgage modifications, allowing them to renegotiate their monthly payments so that they might stay in their homes.
“There are those that we have already been able to help get a mortgage modification,” said Lasseigne. “Something that they can live with.”
“We have at least been able to hold off the foreclosure preceding,” said Lasseigne. “Some families have been able to find a new source of income.”
Jose Gomez, a father of five, was one parishioner that took advantage of the group’s helping hands.
Gomez and an estimated 70 parishioners from Mary Immaculate joined thousands of others in an effort to help persuade district leaders during a Los Angeles meeting that took place in June.
At the time, Gomez was paying over $3,200 monthly with an interest rate of 11 percent. After working with One LA, Gomez was able to modify his interest rate to 5 percent with monthly payments of $2,100 per month over a span of five years.
During the early stages of their campaign, One LA and its affiliates, such as the lawyers at Neighborhood Legal Services, strived to help struggling home owners modify their loans and payments.
“Sometimes we can’t talk to the right people,” said Gomez. “One LA can contact them directly.”
According to Lasseigne, none of the people that have joined the program have been foreclosed upon, but warns that some may be very close.
“The lawyers have had to make calls on the spur of the moment in order to intervene,” said Lasseigne. “It’s like running a race and you have to run really far, really fast.”
While intervening may be fast paced, the modification process takes more time.
“It’s a slow process,” said Juan Carlos Jacobo. “It requires patience.”
Modifying Jacobo’s payments was a 7-month process.
“The pilot project will help these 25 or 35 home owners in a more permanent way because that $1 million is going to help give, basically grants,” explained Lasseigne. “It’s going to be a loan to the home owner, but then the homeowner will give that money to the bank just as a payment on the principle of the mortgage.”
The next step in their campaign would be to convince banks to agree with their conditions at a five percent fixed rate for the remainder of the time.
“Banks have not accepted the process,” said Alarcón.
Among the banks that have rejected the process are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and Indy Mac.
“In reality some of these banks realize that our plan will actually help them make more money off of this new plan than if they foreclosed,” said Lasseigne.
Now it’s just a matter of winning that race.
Apps for the Future
By Anibal Ortiz
Chad Bailey sat four or five rows up on the left side of a lecture room in Steven G. Mihaylo Hall while using his smartphone when he felt a tap on his shoulder.
“Hey,” said the stranger. “I made that.”
Jared Rummler, an accounting and information systems and decision sciences major at Cal State Fullerton who is known as jrummy16 in the Android Market, was sitting behind him in class and noticed Bailey was using one of the phone applications he created, and the two began talking.
The next semester, the two shared a class for a second time and Rummler, in need of an extra hand, hired Bailey, a marketing major, as his assistant.
Rummler, 26, began making applications and ROMs, what he described as aftermarket operating systems, less than a year ago.
“Eventually I made enough to quit my job and just work from home,” said Rummler with a smile.
He said he’s made about $100,000 since he began building apps and ROMs, and had no prior experience.
Bailey, 23, who also had “zero experience,” never considered the Android Market as an option for income. Both of their journeys began only after purchasing their Android smartphones.
“All that it takes is someone that is genuinely interested and someone to learn from,” said Bailey.
Bailey mentioned that the Android community is big and has many people willing to help. In his case, it just happened to be Rummler, the guy sitting behind him in his class.
“More than anything, he’s been patient with me,” Bailey said. “Programming seemed like gibberish to me.”
The Android Market is built on an open-source platform allowing users to create and manipulate the system files, the apps that run on it and in some cases, the entire operating system itself.
Rummler’s ROMs and apps mainly focus on improving a phone’s performance.
“Android Overclock gets the CPU to speeds it’s not supposed to be at,” Rummler said about one of his apps that has more than 3,200 downloads.
But some of the Android apps and ROMs, such as Android Overclock, require rooting, similar to jailbreaking on the iPhone. The process known as rooting allows users to break past the barriers set by phone manufacturers, allowing them to improve their phone’s performance.
“Manufactures don’t like that,” Rummler said. “It’s like a hack. When people think about hacks they think malicious.”
Most people don’t understand the more complicated apps and ROMs, according to Rummler, which is why Huy Chu and many opt for the basic apps.
Chu sat at a table outside Carl’s Jr at CSUF and played Roman Empire, a free game app he got for his Android phone.
“I usually go for the free ones (apps),” said Chu, an Android user of two years who doesn’t like to spend more on apps if he doesn’t need to.
Like many, he uses his phone for email, games, music and navigation, the basics to many smartphone enthusiasts.
“We’re very much Android enthusiasts,” Rummler said. “It’s really changed my life.”
Bailey, who focuses mainly on customer support and troubleshooting, receives between 15 and 20 good and bad emails daily, debugs and does some programming, contributing ideas as they progress.
Rummler’s Rom Toolbox Pro is currently number 20 in the Top Paid in Tools section on the Android Market and is priced at $5 per download.
He also has three apps in the top 50 of the Paid in Productivity section, including Android Overclock and App Manager Pro, his latest release priced at $2.99.
A free version, but limited App Manager is also available for download on the Android Market.
Find their apps at Market.Android.com/developer?pub=JRummy16 or type jrummy16 into the search section of the market.
B-17 Aircraft Tour
By Anibal Ortiz
EUGENE — A strong jerk and a plume of smoke served as a signal that the engines on the World War II B-17G Aluminum Overcast bomber had started up.
Inside, the machine gun turrets rumbled with the movement of the plane as it started its ascent. A narrow ledge led past inactive ordnance up to the cockpit, where two pilots guided the aircraft.
“I had some fear,” said Andrea Humpert, 59, of Cheshire, who won tickets from Corvallis radio station KLOO to take a flight tour on the aircraft on Thursday with her husband. But then, she said, “I thought about the (military) guys who went up in these planes and they just did it.”
Those guys included Humpert's father. Humpert said her father rarely talked about his experience as a pilot and co-pilot during the 24 missions he had inside a B-17 based out of England during World War II.
The B-17 will be in Eugene through the weekend, and people can take flight tours or ground tours of the aircraft.
“It is a way to remember the men and women of WWII,” said Ronald Parker, chapter president of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1457. “Those who gave their hearts, souls, and lives to make America what it is today and keep us free.”
Flight tours, which include a 25-minute flight, are available to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with ground tours of the inside and outside of the airplane from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Atlantic Aviation inside the Mahlon Sweet Field Airport in Eugene from Friday through Sunday.
Flight tours begin at $435 for Experimental Aircraft Association members with a nonmember price of $475.
Ground tour prices start at $10 for children under the age of 8 with a paid adult.
Families can tour together for $20 with children up to the age of 17. Veteran and active military can take the ground tour for free.
Two Survive After Truck Plunges Into Creek
By Anibal Ortiz
A person was airlifted by Life Flight to a hospital in Salem with life-threatening injuries after single-vehicle car wreck in Quartzville shortly before 4:52 p.m. Sunday evening. The crash sent the Ford Ranger down a hill from Quartzville Drive and into the water near the Dogwood Recreation Site.
A second person was transported by ambulance to Samaritan Albany General Hospital with less serious injuries, according to Zach Lincoln, a lieutenant and paramedic with the Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance District.
The identities of the victims were not immediately known.
Firefighters with the Bureau of Land Management were first on the scene. Firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry secured the Rocky Top Bridge on which the Life Flight helicopter was able to land on.
Also on the scene were two deputies from the Linn County Sheriff's Office.
At least one person was extracted with the Jaws of Life and was rescued with the use of rope.