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LA County DA Lacey Honors Four Heroes for Courageous Acts

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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey presented Courageous Citizen Awards to four individuals who intervened to stop violent crimes against others. They assisted prosecutors by agreeing to provide crucial eyewitness testimony in court. The awards were granted on February 12.

The honorees included a West Hollywood woman who came to the aid of a man who was stabbed outside her home. There were two motorists who helped a bicyclist knocked to the ground and threatened by a man wielding two long sticks in South Los Angeles, and a limousine driver who stopped a man from kidnapping a 19-year-old in Pasadena. 

The four individuals being honored had cast aside fear and risked their own personal safety to help victims of violent crime,” said District Attorney Lacey. “Justice prevailed because they stood up for victims who were vulnerable and then agreed to provide essential eyewitness testimony in court.” 

The honorees were recognized at a Courageous Citizen Awards ceremony in Los Angeles hosted by the Rotary Club of Westchester. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office presents these awards several times a year to people who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or even capturing suspects. 

An award was presented to Sabrina O’Hara of West Hollywood. Ms. Sabrina O’Hara heard a man screaming outside her West Hollywood home on Nov. 7, 2018, and went to help him. She was aiding the man, who had a large gash on his palm and blood on his arm, when she saw the assailant across the street threatening to stab the man again.

Ms. O’Hara told the man to go away and called 911. While she was on the phone, the man threatened to kill her and then fled. Despite the threat, Ms. O’Hara continued to help the man. Authorities located the assailant nearby, and Ms. O’Hara identified him.

She later testified in court, and the defendant was convicted. On June 17, 2019, the defendant was convicted of one felony count each of criminal threats and carrying a dirk or dagger. He was sentenced on June 24, 2019, to six years in state prison.

Maria Nunez, 27, of Los Angeles, and Selestino Penaloza, 38, of Huntington Park also received awards. Ms. Maria Nunez and Mr. Selestino Penaloza came to the aid of a bicyclist knocked to the ground and threatened by a man wielding two long sticks. The duo saw the November 1, 2018, attack from separate vehicles in South Los Angeles.

Mr. Penaloza checked on the bicyclist and followed the assailant, stopping two police officers along the way, who arrested the man. Meanwhile, Ms. Nunez assisted the bicyclist until first responders arrived. Ms. Nunez and Mr. Penaloza identified the defendant for police.

Through their testimony at trial, they helped deputy district attorneys secure a conviction. On May 20, 2019, the defendant was convicted by a jury on one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced on Nov. 4, 2019, to 18 years in state prison.

Brandy Mayes, 50, of Riverside was also among the honorees. On July 29, 2017, Ms. Mayes was driving a limousine in Pasadena, when she saw a man dragging a woman by the hair toward his vehicle. She parked her limousine in order to intervene, causing the man to release the 19-year-old woman and flee.

She walked with the victim to a nearby market, called police and stayed at the scene until authorities arrived. Police later located the man and arrested him. Ms. Mayes cooperated with prosecutors and was willing to testify in court, prompting the man to plead no contest to the charges. On Sept. 20, 2018, the defendant, plead no contest to one felony count of kidnapping. He was sentenced on Oct. 24, 2018, to five years in state prison.

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Alerts

WeHo Calendar: Changes to City’s Upcoming Scheduled Events

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photo by Kimberly Farmer

WEST HOLLYWOOD– The city has announced that due to safety concerns, a number of events sponsored by WeHo will be cancelled until further notice. The City urges people to practice social distancing as much as possible, keeping exposure to crowds to a minimum.

Sunday, March 15

2:00 PM (Cancelled) NOW- Hollywood Chapter presents ‘The TransVagina Diaries’ by Lindsey Deaton

2:00 PM (Cancelled) REVIVING THE REVOLUTION: Empowered Lesbians and Queer Women of Color Read and Discuss Their Written Works

Monday, March 16

9:00 AM (Cancelled) Helen Albert Certified Farmers’ Market

6:30 PM City Council Meeting

Tuesday, March 17

6:30 PM (Cancelled) 5th Annual Hollywood NOW Herstory Awards & Reception

7:00 PM (Cancelled) Russian Advisory Board

Wednesday, March 18

6:00 PM (Cancelled) Wednesday Night Social Club

6:30 PM (Cancelled) Transportation Commission

Thursday, March 19

2:00 PM (Cancelled) beWellWeHo: UCLA Memory Training

5:00 PM (Cancelled) Urban Art Subcommittee Meeting

5:30 PM (Cancelled) Long Range Planning Projects Subcommittee – Special Meeting

6:30 PM Planning Commission – Special Meeting

Friday, March 20

No events scheduled

Saturday, March 21

9:00 AM (Cancelled) Annual Arbor Day Celebration

11:30 AM (Cancelled) “Play Ball” Skills Clinics and Home Run Derby

For a look at the entire month visit our website calendar.

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City

WeHo JFS Service Changes For Seniors and Others Due to Virus

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WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood is taking every precaution to prioritize community health and well being to respond to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The City is getting the word out about updates regarding services for seniors at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park and services available from Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS)

  • JFS has immediately cancelled all activities at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park until April 10, 2020 as a precaution to safeguard health and safety and JFS will make assessments as the situation evolves;
  • The JFS meal site will provide a frozen meal for each client coming to its meal sites on Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and the organization anticipates providing additional meals for clients in order to minimize client contact and support recommendations for social distancing;
  • Additionally, SOVA, the JFS food pantry, located on Pico and Robertson Boulevards, continues to remain open for community members.

The JFS West Hollywood Comprehensive Service Center remains a vital resource for seniors and people with disabilities and it will continue to be operational at this time. Operated by Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), funded in large part by the City of West Hollywood, and located in the community center at Plummer Park, the Center is a one-stop source of support and assistance.

In response to concerns about coronavirus, JFS requests that community members contact the Center by phone instead of in person. Currently, case managers are reaching out to connect with clients and assess needs. For more information, please call (323) 851-8202.

For additional information about social services in the City of West Hollywood, please call (323) 848-6510.

The City of West Hollywood will post updates on its website at weho.org/coronavirus. The City is updating its calendar and information will be available at weho.org/calendar.

For updates from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health about Coronavirus, please visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus.

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Community

Seniors in Action: Community + Connection + Conversation – Mar 24

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WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood Seniors in Action: Community + Connection + Conversation is an active on-going program for residents.

It offers activities that provide engaging opportunities for participants to learn something new, contribute their talents and experience, and deepen their connection to the West Hollywood community.

Refreshments will be served. Presented by the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center in collaboration with the City of West Hollywood and its Senior Advisory Board.

Attendance is free and open to the public; RSVPs are not necessary.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

For more information, please contact Corey Roskin at (323) 848-6403 or croskin@weho.org or Valentina Aleksandrova at (323) 876-1717 or aleksandrova@jfsla.org.

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