New Kid on the Block: Antelope Valley Times keeping area up to date

City-data.com map of Lancaster and Palmdale

Map of where Lancaster and Palmdale are located Map: City-data.com

A fresh news outlet in the Antelope Valley area has shown the small cities of the area that there is more to what can be read in the weekly paper.

The Antelope Valley Times started in 2011, giving the Antelope Valley a daily perspective of what goes on in the nearby cities. The Antelope Valley now has two news outlets. The Antelope Valley Press is the weekly newspaper that also provides news to the area but requires a subscription. If a resident is not subscribed to the paper, then they can miss out on the daily activities in the area. It is also weekly and may not cover everything that has happened or is currently happening.

The Antelope Valley consists of multiple cities and is located off the 14 freeway. Main cities include Palmdale, Lancaster, Acton, Littlerock and Victorville. These cities are separated by desert. According to the Census, in 2013 Lancaster had an estimated population of 159,523 and Palmdale estimated 157,161. Businesses included 10,904 in Palmdale in 2007 and 10,459 in Lancaster in 2007.

The Antelope Valley also holds a few widely known events. The poppy field is known to be around

Lancaster City Park

Lancaster City Park Photo: Dadrienne Thompson

that area and Lancaster City Park in Lancaster hosts the Poppy Festival every year during the spring season. Another known event is Gracefest AV, held in Palmdale at Marie Ker Park, where famous Christian bands such as Barlow Girl and Hawk Nelson hold concerts in the fall.

Even though this area is considered to be small, many things occur that others may not realize. According to city-data.com, both Lancaster and Palmdale were over the U.S Average for violent crimes in 2012 but were under the average in property crime.

“I don’t think the crime is different than any other local place,” said Makeda Dilworth, editor and copublisher of the Antelope Valley Times.

When the Antelope Valley Times began, they seemed to cover crime more than any other subject in the area, or so it appeared. As time went by, people still showed interest in the articles but they decided to pulled back on the crime reporting and only reported specific types of crime, such as shot and hit, serious injuries or events ending in deaths or major reinforcement. By doing this, crime became more local and relatable to residents in the area without making it seem like crime was constant.

Just recently, Dilworth made a Los Angeles County story a more local reality to the Antelope Valley residents.

One of the main cities of the Antelope Valley

One of the main cities of the Antelope Valley Photo: Dadrienne Thompson

In March of this year, an LAPD officer was suspected of being apart of a murder. As a result, he contacted his father and they fled to Texas first, then to Mexico. Dilworth saw the story while looking through a news wire service called City News Service.

City News Service is a site where news organization may subscribe to receive news in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. The news is received around the clock and covers a variety of subjects, ranging from celebrities to economy.

“When I came across the article I saw it pertained to the Antelope Valley,” said Dilworth. “I started to research and saw that the father was from Lancaster.”

After researching, Dilworth had to call the LA regional media department to get the affidavit forwarded to her. She said one of the hardest things about being a smaller news outlet is having people answer you back. She explained that at times she would call every half hour just to get the information needed to complete her story and that was the case with this article. When the affidavit was finally sent, she mentioned she had to follow up on the paperwork to make sure it came to the destination.

Whether a small or big news outlet, helpful information about a subject can be requested. The Freedom of Information Act helped in receiving the necessary information to complete this article. The FOIA is “a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government,” according to their website.

Because of this act, the Antelope Valley Times was given access to the affidavit that was linked in their article from another source who also used it and the surveillance photo used in their follow up article about the father assisting the his son.

When the information was gathered, Dilworth explained it was easier once the affidavit was received and the idea to localize the article was already thought up.

The article gave weight to the father’s contribute to the officers story. After the shooting, the LAPD

Lancaster Residential Street

Lancaster Residential Street Photo: Dadrienne Thompson

officer, Henry Solis, called his father, Victor Solis. After the phone call, his father was reported to have left his house in a hurry. He then proceeded to help his son flee to Texas and eventually Mexico.

According to the Antelope Valley Times, Victor Solis had told the FBI that he drove his son to a bus station in El, Paso, Texas and that was all. After viewing a surveillance video in the area, the story was confirmed false. He and his son were seen walking to Juarez, Mexico.

Solis was then arrested at his home in Lancaster and appeared in an LA federal court an hour later. He was charged with false statement to law enforcement.

The turn on this article to focus on the father made it local and of more interest for people to read the article in the AV area. Most residents did not even know of the shooting, according to Dilworth, since it took place in downtown Pomona, according to an article done by the Los Angeles Times. But when it was brought an hour or two up the freeway, it became more of a reality and concern.

Local Lancaster resident Joseph Aguiar says this about crime in the Antelope Valley,

“If we could only live in our homes what we want to see in society than maybe we can return to see less crime.”

Despite the Antelope Valley Times pulling back on some of the crimes that occur in the area, there are still daily crimes that happen and are updated. Some crimes are even forgotten and brought back to life when a trial or plead is updated.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Los Angeles Superior Court Photo: Dadrienne Thompson

There are four main stages where updates on crime in a court setting take place. First is when someone receives a charge. In the article by the Antelope Valley Times, the charge on the father was mentioned toward the end of the article. The second is entering the plea. This stage can be hard because there are instances where dates are postponed for multiple reasons. The third is the preliminary hearing, where the details come out of the court and are reported. Lastly is the opening day of the trial. The opening day is covered because sometimes trials can take up to two years. Reporters will cover the verdict and the sentencing.

Articles are also updated when people are identified or mistakes have been made. In a recent article about a shooting, the age of the victim reported was wrong and updated as soon as the actual age was corrected.

“We only watch out for our home and the term ‘neighbor’ is becoming a thing of the past,” explains Aguiar. “Friendliness is followed with a question mark.”

Dilworth explains that these stories are shared and updated every week to every day. Stories about crashes, shootings and hearings gives people the opportunity to respond to what is going on in their neighborhood. Their page has a section at the bottom of each story to give comments. These comments show mourning, concern and are sometimes just a place to vent.

The Antelope Valley Times has given a new perspective to the Antelope Valley area about their news in a timelier manner. The online page makes it easier to share stories and their updates on social media sites such as Facebook makes reading the news more accessible. Their localization of news gives residents more of a connection to what is going on, not only in their cities, but their county as well.

Americans at risk for earthquakes

5475631631_748a21c09f_o

A house badly damaged after an earthquake. Photo: Creative Commons Flickr

The U.S. Geological Survey released that nearly half of Americans live in areas that are prone to earthquakes on Wednesday, April 22.

The report said,  “Around 28 million people are facing the risk of experiencing “strong, ground shaking in their lifetime,’ but it does not stop there. More than about 148 million people are in danger of damage from ground shaking because of living in high risk areas on the West Coast. Building such as fire stations, public and private schools and hospitals are all at risk fro both damage and death.

This article was one of three released this week, according to USA Today. Another was reported by the USGS but was dealing with the effects that hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” can have on this risk of earthquakes.

The report released Thursday explained how a few small earthquakes were triggered by fracking, but there were not caused by it. They are caused by the result of “wastewater disposal associated with fracking.” Scientists also pinpointed eight ares in which this method or “man-made earthquakes” can occur; Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Ohio, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

These findings were presented in Pasadena, Calif. at a meeting for the Seismology Society of America

The last report of the week was done in the journal of Nature Communications on Tuesday. It reported an area that was hit with a swarm of small earthquakes that can also be a result of fracking.

High profile Facebook project faces trouble in India

Mark Zuckerburg, the CEO of Facebook, is taking his project of Internet.org to India, but he faces

Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook Courtesy of Creative Commons

Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook
Courtesy of Creative Commons

trouble in relation to possibly undermining net neutrality.

The idea of Internet.org is a free internet service provider that allows people who cannot pay for internet to receive basic access to specific apps.

With assistance from the mobile operators and local government, Facebook will choose the apps that will go on Internet. org such as health information and job listings.

It is a project by Facebook to bring the Internet to the developing worlds. Although India decided to “pull out,” according to USA Today, Zuckerberg continued to defend Internet.org.

Net neutrality became a big deal in India just the past week due to a leading mobile carrier that announced an app that allows mobile app makers the ability to pay for data usage for their apps so customers may use them for free.

Critics on the other hand, believed otherwise toward this project. In the Hindustan Times, a paper common in India, a critic wrote, “Internet.org is ‘Zuckerberg’s ambitious project to confuse hundreds of millions of emerging market users into thinking that Facebook and the Internet are one and the same.”

“Net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected,” the Facebook CEO wrote and was stated by USA Today. “These two principles — universal connectivity and net neutrality — can and must coexist.”

The project has already been released to the Reliance network and in Indonesia to the Indosat Network.

2 women sentenced for hate crime conspiracy

Sarah-Graves-and-Shelbie-Richards-main

Sarah Graves, 22 and Shelbie Richards, 21, receive their sentence for conspiracy to commit hate crime (Photo: Creative Commons)

2 women received the maximum sentence for a hate crime committed in 2011. Sarah Graves, 22, and Shelbie Richards, 21, of Mississippi admitted to being in the truck the night that James Craig Anderson, a black man, was run down and beaten to death.

Graves was given five years in prison while Richards was given eight years on the charge of conspiracy to commit a hate crime. The group of white teenagers left a party with intent of assaulting African Americans and ran down Anderson in a Ford F-250 driven by Deryl Dedmon, another member of the group.

The family of Anderson was present and both Anderson’s sister and partner made statements. Both statements had the same idea; the girls were to blame as well as the six other people there that night and they knew what they were getting into.

Both women pleaded guilty with tears in their eyes and apologies to the family. Their statements were emotional, and hopeful of the family eventually forgiving them both.

To read the story, click here.

Rick Perry Criticizes about Change

Perry-at-Ag-summit-3-7-15At the Iowa Freedom Summit held at Hoyt Sherman in Moines, Iowa, former governor of Texas, Rick Perry was among the many speakers of the event.

Perry addressed the flaws in Obama’s policies and the response time of Congress to certain issues and combated them with ideas and changes that he believed should take place within the next few years.

He focused on a new era of prosperity, reform and revival. The new era would take place with the idea of building of the keystone pipeline, the reform of the tax code and the open-ended idea of energy exploration. These concepts alone would preferably bring about change in major problem areas.

Perry brought these concepts to life with his own experiences while he was governor in Texas. He used examples of the jobs created in Texas during his time as governor; the changes in education, smart small business regulation and spending that also took place during his time.

Perry also addressed the issues within Obama’s presidency that dealt with foreign policy and the borders.

The foreign policy in America with our allies has been strained, according to Perry, and has left allies abandoned and weak. He used the example of the peace talks between Israel and Palestine that fell through, with no allied assistance for help.

Perry also mentioned the problem under Obama’s policy about the borders. Many unaccompanied minors come across and turn themselves into border patrol in hopes of better care.

Some, Perry claimed to be victims of human trafficking through the drug cartel, looking for an escape. In relation to the issues of the borders, the drug cartel has control on the other side of the border and they smuggle materials into the country for their own benefits.

The former governor ended his time with his pride in being an American citizen and encouraged the audience to understand what is going on around them and that a better leadership is in order. He ended with the statement:

“There is nothing wrong in America today that can’t be fixed with new leadership.”

To hear the speech, click here.