News and updates from Cerritos

CERRITOS – A Microsoft store recently opened at the Los Cerritos Center and The Cheesecake Factory will be under construction soon at the mall. The grand opening of the Microsoft store was held on November 22 with an exclusive concert by Grammy-winning pop singer Kelly Clarkson.

The Cheesecake Factory – known for a menu that encompasses more than 50 signature handmade, in-house cheesecakes and desserts – will be situated between the Forever 21 department store and the new Harkins Theatres luxury megaplex.

The restaurant’s design will feature a combination of stone and mosaic tiles, custom fiberglass and Italian plaster. A new courtyard mall entrance will be constructed with an Italian-inspired design.

The Cheesecake Factory is projected to be open by November 2015.

■ Cerritos voters will vote on a measure to increase the Cerritos hotel bed tax to 12 percent in the General Municipal Election on March 3. Information on the proposed rate increase will be mailed to all residents in mid- to late January.

The Transient Occupancy Tax (also known as a hotel bed tax) is charged on the cost of hotel rooms, such as the Sheraton Cerritos, and affects only Cerritos hotel guests. The hotel bed tax increase would assist in recovering expenses for providing general City services, including police, library and park services.

Since 1983, the hotel bed tax in Cerritos has been 6 percent, “one of the lowest rates in California,” Cerritos officials said. The proposed 12 percent tax rate is expected to bring the city’s total bed tax revenue to $914,200 annually.

■ The Cerritos Municipal Code requires that decorations and lights be removed within 15 days after a holiday to maintain the city’s “park-like appearance.”

Therefore, lights should be removed by Thursday, January 15.

■ Water and sewage rates charged by the city of Cerritos increased by 10 percent on November 14.

Water and sewage rates will increase by 10 percent every year through Fiscal Year 2020-2021 for residential and commercial accounts. The increases will help cover the cost of water, which has risen roughly 70 percent in the last seven years.

The rate adjustment will also help fund repairs of the city’s aging water and sewer infrastructure, which is approaching its 50-year life span.

Even with the new rate schedule, Cerritos officials said water costs are “still among the lowest in the region.” The last rate hike occurred in 2006.

■ Always wanted to become a ham radio operator? Interested in learning disaster communications? A two-day Amateur Radio Technical Level class will be offered at the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, March 1.

The course prepares students for the technician level exam. It includes theories, demonstrations, hands-on activities, videos and lecture.

There is a $60 fee, which includes a textbook and study materials. An additional $15 test fee is payable at the time of testing. The test will be administered on Sunday during class time. Test results will be available immediately.

To register for the class, call the Community Safety Division at (562) 916-1266.

■ The community is invited to celebrate Cerritos’ cultural diversity at the city’s Festival of Friendship from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Los Cerritos Center.

The Festival of Friendship will feature a variety of cultural entertainment on various stages. Local groups will perform an assortment of ethnic songs and dances.

Special commemorative gifts will be distributed at each stage.

■ In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Cerritos will host a special ceremony on Monday, January 19 at 10 a.m. at the Cerritos Civic Center. The public is invited to this free event, which will include remarks by the Cerritos City Council and community involvement through songs and comments. Light refreshments will be served.

■ Illegally or unsafely dropping off or picking up schoolchildren from vehicles onto roadways near schools is a traffic violation and is subject to a citation.

In the interest of public safety, a Cerritos ordinance implements a $25 fine for the violation; additional State and County penalties bring the total fine to more than $135.

The Cerritos Municipal Code states:

“No driver may stop, park or leave his or her vehicle for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers unless the vehicle is legally parked.

“No driver may stop, park or leave any vehicle in the roadway across from or adjacent to any public or private school for the purpose of loading or unloading anyone attending schools in grades K-12, where in order to reach the school or grounds from the vehicle or reach the vehicle from the school or grounds, it is necessary for a pedestrian to walk across a roadway.

“This section would be inapplicable where traffic is controlled by a traffic officer, a school crossing guard, an official traffic control sign or signal, or where there is a marked pedestrian crosswalk that the pedestrian walks on.”

Adults are routinely seen walking their children to school across busy streets outside of crosswalks, city officials said. Some drivers illegally park, often in the middle of the block, and allow their child to cross the street.

 

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Published: Jan. 1, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 38