Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Korean Americans Hit by Cuts to Adult Day Care

by Jang Yeol of the Korea Daily
translated by Aruna Lee of New America Media

LOS ANGELES — Hyo-ju Han’s morning begins everyday at 6 a.m., when she rises out of bed and gets her husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease, ready for the day ahead. With the help of a nearby adult day care center, Han says she’s been able to manage, but pending state budget cuts threaten to end this vital source of care for her and many others.

Han’s husband was diagnosed with the mind-stealing disease two years ago, and she says the illness has advanced to the point at which he often cannot recognize family members and is thrown off by his surroundings.

“He’ll wake up and ask ‘Where am I?’ or ‘Who are you?’” says Han, age 70, adding that she’s increasingly losing sleep due to his “wandering off in the middle of the night.”


The couple’s children, moreover, live far enough away that visits are rare, making Han her husband’s primary caregiver.

In April she discovered the Western Adult Day Health Care Center, located near their Los Angeles home. Since then they have been making daily visits to the center, where Han says her husband receives much needed care and she gets a much needed break.

“It’s the highlight of our day,” says Han, who notes that it sometimes takes up to a half hour just to get her husband dressed in the morning. But it’s worth it, she says, to get to the center.

In addition to serving a healthy breakfast of porridge, fruits and milk, Han says staff at the center also sit with her husband and read the daily papers to him, or they gather with other seniors to watch the local news or do group exercises.

Since coming to the center, Han says she has seen a “steady improvement” in her husband’s condition. In a rare moment of lucidity, he turned to her and said, “Honey, thank you for sticking by me.” She nearly broke down in tears, she recalls.

The center also allows Han a brief respite from the rigors of caring for her ailing spouse. “Using the center’s services gives me a few hours to just take a breath,” she says.

But because of state budget cuts, most of California’s over 300 adult day health care centers are expected to see major reductions in service or close by the end of November. For Han and her husband, that means an end to free daycare service. Continue reading

November Issue: Mom and Dad Are Moving In. A Reverse Recession Story

One More Shot

The Great Recession has led many young adults to move back in with their parents. But for actress-comedian Kat Ahn, it was her parents who moved in with her. And that was just the beginning.

story by Kat Ahn
photographs by Luke Inki Cho


“Kat … Mom and Dad are coming to L.A.,” my brother tells me in an angrier-than-normal tone.  “For how long?” I ask, thinking they’re coming for a visit.

“They’re broke, and they’re moving in with us,” he says.  This is news that would obviously be devastating to average 20-somethings, but for my brother and me it wasn’t exactly shocking.

Throughout our lives, our parents had run various businesses in Philadelphia, from a hoagie-and-cheesesteak shop to a hip-hop clothing store. This led to interesting stories, but sporadic income. Money was a source of constant struggle in our family.

As a child, I remember how difficult it was to watch my parents work, especially at the hip-hop clothing store. I loved the loud N.W.A. and Biggie that would blare through the speakers, but I didn’t love watching my parents get disrespected by their customers, a regular occurrence. I quickly learned that the most important things in life were financial stability and money. Because that meant that you’d have no problems or worries, right? Or so I thought.

So I went to NYU to study journalism and economics.  But I soon found myself unhappy. I’d always wanted to pursue acting and writing, but would always hear the voice in my head saying, “Um … do you really want to be a starving artist?”


Apparently I did. Fast forward to 2007, and I was in L.A., chasing the dream of being an actress and writer, living with my brother, an aspiring producer. After struggling for a little bit, I had just started booking acting gigs. I had finished my first feature film script. I had actually started to like living in the dry heat of L.A. I felt close to having my weekends back, when I would no longer have to ask, “Hi. My name is Kat, and I’ll be your waitress for the evening. Can I get you anything?” Things were looking up.

And that’s when the call came. My father’s last venture—an attempt to take a Putt-Putt mini-golf park franchise to South Korea—had failed, and my parents had lost everything. So they were moving to Los Angeles. Continue reading

Kollaboration 11 Featuring G.NA

Kollaboration 11 is back in Los Angeles and will be better than ever!

With a new home at the Nokia Theatre in downtown L.A., this year’s show will feature some of the best emerging talent in the Asian Pacific American community. Special guest performers include symphonic quintet Ensemble Memo, singer-songwriter Clara C, comedian Paul “PK” Kim, not to mention headline act G.NA.

This year’s competitors are: Continue reading

Los Angeles City Employee Preyed On Korean Americans

A Korean American woman working in the Los Angeles Housing Department collected payoffs from fellow community members under the guise of helping them with building code violations, according to an article published by the Los Angeles Times.

The article stated that police charged Eun Chavis, 58, with demanding $43,000 from various Korean-speaking landlords in order for them to clear building code violations or grant building permits. Chavis, who was employed by the city as a mere clerk typist, was the only Korean-speaking employee in the department thus her dealings with Korean American landlords went unchecked.

Chavis was charged last year with 11 felony bribery counts. An arrest warrant has been issued for her husband, Frank Max Chavis, who was charged with five related bribery counts. He has remained in South Korea and out of reach of police.

In a deal with prosecutors, Eun Chavis pleaded no contest to a single felony bribery count and spent less than a month in jail. She finished her one-year sentence at home with a monitoring bracelet but faces the possibility of additional penalties for a probation violation.

Los Angeles Police Lt. Mathew St. Pierre, head of the commercial crimes division, said he couldn’t speak officially for the department, but he was personally unhappy with the outcome. “The punishment didn’t fit the crime,” he said.


KA Photographer And The Day Of The Dead

Photo credit: Charles Kang

Los Angeles photographer Charles Kang never paid much attention to Dia de Los Muertos, the Mexican holiday that pays respect to deceased loved ones—that is, until he felt “a need” to participate.

“I paint half of my face as a skull for the deaths in my life and to retain my identity,” says Kang, whose mother and father have passed away. “It’s not as morbid as it sounds. There’s liberty in it, as anyone who has worn a mask may know.”

Kang, who has been celebrating Dia de Los Muertos since the 1990s, will be featured in an artists’ showcase on Saturday as part of the annual Dia de Los Muertos festivities in Los Angeles, presented by El Central del Pueblo and Arte de Eros. Continue reading

L.A. Koreatown Walking Tour

Attention lovers of all things Korean food!

KoreAm contributor and food blogger Namju Cho will be leading a FREE walking tour of some of L.A. Koreatown’s best eats this Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.

Starting at the venerable Hodori minimall at Olympic and Vermont, she will share her favorite spots alongside Ktown’s main arteries: Olympic and Western Boulevards.

We’re talking jjajangmyun, dakgalbi, kalguksoo and much more! Register today for the free tour as space is limited. http://foundlakoreatown.eventbrite.com/

Wear comfy shoes and bring some cash to sample snacks and food!


KA Accused Of Killing Business Partner

Authorities charged a Southern California man with killing his business partner in lieu of paying a $1 million buyout fee, according to news reports.

The Orange County D.A.’s office charged Edward Younghoon Shin, 33, of Irvine, Calif. with murder on Monday after being picked up the day before attempting to board a plane to Canada. Following a six-hour interview, Shin admitted to killing Christopher Ryan Smith, 32, of Laguna Beach, according to the Orange County Register.

Prosecutors say Shin murdered Smith in the offices of their advertising agency and reportedly covered his tracks by taking over Smith’s email account and responding to relatives’ worried inquiries posing as his partner.

“It wasn’t the typical email his son would send,” said Lt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach Police Department. “It was different words, short, strange.”

Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of Shin on Monday morning, alleging he killed Smith instead of paying $1 million to buy him out. The two men had been co-owners of an advertising agency, 800Xchange, for two years but began to have a falling out in 2010, said Assistant Sheriff Mark Billings.

Smith wanted to leave 800Xchange and a financial settlement of $1 million was reached, Billings said. But in June 2010, investigators believe Shin instead killed Smith in the offices of their San Juan Capistrano office.

After Smith’s father reported him missing last April, Laguna Beach police opened an investigation and searched the business offices of the two men and found traces of blood in the area, authorities said.

Through DNA testing, authorities were able to match the blood to Smith’s DNA. Investigators said Shin went through extensive measures to try to hide the blood in the business, including cleaning it thoroughly and repainting the walls. Shin of Irvine was taken into custody Sunday morning at Los Angeles International Airport as he was boarding a plane headed to Canada.

Shin, who is expected to be arraigned today, was charged with one felony count of “special circumstances murder for financial gain” and, if convicted, could face up to a life sentence in prison without parole, according to the Orange County D.A.’s office.

Prior to forming the business partnership, police said, Shin was convicted in Riverside County of embezzlement and was forced to pay restitution and serve three years of probation.

Police said they have not located Smith’s body.


KA Actor Convicted Of Torture In 1990 Rape Case

An Orange County jury convicted actor Joseph Hyungmin Son yesterday of torturing a woman he kidnapped off a street in Huntington Beach, Calif. in 1990, according to news reports.

Son, 40, faces a prison term of 15 years to life when he is sentenced on Sept. 9.

The jury, made up of eight men and four women, deliberated for three hours before returning a not guilty verdict for conspiracy to commit murder and a guilty verdict for torture, according to the Orange County Register.

Son, who also had a brief and unsuccessful stint as a mixed-martial arts fighter, shook his head briefly when the guilty verdict was announced. He was quickly handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom.

Deputy District Attorney Eric Scarbrough told the jury in his final arguments Thursday that Son is a sadist who gained pleasure from the suffering of the 19-year-old woman he and his crime partner abducted at gunpoint on Christmas Eve, and then sexually assaulted in the back seat of a car while telling her repeatedly that she was going to die.

Son, of Garden Grove, tortured her to get her to acquiesce to his desire to sexually assault her, Scarbrough contended.

Son was initially charged in 2008 for multiple sexual offenses in connection with the crime but the charges were later dropped due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, according to the Los Angeles Times. Son’s accomplice was given a 17-year prison sentence last January after pleading guilty to to rape, kidnapping and other charges.

Son is best known as an actor for his role as “Random Task” in the first Austin Powers movie in 1997.