Saturday, May 3, 2014

• Astronomy Night in Wildomar

What a great event for Wildomar.

Many thanks to John Garrett and Temecula Valley Astronomers for the enjoyable presentation and setting up their telescopes and allowing others to take a look at the night sky with them .

Looking at the Sun through a telescope was a first for me. They use special filters so you can safely view it and see 'bumps' around the edge of the Sun. I learned they are called a prominence.

A panoramic view of the inflatable screen that the presentation was projected on.

Manning the snack bar, selling pizza and sodas.

Ashley Fox chatted with me about her Girl Scout Silver Award project (click this link to read what a silver award is).  I'm going to write up a blog about her project soon. In brief, her goal is to raise $3500 for a swing that will accommodate those in a wheel chair. Before tonight she'd already gotten half way there with $1800 raised. Tonight they added nearly another $300 to the total. The next fund raiser is at Stadium Pizza on Monday May 12th.

You couldn't ask for better weather and the temps were perfect for family time outdoors.

SunPro Solar donated 12 of these telescopes to be raffled off. All those in attendance were giving a raffle ticket, free of charge, and there were two drawings throughout the course of events.

Four of our Five City Council Members were in attendance for the evening event.

Here you see a live projection of the moon (below) and setting up the equipment (above).

It's hard to judge crowd size, but it safe to say there were more than a baker's dozen and less than 1,000. Ok, my real guess would be around 200 people. More thanks goes to city staffers that put in a long day. 

As I was chatting with Public Works Superintendent Les Chapman, I like how he put it. That these kinds of events are what make us a community, and he'd like to see more of them. I was telling him about times I've driven to neighboring cities to listen to live music in the park while having a picnic, and he thought that would work well here too. We just need to get our parks department up and running.

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  1. Joseph - while you were admiring the stars in the heavens above I can’t help looking down at the ground below me that is slowly slipping away into the abyss.
    Your first picture shows a finely shorn green landscape common to the region MALVA NEGLECTA for which the City of Wildomar paid $9,500 plus the cost of potable or drinking water, I don’t think this is what the citizens expected when told the city had hydroseeded with “League Master Sports Mix (#2i).
    This brings me to another point about your article where a comment is made that “We just need to get our parks department up and running” WE DON’T HAVE A PARKS DEPARTMENT. What we do have is a grounds keeper from the cemetery managing our parks on a part-time basis. At the last “well attended” Oversight Committee meeting it appears it is the intention of the City of Wildomar to add an additional employee at the cemetery so that we can maintain this current part-time arrangement which looks to be really working well.
    Kenny Mayes

    1. Kenny,
      I'm not going to disagree with you on most of your comment. I tend to be a perfectionist and had I been in charge of rehabbing the parks I would have double locked the gates if I couldn't have gotten the grass to look like it does in the outfield of The Diamond (Storm Stadium for the uninitiated). But I wasn't in charge, and this was about the astronomy event, not a critique of the park. You recently posted some very valid pictures of things that need attention, and again... had I been in charge, I would have made everyone's lives a living hell until such things got completed.

      When I said, "get the parks department up and running," I thought I was clear that we don't have one; my error in not being clearer. I also don't know that the Oversight Committee has many teeth, so I haven't bother with it. I think the promised Parks Committee (or whatever it's going to be termed as) is a place where more action will take place.

    2. Joseph - while all these events are fun to hear about, they are held at a venue that is the foundation for their occurrence. Easter Egg Hunt at the Park, Movies at the Park, Astronomy Night at the Park. While they can all be held elsewhere, even a parking lot would suffice in most cases if this city is going to spend large amounts of taxpayer money on these venues then it should show and not be a crumbling foundation where individuals have to trod over poky weeds on swampy ground.
      As to the Oversight Committee not having any teeth, they were never meant to have any. They do however have the right to question how Measure Z money was spent, but when they receive the packet with the accounting at the same time as the public, three days before with a hard copy placed before them the night of their meeting then it is really difficult to dig into and ask the hard questions, like why did the city require an Emergency Regulatory Permit costing $803 for Regency Heritage. Which is not listed in the accounting summary, only the total amount paid to the company that acquired it is, the fact that it was an emergency can only be found in the Warrant Register’s. I did attend the last Oversight meeting which a lot of people apparently feel the same way you do about, as there were 3 of us and even the few items I brought up as being incorrect or asking why, were but a drop in the bucket of the items that should have been questioned, but with 3 minutes one can only ask so much.
      The future parks committee will be nothing more than an appeasement to the public, maybe, we have to form one first. This committee will apparently be comprised of 5 individuals, selected by each council person and hold an advisory status only maybe to the full council and maybe to the parks sub-committee.
      Kenny Mayes

  2. Interesting how when Joseph even agrees with you that there were and are things needing to be fixed at the parks you can't acknowledge it. Unless a city has the money of a Disneyland to spend to replace before things break there will always be things needing to be fixed, repaired, etc. I really can't imagine how you would function if you had to work within the process to help rather than stand outside of it and be an armchair quarterback. I lived in Temecula when there was one park. and it was not perfect but it was enjoyed. I used to go to the cal oaks park a lot-it was not perfect but it was enjoyed. I have been responsible for property maintenance at multiple locations and facilities and their is always a punch list and the process never ends. The parks are not sliding into the abyss, but good to know you are staying realistic. sheila

  3. just an additional comment- Joseph said that he "..would have made everyone's lives a living hell until such things got completed." The fact is that would have cost more money. And the truth is that from what I have seen there are some that have higher expectations from the city then they do themselves. Honestly I have talked with city staff and they know what needs to be addressed but none of those items make the parks unusable. But there are some who will persist in acting as if the bad outweighs the good and that is too bad. I was at the astronomy night and people enjoyed it, many happy memories were made, money was raised for a good cause and that is what makes a community. Enjoying things even when they aren't perfect, a community isn't built by complaining and whining....sheila

  4. Not being keen on local events, I need someone to explain what is wrong with the park or it's managment. Two weeks ago I met with city staff at the park to plan astronomy night. There was a fence blocking access to most of the park, so I planned the location of scopes and the show around the restricted space, asked that the lighting be turned off for the night, the sprinklers too, to have parking spaces reserved for telescopes, and to make sure the give-away scopes were purchased and to have a screen, projector, and PA. Upon arriving, I was elated to see the fence removed so we could have the whole park, the lights were off, the sprinklers didn't come on, the projector, PA, and screen were up and working, electricity was available for the guy who made a play area of the moon, the give-away scopes were present with an organized plan for distributing free raffle tickets. Thanks to the City's promotion, visitors arrived with blankets and chairs. Oh, some of the stiff stems of freshly cut weed did poke my feet through my sandals.

    Thanks, Joseph, for attending and reporting on the event.

    1. Side stepping the first part of your comment, since it really didn't apply to me, I have to agree that it was a good time for all those that came... even if freshly cut weed stems did a number on a few feet. :)

    2. John an extra big THANK YOU to you and your group! Your presentation was great and I have only heard good things from those that were there! I know I had a good time! sheila


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