Monday, May 28, 2018

• Memorial Day 2018

The yearly Memorial Day Service at the Wildomar Cemetery saw about 100 to 130  people come out to honor the servicemen and women that have fallen as they fought to preserve the American way of life.
An American flag in each hand.
Master of ceremony was VFW 1508 Post Commander Steve Regalado. He introduced Mayor Ben Benoit who spoke of his grandfathers that fought in WWII as he welcomed the crowd.
Mayor Benoit addressing the crowd. In the background is Commander Regalado. 
The opening prayer was said by VFW Chaplain Lt. Scott Burris followed by the presentation of colors by the Boy Scout Troop 332.
Some young patriots pose for a picture.
For the second year in a row, the national anthem was sung by Miss City of Wildomar Jessie Taylor.
Jessie Taylor singing the National Anthem.
Ssgt. Aaron Hill, USMC, delivered a touching message about about the importance of Memorial Day and shared stories of Lance Corporal Peter Clore who stood 5'4" and weighed 130 pounds.  

Peter worked with a bomb sniffing dog and would clear the buildings before allowing others to enter. He lost his life defending his squad with his service rifle in 2011, and the rest of the team survived due to the heroic actions of the 22 year old dog handler that put his life in peril so that he could save others.

He also spoke of how two weeks later he heard of his younger brother Jason's death in Iraq, which occured 12 miles from where Aaron was stationed. 

Both stories are in the video below.
Staff Sergeant Aaron Hill  giving the Memorial Day Message.
The names of all the veterans buried in Wildomar cemetery were read, with the recognition that only one servicemen buried there was killed in action, Justin Hunt, 2004, Iraq.

Before the closing prayer by Cornerstone pastor Tyler Moore, there was a "placing of the wreath" done by two local children. The ceremony was concluded with the playing of taps. 

The entire ceremony is in the video below. (Be forewarned, there is some wind interference that plays with the audio at times)

Read up on the candidate for city council by clicking this link.
Later in the day, over at the VFW, there was a ceremony for Dave Arthur. Nicknamed "Mr VFW" he's given the credit for making Post 1508 what it is today. 

The memorial plaque was an Eagle Scout project by Morgan Donovan of Troop 2011. He's due to be honored at a coming city council meeting.

Below is the 14 minute video, which includes comments from Dave's widow Hazel, a few testimonials and the unveiling. If you watch the video, understand that no microphones were used, and Hazel wasn't very loud... plus there was wind, but I was able to rehab the audio a bit so that she's a bit more audible here than at the actual event.
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"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them."
– John F. Kennedy

Wildomar Rap is in awe of those that have served our nation in a time of war, and immeasurably more so to those that lost their lives protecting my freedoms. Thank you.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

• T-NOW in Wildomar

This past week the Southwest chapter of T-NOW held its monthly meeting, in Wildomar. 

T-NOW stands for Transportation NOW, it's a localized subgroup of RTA.

Though I'm the chair of our local chapter, I can't tell you what "NOW" stands for... other than "now"... as in -now-, this instant. ☺

The video below was made for a 2017 meeting where all the chapters in Riverside County come together once a year. It gives a brief overview of the Southwest Chapter.

Typically our meetings are attended by officials from the six cities that the chapter covers, plus a representative of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez's office and one from Supervisor Jeffries' office too. 

Members of organizations like The Sierra Club, in addition to everyday bus riders, and other concerned citizens, also attend T-NOW meetings.

We have a recurring agenda item called, Legislative Update where each of the cities gives an overview on what's happening in their towns (generally in regards to transportation) and the same is true of the county and state's reps.
If the font is too small to read... click the link below to see it on the actual page.
From the T-NOW webpage (link to page)
For Transportation NOW members, it's all about being part of the movement. The movement of people on buses and trains, that is.

Since our inception in 1992, Transportation NOW has been a proud advocate and enthusiastic supporter of public transportation in Riverside County. Our efforts have produced results that will last a lifetime, and ensure that bus and rail usage remains an integral part of this region for years to come.

Members of our grassroots group — ranging from elected officials to community activists to everyday transit users — are committed not only to addressing regional transportation issues but meeting the needs of our individual communities.

And with growing concern over crowded freeways, rising fuel costs and emphasis on finding cleaner and greener ways to get around, Transportation NOW is focused on the challenges that lie ahead and dedicated to making a real difference.

There's never been a better time to be part of the movement. For more information or to join a chapter, call Eric Ustation at (951) 565-5250 or email at eustation@riversidetransit.com.
Now that you know the basics about T-NOW, let me tell you about the most recent meeting. It was held in Wildomar, which happens once a year. 

The other meetings are typically held in one of the other participating cities (Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Lake Elsinore and the community center in Lakeland Village).

We had a presentation by Wildomar city staffer Jason Farag outlining the various road projects going on in town, or are scheduled to happen shortly(ish).
Jason Farag with a poster of the Bundy Canyon improvements.
Key Wildomar Projects Noted:
          Multipurpose Trail on Grand Avenue is now complete (less fresh road striping), including installation of bike lanes. It stretches the length of the city from Corydon to Clinton Keith.
Next project(s) in line, starting in June, is the road repair and maintenance rehabilitation project; funded through gas taxes and SB 1. It includes four major streets in Wildomar.
               Clinton Keith Road (near Palomar) will get a 6 inch asphalt removal and replacement to repair the section of road in front of The Barn then finished off with a slurry known as a micro surface.
               Grand Avenue will also get a 6 inch asphalt removal and replacement between McVicar St and Jane Ct. (about a quarter of a mile)
               Bundy Canyon Road repair from Oak Circle Road to The Farm Road. Grind and overlay type of repair. This will be grinding away 2 inches of asphalt and replacing it with 2 inches of new asphalt "in the areas that the pavement has failed."
               Inland Valley Drive, "about half of the road will [get] grinding [of] the asphalt and replacing it with new asphalt, then doing an overlay across the entire roadway." 

Longer Term Projects     
          Full widening of Bundy Canyon to begin in Summer of 2019 (as long as SB1 doesn't get overturned).
          Clinton Keith road widening (completion not set for another couple of years). It'll see the entire stretch of Clinton Keith, between the 15 and the cityline with Murrieta, upgraded to a 4 lane road. 

"In the next few months, the possibility of constructing the 4 lanes on Clinton Keith as well, 2 lanes in each direction, with the available funding that the city has currently available, secured. Then ultimately there's the plan to fully widen the road with curb, gutter, active transportation, additional bike lanes. The initial focus will be on widening the road to provide the traffic capacity."
- Jason Farag
          Plans are still in development for the widening of Palomar Road, with no timetables set and plans still in development. 

Lake Elsinore city council member Daryl Hickman asked: "What kind of condition is Lost Road in right now?"

Jason responded, "The city did a few years back an application of a crushed miscellaneous asphalt type material [...] there are no plans that I'm aware of right now for widening [or other] project on Lost Road."

Hickman's concern was that Lost Road will be used more and more by people of Canyon Hills and Canyon Lake as an alternative to Railroad Canyon during the construction set to hit that area any day now, not to mention when Railroad Canyon gets closed down due to an emergency.

Hickman then added about the road, "They'll be using Lost Road. If you need our city to, maybe, grade it for you..."

I'm not sure how many of you have actually used Lost Road, but I've taken it once... ONCE! It was for a blog when they were going to resurface it back in August of 2015. 

Below is a video I made, sped up with Nintendo style sound effects added, that shows Lost Road before it was resurfaced.
It's really a hazardous road that was never designed to be a modern road; too many hairpin turns and blind corners. In my opinion, it's really above the City of Wildomar's pay grade to take care of as a city project.

Bus Ride Challenge
In the past, Southwest T-NOW has had several field trips. 
In 2015 we rode the bus from Murrieta City Hall to the Promenade in Temecula. 

In 2015 we had a rider appreciation event at MSJC and another at the Lake Elsinore Outlets. 
This event started at about 4:30am... in NOVEMBER!!! It was cold, but memorable. ☺
Location: Lake Elsinore Outlets
In 2016 we took the train from the newly opened Perris Valley Line to downtown Riverside and returned on an RTA bus.

We've since embarked on a monthly challenge where members ride the bus and invite local officials to join them.

The most recent example was in Wildomar where city council members Bridgette Moore and Marsha Swanson, two Wildomar Queens (Jessie and Daisy), along with Jessie's mom Carloann Darden and Daisy's brother Christopher. 
It was an unseasonably cold day when we took this bus ride.
We picked up the bus across from the hospital, transferred at the corner of Palomar and Central, went down Grand Ave around the lake, had a 30 minute stop at The Lake Elsinore Outlets, came down Mission Trail and transferred where we did the first time, then were dropped off at the hospital... it was a 3 hour tour... ♪ 3 hour tour ♫.

Agenda announcements can include RTA promos, and current ridership stats. We learned that ridership was up last month by 1.1% from the year before, and the U-Pass program has seen an increase of 27.7% in the same time frame.
(link to what U-Pass is)

RTA is also bringing back their popular 25 cent fair for students during the 2018 Summer months.
If your kids tell you that they're board this Summer, send them around the lake for a quarter.
Link to official RTA webpage discussing the promotion.
                                                                                  

The Southwest T-NOW meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of the month, from 12pm-1pm. If you're interested in attending, check out the facebook page at the following link

Another bonus that comes with attending the Southwest T-NOW meetings is that lunch is provided... not something most of the other chapters offer. 
Pie Nation donated the lunch for the most recent T-NOW meeting held in Wildomar.
The next meeting is slated for Lake Elsinore, in their "Cultural Center" on Main St, Wednesday, June 27th at noon. 
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The election is about 5 months away. Check out the website (by clicking the image) to learn more about my views. If you have questions, please feel free to ask. If elected, I'll always respond to your emails, texts or phone calls.
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Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get..
– Dale Carnegie 

Wildomar Rap is the embodiment of attaining both simultaneously.
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Sunday, May 20, 2018

• Event Filled Saturday in Wildomar

Relay For Life is a 24 hour event where people walk to raise money in efforts to find a cure for cancer. In years past, the Wildomar teams have been at Canyon Hills Middle School, Elsinore High School and this year at Vista Murrieta High School on Clinton Keith Road, just east of the 215.
Bob and Margie Amos participate in the "Survivors Lap" which kicked off the event on Saturday morning. If you look closely, you can see a "spirit stick" being held by Bob (detail of the stick is seen in a photo below).
At the closing ceremonies, it was learned that more than $91,000 had been raised at the event. The original goal was set at $80,000.
There were several teams from Wildomar present. Here is a look at the Wildomar Walkers' station. In the foreground you can see top of the team's "spirit stick" which was topped with photos of Stan Smith and Doug Lech (not visible here), both of whom died from cancer during the past year.
There are many awards given out to the various teams for one accomplishment or another. The award for most laps went to a member of the Wildomar Walkers, Doug Ames. He logged 211 laps, which is more than 56 miles, while being on the track all 24 hours of the event.
Taken during one of Doug's first few laps.
Inset taken during one of the themed laps later in the day.
At the same time, there was the third annual ALS1 5K at Marna O'Brien park. Much as I tried to be in two places at once, I was unable to pull it off... so I'm borrowing some of Bridgette Moore's pics from the event to share here. ☺
A group shot of the winners from the various age group categories.
The amazing part about this event is that the promoter, a local family that has been touched by the disease (ALS), has really emerged as community leaders. 

Click this link to read more about Ken and Erin's motivation for this event, which was covered in a 2016 blog.

Both Ken and Erin Hartley have shown tremendous grit and willpower getting this event to come off so well for the last three years... and if organizing such a thing weren't enough of a task on its own, Erin just gave birth to the couple's fourth child in late March.
Somehow I managed to photobomb the group shot that features the Hartley family.
I got my request for the event stats in a bit late for the publication of this blog (numbers of runners, amount raised), but will put them in this spot once I receive them.
The Rotary Club of Wildomar helped raise funds for the charity by manning the beer garden.

Pictured from left to right: Ben Benoit, Jaimie Benoit, Dana DeJong, Joseph Morabito, Bridgette Moore, Andy Morris, Martin Haeberle (in the back)Erin Hartley, and Ken Hartley.
The last thing on the busy Saturday list was the kickoff of the Rooted in Nature Craft Brew Festival up at the visitors center at the Santa Rosa Plateau. 
A look at the taster glasses that have been designed for the event.
I've really been impressed with the amount of planning going into the event... it's not even scheduled for another year: May 18, 2019. 

It was first brought to my attention last year. It was mentioned in a blog dating back to August 2017. 
The program cover (front and back) from the kickoff event.
It's going to be held at Marna O'Brien park, and the aim of the event, besides having a world class event in Wildomar, is to raise funds for the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation.



The committed craft breweries include: 
         •  Garage Brewing Co
         •  Stone Brewing
         •  Coronado Brewing Co
         •  Karl Strauss Brewing Company
         •  Ballast Point
         •  Wiens Brewing Company
         •  Inland Wharf
         •  Aftershock
         •  Craft Brewing Company
         •  Ironfire Brewing Company
         •  8-Bit Brewing

The festival is scheduled to be from 3pm to 6pm (with a VIP early access set to start at 2pm). Entry fees haven't been established yet.
Ginger Greaves discussing the 2019 Rooted in Nature Craft Brew Festival.
For more information about the event, or if you'd like to be one of the sponsors, contact: 

Ginger Greaves at (909) 732-2209, ginger@SRPF.org
or
Herb Massinger (714) 264-0311, herb@naturebrewfest.org

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"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them."
– Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964)

Wildomar Rap would lay even money that Flannery would say ten times that about bloggers if she'd been aware of the concept during her lifetime.
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

• Planning Commission Meeting May 2018

There were a couple of items on the agenda worth going over from the May 2018 Planning Commission meeting. I'll also upload all the videos since the installation of the the chamber's video equipment has hit molasses going uphill in Winter speed. 

When it comes to official video at city meetings, the latest rumor suggests that September is when live streaming will start.

Now, if we juxtapose that information against the oft projected release dates of the city's updated website (which was talked about for years before the trigger got pulled), the safe bet is that live streaming will commence some time in Trump's second term... but I digress. 

2.1 Zoning Ordinance Amendment
This item was to help streamline the process where already approved projects seek a time extension before beginning construction.

I've never understood why a company would invest the time and money into a project, to design it and get it all the way through the process, to just sit on it for years and years.

One suggestion is that it can work to their advantage when they're sitting in a CPA's office in April, but that shouldn't be the concern of the city.

A legitimate reason could be downturns in the economy. I get that. The project's funding fell out, and they need more time to find other backers. 

Makes sense... but if after years you still can't scrape together the funds to move forward, then you should feel the heat of the clock ticking, and either break ground or face starting the process over again.

This ordinance is to make the process easier, to save money for the city —in staff time necessary to prepare for such a meeting. Again, seems reasonable to me, but if you listen to the video, at about the 8:45 mark, you'll hear Wildomar Planning Director Matt Bassi say, "... as well as cost savings to the developers."

Sorry, but the developers are the ones that are requesting the city spend time on their projects, and in these cases, long after they were supposed to be built and occupied. If they want an extension of time, mandate that every staff hour be paid for by them. It shouldn't be costing the taxpayers one additional dollar. 
(if that's already the case, then the point is moot to begin with)


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3.2 Extension of Time #3 Planning Commission review and consideration of a 2-year Extension of Time SEC of Bundy Canyon Road and I-15 Freeway

This was an interesting item in so far as when it came time for the vote, no one put a motion forward. There was the longest pregnant pause in human history (literally 20 seconds of dead air) before the silence was broken when Commissioner Langworthy asked, "I just have a question, when was the first extension given for that?"

It almost looked like this might not get approved, then the representative for the developer, Karine Kofdarali, told the commission that they had personnel issues due to health issues and had to start part of the process over.

After her explanation, the commission quickly voted to approve the time extension. For the full item, see the video below.


3.1 Breslin Family General Plan Initiation Proposal

This item took about half an hour. There were three public speakers that spoke their objections, and then the commission weighed in with their objections.

The spokesman for the Breslin family came up and basically threatened that if they didn't go along with this plan, they'd be looking to put in a wrecking yard, boat storage place, or some other such establishment on that land. 
(check the 20:00 minute mark of the video to hear him suggest such things)

Since it's just a GPIP, (and I'm not going to put my Mario and Princess Peach cartoon in this time, but you can click this link if you really want to see it again ☺) which is a bizarre dance where the applicant pokes his toe in the water to see how warm it is, before jumping all in with a formal request for a General Plan Amendment... I'm not going to bother with too many details on something that will never come about.

In short, they wanted to change the General Plan from EDR (Estate Density residential) to MHDR (Medium High Density Residential), or from 1 unit/2 acres 5-8 units/acre.
I counted 26 clusters, which they said would have 6 units apiece... basic math tells us that is 156 units in that area, but that far exceeds the numbers allowed with a MHDR designation.
According to the agenda packet, the project seeks to put between 80 and 134 units on about 17 acres of land... where with the current General Plan, with 1 unit per 2 acres, would allow about 8 units.

I get it, if I were the landowner, I'd want to squeeze as many dollar signs out of each acre too. Thing is, that's why we became a city, so that we would be able to control "spot zoning" attempts like this.

Commission Comments
  •  Veronica Langworthy: Our general plan is Estate Density Residential [in that area]. To change it to a Medium High Density Residential doesn't really fit in with our general plan. Typically we make conformity issues, where the zoning is not in conformity with the general plan, but to make such a drastic change to our general plan is not what I see for Wildomar.
  •  Kim Strong: I agree [with Commissioner Langworthy] we have to stay true to the general plan. There's been times that we've had to stay true to the general plan when we've not necessarily agreed with it, but I think we have to in this case as well.
  •  Michele Thomas: I agree [with the first two comments]. I have big concerns with the traffic study [...] this would be very inconvenient, it's a lot of homes, if they're apartments those are young families generally, they're driving to school. It's not a safe access, there's no way they can walk to school from this location. It's not safe, there're no sidewalks. 
  •  John Lloyd: The houses that surround this property, they have been relying that that area being Estate Density, it goes to Rural Mountainous [Density] afterwards. To put in condominiums in an area that wasn't designed for it, where it doesn't fit, it's not a good fit to me. I don't see it as something that we really need. We don't have a shortage of apartments on the books, at all. [...] I appreciate the time you guys took for the proposal, the sketches and designs, but I couldn't support this. 

3.3 Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Year 2018/19: Planning Commission’s Annual Review of the Public Works Department 2018/19 Capital Improvement Program for General Plan Consistency.

Newsworthy points: 

• Clinton Keith road widening is 100% designed. It's a $7.5M project with about $3.6M ready to spend. Still no start date predicted.
• Palomar widening, the designing is at the 65% complete mark. Looking to phase the project in over time.
• Bundy Canyon interchange. This is a long term project that involves years of planning, dealing with CalTrans.
• New traffic signals associated with Bundy Canyon Road widening. When that goes forward, so will the new signals. 
   •   Bundy Canyon Road @ Sellers Road
   •   Bundy Canyon Road @ Monte Vista Road
   •   Bundy Canyon Road @ Oak Circle Drive
   •   Bundy Canyon Road @ The Farm Road
• Flood control/drainage, please see the video for details on the various items (starting at about the 5:30 mark of the video).
• Parks, next parks workshop will include the newly acquired 11 acres just south of David A. Brown school. 

Let me be the first to suggest that this park be named after the man that made it possible... Charles Tunstall Park has a nice ring to it.

• Trails, the Grand Avenue Multi-Use Trail is complete and the lines on the road will be painted within the next week or two. The city is working on getting the east side of Murrieta Trail opened for public use. Currently only the west side access road is readily available.

It was discussed that Grand Avenue will be striped as a two lane road from Corydon to Clinton Keith, which will affect the current lane count near the stop sign at Sheila. 
By my count, there are currently as many as five lanes at the intersection of Sheila and Grand.

Below is a short video that has the other bits and pieces of the meeting, including public comments. I'd prefer to post videos in chronological order, but that's not what Wildomar Rap is supposed to do... that's the job of the city.


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"Why don't you write books people can read?"
– Nora Barnacle to her husband James Joyce

Wildomar Rap is asked something similar by Mrs. Wildomar Rap at least once a week.

This blog was produced for viewing on a desktop or a laptop. Though it's been optimized for smartphones, the formatting can look odd on a smartphone or if you get this delivered through email (such as missing video links). Link to proper format.

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