Friday, October 28, 2016

• Sycamore Academy National History Day 2016

Another great event at Sycamore Academy, aka SASCA (Sycamore Academy of Science and Cultural Arts), where they held an open house showing off the history projects their students made as part of National History Day.

The kindergarten classes studied Amelia Earhart, Isaac Newton and Henry Ford.
Replicas of Amelia Earhart's Kinner Airster  biplane made by some of the students.

The 2nd and 3rd grades (six classes) did group projects ranging from topics of US Presidents, civil rights, women's rights, inventors, astronauts and environmentalists. 
I liked this display not only because Jackie Robinson is a true American hero, but I thought the pieces of the bat and ball were clever too.

I asked Miss Dalesio for some details about the event.
Our school participates in National History Day, which is a national event where there's a theme each year. Students do a research project and put together a whole presentation on the theme of the year. 

This year's theme is Taking A Stand

They had to choose a person, or a group of people, in history who took a stand for something, and they research it and they present it. 

In the 4th and 5th grade [the project is] a poster [of the historical figure]. 

When you go through middle school [displays] you'll see that there are exhibit boards, some created websites, documentaries, performances, essays... they had a little bit more choice in their projects. 

I asked her, "How much time do they work on these projects?"

She responded, "[In] middle school, which I teach, we have done a lot of it in class and they've spent about two months of brainstorming topics, researching something they're interested in, narrowing down what they want to research further. Most of middle school projects were done in class."
These two exhibits weren't next to each other, or even in the same room, I just thought it would be interesting to show the diversity present, even among the current figures chosen.

One thing that a person might notice about the middle school projects is that there were none about Martin Luther King Jr. 

The reason why is they used MLK Jr as the guiding example of how the projects were to be done, and that basically eliminated him from being a subject this year.
Remember that Sesame Street game about ♪♫Three of these things belong together. Three of these things are kind of the same. Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?♪♫. Somehow I don't think that Genghis Khan belongs with Florence Nightingale, JFK and Mohamed Ali... not taking away the value of the project, just making a lighthearted juxtaposition. ☺

I'm not sure if anyone did a tally of most covered historical person during this event or not, but I'm guessing it was a toss up between JFK, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the mix too.

Sycamore Academy is comprised of 22 classes ranging from TK-8th (TK is Transitional Kindergarten). With about 550 students.
A look at one of the displays from the younger grades.
As an aside...
Through my travels of the SASCA corridors I happened upon this "math" problem. Since I saw my name at the top of it, I had to take a closer look.

The answer to this one is easy. 
 "How far from Carly does Joseph live?"  

That's a cinch. It all depends on how far from the cemetery that Carly lives, because that's where Joseph will be if he goes to her house for dinner. ☺
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That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. 
— Aldous Huxley, 1894-1963

Wildomar Rap may be like the average person that doesn't learn much from the lessons of history, but at least he's on the ball enough to avoid dinner at Carly's house.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

• New Additions To Serenity Park

Good news for those looking for additional parkland in Wildomar.
The sign you'll see at the edge of the new park while construction is going on.
Ok fine, it's not in Wildomar, but it's literally less than a stone's throw from Corydon, which works as a border between Lake Elsinore and Wildomar, so I'm calling dibs for Wildomar anyway.
Serenity Park is located just north or Corydon, on Palomar. The red arrow indicates the  2.8 acre expansion.

There was a brief ceremony where four of the council members spoke at a portable lectern, then meandered over to a prime spot for a "first shovel" shot... which had six people in it. 

From left to right in the video link below is LE Councilmember Daryl Hickman, his name escapes me, LE Councilmember Steve Manos, LE Mayor Brian Tisdale, LE Councilmember Natasha Johnson and LE Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Magee.

Above is a video of the 5 minute event. 
It's not bad for being shot on a Samsung Galaxy 7, but since I didn't bring a tripod (who knew I was going to videotape it?) it was a bear to edit out the camera shake.
The view of the area, through the construction fence, from the corner of Corydon and Palomar.
I caught up with Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale to get the lowdown on this park expansion. 

It's a 2.8 acre expansion. It's going to include a BMX feature, dog park, parking lot. Phase 2 includes some amenities down there (referring to the existing parts of the park) such as shelter for the skate park and the for the benches. 

Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale

The timeline on this project is 120 days.
There were several well established trees that were spared the blade of the backhoe in this project.

Tisdale went on to say, "It benefits the whole community. We're right at the corner of Wildomar and the county. This is about kids playing and that's always been —Bob [Magee] and I, that's always been our contention, give them something to do then they won't graffiti they won't do other things."

Panoramic shots are always a bit dicey, but here is a look L to R (north to south) of the whole area.
While I had his attention, I asked him to tell me a bit about the new sports center that the LE City Council just approved, and where it is going to be.

He kind of chuckled as he coyly asked, "[Do you mean] the 530,000 square feet sports center?"

It's on twenty-three acres located right next to the stadium near a veterinary clinic. The  ground breaking for that is estimated to be around March of 2017.

Link to July 2015 blog about Serenity getting a skate park
•          •          •

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.
– B. C. Forbes, 1880-1954

Wildomar Rap generally doesn't bother with seeds and just buys small plants in pony-packs instead.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

• Trunk or Treat 2016

This event just keeps getting bigger and better with every year.
One of the three winning "trunks" —girl scout troop 1346.

There were 40 trunks passing out candies, and the ones that only brought 500 pieces ran out early. So my guess were there were at least a kazillion people at Marna O'Brien park if not eleventy kazillion.
The festivities started while the sun was still up, and to kick it off the cheerleaders from Elsinore High did a cheer they came up with just for the occasion.

Cheerleaders along with the Wildomar Queens, Councilmember Ben Benoit and Mayor Bridgette Moore. This car wasn't towed to the park, it made it on it's own power. I believe its model year is 1920.

This family snaps some pics of their little one at Faith Baptist's display.

One of the winning Trunks. Where's Waldo was so much better than this picture shows here. They were representing Living Hope Lutheran Church located on Central just to the west of Cervera where Windsong Valley is. 

The firetruck was a big hit.
In addition to candy, the city was also handing out Wildomar themed 2017 calendars, being held up by DJ Robert Rankin Walker who was spinning the haunted hits and also touring the trunks with his remote mic.
Wildomar Rotary had a fundraiser selling DeJong's world famous chocolate milk. Councilmember Ben Benoit (dressed as a combo of the Mad Hatter and Willy Wonka from what I can tell) takes a taste. 
Cub Scout Troop 332 won one of the awards for their haunted maze.
Jodi Pesicka and Toni Bravo-Rousseau of the coming Water Safety 5k dressed as jailbirds.
Have to love it when people dress their dogs in costumes.
Now for my favorite costumes
There were a ton of great costumes, and the ones that were the hands down favs of the crowd were the three T-Rexes. Followed by the twin sharks... at least based on random people taking pics of them.
These three had crowds of people following them around wherever they went.

Like the T-Rex(es), these two were most entertaining when they were bopping to the beat of the music. I was sort of hoping for a rumble between the fish and the lizards, but alas, it never happened.
But hands down, my choice of best costume of the evening went to little Donny Trump. He even had the mannerisms down.

For those that have facebook, here's a link to a live video the mayor broadcast during the event.

Looking forward to next year's Trunk or Treat night. I had a ton more pics to choose from that didn't quite make the cut. The Elks Lodge, Wildomar Chamber, Boy Scout Troop 332, Crew 332, Congressional Candidate Tim Sheridan, Original Christmas Tree Lane, and one that was a poke-stop to name a few. Next year I'll have to make a video like I did in 2014.
The haunted bug made its third appearance in three years.

•          •          •

On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me. 
– Rodney Dangerfield, 1921-2004

Wildomar Rap is not a big fan of pumpkin teeth or candy canes for that matter. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

• THINK Together Basketball Tournament

THINK Together is an after school program that is offered at Wildomar Elementary and William Collier Elementary, among others in neighboring communities. 

Today's event was a basketball tournament with the various elementary schools competing against each other.

It started with a pep rally where teams from the local THINK Together programs participated.
A look at the pep squad from Wildomar Elementary.
Part of the pregame festivities included Congressional Candidate Tim Sheridan saying a few words, Wildomar Mayor Bridgette Moore speaking about after school programs, and handing out half a dozen certificates to those that make the program work.

Earlier the teams had competed on the blacktop to see who would face each other in the final game in front of a packed house in the gym.

It was fun to watch the William Collier Comets play against Withrow Wildcats. 

It took a couple of minutes for the players to hit their groove, but that didn't deter them from jacking the ball up every opportunity they had. It was a shooting frenzy for a time. ☺
Number 5 for Withrow was one of the better players of the tournament. Still, the Collier Comet defender blocked his pass attempt.

It also took me a few minutes to figure out that the Yellow team was the one from Wildomar, and the one I ended up cheering to a 17-14 victory.
A look at the 2016 THINK Together champions from William Collier Elementary.

After the game, the school's media department interviewed Wildomar's mayor.
Candidate Tim Sheridan, THINK Together Site Coordinator Riverside County Region April Watkins and her daughter Sunny, Mayor Bridgette Moore, Little Miss County of Riverside Isabella Heredia, and Miss Wildomar Jesse Taylor pose for a picture.

Another look at the Collier Comets.

From the invitation
On Oct. 20, 2616, the afterschool programs from the Lake Elsinore School District  will be participating in the annual Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide celebration of afterschool programs.  We will be one of more than 8,000 sites across the nation sending the message that afterschool is key to children’s success, and that we must keep the lights on and doors open after school.  Parents, media, employers, neighbors, school officials and others have been invited to help us rally support for safe, stimulating afterschool programs.

The elementary THINK Together programs in the LEUSD have been learning about the Olympics and what it takes to be a great athlete.  They have learned to be healthy, go to college, and they have formed basketball teams.  The sites from Wildomar, William Collier, Railraod Canyon, Lakeland Village, Withrow, Machado, and Lake Elsinore Elementary will be coming together for a basketball tournament and celebration.

On a personal note

Just two days ago April Watkins lost her twenty-one year old son. I knew this event was on the schedule, but had thought she might skip it (who could blame her if she did?)

When I saw her this afternoon, the first time since the tragic news, she looked as together as she always does. I gave her a hug and she told me that this was going to be a four hour no cry zone. (That almost got me to cry).

I admired her strength and determination.

When she addressed the audience, she started to speak about the program and the good it does for the kids. She began to relate her experience in the program, telling the audience, "I have four kids..." but that's where her breath was taken away.

She tried to complete her sentence, and after a moment, she managed to with a bit of difficulty. If there are pictures of the crowd at that point, I'm the one with the sunglasses on indoors.

•          •          •

“The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.”
– Ernie Banks, 1931-2015

Wildomar Rap has had ample opportunity to be proven a good sport in many forms of competition over the years.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

• Planning Commission Meeting October 2016

Tonight's meeting was billed as a special meeting

The usual slot for the planning commission meeting is the first Wednesday of the month. Any other Wednesday and it seems to get the "special" designation.

Item 2.1 Nova Homes Residential Project

Click to enlarge.
This is located about 600 feet north of Clinton Keith on the west side of George going to Iodine Springs.

Just to the south of the Wildomar Springs housing development that is currently in the building phase. 

To the south of it, on Clinton Keith, is an already approved shopping center known as Clinton Keith Village. (link to blog about it)

This was to be another general plan amendment request with the request being to remove an existing mixed use overlay (better known as MUPA).

The developer wants to build 77 homes that range from 1700sf to 3100sf on 11.25 acres.

Everything looked to be a go when commissioner John Lloyd discovered an error between the agenda packet they were holding and what the developer was working from.

It was all really nothing of consequence (which home model went where), but in California (and especially in Wildomar) if there is a cosmetic error it's best practice to stop the presses and take it from the top on another day.

Both sides cordially agreed to carry this over to the December 7th meeting where they'll be using the same set of plans that are also sent out to the public.

Possible Measure Z loophole here?

Even though this has to come back to the planning commission, as long as they had the public hearing opened, there was time for public comments. This proved to be the most eyebrow raising to me.

Kenny Mayes brought up an interesting point. This project is part traditional houses and part non traditional. The developer referred to these units as "our garden product". 

They are single family homes, but with essentially no front yards, and the owners don't own the land; they're similar to condos, but not attached.

With that, they are only on one parcel.

You may be saying, "Yeah, who cares if there are 65 residences on 1 parcel?"

Well, depending on how you read Measure Z, which charges $28 per parcel, those 65 units in the new development might only be paying $28 (total) per year instead of $1820 that would be charged if they were on individual parcels.

After the meeting I spoke with Planning Director Matt Bassi about it and he wasn't too sure how that would be interpreted. 
I had mistakenly assumed that only the 65 "garden product" homes were on one lot. According to the agenda, it's the entire project of 77 homes. 

Which would  change the amount of Measure Z monies from said development from $1820 to $2156.

Let's please get this figured out post haste. 

If Measure Z was mistakenly written in such a way as to allow multiple units to only pay once "per parcel" instead of once per domicile, let's please put this on the list of future agenda items and fix it. The intent was for everyone to pay into it.

If Measure Z is applied to all units in the city (even if they share a single parcel), then let's have that made clear and put this issue to bed.

I can't imagine that any of the council members would be in favor of such an odd exemption that would allow homeowners to avoid paying the Measure Z tax simply because of the way the plot plan was drawn up.
This was answered at the November PC meeting

As for the Nova Homes project itself, it'll be a nice addition to the city, and nice to know that it didn't include more apartments. 

My only questions were about the ingress. It only has one entrance for 77 homes. I can picture existing peak time traffic being affected on George St if there aren't dedicated lanes and turn pockets.
•          •          •

Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens, And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons. 
— Ogden Nash (1940), 1902-1971

Wildomar Rap wonders what old Ogden would have to say after watching the latest presidential debate.

• Tragedy Hits Local Family

There is a kind hearted woman I've known for about three years, that has done a lot for the community. Her name is April Watkins and you've read her name in this blog several times before.
April Watkins with the microphone, Kenneth, and Dana DeJong during a Lights On Afterschool event in 2015.

She is very involved with Think Together, an after school program, at Wildomar Elementary. 

She also helped spearhead last year's Great Day of Service II, where many volunteers came together to help upgrade the Wildomar Elementary campus. 

Below is a video montage of the day and the campus' transformation. There are a few images of April beginning at the three minute mark.
Yesterday she got the news that no parent would ever want to receive. Her son was dead, and more distressing than that alone, it was at his own hands.

The Watkins family is of modest means and a GoFundMe page has been started on their behalf by Wildomar Mayor Bridgette Moore to cover burial costs.

If you're one that is usually skeptical about donating to causes because you don't know where the money is going, or it's for something that isn't local, please visit the GoFundMe page and consider donating a few dollars.

Link to GoFundMe page.

Below is what you'll find at the GoFundMe page.
My name is Bridgette Moore and I'm starting this campaign for the Watkins Family. I met April Watkins 12 years ago when her two sons, Lavious and Tyler, were in the Cub Scouts with my son.

On October 18, 2016,  April's oldest son, Lavious Brendan Watkins took his own life.  Lavious has a one-year old little girl.

This campaign will be used for the funeral expenses and to help the Watkins family through this difficult time.

Any amount of donation is appreciated. This is such an unexpected loss. The family is devastated. Prayers are needed and appreciated too. Lavious is survived by his father Lavious (Woogie) Watkins, his mother April Hueftle Watkins and his three younger siblings, Tyler, Christianna and Sunny and his daughter Scarlett Watkins.

Thank you all for your support!

I am not receiving any of the donations. All donations will be given directly to the Watkins Family.

Help spread the word!

LINK to GoFundMe Page
•          •          •

In the midst of life, we're in the midst of death. In the midst of joy we, we are in the midst of sorrow. In the midst of victory, we're in the midst of defeat.

— E.G. Marshall (CBSRMT), 1914-1998

Wildomar Rap is heartbroken for the Watkins family, and has no clever sayings at such a dreadful time.

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