Saturday, December 31, 2016

• 2016 Year In Review

2016 was an eventful year in Wildomar 
One of the many great views seen in Wildomar during 2016.

As the old year ends and the new one begins I thought I'd highlight some of the things that went on in the city of Wildomar. No point in going into great detail here, you either already know what happened or you don't really care. ☺

• Right out of the chute we saw a successful attack on the way we elected our city council members.
A rapacious law firm from LA sent a menacing letter at the end of 2015, hoping it would get lost among the end of the year holiday hoopla. 
After many months, and many thousands of dollars, the city avoided a losing court battle by adopting districts. Which only gave the residents LESS representation at city hall, reducing them to just one council member they can vote for instead of five. 

What nutjob would think such a thing would be a good idea?

• 2016's promised El Niño was a bust. We were promised a Godzilla El Niño, yet we ended up with something closer to a blind puppy El Niño, with far less than our average rainfall. 

To be prudent, the city held several sandbag events for local residents. Primarily because they were egged on by the huge fuss that had been made in the media. 
By the final sandbag event, the crews had it down to a science.

Despite those same "experts" declaring that this year will be dryer than usual (whatever that means in the real world) I'm cheering for a continuation of the rains we've been having, and looking forward to the prognosticators being served another large helping of crow. 

There were many events in the city
Along with several movies, concerts, and an astronomy night in the park. 
One of several rockin' concerts held a Marna O'Brien Park in 2016.

Let's not forget the 2017 calendar contest, where participants were given a copy of the calendar for entering, and the rest were given out at the State of the City and subsequent events.

Other notable things that happened during the year included Ashley Fox as Mayor for a Day, Chords and Vines radio show broadcast from the Corporate Room, and the opening of several businesses: Yellow Basket; Discount Tires; Go Nutz Donuts among them. 

• The much needed drainage improvements (lateral C-1) off of Palomar were completed.

There were many Eagle Scout projects completed around town. 
Including, but not limited to, dugout coverings on one of the ball fields at Marna O'Brien park; installation of the Justin Hunt Memorial at the cemetery; enclosure around the porta potty at Windsong Park.
Ryan Bellinghousen, Brandon Benline, Mayor Bridgette Moore, Mario Herrera of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez's office.
• When it came to politics, we saw Jerry Brown veto Wildomar again; Wildomar voting for a school bond; 53% voting in favor of legalizing the devil's weed (cannabis for the squares out there), the election of a new city council member (Dustin Nigg), and the end of an era when Bob Cashman retired from the council.

• On November 2nd, there was a well received Donald Trump rally at the corner of Clinton Keith and Hidden Springs Rd. Though one disgruntled Hillary supporter did try and cause some trouble and the cops had to be called.
• We said goodbye to police chief Captain Lennie Hollingsworth, and also hired a CSO (Community Service Officer).

• We endured another false alarm to the grand jury, where a citizen complained that the various city meetings weren't publicized at the post office or library to their liking.

• Walmart successfully defended a bogus lawsuit (the judge threw the case out), only to see the out of town lawyer wait until the final day to file an appeal. The case is still pending, as are the various improvements to Bundy Canyon Road that are direly needed

Just remember this handy little truism, nothing gets built without funding, and without development there is no funding.

Ground breaking will most likely occur in 2017.

• We saw several fires in town

El Comal restaurant, and several house fires that displaced families. It was good to see the community rally around the families in question, helping out the best they could with donations of goods, food, gift cards, money and personal time. 

• The Brown House got a lot of attention this year, and though it looks as if its days are nearly over, the development known as Baxter Village has made room for it in a key spot, if the Wildomar Historical Society can raise half a million dollars in the next two weeks*. 
Someone needs to write a countdown to removal app for this.
*Since they haven't been able to raise jack diddly squat over the last ten years, it's a safe bet that the Brown House will only survive in photos by mid 2017.

• 2017 will see a new Mayor at the dais, Tim Walker, and I'm sure that he'll keep a sharp eye out for things that concern the residents of Wildomar and handle them with alacrity. 

But I wouldn't bother sending your facebook missives, about the parks being out of TP, to him. I'm guessing such things will only serve as a catapult to first string on the nonstarter special olympics team.

• Something that only touched Wildomar indirectly, although it directly affected one of our city council members, Ben Benoit, is the passing of Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, Ben's father.
John Benoit

He died the day after Christmas, just a day shy of his 65th birthday, after having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just a couple of months earlier. 

Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out the the Benoit family.

Mayor Bridgette Moore presided over a very busy year. I'm sure there are plenty of things that I omitted, such is often the case when putting together a blog like this. Please leave a comment about the items that should have been included.

Happy New Year to all the Wildotuckians out there, and may the new year be the path to your better tomorrow... or some other such flowery nonsense.
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Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

– Robert Burns, 1759-1796

Wildomar Rap thinks that some acquaintances should be forgotten, auld lang syne notwithstanding.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

• Streetlight Demonstration Tour

What says "exciting" more than a field trip designed to check out the differences in the newest -state of the art- street lighting options... in Hemet no less?

When there is free Starbucks, and Jersey Mike's in the mix, such silly questions aren't often asked.
A look at the group of local city representatives, and interested residents, listening to Tyler Masters (WRCOG) give an overview of what the tour would entail. Notice the lack of color differentiation in the above photo; it's a yellow cast of gray.

Seriously though, most of the local municipalities are in the process of buying their street lights from SoCal Edison with the aim of retrofitting them with new LED lights, replacing the LPS (Low Pressure Sodium) lights we've had for a generation.

Back in the day, the LPS lights were chosen because of their energy savings at the time. This was talked about in the blog covering the November city council meeting.

A 30 year cash flow model of costs to purchase, retrofit, maintain and finance yields a net savings to Wildomar of $650,000 at year 15, $1.9 million at year 20 and $5.8 million at year 30. 

Jim Filanc, of Southern Contracting, discussed the different lights that we were going to see, and also showed some of the older lights that have been in use. 
There were many different lights on display, including this bulb (1500W Sports Park Light) that Jim Filanc is holding up.
Part of the discussion was a crash course on how light is measured (color temperature) with Kelvin [K]. Example: incandescent light 2700K; warm white 3000K; cool white 4000K; daylight 5500K. At the event we were handed key chains with lights that registered 10,000. 
Wildomar Mayor Bridgette Moore looks on as Jim Filanc demonstrates something very important... what? I don't recall, but look at that gesture... it has to be important... right? ☺
The field trip was in Hemet, where 8 different LED lights had been installed in various neighborhoods or intersections.

The first test was to check out a color wheel under the LPS light in the parking lot where this outing was staged from (Fig. 1 in the graphic below). As you can see from the photos above, there was no way to differentiate color under that light.

The color wheel marked 1 is under the LPS light that is in most neighborhoods now. As you can see, you can't tell one color from another. 

From the staging area we walked about 100 yards to an arterial road (image 2) and though the light was yellow, we could now make out some of the colors.

Some of the options seemed to be too bright in my estimation, but many of them would be a great improvement over what we have.

Initially I was skeptical of going away from the LPS, mostly due to the color. 

My argument has been that a yellow light in a neighborhood gives enough light for safety, but not the type of intrusive shine that a white light can give off (think: hospital corridors).

I'm guessing that being for or against such light spillage depends on if you have any bedroom windows that get streetlight intrusion. 

In the image below, the house on the right is still lit up sufficiently. It's just not glowing like a scene from a Thomas Kinkade painting.
Unless you're looking to play a little midnight basketball in your driveway, you can see that the light coverage is better aimed in the image on the right.

At one of the areas where a new LED light was put in, a neighbor complained that they missed the old amber glow.

WRCOG came back out and installed a filter over the new light, which gave it the familiar yellow feel (number 3 in the color wheel graphic above), but without the color recognition limitations that usually accompanies them. 
An example of "existing lighting" with "glare bombs" (right), and LED lighting on the left. You can see that much of the light is wasted with LPS, whereas the light from the LED is directed toward the roadway.

Thing is, with all but one of the LED options, the "white" lights turned out to be fine, with no "glare bombs" as Jim Flanc called the them, and without the "hospital corridor" feel that I was worried about.
Local Wildomar resident, Grace Morabito, is filling out her questionnaire. You can see how much better the color is under this light compared to ones take under the amber lights above. (Image 8 on the color wheel)

At the end of the tour I asked Tyler Masters, program manager at WRCOG, for a recap of what we just did.

What we were doing here in the city of Hemet, we [had] the fourth of four Streetlight Demonstration Area tours where we've been able to retrofit over 150 streetlights in the city of Hemet; to reflect a whole bunch of different LED technologies. The purpose of the demonstrations is to get city staff, elected officials, the public and the astronomical society to come out and assess the light, tell us what they think about the color, the light output, and help us make recommendations for selections of the LED technologies that are right for the future.

If there are any Wildomartinis that would like to check out the new lights themselves, follow the link to WRCOG's website.

I had to take this picture, often our group looked a lot like a horde zombies searching for something to eat as we walked in the middle of some neighborhood streets.

If you have an opinion about which light the city should convert to, or which color, be sure to stay up on this item by subscribing to city emails at the following link. 
Your ticket to all the city emails you can handle.
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“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” 
― Helen Keller, 1880-1968

Wildomar Rap wants to point out to Ms Keller that everywhere she walked, it was in the dark. No offense... jus' sayin' an' all.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

• Local Family Displaced By Fire

Santa makes a Christmas Eve stop at the VFW to bring some good will and tidings (plus a load of presents) to a family that recently lost their home.

You may have read about this house fire in Wildomar, displacing a large family, back on December 16th. 

Though crews were able to contain the fire by 2:30 p.m. a subsequent call was necessary when smoke was reported to be coming from the attic later that evening.

If the house wasn't a total loss initially, it was after the second call. In addition to what the flames were able to do, the rains have since exacerbated the situation. 

I had a chance to chat with Cheryl and Bruce Durbin, the parents of the five children (four being adopted from infancy), they told me that the house was a 100% loss.

"The fire consumed the kitchen primarily, but the fire went all the way up the walls, into the attic. There are no rafters left, there's hardly any flooring left, it's going to be a near total tear down from inside." —Bruce Durbin

They spoke to the adjusters yesterday and were told that none of the walls are any good, and the framing has to be replaced. The estimated time to rebuild it is between 12 and 18 months.

I asked if they were going to be able to stay in town during the rebuild, and I was told that they are currently in a hotel. They are anticipating a challenge when finding a home to accommodate their family of seven.

In the fire they lost several pets; three dogs, a cat and a potbelly pig. Bruce was telling me that, "even with [only] two dogs, it's very difficult to [find a place to] rent." 
From left to right, Cheryl Durbin, Isiah 8, two fire fighters, Shakinah 6, in Santa's arms - Judah 5,  firefighter number 3, Joshua 7, Elijah 12 and Bruce Durbin on the right.

To add to the difficulties of losing a home, they already had family coming in from out of the country for Christmas. Bruce's brother is a missionary in China, and this was going to be his family's first Christmas in the States in nearly 10 years.

Caring Hearts, a local non profit that has its roots in the VFW, jumped into action to help the family. 

They provided a safe comfortable place for the extended family to have Christmas dinner, and also arranged for Santa Claus to stop by... delivery courtesy of the Wildomar Fire Department.

The traditional Christmas dinner fed nine kids and five adults. 
A shot of the extended family and Santa Claus and Santa Elf.

Bruce told me that they have a small RV and thought they'd be able to use it for accommodations for the traveling family, but the fire destroyed all the keys that were in the home, and the RV is at the dealership waiting for a key to arrive from the east coast.

I asked how they chose Wildomar as their home.
"We visit a lot of towns; we visit the parks before we look at the houses. When we go to a city park, or a restaurant that the community goes to a lot, you get a big feeling for how the rest of the community probably is." 

"We went to the McDonald's, we were sitting there and we said "Hi" to the firemen that happened to be there, and they said "Hi" to the kids. We're used to people looking at us because the range of children we have." 

"Out of nowhere the firemen showed up with stickers, hats and plastic helmets, and we thought, 'if that's not a sign of some kind, that this is a welcoming community, then I don't know what would be.'"

Cheryl added, "While we were at the McDonald's, three separate families came up to us and said what a beautiful family we had. For us, that clinched it."

While I had them there I thought I'd ask about how their family grew to five kids through adoption. 

Bruce was telling me that their eldest child, Elijah, was so into his new brother (Isiah) that he'd help hold the bottle for him, carrying him, pushing him in a stroller. 

Then added, "I said, 'well obviously we're going to have to have more.'"

Which elicited a chuckle from me.

While telling me about Joshua, that he was a preemie (2 months early), only 3 pounds and about 14 inches, and how the doctors warned them about possible severe complications later on, and that they had to resuscitate him multiple times, and that "he might not make it out of the hospital," you could hear the emotion in Bruce's voice, though Joshua is okay today.

The Durbins are a delightful family that is facing difficulties. If you're so moved to contribute to their GoFundMe page, the link is below.
Below is a video where the Durbin family can be seen at a city parks event. Skip to about 2:25 to see a few pics that they appeared in during the montage... or watch the whole thing because it's pretty cool. ☺

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“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” 
― Elbert Hubbard, 1856-1915

Wildomar Rap is a blog that knows all about you and still loves you. ☺

Thursday, December 22, 2016

• Post Office Dave Retires

After 27 years at the Wildomar post office, and more than 30 years total for the USPS, David Burgess is hanging up his his postage meter and heading to new pastures. Montana is what I'd heard.
David Burgess at his familiar spot behind the counter.

What makes Dave special is his unquenchable cheerful disposition. 

Let's be real for a minute, many postal workers (especially those behind the counter) typically are tied with DMV workers for most surly and self important out there.

But not David Burgess. 

With much fanfare, literally —on a vuvuzela no less, a scroll was unfurled and read to a small crowd that included a representative from Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez's office, city councilmember Marsha Swanson, EVMWD board member George Cambero, and number of his friends and colleagues.
Post Office Dave looking on in with a mixture of amusement and disbelief.

It started off with, "Hear Ye, Hear Ye..." and went on for about 2 minutes. It was followed up by a rousing chorus of For He's A Jolly Good Fellow.
Twelve year resident Nancy Crawford, and number one Post Office Dave Fan, holds the scroll as Dave looks on. The lad in the picture is Dave's son.

He made no speeches, but he did repeat, "Thank you" more than once.

I'm guessing that he's one of the most known people in town, even if not by name. 

If you have a chance to mail a letter tomorrow (Friday December 23rd) why not take the few extra moments to do it in person and wish him a happy retirement while you're at it.
•          •          •

“All of life is action and passion, and not to be involved in the actions and passions of your time is to risk having not really lived at all.” 

— Herodotus, 484 BC-425 BC

Wildomar Rap has gone to Dave's counter many times over the years, but not nearly as many as Mrs. W'Rap has. More than once I tried to repurpose an AVON box to send something, and more than once he told me how much the post office hated those boxes

Ah, such good times. :) 
Happy Retirement Post Office Dave.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

• Christmas Lights Contest 2016

Wildomar had a Christmas light contest this year. The winners were announced at last week's city council meeting... but that blog was already too long so I saved the images and videos for closer to Christmas.

There were only a handful of entrants, but it was still fun going around to see all the different entries.

The two main categories were "Traditional" and "Griswold".

I'm still not too sure what "Traditional" entailed (because "traditional" to me would mean one strand of lights hung from the eaves —that was the tradition when I grew up), but "Griswold" harkens back to the movie Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold had so many lights you could see them from space. 
Casa de Griswold from the movie Christmas Vacation.

It was a fun contest, but it seemed that most Wildomartinis didn't know to enter, while others chose the wrong category when entering.

The two winners were Brock B. on 25053 Loring Rd in the Traditional category, and Jeffrey H. on 35814 Sea Lion CT in the Griswold category.

It was hard to beat the lights that were in sync with the music. When you roll up to Sea Lion Ct, you then tune your FM radio to 88.1 and watch the show. It's pretty mesmerizing. The music is Wizards In Winter (Instrumental) - Trans-Siberian Orchestra. My Youtube channel was warned that it may not play on some devices since it contains copyrighted material.
25053 Loring Rd, winner in the "Traditional" category.

This house rated very high. It's found on Woshka.

All those that entered had nice displays, but if I can be a stickler here... if you're going to enter a Christmas lights contest, allow me to suggest you have the lights on.

When we went by, half the contestants had their lights out before 9:00pm.

Yes, electricity doesn't grow on trees and all, but when a contestant's non participating neighbors [still] have their lights on at 9:05pm, it's not a particularly good omen if the energy miser was hoping to win.
Great display here, found on Teil Glen. 

There were a ton of great light displays throughout Wildomar, and perhaps next year the city can adjust the contest a bit and include an "honorable mention" category for light displays that weren't officially entered. 

•          •          •
Wildomar Rap would like to give the community a Christmas gift. It's a parody Christmas song called, Christmas In Wildomar (to the tune of Up On A Housetop). 
A video still shot of the eateries I'd like to see come to Wildomar.

In case you don't know, when this blog was first started, the word "Cantankerotti" was coined (a portmanteau of cantankerous and glitterati). It describes people that get off on hassling the elected officials (or staff) in the city. 

Some are serial litigants or constantly threaten to sue, others just put in endless records requests or tattletale to the Grand Jury that the city pulled sally's hair... or some other such inane charge.

I already know that I sound like Andre the Giant after he's regurgitated a porcupine, so if you want to insult my dulcet tones, at least be clever about it... deal?

•          •          •

“For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'.” 

— John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807–1892

Wildomar Rap wants to thank the readers that have pushed the lifetime page views to over 200,000 in just three years.

Monday, December 19, 2016

• Santa Makes a Special Stop in Wildomar

The Elks Lodge in Wildomar does many good things for the community, and tonight was no exception. They arranged for Santa, and the missus, to stop by and bring some gifts to a couple of Wildomar kids.

Riot and Rhylee, who both attend Wildomar Elementary, only thought they were going out to dinner. They were brought to the Elks Lodge by their grandparents, Kevin and June.

After a few introductions, and Hershey's Kisses, they found a couple of coloring books and went straight to work on them. 

Little did they know that some visitors from the North Pole came just to see them.

It took them a few moments to grasp the idea that the man in the red suit was there for them. In other words, they were a bit on the shy side at first, as they continued on coloring nonchalantly.
Mr. & Mrs. Claus helping Riot and Rhylee choose the right color for Rudolph's nose.

A subgroup within the Elks, known among themselves as The Dirty Dozen, sought out a family that could use a boost at Christmas.

They provide them with presents, a traditional Christmas dinner, a visit from Santa Claus. 
The eyes tell the story in this picture. ☺

This year's family was found with the assistance of Mayor Bridgette Moore and Think Together's April Watkins.
The North Pole royalty (Arnie and Colleen Yarchever), Grandparents Kevin and June, and kids Riot and Rhylee.

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“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” 

— Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790

Based on Ben's maxim (and my math), it's safe to say that Wildomar Rap experiences a continual Christmas at least 75-80% of the time.

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