Saturday, April 29, 2017

• Water Safety Awareness 5K Recap

This event was several months in the making, and it was spearheaded by Wildomar resident Jodi Pesicka along with Toni Bravo-Rousseau. Both of these brave women are the mothers of children that survived near drownings.
You'd never imagine the amount of time, prep work, sweat and worry that goes into an event that is less than two hours from the public's point of view... unless you've done something similar yourself.
The event was named after Jodi's daughter Justine Lee: The Justine Lee Pesicka Memorial Foundation Water Safety Awareness 5k Run/Walk. 
Here are the two shirts that were seen at the 5K. The black and purple one was worn by the volunteers and staff. The white with blue lettering was worn by the runners.

Justine died in 2013 at the age of 24, more than 20 years after the incident that forever changed the Pesicka family's lives.

Toni's seven year old daughter Summer is in hospice, though she was brought out to Marna O'Brien park to be at the event, she faces many challenges daily, and needs round the clock care.
Toni Bravo-Rousseau, Robin Dixon, Jodi Pesicka and Summer.
According to WHO, in the United States: drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1-14 years.

It's as silent as it is avoidable, and Jodi and Toni want to get the word out to parents and caregivers of children to not take their child's safety around water lightly. 

It only takes a moment for a drowning to occur, and the damage lasts a lifetime... if the child lives at all.
Toni Bravo-Rousseau, in the black shirt, looks at one of the exhibits that showed many near drowning survivors. The names of the survivors, and the number of years since their near drownings goes as follows. From Left to Right at the top: Ashleigh (11); Isaiah (7); Joey (10) ; Ivan (1); Owen (6) ; Damion (17); Summer (6); Angelina (4). Down the right side: Blake (2); Gabriel (3); Aiden (6). From left to right on the bottom: Adam (19); Bradley (25); Harper (2); Kurt (16); Matthew (4); Lucy (2). Down the left side: Noah (1); Niel (18).   

Water Safety Awareness was the point of the event. Though it was also a chance for the community to get together and have a great morning too. 

It was a good showing for a inaugural 5K. There were more than 75 timed runners, and about half that many walkers.
The first finisher, Mario Trujillo of Lake Elsinore, made the run in 18:03.

The snack bar was dispensing free Go-Nutz donuts, bananas, coffee, water and other things. There were also many different vendors and exhibit booths to visit. Take a look at the promotional video that THINK Together from Wildomar Elementary did for this event. It's as informational as it is cute.
All the money raised from the event will be going to help pay for infant float lessons for families that can't afford them. 
One family made the run in good time, and still had the energy to give a thumbs up.

Please visit the facebook page for more information about the foundation or where to get local infant float lessons. Just leave a message and you're sure to get a timely response.
Link to The Justine Lee Pesicka Memorial Foundation FaceBook Page
Jodi and Toni were grateful for the tireless efforts of many different volunteers. Also key were the Wildomar Rotary and the Elks. Thing about volunteers, they don't do it for the recognition, but for the value of being a service to others, so no one is getting named here. ☺
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The only reason I started swimming was for water safety. Then, once I started falling in love with sports, I got more comfortable with it.

– Michael Phelps   

Wildomar Rap was glad to be a part of this event. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

• Little Free Library At DeJong's Dairy

You may be asking yourselves, "What is a 'Little Free Library'?"

In short, it's a “take a book, leave a book” concept where the honor system is used and you're encourage to share the books. Take one, return one or bring a different one.
Some of the information found on the inside of the door.

A bit of history about this organization.
From the Little Free Library website

In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse. It was a tribute to his mother; she was a teacher who loved to read. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it, so he built several more and gave them away.

Link to webpage to read more about it.

While the Turner family was on vacation they saw a Little Free Library in Big Sur, next to a full size library. Since it was a Sunday, the regular library was closed, but the little one was open. 

Kaylyn Turner, senior at Santa Rosa Academy, needed a community project to graduate and came upon the idea of installing a Little Free Library in Wildomar.

She worked on the project for the last three months. The designing process started by looking at pictures of other little libraries online. Most were shaped like little houses, but because this one was going to be at the DeJong's Dairy, she wanted to fashion it to look like a little barn.
Kaylyn Turner at DeJong's Dairy next to the Little Free Library she installed.

One of the rules for the senior project is that she (or her family) could not simply pay for it, so she got the various materials donated. 

Before being filled with books.
The watertight metal box came from Harbor Truck Bodies, Shiloh Springs Ranch donated the cost of the registration for the library ($45), DeJong's donated the location, the books came from members of the community, and she noted the help from her parents in accomplishing this project too.

There were about a dozen members of the community on hand to watch Kaylyn fill the little library up with books. 

On behalf of the Friends of the Library, member of the group Ken Mayes, pledged to help keep the new installation filled with children's books as needed. 

How many Little Free Libraries are there?
As of November 2016, there were over 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 U.S. states, and over 70 countries around the world.
Can you make out an image from the blotches on the left?
But according to the registration number that was issued to this LFL, it looks like there are already many thousands more than that today.
Link to Little Free Library Website

On your next trip to the DeJong's, for some of their famous chocolate milk, remember to take a moment and peruse this fine community asset. 

Hey, why not take a selfie of yourself in front of it, and then post it to their facebook page? Be sure to tag DeJong's while you're at it. ☺

This was painted by Kaylyn's mother Sharon Turner.
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The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

— Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) 1904-1991

Wildomar Rap reminds you that reading is fundamental, especially if you want to make heads or tails of this blog.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

• New Bus Shelter

Wildomar recently got two additional bus shelters in town. 

One in front of the library, and the other in front of Falcon Square (which is where Weichert Realtors, and Boost Mobile is).

To mark the occasion, there was a ribbon cutting at the library. A few words were spoken by 2017 RTA Chair Linda Krupa, then Wildomar's own Bridgette Moore, and followed up by RTA CEO Larry Rubio.
It was a little dicey trying to get this shot, as car were speeding by. This was taken from across the street by Grace Morabito and Christopher Yepez. Councilmember Bridgette Moore is wielding the scissors, and in the crowd is also councilmember Marsha Swanson, RTA Chair Linda Krupa, Librarian Melina Velasquez, EVMWD board member George Cambero and few more dignitaries.

That boosts the total up to five bus shelters in town. The rest of the bus stops in the area are lucky to have a bench. (Though more benches have been added recently.)

In order to get such a shelter, the area first must meet all the requirements set out by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). 

I asked RTA CEO Larry Rubio how much it cost to put in such a shelter, and he told me that without adding in improvements (see photo below) they run about $10,000 each.

Awhile back, I heard one estimate at a T-NOW meeting, that after going through a typical lengthy permitting process, the costs can approach $50,000 if the site wasn't already in compliance. Gotta love our bureaucracy. 
To accommodate the fencing and the shelter, the slab had to be extended by several feet.
That contributes to the costs going beyond the entry level figure of $10K.

These shelters are solar powered, and have lights that go on after dark. The lights, which aren't obtrusively bright, stay on during the entire night.
My guess is that less than 3% of all Wildotuckians could tell you where Falcon Square is by name.

I asked Wildomar city council member Bridgette Moore, who also represents the City of Wildomar on the RTA Board of Directors for her thoughts.

RTA is making good on its commitment to continually improve passenger amenities,” She further added, “This new shelter not only improves the streetscape, but also enhances our customers’ overall travel experience.”

We now have 5 upgraded bus shelters in Wildomar.
The four shelters are located at:
• Palomar & Central
• Wildomar Community Library
• Wildomar Assisted Living Senior Center
• Inland Valley Hospital
• Clinton Keith and George (near Oak Springs Ranch Apartments)

A representative of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez's office stopped by with a certificate for the occasion.
Hemet mayor Linda Krupa, Wildomar council member Bridgette Moore
and Samantha Stilwell of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez's office.

Any opinions on where the next such shelter should be located? Suggestions have included: in front of the Elks Lodge; in front of Circle K at the corner of Bundy Canyon and Mission Trail; and near the Rite Aid at the corner of Palomar and Clinton Keith.

As aside, the funding for these bus shelters came from RTA. No Wildomar dollars were used to get them here. 
What local event is complete without some of GoNutz Donuts specialized creations?

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Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.

— William Butler Yates, 1865-1939

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: Wait till the iron is hot to flatten those wrinkles. Also, striking the iron isn't as effective as plugging it in.

• Wildomar Rallies Around Young Isabella

What happens when a seven year old girl with hearing difficulties needs new hearing aids, that are way outside the family budget, and insurance doesn't cover them?

If she's from Wildomar, the community steps in to help.

Seven year old Isabella speaking with Bridgette Moore in front of the group.
Young Isabella is in the after school program called THINK Together at Wildomar Elementary School. April Watkins is the coordinator of the program and also the head of the EarlyAct Club at the school. It's the elementary version of Rotary. 

When the student leaders of EarlyAct heard about the needs of Isabella, they went into action. Planning a fundraiser, which was a dinner at the school. That event raised, about $860... but was still well short of the $2600 necessary to get the new hearing aids.

That was anticipated, and another fundraiser was already in the works. A dinner at the VFW. 

The meal was bacon wrapped pork, and the meat was donated by Barons, it was cooked to perfection by the Caring Hearts team lead by Ina Schieffer, Cari Gardner and Tim Underdown.
Jamie also uses hearing aids.

Isabella's mom, Jamie, spoke for a few moments, and began with a heartfelt thanks for all those that took an interest in her daughter's situation, and helped. 

She then shared the good news that the doctor bumped Isabella's new hearing aids to the next level, about a $1000 difference. So, instead of hearing aids that cost roughly $2600, she now has the model that usually runs around $3700. 

The best part was the story of when Isabella first heard the world through her new hearing aids. After putting them on, her face lit up, and looked at her mother —with wide eyes— and said, "Mom, I can hear you... really, really good!"

Martin Haeberle, the incoming president of the Wildomar Rotary Club, also a wearer of hearing aids, thanked the attendees for coming and sponsoring the event. Then looked at Isabella and said, 
"You inspired our club. This is not going to be the last time we do this (help a young person with hearing aids). We have decided, as a club, [that] we don't want youth to be without hearing aids in our schools. It helps us learn, it helps with everything. We are now committed to making sure that nobody goes without [hearing aids] in our Lake Elsinore School District."

There is another fundraiser associated with this cause. The location will be at David A Brown middle school, and it'll be a "movie night" on Thursday April 27th, starting at 3:00pm. Cost is $3 to get in, and then there will also be refreshments available too. All are invited to attend.

As people were finishing their desserts of ice cream, strawberries and drizzled chocolate, there was one last part of the program.

Elsinore High School grad, class of 2005, Amy Martinez was the motivational speaker for the evening. She has a story all her own. 

It came on suddenly one routine morning in early 2015, and before she knew it she was in the hospital, and about six months after that she became a quadruple amputee. Her extremities lost to sepsis. 

Her story is much more than that brief sentence, so if you have a chance to hear her speak, be sure to do it.

What a terrific community we live in. It's right there... right outside your door. Don't be shy, come on out and experience a bit of it yourself. In fact, next Saturday morning come on out to Marna O'Brien park to get a feel of it.

There will be a 5K run-walk bringing attention to water safety. 

There will be plenty of things to do, even for non runners. Take a look at the video promotion that THINK Together helped make, and you'll be sure to put this on your calendar. ☺
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There is always some good in a situation, if you focus on that, then you're sure to have a happier life. Just see the joy in things.

– Amy Martinez

Wildomar Rap has always believed it's key to rejoice in your portion.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

• Planning Commission Meeting April 2.0

It was a special meeting, and pretty short and to the point. The agenda only had two items on it.

The first being Milestone RV/Boat Storage/Solar Project that will be going on Jana Lane, just off of Clinton Keith Road.
Location of proposed storage facility is where the green circle indicates.

It's right next to an existing storage place, and they wouldn't be looking to build such a place if there wasn't a call for it.

What seems nicer about this yard than other storage places for RVs, is that the parking is covered. 

If you've been to the Murrieta Walmart you've seen the solar panels that also work as a great sun shade over much of their parking area. 
I sure hope the Wildomar Walmart ends up with this kind of covered parking too.
Something I'm guessing that would come as a welcome relief if your other option is to park your expensive home on wheels in the direct sun.

In the above graphic the orange areas tell where garage parking will be, and the blue is where the solar panels will be above open parking.

The potential rents weren't discussed... which reminds me of the old rule of thumb in such situations: If you have to ask, you probably couldn't afford it anyway.

The outside area is well off of the main road (Clinton Keith), yet still has appropriate landscaping where it will be seen by passersby. 

Though it passed through the planning commission 5-0, it still needs to go through the city council, then all the permitting stages. My guess is that it's still years away before you'll be parking your Winnebago there.
This project, because its only a CUP/Variance, the Planning Commission is the final approval authority, so it won’t be reviewed by the Council.  If it had a general plan amendment or change of zone, then it would need Council review. 
An artist's rendering that was in the agenda packet.
Item 2.2 Zoning Ordinance Amendment CEQA Exemption
The passing of this ordinance now provides a five year window, where there had only been a three year window before. 

In most places, the three years is enough, but when frivolous lawsuits intended to shakedown a developer hit, it slows things down to where, after years of delays, they often have to restart the clock, costing the city money in man hours redoing what had already been done.
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There will be no planning commission meetings until the special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 21st. That's when the Camelia Townhouse Project comes back for round 2.

I sure hope that our esteemed commissioners take the time to go to the actual site, and if they are meeting with the developer (something that is a good thing), then I'd hope they'd also meet with the local residents too. 

I've been told that invitations had been sent to all the council members and planning commissioners. Still, as of last week, no one had taken Pete Kee up on his offer.
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Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Will Rogers 1879-1935

Wildomar Rap will oblige you if you insist on getting run over... no offense, nothing personal.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

• City Council Meeting April 2017

At the top of the meeting was a report from city attorney Thomas Jex. That, "the city council unanimously voted to defend the litigation," discussed in the closed session.
Direct from the agenda.

If you had thought that Wildomar's favorite member of the Cantakerotti had withered away, you'd have been wrong. 

She's busy as ever suing you and me, costing every one of us money

Lawyers aren't free, and every time Thomas Jex is on the case, defending the litigation, even just reading one of her long winded complaint letters, it costs the city many hundreds of dollars... on the low end.

Just wanted you to be apprised.

• Changing of the guard for the Wildomar Queens.
Outgoing Miss City of Wildomar, Jessie Taylor, tells of her experience
in the program as the younger "Queens" look on. 

• Former Wildomar chief of police, Dave Fontneau spoke about Cops For Kids and that they will be having a golfing fundraiser. If you'd like to participate in it, visit their webpage or facebook page.

• Local bus drivers Kat Garrett and Angie Couch were recognized for being chosen Bus Drivers of the Year by the CHP.
 L-R: Mayor Tim Walker, Councilmember Bridgette Moore, Angie Couch and Kat Garrett.

PUBLIC COMMENTS (non agenda items)
• Kenny Mayes announced that he'll be leading a Fit After Fifty class at the library. If you're interested in joining the class, either call the library to get more info or visit the Friends of the Library facebook page.

• Joseph Morabito congratulated the council on getting the VLF funds back (though it's not a done deal). Then opined that the city meetings need to be live streamed, that the city needs to get an official social media presence and would like to see a Sheriff's Report included as part of every city council meeting.

• Miss Miller sang for us. She mentioned RTA buses, sustainable revolution, and so many other things I couldn't keep up... though my favorite line from here was, "I have to admit my car has a large engine, however I'm not driving it this month to make up for driving it at all. I'm selling it when it starts to run again."

Hey Miss Miller, which is it... you're not driving this month because you're showing your solidarity with the environment, or that your jalopy is on the fritz? 

Also, how does a car "start to run again"

One time my 1970 VW Bug wasn't running, and I gave it two years to "start to run again" but it only cooperated with me after having it towed to a mechanic and giving them more than $200.

• Tim Huizenga of Murrieta spoke about the proposed Camelia Townhouse Project and the irreversible impact it would have on the existing neighborhood. He made a strong case for not allowing the zoning change.

• Pete Kee, also of Murrieta and speaking on the Camelia Townhouse Project, invited the council to visit the site before voting on it, even though that would be months away.

Council Communications
This is where the council relates back things they've learned during the past month, or things they've done. I don't usually report on this part of the meeting because it's just a long list of where the council members have appeared in their official capacity. 

However, I did think that the comments from Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit, regarding the recent state tax increases and how it touches on Wildomar's long lost VLF funds, were worth covering (watch the video clip for the details). 
Had to love how Miss Miller shouted from the audience "Democrats got the money for you!" 

Yes Miss Miller, the Democrats in Sacramento have taxed the poor once again. Of course you think that is awesome possum... you're a progressive's progressive and love high taxes.

One thing I'd like to bicker with Ben about is where he said:

"It included a future vote for all citizens on the 2017 ballot. It will lock those funds into just being transportation dollars so they can't do that (steal the earmarked money for other uses) again. I fully realize that a lot of the transportation money has been taken out and has gone other ways it shouldn't have. This money, at least, once that goes to the public for a vote, will be locked in."

Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit
The voters have already passed TWO such constitutional amendments forbidding Sacramento from taking the transportation funds, and both times they've found ways around it. 
Link to UT Story about it.

So, just like you're not going to count the VLF funds until you see them, I won't believe the state won't play the old shell game with this money either. 
2.1 Bundy Canyon Resort Apartment Project
This is a gated apartment complex that will be tucked away out of sight, but the impacts of 140 families needing access from one ingress/egress point, at a perilous curve on Bundy Canyon, will be felt even if the units are out of view.
It started with Ben Benoit recusing himself from the item since his day job is as a spokesman for a regional apartments association.

City Planner Matt Bassi shared a powerpoint presentation with the council, one I already blogged about when it was in front of the planning commission. 

Public speakers on this item included Miss Miller, Joseph Morabito and George Taylor.

Concerns included ingress/egress from Bundy Canyon, and the amount of funds the project would contribute to the Measure Z park fund.

It was nice that even before the public speaker slot was hit, that the council was already on top of the issues involving safety on Bundy Canyon in regards to this project.

There had been a traffic study that said adding 140 additional families, all using the same single road to enter and exit the development, did NOT warrant a traffic signal. 

Can you imagine what it would be like trying to turn left, towards the I-15 in the morning, or left while heading west (from The Farm) in the afternoons, without a traffic signal at that location? 

Then add more than just your car trying to do that at peak traffic times, and you can see where that was a recipe for disaster.

Thing is, because the traffic study didn't call for a light, the council couldn't legally require one.

Thankfully, before the item came to a vote, the developer and city staff called for a five minute recess and hammered out a deal where there would be a temporary signal there instead of nothing. (It's temporary because Bundy Canyon will be getting some major work done to it at some point, and it will be affecting that very curve where the signal is needed). 

That left the Measure Z Question to be answered.

"We talked about per unit, for apartments at that time (when Measure Z was being discussed), but what was approved by the voters [was] $28 per parcel. That the apartments sit on one parcel, it's $28, that's what they contribute. Recognizing that, we do have a municipal services CFD that they are encouraged to participate in. We will use that technique to accommodate the additional costs for putting on our recreation system and our park maintenance. So we will be capturing some of those funds."

Wildomar City Manager Gary Nordquist  

Measure Z is far from perfect, but that's what it took to open our parks back up after some dimwits managed to find a judge that was willing to punish 30,000 people for a clerical error on the part of the county. 

A reasonable judge would have just ordered the wording corrected and kept the funding in place to support what every other city has, and pays for... parks.

Still, I don't think that the project's point man Larry Markham did his cause any favors when he said, "We have an extensive recreation complex. We think we have a very well amenitized project that we (the residents) won't be going offsite that much to use the parks."

Great Larry, but if personal amenities is all it takes to be exempt from paying for the local public parks, I'm thinking that many people would line up to opt out.

This passed 3-1-0 (Moore voting against it, which caused Miss Miller to shout out "Bridgette" in an approving manner as she left the building).

Don't look for this to begin anytime soon. If the "suer chick" doesn't work her magic on this, then look for other things to trip it up. I'd be shocked if grading started before 2019. 

2.2 Zoning Ordinance Amendment 
This was basically a formality at this point. It was discussed at the October 2016 city council meeting, but the council asked the staff to go back and further simplify the format.

This hit the planning commission at their last meeting, and the only alteration that was made to the sign that the staff had suggested, was adding the city's website to the bottom. 

This is the type of sign that would have been posted at the property where the Camelia Townhouse Project is proposed to go, had this ordinance been in effect at the time. 

This type of sign will be posted at [proposed] construction sites at least 10 days before any city hearings. Which would NOT have covered the Camelia meetings held at Sycamore.

3.1 Third Amendment to Agreement for Employment of City Manager
The long and short of this is that our city manager, Gary Nordquist, has been retained for the next 4 years. It's odd to be in a position to know what other people make, but that is the nature of the beast in public life.

He has had the same pay rate since he took the post back in December of 2012. 

He is slated for consecutive raises over the next four years. He'll go to a base salary of $191,000 as of the start of 2017. It then increases about $10K per year for the rest of the contract.

   • $201,000 effective 1-1-2018
   • $210,000 effective 1-1-2019
   • $219,000 effective 1-1-2020

The contract also calls for a 10% annual bonus to be removed from the contract and replaced with a "retirement health savings program plan" where the city will "contribute which is equal to 8% of his salary". 

Good gig if you can get it.

Each council member praised the work he has done since taking over the position. For many years he did both the job of city manager and finance director.

To hear the council member's comments, take a look at the video. They begin at the 2:30 mark.
I'm just some guy that's been going to the city meetings since 2013, but from what I've been able to ascertain, I have always been pleased with what I've seen from Gary Nordquist's leadership of the city... and he's a good guy too.
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The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it's the illusion of knowledge.

– Daniel J. Boorstin 1914-2004

Wildomar Rap tip of the day: breathe in, then breathe out... it's always worked for me.

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