Monday, May 29, 2017

• Memorial Day 2017

The weather was spectacular for Wildomar's annual Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery. Though in years past it was handled by a local church, they felt it was getting to be more than they could handle and they handed the baton over to the city. 

It was a seamless transition and the 200 people in attendance, including all five city council members, the city manager, and a couple of planning commissioners, enjoyed the program that was put together by the Wildomar VFW Post 1508.

Mayor Tim Walker welcomed the members of the crowd and then turned over the podium to Councilmember Bridgette Moore who fulfilled the role of MC. She introduced VFW Chaplain Scott Burris, who offered an opening prayer. 
The flag was first raised to the top, then lowered to half staff.

After the flag was raised by Boy Scout troop 332, and a recitation of the flag salute, Jessie Taylor sang the national anthem. She did an outstanding job of it too!
Longtime Wildomar resident at The Farm, George Taylor (no relation to Jessie Taylor) salutes during the singing of the national anthem. His wife Gayl is to his right.

The original speaker was a late scratch, so incoming Post Commander of the VFW, Steve Regalado, stepped in and gave the "Memorial Day Message". 
Steve Regalado delivers the Memorial Day Message to the crowd.

Flags and crosses were put next to the graves of veterans that have since passed away. As part of the ceremony, all 147 of their names were read by council members Dustin Nigg, Marsha Swanson and Ben Benoit. 

Most of those died of natural causes in the USA. One name that I recognized, that died in action, was Justin Hunt. 

There is a memorial to him at the cemetery, and Memorial Day is aimed at servicemen and women that died while serving the country, as he did (as opposed to Veterans Day, which is for all those that served). 
If you shop at the Stater Brothers by Clinton Keith, you've most likely seen this display.
The VFW had a "Patriots Pen" essay contest, and two students from Calvary Murrieta were chosen to read their essays during the ceremony. Two 8th graders (soon to be 9th graders) read theirs to the gathering.

"Freedom, equality, justice, peace; these are the virtues that America stands for," were the opening lines from Hailey Soules' essay. She added, "My ideal America, where people of all nationalities, men and women, can live in freedom without having to be judged by the color of their skin, a place that everyone is made equal and has a chance to live a fuller life, no matter who you are."

I found the key portion of Brianna Campos' essay to be, "A united America, with our flag held high, waving in the wind, reminds me of my precious freedom. I stand firm in the fact that I can believe what I choose, and I can live how I choose without any consequences for my beliefs and personal life choices."

As councilmember Dustin Nigg said, "What two, awesome, young women; patriots. Am I right?" To which the crowd applauded.
Incoming 9th graders Brianna Campos and Hailey Soules.

To round out the ceremony, that lasted about 45 minutes, the themes from each branch of the military were played as a salute to them. As each came over the loudspeaker, those that had been in that part of the service stood up. 

The VFW Auxiliary was called upon to present a wreath to honor all that have fallen in service to our great nation. 
Bridgette Moore, and Lucy Nigg placed the ceremonial wreath on a easel.

Thanks to the City of Wildomar that stepped in and put this together in just under a month's time. There was a nod of recognition by Bridgette Moore to the church group that used to sponsor this event. They did a nice job, but personally I'm happy to see such an all encompassing community event as this, no longer being tied to a single church. 

Let's not forget that there are plenty of non churchgoers that also gave the ultimate sacrifice, or had family members that did. Let's also keep in mind that there are many different mainstream faiths that mourn the fallen, and perhaps there's a way to reflect such realities in the 2018 service.

Lastly, I bumped into a local photographer there named Lynn Stephens. She took many pictures during the hour and said that she was going to post the images online. She can be found on facebook at the following link:
Tender Expressions and Memories

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Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.

– Harry S Truman (1884-1972)

Wildomar Rap can't quarrel with the words of the 33rd president.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

• 2017 Veterans Service Awards

The Corporate Room in Wildomar was the site of State Senator Jeff Stone's, 2017 Veterans Service Awards. 
Senator Stone speaking to local veterans.

A nice breakfast followed the Star Spangled Banner, flag salute, and opening prayer before the Senator said a few words honoring the six veterans. Not just for serving our country in uniform, but also for their service to the communities their part of.

"The reason why we started this, when I got elected, was because I think that Memorial Day has been too commercialized. People think it's time to go the malls, to the sales, and I want young people to know that the freedoms and liberties that we all cherish came at a great price, and still continues to be at a great price. 

This is what I think is a microcosm of what we should be doing throughout not only California but throughout the United States. Taking the time to thank those veterans and also to recognize those that have given the ultimate sacrifice, so that we can stand here and be here today, and for that, I am grateful."

Senator Jeff Stone

Each honoree was brought up to the stage to receive an award, say a few words and get a picture taken... other than Harold Herron of Murrieta that is. He's 90 years old, and Senator Stone went down to his table to present the award. There was a lot of applause at this event, and a standing ovation or two, too.
Senator Stone (in the American Flag shirt) is surrounded by the six honored veterans.

In order of recognition were
  • Master Sgt. Robert Blanton, USMC
  • Capt. Bradley S. Burris, US Navy
  • Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Dodson, USAF
  • Seaman First Class Harold Herren, US Navy
  • Lt. Col. Kenneth (Paul) LeGrice, US Army
  • LCpl. David Poplin, USMC 
Also in attendance were Lake Elsinore city council member Brian Tisdale, Murrieta Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Ingram, and Wildomar's own Bridgette Moore. They all spoke for a few moments, giving honor to the veterans and active servicemen that were in the room.
A patriotically decked out Senator Jeff Stone watches as Bridgette Moore says a few words.

Being at such an event really gives one pause to reflect. Especially those of us that didn't serve, and really didn't appreciate the significance when we younger.
Wildomar's VFW post 1508, was well represented.

Which leads me to remind you of the annual Memorial Day event at the Wildomar Cemetery. It begins at 10:00am, and it will last about an hour. If you're in town on Monday, be sure to come by to pay your respects to those that risked it all so that we could be (and remain) a free nation.

•          •          •

A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.
– George William Curtis (1824-1892)

Wildomar Rap is awed to be among so many patriotic Americans.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

• New Bike Park

Two years ago Lake Elsinore built Wildomar a skateboard park, and this year they built us a pretty unique bicycle/scooter track, added a basketball court and a dog park too. Thanks LE!!! ☺
LE Storm's mascot Thunder, 
Ok, just having some fun here. 

They'll tell you that the park is theirs, but according to the map, it's just on the other side of Corydon, at Palomar.
The park starts at the intersection of Corydon and Palomar heading north.

While it is indeed within the city limits of Lake Elsinore, it's closer to W'mar than Elsinore proper, so we'll let them think it's theirs, while we go over and use it.
2017 Lake Elsinore Bob Magee giving the dedication speech.

After the formalities were over, I caught up with Mayor Bob Magee and asked him for his thoughts about the new additions to the park.
It's been a long time coming. The first residents here (referring to the neighborhood across the street to the west) bought homes back in the 1984, and they expected things a lot sooner.

We have worked diligently to improve this linear park, to add more features and more property to it. 

(Motioning to the north) You see our tennis court at the far end, we put in a permanent bathroom facility, we've got the skate park, with [a] shaded structure now and seats. 

We've got a basketball court, we've got jungle gyms down there, and now the bicycle track, they also use with scooters. And then we have a dog park [here], the fourth dog park in our city.

Ten years ago we didn't have a single dog park in our city, now we have four with a fifth under construction. 

(Pointing to the east) The idea down here, on the acre that we have here on the slope, is to do a fitness track with obstacles and a running course. That way, you can drop your kids off —they can be down here (at the bike track or skateboard area), dogs can be in [their] park, and you can be down there exercising. You get everything done in one hour.

2017 Lake Elsinore Mayor Bob Magee
My response to his vision was, "That's awesome." 

LE Councilmember Natasha Johnson readies the scissors on the ribbon.
The dog park has two fenced areas. One for small breed dogs, the other for larger breed dogs. The line is at 30 pounds, but if I were to go, I'd be putting my overweight pooches into the small breed area anyway. They're not fat, they're just big boned.
A look at the two signs that divide the dog park.

A set of very inviting basketball half-courts.

This is the area that will eventually become a workout area.

LE Councilmember Natasha Johnson took a lap around the track. She made it without crashing, though she did appear to be a bit wobbly at times. Being over 18, she wasn't legally required to wear a helmet, but I'm thinking it may have been a nice chance at role modeling. ☺

LE councilmember Steve Manos took a couple of test laps. At times traffic jams built up behind him. He'd have worn a helmet, but then it might have messed up that great hair of his. ☺
What the kids from my generation, back in the '70s, would't have done to have such a great park. 

Seriously, our version of motocross tracks were either jumping the lip of a driveway or setting up homemade ramps with planks elevated by a green Coleman cooler.
Ah the memories of the near misses.
Way to go Lake Elsinore city council. The kids will really enjoy this new jewel in your city.

•          •          •

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. – Helen Keller

With all do respect, Wildomar Rap would love to see some pictures of Ms. Keller on a bike.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

• Prepping For Memorial Day

Summer might as well be here. The temps are in the mid 90s, schools are just about out, families are gearing up for the coming long weekend, and the Wildomar Historical Society spearheaded a headstone cleaning event in preparation for next Monday's annual Memorial Day service.
Mary Haire supervises her crew as they remove the dirt from this grave marker.
I caught up with city councilmember Bridgette Moore as the activity was wrapping up and asked her for her thoughts.
"We had a great turnout today. We had Scouts from pack 332, and Troop 332 and Crew 332, we had Interacters* from Lakeside High School, we had our incoming post commander [Steve Regalado] from the Wildomar VFW. There were between 40 and 50 volunteers. 

We cleaned all the cemetery headstones in about 45 minutes. Then afterwards we enjoyed chocolate milk from DeJong's, while listening to some history about the Wildomar cemetery.

This was all in preparation for the Memorial Service that will be Monday May 29th, at 10am at the Wildomar Cemetery, and the public is invited and encouraged to come be part of it."

*Interact is a high school club sponsored by the Rotary Club.

The volunteers take a moment to pose for a picture after they'd finished.

There has been a Memorial Day observance at the cemetery for many years longer than Wildomar has been a city. It had previously been done by a local baptist church, and I always found their program very well done (other than for a few political barbs that would get tossed in during the keynote, that I found distasteful in such a setting.) 

In fact, they were slated to do it again this year, with official approvals in hand, when they abruptly changed their minds. Opting to have their own observance at their church from now on. 

The story is that they were worried that the event was getting too big.

Fine, it's a free country, but whoever it was that pulled the trigger on that last minute decision needs a lesson in civics. Like it or not, the yearly Memorial Day service at the cemetery had become a city event... on the city calendar, with the public invited and everything that comes with it.

It had been a poorly kept secret that a problem was cropping up between the leaders of the church in question and the fact that Wildomar, now a city with codes —and what used to be done with a wink and a nod, now needed to be done with the proper paperwork in order. 

Instead of bowing out of the event gracefully, they waited until the eleventh hour to cancel the event by letter... oh, I mean "move the event" away from the cemetery to their property. 

Classy move there, don'tcha think?

Hmmm... if ever there was a WWJD moment, you'd think it be when a church is involved with a Memorial Day ceremony.

Leave it to the heathen to point out such obvious things.

That left the city scrambling to put an event together in just about a month's time. I'm not expecting anything elaborate in 2017, but give them a year and I'm guessing that the 2018 annual Memorial Day observance at Wildomar cemetery will be better than ever.

If you're not out of town on Memorial Day, be sure to attend the annual observance at the Wildomar cemetery. It starts at 10:00am, but show up early so you can park and find a seat.
•          •          •

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend.

– Thomas Jefferson 

Wildomar Rap draws a distinction between the existence of the differences that TJ stated, and pushing such differences.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

• Officer Involved Shooting

There was an officer involved shooting in Wildomar. For the details, what better source than the actual police report? Please see below.

From the police report:

On Friday, May 19, 2017, at approximately 3:15 PM, officers from the Wildomar Police Department responded to a disturbance call at a multi residential property located in the 21800 block of Waite Street. Prior to arriving at the location, officers received information of an argument between a landlord and a tenant. 

The landlord was attempting to unlawfully enter a residence and threatened to harm the occupants, while in possession of a firearm and a knife. Officers arrived at the location and a search for the suspect began. 

Officers located the suspect who was still in possession of the firearm and knife. Officers gave the suspect multiple commands to surrender but he refused. During this time the suspect fired multiple rounds toward the occupied residence. The officers observed the suspect then point the firearm toward the residence and an officer involved shooting occurred. 

The suspect received non-life threatening injuries as a result of the shooting. Paramedics treated the suspect at the scene and transported him to a local hospital. The officers involved, and the occupants of the residence, were not injured during the incident. 

The suspect is identified as Anthony Pupora, a 49 year-old Wildomar resident. Mr. Pupora was arrested for negligent discharge of a firearm, false imprisonment, and shooting at an inhabited dwelling. He will be booked into the Southwest Detention Center.

Investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff Department’s Central Homicide Unit responded to the scene and assumed the investigation. 

The involved officer has been placed on administrative leave per Department policy. The involved officer’s name will not be released at this time. This is an active and ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time. 

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is encouraging anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact Investigator Navarrete of the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777 or Investigator Posson of the lake Elsinore Station at 951-245-3300.

I first heard about this from a facebook post by mayor pro-tem Ben Benoit. The next morning I checked the Press Enterprise but didn't see any mentions of it. Thanks to Ken Mayes for sending me this link LINK to share the police report.
•          •          •

You may delay, but time will not.

– Benjamin Frankiln 

Wildomar Rap delays only when trying to put off the inevitable.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

• Bicycle Safety Event/ALS One 5K 2017

Wildomar Rotary's annual bicycle safety event, and the ALS One 5K were held on the same day this year, in conjunction with the city of Wildomar's Health and Safety Fair. 

Though the setting up of the course began around dawn and the last remnants were down a little after noon. The planning for such a multi pronged event was many months in the making.

The pre-race introductions began a few minutes before 8:00am, and then the first 10K in the city's history began.
The runners assembled around the stage as introductions were made, and the reason why event promoter Erin Hartley is motivated to put on the event. Link to blog with Erin and Ken Hartley discussing the lead up to the inaugural ALS One 5K.

The start of the 10K, with the eventual winner (in green) out to an early lead.
Not long after that the 5K started and over 200 runners began their 3.2 mile journey that started and finished in the park. 
And they're off... 

Less than 20 minutes after the start, the winner crossed the finish line. 
He lead wire to wire.
The course made it's way to Union St. down to Wesley, back up Union St to a city controlled buffer zone between houses near the south side of Collier elementary's campus, down Palomar and then to the finish line near one of the ball fields in the park.

There were quite a few vendors and booths that were part of the health and safety fair.
Janice Lee of Geri Fit shares info with some potential customers (fifty years from now). ☺

Part of the bicycle event was the BMX Pros Stunt Show, a crowd favorite. The highlight of the first performance was jumping over the Lake Elsinore Storm's seven foot tall mascot, Thunder. 
Check out the 18 second video where Thunder ends up getting bonked on the nose.

Three eager volunteers from Wildomar Elementary showed much bravery.

A series of images where volunteers were jumped over.
The feelings of relief, and the looks they cause, are classic.
The safety part of the event started with sign in, then getting a free helmet, and going through an obstacle course designed to teach kids about the rules of the road.
The two green bikes in the lower left were some of the bikes given away.

Rotarian Stewart Moore helps adjust the strap on the helmet of another satisfied customer. 
Long time Rotary member Paul Bakeman shows what to do at a traffic signal.
A lot of kids didn't bring their bikes, but that didn't prevent them from walking the course, and hearing the information about what to do at crosswalks, train tracks and other things a cyclist might encounter along their rides. 
Rotary member Andy Morris works the crossing gate.

The key figures behind the Bicycle Safety Event are Bridgette Moore and April Watkins. I asked for a little history behind the event and was told:

In 2007, April's family and my family were in Cub Scout Pack 332 together. One of our Scouts, Jessie James Possehl, was hit and killed while riding his bicycle. Our Pack 332 put up the reward to find the driver and it worked! April, Cody (the younger brother of Jessie) and I then started working on a Bicycle Safety idea in his honor. We contacted Supervisor Bob Buster who put us in touch with IEHP. The first event was held in the Elks Lodge parking lot. 

Nita McCoubrey speaks about safety, and the importance of wearing helmets while biking. In the background, from left to right, are: April Watkins, Sunny, Daisy, Bridgette Moore, Tim Walker, and one of the stunt show riders.

•          •          •

If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time.
– Edith Wharton, 1862-1937

Wildomar Rap doesn't quite agree with Ms. Wharton's point. I think if people would stop any whiny complaining, we'd have an even better time. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

• LEUSD Special Olympics 2017

Of all the things that I've been able to see and do because of writing Wildomar Rap, it's things like LEUSD's Special Olympics that makes it all worth while.

First, the setting, Lakeside High School's football field, couldn't ask for a more picturesque location, with the hills looming above the line of palm trees that ring the campus.
Such a great view that many of us don't even really see anymore, we're so used to it.

The opening ceremonies started with the various schools' teams being announced, then marching around the track. All the Wildomar schools were represented, though I wasn't able to get pictures of each of them. Sorry about that. 
Ronald Reagan Elementary.

David A. Brown Middle School.
Elsinore High School.
Waving to the spectators, with Sycamore Academy closing in behind.
SASCA (Sycamore Academy or Science and Cultural Arts).
There were many local elected officials on the stage. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez spoke for a few minutes and wished all the participants good luck, and hoped they could all finish first. 
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez delivers a few words of encouragement. A much nicer setting to spend the morning than in Jurupa Valley watching the governor sign a bill. ☺

Before the games could officially begin, they had one of the participants light the Olympic flame, with some assistance by a RSO deputy.
LEUSD board member Heidi Dodd takes a pic as the flame is lit.

The various track events included assisted walks, motorized and non motorized wheelchair races, 100M run and 100M relay.
This competitor made the entire 50 meters on his own power.

This non motorized wheel chair race brought out some competitiveness among friends.

The field events included bean bag throw, tennis ball throw, softball throw, running long jump and standing long jump.
The softball throw.

The tennis ball throw.
The running long jump.
The event was a well oiled machine and not long after each race was completed the medals were awarded.
Two of the many medal winners on the east side of the field.

A hand shake is in order for this winner.

While out there I ran into several members of the community. Some were there with their child's school as a volunteer, others had children that were participating. 
Wildomar resident Kimberly Fox takes a picture of four friends that are long time veterans of the LEUSD Special Olympic game. Her daughter Ashley is on the far right.

It's quite an inspiring event to be at. Seeing the courage of the athletes, as many struggled to do things the rest of us take for granted. 

The courage to excel where the difficulties are great.

•          •          •

Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition. 
– Alexander Smith, 1829-1867

Wildomar Rap is always delighted to learn about others discovering this blog... just never knew to call the recognition of such love until now. 

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