Monday, April 30, 2018

• Community Profile: Sharon Turner with Feed to Fashion

There are so many terrific people in Wildomar, and I'm so happy when I'm able to share what they do with the community. 
Pretty good prices for the very durable bags she makes.
It started when I saw her at The Bean at The Barn (the new coffee place on Clinton Keith just east of Palomar), where she had some of her Feed to Fashion bags out on display. Then I saw her wares on display at the Wildomar Market Place a couple of weeks later. I'm talking about Sharon Turner. 

I've known [of] her for years and years. She and her family have done a lot for Wildomar (you may remember Jasper the Alpaca, and just last year her daughter Kaylyn installed Wildomar's first "Free little library" at DeJong's Dairy).
Click this link to read the April 2017 blog about it.
This is from the Wildomar Parks grand reopening, April 2014. You can see Sharon on the left, with Kaylyn next to Jasper the Alpaca at the "kissing booth", a popular attraction that day.
I asked if I could feature her tote bags in the blog, and she was all for it, and she asked if I'd like like a tour of her "itty bitty farm" too. That was an easy "yes" to issue. 
What a charming place she and her family has.
Grace and I had a chance to see three of her four tortoises, the alpacas which they've had for about ten years, Ollie the sheep - last year he was Ollie the lamb. As it happens, Ollie photobombed a Wildomar Rap picture last year when I was out taking pics of the poppy fields last spring. 
This is Ollie the sheep, who I was told, loves to tear up boxes. I bet he loves Christmas. ☺
I'm sticking with "Ollie photobombing this picture" story, and not me taking photos of people in the poppies. ☺ It looks to me like Sharon (to the right in this picture, just behind Ollie the lamb) is using one of her tote bags here. This was first seen in the March 13, 2017 Blog about poppies. LINK
Sharon was telling us that they like Knott's Berry Farm, and that was some of their inspiration for a lot of the decorations. They have given tours to a lot of locals, homeschool groups and girl scouts over the years.
Now you see it!
Now you don't!
This burro loves kumquats.
Then I remembered that I was there to ask about her Feed to Fashion bags... She has an etsy store, Feed to Fashion, but is happy to help locals save the shipping with a pick up or drop off.

She's been making the bags for "years and years", but has only been selling them for the last year or so. The bags are made of a very durable material and they hold up even after years of use. 

When making them, she washes bags out thoroughly, then cuts the material in such a way so that the image is centered and will look nice when it becomes a tote bag. She stitches the bottom, then the top, makes the handles and they're ready to go.
A look at the bags as they hang on a display stand.
In addition to the bags she gets with her own animals' feed, DeJong's saves bags for her, as do some of her friends that have different animals than she has... which means different feed to fashion bags too.

She doesn't make them out of dog and cat food bags anymore, since the food for cats and dogs is meat based and it leaves an oily residue in the bags; sometimes an odor too.

We enjoyed seeing the Christmas stockings that she has in her Etsy store starting in October.
The perfect touch for a rural Christmas feel.
The idea for the bags came from a combination of things. Her desire to recycle, that the material is so sturdy, her creativity and she saw a good opportunity. 

She's not looking to retire off the sales of these bags, but is able to recoup enough so that it pays for her animals' feed. She estimates that she's made hundreds and hundreds of these bags since she started selling them.
Grace Morabito and Sharon Turner posing with the homemade shopping bags. I'm going to have to bring Grace along to more Wildomar Rap blog meetings... Sharon gave her a couple of bags after seeing how much Grace liked them. Thank you, that was nice. ☺
The best way to contact Sharon is through email or facebook.
You have to love her business card. What a great message, reduce >reuse >upcycle.

Contact info: 
Sharon Turner
Etsy Link
This is a close up of my favorite picture of the afternoon.
He sticks his tongue out on command. 
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If you know of a Wildomar resident with an interesting story, and they wouldn't mind being the topic of a blog, send me a message and I'd like to hear about them. No promises, but if I don't hear about them, I can't share their what they do with others.

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There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.
– Sophia Loren

Wildomar Rap slew age eons ago.
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Saturday, April 28, 2018

• Spring Community Clean Up

Do you have bulky items that are too big for the regular trash? 

If you have a way to haul it down to one of the collection centers, you're in luck. One week from today, on May 5th, you'll be able to free yourself of it.
Based on past clean up days, you're better off getting their early... unless you like sitting in bumper to bumper trash traffic.
Be prepared to unload the trash yourself, or with your own conscripted crew. There won't be any paid staff on hand to do it for you.

Also, since our city is served by two different trash haulers, you need to go to the correct drop off site, and bring something that proves where you live. The trash bill seems to make the most sense to me.
West side of freeway
Elsinore High School

East side of freeway
←Ronald Reagan Elementary→
I saw the flyer posted on facebook, read about the hazardous waste exemptions, and then commented about the need to have a legal place to take such things.
Anyone else spot the typo?

If there isn't a legal place, then some unscrupulous people will create their own drop off points for hazardous waste.
Some of you may remember this image from February, where someone chose to dump many gallons of old motor oil right behind Ronald Reagan Elementary.
Less than a minute later there was a response from Wildomar's most engaged elected official, Bridgette Moore, with news that there is a place for both electronic and hazardous waste.
Even though the list doesn't mention 'nuclear waste' I'm thinking that isn't something most of us have at home anyway. As for the real things we end up with at home, like old paint, solvents and motor oil, this is a great thing to know about for those of us that don't want to pollute the environment. Last I checked, that website listed was a broken link that went nowhere.
I haven't changed the oil in my cars for a long time. That oil has probably been on that same shelf for at least 10 years.
There are quantity limits of how much hazardous waste you can take in at a time. It has to do with the state law regarding transporting such waste. 

The limit is 15 gallons or 125 pounds. I wonder how that works if the paint cans are mostly empty?
These old paint cans, most likely completely dry, have been on that shelf in my garage for more than 15 years. It may just be time to part with them... though, what will I put up there in their place?
Maybe in the future when there is a community clean up day the flyer can tell where the hazardous waste can be safely taken without someone having to ask.

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There's nothing wrong with being beautiful — to other people. It's when we start becoming beautiful to ourselves that we're in for trouble.

– EG Marshall (CBSRMT)

Wildomar Rap is only beautiful to other people. It only takes one look and you'll draw the same conclusion.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

• Better Know a Local Business: JustJan Art Studio

I just discovered a hidden gem in Wildomar, JustJan Art Studio.
A look at the studio from the outside and the sign on the gate letting you know that you're at the right place.
It started when I made a trip to Stater Brothers a week ago. I happened to park my car next to artist Jan Belliveau's car, which had a business card device attached to it... so naturally I took a card, and snapped a pic.
The yellow arrow is directing your attention to the business card holder.
I made arrangements to visit her studio and was just knocked off my feet with how cool it is. It's any artist's dream come true. 
This is just one of the four walls in the studio, and that's without showing you the supply area when you first enter that is almost like a little store you might come across if you could take a time machine back to the early '80s and land in Laguna Beach.
After I was done being gobsmacked, I transitioned from art guy (yes, I'm a an artist too — stop rolling your eyes) to blogger guy and asked her about her craft.

 WR  How long have you been teaching art?
 Jan  I've been here (SoCal) since 2000; in this building since 2012. I had the Painting Goose in Temecula for five years. I had a partner and we decided to close once the recession hit, people needed pork chops more than they needed painting. All together, counting [my years in] New Jersey, about thirty years.

 WR  How long have you in Wildomar?
 Jan  I've been in Wildomar since 2009. I was in Murrieta, I came here from New Jersey in 1999.
The art on the wall has been done by Jan, though there are some that are by her grandson.
 WR  When are your classes?
 Jan  Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9:30am to 12:30pm. Wednesday afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. I've done classes other times when a group of people want to come and paint. 

 WR  What's the youngest students you take?
 Jan  If you have a child that has tolerance for [a three hour class, that would be ok]. I had a girl during the Summer that was 12 going on 13 and she was amazing... amazing, amazing. She loved to paint. She painted with me all Summer. As long as you can sit and take instruction and not be playing on your phone...

 WR Quick Translation  
(In short, it depends on the child. It's not a place for babysitting.) ☺
Here you see the work of a student (flat on the table) and the painting that is being used as inspiration on the table easel.
 WR  How much do lessons cost?
 Jan  Twenty dollars for three hours, plus your supplies. Unless you have supplies at home, of course you're welcome to bring them. I have five basic brushes that people to buy, and I try to stock inexpensive brushes —because you don't [always] know if you want to be here or be bowling. 

The brushes are $3.99, so you can't really go wrong with that. The five brushes cost you around twenty bucks. I have canvasses that are only five bucks. I have a lot of retired people that are on social security, and anybody, they don't need to spend a lot of money. 

We have fun, that's the whole point. You're not going to go out with a degree from here. It's not going to put any extra money in your paycheck, but it might get your paycheck out of your mind (said with a grin and an inviting chuckle), it's very relaxing.
Jan was telling me that she loves lighthouses.
 WR  What is the typical lesson like?
 Jan  It's funny, because if a man comes in, he may not want to do flowers. So I wing it when that happens. If you've never painted before, I start you with a beginner piece, a starter piece; which is a basket of flowers. In that basket of flowers it teachers you all the different techniques that you're going to use to do any [one of the other paintings you see on the wall].

 WR  What's the best way to contact you about getting a lesson?
 Jan  By phone or by email. 

All Jan's contact info will be at the bottom of the blog, but first I have to tell about a fun surprise that happened while my wife Grace and I were in her studio.
Grace Morabito and Jan Belliveau, student and teacher.
It turns out that Grace had taken several lessons at the Painting Goose, long ago... and she had borrowed a Christmas angel, but then wasn't able to take another lesson while still in possession of it. 
Here is the piece that Grace has been holding onto for years and years, hoping to be able to return it. Soon she'll be able to get that one off her bucket list. ☺ 
She's been holding onto Jan's angel, hoping to one day be able to return it to her. The big smiles on their faces were just a great thing to witness. It was a mini reunion of sorts.
That angel Grace is holding looks to fit somewhere into this manger scene.  
If you've been looking for a place to learn how to paint —or have been painting for many years but want to be in a small local class, that has a kind instructor, give Jan a call or drop her an email.

(909) 238-1970
•                •                •

"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers."
– T. S. Eliot

Wildomar Rap would like to add, so are most bloggers.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

• Press Enterprise Is Seeing Things

It's not uncommon for two people to witness the same thing and come away with two entirely different accounts. That seems to be what happened over the topic of SB 54 (the Sanctuary State Bill enacted January 1, 2018) and the city of Wildomar's take on it.

The last city council meeting started with city attorney Thomas Jex addressing the council's position on the matter.

In short, Jex said that though the city council does not support a sanctuary state, Huntington Beach is a charter city,  and Wildomar is not. Wildomar contracts for police services with the county who has an independently elected Sheriff who implements law enforcement procedures. Instead, the city council authorized the Mayor to write a letter regarding SB 54. (Please watch the short video above to get the full reading by the city attorney, and read the letter issued by the Mayor).
Click this link to read the letter at the city's website.
This was my take away on the topic after having watched it first hand. (found in the blog at this link)
"In short, though the members of the council are against SB 54 (the Sanctuary State bill), they unanimously voted not to join any existing lawsuits (Huntington Beach) regarding it. "  —Wildomar Rap, April 12, 2018
The Press Enterprise then lead off their April 20th, 2018 article with the following:
The list of Southern California cities opposed to California’s sanctuary state law just got longer. Wildomar has joined other cities in Riverside and Orange counties, including Beaumont, Los Alamitos and Newport Beach, to come out against SB 54, the California Values Act, that took effect Jan. 1.

Ok, I'm glad to hear it, but talk about a reach. 

I sat in the audience, and I was pretty sure that the council basically abstained from taking a real stance on the issue. If you read the letter, it's clear that the city didn't join anything.

It's real easy to read the reporters bent here, especially when he wrote the following:
"The federal lawsuit aims to give California police the ability to tell federal agents when immigrants are released and transfer them without a warrant into federal custody."

My wife is an immigrant (now naturalized) and I've never met an actual IMMIGRANT that likes being lumped in with people that did not follow the immigration laws that they did. When you hear, or read, "immigrant" when they should have said either "illegal" or "undocumented" first, you know that person is trying to muddy the waters.

Then the article later quotes "some attorneys specializing in open government and free speech" as to their views over the council covering this topic in closed session, instead of open session with it being another item on the agenda.

From the article:
"David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, said it’s hard to know what was discussed and whether the council talked about potential litigation.

“It looks to me like they may have decided to go into closed session to avoid having to deal with the kinds of crowds that these other cities have encountered,” Snyder said. “Wanting to avoid a messy political discussion is not a reason to go into closed session. In fact, it’s just those kinds of discussions that should be public.”" —Press Enterprise, April 20, 2018
It "looks" to him... huh? 

Was he there? Did he talk to anyone on the ground? Is he just pulling garbage out of his backside because a reporter called him?

Another part of the article that I got a kick out of was this line:
"The city received several inquiries from the public over the past few weeks asking whether Wildomar would join lawsuits challenging SB 54, Nordquist said." —Press Enterprise, April 20, 2018
Pardon my pedantry for a moment, but how many is "several"? 

Is it five? How about thirteen? Perhaps twenty-seven? Usually "several" is a little more than a handful... and that was, according to city manager Gary Nordquist, "over the past few weeks."

I don't read that as anything noteworthy, no groundswell that would have triggered a special meeting to go over it. though I did use part of my public comment time at the last city council meeting mentioning the very topic. 

Since the item had been addressed at the top of the meeting (see video above), I truncated my comment which was written out as this: 
As I'm sure you're all very well aware, our state is playing chicken with the federal government when it comes to having declared ourselves a Sanctuary State. You are also aware that many local governments have chosen to weigh in on the matter one way or the other.

Santa Ana has made it clear that they are a Sanctuary City, whereas Los Alimitos, Escondido, Newport Beach, Orange and others have come out against Sanctuary status in one form or another.

I know that this really is beyond the scope of Wildomar. We don't have our own police force or a jail in town, but this is an issue that people are very interested in, and lucky you as elected officials, the people want to know where you stand on such a thing.

So, after the meeting, I'll be approaching you, with microphone in hand, looking for your thoughts on the matter. You don't have to participate, but when I write the blog, I'll be making that notation. Thank you for your time, and I'll be looking for you after the meeting.
Instead of reading that, I realized that I had gotten my answer, so I didn't bother with it. 

Not always will the answer given be the answer we wanted to hear... and though I would have been pleased as punch had Wildomar joined the effort (assuming it was going to cost us NO MONEY), I wasn't going to be upset that the council chose to take another path.

Funny thing is, though the council joined nothing, which is the opposite of what the Press Enterprise implied, they still are getting it from both sides. 

They didn't do enough for one group (which would only have been symbolism anyway), and they went too far in the eyes of the other group.
Gotta love that awesome profile pic I have.
This comment can be found at the bottom of the Press Enterprise article in question.
Link below.
It's easy for all of us to play Monday morning quarterback here, but I'd have liked to have seen this on the agenda and discussed like any other matter. 

But, as city manager Gary Nordquist was paraphrased in the PE article, the city attorney recommended a closed session because of litigation would be discussed.

What is your opinion? Leave your comments below.

•                •                •

"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
— Cato the Elder

Wildomar Rap would rather have people ask all their questions while I'm still alive... making it a bit easier to give them an answer.
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Thursday, April 19, 2018

• Planning Commission Meeting April 2018

There was just one item on the April 18th special planning commission meeting, Wildomar Crossings Commercial Retail Center. 
There are four pads, three of which have already been leased to nationally known companies.
Between the residents of the North Ranch neighborhood, and the regional representation of three of the signed stores set to go into that center, there were quite a few in attendance. 

The project, which was approved and sent to the city council for the final ok, is slated to bring an AutoZone, Wendy's and Dollar Tree.

There was a brief presentation (full video is at the bottom of the blog), public comments, then commission discussion. 

The key concerns I noted from the commission were about the look of the buildings. I'm not sure when this was designed, but the buildings came across as boxy, and not in the fashion that Wildomar has been trying to achieve. (Think of The Barn at Palomar and Clinton Keith, to get a feel of the style preferred now).

It was entered into the record that prior to the issuance of building permits that the applicant submit a "substantial conformance application" to the planning department for planning director review and approval regarding the planning commissions concerns over architecture.
This was the sign in the agenda packet. I'm a little surprised that it didn't have the center's name on it, or any Wildomar branding, or that it wasn't a topic of discussion among the commissioners. Maybe I missed something along the way.
The public speakers came in two groups. 

First were the representatives of the center. 

  • The landowner Greta Goplen
  • Jeff Foreman of Dollar Tree
  • AutoZone had three speakers (Zubier Sakhi - regional manager, Levon Age - Wildomar resident, Michael Chastain)
  • Ziad Boukai (sp?) of Wendy's
  • Michael Schweitzer (representing the project engineers) 

The next speaker was Jimmy Elrod of Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. His group has sent many letters to the city and developers about this project, including one the day before (smells like a document dump to me). The moment he mentioned CEQA and GHG emissions my eyes fogged over. 

I'm still trying to figure out what a Council of Carpenters is interested in here. Are they worried the construction work is slated to go to non union workers or something? 
Nice touch with the day-glow orange vests.
The next group of speakers came up (actually just two), and they were residents of the North Ranch subdivision.
  • Jesus Maldonado
  • Debbie Yuan

The types of stores was the key focus of the speakers. The building design was also called into question.

"The stores aren't consistent with the neighborhood. [...] I don't have anything against stores like Dollar Tree or Wendy's or AutoZone, but the neighborhood has moved up in caliber. So these stores, as they are currently planned, are no longer applicable to our community."
— North Ranch resident Debbie Yuan

As stated by Planning Director Matt Bassi during the first few minutes of his presentation:
We have received many comments from residents in North Ranch, there was a petition that came through, that is in the agenda packet, as well as a couple of individual letters, saying that they don't like the tenant mix in this particular development. Our zoning code, unfortunately, does not allow us the flexibility to regulate the type of users, only the use.

— Wildomar Planning Director Matt Bassi
Map of the area and recent news worthy spots.
1: Wildomar Crossings 2: Wildomar Square 3: Where four story apartments were discussed, but no thumbs up given 4: area that has been the site of homeless activity mentioned in the April city council meeting.
One letter to Planning Director Matt Bassi had this passage in it, "I understand the reasoning behind it (Wildomar Crossings) which is profit for the city, but since we already have retail in every corner by the 15 fwy why not think about beautifying Wildomar instead?"

All due respect to the concerned resident, but it has nothing to do with the city "profiting" or not. 

It's all about the landowner's rights to use their property in accordance with the laws of the state and the general plan of the city. 

If they're doing that, then it's difficult to tell a landowner that they still have to pay taxes on their land, still maintain their land, and yet leave their land fallow because people living adjacent to it prefer it that way.

A petition from Neighbors near the proposed Wildomar Crossings Retail Center, signed by over 100 residents, was included in the agenda package.

In the letters to the city and developers there were a couple of quotes worthy of sharing. I don't believe they are out of context the way I'm about to use them.

In a letter from Debbie Yuan she states: 
Most of us moved into this new community within the last 2, 3 years. We were informed at the time we purchased our homes that this location was zoned for commercial use.

In the petition I found this:
After the development is completed, it would have severe overall infringement on our quality of life, on the quiet and private residential lifestyle we sought when we purchased our home.

It seems that there is a bit of inconsistency in the two thoughts.

Since many of you in North Ranch are new to the area, perhaps you were able to avoid something called Camelia Townhouse Project; that item sucked up a lot of oxygen in the first half of last year.

In a nutshell, it was dealing with neighbors not liking a proposed project on land behind their houses. The things that those educated adults were willing to say —into a live microphone— were astounding at times (just go check out the video highlights with this link). Let's hope their fever doesn't spread to those in North Ranch.
To illustrate the point of living near an empty field, I live two houses away from a field that already has plans drawn up. When I bought the house, I knew that it wasn't going to be turned into a nature preserve or park. I'm just glad it's not slated to be a Sriracha sauce factory. ☺
A key part of the petition was the "If they build" part.
From the petition

IF this location is to be developed for commercial use, below are some suggestions for businesses that would help to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood, and maintain the quality of living for the residents:
   – High-end Day Spa or Salon
   – Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn, Home Goods, or similar retail store
   – Bank or Credit Union
   – Insurance Company
   – Legal Service, Escrow, or Title Office
   – Fitness Gym, Dance Studio, Yoga Studio
   – Small Health Store
   – Flower Shop or Gift Boutique
   – Alternative Food and Restaurant
        • Panera or Bakery
        • Lemonade or Juice Bar
        • Ethnic / Global Food option – such as Chinese Food, Thai Food, Indian, or Mediterranean
I'm a little surprised that Trader Joe's wasn't on that list, it would be number one on my wish list. ☺

I like the list of business ideas, but many of those are already well represented in town. 

Let's go down the list
► We have several high end day spas in town.
► Pier One would be great, but if people were saying that we could drive to another city for auto parts or dollar store purchases, I'm guessing that bigger ticketed items at such stores could be plagued by the same logic.
► Wildomar Square has a new credit union, but it is a nice suggestion.
► When it comes to legal services, title and escrow those don't usually anchor a center. They generally are in office space. This center has a handful of buildings and they are looking for nationally known tenants.
► Fitness gym, dance or yoga was mentioned. Great ideas to be sure. We don't have a dance studio anymore, but there is Just Yoga that is preparing to open their doors any week now, in Wildomar Square.
► When it comes to a small health store, flower shop or gift boutique, perhaps those will be the types of businesses that lease the other building.
► I love the idea of what is being called ethnic/global food choices. Personally, I'm not a fast food guy. Other than their grand opening, I probably would rarely visit Wendy's. Still, they are a popular national chain, and people love them. (I've still NEVER stepped foot into the Wildomar McDonald's)

As it happens, there is a Thai restaurant being built in Wildomar Square, and let's not forget Los Reyes, Old Market Grill, Angelo's, Tresino, Sushi Ka or Poke Port already doing business in town (apologies to the other "ethnic/global" eateries not mentioned).

Look for this to come before the city council on May 9th.

•                •                •

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
– Thomas Jefferson 

Wildomar Rap is basically the luckiest blog on Earth.

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