Monday, December 31, 2007

Animal Noise Complaints

I've heard from several neighbors about the increase of barking dogs. A neighbor offers this link:

Animal noise complaints (etc.) for our area can be made online at

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sorry for the Delay

Sorry for the delay in posting. I took a quick trip to see family at Thanksgiving. If you've got info for the blog, let me know.

MFSC Update

The Meadows FireSafe Council continues to move forward. We're in the proverbial "waiting for the check in the mail" phase.

After the presentation last month at the townhall meeting, residents whose properties were assessed received, or were sent in the mail, the findings of the assessments. We've received many responses within the deadline of the mailing and will concentrate on those responses.

After the vendor was secured for clearance of brush around the neighborhood, there was only so much money left to handle work within the neighborhood. The MFSC proposed that we use the remainder of the funds to remove trees within The Meadows that hinder access for emergency vehicles or are dead or diseased. As for trimming of trees and vegetation, there was not enough funds left over to handle that work too. So, it was recommended that the homeowner talk to the vendors to secure anticipated discounts.

We have until the end of February to use the grant funds. We're proceeding through some delays at the State level in obtaining the funds but have been assured that we'll receive them before the expiration of the grant.

Planning for next year is already underway. We can apply for another grant for 2008-2009. The plan would be to continue the brush clearance work along with expanding the work within The Meadows to include trimming and replacement of trees. If you're interested in participating, please let me know.

December Newsletter

As you've noticed by now, a December Meadows Newsletter was not published. Time is the contributing factor.

I've suggested to others that we change the newsletter to a quarterly publication. Thankfully, many people read this blog for updates which is much more efficient (and easier to manage). We still want to reach out to those who don't have Internet access and a quarterly publication would accomplish that.

Those involved are in agreement. If you have any thoughts about the subject, please let me know.

We've also talked about taking the neighborhood meeting to a quarterly schedule also. I'm also looking for anyone interested in hosting as several folks can not make it up the stairs at my house.

The Truck is Gone!

On Friday, the truck on the vacant property of lower Canyon Crest was removed. I've heard that the owner of the land may have had it removed even though it may not have been his truck. Residents have reported that the truck actually belonged to an acquaintance of someone in The Meadows. That person reportedly was driving the truck out of the neighborhood when it broke down.

Whatever the story, thanks to all the residents who pursued its removal.

Vermont or The Meadows?

This pic was taken over the weekend by one of our residents who wondered, "Are we living in Vermont?"

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Truck on Lower Canyon Crest

I heard from a neighbor that the "abandoned" truck on lower Canyon Crest is actually owned by an acquaintance of a Meadow's neighbor. Seems the truck broker down and was pushed to the vacant land. According to the resident it's not owned by the vacant landowner.

I've heard that several residents have called both the Sheriff and L.A. County. Any updates?

Speaking of Green

This is not Meadows related (well maybe, if you think about all of our efforts related to trees) but, I heard about this website on which you can stop the delivery of catalogs that you don't wish to receive. It's estimated that the number of catalogs produced every year equals the carbon emissions of 200 million cars per year. That's HUGE!

With the holidays approaching, this is a great time to "trim the tree" and reduce the number of catalogs coming to your home. Here's the totally free website:

One more great, green idea: When printing documents on Word, Excel or any other software, change the default margins from 1" to at least .5". It will reduce the number of pages needed and contribute to a reduction in paper use.

MFSC Update, Update and Update

Three updates for everyone from The Meadows FireSafe Council:

- Our townhall meeting on November 13 was well attended. Residents were updated on the progress of the FireSafe grant and neighbors were able to review and sign-off on their individual assessments.

- For those not in attendance, letters were mailed to you yesterday, Friday. The letter has two sections; the first being any work recommended that will be paid for by the grant. The second section will have recommendations that would be handled by and paid for by the homeowner. Vendors have been contacted and will be offering discounts to homeowners. Final selection of the vendors is underway.

- Finally, we expected brush clearance to start on November 1, but were held up in waiting for funds to be released by the larger CA FireSafe Council. We're hoping to get those funds this or next month.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nov 13 Town Hall Meeting

Please join us at The Meadows Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, November 13 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. The Meadows FireSafe Council will be presenting updates on the progress of our grant brush clearance project along with presenting specific tree removal and trimming suggestions to homeowners. A letter will be available for signature by the homeowner to proceed with the Council's suggestions.

Also speaking at the Town Hall will be our favorite park administrator, Penny Daniels, who will give us an update on the wonderful improvements to Loma Alta Park. She'll also discuss the many programs offered at the park.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Nov 13 FireSafe Update

Please plan on attending the November 13 meeting of The Meadows FireSafe Council at Loma Alta Park from 7-9 p.m.

We'll be presenting an update on the progress of the FireSafe Council along with specific findings from the many assessments that we're performed in The Meadows.

Each affected resident will receive a proposal for tree removal and/or trimming which is expected to be performed by the end of the year. This is all voluntarily but a great progressive effort in keeping us safe from fire events.

Here We Go Again...

The owner of the property on lower Canyon Crest has again parked a vacant vehicle on his land. This time it's a rundown pick-up truck with a bed of junk in the back.

I talked to the Sheriffs and they said that it is the landowner who owns the vehicle. I'll give him a call, but I suggest that residents start calling the County to start the process of getting this vehicle removed.

Brush Clearance Update

We expected to start the brush clearance effort around The Meadows this coming Monday, November 5. We had to delay that while waiting for the funds from CA FireSafe Council to be transferred to The Meadows FireSafe Council. That's expected by the end of the month.

So, not to worry, we're on our way. We should be on our way towards the end of the month.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lights On! Anybody Home?

I got in late last night and no sooner had I turned the lights on we had a power failure. I noted that it started at 10:00 p.m. and came back on at 3:45 a.m.

I noticed my clocks blinking when I got home. Had we had another outage earlier in the day?

I want to track these outages to report to our SCE liaison.

Brush Clearance Starts November 1

The Meadows FireSafe Council is happy to say that brush clearance will begin on November 1 in the northeast corner above The Meadows. We've passed our biological and archaeological requirements and have been given the go-ahead to start the work.

We're also coordinating with several vendors to perform tree removal and trimming within the neighborhood.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 13 for our town-hall presentation. It will be held at Loma Alta Park gym from 7-9 p.m. We'll present the overall effort along with proposing the work to be done on specific properties within The Meadows.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mountain Lion Sighting

This posting from Ray:

"I saw what I'm sure was a mountain lion today, though it was a youngster. Definitely not a bobcat. At first I thought it was a coyote, until I saw its face. (I've never seen a mountain lion "in person", but this thing was too big to be a house cat!)

The cat was on the mesa at Theo Clarke's, in the brush that abuts the parking area."

Sustainable and FireSafe Landscaping Event

This event is happening on Saturday, October 20 at Loma Alta Park:

SAFE Landscapes, a program of the University of California Cooperative Extension, wants to show you how to make your landscape Sustainable and Fire Safe.

Much of Los Angeles County is a wildland-urban interface, where habitat and housing inter-mix. If you live in this area, it’s not a question of IF the wildland will burn, but WHEN, and the next few years are expected to be some of the worst on record.

Come find out how to make your landscape beautiful and fire-safe while being a good neighbor to wildlands. Get tips and techniques on planting, maintenance, and building materials to help you and your home survive the next fire.

Learn about defensible space, vegetation management, and invasive plants from Cooperative Extension experts, local fire authorities, and wildland managers, and get your own copy of the beautiful SAFE Landscapes 2008 Calendar and Guidebook!

This series of workshops will be held in October and November 2007 in locations around the county. Our first, for residents of the San Gabriel Mountains area, will be Saturday, October 20th, 10:00 am-1:00 pm at Loma Alta Park in Altadena. The workshop is free, but registration is required.

If you have questions or would like to register by phone, please contact Valerie Borel at 323-260-3851 or by email at

Friday, October 12, 2007

Car Break-ins on Canyon Crest

A neighbor who lives in the 4100 block of Canyon Crest reported the following:

"At about 8:30 Wednesday night, someone broke the back windows of two of our cars. Our cars were parked in the street one in front of the other. We did not notice until the next morning. The motion detector light was activated and may have frightened the person(s) away. We filed a police report Thursday morning and the officer located a rock in each of the cars. The officer had not received any other calls of the same nature."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Big Bear on Tuesday Morning

I received a flyer in my mailbox yesterday morning that read:

"There was a VERY LARGE bear spotted walking up El Prieto Road early (around 3 a.m.), Tuesday morning, October 9, 2007. He enjoyed snacking on trash waiting to be picked-up and woke up the dogs at the top of the street. Seriously though, he was BIG. Not one to mess with. When we hear the dogs barking this week he may be around again so please be careful when investigating what's out and about at night or when you are hiking on the local trails."

So, this morning at about 1:30 a.m., the dog across the street from me started howling and barking. I looked out the window and saw her staring up the street. Then I see a very tall, slender man (I think) running down El Prieto Road looking behind him. Running behind him are two dogs (I think two - it was dark). Nothing else was chasing them that I could tell.

I wondered if he was hiking the loop around The Meadows. If you know who is, please be sure to tell him that a bear has been spotted.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Order Out?

A question from a new neighbor: Anyone know what restaurants will deliver to The Meadows - besides Pizza?

Free Lab Puppies

A client of mine has Lab puppies for free to a good home. Anyone interested? Call me at 626-791-1011.



Suspicious Car on Aralia

A neighbor reported the following. Anyone have any information?

The neighbor saw a suspicious red van today going slowly and stopping every so often on Aralia today at 6:20p.m. License plate 3Z66951.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Meadows Must See Meeting

We had a great Meadows meeting tonight. The following posts highlight the information shared. Here's a miscellaneous recap:

Sussy Nemer, our go-to-person for L.A. County was in attendance. She's an amazing resource and effective Senior Deputy that has done well by The Meadows.

  • She listened to concerns about the Canyon Crest and Lincoln intersection and will pursue with her contacts regarding speed reduction at the intersection.
  • We asked her to pursue the removal of the 30-year+ camper parked at the top of El Prieto. She stated that campers, boats, trailers, etc. that are inoperative can not be left on driveways.
  • We also asked her to address driveways that are being used as storage units.

The group agreed to resurrect the calling trees in light of the recent North Lake brush fire. We'll be asking neighbors for the following:

  • Cell, home and/or business phone numbers to contact in case of emergencies
  • Identifying anyone needed medical or evacuation assistance
  • location of gas shut-off valves

The following folks will take up the cause:

  • Aralia: Amish
  • Canyon Dell: Percy
  • El Prieto: Angie and Ike
  • Hollygrove: Mark
  • Canyon Crest: Jeannie
  • Still need persons for Gravelia, Sunmore and Risinghill

Please let me know if you can help coordinate.

Edison Update

From tonight's neighborhood meeting, Dave Ford, Region Manager of Local Public Affairs, and Mike Perez, District Operations Manager, provided an update on SCE efforts that effect The Meadows. It was a very good, spirited exchange of information. In the end, we agreed to work together to address the issues faced by The Meadows. This was a wonderful next step in establishing team effort between The Meadows residents and SCE. Here's some highlights:

  • Some poles and transformers servicing our area date back to 1933
  • Critters climbing poles and lines, particularly squirrels that gnaw on conductors, have been a source of outages in the San Gabriel Mountain areas.
  • When in a power outage, SCE crews work 32 hours straight with 8 hour breaks.
  • There are plans for 2008 to address overloading of lines and circuits. This involves reducing the load of 4kv circuits (which we have) to circuits that carry higher loads. When the cut-over happens, there are planned outages. The result is a balancing of the load that then provides more reliability to the circuit.
  • The group discussed perceived plans for upgrading the Fair Oaks Substation. More information to follow.
  • The group agreed that it is a team effort to resolve power supply issues in The Meadows and will continue to build the relationship.
  • Underground placement of lines is addressed as the budget allows.
  • Contact information was shared between The Meadows and David Ford.
  • As a bonus, residents received new energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs along with informational materials. I have extra if you want them

SCE Lamp Exchange

Southern California Edison is sponsoring a "lamp exchange".

Bring in a halogen torchiere, incandescent floor lamp, incandescent table lamp or incandescent desk lamp for exchange with a new energy efficient fluorescent plug-in lamp fixture of the same type FREE!

The lamp exchange will take place at Wal*Mart, 17150 Gale Avenue, City of Industry, CA 91745 on October 27 & 28 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Hunter Rules Clarification

Thanks to a neighbor who provided this clarity regarding where hunters can and can not hunt:

The rules are all about the proximity to houses, roads and trails when the weapon is being discharged. The hunters were banned from hunting in the canyon because the proximity to roads and homes did not allow any room for hunting down there. Up the hill and into the National Forest is legal - but they should not be discharging the weapons on or across the trails.

When they are seen near the homes on Risinghill - are they just hiking in to get into the woods - or hunting on the hillside behind the homes? That would likely not be legal. (Editor's note: In the latest case, the hunters were only seen carrying their bows and entering into the brush behind homes on Risinghill.)

The biggest issue is that these guys are pretty inconsiderate about the concerns of the community, have a sense of entitlement and are carrying weapons. The sheriff doesn't want to get involved. If the homeowners don't want them crossing their property lines to access the forest - they should make that clear to the hunters. It amazes me that they keep coming back here when the must feel so unwelcome.

FireSafe Council Update - Clearing Nears

The required archeological study for our project has been completed and all Forest Service requirements are met. The biological report was submitted but lacked a project description. When that is submitted, approval is expected soon, possibly by the time this newsletter goes to press. These studies are required by law before a project can be started. Also, further grant monies will not be released until these studies are done and approved.

The date for our town meeting has been tentatively set for November 13 at 7 PM. The agenda for the meeting will include updates on the Meadows’ Fire Safe project, discussion of steps that should be taken within the Meadows community itself, and will offer an opportunity to meet with vendors who can be contracted to do the necessary trimming and removal of fire hazards.

Funds left over after having removed brush from the fire-prone areas surrounding the Meadows will be applied to removal and/or trimming of trees within the community. Priority will be given to mitigating hazards that might impede access and egress in the event of a fire, and removing trees that are in danger of falling. Such projects, however, will not be undertaken without the respective landowner’s permission.

The town meeting will also provide an opportunity for residents to meet with contractors that will be working in the area and thus provide an opportunity to get desired work on vegetation done at reduced cost.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Two Reports of Hunters on Risinghill

I've had two reports from neighbors about hunters on Risinghill.

The first was Friday when a neighbor encountered them at the very top near Ted's place. They were blocking the road. When told they weren't allowed to hunt, they stated that they were allowed. The were civil to the neighbor. The neighbor called the Sheriff's station and were told that the hunters were allowed and they would not be sending anyone up to the site.

Today, I received another call. This time the hunters were at the end of Risinghill (before the climb to Ted's) and headed in behind the houses. The neighbor yelled to scare two deer away. He also confronted the hunters and called the Sheriffs. Again he was told that they were allowed.

Does anyone have information from last year when the Fish and Game and Sheriffs posted the No Hunting signs on lower Canyon Crest?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Canyon Crest Car Gone!

A neighbor reported that as of the evening of September 28, the "abandoned" car on lower Canyon Crest is gone!

SCE at Neighborhood Meeting

Representatives from Southern California Edison will be at the next neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, October 2. This update came after the Meadows Newsletter was published, so please let your neighbors know about it.

The meeting is at 7:00 p.m., October 2
4416 El Prieto Rd.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Play It Safe - Emergency Expo

A notice from our friends at the L.A. County Fire Department:

Sunday, October 7, 2007
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Drive
Free Admission

10:00 am — 3:00 pm

Jaws of Life Demonstration by L.A. County Firefighters
See Fire Engines
Talk to Paramedics
Learn about Haz Mat Equipment
Watch Search and Rescue Dogs in Action
Learn to Use a Heart Defibrillator
Fire Extinguisher Training for Kids and Adults
Shop for Emergency Supplies for the Home or Business
Meet your Local Sheriff's Deputies
See Bomb Squad Equipment
Bounce House
Face Painting
Ride Quaky-Shaky
Visit with "Smokey Bear"
Meet Sparky

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Next Neighborhood Meeting

The next neighborhood meeting will be Tuesday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m. We're trying to get a representative from Southern California to join us. The meeting is at 4416 El Prieto Rd.

Bear in Millard Canyon

Around 6:00 p.m. Friday night, a young bear broke into a cabin in Millard Canyon. It was munching on cat food in the house. The owner’s son discovered a break-in at the window and saw the bear in the back yard.

I’ve not been told where the cabin is in Millard Canyon.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Car on Canyon Crest Update

A field representative from the County of L.A. office told us that the owner of the lot and car on Canyon Crest will have it moved by 9-23-07.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Markings on Street

I talked to the workers who have been marking up the streets in The Meadows. They're installing AT&T optical cable. They stated that they would not be tearing up the roads. They also mentioned that they would be installing terminals every few houses with the optical cable then being delivered to the house. Not sure how they're going to do this. If anyone hears more information, please let me know via email or comment to the blog.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Clean the Canyon

Thanks to a few residents who regularly take the initiative to clean up trash in the canyon. At tonight's Meadows meeting, others were encouraged to help out as we can't always rely (or expect) others to keep our neighborhood looking great.

So, all are encouraged to chip in.

Starter Home in The Meadows

Welcome to 4318 Canyon Crest Road

If you know of anyone looking to move to The Meadows, this is a perfect starter home.

Two bedrooms and one bath with hardwood floors in the living room and bedrooms. Step-down glass-enclosed sunroom looking out to a private, fenced yard. Recessed lighting and crown moulding in the living room. Galley kitchen has ceramic tile flooring, double oven, gas cooktop and newly installed dishwasher. Kitchen dining nook with view to sunroom. Granite vanity top in the bathroom. Two hall closets including linen closet. Two side yards for entertaining and barbeque. Beautifully landscaped property with automatic sprinklers. Newer central air and heat, newer copper plumbing, updated electrical, newer roof. Security system available. Large two-car garage with laundry hookups and utility sink.
1041 sq. ft. (taped)
6490 sq. ft. lot per assessor.

Offered for $585,000

Meadows FireSafe Council Update

Much progress has been made over the summer on the Meadows FireSafe Council brush clearance plan.

The biological study, dealing with plants and animals in the area covered by the Fire Safe project, is ongoing and must be completed and shown to the Forest Service before any additional grant money will be released.

The request for an extension of time on the grant has been approved.

A vendor has been selected to begin clearing upwards of 30 acres in and around The Meadows starting in September.

The crews will begin working on three areas that pose the most risk to us should a fire start. All of the work will begin at the 200 foot mark beyond property owner’s houses. The area within 200 feet is the property owner’s responsibility. (Please note that works performed by the Fire Safe Council do not relieve property owners of the obligation to perform hazard abatement procedures on their properties as may be required by inspectors of the Forest Service or, in the case of Canyon Dell residents, of Los Angeles County.)

The first is 16 acres in the northeast area above The Meadows. The potential for Santa Ana winds fanning a fire makes this a severe fire-prone area.

The second section is 4.5 acres that reaches into The Meadows behind the homes on the west side of Risinghill and above the Canyon Crest cul-de-sac. This increasingly steep area makes for tough brush clearance.

The third area is 6.5 acres on the east side of Risinghill above Millard Canyon.

In all areas, crews will come in to reduce the brush using chainsaws and creating a mulch-like consistency that will help prevent erosion. They’ll also prune up any larger trees and bushes.

Once this work is completed and with the funds that remain, the FireSafe Council will identify the top priorities for reducing fire risk within the neighborhood. Thanks to all who participated in the assessments, we have quite a list of items to consider. As an example, it could be removing or trimming trees that impede access for fire and rescue vehicles into the neighborhood. We may also identify the highest fire-prone trees or vegetation that needs to be reduced or removed.

On another note, the FireSafe Council will receive an additional $2,500 grant from Farmer’s Insurance to assist senior or disabled residents with brush clearance. If you know of someone in need of this assistance, please contact Greg at (626) 791-1011.

The FireSafe Council continues to make excellent progress in making our community fire-safe.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mountain Lion Attack

From neighbors on Canyon Crest:

"My husband and I live on Canyon Crest Road and our neighbor across the street lost his dog to a mountain lion attack last Sunday morning. Our next door neighbor noticed turkey buzzards circling something near the hairpin and after walking his dog down there, saw the deer carcass. He thought the deer looked like it had been attacked, not hit by a car. Anyway, watch for the lion up in your area, since it escaped from Fish and Game."

FireSafe Council Gets Another Grant

We are pleased to announce the The Meadows FireSafe Council will receive another grant for fire prevention from the Farmers Insurance Group.

In recognizing "Wildfire Awareness Week", September 10-16, Farmers Insurance Group will present a check to the Meadows FireSafe Council for brush clearance of homes of elderly and disabled persons in the neighborhood.

Joining Farmers Insurance as partners in announcing: The Los Angeles County Fire Department; the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal-Fire); the California State FireSafe Council, Inc; and the Meadows FireSafe Council of Altadena.

The $2,500 (maybe $5,000) check will be presented at 10:30 A.M., SEPTEMBER 5, 2007 at Loma Alta Park.

Invitees include Congressman Adam Schiff, State Senator Jack Scott, State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, The Honorable Mike Antonovich, Los Angeles City Council.

Please join if you'd like.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

One More Pic of Fire

a pic from the top of Risinghill.

Pics from Brush Fire Today

Here's pics from the brush fire at the top of Lake Ave. today. Keep reading for more updates and info.

Reminders for Coping with a Brush Fire

1) Notify and stay in touch with your neighbors
2) Close all the windows in the house, garage doors, etc
3) Remove any furniture, tents, and umbrellas from patios and front yard. Flying embers may land on them
4) If possible, close your roof vents
5) Have the car ready to go facing the street and with car windows closed

So, How Did We Do Today?

Here's a recap of the actions taken today by the Meadows FireSafe Council regarding the brush fire and some observations.

At around 1:00 p.m., we contacted the L.A. County Fire Department for updates on the fire and agreed to one-hour updates. We were told that the fire was above Lake Avenue with winds coming from the south moving the fire up and to the east of us.

We began calling neighbors to make them aware of the brush fire. There was no action to take at the time, but wanted everyone to be aware of the status. My estimate is that approximately 30 neighbors were contacted at the most.

By 4:30, the fire was 50% contained, had scorched 10-12 acres and was not a threat to The Meadows.

Here's some observations:

1. We do not have a functioning calling tree in which to expedite calling neighbors. We only had those phone numbers that each of us had in our contact lists. Neighbors were asked to call whatever phone numbers they had for other neighbors.

2. Many phone numbers were home phones and not cell numbers. Messages were left, but immediate contact could not be made.

3. We no longer have an updated list of neighbors who may need assistance. Should an evacuation be needed, we need to be aware of who needs additional assistance.

In summary, this was a valuable exercise for us in The Meadows. But much more preparation needs to be organized should we ever be threatened by a fire.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

RJ's Liquor County Hearing

See the article below from today's Star-News on RJ's Liquor. If you have concerns about liquor store problems in Altadena, you can make a difference by attending the hearing on Wenesday, Aug. 22, to express your views or by contacting our county supervisor:
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich
Fifth District, Los Angeles County
500 West Temple Street, Room 869
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 974-5555

Pasadena Star News
Store Owner Speaking Out
Namkung says business unfairly targeted for crimes
By Mary Frances Gurton Staff Writer
Article Launched: 08/15/2007 11:15:14 PM PDT

ALTADENA - An Altadena liquor store owner under fire from neighbors and sheriff's officials for allegedly allowing unsavory people to loiter around his business said Wednesday he is being unfairly targeted.

Benjamin Yoons Namkung, 50, who owns RJ's liquor store in the 100 block of East Woodbury Road, said he has met numerous times with city and sheriff's officials in an attempt to allay their concerns and comply with their requests for changes at his store.

"I feel that I have been unfairly treated," Namkung said. "Sometimes sheriff's deputies pull someone over for something down there," he said, pointing to a long fence east of the store. "There is no street number on the fence, so they put in my store's address."

About 113 residents living near the store have signed a petition citing various complaints and forwarded it to the Los Angeles County Business License Commission. In addition, Capt. Roosevelt Blow of the sheriff's Altadena Station wrote to the commission about alleged problems involving RJ's Liquor, including several arrests made in front of the store, Blow said Wednesday.
As a result, the commission has scheduled a public hearing on Namkung's business license. The hearing is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday in Room 374A of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. Sheriff's officials from Altadena, residents and Namkung will have a chance to present their sides to the panel.

Namkung's business license is up for renewal at the end of this month. Blow said since he transferred to the Altadena Station in April he has received multiple complaints from residents regarding gang activity and loitering outside the store. From June of last year to June of this year, deputies have responded to 137 incidents at the store, Blow said. Deputies also have made several arrests in front of the store, he said. On June 22, deputies arrested a man sought on a felony warrant in front of RJ's, the captain said. In April, deputies dispersed a group of juveniles loitering outside the store, Blow said.

But Namkung said he has complied with officials' previous requests for changes, including removing shelves that had blocked deputies from having a clear view into his store. He also does not sell gang attire like colored bandannas. Namkung also installed a large "No Loitering" sign in his store's front window, which warns that loiterers will be prosecuted. The owner said he installed a new gate about a year ago to keep people from hanging out at the rear of the building, as well as a 10-camera security system that monitors the store 24 hours a day.

"Every time people try to hang around I call the police," said Namkung. "You got to understand this neighborhood. People know each other, and if they run into each other, they might stand around and chat. Then they leave." Nicole Comas, 38, who said she lives in the area, said residents should take into consideration Namkung's efforts to change the environment around his store. "He's being ridiculed for the entire neighborhood," said Comas. "I don't know why they think that closing the liquor store is going to rid the neighborhood of crime. The neighborhood was like this long before Mr. Namkung came here."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

September Meadows Meeting

It's back! After a summer break, the monthly Meadows Neighborhood meeting will resume. The Newsletter should be out in the next two weeks.

Tuesday, September 4
7:00 p.m.
4416 El Prieto Road

Gas Station Update

I had a chance to talk to one of the owners of George's Liquors. She said they had contacted Arco but they were uninterested. She is looking to get a major brand at the corner and is not going to pursue an independent brand stating that she knows that it would not generate enough business.

She asked that if anyone has a contact with one of the gas companies, she'd appreciate the lead. You can either give it to her directly or pass it to me and I'll provide it to her.

Update #2 on Canyon Crest Car

The owner of the "abandoned" car on lower Canyon Crest has been working on the car. Not sure that much progress will be made considering its condition.

It doesn't appear that the County is moving very quickly on this code violation, so everyone is encouraged to report this issue.

Here's what to do:

  • Call "211" to report the County code violation

  • Provide them with the Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) of 5830-003-014

  • Provide the code number if needed: 22.20.025 (full verbiage is below)

  • Ask that they take some action to remove the car

Here’s the actual code:22.20.025 Keeping or parking of vehicles--Prohibited when

A) A person shall not keep, store, park, maintain or otherwise permit any vehicle or any component thereof in the front yard, corner side yard or any additional area of a lot or parcel of land situated between the road and any building or structure located thereon, except that the parking of passenger vehicles including pickup trucks, other than a motor home or travel trailer, is permitted on a driveway.

B) A person shall not keep, store, park, maintain or otherwise permit an inoperative vehicle as defined in Section 22.08.220 in any residential zone. Inoperative vehicles shall be removed within 30 days from the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section.

Join Me at New Open House

I have a home for sale here in The Meadows. It's at 4318 Canyon Crest, on the northeast corner of Canyon Crest and Risinghill.

Please join me either tomorrow, Thursday, August 16th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. or on Sunday, August 19th from 2-5 p.m.

This is a wonderful two-bedroom home with hardwood floors, sunroom, fenced yard, central air, newer roof, newer copper plumbing and newer electrical.

It is being offered for $585,000.

Need Volunteer to Deliver Newsletter

One of our volunteers that has delivered The Meadows Newsletter for quite some time needs to take a break. I need someone to deliver to Aralia and Gravelia. Please consider helping out. The next newsletter will be ready before Sept. 1

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Plans for Gas Station

The son of the owners of George's Liquor said that they are in the planning stages of turning the northwest corner of Lincoln and Altadena back into a gas station. Haven't heard when or which brand but will ask the owners when I see them.

Biologist in Meadows Friday

Jason Berkley, a Wildlife Biologist, will be walking around The Meadows on Friday conducting a study of some of our trees. He's identifying any impacts our brush clearance will have on wildlife in the neighborhood. Just wanted everyone to know so that no one thought he was staking out The Meadows.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Artbender Weekend

Here's an art event this weekend in Altadena.

Artbender Weekend is from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7:00 p.m. Sunday at the Gallery at the End of the World, 2475 N. Lake Ave, Altadena.

This Sunday at Loma Alta Park

On Sunday, Altadena hosts two fun ways to help raise funds for five great causes.
The Naked Crow Mountain Bike Challenge is an off-road challenge on a rigorous course in the San Gabriel Mountains that, despite its name and an expectation for fun, does not actually encourage participants to ride naked.

Register for the ride at 8 a.m. at Loma Alta Park, 3330 Lincoln Ave., which is also playing host to a kids safety course.

Also in the park, the Altadena Rotary Pancake Breakfast runs concurrent with the festivities from 7 to 11 a.m., offering a chance to carb-load to one's heart's content. At $5 per person or $10 for families for all you can scarf down, no one should go away hungry or broke.

If planning to fill your gullet, don't show up too late or there will hardly be any time to let your food settle before a raucous concert from legendary Pasadena rock ‘n' roll bad boys Snotty Scotty and the Hankies, who are expected to fire up their amps sometime shortly after 11 a.m.
All funds raised benefit the Altadena Rotary Charities, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Altadena Senior Center, Altadena Meals on Wheels and Pasadena's Ronald McDonald House.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Meadows FireSafe Council Update

The biological study, dealing with plants and animals in the area covered by the FireSafe Council project, is ongoing and must be completed and shown to the Forest Service before any additional grant money will be released.

Bids for fuel reduction have been received, and are currently being considered and clarified. Since danger of erosion is compounded by our extremely dry summer, treatment of the steeper canyon walls is not envisioned at this time.

Any grant money remaining after paying the contractor(s) for fuel reduction will be used in reducing fire hazards within the Meadows proper. The property assessments performed earlier will play a significant role in determining which hazards are the worst and should therefore be prioritized for hazard abatement.

Street captains have made final attempts to contact residents who had not responded to our invitation for property assessments. This outreach is now finished, unless some homeowners need to be contacted regarding special hazards in strategic areas.

It should be noted that works performed by the Fire Safe Council do not relieve property owners of the obligation to perform hazard abatement procedures on their properties as may be required by inspectors of the Forest Service or, in the case of Canyon Dell residents, of Los Angeles County.

Our request for an extension of time to qualify for grant moneys has been approved.

August Newsletter

Again, not much information to share so the August Meadows Newsletter will not be published. We're planning on a September Newsletter as monthly neighborhood meetings will begin again in October. I guess no news is good news!

Update on Canyon Crest Car

Thanks to many residents for actions taken regarding the vehicle on the vacant Canyon Crest land. It is a violation of County code. Here’s a recap of what’s happening.

A neighbor has called “211” to report the County code violation. We were able to provide the Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) so that they can file a violation.

I’ve talked directly to the owner of the land who stated that his plan was to restore the car at the site.

Another neighbor, who is very familiar with County code, stated that vehicles must be on a driveway and be operable. It's illegal to leave it on the "grass".

Here’s the actual code:
22.20.025 Keeping or parking of vehicles--Prohibited when.

A. A person shall not keep, store, park, maintain or otherwise permit any vehicle or any component thereof in the front yard, corner side yard or any additional area of a lot or parcel of land situated between the road and any building or structure located thereon, except that the parking of passenger vehicles including pickup trucks, other than a motor home or travel trailer, is permitted on a driveway.

B. A person shall not keep, store, park, maintain or otherwise permit an inoperative vehicle as defined in Section 22.08.220 in any residential zone. Inoperative vehicles shall be removed within 30 days from the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section.

Since County has been informed, I’d like to suggest that we all monitor the situation. If the car is not removed, additional calls to “211” sighting the above code may be useful. The APN is 5830-003-014.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lower Canyon Crest Blood on Pavement

Does anyone know anything about the supposed blood stains at the hairpin turn on lower Canyon Crest?

A neighbor called and stated that she thinks a deer may have been hit and killed at the hairpin turn. She reported seeing a bloody t-shirt last Monday and then a pack of deer sniffing at the blood stain which you can clearly see on the pavement.

Does anyone have any more information on this?

Blooming Cactus

Just a quick pic of the cactus that has been in overdrive this summer. The blooms are happening almost daily.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Car on Lower Canyon Crest

I contacted the owner of the car that looks like it was abandoned on lower Canyon Crest. The owner told me that he has plans to fix it up and will be working on it in the next few weeks. He also stated that the sheriffs had called him already as the car had been reported to them as possibly stolen.

Why he is choosing to use his vacant land as the place to fix a car is unknown.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mountain Lion Sighting

Heads up - A neighbor reported seeing a mountain lion at the corner of Canyon Crest and Cloverhill two weekends ago.

FairPlan Alternative

A neighbor in The Meadows has found someone writing insurance plans for The Meadows. This may be a good California FairPlan alternative:

Greg Hooper Insurance Agency
324 Foothill Blvd. Suite 202
Arcadia, CA. 91006
626 357-7002
FAX: 626 357-7002

Friday, July 06, 2007

PUSD School Info

I'm often asked the state of our local school system when I'm hosting open houses here in The Meadows. This website was provided by our Altadena Town Council Alternate for our Census Tract. Looks like a good source of information and an opportunity for parents to become engaged in PUSD input.

You can download from the PEN site flyers and fact sheets about our schools. They also have info on charter schools and private.

Parents wanting info on PUSD can contact the Pasadena Education Network. There is a wealth of info and this group is very well connected to each other, to their schools and the school board.
Great group!

Gas Shut-Off Valves

A neighbor on Risinghill suggested the following:

"My sister moved into a new neighborhood in the bay area and their community is really into safety and such. One of the things that they do is have all the neighbors' gas meter shut off valve locations on a map/list. If we get the big quake, one fire could do us all in."

Anyone interested in taking on this project or helping coordinate it? Let me know.

Rubio Crest Canyon Trail

If anyone attended the L.A. County meeting regarding the Rubio Crest Canyon Trail last month, please let me know. A neighbor missed the meeting and would like to get an update. I'll connect the two parties.

Need a Housecleaner?

Here's a recommendation from a neighbor on El Prieto. Her housecleaner, Elena Rosales, is looking for more work in the area.

"She has worked cleaning homes for years and does a very good job. Her English is very good, she is extremely honest, has a car, is dependable - all that one would wish. She is looking for more cleaning jobs.

"Housecleaning - once a week, every 2 weeks, whatever suits your schedule. Also available for one time cleaning jobs. Over 15 years experience, good references (including in the Meadows!), has own transportation, is very reliable and reasonable rates."

If interested, please call Elena Rosales - cell #626.354.7975

No News is No Newsletter

Sorry for the delay in posting, but this has been a busy last couple of weeks.

We didn't publish a July Meadows Newsletter as there was not really any news (suppose that's a good thing). We're planning on August. If you have articles you want to include, please pass them on to me.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lost Chihuahua

Neighbor Allen Dugan of Sunmore Lane has found a brown Chihuahua wandering on Risinghill on Tuesday. The dog was out at night so he has it in his workshop. Anyone know who's dog this is? I thought I saw "lost dog" signs for a Chihuahua two weeks ago.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Incident Last Saturday at Top of Risinghill

The following was reported by a neighbor in The Meadows:

On Saturday evening about 7 pm, two 20-something Hispanic males, one with a shaved head and one with a ponytail, drinking beer, were in a parked car, a tan older model, maybe a Chevy, at the top of Risinghill Road in the gravel area at the top of the road before the curve to the right toward Theo's.

A resident was up in that area, on the trail through Cichy's property, with an expensive Nikon camera with large zoom lens, looking to take photos of birds or animals, and to meet other Meadows residents.

The two Hispanic males saw the resident with his camera. They approached him with words to the effect, "I like your camera." The resident ignored them. They repeated, "I like your camera - and I have a knife." The resident told them to show him the knife and they did. The resident was prepared and had something that trumped their knife. He told them to leave and they did.

Maybe 20 minutes the other residents met up with him and heard what happened. While still up there talking, the woman who rents Theo's front house was just leaving in her car as another car came driving up the road. She pulled out to block him and told him it was private property and that he needed to back down the hill. (I heard from another resident who was contacted by the woman that strong words were exchanged. She called the sheriffs who responded but not in time to question the driver.)

The first resident called the sheriff on Sunday at noon to report the incident with the camera and was told that someone would come their house to our house. The sheriffs did not show up and the resident is contacting them again.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Altadena Naked Crow Mountain Bike Challenge

I'm assuming this bike challenge is to Naked Crow Mountain and not that the riders are naked as the recent bike race in Seattle! Here's info on the upcoming event:

In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 5, 2007, Altadena will host a mountain bike challenge. The course is between 10 and 12 miles long and has some steep climbs, but for the "open" class of riders it won't be grueling.

The group of 50 riders who sign up in the elite class will battle a narrow, tougher stretch.

The day will also include the Rotary Club's annual pancake breakfast, a barbecue lunch and beer garden, and a free concert at the event's staging point, Loma Alta Park.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House at Huntington Hospital, Altadena Meals on Wheels and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Town Council Election Results

Keith "Sarge" Gibbs won the town council seat for our census tract. Alice Sarkissian will take the Alternate position.

At our neighborhood meeting, Keith talked about the need to mentor teens in Altadena and help them avoid gangs, crime, and drugs. He currently has several programs in place in the local schools.

Alice talked about wanting to update the Altadena General Plan which would include commerce, hillside oridinances, and other matters affecting growth in Altadena.

Congratulations to both. Here's the Star News article with complete results:

ALTADENA - Town Council veterans easily held on to their seats in Saturday’s elections, where eight of 16 seats were open. However, the results in one tract are being contested on the grounds of unfair campaigning.

Steve Lamb in Census Tract 4603.01 and Town Council Chair Ken Balder in Census Tract 4612 were returned by voters with significant margins over their opponents. Lamb defeated Matt Littell with 65 to 36 votes. Littell alleges that Lamb engaged in negative campaigning and is disputing the outcome. Lamb did not return calls for comment.

Balder beat out two challengers, Laura Graham and Peter Baumer. The three candidates received 102, 60 and 4 votes respectively, Election Chair Jamie Bissner said. Balder said he plans to continue his efforts to unify the community, get more residents in local processes and build a stronger relationship with the county Board of Supervisors.

"It just doesn't happen," Balder said. "All of this takes a lot of work."

It was a good day for incumbents, as all who ran were returned to their seats. Michele Zack had a comfortable victory over Jerry Rhoads, with 79 votes, versus Rhoads' 9. Justin Chapman won 4602 with 29 votes, which is 10 more than what challenger Sarah Fuller received. Incumbents Gene Campbell and Lorie Judson both ran unopposed, as did newcomer Timothy Kelly.

In Census Tract 4603.1, Keith Gibbs prevailed over Alice Wesson, with 68 votes. Wesson garnered 46 votes.

Election results will be certified at the next Town Council meeting on June 19.

Saturday's results may not be final. Littell is challenging the outcome in his tract on the grounds that Lamb may have broken an election rule forbidding negative campaigning. If Lamb is disqualified, Littell will take his seat.

"If I lose, I'm happy to lose fair and square," Littell said. "It's a strange sense that I've really been bullied here."

Littell said he had concerns about the tone of a flier Lamb sent out, and with a TV interview with Lamb on Crown City News. Littell said he brought both to the attention of Bissner before the election results were in. The handout compares and contrasts Lamb and Littell.

"Matt Littell claims to be a `preservationist.' He bought a $1,500,000 home someone else restored ... Steve Lamb restored his own 1906 Louis B. Easton house ... " it reads.

"The rules as they were given to me were absolutely succinct," Littell said. "You are to campaign on your merits and what you would bring to Altadena."

The election code calls for disputes to be settled on the day of the election by the election chair and the Town Council chair. However, because Balder's name is mentioned on the flier, the issue will be taken up at the next council meeting.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

California Department of Insurance Contact

As per the Commissioner's press conference, here's a contact for any insurance related concerns:

"The California Department of Insurance is committed to providing consumers with assistance for all insurance-related issues and encourage you to call their statewide toll-free hotline, 800-927-HELP (4357) with any insurance-related questions or problems. Visit their website at for more information"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Montain Rescue at Canyon Crest Hairpin

On Monday, the Mountain Rescue teams were seen at the lower hairpin turn of Canyon Crest. A resident later found out through the sheriff's that they were looking for a gun that was used in a shooting two weeks ago. On that same afternoon, a (former?) gang member was killed on Fair Oaks.

Community Garden Annual Picnic June 30

The Altadena Community Garden Picnic takes place Saturday, June 30 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.. The garden is located at Loma Alta Park at the corner of Lincoln and Palm.

This is a wonderful local event that celebrates the harvest of the gardeners. Several Meadows residents participate and it is right in our own backyard!

Come taste the vegetables and smell the flowers at this event. Get a garden tour, meet the friendly local group of gardeners, enjoy the sweet sounds of the Brown Mountain Jazz Band (one member is a Meadows resident), and eat great picnic food. (Last year drew a crowd of more than 200 people.)

An Altadena community fixture since 1974, a diverse group of dedicated gardeners tends 59 standard size and 4 handicapped-accessible garden plots. It is recognized as one of the leading community gardens in Southern California, opening its gates to school children, field trips and events.

The picnic is open to the public. Tickets are $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 6-12 years old. Children under 5 are free. There will be a silent auction and raffle.

Don't miss this event - it's known for great fun and great food.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Gopher, Gopher, Gone

The past gopher articles in the newsletter caused quite the reaction. Here's an update on two non-lethal treatments a resident is using to very good effect:

The resident's yard was being plowed up in several new places every day. He treated the yard with Molemax (available via the Internet). It is a granule solution that you spread on the yard using a spreader. After watering the lawn, it sinks into the yard and creates an odor that the gophers don't like. As of this writing, it's presumed to be safe for your lawn and the odor is not detectable other than to the gopher.

The gopher activity stopped almost entirely. In spreading the Molemax, he had the spreader set a little too high and ran out of the Molemax before finishing the yard. The treated side had no more mounds within a couple of days but the untreated side continued to be affected.

He has also tried a liquid Castor oil product, available at OSH, that you attach to a garden hose. He sprayed the untreated side of the yard heavily and slowed activity there almost, but not quite, to a stop.

He's finding that both of these products need to be applied in about twice the strength they suggest and notes that this may just be true for the initial application and later boosters can be applied more sparingly.

He sites that the Molemax granules will work better in the long run because they persist on the ground for a long time as they slowly get watered in. The only question now is how long the treatments last. The product is not cheap.

Another solution came to mind: Spreading raw Castor oil from a hose-end sprayer (mixed with a little detergent to create an emulsion) might be cheap and effective. After some quick research, he ran across several very enthusiastic posts. One man says he spreads 1 pint/2500 square feet and keeps his critters (moles in his case) away for 6 weeks per application. He found a bulk source for Castor oil at $22/gallon. So this may be the way to go in the future.

Meet the Candidates at Next Meeting

Altadena Town Council prospective representatives will be at the next neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, June 5 at 7:00. Location is still 4416 El Prieto Canyon.

Alice Wesson and Keith Gibbs are running for the open census tract seat. This is a good time to share your concerns or issues with them and to better acquaint them with The Meadows.

June Newsletter

The June Meadows Newsletter will be distributed this weekend. A dedicated team has been hand delivering the newsletter to all residents since its inception. For the most part, it has been the same volunteers. So, if you'd like to pitch in and help, please contact me at or 626-791-1011.

Crest Trail Improvements Next Meeting

Everyone should have received a notice from County about the next Altadena Crest Trail Improvement Community Outreach Meetings. This next meeting is to discuss the Rubio Canyon Gap:

June 20, 2007
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Altadena Community Center
730 Altadena Drive


An article from the May 6 L.A. Times caught my eye as neighbors have sought means to get other neighbors to clean up:

In a survey of 900 respondents questioned by, 63% said that they have had neighbors who failed to maintain their homes' exteriors, yet 41% said they had not reported the blighters to authorities. They "just put up with" the blemishes.

Urging neighbors in person to roll on some paint or crank up the weed whacker isn't a popular option either; 75% of respondents said they had not confronted messy neighbors face to face, and of those who did, 18% said the chat created tension and resulted in no work being done on the offending property.

Top irritants: overgrown weeds, 64%; unmown and underwatered lawns, 63%; garbage needing to be hauled away, 57%; exteriors in need of paint, 42%; junk cars, 42%; repair needed for visible house defect, 39%; and cars parked on the street, 24%.

New Condo Development in Altadena

On Tuesday, Town Council approved a proposed 49-unit condominium development in Altadena.

The 4.6 acre site is located on an L-shaped stretch of Fair Oaks Avenue between Kellogg Court and Ventura Street (across from Mountain View Cemetery).

The plan is to build 23 duplexes and three detached homes. Activity should begin in 2008 with vertical construction starting in 2009.

Hazardous , e-waste Collection Planned

The Household Hazardous and E-Waste Roundup will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 23 in Parking Lot K at the Rose Bowl.

This is a great way to dispose of hazardous waste and electronic waste conveniently and free of charge.

If you haven't done it before, here's how it goes: Gather all your hazardous waste materials like old paint and toxins, load them into your truck or car trunk, and drive through the service. Attendants will unload the materials from your car or truck without you ever having to leave the driver's seat.

They'll take old e-waste, like old PCs, cell phones, televisions, too.

This is a great way to do some eco-friendly spring cleaning.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Meadows Sign Returns

Thanks to Eich Gravenburg for leading the effort in fixing The Meadows sign. It's now back in its rightful place.

Thanks Eich!

Edible Altadena

A Meadows resident reported on two new businesses in Altadena:

The very yummy, Bulgarini Gelato, which is open Wedneday through Friday from 12:00 – 8:00.. It’s located in the courtyard to the east of RiteAid on Altadena Drive.

Amy's Garden Café, at the southeast corner of Altadena and Lake, is serving breakfast and lunch. It has been packed with customers since opening.

Thanks To Dennis Bridwell

Dennis Bridwell, a Meadows resident and one of our current Altadena Town Council representatives, has decided not to run for another term after serving almost two years in the position. He stepped up to the challenge when the former representative and another Meadows resident, Bill Jones, moved out of the area.

Within the Town Council, he served on the Executive and Land Use Committees and was a member of the Sheriff's Advisory Committee. Dennis has been an excellent voice for the neighborhood and the entire census tract, assisting many of us in resolving issues and spearheading initiatives. Many thanks go to him for a job well done.

Town Council Candidates at Next Meeting

The Meadows has invited this year’s two Altadena Town Council candidates to join us at the next neighborhood meeting on June 5.

The candidates are Alice Sarkisian Wessen and Keith “Sarge” Gibbs. Issues that the Town Council has been working on include creating an Altadena school district separate from Pasadena, hillside development and Altadena business district development. All these issues affect Meadow's residents.

Let your voice be heard. Come to the meeting on June 5 to hear the candidates and be sure to vote June 9.

FireSafe Council Update

Assessments of individual properties have been completed with over two-thirds of Meadows residents participating. The Meadows FireSafe Council again reminds residents that these assessments are a separate effort from the brush clearance inspections conducted annually by the Forest Service or, as is the case on Canyon Dell, the LA County Fire Department.

The required environmental protection studies for the fire-safe project are continuing and must be completed before additional grant money will be released. Request for a three-month extension on the grant time limit is being considered.

Contractors will be contacted in June to obtain bids for mitigation of fire hazards in the Meadows area. While these contractors will be hired by the Fire-Safe Council for the fire safe project, they will probably be available to individual neighbors at reduced cost while they are in the area.

Anyone feeling they are wrongly penalized by their insurance provider because of differing standards regarding compliance with brush-clearing regulations can call the L.A. County Fire Department, who will inspect the property and issue a certificate of compliance if justified.

Anyone having complaints about brush clearance in vacant lots is invited to contact Debbie Humphreys, who is in charge of the County’s weed-abatement department. Telephone (626) 575-5732 or email to

The proposed town hall meeting, at which residents can get detailed updating on the fire-safe project and voice their own concerns or questions, has been postponed to July.

Press Conference Update

On Tuesday, May 22, State Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner, came to The Meadows for a press conference. He highlighted the need for brush clearance and making an inventory of your possessions should you ever need to file a claim. He made his announcement then toured my house giving me pointers. We have extra copies of the house inventory manual if anyone wants one.

A couple of pointers:

  • use a digital camera or video camera to record your possessions
  • record make, model and serial numbers
  • etch an identifier into the possession to report to the sheriff in the case of burglary
  • store all information at an offsite location, like a safe deposit box or some other location.

I had the opportunity to talk to him about increasing CA Fairplan Insurance rates and the discrepancy of their requirements vs. the L.A. County Fire Dept and Forestry Department for clearance of land. Also talked about the fact that none of the major insurance companies will insure us for full coverage.

From a media perspective, it was a non-event. KABC, KMEX, and KFWB sent camera or voice-over crews. I think we were beat out by other news events happening that day.

At least Commissioner Poizner now knows about The Meadows.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sign Status

Repairs to the "Welcome to The Meadows" sign are underway. Thanks to Eich and Darla who stepped forward to help coordinate the repair.

Press Conference Tuesday

The State Insurance Commissioner and L.A. County Fire Chief will be having a news conference at my house (4416 El Prieto Rd) tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10:00. They're going to be talking about fire safety, brush clearance, ways to inventory your property, and insurance claims. Please join me if you're around.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lincoln Crossing Concerts

Lincoln Crossing in Altadena begins its inaugural Summer Series music program today, Saturday, from 4 to 7 p.m. with the Nolan Shaheed Quintet featuring Cheryl Conley.

It's the first of four concerts through the summer slated to take place the third Saturday of each month.

Food from Lincoln Crossing restaurants will be available for sale.

Try and support this local musical effort if you can.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Media in The Meadows

Check out our own J. Lopez of the L.A. County Fire Department on this AP news article regarding fire fighting.

Go J! Our star here in The Meadows.

Once on the site, enter “Fire” in the Search field, then click on the “High-Tech Camera Gives Fire Crews Eye in the Sky” in the list of stories that will appear.

More of the Sign

A couple of pics of the sign from this morning. Seems the driver was headed up Canyon Crest, ran over the curb at the garden, hit the "arrow" sign" and then either the car hit the "Meadows" sign or the 'arrow" sign took it down.
The sign appears to be in good shape, just needs to be installed again.
I haven't heard who might have been the cause but am hoping they'll step forward to do the repairs.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Someone Hit the Sign!

Someone driving up Canyon Crest didn't make the turn at the top, drove over the curb and hit the "Welcome to The Meadows" sign!!!!! The sheriff was at the scene and a man was seated on the curb. Oye!

I've heard from several residents this evening about it. We'll take a look tomorrow morning and see what condition the sign is in.

I'm going to ask now for you or another resident to step forward to take on restoring the sign. Hopefully the driver has insurance to pay for its replacement. I have the name of the sign company. I'd really appreciate it if someone could take this project on.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Truck Spotted at Hairpin Turn

A watchful Aralia neighbor reported this incident this morning:

"At about 7:20 this morning (Friday) on my way to work I spotted a a white truck parked in the turnout on Canyon Crest. I drove slowly and the driver and I made eye contact. It appeared that there was only one person in the truck...the driver. He appeared to be a large man. There were no visible license plates on the truck. On the back of the truck was a lift for loading and unloading. The lift was still in place. It wasn't down. I've never seen this truck in the area. When I got to Canyon Crest and Lincoln I saw a sheriff so I pulled over. I explained the situation and he assured me that he would go up and check it out."

Kudos to the County

After calling the sheriffs on Wednesday night to notify them of the trash heap on Canyon Crest, they must have contacted Public Works (or maybe a neighbor did). The trash was cleaned up by 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning when I headed out of The Meadows.

Kudos to the County for such a fast response. I left a message with Antonivich's office to thank them for their quick response.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Meadows - A Space Odyssey

Many thanks again to Meadows resident, Dr. Andrea Donnelan, for her fascinating presentation at this month's neighborhood meeting. Andrea talked to us about her work at NASA/JPL. She has been studying earthquake movement and predictive methods using InSAR.

InSAR stands for Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar. It's a remote sensing technique that uses radar satellite images to watch and measure the movement of the earth. The radar satellites shoot constant beams of radar waves towards the earth and record them after they bounced back off the Earth's surface.

Everyone was fascinated with the superb presentation.

Funding for the projects is always a need.
This may seem a bit cumbersome, but hang in there. The following is a request from John Rundle, California Hazards Institute of the University of California Director.

After his request, you'll find the sample letter verbiage to send to our Congressperson. This will only take a moment of your time and is critical in securing funding for the project.

Dear InSAR supporters:

As you may know, now is a critical period to contact members of Congress to ask for their support of the InSAR mission DESDynI. If this mission is to be funded, it is vital that our congressional representatives hear from you immediately. I would therefore like to ask you to send an email to members of your congressional delegations asking them to support this mission. It will take no more than 5-10 minutes of your time, but will be immensely valuable in helping to secure the funding for the mission.The following steps are all that are needed.

1. You must first know your 9 digit zip code. If you don't know yours, you can find it at:
Remember to use your home address.

2. Determine the members of your congressional delegation, by going to:

3. Click on the email links to your delegation. Fill in the appropriate information. Cut and paste the attached letter into the box provided, and remember to add the appropriate salutation, along with your name in the signature line. That's all there is to it. Exactly this type of email campaign played a major role in getting funding restored to NSF and DOE earlier this year. That campaign was orchestrated by the American Physical Society.

John Rundle, Director, UC Davis Center for Computational Science and Engineering Professor of Physics, Engineering and Geology University of California, DavisDavis, CA 95616 USA

Verbiage for your letter:
Dear Senator (or Congressperson) *

I would like to call your attention to the recent National Academy of Sciences report "Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond" from the National Research Council (NRC) (, which represents the U.S. scientists’ consensus on critical earth observations from space that are required to address issues for climate change, water resources, ecosystem health, human health, solid-earth natural hazards, and weather.

The DESDynI mission, recommended by the Survey for near-term implementation has direct benefit for and impact on most states within the US. The mission would measure surface and ice sheet deformation for understanding natural hazards and climate, and would measure vegetation structure for understanding ecosystem health. DESDynI would help scientists understand the effects of changing climate and land use on species habitats and atmospheric carbon dioxide, the response of ice sheets to climate change and the impact on sea level, and would be used to improve forecasts of the likelihood of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. Much of the US is prone to earthquakes and subsidence, and volcanic eruptions occur from Yellowstone westward to Hawaii and Alaska.

The primary technology for DESDynI is Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), which can be used to very precisely measure change of the surface of the Earth. The US is heavily involved in the development of InSAR technologies and scientists across the country are very involved in studies of surface deformation using InSAR. In fact, InSAR is considered the fourth component of EarthScope a highly successful project to investigate the structure and evolution of the North American continent and the physical processes controlling earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

The recently released NASA budget is woefully inadequate to address the recommendations of the NRC report, commonly known as the "Earth Science Decadal Survey." Sadly, the NRC points out that the funding available for NASA Earth Science missions has decreased by 30% since 2000 after factoring inflation. In the current budget, there will be an additional 18% less available in 2012 for missions than we have today, assuming 3%/year inflation. The NRC states that NASA needs to restore Earth science funding levels to equivalent 2000 levels, in order to implement a "minimal, yet robust, observational component of an Earth information system that is capable of addressing a broad range of societal needs."

Support of the Earth Science Decadal Survey and specifically the DESDynI mission would benefit the US, both in terms of improving our understanding of natural hazards in order to mitigate damage from them, but also for supporting facilities and scientific endeavors located throughout the United States.

Thanks for your consideration and support of this critical NASA mission.

Yours Sincerely,

Canyon Crest Hairpin Trashed!

Someone has dumped a HUGE amount of rubbish at the bottom of Canyon Crest. If you haven't seen it yet, you won't believe it. I was coming home at 10 p.m. Wed. night when I saw it. I'm going to go tomorrow and see if I can find anything that might identify the persons responsible.

As I was coming through the canyon, I saw a very large U-Haul truck coming out. Not sure if it's related. I couldn't turn around, due to all the trash, to try and get a license plate. I called the sheriffs and asked them to take a look.

If anyone has any information, please contact the sheriffs.

Stop and Smell the Sherrifs

A Meadows neighbor reminds us about the stop sign at Loma Alta and Lincoln. Here's the recap:

"I made a very slightly rolling stop on Lincoln (southbound) at Loma Alta, and was instantly jumped on by a sheriff's car who was behind me with red light and siren at Altadena Drive. I pulled over in front of the mailbox a little further down the street. Then he waved over another car who was right behind me and had done the same thing.

He took my driver license, registration, and proof of insurance. I kept my mouth totally shut, which is uncharacteristic of me. After about 10 minutes in his car, he came back, gave me my documents, and short verbal chewing out. I asked him if i was getting a ticket. He said no. I said thanks, I appreciate that.

I've seen sheriff's cars parked at that intersection on Loma Alta before, and I suppose this is a happy hunting ground for people doing exactly what I did. I'm still in first gear from the stop at Canyon Crest, so if I give a quick glance to the left on Loma Alta and don't see anybody, I just slow it down to about 1 mph, then proceed on. It was raining this morning, and I guess I didn't see him.

So here's the point of all this. Can you get a notice in the Meadows newsletter advising neighbors that the deputies are watching that intersection pretty closely, and that rolling stops are NOT tolerated? It will save us lots of tickets in the future. "

Monday, April 30, 2007

More Mole/Gopher/Squirrel Links and Info

Here's a second article from a neighbor on Canyon Dell:

I read the item in the recent Meadows newsletter about the gopher infestation our neighborhood is undergoing. I certainly have a problem with them here and have had since last year around this time.

I've been researching control methods and have learned that pets and wild animals are sometimes poisoned to death after eating gophers that have taken poison grain. The problem is that even if you use the probe and place the bait in the burrows away from other animals the gophers have a habit of stuffing their cheek pouches with the poison grain--up to an ounce of it-- and often come to the surface when they start to feel the effects of the poison. Once there they're easy targets for our cats and dogs as well as the various predators that hunt in the neighborhood.

I read one account of an adult Borzoi that died after eating a poisoned gopher. You can read that here:

The vet in that case said that the grain in the gopher's cheek pouches and the undigested grain still in it's stomach was plenty to kill a dog that size. I called the Vanderhoof Veterinary Hospital on Lake and spoke to a woman who talked to her colleagues there and confirmed that this does indeed happen.

My yard is patrolled day and night by 3 neighborhood cats, a bobcat and a fox not to mention the birds of prey, snakes, etc. As much as I'd like to poison the gophers I just don't feel that the risk to the other animals is justified. Add to that that, unlike most homeowners, we're at the edge of a wilderness where there's no shortage of live gophers to replace the dead ones no matter how many we kill and poisoning seems even less attractive.

My guess is that we're seeing more gophers here in the neighborhood as a result of the ongoing drought--the pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer in the wild but there are plenty of good things to eat in our well irrigated yards. Whatever the cause, though, I have no doubt that removing them from our yards either by killing or even by humane trapping and relocating is doomed to failure.

I'm pinning my hopes on a new repellent--basically a preparation of Castor oil--that seems to be getting good results for some. It works by making the ground and the things that gophers eat taste and smell bad to them so they simply leave. It's non toxic to plants and animals. I've ordered a product of this type called MoleMax. It comes in the form of granules that you spread like you would seed or fertilizer and then water in. I'll let you know how it works.

Here's another link. This one is to an article on
They council against poison and for Castor oil:

Not Pocket Gophers

The recent article in the Meadows Newsletter about pocket gophers has brought in several responses and more information. Here's the first from a neighbor on El Prieto Rd:

"I believe that the so-called pocket gophers which are CA or Western ground squirrels, and the article about the "safe" poison is in error. These poisons, which are often called Bleeder poisons, cause the squirrel blood to be unable to coagulate and they slowly and painfully bleed internally, hemorrhage and die.

"The Catch 22 of "safe" poisons is they don't kill instantly leaving sick, SLOW ground squirrels around where cats, dogs and kids can catch them, play with them, ingest them. Cats and dogs being the more likely ingesters also ingest the poison and the more animals which are sickened and killed the more exposure to pets. The pets eat enough poison via the ground squirrels and "bleed out" i.e. DIE an awful death themselves.

"Now, I am NO CHAMPION of these little critters as they have decimated our back yard and hillside. And they carry diseases, most importantly in this area their fleas (often spread to other warm blooded animals, again cats, dogs, humans) may carry Sylvatic Plague. Most people have heard of Bubonic Plague and this is its dangerous cousin! So people do not want to be picking up dead squirrels or having the flea infestations in their homes.

"So far, here's been my success in the backyard. Red Pepper Flakes, bought in giant economy size and poured 1 or 2 Tablespoons at a time down the holes they make. Don't bother covering the holes with stones etc., just a bit of dirt so you don't step in the holes. It has been working for us, and only requires 5 to 10 minutes once a week. The ground squirrels are now vacating our yard and back to "nature".

Also they LOVE bird seed (which is how our yard became infested, we USED to have birdseed feeders. They climb, they jump, they go up poles that they are said not to be able to climb. They LOVE Pet Food of any kind and will eat just about any types of scraps!"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Real Estate in The Meadows

Thanks to support from the neighborhood, I have three new listings in The Meadows. Please come by one of the many open houses to view these great new properties.


Coming Soon in The Meadows

Welcome to The Meadows of Altadena.

4191 Canyon Crest is located high in the foothills of West Altadena in the much treasured neighborhood called The Meadows. This four bedroom home is ready for the customization of its new owners to make it a home of their own.

Four bedrooms, three baths.
Over 1900 sq. ft.
Hardwood floors
Pool and spa
2 car garage

Offered for $763,000

Greg Stanton, Realtor®

(Dilbeck Realtors is Independently Owned and Operated. Information provided by seller or third-party sources.)

Updated in The Meadows: 4219 Aralia Road

This home has been newly updated with plenty of amenities.

Four bedrooms with newly installed bamboo wood floors provide plenty of room.
1680 sq. ft.
Over 9000 sq. ft. lot professionally landscaped by YardArt – huge back yard.
Newly installed kitchen with all stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and cabinetry
The living room and family room boast newly installed bamboo wood floors, a fireplace and recessed lighting. Big picture windows in each room take in the views of the San Gabriel Mountains and all the nature The Meadows has to offer.
The full bath has newly installed granite countertops, ceramic tile and cabinetry.
Newly installed central air conditioning and heating.
Two car garage with newly poured concrete driveway.
The extra large backyard has views of both the mountains and hillsides.

Offered for $819,000

Greg Stanton, Realtor®

(Dilbeck Realtors is Independently Owned and Operated. Information provided by seller or third-party sources.)

Immaculate in The Meadows: 4031 Canyon Dell

Welcome to 4031 Canyon Dell, Altadena. This gracious home is one of the finest in The Meadows community which sits high in the foothills of Altadena. Set on a private, large landscaped lot, this private three bedroom, three bath home has a gourmet kitchen, gleaming Canadian Maple hardwood floors, and an oversized wrap-around deck offering sweeping views of the city, mountain and canyon below. It's a wonderful place to entertain your guests or relish in the solitude surrounded by nature. Escape the hustle of the city in this unique foothill enclave. Welcome to The Meadows.

Offered for $1,050,000

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Meadows Website!

Be sure and check out your new website launched this week at

The site features news from our great community, updates and even hiking information. Watch for the latest in postings of meetings, MFSC (Meadows Fire Safe Council) activities and more. Visit often to learn about the latest news and how you can help in the community. Feel free to email Linda

Residents of The Meadows Advertise for FREE on the site!
If you have a business and would like to list it for free on the Services page,
please email us and let us know at:

Next Neighborhood Meeting

The next meeting is May 1, 7:00 at 4416 El Prieto Rd.

Shake It Up at the Next Meeting

At our next meeting, our neighbor Andrea Donnelan, will talk about “Our Restless Planet: Using space technology to study earthquakes.”

GPS and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) methods coupled with computer models are improving our understanding of earthquake processes. Under NASA's QuakeSim project we are modeling earthquake fault systems using the latest data and high performance computers. This talk will focus on the applications of space technology and QuakeSim to understanding the faults in our neighborhood better.

CA Fair Plan Insurance Tip

Many residents in The Meadows have California FAIR Plan Fire Insurance. When reviewing a homeowner policy, FAIR Plan may decide to add a surcharge to your policy because of inadequate brush clearance or excessive distance from the nearest County Fire Station.
If you believe that your brush clearance is adequate and you have received a brush clearance surcharge in error, you may contact the L.A. County Fire Department, Forestry Division, Brush Clearance Unit at 626-969-2375. A brush clearance coordinator can meet you onsite to confirm code compliance and take photos. If your property is in compliance, the Forestry Chief can write a letter confirming compliance with the fire code for you to use in an appeal of the brush clearance surcharge. Please note that you are not required to clear more than 200 horizontal feet on your property, nor are you required to clear another owner's adjacent property within that 200 feet.

If FAIR Plan is adding a surcharge based on excessive distance from the nearest County Fire Station, please contact the L.A. County Fire Department's Division III office at 661-254-9668. It is sometimes possible to create a Memorandum of Understanding with contiguous first responders in other cities to mitigate this issue. For complete information go to the CA FAIR Plan Website

Phone List Notification

More people are needed for the phone list that is used to alert and notify other neighbors of unusual activity. This is not about cruising the neighborhood at 2 a.m., carrying a gun or a walkie talkie. This is just about neighbors watching out for each other. There is nothing to join. By having the phone numbers of neighbors that are "in the line of sight" we can all be more pro-active for our own protection. Currently there are only two people each for only a few streets. If you're interested, call Eich (Ike) Gravenburg on El Prieto Rd. at 626-794-7879.

MFSC Update

After having received less than a 50% return of postcards regarding fire-hazard assessments, residents were contacted door-to-door to solicit a response. Residents need to realize that these assessments are not to be confused with inspections to be conducted soon by the Forest Service, but rather are a free service of the Fire Safe Council, and residents are free to act or not act upon any advice that is given.

The formerly planned project of bringing in goats to clear brush been abandoned for this year because, due to lack of rain, there is not enough freshly grown browse to maintain the goats without supplemental feed. Instead, part of the grant money this year will be used to hire ground crews to chop up heavy brush cut down in recent years. Letters are being sent to prospective vendors for bids to do the work.

Bids have been received for a biological environmental impact study. An archeological survey is being done at the present time. Both have to be completed as a condition for further release of grant money.

Anyone having recent digital photos of their property is asked to share them with the Fire Safe Council. They can be emailed to Margaret Bridwell at

Thanks to Assistant Fire Chief E. Matt Gil, who attended the March meeting, the MFSC is now recognizing that it can be of service to other communities that are in the initial stages of starting such a council.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's a Gas!

Neighbors were questioning the "big dig" on upper Canyon Crest. Here's the scoop:

The Gas Company is replacing corroded gas lines on upper Canyon Crest. Turns out there was a leak mid-block. The old galvanized pipe is being replaced with flexible PVC-type lines.

That's the only planned work to be done in The Meadows.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Next Neighborhood Meeting

Our next neighborhood meeting will be Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 p.m. at 4416 El Prieto Rd.

An attendee asked if we should move the meeting to one of the new community rooms at Loma Alta Park.

Any thoughts?

MFSC Update (or Something Got our Goat!)

Assessments by the MFSC will continue. While progress has been slower this past month, it’s still the MFSC’s intention to complete the assessments this spring.

Residents have had these common questions about the project:

1) When will the brush clearance start? The use of goats to clear the brush is being revisited due to the lack of rain this year. Plans are being adjusted to hire more crews to clear the large amounts of dead brush around us. We hope to start this effort in the spring. Tree trimming and removal will occur in the fall.
2) How will I know the outcome of the assessment? Each homeowner will receive a letter outlining the findings of the assessment and the recommended approach once all assessments are completed. Homeowners will approve (or not) the plan of action.
3) What if I haven’t heard from MFSC regarding my scheduled assessment? If you allowed permission to access your property in your absence, the MFSC may have already assessed your property. The MFSC will be sending a second letter and/or team members will be going door-to-door to schedule the remaining assessments.

Owen Brown Trail Now Open

Submitted by a neighbor:

The Owen Brown Trail (let’s start calling it that, ok?), which connects El Prieto Road with Rising Hill Road and also leads to the gravesite of Owen Brown atop Little Round Top, is now legally open to the public for non-motorized recreational purposes. It had been closed off in 1999 by a wrought iron fence and gate.
The fence was physically removed over a year ago, and the “No Trespassing” signs at the top of El Prieto Road have now been removed as well. The general public has the right to hike or bike on the trail at any time, as the courts found that the route acquired an “implied-in-law public dedication” when Jason and Owen Brown first built it in the 1880s and the public used it as if it were a public road ever since.