Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Buddy Boo

You may have seen walking my dog, Boo, around the neighborhood. After a very happy, healthy life, Boo passed away this week. He had contracted cancer sometime around the holidays and it moved very quickly through his system. He was a great dog and an even better pal.

This picture is of him playing with his tennis balls - almost an obsession with him.

Here's to all our pets and the enjoyment they bring to us.

More Break-ins

Just heard from a neighbor on upper Canyon Crest that two adjoining houses were broken into last Wednesday. Same patter - the theives broke in through a back window or door in the middle of the day, they go through the entire house looking for money, credit cards, and in this case stole an iPod.

This now makes six break-ins in December and January. Supposedly the sheriffs are making additional patrols up here, but some of us who are home during the day haven't seen that much more sheriff activity.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Meadows FireSafe Assessment Update

The Meadows FireSafe Council sent letters with return postcards in December 2006 to schedule assessments of each homeowner's property. We're identifying fire-prone vegetation and trees that will be addressed with the grant money we received from CA FireSafe Council. Any trimming or removal of trees and vegetation will only be done with the homeowner's consent.

We've heard from a couple of neighbors that the postcard was returned undeliverable. Seems it may have been damaged in the post office machinery.

We also neglected to ask for contact information, a phone number or email, to be able to schedule the appointments or ask your consent to enter your property if no one was home.

If you haven't responded yet or did respond without providing contact information, please call either Margaret Bridwell (626-798-0480) or Greg Stanton (626-791-1011) to schedule an appointment.

Options to CA Fairplan Insurance

We’re still gathering information to share with The Meadows regarding insurance options other than CA Fairplan. If you have insurance other than the expensive and demanding Fairplan, please call Wendy VanDeWater at 626-798-2149 or send a comment to this article. We’ll compile and publish the list for all in The Meadows.

Neighborhood Watch at Meadows Meeting

Sgt. Marsha Williams and Deputy Sam Estrada will be at the next Meadows neighborhood meeting to discuss the Neighborhood Watch program. Please plan on attending February 6, 7:00 p.m. at 4416 El Prieto Rd.

Living in Mountain Lion Country

As mentioned in a previous post, a neighbor on Canyon Crest had two mountain lions lounging in his backyard. They eventually moved on into Millard Canyon.

Mountain lions generally exist where deer are found. They are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans. Here are some tips for living in mountain lion country:

Don’t feed deer; it is illegal in California and it will attract mountain lions.
Don’t leave small children or pets outside unattended.
Mountain lions are most active at dawn, dusk and at night.
Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential mountain lion prey.

For more information, go to

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Another Break-In in The Meadows

Another break-in was reported today here in The Meadows. Same pattern as the previous ones that started just before the holidays.

The break-in occurred mid-day. The thieves broke through the back door, stole jewelry, money and a television.

The incident has been reported to the sheriffs.

Ironically, I had just confirmed that the sheriffs will be at our next neighborhood meeting, Tuesday, Feb 6, 7:00 p.m. at 4416 El Prieto Rd. They're coming to talk to us about Neighborhood Watch.

Please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the sheriffs.

Monday, January 15, 2007

More CA Fair Plan Issues

Yet another neighbor in The Meadows received notice that their property needed to be cleared within 200 feet, not the standard 150 feet.

This information has been passed to L.A. County Fire Department, J. Lopez, who continues discussions with CA Fair Plan and County supervisors. CA Fair Plan is not being consistent with the established guidelines.

Please let me or J know about any additional occurrences.

Loma Alta Park Offers Activities

From the Star News:

Altadena - Loma Alta Park is open and offering various activities for youth and seniors.

Sign-ups are currently under way for youth and adult basketball leagues. Upcoming classes also include salsa cardio, salsa dancing and ballroom dancing.

Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 7:00 p.m. Sunday.

For information, call park supercvisors Penny Daniels, Michael Early or William Mercado 626-398-5451.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Do Your Lights Dim at 8:04 p.m.?

Do your lights dim at 8:04 p.m. or is it just me.

Almost every night at that time, my lights dim for a few minutes and then regain power. There's nothing changing electrically at my house so I'm thinking that it is occurring within the Edison power grid. I'm going to contact them but would like more information from others in the neighborhood.

Anyone else experiencing the same thing? If so, please comment to this post.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Now It's a Mall!

From the Pasadena Star News, January 4, 2007

Altadena - A mini-mall planned for the corner of Altadena Drive and Lincoln Avenue will not include a check-cashing business, as had been rumored in recent weeks.

This is a repeat of news shared in a previous post. Thought these additional were worth adding:

James Dowdy, one of the owners, stated, "We're going to put in a nice shopping center, we're doing a service to the community. It's going to have a variety of things that complement each other. It's going to be a nice little place."

From Ernest Brambilla, the mall's leasing agent, "- we have some very strong interest from national tenants. We're going to have as many qualified nationals tenants as we can get. We're talking to the wireless people, video rentals, any of those sandwich people, a variety of the convenience foods....If you can think of it, we're talking to them."

Other possible tenants included a small, regional market, coffee shop and local resident.

Brambilla expected the mall would be built by mid-summer, with the first tenant leases being signed within the next few months.

In a past conversation I had with Brambilla, he is open to ideas from the community and encourages individual parties to create their own businesses for the mini-mall. As mentioned in a previous post, Dennis Bridwell, Altadena Town Councilperson is meeting with the leasing agent to ensure quality tenants.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

CA Fair Plan Out of Step

At the January neighborhood meeting, J. Lopez from L.A. County Fire Department, talked about meetings that are being help between L.A. County, L.A. Co. FD, and CA FairPlan Insurance.

FairPlan conducts five-year reviews of property. Reports from residents in towns East of The Meadows reported receiving supplemental assessments that significantly increased their insurance payments. Seems FairPlan was asking residents to clear up to 300 feet around their property. This is inconsistent with the Fire Department's requirement of 150 feet.

Sure enough, at least two residents in The Meadows, received similar supplemental assessments.

J. Lopez needs to know of any other instances of this occurring as he is meeting with the above mentioned groups to get FairPlan to be consistent with the fire department's requirements. If this affects you, please contact me or J. with specific information.

I can be reached via this blog, email to or 626-791-1011

Solicitor in The Meadows

This morning, a 20-something, Caucasian, blond-haired guy showed up at my front door soliciting me for a contest to send him to UCLA. He claimed to be the son of a renter on Hollygrove. When I asked him where he lived, he gave me bogus information about Hollygrove. (Little did he know that as a Realtor I pretty much know all the houses in our neighborhood!)

When I asked him to leave my property, he became indignant and called me rude!

I called the sheriffs who stated they had another call about him yesterday. They were going to head into the neighborhood as we spoke.

Soliciting is not allowed in Altadena and these UCLA contests are a scam to get money.

His description: approximately 5'9", 20-something, bleach-blonde longish hair, wearing a blue t-shirt and blue jeans, carrying a skateboard.

Owen Brown Gravesite Monument

Save the Altadena Trails (STAT) has acquired the right to create an appropriate monument to Owen Brown on the top of Little Round Top. A committee will be formed to consider the options and come up with a plan. Input and visions of a memorial are welcomed.

STAT has also been granted the right to create a safe trail up to the top of Little Round Top from the Fire Road. If you can volunteer as a trail builder, please let us know.

STAT can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 6322
Altadena, CA 91101-6322

Hike to Little Round Top - January 14

The organization, Save the Altadena Trails (STAT), will again host a hike to Little Round Top to honor the memory of Martin Luther King and Owen Brown and celebrate their 2006 victories.

They will lead a hike to Little Round Top, the burial site of Owen Brown, Sunday, January 14, starting at 1:00 pm. Michele Zack and others will give brief talks about the history and significance of this site.

Cars may park at the trail head on El Prieto Road and on the paved portion on Risinghill Road. Please do not drive beyond the cul de sac of Risinghill as parking is not available at the top which is private property.

Last Night's Neighborhood Meeting

We had a nice turnout for our first 2007 Meadows neighborhood meeting that is now the first Tuesday of every month, 7:00 p.m., at 4416 El Prieto Rd.

Items of discussion:

  • The sighting of the mountain lions in the backyard of a Canyon Crest home. (See previous post.)
  • A discussion of the break-ins in the neighborhood in November and December. The meeting attendees felt it might be someone in or very familiar with our neighborhood. Everyone is encouraged to keep a close watch on any suspicious activity and to not hesitate calling the sheriffs.
  • A neighbor on Aralia stated that his house had been "egged" as recently as last month.
  • A reminder that upkeep of the Meadows sign costs money. (Please see previous post.)
  • We'll discontinue advertising in The Meadows Newsletter as it is not generating any funds to help defray costs of the Meadows sign garden. All are encouraged to donate funds through Linda.
  • Ann Dougherty, a Meadows neighbor on lower Canyon Crest and Boardmember for San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity, told everyone about the Habitat for Humanity used building materials store located at 770 N. Fair Oaks. It's a great place to purchase and donate unused or used building materials. Proceeds from the store help fund local projects. It's open Tuesday through Saturday from 9-5.
  • An update on The Meadows Firesafe Council's progress in assessing trees and vegetation at each home in The Meadows. We've assessed approximately 70 so far.
  • J. Lopex, from L.A. County Fire Department, talked about the efforts that are being made with CA FairPlan Insurance. Please see separate post for more information.
  • Jane, from Save the Altadena Trails, told the group about the upcoming walk to Brown Mountain. Please see separate post.

Next meeting is Tuesday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m. See you there.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Current Real Estate in and Near The Meadows

The real estate market has been moving through its normal seasonal slowndown. It will be interesting to see if the market picks up as it normally does in mid-January. All indications are good that it will as employment, stock market, and CA economy are in good shape.

Also, Altadena continues to gain double-digit appreciation, year-over-year. The latest numbers were for November 2006. Compared to November 2005, Altadena saw a 14.6% appreciation with the average median home price at $703,000. That's up from $616,000 in January 2006. Amazing progress!

It's my belief that much of this appreciation is being driven by the affordability of West Altadena and that many folks are discovering the beauty of our community.

Here's a current list of available properties available in and near The Meadows. These are not listed by me or my broker. I offer this as information only.

If you or your friends or family are interested in seeing any of these homes, please contact me and I'd be happy to take them on a tour! (Greg Stanton, Dilbeck Realtors. 626-431-2205 or

  • 4455 Risinghill Road. Custom remodeled interior updated for the modern lifestyle. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, integrated interior/exterior audio system. 1640 sq. ft. (per flyer), 6300 sq. ft. lot (per flyer). Offered at $789,000.
  • 4219 Aralia Road. A three bedroom, 2 bath, 1649 sq. ft. home on a 8250 sq. ft. lot. Offered at $659,000

And a little further down the road:

  • 3369 Canyon Crest Road. Major improvements underway for this 4 bedroom, 3 bath home. 2653 sq. ft. (per assessor) on a 22,220 sq. ft. lot (per assessor). Offered at $975,000.
  • 3181-3197 Lincoln Ave. Being sold for land value only and currently zoned as a triplex. 29,538 sq. ft. lot offered for $700,000.

This information was provided through the Itech Multiple Listing Service.
It has not been independently verified by the agent and does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage,
lot size or boundary lines provided by the seller or obtained from public records or other sources. Buyer is advised to independently
verify the accuracy of this information through personal inspection with appropriate professionals.
If your home is presently listed, this is not a solicitation of that listing.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Meadows Sign Garden Upkeep

The beautiful plants and flowers around the Welcome to the Meadows sign have been tended by a resident's gardener. (Anyone who wishes to volunteer on the upkeep is welcome and it would be greatly appreciated.)

The advertising dollars from the newsletter along with generous donations from neighbors has helped pay the water bills and maintenance. Our advertising revenues have been meager as of late and we owe money to the homeowner who has graciously kept the gardens in fine form.

So, if you'd like to make a donation to help with the upkeep or have any ideas about raising funds, we'd love to hear them.

First 2007 Neighborhood Meeting

As a reminder, our first neighborhood meeting of 2007 is Tuesday, January 2, 7:00 p.m. at 4416 El Prieto Road. Lots to talk about:
  • Mountain lions
  • Recent break-ins
  • The Meadows Sign garden
  • Advertising
  • Meadows FireSafe Council Update
  • and any other subjects

Lion in Winter

A resident in the 4300 block of Canyon Crest reported this morning that two mountain lions were sunning in his backyard! They spent approximately two hours there before heading back into the canyon.

Be sure to keep an eye on your pets!