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.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Nocturnal Spring

A bit of indulgence goes a long way. Here are some pics I took the other evening of my garden. These cacti and succulents bloom every Spring. Captured in the moonlight brings an almost other-worldly quality to them.

Break-ins Decline After 7 Arrests

From the Star News today, by Mary Gurton.

ALTADENA - Following a surge of break-ins over the past several months, sheriff's officials in Altadena say the arrests of five adults and two juveniles since late last year have lead to a marked decrease in the number of burglaries.

About 77 residential burglaries, 46 commercial burglaries, and 66 vehicle burglaries were reported beginning in November last year through the present, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's Detective Coe Budge, who oversees Altadena station's burglary unit with his partner, Detective Robert Anderson.

"We were getting hit pretty hard through the holidays," Budge said, "but the arrests of these suspects does seem to have had a positive impact on the number of burglaries."
The first of the arrests were made Nov. 6 around 9:25 a.m. when deputies spotted two teenage boys, 13 and 17, from Altadena and Pasadena, leaving a residence near Lincoln Avenue and Ventura Street, he said.

The teens were eventually charged with suspicion of six burglaries and one attempted burglary, Budge said.

"They were using the `lost dog' ruse," Budge said, explaining that the pair went from door-to-door saying they were looking for their dog to find out whether the occupant was home. "So if someone was out, that was their opportunity."

Since the boys' arrests, there have been seven burglaries in the area, he said.

Five adults were also arrested throughout January and February, all apparently leading to the lull in such crimes, Budge said.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Boy Found in Las Vegas with Mother and Another Woman

From this evening's news:

ALTADENA, Calif. Authorities in Las Vegas Tuesday located a boy, 4, his mother and another woman, who are accused of abducting the child after killing the uncle who was caring for the boy in Altadena.Vanessa Ochoa, 22, her son, Manaen Miles, and Mesha Arshaz Dean, 25, were taken into custody about 12:40 p.m. in Las Vegas, according to Deputy Oscar Butao of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.

The boy was unharmed, Butao said. The women are suspected in the fatal shooting of the boy's paternal uncle, identified as Monroe Miles, 32, around 1:25 p.m. Sunday at his home at 4020 Canyon Dell Drive.

Monday, March 19, 2007

L.A. Times Coverage of Canyon Dell Slaying

Kidnap, slaying suspect is sought
By Hector Becerra and Stuart Silverstein, Times Staff Writers March 19, 2007

Authorities were searching for a 22-year-old mother suspected of shooting to death a relative who had been watching her 4-year-old son in Altadena on Sunday, and then abducting the boy.
The suspect, Vanessa Ochoa, does not have legal custody of her son, said Sgt. Diane Hecht of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

An Amber Alert was issued Sunday for the boy, Manaen Miles, who was described as black, 3 feet tall, weighing 50 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts.

The shooting victim, whose name was not released, was the abducted boy's paternal uncle, authorities said.

He was described as being in his early 30s. The man was shot in the torso and pronounced dead at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, authorities said.

Sheriff's investigators said they believed that Ochoa drove off with her son after killing his uncle — the brother of the boy's father — about 1:15 p.m.

She was believed to be driving a silver Mitsubishi Diamante with paper Nevada license plates.
Ochoa was described only as Latina, 5 feet tall and 125 pounds, with long dark hair.
She drove off, heading south after leaving the scene of the incident at a house in the 4000 block of Canyon Dell Drive in Altadena, authorities said.

The house, in a hilly, rustic neighborhood of single-family homes with large lots, was the residence of the slain man and the boy's grandparents.

Authorities said the boy's father also recently moved into the house but that they had not reached him as of Sunday evening. They did not say who had legal custody of the child.
Another relative, whom authorities would not identify, was in the house at the time of the homicide and alleged abduction.

Sheriff's investigators headed to the site after receiving a report of a shooting.
The case is being investigated jointly by the Sheriff's Department's homicide and major crimes bureaus.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call homicide investigators at (323) 890-5500.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tragic Occurance on Canyon Dell

You may be watching the news, but for those who may not be aware, here's the latest information we have on the shooting on Canyon Dell. Please know that this is a combination of news reports and information gathered from the neighbors.
  • The mother of a boy whose father was the son of the neighbor on Canyon Dell came to Canyon Dell and abducted the four year old son. She did not have legal custody of the child.
  • She abducted the boy and fatally shot the uncle of the boy (who would be the brother of the father of the child).
  • An amber alert was issued for:
    VICTIM(S): MANAEN MILES, 4 years old, unknown DOB
    LOCATION: Altadena, last seen heading S/B Canyon Crest to Lincoln
    SUSPECT(S): Vanessa Ochoa, Female/Hispanic, 22 y/o, DOB 10/06/84, 5’0” 125 lbs., long dark hair, brown eyes, unknown clothing (on the news, described as Philipino)
    VEHICLE: 2004 Nissan, silver 4-door, NV261TEY

With all due respect to the family, if you have any other information, please let me know.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Open House Saturday and Sunday

I'll be hosting an open house today and tomorrow from 2-5 at 4031 Canyon Dell Drive. This is one of the nicest homes in The Meadows. Custom built by the original owners and beautifully updated in the last ten years. With 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, hardwood floors, gourmet kitchen and sweeping views from the over-sized deck, it's a perfect place for entertaining or being reclusive and enjoying the views and nature.

Please stop by if you can.

The home is being offered for $1,050,000.

Car Sitting on El Prieto

A neighbor on El Prieto, mid-way up the street, reported again that another car was parked at the curb with someone sitting inside on Friday afternoon at bout 5:40 p.m. It was another sedan, gold/tan, with a different man sitting in it than before. The man was similar in description as before: African American, 30s?, mustache, parked with the window rolled down and loud rap music playing. The person drove away when he saw the resident and she was unable to get a license plate number.

This may all be just a case of hanging in the car, but better to discourage it if we don't know the person.

The Lights Are On....

Seems that the Edison technician fixed the problem of the power dimming at 9:04 p.m. I haven't experienced any power loss since he was here on Tuesday and removed a capacitor issue at a transformer on Cloverhill.

Another resident wasn't sure if it had fixed the problem at her Canyon Crest home, so please check it out. If you still have a problem, call Edison.

The technician, Doug Murray, was able to find the problem. And I really want the title that is on his business card - "Troubleman"! Isn't that an old Quincy Jones tune?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Deer Family

On the way home today, I saw a family of five deer grazing on lower Canyon Crest. Glad to see this new family joining our neighborhood.

4031 Canyon Dell

I have a new listing here in The Meadows. Please join me for the open houses Thursday, March 15 from 10-2 and Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 p.m. This is one of the finest homes in our neighborhood and I encourage you to see it.

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

Please call me if you would like to see the property.

Is It Fixed?

I had Southern California Edison come out today to check out our dimming at 8:04 p.m.. I thought it was interesting that the dimming changed to 9:04 p.m. with the time change!

A technician with the SCE came out today to check it out. He removed the capaciters(?) on a transformer on Cloverhill that were set for 20:00 hours that he thinks will fix the problem. As of this post, we'll know in about 24 minutes if that worked.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Power Drain

I and several, but not all, neighbors are experiencing the dimming of lights at exactly 8:04 p.m. every night. We had a good laugh about it at the last neighborhood meeting as, sure enough, the lights dimmed at 8:04. I also heard from a neighbor that the power doesn't surge back until well into morning.

I reported it to Southern California Edison and they're going to have a technician check it out.

They suggested that someone in the neighborhood may have some heavy equipment or service that turns on every night at the same time that could be causing the power loss. At first they suggested a pool pump, but that would be one massive pool!

They don't think its caused by any switching at the grid as that only happens during a power outage.

If anyone has an idea of what may be turning on at 8:04 p.m., please let me know.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Two Incidents in Two Days

Yesterday at around 1:00 p.m., a neighbor's painter on Aralia reported to the owner via phone that several sheriff's cars were headed up Aralia and had stopped at a house near Gravelia. I called another neighbor who lives near there. She did notice one sheriffs car headed up Aralia but was busy babysitting and didn't notice any others. When I emailed the sheriff's, they had no record of a call being placed to The Meadows. The homeowner verified with his painter that the sheriff's cars were up here. I'm awaiting on another email response from the sheriffs. If you know any additional info, please let me know.

Today, another neighbor reported seeing a beat up red car (small old import like a Passat) that let a 20-something, male, new hip hop clothing and bling, out of the car mid-way up the first section of Canyon Crest after the Meadows sign. They pulled over and watched this same person walk up the hill appearing to review the mailboxes on the canyon side. They turned around to see where the red car went. It parked behind the alley of the apartments and about 5 of the same type, make and female, were hanging out. The one they let out of the car had joined them. The car has no plates and that alone seems suspicious.It was reported to the Altadena Sheriffs. The neighbors did not see the sheriffs come up as of that time. I've forwarded this info to the sheriffs for a response.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Welcome to the new Sheriff in Town

As reported in the neighborhood meeting, we'll soon have a new sheriff in town.

As of April 1, 2007, Captain Roosevelt Blow will be in charge of the Altadena Sheriffs department.

El Prieto Trail Now Open

It was reported in the Neighborhood meeting that the trail at the top of El Prieto Rd. is now open. Appeals were not filed from the last decisions. The signs warning of private property have been taken down.

Time to go hiking!

Neighborhood Meeting 3/7

We had a great monthly, neighborhood meeting tonight. Sgt. Fenn from Altadena Sheriffs talked to us about the investigation of break-ins here in the neighborhood. Here are some highlights:

  • Fingerprints were captured from the break-in on El Prieto in December.
  • A 22 year old male is in custody as of three weeks ago. He was from the southeast area of Altadena. Once in custody, burglaries in all of Altadena dropped dramatically. (No mention was made if he was responsible for the break-ins in The Meadows. The investigation continues.)
  • A male and female couple were apprehended in Pasadena. There is thought that they may be responsible for increased burglaries in the area.
  • Sgt. Fenn made the suggestion that we all record the serial numbers of electronics and such that, in the event we're burglarized, we can provide this information t the sheriffs. Without that information, it's difficult to identify stolen goods. Serial numbers can be taken from the packaging. If kept on your computer, back it up on disk. Etching name, identifiers, etc. into the actual equipment is also recommended.
  • If you are the victim of a burglary, within two weeks, start visiting pawn shops to identify your belongings.

Other highlights from the meeting:

  • A reminder to read the Neighborhood Watch materials that were provided last month. If you need a copy, contact Greg.
  • $16 was raised to support the maintenance of the garden.

Thanks for a great turnout!

Meadows Real Estate Update 3/7

Well, we're a bit all over the map here in The Meadows real estate market. Here's a quick update:

  • 4501 Risinghill Rd. 3 bed, 2 bath, 1135 sq. ft. on 6180 sq. ft. lot. This home has great 1960's bones to it. Heard that the owners may be remodeling the kitchen. It's been on the market for 80 days at a value price of $549,990 - $599,990.
  • 4219 Aralia Rd. 3 bed, 2 bath, 1649 sq. ft. on a 9250 sq. ft. lot. Listed for $659,000. Sold for $630,000. This was quite a fixer and is currently being "flipped". Not sure of the new price yet as work is still being completed.
  • 4216 Aralia Rd. 3 bed, 2 bath, 1847 sq. ft. on 7200 sq. ft. lot. This listing has been withdrawn after 118 days on the market.
  • 4455 Risinghill Rd. 3 bed, 2 bath, 1700 sq. ft. on an unknown size lot. Last sales price was $799,000. This home has been completely updated.
  • 1086 Hollygrove was for lease. 3 bed, 1 bath. It was on the market for 5 days and then placed on hold.

If you're interested in any of these properties, please let me know. I'd be happy to show them to you.

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

Monday, March 05, 2007

Watchful Neighbor

Wonderful Neighborhood Watching from a neighbor on El Prieto.

On Saturday morning, a car was parked across from the resident's driveway. The resident went down to look. The person in it looked up and drove away. This particular individual had a mustache and dark skin, possibly African American or Hispanic or mixed race, 30's with somewhat sharp features.

The resident's home is near one that was broken into at the end of last year.

Thanks for keeping an eye out!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Next Neighborhood Meeting

Tuesday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. at 4416 El Prieto Rd. Altadena Sheriff's Sgt. Fenn, lead detective on burglaries, is scheduled to talk to the community.

If you have any suggestions for other speakers, please let me know.

Group Email Created

A group email notification has been set up for residents in The Meadows. It’s being used to notify residents of news in The Meadows. If you’d like to be included, please email Greg at

MFSC Update, 100 Properties Assessed

To date some 100 properties have been assessed for ways to minimize the dangers associated with fire from whatever origin. In addition, approximately twenty property owners are awaiting an appointment.

Each homeowner who has not responded to the December mailing to schedule an appointment or allow access will be visited shortly by a member of the council to make sure that nobody is missed. Or, anyone who has not returned their card from the December mailing may still do so, or arrange for an appointment by calling Margaret Bridwell at (626) 798-0480.

It is important to note that these assessments do not obligate the property owner in any way. Property owners will be given the findings of the assessment (planned for April) and will approve any proposed work.

It is envisioned that goats will be brought in to graze in the eastern and northern perimeters of the Meadows in May. Later in the year, various vendors will be coming into the Meadows to trim or remove ornamental vegetation according to property-owners’ wishes. The grant monies will be used to accomplish as much clearing as possible. Additional clearing may be negotiated by the homeowner with the various vendors at anticipated discounts.