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.