Friday, December 30, 2011

Road Rage for Hikers?

This note came in from a neighbor:

"Yesterday afternoon I took the dog for a walk and was heading up El Prieto Road. A black car came speeding in reverse down the driveway from above the cul de sac and was headed straight for me.  I moved around to get out of the way, but it turned and kept heading at me as I scrambled some more to get out of the way. 

I finally cleared the backing, turning car as it stopped.  I went around to the side and saw that the driver was looking at her phone in her lap texting.  I got her attention and asked if she even saw me. 

She said that this is a private drive and people don't have a right to be hiking on it.  I said that this a public street that I'm on.  She said that this is a private drive and a private cul de sac and that this is what people who live up here need to do.  I asked her if she meant backing into people.  At that point she waggled her finger at me and sped back up the drive to the last house on the right before the Lincoln Avenue Water Company gate and went into the house.

I was rather shocked.  Be aware when hiking up there."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Free Drafting Table

Steve and Sharon have a free drafting table for anyone who wants it.  They can be reached at (626) 798-9464.

Sherrif Talked to Solicitor

The Sheriff did talk to the young man who was knocking on doors last night.  He was trying to sell magazine or newspaper subscriptions. (That could be a scam too.) He was not scoping out houses for potential break-ins.

I described the experiences that many neighbors told me about to the Sheriff, including the young man asking for money, claiming he was from neighborhood Watch and that his mother lived on Canyon Dell.

The Sheriff also said that door-to-door solicitation is not unlawful.

The Sheriff encourages us to continue calling them if we see unusual activity in the neighborhood.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Graffiti Clean-UP

Neighbors are extending a big "THANK YOU" to a neighbor on Canyon Crest, Miche, who cleaned the graffiti that was on the AT&T cable box near the Meadows sign.

The graffiti showed up some time in the last day or so.

Scammers in The Meadows Thursday Evening

I received two calls from neighbors on Risinghill and El Prieto that the "Neighborhood Watch" scammers were knocking on doors again this evening.

(See the earlier post for advice on how NOT to answer the door.)

Again, it is potentially a team of people with one person trying to distract you at the front door while another is breaking into your house from the back.

Tonight, the scammer claimed to live on Canyon Dell with his Mother.  He was estimated to be between 14 and 16 years old.

Both parties called the Sheriff who did come up into The Meadows.

A Meadows alert was generated at around 7:00 p.m.  For those who signed up, you should have gotten a text, call, or email.  If you haven't signed up and live in The Meadows, send me your contact information and I'll add you to the alert system.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Debris Clean-up Update

Greetings to you all,

At tonight's Altadena Town Council meeting, Edel Vizcarra from Supervisor Antonovich's office and Luis Sanchez from Athens Services answered questions from the Town Council members and provided some information on the clean up effort in Altadena.

Both the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and Athens Services have been in the community 7 days a week since the windstorm that began on November 30th.

Here are some things both the County and Athens would like for you to know:

1.    Some people have been cleaning up their yards and just dumping the debris from the windstorm on the street or parkway in front of their homes.  Some have had others cleaning their yards and those hired to help, or their regular gardeners are continuing to dump debris in the street or on the parkway.  That activity has been observed and the County and Athens request that we all take action to stop that practice.

2.    Athens will continue to pick up green waste in your green waste cart with the trucks specifically constructed for automated pickup of those carts.  They will also continue to pick up bagged green waste - often in a different truck since the drivers don't have time to empty your cart and then refill it on the spot with your bagged debris.  You will also see both Athens and the County's Department of Public Works crews picking up bundled tree limbs and twigs and bundled palm fronds. 

3.    You may see Athens by-pass large bundles or large tree limbs either because they're too heavy for the driver to manage safely or because the bundle or size of the limb is too large for the equipment available and when that happens, you'll see Public Works crews dealing with those larger items because their crews have chain saws with them and they can reduce the size of the tree trunks, limbs and branches to make pick up easier. 

4.    A number of people have complained about having to call Athens to let Athens know they will have extra green waste to be picked up.  Please continue to call Athens to let them know you're putting extra green waste out for pick up because it helps them know how much equipment to stage for your area's pick-up day.  They have had extra trucks up here dealing with all of their routes and will continue to have extra equipment up here until all of Altadena has been cleaned up.  It may be an inconvenience to you to make that call but please understand - THIS EXTRA GREEN WASTE REMOVAL IS NOT PART OF YOUR 4 TIMES A YEAR BULKY ITEM OR LARGE ITEM PICK UP.  The windstorm was an exceptional event, so you do not need to be concerned that you will lose your opportunity to extra pickups as were accommodated in the County's Franchise Agreement with Athens.

5.    Please help your neighborhood be cleaned up by helping those not able sweep up and bag the small green waste that is most likely going to migrate with the next rain.  Any help for those who need help would be greatly appreciated and it will help us get Altadena's streets cleaned that much quicker.

6.    It will still take weeks to get the streets fully cleaned and all of the green waste picked up.  Many thanks for all of the effort many of you have made to be in service to others, and many thanks to all for being willing to exercise patience.

If you have questions or are not certain about what to do about green waste, please let me know.  If I can't answer your questions myself, I'll help be responsible for getting an answer.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Follow Up: Solicitor = Possible Break-In

Please share this with your neighbors as not everyone reads this blog.

I followed up with our Sherrif's liaison regarding the reports last night about a young man knocking on a neighbor's door to talk about Neighborhood Watch.  This has been happening around other parts of Altadena.  Please be cautious.  Chances are this is someone scoping out your house.  Here's Carolyn's comments:

The teens or young adults who've been knocking on doors around several neighborhoods have no connection to anyone we can think of in Altadena and their story changes slightly from one house to another.  They'll try to tell you that they're working on an Eagle Scout program and are organizing a neighborhood watch, or that "my grandmother Marsha is the block captain and she asked me to come talk to you about neighborhood watch".

Their stories are bogus, and in neighborhoods where they are organized, they all know the guy standing on the porch is lying. 

Chances are they're just trying to find out if you're home and their companions may be just out of sight or are already headed up your driveway to look for a way to gain entry through a door or window on the rear of your house. 

Two different scenarios seem to repeat.  Sometimes the person at the door is looking to distract you while their companions do attempt to break in - and some have been successful at that, or they're knocking insistently and when no one answers the door, they're in your home in a matter of seconds.

Don't trust any of it.  Please thank everyone who calls the Sheriff's Station at 626 798 1131 and ask them to keep doing that, and when info is available, please gather as much descriptive info as possible - male/female, approx age, height, kind of clothing, color or pattern on their clothing, that sort of thing, but do it safely.

When that insistent knocking on your door starts, just holler "sorry, I can't come to the door right now".  If the person at the door actually knows you, they'll holler back at you.  The criminals won't.  They'll just look for the quickest way in.

Any help getting the info out to others is greatly appreciated.

Stay safe and thanks again very much for asking the question!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Neighborhood Watch Solicitor

Just received a call from a neighbor that a young man knocked on their door, asking to enter their house to talk about Neighborhood Watch programs.

Please, don't let this person in your home.  Call the Sheriff.  They have been called to come up to The Meadows to investigate.

Not sure what this person's intent is, but better to be safe than sorry. This is not something organized by the neighborhood that we're aware of.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Big Bear on Canyon Dell

From a neighbor on Canyon Dell"

"We have had a really large (550lb+) brown bear in our yard since around 7:00 pm tonight.  We have a ripe persimmon tree, but our trash cans got ravaged even though they were secure.  We had the sheriffs come out and they scared him off, but I have a feeling he will be back tonight.  I startled him once, looking for my cat (he scared me pretty good too!), but came right back like it was no big deal.  I know it's part of living up here, and that is cool, but this guy was REALLY big and not shy. People in The Meadows should be careful."

Strong Winds Tonight

Below is a comprehensive weather forecast being provided by Southern California Edison.

Please take actions to keep yourselves and your families safe and prepared.

AM DEC 15, 2011
There will be a strong upper-level low diving south across California
today,which will reach the Mexico border after dark.  This will create a
high-wind event for southern California.  We are expecting strong
northeasterly winds to develop after midnight tonight, persisting through
Friday.  Strongest winds are still expected to occur between 4AM and 12PM
PST Friday, with some reduction in speeds Friday afternoon.  A second
peaking of the gusts will develop late Friday night into Saturday morning
(from approximately 11PM Friday through 7AMSaturday).  From 4AM-12PM
Friday, peak wind gusts will run between 50-60 mph across southern portions
of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, passes and canyons in the
higher elevations of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as the Santa
Clarita Valley.  Wind gusts to 35-50 mph will be possible in the Santa
Monica Mountains, eastern valleys of Ventura County,western portions of the
San Fernando Valley, the Ventura County Coast, and coastal sections of Los
Angeles County south of the Santa Monica Mountains including the
communities of Malibu and Hollywood Hills.  The peak gusts from11PM Friday
through 7AM Saturday morning are anticipated to run between 40-55mph across
the higher terrain, with gusts of 25-35 mph across lower elevations and
nearer to the coast. Winds will return to fairly calm by Saturday evening.
Compared to the severe wind event from a few weeks ago, this event will not
be as strong.  But with the wind gusts forecasted there could still be some
localized damage.San Gabriel Valley (Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Temple
City, Altadena):While the strongest wind gusts are anticipated to hold to
the north of the region, there will still remain the potential for strong
wind gusts over the San Gabriel Valley.  Peak wind gusts will run between
40-50 mph across areas north of the Foothill Freeway (inclusive of, but not
limited to, Altadena, Monrovia and Azusa), while gusts to the south of
there will generally peak out between25-35 mph. The time period of highest
gusts will occur between 8am and 2pmFriday with a slight decrease during
the afternoon and evening hours.  A similar peak time is expected Saturday
morning and early afternoon

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Assistance Needed to Remove Oak Tree

Sonja, a neighbor on Risinghill, had huge Oak tree limbs fall into her neighbor's yard.  The estimates to remove them are over $5000.  There's also a chance she'll need to remove other trunks on the tree at additional costs.  Here's her message and pics of the tree:

"Hello, I have a very large section of my Oak Tree in my neighbor's backyard. Not sure how we are going to take care of removal and perhaps the rest of the tree too due to possible root damage. Any financial help would be a appreciated. I can be contacted at 791-8865."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More Info on Green Debris

We still have several large tree limbs and other green debris in the streets in The Meadows.  I asked for some clarification on what the County will be handling.

Green debris in the gutter will be picked up by the County, but there's no set date for that.  It could be 2 days or 2 weeks. 

There's a concern over the next few days that if it rains, it could impede the flow of water on its downhill run.

Neighbors are encouraged to put the green debris in their green recycle bins for pick-up on trash day. Otherwise, what's in the street, bagged or not, will get picked up.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Green Debris Removal

From the County. Sounds like downed branches on the street need to be readied for the County to pick them up.

Green Debris Removal

A systematic green debris removal process is now underway in the unincorporated communities of Altadena, La Crescenta, Pasadena, San Gabriel, Temple City, Monrovia and Arcadia. The County’s local waste haulers have doubled their crew and equipment to meet the increase in refuse.  Residents are asked to place their green debris out on the parkway and it will be picked up on your regular trash day. The green debris should be light enough to be picked up manually and small material should be bagged or boxed. Please keep green debris off the road and place it on the parkway to avoid localized flooding during the forecasted rains.

Local waste haulers in unincorporated areas have also coordinated with the LA County Public Works Department and the Department of Parks and Recreation to offer the additional free debris drop-off events.

The times and locations of the free tree debris drop-off events are:

  • Altadena and Kinneloa Mesa:

Hauler – Athens Services (888) 336-6100

Location – Charles Farnsworth Park (lower parking area), 568 East Mount Curve Ave., Altadena

Dates - Saturday (Dec 10) and Sunday (Dec 11) 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Update Date on Public Works and Edison

I received this email from Carolyn Seitz.  In it she mentions that County Public Works is addressing the debris at the roads.

As of 1 pm today, Southern California Edison is indicating that there were still 1,504 customers without power, not all of them in Altadena.

They have also revised the total number of people who were without power to 433,945.  Of that number, approximately 12,000 people are in Altadena.

Edison crews are now said to be going block by block to make sure power has been restored to everyone.

If you are still without power, please let me know ASAP.

If any of you still see downed power lines in your yard or anywhere nearby, please let me know ASAP and provide the address, your name and the best phone number to reach you.

As you can see by the mountains of debris piled up along roadways, there is still an enormous amount of cleanup left to do, but that too, is in process and the County Department of Public Works is making excellent progress.

Please continue to stay vigilant, stay connected to your neighbors and your neighborhoods.  It's made a big difference for all of us in the effort to maintain a safe environment even under difficult circumstances.

Thank you all for being so resilient and for finding optimism and making courage even when it wasn't so easy!

Take care of yourselves and as always, stay safe!

Art Silent Auction December 10

Dear Friend of the Arts, keep the date, December 10th, 2:00 - 4:30pm, open.

As an art lover and collector, you'll be glad you did! 

The Altadena Arts Council and the Altadena Community Arts Center are teaming up to make available for silent bidding some fantastic works of art by well known artists.

On the campus of the Loma Alta School Center, 3544 N. Canon Blvd at Loma Alta Drive.

MFSC Tree/Limb Removal

The Meadows FireSafe Council has a very small amount of money left in this year's grant.  Members of the Council are going to identify any broken limbs or uprooted trees from the windstorm that could create a fire hazard for the neighborhood.

The MFSC will approach that neighbor and discuss what can be done.

If you know of something we should look at, please provide the address to me via email or comment on the blog.

Again, we have a very small amount of money, maybe only two days worth, so please understand that we won't be able to address every one's concerns.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Contractor Referrals and Other Vendors

Neighbors are asking for any good general contractor referrals for repairs to be done after the windstorm.

Here's some vendors that I use and refer all the time. Please know that some are licensed and some are not.

You're welcome to use my name as you may get a better price.

1. Trash Hauling: Claudio 626-485-3569

2. Painting: Jose Vazquez 310-930-1162

3. Trees:  Gomez Trees 818-718-7470 and Steven's Trees 626-794-6911

4. Electric: Rick Beck 951-544-8699

5. Chimney Repair: Greg Sylvis 626-449-6118

6. Concrete, Wall, Tile, Painting, Fences, All Around Great Handyman:  Manuel Flores 626-818-1204

7. Roofing: Garvey Roofing 626-358-9208

8. Concrete, Landscaping Contractor: Kevin Sheridan 909-392-2092

9. Window Screens: Screen Mobile 800-500-9336

10: Plumbing: Mike Haddad 626-305-9348

Monday, December 05, 2011

More Info on Oaks

From L.A. County Fire Department:

"Due to these overwhelming circumstances, hazardous broken Oak limbs can be removed. Please have the property owner take pictures of the unattached broken limbs, standing tree and prepare a short statement why the work had to be done. If the branched broke unevenly from the tree, they can clean up the cut if needed."

Email me if you want a copy of the pruning standards:

Athens to Pick Up Green Waste

Thanks to Jane for this info:

I called Athens waste and they told me they will pick up all green waste left curbside on your regular pick up date. Tree limbs should be cut down so one person can lift them. Loose leaves bagged.  Small brush should be tied or bundled.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Power is on!

Debris Drop-Off Events



LOS ANGELES Local waste haulers in the unincorporated communities of La Crescenta, Altadena and Kinneloa Mesa, East Pasadena/East San Gabriel, Citrus, and East Charter Oak have coordinated with the Los Angeles County Public Works Department and the Department of Parks & Recreation to offer a free disposal service to residents of the unincorporated communities, Los Angeles County Mayor Michael D. Antonovich announced.

Altadena and Kinneloa Mesa:

Hauler Athens Services (888) 336-6100

Location Charles Farnsworth Park (lower parking area), 568 East Mount Curve Ave., Altadena

Dates - Saturday (Dec 3) and Sunday (Dec 4) 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Residents are urged to call their local waste hauler prior to utilizing the service for instructions on how to prepare their tree debris for drop-off. Proof of residency is required.

Residents are also advised to continue to using their large green waste bins for smaller tree debris and to contact their waste hauler to arrange pick-up of additional excess tree debris on their regular trash collection day.

For further information, residents of county unincorporated communities can also call the countys trash collection hotline at (800) 993-5844.

SCE Update Friday Night

This the latest update regarding the SCE power outage:

6 p.m. PST, Dec. 2, 2011

Contact: Media Relations, (626) 302-2255

Power Restored to 65 Percent of Customers Who Lost Service Due to High Winds; Service to be Restored to Remaining Customers by Sunday Night

Southern California Edison (SCE) so far has restored service to 65 percent of its customers who lost power because of hurricane-force winds and

by Sunday night will have the lights back on for its remaining customers.

Trees and other large pieces of debris have hampered access for crews to equipment. As of 4 p.m. PST today, SCE had 131,591 customers

without service. It is expected to take two more days to restore power to the vast majority of affected customers. SCE expects service to be

restored to 99 percent of its customers by 8 p.m. PST Sunday.

We understand our customers are anxious to get their lights back on, and we're continuing to ask for their patience, said Ron Litzinger,

SCE president. The massive winds that hit Wednesday evening have created some of the worst damage we've seen in a decade and

resulted in some of the most complicated restoration efforts in years. Thousands of trees blew over, damaging thousands of overhead wires and


Crews are working to restore service as safely and quickly as possible where they have access. There are 217 SCE and contract crews

working to restore service. SCE must wait for local governmental agencies to clear debris where it is blocking access to SCE equipment.

The extremely high winds caused considerable damage to the distribution power grid, power lines, poles and equipment. Some restoration

may require reconstruction of the downed equipment. Customers are asked to stay away from any downed or dangling lines, including

those between homes and power poles. A downed line or dangling wire is dangerous - even if it appears not to be live.

SCE also is asking customers who have downed lines on or near their homes or businesses, both those that run between power poles

and from poles to homes or businesses to call 911 and stay inside to remain safe until SCE crews can repair the lines. Customers

unable to reach a 911 operator quickly can call SCE customer service at (800) 655-4555.

Edison Distribution Center

From Sheriff's Liaison:

SCE is planning to set up distribution sites to provide flashlights, water and ice in some of the areas

where we are still working to restore service. We are planning to have our meter service folks and

other SCE volunteers canvass neighborhood to help get the word out, in addition to the media advisory.

I believe we are looking at the Altadena Community Center (730 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena CA 91001)

as one of the sites. I will let you know as soon as I hear it is confirmed.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Power Update

Got an email from Sheriff liaison sent from Edison. They state power will be restored to 99% of customers by Sunday night. No specifics on Altadena.

Power is on?

Just called my house and the answering machine answered! Power must be on!

Oak Tree Trimming

I'm trying to get clarification from several sources on whether permits are needed to trim or take down Oaks due to the storm.

From one of our tree vendors, if the Oak is in risk of falling or already uprooted, no permit is needed.

If it is not in danger of the above, a permit is needed.

I'll post more as I hear it. Callin L.A. County Station 12 may be the best solution so that you're sure you're not fined.


Still no power in The Meadows.  Edison has an outage center that you can enter our ZIP, 91001, but I'm not seeing any estimate of time:

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Reminder About Any Missing Pets

From a Meadows neighbor:

Just saw a reminder from the Pasadena Humane Society. Their officers were very active last night picking up loose dogs that likely escaped from yards during the winds. Friendly reminder that any dogs that officers picked up in Altadena will have been taken to the LA County facility in Baldwin Park, since that is the facility that serves our area. Just in case anyone is looking for a dog that may have gotten out last night.

Windstorm Pics

The Meadows had its fair share of downed trees, flying roof shingles, fences down and one tree limb on a car. Even the Oak branches were snapping off.

The winds are supposed to be strong again through tomorrow, Friday, so stay safe.

No idea when the power will come back on, but I'm not expecting it today.

Here's what we looked like this morning:


From my house: power out, tree down, branches snapped and roof tiles flying. Hearing canyon crest is closed at Lincoln