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17 to 38 Homeless in Monrovia | Station Square Open House

~ A report on homelessness in Monrovia in the Star-News. There are "between 17 and 38 homeless" in the city. http://goo.gl/4R5h6g

~ Station Square Open House on Wednesday, July 30 at the Library. http://goo.gl/92dfap

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Stolen Vehicle Door Handle; Sleeping It Off in Her Font Yard; Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for July 21-23. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 394 service events, resulting in 71 investigations.

Vehicle Tampering
On July 21 at 6:53 p.m., an officer responded to the 200 block of West Walnut regarding a vehicle tampering. The victim went to her vehicle which was parked in the carport area and realized the driver side door handle had been removed from her vehicle. Nothing appeared to be taken except the door handle. The investigation is continuing.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – Suspect Arrested
On July 21 at 9:10 p.m., an officer was dispatched to the area of Wildrose and Mountain regarding a male suspect sleeping in her yard. The resident said the suspect appeared to have been drinking. The suspect drove his vehicle to the front of her residence, parked his vehicle and then got out and fell down into her yard. Officers determined the suspect had been involved in a traffic collision and driving under the influence of alcohol. The suspect was arrested.

Residential Burglary
On July 22 at 12:18 a.m., dispatch received alarm activation from a residence in the 100 block of Rose Lane. Officers contained the residence and eventually cleared the home. A rear window was broken and the back door window was shattered. The door was locked and it does not appear entry was made by the suspect. The victim was notified and arrived home. The investigation is continuing.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – Suspect Arrested
On July 23 at 9:30 p.m. an officer stopped a driver in the area of California and Huntington for a traffic violation. Upon contacting the driver he displayed signs of intoxication. Field sobriety tests were conducted and it was determined the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and was arrested. The passenger in the vehicle had an outstanding warrant for driving under the influence of alcohol and was arrested.

Monrovia's Foothill Unity Center Collecting for Back-to-School

Monrovia-based Foothill Unity Center is collecting money to provide back-to-school supplies for children whose parents can't afford them. The Center reports that it expects to help 1,500 children grades K-12 at its 16th Back to School Distribution on August 5 at Santa Anita Park racetrack. To donate: http://goo.gl/10nf1g

- Brad Haugaard

Toasty in Monrovia Today; Disney Movie; Big Raffle Prize

~ 102 degrees. Really toasty hot in Monrovia today. http://goo.gl/UP7itf

~ Watch a Disney movie and sing Disney karaoke at the Library Community Room, today at 6 p.m. For teens sixth to 12th grade.

~ Monrovia Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce are doing a "Wine and Dine" Raffle. Top prize is a gift basket that includes $100 giftcertificates to Rudy's Mexican Food, Bella Sera Trattoria. Elements Restaurant & Bar (at the Doubletree), Cafe LuMar, Sena on Myrtle, Jakes Roadhouse, and Wang's. Plus four tickets to this years A Taste of Old Town Monrovia on October 19th, plus 8 tickets to the Krikorian Monrovia Theatre, two Bottles of "Monrovia Station" wine from Wine of the Month Club, four Taste of Old Town wine glasses and more. The drawing is at the October 15th Monrovia Chamber Mixer at the Wine of the Month Club, but you need not be present to win. Raffle tickets are $10 each and you can get them at the Monrovia Chamber office (620 South Myrtle).

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Thrift Store Having 55%-Off Sale

Monrovia's Giving Hands Thrift Store, 925 W. Foothill, is having a 55%-off sale, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. now through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

- Brad Haugaard

Story of Monrovia Family and Online Preschool

KPCC story about Monrovia parents whose child attends an online preschool. http://goo.gl/ys2b2k

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Restaurant Round-Up - Free Pizza!

The latest restaurant news:

~ Blaze Pizza - in the Pavilions shopping center - will open this Saturday, July 26, and if you follow the company on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you can get a free pizza from 11 a.m. to midnight that day. http://goo.gl/JlXTLw

~ Gem City Images reports that a new restaurant plans to open in the old Allure shop on Myrtle. http://goo.gl/mnfqRt

~ And finally, I reported on a new restaurant, called Le Gourmand, going in on Myrtle next to Sena. http://goo.gl/1y5Ofx

- Brad Haugaard

Trader Joe's Recalls Fruit

Monrovia-based Trader Joe's recalls some peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots. http://goo.gl/RS4Jcb

- Brad Haugaard

New Restaurant Coming to Monrovia - Le Gourmand

It appears a new restaurant will be going in right next to Sena restaurant, on its north side, at 407 S. Myrtle. The city's Development Review Committee (DRC) will be looking at the restaurant's proposed plans for outdoor seating at its July 23 meeting. No details on the restaurant in the agenda ( http://goo.gl/Zy6SDi ), but the applicant is Mark Houston, and there is a Mark and Jonnie Houston who operate several LA area restaurants, and of whom LA Weekly says, "the Houston brothers have been redefining L.A. nightlife" ( http://goo.gl/1LKAjn ). Here is Houston Hospitality's website ( http://goo.gl/tRZaVL ). Again, I'm not sure it's the same Mark Houston, but I'll try to check.

UPDATE: Thanks to Planning Division Manager, Craig Jimenez, who writes:

DRC is reviewing an outdoor seating permit for a new business named Le Gourmand. I haven’t seen a menu, but from what I understand, it will be an upscale café and bakery that will also have a small retail component selling prepackaged foods.

The applicant, Mark Houston, is a Monrovia-based designer and contractor who is designing the interior.

- Brad Haugaard

Mountain Lion in Hills Above Monrovia

Photo of mountain lion near Camp Trask, above Monrovia.

Boy Scout dad, Mark D. Peters, writes about encountering a mountain lion near the Scouts' Camp Trask, in the hills right above Monrovia:

While Troop 551 went out for a hike and to work on their Leave No Trace award, they had a pair of eyes watching them, and when hiking back to camp, they came across large drag marks that crossed the road.

Over the edge 551 Troop leaders could see a freshly killed doe. Cub Master Terry Lopez alerted the Camp Master and Scout Master Bill Durini, Webelos Den Leader Erick Bonilla and Asst. Cub Master Mark Peters gathered up the Troop in a tight group and hiked back to camp.

Later I was able to get the shot and show it to the kids as not many of them have ever seen a mountain lion in the wild.

Cub Master Terry Lopez added that, "Unfortunately we had to stay in camp after discovering the Mountain Lion attack, no Saturday night hike, but we saw several fox around our camp...kept us occupied."
Cub Scout Degas Peters, Mark Peter's son.

Monrovia Police: Transient Charged With Theft; Burglary; Vandalism; Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for July 17-20. - Brad Haugaard]

Following are the weekend’s highlighted issues and events.

Commercial Burglary / Violation of Restraining Order – Suspect Arrested
On July 17 at 11:39 a.m., an officer responded to a business in the 100 block of West Foothill regarding a theft of items. The suspect fled the location prior to his arrival. Security officers observed the suspect sneak behind the stone pillars to the front of the store. The suspect was trying to covertly enter the location without being seen by employees. Once inside the store, a security officer witnessed the suspect grab several items and run out. Upon reviewing the surveillance video, the suspect was identified as one of our local transients that just served time in jail for committing thefts at the same location and served with a restraining order. The officer searched the area and located the suspect. The suspect was arrested for burglary and violation of restraining order.

Petty Theft With Prior – Suspect Identified
On July 17 at 12:20 p.m., an officer responded to the 700 block of South Myrtle regarding a bicycle theft. While the officer was reviewing the security video, he identified the suspect. The suspect was arrested prior to this investigation for another unrelated burglary. The suspect is currently in custody at the Los Angeles County Jail. The suspect has prior thefts and will be charged with petty theft with a prior for the bicycle theft.

Commercial Petty Theft
On July 17 at 3:06 p.m., dispatch received a call from a business in the 500 block of West Huntington reporting a security officer was chasing a male suspect that had possibly stolen some jewelry. The suspect ran east from the location to the rear alley of another business. He got into an awaiting black Lincoln Navigator. There was a second suspect in the driver's seat. The suspect vehicle drove away. The investigation is continuing.

Vandalism
On July 17 at 7:11 p.m., an officer responded to the 600 block of Monterey regarding a vandalism report. The victim stated that he parked his vehicle at 11:00 p.m. and upon his return the following morning saw damage to the hood, the left side of the vehicle, and to the windshield. The vehicle's alarm was set but did not activate during the night. The investigation is continuing.

Burglary / Identity Theft / Forgery / Conspiracy / Possession of a Controlled  Substance / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Suspects Arrested
On July 17 at 11:13 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 500 Block of West Huntington regarding a fraud report. The suspect was described as female, white in her late 20s to early 30s, with a black sundress, carrying a large beige purse, and having large tattoos on her back and arms. The female completed a transaction and headed to the exit door. She dropped the items she had "purchased" and walked toward a red truck. The red truck left without picking up the suspect. The truck was stopped by another officer while the suspect headed north through the lot and ran across Huntington Drive where she was detained. The suspect was in possession of fraudulent identification cards and matching Department of Motor Vehicle temporary driver licenses. She was also in possession of methamphetamine and two crack pipes. The suspect was arrested and her two female companions in the truck were also arrested on similar charges.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol / Traffic Collision – Suspect Arrested
On July 18 at 2:45 a.m. dispatch received a call from the 800 block of West Foothill reporting a white Honda Civic that had just hit their parked car. Officers responded and contacted the female driver who exhibited signs of intoxication. Field sobriety tests were conducted and it was determined the female driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and was arrested.

Vehicle Petty Theft
On July 18 at 6:09 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of South Violet regarding a theft that just occurred. The victim is a contractor and was doing work at the location. The victim went outside the residence and observed a truck park south of his location. The two male occupants exited their vehicle and stood next to the vehicle. The victim went inside to continue working when a witness informed him someone was taking his equipment. As he went outside, he saw one of the suspects that had exited the truck taking his compressor. The suspect vehicle is a black Ford Ranger. The investigation is continuing.

Residential Burglary
On July 19 at 7:25 a.m., an officer was patrolling the 100 block of James Town when he observed a garage door open with no vehicles in the area. Further investigation revealed the power on the house had been turned off and the inside was ransacked with open drawers and jewelry on the ground. The owner of the residence was contacted and responded home for the investigation.

Dedication for Monrovia's Julian D. Fisher Park Playground

Julian Fisher Park, located at the corner of Almond and California Avenues in Monrovia, is set to unveil a brand new playground.  Please join the Monrovia City Council on Saturday, August 2 at 10:00 a.m. for the Grand Opening of the Julian Fisher Park playground.

Julian Fisher, one of seven Monrovia parks, is named after Julian D. Fisher, Monrovia’s first African-American police officer.  The 1.8 acre park features a gazebo, basketball courts, and a large play area.  However, in 2011, the aging and vandalized playground equipment was removed from the park.

In 2013, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich awarded a $250,000 grant to the City of Monrovia to replace the playground equipment as part of the Safe Neighborhoods Parks Propositions of 1992 and 1996, commonly referred to as Proposition A/Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District.

In a joint effort, the Monrovia City Council, Monrovia Community Services Commission and members of the Fisher family have been collaborating on ideas for the new playground; visiting playgrounds throughout Southern California to find the best fit for the beloved park nestled between established neighborhoods.  The contract was ultimately awarded to Playworld Stations.

The new playground, designed for children of all ages and abilities, will feature a slide with rollers to add zing, a climbing dome for kids of all ages, and a reinforced swing set.  Construction of the new playground began in May 2014.

Source: City of Monrovia press release

- Brad Haugaard

Battle Creek Show to be Filmed in Monrovia


Crews are setting up in Monrovia Canyon Park for filming on a new show called Battle Creek. A summary of the show at IMDB: http://goo.gl/n2zV70

- Brad Haugaard

Magnolia Reopens | Suicide at Monrovia Hotel?

~ Magnolia Avenue is now open through to Duarte Road. http://goo.gl/mtJcZR

~ Possible suicide by falling at Monrovia Marriott hotel. http://goo.gl/oYMjhS

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police Search for Man in Sex Case

Monrovia Police looking for man in sexual battery case. http://goo.gl/In9sOS

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools: Rosier Budget; Local Control

At its Wednesday, July 23 meeting (agenda: http://goo.gl/iD9L5W ) the Monrovia School Board will consider ...

~ Approving a revised budget, which looks a bit rosier than before. Director of Fiscal Services, David Conway, reports that "District revenues for 2013-14 came in higher than anticipated." http://goo.gl/hEvb5B

~ Modifications to a 72-page "Local Control Accountability Plan" at the request of the LA County Superintendent of Schools. Opinion: There is something a bit bizarre about school districts having to submit 72-page documents to a higher authority in the name of "local control." http://goo.gl/MnKnqR

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Burger Basket


Lunch at Burger Basket, at the corner of Mayflower and Duarte Road. Got the fish and chips combo for $6.65 plus tax.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Pubs Host 'Crawl for a Cure'

Four Old Town pubs will host "Crawl for a Cure," a July 26 fundraising evening for the upcoming Relay for Life of Monrovia. All four hosts will be offering special pricing on menu items, and participants can win "Relay Swag" at each stop.

Registration and wristbands for a $30 donation will be available at the first stop. Crawlers are invited to wear purple to show their support of Relay for Life.

The pub crawl will begin at 4 p.m. at Sena, 409 S. Myrtle Ave., then proceed to London Gastropub, 419 S. Myrtle Ave., and T. Phillips Ale House, 601 S. Myrtle Ave. The evening will end at Gem City Grill, 115 E. Olive Ave. For more information, contact Michele Metcalf, (626) 241-3506, or Mike Laban, (626) 627-5230.

The Monrovia Relay for Life benefiting the American Cancer Society will be held from 9 a.m. Saturday, August 16, to 9 a.m. Sunday, August 17, at Recreation Park, 500 S. Shamrock Ave. For details and team sponsorship and signup forms, visit relayforlife.org/monroviaca.

- Brad Haugaard

'No Reportable Action' On Opening of Monrovia Hillside Preserve

I've been tracking the city's progress in opening to the public the Hillside Preserve ( http://goo.gl/BqEbdI ) and more recently the Cloverleaf access point to the preserve. The preserve was bought in large part by a bond issue paid for by the residents of Monrovia with the promise that they would have access to the area. Now, more than 14 years later, it is not fully open. In April there was a report ( http://goo.gl/gd39xf ) that the Cloverleaf access point might be opened in July. Since it is now well into July I thought I'd ask about it. Here is what I got back:
Good afternoon Mr. Baugaard,
Thank you for reaching out to me and I appreciate your community support.  City staff continues to work on the future opening of the Cloverleaf access point in the Hillside Wilderness Preserve.  There is no reportable action or proposed opening date at this time, but I would be happy to notify you when a firm date is set.
Thank you,

Tina Cherry
Community Services Director
City of Monrovia

- Brad Haugaard

Real Estate Agent Helps Monrovia Men

Real estate agent helps "low-functioning" Monrovia men find housing. Looking for work for them, too. http://goo.gl/rjCewG

- Brad Haugaard