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Monrovia City Manager Lays Into State ... Again

I don't think City Manager Scott Ochoa is a fan of the California state government. In his weekly report Ochoa writes:

"Governor Brown is quite literally asking mayors and city councilmembers up and down the State, 'If I can't take the money from you, then who can I take it from?' To hear the Governor and some legislators speak, you would have to think that cities have somehow lived through the recession with little or no negative impact."

Ochoa adds that in trying to get rid of redevelopment state officials want to "be able to break the local government 'piggy bank,' as opposed to simply raiding it as they have in years past."

Also, he says of an audit of 18 redevelopment agencies (not Monrovia's) by the State Controller's Office: "I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that the SCO is going to announce findings that agencies are sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars and not spending them, and that these resources should therefore be given to the State. Just a hunch."

Source: http://goo.gl/t1VSN

- Brad Haugaard

Lessons from Monrovia House Fire

The Monrovia Fire Department's report in City Manager Scott Ochoa's weekly report calls the smoke-inhalation death of a woman in a cluttered Magnolia Avenue home ...

"a stark reminder to maintain clear spacing around all appliances, space heaters, water heaters, ovens and stoves to prevent the combustion of material. It is also a reminder that it doesn't take a large or explosive fire to take a life. The fact is, most fatalities occur as a result of smoke and heated gas inhalation, not burns. Properly working smoke detectors and having an escape plan with at least two routes out of your home is critical. Finally, never try to self-extinguish fires. Once a smoke detector activates or smoke is visible, stay low to the ground and exit the structure following your escape route plan."

Source: http://goo.gl/t1VSN

- Brad Haugaard

$7.8 Million AeroVironment Sale / Fundraiser

~ Monrovia's AeroVironment gets $7.8 million order for "upgrade kits" from Marines. http://goo.gl/ss7qy
 
~ Boys and Girls Club fundraiser. http://goo.gl/aRein
 
-Brad Haugaard

Generous Monrovia Pet Store / No 'Market in Park' Sunday

~ Monrovia pet store donates 525 pounds of dog food to shelter. http://goo.gl/QJjci 
 
~ No "Market in the Park" this Sunday. It'll be back on starting February 6. http://goo.gl/J4yr0
 
- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at T. Phillips


Had a guacamole burger for lunch at T. Phillips on Myrtle in Monrovia today. Great! Big burger and crackly homemade chips.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Wrestling & Whistling

~ Wrestling. Monrovia 32, South Pas 29 :-) http://goo.gl/tq8o2
 
~ Monrovia super-whistler Carole Anne Kaufman does Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours". Video: http://goo.gl/7qzUM  Story: http://goo.gl/trccP
 
- Brad Haugaard

Dreier on State of Union Address / Aerosmith

~ Monrovia Congressman David Dreier's response to President Obama's State of the Union address:

"Job creation and economic growth are our most urgent national priorities.  I hope the President’s speech tonight is the start a genuine effort to focus on them.  The pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea represent a key opportunity for us to work together in a bipartisan way to give our economy a shot in the arm and enhance important bilateral relationships.  I applaud the President’s attention to these important economic agreements.  Now, I urge him to follow through by sending all three to the Congress for their immediate approval.  I completely concur with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus that these agreements have languished long enough.  Combined with a return to pre-bailout, pre-binge spending levels and real tax reform, passage of these FTAs can help put our economy back on solid footing and get people back to work."
 
~ Hard rock band, Aerosmith has been working on new album in Monrovia. http://goo.gl/vpdrM
 
- Brad Haugaard

A Wash Cover at Fifth and Huntington

At its February 1 meeting, the Monrovia City Council will consider paying Cordoba Corporation $157,705 to put a lid on the wash at Fifth Avenue and Huntington Drive.
 
The city figures the land - part of the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency area - will be more sell-able if Santa Anita Wash is covered so it doesn't chop the land into two parts. The cover will increase the parking area and improve access for both parcels.
 
 
- Brad Haugaard

Electric Signs Report

At its February 1 meeting the Monrovia City Council will hear how an electronic signs ordinance for private schools and churches is working. The ordinance was passed more than a year ago and the Council wanted to review it after a while. Well, a while has passed and city staff will report that the ordinance seems to be working.
 
There are now two electronic signs in town, at Mount Sierra College and at the Church of the Nazarene at Magnolia and Colorado. No problem at the college, but the church is in a residential area and there have been complaints about the brightness at night and too much scrolling of images. But the city and church are working to fix that.
 
  
- Brad Haugaard

Robbery, Child Abuse, Vandalism, Fights, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for Jan. 20-26. - Brad Haugaard]
 
During the last seven day period, the Police Department handled 454 service events, resulting in 86 investigations.  Following are the last week's highlighted issues and events:
 
Felony Vandalism - Suspect Arrested
January 20 at 12:35 p.m., officers responded to a business in the 1600 block of South Mountain regarding a subject that had thrown rocks at nine parked vehicles, breaking seven windows.  The male suspect was wearing a white t-shirt with a red sweatshirt tied around his waist and he had fled the area.  The suspect was located and detained by officers on Mountain under the freeway.  He was positively identified and arrested for felony vandalism and misdemeanor warrants.
 
Felony Hit and Run Traffic Accident - Suspect Arrested
January 20 at 2:14 p.m., officers responded to the area of Foothill and Mayflower regarding two male subjects fighting as a result of a traffic collision.  The collision involved a motorcycle and a car.  A passenger on the motorcycle sustained injuries.  The driver of the car fled, but was detained by an officer a short distance away.  The driver was positively identified and was arrested. 
 
Robbery
January 21 at 6:05 p.m., police responded to a business in the 500 block of West Huntington that had just been robbed at gunpoint.  The suspect was described as male, 30 years old, possible mustache or goatee, wearing a blue baseball cap, dark hooded sweatshirt, and dark pants.  The suspect was given the money from the register and had exited the business running west toward Mayflower.  An extensive area search was conducted, but the suspect was not located.  Investigation continuing.
 
Grand Theft Auto Recovery - Suspect Arrested
January 21 at 8:37 p.m., an officer on patrol in the 1600 block of South Mayflower located and conducted a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle.  The driver of the vehicle was the listed suspect.  She was arrested and taken into custody.  The vehicle had been stolen from a car rental company. 
 
Child Abuse - Suspect Arrested
January 21 at 5:36 p.m., an officer was dispatched for a welfare check at a residence attached to a business in the 2100 block of South Myrtle.  The investigation resulted in the arrest of the father at the location. Two children were interviewed and stated their father chokes, kicks and pulls their ears.  The 4 year old male child had visible injury to his neck.  He told the investigating officer his father grabs his neck and chokes him.  The Department of Child and Family Services assigned custody of the children to the mother with the requirement that they be kept away from the father until his hearing.  In the early morning, the mother came to the police station with the children to bail out the father.  The Department of Child and Family Services was notified and responded.  They felt the children could not be protected under the current circumstances and took temporary custody of the children.
 
Fight in Progress / Public Intoxication - Subjects Arrested
January 23 at 1:44 a.m., officers responded to a night club in the 300 block of South Myrtle regarding a fight in progress.  Upon arrival, several patrons were gathered to the front of the business and to the rear parking lot.  No fight was observed and no victims came forward; however, two male subjects were obviously intoxicated and were arrested and taken into custody. 
 
Vandalism / Destruction of City Property
January 24 at 8:30 a.m., officers went to the 400 block of East Duarte regarding the vandalism and destruction of city property.  The officer found the lock to the location had been cut off. The property was checked, but no suspects were found.
 
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
January 24 at 9:15 a.m., a resident in the 400 block of East Duarte saw a male and female subject on his neighbor's property.  He closed the gate to secure the couple inside the fenced in area.  The male suspect became combative and forced the gate open.  During the confrontation, the victim was struck on the head with a cordless drill.  The suspects fled the location.  A search of the area was conducted for the suspects, but they were not located.  The victim did not require medical attention.  The investigation is continuing.

Monrovia Sports / Chamber of Commerce Awards

~ Star-News names Monrovia High School football coach Ryan Maddox its coach of the year. http://goo.gl/iDF9S
 
~ Wildcat Nick Bueno named Star-News Player of the Year. http://goo.gl/twPij
 
~ Wildcat defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy named Star-News Defensive Player of the Year. http://goo.gl/Usnoj
 
~ Monrovia Girls Basketball. Wildcats 46, Maranatha 41 :-) http://goo.gl/klAmn
 
~ East edges West (which included Monrovia) in All-Star Girls Volleyball match at Monrovia High. http://goo.gl/eiOW0
 
~ Chamber of Commerce awards. http://goo.gl/dT2q0
 
- Brad Haugaard

Pay Monrovia Fines Online - Maybe


Monrovians can now pay parking citations and maybe code violation fines online using a new service the city is using called EZPay Corp ( http://www.ezpaycorp.com/ ), which says it offers "global payment solutions," though apparently global is only for the United States, or maybe the U.S. and Canada.

I applaud Monrovia's move to make it easier for people to pay their fines, and I'm sure EZPay Corp is a reputable firm, but I really think the city should lean on the company to improve its website.

Here are my gripes:

1. This is a small one, but the home page is designed to sell the EZPay Corp service to governments, not to make it easy for people to pay their fines. It could be a lot clearer.

2. A slightly bigger gripe. The city should be able to link from its website right to the Monrovia, California section of the website rather than force people who are trying to pay their bills to select their state and governmental agency.

3. On the front page there are seven payment options to choose from, including - weirdly - the "Deputy Collectors Office of MA," but if you click on the Service tab, you get six payment options to choose from. Where did the "Ordinance Violations" payment option go?

4. Okay, back to the home page. I pretend I have a code violation (I'm illegally keeping boa constrictors in my backyard or something), so to pay my fine I click the "Ordinance Violations" link and then from the list of fifty states I pick "California" and then "Monrovia" and press the "Continue" button.

What do I get? I get a page titled "Parking Enforcement Services."

Huh?

I'm a code violator! I'm keeping boa constrictors, remember? I'm not a parking violator. What am I doing on this page? Well, as I poke around it appears there is no Ordinance Violations page, so ... what? Do code violators have to pay parking fines instead?

In fact, I try several of the payment options, for Local Taxes, Water Bills, Utility Bills. It doesn't seem to matter. They all take me to the Parking Enforcement Services page.

Okay, let's pretend that I actually did have a parking ticket, so that means I'm on the right page. But now it wants to know what state I live in! Hello?! Right at the top of the page it says "Online Parking Citation Information for Monrovia, California." Uhh, my state is, like, CALIFORNIA, so why are you asking me my state when you've got it printed right on the same page?

Also, remember how the system forced me to pick one of the 50 United States? But now that it has established that I need to pay a fine in the United States ... it lets me pick Canadian provinces! Weird.

Alternatively, I can plug in my "ticket number," which it also calls a "citation number" just to make things interesting.

This is not user-friendly web design, and Monrovia should complain.

- Brad Haugaard

Jail for Monrovia Couple / Fire Victim Identified

~ Monrovia couple gets jail in abduction case. http://goo.gl/fvy5G
 
~ Woman killed in fire identified. http://goo.gl/A45bE
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Rotary vs. Kiwanis / All-Star Volleyball

~ The Monrovia Rotary Club is challenging the Monrovia Kiwanis Club to see how many CIF Championship rings each can buy for the winning Monrovia High Wildcat football team. http://goo.gl/wIHDG
 
~ All-Star Volleyball match at Monrovia High tonight. http://goo.gl/Xu9MT
 
- Brad Haugaard

Car Chase / Monrovia City Manager to Speak

~ Video: Wild car chase through Monrovia ends in crash and arrest in Covina. http://goo.gl/WfQNT
 
~ Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa will give a follow-up to the State of the City. His talk will be this Thursday, January 27, at 7 p.m. at The Peach Cafe, 141 E. Colorado Blvd., Monrovia. It's free. http://goo.gl/JPclH
 
- Brad Haugaard

Highlights of State-of-the-City Address


New Monrovia City Logo

In her state of the city address, Mayor Mary Ann Lutz basically said Monrovia is financially stable, but keeping it that way has been tough and is still tough. But even in the midst of tough times, the city has a lot to brag about. Read the whole speech here: http://goo.gl/f2qT3

"The State of the City," she said, "is stable and secure."

However ...

"Official unemployment numbers are reported today at more than 10% nationally, more than 12% in the state and nearly 11% in Monrovia. If we're to believe those numbers, then there are at least 4,000 of our neighbors who need a job, right now."

and ...

"City income from property taxes last year was below even our low expectations. And, sales tax revenues have been falling short for several years. They are only now showing signs of recovery."
Plus, the California state government has been looting the cities: "Year-after-year of State take-aways that have cost this community millions of dollars."

"The City's staffing has been cut by 12% in the past two years. Nearly 30 of Monrovia's municipal employees were either laid off, retired early or saw their positions eliminated. Some full-time positions have become part-time."

Some good news: "The retail economy seems to have stabilized for the moment and sales tax revenues were actually up 6% in 2009-2010 from the previous year, thanks in large measure to Living Spaces and Paul's TV. But we also saw our auto dealers increase their sales and leases in 2009-2010, and sales tax revenue from those sources was positive for the first time in two years. We haven't seen the figures from the last quarter yet, but it looked like a strong holiday finish for our retailers, too."

However, property taxes are still lagging - "and that means we've been forced to take another look at our expected revenues for the rest of this year and adjust them down another 1.2% - about $120,000."
"In December we bit the bullet and cut spending again - we've cut another 2% across the board. Every department is taking this hit."

Lutz said the city needs "New or higher taxes, or new, productive businesses in a vibrant private sector." And she said she wants to take the new-business approach, and especially to round up the long-awaited In ‘N Out Burger this year. "I promise you, we're putting on a full-court press and we intend to bring this one home this year!"

Also, she said:

~ The governor's plan to do away with redevelopment "is a leap in the wrong direction."
~ "The Gold Line could bring as much as $2 billion worth of investment to this community in the next 10 years."
~ The city is ahead of the game on reforming pensions. She said the city's plan "requires us to fund all contributions annually so there is never a danger of unfunded liability."
~ The Operation Safe Neighborhoods anti-gang program is working.
~ The city is putting a lot of effort into sustainability.
~ Public art has enlivened the downtown area.
~ The Monrovia Area Partnership, formed "to bring coordinated services to neighborhoods that need a little extra attention," has been a success.

- Brad Haugaard

Traffic Calming Devices / State Restructuring 'Unrealistic'

In his weekly report ( http://goo.gl/ssRqD ), Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa reports that ...

~ Monrovia will install "traffic calming devices." Whaaat? Yep. According to the report, they are also known as "speed tables," and are "made of recycled rubber materials, which is unlike the traditional 'Speed Bump' made of concrete or asphalt." The device "is designed to compel drivers to slow down to speed levels that enable better reactions to unexpected situations." The first one will go in around February 1 on the 500 block of Diamond Street.

~ He thinks Governor Brown's plan to get rid of redevelopment agencies is a bad idea. He said of Brown and his staff: "It is either foolhardy or courageous to proclaim that you will endeavor to restructure and 'realign' the apparatus of governance in California (personally, I think it is the latter); however, to leave yourself a mere 90 days in which to dismantle so critically important a mechanism as redevelopment is not realistic." He writes that "with this monumental of a change, the stakeholders must be engaged meaningfully."
 
- Brad Haugaard

Plant a Fast-Growing Oak

The City of Monrovia is suggesting residents consider a fast-growing native tree for their yards.
 
The tree is ... drumroll ... the common Coast Live Oak, which the city says is "almost without equal. They provide hillside erosion control, water wise gardening, a healthy ecosystem, and they are among the most fire-resistant of our local trees."
 
The report says:
 
"The main objection many people have to planting an oak tree is the belief that oaks grow very slowly. This is something of a misconception, especially concerning Monrovia's most common oak, the Coast Live Oak, which actually grows about 2-3 feet per year (height and spread). And it does most of its growing in the first 30 years, so if you plant an oak tree to celebrate the birth of a child, the tree will be big enough to be climbed by the time the child is big enough to climb it! If you are considering improving your hillside landscape, adding shade, or replacing an existing problem tree, the native oak deserves your consideration.
 
"Oaks are available for free in limited numbers from the Forestry Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. These are native oaks, grown principally for the following purposes:
 
- Stabilizing hillsides
- Replacing invasive plants
- Replacing fire-hazardous plants in High Fire Hazard Zones
 
"For more information about obtaining a free oak tree, call the County at (909) 599-4615."
 
 
- Brad Haugaard

Fire on Magnolia Ave in Monrovia

There was a fire on Magnolia Avenue this afternoon, just above Foothill Blvd. A woman was hospitalized.

UPDATE: Sadly, the woman died. http://goo.gl/gEzcU

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Spy Plane Video / Y Fundraiser / Abe Lincoln / Hike to Falls

~ Story and video at ABC News about Global Observer, the unmanned spy airplane developed by Monrovia's AeroVironment. http://goo.gl/boLSX
 
~ Monrovia YMCA is trying to raise $160,000. ttp://goo.gl/hTLvS
 
~ Philip Ostergard, author of "The Inspired Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln," will speak on Presidents Day from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Community Room of the Monrovia Public Library. http://goo.gl/tUkWu
 
~ A nice summary of the hike to the falls in Monrovia Canyon Park. http://goo.gl/zj40f
 
- Brad Haugaard

Girls Basketball / Clothing Store Robbed

~ Girls Basketball: Monrovia 57, South Pasadena 37 :-) The only undefeated team in Rio Hondo League. http://goo.gl/dJIJz and http://goo.gl/DnYRI
 
~ Monrovia's Avenue clothing store robbed. http://goo.gl/ST4BG
 
- Brad Haugaard

Upcoming Monrovia School Board Meeting

At its 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25 meeting, the Monrovia Board of Education will ... 

~ Consider various rules for student transfers within the district, and to and from other districts. http://goo.gl/RKHUf
~ Take a look at a list of projects the district has been working on, and is thinking of working on. Here's the list: http://goo.gl/M7uEA
And here's the full school board agenda: http://goo.gl/NaNi3
- Brad Haugaard

Martin Luther King Stories / Gold Line

~ On Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. there will be Martin Luther King, Jr. stories, honoring his dream through story and song. http://goo.gl/AhyC6
 
~ The Metro Gold Line folks completed a series of public meetings last night, the first step in clearing the Azusa to Montclair stretch of the rail line under environmental regulations. Press release here: http://goo.gl/0mmEZ

- Brad Haugaard

Le'au / Water Polo / Smoking / Mr. History / Loaves of Love

~ Monrovian Tirah Le'au in volleyball all-star game. http://goo.gl/LPMPI
 
~ Girls Water Polo. South Pas 19, Monrovia 5. http://goo.gl/AOzo4
 
~ American Lung Association doesn't think much of Monrovia's (and other local cities') anti-smoking bans. http://goo.gl/DVmOX
 
~ Steve Baker, Mr. Monrovia History - http://goo.gl/aDFTV
 
~ Loaves of Love - Help the Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley put together decorated bread baskets for needy families and Foothill Unity Center. Details here: http://goo.gl/27lfE
 
- Brad Haugaard

Street Walking in Monrovia

A while ago I posted a rant ( http://goo.gl/KOw9t ) called "Are the Sidewalks Broken?" about people walking along the middle of the car lanes in Monrovia right next to perfectly good sidewalks. Now I read that the Governors Highway Safety Association says that "pedestrian fatalities increased during the first six months of 2010." http://goo.gl/vFdyl
 
Well, surprise, surprise.
 
I can't prove there is a connection between accidents and people wearing dark clothing and walking along the middle of the car lanes in the dark, but I kinda sorta think it's a reasonable assumption, and as I said before, if the police want to hand out tickets, I'll cheer. I'd rather people get tickets than hospital bills. 
 
- Brad Haugaard

Domestic Violence, Firearms, Injury, Burglary ...

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for Jan. 13-19. - Brad Haugaard]
 
During the last seven day period, the Police Department handled 453 service events, resulting in 109 investigations.  Following are the last week's highlighted issues and events:
 
Domestic Violence
January 13 at 12:28 p.m., a resident in the 900 block of West Olive reported her neighbors were fighting and that the male subject had a knife.  Officers arrived and summoned paramedics, as both the male and female had injuries.  They were taken to separate hospitals; their injuries were not life threatening.  An Emergency Protection Order was obtained on the female's behalf.  Due to their injuries, neither party was arrested.  The investigation will be completed and forwarded to the District Attorney's office.
 
Ex-Felon in Possession of a Loaded Firearm / Ex-Felon in Possession of Ammunition - Suspect Arrested
January 13 at 9:41 p.m., an officer was patrolling the area of Magnolia and Central when she observed a Lexus with tinted windows that rolled through a stop sign.  She attempted a traffic stop.  The driver did not yield immediately, but eventually stopped at Alta Vista and Montana.  Upon approaching, the officer observed a rifle in the vehicle and ordered the driver to put his hands on the steering wheel.  She requested additional officers.  Assisting officers arrived and were able to safely remove the driver and detain him.  The weapon had one round of unexpended ammunition in the chamber and a magazine with three additional rounds was found next to the driver seat.  The driver is a convicted felon.  He was arrested and booked for several felony charges.
 
Injury Traffic Collision
On January 17 at 5:08 p.m., a 13 year old bicyclist was hit in the crosswalk at Mountain and Wildrose.  The bicyclist was thrown from his bicycle and paramedics were requested.  The 13 year old said he was a little sore, but did not want to be taken to a hospital by ambulance.  His parents said they would take him later if there was a need.  A traffic accident investigation was conducted.
 
Possession of Burglary Tools - Suspect Arrested
January 18 at 3:29 a.m., an officer was patrolling the area of Pomona and California and observed a suspicious subject who is known for burglary and is on parole.  The officer contacted and searched the individual and found he was in possession of lock picks and slugs in the size and shape of a U.S. dollar coin.  The suspect was arrested.
 
Commercial Burglary
January 19 at 3:07 a.m., an employee of a hotel in the 900 block of South Fifth reported a burglary committed by a male suspect seen on video entering the rear of the hotel through an unlocked door.  The suspect approached the front counter while the clerk was away, forced open the cash register, and removed an unknown amount of cash.  Once a copy of the video is available, it will be provided to police.  The investigation is continuing.
 
Residential Hot Prowl Burglary
January 19 at 4:43 a.m., a resident in the 400 block of East Duarte was preparing to go to work when she discovered her purse was missing.  Upon further investigation, she discovered her kitchen window screen had been removed.  Apparently, someone opened the unlocked kitchen window, removed the victim's keys from the kitchen counter, and unlocked the door.  Once inside, the suspect took the victim's purse.  The investigation is continuing.

Old Town Valentine / Fiberglas Bears

~ Win an Old Town Monrovia Valentine's Day Weekend! A 40-inch teddy bear; a dozen red roses; breakfast, lunch or dinner at your favorite Old Town Monrovia restaurant. Details here: http://goo.gl/66G0R
 
~ The artist-decorated 3- to 4-foot-tall Fiberglas bears we mentioned earlier ( http://goo.gl/A3PeI ) have been announced by city officials. They'll be sprinkled around town. http://goo.gl/oy4jm
 
- Brad Haugaard 

Elections / Girls & Boys Club / Boys Soccer :-(

~ City Elections. A few challengers but Mayor Lutz will run unopposed. http://goo.gl/P5lAe

~ There will be a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club on Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel, 924 W. Huntington Drive in Monrovia - http://goo.gl/PXHjE

~ Boys Soccer - La Canada 2, Monrovia 1 :-(  http://goo.gl/ON6UO

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Approved for Metro Maintenance Yard

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority Board of Directors yesterday certified a supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) approving a 25-acre maintenance and operations facility in Monrovia, new parking locations at the Monrovia and Irwindale stations, reconfiguration of the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Duarte Road and replacement of two bridges.
 
The plan is for the maintenance and operations facility to be located in Monrovia between Evergreen Avenue on the north, Shamrock Avenue on the east, California Avenue on the west and Duarte Road on the south.
 
Habib F. Balian, CEO of the Construction Authority, said that approval of the supplemental EIR "is an important step in our process to ready the Foothill Extension Pasadena to Azusa for final design and construction."
 
The extension from Pasadena to Azusa, which includes adding six new stations, should be finished by late 2014.
 
- Brad Haugaard

Historic Frame


You may recall the Monrovia Historic Preservation Commission discussing the house at 270 N. Myrtle? Well, here it is now. I guess the frame and foundation are what's being saved.

Here's the house earlier: http://goo.gl/jOz1T
- Brad Haugaard

Donate Week / Water Polo

~ January 17-23 is Donate Week in Monrovia's green month. Give stuff you don't need anymore to a charity, get rid of hazardous waste and old electronics.

The Salvation Army will come get your old clothing and furniture for free. Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK 1 (800) 728-7825 to schedule a pick-up. Also, this Saturday (Jan. 22) there will be a Salvation Army collection event at the Park & Ride lot at the southwest corner of Myrtle and Pomona avenues. Stop by and drop-off stuff.

Also, you can get rid of old paint, bug spray, batteries and old electronics (television sets, VCRs, cell phones) by contacting VM Curbside, LLC for free pick-up. Call 1-800-449-7597 to schedule.

~ Girls Water Polo: Monrovia 6, Temple City 8 :-( http://goo.gl/Lfw4N

- Brad Haugaard

Doggy Restrooms

Just across from the restrooms in Monrovia Canyon Park we find that the dogs have not been forgotten. Zoom in if you can't see the detail.


- Brad Haugaard

State of Monrovia Speech / Resurfacing of Huntington

A couple stray items from City Manager Scott Ochoa's weekly report:
 
~ Tickets are gone for the State of the City address by Mayor Mary Ann Lutz at the Krikorian Premiere Theater on Monday, January 24, but you can watch it on KGEM. http://www.kgem.com
 
~ West Huntington Drive will be a big, fat mess for a few months starting in March as the street is refurbished. The street will be ground down to be resurfaced and some concrete panels will be removed or replaced.
 
 
- Brad Haugaard

Making New Land in Monrovia

Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa reports that in February the city council will consider a plan to put a cover over the wash at Huntington and Fifth. Bingo! New property that can be used for new businesses. Bottom line: more sales and property tax for the city and school district. [Didn't Mark Twain say you should invest in land because they're not making any more of it? Guess he was wrong.]
 
 
- Brad Haugaard

Great White Shark vs. Monrovia

Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa warns that Monrovia faces a "fragile" economic recovery during 2011.
 
In his weekly report, he writes that "The economic recovery that is underway still has not quite reached Main Street USA, and we have the financial and organizational bumps and bruises to prove it."
 
However, he said, sales tax revenue is up, property tax revenue is "mildly growing" and we're starting to see a bit of building.
 
But, he said, "2011 will not be easy, even if the State of California does leave us alone." And he does not seem optimistic that "the 30-foot great white shark that is the State of California" will leave the city alone.
 
Specifically, he is upset at Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminated redevelopment agencies.
 
"I suppose," he writes, "I have to give the Governor credit for having the gumption for coming to the conclusion that, if he can't shake the money from the piggybank, he may as well take the piggybank and break it."
 
Ochoa adds that, "Without redevelopment agencies, most cities - perhaps every city - will be unable to sustain any semblance of economic development activity."
 
 
- Brad Haugaard

Beautiful MLK Day in Monrovia


It looks like it will be a beautiful Martin Luther King day in Monrovia. Estimated high of 80 and - as you can see - a lovely clear day.
Also, check out Foundation 44, a nonprofit Monrovia counseling service that helps students go to college. http://goo.gl/5t5Py
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Sports: Football, Girls Basketball

~ Running back De'Shawn Ramirez hopes to be back on the Monrovia High football team in the fall. http://goo.gl/UBhof
 
~ Girls Basketball. Monrovia 59, San Marino 40. :-) http://goo.gl/JYEPu
 
- Brad Haugaard

Green Dot To Manage Federal Pilot Program / Funeral / Bleachers

~ Monrovia's Green Dot Corporation will manage a Treasury Department pilot program to let low income people receive their tax refunds via debit card. http://goo.gl/R7Evx
 
~ Funeral services for former Monrovia Police employee. http://goo.gl/fLZvY

~ More on the bleacher problems at Monrovia High. http://goo.gl/H9ou4
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Council: On the Agenda

Here is the agenda for the Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. Monrovia City Council meeting: http://goo.gl/GfzEx
 
And here are some items on the agenda:
 
~ The City Council will receive an annual financial report on the city by an independent auditor. Big picture: as of June 30, 2010, Monrovia's combined net assets decreased $10.41 million, or 29.7 percent, compared to the previous year. Lots more detail here: http://goo.gl/PCDOS
 
~ The City Council will consider entering into an agreement with Southern California Edison - along with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments - to work on energy efficiency projects. More here: http://goo.gl/JOLL6
 
~ Monrovia is scheduled to receive aabout $369,031 in Community Development Block Grant money which will be spent on neighborhood preservation, rehabilitation, and sports and recreation activities. http://goo.gl/ycJnD
 
~ The council will vote on some new rules for business signs in Old Town. http://goo.gl/IH5Hr
 
~ The council will decide whether to give letter grades to mobile food vendors (as is done for restaurants) and tax them $225 per year for a business license, plus a $25 application fee for a new license, and $11 for a renewal. http://goo.gl/psaOs
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Soccer and Basketball

Boys Soccer. Monrovia 5, Temple City 0 :-) http://goo.gl/tSn9p
 
Boys Basketball. Temple City 60, Monrovia 56 :-( http://goo.gl/y5EMZ
 
Girls Basketball. Monrovia 55, Temple City 34 :-) http://goo.gl/y5EMZ
 
- Brad Haugaard

Cheap Chicken

Monrovia's King Ranch Market is offering 10 lbs. of chicken thighs and drumsticks for $3.90 until Tuesday. That's 39 cents a pound. My wife says that's "unbelievably cheap." Source: http://goo.gl/Ew5hF

- Brad Haugaard

Assaults, Battery, Robbery, Burglary, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for Jan. 6-12. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven day period, the Police Department handled 512 service events, resulting in 117 investigations.  Following are the last week's highlighted issues and events:
 
Grand Theft from Vehicle
January 6 at 6:51 a.m., an officer was dispatched to the 700 block of Wildrose regarding a vehicle burglary.  The victim reported that his truck was broken into sometime during the night.  The victim had parked his truck in his driveway, but did not lock it.  He returned to it in the morning and discovered the loss.  Investigation continuing.
 
Outside Assist - Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT) - 5 Suspects Arrested 
January 6 at 1:02 p.m., an officer responded to the 800 block of West Duarte to assist LA IMPACT personnel on a residence check.  As they arrived at the residence, a vehicle was exiting the garage.  The vehicle was stopped.  A large amount of marijuana was located in the vehicle.  Five suspects were detained and arrested; one subject ran and was not located.
 
Vehicle Tampering - Suspects Arrested
January 6 at 7:31 p.m., a witness reported two male juveniles seen checking car doors on several vehicles on Foothill near Shamrock.  Officers responded and the two were stopped and subsequently arrested for vehicle tampering.  The investigation determined no burglaries or thefts had occurred, probably because all the doors were locked.  The two juveniles were later released to their parents with citations.
 
Attempt Burglary
January 6 at 11:34 p.m., an officer was dispatched to a business in the 700 block of East Huntington. An employee of a business reported that a male subject had just broken the front, glass door to an adjacent business.  When the suspect saw the employee, he left walking west on Huntington.  An officer responded and found the suspect at California and Huntington in a parking lot.  When the suspect saw the police car, he fled through the parking lot.  Containment was set up with the assistance of Arcadia police officers and the El Monte Police Department helicopter; however, the suspect was not located.
 
Assault with a Deadly Weapon / False Imprisonment - Suspect Arrested
January 7 at 6:59 p.m., officers responded to a residence in the 200 block of West Olive regarding a fight in progress.  When they arrived, a female subject exited the house and ran to the officers.  Her hands had been tied behind her back with a belt and she was screaming for help.  Her mother was with her and the mother's finger had been cut.  The two subjects were at the location visiting an aunt, who lives in the garage, which has been modified into a dwelling space.  An argument had begun with residents in the backhouse as to whether or not they had a right to be there.  The male resident from the backhouse grabbed the daughter by the hair and pulled her into his house, where he tied her up, then wielded a knife and slashed at the mother who was trying to protect her daughter.  The officers arrested the suspect.  An I.C.E. hold was placed on the subject, as he was found to be illegally in the United States.
 
Driving Under the Influence / Hit and Run Traffic Collision - Suspect Arrested
January 7 at 11:41 p.m., officers responded to the report of a traffic collision at Alamitas, just north of Diamond.  A driver struck a fire hydrant with his vehicle.  There was no damage to the hydrant; however, there was extensive damage to the vehicle.  The driver lost his front bumper as he fled the scene.  He drove around the corner to his home on Montana, followed by a witness.  As he parked in his driveway, officers arrived and saw him enter his home.  He was located hiding in a small cabinet next to the backdoor.  He was positively identified by the witness and was determined by officers to have been driving under the influence.  He was arrested and taken into custody.
 
Domestic Battery - Suspect Arrested
January 8 at 11:02 a.m., officers responded to a residence in the 700 block of West Walnut.  They arrived and determined a husband and wife had been arguing about an incident that occurred over a year ago, but the husband's mother had just found out about.  The husband slapped the wife once in the face.  He was arrested for misdemeanor spousal battery and later released on citation.
 
Assault with a Deadly Weapon / Conspiracy to Commit a Crime / Participation in Criminal Street Gang / Violation of Gang Injunction - Suspects Arrested
January 8 at 8:02 p.m., an officer responded to a residence in the 100 block of Montana regarding several victims being attacked by gang members.  The victims alleged they were standing in the carport area of the location when a black SUV approached and four gang members exited the vehicle.  One of the gang members was armed with a machete and another was holding a handgun.  The gang members chased the victims for a short distance, but returned to the SUV without further incident.  No shots were fired and no one was injured.
 
Approximately 30 minutes later, an officer located the SUV at Peck and Longden.  One of the suspects fled on foot through residential yards.  The Foothill Air Support helicopter arrived and directed officers to the suspect, and he was taken into custody.  The suspect is a juvenile gang member who had a no-bail warrant out for his arrest.  During the foot pursuit, a high-risk stop was conducted on the SUV.  Three additional suspects were detained.  The victims positively identify the suspects and their vehicle.  The weapons were not recovered.
 
Parole Violation / Possession of Methamphetamine Pipe / Possession of Marijuana - Suspect Arrested
January 9 at 2.55 a.m., an officer stopped a suspicious person parked behind a business at Pomona and Myrtle. Upon contacting the subject, a subsequent investigation revealed he was on parole for arson.  The officer found a glass methamphetamine pipe, marijuana, a folding knife, and a laptop computer that is believed to be stolen.  The subject was arrested and a parole hold was obtained.
 
Vehicle Burglary
January 11 at 5:52 a.m., two male suspects wearing dark clothing and black beanies were seen smashing the window on a vehicle.  The suspects were seen removing a GPS from the vehicle.  They fled and were last seen getting into an older Honda with a roof rack.  The incident is under investigation.
 
Robbery
January 12 at 11:06 p.m., a robbery was reported at a business in the 500 block of West Huntington in the parking lot.  A female employee had just ended her shift and was walking to her car.  An older, grey, 4-door Honda Civic with tinted windows approached her.  The vehicle was occupied by two male subjects, possibly gang members.  The passenger exited the vehicle and approached the victim with a knife in one hand and a small black club in the other.  When he demanded the victim's money, she told him she did not have any.  He then demanded her cell phone, which she gave to the suspect.  The suspects fled southbound on Mayflower.  Investigation continuing.

Woman Robbed / Gym Opens Tomorrow / Oscar Movies

~ A woman robbed on Huntington near Mayflower last night. http://goo.gl/l188l
 
~ Monrovia High gym to open Friday. http://goo.gl/iY8zB
 
~ The Monrovia Library presents Road to the Oscars movie nights, on January 24, January 31, and February 7. Movies start at 6 p.m. in the Library Community Room. This series is free and is sponsored by the Friends of the Monrovia Public Library. For film titles and descriptions, please call the Library at 626-256-8274 and ask for the Adult Reference Desk. http://goo.gl/b7ntC
 
- Brad Haugaard

Yard Sales / No Review of Conviction / No Contest

~ Cool, a list of yard sale locations in Monrovia for Jan. 10-16. http://goo.gl/pUPVw
 
~ State Supreme Court will not review conviction in the stabbing deaths of a Monrovia couple. http://goo.gl/eyNWa
 
~ Monrovian enters no contest plea in killing of Arcadia man. http://goo.gl/sSUf6
 
- Brad Haugaard

Loopnet Leaving Town / Monrovia Spy Plane

~ Loopnet, a Monrovia-based online real estate listing service, is moving to Glendora. http://goo.gl/merWc
 
~ More on huge spy plane built by Monrovia's AeroVironment: http://goo.gl/zAG58
 
- Brad Haugaard

Tom Adams - Mayor of Bras


Not only is Tom Adams Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Monrovia, but according to his Twitter postings he is also "mayor" of various businesses and organizations around town, including Little Caesars, Monrovia Community Center, and, of course, Wizard of Bras.

Congratulations, Tom!

Actually, he is just using an online game/tool called foursquare.

And just kidding, Tom. That's okay isn't it Tom? Tom?

- Brad Haugaard ( See Tom's comment ===> )

What's Objectionable about 'Rent' Play?

Since the Monrovia School District thought the play Rent was inappropriate for a high school play, I thought I'd skim through it to see what might be objectionable. You can read it yourself, here: http://goo.gl/M2GEe

UPDATE:I should make clear that this is from a script I found on the Internet. If the play the High School was thinking of putting on has been modified, then the information below may not fully apply.

Well, it is certainly very racy and gritty. There are scenes that are distinctly sexual. Not something I'd go to. Here are a few clips and comments about the script, and note that the stuff below is pretty strong in itself:
 
~ It uses very crude language in places. It lets you know right away it's not Oklahoma! You run into your first "sh_t" in the opening lines and in various places thereafter, and there is the "f" word in its various iterations, including the one with "mother" in front of it.

~ There is drug abuse and drinking. Quoting from the script: "April buys a packet of white powder from a dealer, THE MAN, a sinewy, greasy, sleazy dope dealer" and "A heavy rain. Roger and April shoot heroin beneath a fire escape" and, as part of a toast, "To marijuana" and "Wine and beer" and, after a funeral, "C'mon. Let's go get drunk."

~ There are sex scenes and sexy scenes. From the script: "Roger and April make love." and "Maureen and Mark are making love." and "Maureen is just grinding as she dances with another guy." and "Maureen shares a passionate kiss with the man, then turns, shares another with the woman" and "Angel lies face down on the table. Mimi mimics giving it to her from behind."

~ There is suicide: "April's lifeless arm dangles over the side. A heavy stream of blood mingles with the bathwater, spilling over onto the floor."

~ There are references to various forms of sexuality: Maureen works at a sex club that features bondage. "Handcuffs. Leather. Whips." and - as part of the toast referenced above - "To sodomy. It's between God and me." and "To S and M!" and there are references to dildoes and masturbation and cross-dressing and a lesbian relationship.

~ There is Santa Claus in drag.

~ There is a crude reference or two to the birth of Christ. A song says "In this week when we celebrate the birth ... / In that little town of Bethlehem, we raise / our glass, you bet your ass to ... /
[The song is interrupted as "Maureen moons Benny's table." Then is continued by Mark] / "La Vie Boheme!"

~ A guy kills someone's pet dog by throwing it from a 23rd story window.

~ There is a strip scene, though it appears the audience only sees the backs of the actors: "Mimi and Angel throw off their leather. All bra and panties. Mimi and Angel whip off their bras. We see them from behind."

~ There is a reference to sucking on a cow's udder. [Not sure how to classify that.]

- Brad Haugaard

AeroVironment Spy Plane / STAAR Revenue Down

~ Spy Plane - Giant AeroVironment spy drone (almost the wingspan of a 747) takes a test flight in the Mojave. Can stay in the sky for days. http://goo.gl/cCSPt
 
~ Declining Revenue - Monrovia's STAAR Surgical expects to report $14.2 million in revenue in the fourth quarter, a decrease of 28 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009. http://goo.gl/H76In
 
- Brad Haugaard

Yet More on Rent Play

~ Statement from Monrovia High principal - http://goo.gl/E0Qvq
~ Will the ACLU get involved? http://goo.gl/BUiJW
~ More details - http://goo.gl/GkKLv

What do you think?

~ Should the district consider the content of a play before allowing it to be performed?
~ Should the district ever overrule a drama teacher?
~ What guidelines, if any, should be used to determine which plays are performed at Monrovia High?

Add a comment.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Traffic Advisory

Beginning tomorrow, January 11, a long-term public works project starts on Myrtle Avenue at both the Huntington Drive and Chestnut Avenue intersections. The project will run to May 2. Work hours are between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
 
More details here: http://goo.gl/RBQsE
 
- Brad Haugaard

Hillside Ground Cover for Monrovia Area

If you want to cover a hillside with a ground-cover plant, here is a list of recommended plants compiled by the Monrovia Fire Department. The department suggests a mix of species with varying root depths for best erosion control. For more information, the department recommends this website: http://www.theodorepayne.org/ . [Posted by Brad Haugaard, Source: http://goo.gl/9sru5 ]
 
 
NOTE: Asterisk indicates plant is combustible and may need extra maintenance.

KEYS TO FLOWER COLOR: B = Blue; V = Violet/Purple; R = Red; 0 = Orange; G = Green; W = White; P = Pink; Y = Yellow

Groundcovers (for surface soil retention)
- *Achillea millefolium, Yarrow P/R/W - full sun or part shade; spreads
- Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks' or ‘Pigeon Point', Dwarf Coyote Brush W
- Ceanothus griseus horizontalis ‘Yankee Point' B
- Grasses with tough fibrous root systems (many choices)
- Mimulus spp., Monkey Flower O/P/R/Y
- Salvia spp., Groundcover Sage Varieties such as ‘Gracias,' ‘Pt. Sal,' ‘Bees Bliss'
- Epilobium canum and E. canum latifolia, California Fuchsia P/R/W (white form requires some shade)

Small Shrubs (for soil retention and limited hillside stabilization)
- *Artemisia californica, Coastal Sagebrush G/Y - aromatic, super-tough plant for dry spots
- Brickellia grandiflora, Brickell Bush W - easy to grow and tough; good for partially shaded dry spot
- Encelia californica, California Bush Sunflower Y - fast-growing and easy; reseeds; seeds appeal to birds
- *Eriogonum spp., Buckwheat P/W - especially E. fasciculatum, California Buckwheat
- Fallugia paradoxa, Apache Plume W/Y - tough plant with lovely tufted seedheads
- Isocoma menziesii, Coast Goldenbush Y - cheerful fall bloomer
- Isomeris arborea, Bladderpod Y -bright yellow flowers attract hummers and bumblebees; interesting seed pods
- Iva hayesiana, San Diego Marsh Elder - crisp green color, soft texture; spreads, takes sun or shade
- Romneya coulteri, Matilija Poppy W/Y - tough root system spreads by rhizomes
- Salvia spp., Sages B/P/R/V/W - shrubs such as Black and White Sages, Cleveland Sage, San Miguel Mtn. Sage
- Trichostema lanatum, Wooly Blue Curls B/V - likes a dry sunny spot with excellent drainage
- Yucca whipplei, Our Lord's Candle W

Large Shrubs And Trees (for hillside stabilization)
- *Adenostoma fasciculatum, Chamise W - tough-as-nails, with striking white flower clusters in spring
- Aesculus californica, California Buckeye W - one of the most ornamental native shrubs/trees
- Arctostaphylos spp., Manzanita P/W - very deep root system; many stump-sprout after fire
- Ceanothus spp., California Lilac B/V/W - especially local species; hybrids best with a little afternoon shade
- Cephalanthus occidentalis, Button Willow W - ornamental ball-shaped flowers; deciduous; likes water
- Heteromeles arbutifolia, Toyon W - excellent for screen or bird habitat; adaptable to wet or dry, sun or shade
- Juglans californica, Southern California Walnut - excellent small- to medium-sized shade tree; edible nuts
- Rhus spp.: *Laurel Sumac, Lemonadeberry, Sugar Bush P/W -- drought-resistant, aromatic, attaining large size
- *Pinus coulteri, Coulter Pine; at higher elevations: P. jeffreyi, Jeffrey Pine or P. ponderosa, Ponderosa Pine
- Quercus spp. (Oak) such as Q. agrifolia, Coast Live Oak; Q. dumosa, Scrub Oak; Q. wislizenii, Interior Live Oak
- Sambucus mexicana, Elderberry W/Y - pretty flower clusters and berries; takes moisture or drought

Shrubs And Trees For Erosion Control In Dry Or Moist Shade
- Alnus spp., Alder - moisture to get established
- Brickellia grandiflora, Brickell Bush W - dry
- Calycanthus occidentalis, Spice Bush R - dry or moist
- Cercis occidentalis, Western Redbud P - dry
- Cornus spp., Dogwood W - moist
- Euonymus occidentalis, Burning Bush P - moist
- Iva hayesiana, San Diego Marsh Elder - dry or moist
- Quercus chrysolepis, Canyon Live Oak - dry or moist
- Ribes spp., Currants and Gooseberries - dry or moist
- Rosa californica, Wild Rose P - moist; tolerates dry
- Salix spp., Willow - moist or wet
- Spiraea douglasii, Spiraea P - moist
- Symphoricarpos mollis, Snowberry P - dry or moist
- Umbellularia californica, CA Laurel W - dry or moist

Notes: The listed species of yarrow, sagebrush, buckwheat and grasses have fine foliage or flowers which, when dry, are easily ignitable. These species should not be planted unless you can commit to extra maintenance - regularly remove spent flowers and any dead material, train plant as a low groundcover, and keep a clear buffer zone around the patch.

Chamise is on most fire-prevention agencies' lists of fire-hazardous plants, so it is best to avoid planting it within 200' of any structure. If it is already growing in your yard and serving a good erosion-control function, just maintain it assiduously free of any dead or dying material and leaf litter, well-pruned into a light, open form, or trained low as a groundcover, and isolated from other potential fuels.

The same advice goes for laurel sumac - if it is thriving on your hillside, retain enough of it to keep serving your erosion control needs, but maintain it "lean, clean and green", as described above for chamise. If you are replacing a laurel sumac bush, try one of the other "Rhus" species listed - lemonadeberry or sugarbush, which are less resinous than the sumac.

Pines are also on most lists of fire-prone trees, and they are not well-adapted to Monrovia's warmth and dryness. Many cities and individuals are currently spending large amounts of money to remove pines that have become overgrown, so it is not recommended that you plant a pine. To maintain an existing pine, keep the pine needles cleaned up and limb the tree up to at least 6' from the ground (but no more than 1/3 of the tree's height) to prevent a fire ladder and prune away any branches that come within 10 feet of a structure.

Fire Department Gives Toys and Money

The Monrovia Fire Department received 620 toys and $1,250 in cash donations during the holiday season. Most of the toys went to the Foothill Unity Center, and some going to three local schools. The $1,250 collected was donated to the California Community Foundation. Firefighter Ernesto Moreno put in the extra work to coordinate the department's efforts.
 
Source: http://goo.gl/9sru5
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Manager Nervous About State Budget

Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa said he is afraid California Governor Jerry Brown may propose changing redevelopment law to help balance the state budget. He thinks eliminating redevelopment agencies could even be unconstitutional. He writes:

"This week, during Governor Brown's swearing-in, the curtain was partially pulled back to reveal some of the strategy that will be employed to help curb a mammoth $25 billion budget shortfall over the next two years. While I expect that any real solution will involve both revenue increases and service reductions - and possibly even significant structural changes in the governance and administration of the State - I was disappointed to see the wholesale elimination of the California Redevelopment Law was floated as a trial balloon. To me, this signifies more of the same short-sightedness that helped to get us into the fix we're currently in. Properly run redevelopment agencies - and the large majority of them are indeed operated ethically, responsibly and effectively - are catalysts for job creation and growth, investment, the creation of affordable housing and the elimination of blight. To eliminate redevelopment agencies in order to redirect their funding to counties in order to help pay the State's financial obligation to education is irresponsible and, probably, unconstitutional."
 
Source: http://goo.gl/9sru5
 
- Brad Haugaard

State Budget and Monrovia Clinic

A look at a Monrovia clinic that could have funding cut under Brown budget. http://goo.gl/mRwgE
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Calendar Available


A calendar featuring celebrating Monrovia's 125th birthday is now available at the Monrovia Community Center and the Dollmaker’s Katywompus in Old Town for $10.

Source: http://goo.gl/NYKpM

- Brad Haugaard

New Monrovia School Administrators

Two new school administrators are joining the Monrovia Unified School District this month. They are:

~ Dr. Julie Vitale, the new Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services. She began with the district on January 3. http://goo.gl/NVOA9

~ Ms. Connie Wu, the new Chief Business Officer. She will be starting January 10. http://goo.gl/gusQM

- Brad Haugaard

Completion Schedule for Monrovia High Projects


If you are wondering when the various projects will be completed at Monrovia High, this image spells it out.

Also, here is the full school board agenda for the Wednesday, Jan. 12 meeting. http://goo.gl/BIe5b

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Falls Pix / Wrestlers Edged by La Canada / Wiz of Bras

~ A very cool comparison picture showing the waterfalls at Monrovia Canyon Park in 1890 and today. Amazing difference (I mean, aside from color vs. black-and-white): http://goo.gl/Ovauj
 
~ Monrovia Falls Pix / Wildcat Wrestlers Fall to La Canada / Wiz of Bras
 
~ Interview with owner of The Wizard of Bras. http://goo.gl/qcpNS
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Celebrates Wildcat CIF Victory

Monrovians gathered at Library Park Thursday night after a parade from Monrovia High School to celebrate the first Monrovia Wildcat football CIF championship since ... well ... EVER!

There were speakers from the city (including Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, shown here) and the school district. The crowd, some of whom had waited many long years for a Wildcat football championship, appeared to be delighted, and the football team most thrilled of all.

More coverage: http://goo.gl/adWwe and http://goo.gl/k5Z4C .
 
- Brad Haugaard




Parade Tonight / Xencor Deal / Tour Idlewild Home

~ Football Parade ~ Monrovia is celebrating the Monrovia High football championship tonight. Parade starts at MHS at 6:30 p.m. and travels along Colorado to Myrtle, then north of Myrtle to Library Park for the festivities.
 
~ Monrovia-based Xencor has entered a development deal with Amgen to produce a treatment for autoimmune diseases. Amgen has the option to an exclusive worldwide license on the treatment. http://goo.gl/e4b4q


 ~ See the historic Idlewild home during the Mother's Day Old Home Tour. http://goo.gl/lgUM0 , http://goo.gl/UCd8W


- Brad Haugaard

Police Report: Fall from Roof, Drinking and Driving, Theft, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for Dec. 30-Jan. 5. - Brad Haugaard]
 
During the last seven day period, the Police Department handled 480 service events, resulting in 100 investigations.  Following are the last week's highlighted issues and events:
 
Medical Assist
December 30 at 8:04 a.m., officers responded to a business in the 700 block of East Los Angeles regarding an employee who had fallen off the roof.  Officers requested paramedics while en route to the location.  On arrival, the subject was stable and breathing.  Apparently, the 70 year old maintenance worker was climbing a ladder up to the roof, lost his footing and fell to the ground.
 
Death Report     
December 30 at 11:04 a.m., a resident in the 300 block of South Madison reported that her neighbor's front door was open, the dogs were barking, and no one would answer the door.  Officers responded and found an elderly female subject on the floor and unresponsive.  The Coroner's Office was contacted since the deceased did not have any known family.
 
Vehicle Burglary
December 30 at 1:24 p.m., an officer was dispatched to a residence in the 400 block of North Canyon regarding a vehicle burglary.  The victim told the officer she went out to her vehicle and saw the driver's side door window broken out and her GPS was missing.  No suspects were seen or heard.  Investigation continuing.
 
Grand Theft
December 30 at 4:16 p.m., an officer went to a business in the 300 block of West Huntington.  The reporting party told the officer two male subjects, one with a goatee, gray polo, and black jacket, and the other wearing a beanie went into the store.  One subject distracted the employee, while the other looked at some items in a case.  The two subjects met by the case and made their way out the front door.  They got into a black Audi with no plates and left eastbound.  The loss was two iPods and an iPad.  Investigation continuing.
 
Driving Under the Influence Checkpoint
On December 30, the Monrovia Police Department held a Driving Under the Influence Checkpoint in the 300 block of West Huntington.  During the event, there was one subject arrested for driving under the influence, two citations issued for unlicensed drivers, two cited for expired licenses, and one cited for no license in possession.  One driver was cited for possession of marijuana.
 
Grand Theft Auto - Suspect Arrested
December 31 at 11:36 p.m., an officer was driving west on Cypress when he noticed a suspicious lone male subject in a vehicle.  The officer requested a computer check on the license plate of a black Honda, which returned stolen out of West Covina.  During the investigation, it was discovered that the suspect had methamphetamine in the vehicle and he had been trying to sell it to a nearby resident.  The suspect was arrested and taken into custody.
 
Driving Under the Influence - Suspect Arrested
January 1 at 2:57 a.m., an officer on patrol in the area of Huntington and Mayflower noticed a speeding vehicle and conducted a traffic stop.  During the investigation, it was determined that the driver was under the influence of alcohol.  The subject was arrested.
 
Driving Under the Influence / Evading - Suspect Arrested
January 1 at 8:47 p.m., an officer was flagged down by an employee of a business in the 400 block of West Foothill.  The employee pointed out a vehicle that was backing out of a parking stall.  The officer ordered the driver to stop his vehicle, but the driver sped out of the parking lot.  The officer believed a crime may have just occurred and went after the vehicle.  The driver turned off the vehicle headlights and sped up to approximately 70 miles per hour on a residential street.  The driver failed to stop for a stop sign and then collided into three parked vehicles.  The driver was ordered out of the vehicle, and during the investigation, the driver stated that he fled because he had been drinking.  The driver was arrested for driving under the influence and was also charged with evading.  No injuries were reported.
 
Trespassing / Mental Evaluation / Restraining Order Issued
January 3 at 10:18 a.m., a 16 year old male subject was waiting outside of a teenage girl's house.  The girl had broken up with the boy, but he would not leave her front porch.  The boy had been ordered off the property by officers earlier that day.  He was arrested for trespassing and brought to the Monrovia Police Department, where he was released on a citation to his mother.  At 12:35 p.m., the boy had returned to the girl's house again and refused to leave without seeing the girl.  The boy made statements to officers that he was depressed.  He was taken into custody and taken to a hospital for mental evaluation.  The girl's mother obtained a restraining order against the boy.
 
Stolen Vehicle Recovered - 4 Suspects Arrested

January 3 at 10:25 a.m., an observant neighbor in the 800 block of West Olive watched several young people remove a license plate from a vehicle and replace it with paper plates.  The subjects drove off in the vehicle, but returned shortly.  The witness called police, who responded.  The witness was able to identify all the suspects, including a suspect who walked away prior to officers arriving. The vehicle had been stolen out of Azusa and the owner was unaware it had been taken.  All four suspects were arrested.
 
Vandalism
January 5 at 1:08 a.m., officers drove by the high school and noticed the sign in front of the school was spray painted with letters written in black spray paint.  Officers took a report and notified the school.  The report will be forwarded to the Special Enforcement Team for further investigation.

Rent Play Update

~ Lousy Play? KPCC weighs in on the nixed "Rent" play: "The story is obvious, the characters are obnoxious, and the music isn't very good." http://goo.gl/z1dQD

~ Protest Retirement? Monrovia High drama teacher prevented from putting on "Rent" play may retire next year in protest. http://goo.gl/9bRcK

- Brad Haugaard

Pho Restaurant / No Rent

Monrovia gets a Pho restaurant. Lemon Pho at 113 E. Lemon. (I ate at this place when it was in Pasadena and it was good.) http://goo.gl/K3l8M
 
Monrovia High theater production of "Rent" canceled because of content. http://goo.gl/WjJc6
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Girl's Volleyball & Boy's Basketball

Monrovia's Girls Volleyball star: Tirah Le'au. http://goo.gl/GxVOF
 
Boy's Basketball. Monrovia 47, St. Francis 59. :-( http://goo.gl/BjAWc
 
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Canyon Oaks/Mountain Park Students Donate 22 Turkeys

[Awesome generosity by Monrovia's continuation high school students. I've written before ( http://goo.gl/C4j0k ) about Monrovia's amazing continuation high schools. This article is from Natalie Macchia, Canyon Oaks/Mountain Park Counselor. - Brad Haugaard]

In response to Foothill Unity Center's outcry for help when short 300 turkeys, Canyon Oaks and Mountain Park High School students rallied to meet the needs in our community.  Under the direction of Special Education teacher Scott Iler, the effort began with a simple e-mail to teachers for help in collecting money to buy a couple of turkeys.  Mr. Iler proceeded to make an announcement in the classrooms letting students know they could participate in this effort and donate change if they had any to share.  Within an hour, over $300 was collected!

One young lady was embarrassed to give a handful of pennies, but still wanted to contribute anything she could.  A young man insisted on giving $1.50, which was reserved for his bus fair, stating he would walk instead.  Students repeatedly said, “I know what it's like to need and I want to give back, my family has used the Unity Center before." And lastly, a remarkable student who is gainfully employed, donated $120 of his own money, sharing that he is presently in a position to give back and believes that is the right thing to do having been in a previously rough situation. 

Following the collection, several staff members and students drove to Fresh and Easy in Duarte and were able to purchase 22 turkeys and 4 boxes of stuffing, partly because of the coupons employees provided so we could get the most with our money. The Unity Center was overjoyed with the delivery that meant so much coming from the most unlikely of groups in so many’s opinion.  It’s not very often that students in alternative education are recognized for the positive things they do to give back to their community. 

The students at COHS and MPS gave generously of themselves with no extrinsic reward attached; they gave selflessly because they care and know how awful it is to want/need.  Our students are good, many just have big problems that have caused them to be unsuccessful academically and at times personally in the past.  And their goodness did not stop at Thanksgiving.  COHS and MPS partnered with the Unity Center once again for Christmas, adopting two local children and showering them with gifts on their wish list, afforded by staff and students who again felt the need to give back.

Monrovia High Science Building - Done

Monrovia School Board member Ed Gililland reports that the new science building at Monrovia High is now in use. He called the building "a fabulous facility" and said "it just blows me away." He said the district hopes to have an open house for the building very soon.

Also, he said, the new gymnasium is "basically finished" and should open within the next couple of weeks.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia - Space Hub



Messenger Spacecraft (NASA image)

Communicating with America's unmanned spacecraft is coordinated right from Monrovia, according to Dawn Medeiros, a project manager with ITT Systems for the government's Deep Space Network.

Medeiros, speaking at the monthly Monrovia Coordinating Council, said the Monrovia facility, at 1400 S. Shamrock Avenue, is 8.5 years into a 10-year contract with JPL to administer and maintain the space communications system. There are communications facilities around the world, but in California this includes running an office at JPL and taking care of the massive antennas at the Goldstone facility located at Ft. Irwin, near Barstow.

Among the 50-60 spacecraft ITT tracks is the ancient, will-not-die Voyager, which is now 15 billion kilometers away. It takes 29 hours for a round-trip signal to reach out to Voyager and for the reply to come back.

And coming up soon: the Messenger spacecraft, which should arrive at Mercury and begin orbiting the planet on March 18 of this year.

- Brad Haugaard

Schamadan / Looking Forward

Charlotte Schamadan reflects on shopping. Moral? Probably better to stick with Monrovia stores. http://goo.gl/ocSbs
 
Monrovia community leaders look forward to 2011. http://goo.gl/6n0um
 
- Brad Haugaard

Stealth Over Monrovia

The Stealth fighter plane made a brief appearance New Year's morning in the sky over Monrovia after flying over the Rose Parade in Pasadena. If you run outside as soon as you see it on television, you can sometimes see it. Here are a couple shots.

- Brad Haugaard



Happy New Year, Monrovia!

Happy 2011, everyone!
 
From what I read in the city's Monrovia Today newsletter, there will be an In-N-Out Burger coming to Monrovia in 2011. That sounds like a pretty good start to 2011 right there. That and a bank, two more restaurants and a 7-unit residential development, also scheduled to come to town.
 
- Brad Haugaard