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Monrovia's Fountain to Falls Race | 'Low on Food' | Huff: Teacher Pink Slip System Illogical | MHS Open House

~ Registration for the Second Fountain to the Falls Race, on May 19, opens tomorrow, March 1. Details:
~ Monrovia's Foothill Unity Center reports its food inventory "is at a ten-year low." If you'd like to help you can donate money or drop off groceries or fresh backyard fruit. Most-needed items are rice, pasta and beans, soups; peanut butter, cereals (cold and hot), canned foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, meats), tomato/spaghetti sauce, and meal helpers like tuna and mac and cheese. The Center is at 415 W. Chestnut.
~ State Senator Bob Huff said there is no logic in the state requirement that teachers notify school staff of layoffs by March 15 when the state budget - upon which any layoff decision should be based - isn't completed until June. He said the rule leads to needless pink slips issued by cautious school districts and needless teacher anxiety, since many of the terminations are rescinded.
~ Monrovia High Open House March 7 at 6:30 p.m. Parking in the student lot off of Madison or on the street.
- Brad Haugaard

Greenbar Moves from Monrovia | At Carnegie Hall

~ Monrovia's Greenbar Distillery, bumped by the rail line, moves to Los Angeles.

~ Monrovia High Concert Band and Symphonic Band Soar in Carnegie Hall.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Athletics Website | Dreier Retiring | Sherman Ave. Sign

~ Monrovia High has a new website for its athletic programs.
~ Congressman David Dreier, who represents Monrovia in Congress, will retire at the end of the year.
~ Here is the sign on Sherman Avenue placed to honor the area's residents for their work through the Monrovia Area Partnership to bring back the neighborhood.
- Brad Haugaard

Buick Commercial in Old Monrovia

A Buick commercial shot in Old Town Monrovia.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Senator: Let School Districts Sell Ads on the Sides of their Buses

State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia, wants to let school districts sell advertising space on the exterior of its school buses. Also, the Huff legislation gives the school districts full authority over how to spend the revenue from advertising sales.
- Brad Haugaard

Maryknoll Sisters Celebrate Centennial in Monrovia

The Maryknoll Sisters, which has a retirement facility in Monrovia, is celebrating 100 years since its founding as a religious congregation with a prayer service on March 25, 2012 at Immaculate Conception Church, 740 Shamrock Ave., Monrovia, California.
The Roman Catholic Religious Missionary Congregation was founded in 1912 by Mollie Rogers, a Smith College graduate.  Since its founding, hundreds of sisters have served in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and the Islands of the Pacific.
The sisters have also responded to the needs of immigrants in the United States.  One of their earliest works was an orphanage and a school for the Japanese children in Los Angeles (1921) and a tuberculosis hospital in Monrovia (1930).
Today, the former hospital has been converted into a retirement facility for returning missioners.  They continue to do volunteer work throughout Los Angeles County.
More information is available on the Maryknoll website:
Source: Maryknoll press release
- Brad Haugaard

Wanna Subcontract for Gold Line? | Cleaning the Fountain | Children's Optical

~ Subcontracting opportunities for small business on the Gold Line. Details:
~ Art photo. Cleaning the fountain at Library Park.
~ The Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles has opened Children's Optical at 509 S. Myrtle Ave., Monrovia.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police Anti-Gang Work Featured | Super Toilets | Read Across Monrovia

~ An article in Cal Chiefs News highlights Monrovia Police Department's "innovative programs that aim to curb gang activity through intervention, prevention and suppression."

~ Free high efficiency toilets available, March 17.

~ Read to a Monrovia classroom during Monrovia Reads' "Read Across Monrovia" program.

- Brad Haugaard

Rainy Monday | Plymouth in Science Contest | New Monrovia Businesses

~ It's a rainy Monday. Great picture.
~ Plymouth Elementary is in Occidental College Science Olympiad.
~ Some new businesses in town.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Caught Dumping the Evidence, Trespassing, Stoned, Assault

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for  February 23-26. - Brad Haugaard]
Illegal Dumping / Mail Theft
On February 23 at 3:32 p.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Stedman on the report of a subject dumping trash out the back of his vehicle.  The trash was found to be empty FedEx boxes from houses in the area.  It appears the boxes were stolen after they were delivered.  The suspect removed the content of the boxes and then dumped the empty boxes.  Investigation continuing.
Suspicious Circumstances / Possible Trespassing
On February 23 at 10:29 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of South Canyon regarding the report of two male subjects on the roof of a building with lights flashing.  Officers surrounded the property and requested the Foothill Air Support helicopter to assist.  The helicopter responded and advised that no one was on the roof.  Officers searched the property and did not locate any suspects.  The building was secure and there were no signs of an attempt break-in. 
Traffic Violation / Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance / Possession of a Controlled Substance / Weapons Offense - Suspect Arrested
On February 24 at 8:48 p.m., an officer on routine patrol stopped a vehicle in the 100 block of West Walnut for running a stop sign.  When the officer contacted the driver, he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.  A subsequent investigation revealed the driver to be under the influence of a controlled substance.  He was also found to be in possession of unauthorized prescription medication and a concealed billy club.  He was arrested for the above listed charges.    
Assault with a Deadly Weapon - Suspect Arrested
On February 25 at 9:49 a.m., a fight in progress was reported in the 900 block of Genoa involving approximately seven subjects.  Officers arrived on scene and found several family members were involved in a disturbance.  One family member was injured by another and sustained numerous contusions to his head.  The suspect, who was determined to be the primary aggressor, was arrested and taken into custody.

Monrovia Assemblymen: Donnelly Charged in Gun-at-Airport Incident; Portantino Re-Introduces Whistleblower Bill

~ Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who represents part of Monrovia, has been charged with misdemeanors for bringing a pistol into Ontario Airport. Donnelly says it was an innocent mistake.
~ Assembly member Anthony Portantino, who represents the other part of Monrovia, is re-introducing a "whistleblower" bill to protect legislative staff members who report wrongdoing. He said the legislature exempts itself from what it requires of others. The legislation is similar to his previous proposal but would also have the state Fair Political Practices Commission investigate complaints, and those found guilty of retaliating against whistleblowers could face fines up to $10,000 and a year in jail.
- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Jack in the Box

With a Jack in the Box restaurant coming to the corner of Huntington and Magnolia, I thought I should preview what we're going to get by trying the Jack we already have, at Myrtle and Duarte. The atmosphere is pure fast-food. Got a Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club with curly fries. It was very good. Not elegant, but good. But I still wish - just for variety - that the new restaurant would be something different.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's AeroVironment Gets Vehicle-Charger Deal with Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors North America has added Monrovia's AeroVironment as an authorized supplier and installer of electric vehicle home-charging systems for the company's new all-electric vehicles.
- Brad Haugaard

Portantino Does It Again | E-Waste Roundup | Monrovia High Fundraiser

~ Assembly member Anthony Portantino, who represents Monrovia, today introduced yet another bill to (my opinion - deservedly) whack the legislature. This one, AB 2068, would "require legislators who have distinctive legislative license plates on their personal cars to pay the same fees that almost everyone else does for personalized license plates." He said: "I was shocked, but not surprised to see that legislators would carve out a special situation for themselves and I'm determined to put an end to the practice." Source: Portantino press release.
~ E-waste roundup March 3 at Park and Ride Lot at S. Myrtle Avenue and Pomona Avenue, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
~ Monrovia High fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Fire Department Promotes Four

Monrovia press release: 

The Monrovia Fire Department is pleased to announce the promotions of four members of its current personnel. The recent promotions were awarded to Ryan Phillips, Jeremy Sanchez, Dave Phillips and Harvey Hewitt, who combined have over 40 years of fire fighting experience.
Division Chief Ryan Phillips – With over 18 years of service, Ryan Phillips, a Monrovian resident, assumed the duties as the “A shift” commander on the morning of February 16.  “Chief Phillips’ ability to effectively manage emergency operations is exceptional,” said Fire Chief Chris Donovan, who went on to highlight Phillips’ long tradition of professionalism and dedication to Monrovia.  The Chief’s faith in Phillips was quickly confirmed; by 2 p.m. of his first shift as Division Chief, Phillips’ crew had already responded to four emergency incidents, and established incident command at both a vegetation and a structure fire. Under his new title, Chief Phillips will oversee the department’s Administration and Disaster Preparedness operations.

Fire Captain Jeremy Sanchez – Chief Phillips promotion created a vacancy at the Fire Captain position. Monrovia Fire Department filled this by promoting Jeremy Sanchez. Captain Sanchez has over eight years experience in fire service. He has served as a Paramedic with the last three years as a Fire Engineer at Monrovia Fire. “Captain Sanchez has natural leadership abilities in addition to exceptional emergency operations and administrative skills,” said Fire Chief Chris Donovan. “This is a critically important position within our department, and Jeremy is certainly capable of performing his responsibilities.”  Captain Sanchez has recently been placed in charge of the department’s apparatus. This includes being responsible for studying future needs for repair and replacement of the department’s fleet and maintaining the department’s overall operational readiness.

Fire Engineer Harvey Hewitt – Jeremy Sanchez’ promotion to Fire Captain created a vacancy in the Fire Engineer rank, which is being filled with the promotion of Harvey Hewitt. Fire Engineer Hewitt has four years of experience with Monrovia as a Firefighter/Paramedic in addition to five years experience with the Monterey Park Fire Department. In addition to his new duties as an engineer, Fire Engineer Hewitt will continue to evaluate requirements and training mandates for the department’s cadet program.

Fire Engineer Dave Phillips – Dave Phillips was promoted to Fire Engineer in September 2011 to fill the vacancy left by Fire Engineer Rob Vita’s retirement.  Prior to this position Dave had served as a Firefighter/Paramedic for five years. During his service with Monrovia Fire, he has been instrumental in the brush abatement program, as well as many other programs involving training and development, including the successful Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) program. 

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Santana Convicted of Muder; Nothing to Steal, Stolen iPod

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for February 20-22. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 443 service events, resulting in 81 investigations.
On February 20 at 9:59 p.m., a burglary of a garage was reported in the 500 block of West Foothill.  The burglary occurred sometime between Sunday night and Monday night.  The suspect(s) used bolt cutters to cut the hasp of the garage door to gain entry.  The interior cabinets were ransacked, but there was no loss.
Vehicle Burglary
On February 20 at 10:36 p.m., an officer responded to a vehicle burglary that occurred in the 700 block of East Huntington.  The burglary occurred in the parking lot of a gym.  The suspect vehicle is a newer, grey Toyota Corolla.  A male suspect punched the lock on the driver side door and stole an I-Pod from the vehicle.  The suspect vehicle drove off southbound.  Investigation continuing.
Detective Bureau Case Follow-up
2008 Attempt Murder Case Follow-up - Suspect Jimmy Santana Convicted 
In February of 2008, a male subject/victim was riding his bicycle in the 2500 block of South Peck Road.  He was approached by a suspect with a gun who walked up to him and shot him.  The suspect, Jimmy Santana, is a known gang member.  The incident was found to be gang related; however, the victim is not a gang member.  This incident occurred in the county area of Monrovia and was investigated by Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau detectives.  Monrovia Police Department detectives and officers played a major part in the conviction of this suspect in testimony regarding gang affiliation.
In February of 2012, the suspect in this case, Jimmy Santana, was convicted of willful, deliberate and premeditated murder; the jury also found he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, causing great bodily injury to the victim.  Santana was also convicted of shooting from a motor vehicle and assault with a firearm.  The jury found the gang allegation true as to all counts.  Sentencing is set for March 15, 2012.

Gold Line Agrees to Buy Land from Monrovia for $40.6 Million

Gold Line press release: 

This morning, the Construction Authority, City of Monrovia, and the Successor Agency to the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency signed an agreement that will result in the Authority acquiring the remaining land needed for the project’s maintenance and operations facility. The agreement includes settlement of all lawsuits and claims related to the land acquisition and follows the City Council and Successor Agency’s approval of the terms earlier this week, and the Construction Authority Board’s approval last night.
The agreement is actually a “Stipulation for Entry of Judgment in Condemnation” and will now be sent to the Superior Court judge overseeing the eminent domain case for final approval and judgment. Once approved, the Authority will have the ownership rights it needs for 100% of the land required for the maintenance facility - an important milestone for the project, per our funding agreement with Metro and our contractual agreement with the Kiewit Parsons Joint Venture (the Alignment design-build contractor).
The terms agreed to today include four separate elements. The Authority agreed to pay $40.6 million to obtain the land held by the City and the Successor Agency and to settle the eminent domain case and all current and future claims and objections by the City related to this land acquisition. The Successor Agency and City agreed to reimburse the Authority up to $200,000 for legal expenses related to the Excalibur Property Holdings, LLC case and $650,000 environmental remediation costs associated with mitigating contamination on the land. The City and the Authority agreed to arrangements related to the planned parking facility for the future Monrovia Gold Line station. The Authority agreed to pay the actual amount (up to $15.75 million) needed to make public improvements around the 24-acre maintenance facility, as required under the City’s Transit Village Planned Development Area.
Needless to say, the terms agreed to today are an important achievement for the project. With this and all of the other property acquisition and design-build agreements complete, we are on track to stay within the approved budget for the M&O facility. We are appreciative of the City of Monrovia’s efforts to work with the Authority to come to terms that were mutually acceptable, and to keep the project on time and on budget.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Senator: Republicans Introduce Democratic Governor's Pension Bill

State Senator Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia, says Senate and Assembly Republicans have introduced - word for word - Democratic Governor Jerry Brown's pension-reform legislation. Huff called upon Democrats to support the measure as well.
- Brad Haugaard

Mayflower Fundraiser | Clifton Girl Better | Video of MHS Band Practice | Schools Investigation

~ Mayflower School fundraiser Thursday (Feb. 23) at Rigo's Mexican restaurant at Mayflower and Foothill, 4-9 p.m. 20% back to the school.

~ Clifton girl struck by hit-and-run driver doing much better.

~ Video of Monrovia High Band practicing before going to Carnegie Hall.

~ In light of the Miramonte teacher sex scandal, the Star-News is investigating nine local school districts, including Monrovia, though the paper gives no indication there is any specific lead it is following in any of the districts it is looking at.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Assemblyman Portantino Proposes Bill to Return Unspent Legislative Money to General Fund

Assembly member Anthony Portantino, who represents part of Monrovia, today introduced Assembly Bill 1887, which "calls on the State Controller to conduct a comprehensive and systematic audit of the state Legislature’s finances for a period of two years (2012-13 and 2013-14)." It also sets up procedures for future audits, "requires that the Assembly and Senate return any unused funds to the General Fund at the end of the legislative year," and "provides that line item monies allocated to the Senate and Assembly cannot be diverted to other agencies or programs unless such diversion is approved by a vote of the legislature and the signature of the Governor."

Opinion: Wow! Not that they're going to pass, but Portantino is on a roll with his open government proposals. I guess its a lot easier to stand up for your principles when you a) have some, b) have already ticked off the head of your own party - Speaker John Perez, c) don't mind ticking him off some more, and d) aren't planning to run for office in the near future. Good for Portantino.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Boy's Soccer | Wal-Mart | Allergies

~ Monrovia Boy's Soccer 0-4 against Cajon :-(
~ Spezzano Consulting, of Monrovia, said Wal-Mart has re-established itself as an "everyday low price" leader for national brands after experimenting with private-label merchandise.
~ State Senator Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia, is authoring  legislation to designate May 13-19 as Food Allergy Awareness Week in California.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Burglar in the Bedroom, Vandalism, Drugs, Burglary, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for February 16-19. - Brad Haugaard]
Following are the weekend's highlighted issues and events.
Vandalism - Suspect Arrested
On February 16 at 1:28 p.m., a citizen called to report a subject vandalizing a city trash dumpster at a park in the 800 block of East Olive.  The suspect had written graffiti on the dumpster.  The witness was able to give a description of the suspect.  Police responded to the area and detained a subject matching the description and the witness positively identified him as the suspect who vandalized the city property.  The suspect was arrested and the citizen who reported the graffiti is eligible to receive a $100 bill through Monrovia Police Department's Stop Graffiti Bounty Program.
Possession of a Controlled Substance - Suspect Arrested
On February 16 at 2:04 p.m., officers responded to the 700 block of East Lemon regarding possible drug activity.  As officers arrived on scene, one of the officers saw a subject drop a clear plastic baggie under the bleachers where he was seated.  The item was recovered and found to contain one solid white pill.  The pill was determined to be an illegal substance and the suspect was arrested and taken into custody. 
Residential Burglary
On February 17 at 10:58 a.m., a residential burglary was reported in the 400 block of Parkrose.  The suspect(s) entered by forcing a rear sliding door off the track.  The location was ransacked and the suspect(s) took cash and jewelry.  The burglary occurred at approximately 9:00 a.m.  A witness reported seeing a male Black subject in a red/maroon, four-door vehicle in front of the residence at about that time.  Investigation continuing.  
Commercial Burglary / Resisting and Delaying a Peace Officer - Suspects Arrested
On February 17 at 4:16 p.m., a burglary was reported by store personnel at a business in the 300 block of West Huntington.  A male Hispanic subject entered the store while a female accomplice waited outside in a vehicle.  The suspect walked directly to an isle in the store, took merchandise from the shelf, and then immediately exited the store without attempting to pay for the item.  Officers arrived in the area quickly and spotted the suspect vehicle in the parking lot.  The vehicle stopped and the male suspect exited the vehicle and ran.  There was a brief foot pursuit by officers, resulting in the apprehension of the suspect.  One of the officers sprained his ankle during the pursuit.  Both suspects were arrested for burglary.  The male suspect is a known gang member.  
Resisting and Delaying a Peace Officer / Possession of a Controlled Substance - Suspect Arrested
On February 18 at 2:29 a.m., a call was received from a resident in the 700 block of East Foothill.  The caller stated her 18-year-old son had been drinking and was getting physical with the family.  An officer arrived and saw the subject coming out of a side gate onto Foothill.  The officer told the subject to stop, but the subject took off on a bicycle. The officer ran after the subject and detained him at Foothill and Shamrock. The subject was arrested for resisting and delaying a peace officer.  At the jail, a small amount of cocaine was found in the subjects clothing.  The subject was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Hot Prowl Burglary
On February 19 at 12:10 a.m., a female resident in the 400 block of East Foothill called to report an attempt burglary.  She reported she was asleep, but woke when she heard someone in her bedroom.  She saw a subject in the room and yelled out, asking who was there.  The suspect yelled back that the manager said no one was supposed to be there and he ran out the front door.  The suspect was described as a light-skinned, male Black, approximately 5' 6", wearing a baseball cap, windbreaker, and dark jeans.  The suspect apparently removed four louvers from the front window to gain entry to the location.  Investigation continuing.
72-Hour Mental Evaluation
On February 19 at 2:50 a.m., an officer on patrol in the 1500 block of South Myrtle observed a subject acting strange at the corner of Evergreen and Myrtle.  The officer stopped to check on his welfare.  The subject was disoriented and did not know where he was or the day and time.  He could not state where he lived.  Monrovia Fire Department paramedics were summoned to examine him for medical problems and he was found to be okay.  Officers determined the subject was unable to care for his own well-being and advised him of the 72-hour hospitalization.  The subject stated he did not want to go to the hospital and he ran from the officers.  Officers caught up to him quickly, but he further resisted their attempt to detain him.  He was eventually taken into custody and taken to a hospital without further incident.

Monrovia's Assemblyman Wants to Freeze Pay for Top State Employees

Assembly member Anthony Portantino, who represents part of Monrovia, has re-introduced (for the eighth time, he says) a measure to freeze the pay for two years for state employees who earn more than $100,000, a move he said could affect about 3,300 state employees.
He said that “it is unacceptable to be giving raises and bonuses when we are still struggling with a budget deficit in the billions and one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Over the past four years, my bills on this issue have been held on 'suspense' in the Assembly even though it saves the state money. ... If President Obama can freeze the salaries of White House employees making $100,000 or more, why can’t we do the same here in California?”
He added, “At a time when we are asking seniors, students, children, and taxpayers to bear the budget burden, the least we can do is freeze these high salaries until we can see our way clear of the budget crises.”
Source: Portantino press release
- Brad Haugaard

Full Closures of Freeway Coming Up | Sherman Ave Honored | Monrovia's Xencor Partners with German Firm

~ Up to 11 nights of full closure for eastbound 210 between Feb. 19 and March 3 for construction on the Gold Line bridge "falsework" (a platform on which to construct the bridge). All full-closures between midnight and 5 a.m. with partial closures possible between 10 p.m. and 1 p.m. From press release.
~ Sherman Avenue to get special signs honoring residents for their work in revitalizing the Neighborhood.
~ Xencor, Inc., of Monrovia, a company engineering next-generation antibodies, is partnering with Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Silver Green Award

More detail on Monrovia winning a silver award for its sustainability efforts.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Symphonic Band off to Carnegie Hall

The Monrovia High Symphonic Band will be performing in the 2012 New York Wind Band Festival, held this Sunday (Feb. 26) at Carnegie Hall. Monrovia is one of only six high school ensembles from throughout the country selected to perform in this prestigious event.

Daniel Magallanes, Director of Instrumental Music at MHS, said, "We will be leaving for NYC on Wednesday night for a five-day tour of the city. This tour will include workshops and interscholastic rehearsals in preparation for the festival performance. While in Manhattan we will also visit the American Natural History Museum, the 9-11 Memorial and see the Broadway production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

The MHS Symphonic Band is one of several award-winning instrumental music ensembles at Monrovia High School. Made up of woodwind, brass and percussion students, the Symphonic Band rehearses and performs classical and contemporary concert band literature while increasing the musicianship and leadership skills of its members.

Update: Charlotte Schamadan adds that the Monrovia-Duarte Quota Club helped raise some of the money to send them to New York.

-Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Son of Red Tail Airman works on Red Tail Movie | Democrats for Holden | Gun Owners vs. Portantino

~ Monrovia illustrator and son of a Tuskegee Airman, David Russell, worked on the movie Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen. 
~ Democratic Party endorses Chris Holden for Assembly district including Monrovia.
~ Gun owners hope to reverse Anthony Portantino's no-open-carry law in courts.
- Brad Haugaard

Fun Things I Saw in Monrovia Today

~ I saw a woman with a little dog on a leash. She set the leash down for a few moments and the little unrestrained dog quietly looked over at some big dogs. Then the woman picked up the leash and instantly the little dog went crazy, barking at the other dogs and straining at the leash to get at them. I guess its easy to be brave when you know you don't have to be.
~ The menu at Shanghai Dumpling House (Foothill at May) has dumplings (spicy pork ones are really good, by the way) but also has "Shanghai Confusion Meat." Being a little confused, myself, I asked what it was. It's Shanghai-style ham.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Council: Covering the Wash, Deals with the Gold Line

At its Tuesday, Feb. 21, meeting, the Monrovia City Council meeting (agenda: ) will consider, among other things:
~ Whether to award a $173,450 contract to Kormx, Inc., to build a cover over the Santa Anita Wash at Huntington Drive and Fifth Ave. New land for development, and the cover will connect the land on either side of the wash.
~ Whether to do street upgrades for the Gold Line near Myrtle and Duarte, California and Duarte, and
Mountain and Duarte. The Gold Line will reimburse the city for the work.
~ Whether to work a deal with the Gold Line for a parking facility at the coming Gold Line train station.
~ A report on the city's economic development efforts.
- Brad Haugaard

More Than 50 Face Layoffs at Monrovia Schools - Bus Fees, Too

The Monrovia School Board will consider authorizing the layoffs of approximately 52 full-time staff members due to lack of money and anticipated lower enrollment at its Wednesday, Feb. 22, meeting (agenda: ). Details:

~ Despite a little 10-student upward blip in Monrovia school enrollment recently, it appears the overall trend is down. For 2012-13, Monrovia Schools' Director of Fiscal Services, David Conway, estimates a 1.76 percent decline. One bright sign: Elementary enrollment seems to be inching up, which "could portend well for district enrollment trends." Fewer students means fewer staff, and he projects the loss of the equivalent of 2.4 full time staff members, 1.4 at Monrovia High and 1 at the elementary level.

~ And then there are the cuts from just not having enough money. The equivalent of 42.3 full time employees will be let go. School District staff is recommending cuts in K-12, Adult Ed, and Regional Occupational Programs. (If my reading is correct, these numbers include the 2.4 mentioned in the previous item.)

~ Plus (why it is a separate item, I don't know) cuts of the equivalent of 9.4 full time staff members for pre-Kindergarten services due to "lack of work and/or lack of funds."

~ And further, also for lack of money, district staff is recommending charging a $50-per-semester fee for transportation to and from school.

~ An effort by the Monrovia School District to increase attendance (and hence, state funding) hasn't been working so far. According to a report by the district, school attendance is essentially unchanged since last year. Ups here, downs there, but pretty steady overall.

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Planet Cookies

Had lunch at Planet Cookies (at Myrtle and Lime). It's not just cookies. Sandwiches, soups, salads. I got a pepper beef sandwich on sourdough. I liked it a lot. I think the word "cookie" may put off some people looking for lunch, but it shouldn't. Tasty.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Unity Center - Giving Help, Needing Help

Foothill Unity Center's latest newsletter reports the organization helped 12,117 people in 2011 with more than 3 million pounds of food, health and crisis services, not to mention food for 726 pets. This year the center's food inventory is at a 10-year low. If you can help, drop off rice, pasta, beans, soup, peanut butter, cereals, canned foods, tomato/spaghetti sauce, and meal helpers like tuna and mac and cheese. The center is at 415 W. Chestnut Ave.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia to Honor Those in Service | Portantino Introduces Residential Care Bill

~ Monrovia will host a Salute to Service on Tuesday, February 21 at 7 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers to honor Monrovia Servicemen and Servicewomen.
~ Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who represents part of Monrovia, has introduced a bill that will allow continuing care retirement communities to provide services in private residences without the residence having to become a licensed care facility.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Senator: Cal State Needs to Control Administrator Pay

State Senator Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia, said he agrees with Gov. Brown about "the ever-escalating pay packages" of Cal State University administrators. He said, "On the same day that the CSU Board of Trustees voted to increase administrators' salaries, they also voted to increase student fees." Huff said he couldn't recommend confirming nominee Herbert Carter to the Cal State Board until there is "real evidence that the CSU Trustees are making the tough decisions needed to control escalating costs that are being passed onto students and their families."
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Home Fire | Presidents Day | Tardy Sweeps

~ Fire at Monrovia home.
~ Monrovia City facilities and schools will be closed Presidents' Day, Monday, February 20.
~ Random tardy sweeps at Monrovia High "because of a sharp increase in tardies throughout the school day. ... If you are caught, you will be assigned Saturday School." Uh-oh. Better watch out!
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Fat Dog or Thin Burglar, Burglary, Theft, Etc

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for February 13-15. - Brad Haugaard]
During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 433 service events, resulting in 96 investigations.
Grand Theft Auto
On February 13 at 3:23 p.m., an employee from a business in the 500 block of West Huntington reported her vehicle stolen from the parking lot.  She parked her vehicle in the lot near the front of the business at 7:00 a.m.  When she returned to her vehicle at 3:00 p.m., she discovered it missing.  The vehicle is a black, 1996 Honda Accord.  The vehicle was entered into the Stolen Vehicle System and the investigation is continuing.
Attempted Vehicle Burglary
On February 13 at 6:23 p.m., an attempted vehicle burglary was reported at a condominium complex in the 700 block of South Myrtle. The victim parked her vehicle in the bottom level parking structure at approximately 5:00 p.m.  She returned to her vehicle approximately one hour later and found that someone had attempted to smash the driver side window and had tried to pry open the passenger door.  The attempt was unsuccessful and there was no loss from inside the vehicle.  The investigation is continuing.
Residential Burglary
On February 14 at 10:54 p.m., police responded to a residential burglary in the 400 block of East Olive.  The suspect entered through a doggy door.  The circuit breakers on the home were turned off, the Internet cable was pulled apart, and the only loss was an alarm clock and a cell phone charger.  Investigation continuing.
Detective Bureau Case Follow-up
Robbery Case Update - Third Suspect Arrested
On February 9 at 10:57 p.m., three male suspects robbed a male victim while he was walking in the area of Colorado and Violet.  One of the suspects hit the victim in the face, possibly with a gun, and they took a small amount of cash he had on him and his cell phone.  Officers arrived quickly and detained two of the suspects in the area of Violet and Linwood; they were arrested for robbery.  The Foothill Air Support helicopter and Irwindale Police Department's canine unit assisted with a search for the third suspect, but he was not located. 
Following up on leads, detectives served a search warrant on February 15 on two locations.  The detectives were searching for the third suspect and a weapon used in the crime.  Detectives searched both locations and the weapon was not located.  The third suspect, however, was found at one of the locations and was arrested and taken into custody.

Assembly Candidate Supports Public Transportation

Michael Cacciotti, South Pasadena Mayor and candidate for the 41st Assembly District (which includes Monrovia), said state money should be spent on light-rail and bus-ways instead of freeways. He said these "can drive our economy forward and create more jobs than building new freeways.” and, he said. “Public transit gets us off foreign oil, out of traffic jams, and cleans up our air pollution too.”

Source: press release

- Brad Haugaard

Portantino Introduces Bill to Regulate Boot Camps

Alleged abuses at a boot camp run by Kelvin McFarland, of Monrovia, has prompted Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who represents part of Monrovia, to co-author a bill to regulate such programs.

- Brad Haugaard

Yogurtland to Monrovia | Donate Prom Dress | Good Safety on Bridge

~ Yogurtland will replace Quiznos on Myrtle near Foothill.
~ Donate a prom dress to a Monrovia High girl.
~ Gold Line reports no injuries in 30,000 hours of work on Gold Line bridge.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's AeroVironment Gets Air Force Order | Rusnak Enters Assembly Race

~ AeroVironment gets Switchblade drone order from Air Force.

~ Victoria Rusnak, of the Pasadena Rusnak car dealerships, enters the race in Monrovia's Assembly district, running as a Democrat.

- Brad Haugaard

African American Quilts | Teacher Jeopardy at Monrovia High

~ African American quilts and the Underground Railway, at the Library's Community Room 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. You may need reservations, so see details (click to enlarge): 
~ Teacher Jeopardy, this Friday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Monrovia High auditorium. "Watch 4 teams compete for the trophy in a grueling set of questions!" Tickets are $3 at the door.
- Brad Haugaard

Portantino Introduces Bill to Eliminate Statute of Limitations on Rape

Assembly member Anthony Portantino, who represents part of Monrovia, has introduced Assembly Bill 1682, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for rape, which is currently set at 10 years.
Source: Portantino press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Senator: California Credit Upgrade Nice but Budget Not Fixed Yet

State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia, said Standard & Poor's decision to upgrade California's credit ratings outlook from stable to positive is a nice move, but "we still haven’t fixed our structural budget gap."

- Brad Haugaard

Valentine Dance in Old Monrovia | Genzme Re-Signed

~ Amateur Valentine dance competition tonight for those 18 years and older to support charity. At Paint n' Play, 418 S. Myrtle, 7-10 p.m. Tickets $10.
~ LabCorp, which bought Monrovia's Genzyme, a bio-tech company, has recently changed the sign at 655 E. Huntington to LabCorp.
- Brad Haugaard

Falsework on Freeway Bridge Begun | STAAR Surgical | Parasoft

~ Gold Line crew installs the first falsework cross beam. The "falsework" is basically a frame to build the permanent bridge on.

~ Monrovia's STAAR Surgical will be introducing several recently-developed surgically-implanted eye lenses at the World Ophthalmology Congress in Abu Dhabi from Feb. 16 through 20.

~ Monrovia's Parasoft, which makes tools to help build defect-free software, has introduced SOAtest: a "performance testing solution that helps QA teams ensure secure, reliable, compliant business applications."

- Brad Haugaard

AeroVironment Partners With Aussie Firm | Freeway Closures | Beware the *-72 Scam

~ Monrovia's AeroVironment and Australia-based Sentient today announced the signing of an exclusive global license agreement that allows AeroVironment to distribute Sentient’s video-based automatic target detection software. It can be used with small unmanned aircraft systems, such as those AeroVironment makes.
~ Freeway closures midnight to 5 a.m. starting tonight through February 17 for Gold Line bridge construction.
~ LA Sheriff's Department warns against the star-72 (*72) scam.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: 'Kid, I Got Candy', BMW DUI, Assault, Dog Kills Dog, Robbery, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for February 9-12. - Brad Haugaard]
Burglary / Robbery - One Suspect Arrested
On February 9 at 6:56 p.m., officers responded to a business in the 500 block of West Huntington regarding a theft of merchandise that had just occurred.  The suspects were described as male Hispanics, both wearing hats and black t-shirts, one was wearing shorts and the other was wearing blue jeans.  When loss prevention officers told the suspects to come back into the store, both suspects ran.  One suspect ran off through the parking lot and out of sight.  The other suspect ran to a vehicle and drove away; he hit one of the loss prevention officers as he ran passed him to get to the vehicle.  The vehicle was stopped by Special Enforcement Team officers and the suspect was arrested for burglary and robbery.  The second suspect was not located.  Investigation continuing.
Robbery - Suspects Arrested
On February 9 at 10:57 p.m., a male subject called to report he had been robbed while walking in the area of Colorado and Violet.  He stated that there were three male suspects and one hit him in the face, possibly with a gun.  They took a small amount of cash he had on him and his cell phone.  Officers arrived quickly and detained two male subjects in the area of Violet and Linwood that fit the description of the suspects.  One of them had blood on his hand and clothing.  Paramedics were summoned to treat the victim.  The Foothill Air Support helicopter and Irwindale Police Department's canine unit were requested and responded to assist with a search for the third suspect, but he was not located.  The two suspects detained were arrested for robbery.  Investigation continuing.
Suspicious Circumstances / Possible Child Annoying
On February 10 at 5:34 p.m., officers responded to a report of child annoying.  The mother of a 10-year-old boy reported that her son was approached while walking home from school in the 200 block of East Foothill.  There were four male suspects in a light brown vehicle, possibly a Volkswagon, which pulled up next to him.  One of the suspects asked him to get into the car and said they had candy.  The suspects are described as four male subjects with long hair.  The suspect who spoke to the child is described as a male White, between the ages of 20-30 years old, with long blond hair, a scruffy goatee, and average build.  Investigation continuing.
Driving Under the Influence / Traffic Collision - Suspect Arrested
On February 10 at 9:25 p.m., officers responded to the area of Hillcrest and Madison regarding the report of a traffic collision.  Officers arrived and found a black BMW with major damage parked along the curb, with the female driver inside.  Officers determined the BMW had sideswiped two unoccupied vehicles and then rear ended a third vehicle, causing it to move forward.  The female driver was determined to be driving under the influence and was arrested.
Driving Under the Influence / Traffic Collision - Suspect Arrested
On February 11 at 2:58 a.m., Irwindale Police Department requested Monrovia Police Department respond to Live Oak and Myrtle regarding a traffic collision that occurred in Monrovia's jurisdiction.  Officers responded and determined the driver was driving under the influence and the driver was arrested.
Vehicle Burglary
On February 11 at 10:50 a.m., a vehicle burglary was reported in the 500 block of East Olive.  The victim parked his 2007 Chevy Tahoe to the rear of the location.  Sometime between February 9 and February 11, suspect(s) gained entry into the vehicle by punching the lock on the driver side door.  The two rear seats and some tools were taken.  Investigation continuing.
Grand Theft Auto
On February 11 at 1:46 p.m., a vehicle was reported stolen from a business parking lot in the 3000 block of South Peck Road.  The victim went to the location and parked the vehicle in the lot while shopping.  When he returned approximately an hour and a half later, the vehicle was gone.  The vehicle is a gold, four-door, 1994 Nissan Altima.  Investigation continuing.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon / Robbery - Suspects Arrested
On February 11, an officer conducted a follow-up investigation regarding an assault with a deadly weapon and robbery case that occurred on February 4.  During the course of his investigation, he interviewed an additional witness and presented a photo line-up to the victim, who positively identified two of the suspects.  Both suspects live in the 800 block of West Duarte Road.  Special Enforcement Team officers went to the two locations and arrested the two suspects.  The officer interviewed one of the suspects, who admitted to fighting with the victim.  Both suspects were arrested and are being held, pending their court appearance.
Injured Animal
On February 12 at 9:36 a.m., the owner of a small dog and her mother were walking their dog on a leash when they stopped to read a missing dog flyer.  As they were reading the flyer, an unleashed boxer-mix dog ran between the two women and grabbed their small dog in its mouth.  The little dog sustained substantial bite wounds. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian, where it later died.  The boxer was taken to its home by a neighbor and secured in the rear yard.  The owners are out of town.  Investigation continuing.
Grand Theft Auto Pursuit / Vehicle Recovered - Suspect Arrested
On February 12 at 11:38 a.m., an officer on patrol ran the license plate of a suspicious vehicle and it returned stolen.  The vehicle entered the 210 Freeway and was followed by the officer.  When assisting units arrived, the officer conducted a high-risk traffic stop. The driver was ordered out of the car.  The driver exited the vehicle and ran, but was quickly detained by officers without further incident and was arrested.
Special Enforcement Team Weekly Activity
Felony Vandalism / Gang Enhancement - Suspects Arrested
On February 9 at 10:26 p.m., Special Enforcement Team officers were driving west on Huntington from Buena Vista when they saw a subject on the south side of Huntington who appeared to be etching something into the tree.  They made a u-turn to contact the subject.  The subject saw the officers and began walking away.  He was detained and a fresh etching of gang graffiti was found on the tree.  The subject is a known gang member and was arrested.  The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department gang deputy was advised and will be writing a supplemental report for the gang enhancement charge, which makes this a felony.
Possession of Stolen Property - Suspect Arrested
On February 10 at 7:43 p.m., Special Enforcement Team officers on patrol stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation with three subjects inside.  A consent search of the vehicle revealed a stolen Mac laptop reported to the Pasadena Police Department.  One of the subjects had claimed the laptop was his.  He was arrested for possession of stolen property.
Wanted Burglary Suspect Arrested
Special Enforcement Team officers were notified by Arcadia Police Department of a wanted burglary suspect and later learned the suspect lives and works in Monrovia in the 100 block of South Encinitas.  On February 11 at 10:54 p.m., they set up surveillance on the suspect's work location and saw him exit the rear door and walk toward his residence.  They detained and arrested the suspect and released him to Arcadia Police Department's custody.

Monrovia Youth Summit | Valentine's Day - Pro and Con | Portantino Introduces Disaster Prep Bill

~ The 2012 Monrovia/Duarte Youth Summit will be held Feb. 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Santa Fe Middle School. Some more details:
~ Nic and David Conway win giant teddy bear in the Old Town Valentine's Day drawing.
~ Anti-valentine's Day at London Gastropub.
~ Assembly member Anthony Portantino (who represents part of Monrovia) has introduced Assembly Bill 1650 to require gas and electric companies to hold disaster preparedness meetings every two years with the counties and cities they service, and calls on the Public Utilities Commission to  set preparedness standards for public utilities.
- Brad Haugaard

Goodbye Pottery Ranch

Pottery Ranch, a long-time Monrovia business at Magnolia and Huntington, is open for it's last day today. Tomorrow it's gone. It will be replaced by a Jack in the Box restaurant ( ).

Monrovia Painting Demonstrations

Studies in Yellow

Impressions of France Painting Demonstration Day at Segil Fine Art Gallery, 110 W. Lime, this Saturday, February 18:
- 2-3 p.m. "Collecting Artwork" with Margaret Danielak, and the "Importance of Art Appraisal" with Laura Segil 
- 3-5:30 Live Painting Demonstrations by Elizabeth B. Tucker and Lynn Gertenbach
- 5:30-6:30 Informal Reception for Artists and Guests.
RSVP by e-mailing or calling the gallery at 626-358-5563 or info@segilfineart com

Filming on Myrtle Today | Monrovia Computer Club | Literacy Teacher

~ According to a city announcement, there will be a commercial be filmed today in old town (5 a.m.-1 p.m.). Minor delays and parking restrictions between Lemon and Palm Avenues.
~ Ten techies or techie-wannabes attended the library's first Computer Club Meeting. More info here:
~ Profile of library literacy teacher.
- Brad Haugaard

Robbery Suspects Detained | Boutiquing | Oscar Films

~ Suspects detained in robbery.
~ Boutiquing in Monrovia.
~ Film three in Monrovia Library's Road to the Oscars free film series.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Academic Decathlon Team Does Well

School Board Member Alex Zucco posted this report on Facebook:

Great work by the Monrovia HS Academic Decathlon Team: Crystal Morris - Silver Award in Art, Matthew Shepard - Gold Medal in the Speech AND a Silver Award in the Essay, Alana Koritzke - Bronze Award in the Interview, Kevin Greenwood - Silver Award in the Interview, Jackie Cabrera and Crystal Morris - both receiving the Gold Award in the Interview. And in only their second year competing took "Top 20 Honors" in the head to head competition, finishing one spot behind San Marino HS. Great work team and Go Wildcats!
- Brad Haugaard

Gold Line Reaches Agreement with Property Owner for Maintenance Yard

Yesterday, the Construction Authority and Excalibur Property Holdings, LLC agreed to terms for purchase of the remaining privately-held property needed for the maintenance facility. The Metro funding agreement requires control of half of the required real estate before the remaining $527 million can be committed. Yesterday’s agreement brings the Authority’s total to approximately half of the land needed.  Meeting this milestone allows the project to stay on budget and on schedule.

 As you know, Excalibur – which owns 20% of the total land needed for the facility - has initiated several lawsuits against the Construction Authority over the last year. At the same time, the Authority has initiated eminent domain to acquire its land. All of these actions have been progressing on separate schedules and each has been affecting the other, together creating significant legal and financial risk to the project.

Over the last two weeks, the Authority, Metro and Excalibur representatives have agreed to terms through the guidance of Superior Court Settlement Judge Helen Bendix. As the result of this effort, all lawsuits are settled for $24 million, protecting taxpayer funds by avoiding continuation of costly litigation and associated significant project delays (which we estimate could increase the project cost by well over $100 million). The agreement amount is within the approved budget for the maintenance facility, keeping the project on budget and on schedule.

Gold Line press release

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Alitalia Pizza

Lunch yesterday at Alitalia Pizza (at Madison and Foothill). Small place with just four two-person tables. Mostly for take-out I'd guess. Got a medium Canadian bacon and sausage pizza. Very nice.
- BradHaugaard

Opinion: Parking and the Hillside Reserve

In his weekly report Interim City Manager Mark Alvarado summarizes the City Council's vote (see his summary here: ) on what to do with the hillside area the city bought years ago, but there is one phrase I'd like to highlight.

In her motion to adopt the recommended plan, City Councilwoman Becky Shevlin added additional requirements, the one that concerns me here directs "the City Engineer to work with the Traffic Safety Committee and the property owners on issues relating to traffic and parking."

Great, but this should be understood as addressing the question, "How much parking do we add and where do we put it?" not, "Let's reduce parking near the trails."

I know more traffic and parking would be hard on the homeowners near the Cloverleaf trailhead, but they were in the forefront of asking all Monrovians to pay for this reserve-recreation area, and they got that! That was the trade-off. They avoided residential development right above their heads by agreeing to a bond issue that would make it a reserve-recreation area that people could use, and for a few dozen of them to now try and make it more difficult to access an area that all Monrovians own is just not right. So I hope the city engineer can work out a plan that will give people easier access to the area and minimize the impact on the neighbors as much as possible.

- Brad Haugaard

Hit-and-Run Victim Better | Chu to Speak

~ The 12-year-old girl who was badly injured by a hit-and-run driver is in better shape. Opinion: Hooray!

~ Representative Judy Chu will be at the Peach Cafe (141 E. Colorado) Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. to discuss "the new districts and the vast changes to the landscape" and "the new open primary rules." Free. Sponsored by Foothill Community Democrats.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Trader Joe's Signs Deal with Florida Union

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (the Florida-based union that protested against Trader Joe's here in Monrovia several months ago) and Trader Joe's have signed a "that formalizes the ways in which Trader Joe's will work with the CIW and Florida tomato growers."
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia and Mt. Sierra College Develop 'Emergency Operations for Dummies'

The City of Monrovia's Information Services (IS) Division - its computer techies - have been part of Mt Sierra College's Advisory Board, helping ensure that students are studying stuff that relates to the real world, and also helping two groups of students with their final projects.
One project is to customize industry best practices for small organizations and the other is to consolidate information from multiple city departments into a single "Emergency Operations for Dummies" document, including a plan to move city hall functions to a new location should the current building no longer be available.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: New Police Website, Burglary, Swiped Car Recovered

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for  February 6-8. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 419 service events, resulting in 77 investigations.
New Monrovia Police Department Website Goes Live
First it was Crime Mapping - Then it was Twitter - Now, the Monrovia Police Department is continuing to work toward its goal of providing the public with easier access to police information by launching a new website,  On February 9, 2012, Monrovia Police Department went live with its new, user friendly, police website.  The new website is easy to navigate and provides the community with quick access to police information.  Citizens can stay informed on police activity with the Neighborhood Watch Report; receive real time, up-to-date, crime statistics through crime mapping; access information on animal control issues and licensing; and find answers to many other general questions they might be seeking.  Whether it be finding out how to obtain a dog license, paying a parking citation online, or simply learning how to become a volunteer, this website is full of informative information.  The department will continue to refine and improve the website.
Please visit the new website and Stay informed with what is going on in your community.   
Vehicle Burglaries
On February 7 at 7:01 p.m., officers responded to two vehicle burglaries which occurred in a business parking lot in the 700 Block East Huntington.  The suspect(s) punched the locks on the driver side door of each vehicle.  Wallets and a cell phone were stolen.  The suspect vehicle is a smaller, light-colored SUV, and the vehicle was last seen driving toward Shamrock.  Investigation continuing.
Grand Theft Auto Recovery - Suspect Arrested 
On February 8 at 7:59 p.m., an officer on routine patrol was driving through a parking lot in the 100 block of West Foothill and came across a confirmed stolen vehicle.  Assisting officers arrived and four subjects were detained.  The male subject who was in the driver's seat said he borrowed the car from his sister; he was arrested for grand theft auto and taken into custody.  He was also found to have an outstanding arrest warrant for grand theft auto.  
Possession of Narcotics / Receiving Stolen Property - Suspects Arrested
On February 9 at 4:54 a.m., an officer saw two suspicious subjects walking in the area of Ivy and Olive, which has recently experienced an increase in vehicle burglaries.  The suspects were contacted by officers.  A subsequent investigation revealed that the suspects were in possession of stolen property and narcotics.  Both suspects were arrested.  Officers located the victim/owner of the stolen property.  The case is being reviewed by the District Attorney's office.

Drums and 'Rejoice' in Monrovia

~ The San Gabriel Valley Choral Company will present  “Rejoice!” at First Presbyterian Church on March 10. Details:
~ First Annual SC-PA Drumline competition on Saturday, Feb. 11.  Food, beverages and goodies for purchase. Hosted by the Monrovia High School Band Program at MHS. There will be 35 schools competing. Admission is $8.00.
- Brad Haugaard

Antonovich: Appeal Prop 8 Ruling to Supreme Court

County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who represents Monrovia, writes of the recent Prop 8 decision:

Once again, activist judges with a political correctness agenda have disenfranchised the people who voted overwhelmingly to oppose same-sex marriage in California — over 4.5 million Californians in 2000, and over 7 million in 2008.  This ruling needs to be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

- Brad Haugaard

Huff: Assembly Speaker like Arsonist who Joins Fire Department

Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia,  issued this statement today in response to legislation proposed by Assembly Speaker John Perez to cut college tuition and fees for students from middle class families:

Someone should remind the Speaker that it was Democrats that enacted a partisan majority-vote budget that cut $1.5 billion from UC and CSU – without a single Republican vote. It seems to me that this is similar to an arsonist that sets fires and then joins the volunteer fire department. Republicans have long argued that the low income students are heavily subsidized and that the UC and CSU are relative bargains for the more affluent students. It’s always the middle class that gets squeezed as legislative Democrats continue to prioritize welfare programs and public employee salaries and pensions. Senate Republicans continue to believe that working together in a bi-partisan fashion to solve problems is the best approach. Let’s first enact the Governor’s pension reforms and balance the state budget then we can better assess the need for changes in tax policy and higher education.
From Huff press release
- Brad Haugaard

Mt. Sierra College and Snake Swallowing | Gold Line

~ Monrovia's Mt. Sierra College participated in a 48-hour competition to create a board or video game using the image of a snake swallowing its tail.

~ California lawmakers have introduced legislation to allow the Gold Line to extend out of LA County into San Bernardino County.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Council Adopts 'Minimalist' Approach to Hillside Management

The Monrovia City Council voted Tuesday night to adopt a "minimalist" approach to managing the hillside area above Monrovia, which means adding "new gates, signage, bear-proof trash receptacles, and mutt mitts" at each access point. The motion also required city staff to work with neighbors on an easement question as well as traffic and parking.

Three city council members, Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, Tom Adams and Joe Garcia, had conflicts of interest - they live too close to the wilderness area being considered - but that only left two voting members, which wouldn't be a quorum, so the city attorney had the three draw straws. Garcia drew the short straw and lost, so he had to stay on and vote. All three voted in favor of the motion.

- Brad Haugaard

Still More Mulch in Monrovia

If you weren't able to load up on mulch, there's plenty more. Even though the city has given away (if I heard right) 80 tons of the stuff, there's plenty left, so Monrovia City Councilman Tom Adams said the city has extended the give-away period for the next two weekends, so you can get as much as you like the next two weekends at Recreation Park.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia, California Sister City to Monrovia, Liberia?

Should Monrovia, California, become a sister city to Monrovia, Liberia? A Pasadena lawyer and a representative from the city of Monrovia, Liberia, suggested such an arrangement. Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said Monrovia (California) does not have a sister city and would need to "look into" the possibility 
- Brad Haugaard

Temporary Support for Building Gold Line Bridge Superstructure

What the Gold Line bridge project will look like with the falsework in place.

Next construction step for the Gold Line freeway bridge is the superstructure. Gold Line spokesman Habib F. Balian explains:

Before that work can begin, Skanska must erect the temporary support structure, known as falsework, which will create a secure work space over the lanes of the freeway for the entire span of the future superstructure. Because the 584-linear-foot bridge is crossing the freeway at a skewed angle, the falsework structure will be significant and result in creating a temporary tunnel through this area.

Source: Gold Line press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police Department Finalist for James Q. Wilson Award

Monrovia City press release on police department being a finalist for the James Q. Wilson Award:

The James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing is presented by the Regional Community Policing Institute - California, and sponsored by the American Military University and the Office of the Attorney General - State of California. The purpose of this award is to recognize California law enforcement agencies that have successfully institutionalized the Community Policing philosophy. One agency each year is chosen as the recipient of the award and two others receive recognition as finalists.  Judging is based on the topics of problem solving, partnership with the community, partnership with public and private organizations/agencies, institutionalization of the community policing philosophy, and results. 
The Monrovia Police Department is proud to have been chosen as a 2012 James Q. Wilson Award finalist in recognition of our Community Policing Program.  In 1991, the Monrovia Police Department embraced a new concept for providing police service to our community. The implementation of Community Activist Policing (CAP) became not only a strategy for providing police service, but a philosophical shift in the police department’s approach to defining service. Police officers became community "activists" to affect change and solve long-term problems, utilizing any resource available in the community.  
Over the past 20 years, the Monrovia Police Department has continued to improve Community Activist Policing in the community by introducing innovative programs such as Chaplains for At-Risk Youth (CARY), Monrovia Anti-Gang Intervention Committee (MAGIC), Duarte and Monrovia Anti-Gang Enforcement (DAMAGE), and the Formative Years Program.  These innovative and collaborative programs and our involvement with the Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) have been extremely effective in changing the lives of many Monrovian’s, and are a true example of the Monrovia Police Department’s dedication to Community Activist Policing.  
Even as staffing levels have been cut throughout the department during the current recession, the value of Community Activist Policing and the department’s commitment to the program has not changed.  The men and women of the Monrovia Police Department and the Community Policing Bureau continue today to work with citizens, city staff, the school district, businesses, faith-based and non-profit organizations, as well as property owners, to maintain the high standards set nearly 20 years ago. 
- Brad Haugaard

Rapid Growth at New Monrovia Church

Pastor Albert Tate and family.

The new Fellowship Monrovia church - which began meeting Jan. 15 at the Monrovia Community Center (119 West Palm Avenue) - has grown so rapidly that it is adding a second service. One organizer reports that the church has been averaging between 400 and 500 people each Sunday, and Pastor Albert Tate tweeted that, "we were prepared for 350, this was a great church planting problem to have!" To accommodate the crowd, the church is adding a second service beginning this Sunday, so there will be services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police Finalist for Award | Van de Kamp Endorses Holden

~ Monrovia Police reports it is a finalist in the 2012 James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing.
~ Former state Attorney General John Van de Kamp has endorsed Chris Holden for the state Assembly district that includes Monrovia.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Boston Terrier Burglary, Potted Plant Burglary, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch Report for Feb. 2-5. – Brad Haugaard]

Following are the weekend’s highlighted issues and events.

Grand Theft Auto – Utility Trailer

On February 3 at 7:06 a.m., a utility trailer was reported stolen from an unsecured parking lot in the 200 block of West Foothill. The trailer did not have license plates on it. It was taken sometime between 4:00 p.m. on February 2 and 500 a.m. on February 3. The investigation is continuing.

Residential Burglary

On February 3 at 6:24 p.m., a female resident in the 400 block of East Olive reported her home had been burglarized sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 5:25 p.m. that day. A laptop computer was taken, as well as the resident’s black and white Boston Terrier. The dog has a microchip. Investigation continuing.

Petty Theft / Drunk in Public – Suspect Arrested

On February 3 at 12:01 a.m., a sergeant on patrol witnessed a male subject come out of a bar in the 300 block of West Foothill, walk across Magnolia, and pickup up the corner resident’s potted plant. The male subject began walking away with the plant. The sergeant stopped him. The owner of the property was located, an elderly female, and she desired prosecution. The plant was returned to the owner and the suspect was arrested, not only for the theft, but for being drunk in public.

Mail Tampering / Weapons Offense – Suspects Arrested

On February 4 at 4:56 p.m., officers responded to the 400 block of North Alta Vista regarding a male and female subject in a black car that were taking mail out of mailboxes. Officers located the vehicle and stopped it. The investigation revealed a large quantity of stolen mail, burglary tools, and a loaded revolver in the vehicle. The revolver was found by the battery in the engine compartment of the car. Both the male and female subject were arrested and charged with conspiracy, receiving stolen property, mail tampering, and weapons charges.


On February 5 at 10:06 p.m., police responded to the report of a battery that occurred in the 200 block of Madeline. The adult male victim was standing in front of his residence when he was approached by the suspect, his girlfriend’s former boyfriend. The suspect approached the victim in a friendly manner and asked if he would be willing to speak with him. The victim agreed. Without warning, the suspect punched the victim in the face several times. The suspect then left the location. The victim sustained a swollen left eye as a result of the battery. The investigation is continuing.

Special Enforcement Team Weekly Activity

Assault With a Deadly Weapon Warrant – Suspect Arrested

On February 3, the Special Enforcement Team was on patrol and conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle. A computer check revealed the driver was wanted by Monrovia Police Department for assault with a deadly weapon. The suspect was arrested and taken into custody.

- Brad Haugaard

Freeway Closures | Whitenack Retirement Date

~ The Gold Line folks say there will be up to seven days of freeway closures on the eastbound 210 between Feb. 5-18. The closures are for construction on the bridge near Santa Anita Avenue. Closures will start no earlier than 10 p.m. and end no later than 1 p.m. the following day.
~ Joan Whitenack, executive director of Monrovia's Foothill Unity Center, had previously announced she would be retiring. She has now set her retirement date for June 30 of this year.
- Brad Haugaard

Citrus College Cuts

Monrovia's representative on the Citrus College board, Joanne Montgomery, reports that the college has been cutting and expects to cut more, another 5%, or about $2.5 million more. Because of the repeated cuts, she said, the school is down about 3,000 students. Good news: local high school grads will get priority registration.
- Brad Haugaard

Low Food Supplies at Monrovia's Foothill Unity Center

Joan Whitenack, executive director of Monrovia's Foothill Unity Center, reports that in past Januaries the Center usually has a 3-6 month food supply, "but not this January." This year there is only a 1-2 month supply. If you'd like to contribute:

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Black History Month | Y Fundraisers

~ Black History Month celebration Feb. 19 at United Methodist Church, 140 E. Palm Ave., 2-5 p.m. Photos, live entertainment, speakers and refreshments. To contribute old photos, money, etc., email

~ The Monrovia Y has several restaurant fundraisers this month, at Rubio's, Ranchero and T-Phillips. But you gotta bring the flyer, so contact the Y to get one.

- Brad Haugaard

Half-Price Book Sale at Monrovia Library

Adult hard cover and trade paperback books and media with a red dot on the spine are half price in February for the Friends Store at the Monrovia Public Library Red Dot sale. (The Friends bookstore is inside the Library.) At half price, most materials will be $1.  Selection is varied. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Monrovia Public Library’s programs and services. For more information, call (626) 932-5555, Ext. 3124 or visit . Source: press release.
- Brad Haugaard

Redone Mon-Arc Shopping Center

Before and after photos of the refurbished Mon-Arc Shopping Center.

- Brad Haugaard

Revenue Outlook Poor for Monrovia Schools, School Facilities Use,Non-Monrovia Fundraising

At its Feb. 8 meeting (agenda: ), the Monrovia Board of Education will:

- Get a projected revenue report. Summary: Bad. Details here:
- Consider a district policy about use of school facilities by outside organizations. Details:
- Consider a request by Superintendent Linda Wagner about fundraising activities that involve shopping outside of Monrovia.
- Brad Haugaard

Staff Recommends Minimalist Hillside Approach | Unity Center Family in Video

~ At its Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. meeting, the Monrovia City Council will consider what to do with the hillsides above Monrovia that the city purchased quite a few years ago. City staff and the Community Services Commission recommend that the Council adopt a minimalist approach, adding only "new gates, signage, bear-proof trash receptacles, and mutt mitts" at each access point and adding “No Parking” signs on  Cloverleaf Drive. Source:
Opinion: This is just Really, REALLY wrong! Everybody in the city is paying for this land and it would be utterly unfair for the city to make it HARDER for city residents to get to it, as would happen if (as under this proposal) the city posts additional stretches of street as "No Parking." I understand residents near the trailheads don't want cars parked out front all day. Fair enough, but that argues for adding some city parking at the trailheads, NOT for making it harder for the people who are paying for this recreation area to get to it.
~ Foothill Unity Center reports that the Tuckers, the first family featured on this LA Times video about people struggling in the recession, are Unity Center clients.
- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Cafe Opera

Lunch at Cafe Opera yesterday. My wife said, "No t-shirt!" Glad I listened. Its rather elegant. Got the Trout Almondine. Delicately seasoned and very good. Also, lunch came with warm fresh bread. I ate it all.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools Fund Drive for Hit-and-Run Victim

Monrovia School District is conducting a fund drive for the family of the hit-and-run victim, a student at Clifton Middle School.

Semi-Mystery Movies at Monrovia Library | Cacciotti Wants Emergency Drills

~ Friends of the Monrovia Public Library is sponsoring the showing of a sort-of unnamed film on Monday, Feb. 6 from 6-8 p.m. in the Library Community Room as part of a "three-week film series of award winning or nominated films of the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Bring your dinner and we'll provide dessert. FREE. Our second film selection stars Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor, and Mélanie Laurent. Rated R, 104 minutes" ( ). Hmm. If only there were more clues, but I'm going with this:
~ South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti, who is running for  Assembly in Monrovia's Assembly district, "called on lawmakers to require joint planning and response drills between Southern California Edison and local governments that provide first responder services to their local residents when the lights go out." (Source: Caccioti press release)
- Brad Haugaard

Are Little Drones an Air Safety Problem?

Some pilots are concerned about air safety with drones (such as those made by Monrovia's AeroVironment) flying around.
- Brad Haugaard

State of City Address for Monrovia Youth | Fire Department Loses Friends

~ On Wednesday, February 8, Mayor Mary Ann Lutz will again deliver the State of the City address - but this time for Monrovia youth. This second annual address will be held for high school students at 2 p.m. in the auditorium at Monrovia High.

~ Monrovia Fire Department has lost two friends to cancer:

- Cathy Brooke, grants manager for the California Fire Safe Council, who helped Monrovia through the grant process for a decade. "Through Cathy’s advocacy, Monrovia’s hillsides are safer, and Monrovia’s residents are better prepared than we were a decade ago."

- Also, Arcadia Fire Captain Andy Troncale. "Monrovia Fire was particularly touched by the passing of Andy, due to the closeness of the two agencies, and the fact that his son, Clark, is a cadet with our Department.  Andy will be missed, but his legacy lives on in his son Clark who wants to be a firefighter just like his Dad!"

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Hillside Plan | 'Successor Agency' | Guilty in Shooting

~ At its Feb. 7 meeting, the Monrovia City Council will consider adopting the Hillside Wilderness Preserve and Hillside Recreation Area Resource Management Plan.
~ The "Successor Agency to the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency" will hold what I believe will be its first meeting Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. (This is the governmental agency the city created to wind up the affairs to the redevelopment agency, necessary since the state abolished redevelopment agencies.) Here's the agenda:
~ Gang member guilty in 2008 shooting.
- Brad Haugaard

New Monrovia Businesses | Citrus Raises Tuition | Chubby Squirrel

~ A round-up of some new businesses in Monrovia.

~ Citrus College raising its tuition to $46 a unit.

~ Chubby little Monrovia squirrel.

- Brad Haugaard

Pastor of Monrovia's First Presbyterian Unhappy with Church's Denomination

Pastor Tony Osimo, of First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia, appears to be increasingly unhappy with the direction of the church's denomination, saying in the church's "Tower Times" newsletter that he met with 2,200 other Presbyterian Church USA pastors to discuss how "to remain faithful to the Scriptures and our theology while ministering without compromise in a denomination that is becoming increasingly bureaucratic and drifting away from the essential tenants of the Christian faith."
He also expressed interest in a new Presbyterian denomination that has been formed for churches that want to transfer out of the Presbyterian Church USA.
- Brad Haugaard

Pouring Abutment for Gold Line Bridge

The Gold Line reports that this week 21 trucks lined up to pour nearly 227 cubic yards of concrete for the walls of the southern abutment of the Gold Line rail bridge near the Santa Anita offramp.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: 180 Days in Jail in Hit-and-Run Case; Brandishing Fake Gun; Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for Jan. 30 - Feb. 1. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 470 service events, resulting in 106 investigations.
Vehicle Burglaries
On January 30, officers responded to several vehicle burglary reports at a condominium complex in the 100 block of West Colorado in the secured tenant parking area.  Items taken varied from car parts to in-dash radios.  Additionally, a garage door opener was taken in one of the burglaries.  The investigation is continuing.
Theft - Suspects Arrested
On January 31 at 11:27 p.m., a witness called police and reported a male and female suspect stealing his neighbor's bicycle from the 100 Block of West Colorado.  An officer stopped a couple matching the description near the location.  The witness positively identified both suspects and they were still in possession of the bicycle.  The victim desires prosecution.  They were both arrested for the theft.
Theft From a Vehicle
On February 1 at 3:10 a.m., an officer responded to the 200 block of East Los Angeles regarding a theft from a vehicle.  The victim's front bumper was missing from his 2000 Honda Civic.  Investigation continuing.
Brandishing a Replica Firearm - Suspect Arrested
On February 1 at 11:35 p.m., police received a call reporting a man with a gun inside a bar in the 100 block of East Olive.  The reporting party said the male suspect had displayed a handgun, causing the customers to become fearful.  Officers arrived and the man was detained without incident.  The weapon was a BB gun that looked like a pistol.  The suspect claimed to be a gang member and said he needed the gun for protection.  He was arrested and taken into custody.
Detective Bureau Case Follow-up
Vehicle Versus Pedestrian Hit & Run Traffic Collision - Suspect pleads to Felony Charge
On January 27, a hit and run traffic collision occurred at Huntington and Canyon, where a 12-year-old girl was struck by a vehicle as she tried to cross the street.  The driver fled the scene, but through investigation, was located and arrested.  The child was severely injured and was taken by helicopter to a hospital in critical condition.  Detectives submitted the felony hit and run case to the District Attorney for filing.  The suspect pled to the felony charge and accepted a sentence of 180 days in jail and 3 years probation.
Search Warrant - Additional Victim Identified
A proactive investigation by patrol officers gave Monrovia Police Department's Detective Bureau enough information to secure a search warrant for a residence in the 200 block of West Olive, which was served on January 25.  The residents are suspected to be selling stolen property and narcotics from the residence.  An additional victim was identified this week from this case.  That brings the total to six victims of theft.

Fighting Cholera | Monrovia Wine Club | Little Gym

~ In an attempt to avoid a cholera outbreak, Monrovia's World Vision, a Christian relief agency, is distributing water purifiers in Mozambique following heavy storms.

~ Monrovia's Original Wine of the Month Club will help sponsor the fifth "Santa Anita Uncorked" wine and culinary festival at Santa Anita Race Track on Sunday, March 25.

~ A profile of the Little Gym, in Monrovia, a fitness center for little children.

- Brad Haugaard

Driver in Monrovia Hit-And-Run Case Released | Soup-er Bowl

~ Driver who was arrested in hit-and-run case released on her own recognizance.

~ On its Facebook page, First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia reports that it will serve a "Soup"-er Bowl Lunch tomorrow (Feb. 2) to the staff and teachers of Clifton Middle School, with several people from the congregation making the soups.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Senator: Don't Blow IPO | Pages from the Heart

~ Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia, says he hopes the state won't blow the expected one-time tax revenue windfall from the Facebook IPO. He said he'd like to use the money for education and to pay down state debt.

~ Profile of Monrovia scrapbooking company, Pages from the Heart.

- Brad Haugaard