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By Janet Wilson By

Michelle Mainville

Criminals, cats and canyon confines

Reflecting on a typically quiet

Saturday, the ordinary serenity of the canyons, only briefly inter- rupted by the thunderous off-key braying of the local bloodhounds, is both alluring and isolating. It’s easy to see why folks enjoy hid- ing out here. The isolation of the canyons not only attracts people seeking solace, but also people looking to escape the law. On June 12, the morning commute was punctuated by dozens of police and emergency vehicles speeding into Silverado Canyon in pursuit of two suspects, stop- ping just north of Fire Station 14. The suspects, accused of robbing a Target store in Oceanside, head- ed into the canyon, hoping to es- cape the law. They subsequently carjacked a man and pushed him down a steep cliff. The victim broke his leg and sustained other injuries, prior to being airlifted out by OCFA. The female sus- pect,Ana Molina, was found near the truck, and the man, Dennis Lam, was found hiding behind a car across the street. Both were arrested at the scene. Dissimilar desperados, lurking

in the confines of the canyons, are the resident bobcats that seem to be a bit more brazen these days as they seek the ever-elusive puddles of water remaining in the

"Agencies" continued from page 1

months, and conditions assessed every five years. EOCWD says it will respond in 20 minutes, clean every 12-18 months and com- plete a system-wide assessment every five years. IRWDreports it will respond in 30 minutes, clean pipes on a 12- to 24-month sched- ule and assess the system every 10 years. The county budget is cur- rently $1,048,753 per year. EO- CWDsays it can operate the same system for $803,944; IRWD says it can do it for $822,759. Of the eight individuals who

provided public comments, four were affiliated with IRWD, one was an EOCWD board member and three were private citizens. Those with a past or present as- sociation with IRWD focused on its experience, qualifications and knowledge of regulations. Former IRWD General Man- ager Paul Jones elaborated on the seriousness of sewage spills, mandatory fines that result from them and the need to understand the clean-up process. A former IRWD employee applauded the company’s engineering staff, and its available inventory of equip- ment and resources. Citizen Dick Schmidt echoed that sentiment. “IRWD has staff, it has engi- neers,” he said. “I think it is the most capable.” North Tustin’s John Sears was

one of two unaffiliated speak- ers who favored the smaller EO- CWD. He noted that OC Sani- tation had itself voted to award Area 7 to EOCWD and that the 16-square-mile labyrinth of sew- er pipes was within that agency’s sphere of influence. He added that local representation was im- portant to residents. He also re- ported that EOCWD is operated

creeks. At a quick glance, these cats may be mistaken for strays. They are small and hide in the bushes, lying in wait to pounce on their preferred foods, which include rabbits (60 percent of their diet), ground squirrels, small mammals, and sometimes birds. They will also go after easy prey like domestic animals if those animals are left unattended. The bobcat lives seven to 10 years in the wild. In Orange County, the biggest threats to bobcats are habitat loss and fragmentation, death by vehicle as they try to en- ter adjacent habitats, and poison- ing. Bobcats are also victims of rodenticides that people put out to poison squirrels, rats and mice. Bobcats (and other predators) eat the poisoned mammals, which ei- ther kills them outright or makes them susceptible to mange. In 2009, mange wiped out 90 per- cent of the bobcat population in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is imperative to use nonpoison- ous methods to control rodents on your property. Another group escaping from

ever-encroaching housing devel- opments is the Orange County Polo Club. It the latest to relocate to Silverado Canyon. According to spokesperson Heather Perkins, the club’s current property was

prudently, has no debt and keeps its water rates low, with no tiers. “I am confident that it will have a well-operated and financially stable service plan,” he said.

Local motion Marilyn Holmes agreed. “Both

IRWD and EOCWD are good agencies,” she said. “But East Orange understands our issues. We don’t want to become another Irvine.” The “local control” angle also

held the Orange City Council to its support of EOCWD a week earlier. IRWD had recently asked the council for a support letter, and the issue was heard at its June 9 meeting. Councilmen Mark Murphy and Mike Alvarez want- ed to support IRWD’s application as well as EOCWD’s, noting that a neutral stance would encourage competition between them, which would ultimately benefit the city and taxpayers. Mayor Tita Smith and Councilman Fred Whitaker opposed the second letter, arguing that supporting both contenders is like supporting neither of them. Kim Nichols broke the tie, noting that competition was beneficial at the beginning, “but what hap- pens 10 years from now? What will happen to rates then? I think we’re better served by a local source.” The vote was three to two against a second letter. LAFCO is continuing to ac-

cept written public comments and will discuss the matter at its July 8 meeting. A decision is not ex- pected until August. “We look at what’s best for the area and the region,” LAFCO Executive Of- ficer Carolyn Emery explained. “We’ve done an extensive mu- nicipal service review. We may decide in the end that OC Sanita- tion is the best operator and reject both IRWDand EOCWD.”

Foothills Sentry

needed for more home construc- tion, so they purchased the Car- bondale Ranch. “We are hoping to ultimately move the club to Carbondale so that we will have a permanent home,” says Perkins. “With so many stables closing in Orange County, we were thrilled to find an opportunity to reverse that course in a small way.” They plan to continue to operate the stables as a public facility, fix it up and add more horse stables. Residents not wanting to ven-

ture out of the canyons have plen- ty of activities to choose from. Modjeska has its movie nights and the Silverado Concert Series continues its successful run. This month’s July 18 concert features Citizen Joe, Beach Buzzards and Horse Fed Buffalo. SMRPD is

making good on its promise to fund more recreational activities for isolated canyon folk with its casino bus trip, new monthly se- nior luncheons with Sarkissian sing-a-longs, and the latest part- nership with the Inter-Canyon League. These two agencies are working together to bring back the once-popular canyon bingo at the Silverado Community Center. Let the games begin! If you’d like to venture outside

the canyons, head over to the OC Fairgrounds to check out local res- ident, Windy Jones, who recently completed a photo shoot for Or- ange Coast Magazine’s person of interest. She is a four-year veteran of the Damsels of Destruction all- female demolition derby that ben- efits the Susan G. Komen Breast

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cancer Foundation. According to Windy, “We have raised $26,000 so far and keep building momen- tum. This year, my car is spon- sored by the Silverado Bunco Babes.” The Derby will take place onAug. 14 at the fairgrounds. Get your tickets at Ticketmaster to guarantee a seat. Native plants are looking more

attractive as last July’s water rate decrease goes down the drain. This year, rates are going back up from $0.88 per ccf to $1.11 per ccf for low usage, and from $1.34 to $1.62 for base rate usage. In- efficient usage will go up 1 cent, while wasteful usage charges re- main the same at $6.22. A “ccf” is one hundred cubic feet and is the standard billing unit; one ccf equals 748 gallons of water. Base rate usage is 200 gallons per day for each single family home. The reasons stated by IRWD for the fee increases are higher operat- ing and maintenance expenses, increases in electricity, elevated charges for pumping groundwa- ter, new facilities hooking up to the system, and charges from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to purchase expensive imported water. Ac- cording to the IRWD spokesper- son at the ICL meeting last July, IRWD has plenty of water in re- serve for new housing develop- ments.

The final tally was 360 homemade meatballs, 167 spaghetti dinners -- and $2,235 to fight diabetes. Jordan Weisenberg, 17, a diabetic, founder and president of the new Villa Park High School Diabetes Awareness Club, led family and friends in cooking up pasta for the group’s first annual Spaghetti Dinner Drive-Thru For a Cure, in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They continue to accept donations for the foundation's One Walk at Angel Stadium in November, when they will walk as Team Gluca-GONE.

VP dentist calls community to action William Langstaff likes to

quote the iconic line from “Net- work.” He’s “mad as hell and not going to take it any more.” His fury is directed at the sorry con- dition of Villa Park High School, and he’s rallying the community to do something about it. Intent on building a “work-

force” for the high school, Lang- staff, who’s practiced dentistry in Villa Park for 40 years, invited like-minded citizens to a meet- ing, June 29, at VP City Hall. He presented the shabby high school facilities in a slideshow, recited a “wish list” of repairs and im- provements offered by VPHS teachers, and explained that tack- ling one project at a time would get the ball rolling. “VPHS has a rich tradition of

spirit,” he said, “but it’s tarnish- ing. The school is 50 years old and its substandard conditions are on us. This meeting is to make something happen.”

Do it yourself The “something,” broadly

stated, is partnering with Or- ange Unified School District to maintain and enhance the high

school’s physical facilities via a nonprofit endowment. More specifically, “something” can be donating labor or supplies, fun- draising, or communicating ex- pectations to businesses, service organizations and civic groups. Langstaff pointed out that the outreach needed to extend be- yond Villa Park to Orange be- cause “it's that city’s school, too.” Audience concerns that com-

munity-funded projects would be stalled by OUSD paperwork and processes, state requirements and regulations were somewhat dispelled by representatives from Orange Unified and VPHS Prin- cipal Ed Howard. They assured the audience that although district approval was needed, smaller projects (painting, landscaping) were not hard to get through the system. “It’s a one-page form,” Howard said. Projects identified for the

short term (easy) include paint- ing lockers and doors, carpeting, exterminating, replacing folding chairs, purchasing smart boards and dealing with drainage issues. Mid-term needs (not so easy, but doable) include a new floor in the

cafeteria, cement coatings, wall cabinets, science room tables, lighting in the performing arts center, and recording capability in the rehearsal hall.

Back to the future Long-term projects -- a new

track and field; locker room, showers and storage near base- ball fields; new bathrooms or an Olympic-size swimming pool -- will be much harder to take on. They would entail direct district involvement, contractor bids, lengthy processes and proce- dures, and compliance with gov- ernment codes. The meeting attracted about

70 people, including Villa Park City Councilmen Bob Collacott, Greg Mills and Bill Nelson; for- mer VP Councilmember Debo- rah Pauly, OUSD Trustee Tim Surridge, as well as students and teachers from VPHS. Langstaff collected about 25 signatures from people who volunteered for project committees and were “willing to commit.” He reports that the group has already re- ceived three bids for the cafeteria flooring.

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