Menifee Road to be Renamed

The Californian reports today that the portion of Newport Rd that runs between Murrieta Road and Goetz Road will be renamed to Normandy Road...
The western piece of Newport Road is being realigned into Railroad Canyon Road, but the existing section between Goetz and Berea roads will remain as an alternative route between Quail Valley and Sun City. That segment that will be called Normandy Road.
I don't know the significance of "Normandy" as it relates to Menifee. Perhaps there is a historical connection, since many of the major thoroughfares in Menifee are named after Menifee pioneers.

Perhaps a local history buff here can Post a Comment and shed some light.

Menifee Cityhood Gets County Boost

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted today to help pay the costs of supporting new firestations in Menifee and Wildomar, if those two communities voted to approve cityhood.

This was based on financial analyses conducted by Gary Thompson showing that the two cities would eventually fall into the red if they approved cityhood.

As reported in The Californian today...

Analyses of the communities had found that both would run into financial trouble at some point in their first 10 years if the county didn't contribute some funds to help staff new fire stations.

Those reports prompted supervisors Buster and Jeff Stone to propose that the county give the two communities the money the county expects to save by having them become cities.
Read the full article from The Californian here...

This doesn't quite pave the way for cityhood as of yet, though it does remove the first hurdle, and a very big hurdle at that. Basically up next, would be a popular vote by residents of Menifee Valley.

Fire Puts Menifee on the Map

Nothing like a 120-acre brush fire to put a sleepy little town on the map.

Since the fire has been extinguished, the photos and videos are making their way around the Internet.

I happened to find this one from Bill Gould...

This is the same Bill Gould that operates Full Value Entertainment, a local band agent, as well as his publication, "Full Value Review". He captured the billowing smoke on his camcorder, and submitted it to CNN, which subsequently plastered the video on their homepage to a billion viewers worldwide, depicting Menifee as exactly what the world thought: a paradise of single-wide trailers and dead weeds.

He writes on his blog that he plans to use events like this towards putting the Inland Empire on the map...

This 'next step' in opening up the Inland Empire to the outside world comes in the wake of a number of major stories broken (scooped) by the Full Value Review and many others that have been reported by the mainstream press after being first informed by The Review.
So now that the world has this "first hand impression" of Menifee painted into their minds, people will tell me, "Oh, you live out there."

Fire in Menifee by Scott Road

ABC affiliate Channel 7 News published an article about the brush fire in Menifee by Scott Road (Sweetwater Canyon Rd)...

They also have a news video.

Here are some progress reports from the Riverside County Fire Department...

  • 1:53pm - 20-30 acres involved with heavy fuels and rapid rate of spread.

  • 2:45pm - 50 acres burning in medium fuels with a moderate rate of spread. CHP has closed Scott Road between Sweetwater Canyon and Daily Road. No evacuations are in progress.

  • 3:40pm - 100 acres burning with medium fuels, moderate rate of spread. Road closure still in effect between Sweetwater Canyon and Daily Road. Wind blowing 5-10 mph in a south/west direction. No structure damages.

  • 4:25pm - Fire has increased in size from 100 to 125 acres with 10 percent containment. Road closures still in effect. American Medical Response is responding to the incident for firefighter with smoke inhalation.

  • 4:45pm - 119 acres invovled with 10 percent containment. 90 percent of the structure threat has been mitigated. American Red Cross has opened a voluntary evacuation center at Elsinor High School, located at 21800 Canyon Drive X Orange in Wildomar. TB 897 B4 American Red Cross has also set-up a canteening area outside the fire area for residents that voluntarily evacuated.

  • 7:11pm - Fire is approximately 40% contained. Two structures received minor exterior damage; a single family residence and one out-building.

UPDATE (Jul 30): The Fire Department posted another update, identifying the cause as "recreational shooting"...

**UPDATE 07/30/07 0800 hrs: Fire is 100% contained at approximately 200 acres. Full containement expexted today at 1800 hours. The cause is recreational shooting. Any suspicious persons or vehicles seen leaving the area are urged to call the Arson Hotline at (800) 633-2836. 12 engines, four fire crews, four water tender and one bulldozer are on day assignment at the incident to mop-up and patrol the burned area.

Cal-State Menifee

The San Diego Tribune ran an article about college enrollment at Cal-State San Marcos booming, partly because of booming population in south Riverside County...

"We're one of the hottest campuses in the CSU," said Matthew Ceppi, chief of staff to Cal State San Marcos' president. The enrollment explosion has been partially spurred by the growth in home building in south Riverside County communities such as Murrieta and Menifee.


For fall, Cal State San Marcos received a record number of applicants – 14,000 for about 3,500 spots. Sixty-one percent of the applicants are from outside the county.

While we do have Mt San Jacinto College, it's not a four-year college. We're going to need a four-year college somewhere here between Perris and Temecula. Not only will that ease some of the freeway congestion, it'll bring some more jobs here.

Free Solar Clothes Dryer for all Menifee Residents!

As I worked upstairs in the laundry room in my Menifee, Ca. home, a gust of hot air blew through my washer room window. I was preparing to put the freshly washed clothes into my electric dryer when like the gust of hot air, an almost forgotten way of drying clothes soon propagated through my cerebral cortex (brain). I realized I should take advantage of Menifee's "free solar dryer".

Was this simpler, less expensive way of drying clothes not how our grandparents did it? Although I don't have clothes lines out back, a shower curtain rod in my laundry room suffices!

With the high cost of electricity bills, especially during Menifee's hot summers, should I not find ways of conserving energy?

I quickly went to my closet, took out hangers and hung the wet clothes. This saved me 1 load. I took extra hangers for load 2 and 3.

However, how much money would this save me? Was it worth it? I went to my laptop, and Googled "how much does it cost to dry a load of clothes" and found the following link:

I found the following:
Electric dryer: 5,600 w/hr * 0.06872 = $0.384832 per load (38 cents/load)
Gas dryer: 22,000 BTU * 1 therm / 100,000 BTU * $0.98655/therm = $0.217041 per load (22 cents/load).

When I looked at my June electric bill, we used 60.1 kwh/day at a cost of $11/day. A single load of clothes drying for 1 hour would use 5.6 kwh (same as 5600 w/hr above). If my math is correct, my cost for drying a load of clothes for 1 hour is $1.02, not 0.38 cents?

If the above assumptions are correct, a family of four who dries 10 loads weekly would spend just over $500/year drying

Although, it is not always convenient to wait half a day for clothes to dry, I think we will start using our Menifee Solar Clothes Dryer more and more. This simple change may save our family $5000 dollars over the next 10 years.

During a time of economic uncertainty for so many, we can all find other things we would rather do with our money.

For more energy saving tips, visit . They have many programs for homeowners to save hundreds of dollars off electricity bills. This one particularly can save $200 for each home!(

Jeff Stone Seeks to Assist Menifee Cityhood

There's more developments in the fallout of Friday's news that Menifee cityhood would run into financial problems. Supervisor Jeff Stone, along with fellow Supervisor Bob Buster, are planning a proposal to help defray the costs of supporting additional fire houses.

Basically, they propose to give the new city of Menifee the money it plans to save after cityhood. In other words, the County of Riverside expects to save more money by the fact that Menifee will be supporting itself. Hence, giving Menifee that amount of saved money will help it build the fire houses, without really impacting the County negatively.

You can read more about this from The Californian...

Another thing I'd like to add is that Menifee as a city can develop its commercial and retail centers more quickly than the County can, simply because developers can work with the city council instead of dealing with the County.

Who is the Menifee Maniac?

For some reason, a nickname like "Menifee Maniac" seems to conjure up images of a wobbly-legged six-foot tall hillbilly chewing on a stalk of wheat, and driving a tow-truck through a wheat field chasing down a herd of sheep.

But it's actually a guy named Fernando Gonzalez, an extreme cagefighter in the World Extreme Cagefighting league. He's going to be taking on Hiromitsu Miura on August 5th, in Las Vegas.

Here's what it says about him on a fight card...

Hard-nosed battler Fernando Gonzalez (12-4) has only one speed in the cage, and that's all out. A boxer and jiu-jitsu fighter out of Temecula, California, the 5 foot 8 "Menifee Maniac" is 2-1 in the WEC, with wins over Alex Stiebling and Jimmy Dexter. He will be looking to notch his third win at the expense of Miura on August 5.

Fernando Gonzalez the Menifee Maniac
You can view more photos of the Maniac in action on his WEC Fighter Detail page...

It may turn out to be Fernando himself who'll put this town on the map.

Funk n Stuff at the Ponderosa, Sun City This Weekend!

Hey Menifee! The Ponderosa will have a live playing some great music Friday, July 27th and Saturday, July 28th from 8:30 pm-1am.

Band: Funk n Stuff plays all your favorite rock classics and hits from today. (I have personally heard them play and they do a great job!)

The dance floor is always full when this band takes the stage!

Directions: To join us, take the 215 to McCall and head east, go left on
Encanto then right on Shadel. It's the first lot on the left. See you

Menifee Cityhood Looks Troubling

The financial analysis needed to determine if the Menifee Valley can incorporate as a city is showing that the new city will face budget shortfalls anywhere from 5-10 years.

Gary Thompson, who is conducting the analysis, says that the cost of adding new fire stations will be too much for Menifee Valley to handle on its own...

Under three different proposed boundaries for a city of Menifee Valley, there would be a budgetary shortfall at some point in the first 10 years if the valley had to absorb all operating costs for up to three new fire stations, according to the analysis released earlier this month.

You read more about this in The Californian...

But Joe Daugherty, who leads the cityhood effort, says the analysis takes a conservative view of the future city's finances, whereas growth in the valley is accelerating at a fast rate. In other words, he thinks the fast pace of commercial and residential growth will can provide unforseen revenues that the analysis doesn't take into consideration.

I tend to believe he's right. Once the Countryside Marketplace is in place, both commercial and residential development is going to boom in this valley, and bring in plenty of new revenue.

Nonetheless, the purpose of this analysis is to tell cityhood proponents what needs to be done to make cityhood happen, not so much to tell them that its impossible. The challenge of the cityhood incorporation committee is to work with the county in finding a way to make this feasible.

Menifee's Master Mascot

Bernie Inland Empire 66ersRaymond Anaya, a Menifee resident, has an alter ego, a furry red, 6'9" tall freak named Bernie, with freckles and rainbow hair.

He's the mascot for the Inland Empire 66ers, San Bernardino's single A baseball team.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin published an article about his rags-to-riches story...

He attended a mascot school in Delaware organized by Dave Raymond, the original Philly Phanatic. The famous Chicken - Ted Giannoulas - also took Anaya under his wing in 2001, flying him to Buffalo where he was performing at a Triple-A game. Anaya spent the next three weeks traveling across the country with the mascot, who started his act in 1974.

Read the entire article here...

Menifee Teen Wanted on Vandalism Charges

Back on July 2, 2007, up north by the Bay Area town of Pleasanton, a high school student was badly beaten by several partiers.

Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of 18-year-old Michael Daniel Page, a resident of Menifee, on vandalism charges.

Earlier, two other people were arrested in connection with the beating, one of whom is another Menifee teenager, aged 17. Police have withheld his identity.

According to The Valley Herald newspaper, the student who was beaten up was 17 year old Antonio Ortega...

Ortega was badly beaten at a small gathering that got out of hand when it was listed on the social networking Web site MySpace and 70 to 80 uninvited guests showed up. The victim tried to get them to leave, but several people began vandalizing three vehicles parked at the home. They then hit and kicked him and struck him with a baseball bat and wooden chair.

Shortly after the assault, a 17-year-old Menifee boy was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism. Police did not release his name because he is a minor.

New Menifee School Bond Measure

Menifee School BusTrustees of the the Menifee Union School District voted 3-1 to put another bond measure on the ballot, asking homeowners in Menifee and Sun City to pay higher taxes.

You can read about in the Press Enterprise... PE_News_Local_S_sbond25.3e999ed.html

Basically, you're going to pay an extra $17.90 per year for every $100,000 of your home's value, on top of what you're already paying now. This means if your house is valued at $400,000, you'll be paying an extra $71.60 per year.

Based on what I read in the article, this additional tax revenue will pay for expansion of classrooms and build more schools.

Interestingly, the trustees are bringing up the subject of switching the school calendar back to a traditional calendar, and away from the year-round system. One trustee was also quoted as suggesting that if parents want their kids in a traditional calendar, they have to approve this measure, because we don't currently have the capacity to do it.

Last month, I posted an article on this subject, but saw the problem as a lack of available private schools.

I know there are many parents in this community that can afford to send their kids to private schools, but don't do so mainly because there aren't many available. If more kids were in private schools, there would be plenty of room in the public school system to keep our taxes down, and to keep kids on a traditional school calendar.

Going down the bond measure route, the higher families have to pay in taxes, the less likely they can afford private schooling. In other words, it's a vicious cycle of self-defeat.

I don't know what it takes to get more private schools in the area, but I think our district trustees ought to put more time into luring them into our valley.

New Scrapbooking Store in Menifee

The Loft Scrapbook store in MenifeeOn July 14, 2007, a new scrapbooking supply store in Menifee called, "The Loft Scrapbooks" had its grand opening.

It's an effort of two cropping owners, Carrie Lawler and Karen Collins, along with their cropping store manager Teri Kincaid.

The new store is located at 29683 New Hub Drive, Suite C, in Menifee, behind the Yellow Basket, next to the Post Office.

The store offers plenty of scrapbooking supplies and materials, and offers a room that can be rented out for crop parties.

On August 18, 2007, the store will launch its first scrapbooking class.

For more information about the store, visit The Loft Scrapbooks website at...

Rain Strikes Twice on July 23

If you thought the rain shower we got early this morning was freaky for mid-July, there's more.

Exactly one year ago today, Menifee was hit by a freak rain storm.

Published in The Californian, on July 23, 2006, there was an article about how temperatures in Menifee reached 108 degrees the day before (July 22), and then got hit by freak rain storm that cooled things down. That rain continued on into the next day...

At 4 p.m., it was a sweltering 108 in Menifee ---- and then the storm hit.

The downpour was accompanied by high winds, with some gusts reaching 41 mph. Signs and debris were tossed about and in the Ralphs parking lot at Antelope and Newport roads, shopping carts were swept away in all directions.

Coincidence? Or an Al Gore conspiracy?

Fallen Soldier Honored in Sun City

Evans Brown MortuaryThis morning, Spc. Eric M. Holke, was honored at Evans Brown Mortuary in Sun City by a guard calling themselves "Patriot Guard Riders".

Holke died just a week ago, July 15, in Tallil, Iraq, of wounds sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Infantry, California Army National Guard, in Fullerton. Being his death was non-combat related, it's still under investigation.

The Patriot Guard Riders are made up of citizens both veterans and civilians, who provide an honor guard for fallen soldiers. They got their start in October 2005, in response to a radical church group that crashed funeral services for fallen soldiers by heckling the grieving families. These veterans and civilians formed a human shield against the hecklers that guaranteed peace and comfort to the mourners. Since then, the Patriot Guard spread across the country and while their mission is still to provide this human shield, they also come to pay their respects.

In Sun City this morning, there were about 50 such persons on hand to present flags and salutes as Holke's casket was carried in and out of the mortuary.

Jim at Evans Brown MortuaryJim, a resident of Menifee, was one of the locals who came out for the service. "I just wanted to pay my respects for a guy who served our country", said Jim. "It's guys like these who are fighting for our way of life. You gotta just come out and show that you care." Jim is also pictured at the top, standing second from the right.

While most of the people involved with the Patriot Guard didn't personally know Holke, they came out to honor him just as they've done for many other soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. For local residents like Jim, it brings a war half-way around the world home to Menifee.

After the service at Evans Brown Mortuary, Holke's body was carried to Riverside National Cemetery, and followed by a procession of motorcycles adorned with US flags. At the cemetery, shots were fired by a team of riflemen, taps was played, and medals and flags were presented to Holke's wife and parents. After the service, members of the Patriot Guard fell out and headed back to their homes, knowing they'll reconvene again to honor another one of America's fallen heroes.

For more information about the Patriot Guard, you can visit their website...

Auto Dealerships in Menifee

A Menifee resident named Bill submitted a comment to me in reference to new businesses coming to Menifee, and asked why there hasn't been any talk of new auto dealerships coming to Menifee...

After reading all of the input I could find on new businesses coming to the area, I couldn't help but notice a glaring omission. I didn't find one reference to new auto dealers.

While I am not necessarily a lover of auto dealerships, I have seen their presence in many new communities really make a difference in whether that new city thrives or fails. I lived in Poway Ca. for 23 yrs. and 8 yrs. before it became a city. I was not one of the people who voted for city-hood. I was sure that we would have big problems with policing, streets etc.

They started with a district set aside for auto dealerships. This turned out to be a brilliant idea. Everything else followed, and Poway has always been considered one of the best governed cities in California. Their infrastructure has improved dramatically since 1980 and it has gone from a dusty cow town to a beautiful city. Their per capita income is one of the highest in S.D. Co.

Honest, I am not now, nor have I ever been a Poway Chamber of Commerce member. I just think that if we don't take this possibility into account, we may be missing the boat on the biggest sales tax source a city can have.

I also read a blog about certain people hating Wal-Mart. I think it's about time we started thinking for ourselves and quit listening to people with a selfish or vindictive agenda. Wal-Mart has been a positive addition to most areas it's in. It's the UNIONS,they want to get into your pockets. If Wal-Mart were UNION, they would praise them. What nonsense!!!!!!

You're absolutely right about auto malls Bill, they crank out tons, and I mean TONS, of tax revenue for city governments. The trick, however, is designing an auto mall that actually sells a lot of cars. You also needs lots of land, and you need visibility along a freeway. Menifee can offer both of those.

There is in fact, Richardson's RV located along the 215, near Ethanac Rd, but it's currently sitting on land that's outside of Menifee's borders, and is actually outside of Perris' borders too. The last I heard Perris is making a move to annex it, if it hasn't already done so.

But I agree with you, I would love to see an auto mall in Menifee.

As for Wal-Mart, I agree with you on that also. Wal-Mart only is what it is because people shop there. You can't argue against the people. Unions and liberals have tried, but they can't stop people from voting with their money.

MenifeeOnline For Sale, a web portal that targeted residents of the Menifee Valley is apparently up for sale.

The website's current owner, Adrienne DeVita, listed the site for sale on her domain name blog, which you can read here...

The asking price for the website isn't mentioned, though she indicates that all reasonable offers will be considered. Here's a quote from her blog...

This is a local web portal located in Menifee, California. This portal targets one million local residents and the web site owner must contact all of the local businesses and sign them up for business directory advertising, which includes one full-page, 6 pictures, 1 thumbnail, and a coupon.

Web portals like have been springing up everywhere over the past couple of years, which happened to coincide with a nationwide trend towards "hyperlocal journalism". These websites offer similar information as Yahoo, except tailored to a very narrow audience, such as residents of Menifee Valley.

I don't have the specifics on why Adrienne decided to put MenifeeOnline up for sale, but I do know that online advertising at the local level is a difficult business to get into. Local advertising is still pretty much the domain of paper publications like newspapers, The Pennysaver, Menifee Mailer, etc.

Anyways, if you think you're up to the task of running a local web portal, maybe MenifeeOnline is the opportunity for you.

Magic Show in Sun City Tomorrow

The Sun City Civic Association is presenting a magic show dubbed, "A Night of Magic on Stage", featuring magicians from the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

It's scheduled for this Saturday, July 21, at 7:00pm, at 26850 Sun City Blvd.

Tickets are $7.00 at door. Doors open at 6.00pm.

6 Lanes or 8 Lanes on the I-215?

freeway traffic jamIs six lanes on the I-215 enough?

That's what CalTrans is planning for the I-215 between Nuevo Rd in Perris all the way south to the I-15 interchange to six lanes. Three lanes each way.

Is that enough?

Considering the fact that the California State Department of Finance predicts Riverside County to become the second largest county in the state by mid-century, and the fact that much of the population increase is expected to reside from Perris to Murrieta, it seems like we need more lanes than that. How about eight lanes or ten lanes?

My guess is that CalTrans may be able to widen the I-215 to six lanes by utilizing the center median and shoulders. On the other hand, eight lanes may require rebuilding all of the overpasses.

But here's the thing. Pretty much all of the overpasses along this stretch of the I-215 needs to be widened anyways. 4th Street, McCall, Newport, Scott, and Clinton Keith, are all insufficient given today's traffic problems, and not even taking into account the future Countryside Marketplace on Newport and future Wal-Mart on Scott. If they have to widen these overpasses anyways, they may as well design them to stretch over eight lanes of the I-215.

But I'm sure it always comes down to money.

But then again, take a look at the 91 freeway going through Corona. That thing has 10 lanes and is still not enough.

Construction to widen the I-215 won't begin until 2010, and may not complete until 2012. The Newport Rd overpass is supposedly being widen even further sometime in 2011.

Read more about this subject at The Californian, here...

More Data on Menifee Sun City Housing Boom

MarketPointe Realty Advisors released an announcement today providing more data supporting the prospect that the Menifee Valley is sitting in the center of Riverside County's future population boom, noting the number of attached and detached homes scheduled for construction...

According to Marketpointe Realty Advisors LandTracker publication, there are 33,270 attached proposed development units in West Riverside. Of these units, the Hemet/San Jacinto area leads future attached supply, having the largest share at 24 percent, followed by Perris/Sun City at 18 percent, Riverside/Moreno Valley and Lake Elsinore with 14 percent, while Temecula/Murrieta holds 12 percent of the entitled units. The Banning/Beaumont area has 10 percent, with Corona/Norco (8 percent) rounding out the region.

Proposed detached units in West Riverside total 171,108 homes in 1,298 projects with nearly one-third located in Perris/Sun City. The remaining 69 percent of the region is fairly well distributed between Banning/Beaumont with 19 percent, Hemet/ San Jacinto with 16 percent, Temecula/Murrieta with 11 percent, Riverside/Moreno Valley 10 percent, Lake Elsinore 7 percent and Corona/Norco holding the final 6 percent.

You can read their entire press release here...

MarketPointe Realty Advisors provides market analysis, feasibility studies, litigation support and research databases for builders, developers, lenders, mortgage bankers, and attorneys.

Riverside County Water Emergency Declared!

The Governor of California today declared a state of emergency for Riverside County because of $4 million in crop damages caused by a severe drought.

As a result of the emergency, Governor Schwarzenegger directed the Office of Emergency Services to start drilling water wells or modify existing wells in the county.

The Los Angeles Times published an article about this today, even citing poor farming conditions here in Menifee...

For the first time in almost a century, the Menifee farm owned by Mike Bouris' family did not plant a wheat crop this year. Last month, the family decided to stop farming for good.

Bouris said the affect of the drought really hit home last month when he auctioned off his farm equipment.

"I had to sell things for less than 50 cents on the dollar, and that rang home more than anything," said Bouris, whose family farm had planted wheat the previous 85 years.

Read the rest of the article from the LA Times here...,1,250990.story

The kind of farming at stake here isn't necessarily the same as irrigation-based farming like that in the Coachella Valley or Imperial Valley. Rather, these are crops that rely on rainfall, mostly wheat destined to feed sheep and cattle.

I'm not sure that wheat farming in Menifee has much of a future anyways. I imagine there are still other places where such farming is expected to continue for years; I just don't know where those places are. I'm no farmer, but it seems to me that the $4 million dollar loss is just a teenie-weenie amount in California's overall farming economy.

But that doesn't make the drought any less severe. To me, the real concern is the Colorado River. Earlier this month, we reported that the water carried by the Colorado is now half of what it used to be just five years ago. This is where most of our usable water comes from, at least here in Riverside County.

As for the Bouris family of Menifee, and other farmers in south west Riverside County, I sympathize for them and wish them well. I think that wheat farming on this half of Riverside County is destined to die anyways. We need the land for urban sprawl. There's way too many immigrants coming here and not enough homes to house them all. I guess you could also argue that we should stop the immigration, but then again that's another topic of discussion.

An Outsider's View of Menifee

Steve Lopez, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, recently drove out to Menifee to see what all the "hub bub" was about.

That hub bub is of course, the recent news that Riverside County is poised to become California's second most populous county by the middle of this century, and the fact that Menifee is going to sit in the heart of it.

Lopez ended up writing a very interesting article that paints of picture of Menifee from the eyes of an outsider, from someone who's more used to looking at downtown highrises and high-density urban life. He visits new home developments in Menifee, the local school district, and talks to a local Realtor. But don't figure on Lopez seeing Menifee as a sight for sore eyes, he has a much different opinion...

I drive past several of them before entering a "master-planned community" called The Lakes, with nearly 1,000 homes built or under construction. Near the sales office I see workers landscaping the shores of one of three man-made lakes.

"Where's the water come from?" I ask two laborers, wondering if "The Dunes" would have been a smarter concept than "The Lakes," given the state's water shortage.

Read his entire article here...,0,2590766.column

Bomb Squad Called to Sun City Bank

CBS News reports today that a bank in Sun City had to be evacuated after a suspicious device was found in the night deposit box. The bomb squad was called over, but it turned out be harmless...

A wire-wrapped rod found in a night deposit box at a Sun City bank Tuesday prompted an evacuation and brought out the bomb squad, but it turned out to be harmless, authorities said.

The package was found about 10:15 a.m. in the 27000 block of Sun City Boulevard, according to sheriff's Investigator Jerry Franchville.

The sheriff's explosives experts were called, and the bank and parking lot were evacuated until the item could be examined, Franchville said.

I could not determine which bank it was.

A True Family in Menifee

Eric and Alicia True are planning to move to Menifee next year with their two sons, and attend Grace Bible Church, here in Menifee. Eric runs a dental lab out of his house.

Eric True recently posted a couple of blog articles about his endeavor to help Grace Bible Church set up a second church in the area, in which he'll become pastor...

Beginning in 2008, we plan to spend two years serving as an assistant pastor at GBC in Menifee, helping to strengthen that ministry and prepare that church to start another church. Then sometime in early 2010 – GBC would send out a team to a nearby area to start another church. I would be the pastor of that church plant. As needed, we would seek support from Church planting organizations like GFA Missions to help get that church going. As that church was able to begin paying us (and with help from GBC in Menifee), we would not need the outside support anymore.

Read his entire blog post here...

Tim Lovegrove, current pastor at Grace Bible Church, has composed a timeframe on setting up this second church...

Eric believes that SoCal doesn't have enough "indigenous" churches, referring to churches created by locals for locals, and he hopes to help change that.

Is the Real Estate Market on the Rebound?

That's what an article in The Californian seems to ask, reporting that the average number of days a house sits on the market seems to be peaking...

Homeowners who sold their houses this spring were able to do so in an average of just under two months, according to data from the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors, which represents most local agents. The time-on-market figure, a key statistic, rose from 17 days in the March-to-June period of 2004 to 53 days in the same four months of 2006, but has stabilized, edging up to just 57 days in the last four months.

Read the full article here.

The article relies on real estate agents to provide supportive testimony on the notion that the market is picking back up. Certainly, Realtors are going to say positive things about the market, because they need the business. So, is the housing market truly improving for home sellers?

My guess is that what we're seeing are home sellers dropping their listing prices. Whereas before they were asking for way too much, now they are cutting another $20K or $30K off the price in an attempt to expedite their sell. That will shorten the average days on the market, but doesn't mean home sellers are walking away with smiles on their faces.

Orange Ball Golf Classic at Menifee Lakes

Menifee Valley Orange Ball Golf ClassicThe Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce is organizing a golf tournament called, "2007 Orange Ball Golf Classic" to be held at Menifee Lakes.

It's scheduled for November 2, 2007.

The Chamber is looking for sponsors and players.

Some highlights include...

  • Contest for the longest drive & closest to the pin

  • Prizes for Men & Women on Par 3's

  • Goody Bags

  • Awards Banquet

Sponsorship packages range from as little as $50.00 to as much as $5,000.00.

Eldorado Community to Host X-Games Athletes

Eldorado Community Menifee MapThe new Eldorado community, by Shea Homes, has tapped three former X-Games athletes to demonstrate their skills as part of a promotional event.

Headlining the action-packed event will be performances featuring the San Diego "Extreme Team," including top professional BMX bikers Ricky Vigil and Midget Cory and pro street skater James McKnight. Having appeared at the X-Games and performed all over the world, they will be demonstrating an array of extreme skills, including back flips and freestyle tricks, as well as signing autographs for fans.

The date is set for Saturday, July 21, 2007, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Eldorado.

Eldorado is a new housing development located by the intersection of Lindenberger and Simpson roads, and consists of two separate tracts, Red Rock and Silverstone.

Shea Homes will also be providing free snacks and drinks, and will have a live DJ, and will also be doing "free Vans giveaways".

You can read the full press release from Shea Homes...

Menifee Man Arrested in Murder Investigation

Reported today in the Press Enterprise, 19 year old Angel Ponce Nicholas, described as a resident of Menifee, was arrested in connection with the murder of Eric Hernandez, of Perris.

Read the article here...

This is not related to the double murder that took place in Sun City, but yet a different murder.

Back on July 9, the Riverside County Sheriff reported that another man, Victoriano Meza, age 19, from Perris, was arrested following reports of gun shots at the 1200 block of Perris Blvd, in Perris. Deputies arrived on the scene, and found Meza fleeing in a pickup truck. They followed him down Murrieta Rd through Sun City, and nabbed him there.

Days later, the Sheriff reported the arrests of two other men, one of them being Angel Ponce Nicholas.

Read the Sheriff's report of July 9 here....

Menifee to Fuel the County's Population Boom

The State Department of Finance, yesterday, released new statistics that estimates California's population growth, and indiciates that Riverside County will more than double it's population by 2050, making it the State's second largest county.

A number of newspapers reported on this news, however the Los Angeles Times, interestingly, identified the Menifee Valley as being at the heart of this future population explosion...

Husing predicts that growth will be most dramatic beyond the city of Riverside as the patches of empty space around communities such as Palm Springs, Perris and Hemet begin to fill in with housing tracts.

Expect a lot of the new development in Riverside County to go up along the 215 Freeway between Perris and Murrieta, according to Riverside County Planning Director Ron Goldman. Thousands of homes have popped up in that area in the last decade, and Goldman said applications for that area indicate condominiums are next. The department is so busy that he's hiring 10 people who'll start in the next month.
Read the full LA Times article here...

This fits right in with an earlier blog post of ours, "Menifee to Become Future Industrial Center", where I noted that Menifee sits right in the middle of a very fast-growing region of the state.

Imagine what Menifee will look like 40 years from now.

Menifee Teenager Wanted in Connection with Double Murder

Elias Urquiza ContrerasRiverside County Sheriff department released a photo of 17-year-old Elias Urquiza Contreras of Menifee, identifying him as "person of interest" in connection with the Sun City double murder that took place on July 7th.

Anyone who may know the whereabouts of Contreras is strongly encouraged to call the numbers listed below.

The double murder case involved the death of Orlando Hernandez, 30, and his son, Larry, 11, who were found dead in a home in the 25000 block of Kuffel Road, in Sun City, about 3:15 p.m.

This investigation is ongoing and the Sheriff's Central Homicide Unit is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Investigator Waters at 951-955-2777 or Investigator Glenn Johnson at 951-940-6200 during regular business hours and after regular business hours contact Riverside County Sheriff's Department Central Dispatch Center at 951-955-1099.

Countryside Marketplace Groundbreaking Ceremony

Groundbreaking ceremonies for Countryside Marketplace took place today, kicking off construction of the 735,000-square-foot shopping center located on the corner of Newport Rd and Haun Rd.

Speaking at the ceremony was Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone as well as Jeff Chambers, vice president development for Donahue Schriber Realty Group (DSRG), the company that's developing the 68-acre parcel.

Countryside Marketplace artist rendering

Jeff Chambers noted to those in attendance, "Every step of the development process is a collaborative effort. We could not have gotten to this point without the dedication of those who share our vision for what this center will mean to the community."

Countryside Marketplace is expected to provide approximately 6,500 construction and permanent jobs for the Menifee Valley.

Chambers continued on by saying, "One of the recurring themes we heard from residents was their desire to have convenient dining options as a part of the center. We are pleased to announce that Countryside will be home to BJ's Restaurant, T.G.I. Friday's, Red Robin, In-N-Out, Chick-fil-a and Starbucks, among others."

The first tenants at Countryside Marketplace are expected to open in October 2008. Pre-leasing at the center has secured tenants for more than 90 percent of the space, but space from 1,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet is still available. Interested retailers can contact Wally Limburg or Nelson Wheeler with Strategic Retail Advisors at (949) 640-6678.

For more details about Countryside Marketplace, read our summary of Donahue Scriber's presentation...

Who is the Mayor of Menifee?

Mayor McCheeseEvery once in awhile I receive an e-mail from someone wanting to know who the mayor of Menifee is, or who are the city council members, or where Menifee city hall is. I thought I'd try to answer that question with a blog post.

The answer is that Menifee doesn't have a mayor. There is no city council, and there is no city hall.

The closest thing to it is the 3rd District County Supervisor, which at this time is Jeff Stone. Stone is pretty much the guy who makes things happen in Menifee, I guess you could liken him as the mayor. He has an office in Menifee, and I suppose you could call that the city hall. And, he has appointed a group of Menifee Valley residents to tell him what the big issues are, and I suppose that's kinda like the city council.

Menifee is not a city, in a legal sense. We call it a "community" for lack of a better word. However, Menifee does indeed have boundaries. You can see the boundaries on the cityhood incorporation committee's website...

These boundaries were defined by LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission). They did this to facilitate the cityhood incorporation effort, and to let neighboring cities know what areas cannot be annexed right now.

Now and then you might see references to the "Honorary Mayor of Menifee" in various publications. This is a designation of the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce. They like to peg one of their members as the "honorary mayor" just for posturing purposes. The "honorary mayor" has no governmental powers here.

Then there are "movers and shakers" in Menifee Valley. These are people who are members of various boards, councils, districts, etc., that give them the credentials to talk to developers, county administration, and important people in other cities. They are actively shaping Menifee into what it will be in the future. Such boards, councils and districts might include the Menifee Valley MAC, the two school boards, the chamber of commerce board, and the cityhood incorporation committee.

Double Homicide in Sun City

The Riverside County Sheriff's office posted a notice that they're investigating a double homicide in Sun City. Here's what they had to say...

On Saturday, July 07, 2007 at 3:16 P.M., deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Perris Station responded to the 25000 block of Kuffel Rd., Suncity reference a double homicide incident. Deputies arrived at 3:23 P.M. and discovered two decedents at the residence who appear to be victims of homicide. The two victims have not been identified. Riverside County Sheriff's Central Homicide Unit responded to the location and assumed the investigation.

This investigation is ongoing and the Sheriff's Central Homicide Unit is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Investigator Waters at 951-955-2777 or Investigator Glenn Johnson at 951-940-6200 during regular business hours and after regular business hours contact Riverside County Sheriff's Department Central Dispatch Center at 951-955-1099.

A Good Year for Mosquitoes

green swimming poolThe Press Enterprise has a good article that deals with another negative effect of the rising foreclosures in the IE: mosquitoes in abandoned swimming pools.

Basically, these foreclosed homes, which are now owned by banks, have green swimming pools in their backyards breeding thousands of mosquito larvae.

Here's an astonishing quote from the article...

While this year's aerial survey is not yet complete, the Coachella district checked seven cities last year. Of 300 pools checked, half were green, Mann said.

The West Valley Vector Control district, for instance, already has identified more than 300 green pools in just two cities, Reisinger said.

Read the full article here...

If you have a dog living in the backyard, or spending much of its time outdoors, better get it on a heartworm prevention medication, such as HeartGuard. Any veterinarian's office will sell them to you. Mosquitoes are carriers of heartworm larvae, and carry them from one dog to another. Once well established in your dog's heart, your pet has little chance of survival. There is medicine to kill heartworms inside of a dog's heart, but such medicine is often fatal to the dog as well.

Most bug zappers and bug lights don't work with mosquitoes. You need a special attractant to lure them into the light, and it doesn't work well (ask me how I know). There are electric and propane-based mosquito killers you can place in your yard, but reviews of their effectiveness vary from one person to another, and are costly to operate.

Probably the best thing you can do is notify the local vector control agency of any green swimming pools in your neighborhood. In Menifee, you can contact...

Riverside County Vector Control
800 South Sandersen Ave.
Hemet, CA 92545
(951) 766-9454

Perris Sheriff Substation to Open Soon

Perris Sheriff substationLast month I wrote a summary of the Sheriff's new budget proposal and mentioned that the new Perris substation was close to opening.

The Californian published an update on that, providing details on what the new facility will look like...
The new 45,000-square-foot station is part of a 17-acre "campus" of much-needed county buildings at Perris Boulevard and San Jacinto Avenue.

The $30 million project encompasses the new station, a 20,000-square-foot warehouse for evidence and property, a 10,000-square-foot forensics lab and a 25,000-square-foot family health center just a short distance from the sheriff's facility.

The Perris substation serves the Menifee Valley.

You can read the full article here...

The Gas Company Has Best Customer Service

The gas companyThe Gas Company, the company that provides natural gas to homes in Menifee, was awarded the highest ranking for customer satisfaction among all natural gas utilities in the western United States by J.D. Power and Associates.

According to The Valley Business Journal...
J.D. Power determined its customer-service rankings by interviewing more than 12,000 customers and examining six factors: company image, price and value, communications, billing and payment, customer service, and field service. The Gas Company came out on top among all 56 large natural gas utilities in the study.

So there you have it. If you were to move elsewhere, you wouldn't get better customer service from the local gas utility.

Menifee to Become Future Industrial Center?

A new report from Lee & Associates says that industrial growth in South West Riverside County is expected to climb steadily, though not rapidly.

As covered by the Press Enterprise, the report goes on to note that southern-most cities, Temecula and Murrieta will face the slowest growth due to "lack of infrastructure", while Perris and Menifee will enjoy more growth.

This is largely the same observation that I've been told by people with the previous chambers of commerce and the cityhood incorporation committee. Perris and Menifee sit in the middle of a growing region of business and industry, with Temecula/Murrieta to the south, Riverside/Moreno Valley to the north, Hemet/San Jacinto to the east, and Lake Elsinore/Corona to the west.

Perris and Menifee also sit in the middle of some major thoroughfares running through Riverside County, the I-215, I-15, Hwy 74, and Ramona Expressway. Soon, Railroad Canyon Rd will be realigned with Domenigoni Pkwy and will create a corridor connecting Lake Elsinore and Hemet with Menifee sitting in the middle.

Last month, I wrote an article saying that if the cityhood effort fails in Menifee, that this area will become drawn up and quartered by surrounding cities. But if cityhood succeeds, then we who live here get to decide how Menifee develops.

The Toughest Job in Menifee

This afternoon I captured this guy on my cell phone camera. He was standing on the Newport Ave bridge, just as we were exiting the freeway. The temperature outside was 109 degrees F, according to the thermometer in our car.

Sign twirling in Menifee
I imagine the temperature recorded high, because the thermometer was catching the heat rising up off the asphalt. Which means, this guy was probably catching it too.

There's not much effort involved in tipping a sign up and down on a tripod, but to stand there in 109F temperature, for I don't know how many hours, has got to be tough.

How hot does the temperature have to get before a sign twirler like this guy asks himself, "Do people think I'm insane, or desperate?"

105 Degrees in Menifee Hills

Here's a photo of the thermometer in my backyard (in the shade), that I took today at 4:00pm...

And it's supposed to be hotter this Wednesday.

2006 Was the Driest Year on Record

drought2006 apparently produced the lowest amount of rainfall in Riverside County since annual rainfall had been recorded, at just 1.93 inches. That beat out the previous low of 2.94 inches in 1883.

According to the Press Enterprise yesterday, forecasters had expected an El Nino for 2006, but it never materialized...
The immediate cause of the drought is that ocean temperatures and the jet stream did not combine to bring Southern California storm after storm in what was expected to be an El Nino year, experts said.

"An El Nino ... usually gives us wet years, but it didn't work," said Richard Minnich, a UC Riverside earth sciences professor. "One out of four create drought instead of heavy rainfall."
The Press Enterprise went on to say that because of the high rainfall we had in 2005, plus the water at Diamond Valley lake, there's plenty of reserve to last us another drought year.

I always take interest in articles that talk about Southern California drought, and water reserves. Water is the factor that sits above all the else in determining our future in Southern California. It's going to decide how much it costs to live here, if we have to move out, and even our property values.

All of Southern California is naturally a desert region. It's only because of aquaducts, reservoirs, and underground storage, that we can support these large population centers.

The way I see things, the population in Southern California keeps growing because of illegal immigration, more babies being born than people dying, and Americans moving in from other states in search of warmer weather. At some point in time, the demand for water will surpass the available supply, and create problems. Rationing can only go so far.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin published a water article of its own yesterday, but focuses more on dwindling supplies...
The watershed area of the Colorado River is in its eighth year of drought and is now supplying half the amount of water it did five years ago, said Andy Sienkiewich, resource implementation manager for the MWD.

The other primary imported-water area, the Sacramento Delta, only provides 60 percent of its normal supply because its source of water, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, is about a third of its usual size, Atwater said.
My question is, could Southern California ever reach a point where the population becomes so huge, that we just can't import enough water to support everyone?