91 Freeway Toll Lane Fees to Increase

Beginning January 1, 2008, it's going to cost you more to use the toll lanes on the 91 freeway.

Here's the new toll schedule (top going east, and bottom going west)...

91 freeway toll schedule

Note that it'll cost you as high as $10.00 to travel east on the toll lane, during the 3:00pm hour.

Menifee to Newport Beach Commute Blog

Bryan Kuhl is one of Menifee's newest residents, and beginning with the New Year, he'll be commuting to Newport Beach each morning to get to work.

So as part of his way to give back to his newly adopted community, he launched a blog to document his morning travels...


Here's what Brian thinks about commuting 3+ hours each day in his car...
What makes everyone cringe at the fact of commuting such a distance? These are the days of comfortable cars with climate controls, CD players, MP3 player hook ups, etc. Why would it be so bad to sit and drive for lengthy periods of time? Truck drivers do it. Field technicians do it. Why can't I?
I used to do it, commuting from Menifee to Santa Ana, by the 405 & 55 freeways. If I took the 91 freeway into OC, I would have to get up at 4:00am, and be out the door by 4:30am, and then hit the 15/91 interchange by 4:55am. By that time, the interchange was already a parking lot. But I could get into work by 6:00am.

And of course, that allowed me to leave work at 3:00pm. And YOU HAVE to leave OC by that time, if you wanted to get back to Menifee before the big rush hit.

You can also take Ortega Highway, which I did many times. The Ortega route is further in miles, but a little shorter in time because the traffic moved more quickly. The problem is that if an accident occurred along the Ortega, you'd be stuck there for an hour or more. And I got stuck there a couple times.

But right now, and for another two more years, construction on Ortega is causing lines of cars, several miles long during peak commuting hours.

I moved out to Menifee from Orange County with the intention of quitting my job there, and starting my own business here, which I have done. But it still took me two years later to quit that job. I recommend Brian look seriously for jobs around here, or, start his own business. Otherwise, the commute will turn you into an angry man.

Just look at me.

Puppy Found

The lost puppy we wrote about yesterday was found. I received the following note from the owner, with the story of how the puppy was found...
I wrote in yesterday about my puppy being lost. You were kind enough to headline my story on your wonderful website and I am truly thankful for that. I was wondering if you could post another story about my dog and two very special people here in Menifee.

My sons and I put flyers up all around Menifee today, I called all the local pet shops, vets, the humane society and the Ramona Animal Shelter. About 5pm my son's phone rang -- a woman was calling to tell us she had spotted our dog in the construction site at Lindenberger and Simpson. I couldn't believe it because that meant she would have been more than 24 hours outside (in that wind last night!) and she only weighs nine pounds.

The woman said she had tried to chase the dog down but our dog was scared and keep running away. Another family saw the woman chasing the dog and told her they had seen a flyer at target with a dog on it like the one she was chasing. The woman got in her car, left the construction site, drove back to target to get the flier and our number, the family stayed outside all this time at the construction site trying to get our dog back and finally, their little daughter chased the dog for some time and caught up with her and was finally able to catch her!

She eventually brought the dog back to her home in the Richmond homes. They called us with directions to their home and we were able to get our beloved puppy back! The woman's name is Donna and the little girl is a 6th grader at Bell Mountain Middle School, her name is Jacqueline. we are so thankful for these good samaritans, these angels who helped reunite sole with us.

I am a widow with four young sons, the youngest is only age 4. Losing our puppy was devastating. I cannot express how grateful I am to you, for putting our story on your website and how thankful I am to Donna, Jacqueline and her parents. Neither would accept a reward from us. I don't know if you can thank them publicly (maybe without our last names?) for us or write about how there still are kind people in this world, some right here in Menifee!

Thank you so much. sincerely, Anna
Nice to know there's a happy ending in this.

Puppy Lost in Menifee

An anonymous person posted a comment (on an unrelated article) that she lost her puppy today, in the Freedom Crest Elemetary area of Menifee.

Described as black & white in color, 9lbs, fluffy, wearing a yellow collar with bones on it.

A reward is offered.

Contact: anna.uriburu@gmail.com

Another Sun City House Fire

The Riverside County Fire Department reports that a single-family home in Sun City caught fire this evening.

The fire was reported at 6:00pm today at the 29300 block of Reading Rd.

The report says that when fire units arrived on the scene, they found heavy smoke and fire coming from the house. No injuries occurred, but the residents were displaced from their home. The cause is still under investigation.

This fire was just a few blocks away from the small kitchen fire of Christmas morning.

Wooden Nickel Ranch May Close

The Press Enterprise reports that Riverside County code enforcement officers are trying to stop the Wooden Nickel Ranch from hosting future events, such as the civil war reenactment, benefit concerts, motocross events, and little league fundraisers.

At issue are two things...

  1. Tom Fuhrman, the owner of Wooden Nickel Ranch, didn't obtain permits from the County

  2. Wooden Nickel Ranch hosted a topless photo shoot
Apparently, Steven Lennertz, the pastor of Eagle Ridge Church, doesn't like topless photo shoots.

Wooden Nickel Ranch is a 23-acre parcel of land, surrounded by hills and trees, such that no one can see in from the outside. You had to have snooped in on Fuhrman's property to see any bare boobs during that shoot. Yet, Lennertz doesn't believe that Fuhrman has a right to do what he wants on his own property.

Fuhrman did obtain permits from some events, and not for others. The way I see it, Furhman is not a businessman, but just a property owner who wants to help the community by offering his property for use. If he didn't obtain necessary permits, it was an honest mistake, and was he was not trying to cheat the county out of any money. Wooden Nickel Ranch should not be shut down.

Wooden Nickel Ranch is one of Menifee's local attractions, and has done plenty of good for our community. They help raise money for our youth sports teams and our local firefighters.

Sun City Home Fire

The Riverside County Fire Department reports a small fire broke out in a home in Sun City this morning.

The fire was reported at 10:04am, and was contained to the kitchen of 29721 Thornhill Drive. No injuries reported.

KZSW Layoffs

KZSW TelevisionThe Californian reports that Temecula's television station, KZSW, laid off much of its staff, and is now down to 10 employees...
Chief executive Kevin Page said the 20 or so layoffs, two-thirds of the station's work force, followed a recognition that KZSW hadn't attracted as many viewers or advertisers as he had hoped. A market study the station commissioned last summer suggested that about 4 percent of residents had watched the station in areas that have access to a fiber-optic television network that covers most of Southwest County. The station may have somewhat stronger viewership in the Menifee area, which is covered by a separate cable provider.
KZSW had its chance to boost viewership during the firestorms that burned across Fallbrook, Rice Canyon, and Anza last Fall, but the cities of Temecula and Murrieta never did anything to get KZSW into the homes of its residents.

I remember watching KZSW during the firestorms through Mediacom Cable here in Menifee, and they did indeed ran a lot of coverage. KZSW is now available from Verizon FIOS, and Time Warner Cable, but it's too late. The firestorms are over, and now KZSW has to wait for another big break.

Obviously, the station is running out of advertisers, as that's the big source of income. Though they may also earn syndication fees from cable and satellite providers, it's still the advertising that runs the station.

Ben Jacobs (who runs MenifeeLive.com) and I would meet together over lunch and just admire the way businesses flocked to KZSW to buy commericial air time, without knowing the return on investment. It's such a tiny station, with nary an audience, and no means to measure that audience (they're too small to buy Neilsen ratings). Yet for whatever reason, businesses believed that buying commercial air time on KZSW was a great idea, just because it was a television station.

I think businesses are now figuring this out, and is why KZSW can't take itself to the next level.

I'd like to see KZSW relaunch itself as a local website, with news, bloggers, forums, photo journals, along with locally produced videos from its staff and amateurs. What a great way to steal attention from newspapers, and to strengthen their brand during this time.

Measure B - Menifee School Bond

Measure B, the Menifee Union School District Bond, will be on the February 5, 2008 ballot.

If approved it will raise $31.46 million to finance the construction of three new schools wtihin the district...

  • Elementary School #9 – located in the Canyon Hills Project in Lake Elsinore on Canyon Hills Drive (although located in Lake Elsinore, it is within Menifee Union School District). Local contributions to be matched by State.

  • Elementary School #10 – located in the Golden City Specific Plan in Murrieta at the intersection of Meadowlark Lane and Baxter Road (although located in Murrieta, it is within Menifee Union School District). Local contributions to be matched by State.

  • Middle School #3 – located north of McCall Blvd and east of I-215. Bounded on the north by Chambers Avenue and on the east by Sherman Road. Local contributions to be matched by State.

In order to pass, Measure B must receive a "yes" vote from 55% or more of the total votes.

If approved, each property owner living within the district will have to pay $17.90 for every $100,000 of assessed valuation, for 25 years, the length of the bond. So, if your property is worth $300,000, your taxes will increase by $53.70 per year.

The assessment will be based upon the actual rate of growth of the District, with a rate higher than 4% resulting in a lower payment and a rate of growth less than 4% resulting in a higher payment.

Anyone who would like to argue the pros and cons of this measure, please feel free to post a comment.

Ridgemoor School Boundary Changes

The Menifee Union School District will be holding two meetings that affect students of Ridgemoor Elementary School...

School Board Meeting - to present the boundary change
Tuesday, January 8, 2008, 4:00pm
Menifee Union School District, Board Room
30205 Menifee Rd, Menifee

Boundary Meeting - for public input
Monday, January 14, 2008, 6:00pm
Ridgemoor Elementary School, Multipurpose Room

Right now, the district is proposing that all Ridgemoor students in the Menifee Hills community, living south of Honey Run Rd, attend the new elementary school in Quail Valley. The new Quail Valley school doesn't have a name yet, but officials refer to it as "School 8".

The proposal is not sitting well with parents whose children will be affected by this change. Some of these parents are urging the rest of the parents to attend to January 14 meeting, and let their voices be heard.

Matthew Denney, one such parent, is canvassing the neighborhood, and distributing flyers, while presenting his point of view. "Our kids can't be expected to walk to Quail Valley from this neighborhood, there are no sidewalks on Newport Rd and Goetz Rd, and traffic there is pretty heavy", says Denney. "And Ridgemoor is actually experiencing a drop in student enrollment due to home foreclosures; they had to lay off teachers there because of not enough students".

Last October, I published an article about the new elementary school in Quail Valley, and I reported that Ridgemoor students were NOT expected to transfer there. That information came from both Betti Cadmus and Bruce Shaw, the district's director of facilities. But after talking to Betti today, she informed me that the district is now proposing this change in an attempt to maintain enrollment balance between the two schools. They don't want one school near capacity, and another school too far below capacity.

Either way, nothing is official yet.

However, if parents don't attend the boundary meeting on January 14, it could very well be official.

"The district urges all Ridgemoor parents to attend this meeting", says Betti. "We need to know what they think of this boundary change".

It's like that old adage, "if you don't vote, you can't complain".

Brian Morris - New Paloma Principal

Brian Morris Paloma Valley High School PrincipalThe Press Enterprise ran a story about Brian Morris, the new principal at Paloma Valley High School. The article is pretty positive, painting Morris as someone who seems well liked by the faculty, and has a good head on his shoulders...

http://www.pe.com/..../PE_News_Local _S_sprincipal20.33d2396.html

Ortega Highway Delays This Week

CalTrans issued an advisory today stating that beginning tomorrow through Friday, they'll be laying down new asphalt along the construction areas of Ortega Highway (SR74), during daylight hours.

Because of this, traffic along the one-lane stretch of road will move even more slowly.

They said they have to do this during daylight hours because asphalt can't cure properly in freezing temperatures.

If you currently commute along Ortega Highway, you might want to take the 91 instead.

SEIU Hospital Workers Rally in Hemet

Last night, workers who belong to the SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, and who are also employed at the Valley Health System hospitals, rallied in Hemet to call on hospital administration and VHS Board of Directors to work with the union on matters involving layoffs.

VHS has an agreement in place to negotiate layoffs with the actual frontline caregivers that have an impact on patient care.

Rumors of more layoffs are circulating now that VHS has filed for chapter 9 bankruptcy. The healthcare workers union wants to make sure that it has a say in the matter.

Below is a photo from the rally...

SEIU healthcare workers rally in hemet

Luther Menifee Wilson House

The Californian published an article pertaining to the history of Menifee, particularly the man whom the community was named after, Luther Menifee Wilson.

It's a pretty entertaining read about the house he lived in, and the mining work he did...


Prostitutes Busted in Sun City

The Riverside County Sheriff reports that at approximately 5:00pm, Thursday, deputies from the Special Enforcement Team conducted an "Out Call / Escort Sting" program at a residence in Sun City (at the 27000 block of Granada Way). The program was designed to apprehend female prostitutes who solicited male undercover officers for sex.

The undercover officers contacted females who were advertising as "escorts" in the Perris area. The females used the Internet to advertise that they would provide sexual fulfillment for money. As soon as the women made a solicitation of sex for money, they were arrested. During the course of the operation, six females were arrested for solicitation of prostitution.

Arrested and booked at the Southwest Detention Center was Doneisha West (20 yrs.) from Temple Hills, Maryland, Rachel Thomas (25 yrs.) from San Marcos, California, Dorcas Clabon (20 yrs.) from Murrieta, California, Lani Jorlanin (20 yrs.) from Honolulu, Hawaii, Kaylee Kimber (19 yrs.) from San Diego, California, Katrina Young (26 yrs.) from Las Vegas, Nevada.

California Proposition 94, 95, 96, 97 - Indian Gaming Compacts

california indian casinosPropositions 94, 95, 96, and 97 are voter initiatives that will allow four indian casinos in Southern California to build "super casinos" larger than those found on the Las Vegas strip. These will be on the Feb 5, 2008 ballot...

  • Prop 94 - affects Pechanga Casino

  • Prop 95 - affects Morongo Casino

  • Prop 96 - affects Sycuan Casino

  • Prop 97 - affects Agua Caliente Casino

Texts of these four referendums are essentially the same, the only differences being the number of additional slot machines they are allowed to add, and the amount of money they'll be paying to the State.

The Breakdown

What the Casinos get...

  • Casinos get to triple or nearly quadruple their number of slot machines (Pechanga goes from 2,000 to 7,500)

  • Casinos are no longer subject to the California Environmental Quality Act. Any expansion must be backed up by an environmental report that the Indian tribes can conduct themselves.

  • Casinos no longer have to have an impartial auditor count the slot machine revenues; they'll be able to audit them on their own.

  • Casinos will receive a "fail safe" guarantee that punishes the State for permitting non-tribal gambling operations. That is, if an organization other than an indian tribe receives a clearance to build a gambling establishment, the indian casino will be allowed to reduce its taxes to the State, or eliminate them altogether.

What the State gets...

  • Casinos will now pay taxes to the State General Fund. Previously, casino taxes were paid to two tribal funds (RSTF and SDF) that the State distributed to smaller tribes, and tribal administrative bodies. The General Fund is spent on all Californians.

  • Casinos will now pay more money than before, almost double than under the current compact agreements. But as mentioned above, the Indian tribes will now get to audit their own revenues for the purpose of deciding how much money goes to the State. Under the current arrangement, an impartial auditor is used. So, it's not exactly clear how much more money California will receive.


The provisions spelled out above were actually passed by the State Legislature, and signed into law by the Governor, in June 2007. It was supposed to go into effect January 1, 2008.

But other indian tribes within the State, particularly the Pala Tribe, as well as some racing tracks, the California Federation of Teachers, and the California Tax Reform Association, managed to gather enough signatures to put Props 94, 95, 96, and 97 on the ballot as a last ditch effort to override the Governor's signature.

The Pala Tribe is concerned that their casino will lose business if Pechanga is allowed to greatly expand its casino.

A "no" vote means the existing 1999 agreements will remain in effect. A "yes" vote allows these new provisions to go into effect.


I'm not in favor of the new provisions. I'll be voting "no" on these propositions.

I do want indian tribes to pay into the State General Fund. But I don't like two particular details: the "fail safe" guarantee that punishes the State for allowing non-tribal gambling operations to exist, and allowing the indian tribes to audit their own revenues for purposes of determining their payment amounts to the State.

As a free society, anybody and any business should be free to operate a casino. If indian tribes can build a casino, then why can't I? The "fail safe" provision takes that freedom away, because it allows indian tribes to reduce or eliminate their payments to the State General Fund if a non-tribal gambling operation starts up.

And letting tribes audit their own money is a priviledge that I don't have, nor you. When we pay taxes, the State is free to audit our money as they please. We don't have the right kick the state out of our books, so why should the tribes?

And why should the tribes be excluded from the California Environmental Quality Act? As a business owner, I don't have that priviledge! No other business has that priviledge.

I don't have anything against indian casinos, or building "super casinos", but I want fairness and equality. I own a small business, and I don't like the fact that indian tribes can get special priviledges just because they're indians. That's state-sanctioned racism, against me and you.

My solution to all this is to dissolve indian reservations. Let indians be treated equally as any other Californian. If we applied the same business and tax laws to indian casinos, we'll recieve plenty of tax revenues. And they'll be free to expand without compacts.

For further reading...

Valley Health System in Bankruptcy

Valley Health System filed for chapter 9 bankruptcy yesterday.

Both the Press Enterprise and The California have articles on this...



From reading the articles, it doesn't appear there are any definitive answers on "what happens next".

I'm thinking the district will continue with the sale of Moreno Valley to Select Healthcare, or someone else. It doesn't have to hold a public vote to sell it. That should bring in some more cash.

The Cost of New Freeway Expansion in Riverside County

Expanding freeways in Riverside County to address future population growth by 2030 is going to cost $14 billion. The North County Times reports that county officials don't have a clue where that money is going to come from.

The article goes on to say that the rapid growth of Chinese-made products arriving in Long Beach, and getting trucked out all over the west is largely why so many more trucks are clogging up freeways.

Interestingly, blame is being placed on retailers who receive goods from the Port of Los Angeles and then truck them through Riverside County on their way parts further east...
"I'm adamantly opposed to charging the people of this county for a problem that's caused out of Los Angeles," said Riverside City Councilman Steve Adams, who represents his city on the commission. "We are servicing the rest of the nation. We are being punished for getting their goods through."
It's definitely a valid point, but one which can't be resolved by levying fees on truckers and retailers. Any extra fees placed on commerce will ultimately get passed down to the consumer. The people always end up paying in the end.

The other idea is to levy higher fees new housing starts. The NC Times reported that $9,700 in fees is already being passed down to new home buyers, and that it might require another $5,000 per home to cover freeway expansion.

At this point, I'm ALL for passing the fee on to new home buyers. As a homeowner, making new homes more expensive is going to raise the resale value of my property.

But one of the problems of slowing down growth of new homes, is that it also slows down the growth of new retail and business centers. You gotta have the people first, in order to support shopping malls and movie theaters.

I think Menifee is at a point where we may not need more people. There's plenty of people in Hemet, Winchester, Perris, and Murrieta. We can suck them into buying stuff from our retail centers, and pump money into our community.

Menifee School's Boundary Changes

You probably have already gotten the letter home stating the openings of new schools in our district. There also is going to be boundary changes. You should expect another letter explaining those. I have heard that Students at Ridgemoor Elementary who currently live south of Honey Run Road will be sent to the new school in Quail Valley. Ridgemoor staff will contacting those affected along with a letter from the district. I believe this will be for the 2008 new school year.

Truck Crashes into Quail Valley House

The Riverside County Fire reports that a pick up truck crashed into a home in Quail Valley, pinning the occupant under the vehicle for 30 minutes. The driver fled the scene. The occupant was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.

The accident happened yesterday (Dec 11), and was reported at 10:02pm.

The house was located near Mountain View Pl and La Bertha Ln.

Sports Chalet and Linen & Things

These two stores are coming to Menifee, to be located at the Haun Road Development.


Inland Empire Vs. Southern California

Junior All American Football

We would like to welcome everyone to the Mega Super Bowl on Sunday, December 16th, at Paloma Valley Stadium. We fully expect some close games and some exciting finishes.

We are asking that each adult donate a 'Toys For Tot' gift at the gate for admission.

Paloma Valley High School (Menifee Wildcats)

31375 Bradley Road

Menifee, CA 92584

Contact #'s for this day are: 619-708-0983, 619-252-0742, 712-3712

Games begin at 9:00

Menifee school board reconsiders gym plan

The Press-Enterprise

Menifee Union School District trustees Tuesday will discuss whether they will terminate an agreement with Riverside County and the district to help fund a joint-use gymnasium in Menifee.

In April 2006, trustees approved an agreement with Riverside County for construction of a gymnasium at Menifee Valley Middle School on Garbani Road.

The 11,000-square-foot gym was estimated to cost about $3 million at the time. The district would use the facility during school hours and the county would operate it after school and on weekends.

The agreement said the county and district would each contribute $750,000. With the county contribution, the district was eligible to apply for state funding, about $1.5 million.

But rising construction costs and additions to the design increased the total cost of the project to about $5 million said Dan Wood, assistant superintendent for business services.

To read more go to http://www.pe.com/localnews/menifee/stories/PE_News_Local_S_sgym08.343f8a2.html

An End to Grass

Reading the latest article about a potential water shortage (seems like there's an article about this every few months), it makes me wonder why county and city planning departments don't place requirements on home builders to put in xeriscaping.

Xeriscaping is landscaping using drought tolerant plants, namely flora native to our area. It also involves using drip irrigation where water lines drip under the soil, instead of sprinkling on top of it.

You drive through all the neighborhoods around Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, and all you see are lush lawns, and you know everyone is using 50% of their water consumption for their grass.

I have grass in my front yard too, so I'm not yelling too loudly. But I'm at a point where I need something that will cut my utility bills down, and water is one of them.

So the big question is, how do we create a front and back yard that doesn't use grass, but still looks awesome, and still keeps the weeds down?

The Western Municipal Water District, which serves the City of Riverside, has a one acre "demonstration garden" showing you what kinds of plants, ground cover, and shrubs you can use to create a great looking, but low water garden.

It is located at the district's office at 450 E. Alessandro Boulevard in Riverside, California. They'll let you wander in and take a self-guided tour.

You can learn more about their demonstration garden here...

Perris Wind Tunnel

If you've ever wondered about what it might be like to fly in the Perris Wind Tunnel, but were too afraid to ask, the Press Enterprise has an article about it.

Read it here...

Fatal Accident on Antelope and Craig Roads

Ben Adams, a reader of Menifee 24/7 tells us there was a fatal accident involving three cars near the intersection of Antelope and Craig roads, with one body being ejected. Happened around 5:30pm, this evening.

I haven't confirmed this.


The 3rd Menifee Middle School will be located on Sherman Road in Sun City. It is going out for bid on January 9,2008.

Pet of the Week - Kittens For Adoption

UPDATE (Jan 1, 2008): All five kittens have found homes. Below is the original article...

The Menifee Valley Humane Society reports that they have a litter of five kittens that need adopting.

There are 4 girls and a boy. The orange tabby is a the boy, and the rest are girls. There is a solid grey, grey with white spots and 2 grey calicos.

They were born to a stray mother whom the MVHS rescued thanks to a concerned citizen. A man in her neighborhood was going around threatening to shoot all the stray cats so the citizen called them and they ended up saving eight cats.

These five kittens are just a tad shy but will easily blossom in a wonderful home environment.

If you've already made your mind up to buy a kitty for Christmas, then help out the Menifee Valley Humane Society and give one of these cats a home, instead of buying one from a store.

Contact Pamala (951) 246-7960, pamala@mvhumanesociety.org, if you are interested or have questions.

NOTE: Last week we posted "Mocha" a miniature pinscher & terrier mix. We're happy to report that several Menifee 24/7 readers called the MVHS to express interest in adopting her.

Menifee Pizza Factory Fundraiser

The Menifee Pizza Factory will be hosting an all day fundraiser this Wednesday Dec. 5 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Mention "Make-A-Wish" when ordering a pizza from them and 20% of proceeds will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. There are 15 participating locations through out Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Offer is good for dine in or take out only.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation brightens up the lives of terminally ill children by making one of their wishes come true.

Menifee Pizza Factory is located on the corner of Newport Rd and Murrieta Rd, next to Rite Aid...

25908 Newport Rd # G
Menifee, CA 92584
(951) 672-4026