Riverside Vegetation Fire Covers 150 Acres, Still Spreading

Menifee residents may experience poor air quality and notice embers in the air while driving north toward Riverside because of a fire that had burned 150 acres and was only 20 percent contained as of 9:45 p.m. Thursday.

Fire officials said the blaze began as a vegetation fire in the Santa Ana river bottom. Power lines are down in the area. Cause of the fire is not known.

According to Riverside County Fire Department officials, crews will remain on the scene throughout the night. Approximately 1,846 Riverside City residents are without power.

Voluntary evacuations were conducted in the area around Greenbrier Drive and Grassy Trail. An evacuation site was set up at Nichols park on Dewey Avenue.

Hospice of Valleys Seminar to Focus on Osteoporosis

"Stop Osteoporosis Before it Stops You" is the title of the next seminar in the "Retired, Set, Go!” series offered by Hospice of the Valleys and Sun City Library.

This seminar will be held on Wednesday, March 20, at the Sun City Library from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Those attending will learn 15 primary strength training exercises that will help to improve strength, balance, and arthritic conditions. The exercises, which will be performed by a Certified Senior Strength Training Specialist Francesca Fisher, founder of the Geri-Fit® strength training exercise program for older adults, will use a set of 2-pound dumbbells. Sit, watch and learn; no participation is needed.

The event is free and the public is invited. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Hospice of the Valleys at 951-200-7800.

Elevate Fitness to Start Yoga for Warriors for Military Families

Starting in March, Elevate Fitness Studio will begin hosting a free Yoga for Warriors Class. Open to all Military and military families, the class will be held every second Saturday of the month.

The idea and initiative for Yoga for Warriors is the brainchild of Jennifer Sinclair, one of Elevate Fitness Studio’s Yoga instructors. Her husband is currently an Air Force pilot at March Air Force Base, so she understands the lifestyle and stresses that come with being a military family.

"I wanted to start this event because as a military wife I understand the stress that military members and their families go through,” says Sinclair. “Whether we are a military member, spouse or family member, we all need to take time to disconnect and renew ourselves from the inside. I felt that by offering a free yoga class, I could introduce a simple avenue to de-stress from our daily lives. I also wanted to create a safe environment that allows us to be with other people that share our lifestyles.”

There is a huge military community in the Southwest Riverside area, so naturally Elevate Fitness owner Paul David loved the idea when Sinclair approached him about it. So, why Yoga? Very simply because Yoga has tremendous benefits for individuals. Studies have shown it helps calm the mind, manage stress, ease pain, increase flexibility, improve respiration and reduce anxiety and depression.

For additional information and to sign up for Yoga for Warriors, call (951) 301-4499 or visit them on Facebook.

Elevate Fitness Studio
29683 New Hub Drive, Suite D
Menifee, CA 92586
(951) 301-4499

Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition Seeks Student Content

This is a reminder to all those Menifee kids out there to send your contributions to us for next week's publication of Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition.

Kaylee, our Junior Editor, is looking for drawings and brief stories from students eighth grade and under. Kids, this is your chance to shine!

Email submissions to menifee247kids@gmail.com or mail them to:

Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition
31026 Fair Hill Court
Menifee, CA 92584

Let's see how creative our children can be!

Children's Dental Practice Offers Free Dental Screenings

The Children’s Dental Practice of Menifee will offer free dental screenings for families with children entering kindergarten. Screening dates are scheduled for Monday, April 15, and Monday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Screenings are open to families throughout Riverside County, and no insurance is required.

Per California law, children are required to have a dental screening by May 31 of their first year in public school. Parents must present an Oral Health Assessment Form, signed by a dentist, when registering their child for school.

“Required dental screenings are visual examinations and do not require the use of x-rays”, says Ruth Bol, DDS, of The Children’s Dental Practice. “Tooth decay is the most chronic childhood disease, caused by bacteria in the mouth. These screenings ensure that children are ready for a pleasant and productive day with their teachers.”

Appointments can be made by calling 951-301-9111.

When: Monday, April 15 and; 22, 2013

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: The Children’s Dental Practice, 27180 Newport Road, Suite 3, Menifee, CA 92584

Visit online at: www.TheChildrensDentalPractice.com

Arts Council Menifee Hosts Art Gallery Reception Sunday

Arts Council Menifee invites local art lovers to a free Art Gallery Reception, scheduled for this Sunday, March 3, from 1-3 p.m. at the Kay Ceniceros Center (Newport Road and Evans Road, Menifee.)

The featured artist, watercolorist Judy Irwin, will display samples of her miniature paintings. In addition to the 23 local artists and photographers exhibiting in the gallery, the prize-winning artwork and photography of Paloma Valley High School students participating in the Women’s Club of Menifee/Sun City’s art competition will be on display.

The public is invited and each attendee may participate in selecting the Viewer’s Choice artwork from the gallery exhibit. Free refreshments will be served.

Menifee in Pictures: Do You Know Where This Boat is?

You all responded so well to our photo of Menifee's Eagle Rock, we decided to try you on this one. Where is this boat "anchored" in Menifee? Anyone know the history behind it? Any sightings of the Skipper and Gilligan?

Let's hear from the Menifee boat owners. Where do you take your boat to hit the high seas (or lakes)?

"Menifee in Pictures" is a daily feature on Menifee 24/7. Readers are invited to contribute photos for publication. Email your photos as a .jpg file to doug.spoon@gmail.com and we'll select one for publication each day, along with your name as the photographer. Please include your full name on the submission and any explanation about where and when the photo was taken. We do not publish photos that have a personalized name signature or any promotional information within the photo.

Identity of Victim in Skydiving Death Not Yet Released

Authorities have not yet released the identity of a U.S. Marine who died Tuesday afternoon in a skydiving accident in Perris.

According to Riverside County Fire Department officials, emergency crews responded to the accident scene in the 2000 block of Goetz Road, north of the Perris Skydiving facility. The initial report stated only that the victim was an adult male who did not survive the incident. Reporters were referred to a Marine Corps public information officer. Menifee 24/7 is pursuing further information.

According to published reports, the victim was part of a Camp Pendleton Marine Corps group participating in a skydiving training exercise. Witnesses said the victim's parachute did not open.

Menifee 24/7 will provide updates when the victim's identity and more details are known.

Menifee in Pictures: What's the Story Behind This?

OK, folks, for the benefit of those of us who are relatively new to Menifee, what's the story behind "Eagle Rock"?

How many of you know where this painted rock formation is? Who painted it? What can you tell us? Leave a comment here to fill us in.

"Menifee in Pictures" is a daily feature on Menifee 24/7. Readers are invited to contribute photos for publication. Email your photos as a .jpg file to doug.spoon@gmail.com and we'll select one for publication each day, along with your name as the photographer. Please include your full name on the submission and any explanation about where and when the photo was taken. We do not publish photos that have a personalized name signature or any promotional information within the photo.

Menifee Chamber of Commerce Honors Students of Month

From left: Sally Myers, Founder; Dr. Jonathan Greenberg, Superintendent, Perris Union High School District; Keila Aguado, Choice 2000 Online School; Carina Franco, Paloma Valley High School; Jordyn Carroll, Heritage High School; Jesus Partida, Perris High School; Councilmember Tom Fuhrman, City of Menifee; Mayor Daryl Busch, City of Perris; Mayor Pro-tem Mark Yarbrough, City of Perris; Grant Bennett, Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce; and Zuberi Shakir, Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Outstanding students from area high schools were recently honored by the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce and Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce as Students of the Month for February.

Paloma Valley High School's Student of the Month is Carina Franco. Carina was described as an exceptional student by Assistant Principal Nick Hilton. Carina has also shown to be a positive influence on others. Her teacher, Mr. Williams, shared that he has observed Carina not only give, but out give with her time, talent, and heart. Carina shared that one thing she has learned is that once she started getting involved in school activities, she’s discovered that she loves helping people. She plans to attend college and study microbiology and become a pediatrician.

Heritage High Schoo's Jordyn Carroll is described by Principal Julie Zierold as someone whose character and leadership stand out. As part of the girls’ basketball team, and captain for the last three years, Jordyn has displayed a leadership quality many times over. Heritage’s girls’ basketball coach, Nicole Riscica, shared that Jordyn started out as a good leader and then became a great leader. Jordyn shared that she appreciates the leadership role and has learned to embrace it. She plans to attend the University of Redlands and earn her degree in speech pathology.

Choice 2000’s Student of the Month, Keila Aguado, maintains a 4.0 GPA and volunteers for various organizations. Her teacher, Mr. Wilson, states that Keila is amazing and beloved by all the teachers and has the desire and perseverance to push toward whatever goal she has in mind. Keila shared that it was difficult to come from Mexico and have to learn English. She credits her family, who have supported and encouraged her to become a better person. She plans to attend college and study languages to earn her degree in international relations and business.

Perris High School’s Jesus Partida is a person of strong character and is hard-working, according to Principal Dr. Lynne Sheffield. His drama teacher, Mr. Newman, stated that Jesus is an absolute gentleman and he “learns with joy.” Jesus shared that he originally wanted to get into an AP Biology class but it was not available, so he signed up for drama and discovered that he loved the class, and has learned quite a bit from Mr. Newman. Jesus plans to attend USC to study science and technology, and
eventually become a professor.

The Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce kicked off the 2012-2013 Student of the Month program in September 2012. The students are nominated by their teachers and staff at their respective school sites and are chosen for their character, integrity, love of learning, ability to persevere and overcome challenging circumstances, community service, and how they make a difference on their high school campus.

February’s students and their families attended a luncheon sponsored by the Perris and Menifee Chambers of Commerce, along with local businesses and organizations. Principals and teachers from each high school shared stories about the students and they each received certificates of recognition, numerous gifts, congratulations and encouragement from local, county, state and federal dignitaries.

If you wish to learn more about the Student of the Month Program, please contact founder, Sally Myers at 951-506-8024.

Oasis Maids Celebrate Year One of Service

The following is paid advertising content:

This month, local cleaning company Oasis Maids is celebrating its one-year anniversary. After one year of successful business, owner Eric Juarez is more than excited to continue providing the surrounding area and beyond with sparkling clean homes. Business for Oasis Maids has grown exponentially since day one, with growth occurring in all facets of their operation.

“I think growth is attributed to the Oasis Maids philosophy of treating every customer as our very first. There is a professional connection with a personal twist with each customer. This method has allowed us to provide over 1,500 cleanings since our first day,” said Juarez.

That’s over four houses cleaned nearly every day since they started, and there’s no sign of slowing down. The service Oasis Maids provides is personalized and consistent, which keeps clients coming back week after week, move after move, party after party.

Their success can in part be attributed to the level of training their employees receive, beginning with the right skills and cleaning methodology. Each of their cleaning staff receives anywhere from 15 to 20 hours of training and an additional 15 to 20 hours of on the job training before they are considered up to par.

“We focus on attention to detail, quality, and customer service skills,” Juarez said. “As a business owner, I've learned a lot about this industry, being an employer, and providing a service to customers. In the beginning, it was a steep learning curve."

But with unheard of success for a first year company, Oasis Maids is clearly doing something very right.

Luckily for residents both near and far, expansion is in the plan for the coming year ahead. They plan to grow geographically and expand their service area south to San Diego and northwest to Los Angeles. Additionally, they plan to expand their current services to include professional floor care for carpet, tile, and wood, and exterior window cleaning. This would allow their customers a one-stop-shop for all their house-cleaning needs.

“I would like to say thank you to all of our customers for their support in Oasis Maids. We couldn't have done it with out them,” Juarez said.

Oasis Maids
41593 Winchester Road, Suite 200
Temecula, CA 92590

Office: (855) 581-0745
Website: Oasis Maids
Email: info@oasismaids.com

Like them on Facebook!

Why Should Adults Have All the Fun? Kids' Edition Makes Debut

So I came home from a long day of teaching class at Cal Poly Pomona -- my "other" job -- late one night to find the page you see at the left sitting on my desk, awaiting my perusal.

"Kaylee wanted to make a newspaper," said my wife, Kristen.

"Yeah, I can see that," I thought. What brought that on? I thought newspapers were nonexistent in the minds of kids these days. Doesn't she want to design a website or something?

Nope. Kaylee, our oldest grandchild, who just turned 7 a few weeks ago, wants to make newspapers like Pop did all those years before he turned to the dark side and went digital. Sure, she knows her way around a computer screen, like every kid these days. But Kaylee loves to draw. She loves to cut with scissors. She loves to staple. She loves to make books, with pages you can turn.

We got to talking about this, Kaylee and I. So she wants to do a Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition? I say go for it. But let's save on printing costs, I said. Write and draw whatever you want, and we'll post it here on the "real" Menifee 24/7. In fact, let's get some other kids to do the same, so it's like a real newspaper -- just online.

Thus today, we announce the formation of Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition, a weekly blog post to appear here with submissions from the children of Menifee. Any child eighth grade and under may contribute. In my infinite wisdom, I have named as Junior Editor of this publication Kaylee, first grader and budding journalist. Each week, she will write (or draw, or both) a brief editor's note at the top of the blog post. The rest of the post will consist of things written or drawn by the kids of Menifee.

So spread the word. The first edition "goes to press" next week. Kaylee will accept drawings, short stories, kids' news reports or anything that's on the kids' minds -- especially if it's about something local to Menifee. Pretty much anything goes. Hey, if Kaylee can write about how to catch a leprechaun (more on that next week), what can your kid come up with?

There are two ways to submit content for Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition. One, items may be mailed to this address:

Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition
31026 Fair Hill Court
Menifee, CA 92584

Kaylee, Junior Editor

Two, submissions may be emailed to menifee247kids@gmail.com. If your child drew something, scan it or take a picture of it and attach it to the email. If your child wrote something, we'd prefer to receive it in the original handwritten form. If it is typed into the email by the child, let us know it's their original work. If a parent retypes the work, assure us that your child dictated the content or wrote it out first.

Please have your child keep written submissions brief. Include the child's first name only, and his or her age. We will not publish last names, the school the child attends or any other personal information.

So let the fun begin! Every child wants to see his or her work published, right? Each week, we'll select a few from the submissions received for that week's Menifee 24/7 Kids Edition.

OK, kids? Ready, set, go!

Celebrity Karaoke Event to Benefit Community Cupboard

Local school and city officials and business professionals will impersonate celebrities as they sing along to karaoke tunes. The event includes a no-host bar and silent auction. Funds go to benefit the Community Cupboard, a non-profit organization that provides no-cost food to local families in need.

Rotary Club Donates Dictionaries to Local Third Graders

Menifee Rotary Club President Carol Sullivan (right) was among club members who presented new dictionaries to third grade students.
Here's an update from Carol Sullivan, president of the Menifee Rotary Club, about the group's annual donation of new dictionaries to local students:

One of the nicest parts about being a Rotarian is the pleasure that comes from working with youngsters. Whether it is handing out toys at Christmas, sponsoring a youth group in high school, attending and mentoring teenagers at our Rotary District 5330 annual Rotary Youth Leadership camp in the mountains, awarding scholarships, or honoring speech winners, Menifee Rotary members enjoy every minute.

One of the most rewarding is the annual distribution of Webster's pocket dictionaries to every third grade student in the surrounding areas of the Menifee and Romoland School Districts. Hundreds of dictionaries are hand-delivered by club members to each youngster, with an occasional hug in return. Often, heartfelt -- and a little humorous - thank you notes from students are forwarded by teachers for Menifee Rotarians to share.

Here are a few excerpts this year from Mrs. King's class at Quail Valley Elementary School:

Dear Rotary Club: Thank you for the dictionary it help alot on things and spell and slybales and that you guys are welcome to our big school and how are you Rotary club are you well and have you eat vitalmens to keep you well and warm and are you seling dictionary to schools over the world? -- Fatima

Dear Rotary Club - Hi my name is Taylor and I am in 3rd grade. I love the dictionary it is awesome. Thank you. I never knew that you guys did that. Did you know that my grama gose to the Sun City library, I sometimes go there to. Thank you again for the dictionary.

Dear Rotary Club, My name is Lizbeth and I'm in 3rd grade. Thank you for my dictionary I use it alot. It helps me find sylabes and how to pronounce a word. Now I have my own dictionary. I also use it with my home work. Do you giver all 3rd grader a dictionary?

Dear Rotary Club. My name is Jose I go to Quail Valley Elementary. Thank you for my dictionary. I use the dictionary alot and my teacher is Mrs King. Its cool because it has 311 pages that means it has alot of works. I like it very much because it helps me very much.

Dear Rotary Club, My name is Rebecca. Thank you for my dictionary. I use my dictionary to spell words and how to prunce words. I also use my dictionary to help find the speach. Our teacher is the best teacher we ever had. Mrs. King teaches us about the moon and moons phases. Also Mrs. King teaches us different verbs. Mrs. King puts a movie about the moon, the sun, and different other planets so we can understand the moon, sun, and planets in our science. Thank you so much for my dictionary.

Yes indeed, it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

-- Carol "Red" Sullivan

Planning Commission to Consider Proposal for Auto Parts Store

The City of Menifee Planning Commission Tuesday will consider a plan to build an O'Reilly Auto Parts store on a vacant lot adjacent to the Stater Bros. shopping center on Newport Road, just west of Murrieta Road.

The plan is part of an adjustment to the original 1990 approved project, in which the shopping center was approved. A Del Taco drive-thru restaurant was approved in 2010 and now occupies the corner location originally designated for a retail building. O'Reilly Auto Parts will be built on a dirt lot originally planned as the site for a drive-thru restaurant.

According to the proposal, the combined square footage of the exiting Del Taco restaurant and the proposed O'Reilly Auto Parts store would be 8,377 -- about 1,500 square feet less than that originally approved for that portion of the shopping center complex.

Tuesday's meeting begins at at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 29714 Haun Road in Menifee.

Brookfield Homes Cuts Ribbon on Audie Murphy Development

Menifee Mayor Scott Mann joins other dignitaries in cutting the ribbon on the Big Sky Development.
The crowd of City of Menifee dignitaries, Brookfield Homes administrators and prospective home buyers gathered on a quiet street in west Menifee Saturday was considerable in size -- with good reason.

After more than 20 years of planning, delays, and changes in the housing market, the Audie Murphy Ranch development has become reality.

Mayor Scott Mann joined Brookfield Homes Chief Operating Officer Adrian Foley, Vice President Dennis Chapman and other officials in the ribbon cutting for Brookfield's Big Sky development, which will include 93 new one- and two-story homes ranging from 2,800 square feet to 3,800.

Big Sky is the second community to open in Audie Murphy Ranch, a development that will eventually include 2,100 homes on both sides of Newport Road, just west of Murrieta Road.

Brookfield Homes is the master plan developer for Audie Murphy Ranch, named for the famous war hero and actor whose ranch occupied that area for years. Brookfield has sold parcels in the development to two other builders: Woodside Homes, which recently opened the Cimarron and Laredo communities; and Richmond American Homes, which will open model homes in the Palomino community next month.

According to the Audie Murphy Ranch website, home prices in the Big Sky community are expected to begin in the low $300,000s.

"This adds to the marketing mix of quality housing in Menifee," Mann said after the ribbon cutting ceremony. "It helps unlock the future of community development in our city. In order to bring in big box stores, movie theaters and such, you have to have a commitment of a certain amount of homes in your city. This will bring enough people here to attract those businesses."
Councilman John Denver, Mayor Scott Mann, Brookfield VP
Dennis Chapman and COO Adrian Foley attended the event.

Mann and others admitted there was doubt at times that this would ever take place. The Audie Murphy Ranch development was first approved more than 20 years ago, but construction never really got off the ground because of several factors. The discovery of Native American artifacts on the land and a downturn in the housing market were just two causes of delays.

All that was put in the past Saturday, as visitors toured three spacious model homes in the Big Sky development.

"The original Big Sky Resort is in Montana, but the feeling you get here is similar to that," said Carina Hathaway, vice president of marketing for Brookfield Homes. "Look at the great view of the hills behind you and the valley ahead. The environment here is special."

"We started with an old specific plan, then went to a clean sheet of paper to plan this," Chapman said. "This was home to Audie Murphy, and a lot of the core values he represented were brought to this project."

Big Sky's model homes feature spacious and modern living spaces.
This outdoor patio behind one of the model homes was a major attraction Saturday.

Menifee in Pictures: Waterfalls and Lakes in Center of Town

Many residents will recognize this water feature located at the northeast corner of Antelope Road and Newport Road. This waterfall and mini lake welcome visitors to the Menifee Lakes housing development.

Man-made lakes are a common feature in housing developments in Menifee. This is the first water feature visitors see as they enter the city off Interstate 215.

"Menifee in Pictures" is a daily feature on Menifee 24/7. Readers are invited to contribute photos for publication. Email your photos as a .jpg file to doug.spoon@gmail.com and we'll select one for publication each day, along with your name as the photographer. Please include your full name on the submission and any explanation about where and when the photo was taken. We do not publish photos that have a personalized name signature or any promotional information within the photo.

Heritage High's Stacey MacPherson Named Teacher of Month

Julianne Peterson, clinic administrator for Massage Envy Menifee, and Menifee 24/7 editor Doug Spoon present the Teacher of the Month award to Stacey MacPherson (center).
Anyone who has ever been a teacher is aware of the incredible dedication and time commitment that goes into the profession. In many ways, one may consider it a thankless job.

Fortunately, there are those who appreciate what teachers do and the difference teachers make in the lives of their students. Such expressions of gratitude enable those of us at Menifee 24/7 to honor some of those worthy of recognition.

Today, we congratulate Stacey MacPherson, a chemistry and algebra teacher at Heritage High School, in receiving our first Teacher of the Month Award, sponsored by Massage Envy Menifee.

MacPherson has been a teacher for 16 years, the last four at Heritage High. She is praised by students and school administrators for her dedication to the job and her ability to make learning fun. Although her commitment to the job requires lots of extra hours, MacPherson is always available to those who need her.

"Mrs. MacPherson spends most of her time on her students," said Andrea Amabilis, one of those students. "She willingly stays after school every day in case any of her students need tutoring. She also stays in her room at lunch for the same reason. The only day she is not available is Wednesdays after school, because she is at school herself, working hard to get a higher degree than she already has.

"She is the busiest woman I know, and yet she always seems to have all our work graded the next day. She truly deserves the award."

MacPherson said she tries always to be available to her students, whom she considers "my kids."

"I have maybe 20 to 40 kids in my room at lunch time," she said. "After school, I'm typically here until 4:30. And in the evenings, my students know they can email me for help. They know my phone shuts off at 10:30. Other than that, I'm available. It's easier for me to take five minutes out of night to answer a question than teach the lesson over the next day."

MacPherson's husband, Rick, is a teacher at Moreno Valley High School. The couple has two children -- Jacob, an eighth grader, and Nathan, a sixth grader -- who are both 4.0 students.

"Stacey is a wonderful chemistry and math teacher at Heritage High School," said Julie Zierold, the school principal. "She is extremely passionate about her students and dedicates a great deal of time to help them be successful. She is extremely bright and works very hard. I most definitely think she is a great selection for your award."

MacPherson received a $50 gift card to Massage Envy, located in the Countryside Marketplace in Menifee.

"She encourages and facilitates kids to get great grades, but she does not teach easy classes," Andrea Amabilis continued. "She does not make things easier for you. She simply prepares you and makes sure you learn everything."

If you would like to nominate a Menifee teacher for Menifee 24/7's next Teacher of the Month award, email us at menifee247info@gmail.com. In 200 words or less, tell us why you believe this person should be the Teacher of the Month. Please include your name, name of the teacher, and any other pertinent information about the nominee.

UFC Fans Pack Pitstop Pub to Watch First Female Fight

There is no doubt about the increasing popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship series, in which fighters go all out in mixed martial arts competition. In many ways, it really is the ultimate athletic showdown.

But a sport that traditionally has showcased male fighters has added a new dimension. And if the crowd at Pitstop Pub in Menifee this weekend was any indication, female bouts in the UFC will be an incredible draw.

There was a packed house at Pitstop Saturday night for the first-ever female UFC fight -- a confrontation between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche. The crowd was loud and enthusiastic as it watched a series of male fights leading up to the main event, in which Rousey defeated Carmouche in the first round with her signature "armbar" hold.

UFC fans had differing opinions of the significance of Saturday's historic fight, but there was no denying the appeal it had for all the patrons. Virtually all eyes were on the nearly 20 big screen TVs showing the fight, and the bar did a brisk business.

"It was a great headliner," Lisa Germo said about the main event of UFC 157. "I was excited to see a championship fight for the chicks.

"It's just sad they can't throw some jello or oil out there," she said with a laugh.

There certainly was no humorous element the likes of female mud wrestling and other "novelty" competitions seen over the years. This was fighting to the finish, and the fans took notice.

"I like to see how their training and hard preparation pays off," said bar patron Sean Mack. "I love that women's MMA is now looked at as an equally professional sport."

Another Pitstop Pub patron, Dave Beal, had special interest in the undercard fight between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Michida -- a fight won by Michida. Beal said he used to train with Henderson, who trained in Temecula. He also watched with interest the female fight, although he said he had reservations about whether it should've been billed as the main event.

"I don't think the women have earned main event status," he said. "I'm glad for them, but they still need to work hard. They are talented, but they don't have enough experience. I want to watch and see how they develop in UFC."

One couple, who did not give their names, came to Pitstop Pub on a blind date. The woman said they had no idea the UFC fight was being shown.

"We came in for pizza and karaoke," she said, "but we're glad to see a packed house and watch a chick fight."

Kristen Spoon reported on this event and Doug Spoon provided writing and editing support.

Menifee DUI Checkpoint Results in One DUI Arrest

The Menifee Police Department Traffic Unit has released the results of its DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint, conducted Friday from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the intersection of Scott and Haun Roads:

-- 1,328 Vehicles screened
-- 101 Vehicles sent to secondary inspection
-- 1 DUI-Alcohol suspect arrested
-- 21 Field sobriety tests administered
-- 16 Drivers cited/arrested for operating a vehicle while unlicensed
-- 12 Drivers cited/arrested for operating a vehicle while suspended/revoked
-- 2 Arrested on other criminal charges
-- 1 Arrested for an outstanding felony warrant

Menifee PD will conduct another DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint on Saturday, March 2, 2013, in an ongoing commitment to lowering deaths and injuries upon local streets and highways.

Hospice of Valleys to Honor Sally Myers with Special Award

Sally Myers, founder/president of the Student of the Month program as well as VP of marketing for BMW Management, Sizzler and Richie’s Real American Diner, will be presented with year’s Inspiration Award by Hospice of the Valleys.

The presentation will take place at the 2013 Scott Crane Inspiration Gala, to be held on Sunday, April 28, at Wilson Creek Winery from 5-9 p.m.

According to Hospice of the Valleys officials, Myers embodies the five qualities that define this award: Integrity, honesty, respect, humility and advocacy. Myers is highly respected for her leadership and commitment to the community with a caring and compassionate heart.

Funds earned from this night will benefit the patients and families of Hospice of the Valleys. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Student of the Month Program, Inc.

Event tickets are $100 and available at www.hospiceofthevalleys.org or can be purchased at Hospice of the Valleys, 25240 Hancock Ave, Suite 120, Murrieta, CA 92562. For more information, contact Gina O’Bryant at 951-200-7815.

Menifee Half Marathon, 5K Registration Now Open

Quail Valley Elementary Seeks Support for Community Faire

The Quail Valley Elementary School PTA will host its fourth annual Community Faire on Saturday, March 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The PTA is inviting business partners from the Quail Valley and Menifee area to set up booths and provide no-cost or low-cost services, hand-outs, information, and even demonstrations to the community. This invitation also is extended to the classroom teachers. They, too, will be setting up booths to earn money for their classrooms.

Quail Valley PTA does not charge for booth space. The only requirement is a certified insurance certificate for the business. There will also be a raffle to help raise funds for the school. Donations are sought in order to make raffle baskets for the event.

Those who would like to contribute should call Annette Blount, PTA president, at 951-566-6241 or 951-244-1937 or email RNABLOUNT@msn.com.

Young or Old, These Square Dancers Know How to Have Fun

The Golden Dancers, from left: Marie Schmidt, Leota Janzen, Ray Kellett, Joe Henderson, Vi Henderson, Margie Zingg, Ron Morris, Rosalie Nusser, Karin Sanchez (representing her husband Wilbur), Frank Bezzina.
Joe Henderson was receiving an orientation at a U.S. Army base when a commanding officer told the soldiers about square dance lessons being given on base.

"He said, 'They're square dancing on Friday night and I'd like to have you there,' " Henderson recalled. "To me, that was the same as a command. I went."

More than 50 years later, Henderson is still dancing. He and his wife Vi have square danced together for almost half a century, including the last 20 years as members of the Canyon Lake Twirlers.

The Twirlers meet every Wednesday night in the lodge at Canyon Lake. The group is open anyone 12 and over, but the majority are senior citizens from Canyon Lake, Menifee and surrounding communities. In fact, the group recently celebrated a milestone by having 10 octogenarians in the club at the same time.

Dubbed the "Golden Dancers" of the group, these club members in their 80s wouldn't miss a practice or performance for anything. They credit the activity for keeping them physically fit and their minds sharp. They dress up for competitions around Southern California on the weekends and simply have fun socializing with each other.

"I'm grateful for the friendships I have in this club," said Rosalie Nusser, hospitality chair for the group. "Having been widowed, I found it a marvelous way to make friends. It's been wonderful, and the fact you're kept so physically fit is very important."

Vic Kaaria is the "caller" for the group. He's been performing that job in various clubs for 39 years. Following his commands of "Do Sa Do," "Promenade" and "Right Grand," the dancers move about the floor to improve their skills.

This is encouraging to Kaaria, who realizes that participation in square dancing has decreased over the years. Many people only remember it as an activity they did in elementary school.

"In 1976, at the height of its popularity, we had 35,000 at a convention," Kaaria said. "The last figure I saw was about 7,000. The numbers are waning, but as an activity, it's still going strong with a lot of people. Plus, they say that if you dance every 'tip' (dance sequence in a workshop), you have walked five to seven miles."

Ray Kellett, one of the Golden Dancers, is a life member of the club. He also is one of the "angels" -- dancers who reach out to help newcomers learn the moves.

"I really didn't want to dance in the beginning," he said. "My wife said, 'Let's go to San Diego to a square dance. I told her, 'If I don't like it, I'm leaving.' I found it was kinda neat. By the second time, I was hooked."

Andy Abeles, co-president of the Canyon Lake Twirlers with his wife Lorie, explained that there are nine levels of square dance participation. Members pay a $15 annual fee and $5 per week for the workshops. Newcomers wishing to join the group pay $25 for the first year. All area residents are invited.

The octogenarians love to have the younger ones around. Last Wednesday, the members of Brownie Troop 2425 stopped by the dance hall after their meeting in an adjacent room in the lodge. Every man on the dance floor came over and invited one of the girls to dance.

A woman named Linda was learning to square dance years ago when her partner left the group. She asked Frank Bezzina to dance. Now they have been married 16 1/2 years.

"It's a lot of fun and fellowship," Linda Bezzina said. "We also do round dancing, which is like ballroom dancing. We do at least three square dances a week."

For more information on the Canyon Lake Twirlers, visit their website, email aloriekat55@gmail.com or call Rosalie at 951-244-0672.

Suspect in Temecula Shooting Arrested for Attempted Murder

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department released the following information on an incident Saturday in an area near the border of Murrieta and Temecula:

On Saturday, Feb. 23, at 4:11 a.m., deputies from the Southwest Station responded to a residence in the 31700 block of Umbria Lane in the unincorporated area of Temecula in reference to a report of an accidental shooting victim at that location. Their investigation revealed the following:

The occupants of the residence on Umbria Lane held a small party with about 10 people attending. All of the people were in the backyard when the suspect and the female victim went back inside the residence to a bedroom. The suspect and the victim got into an argument and the victim was shot one time.

The victim was transported via ambulance to a local hospital and her injuries do not appear to be life-threatening. The suspect was detained and transported to the Southwest Station to be interviewed.

Shawn Steward, 32, was subsequently arrested with attempted murder and booked into the Southwest Detention Center on that charge.

Anyone with additional information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Investigator Franchville at the Southwest Station at 951-696-3000.

Two-Car Collision on Winchester Road Sends Four to Hospital

Four people were hospitalized Saturday afternoon after a two-car collision on Winchester Road just north of Scott Road in Winchester.

The incident was reported at 4:24 p.m. Riverside County Firefighters responded and found one person trapped inside a vehicle. The individual was removed from the vehicle within a few minutes. Of the four people transported to a local hospital, one person was listed with critical injuries, one with moderate injuries and two with minor injuries.

It's Time to Play Ball in Menifee! Pony League Season Begins

It was a busy day at Wheatfield Park Saturday as the Menifee Pony Baseball league opened its season. We've got the story, photos and a video for you on our sports page. Check it out by clicking on the sports tab above!

Historian, Author Addresses Rotary Club of Menifee

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Historian, author and preservationist Rebecca Farnbach delivered an educational and entertaining program on Southwest Riverside County at a recent February meeting of the Rotary Club of Menifee.

Farnbach is an authority on the early days of the Temecula Valley and is a board member on the Vail Ranch Restoration and Preservation Committee, which seeks a National Historical designation of the several remaining acres at the heart of the old Ranch.

At one time, Vail Ranch covered thousands of acres across the present cities of Murrieta and Temecula, and included the Rancho California area south of Lake Elsinore. It was a principal beef provider for Southern California.

Farnbach also discussed the early history of the Luiseno tribe of American Indians, whose decendants today are the operators of the Pechanga Casino and Resort, largest in Southern California. "Temecula" comes from the Luiseno words that say, translated, "Where the Sun and the Earth were created."

In her Powerpoint presentation, Farnbach showed early Luisano woven baskets. Because the local soil contained no clay, the tribal members could not create pottery, so instead they wove baskets so tightly they could hold and carry water. Since woven baskets could not be used as cooking utensils, the tribe cooked their primary foodstuff, acorns, by condensing the paste of acorns and water into donut-shaped hard pieces of dough -- which they could then cook over an open fire.

Another topic touched upon by Farnbach was the history of the Temecula wine country. Italian immigrants brought grape vines from the Old World, and the first vineyard was planted just east of Temecula by Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo in 1967. Seven years later, Ely Callaway built the first commercial winery. Today there are 14 wineries in "Wine Country", with tens of thousands of annual visitors, who often leave with a case, or least a bottle or two, of the various vintages.

Farnbach recently authored, in collaboration with the Cilurzo's, a book in the "Images of America" series, entitled"Temecula Wine Country." Her personal heritage takes her back to the earliest families in the Temecula area, and she is also a third generation member of a local chapter of PEO, one of the oldest and largest ladies' philanthropic and educational organizations in North America.

Menifee Rotary meets weekly at noon at the Menifee Lakes Country Club. It will celebrate its 50th birthday next month. For questions or information, call Carol "Red" Sullivan at 951-672-1523, Linda Denver at 951-672-1731, or Bob Roark at 800-824-6561.

They're Strumming Quite a Tune at Quail Valley Elementary

Israel Camacho packed up his electric guitar after helping a few classmates close out the morning assembly at Quail Valley Elementary School Friday with a contemporary piece that had the students clapping to the beat.

"I wanted to play guitar because my dad does," said Israel, 10 years old and a fifth grader at the school. "First I played acoustic guitar, but my teacher said I would be better on electric because they would hear it better."

Some played electric guitars on Friday, some acoustic, and a couple even played the ukulele. It was the first public performance for the 20 or so members of Quail Valley Elementary's after-school guitar club.

Led by fifth grade teacher Dan Anderson, who formed the club a couple years ago, the group meets after school on Mondays to learn and practice the popular musical instrument. Anderson first started playing guitar pieces as a musical supplement in his class, and the interest shown by several students led to the formation of the club.

Students may provide their own guitar or borrow one of several Anderson has acquired the last few years. The guitar club is not part of the school's music program, but Anderson receives support from principal Linda Hickey and the other teachers.

"I get great support from the administration," Anderson said. "Officially, this is just me giving kids the opportunity to play. They have the desire and they look forward to the practices. They hate it when Monday is a holiday because they miss the club that week."

In Friday's assembly, Anderson divided the club members into three groups. The majority opened the performance, with members taking turns picking the melody of "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Then an intermediate group did the same with "Joy to the World." The final group consisted of three more advanced guitarists, including Israel Camacho.

"This is an opportunity for students in the performing arts," Hickey said. "During the regular school day, it's hard to fit this kind of thing in. We're thankful we have a teacher like Mr. Anderson who plays the guitar and wants to do this."

Anderson believes strongly that learning to play a musical instrument can be a valuable experience for students, including those who might struggle academically.

"Music is a great motivator," he said. "If students are struggling academically, this gives them a chance to excel in another area. It's exciting for me to see their commitment to it."

Provecho Grill Offers Champagne Brunch Every Weekend

For more information visit Provecho on Facebook here 

Menifee in Pictures: The View on the Way Into Town

Motorists heading southbound on Interstate 215 on the hill between McCall Blvd. and Newport Road have this view of the valley below as they approach the heart of Menifee. In the distance is Bell Mountain, landmark site in the city. And look, it's Friday night and you can actually see pavement between the cars!

"Menifee in Pictures" is a daily feature on Menifee 24/7. Readers are invited to contribute photos for publication. Email your photos as a .jpg file to doug.spoon@gmail.com and we'll select one for publication each day, along with your name as the photographer. Please include your full name on the submission and any explanation about where and when the photo was taken. We do not publish photos that have a personalized name signature or any promotional information within the photo.

Photographer Yoti Telio to Guest on 'Saturday Morning CEO'

Photographer Yoti Telio will be the special guest Saturday at 8 a.m. on the Saturday Morning CEO broadcast, hosted by Menifee's Denis Nurmela.

Many photographers run their business like a hobby. Telio, on the other hand, is a cut above most photographers -- not only in his skill of the art, but his business acumen.

Telio picked up his first camera at age 6 as an assistant wedding photographer with his father. His 30+ years of experience are obvious with just one look at his website: http://www.scphotostudio.com/

Listen in Saturday Morning, when the hosts will discuss Telio's business success tips. He has an array of commercial, wedding, studio and fine-art clients. Telio also has rubbed shoulders with some big names in business and marketing.

While any business owner will benefit from listening or watching the show this Saturday, it will specifically be helpful if you are an artist of any kind.

Audio: www.SMRadio.org

Video: www.SMRadio.org/YouTube

Brookfield Homes Big Sky Grand Opening Tomorrow

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Join the Model Grand Opening celebration tomorrow, Feb. 23, when Brookfield Homes debuts its Big Sky neighborhood at Audie Murphy Ranch.

Home buyers who want a brand new home in Menifee cannot afford to miss Big Sky’s open day of festivities, which kicks off with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by model home tours and activities for every family member, including a delicious pancake breakfast, balloon artist and refreshments.

The popular K-FROG radio station will also be on site, doing a live remote broadcast and a Carrie Underwood ticket giveaway* from noon to 2 p.m. This is one event in Menifee not to be missed, so grab your family and friends for a memorable day of fun at Brookfield’s new Big Sky neighborhood. To stay connected, visit www.BigSkyBrookfield.com and place your name on the growing interest list today.

“Big Sky has been thoughtfully designed to showcase large one- and two-story, single-family detached homes within Audie Murphy Ranch and today’s special event is a great way for guests to personally explore the professionally decorated and furnished models on display in a leisurely, relaxed setting,” said Rocky Tracy, Vice President of Sales for Brookfield Homes.

“Visitors and prospective home buyers are also encouraged to spend time getting to know the members of the sales team, who can address any questions they may have regarding this luxury neighborhood and to also help them determine which Big Sky residence is best suited for their family’s individual lifestyle, priorities and financial expectations. Finding just the right home is a tremendous decision and the Model Grand Opening of Big Sky is that exciting first step for families who want a spacious, elegant new Menifee home in a community that fits their life.”

Offering a picturesque, elevated location within the naturally majestic Audie Murphy Ranch community, Big Sky’s new home designs range from approximately 2,790 to 3,830 square feet of interior space, with three to six bedrooms and 2.5 to 3.5 bathrooms and a variety of room options to give families the flexibility they want. Three- and four-car oversized garages are ideal for buyers who need extra room for vehicles, sports equipment and tools. Generous lots afford homeowners the opportunity to dine, entertain and relax outdoors. Prices are anticipated to start from the low $300,000s.

To visit Big Sky at Audie Murphy Ranch from the I-15 North or South, exit Railroad Canyon, which turns into Newport Road and pass Goetz Road. Turn right on Derby Hill Drive, right on Stage Coach Road and left on Buckboard Lane. The models will be on your right located at 30535 Buckboard Lane in Menifee. From the I-215 North or South, exit Newport Road and go west. Proceed on Newport Road. Turn left on Derby Hill Drive, right on Stage Coach Road and left on Buckboard Lane. The models will be on your right The Big Sky Sales Office and Model Homes will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. as of Feb. 23. For more information, please call 800-977-7604.

*K-FROG requires ticket holder to be present during the Carrie Underwood ticket giveaway in order to win.

Opening Day for Menifee Pony Baseball This Saturday

For more information contact Nicole Flores @ 951.326.7832

Do You Know About Geocaching? 'Man About Menifee' Does

In case you didn't know, Menifee is a land of many hidden treasures. Some can be found under a bush or behind a pole, tucked away in a tiny tin box. But you have to know where to look.

David Baker, our new "Man About Menifee" columnist, tells us about the fun and interesting hobby of geocaching in his column today. Click on the columns tab at the top of this page and find out what it's all about.

Cathleen Gardner Named Menifee 24/7 Volunteer of Month

Provecho Grill owner Rosie O'Connor and Menifee 24/7 editor Doug Spoon present the Volunteer of the Month Award to Cathleen Gardner (center).
Connie Walsh is 82 years old. Her husband died last November. Walsh says her health is pretty good, but she gives thanks for the love and concern of friends and neighbors.

That's where people like Cathleen Gardner come in.

Gardner and her husband Gary live across the street from Walsh in the Sun City community of Menifee. Gary's age meets Sun City's residential 55+ age requirement. A few years younger, Cathleen is the "baby" of the neighborhood.

Showing her concern for her neighbors -- many of whom are in their 80s -- Cathleen Gardner is always there when she's needed. Moreover, she is proactive in seeking out ways to provide assistance. Whether it's checking on a sick neighbor, taking out the trash or simply providing a listening ear, Gardner gives of her time to help others.

Gardner is the first recipient of Menifee 24/7's Volunteer of the Month Award, sponsored by Provecho Grill.

Volunteers are not only members of official service organizations. In the true spirit of the word, Gardner volunteers her time to be a friend and good neighbor to everyone she meets -- especially her elderly neighbors.

"All I have to do is call her name," said Walsh. "She'll do anything for you. She makes sure to pick up my newspaper in the driveway. She runs errands for me. We have nice talks. Cathleen is a wonderful person."

Cathleen was nominated by her twin sister, Colleen, who described the important role Cathleen plays in her neighborhood.

"Most (of the neighbors) do not have family nearby to assist with emergencies and day to day help," Colleen Gardner said. "She has helped with everything from changing a light bulb to replacing a garbage disposal to lifting up neighbors who have fallen to calling 911 as needed, and many other acts of kindness. She has always had great empathy for the elderly and I admire her kindness each and every day.

"An 80-year-old neighbor there recently told me that Gary and Cathleen Gardner are "angels that God brought/called to live in the neighborhood."

Cathleen says she just tries to do the right thing and treat people the way they deserved to be treated.

"That's just the way I am," she said. "I want to treat people the way I would want to be treated. Everyone is somebody's mother, brother, sister ... you just live your life doing the right thing.

"Connie (Walsh) and I have a code. Once her blinds are open in the morning, I know she's OK. If her blinds aren't open, she knows I'm going in."

Gardner received a $50 gift card from the Provecho Grill Mexican restaurant in Sun City. A very involved community volunteer herself, Provecho owner Rosie O'Connor personally presented the award to this month's recipient.

"She helped a neighbor who was ill with cancer," Walsh recalled about Gardner. "When my husband was in intensive care and after he passed away, she was right there for me. Whenever you need her, she comes running."

If you would like to nominate a Menifee resident for Menifee 24/7's next Volunteer of the Month award, email us at menifee247info@gmail.com. In 200 words or less, tell us why you believe this person should be the Volunteer of the Month. Please include your name, name of the volunteer, and the service the person provides.

Menifee 24/7 Adoptable Pet of the Week: Bubba

Name: Bubba

Breed: Maine Coon

Age: 6 years

Gender: Male, neutered

Bubba's Story: Bubba is one of many wonderful adult cats who find themselves homeless through no fault of their own. His owner was moving and couldn't keep him. He appears to be a Maine Coon who weighs over 18 pounds. Bubba is very large with a beautiful thick, shaggy silver and gray coat and green eyes.

Temperament: Handsome Bubba is gentle, mellow, and sweet, with a great personality and a wide variety of meows according to his mood. He knows the words "no" and "come here." He doesn’t scratch furniture. This friendly lap cat has been neutered and vaccinated.

Adoption Agency: Rescue and Rehome, a small private rescue located in the Quail Valley/ Menifee area and serving Southwest Riverside County. Animals are shown by appointment.

Adoption details: $50 adoption fee to help reimburse for the expense of spay, vaccinations, deworming, and any needed veterinary care. An adoption contract is required. Rescue and Rehome is looking for an owner who is willing and able to make a lifetime commitment to the care of this cat, which is anywhere between 15 and 20 years.

Contact: Email rescueandrehome1@gmail.com or call (951) 244-3215.

Website: Rescue and Rehome
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Sun City Civic Association Elects New Board of Directors

In a recent election held at the Sun City Civic Association facility, a new Board of Directors was selected.

Rosi El-Rite will remain as president; Pam Johnson will serve as vice president; Jack Corlett will continue to serve as treasurer; and Lauri Sullivan will serve as secretary.

The remaining directors are Jim Asbury, Randi Hewitt and Annette Pellegrino.

Offices and recreational facilities for the Sun City Civic Association are located at the corner of Sun City Blvd. and Cherry Hills Blvd. in the senior community of Sun City, which has been part of Menifee since the city's incorporation in 2008.

Menifee in Pictures: A Center of Community Activity

The Kay Ceniceros Senior Center, located at the corner of Newport Road and Evans Road, offers many opportunities for senior citizens in the community with club activities, health and safety workshops and more. It also houses the art gallery for Arts Council Menifee and is used for various group activities.

"Menifee in Pictures" is a daily feature on Menifee 24/7. Readers are invited to contribute photos for publication. Email your photos as a .jpg file to doug.spoon@gmail.com and we'll select one for publication each day, along with your name as the photographer. Please include your full name on the submission and any explanation about where and when the photo was taken. We do not publish photos that have a personalized name signature or any promotional information within the photo.

Baby Bound Ultrasound Testimonial from A New Mommy

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Tanya Haggard is a new mommy to happy, healthy baby Maddox, born just 13 days ago. Because this was her first pregnancy, she was extremely vigilant throughout and took many trips to Baby Bound Ultrasound “just to make sure”.

Baby Bound is extremely informative in terms of how and where the baby is positioned, so Haggard had regular ultrasounds over the course of her pregnancy to assure peace of mind that baby Maddox was facing the correct direction for delivery.

“I loved my experience,” said Haggard. “Rachel always squeezed me in for anything I was worried about and always took her time.”

Haggard began visiting Baby Bound at 14 weeks with her boyfriend for the gender reveal of their first baby boy, which turned out to be quite the task. Because of his placement, their 20-minute appointment to determine the gender turned into a 45-minute appointment

“She never rushed us or anything. Rachel was very patient while the baby moved around so we could get the perfect picture,” Haggard said.

Over the course of nine months, she went back more than 10 times to sneak a peek at her precious baby-to-be. At Baby Bound, owner and operator Rachel Brady understands that schedules are busy, so she makes her hours extremely flexible to meet the needs of each individual client.

Offering multiple discounts and packaged pricing for repeat visits, Baby Bound ensures your experience is affordable and enjoyable. She has really worked to create a relaxing and positive atmosphere that is both inviting and comfortable for expecting mommas and their families.

31570 Railroad Canyon Road, Suite 102
Canyon Lake, CA 92584
(951) 265-4446

Website: Baby Bound Ultrasound
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Chase Bank to Host Workshop for Potential Home Buyers

The Sun City branch of Chase Bank will sponsor a free workshop for potential home buyers tonight, Feb. 21, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Issues addressed include:

-- Understanding costs up front, including expenses many don't think about.

-- Determining a price range that's realistic and comfortable for you.

-- How to know more about the real estate agent's role and responsibilities.

-- Learning what your credit score means and how it could affect your loan.

-- Identifying paperwork you need for a smooth loan process.

-- Getting answers to other questions you have.

Chase Bank is located at 28750 McCall Blvd. in the Sun City section of Menifee. For more information, call Kristie Tollefson at 951-672-1941.

'Menifee Mom' Returns Today on Our Column Page

Have you managed to escape the flu bug? "Menifee Mom" Michelle Walsh and her family were not so lucky. Read about how they handled the "yucky virus" today on our columns page. Click on the link above.

Provecho Grill Offers Happy Hour 7 Days a Week

For more information visit Provecho Grill on Facebook here.

Sponsorship Opportunities Now Available For Rotary Club of Menifee's 50th Anniversary Fundraiser on March 9

The Rotary Club of Menifee’s 50th Anniversary Red Carpet Affair is on the horizon. This landmark event not only marks 50 years of service to the community, but also a pledge for a future filled with continual growth and goodwill within Menifee.

On March 9, ACES Comedy Club will play host to the Red Carpet Affair, set to be an elegant evening for local stars. The growing guest list features many noted community professionals and local dignitaries, including California State Senator Bill Emmerson, Menifee Mayor Scott Mann and Murrieta Councilman Alan Long, to name a few.

It is by the continued generosity of businesses and their donations that the Rotary Club of Menifee is able to extend its reach. The Children’s Dental Practice, Rancho Family Medical Group, Too Much Tina Media, Menifee 24/7, and Rilynn Company Insurance Services have teamed up as the Premier Sponsors of this glamorous event. Opening their hearts to the needs of the youth in the community in Menifee, these sponsors have donated funds, time and effort toward this cause. The 50th Anniversary Fundraiser is looking to expand the current scope of sponsorships to include more donors.

Potential Superstar Sponsors are encouraged to join in the cause before March 1 in order to be included in this evening of elegance. Those who commit to any donation level specified in the outline will receive an ad on the Rotary Club website, widespread publicity, as well as red carpet perks and a presentation of gratitude by the Mayor of Menifee at the event.

Your generous donations benefit the local community through improvements to education, including scholarships, Student-of-the-month programs, Leadership Camp, library book donations, support for the Menifee School District Spelling Bee, and a whole host of other programs to assist the local youth and underprivileged families.

"The Rotary Club sends 10 high school juniors to leadership camp each year," said John Denver, Menifee City Councilman and member of Menifee Rotary. "On a flight to Sacramento, I met a young man who had just been elected as a Perris city councilman. He said, ‘Thank you for sending me to the Rotary Leadership Camp. It changed my life. That is why I’m serving my community today.' "

Additionally, the Rotary Club of Menifee has partnered with Give Kids a Smile to help enhance oral health for many needy children. The Rotary Club is also working with The Society of American Indian Dentists to encourage under-represented minorities to explore the medical and dental fields.

"One of the projects of the Rotary Club of Menifee is to give a dictionary to every third grader in the Menifee and Romoland School districts," said Linda Denver, vice president of Menifee Rotary. "There is nothing like the look on a child’s face as you hand them their very own book. Once child asked me, ‘Do I get to take this home?’ and I said ‘Yes, this is just for you.’ His face just lit up."

Assist in providing youth solutions to our community by sponsoring the Rotary Club’s Red Carpet Affair, to be held March 9 at 4 p.m. All donations are tax deductible and aid in continuing the Rotary mission to provide service to others.

For more information or to donate, please contact Tina Walker by calling 951.660.7192.

City Council Approves Contracts for City Manager, Consultant

The Menifee City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved contract agreements for Interim City Manager Rob Johnson and consultant Shawn Nelson.

Johnson has been serving as interim city manager since Bill Rawlings left in November. Because he has no previous experience in that position, council members made the decision to add to the management team Nelson, who previously served as city manager in Temecula.

Johnson, who was previously on staff as a senior manager, will be paid $160,000 over the next year. Nelson will be paid $126,000 -- $10,000 per month and $500 monthly expense reimbursement.

'Bag of Books' Sale Returns to Sun City Library Saturday

Friends of the Sun City Library will hold another "Bag of Books" Sale this Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost to fill up a bag (provided) with books from the group's used books store is a total of $2.

Proceeds from the sale help the Sun City Library purchase books and media for the collection, purchase software and equipment, and support programs throughout the year for all ages. The library is located at 26982 Cherry Hills Blvd, Sun City.

Menifee Police Schedules DUI Checkpoint for Friday

The Menifee Police Department's Traffic Unit will conduct a DUI/Driver's License checkpoint this Friday, Feb. 22, at an undisclosed location within the Menifee city limits between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m.

According to a police department press release, checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public. Officers will contact drivers passing through the checkpoint, looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment.

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect jail, license suspension, and insurance increases, as well as fines, fees, DUI classes, court probation and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings for every $1 spent.

Funding for this operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

City of Menifee Reports Another Increase in Sales Tax

The City of Menifee this week reported a continued sales tax revenue increase for 2012 and announced positive feedback regarding its annual financial accounting audit, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The city’s sales tax revenue increased 8.9 percent in the third quarter of 2012 over the third quarter of 2011, which keeps pace with the previously announced growing sales tax revenue base. According to a press release from the city, this increase can be partially attributed to new businesses and amenities coming to Menifee in 2012, including BJ’s Restaurant and Panera Bread.

"We are thrilled to see this continued increase in sales tax revenue for 2012," said Interim City Manager Rob Johnson. "We rely on these revenues to secure our financial stability as a young city and to provide funding for essential city services."

Sales tax revenue is one of the city’s primary sources of funding for important services such public safety, transportation projects, beautification, public works, parks and recreation. Sales tax revenue is reported by The HdL Companies, a government financial reporting company.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of our CAFR report audit," said Finance Director Terri Willoughby. "Our ‘clean’ opinion is a result of the finance team working very hard all year to maintain a high quality of accounting standards."

For more information, contact Finance Director Terri Willoughby at twilloughby@cityofmenifee.us.

Menifee in Pictures: A Weed That Wasn't Tumbling

There's nothing more aggravating than a tumbleweed that won't tumble, right?

Well, especially if you were trying to turn in or out of Countryside Marketplace on Haun Road on Tuesday.

Ted Davis snapped this photo of a giant tumbleweed that rolled into the middle of the intersection and stayed there. Finally, a motorist got out of his car and sent the thing on its way.

Sometimes, nature needs a little help.

"Menifee in Pictures" is a daily feature on Menifee 24/7. Readers are invited to contribute photos for publication. Email your photos as a .jpg file to doug.spoon@gmail.com and we'll select one for publication each day, along with your name as the photographer. Please include your full name on the submission and any explanation about where and when the photo was taken. We do not publish photos that have a personalized name signature or any promotional information within the photo.

Menifee Chamber 'Green Ball' Tournament Set for March 8

Special guests attending the Green Ball Tournament will be actor and entrepreneur Christopher Knight from the the hit TV series “The Brady Bunch”; NFL great Pete Shaw from the San Diego Chargers; Travis Davis from the Pittsburgh Steelers; and The World’s Record Holder for the Longest Drive from Krank Golf.

The event will be held at Menifee Lakes Country Club, 29875 Menifee Lakes Drive, Menifee, with check-in at 9 a.m. and a shotgun start at 11 a.m.

Even those who don't golf are invited for dinner. Businesses interested in donating items or services for auction or raffle should contact the Chamber of Commerce.

Photo Show Scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24 at Sun City Library

The Sun City Library Photography Group will sponsor an Open House featuring local photographers' work this Sunday, Feb. 24, from noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Sun City Library, 26982 Cherry Hills Blvd. in Menifee.

This event is also supported by Arts Council Menifee.

Strategies For Success Woman's Conference Set for April 17

For more information, call Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce at 951-672-1991

Postal Annex Saves You Time in Packing, Shipping Needs

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Doesn’t it seem that nearly every time you go to mail a letter or buy stamps at the post office, you are met with a mile-long line? Your simple task ends up taking much longer than allotted because of that darn post office line. Postal Annex is a great alternative. And unlike the post office, Postal Annex is open seven days a week to serve you at their Antelope Road location.

Postal Annex created its concept based on the ability to quickly and efficiently help you get your shipping and packing needs accomplished. Armed with boxes, bubble wrap, cards, tape, and a whole host of other office supplies, Postal Annex is ready to help you get in, get out, and get on with your day.

Conveniently located at the corner of Newport and Antelope Roads and at the corner of Newport and Murrieta Road. Both locations offer services you would find at the post office, such as money orders, wire transfers, and international shipping via UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS. They even carry free flat rate envelopes and shipping boxes for all carriers.

In their current special, you can buy 250 and get 250 free on full color, glossy business cards. They can help you print and fax documents quickly and can assist with custom projects on a more personalized level than the big-box chain stores.

Postal Annex is family owned and operated and is ready to fulfill all of your USPS post office, UPS, FedEx, and DHL service needs under one super convenient roof.

Newport at Murrieta
26100 Newport Road
Menifee, CA 92584
(951) 301-7070

Mon- Fri, 8 - 6
Sat, 9 - 4
Sun, Closed

Newport at Antelope
30141 Antelope Road
Menifee, CA 92585
(951) 679-2600

Mon- Fri, 9 - 6
Sat, 9 - 4
Sun, 10 - 4

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Auditions Open for Third Annual 'Menifee's Got Talent'

Arts Council Menifee is looking for talented performers for its third annual "Menifee's Got Talent" event.

The talent show, to be held Saturday, April 6 at the Kay Ceniceros Center, will be an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. Last year's event included local singers, dancers, jugglers, comedians, and musicians playing various instruments.

Participation in the talent show is free, and all performers will receive an appreciation certificate. Admission to watch the show will be $5 at the door.

Spots are filling up fast. Contact Bill Zimmerman at 951-672-0154 for information on how to audition.

Cool Dog Training Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinic this Weekend

Every year in the United States alone, about 150,000 dogs and cats are bitten by venomous snakes, making dogs and cats about 300 times more likely to be bitten by venomous snakes than to get rabies. If bitten, rattlesnake bites are about 25 times more fatal in dogs than in humans. Even dogs that survive the bite can be permanently damaged.

With spring around the corner, rattlesnakes are prevalent in these open areas of land and even find their way into suburban backyards and streets. This is why every spring, Cool Dog Training hosts two weekends of Rattlesnake Avoidance Training clinics to help train your dog to avoid and even fear rattlesnakes altogether.

How does it work? Trained snake handlers place hooded snakes in various locations on a rural property and then walk your dog through the course. Your dog is allowed to smell, hear, and see the snakes, but never touch them. Using a shock collar, your dog will learn to associate the smell, sight, and sound of a rattlesnake with the shock thus making rattlesnakes seem very bad.

So in the future, after they have completed the clinic, if you dog encounters a rattlesnake, it will not only avoid the snake but also alert you to its presence, based on the dog's drastic behavior.

Is it safe? Absolutely! Each rattlesnake is hooded, so there is no way for it to bite.

How long does it take? Your dogs will be taken through the course twice, to assure they understand the association. The process generally takes under an hour and is an invaluable tool to protect your dog.

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training
Dates: Sat & Sun, Feb 23 & 24 and Sat & Sun, March 23 & 24
Time: Time slots are available in the morning, afternoon, and evening on all days
Location: Cool Dog Training
35581 Glenoaks Road
Temecula, CA

Website: Cool Dog Training
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To register: call (951) 676-9622, email info@cooldogtraining.com, or download the form.

Menifee City Council to Consider Contracts for Johnson, Nelson

The Menifee City Council on Tuesday night will consider proposed contracts for consultant Shawn Nelson, former city manager of Temecula, and interim city manager Rob Johnson totaling a combined $286,000 over the next year.

At its Feb. 5 meeting, the city council voted unanimously to extend Johnson's appointment as interim city manager "for the foreseeable future." Johnson, who previously served as a senior manager for community development and outreach, was praised by council members for his performance since taking over for Bill Rawlings, who left the position in November.

According to the contract proposal submitted by city attorney Julie Biggs for consideration, Johnson would be paid $160,000 per year to continue as interim city manager. His performance would be re-evaluated at the end of the year.

In a separate proposal submitted by Biggs, Nelson would be paid $126,000 per year as an executive consultant to the city. According to the consultant agreement, the council directed staff to prepare such an agreement for Nelson as a consultant "for a variety of special projects and as a resource to the city manager and staff for management purposes." Paid out of the unassigned fund balance of the city's general fund, Nelson would be compensated at a flat rate of $10,000 per month plus $500 per month expense reimbursement for a one-year term ending on Feb. 28, 2014.

According to the agreement, Nelson's services provided to the city would include strategic planning facilitation; economic development; staff development and training; succession planning and organizational development; community services; and other matters as determined by the city council.

Last fall, the council agreed to pay Rawlings a severance payment of $183,667, plus a merit payment of $9,500.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 29714 Haun Road.