21 May 2015

Chino Hills State Park Seasonal Park Aides Wanted

California State Parks is now accepting applications for between three and five seasonal park aides for Chino Hills State Park, the remarkable recreational resource that is just a stone's throw away from Carbon Canyon.

These new positions provide for park aides to work for up to nine months or 1500 hours, but in increments separated by three months between seasons, with weekly schedules of 24-40 hours (usually three to five days of eight-hour shifts).  Work on weekends and holidays are generally required.

Park aides will either work at the new kiosk at Bane Canyon, the remaking of which is now being completed with a fully-paved and improved road, as well as the kiosk, forming much of the project in Chino Hills, or at the Discovery Center, located on Carbon Canyon Road in Brea, adjacent to Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

Duties include giving information to park users; helping park rangers with projects; registering campers and conducting checks at the park's campground; collecting use fees; selling park passes; and, perhaps, interpreting the park's historical and natural features.

Because the park aide positions are considered ideal for students who want summer jobs, weekend employment, or both, they are designed to be flexible with school and other job schedules.

Qualified candidates have to possess a valid California driver's license; have a good driving record; pass a background check, including live scan fingerprinting; and are, preferably, 18 years or older.  Preferred skills include being reliable, being a good communicator and demonstrating customer service ability; filling out accountability paperwork; and being an independent worker.

Those interested can e-mail Carmen Zone at Carmen.zone@parks.ca.gov.  Applications can be downloaded from www.pars.ca.gov and can be scanned and e-mailed to Ms. Zone or sent by snail mail.

19 May 2015

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #17777

Last night about 7 p.m., the familiar long screech was heard and then a thud as a westbound green pickup truck (a Ford 150 type) took a Carbon Canyon Road curve too fast and slammed into a low wall at the former Canyon Market/Party House Liquor in Sleepy Hollow.

While there apparently were no calls made to local law enforcement--at least not one that involved sirens--and no evident closure of the state highway for any length of time, a crowd of locals scooted down and over to the crash site to check it out.

As to the recent bits of action by the police and sheriff departments in Brea and Chino Hills, the latter had its message board on the highway near Canon Lane for one day and then was taken away, while the two boards in Brea, the first westbound a little east of the old La Vida Mineral Springs property and the other eastbound next to Carbon Canyon Regional Park, are still up and functioning.

It remains to be seen if anything else is in the works based on recent conversations held between canyon residents and city and law enforcement officials.

15 May 2015

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #47: Canyon Hills Country Club Postcard, 1965

With the recent posts on this blog about the several uses of the property that was, from 1928-1958, Camp Kinder Ring, the Jewish camp of The Workmen's Circle, north of Carbon Canyon Road at Canyon Hills Road, part of which is being developed now as the 76-unit Canyon Hills housing subdivision, this seemed an appropriate time to highlight this postcard.

With the title of "Canyon Hills Country Club," the image shows one of the two swimming pools (the other is partially visible in the background) at the facility with the view looking towards the south and the hills that are now the subject of an application for another large housing project, the 107-unit Hidden Oaks development.

A couple of people are swimming in the foreground pool and a person sits on those cool chairs with the curved stainless steel legs.  To the left are concrete block walled planters and there are a variety of bushes, shrubs and trees in the landscaping around the pool decks.

On the reverse is the name of the facility, its post office address in Brea, the phone number, a list of club activities (the two pools, shuffleboard, ping-pong, archery, badminton, horseback riding, picnic grounds, and a rollerskating rink) and a recommendation for membership section.

This latter is pretty funny, as it begins, "I have recommended and vouched for you as a desirable person for membership in the Canyon Hills Country Club."  It then goes on to say that the membership committee would contact the person "once only" and then offers that Canyon Hills was "a real club for real people."

The name and address of the members are provided along with the recommended addressee, both of whom were from the area (Whittier and La Mirada.)

The card is postmarked from Brea--probably filled out at the club and then mailed by club personnel--and dated 25 October 1965.

This appears to have been at the very end of the lifespan of the club, which appears to have changed names from Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club, which was the successor to Club El Circulo (in turn following Camp Kinder Ring), to Canyon Hills Country Club.

By early 1966, as an upcoming post will detail further, there was another change in use, as the club gave way to one of the wackier concepts in Carbon Canyon's colorful history: Ski Villa.  After the demise of that short-lived project, however, yet another club, the Carbon Canyon Country Club took over--but, more on that later.

14 May 2015

Carbon Canyon Road Patrolling/Traffic Enforcement News

UPDATE: 4:30 P.M., Friday:  Following suit, the sheriff's department in Chino Hills has taken their message board, which was over on the 71 Freeway warning locals to cut their brush to reduce fuel for wildfires, and placed it on westbound Carbon Canyon Road a little east of Canon Lane.  The message here is to reduce speed when driving on the state highway.

In the wake of recent accidents and road closures on Carbon Canyon Road, law enforcement officials in Brea and Chino Hills have been communicating with concerned residents about ways that they are exploring, planning and implementing to provide better patrolling and traffic enforcement along the state highway.

It is notable, as well, that the sheriff's department in Chino Hills and the police department in Brea have been talking to each other, so there may be some ways to facilitate actions between the two for more efficient and effective work--realizing that resource allocation is always a challenge.

A City of Brea electronic message board has been placed on westbound Carbon Canyon Road a little east of Olinda Village in response to a spate of accidents and road closures.  As noted here, the sign warns of a "High Enforcement Area" and reminds drivers not to pass within the canyon.  This is the first of what appears to be a series of steps taken by the Brea Police Department and Chino Hills Sheriff's Department to improve patrolling and traffic enforcement on the state highway.
Already there is a visible and tangible presence resulting from these efforts.  On the Brea side, just a bit west of the former Manely Friends stable on the westbound side of the highway is an electronic message board that reads "High Enforcement Area" and warns people to not pass--this already being proscribed via signage throughout the canyon.

What else is in the works remains, of course, to be seen.  But, there will be a citywide Public Safety Forum, sponsored by the City of Chino Hills and the sheriff's department, at the city's Community Center on Peyton Drive between Grand and Eucalyptus and across from Ayala High School, on Thursday, 9 July at 6:00 p.m.  Among many other issues, the question of traffic safety on Carbon Canyon Road will be addressed.

We have two well-managed cities in Brea and Chino Hills, so it is encouraging at this date to see what has transpired so far.  Stay tuned for more as further information becomes available.

13 May 2015

Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club

This San Bernardino Sun article, from 1 June 1964, discussed county planning commission approval of the "Canyon Hills Ranch, Swim & Saddle Club," the name of which changed slightly with the removal of "ranch."
The demise of Club El Circulo in the first months of 1964 on the former Camp Kinder Ring property was quickly followed by a new enterprise by the same owners, the Olinda Development Corporation, which incorporated in January 1961 with its business address later shown as in Olinda Village.  This endeavor was christened the Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club and was managed by the Circle C Development Company, a subsidiary of the Olinda Development Corporation.

In late May 1964, the San Bernardino County Planning Commission heard a proposal to remake the El Circulo compound into the new facility, including, as reported in The Champion, the building of new stables and a riding ring, while adjacent land would be marketed for real estate development.

The San Bernardino Sun of 1 June noted that "plans call for facilities for horse shows, training rings, stables, show rings, teen canteen and lodges."  Existing components included "a restaurant, bar and guest cottages and facilities for swimming, tennis and archery."

A photo from the 9 July 1964 edition of the Chino Champion showing Rex Vance, manager of the new Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club posing next to the facility's recently-completed swimming pool, the second at the facility, with the first pool directly behind.  From newspapers.com.
By mid-June, the commission approved the thirty-acre project, conditional upon the state transportation department's requirements that warning signs be erected to warn drivers on Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142, which, incidentally, was officially designated by that number around the same time) of horse riders crossing the highway, as well as meeting local fire department stipulations for on-site precautions for preventing wildfires.

"Steady there, young fella!"  This photo, from the same issue as the above photo, shows the new rollerskating rink at the Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club with the rink's manager Barbara Behnke assisting an unidentified boy learning to skate.
In mid-July, a public notice was taken out by the Circle C Development Company's president, Eric Sutton, stipulating the fictitious business name of the Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club was being used, while another notice at the same time verified the previous operating entity of Club El Circulo.

This came on the heels of the first event held at the new club, the inevitable Hawaiian-style luau, a staple of California outdoor events at the time.  Complete with fire-and-sword dancers and "native music," the event, supervised by club manager Rex Vance, highlighted the redecorated clubhouse and second swimming pool, while the stables and arena were under construction.

A relic of its time, for sure.  Here is the ad from the Champion, also 9 July 1964, for the Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club's authentic "Royal Hawaiian Luau," complete with whole barbequed pigs, fish and poi, chicken and long rice, pineapple, fire-and-sword dancers, "native music" and so on--all for $5.  Now, that's "da kine, brah!" 
Also noted in a Champion article covering the luau was that the complex included the rollerskating rink and children's playground that were holdovers from El Circulo.  But, there were also new horseshoe and shuffleboard courts and a snack bar.  In the works was a clubhouse for horse riders over the arena and a "teenage activities" center.  Upcoming events slated were a horse show and opening party for the arena planned for August, a barbeque, another luau, and "a before school jamboree."

Whether or not these events took place or if the planned improvements were completed, the Canyon Hills Swim and Saddle Club had an existence about as short as that of Club El Circulo.  By early 1966, the club was out of business and the next phase for the site was underway.  This was the bizarre, but notable, development of Ski Villa, the only all-year ski slope in the region.  While Ski Villa has been covered here before, new material has been found for an upcoming post.  So, stay tuned.

10 May 2015

Hidden Oaks Project More Visible

As reported in the Champion in yesterday's edition, the Hidden Oaks housing project, proposing 107 houses, a nearly four-acre park, a clubhouse, and trails on 110 of 537 acres south of Carbon Canyon Road at Canyon Hills Road and across from the in-process Canyon Hills development of 76 units, is moving forward many years after a predecessor project, which removed some 2,000 oak and other trees on the site, failed.

This coming Tuesday, the Chino Hills City Council is likely to vote for an environmental impact report (EIR) from PCR Services Corporation costing just over $400,000, which is to be reimbursed by the developer.

During the course of the EIR, a public meeting and accumulation of written comments will be included.

It is a certainty that the EIR will find that the project creates significant unavoidable adverse impacts on the environment by the criteria of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  This is an environment that has changed greatly since CEQA was enacted in the early 1970s, so the criteria are actually outdated.  Therefore, the responses will be, as well.

Then, as a matter of course, the City will then do all it can in its power to issue Statements of Overriding Consideration (SOCs) as the developer promises benefits that will (presumably) accrue to the city as a whole, regardless of the fact that those significant unavoidable adverse impacts remain in effect in the canyon.

Here's the scorecard for approved developments within Carbon Canyon:

Canyon Hills (Chino Hills)          76 homes
Stonefield (Chino Hills)               24
Madrona (Brea)                          162

Total                                           262 homes

Hidden Oaks (if approved)        107

Presumed total                           369 homes

This means:

  • some 1,600 or more additional residents 
  • thousands of daily car trips 
  • more traffic on Carbon Canyon Road, which cannot be widened beyond its two-lane status 
  • more difficulty in arranging emergency evacuations for the wildfires that will strike again 
  • fires that are more quickly spread on exposed hilltops like the ones these developments will largely occupy 
  • more water for these larger-sized homes and lots when we're being asked to cut consumption dramatically during an unprecedented drought 
  • more removal and pollution affecting our diminished oak-and-walnut woodland habitat

So, those who find the above problematic might want to attend the public meeting, submit written comments and then let their voices be heard at the planning commission and city council meetings when the project comes up for approval.

08 May 2015

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #17676 (And Some News)

Well, there have been many instances of "on the skids" since the last post under the name, but they have been of the more dramatic full closure of Carbon Canyon Road variety that have been plaguing our canyon recently.

But, there was another CalTrans sign that was cut down by a driver, who left her (confirmed by a commenter) front fender as a calling card, on the westbound side of the state highway about a quarter mile or so from the entrance to the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center.

The incident had to have happened within the last couple of days and is another illustration of errant driving that reflects a greater degree of incidents than has been seen in quite a while.

However, there may be some good news to come out of this.  Discussions have been taking place in Chino Hills involving the city and its police (sheriff's) department chief, as well as between the latter and some of the folks in Brea.

It's in the very early stages, but the conversations have to do with increasing patrols in the canyon in response to concerns raised by residents about the spate of incidents that have taken place in recent weeks and months.

So, we'll see what materializes there.  Even an occasional, but regular, presence could go a long way in sending a message to drivers to mind their p's and q's, or dot their i's and cross their t's, or whatever cliche happens to work.