29 November 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Four

This post, continuing the highlighting of a 1924 map of the Olinda Oil Field and nearby locales, moves to the west and south of the area discussed in the last and takes us into the Orange County and Brea portion of Carbon Canyon.

In this case, there are four individually-listed owners of parcels ranging from the county line out to the La Vida Mineral Springs property.  As stated before, although the map is of a certain date, the reference to property owners is, in many cases, to ownership in prior years.  In other words, the persons here likely were not owners of the holdings shown as of 1924, but, instead, earlier.

Closest to the county line is land shown as owned by Annie Edwardson.  Edwardson and her husband Lars were natives of Norway, she born in March 1846 and he six years earlier, and married about 1868.  The two then migrated to the United States in 1885.  By 1900, the two were living in what later became part of the City of Placentia, but which was denoted in the census of that year and a decade later as Fullerton township.  Lars was a farmer and the couple, who had eight children with six living to adulthood, were residing with three sons and a daughter.  Today, there is an Edwardson Circle near the northeast corner of Kraemer Avenue and Bastanchury Road, where there is a townhouse complex today, which commemorates this family's ranch which was on the site.  In fact, they Edwardsons were virtually neighbors of Charles C. Wagner, who, as noted in the last post, owned a stretch of Carbon Canyon just north of Sleepy Hollow over the county line.  It could well be that Wagner and the Edwardsons purchased their Canyon property at around the same time and for similar reasons: the possibility of oil production looming after the 1897 strike of crude at Olinda.  It is hard to imagine why they and others would buy hilly, rocky Canyon land otherwise.

There were three other owners listed to the west and slightly south of Edwardson and in the general vicinity of what became the La Vida Mineral Springs.  One of these is J. S. Carver and, while there was a New York-born furniture salesman of that name who lived in Orange in the 1900 census and died in that city five years later, it is not known if this is one and the same person.  This Carver might plausibly be seen as  a local who may have saved enough money to buy a small plot of land in the Canyon for potential petroleum prospecting.

Another owner was Charles E. Price, who, as noted in an April 2010 post on this blog, was secretary of the Carbon Canyon Oil Company, a firm formed in 1900 and which owned 160 acres at the junction of Carbon and Soquel canyons near the Hollydale Mobile Home Estates in Olinda Village.  Born in Canada about 1868 and a migrant to the U. S. at age 20, Price resided in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1900, a few doors down from Carbon Canyon Oil Company president William West.  While Carbon Canyon eventually went out of business, Price continued to work with oil companies with West and others and lived until 1951.

Finally, there is Burdette Chandler, whose tenure in the Carbon Canyon and wider area was much earlier than the others noted so far in this series.   Chandler was born in April 1836 in Union, New York, a small town southwest of Syracuse and where his father was a merchant.  Chandler, who married in the late 1850s, went into the dry goods business and lived for a time in a small community called Pomfret, near Lake Erie about halfway between Buffalo and Erie, Pennsylvania.   Meantime, the first oil boom in the U.S. erupted in 1859 in Pennsylvania and Chandler went to Venango County, the center of all the attention and worked as an operator there.  He then migrated to Toronto, Canada by 1871 and was involved in oil speculation there before trying his hand in similar endeavors in West Virginia.

In 1877, Chandler and his wife Albertine came to Los Angeles and resided on Aliso Street near the Los Angeles River, where, in 1880, Chandler was listed in the census as a farmer.  In an article in the Los Angeles Herald from 1906, Chandler tried to take credit for introducing the oil industry to the city.  While there were attempts as early as 1865 and then during the first half of the 1870s to develop wells to the north in present-day Santa Clarita, with some small successes, it is true that Chandler was one of, if not the first, to drill a crude (!) well within the city limits of Los Angeles.  He did have some success and, by his account, "later I bought up thousands of acres of land near Whittier, Puente and Fullerton," including an instance in which, "at a sale of the old Temple estate, I bought 1200 acres of land north of Brea Canyon for $800."  This refers to the former Rancho Cañada de la Brea in Brea Canyon, which had passed to the ownership of rancher and banker, F. P. F. Temple.  The Los Angeles bank owned by Temple and his father-in-law, William Workman, half-owner of the massive Rancho La Puente in the eastern San Gabriel Valley, collapsed in 1876 and Chandler was able to buy up some considerable acreage from the ruined men's estates.

In a depressed economy that lasted for a decade or so, Chandler claimed that he "lost" 1000 acres to Standard Oil Company and sold 200 more to a man named Daniel Murphy and his Brea Cañon Oil Company in Fall 1899.  Chandler also noted that he sold other oil-rich lands, before they were developed, for small amounts, including a section of property in the Puente Hills that he got $1300 for, but stated were worth $2 million in 1906.  In another instance, Chandler sold Whittier property to a Michigan native named Simon Murphy for $11,000, which was said to be worth $1,500,000 at the time the article was written.  This area is now the Murphy Ranch areas of east Whittier.

As to the Olinda area, Chandler had acquired quite a holding, as well, but noted that "Scott and Loftus bought some land and they now [again, 1906] have an output of from 1000-2000 barrels per day."  Chandler refers here to William Loftus of the Graham-Loftus Oil Company, an early entrant at the Olinda field during the late 1890s and to William Benjamin Scott, connected to the Stewart brothers [also veterans of the Pennsylvania oil fields] who founded Union Oil Company, and whose Columbia Oil Company came into Olinda at about the same time as Loftus.  Scott was also one of the tres hermanos, along with Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler [no known relation to Burdette] and former Los Angeles County Sheriff and Puente Oil Company president William R. Rowland in the ranch of that name in upper Tonner Canyon north of Carbon Canyon.  In fact, in Fall 1881, Rowland brought Chandler out to his holdings in the Puente Hills to drill an oil well.  Within four years, the two developed enough successful oil production to create the Puente Oil Company, though Chandler soon sold his interest to Los Angeles businessman William Lacy.  Puente Oil also had land and oil wells in the general Olinda and Brea Canyon area.

Chandler, who also had oil interests at Huasna in San Luis Obispo County in 1899 in conjunction with Puente Oil, was quite involved in the Los Angeles city politics and, within only a couple of years of arriving in town, secured election to the city council as a representative of the Fourth Ward,  He served three terms between 1880 and 1888, the latter being the peak of the massive real estate boom known as the "Boom of the Eighties."   After leaving the council (and overcoming a grand jury indictment on a charge of blackmail in 1889, perhaps connected to his political connections), Chandler moved to the newly-fashionable suburb of Boyle Heights.  After the death of his wife, he remarried in 1902 and remained involved in the oil industry (in 1909, he was again arrested on a charge of embezzlement brought against him by two brothers who owned an oil company of which Chandler was a director--this case was dismissed) until his death at age 76 in February 1914, a decade before the publication of this updated map.  Chandler was buried at Rosedale Cemetery west of downtown Los Angeles.

Next, we move a little further west and south towards Olinda.

28 November 2011

1924 Map of Olinda Oil Field and Surrounding Areas, Part Three

Two months later  . . . this detail shown here of this map focuses on the area in and around Sleepy Hollow, although the listing of property owners does not necessarily mean that they had possession of those parcels in 1924 and, in fact, most of the land involved had passed on to others.

This post concerns the three privately-held properties, setting aside the corporate Chino Land and Water Company and Chino Real Estate Company, which controlled lots 1 and 35 that straddled the county boundaries of Los Angeles (above the horizontal dotted line moving from center to left and to the left of the angled line moving from the number 35 and to the lower right corner) and San Bernardino and Orange, which are divided by this angled line.  Incidentally, those familiar with the religious compound, St. Joseph's Hill of Hope will know that it sits on the lot 35 property.  Lot 1, meantime, is the area south of Sleepy Hollow heading out into Soquel Canyon in both modern Brea and Chino Hills.

Unfortunately, the property probably most likely to have embraced the area that became Sleepy Hollow was listed as owned by a Charles A. Hall and nothing has been found on this individual.  As to the others, however, there are some interesting north Orange County connections.

First is Charles C. Wagner.  Wagner was born in November 1873 in Elizabeth Lake, a remote area of northern Los Angeles County west of the Palmdale/Lancaster area.  His mother was Josefina Andrada, daughter of 1859 migrants to California from Monterrey, Mexico and there is a place name there today called "Andrade Corners."  Wagner's father was Charles C. Wagner, Senior, born in Wüertemberg, Germany and who lived for many years in Grand Rapids, Michigan before migrating to California during the Gold Rush of 1849.  He may have been the Charles Wagner who briefly held half of the title to a ranch in Sonoma County known as the German Ranch and on which is the noted coastal planned community of Sea Ranch (whose chief developer died within the last few weeks.)

In any case, Charles, Sr. migrated to Los Angeles County, became a sheep rancher and had several children with Josefina Andrada, the eldest of which was Charles, Jr.  Before 1880, the Wagners relocated to what became Placentia and Charles, Sr. maintained his occupation as a sheep rancher and wool grower, owning 150 acres of land near Valencia Avenue and Yorba Linda Boulevard and grazing his animals in Brea Canyon.  Not long after the federal census of 1880 was taken, the 35-year old Charles, Sr. was carrying bricks in a wagon from the Anaheim Landing wharf in what is now Seal Beach, when he evidently feel asleep and fell off the wagon and was killed.

The widow soon married her brother-in-law, John Wagner, shortly afterward and the marriage lasted fifteen years until Josefina's death about 1898.   Meantime, the Wagner family, led by Charles, Jr. moved from sheep raising to agriculture, trying grapes before moving into walnuts and, more importantly, oranges.  In fact, in 1883, the Wagners planted the third orange grove to be developed in what later became Orange County.  Charles spearheaded these efforts and was a founder of the Placential Mutual Orange Association and the Placentia Orange Growers Exchange.  In 1899, Charles married Maud Taylor, a native of Missouri and the two had one son, Merwin, born in 1903.  With all of his success in orange and walnut growing, Charles was able to build a substantial Colonial Revival home in 1920 on the ranch.  He and his wife lived in the house until their deaths in the 1960s, after which their son owned the home for about a decade.  The building passed through a series of owners, including the Calvary Chapel religious organization, but is now the "Wagner House Wedding Center" (see here for the Web site.)  Meantime, the Wagner name also lives on with Charles Wagner Elementary School and Wagner Park, near the house and on the old family ranch.

Why Charles, Jr. acquired the land on the San Bernardino County side of Carbon Canyon is not known, though it is likely that, because the oil boom at Olinda fueled (!) speculation throughout the area, Wagner hoped an investment in the Canyon might yield success in that industry, though no oil of any significance has been found that far north and east of the Olinda field.

This was undoubtedly true for the second property owner covered in this post, Joseph Hiltscher.  That name will be familiar to those who know about Fullerton's Hiltscher Park, a great resource for horse riders and walkers as the park winds through neighborhoods between Euclid Street and Harbor Boulevard south of Bastanchury Road.

Hiltscher was born in Sternburg, Austria in February 1874 to weaver August Hiltscher and Frederika Bochisen.  When he was thirteen, the family migrated to the United States and made their way to Fullerton, where 20 acres was purchased along Orangethorpe Avenue in west Fullerton.  The ranch was planted to apricots, peaches and walnuts under the management of August Hiltscher until his death in 1891.

Meantime, Joseph and a brother went into the meat market business in Fullerton and ran a successful operation for many years.  This enabled Joseph to acquire thirty acres along Romneya Avenue in Anaheim, not far from his family's Fullerton ranch, a little below today's 91 Freeway between Harbor Boulevard and Euclid Street and on which an orange grove was developed.

While the Hiltscher name has long been known in Fullerton, not just for the bucolic park named for them, but also for political activity and a longtime family photography business that was shuttered (!) not long ago, a recent posting by Gustavo Arrellano in the Orange County Weekly's blog (see here) revealed a more controversial side to the family.  In the 1920s, when the Ku Klux Klan experienced a resurgence throughout the United States in a time of growing political conservatism, ethnic antagonism, fears of Jewish and Roman Catholic influence and other related issues, the local scene featured its own KKK revival.  For example, in 1924-25, four Klansman, without revealing so publicly, secured election to the Anaheim Board of Trustees [City Council].  A recall election in early 1925 led to the removal of the four (see here for some information on this ignoble part of OC history.)  Meanwhile, Herman Hiltscher, Joseph's brother, was a Fullerton planning commissioner (it was he who secured the naming of the park after his family) and city engineer and Arrellano's post identifies records (though noted as vague) that showed Herman to be a KKK member.

Back to Carbon Canyon  . . . it would appear that Hiltscher's land is actually just north of Sleepy Hollow, embracing oart of the area that is slated for an approved housing development off to the west of Canyon Hills Road and north of Carbon Canyon Road, just above the old Ski Villa site.  Wagner, meantime, looks to have owned only a small part of the Sleepy Hollow community at the end of Francis Drive and much of Grandview Drive at the eastern and southern extremities of the neighborhood with his holdings continuing out to about where Red Apple Lane and the top of the Mountain View Estates tract (subdivided in 1925 along and around Canon Lane south of Carbon Canyon Road) are located.

As to the bulk of Sleepy Hollow, this, evidently excepting the small segment along East Lane (ironically, at the far west end of the neighborhood) which was owned by the Chino Land and Water Company, falls within the land once owned by Charles A. Hall, of whom, as noted above, nothing has been found so far.  It is possible that the name was misslabeled and this could be Charles V. Hall, the Olinda oilman who has been profiled elsewhere in this blog.  This makes some sense, again considering the likelihood that much Carbon Canyon land acquired from the mid-1890s until the mid-1920s would almost certainly have been for speculation in the light of the oil boom at Olinda.  This, however, needs to be confirmed, if possible, by further digging.

27 November 2011

Towers of Terror Three: Tangled, Twisted, To Be Continued

A new piece in the Los Angeles Times (see here) has just been posted online (following an 18 November treatment in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, of which see here, summarizing the latest developments (as discussed here recently) on the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP) project to run renewable energy power through lines strung on massive 198-foot tall towers through a portion of Chino Hills roughly along Eucalyptus Avenue on an east-west trajectory to Ontario.

Notably, the article, by Phil Willon, observes that the growing protest over the sequoia-sized [his well-chosen words] towers has been such that it has been "sending the simmering local opposition into a full boil and drawing more heat from politically attuned congressmen." 

Also of significance is the attention paid to the question of these towers being in a "fall zone" so that, outside of the 150-foot easement in which they've been placed, an earthquake could possibly send these behemoths crashing into surrounding neighborhoods.  As one Chino Hills resident, Cris Garcia, was quoted: "We live in an earthquake zone. If a disaster strikes, that thing could fall right through my house."  Some sources indicate that the fall distance is equal to the height of the tower, which, in this case, would place that distance almost fifty feet outside of the easement.

Naturally, officials with Southern California Edison claim that the towers are structurally sound and dismiss other concerns about the towers and their powerful lines creating a health hazard.

As to the California Public Utilities Commission, which approved the project in 2009, a quote was obtained from Michael Peevey, who gave a thumbs-up then, but issued the recent decision halting the project pending a 10 January deadline for Edison to submit a report looking at alternatives and then seeking to either defend their current approach or identify a feasible alternative.  Peevey told the Times that, "Everybody has an interest, and everyone's got an ax to grind.  It's a very tough job to balance all of this."  But, why did Peevey vote one way two years ago and now has seemingly moved in a different direction?

Meanwhile, yesterday's mail brought a flyer from Fullerton congressional representative Ed Royce announcing that he is hosting a "meet and greet" with him at the Summit Ranch community clubhouse next Sunday, 4 December at 1:00 p.m. 

On the reverse of the mailer is a copy of a 14 November press release from Royce's office announcing his opposition to the TRTP line through residential neighborhoods AND calling for a hearing in Congress "on the impact on neighborhood home values and the ability of homeowners and buyers to obtain loans."

The main reasons given for such a hearing before the Financial Services Committee are two-fold:  first, that power lines, even of half the voltage, "are not allowed within 900 feet of schools" and, second, that the Federal Housing Administration does not permit the residences of FHA-issued mortgage or refinance holders to be "in what FHA calls the Fall Zone below high voltage transmission lines."

On this last point, there is an apparent variation with what is found in the FHA's "Homeownership Center Reference Guide" and its "Hazards and Nuisances" section's description of "Overhead High Voltage Transmission Towers & Lines."  Specifically, this portion states that:

The appraiser must indicate whether the dwelling or related property improvements is located within the easement serving a high-voltage transmission line, radio/TV transmission tower, cell phone tower, microwave relay dish or tower, or satellite dish (radio, TV cable, etc).  If the dwelling or related property improvements is located within such an easement, the DE Underwriter must obtain a letter from the owner or operator of the tower indicating that the dwelling and its related property improvements are not located within the tower’s (engineered) fall distance in order to waive this requirement.

In other words, it would appear that the question of "fall distance" only applies if the structure is within the utility easement. 

As to the question of distance from schools, it doesn't appear clear what the proximity to schools has to do with the activities of the Financial Services Committee and the matter of home loans.  Interestingly, the California Department of Education has advisory guidelines that request a distance of at least 350 feet from schools for lines of 500-550 kilovolts, which is the capacity of the proposed line.

In any case, the Times article and, to a lesser degree, the Daily Bulletin piece, note the political nature of the involvement of representatives Royce and Miller, mainly because the two, now in separate congressional districts, will be contending against each other in next November's election in a new district, the 39th, created by voter-mandated redistricting that was recently completed in California. 

This seems to explain Miller's characteristically charged commentary in October castigating Democrats and "liberal elitists" for foisting green energy legislation a decade ago that led to the TRTP project being green-lighted (!) by the CPUC and leading to "hillsides scarred and vistas disrupted" [an interesting choice of words, indeed, from a home builder and developer]. 

Royce, meantime, used a more measured tone in his dissent, focusing on what may potentially fall within the purview of Congress and the federal government, with one exception, in which he likened the project as "equivalent to a government taking of private property," usually wording used to fight eminent domain.  Here, however, there is a matter of a private easement, albeit very close in a narrow easement, to private property in response to a government [state] mandated program.  It should also be pointed out that Royce opined, as many have done, that the route of the line should either be underground (which SCE has rejected as cost prohibitive) or through the "uninhabited Chino Hills State Park," though environmentalists and state park officials would likely call attention to the fact that the use of the term "uninhabited" by Royce would be equivalent to demeaning the park's value.

At all events, this involvement of our local representatives is all very interesting, given that these politicians, as Republicans, are usually given to calling for local control of local issues and in reducing the role of the federal government.  Yet, in this case . . .

So, it was not surprising to see that Royce's flyer was "Paid For By The Royce Campaign Committee" and that the 4 December event is advertised as a "meet and greet," a term usually reserved for campaign appearances, rather than say, a "town hall" or "community meeting."  Will we see a similar event soon from Rep. Miller?

And, regardless of the merits of the opposition, which are considerable, is the alliance of local opponents with soon-to-be battling federal representatives, when the TRTP project is one of state, not federal, jurisdiction, a question of the means justifying the ends, even if the ends are reasonable?

20 November 2011

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #25

Here is another vintage soda bottle from the La Vida Bottling Company made from water extracted from the firm's mineral springs resort on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon.  While other bottles posted here have either been 32 ounce or 7 ounce examples (though note at the bottom image that there were, evidently, no 7 ounce products made by the company when this bottle was produced), this one is 10 ounces.

Moreover, on the reverse panel are listings of the flavors offered by the company at the time, which would appear to be in the 1940s or 1950s.  It is possible that the flavor of this particular bottle is the first one listed, "La Vida Punch."  Funny how there is the interesting spelling of "Cheri-Cola" for a cherry-flavored soda (maybe someone associated with La Vida was named "Cheri" . . . or was French?!)  At any rate, fourteen flavors is quite a roster for a small company (even as "distinctive" as described) as this was one was.

The La Vida Bottling Company plant was located in downtown Fullerton, just off Harbor Boulevard along the railroad tracks of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

15 November 2011

Towers of Terror Two: Temporarily Thwarted

From the folks at Hope for the Hills comes these excerpts of a California Public Utilities Commission "Assigned Commissioner's Ruling," handed down just a few days back, on the 10th,  regarding Segment 8 of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project through Chino Hills in response to opposition by the City of Chino Hills and stakeholders, such as Hope for the Hills. 


Once the new transmission towers were placed in Chino Hills, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made recommendations to SCE that SCE modify portions of Segment 8, by installing marker balls on certain transmission line spans, installing lighting on certain transmission structures and making certain engineering refinements for Segment 8. In light of these FAA recommendations, on October 17, 2011, SCE filed a Petition for Modification (PFM) of the TRTP decision, D.09-12-044, seeking modification of the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and ordering paragraphs to account for the proposed FAA recommended changes.
Once the new transmission structures were put in place through the residential neighborhood in Chino Hills, the City found them to have a “visual, economic and societal impact . . . far more significant than what the City or the Commission envisioned at the time the CPCN was issued.”1 On October 28, 2011, the City filed a PFM to reopen the record with regard to Segment 8 of the TRTP. In light of the recent events and filings that affect Segment 8 of the TRTP, I direct SCE to prepare testimony on alternatives or solutions to the current approved route for the transmission line. SCE’s testimony should include the feasibility, cost, and timing for each alternative.
1. Alternative 4CM [City’s preferred route through the state park]
2. Alternate 5 [Partial undergrounding]
3. Other alternate routes through the City and/or State Park
4. Utilizing the existing right-of-way with shorter/more frequent towers
5. Mitigation for impact of TRTP line

Many of these alternatives were researched and developed as part of the initial application proceeding. Any alternative reviewed then, that could be considered a viable alternative today, should be presented with refreshed data. In addition, since parties have not yet responded to the recently filed PFMs, my directives here today are not intended to prejudge the PFMs, to be exhaustive, or to foreclose alternatives not yet considered. If parties suggest additional alternate routes or solutions, those may also be considered by the Commission. However, the information and data already gathered was quite extensive, so reviewing known alternatives with up-dated cost, viability, and timing data should prove sufficient.

Southern California Edison has been given until 10 January to provide testimony including the called-for "supporting data" for the alternatives listed above, as well as any potential new ones (though these are clearly not suggestive given the last sentence shown here.)

This is a strange turn of events, if for no other reason that the PUC had every opportunity to learn of the potential impacts of Segment 8 through Chino Hills (or any other impacts on the other segments of the project.) at any time between the initial filing by SCE in late June 2007 until the PUC's approval at the end of December 2009.  The 150-foot right-of-way owned by the utility and the homes impacted by the project were all there then.  Yet, the burgeoning opposition developing within Chino Hills clearly had a major political impact on the Commission (or, at least, its "assigned commissioner," Michael Peevey) and provoked this seemingly contradictory ruling.

Naturally, the City, Hope for the Hills and other opponents are thrilled by the latest news.  The question now becomes: which alternatives will SCE propose and what will be approved by the PUC?  Alternative 4--placing the lines through Chino Hills State Park (which would still have some residential housing impact, though much less than the current route) was vigorously opposed by the State Parks department and environmental groups--for understandable reasons, even as it was championed by the City.  Alternative 5, involving partial underground construction (is undergrounding a real verb?), was opposed by Edison as prohibitive from a cost and feasibility standpoint, though this alternative has gained steam among some project opponents, evidently.  Item 3 seems vague and conflicting with the above-listed alternatives.  Item 4, involving the idea of using the existing right-of-way but replacing the mammoth towers just now installed with shorter ones more closely placed, seems outright impossible for SCE to support.

Which leads to item 5:  mitigation.  This has become a common method for approving controversial projects of all types--finding a way to compensate for the impacts generated by said projects.  It would be interesting to see what SCE proposes on this, while knowing that, in all likelihood, opponents are going to reject any and all such mitigation.  Unless there is no choice, meaning that the PUC believes that mitigation is a reasonable middle ground for compromise and rules accordingly.

So, that's where matters lie for the time being and the events of 10 January will, of course, be interesting to ponder as SCE submits its testimony and supporting data to the PUC.  For now, the installed towers will remain until, someday, a new ruling is rendered.

10 November 2011

Sleepy Hollow Resident is Chino Hills Volunteer of the Quarter

Don Briney, who has lived in Sleepy Hollow since the 1950s, has been selected as the Chino Hills Volunteer for the Quarter.  Don joined the Chino Hills Citizens Patrol (COP) in 1989 after his retirment as an engineer from General Dynamics in Pomona.  Along with his wife Sue, who passed away almost fifteen years ago, Don worked in patrolling the city, assisting in checking homes of residents on vacation, working with traffic control, helping with DUI checkpoints, and other duties.  This August, Don retired from the COP program after twenty-three years and was given a service pin and a plaque that displays his Sheriff's Department badge. 

In addition to his work with COP program, Don, with his wife, was heavily involved in the city incorporation project, is a charter member of the Chino Hills Historical Society, and has been on an advisory committee for the city about needs in Sleepy Hollow.

Congratulations to Don Briney for this recognition.

02 November 2011

Fire Just Outside Carbon Canyon

A little earlier this morning, a 5-acre fire broke out in the vicinity of Valencia Avenue and Rose Drive, a bit west of Carbon Canyon and just outside Carbon Canyon Dam and the regional park.  An Orange County Register article can be found here.

I drove through the Canyon westbound at about 9:30 and the traffic signals were blinking at Olinda Village and completely out at Olinda Ranch.  CHP had Valencia Avenue closed at Lambert Road (Valencia being the continuation of State Highway 142 from Carbon Canyon Road to Imperial Highway) and there were many fire department vehicles on Valencia.  A helicopter was also starting to descend on the scene, possible to do a water drop.  It did appear that power lines were down and that may have been the cause, because of wind conditions.

There are, of course, strong Santa Ana winds blowing through the area and they are directed to the west, so there shouldn't be any issue with the fire moving the other direction towards either the regional park, Chino Hills State Park or the homes on the south face of the hills.  The area in and around the fire appears to be oil fields and, perhaps, where the Christmas tree farm is located.