Azusa Light & Water (ALW) is upgrading its infrastructure with the latest smart metering technology. As part of its continued effort to improve essential services, the Utility Board recently approved a contract with Sensus, a Xylem brand, to upgrade ALW’s metering infrastructure with an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution. ALW provides electric and water services to the city of Azusa, and water to portions of the surrounding cities of Glendora, Covina, West Covina and Irwindale.
The AMI project will include the replacement of about 23,000 water meters and about 16,000 electric meters. ALW will use Sensus iPERL® water meters and the FlexNet® communication network, an advanced, two-way system offering point-to-multipoint functionality and secure, reliable data transmission. The software applications that comprise the AMI solution will be fully managed offsite through Sensus Managed Services. This approach to project deployment reduces operational and maintenance costs and allows the utility to focus on using the applications to better serve customers.
ALW management expects substantial operational benefits and improvements in customer service once the project is completed. The benefits will include faster start or stop for utility service, faster electric and water meter readings and faster power restoration following unplanned outages. Customers will be able to view their energy or water usage online and, because the project will help control utility costs, customers will continue to enjoy low-cost utility services from Azusa Light & Water.
Baldwin Park may change the way electricity is provided to its residents and businesses, which officials say could save the them money although critics say is unnecessary. The city council voted 3-2 in early March to commission $63,000 technical study on the viability of the city buying its own energy on the open market, a process known as community choice aggregation. Energy would still be transmitted via Southern California Edison’s lines. While energy prices always in flux, City Councilman Richard Pacheco said getting into the energy business would allow Baldwin Park to “catch up to other cities,” such as Glendale and Pasadena, which provide their own power. He also cited the Pico Rivera Innovative Municipal Energy, the city’s community choice aggregation, as an example of a nearby city that has made the switch. Councilwoman Susan Rubio, who along with Councilwoman Cruz Baca voted against the study, said she doesn’t believe the city council had received enough information to justify spending $63,000 to study the matter further. Rubio argued that more surrounding cities would be forming their own community choice aggregations if the benefit was guaranteed.
KB Homes has announced that new homes are now available at their Turnleaf community, at 13060 Irisbend Ave in Chino. Turnleaf is a collection single-family residences in the city of Chino. The homes are located near California state routes 71, 91 and 60, as well as Interstates 10 and 15 offers convenient commuting to employment hubs throughout Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Orange counties. A homebuyer interest list is forming and model homes are now open to the public. A grand opening celebration was scheduled March 24. The two-story residences at Turnleaf are available in six distinct floor plans that range in size from 1,626- to 2,464-square-feet, with up to five bedrooms, three baths, and two-car garages. Pricing starts in the mid-$400,000s. Turnleaf features private amenities for resident use, including a pool, tot lot, and basketball court. Residents can also enjoy a plethora of recreational activities at nearby Prado Regional Park and Chino Hills State Park, and Vellano Country Club. A variety of shopping, dining and entertainment establishments are located close to the community. Turnleaf is also located in the highly rated Chino Valley Unified School District. Buyers who purchase at Turnleaf will have the opportunity to personalize many aspects of their new home at the KB Home Design Studio. All homes at Turnleafaf will be built to ENERGY STAR 3.0 guidelines and include WaterSense labeled faucets and fixtures, meaning they are designed to be more energy- and water-efficient than most other typical new and resale homes. For more information on Turnleaf visit: www.kbhome.com or call 888-KB-HOMES.
Champion photo by Marianne Napoles
To battle the uptick of package theft in Chino Hills, the police department is placing packages that contain tracking devices on the doorsteps of some residents. During a forum held at the Community Center, residents were told that there has been an increase in people following UPS and Amazon drivers and stealing the just-delivered packages. Residents were told that the northern and southern areas of Chino Hills are the hardest hit. Those two areas have direct freeway access. The northern area is considered north of Grand Avenue and Peyton Drive, and the southern section is considered south of Soquel Canyon Parkway. Although GPS devices are already being installed in packages, Chino Hills would like more citizens to help out to strengthen community relationships. Residents can volunteer their porches by signing up with Chino Hills.
Claremont voters will be asked in a special June election to approve $23.5 million general obligation bond to raise money for a much-needed new police headquarters. The city council took the final steps needed to place the bond on the ballot. The city’s future police station envisions a two-story, 25,000-square-foot facility on the current site. It will have a $25 million budget, about half the cost of a previous proposal. Claremont will use $1.5 million from other funding sources and the $23.5 million to cover the construction costs. The current headquarters, a more than 40-year-old building at 570 W. Bonita Ave., is no longer adequate to meet the department’s needs. Under the general obligation bond, property owners would pay $30.33 annually per $100,000 of assessed value of their property, for 25 years. For example, a homeowner with an assessed value of $500,000 would pay $151.65 the first year, according to a Feb. 27 staff report to the council. Claremont has appropriated $55,000 to pay for the special election, the report stated. This isn’t the first time the city has attempted to find new funding to improve the station. In 2015, voters overwhelmingly defeated Measure PS, which would have provided up to $50 million for a new police station, to be paid off through an annual parcel tax of $286 for the next 40 years.
After two years of construction, a 62-unit townhouse development opened March 10 at the site of the old El Monte Legion Stadium on Ramona and Valley boulevards. The development, called Union Walk, comprises three-story units with individual entrances, private patios and two-car attached garages. There will be 58 residential units and four live-work units with office or retail space. Current available units range from a 1,328-square-foot, two-bedroom for $486,990 to a 2,291-square-foot, three-bedroom for $615,990. Union Walk is located at 11127 Ramona Blvd in El Monte. For more information go to: unionwalkhomes.com
Tenants are starting to line up for the new Glendora Public Market, opening later this year at 905 E. Arrow Highway. The first, and perhaps most well-known, anchor tenant is Smog City Brewing, the award-winning South Bay craft beer leaders with legions of loyal followers. Smog City Brewing Co. is an early craft beer success story for Los Angeles, one of a handful of local labels that have come to make Torrance the hotbed of South Bay brewing activity. Founded in 2011 by Laurie and Jonathan Porter, the couple moved into their own facility in 2013 and, last year, landed a deal to expand a taproom inside the SteelCraft container park in Long Beach. Now they’re jumping northeast to Glendora, elongating their reach with a small on-site taproom. Drinkers can expect the usual slew of available favorites from the Smog City repertoire when the project comes online in the fall of this year. Smog City isn’t the only tenant confirmed for the 19,000-square-foot property. Other known names include Steelhead Coffee, waffle option Sweet Comforts, and Portside, a seafood shop with an existing location at Trade Food Hall in Orange County. There are a few spots still for lease, and several other letters of intent out to prospective tenants, so more to come on this front as it develops. In the meantime, get ready for some prime craft beer to anchor the far Eastside soon.
A groundbreaking ceremony on March 19 marked the start of work on renovations to two fields at Rimgrove Park, part of an effort to revive baseball in La Puente. The project will include new turf, irrigation, fencing, backstop, dugout roofs, scoreboard, signage and a batting cage. Construction is expected to take 10-12 weeks. A dedication event and baseball clinic will take place in June according to Nichol Whiteman, executive director of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, which is helping to finance the $492,000 project. Financial support is also being provided by the office of Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, whose district includes La Puente, the insurance company Security Benefit, the LA84 Foundation and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, Whiteman said. The fields are the 48th and 49th to be renovated or built under the Dodgers Dreamfields program, which began in 2003 when the team was owned by the Fox Group. It continued when Frank McCourt owned the team from 2004-2012 and under the current ownership. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation spent $7.7 million on the first 47 fields. The foundation’s original goal of completing 50 fields will be achieved this fall, Whiteman said. The foundation is the team’s official charity, supporting programs in sports and recreation, education and literacy, health and wellness benefiting children and families throughout the Los Angeles area. Its programs are funded through private donations and various fundraising events. Team finances are not used.
For more than a year, La Verne city officials have been working with local cyclists on ways to improve bike safety within its borders. Officials recently decided it would be in the city’s best interest to incorporate those possible solutions in what is known as an “Active Transportation Plan.” These plans are typically created by cities to identify infrastructure improvements and create integrated walkways and bikeways. The council agreed this month to a $96,000 contract with Orange-based Kittelson & Associates lnc. to create the Active Transportation Plan. The same firm is working on the city’s mobility section of the general plan update. A general plan acts as a blueprint for future development in a city.
A historic YMCA building at 350 N. Garey Ave. in Pomona will undergo a multimillion-dollar restoration and renovation as it transforms into a new mixed-use center. Spectra Co. will provide historic restoration and renovation of the property that consists of two free-standing buildings totaling 80,000-sq-ft into a live-work and creative office space. The mixed-use center will also feature venues to hold concerts and special events and a café and lounge. Spectra purchased the property for $2.65 million in 2017. Built in 1920, the building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Spectra plans to relocate to the YMCA building once renovation is complete. A nonprofit that assists disadvantaged area youth is planning to sign on as a tenant, a company spokesman said.
The 108-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, at 9550 Pittsburgh Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, opened on March 7, 2018. The hotel will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned by Woodbridge Hospitality and managed by Premier Management of Cerritos. The updated exterior has a signature tower, a curved porte-cochere and a glass entrance that ushers visitors into the hotel. The focal points include a natural stone hearth, organic-shaped sofa and lounge chair, and unique local features. The breakfast area’s signature farm table provides a central gathering place where guests can watch television, meet up with colleagues or get work done. A breakfast of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sausage, make-your-own waffles and other healthy items, such as fruit, yogurt, and whole grain cereals and breads is complimentary. Guest rooms include work areas, an ergonomic chair, task lighting and electrical outlets. Additional hotel amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, an exercise room, valet laundry service, complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as fax and copy services. The hotel also offers two meeting rooms with 400 square feet of meeting space each.
The Upland City Council has postponed its consideration of five-year water rate increases to allow more time to address concerns from the public. On March 12, the council voted to continue the matter until April 23. Meantime, the city plans to schedule public workshops on the proposal to raise rates by 17% on May 1, followed by a 9% increase in January 2019, a 9% increase in January 2020, a 5% increase in January 2021 and a 3% increase in 2022. If approved, the rate adjustments would address increased costs for buying water and operating the water system, a decline in revenue due to water conservation, and the replacement of pipes and infrastructure. The additional revenue would also help the city shore up the water-fund reserve, according to city officials. Councilmember Janice Elliot asked for public workshops to enable Upland residents to voice their opinions. City Manager Bill Manis said he would coordinate with Public Works Director Rosemary Hoerning to schedule the workshops, which would be publicized on the city’s website and social media pages. The proposal also includes a Temporary Demand Management Surcharge, which would protect the city from a loss in revenue due to decreased water usage in the future. The surcharge, however, would be applied to customers’ water bills only if the state imposes future water use restrictions or if water usage trends downward and the city anticipates a decline in revenue. Written protests can be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 460 N. Euclid Ave., until the close of the public hearing April 23. The city has also provided a water rate calculator for residents on its website.
Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News
The city council voted 3-2 on March 7 to deny a proposal that would have eliminated Engine 4 and replaced it with a hybrid vehicle known as a quint. The quint can both pump water and carry many of the tools needed to fight fires. The city and the West Covina Firefighters Association disagreed over the change because if the quint was out responding to a medical emergency, that would render the department unable to respond quickly to a fire, leaving the firefighters without the tools they may need. Association President Matt Jackson said the council made the right decision to protect the citizens and give the firefighters what they need to do their job right. Conflict arose in May 2017 when the grant funding dried out and instead of reapplying for the grant months earlier, the city reverted to its plan to eliminate Engine 4. Eliminating Engine 4 would save the city an estimate $1.56 million per year. The city and the West Covina Firefighters’ Association could not agree on a new staffing model-the city had proposed eliminating six vacant positions and demoting three captains and three engineers -so the two sides entered arbitration with the California Public Employment Relations Board. Councilman Tony Wu said West Covina has a lot to offer in terms of economic growth. He cited future development at the former BKK landfill and a potential high-rise hotel as reasons why the city should wait for tax revenues to increase before making a significant cut to emergency services. “We can’t cut to make money, we have to spend money to attract people to come in,” Wu said. “We want to create an environment comfortable to invest in, with good public safety and proud firefighters.”