Whittier Rocks!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Interfaith Food Center Toy Drive a Great Success

Even though the Whittier Interfaith Food Center was about 800 toys short just two weeks before their big Christmas toy-give-away event, the toy drive turned out to be a big success thanks to the generosity of so many private individuals as well as organizations who contributed after hearing about the toy shortage.

The Whittier Interfaith Food Center was transformed into Santa's Workshop!

Thank you all so very much for having made this Christmas season a special one for so many underprivileged children in our community!

Whittier Interfaith Food Center Toy Distribution Day

And of course Santa was there too to hand out the toys to all the children who came.

I do not have a complete list of the organizations yet that helped contribute, but here are the ones I know about: Whittier Host Lions, Soroptimist International of Whittier, Whittier Primanti Montessori, Whittier Public Library, Whittier Woodworkers, The Whole Child, PIH. And another huge Thank You to all the individuals who opened their hearts and donated to this great cause.

Thank You also to the great Interfaith Staff and Board, as well as to the volunteers who came out to help.
Merry Christmas and see you around town!

Stephanie Frymyer

Monday, December 20, 2010

Scotty's Family Restaurant feeding the needy

As so many years before, Scotty's Family Restaurant will be feeding the needy this Christmas. The event is scheduled for Christmas Eve, December 24, 2010, from 10am to 3pm. In order to receive a meal, you need a flyer which will be distributed at the restaurant this week (you have to pick it up prior to the event).

Scotty's will also be giving out toys to needy children on the same day. If you would like to donate a toy, please take it directly to Scotty's Family Restaurant, your generosity will be greatly appreciated.

Scotty's Family Restaurant is located at 8426 Laurel Ave # A, Whittier, CA 90605.

If you know somebody in need, please tell them about this special event.

A big Thank You to Scotty's Family Restaurant for their generosity and wonderful contribution to this great Whittier community.

See you around town,

Stephanie Frymyer

Whittier Christmas Parade 2010

Just in case you missed this year's Whittier Christmas Parade - it was AMAZING! The Whittier Uptown Association did a really great job putting it all together, the participants were great, and so were the visitors.

As always, I had my camera with me and took LOTS of photos - you can either see them on "Whittier Rocks!!!!!!" on Facebook, or go to my Flickr page to check them out.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and stay tuned for more Whittier Updates!

See you around town! :-)

Stephanie Frymyer

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow Day at Parnell Park

UPDATE 12/21/10: I just called the City, "Snow Day at Parnell Park" was cancelled due to the heavy rain!

Looking to do something fun with the kids during their Christmas vacation? Well, you're in luck! The City of Whittier is sponsoring a "day in the snow" at Parnell Park this coming Tuesday, December 21, 2010, from 4:30pm to 7pm. Also, a train, free candy and warm drinks!

Happy Holidays and see you around town!


Stephanie Frymyer

Monday, December 13, 2010

Interfaith Toy Drive - Toys Needed!

As reported a couple of weeks ago, the Whittier Interfaith Food Center is conducting their annual Toy Drive for underprivileged Children in Whittier and La Mirada.

Unfortunately, this year, the Food Center has fallen short of toys and they still need about 600 additional toys in order to bring Christmas cheer to all the children registered with the Center.

If you would like to make a contribution (a new, unwrapped toy for children 0 to 12 years of age, or a gift card), you can drop your donation off directly at the Food Center (at 14545 Leffingwell Road # C, Whittier), at Acro Printing in Uptown Whittier (13301 Philadelphia, Whittier), or call the Center at 562-903-1478 to arrange for a pick-up.

Thank you so much for your generosity!


Stephanie Frymyer

Grand Illumination in Uptown Whittier

The annual Grand Illumination in Uptown Whittier was a great success yet again! So many came out to Rick's Drive In & Out Burgers to witness the spectacular Christmas tree lighting.

Just before the event started, I had a chance to meet the newly crowned Miss Uptown Whittier, Ariana Rodriguez, who will also be representing Uptown Whittier in this year's Whittier Christmas Parade.

Miss Uptown Whittier with Rick of Rick's Drive In & Out Burgers

Spectators were also able to see performances by the Whittier Highschool Cheer Team as well as the Whittier High Marching Band.

Whittier High Cheer

Whittier High Marching Band

Also present was Mayor Greg Nordbak who counted down to the spectacular tree lighting.

I hope you enjoyed this year's Whittier Grand Illumination! Stay tuned for more news about Whittier Holiday events!

See you around town! :-)

Stephanie Frymyer

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Uptown Whittier Family Fair

The Uptown Whittier Family Fair is back! The fair had its opening kick-off this evening and it was so nice to see so many people strolling down Greenleaf.

Local Merchant "Fenix 5-4" handing out samples of their delicious, organic smoothies

I started my visit at the Greenleaf - Philadelphia intersection, where the Whittier Uptown Association had their "Headquaters Booth" (which was manned by Sandra Hahn of "Crepes & Grapes" and Marie Ortiz of "Smooth Biz" when I stopped by) with a chance to win a prize in the raffle and a nice display of upcoming Whittier events (like the "Miss Bluebird" contest on August 14th) and advertising for several local businesses as well as for the amazing ShopWhittier website.

Marie Ortiz (center) at the Whittier Uptown Association Booth

Like in the years before, the first part of the fair was a Farmers' Market with a good selection of vendors selling anything from beautiful orchids, to fruits and vegetables, to specialty cakes, cookies, and olive oil, followed by mainly jewelry/accessory and clothing vendors. Mixed in were also several local organizations (oil watch, prayer group, health care, private school,etc.) as well as the Whittier Choralaires advertising for their upcoming show on July 31. And of course there also was the children's area with several good sized jumpers, a pony ride and a petting zoo.

"Village Sweets" owner, Monica Penaranda,
with one of her delicious chocolate covered apples

It was nice to also see some of the local merchants actively participating in the fair, with either a booth or a display of their goods in front of their store. One of the local merchants that had a booth was popular "Village Sweets" (see above), displaying their outrageously delicious chocolate covered apples (I couldn't resist, had to take one of their "Rocky Road" apples home with me ...).

Whittier "Royals" were also present at the Fair

In case you didn't get a chance to visit the fair tonight, no need to worry - you will get a chance to come and stop by every Wednesday for the next couple of months!

Hope to see you soon!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whittier State of the City Address

Today, we attended the Whittier "State of the City Address" and it was very informative as well as entertaining. Retiring City Manager, Steve Helvey, gave an easy to follow, almost 2-hour presentation of all matters concerning Whittier and its residents.

Mayor Nordbak and Whittier City Manager, Steve Helvey

As many other cities across the country, the City of Whittier has seen better days, so saving and redestributing and restructuring assets was a big task for the Councilmen to get the new budget passed (for more information on the budget, check out today's article in the Whittier Daily News).

After a quick review of the Deficit Resolution, City Manager Helvey went on to talk about the Whittier Police Department and gave an update on the new PD building (next to City Hall). The estimated completion will be August of 2010 with an estimated move-in date of September and a dedication in October of 2010. Helvey was pleased to announce that the construction of the new building was funded without an increase in taxes. The new building will be significantly larger - 55,000sqft compared to the current PD building with only 17,000sqft (which currently serves 125 officers, but it was initially built for a 20-officer strong police force in 1955).

The new PD site was built according to new seismic safety requirements and will also feature a large community room to hold crime prevention seminars and meetings with the community. Helvey was also proud to announce that the new PD building will have its own state-of-the-art Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic lab for evidence processing.

As a Thank You to all current and former Whittier Police Officers, there will be a permanent Memorial Site featuring a statue titeled "The Final Salute" by artist Alana Roth. The planning and fundraising for this Memorial are currently under way - if you would like to make a donation, please feel free to contact the Whittier Community Foundation.

According to the latest numbers, Part 1 crimes (robbery, retail burglary, etc.) are down 2% since last year. The Whittier PD also added a great feature to their website, an interactive crime map. All you need to do is enter the ZIP code you are interested in and it will show you recent crimes in the area.

As with many departments, Whittier PD will also be affected by some changes due to the new budget - this will include a change of shifts (moving everybody to 12 hour shifts in order to eliminate shift overlaps) and the elimination of the Uptown Bike Patrol (part of the funds will probably be allocated to hire private security for Uptown).

Moving on from the update of the Whittier PD, Whittier City Manager Helvey addressed Community Services and Programs designed to benefit all Whittier residents, such as the "Art in Public Places" program (with its latest addition "Rocket Robin" at Parnell Park - which, by the way, is not meant to be a climbing toy for children :-), the Whittier Community Services Recreation Programs (click here to check out the latest schedule) and the relatively new Program "Activate Whittier" which was created to motivate and support a healthy community.

Another big community favorite mentioned was the popular Greenway Trail (which has won the California Park and Recreation Society Award of Excellence for "Specialty Parks" in March of 2010 as well as the "California Trails and Greenways Award" from the State Parks Department in April of 2010) and its recent addition of the "Sycamore Station" memorial near the Five-Points intersection. And the best part: the City is working hard on expanding the Greenway Trail to both the West (past the 605 to connect to the San Gabriel Riverbed area) and the East of Whittier (towards La Habra).

Whittier Greenway Trail

Other Whittier Programs and Projects City Manager Helvey mentioned were:
- Honoring our Military Members Past and Present (with 76 Blue Star and 3 Gold Star recipients)
- The Central Library's 50th Anniversary (June 1, 2009) and the restoration of the library closures
- The Summer Reading Program at Leffingwell Park
- The planned City Website Redesign
- The Bus Stop Improvement Project
- The Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension

Of particular interest to our local businesses was the "Business Assistance" which included programs such as the Commercial Facade Improvement Program, the Etching Shield Program, Business Assistance Seminars, the temporary banner permit fee reduction, amongst others.

City Manager Helvey also addressed the Redevelopment Funds which were raided by the State and resulted in a decrease of available funds for Whittier of $3mil which will affect funding of future projects. In order to keep this from happening again, a new proposition will be on the next ballot to prevent the State from taking more money from municipalities.

Helvey continued with an update on the Nelles site - the State is currently negotiating with Brookfield Homes on the sale of the property. This large project will most likely include a mix of retail and housing, intended to meet the City's $1.5mil to $2mil per year sales tax revenue goal for this particular site. Project approval is estimated to take between 12 to 18 months.

Other Real Estate and Business related issues were the PIH Ernest D. Wells Medical Office, the PIH Plaza Tower, the PIH office building in Uptown Whittier, the Uptown Parking District Study, the Whittier College pool remodel, the recently sold Chrysler site, the newly opened Fresh & Easy, the Whittier Area Community Church, the former Stats site (where the new Sprouts Market is supposed to go up), The Ravello Development (by the Whittwood Town Center) and The Gables of Whittier (on Whittier Boulevard) and the Water Pumping Plant II (also off of Whittier Boulevard).

City Manager Steve Helvey during the "State of the City" presentation

Other projects mentioned were the Whittier Boulevard Power Line Undergrounding and Street Lighting Project (between Santa Gertrudes and Valley Home), the Southern California Edison line extension (from their substation in Pico Rivera into Whittier), Street Paving and Energy projects funded by ARRA Grants (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 from the Federal Economic Stimulus Package), Sewer Pipe Inspections, as well as several other Public Works Projects that were completed in the past year.

The last point on the agenda was the Whittier Main Oil Field Development Project that has been under way since August of 2008. The next step will be another Environmental Impact Report which is expected to be ready towards the end of 2010. Whether you are for or against the project, Helvey pointed out public involvement and the EIR Public Input Opportunities where the residents can attend public hearings.

A big Thank You to the City of Whittier for this very informative overview of City matters and to Whittier Chamber of Commerce of helped put on the event.

I hope you enjoyed my overview of today's Whittier State of the City Address - hope it wasn't too long :-)



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Whittier City Council Meeting 05/11/10

Well, this was the first time I attended a City Council Meeting, and I must say, I loved it! It was extremely interesting and I really enjoyed listening to all the residents that had come up to voice their concerns and/or opinions. The house was packed! The reason for the popularity of this particular meeting? The requested permit for the Whittier Wednesday Market!

Whittier City Council with Mayor Greg Nordbak in the center

The meeting started off with the Pledge of Allegiance presented by the Whittier girl scouts, followed by the Council recognizing two Whittier families who had a loved one deployed to Iraq and safely returned (the Llamas family and the Longstreth/Aguilar family).

The Llamas Family with Mayor Greg Nordbak and Mayor Por Tem, Cathy Warner

The Military families were followed by an awards ceremony of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), honoring Whittier Police Officers for going above and beyond when it comes to taking drunk drivers off the road.

Whittier Police Officers receiving MADD Recognition

The last two points of the Presentations was a Proclamation honoring Public Works employees and the Mayor receiving an award for the Greenway Trail.

Public Works employees being honored during Public Works Week

After the Presententations, the Oral Communications were up next! And this is where the public gets involved. From what I understand, Council Meetings aren't always so lively, but this one sure was. 41 residents got a chance to speak up and voice their support and/or concerns.

Long line of Whittier residents waiting to be heard

Members of both the Whittier Uptown Association and F.U.N. (Fix Uptown Now), as well as many independant Whittier residents and merchants showed up to mainly talk about the Wednesday evening Uptown Festival. While F.U.N. advocated moving the fair to Sundays and asked for an improvement in the quality of vendors, the Whittier Uptown Association held on to the Wednesday time slot but promised an improvement in vendor selection as well as trying to get the local merchants more involved.

It was a very friendly "debate", there was no finger pointing between the different groups, just different opinions on how to address this matter and good ideas on how the festival could be improved. There were also many vendors that voiced their opinion and spoke of past experiences from the festival - ranging from having no impact at all on their business, to being a big money maker, to having a negative impact.

Whittier resident voicing her opinion regarding the Wednesday Uptown Festival

With all this feedback and different points of views, the City Council was truly faced with a difficult decision. Due to Council members Bob Henderson and Joe Vinatieri having to recuse themselves due to being part of the Whittier Uptown Association and/or owning property in the area in question for the permit, the decision making came down to Mayor Nordbak, Mayor Por Tem Cathy Warner, and Councilman Owen Newcomer.

Councilman Newcomer was the first to speak in favor of granting the permit, while Mayor Nordbak and Mayor Por Tem Warner had many questions left for the Whittier Uptown Association, which lead to the Association President, Paul Brenier, taking the stand and fighting for his cause.

Some of the major issues were the fact that the Association had not yet picked a Production Company and therefore were not in the position to give the Council a good idea of what type of merchants would be at the shows. Another issue was the question of whether local vendors would be allowed to sell food AND have seating arrangements in front of their businesses. According to the Council Advisor, this would be against the Uptown Specific Plan, however, the Council agreed that it would be a good way to tie the local vendors into the Festival (if the display was in compliance with all the necessary provisions). But again, this would have a big impact on the liability of the Whittier Uptown Association because including the sidewalks would change the permit for a "curb to curb" event to include the sidewalks.

There were actually several times during the Council's deliberations where it looked like no decision would be made that evening, but after going over all the issues and the Whittier Uptown Association President agreeing to go back to the Association to discuss the inclusion of the sidewalks, the Council unanimously granted the permit.

Now the ball is back in the Whittier Uptown Association's court to put together a quality festival that will at least make the majority of Whittier residents and merchants happy. There are many criteria that the Council attached to the permit (such as increased clean up of the festival area throughout the year, etc.) which the Association will have to adhere to or face the risk of having to pay fines or having the permit revoked.

Many residents have already voiced their excitement about the fact that the Council has granted the permit and that the Festival will return to Uptown. It will be a team effort to make it a great event and I hope it will be a great success, for the Whittier residents, the Association, and our local merchants.

Looking forward to the Festival and the changes, AND the next Council Meeting :-)

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

116th Founders' Day Celebrations, Whittier

If you didn't get a chance to stop by the Founders' Celebrations today, you really missed out - perfect weather, music, lots of information about our city and just simply great people!

Central Park, Whittier, CA

It was really nice strolling through the park, checking out the different booths and talking to fellow Whittierites. There are many great organizations in Whittier and several of them had really nice booths with lots of informational materials.

F.U.N. - "Fix Uptown Now"

The F.U.N. booth was the first one I got to stop at on my way through the park. F.U.N. is a group of visionary Whittier residents with some really good ideas and suggestions on how to improve our Uptown area. They don't have a website yet, but you can check out what they're doing on Facebook, simply type in F.U.N. in the search box and they should pop up.

Whittier Conservancy

The next booth on my way was the one for the Whittier Conservancy. Great booth, lots of information! I was blown away by their brand new brochure, it's gorgeous! AND, I just couldn't help myself - had to buy this Whittier license plate frame:

Whittier License Plate Frame from the Whittier Conservancy

I can't wait to put it on my car! Another thing I picked up at their booth was a really nice brochure about our new Whittier Greenway Trail and its vegetation. It is really informative and might give you some ideas of things to do in your own yard with some of these really nice, drought tolerant plants.
If you would like to know more about what the Whittier Conservancy does, please feel free to visit their website for more information - also, they have a great downloadable Newsletter called "The Preservationist" that you should check out. Interested? Considering becoming a member? They have different levels of Memberships, I am sure one of them will be perfect for you.

While at the Conservancy's booth, we even got some very special entertainment, something you don't see every day:

Traditional Organ Player at Central Park, Whittier

The next booth on my way through Central Park was the one of "Friends of the Whittier Hills", who are actively involved in perserving our beautiful hillsides, especially the Whittier and La Habra Heights section. They also had two Trail Map brochures there, one for Hellman Park & Sycamore Canyon, the other for Powder Canyon

"Friends of the Whittier Hills"

The next booth over was the one of the "Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association" with a wonderful display of their past home tour booklets. Mark your calendars - their next annual Home Tour is scheduled for October 23rd!!!

The "Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association"

I was also able to stop by and talk to one of the Whittier residents who is actively involved with the "Greyhound Rescue & Adoption". I love dogs so it was a really nice treat to get to pet these beautiful animals (as well as the Whitter Conservancy's doggy, what a cutie! :-). If you are interested in fostering or adopting a Greyhound, you can contact them directly or check out one of their local events starting June (every second Saturday at Petsmart in Whittwood Town Center, 11am to 3pm; every third Saturday at the Petco at the Whittier Quad, 11am to 3pm).

"Greyhound Rescue & Adoption"

And to wrap it all up, we got to watch this beautiful May dance performed by the children that were present at the Founders' Day Celebrations:
Children's May dance at the 116th Founders' Day Celebrations, Whittier, CA

What a wonderful and informational day! I hope you enjoyed my little "tour report" and I can't wait for the next Whittier event! Hope to get to see you there!

Thanks and talk again soon :-)
Stephanie Frymyer

Don't forget to check out our Facebook Page, "Whittier Rocks!!!!!!"

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to stop at every booth, so I apologize to those I missed, but a big Thank You to everybody who was there today and contributed to this wonderful day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Meet "Fenix 5-4"

Hi fellow Whittierites :-)

As promised, here is the second report I was working on - meet "Fenix 5-4" in Uptown Whittier! I had the opportunity to meet with Kyle, owner of Fenix 5-4, and chat for a while this past Friday. It was really fun talking to Kyle - the first thing he did was mix a drink for me, which I now know, is called a "Wheatgrass Tea". Mind you, I was a bit hesitant at first because "green" just usually isn't the color of my liquid nourishment :-) ... BUT, I must say, I am totally hooked now! It is very refreshing, has a very neutral taste and, best of all, it's LOADED with fiber (Fenix 5-4 has a lot of nutritional information on their really cool website, check it out at http://www.fenix54.com/).

Kyle with his latest ad campaign

Fenix 5-4 is a great place to stop by if you are looking for a healthy meal - they really focus on healthy, organic and nutritional food and they also have a great organic juice bar. I know, most people think "healthy food" is the same as "not tasty", but I have to tell you, that is so not the case! I have tried their food and it is absolutely delicious! I don't usually use these acronyms, but - OMG, the "Chicken Cordon Bleu" was out of this world! Getting hungry as I'm typing this ... :-)

Inside Fenix 5-4

Store front - you can't miss it (right next to Starbucks)!

Fenix 5-4's trademark Johnny

Besides running Fenix 5-4 (and several other restaurants), Kyle is also very active in one of Whittier's resident groups called F.U.N. - "Fix Uptown Now", which is mainly focused on the revival of Whittier's Uptown area. It is a great group, with great plans - I will be doing another report specifically on them shortly, so for now, please check out their Facebook page "F.U.N.".

Hope you enjoyed yet another one of my excursions!
Have a great day, Whittier!!!
Steph :-)

Meet "Uptown Swagger" in Uptown Whittier

Hi everybody,

On Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Ana of "Uptown Swagger", a great vintage store in Uptown Whittier that has been there for about seven months, with lots of really cool vintage (and some new) items. The most impressive is Ana's large collection of hip clothes and really cool shoes (my favorites were the bellbottom jeans and the pointy, pink boots :-). You will also be able to find children's clothing and toys as well as home decor items and some jewelry.

When you're in Uptown, be sure to stop by - it's really easy to find! "Uptown Swagger" is located at 13013 Bailey St., right next to "Crepes & Grapes" (on the corner of Greenleaf and Bailey).

Here are some great shots of Ana and her fantastic store. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed my little Uptown excursion!
Have a great day!!!
Steph :-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The old Bank of America Building in Uptown Whittier

Hi everyone!!!

Here are just some photos I took yesterday of the old Bank of America building on the corner of Greenleaf and Philadelphia, Whittier, CA. Hope you'll like them!

Thanks for stopping by!
Stephanie Frymyer :-)