Whittier Rocks!!!

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 :-)