Don't Forget - Sierra Madre Art Fair This Weekend

Nameplate:  Mountain Views News

Inside this Week:

SM Calendar of Events

Sierra Madre:
Sierra Madre Police Blotter

Pasadena – Altadena:
Pet of the Week

Arcadia Police Blotter

Monrovia – Duarte:
Monrovia Police Blotter

Around The San Gabriel Valley:
Hall Pass

Education & Youth:

Good Food & Drink:
Chef Peter Dills
Table for Two

Arts & Entertainment:
Jeff's Pics
Sean's Shameless Reviews

Legal Notices:

Left Turn / Right Turn:
As I See It
Gregory J. Wellborn

Susan Henderson
Curbing Bad Behavior
My Turn
Stuart Tolchin On …

The World Around Us:
On Line
Looking Up
Ask jai …
Happy Tails
… This and That

The Good Life:
Senior Happenings

Homes & Property:
One of a Kind

More News:
Rich Johnson
Rev. James L. Snyder

F. Y. I. :

Map: Sierra Madre mud and debris flow
News and info about
Sierra Madre mud
and debris flow

Meaghan Allen
Chris Bertrand
Jeff Brown
P. J. Carpenter
Ron Carter
Peter Dills
Bob Eklund
Hail Hamilton
Howard W. Hays
Susan Henderson
Jai Johnson
Rich Johnson
Sean Kayden
Chris LeClerc
Rev. James L. Snyder
Stuart Tolchin
Katie Tse
Gregory J. Wellborn

Recent Issues:
Issue 18
Issue 17
Issue 16
Issue 15
Issue 14
Issue 13
Issue 12
Issue 11
Issue 10
Issue 9
Issue 8

MVNews Archive:  Page 1

MVNews this week:  Page 1

Don’t Forget - Sierra Madre Art Fair This Weekend



New Monthly Feature:

Sierra Madre Search And Rescue Log

During the past month Sierra Madre 
Search and Rescue (SMSR) responded to 
eight calls for assistance, including:

Injured Ankle, Chantry Flat: The Team 
was called to aid a hiker who fell while 
carrying a child across a creek near 
Chantry Flat. Medical assistance was 
provided and both parties were evacuated 

Technical Rescue, Eaton Canyon: 
SMSR was called to assist Altadena 
Mountain Rescue in the technical rescue 
of a fallen hiker in Eaton Canyon. 
The injured hiker was stabilized and 
then lowered from a high point using a 
vertical litter setup.

Stranded Hikers, Chantry Flat: The 
Team responded to a report of hikers 
stranded in a precarious position near 
a waterfall in the Chantry Flat area, but 
while searching for the parties it was 
learned that they were no longer in 
danger. Before leaving the area Team 
members already in the field were able 
to perform a “rescue” of sorts: assisting 
a different hiking party with retrieving 
a backpack that had been washed 

In addition to responding to calls for 
help, Team members also performed 
two wilderness safety demonstrations 
at local elementary schools. 

SMSR maintains a high state of readiness 
by training regularly in its local 
area and with other mountain-rescue 
teams. In April the Team traveled to 
Joshua Tree National Park for an annual 
joint training with Joshua Tree 
Search and Rescue (JOSAR), Desert 
Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and the 
Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit. “This 
multi-agency training event has developed 
into an anticipated opportunity 
for the teams involved to gain and to 
hone skills, and to get to work together,” 
SMSR President Larry Smith said. 

During this event two SMSR members 
“got lost” in the park and the other 
participants--with no knowledge of the 
members’ locations--were tasked with 
finding them. Ground teams tracked 
the subjects using footprints and other 

This year SMSR brought with it a new 
tool to help leaders manage the search: 
recently-developed GIS software designed 
specifically for search and rescue 
operations (SMSR has been instrumental 
in the development of this 
software). “Individual searchers go into 
the field to track and look for clues, but 
they are dependent upon a few who 
run the base camp operation,” Smith 
said. “These folks make the search assignments, 
redirect teams in the field, 
man the radios, keep track of all the 
clues teams are finding, evaluate the 
clues and generally manage the operation. 
GIS, as it was applied, allowed the 
search leaders to track in real time the 
progress of the search teams, plot the 
clues found, give timely direction to the 
field teams, and overall more effectively 
run the search. JOSAR was particularly 
impressed with the technology Sierra 
Madre brought to the search.”

The all-volunteer SMSR team has been 
serving the local community for 60 
years. Funded entirely by private donations, 
SMSR provides a range of public 
programs on wilderness 
safety in addition to its 
search and rescue activities. 
The Team never 
charges for any of its 

For more information, including 
how to arrange a 
wilderness safety demonstration 
for your school or 
group, visit

Emergency Phone Number 
(626) 355-1414 (Sierra 
Madre Police Dept.)

SMSR is available 24 
hours a day, 7 days a 
week, 365 days a year - 
anywhere, any time, any 

Two Dead Bodies In Seven Days

- One Murder - One Suicide 
Near Sierra Madre

 Los Angeles County Coroner’s investigators 
and Los Angeles County 
Sheriff’s Department Homicide investigators 
are reporting that the body of 
a man found Thursday in the Chantry 
Flats area of Angeles National Forest 
is that of Kevin Wolfe Pochter.(Right) 
Pochter was a 55-year old resident of 
Huntington Beach.

 Sheriff’s Homicide investigators had 
alerted the public that Pochter was a 
suspect in the shooting death of his 
long time friend, 53-year old Dean 
Albert of Arcadia, in Chantry Flats on 
April 28, 2011. Pochter was considered 
armed and dangerous.

 The massive search for Pochter 
stretched over 62-miles of rugged terrain 
and involved patrol deputies from 
several sheriff’s stations, Mounted Enforcement 
Detail deputies, K-9’s, sheriff’s 
reserve deputies on Search and 
Rescue Teams, U.S. Forest Service rangers, 
and the Arcadia, Sierra Madre, and 
Monrovia Police Departments. Of particular 
assistance was the Sierra Madre 
Search & Rescue team, which included 
a large number of dedicated community 

 A member of the public saw the victim’s 
vehicle on Saturday near Mount 
Wilson and alerted deputies. He had 
read about the search for the car and 
the armed and dangerous suspect in the 
San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

 On Monday morning, yet another alert 
member of the public who was hiking 
in the Chantry Flats area, saw a man 
who he thought was sleeping and told 
authorities. Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement 
Detail deputies went to the described 
area and located Pochter, who 
was deceased from an apparent self-inflicted 
wound . A handgun was found near the 

 The second member of the public had 
read about the wanted suspect in the 
Pasadena Star News newspaper. He 
read that the Sheriff’s Department had 
said he was armed and dangerous, so he 
wisely did not approach him.

 “The two members of the public are directly 
responsible for the Sheriff’s Department 
locating the victim’s car and 
the suspect when we did,” said Captain 
Mike Parker, Sheriff’s Headquarters 
Bureau. “They handled it exactly as 
asked, and helped to ensure the safety 
of everyone, without unnecessarily endangering 
themselves. We extend our 
thanks to both of them. Futhermore, 
they received this important information 
through the news media, whom 
the Sheriff’s Department works closely 
with in order to share information to 
help keep the public informed. We appreciate 
this partnership in the interest 
of public safety. This case certainly 
showed how important it is.”

 “We want hikers, area workers and the 
public to know that no other suspects 
are being sought in this homicide. The 
case is closed,” said Sheriff’s Homicide 
Detective Ray Lugo. -Source: LASD

The SMSR Headquarters - Photo by Lina Johnson


Photos and Story by Chris Bertrand

Here in Sierra Madre, our Fire Department 
(SMFD), Fire Safe Council 
(SMFSC) and Emergency Preparedness 
organizations work together to 
deliver the highest level of preparedness 
for wildfire. The entire north 
boundary of the city is adjacent to a 
high fire danger zone, the Angeles National 
Forest, requiring vigilant brush 
and tree maintenance, especially on 
hillsides, where fire can travel quickly 

The source of a fire can come from 
human intention called arson sadly 
identified as the ignition of the Station 
Fire; human carelessness from the toss 
of a match, children playing with fire or 
firecrackers, as was seen four years ago 
in the small NW Sierra Madre fire, high 
winds creating a fire hazard, as in the 
devastating Oakland fires of two decades 
ago, or from nature herself, in the 
form of lightning.

As temperatures shot up into the 
nineties this week, and 
humidity dipped near 
to single digits in Sierra 
Madre, fire season has 
announced itself. Catalina 
already had a brush 
fire on the first day of the 
high temperatures and 
winds, and the smoke 
plume could be seen 
from hillsides in Sierra 
Madre on Monday. 

Though the governor 
announced an official 
“end” to California’s 
drought, the torrential 
rains that filled the reservoirs 
also produced 
a lush, extraordinarily 
thick crop of grasses that 
could be seen to turn 
from supple and green to tinder dry in 
a matter of days last week. 

The goal for hillsides to be cleared of 
dangerous flammable brush is June 1st 
every year, according to Rich Snyder, 
Fire Marshal of the SMFD. After that 
date, homes that still require hillside 
brush abatement can be cited. “We need 
to be fire safe, and brush abatement is 
critical to minimize our exposure to 
wildfire,” said Snyder. “It’s not a question 
of ‘if’ but when the next fire will 
threaten Sierra Madre,” he reflected.

What should homeowners do to prepare 
and defend? First and foremost is 
to create a defensible space around each 

According to the Fire Safe Council’s 
sierramadrefiresafecouncil/, the plan 
is straightforward, and the council is 
even offering incentives to encourage 
the abatement process to “create defensible 
space by clearing brush 30’-100’ 
from buildings and 20’ from roads. 
Trim “ladder fuels” (branches) at least 
ten feet above the ground.” 

The two-pronged Fire Safe Council 
incentive program for properties north 
of Grandview actually extends beyond 
the city borders into Upper Hastings 
Ranch of East Pasadena. For removal 
of dead trees and highly combustible 
trees, SMFSC will rebate 20% of the 
homeowner’s cost of removal provided 
they apply and the project is approved. 

Timing is everything, however. Oak 
trees shouldn’t be trimmed until there’s 
been two months of dry weather. Conversely, 
pines shouldn’t be trimmed in 
the dry weather, or they will “bleed” sap 
and invite bark beetles. Once a pine has 
died, often due to bark beetles, it creates 
additional hazards, as it becomes too 
fragile to climb, and requires 
a crane for safe removal. 

According to Mike Kinney, 
five year volunteer and 
President of Sierra Madre’s 
Fire Safe Council, “People 
don’t realize the danger of 
trimming at the wrong time 
of year, and unscrupulous 
or uninformed tree trimmers 
can actually make the 
fire hazard even greater by 
trimming oaks in the rainy 
season, and pine trees in the 
dry summer months.”

Of particular concern are 
three flammable trees: palms, 
pines and eucalyptus. Kinney 
calls them “fireworks” as 
an ember will light them up. 
“The palm is a sparkler,” he 
said. They found palm leaves 
traveled up to 18 miles in the 
Australia fires last year. The 
pines are like Roman candles 
by August, when 
they are full of dead pine needles, 
and Eucalyptus are like 
Cherry bombs. They literally 
explode with all the oils in 
them. We’re concentrating on 
these three this year, putting 
80% of our efforts into tree 

“One of our biggest single 
projects ever was completed 
by Danny Osti Tree Service 
this spring,” commented Kinney. 
“They hauled 22.5 tons 
from a Hermosa Avenue 
homesite where trees had 
grown for 75-100 years. The 
egress was so difficult; they 
had to arrange to bring out 
the debris through a cooperative 
homeowner’s property on Sierra 
Meadow. Danny Osti has more done 
more for this city’s fire safety than any 
other. His company alone has hauled 
away in excess of a hundred tons of 
flammable that’s been removed from 
the city. Rasmussen Tree service does 
all the chipping for the city, and is very 
active in our program, though homeowners 
may choose any professional 
tree service, provided they hold a city 
business license.” (Yearly or single job 
city business licenses are easily procured 
at city hall.)

The second critical area of the incentive 
program involves chipper service. 
It provides access to a free “chipper” 
service for do it yourselfers who can 
haul the brush to a safe pickup point at 
the street or their driveway. Each resident 
in the service area of the fire safe 
council is entitled to up to one day of 
free chipper service per year, and pre-
inspections are available upon request.

Per their website, “Place brush piles 
so the chipping machine and crew can 
have access. The piles need to be adjacent 
to a driveway or street. Preferably 
pile brush on the uphill side. Do not 
place piles along busy, heavily traveled 
roadway, where signage or addition 
crew would be required by County or 
State Code for safety. This is not covered 
under the Fire Safe Council’s contract. 
Also, when placing the brush 
piles place it in an area that will be out 
of your way and in a location that there 
is access for the equipment to turn 
around. It is easier and more efficient 
to chip the piles if they are wider and 
spread out rather than taller. All the cut 
ends need to be facing the same direction. 
Keep all piles free of rocks, dirt, 
wire, lumber, spiny plants, poison oak, 
and blackberries. The chipper cannot 
chip piles of pine needles or leaves. You 
can dispose of this material in green 
waste dumpsters.” 

All one needs to do is contact the 
council to arrange a date in advance. 
Resident’s don’t even need to be home 
during the chipper service. According 
to SMFSC, it currently, it takes approximately 
2- 4 days from the time we receive 
the form to the date you are assigned 
for chipping or pickup.

Kinney continued, “It’s been a long 
learning curve for the fire safe councils 
and for homeowners. In five years we 
haven’t made it even to first base. We 
still have a lot to do. We’ve tried many 
different projects. This year’s grant 
money runs til the funds run out, so 
take advantage of the rebates and chipping 
sooner rather than later.” 

For more information about fire safe 
cleanup, contact Sierra Madre Fire Safe 
Council at (626) 355-0741 or by email to Dan

Read The Paper Online At:

Mountain Views News 80 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. #327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.604.4548