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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Fine Art and Architecture - A Catered Event

Sunday August 25th, 2019  5-7PM

28327 Foothill Dr. Agoura Hills, CA 91301

 

Gourmet Snacks and Libations will be served up along with impressive photographic memories of nomadic artist Clayton Woodley. Woodley's photographs blend surreal landscapes with the human form - to see them is like having a dream. The artist will be here to explain the adventure of each print - hurry - before he leaves for his next trek in some exotic locale.

 

The perfect backdrop for these images is a modern, luxurious 3700 square foot home offered for sale at $2,295,000. Clean lines, walls of glass, and smooth stucco facade beckon to light-filled, flowing interiors.

 Location is very private and enjoys magnificent sunset and mountain views.

 

Come and marvel at the Art and Architecture of this home. Please RSVP: ask for Sam or Steph 818 292-8860

 

Dreams to Awaken

 
Posted at 11:12:58 AM
Comments: 0

Sunday, December 2, 2018

FAQ to an Insurance Company Rep After the Fire

November, 2018

The Conejo Valley and Santa Monica Mountains just went through the most catastrophic fires in California History. The Woolsey Fire may have a lasting affect on the cost and availability of getting insurance in "High Fire Severity Areas".

AgouraHorseProperty.com asks a few questions of Andy Geeson, Geeson Insurance.

AHP: Are you able to write new policies in the burn areas?   

Andy: The carriers are slowly lifting their moratoriums now, so yes, we are now able to write new policies in many of the burn areas.  

AHP: Do you know what long-term effects the fires may have on policies?  Rate increases, surcharge changes?  

Andy: Not exactly sure yet, but I’m assuming the obvious – that areas that were tough to insure before will be even more challenging, and that rates are not headed south.  Between Santa Rosa and Ventura last year, then Redding, Paradise, and our Woolsey fire this year, the carriers are taking tremendous claims losses in CA.  I am not expecting my job to get easier going forward, and I expect that homeowners insurance eligibility will be an even more key component of sales transactions going forward.  That all said, I think there will be companies still willing to insure, and over time, competition will drive the prices back to a reasonable level.  Heck, there’s not much left to burn around here for a while, right? 

AHP: What is the diff between "replacement cost" coverage and "guaranteed replacement cost" coverage?  

Andy: Replacement cost coverage is an agreed upon estimate of what it would cost to replace a home’s structure.  It is the limit stated as Coverage A on most homeowners policies.  If a policy provides guaranteed replacement cost, regardless of the coverage limit stated as Coverage A, the company guarantees that they will fully replace the home’s structure, regardless of cost.  Most GRP policies will require that the insurer do their appraisal after binding, and they reserve the right to then adjust (and charge appropriately for) their Coverage A limit.  If a home is properly insured, this feature should be fairly irrelevant, since most standard policies automatically provide extended coverage above and beyond the Cov A limit; From what I’ve seen extended 

AHP: Are deductibles applied in a natural disaster - State/Federal Emergency or otherwise?  

Andy: Generally speaking, yes, absolutely.  Some carriers have chosen to waive the deductible on a Loss of Use only claim (hotel and meals while the insured is displaced during a mandatory evacuation), but generally, a deductible is coverage ranges from a minimum 10% (on State Farm’s policies) to a max of 100% on a Chubb policy.  NatGen Premier – a carrier we use often – provides GRP on any home with a coverage A limit of $750K or above.always applied.  Policyholders should expect this.

If you have any other questions for Andy,  please leave a comment!

 

 
Posted at 6:20:48 PM
Comments: 0

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Buck Wicall Remembered

There is no person who better embodied the Conejo Valley heritage than Buck Wicall.  Calabasas and Agoura Hills history is part backstage Hollywood, and part cowboy culture;  Buck had one Western boot in each world. 

Buck grew up in 1940's San Fernando Valley.  He worked for the studios as a stunt double.  Rubbing elbows with the likes of Ronald Reagan and other cowboys turned actors,  Buck took a shine to the horses and dabbled in breeding Quarter Horses on his Agoura ranch.

In the mid-1960's, Buck opened his West Valley Feed in Calabasas.  The Agoura Hills store followed.  Buck's regular customers were like actors in a reality show, each episode featuring "Adventures in horse-Keeping".  Buck was the virtual producer and the keeper of the archives of past episodes.  There was never any shortage of hilarious material, as any horse owner can attest.

Buck's generosity was legendary.  Some of his often told stories were about life with Manalo, the black bull given to him by the entertainer Charro.  Charro saved the calf from the butcher,  and raised him at her Bel Aire estate.  When Manalo was too big to hide him from her neighbors, she entrusted Buck with his care.  

Buck gave back in spades all the support given to him by the equestrian community.  

Buck left us JUNE 4, 2018.  ETI Corral 36 is hoping the City of Agoura Hills will allow the Old Agoura Park equestrian arena to bear a plaque honoring Buck Wicall.  The chapter of the equestrian organization would like to call the arena "Wicall Arena."  If you like the idea of the Wicall Arena, please leave a comment.

 
Posted at 2:19:45 PM
Comments: 4

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

MAJOR MILESTONE IN LANDMARK WILDLIFE CROSSING PROJECT

CONTACT: Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, National Wildlife Federation (209) 620-6271
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION AND PARTNERS REACH
MAJOR MILESTONE IN LANDMARK WILDLIFE CROSSING PROJECT

May 3, 2018 - Los Angeles—The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced last
week that the Project Report and the Environmental Document have been completed for the wildlife
crossing at Liberty Canyon over U.S. Highway 101, marking a major milestone for the initiative. The
project now moves into final design and engineering (the “blueprints” phase) and is slated to begin
construction in late 2020.
The planned wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon is a public/private partnership between Caltrans, the
National Park Service (NPS), the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the Santa Monica Mountains
Conservancy, the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Mountains
Recreation and Conservation Authority, the California State Coastal Conservancy and The Santa Monica
Mountains Fund.
The project responds to more than two decades of NPS research on the conservation needs of LA’s
mountain lions and ecosystems and advances long-standing local efforts to establish habitat
connectivity for wildlife across U.S. Highway 101. “The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority applaud Caltrans’ work in completing this
environmental review, a critical phase in making a safe passage for wildlife across the 101 and delivering
on our 30 plus years of work to preserve habitat linkages,” said Rorie Skei, Chief Deputy Director of
the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
The public support for this wildlife crossing, which will potentially be the largest of its type in the world,
the first of its kind in California, and which will serve as a visionary model for urban wildlife
conservation, has proven unprecedented. A total of 8,859 comments were received in response to the
draft Environmental Document, with only 15 opposed. Comments in favor came from a diverse group of
constituents, including a letter from the eight previous mayors of the City of Agoura Hills, Los Angeles
County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the California Turtle and Tortoise Club, actress Carolyn Hennesy (of
Cougar Town fame), and the Monrovia High School Environmental Club.
A collaboration by experts, public agencies, conservation organizations and community partners, along
with public input, proved key to achieving this significant milestone. Ongoing active support and
participation from the early stages of the project came from elected officials such as California State
Senator Fran Pavley, (retired) and California Assemblymember Richard Bloom, along with the newly
elected California State Senator Henry Stern. “A project this unique and of such considerable size and
scope always has a wide diversity of opinions and ideas—this process has helped create the best
possible solution for area wildlife that also meets the needs of the local community,” said Senator Fran
Pavley. “We thank everybody who participated in the public process, which ultimately made this project
stronger.”

This milestone was also completed as a result of funding from NWF’s #SaveLACougars fundraising
campaign, which also enjoys widespread support with donations from across the country and the globe.
“Our sincerest thanks to the more than 1,500 people and organizations who have contributed to the
#SaveLACougars campaign to date, such as the California State Coastal Conservancy, Annenberg
Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which helped fund this integral environmental
document,” said Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife
Federation, who leads the #SaveLACougars campaign. “When we started this campaign a few years ago,
the crossing was just an idea and had no funding attached to the project. With the generous donations
of our supporters, we have raised over $3.7 million, have achieved every fundraising target to date and
know this trend will continue as we work to achieve our goal of $10 million by the end of this year to
keep Caltrans on schedule.”
#SaveLACougars is primarily seeking private philanthropic dollars, although public dollars earmarked for
conservation have been, and will continue to be, sought. The campaign is not seeking to divert state
transportation or other taxpayer funds from needs such as schools, hospitals, bridges, or road repairs.
In addition, a separate and recently released report published in March of 2018 summarizes the
recommendations from some of the world’s foremost experts on wildlife connectivity and crossing
structures and combines them with landscape characteristics and wildlife data to prioritize locations for
wildlife crossings. The experts’ findings noted that the site at Liberty Canyon provided the best location
in that region for improving connectivity and an overpass structure the best solution for serving the
broadest range of species.
Research by the National Park Service has shown that mountain lions could face extinction in the Santa
Monica Mountains within 50 years because of a fragmented landscape. "Twenty years of research
shows that the biggest conservation challenge facing the Santa Monica Mountains is isolation by roads
and development," said David Szymanski, Superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National
Recreation Area. "This forward-looking project will help to end the isolation and reconnect natural
habitat on both sides of the highway."
_________________
For more information or to donate to the project visit www.savelacougars.org
For the recently released Environmental Document visit Caltrans’ project site at
http://www.dot.ca.gov/d7/projects/libertycanyon/
About The National Wildlife Federation
One of the oldest and largest conservation groups in the country, the National Wildlife Federation with
its over six million supporters nationwide is a strong voice for wildlife, dedicated to protecting wildlife
and habitat, as well as inspiring young people today to become conservation-minded adults. Visit
www.nwf.org for more information.

 
Posted at 12:46:15 AM
Comments: 0

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Horse Community Herds Together as SoCal Burns

Los Angeles/Ventura County Fires  December 7, 2017

I don't generally go out of my way to speak with my neighbor.  We are from different sides of the track:  She with her leafblower, me with my aversion to the ruckus.  Yet, the fires have me concerned about our horses - she who does not have a trailer may need a hand given that half of Los Angeles County is on fire.   
"I'm worried about the fires," I say as I ride by on my horse.  
"Me too," she replies.
"I've hooked up my trailer in case WE need to evacuate," I reassure her as I klippity-klop along.  
A common sense of responsibility breaks the ice.

It is no coincidence that the areas of LA and Ventura counties plagued by the most out-of-control wildfires are all equestrian zoned.   Where horses are kept, drought-stricken fire fuel is found.  And horse people are helping each other in selfless ways.

Just as the most massive fire, nearly 100,000 acres as I write, was burning Santa Paula and Ojai, and another fire was raging in the Shadow Hills, Sunland area, my Equestrian Trials International Corral #36 was convening for their annual Holiday Party at Saddle Peak Lodge in Monte Nido.   Some of the would-be revelers were noticeably absent. 
"Dan is transporting horses from the fire zone",   "Julian is putting out hot-spots in Kagel Canyon".  "Victoria is at Pierce College volunteering to help horse burn victims." 
Was I the only one at the party feeling guilty that I wasn't out there hauling horses from the fire zones?

I have "liked" many Facebook pages devoted to the equestrian lifestyle.  I am "friends" with enough horse owners to be our own country.  I see post after post after post of people offering to take-in evacuated horses; folks are opening their hearts and homes to virtual strangers that have in common the concern for an animal's well-being.   Donations are pouring in to the various sites hoping to help victims with relocation and medical expenses - many of them say they exclusively help the displaced and injured horses.

The tragedy of the fires hit the equestrian community the hardest.  The support amongst the herd of horse owners towards each other is humanity at it's finest.  

 

 
Posted at 10:55:36 PM
Comments: 0

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Immigratoin Policy and Your Ranch

Who is harvesting your grapes or citrus or avocados?  Besides yourself, who is cleaning your horse stalls?  Many horse or farm property owners say that good help is hard to find.   

Recent changes to immigration policy were promised to create jobs for American workers based on a belief that those entering the country illegally or legally were saturating the job market. According to PEW Research Center, there are not enough workers to fill these jobs.  The pay is low, the work grueling.  In the agriculture business, immigrants make up the majority of hirees. 

The proponents of Senate Bill 54 say it is needed for humanitarian reasons.  SB 54 has the support of law enforcement who say it maintains trust and the level of crime reporting.  It would expand so-called sanctuary city policies, prohibiting state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes. This bill is hoped to result in fewer deportations and keep families together.  At the time of this writing, the Bill passed the Senate and is under review by the Appropriations Committee of the State Legislature.

Some say the bill falls short of protecting migrant workers. What is missing from the bill are protections to ensure that they are not overworked and underpaid,  that they receive breaks and days off, and that they are provided safe and sanitary work conditions.  Existing labor laws may fill that purpose,  yet undocumented workers are vulnerable to exploitation.

What are an employer's responsibilities when hiring a housekeeper or a horse groom, for example?  They must ask a prospective worker for their Form I-9. An employer may be subject to fines or jail time if they do not verify an employee's employment authorization and withhold unemployment and disability taxes from wages.  If a prospective worker has a temporary visa, the employer can sponsor that person for "green card" or lawful permanent residence in the US.  Meanwhile, if ICE comes knocking on your door, you can decline to provide information about your employees.  Without a warrant signed by a Federal or State court, an ICE agent is not authorized to come onto your property.

Contributor for this article: Vanessa Frank, Immigration Attorney
City of Ventura  805 641-9300

 
Posted at 12:22:44 PM
Comments: 0

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fired up about Fireworks
TO:  Nick Newkirk, City of Agoura Hills Parks and Recreation Department
 
Dear Nick,
 
Thank you for your email.  I want to point out that giving horse and pet owners a head's up falls short of solving the primary problems with fireworks near open space and in an equestrian community.
 
At best, homeowners who have advance notice can arrange to be present should a horse be injured so they can timely administer first aid.  Perhaps the owner can confine a horse to a small area where it is less likely to be impaled or break a leg.  There is not a way to put earplugs in their ears, or sedate them such that they won't be frightened.  In the most sensitive animals, fireworks can induce colic, ulcers, or a heart attack. 
 
 
The distance from Chumash Park to the conservancy land behind the high school is 1000 feet.  To quote a phrase on the Federal Government website, this Sunday's display (and for that matter, all the displays at the high school) may be in violation of Federal Law:https://www.fws.gov/news/blog/index.cfm/2015/7/2/Celebrating-our-Independence--Tips-for-Watching-out-for-Wildlife  which says the explosives cannot be within 3/4 mile of protected wildlife habitat.
 
Inline image 1
 
 
I appreciate that you're sensitive to my concerns. Does that mean the duration of the explosions can be shortened?  Are you using silent fireworks?  How about a pledge to eliminate them from future events at Chumash Park?  
 
I realize that fireworks are a tradition on the 4th of July.  In this case, this event is a concert in the park on the 9th, and I question the value of this display when there are deleterious consequences to the environment.  Please tell me what needs to happen for them to stop.
 
Thanks Again,
 
Nona Green
 
On Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 7:59 AM, Nick Newkirk <nnewkirk@ci.agoura-hills.ca.us> wrote:

Nona,

 

Thank you so much for your email and letting us know about your concerns.

If it comforts you at all, the City of Agoura Hills makes every effort to not only keep the area safe from any fires that may break out, but also reach out to the local horse community via the HOA in the hopes that people will take whatever steps necessary to keep their animals safe.  We have the fire department present at the event as well as local sheriff that will keep the firing area safe as well as handle traffic flow after the show is completed.

We are very sensitive, and have been over the past several years, to make every attempt for this to be a safe and enjoyable event for all parties involved.  If you have any further concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to email me or call me!

Nick Newkirk

Recreation Supervisor

City Of Agoura Hills

(818) 597-7325

 

 

 

Dear City of Agoura Hills and Waste Management,

 

It is regretful that there will be fireworks this weekend at Chumash Park.  The park is adjacent an equestrian community and less than a mile from open space, home to wildlife.

It would seem that this venue is inappropriate for fireworks which are known to cause significant harm to the environment and wildlife. Especially in a high fire severity zone, the timing is suspect, not only due to the fire risk, but the nearby recent brush fires have already compromised air quality.  This activity should not be encouraged in this area, especially this time of year, especially here.

Horses and other animals can be seriously injured when frightened by the sounds.  Birds are disoriented and are known to abandon their nests,  Perhaps this coming weekend, the quantity and magnitude of the explosive devices can be limited.  

Please be informed.  I appreciate your consideration.

Nona Green

A concerned neighbor

 

On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 6:05 PM, City of Agoura Hills - Department of Community Services <agourahillsrec@ci.agoura-hills.ca.us> wrote:

Hollywood U2

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

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Posted at 10:31:52 PM
Comments: 0

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