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City Guide

  • At last, new downtown parking structure coming soon

    11 months ago by

    Finally we can look forward to having ample packing in the Super Block 1 lot downtown between the old Tower Records building and Taps Fish House & Brewery.

      Construction on the long-awaited and urgently needed parking structure is scheduled to begin in late September.

        The cost for the design, engineering and construction is $10.3 million, not $12 million as previously estimated.

          Funding is coming from the city’s Fixed Asset and Replacement Fund, the Community Benefit and Economic Fund, proceeds from a 2011 bond, a $3.9 million loan from the landfill mitigation fund and a $2.9 million loan from the General Fund. No taxes will, or can, be raised to pay for the parking structure, and the money loaned from the landfill mitigation funds and the general fund are to be repaid.

            The structure would have cost much, much less if back in the 1990s the council had listened to Councilman Roy Moore who envisioned the future need of a parking structure on the eastside of Brea Boulevard.

              According to David Crabtree, Brea’s community development director, the construction of the four-level, 478-space garage will take about a year, and the entire parking lot will be fenced off during that time. Ouch.

                After the parking lot becomes a construction zone, there will be challenges for the Super Block 1 businesses, including Lillie’s Q, Buffalo Wild Wings, the military recruitment offices and Taps, which will all remain open for business, so do patronize them. Valet parking will be available.

                  What will not be available is Brea Downtown’s popular Jazz Festival.

                    Said major downtown property owner, Dwight Manley via email, “The Brea Downtown Owners Association has suspended the Jazz Festival due to the parking lot closure, as well as the money the BDOA is spending to subsidize the valet during that period.”

                      The Brea Downtown Owners Association and the valet company are finalizing a plan offering lower valet rates during the parking lot closure, thanks to the association’s subsidization. That plan will soon be submitted to the city for approval.

                        Crabtree said the valets would park cars at the Gaslight Center, in Super Block 2 and other spots in the downtown.

                          The building of parking structure, however, will not be the only construction zone in the downtown at that time. Manley said Old Navy will be leaving in January, and the new Improv’s construction on that site should begin in February 2017.

                            Maybe when Old Navy is demolished, the wrecking ball will swing wide and take down the very tired-looking Tower building. It has had only temporary renters since Tower Records and Books shut down in 2005. It was a showcase building back then, but not now. And it will only look worse across the street from the razzle-dazzle Improv Entertainment Center with two showrooms, fine dining spots and all the amenities to make it an entertainment destination. Surely it will attract other entertainment venues and new restaurants to the downtown.

                              All the construction will be a pain, but worth celebrating once it is done. Can’t wait.

                                Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications.

  • BREA BACK THEN by Jolita Penn McDaniel

    1 year ago by

    Back then was 1938. I was three years old that year, and my very earliest memories began in Brea California. Brea, the little tar town whose hills in my memory were covered with pumping oil wells. Somewhere back in time, I remember those sounds of the rhythmic pumping whoosh of the wells that was both soothing and sleep inducing for me as a tiny girl. I only lived in Brea a few short years before we moved to the adjacent town of Fullerton, but those early years in Brea were rich and memorable and set the foundation for my path in life.

      Brian Penn with his daughters. Left, JoAn and Jolita Penn.

      Bryan Penn with his daughters. Left, JoAn and Jolita. Courtesy of JoAn Penn Haws

        Nine years before, my young farmer parents, Bryan and Ann Penn, dedicated, hard-working, God-fearing people, had moved from the poverty of their life in Arkansas to California with my older sister JoAn (then just a baby). After a five-day trek in their Model T Ford, they arrived with barely a dime in their pocket but filled with the treasure of their dreams for a new life in the beautiful “golden state”. After working a short time in the Olinda oil fields, Daddy landed a job with Shaffer Tool Works in Brea and worked there about two years. Mr. Shaffer invented the huge steel gate that was placed over oil wells to control the oil gushers when the oil came in while drilling, and that is what the company produced and mainly what my father made on his enormous lathe. I remember Mama telling me that she and Daddy rented a little house somewhere adjacent to Shaffer Tool Works when they were so young and fresh from Arkansas and Daddy was so eager to learn his craft and make a living for his family. She said that she would make yummy sandwiches for his lunch, and that Daddy's coworkers began to remark on his lunches and asked if Mama would make lunches for them. So, Mama said for a couple of years, some of Daddy's coworkers would come across the street to their little rental house and she would have prepared a good lunch for them. Money was so scarce in those days that she added a little pin money to their income that way. This would have been around 1929 and 1930. The depths of the current country's depression caught up and hit them personally. He was laid off, and he found himself jobless along with thousands of others across the nation. Since there were virtually no jobs (he did manage to pack pickles in a man's garage for 50 cents a day briefly), he and Mama still had eighty acres of land back in Arkansas where at least they could farm and eat, and prudently, back they went. I was born in 1935 there on the farm, and then wonder of wonders! In 1936, Shaffer called Daddy back to work, and beautiful California, the “land of opportunity”, became our permanent home.

          Mr. Shaffer at work.

          Mr. Shaffer at work. Courtesy of JoAn Penn Haws

            Daddy started at Shaffer Tool Works in 1929 and retired there in 1974. He was recruited to work for Vultee Aircraft in Downey, CA for a short time during WWII. We were extremely thankful for this job for it meant he would not be drafted into the military since he was doing national defense work. Daddy was well respected at Shaffer Tool Works advancing as a machinist, years later becoming supervisor. But he also was always wonderful to help at home, juggled finances, and, every chance he could, worked with my Uncle Bert Pyland in the butcher shop of the grocery store he and Daddy's sister, my Aunt Addie, now owned. Of course Daddy and Mama had lifelong experience on the farm raising and butchering their own hogs and calves. I remember him bringing home delicious sausage from the butcher shop that he and Uncle Bert made themselves. Daddy was a gentlemanly meticulous man who came home every night covered in oil and smelling strongly of kerosene with which he used to clean up his tools and himself, too. During the War, he grew a Victory Garden and all of his life satisfied the farmer in him by maintaining pristine yards and gardens full of flowers and beautiful vegetables. Every night, listening to the radio, I watched him clean his nails with his pen knife until they were clean and white again.

              Just this week, I checked with my cousin, Christine Kercheville who still lives there in the same house she and her husband bought over sixty years ago and where she raised her children. She lost her young husband at an early age, and remarkably she very capably raised and educated her four young children and was always a vital part of Brea's community and the Church of Christ. She tells me her parents' store was named Pomona Drive-In Market located on the corner of Date and Pomona Ave. Many called the store Pyland's Market. Pomona Avenue eventually became Brea Boulevard by which it is now known. Uncle Bert and Aunt Addie raised their two daughters in a little home on Madrona. Both girls raised their big families in Brea also - Christine as I mentioned, and Frances Lee Quinliven and her family, all of them attending the Brea Schools. My cousin Christine's son Mark Kercheville eventually returned to Brea to teach at Arovista School in Brea. My Aunt Addie when I was a girl was a tiny, quick-moving, quick-talking angel of an auntie, and she used to scoop me up in a huge hug, cover my face with kisses, and then push a lollipop into my hand. Of course I loved her!

                Shaffer Tool Works  logo. Courtesy of Joan

                Shaffer Tool Works logo. Courtesy of JoAn Penn Haws

                  From time to time, Daddy would take his little family to visit “the shop” at Shaffer’s, eager for us to know exactly what he did. To a small child, it was an immense building, the ceiling rising into darkened heights that held a bewildering array of huge overhead equipment lit by rows of stark electric bulbs that emitted a weak inadequate light for such a cavernous space. The floor felt thick and sticky with years of accumulated grease, dirt and the grit of metal dust. The smell was sharply distinctive, a strong hot aroma of steel shavings, oil and solvents, and the general atmosphere was one of enormous hunks of iron in dark shades of pewter, steel grey and black with a cold light filtering through dirty windows. The vibrating cacophony of tortured metal was deafening as it screeched and screamed turning on the many lathes that slowly delivered the final shining steel product. We always stood watching, all with our hands over our ears while Daddy demonstrated his quick and sure skill at his lathe. I surely wish I had the photos Daddy once owned of the entire Shaffer group circa 1930 or maybe late thirties. There is my very young father, probably in his twenties, and Mr. Shaffer and the whole group that Dad worked with for years. The company had a bowling team, and in Dad's younger days, a softball team, and later several of the men played golf together, and my athletic energetic Daddy was always right there, My father had lifelong friends from his career, and Elvin Wilson is one man I remember as being an especially close friend. Don Shaffer, son of the founder of the company became a good friend, and when Daddy died, I remember reading a touching hand-written letter to my mother expressing the personal respect he had and loss he felt for Daddy.

                    At the time Brea Grammar School was the only elementary school now Brea's only middle school, Brea Junior High.

                    At the time Brea Grammar School was the only elementary school, still similar in presence today as Brea Junior High. Courtesy of JoAnn Penn Haws

                      While living on Laurel, my sister JoAn began taking flute lessons from the band leader, Mr. Lee Auer, the music teacher at her elementary school. A fellow classmate, Martha Kitaoka of Japanese descent and quite a shy girl, took lessons, too. She enjoyed being with Martha and often invited her over. Only once did Martha invite JoAn to her house, and JoAn felt overwhelmingly intimidated as if she had stepped into a foreign land with exotic red ornate Japanese furnishings and a strange spicy fragrance. Martha's mother did not speak English and was obviously not happy to have JoAn in the house, and she was not invited to come on in, and indeed stood close to the door until time to leave. Shortly after this, our parents read in the newspaper that Martha's father and brother had been arrested as spies. They were geologists, and according to the paper, were caught with a short-wave radio in their basement sending vital mapping information to Japan. This was shortly before WWII, and quite disturbing in the little town of Brea on this very small block of Laurel. In another incident later, Mama and Daddy had farmer acquaintances, the Yamaguchi family that sold their wonderful farm vegetables from their roadside stand. Daddy enjoyed exchanging farming tips with Mr. Yamaguchi and Mama visited with his wife while purchasing produce. The whole Yamaguchi family (along with all Japanese-American families) was moved from their land and interned during WWII for fear of spying. My mother was incensed and I heard her say, “Bryan, the Yamaguchis are no more spies than we are!”

                        The winter of 1939, my younger sister Jan was born, and though I was only four, I well remember a storm that Mama called “a cloud burst”. This little rented house on Laurel Street was conveniently less than two blocks away from Daddy's work so that he could always walk. It sat right at the bottom of the V formed by the hilly street, and backed up against a dry, sandy riverbed that I loved to run barefoot in. There were no light fixtures except for a porch light, and as I remember, each room was lit by a light bulb hanging on a cord from the ceiling and there was a chain to turn the light off and on. There were two small bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room that looked out on the front porch facing the street, and a small bathroom that was the delight of the family. An indoor bathroom!! With running water, a bathtub, and best of all, a flush toilet. This rather marvelous rental sat on a very small sloping lot, and the tiny one-car garage sat downhill at the back of the house, but it was our little home and Mama and Daddy were wonders at making our homes livable and cozy.

                          I actually remember that storm for it frightened me. The wind threw enormous raindrops at the windows that bounced off the glass sounding like handfuls of gravel being pitched against them. The noisy, rattling, hard-hitting wave after wave of water finally reached flood stage. When Mama stepped to the side of the porch and looked at the garage down the driveway, she was aghast to see boxes floating in four feet of water out the open door. She was just sick to realize many sentimental memories in her big trunk including precious letters and baby clothes and photos were ruined that day. Thank goodness Daddy's relatively new car, a 1936 Chevy that I think I remember he paid $400 for, was parked out front instead of in the garage. The “dry” riverbank spilled into our backyard and water lapped at the back steps. It was only a few years until an enormous flood control program installed “barrancas” and alleviated most of the flooding problem for Brea and Fullerton.

                            September, 1939 (the same year and month my little sister was born), I began Kindergarten at the Laurel Street Elementary School at the tender age of four years, eight months. I was so eager, and the memory of that first day is so sharp, I even remember the little new school dress my Mama made me. It was off white with puffed sleeves and printed with little red apples all over it. Mama said “apples for your teacher!” I loved it and loved my class and especially loved Miss Elder, my Kindergarten and First Grade teacher, and as little as I was, I've never forgotten her kind influence. I was like a sponge I was so ready to learn.

                              Writing these remembrances of Brea brings back memories of people with whom my family interacted, and Dr. Curtis comes to mind. He was the Pyland's family doctor for maybe thirty years or more and was wonderful to them. He and Mama were friends, for Mama often helped her sister-in-law through some tough illnesses and Uncle Bert's terrible fall.

                                Dr. Ed Steen in Fullerton was our family doctor, and saw us safely through our illnesses including my sister Jan's Caesarian birth more than seventy-five years ago. Jan was a miracle baby for Mama should not have been able to carry her, but God granted life to both my sister who is a true gift to the world, and to my Mama long blessed years At age six, I vaguely remember seeing Dr. Steen sitting asleep in a chair across from my bed when he spent the night to support us through a scary time afraid I may not live from pneumonia. Our family was attended by him and his beautiful nurse, Veda Wade for many years. Miss Wade's influence was the reason I eventually went into medical assisting, for she made terrifying doctor visits bearable by her serenity and soothing hands and lovely voice. He was our physician until his untimely death by car accident, taking this gifted man from us far too early.

                                  Brea Grammar School 6th grade class of 1923. Sitting far right JoAn Penn. Courtesy JoAn Penn Haws

                                  Brea Grammar School 6th grade class of 1938. Sitting far right, JoAn. Courtesy of JoAn Penn Haws.

                                    Mr. Jaster was a teacher at JoAn's school, and became the principal. He became lifelong friends of my parents, and he sold a product named “Selrodo” that dispensed an epinephrine liquid to help open breathing passages for hay fever and asthma. My mother had hay fever and she swore by Selrodo, because when I was struggling to breathe with pneumonia, she used it on me and always thought it saved my life. I remember Mama buying Selrodo from Mr. Jaster and laughing and talking with him on the phone when she was in her sixties at least.

                                      Mr. Barnes of Oilfield National Bank comes to mind, also, and Daddy and Mama admired and respected him as a professional who also became a good friend. Daddy said Mr. Barnes took a chance on him as a very young man recently transplanted from the farm in Arkansas, and my parents had their bank account with Oilfield National Bank for most of their lives. I remember my mother calling Mr. Barnes when she was unhappy with a mortgage on a house they bought in Fullerton, and within twenty-four hours, she and Dad paid off that bad mortgage and had a new good loan from Mr. Barnes.

                                        I recently asked my sister JoAn (who is seven years older), if my memory was right about Brea then, for I remember beautiful rolling hills and pristine blue skies before smog when you could easily see the snow-covered San Gabriel mountains. There were lovely mild days when I rode my tricyle up and down the small hilly street. She said it was a lovely little town, and her memory, too, is one of a quiet pretty place to live. It seems there was an enormous archway over the entrance to Brea on what would eventually become Brea Boulevard, and on the right was a pretty park with swings and slides and teeter-totters and a city swimming pool called “The Plunge”. I thought the plunge an awesome privilege, and my Mama and sister JoAn often swam there with me.

                                          And that is the jist of what I remember of the little Brea I knew as a small child. We moved only fifteen minutes away to Fullerton the summer before I started Second Grade, but Brea remained a constant in our lives. Family still lived there, Daddy and Mama banked there, and most importantly, Daddy worked there. I always had the feeling of stepping back in time when we drove back as a teenager and young adult, for I believe real growth in Brea did not begin until maybe the fifties. The pumping oil wells on the lovely rolling hills would welcome us first, then we'd drive under the old graceful Brea archway, and the pretty park and pool and beautiful tree-lined streets would greet us. I always loved the smell of oil and kerosene and even gasoline for I associated it with hugging my loving father in his dirty work clothes. How this somewhat shy, meticulous man would fuss at us, for he didn't want us to get oil on us. But we got the oil anyway, good oil remembrances down in our spirits from the loving years we spent in the beginning of our lives in California, and it didn't hurt us a bit.

                                            From those humble beginnings, our family grew to include doctors, a dentist and hygienist, dental assistants, medical assistant, electrician, scholars, teachers, physicists, artists, musicians, ministers, CHP, a policeman, and even a beauty queen! JoAn just recently reminded me that after high school, as a young woman before she married, she too, worked for a short time as a secretary for Shaffer Tool Works right next to Don Shaffer and his father's offices. Now I am an old lady, and perhaps my memories are jaded and softened by time, but to me those years were halcyon years. Our precious Jan was born during that time, our mother lived to become a feisty vibrant continuing part of our lives, Daddy was able to buy lovely homes and enjoy the California he loved, and my sisters and I were given the gift of two loving parents providing the very best life they could possibly give us. We have a treasure of humble yet loving memories of those sweet early years and they are locked in my heart always.

                                              Jolita Penn McDaniel

                                                June 2016

  • Brea’s centennial year will kickoff with a parade and picnic

    1 year ago by

    Centennial Countdown Update:

      To say the least, it's a process to plan a centennial celebration. Seven cities in Orange County have successfully executed their anniversary year. Twenty-six cities will follow us. 

        Our centennial kickoff will begin with a parade and picnic on Saturday, February 18, 2017.

          The plan is to bring the community together for a family-oriented fun day involving the whole town including hometown celebrities!

             Photo: From the Jones Family Collection
 Source-Brea: Celebrating 75 Years

            Photo: From the Jones Family Collection

            Source-Brea: Celebrating 75 Years

              1969 BOHS grad and 1976 Cy Young Award Winning Padres pitcher, Randy Jones aka "Junkman," will be back in town to participate!

                The parade will begin mid-morning at Birch Street and Associated Road, and end at Brea's Sports Park where Randy Jones' bronze plaque is hung on a wall among Brea's distinguished athletes. More to come!

  • Scouts honored for saving friend’s life after sudden cardiac arrest

    1 year ago by


      Three Brea Eagle Scouts from Troop 801 helped save a life.

        The Brea City Council recently honored Eagle Scouts from Troop 801, second from left, Blake Wilson, Blake Perez, and John Evert, shown with Daniel Medina, left.

        The Brea City Council recently honored Eagle Scouts from Troop 801, second from left, Blake Wilson, Blake Perez, and John Evert, shown with Daniel Medina, left.

        Debbie Medina mother of Daniel Medina loves to tell the story of how the brave Scouts saved the life of her 25-year-old son, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest.

          Debbie Medina said her son collapsed at home in the kitchen at 8:30 p.m. February 28.

            "One of his friends heard a thump and approached the kitchen, finding Daniel face down on the kitchen floor," she said. "My husband and I were not home at the time. His friend quickly yelled for the other two friends who were watching TV in the living room, called 911, and with direction from the 911 operator, Tammy Ramsey, began CPR."

              Daniel was taken by ambulance to St. Jude Medical Center, where he was put on a ventilator, and into an induced coma.

                "The doctors in ICU said on several occasions that these brave and courageous young men saved our son’s life," said Debie Medina. We did find out all three young men are Eagle Scouts and one has taken the EMT training course. Again a miracle."

                  About 350,000 people go into sudden cardiac arrest each year, according to the American Heart Association. Of those, only 1 percent to 2 percent survive, and some with significant brain damage.

                    "Our heroes said to my husband and I that they knew CPR but never thought they would need to use it, and especially on a friend they love," Debbie Medina said.

                      Daniel is doing very well. Tests revealed he has a rare congenital heart defect that brought on the cardiac arrest.

                        The Eagle Scouts, Jon Evert, Blake Perez, and Blake Wilson, and the emergency responders Fire Captain Dave Schautschick, engineer/paramedic Randy McDaniel, firefighter/paramedic Travis Knabe, and firefighter Greg Harris, were honored at a Brea council meeting on April 19 with commendations for their valiant and steady handling of an unbelievable situation.

                          William Wojcaik suffered cardiac arrest during the Brea’s 8K race. Cesar Robles, Bradley Luna, Randall Parra, April Scwartz, Ryan Scwartz, Phillip Stephenson Randy McDaniel, and Stephen Davy were presented commendations at the May 3rd council meeting for saving his life.

                            Any news? Give Susan Gaede a jingle at 714-529-8561 or e-mail her at

  • Annual Brea SummerFest Giveaway on BBON

    1 year ago by


      It’s a “Thriller” to announce our annual BBON Brea SummerFest Giveaway, but first….

        MoonWalker the reflection of Michael.

        MoonWalker the reflection of Michael.

        You can’t beat it, beat it, beat it! The Annual 29th Brea SummerFest is coming on June 1-3, with a variety of entertainment tribute bands performing mimicry, creativity, and showmanship of many legendary bands such as Michael Jackson, Led Zepplin, No Doubt, U2, Huey Lewis and the News, and Fleetwood Mac. Plus, more family-fun on the carnival side with nearly 20 rides and no one ever goes hungry or thirsty at this festival!

          No need to “Ramble On.” Just enter our BBON Brea SummerFest Giveaway to win -- starting on Monday, May 30 through Wednesday, June 1!

            UPDATE: TWO ADDITIONAL WINNERS FOR A TOTAL OF LUCKY 7 -- Thanks to The Absolute Wurst!

              SEVEN Lucky Winners will receive gifts from favorite local eateries:

                *Jimmy's Famous American Tavern Brea --$25 Gift Card

                  *Mendocino Farms Brea-- $35 Sandwich Voucher good for 2 Mendo Sandwiches and 2 Puck’s Fountain Sodas.

                    *Mammalucco's-- $25 Gift Card

                      *Dog Haus Fullerton gifts valued at $180. (4) people to win: Combo Meal Gift Cards – choice of drink, fries or tots, burger, hotdog or sausage dog. Retail value per four promo cards: $45

                        Winners announced on BBON Facebook on Thursday, June 2.

                          Good LuCk and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

                            Get it? Got it. Good.

  • Wacky Whole Foods Market Meetup

    1 year ago by

    Just another Wednesday at WFM Brea!!

      Time to fuel UP!

        Ralph the Rex arriving at Whole Foods Market Brea!

        Ralph the Rex arriving at Whole Foods Market Brea!

          CLICK here to watch the video!

            Arriving in what else -- but a Jurassic Jeep, Ralph the Rex met his neighbor and new sidekick cartoon Charlie the Clock. What fun they had frolicking through the humongous store with a checklist of food to divide and devour!

              Many thanks to the "fun crew" at Whole Foods Market Brea, our friend Ralph_the_Rex, Dino Doctor - ranger_kevin, and Charlie_the_ Clock cutout performer --Austin Zemlo!

                Those of you on Instagram: Coming soon Charlie the Clock-- Time Travel Celebrating 100 Years in Brea!

  • Historic Timekeeper: Charlie the Clock children’s book celebrating 100 years in Brea

    1 year ago by

    Tic, Toc, where do I begin to tell the story…


        It all started when I contracted 2006 BOHS and recent CSUF grad Artist Heather Ashlyn Collins to design a fun, whimsy version of Brea’s historic icon Charlie’s Clock. I renamed it Charlie the Clock because it’s friendly and implies Charlie belongs to everyone in the community ☺

          Charlie the Clock caricature cutout was made in February 2015 just in time to celebrate Brea’s 98th birthday, with The Face of Brea contest held at Edwards Brea Stadium West 10. “It was a hit,” said West 10 GM, Stephen Moehle!

            Brea Edwards Stadium West 10 GM, Stephen Moehle and his team!

            Edwards Brea Stadium West 10 GM, Stephen Moehle, and his team!

              Charlie the Clock continued to spread awareness within the community about Brea’s upcoming centennial year in 2017, by appearing at community events and schools. For a while Charlie the Clock was on exhibit at the Brea Museum & Historical Society.

                As time was ticking away it became evident that charming Charlie the Clock was well liked and should now start telling the timeline story of Brea’s history.

                  Enter, longtime Brean Kathy Cannon. Former president of the Brea Historical society, a lover of Brea’s history and a phenomenal writer, Kathy and I will blend whimsy and education in partnering on a children’s history book featuring Charlie the Clock in time travel, celebrating 100 years in Brea. And of course, the book will come alive with eye-catching illustrations by Heather!

                    Oh and there will be community characters in the book such as Laurel Elementary Teacher Jill Berrner and former student Valeria Zavala, who made history in town last year by being named National History Day champion for California!...and did I say, yup, our local news reporter "Newsy Suzy," too!!

                      Geez--I know I said more than a mouthfull!

                        What's time traveling without interactive feedback!

                          NOW — We Need Help From You! Where should Charlie the Clock and Valeria go first? What era?

  • On track with the Tracks at Brea Trail

    1 year ago by

    Until 2007, trains regularly chugged through Brea, crossing Lambert Road, State College Boulevard and Brea Boulevard. Only one track that crosses Berry Street is still somewhat active.

      Like many cities throughout Southern California, Brea ended up with a lot of ugly, abandoned railroad tracks that carried nothing but weeds, trash and rodents.

        But no longer.

          Back in 2009, the first community meetings were held to find a way to convert the abandoned rails to trails for walking, running and biking, instead of places people dumped trash or old mattresses after dark.

            Through good planning, many grants and keen determination by residents and city staff, The Tracks at Brea is nearly completed. But it hasn’t been an easy task.

              When the project began, Brea was flush with Redevelopment Agency funds. According to Brea’s economic development manager, Kathie DeRobbio, $11 million in redevelopment funds were used for property acquisition and early project planning. Then the California legislature voted to end redevelopment agencies and Brea had to pursue other sources for the project. The city started applying for grants.

                At present, $17.5 million in grants has funded much of the project, including the extensive and expensive soil remediation, design, engineering construction and landscaping.

                  “The council has authorized $1,258,000 in Park Development Funds,” DeRobbio said about the city’s contribution toward the price tag. She added that, depending on the actual costs to be incurred, the city might not spend that entire amount. Those funds are restricted for use only for new recreational facilities.

                    There will be six segments of the 4-mile trail at completion. It starts with Segment I through Arovitsa Park and presently ends behind the west parking structure downtown where Segment 2 will someday begin.

                      But the really big news is the grand opening at 9:30 a.m. on March 26 when Mayor Christine Marrick leads the community through the newly completed Segment 3, a three-quarter-mile jaunt starting by Fire Station No. 2 on Brea Boulevard and meandering east to State College Boulevard.

                        The trails are wonderfully landscaped, park-like paths for strolling with the kids or whizzing through on your bike.

                          Bikers use the two-way, paved paths while walkers and runners use the tan-colored paths made of decomposed granite that is often used for playgrounds.

                            There are no restrooms or drinking fountains yet in Segment 3, but there are public restrooms nearby in the downtown. Go before you go and carry water, especially for the kids. There are disposal stations for dog waste.

                              The next segment nearing completion is No. 5, which wanders through Birch Hills Golf Course. It will have an interpretive historical display, rest area and food and restrooms available. And, you won’t have to duck when someone yells, “Fore!” because the golfers will be playing away from the trail.

                                Segment 4 will continue across State College and travels under the 57 Freeway to Kraemer Boulevard, where Segment 6 will run nearly parallel to Birch Street, ending at Valencia Street.

                                  If you plan to break in Segment 3 with the mayor, DeRobbio suggests parking in east parking structure downtown. Or, you could do what I’m going to do and walk there.

                                    The trail is open daily, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

                                      Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. Contact her at

  • Remembering Charlie Phillips of Brea Kiwanis Club

    1 year ago by

    It’s with great sadness and heavy hearts that we report the passing of longtime Brea Kiwanis member -- Charlie Phillips. Charlie was a wonderful man. As the Kiwanis secretary, he was very enthusiastic in connecting with us to spread the word about Brea Kiwanis annual events such as Back To School Shopping Spree, Toys for Tots, Spelling Bee, and the Easter Egg Hunt.

      Charlie and Carol Phillips

      Charlie and Carol Phillips

        Early last year, Charlie had a stroke and was admitted into a nursing home to recover. Susan Gaede and I visited him, and although he wasn’t able to talk to us, he was full of spirit; with his wife Carol relaying that he couldn’t wait to continue writing the newsletters for the Kiwanis. In her dad's absence, Debbie, started writing newsletters for the Brea Kiwanis Club.

          Today, we received the Kiwanis newsletter and Debbie, wrote, “For the last few years Kiwanis played an important part in my dad's life. It gave him an opportunity to do what he loved, working with young people and giving back to the community.

            Charlie wanted no part of funeral homes and such. His wish after he was gone was to have a gathering of friends and family at his house so people could think back on how they knew him and tell stories of his "adventures".

              Miss you, Charlie

                Photo: Celebrating the 50th Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

                Bright and early, join the Brea Kiwanis in celebrating the 54th annual Easter Egg Hunt at Arovista Park on Saturday, March 26 at 9:00 a.m.

                  Carol added,"Charlie was always there for everyone who needed him. He had such a full life."

                    We miss you too, Charlie. And would be remiss not to spread the word about the 54th Annual Kiwanis Club of Brea Easter Egg Hunt to be held on March 26, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. at Arovista Park in Brea, located at 500 West Imperial Hwy (Imperial Highway at Berry Street).

  • The 25th Annual Brea 8K Classic marks another year of success

    1 year ago by

    Brea 8k results 1444191595128

      It was another beautiful day in our city at the 25th Anniversary Brea 8k Classic. What an incredible race day, resulting in a record breaking 3,334 participants!

        The volunteers began to arrived at 3:00 a.m. at the Brea Mall and the set up process began. The course was constructed, finish line created, and the T-shirts and Goodie bags were ready!

          The sponsors arrived by 6:00 am setting up the wonderful food court and expo area. Then the fog rolled in with a crisp cool mist (which runners love by the way). Such excitement was in the air. It was the beginning of a wonderful event for families, teams, athletes, and friends.

            The participants were comprised of many age groups, who came from all over the land and met the challenge of this course. They crossed that big blue Brea 8k finish line knowing that they had succeeded once again or for the first time. It must be similar to the feeling our 8k Board members have when we finally pack up the 8k after months of preparation and put everything away for yet another year, thinking we did it! We really did, even better than last year and I can't wait till next year.

              Please join us Sunday February 26th 2017. It will definetely be another exciting year with a special weekend anniversary celebration of Brea's 100th year!

                Thank you Brea Mall and all our sponsors for another very successful event! Thank you City of Brea and our wonderful Police and Fire Dept for keeping us all safe.

                  On behalf of the Brea 8K Board , GITA (Global IT Academy), Academic Booster Club, Instrumental Music & Color Guard Boosters and Choir Music Boosters, we thank you for your continued support year after year of this wonderful fundraiser!


                      Jimini Ohler, Brea 8k Classic

                        Goodie Bag and Sponsor Chair

                          BOHS Band and Color Guard Historian