SCE – Stay Aware. Stay Safe.

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Residents In Quiet Tustin Neighborhood Warned Of Spike In Home Burglaries

TUSTIN ( — Residents in a quiet section of Orange County are being warned of a spike in daytime home burglaries in Tustin.

As KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reports, for the third time in just one month, police said suspects have knocked on the door of a home. The latest burglary attempt occurred about 10 a.m. Monday.

“Someone had knocked at her door. She didn’t answer it thinking she didn’t want to deal with whoever was at the door. She then looks in her backyard and sees some stranger in her backyard. He sees her and then flees the area,” Tustin Police Department Lt. Bob Wright said.

The homeowner was too afraid to speak on camera but said the person who knocked on her door was a woman.

Police said that’s exactly what happened last month just two blocks away. When a woman inside that home didn’t come to the door, police said the suspects entered through a sliding glass door in the back.

Police said they then tied her up, ransacked the home, and made off with her car, which was later recovered in South Los Angeles.

In another incident, police said a woman knocking at the door fled when the resident said her husband was home.

The suspects remain at large.

“I would warn any residents, if you see something unusual or feel something that just doesn’t feel right to you, to always call the police department,” Wright said.

In the meantime, police asked residents to not open doors to strangers but to make their presence known from behind their locked doors.

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Tustin serious crime down, injury crashes up in 2014

The number of serious crimes in Tustin dropped significantly in 2014, new data from the Tustin Police Department show, while injury crashes went up 14 percent.

These figures were included in a “year-in-review” report Chief Charles Celano presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

“It was a challenging year,” Celano acknowledged, with growing tension between the public and police across the country in the wake of high-profile shootings in places such as Ferguson, Mo.

Tustin Police fared better than many in this area, Celano said, with programs including Coffee With a Cop and regular town hall meetings keeping the lines of communication open.

Those relationships helped the department achieve its goal to reduce Part I crimes, which include violent and major property crimes, by at least 5 percent in 2014, Celano said. In the end, these serious crimes fell by 7.5 percent.

Celano also attributed this drop to the department’s first full year of using a proactive model of policing, where officers are assigned to patrol areas where crimes have been occurring rather than being sent out on random patrols.

“So far it’s been successful for us,” he said, with plans to build on that model in 2015.

The department didn’t meet its second 2014 goal to reduce vehicle accidents resulting in injuries. There were 264 injury crashes in 2014, plus 395 non-injury crashes. Sixty of those were DUI related.

“The speeds continue to rise,” Celano said, with more cars on local roads each year.

Reducing crashes is a major focus again this year, he said, with an emphasis on increasing bicycle and pedestrian safety.

In 2015, Celano said the department will also be completely remodeling its Emergency Operations Center, making sure the city is ready for a major disaster.

A committee is also working to get body cameras for officers this year to boost transparency, though Celano cautioned issues such as privacy still need to be addressed.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7963

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Who Needs a Business License?

Any individual, partnership or corporation, wishing to conduct a business within the City of Tustin must first obtain a business license. This applies whether the business is home-based, mobile, “store front” or located out of the City with agents working in the City. In addition, those businesses having more than one branch and/or more than one business venture at the same location must have a separate business license for each branch or venture.

Certain types of businesses require special permits. To determine if you need this type of permit, call the Business License Division.

Business License Tax - The business license tax period is a calendar year beginning January 1 and expiring December 31. The City prorates fees quarterly for new business.

Renewal - Once obtained, a business license renewal will automatically be forwarded to your mailing address approximately one month prior to the expiration date.

Penalty - Failure to receive a renewal notice does not relieve the business owner’s responsibility in renewing the business license. Failure to pay the license tax when due will result in a penalty of twenty five percent (25%) of such license tax on the last day of each month after the due date. The amount of such penalty shall not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the amount of the license tax due (Ord. No. 328, Sec 27).

In addition to the business license, a business must also comply with all City Zoning and Building regulations. Contact Planning Division at (714) 573-3140 and the Building Division at (714) 573-3131.

County, Regional, State and Federal Agency permits may also be required for certain types of business. For additional information or staff assistance, please call the Business License Clerk at (714) 573-3144.

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Along El Camino Real in Old Town Tustin sits dozens of historic buildings, but there’s one that stands out. Built in 1885, a small, red store is considered one of the oldest buildings in the entire city. A sign on the front of the building denotes that it was home to the first doctor’s office in the town. Locals know it as the Jabberwocky. “This building is the prime building in Orange County,” owner Margaret Pottenger said. In 1959, Pottenger says she fell in love with the store’s large bay windows and began renting it for $75 a month. She opened a clothing store, selling only elegant dresses and apparel for teenage girls, virtually unheard of at that time. The name for the store came from the comic “Gasoline Alley,” she says. “Jabberwocky was the latest teenage jargon at the time,” Pottenger said. Five years later, she bought the store and moved into the house behind it, where she’s lived ever since. She ran the Jabberwocky until 1988, when she began leasing it to other tenants. On December 14, 2011, an unattended candle nearly burned her beloved building down. “They weren’t able to save a lot of the back, but the front they did save,” recalls Pottenger. Over the last few years, Pottenger’s nephew and a team began rebuilding the space, but it hasn’t been cheap. To help offset the costs, Linda Jennings, the president of Tustin’s Preservation Conservancy, started an online fundraiser this week. “People who have contributed to this fund talk about the fact that they remember coming here and shopping and how much they appreciated this building,” Jennings said. Jennings set the goal at $10,000 to help finish the construction and pay bills. They hope to find someone to eventually rent the space. No matter who moves in, Pottenger hopes people don’t ever forget what the Jabberywocky means to her and the community. “I just want them to remember that this is the greatest building in town,” Pottenger said.

To donate, visit

Courtesy of ABC7 News

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Beckman High student crowned Miss Tustin

Danielle Weniger, center, reacts to the news that she earned the 2015 Miss Tustin title. Thirteen contestants competed in the pageant Saturday at Beckman High School in Irvine.

Danielle Weniger was crowned Miss Tustin 2015 during the annual competition Saturday night.

Weniger won a $1,000 scholarship plus the opportunity to represent Tustin at community events throughout the coming year. She’ll also advance to the Miss California pageant in June and possibly the Miss America pageant in September.

Weniger is a senior at Beckman High School, where the pageant was held. Her talent at color guard helped Weniger best 12 other girls during Saturday’s program, which also included swimsuit and evening gown competitions, an onstage question and an interview earlier that day.

Here are other awards from this year’s pageant.

• First runner-up: Jeanay Jensen, Santiago Canyon College

• Second runner-up: Vivian Strahfus, UC Irvine

• Third runner-up: Lexi Warren, Beckman High School

• Miss Congeniality: Jensen

• Top interview: Jensen

• Most improved: Tiffany Ceja, Foothill High School

• Most ticket sales: Lauren Hamilton, Foothill High School

The pageant is open to women 17 to 24 who live or work in Tustin, go to school in Tustin Unified School District or attend an Irvine college. For more information,

Contact the writer: 714-796-7963 or

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More changes at Union Market Tustin: Some shops out, others coming in

nkewmg-b88345088z.120150226200119000go2882ql.10The revolving door of tenants at Union Market Tustin continues to spin, as one store has been asked to vacate by Sunday while new shops were announced Thursday.

The attorney for Union Market’s landlord, Andrea Young, released a list of tenants at the food and retail hub. Missing from the list: Oh, Hello Friend, a craft shop by popular blogger Danni Hong, and three restaurants by well-regarded restaurateur Leonard Chan.

Chan’s Rolling Boil, Taco Bandito and The Hatch were considered key restaurant anchors for the 23,000-square-foot complex, which opened in late fall at The District.

The revised tenant list includes new food and retail businesses, including Market 2 Plate, Farmers, The Dirty Cookie, Artisan Candle Shop and The Treehouse Shop.

“We are thrilled at our lineup of tenants,” said Robert Jystad, Young’s attorney. “We have seen great traffic in our market and the Central Bar is doing fantastic.”

Jystad said there is a lot of activity, estimating about 2,000 people visit the market weekly. “Those numbers are likely to increase significantly when the next restaurants open,” he said Wednesday.

Two new tenants expressed excitement to be at both Union Market projects in Tustin and Mission Viejo.

“Once we found out about Union Market in Tustin, we jumped at the opportunity to open a seven-day a week store in an amazing location,” said Eastvale-based Artisan Candle said Thursday.

The store, which makes its candles out of soy wax, plans to open April 1.

Truong Kim, a partner at The Dirty Cookie, said the shop will sell cookie shots to Union Market Tustin.

The store molds cookies into the shape of a shot glass. The “cookie glass” is coated with chocolate, creating a leak-proof lining for milk, he said. Dirty Cookie plans to offer “various flavors of milk,” Kim said.

Kim said The Dirty Cookie will take the space where Chocolat Noir operates. The luxury chocolate shop is relocating to a space that is closer to the back entrance, near Drinkbar Juicery, said Chocolat Noir owner Ashkan Eslamdoust.

Kim, who left an IT career to pursue being a restaurant entrepreneur, is also opening a different food concept at Union Market Mission Viejo: Milk Box. Milk Box will serve organic milk teas, desserts and boba. It will have an open kitchen so customers can watch their drinks being prepared, Kim said.

In mid-February, Kaleidoscope operators said the 28,000-square-foot Union Market Mission Viejo is expected to open in early summer.


Earlier this month, Timree and Olive Oil & Beyond exited the Tustin center. In late October, Le Pop Shop was evicted. Chan, who stopped construction of his restaurants over the holidays, could not be reached for comment. He had previously said his Tustin lease was active.

Chan also pulled his food concepts from Union Market Mission Viejo, also managed by Young and her husband, Russell.

With restaurants as the main draw for foot traffic, some Union Market Tustin tenants have been reluctant to open their stores, including Oh, Hello Friend, Front Porch Pops, and Torch S’mores. Drinkbar Juicery and Chocolat Noir have kept limited hours. Retail shops Lili Claspe Jewelry, Luella, Spice & Tulips, Shangri-La and Woodsnap, and the cocktail lounge Central Bar are open.

Earlier this month, Portola Coffee Lab was the first major food and beverage brand to open at Union Market. Portola plans to open at Union Market Mission Viejo.

Other key food anchors expected to open soon include The Kroft and Kettlebar

Hong’s “removal notice,” obtained by the Register, states that she has failed to “cure several breaches” in her license agreement. In a notice dated Feb. 10, Hong was ordered to open her business and pay $1,900 in fees and rent. The letter pointed out that rent became effective Feb. 1 after being forgiven for November, December and January.

“The Youngs have every right to demand that their tenants comply with the terms of their agreements, the most important of which is to open their stores in a timely manner,” Jystad told the Register in an email.

In May, Andrea Young told tenants that “rent will not commence until the majority of our signed restaurants are open,” according to an email obtained by the Register.

It’s unclear what Hong’s next move is. She has not returned requests for a comment.

Kim Daskas, a spokeswoman for Vestar, The District’s owner, has not returned requests for a comment.

Thanks to the OC Register for the insight on a Tustin business. 

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Tustin Police honored at promotions ceremony


 New Sergeant Matt Nunley addresses the crowd at the promotions ceremony with his daughter and son by his side. Photo by Police Services Officer Joseph Chiavatti.

He arrived at work that first day in a suit because that’s what you wear when you want to impress the new bosses.

Matt Nunley parked his Chevy truck in the parking lot and headed into the Tustin Police Department prepared for some behind-a-desk training.

When he got inside, he saw everyone gathered around television sets. They were horrified with what they were watching.

“Do you have a police uniform?” Nunley was immediately asked.

Nunley put on the uniform and accepted his first-day assignment: Patrolling the Tustin Civic Center looking for anything suspicious. The United States was under attack.

It was September 11, 2001.

“It seems like so long ago, like forever,” Nunley said.

Last Thursday night, Nunley was honored in a ceremony in which he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Also promoted was Brian Greene, to the rank of Lieutenant. The ceremony also welcomed three new employees; Parking Control Officers Guadalupe Lazaro, Garret Gergins and Eileen Chen.

During the ceremony, Chief Charles Celano also honored Sgt. Duane Havourd and Officers Mike Shrode and Tom Knostman for their contributions to the SWAT team. Havourd, Shrode and Knostman rotated out of SWAT after serving on the team for several years.


 New Sergeant Matt Nunley has his badge pinned on by his wife.

Chief Charles Celano told an overflow crowd in the Tustin City Council chambers that the promotion ceremony is “one of the honors and privileges that a Chief has.” Celano introduced each of the honorees and their family members.

The honorees then were joined by a family member or friend, who pinned a new badge on their chest.

Celano honored the SWAT members by explaining they had been involved in hostage situations, intense searches for suspects and barricaded suspects. Each of the honorees had completed long careers which is particularly impressive, as SWAT is one of the more difficult assignments, due to rigorous physical and tactical training requirements.

The three Parking Control Officers are just beginning their careers in Tustin.

“I hope to grow into a sworn officer,” said Lupe Lazaro, who is a student at Cal State Fullerton. “I come to work ready to learn.”

Garret Gergins, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies, thanked his family.

“I’m super thankful to my parents for encouraging me,” he said.

Eileen Chen has worked for years in Crime Scene Investigations. She has a degree in Economics Administration from the University of California, Riverside.

Brian Greene was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant after 20 years as a detective, training officer and patrol sergeant. In 2006, Greene won the Medal of Valor Award.


New Lieutenant Brian Greene gets his badge pinned on by his wife.

This is the kind of police officer Greene is. Just before the holidays in 2005, Greene was on his way to get a Christmas tree with his family. He was driving on Santiago Canyon Road when he saw a car engulfed in flames.

Greene ran over and helped pull a woman out of the car. The car fire became a brush fire. The woman had severe injuries but she survived.

When he became a sergeant more than eight years ago, Greene forgot to thank his wife in his speech. So he thanked her first Thursday night. That got him a big laugh.

“I got it right this time,” he said.

Greene said he’s ready for the challenge of being a lieutenant.

“I’m excited for this new opportunity,” he said.


Chief Charles Celano swears in Matt Nunley and Brian Greene.

Thanks to Behind the Badge for the great article!

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Blast from the Past, Officer of the Month May 2002

TustinOfficerof theMonthThree years ago, Officer Brian Greene discussed with his supervision the possibility of participating in a Baker-to-Vegas 120-Mile Relay race. Upon receiving approval, a team was put together consisting of a combination of five officers from the Tustin Police Department and 15 officers from the La Habra Police Department. Subsequently, two years ago Officer Greene proposed putting together a team consisting of just Tustin Police Department personnel to participate in the race. Officer Greene advised that Mary Novotny had agreed to participate and do whatever was necessary as far as volunteers and handling the support side of the race.

Last year the race came together for the Tustin Team, and approximately 50 runners and support people went to Vegas for the weekend where the Team Tustin took Fifth Place in its division.

This year Brian and Mary worked almost year-round on the event and in the last two months leading up to the event, spent several hours putting together volunteers, runners, a race plan, attending meetings, getting City and Police vehicles, and securing sponsors. The event this year went extremely well. All who participated both runners and support personnel said it was the greatest weekend they spent with the police department. All the hard work and effort by Officer Brian Greene and Lead Mary Novotny paid off as the Tustin Police Department took first prize in their division for the Baker to Vegas 120- Mile Relay race.

The success of this event can be attributed to many people, those who went to the race, those who stayed behind and worked, as well as upper management giving their approval for the event. However, if not for the hard work of Officer Brian Greene and Record Lead Mary Novotny the event would not have taken place.

For the above reasons it is our pleasure to honor Officer Brian Greene and Records Lead Mary Novotny as the Chamber of Commerce “Officers of the Month” for May 2002. 

* * *

The Tustin Police Officer of the Month Award recognition began in 1972 as an idea developed by Chamber Member, Jack Shafer of Computer Bits, as a way of recognizing our community officers.  

The honoree is recognized during the Tustin Chamber of Commerce Membership Breakfast held the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Tustin Ranch Golf Club.

The Officer’s name is engraved on a plaque which is on display at the Tustin Police Department.  His/her name and picture are also placed on the Tustin Chamber of Commerce Web Site.

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Get an up close view of the hangar at the Leprechaun Leap 5K

By Jonathan Stone / Contributing writer

njitxn-b88323015z.120150209122034000gtu7tmkl.10Looking to get a glimpse inside a Tustin landmark, while raising money for local charities? The upcoming Leprechaun Leap 5K Run gives you that chance.

Completed in 1943, Tustin’s military hangars housed the Navy’s lighter than air patrol blimps. Redeveloped after the war, the hangar complex became dedicated to helicopter operations, eventually becoming the home of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

The base closed in 1993, but the Marine aviators remain a beloved memory for the people of Tustin, proud to have played a part in military aviation history.

Opportunities to venture inside the hangars are rare, but residents will have an opportunity to do just that on March 15 during the Leprechaun Leap 5K Run, hosted by the Tustin Chamber of Commerce. The chip-timed event includes a trip through hangar two as part of a certified 5-kilometer route. This is the fourth Leprechaun Leap and the second time the hangar has been a part of the route.

The race is pet-friendly, and costumes are encouraged. Race day events also include beer tasting, live music and vendors. The Leprechaun Leap raises money for local charities and in 2015 will be supporting Heroes and Healthy Families.

Headquartered in Santa Ana, Heroes and Healthy Families has served more than 20,500 Marines and sailors from nine military installations across the continental United States, Hawaii and Japan since 2004. Its mission is to empower our nation’s military and their families to heal the psychological wounds of war by providing them with critical knowledge and psychological support.

Heroes and Healthy Families also offers a series of marriage retreats for couples that take place on military bases and in Orange County for veterans and active-duty service members from all branches of the United States military.

The proceeds of the 2015 Leprechaun Leap 5K will be used to serve 3,000 Marines and sailors stationed in Okinawa, Japan on April 28-30.

Those interested in learning more about Heroes and Healthy Families and the Tustin hangars are encouraged to participate in the Leprechaun Leap 5K Run by visiting, and

Thank you to the OC Register for the article.

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