All posts by Joe Mehochko

Sun City Granite is replacing the 12 foot City Seal in Temecula

TEMECULA: Replacement seal in works for Civic Center

Judy Harter, leader of a local nonprofit, walks past the seal in front of the Civic Center on Friday, Jan. 24. The seal is being replaced with a solid granite version
January 27, 2014; 01:45 PM

The city is replacing the large brass and granite mosaic seal at the Civic Center’s main entrance, a handsome piece of work that ended up being a slick annoyance.

It is being replaced with a new seal made entirely of dark grey rock known as Imperial granite. Mined from a San Marcos quarry, it was delivered to the engraver, Sun City Granite of Perris, on Monday.

The old mosaic featured polished granite and brass cut-out elements, including two grape clusters, the bust of a Native American and a stagecoach. When it rained, the surface of the seal became very slick, creating a safety hazard for pedestrians.

To prevent people from walking over the seal, the city put safety cones around it during wet weather.

Temecula Assistant Manager Greg Butler said the city attempted to solve the problem by sandblasting the surface of the seal, which he estimated cost the city roughly $20,000 to $25,000.

“It was simply observed that shortly after the mosaic was treated for the slippery wet surface, the summer heat caused the brass cut outs to expand, bow and break the surrounding granite,” Butler said.

Butler said it will cost about $19,000 to replace the seal and the money to pay for the work is coming from the city’s public art fund that is fed by development impact fees.

The city is not seeking to recover the costs associated with the original installation because it was put in as per the original design.

“We are not seeking to recover any costs from the designer either,” Butler added. “We cannot be certain what caused the brass pieces in the original mosaic to begin to expand and contract so dramatically after the sandblasting treatment.”

Work on the replacement seal is scheduled to begin Feb. 17, when City Hall will be closed for Presidents’ Day, said Bruce Wedeking, the city’s maintenance supervisor.

Teresa Herbers, owner of Sun City Granite, said the design of the new seal — which will weigh around 3,500 pounds –, should eliminate the slipping issues.

“We made a point to make most of the granite engraved so it had a rough texture,” she said. “We were very careful about that.”

When the $70 million Civic Center was unveiled in late 2010, flourishes that elicited “oohs” and “ahs,” according to published reports, were the large video screen in the council chambers, the mosaic artwork that hangs in the hallway leading to the chambers and the seal.

Contact Aaron Claverie at 951-368-9698 at

New Seal at Temecula City Hall

Temecula is spending $19,000 to replace the city seal in front of the Temecula Civic Center. The new seal will:

be a 12-foot wide circle of granite

be 2 inches thick


Update From Sun City Granite

Starting to do the layout of the granite and granite is cut and polished,  layout of stencils on new seal photos of Slabs


TEMECULA: Artists craft new city seal

Teresa Herbers and Joe Mehochko owners of Sun City Granite work on creating the new seal to front Temecula’s City Hall in Perris Feb, 12, 2014. The seal is being replaced with a solid granite version after the original, which featured brass elements, became a safety hazard


February 14, 2014; 01:27 PM

A huge chunk of Imperial granite mined from a quarry in San Marcos. Crushed garnet trucked down from the Pacific Northwest. Elbow grease and sweat supplied by the owners of Sun City Granite in Perris.

All these Made in the U.S.A. elements are coming together to create a new city seal that will be set in front of the main entrance to Temecula’s Civic Center, which opened with fanfare in late 2010.

“It’s going to be really impressive when it’s done,” said Joe Mehochko, co-owner of Sun City Granite.

Mehochko – his face, hair, pants and baggy shirt covered in crushed garnet – spent three hours on Thursday, Feb. 13, personally sandblasting one of the four pie-shaped wedges that will form the new seal. He’s going to spend equal time on each of the other wedges as well.

To create the seal pattern, Sun City used a printer — Mehochko noted it was also Made in the U.S. — to create the stencil that is set on the granite. The adhesive on the stencil, applied by Sun City co-owner Teresa Herbers, bonds with the granite and allows it to withstand crushed garnet pumped out at 120 pounds per square inch.

Sun City is doing the sandblasting by hand because the automatic sandblasting machine that it uses for headstones is not large enough to accommodate the huge wedges that will make up the 3,500-pound seal, which will be 12-feet wide when assembled.

The original seal – which featured large brass cut-out elements of grape clusters, the bust of a Native American and a stagecoach – cost around $20,000. It was praised for its appearance but it quickly became a headache for the city.

During rainy weather, the surface became slick and the city had to put safety cones and warning signs around it: not a particularly positive first impression for a $70-million building designed to be the focal point of a revitalized Old Town.

To create a tacky surface and make the seal safe to walk on, the city brought in a sandblasting crew. Shortly after the seal was blasted, however, the brass pieces started to pop out of place and the granite started cracking.

Assistant City Manager Greg Butler said the city did not seek to recover the costs associated with the initial installation because it was put in according to all specifications. And the city was not able to determine if it was the sandblasting that damaged the seal or abnormal weather conditions.

The city eventually removed the brass elements, creating an odd looking piece of work that sat atop the steps of City Hall for months.

On Presidents’ Day, while City Hall is closed, crews will be jackhammering the old seal out and creating a pad for the new work. Butler said it’s going to cost around $19,000 to complete the job, which includes the money paid to Sun City Granite.

The new seal should stand the test of time, Mehochko said.

“You could drive a car over it!” he said.

Sun City is hoping to have the new seal placed and set by next week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

Contact Aaron Claverie at 951-368-9698 at

Install Day of the Temecula City Seal

install of temecula new city seal imperial granite by sun city granite headstones and monuments
Plaicng one of the four pieces of the seal total weight 3500


photo 2 (35)

TEMECULA: New city seal signed, delivered

March 01, 2014; 07:31 PM
 The new seal at the Temecula Civic Center's main entrance was replaced after the old seal became a slipping hazard in wet condition in Temecula, March,01, 2014.

The city spent almost $20,000 to replace the city seal atop the front steps of the Civic Center for weekends like this.

As wind whipped the trees and Rod Run banners in the Town Square and rain poured down on the center, water beaded atop the new city seal without turning the 12-foot wide circle into a slip ‘n’ slide.

The old seal, which was unveiled along with the rest of the $70 million Civic Center in late 2010, featured a combination of slick granite and brass cutouts of a Native American bust and a stagecoach.

During wet weather, it became so slippery that when it rained, the city took to placing safety cones and caution signs around it.

To rectify the slipping issue, the city brought in a sandblasting crew. After the work was done, however, the granite began cracking and the brass cutouts popped out on hot summer days.

On Presidents’ Day, a crew jackhammered out the old seal to make way for the 3,500 pound, all-granite seal that was etched by Sun City Granite in Perris.

The new seal was sandblasted with crushed garnet to give the entire surface a tacky feel that should prevent a slipping accident.

“I think it’s ‘done done,’” said City Manager Aaron Adams, fielding questions on the seal before heading into a lunch event with the mayor at the center’s conference center on Friday.

The new seal at the Temecula Civic Center's main entrance was replaced after the old seal became a slipping hazard in wet condition in Temecula, March,01, 2014.


The new seal at the Temecula Civic Center's main entrance was replaced after the old seal became a slipping hazard in wet condition in Temecula, March,01, 2014. Maryann Edwards said she is happy with how the seal turned out and she personally checked out the surface by shuffling atop it to test its grip.

To create the pattern, Sun City Granite used a printer to create a stencil that was applied to the four pie wedges of granite that make up the seal. The surface was personally sandblasted by one of the co-owners of the company.

Contact Aaron Claverie at 951-368-9698 or

Temecula Civic Center’s new city seal

Size: 12-feet wide

Material: Imperial granite

Weight: 3,500 pound slab

Cost: $19,000

The process of making a Headstone Monument

1) The first step is to choose the type (typically marble or granite) and color of the stone. The granite block is then cut from the bedrock. There are three ways of doing this. The first method is drilling. This method uses a pneumatic drill that bores vertical holes 1 in (2.54 cm) apart and 20 ft (6.1 m) deep into the granite. The quarrymen then use 4 in (10.1 cm) long steel bits that have steel teeth to cut away at the core of the rock.



2) Granite blocks are usually about 3 ft (0.9 m) wide, 3 ft (0.9 m) high, and 10 ft (3 m) long, weighing about 20,250 lb (9,185 kg). Workers either loop a cable around the block or drill hooks into either end and attach the cable to the hooks. In both ways the cable is attached to a large derrick that lifts the granite block up and onto a flatbed truck that transports it to the headstone manufacturer. The quarries tend to be independently owned and sell the granite to manufacturers, but there are some larger companies that own quarries.





3) After arriving at the manufacturing house, the granite slabs are unloaded onto a conveyor belt where they are cut into smaller slabs. The slabs are generally 6, 8, 10, or 12 in (15.2, 20.3, 25, and 30.4 cm, respectively) thick. This step is done with a rotary diamond saw. The saw is equipped with a 5 ft (1.5 m) or 11.6 ft (3.54 m) solid steel diamond blade. The blade usually has about 140-160 industrial diamond segments and has the ability to cut an average of 23-25 ft

headstone granite line polishing



4) The cut slabs are passed under a varying number of rotating heads (usually eight to 13) with differing levels of grit arranged from the most  to the least. The first few heads have a harsh diamond grit, the middle heads are for honing, and the last few heads are equipped with felt buffer pads. These pads have water and aluminum or tin oxide powder on them to polish the stone to a smooth, glossy finish. The polished slab is then moved along the conveyor belt to the hydraulic breaker. The breaker is equipped with carbide teeth that exert close to 5,000 psi of hydraulic pressure . The headstone is then ready for finishing. Rock Pitching entails chiseling the outer edges of the stone by hand, giving a more defined, personal shape. Then the monument is crated and sent to the monument shop.



5) The design department will take the customer ideas and create a headstone layout of what the memorial will look like and then this will be presented to the customer for approval of the art work and Inscription



6) After approval of the  headstone memorial,the workers apply an adhesive-backed rubber stencil to the granite headstone face that is to be personalized. This stencil is used as a guide to engrave any information, such as words, dates, or emblems, into the granite headstone surface. In earlier years, the design was hand drawn onto the stone, and then hand-carved. This process, obviously, left a lot of room for error, which was very difficult to correct once engraved. Now the stencils are generated in a computer program that will accurately produce the best stencil for the requested design and information to be etched. While computers are now used to help the engraver in producing a more precise outcome on the stone, the process is still greatly reliant on the artisan’s skill and ability to work with the programs and machinery.

sandblasting a headstone monument grave marker memorial california


7) Once the stencil has been applied, the engraving (also known as carving) is done in a special sandblasting room. In this room, workers use a high-pressure air hose to trace the design from the stencil into the granite headstones. Once the design is carved from the stencil, the engravers fill in the crevasses with black litho, so that the lettering stands out against the natural coloring of the stone. The uncut portion of the stencil is then removed, and, after the standard final preparations, the granite headstone is ready to be shipped.

You can add photos, vases, and other items to personalize your headstone memorial.

Sun City Granite  porcelain ceramics photos are supplied from Paradise Pictures we feel they have the best process and product on the market with an lifetime warranty..

  About Paradise Pictures, LLC

Paradise Pictures® introduced the first high fired color photo ceramic process to the memorial industry in 1991. Our process ensures the best reproduction of your client’s photos through digital scanning, computer color adjustment, and proprietary high-resolution digital imaging. This unique process creates a ceramic memorial portrait that exceeds the requirements for durability in memorial applications. Ceramic colors fired at very high temperatures in our photo ceramic process endure the extremes of weather and environment. Colors will not fade and the medallion finish will not deteriorate, thus ensuring the permanence expected in the memorial industry.

Our process creates a finished product with an image as sharp as the original photograph with natural skin tones and detailed color quality. We begin with the family’s photograph, scan it at a high resolution, digitally clean the photo as needed, and correct any color imbalances. Imaging is accomplished using our proprietary process and the medallion is fired at a temperature of up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks to the efficiencies of our unique equipment and digital technology, our process is typically completed in less than 15 working days. This union of time-honored ancient enameling and high-resolution digital photography brings the finest quality portraits to the memorialization industry.

Cleaning Memorials in the Cemetery

The granite memorial you have purchased is a combination of the finest natural materials and modern craftsmanship. However, like any material exposed to the elements some maintenance is recommended. Memorials are exposed to airborne pollution, chemical residues from fertilizer and weed killers, and especially mineral deposits from water.
Never use waxes or polishes on the granite. Any window-cleaning agent, such as Windex, will bring up the natural luster by cleaning the surface of the stone.
Once or twice a year, perhaps on an anniversary, birthday or Memorial Day, use a solution made from three or four tablespoons of granular electric dishwasher detergent, such as Cascade, Electrosal or Sunlight, and one quart of water to scrub the memorial. A fiber-bristled brush (do not use plastic or metal bristle brushes) should be used and when the washing is completed, the memorial should be rinsed thoroughly. Take care not to get the solution in your eyes by wearing appropriate eye protection. It is best if this cleaning is done when the memorial is cool – early morning or late afternoon is best.
For heavy mineral deposits, the memorial can be cleaned with pumice stone. Pumice is a soft volcanic rock that can be used to clean polished granite.
1.Wipe off memorial to remove any loose debris. This step is very important.
2.Pumice should be used wet. Gently rub the pumice stone on the polished surfaces in a light, circular motion. Do not try to clean in areas where the polish has been removed. The pumice stone will slowly wear away while removing the surface buildup.
3.Wipe or wash off the residue.

The Process of Ordering Headstones

Our Advice for Headstone Selection

How do I order a headstone?

We understand that ordering a memorial headstone is not something people do all the time, so our aims is to make the process easy and stress free for you.

Call Sun City Granite for some free advice on selecting a memorial headstone

Our experienced team will ask you which cemetery the headstone is to go to, along with the name of the deceased. We will also find out if there are any council bylaws applying to the cemetery and area where the headstone is to be installed, as some cemeteries will have a restriction on the size of a headstone or plaque and sometimes even the design. In most public and private cemeteries  as long as we stay adhere to the the size requirements, we are usually able to install any headstone design you like.

Considerations when ordering a headstone

  • Have a think about the future. Is the headstone for just the one person, or will there be additional details to be added at a later date?
  • Do you wish to have ceramic photographs on the headstone?
  • Do you have a verse or phrase you would like inscribed on the headstone or even onto the base?
  • Do you plan to have an unveiling, ceremony or service and what is the date for this?

How long will my headstone take to make?

We are also able to produce a high quality memorial for you in less than a week if necessary. Please note that custom memorial headstones will take longer to produce — up to 10 weeks and sometimes slightly longer. The normal time-frame for a headstone we have in stock is 3 to 4 weeks.

Deciding on an inscription

If you are having trouble with the inscription, call our staff at Sun City Granite to discuss layout options.  We have an experienced team who are adept at helping out with what wording to put on the headstone, the best way to lay the text out, what graphics would complement the wording and any other questions you may have. A ceramic-porcelain photograph or a graphic image tells a story of your family member and is a lovely way to remember them by.

Draft headstone designs

Once you have decided on a headstone design and your wording, our graphic artists will produce for you a draft layout of what the headstone will look like with your inscription. Obviously, this is only a draft and making changes is a common and expected part of the process.

When the draft is finished and signed off, the headstone will be produced and made ready for installation.

Lake Elsinore High School adding on to Veteran’s Memorial

Teresa, Let me give you some recent history on the impact what Sun City Granite has done for the EHS community.  Every year at the beginning of the football season they meet at the memorial and talk about what real sacrifice means; people are often seen at the memorial and we hear comments how grateful they are; and one of the greatest signs of respect…to my knowledge it has never been tagged!  We are so grateful.  If the color can’t be matched, we are certainly up for suggestions as to what you think would look best.  Thanks again for all you’ve done, Stan

Lake elsinore high School veteran memorial Lake elsinore high School Veteran Plaque Lake elsinore high School Plaque1

Sun City Granite Veterans Memorial at Temecula’s Duck Pond Park Still engraving after 10 years

HUNNEMAN: Paving the Way to Honor our Vets


Temecula's Veterans Memorial at Duck Pond Park  was dedicated in 2004.  (JOHN HUNNEMAN)

Temecula’s Veterans Memorial at Duck Pond Park
was dedicated in 2004.

There is rarely a time when I drive past, or once in a while when I stop by, that I don’t see someone standing at the Veterans Memorial at Temecula’s Duck Pond Park.

Dedicated on Veterans Day in November 2004, the “Letter’s Home” monument includes the statue of a soldier, pausing from the battle with his rifle by his side, to write a letter to a family member, friend or loved one.

Sept pics 027

Surrounding the statue are depictions of actual letters written home by military men and women from the battlefields of many of America’s conflicts.

Visitors usually take the time to read those letters and also look at the pathways leading to the memorial, where 1,270 engraved pavers honor veterans who have served honorably from the American Revolution until present day.

The Path of Honor was conceived by World War II U.S. Navy veteran David Micheal, who a decade ago worked tirelessly to collect the applications of the first 700 or so veterans to be honored even while he was battling cancer.

David Micheal died about six months after the monument was dedicated. His wife Barbie has carried on the work since her husband’s passing.

Each paver is engraved with the name, rank, and branch of service on the first two lines with the third line reserved for a word or two about that veteran’s service.

When the monument was dedicated in 2004, about 760 pavers were installed and filled the shorter of the two pathways.  Subsequent installations have been smaller but usually over 100 at a time because it costs the city both time and money to do the engraving and the $75 fee does not cover the entire cost.

Now the second and longer of the two pathways is about 80 percent filled.

The longer of the two Paths of Honor  is about 80 percent filled.

The longer of the two Paths of Honor
is about 80 percent filled.

Paver applications, Barbie told me recently, have slowed in recent years and currently she has only six requests for new pavers.

“The city requires me to have more, but the requests haven’t come in,” she said. “Those folks have been waiting for six months and they want to see their people honored.”

So now, with Veterans Day approaching and the longer path almost full, it would be a good time to finally honor the veterans in your family, even if that veteran has no connection to Temecula.

Applications are available at the city’s website — — and more information can be obtained by calling Micheal at 951-304-3467.

House Passes Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act Designed by Sun City Granite

Press Releases

House Passes Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act

Washington, D.C., Oct 29, 2013 | 0 comments

Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) officially designating the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside.


Following the passage of the bill, Rep. Calvert issued the following statement:

“Establishing the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial in Riverside continues our country’s proud tradition of honoring our soldiers.  Distinguished Flying Cross recipients have received this prestigious medal for their heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Armed Forces.  The designation of the memorial at March Field Air Museum as a national memorial will ensure that these brave American heroes, their families, and all admirers of the Distinguished Flying Cross, will have a place to remember, honor, and pay tribute.  I am hopeful that the Senate will pass the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act in the very near future.”

Background on the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal:

The Distinguished Flying Cross was established by the Air Corps Act enacted by Congress in 1926.  The Distinguished Flying Cross is the only medal conferred by all five military services, in all wars and campaigns from World War I to the present.


The most reliable statistics regarding the number of members of the Armed Forces who have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross indicate that 126,318 members of the Armed Forces received the medal during World War II, approximately 21,000 members received the medal during the Korean conflict, and 21,647 members received the medal during the Vietnam War. Since the end of the Vietnam War, more than 203 Armed Forces members have received the medal in times of conflict.

LAKE ELSINORE: Veterans memorial proposed for Diamond Stadium


“We who build shrines and construct public altars or parade with photographs of the deceased will not allow you to write off victims as regrettable statistics…They are, I believe, the voice of the people.” –Jack Santino

Veterans Day #1: Lake Elsinore Veterans memorial proposed for Diamond Stadium

I will be sharing a series of articles from the Inland Empire-based newspaper The Press-Enterprise regarding a proposed Veterans memorial in Lake Elsinore, California and then writing a post about it in the context of spontaneous shrines.  Here is the first article from PE on October 24th:

LAKE ELSINORE: Veterans memorial proposed for Diamond Stadium

The Lake Elsinore City Council will vote on the project at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The cost is put at $46,172


Published: 22 October 2012 04:16 PM

A black granite memorial to military veterans has been proposed for the main entrance to the Lake Elsinore Storm’s Diamond Stadium.

The City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 23, will consider approving the memorial’s final design and $50,000 price tag. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Lake Elsinore Cultural Arts Center, 183 N. Main St.

The six-foot-tall memorial will feature a set of polished black granite pedestals set on a raised concrete circle in front of the stadium entrance. Five small pedestals will be engraved with the emblems of each branch of the armed forces, surrounding a taller, central monument with text over an American Flag.

The base of the monument, under the silhouette of a solider kneeing in front of a cross, will read: “Freedom is Never Free.”

The design was chosen by a committee of Mayor Brian Tisdale, Lake Elsinore Historical Society President Joyce Hohenadl and representatives from local veterans groups, according to a city report.

Hohenadl said the group wanted a prominent location, so they decided to put the memorial right where baseball fans walk in to buy their tickets for Storm games.

“We thought that would be the most visible place for it,” Hohenadl said.

The memorial will be built by Sun City Granite, a Perris company known for its work with the military. The engraving company produces headstones for all fallen troops buried at Riverside National Cemetery.

It also built the National Distinguished Flying Cross Memorial at March Air Force Base and the new veterans memorial in Canyon Lake, said owner Teresa Herbers.

The company, which designed the Lake Elsinore memorial, has agreed to build it for $46,172. The city has $50,000 set aside for the project in its 2012-13 budget.

Follow John F. Hill on Twitter: @johnfhill2