Friday, July 13, 2018

Wonder Valley August Artist of the Month | Joe Barrett

Joe Barrett is a local photographer and videographer who has loaned his expertise to the developing interest in Hazel I. Stiles’ Volcanic Gardens | Sermons in Stone.

Sermons in Stone is a text-based art project created by Wonder Valley homesteader Hazel I Stiles sometime in the 1980's. The text references both religion and patriotism, but is complicated by her vast personal readings and oblique references to Shakespeare and religious poets like Charles Barlow. The text was laid out meticulously -- stone by stone -- and can really only be read from above. The project covers an area of land about 300’ - 150’. Hazel’s personal story is interesting in itself and mirrors the disappointments that drive so many people out to this harsh land.

Ten photographs of the project, and 10 minutes of stunning drone footage, will be featured at the Wonder Valley Community Center, through August.

Joe Barrett will speak about his work on this project, drone photography, and videography, starting at 11 a.m., on Saturday, August 4th, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, in Wonder Valley. Ken Sitz, his project partner, will also speak on Sermons in Stone, and the process that has taken place in bringing this homestead art to the public eye.

Everyone is welcome to come, enjoy the artwork, join the discussion, and ask questions.


After serving in the US Air Force, Joe Barrett worked in the film industry in Los Angeles in several positions, including Production Design, Camera Operator, and Director. Active and involved in multiple artistic projects, Joe was sidelined in 2015 by the rare and debilitating disease, transverse myelitis. Retreating to the Morongo Basin, his long-time home away from home, Joe worked on his recovery, and turned to photography and video. He eventually bought land in Wonder Valley and transformed the remains of a derelict homestead cabin into one of the area’s most popular and unique HipCamps -- the Edge of the Wilderness.

In time, and with a lot of work, Joe got back on his feet - literally, and began shooting videos for local musicians and bands. Through these he became familiar with our harsh terrains, which he embraced, and optimized to emphasize human form and talent, making expert, and stunning, use of drone photography.

Joe met Ken Sitz at the local watering hole -- The Palms, and the two became friends. When Ken became interested in exploring Hazel Stiles’ homestead art project, long neglected and mostly forgotten, Ken turned to Joe for assistance in framing the project in a way that was more accessible to the public. Joe and his team spent many days on site photographing and filming this challenging project, which is best seen from above.

Joe’s latest video for Spectra Records recording artists, Firebug may be seen at the link below. The song is “Follower”, and was filmed almost entirely in Wonder Valley.

Salvation Army Food Distribution

The Salvation Army Food Distribution takes place starting at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277. The Community Center is located between the Fire Station and the palm tree cell tower.

The distribution is first come first served, and ends when there is no more food. The distribution is open to Wonder Valley residents, who self-certify on site. No documentation is required, though you will need to fill out a form the first time you attend.

Starting in July the distribution will be “shopping style,” so bring a bag, and take what you like from a selection of food from Trader Joe’s. Please be mindful that people behind you need food, as well, and only take what you need. There may also be a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

A Salvation Army worker will be present to help people apply for Energy Assistance Funds (EAF) in partnership with Southern California Edison and the United Way. This program provides up to $100 towards a SoCal Edison bill for those who qualify. This program is open to anyone in the Morongo Basin, not just Wonder Valley residents. To qualify you will need three things:

  1. An appointment. There are 10 appointments available this month. Call Teresa Sitz at 760-367-9880 for an appointment. Be sure to keep your confirmation number.
  2. Your most recent Southern California Edison bill.
  3. Your most recent proof of income.

Appointments will be scheduled starting at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277. The Community Center is located between the Fire Station and the palm tree cell tower.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Experimental Sound, July 14, The Palms

It will be an evening of experimental sound starting at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, July 14th, at The Palms, 83131 Amboy Road in Wonder Valley. Phog masheeen headlines. Omninaut hales from the Netherlands, and Usufruct! from Wonder Valley.
The Kate Short Experience will regale us with accordion.

The event, as well as camping, is free, though donations for gas are much appreciated.

WV USDA Food Distribution

The USDA Food Distribution will begin sometime after 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 16th at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277. The Community Center is next to the Fire Station.

Low income Wonder Valley residents self-certify on site. No ID or other documentation is required. You may pick up a box for a neighbor, or they may pick up a box for you, IF you present a signed pick up form. Pick up forms are available online at They are also available at the WVCC on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m..

For more information, call Teresa Sitz at (760) 367-9880.

Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mike Stinson and Rosa Pullman, July 28th

Kevin Bone, from The Palms, reports:

"Holy smokes, MIKE STINSON is going to be playing at the PALMS (with his band, all the way from Houston), and on the same bill is ROSA PULLMAN!!
Sat, July 28th, 7 PM. If you're looking for your bartender after the show starts, he'll be out on the dance floor bouncing up and down."

Friday, July 6, 2018

Crime Stats for June 2018

In June 2018 there were 64 calls, 4 reports, and 1 arrest. The arrest was for violating penal code 4573, which pertains to taking drugs or a controlled substance to a jail.

There were four 459s - burglaries or attempted burglaries, and one petty theft.

There were several reports of fighting in public, which I have not seen here before.

Teresa Sitz, the MAC Delegate for Wonder Valley, has been teasing our stats out of media reports since May of 2017. This is tedious work. The stats are unofficial, and there is a small margin of error.

A change in numbers does not reflect a change in service. A change in numbers can reflect a change in the willingness to call the Sheriff's Department, with reports and arrests correlating in response.

If you call the Sheriff's Department, ALWAYS ask for an INCIDENT NUMBER. Please write it down.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Get out of the heat on Friday.

The Wonder Valley Community Center will be open this coming Friday, July 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those of you who would like to get out of the heat. Service animals on leash and under their owner's control are welcome.

Temps are expected to be 111 degrees. We have A/C, WIFI, books, and puzzles. Bring a snack and something to entertain yourself.