Saturday, August 29, 2015

Many Moods of Ben Vaughn - Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

This week's MANY MOODS OF BEN VAUGHN will feature selections by these fine recording artists and more. Full playlist to follow.

KCDZ, Joshua Tree, CA (Sundays at 3:00 pm PST)

Now available on iTunes thanks to KCDZ in Joshua Tree, CA.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Desert Trail Column, August 27, 2015

We send out Rainbows-of-Peridots-and-Gladioli to Bill Yoakum who celebrates his special day this week. And, since the birthstone for September is the sapphire and the flower is the aster, we send out Rainbows-of-Sapphires-and-Asters to Scott Kelso who also celebrates a special day this week. Happy birthday to both of you!

Karen’s Commentary: Thanks to John Klink for sending over a coffee can full of used stamps. The eagles in Big Bear love you, John! In case you don’t know, I send the stamps to a gardening club in Phelan that sells them to a company that sells packets of stamps to collectors all over the world. The gardening club donates their proceeds to help save the eagles in Big Bear. To donate used stamps, cut or tear them off your mail (leaving a ¼” border all around, if possible) and drop them off at our community center or my house, or give them to Dar or Ted. Or you can just pack up the whole envelopes and I’ll do the cutting!

Darlene’s Commentary: I always love feedback from our readers! Yesterday I received a sweet card in the mail from a reader named Molly Vermette wishing me a speedy recovery and saying some very nice things about our column. Thank you, Molly, for a sunshine day for me! I also want to thank Judy Taylor, Sandi Arismendi and Karen for the beautiful custom-made cards – oh, so very cheerful! Today’s mail brought a lovely card from Almut Fleck, and I’m with you, Almut – it’s good to take your time. And I would love to know the name of the gorgeous purple flowers gracing the front of the sweet card sent by Donna Parsons! It read “Imagine a garden filled with wonderful flowers, where each one is a wish for more joy-filled hours.” Beautiful cards, beautiful poetry and the dearest friends on this Earth! I am immersed in gratitude!

Frank Mezget's handmade Wayside Chapel
If you have not yet visited the little tiny Wayside Chapel on the property of the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, you are missing something special. It is so darling and beautiful inside – just a precious little treasure. I take everyone there to show them, and haven’t had a disappointed visitor yet! It is open 24/7 and is a self-tour thing. The chapel is out toward the highway at 77575 29 Palms Highway and there is a nice big area to park next to it.

Handy Hint: Buy a small [spray] bottle and fill it with vegetable or olive oil. It’s cheaper than buying cans of cooking spray.

Thought for Today: Education will never become as expensive as ignorance.

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Flash flooding in Wonder Valley, August 26

Neighbor and photograph Ron Resnick took this picture of flash flood damage on his property from yesterday's storm.

We will rebuild.

Seriously, though. Shelton was and may still be impassable today. Locals are taking Steeg instead. Highway 62 is fine.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cabin demolished in Wonder Valley

Jill Reinig and Mary Sibley both told me about the demolition of the house at 82524 Amboy Road at School, last August 17 and 18. Though community members have questions about the process leading up to the demolition and public notification, most people felt positive about the action.

A permit was pulled at Land Use Services, #B201506012, by Dakeno, Inc, 6021 Tarragona Drive, Riverside, CA 92509.
Prior to cleanup
Photo:  Teresa Sitz
Photo: James Sibley

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Monthly Monday Meeting | September 14, 2015

Photo courtesy of Ken Sitz.
Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate in 
the Wonder Valley Monthly Monday meeting.

Monday, September 14, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277

Jim Ricker, Assistant Chief of Staff G5, and Kristina Becker, Community Liaison,
will present and answer questions regarding

The agenda will be posted shortly.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Where's Heather?

Wonder Valley's own artist, Heather Johnson, is riding her motorcycle to the other end of the Americas. She's made it as far as Cusco, Peru.

Heather Johnson: In Search of the Frightening and Beautiful
From Heather:
Hey there everybody. So.. sorry for the long, crazy silence. It´s good to be in Cusco, churning through all the different bureaucratic processes involved in replacing the things I need to move forward. It´s happening, little by little. The first image I post from the replacement phone will be one hell of a luxury. Since I can´t post pictures at the moment, words will have to suffice. Here are a few collected bits from the last week I´d like to share. They are memory fragments - things I´ve seen, felt, heard, smelled, in mountain towns here in northern Peru. Feel free to run away with them in your heads at will. 
Love, H. 
A cow, eyes rolling in her head, runs down the concrete highway for her life or freedom, a long piece of rope trailing behind her. 
Broken bits of concrete gushing water from the rain. Blood red rivers of melting clay color the streets. 
20 guys with sticks and metal pipes struggle to remove boulders and 5-foot dirt piles from the middle of the road. Miles of buses and trucks wait to pass, their drivers huddled together, smoking cigarettes. 
Animal carcases organized in piles. Jumbled heads of lambs all look as though they´re half asleep. 
Cracked mannikin faces with brightly painted eyes and lips. 
Old men, stooped and limping, who look as if they spent their youths carrying bricks on their backs. 
Body heat. Blankets thick as rugs.
Rows and rows of televisions in different stages of disrepair. 
Bright yellow chicken legs with their nails all pointing in the same direction. 
Rain clouds close enough to touch. 
Skidding around an oil and rain-slicked switchback. Gliding to a horizontal stop with only the tiniest asphalt mark on my helmet to show for it. (Oh yeah.. and a slightly bent clutch lever.) 
Snow covered mountains with clouds smoking from their summits, backlit burnt orange from the setting sun. 
Dodging boulders bouncing off the mountainside. 
Villages made of mud and hand-painted political ads. No people anywhere. 
Underwear, uniformly arranged and sized, hang on a rooftop from multicolored clothing pins. 
My fingers. Forever blue, grey and black.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mojave WIFI Expansion

Pat, from Mojave WIFI called me today to tell me that they're expanding their service in Wonder Valley.

Call or write to Pat to see if they can set you up with WIFI.

Phone: (760) 366-7515

Desert Trail Column, August 20, 2015

The monthly meeting with our MAC Representative Teresa Sitz went well. Discussions included providing a large dumpster for an area cleanup, a community potluck in October and the possibility of the County offering monetary incentives for tire recycling. Also, the County Code Enforcement Supervisor answered many questions.

We send out Rainbows-of-Peridots-and-Gladioli to Dominick Bruxer and to Ted Meyers who celebrate their special days this week, plus belated wishes to Alexa whose special day was last week. Happy birthday to all of you!

Darlene’s Commentary: I’m back! No, I haven’t been captured by poltergeists, but I did spend some time in la-la land after my hip replacement surgery. I evidently took my time coming out of the anesthesia (not a surprise for anyone who knows me – late to almost everything). Anyway, my dear sister Karen waited as long as she could, then took a very unflattering picture of me snoring so she can show it to everyone! Seriously, my plan was to write a little about my surgery and a lot about how grateful I am for all of the love, support, kindness and help from friends and family. Thank you all, with love.

Karen’s Commentary: Have you noticed all the tire chunks along both sides of Amboy Road? Last week I counted 31 substantial–sized pieces between Utah Trail and the fire station. Maybe it’s because of the increase in large truck traffic when the I-10 was closed? Or maybe just because the County hasn’t cleaned up the shoulders of the road for awhile? I’m not sure. On another note, thanks go to our cousin Annie in Phoenix for sending a large envelope FULL of nicely cut out manufacturers’ coupons to go to the US military bases overseas.

Animal Action League, located on Highway 62 just west of the dinosaurs in Joshua Tree, will spay or neuter your pets at a discounted rate. They also offer microchips and vaccinations at discounted rates for pets in Wonder Valley and the other unincorporated areas. Call 760-366-1100 for information. Be part of the solution!

Handy Hint:  Peel the top and bottom of a tangerine so only a belt of skin remains in the middle. Use your fingers to make a slit in the rind, then open it up and lay it out flat with the fruit still attached. You’ll have a strip of juicy slices ready to pick off the skin.

Thought for Today:  “Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it is impossible for anyone to accomplish. But whatever is possible for another, believe that you, too, are capable of it.” 
– Marcus Aurelius

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Regarding new construction and hauled water.

Supervisor James Ramos speaks about water permits when building a new home. Filmed at the Homestead Valley Community Council meeting on August 17, 2015. Filmed by Lauren Ell of the Hi Desert
Posted by Lauren Ell of the Hi Desert on Monday, August 17, 2015
Thanks, Lauren Ell, for filming this and sharing this with us.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

DEHSART - a radical approach to dumping

I expect people will have many different responses to this, but I do like the way they at least stop and think about what "waste" means in the desert. 

Engaged and Inspired: DEHSART 
"Because the high desert is a vast and wide area, it cannot be policed for illegal dumping as frequently as it may be desired; but Nickel and Newman don't think their communities have to settle for that. Recently, the two were awarded a Task Force Grant, which helps them fund their community projects. In its third year, the Task Force Grant has helped fund many similar initiatives to stop illegal dumping the Antelope Valley and other high desert areas. The Antelope Valley Illegal Dumping Task Force Group was also created in light of these problems; it acts as a forum for people to talk to the government, offers resources for community members, and helps fund education about and prevention of illegal dumping. " 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Desert Trail Column, August 13, 2015

The USDA Food Distribution will take place at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road, from 11 to noon on Monday, August 17.

We send out Rainbows-of-Peridots-and-Gladioli to Chad Fairweather and to Cowboy, who celebrate their special days this week. Happy, happy birthday to both of you!

Other people celebrating birthdays this week include Danny Bonaduce (56), Antonio Fargas (69), Linda Ellerbee (71), Timothy Hutton (55), Robert Di Niro (72), Edward Norton (46), Peter Gallagher (60), Gerald McRaney (67), Robert Redford (78), Maureen O’Hara (95), Julie Newmar (82), Ben Affleck (43), Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr (56) and Kevin Tighe (71).

Karen’s Commentary:  My husband and I are grandparents to three wonderful grandkids Megan, Tony and Austin; two sweet little great-granddaughters Bailee and Ileigh; and now a whole bunch of grand-FISH! Our fishpond is suddenly loaded with lots of baby goldfish. It looks as though there are tiny babies, “kids” and “teenagers” in there. Our big goldfish (and they are BIG) look like huge monsters next to these little things. If they all survive, we are going to have to relocate some of them because they’re already sharing the pond with four frogs! Anyone with an outdoor pond need some goldfish?

Darlene’s Commentary:  Actually, this is Karen – I’m doing double-duty this week because Dar is recuperating from hip-replacement surgery. Ouch! Instead of writing the column, she is spending her time and energy today gritting her teeth and trying to outlast the pain. (Funny what some people will do just to get out of a little work, isn’t it?) She came through the surgery fine, but ended up back in the emergency room when they thought she had a blood clot. Thank goodness she didn’t, but they did find a couple minor problems that have now been taken care of. Hopefully, she’ll be feeling good enough to write her own commentary next week. In case you’d like to send a card, her address is 5025 Anza Avenue.

The Wonder Valley Book Program has books of every kind, movies and even audio cassettes to loan out. There is no charge, and they can be kept much longer than the regular library allows. Also, there are usually a lot of books stacked up on the “free table.” The Book Program is open at our community center on Mondays from 9 to noon. Call 760-367-9880 for more information.

Handy Hint:  Tired of brick-hard brown sugar? Store it in the freezer to keep it fresh and moist.

Thought for Today:  Golf is the perfect thing to do on Sunday because you always end up praying a lot.

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

1.5% parcel tax increase

For your information: the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors meets today, August 11, 2015. The following is on the agenda:

"Page 11 of 15
40) Acting as the governing body of the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District:
2. Adopt the following Resolutions to continue special taxes, which were previously approved by the
voters, for 2015-16 with certain inflationary increases as indicated below:
h. Resolution setting special taxes for Service Zone FP-4 (Wonder Valley) at $33.80 per parcel, per Attachment H (1.5% increase from previous year)."

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Why we never see Dick Dale

I guess this is why we never see our Wonder Valley neighbor, Dick Dale.

Legendary guitarist forced to stay on tour to pay his medical expenses

Municipal Advisory Council AGENDA for August 10, 2015

MAC Agenda, August 10, 2015

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate. (This means YOU, Wonder Valley!)

Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council
To Third District Supervisor James C. Ramos
Regular Open Session Meeting – 6:30 P.M. Monday August 10, 2015
Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Ave., Joshua Tree, CA  92252
A.      Call to Order

B.      Pledge of Allegiance

C.      Roll Call: Seat 1: Pioneertown: Vacant; Seat 2: Yucca Mesa, Vacant; Seat 3: Landers: Richard Lutringer; Seat 4: Joshua Tree, Mark Lundquist; Seat 5: Flamingo Heights, Lib Koenig; Seat 6: Desert Heights: Pat Flanagan; Seat 7: Wonder Valley, Teresa Sitz; Seat 8: Morongo Valley, Gayle Swarat; Seat 9: Copper Mountain Mesa, Mary Helen Tuttle

D.      Adoption of Agenda

E.       Swearing in of new member: Seat 2: Yucca Mesa, Tom Ziegert

F.       Approval of minutes from June 13, 2015.

G.     Call for Public Comment
At this time, anyone may comment on items not on the agenda that are of interest to the public and within the jurisdiction of the MAC.  The MAC is prohibited by law from taking action on matters not on the agenda.  Comment may be offered on items on the agenda when those items come up for discussion or action.  A limit of 3 comments per item and 3 minutes per comment may be imposed.  In all cases, if you wish to speak, please submit a REGISTRATION CARD to the SECRETARY and proceed to the podium when recognized by the Chair.  Speakers should address the MAC as a whole; comments to individual delegates and/or staff are not appropriate for this venue.

H.      Public Safety Reports
1.       County Fire
2.       CHP
3.       Sheriff’s Department

Cindy Lopez, B.A., Program Manager, Mental Health Systems, will present information on the Kinship Support Services Programs.

J.        Community, Officer & Committee Reports

K.      Adjournment

San Bernardino County is committed to ensuring persons with disabilities are provided the resources to participate fully in public meetings.  If you require disability-related modifications or accommodations, including auxiliary aid or services, contact the BOS office at least three business days prior to the meeting.

Desert Trail Column, August 6, 2015

The monthly meeting with our Basinwide MAC representative Teresa Sitz will be held on Monday, August 10 in our community center at 9 am. The San Bernardino County Code Enforcement Supervisor will be in attendance to answer all your questions.

The regular meeting of the Basinwide Municipal Advisory Council will take place at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Monday, August 10. Everyone is welcome.

Since the birthstone for August is the peridot, and the flower is the gladiolus, we send out Rainbows-of-Peridots-and-Gladioli to Chris Buskirk who celebrates his special day this week. Happy birthday, Chris!

Darlene’s Commentary:  What a wallup of a storm last Thursday afternoon! There was nothing common or boring about it, hitting different spots in Wonder Valley with heavy rain, tornado-like winds changing directions two or three times during a deluge of about 30 minutes. Other areas were left bone-dry while folks watched the opaque clouds drop what looked like a black curtain of rain, and not very far away from where they stood and watched. Then the storm moved east, and we all went outside to enjoy the breeze of fresh clean air and the bright full moon.

Karen’s Commentary:  I suffer from Situational Narcolepsy and Situational Eataholism. Never heard of them? Well, I’m not surprised because I think they’re my own unique conditions. Whenever I need to do something I really don’t want to do, I immediately become either ravenously hungry or very, very sleepy. I guess it’s my own personal avoidance mechanism kicking into place! And the funny part is that, even though I am well aware of what’s actually happening, I still feel that I really need to go get a snack or take a nap. The mind is a powerful thing.

The Wonder Valley Community Center is open every Monday from 9 to noon. It will open one hour earlier on days of the USDA Food Distributions, and is closed on all holidays. Star Javier is there to answer all your questions and help with any issues or concerns. Or you can call her at 760-367-9880.

Handy Hint:  To thoroughly dispense dry graphite into a lock mechanism, place your finger over one end of a hollow coffee stirrer and fit the other end onto the graphite nozzle so you can partially fill the stirrer with graphite. Then place the filled end into the lock and blow it into the mechanism.

Thought for Today:  If your father is a doctor, you can be sick for nothing. If your father is a minister, you can be good for nothing.

Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

A chance to get rid of up to 9 tires FREE!

The Rotary is partnering with Joshua Tree Parks and Recreations for Summer Splash - a free day-long event on Saturday, August 22, at 6171 Sunburst Avenue, in Joshua Tree.

Here's the GOOD PART. They're having an E-waste (computers, cell phones, etc.) and TIRE disposal. Take up to 9 tires FREE! It's always better if they don't have rims.

Admission and parking are FREE.

Enjoy the rest of Summer Splash from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Avenue. The event includes an art show, kid's games, face painting, dance demonstrations, a car and tractor show, hoop classes, live performances with “On Tapp,” a dunk tank, a barbecue, and more. For more information call Tammie Moore at (760) 366-8415.

Free Veterans Assistance - Counseling and Claims

A Mobile Service Office of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) will be at Copper Mountain College’s Bell Center on August 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A DAV National Service Officer will provide free counseling and claim filing assistance. For more information, call (310) 477-2530. The Copper Mountain College is at 6162 Rotary Way in Joshua Tree.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Where's Heather?

Heather Johnson in a tunnel in Peru.
Wonder Valley's own artist, Heather Johnson, is riding her motorcycle to the other end of the Americas. She's made it as far as Peru. From Heather:

"Peru. What I've seen so far is a land of extreme contrasts. People move fast, speak quickly, behave as they will, yet are warm, friendly and accessible. All of this is embedded in the landscape. Nothing is hidden here. It's all out in the open, blowing in the wind.

"I have no doubt my perceptions will be blown again as I head into the mountains. I look forward to getting lost up there."

Community Meeting AGENDA - August 10, 2015

Second Monday of the month, August 10, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277
Wonder Valley MAC Delegate and Meeting Chair: Teresa Sitz
Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; 
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

  1. Call to order
  2. Introductions
  3. Community comment on items not on the agenda
    The community is also invited to comment after the reports and during the discussions below.
  4. Reports and Presentations
    a. San Bernardino County Code Enforcement, Ignacio Nunez, Code Enforcement Supervisor
    b. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
    c. Discussion and possible action: Shall the community endorse the delegate’s MAC Report to be read at the MAC meeting tonight?
  5. Ongoing Business
    "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
    a. Neighborhood Watch and NextDoor
    b. Illegal Dumping and Adopt-a-Road Program
    c. Discussion and/or possible action: Shall the Community enlist a group to form a “Friends of Wonder Valley” group to raise funds for various community needs, like Neighborhood Watch signs and Adopt-a-Road programs?
    d. Discussion and/or possible action: Shall the Community schedule a community potluck for sometime in October?
  6. Agenda planning
    The community is invited to suggest items to place on the next meeting agenda.
  7. Announcements 
  8. Adjournment 

August 10, 2015, MAC Report: Wonder Valley
by Teresa Sitz, Wonder Valley Delegate

Our NextDoor network has increased to 39 members. A lot of useful conversations are taking place and there’s a good degree of enthusiasm building.

We had a community meeting this morning with ___ in attendance. We were very happy to welcome Ignacio Nunez, Code Enforcement Supervisor, to present. Also on the agenda was the creation of a Friends of Wonder Valley group to address community needs and provide community support.

On July 25 we had a very exciting event at the Palms. High Desert Test Sites sponsored Austrian artist Gerhard Treml who, with his partner Edith Edith Schwarzl, screened nine short films created around stories of people who live in the Morongo Basin, including Darlene Parris, our columnist at the Desert Trail. About 100 people were present and it was a beautiful night for films on the patio.

Neighbors continue to meet nearly every Sunday for community breakfast at the Palms between 9 am and noon. There’s a big community table in the back and breakfasts start at $3.50. There’s also been a gospel/folk sing along at a time determined by our pianist Miss Ida Lane. People come from all over and everyone is welcome so don’t stay away just because you don’t live in Wonder Valley.

There’s a Goodbye Summer party at the Palms on September 5th at 7. The Adobe Collective and the Sibleys will be playing. Admission is free.

The Wonder Valley artist Perry Hoffman is having a mail art show at the Glass Outhouse and needs people to send him postcards. Contact me if you’d like more information.

On a personal note, we bought our house in Wonder Valley last August so have now officially been here one year. It’s true we weren’t born here but we got here as fast as we could.
Thank you.