Saturday, May 28, 2016

We Remember

Sincere gratitude for all those who have given their lives in service.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fire at illegal dump

The illegal landfill at Via Arenosa burned yesterday. The owner was burning wood when the wind came up and the fire spread.

Fire on May 1, take by James Brakebill
SBC Land Use Services has been working with the owner to clean the site.

The Wonder Valley Fire Department was called out to Via Arenosa to put out a fire on May 1. James Brakebill, a Wonder Valley resident and the head of the Fire Technology program at Copper Mountain Mesa was the first to report the fire. He said he saw a white truck speeding from the site.

The following week the Wonder Valley MAC Volunteer, Teresa Sitz, toured the site with Brakebill. Sitz has been working with Land Use Services to clear the site and prevent more dumping once the site is cleared. County Fire Division Chief Tom Marshall said in an email to Sitz that an arson investigator has been requested.

Hi-Desert Star: Firefighters attack burning trash pile

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Desert Trail Column, May 26, 2016

Herpetologist Harold deLisle
and Snake Relocator Bert Lies
The special meeting on rattlesnakes held May 21 was extremely informative and interesting. Bert Lies plus an honest-to-goodness herpetologist, retired from Joshua Tree National Park, were there to answer all our questions and tell us things we never knew about rattlesnakes. Bert has been dealing with snakes of all kinds for many years, and will come to your home at no charge to remove an unwanted snake in your yard or house. Some interesting and/or little-known things we learned are:  Bird feeders and spilled birdseed bring birds, mice and rodents, plus the snakes that eat them; do three things, and ONLY three things, if bitten by a rattler – remain calm, call 911 and lie down; and the more non-venomous snakes in your yard, the fewer rattlers.

Our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road, is once again open on a regular basis! Karen Meyers is working there temporarily until a permanent employee can be hired. The community center is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 to 4. Call Karen at 760-367-9880.

Darlene’s Commentary: When I started coming out here with my parents in the ‘70’s, Jack McConaha was the very first Wonder Valley person I met.  I savored Jack’s friendship and miss his presence in the valley. Karen and I would like to honor Jack for the many things he did for our community. We are drafting a petition to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors asking for approval to dedicate Wonder Valley Fire Station #45 in honor of Jack. We will let you know when and where petitions will be available.

Karen’s Commentary: How things have changed when getting a job. When I was young, you went to the business location, usually (but not always) filled out an application and were either hired or not. The only standard requirement was a social security card. Fast-forwarding to 2016, I just had to go through an interview, lots and lots of paperwork, a criminal background check, fingerprinting, a physical exam and drug testing. A three-month process for a 15-hours-per-week, temporary job!

Pastor Max Rossi and members of Godwin Christian Fellowship are still awaiting finalization by the County of San Bernardino before they can have their long-awaited first service in their newly-completed building on Godwin Road. Just remember, everyone, that “good things come to those who wait.”

Handy Hint: Best apparel bargains in June include men’s and boys’ clothing, swimwear, sleepwear, hosiery and women’s shoes.

Thought for Today: The best couples work like the red and white of a candy cane, swirling beside each other as one, but never becoming pink.

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

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wonder Valleyite, Harold deLisle, joins Bert Lies at talk

Harold deLisle (left) and Bert Lies (right)
Wonder Valley resident Harold deLisle came to Saturday's presentation on rattlesnakes, given by local rattlesnake relocator, Bert Lies.

DeLisle holds a PhD in biology, worked for Joshua Tree National Park, as well as once serving as the president of the Southwestern Herpetologist Society, He wrote "Amphibians and Reptiles of Joshua Tree National Park California," among many other books.

Once we knew we had a herpetologist of such renown among us Bert invited him to take part in the lecture and Harold's contributions were greatly appreciated.

About 30 people attended the event. Lots of breathtaking stories were related and everyone's questions were answered.

Of course, the delicious Porto's pastries and the French roast coffee may have helped reel in the crowd, but Harold and Bert kept everyone on the edge of their seat.

Download the handout.

If you have a snake on your property that you need to have relocated, please call Bert Lies at 818-825-1226. There is no charge for relocation.

If YOU are bitten by any rattlesnake call 911 immediately and rest. Do not treat the bite. Just try to relax and stay calm until help arrives. Even if a snake just scratched you and you're not feeling any symptoms - call 911.

If your DOG is bitten, take your animal to VCA Valley Animal Medical Center & Emergency Hospital in Indio. This is a 24-hour emergency animal hospital.
Phone: 760-342-4711
Address: 46920 Jefferson Street. Indio, CA 92201.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Desert Trail Column, May 19, 2016

“The Rattlesnake Whisperer,” Bert Lies, will be speaking at a special meeting on Saturday, May 21 at our community center from 10 to 11. Along with lots of information, he’ll answer questions from the audience. No live snakes will be present, but fresh coffee and pastries will be!

To vote in the primary election on June 7, you must be registered by May 23. To vote by mail, you must be registered by May 31. This year people who are registered as “Non-Partisan” or “No Party Preference” (“NPP”) may request to register FOR THIS ELECTION ONLY with the Democratic, Libertarian or American Independent party in order to vote for a candidate from one of those parties. The Peace and Freedom, Republican and Green parties are not allowing temporary registrations this year. In order to vote for a candidate of one of those parties, you must change your registration to that party.

Our first Salvation Army Food Distribution will take place on Wednesday, May 25 at our community center from 11 to 1. Captain Pigeon and representatives of the Salvation Army have arranged for food to be distributed free of charge on the fourth Wednesday of each month to Wonder Valley residents only. A photo ID with proof of residence address is required. Call the Salvation Army office at 760-228-0114 for information.

We send out Rainbows-of-Emeralds-and-Lilies-of-the-Valley to Curtis Johnson and Barbara Finnegan who both celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday, Barbara and Curtis!

"Who first behold the light of day, In Spring’s sweet flowery month of May,  And wear an Emerald on their breast, Shall be beloved, happy and blessed. Copyright 1907, A.K., Phila.
Karen’s Commentary: Last week I thanked Marie Heddaeus for coupons and cards, but I meant to say coupons and stamps. Anyway, thanks, Marie. Also, thanks to cousin Annie French for nicely cut out coupons, and to son Joey for cards.

Darlene’s Commentary: A suggestion has been made to dedicate the fire department building in honor of Jack McConaha in recognition of his many years of service to our community. I’m making up a petition to the Board of Supervisors for signatures.

The Wonder Valley Thrift Store has bargains galore. It’s open from 9 to noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Call Olympia at 831-227-1948 for information.

Handy Hint: For an excellent carpet deodorizer, sprinkle on dry baking soda before vacuuming. Mix in ground cinnamon or cloves for a wonderful fragrance.

Thought for Today: Swelled heads are nature’s way of filling vacuums.

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

Golden barrel cactus, Echinocactus grusonii, Wonder Valley

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Calling Wonder Valley artists!

The Joshua Tree Art Gallery is calling for artists for their June invitational art show. The theme celebrates California's three new national monuments. All materials and media are accepted. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 27. The show runs June 5 through June 26, with an opening reception June 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. The entry fee is $35. Cash prizes will be awarded. For more information, visit

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bert Lies | Rattlesnake Whisperer, Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m.

Bert Lies, a local rattlesnake removal expert, will tell us:

  • all about rattlesnakes
  • why they may be on your property
  • how to not have them on your property
  • what to do when they are on your property
  • teaching dogs and children to avoid rattlesnakes
  • when rattlesnakes are out
  • do's and don'ts in a medical emergency, and
  • questions and answers

There will be NO live snakes present. There WILL be fresh coffee and your favorite Porto's pastries!

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate.

Desert Trail Column, May 12, 2016

We were unable to attend the memorial for Mary Reeves, but we want to say how much we miss reading her columns. Rest in peace, Mary.

Monday, May 16 will be a busy day at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road. The He Provides Ministry will arrive at 9:30 to distribute free clothing and household items, and from 10:30 to noon, the USDA Food Distribution will take place.

Darlene’s Commentary: I read my Basinwide Weekend Hi Desert Star differently from my Desert Trail. In the Trail, I first check our column and Betty Salvini’s, then the front page for prominent items in the need-to-know category, then the Opinion Page and Soapbox, then I go over everything that I hadn’t read, and finish with the Classifieds.

Now, with the Basinwide Star, first I have to visit all seven columnists in the middle of the paper to see what’s going on in their communities, then I turn to the Classifieds. This week the first item in the Lost and Found caught my eye. I know exactly how it feels to lose your mom, with photos then being the only way that you can “see” her again. Young people take lots of photos – friends, children and family, pets, vacations, etc, but most of the photos stay in the phone and never become actual printed photos that you can hold and share with others. I would urge everyone to think about that and print out your favorite photos, and keep them safe so they can be passed to the next generations. It’s a bummer to lose your phone, but it can be replaced – pictures can’t. I hope the person that picked up Teresa’s phone at WalMart will do the right thing.

Karen’s Commentary: Many thanks go out to Marie Heddaeus for coupons and cards, to Sandi Arismendi for cards, to Sue McMahon for cards and to Jan Peek for coupons and stamps. Our military families overseas, St Jude’s Ranch for Children in Utah and the eagles in Big Bear all thank you!

If you want to know all the latest news from and about Wonder Valley, check out the website – it has a wealth of information from both the present and the past.

Handy Hint: If you have an oven with a self-cleaning cycle, start the cycle right after you finish baking something, while the oven’s still hot. It will use less energy to heat up to cleaning temperature.

Thought for Today: Dear Algebra, Please stop asking us to find your X. She’s never coming back and don’t ask Y.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SoCalGas Activity Notice

Kristine Scott from SoCalGas has sent a new message copied in below.
Download the notice at:
Thank you,

Teresa Sitz
MAC Volunteer
Wonder Valley CA

May 11, 2016
Re: SoCalGas Pipeline Maintenance Work from Essex to Wonder Valley

Dear Resident,
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas ® ) continues maintenance work on one of our natural gas pipelines. This work is part of our system-wide plan to further enhance the safety of our pipelines throughout the communities we serve.

What to expect
During this maintenance work, you will see SoCalGas and its contractor’s trucks and heavy equipment. Crews will be working Monday through Saturday from approximately 6:00am-8:00pm.

During the week of May 17 th through May 20 th , and again on May 24 th , there will be noise coming from our pipeline as we complete different phases of the maintenance work. The noise should last approximately 15 minutes each day. In addition to the noise, you might notice a rotten-egg like odor of natural gas. Natural gas is non-toxic, odorless and colorless. For this reason, we add a minute amount of a pungent odorant to natural gas to help detect leaks. The odorant is safe but its smell has been compared to the smell of rotten eggs.

We are sorry for any inconvenience or annoyance this may have caused our neighbors and area residents. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Regional Public Affairs Manager, Kristine Scott at or 909-809- 0317.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Property Tax programs for elderly and disabled

If you're having trouble paying your property taxes you might want to look into some of these programs:

Through the County of San Bernardino:
  • Homeowner's Exemption
  • Proposition 8 - Decline in Market Value
  • Proposition 60 - Seniors and Disabled Replacement Dwelling Benefit 
  • Proposition 90 - Seniors and Disabled Replacement Dwelling Benefit 
  • Parent to Child and Grandparent to Grandchild Transfer

And through the State of California:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Desert Trail, May 5, 2016

The Wonder Valley Book Program has new hours, starting in May and running through September. It will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 am to 3 pm. Donations of books are welcome. Thank you, Isabel, Kathy and all the volunteers for keeping this program going! Call 760-367-9880 during the above hours.

An Artists Reception will be held on Saturday, May 7 from 5 to 9 pm at the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, 77575 29 Palms Highway at Thunder Road, featuring artists Esther Shaw and Jennifer Palmer-Lacy. Enjoy free refreshments, with music provided by The Larry and Linda Band. The gallery’s open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 pm, and this week’s show runs May 7 through 29. Admission is always free. Call Laurel at 760-367-3807.

The Wonder Valley Monthly Meeting will be held on Monday, May 9 at our community center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, at 9 am. Call Teresa Sitz at 760-865-9550.

The Basinwide MAC Meeting will take place on Monday, May 9 at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst, at 6:30 pm. Teresa Sitz is our councilmember.

Since the birthstone for May is the emerald, and the flower is the lily-of-the-valley, we send out Rainbows-of-Emeralds-and-Lilies-of-the-Valley to Marlene Roberts who celebrates her special day this week. Happy birthday, Marlene!

Karen’s Commentary: I must tell you about the trashbags at Dollar General. For years I bought 39-gallon trashbags with pull ties, and could only find them at Pic-N-Save/Big Lots, and only made by Hefty. When Dollar General opened, I spotted the Hefty ones at their store PLUS their own brand, and discovered their brand is almost half the price and almost double the thickness! Can you guess where I buy trashbags now?

Darlene’s Commentary: Last Friday afternoon, my sister Donna called, inviting me out to dinner while she was in town. Little did I know that we were to dine at the Tortoise Rock Casino! We had a ball, laughing, eating, talking about old times. We had fun at the slot machines and ran into loads of friends, plus I got to see her new car. We had a great time! Thanks, Donna – love you!

Our grader operator Tim Candelaria is doing a great job on our roads. If you have a comment, question or compliment, leave a message at 760-367-9880. He’ll call you back if requested.

Handy Hint: To help prevent tarnish, stash a few sticks of chalk inside your jewelry box, and replace them every few months.

Thought for Today: Teach your kids about taxes – eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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

Monday, May 2, 2016

Marine Corps taking public input on training area environmental effects

By Z107.7 News, on May 2nd, 2016
The Marine Corps is accepting public comment on its draft environmental assessment it has prepared for its training areas on board the Combat Center. The draft environmental assessment evaluates additional landing zones within existing training areas that contain low densities of desert tortoises, the impacts of operations, and determines areas where rotary-wing and tilt-rotor aircraft landing operations can occur and where it may be restricted. The draft environmental assessment report is available at the Twentynine Palms and Yucca Valley libraries, as well as at a link in this story at The deadline for public comment is May 20.