Thursday, December 12, 2019

Desert Trail Column - December 12, 2019

The community meeting hosted by our Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council representative Steve Reyes was very interesting and informative. Along with all the updates and a delicious lunch provided by Steve, there was also lots of information provided by experienced exterminator Evan Browsowsky about our current rodent problem. Thank you, Steve and Evan.

 For the past four years, Redlands Airport Association members have collected toys in November at their “Stuff a Plane with Toys for Tots” event at Redlands Municipal Airport. The toys are then flown to our Twentynine Palms Airport in December to be picked up by the Marines for their Toys for Tots program. This year they had to cancel the fly-in, which usually includes more than 30 planes, due to bad weather. So if they couldn’t come to the Marines, the Marines came to them! The Marine Corps responded trucks and personnel to the Redlands Airport where volunteers from the Airport Association were waiting to help load approximately 10,000 toys! This is a fantastic group of people who go all out to insure happy children at Christmastime. Hopefully, next year they will be able to deliver the toys as in the past. A big thank you to every one of them!

 Wonder Valley men and women of all ages are invited to Aglow of 29 Palms’ December luncheon on Saturday, December 14 at First Baptist Church of 29 Palms, 6414 Split Rock Avenue, at 11 a.m. RSVP to Billie Perez at 760-501-6154 or Donna Sandler at 760-361-5531, and ask about bringing a favorite Christmas dish and about the toy drive for Unity Home.

 The USDA Food Distribution will take place at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, on Tuesday, December 17 from 9 to noon.

 Most events at our WVCC are sponsored by our local nonprofit Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at or 760-367-9880.

 Since the birthstone for December is the turquoise and the flower is the narcissus, we send out Rainbows-of-Turquoise-and-Narcissus to Elsilynn Foster (13), Diana Akins, Wyona Hipple-Sandoe and Ken Sitz who celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday, Ken, Wyona, Diana and Elsilynn!


The Morongo Basin Healthcare District operates Lift, a service offering free transportation to and from medical appointments. You must call ahead to schedule a pickup at your home. Call 760-366-5438 or 760-820-9229 for information or to schedule a ride.

 Handy Hint:  Before closing the door, say “Wallet, keys, phone” to avoid leaving one behind.

 Today’s Thought:  Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.


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

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Christmas Turkey Giveaway.

The Friends of Wonder Valley is partnering with Community Action Partnership to sponsor a 2nd holiday turkey giveaway for residents of Wonder Valley, from 9 a.m. to Noon (or until the 60 turkeys are gone), on Thursday, December 19, 2019.

If you haven’t filled out a form, you can fill one out when you arrive. Please bring proof of residency.

The giveaway will take place at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277. For more information, call Teresa Sitz at (760) 367-9880.

Monday, December 9, 2019


Join us for a fun evening of original short plays, sketches, music and improv at that great little roadhouse in Wonder Valley, “The Palms.” 

“Succulents “ is an ongoing series, with all pieces written and/or produced by good, talented folks of the hi-desert community. Each piece is 10 minutes or less, and the range is from comedic to dramatic, ensemble to monologue. Something for everybody, with live music to start off each show!

 This December show will have 2 performances:

Thursday, December 12th, at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 14th, at 7:30 p.m.

Program for this show TBA soon!

$5 admission. LIMITED SEATING (only 30 seats per show)

To guarantee seating (it’s an intimate space, and DOES sell out!), please RSVP to:

Be sure to let us know which show you’re interested in!

USDA Food Distribution: Dec 17, 2019

The USDA Food Distribution will begin at 9:00 a.m. and ends at noon on TUESDAY, December 17, 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 ONE (1) box for a neighbor, or they may pick up ONE (1) box for you, IF a signed pick up form is presented. One pick up per person. 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., and at the kiosk outside the WVCC the week before the event.

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

The text below is required.

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.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Cosmic Holiday Tunes

It's that time of year.... When all the elves and creepy Santas with bloodshot eyes and Cuban cigars visit the Hi Desert to help moms and dads with spirit laced eggnog and festive baked goods. Yes, it's time for my top holiday videos of the not so traditional Perry Como type.

Because what are the holidays without some Glimmer Twins magic?

Merle is one of my favorite performers of all time.  He does a holiday song right. Now if we just make it through December.

Hey ho! Let's go with the coolest punk band ever! This pick tied with Fairytale of New York by the Pouges but the Ramones were all related (grin).

Space Kacey is just brilliant and my kinda kooky. Check out her great new record.

Ah Willie! He may not smoke pot anymore but can sure sing a holiday tune. Not Santa but a red headed stranger.

Old Bob!  The original folk icon. Sing us some holiday magic man.

Alice is the king of freaky horror rock stars. He makes an excellent bad Samta. No snakes in this one.

Linda, not a better voice in popular music in my humble cosmic opinion.

And we close it out with Miss Emmylou. Sings like a bird ol' Gram once said.

Thanks for listening and have a super holiday season!

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Desert Trail Column - December 5, 2019

There will be a community meeting hosted by our Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) representative Steve Reyes on Saturday, December 7 at 11 a.m. It will be held at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526½ Amboy Road at Blower Road. Steve will be providing several updates on roads, fire and code enforcement. Evan Browsowsky, a new Wonder Valley resident and an experienced exterminator, will discuss how best to handle pest challenges in the desert. A light lunch will be provided and a turkey will be raffled off following the meeting. Contact Steve at for further information.
The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, 77575 29 Palms Highway at Thunder Road, will present the High School Art Show from December 7 to December 15. This art show will feature artists from Twentynine Palms High School and Yucca Valley High School. There will be a reception on Saturday, December 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. with live music and free refreshments. Please come out to support these talented local students! For information, call Laurel at 760-367-3807.

On December 10 the group Coffee and Friends will meet at 73883 Manana Drive in Twentynine Palms at 10 a.m. All Wonder Valley ladies are cordially invited. Call Sharon at 760-910-9039 for information.

The mobile medical van will be at our community center on Wednesday, December 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A Nurse Practitioner will provide primary medical care and screenings, prescribe lab tests and refill prescriptions. Some immunizations are also available. The medical van is wheelchair accessible and accepts most insurances. Those without insurance may be seen for a nominal cost. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY. For further information on the medical van or free non-emergency transportation to medical appointments, call 760-365-9305.
On Wednesday, December 11 the Salvation Army Food Distribution will take place at our community center from 11 a.m. until the food is gone. The food is from Trader Joe’s and usually includes fresh meat, fruits and veggies. Please bring a bag.
Most events at our WVCC are sponsored by our local nonprofit Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at or 760-367-9880.
Ted and Karen Meyers celebrate 59 years together this week. Happy anniversary, Karen and Ted!

Handy Hint: You may be able to save $10 or more per shopping trip just by following a grocery list instead of randomly selecting.
Today’s Thought: Royal Gelatin, Jell-O’s main competitor, is a company that was started in 1890 by Dr. Price. Dr. Price handed his fortune down to his family, including his grandson, actor Vincent Price.
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Mobile Medical Unit in Wonder Valley

WHEN: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526-1/2 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277

The Morongo Basin Healthcare District Mobile Medical Unit will be providing primary healthcare services by a nurse practitioner who will provide a clinic visit exam, and if necessary, prescribe lab test and refill prescriptions. Some immunizations are available.
[Dental services are not provided at the MMU at this time.]

Drop in between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., or call (760) 365-9305 for an appointment.

Medi-Cal, IEHP, Medicare, and most insurances are accepted. A discounted fee-for-service is available for those without insurance. Care is provided regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.

Anyone may drop in to get their blood pressure checked.

If you are seen at the Mobile Medical Unit, be sure to ask about pediatric care, dental care, chiropractic care, pain management, chronic wound care, behavioral health, general surgery consultations, and patient education programs. These services are available to the the MBHD Clinics in Twentynine Palms or Yucca Valley. Free transportation to these services is available via the MBHD's Lift service.

Salvation Army Food Distribution, December 11, 2019

The Salvation Army Food Distribution takes place starting at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 11 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. Please bring a bag. 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.

Only one person per parcel may be served.

The distribution will be “shopping style.” You will 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.

Wonder Valley Community Meeting - December 7, 2019

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate in the

Wonder Valley Community Meeting, from
11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, December 7, 2019, at the

Wonder Valley Community Center
80526-1/2 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277

Steve Reyes, our MAC Representative will run the meeting. Items of interest on the agenda include a road report, and useful information on fire and code enforcement. Wonder Valley newcomer Evan Browsowsky, an experienced exterminator, will discuss how to best handle pest challenges living in the desert.

The agenda was posted on December 2, 2019 at:

A light lunch will be served. We will also be raffling a turkey directly after the meeting, for those who stay until the end.

For more information, contact Teresa Sitz at 760-367-9880.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Artist Spotlight - Kaz Murphy

Ronnie: Kaz Murphy, what do you love about music?

Kaz: I love how music is ethereal and literally pulled out of thin air, and how just by chance, and by taking chances, alchemy can be established that creates the possibility of making a sound, or sounds, or sounds with words, that has the potential to be brutally or beautifully powerful.

Ronnie: I totally agree..

Kaz: I remember some years back, I was asked to play at a wedding, and the bride wanted me to cover John Denver's “Country Roads.”  I thought the song was OK, catchy,  but never really cared that much for it or followed John Denver as far as that goes.  So as I was giving it my first run through, I came to the bridge where it goes to E minor with the words “I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me,” and I just broke down crying.  And I don't mean getting a little teary, I mean, I balled like a baby for several minutes.  The first thing I thought was, oh, that must be why John Denver is John Denver.  Honestly, I had no idea why I was crying like that.  So I took a deep breath, sat up straight, tried it again, and boom, hit that same part in the bridge and cried all over again.  It took me two or three days of playing that song to finally get through it without crying.

I guess that's the kind of power I”m talking about.  For some reason, that coincidental combination of words and music brought something out of me that I couldn't explain, even to this day.  It wasn't nostalgic crying, it was completely random., and it has always stuck with me.

Ronnie: That's extremely powerful Kaz, how would you describe your music to my readers?

Kaz: I'm a singer songwriter with leanings towards folk and country.  Hell, I guess you could say I'm a folk singer.  I was raised in South Jersey, and there is a really thriving folk scene that bleeds over into Philly, and I grew up writing and performing in that arena.  Once I've landed on a subject I always look for one line or one word that really jumps out at you in an attempt to make the song unique and fresh.  For a song to work for me, I either need to get chills, tears or get light headed when writing it. 

Ronnie:  What venues do you like to play up here? I know you're living down the hill in Desert Hot Springs.

Kaz: So far I've played Lander's Brewery, Palms Restaurant and Joshua Tree Saloon.  They're all different and all great.  Looking forward to playing more venues and events this coming year.

Ronnie: All songwriters seem to have a process, what's yours?

Kaz: It can go two ways, Ronnie, sometimes the music comes first, sometimes the lyrics.  When the music comes first it includes chords and melody for the vocals.  Sometimes lyrics will come right away, other times, I just put the music in my roster (which probably has over 100 song ideas at any given time) and wait and see what happens.  Maybe a few months later I'll come up with a title or a line and think, oh, that might fit that music I recorded back yonder.  I'll pull up the song and start piecing together from there.
If the lyric comes first, again, the music might quickly follow or I just put those lyrics in my roster and eventually if I feel the lyric or idea is strong enough, some music will come to me, I look up those lyrics and put it all together.

Ronnie: What are you working on lately?

Kaz: Besides writing new songs and working on placing some of them, I'm working on a sound for my upcoming album.  I don't want to say too much about what that exactly is, let's just say it will come to be known as the Desert Hot Springs Sound. 

Ronnie: I like that!  DHS will be right there with Bakersfield. 

Ronnie: Which of your songs is your favorite?

Kaz: Good question, Ronnie.  I guess right now, one of my favorite is off of the “Ride Out The Storm” album and it is called “All I Wanna Do Is Work.”  It has a kind of slave chant in it, and that chant has become a sing along staple at a lot of the shows.  It feels good to get folks to sing, and even though many are hesitant to do it, once they do, it's a good thing.

Ronnie: Do you think music can be a force for change?

Kaz:  I certainly do, and I've seen it happen.  My song “When People Come Together” is a force for change.  I have played it at Democratic conventions, and it is possibly going to be part of larger picture in the upcoming election but I'm not at liberty to talk about that right now.  I'll let you know if it happens.

Ronnie:  Who are your musical heroes?

Kaz: Speaking of force for change, one of my all time favorite singer songwriter's is Phil Ochs.  He started with protest songs and for a time back in the mid to late 60s he was almost on par with Dylan.  When the war was over he started branching out into different sounds and ideas that were astounding and breath taking to hear.  He will always be way up there on my list.

Just as a last note, I have many musical heroes, but as a rule, I have always been much more taken by novelists and authors, than I have by musicians.   I am just so stunned when I read a  perfectly executed novel.  It almost seems impossible to do and that humbles me in a big way.  And I usually get more inspiration from books than I do from other songs.  Sound weird?  Sorry about that, chief.

Ronnie: Not weird at all!  As I interview folks I find songwriters draw inspiration from so many places.  Kaz, it's been great talking with you, see you down the hill or up the Yucca grade soon.

Ronnie Rough
Wonder Valley, California