Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Ring

I kinda can't believe it took me this long to post this. I saw it while I was driving around on the Highway 62 Art Tour last weekend. It's north of Amboy. I saw it from a distance and was drawn to it. What a lovely and surprising effort out in the middle of nowhere. Many thanks to whoever constructed this delightful artwork.

Shoe commercial in Wonder Valley?

Sometimes we think we're the only rural desert community in the country, or in the Americas, but this does look very much like Wonder Valley.

And who doesn't love watching wacky white people doffing madcap hats and tiaras, purging their psyches through primal antics? They're probably friends from college. And of course they paid for a filming permit, and of course their bikes were street legal and registered.

I like their shoes. I bought a pair once. They were vegan. Vegan shoes. It was a phase.

Friday, October 30, 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 Lago Titicaca, Copacabana Bolivia. From Heather:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Desert Trail Column, October 29, 2015

The community meeting on October 12 was very interesting and informative, even though the proposed fire tax increase is an upsetting subject. San Bernardino County Fire Division Chief John Chamberlin gave an excellent presentation, explaining what has led up to the need for an increase, and offering to work with us on alternatives. Hopefully, we will be able to arrive at an acceptable solution.
Download the PowerPoint:
The Dale Basin Well Owners Association meeting will take place on Sunday, November 1 at our community center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road, at 4 pm. President Clarence Chambers will address the state and water levels of our wells, plus drought and emergency preparedness. Everyone is welcome to attend.

We send out Rainbows-of-Opals-and-Calendulas to Carson Bevins who is celebrating his fourth birthday this week. Happy birthday, Carson!

Karen’s Commentary: First, thanks to our cousin Annie in Phoenix for two big envelopes stuffed with cut-out coupons. Second, my husband Ted and I went to see the Traveling Vietnam Wall, and what an experience it was! I never dreamed it would have such an impact on me as I knew no one who was killed in the Vietnam War. When I got right up next to it, the overwhelming sadness hit me like a ton of bricks, and Ted was just as affected as I was. Cars with the names of all the 9-11 victims on them were there, too. What a fantastic tribute to those who gave everything.

Darlene’s Commentary: The Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours is growing every year, and allows the artists and community to come together in mutual appreciation. What a great idea! I’d love to tell you about the artists and their work, but unfortunately I became ill on Friday, and fearing to spread whatever virus or bug that I’d managed to catch, I decided to stay home. Bummer! When I was home frumping because I had to miss everything, an idea popped into my swollen mind: Wouldn’t our community center be a wonderful place to have a show for local artists to display their work and meet their neighbors? I think so.

If you have a computer and are interested in all things Wonder Valley, go to Teresa and Ken Sitz do a great job of keeping us informed, plus you’ll even get to see an “enhanced” version of our column every week!

Handy Hint: Sprinkle sugar on a soapy sponge to gently wipe away stuck-on food. No scratches!

Thought for Today: You might be surprised to learn that the game of Chinese Checkers isn’t actually Chinese in origin; it was invented in Germany.

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

A reverse sunrise, Wonder Valley. Photo: T Sitz

Wonder Valley Parade of Homes

Model Home in nearby Sudden Valley
Hey, Wonder Valley! Reach Out Morongo Basin is looking for unique and distinctive homes to feature in their February 2016 fundraiser - its 12th annual Parade of Homes. Call Reach Out Morongo Basin at 760-361-1410 today and fill out the application to put your house on the parade.

Ospreys over Wonder Valley

Marines with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment were involved in a live fire and maneuver training exercise at the Marine Combat Center last Friday and Saturday.

An osprey flying over a cabin north of Amboy. Photo: T. Sitz
Master Sgt. Joshua T. Laverty, a Tactical Training Exercise Control Group instructor said, "This is their last real training assessment before they deploy and is sometimes the only real training they will get."

Though we have to put up with noise and dust and overhead traffic, understanding that these exercises prepare our young men and women to stay alive helps put things in perspective.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Glass Outhouse Gallery - November 7, 5 p.m.

The Glass Outhouse Gallery presents Wonder Valley artists
Perry Hoffman
Lorelei and David Greene

with live music from 
The Small Wonder Experience

Saturday, November 7, 5:30 p.m. -  9:30 p.m.
Glass Outhouse Art Gallery
77575 Twentynine Palms Highway, Wonder Valley, 92277

Perry Hoffman, of The Tile House, offers the Great Mail Art Postcard Exhibit, of postcards he has solicited from the community and from far and wide.

Lorelei Greene and David Greene features their Stuttershot Photography.

Both artists were recently featured in the Highway 62 Art Tour.

Monthly Monday Meeting - November 9, 2015

The Community of Wonder Valley will meet
Monday, November 9, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.. at

Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277
to discuss various community issues.

Stewart West, Veterans Administration Benefits Advisor, Twentynine Palms Marine Base, will be present to talk to veterans about their benefits and eligibility issues, like service connected disabilities which can be applied for at any time in life. He will be able to speak with veterans one on one after the meeting. Veterans, especially, are invited to attend and meet with Stewart West.

The agenda will be posted by the first week of November.

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate.

Kip's Desert Book Club meets in Wonder Valley

Kip's Desert Book Club will meet Monday, November 2 at 7 p.m. at Bob Tellefson's compound in Wonder Valley. Find driving directions at:

The book club is reading The White Heart of Mojave, a page turner by Edna Brush Perkins, who begins her adventure with a good friend in Death Valley in the 1920s.

You don’t have to have read the book to attend. Bring a healthy dish to share, enjoy the potluck and meet new friends and neighbors.

Halloween with DRUG, The Renderers, Golden Slipper & The Sibleys

Saturday, October 31, at 8:00pm

Downtown Wonder Valley at the PALMS 
83131 Amboy Rd, Wonder Valley, California 92277

Live music:
DRUG, The Renderers
Golden Slipper (members of BATT)
The Sibleys

FREE show
Costume Contest with Prizes

Wonder Valley Sheriff's Call

The Desert Trail,
Thursday, October 22, 2015

Possess, Manufacture or Sell Dangerous Weapon
3100 block of Shelton Road, Wonder Valley, 1:45 a.m.

A deputy saw an unattended pit fire and tried to contact a resident at the house. On the property, the deputy saw a vehicle that had been reported stolen. A search warrant was served and ammunition was located. The resident is a convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing ammunition.

Friday, October 23, 2015

HEAP Workshop - November 13

Do you need financial assistance to pay for your heating fuel?
It may be a long, cold winter. Come to the FREE
Home Energy Assistance Program
Energy Education Outreach/Workshop 
At the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 Amboy Road
November 13, between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. 

Please bring the following required documentation.

  1. An ID and Social Security card for the applicant.
  2. A social security number for all household members.
  3. Current income for the last 30 days from the day of the application for all adult residents (since October 13, 2015).
  4. Current award letter for the following benefits if you receive any of them.
    a. Social Security award letter for 2015 benefits or a bank statement showing the benefit deposit.
    b. A current Notice of Action if you receive cash aid or food stamps.
    (If you don’t have a current Notice of Action you must go down to the county office and ask for a form called Passport to Services showing the benefit amounts.)
  5. Rental agreement or mortgage statement, or property tax

Requirement for assistance with ELECTRICITY or GAS 
Bring current Electricity and/or Gas bills, if you have service, showing usage, not just disconnection notices.

Requirements for assistance with PROPANE  

  1. A 100+ gallon propane tank
  2. Copy of Propane Invoice for the last time it was filled, or if you have an open account with a specific vendor you can request a quote letter.

NOTE: You are not required to provide proof that you can use firewood, or have purchased firewood in the past, to qualify for assistance with FIREWOOD.

Please let Star or Teresa know you will be attending.

Star Javier: 760-367-9880,
Teresa Sitz:

Fire Tax printed materials now online

You can download the PowerPoint Fire Chief John Chamberlin shared with us at the October 12, 2015, at the community meeting on the proposed fire tax, along with information on the 2005 Special Tax.

Download the PowerPoint.
Download information on the 2005 Special Tax.

View the meeting at YouTube.

Hi Desert Star: Wonder Valley fills community center to debate fire rates, October 15, 2015
Desert Trail: Wonder Valley may see fire tax rise, October 1, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Water deal begins on Friday


Wonder Valley Tank & Water Inc.
US DOT 2796240

Wonder Valley Tank & Water Inc. goes through a monthly water analysis to guarantee the water leaving our tank is clean, safe, and drinkable. Our water hauling license is issued through the California Department of Public Health and our 2000 gallon tank and equipment are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potable water use.

The California Department of Public Health promotes and improves the health and quality of life for all California residents through education, standards setting, investigation, inspection, and control of resources. Their Food and Drug Branch issues specific licenses for a variety of water-processing activities including:

  • Water bottling plant: a facility in which bottled water is produced.
  • Retail water facility: a facility where water is processed, sold, and placed into containers. The water containers may be brought by the consumer or may be sold or given to consumers by the facility.
  • Potable water hauler: a person who hauls water in bulk (capacities of 250 gallons of water or greater) where there is a likelihood that the water will be used for drinking, culinary or other purposes.
  • Water vending machine: a water-connected vending machine designed to dispenses drinking water.
  • Private water source operator: a privately owned source of water that is used for bottled or vended water.

Posted by Douglas Green on Facebook
Water Loads $75

Bottled water distributor: a person who is not an employee of a water bottling plant that delivers bottled water directly to customers.

Water Bottlers, Haulers, Distributors, and Vendors are regulated by California Law and federal regulations.

For information about license applications and procedures contact the FDB Water Licensing Desk at (916) 650-6500 or on their website.

Our water delivery tank and hoses are made from a food grade plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). PET is a clear, touch polymer with exceptional gas and moisture barrier properties.

The FDA requires that plastics used in food packaging be of greater purity than plastics used for non-food packaging. This is commonly referred to as food grade plastic. Plastics used to package pharmaceuticals are held to an even higher standard than food grade. Food grade plastic does not contain dyes or recycled plastic deemed harmful to humans. However, this does not mean that food grade plastic cannot contain recycled plastic. The FDA has detailed regulations concerning recycled plastics in food packaging.
Another aspect of food grade plastic is matching the appropriate type of plastic to the food in question. Foods that are highly acidic or that contain alcohol or fats can leach plastic additives from the packaging or container into the food. As a result, you should only use plastic containers that are FDA approved for the particular type of food the plastic will come into contact with. Rest assured, that our plastic tank and equipment is FDA approved for the water we haul to our customers.
Tom Nguyen

Desert Trail Column, October 22, 2015

The Morongo Basin Haven Project Connect outreach event will be held on Thursday, October 22 at the Sportsman’s Club, 6226 Sunburst Road in Joshua Tree from 10 to 3. Assistance will be available in obtaining free dental care, family support, housing support, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, SSI benefits, legal advice, employment services and more. For information, contact Elizabeth Kirkland at 760-820-4714 or Wayne Hamilton at 760-401-0375.

Reverse sunset over the Sheep Hole Mountains, October 18, 2015
The Wonder Valley Thrift Store on Godwin Road, just north of Highway 62, will be holding a Fall Blowout Sale on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 22 through 24 from 9 am to 5 pm. Everything is half-price. Don’t miss it! For information, call 831-227-1948.

Orville and Sharon Fangmeyer celebrate 53 years together this week. Happy anniversary, Sharon and Orville!

Darlene’s Commentary: I have experienced lots of storms, braved two major hurricanes, huge thunderstorms in Texas, and a pelting hailstorm in Wyoming that covered every vehicle in the vicinity with hundreds of golf ball-size dents, but the storm that broke the sky open in Friday’s wee hours was the most spectacular, incredibly amazing lightning display that I have ever seen here in our desert or anywhere else on this planet. Bolts of lightning, huge fat wide highly-charged bolts, were connecting the Earth to the sky, accompanied by booming thunder, strike after strike. And what a downpour! Not just a pitter-patter on the roof, it was more like Niagara Falls. So incredibly amazing. After this rain, my hope for wildflowers has been renewed.

Karen’s Commentary: Yes, the electrical storm the other night was absolutely spectacular. I don’t ever remember seeing one so intense. Our dad, Jerry Borquez, was always one of the most calm, cool and collected people on Earth. He always told us during very tense moments (like earthquakes and electrical storms) to open the curtains, pull up a chair, get comfy and enjoy Mother Nature’s show. I wish he’d been here to share this one with us – he would’ve loved it!

The Wonder Valley Community Center is open every Monday (except holidays) from 9 to noon. Star Javier is there to answer any questions and help find solutions for concerns about our area. Call her at 760-367-9880 for further information.

Handy Hint: Carpools aren’t just for commuting to work. Anytime you can find a group of people who all want to go to the same place at the same time, organizing a carpool can save a bundle and help the environment at the same time.

Thought for Today: An egg is expensive, but it’s a day’s work for a hen.

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Highway 62 Art Tour: Saturday and Sunday with Jaymie Arquilevich

From Jaymie Arquilevich,
The last three days have been all about #spiritcreatures, specifically #companions ( who help us carry intense feelings) and #guardians ( who keep us safe and help us get what we need to stay balanced). Pictured here are companion portraits (3.5 x 5.5 in) that will accompany a matching #companionpouch. Spirit creatures and #fabriclandscapes will be available for purchase next weekend during the #hwy62arttours in #WonderValley?, CA. Visit for details and a map. 

Down and dirty, cheap security - Glass Guard Alarms

Glass Guard Alarm System, 1 Unit
10.99 or 2 for $14.99
73 reviews - 4 stars
If you have an old, glass-paned door that would be easy to break and open, this down and dirty security option may give you some peace of mind.

Here's how it works - the glass rattles (burglar, thunder storm, heavy wind, bombings from the base) the alarm will go off. There's nothing "smart" about it, there's no remote, and only one setting (sensitivity), so if it goes off you have to go and manually turn it off. (Please consider your pets and make sure they won't be locked in a room with this when it goes off - it's LOUD.)

BUT, if you're looking for cheap security that will alert you or your neighbors when someone is messing with your doors or windows (or the doors and windows in your RV or out buildings) this device may work for you.

If you get this, or any of the other down and dirty security, consider also getting Brinks Security signs. Burglars will not know whether your security is down and dirty, or if it's a complete system and that calls the Sheriff's Departments AND your neighbors.

I believe the effect of home security, whether down and dirty, or a complete connected system, has a positive effect on the entire neighborhood. If one house has a system then THAT neighborhood is identified as a neighborhood where people are protecting their, and their neighbors' properties, and that neighborhood becomes less attractive to burglars and thieves. The entire area becomes more risky for those who want to take advantage of property owners.

So, you're you're not just protecting yourself, you're protecting your neighborhood.

NOTE: I am not a security expert and I make *NO* money from recommending any product. Your mileage may vary. I make no claims that any of these devices will provide you any kind of protection. Do your own research - find out what works best for you.

Saturday, October 17, 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 Puno, PerĂº.

From Heather:
Puno, PerĂº
Sidelong glances.
Cracked foundations.
Terra-cotta tile roofs underlaid with corrugated tin and blue plastic tarps, covered in used tires that keep it all from blowing away in the storms that blast up over Lake Titicaca and cast down sheet rain and nail-sharp hail pellets, turning the narrow streets into swift two-foot currents.

From the corner room on the third floor of this hospedaje, I can hear a man playing his plastic recorder, badly, with skin-covered stumps for hands. An old guy peddling mysterious chocolate and avocado-colored liquids in clear 5-gallon buckets, serenading their deliciousness in a gravelly, nasal voice. School kids squealing with joy to patriotic Peruvian anthems resembling Nazi death march songs.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Television service - Wonder Valley and Landers

The recent thunder storms are wreaking havoc with the Pinto Mountain television tower. The system is currently operating on the backup generator which can operate for 4 days before needing to be refueled. There is currently one station that is off line (17-4). The 9 other stations are operating.

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

MUSICAL ROAD TRIP! This week THE MANY MOODS OF BEN VAUGHN will hit the road – visiting Chicago, Detroit, Memphis 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.

Super spooky storm video

Super spooky storm video taken during Wednesday night at the Casa de Sangre, Wonder Valley. Thanks, Greg Bevington, for the share.

Down and dirty, cheap security for $8.61

I'm ordering a set of these to bring to the next Monday meeting, so will be able to give you a better review at that time, but I'm going to tell you about them now. Please understand that I am no security expert and I make no claims for the efficacy of this product, but it does sound like it could scare the beejeesus out of anyone monkeying with your doors or windows. Your mileage may vary.

1,528 customers weighed in most favorably on GE's Personal Security Window/Door alarms (2) for $8.61 this week at

The copy reads that they are easy to install and require no wiring, and mounting "hardware" is included.

You can set these to a 90 decibel door chime, an ear-splitting 120 decibel alarm, or off for when you want to open up your doors and windows. They are battery operated and you will have to regularly check the low battery test button to make sure they are still charged. These attach with double-sided tape, so you'll also need to check now and then that the adhesive hasn't melted off. (Oh, the joys of living in the Mojave!)

120 decibels is louder than a rock concert at 4-6 feet from the speakers, so you will hear it. Your neighbors, if they live within a mile, will probably also hear it, so you may want to let them know you have an alarm if you're on speakin' terms.

These can also be easily removed and reused in hotels or AirBNBs for added security.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tarantula sighting

Wonder Valley artist and neighbor, David Greene, photographed this lovely tarantula on his property.  David says it's about 8" from toe to toe and might be the same one he's seen the last four years.

This is the mating season for tarantulas. They are gentle and basically harmless.

Dale Basin Well Owners Association meets November 1

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend the meeting of the
Dale Basin Well Owners Association
Sunday, November 1 at 4:00pm
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 Amboy, Wonder Valley, CA 92277

Join and/ or pay your dues at the meeting.

Lightning storm, October 14, 2015

Lightning storm in Wonder Valley, October 14, 2015. Photo, courtesy of Michelle Thomas

Desert Trail Column, October 15, 2015

The USDA Food Distribution will take place on Monday, October 19 at our community center from 11 to noon. The He Provides Ministry will also be there with free clothing and household items for anyone needing them.

The Morongo Basin Haven Project Connect outreach event will be held on Thursday, October 23 at the Sportsman’s Club, 6226 Sunburst Road in Joshua Tree from 10 to 3. The collaborative partners hosting this event will provide or assist attendees with free dental care, family support, housing support, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, SSI benefits, legal advice, employment services and more. For further information, contact Elizabeth Kirkland at 760-820-4714 or Wayne Hamilton at 760-401-0375.

Karen’s Commentary: Thanks to Sandi Arismendi for a stack of greeting cards, and to Jan Peek for cards and used stamps. On a different note (perhaps a sour note?), the little Christmas elves are whispering in my ears once again. When the calendar turns over to October, they start their quiet but relentless whispering. By November, it has gone up several octaves and can no longer be considered a whisper by any means. By December, the bombing on the Base can’t hold a candle to the annoying loudness of those cute little elves! Don’t you think they should be helping Santa instead of harassing me?

Darlene’s Commentary: Guess what! I am on the verge of walking independently again. (I still stow the crutches in the back seat of the car just in case.) As the days go by, I find things that I can do again! This thing with the hip and its replacement was an education, and now that the grueling pain has subsided to a degree that is tolerable, I am looking forward to doing things I really want to do. It’s kinda like being a well-fed and cared-for bird in a nice clean roomy cage with climate control, a nice swing and a cage door that is wide open! Just my thoughts.

If you have questions, comments, requests, praise or criticism regarding our road maintenance, call Star Javier or Tim Candelaria at 760-367-9880. You will probably have to leave a message, but one of them will get back to you.

Shelton Road, Wonder Valley
Handy Hint: The oven vent on an electric range is generally under one of the burners. When the oven is in use, you can feel the hot air coming through the vent, so set any dish you want to keep warm on that burner.

Thought for Today:
When you notice some of the body shapes today, it adds credibility to the theory of evolution.

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Always something interesting at the Palms on Sundays

Wonder Valley neighbor and geologist Ren brought rock samples that she'd collected in the Mojave to the community breakfast at the Palms last Sunday.

Ren holds and Ediacharan rock she collected
Ren explained that this is an Ediacharan rock, and its rarity is due to being,
"right in the middle of the old volcanic arc that started occurring about 250 million years ago and made the Sierras and Transverse ranges. When all that magma came up through the preexisting rocks, it cooked the hell out of them and destroyed any fossils."
Nemiana simplex(left) and Aspidella terranovica (right)
There are two ancient life forms preserved here: Aspidella terranovica and Nemiana simplex. The aspidella was a "holdfast," planted in the mud with a long plume above, similar to seaweed. The Nemiana was a soft-bodied jelly ball and this one was in the process of replicating by splitting.

Ren added that these rocks are rare because,
"they are some of the very first soft-bodied complex organisms on earth that began evolving from microbe colonies about 600 million years ago. Because they were soft-bodied, they are almost never preserved in the fossil record. These fossil organisms are only found in a few places in the world. These may be some of the first of these kind reported in the Mojave and are certainly some of the best preserved in 3 dimensions of anywhere in the world."
Ren has a way of speaking about these creatures and the wonders around us that is inviting as you can see from the crowd of shoes around her.

Everyone is welcome to join the community at Sunday breakfast, which starts at 9:00 a.m. and continues until people start petering out, sometimes as late as noon or 1 p.m. Breakfast starts at $3.50 and well drinks and beer at $2. James makes a mean bloody mary.

Matza Amboy art installation through November 25

If you're ever over at Amboy, stop and see the installation by the Swiss group MATZA.

Their current exhibit is called "Golden Smile Salty Tears" and is in the little cabins on the main propery of Roy's old hotel.

Projects may be viewed through November 25.

Roy's, Amboy

Highway 62 Art Tour | Wonder Valley

Four Wonder Valley artists will be on the Highway 62 Art Tour this year. Artists Robert Arnett and Perry Hoffman will be showing both weekends: October 17 & 18, and October 24 & 25. Artists JaymieArquilevich and Mark Heuston will be showing the second weekend.

Jaymie Arquilevich representing a Wonder Valley landscape 
Visit for details and a map.

There will also be a crafts fair at The Glass Outhouse Gallery and a blowout sale at the Wonder Valley Thrift Store (which might be postponed if the proprietors' granddaughter arrives early!).

Calling all Wonder Valley-ites! Write to Perry!

So exciting! Send in your mail art!

From Wonder Valley artist Perry Hoffman:
WHAT is mail art? You might ask... Mail art is when you send people art in an envelope or postcard via the mail. Sometimes it can even be an object with a stamp on it sent thru the postal system. I am having a POSTCARD SHOW at the Glass Outhouse Gallery on Hwy 62, this November. I encourage everyone to participate and send me some DESERT related postcard art. Please send to the Glass Outhouse... details in the image:

You have until the end of October, so start your engines!

[ Originally posted on 07142015. ]

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wonder Valley turns out to hear about proposed fire tax

About 80 folks from Wonder Valley crowded into the Wonder Valley Community Center to hear San Bernardino County Fire Department Division Chief, John Chamberlin, Division 5, South Desert, discuss a proposed increase in the local fire tax.

You're right, that's not 80 people. There were more people standing behind the photographer.
Mark Lundquist, the field rep for San Bernardino County Supervisor James Ramos, was present, as was Jim Brakebill, the instructor for Copper Mountain College's Fire Technology program, and a reporter from the Desert trail

Bob Stephenson, who videotapes the Municipal Advisory Council meeting  was hired to tape this meeting. You can watch the video of the meeting by following this link:
DVDs of the meeting will also be available to check out in the Community Center. Links to the materials that Mr. Chamberlin passed out will also be posted here.

Thank you to everyone who turned out for this important meeting.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mountain lion alert

Two community members have reported seeing a mountain lion north of Valle Vista and Godwin. Please, if you're walking, running, hiking in that area, take precautions, and consider traveling in pairs. Also, please watch your animals. It was reported that about a dozen chickens were killed recently on a community member's property.

Star Javier, the Wonder Valley CSA employee, mentioned that we've had mountain lions for years, and one year she saw a mother with cubs. There are bighorn sheep in the Bullion Mountains on the north border of Wonder Valley and these are prey for mountain lions.

This is a random photo of a mountain lion, and not the mountain lion in question.

The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn, Sunday, October 11, 2015

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, October 8, 2015

MAC Agenda, October 14, 2015

Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council
To Third District Supervisor James C. Ramos


Regular Open Session Meeting – 6:30 P.M. Monday October 12, 2015
Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Ave., Joshua Tree, CA  92252

A. Call to Order

B. Pledge of Allegiance

C. Memorial Adjournment
*   Catherine “Cat” Livingston
*   Hardin H. Zander

D. Roll Call: Seat 1: Pioneertown: Vacant; Seat 2: Yucca Mesa, Tom Ziegert; 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

E. Adoption of Agenda

F. Approval of minutes of September 12, 2015 meeting.

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

1. Kirby Brill, Mojave Water Agency General Manager, will discuss State Mandated Restrictions and
2. State Water Resource Control Board, Division of Drinking Water will present information on
water supply. Hexavalent Chromium.  Sean McCarthy, District Engineer for the Division, or  Jeff O’Keefe, Region 5 Chief Engineer for the Division, will be there for presentations and discussion.

J. Community 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, October 8, 2015

Darlene’s Commentary: I ran across this list of suggested ways that can improve your chances of avoiding dementia, or at least put a lot of years between now and its onset!
  • Take an art class, or try arts and crafts, or a greeting-card class. 
  • Did you play a musical instrument as a child? Take lessons again. 
  • READ! Dip into authors and topics you haven’t explored before. 
  • Play games you enjoy, and learn new ones. 
  • Try video games! 
  • Do a crossword puzzle every day. 
  • Try a Sudoku puzzle (my favorite)! 
  • Sign up for classes at a Senior Center. There’s always a variety of interesting ones to choose from.

Karen’s Commentary:  There is a very big and scary issue looming for Wonder Valley property owners. San Bernardino County Fire Department Division Chief John Chamberlin approached our MAC Representative Teresa Sitz about the need for an increase on our taxes for fire and emergency services. We are currently paying approximately $33 per parcel per year for these services, and the proposed annual amounts are – are you ready for this? – from $302 to $453 per parcel per yearl! Oh, my.

We also have the option of turning our fire and emergency services over to Twentynine Palms, which is laughable since they are having a tremendous amount of trouble just covering their current area, let alone adding Wonder Valley to the mix. This is a BIG issue. Division Chief Chamberlin will be at our community meeting on October 12 at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at 9 am. He will present the proposals and options and answer questions. Please
 do your very best to attend this important meeting, and bring your best behavior with you as this is going to be a high-stress topic for all of us. Keep in mind that Chief Chamberlin probably did not come up with these proposals on his own; he is only the messenger. Remember that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Reach Out Morongo Basin will pick you up on Tuesdays and Thursdays at The Palms at 10 a.m. to take you to the 29 Palms Nutrition Site for lunch, then bring you back at 2 p.m., all at no charge. If you have a problem getting to The Palms, they will pick you up and drop you off at your residence. Call 760-361-1410.

Handy Hint: Preweighed produce is convenient, but you should reweigh it just in case. A 5-pound bag of carrots can actually weigh anywhere from 4.5 to 6 pounds!

Thought for Today: “Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Agenda for Monday's Special Meeting

October 12, 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.

  1. Call to order, Teresa Sitz
  2. Community comment on items not on the agenda
  3. Meeting format and introduction, Teresa Sitz
  4. San Bernardino County Fire Department
    a. Proposed FP-4 Wonder Valley Service Delivery Update,
    Division Chief John Chamberlin, Division 5, South Desert
    b. Questions and Comments from the Community
  5. Announcements
  6. Adjournment 

October 12, 2015, MAC Report: Wonder Valley
by Teresa Sitz, Wonder Valley Delegate

We had a special community meeting this morning with ___ in attendance. San Bernardino County Fire Department Division Chief Jon Chamberlin presented on a proposed FP-4 Wonder Valley Service Delivery Update. We taped the meeting and will post the video online for anyone who wants or needs to review it.

The County Fire proposal is to raise taxes in Wonder Valley between $302 and $453 to start. One hundred percent of our ad valorem taxes plus an additional assessment of $34 per year already go to County Fire.

We’ll be having a Saturday meeting in the near future to take another look at this issue, and invite people who were not present for our weekday meeting.

In November Stewart West, a VA Benefits Advisor, from the Marine Corps Base will attend to speak on veteran’s benefits and discuss eligibility issues.

In December the BLM is going to bring maps and we’ll look at what’s going on with the roads and OHV access in Wonder Valley.

I met recently with Lynda Bishop of Pacific Clinics and we’ll be having a community meeting to gauge interest in a monthly wellness meeting for our community.

Our NextDoor network has 55 members now and we continue to keep an eye out for each other.

Thank you.

Print an agenda and report to take with you.

Proposed increase in fire tax to be addressed on October 12

From your MAC Delegate, Teresa Sitz:
At the last MAC (Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council) meeting on September 14 in Joshua Tree, San Bernardino County Fire Department Division Chief John Chamberlin approached me about the need to increase taxes in Wonder Valley for fire and emergency services. He promised to give me more information in the coming weeks so that I could provide you with the facts about the proposed increase.

I invited Division Chief John Chamberlin to present his proposal at our October Monthly Monday Meeting. He will provide us with details about the increase, explain to us what our options are, and answer questions.

I want to provide you with as much information as I can, but I have received little information myself, so please come to the meeting in October to hear the details from Division Chief John Chamberlin, the man making the proposal. I hope that I am giving you enough information that you are able to ask informed questions at the October meeting.

Wonder Valley Special Community Meeting
October 12, 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.

Download the AGENDA

We are planning a second meeting on a Saturday for those of you who cannot make the Monday meeting.

Our current situation:
"Service Zone FP-4 [Fire Protection Service Zone 4] Wonder Valley special tax was originally approved by the Board of Supervisors in August 1972 (originally under CSA 70 M Zone FP-4). Service Zone FP-4 provides fire protection services to the community of Wonder Valley and is funded by a voter approved special tax of $30 per parcel which was approved in June 2005 with an annual 1.5% cost of living increase and is currently set at $32.80. For 2013-14, the parcel count was 4,634 and the actual requirements and sources were $342,157 and 150,677, respectively. The 2014-15 parcel count is 4,634 with expected revenue at $150,677. Services are provided through Fire Station #45. "
Source: County of San Bernardino 2014/2015 Recommended Budget, Page 15 (576)

In other words, we are currently paying about $33 a year for fire service.

The preliminary figures for the proposed increase are:
  1. A two person ALS (Advanced Life Support) company including a Captain and a Firefighter/Paramedic costs $1.4 million a year.
  2. A three person Medic Engine costs around $2.1 million a year.
Divided by 4,636 parcels in Wonder Valley, the first option would increase fire and emergency services to $302 per parcel annually. Option two would increase fire and emergency services to $453 per parcel annually.

These numbers are preliminary. Division Chief Chamberlin will be given most of the October meeting to explain the increase and answer your questions.

We also have the option of turning our fire and/or emergency services over to Twentynine Palms. That would most likely result in an increase in our fire insurance.

There would need to be a vote to implement this increase in Wonder Valley.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Glass Outhouse Gallery opening on Saturday was a blast

Artemecia Minarik and Michael Arata opened the October show on Saturday night. A large crowd of locals attended and the mood was festive.

Michael Arata
Michael Arata
Artemecia Minarik
We bought this sweet little depiction of a smoke tree by Artemecia Minarik.
The Luminators
Artist Eric Saks dropped in after we left with "Oh brother, where are thou?" beards for the musicians, who proceeded to cover "A Man of Constant Sorrow." I'm really sorry we missed it.