Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wonder Valley author writes on the negative effects of limiting opioids

"In recent years, the growing number of Americans addicted to prescription pain medications has become staggering. And when obtaining such highly addictive drugs becomes difficult, addicts are turning to heroin in massive numbers because it’s a cheap and often readily available substitute. The result of these trends is an enormous and rapidly growing health problem, as well as a huge law enforcement challenge."

From Facing the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic,
Published in Clinical Lab Products magazine on February 22, 2016 Author Gary Tufel is a full-time resident of Wonder Valley.

Deserted at The Palms, May 21, 2016

Join the Phone Tree

Wonder Valley is R-U-R-A-L as hell. There many obstacles to reaching people. Many people do not have the Internet or email accounts, get the local paper, or make it to the Community Center or the Palms to get notices of meetings and events.

We do have a communication plan and continue to build on it. If you have any suggestions for improving it, please let us know.

When we do announce a meeting we:
  • Send out emails to our list 
  • Post online at:
    - NextDoor
    - Facebook events
    - Facebook Wonder Valley Community page 
  • Submit to the Desert Trail 
  • Submit to the Desert Trail columnists 
  • Print in the Wonder Valley Sand Paper 
  • Physically post at the Wonder Valley Community Center and The Palms 
  • Notify the local pastors 
  • Submit to Z107.7 events 
 We have also posted flyers up and down Highway 62 and Amboy for important meetings.

Now we have the phone tree. I you are willing to be “call girl” (or boy) please contact me. It would be ideal if a person had to call no more than five people.

If you need someone to CALL you, please let me know the next time you see me and I’ll add you to the list. Also contact me if you have a neighbor who needs a call.

Teresa Sitz,, 760-865-9550

Purposes, services and facilities for Community Services Districts

There are more than thirty purposes, services and facilities that can be added to a Community Services District, or CSD. It's facinating, the functions that we could take on as a community. We could only do this, however, if we had a strong community center and a diverse and well supported volunteer program.

Check it all the purposes, services, and facilities.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Desert Trail, March 24, 2016

At the special meeting held on March 14, Associate Insurance Compliance Officer Peter Meza from the California Department of Insurance, gave a very informative presentation on how our level of fire services would affect our ability to obtain and/or keep homeowner’s insurance. Each insurance company makes their own decision as to how bad the risk is in any given area. This risk factor combined with the percentage of policies that have been written by them in that particular area determines whether or not they will issue an insurance policy and the amount of the premium. If you are unable to obtain insurance, the government’s Fair Plan will insure you. It is basic insurance and it is costly, so it’s a last resource. To compare major insurance companies’ plans, go to To find insurance from a smaller company, you can deal with an insurance broker, such as Williams Insurance in Twentynine Palms.

No burro, no gold.
Another special meeting will take place on Saturday, March 26 at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road, from 10 to noon. Morongo Valley Board Member Gayl Swarat and Morongo Valley General Manager Donna Munoz will discuss the pros and cons of having a Community Service District rather than having a Community Service Area, which is what we now have.

Also on March 26, the Wonder Valley Yacht Club will present some good music at The Palms, 83131 Amboy Road. There is no cover charge, free camping space is available and the music starts at 8 pm.

Last week we announced the upcoming Inauguration and Dedication of the Godwin Christian Fellowship building, but there has been a delay, so we will announce the new date of the Dedication in an upcoming column. Meanwhile, the Easter Resurrection Service will take place on Sunday, March 27 at 7446 Bonny Dunes Road, one mile east of Shelton, at 10:30 am. The Luminators will provide worship and spirited music, and a free luncheon will be served after the service Everyone is welcome. Contact Pastor Max Rossi at 831-234-6848 or for additional information.

We send out Rainbows-of-Aquamarines-and-Jonquils to Serenity Justicanne Root who is celebrating her sixth birthday this week. Happy birthday, Serenity!

The Wonder Valley Book Program is alive and well! With regular hours returning to our community center, the Book Program will also have regular hours that will be announced. The WV Book Program is just like a little library, but you can keep the book or movie longer.

Handy Hint: Toothpaste makes an excellent burn salve.

Thought for Today: Why does toilet paper need a commercial? Who is not buying this?

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

Desert l,ily Hesperocallis undulata, south side of Amboy Road a little east of Godwin

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Community Clean Up Proposed - Volunteers Needed!

San Bernardino County Code Enforcement is willing to provide a huge dumpster and the Marines are willing to pitch in with volunteers for a Community Clean Up if the community of Wonder Valley provides:
  1. Volunteers - the more we have the more we can do!
  2. Pickup Trucks to ferry trash and tires to the dumpster which will be conveniently located.
This will be a BLITZ from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - 4 HOURS ONLY!

The more people we have the more sites we can tidy up.

I know we all love our solitude out here but if we want to keep it we're going to have to work shoulder to shoulder once in awhile. (It's only 4 hours.) By working together we're telling a story about ourselves and our community, about the unique character of Wonder Valley - the character that we want to protect and maintain. I'm looking at you.

Oh, and if you don't have the wherewithall to pick up trash, come anyway and bring drinks or snacks. There's something for everyone to do.

Sign up by contacting me - Teresa Sitz, your neighbor (first) and MAC Delegate, at

Monday, March 21, 2016

Looking for seniors and disabled who need help

By Z107.7 News, on March 21st, 2016
Volunteers from Reach Out Morongo Basin and the Marine Corps are looking for seniors or disabled who can use some help. Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains…
Home repairs and yard work can present increasing challenges for seniors and disabled residents. If this is you or you know of a local senior or disabled property owner facing such a challenge, help is on the way. Reach Out Morongo Basin and volunteers from the Marine Corp Air Ground Combat Center are looking for senior and disabled homeowner’s who need assistance with minor projects such as painting, light carpentry, yard work and other repairs not requiring a permit. More than 140 area residents have received such assistance since the program’s inception four years ago. Organizers aim to complete 20 additional projects this year. Only primary residences are eligible; recipients must own the property. All requests will require inspection to evaluate the scope of work required. For more information or to sign up call Reach Out Morongo Basin Executive Director Robin Schlosser at 760-361-1410.
NOTE: They are no longer taking applications.

Rocks are painted..., kinda

The rocks in front of the Wonder Valley Community Center used to spell out "Wonder Valley" in red, white, and blue. The sun and sand took their toll over the years and lately they've just looked like random arrangements of rocks.

After last Monday's Community Meeting I saw a Special District's employee or contractor out there spraying the rocks with spray paint, which though easy, wasn't quite what I'd had in mind when I made the request. Our aeolian sugar sand has more than half buried most of the rocks. They really need to be dug out and repainted with a thick coat of paint, and then realigned. It's getting hot now so I can't imagine this happening until next December. I dunno. Is it just me?

Come find out why you should care about CSDs

I want to be very clear that I am not recommending that we form a CSD. One of the options given to Wonder Valley by County Fire was to form a Paid Call / Volunteer Fire Department. If we did that under County Fire they would have control of that program. If we had a CSD - Community Service District - we, the people of Wonder Valley, would have control of our Paid Call / Volunteer Fire Department. County Fire has told me they do not believe we have enough people who will step forward to form our own Fire Department.

Some residents of Wonder Valley asked us to look into forming a CSD so I've scheduled two meetings:

  1. Saturday, April 26, 10:00 a.m. - WVCCGail Swarat, President, and Donna Munoz, General Manager, of the Morongo Valley CSD, will speak to us about the pros and cons of a CSC and about the issue of emergency services which they are currently dealing with, too.
  2. Saturday, May 23, 10:00 a.m. - WVCC
    San Bernardino County LAFCO
    (Local Agency Formation Commission) will com speak to us about possible changes to the way Wonder Valley pays taxes/assessments and receives services, in particular LAFCO will address dissolving FP-4 (Fire Protection District 4) which is the $34.10 assessment on our property taxes.
If you'd like to read up on CSDs before the meeting, check out these links:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Desert Trail Column, March 17, 2016

Last Saturday’s monthly meeting was well-attended and informative. Chief Scott Tuttle of the San Bernardino County Fire Department was there with information about the two fires in Wonder Valley the previous weekend. Copper Mountain College’s Fire Technology instructor Jim Brakebill also gave a presentation, announcing that there will be an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) training course given, plus another fire extinguisher training course coming up in April.

The Palms Bar and Restaurant, 83131 Amboy Road, presents musical performances by Wet Marble, Haunted Desert Dust and The Sibleys, beginning at 8 pm on Saturday, March 19. There is no cover charge and free camping space is provided. Call 760-361-2810 for further information.

The He Provides Ministry will be at our community center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road, at 9:30 on Monday, March 21 with free clothing, blankets and household items for anyone needing them. The USDA Food Distribution will take place at the same location from 10:30 to noon. Also, CMC students will be there, providing free blood pressure checks.

Just a reminder to mark your calendars for these things coming up in the near future:
  • On March 26, a meeting to discuss Community Service Districts with Morongo Valley’s Gayl Swarat and Donna Munoz. At the moment Wonder Valley is a Community Service Area, but a CSD provides more community control over resources.
  • Also on March 26, the Wonder Valley Yacht Club will present some good music at The Palms, starting at 8 pm. No cover charge and free camping.
  • On March 27, the Inaugural Service and Dedication is scheduled to take place at the new Godwin Christian Fellowship building on Godwin Road. Email Pastor Max Rossi at for further information.
  • On April 9, The Palms will have a huge musical festival. Further information will be provided in a later column.
We send out Rainbows-of-Aquamarines-and-Jonquils to Tyler Holsclaw and to Donna Parsons, who celebrate their special days this week. Happy, happy birthday to you both!

The Wonder Valley Thrift Store, located on Godwin Road between Highway 62 and Two Mile Road, has bargains galore. They are open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 to noon. All proceeds go to the Godwin Christian Fellowship building fund. Call Olympia at 831-227-1948 for further information.

Handy Hint: When cleaning the inside of your microwave oven, pour vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for two minutes. The liquid creates steam and makes messes easy to wipe away.

Thought for Today: Only about one per cent of the world’s population has red hair, the rarest hair color, but about 13 per cent of the Scottish population are redheads.

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

Passive Income Alert

Earn a little extra money AND save the planet!

The company OhmConnect write, "If you live in California, you are entitled to receive payments for saving energy. Join OhmConnect today to get started."

More from The Penny Hoarder,

Get Paid Up to $300 to Turn Off the Lights
California residents can earn up to $300/year by syncing their utility accounts to a program called OhmConnect and agreeing to help reduce energy usage by one hour per week. Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for a free OhmConnect account and sync it with your online utility account.
  2. You must have an online account with one of these three utility companies to participate: Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison.
  3. OhmConnect will send you weekly payments for reducing your electricity for one hour per week. They do this because you’re helping to not contribute to the high demand that prompts unclean power sources to turn on. They’ll send you up to $300/year per year, plus you’re helping  save the planet!
The Wonder Valley Community Center will have free WIFI after March 30 so you can sign up for an online account there.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sherrif's Department arrests former Wonder Valley man

Deputies arrest two for Possession of Stolen Vehicle and stolen property 
DATE/TIME: March 10, 2016 / 2:00 p.m.
INCIDENT: Possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property
LOCATION: 3000 block of Hilton Ave, Yucca Valley, CA
SUSPECT(S): Jason Barr, 38, resident of Yucca Valley
Valerie Morse, 42, resident of Yucca Valley

On March 10, 2106, deputies from the Morongo Basin Station’s Multiple Enforcement Team (M.E.T.) conducted a burglary investigation at the 3000 block of Hilton Avenue. M.E.T. team members located a stolen vehicle parked at the residence. Valerie Morse and Jason Barr were contacted at the residence. A search warrant was obtained for the residence, a search was conducted and stolen items from multiple burglaries were recovered from inside the residence. Morse was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property and booked into jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Barr was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and committing a felony while out on bail. Barr was booked into jail in lieu of $100,000.

Problem Oriented Policing is a specialized position within the Town of Yucca Valley’s Police Department. Deputy Sheriff Bruce Southworth is currently assigned to this full time position. The primary focus of “Problem Oriented Policing” is to provide solutions to law enforcement related issues that adversely affect the citizens who live, work and visit the Town of Yucca Valley.

Refer: Deputy B. Southworth
Station: Morongo Basin Station
Case #: 231600443
Phone No. (760) 366-4175

JOHN McMAHON, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2 Wonder Valley Meeting Notes

Please download notes for the MARCH COMMUNITY MEETING on March 12th, at:

Please download notes for the INSURANCE MEETING on March 14th, at:

Thank you.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wonder Valley Neighborhood Watch foils two crimes

These are the Sheriff's Call from this week's Desert Trail.


Wednesday, March 2
Miscellaneous Law Enforcement Call
3800 block of Pinto Mountain Road, Wonder Valley, 4:46 p.m.

The reporting party said two men were at a neighbor’s unoccupied house and appeared to be taking a vehicle. When approached, they said they had a bill of sale for the vehicle but couldn’t find it. Once questioned, they left the scene.

Friday, March 4
Petty Theft, 82000 block of Pioneer Road, Wonder Valley, 7:26 a.m.

The reporting party said an unknown man approached his house Thursday morning, knocked on his bedroom window and asked if he remembered him. The reporting party said he did not remember and walked outside to his driveway. The man left his contact information and asked the reporting party to call if he needed any work done. Once outside, the reporting party discovered his vehicle was open and he was missing a generator.

Sunday, March 6
Arson, 79700 block of Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, 10:22 p.m.

A house was fully engulfed in flames. The bomb and arson squad was called.

Monday, March 7
Possess/Manufacture/Sell Dangerous Weapon
Amboy Road and Leila Lane, Wonder Valley, 7:25 a.m.

The reporting party saw a black truck occupied by a woman and a man riding a quad on his boss’ property. The reporting party showed the deputy a black backpack found on a trailer full of the suspects’ property. The backpack held a loaded Colt six-shot revolver and a California identification card. The card was found to belong to a convicted felon. The owner of the trailer and truck was identified as the woman seen in the truck The deputy was not able to find the man or the woman.

Monday, March 7
Burglary, 76300 block of Frazier Lane, Wonder Valley, 5:37 p.m.

a Sometime between Oct. 20, 2015, and March 7, unknown subjects forced entry via a window, ransacked the residence and stole a water tank.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Two structure fires in Wonder Valley on the same night

Two houses burned to the ground on the night of March 6.

Firefighters were called to a residence near Meriweather and Virginia Roads about 7:15 p.m.

A second fire was reported later in the evening near Amboy and Grimm Roads.

NOTE: COUNTY FIRE will be present at our regular monthly Community Meeting, to  discuss the recent fires.

Saturday, March 12, at 9:00 a.m.
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 1/2 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley
Everyone is invited to and welcome to attend and participate.
Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.

Peter Meza, a representative of The California Department of Insurance, will explain how our fire and emergency services affect our ability to get and keep fire insurance and purchase mortgages.

Monday, March 14, at 10:00 a.m.
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 1/2 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley
Everyone is invited to and welcome to attend and participate.
Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.


Desert Trail Column, March 10, 2016

Our own Wonder Valley website, put together by Ken and Teresa Sitz, has a new URL – Much simpler than the old one. Check it out for all things Wonder Valley!

No birthdays this week, but we’re sending get well wishes to Teresa Sitz as she’s recovering from a back injury. Get well, Teresa!

This month’s regular Monthly Meeting, normally held on Monday, will be held on Saturday, March 12 at our community center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road from 9 to 11 am. Fire Technology instructor Jim Brakebill will show a short film entitled “The Power of Fire.” If for no other reason, you should attend this meeting to see this video! Other discussions will include local cleanups by San Bernardino County Code Enforcement, Neighborhood Watch, fire services updates, honoring Jack McConaha and changes at our community center.

On Monday, March 14, a meeting regarding homeowners insurance will be held at our community center from 10 to noon. California Department of Insurance representative Peter Meza will discuss affordable insurance, how fire services affect the ability to have insurance and Wonder Valley’s ISO rating and how to lower it.

Darlene’s Commentary: I want to thank Mother Nature (and the Spirit of the Pioneers) for blessing our desert with beautiful wildflowers! They’re popping up everywhere, and I’m told that some places have solid patches of color. In celebration, I want to share with you some quotations about flowers.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Buddha. 
“Flowers are the music of the ground, from Earth’s lips spoken without a sound.” – Edwin Curran. 
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand better.” – Albert Einstein.

Karen’s Commentary: I want to thank Jan Peek for sending over used greeting cards and used postage stamps. Also, our cousin Annie French for sending lots and lots of coupons! The kids at St Jude’s Ranch for Children, the eagles in Big Bear and the military families overseas all thank you. I’d also like to mention that you can add the location of an illegal dump site to our Wonder Valley map by going to

For road maintenance questions or comments, leave a message for Tim at 760-367-9880.

Handy Hint: Reduce water usage by filling a plastic bottle with water, replacing the lid and putting it inside your toilet tank. This reduces the amount of water used per flush. Just be sure that it doesn’t interfere with the flushing mechanism.

Thought for Today: An Air Force truism is that the only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Wonder Valley Monthly Meeting - March 12, 2016

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend our monthly community meeting from 9-11 a.m. on March 12 at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-1/2 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277.

Agenda is posted on March 7 at 9:00 a.m. at:
The notes for this meeting are posted here:

We've temporarily moved the monthly community meeting to a Saturday and if you attend, you'll find out why! Everyone is welcome and invited to attend and participate. (There may even be Porto's Cuban pastries from Glendale.)

James Brakebill, the head of the Copper Mountain College Fire Technology Program will report and show the short film The Power of Fire.

We'll discuss County Code Enforcement's recent Wonder Valley cleanup with before and after photographs, Neighborhood Watch, give a Fire/Emergency Services update, discuss how we might honor Jack McConaha, talk about upcoming meetings and changes at the community center.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Our SECOND Fire Extinguisher Training

SECOND Fire Extinguisher Training
Saturday, April 16, 2016 from 10 AM - 2 PM
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 1/2 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277

What did everyone say after our last Fire Extinguisher Training Class?

“I had no idea how much I didn’t know!” 

Three hours of classroom fire safety instruction and one final hour when we go outside to start and put out fires. At the end of the class you will be MUCH better prepared to protect your house and your loved ones from fire! Don't miss this important training!

The instructor will be James Brakebill, head of the Copper Mountain College Fire Technology Program, and the community member who explained to us the Paid Call Firefighter Program at the last fire meeting.

Contact Teresa Sitz at if you want to attend this training. You will receive a certificate upon completion.

A $10 donation is requested and will be used to refill the fire extinguishers that we use during practice. Some scholarships are available for those who cannot afford a donation, or bring your own fire extinguisher to use and then refill. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

MR. FIRE PROTECTION of Yucca Valley will be on site to refill and recertify your home fire extinguishers (for a fee), or to sell you a fire extinguisher based on your needs. This service is available to everyone whether they take the training or not. Drop in and bring your fire extinguishers if you have them.

On Facebook:

EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) Information Session

EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) Information Session
Saturday, April 16, 2016, from 2 PM - 4 PM
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 1/2 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277

There will be an EMR Information Session on Saturday, April 16 from 2 - 4 p.m. at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road. Come find out why you, or someone you know, should take this training.

If the Community of Wonder Valley chooses to form its own Paid Call or Volunteer Firefighter program we will need to train and qualify community members to participate.

There are two steps to this process:

  1. Take and pass the EMR Training (in as little as one month)
  2. Take and pass the Firefighter Training (in as little as one semester)

Both of these programs are provided at Copper Mountain College and are scheduled to accommodate working people.

The next EMR training starts on June 13 and continues through July 13. Classes are on Monday through Thursday from 9 to 11:50 a.m. at Fire Station 422 in Desert Heights (north of Twentynine Palms). There are no requirements or prerequisites for taking this course. There is no age limit.

This is a 3 unit college course. The cost is $46.00 per unit for a total of $138.00, plus the cost of the textbook which is $125.00. Students are also responsible for purchasing a CPR Pocket Mask, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and a pen light.

Some SCHOLARSHIPS and FEE WAIVERS may be available and we will have a Financial Aid Specialist from Copper Mountain College come to the Community Center in May to help people apply for financial aid and fee waivers. Please contact James Brakebill at AND Teresa Sitz at if you are interested in registering for the EMR course. Attend the EMR Information Session to find out more and to talk one to one with students currently enrolled in the program.

On Facebook:
For more information:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Threw my back out

Hi All,

I haven't posted much this week, and the Desert Trail column is late. I threw my back out Sunday morning - even missing breakfast - and am having a very slow recovery. I still can't walk and can barely sit up. Thanks to Glenda for being a superb nurse, and for Jill, Almut, Mary and Laura, and Roberta for visiting me, bringing me delicious food and keeping me company.

Now for the GOOD NEWS. Between William Hillyard and Ken Sitz the NEW URL for this website is: (drum roll please)

You can still get here through the long and clumsy

url, but the new url will be much easier to share and much more legitimate printed on postcards and other materials. I am very grateful to William Hillyard for being a team player and giving us the URL. Thanks, Bill!

This is just one of the many sweet little changes coming up and as soon as I'm back on my feet I'll be much better about letting you know about them.