Sunday, April 30, 2017

McConaha Memorial

Of all the photos that I snapped at yesterday's memorial event for Jack McConaha this one is my favorite. Karen Meyers, one of our local Desert Trail columnists, is regaling the crowd with stories about Jack. 

Karen and her sister Darlene, the other columnist, mean so much to this community and we are grateful for their loving participation. Look at all those smiles.

Jack's daughters are recording Karen's stories.

Wonder Valley Community Meeting, May 6, 2017

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate in the
Wonder Valley Community Meeting

Saturday, May 6, 2017, from Noon - 2 p.m.

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

On the agenda:
- Assistant Fire Chief Tom Marshall will present on a recent structure fire and the status of our Fire Department
- MAC Delegate Teresa Sitz will report on a recent meeting with Land Use Services regarding illegal landfills in Wonder Valley
- A discussion on the differences between a Community Service Area (CSA) and a Community Service District (CSD)
- A discussion on creating committees, such as Recycling, Illegal Dumping, Fire, Historical Landmark

AGENDA (posted 04302017, 7:08 a.m.)
NOTES (posted 05112017, 5:36 p.m.)

Coffee and refreshments will be available.

The Permaculture Presentation with Tim DeLorey starts at 3:00 p.m. for those of you who would like to stay for that.

For more information, visit

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Desert Trail, April 27, 2017

After a very long haul including fund-raising, paperwork, permits, construction work and miles and miles of red tape, Godwin Christian Fellowship was able to hold their first services in their new building at 6389 Godwin Road on Easter Sunday! Pastor Max Rossi and wife Olympia must be very proud. All the work, patience and gray hairs finally paid off! This is such a wonderful asset to our community, and we thank everyone who was involved in any way.

A combination potluck dinner and Jack McConaha remembrance, organized by Teresa Sitz, will be held on Saturday, April 29 from noon to 3. Everyone is asked to bring a dish for the potluck. During the meal, Wonder Valley’s own Bill and Bob will perform, and later a short film entitled “Riding Shotgun with Jack McConaha” by local filmmaker Nick Higgins will be shown. All are welcome to attend.

Anniversary wishes go out to Pappy and Donna Parsons this week. Have a wonderful day!

Karen’s Commentary: Thanks to Jan Peek for stamps and LOTS of coupons, and to Mary Quamme for LOTS MORE coupons! I’m going to be clipping for the next year! Well, at least that’ll keep me away from the casino. I’m a pretty stingy gambler, and maybe that’s the problem because it’s not paying off. I always go in there with a small amount, either lose or double it, then leave. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the time anymore, I lose it! So maybe what I’ve always heard about having to be a big spender to win is true. If so, I’m doomed.

Darlene’s Commentary: Wonder Valley’s gone through sandstorms, lightning, flash floods, freezing winters and baking summers. Sooner or later (much, much later) our desert will be changed by Father Time and global warming. Perhaps someday Wonder Valley will be home to a beautiful icy lake that will provide freshwater fish for the new groups or communities that inhabit the changing world. But through it all, the one thing that will continue to live is the history that will be handed down. This coming Saturday there will be an opportunity to hand down and/or learn some Wonder Valley history while honoring Jack McConaha.

Our Wonder Valley Fire Station #45 is manned 24/7 by dedicated men and women. If you see the bay doors open, stop in and say hello to our friendly crews.

Handy Hint:  Want to shine those shoes, but can’t find the shoe polish? Try ChapStick!

Thought for Today:  “Why does a woman work ten years to change a man, then complain he’s not the man she married?” – Barbra Streisand

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

Permaculture in the Mojave

Saturday, May 6 from 3 - 5 p.m.
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 1/2 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley, CA 92277
Everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

An introduction to the principles of permaculture as adapted to arid desert environments. Permaculture is a design method that combines art and science to help foster a transition towards a more regenerative relationship with ones local ecosystem.

Tim DeLorey, Ph.D., Regenerative Designer
Tim is a highly published research scientist with a keen interest in exploring the “Natural Intelligence” expressed through one’s relationship with the Nature.Tim has been highly involved in permaculture for the past six years and is regularly involved in designing permaculture initiatives. He is a longtime member of the Transition Town Initiative in Joshua Tree (TJT). His current research interests range from the design of drylands permaculture systems to exploring soil building strategies, water harvesting methodologies, building with earthen materials and assessing nutritional densities of native desert plants. Through consultations, lecturing, workshops facilitation and publications, he is contributing his unique perspective to fostering a transition towards a more balanced way of being.

Tim’s company, Eden Regenerative Design, based out of Joshua Tree, California, aims to help clients move towards developing a healthy, balanced working relationship with their external environment.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Summer's Eve 3, May 13, 2017

May 13, 5:00 p.m., $15

The Palms Restaurant
83131 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, 92277
  • Hush Arbors
  • Dear Nora
  • Bouquet
  • The Sibleys
  • Grant Earl LaValley
  • Patsy's Rats
  • Dommengang
  • Dega
  • Miss Lana Rebel

Free Camping

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bill and Bob at Marilus, May 6, 2017

Copper Mountain College Foundation is sponsoring HOWL: Live Readings!, on Saturday, April 29, 4-6 pm. at Marilu's. There will be art by photographer Michael Tighe and music by Bill and Bob.

Marilu's is located at 73511 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Twentynine Palms. Food will be available for purchase.

Bill Winter and Robert Rowell - Bill and Bob - have been performing together for about a year at The 29 Palms Inn, The Joshua Tree Saloon, and at private events. Bill plays guitar, composes, and sings. Bob plays the harmonica and the trombone.

Contact Bill and Bob at:

Follow Bill and Bob at:

More details about the event can be found at

Glass Outhouse Reception, May 6, 2017

Lori Antoinette
The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery hosts an opening night reception from 5 - 9 p.m. on May 6, for artists:
  • Deborah Ammar, assemblages and ceramics
  • Lori Antoinette, Palmdale-based chalk artist
Both artists have shown in the high desert before and much respected.

Hunter and the Wick'd will be performing.

Light refreshments. Admission is always free.

The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery is located at 77575  Twentynine Palms Highway. From Twentynine Palms, head east on Hwy. 62. Gallery is approximately 3.5 miles east from Utah Trail on the right at Thunder Road (Keep an eye out for the tiny church.)

Thursday, April 20, 2017


I submitted a story for the Copper Mountain College art and literary magazine HOWL. It was accepted. You can read it online at Copper Mountain College: Howl, go to page 85. You can check out everyone else's entries, too.

Or, you can read it below.

The Mayor’s House
By Teresa Sitz

The other miners called Audrey Beryl “The Mayor,” and her shack in the Pintos “The Mayor’s House.” She built it at the top of a steep and treacherous path, overlooking the camp, with the intent of dissuading drunks from stumbling up and banging on her door after their money and luck ran out. A very few tried, but even fewer after Eugene Crane was found one morning down the ravine, badly hung over, and with a broken leg. Audrey roped down and with the help of a few others, hoisted Gene up the side, set his leg and tended his many wounds. She’d lost a day of work due to it, but Gene lost more. He was never able to return to his claim.

Audrey built a rocker cradle and managed to pull $300 of gold
out of her placer claim over the first three months of the year. Along with her mules she’d take her rifle, tools, canteens, a hunk of bread and cheese, and a book. Wild lavender grew along the sheltered side of the dry wash and when the sun crested about 10 a.m. the scent of lavender spread on the warm air like jam on toast. Those days Audrey felt established in her ways, though she was 26, single, and wore pants under her skirt.

Stories about Audrey swirled through the camp and many a telling
ended with a blackened eye. Audrey was loved, and a bit feared. She wouldn’t step foot into either of the saloons, even though it was 1889. She took her meals around back with the wives, children, Mexicans, and any native passers-by.

Wilson always left before sun up, silently and deftly goat-stepping
down the path in the dark. A year passed before their tryst was exposed. The only story that made sense to minds simpled by the incessant din of the stamp mill was that Audrey was a whore. It was then that Audrey packed up her mules and made a claim
in Morongo, some 50 miles west. Wilson spent more time freighting to and from the grade. When they married the notice in the paper read,

“Another volunteer has been enrolled in the noble army of
miners and prospectors. ‘Quartz’ Wilson, of county fame, deserves the credit for enlisting a fair partner of his joys and prospects. The happy couple leave to-day for their home at the Palms.” 1

Over time Audrey’s name and occupation were forgotten. Unable
to imagine a woman mining, loved, maligned, and born anew, “The
Mayor’s House” was wedged into the space in history books reserved for “red light districts.” But the sand between the pages tells a different story and this is the gold that I have panned for you.

1. The Daily Courier, San Bernardino County, December 12,

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dale Basin Well Owners Association Biannual Meeting

The Dale Basin Well Owners Association meets from 4 - 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at the new Godwin Christian Fellowship, 6389 Godwin Road, near Highway 62, in Wonder Valley.

President Clarence Chambers will present on the state of water in Wonder Valley.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership is open to well owners in Wonder Valley for $5 a year.

Wonder Valley on the BOS Agenda

These are regular annual updates already agreed upon by the voters.

Board Governed County Service Areas
62) Acting as the governing body of the Board Governed County Service Areas:
1. Adopt the following Resolutions continuing special taxes, which were previously approved by the voters, for 2017-18 and direct the Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector to place the special
taxes on the 2017-18 tax roll:
c. Resolution setting a special tax for County Service Area 70, Zone TV-4 (Wonder Valley Television), at $5 per parcel, per Attachment C (no increase from previous year).
q. Resolution setting a special tax for Zone A of County Service Area 70, Zone M (Wonder Valley), at $30.75 per parcel, per Attachment Q (includes the electorate-approved 2.5% inflationary increase).

2. Direct the Clerk of the Board to publish a copy of each of these Resolutions once in a newspaper of general circulation within the district.
(Presenter: Jeffrey O. Rigney, Director, 387-5967) 
Consolidated Agenda for Tuesday, April 18, 2017 Page 14 of 19

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wonder Valley Star Sighting

I was sitting at The Palms on a Friday afternoon, minding my own business, when actress Dale Dickey breezes in with a friend. I didn't recognize her at first. Someone else had to point her out to me, but then I remembered her.

She was in True Blood, Come Hell or High Water, Winter's Bone, Breaking Bad, My Name is Earl, and other American Gothic movies and TV shows.

She's really good. Nice to see her.

Desert Trail Column, April 13, 2017

The community meeting held last Saturday was interesting and informative, as usual. Ongoing questions and concerns about our fire department were discussed, along with the possibility of starting a recycling program. These meetings, organized by Teresa Sitz, always provide insights into Wonder Valley issues, along with suggestions and solutions.

The USDA Food Distribution will be held on Monday, April 17 at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, from 10:30 to noon.

We send out Rainbows-of-Diamonds-and-Sweetpeas to Penny Root (51) and Diane Brooks, who celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday to you both!

And speaking of special days, the Wonder Valley News column’s anniversary is this week! We have been writing this column for five years now, and we hope you are enjoying it. For those of you who have just recently started reading our column, here is a little history. We are sisters, and our “little sister” Donna now lives in Yucca Valley, but is a former Wonder Valleyite. Our mom, Louise Borquez, wrote this column for 18 years, so we are just following in her footsteps. We hope she approves!

Karen’s Commentary: Dar and I wrote about the same thing, but hers is better!

Darlene’s Commentary: I’ve been looking through photo albums for pictures of our old volunteer fire department and “Captain Jack” McConaha. Those were the days of Saturday morning training with Jack at the helm, checking equipment, fire hoses and protective gear, practicing procedures and readying the fire trucks and water tender for whatever disaster, large or small. Volunteers packed the parking lot back then, and everyone, whether young or old, was busy doing something. When people drove by, they honked and waved in appreciation of the volunteers in their community. Sometimes someone with a camera (who often was our mother) would ask if they could get a shot of the whole brigade. Then the Wonder Valley Volunteer Fire Department, including Captain Jack and his Dalmatian dog Firefox (the fire station mascot), would proudly assemble in front of Fire Station #42, and with a “Say cheese!” and a click, a moment in time was captured on a Saturday morning in Wonder Valley.

Our community center is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays of each week, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free wi-fi, cards, games, newspapers, magazines, informational pamphlets, books, movies and audio books are available. There is even a table of “Free Stuff,” so come on in and look around. Call Ric Figueroa at 760-367-9880.

Handy Hint: Can’t find a screwdriver? Use a coin.

Thought for Today: Life is sexually transmitted.

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

Wonder Valley April Sunrise

Gallery 62, Reception May 13, 2017

Several Wonder Valley artists are featured:
Cathy Allen, Perry Hoffman, former WV-ite Jennifer Ruggerio, Suzanne Ross, and Olive Toscani.

Let me know if I'm leaving anyone out.

See you at the opening!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Report from the Vacation Rental Ordinance Meeting

The Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) met last Monday night. Andy Wingert, San Bernardino County Code Enforcement Chief, presented on a proposed vacation rental (VR) ordinance. The good news is that the ordinance is intended only for the mountain regions of SBC, the only area in the County where vacation rentals are permitted. There is a moratorium in effect, however, against enforcement in the Morongo Basin. It seems there is also no mechanism at the moment for enforcing the Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT.

The VR Ordinance for the mountain regions may serve as a template for writing an ordinance for the Morongo Basin. This effort could begin within the coming months.

Wingert assured the overflow crowd that there would be many meetings and discussions to finesse the ordinance to meet the unique needs of the Morongo Basin.

Wingert is an interesting and straightforward man, who said he does not shy away from thorny discussions, and will work with the M.B. to create an ordinance that works for the area.

It is important for VR hosts in Wonder Valley to attend future meetings to represent needs particular to Wonder Valley. Please make plans to attend.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Draft of the Proposed Vacation Rental Ordinance

The Morongo Basin MAC meets at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 10 at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst, behind the Sportsman's Club. Everyone is welcome to attend.

On the agenda is item I (i):

Andy Wingert, Code Enforcement Chief, Land Use Services Department, SB County, will present an Update on Short Term Rentals in the Unincorporated Areas of San Bernardino County.

A draft of the proposed ordinance may be found here: