Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Year-end request for donations: Friends of Wonder Valley

For better or worse, Wonder Valley is gaining in notoriety. AirBNB now lists 117 vacation rentals in Wonder Valley, and more and more people are coming here for the growing music scene, and to simply enjoy the beauty of the desert. Who can blame them?

Local authors Catherine Connor and Bill Hillyard discuss Hillyard's book
Welcome to Wonder Valley.
Despite these changes, persistent poverty remains a reality in Wonder Valley. Citi-data, an information aggregator, reports the annual median income for a two-person household in Wonder Valley at $16, 379. The same number for residents of nearby Twentynine Palms is 2.5 times that number at $40,888. (1) It is not unusual to find people living here who lack electricity, water, or proper sanitation.

The Friends of Wonder Valley, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was founded on July 5, 2018, by a group of local volunteers, “...to enhance the lives of the people in Wonder Valley by providing programs that engage residents and build community, including arts, music, theater, education, food, health, recreation, and others as need arises and our capacity increases.”

How do we do this? In many, many ways.

The local community center hosts two monthly food giveaways serving more than 100 families a month. FOWV supplies the boxes, the tape, the carts, the printing and promotion, along with many volunteers to make sure the food giveaways serve as many people as possible, while maintaining the dignity of those who participate.

All packed up for the USDA -- the night before. Food boxes for 100 families.

Setting up for the Salvation Army shopping-style distribution.
People tell us how the distributions really help with their food budgets.
In addition to the food distributions we support local writers and artists. A successful Artist of the Month program featured local artists Chris Carraher, Joe Barrett, Suzanne Ross, Robert Rowell, and Lisa Manifold. We hope to resume this program in the coming year. In the last year we’ve sponsored readings for local authors Ruth Nolan, Ken Layne, Catherine Connor, and William Hillyard.

Mock up of the Simi Dabah sculpture installed at the WVCC.
Scheduled for first quarter 2020.
Most of our events take place at the Wonder Valley Community Center, but early next year we expect to expand into an additional space. This will allow us a private meeting room. People in the community have expressed a desire for meditation classes, and a caregiver support group, which could find a home in the meeting room. The added space will increase our overhead, but we are certain it will be worth it for the community.

If you have enjoyed your time in Wonder Valley, please consider giving back to the community by supporting the Friends of Wonder Valley.

  1. Go to: https://www.friendsofwondervalley.org/ and click on the DONATE button in the right hand column.
  2. Write a check payable to:
    Friends of Wonder ValleyPO Box 1704, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277.
  3. Or, if you would like to give anonymously, please go to: https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/3520421
If you provide us with your address, we’ll send you a bumper sticker of the Dale Basin Field Club.

If you have already given to Friends of Wonder Valley, or are signed up to give monthly, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. If you have not already given, please join us in making Wonder Valley a great place for everyone.

Have a wonderful New Year and decade!

Teresa Sitz
Friends of Wonder Valley
  1. Median household income in 2016:
    Read more: http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Wonder-Valley-Twentynine-Palms-CA.html

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Campfire Tales, Brilliance and Passion in the Mojave

Wonder Valley is a rather small place in a big vast desert. For it's size it sure has it's share of talent. The spotlight this week is a man of great talent but that's not what I want to examine here. What I want to talk about is drive and passion. In my little corner of the world passion is far and away what I admire most about someone.

Each time I go to our local entertainment and social hangout here also known as the Palms Restaurant I am greeted with the smiling face of the fellow we know and love as Kev. Kevin Bone is bar keep, cruise director, actor, theatre director, festival coordinator and master promoter and an all around good guy who's passion (remember that word) always amazes me.

So, all that said, lets sit around the virtual campfire and chat about Kev's Campfires, a new reoccurring production that is as unique as it is brilliant. Picture this... The back room at a Mojave roadhouse, pitched mountain tent, a roaring fire, 3 microphones a few guitars, a keyboard and three talented singer-songwriters telling stories and singing songs. Add to that S'mores and mulled wine and one is smack dab in the middle of Kevin's passion.  You see, Kevin's passion is providing our little town with unique entertainment that gives you that warm feeling in your soul. For that he deserves not only your thanks but your admiration as well.

The singer's campfire is something Kevin says he's been wanting to do for a while. I'm glad he got around to it at Christmas time because it fits right in like turkey and dressing with a side of mashed taters and gravy on a gold winter's night. As I listened to the songwriters apply their trade, a double Southern Comfort in hand,  I reflected on my time in town known to be the Live Music Capital Of The World. In my ten years in Austin I never saw anything like Kevin's crafty little songs around the campfire brilliance.  The reason for that is a lack of the passion that Kevin is blessed with. Three good performers and a fantastic idea made for some pretty cool stuff on a cold, damp but starlit evening out in the middle of nowhere. The big city has nothing on Wonder Valley and a lot of that is because they don't have a Kevin Bone.

And with that friends here is a taste of what you missed or had the pleasure of experiencing.

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Desert Trail Column - December 26, 2019

Our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, is closed for the holidays. It will reopen on Monday, January 6 at 9 a.m.

Ryan Brown will be the special guest speaker at the Sunday church service at Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road, on December 29 at 10:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome! Call 760-391-0480 or 760-401-6128 for further information.

 We send out Rainbows-of-Turquoise-and-Narcissus to Glenda Berndt who celebrates her special day this week. Happy birthday, Glenda!


We also send out best wishes to Mary and Les Lindsley who celebrate 38 years together this week. Happy anniversary, Les and Mary!


Darlene’s Commentary:  We’ve sure had some beautiful days and starry nights recently, even though it’s been really cold at times. A few days even had some warm sunshine, giving us spring-like weather in December! Mother Nature sure knows how to turn that dial up or down. And when that dial is down, I have a sudden need for firewood, but mine was all jumbled and jammed into an unruly mountain. I want to thank my dear friend for turning that mountain into a tidy, neat and nicely-placed display. It is actually like an artist’s work of beauty! Since it’s stacked in proper order, it’s so much easier to use. Thank you, thank you, Agent 007!

 Karen’s Commentary:  An article in the November 2019 issue of AARP Bulletin says that many people have an inflated sense of security about the social platform Nextdoor because it’s supposed to be limited to your neighbors. But there have been reports of criminals posting fake car sales or contractors for hire – even pretending to be nannies. They want your information so they can steal your money. So don’t assume you can trust an online stranger, even one who claims a local connection. Use neighborhood apps to keep up with events, not as a marketplace. This sounds like good advice to me. Nextdoor is great, but always be cautious when it comes to matters involving money.

 A group of Wonder Valleyites gathers at The Palms every Sunday morning to discuss the week’s happenings in our area. You can usually find them having breakfast in the diningroom in back. Everyone from “newbies” to “old-timers” are welcome to join in the conversation!

 Handy Hint:  Nuts stay fresh for a year or longer when stored in the freezer. To eat, just thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then munch away!

 Today’s Thought:  “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius


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

Monday, December 23, 2019

Kev's Campfires

Kev's Campfires
As if you're sitting around the campfire, under the stars, with three amazing singer/songwriters sharing their songs and stories. Except it's indoors, where it's warm and cozy (wtih s'mores and mulled wine!)

First "Campfire" -- The Holiday Show
Saturday, December 28, two shows:
6:30 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.

featuring musicians:
Becca Byram, Merz, and Michael Lille.

The back room at The Palms
83131 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277
suggested donation at the door: $5. Limited seating.

New Year's Eve at the PALMS!

Live music with Charlie Limousine and The Sibleys!
Special holiday menu -- Champagne countdown toast!
Doors open at 6 p.m., No cover!

The Palms Restaurant and Bar
83131 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley CA 92277

Friday, December 20, 2019

Godwin Christian Fellowship -- Christmas Program

The Christmas Program at Godwin Christian Fellowship will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 22, at 6389 Godwin Road, near Highway 62.

A FREE Christmas Luncheon follows the program.

Call (831) 234-6848 for more information.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Succulents (An evening of small juicy theatre) Holiday Show -- The Palms Restaurant

Many years ago in Washington, D.C. I started a theatre website called DC Theatre Scene mainly to report on and promote local, smaller theatre companies. DC is the third largest theatre town in the country behind New Your and Chicago.

Since moving to our community slightly over two years ago I am finally getting back into writing and involving myself into music and local theatre. 

Succulents is my first foray into theatre criticism in the hi desert and I could not ask for a better opportunity to apply words of praise to a few pieces of original writing and spirited performances.

I have always felt that small intimate theatre productions are by far the most enjoyable for me. I've experienced Broadway, attended lavish productions at the Kennedy Center and the Shakespeare Theatre but my true love is fledgling theatre company productions in small black box spaces. Succulents is such a production.

First, a bit about the space. The Palms is a local bar, restaurant and community meeting place in Wonder Valley, California. Theatre performances take place in a large room behind the bar.  Limitations of such a space exist of course. The bar noise is omnipresent but manageable and not all seating faces the stage. That is where the limitations end and the intimacy shines.  The sense of community and positive vibes overtake any limitations that exist and the audience becomes part of the production in a meaningful way.

"Succulents" is a series of short pieces all written, directed and performed by local writers, actors and directors. 

The evening started with poignant tunes by Steve Jensen and his piano and served as a perfect pairing for the evening's theatre performances.

"Woman of a Certain Age -- Dating" was first up, a smart, funny piece about the complexities and quirkiness of dating later in life by Catherine Gurbaxani.  The age old dilemma of how to find satisfying relationships in a superficial world always makes for good comic relief and usually, as in this case, also brings introspective analysis on the human condition. Catherine nailed it!

"Match", my favorite piece of the evening explores a couple with a date in the works that is in a session with a relationship counselor before the actual first date . Oh, the possibilities of such a scenario! The absurdities of such a premise make for a lively back and forth between two middle aged singles and a relationship counselor.  It's no surprise of course that once they just put aside the pressures of a first date they realize all the worry and stress was silly and useless. Kevin Bone shined in this one as did Celene de Miranda.  

"The First Trip" by Christopher Schoonover was a look back at a mother and son road trip.  The complexities of the relationship and stressors of road trips in general make for an interesting thought piece.  How to deal with an aging parent is something no one is ever prepared for but a flat on a dark desert highway provides an opportunity for the narrator to see the value of simple human kindness we all many times take for granted. 

No Hard Feelings Improv Group brought a comic interlude ala whose line is it anyway.  I need to experience far more of them in the future.

"Women of a Certain Age -- The Doctors Office" was a quirky look at not only the frustrating experience of the doctor's office waiting room but also being a care giver for an aging parent all while juggling the demands of divorce and dating. Celene de Miranda was simply flawless in her performance.

Truth Hurts is part deux of the First Trip and serves as a reminder of why we should always cherish any time with a loved one no matter how frustrating it might seem at the time because life can change with the blink of an eye. Christopher Schoonover is someone I would love to hear more from.

"The Play With No Actors" written and directed by Kevin Bone was a cold script reading that turns into murder as the director comically pursues her dream of performing ALL the parts. This piece was certainly the most difficult to pull off in the confined space but turned out splendidly. 

What I came away with from my evening with"Succulents" was small intimate theatre will continue to be my favorite form of theatre performance. I look forward to more from these talented folks and the potential they possess.

The actors:
Catherine Gurbaxani
Heather Clisby
Celene de Miranda
Kevin Bone
Christopher Schoonover
Steve Jensen

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California 

Desert Trail Column - December 19, 2019

On Thursday, December 19 a Christmas Turkey Giveaway will take place at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, from 9 to noon, or until the 60 turkeys are gone. This free giveaway is jointly sponsored by Friends of Wonder Valley and Community Action Partnership. Please bring proof of residency.

 The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, 77575 29 Palms Highway at Thunder Road, will hold a $49 Art Sale on Saturday, December 21. This sale will raise money for renovations that will allow three additional artists to show their work each month at the gallery. For times and information, call Laurel at 760-367-3807.

A Christmas Celebration Luncheon will be served at Godwin Christian Fellowship, 6389 Godwin Road at Highway 62, following the 10:30 a.m. church service on Sunday, December 22. Pastor Max Rossi says there’s lots of delicious food on the menu! Call 831-234-6848 or 760-449-8683 for further information.

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 teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.


We send out Rainbows-of-Turquoise-and-Narcissus to Teresa Sitz and Laurel Seidl who celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday, Laurel and Teresa!


Our Wonder Valley Community Center is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Stop by to say hello to Teresa and to take advantage of our Lending Program featuring books, DVD movies and videocassette movies that you can borrow just like in a little library. Contact Teresa at the email address or phone number listed above.

 Joint Commentary:  Last part of a Wonder Valley song: “On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve gorgeous sunsets, eleven hikers hiking, ten palms a-swaying, nine coyotes howling, eight ravens squawking, seven owls a-hooting, six kangaroo rats – FIVE FULGURITES – four hummingbirds, three ring-neck doves, two tortoises and a roadrunner in a Joshua tree!”

Handy Hint:  The website Thrillist has a list of more than 80 major food and restaurant chains that offer free items to help you celebrate your special day.

Today’s Thought:  The year was 1941. Bob Hope performed his first USO show at a base in California, Forrest Mars Sr patented M&M’s and marketed them to the US military so soldiers could eat chocolate that wouldn’t melt in their hands, General Mills introduced Cheeri Oats (later called Cheerios), Mount Rushmore was completed after 14 years of work, “Rebecca” won the academy award for best motion picture and Joe DiMaggio was named the American League’s most valuable player in baseball.


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

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 teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov 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: succulenttheater@gmail.com.

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 http://tinyurl.com/wv-pickup-form. 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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, 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: program.intake@usda.gov.

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 stevenr26251@outlook.com 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 teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov 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 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Desert Trail Column - November 28, 2019

Many people took advantage of the free turkeys that were given out at our community center this past week. This generous distribution was made possible by Friends of Wonder Valley, and we thank them.


On Saturday, November 30, author William Hillyard will be at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, at 3 p.m. to read from, discuss and sign copies of his new book “Welcome to Wonder Valley.” Books will be available for purchase at this event.


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 teresa.sitz@sdd.sbcounty.gov or 760-367-9880.


We send out Rainbows-of-Chrysanthemums-and-Topaz to Carson Bevins who turns eight this week. Happy birthday,  Carson!


Godwin Christian Fellowship, 6389 Godwin Road at 29 Palms Highway, holds church services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Before the service, coffee and refreshments are available from 8:30 to 9:30 and there is a Prayer/Bible Study from 9 to 10:15. Children’s Church for eight years and younger is held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. Every third Sunday there is a Birthdays and Anniversaries Celebration Luncheon following the service. On Thursdays, a Worship and Prayer Meeting is held from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Memorial bricks are available for $119 each to memorialize a loved one, family name or beloved pet. For further information, please contact Pastor Max Rossi at Mrossi121@yahoo.com or 831-234-6848, or Brother Wally Currie at 760-449-8683.

 Handy Hint:  An old deck of playing cards can come in handy. A card can be used as a shoehorn or as a screwdriver for tiny eyeglass screws. It can also be folded and placed under the short leg of a wobbly table or chair to steady it.

 Today’s Thought:  In 1946, bikinis, Slinkys, car phones and Tupperware were all introduced to consumers. The first mobile phone conversation took place in a car in St. Louis, MO. The bikini, named after the nuclear tests in the Bikini Atoll lagoon in the Marshall Islands, went on sale after debuting at a Paris fashion show. Academy Awards included best picture “The Lost Weekend,” best actor Ray Milland and best actress Joan Crawford. In the National Football League Championship game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants 24-14. In the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-3. And Karen turned four!

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

Monday, November 25, 2019

Special Friends

I am sliding feet first into my 63rd Thanksgiving holiday and I'm reminded of what I'm thankful for and why I'm thankful for it. Many many years ago I met special friends, friends that would always stay with me, those friends are my records and the artists that made them. As a young kid I immersed myself in rock and roll, country, and the blues. Those are the friends that are always there, you can always go be with them, with your headphones and your dreams.

As I sit looking out over the desert on this cold Monday morning I'm reminded of how I got here. First off it's fate that I'm in the desert, I always knew it would happen I just didn't know when. Now that I'm here I sit and reflect on what I'm thankful for this holiday season and why I'm thankful for it. Music has been such a wonderful part of my life and as a youngster it was my refuge. I would stay awake late at night sometimes, in my room, listening to the local radio station WHFS in Bethesda Maryland. That station single-handedly brought the music to me that shaped my musical tastes and cemented my love for the sounds of the Laurel Canyon music scene. I visioned California as where I wanted to be, that's a long way from Northern Virginia however and it took a while. I got into the local sounds around DC and southern rock. I discovered the blues and bluegrass.

 When things got tough at school or home and I didn't know where to turn it was always to the songs, to the artists that had become my best pals. After I got a job and  I didn't have to depend on my parents to buy music for me I would go to the record store for hours on end just flipping through the bins. I would have the local proprietor play me samples of the music I was interested in, he was glad to do it, another customer for the music business. Little did he know, or did I know, it would become a lifelong obsession, collecting music, collecting friends that would always be there.

So like this scene early in Almost Famous, my records set me free. The Allman Brothers, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons. There were so many many more that even I lost count quickly. I bought my turntable and the accompanying equipment from delivering newspapers. All the money that I made went to music, went to finding new friends. I'm thankful for that, because now, today, as I write this I know it was the right thing to do and I have that to always look to when I need guidance in the every day trials and tribulations of growing old. It's almost as if I were good friends with these folks, these musicians, these rock stars.

One of the things I liked the most about buying records was what I learned not only from the music but from the liner notes. Records are making a comeback, but not like what it was back then, records where everything, it's how we listened to music. There were no digital downloads, or streaming, there weren't even cassettes, eight tracks or CDs. What we had were those big vinyl discs, clicks and pops, surface noise in all its glory. But that's what the music was, it was full, it was rich, it was warm and it filled the room with glorious sounds. 

Around the holidays when all the relatives would come, drinking eggnog, laughing and remembering old times I would feel like I needed to get away, to get away from the old folks and be off to myself. I would walk to the bus stop and get on a bus across the river to Washington DC, to be with my friends at Tower records. 

Tower was open all through the holidays, and I would get there when they opened and spend hours listening to new things, looking through all the bins, trying to find the next new friend within their vast collections of music. I would usually buy something, even if it was only a music magazine because I couldn't always afford to buy records every time I went. I would buy Creem,  Rolling Stone and later New Music Express. I'm not at all sure why I didn't get a job there, I guess it would have been interesting but probably I would have tired of it because I wouldn't have been able to just listen to music all day I would have been stocking shelves and answering questions where the latest Beatles record was or how soon the new Rolling Stones record would be in. No it was better just to be a customer, a music geek and a kid.

Nowadays the music streams and it's free and musicians don't get paid. We wonder why the music isn't like it used to be, well that's because it's devalued. When you devalue something you take away much of its ability to influence and become more than just notes and lyrics and harmonies. I think that's probably why today's kids don't see artists as their friends they see them more as stars, as commodities, as business entities.  

So on this Thanksgiving I sit at the beginning of my senior years with friends many don't have. I'm thankful for those friends, I'm thankful for the music, for truly the music is in me.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Community Meeting - December 7, 2019 1100 AM

I will be hosting a community meeting at the Community Center and be providing several updates and lunch will be provided.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Desert Trail Column - November 21, 2019

On Saturday, November 24, there will be a Thanksgiving Potluck following the 10:30 a.m. service at Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road. This is also the last day to turn in Christmas shoeboxes that the church is collecting for children at an orphanage in Mexico. For further information, call 760-391-0480 or 760-401-6128.

 Also on November 24, Godwin Christian Fellowship, 6389 Godwin Road at 29 Palms Highway, will have a Thanksgiving Celebration Luncheon following their 10:30 a.m. service. Call 831-234-6848 or 760-449-8683 for further information.


We send out Rainbows-of-Chrysanthemums-and-Topaz to Sharon Fangmeyer who celebrates her special day this week. Happy birthday, Sharon!

Karen’s Commentary:  I deposited a check into US Bank’s ATM, the machine malfunctioned, my deposit wasn’t credited and out came a printed notice instead of a receipt! I stood in a LONG line inside, then was told my ONLY option was to call the number on the notice. I called and was told that the check SHOULD be credited to my account WITHIN 10 WORKING DAYS, and my “claim” SHOULD be resolved within 45 DAYS!! Customer, beware.

 Darlene’s Commentary:  When I look into the western sky at another gathering of unbelievable colors and shapes that change before my very eyes, I know I am in Wonder Valley! I have never lived anywhere else where I could watch such gorgeous, incredibly beautiful sunsets while sitting in my own yard. Thank you, Mother Nature! I like you when you’re not making a huge killer wind or a lightning and thunder symphony!

Susan Doggett operates a federally licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility right here in Wonder Valley. She receives no outside funding, supporting her facility by designing and selling custom jewelry and custom logo sportswear. She is an accomplished artist who teaches many types of arts and crafts to both adults and children, and she is an instructor for the State of California Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Care Standards. If you would like to help Susan continue to save wild birds, please consider purchasing a one-of-a-kind necklace, bracelet, anklet or pair of earrings from her jewelry line “For the Birds.” If you find a sick, injured or orphaned wild bird, call Susan at 714-637-8355 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

 Handy Hint:  Check all states where you’ve lived to see if they are holding money from a savings account that you forgot, an insurance policy or an uncashed refund check. Go to unclaimed.org, find your state and enter your name.

 Today’s Thought:  “Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised.” – Marilyn Manson


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

Monday, November 18, 2019

Thanksgiving turkeys for Wonder Valley.


Friends of Wonder Valley, a 501(c)(3) organization, with a mission of enhancing the lives of those living in Wonder Valley, is pleased to announce that we’ll be giving away up to 60 Thanksgiving turkeys to Wonder Valley residents on Saturday, November 23, 2019. Sign up starts at 10 a.m., at the:
Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277.

The turkeys will be distributed at the WVCC sometime after 12 p.m. (noon). There will be UP TO 60 turkeys. Turkeys average 12-14 pounds. You are not guaranteed a turkey. This event will be first come, first served. Any turkeys not distributed will be donated to Food for Life.

  • You must be a Wonder Valley resident to receive a turkey. 
  • One turkey per parcel. 
  • You will be asked to fill out a form and to provide PROOF OF RESIDENCY in Wonder Valley. You may fill out the form at the food distributions on November 19 or 20, and then just sign in on Saturday. 
  • If you are picking up a turkey in Twentynine Palms you will not be allowed to pick up another turkey in Wonder Valley - we want to be sure that everyone gets a turkey. 
  • You must be present to pick up your turkey. 

The Wonder Valley Community Center will open at 10 a.m.

If you have any questions, please call Teresa Sitz at (760) 367-9880.

Bill Hillyard book event.

Join us to hear William Hillyard read from and discuss his new book, Welcome to Wonder Valley.

Local author Catherine Connors will interview Bill about his book starting at 3 p.m., on Saturday, November 3, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-1/2 Amboy Road in the shadow of the palm tree cell tower, in Wonder Valley.

Bill will sign copies of the book, which will be available for sale at the event. Contributors to his Indiegogo campaign will have the opportunity to pick up a copy of the book, as well. All are invited to join Bill later for a Natty Ice at The Palms.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of Wonder Valley. Admission to this special event will be free, though a donation at the door is always appreciated.