Monday, April 6, 2020

A Letter from HDMC CEO Karen Faulis to the MB Communities.

A Letter from Hi-Desert Medical Center CEO Karen Faulis to the Morongo Basin Communities.

Hi-Desert Medical Center stands united in serving the community and in facing new challenges due to COVID-19. Like you, every one of our physicians and staff members has been impacted by this pandemic, and we have made swift changes to ensure we’re meeting all public health safety measures. I am proud to be the CEO of such a caring and dedicated team.

We want you to know that we are here for you, ready to provide care in every way. We are working closely with the Morongo Basin Healthcare District, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, and the California Department of Public Health, following guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to respond to any potential COVID-19 cases that may present at our hospital. We routinely treat infectious diseases and we have strong infection control policies, procedures, and systems in place to screen and treat patients.  We have taken the appropriate steps, and we have trained professionals and the necessary equipment to react accordingly.  We can safely and appropriately care for our patients with the necessary supplies and equipment.

Even as some aspects of care may temporarily change, you can count on Hi-Desert Medical Center to be here for you and your loved ones.  Although there might be some modifications, our emergency room and staff are here 24/7 for medical care, all urgent and emergency care needs, and for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related issues.  You’ll receive uninterrupted care for chronic medical conditions, urgent surgical needs, maternal care, and other medical issues that require inpatient care.

The patient care environment has changed with increased safety precautions, which is why we have temporarily suspended patient visits (with limited exceptions) to the hospital and Continuing Care Center.  We realize that family and friends are imperative to the recovery process and we encourage continuous connection with patients via virtual visits on FaceTime, Skype and other applications.  Know that our staff is providing care and comfort to our patients as they would for their own families.  

We have strategies in place to add significant capacity to our hospital should the need arise.  Our surge plans including adding beds in our recovery room and pre-op areas, converting space in our front lobby and Helen Gray Education Center, and erecting an outdoor tent to accommodate increased inpatient and ED volume.  

The health of our physicians and staff on the front lines is also crucial to our success in fighting the surge of patients we anticipate.  We have dedicated staff screening patients who are entering our facility and have taken measures to ensure all physicians and employees are screened.

As we navigate the effects of COVID-19, we expect more changes and challenges ahead. The support and generosity of the communities we serve has been heartwarming and uplifting to our staff.  We appreciate the donations of medical supplies and other offers of support.

We encourage our communities to stay safe at home and heed the direction of public health officials.  We are here for our patients and are ready to serve those who need our help in the coming weeks and months.

Karen Faulis
Hi-Desert Medical Center

Sunday, April 5, 2020

San Bernardino County now has 372 coronavirus cases


Here’s a list of coronavirus cases in San Bernardino County by city and unincorporated community. If an unincorporated community is not listed, no cases have been reported there.

[Really glad to see that they're counting the unincorporated communities. Stay home, Wonder Valley!]

Adelanto: 3
Alta Loma: 4
Apple Valley: 4
Barstow: 6
Big Bear City: 2
Big Bear Lake: 3
Bloomington: 3
Blue Jay: 2
Chino: 13
Chino Hills: 14
Colton: 8
Crestline: 1
Fontana: 35
Grand Terrace: 1
Hesperia: 6
Highland: 14
Joshua Tree: 1
Loma Linda: 9
Mentone: 2
Montclair: 4
Oak Hills: 1
Ontario: 18
Phelan: 1
Rancho Cucamonga: 26
Redlands: 26
Rialto: 13
Rimforest: 1
Running Springs: 2
San Bernardino: 20
Upland: 14
Victorville: 9
Wrightwood: 1
Yucaipa: 69
Yucca Valley: 2
Undetermined: 15

Friday, April 3, 2020

Sense of community in tough times

This column will be a little different from my previous columns because our world has changed a bit over the last weeks.  As you know I mostly write about music and entertainment and I've written a bit on my experiences here in our little neck of the woods.

Today I want to share why I love this community.

Wonder Valley has a vibe, it's how we as a community work together and prop each other up. Much of that vibe is felt the moment one walks into the Palms. It's the felling of camaraderie and oneness that hits me right away. I've only really felt that one other time in my life and it was at my little honkytonk in Austin called Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon. I'm not a religious person but Ginny's was as close to a church as this old atheist has ever experienced. The Palms is just like that. It just feels spiritual.

Since our shelter in place order I've attended one of the virtual brunches set up by our friend Kevin Bone and setting aside everyone figuring out the conferencing software it went swimmingly. The same spiritual vibe was present on the interwebs as sitting at the bar with friends and a Bloody Mary. Although I hope our need to have them goes away I will surely attend each one as long as I am able.

I want to ask you all to stay positive and support your neighbors and friends as we try to get to the other side of this pandemic.  I hope to be writing about our adventures in sound and stage here in Wonder Valley again soon. But no matter how many months that takes keep the music playing not only on your record or CD player but in your heads. Music is the life of the party and keeps us moving and grooving on.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Drinking water available at Station 44 in Twentynine Palms.

I used to go to the Oasis Visitor's Center on Utah Trail to fill up our water jugs. They have a tap there for the tourists and campers and a handfull of locals. I'd always run into a few of our neighbors there.

Joshua Tree National Park recently closed to visitors, and since I'm stuck at home I've been unable to verify if the tap is still open for use. So I called Mark Lundquist at Supervisor Rowe's office to ask if County Fire could leave a water tap open for us.

Mark called around and was able to get County Fire to agree to leave a hose for people to fill up with drinking water. They asked that you take no more than 10 gallons per visit. The hose is on the south side of the building near the gate. The hose has a nozzle on it. All normal precautions should be taken: clean the nozzle before you fill your containers.

Station 44 is at 6560 Adobe Rd, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277. Water will be available between daylight hours. Please close the water when you're done.

PS If ayone hears that the spigot at the Oasis Center is still open, please let me know.
Teresa -

Crime Stats for March 2020.

The Sheriff’s Department stopped providing us data on their service in October of 2016. Our MAC Delegate, Teresa SItz, combs through the media reports each month and sifts out the crime stats for Wonder Valley. These are unofficial statistics, subject to a small margin of error.

There was one arrest listed for March, but it was for 3 people.

Many of the calls (20) were for illegal OHV (off highway vehicle) traffic. Two of the reports were for burglary.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Cases of coronavirus climb; two positive tests in Yucca Valley.

Stacey Moore wrote in an article in today's Desert Star, that there were no cases of Covid-19 listed in Twentynine Palms, or on the Base. She added, though, that "Cases in unincorporated communities like Joshua Tree, Morongo Valley and Landers are not listed by the county."

Since as many as 1 in 6 people in California live in unincorporated communities, it will be essential that our positive results and our deaths are counted among all the others. We will need to know what is going on in our communities.

We must also continue to live as if the virus is already in our community, and it very well may be. So keep washing your hands and maintaining your distance. If you're the type of person who prays, keep it up.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Godwin Fellowship Meets in Parking Lot.

We are delighted to inform you that Godwin Christian Fellowship will
conduct all services in a DRIVE-IN format for the foreseeable future!
Everyone will be safely served while in the comfort of their own vehicles! 
Come enjoy spirited singing and wholesome 
fellowship on our beautiful parking lot! 

Every Sunday at 10:30 AM. 
There is always hope in GOD! Please join us!!
Pastor Max Rossi
Godwin Christian Fellowship
6389 Godwin Road
Wonder Valley/29 Palms, CA 92277

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Wonder Valley Sand Paper online.

The Wonder Valley Sand Paper, published now and then by Ken and Teresa Sitz, will be online for the foreseeable future. The WVSP began as a hard copy only publication designed to get people OUT of their cabins once a week. It was distributed at The Palms Restaurant and Bar and at the Wonder Valley Community Center. Now that both of those venues are closed, the WVSP will be available online, so STAY IN your cabins and read the WVSP online.

For the March 29, 2020 issue, go to:

And remember,
"The WVSP is published by Ken and Teresa Sitz as the spirit moves. If you want something more regular, publish your own paper. If you don’t read the WVSP you’ll be uninformed. If you do read it, you’ll be misinformed. The editors are not responsible. For more information, please re-read."

Local business closed by Sheriff's Department.

After gunshots heard at a home, multiple arrests made

from The Desert Independent

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


I would like to personally thank all the VOLUNTEERS who participated in todays USDA Food distribution.  If it were not for all of the volunteers who gave it their all there would not have been a distribution.  Remember, these folks truly love living in the desert and doing all they can for the community.

Big thanks to Ken and Teresa who we all know organized the event!

Steve Reyes

Monday, March 23, 2020

Vacation rentals must shut down by order of the County.

"County officials say these short-term rentals must cease operations immediately; bookings for the foreseeable future must be canceled; no new arrivals may be processed; no reservations should be accepted until the state and county’s orders are rescinded; and any guests currently in rentals must be told to return home. Violation of state and county health orders are crimes punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both."

San Bernardino County Department of Public Health
Please use this form to notify the county of any facilities not following the Health Officer Order.

San Bernardino County Land Use Services Online Complaint Form

Sunday, March 22, 2020

USDA Food Distribution -- April 21.

The USDA Food Distribution will begin at 10:00 a.m. on TUESDAY, April 21, at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley CA 92277. The Community Center is next to the Fire Station. The event continues until noon, or until the food runs out, which has been happening lately, about 11:00 a.m.

This food distribution is for Wonder Valley residents only.

We will be taking PRECAUTIONS to protect YOUR and OUR health. 
Please enter the access road at the WVCC sign and continue driving around the building until you stop behind the car in front of you. Stay to the inside of the curve (left) in case someone has to leave. Do NOT get out of your car. We will come around, take your name, give you a ticket(s), and then bring your box(es) to your car. Please be patient and follow all instructions from the volunteers. This is to insure your safety and the safety of our volunteers and staff. Thank you.

The WVCC is CLOSED. If you need to use a bathroom you may use the porta potty in the park. 

Low income Wonder Valley residents self-certify on site. No ID or other documentation is required. You may pick up ONE (1) box for a neighbor, or they may pick up ONE (1) box for you, IF a signed pick up form is presented. One pick up per person. Pick up forms are available online at They are also available at the WVCC on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., and at the kiosk outside the WVCC the week before the event.

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

The text below is required.

Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

SBC Updates.

For the latest updates for San Bernardino County regarding closings, please go to:

Joe Barrett Photography.

Joe Barrett shared his photograph of a struggling acacia greggii (Catsclaw, Tear Blanket, Wait a Minute) bush besieged by orange mistletoe, on the border of Twentynine Palms. 

This is the time of year when the catsclaw greens up, in vivid obsene chartreuse -- if it's healthy. Later it is laden with heavy racemes of cream-colored flowers.

Now that everyone has a phone, everyone is a photographer. This photo is an example of what sets the artist apart from those who take snapshots, though, in all fairness, many snapshots are also quite good.

In this photograph the expert composition is evident, the shadows on the ground of sand; the lower white dead branches - which protect the lower parts of the tree from predation; the orange layer of parasitic growth; and the triumphant, though struggling, leafing of the upper branches; all supporting a diverse biological community. What a metaphor of desert life! I'm also impressed by the color composition: the white, black, and orange against a muted steel bue sky and the muted color of the sand below.

All in all a very complex and layered composition that points to the genius of the artist.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Desert Trail Column - March 18, 2020

Don’t forget to stop by Del Taco tonight, March 18, between 4 and 8, and use one of the coupons being handed out in the parking lot. This will authorize Del Taco to donate 20% of your order total to Wonder Valley Community Church for the building’s “facelift,” and there will be no increase in the cost of your food. A painless way to give a charitable contribution!

Mark your calendars for the Salvation Army Food Distribution on Wednesday, March 25 from 11 a.m. to when the food is gone. Trader Joe’s provides the food which usually includes meat and fresh fruits and veggies.

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

 We send out Rainbows-of-Aquamarines-and-Jonquils to Donna Parsons and Tyler Holsclaw (23) who celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday, Tyler and Donna!

 Karen’s Commentary:  Thanks to Bob, Mary Quamme and son Joe for lots and lots of coupons, and for all the stamps and goodies sent by Jan Peek from Arizona!

 If you find a sick, injured or orphaned wild bird, you may reach wild bird rehabilitator Susan Doggett at 714-637-8355 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. If you would like to help Susan continue to save wild birds, please consider any of the following:  1. Hosting an art or crafts class for adults or an “Arty Party” for your children’s special events; 2. Adopting a non-protected bird (parakeet, small parrot, domestic duck, pigeon, etc.); 3. Enrolling in a three-hour wildlife rehabilitation class so that you can volunteer to help at Susan’s local licensed wildlife care facility. You can also help protect wild birds by keeping cats safely indoors and by restricting tree trimming to fall and winter months.

 Handy Hint:  Sign up for Informed Delivery at the U.S. Postal Service at Each delivery day the USPS will send an email to you containing digital scans of the letter-size mail that will soon arrive at your box or door. The email also has details about packages scheduled to arrive soon.

 Today’s Thought:  In the year 1959, Alaska and Hawaii became states, little girls clamored for the new Barbi dolls, Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 in a photo finish, the Explorer 6 satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral and transmitted the first picture of Earth from space, The Twilight Zone debuted, the top song was “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton, Karen turned 17 and Darlene turned 7!


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

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

USDA Food Distribution CANCELLED!

The COUNTY has just shut down our USDA Food Distribution -- don't come in.

The Salvation Army Food Distribution is also cancelled, and the WVCC is closed until further notice.

So sorry, everyone.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Artist Spotlight - Eric Hisaw

I met Eric Hisaw when I lived in Austin Texas. Austin is chock full of great musicians and Eric is one of them. His music for me brings feelings of warm summer nights on a dusty porch drinking burbon with a big dog sitting beside you. Since that's a picture of my current life it comes as no surprise Eric's music is on constant rotation here at Cosmic Ranch. I was in touch with Eric last week and we decided to do a little catch up and interview.

Ronnie: Hey buddy! Good to talk to ya, you probably know my unhealthy obsession with the film Almost Famous, with that in mind, Eric.. what do you love about music?

Eric:   Good question, because when you do it for so long it kind of just becomes like breathing and it's easy to lose sight of what got you in to it to begin with. The first music that really hooked me was early rock'n'roll like Elvis, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran and also some hillbilly stuff like Johnny Horton and Hank Williams. I think I was drawn to how music could take you on a journey. It is like literature but using more of your senses to get the message across. A way of telling stories that is both intellectual and physical. That is what grabbed me as a listener. As a player, I really enjoy having a discipline, something to strive for everyday. I also like the outsider, rebellious, revolutionary aspect of living immersed in the arts.

Ronnie: We met in Austin, how did you end up there and how has it played a part in your music?

Eric:   I had done a bit of traveling around before I came to Austin, living in Louisiana and Tennessee. I was very much romanced by the Woody Guthrie/Jack Kerouac mentality, wanting to see and do everything possible. Austin became an easy choice to look in to as I was a big fan of some music coming from there, in particular Joe Ely, The LeRoi Brothers, the True Believers and a record Ely had produced for Will Sexton which really succeeded in getting the dirty Stones rock'n'roll meets country vibe that I was going for. Austin has influenced my music by being home to so many great guitar stylists, Johnny X Reed, Denny Freeman, the late Jesse Taylor, the late Eddy Shaver, the late Joe Eddy Hines. There is kind of a seamless melding of country and blues that happens with players here that doesn't happen anywhere else. Texas is obviously home to tons of great songwriters though I believe I'm more influenced by Californians than Texans in the lyric department (Los Lobos, Dave Alvin, John Doe, Merle Haggard etc.)

Ronnie:  I'm a big fan of your music and latest record.  Tell me a bit about how it came together and your writing process:

Eric:  I spent a few years working much more as a sideman and got to do a lot of really cool and interesting gigs and go lots of places. When the gig I had came to an end I got re-motivated to start my own band. It took a couple of years to get it together. I met a great bass player and harmony singer named Neal Walker at a Doug Sahm tribute show in San Antonio. We started playing together regularly and through Neal's longtime association, Shawn Sahm offered to record us. Most of the songs I'd had kicking around for awhile, they were the staples of our live set, though the first two tracks "Hurry it Up" and "Streetlamp" were brand new. The songs all touch on the same themes that have been running through my writing all along, family dynamics, romantic situations, class struggle, addiction.... I did set out to do it with a more economical approach to the lyrics and really focus on the rhythms. We cut the record in Shawn's studio almost like we were playing a gig, then I'd overdub a second guitar for texture, Shawn would put on a keyboard part and then on two tracks the great accordionist Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs added a part.

Ronnie:  If someone hasn't heard your music how would you describe it?  I always hear something new ever time I listen.

Eric:  I think as a rule we are the worst at describing our own music. I told a radio dj one time in a long roundabout way that I was trying to create songs that had the imagery and detail Sam Shepard stories crossed with the eclectic southwestern rhythms of Doug Sahm. The DJ blurts "oh, like Joe Ely, he does that!"  I had to agree, yes he does, so much for my revolutionary idea. It seems various key words hit home in different ways for people depending on their own frame of reference. Living in Texas I feel like I have almost nothing to do with hardcore country western music, which to me is Ray Price and Johnny Bush playing shuffles and waltzes to dancers, but in New England states I have been told that my style was "honky tonk purist".  By the same token to me rock'n'roll means the Flamin' Groovies and the MC5 where to a kid in a small town it may mean Metallica and Judas Priest. That said I usually tell people we are influenced by the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

Ronnie:  Which guitar players are your heros?

Eric:  I have a lot of favorite guitar players who mine similar territory. I mentioned above a slew of Texas guys who I have seen live hundreds of times which impacted me quite a bit. The guys who pretty much built the foundation of what I play would have to be Keith Richards and Ron Wood, they both mix lead and rhythm guitar and use a lot of Chuck Berry licks and country bends to enhance the groove and build songs with the instrument. I've never been much for dazzling soloists. I like the tight little dynamic bits James Burton played on Rick Nelson records and with Elvis. Same with Steve Cropper at Stax. Jesse Ed Davis who played with the Taj Mahal band and did tons of sessions is a big influence. Both guitarists from Los Lobos, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, are constant sources of inspiration as well.

Ronnie:  Our country is so divided, I miss protest songs a lot.  Do you feel like I do, that we need artist's voices in the battle?

Eric:  Yes, I believe it is important for artists and filmmakers and authors and poets to have a socio-political voice. It's really difficult to write good songs in that vein and it is important that the songs be of quality for anyone to hear the message or be moved by it. I've never worked in that area on a literal level, but it has always been important to me to have stories in my music that address the division of wealth and the way people are affected by politics and war. I've made it a point this year to spend time listening to every Dylan album in chronological order. His work on The Times They Are A-Changing is really incredible protest writing. There is a real flow of energy going on there. We could certainly use a new person of that depth to write about today.

Ronnie:  Austin is the live music capitol of the world ... Does that make it easier or harder for musicians living there?

Eric:  I'm not sure with how much the general demographic of Austin has changed over the last few years that it is the Live Music Capitol but a musician can play a lot of gigs here. It's a good and bad thing. I think because of the saturation of talent it is hard to get noticed and easy to get put in a box here in Austin. On the other hand a player can really develop by having the opportunity to play out more often than in other towns. I like to play a lot so it has been a good fit for me.

Ronnie: What are you currently working on, any new songs coming down the road?

Eric: I have been working with a new rhythm section and we have come up with a good chunk of new material we are planning to record this spring. A cool label that does vinyl called Flak Records is going to release the album when it is done. There are some pretty uptempo songs in there that are really fun to play live.

Ronnie: We sure would love to see you on the west coast, any plans for a trip out west?

Eric:  I would certainly like to get around a little bit more when we get a new record out. I love the west coast and have always felt like it was a great place to play my music. I will keep you posted first!

Ronnie: Eric, thanks for doing this my friend, let's show the readers where to get your music!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Crime Stats February 2020

The Sheriff’s Department stopped providing us data on their service in October of 2016. Teresa SItz combs through the media reports each months and sifts out the crime stats for Wonder Valley. These are unofficial statistics, subject to a small margin of error.

The OHV Patrol was active in Wonder Valley on February 22 and 29. If you notice illegal OHV activity, please contact the Sheriff's Office as they received a large grant to address the problem.

Friday, March 13, 2020

USDA Food DIstribution, Tuesday, Marcy 17. 2020

Due to recommendations made by the State of California we will be doing the food distribution differently. Please read and check out the picture below.
Line up in your car on the service road behind the WVCC. Please stay to the right so that if someone has to leave they can. We will come by so that you can sign in and give you your tickets. When you get to the distribution point, please stay in your car and we will bring your box (or boxes) to you.

If you need to use the bathroom, the WVCC will be open, but otherwise, the WVCC is closed to the public during this distribution.

Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Desert Trail Column - March 11, 2020

On Saturday, March 14 there will be a Neighborhood Cleanup at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, from 8 to noon, or until equipment is full. Please bring a photo ID with your address. San Bernardino County Code Enforcement and Solid Waste Management are providing bulky trash collection containers for free disposal of trash, e-waste and tires. No commercial or hazardous waste will be accepted, and tires are limited to a maximum of nine, including tires on rims. Call 909-266-3477.
A St Patrick’s Day Potluck will be held at Wonder Valley Community Church, 72575 Amboy Road at Thompson Road, following the regular Sunday service on March 15. Call 760-391-0480.
The Wonder Valley Community Center will be the location for the USDA Food Distribution on Tuesday, March 17 from 9 to noon.
If you’re hankering for some Del Taco food, be sure to go there on Wednesday, March 18 between 4 and 8 p.m. Coupons will be handed out in the parking lot/drive-thru for you to present to the cashier when paying for your order. A coupon will not give you a discount, but will allow Del Taco to donate 20% of your order total to Wonder Valley Community Church for the church building’s “facelift.” The cost of your food will not be increased. This is pain-free (and money-free) charitable giving for a very good cause.
One of our Wonder Valleyites needs a microwave oven. Does anyone out there have one they would be willing to part with? Call 760-953-5702.
Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at or 760-367-9880.
Karen’s Commentary: Called Frontier for phone repair and was asked if I was Darlene Parris – I said, “That’s my sister!” Was then asked if the account was under Joseph Meyers – I said, “That’s my son!” Neither are on our account. After two repair no-shows, Frontier called Ted’s cellphone to verify our address as “5025” – Dar’s address!
Darlene’s Commentary: My landline’s been dead a long time, emitting only hums, crackles and snaps. Appointments have been made with Frontier Repair – one tried, but said he’d have to get someone else out here, the rest no-shows. Perhaps I could find a high schooler who knows how to fix my phone? Anyone else having these problems??
Handy Hint: Slip a bobby pin over the loose end of duct or packing tape and never struggle to find it again.
Today’s Thought: Hairpins are thought to be one of the earliest human artifacts.
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Desert Trail Column - March 4, 2020

The Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council meeting will take place on Monday, March 9 at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Street, at 5:30 p.m. Our Wonder Valley representative Steve Reyes invites everyone to attend. For further information, contact Steve at
The group Coffee and Friends will meet on Tuesday, March 10 at 73883 Manana Drive in Twentynine Palms at 10 a.m. All Wonder Valley ladies are cordially invited. Contact Sharon at 760-910-9039 for further information.
Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at or 760-367-9880.
Since the birthstone for March is the aquamarine and the flower is the jonquil, we send out Rainbows-of-Aquamarines-and-Jonquils to Sandy Mitchell and Tonya Briggs who celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday, Tonya and Sandy!
Karen’s Commentary: Getting a bigger TV prompted moving old TVs into different rooms, moving or repurposing old stands that now weren’t the right sizes, cleaning out cabinets and/or drawers in those old stands, rearranging furniture to accommodate new sizes of everything, and just generally purging all the stuff I found that hasn’t been used in a very long time. I’m tired!

Here are some phone numbers you might be interested in:
Glass Outhouse Art Gallery 760-367-3807, Reach Out Morongo Basin 760-361-1410, The Palms Restaurant and Bar 760-361-2810, Salvation Army office 760-228-0114, Behavioral Health Crisis Walk-in Center 760-365-6558, Suicide Hotline 800-273-8255, Veterans Crisis Hotline 800-273-8255 (Press 1), Domestic Violence Hotline 760-366-9663 (Press 1), Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator Susan Doggett 714-637-8355 and MBTA Ready Ride 760-366-2395.
Handy Hint: This clever trick was passed along to our sister Donna by an employee at DOHC Urgent Care, and Donna says it works great. For your ID, medical, credit or debit cards that you keep in those little plastic pockets in your wallet, this trick will allow you to pull them out easily and quickly. Use a small 1” piece of Scotch Tape, placing one end on the edge of your card that sticks out of the pocket, then folding it over so the other end sticks to the back side of your card, forming a small tab to use to pull the card out! The only caution is not to place the tape on the edge with a strip that you swipe through a machine or on the edge containing a chip that you insert into a machine. Thanks for that one, Donna!

Today’s Thought: A girl said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore.
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Monday, March 2, 2020


The Wonder Valley Community Center is the polling location for those residing in Wonder Valley. It is next to the old fire station at 80526-½ Amboy Road, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

If you’re a NPP (no party preference) voter, you can still vote for the Democratic candidate by requesting a Democratic ballot. This does not hold true for NPPs voting Republican.

You may register to vote at your polling location -- same day voter registration.

Wonder Valley Community Cleanup

WHEN: Saturday, March 14, 2020; 8:00 a.m. to NOON (or until equipment is full)
WHERE: Wonder Valley Community Center
80526-½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley (next to the palm tree cell phone tower)

If you have questions regarding this event, please call Code Enforcement Officer Melissa Malcom at 909-266-3477.

Download the flyer:

San Bernardino County Code Enforcement and Solid Waste Management Divisions will be providing bulky trash collection containers for the FREE disposal of accumulated trash, e-waste, and tires. Please bring your bulky items and trash to the designated container at the location listed below. This program is limited to the residents of the unincorporated County area.

We cannot accept commercial or industrial waste from businesses. Please remember to safely secure and properly cover your loads prior to traveling to the event.

If you are bringing waste tires, please limit your load to a maximum of 9 tires. Tires on rims WILL be accepted.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have oversized, loose, or hard-to-handle loads, you may be turned away to dispose of your waste materials at your own expense.

WE WILL ACCEPT household trash, bulky items, green waste and vehicle tires.

The Urban Conservation Corps will be present to accept electronics (TV’s, COMPUTER MONITORS, VCR’s, STEREOS, CELL PHONES, MICROWAVES & MORE)

WE CANNOT ACCEPT HAZARDOUS WASTE. This includes motor oil and oil filters, antifreeze, gasoline, drain cleaner, pesticides, fertilizers, fluorescent lights, wood preservatives, pool and hobby supplies, auto/furniture polish, paint thinners, paint products or similar products.

For current information, locations and times for the disposal of Household Hazardous Waste, please call the Household Hazardous Waste Program: 1-800-OILY-CAT (1-800-645-9228)

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Living and learning in Wonder Valley

Volume 2

Ah! The weather, who can predict it?  Mostly no one can but it's still useful to have some idea for sure as to when to batten down the hatches. Let's take today for instance. The day before yesterday thirty-one mph winds were forcast for our little neck of the creosote bushes but now? Down to twenty five instead. I've determined also that they will usually start about three hours after your app of choice says they will. Rain is an even bigger hit or miss scenario. It can be raining literaly a quarter mile from you and nary a drop will fall on your humble abode. I've found that any percentage below 70% should be taken with grain of salt. Unfortunately, when it does rain it comes down hard and fast and usually is going to flood out your dirt road. That's why it's always an excellent idea to have plenty of canned goods and water in good supply. It's good to be able to sit out a trip to town for a couple days while the flood subsides and the roads get fixed up. Just a reminder try not to go through big patches of still water unless you at least have an all-wheel drive vehicle or better a four-wheel drive truck.

Speaking of vehicles and getting stuck. There are a few roads that I will recommend staying away from without a four-wheel drive vehicle. Pole Line Road that runs East to West along the border of the Cleghorn Wilderness is one you should be very careful to avoid if possible. There are numerous very very soft sandy areas that will surely get you stuck. Ironage Road is another at the eastern end of Wonder Valley. When we first moved here we decided to go exploring on Ironage Road on a nice Sunday afternoon. We only had our two-wheel drive Ford F150 and quickly found ourselves stuck in the sand and couldn't get out. A call to a towing service in Yucca Valley which was the only one open on Sunday was quite disappointing in that the cost to pull us out of our predicament would be $900. Luckily we were able to call a friend who pulled us out of our pending disaster. One should always bring water and keep it in your truck whenever doing such exploring because flat tires can also be a problem out here in the desert. Having charged batteries to charge your phone is also useful in case you are stuck for any length of time. These batteries are quite inexpensive now and are indispensable out here in our desert wonderland. Many can be charged with solar and and are quite efficient at staying charged when not in use.

While you're out exploring it's best to understand that you shouldn't probably assume that a cabin is uninhabited and just walk right up to the property and go in. Being respectful of other people's property is one of the things that's very important in Wonder Valley. People don't take kindly to individuals just invading their space. In addition exploring abandoned cabins has its dangers and pitfalls. Be careful to not step on loose boards and clutter because one never knows what interesting creatures might be living underneath. Rattlesnakes and scorpions are known to love to hide under such clutter. Always wear good boots and socks and long pants when possible to protect yourself from unknown assailants. I highly recommend to err on the side of caution whether a home or cabin is okay to explore. Beware of old coots like myself who might take offense at interlopers with the look of hipster on their faces. The last thing you want is an old fart with a shotgun chasing you down a questionable exit road.

One last tip for this column, don't be in a hurry down any dirt road. Drive no more than  25 mph. Your neighbors will appreciate you for it and so will the allergies of the affected. Flying dust is something no one likes and many will just be angry at you for trying to run the Daytona 500 down a country road. In addition driving too fast on these roads creates a washboard effect that will surely make your electric windows fail long before they need to. It is surprising how many parts of your car can come loose from the constant vibrations caused by the rattle and roll.

That's all for this week desert dwellers.

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California

Follow me on Instagram @RONNIECOSMICRUFF

All photos ©ronnieruff

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Desert Trail Column - February 26, 2020

The Salvation Army Food Distribution will take place on Wednesday, February 26 at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, from 11 a.m. until the food is gone. Food is from Trader Joe’s and usually includes meat, bread and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at or 760-367-9880.
We send out Rainbows-of-Amethysts-and-Violets to Susie Sesma who celebrates her special day this week. We don’t think Susie will mind us telling you that she only gets a real birthday every four years. So happy, happy, happy, happy birthday, Susie!
Karen’s Commentary: My main subject today is my sister Dar! She’s experiencing some serious medical problems, so there will be times when she’s unable to contribute to this column. Today’s one of those times. When she feels like it, she’ll probably write one of her uplifting and positive commentaries. (I call her Pollyanna!) But when she doesn’t feel like it, you’ll just have to put up with my commentary only. We just thought it would be good to let everyone know why Dar’s commentary will sometimes be missing. As for life around my house, hubby Ted is gradually gathering quite a menagerie of friends. He converses with two ravens who have been around here for a long time. Let me tell you, Ted speaks fluent Raven! Then there are the two cottontails that he named Sweet Lips and Sweet Cheeks. And he’s in the process of learning to speak Roadrunner because he needs to converse with Ricky Runner! And now there’s a pigeon who sometimes brings a friend. He hangs around Ted wherever he is in the yard! To add to this National Geographic documentary, I have five friends of my own: Jack O’Lantern, Jack LaLanne, Jack Palance, Jack Spratt and Jack Nicholson. Can you possibly guess what kind of animals these five are?
We want to thank our grader operator for doing such a good job on our roads! If you have a comment, complaint, question, suggestion, compliment or request concerning Wonder Valley’s unpaved roads, go to, or call 760-367-9880 or 909-387-5940.
Handy Hint: Instead of being an early bird at garage or yard sales, go at the very last minute to take advantage of the fact that everything that’s left will be VERY cheap because the seller just wants them gone!
Today’s Thought: Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Living and learning in Wonder Valley

When we moved to Wonder Valley in September of 2017 we had a lot to learn, and out here you have to learn quite fast.

This list is a work in progress, one finds out here in the great Mojave time moves slow but problems can pop up with no notice whatsoever. Here is the first installment.

Take for instance getting the right fence.  We learned our lesson abruptly one morning when I came out our back door to check on our dogs. We had 40MPH winds the night before, winds ripping through the neighborhood, howling and rattling the rafters. As I walked out into the yard I glanced to my right to see our relatively new chain link fence blown over on it's side. We had it installed by professionals with shade cloth to provide some privacy from our neighbor, little did I know shade cloth can be tricky on a fence in Wonder Valley. What we learned was the chain link posts should probably be far closer together to withstand our desert breezes especially with shade cloth attached. Make sure your contractor is using only the best, strengthened posts!

The same advice on fencing applies to shade cloth used for canopies and porch covering. Out here in God's country that shade cloth acts as a sail during wind storms and your shade cloth could end up a few miles away quickly.  Posts to create a shade canopy should be made of heavy weight steel posts or 4 X 4 wood posts if you want to keep your canopy on your property and not a neighbor's 2 miles away.

One thing to plan for if you move to our little community will be how you get your mail.  Many folks have mail boxes along Amboy Rd and Route 62, since that's as far as USPS will go to deliver your mail. Many have had their mail bamboozled by those that want your credit card statement or Amazon package. We found the post office in 29 Palms less than efficient and rented a box at 29 Postal Plus on Adobe Rd for our mail. The drive in to get it isn't that bad and now that Starbucks opened it's just another excuse for a frappuccino.

Speaking about going to 29 Palms to get your mail we learned to be sure you have have a good spare and a jack in good working order. We have had 5 flats in our two and a half years here mostly due to potholes and various hazzards that make their way out into the middle of the road. If you are successful in avoiding flats also be careful with road shoulders as they are often very soft and not kind to vehicles that are not so desert friendly.

I will close out this week's edition of the column by talking about our ongoing war with the desert pack rat.

Spring rains bring beautiful desert flora and that food source also brings an abundance of critters to our homes.  We have been lucky not to have these little friends in our cabin but they have taken a toll on my cactus specimens and fledgling trees.  It's a never ending battle and I have learned to stick with specimens that are loaded with long spines as opposed to the smoother varieties that have less spines.  I've had my formerly four foot Mexican Fencepost eaten in half over night. 

I've tried all of the natural repellants like peppermint and dish soaps and the only thing that has worked so far is planting the species the rats don't find yummy and keeping others out of their reach. I have refrained so far from going all Caddy Shack on them. There are enough bombs exploding nearby.

See you next week with more things we've learned in our desert community.

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley

Desert Trail Column - February 19, 2020

Bob Dougherty from the San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services will be at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526-½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, today, February 19 from 11 to noon. For further information, call 760-228-5232.
Most events at our community center are sponsored by our non-profit organization Friends of Wonder Valley. For additional information on any local event, contact WVCC Coordinator Teresa Sitz at or 760-367-9880.
Karen’s Commentary: Are you experiencing a mental health related crisis? The Community Crisis Response Team (CCRT) is a community-based mobile crisis team that provides assistance to those who are experiencing a mental health related emergency. Services include: Mental health assessments, relapse prevention, intensive follow up services and on-site crisis intervention. Call the Morongo Basin office at 760-449-4429. Teams are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year. Also available is the Crisis Walk-in Center in Yucca Valley. They are located on Dumosa, in the medical buildings just south of the old Bank of America building, and they are open 24/7. This is a fantastic place with caring people.
Darlene’s Commentary: I had a great surprise when my son and grandson, Ian and Nickoli Parris, took me to Theater 29 for my birthday to see “Sister Act.” The theater was packed, but we had front row seats. What an amazing play! The entire cast did a fantastic job presenting beautiful angelic music, shoot-em-up bad guys and nuns galore – an outstanding musical with great characters. The audience clapped so loudly so many times that I felt we were part of the show! The stagehands who changed the scenery were amazingly fast and efficient – really on the ball! It only took a few seconds and a new scene opened up beautifully. A hilarious play and an enthusiastic audience made for a really good evening.

Friends of Wonder Valley is a non-profit with the sole mission of improving the lives of Wonder Valleyites! They have been involved in many endeavors, including making the USDA Food Distribution an efficient operation, bringing educational and informative speakers and programs to our community center, distributing free turkeys to our residents and paying for so many things no one is even aware of! We truly thank all who are involved. If you would like to donate to this fantastic group, go to Friends of Wonder Valley or contact Teresa.
Handy Hint: For fluffier and tastier rice, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the boiling water. Rice will be less sticky.
Today’s Thought: “The cow is of the bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other milk.” – Ogden Nash
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Desert Trail Column - February 13, 2020

Plan to attend The Love Fest at The Palms, 83131 Amboy Road at Thompson Road, on Saturday, February 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. Performers will include Nina and the Boys, Blacksmith Brown, Karl with a K, Drunk by Noon, Big Daddy Ray and Music by Doug. Camping is allowed. For further information, call 760-361-2810.


Our Wonder Valley Community Center will be closed Monday, February 17 in observance of the holiday. It will reopen on Wednesday, February 19 at 9 a.m.

Bob Dougherty from San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services will be at our community center on Wednesday, February 19 from 11 to noon. He will be helping seniors with HEAP applications and with other senior issues. For an appointment, call Breanna Parker at 760-228-5232.

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

 We send out Rainbows-of-Amethysts-and-Violets to Christina Lindsley who celebrates her special day this week. Happy birthday, Christina!

 Karen’s Commentary:  Morongo Basin Ambulance, 6335 Park Boulevard in Joshua Tree, offers an Emergency Services Discount Plan. If you have insurance, the plan will cover all charges not covered by your policy, including co-pays and deductibles. If you don’t have insurance, your bill will be reduced by half. Cost for the Emergency Services Discount Plan is $50 per year for an individual or $85 per year for a family. Call 760-366-8474.


Darlene’s Commentary:  I recently called Frontier, but it took two more calls to get a representative. Unfortunately, that representative wasn’t human, even though it had a giggly, happy voice that could fool Siri! After pressing buttons for 20 minutes, I got a REAL HUMAN who cheerfully answered my questions. I was a happy camper until later when I suddenly realized I’d forgotten to ask about getting my out-of-order phone repaired!

 Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road, holds services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Bible Studies are held Sundays from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. and Mondays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. There is a potluck following the service on the second Sunday of each month. Also, Pastor Lonnie Casper invites anyone interested to come to Luckie Park and join him in a walk every Monday, weather permitting. Call 760-401-6128 or 760-391-0480 for further information.

Handy Hint:  Raising the deductible on your homeowners insurance policy from $500 to $1000 could save you 25%.

 Today’s Thought:  “If you find it in your heart to care for someone else, you will have succeeded.” – Maya Angelou

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Salvation Army Food Distribution - CANCELLED.

This event has been CANCELLED.

The Salvation Army Food Distribution will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 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. 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.

NOTE: Only one person per parcel may be served.

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

There will be no Mobile Medical in Wonder Valley in March.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Artist Spotlight - Richie Allbright

As my readers know I like pure country honky tonk sounds and I am always on the lookout for good stuff.

I met Richie back when I was spending lots of time in the Honky Tonks in Texas. Richie is the real deal and he has lived it friends. Richie and I discussed his new record and how it came about.

Ronnie: Richie, what do you love most about music 

Richie: That it moves us all in some way. Whether it's happy, sad, or sappy. I think good music is relatable. In a world where folks disagree on so much, music is the common ground that touches all of us because we've all lived through good times, hard times, heartaches and loss. It can bring us a smile, sadness and even peace and comfort. And if we're really lucky, it can bring about change and healing for us.  

Ronnie: I know you have spent time in Texas and Nashville.. Tell me how that has influenced your music. 

Richie: As far as style goes, I was much more influenced by the music I heard growing up in South Texas. The stuff by my heroes that made me want to play music to begin with. Of course, alot of it was made in Nashville, Bakersfield and L.A. By the time I got to Nashville in 1994, country music had changed so much that there wasn't room for guys like me anymore. The same can be said for the situation when I came back to Texas 15 years later. For a guy who's known for being obsessive about organization and punctuality, it seems that I'm always showing up 20-30 years late where music is concerned. 

Ronnie: That's not a bad thing (laughing), is the new record more Nashville or more Texas? 

Richie: Good question. Maybe a little of both. I took a couple of songs by one of my favorite Texas songwriters and friends Jarrod Birmingham with me to Nashville. Along with an old Haggard song written by the late Mark Yeary who played piano for Merle for 20 years, as well as one of my favorite Dolly songs that was written by Porter Wagoner. I only wrote one on this new "Back To Nashville"  EP. And it's a song about traveling musicians and marijuana called "Reefer Road". 

As far as production goes, I think people would call it more "polished" and less "raw" than some of my previous stuff. But I attribute that to great musicians, a great studio and great engineering and producing by Aaron Rodgers. If that makes it sound "polished" to some folks, then so be it. But it certainly isn't the kind of music that usually comes out of Nashville these days. Or Texas for that matter.

Ronnie:  I agree, hey.. Loretta Lynn recently said Country Music is dead.. what do you think?

Richie: I don't think it's dead. But it's certainly on life support. It's just harder to find, and you have to know where to look. There are many of us still playing it out here. And we'll always be here. Will we ever be what's most popular and on top again? Probably not. But there's a huge independent scene where we can exist, have creative control and if we're lucky, make a living.  

Ronnie: I was addressing that in last week's column so I wanted your input. Ya know I love the prominent honky tonk feel of the new one... What are some of your favorite honky tonks to play?

Richie: I started out playing little, smoke filled, rough joints in South Texas when I was 14. And I'm still most at home in those kind of places. I enjoy playing anywhere people want to hear real country music and the owner of the establishment supports it and treats me fairly. There are many here in Texas and other places. Some legendary ones here in Texas as you know. 

Since we've moved to New Braunfels now, I hope to play places like Gruene Hall and Riley's Tavern more. I was just up at Coupland Dancehall with my friend Jarrod Birmingham a few weeks ago and will be playing Luckenbach for the first time later this month. 

Ronnie: What's the best thing about your new record? What are you most proud of?

Richie: Other than the fact that I finally got around to recording some things that I've been wanting to cut for a long time, my favorite thing is how it all came about and was done with old friends of mine in Nashville. Some that I've known for 25 years and shared the stage with there back in the 90s. Guys who played with some of my heroes and legends. And others who I just met when I got to the studio that were also great to work with. But the best part is that Aaron Rodgers reached out to me and said "I want to produce your next record at my studio. We'll use some of our common friends that know and love you and will be glad to do it". There was no big financial backer needed. No rushing me through it to get on to the next sucker who would write a big check. No one thinking that they knew better than I do about what and who I am. 

My Wife Kim was involved as always. My 24 year old guitar player Tyler Fink got to play on an album in a Nashville studio with some of the best. These are the things that matter to me in this business. I never know which one will be my last. Could be this one. Who knows? At the moment it looks like it could be. But it's looked that way before. If it is, I'm proud that it will be part of what I leave behind in this world. 

Ronnie: Well let's hope there are plenty more, where can people download it?

Richie: All the usual places. Apple/iTunes, Amazon. Streaming on Spotify, YouTube etc. Hard copies are in the works. 

Thanks buddy, folks download Richie's new record, I guarantee you will love it.

[ Booking Info ]

Book Richie 

Richie Allbright 

Kim Allbright- 361-254-2588

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Love Fest.

Wonder to the Valley of


  • Nina & The Boys
  • Blacksmith Brown
  • Karl with a K
  • Drunk at Noon
  • Big Daddy Ray
  • Music by Doug

7 - 10 p.m., February 15
Camping allowed

The Palms
83131 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley CA 92277

Desert Fox Cabaret.

Tanya Gane and Sara Sparrow and Trixie Little
3 wild women in a circus cabaret like no other.

The Desert Fox Cabaret

7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 29
$12 Cover

The Palms
83131 Amboy Road
Wonder Valley CA 92277