Thursday, January 30, 2020

Desert Trail Column - January 30, 2020

There was no food distributed at the Salvation Army Food Distribution last week! The great people from the Salvation Army are very seldom late, so there was a bit of uneasiness among the people waiting when they didn’t arrive right on time. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they were unable to bring the food out here, so they are rescheduling. Contact Teresa (see below) for more 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.

 We send out Rainbows-of-Garnets-and-Carnations to Beautiful Downtown George Burgess who celebrates his special day this week. Happy birthday, Beautiful George!

 Darlene’s Commentary:  Giving my space to Karen this week.

 Karen’s Commentary:  I want to thank Jan Peek for lots of coupons and stamps. We miss you, Jan! (Don’t despair, Jerry, we miss you, too!) Here are some numbers that might just come in handy for you. Long-Term Care Ombudsman 760-228-5387, Center for Healthy Generations 760-365-9661, Desert AIDS Project 760-323-2118, Hearts of Yucca Valley 760-413-4639, Hi-Desert Home Health & Hospice Care 760-366-6424 or 760-366-6427, Hi-Desert Physical Rehab 760-367-1743, MB Regional Council on Aging & Senior Club 760-228-3280, Morongo Basin Ambulance 760-366-8474, Morongo Basin Healthcare District Foundation 760-820-9229, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill 442-275-7385, Pacific Clinics Child & Family Services 760-228-9657, Rockin’ Recovery Center 760-228-3241, Explorer Scouts–29 Palms Fire 760-367-7524, Head Start-Twentynine Palms 760-367-5150, Hi-Desert Arts Academy 760-366-3777, California Highway Patrol 760-366-3707, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department-Morongo Basin Station 760-366-4175, Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services 760-369-3353, The White House 202-456-1414, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein 202-224-3841 or 310-914-7300, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris 202-224-3553 or 619-239-3884, U.S. Rep. Paul Cook 202-225-5861, Governor Gavin Newsom 916-445-2841, State Sen. Shannon Grove 916-651-4016 or 760-228-3136, Assemblyman Chad Mayes 916-319-2042 or 760-346-6342, San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe 909-38-4855 or 760-366-1488, Morongo Unified School District Board of Education 760-367-9191, 29 Palms Senior Center 760-367-5780, Morongo Basin Senior Support 760-365-9661, Reach Out Morongo Basin-29 Palms 760-361-1410, Senior Information & Assistance 760-228-5219 and Senior Nutrition-29 Palms 760-367-3891.

 Animal Action League, 62762 29 Palms Highway just past the dinosaurs, will spay or neuter your dog or cat at a very low cost. They also provide vaccinations, microchips and nail trimming at discounted rates. For further information call 760-366-1100.

 Handy Hint:  If possible, stock up on canned foods, butter, cereals and olive oil when they’re on sale. This will continue to save you money for months.

 Today’s Thought:  The real reason the cow jumped over the moon was the short circuit in the milking machine.

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wonder Valley MAC Rep Awarded.

Steve Reyes, the Wonder Valley Municipal Advisory Council Representative, was awarded by the SBC Sheriff's Department. SBC Sheriff's Department Captain Trevis Newport (Morongo Basin Station) praised Steve for working closely with the Sheriff's Department these months past.

The "Citizen of the Year" award was created just this year and Steve Reyes was the first ever to receive it.

Reyes told the group at the Wonder Valley Community Meeting that it's all about creating relationships.  The award is well-deserved.

Salvation Army Food Distribution

The Salvation Army Food Distribution takes place starting at 11:00 a.m. on FRIDAY, January 31, 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.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Simi Dabah sculpture installed.

The County of San Bernardino installed this beautiful Simi Dabha sculpture in front of the Wonder Valley Community Center. The Friends of Wonder Valley acquired the piece, paid for the delivery of the sculpture, and provided the volunteers.

Come by and instagram yourself!

Wonder Valley Community Meeting, January 29, 2020

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate in the
Wonder Valley Community Meeting from 
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at the

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

Captain Newport and Lieutenant Niles from the Morongo Station, San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department, will be in attendance. We are hoping to have a full update regarding the work that Frontier Communications has done in the community.

Our MAC Representative, Steve Reyes, will be running the meeting. There will be pizza.

Posted 10 a.m., January 27, 2020

For more information call:
Teresa Sitz at 760-367-9880

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Desert Trail Column - January 23, 2020

The official count of homeless people in Wonder Valley will take place today, January 23.
A Wonder Valley Community Meeting will be held at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, on Wednesday, January 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our Municipal Advisory Council representative Steve Reyes will be running this meeting, with Captain Newport and Lieutenant Niles from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department in attendance. Hopefully, a full update of the work done in our area by Frontier Communications will be available. For information, contact Steve at
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-Garnets-and-Carnations to Vida Hamilton who celebrates her special day this week. Happy birthday, Vida!
Karen’s Commentary: Here is the rest of the information about your “body clock.” From 6 to 7 p.m. is the worst time of day for dieters to eat – more calories end up as fat due to fluctuations of body metabolism. From 8 to 11 p.m., the brain hormones serotonin and adenosine shut down the electrical activity of some neurons, causing drowsiness and sleep. From midnight to 3 a.m., blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones all bottom out. And at 4 a.m., the body temperature drops to its lowest level of the day.
Darlene’s Commentary: Many of the homeless people shy away from signing anything or even just saying anything for fear of being accused of something. They also may not have proper identification and of course no proof of residency. Their main concerns are where will I sleep or how will I eat, not talking to a volunteer who’s counting the homeless. So how about this? How about giving some of the homeless a job – counting the homeless! Perhaps a colorful new t-shirt and some pay for their time would truly be a way of helping.

The 29 Soaring Club meets at the 29 Palms Airport, 29 Palms Highway at Godwin Road, every Sunday from 11 a.m. to sunset, weather permitting. This is a non-profit organization that owns two gliders and a tow plane. Glider rides are available for $20 to $50 cash, depending on the altitude desired. Non-expiring gift certificates are also available. Call Mike at 760-464-2835 for further information.
Handy Hint: For a clogged drain, toss in three Alka-Seltzer tablets, then one cup white vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run hot water down the drain.
Today’s Thought: When you feel terrific, notify your face.
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Mermaid Avenue - The Journey Of A True American Hero

When Billy Bragg and Wilco released Mermaid Avenue way back in 1997  I didn't know all that much about Woody Guthrie's vast catalog of work. There was a huge collection of songs and poems all written from his hospital stays.  Much of the work had been offered to Dylan in the 60's but remained below anyone's radar.

Starting in 1996, twenty-nine years after Guthrie’s death, first Bragg and then Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett began to sift through the pages, looking for the lyrics that spoke to them, that needed to be heard, that were just too good to leave to the archives.

In the documentary Man in the Sand, that details Billy Bragg and Wilco's project to turn the forgotten Woody Guthrie lyrics into songs, Bragg visited Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma, trying to get some idea of what inspired Woody's songs. As Bragg wanders through the now deserted streets, talks to folks, and even discovers what's left of Guthrie's birthplace that's now just pieces of wood stacked in the corner of a local shop, he chats with the owner of an antique store, hoping to find anything that might bring some light to Guthrie's early life as an Okie before he started his journey across the country writing about his adventures. Delighted to show Bragg a link to Guthrie, the owner pulls out a sign displayed in front of the store that identifies Okemah as Woody's hometown.

The sign was in bad shape, Woody's name was covered with spray paint and the words "Commie Red A Draft Dogger" in it's place. The vandals couldn't spell but the message was certainly clear.. This was how Woody was to be remembered in his home town and state many years after he died.

When Wilco and Bragg decided to take on the difficult project of selecting only a small portion of the thousands of lyrics and write the music to turn them into songs Wilco's Jeff Tweedy had this to say; I'd have a really good feeling about things if the result leads a certain number of people back to discover Woody Guthrie.

Bragg, a songwriter based in the UK had been chosen by Woody's daughter, Nora, to bring life to writings that were purely American. Guthrie however, in 1997, was still viewed as a virtually unknown left wing folkie, mostly known for writing "This Land Is Your Land".  Bob Dylan was a fan but most Americans had no idea who he was.

After the release of Mermaid Avenue in 1998 that changed, the posthumous songwriting team of Guthrie, Bragg Tweedy, and Bennett turned out to be brilliance not many would have imagined.

American Songwriter Magazine has said; "The Mermaid Avenue project is essential for showing that Woody Guthrie could illuminate what was going on inside of him as well as he could detail the plight of his fellow man".

The collection of three volumes was voted number 939 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition.

Oklahoma has finally come to embrace old Woody as a state treasure and now even has the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival that brings fans from all over the world to Okemah to celebrate a truly American hero. In the state house of one of our most conservative states a painting of Woody hangs, something  far different than that defaced sign in the town of his birth.

Billy Bragg and Wilco didn't just alert folks to the brilliance of Woody Guthrie. No... They brought Woody home to the land made for you and me...

All lyrics written by Woody Guthrie; music composers are listed below.

"Walt Whitman's Niece" (Billy Bragg) 

"California Stars" (Jay Bennett, Jeff Tweedy)

"Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key" (Bragg) 

"Birds and Ships" with Natalie Merchant (Bragg) 

"Hoodoo Voodoo" (Tweedy, Bragg, Bennett, John Stirratt, Ken Coomer, Corey Harris) 

"She Came Along to Me" (Bragg, Tweedy, Bennett) 

"At My Window Sad and Lonely" (Tweedy) 
"Ingrid Bergman" (Bragg) 

"Christ for President" (Tweedy, Bennett) 
"I Guess I Planted" (Bragg) 

"One by One" (Tweedy)

"Eisler on the Go" (Bragg)

"Hesitating Beauty" (Tweedy)

"Another Man's Done Gone" (Bragg) 

"The Unwelcome Guest" (Bragg) 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Wonder Valley at Gallery 62

7 Wonder Valley / East-Ender Friends

Reception: 5:30 - 8:30, Saturday, February 8.

Gallery 62
61607 Twentynine Palms Highway
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Adrian Feld
Sharon Morgan Jenkins
Tal Khaner
Ron Resnick
Suzanne Ross
Ellie Westman
Olive Toscani

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Desert Trail Column - January 16, 2020

Training for the Wonder Valley Homeless Count is being given today, January 16 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Joshua Tree. The actual Homeless Count will take place in Wonder Valley on January 23. Call Teresa at 760-367-9880 for further information.
A free movie “Overcomer” will be shown at Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road, on Saturday, January 18 at noon. Munchies will be available at 11 a.m. For further information, call 760-391-0480.
The Mobile Medical Van will be at our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, on Wednesday, January 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A nurse practitioner will provide primary medical care and screenings, prescription refills and referrals for lab tests. No appointment is necessary. Most insurances are accepted, and a discounted fee-for-service is available for those without insurance. Care will be provided regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Call 760-365-9305 for information.

The Salvation Army Food Distribution will be held at our community center on Wednesday, January 22 from 11 a.m. until the food is gone. Food is from Trader Joe’s and usually includes meat, fresh fruits and fresh veggies.
A Wonder Valley Community Meeting will take place at our community center on Wednesday, January 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our Municipal Advisory Council representative Steve Reyes will be running this meeting, with Captain Newport and Lieutenant Niles from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department in attendance. Hopefully, a full update of the work done in our area by Frontier Communications will be available. For information, contact Steve at
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: A little more about your “body clock.” From 3 to 4 p.m. your muscle strength, body flexibility and aerobic capacity reach their peak. At 5 p.m. your blood pressure peaks.

Darlene’s Commentary: With mountains of dishes on my counter and an empty dish soap container, I knew to add white vinegar to the “empty” bottle to make everything sparkle. Thank you, Mom!
To keep up-to-date on all the happenings in Wonder Valley, go to Ken and Teresa Sitz keep this website full of information about our area.

Handy Hint: Using your car’s cruise control can reduce your fuel use by seven percent on the highway.
Today’s Thought: “There’s only one way to have a happy marriage – and as soon as I learn what it is, I’ll get married again.” – Clint Eastwood
Until next time . . . remember to take time to enjoy the WONDERs all around us.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Jeremiah and the Red Eyes at the Palms

Some of my favorite music is about the road and sky. Jackson Browne did a great live record "Running On Empty" his fith album that details his life on the road; Motels and truck stops, where the road and the sky collide. It's all about railroads and road houses, back roads and the long haul.

This past Saturday I had the privilege to hear Jeremiah and the Red Eyes at the Palms Restaurant in Wonder Valley.

Jeremiah Sammartano, Flagstaff based, Emmy nominated singer/songwriter who fronts the bluesy/Americana and sometimes one-man band, Jeremiah and the Red Eyes, has covered many miles over the past several years. Saturday it was Jeremiah on guitar, kickdrum and vocals and  Angela on fiddle and backing vocals.

I think Jeremiah accurately describes his music as "Delta Blues and Twangy Grooves" and I would only add his is the sound of the road.  

My friend Kevin Bone gave me a hollar in advance that Jeremiah was right up my alley and lord knows he was right.  Tasty slide guitar and Angela's fiddling with some mighty fine road songs made for a great evening of music with friends. Sitting in the back room of the Palms on a dark Saturday night I couldn't help but think how great this would have been on the back patio and when Jeremiah, with Angela on harmonies, closed their first set with Woodie Gutherie's "California Stars" I couldn't have wanted that more.  I've always enjoyed the Wilco - Billy Bragg version off the great album "Mermaid Avenue".

I’d like to rest
My heavy head tonight
On a bed
Of California stars
I’d like to lay
My weary bones tonight
On a bed
Of California stars
I’d love to feel
Your hand touching mine
And tell me why
I must keep working on
Yes, I’d give my life
To lay my head tonight on a bed
Of California stars

I've since listened to all of Jeremiah's music online and a CD order is warranted.  I'm including links to his music so you to can check out some pretty damn good stuff yourself.

I must also mention Grey Hill who always gets the sound just right at the Palms. Its not easy to do that night in and night out but Grey gets it done. 

Band Website 

Band Reverb

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Homeless Count Training.

Join the Friends of Wonder Valley for the Homeless Count in Wonder Valley.

The training is from 10-11 a.m., on Thursday, January 16, somewhere in Joshua Tree (TBA).

The actual homeless count takes place on Thursday, January 23rd. We need three people for our team.

If you are interested in joining us in this effort, please call Teresa Sitz at (760)367-9880.

For more information, and to register, go here:

USDA -- Date Change

NOTE: The date of this event has been changed BACK to Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

The USDA Food Distribution will begin at 9:00 a.m. and ends at noon (or when the food runs out) on TUESDAY, January 14, 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 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.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Get Your Kicks 40 miles south of Route 66

This is how we celebrate a birthday in Wonder Valley!  Our friend Sunny Steven Downer put together this cooler than cosmic capricorn shindig last Saturday night January the 4th.  The party was hosted at the Palms on Route 62 in Wonder Valley only 40 miles south of Route 66.

Jennifer, my beautiful bride, and I arrived a tad before starting time to get a good seat and Laura's special for the night... a fantastic feta, spinach, mozzarella and garlic quesadilla that was sublime. 

Kelly Hake kept us in double shots of Jim Beam all evening so we were in a grooving mood by the time the music started. That's always true of the Palms by the way... groovin' and a double shot.

First up was local singer-songwriter Lauren Downer  with Jimmy Fink on the Rickenbacker bass.  Let me say my favourite songwriters tell stories with their songs and Jimmy's songs about his hometown Chico California and lost love were warm and engaging, his voice and guitar playing a joy to experience.  See him around our desert music community when you can!

Next up on this winter evening was JJ Jones of the Needs.  JJ is a great guitarist and writes some great songs.  I was thinking just recently that I rarely hear protest songs anymore, JJ came through to address my jonsin' for the protest tune!  Not only that but hell, teamed with Nicci Carrannante to do one of my favorite John Prine tunes "In Spite Of Ourselves".  You can catch that further down.

Next up was the birthday boy's band Be Ja who got a cosmic groove going. Nothing is really more cosmic than a good George Harrison cover and Be Jah delivered the chill vibe.  Performing with Be Jah were Jimi Fink, Jessica Berryhill, Loren Downer and Michael Perez.

There is not much better in my opinion than hanging with friends at the Palms but all good nights must come to an end and tonight ended for us with more great bands to follow. As I get older the limits of age keep me from finishing many a great lineup. I'm going to try again soon to see Victoria Williams, it's been too long. Happy Birthday Sunny Steven Downer, keep up the fight pal!

Ronnie Ruff
Wonder Valley, California 

Jeremiah and the Red Eyes

From 6 - 9 p.m., on Saturday, January 11th, 
Angela and I will be out in Wonder Valley to play at The Palms.
It's all part of our California desert adventure weekend. 
There's no cover and tips will be greatly appreciated. 
So come on out to the high desert if you can!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Happy New Year All!

I am going to have a community meeting on January 29th at 1100 hours.  Captain Newport and Lieutenant Niles from the Morongo Station, San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department, will be in attendance.  I am also hoping to have a full update regarding all the work Frontier Communications has done in the community.    

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Desert Trail Column - January 2, 2020

Ryan Brown was the special guest speaker last Sunday at Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road. His sermon was interesting and enjoyed by all. Thank you, Ryan!
The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, 77575 29 Palms Highway at Thunder Road, will hold an Artists Reception on Saturday, January 4 from 1 to 5 p.m. for artists Joel Daavid and Jullian Sandell. Music will be provided by Mark and Friends. This show will run through January 26. For further information, call Laurel at 760-367-3807.

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

We send out Rainbows-of-Turquoise-and-Narcissus to Kip Fjeld who celebrates his special day this week. Happy birthday, Kip!

Karen’s Commentary: A few weeks ago, I noticed that a huge dumpster had magically appeared by our (unfortunately) closed Wonder Valley Fire Department. This was not good. The next day and the day after that there were uniformed worker bees emptying out the housing area and the old station itself. After going home and taking some nausea pills, I avoided looking in that direction. What a sad, sad state of affairs.

Darlene’s Commentary: I had a good Ho-Ho-Ho and a good drenching! Luckily, I have a nice stack of firewood, and most of it is covered. Now things will be much easier – I just hope those windstorms will settle down, especially when the thermometer tiptoes toward 32 degrees! I have a feeling that Mother Nature is making plans for a spectacular bloom again. I can see tiny green shoots already!
Morongo Basin Transit Authority’s Ready Ride is available in Wonder Valley on Tuesdays, Fridays and the first Wednesday of each month, excluding holidays. They will transport you to and from any business in Twentynine Palms, but not on Base. On Tuesdays and Fridays, pick up at your residence is at 7 a.m. and return is at noon; on first Wednesdays, pickup is at 7 a.m. and return is at 1 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults, $2 for disabled or seniors 60 and older. Call 760-366-2395 from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday to schedule rides. You must call by 6:30 p.m. the day prior to your desired date.
Handy Hint: lists hundreds of companies that offer discounts to veterans. Discounts range from $500 off an eligible new Ford vehicle to 10 percent off at some Burger King locations.

Today’s Thought: “No time for your health today will result in no health for your time tomorrow.” – Irish Proverb

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