Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Desert Trail Column - July 29, 2020

We have a correction for last week’s column. In Today’s Thought, the second sentence should have read “According to Merriam-Webster, the following words FIRST APPEARED IN THE DICTIONARY in 1940.” Sorry for any misunderstanding.

 The drive-thru USDA food distribution ran very smoothly as usual. We thank Friends of Wonder Valley and all their wonderful volunteers.


If you’re tired of sitting in the house and just want to go for a short drive, head on over to the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, 77575 29 Palms Highway at Thunder Road, to visit the tiny little Wayside Chapel out in front. If you’ve never been there, you have a pleasant surprise in store!


Drive-in church services will be held at Godwin Christian Fellowship, 6389 Godwin Road at Highway 62, starting at 7:30 a.m. All attending are required to wear face coverings and to remain in their vehicles at all times. Contact Pastor Max Rossi at or 831-234-6848 or Brother wally Currie at 760-449-8683 for further information.


We send out Rainbows-of-Rubies-and-Larkspurs to Lilah Margaret Fairweather who turns nine this week. Also, since the birthstone for August is the peridot and the flower is the gladiolus, we send Rainbows-of-Peridots-and-Gladioli to Mandy Root who turns 36 this week. Happy birthday, Mandy and Lilah!

Handy Hint:  How to make a child’s (or adult’s) time capsule. Pick a special day like the first day of school or a birthday, or just any ordinary day, to put it together. Decorate a container such as a large mason jar or coffee can or other sturdy container with a good-fitting lid. Fill it with meaningful small objects; a list of favorite songs, movies and colors: a list of personal goals for the coming year; and anything else important to that person that may change during the coming year. If the capsule is for a child, include a piece of yarn or ribbon equal to the child’s height. Add letters or notes from family and friends, plus a letter from the person to her- or himself as well. Seal the capsule and write on it in permanent marker the “open on” date – one year from the date of sealing. Hide the capsule in a dry place like on a high closet shelf. You might want to write a note to yourself with the location of the capsule and the date it is to be opened and put it in a secure place or give it to someone who will keep it safe. And do not forget to write the all-important opening date on next year’s calendar!

 Today’s Thought:  Don’t judge people by their relatives.


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

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Desert Trail Column - July 22, 2020

Here are some interesting facts about Joshua trees taken from a recent newspaper article written by Ruth Nolan who teaches at College of the Desert. The Joshua tree isn’t really a tree, it’s actually a member of the asparagus family. Native Americans living in the Mojave Desert traditionally ate Joshua tree buds, flowers and seeds; used the roots for basket-making material, shampoo and soap; used fibers to make cordage and nets; and used the sharp point at the ends of the leaves as an awl. The name Joshua tree is attributed to the Mormons who thought the outstretched limbs resembled the outstretched arms of Joshua directing them on their journey. Other early explorers viewed the Joshua tree in a different light. John C. Fremont said, “Their stiff and ungraceful form makes them to the traveler the most repulsive tree in the vegetable kingdom.”  J. Smeaton Chase described the sight of Joshua trees as “having a nightmare effect even in the broad daylight; at the witching hour it can almost be infernal.” Edna Brush Perkins called them “grotesque  … covered with matted, gray hair …” and “distinctly unpleasant.” But beautiful or ugly, the Western Joshua tree is currently under consideration for further legal protection under the California Endangered Species Act.

 Godwin Christian Fellowship, 6389 Godwin Road at Highway 62, has gone back to drive-in church services every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Everyone is asked to wear a face covering and to remain in their vehicle. Contact Pastor Max Rossi at or 831-234-6848, or Brother Wally Currie at 760-449-8683 for further information.


We send out Rainbows-of-Rubies-and-Larkspurs to Isabel Austin, Star Javier and Mary Anderson who celebrate their special days this week. Happy birthday, Mary, Star and Isabel!


Here are some phone numbers you might find useful. San Bernardino County Code Enforcement 760-995-8154, SBC Environmental Health Division 800-442-2283, SBC Fire Hazard and Weed Abatement 909-884-4056.

 Handy Hint:  Up to 20 per cent of your electric bill charges come from “vampire” home electronics that are plugged in but not in use. By using smart outlets, you can power your electronics on and off automatically with a voice command.

 Today’s Thought:  Our friends Rick Smith and Judy Taylor were both born in 1940, so this item is dedicated to them! According to Merriam-Webster, the following words were first used in 1940:  anti-smog, Bermuda shorts, bomber jacket, burnout, crib sheet, disc jockey, dunk shot, inductee, K ration, Mae West, penny candy, shotgun seat, shutterbug, sloppy Joe, swing shift, touch-type and vibes. Also, the median annual income was $956 and the federal minimum wage was 30 cents an hour.


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

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Crime Stats -- June 2020

I missed recording 6 days in June, from June 10 to June 16, and that data is now irretrievable. Sorry about that, it's been a tough month.

This data is taken from the SBC Sheriff's Department media reports. We have no data for 2019. As you can see, even missing 6 days, activity was within the range of previous years.

There were a couple of calls for fireworks, and a couple of search and rescues related to the woman who went missing -- her car abandoned at Shelton Road and Highway 62.

Stay safe out there. And remember, if you call the Sheriff's Department, always ask for an incident number.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Desert Trail Column - July 15, 2020

The drive-thru USDA Food Distribution will take place on Tuesday outside our Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road at Blower Road, beginning at 10 a.m. Enter at the dirt driveway just east of the community center parking lot and follow on around the building. The food will be placed in your vehicle as you’re coming back out into the parking lot on the west side of the building. Face coverings and staying inside your vehicle at all times are required.

Since the birthstone for July is the ruby and the flower is the larkspur, we send out Rainbows-of-Rubies-and-Larkspurs to Jayden Root (16) and Ron Rush. Happy birthday, Ron and Jayden!

Darlene’s Commentary: On our way home from Stater’s on Saturday night, my dear friend and I were talking about not being able to see fireworks this year and saying “Oh, well!” with a big sad sigh. As we were getting out of the car to unload groceries, a giant display went up into the air! I jumped and thought, “Oh, boy! Somebody’s in BIG trouble – and where did someone get giant fireworks like THAT?” About then, a second one went off, then a third. We quickly discovered we had a beautiful “ringside” seat for the gorgeous display put on by the Base. Thank you

Karen’s Commentary: Wowee! On Sunday at 3;30 p.m., one of our outdoor thermometers read 123 and the other showed 123.3!! What happened to the predicted high of 112??? Also, my commentary in last week’s column got cut short, so I would like to restate what was missing as I think it’s important. When asked if we can develop a universal vaccine for different strains of the coronavirus, Dr. Birx replied, “ . . . The hope is a vaccine that is made today against COVID-19 will work tomorrow and will work a year from now.” And when asked how we can learn about the search for a vaccine, she replied, “Any American can go to the NIH website ( It lists every single trial that is going on, every clinical trial for COVID-19, whether it’s vaccines or therapeutics, so Americans can stay informed.”
Coronavirus pandemic or not, our roads are still being maintained! And that means that Dylan still has a job and we residents can still drive on our roads without getting stuck. Some things are still good in Wonder Valley! For questions, comments, requests, complaints or compliments, go to or call 760-367-9880 or 909-387-5940.

Handy Hint: Potato chips stay fresh when wrapped and stored in the freezer – and don’t worry, they won’t get soggy!

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

Shooting at local marijuana grow.

The local chatter on Facebook last night reported that gunshots were heard in the unincorporated area north of Twentynine Palms. A police helicopter, several police cars, and a fire truck arrived in the area.

"This is the San Bernadino Sheriff's Department. Come out unarmed with your hands up," was broadcast several times.

The conflict apparently took place at an illegal pot farm. A 46-year-old Moreno Valley man was discovered in a nearby structure suffering from several gunshot wounds. He was taken to the hospital.

From the Hi-Desert Trail
Moreno Valley man shot at 29 Palms marijuana farm

San Bernardino County -- closed again.

From the County:

"California Orders Closure of Indoor Operations of Additional Sectors
Responding to significant increases in positive test results, hospitalizations and ICU admissions, Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced further mandates to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Details can be found on the State’s COVID-19 website.

"The State has immediately expanded closures previously only required for counties on the state’s monitoring list to the entire state. These include indoor operations for:

  • dine-in restaurants, 
  • movie theaters, 
  • family entertainment centers, 
  • museums and cardrooms. 
  • Breweries, bars and pubs are required to close both indoor and outdoor operations entirely in every county.

"In addition, within the 31 counties on the state’s monitoring list – which include San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties and represent approximately 80% of the state’s population – the State requires the closure of indoor operations in sectors that tend to promote the mixing of populations which make adherence to social distancing and wearing face masks difficult. Businesses in these sectors that are unable to operate outdoors must close immediately under the State’s order. They include:

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Place of worship
  • Offices for non-critical sectors
  • Personal care services (e.g., nail salons, massage and tattoo facilities)
  • Hair salons and barber shops
  • Indoor malls

"Gov. Newsom noted that while the increase in testing has led to growth in positive cases, the positivity rate has recently trended down. However, new positive cases are averaging 8,211 a day. Moreover, hospitalizations have increased 28% over the past 14 days and ICU admissions have jumped 39% over the same period. Overall, the state has had more than 320,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,000 deaths.

"'Until we have a vaccine or effective therapy, we have no choice but to continue taking steps to mitigate the spread of the virus,' said Newsom. 'Californians must adapt to new behaviors if we are to slow the spread.'"

SBC Covid Response:
California Covid Response:

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Desert Trail Column - July 8, 2020

Karen’s Commentary: I just read an interesting article in The AARP Bulletin.

Deborah Birx, M.D.: Lessons From the Pandemic

It’s an interview with the U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, M.D. When asked what we’ve learned to help us change our behaviors, she replied, “I hope that out of this comes significant recommendations to decrease human exposure to wild animals. It’s the wild animals that we don’t have everyday exposure to – we have no ability to handle their viruses, particularly if they jump to us. HIV came out of the wild animals. Ebola comes out of animals in the wild, and we believe that COVID-19 came out of animals in the wild. Any time a virus moves from an animal to a human, humans have no immunity. That’s what has been so difficult with this particular virus.”
When asked if we will find “patient zero,” she replied, “You will absolutely be able to get that level of clarity, including in which countries the travelers from China began that initial spread, country by country. There are extraordinary evolutionary molecular biologists who can really figure this out for us. They’ll be able to recreate in great detail where this virus came from, how it traveled around the globe, and where different countries had seeds of that virus introduced and when they were introduced.”
When asked if we can develop a universal vaccine for different strains of the coronavirus, she replied, “The coronaviruses in general are fairly stable in their protein matrixes. That’s the good part. Of course, we don’t have experience with this virus. The hope is a vaccine that is made today against COVID-19 will work tomorrow and will work a year from now.”
When asked how we can learn about the search for a vaccine, she replied, “Any American can go to the NIH website ( It lists every single trial that is going on, every clinical trial for COVID-19, whether it’s vaccines or therapeutics, so Americans can stay informed.”

Friends of Wonder Valley is a non-profit organization whose goal is to enhance the lives of those living and working in Wonder Valley. To donate go to or
Handy Hint: Make your own laundry stain remover. Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup household ammonia, 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup liquid laundry detergent together in a quart jar. Pour the solution into a spray bottle to keep handy next to the washer. Spray stains generously, allowing the item to sit for about 10 minutes, then wash as usual. (CAUTION: NEVER mix ammonia and bleach. NEVER.)

Today’s Thought: Drive as you wish your kids would. Never speed or drive recklessly with children in the car.

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

USDA Food Distribution - JULY 2020

Photo Credit: Rich Good
PLEASE read below carefully.

The USDA Food Distribution will begin at 10:00 a.m. on TUESDAY, July 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. Please wear a face covering and stay in your car.

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. The park is closed.

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

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

New bumpersticker in town.

Local / artist / desert rat Ken Sitz designed and printed a passel of these lovely bumperstickers in time for the 4th of July. If you know someone who knows someone you can get one.

"Don't miss the abyss!" Love that.

Bars are closed.

San Bernardino County Wire Update for July 1, 2020

"In addition to mandating the closure of all bars in the 19 counties, the state has ordered the closing of indoor operations for restaurants; movie theaters; family entertainment centers; wineries, breweries and tasting rooms; card rooms; and zoos and museums."

"Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We simply have to do better in the fight against this virus. It is still not the time to get together with friends and extended families. And wearing masks while in public really has to become second nature.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Desert Trail Column - July 1, 2020

Somehow we omitted a very important date in last week’s column – the wedding anniversary of Ken and Teresa Sitz. They have been together for 20 years and we wish them a belated but sincere happy anniversary!
And this week we are sending out best wishes to Penny and Ron Root who are celebrating 27 years together. Happy anniversary, Ron and Penny!
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the Walnut Creek Police Department are asking for Wonder Valley’s help in locating a missing woman. She is 37-year-old Erika Lloyd. She is 5’ 4”, weighs 125 pounds and has dark brown hair and blue eyes. She has a small tattoo on the inside of her left wrist and a larger tattoo on her back. Her car was found abandoned and vandalized near Highway 62 and Shelton Road. If you have seen her or have heard anything about her whereabouts, please call 760-366-4175 or simply dial 911. Her family is totally devastated and extremely worried about her so please help if you can.

Karen's Commentary: Twice in the past week I’ve walked into a public establishment without a mask. I can hardly believe it. I’m so gung-ho on keeping the masks on in order to bring this pandemic to an end, and I’ve just walked right in without one! This just shows how easy it is to get distracted and forget about following guidelines, no matter how important they are. We’ll all be happy when this is over, but we have to work at it in order for it to actually be over.
Darlene’s Commentary: How do you clean clutter off your desk? First, make sure you have a clear walkway and a good chair! Box up everything that doesn’t even belong in that room, let alone on your desk, to be taken to where they belong. Try out every pen to make sure it writes before giving it space in your desk drawer. Plastic zipper bags are great for containing small items. You can also use those small gift boxes that you don’t have the heart to throw away, but never use!
Wonder Valley Community Church, 82575 Amboy Road at Kuhns Road, is again holding regular church services every Sunday at 9 a.m. Please call Pastor Lonnie Casper at 760-401-6128 or 760-391-0480 for further information.
Handy Hint: Have your computer search for savings! Honey is a free extension you add to your web browser. When you shop online, click on the icon and it searches for coupons. Go to for information.
Today’s Thought: Never miss an opportunity to sleep on a screened-in porch.

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