Tuesday night the Wrightwood Fire Safe Council conducted their monthly meeting involving multiple fire agencies and representatives of the National Forest.
A date has been set for the annual Wildfire and Disaster Awareness; it is scheduled for Saturday, May 7.
On March 5, Mountain High and the Fire Safe Council host Fire Safety Day at the resort. This year’s event includes specially priced all-day lift tickets for tri-community folks and anyone with a badge, including Fire, Police and Agency personnel.
For those who would like to donate to the WFSC, but don’t care to ski or snowboard, special arrangements have been made to donate tickets to disadvantaged tri-community youth, giving you twice as much bang for your buck. This is always a big hit with the kids, who would not normally be able to ski or snowboard. An all-day lift ticket costs just $20 (a $69 value) and can be used any day March 5 through the end of the 2015-2016 season.
Advance tickets may be purchased on the Council’s website through PayPal, or by calling (760) 249-3249.
Captain Steve Volmer of Cal Fire and Fenner Camp reported that the covered trees on Highway 2 have been left undisturbed, and thanked the community for their patience during the three days of tree-clearing along the highway.
SB County Fire’s Steve Roeber gave details about a multi-agency Winter Operations Drill scheduled for February 23-25 at Mountain High North. The training will involve approximately 100 people and focus on search after an avalanche, and personnel safety. Agencies participating include LA County Sheriff and Fire, SB County Sheriff and Fire, Wrightwood CERT, Mountain High, and the USNF rangers. Roeber asserted that this would be a significant training opportunity for cooperation between agencies.
Wrightwood’s Mastro joins Kim and Clark on all-American podium
By Terri Hill
Maddie Mastro has made news again in the world of snowboarding competition.
On February 4, 2016 she won Second Place in the Ladies’ Halfpipe competition at the US Grand Prix Snowboard World Cup in Park City Utah. Maddie shared the podium with First Place winner Chloe Kim and Third Place finisher Kelly Clark as the Americans swept the three top spots.
Maddie learned and honed her boarding skills at Mountain High Ski Resort. Like many snowboarders, Mastro started skiing at the age of two, but when she was six years old she began snowboarding. She told US Snowboarding, “My Mom had to bribe me with a pink snowboard for me to give up my skis. My Dad taught me how to ride at our local resort.” Maddie trains alongside Chloe Kim on the Mammoth Mountain team and is also a member of the U.S. Rookie Halfpipe Team. Being a recipient of financial assistance from the Kelly Clark Foundation, she was surprised when she qualified ahead of Clark, her benefactor and idol, at the 2015 Breckenridge Dew Tour. Mastro has a mean bag of tricks, and though she admits to already feeling rookie jitters, she’s excited to have reached her goal of competing at the X Games at just 15 years old.
Maddie’s other triumphs include:
7th overall at the 2016 X Games in Colorado
6th at the 2015 Breckenridge Dew Tour (December)
Multiple wins on the Revolution Tour Receives financial support from the Kelly Clark Foundation Member of the U.S. Rookie Halfpipe Team. Member of the Mammoth Mountain Team.
Fiber Internet to come to Phelan and Pinon Hills
By Al Morrissette
In January, Ultimate Internet Access Inc. (UIA) submitted a grant application to the California Advanced Services Fund for a project to cover West Cajon, all of Phelan and Pinon Hills (south of South Rd), parts of Baldy Mesa and all of Oak Hills. The project will provide 1 Gigabit Fiber Optics (upload and download) to 10,799 users in the area for a cost of $70 per month, no caps, unlimited, no installation fee and no term contracts, plus subscribers can also pay an additional $25 for VoIP phone service (using the internet for phone service) giving them inexpensive phone service throughout the United States and Canada. If subscribers need long distance to other countries, additional costs are involved. There is a provision to provide a discounted rate to low income families, which would amount to half of the normal rate.
The total project cost is approximately $34,961,993.16: with $20,977,159.86 in grant funds and a match of $13,984,773.24. If approved, the project would start by the end of the year and take approximately two years to complete. The project will be using ‘American Made’ components because Zuber, owner of UIA, feels they are the best, most efficient and durable.
Supplying quality internet in the Tri-Community is the result of hundreds of complaints about internet service in the Tri-Community, Wes Zuber the owner of UIA lives in Wrightwood and three years ago he joined a group of local leaders who met with Congressman Paul Cook voicing concerns of Verizon and others not serving the community very well. As a result of that meeting and the fact that nothing came out of it that was beneficial to the community, Zuber established a team of his staff members to research viable ways to get good internet to the Tri-Community.
They discovered that Google has developed several pilot projects throughout the country that are meant to be models of how to provide 1 gigabit of download/upload to a community regardless of its rural characteristics. Zuber’s team spent a year in researching and in Dec 2014, they applied for two CASF Projects, Helendale and Wrightwood. The Helendale $2.6 million project should be completed by the end of the year and serve 2789 subscribers, while the Wrightwood project is finishing the engineering phase and soon will initiate construction to serve approximately 2900 subscribers at an investment of $3.4 million.
For 21 years, UIA has been servicing the business sector of Southern California through providing local service, customer service, and expedited field service both through Wireless and Fiber-Optic infrastructure. Their client base includes: Microsoft, Red Bull, Lucas Oil, NHRA Drag Racing, Easter Seals, Chevron, McDonalds, Pacific Eye Institute, Prime Healthcare Services, Farmers Insurance, High Desert Mavericks Baseball Club and many more.
Lovingood: Monument designation ignores public participation, may cost county millions
San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Robert A. Lovingood said he is disappointed at the President’s order designating national monuments within the County, saying it bypasses local voices, the legislative process and jeopardizes millions in potential mining revenue to the County.
Lovingood said the presidential designation does not protect off-highway vehicle areas that would be protected by Congressman Paul Cook’s compromise bill making its way through Congress. OHV recreation has an economic impact of at least $70 million to the County and supports numerous small and rural businesses.
“This designation affects 2,800 square miles of our desert, and unfortunately the administration did not hold a single public hearing in the First District,” Lovingood said. “This is the public’s land for the public’s use, and the public should have been heard.”
It’s too early to determine the full economic impacts, and it will probably be more than a year before the management plan is written. But the president’s order appears to jeopardize a gold mining operation in the Castle Mountains. That operation, if it is allowed to scale up to full production in the next phase, is expected to become the second-largest gold mine in California, creating approximately 300 full-time positions with a direct tax benefit in excess of $225 million to the County. Under the president’s executive action, it appears there is no mechanism for the Park Service to issue the necessary permits.
“I love the desert and have worked hard to protect it,” Lovingood said. “Recreation, conservation and mining can all coexist. But the president’s designation ignores the historic approach that the desert is a land of many uses.”
Lovingood said he said he believes that promises of a boom in tourism and federally funded road improvements in the monument areas are unlikely.
Because the monument designations bypassed Congress, they contain no funding and may become “orphan monuments,” with little congressional support.
The new monument areas are already open to tourism and are protected by the Bureau of Land Management. Lovingood cited a 2014 National Park Service report that the three areas designated by the 1994 desert bill (Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve) have a backlog of more than $351 million in deferred maintenance to roads, bridges, trails and other infrastructure.
1994 Desert Protection Act covered 11,875 square miles of the California desert -- more land than the entire states of Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut combined.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961