First Place winner, 5th grader, 10 year old, Tania Vargus Gallegos from Phelan Elementary School
Forty-three elementary students (third through fifth grades) from four of Snowline Joint Unified School District (SJUSD) schools sat on stage at Baldy Mesa Elementary Friday night, March 24th, for the Second Annual Elementary School Spelling Bee contest. Students from Baldy Mesa Elementary School, Phelan Elementary School, Vista Verde Elementary School, and Wrightwood Elementary School eagerly waited to participate. In the past, the Daily Press Newspaper sponsored the Spelling Bee Contests in the High Desert, sending the winner to Washington D.C. for the national contest. Students through the twelfth grade participated. Due to declining interest, the newspaper dropped the program, so Melissa Smith, a parent at Baldy Mesa Elementary School, picked up the challenge for an elementary school contest here in SJUSD. The spelling bee competition begins in the third and continues through fifth grade elementary classrooms. Each class presents three winners for the school contest. Ten winners from each school then participate in the district wide event. All spelling bee protocols are followed. Students bravely got up to spell the word(s) drawn for them. Round one was the only practice, non-elimination round. The contest ended in round 15. The words were difficult to spell, and all the students participating did a fantastic job. The students participating at the district level were awarded medallions. The top three winners were awarded trophies as well. A progressive trophy was awarded to the winner’s school, which gets to keep it for a year, and the school’s and student’s names are engraved on it. The top three winners this year were: First Place winner, 5th grader, 10 year old, Tania Vargus Gallegos from Phelan Elementary School; Second Place winner, Maddelyn Pollack from Wrightwood Elementary; and Third Place winner, Katie Rusk from Vista Verde Elementary. Could you have spelled, malacca? Well, that was the winning word that Tania spelled; it’s a brown cane that is widely used for walking sticks and umbrella handles. It is also a city in Malaysia. Congratulations to her and to all students participating.
CASTO School Bus Safety Poster winner!
Kaylie Rosales with the Winning Poster
Each year California Association of School of Transportation Officials (CASTO) sponsors a poster contest for California school districts. They participate in selecting artwork that depicts school bus safety related themes and promotes school bus safety. The theme this year was, “MY DRIVER – MY SAFETY HERO!” Kaylie Rosales, who is in the 7th grade at Quail Valley Middle School in Phelan, California, submitted her poster and won the Chapter 20, High Desert poster contest, then went on compete at the California State level and won that as well. Now her poster will go on to be judged in November 2017, during the National Association of Pupils Transportation Conference. Kaylie’s poster says, “She takes care of us. She drives our bus. She’s our bus driver, our Safety Hero!” As Kaylie left the CASTO meeting, a representative from the CHP asked her to submit a poster to them as well, as artwork for a safety pamphlet.
Vista Verde visits School Board By Terri Hill Scholars and faculty from Vista Verde Elementary School visited Tuesday’s Snowline Joint Unified School District (SJUSD) Board meeting. In order to demonstrate the restorative counseling they’ve been practicing, the children asked the board members to “circle up” with them. Vista Verde classrooms have been using the counseling method as an alternative to punishment, encouraging students, referred to at the school as scholars, to communicate rather than act out. Third grade teacher Robynn Laffin explained the children are learning that the circle is a safe place to talk, and to listen. When the scholars sit in their circle on the floor, they know it is the appropriate time to talk about a particular incident or problem. If a two students have an argument, perhaps at recess, the teacher will find time during the day to have the children circle up and work out their frustrations. Likewise, community issues and problems are discussed in the circle, as with the Blue Cut Fire last August. When the students are frightened by events they don’t understand, they have a safe place to express their feelings. Laffin said, “The scholars are learning to be active listeners. They don’t just wait until it’s their turn to talk, they listen and offer each other understanding. They are learning empathy.” Five students from the school joined their teacher at the meeting, and invited board members to circle up with them. A ball was used as a “talking piece,” being passed around to indicate whose turn it was to talk. Answering the question, “What makes someone a good friend?” Joel mentioned sharing a sense of humor. Ivan said, “You can trust them, they’re there for you.” Board members learned to trust the students, and felt safe sharing their ideas of friendship, too.SBCo Fire Chief Felgar retires Excerpt from SBCo Fire press release
After 32 years of service with San Bernardino County Fire, Assistant Chief Darrayl Felgar is retiring. Chief Felgar joined SBCoFD in 1985 and has led SBCoFD’s Division 11 for the last two years, overseeing training and certification for all department safety personnel. Within that role he also managed the department’s emergency medical services, all aspects of wildland firefighting, hand crew programs, and heavy equipment program. Felgar started his career in 1984 as a Paid-Call Firefighter at the Wrightwood Fire Department, now part of Division 2 at SBCoFD. The following year he was hired as a full-time Firefighter with the Central Valley Fire Protection District, now Division 1 in Fontana. He was hired as a Captain in July 1985 and promoted to Battalion Chief in 2013, Division Chief in 2015, and Assistant Chief in 2016. He has been a member of multiple specialty teams, including Urban Search and Rescue, the Swift Water Rescue team and the Hazardous Materials team. Since 1998 he’s shared his knowledge with future firefighters at the Richard Sewell Training Center. He’s also been involved in the majority of new programs or committees developed to move SBCoFD forward. Chief Felgar spent 17 years as a faculty instructor at Crafton Hills College Fire Academy and 15 years as a Multi-Agency Truck Academy instructor. He is still involved with the Crafton Hills College Fire Academy, helping to develop Educational Bridge Programs. In his retirement announcement to the department, Chief Felgar said, “I have made many friends, had a few great mentors along the way and will miss working with a really great group of public safety professionals…I am proud to have been chosen as a San Bernardino County Firefighter and appreciate the opportunities provided to me.” He looks forward to spending a lot more time with his family and re-engaging with many personal interests during retirement such as skiing, off-roading in the desert, and traveling between Mammoth Lakes and Lake Havasu. Darrayl will be missed by the many friends and colleagues he has made at SBCoFD. We wish him and his family the best as he enjoys retirement. Thank you for your service to our communities!Inlandia Institute Celebrates 10th Anniversary By Joan Koerper
On April 1, members and supporters of the Inlandia Institute, a non-profit literary center that encourages and promotes literary activity in all forms in Inland Southern California, gathered in Riverside to celebrate Inlandia’s 10th anniversary. Inlandia Institute supported the Wrightwood Literary Festivals of 2015 and 2016 presented by Rattle, a literary poetry journal, whose editor, Tim Green, also lives in Wrightwood. Inlandia Literary Laureate, Juan Delgado, was the keynote speaker at the 2015 festival. In August, 2015, this author introduced listeners to Inlandia with her program “Passes and Passages: The Literature of Our Landscape: Inlandia,” at the Wrightwood Historical Society. I also had the support of Inlandia for a six-week creative writing workshop at the Wrightwood Library on the Art and Heart of Memoir, a follow-up to workshops I led at the Literary Festival in 2015. Inlandia’s connections to Wrightwood are not always as obvious. Professor, environmental activist, and writer, Ruth Nolan, the original creative writing workshop leader for Inlandia Institute, worked at the Wrightwood ski resorts while growing up in Apple Valley. She is the editor of the first literary anthology of the California deserts, No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California’s Deserts. Inlandia Institute is an inclusive and collaborative enterprise that promotes and applauds the diversity of our region: our writers, artists, and history in word, image, and sound. This is accomplished primarily through five core programs: Publications, Free Public Events; The Inland Literary Laureate Award Program; Literary Professional Development, and Creative Literacy Programs. Inlandia has a lot to celebrate. Since 2007 Inlandia Institute has established a broad collaborative network with universities, libraries, businesses, civic organizations, consortiums, other entities, and individuals. With a cadre of 309 members, 836 donors have given $1 million to support Inlandia’s work and the Institute has received eighteen grants from seven organizations totaling $500,000. Four outstanding and prolifically published local authors have served two years each as an Inlandia Literary Laureate including Susan Straight, Gayle Brandeis, Juan Delgado, and Nikia Chaney. Inlandia has 50 literary publications to its credit including an online journal, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, and a weekly column, Inlandia Literary Journeys, in the Riverside Press-Enterprise for which I am a contributing author. The Institute has hosted forty book launches by Inland authors. Sixty youth and school program sessions have been given to 5,000 budding writers, and 508 literary workshops led by 28 leaders have been attended by 7, 000 inland writers. Last, but not least, 129 Inlandia Institute cultural programs have been attended by 5,000 people. The Inlandia Institute has literally educated, entertained, and served the Inland region of Southern California, from the valleys, to the mountains to the far reaches of the deserts. On a brilliant spring day, in a private garden teaming with new life against the backdrop of the San Bernardino Mountains, and the musical musing of Spare Buttons, Fulbright scholar, prolific poet and artist, Deenaz P. Coachbuilder, recipient of President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award in 2011, read her poem, “The Guardian of the Garden.” To conclude, current Inlandia Literary Laureate, Nikia Chaney, read her new poem, “each knurl” written to commemorate the event. Congratulations, Inlandia Institute. To ten more productive years. MJ/Joan Koerper, Ph.D. is a scholar, writer, and educator who lives in Wrightwood
Carolyn McNamara, Real Estate leader in the Tri Community passed away from complications of pneumonia on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Mrs. McNamara, who was also a community leader, developed the McNamara Real Estate business over the past 20 years, and held many records in sales volume. The McNamara Group Real Estate is a corporation that will continue to operate in her absence, per Carolyn’s wishes. For decades, the McNamara Group, and staff have provided the Tri-Community with real estate service and will continue to operate as a full service Real Estate business. Carolyn had prepared her staff to operate the office, even though they are deeply saddened by Carolyn’s passing. Carolyn had been ill for some time, and she fought a courageous battle with her illness, maintaining a positive and hopeful outlook. She remained steadfastly focused on serving her clients, her family, her colleagues and her community. A detailed biography of Carolyn, and announcement of funeral services will be published in the next issue of the Mountaineer Progress.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961