Contrary to the report in the Mountaineer’s coverage of the Municipal Advisory Council’s (MAC) March meeting, no discussion about the dissolution of Wrightwood’s MAC was on the agenda for April 17. When concerned residents inquired last month as to the fate of the MAC, in light of the adoption of the Wrightwood CSD (WCSD), the Council agreed to hold off the discussion until the April 17th meeting, to allow for interested parties to attend. The agenda for the April 17 meeting was published on Friday, April 14, and did not include an item about the dissolution of the MAC. When Susan Drake, Supervisor Lovingood’s representative, spoke at the meeting Monday night, she was asked about the topic. According to Ms. Drake, the Supervisor based his decision to dissolve the MAC, in part, on other communities that adopted a CSD and no longer needed an Advisory Council. He does not see the need for additional meetings, and feels there is an opportunity for more community involvement when residents do not have to split their time between two civic agencies. Drake said the reports given by county roads, law enforcement, and fire would be given at CSD meetings when the Board meets beginning in July. Ms. Drake had also pointed out last month that the MAC is appointed by the Supervisor and it is his decision whether or not to keep it intact. The last two MAC meetings will be May 15 and June 19, 2017 at the Wrightwood Community Building, 1275 Hwy 2, at 7:00 p.m. In other reports, Jim Cowan of Golden State Water was cautiously optimistic when he announced the well level at 74 feet, an eight foot gain in five weeks. He said the recharge has slowed, but Wrightwood is in better shape than a year ago. Cowan also announced the rate increases that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved. Because the rate increase was requested for 2016 but has only just been approved, a surcharge of 47 cents per unit (Centum Cubic Feet, or CCF), will appear on all Wrightwood customer bills beginning April 20th and be applied each month until March 2018. Currently, water customers are paying a 17-cent per CCF surcharge that does not end until October of this year. Cowan confirmed that a total surcharge of 64 cents per CCF will appear on bills, now through October 2017, then only the 47 cents/CCF will remain through next March. The increases are required to make up revenue lost during the extreme conservation mandated by the State during the drought. The cost of pumping, storing, and providing potable water to residents remains the same, even when customers use less. Cowan cautioned residents to continue to conserve responsibly, as “Wrightwood depends on ground water, and is still not in as good of shape as Northern California.” Sergeant Toll, of the Sheriff’s office, gave the statistics on calls received and reports taken for each community: Wrightwood 118 calls/10 reports, Phelan 818/90, Pinon Hills 221/19, Oak Hills 263/24, Baldy Mesa 139/11, and El Mirage 50/5. Toll announced an Open House and BBQ to be hosted by the Sheriff’s Department on May 21, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Phelan station. More details will be posted on social media, published in the Mountaineer, and printed on fliers as the date approaches.
Code Enforcement drafts new rules for short-term rentals By Terri Hill
Andy Wingert, Chief of Code Enforcement for San Bernardino County’s Land Use Services Department (LUS), spoke with Wrightwood residents Monday night about new rules regarding short-term rentals. Wingert explained that while he has addressed other mountain communities during the drafting process, Wrightwood had been neglected, and he wanted to give concerned parties a voice in the discussion. LUS has been working with property owners and residents of mountain communities to update the County’s current Short-Term Rental Ordinance. A proposed amendment address issues such as noise, parking, over-crowding, tenant behavior, and enforcement of the rules governing short-term private home rentals. Within the draft, changes to the current ordinance are intended to benefit both the property owner, and residents of neighboring properties. Residents at the meeting reported issues with abuse of occupancy limits and the resulting parking issues and noise. Many streets in Wrightwood are too narrow to accommodate the overflow of cars, making passage difficult and sometimes causing driveways to be blocked. New criteria for maximum occupancy states that the most restrictive of the following would apply: (a) A 70-square foot room may sleep one person, and each sleeping room occupied by more than one person shall contain not less than 50 square feet per person. (b) For every four renters there must be one parking space. (c) Parcels of one half acre or less may not have more than 15 renters or guests of renters, and parcels one acre or larger may have up to 20 renters or guests of renters. Another section of the current ordinance that will be updated is Conditions of Operation. Commercial uses and advertising such are not prohibited in the ordinance as it stands, but under the proposed ordinance, specific prohibitions for the commercial use of short-term rentals will be addressed. All advertising for the property will have to include the County Permit Number. The ordinance was silent neighborhood peace and quiet, and loud and disturbing noise. Under the proposed ordinance, owners must “take any action necessary to ensure that renters do not disturb neighborhood peace and quiet,” and “defines and prohibits loud and disturbing noise using reasonable person standards.” Owners will be required to be available by phone 24 hours a day, and the owner or agent to be present at the property within one hour after receiving a call. Nuisance renter behavior must be addressed immediately, and the owner must take any and all action necessary for the duration of the renter’s stay. Enforcement of the ordinance was formerly not addressed, nor was permit suspension and revocation. The new ordinance proposal “clearly spells out the right of appropriate County personnel to take any remedial action necessary to ensure compliance with the County Code. Enforcement powers are broad in nature.” Wingert explained that after notification of a violation, continued violation would be met with court action. Wingert also explained that the ordinance singles out mountain communities because, historically, these are the areas of the unincorporated county where people are most likely to offer single-family homes as short-term rentals. He also acknowledged companies like Airbnb may be the catalyst for other communities in the county to revisit short-term rental the ordinance. To make a complaint regarding a short-term rental, call Complaint Line 24/7: 909-361-1842. If you suspect an illegal fire pit, or other dangerous or illegal activity, call the fire department or sheriff. Family and friends mourn passing of community leader
A prominent businesswoman, Real Estate Broker and Community leader Carolyn Kerley McNamara passed away on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 “Caroly Kerley McNamara, passed away this morning at 6:35, peacefully, in the high desert of California.” writes her brother David Kerley, in a post on Facebook, to share the news with those who connected with her on social media. Carolyn, the daughter of Paul David Kerley Jr. and Deborah Oliver Kerley, was born September 24, 1959 in Whittier. Carolyn’s hometown was Fullerton, California where she attended Golden Hill Elementary, D.Russel Parks Junior High, and Sunny Hills High School, Class of 1977. She attended Riverside City College where she took Drama for two years. Her maiden name was Carolyn Peggy Kerley. She married Roger McNamara in 1992. Carolyn lived in Phelan for 28 years, where she could ride and care for her beloved horse Diamond. Carolyn obtained her Real Estate licensed in 1990 and received her broker’s license in 2001. Carolyn was a third-generation Realtor; her mother worked as a broker for 35 years. Carolyn was the owner/broker of The McNamara Group Real Estate in Phelan. The office opened its doors in August 1994 in the Stater Bro’s Market shopping center. She later moved her office to a larger location in the Phelan Town Square. Carolyn was recognized as top sales agent in the entire Victor Valley for 13 consecutive years and #1 agent in the County of San Bernardino. She held records for annual sales volume of $37.3 million. Carolyn was a strong, active member of our community, and the Phelan Chamber of Commerce. She held the positions of Chamber President, Treasurer, and various board member positions. Carolyn was a charter member of the Community Cabinet, and instrumental in its formation. She chaired many community events including the Phelan Easter Egg Hunt, and Phelan Phun Days, and supported the Angel Tree. She was also instrumental in putting on the PRCA rodeo for 4 years. She was an advocate of 4H and FFA; she herself raised lambs and a steer. She was noted for her community work and never hesitated to take lead in important events. Carolyn’s signature event was the annual Santa’s Village event for the Tri-Community. Every year, for 20 years, she worked to bring holiday cheer to families in her community. She said visits with Santa Claus, wild animals and birds from the Forever Wild, a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce house, games, treats, and prizes “are my way of giving back to the community that has supported me and my business over the years.” The event was traditionally broadcast live on the radio on Kat Country 100.7. The San Bernardino Board of Supervisors appointed her to the City Tax Assessors Appeal Board. She sat on the Citizens’ Advocate Panel for 12 years, and was honorary mayor of Phelan for 2 years. She was an active participant of the Tri-Community Kiwanis Club. Carolyn attributed her achievements to the fact that she cared about her community; she cared about the people, and her team (employees). She gave 100% to her community and business. Charlie Johnson, President of the Phelan Chamber of Commerce wrote on Facebook, “She was generous with her support of community events. Carolyn and Roger have been our friends for many years. Her passing will leave a big hole in our community, and on our hearts. Our prayers go out to you and your family.” Continuing her service to others, Carolyn was a registered organ donor. Carolyn wrote her favorite quotes on Facebook: “Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff!” "If you have a problem ... be a part of the solution." "If you're on time you're late!" Carolyn has left behind a brother, Paul David Kerley III, niece and nephew and other relatives and many friends.. The funeral serve will he held on Saturday, April 29th, 2017 at Baldy Mesa Elementary School, 10376 Baldy Mesa Road, Phelan, CA. Time is not set as of this publication. Visit Carolyn’s facebook page for updated information.
Wrightwood was up before the sun on Easter
By Terri Hill
Easter services and festivities in Wrightwood began before sunrise on Sunday. Many churches in the community traditionally hold a Sunrise Service in the cold morning hours. This year, the Apple Orchard on Highway 2 hosted an interfaith music and prayer Sunrise Service for the community. Choirs and soloists from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, New Life Church of the Nazarene, and Claudia Campbell, Greg Jones, Brittan Egnozzi, and Rob Hazard shared anthems ranging from traditional hymns and spirituals, to contemporary praise songs. The air was cold but the energy was warm as more than 50 people participated in the multi-denominational worship. Many who attended the Apple Orchard event went to their own churches for traditional Easter Services afterward. Others went to the Community Building for the Annual Timberline Lions Club Easter Breakfast, where organizers of the service at the orchard paid for their meals. A record 300 community members attended the breakfast this year. As is the tradition, Honorary Lion John Burcher was the head cook, preparing omelets, corned beef hash, pancakes, and sausage for the hungry multitudes. Breakfast burritos were also available for eat-in or carry-out dining. From 7:30 to 11:00, members of the Lions were bustling about, serving food, coffee, and juice to happy diners. One of the club’s biggest fundraisers, the breakfast is also the most popular Lions’ event that has become a traditional part of the holiday festivities for many families each year. At 11 a.m., it was time for the Easter Egg Hunt hosted by the Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce. Eggs are hidden all over the Hollis M. Stewart Park on Pine Street. The park is divided into sections, and children are grouped by age for the big egg hunt. A golden egg was hidden in each section, and the children who found them won gift certificates and large chocolate bunnies. Some eggs were numbered and could be traded in for bags of Easter candy. Children giggled and shouted as they discovered plastic eggs under the wood chips, in trees, and on the playground equipment. The Easter Bunny, who had been visiting children at the Lions’ breakfast, stopped by for high-fives and photo ops at the park. The Chamber of Commerce recently moved its office to a vacancy upstairs at the building that houses Cinnamon’s Bakery and The Wrightwood Inn, among other retail, real estate, and hair stylist businesses. They encourage residents, visitors and business owners to stop by and see the new office.
Phelan Easter Egg Hunt attracts hundreds
By Michael Palecki
Last Saturday Morning, the Phelan Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Easter Egg Hunt, which has been a community tradition for 28 years. As in the past, the 3,000 plastic eggs were not hidden but rather placed in age-designated lanes on the Serrano High School baseball field where they glistened on the lawn in the warm morning sunlight. The goal for hundreds of children was to run down the lane, scoop up eggs filled with candy, and hopefully to get one of 59 special eggs with a ticket inside to win a gift basket. The gates to the field opened at 9:00 a.m. with Chamber President Charlie Johnson, as Master of Ceremonies, welcoming the crowd. Free donuts were available for everyone, and fruit juice for kids and plenty of coffee for scores of adults who had orchestrated the event. While older kids fueled up for the run and contemplated strategies, parents of toddlers age two to three years old were clustered at the starting line explaining the task to their children. As an exception to the rules, parents of toddlers were allowed to hold the baskets but the kids had to pick up the eggs. With minutes to go before the starting whistle, instructions were daunting and toddlers became confused as to their role in this new experience. Some seemed more content wearing baskets as hats and ignoring the eggs. In the meantime, as Johnson recited sponsors of the event, he paused to announce the recent death of Carolyn McNamara and asked for a moment of silence in her memory. For adults, McNamara was a moving force in community activism, and for children she was the wonderful lady of the McNamara Group who brought pony rides, exotic animals and Santa Claus to Phelan for the annual Christmas Party, broadcast live for years on Kat Country 100.7-FM. In that moment for everyone in attendance, there was complete silence as farewell to a local legend. Later on as anticipation increased, the whistle blew for lane one with toddlers and parents slowly transitioning from confusion to a state of accomplishment as they moved forward realizing, “We can do this.” As in the past, this was the cutest moment of the day. As the action moved to lane two, four and five-year olds were more secure as they trotted across the lawn grabbing eggs. Next up in lane three, children ages six to seven seemed to be seasoned veterans running faster and lunging for plastic eggs. However the true aficionados of the events were the 8 to 10-year old youngsters in lane four. Performing like finely tuned machines, they ran and scooped up an egg, tossed it in their basket and were ready for the next one faster than imaginable. Sponsors, who provided raffle baskets, gift baskets for Easter Egg winners and refreshments for the event, included McNamara Group Real Estate, Keller Williams Real Estate, Shear Realty, DCB, and Desert Mountain Veterinary. Additionally, Mills Hardware provided the bounce house, beanbag throw and sound system.
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