Chris Kasten demonstrates map and compass reading at Grassy Hollow Visitor Center. Photo by Carol Bishop
by Carol Bishop
“See more in a mile of walking than in a hundred miles of driving,” is an old adage by which Chris Kasten lives. As a 16-year old, he and a friend hiked from Arcadia to Wrightwood and saw so much that he hasn’t stopped hiking and exploring since. If you hike locally, it’s very likely you’ve met Chris and his wife, Joanie, out on the trails. Graduating from California State University, Humboldt, with a bachelor’s degree in geography, Chris worked as a cartographic drafter for Thomas Guide. In those days, his work was based upon provided air photos, and he worked indoors. Not a good fit. So he returned to the outdoors working as a seasonal park ranger and then as camp manager at facilities here in the Angeles National Forest. Nowadays, he’s one of the friendly, helpful workforce of Mountain Hardware in Wrightwood. Always personable, Chris is eager to share his love and knowledge of hiking. One way he’s done this is to produce the Trails of Wrightwood - Big Pines map, which includes 20 local trails. When making maps, he prefers a hybrid of old and new technologies. Beginning with a topographical map and a compass in hand, Chris, and usually Joanie, hiked each trail, noting every turn and bend. His detailed finished product includes short, written descriptions of the hikes along with accurate mapping of the trails, fire roads, gates, streams, campgrounds, and more. It’s a great resource for enjoying our area’s mostly unsung and little-known hiking and camping opportunities. Recently Chris gave a presentation as part of the Grassy Hollow Summer Program. The first part centered on a slide show with commentary regarding a selection of flora, fauna, and structures found on local trails. After fueling motivation for getting out and hiking our environs, he discussed the advantages of using a map for finding one’s way. Chris noted that brick and mortar map stores no longer exist and GPS is now the go-to direction guide, but he personally believes that people who rely on GPS don’t look around, miss much of the environment, and usually don’t get the big picture. For this, he believes maps and compasses still play an important role. After giving a brief explanation of the basic characteristics of maps and introducing compass concepts such as “declination,” and “red in the shed,” Chris led the audience on a short 5-minute walk to an outlook west of Grassy Hollow. There he provided compasses and maps and walked people through the process of orienting themselves on the map and then utilizing it to identify the visible, nearby major peaks. With Mt. Baldy, Iron Mountain, and Mt. Baden Powell in the distance, the visitors saw more in less than a mile than if they’d fought the traffic for hours. (The Trails of Wrightwood - Big Pines map is available for purchase at Mountain Hardware and Grassy Hollow.) #bestschoolyearever! By Donna Alvarez
Principals of Snowline Joint Unified School District (SJUSD) and community members shared extraordinary processes for students to start off the 2017-2018 school year. The biggest event unifying people, schools, and tri-community members was the eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, which also astounded America. Wendi Rodriquez, Heritage science teacher and NASA Airborne Astronomer Ambassador, who in 2017 flew on SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), asked NASA to provide protective glasses for the District’s students. NASA sent 10,000 pair, enough to distribute to the 8,000 students, and to teachers, administrators, parents, and other Tri-Community members. While some districts in Southern California chose to keep students inside their classrooms during this phenomenal event, Snowline district chose to educate students of all levels on safety procedures for viewing the eclipse. Students were then able to participate in the science of the eclipse, (see “Eclipse Unifies District Campuses,” Mountaineer Progress, August 24, 2017 by Terri Hill). Excitement in learning about science and astronomy was a key focal point during the day. Principals of various Snowline schools were excited to highlight their areas of learning on which they are focused this year. Chad Brooks of Eagle Summit and Chaparral High School spoke on teachers having flexible schedules rotating among three programs/subjects and schools. He stated that these schools have adopted new English Language Arts textbooks, which are on college-type format. Another program being introduced this year at Eagle Summit is the Boys’ Town Curriculum. This curriculum helps teach students the soft skills needed to be successful in the regular education high schools, in jobs, and in life. Some basic skill builders are in part: following instruction, accepting “No,” staying calm, following direction, showing respect, and punctuality. Baldy Mesa Principal, Dan MacDonald, and teachers are introducing a 30-minute start to each day by engaging students in a positive outlook using the motto, “improve all we do.” The purpose is not only to have students recognize the positive behavior within them, but also to have staff be involved in that recognition. Such behaviors should be positive, predictable, safe, consistent, and nurturing. When expressing such behaviors, students receive “Baldy Bucks!” by staff and community business members. Horace Mann has partnered with the school, donating three bicycles, one each trimester, for students to win using their Baldy Bucks. Wrightwood Elementary School is an AVID elementary school. According to Principal John Garner, the end of year survey results for California Safe Schools hit 97% or more in categories evaluated by students, parents, and staff. Some of the categories are school safety, students feeling safe at school, students’ connection to adults, the school’s and connection with parents. Principal Garner said that the school’s programs connecting the students and school with the community will continue. Such programs are the walking school bus, walking field trips to local Wrightwood businesses, serving at the senior citizens’ luncheons, Eat Lunch with Grandkids, Dads and Donuts morning, Moms and Muffins morning, and breakfast with the Principal. Matt Wells of Adult Education and Home Education stated that the numbers in SJUDS in these programs has increased from 40 students last year to 180 this year. Programs consist of English as a Second Language, Civics/U.S. road to Citizenship, Medical Terminology, High School Diploma, and High School Equivalency Exam. Community Partner, The Mojave Water Agency, announced its student essay contest to be featured at the 2018 Innovators High Desert Water (MWA) Summit.” The student who produces the winning student essay will serve as a featured speaker at the 2018 Innovators High Desert Water Summit on February 2, 2018 in Victorville at the campus of High Desert Church. The contest is open to all high school students in the MWA service area. For details, visit the Mojave Water Agency website at www.mojavewater.org, or Gloria Golike at MWA at 760.946.7001 or firstname.lastname@example.org. First place prize is $3,000; second and third place prizes are $1,000. Patricia Kendrick spoke on the importance of pre-school programs and before/after- school programs. Engaging points made by Dan Andrus, Principal of Serrano High School, specifically and visually explained the importance of a student’s connection to at least one adult at schools. His points were that, as adults, we all have an extremely important part to play to mentor students and help them engage with adults whether it be parents, teachers, administrators, clerical staff, teachers’ assistants, or community members. Andrus stated that as high school students mature, they have a desire for autonomy. Parents can support this process by still being involved while supporting this natural development. Andrus suggests the importance of being a mentor, hero, even a wizened wizard of sorts to students. He emphasized the following points: teachers, and others in a student’s life, need to ask themselves: Why be a mentor? What do I believe in about a student? How can we help students develop and grow a positive mind set about him/herself? How can they see something special about themselves that they do not know about? How can I help them foster that new positive belief, goal, projection into the future life? How can we provide students with the rigor and challenges that students need as a tool for success? How can we engage students in a classroom so learning takes place willingly? Presenting his points, Andrus said that the “hero, mentor, magician, or wizard” in all of our students’ lives is not magic, rather the continuous expression of positive support of parents, staff, and community that we give to all of them (see the above picture of Andrus’ wizardly presentation). Chief Bryce Mibeck of the Snowline Joint Unified District Police Department presented the body cams for use by officers. The body cams are constantly recording and the officer pushes a button to save that specific event. The saved recorded event will then backtrack and save the 30-40 seconds before the button was pushed. The meeting ended with Holman echoing the board’s motto: this is going to be, “#thebestschoolyearever!” Phelan and Pinon Hills to get high-speed internet
By Terri Hill
Last Sunday Race Technologies held a town hall style meeting in the Womack Auditorium at Piñon Mesa Middle School. Having recently acquired approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Race will be installing fiber optic cables to deliver high-speed internet to the communities of Phelan and Pinon Hills. Five years ago the search for possible internet solutions in the area began with a few people who refused to believe that it couldn’t happen. Working with Race, a handful of residents and business owners convinced the CPUC, in July, that reliable internet service is necessary to businesses, students, and residents, and is not currently available through the other carriers in the area. The Phelan Five, or as Al Morrissette pointed out, Phelan Six went to Sacramento with Race, and argued successfully for the company to introduce their product to a large part of the Phelan/Pinon Hills area. The six involved were Morrissette, Charlie Johnson, Kimberly and Brian Lombardi, Joey Eirls, and News Plus publisher Don Fish. At the town hall, Ally Hetland - Marketing and Sales, and Raul Alcaraz – Race CEO presented some of the events and obstacles leading up to the grant award in July. Alcaraz commented, “Race Communications focuses on the areas that large carriers have long ignored.” The audience cheered that statement, as most have experienced less than stellar technical and customer service from their internet providers. Alcaraz then explained the discrepancy between the first service area map published, and final map. In order to be awarded the grant, he said, Race had to prove that no other provider was able to promise the service level that Race could offer. As Charter was in the middle of an upgrade at the time, areas served by them had to be removed from the map, before the grant would be approved. The CEO advised that the new cable would have to run through those areas, and it is possible those residences not included on the map, will have the opportunity to sign with Race at a later time. Because Race would be spending its own money to bring service from the street to the home, in those cases, they will have to first determine the need for it, based on interest inquiries from those prospective customers. After the short presentation, the question and answer portion of the meeting began. The question shared by everyone there was, “How long will it be before we have service?” In answer, Alcaraz laid out the general timeline, and said it will be 12 to 24 months before Race is ready to take orders. Phase one, acquiring the grant, is complete. The next of the four major is the design phase. The company will determine where to build, based on “existing infrastructure and obstacles.” Permits for building are acquired during the third phase. Phase four is the actual construction. Orders for service will be taken when the construction nears completion. Interested residents and business owners will find more information on the company’s website: www.race.com.
Terry Johnson, Kiwanis member. Photo by Terri Hill
Key Club President Kim Contreres. Photo by Terri Hill
By Terri Hill
Tri-Community Kiwanis hosted a membership drive dinner Thursday, August 24. While new members are welcome throughout the year, the spaghetti dinner at Pizza Factory offered the opportunity for prospective members to hear about the service club’s accomplishments, on the local and national levels. Before dinner was served, Diana Ford, Co-President with Roxanne Williams, gave an overview of the annual activities and programs sponsored by Kiwanis. Ford explained the importance of the high school scholarships, presented at Serrano as well as Chaparral. Jeanne Adkins added that she felt honored to present the award at Serrano’s Awards Night. Kiwanis member Terry Johnson offered a few words about the club’s participation in Summer Movie Nights at the Phelan Community Center. Kiwanis and Key Club members run the event, which is sponsored by the Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District. Recapping accomplishments and activities of the past two years, Ford summarized a list that was handed out to attendees. Among the annual events are sponsorships of Serrano Chorus Christmas Program, books for local libraries and Friends of the Phelan Library, Head Start Christmas parties, and donation to the Kiwanis’ Rose Parade float. One of the most popular events of the year is the annual Veterans’ Dinner, put on by the Heritage School Builders Club. For 22 years the Builders and the Tri-Community Kiwanis Clubs, along with the generous support of the community, have been sponsoring a dinner for our veterans. The dinner is always free to a veteran and their guest. In recent years, a special Veterans’ Graduation has been held before the dinner. Vets who were unable to graduate high school, due to their military service, are honored and presented their long-awaited diplomas. Since its inception 22 years ago, the dinner’s attendance has grown from 300 guests to more than 1200. A key fundraiser for the Kiwanis’ monetary contribution to the Vets’ dinner is Quartermania. Vendors donate products, and auction them for one, two, or three quarters. The night is raucous and fun, and participants go home with hundreds of dollars’ worth of great products, for literally, pocket change. Another crowd-pleasing annual event is the Horse Derby. Stick horses, giant dice, and volunteer jockeys make the evening of “betting” and prizes a joy. This is one of Kiwanis’ major fundraisers each year. In 2017, Kiwanis also gave time and money to efforts such as a clean-up of the Elk Camp in Wrightwood, Phelan Park Concert, Pinon Hills Summerfest, the July 2017 fireworks show, and they are a Gold Donor for the Wrightwood Christmas Tree Lighting campaign. Kiwanis encourages memberships from the entire Tri-Community. Meetings are held in Phelan, at the Pizza Factory, and the club’s membership boasts participation from Phelan, Pinon Hills, and Wrightwood. For more information about Kiwanis, join a meeting/dinner on the second and fourth Thursday of the month, 6 p.m. at Pizza Factory. Contact Roxanne Williams (760) 240.9596 Visit facebook tri-communitykiwanis.
The Timberline Lions club welcomes new member
Lions District President Mike Jones, Carl Smith, Cynthia Sheldon, Jeffrey Sheldon and Hugo Bogaars. Photo by Vicky Rinek
Lions’ member Bob Hedden collects dollar bills. Photo by Vicky Rinek
Lions District 4L5 President Mike Jones performed the induction ceremony at the last Timberline Lions dinner meeting, August 20, 2017. Jeffrey and Cynthia Sheldon joins the Timberline Lions and the global network of 1.4 million men and women who believe that kindness matters. Their sponsor, Carl Smith, has brought in a dozen new members since he joined the Timberline Lions Club, thanks to his perseverance. Jeffrey and Cynthia are the new owners of the Sheldon Entertainment Company (previously known as Beverly Books) on Park Drive, Wrightwood. Their shop houses a wide selection of books, video/CD rental, and a game room for young players who like competition gaming. The Timberline Lions is entering its 65th year serving the Tri-Community. Their main fundraiser is the Tri-Community Telephone Directory. The telephone book has been published for close to 40 years and is the main source for local businesses and residents to connect with each other. This is the Timberline Lions largest and longest running fundraiser, that has contributed nearly one million dollars re-distributed to numerous local causes, emergency organizations, schools and charity groups. Approximately 85% of all their re-distributed funds are spent within the Tri-Community. Their objective is always to spend their resources each year and not to build bank balances. The new telephone book for 2018 is now accepting advertisements. They are working through the Mountaineer Progress for their graphic layouts. Last year’s advertisers will be receiving their renewal forms in the mail soon. New businesses should seriously consider placing their advertisement in the new book. Residents are encouraged to submit their names (new or changes) to be inserted in the (white) pages. The advertising rates for the new book will be $450 for a full page, $325 for a half page, and $250 for a quarter page. If you are interested in the Directory you may contact the Mountaineer Progress at 760-249-3245 or email: email@example.com The monies raised by the Timberline Lions go to fund various charity in the Tri-Community and world-wide charities. Last year’s Timberline Lions charities included vision screening, prescription glasses for students and seniors, therapy dogs for PTSD veterans, scholarships for Snowline students , Lions student speakers awards, and victims of the Blue Cut Fire. The Timberline Lions Club members like to have fun too. Their upcoming dinner dance event will be at the historic Big Pines Hall. The Firemen’s Ball, scheduled for October 21, 2107, will feature a dinner, catered by the Grizzly Cafe, designer crafted beer by Wrightwood’s Brewery Company, silent auction/raffle, and live music, by a local band, to dance the night way. Reservations are now being accepted. The Big Pines Hall is in the San Gabriel Memorial Forest on Highway 2 east of Mountain High Ski Resort. Seating of 100 is restricted by the National Forest and has sold out in previous years. Tickets are on sale at: www.eventbrite.com/d/worldwide/firemen’s-ball-wrightwood- ca/?crt=regular &sort=best. They already have reservations for 20 seats. The Timberline Lions club is part of the Southern California Lions which is a 501c.3 charity. Your donation toward the Firemen’s Ball would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in joining the Timberline Lions club or make a donation you may contact the Timberline Lions through Nancy Smith, President of the Timberline Lions, at 909 -0203-0323. Nancy invites individuals, interested in learning more about the Lions Club, to their next dinner meeting on September 21, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at the Wrightwood Community building. Visit their facebook page: timberlinelionsclub.
sent your email information to the Timberline Lions Club for the 2018 Book
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961