Monday, May 1, marked the beginning of Wildfire Awareness Week and Wrightwood’s County Fire Station 14 hosted a kick-off complete with dignitaries, media, and pipes and drums.
San Bernardino County Fire Engineer and Public Information Officer Jeff Allen organized the event that brought multiple agencies together to start off a week of county-wide activities intended to encourage preparedness for wildfire by at-risk communities.
Leading the Color Guard in for the Presentation of the Colors was the San Bernardino County Fire Pipes and Drums. As moving as the entrance was, the Pipes and Drums’ “America the Beautiful” as they played the Color Guard out was as reverent and solemn.
One of the first keynote speakers was County Supervisor Robert Lovingood. He presented a special Proclamation to John Aziz and Chuck Carroll recognizing the dedication of the Wrightwood Fire Safe Council in providing programs like the annual Green Waste Drop-Off, and Wildfire and Disaster Awareness Day to the community.
Other agencies represented were Cal Fire, US Forest Service, SB County Sheriff, and Wrightwood CERT. As Bonnie Ross wound up her speech on behalf of CERT, the threatening sky finally opened up and dumped some much-appreciated rain on the gathering. Attendees clustered inside the station for refreshments, none the worse for the sudden storm.
Saturday May 7, 10am to 3pm, join these agencies and more for the Annual Wildfire and Disaster Awareness Day at the Wrightwood Community Building parking area. Activities for children and adults, as well as hot dogs and popcorn are provided.
Southbound I-15 Lane 12-hour Closure
In Devore - Expect Delays
Friday, May 6, at 7 P.M. To Saturday, May 7, at 7 A.M.
Only Truck By-Pass Lane Open To Connect To Southbound I-15
DEVORE, Calif. - As part of the Devore Interchange Project, three of four lanes to southbound I-15 between Kenwood Avenue and south of the Devore Interchange will be closed for 12 hours beginning Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. to Saturday, April 30 at 7 a.m. so crews can replace sections of concrete that are deteriorated. Concrete replacement work is expected to take place during the next three weekends:
•Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m. to Saturday, May 14 at 7 a.m.
•Friday, May 20 at 7 p.m. to Saturday, May 21 at 7 a.m.
Motorists will be able to continue southbound on I-15 by using the truck by-pass lane on the right side of the freeway. All lanes from southbound I-15 to southbound I-215 will remain open. Motorists can expect significant delays if continuing southbound on I-15 through the interchange. As an alternate route, motorists can take southbound I-215 to westbound SR-210.
NOTE: Information contained in this alert is subject to change based on weather, field conditions or other operational factors.
“Rock House” gets a facelift
By Terri Hill
Restoration on the historic West Gate Guard Station began in March of this year.
Sometimes referred to as the Jackson Lake Rock House, the structure is on the north side of N-4 just west of Jackson Lake. With Monument designation and their authority under the Antiquities Act, the Forest Service obtained funds in support of the preservation and protection of historic and prehistoric resources and objects of scientific interest. As the West Gate will continue to serve as a resource for the Big Pine Recreation area, the Forest Service argued for funds to stabilize and rehabilitate the historic property.
Historicorps, from Colorado, and California Conservation Corps are both work crews comprised of volunteers, which greatly reduces the costs of restoring the exterior of the home.
Barbara Van Houten provided the following details of the home’s history, which she gathered from interviews with two former Forest Service employees who worked at Big Pines in the 60s and 70s.
The house was probably built around 1923-1924, since Big Pines Park, AKA-Big Pines LA County Camp, opened in 1924. It was most likely the residence of the ranger that took care of Jackson Lake and the West Gate entrance to the park. During the early days, the ranger had a horse and corral on the north side of the cabin, and often patrolled the Jackson Lake area on horseback.
The house has two bedrooms and a bath on the south end, and a living room and kitchen on the north end. (Note: Only the exterior of the home is currently scheduled for refurbishment.)
Over the years the West Gate was occupied by many different County Park or Forest Service personnel. The earliest one we’ve been able to trace was Harry Grace and his family, who lived there in 1940-41. Harry became the Forest Service Administrator of Big Pines when Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors turned over control of Big Pines to the Forest Service, due to severe financial problems. Harry was in charge of making the transition between agencies.
Other early residents of West Gate were Ed Corpe and his wife Connie, during the approximate years of 1952-53. Ed was a Forest Service employee and the brother of local historian Pat CorpeKrig.
“The West gate Guard Station has been standing for more than 90 years. It is fitting that that the current project is going to restore the house to the charming place that it once was, before vandals gradually took over and destroyed much of the historic old structure,” commented Van Houten.
A local historian herself, and the co-author of Images of America’s Wrightwood and Big Pines with Pat Krig, Van Houten also recalled the story of the filming of an episode Cannon, a 1970s TV series, in which the Rock House was featured. The house was used in a scene where a girl was kidnapped and held in a basement. The ranger at the time was paid $100 for the use of the house. In another scene, the Lincoln used in the series was parked down by Jackson Lake and set on fire, using fake flames fueled by propane.
According to Dave Peebles, Forest Heritage Program Manager, the project was expected to last six to nine weeks from its mid-March onset.
Ongoing drought responsible for year-round fire season
By Al Morrissette
This week CalFire Director Ken Pimlott held a press conference regarding the current wildfire climate. This year’s rains produced grasses and chaparral, that have become early dry brush, and Bark Beetle infestation throughout the state resulting in the loss of an estimated 28 million trees.
Pimlott’s address was made at the same time that San Bernardino County announced their Wildfire Awareness Week. An annual event, Wildfire & Disaster Awareness Week provides important information to help the people of the local communities stay informed about protecting their families and homes from wildfires and other disasters.
State and County fire officials are inspecting Tri-Community homes and when applicable will issue warning letters to encourage residents to be prepare. Often, it is not how well trained and equipped firefighters are during this season that makes the difference whether your home survives but also equally important how well the homeowners have prepared their homes and outbuildings to resist fire that makes the difference.
Current state law requires residents to have a clearance of 100 feet surrounding homes and out buildings. Remove dead grass, brush, and trees that can provide the fuel for a fire to reach your home. Remove dead leaves and branches on or within 10 feet of your roof and away from utility wires. Check your roof for worn and loose shingles and make sure any repairs are done expediently.
Keeping good seals around doors and windows can help in keeping smoke out of the buildings and away from people and animals. Have a battery-operated radio and lanterns around in case electrical service is affected. Emergency food and water storage is recommended in case community access is cut off.
Have an emergency evacuation plan that includes a place for family and animals to be taken. If you work down the hill and the I-15 is shut down, the surrounding highways can get congested too. An alternative plan to stay down the hill is recommended.
Communication through landlines and cell phones is often difficult due to the increased usage during emergency situations. Take the opportunity to read your homeowner insurance policy’s underwriting. Many policies require a larger buffer zone than state requirements and may have other requirements that your agent didn’t inform you about or that you may have forgotten. Also take time stamp photos or videos of belongings in case you need to verify claims as these help in the claim process.
Local fire services remind us that when we do our part in properly maintaining and providing easy access to our properties, then they have a better chance of saving the properties from damage.
A good resource for information is through the Wrightwood Fire Safe Council. Wrightwood, West Cajon Valley, Phelan, and Pinon Hills residents can benefit from their web site at www.wrightwoodfsc.com.
New local source for organic gardening supplies opens
Those with a green thumb, and even those who need a little help playing in the dirt, have a new gardening and supply store to shop in.
The Phelan Garden Supply Center, which is at 4276 Phelan Rd., Phelan is open, by owners Loyd and Amber Tucker and ready to serve all your organic gardening needs. Loyd explained, “I saw the organic movement gaining momentum and saw an opportunity in the Tri-Community where there weren’t too many stores like this. It’s something that I feel more and more people are getting involved with and seeking out.” Loyd continues, “I think there’s a growing concern in the community about application of herbicides and pesticides on the food products that we consume, so we decided that we’d go ahead and open a specialty store that sell clean, organic supplies,” Loyd said. “You will find an enormous selection of organic seeds of vegetables, and herbs.” Phelan Garden Supply offers the best in certified organic seeds. “GMO seeds are not allowed in certified organic farms,” said Loyd. “Our seeds we sell are certified/verified non-GMO seeds.” The main product we carry is High Mowing® organic seeds and their product has been certified organic since 1996. “You can go to their website,” said Loyd, “and learn more about their products and how to save your seeds for following year planting.”
“We’re really trying to be dynamic with what the local market wants.” Loyd said. Planning for the 1,800-square-foot retail garden supply store began months ago. “We got into the space mid-January and started working at it,” Loyd said. “We’ve done some interior remodeling. We were lucky enough to find a space that has the look and space we need and wanted for now.”
Phelan Garden Supply Center is a one-stop-shop for all of your organic and all-natural gardening needs:
Hydroponic supplies, large selection of pots
Plant nutrients and additives
Potting Soils and Growing Media
Non GMO Vegetable, flower, fruit, grass seed
Eco-Renewable Mulch, Dr. Earth products
Anywhere Garden® systems
Pond kits, supplies and gardening tools, equipment and so much more
The Tuckers believes organic gardening retail will blossom in Phelan. Lloyd said. “There are a lot of forward-thinking people here, and a lot of people are questioning where food comes from and are more health conscious. The only way to truly know is to grow it yourself.”
Phelan Garden Supply will be hosting a grand opening celebration on Saturday, May 7 at their location: 4276 Phelan Rd., Phelan, 10 AM to 2 PM. There will be free food and drinks, raffle prizes, free pony rides and more. Regular store hours are 10am - 7pm Monday – Saturday and Sunday 10-2.
Letter to the Editor
Wrightwood’s CSD plan
The idea of a Community Service District, a locally elected board that will bring self-government to Wrightwood is the most important issue coming before the community in quite some time. We have the opportunity to determine whether we want the beginnings of local control.
While I question why the CSD Committee set up the initial CSD as it did, we want to be positive in working with the committee and hopefully, the committee will come to understand that they are initiating a proposal that allows for questions, suggestions AND changes, prior to the actual election.
To date, what I have heard is “we have proposed this and it is locked in stone, take it or leave it.”
This won’t do.
At the first public meeting after this plan was given the light of day, I questioned seriously the boundaries as put forward and in 24 hours, I had provided the committee and the County Supervisor and his staff a realistic change that would bring the boundaries out to what is the actual Wrightwood sphere of influence. At the same time I questioned why the CSD committee went into obvious Forest Service property south of Wrightwood, where the community has no stake other than influencing the federal government through our Congressman.
In the last month, the CSD Committee and the County Supervisor have not attempted to change the boundary to the north and east, and this is too bad.
As I have said before, I have wanted local elected governance in Wrightwood for over 40 years. I certainly don’t want to throw cold water on this proposal, but it must be clear to the PSD Committee that they have to do it right…. They could start with bringing the southern boundary down to the present CSA southern boundary and take the northern boundary to the current southern boundary of the Phelan-Pinon Hills CSD.
And the very idea that “the LAFCO office could not accommodate that change right now,” then let public meetings continue and still have the issue on the November ballot is poppy-cock.
Know an “active G.I.” or Veteran?
Ask him/her to attend the 2016 Memorial Day ceremony. Any and all active duty members of the armed forces, called “Government Issue,” or “G.I.’s” in former times, along with Veterans of all the military branches including the Coast Guard, are urged to attend the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial, May 30th.
Captain Tom Pinard, USN (Ret.) doesn’t like to give orders too often, but he is making a special request that all Veterans and active duty military that are part of the Wrightwood and Tri-Community area attend the now annual ceremony, at the hallowed ground of the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial. A special group photo is planned at the conclusion of the ceremony with all military, active and vets, participating.
Additionally, a special Wreath Laying detail will be put together this year with representation from Veterans of WWII, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq War, and the continuing Global War on Terror (active duty or veteran).
The pre-ceremony begins at 10:30 with music from “A Penny A Kiss,” the popular trio who has entertained at past Memorial Day ceremonies. Their lively renditions of WWII songs and more current selections will set the stage for the 11 a.m. ceremony.
“With the 40th Anniversary of the Vietnam War recently commemorated, it is time to re-focus on our Veterans and active duty members, and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our nation free,” stated Pinard. The Wrightwood Veterans Memorial Committee, made up of a handful of Veterans and patriotic local citizens, feel that as long as Americans still must “suit up” to defend their country, there will be communities like Wrightwood that will not forget them.
The committee needs to reach representatives from the Persian Gulf War (25th anniversary this year), the Afghanistan War (15th anniversary this year of its start), the Iraq War (8th year since its conclusion) and the continuing Global War on Terror. If you or a loved one has served in these wars or is serving now, contact Captain Pinard at (760) 408-2614.
The Wrightwood Veterans Memorial was established by community donations and efforts and is maintained by the local CSA Park District in honor of all active military and Veterans. It is located on Evergreen Road, between Park Drive and Pine Street.
Pichott wins Young Authors for 9th consecutive year
By Terri Hill
DalliePichott wrote her first story when she was just four years old. Inspired by her brother, who entered his work for Young Authors, Dallie wrote, “The Wacky Door” in 4th grade. That year, 2008, her story won the Young Authors Award. It was the first of nine consecutive awards she would amass before her graduation this year from Serrano.
Dallie attended Pinon Hills Elementary School where Sheila Fridley was then Librarian. As a librarian at Serrano, Mrs. Fridley has had the pleasure of reconnecting with the student she had encouraged during those early contests. According to Fridley, and the Outstanding Achievement Award Dallie will receive, she is, “the first student awarded Young Authors for nine consecutive years.”
Young Authors is a national program; school districts participate independently of each other. The program is available to all schools in the Snowline District. Interested students are encouraged to write poems, short stories, or novels and submit them for the contest. A committee of English teachers judges the writings at the high school level, and contest winners have their work professionally bound by Harpers Printing in Running Springs.
Currently, Dallie is a member of the website wattpad.com, a support site for unpublished authors to critique, assist with, and support each other’s work. Within that site, she found a chat group of authors from around the globe, who she now calls friends, which works to iron out copy editing, content, and character building for each other’s writing.
Dallie plans to attend Victor Valley College in the fall, then transfer to study English at Sonoma State University. She wants to teach English and said, “In my spare time, I’d like to continue to write.”
Dallie’s award-winning works, in order from 2008 to 2016, are: The Wacky Door, Mega Monkey To The Rescue, Wrong Way Wizards, Steve Steve And His Great Adventure, The Hooded Figure And The Dragon, Hey Taylor!, The Agents, When Demons Attack, and And The Countdown Begins.
Rasmussen named Female Newcomer of the Year
Sydney Rasmussen, daughter of Pat and Lori of Wrightwood, has been named Sacramento State Female Newcomer of the Year (out of all athletes).
A true freshman, Rasmussen has started 40 games at shortstop for the Hornets’ softball team, and currently has a .419 batting average against Big Sky opposition. In fact, Rasmussen ranks among the Big Sky’s top 10 players in 12 different statistical categories in conference play, which includes ranking among the top three in the league in doubles and triples. She also ranks among the top two Hornets in runs, total bases, doubles, triples, walks and stolen bases.
Sydney was previously named Sacramento State Student-Athlete of the Week for April 4-10 after helping lead the team to a three-game road sweep of Northern Colorado. The sweep propelled the Hornets into first place in the Big Sky Conference standings. Named the Big Sky’s Player of the Week on Monday, the Wrightwood, Calif., native reached base safely via hit or walk in 12 of her 14 plate appearances against Northern Colorado, and finished the series batting .833 (10-for-12) with three runs scored, two walks, four stolen bases, a double, triple, three RBIs, a 1.083 slugging percentage, an .857 on-base percentage and a robust 1.940 ops
Two Wrightwood Scouts earn Eagle rank
Carl Wood, son of Dawn and Pat Wood, was awarded the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout, on May 1, 2016. Carl is a member of Troop 351 in Wrightwood, hosted by the Wrightwood Community United Methodist Church.
Carl’s Eagle project was to create and install new signage for VFW Post 9415 in Phelan, CA. He and his Scout helpers designed and created a new steel sign for the post, installing it on the corner of Johnson and Nielson Roads in Phelan. The sign is approximately 4’x8’, made of steel, engraved with the VFW letters, and weighs around 250lbs. New electrical lights were installed to illuminate the sign at night.
Noah Ojeda, son of Michele and Bernie Ojeda, was awarded the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout, on April 24, 2016. Noah is a member of Troop 351 in Wrightwood, hosted by the Wrightwood Community United Methodist Church. Noah’s Eagle project was upgrades and improvements to campsites at Camp Wrightwood. He and his Scout helpers cleared and leveled campsites, moved rocks to create pathways, and built gear racks for multiple campsites. Campers use these campsites year round, as do the current groups of Pacific Crest Trail through-hikers.
FFA Alumni fundraiser a big success
By Al Morrissette
Last Saturday night the Serrano Future Farmers of America Alumni held their Second Annual Best of the West Casino Night enticing 165 supporters to a fun filled evening provided by Angela’s Casino Entertainment, and a tasty dinner provided by Papa’s 3G’s BBQ. As the participants filled a large tent in the parking lot at the Phelan VFW Post 9415, they socialized over a tri tip dinner that included salad, vegetables and cake.
The FFA Alumni provides support and mentorship to the Serrano Agriculture Department and the local chapter of the FFA, enabling the 240 students involved to pursue professional development in the agriculture industry or in handling livestock.
Dinner was served at 6pm, and at 7pm the casino opened with black jack tables, Bunco, and a Texas Hold’em Tournament. Throughout the night guest were encouraged to spin the “Wheel of Fortune” for a chance to win a prize from wide variety of donated gifts, including gift cards, baskets of goodies, casino money, products and more. Gifts donated by various sponsors from the community were available for the silent auction.
Don Fish Jr., Publisher of the News Plus monthly paper, expressed the FFA Alumni organization’s appreciation of the numerous donations and sponsors: Dean’s Custom Exhaust and Plasma Designs, Apple Valley FFA Ag. Mechanics, Serrano FFA Ag. Mechanics, Triple R Photography, the Huss Family, A-Tech Transmissions, the Pirner Family, Feed Barn, Victor Valley Animal Hospital, Fiesta Village, Tractor Supply Warehouse, Graham Hay Sales, Mountain High, Galaxy Fitness, News Plus Newspaper, Pizza Factory, the Eshleman Family, Dr. Tim Wallace-Tri-Community Chiropractic, Tri-Community Kiwanis, Roxanne Williams, Phelan Veterinarian Supply, Apple Valley Feed Bin, Golden Corral, the Phelan Pinon Hills CSD, VFW Post 9415, Corporate Color Printing, Cactus Feed and Supply, Sunglo Feeds, Coonce Livestock, Mojave River Equine Veterinary Service, the Mangels Family, CR&R, High Desert Party Rental, Midway Home Solutions, Dr. Bryan Vanesian, Kruse Feed and Supply, Victorville Motors, and Desert Mountain Veterinary.
Though it is an alumni group, membership is open to private citizens, businesses, and other organizations that want to promote FFA in the Tri-Community. The Serrano FFA also holds an annual Pumpkin Festival at the high school, as an outreach to the community and to provide a venue for their own fundraising (selling pumpkins) and to allow other student body organizations to benefit from the outreach and their own fundraising ventures.
The FFA took root in 1925 when Virginia State Supervisor of Agricultural Education, Walter S. Newman sought to inspire the youth to remain in the rural area and work in the farming industry, rather than join the growing population migrating to big cities. Initially having been organized in Virginia, and working through Virginia Polytechnic Institute Agriculture Department, in 1928 the organization became a national program as a result of a meeting at the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo. According to the FFA website, “Today, there are 629,367 FFA members, aged 12-21, in 7,757 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
Enjoy Outdoor Theater at Antelope Valley Indian Museum SHP
On Saturday May 7, 2016, from 6-9 p.m., join us for an encore performance of Owl and the Bear at Antelope Valley Indian Museum. The event is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Antelope Valley Indian Museum. Come out, enjoy theater under the sky, and support the museum.
Owl and the Bear is based on Ted Garcia’s version of a traditional Chumash story. The play is performed outdoors by local Antelope Valley kids at “Little Theatre of the Standing Rocks.”
From 6 to 7 p.m., the museum will be open. Food will be available for purchase from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m, so you can enjoy dinner either before or after the play. The play will start at 7:00 p.m. After the performance, the museum will reopen until 9 p.m. The museum highlights American Indian peoples of California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
The history of theater at the museum dates back to 1932. Museum founder H. A. Edwards wrote an Indian pageant. It was performed outdoors, near the museum, annually from 1932 to 1935. Edwards’ drama students from Lincoln High School played the main roles, and local friends and neighbors played the secondary roles. Edwards named his outdoor stage Theatre of the Standing Rocks.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids age 6 to 12. Kids age 5 and under are free. Advance tickets are on sale at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum gift shop every Saturday and Sunday from 11-4 pm. Remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the door on a first-come first-served basis on May 7.
The museum is located at 15701 East Avenue M, in Lake Los Angeles, east of Lancaster, California. Please, no pets. For more information, phone the museum at (661) 946-3055 (711 TTY relay service), or visit our website at www.avim.parks.ca.gov. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AVIndianMuseum
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961