NEWS from June 15, 2017 Art Exhibitions feature work from local Artists
By Michael Palecki
Last Saturday, June 18, 2017, a close-knit community of Korean artists opened their studios/galleries to the public at three locations; Devore, Phelan, and Wrightwood. In Devore on the Cajon Boulevard section of historic Route 66, sculptor Sung Il Kim, age 59, and his ceramicist wife Mariana Kim have created a utopian work environment overlooking the Cajon Wash and mountains to the south. Situated on five acres, their home, sculpture studio and gallery, pottery workshop, gift shop, and banquet hall, are surrounded by colorful gardens filled with monumental artworks. Sung Il Kim emigrated from South Korea in 1986 and studied ceramics at El Camino College. Later on while visiting an artist in Washington, he was very impressed with a combination of ceramics and metal elements and became a self-taught sculptor. Working from that inspiration, Sung created an expansive series of ceramic female torsos supported by welded rebar frameworks that resemble Victorian-era mannequin dress forms. His most recent works are welded steel sculptures signifying the “rebirth” of metal salvaged from nearby structures that burned in the Blue Cut Fire. The compound so named “Love Art Studio” is located at 15551 Cajon Blvd in Devore and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. with ceramics classes taught by Mariana on Tuesday and Thursday. For additional information call (909) 576-5773 or (909) 573-9929.
By Terri Hill
In their sixth year, the Phelan Open Studio shows and receptions, held in three locations, offered familiar as well as new media and styles. A kind of progressive reception, the venues each hosted a different show. All three studios served a seemingly endless repast of BBQ, sushi, kimchi, and noodle dishes. At noon the studio on Old Cajon Road (Rote 66) began the festivities, with works by the owners/resident artists, Sung Il Kim and wife Mariana. At the Wrightwood studio, Jin Sil Kim’s JJ Garden and Art gallery, the works of eight Established-Women Artists included ceramic party balloons, black and white photography, and paint on wood, metal, rice paper, canvas, and silk. Jin Sil’s remarkable paintings of lotus flowers, waterfalls, and cherry blossoms adorn the walls of her home, and the studio in Phelan. Won Sil Kim’s Art Studio/XO1 on Riggins Road, Phelan, is a warehouse-size building with charming seating and art outside, and a warm, spacious gallery inside. Among her other works, and those of Jin Sil, and Sung Il, Won Sil displayed four paintings in a series called “Art from the Ashes, Blue Cut Fire.” Modeling the Art from the Ashes program benefitting areas affected by disaster, Won Sil used ashes, blackened Manzanita branches, and melted metals in her dramatic works. She said she “wanted to show the devastation, and the hope, there is always hope.” Both studios have showings by appointment. Contact Won Sil (714) 329-0764 and Jin Sil (694) 2843 or (626) 808-6073. Sinkhole Closes Angeles Crest Highway
Retired firefighter still puts public safety first
By Terri Hill
Through a series of random decisions, retired firefighter Ray Hatfield happened upon a serious road hazard and was able to warn motorists away from danger. Ray, a resident of Lancaster, took a drive to the mountains intending to go for a hike. After cruising to Mount Wilson and walking around the observatories, Ray planned to go to Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant for some tea, and then take the route west to go home. He then changed his mind and decided to head east on the Angeles Crest Highway, and see if there was any snow. Coming up on Vincent Gulch, Ray thought he’d take a hike. Having started up the trail toward Baden Powell, he realized, “That’s for a younger man than me,” he laughed. Now it was mid-afternoon, and Ray again made a random decision to continue east, and stop in Wrightwood. His trip was stopped short when, coming out of curve in the road, near mile marker 76.5, he saw what looked like a black spot in the road. As he slowed and came closer, the spot appeared to be shiny, in the sunlight. Suddenly understanding that the object was actually a hole in the pavement, Ray maneuvered his Honda Element so that it straddled the hole, and he safely passed. Wanting to get a better look at the manhole sized void in the pavement, Ray turned back and found a safe place to pull off the road. On closer inspection, the area was more than a troublesome pothole. It was a sinkhole, measuring 10 feet deep. Even as Ray was looking at the damage, bits of asphalt were slowly crumbling, enlarging the hole as the pieces fell in. He looked inside the hole and saw that it was undercutting the roadway clear across to the westbound lane. Cracks on either side indicated failing aggregate several feet further in both directions. Ray realized the danger for cars unknowingly coming up on the sinkhole, worse still would be motorcyclists, perhaps unable to avoid driving straight into the cavern. With no cell phone service to call the CHP, he positioned himself where he would see traffic coming from either direction and warn drivers and guide them around the hazard when it was safe. One motorist and passenger, unfamiliar with the area, asked if Ray needed help. He alerted them to the issue and asked them to call the sheriff or CHP when they could get cell reception, and explain the problem. Approximately 30 minutes later, by chance, an Angeles National Forest (ANF) fire support employee came by in a fire service vehicle. After assessing the situation herself, she radioed her dispatch and asked them to contact the CHP, and report the unsafe road condition. Meanwhile, the ANF employee and Ray continued to direct traffic around the hole. After another half hour, Officer Alonzo from the Lancaster office of CHP arrived. He surveyed the problem and asked his dispatch to alert Cal Trans to the undermined roadway, and send someone to close the road in the affected area. Ray stayed and talked with Alonzo before finally making his way home. As Ray pulled up to the intersection of Highway 2 and N4, he saw the Cal Trans truck turn up the road, presumably answering the call for emergency response to the dangerous roadway hazard. As a firefighter, Ray’s most recent assignment was the Mojave Air and Space Port. He is quite familiar with failing aggregate, as heavy aircraft take a toll on the runway. Having been a firefighter for several decades, Ray knew he could not walk away and leave public safety to chance. “I know what the consequences could be if someone hit that hole,” he said, “and I didn’t have any problem with staying to help.” Ray Hatfield saved dozens of people from the possibility of injury and damage to their vehicles, “public safety is still first,” for the retired firefighter. Cal Trans has closed Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) from Grassy Hollow Visitor Center to Islip Saddle (Highway 39) for at least 30 days, while they perform necessary drainage and road repair, and repave the roadway.
PPHCSD Budget for 2017/18 Approved By Vicky Rinek
At the June 7, 2017 Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District Board meeting Don Bartz, General Manager, presented the final budget to fund operations for the 2017-18 year. The PPHCSD budget expenses total $ 7,031,489 and revenue will be $7,731,489. The budget’s most significant issue will be the continued impact of state mandated water conservation measures, which will result in increased expenses to the District and reduction of water sales resulting from conservation programs. Other impacts will include the Chromium-6 in the District water supply. Chromium-6 is a naturally occurring chemical compound, and the levels exceed the maximum levels allowed by the state. The District must reduce the levels in the water at an expected cost of $17,000,000. The District is attempting to obtain grants to help offset the costs and will obtain low-interest loans to pay for the remainder of the project. Surcharges on water bills will repay any loans associated with the Chromium-6 project. The State reduced the acceptable levels of Chromium-6 that can be found in drinking water from the national standard of 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb. The District will need to install infrastructure to blend newly sourced well water with water from wells that are currently exceeding the maximum levels of Chromium-6. Blending the well water will ensure that all of the water delivered to customers will meet or exceed the state requirements. The cost of these projects will average approximately $9.71 per month per customer or less. The amount will be reduced, as the District is able to secure grants and low-interest loans. As outlined in the budget for 2017/18 Don Bartz, General Manager said The District continues to look for alternative ways to increase revenue and decrease expenses in an effort to minimize rate changes to customers. There have been a number of factors that caused an increase in expenses and a drop in revenue to the District. The Drop in property tax values brings less property tax revenue to the District. The drop in water charges to customers due to conservation measures, along with the increased cost of pumping and delivering water also negatively affects revenue. The District providing clean and safe parks and community centers with programs and activities for the community have an effect of the budget as well. Also there has been a significant increase in electricity rates by Southern California Edison, and increases are expected to continue. The District has two revenue producing projects that have helped keep the rate changes to a minimum for their customers. In 2012, The District purchased water rights, which is expected to save the District $24 million over the next thirty years. The other project is the installation of solar panels. This project is estimated to result in credits against the District’s most costly and uncontrollable expense: electricity. After loan repayments, it is estimated the combined savings would exceed $37 million over the next thirty years. The Board approved the budget as presented to them by the General Manager. The full budget can be viewed at the PPHCSD website or copies may be obtained at the District office.
PPHCSD to purchase properties for parkland
By Vicky Rinek
At the Wednesday, June 6 meeting Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District (PPHCSD) Board approved the purchase of two parcels for future community parks. The two parcels will be purchased from the San Bernardino County Tax Collector’s office for tax-default properties. The first parcel is 24.87 acres located in the area of Cedar Street and Shasta Road, south of Phelan Road, at a cost of $10,050. The second parcels is15.1 acres in the area of Paramount Road and Goss Road north of Phelan Road, at a cost of $1,950. Don Bartz stated that both locations are in an ideal spot for residential use, with easy access. PPHCSD Board agrees that this is an excellent opportunity to secure the land for future development. Bartz went on to state that the PPHCSD has first rights to securing the properties before it goes up for auction to the general public. He also said the land would be ear-marked for park use only and could not be used for any other purpose. The funds for this purchase are within Parks and Recreation budget of 2016/17, and no other funds would be required. Mark Roberts, Board member asked, “How long do the owners have to reclaim the properties?” Bartz stated, “After securing the parcels from the County the original owners have one year to file a petition to reclaim the property and pay the default taxes and fees. After one year the properties will be assigned to the PPHCSD Parks and Recreation.” Additional Parks and Recreation reports stated that the Pinon Hills Park playground equipment is in need of replacement and is scheduled on the 1-year plan. Additionally, flooring needs replacement and the HVAC system is nearing the end of its life cycle and will likely need replacing in this fiscal year. The project will be funded from the $50,000 budgeted for Parks and Recreation, out of depreciation.
OPINIONS: Liberals need to think before they act by Al Morrissette
Most Americans are moderate with a modest preference towards liberal or conservative perspectives. They are focused on family, work, retirement and community service. These are the silent majority that creates the fabric of our society and they cover the full spectrum of race, creed, age, gender, and more. Conservatives tend to give ‘hand-ups’ while Liberals tend to feel they deserve or want to give ‘handouts.’ Conservatives tend to work within legal scopes that are currently defined, and usually are willing to reach out to Liberals as an overall inclusive of ideas, yet Liberals tend to only work within legal scopes if it fits their agenda or purpose. Conservatives tend to want to look at facts that are based upon reality and then see what can be changed or improved, perhaps finding a need that has been missed. Liberals tend to create their own facts based upon their own ideologies and not necessarily reality. They want to develop change or improvements solely upon ideologies regardless of whether it’s for the overall good. In example, we can look at California’s Legislature. Democrats have a super majority and totally ignore Republican Legislators rather than embracing them as part of the Legislature. SB1 (gas tax) is a clear example of that and the pork that was included in the legislation is appalling. One State Senator, Josh Newman of Fullerton may face a recall based upon his support and vote of SB1. As the recall supporters are attempting to gather the signatures and work within the law, our State Legislature is working feverously to change the law in an effort to stop the potential recall. The Legislature can probably pull it off in time to deflect the recall or make it difficult to accomplish in time, and that is shameful of those Democrats because it is taking the power of the people away. But a much larger example is how the Democrats and other Liberals were so confident that Hillary would be president that when the election results did not go their way, they immediately started a campaign to at first disqualify the election and when that did not happen to find a way to get Trump out of office. The main stream media has been far more liberal in their reporting tossing away objective unbiased reporting methods decades ago. Utilizing the media and social media, the Democrats waged unfounded war upon conservative ideology as well as upon deceptive lies about Trump from every angle the Democrats can conjure up. Under oath former FBI Director Comey finally admitted that Trump was not under any investigation and took one of the fights away from the Democrats. But Comey put himself in the spotlight as one of the Trump Administration leakers and we will see if that ends up in an investigation. The Democrats can continue down this road of implosion or they can calm down and rethink their purpose. The presumed purpose of elected or appointed officials and also political parties has been to serve the people and create a proper and secure means of safety and life improvements for the American people to have.
OPINIONS: Litigation Central By Michael Palecki
Never, in recent history, has the Executive Branch been involved in so many personality changes, career terminations and legal actions when confronted with unfavorable situations. A great deal of Donald Trump’s misfortune of the past five months could have been avoided had he assumed the presidency with a full complement of qualified cabinet members, each one backed by an expansive team of civil servants who were well steeped in the nuances of governance. Instead, promises to his constituency to streamline government and push forward key agenda legislation have been stalled. The latest Gallup Poll indicates 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance while 36 approve of his performance as president. That would seem to infer he should have fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions instead of FBI Director James Comey. The Russian Issue is simply not going to disappear and the fact that Sessions did not disclose his meetings with Russian officials while under oath, during his confirmation hearing to become Attorney General, was a fatal mistake. Although Sessions was confirmed and agreed to rucuse himself from anything related to the Russian Issue in the future as Attorney General, he next colluded with President Trump in the firing of James Comey, who was investigating the Russian Issue. During his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday June 13, Sessions commented, “I do not believe it is a sound position that if you recuse yourself from a single case, you can’t make a decision about the leadership of that agency.” Well, that was a clever way for an intelligent attorney to redefine recuse and perhaps save grace with President Trump, who was opposed to Sessions resigning or recusing himself. And although Trump commented on June 9 that he would be willing to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Washington Post headline, “Calling Comey A Liar, Trump Says He Will Testify Under Oath,” speaks for itself. The next challenge for Trump will be to navigate around rumors that he wants to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which was disclosed by Chris Ruddy to Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour. That could only be orchestrated by Attorney General Sessions or Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, or Trump himself through an executive order that would revoke the Department of Justice regulation dating back to 1999. However, with the only one untarnished at this time being Rod Rosenstein, he seems unlikely to fire Mueller but then he could be fired by Trump, as was Sally Yates. And that could go on ad infinitum until someone in the Department of Justice waffles in favor of Trump. The Russian Issue is not going to disappear and the Republican agenda is a pipe dream.
OPINIONS: Birthday Suit Bicycle Ride By John Cromshow
When Rod Stewart sang, “Every picture tells a story don’t it?” I wonder if he had in mind something like the picture accompanying my column this week. I took it through an open window while I stopped for a red light. The photo features a mirror in the foreground and some people on bikes in the background. You can’t tell from the picture but many of the male and female bicyclists are wearing their birthday suits. Fred Hanrahan as Goldminer Vincent would have said, they were “n’ked as a bluebird.” My mirror does the work of a fig leaf so the picture can be published in the family friendly Mountaineer-Progress. Here’s the tale behind the picture for “Story Thursday.” Late last Saturday morning I got off the Pasadena Freeway at the Chinatown exit. I was on my way to the Los Angeles County Law Library. A colleague and I spend several hours doing legal writing in preparation for the California Bar Exam. He’s taking the exam in July; I’m taking it next year in February. Since the Presidential Inauguration in January we’ve found the streets blocked with protests from the Woman’s March to May Day. The Worldwide Naked Bike Ride was a protest too. Let me unwrap it. It’s part of the “Green Revolution.” The Los Angeles bike ride was headed north on Hill Street. What caught my attention was the police escort. People on bicycles were waiting patiently to be escorted across the street when the light changed. Then I noticed that those in the front of the line weren’t wearing any clothes. I took another picture of the police escorts and the long line of bare flesh stretching more than a block. Then the light changed. Peripheral vision being what it is I was only able to get side glimpses of the bicyclists. Occasionally someone would slow down enough so it was safe for me to catch a furtive glance. Up front were the bodies of trim athletes. Toward the rear were fat-shamers’ fantasies. That’s another story. Have you ever taken a birthday suit bicycle ride? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
College life by Morgan Ownes
“Oh gross! This sandwich is rancid” “I told you we need to go grocery shopping” My roommate says, rolling her eyes. “I can’t! I have a final on MONDAY!” I whine as I go to pour myself another cup of coffee. “How many cups have you had? Remember how last quarter Annie overdosed on caffeine and had to go to the hospital?” Right now, I (a college student at the University of California: Santa Barbara) am in the library listening to music as I study for an Arabic final that will probably cause me to go cry in the bathroom afterwards. As anyone who went to college can probably relate, these last two weeks of the quarter are extremely difficult and the stress puts a palpable smell in the air much akin to a sweaty football player’s locker, into which someone dumped the remains of half-finished Chinese take-out. Seniors are gaily strutting around and taking their final portraits and freshmen hide in their tiny dorm rooms, paralyzed in fear that they are going to have to move out of the dorms and back into their parent’s basement for the summer. Everyone is scrambling about trying to stuff their already full brains with yet more information much like an overstuffed pillow that has been used for far too may years, and should probably be thrown out soon. Within the college community, dead week and finals are generally accepted as a period of absolute torture that comes dangerously close to breaking the sane, human, student. BUT universities always have your back. Dog therapy day, the favorite event of many students, is a quarterly event when we pet-starved college students get to love with certified therapy dogs to reduce stress. Psychological help is available for free at the campus counseling center, and free tutors are employed by the University in order to help students study. In the end, coping with finals comes down to what you make them out to be. No matter the rancid sandwiches and the occasional collapse from over-exhaustion, college is all about positivity and taking the small moments to laugh and bond with your friends over mutual academic suffering. Its about looking around and realizing that you are at an amazing university getting an amazing education. Its about realizing that you have great friends surrounding you and that even though finals are stressful, the college experience is truly extraordinary. “Oh gross! This sandwich is rancid” “I told you we need to go grocery shopping” My roommate says, rolling her eyes. “I can’t! I have a final on MONDAY!” I whine as I go to pour myself another cup of coffee. “How many cups have you had? Remember how last quarter Annie overdosed on caffeine and had to go to the hospital?” Right now, I (a college student at the University of California: Santa Barbara) am in the library listening to music as I study for an Arabic final that will probably cause me to go cry in the bathroom afterwards. As anyone who went to college can probably relate, these last two weeks of the quarter are extremely difficult and the stress puts a palpable smell in the air much akin to a sweaty football player’s locker, into which someone dumped the remains of half-finished Chinese take-out. Seniors are gaily strutting around and taking their final portraits and freshmen hide in their tiny dorm rooms, paralyzed in fear that they are going to have to move out of the dorms and back into their parent’s basement for the summer. Everyone is scrambling about trying to stuff their already full brains with yet more information much like an overstuffed pillow that has been used for far too may years, and should probably be thrown out soon. Within the college community, dead week and finals are generally accepted as a period of absolute torture that comes dangerously close to breaking the sane, human, student. BUT universities always have your back. Dog therapy day, the favorite event of many students, is a quarterly event when we pet-starved college students get to love with certified therapy dogs to reduce stress. Psychological help is available for free at the campus counseling center, and free tutors are employed by the University in order to help students study. In the end, coping with finals comes down to what you make them out to be. No matter the rancid sandwiches and the occasional collapse from over-exhaustion, college is all about positivity and taking the small moments to laugh and bond with your friends over mutual academic suffering. Its about looking around and realizing that you are at an amazing university getting an amazing education. Its about realizing that you have great friends surrounding you and that even though finals are stressful, the college experience is truly extraordinary.
Piñon Hills Summer Fest By Debra Pederson
It was a hot time in the old Piñon Hills. The Piñon Hills Summer Fest was sponsored by the Piñon Hills Chamber and held at the Piñon Hills Community Center on Saturday June 10th. There was food, craft vendors, music, and contests. The High D Boys band played while people played, ate, and generally had a good time! The bounce house, pony rides, and petting zoo kept the kids entertained while others participated in a horseshoe contest. A highlight of the day was the men’s “Hot Legs” contest. Congratulations to the winner, contestant #3, Shawn Winstead of Llano! The competition was fierce but the best “legs” won! If you missed this year’s Summer Fest, never fear, it will be here next year, so mark your calendars. Thanks to the Piñon Hills Chamber for a job well done!
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