Country Western Music fans, and close friends of Madelyn McCready-Cimino, who passed away in January, came together last Saturday evening for a special 8th year edition of The Red Barn Opry. John Wilkens, at his Wilkensville Corner Theater and Old Western Town in Wrightwood, hosted the event. Presented by legendary Rock & Roll drummer Dave Cimino and his “Mad Music” moniker tribute to Madelyn, the concert was broadcast live on KJAY Epic Internet Radio. After welcoming guests, Dave Cimino who toured as drummer for Canadian super group The Guess Who confided, “Madelyn turned me on to Country music.” Back then Cimino became smitten with vocalist Madelyn McCready who performed often at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood, the Crazy Horse Saloon in Santa Ana, and on one occasion at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee It was a new experience for the rock star that blossomed in mutual appreciation of each other’s musical backgrounds as Dave and Madelyn became a couple. Along the way, they became close friends with John and Wanda Wilkens in Wrightwood, which provided inspiration for The Red Barn Opry. Following presentation of the American Flag by Wrightwood Boy Scout Troop 351, Cimino then introduced John Wilkens to the audience and thanked him for 22 years of friendship and his support of Country Western music, to thunderous applause. After that, Mark McKinley and Jeff Baldonado, members of the heavy metal band “War Within,” took the stage and did an acoustic set, “For Madelyn.” With both playing acoustic guitars and McKinley singing, his neck muscles were pumped up with power vocals for the Country standards “Sunny and 75,” “Til’ It’s Gone” and “Fly Over States,” as the audience sang along. Next up, Back Porch Bluegrass Band performed a set of 10 songs, of which the gospel tinged selections “I’ll Fly Away” and “The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow” were dedicated to Madelyn. Musicians included Frank Abrahams on mandolin, Scott Sandoval playing banjo, Patsy Abrahams on fiddle, Ed Maxwell on acoustic guitar, with Marc Nelissen playing upright bass and everyone singing For many in the audience, the music was an elixir for healing and there was plenty of foot tapping and clapping for Earl Scruggs’s “Dear Old Dixie” that featured the upright bass and banjo with the mandolin scatting everywhere. There was also yodeling to Jimmie Rodgers’s “California Blues” and a serious fiddle staccato for the Hank Williams Sr. version of “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It.” Concluding the concert, a band called “Born Country” transitioned into country and rock music and featured Joe Eiffert on electric guitar and vocals, Teeci Eiffert on acoustic guitar and vocals, Michael Cappetta playing electric bass guitar and singing, and Kevin O’Neal on drums and vocals. Leading off with Johnny Cash’s “Fulsom Prison Blues,” Joe sang loudly and strummed a powerful guitar flourish. After that the band performed “Little Sister by Elvis Presley, “Ramblin’ Fever” by Merle Haggard and two selections from the Eagles. Later on, as per a request from an audience member for a Chuck Berry song, Michael Cappetta started singing “Johnny B. Goode” that turned into a medley as he transitioned into “Lucille,” with everyone singing and the guitars going wild in a blistering crescendo. That was followed by Cappetta singing Willy Nelson, Teeci singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Joe singing “Kansas City” and everyone singing the final song “Route 66.” And then after John Wilkens thanked the band for pleasing Madelyn up in heaven, the band played Garth Brooks’ “Friends In Low Places” for an encore.
Mountain Hardware Thanks Customers
By Michael Palecki
Celebrating the 54th year in business- Mike Troeger owner of Mountain Hardware-once again hosted his Customer Appreciation Party for the 17th year with a free concert, hot dogs and beverages for all. It was a warm afternoon last Friday, and while the audience initially was content to enjoy a narrow band of shade in the parking lot, the aroma of barbequed hot dogs soon stimulated appetites and produced a long line for the entrée, prepared by San Bernardino County Fire Explorers from Post 351. As the band “Bitter Honey” powered through a whopping set of 30 songs, many returned for second portions of those delicious hot dogs. Band members included Kim Fink on lead vocals, kazoo and percussions, Craig Fink on double neck 12 and six string guitar, acoustic and electric guitars and vocals, Marina Paradise on electric bass guitar and vocals, and Jim McCoin playing drums. With the expansive song list, there was plenty of variety and the opportunity for Kim to sing multiple songs by the same artists. During the concert, there would be three Fleetwood Mac Songs with the emotions and vocal harmonies best on “Gold Dust Woman.” Likewise for Credence Clearwater Revival with Kim on tambourine and good vocal harmonies for “Proud Mary.” There were also multiple songs from Elvis, Johnny Cash, and the Eagles. Interesting combination of songs arranged by Kim included “Sweet Child Of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses” with Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Dedicated to drummer Jim McCoin who is soon to be married, Kim bantered with the certainty and then the uncertainty of Prince singing, “Honey, I don’t want to be your weekend lover.” Another great combination was “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel mixes with Sheryl Crow’s “Al I Wanna Do…is have some fun until the sun comes up on Santa Monica Boulevard.” And then for medleys that went beyond what the audience expected, power vocals from Kim and Craig slidin’ on acoustic guitar for Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” and “Blue Suede Shoes” had the audience dancing when the song then morphed into Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll.” All in all, Bitter Honey performed a musical journey down memory lane that resinated with the audience in 30 songs that everybody remembered from a certain time and place. Thank you Mike Troeger for appreciating your customers on a wonderful afternoon under blue skies in Wrightwood.
Green Waste event helps reduce fire fuels within community Program cited in support of inmate hand crews
At the June 20th meeting of the Wrightwood Fire Safe Council (FSC), John Aziz reported on the results of the Tri-Community Pine Needle and Green Waste Drop-off event. In its 11th year, the event drew an average 121 loads per day, for a total of 968 loads of needles and branches, or 207 tons of possible wildfire fuels. During the past three years, CR&R Environmental Services, one of WFSC’s partners in the green waste recycling program, has donated driver hours to take the collection containers to Mountain High. There, the green waste and needles are used as erosion control on the ski slopes. Ben Smith, of Mt. High and WFSC, commented, “The pine needles lock together and tend to hold up longer than the compost “sausages” that have traditionally been used.” This symbiotic relationship between Mt. High and WFSC benefits the ski resort in receiving free erosion control, and Green Waste program in providing an alternative to dump fees. CR&R’s Brent Speers donates approximately $6,000 worth of manpower and transportation to the project. For CR&R, 1,360 cubic yards of green waste was redirected from the landfill this year alone. In 11 years, the program boasts an impressive 3,422,060 pounds of green waste and pine needles collected from the participating community members. Their generous donations as they drive in with loads of debris, help pay for sandwiches (provided the to the two evening work crews), drinks for the crews, the porta-potty, pitchforks and other necessities during the week-long event. Inmate fire crews from Cal Fire and County Fire camps are vital to the program’s success. Last week the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to restore funding for inmate fire crews in the coming fiscal year. According to a press release from Supervisor Lovingood’s office; In May, Board Chairman Lovingood underscored the value of the inmate crews. During the Board’s June 13 budget hearing, Chairman Lovingood again spoke out in support of the crews. In 2016, inmate crews responded to 738 emergency calls, with that number expected to top 1,000 calls this year. Inmate crews also logged 10,560 hours of work in Victorville, Hesperia, San Bernardino, Needles and unincorporated County areas, including chipping operations in Wrightwood and illegal dumping operations throughout the High Desert. “Inmate crews logged 84,894 hours last year, saving taxpayers more than $2 million,” Lovingood said. “These crews spent nine days on the Blue Cut Fire and helped collect 578 tons of trash around the High Desert. Clearly, this is an outstanding program that is making a major impact on our communities.” SB County Code Enforcement had agreed to begin inspections the day after the Drop-off event ended. Although miscommunication lead to some warnings being issued to property owners while they were clearing debris to take to the drop-off site, officials from Code Enforcement agreed to dismiss any violations recorded before the end of the green waste event.
Light Up the Heart of Wrightwood Christmas Lights Fundraiser
Wrightwood community member Michele Kraenkel, a 9-year resident, loves Wrightwood and wants to help with the Chamber’s Christmas Tree lighting. She has been in the process for a month now trying to organize a committee to pull together funds what would ultimately be used for the Wrightwood Holiday Shop At Home Weekend. Michele’s goal is to have a professional lighting company install hundreds of lights on the tree at the Veteran’s Memorial and the surrounding fence line to showcase the holiday tradition of lighting a town Christmas tree to officially launch the Wrightwood Mountain Holiday Celebration weekend. She is reaching out to the community, organizations, and clubs to help promote this event.
The lighting ceremony tradition began years ago, with the generous support of the Chamber of Commerce members. In previous years the Chamber of Commerce has selected trees in the Village. Past years the tree chosen was at the corner of Cedar and Evergreen, and more recently at the Veteran’s Memorial Park on Evergreen.
Funds to cover the costs for the lights have been hard to come by. Unfortunately the Chamber membership has dropped in recent years making it difficult to meet the needs for various events. The last couple of years, the Chamber did their best to continue the tradition with a Tree-Lighting at the Wrightwood Mountain Holiday Celebration weekend, but it was a struggle. It was the valiant efforts of volunteers of the Chamber to create a lighted Christmas tree however; the final result was that the tree decoration was (to say it kindly) a bit understated. Everyone appreciated the effort.
Michele’s thoughts are to create a beautifully lit tree, so stunning it would bring in visitors as a destination point. The tree would be wrapped in micro LED lights that shimmer, clear strobes that will sparkle, and a large LED tree topper star. There will be fencing around the base of the tree adorned with an LED garland. “We hope to make the moment when we light the tree one of those that take your breath away.” It may even motivate and inspire the entire town to join in the festivities. “I know what it is like to decorate my own tree which is only 6’. I cannot even fathom the painstaking prospect of decorating a 50’ tree,” Michele exclaims. The Christmas Kings Holiday Lighting Company, out of Southern California will be working with the WW Chamber during the upcoming months to prepare for the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend holiday kick-off.
Suggested fundraising, to cover the $5000 plus cost, were a Christmas Tree Bingo, A Coin Drive, Silent Auction, and donation drop off points within some retailers here in town. The committee is asking that each resident donate one dollar. You may donate in person at the Wrightwood DCB bank. The bank has so graciously agreed to allow residents and interested donors to make the deposit personally. Sponsors could also donate more of course, and go into a tiered sponsorship program of Bronze donors for $25, Silver donors for $50 and Gold donors for $100. For the tiered donors there will be a raffled gift per tier group, to be announced at a later time.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961