Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce goes ecommerce after 75 years By Vicky Rinek The Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce office will be closing their brick-and-mortar office on Highway 2 and transitioning to a virtual business model. The decision to close the chamber's office is effective immediately, according to a statement released by the business organization Tuesday. A decline in memberships, coupled with the loss of a revenue stream from the San Bernardino County Supervisors withholding of the Bed Tax revenue were the main drivers of the decision, Chamber President Mal Youngblood said. By changing to an ecommerce office they will continue to be a driving force for visitors looking for Wrightwood and its many activities. The ecommerce office will maintain the same level of service and plan events as usual.
Despite a falloff in membership following the recession, and the loss of Bed Tax revenue the Chamber hopes to re-invent itself, with a process of self-examination and analysis of how the Chamber could provide services of value to its members and the Village. "By making the decision now, it allows the Chamber to take care of current financial obligations." Youngblood said. The Chamber’s attempt to bring together private and public money to support tourism destination marketing has been difficult.
The Chamber will continue to be the organizers and hosts of the Mountaineer Days, Mountain Classic Car Show, Wrightwood Chili Cook-off and the Mountain Holiday Celebration. Planning for this year's event is already well advanced. Youngblood said he was going to continue with trying to organize all events that the community has grown to love as in past years. The Chamber office had in the past acted as the Visitors Information hub however this service is up in the air for the moment.
The Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce opened in 1939 with the first elected President S.W. Walker, Clyde Richardson as Vice-President, Mrs. Helen Knox as Secretary and Treasurer. George Richardson, W.I. Sears, Harvey Hunt, Emil, Blum, G.S. Corpe, A.W. Walker, Clyde Richardson and Helen Knox held Board seats. The community had a sign welcoming visitors stating, “You are now entering Wrightwood - A community of 400 homes - Elevation 6200 feet - The All-Year Mountain Forest Retreat.” (From the Archives of the Mountaineer Progress Newspaper)
For 75 years your chamber has been dedicated to serving the Village, businesses, and community prosperity through advocacy, connectivity and hospitality. The events and programs of the Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce are simple and direct: Build a vibrant and prosperous community through business leadership. The Chamber invites you to join them. With your input they want to continue to add value to your memberships, businesses, organizations, and community. Your comments, concerns and suggestions are encouraged. The Chamber holds bimonthly meetings on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. For application, meeting dates and locations as well as advertising opportunities on their new Village map visit: www.wrightwoodchamber.org or at facebook.com/Wrightwood-Chamber-of-Commerce. Small turnout, big ideas
By Terri Hill San Bernardino County has been in the process of developing a Countywide Plan since 2010. The Countywide Vision began with input from topical experts, special districts, community meetings, and more than 3,600 county residents who participated in an online survey. From there, the Community Plans began to take shape as “living documents” that would serve to guide communities in developing outlines of what they want to see in their towns, and the resources and programs that will fulfill those ideals. The purpose of a Community Plan is to guide the future use, character and independent identity of a community. Community plans currently identify land use goals and policies unique to each community. They outline how the County of San Bernardino will manage and address growth issues while recognizing the special attributes unique to each unincorporated community. SBC The Plan website. To that end, Community Plan Workshops have been scheduled over the course of the past two years. The first meeting for Wrightwood was held in November, 2016. Twelve residents came to the public meeting and participated in a series of exercises designed to create a list of common concerns and visions for the community. Nine people were present for the second meeting, held on February 22. The purpose of the second meeting was to identify implementation strategies and tools to achieve the Community’s goals and objectives. After lively conversation concerning the possibility of a Wrightwood Community Services District (WCSD), water supply issues, and winter road traffic, it was pointed out that it seemed like the nine participants were a good representative sampling of Wrightwood. After ranking the goals set forth by the groups at both meetings, objectives for each goal were listed, and the results were posted on the wall. Each participant was given a dozen red dot stickers to place on the lists, ranking the importance, to the individual, of each objective. Under the goal, “Increase and Support Economic Development, popular objectives were: Promote community support for local businesses, i.e.: Wrightwood Mountain Holiday Celebration (Shop at Home), and Advocate for the bed Tax to be allocated to the community for Chamber of Commerce sponsored events. Objectives to “Promote Self-Sustainability and Resiliency” included implementation of community water conservation guidelines, promotion and education of existing and new emergency services, and expansion of educational planting and landscaping programs. The goal to “Promote Respect for Nature” was born of the frustration with visitors who leave garbage on the side of the road, and who abuse private property. Objectives included educational signage regarding local flora and fauna along Highway 2, and increased regulatory signage. “Development and Preservation of Community Culture” was high on the list of goals. Objectives toward this goal include promotion of the Historical Society and traditional community events, and to develop a Cultural Statement for Wrightwood. As some of the above mentioned objectives are out of the hands of the community members, suggestions of outside support were made regarding tourism management, exorbitant county permit fees for events, and traffic apps that lead visitors onto dangerous dirt roads. The County representative also pointed out that a WCSD or the Wrightwood Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) would not preclude the implementation of the objectives, rather they could be the channel through which many of the projects could acquire funding and other resources. To participate in surveys, submit photos of the area, and get updates on the Community Plan, visit: http://countywideplan.com and click on the name of your community. What does the Fire Safe Council do? By Terri Hill At a recent Wrightwood Fire Safe Council Board (WFSC) meeting, one of the board members remarked that while selling tickets for Fire Safety Day at Mountain High, many asked, “What does the Fire Safe Council do?” The WFSC is a non-profit organization, “Helping preserve Wrightwood’s natural and man-made resources.” Through partnerships with Cal Fire, San Bernardino County (SBC) Fire, Angeles National Forest (ANF), San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF), and Inland Empire Fire Safe Alliance, and cooperation from Los Angeles County Fire, Code Enforcement, CERT, and Office of Emergency Services (OES), WFSC organizes and promotes wildfire awareness programs throughout the year. The Fire Safety Day event is the organization’s yearly fundraiser. All-day lift tickets at Mountain High are sold by board members for $20. Tickets are good from the day of the event, March 5th this year, through the end of the season. At the Mt. High ticket window on event day, locals (Tri-Community) and badge holders can show their ID and get the special rate too. Dozens of the tickets sold are donated to the school district, and made available to young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to ski or snowboard. Mountain High partners with WFSC for the event, with all proceeds going to the council. Monies from the Fire Safety Day make the council’s annual programs possible. In May, the Wildfire and Disaster Awareness Day (WDAD) is always a popular event. The Wrightwood Community Building parking lot becomes a sea of red and green, as engines from multiple fire agencies, including ANF, are on display. Children are encouraged to explore the equipment and ask questions. They also get the chance to wrangle a real fire hose and douse the flames in a simulated house fire. Explores from Post 351 in Phelan supervise the junior firefighters, and cook up hot dogs for the crowd. This year, the event on May 13 will host the OES Earthquake Simulator, giving participants an opportunity to experience, “The Big One,” in a controlled environment. The Green Waste Drop Off event is held in June. Residents are encouraged to bring their loads of raked pine needles, and other yard waste to the County Yard for disposal, at no charge. County Code Enforcement cooperates with the event by waiting to inspect properties until after the drop off week. CR&R has donated haulers, in recent years, to carry tons pine needles up to Mt. High, for use in erosion control. Volunteers staff the drop off site, unloading trucks and trailers, chipping branches, and directing traffic. The WFSC website has links to more than two dozen fire safety and preparedness resources, including printable Pet Alert stickers, outdoor fire requirements, emergency phone numbers, and maps and planning for evacuation. Learn more about wildfire safety and prevention at www.wrightwoodfsc.com.
Terri Hill is a WFSC Board member. Felony charges in Ales case By Terri Hill Joshua Scott Ales was arraigned Friday morning, February 24, in the San Bernardino County Court. Charges of Felony Grand Theft Auto and two counts of Felony Possession of Stolen Property were filed against Ales. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 2, at 8 a.m. Joshua Ales arrested on suspicion of several vehicle thefts throughout the Phelan and Pinon Hills area. Anyone with information regarding Ales is urged to contact the Detective Bureau of the Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station/Phelan sub-station (760) 868-1006 or Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 956-5104. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or www.wetip.com What’s going on, in and around the Tri-Community Local Earp History at Wrightwood Historical Museum Friday, March 3, 1 p.m. The Wrightwood Historical Society welcomes Walter Feller, “Wyatt Earp in the Mojave Desert,” to its March 3rd meeting. Walter Feller, Hesperia resident, is the editor/photographer/historian for the Digital-Desert.com and Mojave Desert.net websites. The Wrightwood Historical Society meets at 1:00 p.m. on March 3 at the Wrightwood Museum, 6000 Cedar Street. Formation of Wrightwood CSD Information Meeting Mar. 5, Sun., 4 p.m. The committee supporting the formation of a Wrightwood Community Services District will be hosting presentations, at the Wrightwood Community Building, by Kimberly Cox, General Manager of Helendale CSD, and Kathy Rollings-McDonald, CEO of SBC LAFCO. Information about Community Service Districts and the upcoming formation vote on March 7th will be presented. Apple Tree Pruning Workshop Sunday, March 5th, 1 - 3:30pm Wrightwood Community Orchard, 6072 Acorn Drive Please bring: pruning lopper, hand pruner, pruning saw Sponsored by: Wrightwood Community Garden, SB County Master Gardeners. Presented by Master Gardener Tim Riley of Stone Soup Orchards in Oak Glen Election Day Tuesday, Mar. 7 Wrightwood CSD Polling place: 1543 Barbara. (Wrightwood Community United Methodist Church) All registered voters - Doors open at 7:00 AM Crime Logs
2/22 Grand Theft Auto, truck or motorhome, 4000 blk Phelan Rd., Phelan 2/22 Poss. of controlled substance, drugs / alcohol violations, Clovis Rd../Phelan Rd. Phelan 2/23 Burglary, residential-day, entry by force, 9200 blk Hollister Rd., Phelan 2/23 Robber, residential, armed, 11300 blk Lilac Rd., Phelan 2/25 Burglary, residential-night, entry by force, 6000 blk Park Dr., Wrightwood 2/25 Burglary, residential-unkown time, entry by force, 8800 blk Sheep Creek Rd., Phelan 2/26 Burglary, commercial-unkown time, entry by force, 9000 blk Sheep Creek Rd., Phelan 2/26 Narcotic misd. drugs/alcohol violations, Sheep Creek rd., Lindero St. Phelan 2/27 Burglary, commercial-unkown time, entry by force, 10500 blk Monte Vista Rd., Phelan 2/27 Burglary, commercial-unkown time, entry by force, 10600 blk Johnson Rd., Phelan 2/28 Burglary, residential-unkown time, entry by force, 1400 blk of Twin Lakes Dr. Wrightwood 2/28 Burglary, commercial-day, attempt 3200 blk State Hwy 138, Pinon Hills 2/28 Burglary, commercial-night, entry by force, 4600 blk Jackson Ln., Phelan 9/28 Fraud, identity theft, 7500 blk, Cygnet Rd., Phelan 2/28 Grand theft auto, 9700 blk Lilac Rd., Phelan Submit a Tip Help Put A Stop To Crime And Be 100% ANONYMOUS When Reporting Any Crime. Call 1-800-78-Crime Now! WeTip Has Live Bilingual Operators 24/7 No Machines, No Taping, Tracing NO ONE KNOWS WHO CALLED!Letters to the Editor
My name is Michelle Schneider. I have lived in Wrightwood since 2004, and love our little town. I have taught elementary school for Snowline JUSD and am now currently teaching Adult Education for the district. I direct the Tri-Community Co-op, which has been operating for the last 8 years. I also do website upkeep for a local business and help with our local children’s theater group. I am extremely invested in our town. =) I am excited for our town to get a CSD board and gain some local control. When my son was young, I can recall the hoops I had to jump through to even request something be fixed in our local park…two months later I finally saw someone there from the county. That said, the issue was never actually resolved. I would love to see that ineffective system replaced. With a CSD, we would have some control over local issues and our tax money would get directed back to us, instead of dispersed to the county at large. My primary goal is that the CSD board be created. I know we will have great people to run it…so long as we vote the board into creation. So please, be sure to get out and vote this March! (Or you can vote by mail beginning in February). Thank you, Michelle Schneider
There is a flyer going around asking people to vote no on the CSD and to vote for only one candidate Chuck Franklin. I was not aware of this flyer beforehand and do not approve of it. No one asked me to use my name. No matter how you vote on the CSD it is important that you vote for 5 board members. If the CSD passes, the 5 candidates you select will be the new board members so don’t waste your vote on only one. Don’t get me wrong, I want your vote and you have 4 other votes to use. As for the reasons the flyer states to vote no I find no truth in them. It looks like scare tactics that are false. I would urge everyone to vote but please vote on facts not misinformation. If you are not sure there is one last meeting at the Community center on March 5th at 4pm. Take the opportunity to get answers before you vote. There also seems to be some negative energy directed at Stephanie Carroll and Natalie Lopiccolo because they work for Eric Steinmann. All you need to do is look at their Bio to see how committed they are to the improvement of our town. They are two exceptional ladies who have given their time and energy to serve Wrightwood. If you don’t agree with their vision for the future that’s fine but please don’t question their integrity. Vote however you want but base it on facts not scare tactics. Thank you, Chuck Franklin
A few Wrightwoodians who oppose the idea of local government and control of those funds (taxes/fees) we have the ability to control are busy spreading propaganda that some “boogy-man or men or women are doing nefarious things to dictate how Wrightwood will function in the immediate future. This is too bad, as the merits of having local control of those local services we can be in control of is a very good thing. It would be fairer if those who oppose it would simply scream out: “we want San Bernardino County bureaucrats to control our community, we don’t trust locals to do that job.” One of these propaganda items is the matter of the borders of the CSD. This is a bogus issue. We want our boundary to be out to the point that our governance means something. While the study committee for the CSD did go up Blue Ridge and take in the slopes above Wrightwood in the CSD boundary… a very good idea, they did not go far enough west, north and east. I put together boundary maps and suggestions that the boundary needed to take in the old Wrightwood School District to the west (couldn’t get that through unfortunately), and had to go north to the Phelan/Pinon Hills ill-conceived boundary that had cut into the Historic Wrightwood zone of influence (Wild Horse Valley/Mt. Top/West Cajon Valley/Lone Pine Canyon and actually Cajon Junction). It is too late for those areas being in the Wrightwood Zone (where our community could have a say on events happening in those areas --- and how those can affect our property values)… but we could move our limited old CSA zone and move it out to the Ph/PH CSD southern boundary. I was able to show that these northern and eastern areas need to be in our area, if nothing more because of the mining claims in these areas, yes open pit type mining claims. You see, the CSD will be the elected board that represents our community to county, state and federal agencies. It is our only representative body and voters should be aware of that. While the new board will only have limited governance powers (and not able to raise taxes or fees without the taxpayers having a say), they will have the bully pulpit to speak out for the good of Wrightwood as our elected representatives. Back to the boogyman circulating about “someone” pulling the strings for some nefarious reason to get a CSD for Wrightwood. I proved that inputs by non-involved citizens (I did not step forward and work on the CSD formation with the local committee) could receive a fair hearing and actually get results. We are a small community and at monthly public meetings of a Wrightwood CSD Board of Directors, elected by our community, we will have the opportunity to move Wrightwood along. For opponents to speak to bogeymen, this is a shame. If you don’t like local government, local control, vote against the CSD. If you want to do something to control your destiny, vote for the CSD. A simple first step to be responsible. Tom Pinard
Tri-Community Thoughts By Al Morrissette
I support the formation of the Wrightwood Community Services District because for the community it is a vital way to bring local government and some of your tax dollars in-house. I was involved in the formation of the Phelan Pinon Hills CSD from the first meeting of the Feasibility Committee and have been serving on its Board of Directors from its formation in March 2008. During the formation of the PPHCSD and after the establishment of that entity I have been approached three times by various Wrightwoodians to either have Wrightwood brought into the PPHCSD or help establish a CSD in Wrightwood. I disagreed with bringing Wrightwood into the PPHCSD primarily because of the different needs and matrix of the community from those of Phelan and Pinon Hills. I am a big supporter of the Tri-Community but I realize that where Phelan and Pinon Hills have the same needs and matrix, Wrightwood needs to be its own entity. Past meetings with Wrightwoodians to form a CSD never brought forward a collective group to create a Feasibility Committee until this last group showed their ability to look at the issue from all points of view in an unbiased manner. The current committee is a blend of long time and relatively new members of the community. They showed me that they had the best interest of Wrightwood in their thoughts and not some form of convoluted power grab or personal promotion. Thus when I was asked to help in the development of the feasibility study, I accepted the challenge. Having been involved with the formation and management of the PPHCSD gave me insight of what was needed to expedite this study and form a viable entity for Wrightwood. I also have knowledge of the LAFCO process that is the conduit of the formation of an Independent Special District or a CSD, which is a combination of several Independent Special Districts. I also sit on the Board of the Association of San Bernardino Special Districts and understand the various challenges involved with a variety of entities. The LAFCO process is a strict and disciplined process headed by their CEO McDonald. I have known her for 20 years and she is stellar at dissecting each aspect of a study. Because of her high integrity and vast knowledge of what makes a Special District or CSD viable, her insight and approval is not something to take lightly. When she brought the concept of the Wrightwood CSD to the LAFCO Board and showed that it can be viable, she did so without bias and I know for a fact that if she had serious doubt she would tell them so. The LAFCO Board approved moving the CSD to the voters and the whole process was brought to the County Board of Supervisors for the final review. After serious discussion, the Board of Supervisors also approved moving the process forward to the voters of Wrightwood. The unique nature of the Wrightwood CSD having to be approved not only by San Bernardino but also the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and LAFCO was affirmed by both Boards and gives a second review not normally part of the process. If either Board of Supervisors didn’t approve the formation the issue would have stopped. Next Tuesday the Wrightwood voters on both sides of the county line will make their choice to either reject the formation or accept it. There also will be the election of the Wrightwood CSD Board Members, of which you have eight viable candidates to choose from and five seats to fill. This coming Sunday will be the last community meeting to ask questions and gain information. I fully believe that forming a CSD in Wrightwood is the right thing to do and will prove to be a significant benefit to the community.
Journeys and Perceptions By Michael Palecki A Trace Of Spring
Although spring is just three weeks away, it is certainly too early in the season for my apricot tree to start blooming. It’s that magical weather cycle I wrote about not long ago of plentiful rain alternating with sunny warm days. And while that pattern is good for wildflowers-which will begin to bloom in mid March- the apricot tree may have some problems setting blossoms and fruit. Every year is different for fruit trees here in the North Slope foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. In years like this when tenacious white blossoms sparkle in the winter sunlight, the perils of strong cold winds, frost and snowfall remain a constant threat to my springtime bowl of sliced apricots in vanilla ice cream. As singer/songwriter Nick Drake wrote, “Fruit tree, fruit tree, no-one knows you but the rain and the air.” In traveling to the San Fernando Valley last week, I was amazed with how green and opulent the hillsides in Acton have become. That bodes well for the upcoming wildflower walk sponsored by Transition Habitat Conservancy (THC) and the California Native Plant Society at the THC Portal Ridge Wildlife Preserve in Lancaster, scheduled for March 18. The walk begins at 9:00 am just west of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve where Lancaster Road intersects with 190th Street. Driving north on the I-14 Freeway, take Avenue I west for 15 miles where it becomes Lancaster Road. After that, proceed to 190th Street where you will see ribbons directing you to the meeting location. Celebrate the arrival of spring in the outdoors, and bring a lunch, snacks, and drinking water. It is best to wear layered clothing and a hat, as the weather could be cool in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Most importantly, don’t forget your camera. For those who wish, THC will be carpooling from the Phelan Rite Aid to Lancaster at 7:15 am. For additional information, call Wendy Walker at the THC office at (760) 868-1400 or on her cell phone at (760) 220-6141. To enhance your day of natural beauty, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is open from sunrise until sunset at 15101 Lancaster Road. For the latest information on the poppy bloom, call the Wildflower Hotline at (661) 724-1180. At this time due to heavier rainfall than normal, the poppy bloom starting in mid-March will be moderate. It has been predicted that spring of 2017 will be an exceptional year to enjoy California wildflowers. To obtain the latest Southern California and Central California wildflower information every Friday beginning in March and continuing through May, go to www.theodorepayne.org/education/wildflower-hotline. After years of drought, it will be refreshing once again to enjoy the wonderful palette of color.
Have You Ever By John Cromshow Speak. I’m listening
Listening is a skill usually not taught in school; one of four communication skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing. Some linguists classify listening as a “passive” skill. However, it’s a foundation skill that requires active processing. If we tried to understand what someone was saying, many communication problems would be resolved. I was very interested in President Trump’s listening sessions. One that caught my attention was a recent meeting at the White House with representatives of historically Black colleges. Forget the faux pas of kneeling on the couch with high heels on. That’s for cross-cultural etiquette experts to sort out. Forget the mixing up of acronyms for those colleges. That’s for psychologists to evaluate. Forget the policy implications of such a meeting. That’s for policy analysts to debate. What I want to focus on is listening, really listening, and how hard it is to accomplish. Here’s the first example. The other day I ran into a former colleague and his wife at a coffee shop down the hill. He and I taught third grade at the same school. We shared the same admiration – please catch the tongue-in-cheek reference – of our former principal. “I sat next to her at several retirement dinners,” he said. I had a similar experience with her, so I knew how uncomfortable that could be. We both laughed. When I spoke to her on that occasion she didn’t hear a word I said. I’m sure his experience was similar, although we didn’t go into it. The teacher and I discussed travel, photography, education and politics. With that last issue we had our differences. But our conversation was friendly because we were used to going back and forth on a variety of topics over the years. When he excused himself for a moment his wife, who is a native speaker of Spanish, shared her thoughts. She hadn’t said a word when the two of us were talking. I listened carefully because I knew English was her second language. The next day, at the same coffee shop, I joked in Spanish with a friend of mine who went to the same law school. For the first time the cashier, who I thought had never heard a word I said, looked surprised. She heard me for the first time. I was speaking her language – literally. That’s another story. Have you ever said, “Speak. I’m listening.” Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961