New exhibits boost excitement at WDAD By Terri Hill
Wrightwood Fire Safe Council (WFSC) hosts the Wildfire and Disaster Awareness Day (WDAD) annually on Mother’s Day weekend. More than a dozen fire agencies and others organizations participate, bringing tips, techniques, and information for keeping our families safe during wildfire, earthquakes, floods, and other disasters. On Saturday, two interactive displays were added to the event; both had a dramatic impact on those who participated. San Bernardino County Fire (SBCF) Office of Emergency Services (OES) demonstrated their Seismic Simulator. The simulator is a mobile exhibit, which can be taken to schools, fairs, and organizations for earthquake safety education. Four people at a time are seated inside the simulator; they watch a short film on earthquake safety, then they experience the shaking and rolling of a magnitude 7.5 quake. Reactions to the experience varied. Zach, a 10-year old said, “It was fun, but I wouldn’t want it to happen at home.” For some, it was a scary reminder of earthquakes in California’s all too recent history. Keith Morris, of OES said, “It isn’t a matter of “if,” it’s “when,” an earthquake happen.” He stressed the importance of Californian’s education and preparedness for the next major quake in the state. SBCF brought another exhibit that created a realistic emergency situation, a Fire Safety Trailer Fire Explorers from Hesperia, Division Q, have trained to demonstrate fire safety to schoolchildren, using the specially equipped tailer. Students enter the kitchen of the house first. There, they are reminded of safety tips, such as pointing the handle of a pot on the stove toward the back, to avoid spills that can cause burns. Next they enter the mock living room. Among other things, the Explorers teach the safe practices of anchoring the T.V., and how to call 911 in an emergency. An “operator” answers and gives the child the opportunity to practice staying calm, and delivering information about the nature of the emergency. The last room is a bedroom. Here, the children are taught to feel the door with the backs of their hands before opening it, to crawl below the smoke, and to escape through the window if necessary in the event of a fire. Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Emergency Communications Service (ECS) brought literature and models regarding severe weather events and the SKYWARN Spotter program. Wrightwood Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members had “Grab and Go” bags on display. They had lists of items to pack for family members, as well as pets, in case of disaster or evacuation. Cal Fire representatives brought an engine and allowed children to climb into the driver’s seat, encouraging the dream many have of becoming a firefighter. Cal Fire also had a booth and distributed literature about defensible space around home and property. Kathy Smith of WFSC demonstrated plants that are low-water use, fire resistive, and native to our area. She created a poster with graphics showing the most efficient way to water trees. Angeles National Forest (ANF) had an engine on display, and gave Smokey Bear a ride to the event. Smokey greeted children, of all ages, and posed for pictures. Comic book style storybooks telling Smokey’s story were a popular item at the ANF booth. Explores from Hesperia joined the Station 10 Phelan Post 351 in cooking hotdogs, and serving those with chips and soft drinks for a donation. The explorers were indispensable while setting up and tearing down the event. Controversial 90% Attendance Rule Discussed at School Board Meeting
By Donna Alvarez
The current controversial matter, the 90% Attendance Rule mandated by the California Education Code, was discussed at Tuesday’s School Board meeting. Snowline Joint Unified School District (SJUSD) is obliged by law to implement this rule. Dan Andrus, Principal of Serrano High School, spoke to the issues of this mandate. The concept behind this rule is that regular attendance is an important part of student learning and subject matter progress. If a student misses 30 minutes unexcused segments of a class or one unexcused class period during the day, the student is considered truant for that day. If the the student attends school less than 90% of the school year without valid excuses, the student is considered truant. The 90% rule will then apply. Repercussions to this are failing grades in class courses, fines, and even jail time for parents. Administrators are working hard helping those students with such difficulties. The program instituted is called “credit back” which provides students with accommodations to make up class time. Andrus stated that the district wants to change the way it deals with such student matters. Instead of having a punitive approach, positive approach yield better results. First, administration researches the individual student’s circumstances. Then accommodations follow such as: tutorials, home school, virtual school, Saturday school, re-arranging a student’s class schedule, home hospital, and so forth. Of over 120 students in such a predicament all but a few have made up their time and are on track with credits and grades. Student school board member, Matt McHenry, a senior at Serrano, stated that many of those students who are having such problems with attendance are those who are having problems at home. He, also, stated that students feel that they are only there at school for money for the district. Principal Andrus pointed out that if student attendance is lost, then money is lost, and that programs, such as those in fine arts, are cut. One parent in the audience stated that the district needed to correct the accuracy of the attendance records in the on-line Aeries Attendance Program that parents can access. This would help parents to have an accurate assessment of their students’ attendance records. This would help parents be more proactive in working with their children. Principal Andrus followed up by stating that more positive support that is used in helping students and the more students will become engaged and attached to school activities, the more students are motivated to attend school. This approach has helped students at Snowline. Quest gets a lift from Mt. High By Terri Hill
On Monday May 8th, Mercy Air once again flew into Wrightwood to land at Mountain High Ski Resort. Onboard were Tom Propst, Executive Director of Firefighters’ Quest for Burn Survivors, and Jeff Howert, a Quest volunteer. Waiting at Mt. High were more than a dozen excited employees who have been raising money for their annual Quest donation. “Firefighters Quest for Burn Survivors” is a non-profit organization managed by firefighters and civilians who volunteer their services and are dedicated to assist those that have been affected by burn injuries. The organization hosts several fund raisers throughout each year in which donations are received and distributed on behalf of each donor to local burn centers and foundations as well as burn survivors and their families.” Quest website. Quest helps finance California Burn Centers, Burn Foundations, Burn Associations, summer camps for child burn survivors, Christmas parties at burn centers, and support for the victims and their families. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Quest organization. The 2017 Quest Rally began May 8th, with stops that day in Apple Valley, at Mountain High, in Big Bear and the Inland Empire. Mercy Air pilot Axel, and medic Mike had a tight schedule, as they provided transportation to the venues. Propst said, “We work with organizations in five counties, plus one in Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo County. We’ve raised more than $4 million in our 20 years.” In Mt. High’s 18th year supporting Quest, employees and guests raised $5,829.00 through three events. In February, the resort hosted the annual Ski and Ride Day, benefitting Quest. Mt. High CFO, Michele Roy commented, “That day was rainy, wet, and sloppy, but our employees and guests made it a success anyway. The employees pulled together Super Bowl themed items and held a raffle. They raised $417!” Gary Mate added, “One boy, about 12 years old, was so sad because his number hadn’t been called. Then he won the Grand Prize, a snowboard! He was thrilled! Everyone went home with a prize that day.” Snowboarders and skiers from the Tri-Community and across the Southland come to the event for raffles, food, and a fun day on the slopes. Along with the proceeds from lift ticket sales, Michele mentioned that food service workers donate their tips on the day of the event, and some employees add their personal donations. An additional beneficiary of Michele and Mt. High’s efforts is the Grossman Burn Center. Founded in 1969 by Dr. Richard Grossman, the burn care focuses on restoring the lives of burn survivors, physically, emotionally, and cosmetically. Quest holds an annual golf tournament in March, in Moorpark, in which Mt. High also participates. This year the resort’s total contribution amount included $550 from the tournament. For information about Quest, visit firefightersquest.org.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961