NOVEMBER 11, 2023: Veterans are honored worldwide on the 105th Anniversary of the end of World War I. The Wrightwood Veterans Memorial Association hosted a ceremony at the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial Park. The kick-off started at 10:30 a.m. to honor veterans for their service with their annual Veterans Day event. Wrightwood Veteran Association President Allen Miller called attention to the ceremony’s opening. With solemn pride in the heroism of those who served, commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer, the Armistice - Peace Bell’s tolling is knelled 11 times on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Bells rang worldwide to recognize the Anniversary of the peace treaty ending the “War to End All Wars.” The front and center, the California Cadet Corps Color Guard, presents the colors for the National Anthem, sung by Claudia Campbell, and all remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. Pastor Dave Conrad said the Invocation. Miller takes this moment to explain how family and friends of military members can purchase Honor Bricks and mentions Grayson and Wendi’s continued work on the Honor Bricks courtyard. Grayson is an Eagle Scout, the top rank you can earn as a Boy Scout. Captain Tom Pinard reads the names of military service members added to the courtyard of Bricks of Honor in 2023. The Association paid special tributes to Rod Parody and Harlan Lassiter, who contributed their time and talents to Wrightwood. The Active Duty Army Cadets from Fort Irwin form a line at the Memorial as the Girl Scouts, Troop 2249, enter carrying the wreath. This patriotic significance of the wreath-laying ceremony pays tribute to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier who had fallen somewhere on a World War I battlefield. Today, Pat “SFC” Dailey places the wreath. Pastor Dave Conrad gives the benediction. Miller closes the ceremony by thanking the committee members, volunteers, and everyone for participating in this year’s ceremony. He tells guests, “Wrightwood Veterans Memorial ceremonies take many hands, and we have lots of fun doing the work.” Miller continues by thanking the volunteers, mentioning that they operate the booth selling shirts and hats. Information about the Honor Brick program is also at the booth. Miller acknowledges Colette at Brier Rose for the wreath. The Veterans Association meets on the fourth Sunday of each month at the Blue Ridge in Wrightwood (there is no meeting in December). They also host the Memorial Day Ceremony in May. All community members are welcome to attend the meetings and join, regardless of military or civilian background.
Heritage School Key Cub host the 29th Annual Veterans Dinner.
By Vicky Rinek
NOVEMBER 7, 2023: Despite the chilling night air, veterans and their families came out to the Serrano High School gym, where students from Heritage School and Serrano’s Cadet Corp cheered them as they walked through the doors. Once inside, the Serrano brass band played music from the 40s conducted by their music director, Danny Minik. Todd Anton, the teacher from Heritage School, welcomed the veterans and guests. Anton shared his experience about his trip overseas to the Communist Bloc, East Berlin. His tour guide was from the communist party, who tried to tell Anton how great the communist party was. Anton answered with a derogatory statement and was quickly arrested and held in jail for 19 hours, interrogated, and finally released. It was at that time that he learned how precious freedom is after experiencing firsthand the harsh reality of the Communist Secret Police. Anton started the Veterans Dinner 29 years ago as a living history lesson for his students, enabling them to bond with veterans and share a common goal of bringing history out of the textbook and into reality. The first dinner was held in Anton’s classroom at the Heritage School site adjacent to Pinon Mesa Middle School, with Anton’s father cooking up a BBQ of hot dogs and chips and sharing with students his time in the military, who is the combat veteran of World War II in Korea. He received a Bronze Star and five Purple Hearts courtesy of the Germans, the Chinese, and Korean. Heritage School hosted the dinner in the school’s cafeteria for several years. Anton started to work on his plans to move to a large venue, the Serrano gym, where 1,000 guests could be served and entertained. The Serrano High School Cadet Corp presented the colors to start this night’s program. Children from Heritage sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. The Cadets Corp. brought up the flags of each military branch, with Serrano senior Natalie Brito singing each military branch song as members of the branch stood in recognition. All six military branches had a few veterans present: Air Forces, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy, except for the newest branch, Space Force, as of yet no veterans present. Before dinner, Anton asked pastor Gary Poor of the Calvary Chapel, Phelan, to say the benediction, followed by the guests saying the Pledge of Allegiance. The students were busy serving water, coffee, and a dinner consisting of salad, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, a roll, chocolate chip brownie, and cake for dessert. Wild Bills Smoke Meats provided the meal, and Chick-fil-A provided the brownies. Dr. Ryan Holman, Snowline district’s Superintendent, stated that this dinner is “a wonderful event, honoring the veterans who have done so much for us.” Anton took this opportunity to thank the many businesses contributing to the evening’s event, giving them a plaque of appreciation to each: Victorville Motors, Tri-Community Kiwanis, Snowline JUSD, Howards Appliances, Wild Bill’s Smoke Meats, Pizza Factory, Atech, Keller Williams Real Estate, McDonald’s, Feed Barn, Desert Comm. Bank, Phelan Express, Daughter of the American Revolutions, Tri-Community Chiropractic, Auto Wrench 2.0, SBC Fair, Hesperia Wranglers, Wrangler Queens, Snowline Teachers Assoc., PPH-CSD, Dr. Vanesian Optometrist, NewsPlus, Chick-fil-A, Desert Automotive, Muffler & Hitch Co., and Mills Hardware. There were also souvenirs from the students of Heritage for the veterans to take home. These included letters to thank the veterans and fine pens. Over the past 29 years, the event has become a premiere event for the High Desert veterans. One final word: Wild Bill’s Smoke Meats in Hesperia is honored to provide the main meal for the veterans. Their food trail can come out to cater events. (760) 244-7781
Tropical Storm makes history as it moves across the Tri-Community
9:00 a.m., portions of Duncan Road and Sheep Creek Road in #Phelan closed due to flooding. San Bernardino County Public Works posted the above image.
By Vicky Rinek
Official report: We should never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. The Tri-Community is one of the hardest hit areas in San Bernardino, where videos posted on social media showed flooded streets and debris flows. Rain accumulation totals reached nearly 8 inches from the storm. Authorities put out warnings of mudslides and gusty winds on Sunday through Monday morning. Weather experts report more than one year’s rain in just one or two days. The first tropical storm in 80 years, Hurricane Hilary, was a powerful category four as of Friday night. On Sunday, Hurricane Hilary dropped to a cyclone storm category 1. The TV was interrupted numerous times by Officials ordering a flash flood watch. Officials warned residents not to let their guard down as dangerous flooding could inundate neighborhoods. Ongoing amounts of rainfall caused landslides. At 10:30 a.m. Supervisor Paul Cook posts on Facebook: Duncan and Sheep Creek Road closed due to mudslides and flash floods, with no access by emergency vehicles or residents. By 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Wrightwood’s measure rain totaled 4.74 inches, in Phelan, 3.71 inches of rain, and Pinon Hills, 3.73 inches. As 4:00 p.m. approached, Sheep Creek Wash overflowed onto Highway 2 in Wrightwood. Caltrans closed Hwy 138 due to mud and flooding. The Sheep Creek wash at Lone Pine Canyon Road filled the 15-foot basin with logs, dirt, and boulders. National Weather Service reported strong gusty winds NNE at 25 to 35 mph and gusts up to 60 mph. Snowline schools closed their campuses on Monday, 8/21, due to inclement weather and road closures. By 9:00 p.m., rain measured nearly 8 inches in mountains and desert, and anticipate an additional 4 inches of rain on Monday. By Monday morning, the bulk of the rain had passed through the county with no significant loss, although authorities were surveying for any extra storm damage. Almanac records in the Tri-Community show 10.6” of rain in 1992
Intense Thinning in Angeles Forest
By Vi cky Rinek
With wildfires smoldering all over California, prevention has risen to the top of the agenda. At the recent Wrightwood Fire Safe Council meeting, Forest agencies discussed the care of the surrounding forest. A key process in managing forests for fire resistance is thinning tree stands to reduce the fuel that propels the blazes. During the cool, wet months the National Forest performed thinning of forests with control burns in selected area. Controlled burns—those set by fire managers to remove vegetation from forests—is a relative bargain at less than $150 an acre. These fires, even though managed and herded, discharge polluting smoke and always threaten to get away from their overseers. The lower tiers of small trees and saplings can become dangerous “ladder fuels,” carrying fire to the tops of trees, where flaming limbs can launch in the wind. Contract crews into a forest to physically remove trees is called “mechanical thinning” and is the most expensive method, costing as much as $1,400 an acre. They arer continuing on the Big Pines project as well as the Jackson Lake area. The area is contracted out where it’s going to be cut and chipped with mastication machines. Additional acres north side of table mountain campground awarded. Jim Avery, WFSC President indicated that his camp fire insurance is $175,000 because of the fire danger. He hopes to rerceive a discount with the amount of mastication around his camp ground. Few of the staff have been relocated to other forest fires in Riverside. “It’s a matter of just making sure that Big Pines area is staffed as well as.” According to the California department of forestry the area will be increasing the fire warning signs to extremely High. They are in preparedness level three in emergency planning. The San Bernardino Fire Department spoke person indicated that they are currectly under staff and is hiring on their website. The department has some firefighter assigned to the riverside wild fire. They have a new storage facility that holds 140 thousand gallons of fire retardent for fire companies. The received $14 million in grants for the various mastication of 90000 acre project in Big Bear. The Los Angeles side of Wrightwood is 100% in compliance for the weed abatement. There are 71 vacant lots with 24 lots contracted by the County to clear the brush. Wrightwood Fire Station #14, Captain Wright reported no fire issues in Wrightwood. An individual attending the meeting said that there was a fire at Camp Wrightwood. It was a campfire that got out of control. Only a picnic bench was burnt. The GSOP agency told the Board that her term with Wrightwood will be coming to an end this month. She said she would continue to work with WFSC. The training programs held last month were very successful. A Power Point presentation will be available for future training online. There will be an oak tree in Wrightwood that they have identified as a “mother” tree that spreading infestation. It’s a large tree and will be expensive to remove the tree. They hope to use it as an educational tree when the tree comes down. Wrightwood CERT representative said they have scheduled a special training at Mountain High. The parking lot will be set up for training for firefighters returning from a fire-line. The training will include a cool down and medical aid for firefighters. They hope that Wrightwood’s Fire Station #14 will be available to participate . This event is open to the public on Saturday, July 29 at 10 am. The next CERT training, open to the public, is scheduled for September 9, 16 and 23, 8 am to 4 pm. The class registration is online at email@example.com
Wrightwood Economic Development Roundtable
By Vicky Rinek
Wrightwood Property Owners Association (WWPOA) held a meeting to discuss the condition of the village business district. On July 9, a packed house at the Wrightwood Community Building, with over 50 residents in attendance, gathered for the second roundtable discussion on what the community needs to revitalize its downtown area. The Wrightwood Property Owners Association-secretary Pamela Wright called the meeting to order. “The WWPOA is a 501(c)4, which is a lobby organization, and we advocate to protect and preserve the property values, the quality of life, and the lifestyle in Wrightwood.” Pamela started the meeting by asking each individual to introduce themselves and what organizations they were a part of. “Our job is to let you know and try to feed you sources of where you can find information so that you can make up your mind yourself, and then you can decide which side of the issue you want to be on and in fact.” Pamela continues, “If there’s an issue that we have a common interest in, we can join together because many voices are much stronger than one voice alone.” The LAGR (legislative action in governmental relations) committee of the WWPOA is the principal lobbying organization and the advocacy arm of the WWPOA. “One of the things that we want to do is protect the property, values, the quality of life, and the lifestyle, and it probably is on all of your minds because look how many people are here,” said Pamela, What’s happening to our downtown area? To the image of Wrightwood?” Pam’s concern is when people come up the hill to go to the resort, to get a negative impression of the downtown village. The community needs to do something about it. Pamela’s concern is that it will only worsen if nothing is done at the Village. “We thought, what a charming little Hallmark, Town Channel-type village. We love it, so thank you to all who invested your history in this place. Now we need to help preserve it.” Pamela continues, “Not that we are trying to bring McDonald’s and Starbucks in here or big flying Ferris wheels; we just want to protect the property values, the quality of life in the lifestyle that we all value in the common soul.” “We certainly do not want to make Wrightwood a Rancho Cucamonga, but we can utilize the strategies their professionals use to create and support their businesses. We have people in our community with talents and skills who can get it done, so the question is, how do we do it? It starts with the discussion. Pamela handed out a three-page questionnaire that she went over with a Community to discuss some of the point issues. The intention is to identify some of the problems. “So, we’ve got so many intelligent, experienced people that live in Wrightwood.” Just like the people that built our community, would you be willing to gather together to share your expertise and take care of these problems? “So, one of the significant issues is the retail space in the Village. The landowners are renting to only non-retail businesses. There are only a few gift shops, but for the most part, it is not an inviting place for visitors. The streets are in bad condition, and the public restrooms are insufficient.” If a group of people wants to get together and come up with ideas, we can facilitate those people. We are meeting together to come up with how to make things happen. It will not happen tomorrow or next week. Still, if we all commit to making it work, small groups of committees of dedicated people passionate about those issues, it can be accomplished.” Pamela continues, “There’s got to be a purpose, strategic plan of what’s here that people want to join into, and that all takes the brain power of wonderful people like you. I’m just so thrilled to see all of you.” Pam told the audience that there are grants, and Bruce, LaClaire, and Christine Jenkins are running workshops at the Wrightwood Village Foundation to help people or organizations write grant applications for private and public funds to help get things done. San Bernardino County has millions of dollars to distribute throughout the County every year. It’s called Community Development Block Grant funds. They have to give some of it to certain cities, but the County controls a portion distributed to unincorporated areas. Wrightwood is an unincorporated area, so we should qualify. Sadly, we aren’t even on that. The County Pamela concludes: “Battle continues, what is the anchoring Wrightwood that draws people up to the mountains? It is Mountain High Resort, but what draws the people into our Village is to make that left turn up Park Avenue. Right now, there is nothing that a tourist would be encouraged to visit the Village besides a few restaurants and bars. The retail business consists of a few gift shops. “Do we make good use of connecting with Mountain High?” They promote their own things and try to get people up here. They target the community.” One individual indicated that we need a public relations committee to encourage more traffic in the Village. The big problem right now is the sewer system in the Village. With the inadequate waste storage facility, the community has to bring in portable toilets, which is an eyesore. A group of citizens are working on this to solve this problem. Hopefully, they’ll obtain a Waste treatment system Grant to take care of the businesses from the Post Office and businesses on Highway 2, up Park Street through the Village and to the community public restrooms. This group holds regular meetings to discuss the possibilities with the general manager of the Wrightwood Community Services District (WCSD). The WCSD control a small portion of the property taxes. WCSD has authority over four areas: “ solid waste and recycling, street lights, parks and recreation, wastewater planning, and engineering. The property they control consists of the community building, the Vivian, Null Park, the Hollis Stewart Park, the Veterans Memorial Park, and the parking lot. Currently, they do not have any authority over other operations in the community. San Bernardino County controls the maintenance of the roads, snow plows, fire department, law enforcement, and code enforcement, to name a few. During the meeting, a few individuals commented on various problems and concerns. Pamela Wright indicated that this was a good start. She suggested that community members could develop a committee to address some of these issues. Pam indicated another meeting because some people who wanted to attend were unable because of their work schedules. The next meeting will be scheduled for a Monday at 5 PM with an agenda focusing on a couple of main topics. Emails were collected, and Pam will send out dates for the next meeting. The Wrightwood Property Owners Association can be contacted through their email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow them on Facebook.
State Assembly Tom Lackey of District #34 (R) presents check to The San Bernardino County Fire Department for Wrightwood and Hesperia fire stations. Photo by Vicky Rinek
Assemblyman Lackey presents $1 million Check to Wrightwood Fire Station #14
By Vicky Rinek
The San Bernardino County Fire Department is awarding $6 million to distribute to Wrightwood and Hesperia fire stations. State Assembly Tom Lackey of District #34 (R) presented a ceremonial check for $1 million at the Wrightwood Fire Station on Tuesday, September 15, 2022. “We are extremely proud to present this check for $1,000,000 to the Wrightwood Fire Station #14.” Said Lackey to Battalion Chief Steve Tracy, Public Relations Officer Tracy Martinez, Wrightwood Fire Crew: Captain Mark Wright, Captain Pat Fleckenstein, paramedics Ryan Murphy, ambulance operators Aamod Shukla, EMT Valarie Colon, and search and rescue dog Rami with his handler Engineer Brent Cannon.
The funds will go toward purchasing a new Type 3 Wildfire fire engine. A Type 3 fire engine is what you’ll see if you live in a mountainous or rural community. These (typically) four-wheel drive apparatuses are designed to deploy, pick up, and relocate rapidly during wildfires. A Type 3 fire engine includes a pump operating at 120 gpm, a large 500 gal/tank, 1000 ft. one 1/2″ hose, 800 ft.″, and a minimum of four firefighters. Captain Mark Wright said that with this new engine, they could go up the mountain, off the road, right to the fire, and bring a more significant amount of water to strike the fire. In contrast, the Type 1 fire engine is only capable of riding on regular roads and can reach fires such as structure fires. Wrightwood Station has one Type 1 engine, a Type 6 (patrol) engine, a Snow Cat, a medic ambulance, and a tractor. Wrightwood is part of the High Desert region and supports other stations when needed. Hesperia Fire Station receives $5 million, which will go toward a new fire station. Hesperia station is over 50 years old, and these funds will go a long way to improve the compacity and operations of the station. Both stations service not only their neighborhood but cover the High Desert region. Lackey’s region #34 covers a wide area with Hesperia and Wrightwood as the most eastern edge of his district. This event is one of his last acts to help our region before his assigned district boarders are moved. After November, Wrightwood will be under the jurisdiction of district #46. Lackey strongly suggests that the community get in touch with the new Assemblyman and let him know our wants and needs for the community. Rescue Remi, the service dog trained for life, search and rescue, calls Phelan Fire Station home. She is a shepherd breed trained by Working Dogs for Warriors, a nonprofit organization. Her handler, Engineer Brent Cannon, explained that Remi was donated to the Fire Station. Remi is the first dual-purpose rescue/care dog in training. She is two years old and is excited to be part of the crew in Phelan. You can follow Remi on instagram: www.instagram.com/rescue_remi_sbcofd/
Mt. High awarded Concession of Angeles National Forest
By Vicky Rinek
On Friday, May 13, Mountain High became the authorized Concessionaire in partnership with the National Park Service to provide commercial guidance in Angeles National Forest. This huge honor required a rigorous and exhaustive review of Mountain High’s guide service by the National Park Department of the Interior. “We have Table Mountain, Mountain Oak, and Lake Campgrounds operational. This upcoming weekend, Peavine and Appletree will be implemented (May 20).” Said Ben Smith, Vice President of Resort Operations for Mountain High. “We are psyched to take over the Angeles National Park! Mountain High will be a four-season resort.” Said Smith. “Jackson Flat Group Campground is proposed, for June 1, as long as everything stays on track (hazard tree removal, water systems, road clearing).” They will manage 20 campsites throughout the forest within the 700,000 acres of ANF. “We are still working on Table Mountain Amphitheater repairs, Table Mountain Interpretive, and Nature Trails- planned completion of June 15.” What parts will Mt High control? Smith explained, “I think of it as 3 spokes to a Wheel: Spoke 1) Table Mountain Campground, and Table Mountain Day Use Sites. Spoke 2) Mountain Oak, Lake, Peavine, and Appletree Campgrounds. Jackson Lake, Mescal, and Arch Day Use Sites. Spoke 3) Jackson Flat Group Campground. Inspiration Point, Grassy Hollow, and Vincent Gap Day Use/ Trailhead Sites. “ Lodging, retail, and food services at ANF, camper services, and RV campground are operations under the Mountain High concession contract. Mt. High will have year-round staff to manage the concession. Mt High is now operating the North Lodge seven days a week and plans on adding interpretive features/ events and multiple supplemental activities to make the venture successful. They have had brainstorming meetings that included all items listed and many more! Mountain Biking is another topic that is also in the works- currently, a lot of behind-the-scenes work is happening right now (response to public scooping comments, environmental and cultural studies, and surveys). The Grassy Hollow Visitor Center and Big Pines Visitor Center/ Clubhouse (buildings) are not included in the concession. Blue Ridge, Guffy, Lupine, and Cabin Flat Campgrounds (still managed by Forest Service). Through the Concessionaire Permit, there is a program called Grainger-Thye, which is a mutually agreed upon “fee” that is reinvested within the permit area. Currently (through December 2023), this is 8% of campground revenue. So far, between labor and parts, Mountain High has already invested over $20,000 into this venture. Most has been spent on behind-the-scenes items such as removing hazard trees, replacing water valves, hardware, and long hard days of work. Numerous campgrounds and day-use sites are first-come, first-served, with a maximum 14-day stay at a site and a total of 30 days stay per year in the Angeles National Forest. A campsite may be used by a maximum of eight people and a maximum of two vehicles. Where fees are required, checkout time is 11 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Reservations made through www.recreation.gov A campsite may be used by a maximum of eight people and a maximum of two vehicles. Where fees are required, checkout time is 11 a.m., unless otherwise specified. Reservations made through www.recreation.gov
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