SEPTEMBER 22, 2022
|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
Sheep Creek Water Annual Meeting
By Michael Palecki
Last Saturday morning, Sheep Creek Water Company (SCWC) held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Womack Auditorium of Pinon Mesa Middle School. Insomuch as the Pandemic limited Annual Meetings to be held virtually via zoom for informational purposes only with no voting, this year’s agenda included financials and minutes of 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Opening the meeting, SCWC President Andy Zody welcomed shareholders and then introduced Board Members, and current Staff Members. Those included were Secretary/Treasurer Kellie Williams, Director Luanne Uhl, Director David Nilsen, General Manager Joseph Tapia and General Manager’s Assistant Therese Rodriguez. After that, the Board approved Financial Statements and Annual Meeting Minutes for the three aforementioned years.
Continuing with Old Business and the System Update, Zody commented “The last good year was 2020.” Currently, all wells are down between 2.3 feet and 9.24 feet, with The Tunnel running 120 gallons per minute. Moving on to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Compliance Order, Zody indicated that a corrective action plan, A Financial Review and an Asset Management Plan had been submitted to the State. However he felt that with an approved $4million line of credit, purchase of property for additional wells and CEQA applications moving forward, the water system is very solid and is in a position to drill wells should consolidation efforts falter.
In regards to consolidation of SCWC with Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District (CSD), Nilsen suggested that effort was dependant on the sale of water rights for the fair market value of $13,030,000. Other conditions that Nilsen felt to be necessary included: SCWC customer rates to be the same as CSD customers, current SCWC customers will not pay connection fees, and SCWC staff will be integrated with CSD Staff. Additionally Nilsen commented, “If we are told No, we will drill more wells.” Added to that Zody remarked, “All the information has been in place for the last two years. Its time to fund or not fund.”
Moving on to Public Comments, several shareholders questioned whether there would be a special meeting of SCWC, CSD and SWRCB representatives? To that Nilsen replied, “If consolidation is approved by the State, there will be a special meeting, at which point SCWC Shareholders will have the option to accept or reject the proposal.”Other shareholders felt consolidation would mark the end of the historic pioneering water company. They commented, “If we give up Sheep Creek we lose control.”
Concluding the meeting, shareholders voted for five positions of the Board of Directors. Those elected and the number of votes they received are as follows: Kellie Williams-4055, Andy Zody-3718, David Nilsen-3693, Luanne Uhl-3636,and Eric York-3061.
School Board Begins Revision of Sexual Health Education and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Curriculum for 2022-23 School Year
By Donna Alvarez
Superintendent Dr. Ryan Holman and Assistant Superintendent Allan Miller opened the school board meeting. The first subject covered was the renewal and revision of the Positive Prevention PLUS (PPP) program ( see PositivePreventionPlus.com). Miller presented the following material: “The newly revised PPP curriculum of 2021 is similar yet different from the previously used curriculum. The curriculum is taught at the middle school level (7th grade) and high school level (9th grade). The presentation at this board meeting is a preview of the upcoming new program, and the purpose is to let the Board become familiar with it. The last two years PPP has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic in which an at-home setting, on-line format was used. Because of the controversial and sensitive nature of the subject matter, this PPP curriculum is best taught within an in-person setting, therefore students need to be present during instruction. Since it is an interactive class, the teacher needs to use a question and answer format and therefore maximize learning within the curriculum.” PPP is a comprehensive “Sexual Health Education and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Curriculum” aligned with the National Health Education Standards and is in full compliance, having been updated with the California Education Code, including the “California Healthy Youth Act.” It is important to note that our neighboring high desert districts are also using PPP: Apple Valley Unified School District; Bear Valley Unified School District; Hesperia Unified School District; Oro Grande School District; Rim of the World Unified School District (who is in the process of purchasing the curriculum); Silver Valley Unified School District; and Victor Valley Unified High School District.
The Middle School Lessons (7th grade) are as follows:
• Group Agreements and Sexual Health of Teens
• Understanding Change
• Exploring Friendships
• Bullying and Relationship Violence
• Human Trafficking
• Preventing Unplanned Pregnancies
• Teen Pregnancy Choices and Responsibilities
• Gender and Sexual Orientation
• HIV/AIDS Epidemic
• Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections
• Media and Peer Pressure
• Accessing Community Services
• Goal Setting
The High School Lessons (9th grade) are as follows:
• Group agreements and Sexual Health of Teens
• Life Planning
• Love, Intimacy, and Healthy Relationships
• Bullying and Relationship Abuse
• Human Trafficking
• Preventing Unplanned Pregnancy
• Teen Pregnancy and Making Informed Decisions
• Gender Rolls and Sexual Orientation
. HIV/AIDS Epidemic
• Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections
• Management and Communication
• Media and Peer Pressure
• Accessing Community Services
• Steps to Success
Although the two levels of instruction (Middle School - 7th grade and High School - 9th grade) mirror one another, the high school curriculum is more comprehensive than the middle school curriculum.
A special parental letter of notification will be sent out to parents by Snowline School District. The sample letter stated, “We (the Snowline District) want to make sure that the information is sent out to our families. We have a true belief that we want the families to be true educational partners in making a decision regarding this curriculum making sure it is right for their child and that the parents and guardians have an opportunity to opt out if they should decide to do so. We want to make sure that the parents and guardians know exactly what this curriculum entails so that they can make informed decisions regarding the investments for their own child ... This curriculum must be medically accurate, age appropriate, and inclusive of all students and it must include the following:
• Information about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STI), and FDA approved methods to prevent HIV/AIDS, and treatments;
• Information that abstinence is the only certain way to prevent unintended pregnancy, HIV, STl’s;
• Information must include the value of delaying sexual activity;
• Discussions about social views of HIV/ AIDS;
• Information about accessing resources for sexual and reproductive health care;
• Information about pregnancy, including FDA approved prevention methods, pregnancy outcomes, prenatal care, and the newborn safe surrender law;
• Information regarding an over view of sexual orientation and gender harm of negative gender stereotypes for referring to the latter;
• Information about healthy relationships and avoiding unhealthy behaviors and situations.
If you have any questions, please contact the teacher or principal in charge. You may request a copy of the California Healthy Youth Act (California Education Code 51930-519939).”
Miller stated, “This instruction will be provided by Snowline Joint Unified School District personnel. State law allows you to remove your student from this instruction. If you do not want your student to participate in the comprehensive sexual health or HIV prevention education, please give a written request to Snowline Joint Unified School District, the Principal, or Teacher.”
Miller further stated that “The teachers will go through a comprehensive 2 day training so that they can ask questions and feel comfortable with the content and content delivery. The training will begin May 16th• Teachers will be teaching on a volunteer basis, but generally the classes will be taught through the Science Department or Physical Education Department. The teachers will be staying true to the curriculum. That is (teacher) training is extremely important as well as the delivery of the material and content. This is not a curriculum where we want people (teachers) to go off script. We want them to stay true to the medical accuracy as well as the specific content of each one of the lessons.” There may be exceptions to this curriculum delivery as students bring up questions and various scenarios. The curriculum is available for two weeks for review by parents/guardians anytime their child is participating.
Book acquisition for libraries in Snowline and individual classrooms are to be brought into Snowline guidelines. Miller presented this K2 Agenda item, first reading, regarding new book acquisitions. This policy also covers instructional materials. Board Member Christine Behringer stated that Snowline has a policy covering instructional materials and their references. Board President Marcus Hernandez added that “Snowline has a policy for selection and censorship of books. (We) need books that are age appropriate, grade level appropriate, and so forth.” Miller said that “(Snowline) books are aligned with the ‘Library Association’ and other reputable groups. Our libraries are grounded and in line with good organizations.”
Holman gave his update to the Board regarding At-Home and In-Person Learning for the 2021-22 School Year. It covered five areas of Snowline District: Oak Hills, Phelan, Piñon Hills, greater Victorville, of which Snowline has a small portion, and Wrightwood. According to the various areas and San Bernardino County, the COVID-19 infection rate is low but on a slight rise that the district’s community should be aware of: (graphic on the right)
COVID-19 IMPACT-ACTIVE CASES
Holman continued to say that “The charts give you a perspective on those increasing numbers. I don’t want (to state) anything other than the data with no point of emphasis. During this time period, the hospitalizations are down since the last (COVID-19) surge information given to us per the County Director of the Department of Public Health, who indicates that those numbers are significantly down.”
Holman stated that there is no status of vaccination requirements for students attending school in Snowline during the 2022-23 school year. The pending legislative laws are no longer active: AB 1993 (Wicks Bill) has been withdrawn; SB 871 (Pan Bill) has been withdrawn.
California Department of Public Health has removed the executive order regulatory action. There will be no requirement for vaccinations of students for them to attend the 2022-23 school year. Earliest (vaccine) requirement will be 2022-2023.
Recommended Next Steps:
• Complete Self-Checks at Home
• Test When Symptoms Exist
• Use Safety Strategies as Needed (new emphasis)
• Take Advantage of Resources
• #Snowline United