Saturday, June 30, ‘Are You Really Free’ brought their faith-based Independence Day celebration back to Serrano’s stadium. The second annual Faith and Freedom Festival (FFF) was an evening of food, fun, and fellowship, with a fireworks display as the finale. Community organizations and churches provided booths and distributed information in the form of handouts, along with the eve popular free pens, shopping bags, and flying disks. Victorville Motors was on scene to raffle a truck, and a gift basket, and other prizes included gift cards and t-shirts from various vendors.
Children’s activities included a bounce house with punching bags, another with with blow-up style wrecking balls, an inflatable slide, and an inflated obstacle course for the budding soldier or triathlete. Volunteers with FFF ran the dunk tank challenge, where children could test their aim, throwing a softball at a target to release a lever and dunk the adult in the tank.
Food vendors provided BBQ, funnel cakes, ice cream, and cold drinks for a fee. Some families brought their own food and blankets for a summer picnic on the grass.
Live music was provided by headliner band Forgiven, with bands from New Life and High Desert Baptist churches, and R&B bands ProzperaD, Love Connection, and Imajj.
Sponsors of the festival included Set Free Ministries, Calvary Phelan, Harvest Christian Center, High Desert Baptist Church, New Life Church of the Nazarene, Victorville Motors/Ram, Timberline Lions Club, and a host of businesses and individuals who contributed to the success of the event.
A Fourth of July celebration wouldn’t be complete without a spectacular fireworks show, and FFF delivered. Spectators lined the streets surrounding the school, filled the grassy field at the stadium, and watched from the bleachers as fireworks lit up the night sky. Patriotic music provided an additional measure of goosebumps, adding to the slight chill of the evening. After a sparkling, colorful finale, tired but happy families packed up and headed home, perhaps planning to attend another celebration on Wednesday, July 4.
PPHCSD passes budget
By Terri Hill
Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District (CSD) Board did not meet on July 4, in observance of the holiday. In June, the board dealt with some old business and new concerns.
On June 6, the board held a Public Hearing on the 2018/2019 Budget. Prior to the hearing, several public meetings were held, including workshops, committee meetings, and board meetings, to provide the Board and the public with information for consideration, lending an opportunity for input into the budget process. CSD staff began gathering information in preparation for the budget in February.
At the June 6 hearing, staff reported no Written Protests, Objections, or Comments had been submitted prior to the hearing, and no comments or questions arose during the hearing. When none of the Board members had comments or questions, the board voted 4-1 to adopt the budget, with Director Pace casting the “no” vote.
Fiscal Impact, provided by CSD staff (The entire budget is available on the CSD website: https://www.pphcsd.org/):
Non-Operational $ 2,184,325
Net Total $773,456
Enterprise Fund $343,069
Government Fund $430,388
The Board approved the Water Exchange Agreement between the Sheep Creek Water Company (SC) and the CSD. The agreement allows for SC to borrow up to 10 acre-feet of water when they are in need, and return it when they have the resources to do so. General Manager Don Bartz explained that within the new agreement is a stipulation addressing payment in the event that more than 10-acre feet of water is needed by SC. In that case, SC would pay the same rate as CSD customers. Bartz explained, “We can’t sell water to SC for less than we charge our customers.” Alternately, the CSD cannot charge SC more than what customers pay, as the CSD is precluded by law from making a profit. The Board approved the agreement, as recommended by the Engineering Committee.
San Bernardino County Fire Captain Wetzel reported on the calls the department responded to in May, including 19 traffic collisions, four structure fires, two vegetation fires, and 12 investigations. He reiterated the importance of reporting suspicious activity or apparent smoke, as fire danger is rated “high.” “If you see something, say something,” he repeated, “we’d rather go out on a call and find that no threat exists.”
Sheriff Deputy Coby Fox reported the department responded to 266 calls and 23 reports were taken in Pinon Hills in May. In Phelan, there were 840 calls and 87 reports for the same month.
On June 20, the Board discussed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a type of partnership between the CSD and the Snowline Community Cabinet (SCC) for a Demonstration Garden. SCC would provide grant funding and Master Gardeners and the CSD would provide the location and utilities for the garden. The Board approved moving forward with the review.
The next PPHCSD Board meeting is scheduled for July 18, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the Phelan Community Center.
Community Cabinet forms formal relationships with local organizations
By Jessica Gonzalez
Legal relationships and upcoming events were the main topics of discussion at the Snowline Community Cabinet (the Cabinet) meeting on Thursday, June 21. The highlight however, was when the committee put its mission into action to help a local business. The Cabinet voted unanimously to provide $200 for yoga mats to Anjela Boyd, owner of Dank Dharma Yoga, who will be offering community yoga classes.
The Cabinet was the first item on the discussion list. The Cabinet has formalized its relationship with the Phelan Pinon Hills Community Improvement Association. Charlie Johnson, the Association’s President, reiterated that while the Association will function as the legal entity to receive grant money and provide funds to the Cabinet, the Cabinet will control its activities. It was also mentioned that, if desired, the Cabinet can eventually sever the relationship with the Association and become a completely separate and independent committee. Johnson noted that 94 percent of the voters were in favor of formalizing the relationship between the two groups and he wanted to address reservations held by the other 6 percent.
The Association had received a $25,000 grant. It has used $12,000 to purchase a large storage container to hold food and clothing. Funds were also devoted to Cabinet member Michelle Hannon’s education in order to earn her designation as a Master Gardner. Hannon’s accreditation is the cornerstone of the demonstration garden. According to a draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Cabinet and the Community Services District, the garden will address “the need for continued and improved nutritional opportunities within our community.” Results from the Cabinet’s 2016 community survey named nutrition as a top priority. Hannon also described the garden as being a “great day of learning for local schools.”
Talk turned to the relationship between the Cabinet and the Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District (CSD). According to Johnson, the two entities are bonded through an MOU, rather than a formalized contract. Johnson expressed concern that, based on the way the MOU was worded, the CSD will construe it as a contract. He also voiced hopes that the MOU will be renewed and its terms honored, even if there’s a change in management in the future. Presently, the CSD provides water and electricity for the Community Garden and has allocated a specific location.
Concerning the language of the MOU, Cabinet members wanted clarification on the following issues: the process of resolving disputes between the District and Cabinet, ownership of the gardening equipment, and establishing parameters for conducting reviews. Ultimately, the MOU was accepted with members agreeing that more fine-tuning was needed.
Discussion of key community events included the 2nd Annual Faith and Freedom Festival to be held at the Serrano High School Field on Saturday, June 30 from 6 to10 p.m., the Phelan Chamber of Commerce paid $1,000 to advertise the event. Don Fish previewed activities that will be offered during Phelan Phun Days in October, including the Fear Farm, a hayride, calf roping and ranch sorting. The High Desert Chapter of the San Bernardino County Tobacco Control Coalition will meet on Thursday, June 28 in Victorville. Pizza Factory was recognized for donating more than $600 to the Cabinet.
Noting residents’ concerns about homelessness in the area, Susan Drake, Constituent Services Director for First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood, talked about the Sheriff Department’s H.O.P.E team. The team of Deputies, whose acronym stands for Homeless Outreach Proactive Enforcement, was created to reduce crime through reaching out to the homeless population and encouraging them to use available resources. They actively travel the county and connect with homeless residents.
The Snowline Community Cabinet will meet on July 19 at 1 p.m. in the Staff Development room of the district office.
The 11th year, Country Western and Bluegrass Music,
afternoon barbeque and concert
hosted by John Wilkens
Red Barn Opry continues tradition
By Michael Palecki
For the 11th year, Country Western and Bluegrass Music fans enjoyed an afternoon barbeque and concert hosted by John Wilkens and produced by Dave Cimino. This year, 12 Wrightwood sponsors helped defray the costs of the free meal and to pay the musicians, who enjoyed the largest attendance ever. The setting of the Red Barn and old Western town, created by John Wilkens at “Wilkenville Corner,” was as Americana as the music.
Welcoming guests, legendary drummer Dave Cimino and Wrightwood pioneer John Wilkens thanked everyone for their support in continuing the musical tradition founded by the late Madelyn Cimino 11 years ago. Special thanks were included for Graham & Stephanie Ludlow and a number of volunteers who did all the heavy lifting. Following those announcements, Boy Scouts from Wrightwood Troop 351 presented the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Rick Albertson on mandolin and Bob Pendergrass on acoustic guitar, performing as Rick N’ Bob, played three songs written by the Father of Bluegrass Music, Bill Monroe. The selections of “Bluegrass Stomp,” “Southern Flavors,” and “Bluegrass Twist” were delightfully energized with double picking especially on the mandolin, which made the musicians sound like more than a duo.
The High-D Boys then took the stage with staggering four-part vocal harmonies, vaudeville comedy antics, and a musical barrage of instruments. With front man Robert Blomker on lead vocals, additional musicians included Mike Kelly on acoustic guitar, Phil Clevinger on trumpet, tuba, and ukulele and Jacob Olsen on wash tub bass. Performing a combination of purposely misinterpreted cover songs mixed with cleverly written original songs, The High-D Boys were a hoot from start to finish.
Starting off with “Move It On Over,” Blomker sang lead vocals until the song morphed into “Jump, Jive An’ Wail,” with Kelly then singing in a comic-baritone voice and Clevinger playing trumpet and ukulele. They sung a witty version of “When The Saints Go Marching In,” with lyrics they made up off the tops of their heads, and everybody singing falsetto harmonies.
Continuing with original music, there was a country song with trumpet, entitled “Break Down Property Damage,” followed by the high octane “Boil That Cabbage Down.” Singing more covers, Olsen performed Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” accompanied by the tuba, while Blomker sang “Under The Boardwalk” accompanied by ukulele and wash tub. Later, Blomker sang a wailing rendition of “Summertime” that somehow got twisted into falsetto harmonies with trumpet. Winding things up, Clevinger channeled the spirit of Louis Armstrong as he sang “What A Wonderful World” in a raspy deep voice.
Later in the evening, Dwayne Williams on acoustic guitar and lead vocals was Full Monty Cash, while members of ‘A Band Named Sue’ included Marcus Monte on electric guitar, Mark Cartwright on electric bass guitar, and Dave Cimino playing drums. Close your eyes and it was Johnny Cash singing “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ring of Fire,” “Walk The Line” and “Boy Named Sue” with four additional songs also receiving thunderous applause from the audience.
Concluding the concert, audience anticipation was peaking as Jarett James and The County Line entered the Red Barn Opry stage. With James singing lead vocals and playing acoustic guitar, band mates included Walter Foley on lead electric guitar, Mark Eshelman on electric bass guitar and Scott Tomashek playing drums. The selection of songs was like the greatest hits from the best Country Western singer/songwriters and as James worked the audience, they seemed to know every tune well.
Highlights from the 17-song set included a syncopated rhythm and guitar solo with James’ strong vocals on Tim McGraw’s “Down on the Farm,” and the audience cheering during the Jake Owens song “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.” On Steve Earl’s “Hillbilly Highway” Foley joined James momentarily on the vocals until he broke away on guitar with a wah wah echo. Continuing with James turning “God Bless Texas” and “Chicken Fried” into vocal anthems, the momentum was building for a long-extended version of “Wagon Wheel.”
James’ syncopated vocals kept building in intensity for “She’s Gone Country” and a loud version of “Young Again.” With that being the final song, the audience was going nowhere until Dave Cimino asked James for, “One more song.” And so, “Country Lovin’” brought the curtain down.
More than 3,100 plants and 932 lbs. of processed marijuana seized in Phelan and Piñon Hills
On Thursday, June 21th, beginning at approximately 8:30 a.m., investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department - Marijuana Enforcement Team served three search warrants at residences in the unincorporated communities of Phelan and Pinon Hills. All three locations had outdoor marijuana cultivations on the property. More than 3,100 marijuana plants and 932 pounds of processed marijuana were seized during the service of the search warrants. Investigators do not believe the locations are linked together.
The investigation revealed the marijuana cultivations were not in compliance with California’s Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and/or San Bernardino County’s ordinance prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity. San Bernardino County has an ordinance prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity, which includes growing marijuana plants outdoors. San Bernardino County Code Enforcement personnel will assist in the notifications to the property owners to make them aware of the violations occurring on their property.
The Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division will continue to enforce California’s cannabis laws, as well as the San Bernardino County’s ordinance regarding cannabis cultivation and distribution. Persons found guilty of violating the state law and county ordinance are subject to fines, prosecution, and seizure of property.
Property owners who are growing marijuana or are aware their tenants are growing marijuana on their properties in violation of the state law and local ordinances may also be subject to civil or criminal sanctions. Property owners are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement or cod e compliance agency to confirm if cultivating cannabis is prohibited or allowed under specific regulations.
Location #1- 13900 block of Pacific Road, Phelan
2853 marijuana plants seized, three suspects arrested: Zhixue Fan, 62 year old male citizen of China; Guoxo Yang, 48 year old male resident of San Gabriel; Jia Zhi Shi, 39 year old male citizen of Canada.
Location #2 - 13600 block of Wilson Ranch Road, Phelan
190 marijuana plants and 860 pounds of processed marijuana seized, two suspects arrested: Dave Torres, 28 year old male citizen of Mexico and Roman Orozco, 28 year old male citizen of Mexico.
Location #3 - 12400 block of Mountain Road, Pinon Hills
85 marijuana plants and 73 pounds of processed marijuana seized, ten suspects arrested: Santos Val dez, 21 year old male resident of Rohnert Park;
Patricio Medina, 43 year old male resident of Pinon Hills; David Torres, 31 year old male resident of Perris; Felix Galanza, 22 year old male resident of Homeland; Jose Sanchez, 37 year old male resident of Pinon Hills; Rey Garcia, 22 year old male resident of Patterson; Rolando Garcia, 22 year old male resident of Perris; Gilberto Villa, 32 year old male resident of Hawthorne;
Jose Garcia, 30 year old male resident of Patterson; Salome Garcia, 32 year old male resident of Patterson.
Anyone with information regarding these investigations or is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909)387-8400 or NARC-MET@sbcsd.org. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
“Bearded” Flowers and More in Our Local Forest
by Carol Bishop
The Grinnell’s beardtongue, one of our penstemon species, is currently in bloom near Grassy Hollow Visitor Center. The mouth of the flower has three lower lobes streaked with dark lines, a hairy throat and a long-haired, protruding staminode. The hairy throat and long-haired staminode not only have given the flower it’s common name of beardtongue, but is a highly effective adaptation resulting in dynamic pollination. Those on last Sunday’s Volunteers of the Angeles National Forest’s plant walk learned that and many other interesting facts as they were introduced to the flora and trees of the area in a short, but fascinating walk around the center and the first loop of the PCT.
Kimberlyn Williams, a professor of biology at CSU, San Bernardino, has been leading the annual walk for about 15 years. She volunteers her time because she finds it fun to share her knowledge with people who are interested in learning. “We live in an amazing area and the more people who know about it, the better,” she states.
Kimberlyn began the walk by presenting each person a list of the 42(!) different plants and trees that grow along the one-mile loop. As the group traveled, Kimberlyn pointed out and identified the ones currently visible giving both common and scientific names and any other facts she thought might be of interest. Although not all of the flowers were in bloom, a surprising number were.
The flower-lovers of our area recognized the western wallflower, wavy leaf Indian paintbrush, mountain bush lupine, and the blue elderberry. But due to small numbers, small size, obscure location, or unique structure, some plants were easily missed by the untrained eye. Kimberlyn’s expertise enabled group members to see flowers they had never noticed before.
Tiny volcanic gilia were tucked between leaves of the Sonora morning glory. The big deervetch, containing multiple tiny flowers tightly grouped together, had only bits of their red-striped blossom evident. The plain Mariposa lilies, golden yarrow, splendid gila, and the wax current were few in number, but beautiful.
Kimberlyn noted when a tree, such as the giant sequoia in the Grassy Hollow picnic area, was likely planted at the site and when a plant was not native to the area. She clarified names, it’s mountain whitethorn - not buckthorn - that’s scratching your legs on the trail, and it’s mountain sagebrush - different from the herb “sage” - that is another dominant plant of the area.
By the end of the hour and now aware of the diversity of plants and trees, all on Kimberlyn’s plant walk had gained a new appreciation of our area. As summer progresses, the flora and trees will continue through different stages, some losing their blooms and even dying off. Others, on the other hand, should be coming into bloom. Get out of the heat and stroll through the cooler temps; you’ll be surprised what there’s to see with a keen eye.
Grassy Hollow’s free summer programs have begun. In addition to their popular Full Moon Hikes, volunteers and local specialists will be offering a variety of activities on Saturdays, and occasionally Sundays, throughout the summer. Check the Mountaineer Progress or go to grassyhollow.net for details.
Music in the Pines opens 14th Season
By Michael Palecki
Beginning its 14th season last Thursday, Music in the Pines presented a full evening of big band music, featuring the John Burcher Big Band Bandits. There were 18 musicians onstage creating a wall of sound finely mixed by legendary Latin Blues guitarist Joey Delgado. Opening the concert, 20 young members of the theatrical group Snowline Players sang patriotic songs, under the direction of Lora Steinmann.
As late afternoon sunlight illuminated the stage, it was Flag Day and the members of Snowline Players were not only dressed in ‘red white and blue’ but they also waved small American Flags as they sang five patriotic songs. On the final song, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” John Burcher played flute and the horn section joined in. According to Steinmann before the concert, “The children are really excited to be performing with the band members,” and the audience responded to that enthusiasm with loud applause.
It was impressive sight, as the band members took the stage. Leading the band, John Burcher played flute and saxophone and sang. There were also several saxophone players, two trombone players, two trumpeters, a keyboardist, two electric guitar players, an electric bass player, two drummers, a percussionist, and two female vocalists. With everyone assembled the band then slid into the “Peter Gunn Theme,” but that was just a teaser intro for Glen Miller’s “Tuxedo Junction,” which featured Craig Kupka on trombone and Steve Alaniz on alto sax. Following those selections, Claudia Campbell took the stage to sing the Patsy Cline version of “Crazy,” with crisp and powerful vocals.
Continuing with instrumentals, the band played “Fly Me to The Moon” and Ellington’s “Caravan” before vocalist extraordinaire Lorena Mackey entered the stage to sing an extended medley of classic Soul, R&B and Blues standards. Notable interpretations included the vibrant Latin tinged heartthrob song “Sway,” “Everyday I Have The Blues,” featuring Dana Hoover on lead guitar and Colin Kupka on baritone sax, “Spanish Eyes,” featuring Jerry Jones on trumpet, and “Mack The Knife.”
Following the raffle during intermission, volunteer Alex Peterson took the microphone to thank other volunteers Dianna Piles, Lynn Crawford, the security personnel and artist Ric Rice who created artwork for the fliers and shirts. As Peterson commented, “Everyone including Claudia Campbell donate their time, without pay, to make Music in the Pines a memorable Wrightwood community event at The Apple Farm.”
The music then continued with guitarist Wayne Elliot singing “Sweet Carolina,” Burcher singing “I Wanna Be Like You,” from Jungle Book, and then Burcher switching to electric guitar for “As I Was Walking Down the Street.” Lorena Mackey returned for “Old Time Rock And Roll,” with the alto and baritone saxes wailing through the night as the dance floor filled up. At that point it was ‘dance until you drop’ for adults, with very little interference from youngsters, who had already expended their stamina earlier. Notable songs for the dancers were “Jump, Jive An’ Wail,” “Flip, Flop, Fly,” and “Tequila.”
Afterwards, an excited Claudia Campbell remarked, “John Burcher went beyond expectations, bringing such a talented cast of musicians to Wrightwood, and for his selection of songs.”
Music in the Pines returns Thursday July 12 at 6:00 p.m. at The Apple Farm, featuring “Wild Side” followed by The Greg Jones Band.
Wrightwood softball Opening Day
Opening day for the Wrightwood Community Services District (WCSD) Adult Co-ed Slow Pitch Softball League, May 10, was a success! “While we anticipated 4 to 6 teams, we had 12 teams playing on Opening Day!” exclaimed Natalie Lopiccolo, WCSD Board member. Monica Ciccarelli, who with Natalie organized the league, explained, “We will have six games nearly every Sunday until August 12, with the exception of July 8. Finals will be held on August 19.”
Alexis Porro, a local 15-year old, sang the National Anthem on Opening Day, and Wrightwood native Sydney Rasmussen, who plays softball for Sacramento State, threw the first pitch. Scouts from Troop/Pack 351 posted the colors for the flag ceremony.
“Hearing all the people cheering each other on and laughing made for an amazing day!” Monica said. Natalie added, “We were beyond surprised and pleased that so many community members would turn out for this!”
Green Waste Recycling event is a win-win-win
By Terri Hill
June 2 through 9 the Wrightwood Fire Safe Council (WFSC) held its 12th annual Tri-Community Green Waste Recycling event. Over the course of the eight days, four to six hours per day, 951 truck (or trailer) loads were brought to the San Bernardino County Yard on Highway 2. Literally hundreds of properties were cleared of fire fuels, helping to protect the entire community.
The annual event is sponsored by WFSC, CR&R, Wrightwood Community Services District (WCSD), Mountain High Resort, and San Bernardino County Fire (SBCoFD).
At the County Yard, drivers were directed to containers on the north side of the yard, to offload pine needles and cones. A SBCoFD Inmate Hand Crew from Devore removed the needles from the vehicles and a small front loader was used to scoop the piles of needles into the containers. CR&R drivers hauled the containers daily, as they were filled, to Mountain High Ski Resort. There, the needles and cones are spread on the slopes of the North, West, and East resorts, for erosion control. Chipped branches and weeds, including a fair number of Christmas trees, goes to the high desert, where it is used as mulch and road topper. Only the bits of trash removed from the green waste loads goes to the landfill.
Volunteers from WFSC, Wrightwood Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), WCSD, Wrightwood Homeowners Association, Wrightwood Historical Society, and members of the community work in shifts of two to four hours throughout the week, directing traffic and accepting generous donations, which help offset the costs of the program that is free to the Tri-Community.
About the Inmate Hand Crew: “The first county Inmate Hand Crew, Glen Helen Crew 15-1, was formed in June 2013 from a partnership between San Bernardino County Fire Department (SBCoFD) and Sheriff’s Department. In Nov. 2015, SBCoFD and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department partnered to form the county’s first female Inmate Hand Crew, Glen Helen Crew 15-9. (Currently there is one crew), whose main objective is responding to fire suppression incidents. They are also tasked with assisting with local fuel reduction programs and chipping operations, assisting other county departments, and responding to other types of emergency operations such as sandbagging and flood recovery.” http://www.sbcfire.org/Programs/InmateHandCrew.aspx
On Wednesday, after the first four days of the event, Ben Smith, General Manager of Mountain High Resort sent the following email to the WFSC, which was shared with the SBCoFD’s Inmate Crew Foreman, who shared it with his crew:
We have already begun spreading the pine needles on the slopes at the West and North resorts, and want to commend the extra efforts put into keeping trash and other debris out of the pine needles. The extra effort helps tremendously in the cleanup and potential spreading of invasive weeds as well! This is a great program and as always is a win for town to become more fire safe, win for keeping green waste product out of landfills, and win for erosion control/ decomposition and revegetation on the slopes! Great Job to All involved and HUGE Thank You for making this program so beneficial to the overall well-being of Wrightwood!
San Bernardino County Code Enforcement began inspections on June 11, having waited until after the Green Waste event was over.
For information on weed abatement and County Code visit http://cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/FireHazardAbatement/FireHazardAbatementHome.aspx
Wrightwood CSD election costs still unresolved Board approves 2018-2019 budget
By Vicky Rinek
The Wrightwood Community Services District (WCSD) Board is still negotiating with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters on the matter of the March 7, 2017 election costs, when 715 Wrightwood residents came to the polls. As of the last WCSD meeting on June 5, 2018, WCSD President Wes Zuber stated that the WCSD is expected to be charged anywhere from $45,000 to $65,000 for the 2017 election. Wes will continue working with San Bernardino County to clear up this matter. The amount remains off the budget and will be addressed at the next WCSD meeting.
At the June 5 meeting, the four Board members in attendance discussed the district’s proposed 2018 - 2019 budget. The legal notice was published in the Daily Press and posted on the door of the community building. The General Manager (GM), Al Morrissette, prepared the annual budget. At the meeting attendees were encouraged to ask questions. Chuck Franklin, Board member of WCSD, asked for clarification on the budget totals. The GM was asked about the voting expense that has been an issue since the 2016 election. The amount was not on the budget sheet. The Board approved the budget as submitted by the GM with an exception that an amendment would be made regarding the voting expenses.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included the closure of the public restrooms at 6:00 p.m., waving of rental fees for Fire Safe Council, the newly formed Adult softball league, and including the Snowline Players summer program under the umbrella of WCSD Parks and Recreation.
Leo Hordyk talked about the donation of stadium lighting, by a private individual, on the Wrightwood Elementary School sports field. Leo mentioned that in order to obtain permits for improvements to a school the plans must be approved by the State Board of Education. After investigation of the procedures Leo learned that the State requires that, in addition to the stadium lights, the school’s ADA accessibility be brought up to date. In as much as the Wrightwood Elementary School is nearly 75 years old and has not been updated in years, the cost to bring the ADA would make the plan for stadium lighting impossible. It was stated that whenever work is done on a school site the State forces the district to bring the specifications of all ADA requirement up to date. Leo gave an example that a window needed to be replaced on a school at a cost of $600 and with the new requirements the school had an expense of nearly $400,000. The stadium lights will not be installed as hoped.
John Aziz, of the Wrightwood Firesafe Council (WFC), submitted a request for waiving the rental fees for the council’s meetings. Chuck Franklin, Board member of WCSD, agreed that the WFC provides a vital service to the community and that the fees should be waived. The board agreed to waive all rental fees.
Lora Steinmann, of the Snowline Players, asked that the WCSD make their summer program part of the WCSD Parks and Recreation. The program would be open to all children in Wrightwood for the month of July. They would offer theater workshops, arts and crafts, and cooking. They would charge a small fee to cover the cost of material and pay an instructor. WCSD Board member Natalie Lopiccolo agreed that this would fit within the description of Parks and Recreation. Snowline is asking that the WCSD waive the rental fee for this period. The board agreed to waive all rental fees.
Some residents commented that closing the park at 6 p.m.is too early and suggested it be open from dawn to dusk. They added, the closure of the public restroom at 6:00 p.m. is too early. The GM informed the board that graffiti was a problem and closing the restrooms at 6:00 p.m. helps reduce vandalism. The Board agreed that closing the restrooms is a good idea. The community members were also concerned with closing the restrooms on days like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Leo added that when Wrightwood has snow, Village businesses host many visitors, and those visitors need access to public facilities. The Board agreed that they would pay overtime for special days, keeping the restrooms open later in the evening. They also agreed that the Parks would remain open from dawn to dusk.
Discussions on the upcoming Dump Cards was brought to the table by Leo. The GM said they are nearly ready, just waiting for final details and the cards will be out by July.
Because July 3 is the eve of Independence Day, the Board agreed to hold the next public meeting on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, at the Community building at 7:00 p.m.
Golden State Water Company files for rate decreases resulting from changes in Tax Law - To Pass Savings to their customers
SAN DIMAS, Calif.– Golden State Water Company (Golden State Water) recently filed to decrease water rates for all service areas to pass cost savings from the new lower federal corporate income tax requirement through to customers. If approved as submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), rates for residential customers in the Claremont, San Dimas, San Gabriel, Los Alamitos, Placentia, Apple Valley, Barstow, Calipatria, Morongo Valley and Wrightwood service areas will decrease by 3.21 percent on July 1, 2018.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 lowered the nation’s federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018. As directed by the CPUC, Golden State Water is tracking the impact of the new corporate tax rate and other changes in tax law and will submit a separate filing to credit customers for any revenue surplus resulting from the reduced tax expense during the period from January 1 - June 30, 2018.
“Golden State Water is regulated by the State of California to ensure water bills reflect the full cost of providing water service and making capital investments that are critical to continue providing quality, reliable water service to customers,” said Denise Kruger, Senior Vice President of Regulated Utilities for Golden State Water. “The new tax law reduces our costs, and we are eager to pass along those savings to our customers.”
The new federal corporate income tax rate will also lower rates proposed in Golden State Water’s General Rate Case filing for 2019-2021. Golden State Water is working with the CPUC to adjust the rate proposal and revenue requirement to reflect the lower tax requirement, which was signed into law after the rate case was filed in July 2017.
For more information regarding Golden State Water, customers are encouraged to call the 24-hour Customer Service Center at 800.999.4033, visit www.gswater.com or follow @GoldenStateH2O on Facebook and Twitter.
June 7, 2018
Snowline Graduating Classes of 2018 celebrate the next chapter
Serrano High School 40th graduating class
By Terri Hill
May 31, as the sun set in the west, 422 Serrano graduates faced faculty and student speakers in the east, celebrating the end of one chapter of their lives and the beginning of the next.
Opening the ceremony, graduates Victoria Walton, Katey O’Neill, Larisa Daniels, April Williams, Amber Bautista, Haily Baugh, Ty Rogoff, Jacob Laycock, Raymond Granados, and Xavier Fortman, who had been choir students at Serrano, performed a harmonic a cappella rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Head Counselor Michelle Scribner addressed the Class of 2018, and made introductions. Assistant principals Lisa Hansen and Andrea Morrison welcomed the families and graduates and recognized the awarded graduates, identified by colored stoles.
In a nod, whether or not intentional, to the Class Quote, “Don’t count the days, make the days count,” (Mohamed Ali), speeches delivered by Superintendent Dr. Ryan Holman and the student speakers were appropriately hopeful and inspirational. Before Certifying the Graduates, Dr. Holman spoke to them about heroism, in their everyday lives, quoting lyrics from a David Bowie song, “We can be heroes forever and ever.” “Be heroes in every part of your life. Be heroes in your families, be heroes in your community, be heroes of service…” Holman implored.
In his speech, Xavier Fortman explained an event that reflected his views for his future, and advice for his fellow grads. Xavier was happy one day to stand in line for a free donut at an ASB event, his friend was distressed by the length of the wait, and decided to leave. Xavier’s message to his class was to not let obstacles keep them from getting what they want. Your goals in life are worth dealing with the obstacles you’ll face, and a free donut is worth waiting in line for.
This year’s Salutatorian also had the distinction of being Serrano High School’s youngest graduate. At just 15 years old, QingQuan Xia graduated with a grade point average of 4.79 and is a National AP Scholar. QingQuan will attend Berkley next fall.
Valedictorian Nathan Lee finished high school with a GPA of 4.82 and will attend University of San Diego. Nathan’s speech was filled with humor and good tidings. Figuring he should be inspirational, Nathan asked classmates to suggest inspirational quotes. “What inspires you,” he asked. “Flower,” “sexy,” “You Can do this!” “Be happy,” and “My mind is blank,” were a handful of the responses. Nathan settled on, “Be happy,” as his general theme. Looking for more direction, he researched the word “valedictorian.” Nathan explained, “Valedictorian comes from the Latin, vale dicere, meaning “to say farewell.” He closed his address with a fond farewell to his school and classmates, and a wish for them to be happy.
Inspiration and promise for students graduating from Non-Traditional High Schools
May 30, 2018: Snowline Joint Unified School District Non-Traditional schools graduated 102 students from three campuses; Chaparral High School, Snowline Academy, and Eagle Summit Community Day School. The ceremony was held in gym at Serrano High School. The graduating class of 2018 walked in with high energy to exhilarated cheers from enthusiastic family and friends. Parents could hardly hold back their emotions as they witnessed the acknowledgment of their sons’ and daughters’ accomplishments. After many years of challenges, road blocks, and confrontations these students have made the leap into adulthood. Students were eager to accept their diplomas and toss their caps into the air as their final farewell to high school.
For various reasons a traditional high school does not meet the diverse educational needs of some students. At Snowline schools, these students’ education continues to be a top priority. A custom plan is designed for each student, and the staff at each of the high schools counsels them, making sure no one falls through the cracks. These alternative programs have proven to be highly successful and their graduation rates continue to increase each year.
Principal Chad Brooks addressed the graduates with a few words of wisdom. Their fellow student, Noemi Muñoz, gave an inspiring speech, encouraging the young men and women to reach for greatness.
Scholarships were awarded by the Pizza Factory, Tri-Community Kiwanis, Piñon Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Teachers Association groups, to Noemi Muñoz and Myrma Gallegass. Both young ladies are planning to enroll in college.
Guest speaker David Nilsen, from Snowline Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees, told the students to seek training in the field of their dreams. “Not all students are college bound,” said Nilsen, “and there are many trade schools to choose from.”
Students who earned High Honors Awards are Savannah L. McGuire, Mya L. Howe, Lelaney A. Howe, Chloe Bocklelman, and Bryce w. Bennett. The Seal of Biliteracy was awarded to LeLancy A. Howe. All these students graduated from Snowline Academy, a public, K-12, tuition-free, home study program.
Chaparral High School was recognized by Western Association of Schools and Colleges for their efforts in providing the highest possible accreditation. They have an 86% graduation rate.
In conclusion Sylvester Foster, graduating senior and ASB member from Chaparral, instructed his fellow graduates to move the tassels from the right side to the left on their mortarboards, and on the count of three the class of 2018 tossed their caps into the air with great jubilation.
Wrightwood Music Student Recitals
By Michael Palecki
On Sunday June 2, Community United Methodist Church in Wrightwood was filled to capacity for two seatings as the Keyboard Art School of Music presented its annual recitals. After Keyboard Arts Administrator Joyce Wonderly welcomed guests, there was loud applause from the audience when she announced the school had 120 students this year. Of those, a total of 65 performed during the two recitals on Sunday.
The 4:00 p.m. recital began with Tim Benge’s band students playing a variety of musical selections. One flute player, two on clarinets, one on trumpet, a saxophone and a trombone player formed the ensemble. Faculty members seated in the first row introduced their students after the performance.
Stephanie Santos-Owens’ voice students were accompanied by Jerry Ripley on piano. Santos-Owens was there to guide younger students, who were performing for the first time in front of an audience, with whispers and gestures of encouragement. The complexity and the length of each musical selection had been chosen to challenge each student, but also provide a level of comfort if they had prepared adequately. Piano students might have had it somewhat easier, because they were not looking directly at the audience. In their fancy clothes, and with timeless performances, bows to the audience, and acknowledgement to the pianist, these were finely tuned young ladies and gentlemen debuting their talent, in spite of nerves or little mistakes (because the show must go on).
More advanced piano students, taught by Chet Noll and Rodger Whitten, performed some full-length selections. There were also students of Dylann Stubblefield playing ukulele and guitar, and students of Gayle Dowling playing guitars. Continuing with stringed instruments, a student of instructor Paris Klein played violin with piano accompanying, and a small youngster was positioned on the harp, which was taller than she, by Jerry Ripley, to begin playing with self assuredness that must have been, “I can do this.” From a personal viewpoint, the performance of “Amazing Grace” in multiple octaves from a student playing alto saxophone with Ripley accompanying on piano, was both mellow and majestic.
Taking a moment from the performances, Keyboard Art School founder Chet Noll reminded audience members that music lessons are for all ages. Citing Holly Anderson as an example Noll commented, “After Holly’s children were students here in the past she took the time for voice lessons from Stephanie Santos-Owens and piano lessons from me, in order to perform twice today.”
For everyone who is interested in music, the faculty and staff of Keyboard Art School believes, “Learning how to understand, experience and create, both emotionally and physically, is the key to artistic success.”
After a recess during the month of June, summer session classes resume in July. For additional information on how music lessons can enrich your life, go to www.keyboardart.com, or call Program Administrator Joyce Wonderly at (760) 249-3487.
Poets, student member, and retirees recognized at SJUSD Board meeting
By Terri Hill
May 22 the Snowline Joint Unified School District (SJUSD) Board heard from young poets, grades 2 through 12, from within the district. The room was packed to capacity with parents, friends, and supporters of the young poets. These students have written poetry and submitted it to Rattle, the poetry magazine that partnered with SJUSD to feature a young poets’ competition for the 2018 Wrightwood Literary Festival to be held in September. Winners will be announced at the end of the summer and honored on day two of the festival, Sunday, September 30. The winning authors will receive a gift basket and be invited to read their poems at the event. Some poems may also be selected for publication in the 2019 Rattle Young Poets Anthology.
Several students volunteered to read their works aloud at the meeting; 5th-grader Landon Staley read his poem Today is the Day!, Kelsea Laffin read her very personal Lies, 8th-grader Andrew Larsen read One Voice, and Chaparral junior Bryan Peña read Unfinished;. Several other students also read their poems, leaving the audience impressed and quite touched.
All school-aged poets in the Tri-Community and beyond who may be able to attend the second day of the festival are welcome to enter. Go to https://rattle.submittable.com/submit/84745/2018-wrightwood-literary-festival-young-poets-competition.
Seven SJUSD faculty who are retiring this summer were honored also recognized. Representing 135 years of service to the district, the seven employees were honored by the Board, and by Superintendent Dr. Ryan Holman, who spoke to accomplishments and value of each employee after reading the Resolutions for recognition of service. Holman stated, “The position can always be replaced, the people can’t.”
Christine Deluca retired from Serrano High School and worked at Pinon Mesa Middle School (PMMS) and in the Health Department. Joanne served the district for 32 years, in the counseling departments at PMMS and at Serrano. Holman praised her ability to make people laugh, which he asserted is “oh, so important!” Patrick Shubin was with Snowline for six years, as custodian at Quail Valley Middle School (QV). Students at QV had commented to Holman that they would most remember Patrick, from their days at the school, because he was kind, and he inspired kindness. Rick Rueter was the grounds keeper at Serrano for 17 years. He is credited with taking such pride in the condition of the sports fields that earlier in May, the baseball field was officially named after him.
Three of the honorees were present for the celebration and farewells. Sheila Jordan taught within the district for 32 years. She was praised by Holman for her dedication to the students she taught, and their families, at The Heritage School (Heritage) and at Wrightwood Elementary. Sheila is also an accomplished artist, who plans to travel and continue her artistic interests into retirement. Greg Gary was a campus monitor for 11 years. He was recognized by Holman for his dedication to the approximately 9000 students he interacted with during his tenure. Milo Nieto held the positions of instructional associate and teacher during his 25 years with the district. He invented the position, Instructional Technical Department.
The board also recognized Student Board Member Sabrina Cisneros. Sabrina was credited with being “the right gal at the right time” by Holman. She brought the Safe Area For Everyone (S.A.F.E.) Resolution to the board on behalf of the students on all Snowline campuses. Sabrina introduced her successor, Veronica Wilson, and thanked the board for the opportunity to serve the district.
Pinon Hills 4th Annual Summer Fest
By Jessica Gonzalez
The Tri-Community kicked off the summer season at the 4th Annual Pinon Hills Summer Fest. Sponsored by the Pinon Hills Chamber of Commerce, the event put local businesses and organizations in the spotlight and gave residents a first taste of summertime fun.
One of the highlights of the festival was the crowning of Savana Phelps as Miss Pinon Hills for 2018. Phelps, a student at Excelsior Charter School, received her award from Heather Fields, the winner of the 2018 Miss Barstow pageant.
The festival celebrated the area’s entrepreneurial efforts, and included businesses such as the Pizza Factory, the Oil Refiner, Paparazzi Jewelry, Summer Lights, Davison Electric, as well as local artists Bill Elmore and Ric Rice. Mustache Mike’s and Country Corn and More sold food and drinks.
Community spirit was represented by the High Desert Keepers, the Door Ministry, the Girl Scouts, and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
The event, which took place outside the Chamber of Commerce building on Mountain Road, featured a chili cook-off, pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, and yards of classic cars. Live music was provided by the High D Boys.
Another big hit at the event was the hot air balloon. For a $20 ticket, riders were treated to a tethered launch, high above the desert landscape. Almost as impressive as the views from the gondola, suspended beneath the colorful balloon, was the sight for passers-by. The rainbow balloon against the blue sky was as uncommon as it was picturesque.
According to Chamber Secretary Sandy Young, the purpose of the festival is to “promote Pinon Hills as a community.” Young, who ran a real estate business in Pinon Hills for nearly 35 years, stated, “The Chamber’s supposed help the businesses, to make people aware of what kinds of businesses are here.” “It’s kind of a bedroom community,” Young continued, “There are a lot of home businesses here. It’s hard to promote themselves, so that’s our job, as the Chamber, to help them out.”
Wrightwood Student Art Show
By Michael Palecki
Last Saturday afternoon, the Keyboard Art School of Music, in cooperation with the Wrightwood Art Center (WWAC), presented their first annual student art show. On exhibit in the WWAC/Keyboard Workshop were the works of 20 students, who had been taught by instructors Mary Duman and Laura Frame. The workshop was abuzz with excitement as students proudly showed their artwork to family and friends, while cello and flute music wafted through the space.
Once a week at the workshop, located at 6020 Park Drive in Wrightwood, Duman and Frame teach two groups of students, ages five to eight and nine to twelve. There are two semesters of instruction running from September through December and January through May, upstairs above the Village Grind.
As students learn art elements and design principles, those skills are incorporated into mixed media compositions, drawings, acrylic and watercolor paintings, and ceramic sculptures. On Saturday, Omar Lemus pointed out his mixed media, “Lion,” to guests while nearby, Ezekiel Scharfe age four, pointed out his favorite artwork while his father David and younger brother Ephraim also admired the selection. Moments later, 6-year old Evangeline proudly posed and garnered attention to her Dragonfly. Eli Scharfe also posed with his abstract watercolor.
Adding musical color to the event, Keyboard Art Founder Chet Noll played cello and was accompanied by Gary Arnold playing a Bansuri open hole flute, an American Indian flute and a buffalo horn crafted into a musical instrument. While the cello and wooden flutes created a warm mellow sound, the higher pitched buffalo horn added an otherworldly spirituality to the blend.
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