Nancy Smith, president of the Timberline Lions Club, sits at the edge of her seat, bingo cards splayed in front of her, as the crackling voice of Dee Potter from across the room readies the 30-40 guests for the first game. Over the past 4 -plus years the Timberline Lions Club has sponsored Bingo at the Wrightwood Community Building. This fun event, held on the second Saturday of the month, brought out regulars for an evening of camaraderie as well as old fashion gaming. After expenses, a small amount of money was left for the various community charities the Timberline Lions supports; for causes such as eye glasses for children, scholarships, funds toward holiday meals for less fortunate, and contributions to other smaller groups.
Challenges charitable bingo games have weathered locally include a difficult economy, an aging clientele, and the rental fees of the building.
The Timberline Lions Club will now have to look seriously into the factors affecting the operation and profitability of the game. The State requires that 66% of the bingo revenue be awarded as bingo payouts, so the bingo buy-in barely covers the cost to operate, including paying for supplies, repairs, and rent of the building.
Many people see Bingo as a pretty good business, and assume their support helps raise funds that would be invested into the community. Lately the sad truth is, after expenses the Lions could face a negative return.
The Wrightwood Chamber attempted their hand at Bingo but the last game had only a dozen players, so the Chamber must discontinue their game night. The Timberline Lions board members will meet to decide if there is any possible solution to continuing the Saturday Bingo in the Wrightwood Community Building.
The local game had a family atmosphere and was a social gathering with virtually the same people coming each month and sometimes they would bring a friend or relative with them. Many of the seniors who come to the game enjoy the event, it’s their only night out.
The WCSD has a legal obligation, to the property tax payers, to cover the cost to operate the building and they referenced ‘Gift of Public Funds’ laws when stating they cannot legally show preferential rents to any one group. The last WCSD meeting their rent structure was outlined. An estimated one-night rental for the building and kitchen for 4 hours is $102. Paid monthly, that’s $1,224 per year. The other expense the Timberline Lions Club has to pay include insurance, license, and supplies, which is estimated at another $1200 a year.
“We have done our best to provide a fun activity to bring community members together while raising funds for our charities,” said Nancy, “It didn’t take much to put us in the hole.” “When the County controlled the building,” said Carl Smith, “the SB Co. Supervisor granted the Lions a 70% discount for Bingo Night.” The discount was offered in recognition of the building having been donated to the community by the Lions Club.
The Club is doubtful that they will renew their state bingo license, due in the next few months, to continue with Bingo Night.
Surge of power…outages
Written May 1, 2018
By Terri McCawley Hill
Wrightwood residents have been subjected to several power outages during the past year. While Edison work is done, like replacing old power poles, electricity is shut off to large sections of the community at a time. The town has also fallen victim to unplanned power outages, due to Mother Nature’s windy fury, and to contractors’ miscalculated digging in the vicinity of unground power lines. While the weather cannot be controlled or expected to acquiesce to human needs, we have come to depend on the electric company to keep our lives powered up and running. Indeed the availability of electricity is taken for granted, every time we hit a light switch or open the fridge without a thought as to whether or not the food therein will be cold and preserved.
Edison Public Information Officer (PIO) David Song was happy to answer, when asked for clarification about the recent power outage, which left more than 3,000 Wrightwood customers without electricity for 18 hours, occurred when a contractor, who was digging a ditch for fiber optic internet lines, hit a main power line in Phelan. “Ironically, Song said, “the problem occurred at the beginning of Safe Dig Week, as April is National Safe Digging Month.”
Song explained that contractors are responsible for contacting the appropriate agencies to mark the dig site for power, water, and gas lines before beginning a dig. As for any private resident or property owner, representatives for the utility company will come to the site and measure for and mark where their lines run. “Erosion can cause the measurement to be off by an inch or two every six months or so,” the PIO stated. Song did not have specific details regarding the errors in calculation by the contracted company during the dig in front of the VFW property on April 9. He said Edison works with contractors all the time, for their safety as well as for Edison’s concerns regarding equipment.
Song also discussed the planned outages, expressing gratitude for the cooperation of the community, as Edison completes improvements to the infrastructure. “We appreciate the resilience of rural residents!” Old power poles and dated equipment are more vulnerable to failure during storms. In order to provide the rural area with reliable service, Song explained the company is involved in multiple projects, updating and adding equipment for the growing demand in the community. Large areas of Wrightwood are impacted multiple times because there aren’t as many circuits routed to one primary line as there are in urban neighborhoods. In cities, as few as four to six blocks might be affected by a work outage, whereas in Wrightwood half or more of the town has to be shut off while work is done. Song added, “For that reason, we bundle work projects into as few outages as possible.”
For safe digging, call 811, 36 to 72 hours before the dig. Find more tips bout outages visit www.insideedison.com and click on “Newsroom.”
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961