Breathtaking rainbows grace the sky over Wrightwood Village following light shower
By Vicky Rinek
Residents of Wrightwood were rewarded with a spectacular show in the sky in the form of multiple rainbows on Monday. The inhabitants that ventured out around 5:00pm were treated to a sight of the colorful arcs that appeared over highway 2 in three different spots. The shows brought .04 precipitations to Wrightwood on Monday. The weather forecast for Saturday will be in the mid 70º, perfect for the upcoming 10th annual Wildfire and Disaster Awareness Day activities to be held in the parking lot in front of Mountain Hardware and inside the SB country yard on Highway 2 from 10am to 3pm. This completely free event will have dozens of exhibitors who provide important information to help the residents stay informed about protecting their families, pets, and homes from wildfires and other disasters. Smokey Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog will also join in the festivities. Timberline Lions will be cooking free hotdogs. The Firesafe counsel will hold the silent auction, and the Rockwall will return all for FREE.
CSD Discuss Prayer, Solar and District Programs
By Al Morrissette
The Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District Board of Directors met May 1 with a full agenda. One item was having an invocation. Director Brandon brought forth information about the Ninth Circuit Court upholding the right of the City of Lancaster to have a generic Invocation at the beginning of their meetings. Information about Invocation resolutions from Hesperia School District and Lancaster were presented. After deep discussion and review, the board recommended going forward with developing a resolution similar to the Lancaster Resolution and bring it back to the board for review at a future meeting.
A Senior Nutrition Grant was approved for the district to be a provider of a lunch program that would serve the seniors two social lunches per month, one in Phelan and one in Pinon Hills. The grant does come with a long series of guidelines that need to be conformed with and the board discussed how this could be implemented giving staff direction to attend a pre-award conference held in San Bernardino on May 9.
A program named District Dollars was brought to the board by Director Morrissette. The thought was to develop a program that would trade work for district credit that could be applied to water bills, the use of facilities or district programs that require a participation fee. Considered creative this program needs extensive development before any implementation can be considered and will come back to the Board in the near future.
General Manager Don Bartz made an update presentation to the Board of a purchase proposal for the 1 Mw solar system that they have been researching since September 2011. In recent discussions, the Board had approved going forward with the California Environmental Assessment (CEQA) and the soil evaluation. These processes are being performed on the 55-acre property the district owns near Johnson and Duncan Rd. the solar project will only use 6-acres of the land but the studies will be applicable to the total property. The price is still under negotiation but will be around $4 million. The district chose to purchase rather than have a Paid Purchase Agreement because the revenue estimates are significantly higher when purchased. The Board gave direction to Bartz to continue negotiations and to apply for a loan through the IBank or Department of Agriculture. Final Board discussion and possible approval will be in the near future.
At a special Parks and Recreation Meeting held the following Friday, Directors Brandon and Morrissette met with representatives from AYSO, Sunset Little League and Youth Football to discuss using approximately 40-acres of the 55-acre property for youth sports activities. This potential co-operative venture was accepted by all participants as a potential way to benefit the community’s youth through existing programs. In the near future the directors will meet with the equestrian community to discuss the remaining 10-acres of that site for equestrian purposes.
CSD Meadowbrook Dairy Tour
By Michael Palecki
Last Tuesday, Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District (CSD) General Manager Don Bartz conducted a tour of the recently purchased Meadowbrook Dairy property in El Mirage. In December 2012, the CSD acquired four land parcels totaling 469 acres through a combination of purchase/tax credit donation agreements, which included water wells and most importantly- 2,335 shares of water rights in the Oeste Aquifer. Included in the deal was all the infrastructure of a working dairy, alfalfa fields and several structures that will now be repurposed, or sold as surplus inventory.
The tour for local Chambers of Commerce members began in the former Meadowbrook Dairy office with Don Bartz explaining the necessary and strategic importance of acquiring the property. The CSD owned 1,416 acre-feet of Oeste water while annually pumping 2,725 acre-feet to meet demands. The Water Acquisition Project increased ownership to 3,751 acre-feet and eliminated the need to lease unused water rights from others each year, or pay the High Desert Watermaster Mojave Water Agency a fee.
The savings to the CSD after repaying a 30-year loan from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank of $7.5 million to purchase the water rights, will amount to $20 million dollars. The sale of surplus inventory, and the potential income from leasing pastures and structures for new public or private uses-could provide funding for an array of CSD community programs.
As the tour continued into a five bay garage with roll up doors, Bartz pointed out that this structure, a 2,000 square foot caretaker’s residence, and other smaller homes are for lease. Those structures represented the central axis motorists on Sheep Creek Road could see for the past 25 years. To the north when the dairy was in operation, small white fiberglass structures for calves were arranged on top of concrete troughs that collected manure and wastewater that was pumped to the “Digester”.
To the south, tall shade structures covering feeding pens for 3,000 cows were the most prominent sight. Manure from those areas was also transported to the Digester. Along the way Bartz disclosed that on the 160-acre land parcel, dairy operations utilized approximately one half of the acreage, with wide concrete roadways connecting everything. On the remainder of the property, fresh water from wells was stored in large tanks, and recycled wastewater was collected in a settling pond and used to irrigate an adjacent alfalfa pasture.
The next stop on the tour was a machine shop, the milking barn, and chilling station for three 8,000-gallon milk tanks. The entire dairy operation was powered by the Digester, which converted manure and wastewater into methane gas used to fuel an electric generator. Bartz disclosed that a diesel powered backup generator will be mounted on a truck and can supply enough electricity for any of the CSD’s well sites in an emergency.
After passing by areas where almond husks, oranges and molasses were stored and used to supplement the dairy cow’s diet, the tour arrived at the Digester and electrical generator. Capable of producing one half megawatt of electricity per month from methane gas, the system supplied all the electricity needed for the dairy.
The Digester resembled a very large and deep concrete swimming pool requiring 25,000 to 30,000 pounds of manure per day mixed with water to trigger a fermentation process that created methane gas. The computerized system was controlled and monitored from University of California at Davis, and after a 28 day cycle-the only byproducts were nitrate free irrigation water and clean loam.
At this point, the challenge for the CSD is to find a composting business that could provide manure, or convert the system to process green waste at a cost of $750,000. Without an onsite business located at the dairy, operational costs would exceed revenue obtained from generating electricity and selling it to Southern California Edison.
Big Band Night In Wrightwood
By Michael Palecki
The Yodeler in Wrightwood was filled to capacity last Wednesday evening as audience members enjoyed music from the Big Band era. There were 11 musical instruments producing a wall of sound that was punctuated by energetic horns.
Musicians in the band included: Billy Fiorella-electric guitar, Richard Baily-bass guitar, Toby Williams-drums, Tyrone Merriner-keyboards, Jerry Jones & Andre McDonald-trumpets, Jim Simonetti/Jim Hutchings/John Burcher-saxophones, with Craig Kupta &David Leon on trombones.
Among the selections played were: Glenn Miller’s “Undecided” and “String Of Pearls”, “Take The A Train” made famous by Duke Ellington with a saxophone solo from John Burcher, and a way-too-short compilation of Peter Gun/James Bond theme songs- heavy on the organ. Following those songs, there were more from Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Hoagy Carmichael’s “I’ll Get Along Without You Very Well”, and the 1924 tune “It Had To Be You” featuring Tyrone Merriner clinking away on the ivories.
The highlight of the concert was a guest performance from Gayle Dowling singing the 1942 song “Cow-Cow Boogie”. That song from the 1942 Abbot & Costello film “Ride ‘Em Cowboy”, set the pace for a raucous journey down memory lane. Don’t miss the fusion of Lorena Mackey and Big Band musicians for the Mountain Hardware 50th Anniversary Party on Friday June 28.
Wrightwood Art Walk & Music
By Michael Palecki
It was Mardi Gras in May last Saturday at the Village Grind & Wine Cellar complete with streamers, beads, crab cakes, jambalaya, mint julep cheesecake, and of course dynamic live music to celebrate the fine weather. Upstairs at The Loft gallery/workshop, two new co-op artists were featured.
The “First Saturday” event at the Big Horn Building on Park Drive reached a zenith of participation in attracting the largest crowd ever. Starting things off, the Terry DeRouen Band featured “Big T” on lead guitar, Walter Foley on rhythm guitar, Gene Thorpes on electric bass guitar, Orlando Reynolds on drums, and Lynn Davison on electric keyboards.
The set included signature Blues songs played as only Big T can, with his riveting guitar picking caressed ever so twangy by the slide guitar of Walter Foley. As pedestrians streamed in from Park Drive pulled like a magnet by the music, others danced enthusiastically. Tracey Chapman’s song “Give Me One Reason” sung by Davison, and Big T singing “Got My Mojo Working” with staccato guitars and music fans clapping-were memorable.
Following that, the original Gayle & Company were reunited as Gayle Dowling, her daughter Brittan and son Adam-sang delightful three-part harmonies. They sang most of the songs from the “Uncovered” Album in a spirited delivery. And then, Adam was featured singing powerful covers of Cat Steven’s “Peace Train” and Neil Young’s “Southern Man”.
Next up, Dave Cimino accompanied Greg Jones on keyboards and vocals on drums. Starting off with his breezy composition of “Marianne” Jones then slid into covers of Ray Charles’ “It’s All Right” followed by “Get Your Kicks On Route 66” as the audience danced wildly. After that, his version of Jim Morrison’s “Light My Fire” started off with a jazzy tempo and then speeded up to a smoking crescendo. The strongest song of the set was a pulsating cover of Lee Michael’s “Do You Know What I Mean”.
Meanwhile upstairs at The Loft, Elaine Enge was busy painting a realistic landscape with her preferred medium being “Always Oils”. Also debuting this month as a new member of the co-op was Photographer Christina Birrer. After working in London and Ireland for 35 years the California Native has returned with her exquisite photographs printed with handmade emulsions. They have a dreamy quality in their sepia tones and really attract the eye.
Community Clean-Up Project at Grassy Hollow
Submitted by Christine Plummer
On Saturday, April 27th, as part of a statewide day of service, a group of about 50 people from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, their friends and neighbors worked at Grassy Hollow Visitor Center & Big Pines Lodge in the Angeles National Forest raking pine needles, cleaning restrooms, and picking up trash to get them ready for the summer visitors. Under the direction of Mormon Helping Hands California (mhhcalifornia.org) local church leaders worked with government agencies and other partners all over the state to develop projects that would meet the needs of their communities.
Here in Wrightwood, ecclesiastical leaders from the church worked with Ranger Ron Heinig who expressed his appreciation for the help of the volunteers. With shrinking budgets for federal agencies and programs, help from the community is welcome. Here in the high desert, projects at local parks and schools in Apple Valley, Hesperia, & Victorville attracted over 850 volunteers from as far away as Barstow and Big Bear.
“It was a great day,” remarked Thomas Wheeler, ecclesiastical leader for the Wrightwood congregation of the church.
Pet Safety Seminar
Saturday, June 1
By Vicky Rinek
Emmazen Foundation will be holding a pet safety seminar on Saturday, June 1 at the Wrightwood Community Center, 1275 Park Dr, at 10am to 12:30pm. The foundation is an A501c3 and all precedes from this class support Pet Oxygen masks for fire departments in the San Bernardino County. The class taught by Debra Jo Chiapuzio, is $25 per person and covers what to put in an emergency preparedness kit, how to build your own pet first aid kit, prepare for what to do in case of evacuation, and practice techniques for dealing with bleeding, choking and pet CPR. The class will discuss treatments for snakebites, over heating and what to do in case of fire. Emma Zen a black Lab therapy dog will make a visit and help with demonstrations.
The Emmazen Foundation has donated hundreds of oxygen masks to fire departments to resuscitate animals. Each kit costs $75 and the nonprofit holds several fundraisers throughout the year to purchase the kits. The pet oxygen mask kit has three different sized masks, and its unique shape and rubber seal gives pets in an emergency the best chance for survival. “These actually close the joules on the pet and deliver the oxygen directly to the pet’s nostrils so it simulates proper CPR,” said Debra Jo Chiapuzio, president of the Emma Zen Foundation. Firefighters are also given proper training on not only how to use the masks but also the best way to check for vitals and administer CPR. The masks also work on birds, cats, dogs and pigs. “Yes, any normal sized household pet, the most interesting rescue I’ve seen with the mask is a hamster,” said Chiapuzio.
Volunteer Opportunities for Mountaineer Days
By Vicky Rinek
The Wrightwood Chamber of Commerce needs to expand their Community/Event Volunteer Committee and they’re looking for you. “This wonderful event would not be a success without the generosity and hard work of our volunteers,” said Chamber President Clark Fleeup at last year’s event. Residents with extra time can volunteer their services to benefit the local community. Whether you are a retiree with extra time on your hands, a student looking to fulfill service hours, or an individual or group interested in being involved in your community, there are many opportunities to help create a wonderful Mountaineer Days.
There are lots of ways you can get involved. They need lots of hands on deck to make a successful event. Hospitality (sign in volunteers, provide support for exhibitors and volunteers), Vendors (assist in setup, provide support), Exhibitors (assist in setup, provide support), and everyone’s favorite: Trash Removal! No experience is required – training and assistance will be provided. Volunteers need to be at least 18 and able to work a 2-hour or more shift during Mountaineer Days, Saturday, June 29 and/or Sunday, June 30, 2013. Groups are welcome to sign up together. Take the first step and call the Chamber today. Call (760) 249-4320 or email info@Wrightwoodchamber.org. Office is located at 1473 Hwy 2 and their hours are Wednesday through Friday, 1:30pm to 4:00pm.
Serrano balks in the seventh
By Jeff Cooper
In the bottom of the seventh inning and trailing by four runs, Serrano loaded the bases with two outs and anticipated a big hit to tie the game. However, instead of victory, they reaped defeat and tumbled to the Apple Valley Sun Devils 7-3.
“Our whole season, you just saw it right there in the last inning. We load the bases up, and then hit a rocket right to them.” Said Diamondback coach Joe Heim as he bit a bottom lip of frustration.
To Serrano’s credit, they are a young team with inconsistent moments of greatness. Their defense is apt and ready at all times; however, their throwing to one another infield lacks bull’s-eye accuracy.
“We really are a very young team”, Added Coach Heim.
The vast majority of the Diamondback varsity team are made up of first and second years.
Senior Devon Fouse pitched a solid game, otherwise, with an ERA of 2.39.
In the fourth inning, Michael Morris shot a long range bullet to the center field wall for a triple. Alex Spadafora batted him in with a line drive down the first base line.
Apple Valley finished with nine hits and two errors. The Sun Devils mound featured Ronnie Fox whose ERA is a staggering 1.17. At bat, Apple slugged it out in the final two innings with five runs in the sixth and seventh. Fox’s only mistake was a balk in the middle of a pitch that scored a run for Serrano.
“It was a good team win. Our pitcher threw strikes and we had error free base running”, said Apple Valley assistant coach George Malone.
The Sun Devils reach the first playoff round. The Diamondbacks will have to make it up to themselves next year. If any doubt exists about that prediction, Coach Heim’s determination can compensate for any lack of faith.
“Next year we are going to come out with a lot of games under our belt and everything will fall into place for us”, emphatically punctuated the Serrano head coach.