Johnson Valley News 03/22/2019

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The Spring Equinox brings us shorter nights and longer days. If
predicted rain arrives in the Johnson Valley area this evening, our
wildflowers get another boost, yay!

Speaking of wildflowers: The
purple carpet of flowers we saw in the Deadman’s Point neighborhood last
week has been suggested by several folks as Cranesbill or Heron’s Bill,
also called Redstem Filaree. A little Google searching found several
descriptions. As the name implies, it has a tiny pink-to-purple flower
and lance-shaped fruit that looks just like a heron’s bill.

It launches feathered corkscrew-shaped seed bodies using a spring mechanism powered by shape changes as the fruits dry.

foraging on it further spreads its seeds to greater distances as they
cling to the fur, feathers, and feet of animals, as well as the shoes
and clothing of people. They can remain viable for many years in the
soil, forming extensive seed banks. Most germinate after the first
significant rainfall.

One source reports, “While Heron’s Bill,
aka Stork’s Bill and Redstem Filaree, may be considered a weed, it is a
highly useful wildflower.  The whole plant is edible for humans [said to
taste like parsley], and sheep may even feed on the young plants.  A
rich source of nectar and pollen, the Navajo name for this plant
translates into English as ‘Bee Food.’

Heron’s Bill earned its
“Noxious Weed” title, because of its remarkable seed structure. As the
seed matures, it opens in a corkscrew spiral. Activated by changes in
humidity, it burrows itself into the ground, effectively sowing itself.

Heron’s Bill probably arrived in North America in the late 1700s or early 1800s and may be one of our earliest non-natives.

that’s more than you ever wanted to know about this tiny but tough
little flower. The Heron’s Bill always blooms in our yards in Johnson
Valley. However, after many years of seeing this unique plant, my
impression is, the low percentage of flower color display and the high
percentage of green foliage suggests it could never cover the soil solid
with purple flowers. But, as I said before, we did not stop for a close
look, so how can I be sure?

Please send me locations of flowers you see, to share on the JV NEWS. Or call and leave a message.
Wildflower touring definitely qualifies as distracted driving! Keep an
eye on the driver in front of you and prepare for sudden stops.

See Johnson Valley flower pictures posted at
Click on each photograph to see if it has an album of views of the plant and flower close-ups.


Weather permitting, Caltrans plans to close eight miles of State Route
247 (Old Woman Springs Road) in both directions for a badly-needed
concrete overlay project approximately four miles long.

Flagging operations start Monday, March 25, allowing one lane of traffic in alternating directions. You will not be able to travel in either direction beginning at 8:00 p.m. Friday, March 29th until 6:00 a.m. Monday morning, April 1.

section from Bessemer Mine Road, just past Old Woman Springs Ranch, up
to Camp Rock Road in Lucerne Valley can carry no traffic. We said last
week, no detours are possible, but Bill Lembright has circulated a map
showing dirt roads that a high-clearance vehicle can travel. See
attached, but use at your own risk and be careful..

The comment
by one off-roader who ventured into this area in a four-wheel-drive
vehicle during the King of the Hammers was negative. He fears
over-confident drivers unfamiliar with desert conditions could get into
real difficulties (though he speculates recent rains may have improved
traction in the sandiest sections).

My pessimistic comment: The
folks who speed on 247 in their townie cars and pass on the curves and
solid double lines have never grasped the basics of travel on a two-lane
paved road. They will not handle this kind of detour, on single-lane
stretches with two-way traffic.

The County alert reads: Please reduce your speed in the work zone.
Know before you go!
To stay on top of roadwork in the Inland Empire go to and sign up for commuter alerts. 
View traffic conditions at and lane closures at


Reminder: You are invited to the Johnson Valley Spring Dinner, with a
menu that includes tasty spiral-cut ham, potatoes, corn, and salad. We
have not heard yet what Linda Walsh plans for our desserts, but you know
they will be delicious.

Plan to meet at the Community Center on Saturday, April 6th. Doors open 4:30 p.m. Dinner at 5:00. Only 7.00 per person; kids 12 and younger, 4.00.

invite everyone to stay a while after the feast for the latest news and
announcements and the JVIA General Meeting; you do not have to be a
member. Catch up with what’s going on.

(No meeting in May – the first Saturday is the Johnson Valley Cinco de Mayo Fiesta from 1:00-5:00 p.m. See the Events page on for the flyers on both the Spring Dinner and Cinco de Mayo.)


Monday’s meeting of the Homestead Valley Community Council heard a
report on our recently-elected State Senator Shannon Grove from Jim
Schooler, who has resigned as her 16th District Field Representative
since his own recent election to the Yucca Valley Town Council has
further limited his available time.

State Senator Shannon Grove

He told us that Sen. Grove, a
Republican, who has replaced Sen. Jean Fuller representing this largest
district, also now serves as Minority Leader, so she has been busy
recruiting staff for both office and the caucus duties.

so far: Sen. Grove has 13 bills, 11 of which Schooler described as
“spot bills,” placeholders for possible future measures.
introduced SB 224, to increase penalties for theft of agricultural
equipment, at the request of the Tulare County Sheriffs Department.
-SB 415 can enable access to old military tactical vehicles for emergencies.

She is heavily involved in the re-purposing of high-speed rail funds that might not go back to the feds.

Klaas, the father of kidnap-murder victim Polly Klaas, has filmed Sen.
Grove’s response to the governor’s announced moratorium on the death
penalty in California.

Schooler introduced our new Field Rep,
Dominic Heiden, who will work full time from the same field office in
Yucca Valley, and plans to be attending future HVCC meetings. He hails
from the East Bay area but looks to put down roots here.

will have Heiden on the agenda for each meeting if you have a question
or wish to raise an issue for Sen. Grove to address.  His contact
information is:
Dominic Heiden
District Representative
Office of Senator Shannon Grove
Senate Republican Leader, 16th Senate District
7248 Joshua Lane Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Office: (760) 228-3136 | Fax: (760) 228-2462


Court Prittie And Don Minnix have been Spring cleaning the brass rails
for the running of the G-scale model railway in the Paul Van Hook Desert
Dreams Garden next to the JV Community Center parking area.

An enlargement of one of the long loops will allow not only more extended visibility of the action for train watchers and photographers, but also create longer, gentler curves. Why, because Court plans to run not only longer trains but also a couple of larger locomotives.

remodel of the layout necessitated rearrangement of garden walkways,
with Ken Cash moving large boulders with the tractor and dragging the
paths to smooth them and clear them of greenery.

Successful trial
runs have already discovered spots on old rails needing cleaning and
how well the newly-laid route extension works. (Court reminds us that
most of this section was made possible by the late Jim Weishaar, who was
in on the original planning last spring and donated almost all of the

When you come to the Saturday Breakfast between 7:00 and
10:00 a.m., inquire from the cashier if there is any action on the
railway. You never know, now that Spring has sprung. Trains may still be
running after breakfast, also.

You can see some of the trees
flowering now, and more and more wildflowers in bloom under every bush.
Another light rain is forecast for this area; always welcome after such a
long drought. In the three winters since the Garden began, we have seen
nothing like the last three months.

Caution: Always make sure kids stay outside the Garden Railway layout at all times; tracks and town buildings are not toys!

Watch your step. You may encounter trenching or other work in progress on the dirt pathways at any time.

• Dr. Chris Lawrence plans to be back in Johnson Valley NEXT WEEKEND, Friday, March 29, with
his go-anywhere mobile chiropractic care vehicle that carries three
sizes of portable tables, therapeutic ultrasound, vibratory massage, hot
packs, and ice packs.

He says he probably will chance skirting the road closure on his way back west on Sunday the 31st. I believe that rig will make it OK.

Call or text for an appointment at your home or office, 760-810-2443. Or schedule an office visit in Apple Valley if you prefer.

 • JVIA members receive the Johnson Valley Journal six times a year.
JV NEWS e-mail keeps you up to date between Journals, including stories
and information published in the weekly community news columns in the
Hi-Desert Star. If you prefer not to receive these e-mails, just reply
and say Cancel.
is welcome to every event at the Center! Johnson Valley Improvement
Association members or non-members may join in on scheduled activities
and special events!

Regularly-scheduled events:
Saturday Breakfast, 7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Dinner, every 1st Saturday at 5:00 p.m. followed by the General Meeting

Board Meeting, on Friday following the 1st Saturday, 6:00 p.m.
Card Club on Tuesdays, noon-4:00 p.m.
Hobby Club on Wednesdays 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m, except the 4th Wednesday; they come in on the 4th Friday, 10:00 a.m.
Quilters every 4th Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

events: the Homestead Valley Community Council holds its regular
meeting here three times a year on the third Monday, at 3:00 p.m. The
next will be in June and October.
These meetings rotate among the
four Homestead Valley community centers in Flamingo Heights, Yucca Mesa,
and Landers, then back to Johnson Valley. None are very far apart, easy
to get to from here on Hwy 247. Next HVCC meeting, this Monday, April
15, 3:00 p.m. at the Yucca Mesa Community Center. Our County Supervisor
Dawn Rowe plans to be there.

Fundraising events: Cinco de Mayo
Fiesta, May 4, and Oktoberfest, October 12, usually begin in the
afternoons, include great food. No General Meetings those months.

Center and the Garden are available for your birthday celebrations,
family gatherings, weddings. JVIA asks for a donation to cover overheads
and that you leave the place as you found it. Check with me for

Check out
the Bear Jamboree on the Spring Boutique Table – teddy bears for all
ages.  Poker fans will love the Lucky Bears; Lottery Bears keep track of
your tickets. It’s a sure bet the other little bears will find a good
home, also, and there is even a Superhero Dog.

Donated items come
in often, browse the New-To-You Table every time you come to the
Center. You donate whatever you wish to pay for them. All proceeds go
toward the activities and events put on by JVIA.

keep telling you. You may expect the usual west winds and occasional
showers, but you could not ask for better days to explore the trails in
the Johnson Valley OHV Area just across the highway. Take pictures,
please – skies, flowers, rock formations, junior off-roaders, family
trail riding – and e-mail them to me.

Ask for your Sidekick
Offroad Map of the Johnson Valley OHV Area when you come to the
Community Center. You get a detailed topographical map, a Guide to the
original Hammers trails, general information, and off-road tips. The
folding paper map is 3:00. The silkscreened Bandanna Map is 8.00 (very
handy, no folding, tie it around your neck or to a tube on the roll

Navigating by GPS? – find your way to the Community Center:
34.3424938     -116.56066880000003.
through the community roads is not necessary when you head to or from
the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area. Go straight down the
nearest road to the highway, cross directly over the highway legally to
use the dirt trail that parallels the north side of Hwy 247.

If you come up Larrea Road while in or on a green-sticker vehicle, please travel on the dirt alongside the pavement.

any speed, any vehicle, street-legal or not, going over 25mph does a
lot of damage to the community roads. Delivery vehicles and the trash
truck do the worst, but OHVs get the blame. We have a shortage of
volunteers to do tractor work and drag the roads. Also, when roads get
dry and dusty, dragging does not help much: no County maintenance here,
just your neighbors.

Remember, noise can carry, and dust can drift a long way.

Johnson Valley Community Center
50567 Quailbush Rd.
Johnson Valley CA 92285

From Hwy 247, turn onto Larrea Rd,
go 1-3/4 miles up to Quailbush Rd. You see the building on your left at the corner.

Betty Munson

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