Johnson Valley News 11/25/2020

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• The Johnson Valley Tailgate Swap Meet happens, Saturday, November 28! As of this writing, the long-range forecasts get shorter and tell us to expect a bright, bright, sunshiny day, cold but calm.

Vendors can set up in the Johnson Valley Community Center’s parking area as early as 6:00 a.m. We expect you should have plenty of daylight to see what you are doing!

Shopping time starts at 7:00 after sunup starts warming us up. Stay until noon, or later, if you wish; give latecomers time to get here.
– Bring tables if your tailgate or trunk is not big enough for a good display. Trailers ok.
– Please avoid blocking access to the mailboxes next to the Community Center
– Space rent is a 5:00 donation to the Johnson Valley Improvement Association; give to the cashier in the lobby.

Early-Bird shoppers have the best selection! Give yourself time to browse. You might spot some great deals if you look carefully at everything on display. That guy selling large equipment could also be offering some small treasures not immediately obvious.

Also, between 7:00 and 10:00 a.m. you can order Saturday Breakfast-To-Go – choose from the four meals on the traditional JV menu (Large 6.00, Small 4.00), or the popular Breakfast Burrito (6.00) or the newest offering: the Omelette filled with cheese and your choice of bacon, ham, or sausage, plus a side of hash browns, 6.00. Hot coffee, included!

Although the Community Center remains closed, you order breakfast from Kim, the cashier, in the lobby and also have access to the restrooms during the Swap Meet.

It’s easy to find the location: from Hwy 247, between mile markers 21 and 22, turn onto Larrea Road at the red Johnson Valley sign. The Center is at 50567 Quailbush Rd. 1-3/4 miles from the highway, on your left.

• While you’re at the Tailgate Swap Meet, try your luck in a raffle with a fantastic prize for the winner. The late Betty Butler donated a beautiful king-size quilt she had made as a fundraiser for the Flamingo Heights Community Association.

Get your tickets here, only 1.00 each or 6 for 5.00, from Kim during the breakfast hours, 7:00-10:00 a.m.
Be SURE to write your name and phone number on the back of each ticket.  
The drawing is on December 16th.

A message from Pat Wright:Beginning November 30, and extending until the first week of February, there will be a helicopter and a fuel truck parked on the airport. The non-military  aircraft company is working under contract with the 29 Palms Marine Base. They will be making one or two flights a day. They will be flying to the north and  this will involve one or two employees, a pilot and logistics personnel. 
This is a community courtesy and there will be no monies exchanged between airport property owners and the helicopter company. If there are any problems for the community during this time, we want to know so that it can be addressed. Mike’s email is
Our main purpose for this email is to make you and the community aware of what is happening and not leave you wondering.
• Speakers at last week’s Homestead Valley Community Council meeting in Flamingo Heights served up a bunch of interesting info – of interest not only to residents of the four unincorporated communities in the Homestead Valley but also to residents and property owners in other rural desert communities of San Bernardino County.

First: Our Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe and the falling Joshua tree:
In case you have not heard, the California Fish and Game Commission now considers a proposal to list the western Joshua tree as a threatened species. If they do list it, the Joshua tree would be protected under the California Endangered Species Act.
As such, you cannot disturb a Joshua tree without obtaining a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance document. No home building, no construction, not even yard work – your yard would be “habitat.” And, no touching it while the study continues!

Rowe told the meeting that recent high winds blew down a Joshua tree in her front yard.
But now, it couldn’t be touched.
But, it fell right into the roadway, causing a public danger. The town put out flashing lights and road hazard cones.

She achieved a special permit from Fish and Wildlife to remove the tree, but only after documenting who was moving it, when, and where.

After all that, Fish and Wildlife discovered they did not have the authority to grant that permit!

Dawn described this series of events as “a great dry run” for enforcing any hands-off-Joshua-trees restrictions. And how could it happen that the first tree to fall lived in a County Supervisor’s yard! Now they are working on rules for Joshua tree removal for public safety.

Second: Illegal Pot FarmsDawn Rowe also informed us of actions taken to curb the illegal cultivation of marijuana in our desert. Working with the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association, the Marijuana Task Force Team, State Senator Shannon Grove’s office, and HVCC president Jim Harvey, they are trying to halt the damages caused by the Prop 64 decriminalization of illegal growing.

Rowe has reached out to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) for best practices in other counties. Some actions under consideration:
Streamline the County administration citation process to implement an automatic hearing to comply immediately.
Create a dedicated hearing officer tasked only with ruling on illegal cannabis cultivation.
Improve property lien process to make asset forfeiture less cumbersome at the County level.

She will meet with the California Department of Food and Agriculture/Cannabis Licensing Division to discuss redirection of funds used to regulate illegal retail operations, to deal also with illegal cultivation.

Conversations are coming up with Tuolumne and Humboldt Counties about their measures addressing illegal cultivation.

HVCC urges continuing to address this at the State level to raise more awareness of this problem. Sheriff Capt. Luke Niles urges residents to please continue to report illegal pot farm locations, even if they have been reported before, and to keep watch for the increased water hauling traffic.

The stated Prop 64 intent for legal, regulated production has failed.

Sheriffs can make felony arrests of illegal pot growers only if they steal water or power. In the meantime, lightweight misdemeanor penalties have kick-started an outbreak of nighttime illegal grading of pristine desert raising a haze in the air, non-code construction, fencing and trash piles, a multitude of water trucks destroying our roads after sucking water from our aquifers, and a black market of marijuana contaminated with pesticides and rodent poisons. Failure, indeed.

We heard more at the HVCC. Stay tuned.
Happy Thanksgiving – a given,
when you count your blessings!

But, count some calories, too:

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Betty Munson

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