Johnson Valley News 4/21/2017

Reminder, weekend events coming up along Scenic 247 that you won’t want to miss.

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Close up , colorful pushpins on calendar

Saturday, April 29, join the Poker Run hosted by the Homestead Valley Community Council – touring the four communities of the Homestead Valley. Pay your entry fee at the Yucca Mesa Community Center, 3133 Balsa Ave. 15.00 per person, 25.00 per couple, includes breakfast, snacks, lunch and ice cream. Draw your first card there, and enjoy breakfast starting at 8:30 a.m.

Check for all the details and a route map.  The final card is drawn by 2:30 p.m. You must be present. Best five cards wins $150; second place, $100; third place, $50. Call me, leave a message, 760-364-2646, if you are planning to come!

Can’t do the whole day? Come to the Ice Cream Social, 1:30-3:00 p.m. at the Johnson Valley Community Center, 50567 Quailbush Rd. at Larrea Rd. for the final drawing for the best poker hands.

Saturday morning, May 6 – bargain hunters’ delight!
• Find small furniture, household items, clothing and craft pieces at the Annual Yard Sale & Craft Fair at the Flamingo Heights Community Center, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 55977 Perris St., two blocks west of La Copine Restaurant.

• Close by, shop the Bizarre Bazaar of Arts and Crafts in Landers Belfield Hall for vintage finds, handmade arts, jewelry and more (check out their Thrift Store, too!) from 8:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m., 58380 Reche Rd. just past the post office.

Saturday afternoon, May 6, time to relax, at the Johnson Valley Open Air Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Only 10.00 per person admission includes the tasty tacos and great desserts, a free margarita or soft drink, and a free sombrero while the supply lasts!

Tables will be set up in the parking lot of the Community Center (address below); there will be two margarita bars, one at the Taco Stand, one at the “Cantina” on the old road in the Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden next door. Enjoy the garden; the model trains will run during the afternoon if the wind doesn’t blow. Bring your own seating if possible.

• Members of the Homestead Valley Community Council’s Scenic 247 Committee met yesterday afternoon with representatives from the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department.

The primary purpose: Where do we go from here?

Some history: Since the HVCC first asked for Caltrans and County help in 2009 and formed the Scenic 247 Committee in 2010, the campaign for Scenic Highway status for Hwy 247 met with much enthusiasm. Community organizations, tourist attractions and businesses signed on as sponsors. All recognize that this “disadvantaged” rural area had one significant advantage: miles of undeveloped open desert, with a historic highway linking world-famous mountain and desert destinations and Route 66.

For all the positive responses, the campaign progressed in fits and starts. Always encouraged by Caltrans, somehow it shifted into neutral and idled in the halls of County government, despite the support of the Supervisor.

The ultimate question was, how does the County fulfill the Caltrans requirements, to make their proposal for Scenic Highway 247? The Committee had followed the Caltrans guidelines, but County officials remained undecided as to their next step.

Yet another threat of destruction of a good portion of the scenic corridor, this one by an application to install almost 500 acres of solar fields and a large substation, got us back in gear. Supervisor Ramos urged a face-to-face meeting with Scenic 247 Committee members and County Land Use officials to sort out the unknowns.

Chuck Bell in Lucerne Valley and Committee member Sarah Kennington, president of the Morongo Basin Conservation Association, updated current County planners on the long history of the campaign. They emphasized the urgency of a meeting to get things moving again. Sarah’s patient effort to zero in a meeting date suitable for everyone succeeded. After a telephone conference, we were set for Thursday, April 20, at the Lucerne Valley Community Center.

The Scenic 247 Committee were represented by myself as Chair, Joanna Wright, Jim Harvey, Sarah Kennington, and Ken Brock, HVCC delegate from Flamingo Heights. Chuck Bell represented the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association (LVEDA) and Jean Magee, LVEDA and Lucerne Valley-Johnson Valley MAC member.

From County Land Use Services, we had Planning Director Terry Rahhal, Planning Manager Karen Watkins, and Associate Planner Evan Evangelopoulos. They brought documentation of recent successful Scenic Highway proposals and printouts of the Caltrans scenic process chart. They arranged that Caltrans Landscape Architect John Stanton participate and answer questions by phone.

Also at the table were Supervisor Ramos’ Chief of Staff Molly Wiltshire, Legislative Analyst Tony Mejia, and Ramos’ Field Representative Mark Lundquist. Also sitting in was State Senator Jean Fuller’s Field Representative Jim Schooler.

Nominating the highway for State Scenic Highway status requires a visual assessment. The Committee began this years ago but held up waiting for further action.

We learned for the first time that a licensed Landscape Architect has to certify our report – with no County budget for the assessment or the architect. However, the Committee will resume the assessment process as soon as possible, and begin fundraising later if necessary.

We are grateful to all who traveled to the meeting, to James Ramos for recommending it in the first place, to Sarah Kennington for getting everyone together, and to Chuck Bell for arranging our use of the Lucerne Valley Community Center as a convenience for those of us attending the MAC meeting later.

See www.scenichighway247 .com.

• If you take any pictures of the wildflowers popping up in the Johnson Valley area, send them to Jim Harvey at www.johnsonvalley .com to add to the Wildflower page. Even better, let him know the names of the plants if you know them yourself.

Even if your photo may show a flower already posted, send it anyway. Jim sets it up so clicking on a view shows other views of the same plant, aiding identification.

Several species have appeared that we have not seen for many years. Let’s add your photos and make this page an even more valuable resource for identifying wildflowers of the High Desert.

GARRY LINDT 1952-2017
• No one could believe it when word first went around last Tuesday morning that Garry Lindt had passed away the day before. He was 65.

Johnson Valley’s only certified water hauler (nicknamed “2R’s” to distinguish him from a Gary who only had one “r”), he maintained his reputation for dependability throughout the uncertainties over what the future holds for commercial water hauling.

Garry was born August 23, 1952, in Johnstown, PA. He was living in Pasadena, CA when in the late 70’s he and his wife and son were traveling and discovered Johnson Valley. Right away they found a place to buy: son Jay remembers they had a hard time finding the place the second time.

He founded H2O2U water hauling service and ran his first ad in the Johnson Valley Journal in 2008. He monitored JVIA water usage and kept us filled up until our well was drilled and finally in operation in 2012.

Always available to answer questions in our battle to end the County ban on building permits for those who rely on hauled water, he was also always available for deliveries ASAP when he got emergency calls, carrying on the tradition of public responsibility that Johnson Valley has been blessed with.

Garry’s curiosity about artifacts and history led him on Johnson Valley explorations when time permitted. While working, we would talk to him when he stopped at the hall to buy a drink from the soda refrigerator. Mostly we saw him at the Saturday Breakfasts, often shopping for the newest arrivals in the paperback books.

Jay hopes to be able to carry on with H2O2U. No plans for a memorial have been announced yet.

We’ll be missing 2R’s a long time.

Betty Munson

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