Johnson Valley News 9/15/2017

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• Tomorrow morning, 7-10 a.m. September 16, at Saturday Breakfast at the Community Center, we will have samples of the men’s and ladies’ souvenir Oktoberfest T-shirts and the ladies tank tops on sale.

If you have not seen how good the Johnson Valley Oktoberfest logo looks on the shirts, come check it out. See if any of the available sizes and colors suit you, or order exactly what you want. Each is 20.00, and all the proceeds go toward the operation of the Community Center.

The deadline to submit our orders is noon next Friday, September 22. If you wish to order by secure credit card online, log on to We plan to have them for you to pick up at the Saturday Breakfasts on September 30th and October 7th. Or pick yours up at the Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday afternoon, October 7th.

Reminder: you still have time to save 33% on your Oktoberfest tickets, I’ll have those, too, only 8.00 per person. Or order yours online before September 25th at After that, they are 12.00 each, don’t miss out.

Still a great value!

• Here in Johnson Valley we do not experience a lot of fall foliage in oranges and yellows, but we welcome slightly cooler nights and livable daytime temperatures.

Another sure sign of autumn – the flurry of activity leading up to our 8th Annual Oktoberfest, looking forward to the excellent craft brews and a fine feast on Saturday, October 7th.

But one sure sign of autumn has appeared for many more than eight years, in fact for many more years than anyone has lived in Johnson Valley – the migration of the turkey vultures. The avant-garde arrived sometime yesterday evening to rest on our trees and rocky hills before taking off and spiraling on the morning updrafts. There will be more as the weather up north continues to change, drifting southward where winters are milder.

At our first Oktoberfest, these enormous birds made an unforgettable display, sailing high overhead in the hundreds over the dramatic sunset we were watching from the patio Beer Garden. Maybe the timing will be right again for this year. Maybe we should interrupt the Oktoberfest music for “El Condor Pasa.”

• The next meeting of the Homestead Valley Community Council is in Landers Belfield Hall this coming Monday, September 18. If some emergency does not call him away, Capt. Jeff Joling of the County Sheriffs Department will be on hand to update us on the new license plate readers. We heard last month they helped greatly the investigation into all those arson fires in the San Bernardino Mountain foothills.

Rural living in the high desert faces challenges never dreamed of 40 years ago when HVCC began operation. Who would have imagined you would not be able to get a building permit if you relied on hauled water? Who could have pictured acres and acres of solar panels covering the desert next to homes?

Find out the latest on these and other problems, and find out what events are happening in the communities around you.

Meet at 3:00 p.m. Monday, September 18, at Landers Belfield Hall, 58380 Reche Rd., about 3 miles from Scenic 247, just past the Post Office.

Your comments are always welcome.

• A well-known trail into foothills south of Johnson Valley attracts kids on their quads, families picnicking, it’s just a popular destination with a view.

Don Minnix for years has policed the area. Recently to his disgust, he found a filthy encampment at the picnic pavilion slab. The tarpaulin tie-downs had damaged the young cottonwoods, trash was blowing around a toilet made out of a resin lawn chair and a hole in the ground. The unsavory and hostile camper said he is 64 years old, and friends had carried him and his gear up there in a truck, so he could think things over and get his life together. With a large bottle of booze.

Don first saw him last Thursday, and our guys have been told he was up there before then and with a woman. He was hostile when they questioned him, displayed a large hunting knife under his shirt, and told the guys a ranger had already been up there and said everything was OK.

Not believing a word of this, we notified BLM Barstow. Their response: BLM has a 14-day stay limit, but camps must be clean and not create a public health and safety problem. Law Enforcement Rangers came out the next day and heard even more stories.

Mark Brown, BLM Field Staff Advisory LE Ranger, reported, “The subject advised that he had in fact been dropped off at the site by family members who had been forced to quickly relocate due to family illness and that the move had left him homeless with little time or means to secure lodging. He also admitted that he had been living at the Rock Corral site for the past couple weeks.”

Mark said he understood, but dispersed camping on BLM land at any one location cannot exceed 14 days. He explained camping must be recreational in nature and using the site as a primary residence does not fit the meaning of “recreational camping”. The camper said that he understood and apologized for being in violation.

They checked for wants and warrants, then gave the man two days to clean it all up and leave.

Mark returned on Saturday, found him gone, leaving the trash barrel almost overflowing and other debris, but he had made some effort. A recreation crew is to come remove the garbage. We are grateful BLM took care of this so promptly before it grew to be a greater hazard.

In case you run into a similar problem on BLM land (such as the large long-term encampment near Giant Rock that was recently abandoned a filthy mess) Mark provided his contact information for us:

Mark Brown,
Barstow Field Office 760-252-6075
Cell: 760-979-7807
Fax: 760-252-6088.


Betty Munson

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