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BIG BEAR HEADLINE NEWS
What you need to know - When you need to know it

News Director: Catherine Sandstrom / Copyright © Parallel Broadcasting, Inc.


KBHR NEWS HEADLINES 2008

BUTLER #2 FIRE ARCHIVE (click here)

SLIDE & GRASS VALLEY FIRE ARCHIVE (click here)



Wednesday, December 31, 2008 --
New Year's Eve

Please Designate a Driver for New Year's Eve; Big Bear Taxi Will Be Operating All Night
If you're headed out this evening, you should plan to have a designated driver, as there is only one public transportation option that will be available in the Big Bear Valley tonight. Big Bear Taxi will be operating nine 15-passenger vans, and Denise at the taxi service tells KBHR, “We'll operate until everyone's home safely.” Big Bear's taxi service can be reached at 909/866-TAXI.

Spare Yourself a Headache Tomorrow Morning; Take Some Precautionary Measures This Evening

The National Headache Foundation says that increased alcohol consumption can cause the onset of a hangover headache. If you do plan to drink tonight, mixed drinks containing fruit or vegetable juices will have less potential hangover effects than straight alcohol, while the natural chemicals in red wine tend to trigger headaches more than other drinks. The NHF suggests some honey or fruit before or after drinking, as the fructose in both, and the vitamin B6 in honey, can reduce hangover symptoms. Other suggestions to make your first day of 2009 a little brighter include plenty of fluids, such as sports drinks or water, caffeine and ibuprofen. You can also make the choice to alternate your drinks with non-alcoholic beverages this evening.


Happy New Year: Resort staff serpentine down the slopes in the annual Torchlight Parade.

Snow Summit Hosts New Year's Eve Torchlight Parade on the Slopes, a Big Bear Tradition Since 1953

What burns bright in the night, travels on skis, and is 55 years old today? The annual New Year's Eve Torchlight Parade, hosted by Snow Summit Resort. This evening's 7pm event has been a Big Bear tradition since 1953, as the torchlight makes its way down the eastern slopes on Summit each New Year's Eve. The stream of lights is made up of ski school, ski patrol and other staff from both Summit and Bear Mountain and, once again, takes place at 7pm. You can view the torchlight parade from anywhere in the Valley you can see the slopes, including the North Shore of Big Bear Lake. Following the parade, both resorts will host New Year's Eve parties. Snow Summit will also offer night session skiing and riding until 9:30pm this evening. Lift ticket reservations are recommended during the holiday week; visit BigBearMountainResorts.com to ensure your spot on the slopes.

Memorial Service for 2007 BBHS Graduate David Chatham to Be Held at Methodist Church on Saturday

The life of 2007 Big Bear High School graduate David Chatham, son of Mike and Julie Chatham, will be celebrated with a Saturday memorial service, to be held at 2pm at United Methodist Church. Twenty-year-old Chatham lost his life in a single vehicle accident early Monday morning, while driving to San Diego on Interstate 15 from Big Bear, after spending the Christmas holiday with his family, which also includes 16-year-old sister Sara. Chatham had been a student at Mesa College and, his aunt Karinda tells KBHR, “David was an amazing young man. While in Big Bear, he worked at Rainbow Kids Club and had been involved in Vacation Bible School, and all the kids loved him.” All are invited to Saturday's 2pm service for Chatham, who is also survived by the extended Chatham and Hoover families and friends of the Bear Valley Unified School District, which employs both his parents.

Snowshoe Tours and Local Organic Produce Co-op Featured on Today's "Tuned In on the Bear" Program
You'll want to tune to KBHR in the 5 o'clock hour, as our weekly talk show program with Kat Sawyer features Stacy and Marco of the Big Bear Discovery Center, speaking on snowshoe tours on the San Bernardino National Forest (BigBearDiscoveryCenter.com), and Susie of Sol Food Market, who will be talking about the local organic produce co-op offered through Big Bear Lake's only health food store (BigBearHealthFood.com). In addition to this evening's edition of “Tuned In on the Bear,” Kat's show also airs on Sunday mornings at 7am.

Big Bear Lake Remains Quagga Mussel Free; Municipal Water District Prepares for 2009 Boating Season
In 2008, the invasive Quagga Mussel infected many waterways (including Lake Havasu and the Colorado River), though never infected Big Bear Lake, given the efforts of the Big Bear Municipal Water District, which spent nearly $100,000 on preventative measures, and cooperative boaters, who made sure their vessels were cleaned, drained and dry before launching. The presence of the quickly multiplying Quagga could damage Big Bear Lake's ecoystem as well as boats, and would threaten snowmaking operations at the resorts. In anticipation of the continued threat of the Quagga Mussel in the 2009 boating season, the MWD is considering an additional fee to boaters to cover the cost of Quagga mitigation measures and boat decontaminations, which had been offered free of charge in 2008. Before making any decisions, though, the MWD Board will first conduct a public hearing and workshop to consider comments from those representing commercial and private boat launching facilities. The Quagga-specific meeting will be at the MWD offices, at 40524 Lakeview Drive, at 1pm on the 15th. The MWD Board's regularly scheduled first-Thursday meeting for tomorrow has been adjourned, as this falls on New Year's Day.

Do Not Venture Out on to the Lake Ice: It Is Not Only Illegal, But Hypothermia Is a Real Threat
It is not only unsafe, but illegal to go out on to the lake ice. The ice on Big Bear Lake never gets strong enough or thick enough to safely support those who walk on it and, should you or your pet fall through the ice, hypothermia is a real threat as the lake temperature is in the 30s this week. If found out on the lake ice, you could be ticketed by either Lake Patrol or Sheriff's deputies, resulting in fines up to $500. So, please don't jeopardize your safety, or that of rescue personnel, by venturing out on to the ice on Big Bear Lake or Baker Pond. In the case of emergency, please call 911 and, if you see others on the ice, please warn them of the dangers.

As of This Morning, Mountain Highways Are Open, Free of Chain Requirements and Accident Free
Good news on our roads this morning as, at this time [9am, noon, 3pm, 5pm], all highways are open and free of chain requirements, though travelers are still required to carry chains in the mountains during the winter months. Highways 18, 38 and 330 leading to and from the Big Bear Valley are accident free at this time, though the California Highway Patrol notes that roadways are icy this morning, so drivers should proceed with caution and patience. We can expect heavy holiday traffic and delays today. If coming or going from the mountain, east tends to be least, meaning the highways at Big Bear's east end, Highway 18 eastbound to Lucerne and Highway 38 through Redlands, are usually less congested during peak travel times.

For Both Ends of Valley, Trash Pickup Services Pushed Back One Day to Accommodate Holiday

Given the New Year's holiday, trash pickup services will be one day behind schedule, for customers serviced by Big Bear Disposal in Big Bear Lake, as well as the Big Bear City Community Services District. Within Big Bear Lake, Thursday and Friday routes will be serviced, instead, on Friday and Saturday; the same is true for CSD customers, who can also expect trash pickup one day later than usual.


The Big Bear Discovery Center, on Big Bear Lake's North Shore, offers snowshoeing tours on
the San Bernardino National Forest.

Sledding Available, and Snowshoeing Tours on the Forest; Be Sure to First Park Legally and Off the Road

If you plan to sled or toboggan, first be sure that you are not parked illegally, in the roadway or in a residential driveway and, if on the San Bernardino National Forest, be sure to display an Adventure Pass on the dashboard before leaving your vehicle. Big Bear offers two developed snow play areas, at either end of Big Bear Lake on the Boulevard. The Big Bear Ranger Station reminds sledders to pick a safe location, away from roads, large rocks and trees. Also, don't sled or tube in unfamiliar terrain, as snowdrifts can conceal steep cliffs and other drop-offs. Visitors are reminded to “know before you go” so, to access recreational information on the forest, call the Big Bear Ranger Station at 909/382-2790. The Big Bear Discovery Center also offers guided snowshoeing trips on the San Bernardino National Forest; for more information call 909/866-3437, or visit the KBHR events page, for a link to the Discovery Center.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Internet Service Down for Nearly Six Hours Today, for Roughly 9,000 Big Bear Valley Customers
For those who have Internet access through Charter Communications, there has been no access for the greater part of the day. A representative from Charter tells KBHR that crews are currently at work to restore Internet service to the Big Bear community. At present, about 9,000 Charter customers are without service here on the mountain. That being said, you'll want to stay tuned to KBHR for road updates, as we are unable to update our website for you during this Internet service interruption. (And, yes, we posted this after the fact; our service was restored in the 4pm hour.)

Two Community Programs Receive Statewide Honors from the California Park and Recreation Society
The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District is celebrating some year-end accolades as two local programs have received awards for 2008, as selected by the California Park and Recreation Society, among over 500 other local parks and recreation agencies throughout the state. The first of these awards was in the Recreation and Community Services, Health and Wellness category for the Big Bear's Biggest Loser fitness program, which drew 50 participants who lost nearly 1000 pounds during the program; the second round of this program begins on January 12. The Rec and Park District also submitted an application on behalf of the Lighthouse Project's Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign, in which Big Bear logged over a million miles for local Olympian Hall, who ultimately placed 10th in the Beijing marathon—this community spirit-driven effort won in the statewide category Champions of the Community. Local Rec and Park Director Reese Troublefield tells KBHR that this is Big Bear's second award in this category in the last three years, as Soroptimist International of Big Bear Valley won in 2006, for their support of park district programs and activities. In March, staff from the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District will attend an awards ceremony hosted by the California Park and Recreation Society, to accept these two awards on behalf of the Big Bear community. (For more information on Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall, see our coverage posted on our 2008 Archive, which includes KBHR's “The Bear in Beijing” Olympics reporting from China, and the Big Bear community's send-off for Hall in early August.)

Resorts Offer Season Pass Sales Through Tomorrow; Lift Ticket Reservations Recommended This Week

Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are wide open today, and half-day session will be offered at both resorts, with night session skiing and riding available at Summit until 9:30pm. And, as the year winds down, tomorrow is the last day to purchase a season pass for the resorts. To take advantage of the season pass sale, be sure to visit BigBearMountainResorts.com by December 31st. Also, sell-outs are possible at the resorts, to limit lift lines, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance during this peak holiday week if you want to ensure your place on the slopes.

Tomorrow Is Last Day for Medicare Beneficiaries to Change Coverage Options for 2009
Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to review their current prescription drug and health care coverage before the annual enrollment period ends on December 31. Those who wish to enroll for the first time, or change their coverage for 2009, should do so as soon as possible. Medicare beneficiaries should have received a 2009 “Medicare and You” handbook via mail in October; the book provides an overview of plan options, which are also available online at medicare.gov. Those with questions can also call Medicare, though it is recommended that you have your questions prepared in advance, as well as having your Medicare card and medications in front of you, before placing that call to 1-800-Medicare (or 1-800-633-4227).

All Highways Open and Free of Chain Requirements This Morning; Be Mindful of Black Ice on the Road
All roads to, from and within the Big Bear Valley are open and free of chain requirements this morning. Still, it is the law to carry chains in the mountains during the winter months, should conditions change. And though no chains are required, there are many secondary streets within the Valley on which chains could be benficial, especially on steep and narrow roads in upper Moonridge neighborhoods. All lanes are open on Highways 18, 330 and 38 at this time. Highway 38 over Onyx Summit had been closed yesterday afternoon, due to an accident in which a suburban went about 100 feet over the side of the roadway. Of the reported seven individuals in that vehicle, two were air-lifted to hospitals for treatment, and all seven survived the incident. As this took place in the afternoon hours, drivers are reminded that though there are no chain requirements in place, black ice is a potential hazard on the roadway. Update as of 4:20pm: Both CalTrans and the CHP report heavy traffic delays on Highway 330. Travelers are advised to take Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley or Highway 38 through Redlands to avoid backups on 330 and Highway 18 on the front grade.



Monday, December 29, 2008

"TTYL": As of January 1, Writing, Sending or Reading Text Messages Will Be Illegal for All Drivers
A new state law prohibits drivers from writing, sending or reading texts and emails while driving. This new law goes into effect January 1st. The law is intended to further reduce driver distractions, along with the current California hands-free cell phone laws enacted last July. Since that law took effect, the California Highway Patrol has reported issuing more than 40,000 citations to chatting motorists. Of those, more than 200 were issued to drivers under age 18. The law is a primary offense, meaning that a law enforcement officer can pull over any driver if they are seen holding a cell phone or other personal digital assistant while driving. Violators will face a fine of $20 for a first offense, but with court costs the fines could reach nearly $200.

Twenty-Six Lifts Open at Big Bear Mountain Resorts; Half-Day and Night Sessions Available Today

The slopes are open, with 26 lifts available at both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain this week. Both resorts will offer half-day session, as of noon, and night session skiing and riding will be available at Snow Summit until 9:30pm this evening. Lift tickets are good at both resorts and, during this peak holiday week (or any time), reservations can be made at BigBearMountainResorts.com.

No Chains Required on Mountain Roads Today; Do Not Park Vehicles on Streets and Blocking Snowplows
All roads to, from and within the Big Bear Valley are open and free of chain restrictions though, still, motorists are required to carry chains in the mountains during the winter season. Though chains are not required on vehicles at this time, motorists are still reminded that snow conditions are in effect, so do not park on the street, as snowplow operations continue. Traffic has been heavy on the Boulevard this morning, especially near the resorts, so motorists may want to take alternate routes. Also, there is still ice on portions of the roadway, so continue to proceed with caution and patience. Update as of 3pm: We have had reports of accidents on Highway 18, in the Arctic Circle area west of the dam, and a couple incidents on Highway 38, though no road closures have been implemented. On Highway 38, the California Highway Patrol notes that two vehicles may have gone off the roadway—if this turns out to be the case, Highway 38 travelers can likely experience heavy delays. Up until this point, we have not received any reports of incidents on Highway 18 to Lucerne Valley, so this looks to be the best option for those leaving the mountain. Given the peak holiday week, all motorists can expect travel delays, even here in Big Bear and particulary on the Boulevard, between Division and the Village. Update as of 3:05pm: Highway 38 is closed, due to accident; re-opening anticipated for the 6pm hour.

Two Employment Exams for U.S. Census Jobs Today; Additional Exams Offered Locally in January
This morning at 10am, an employment exam will be offered for those seeking local employment as part of the 2010 U.S. Census. Though reservations were requested, to 818/717-6700, applicants can just show up to this morning's exam, being held at the Big Bear Lake Civic Center, at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard at Big Bear Lake's west end. It is recommended that all bring valid ID and, if possible, show up 15 minutes prior to the test. If you miss this morning's opportunity, an additional exam will be offered at 4pm in Skyforest, off Highway 18. The exam will be held at St. Richard's Church across from the Storybook Inn. Additional exams will also be offered in Big Bear Lake, on January 5 and 12, both at 10am and again at the Big Bear Lake Civic Center. Temporary jobs with the U.S. Census offer hourly pay of $12.50 to $19.50 per hour, and weekly paychecks. For more information, call 818/717-6700.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Up to Another Four Inches of Snow Makes for Excellent Coverage at Big Bear Mountain Resorts
Both Big Bear Mountain Resorts are open today, and reporting excellent conditions and a snow depth up to five feet, given the addition of up to four inches of Christmas snow. Both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain offer half-day session skiing and riding today, starting as of noon. Snow Summit offers night session and half-night session, extending until 9:30pm, weather permitting. For more information, and lift ticket reservations, visit BigBearMountainResorts.com.


Big Bear is a winter wonderland, given the 44 or so inches of fresh snow we have received
in the space of 10 days!

White and Windy Christmas Results in Temporary Boulder Bay Power Outtage, Little Arctic Circle Closure
We had our white Christmas, albeit blustery, and received up to four inches of snow here in the Big Bear Valley yesterday. High winds, with gusts up to 70 miles per hour, did result in power outtages to those in Boulder Bay yesterday morning, as the winds blew over a tree which took down power lines--though service was restored by Bear Valley Electric by Christmas evening. Yesterday's weather also resulted in a temporary closure of Little Arctic Circle, between Boulder Bay and the dam, as there was flooding in the area, but this portion of Highway 18 was re-opened yesterday evening.

Chains Required on All Big Bear Roads; Four-Wheel Drives With Snow Tires, Carrying Chains OK
As for our roads, all highways to, from and within the Big Bear Valley are open, including Highways 18, 330 and 38, and under an R2 chain requirement, per CalTrans. R2 conditions mean that you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless in a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels and carrying chains. If not using or carrying chains as required, you could be ticketed and fined $108, per the California Highway Patrol. If putting chains on your vehicle, be sure you are safely out of the roadway before doing so. Also, as snow conditions are in effect, be sure that your vehicle is not parked in the street and blocking snowplow operations. Update: As of 1:30pm, the Little Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18 (between the Big Bear Dam and Boulder Bay, at Big Bear Lake's west end) is blocked, due to a jack-knifed big rig. Travelers are advised to take the North Shore/Highway 38 through Fawnskin to access Big Bear Lake and Highway 18 toward Highway 330 and Running Springs. Update as of 3:05pm: California Highway Patrol tells us that the big rig has been cleared from Little Arctic Circle on Highway 18, east of the dam.

Part-Time, Flexible and Local Jobs Available for 2010 Census; Employment Exam on Monday in BBL
If the prospect of a new job would brighten your holiday, the U.S. Department of Commerce will be hiring individuals within San Bernardino County to work on the United States Census 2010. Part-time positions pay from $12.50 to $19.50 per hour, and will offer flexibility and weekly paychecks. An employment exam will be offered on Monday, December 29, at the Big Bear Lake Civic Center, located at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard, at 10am. Interested individuals will need to present valid I.D. for Monday's 10am test, as well as making a reservation to take the exam, by calling 818/717-6700.

Thursday, December 25, 2008 -- Christmas

Due to winds gusting as high as 70 mph, several areas of Big Bear Valley have experienced power outtages. Bear Valley Electric has work crews on scene working to fix reported problems valley wide.

As of 3pm, Bear Valley Electric stated that they should have power restored by 6pm for customers of the Boulder Bay area of Big Bear Lake. Roads blocked in the area for repair work have detours available.

As of 2pm, Highway 18 from the Big Bear Dam east by 2.7 miles (Little Arctic Circle) is closed due to flooding, motorists should use an alternate route.


Merry Christmas from your friends at KBHR Radio--and Santa Claus, of course,
here with Miss Clementine Keli Homan and Mrs. Claus in the Village.

Power Outtage at West End of Big Bear Lake

Beginning at 9am this morning, there was a power outtage due to a downed tree in the west end of Big Bear Lake at Spruce and Big Bear Boulevard. between Boulder Bay and Red Ant Hill. According to Bear Valley Electric, repairs were completed at 2pm. Roads were blocked in the area with a detour available.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 -- Christmas Eve

* KBHR's Christmas gift to you: the 24 hours of Christmas, featuring
uninterrupted holiday music, starting today at 4pm. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
*


Alpine Sports' Ski Race Series at Snow Summit Begins on Sunday; Entry Deadline Is Noon Saturday

The Alpine Sports Center Ski Race Series takes to the slopes on Sunday, December 28 for the first of five races to take place at Snow Summit Resort. Races are open to junior racers, ages 5 to 19, and masters, ages 20 and up. Start times on Sunday at Snow Summit begin at 10am, though the entry deadline is noon on Saturday; race fee is $20, or $100 for the entire series, which includes race dates January 4, February 22, March 1 and 8. For more information on the Alpine Sports Center Ski Race Series, co-sponsored by Big Bear Mountain Resorts and the Snow Summit Race Team, you can stop by the Alpine Sports Center, at 41530 Big Bear Boulevard at Wren in Big Bear Lake, or contact BarbaraBoucher@charter.net. Racers will be divided by male/female, novice/USSA, and age class. All junior racers will receive awards after each series race at the awards ceremony, to be held at the taco bar next to the VIP room near Summit's chair 2.

For Both Ends of Big Bear Valley: Residential Mail Delivery Contingent on Snow Berm Removal

Our local post offices remind that for those who receive mail delivery, either at an at-home mailbox or a neighborhood cluster box, it is the customers' responsibility to clear the snow berm. Questions can be directed to your post office: Postmaster Javier Fregoso at the Big Bear Lake Post Office can be reached at 866-1035; Big Bear City Postmaster Ron Ward can be reached at 585-7132. For those on the Valley's east end mail delivery routes, if after three days mail is undeliverable due to snow, mail will be held at the Big Bear City Post Office. (For information on new mailbox lobby hours for the Big Bear Lake Post Office, see our posting below, on Tuesday.)

No Chain Requirements on Roads Leading to Big Bear This Morning; Chains Still Required in Town

All roads to, from and within the Big Bear Valley are open this morning, and, at this time, there are no chain requirements on Highways 18, 330 and 38 leading to the Valley—however, chains are required here in Big Bear. R2 chain requirements, meaning you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless in a four-wheel drive with snow tires and carrying chains, remain in place on Big Bear Lake's North Shore, and from the dam to Stanfield Cutoff. If unfamiliar with these streets, just know that chains are required within Big Bear Lake--and, as snow is likely today, it is recommended that you keep your chains on, as conditions will probably prompt the need for them later in the day. If you are putting on chains, be sure you are safely out of the roadway when doing so. Update: As of 2:30pm, Caltrans has lifted all chain requirements for the Big Bear Valley.


The snow has blanketed Baldwin Lake, at Big Bear Valley's east end.

High Winds and Potential for Snow Expected Into Christmas Day; Stay Tuned for Local Updates
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory, as well as a Winter Weather Advisory, for our area, taking effect later today and into tomorrow, with snow levels potentially dropping to 5000 feet. For more information on local weather, tune to Ben Brissey's Big Bear weather report at quarter past every hour, here on KBHR at 93.3 FM and also streaming online.

Trash Pickup Services Delayed One Day Due to Holiday; Big Bear Disposal, CSD Pickups on Saturday
Given the Christmas holiday, trash pickup services will be one day behind schedule, for customers serviced by Big Bear Disposal in Big Bear Lake, as well as the Big Bear City Community Services District. Within Big Bear Lake, Thursday and Friday routes will be serviced, instead, on Friday and Saturday; the same is true for CSD customers, who can also expect trash pickup one day later than usual. This schedule will also apply next week, as New Year's Day falls on Thursday.

Keep Your Home Fire-Safe During the Holidays; Be Sure to Water Your Christmas Tree Daily
In the winter months, fire departments see an increase in the percentage of fires and injuries, according to the California Association of Public Hospitals. The cause of the increase in fires is due to seasonal factors such as space heaters, candles and Christmas trees. Kevin Nida, President of the California State Firefighters Association, says, “We think that many people probably know about these winter-related hazards, but they need to stay mindful of them at all times and take all necessary precautions. All it takes is one spark—especially if it's in the middle of the night—and a house can go up in flames in no time.” During the winter months, remember to turn off space heaters when you leave the room, do not leave candles unattended, do not overload electrical outlets, use the rear burners on the stove (especially when children are present), and be sure to check the water level in your Christmas tree daily. For more information, visit csfa.net.

Half-Day Session Available at Both Resorts; Night Skiing and Riding at Snow Summit This Evening

Snowmaking has continued at the resorts overnight, and this, coupled with the four feet of snow we have received in the last week or so, amounts to excellent coverage at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, with a snow depth of 3 to 5 feet on open runs. All 26 chairlifts are in operation between the two resorts, and half-day session will be available as of noon today; Snow Summit will also offer night and half-night skiing and riding, which extends until 9:30pm, weather permitting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Prompted by Recent Acts of Vandalism, Mailbox Lobby Hours Now Reduced at Big Bear Lake Post Office
For those who receive mail at the Big Bear Lake Post Office, know that lobby hours have changed, and there will no longer be unlimited access to your mailbox. In a statement from Postmaster Javier Fregoso, he notes that recent acts of vandalism have prompted changes to the P.O. box lobby hours, effective immediately. Mail pickup at the Big Bear Lake Post Office, at 472 Pine Knot Avenue, will be as follows: Monday through Friday, from 6:30am to 5:30pm; and Saturdays, from 7am to 2pm. Once closed on Saturday afternoon, postal pickup will not be available again until Monday morning. On holidays, the lobby will be closed at 5:30pm the day prior, and will re-open the next business morning after the holiday. Per Postmaster Fregoso, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but we need to take this action to ensure the safety of your mail. This change will remain in effect until further notice.” Those with questions can call the Big Bear Lake Post Office at 866-1035, or stop by during business hours, which are from 8:30am to 5:30pm weekdays, and 10am to noon on Saturdays.

Driveway Poles Available to Big Bear Lake Residents to Assist in Reducing Snowplows' Berm Buildup

If you've had issues with berm buildup in your driveway, the City's Public Works Department offers snow poles, available to Big Bear Lake residents only, for those who want to install them on either side of their driveway. The orange snow poles are available for purchase at the Civic Center, at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard, for $25 per pair or $12.50 per pole (plus tax). Now that snow conditions are in effect, be sure to park vehicles off the street, shovel snow in driveway to the right side (as you face the road), place garbage cans behind property line and berm, mark fences with stakes painted red at the top, and do not let children build igloos or caves in the snow banks near streets. The City of Big Bear Lake's 24-hour snow removal hotline, at 909/752-2830, provides general information on snow removal, berm reduction and current snow conditions.

Bear Valley Electric Service Investigating This Afternoon's Momentary, Valley-Wide Lapse in Power
There was a momentary lapse in power throughout Big Bear Valley about 2:15pm this afternoon—though power was quickly restored as, per Operations Manager Ken Markling of Bear Valley Electric Service, “Our switch operated as it was supposed to.” When we spoke to Markling just minutes after the power outtage, he and his crew were investigating the transformer on Clubview Drive in the Moonridge area; the source of the outtage hadn't yet been determined, but he did say, “A bird in the wire is a likely scenario, but we're still checking it out.” Update: Crews of Bear Valley Electric Service have determined the source of this afternoon's power outtage, which affected about half the Valley for 15 seconds at about 2:15pm. Bear Valley Electric's Operations Manager Ken Markling tells KBHR, “A pigeon got into the wiring in a pole top at Bear Mountain. That's the long and the short of it; it was just a very unusual event.” Markling says that electric service was restored to customers in about 15 seconds, as the switch operated as it was supposed to, and it took Bear Valley Electric crews about half an hour to restore power to the resort—though the emergency backup generators at Bear Mountain kicked in, to keep chairlifts in operation.


Local off-road racers of Teams 738/Scribbler and 1469/El Gato Racing braved the pre-snow cold
to accept toys on behalf of Toys for Tots, which they will distribute this evening. In the meantime,
toy donations will be accepted until 3pm at Big Bear Disposal, or by calling Deanna at 957-7225.
For more on Teams 738 & 1469 Racing, tune in to KBHR's Motor Sports Report, which airs every
Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Up to Another Four Inches of Snow, Plus Snowmaking at the Resorts, Make for Excellent Run Coverage

Yesterday's storm brought up to four inches of fresh snow to the Big Bear Valley, including both Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which also continued snowmaking operations as of 11pm last night. Given this, both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain report excellent snow coverage of 3 to 5 feet on open runs. Half-day session will be available at both resorts as of noon today; Snow Summit will also offer night session skiing and riding, as well as half-night session extending until 9:30pm. For more information on the slopes, you can tune to KBHR's Ski and Board Report at 8:45 and 9:45am each day; for more information on lift ticket prices and reservations, visit BigBearMountainResorts.com.

As of This Morning: All Roads To, From and Within Big Bear Are Open, and Under an R2 Chain Control
Despite the recent snowfall, Highways 18, 38 and 330 are open this morning. Our local division of the California Highway Patrol, based in Running Springs, reminds motorists that it is the law to carry chains during snow conditions and throughout the winter season. During the current R-2 chain requirements in place for all mountain roads, vehicles are required to have snow chains on the drive axle, unless in a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels. If you are driving a four-wheel drive, you are still required to carry chains, in case conditions become R3, in which case chains would be required on all vehicles. If fined for not carrying chains, the ticket is $108. CHP Officer Gary Fernandez reminds all motorists in and coming to the mountain to be prepared with proper equipment, practice patience, and do not install chains while in the roadway—rather, pull into a shoulder or turn-out. And, just a reminder, be sure your vehicle is not parked on the street and blocking snowplow operations. Update as of 11:30am: There is a southbound lane closure on Highway 330, at the Middle Passing Lane below Running Springs. No estimated re-open time, as stuck vehicles are being removed from the roadway. Highway 330 does remain open, though. R2 conditions remain in effect for all highways, and roads within the Big Bear Valley. Update as of 1pm: Chain restrictions lifted on Highway 38. All roads are open at this time, including all of Highway 330. Update as of 3:30pm: Chain restrictions also lifted on Highway 18 to Lucerne Valley.


A beautiful Sunday afternoon on the slopes...


Pratice Safe Sledding--Starting With Parking Legally; Ranger Station Advises You "Know Before You Go"

If you plan to sled or toboggan, first be sure that you are not parked illegally, in the roadway or in a residential driveway and, if on the San Bernardino National Forest, be sure to display an Adventure Pass on the dashboard before leaving your vehicle. Big Bear offers two developed snow play areas, at either end of Big Bear Lake on the Boulevard. The Big Bear Ranger Station reminds sledders to pick a safe location, away from roads, large rocks and trees. Also, don't sled or tube in unfamiliar terrain, as snowdrifts can conceal steep cliffs and other drop-offs. Visitors are reminded to “know before you go” so, to access recreational information on the forest, call the Big Bear Ranger Station at 909/382-2790.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Free Food Distribution, to Be Hosted by AARP This Afternoon, Canceled As Weather Interrupts Delivery

Today's free food distribution, through the County of San Bernardino and our local chapter of AARP, has been canceled as the food has not made it to Big Bear. If no distribution date becomes available for later in the month, the next free food distribution to low-income families and seniors, as hosted by AARP, will be on the fourth Monday in January, at the Big Bear Senior Center from noon to 2pm. Big Bear chapter 2598 of the American Association of Retired Persons did, in November, collect, assemble and distribute 27 Thanksgiving food baskets, including turkeys and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner, to needy families in the Big Bear Valley.

Could You Have 100 Elephants on Your Roof?
Fire Department Advises Roof Snow Removal, When Safe
With the heavy snowfall we have received, and more expected, Big Bear Lake's interim Fire Chief Mark Mills advises the clearing of all roofs of snow accumulation as soon as it is safe to do so. Per the fire department, an average snowfall can weigh 10 to 20 pounds per cubic foot. This number, multiplied by the surface area of the roof and depth of the snow, can multiply quickly to result in a significant amount of weight being placed on the roofs of both commercial and residential structures. For example: a flat roof structure with a 100'x100' roof area, with four feet of fresh snow weighing approximately 15 pounds per cubic foot, could place 600,000 pounds of weight on the roof of the structure--this is equivalent to placing 100 adult elephants on the roof! A structure collapse could result in a low potential for survival for those in the building. Given the potential dangers of heavy snow accumulation, Chief Mills asks for your help, in making sure that snow is cleared from your rooftop, as well as all roof drains, when it is safe to do so.

National Weather Service Issues Winter Weather and Wind Advisories for San Bernardino Mountains

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for our area today, as well as a Wind Advisory. Snowfall levels could drop to 5,000 feet today, and winds could reach gusts up to 35 miles per hour. This Wind Advisory extends until 3am, and those driving high-profile vehicles should use extra caution. For more information on local weather, be sure to tune to KBHR at quarter past the hour for Ben Brissey's Big Bear weather report here at 93.3FM.


Looking forward to a white Christmas here in the Big Bear Valley...

Big Bear Mountain Resorts 100% Open With 438 Acres of Terrain and 26 Chairlifts in Operation Today
Both Big Bear Mountain Resorts, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, are 100% open, with 438 acres of terrain available for beginner through advanced levels, and 26 chairlifts in operation. Both resorts offer half-day sessions today, which begin at noon at discounted rates, and night skiing will be available at Snow Summit until 9:30pm tonight, weather permitting.

10 Bears Varsity Football Players Named to League Honors; Willy Kelsey Receives MVP Distinction

Big Bear High School announced that 10 players on the Bears varsity football team were named to the 2008 DeAnza League Team. Honorable mention went to Craig Hall, 2nd Team honors went to Drew Waner, Aric Ramirez, Brennen Sharp and Cody Jenkins, 1st Team distinction went to Ryan McCord, Josh Soules, Andrew Rodriguez and Brandon LaBate, and Bears senior Willy Kelsey has received the honor of being named the De Anza League's Most Valuable Player. The Bears football team had placed third overall in league this season, and advanced to the quarterfinals in CIF post-season competition. (For more on the Bears' final game, see our story and photos posted on December 1, in our 2008 Archive.)

As of Monday Morning: No Chain Controls in Place Though, Still, It Is the Law to Carry Snow Chains

As of late last night, all chain controls on roads to, from and within the Big Bear Valley have been lifted, and this includes Highways 18, 330 and 38. Though chains are not required at this time, it is the law to carry chains in the mountains during the winter months and, as of yesterday, it is officially winter! If not carrying chains, you could be ticketed $108, per the California Highway Patrol. Also, as snowplows from the City of Big Bear Lake's Public Works Department and CalTrans are trying to make their way through all streets, be sure that your vehicle is not parked in the roadway, which would impede snowplow operations. If parked on the street, your vehicle could be ticketed or towed. Update: Though all roads remain open in the 3pm hour, there is an accident on Highway 18 down the front way, in the area of the Green Valley Lake turnoff and Arrowbear—the accident involves a snowplow truck and a big rig. The California Highway Patrol tells us that though the road is not closed, travelers can expect delays as one lane is blocked.

City Council of Big Bear Lake Will Not Meet This Evening; Next Regular Meeting on January 12
The City Council of Big Bear Lake will not hold their regular fourth-Monday-of-the-month meeting this evening, due to the holiday week, but will next convene on January 12, at 6:30pm in Hofert Hall.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Big Bear Mountain Resorts Dub This Week's Snowfall the Single Largest in 35 Years; Night Session Begins
According to Big Bear Mountain Resorts, this week's snowfall is the single largest here in Big Bear in the last 35 years, bringing up to four feet of fresh snow to Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, which have a combined 16 chairlifts in operation today. In addition to the natural snow, snowmaking at the resorts has continued for the last six days, which will allow for almost all runs to be open by the weekend. Night session begins at the resorts this evening; for more information visit BigBearMountainResorts.com.


Plenty of snow and sunshine make for a beautiful day on the slopes at Snow Summit.

BBHS Student Locker Access Until 3pm Today; Bears Basketball Games Canceled and Rescheduled

For students of Big Bear High School, access to lockers will be available until 3pm today. This will be the last opportunity for students to get what they need before the three-week winter break. High school finals will take place on January 14, 15 and 16, on a minimum day schedule, after two days of review once school resumes on the 12th. In other news from the high school, today's basketball games against Rim have been canceled. The boys basketball games versus Beaumont, that were scheduled to take place tomorrow, will instead be held on Saturday, January 31.

Do Not Go on the Lake Ice: Hypothermia Is a Real Threat, As Is the Possibily of a $500 Ticket
The Big Bear Municipal Water District, the agency that oversees the lake, and the Big Bear Sheriff's Station remind that it is not only unsafe, but illegal to go out on to the lake ice. The ice on Big Bear Lake never gets strong enough or thick enough to safely support those who walk on it and, should you or your pet fall through the ice, hypothermia is a real threat. If found out on the lake ice, you could be ticketed by either Lake Patrol or Sheriff's deputies, resulting in fines up to $500. So, please don't jeopardize your safety, or that of rescue personnel, by venturing out on to the ice on Big Bear Lake or Baker Pond. In the case of emergency, please call 911 and, if you see others on the ice, please warn them of the dangers.

Community Services District Continues East Valley Trash Pickup Services Today and Saturday

For those who receive Thursday trash pickup from the Big Bear City Community Services District, service will be provided today. CSD crews will be doing double-duty today, picking up from Thursday and Friday routes. As some streets may be yet unplowed, CSD will approach these on a case-by-case basis, but ask that customers place their trashcans near the curb, yet not in the way of snowplowing operations. Those customers within the CSD service area who do not get their trash pickup today will be visited on Saturday.

Change of Plans: Concert Postponed, Eagle Count Canceled, Monday's AARP Food Distribution Moved
Snow conditions have prompted a few more schedule changes for local activities. The City of Big Bear Lake's free winter concert featuring the Wonderelles Rockin' Christmas Revue will not be held tomorrow afternoon. The Wonderelles will instead return to Big Bear in the spring, for a concert of '50s and '60s music. Given the rescheduling of this, the City will instead present Dickens Christmas carolers in the Village tomorrow, from noon to 2pm. The first of the season's bald eagle counts, as overseen by the San Bernardino National Forest, will not be taking place on Saturday morning. The first eagle count for our area will instead take place on January 10; for more information, call Robin Eliason at the Big Bear Ranger Station at 382-2832. Monday's free food distribution, hosted by our local chapter of AARP, will still take place on the 22nd, from noon to 2pm—however, food distribution will be at the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District offices on Park Avenue in Big Bear Lake, rather than the Senior Center. Update: There is a possibility that the truck bringing food from San Bernardino may not be able to make it up the mountain for Monday's food distribution. We will let you know when we know.

As of Friday Morning, Improved Road Conditions; R2 Chain Requirements in Place on All Mountain Roads
Given the break in snowfall, roads are looking better today, as snowplows have been able to widen the roadways and address snow removal on secondary streets in the Big Bear Valley. If taking Big Bear Boulevard this morning, there is a great deal of traffic headed westbound from the east end of the Valley toward the resorts, so the North Shore is another option for those driving toward town this morning. Also, we have a report of a propane tanker in the roadway on Highway 38 at Lippy's, just east of Maple Lane. At this time, all roads to, from and within the Big Bear Valley are still under an R2 chain requirement, so all vehicles must have chains on the drive wheels, unless in a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels and carrying chains. All highways—18 (except Little Arctic Circle), 38 and 330—are open, though the California Highway Patrol reports that there are slick conditions on the roads, including black ice at the lower elevations. Those taking Highway 18 down the front way to Highway 330, can bypass the Little Arctic Circle closure by taking the North Shore to the dam, and then proceed on Highway 18 down the mountain. Update as of 3pm: We have a report from CalTrans that the North Shore, in Fawnskin at Bruin, is blocked in both directions, due to a jack-knifed tanker. There is no estimated re-open time for this portion of Highway 38 on the North Shore in Fawnskin. As for the other end of Highway 38, beyond Lake Williams heading off the mountain, crews are still working on clearing the roadway due to another stuck truck—CalTrans had hoped to have this portion of Highway 38 to Mentone re-opened this afternoon, but no firm time as to when that will happen. The good news on our roads is that, thanks to the round-the-clock efforts of the A.J. Acosta Company, Highway 18 is open between the dam and Boulder Bay, in the Little Arctic Circle area. That said, Highway 18 is open in both directions, from Lucerne Valley to Running Springs. On the Boulevard here in Big Bear, there has been significant backup from Stanfield Cutoff back to Division, for those heading westbound from the Big Bear City area. Update as of 5pm: The jack-knifed tanker in the Fawnskin area is still blocking both lanes on the North Shore at Bruin Trail, and this area is not expected to be re-opened until tonight, given a series of circumstances. As for the other end of Highway 38, beyond Lake Williams heading off the mountain, crews did manage to get the stuck tanker out of the roadway—about five minutes later, CalTrans tells us, another big rig got stuck, and crews are now working to get this truck out of the roadway. Per an estimate by CalTrans this evening, it is not expected that Highway 38 will be re-opened until tonight, though no time specifics beyond that.

Just Hired by CalTrans, A.J. Acosta Company Working Round the Clock to Re-Open Little Arctic Circle
Plans are in place to re-open Little Arctic Circle, between the dam and Boulder Bay on Highway 18, by the weekend, as it has been closed since Tuesday morning; this closure was first prompted by a 28-foot truck stuck in the roadway. CalTrans signed an emergency contract with an outside contractor yesterday. As there was too much snow on this portion of the roadway, CalTrans says they did not have the proper equipment to remove as much as three and four feet of snow. The contractor, which is the A.J. Acosta Company of Big Bear Lake, got started on snow removal yesterday afternoon, as soon as they signed on to the project, and have been at work round the clock with three loaders to re-open Little Arctic Circle in time for this evening's anticipated weekend traffic. In a conversation with Acosta, he tells KBHR, “We are going to get this road open, to help out these businesses.” Those west end businesses that remain open despite the Little Arctic Circle closure include Blanca and Pierre's restaurant, Massive Snowboards, the Big Bear Brewery, Ski Haus, Abbey Rose and the Boulder Bay Market. Update as of noon: In the latest update from CalTrans today, they tell us that efforts by the Acosta Company will likely result in the re-opening of Highway 18's Little Arctic Circle in the 1 o'clock hour today. Once the Acosta team finishes this daunting snow removal project, they will work on snow reduction and road clearing from Boulder Bay east toward the Village, so that Highway 18 is ready for this evening's anticipated weekend traffic. Update: Little Arctic Circle re-opened as of 1:30pm!

Peavy Named President of Bear Valley Community Healthcare District; Fagan Voted in as 1st VP
At this week's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, re-elected Directors Ron Peavy and Dr. Chris Fagan, and newly elected Director Brad Summers were sworn in by Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick. During the Monday morning business meeting, healthcare district directors also assumed board positions: Peavy was named president, Fagan was named 1st vice president, Bill Speyers is now 2nd vice president, Summers is treasurer, and Kathy Bauch is secretary.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

CalTrans Hires Outside Contractor to Remove Snow from Little Arctic Circle, to Be Re-opened Tomorrow

Per CalTrans, plans are now in place to re-open Little Arctic Circle, between the dam and Boulder Bay on Highway 18, by the weekend. As of today, CalTrans signed an emergency contract with an outside contractor. As there was too much snow on this portion of the roadway, CalTrans says they did not have the proper equipment to remove as much as three and four feet of snow. The contractor will implement snow removal on Little Arctic Circle tomorrow, so that the roadway will be accessible in time for Friday evening weekend traffic.

As of This Morning: Highway 38 and Little Arctic Circle Are Closed; R3 on 330; R2 on Highway 18

R3 chain requirements do remain in place on Highway 330 between Running Springs and Highland, with R3 meaning that all vehicles must have chains on, without exception. R3 conditions had also been kept in place on Highway 38 though, at this time, CalTrans has closed 38 with no estimated reopen time yet scheduled. R2 chain requirements are in place on Highway 18 in both directions, and this includes the Big Bear Valley as well. R2 chain requirements mean that you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless driving a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels and carrying chains. Highway 18, both down the front way and through Lucerne, remain open and, again, under an R2 requirement. Little Arctic Circle, between the dam and Boulder Bay, at Big Bear Lake's west end, remains closed, so those trying to access Highway 18 down the front way can take the North Shore to get to 18. Though Little Arctic Circle remains closed, west end businesses are still open. Those in business in Boulder Bay include Blanca and Pierre's restaurant, Massive Snowboards, the Big Bear Brewery, Abbey Rose and the Boulder Bay Market. Update as of 10:45am: Highway 330 is now closed, as is Highway 38. R3 conditions now in place for Highway 18 to Running Springs, and along Big Bear's North Shore. No estimated re-open time for Little Arctic Circle. Other than North Shore, R2 conditions for Big Bear Valley and Highway 18 to Lucerne. Update as of 1:50pm: All roads are open (with the exception of Little Arctic Circle on Highway 18); R2 requirements in place on all roads to, from and within the Big Bear Valley. R2 means you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless in a four-wheel drive with snow tires and carrying chains. If not carrying chains, you could be ticketed $108, per the California Highway Patrol. Also, as snowplows from the City of Big Bear Lake's Public Works Department and CalTrans are trying to make their way through all streets, be sure that your vehicle is not parked in the roadway, which would impede snowplow operations. If parked on the street, your vehicle could be ticketed or towed.


Big Bear was blanketed with nearly another two feet of snow on Wednesday, making for just
about four feet of snow this week--and a beautiful Thursday morning from the runway of the
Big Bear City Airport.

Today's Closures Due to Heavy Snow Include CSD, BVUSD; Free Food Distribution Rescheduled
The Big Bear City Community Services District offices are closed today, as are the school district offices. Believers' Chapel Food Pantry food distribution has been rescheduled for Saturday; for more information call 866-2552. Updates: Bear Valley Unified will not hold this afternoon's Citizens Oversight Committee meeting, originally scheduled for 2:30pm at Big Bear Middle School; contact Walter Con at BVUSD for details. And, though Santa Claus has no problem trudging through the snow, visits scheduled via the Rotary Club for this evening are being rescheduled. Participating families will be contacted by the Rotary Club to reschedule; families can also call Santa's helpers Ted and Paula at the Little Green House at 866-5352. We're told that Santa plans to be in Big Bear tomorrow and Saturday, as planned. The first annual Holiday Season Light Parade, as planned by the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, will not take place on Monday, as there is too much snow for the floats to maneuver through the Swim Beach parking lot. Still on for today: The Big Bear Municipal Water District does remain open today, and will hold their Board of Directors meeting at their offices at 1pm this afternoon. The Big Bear Library will hold their annual Children's Holiday Program, open to all children, at 4pm today at the library on Garstin Drive.

Props to Those Working, and Helping, in the Snow; Resorts Report Up to Four Feet of Fresh Snow
On behalf of the Big Bear community, our thanks to the men and women of Big Bear Lake Public Works, the short-staffed team from CalTrans, and our local tow truck companies for their tireless round-the-clock efforts in what have been treacherous snow conditions. Also, we have received many reports of neighbor helping neighbor here in the Big Bear Valley, as many of you have been helping stranded motorists and buried neighbors so, good job Big Bear! Also, if you see people walking along the side of the roadway, chances are these are among the 150-plus students from South America, who are in Big Bear to work at the resorts for the season, and are probably experiencing their first big dose of winter weather and heavy snow. And, speaking of the resorts, both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit report up to four feet of snow since Monday, in addition to snowmaking, so the snow depth on open runs is 3 to 5 feet with excellent coverage and 11 chairlifts in operation.


Buried.

Southest Gas Offers Energy Efficiency Tips; Be Sure Exhaust Ducts for Gas Appliances Are Free of Snow
With the arrival of significant winter weather here in the Big Bear Valley, Southwest Gas reminds that energy-efficiency improvements not only help save energy, but your energy dollars as well. Setting the thermostat between 66-68 degrees during the winter months is recommended as, for each degree the thermostat is lowered, two percent can be saved on each heating bill. Southwest Gas also recommends the routine replacement of air filters, caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows to insulate against drafts, and operating dishwashers and clothes washers only when full in order to be more energy efficient. You can also open window shades, blinds and drapes to allow natural sunlight to warm your home during the daylight hours. Also, Southwest Gas points out that natural gas appliances require proper exhaust and ventilation; it is important to know the location of air supply and exhaust ducts, and keep them free of snow, ice, leaves and other debris. For more energy efficiency tips, call Southwest Gas at 1-800-OK-GAS-OK, or visit swgas.com.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Big Bear High School Reschedules Finals for January; Access to BBHS Lockers Available Thursday, Friday
Given the heavy snow, there will be no school tomorrow for students of Bear Valley Unified School District. As finals were supposed to take place at Big Bear High School this week, they will instead be held in January. When school resumes after the three-week winter break, high school students will have review days on January 12 and 13. On January 14, 15 and 16, high school students only will be on a minimum day schedule, to take their winter finals. In the meantime, BBHS students will have access to their lockers both tomorrow and Friday, from 8am to 3pm. Though school will not be in session, high school students can get what they need from their lockers, including study materials for the rescheduled January finals week.

Help Our Local Fire Departments: Make Sure There Is Access to Fire Hydrants in Your Neighborhood
The Big Bear City Fire Department is asking the Big Bear community for assistance in fire hydrant maintenance. As the snow flies and the snow berms pile up, fire hydrants tend to get buried or obstructed. In the event of a fire in the area where you live, a path to the hydrant will assist firefighters in getting to the fire hydrant more quickly. The fire department urges you to take a look around your neighborhood for buried, obstructed or leaking fire hydrants. If possible, clear a path to the vital fire hydrant and, if you spot one leaking, report it immediately to your local water company or fire department as leaking hydrants are prone to freezing. For more information on fire hydrant maintenance, you can visit the website bigbearcityfire.org.

Snowfall Expected to Continue Throughout the Day; Snow Levels Could Drop to 3000 Feet

The snow keeps coming down, as we have received several inches (as of 8am) since snowfall began again at roughly 4am. Snow is expected to continue through the day, with snow levels as low as 3000 feet. Today's accumulation will be in addition to the roughly two feet of snow the Big Bear Valley has received since Sunday. For updated weather information, tune to KBHR at quarter past every hour for Ben Brissey's local weather report on 93.3 FM. Update: As of noon, we have received nearly a foot of snow just today--and snowfall continues to be heavy. Update: As of 4:45pm, we have received at least 14 inches of snow in the Big Bear Valley today.

View from the Big Bear City Airport, Home of KBHR Radio

Here's the view from Big Bear City in the noon hour or so. The white-out is such that you may not be able to see the snowplow on
the runway. Note the berm outside the window of the Barnstorm Restaurant, where Jim and Arloa Gundred are enjoying a meal.

All Mountain Highways Accessible This Morning, Though Little Arctic Circle on 18 Remains Closed
As far as roads leading to, from and within the Big Bear Valley, R2 chain requirements remain in effect. R2 means that you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless driving a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels and carrying chains. If not carrying chains, you could be ticketed $108, per the California Highway Patrol. All highways leading to Big Bear—including 18, 38 and 330—are open, though the Little Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18 does remain closed indefinitely, per CalTrans this morning. Little Arctic Circle is the tight-turns section of Highway 18 between the dam and Boulder Bay, at Big Bear Lake's west end. You can still access Highway 18, down the front way to 330, by using the North Shore (or Highway 38) through Fawnskin. Though buses and trucks are being allowed on mountain roads, the California Highway Patrol advises against it during today's storm. Update as of noon: The snow keeps coming down, and this has resulted in numerous incidents on our mountain roads. It is advised that if you do not need to travel today, stay home as travel can be treacherous. This morning, we have had reports that up to 30 vehicles, as well as a big rig, are stuck on Highway 18 at the Big Bear Dam. As the Little Arctic Circle portion of 18, west of the dam to Boulder Bay, remains closed, vehicles have been redirected to take the North Shore through Fawnskin to access Highway 18 down the front way. Given the increased travel on the North Shore, we have recent reports of numerous vehicles stuck in the snow as well as a jacknifed big rig. On Highway 38, there are vehicles blocking lanes at the east end of the Valley, including a dozen reported vehicles stuck in the snow at State Lane (in Erwin Lake area). If you must drive today, know that R2 chain requirements remain in place, so you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless driving a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels and carrying chains. If not carrying chains, you could be ticketed $108, per the California Highway Patrol. Other than the closure of Highway 18 in the Little Arctic Circle area, no roads have been closed but, again, there are vehicles stuck in the snow on Highways 18 and 38, as well as the North Shore. Also, for perspective's sake, the Cajon Pass and State Route 247, from Lucerne to Yucca Valley in the desert, are both closed due to snow. Update: As of 1:10pm, all roads are now under an R3 chain requirement, meaning chains are required on all vehicles, without exception. Travel on mountain roads is also now restricted for buses and trucks.

Closures Due to Weather Include No School on Thursday; No Planning Commission Meeting Today
Bear Valley Unified closed schools again today and, already, have issued a snow day for tomorrow, Thursday. So, no school for BVUSD students on Thursday, and students begin their winter break on Friday. Other closures and cancellations include the following: First Mountain Bank will be closing both of their branches as of 2pm today. The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake will also not be meeting today, due to lack of a quorum. Also, no Rec and Park yoga today or tomorrow. The VCA animal hospital will be closing at 2pm today; emergency services will still be available by calling 866-2021. As of 2:30pm, the offices of the Big Bear City Community Services District are also closed for the day.


Big Bear Lake, in the 6am hour today.

Freshie Freshie Pow Pow: Big Bear Mountain Resorts Have Excellent Coverage, Will Open More Runs
Big Bear Mountain Resorts have issued today's snow report, which is billed as “Freshie Freshie Pow Pow – Round Two!” As of this morning, both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain have received 28 inches of fresh snowfall in recent days, and have continued snowmaking, so coverage is excellent on all open runs. There are currently eight chairlifts in operation between the two resorts, with another chairlift accessing Upper Log Chute to open at Summit today, as well as plans to open an additional five runs at Bear. Day session for both resorts goes until 4pm today, weather permitting.

U.S. Geological Survey Records Small Earthquake Outside Big Bear City in 4am Hour Today

If you were among those up and shoveling in the 4am hour, you may have felt a small earthquake centered outside Big Bear City this morning. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a 1.5 magnitude quake was centered five miles northeast of Bear City at 4:13am, and registered a depth of over five miles.

Mail Delivery Customers Asked to Clear Mailbox Approach; Undeliverable Mail Will Be at Post Office
If you receive mail delivery service from the Big Bear City Post Office, Postmaster Ron Ward points out that delivery is contingent on your help. In a statement, Postmaster Ward says, “To help us get your mail delivered and collected, please keep your approach clear so the carrier can safely pull up to, and away from, your mailbox. We understand it is hard to keep the approach clear during these times with snow plowing and ice buildup. We want to deliver your mail. If after three days of attempting to deliver your mail and you are unable to clear your approach, we will keep your mail at the post office, where it will be available for you to pick up.” Questions on mail delivery service from the Big Bear City Post Office can be directed to 585-7132.

THE BEAR VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS DETERMINED THAT SCHOOLS WILL BE
CLOSED
AGAIN ON WEDNESDAY 12-17-08 DUE TO HEAVY SNOW AND HAZARDOUS ROAD CONDITIONS.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Local California Highway Patrol Offers Some Tips, Including Carry Chains--Or Risk a $108 Ticket

Our local division of the California Highway Patrol, based in Running Springs, reminds motorists that it is the law to carry chains during snow conditions and throughout the winter season. During the current R2 chain requirements in place for all mountain roads, vehicles are required to have snow chains on the drive axle, unless in a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels. If you are driving a four-wheel drive, you are still required to carry chains, in case conditions become R3, in which case chains would be required on all vehicles. If fined for not carrying chains, the ticket is $108. CHP Officer Gary Fernandez reminds all motorists coming to the mountain to be prepared with proper equipment, practice patience, and do not install chains while in the roadway—rather, pull into a shoulder or turn-out.

Potts Pleads Guilty to Felony Assault Charge; Receives Jail Time, 3 Years Probation for June 18 Incident
Sentencing has been handed down for one of the four young men arrested for the June 18 incident which resulted in the death of Michael Lundin of Big Bear Lake. In an October court appearance, 18-year-old Mark Potts had changed his plea to guilty for the charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon, for injuries to two unnamed friends of Lundin. As of this month's court appearance, Potts was ordered to serve the rest of a 270-day sentence at the county's Glen Helen facility. Upon release, Potts will be on probation for 36 months, during which time he must maintain gainful employment or attend school, participate in a counseling program, and remain within California, among other conditions including a directive that he will not possess any weapons. Potts will also be required to pay restitution in the amount of $7,500 to the Lundin family. The two other defendants charged with felony assault, Christopher Day and David Ferguson, remain in custody at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga and, per Deputy District Attorney Alex Martinez, they will remain there until their next court appearance in January. As Deputy DA Martinez tells KBHR, “For legal reasons, the court did not accept their plea bargains. We are confident that their cases will be resolved in the near future—or hopefully so.” As for 19-year-old defendant Chalen Winters, who was charged with the murder of Lundin, he, too, remains in custody at West Valley and will have his next hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court in January. (More on this story is posted on the following dates: October 30, October 20, September 19, August 6, July 9, July 2, June 25, June 23, June 20 and June 19, all in our 2008 Local News Archive.)

Tow Truck Operators Busy on Mountain Roads; Carry Supplies in Your Vehicle Should You Be Stranded
If you had tuned in yesterday, you may have heard us mention that Highway 330 was closed Monday, as there were at least 25 vehicles—in addition to a bus and a beer truck—stuck between the upper and lower passing lanes. According to the California Highway Patrol, the available tow trucks in that area (between Running Springs and Highland) had been exhausted. Here in Big Bear City yesterday, a semi-truck had gotten stuck on Deadman's Curve, and the tow truck sent to retrieve that vehicle then got stuck and needed a tow from another tow truck. All that being said, know that tow truck operators are busy during this heavy snow period, not just retrieving stranded motorists, but also removing vehicles that are parked on the roadway, and blocking snow plow operations. Given the demand for towing services on mountain highways, the City of Big Bear Lake's proposal (as discussed during their December 8 meeting) to contract with an additional towing company stands to reason, should fleets of local operators be maxed out. If stuck in your vehicle during snowy conditions, you will likely have a wait before a tow truck can get to you, so be prepared by carrying those things you may need—such as water, snacks, a shovel or an extra blanket—when you travel.


Big Bear is now a winter wonderland, as we have received as much as two feet of snow throughout
the Valley. As of Monday at 2pm, we had received 9.3 inches of snow here at the studios of KBHR,
so we will soon announce the winner of our Snowfall Sweepstakes. (New snow blower, anyone?)

Schedule Changes: No MOM Project Today, Jack Frost Feast Canceled, DWP Meeting Moves to Thursday
Given the recent snow, a few schedule changes: the MOM Project has canceled all Tuesday classes, the Big Bear Library is scheduled to open at noon today, the Sierra Club has canceled this evening's Jack Frost Feast (to be rescheduled in January), and the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power canceled this morning's special board meeting. The DWP meeting will instead be held on Thursday, December 18 at 9am, and will still be held at the DWP offices on Garstin Drive. The special meeting agenda includes an update on the proposal to eliminate the current budget deficit.

Weather Prompts Cancellation of BVES's Home Energy Assistance Application Workshop for Wednesday
Bear Valley Electric Service had planned to hold a Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP, application processing workshop on Wednesday, but this has been canceled due to this week's weather. It is expected that another opportunity for HEAP processing will be available next year. HEAP is a program offered to low-income families, which provides credits up to $355, which can be applied toward gas or electric bills.

CalTrans Re-opens All Highways; R2 Chain Requirements Remain in Place for All Mountain Roads

All roads to the Big Bear Valley are open, with Highway 18 to Lucerne Valley having been last to reopen, this morning at 5:45am. R2 chain requirements remain in place for all roads to, from and within the Big Bear Valley, so if not driving a four-wheel drive with snow tires, you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle. Though all roads are open, there have been reports of accidents on all highways this morning, so proceed with caution and, if putting on snowchains, be sure you are safely out of the roadway. Also, snow conditions are in effect for Big Bear Lake, so no parking on city streets to allow for snow plow operations.

No School Today for BVUSD Students; School District Will Continue Dial-Out System for Snow Days
There is no school today for students of the Bear Valley Unified School District. Yesterday, the school district implemented their new snow day dial-out system, to alert families as to school status. This dial-out system will remain in place, so families can expect an early morning call from BVUSD on snow days. Yesterday, an early-out was called for students, to allow for all school buses to run for all schools. On days when school is in session, and parents opt to keep children at home due to weather, this will be counted as an unexcused absence, per BVUSD. Still, there is no school in session today for BVUSD students.

Two Feet of Fresh Powder at Both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain Resorts, With Seven Chairlifts Open
Both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts are open, with snowmaking having continued round the clock. Both resorts report a snow depth of two feet of new powder since snowfall began this weekend, and snow coverage is excellent with powder to packed powder, with seven chairlifts now in operation between the two resorts. Day session at both Bear and Summit continues until 4pm today, weather permitting.

THE BEAR VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS DETERMINED THAT SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED ON TUESDAY 12-16-08 DUE TO HEAVY SNOW AND HAZARDOUS ROAD CONDITIONS.

Monday, December 15, 2008

R-2 Chain Requirements in Place: Vehicles Must Have Snow Chains Unless 4-Wheel Drive With Snow Tires
All roads to and from the Big Bear Valley are open this morning, though R-2 chain requirements are in place. R-2 means that you must have chains on the drive wheels of your vehicle, unless driving a four-wheel drive with snow tires on all four wheels. Once again, that R-2 requirement is in place for all roads leading to and from the Big Bear Valley , as well as roads here in the Valley. Proceed with caution as roads are slick given the new snowfall. Also, you can help other motorists on the road by making sure you have turned your headlights on, so your vehicle is visible. If putting chains on your vehicle, be sure you are safely out of the roadway before doing so. See our Roads Page for road closure information; this information will be updated once we bring you the latest on the air at 93.3 FM.


R-2 chain requirements are in place on all mountain roads. So, if not driving a vehicle with snow
tires and four-wheel drive, chains are required during this R-2 control issued by CalTrans.

MARTA Bus Services Running Late in Big Bear, Canceled in Crestline and Lake Arrowhead Areas

In a statement issued by the Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority, just before noon: Due to extreme weather conditions, MARTA's services in the Crestline/Lake Arrowhead have been canceled. Big Bear services are currently running late.  Afternoon off-the-mountain services will depend on how weather conditions progress. For updates or further information please contact MARTA's offices in Big Bear at 878-5200, Crestline at 338-1113. Update: Fixed MARTA routes within Big Bear have also been canceled; Dial-a-Ride service is still available. Update: Dial-a-Ride services also canceled for the rest of the day. For Tuesday service, patrons can call MARTA at 878-5200, by 6am for off-the-mountain service.

School Is in Session Today; New Snow Day Dial-Out in Place; BVUSD Has Two Meetings at D.O. Today
All schools within the Bear Valley Unified School District are in session today, though snow conditions may mean that school buses take a little longer to complete their route. As of today, Bear Valley Unified implemented a new phone dial-out system to be used for snow days. Parents and students will be notified of school closures via the dial-out, which will be activated between 5:30 and 6am. Parents are reminded that, should you choose to keep your child at home (due to weather) when school is in session, it will be counted as an unexcused absence. Also, the Bear Valley Unified School District has two meetings planned for today, the first of which is a Board workshop to be held at 12:15pm. At 2:30pm this afternoon, Trustees will convene for a Budget Advisory Committee meeting, during which time an overview of the state's economic condition, and the potential fiscal effects on BVUSD, will be reviewed. Both meetings take place at the school district offices, at 42271 Moonridge Road in Big Bear Lake. Update: Schools will be on an early-out schedule today, to accommodate the bus situation on snowy roads. Big Bear Middle School students will be released at 1pm; Big Bear High School students will be released at 1:30pm; elementary students will be released at normal time. Update: Today's 2:30pm Budget Advisory Committee meeting has been canceled due to weather.

USGS Records Four Earthquakes, of Magnitudes 1.7 to 2.8, Outside Big Bear City Area Since Saturday
There were a few notable earthquakes, centered north of Big Bear City, since Saturday. Just before 6:30am on Saturday the 13th, there was a 2.8 magnitude quake, registering a depth of over five miles, centered five miles northwest of Big Bear City; at 12:46pm on Saturday, a 1.8 magnitude quake was centered in this same area, and registered a depth of nearly six miles. On Sunday, Big Bear City residents may have felt a 1.7 magnitude quake at 7am, which was centered four miles northeast of Bear City. And, this morning at 5:11am, the U.S. Geological Survey, reports a 1.7 magnitude quake was centered 10 miles northeast of Big Bear City, and registered a depth of over eight miles.

County Health Department Reminds Hypothermia, Frostbite Possible, Especially for Elderly, Young, Pets
The onset of the season's first freeze has prompted the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health to prepare for the health concerns that accompany extreme cold weather. Here are some guidelines: Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite, especially in the very young and the elderly. (Symptoms of hypothermia include confusion, loss of muscle control and shivering. Some signs of frostbite are numbness or paleness in extremities.) Residents should also think about the effects of extreme weather on their animals. If pets cannot be brought indoors, they should have adequate shelter to stay warm and have access to unfrozen water. Livestock should be provided with wind-break and roof shelter, and monitored for signs of discomfort.

No Parking on City Streets as Snow Conditions in Effect for Big Bear Lake; Vehicles May Be Towed
The City of Big Bear Lake has called snow conditions into effect, so do not park on city streets during this time, to allow for safe snow plow operations. Vehicles blocking snowplows may be ticketed ot towed.

County Supervisor Derry Expected at This Evening's CSD Directors Meeting; President, VP to Be Elected
Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry attended last Monday's meeting of the City Council of Big Bear Lake and, this evening, he and his mountain-area representative Jerry Lemke plan to attend the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District. According to CSD Director Marge McDonald, this will be the first time that a county supervisor has attended a CSD meeting. The 5:30pm meeting, to be held at the CSD offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard, will include the election of CSD's president and vice president for the coming year, and will be the first meeting to include newly elected Director Barbara Beck. Update: Due to the weather, Derry will not be in attendance this evening, per CSD. As of 1pm, the meeting is still on. Update as of 4pm: CSD meeting canceled due to the weather.

THE BEAR VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOLS ARE OPEN TODAY 12-15-08. THE SECOND SCHOOL PHONE MESSAGE WAS CORRECT: SCHOOLS ARE OPEN!

Friday, December 12, 2008

All Mountain Motorists Advised to Carry Snow Chains This Weekend, and Throughout Winter Season
As snow is possible in the mountains this weekend, CalTrans reminds motorists that chain control and road closures can take place on state highways at a moment's notice. As it is the law to carry snow chains in the higher elevations during the winter months, be sure your vehicle is equipped with them. When chain controls are issued, here is what the CalTrans requirements entail: R-1 conditions require chains on all commercial vehicles; all other vehicles must have either snow tires or chains on the drive axle. R-2 conditions mean that chains are required on all vehicles, except those with four-wheel drive with snow tires. During R-2 requirements, even four-wheel drive vehicles must carry chains. In the rare instances when R-3 requirements are in place, chains will be required on all vehicles, without exception. That said, be prepared and carry chains when driving to, from or in the mountains this winter.

BBARWA Board Approves Expenditure to Move Pipeline Prior to CalTrans's Realignment of Highway 18

The current Governing Board of four of the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency met on Wednesday for their regular meeting, to cover the months of November and December. During this time, the Board and staff received a two-hour presentation from Jeff Furnish of Bickmore Risk Services and Consulting, who furnished them with information on new state auditing and reporting requirements, which take effect as of BBARWA's 2009/2010 audit. Per BBARWA General Manager Steve Schindler, “We're trying to get ahead of the curve, and the Board will have a few more discussions on this before we implement.” The Board will also take additional time to review their policy for the retention and destruction of obsolete records, as agendized for December 10, and plan to make a decision during their January meeting. The Board did move forward with the expenditure approval of $230,000 in Capital Improvement Funds to realign the BBARWA outfall pipeline, which will need to be moved to accommodate the CalTrans plans for the realignment of Highway 18 near the Mitsubishi Plant outside Lucerne. Per Schindler, “Our pipeline will need to be moved, so it doesn't conflict with the CalTrans project. We will hopefully start on it this spring, as CalTrans has approved our plans. It will take about 30 to 60 days to do the realignment, and CalTrans will probably start the road project in 2010.”

Bear Valley Unified School District Outlines Snow Day Criteria; School Information to Be Posted by 5:45am
In anticipation of eventual snow, the Bear Valley Unified School District's snow day criteria rests on the safe transportation of students, as nearly 3,000 students are transported to school sites via bus each day. BVUSD's superintendent, director of maintenance, and director of transportation begin checking weather reports and road conditions at 3:30am, and actually drive the bus routes. If these are safe, school will be in session. If unsafe for travel, even in the afternoon, a snow day will be called by 5:45am. Parents can tune to KBHR for snow day information, or visit the school district's website at bigbear.k12.ca.us. The school district will also share snow day information with television stations, including Channel 6. The ultimate decision to send a child to school rests with the parent. However, if school is in session and your child stays home, BVUSD says it will be counted as an unexcused absence.


Big Bear Loves Chocolate: This year's annual event (during which chocolate was offered by the
Valley's bed and breakfasts) started with a kick-off party, and plenty of chocolate, at the Big Bear
Discovery Center on Friday. Special someones in attendance included DC Director Denis Thomas,
Mrs. Claus and Santa, Princesses Vondalynn Dias and Kasey Judge with Miss Big Bear Hayley
Bracken, and (in back) event organizer Kat Sawyer.

Big Bear City Fire Department Wraps East Valley Chipping Program; 400 Tons of Vegetation Removed
In July, the Big Bear City Fire Department issued a challenge to East Valley property owners, to see if 80 tons of dead brush and small trees could be removed in an effort to create defensible space, making the Bear City area more fire-safe. Per Fire Chief Jeff Willis, congratulations are in order, as over 400 tons of vegetation was removed in this year's neighborhood chipping program provided by the Big Bear City and San Bernardino County Fire Departments. This year's vegetation removal program wrapped in October, so residents are asked to discontinue placing vegetation curbside, to allow for the safe access of snow plows during the winter season. In a statement from Chief Willis, he says, “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the effort to make your property more fire resistive, thereby contributing to neighborhood fire safety efforts. Through the combined efforts of the Big Bear Valley fire agencies, and all the hard work brought forward by you, the property owner, we are proving to be a mountain community that others can look at and admire.”

Installation of Directors Peavy, Fagan and Summers Planned for Monday's Healthcare District Meeting
The Board of Directors of the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District will hold a business meeting on Monday morning, at 8am, to be held at the DWP conference room at 41972 Garstin Drive. During the meeting, the healthcare district's re-elected Directors Ron Peavy and Dr. Christopher Fagan and newly elected Director Brad Summers will be installed.

Home Energy Assistance Program Applications to Be Processed at Bear Valley Electric on Wednesday
If your utility bills are more than you can afford, Bear Valley Electric will once again be offering utility assistance application processing next Wednesday, December 17. Low-income families in need of assistance with utility bills may be eligible for benefits through the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP. Due to the demand for applications to be processed earlier this year, next Wednesday, the first 35 in line will be processed at 9am; another 20 applications will be accepted at 1pm. HEAP is offered to low-income households, and eligible families can receive an annual credit up to $355, which may be applied to gas or electric bills. Other HEAP program benefits, for home weatherization, include up to $240 for firewood or up to $350 toward propane. In order to prepare for the application process, here is what households will need to present: both current gas and electric bills (in their entirety), rental agreement or mortgage statement, California picture ID with current address, social security cards for all household members and proof of Social Security information for 2008, and pay stubs for all prior 30-day pay periods. If applying for propane benefits, bring your current invoice receipt with account number. The HEAP and weatherization assistance applications will be processed at Bear Valley Electric Service, at 42020 Garstin Drive on the 17th. Those with questions in the meantime can call Bear Valley Electric at 866-4678 ext. 123. Update as of 12/15: HEAP application processing has been canceled, due to severe weather. BVES says they will schedule another day for HEAP processing next year.

In-Home Santa Visits Available to Families Next Week; Call the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake to Schedule

If you would like to arrange for Santa Claus to visit your home, armed with stockings stuffed with goodies and toys for girls and boys, the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake can arrange for that to happen. Santa Claus will be in Big Bear next Thursday, Friday and Saturday (December 18, 19 and 20) and will be available for free home visits from 6 to 9pm on each of those dates. All families, both Valley residents and visitors, are invited to participate in this program—and, for families in need, Santa's helpers can assist with additional supplies for your holiday. To arrange for a Santa visit next week, contact the Rotary Club as soon as possible (as Santa books early) at 878-4013 or 584-2699. Arrangements can also be made by visiting Sotheby's Realty, the Little Green House Florist or All Protection Alarm.

Southwest Gas Offers Energy Efficiency Tips to Save Energy and Dollars During the Winter Season

With the arrival of winter weather here in the Big Bear Valley, Southwest Gas reminds that energy-efficiency improvements not only help save energy, but your energy dollars as well. Setting the thermostat between 66-68 degrees during the winter months is recommended as, for each degree the thermostat is lowered, two percent can be saved on each heating bill. Southwest Gas also recommends the routine replacement of air filters, caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows to insulate against drafts, and operating dishwashers and clothes washers only when full in order to be more energy efficient. You can also open window shades, blinds and drapes to allow natural sunlight to warm your home during the daylight hours. For more energy efficiency tips, call Southwest Gas at 1-800-OK-GAS-OK, or visit swgas.com.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

State Agencies Prepare for Potential of Three-Week Weather Event; Motorists Should Carry Snow Chains
The National Weather Service has this week advised state agencies of a cold weather event to impact California as early as Friday, and possibly lasting for up to three weeks. During this time, Californians can expect unseasonably cold weather with periods of rain and snow throughout the state. The state's Office of Emergency Services has reviewed the Contingency Plan for Extreme Cold/Freeze Emergencies, and specific actions will be taken based on the severity of the risk of extreme cold to vulnerable populations, animals and agriculture. Cold weather precautions, distributed by the California Department of Public Health, are available at BePreparedCalifornia.ca.gov. Those with animals and livestock are advised to provide indoor or protected covered areas for pets, make sure that their water sources are not frozen and watch for hypothermia and dehydration, especially in horses (who drink more water when it is warmed) and very young and old animals. For local weather information, stay tuned to KBHR for Ben Brissey's updated weather report at quarter past every hour. Also, as snow may be possible in coming days, those traveling to, from and in the mountains are reminded to carry snow chains as it is the law during the winter season.


Firefighters with the San Bernardino National Forest, Seth Mitchell and David Dolezal, joined the
Big Bear Lake Fire Department for a demonstration on the potential catastrophe of a dry Christmas
tree. These two were the last to enjoy this "living room" before it went up in flames--for more on this,
see Wednesday's photo story.

Big Bear Lake Renter Messick to Be Charged With Felony Cultivation of Narcotics, Following OC Arrest
Felony charges for cultivation of marijuana will be brought against Todd Messick, a 44-year-old resident of Costa Mesa who rents a home in Big Bear Lake. To follow is the statement released by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station: “San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department narcotics detectives recently received information from Costa Mesa Police Department that they had an individual in custody by the name of Todd Messick, whose arrest was the result of seizure of approximately 60 marijuana plants found during execution of a search warrant in Costa Mesa. Based on information given to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, detectives determined that Messick also rented a residence in the 43000 block of Yosemite Drive in Big Bear Lake and was believed to have another indoor marijuana grow at that location. Big Bear Lake deputies conducted surveillance at the residence on Yosemite Drive. Based on observations made by deputies, detectives of the Narcotics Division initiated a search warrant and found approximately 150 marijuana plants and four pounds of processed marijuana. The illicit narcotics have a street value of approximately $550,000. Messick is a resident of Costa Mesa, California, and the Big Bear Lake residence was rented by Messick for the exclusive purpose of the indoor marijuana grow. Officers from Big Bear Lake Code Enforcement were also contacted for investigation of electrical wiring violations and mold issues. Felony charges for cultivation of narcotics will be brought against Messick in San Bernardino County, in addition to the pending charges in Orange County.”

CalTrans Invites Community Participation in Big Bear Bridge Project Task Force; Meeting at 6:30pm Today
The first, informational meeting of the Big Bear Bridge Project Task Force takes place this evening. In an effort to make the upcoming dam bridge replacement project a win-win for all involved, CalTrans is establishing a Big Bear Bridge Project Task Force, which will be open to 30-40 members of the community. A cross-section of residents, local agencies and business owners, from the Big Bear and Fawnskin areas, is hoped for on this task force, which will meet periodically to address construction and traffic impact issues. This evening's 6:30pm meeting will be held in the Big Bear Lake Civic Center, located at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard. Construction on the new dam bridge is scheduled to begin in early 2009, with the project expected to get fully underway after the snow season.

American Legion Hosts Children's Holiday Party at Convention Center on Saturday; Santa and Gifts for All
This Saturday marks the return of the annual American Legion Children's Holiday Party, which is open to all Valley children ages 2 to 12. The party will be held at the Big Bear Convention Center, and runs from 11am to 1pm, during which time there will be music, hot dogs, gifts for each child, and the arrival of Santa Claus on a firetruck. The American Legion Post 584 and their auxiliary ask that each child in attendance be accompanied by an adult. For more information on Saturday's party for local children, call the American Legion at 866-4845.

County Supervisors Rescind Mountain-Area Funding, Though Projects May Be Reinstated in January
County Supervisors this week unanimously approved a request from new Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry, to rescind over $2.6 million in funding for mountain area projects, as brought before the Board by now former Supervisor Dennis Hansberger and approved on November 18. In a statement from Derry's office: “The rescission action was requested in order for the district to more thoroughly evaluate the appropriation amount, funding source and, in some cases, scope of work.” Among those projects for which funding has been recalled include the $500,000 in water system infrastructure improvements (to allow for the zoo's relocation), the traffic signal at Stanfield Cutoff and North Shore Drive, and the Mountain Preservation Program for lot consolidation in Baldwin Lake. As of the December 9 meeting, the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival will still receive $10,000 of the $25,000 designated to the student film camp program on November 18. In a conversation with Derry's Chief-of-Staff Jim Erwin, he tells KBHR that some of these projects may return, and receive funding, after additional review. “The one that is kind of in question,” he says, “is the Mountain Preservation Program. As for the traffic signal at Stanfield and the North Shore, there has been no feasibility study done. For water infrastructure improvement, we're looking at that. As soon as we identify the actual plans, if the amount is appropriate, we'll go forward with that.” And, as for the film fest funding, Erwin adds, “We're going to go ahead and restore that commitment.”


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Snow Summit Opens Tomorrow; Reduced Lift Ticket Prices at Bear Mountain and Summit Through Sunday
This just in! Snow Summit will be open tomorrow, December 11. Recent snowmaking by the resort will allow for Miracle Mile to be open, top to bottom, at Summit and, between the two resorts, there will be four chairlifts in operation and terrain available for beginner to advanced skiers and snowboarders, per the resorts. Bear Mountain, which has been open since Saturday, currently has 13 jibs and two snow features available. Early season lift ticket prices for both resorts are $35 for adults, $28 for young adults, and $15 for children. Additional discounts, through December 14, will be available for half-day lift tickets. As snowmaking continues, both Bear and Summit will open additional lifts and runs. For more information, visit BigBearMountainResorts.com.

Fire Department Stresses Importance of Watering Christmas Trees Daily; Online Video to Be Available

The Big Bear Lake Fire Department, under the direction of interim Chief Mark Mills, wants to impress upon the community the importance of watering Christmas trees daily. To that end, the fire department this week provided a demonstration on how quickly a dry tree can burn—in as little as three seconds, the tree can become ablaze; in five seconds, the fire can consume the tree, and black smoke and super heated gases begin to roll across the ceiling. Flash over—the point at which the contents of the room combust—can happen in just 40 seconds in a room with a dry tree. So, if you will have a Christmas tree in your home this holiday, first be sure to cut one inch off the bottom to ensure sap removal for water absorption, and then water the tree each day as trees can absorb up to a gallon of water daily. The Big Bear Lake Fire Department's dry tree fire demonstration was filmed, and will soon be available online at bblfd.com.


Have you watered your Christmas tree today? Faster than you can take a second photo, a dry Christmas tree coupled with an ignition
source (such as overheated tree lights or a nearby furnace) can burn your home, with "flash over" taking place in as little as 40 seconds.


New School Board Members Grabe, Putz and Zamoyta to Be Sworn In at This Evening's BVUSD Meeting
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District meet for their regular Board meeting at 6:15pm this evening, at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road in Big Bear Lake. This evening's meeting will include the swearing in of new Trustees Beverly Grabe, Randall Putz and Paul Zamoyta, the three elected in the November 4 election, who will join Debra Sarkisian and Ken Turney on the school board. For information on outgoing Trustees Larry Poland, Phil Hamilton and Julann Warren, see our story posted on December 8.

City Council to Address Senior Condo Complex in January; Community Concerned About Eagle Habitat

The proposed Big Bear Lake zone change amendment, to accommodate the senior condominium complex being developed on Big Bear Boulevard across from Baker Pond, had originally been scheduled for Big Bear Lake City Council review at their December 8 meeting. Council had discussed the 35-unit complex, to be situated on a 2.97 acre parcel just west of the Big Bear Senior Center, at their November 10 meeting but as, at that time, Mayor Rick Herrick said, “We have a lot of material that came in at the last minute—I'm going to guess 150 pages of material—and I'd like to study this further,” a decision was held. Council was prepared to readdress the zone change (from single-family residential to multiple family) this week but, given a request from the applicants, developers Brian Weber and Michael Rafferty, this item will be held until January 2009, to allow for additional information to be introduced at a new public hearing. Still, a member of the community did approach Council on Monday evening, and reiterated what members of the Sierra Club, the Audobon Society and the Democratic Club of Big Bear Valley had expressed in November. In his plea from the podium, Big Bear Lake native Brian Broughton (who happens to have a civil engineering background) said, “I can see with my own eyes that eagles aren't coming back the way they used to. The protection of nature, and the things that bring people here, need to be left intact. [Let's] look at the possibility of conserving all resources, and look at protecting and preserving.” Earlier public comment with regard to the project had addressed concerns with regard to traffic impacts, increased density and impact to the eagle habitat. Yet, as mitigation measures have already been addressed by both the Planning Commission and city staff on this project, when Council addresses, it will be with regard to the zone change from single family to multiple-family residential. (More stories from Monday's City Council meeting are posted on Tuesday.)

National Weather Service Extends Wind Advisory as Gusts of 35 to 50 Miles Per Hour Are Possible
The National Weather Service has continued the Wind Advisory for the San Bernardino mountains as wind gusts of 35 to 50 miles per hour are possible this morning. Wind gusts are expected to diminish to less than 35 miles per hour this afternoon, though the Wind Advisory will remain in place until 2pm today.

BBARWA Board to Meet Today at 5pm; Derry's Appointment of Fifth Board Member Expected Soon
For those potentially interested in serving on the Governing Board of the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency, the current Board (which includes City Council members Liz Harris and Rick Herrick and CSD Directors Rick Ollila and John Day) will convene today at 5pm, at the BBARWA offices at 121 Palomino Drive in Big Bear City. This special date and time, as referenced earlier, is to accommodate the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as BBARWA generally meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Supervisor Neil Derry is expected to soon appoint a fifth member to the BBARWA Board, and this individual will be a resident of County Service Area 53B, or Fawnskin. Interested Fawnskin residents should contact the San Bernardino County Clerk at 387-3841.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Snowmaking operations (using water from Big Bear Lake) continue at Snow Summit today, in
hopes of soon opening the resort. Bear Mountain opened on Saturday.

Herrick, Jahn Retain Roles as City's Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem; Mulvihill to Lead Fire Protection District

Big Bear Lake City Council members Liz Harris and Bill Jahn were sworn in for another four-year term each at the Council's last regular meeting of the year, held December 8. Prior to his swearing in by City Clerk Kathy Jeffries, Jahn thanked his wife Mary Jo and others and said, “I'm just glad to be back.” For her part, Harris told the crowd, “It really is an honor to represent all of you on the Council, and I take it very seriously.” As the Council of five—which also includes Rick Herrick, Michael Karp and Darrell Mulvihill—is in place for another two years, elections for one-year positions got underway. Jahn went first, saying, “Mayor Herrick, you've done an excellent job and it would be an honor to nominate you once again.” Karp nominated Mulvihill for mayor, and asked that Council might engage in a dialogue before making their selection. Karp, the only member of Council who has not served a term as mayor, said, “I think it's time for new leadership. The skill set of leadership has been lacking.” Harris addressed Karp's comments by saying, “I think there's confusion, frankly, Mr. Karp. We are all equals, the five of us on the dais. I don't expect that any of us will agree all the time. It is not helpful to be divisive.” Herrick retained the mayor role in a 4-1 vote, and in turn nominated Jahn to serve another year as mayor pro tem. Mulivhill expressed his wish for change and nominated Karp, though the mayor pro tem position ultimately went to Jahn in a 3-2 vote. Karp had served the last year as chairman of the Fire Protection District; this seat unanimously went to Mulvihill, and Herrick was named vice chair. Harris received the other unanimous vote in the election process, as she was renamed chair of the City's Improvement Agency; Herrick took the vice chair position over also-nominated Karp.


One more term: City Clerk Kathy Jeffries swears in returning Big Bear Lake City Council members
Liz Harris and Bill Jahn.

CalTrans Continues Roadside Grading on Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear City Area This Afternoon
If taking Big Bear Boulevard through the Big Bear City area this afternoon, there may be some delays as CalTrans crews are now doing the roadside grading on the westbound lane. Motorists may want to take an alternate route to bypass the one-lane situation on the Bear City portion of Highway 18.

City Council Addresses Concerns of Local Towing Operators and Snow Forest-Adjacent Residents

During the course of last night's five hour City Council meeting, much time and attention were given to snow play issues that affect a Big Bear Lake neighborhood, just south of the Village and adjacent to the former Snow Forest Ski Area. City Engineer David Lawrence told Council, “We've been dealing with this ongoing issue for some time—probably 15 years. We're trying to mitigate snow play issues, and lack of fire access on Cameron Drive and Cherry Lane.” Residents of this neighborhood made efforts—both in writing and in statements before Council—to emphasize the negative impact brought about by winter daytrippers, including trash, property damage and inaccessibility for emergency personnel. An off-shoot of the topic at hand was a proposal by City staff to augment towing of illegally parked vehicles with a contract with a towing operator based in Hesperia. As the “augment” portion was not initially clearly identified, members of four local towing agencies expressed their outrage, disappointment and “heartbreak” that these services would not be offered to them. City Manager Jeff Mathieu referenced the “slam on a firm from Hesperia” as “preposterous”, though, with Director of Community Services Phil Mosley, worked through the conversation with local towing companies—if call times could be met during snow conditions, local agencies would be called first; the Hesperia towing company would be called to augment services when local resources were exhausted. This plan, coupled with a staging area at the Public Works Yard for temporarily held vehicles illegally parked on Cameron, Cherry and elsewhere, will be implemented. As for the plea for increased signage in the Snow Forest-adjacent area, Council members commiserated with residents, with Mayor Rick Herrick saying, “That would drive me out of my mind if I had to pick up trash in my front yard every day” and Liz Harris adding, “If the streets in my neighborhood were crowded like that it would raise my anxiety.” City Council will move forward with parking signage in the neighborhood, which would prohibit street parking on the narrow streets from November 1 to May 1. City Engineer Lawrence said, “In anticipation of this, we ordered enough [signs] to cover this area” and, as the signs are already on their way, it is expected that these will be installed on Cameron Drive and Cherry Lane within two weeks' time.


Running to victory: The Big Bear Cross-Country Club (comprised of seven members of the state
champion Bears cross-country team) competed in Saturday's Nike Cross Nationals in Portland,
Oregon. Teammates Miles Fulton, Alex Caballero, Kevin Magdiel, Connor McCutcheon, Eric
Jasperson, Preston Carlisle and Roy Bowling placed third overall! (Our thanks to the Bowling
family for sharing this photo.)

Opportunity Tickets Still Available for Bear Backers $10,000 Giveaway; Drawings to Be Held on Sunday
There are still some tickets available for the Bear Backers annual $10,000 giveaway fundraiser. Only 200 tickets are sold, at a $100 donation each, with $10,000 to directly benefit Big Bear High School athletics, and the other $10,000 to be given away in four separate drawings, each to be held this Sunday, December 14 at Nottingham's at the Robinhood Resort. Though the winners need not be present to win, the drawings for cash prizes of $1,000, $1,500, $2,500 and $5,000 will begin at 6pm Sunday. The parent-sponsored Bear Backers group supports all athletes in all sports at the high school, so hope to sell out this year's fundraiser for maximum benefit to the Bears. Janet McCord, fundraising chair on behalf of Bear Backers, tells KBHR, “We need the community to help fund our sports programs, and continue these opportunities for our kids. This program helps a lot of teenagers, and keeps them engaged in physical activity, while teaching them commitment, responsibility, perseverance and teamwork.” To purchase one of the remaining Bear Backers opportunity tickets before Sunday's drawing, visit Shelli's Hallmark (in the Interlaken Center), or call Janet McCord at 585-7767, or Estelle Hooker at the high school at 585-6892.

New Supervisor Derry Moves to Rescind Funds Allocated to Big Bear for Traffic Signal, Water System

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors which, as of December 1, now includes Third District Supervisor Neil Derry, meet for their regular Tuesday meeting at 10am today in San Bernardino. This morning's meeting will include a resolution declaring the results of the November 4 Presidential General Election of offices and measures under the jurisdiction of the County Board of Supervisors. The agenda also includes potential contract approval with Geo-Logic Associates of San Bernardino with regard to the Big Bear Sanitary Landfill, which stopped accepting waste in 2001 (at which time the Big Bear Transfer Station was opened). The contract with Geo-Logic would allow for the preparation of documents and performance of construction quality assurance services for the landfill's final closure construction project. Completion of the landfill closure is anticipated to be November 2009. Also on the agenda is an item brought to the Board by new Supervisor Neil Derry, which would potentially rescind allocations from the Priority Policy Needs fund, all of which were brought before the Board by outgoing Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, and approved on November 18. Among already-passed allocations that may be rescinded include $500,000 for the Mountain Preservation Program (which may have been launched from Baldwin Lake), the $500,000 for the traffic signal at Stanfield Cutoff and North Shore Drive, and the $500,000 allotted for water system infrastructure improvements to accommodate the relocation of the zoo to the North Shore. Per the staff report, Supervisor Derry needs time to analyze the merit, size and scope of these projects. The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival is also at risk of losing the full amount of $25,000 that had been set aside to establish a student film camp program. (Details on these November 18-approved programs and projects are posted in stories of November 25, November 20 and November 18.)

Wind Advisory in Place Until 11pm; Wind Gusts Up to 45 Miles Per Hour Possible for Our Area Today
A Wind Advisory has been issued for our area today and, per the National Weather Service, will be in effect until 4pm this afternoon. A Wind Advisory means that winds of 35mph are expected, and gusts could reach up to 45mph. Winds are expected to subside later this afternoon, though Santa Ana winds could continue into Wednesday. Those driving high-profile vehicles during this wind event should exercise extra caution. Update: The Wind Advisory for our area has been extended until 11pm.

Property Taxes Due Tomorrow, December 10; County Tax Collector Offers Online Payment Availability
This Wednesday, December 10 marks the property tax due date for property owners within San Bernardino County. This year's new bill replaces the outdated 35-year-old statement and, per the County's Treasurer and Tax Collector Dick Larsen, safe and secure online payment availability should also make the process easier. Property taxes can be paid online at MyTaxCollector.com. Property taxes can also be paid over the phone, at 387-8303, and property taxes paid online or via phone on the 10th will be considered on time. Property taxes paid using the postal service and postmarked on the 10th will also be considered on time. The mailing address for the San Bernardino County Tax Collector is 172 W. Third Street, San Bernardino, CA 92415. (In-person payments, at the same address, will be accepted weekdays, 8am to 5pm.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Phil Hamilton and Larry Poland, Instrumental in Measure Q, Wrap 26 Years on BVUSD Board of Trustees
This evening's 5pm meeting of the Board of the Bear Valley Unified School District marks the end of an era, as outgoing Trustees Larry Poland, Phil Hamilton and Julann Warren will be recognized for their years of service, as the three new Trustees join Debra Sarkisian and Ken Turney on the Board as of Wednesday. Julann Warren, a mother of four (who is also involved with the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival and the Lighthouse Project), has served on the Board for 2½ years since her appointment in June of 2006. Phil Hamilton, for decades a teacher (and principal) for BVUSD, joined the Board of Trustees nine years ago and, though he is done on the Board, says he will look for other opportunities to serve, come next year, but remains busy with driving the Bear Valley Bike Coalition. Dr. Larry Poland, a BVUSD Board member since 1991 (including five years as president) says, “I am the alumni guy. I've been at these schools since second grade, so it took me a long time to graduate.” In their combined 26 years of service on the school board, both Poland and Hamilton cite the 2002 passing of Measure Q, and subsequent school site improvements, as an important accomplishment for Bear Valley. As Poland tells KBHR, “I was Board chairman and led the charge on the Measure Q bond, which was the first time in 36 years that a school bond had passed. That was a biggie. I was very excited to do the new construction and remodeling to fix up our schools.” As Hamilton tells KBHR, “We got a lot of bang for our buck with the Measure Q money. These buildings will last forever. The middle school will be beautiful when we're done, and we hope to soon finish the BBHS quad. And we approved the technology plan with Measure Q funds. This technology is going to blow their minds; it will serve us well and bring our classrooms into the future.” Both Hamilton and Poland say that it was a pleasure to serve on BVUSD's Board, with Hamilton noting, “I hope the new board will gel as we have, and disagree respectfully.” Adds Poland, “It has been my pleasure to work with such a high-integrity group; it was a class act.” Given his lighter load (as new Trustees Bev Grabe, Paul Zamoyta and Randall Putz take over on Wednesday) Poland says he will continue to be heavily involved in the Poland family business, and plans to do some lecturing on the chiropractic circuit--and, he says, “I plan to have a lot of dinners with my wife on Wednesday nights.”

One Lane Open on Boulevard in Big Bear City; CalTrans Crews Should Be Done With Grading By 1pm
CalTrans crews are doing roadside grading work on Highway 18, or Big Bear Boulevard, in the Big Bear City area this afternoon, and motorists can expect minimal delays as only one lane is available. CalTrans crews should be done with this project around 1pm.

County Supervisor Derry to Attend City Council Meeting; Council Elections Scheduled for This Evening

The City Council of Big Bear Lake convenes for their last regular meeting of the year this evening, at 6:30pm in Hofert Hall. Our new Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry will be introduced at this evening's meeting, and will be present for the swearing in of re-elected Council members Bill Jahn and Liz Harris. The incumbents each received just over 28% of the vote in the now-certified November 4 election; Jahn had received 1142 votes to Harris's 1140. The Council meeting will include a Consent Calendar item to consider a resolution declaring these results. Given this, Council will also reorganize, electing officers among themselves. At present, Rick Herrick is mayor, Jahn is mayor pro tem; Michael Karp serves as Fire Protection District chairman and Harris is chair of the City's Improvement Agency. Council's fifth member is Darrell Mulvihill.


Let the season begin! Bear Mountain opened over the weekend; Summit hopes to open soon.

Bear Mountain Resort Now Open Daily for Season; 8-12 Inch Snow Base on Open Beginner Area
Bear Mountain Resort opened Inspiration run over the weekend and sold nearly 300 tickets on Saturday. The Beach Bar and BBQ, rentals, lessons and the Ice Box Apparel and Accessories are also open. Due to limited operations, adult full-day lift tickets are $20 and child tickets are $10. Half-day tickets are also available; to make reservations, call 909/866-5841. Lift ticket windows open at 7:30am. Both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are working hard to open top-to-bottom runs as soon as possible but, in the meantime, Bear boasts an 8-12 inch snow depth and plans to be open daily.

New Airport Directors Greene, Knight and Smith Have Orientation This Week; Join District in January

The Big Bear Airport District is still working toward acquiring all interests in the Big Bear City Airport terminal building that is not yet currently owned by the district and, to that end, Airport District President Jay Obernolte, at Wednesday's meeting, formed an ad hoc committee. He and fellow Director Butch Waymire (the two directors who will continue on the Board) will comprise the ad hoc committee to further negotiate total acquisition of the airport terminal. The Airport District's meeting of December 3 also included a presentation on their 2007-2008 financial audit, which General Manager Garry Dokter says received high marks. As directors-elect Gloria Ann Greene, Chuck Knight and Julia Smith join the Board in January, a new directors orientation workshop was scheduled for the afternoon of December 10th.



Saturday, December 6, 2008


Calling All Skiers and Boarders!
Bear Mountain Ski Resort is open for business! There is a 8-12 inch machine-groomed base on Inspiration Run, a beginners' slope with a half-dozen features. For further details, call 909/866-5766.


Big Bear Runners Take the Podium in Oregon
A team parent drove 17 hours to deliver seven members of the Big Bear High School Cross-Country Team to the Nike Cross Nationals, where they competed as the Big Bear Cross-Country Club. Big Bear placed third, after Kenya and Arcadia. Saturday's runners were Roy Bowling, Alex Caballero, Preston Carlisle, Miles Fulton, Eric Jasperson, Connor McCutcheon and Kevin Magdiel.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snowmaking Continues at Big Bear Mountain Resorts; Beginner Area at Bear Mtn. May Open on Saturday
Big Bear Mountain Resorts made snow for another eight hours at both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain last night, which included snowblowing operations top-to-bottom on Summit's Miracle Mile and on Park Run at Bear. Weather conditions should allow for continued snowmaking over the next few nights, and the goal is to have the beginner chairlifts at both resorts open first. Stay tuned to KBHR, as we will bring you opening day information on ski and riding season as soon as it is available. Update: As of this afternoon, the latest from Bear Mountain is that they hope to open the beginner run tomorrow, contingent on tonight's opportunity to continue snowmaking. If Bear is open on Saturday, adult lift tickets will be specially priced at $20, and children's tickets will be $10 each, with additional discounts available for half-day tickets.

Fifth Seat on BBARWA Board Remains Open; Supervisor Derry Will Soon Appoint Fawnskin Resident

The Valley-wide Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency is governed by five board members which include two representatives each from the City Council of Big Bear Lake and the Big Bear City Community Services District, as well as an appointee from County Service Area 53B, or Fawnskin. Given BBARWA Board member Dr. Don Eads's resignation last month, our new Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry will soon appoint a Fawnskin resident to this important post, to serve the duration of Eads's term through 2011. To date, the County Clerk has received just one application, and, as this appointment could be made on or soon after December 11, interested parties are encouraged to contact the County Clerk at 387-3841. Fawnskin residents may also want to consider appointment to the five-member County Service Area 53B Commission, which oversees fire and sewer services; this commission currently includes Todd Murphy and Lawrence Littrell, making three seats available. It is likely that these posts will be filled in January, per Supervisor Derry's Chief-of-Staff Jim Erwin. You can visit sbcounty.gov/cob for a link to the county commission application or, again, contact the County Clerk at 387-3841.

Kiwanis Continue Holiday Gifts for Kids Program; Interviews of Families in Need Taking Place on Sunday
The Kiwanis Gifts for Kids program will once again ensure that local children of low-income families will have something to celebrate—and unwrap—this holiday season. The Kiwanis Club of Big Bear Valley is currently accepting new, unwrapped toys at a number of locations throughout the Valley, including both the Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake Fire Departments, the library and the Big Bear Senior Center. Kiwanis will also distribute gift certificates, for shoes and clothes, to children up to age 12. The proceeds from sales of Christmas trees, being sold by Kiwanis at the Vons/Interlaken parking lot, will also go toward gifts for local children. For parents and guardians of children who could benefit from the Gifts for Kids program, interviews will be held this Sunday, December 7 (and again on the 14th) at the Masonic Lodge on Summit Boulevard, from 2 to 5pm; gifts will be distributed on Saturday the 20th. Questions on the program can be directed to Jennie at 838-5720.


The three-time state champion Bears cross-country team gave a "gold medal performance" at
Saturday's meet in Fresno, per Head Coach Mickey Hall (far left). The champions (from front left)
include Eric Jasperson, Connor McCutcheon, Miles Fulton, (back row) Preston Carlisle, Alex Caballero,
Ryan Lambert and Jake Murie, flanked by coaches Jonathan Stiles, Diane Kendall and Bob Randall.
For more on the BBHS team's victory, scroll down to our posting on December 2.

Severe Winds May Be Possible, as National Weather Service Implements Wind Advisory Through 2pm
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for our area, and the rest of the Inland Empire, through 2pm this afternoon. Winds should taper off by that time, though driving may be difficult in the interim (especially for high-profile vehicles), so the National Weather Service advises caution during today's Wind Advisory.

Fire Department Reminds: Water Christmas Tree Daily, Keep Away from Heat Sources, and Never Burn

Given the increase in fire risk presented by Christmas trees, the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District offers these holiday safety tips: make sure electric holiday lights are intact and that cords are not frayed; artificial trees should be made of fireproof materials; natural trees should have a fresh, one-inch cut at the base to eliminate sap and allow the tree to absorb water; it is important to water natural trees daily as they can absorb up to a gallon of water each day; mini-lights on a tree produce less heat and drying on a tree, but all lights should be turned off when you leave the house or go to bed; and do not overload electrical circuits. Christmas trees should be placed away from heat sources, and these include heating vents, televisions, sunny windows and fireplaces. When rearranging the furniture to accommodate your holiday tree, be sure also that furniture is not positioned close to heat sources. And, lastly, never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove, as they burn too fast and could be explosive. Questions on Christmas tree safety can be directed to the Big Bear Lake Fire Department at 866-7566.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Free Business Counseling for Small Business Owners Available in January; RSVP While Space Is Available
Attendees at this morning's Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast got to hear about the new Business Owners Club--which the City of Big Bear Lake is funding for small business owners, Valley wide—in which two six-month programs will be offered by the industry experts of the Inland Empire's Small Business Development Center. The first of these free courses will begin on Thursday, January 8; the second session begins in July. Classes will be held mornings on the second Thursday of each month, and one-on-one business counseling sessions (also free of charge) will be offered on those afternoons. Small business owners participating in the Business Owners Club will receive training and insight on managing cash flow, forecasting, management control, human resources management, strategic analysis, marketing communications, credit and collections, and other topics. Only the first 25 business owners to RSVP will be able to partake in the club, to be offered in Hofert Hall in the Big Bear Lake Civic Center. If your small business could use a boost, call Kristen Gerke of SBDC at 760/951-1592 to sign up for the Business Owners Club while spaces are still available.


Let it snow! Snowmaking operations got underway at Snow Summit (and Bear) early this morning.

Big Bear Mountain Resorts Start Snowmaking Operations This Morning; No Opening Date Yet Set

Snowmaking at the resorts got underway today, with Big Bear Mountain Resorts implementing snowmaking operations for about seven hours at both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit early this morning. Though cooler temperatures have allowed for the snow to blow, Bear Mountain Resorts' Suzie Jacques tells KBHR, “It is still too early to say when we'll be open. We're waiting to see what the weather does.” Once the resorts do open, the beginner chairlifts at both mountains will be the first open to skiers and riders; given favorable weather conditions, the resorts can open, top-to-bottom, in a matter of days. In the meantime, Bear Mountain Resorts have extended ski pass sales through December 31st, and passes can be purchased online at BigBearMountainResorts.com.

Fire Restrictions on the San Bernardino National Forest, Implemented Two Weeks Ago, Have Been Lifted

Given recent rainfall and cooler temperatures, the San Bernardino National Forest has reduced fire restrictions on the forest as of this week. Per Forest Supervisor Jeanne Wade Evans, “The recent weather has reduced the risks of wildfire on our mountains so we're allowing some activities to resume on the forest.” Under the reduced fire restrictions, wood and charcoal fires will once again be allowed in agency-provided campfire rings at designated sites including campgrounds, picnic grounds and yellow post sites. Camping outside of designated sites will also be allowed, although campfires are never permitted in these locations. Target shooting will reopen in designated shooting areas. Wade Evans also notes, “Our visitors, as well as local residents, have really been cooperative with our fire restrictions this year. I'm grateful for their support, and want to remind folks to continue to be vigilant year-round.” The change in weather also provides the Forest Service opportunity to resume annual winter pile burning activities on hazardous fuels reduction projects within the forest. Smoke and flame may be occasionally visible from the roadways and firefighters will have “prescribed fire” signs posted in these project areas. The winter burning program will continue through early spring as weather and conditions permit.

Soroptimists Extend Application Deadline for Awards to Benefit Women and Girls in Our Community
Each year, Soroptimist International of Big Bear Valley offers two awards to local women and, this year, the application deadline has been extended until December 15. The Women's Opportunity Award helps female heads of household re-enter the workforce by assisting in education and skills training and, last year, mother-of-five Gael Mulkern received this award from Soroptimists, in her quest to become a paralegal. The Violet Richardson Award--which, last year went to Big Bear High School students Anne Heuerman, Sarah White and Amber Shalmi—recognizes young women, ages 14-17, for volunteerism within the community. If you know a local woman you would like to nominate for either the Women's Opportunity or Violet Richardson Awards offered by Soroptimists, applications can be picked up from Dr. Katheryn Poole at Bear Valley Dental or from Jan LaBarre at Phil's Automotive. Applications, due December 15, can also be obtained by calling Teresa Ritenour at 289-0516.


CSD Director Bob Colven led the flag salute at his final CSD meeting.

Director Bob Colven Wraps 17 Years of Service to the Big Bear City Community Services District
This week marked the end of an era for the Big Bear City Community Services District Board of Directors, as Bob Colven sat on the dais for the last time. According to Colven, who was first elected to the Board in 1991, “I've been through four general managers and four fire chiefs, and it has been an interesting experience, putting in 17 years to the Community Services District—and that's the bottom line: community.” On behalf of the Board, fellow Director Jeff Newsome presented Colven with a plaque for his years of service and Greg Ricketts, on behalf of the CSD Employees Association, gave him a local restaurant gift certificate, noting that Colven “has been unselfish and honest in his decision making.” During the public comment portion at the end of the December 1st meeting, past CSD President Pat Miller suggested that, now that Colven was leaving the Board, term limits be implemented. A number of others in attendance followed Miller to the podium, each thanking Colven for his service. Al Ziegler, a frequent attendee at CSD meetings, said, “Mr. Colven has served us well, up and down the state, with knowledge.” In fact, Colven's contributions have extended beyond the CSD arena, as he has served on the County's Local Agency Formation Commission (or LAFCO), including two years as chairman, in addition to a seat on the County's Solid Waste Task Force. Prior to meeting's end, Newsome expressed once more his utmost respect for Colven, who said, “I end my 17 years happier than when I started. Thank you all.”

Today Is a Minimum Day for All BVUSD Students; Three-Week Winter Break Begins December 19
For students of Bear Valley Unified, today is a minimum day at all schools, to allow for teachers' strategic planning. Next on the schedule for BVUSD is finals at Big Bear High School as of December 16. Students, district-wide, begin their three-week winter break on December 19.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Boxer De La Hoya Prepares for Saturday's Bout Against Pacquiao With High-Altitude Training in Big Bear
Golden Boy of boxing Oscar De La Hoya is now in Las Vegas, in preparation for his welterweight fight (at 147 pounds) against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, though up until last week De La Hoya had spent the last couple months in Big Bear, enjoying—or sweltering through--the benefits of high-altitude training. At a recent press conference, De La Hoya, who had established a training facility here in the '90s, said, "I didn't realize how difficult training in Big Bear was until I came back. I think it's been about six years since the last time I was here. I think it was the best decision I've made, at this point of my career. The thinner air is the difference, but the altitude is a killer. You have to work that much harder to get in shape." During his training here on the mountain, the 35-year-old boxing champion did eight-mile runs over hilly terrain, chopped wood, and sparred at a local boxing facility, in preparation for the December 6 bout at the MGM Grand. Of the match versus his 29-year-old opponent, De La Hoya has said, “I'm scared—I'm scared of what I can do to him.” The De La Hoya/Pacquiao fight is available on pay-per-view, and though the two go head-to-head at 9pm, the HBO program begins at 5:30pm. To order through Charter Cable, at a cost of $54.99, you can either use your remote, or call 866/499-8080.

New School Board Members at State School Boards Education Conference With Superintendent Ferraud
Bear Valley Unified's Superintendent Carole Ferraud and the school district's Board of Trustees are in San Diego this week, participating in the California School Boards Association Annual Education Conference. Ferraud is joined by newly elected Trustees Paul Zamoyta, Beverly Grabe and Randall Putz (who officially join the Board on the 10th), as well as existing Trustees Debra Sarkisian and Ken Turney. Outgoing Trustees Phil Hamilton, Larry Poland and Julann Warren will be recognized at a special school board meeting at the school district offices at 5pm on Monday. The meeting will begin with a closed session agenda item, prior to the presentation to Hamilton, Poland and Warren, and a budget workshop.

Tomorrow's Chamber Power Breakfast to Feature Presentation on Valley's New Business Owners Club
The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce hosts the December Power Breakfast at the Best Western Big Bear Chateau (on Moonridge Road) tomorrow morning at 7am. Guest speakers at the networking event include Michelle Caldwell, Big Bear Lake's Fire Prevention Officer, who will speak on emergency preparedness, and Vincent McCoy, Executive Director of the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center. McCoy's presentation will outline the Business Owners Club, a new program sponsored by the City of Big Bear Lake, which will provide small business owners within the Valley an opportunity to participate in once-a-month workshops during a six month period; these workshops are intended to foster growth for businesses, by providing owners expertise in marketing, finance, credit and collections, time management, and QuickBooks. To find out more about the Business Owners Club, the Chamber of Commerce encourages attendance at the Power Breakfast tomorrow. Cost for the breakfast is $12 for Chamber members and $15 for guests. For more information, contact the Chamber at 866-4607.

CalTrans Awards Contract for Big Bear Dam Bridge Replacement; Construction to Begin in Early 2009

The long-awaited Big Bear Dam bridge replacement project is now one step closer to implementation, as CalTrans has this week awarded the construction contract to FCI Constructors, Inc, an employee-owned company based in Wyoming. The awarding of the $39 million contract for what CalTrans has deemed a “signature project” means that work on the dam bridge could get underway as soon as early 2009, with full-scale project implementation to begin after the snow season in spring of 2009. The new dam bridge on Highway 18 at Big Bear Lake's west end will replace the existing, historical bridge as a new structure on the southwest side of the dam. The roadway, upon the bridge's completion, will be realigned over the canyon downstream from the dam. The new bridge will include three 12-foot travel lanes, 10-foot shoulders, an ADA-compliant sidewalk on the lake side, and a traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 18 and Highway 38, or the North Shore, which leads to Fawnskin. It is expected that the dam bridge replacement project will take up to 2½ years, with completion slated for 2011. For more details on this project, see our archived postings of September 5 and May 15.

Community Members Invited to Participate in Bridge Project Task Force; First Meeting on December 11
In an effort to make the dam bridge replacement project a win-win for all involved, CalTrans is establishing a Big Bear Bridge Project Task Force, which will be open to 30-40 members of the community. A cross-section of residents, local agencies and business owners, from the Big Bear and Fawnskin areas, is hoped for on this task force, which will meet periodically to address construction and traffic impact issues. The first meeting of the Big Bear Bridge Project Task Force will be held on Thursday, December 11 at the Big Bear Lake Civic Center, located at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard. The initial meeting is scheduled to run from 6:30pm to 8pm.


The Bears varsity football team gathers for their final huddle on Saturday, following a 22-23 overtime
loss to Maranatha High School in the CIF quarterfinal game. More on the game posted below, on Monday.

Final Vote of Current Community Services District Board Results in Another 3-2; Elections on December 15
The final vote from the current Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District resulted in a 3-2 split, as has often been the case with Rick Ollila, John Day and Marge McDonald on one side, and Directors Bob Colven and Jeff Newsome on the other. At Monday evening's meeting of the CSD Board, the five entered into a discussion as to when to elect their president and vice president. This has, in the past, taken place at the first December meeting, though General Manager Mike Mayer had suggested (and agendized) discussion on a policy that moves the vote back, to mid-December—this would allow for the addition of new Director Barbara Beck, who replaces running mate Colven, given now-certified results of the November 4 election. McDonald was quick to make a first motion, to implement the Board vote during December's second meeting. Newsome seconded the motion for the purpose of discussion, though when he proposed that the election take place, rather, in January, McDonald did not waver: “That's my motion, Jeff.” So, the vote moved forward and given the majority of President Ollila, Vice President Day and McDonald, the CSD Board will vote on their next president and vice president at their December 15 meeting.

Planning Commission and MWD Adjourn This Week's Meetings; MWD Board Meets Tuesday re. TMDL
Two regularly scheduled meetings of this week have been adjourned. The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake will not meet this afternoon, but will next convene on Wednesday, December 17 at 1:15pm. The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District have adjourned Thursday afternoon's regular meeting due to lack of a quorum, but will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, December 9 at 10am. The Tuesday morning meeting, to be held at MWD's offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive will be with regard to mercury TMDL, or total maximum daily load, in Big Bear Lake.

CalTrans Doing Roadwork on Highway 18 Near Lucerne Valley; Expect Delays Near Bear Valley Cutoff
For those traveling off the mountain toward the desert communities, know that there may be some lane closures on Highway 18 near Lucerne Valley. CalTrans crews are widening the intersection on Highway 18 at High Road, between Route 247 and the Bear Valley Cutoff. Left-hand turn lanes and improved drainage will also be added on this portion of Highway 18, so drivers can expect delays from 6am to 5pm Monday through Friday, and into January 2009, weather permitting.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


This afternoon's CPUC hearing: The community comes out to contest the proposed 22.7% rate increase for electric service.

California Public Utilities Commission Hearing on Electric Rate Increase Is Underway at Northwoods

The California Public Utilities Commission hearing is currently underway at Northwoods Resort. Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Lakritz is taking testimony from those commenting on the proposed 22.7% rate increase for electric customers of Bear Valley Electric Service, as submitted by their parent company Golden State Water. Prior to the 2pm assembly, Judge Lakritz told KBHR, “I would not expect an answer on this until next summer. There will also be evidentiary hearings at the Commission's offices in San Francisco in February.” CPUC Commissioner Timothy Simon, who is also on the panel, told the full room at Northwoods, “I really am impressed with this turnout. This is due process at its finest. I guess we won't be taking the 6pm flight from Ontario.” The first to address the judge was Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn, on behalf of the City Big Bear Lake, who noted that though this is a tight-knit community and our friends and colleagues work at Bear Valley Electric, this rate increase is unjust. At least 30 members of the community had signed up to speak at the hearing, and Mike Mayer, General Manager of the Big Bear City Community Services District, was also planning to speak on behalf of the CSD's East Valley constituents.

Locals Behind Service Dogs 4 Service Veterans Program to Host Wounded Warriors in Saturday Reception

The community is invited to show their support for our country's wounded military personnel in a special yet informal reception to be held at the First Baptist Church this Saturday. Locals Bob and Barbara Gibler are the driving force behind Service Dogs 4 Service Veterans and, in their ongoing training of service dogs to accompany wounded warriors of the U.S. Marine Corps, have worked closely with Marines being treated at San Diego's Balboa Hospital during the 24-month companion training process. Some of those wounded combat Marines, as well as some stationed at Camp Pendleton, are scheduled to be present at the First Baptist Church, located at 41960 Big Bear Boulevard (just east of the Sheriff's Station) in Big Bear Lake, from 10am to 4pm Saturday. As Bob Gibler tells KBHR, “It is important for these wounded warriors to know that we believe in them.” Tax-deductible donations will be accepted during Saturday's meet-and-greet, in an effort to fund the service dog program—in fact, our local Lions Club has already donated $500 to support Service Dogs 4 Service Veterans. Adds Gibler, “Even a dollar appreciation donation—every bit helps. And we just want to validate what these Marines have done.”

Forest Service Firefighting Crew Hiking to Site of Potential Vegetation Fire; Smoke, Too, from Pile Burns

A firefighting crew with the San Bernardino National Forest is en route to a potential vegetation fire (just before noon), which was called in as a report of smoke in the remote area off Highway 38 near the Jack Straw Campground. The walk into the area takes about an hour and half from the trailhead off the highway, and though this could just be smoke from a campfire, the Forest Service is prepared to tackle whatever they find upon arrival. It is suspected that this smoke is from an area at about 8,000 feet in elevation, which would put it at the snowline, per the U.S. Forest Service. There is also the potential for visible smoke in other areas on the San Bernardino National Forest, as hazardous fuels pile burns are underway, now that we are in the wet season. If weather conditions become unsafe for these prescribed burns, crews will not implement them, per Deputy Fire Chief Rocky Opliger of the San Bernardino National Forest. Update as of 3pm: A San Bernardino National Forest firefighting crew completed their nearly two hour hike to the Jack Straw campground off Highway 38 this afternoon to investigate reports of smoke coming from the area. By 1pm, the crew had made their way from the trailhead off the highway to the sight of what was an escaped campfire, which burned vegetation in a 20' x 25' area on the forest. The fire, now being referred to as the Forsee Fire, has been fully contained, and crews will revisit the scene tomorrow, as a precautionary measure.

Big Bear Lake Fire Establishes Moonridge Fire Station for the Ski Season, and Perhaps Beyond

The Big Bear Lake Fire Department is ready to establish operations from their Moonridge location, where a trailer is set up at Rathbun off Moonridge Road, once the ski resorts open. Of the 1,751 incidents the fire department responded to in 2007, over 47% of those calls were in the area immediately adjacent to and surrounding Station 283 in lower Moonridge, due to not just winter-sports injuries but increased traffic in the area as well. To accommodate the calls from this area, Big Bear Lake Fire's interim Chief Mark Mills tells KBHR, “We normally up-staff one full-time and two paid-call firefighters, so it will be the same staff as last winter season, just redistributed. This will decrease our response time and improve customer service.” No additional costs will be incurred by the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District if firefighters are based at Station 283, in close proximity to both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit resorts, though money has been set aside should data determine that a permanent firehouse be established there. Adds Mills, “We already have $750,000 in a reserve account to build living quarters for firefighters there.” Following this ski season, Chief Mills will present updated information to the City Council of Big Bear Lake in order to determine if the decreased incident response times warrant a full-time fire facility in Moonridge.


We are the champions! The Bears cross-country team was ranked #1 over McFarland and Laguna
High Schools going into Saturday's meet, and proved themselves the worthy defending champions.
McFarland ultimately placed second, Morro Bay third, and Laguna fourth in Division IV competition.
(Our thanks to the Swanson family for sharing their photos from Fresno.)

Big Bear High School Boys Cross-Country Team Takes State Championship Title--for the Third Time
Congratulations to the Big Bear High School boys cross-country team, who are the reigning three-time state champions, given Saturday's first place Division IV win in Fresno. The Bears were led by senior Ryan Lambert to be the second fastest team ever in their division, and had the best score of any boys team at the cross-country meet. According to Head Coach Mickey Hall, “It was really exciting. We had the greatest margin of victory of all teams in all divisions. The boys ran the second fastest time on the course for a Division IV team, and tied our 2006 championship time.” Earlier in the season, McFarland High School (a small school outside of Fresno) had been ranked #1 though, going into the state championships, the Bears had the #1 ranking. Despite the competitive rankings, the Bears #5 runner, Miles Fulton, crossed the finish line at the exact same time as McFarland's #1 runner, per Hall, who adds, “Out of the 200 best kids in state, we had seven run at this meet, and each of them got in the top 50. Ryan Lambert placed ninth overall, Alex Caballero was two seconds behind him in 10th, Jake Murie placed 11th, Eric Jasperson 13th, Miles Fulton took 19th, Connor McCutcheon was 33rd and Preston Carlisle got 41st.” Given their three-time state championship victory, Hall raves, “They had an amazing day. I always have high expectations, but they were awesome. I call it a gold medal performance and a great end to the season.” (For more on the BBHS cross-country team, see postings of November 26 and November 24.)

Big Bear Airport District Board to Meet Three Times This Week; New Board Members Join in January
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District has three meetings scheduled over the coming two days. At 10am this morning, the Development Committee meets at the Big Bear City Airport to address the maintenance building and new hangar construction. At 2pm today, the Airport District Board meets in closed session, and one of the items on the agenda is with regard to the potential purchase of the former Big Bear City Park. Come Wednesday, December 3, the Airport District Board convenes at 2pm for their regular meeting, which will include a review of the updated Directors Policy Manual and planning for the installation of new Directors Gloria Ann Greene, Chuck Knight and Julia Smith, who are scheduled to join the Board in January.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Bears football comes to a close: Top left, Bears get pumped up for overtime, and ultimately win the coin toss and first possession.
BBHS cheerleaders cheer the team after their touchdown in OT. And, below, the Bears (including
coaching staff and extended family) gather for the final huddle of the 2008 football season.


Bears Varsity Football Team Wraps Season With Overtime Loss to Maranatha in CIF Quarterfinal Game
The Bears varsity football team, who placed third overall in the DeAnza League this season, advanced to the quarterfinals in CIF playoffs. The Bears football season wrapped on Minder Field on Saturday, though, after an overtime loss to Maranatha High School of Pasadena. Big Bear High School had led at the half, and regulation play ended at 16-16. Bears won the coin toss and first possession in overtime, during which time they scored a touchdown but did not get the extra point. Maranatha answered that touchdown, ultimately bringing the final score of the quarterfinal playoff game to 22-23. During the Bears' final huddle at game's end, Head Coach Dave Griffiths told the team, “Gentlemen, we are so proud of you.” Individual players were also recognized by the DeAnza League as offensive and defensive leaders: Craig Hall and Jacob Sokolowski ranked second and fourth overall in league passing yards; Hall was also fourth overall in rushing yards. Willy Kelsey ranked second in league for receiving yards, and third in overall scoring; Brandon LaBate ranked fifth in total points. On defense, Ryan McCord and Aric Ramirez ranked second and fourth in overall tackles, and both Ramirez and Brennen Sharp led the league in interceptions. Despite these victories, and some setbacks resulting from injuries, senior Johnny Jansen shared with his teammates in their final huddle: “We will always be Bears, and we will always be family.”

New Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry Sworn In Today, Alongside Gonzales and Mitzelfelt
Our Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry was sworn in to office today, alongside Supervisor Josie Gonzales for San Bernardino County's Fifth District and Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt for the First District. The County Board of Supervisors, which also includes Chairman Paul Biane and Vice Chairman Gary Ovitt, oversees more than 18,000 employees in 40 departments which offer an array of public services including (but not limited to) law enforcement, economic development, fire protection, elections, parks, libraries and healthcare services. Following his swearing-in this afternoon, Supervisor Derry said, “My goal is to improve services to the people of the Third District through public safety, code enforcement, and economic development. I look forward to changing the culture of our county through innovation and technology.” Third District communities within San Bernardino County include Big Bear Lake, Redlands, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Highland, San Bernardino, Yucaipa, Yucca Valley and the Big Bear Valley. The County Board of Supervisors will not hold their regularly scheduled Tuesday morning meeting tomorrow, but will next meet on December 9. (For more on Derry and staff, see story posted November 6.)

Smoke May Be Visible as Winter Pile Burning Is Implemented on the San Bernardino National Forest

Smoke and flames may occasionally be visible from the roadways over the next few months, as fire crews have started winter pile burning across the San Bernardino National Forest to reduce hazardous fuels. Ongoing fuel reduction projects near mountain communities include not only removing dead trees, but also thinning and stacking piles of dense brush, then burning the piles in the wet season. According to the San Bernardino National Forest's Deputy Fire Chief Rocky Opliger, “Burning of the slash piles is part of a continuing effort to reduce the risk of wildfires spreading into communities. Firefighters continually evaluate the current weather, weather forecasts, and fuels conditions, and will take appropriate actions as needed.” The winter burning program will continue through early spring as weather permits. Firefighters will post “prescribed fire” signs in project areas. For more information on pile burn locations, or any questions on the forest, call the Big Bear Ranger Station at 382-2790.

Local Resources Available for Defensible Space Assistance; Forest Care Offers Up to 75% Reimbursement
Mountain residents can get help with keeping their property fire safe in a number of ways. The Forest Care Program provides up to 75% reimbursement for thinning and clearance of hazardous vegetation; call 1-888-883-8446. There's also a wealth of information on the Mountain Area Safety Taskforce website at calmast.org. The Big Bear Valley Fire Safe Council provides a defensible space checklist online at bbvfsc.org.


Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, as photographed by Big Bear City resident Cathleen Calkins,
will be the subject of a free, multi-media presentation tomorrow at 7pm. For more pictures, visit
summit-photography.com
.

Local Adventurers Cordner and Calkins Share Free Presentation on the Land of Fire and Ice on Tuesday
Local adventurerers Scott Cordner and Cathleen Calkins traveled over 4,000 miles to Russia's Far East in April, on a ski exploration of the Kamchatka Peninsula, known as the land of fire and ice. This geographically remote area, which has only been open to foreigners in recent years, was explored by Big Bear's Cordner and Calkins, and they will present their experiences—including vivid photographs—in a free multi-media presentation at Nottingham's tomorrow evening. The 7pm presentation begins upstairs in the Nottingham's Tavern, at the corner of Bartlett Road and Big Bear Boulevard. Calkins and Cordner (who, individually, teach yoga at Still in Big Bear City and volunteer with the Bear Valley Search and Rescue Team) received grant funding for their Russian ski expedition, which was also featured in the October issue of Backcountry magazine.

Electric Rate Increase of 22.7% Subject of Tomorrow's Public Utilities Commission Hearing in Village

Bear Valley Electric's proposed 22.7% rate increase will be the subject of the California Public Utilities Commission hearing, to be held tomorrow, December 2. The public participation hearing is open to the community and Bear Valley Electric ratepayers (which includes about 23,000 residential and business customers) will be given opportunity to comment before an administrative law judge. The City of Big Bear Lake and the Big Bear City Community Services District, both of which have submitted letters of protest, are also expected to comment on behalf of their constituents. The Public Utilities Commission hearing will be held at 2pm on Tuesday, at Northwoods Resort, located at 40650 Village Drive in Big Bear Lake. For more information on the proposed rate increase, filed by Bear Valley Electric's parent company Golden State Water on July 16, you can visit the BVES website at bves.com, as well as reading our earlier postings of November 19 and July 30.

After 17 Years, This Evening's Community Services District Meeting Is Last One for Director Bob Colven
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District meet for their regular meeting this evening at 5:30pm, at their offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard. This evening's meeting will be the last for Director Bob Colven, as Barbara Beck joins the Board for their next meeting on December 15. This evening's agenda will include discussion on CSD policy with regard to Board election of president and vice president.

BVUSD's Thanksgiving Holiday Extends Through Today; School Resumes Tomorrow for Students and Staff
No school for students and staff of Bear Valley Unified School District today, as today is a scheduled holiday, finishing out the Thanksgiving weekend. School resumes tomorrow, December 2.

Friday, November 28, 2008


A Thanksgiving rainbow over Big Bear Lake.

"Under the Influence" Extreme Ski and Snowboard Film Screening Serves as Benefit for Forest Aid

Northwoods Resort hosts the Big Bear Lake premiere of the 16mm/HD ski and snowboard film “Under the Influence” in two screenings this Saturday, November 29. Both showings will include raffles and door prizes from national vendors and local sponsors (including Big Bear Mountain Resorts, Northwoods, Goldsmiths Board House, LeRoys Board Shop, Prudential Properties of Big Bear and the Block), and all proceeds will benefit Forest Aid for forest restoration. The film “Under the Influence” by Teton Gravity Research covers extreme terrain, and exceptional skiers and riders, in Jackson Hole, Switzerland, Romania, British Columbia, Utah, Montana and more. Pre-sale tickets to 7 and 9pm showings of Under the Influence are available for $10 each, $5 for children, at the Big Bear Discovery Center, Northwoods Resort in the Village, Goldsmiths Board House and LeRoys Board Shop.

Big Bear Residents Reminded to Prepare for Winter; Driveway Snow Poles Now Available for Purchase
The Public Works crew and staff at the City of Big Bear Lake have been gearing up for snow season, and remind residents to prepare for the winter. The City once again offers snow poles, available to Big Bear Lake residents only, for those who want to install them on either side of their driveway, in anticipation of snow plowing. The orange snow poles are available for purchase at the Civic Center, at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard, for $25 per pair or $12.50 per pole (plus tax). When the City does declare snow conditions, be sure to park vehicles off the street, shovel snow in driveway to the right side (as you face the road), place garbage cans behind property line and berm, mark fences with stakes painted red at the top, and do not let children build igloos or caves in the snow banks near streets. The City of Big Bear Lake's 24-hour snow removal hotline, at 909/752-2830, provides general information on snow removal, berm reduction and current snow conditions.

Community Arts Theater Society Presents Three More Performances of Musical "Cinderella" at PAC
Big Bear's Community Arts Theater Society presents Rodgers & Hammerstein's “Cinderella” at the Performing Arts Center this weekend. The full-scale musical features local talent in three productions this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm, and a Sunday matinee at 1:30pm. For tickets to “Cinderella” at the Performing Arts Center, located at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard at the west end of Big Bear Lake, call the PAC box office at 909/866-4970, or order “Cinderella” tickets online at bigbeartheater.org.

Public Boat Launch Ramps Close for the Season at November's End to Allow for Wintering Bald Eagles
If launching your boat onto Big Bear Lake, this weekend will be the last opportunity to do so from the Municipal Water District's public ramps. The south shore boat launch ramp, next to the MWD offices on Lakeview Drive, will be open today (Friday); the Carol Morrison east boat launch ramp on the North Shore at Stanfield Cutoff will be open on both Saturday and Sunday. By Monday, however, these will be closed for the season, per an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. The boat ramp closures extend from December 1st through the end of March as a means of protecting the sensitive bald eagle habitat along Big Bear Lake's shoreline.

Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off With 60 Vendors at Mountain Christmas Boutique, Open at 10am

The 24th annual Mountain Christmas Boutique traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season here in Big Bear. Sixty vendors, featuring handmade items and Christmas crafts, will be at the Mountain Christmas Boutique, which takes place at the Big Bear Convention Center, located on Big Bear Boulevard at Division. Doors open at 10am today, Saturday and Sunday, and admission is $3 for adults, and free for children 12 and under. For more information on the Mountain Christmas Boutique at the east end of Big Bear Lake, please call the Convention Center 909/585-3000, or use the link at the top of this page.

Unique Shopping Available Throughout Valley, in Fawnskin, Moonridge, the Village, and Along Boulevard
If you can't wait to get a start on shopping season, the Big Bear Valley also offers unique stores in the Village, as well as in Fawnskin on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake; the shops on Moonridge Road (en route to the golf course and Bear Mountain Resort), which will be open until 8pm Friday and Saturday; the Interlaken and Lakeview Centers, just east of Fox Farm Road; and continuing along on Big Bear Boulevard, beyond the Convention Center and into Big Bear City. For more information on where to go and how to get there, you can stop by the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, located at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village, or call 909/866-4607.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies, Santa Claus and Christmas Carols in Village Tonight, in Bear City on Saturday
The trees will light up this weekend, as annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies are planned for both today and Saturday. This evening's events take place in the Village of Big Bear Lake, starting with the music of Art Harriman at 4:30pm. Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick will address the crowd, and the Lions Club will serve hot drinks at the tree lighting and Santa's grand entrance at the corner of Village and Pine Knot. Following the tree lighting, Santa Claus will be available, to visit with kids of all ages, at the Santa House until 9:30pm, and then again each Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. On Saturday, the Big Bear City Fire Department hosts the annual East Valley tree lighting ceremony. Festivities at the firehouse, at 301 W. Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear City, begin at 5pm, followed by the 5:30pm tree lighting and another appearance by Santa Claus. Families are asked to bring a plate of cookies to share to Saturday's event, which will also feature Christmas carols led by Art Harriman.


Happy Thanksgiving--and thanks for listening--from your friends at KBHR Radio.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

California Highway Patrol Implements Maximum Enforcement Period; All Officers Will Be on the Road
The California Highway Patrol reminds travelers to plan ahead this holiday, and help make our roads a safer place. Per local CHP Lieutenant Rick Sanders, “Thanksgiving always produces a high volume of traffic, therefore the CHP intends to provide as much visibility as possible in order to ensure a safe holiday weekend.” The official Thanksgiving holiday driving period begins today at 6pm and continues through midnight Sunday. During this time, the CHP will implement the Maximum Enforcement Period, putting every available officer on the road. Lieutenant Sanders also offers this advice to drivers: “Be well rested when you start and allow extra time in case of congested traffic. Drive safe, drive sober and wear your seatbelt.”

Big Bear City Firefighters Offer Online Video Demonstrating Safe Deep-Frying Turkey Techniques
If you are planning to deep-fry your Thanksgiving turkey tomorrow, the Big Bear City Fire Department offers a how-to online video, wherein firefighters demonstrate the safe and proper way to deep fry. The most crucial safety tips are to be sure that the fryer is placed on a non-combustible surface, and not on decks or near trees, though all deep frying should be done outside. Prior to deep frying, turkeys must be defrosted and patted dry, and free from all water. If a fire does occur, call 911 and use a fire extinguisher—do not use water—to put out any fire. To view the Big Bear City Fire Department's video on safe methods for turkey deep frying, visit bigbearcityfire.org, then click on the Useful Information tab.

Local Results of Presidential General Election Now Certified by San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters
The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters today officially certified the results of the November 4 Presidential General Election. The officially certified results, available on the Registrar's website at sbcounty.gov/rov, do not reflect any changes in terms of those named as elected to office in the Big Bear Valley, as reported here on KBHR on November 5. Registrar Kari Verjil, in her statement, also thanks all poll workers for their help in conducting another successful election in San Bernardino County. (Hour-by-hour local election coverage is posted on our Local News Archive 2008.)


Friends of Nigel: Billy Blackburn, Lucas Holland (Nigel's big brother), Sean Murphy, Keenan Dolan
and Dillon Murphy, all ages 11-13, were among the friends of Nigel Holland who participated in Saturday's
Tour de Nigel mountain bike ride, which raised about $600. Seven-year-old Nigel has this week finished
his 15th radiation treatment; for more on his condition visit CaringBridge.org/visit/NigelHolland.

Plan Ahead for Holiday Traveling; CalTrans Plans to Have All Lanes Open Throughout Inland Empire

CalTrans tells us that there are no planned lane closures in the Inland Empire over the holiday traveling period, as of 6am this morning (Wednesday) through Monday, December 1 at 6pm. CalTrans suggests that you factor in additional travel time, especially when driving on major routes such as Interstate 15 to Nevada or Interstate 10 to Arizona—and also suggests that you pack extra water, snacks and medications, should travel delays take longer than planned. And, three points from CalTrans before you hit the road: 1. Drinking and driving will only cost you money, or possibly your life or that of someone else. 2. Aggressive driving is the cause of 54% of all car collisions. 3. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among Americans under age 34. Please plan ahead this holiday season, and drive safely and courteously.

Defending State Champion BBHS Cross-Country Team Ready to "Charge It" at Saturday's State Finals
The Big Bear High School boys varsity cross-country team is the two-time state champions and, having just won the CIF Southern Section championships last weekend, the team is readying for Friday morning's trip to Fresno, where they will defend their title in the state championships on November 22. Of the championships, both southern and state, Head Coach Mickey Hall says, “All season they look forward to these two races, and they've got one done. The kids are really looking forward to the state championships this weekend.” Hall has said that his team of runners is the hardest working group he has ever coached and, he adds, “These are a really unique group of guys. I think we have three boys on our team—Roy Bowling, Kevin Magdiel and Ryan Lambert--who are each rated #1 academically in their class.” BBHS senior Lambert, along with Alex Caballero, were named to First Team All CIF this season, while Second Team honors went to Connor McCutcheon, Eric Jasperson and Jake Murie. “This time,” Coach Hall tells KBHR, “we're ranked #1 going into state. McFarland and Laguna will be our big competition, but our boys are excited, healthy and ready to charge it!”

Carry Chains for Your Vehicle; First R2 Requirement of the Season Was in Effect on Highway 38 Last Night
For those driving off (or coming to) the mountain this weekend, know that it is the law to carry snow chains for your vehicle when traveling in our area in the winter season. For a few hours last night (starting at about 2am), CalTrans did implement R2 chain requirements on Highway 38 over Onyx Summit, though these requirements have since been lifted. R2 requirements mean that you must have chains on the drive wheels of the vehicle, unless driving a four-wheel drive with snow tires. That said, be prepared and carry chains.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CalTrans Posts New Speed Limits: Highway 18, From Big Bear Lake to Snow Valley, Now 40 MPH
Drivers may have noticed some new speed limits on Big Bear's main highway, as some new signs have been posted by CalTrans personnel. These new speed limits are the result of traffic surveys, some of them completed in 2006 and 2007, though as there are only four CalTrans sign installers for San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, new roadway signs are not always installed as speed limits change. Some of the new signage, and new speed limits, in our area include now a 40mph speed limit on Highway 18, from Big Bear Lake City limits about 10 miles west to the Snow Valley area. This portion of Highway 18, which includes Arctic Circle, had been a 55mph zone, but is now 40. At the eastern end of Big Bear Boulevard, or Highway 18, the speed limit has been reduced from 40mph to, now, 35mph from Division to, and including, Greenway through Big Bear City.

Third Murder Conviction Stemming from 2003 Allison Home Invasion; Jury Hung 11-1 on Fourth Defendant

Five years later, there is now a third murder conviction resulting from the September 2003 home invasion that ultimately led to the death of Big Bear resident Allen Allison. On September 8, 2003, Robin Sherwood, a short-term employee of Allison's Allison Asphalt, and three other men from Barstow, attempted to rob the home of Allison and Nancy George; shots fired at the Big Bear home resulted in severe injuries including paralysis for Allison, who died from complications of these injuries on May 31, 2004. Since that time, Sherwood was convicted in 2006, Vavao Faumui was convicted in 2007, and both are serving life sentences without parole for Allison's murder. As of last week, per Victorville Deputy District Attorney Britt Imes, two more defendants—James Franklin and Jose Ceja—appeared before a jury in Victorville Superior Court. Franklin was the third to be convicted of murder, and will be sentenced on January 20. Deputy DA Imes tells KBHR that Franklin is eligible for 25 years to life or a life sentence without parole. The fourth defendant in five years' of court proceedings, Jose Ceja, was convicted of attempted robbery, though the jury was hung 11-1 on the murder charge. A January 9 court date will determine whether or not to retry Ceja for murder; if not, he will be sentenced for the attempted robbery charge at that time.

U.S. Geological Survey Records 1.8 Magnitude Earthquake Northwest of Big Bear Lake This Morning
We had another earthquake in our area this morning, this one registering a 1.8 magnitude and centered northwest of Big Bear Lake. The 8:21am quake was of a depth of just half a mile, per the U.S. Geological Survey. A 1.4 magnitude quake was recorded northeast of Big Bear City yesterday, in the 3 o'clock hour. (Generally, we will report earthquakes of a 1.6--or greater--magnitude.)

County Contributes Funds to Big Bear Lake International Film Festival's Student Film Camp Program
The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival received a $25,000 allocation from the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors last week, to assist in funding the festival's first student film camp program. Aspiring young filmmakers from throughout San Bernardino County will be able to participate in the camp, which will provide the opportunity to learn about film production from industry professionals. The program will include four categories, including web-based film production, film vs. high definition, post-production and film finance. The County believes the program will provide not only vocational skills training in the industry, but also the potential for internships and employment opportunities for students. Per County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, “It's so important to invest in the lives of our county's young people, and this is an investment in our future. The camp will provide an exciting opportunity for our youth to learn about new technology and advance their skills.” The non-profit Big Bear Lake International Film Festival--overseen by President Ty Warren, also the Senior Vice President of Production at DreamWorks Studios--plans to showcase the work of one young filmmaker from the film camp during the 2009 film fest, scheduled for September 18-20.

Flash Flood Watch In Effect Today and Tomorrow, in Anticipation of First Significant Storm of Fall Season

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the Southern California area, including the San Bernardino mountains and the Inland Empire, and this Flash Flood Watch is in effect from this evening through Wednesday evening in anticipation of the first significant storm of the fall season. For those who need sandbags to prepare for this potential weather event (especially in burn areas), both the Big Bear City Fire Department and the County Fire Station #49 in Fawnskin have sand and bags available. For those within the City of Big Bear Lake, bags are available at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, and sand can be picked up from the City's Public Works yard on Garstin Drive. Periods of heavy rains are expected both today and Wednesday, with snow levels dropping in elevation on Wednesday. Stay tuned to KBHR's weather report with Ben Brissey for updated weather information at quarter past every hour.

County Officials Advise Caution During Storm Event; Mountain Drivers Need to Carry Snow Chains
The County of San Bernardino advises caution during this week's storm. Residents are advised to stay clear of flood control basins and channels, as persons can be swept away by a surge of water run-off, mud or debris flow. These areas are also dangerous when it is not raining as persons may become trapped in mud and debris by venturing onto what may appear to be stable soil. Do not drive where water is over the road as floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car away. The San Bernardino County Flood Area Safety Task Force (or FAST), which includes officials from various county departments, cities, states and federal emergency agencies, is staying in close contact with the National Weather Service on the subject of developing storm conditions. As snow is possible here in the mountains, drivers should be prepared with chains and necessary supplies for snow conditions and possible road closures.

BVUSD's Board of Trustees to Meet This Evening Regarding California School Boards Conference
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District will meet for a special meeting at 6:15pm this evening. The agenda for the meeting to be held at the school district offices includes discussion of California School Boards Association annual conference activities.

Thirty-Five Student Voice Recital at the PAC on December 7 to Serve as Benefit for Masonic Lodge
Thirty-five students at the Voice Studio of Diane Sloan Kubeja will sing Broadway, jazz and holiday favorites next month at the annual Winter Voice Recital. The recital is set for Sunday, December 7 at 2pm at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $7-11, with proceeds going to the Masonic Lodge for continuing efforts to repair the lodge and provide a place for the public to hold events at reasonable rates. Kubeja moved to Big Bear seven years ago from Los Angeles, where she performed on stage and television and in the movies. She holds a Masters of Music from Eastman School of Music. 

Monday, November 24, 2008


* Thanks to everyone who brought their children into the KBHR studios to read their "Dear Santa" letters
on Sunday. We'll broadcast your child's Christmas wishes throughout the holidays, so stay tuned to 93.3FM! *


Defending State Champions of BBHS Cross-Country Team Win Saturday's CIF Southern Section Title

The boys varsity cross-country team of Big Bear High School won the CIF Southern Section championships on Saturday, and will now travel to Fresno for this weekend's state championships, in hopes of running to their third consecutive state cross-country title. As a result of this last weekend's competition, Alex Caballero and Ryan Lambert were named to First Team All-CIF; Jake Murie, Connor McCutcheon and Eric Jasperson received Second Team honors. As Coach Mickey Hall told KBHR going into the competition, “They are the hardest working group of kids I've ever coached.” The girls cross-country team ultimately placed 13th overall in the Southern Section championships and, per Hall, “The girls ran a great race, but the competition in girls' was pretty tough.”

Flash Flood Watch Issued for Tuesday and Wednesday; Sandbags Currently Available at Local Fire Stations
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the Southern California area, including the San Bernardino mountains and the Inland Empire, and this Flash Flood Watch will be in effect from Tuesday evening through Wednesday evening. For those who need sandbags to prepare for this potential weather event (especially in and below burn areas), both the Big Bear City Fire Department and the County Fire Station #49 in Fawnskin have sand and bags available. For those within the City of Big Bear Lake, bags are available at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, and sand can be picked up from the City's Public Works yard on Garstin Drive. Periods of heavy rains are expected on both Tuesday and Wednesday, with snow levels dropping in elevation on Wednesday. Stay tuned to KBHR's weather report with Ben Brissey for updated weather information at quarter past every hour on 93.3 FM.

School Board Approves $1.5 Million Expenditure to Implement New Technology in All BVUSD Classrooms
All students within the Bear Valley Unified School District will have access to new technology, given a recent decision by the district's Board of Trustees Debra Sarkisian, Julann Warren, Ken Turney, Phil Hamilton and Larry Poland. On Wednesday, Trustees moved to spend $1.5 million to upgrade and implement technology in all BVUSD classrooms. As Superintendent Carole Ferraud tells KBHR, “I am so excited. We will have state-of-the-art technology in classrooms at BVUSD—all schools, and all classrooms. It was approved by voters that some of the Measure Q money would go toward technology. We're going to start the bidding process right away, and we would like to see the teachers have this new technology in their classrooms by the end of this school year. I see no reason why it wouldn't be done by fall.” This expenditure of $1.5 million to bolster the school district's technology will be one of the final, big projects implemented by the current board, as new Trustees Paul Zamoyta, Beverly Grabe and Randy Putz join the district on December 10, joining President Sarkisian and Turney.

Bears Varsity Football Team Advances to CIF Quarterfinals; Home Game This Saturday at 1pm

The Bears varsity football team won their first game in CIF playoff competition on Friday evening, beating Santa Paula High School in a score of 33-32. Bears advance to the quarterfinals against Maranatha High School (and their Kansas State-bound quarterback Matt Shilz) at home on Minder Field at 1pm this Saturday, November 29. Pre-sale tickets to Saturday's game will be available at Big Bear High School on Wednesday.

Planning Commission Approves 26-Lot Subdivision On Mill Creek Road, With 76 Conditions of Approval
The 26-lot subdivision, to be developed on a 6.69 acre parcel in the Red Ant Hill area, was given the go-ahead from the Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake. Commissioners adopted the Mitigated Negative Declaration for the tract, with 76 conditions of approval, on November 19, which will the allow the applicant, named as Talmadge Brothers, to move forward with the development on Mill Creek Road, Talmadge Road and Beverly Lane. During Public Hearing Items, Commissioners also approved a Commercial Use Permit to allow for a boat and trailer storage yard for Pleasure Point Marina on two parcels at 851 Cienega Road. The third item, a Plot Plan Review for 40651 Village Drive was continued to the Commission's meeting of December 17. And, lastly, Phil Mosley, the City's Director of Community Services, provided the Commission with an update on the legal non-conforming status that allows for the operation of the A.J. Acosta Firewood Company at 42112 Big Bear Boulevard. Per Mosley, several conditions of operation have not yet been met—including woodpile height, signage and fencing issues—and must be addressed by January 1st .


Kent Stalcup and Rodolfo Ojeda were among those who contributed their time to complete the
new Civil Air Patrol Memorial Center at the Big Bear City Airport. For information on purchasing
a memorial brick, see below. (Photo courtesy of Civil Air Patrol.)

Locals Contribute to New Memorial Center at Under-Construction Civil Air Patrol Headquarters at Airport
The spirit of volunteerism has helped establish a Memorial Center at the Civil Air Patrol headquarters under construction at the Big Bear City Airport. A memorial plaque will honor Patrol members who perished in the line of duty: Don Munroe, Leonard Weekly, and U.S. Marine 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker, who was a cadet in the squadron in his youth. Brick pavers were laid around the pedestal, and can be purchased to honor a loved one by calling 584-9622. Proceeds will help complete and operate the building, which will be used as an Emergency Operations Center. Locals who donated time and materials to the construction project include Kent Stalcup, Rodolfo Ojeda, Miguel Garcia and Cirilo Pedroza of Stalcup Landscape Innovations; Chuck Tapia and Dean Sailor of Tapia Curbing, and Willis Construction.

No City Council Meeting This Evening; Re-elected Jahn and Harris to Be Sworn In on December 8
Given the holiday week, the City Council of Big Bear Lake will not be meeting this evening, nor will they convene on Monday, December 22, as decided in their last Council meeting. The final regular meeting of the year for Council will be Monday, December 8, at which time re-elected Council members Bill Jahn and Liz Harris will be sworn in again.

Big Bear Lake Firefighters Achieve Status as State Fire Marshal-Certified Confined Space Rescue Team
Effective emergency management starts with preparedness activities. Last week, Big Bear Lake firefighters did confined space training, both in class and in the field at their Garstin Drive training site, which has been approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. A few years ago, the Big Bear Lake Fire Department secured donated vaults to be buried for simulated underground rescues. Most of the equipment was bought with grants, but the City's Public Works Division loaned some equipment and actually buried the vaults. With the completion of this training, the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District has achieved status as a state-certified confined space rescue team--the only one in the Big Bear Valley.



Friday, November 21, 2008


Kiwanis Club Accepting Holiday Gifts for Kids; Interviews of Families in Need Taking Place This Sunday
The Kiwanis Gifts for Kids program will once again ensure that local children of low-income families will have something to celebrate—and unwrap—this holiday season. The Kiwanis Club of Big Bear Valley is currently accepting new, unwrapped toys at a number of locations throughout the Valley, including both the Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake Fire Departments, the library and the Big Bear Senior Center. Kiwanis will also distribute gift certificates, for shoes and clothes, to children up to age 12. Tax-deductible donations can also be mailed to the Kiwanis Club Foundation, P.O. Box 6522, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315. For parents and guardians of children who could benefit from the Gifts for Kids program, interviews will be held this Sunday, November 23rd (as well as December 7 and 14) at the Masonic Lodge on Summit Boulevard, from 2 to 5pm; gifts will be distributed on Saturday the 20th. Questions on the program can be directed to Jennie at 838-5720. (Also, an added incentive for those who plan to contribute: an anonymous donor has offered up to 500 new Beanie Babies for the children. For each unwrapped gift left for the Gifts for Kids program tagged “match this”, the local donor will add one more Beanie Baby to those gifts being distributed on December 20.)

As Felony Conspiracy Charges Dropped, Two of Five Big Bear High School Students Allowed to Return

The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District met in closed session this week, to address the student status of four of the five young men, all Big Bear High School students ages 15 and 16, who had been arrested on felony charges of conspiracy in October. Big Bear Sheriff's deputies had, following home searches for each, arrested the five young men after reports that they had intended to bring firearms to school with intent to cause harm to students and staff, and the five had subsequently been taken to Juvenile Hall in San Bernardino. According to BBHS Principal Michael Ghelber, “Based on the fact that there was no evidence to hold them and the charges were dropped, we moved forward from the school site that the whole scenario was a disturbance and disrupted the educational process.” One of the five students in question was out of town so will have a school board hearing at a later date. As for the other four, two will be placed at alternative school sites (which could include Chautauqua High School) or an alternative to expulsion, per Ghelber; the other two were allowed to return to Big Bear High School with stipulations. Since their arrests at October's end, all five had been out of school, with extensions of suspension. Principal Ghelber also tells KBHR, “There was good collaboration between the school district and the Sheriff's department, and the school site's wishes with the district's and board support. It is a good message to students and the community that these types of threats and actions will not be tolerated.” (More information on the student arrests posted on November 17, November 7 and October 30.)



Cal State University Campuses To Accept Fewer Students for Fall 2009; Applications Due November 30

For those who hope to attend a California State University in the fall, this is the weekend to complete that application. In a statement just issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, he says, “Because of drastic budget cuts, the California State University system has announced it will lower by 10,000 the number of students that will be accepted to CSU campuses next fall. In addition, the enrollment deadline has been moved up to November 30th for most campuses. If you are planning to apply to a CSU campus and have not yet filed your application, please use these few remaining days to get your applications completed and sent to the schools of your choice. If you have questions regarding CSU admissions policy, please go to the CSU website at calstate.edu. I want all California seniors to fulfill their college dreams.”

Free Thanksgiving Dinner Offered by United Methodist Church, Which Also Hosts Multi-Church Potluck
A free Thanksgiving dinner will be served at 2pm on Thanksgiving day at the Big Bear United Methodist Church, which notes that the current economic situation calls for compassion and generosity. All who are hungry for food and a friendly place to be on Thanksgiving are welcome to partake in the free meal, though the church office requests RSVPs made to 585-4089 by Monday. The United Methodist Church will also be the setting for this Sunday's 5pm Thanksgiving worship, which will be followed by a potluck dinner co-hosted by a number of local churches—main dishes are being prepared by the Methodists and Episcopalians, salads and side dishes provided by Presbyterians, and desserts donated by the Lutherans. Childcare will also be available on Sunday the 23rd for those who want to join in this multi-congregation celebration at United Methodist Church, which is located on the North Shore at Holden Avenue in Big Bear City.

Recent Break-Ins Prompt Big Bear Sheriff's Station to Remind Residents: Lock Your Home and Car Doors

According to the Big Bear Sheriff's Station, residents need to remember to lock home and car doors to ensure safety. In a statement from Deputy Brian Shedd, he says: “Big Bear is a jewel in the mountains that we all love. We need to be aware that there is still crime and theft in our area. As a law enforcement officer in this town, I would like to ask our citizens to please lock the doors to their homes and cars. Also, it is vital that you do not leave your keys in the car--this is like an advertisement that you have made it convenient for your car to be easily taken. There have been several cars stolen in the last few months because they were left open. Recently, we have had several guns taken from vehicles. This is a safety concern to law enforcement, as well as the public. An unlocked car is a green light to thieves who are looking for easy access to your belongings. On the other hand, a locked car door is a great deterrent to help stop these types of thefts. When criminals find the door of your home locked, they will most likely move on to another house where they do not have to take the time to break in. It is like you put up a sign that says, ‘My house is locked, so go somewhere else please!' Finally, the most important thing to remember is that locking all of your doors and windows can help reduce the incidents of thefts in our beautiful mountain community.”

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In Support of Nigel Holland, Tour de Nigel Fun Mountain Bike Ride at Snow Summit on Saturday Afternoon
Friends of Nigel, the local seven-year-old undergoing chemotherapy treatments, have planned another Tour de Nigel Fun Mountain Bike Ride, as the earlier event was called off due to severe weather. The community is invited to participate in this weekend's ride, which is scheduled to commence from the Snow Summit parking lot at 1pm Saturday, November 22. Participants are asked to sign up between 11:30am and 12:45pm for one of two rides. The long course will be 5-8 miles and timed for personal fun, but not for competition. The short course ride is billed as an easy, relaxing pedal in the park, and the 2:30pm kids ride is also open to children in strollers. Following the Tour de Nigel, medallions will be awarded in a 3pm awards ceremony at Summit. Per event organizer Tom Sitton, “This is a fun get-together for our Big Bear family, to help our friend Nigel Holland.” A $5 donation will be requested from those participating; for more information, call Tom at 951/233-7179.

BBHS Bears in Action: Football in Friday Playoff, Cross-Country in Championships, Volleyball Wrapped
The Big Bear High School varsity football team wrapped season play with a record of 6-3-1 and, per Head Coach Dave Griffiths, this places the Bears in third in the DeAnza League this season. The first of CIF playoff competition games takes place tomorrow evening, as the Bears take on Santa Paula High School at 7pm in Santa Paula (at 404 N. Sixth Street). Pre-sale tickets are available at Big Bear High School, at a cost of $8 for adults, $5 for students. The varsity cross-country teams, both boys and girls, compete in the CIF Southern Section championships on Saturday at Mt. Sac. Girls run at 9:30am, boys run at 10:30am. The Bears varsity volleyball team, who went undefeated in league play and won the DeAnza League championship, wrapped their season on Tuesday, with a CIF semi-finals loss to undefeated Notre Dame High School.

County Launches Mountain Preservation Program, to Create Larger Lots, Starting With Baldwin Lake
The Mountain Preservation Program, to be established with $500,000 in seed money approved by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors this week, may get its launch in Baldwin Lake, given the East Valley area's large number of substandard lots and the limited availability of water and sewage systems. The intent of the new Mountain Preservation Program is to reduce the total number of lots that were divided prior to the 1950s, when the standards for subdividing properties were not fully developed. The program would allow the County to acquire unimproved, tax defaulted parcels or, when appropriate, property from voluntary sellers to achieve its objectives. The acquired lots would then be merged into larger lots, suitable for single-family residential development—the funds from resale would be used to replenish the program fund for additional acquisitions and mergers. Of the small lot reduction program, County Supervisor Hansberger says, “This program will reduce the total number of developable small lots in our mountain communities. The aim of the program is to create properties that are environmentally compatible with the terrain and resources of their surroundings.”

Local Team Sole Takes Third in Adventure Racing World Championships, First in 12 Hours of Temecula
Big Bear Lake-based adventure racers Karen Lundgren and Paul Romero--who, together, make up Team Sole--have been to Brazil and back, completed two races and took to the podium twice, and all in the space of just two weeks. At the start of the month, Team Sole (joined by newlyweds Ian and Nora Edmond) competed in the Adventure Racing World Championships in northern Brazil, which included 96 hours of running, paddling, navigating and biking over 300 miles and, though a co-ed team in the competitive four-man race, Team Sole placed third overall. Within days, Lundgren and Romero were back in Southern California for the 12 Hours of Temecula, a mountain biking race in which teams compete to see who can complete the most laps in 12 hours. Team Sole coupled with Team Intense (Paul Cusick and Tyler Wilson) to compete as a four-person team and, in addition to completing the most laps (13) and cycling the fastest lap of the day (43 minutes), they took first place in the 12 Hours of Temecula. Fourteen-year-old Casey Williams, also from Big Bear, cycled through the competition as well, competing in the solo under-18 category, which he won by two laps, having completed eight laps in 12 hours. So, what's next for the adventure racers of Team Sole, whose motto is “go fast, take chances”? As Lundgren tells KBHR, “We're home for a little bit, but trying to get a team together to race in Dubai in December, which is another hot, sandy adventure.”

BVUSD Students on Minimum Day Schedule Today; Five-Day Weekend for Thanksgiving Holiday

Today is a minimum day for all students within the Bear Valley Unified School District, to allow for teachers' strategic planning. All BVUSD schools will be closed next Thursday and Friday, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as Monday, December 1st.

Hansberger Instrumental in Providing Water Service and North Shore Traffic Signal for Zoo Relocation
At the request of Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors this week took two actions that allocate funds for mitigation measures to complete the Moonridge Animal Park relocation project to the North Shore. The Board authorized $500,000 as financial assistance for a traffic signal to be located at the intersection of Stanfield Cutoff and North Shore Drive (as prompted by a March 2008 traffic study), and an additional $500,000 was authorized for water system infrastructure improvements in preparation for the completion of the zoo project. Per Hansberger, “I am very pleased that we have been able to complete the funding for this traffic safety improvement prior to my retirement from the Board. Stanfield Cutoff is long overdue for a traffic signal, so it's a win-win situation for everybody involved.” In order to provide water to the new zoo facility, and to improve the availability and reliability of the County Service Area 53C (or Fawnskin) water system, the district will connect to the existing Big Bear Lake Department of Water and Power's service at the East Launch Ramp on the North Shore. This will improve availability of water for fire protection on the North Shore, as well as eliminating the need for new wells, as the drilling of such could impact sensitive habititat. As the zoo relocation project was cited by Hansberger as one of his proudest accomplishments during his 20 years as a County Supervisor, he notes, “My office, along with the citizens of the Big Bear Valley and the Forest Service, have worked diligently for many years to complete this important project. I am excited about enhancing the quality of lives of the animals in the center and the opportunity to provide environmental education in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.” Construction of the new zoo, to be adjacent to the Discovery Center, is planned to begin in late spring or early summer of 2009 and, per the County, will be called The Living Forest and Wildlife Center upon its completion.

MWD Board Meets This Afternoon for Presentation on Big Bear Lake's TMDL by Consultant Moore
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District—Vince Smith, John Eminger, Todd Murphy, Paula Fashempour and Skip Suhay--convene for their regular meeting this afternoon at 1pm, at the MWD offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive. Today's meeting will include a presentation by consultant Tim Moore, on the lake's total maximum daily load. Throughout the year MWD staff, as coordinated by Moore, monitor total maximum daily load, or TMDL, for Big Bear Lake, which measures the amount of pollutants, including minerals, for ultimate adherence to state water quality standards.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Big Bear Residents Present for County Supervisor Hansberger's Final Day, After 20 Years on the Board
Yesterday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County was the last as Third District County Supervisor for Dennis Hansberger, who has served in this role for 20 years, first from 1972 to 1980, and again from 1996 up until yesterday. Following the Board's morning meeting (in which Hansberger forwarded many issues for the mountain areas), Hansberger was celebrated at the County Government Center with a standing-room only reception, which included his wife Karen and children, and a number of Big Bear residents, including his Field Representative Jamie Wolcott; Sara Russ and Brent Tregaskis of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Rick Herrick, Liz Harris and Darrell Mulvihill of the Big Bear Lake City Council; Bob Colven on behalf of the Big Bear City Community Services District; Ken Brengle of the Resort Association; Tanya Perry of Big Bear's Healthy Start; and Steve Schindler of BBARWA. The emotional event included a slide show of Hansberger on the job (including pictures of his early days on the Board in the '70s), proclamations from a number of mayors and state officials, a letter from Governor Schwarzenegger, presentations from former Big Bear residents San Bernardino County Fire Chief Pat Dennen and San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod (who thanked the Supervisor for his years of leadership and friendship), and at least four standing ovations for Hansberger, who was also thanked by fellow Supervisors Paul Biane, Gary Ovitt, Josie Gonzales and Brad Mitzelfelt for his experience, knowledge and wisdom. On behalf of the citizens of Big Bear Lake, Hansberger also received a bear statue for his dedication and public service on our behalf. In the midst of the festivities, Hansberger said, “We've had a good run and have accomplished a great deal. In the difficult time ahead, this county is better prepared to survive than any other.” Among his proudest accomplishments on the Board, he cited the San Timoteo Creek, the removal of 400 abandoned shacks from the desert, the County's first combined library and senior center in Mentone, the planned expansion and relocation of the Moonridge Animal Park, the rebuilding of Cedar Glen following the 2003 wildfires, and fire prevention efforts in the mountains. Part of Hansberger's legacy will be, at the County Museum in Redlands (his hometown), the Dennis Hansberger Hall of Geologic Wonders, scheduled to open next spring.

BBHS Bear Backers' Annual Fundraiser Underway to "Keep the Kids on the Courts, the Fields, the Mats"

There is only one fundraiser for the Bear Backers each year, and it is currently underway. Opportunity drawing tickets for the annual $10,000 giveaway are now available for a $100 donation each. Only 200 tickets are sold each year, giving each participant a one in 50 chance of winning, with a top prize of $5,000. According to Janet McCord, parent volunteer and fundraising chair on behalf of the Bear Backers, “We make $10,000 and we give away four cash prizes for a total of $10,000. We spread it out a little, so there are more chances to win. All the funds raised go to Big Bear High School athletics. We support all athletes and all sports.” This year's drawings, for cash prizes of $1,000, $1,500, $2,500 and $5,000 will be held in December, though time and place specifics have yet to be determined. Still, there are only 200 opportunity tickets available so those interested in participating are encouraged to make a donation sooner than later—tickets are available at Shelli's Hallmark (in the Interlaken Center), or by calling Janet McCord at 585-7767 or Estelle Hooker at the high school at 585-6892. The parent-sponsored Bear Backers group will use funds raised to support all high school teams—as McCord tells KBHR, “This fundraiser keeps the kids on the courts, the fields and on the mats.”

CSD to File Protest on Electric Rate Increase; Local Public Utilities Commission Hearing on Decmber 2

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District unanimously decided to side with the City Council of Big Bear Lake, in filing a formal protest with the California Public Utilities Commission to oppose the 22.7% rate increase proposed by Golden State Water Company for electric service provided by Bear Valley Electric Service. Of the 22.7% increase over current base rates, the CPUC already approved 6.8% of that, as a general office allocation to parent company Golden State, based in San Dimas, and this increase is due to take effect as of January. In explaining the rate proposal to the CSD Board, Bear Valley Electric's Operations Manager Ken Markling noted that the PUC's Division of Ratepayer Advocates is already investigating, saying, “This stuff is being looked at with a fine-toothed comb. A DRA auditor spent a month at our offices. This is very transparent, and DRA is looking at it on behalf of our customers.” After CSD Director Marge McDonald expressed that Valley residents could not afford this increase in the current economy, Markling further explained, “We wanted to do this in 2006, but the Commission didn't have room on their calendar. We're in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we've got to have this increase to keep our company solvent.” Though Bear Valley Electric has not had a base rate increase since 1997, the CSD Board, after an hour and half of discussion, amended their motion to not just send a letter in protest, but to send a strong letter in protest, and to send a representative, CSD General Manager Mike Mayer, to read the letter at the Public Utilities Commission's public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, December 2 at 2pm at Northwoods Resort in the Village. For his part, Markling added, “I would like to see all the community at our public hearing protest, but the protest message to the commissioner is: You're killing us with these regulations, which do nothing for our quality of service, but drive up rates.” For more information on the local hearing and proposed electric rate increases, Bear Valley Electric customers will be receiving information via mail this week. (More information on the proposed rate increase posted in a story dated July 30, which you can find in our 2008 Local News Archive.)


This property at the corner of Mill Creek Road and Talmadge Road will be the focus of a Public
Hearing Item at today's 1:15pm meeting of the Big Bear Lake Planning Commission. The 6.69 acre
parcel at the top of Red Ant Hill is the site of a proposed 26-lot subdivision.

Three More Earthquakes Today Making, Now, Six Recorded Northeast of Big Bear City Since Monday
Another two earthquakes were recorded in our area today, making now five since early Monday morning and each of them centered northeast of Big Bear City. This morning's two quakes occurred at 9:39am and 10:10am, and were a 1.6 magnitude and a 1.8 magnitude, respectively, with each registering a depth of roughly three miles. Update: Another quake, this one of a 1.4 magnitude and a depth of 2.5 miles, was recorded northeast of Big Bear City at 10:30pm on Wednesday.

Given Dry Conditions, An Increase in Fire Restrictions Now in Place for the San Bernardino National Forest

Due to extremely dry conditions and potential for strong winds, coupled with recent wildfire activity throughout Southern California, the San Bernardino National Forest has announced an increase in fire restrictions. No open campfires, wood or charcoal BBQs are allowed--even in developed campgrounds, picnic areas, yellow post sites and group camps. Target shooting will be permitted only at developed shooting ranges, including the Big Bear Sportsman's Club. In a statement from Forest Supervisor Jeanne Wade Evans, she says, “We are asking forest visitors and mountain residents to exercise extreme caution during the extremely dry conditions we are experiencing right now.” Current fire restrictions and guidelines in effect on the San Bernardino National Forest include the following: No wood or charcoal fires; an approved spark arrestor is required for any internal combustion engine (and this includes chainsaws, generators, motorcycles and off-highway vehicles); smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites and areas cleared of vegetation three feet in diameter; and fireworks are always prohibited, as is discharging a firearm at any exploding target. Also, Forest Road 1N09 is closed to motorized vehicles, from Highway 330 to Bear Creek. Rangers on the San Bernardino National Forest remind to “Know Before You Go” and advise that forest visitors call to check on location conditions and restrictions. The Big Bear Ranger Station can be reached at 382-2790.

BVUSD's Board of Trustees to Address Student Personnel Items in Two Closed Session Meetings Today
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District will convene for two meetings today, one at 12:15pm and another at 5pm, and both at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road. For those who plan to attend, both meetings will lead with closed session pertaining to student personnel items.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


CSD Update: Firefighters Commended, Water Line Project Completed, Director Colven Says Goodbye
Big Bear City firefighters Greg Robinson and Bob Barnett were recognized by Chief Jeff Willis before the Community Services District Board of Directors last night, for their life-saving efforts. Using the fire department's Lifepack 12 heart monitors, which Big Bear City paramedics were the first in the County to use, Robinson, Barnett (and fellow firefighters Jeff Anderson and Matt Fonda) were presented the Ribbon of Life distinction for effective treatment of two individuals who had gone into cardiac arrest and, as a result of their timely efforts, both survived. In other news from the CSD meeting of November 17, Water Department Superintendent Tim Moran reports that the dual project of the Well #8 blendline construction and the Barranca/Country Club steel main replacement project is 100% complete. CSD President Rick Ollila, noting two letters of praise from constituents in the project neighborhood, said, “I would like to commend staff, especially Tim Moran, for selection of the contractor for the water line.” And, General Manager Mike Mayer added, “It's important to point out it came in under budget as well.” At the meeting's close, Director Bob Colven, who did not retain his seat on the Board in the November 4 election, said, “This is my last meeting. I'm bringing to a close 17 years of service.” Noting that for him it was not about a personal agenda, but always about community, he added, “I thank all of you who have supported me for 17 years.” As Barbara Beck will not officially join the CSD Board until December 5, and won't be sworn in until the CSD meeting of December 15, Colven's 17 years of service will extend another two weeks, through the district's December 1st meeting.

Planning Commission Holds Three Public Hearing Items Tomorrow, Including Mill Creek-Area Subdivision
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake meets for their second regular meeting of the month, at 1:15pm Wednesday afternoon in Hofert Hall. One of three Public Hearing Items on tomorrow's agenda is a proposal to subdivide a 6.69 acre parcel, currently zoned single-family residential, into 26 parcels for development. The project is located in the Red Ant Hill area, among properties on Mill Creek Road, Talmadge Road and Beverly Lane, and the November 19 Public Hearing is a continuation of the Planning Commission's meeting of November 5th.

MMA Reports Valley-Wide Siren Alert System Now Fully Functional As Result of Thursday's Disaster Drill

Thursday's disaster drill, as implemented by 36 members of our Mountain Mutual Aid Association, proved that our emergency responders, local government, utilities and private organizations can work together in a cooperative way, to better serve our community—especially in the event of a crisis or natural disaster. In a follow-up from the November 13 earthquake drill, during which the Emergency Operations Center was activated, Fire Chief Jeff Willis (who also serves as the inter-agency task force's Vice President), says, “It was an excellent opportunity to utilize our resources and practice what it takes to manage large scale incidents.” In addition to making contact with the State and County Offices of Emergency Services, our local MMA also investigated why the Valley-wide sirens did not sound at 10am, but rather 10:20. As Willis adds, “This is why we have drills and test the system. We find our strengths and our weaknesses and work to perfect the system and prepare for a true disaster.” The Big Bear Valley siren system is activated by Desert Communications Dispatch in Apple Valley. The manual switch was coded incorrectly and the test switch had to be used to activate the system. The codes are now correct and, if a true emergency were to occur, the siren alert system would be fully functional. In the case of a real emergency, tune to KBHR at 93.3 FM or Channel 6 for updated information.

Recreation and Park District Offers 3-D Presentation of Paradise Park in One of Three Meetings Today

The Advisory Commission of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District will cover a number of topics in three meetings this afternoon, the first of which takes place at 4pm at the Big Bear Senior Center. The workshop at 4pm will include representatives from the Big Bear City Community Services District as the 3-D presentation, incorporating some changes from last week's workshop, on the proposed Paradise Park will be shown. At 5pm, Rec and Park Commissioners will prioritize suggestions for potential Proposition 84 funds, which are directed to specific neighborhoods without parks within California. The regular meeting of the Commission will begin at 6:20pm, also at the Senior Center, and will include recreation, maintenance and facilities reports, including news from the Moonridge Animal Park on plans to acquire 140 new crates for animal evacuation purposes. Each of today's meetings of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District is open to the public.

This Morning's Earthquake, Centered Northeast of Big Bear City, Registers as 2.0 Magnitude
We had a third earthquake in our area this week, centered northeast of Big Bear City—the same location of yesterday's two quakes. This morning's 2.0 magnitude quake occurred at 10:43am, and registered a depth of just over three miles, per the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Scout Cabin Has Made the Move...


...to the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum in Big Bear City, where it will be reassembled. For more on the historic hut at
Meadow Park, referred to as the Boy Scout cabin and dating back to 1900-1918, see our stories posted November 11 & 7.


Monday's 15-Second Power Outtage Result of "Rogue Pelican" Flying Into Stanfield Transmission Circuit

Bear Valley Electric customers on Big Bear Lake's North Shore were without power for about 15 seconds yesterday morning, and per the utility's Operations Manager Ken Markling, this was due to a pelican making its way over Stanfield Cutoff. At 10:13am, a pelican flew into a 34,000 volt transmission circuit on Stanfield. Then, per Markling, “The circuit breaker tripped, as it should, and reclosed automatically in 15 seconds. There may have been a surge when power came back on. It was a pretty radical event, and also caused a dimming in power for our other customers on the south side of the lake.” The power outtage affected 4,900 of Bear Valley Electric's customers, or households, of the 23,000 serviced in the Valley. The pelican was electrocuted and, Markling says, they have made efforts to accommodate the presence of pelicans visiting Baker Pond and Big Bear Lake. “We had this happen before,” he says, “so we watch for those guys, and we have the ability to turn that line off when they are in town. This was just a rogue pelican, but that's why we have those orange balls on the lines, for the pelicans.”

County Supervisor Hansberger Proposes Funds Allocation for Traffic Signal and Water Line to New Zoo
The County of San Bernardino is getting behind the zoo relocation project, in anticipation of the Moonridge Animal Park's move to the North Shore, on a 27-acre parcel adjacent to the Big Bear Discovery Center on the San Bernardino National Forest. At this morning's 10am meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, our Third District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger will present two items that relate to the new zoo. First, there is a proposal to use $500,000 of the County's 2008-2009 Board Projects–Elective Funding to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Stanfield Cutoff and North Shore Drive, to mitigate increased traffic generated by the zoo. The second proposal is to use another $500,000, from the same County fund, to provide financial assistance to the County's Special Districts Department, to improve the water infrastructure. These funds would assist in the extension of DWP's water system to beyond the East Ramp Boat Launch, to provide the primary water source for the zoo and allow for additional fire flow capabilities for fire agencies.


Even the east end of Big Bear Lake glowed during a weekend sunset.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bears Football Captain Burnard Undergoes Skull Replacement Surgery; Should Be Home by Week's End
Big Bear High School football player Sutton Burnard, the senior who underwent emergency brain surgery following an injury sustained during a Bears game on September 26, returned to Riverside County Regional Medical Center last week. On Thursday, neurosurgeons did skull replacement surgery on 17-year-old Burnard and, per his dad Bill, his skull was reinforced with small titanium plates and screws. Despite this, Bill tells KBHR, “The scar looks much better, as they used thermabond [glue] instead of staples or stitches.” Sutton's surgery did result in some complications on Saturday but, as of this morning's CAT scan, stepmom Jenn says things look good and Sutton should be able to return home soon, following a few more days of observation at the hospital in Moreno Valley. In the meantime, dad Bill relays, “We as a family are very touched and thankful for all of the support and love that everyone has shown.” (More on Sutton Burnard, including some photos of his friends and teammates, posted on October 3, September 29 and September 28.)

Free Seminar on Foreclosures in the Mortgage Crisis Offered Wednesday Evening in San Bernardino
The San Bernardino Legal Aid Society will offer a free seminar on foreclosures in the mortgage crisis on Wednesday at 5:30pm. The seminar will be held at the San Bernardino Employment and Training Agency, at 600 N. Arrowhead Avenue, Suite 300, in San Bernardino. The two-hour presentation will also include hope for homeowners, outlining federal assistance and refinancing information. For more information on Wednesday's free seminar on foreclosures in the mortgage crisis, call Alan Sims at 584-8820.

Hernandez's Court Date Moved to December; Five BBHS Students Arrested Have Not Returned to School

Another court date has been set for one of the two men arrested in conjunction with the five BBHS students in October. Miguel Hernandez, a 20-year-old resident of Big Bear Lake, had been arrested on felony charges of possession of stolen property and using false citizenship documentation. Hernandez had plead not guilty at his arraignment hearing; and his subsequent preliminary hearing, set for last Thursday, was vacated. He is next due to appear in court on December 8, and he remains in custody in the meantime. The five high school students, all boys ages 15 and 16, have not returned to BBHS since their arrests for felony conspiracy charges for alleged intention to cause harm. (More on this story posted on November 7 and October 30.)

Vehicle Fire Results in Burned Vegetation at 210 Freeway and Highway 330; No Road Closures As Result

Just before 2pm today, a vehicle fire on the westbound 210 freeway resulted in a small vegetation fire, just off the 210 and west of Highway 330. U.S. Forest Service crews responded to the burning vegetation, and no roads—either the 210 freeway or Highway 330—were closed as a result, and remain open at this time.

Superior Court of San Bernardino Now Offers Email Assistance With In-County Child Support Cases
The Superior Court of San Bernardino now offers email help services for child support cases. This email assistance is offered to those with questions about which form to use, or for clarification on procedures, and each email will be responded to within 48 hours, though the system only applies to child support cases filed in San Bernardino County. The address to use is childsupportselfhelp@courts.sbcounty.gov; in-person assistance with child support questions is available at the Child Support Courthouse (at 655 W. 2nd Street) in San Bernardino Monday through Thursday, and at the Victorville Courthouse (at 14455 Civic Drive) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week.

Big Bear High School's Cross-Country and Volleyball Teams Advance in CIF Post-Season Competition
The Bears of Big Bear High School had a winning weekend in CIF playoffs. The cross-country teams competed in the CIF preliminaries at Mt. Sac on Saturday, and the boys, led by Ryan Lambert, had the fastest team time of all Division IV schools. The cross-country teams will next race at this weekend's CIF finals, also at Mt. Sac. The girls varsity volleyball team won their last round of CIF playoffs against Bell-Jeff on Saturday, and will now compete in the CIF semi-finals, in a match at Notre Dame High School in Riverside, to be held Tuesday at 7pm. Bears football played at home on Minder Field Saturday in regular season play, and varsity lost a close game to Desert Hot Springs, in a score of 27-28.

CSD Board Meets Today to Discuss Conflict of Interest Code and Proposed 22.7% BVES Rate Increase

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District will meet for their regular meeting this evening at 5:30pm, at the CSD offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard. This evening's agenda includes a possible amendment to the district's Conflict of Interest Code and discussion and possible action with regard to Bear Valley Electric's proposed 22.7% rate increase for Valley electric service. This evening's meeting, and that of December 1st, will include the current Board of Directors of Rick Ollila, John Day, Bob Colven, Jeff Newsome and Marge McDonald. Newly elected member Barbara Beck assumes the seat held by running-mate Colven on Friday the 5th, though she will not be sworn in until the regular CSD board meeting of December 15.

Search and Rescue Team to Review Recent Rescues, Nominate Officers for Coming Year This Evening
The Bear Valley Search and Rescue Team will come indoors for a moment, as they gather for their monthly meeting this evening at 6pm, to be held at the Big Bear Sheriff's Station. In addition to the nomination of SAR Team officers for the coming year, there will be review of recent rescues in which the volunteer group has participated. Those in the community interested in learning more about the Bear Valley Search and Rescue Team are welcome to attend the 6pm meeting. For more information, call Jim Lyon at 866-3523.

Since Valley Disaster Drill by MMA, One Earthquake in Our Area: A 1.6 Magnitude Quake at 2:45am
Our Mountain Mutual Aid Association is prepared for a large-scale earthquake, given Thursday's earthquake disaster drill and subsequent group workshops at the Emergency Operations Center. Since that time, we have had one earthquake in our area, this one of a 1.6 magnitude, which occurred this morning at 2:45am. The 1.6 magnitude quake was centered northeast of Big Bear City and registered a depth of 2.5 miles. (More on Thursday's drill and earthquake preparedness posted below on November 13.) Update: A second quake today at 1:41pm, also northeast of Big Bear City, was of a magnitude of 1.7 and registered a depth of 2.7 miles.

Free Legal Advice Offerd to Seniors This Afternoon, Preceded by Noon Lunch at Big Bear Senior Center
At 12:30 this afternoon, the Mountain Regional Council on Aging will host a free talk at the Senior Center by the Managing Attorney for the Inland Counties Legal Services. Attorney Jorge Barrales will explain free legal services for seniors 60 and older. Topics will include simple wills, healthcare directives, divorce, elder abuse restraining orders, contract questions and power of attorney for financial matters. Participants will also be offered personal legal consultations in the future. The Big Bear Senior Center is located at 42651 Big Bear Boulevard. The 12:30 talk and the noon luncheon are open to the public. To make reservations, call the Senior Center at 584-0323.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wind Advisory in Effect Through Saturday
A wind advisory is in effect until 2pm on Saturday for our area. Heavy winds are expected from the northeast of between 15 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph expected through tomorrow morning. Motorists are advised to watch for broken tree limbs and downed power lines.

BBHS Varsity Volleyball Team Wins Over La Sierra Academy
The Big Bear High School women's varsity volleyball team beat La Sierra Academy last night. Their next game is tomorrow night as they host Bell Jeff at 7pm at Big Bear High School. Come out and support the girls in the quarterfinals. Tickets are $5 for students at the door with a BBHS ID and $7 for adults.

Last Bears Home Football Games of the Regular Season Tomorrow
The last BBHS home football games of the regular season are tomorrow at the middle school. The Bears frosh/soph game starts at 9:15am and the varsity game starts at 12 noon.

Air Force Hometown News: Christopher Berge Graduates
Air Force Airman Christopher Berge has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations. In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Christopher Berge is a 2007 graduate of Big Bear High School and is the grandson of Jane and George Berge of Big Bear Lake.

City of Big Bear Lake Offering Snow Poles for Sale
The Public Works crew and staff at the City of Big Bear Lake are gearing up for snow season, and remind residents to begin preparations for the winter season. The City once again offers snow poles, available to Big Bear Lake residents only, for those who want to install them on either side of their driveway, in anticipation of snow plowing. The orange snow poles are available for purchase at the Civic Center, at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard, for $25 per pair or $12.50 per pole (plus tax). When the City does declare snow conditions, be sure to park vehicles off the street, shovel snow in driveway to the right side (as you face the road), place garbage cans behind property line and berm, mark fences with stakes painted red at the top, and do not let children build igloos or caves in the snow banks near streets. The City of Big Bear Lake's 24-hour snow removal hotline, at 752-2830, provides general information on snow removal, berm reduction and current snow conditions

Bear Valley Electric to Hold HEAP Workshop on Wednesday
If your utility bills are more than you can afford, Bear Valley Electric will once again be offering utility assistance application processing next Wednesday, November 19. Low-income families in need of assistance with utility bills may be eligible for benefits through the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP. Due to the demand for applications to be processed earlier this year, next Wednesday, the first 35 in line will be processed at 9am; another 20 applications will be accepted at 1pm. HEAP is offered to low-income households, and eligible families can receive an annual credit up to $355, which may be applied to gas or electric bills. Other HEAP program benefits, for home weatherization, include up to $240 for firewood or up to $350 toward propane. In order to prepare for the application process, here is what households will need to present: both current gas and electric bills (in their entirety), rental agreement or mortgage statement, California picture ID with current address, social security cards for all household members and proof of Social Security information for 2008, and pay stubs for all prior 30-day pay periods. If applying for propane benefits, bring your current invoice receipt with account number. The HEAP and weatherization assistance applications will be processed at Bear Valley Electric Service, at 42020 Garstin Drive on the 19th. Those with questions in the meantime can call Bear Valley Electric at 866-4678 ext. 123.


Friends of Nigel: Event organizers, helpers and supporters (clockwise from left) Tim Stavich, Jason
Wilson, Tucker Keating, LeighAnne Drake, Kareen Faber, Parker and Hayden Acosta rallied in
support of seven-year-old Nigel Holland at Wednesday's fundraiser dinner at Hacienda Grill.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella" Comes to Performing Arts Center, Starting Friday, for 11 Shows

The Community Arts Theater Society brings Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella" to the Performing Arts Center for a three-weekend run, which opens with a discount preview this Friday, November 14. The large and local cast for the musical is directed by Michael McConnell, who also choreographed the production and takes center stage as the Prince. Amanda Fisch stars in the title role, in a cast that also includes Nancy Walker as the Fairy Godmother and Elena Peavy as the Evil Stepmother. All seats at the PAC are reserved for the 11-show run of "Cinderella," and tickets are available online at BigBearTheater.org or via the PAC box office at 866-4970.


Songstress Nancy Walker plays the Fairy Godmother to Cinderella in a CATS cast that includes countless young talents as well.

Local Sirens Sound at 10am as Eight Southern California Counties Participate in Earthquake Disaster Drill

If you just heard the Valley-wide siren alert system, that was in place at the top of the 10 o'clock hour to signal the earthquake disaster drill, coordinated throughout eight Southern California counties, to simulate a 7.8 magnitude quake along the San Andreas fault. At present, over 30 members of our Mountain Mutual Aid Association are assembled at the Valley's Emergency Operations Center at the MWD offices, and they will spend their day planning for local disaster preparedness. In the event of a real emergency, the Valley sirens will sound and you can tune to KBHR 93.3 FM for updated information. In the case of a real earthquake, organizers of the Great Southern California ShakeOut advise that you drop, cover and hold on. For more information on earthquake preparedness, visit ShakeOut.org. Update as of noon: Prompted by this morning's earthquake disaster drill, members of our Mountain Mutual Aid Association are currently assembled at the Valley's Emergency Operations Center, which has been set up at the offices of the Municipal Water District. Deanne Johanson, serving as the MMA's Public Information Officer during this drill, tells KBHR that 36 MMA members—including emergency responders and local utility companies—are in workshops and addressing questions that might come up in the event of a real emergency. “Everything is going well,” reports Johanson, who works for the Big Bear City Fire Department, “and we're working out issues with the siren notification system.” If you were listening for the Valley-wide siren alert system at 10am, you may have heard it at 10:20 instead or not at all. This is part of the learning process that will come of today's drill, as MMA reviews and repairs issues with the siren alert system. Update as of 3pm: Thirty-six members of our Mountain Mutual Aid Association have wrapped their disaster drill planning as of this afternoon and, per Public Information Officer Deanne Johanson, “It just went really well. We were able to work together and see how it really happens.” During their workshops, following the 10am earthquake drill (prompted by the Great Southern California ShakeOut), MMA worked on questions—and answers for—the following areas: command, operations, planning, logistics and finance. At the end of the hours-long session, Johanson tells KBHR they did a “hot wash” (as in a wrap-up) to review their strengths and weaknesses. Strengths among our local MMA group include cooperation and the ability of all Big Bear Valley agencies to work well together. As for the Valley-wide siren system, which was a bit inconsistent at 10am, Johanson says, “We will work with dispatch in Apple Valley to correct that, as it was a technological issue. Rest assured, it will work in a real emergency.” (For more on our local MMA, see story posted on October 27.)

Could You Be Big Bear's Biggest Loser? Rec and Park District Holds Second Round of Fitness Program
You've seen it on TV, you've heard about it on KBHR, and now is your chance to change your lifestyle, drop some weight, and earn the title of Biggest Loser. The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District will offer another round of the fitness program, this one titled Big Bear's Biggest Loser II, starting in January. After the last round, to which the Biggest Loser title went to Bob and Maria Lischke, over 700 pounds were dropped by the BBBL group, overseen by fitness coaches Ted and Heather Devito. This next round will take place on Monday and Wednesday evenings over the course of eight weeks, and cost for the entire program is $65. For more specifics, Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District will host an informational meeting on Wednesday, December 10, at 5:30pm at the park district offices on Park Avenue in Big Bear Lake. For more information on Big Bear's Biggest Loser II, call 866-9700.


Friends of Nigel: LeighAnne Drake and Jules Whitson (far right) greeted those who attended last
night's fundraiser for Nigel Holland at Hacienda Grill, including Fawnskin friends Shirley Jones and
Captain John Saunders. A third, family fundraiser is being planned for December. For other postings
on Big Bear Elementary student Nigel, you can hit Ctrl F on your computer, to do a search for Nigel
mentions on this page.

Given Public Input, City Council Holds on Senior Condo Complex Zoning Decision Until Next Meeting

Though much discussion ensued regarding the proposed zone change, from single-family residential to multiple family, for the senior condominium complex to be developed on the Boulevard just west of the Big Bear Senior Center, no action was yet taken by the City Council of Big Bear Lake. If the zone change was made, it would allow for 12 units per acre, or 35 total for the 2.97 acre property, rather than existing potential for three units per acre, or up to eight total. The Planning Commission, in October, had adopted a resolution recommending that Council adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project, though attendees at the November 10 Council meeting urged that an updated Environmental Impact Report first be done, as the existing EIR for the area (as part of the City's General Plan) was completed in 1999. Ed Wallace, who spoke on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Audobon Society, told Council, “The Sierra Club is not against senior housing, [but] this project will now go beside sensitive bald eagle habitat.” Wallace also cited wildfire issues, saying, “We cannot continue to develop and increase density without an evacuation plan.” Dr. David Foltz, on behalf of the Democratic Club of Big Bear Valley, added, “We would also like to go public with our endorsement of the points made by the Sierra Club. Action should only be taken after results of a current EIR are shared.” Newly re-elected Councilmember Bill Jahn questioned staff on water, eagle and traffic impacts, all of which would be mitigated to less than significant levels, per the City's Planning Department. Liz Harris, also just re-elected, asked if Council might have more time to review correspondence submitted by the Friends of Fawnskin and the Center for Biological Diversity as it pertains to the senior condo complex being developed by Brian Weber and Michael Rafferty. Mayor Rick Herrick said, “We have a lot of material that came in at the last minute--I'm going to guess 150 pages of material--and I'd like to study this further.” Weber acquiesced to the proposed continuance, but noted, “We've been before you, Planning Commission and staff for over five years now.” Council unanimously agreed to continue the item for their next meeting, though Councilmember Michael Karp's motion to do a study on the project's impact to Valley and the bald eagle did not receive a second.

BBVRPD and CSD Sub-Committees to Review 3-D Presentation on Paradise Park in 4pm Public Meeting
The park sub-committees of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District and the Big Bear City Community Services District will come together at 4pm today for a look at Paradise Park. This afternoon's meeting, to be held at the CSD offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard, will include a 3-D presentation of the park design by Copley Design. Today's presentation will allow for the sub-committees to review design elements of the project, to be developed on Paradise Way in Big Bear City, prior to next Tuesday's 3-D walk-through presentation during the general meeting of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, to be held at 4pm on the 18th at the Big Bear Senior Center. Both of these meetings are open to the public.


Big Bear Lake Fire's new PCFs at their swearing in ceremony in Hofert Hall: (from far left) Edgar
Alderete, Josh Winters, Regina Preiss, Stefan Zbyszycki, Shawn Leonard, James Landrum, Patrick
Kenahan and Andrew Keller.

Big Bear Lake Fire Department Adds Eight Paid Call Firefighters, and New Emergency Equipment
The Big Bear Lake Fire Department added eight paid call firefighters to their firefighting team this week which, per interim Fire Chief Mark Mills, “is the culmination of a year-long process.” The new PCFs were recruited, underwent an extensive background check, received training and strenuous physical testing before being sworn in by the City's Fire Protection District Chairman Michael Karp. Chief Mills, who oversaw the process coordinated by Firefighter David Jayne, says, “Over 50% of our fire department came from some type of PCF background, so this is laying the groundwork.” In other news from the fire department, Mills reports that they were one of over 3,500 emergency responder agencies to apply for CEDAP (or the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program), as administered by FEMA, and the fire department was the only one in California to be a technology and training recipient. As a result, new equipment at the station now includes a Palmtop Emergency Action for Chemicals incident command kit, which includes detailed information and preparedness plans for 127,000 chemicals, and a NOMAD Crisis Incident Command system, which is a portable satellite command system, which includes a laptop, printer and teleconferencing capabilities.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


ShakeOut Earthquake Disaster Drill Tomorrow; Expect to Hear Valley-Wide Sirens at 10am on Thursday
The Great Southern California ShakeOut, the eight-county earthquake disaster drill, takes place tomorrow, November 13, at 10am. Locally, our Mountain Mutual Aid Association (comprised of local government, emergency responders, local utilities and organizations) will participate in a “drop, cover and hold on” drill, and will open the Valley's Emergency Operations Center at the Municipal Water District offices. During this drill, you can expect to hear the Valley-wide siren alert system at 10am. In the case of a real emergency when these sirens sound, residents can tune to KBHR 93.3 FM for updated information. To join the over five million Southern California residents registered for tomorrow morning's ShakeOut, and to access disaster preparedness information, go to ShakeOut.org.

Friends of Nigel Host Fundraising Dinner for Seven-Year-Old Holland; Team Nigel T-Shirts Now Available
This evening's Friends of Nigel dinner fundraiser gets underway at Hacienda Grill at 5pm, and will feature a $15 all-you-can-eat buffet. For a minimum $15 donation, Friends of Nigel t-shirts are also now available, and all proceeds will benefit the Holland family, who have been dividing their time between Big Bear and Children's Hospital of Orange County, where seven-year-old Nigel is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. To purchase a Friends of Nigel t-shirt, call Bad Bear Sportswear at 584-0175, or stop by their building at 516 W. Valley in Big Bear City. For updates on Nigel's condition, visit CaringBridge.org/visit/NigelHolland.

BBHS Tennis Wraps Season After 79-80 Playoff Loss; Volleyball Team Advances to CIF Round Two
The Big Bear High School girls tennis team played their first round of CIF playoffs at home yesterday and though they tied 9-9 in sets, they lost in games by just 79-80. This wraps the season for the Lady Bears, who placed second overall in DeAnza League competition this season. The girls varsity volleyball team also hosted round one of CIF competition yesterday, and Coach Sonia Groover tells KBHR that the Bears beat Tahquitz High School in three: 25-21, 25-5 and 25-18. Leaders on the team, per Groover, were Antonia Antes, Allix Miller, Lauren Schour and Angela Miranda. The volleyball team now advances to round two in the playoffs and, per the coin toss this morning, will play La Sierra Academy (at 4900 Golden Avenue) in Riverside on Thursday at 7pm. Admission prices for the CIF game are $7 for adults, and $5 for children and students with ID.

Alsops' Big Bear Choppers Grows from Repair Shop to International Entity, While Keeping It Local

Since their inauspicious beginnings in 1998, Big Bear Choppers has gone global in the last 10 years. What started out as Kevin Alsop's one-man local repair shop (working on not just bikes, but jetskis and lawnmowers) has grown into an international brand including the design, engineering and crafting of 17 different models of motorcycles, as well as custom bikes. Andy Meadors, Big Bear Choppers' Director of Marketing and PR, tells KBHR, “We've been selling international since 2004 but, nowadays, we are sprouting up all over the world—Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates—and we're about to be in Russia. We're in 14 total countries right now, with another dozen in the process.” Though Big Bear Choppers is now an international entity, their Big Bear Lake headquarters--overseen by Kevin and Mona Alsop and staffed by a team of 35—makes all the bikes, from raw materials to final product. Though global, BBC hasn't lost their local sensibility, as they contribute to a number of local non-profits, including ongoing support of the Teen Center. As Meadors explains of their expansion, “Our bikes are still in demand domestically but because retail financing has choked out our sales, we're focusing internationally on our sales right now.” Or, as it says on their BigBearChoppers.com website: “Today we are inspirational, tomorrow we will be legendary.”


During the Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park on 11/11 at 11:11, keynote speaker Colonel
Richard Spielman gave an inspirational speech for and about America's veterans. As an 18-year-old
from Idaho, Spielman had joined the U.S. Army as a Private, and worked his way up to Colonel while
serving tours in Thailand, Turkey, Korea and, during the Cold War, Russia. For a listing of Big Bear
Valley veterans currently engaged in military service, scroll down to our posting from Veterans Day.

Free Hearing Tests for Seniors Offered at Big Bear Senior Center, from 10am to 1pm Thursday
Senior citizens within the Big Bear Valley can get a free hearing test tomorrow, offered at the Big Bear Senior Center. Hearing tests will be offered from 10am to 1pm Thursday to those ages 55 and over. No appointments are necessary, but seniors with questions on the free hearing test can call Tina Nazarian at the Big Bear Senior Center at 584-0323.

Though Leaving Big Bear Lake, Council in Support of Moonridge Animal Park's Move to North Shore
Though the Moonridge Animal Park will be leaving the City of Big Bear Lake for the North Shore, the City Council is still in support of the move. The San Bernardino National Forest, which is the proposed new home of the zoo, has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the 27-acre project and has asked for public input through November 24. In response to the DEIS, City staff--namely Director of Building and Planning Jim Miller--have reviewed the document and presented their findings to Council. Though City Council does not generally comment on projects outside of their jurisdiction, the zoo has been in Big Bear Lake for over 50 years and has presented significant economic contributions to the City, and will continue to be a benefit to the Big Bear Valley. So, given staff recommendations, the Council on Monday made a unanimous decision to forward on a letter of support in response to the Forest Service's DEIS and the proposed move for the zoo. Councilmember Liz Harris commented, “This is a long time coming, and I am very much in favor of sending the letter. I applaud their green efforts.” Mayor Rick Herrick suggested that lake access might be incorporated into the zoo plan, to allow for boaters from the South Shore, or the City of Big Bear Lake, to reach the new zoo adjacent to the Discovery Center. Following a second Council vote, it was decided that a second letter would be sent to the appropriate agencies (including the Forest Service and the Municipal Water District) on this matter. Individuals and others who wish to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement can visit fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/projects/moonridge for details on the project and contact information. (For more on this story, see our posting of October 21.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 -- Veterans Day

As Today Is Veterans Day, We Salute 27 Bear Valley Veterans Who Have Served in Iraq and Afghanistan
As today is Veterans Day, we salute 27 of Big Bear's sons and daughters who are currently serving in America's military. Those veterans from our community who have served in Iraq include: with the U.S. Army, Specialist 4 Scott Zimmerman, Staff Sergeant Marc Little, Specialist 4 Ruth Nash, Specialist 4 Ruben Moody, Sergeant Selena Knowlton, Sergeant Josh Halverson, Private First Class William Carroll, Sergeant Aaron Richert, Specialist 4 Dominic Solomon, Specialist 4 John Whalen, Specialist 4 Shannon McPherson, Private First Class Nathan Williams, Staff Sergeant Jacques Keeslar, Sergeant Gilbert Paiz, Sergeant Ben Siep; Sergeant Al Groover with the Air National Guard; with the U.S. Navy, Petty Officer Third Class David Pickett and Navyman Brian Costanzo, and, serving with the U.S. Marine Corps, Corporal Jason Mazur, Corporal Anthony Rasmussen, Corporal Matthew Shelby and Sergeant Aaron Botenhagen; and, currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, are Army Specialist 4 Kenneth Zimmerman, and Marine Corporal Kevin England. Big Bear's veterans also include three who paid the ultimately price while serving our country: U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rex Kenyon, U.S. Army Specialist Adam Rosema, and U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker. (Our American Legion Post 584 welcomes military personnel updates; they can be reached at 866-4845.)


Just some of the happy recipients--including our new Miss Big Bear Hayley Bracken (the one in the tiara)--who received
$500 each for their group from the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club on Monday evening. (Photo courtesy of BBLACC)

Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club Gifts $11,000 in Fun Run Proceeds to Over 20 Local Organizations

Given proceeds from this year's sold-out 19th annual Fun Run in August, the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club last night distributed funds of $500 each to 16 local organizations, as their way of giving back to the community. These checks, coupled with funds already distributed to the 5 th grade Pinewood Derby, Rotary's fireworks fund, Interact Club, the BBHS cross-country team, BVUSD, and audio equipment for the Discovery Center, total $11,000 in donations this year alone. As Cliff Fowler, President of the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club, tells KBHR, “Our net proceeds from Fun Run were less this year, due to the economy, which had a significant impact on our bottom line in t-shirt and raffle sales, but we were still able to give $11,000 back to the community.” The Monday evening distribution ceremony, held at the Discovery Center, included a full house, as representatives from the following clubs and non-profits showed up to receive their $500 gifts from the Car Club: AAUW's Tech Trek program, Bear Mountain Dog Rescue, Bear Valley Community Hospital Auxiliary, Co-Op in the Pines Pre-School, Big Bear Valley Historical Society, Bear Valley Search and Rescue, Big Bear Diabetes Support Network, Citizens on Patrol, Civil Air Patrol, Discovery Center, Dobis vocational scholarship, Fuzzy Slippers Gang Service Dog Training, Kiwanis' Mountain Fun Day, Miss Big Bear scholarship, Steven G. Mihaylo Foundation and Operation Breakthrough.

City and Chamber Partner to Bring Free Counseling and Workshops to Small Business Owners in 2009
Small business owners within the Big Bear Valley will have the opportunity to partake in free business counseling and training to grow their business, come January 2009. The Inland Empire Small Business Development Center will be providing two six-month training courses, which the City Council of Big Bear Lake agreed to pay for using $20,000 of the City's Improvement Agency funds. The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce will serve as the business community's liaison in what will be termed the Business Owners Club. Though funded by the City, it was determined at last night's Council meeting that this free opportunity would be shared with all small business owners, in order to foster the overall Valley's economy. The Inland Empire SBDC's Executive Director Vincent McCoy explains that the program will offer a once-a-month workshop here in Big Bear, which will include presentations from experts in marketing, finance, business planning, credit and collections, time management and QuickBooks; each of these morning sessions will then be followed by one-on-one counseling for business owners. Sara Russ, President of the Chamber, sampled a class offered by SBDC and reported to Council, “The information was both user-friendly and helpful. Definitely now is the time for something like this to happen.” The City's $20,000 expenditure will be matched by $40,000 in federal funds. For more information on the Business Owners Club, the Big Bear Chamber will host McCoy at their next Power Breakfast, to be held on December 4 at the Big Bear Chateau.


Movin' on: The Boy Scout hut, which dates to 1900-1918, at Meadow Park on Friday (above left) and then on Sunday (right).

Historical Society Discovers Local Treasures as Historic Log Cabin Is Dismantled for Move to Museum

After roughly 100 years at Meadow Park, the transition of the historic Boy Scout hut to the Historical Museum turned out to be more than a one-day project. Big Bear Valley Historical Society President Gloria Meade says that about 20 volunteers, including nine high school students from the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club, showed up on Saturday morning, to dismantle the log cabin, adding “Those Interact kids worked their tails off. The girls and boys helped pull nails, and it was such an experience. I kept telling them, ‘This is a piece of history, and you're involved!'” As it turns out, the cabin itself wasn't the only piece of history to be found at Meadow Park. Volunteers also discovered Boy Scout memorabilia and records, along with 10 or so pup tents, all of which is being forward to our local scouts, and a special bonus: two original Maltby chairs, each signed and dated October 1931, which have been taken to the museum for safekeeping. The Historical Society will continue their work party on both Wednesday and Thursday and, says Meade, “Ken Willis, bless his heart, has offered to use his equipment to transfer the cabin logs to the museum.” For more on the activities of the Big Bear Valley Historical Society, the community is welcomed to their general meeting on Wednesday, November 12, to be held at the community building of Whispering Pines Mobile Home Estates (off Highway 38) at 7pm; museum curators Tim and Kim Sweet will be speaking on Native American Ledger Art of the 1860s-1890s. (For more on the history of the Boy Scout log cabin, see our story posted below, on November 7.) Update: For those who would like to contribute to the effort, the Historical Society welcomes volunteers on Wednesday at 9am, at Meadow Park. Please bring gloves, crowbars, and hammers to pull nails.


Our Veterans will be honored by the American Legion Post 584 and the U.S. Marine Corps Bear
Valley Detachment 1038 in two ceremonies, the first of which takes place at Veterans Park today,
11/11, at 11:11am.

Veterans to Be Honored Today; American Legion Hosts 11/11 Ceremony at 11:11am at Veterans Park

The American Legion Post 584 will honor our local servicemen and women with a Veterans Day ceremony this morning, to be held at Veterans Park in Big Bear Lake (on the Boulevard at Knickerbocker). The Veterans Day ceremony at the newly completed Veterans Memorial begins at 11:11am. For those unable to attend this morning, this evening the Elks Lodge will honor the parents of two local young men who lost their lives in Iraq, Marine 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker and U.S. Army Specialist Adam Rosema. Though reservations have already been taken for the 5:30pm dinner, all are welcome to the 7pm portion of the Veterans Day affair, which will include a flag folding by the Big Bear Valley Detachment 1038 of the U.S. Marines Corps.

Monday, November 10, 2008


City Council to Review General Plan Amendment to Allow for 35-Unit Senior Condominium Complex
The City Council of Big Bear Lake meets for their regular meeting this evening at 6:30pm in the Big Bear Lake Civic Center's Hofert Hall. This evening's agenda includes a Public Hearing item with regard to the proposed General Plan amendment zone change, from single-family residential to multiple-family residential, to allow for the 35-unit senior condominium complex at 42515 Big Bear Boulevard. At their October 15 meeting, the Planning Commission reviewed the project, to be constructed just west of the Big Bear Senior Center, and have recommended the change in land use designation for the 2.97 acre property. City Council will also determine whether or not to enter into a Development Agreement on the senior housing project with property owners Brian Weber and Michael Rafferty, who have already submitted a Development Agreement application with the City.

BBHS Tennis Team's Fagan, Cunningham, Kamphaus Rank In Tourney; CIF Team Play Begins Tuesday
The Big Bear High School girls varsity tennis team competed in the DeAnza League's tennis tournament on Friday, during which Emily Kamphaus placed second overall in the singles competition, and the doubles team of Sarah Fagan and Lindsey Cunningham finished in first place. The tennis team opens CIF team playoff competition with a wild card match versus Norwalk High School tomorrow, November 11. The match begins at 2pm at Big Bear High School; admission is free, and guests are asked to park in the school's front parking lot.

Undefeated in League Play, Champion Bears Volleyball Team Hosts First Round of CIF Playoffs Tomorrow
The Lady Bears of the varsity volleyball team, who finished as DeAnza League champions with their 8-0 league record this season, begin their first round of CIF competition versus Tahquitz High School of Hemet tomorrow. The CIF volleyball game begins in Our House at 7pm on the 11 th . As this is a CIF game, BBHS and Bear Backers passes will not be honored; admission prices are $7 for adults, and $5 for students with ID cards and children under 12. For this event as well, spectators are asked to park in the front lot at the high school, rather than the back of BBHS.


Sunday morning surprise: Snow!

Team Nigel Ride Postponed Due to Weather; Fundraiser Dinner for Holland at Hacienda on Wednesday
The Tour de Nigel mountain bike ride in support of seven-year-old Nigel Holland was canceled yesterday, due to brisk and snowy weather, but Friends of Nigel say this event will be rescheduled. In the meantime, a second dinner fundraiser in support of Nigel, who has been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments “with the attitude of a superhero,” will be held this Wednesday, November 12 at Hacienda Grill, located just west of Summit on Big Bear Boulevard. The 5pm Team Nigel dinner on Wednesday will feature a $15 all-you-can-eat buffet, raffles, and local celebs Marty Ingles and Shirley Jones. For more information on Big Bear Elementary student Nigel's condition, you can visit his CaringBridge website at CaringBridge.org/visit/nigelholland.

Eads's Departure Leaves Vacancy on BBARWA Board; County Supervisor to Appoint Fawnskin Resident

The Governing Board of the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency is comprised of five members from within the Big Bear Valley. Two are from the Big Bear Lake City Council (Liz Harris and Rick Herrick), two are from the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District (John Day and Rick Ollila), and the fifth director represents County Service Area 53B, or Fawnskin, and is appointed by our Third District County Supervisor. Fawnskin appointee Dr. Don Eads has served on the BBARWA Board since 1998, but will leave prior to the expiration of his term in 2011, in order to enjoy his overdue retirement with wife Claudia. That said, and as approved by the County Board of Supervisors earlier this month, Eads will finish his term at month's end. New Third District Supervisor Neil Derry, who assumes office on December 1, will appoint the new, fifth BBARWA director, to complete Eads's term through January 31, 2011. Those within County Service Area 53B interested in appointment to the BBARWA Board may contact San Bernardino County's Clerk to the Board at 387-3841. The next meeting for BBARWA will be held on a special time and date, December 10 at 5pm, as regularly scheduled meetings coincide with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and will therefore by adjourned.

Bears Varsity Football Team Wins 21-12 Over 29 Palms; Next Game at Home This Saturday at Noon
The Big Bear High School varsity football team won their game against 29 Palms on Friday night, in a score of 21-12. This Saturday, the Bears play Desert Hot Springs here in Big Bear, for a chance at the DeAnza League title. This Saturday's varsity game time is 12 noon on Minder Field at Big Bear Middle School; JV is scheduled to play at 9:15am.

Fee-Free Day on the San Bernardino National Forest Tomorrow, in Observance of Veterans Day
If you don't yet have plans for the Veterans Day holiday tomorrow, the U.S. Forest Service offers a free day in the forest on November 11, in honor of America's veterans and Armed Services personnel. Tomorrow's “fee-free day” applies to all national forests within Southern California, including the San Bernardino, Angeles, Cleveland and Los Padres National Forests, so no Adventure Pass will be required. The fee-free Veterans Day is observed each year on November 11, regardless of the day of the week; fees are also waived on National Trails Day in June and National Public Lands Day in September. For more information, stop by or call the Big Bear Discovery Center at 382-2790



Friday, November 7, 2008


Status of BBHS Students Arrested on Conspiracy Charges Remains Confidential; No Ruling by BVUSD Yet
Last week, five Big Bear High School students, boys ages 15 and 16, were arrested on felony conspiracy charges for alleged intention to cause harm to fellow students and school staff. Following their arrests by Big Bear Sheriff's Station deputies, the five students were taken to Juvenile Hall in San Bernardino. Given their minor status, the Deputy District Attorney's office, Juvenile Division, has retained confidentiality regarding the custody status and arraignment date for the five young men. Bear Valley Unified's Superintendent Carole Ferraud tells KBHR that their status as BBHS students has not yet been determined. In her words, “The only thing I can say is we will be following district policy, and we still need to do some investigating. If they have violated a district rule that calls for expulsion, we will follow the district policy.” One of the two adults arrested in conjunction with home searches conducted prior to the boys' arrests, 20-year-old Miguel Hernandez of Big Bear Lake, remains in custody, with his bail set at $50,000. Hernandez had been arrested on felony charges of possession of stolen property and using false citizenship documentation. At his subsequent arraignment hearing, Hernandez had a Spanish interpreter and pleaded not guilty to all counts. The preliminary hearing for Hernandez has been scheduled for November 12. (More on this story posted on October 30.)

Local Fire Agencies Extinguish Early Morning Mobile Home Fire; One Firefighter Treated for Minor Injury
Local fire deparments responded to a structure fire in Big Bear Lake this morning, following a report from the 500 block of Alden Road at 4:21am. Upon arrival, firefighters from the Big Bear Lake Fire Department found one double-wide mobile home well involved in fire. With assistance from the Big Bear City and Fawnskin Fire Departments, crews were able to knock down the fire in twenty minutes. Personnel from the Big Bear Sheriff's Station provided initial assistance to the occupant of the home, who was transported to Bear Valley Community Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. One firefighter also suffered a minor injury as a result of the fire and was treated and released from the hospital today. The cause of this morning's structure fire remains under investigation.


The Boy Scout cabin, which dates back to 1900-1918, makes the move from Meadow Park to the
Historical Museum off Greenway Drive this weekend.

Turn-of-the-Century Log Cabin Moves from Meadow Park to New, Permanent Home at Historical Museum
The log cabin referred to as the Boy Scout hut has been at the eastern end of Meadow Park in Big Bear Lake for roughly 100 years but, as of Saturday, will be making the move to its new, permanent home at the site of the Historical Museum of the Big Bear Valley Historical Society in Big Bear City. In July of 2007, the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District bequeathed the Boy Scout cabin to the Historical Society, for the sake of its preservation and, Historical Society President Gloria Meade says, it will now join other historic, local buildings making the move, including the caddyshack from the Peter Pan Woodland Club and the wooden structure on Juniper Point, which had once housed a post office and market, and has recently been donated to the museum by Dr. Baumgartner. As for the Meadow Park cabin, which museum curator Kim Sweet estimates dates to 1900-1918, it will be dismantled as of tomorrow. Says Meade, “We have a crew of about six or seven of us, who are all 70+, some Interact students from the high school, and Bill Treadwell.” The Rec and Park staff will assist on their end, as volunteers work to remove the roof, take each log off, and then eventually reassemble it at the museum property, which the County deeded to the Historical Society in June of this year.

Local Branch of American Association of University Women Celebrates 25 Years of Service in Big Bear
The Big Bear Valley branch of the American Association of University Women, a national organization formed in 1881 which boasts more than 100,000 members, will celebrate their 25 th anniversary in Big Bear with a luncheon and vintage hat show (presented by librarian Pamela Heiman) this weekend. During the anniversary celebration (which has sold out), AAUW will honor their charter members Ellen Conklin, Jean Brownie and Joyce Kerr, as well as founding President Karen Gantenbein who returns to Big Bear to discuss the chapter's founding in 1983. Since forming, our local AAUW has sponsored the TechTrek program, which sends Big Bear Middle School girls to a week-long math and science camp on college campuses, and provides scholarships to high school seniors in pursuit of a degree in math or science. The American Association of University Women is a non-profit organization dedicated to equality for all women and girls, lifelong education and positive societal change. Membership is open to women with a college degree, or working toward one—call AAUW at 878-0058 for more information.

Airport in Negotiations to Purchase Former Bear City Park; New Airport Directors Join Board in January

At Wednesday afternoon's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District, specifics from Tuesday morning's closed session meeting were shared. Among those, Airport General Manager Garry Dokter reports that the airport district is in negotiations with the County of San Bernardino to acquire the property just east of the airport, known as the former Big Bear City Park. This potential purchase is prompted by Federal Aviation Administration suggestion, in order to prevent public assembly in the Runway Protection Zone and to achieve compliance with FAA standards for the Runway Safety Area. If the former park is purchased by the airport district, the FAA designates that it could only be used as an agricultural area, though Dokter says it would remain vacant yet eventually fenced. In other news from the Big Bear City Airport, 10-year employee Nancy Jones was appointed Secretary to the Board, which, at present, includes Jay Obernolte, Butch Waymire, George Berge, Gary Steube and Russ Lowery. Before newly elected Directors Gloria Ann Greene, Chuck Knight and Julie Smith are sworn in on January 7, they will undergo Fair Political Practices and Brown Act training, receive an airport tour, and will have a special meeting and orientation workshop with the existing Airport District Board which, going forward, will still include President Obernolte and Waymire.

1.5 Magnitude Earthquake In Our Area; Local Agencies Prepare for Big One in Thursday's ShakeOut Drill

There was a small earthquake, just outside of our area, yesterday evening: a 1.5 magnitude quake centered nine miles east of Big Bear City at 6:30pm Thursday. In terms of earthquakes, and preparation for a larger one, the Great Southern California ShakeOut, a disaster drill to simulate a 7.8 magnitude quake on the San Andreas fault, is scheduled for next Thursday, November 13 at 10am. Locally, our Mountain Mutual Aid Association will participate in the “drop, cover and hold on” drill, and will also conduct a workshop to evaluate earthquake preparedness in the Big Bear Valley. As of today, over five million Southern Californians have registered for the drill at ShakeOut.org. On the “what you can do” portion of the website, there are special pages for individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, faith-based groups and others, providing simple suggestions for how to participate in the ShakeOut, how to prepare for earthquakes, and drill plans for use in the case of a real disaster here in Southern California.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lady Bears Score: Volleyball Teams Go Undefeated; Tennis Player Emily Kamphaus Named League MVP
The Big Bear High School girls volleyball teams, both varsity and JV, went undefeated in league this season, and are the exclusive champions in the DeAnza League. During Monday's last home game against Yucca Valley, Coach Sonia Groover asked team fans, parents and coaches to support the team in an effort to raise money for Nigel Holland, the seven-year-old from Big Bear who is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments at Children's Hospital of Orange County—for every kill and ace made by the varsity team, a $1 donation was made, resulting in $683 raised for Holland. The varsity volleyball team now goes on to CIF competition, and playoff pairings are due to be announced this Sunday. The Bears girls tennis team will also be competing in CIF playoffs, following their second place finish in the DeAnza League. In the meantime, tennis team honors within the DeAnza League include all-second team to Mo Millican and Dori Harris, first team honors to Paige Sutherland, Sarah Fagan and Lindsey Cunningham, and league MVP to BBHS senior Emily Kamphaus.

BBHS Class of '56 Graduate and 21-Year BVUSD Employee Marie Wanke Passes Away on Monday

Longtime Big Bear local and former Woman of Distinction honoree Marie Wanke passed away on Monday, with her family at her side, including husband Gary, her Big Bear High School class of 1956 classmate and husband of nearly 49 years. Prior to her passing on November 3, Wanke, age 69, had worked for the Bear Valley Unified School District for 21 years (as secretary to the superintendent and the Board of Trustees), was named 2001's Confidential Employee of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators, was a Board member to the Steven G. Mihaylo Foundation (up until her resignation just last Friday), and was a charter member of Soroptimists International of Big Bear Valley. Marie and Gary Wanke, along with daughters Sherri (Kirby) and Kelly (Ent), had hosted three exchange students and, says Kelly, “Anything to do with kids, she was there for it.” Wanke, also a grandmother of three, also served as the unofficial historian on BVUSD, often being of assistance to KBHR. Wanke's life will be celebrated with a memorial service on Sunday, November 9, to be held at the Big Bear Convention Center at 2pm. Her family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Steven G. Mihaylo Foundation, in support of a Marie Wanke Scholarship. Mailing address is SG Mihaylo Foundation, P.O. Box 1529, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.

Neil Derry Joins Board of County Supervisors on December 1; Local Jerry Lemke to Be Mountain Rep

At this week's meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, Supervisors approved staff for our new Third District Supervisor Neil Derry, who, as of December 1, assumes the role held by Dennis Hansberger for 20 years (1972-80, 1996-2008). Derry's staff will include two residents of the Big Bear Valley: Jamie Garland, who will serve as Special Project Coordinator, and Jerry Lemke, who will be the field representative for the mountain communities. Dr. Lemke will fill the role that local Jamie Wolcott had served in for Hansberger, though Lemke will be full-time; Field Representative Steven Hauer will serve as his backup in the mountain areas. Derry will be sworn in as our Third District County Supervisor in a noon ceremony on the 1st, at the Board Chambers in San Bernardino. He will leave his current posts, as both regional manager for Southern California Edison and as a City Council member for San Bernardino, once he assumes the role of County Supervisor.

This Evening at BBHS: San Bernardino Valley College Orientation at 6pm, College Night at 7pm
For Big Bear High School students and their parents, there will be a 7pm College Night this evening, in the high school's media center. This 7pm information meeting will be preceded by a 6pm San Bernardino Valley College orientation meeting. High school students interested in attending San Bernardino Valley College are encouraged to attend this meeting in Big Bear High School's room A-5.


Our Election Day rainbow, in the 7am hour over Big Bear Lake.

Congressman Lewis, State Senator Dutton, Assemblyman Cook Claim Victory Over Democratic Opponents

The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has posted the final semi-official results for other contests within the County, with all precincts now reporting. These tallies have resulted in another victory for 30-year U.S. Congressman for the 41st District Jerry Lewis, who received 63% of the vote over Democratic candidate Tim Prince, who received 36%. Bob Dutton, our State Senator, retains his position, having received 62% of the vote over Democratic candidate Ameenah Fuller, who received 37% of the votes within the 31st District. State Assemblyman Paul Cook, the incumbent for the 65th District, received 63% of the vote over the Democratic candidate Carl Wood, who received 36% of the vote.

MWD Board Remains Intact Following Election; Smith, Murphy, Eminger, Suhay, Fashempour Meet at 1pm

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District meet for their regular meeting this afternoon at 1pm, at their offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive. As MWD Board incumbents John Eminger and President Vince Smith ran unopposed in Tuesday's election, each will retain their seats, alongside those representing the MWD's three other local districts: Skip Suhay, Paula Fashempour and Vice President Todd Murphy. This afternoon's meeting of the MWD Board of Directors will include a discussion and update on the Big Bear Dam bridge replacement project, though, as this is an informational agenda item, no action is to be taken.

Theft of Snowboards from Blauer's Results in 60 Days in County Jail for 20-Year-Old from Chatsworth

Last December, snowboards and ski jackets were stolen from Blauer Ski and Board Rentals in Big Bear Lake and, as of this week, the 20-year-old charged with felony commercial burglary had his sentencing hearing. Defendant Brett Evans Howard of Chatsworth had pleaded guilty in July, and, as of November 4, has been sentenced to 60 days in San Bernardino County jail. According to Deputy District Attorney Scott Byrd, Howard will report to the Glen Helen Detention Facility, to participate in a work release program. Howard was also ordered to pay $200 to the state's victim restitution fund. In other news from the Deputy DA's office this week, Tracy Lynn Stockham had her arraignment in Big Bear Superior Court, for charges including petty theft (related to 'Yes on Proposition 8' signs) and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The judge released Stockham, a 37-year-old Big Bear City resident, on her own recognizance, and she is next scheduled to appear in court on December 15.

Today Is a Minimum Day for All BVUSD Students; Schools Closed in Observance of Veterans Day Tuesday
Today is a minimum day for all students within the Bear Valley Unified School District, to allow for teachers' strategic planning. And, on next Tuesday, November 11, BVUSD schools will be closed in observance of Veterans Day.

Wednesday, November 5,
2008

The Final Election Results Are In for Big Bear Valley: New Board Members for Hospital, Airport and CSD
Here are the final semi-officials results of the November 4 election for the Big Bear Valley, as posted by the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters this afternoon. Measure Y, to increase the City of Big Bear Lake's TOT by two percent over two years, did pass, as did the advisory Measure YY to allocate these TOT funds directly to the City's capital improvements projects. The results for the City Council of Big Bear Lake, with five of five precincts reporting, are incumbents Liz Harris and Bill Jahn winning both seats. The results for the Board of Trustees for the Bear Valley Unified School District, with 40 of 40 precincts reporting, are Paul Zamoyta, Beverly Grabe and Randall Putz. The results for the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, with 36 of 36 precincts reporting, are incumbents Ron Peavy and Chris Fagan, and Brad Summers. The results for the Big Bear Airport District Board, with 36 of 36 precincts reporting, are Gloria Ann Greene, Chuck Knight and Julie Smith. The results for the Big Bear City Community Services District, with 19 of 19 precincts reporting, are incumbent Rick Ollila and Barbara Beck.

San Bernardino County and State of California Results Vary for Proposition 8 and President-Elect Obama
State Proposition 8, which would eliminate same-sex marriage in California, has thus far passed with 52.5% of the vote, of the state's 99.5% precincts reporting. Within the County of San Bernardino, Prop 8 received 67% of votes in favor. And, for what it's worth, within San Bernardino County, President-Elect Barack Obama received 51% of the vote to Senator John McCain's 46%; within California thus far, Obama received 61% of the vote to McCain's 37%.

Local Election Results as of Noon
: Summers in for BVCHD, Smith Now in Third for Airport, Beck for CSD

The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has now posted the fourth round of results from yesterday's election, and these semi-official results reflect some changes for the Big Bear Valley. For the City Council of Big Bear Lake, incumbents Liz Harris and Bill Jahn still lead with 28% each; Barbara Willey follows with 25% of the vote, and Bill LoPresti has 17%. The three top vote-getters for the Board of Trustees for the Bear Valley Unified School District are still Paul Zamoyta, Beverly Grabe and Randall Putz; candidate Sharon Congdon still holds fourth place, but is nearly 4% (in votes) behind Putz. For the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, incumbents Ron Peavy and Chris Fagan still hold the top two positions, though Brad Summers has bumped incumbent Carol Mulvihill from third, with 40 votes more than her to presently take the third seat on the board as of this count. For the three seats on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District, Julie Smith is now in the top three, behind Gloria Ann Greene and Chuck Knight, which places incumbent Gary Steube just 30 votes out from returning to his seat. Incumbent Rick Ollila still holds 23% of the vote for the Big Bear City Community Services District, though Barbara Beck has bumped his running mate Daniel Brown to third place; incumbent Bob Colven still holds fourth, though only two seats are open on the CSD Board. As for the City of Big Bear Lake's Measure Y, the yes vote is at 60%, and the measure's advisory, Measure YY, currently has a 78% yes vote.

For 12 State Ballot Measures, Current Results Indicate That Propositions 1A, 2, 3, 8, 9, 11 and 12 Pass

The California Secretary of State has posted the following results for state ballot measures, as of 11am (with 96% of precincts partially or fully reporting): Proposition 1A (the high-speed train bond) has 52% yes, 47% no; Proposition 2 (standards for confining farm animals) has 63% yes, 36% no; Proposition 3 (children's hospital bond) has 54% yes, 45% no; Proposition 4 (parent notification re. pregnancy) has 47% yes, 52% no; Proposition 5 (nonviolent drug offense) has 40% yes, 59% no; Proposition 6 (law enforcement funding) has 30% yes, 69% no; Proposition 7 (renewable energy) has 35% yes, 64% no; Proposition 8 (eliminate same-sex marriages) has 52% yes, 47% no; Proposition 9 (victims' rights) has 53% yes, 46% no; Proposition 10 (alternative fuel) has 40% yes, 59% no; Proposition 11 (redistricting) has 50% yes, 49% no; and Proposition 12 (veterans bond) has 63% yes, 36% no. Update as of 4:30pm: With, now, 100% of precincts reporting, the only changes to the above are, for Proposition 4, a 48% yes vote; and for Proposition 5, a 60% no vote.

County Registrar of Voters Results as of 6am
: Jahn and Harris Lead for City Council; Ollila on Top for CSD

The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has posted the third round of results from yesterday's election, though more definitive numbers will continue to come in throughout the day. As of 6am, the results are as follows: for the 41st Congressional District, incumbent Jerry Lewis presently has 62% of the vote over Democratic nominee Tim Prince with 37%. For State Senator 31st District, incumbent Bob Dutton has received 62% of the vote over Democratic candidate Ameenah Fuller. Republican Assemblyman for the 65th District, Paul Cook, has received 64% of the vote over Carl Wood. For the City Council of Big Bear Lake, incumbents Bill Jahn and Liz Harris have received over 28% each, putting them above the tallies for Barbara Willey with 25% and Bill LoPresti with nearly 18%. Early results for the Bear Valley Unified School District indicate that those receiving the top votes are Paul Zamoyta, Beverly Grabe and Randall Putz. Those who follow, in descending order, are Sharon Congdon, Jim McGowan, David Foltz and Richard Weathersbee. For the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, those in the top three are presently the three incumbents, Ron Peavy, Chris Fagan and Carol Mulvihill. Brad Summers is in a close fourth, followed by Michael Hartstein, Dennis Carden, Ed Kibbey and Randy Vanos. For the Big Bear Airport District Board, Gloria Ann Greene takes 17% of the vote, followed by Chuck Knight and incumbent Gary Steube for the three seats; Julie Smith currently runs a close fourth, followed by Ken Dally, Bill Douglas, Lynn Wilson and Edward Stanik. For the Big Bear City Community Services District, incumbent Rick Ollila has received nearly 23% of the vote as of 6am, followed by running mate Daniel Brown for the two seats on the CSD Board; in descending order, other candidates are Barbara Beck, incumbent Bob Colven, John Russo and Rick Nelson. And, as of this morning, the City of Big Bear Lake's Measure Y has so far passed with 60% of the vote, and Measure YY has received over 78%. Not all precincts have yet reported, though preliminary results suggest that state Proposition 8 has passed. And, the President-Elect of the United States of America is Barack Obama. See below for 6am result specificcs.

EARLY BIG BEAR ELECTION RESULTS (NOT ALL PRECINCTS REPORTING):

CONGRESS 41ST

AS OF 6:00 AM

292 of 611 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

REP - JERRY LEWIS

72059

62.68%

DEM - TIM PRINCE

42912

37.32%


STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 31

AS OF 6:00 AM

235 of 528 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

REP - BOB DUTTON

65068

62.40%

DEM - AMEENAH FULLER

39205

37.60%


STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 65

AS OF 6:00 AM

63 of 185 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

REP - PAUL COOK

14245

64.08%

DEM - CARL WOOD

7986

35.92%


MEMBER, CITY COUNCIL BIG BEAR LAKE

AS OF 6:00 AM

3 of 5 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

WILLIAM E. (BILL) JAHN

867

28.50%

LIZ HARRIS

855

28.11%

BARBARA S. WILLEY

773

25.41%

W.A. ''BILL'' LOPRESTI

547

17.98%


BIG BEAR SCHOOL DISTRICT
AS OF 6:00 AM

9 of 40 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

PAUL ZAMOYTA

1728

18.43%

BEVERLY GRABE

1705

18.19%

RANDALL PUTZ

1540

16.43%

SHARON CONGDON

1337

14.26%

JIM ''MAC'' MCGOWAN

1166

12.44%

DAVID A. FOLTZ

963

10.27%

RICHARD M. WEATHERSBEE

935

9.97%

BIG BEAR HOSPITAL DISTRICT

AS OF 6:00 AM

10 of 36 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

RONALD B. PEAVY

1716

17.69%

CHRIS H FAGAN

1649

16.99%

CAROL A. MULVIHILL

1375

14.17%

BRAD SUMMERS

1365

14.07%

MICHAEL P. HARTSTEIN

1334

13.75%

DENNIS M CARDEN

1141

11.76%

ED KIBBEY

594

6.12%

RANDY VANOS

529

5.45%


 

BIG BEAR AIRPORT

AS OF 6:00 AM

10 of 36 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

GLORIA ANN GREENE

1469

17.71%

CHUCK KNIGHT

1239

14.93%

GARY STEUBE

1112

13.40%

JULIE SMITH

1082

13.04%

KEN DALLY

971

11.70%

BILL DOUGLAS

963

11.61%

LYNN WILSON

783

9.44%

EDWARD S. STANIK

678

8.17%


BIG BEAR CSD FT

AS OF 6:00 AM

3 of 19 Precincts Reporting

CANDIDATE

VOTES

PERCENT

RICK OLLILA

644

22.99%

DANIEL JOSEPH BROWN

556

19.85%

BARBARA R. BECK

524

18.71%

ROBERT W. COLVEN

450

16.07%

JOHN RUSSO

350

12.50%

RICK NELSON

277

9.89%


MEASURE Y (CITY OF BIG BEAR LAKE)

AS OF 6:00 AM

3 of 5 Precincts Reporting

DECISION

VOTES

PERCENT

YES

1162

60.55%

NO

757

39.45%


MEASURE YY (CITY OF BIG BEAR LAKE)

AS OF 6:00 AM

3 of 5 Precincts Reporting

DECISION

VOTES

PERCENT

YES

1465

78.64%

NO

398

21.36%


BVUSD School Board Meets at 6:15pm; Students on Minimum Day Tomorrow, Off on Veterans Day
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District meet for their regular meeting at 6:15pm this evening, at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road. This evening's meeting is scheduled to include a presentation from BVUSD's Director of Business Services Walter Con, on the state budget update and the BVUSD budget revise. In other school district news, tomorrow (Thursday) is another minimum day for all students, to allow for teachers' strategic planning. And on next Tuesday, November 11, schools will be closed in observance of Veterans Day.

Current Big Bear Airport District Board Meets This Afternoon at 2pm for Monthly Meeting

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District meets for their regular monthly meeting today at 2pm, in the Big Bear Airport Pilots Lounge. This afternoon's meeting will include planning for the installation of new directors, to join the existing, ongoing Directors Jay Obernolte and Butch Waymire. (As of this morning, votes indicate that incumbent Gary Steube may return as one of three elected on November 4; outgoing Board members are Russ Lowery and George Berge.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 -- Election Day


Community Emergency Response Team Invites Public Participation in Tomorrow's Earthquake Training
In anticipation of a large earthquake, our Community Emergency Response Team will host a Golden Guardian training in earthquake preparedness tomorrow, November 5, at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department. The Golden Guardian training exercises will include local emergency responders and rescue teams, though the public is also invited to participate. The Golden Guardian session is a preliminary training in preparation for the Southern California-wide ShakeOut, the earthquake disaster drill planned for next Thursday, November 13. During the ShakeOut at 10am, the Mountain Mutual Aid Association (comprised of local government, emergency responders, local utilities and others) will participate in the “drop, cover and hold on” drill, and will also conduct a workshop to evaluate earthquake preparedness in the Big Bear Valley. For more information on the Great Southern California ShakeOut, you can log on to shakeout.org to register and access preparedness information—and, once again, the public is also welcome to join our local CERT team for an earthquake training drill on Wednesday at 6pm at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department. For more information on either of these activities, you can call any of the local fire departments.


Traffic alert: An overturned boat on Big Bear Boulevard at Deadman's Curve prompted traffic rereouting in the 3pm hour today.

Bears Cross-Country Teams Run Away With DeAnza League Title; Boys Varsity Team Now 99-0 in League

The state champion Bears cross-country team secured another DeAnza League title, making this the fifth consecutive league title for the Big Bear High School boys varsity team. The boys JV cross-country team also took the DeAnza League title, their third in as many years, since the JV team was formed in 2006. The girls cross-country team placed second in league, and runner Sara Chatham took third overall. Coach Mickey Hall says of the three teams, “They are the hardest working group of kids I've ever coached. Miles Fulton will have run at state every year, for four years, since he was a freshman. The boys are now 99-0 in DeAnza League competition in the last six years.” In addition to another DeAnza League title for both boys cross-country teams, senior Alex Caballero earned league MVP honors. All three teams will now participate in CIF preliminaries at Mt. Sac on November 15. From there, Hall tells KBHR, teams advance to the finals, also at Mt. Sac, on the 22nd. The CIF state competitions will be held on November 29 in Fresno, where the boys cross-country team will defend their two-time title.


Today is Election Day so be sure to exercise your opportunity to vote!

Electioneering Illegal Outside Polling Places; Voter Concerns Can Be Called In to 1-866-OUR-VOTE

If you are one of the 10,463 registered voters within the Big Bear Valley, be sure to cast your vote today. Polling places will remain open until 8pm this evening. In light of today's election, be advised that electioneering is illegal in California. Electioneering includes trying to solicit a vote or the placement of any campaign signs, for candidates or measures, within 100 feet of a polling place, according to California Elections Code Section 18370, as referenced on the Secretary of State's website. Those who experience electioneering, or have any voting or polling place problems, can call the non-partisan national Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

CSD Board Unanimous in Adoption of Mileage Fee Increase for Big Bear Valley Ambulance Services

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District held their regular meeting last night and, as there was only one action item on the agenda, the meeting wrapped in a record 17 minutes. The item at hand, which passed unanimously, was to amend the ordinance for ambulance mileage fees—from $18.26 to $19.37 per mile (or fraction thereof)—for ambulance services provided by the Big Bear City Fire Department. In October, this mileage fee increase had also been approved by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, for other ambulance service providers within the County. As for the Big Bear Valley, this fee increase will take effect 30 days from adoption, on December 3.

Our Military Veterans and the U.S. Marine Corps to Be Honored in Two Local Events Next Week

As we as Americans enjoy the opportunity to vote today, perhaps you want to consider honoring our nation's military in two coming events to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11 and the anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps. The Big Bear Valley Detachment 1038 will celebrate the 233rd anniversary of the Marine Corps with a dinner at Northwoods Resort on Monday, November 10, starting at 6pm. The evening will include a ceremony at 8:15pm, scheduled to include distinguished guests, including speaker Chief Master Sergeant Noel Furniss of the U.S. Air Force, who is a local resident, formerly an active duty Marine, and currently on active duty in Iraq providing security to visiting dignitaries. The Marine Corps anniversary will also include a cake-cutting, with first pieces presented to the oldest and youngest Marines present: 91-year-old Katie Dokter and 20-year-old Kevin Botenhagen. For tickets to the November 10 event, please call Steve Schindler at BBARWA at 261-1269. On Veterans Day on the 11th, the Elks Lodge will host a 5:30pm Veterans Remembrance dinner to honor the parents of local veterans killed in action, Marine 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker and U.S. Army Specialist Adam Rosema. Those who wish to join the Elks Lodge for the $10 chicken fried steak dinner should call to place a reservation at 866-3557; the ceremony portion, including a flag folding by the Big Bear Valley Detachment 1038, follows dinner and takes place at 7pm on Veterans Day.


The Lions Club once again provided free coffee and hot chocolate to the crowds at last Friday's
annual Halloween in the Village. For more photos of local trick-or-treaters, scroll down to our
posting of Monday.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Tomorrow Is Voting Day; Visit County Registrar of Voters Website If You Need Your Polling Location

Tomorrow is the Presidential General Election, and polling places within San Bernardino County will be open from 7am to 8pm. Due to the unusually large number of contests in the November 4 election, the Registrar of Voters suggests that voters—including the, now, 10,463 registered voters within the Big Bear Valley--allow extra time at the polls tomorrow. If you are unsure of your polling place, you can visit http://sbcounty.gov/rov/general_info/default.asp (then scroll down to Polling Place Lookup, in middle section) to retrieve that information.

35 Local Candidates Running for 15 Seats on Six Boards in Tomorrow's Presidential General Election
Within the Big Bear Valley, there are 15 seats up for election on six local boards. For the two seats on the City Council of Big Bear Lake, the four candidates are incumbents Liz Harris and Bill Jahn, Bill LoPresti, and Barbara Willey. For the three seats on the Board of Trustees for the Bear Valley Unified School District, the seven candidates are Sharon Congdon, David Foltz, Beverly Grabe, Jim McGowan, Randall Putz, Richard Weathersbee, and Paul Zamoyta. For the three seats on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District, the eight candidates are Ken Dally, Bill Douglas, Gloria Ann Greene, Chuck Knight, Julie Smith, Edward Stanik, incumbent Gary Steube, and Lynn Wilson. For the two seats on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District, the six candidates are Barbara Beck, Daniel Brown, incumbent Bob Colven, Rick Nelson, incumbent Rick Ollila, and John Russo. For the three seats on the Board of Directors of the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, the eight candidates are Dennis Carden, incumbent Chris Fagan, Michael Hartstein, Ed Kibbey, incumbent Carol Mulivhill, incumbent Ron Peavy, Brad Summers, and Randy Vanos. For the two seats, one each for Divisions 4 and 5, on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District, incumbents John Eminger and Vince Smith run unopposed in tomorrow's election.

Big Bear Lake Voters Get to Vote on Measures Y and YY, to Increase City's TOT by Two Percent

Voters within Big Bear Lake will also get to vote on local initiative Measure Y tomorrow. Measure Y on the ballot is specific to the City of Big Bear Lake, and references the proposed two percent increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax (or TOT) that is imposed upon overnight guests of lodging facilities and transient private home rentals. The Measure Y initiative, if passed, would increase the City's TOT by one percent in 2009, and again one more percent in 2010, ultimately bringing the TOT to eight percent in two years' time. The City estimates that this will generate an additional $850,000 in revenue each year, which would fund capital improvements within Big Bear Lake. Measure Y is also accompanied by an advisory, Measure YY, which is a directive that would indicate that additional TOT funds be used solely for capital improvements: to rebuild and renovate infrastructure, streets, parks, trails, lake access points and other public facilities. A yes vote on Measure YY would keep the increased two percent of TOT from being used to fund general City operations.

After Years of Closure Due to Storm Damage, CalTrans Re-Opens State Route 173 This Weekend
As of this weekend, State Route 173 has been re-opened to motorists as, per CalTrans, storm damage prompted closure of a portion of the roadway in 2004. State Route 173, which is north of Lake Arrowhead and Silverwood Lake and connects the mountain communities to Hesperia, had been closed from Arbon Road to Grass Valley Road for the last four years.

County Board of Supervisors Approve Funding for Expansion of County's Emergency Operations Center
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved an expenditure to move forward with the County's Emergency Operations Center, which is currently a 6,000 square foot facility staffed with 14 employees, and located adjacent to the Rialto Municipal Airport. When the EOC is activated during emergencies, such as wildfires or a large-scale earthquake, it can have an additional 50 to 75 emergency responders from a dozen or more agencies working in tight quarters during a 24/7 operation. In September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the County a $323,943 grant for EOC expansion, making it the only jurisdiction in California to receive such funding. The total cost for EOC expansion is $512,000, and the balance (as approved last week) will be funded from the County's Capital Improvement Program and other County funds. Per County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, “Our disaster coordinators and emergency responders do heroic work and this expansion will give them the facilities they deserve and need as they work to protect all our citizens during times of emergency.” Plans for the 1,530 square foot expansion will include a large training and conference room and three additional offices. The EOC expansion plan has been in place since 2006, according to Denise Benson, Division Manager of the San Bernardino County Fire Department's Office of Emergency Services, who also notes, “This will enhance our ability to coordinate out multi-agency response to both small and large-scale disasters.”

CSD Board Scheduled to Take Action on Proposed Ambulance Mileage Fee Increase at 5:30pm Meeting

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District meets this evening at 5:30pm, and the agenda includes just one action item, to potentially approve the rate increase for ambulance mileage fees, from $18.26 to $19.37 per mile, as was previously adopted for other ambulance services in San Bernardino County. This evening's CSD meeting will also provide an opportunity for those in the East Valley to witness the current Board—Rick Ollila, John Day, Bob Colven, Jeff Newsome, and Marge McDonald—as two of the seats, those of Ollila and Colven, are up for election tomorrow.

Halloween in the Village




Friday, October 31, 2008 -- Halloween


*
Local Halloween specifics, including Village road closure information, is posted below on October 29. *



Happy Halloween!

Motorists Reminded to Watch for Trick-or-Treaters This Evening, and Designate a Driver If Drinking
Our local California Highway Patrol officers remind that, in celebrating Halloween, be sure to designate a driver. Per CHP Lieutenant Rick Sanders, “When partying takes to the roadways, too often the result is tragic. If you will be driving on Halloween, make sure that you and all your passengers are buckled up and that only non-drinking drivers get behind the wheel.” The CHP reminds that death is the most significant and obvious consequence of drunk driving, but it can also result in thousands of dollars in expenses if arrested for DUI, the revocation of one's driver's license, and possible jail time. On this, Halloween night, motorists are also reminded to watch for trick-or-treaters along the roadway. Parents can help ensure their child's safety by making sure their vision is not obscured by a Halloween costume, and it is recommend that trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight. Officer Gary Fernandez says, “Halloween is an exciting event for children, but streets are dark and traffic is heavy. While children are putting on their costumes, parents should remind them about basic pedestrian safety: stay with parents or a group, cross at the corner, and check for traffic before crossing the street. The safest approach is for parents to accompany their children as they go from house to house.”

MARTA Bus Fee Increases on Hold; Board Still Pursuing Fare Subsidies for Seniors and Disabled Patrons
The rate increase for bus service provided by the Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority will not take effect at October's end, as originally indicated. At the MARTA Board meeting of earlier this week, it was decided that the rate increase, prompted in part by higher fuel costs, would not yet be implemented, as the Board directed staff to first return to the Board with a marketing plan and route revisions. As MARTA Board member Bill Jahn tells KBHR, “We're still trying to work out a subsidy plan for the seniors and disabled, before these new rate increases are implemented.” As outlined in September, new fees for local, fixed routes will go from $1 to $1.50; cost for seniors will increase from 50¢ to 75¢ per ride for routes within the Big Bear Valley.

Soroptimists Purchase New Bus (With Seatbelts) for Use by Teen Center and Rainbow Kids Club

Local students who attend the Teen Center and Rainbow Kids Club have a new ride, thanks to Soroptimists International of Big Bear Valley. Given proceeds from this year's Man About Town fundraiser—billed as the Battle of the Bands for a Bus—Soroptimists spent nearly $80,000 to purchase a new bus for use by the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District. The new 26-seat bus, which includes seatbelts, will be delivered to the County for inspection today, and will be in use in the Big Bear Valley as of next week. The new bus will allow for Teen Center field trips and, per Rec and Park's Assistant Regional Manager Lorie Judd, will save the district thousands of dollars a year on transportation for Rainbow Kids. Judd adds that the Teen Center staff is already making plans for off-the-hill field trips to the Yucaipa skatepark and Knott's Berry Farm and, she says of the bus, “It will really open the Teen Center to many more adventures.”

County's $5 Flu Shot Clinic in Big Bear on Monday; Shots Recommended for Infants, Children and Seniors
The County's Department of Public Health recommends an annual flu shot for infants and children ages six months through 18 years, as well as individuals age 50 and over, those with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, those who live in nursing homes, and home caregivers and health care workers. Five dollar flu shots have been made available at County facilities, and the flu clinic for the Big Bear area is this coming Monday, November 3, and will be held from 10am to noon at the Big Bear Senior Center. The next nearby flu clinic will be offered at the Lucerne Valley Senior Center on Friday, November 7. For more information, call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 800-722-4794.

Daylight Savings Time Ends This Weekend; Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries on Smoke Alarms
Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend, on November 2, so as you set your clocks to “fall back” one hour, Big Bear Valley fire departments also encourage that when you change your clocks, you change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors—a change that can save lives. According to Michelle Caldwell, Big Bear Lake's Fire Prevention Officer, non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits these home fire safety devices were designed to provide. Those most at risk of dying in a home fire include children under age 5, seniors over 75 years of age, and those in low-income households. The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10pm and 6am, when most families are sleeping. As Caldwell told City Council earlier this week (and students at Big Bear Middle School during a recent assembly), “People are more likely to perish in a fire due to the inhalation of smoke, so it is very important that we have smoke detectors.” In partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, local fire departments urge that you adopt the simple, lifesaving habit to Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery. For more information on smoke alarms or home fire safety, please call the Big Bear City Fire Department at 585-2362, the Big Bear Lake Fire Department at 866-7566, or the County Fire Department in Fawnskin at 866-4878.


The City of Big Bear Lake's Public Works crew--which includes (from left) Sara Humphrey, Bob Lawyer,
Javier Negrette, Harry Takenaka, Joe Milecki, Victor Vazquez, Marrick Moore, Beni Rojas, Socorro Negrete,
Jeff Butts and John Haupt--are responsible for chipping over 1,200 curbside vegetation piles in recent
months, and will next focus their efforts on snow removal. According to their Supervisor Kevin Sebourn,
"They are fantastic, and they like what they do." For more information on the City's Public Works projects,
see our story posted on October 30.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Defendant Mark Potts, Arrested on Felony Charge of Assault, Pleads Guilty to June 18 Incident
The four defendants in the June 18 incident which resulted in the death of Michael Lundin were in San Bernardino Superior Court yesterday for a disposition/reset. Defendant Mark Potts, one of three arrested on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon, changed his plea to guilty at the October 29 court appearance. Eighteen-year-old Potts does remain in custody at West Valley Detention Center, where he will remain until his sentencing, which is set for December 1. Upon sentencing, Potts could receive up to 270 days jail time, and he will serve remaining time before being placed on felony probation. While on felony probation, Potts will not be allowed to associate with the victim's family or the other three defendants, Christopher Day and David Ferguson, both of whom are also charged with felony assault, and Chalen Winters, the 19-year-old charged with the murder of Lundin. Day, Ferguson and Winters (who is on no bail) also remain in custody at West Valley Detention Center; the next court date for these three will be December 2 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Five Local High School Students Arrested on Felony Conspiracy Charges; Two Adults Also in Custody

Five high school students have been arrested on felony conspiracy charges, per a statement released today by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station, which reads: “On October 29, deputies of the Big Bear Sheriff's Station responded to a call for service at Big Bear High School after receiving a report from school officials of suspicious statements being made by several students. Upon investigation, it was discovered that a number of students had heard other students say they were planning to bring firearms to the school with the intent of causing harm to students and school staff. Deputies identified five juvenile suspects and obtained search warrants for each of their residences. Along with deputies from the Big Bear Sheriff's Station, 35 additional law enforcement personnel from the Crime Impact Team, Specialized Enforcement Division and Gang Intelligence Division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department assisted in executing the search warrants. As a result of the searches, five male juveniles, ages 15 and 16, were taken into custody and arrested on felony charges of conspiracy. Deputies also seized drug paraphernalia and a large quantity of cash. Additionally, deputies discovered writings and photographs typically associated with gang activity. One of the suspects has self-proclaimed gang affiliations and was reported to be recruiting new members to formulate a gang with the purpose of commiting criminal activity. The Big Bear Sheriff's Station takes all reports of criminal threats and conspiracy seriously with a zero tolerance policy. During the course of the searches, deputies arrested Miguil Hernandez, a 20-year-old resident of Big Bear Lake, on felony charges of possession of stolen property and using false citizenship documentation. Hernandez is being held in custody in lieu of $25,000 bail. An arraignment hearing for Hernandez is scheduled for October 31 at the Big Bear Superior Court. Also arrested was Anthony Coleman, a 20-year-old resident of Chino, on misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Coleman is being held in custody on a no bail warrant for parole violation. The seven arrests are a result of a collaboration of the combined efforts of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department for the protection of the youth and citizens of the Big Bear Valley.” Update: In a subsequent conversation with an official at the Big Bear Sheriff's Station, it was confirmed that each of these five young men are students at Big Bear High School. The writings and photographs discovered in association with the youths indicate that the graffiti is the same as that found in Sugarloaf, including Easy's General Store and the Sugarloaf Post Office, on September 13. The Sheriff's Department is still investigating the correlation between the tagging incident of September and those arrested this week. At present, all five teenagers are being held at Juvenile Hall in San Bernardino.

Highway 38 Tree Removal Project Complete; Current Delays on Roadway Due to Rock Hitting Vehicle
CalTrans reports that flagging along Highway 38, to allow for hazardous tree removal this week, has been completed as of this afternoon, a couple hours earlier than scheduled. Though CalTrans crews are done along the roadway, the California Highway Patrol does offer preliminary reports [as of 3pm] of an upbound vehicle on the side of the roadway in the vicinity of Jenks Lake Road, as the result of a rock that went through the windshield. That said, drive with caution if approaching the Jenks Lake Road portion of Highway 38 this afternoon.

Adult Flag Football League Semi-Finals Tonight; Big Bear "Super Bowl" at Sugarloaf Park on Sunday

The Big Bear adult flag football league, coordinated by the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, is down to the semi-final games of the season, in anticipation of Sunday's “Super Bowl” at Sugarloaf Park. The top four teams compete in semi-final games this evening, also at Sugarloaf Park: The Burners play Now at 6:30pm, and the B Team takes on the Caballos in a 7:30pm game. The winning teams from this evening's playoffs will compete in the 5pm Super Bowl on Sunday for the Big Bear flag football title.


The Paine Road lake access point: before (above left) and after (right). The project was completed last week, as part of the City of Big Bear Lake's capital imporvement projects, and is now accessible as a non-motorized boat launch. The bike rack will soon be installed. (The Municipal Water District notes that if launching from this or any site, a Big Bear Lake boat permit and Quagga Mussel inspection are still required for any vessel.)

Big Bear Lake's Public Works Crews Complete Street Projects, Veterans Memorial Wall, and Chipping

The City of Big Bear Lake allotted just over $3 million toward capital improvement projects for Fiscal Year 2008/2009, and Public Works crews, under the direction of City Engineer David Lawrence, have been implementing these street, drainage, parks and sanitation projects in recent months, before their efforts are directed to winter season activities, including snow removal. Of those priority street projects—including crack seal work, asphalt overlay, and street striping—Lawrence told City Council this week, “We've completed over 100%.” In 2008, 18 streets have received overlay, while the Sanitation Department raised 84 manholes (to reduce I&I), and have relined 6,300 linear feet of the City's sewer lines. Other completed projects, outlined before Council on October 27, include the reconstructed drainage channel on Goldmine, the planting of 17,000 flowers in the Village L, the completion of the Veterans Memorial Wall and, as of last week, the completed upgrade (with a bike rack yet to come) for the Paine Road lake access point, which now includes a path to the lake and benches. Public Works crews have also nearly completed the neighborhood chipping for Big Bear Lake, with Supervisor Kevin Sebourn noting that over 1,200 curbside piles were picked up, and 1,300 yards of vegetation was removed, and, he added, “We'll find some green ways to get rid of this. This is going to be recycled.” After wrapping the long list of completed capital improvement projects for Big Bear Lake, Councilmember Liz Harris commented, “This has been like the celebration of the Public Works Department and what they've done this summer.”—to which Mayor Rick Herrick added, “And one thing you left out: all the events you [Public Works] do, including the parade, and what that does for the economy.” Future funding for much of the City's capital improvements project (including streets, parks and infrastructure) are contingent on the passing of Measure Y, which is on the November 4 ballot as an initiative to increase the City's Transient Occupancy Tax by two percent.

Big Bear Sheriff's Deputies Arrest Two More Individuals for Alleged Theft of 'Yes on Proposition 8' Signs

According to reports from the Deputy District Attorney's office and the Big Bear Sheriff's Station, two more arrests have been made for alleged theft and/or possession of stolen 'Yes on Proposition 8' signs within the Big Bear Valley. A resident of Moreno City, 34-year-old Shannon Pinkerton was arrested on felony charges for the possession of stolen Prop 8 signs on Friday, October 24, and this matter is pending review by the DA's office. Since that time, a fourth individual, Tracy Lynn Stockham, a 37-year-old resident of Big Bear City, was arrested on counts that include the following: petty theft with a prior, conspiracy to commit a crime as a felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Stockham is currently in custody at the Big Bear jail and is scheduled for an arraignment hearing today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CHP Seeking Male Driver of White BMW, Responsible for Injuries to Elderly Woman on Motorcycle
The California Highway Patrol is seeking the public's assistance in locating the driver of a white, four-door BMW, last seen headed eastbound on Highway 38 (toward Stanfield Cutoff) on Saturday afternoon, October 25. Per Officer Gary Fernandez with the CHP, the unknown male driver of the BMW was, on Saturday at roughly 1:15pm, headed eastbound on the North Shore near Holcomb Valley Road and the Discovery Center, when he made an unsafe pass and nearly collided head-on with a westbound vehicle. The driver returned to his lane, and then tail-gated an elderly woman, also headed eastbound, on a motorcycle. The reckless driver never actually made contact with the woman on the motorcycle, but the tailgating reportedly caused her to lose control, and she eventually went down on the dirt shoulder, which prompted injuries. The driver of the white BMW continued eastbound on Highway 38. Anyone with any information regarding this incident, or the possible identification of the driver of the white BMW, is asked to call Officer Fernandez with the California Highway Patrol at 867-2791.

City of Big Bear Lake Residents Can Call 866-CODE for Non-Emergency Neighborhood Concerns 24/7

Residents within Big Bear Lake may not be aware of a service offered by the City, which allow for 24/7 non-emergency calls for those who have residential concerns within their neighborhood. As Director of Building and Planning Jim Miller says, “866-CODE is for code violations, especially in the evenings.” Residential code violations and concerns may include the following: noise issues, including barking dogs; overcrowding and parking concerns, especially as they relate to transient private home rentals; and construction issues. The City dictates that construction work only take place between the hours of 7am and 7pm on Monday through Saturday and, as a courtesy, ask that contractors wait until 8am to begin work on Saturday mornings. For those who have concerns regarding any of these non-emergency issues, calls can be placed to 866-CODE (or 2633), and Code Compliance staff will respond within the hour. Should there be an emergency issue in your neighborhood, residents are advised to forego 866-CODE and, rather, call law enforcement.

Halloween in the Village on Friday; Pine Knot, Village Drive Closed to Vehicular Traffic at 4pm on the 31st

The annual Halloween in the Village event takes place on Friday, and will prompt street closures to vehicles in the Village from 4pm to 9pm to allow for the three-hour trick-or-treating festivities, which begin at 5pm. In addition to the trick-or-treating, there will be a pet costume contest at 6:15pm, and the Lions Club will be serving coffee and hot chocolate at the corner of Pine Knot and Village. The MARTA Trolley will be offering free transportation to the Village, starting with Haunted Trolley pickups in Sugarloaf at 4:30pm (then, heading west for pickups, Erwin Lake at 4:40pm, Gold Mountain at 4:48pm, Big Tree at 4:54pm, Rite Aid at 5pm, drop-off in Village at 5:08pm, Boulder Bay pickup at 5:15pm, and drop-off in the Village at 5:30pm; return trip leaves Village at 7:45pm). For more information and specifics on the Haunted Trolley, call MARTA at 878-5200. Other activities taking place on Halloween include the 3:30-6:30pm Boo in the Zoo event at the Moonridge Animal Park (call 878-4200), the 5pm Fall Festival at Big Bear Elementary hosted by Calvary Chapel (866-9328), the 5pm Trunk-or-Treat at Community Church by the Lake (866-7523), and, from 8 to 10pm, the Theatre of Horrors haunted house at the Performing Arts Center (866-4970). Additional details on these events are posted on our Events Calendar; other activities, at local restaurants and bars, are listed on our Venues page. (Use tabs at top of this page to access.)

BVUSD School Board Candidates Share Their Thoughts on Student Skills Needed in Future Workplace
When six of the seven candidates running for the Board of Trustees for the Bear Valley Unified School District met earlier this month in a candidate forum, representatives from the Lighthouse Project asked what candidates thought were the skills and qualities needed in the job market of tomorrow, and what do our schools need to prepare our children? Jim McGowan, first of the candidates to respond, said, “Our world today revolves around computers [so] to be successful, we'll have to give them the best technical tools, and provide training and tools to teachers. And, kids have got to learn the basics.” Dr. David Foltz answered, “I think we need to develop English literacy, and math literacy, and teach them how to type. We also need to foster the ability to think critically. I'd also like to promote second language acquisition and, most of all, intellectual curiosity.” When asked about student skills needed in a future job market, Randy Putz replied, “When they leave school: scholastically and emotionally mature, the basics, and critical thinking. The people who've had trouble are the ones who didn't get what they needed when they were children. In addition to being high-tech, we need to get 'high touch.'” Candidate Paul Zamoyta answered, “Creativity, imagination and love of learning are going to be crucially important to our kids—and flexibility. Our kids are learning to be creative, to solve problems.” Sharon Congdon, who referenced her collaborations with Apple while teaching in Cupertino added, “Employers are looking for creativity, and technical skills, and you need to be able to work with people. We need to give them the skills to be creative, critical thinkers who work collaboratively.” As candidate (and former teacher) Beverly Grabe was out of town for this forum, the final candidate to address the question posed by the Lighthouse Project was Richard Weathersbee, who cited use of current technology as a skill needed for our students in a future workplace. Weathersbee also noted, “What they have at home is more technological than we have at school.” He also cited the teaching of second languages as a need in what he called the “melting pot” of the U.S. For more on these candidates, three of whom you will get to vote for on November 4, you can scroll down to our story of October 16. There are also bios on each candidate in your sample ballot

Small Earthquake Outside Big Bear City This Morning; Very Small Quake Near Big Bear Lake Last Night

This morning at 10:14am, there was a 1.6 magnitude earthquake in our vicinity, which the U.S. Geological Survey indicates was centered five miles north of Big Bear City. This morning's 1.6 quake registered a depth of just over a mile. A small 1.0 magnitude quake was centered north northwest of Big Bear Lake at 1:53am. (Generally, we will bring you news of earthquakes that register a 1.6 magnitude or greater.)

Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Bear Mountain on October 28

Big Bear Mountain Resorts hosted the final Big Bear Chamber of Commerce mixer of the season at Bear Mountain
last night. The packed networking party included hosts Dick Kun and Brent Tregaskis of BBMR, and the Chamber's
CEO Sara Russ, Chairman Ken Dally and new Communications and Events Coordinator Danielle Elyse Cole.

Mixing it up: The full and festive affair included (above left) Ted and Heather Devito of PowerMyHealth.com,
City of Big Bear Lake's CFO Kathleen Smith, and Ken Dally, Chairman of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce;
and (above right) Linda Goldsmith of Goldsmiths' Board Shop, Municipal Water District Board member Todd
Murphy, and Bonnie Tregaskis, of the Big Bear Mountain Resorts family and the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering.

KBHR Radio's Catherine Sandstrom (left) and Vanessa Finney flank Simeon Prophet of ReMax; and (above right)
Mary Jo Jahn (wife of BBL's Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn) with Billy and Cindy Chundak of SpinGraphics.net.

San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters Offers Saturday Voting, at Offices in San Bernardino

For voters within San Bernardino County whose schedules or commutes will make it difficult to get to the polls next Tuesday—or, for those who may have missed the deadline to apply for a ballot by mail—the Registrar of Voters suggests that early voting may be the answer. This Saturday only, November 1, voters may complete a ballot in the Registrar's office, or take it to be returned in person no later than Election Day at the Registrar of Voters office or any San Bernardino County polling place. Saturday voting will be available between 9am and 6pm [new, extended time] and only at the Registrar of Voters office, which is located at 777 East Rialto Avenue in San Bernardino. Registered voters can also vote at the Registrar's office weekdays from 8am to 5pm, and from 7am to 8pm on Election Day next Tuesday, November 4.

Red Flag Warning Continues For Our Area Today, Due to Low Relative Humidity in the Mountains

The Red Flag Warning, indicative of critical fire conditions, has once again been extended and, per the National Weather Service, is now in effect until 8pm this evening. During Red Flag Warnings, all are encouraged to be particularly fire safe, and any suspicious activities should be reported by calling 911.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


City Council Considers Deregulation of Development Code for Bed and Breakfasts Within Big Bear Lake
In an effort to increase the economic feasibility for bed and breakfasts within the City of Big Bear Lake, the City Council last night reviewed a proposal from Director of Building and Planning Jim Miller, as prepared by the City's Assistant Planner Ruth Lorentz, that would allow for some changes to the Development Code that regulates local B&Bs. Some proposed changes, which would also go before the City's Planning Commission, include: eliminating the two person per room maximum, allow for kitchenettes in rooms, eliminate day-use restrictions and allow outdoor uses such as weddings, increase allowable sign area, redefine retreat facilities, and extend the use of pools (such as that of the currently out-of-operation Stargazers Inn for, say, physical therapy sessions for non-guests). Of the nine B&Bs in the City—Alpenhorn Bed and Breakfast, Alpine Inn, Apples Bed and Breakfast, Eagles Nest Bed and Breakfast, Goldilocks Cottage, Knickerbocker Country Inn, Stargazers Inn, Summit Bed and Breakfast, and Switzerland Haus—three B&B owners addressed Council, those being Jim and Barbara McLean of Apples and Linda Carpenter of Alpenhorn. The City Council was open to these changes to the Development Code, with Councilmember Liz Harris commenting, “I do think that opening up these regulations will assist our lodge owners.” City Manager Jeff Mathieu reiterated Miller's point, noting, “What we're trying to do is free up what's on the books. This is a way to help existing [B&Bs] be stronger.” Mayor Rick Herrick directed city staff to pursue, though to have the Planning Commission look at the financial impact to local restaurants if kitchenettes were deemed allowable in B&Bs. The Mayor also encouraged public input during the process, and invited the McLeans and Carpenter to partake in the Planning Commission's yet unscheduled public hearings on the deregulating portions of the B&B Development Code.

Two Arrested for Campaign Sign Stealing Released from Custody; Arraignment Hearing Now in December
Two locals had been arrested by Sheriff's deputies last week, for allegedly stealing 20 “Yes on Proposition 8” signs from within Big Bear Lake and these two individuals—24-year-old Heidi Bloomsness and 19-year-old Christopher Ricketts—had subsequently been held at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, prior to an arraignment hearing that was scheduled to take place yesterday in Big Bear Superior Court. As it turns out, the two were released from custody and the hearing did not yet take place. Per Deputy DA Scott Byrd, both Bloomsness and Ricketts will have their arraignment hearing in Big Bear on December 23. Since their arrest, Sheriff's deputies have reportedly made a third arrest pertaining to the theft of campaign signs, though the name of that individual has not yet been released. The destruction or removal of campaign signs can lead to arrest—both vandalism and petty theft are considered misdemeanors. Should you be witness to incidences of this kind, call the Big Bear Sheriff's Station to report at 866-7581. Anonymous calls may also be made to We Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME. (More on this story posted on Monday.)

Village Business Association Sponsors Halloween Art Contest; Winning Students Designate $$ to Teachers
In anticipation of Friday's annual Halloween in the Village event, the Village Business Association hosted a Chalk the Walk art contest for local students, the results of which will decorate merchant windows along Village Drive and Pine Knot on October 31st. Students in kindergarten through grade 12 were invited to participate in the art contest, which featured $600 worth of cash prizes, which the winning artists could designate toward their school, classroom or favorite teacher within Bear Valley Unified School District. Each of the top three student artists—Big Bear High School senior Arias Murphy, and Big Bear Elementary sixth graders Christina Perez and Elizabeth Herrick—selected a teacher, Mr. Roth at BBHS and, twice, Mrs. Reames at BBES. Other top 10 finishers in the Village Business Association's Chalk the Walk contest are Kaitlen Hernandez, Garrett Evans, Emily McCrudden, Angie Teele, Stephanie Lebby, Omar Torres and Samantha Malz. You can check out their artwork during Halloween in the Village, which begins at 5pm. Road closures for Pine Knot and Village Drive begin at 4pm on October 31st.

Season's Final Chamber Mixer at Bear Mountain Today; Next Power Breakfast at Big Bear Chateau

The final mixer of the season for the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce takes place this evening, and will be hosted by Big Bear Mountain Resorts at Bear Mountain. The two-hour mixer begins at 5pm at Bear, and will include free food, networking and opportunity drawings. The Big Bear Chamber's next event will be the first-Thursday-of-the-month Power Breakfast to be held on November 6. As of November, breakfasts hosted by the Chamber will be held at the Best Western Big Bear Chateau, located at 42200 Moonridge Road. Cost for the Power Breakfast remains the same, despite the change in venue: $12 for Chamber members, $15 for guests. The November 6 event will, as in months past, begin with coffee and networking at 6:45am, followed by breakfast at 7am.

Another 209 Valley Residents Register to Vote; 48.9% of 10,370 Voters Republican, 27.8% Democrat

In just two weeks' time, an additional 348 residents in the Big Bear Valley have registered to vote in the Presidential General Election, which is in just one week. Of the 209 individuals who did register in the last week since the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters posted their latest voter profile summary, an additional 45 reside in the City of Big Bear Lake, and 158 new registrants are from the Big Bear City area. The voter profile within the Big Bear Valley reflects a very slight shift—the Republican contingency is now 48.9% of our 10,370 voters, Democrats represent 27.8%, non-partisan voters make up 18%, and the remaining 5% of Valley voters belong to the American Independent, Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom parties. For those who plan to vote by mail in the November 4 election, County Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil reminds voters to allow enough time for delivery, by mailing the ballot as soon as possible. All mailed-in ballots must be received by the Registrar by 8pm on Election Day; vote-by-mail ballots may also be dropped off at any polling place next Tuesday. Voters must return the ballot in person, unless authorizing a specific family member to do so, in the space provided, on the mail ballot return envelope.



National Weather Service Extends Red Flag Warning for Our Area Until 8pm Tonight

The Red Flag Warning has been reinstated today, as the National Weather Service expects that low relative humidity in our area will create high fire growth potential. The current Red Flag Warning is in effect until 8pm this evening. Any suspicious activity during this Red Flag Warning, or at any time, should be reported immediately by calling 911.

County Ambulance Mileage Fees Increased; New Pricing in Big Bear Valley May Take Effect in December

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors have on their agenda, for this morning's 10am meeting, a special rate increase for San Bernardino County Fire Protection District ambulance services. The rate increase would apply to mileage charges for ambulance service, from $18.26 per mile to $19.37 per mile, effective November 1, to compensate for the increase in fuel costs. The ambulance mileage fee increase would apply to the County's Fire Regional Service Zones, which include Lake Arrowhead and Lucerne Valley. On October 7, County Supervisors approved this same increase in mileage rate charges for ambulance providers in the County, as recommended by Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency; the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District also approved the first reading of the ordinance for the rate increase from $18.26 per mile to $19.37 for ambulance services provided by the Big Bear City Fire Department. As proposed by Fire Chief Jeff Willis, this was, so far, unanimously approved by the CSD Board, and the new mileage fee for ambulances will take effect 30 days from approval, once the second reading of the ordinance is approved at their meeting of November 3rd.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Two Locals Arrested, Booked on Felony Charges, for Possession of Stolen 'Yes on Proposition 8' Signs

Two Valley residents were arrested for alleged possession of stolen political signs, per a statement released by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station: “Shortly before 9:30pm on Thursday, the Sheriff's station received a call for service, wherein the caller reported that they were following a black Subaru in their vehicle after observing political signs being removed from various locations in Big Bear Lake. The caller remained in contact with Sheriff's dispatch by phone and provided directions that enabled deputies to stop the Subaru on North Shore Drive in Fawnskin. Upon searching the vehicle, deputies found 20 ‘Yes on Proposition 8' signs. Suspects Heidi Bloomsness, a 24-year-old resident of Big Bear Lake, and Christopher Ricketts, a 19-year-old resident of Big Bear City, were taken into custody and booked on felony charges at the Big Bear Jail. Both suspects are being detained at the West Valley Detention Center in lieu of $10,000 bail. Arraignment hearings for both suspects are set for October 27 at the Big Bear Superior Court. Any persons witnessing suspicious activity or a crime in progress is encouraged to make a report by calling 911 in the event of an emergency or 866-7581 for non-emergencies. Under no circumstance should civilians put themselves in a dangerous situation. Civilians can greatly assist the Sheriff's Department by being a good witness and providing details such as physical descriptions and characteristics, the directions of the suspect(s)' escape, either in a vehicle or on foot, and a description of the getaway vehicle (make, model, color, license plate, damage or unusual features). Anyone wishing to make an anonymous report may do so by calling We Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME.” Update: As of this afternoon, no word yet from the Deputy District Attorney's office regarding the outcome of the suspects' arraignment hearing.

Tomorrow's DWP Meeting to Include Intro to New GM Dickson and Presentation by SBVMWD's Tincher
The Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power meet for their regular meeting tomorrow morning, at their new start time, which is now 9am. Tuesday's DWP meeting will include an introduction, and swearing in, of the agency's new General Manager Joel Dickson, and a presentation by Bob Tincher, Manager of Engineering and Planning for the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. Tincher has spent over 16 years with the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, where he has most recently overseen the Upper Santa Ana River Watershed Integrated Regional Water Management Plan and the Water Supply Reliability sections of the watershed-wide Integrated Water Management Plan, “One Water One Watershed,” being prepared by the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority.

Local Fire Agencies Extinguish Residential Structure Fire on Big Bear Lake's Main Street This Morning

Local fire agencies responded to a residential structure fire in the 8am hour today, after receiving a call regarding the two-story, wood-frame, single family home burning in the 600 block of Main Street, just east of the Village. Per Big Bear Lake Fire's interim Chief Mark Mills, one occupant was home when the fire began, and this individual (like the incident of last week) was awakened by the sound of breaking glass, due to heat from the fire. Firefighters from the Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments, County Fire crew #49 from Fawnskin, and personnel from the San Bernardino National Forest responded to the incident and, as of the 11am hour, the fire was completely controlled. Per a statement since released by the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, “The structure suffered minor to moderate smoke damage to the inside of the two-story, wood framed residence, however most of the fire damage occurred to the exterior. While combating the fire, firefighters took great care to protect the furnishings and personal belongings of the occupants.” Chief Mills gives KBHR a preliminary guesstimate that the structure fire resulted in about $200,000 worth of damage to the home, and tells us that the Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments will investigate the cause. The occupant of the home did not sustain any injuries as a result of this morning's fire.

Final Council Meeting Prior to Election; Update on Private Home Rental Ordinance Enforcement on Agenda

The City Council of Big Bear Lake meets in Hofert Hall this evening at 6:30pm, in what will be the final regular meeting prior to the November 4 election for the five-member Council of Mayor Rick Herrick, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn, Liz Harris, Michael Karp and Darrell Mulvihill. This evening's agenda includes discussion regarding amendments to the Development Code for small lodging facilities, and an update on the Private Home Rental Ordinance enforcement program.

Head-On Collision on Highway 18 Yesterday Afternoon Results in Death of Running Springs Resident

A head-on collision in Running Springs yesterday afternoon sent one vehicle over the side of the road, scattered debris across Highway 18, and ultimately resulted in one fatality. The accident happened at Running Springs School Road at about 3:30pm, resulting in traffic backups in both directions for at least two hours. Per the California Highway Patrol this morning, James Pryor, a 53-year-old resident of Running Springs, had been headed southbound on Highway 18 in his 2005 Volvo when he reportedly lost control of the vehicle and traveled into the northbound lane, colliding with a 2004 Toyota being driven by 34-year-old Maureen Hofman of Green Valley Lake. Pryor and Hofman, as well as the 1-year-old and 4-year-old passengers in Hofman's vehicle, were all transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where Pryor succumbed to his injuries. Hofman and the two children only suffered minor injuries, and the CHP is continuing their investigation.

National Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning, Due to Low Humidity, Through 8pm Tonight

A Red Flag Warning for our area has been issued through 8pm this evening. Today's low relative humidity in the San Bernardino mountains will create high fire growth potential, so please be mindful of these conditions and be fire safe. Any suspicious activity during this Red Flag Warning, or at any time, should be reported immediately by calling 911.

Mountain Mutual Aid Board Set to Return Pending December Election; Agencies Prepare for Emergencies

Mountain Mutual Aid, the inter-agency task force that oversees disaster preparedness for the Big Bear Valley, has been in place for 20some years, though it wasn't until 2002 that the group incorporated. Mountain Mutual Aid meets each month, with the objective of improving the lines of communication between all agencies and organizations in emergencies, and during these local emergencies (such as last fall's wildfires), they establish an Emergency Operations Center—the MMA's EOC, if you will, has been headquartered at the Municipal Water District but will be staged from the Civil Air Patrol building upon its completion as the official EOC for the entire Big Bear Valley. Local agencies participate in Mountain Mutual Aid and, in taking nominations for their board earlier this month, it is expected that the same key individuals will return following their December election. At present, Phil Mosley, Director of Community Services for the City of Big Bear Lake, has stepped up from Vice President to President, following Fire Chief John Morley's retirement in September. Since that time, Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis has joined the MMA Board and now serves as the inter-agency task force's Vice President. MMA's current (and once again nominated) Treasurer is Ken Markling, Operations Manager for Bear Valley Electric, and Yomar Cleary, formerly a Service Specialist for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, serves as the group's Secretary, and was the individual responsible for the agency's incorporation. Should there be a disaster in our area, the Mountain Mutual Aid team (which also includes the hospital, California Highway Patrol and local utilities, among others) will be ready to incorporate all of the facilities, resources and personnel of the Big Bear Valley into an efficient organization capable of responding to any emergency. Utilizing the National Incident Management System and the Standard Emergency Management System, MMA will, during an event, make the decisions necessary to safeguard our community.


Mt. San Gorgonio, as seen from the Pacific Crest Trail.

Flagging on Highway 38 This Week to Allow for Hazardous Tree Removal Beyond Onyx Summit

Motorists can expect flagging on Highway 38 this week, as hazardous tree removal is scheduled for along the roadway. Per CalTrans, this flagging will take place from 8:30am to 3pm, as of today and continuing through Thursday, October 30. The portion of Highway 38 wherein minimal delays can be expected is from Onyx Summit to Jenks Lake Road.

Brakes on Visiting Aircraft Fail; Only Minor Injuries Sustained During Incident at Big Bear City Airport

A pilot from Orange County had a scare over the weekend. The left brake on his Cessna 310 failed as he landed at Big Bear City Airport Friday night. The pilot veered into the ditch at the north side of the runway to avoid crashing through the gate bordering Division Road. He suffered a minor facial laceration from hitting the visor; his two sons onboard were not injured.

October Is National Pet Wellness Month; AVMA Recommends a Pet Exam Every Six Months
During National Pet Wellness Month the American Veterinary Medical Association reminds that pets can experience dramatic health changes in a short period of time. A wellness exam every six months can help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Talk to your veterinarian about scheduling appointments, and to test your Pet Wellness IQ, log on to npwm.com.

Soroptimists Offer No-to-Low Cost Mammograms at Hospital During Breast Cancer Awarness Month
October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Risk factors for the disease include having no children, giving birth for the first time after age 30, and oral contraceptive use. Women can reduce their risk by following the American Cancer Society's nutrition guidelines and exercising for at least 45 minutes five days a week. Early detection makes a big difference in survival rates. Doctors recommend monthly self-exams starting at age 20 and yearly mammograms starting at 40. Soroptimists International of Big Bear Valley is sponsoring mammograms at little or no cost, based on an individual's ability to pay, at Bear Valley Community Hospital--call 878-8204 to schedule an appointment.

Friday, October 24, 2008



Nigel Holland, a boy with many friends

Friends of Nigel Raise Over $13,000 at B's; Bike Ride for 7-Year-Old Nigel Holland Planned for Sunday

The Friends of Nigel raised over $13,000 for the seven-year-old at Wednesday's family fundraiser at B's Backyard Bar-B-Que. The community rallied in support of Nigel Holland, son of Tim Holland and Monica Kluge, following his brain surgery of last week. Since that time, the second grader has been diagnosed with cancer and will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments next week. However, as of today, Nigel has been moved out of the ICU ward, though he does remain at Children's Hospital of Orange County. This weekend, the Friends of Nigel have another fundraiser planned, this one a Sunday morning bike ride in support of the li'l athlete, who is both a skier and soccer player. The 9am bike ride on the 26th will launch from the upper parking lot at the Discovery Center, and those who participate will be asked to make a $5 donation. Two different levels of riding will be available on the Team Nigel bike ride—the beginners' ride will be on bike paths; advanced riders will take a ride through Holcomb Valley. For more information on Nigel's condition, you can visit CaringBridge.org/visit/nigelholland; for more information on Sunday's 9am ride, please call Rev at 573-3700.

MWD Assured of In-Lieu Water Availability, So There Will Be Water in Big Bear Lake in 2009

The Big Bear Municipal Water District, the agency that oversees Big Bear Lake, reports that there will be water in the lake in 2009, given assurances from their in-lieu water provider. In a statement just released by MWD: “Every year the Big Bear Municipal Water District pays San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (Muni) to deliver water to downstream water rights holders 'in-lieu' of releasing water from Big Bear Lake. Since 1977 the MWD has spent $14 million on this program, keeping more than 63,000 acre feet of water in the lake. The severe California drought and recent court decisions that limit pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta threaten to cut Muni's primary imported water supply by up to 88%. In spite of these obstacles, Muni assured MWD officials Tuesday that they will be able to meet their in-lieu contract obligations and lake releases will not be necessary. In addition to imported water resources, Muni has purchased water from the Yuba County Water Authority (which must be transmitted through the delta), has some carryover water availability from the State Water Project, and access to water wells in the San Bernardino valley. This combination of sources should be able to meet both their in-lieu obligations and other domestic and irrigation requirements which together total 18,500 acre feet.” In a follow-up conversation with MWD's General Manager Scott Heule, he confirms that over the course of 20 years, the $14 million spent on the 63,000 acre feet of in-lieu water averages out to a cost of roughly $222 per acre foot, paid by MWD in order to keep water in the lake. Water from Big Bear Lake is only sold to Big Bear Mountain Resorts, to allow for snowmaking, and MWD charges the resorts just under $300 per acre foot. Last year, Big Bear Mountain Resorts purchased 902 acre feet of water, from the period between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008. Each year, the resorts can purchase up to 1,300 acre feet for snowmaking, though that amount is not to exceed 11,000 acre feet in a 10-year period. An added benefit of selling the water to the resorts (incurring per-acre-foot revenue that is greater than is paid for in-lieu water) is that, per Heule, roughly half of that water returns to Big Bear Lake as snowmelt or runoff from the mountains. At present, Big Bear Lake is 65'11” deep (amounting to 6'5” below full) and, Heule notes, contains about 55,000 acre feet of water. And, he adds, “We're looking at, in a couple of years, we would have paid for a full lake's volume of water.” For more on the history of the in-lieu water program and MWD's lake stabilization efforts, visit bbmwd.org/stabilization.


The ladies of Soroptimists, students from Big Bear High School, and members of the Performing
Arts Center Foundation have come together to provide a fun scare at the Theatre of Horrors. The
haunted house (which includes a less scary version for kids) is open from 7 to 11pm on the 24th
and 25th, and from 8 to 10pm on Halloween. Pre-sale tickets to the Theatre of Horrors at the PAC
are available at citybigbearlake.com.

County Adopts Roof Ordinance: No Wood Shake Shingle Roofs in Fire Safety Zones by July 2014

The County's modified roof ordinance was unanimously adopted by the Board of Supervisors this week, so by July 2014 wood shake shingle roofs should be obsolete within San Bernardino County's Fire Safety Zones, which include the Big Bear Valley and communities in the San Bernardino mountains. The roof ordinance, effective in January, would require that prior to July 2014 roof coverings be either non-combustible or shall be fire retardant material not composed of organic fiber with a minimum Class A rating which, essentially, means the replacement of all wood shake shingle roofs. County Building Codes already require such for new construction, however the new ordinance brings this requirement to existing roofs as well. Prompting this modification is the fact that, per the San Bernardino County Fire Department, wood roofs are one of the most significant factors in the ignitability of homes. Wood roofing is problematic during fires and can cause ember throw for more than a quarter mile and, when wood roofs burn, they can send large burning embers well beyond established fire lines. For specifics on the ordinance, and a map of the Fire Safety Zones, you can visit the website of the San Bernardino County Fire Department at sbcfire.org (scroll down main page to access).

Memorial Website, Including Slide Show, Established for Fire Captain Darrell and Debbie Feuerhahn

While we were visiting the website of the San Bernardino County Fire Department, we stumbled upon a link to a memorial website for Redlands Fire Captain Darrell Feuerhahn and wife Debbie (Copley) Feuerhahn, the couple originally from Big Bear who passed away two weeks ago today. To visit the website that features Darrell and Debbie, from Big Bear High School classes of 1974 and 1972, log on to inmemoryofdarrellanddebbiefeuerhahn.blogspot.com.

Military News: Pickett Returns from Afghanistan; Thompson Graduates from Air Force Basic Training
Yet another one of Big Bear's own, Crystal Thompson, has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas. Airman Thompson is a 2004 graduate of Mountain High School in Lake Arrowhead and the daughter of Connie and David Tolbert of Big Bear City. In other military news, 2002 Big Bear High School graduate and, now, Petty Officer Third Class David Pickett is back in Big Bear Lake this week, having completed a nine month individual augmentee assignment, doing security operations in Afghanistan. Of his couple weeks at home with parents Austin and Bev Pickett, he tells KBHR, “It's good to be back.” Petty Officer Third Class Pickett will, in the coming days, return to Jacksonville, Florida, where he is an aviation technician for the United States Navy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008



Friends of Nigel: Sophia Rizzo, Ethan and Amber Worthington, and Scarlett Brigham were among
the countless kids who brought their parents to B's last night, for a fundraiser in support of Nigel
Holland. The seven-year-old skier, soccer player and Big Bear Elementary Bobcat underwent brain
surgery last week. For information on his condition, visit CaringBridge.org/visit/nigelholland,
which is updated by friends Jordan and Makaela's mom.

National Weather Service Extends Red Flag Warning for Our Area Through Saturday Night

The Red Flag Warning for the San Bernardino Mountains has now been extended through Saturday until 11pm. Though the National Weather Service anticipates that winds will be less significant on Friday, the warm temperatures and low relative humidity will elevate the fire potential in our area during this time.

County Approves Leases With Community Church, Captain John; and Land Swap With U.S. Forest Service

Each of the three, local property-related issues addressed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors at their meeting of October 21 was unanimously approved. That said, the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District will enter into a 20-year lease agreement with Community Church by the Lake, to utilize 4,200 square feet of their property for the development of skateboarding facilities. This lease agreement extends through September 2028, at a cost of $1 per year, and includes the option of two 10-year lease extensions. As the Board that oversees the Recreation and Park District, County Supervisors also approved the four year agreement with John Saunders that will allow him to continue operation of Captain John's Marina on the County-owned Dana Point Park on Big Bear Lake's North Shore. A provision of the agreement is that Saunders will pay rent and a portion of concession revenue to the County through January 15, 2013. Upon satisfactory completion of the stipulations of the next 51 months, there is also a provision for a five-year extension option for Captain John's Marina. And, for their part, Supervisors also unanimously approved the land swap of 71 acres of County property (west of the Big Bear Landfill and northwest of Highway 18) for 53 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest (south of the landfill). Once the title swap is complete, Oso Grande Properties will be granted a 99-year lease on 47 of those 53 acres, to serve as a staging area for Bark Beetle-infested tree processing.

CSD Board Directs Chief Willis on Fire Master Plan; Potential for a Third Firehouse in Erwin Lake Area

Implementation of the Big Bear City Fire Department's Master Plan has been ongoing since its adoption by the Big Bear City Community Services District in October of 2007. On Monday evening, Fire Chief Jeff Willis appeared before the CSD Board of Directors to seek their recommendations on three objectives: direction on staffing of fire personnel, strategies for distribution of apparatus and personnel (including the possibility of adding a third firehouse, perhaps in Erwin Lake), and the possibility of contracting with the San Bernardino County Fire Department. After much discussion on these topics, CSD Director Jeff Newsome, who is also a member of the district's Fire Committee (which met October 8), offered motions to further each of these points. The first of these, approved by all Board members except Marge McDonald (who is also on the Fire Committee), was to direct Chief Willis to explore incrementally increased staffing over time. The Chief noted that all fire personnel are cross-trained, so he will determine if need prompts additional administrative help and/or the addition of a third firefighter per engine. The second motion, which was unanimously approved, authorizes Willis to explore options to find property for a third fire station in Erwin Lake. Chief Willis had explained that they had considered the potential need for a firehouse in upper Moonridge though, after further analysis, determined that Erwin Lake was most appropriate in terms of need. Per Willis, “The Erwin Lake area is the best target, and I'm sure we won't go wrong with that. The main thing is the location, putting the units within the four-to-seven minute response time geographically.” The High Timber Ranch development is a concern for firefighters, in terms of accessibility, and the Chief will be meeting with County planners this month to discuss. The third, and perhaps most contentious of ultimately approved motions, was whether Big Bear City Fire should consider contracting with County Fire, so Willis received direction to provide a cursory cost comparison for ongoing operations, including an analysis of effectiveness, to be tentatively completed by April 1. Newsome explained that this suggestion was prompted by CSD's constituents, noting, “In my opinion, we need to err on the side of local control when costs are comparable. If we find out the costs are comparable, I think we're done talking.” For his part, Director Bob Colven, the dissenting vote on initiating cost comparison with County Fire, said, “Maintaining local control of the fire department that is so beloved and has served us so well is important.”

All BVUSD Students, Including Those at Big Bear High School, on Minimum Day Schedule Today
Today is a minimum day for students at all Bear Valley Unified School District schools, including Big Bear High School, to allow for teachers' Strategic Planning and Assessment Articulation. The next minimum day for BVUSD students is scheduled for Thursday, November 6.

Small Earthquake at 12:33am; County Encourages Creation of a Family Disaster Plan in October
Another small earthquake was centered in the Big Bear Valley area, per the U.S. Geological Survey. This, our latest quake, was of a magnitude of 1.7 at 12:33am, and centered seven miles northeast of Big Bear City. In the months-long San Bernardino County campaign to encourage residents to prepare for a large earthquake, October has been designated as the month to create a family disaster plan. In September, County residents had been encouraged to make an emergency supplies kit, with enough food, water and essential supplies to survive for 72 hours.

Big Bear City CSD and City of Big Bear Lake Offer Free Electronic Waste Dumping Day on Saturday
Both the Big Bear City Community Services District and the City of Big Bear Lake are offering a free electronic waste dumping day this Saturday, October 25. For residents within the City of Big Bear Lake, the following will be accepted at Clean Bear Site #1 (located at 41970 Garstin Drive) from 8am to 3pm: cell phones, fluorescent tubes, microwaves, VCRs, computers, printers, aerosol cans, telephones, stereos, clothes irons, space heaters, batteries and thermostats. For those who reside within the CSD service area, the 8am to 3pm dump day will be offered at the CSD Maintenance Yard off Paradise Way. In addition to the electronic waste items being accepted by the City, CSD will (with the exception of batteries) also allow residents to dispose of yard waste, old furniture, mattresses and white goods including stoves, washers and hot water heaters. Old tires will also be accepted, though no rims, or commercial or oversized tires. East Valley residents who have hazardous household waste such as batteries, oil and paint products, can dispose of these items at the Valley-wide hazardous waste collection facility at 42040 Garstin Road each Saturday from 9am to 2pm, and mid-week from 7am to 4pm. For questions on this facility in Big Bear Lake, call 800-OILY-CAT.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Mandarin Garden Restaurant Receives an A from Health Department; Check Ratings for Local Eateries

As a follow-up to our story of a few weeks ago, the Mandarin Garden has had another visit from the Health Department and on this, their latest visit, the Big Bear City restaurant received an A grade. Barry Wang, owner of the restaurant, says, “It is safe to dine here. Hopefully people will feel safe, and will dine here at Mandarin Garden again.” Wang's other restaurant, China Town Buffet in Big Bear Lake, has also been given an A. For restaurant ratings for the entire Big Bear Valley, check sbcounty.gov/dehs/restgrades.

CalTrans Offers New Car Incentive for Young Drivers During National Teen Driver Safety Week
As more than 5,000 teens across the United States died in teen-driver related crashes in 2006, Congress last year established National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is being recognized through October 26. Per CalTrans, car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens ages 16 to 19 and though this group accounts for only seven percent of all drivers, they are involved in 14 percent of all fatal car crashes. In California alone, nearly 18,000 teen drivers are injured or killed each year. In an effort to reach young drivers with safety messages, CalTrans has launched a website, at SlowForTheConeZone.com and, once young drivers complete a quick online quiz, they can enter for a chance to win a 2009 Toyota Scion XB and $1000, to apply toward auto insurance. The messages of National Teen Driver Safety Week apply to all motorists and those include: slow down, watch for sudden stops or other drivers merging at the last minute, and avoid distractions such as text messaging, eating or changing the radio station.

BBARWA Governing Board Meets Today; DWP's Jennifer McCullar Joins Agency as Finance Manager

The Governing Board of the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency will hold their regular monthly meeting at 4:30pm today, at their offices at 121 Palomino Drive in Big Bear City. This afternoon's meeting will include two presentation items, including one providing information on water supply for solar power. The other presentation item will be an introduction to BBARWA's new Finance Manager Jennifer McCullar, who had most recently held the position of principal administrative analyst for the Department of Water and Power.

November 4 Election Includes Local Measure Y, to Raise Big Bear Lake Transient Occupancy Tax 2%

The November 4 election, in less than two weeks, includes not only seats for local boards and districts, but some local measures as well. Measure Y on the ballot is specific to the City of Big Bear Lake, and references the proposed two percent increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax (or TOT) that is imposed upon overnight guests of lodging facilities and transient private home rentals. The Measure Y initiative, if passed, would increase the City's TOT by one percent in 2009, and again one more percent in 2010, ultimately bringing the TOT to eight percent in two years' time. The City estimates that this will generate an additional $850,000 in revenue each year, which would fund capital improvements within Big Bear Lake. Measure Y is also accompanied by an advisory, Measure YY, which is a directive that would indicate that additional TOT funds be used solely for capital improvements: to rebuild and renovate infrastructure, streets, parks, trails, lake access points and other public facilities. A yes vote on Measure YY would keep the increased two percent of TOT from being used to fund general City operations. For background on Measure Y, see our July 29 story, available in our Local News 2008 Archive.

Friends of Nigel Holland Host Fundraiser at B's; Seven-Year-Old Underwent Brain Surgery Last Week

This evening, B's Backyard Bar-B-Que will host a Friends of Nigel Fundraiser, in support of seven-year-old Big Bear Elementary student Nigel Holland, who underwent surgery last week to remove a brain tumor. For more information on the 5:30pm event for Nigel, son of Tim Holland and Monica Kluge, and updates on his condition, you can visit his CaringBridge website at caringbridge.org/visit/nigelholland.

Critical Fire Conditions Possible as National Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning Through Friday

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for our area, and most of extreme southwestern California, through Friday night. This Red Flag Warning is indicative of critical fire conditions, given the potential for strong winds and low relative humidity.

San Bernardino National Forest Readies for Santa Ana Winds With Additional Resources, Extended Patrols
In preparation for forecasted Santa Ana winds this week, the San Bernardino National Forest remains at a high state of readiness and has bolstered its fire response preparedness with additional firefighters, aircraft and extended patrols. In response to this, our second Santa Ana wind event of the season, the 25 engines on the San Bernardino National Forest will be staffed with an additional five engines, in addition to four hotshot crews, three airtankers, three skycrane heltiankers, two helicopters, and an air attack plane ready to respond to fires as they are reported. Per Forest Fire Chief Michael Dietrich, “We take the forecasted weather very seriously and add additional resources as needed. Even with more patrols, we need the public to join in fire prevention, both being careful and reporting suspicious activities immediately.” Current fire restrictions on the San Bernardino National Forest include the following: wood and charcoal fires are only permitted in campgrounds and picnic grounds and within agency provided fire rings, though are not permitted in Yellow Post sites; campfire permits are required for propane and gas stoves and lanterns used outside of developed recreation sites; recreational shooting is limited to public shooting ranges; and, an approved spark arrestor is required for any internal combustion engine (including chainsaws, motorcycles and off-highway vehicles). And fireworks, determined to be the cause of today's Foxborough Wildland Fire in the Rancho Cucamonga area, are never allowed on the San Bernardino National Forest.


The Big Bear City Fire Explorers, made up of Valley-wide youth ages 14-21, gathered at Monday
night's Community Services District meeting, for recognition from their advisor, Firefighter Bob
Barnett (pictured), and BBC Fire Chief Jeff Willis. The local program has been in place since 1990;
for information on participating, call 585-2362.

Fire Chief Jeff Willis Salutes Community Emergency Response Team and Big Bear City Fire Explorers
Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis made presentations before the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District Monday, to honor two groups of volunteers whose efforts benefit the fire department and the community. The first of those honored was the Big Bear Valley Community Emergency Response Team who, in this fire season alone, have already logged a collective 273 hours on fire watch—in fact, the CERT team were the first to report the Arlington Fires on Sugarloaf Mountain earlier this month. In the winter months, the CERT volunteers will patrol the lakeshore, to keep people and their pets from going out on to the lake ice. As a token of gratitude, Chief Willis presented the “green team” (as he calls them, because of their green vests) with fire department pins and $100,000 candy bars, as that's what they're worth to the community. Along those lines, Chief Willis presented pins and Lifesavers to the student volunteers of the Big Bear City Fire Explorers program, which is offered to all Valley youth between the ages of 14 and 21. The Explorers assist the fire department at events while also learning about firefighting at their weekly Wednesday meetings at the Big Bear City Fire Department. In fact, several of the current career and paid-call firefighters at Bear City Fire are graduates of the Fire Explorers program, which Firefighter Bob Barnett has overseen since 1990. For more information on either the CERT or Fire Explorers program, please call the Big Bear City Fire Department at 585-2362. The next CERT training class will be offered on November 17.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Students Raise Nearly $10,000 for BBHS Quad; Parents in Support of Academics Group to Contribute, Too

Last night's Big Bear High School ASB-sponsored dinner at the Elks Lodge generated nearly $10,000 toward the students' goal of raising $50,000 for the completion of the new quad area at the high school, to which the school district has also allotted over $339,000 in Measure Q funds in order to complete this school year. A new parent group, formed this spring and called Parents in Support of Academics (or PSA) is also committed to raising $10,000 toward the high school students' goal. PSA President Malissa Parker Forry, a past Booster president at both Big Bear Middle School and Big Bear Elementary, tells KBHR, “Knowing our kids were leaving the middle school to attend BBHS, the faculty and staff had indicated to us parents that a wider net of support was needed.” The group's first meeting drew up to 30 parents and, adds Parker Forry, “We're attracting parents who are seeking a broader reach, in terms of academics and facilities.” At present, Parents in Support of Academics is raising money to support the Three Wish Program they implemented at the high school, which allows for teachers to request specific supplies and teaching tools that will reinforce the learning environment. “We act as a facilitator,” Parker Forry notes, “and fund what we can for the teachers through private sources, the district and department heads, as well as our own funds. We're another resource to help the high school community. We're a pretty resourceful group.” To that end, PSA has received a donation of movie tickets and season passes from Village Theaters, and the tickets are being sold at $5 each, while the passes will be given away in a November 24 opportunity drawing. Raffle tickets for this PSA fundraiser are $1 each, and available at home football games or by calling Malissa Parker Forry at 585-5144.

Rec and Park District Reports Tot Lot Theft; Football Field Trip Planned for Chargers/Raiders Game
The Advisory Commission of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District meets for their monthly meeting, this evening at 5pm at the Big Bear Senior Center. This evening's agenda will include facilities, maintenance and recreation reports, including information on upcoming events. One of these, planned for Thursday, December 4, is a bus trip to Qualcomm Stadium to see the San Diego Chargers play the Oakland Raiders; signups are being taken at the Recreation and Park District offices, and cost for the football field trip is $110, which includes game ticket and transportation. September reports from the district indicate that the Teen Center has been extremely busy, given the addition of the skatepark at the Community Church location. The center averages 30 middle school students each day, who are said to be hanging out, doing homework and interacting with Teen Center staff. And, in other news from the Recreation and Park District, Assistant Director Lorie Judd says that, this morning, staff realized that there had been a theft from the tot lot at Meadow Park. Judd tells KBHR that aluminum bench tops from two newly installed benches, which the district just spent $600 on, were stolen last night. Sheriff's deputies from the Big Bear Sheriff Station were called to investigate the theft this morning.

Five Middle School Students to Speak on TechTrek Adventures at Tomorrow's AAUW Meeting
Five Big Bear Middle School students will take center stage at tomorrow evening's meeting of the American Association of University Women, to be held at the Big Bear Discovery Center at 6:30pm. The five BBMS students—Jodi Cline, Brianna Bennett, Taylor Bien, Sara Licona and Tori Waner—attended the TechTrek math and science camp for seventh grade girls, sponsored by AAUW, earlier this year. At tomorrow's meeting, the five young ladies will talk about their one-week camp experience, and living on a college campus while learning about math and science in a hands-on environment. Free desserts will also be shared at the AAUW meeting. (Our local chapter of AAUW will celebrate their 25th anniversary with a luncheon and vintage hat show on November 8; call 878-0058 for ticket information.)

Big Bear City Fire Extinguishes House Fire in Sugarloaf Last Night; Resident, Pets Escape Without Injury

The Big Bear City Fire Department responded to a structure fire in Sugarloaf last night at about 1:30am. The occupant of the home in the 200 block of Leonard Lane was awakened by the sound of glass breaking, due to the heat and fire near the front window, and she was able to exit the smoke-filled residence through the back door and call 911. Upon arrival of fire crews, active flames could be seen on the exterior of the Sugarloaf home, and along the neighboring fence. The fire was quickly extinguished, per the Big Bear City Fire Department, and there was no fire damage to the interior of the house. The three cats in residence were also unharmed. The cause of the structure fire appears to be accidental in nature and is still under investigation.

U.S. Forest Service Now Accepting Public Comment on Big Bear Zoo Relocation Project for North Shore

The Moonridge Animal Park, overseen by the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, is situated on private land on a lease that expires in February 2010, so plans have been underway to potentially relocate the zoo on the San Bernardino National Forest. The Recreation and Park District has applied for a special use permit to build and maintain the new park, and associated facilities, on 27 acres adjacent to the Big Bear Discovery Center on the North Shore. In recent days, the U.S. Forest Service has completed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (or DEIS) for the special use permit which, if approved, would result in a 20-year lease for the new zoo. As proposed, the facilities on the 27-acre parcel would include zoological and botanical gardens, education center and classrooms, animal exhibits, animal hospital and rehabilitation center, restrooms, retail and concession buildings, support buildings, and paved parking for visitors and staff. Per a statement issued by the San Bernardino National Forest: “We are asking for the public to examine the details about the project, including measures designed to protect resources or alleviate potential problems you may be concerned about. The release of the DEIS begins a second, more formal comment period, during which we will consider all public comments in order to produce a Final Environmental Impact Statement and a Record of Decision.” The Moonridge Animal Park Relocation DEIS, project summary and detailed instruction for public comment (being accepted for 45 days) are available online at fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/projects/moonridge. Those who have additional questions about the project may also contact Recreation Officer Paul Bennett at the Big Bear Ranger Station at 382-2819.

Small Earthquake Outside Big Bear Lake Last Night; Details on Preparing for the Big One at ShakeOut.org

We had another small earthquake, this one centered three miles southeast of the City of Big Bear Lake at 9:25pm last night. The quake registered a magnitude of 1.5 and a depth of just under two miles. This 1.5 magnitude quake serves as another reminder that earthquakes happen in our area, and residents can prepare for a larger quake by utilizing suggestions on the ShakeOut.org website, which also details specifics for the simulated earthquake drill that Southern California agencies will participate in on November 13. (Update: There was a 1.4 magnitude quake, centered six miles north northwest of Big Bear Lake on October 22 at 9:50am. We will update you on local quakes, generally if they register a magnitude of 1.6 or greater.)

County Board of Supervisors to Address Three Big Bear Real Estate Proposals in Morning Meeting

In addition to the second reading (and possible adoption) of the County's roof ordinance, this morning's meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County includes some real estate issues that pertain to the Big Bear Valley. The agenda for the 10am meeting includes a potential land exchange between the County and the U.S. Forest Service. As proposed, the County would exchange 71 acres of land for a parcel of approximately 53 acres near the Big Bear Landfill and Transfer Station; 47 acres of this parcel would then be leased to Oso Grande Properties, who would then sublease this land near the transfer station as lots for log storage, and processing of Bark Beetle-infested trees. The County will also consider an agreement between the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District and John Saunders that would allow Saunders to continue concessionaire rights under his Captain John's Marina at the County-owned Dana Park Point in Fawnskin. This new agreement, if approved, would include rent and revenue to the County and would be in effect through January 2013, with an extension provision for an additional five years. The County is also prepared to enter into a lease agreement with Community Church by the Lake, which would allow the Recreation and Park District to utilize 4,200 square feet on church property, for $1 per year, to develop District-owned and operated skateboarding facilities. This 20-year lease of church land, which would be in effect through September 2028 would, if passed, include the option of two 10-year lease extensions. This morning's Supervisor meeting will also recognize former Redlands Fire Captain Darrell and Debbie Feuerhahn, both originally from Big Bear, during Third District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger's memorial adjournments.


The Big Bear Lake Resort Association has directed marketing efforts toward San Diego, with the
BigBear.com plane offering "eye in the sky" morning traffic reports on seven radio stations in
that area. Dan McKernan and Ken Brengle of the Resort Association invited RA members to
a Friday reception at the Big Bear Airport to check out the BigBear.com plane.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another 139 Locals Registered to Vote Last Week; Voter Registration Forms Must Be Postmarked Today
Big Bear Valley has another 139 registered voters in the space of a week, per the voter registration summary posted by the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters today. Of those who have recently registered, 40 signed up as members of the Democratic party, 46 Republican, and 43 of these voters have declared themselves non-partisan, bringing the local party balance within the Valley to 27% Democrat, 49% Republican, nearly 18% as non-partisan, and the remaining balance (roughly 5%) of Big Bear's 10,161 voters belong to the American Independent, Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom parties. If you have not yet registered to vote for the Presidential General Election, which is in just two weeks on November 4, today is the last day to mail voter registration. Completed voter registration cards must be postmarked today (not just mailed, but postmarked), or can be hand-delivered to the City Clerk of Big Bear Lake by 5pm, or to the Registrar's office in San Bernardino, which will be open (at 777 E. Rialto Avenue in San Bernardino) until midnight. If you miss today's deadline, vote-by-mail applications will be accepted until October 28—see the Registrar's website at sbcounty.gov/rov for details.

Preliminary Hearing for Winters, Day, Ferguson and Potts Rescheduled for October 29 in Superior Court
The preliminary hearing for the four teenagers charged in the June 18 incident that resulted in the death of then 20-year-old Michael Lundin has been pushed back to October 29, as the County's Deputy District Attorney Alex Martinez was unavailable for last week's court date, as he was on another, unrelated murder trial. In the meantime, the defendant charged with murder, Chalen Winters, and the three others--Christopher Day, David Ferguson and Mark Potts—each charged with felony assault, remain in custody at West Valley Detention Center. The June 18 incident, which took place in Big Bear Lake at the corner of Knickerbocker and Pennsylvania (just east of the Village) in the 11pm hour, also resulted in injuries to another two local yet unnamed young men. More information on this incident is posted in our Local News Archive 2008, in stories dated September 19, August 6, July 9, July 2, June 25, June 23, June 20 and June 19.

Yesterday's Sugar #2 Fire on Sugarloaf Mountain, First Spotted by Pilot in Afternoon, Contained by 6pm

There was yet another fire on the north slope of Sugarloaf Mountain on the San Bernardino National Forest yesterday afternoon, making it the fourth fire in that area in less than two weeks. Yesterday's fire, dubbed the Sugar #2 Fire, had been spotted by a pilot flying into the Big Bear City Airport at about 2:30pm. Within an hour, the blaze grew to about 30' x 50' in light grass in the area of Wild Horse Canyon near the intersection of Forest Service roads 2N27 and 2N93. Crews from the Big Bear City Fire Department, the Big Bear Lake Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service battled the Sugar #2 Fire, and had it fully contained by 6pm yesterday evening. Law enforcement was also on scene yesterday, though the cause of the fire remains under investigation as of this morning. For more information on recent fires, scroll down to our posting from Friday, October 17.

Community Services District Board to Discuss the Big Bear City Fire Department's Master Plan Today
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District meets this evening, for their second-to-last regular meeting prior to the November 4 election, during which time two of the Board's five seats (those of Rick Ollila and Bob Colven) will be voted upon. This evening's meeting of the Board of Directors (which also includes John Day, Jeff Newsome and Marge McDonald) will include discussion and possible action with regard to the Big Bear City Fire Department's Master Plan. Fire Chief Jeff Willis is also scheduled to make a presentation to those on the Big Bear Valley Community Emergency Response Team and members of the Big Bear City Fire Explorers.

Big Bear High School ASB Hosts Dinner Fundraiser This Evening; Proceeds Benefit School's Quad Project
The students of Big Bear High School are committed to raising $50,000 to help fund improvements to the high school quad, which remains incomplete following recent renovations to the school site. To that end, the BBHS ASB (or student government) is hosting a spaghetti fundraiser dinner this evening at the Elks Lodge in the Village. The community is invited to the 6:30pm event, which will also include silent and live auctions, featuring donated items including ski and snowboard passes, a stay at a five-star resort, and dinner and movie packages, as well as a firehouse dinner for six. Tickets to this evening's student-hosted event at the Elks Lodge are $10, and all proceeds will be directed toward the new quad. For their part, at the October 14 school board meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District allocated just over $339,000 in Measure Q funds toward the completion of the quad. The estimated cost of $389,000 for the quad project will include landscaping, a stage area with stage lighting, and the installation of the Class of 2008 gift of a 9' carved bear. The Big Bear High School quad is expected to be complete by the end of this school year.


A spectacular sunset sky over Big Bear Lake (from Stanfield Cutoff) on Wednesday the 15th.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Breaking news: At about 2:30pm today, a pilot flying into Big Bear City Airport spotted a small fire about 2½ miles south/southeast of the airport. The blaze grew to about 30' x 50' in light grass within an hour. Response includes Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake Fire Departments and the Forest Service's water dropping helicopter. The fire is on the north slope of Sugarloaf Mountain in Wild Horse Canyon near the intersection of Forest Service roads 2N27 and 2N93. It is not threatening Route 38. Since today's blaze is in the same area of other recent fires, law enforcement is also on the scene. Officials are not openly speculating on a cause, however. 4:20pm update: The fire is not in danger of growing; resources have been cut back to two forest service engines and one BBCFD water tender.

Plane Crash at Big Bear City Airport This Afternoon Ends in Minor Injuries
An out-of-town pilot crash landed at Big Bear City Airport today but escaped with cuts and bruises. At about 12:40 pm the pilot of a Bonanza approached Runway 26 from the east and reportedly came in too hard and fast. The airport's Unicom operator says the Bonanza hit a Cessna parked near a hangar; the two planes then crashed into the hangar and the Bonanza clipped a parked truck with its wing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

U.S. Forest Service Continues Investigations on Recent Local Fires: Patriot, Arlington #1 and #2, Sugar
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service are still investigating a number of fires which have burned in the Big Bear Valley, and specifically on the San Bernardino National Forest, in recent weeks. The first of these, the Patriot Fire of Wednesday, September 24, was held to just half an acre along Skyline Drive, on the Valley's south ridgeline. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, “We don't suspect arson on the Patriot Fire, but the cause is still under investigation, though it may be related to something mechanical.” This month, we had three small fires just south of Sugarloaf, each of them in the vicinity of the Green Spot picnic area off Highway 38—on Wednesday, October 8, the Arlington #1 and #2 Fires were each held to roughly 20 'x 20' each; this Wednesday's Sugar Fire was quickly contained and held to just a 10' x 10' burn area. As for these three fires in the same general area on the San Bernardino National Forest, Miller says, “Right now, we don't know if cause was intentional or accidental.” These, too, remain under investigation and, as for the burned vehicle found near one of the Arlington Fires, Miller adds, “We will not speculate on that.” Given recent fire conditions, he asks us to relay this to our KBHR listeners: “When out in the woods, be as careful as you possibly can—that's smoking, where you park your car, and not having campfires. We count on the public to be the eyes and ears when out in the woods, so report anything suspect by immediately calling 911. Be prepared, and check on conditions before you go on the national forest.” Locally, the Big Bear Discovery Center can be reached at 382-2790. And, as we are in fire season here in the San Bernardino mountains, it is a reminder of last year's Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which began a year ago Wednesday, the 22nd. The U.S. Forest Service, back in May, shared with KBHR the cause of the Slide Fire (which was the result of either an ember, or through the root system, stemming from the Butler #2 Fire), though the cause of the neighboring Grass Valley Fire still, today, remains under investigation. For online access to local fire conditions and restrictions on the forest, visit fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino (postings available at top right). For detailed information on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, you can visit KBHR's Slide and Grass Valley Archive by clicking kbhr933.com/slidegrass.php.

If Leaving the Mountain This Weekend, Be Advised That Portions of Highways 210 and 15 Will Be Closed
For those traveling off the mountain this weekend, be advised that a three-mile portion of the 210 freeway will be closed on both Saturday and Sunday. CalTrans says that the 210 eastbound will be closed in Rialto and San Bernardino, from Ayala to State Streets, to allow for filming by Warner Bros. Studios. This closure on the 210 will be in effect from 5am to 7:30pm on the 18 th and 19 th . Also, Interstate 15 will be intermittently closed along the Cajon Pass on Sunday morning, between 7 and 10am, to allow for work being done by Southern California Edison.

Local Author Christie Walker Signs Second Novel in Village on Sunday; E-Book Release on Thursday
Local author, artist and activist Christie Walker will be signing her second book, “The Write Man for Her”, at the Big Bear Book and Bean in the Village (at 596 Pine Knot Avenue) on Sunday afternoon, from 1 to 3pm. Those who stop by will receive a free bookmark, and those who purchase a copy of this, Walker's second novel, will be entered into an opportunity drawing to have their name included as a minor character in the next book she is writing. Her third book, titled “Getting Back to Delaney”, will be released as an e-book as of next Thursday—for more information, visit ChristieWalkerBos.com.

Long-Standing Poplar Tree at Meadow Park Felled by Rec and Park Staff as Limbs Overhung Tot Lot
Passersby along Park Avenue yesterday morning in the 7am hour may have noticed a large tree down in Meadow Park, near the playground or “tot lot” area off the tennis courts. As it turns out, a crew from the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District cut down the poplar tree, guesstimated to be about 70 years old, as a safety precaution, as had been the case with another, smaller poplar removed from the tot lot earlier this week. Per Reese Troublefield, Director of the Recreation and Park District, “We're not in the tree cutting business, but in the tree growing business. We were not happy with the fact that we had to do that, but it was a proximity issue—not that the tree would have necessarily fallen on the playground, but the heavy snow on big limbs over the playground was an issue.” Troublefield tells KBHR that Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Fuerstenberg and two others from the Recreation and Park District attended a playground construction and safety training seminar in September, and have since felled some trees, including four at The Ranch in Erwin Lake, as a safety measure, and another two to allow more sunlight at the pool area. Asked if they have the authority to cut long-standing trees on park properties owned by the County of San Bernardino, Troublefield responded, “If it's a safety issue on our property, it's something we can make a discretionary decision on.” Though the long-standing poplar is no longer a part of Meadow Park, there are plans to plant three red maples between the playground area and the picnic pavilion to provide shade—these maples are the same kind as the six planted at Sugarloaf Park, which Troublefield says are doing really well.

Having a Hard Time Paying Utilities? Home Energy Assistance Applications to Be Processed on Wednesday
If your utility bills are more than you can afford, Bear Valley Electric will once again be offering utility assistance application processing next Wednesday, October 22. Low-income families in need of assistance with utility bills may be eligible for benefits through the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP. Due to the demand for applications to be processed earlier this year, next Wednesday, the first 40 in line will be processed from 9:30am to noon; another 20 applications will be accepted from 1 to 3:30pm. HEAP is offered to low-income households, and eligible families can receive an annual credit up to $355, which may be applied to gas or electric bills. Other HEAP program benefits, for home weatherization, include up to $240 for firewood or up to $350 toward propane. In order to prepare for the application process, here is what households will need to present: both current gas and electric bills (in their entirety), rental agreement or mortgage statement, California picture ID with current address, and social security cards for all household members and proof of Social Security information for 2008, and pay stubs for all prior 30-day pay periods. If applying for propane benefits, bring your current invoice receipt with account number. The HEAP and weatherization assistance applications will be processed at Bear Valley Electric Service, at 42020 Garstin Drive on the 22nd. Those with questions in the meantime can call Bear Valley Electric at 866-4678 ext. 123.

Memorial Service for BBHS Graduates Darrell and Debbie (Copley) Feuerhahn Next Tuesday in Redlands
A memorial service has been planned for Fire Captain Darrell Feuerhahn and Debbie (Copley) Feuherhan, who passed away last Friday as a result of a head-on collision on Highway 62 in rural Riverside County. The husband and wife, both of whom graduated from Big Bear High School in the early 1970s, will be celebrated in a memorial service to be held next Tuesday, October 21 in a 10am ceremony at Calvary Chapel in Redlands, located at 27165 W. San Bernardino Avenue. For more on the Feuerhahns, scroll down to our story posted on Tuesday, October 14.

Electronic Waste Dumping Opportunity for East Valley Residents at CSD Maintenance Yard Next Saturday
East Valley residents may want to initiate some cleanup this weekend, as next Saturday, October 25, the Big Bear City Community Services District will hold an Electronic Waste Round-up and Community Clean-up Day. The one-day only dumping opportunity will be offered at the CSD Maintenance Yard off Paradise Way from 8am to 3pm. As electronic waste cannot be disposed of in landfills (as of February 2006), on the 25th, CSD will accept electronic waste including televisions, computer monitors, VCRs, cell phones, microwaves, fluorescent tubes, clothes irons and electric space heaters. East Valley residents may also dispose of yard waste, old furniture, mattresses and white goods including stoves, washers and hot water heaters. Old tires will also be accepted, though no rims, or commercial or oversized tires. This dumping opportunity is open to residents, though business waste will not be accepted. Questions on allowable items at the CSD Electronic Waste Round-up can be directed to 585-2565. Hazardous household waste, such as batteries, oil and paint products, can be left at the hazardous waste collection facility at 42040 Garstin Road each Saturday from 9am to 2pm, and mid-week from 7am to 4pm. For questions on this facility in Big Bear Lake, call 800-OILY-CAT.


Daniel Morello of Mountain Mobile Massage samples the award-winning chili of B's Backyard
Bar-B-Que, served up by owners Julie and John Gorzik, at Tuesday's Chilly Chili Evening,
hosted by the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

California Lake Managers Association Gathers in Big Bear Lake to Discuss the Quagga Mussel Today
The City of Big Bear Lake is playing host to lake managers from throughout the state as the California Lake Managers Association holds their conference at Northwoods Resort this week. The Big Bear Municipal Water District is the host agency of this annual event, which includes about 70 professionals from the water business and lake communities. The focus of this year's gathering is the invasive Quagga Mussel, and today's presentations will include speakers from the California Department of Fish and Game, as well as a panel from our local MWD. Lake Manager Mike Stephenson is speaking on lake management and weed control, General Manager Scott Heule is scheduled to give an overview on the MWD and the future of Big Bear Lake, and Lake Supervisor Travis Carroll will discuss local efforts with regard to the Quagga Mussel, including prevention techniques and future strategies. Though the Quagga Mussel has infected, and subsequently closed, many lakes throughout the country, Big Bear Lake remains Quagga-free, thanks in part to the roughly 250 free Quagga Mussel decontaminations performed by MWD staff this year. Before the California Lake Managers Association gathering wraps for another year, those in attendance will take a tour of Big Bear Lake and the Big Bear Dam on the Big Bear Queen on Friday.


School Board candidates David Foltz, Paul Zamoyta, Randy Putz, Sharon Congdon, Jim McGowan, Richard Weathersbee.

Six Candidates for School Board Field Questions from the Lighthouse Project in Tuesday's Forum

Six of the seven candidates vying for three seats on the Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District participated in the Lighthouse Project sponsored candidate forum held this week, and those in attendance at the Knickerbocker Conference Center included parents, teachers and administrators, students and other concerned community members. The opening question presented to candidates Sharon Congdon, David Foltz, Jim McGowan, Randy Putz, Richard Weathersbee and Paul Zamoyta (candidate Beverly Grabe, a former BVUSD teacher, was out of town), referenced the Lighthouse Project's vision to create a child-honoring community, and questioned how school board candidates would assess and support this vision and prioritize available resources. David Foltz, a career educator with a Ph.D and three-year resident of Sugarloaf, noted that the Valley has a community of caring adults and a growing alliance of community organizations but, he adds, “I would like to encourage more outdoor education,” (referencing the zoo, museum and Holcomb Valley) and said that there are too many dysfunctional families in the Valley, and that needs to be addressed. Candidate Paul Zamoyta, a former BVUSD teacher and now a realtor, says, “A lot of work has been done to set these visions, now we need to act on them. There has to be ownership by the community to reach our potential.” He also expressed that, inasmuch as schools are concerned, the outside counts as well as the inside, and facilities should be up-to-date. Jim McGowan, a father of two and current North Shore Boosters President and member of the district's Budget Committee, referenced his career as a volunteer coordinator with the YMCA, saying, ”I've learned that honesty, respect and caring start at the top, and also at the bottom. Our kids need technology, and we need to give students and teachers the best tools.” Sharon Congdon, a career educator (including 20 years as a teacher for L.A. Unified) and recently retired principal of Big Bear Elementary, says it is exciting how many resources are available to students in the Valley, including the Lighthouse's PeaceBuilders program, which she implemented at the elementary. “Our students' well-being,” she says, “contributes to their education. Our teachers are working so hard, and our superintendent is leading us in the right direction.” Randy Putz, a parent to children at BBMS and BBHS who, as a technology expert oversaw the Million Miles for Ryan Hall website, pointed out that we need to focus on kids and get more people involved. “Priorities,” he says, “should be preparing kids with educational basics and balancing testing with keeping the joy in teaching.” Retired police officer Richard Weathersbee, a father of five and past Baldwin Lane Booster President, notes, “Some of our schools meet targets, and others don't.” He added that BVUSD teachers are highly qualified, but felt that students need to feel safe and secure at, to and from school and that there should be increased attention to student attendance. We will bring you more from these candidates as we approach the November 4 election.

Soroptimists' Theatre of Horrors Open Through Halloween at the Performing Arts Center; Childcare on Site
The Soroptimists' Theatre of Horrors returns for the Halloween season, though this year the ladies have partnered with students of Big Bear High School and the Performing Arts Center Foundation to bring the haunted house to the PAC. Theatre of Horrors will be open for tours from 7 to 11pm as of this Friday, October 17, and will continue on Saturday the 18th, and October 24 and 25. On Halloween which, this year, is on a Friday, Theatre of Horrors is open from 8 to 10pm. This year's scarefest includes a Little Ghouls Haunt for children, and childcare on site so parents can enjoy, even if the kids opt not to enter. Tickets to the event at the Performing Arts Center, proceeds of which benefit Soroptimists' local philanthropic efforts, are available pre-sale at citybigbearlake.com, or at the door for a cost of $5 per adult, and $3 for children 6 and under.

DWP's New General Manager Joel Dickson "Excited to Usher in a New Era of Professional Management"

Though he has been on the job for just two weeks, the Department of Water and Power's new General Manager Joel Dickson has long been familiar with the Big Bear Valley as, in his 17-year career with Golden State Water Company, parent company of Bear Valley Electric Service, he oversaw the construction of the natural gas-fueled power plant of seven generators that services the Valley. In his formal introduction to the City of Big Bear Lake this week, Dickson was first introduced to City Council by DWP Chairman Steve Foulkes, who said that following an extensive search for a general manger, “The Board was committed that we were going to find the right person.” In terms of utilities, Dickson's career is extensive, as he pointed out, “I've got 32 years of experience in the utility business with four different companies. I started as a meter reader.” Before joining the DWP, Dickson had risen in the ranks at Golden State (which was the Southern California Water Company when he first joined them) and ultimately held the title of Senior Vice President before making the move to the Big Bear DWP (though he, his wife and the youngest of their five children still reside in Claremont). “I know a lot of the Valley already,” he noted. “I'm excited to be here. It's a very nice community and I enjoy it here.” As for taking the helm at the water agency, Dickson adds, “I'm a collaborative type of person; I like teamwork. I'm excited to usher in a new era of professional management of the Department of Water and Power.”


Julie and John Gorzik of B's. (Photo courtesy of BB Chamber)

Big Bear Chamber Members Warm Up to B's Backyard Chili at Chilly Chili Evening Event on Tuesday

At this week's annual Chilly Chili Evening Chili Cook-Off and mixer hosted by the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, the chili cooked up by B's Backyard Bar-B-Que took top honors, and the team headed by B's owners John and Julie Gorzik will now be entered (by the Chamber) to compete in next summer's Old Miners' Days Chili Cook-Off. Other top finishers in the fun and filling event include second place honors to the Barnstorm Restaurant and third to the Bear Valley Cruisers car club.

Critical Fire Conditions Present as Red Flag Warning in Effect Through Friday; Sugar Fire Contained
The Red Flag Warning for our area continues through 10pm Friday, so all are advised to be fire-safe and, should you suspect arson, report it immediately by calling 911. Yesterday afternoon's Sugar Fire, located just south of Sugarloaf near the Green Spot picnic area on the San Bernardino National Forest, was quickly contained and held to just 10' x 10'.

Breast Cancer Is Not Preventable But Early Detection Is Key; No-to-Low Cost Mammograms Available
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, as an estimated 182,460 new cases of breast cancer are expected among women in the United States this year alone, the American Cancer Society stresses the importance of an annual mammogram for women age 40 and over. Debra Murphy, the Inland Empire's leadership volunteer for the American Cancer Society, says, “Survival rates for breast cancer are significantly higher when the cancer has not spread. Numerous studies have shown that early detection increases treatment options and can save lives. That is why it is so important for women 40 and older to get an annual mammogram.” At this time, breast cancer is not preventable, but there are things women can do to reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer. A woman's best overall preventative health strategies are to maintain a healthy body weight, engage in regular physical activity and reduce alcohol consumption. Locally, Soroptimists International of Big Bear Valley offer mammograms at little or no cost, based on an individual's ability to pay—appointments can be made by calling the Bear Valley Community Hospital at 878-8204. (At this time, there is no deadline for this service, which is funded in part by donations made in memory of Soroptimists Sue McNutt and Barabara Koza.) Within San Bernardino County, free mammograms are available to low-income women over 40 without health insurance through the Every Woman Counts program, which has over 80 clinics in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and is reachable at 800-511-2300. For women under age 40, who are low-income and without insurance, yet have a breast problem, the Women's Health Initiative services women in San Bernardino County at their three clinics in Riverside. For information on this program, call 951/697-6565, ext. 251 or 225. You can also visit cancer.org for more information—at right, enter your zip code for regionally specific sources.

Municipal Water District to Address CEQA Documentation Proposal for Possible Sale of Surplus Property
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District meets at their offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive at 1pm today. This afternoon's regular meeting includes a proposal from Tom Dodson & Associates for assistance with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) documentation for sale of MWD surplus property. The cost of said proposal is $2,200 and, though not budgeted, could be paid for out of the Lake Improvement Fund.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Breaking News as of 3:10pm: Small Fire Reported at Valley's East End Near Highway 38 Area
We have just gotten word of a small fire on the north slope of Sugarloaf Mountain, in the vicinity of last week's Arlington Fires. This small fire was called in just before 3pm, and crews are currently en route to the scene on the San Bernardino National Forest. Smoke may be visible. We will bring you more information, once it becomes available. Update as of 3:30pm: The fire is just 10' x 10' and Forest Service crews are on scene—these include an engine, Heaps Peak helitack crew, and a fire investigator. Update as of 4pm: The small fire on the north side of Sugarloaf Mountain, in the vicinity of last week's Arlington #1 and #2 Fires near Green Spot picnic area, is now being called the Sugar Fire. The burn area has been held to 10' x 10' and Forest Service officials expect to have it fully contained within the hour. The Heaps Peak helitack crew, helicopter #534, has been doing water drops since arriving on scene just after 3pm. Update as of 5pm: The Sugar Fire has been declared contained, per the U.S. Forest Service..

Red Flag Warning Extended; National Weather Service Says Critical Fire Conditions Exist Through Friday

The Red Flag Warning for our area, issued by the National Weather Service, has been extended once again, and it is now in effect until 10pm Friday. This Red Flag Warning is indicative of critical fire conditions, given low relative humidity and strong winds. At this time [2:45pm] there are no fires on the San Bernardino National Forest, though a ¼ acre fire in the San Jacinto area, named the Pinewood Fire, was contained by Forest Service crews earlier today.

City Council Discusses MARTA and Measure I Funds, Though No Action Taken on Subsidies for Seniors

The City Council of Big Bear Lake addressed the use of County-distributed Measure I funds (culled from a ½ cent transportation sales tax) to be used to off-set MARTA bus fees for the transit provider's senior and disabled patrons, as rates are to be increased as of month's end. Last year's distribution of Measure I funds amounted to just over $35,000; this year, these funds are estimated to be about $23,700. Though the City Council does not have the authority to dictate how these funds are used by MARTA, City Manager Jeff Mathieu explained that a Council vote would be a recommendation to the MARTA Board (which includes Council members Bill Jahn and Liz Harris, and three others from within the San Bernardino mountain communities). Monday evening's conversation on the matter did take a detour from the subsidy directive as Councilmember Michael Karp presented a three-page document to his fellow Council members, in which he outlined his “brainstorm” (as he called it) with regard to increasing MARTA ridership and revenue, and thoughts for regional transportation studies and off-mountain rider packages. Steering the conversation back to the issue at hand, which he had brought to the agenda, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn reiterated, “The people who need the most help are our seniors and disabled, and this could go a long way toward helping them.” Harris pointed out that even with the rate increase—from $1 to $1.50—seniors already receive a discount, and pay half the regular fare. Though on the MARTA Board, Harris said it was inappropriate for Council to impose their will on the MARTA Board, and she wanted to hear from MARTA's General Manager Kathy Hawksford on the impact of redirecting Measure I funds specifically to subsidies for seniors and diabled patrons. City Manager Mathieu proposed that Hawksford come before Council, as had been planned anyway, at either their October 27 or November 10 meeting before any definitive use of Measure I funds was recommended by Council—so no action was taken on October 13.

Planning Already Underway for Big Bear High School 40-Year Reunion for Classes of 1968, '69 and '70
Big Bear High School classmates who graduated nearly 40 years ago are already planning for a combined class reunion to be held in August of 2009. Bears alumni from BBHS classes of 1968, 1969 and 1970 are encouraged to get on the list, in order to be involved in this 40-year reunion event. If you or someone you know graduated from Big Bear High in 1968, ‘69 or ‘70, you can email your contact information to reunion organizers at bbhs1969reunion@yahoo.com to be sure you are included in future updates.


Captain Rick Flint of the Big Bear Lake Fire Department receives a send-off from the City of Big
Bear Lake, including a Proclamation from Mayor Rick Herrick, in recognition of his 28 years of service.

Big Bear Lake Fire's Captain Rick Flint, a Medal of Valor Recipient, Retires After 28 Years of Service

After 28 years of service to the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, Captain Rick Flint finished his final A shift on Saturday morning at 8am. Captain Flint had overseen the department's A shift for 15 years during a career that included many honors, including the California State Firefighters Association Medal of Valor in 1983, and nominations for the 2007 Big Bear Valley Firefighter of the Year and San Bernardino County Fire Chiefs Association Overachiever Award. The department's interim Fire Chief Mark Mills, at Monday evening's City Council meeting, said that it was his dubious honor to announce Flint's retirement and that the captain's contributions and commendations, including a Masters Degree in Counseling, would amount to the loss of a valuable asset to the Big Bear Lake Fire Department. In his 28 years as a firefighter, Captain Flint had risen through the ranks and had served on Strike Teams for the Willow, Arrowhead, Morongo and Slide Fires, performed as Station Captain during the Old Fire, and was assigned to provide initial attack on the Butler and Butler #2 Fires. After receiving his Proclamation from the City of Big Bear Lake, as read by Mayor Rick Herrick, Flint said, “I couldn't have done it without the support of my wife Marlene. Thank you for a wonderful career. We're staying in Big Bear.”

City's Neighborhood Chipping Program Wraps for Season; Pick-Up Calls Accepted Through Monday
For those within the City of Big Bear Lake, there are just a few more days to bring vegetation trimmings curbside. The City's on-demand Neighborhood Chipping Program, which began in April, wraps on Monday, October 20, so those who need a visit from the chipping truck need to place their call to 752-2805. For those clearing defensible space in preparation for the chipping truck, it is reminded that no rootballs, limbs or trunks over 8” in diameter, construction material, or bagged needles, leaves and pine cones will be picked up. David Lawrence, who oversees the City's Public Works Department, says that though October 20 is the last day to call for the Neighborhood Chipping Program, it is anticipated that it will take until early November to pick up all curbside piles. “Our goal is to have it all picked up before the snow flies,” he says—and then Public Works crews segue into the winter season, and snow removal efforts. For residents of the East Valley, the Big Bear City Fire Department will accept curbside chipping request calls at 585-2362 through month's end.


A Red Flag Warning for our area has been extended through 10pm today. Given low relative
humidity and strong winds, the San Bernardino National Forest (pictured here off Highway 38)
is under a 24-hour patrol, and additional firefighters and engines are staffed for these potentially
hazardous conditions.

County Supervisors Proclaim Local State of Emergency in Response to Santa Ana Winds and City Fires
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Paul Biane proclaimed a local emergency yesterday due to the wind-driven conditions that pose a hazard to the safety of persons and property throughout San Bernardino County. In a statement released by the County, Biane says, “When the Santa Ana winds are blowing in San Bernardino County, we can't wait for a major wildfire to declare a local state of emergency. We have to make the proclamation now so we're prepared to respond with full force to any fires that do break out." In recent days, hazardous fire conditions including strong, gusty winds and low humidity have resulted in multiple fires in the City of San Bernardino, causing millions of dollars in damage to public and private property and requiring the deployment of firefighting and public safety resources. In addition, local firefighting resources have been taxed due to San Bernardino County's assistance in battling the blazes in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The statement further adds that the County of San Bernardino has historically experienced multiple wildfires caused by such extreme fire and wind conditions propelled by Santa Ana winds, such as the Grass Valley and Slide Fires in 2007 and the Old and Grand Prix Fires in 2003. Jurisdictions proclaim a local emergency when circumstances of a disaster are, or are likely to be, beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county, and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat. A copy of this proclamation will be forwarded to the Governor of the State of California with the request that he proclaim that a State of Emergency exists. A Gubernatorial proclamation of a State of Emergency in San Bernardino County will make available the wide range of statewide resources to San Bernardino County and its cities and towns. The County will also be better able to recoup a portion of any fire suppression costs and other costs related to the disaster proclamation. Update: As of today, Governor Schwarzenegger did declare a State of Emergency for San Bernardino County. Earlier in the week, the same was declared for both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Planning Commission Holds Public Hearing on Zone Change to Allow for Proposed Senior Condominiums
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake meets for their first meeting of this month this afternoon, at 1:15pm in Hofert Hall. The sole agenda item is a Public Hearing with regard to a zoning change request, from single family to multiple-family residential, at 42515 Big Bear Boulevard. The zone change would be to allow for the construction of a 35-unit senior condominium complex. Per the staff report, the proposed project, to be represented by Michael Rafferty and Brian Weber, is located immediately to the west of the Big Bear Senior Center. The property to the immediate west and south of the subject site is vacant and reserved as an open space lot within the Castle Glen Subdivision, for which a Conservation Easement has been established and granted to the Castle Glen Conservancy Corporation. The Big Bear Municipal Water District's Stanfield Marsh Wildlife and Waterfowl Habitat Improvement Project are across the Boulevard to the north of the site proposed for the senior condominium complex.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Margie Vernay, Mother of Six and a 60+ Year Resident of the Valley, Celebrates Her 100th Birthday Today
We have a centenarian in our midst! Longtime Big Bear local Margie Vernay celebrates her 100th birthday today, with a party among friends at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, following a festive weekend that included a coastal train ride and a family birthday party in Burbank. Vernay was born on October 14, 1908 in St. Louis, Missouri and, in 1947, moved from there directly to Big Bear with her husband Marcel, and she has lived here ever since. Vernay's daughter Estelle Hooker, with whom she shares a home, relates that her mom has come a long way to reach this milestone, having survived two World Wars, the flu of 1918 and the Depression. In her 60+ years in the Big Bear Valley, Vernay helped organize the first Big Bear Hospital Auxiliary, and raised six children: Marty, Jr. (who passed in 1990), Don, Estelle, Diane, Celeste and Robert. Vernay also has five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren to help her celebrate her 100th birthday.

Three Weeks Until Election: Big Bear's 10,022 Voters Are 47% Republican, 26% Democrat, 26% Other

If you think your vote doesn't count in an election, consider this: within the Big Bear Valley, the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has (as of Monday) recorded 10,022 registered voters. For Valley-wide elections for, say, the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District or the Big Bear Airport District, there are eight candidates each vying for three seats, so every vote will be important in these races. The Registrar of Voters has also released just-updated information on party statistics. For the City of Big Bear Lake, the district total of registered voters is 3,187—of these, 814 are registered Democrat, 1,753 registered Republican, 484 are non-partisan, and the remaining 136 registered voters within the City belong to the American Independent, Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom parties. Of the 6,410 registered voters in the Big Bear City area, the Registrar has tallied 1,827 Democrats, 2,992 Republicans, 1,230 non-partisan, and the other 361 registered voters in the Bear City area as belonging to other parties. If you haven't yet registered to vote for the Presidential General Election in just three weeks, on November 4, you can still do so by picking up a voter registration form at any post office, and make sure it is received by the Registrar of Voters office by next Monday, October 20.

BBHS Graduates Fire Captain Darrell and Debbie Feuerhahn Succumb to Fatal Motorcycle Collision
Two Big Bear High School graduates of the early 1970s had an untimely passing last Friday, October 10 when riding on their Harley Davidson on Highway 62 in rural Riverside County. Fifty-two-year-old Fire Captain Darrell Feuerhahn and his wife Debbie (Copley) Feuerhahn, age 54, had been riding their Harley mid-day when a head-on collision with a truck resulted in their deaths. Captain Feuerhahn had served 26 years with the Redlands Fire Department, and had just retired from service in September. Per Redlands Fire Chief Jeff Frazier, “He was a founding instructor in the multi-agency truck company academy and accomplished instructor in the fields of confined space, trench and elevator rescue. In addition to his fire service contributions, he was a third degree black belt and martial arts instructor.” Feuerhahn and wife Debbie had resided in Yucaipa, and are survived by their son Darrell Jr. (a firefighter with the San Bernardino County Fire Department), daughter Stephanie, and four-year-old twin granddaughters. Other family members mourning their passing include Darrell's brothers Robert, Karl and Eric, and Debbie's mother Flora Copley, brothers Mike and Terry of Big Bear Lake, and siblings Monty, Rick and Karen. At this time, the Copley family tells us that funeral arrangements for Darrell and Debbie Feuerhahn are still pending.


Down and out on Starvation Flats: the hubbub of activity at the intersection of Highway 18/
Big Bear Boulevard and Stanfield Cutoff/Starvation Flats, at the Arco station, was the result
of a boat that came off its trailer in the 10am hour this morning.

BVUSD Board of Trustees Moves Meeting to This Evening; 6pm Agenda Begins With Closed Session

The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District has moved their regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting and will instead meet this evening, October 14, at 6pm. The meeting, to be held at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road, will start with closed session agenda items, before open session, to include employment approval of a number of classified staff positions, begins. (See next story for more on BVUSD Board.)

BVUSD Candidates Congdon, Foltz, Grabe, McGowan, Putz, Weathersbee, Zamoyta in 7pm Forum Tonight
Meanwhile, at the Knickerbocker Conference Center at 7pm, those candidates running for the school district's Board of Trustees will take part in a public forum, to be hosted by the Lighthouse Project. The seven candidates—Sharon Congdon, David Foltz, Beverly Grabe, Jim “Mac” McGowan, Randall Putz, Richard Weathersbee and Paul Zamoyta—will respond to questions prepared in advance, as well as those from the floor of attendees, which will also include student representatives. The Lighthouse Project's Director Beth Gardner says, “The vision of creating a child honoring community in Big Bear is closely linked to the climate and success of our schools. We are committed to supporting their success and understand the significance of a capable and dedicated Board of Trustees in that process. We hope voters will take advantage of this opportunity to hear from the school board candidates in this forum.” This evening's BVUSD candidate forum takes place at 7pm at the Knickerbocker Conference Center at 869 Knickerbocker Road in Big Bear Lake. On Wednesday, these candidates will meet once again, at 5pm at the BBARWA Conference Room on Palomino Road in Big Bear City. The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce hosts this forum, which will also include candidates running for the Boards of the Big Bear City Community Services District and the Big Bear Airport District.

Red Flag Warning for Our Area Extended; Local Fire Agencies Fully Staffed in Preparation for Fire Event
In response to the Santa Ana winds, and the fire activity in Southern California, Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis and Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District interim Fire Chief Mark Mills have re-called personnel to staff additional fire apparatus as of 6pm yesterday, October 13. The Big Bear City Fire Department will staff Water Tender 291, and Big Bear Lake Fire Department will staff Brush Engine 281, per a statement released by the Big Bear City Fire Department. This combined effort greatly increases the fire departments ability to quickly extinguish a fire while it is small. This additional staffing will remain in effect until the winds die down and the fire danger is reduced. Fire Chief Jeff Willis is the alternate San Bernardino County Zone 3 Coordinator for mutual aid fire resources. In this capacity, Fire Chief Willis is on the phone daily with other Mutual Aid zone coordinators, wherein information is disseminated related to: fire weather predictive services, current fire activity, and current deployment of fire apparatus and personnel. Chief Willis emphasizes, “This increased staffing arrangement is a preemptive effort of both fire agencies while high fire danger conditions exist.” As of this time [8:30am, 11:30am, noon, 3pm, 5pm], there are no fires within the San Bernardino National Forest area, however the Red Flag Warning for our area does remain in effect. This Red Flag Warning (which is indicative of critical fire weather conditions due to strong winds and low relative humidity) has been extended through 10pm Wednesday.

No County Supervisors Meeting Today; Possible Roof Ordinance Adoption at Next Meeting, October 21
The Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County will not hold their weekly Tuesday meeting this morning, but will next convene on Tuesday, October 21. Next week's agenda is scheduled to include a second reading and possible adoption of the County's modified roof ordinance, which would essentially require the replacement of all wood shake shingle roofs within the County's Fire Safety Zones (including communities in the San Bernardino mountains), by July 2014.

Monday, October 13, 2008



Hayley Bracken, alongside Vondalynn Dias, reacts to the announcement that she is Miss Big Bear 2009, before being crowned
by 2008 Miss Big Bear Katie Bumstead. (Photos courtesy of official pageant photographer Louis Weiner Photography.)

Local Royalty: Hayley Bracken Crowned Miss Big Bear; Karen Kearsey Takes Oktoberfest Queen Title
Twenty-one local teens participated in the Miss Big Bear pageant at the Performing Arts Center on Saturday, and the crown now belongs to Hayley Bracken. The 17-year-old Big Bear High School senior is the youngest of Dennis and Linda Bracken's three children, and is captain of the high school's varsity cheer squad, a member of student government, and a children's ski and snowboard instructor at Snow Summit. Miss Big Bear Hayley Bracken's court includes 1st runner-up Vondalynn Dias (recently crowned Homecoming Queen at BBHS), 2nd runner-up Hollie Oberneder, 3rd runner-up Kasey Judge, and rounding out the court at 4th runner-up, Lindsay McGeehan. And, while Bracken was in an evening gown at the PAC on Saturday evening, on the other side of town, Karen Kearsey donned a dirndl at the Big Bear Convention Center. The third time proved to be a charm for the Sugarloaf resident, as Kearsey won this year's stein-carrying contest to be named the 38th annual Oktoberfest Queen.

Common Ground and MOM Project Partner to Offer Free Love and Logic Series for Parents of Teens
Common Ground, the local support network for parents of teens, is partnering with the MOM and Dad Project to bring the Love and Logic course to their weekly Monday meetings. This free, seven-week class is facilitated by Marilyn Vecchio, Director of the MOM Project, and will be geared toward parents of teens. Per those at Common Ground, this class is for any adult who is interested in raising teenagers who are respectful, responsible and fun to be around. The Common Ground group, which was initiated by friends of the Lighthouse Project, meets each Monday at 6:30pm at Community Church by the Lake. During meetings, all sharing is done openly and honestly, and newcomers can be assured that family confidentiality is respected. Those parents who wish to join Common Ground for the seven-week Love and Logic course, which begins next Monday, October 27, can call 801-1766 to pre-register for the free series, or visit BigBearCommonGround.com or attend this evening's meeting for more information.

Red Flag Warning For Our Area Through Tuesday; Forest Service Firefighters on 24-Hour Patrol
Severe weather conditions are upon us, as the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, including a Red Flag Warning and a High Wind Advisory, for our area. High winds of 35mph are expected, and can make driving difficult for those in high-profile vehicles, and all are advised to watch for downed power lines and broken tree limbs. The Red Flag Warning, which remains in effect until 6pm Tuesday, is indicative of critical fire weather conditions due to strong winds and low relative humidity. The U.S. Forest Service is responding by boosting its fire response readiness on the mountain. Extra engines, aircraft and 24-hour patrols are in place. But Forest Supervisor Jeanne Wade Evans says it's equally important for citizens to do their part. Residents can help firefighters by maintaining defensible space around structures, being careful with open flames, sparks and other heat sources, and keeping their eyes out for arson; if suspected, report arson activity by calling 911.

Community Arts Theater Society Begins Building of Warehouse Theater in Big Bear City Today
The Community Arts Theater Society is one step closer to having its own storage and rehearsal space. The beams go up on the CATS Warehouse Theater in Big Bear City today after three years of preparation; the building is expected to be complete within a few weeks. The organization's immediate goal is to finish permit Phases 1 & 2, which will make storage rental unnecessary and give CATS a facility to prepare for the 2009 season. Information on making a tax-deductible donation to the CATS Building Fund is available online at bigbeartheater.org. Building Fund donors will be permanently honored in the new facility.

Two Small Earthquakes in Our Area Yesterday, Per the U.S. Geological Survey
We had a couple earthquakes in our area in recent days. On Sunday morning at 5:16am, there was an earthquake of a 1.4 magnitude centered six miles north northeast of Mt. San Gorgonio and seven miles south southeast of Big Bear City, which registered a depth of 4.6 miles. Yesterday afternoon, there was a 1.6 magnitude quake in our area, per the U.S. Geological Survey. The 1:48pm quake on Sunday was centered four miles southeast of Big Bear Lake, and registered a depth of nearly four miles. And, though perhaps not felt here in the Big Bear Valley, there was 3.4 magnitude quake in the Cabazon area last night at 10:39pm.

City Council Meets This Evening; Traffic Circulation and Parking Plan for Village to Be Discussed
The City Council of Big Bear Lake meets for their first meeting of the month this evening at 6:30pm in Hofert Hall. This evening's agenda includes an introduction to the Department of Water and Power's new General Manager Joel Dickson and a Council update on the state budget. Also, as requested by Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn, Council will address the use of Measure I funds to off-set the cost of MARTA fee increases for seniors and disabled patrons of the transit provider. During the Improvement Agency portion of the meeting, there will be discussion regarding a traffic circulation and parking plan for the Village.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Additional Firefighters Staffed on San Bernardino National Forest in Preparation for Santa Ana Winds
In preparation for forecasted Santa Ana winds this weekend, the U.S. Forest Service is bolstering its fire response readiness with additional firefighters, aircraft and extended patrols. As weather forecasts are calling for the first Santa Ana wind event of the year, this Sunday and Monday, local forests are staffing firefighters for 24-hour shifts. Locally, on the San Bernardino National Forest, an additional five engines will supplement the usual 25 local Forest Service engines, totaling 30 engines on extended staffing, as well as four hotshot crews, three airtankers, two helitankers, two helicopters, an air attack plane, and additional initial attack support. An additional four single engine airtankers can be available within four hours. Per Forest Supervisor Jeanne Wade Evans, “San Bernardino National Forest firefighters continue doing a tremendous job taking immediate and aggressive action suppressing wildland fires on the forest. Now, as we potentially face our first Santa Ana winds of the season, we're ramping up our firefighting resources and law enforcement patrols.” As Santa Ana winds have the potential to rapidly spread wildfires, the Forest Service reminds that it is equally important for local citizens to do their part. Residents can help firefighters by ensuring that homes have defensible space and by being especially careful with open flames, sparks and other heat sources. Additionally, those living near the wildland-urban interface should keep an eye out for arson and immediately report arson activity by dialing 911.


The fun is underway at the 38th annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, rated as the #1 Oktoberfest in
Southern California and among the top 10 in the country, at the Big Bear Convention Center. This
weekend, reigning Oktoberfest Queen Tracy Rice (center) will pass her title to the local woman who
wins Saturday's final in the annual stein-carrying contest.

Locals Karen Kearsey and Dara Del Gado to Carry 14 Steins for Oktoberfest Queen Title on Saturday
If you missed your chance to do the chicken dance at last week's Locals Night, the 38th annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest continues both this Saturday and Sunday and will, this weekend, feature the finals in the Oktoberfest Queen competition. The two local ladies vying for the title currently held by Big Bear City resident Tracy Rice are Karen Kearsey from Sugarloaf and Dara Del Gado of Big Bear Lake. For Kearsey, this is her third year in the stein-carrying contest and, in Saturday's final at 6pm, she and Del Gado will attempt to carry 14 steins of beer, weighing 70 pounds, for the title of Oktoberfest Queen. The Oktoberfest also offers other contests through the weekend, include log sawing, beer stein holding, safe slam beer drinking, and others designed specifically for children. For a complete list of this weekend's activities, which will include performances by the Polka Tots, you can click on the link to the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest at the top of this page.

Fawnskin Postmaster Cynthia Crane Retires; Longtime Local Mike Hillion Serving as Acting Postmaster

The Fawnskin Post Office has a new acting postmaster, given the recent retirement of Postmaster Cynthia Crane. After 32 years with the U.S. Postal Service, Crane has retired, though still lives in Fawnskin, where she is much loved by the community on the North Shore. It was Crane who was instrumental in assuring postal pick-up for her customers during the Butler #2 Fire evacuation last September and she had since been encouraged to, and did, run for Fawnskin's Honorary Mayor. Though Crane is no longer running the P.O., Fawnskin has another local at the helm, and new acting Postmaster Mike Hillion is happy to be there after commuting from the Big Bear Valley to the Apple Valley Post Office. As Hillion tells KBHR, “I am super happy to be living and working in my hometown of the last 22 years, and now I can ride my bike to work—and I'll do that until we get six inches of snow.” Hillion has worked for the postal service for 28 years, though has been commuting so he and wife Deena could raise their two children, both BBHS graduates, here in the Valley. He hopes his move to the Fawnskin Post Office will be permanent, though a current postal service hiring and promotion freeze will keep him from being named official postmaster for the time being. But, for now, Hillion is pleased with his current post, adding, “The town and people of Fawnskin are awesome.”

Historic Stetson Creek Ranch Off Highway 38 Now Offers You-Pick Apples on Over 100-Year-Old Orchard
If you're looking for a fall field trip for the family that's not so far-flung, the Stetson Creek Ranch off Highway 38 has a long history, dating back to the 1880s when owned by notorious cattle rustler Jim McHaney, and is now a 35-acre apple orchard and working ranch surrounded on all four sides by the San Bernardino National Forest. The several varieties of apples, from trees dating back over 100 years, tend to ripen in October, given the mountain location. Orchard owners Tere and Patti Messenger continue to grow using organic means, and now offer you-pick apples, starting at just $5 a bag. The you-pick opportunity is available from 10am to 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and, as Patti tells KBHR, “We'll stay open as long as we have apples.” To reach the Stetson Creek Ranch, take Forest Service road 1N86, just past Jenks Lake Road on Highway 38 at mile marker 24.91—or visit stetsoncreekranch.com for more specifics before tackling the rugged road.

National Weather Service Issues High Wind Watch for Our Area; Red Flag Warning for Nearby Deserts
The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Watch for the mountains and deserts, which will be in effect from 6pm this evening through 6am Saturday morning. Winds will increase to 25 to 35mph in most areas, and gusts could be greater than 50mph at times with the potential of wind gusts to reach 60mph. It is further advised that wind damage will be possible to trees and power lines, and that winds this strong can present a hazard to those driving high-profile vehicles. For neighboring communities of Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley, a Red Flag Warning is in effect, meaning conditions for high fire potential, given strong gusty winds and low humidity. This Red Flag Warning for the desert region is in effect as of 11am today.

Year-Long Survey Directed at Visitors to the San Bernardino National Forest Is Now Underway
If, when visiting the San Bernardino National Forest in the coming year, you are asked by someone in an orange vest to stop, this is because a one-year survey, called National Visitor Use Monitoring, is underway. As of this month, and through September 2009, the U.S. Forest Service, in partnership with California State University San Marcos, will have interviewers stationed at recreation areas and along low-speed Forest Service roads on the San Bernardino, Los Padres and Cleveland National Forests. Data from the year-long study will be presented to the U.S. Congress and agency planners, and may also be used as part of the basis for allocation of funds to each forest. The last sampling period for the San Bernardino National Forest took place in 2003, when a significantly reduced number of visitors were surveyed as this was during a time of severe drought and high fire danger, which prompted fire use restrictions which limited visitation and recreation. As a result, the San Bernardino National Forest tallied two million visitors during the study, which ranked our local forest as the seventh most visited among the 18 national forests in California. For the just-underway survey, visitors are not required to participate, though those who choose to do so will be asked basic questions such as what they did and how long they stayed. Survey participants will not be asked any personal information, other than zip code, and will be given the opportunity to rate facilities within the San Bernardino National Forest.


A warm fall day, here at Juniper Point: Temperatures on Wednesday afternoon reached 72°
(68° is normal this time of year), though we can expect temperatures as much as 20-30° below
normal on Saturday. For more on local weather, visit our Big Bear Weather page, or tune in
to Ben Brissey's report at quarter after the hour, every hour, on KBHR.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Before Purchasing Firewood, Review County's Advisories; Avoid Purchasing by Truckload or Wheelbarrow
Before you purchase firewood for the winter season, the County of San Bernardino advises consumers that laws are in place to ensure you get what you pay for. The County's Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures is charged with enforcing laws related to the sale of firewood and investigating complaints from consumers. Firewood can only be sold by a measure known as a cord, a fraction of a cord, or by the cubic foot. State law prohibits selling wood by the truckload, “face cord”, pile, wheelbarrow or other informal measurement. (One exception to the law states that quantities of less than one-eighth of a cord may be sold in containers that state the amount. Manufactured products like charcoal or starter logs may be sold by weight. Bundles of firewood must be labeled in cubic feet.) A cord of wood is defined as 128 cubic feet of wood, well-stowed and packed—an example of a cord is a stack of wood eight feet long, four feet wide, and four feet high. Per the County, consumers should insist the wood is stacked neatly with as little spacing as possible. Firewood dealers are required to provide receipts for amounts one-eighth of a cord or greater; this receipt should include dealer's name, address and the same phone number that was used to order the wood, along with the quantity delivered. When possible, the County advises payment by check, rather than cash, with the amount of wood purchased on the check. If the wood purchased does not measure up, payment on the check can be stopped. Further, it is advised that those purchasing firewood avoid dealers selling by the pickup load, have wood stacked and then measure the quantity, and always get a written receipt. To file a complaint regarding unresolved issues with a firewood dealer, call the County's Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures at 800/734-9459—and be sure to stack wood where it will not present a fire hazard, and never stack under porches or decks.

Twenty-One Teens Contend for the Crown in Saturday's Miss Big Bear Pageant at the PAC
The Miss Big Bear Pageant returns to the Performing Arts Center this weekend and, per pageant organizer Teresa Ritenour, “We have 21 beautiful, intelligent and athletic young ladies.” Those vying for the crown, currently held by 2008 Big Bear High School graduate Katie Bumstead, are Darcie Adams, Hillary Antes, Ashley Bailey, Hayley Bracken, Vondalynn Dias, Melissa Dunn, Andi Ferraud, Sarah Fagan, Tiana Hahn, Eron Johnson, Dorothy Johnston, Kasey Judge, Emily Kamphaus, Megan Kendall, Lindsay McGeehan, Maureen Millican, Breana Mussella, Hollie Oberneder, Arielle Salsa, Katherine Smith and Ashley Villarino. The 5pm pageant on Saturday is already sold out.

County Supervisors Pass First Reading of New Roof Ordinance for Fire Safety Zones, Including Bear Valley

At this week's meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, the first reading of a new roof ordinance was passed, though the ordinance would not become effective until January 2009, should County Supervisors adopt it following a second reading at their meeting of October 21. The ordinance, once passed, would apply to San Bernardino County Fire Safety Zones, which include communities in the San Bernardino mountains. The roof ordinance would require that, prior to July 2014, roof coverings be either non-combustible or shall be fire retardant material not composed of organic fiber with a minimum Class A rating which, essentially, means the replacement of all wood shake shingle roofs. County Building Codes already require such for new construction, however the new ordinance would bring this requirement to existing roofs as well. Prompting these new modifications is the fact that, per San Bernardino County Fire Department, wood roofs are one of the most significant factors in the ignitability of homes. Wood roofing is problematic during fires and can cause ember throw for more than a quarter mile and, when wood roofs burn, they can send large burning embers well beyond established fire lines. For specifics on the proposed roof ordinance for the county, you can visit the website of the San Bernardino County Fire Department at sbcfire.org.

Yesterday's Arlington #1 and #2 Fires Contained; Today's Drift Smoke Result of Vegetation Fire Off Hill
The two small vegetation fires that had burned just south of Sugarloaf on the San Bernardino National Forest yesterday afternoon were contained in the early evening, thanks to a full and quick response from firefighting crews of the U.S. Forest Service, San Bernardino County Fire, and the Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake Fire Departments, as well as air support that included Heaps Peak helitack. Officials with the Forest Service tell KBHR that a vehicle was involved in the fire, though there were no individuals in the vicinity of the vehicle or either fire, both of which were held to 20' by 20'. The investigation on the Arlington #1 and #2 Fires is ongoing, though it is suspected that the vehicle prompted one fire, which led to the second. An engine crew is on site, in the burn area off Highway 38 near Forest Service road 2N93, this morning. However, if you see smoke today, it is likely from a vegetation fire off the mountain. Per a statement from the Big Bear City Fire Department today: “Due to the Camp Pendleton Fire in the San Diego County area, it is possible that the Big Bear Valley may smell or see some drift smoke. The small fire that occurred behind Sugarloaf is completely extinguished and we have no fire activity in the area.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Photo of the Arlington Fires, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Breaking News as of 3:20pm
: Two Small Vegetation Fires South of Sugarloaf, Off Highway 38

There are two fires burning at the eastern end of Big Bear Valley, though a full response is already underway, including helicopter support and firefighting crews from the U.S. Forest Service, County Fire and the Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments. The two fires, called in just before 3pm, are burning south of the Sugarloaf area near Green Spot picnic area, in the vicinity of Highway 38 and Forest Service road 2N93 (also known as Wild Horse Road). Very good progress is already being made on fire suppression efforts on the two small fires. Update as of 3:30pm: Both fires are approximately 20' by 20'—the vegetation fire further to the west is burning in broken fuels, the other fire is burning in a meadow area. Per John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service, “There are no road closures or evacuations being called at this time.” Update as of 4:15pm: More aircraft have been on scene, dropping fire retardant on the two fires, now billed as the Arlington #1 and Arlington #2 Fires. As of roughly 4pm, very good progress continues to be made and, per John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service, “Crews made quick work of these fires.” At this time, all aircraft have been released except for the Heaps Peak helitack crew, which remains on scene. The cause of both fires is under investigation, though one fire is said to include a vehicle. Update as of 6pm: Both fires have been contained, and held to roughly 20' by 20' each. Despite containment, crews will remain on scene this evening.

U.S. Postal Service Recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness With Special Stamp; Proceeds to Research

All post offices with the U.S. Postal Service are recognizing National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the breast cancer stamp. This stamp, prompted by a suggestion from Dr. Ernie Bodai, CEO of CureBreastCancer, was issued 10 years ago and was the first of the postal service's fundraising stamps. Also called a semi-postal stamp, the breast cancer stamp sells for 55 cents, and covers the cost of a First Class piece of mail (for 42 cents), with the remainder being directed toward breast cancer research. Per Postmaster Javier Fregoso of the Big Bear Lake Post Office, the National Institute of Health receives 70% of funds generated, and the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense receives the other 30%. As of August 2007, over 785 million breast cancer stamps had been sold, which has raised over $58 million for breast cancer research. The breast cancer stamp is available at local post offices in October, online at usps.com, or via phone orders at 800-stamp24.

Community Services District Endorses Participation in Eight-County Earthquake Drill on November 13

The Big Bear City Community Services District now joins the Big Bear Municipal Water District, the Big Bear Airport District and KBHR as local organizations who plan to participate in the Great Southern California ShakeOut, the earthquake drill planned for November 13 that will include participants from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, Imperial, Kern and San Bernardino Counties. In adopting a resolution encouraging participation, CSD Director Bob Colven told his fellow board members at Monday's meeting that planning is already underway at the county level, should a massive earthquake (such as the 7.8 magnitude one to be simulated) occur in our area. Per Colven, “Eight hundred thousand tons of debris is expected, and how they came to that number I don't know, but a lot of it is houses, pieces of houses and contents of the home, such as appliances and furniture. The debris from collapsed buildings cannot be taken to the transfer station, so all material collected will be placed in an area under guard, and will be separated—hazardous from non-hazardous—and that's just the solid waste aspect of it.” Those who participate in the drill, on a civilian level, will simply be asked to prepare for an earthquake and then, during the 10am drill on November 13, drop, cover and hold on. Fire Chief Jeff Willis followed up Colven's comments at the October 6 meeting by suggesting that all take this opportunity to prepare for a potential quake, saying “Make sure things above your bed, and on your shelves, are secured. It's not a matter of if, but when.” To register for the ShakeOut, simply log on to shakeout.org.

Southwest Gas Sponsors Local Winter Coat Drive; Six Drop-Off Locations Through Month's End
The employee volunteer team of Southwest Gas is once again sponsoring their annual Winter Coat Drive. Donations of new and clean gently-used coats for men, women and children will be accepted through October 31st in this, the 11th annual drive. Per Cecelia Neale, customer specialist at Southwest Gas and this year's coat drive coordinator, “We care about our neighbors and our community, and our Winter Coat Drive is about neighbors helping neighbors here in Big Bear. For more than a decade we've had great success with this event, and we look forward to another successful year.” If you have coats to contribute, there are six drop-off locations through month's end, including the Southwest Gas offices at 40844 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake. During regular business hours, those gently-used coats can be left at donation boxes at Big Bear City CSD, Bear Valley Electric, Kmart, Stater Bros. and Vons. Coats will be distributed to those in need on Wednesday, November 5, from 9am to 5pm, at the Southwest Gas offices.

County Supervisors Adopt New Fire Hazard Abatement Ordinance to Include Green Fuels as of November

San Bernardino County Supervisors unanimously approved a new Fire Hazard Abatement Ordinance yesterday. The ordinance, which goes into effect on November 6, modifies the existing ordinance to extend beyond dead fuels and will now include green vegetation management, making it more consistent with state fire hazard abatement requirements. The modified ordinance will apply to county areas within the Fire Safety Overlay, which includes communities in the San Bernardino mountains. Abatement specifics of the ordinance now require that all foliage and branches within six feet of the ground on trees 12 feet in height are pruned if within 100 feet of a structure. All high-fire fuel shrubs within 15 feet of structures should be well-pruned, well-spaced and free of dead or damaged foliage—these shrubs include, but are not limited to, manzanita, service berry, mountain whitethorn, sage, ironwood, juniper shrubs and Spanish broom. Hazard abatement will also apply to pine needles, leaf litter or ground mulch over two inches in depth, as well as all dead branches and leaf litter in and under all plants, trees, foliage, shrubs and all flammable vegetation at all heights within 100 feet of all structures. Tree limbs, not trunks, will also need to be at least 10 feet from chimneys and stovepipes. Per David Wert on behalf of County Supervisors, “This is a pretty bold step, and property owners are going to have to do some work--but, as Supervisor Hansberger said, it's the responsible thing to do.” The initial enforcement of the Fire Hazard Abatement Ordinance (which, again, becomes effective November 6) will be implemented by the County Land Use Services Code Enforcement Division; however, notices will not be issued to all parcels at spring's end as in years past, but will be issued year round. Per local fire agencies, the better residents do their job of creating defensible space, the better firefighters can do their job to defend homes from wildfire. For more information on the County's Fire Hazard Abatement Ordinance, you can visit sbcfire.org for links to the ordinance specifics and the Fire Safety Overlay map; for information on the Forest Care grant program to help defray the cost of creating defensible space, visit sbnfa.org/forestcare.php. For residents within the City of Big Bear Lake, fire hazard abatement specifics are posted at thinisin.org/chpt_01.html.

Big Bear City Fire Committee Meets Today to Review Fire Department Master Plan Recommendations
The Fire Committee of the Big Bear City Community Services District will meet at 1pm this afternoon, at the CSD offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard. The Fire Committee, which includes CSD Directors Jeff Newsome and Marge McDonald, will meet with Big Bear City Fire Department Chief Jeff Willis to review the Fire Department Master Plan strategy and recommendations. The open session meeting is open to the public, though no action will be taken during the afternoon meeting.


Big Bear City service dog Pearl, companion to Adrian McKee, was honored with the Dog of Valor
distinction by representatives of the Humane Society of the United States at Monday evening's
meeting of the Community Services District. In addition to recognition from CSD's General Manager
Mike Mayer (left), Pearl received gifts from Colin Berry and Dawn Lauer of the Humane Society, and
ARFF (Animals Are First Fund) as presented by Brian Cronin of San Bernardino County's Animal
Care and Control Program. More on Pearl is posted below, in a story on Monday.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


CSD's 1,500 Missing Water Bills Make Their Way to P.O. Boxes--Nearly a Month After 9/11 Mailing
The missing 1,500 pieces of mail, sent via the Big Bear City Post Office on September 11, have since made their way to the P.O. boxes of the Community Services District's water customers, as intended, though what happened to those bills in the meantime remains a mystery. According to Postmaster Ron Ward at the Big Bear City Post Office, “Those bills showed up here on Saturday the 4th, almost a month later, so people will receive a second bill.” When, on September 26, CSD employees noticed that incoming payments were significantly lower than normal and then investigated, it was determined that the CSD water bills had been misplaced in the mail, and a second set of bills were issued on the 26th. At that time, Postmaster Ward also agreed to waive the $517 in postage for the second batch of bills to roughly 25% of CSD's customers. Ward tells KBHR, “We sent the mail out like we normally do, to the plant in San Bernardino. If it's automated mail, as it is for CSD, we send it out and it comes back to Big Bear City the next day. Ninety-nine percent of the mail goes down the hill to be processed, because the machine can sort it faster than we do manually. It can sort a million pieces of mail in just an hour.” On CSD's end, per Becky Wallace in the Customer Service Department, “We've had hundreds and hundreds of calls. The second bill is just a reprint of the first one, so the second one can just be discarded.” (For background on this story, see posting of September 26.)

BBHS Graduate Scott Romero Is Third Local to Graduate from Lackland Air Force Base This Year
The Army and Air Force Hometown News Department has shared with us that 2005 Big Bear High School graduate Scott M. Romero has graduated from six weeks of basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Airman Romero, son of Lance and Christy Romero of Big Bear City, joins the ranks of others from the Valley who have also completed training with the Air Force at Lackland this year—those being 2006 BBHS graduate Jennifer Brandes, daughter of Jack Brandes of Big Bear Lake, and David Gessey, a 2007 high school graduate and son of Lyle Gessey of Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Hosts Two Local Candidate Forums; First of These Today at 5pm
The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a candidate forum at the Performing Arts Center this evening, which will include candidates for the City Council of Big Bear Lake and the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District. The four candidates vying for two seats on City Council are incumbents Liz Harris and Bill Jahn and Bill LoPresti and Barbara Willey. For the three seats on the Board of Directors of the Healthcare District, the eight candidates are incumbents Chris Fagan, Carol Mulvihill and Ron Peavy and Dennis Carden, Michael Hartstein, Ed Kibbey, Brad Summers and Randy Vanos. This evening's candidate forum takes place at 5pm at the PAC. The Chamber will host a second candidate forum, next Wednesday, October 15 at 5pm at the BBARWA Board Room for those running for the Big Bear City Community Services District, the Bear Valley Unified School District and the Big Bear Airport District. And, as reported last week, the Lighthouse Project hosts a forum for the seven candidates running for the three seats on the Board of Trustees for BVUSD next Tuesday, October 14 at the Knickerbocker Conference Center at 7pm.

Installation of Camera Surveillance System at Big Bear Dam Is Complete; MWD Funds New PMF Study
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District approved both Business Items under consideration during their first meeting of the month, which was held on October 2. Among those, the MWD Board reviewed the newly installed SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquistion) upgrades at the Big Bear Dam and the camera surveillance system, installed by MWH Americas, Inc. and considered the work complete. A Notice of Completion will now be forwarded to, and recorded by, San Bernardino County. The MWD Board also approved an expenditure of $7,955 to Christensen Associates, Inc. to complete a follow-up on the hydrology analysis for the Valley—the new PMF (or Probable Maximum Flood) evaluation would not combine the Baldwin Lake and Big Bear Lake watersheds, as prompted by the Division of Safety of Dams review of the earlier PMF study. Funding for this additional survey work will come from the MWD's Dam Repair Fund.

Fire Chief Willis Recognizes Impressive Achievers in Bear City Fire's Physical Fitness Training Program
Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis recognized high achievers from his department at yesterday's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Community Services District. Personnel from the Big Bear City Fire Department recently received results of their Wellness and Physical Fitness Training, a program they have participated in since 2003 in an effort to be a stronger team, especially when on the fire lines. Chief Willis explained that each year new benchmarks are set for his department, training is done year round and, per Willis, “There are more push-ups than you ever care to do.” Those who received commendation at the CSD meeting included Firefighter/Paramedic Rick Seward, named Most Improved as he reduced his body fat by 200%. Firefighter/Paramedic Jim McDaniel was recognized for having achieved a perfect score of 1800 on his fitness test—a feat the department's fitness consultant has only seen twice in 25 years. The Big Bear City Fire Department's support staff also participated, and of the 20 department offices tested, Deanne Johanson, Susan Bathurst, Rachael Jahn and Kathy Davis ranked as the most fit—in fact, the ladies don't mind saying that each of them is over 40, as their median physical fitness age is just 30 years old, given their efforts in the Big Bear City Fire Department's Wellness and Physical Fitness Training.

AAUW Offers Free Lunch and Learn Seminar Tomorrow; RSVP for Disaster Preparedness Talk

The local ladies of the American Association of University Women are offering the fourth in a series of Lunch and Learn seminars, in which attendees can bring their sack lunch and enjoy a free learning opportunity, during which time beverages and homemade desserts are also provided. The next Lunch and Learn, which begins just after noon on Wednesday, will focus on disaster preparedness. In recent weeks there has been much talk of preparation for the Great Southern California ShakeOut and as we are in the midst of Fire Prevention Week, AAUW will address disaster preparedness in a free and informal setting. Presenters on October 8 will be Gabe Velasquez and Arthur Langer, members of the Big Bear Valley Community Emergency Response Team, who will share ideas on how to prepare for a fire, earthquake or other disaster. For more information, or to RSVP for Wednesday's free Lunch and Learn, to be held at the DOVES meeting room at 41943 Big Bear Boulevard in the Summit Plaza, call Sara Tully at 585-3667.

Monday, October 6, 2008

San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Poised to Adopt Fire Hazard Abatement Ordinance Tomorrow
At tomorrow's meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, the Consent Calendar includes possible final adoption of a Fire Hazard Abatement ordinance, which would apply to all mountain communities, with the exception of the City of Big Bear Lake (which has its own fire abatement ordinance which was, in fact, referenced in the development of the one up for adoption by the county). During an earlier reading of the ordinance, County Supervisors unanimously approved this updated version, which would apply not just to dead vegetation but green fuels as well. Flammable vegetation within the ordinance refers to all foliage and branches within six feet of the ground on trees over 12 feet high, as well as all shrubs within 15 feet of structures. These high fire fuel shrubs include, but are not limited to, manzanita, service berry, mountain whitethorn, sage, ironwood, juniper shrubs and Spanish broom. If adopted by County Supervisors, the Fire Hazard Abatement ordinance would take effect in 30 days and would apply to the county's “mountain area,” meaning unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County within the Fire Safety Overlay of the General Plan, whether publicly or privately owned, yet does not include National Forest land. At the October 7 meeting during this, National Fire Prevention Week, Supervisors will also have a first reading of a shake shingle roof ordinance for the county.

Friday's Locals Night at Oktoberfest Generates $3,000 for Big Bear Valley Historical Society
This weekend's Locals Night at the Big Bear Convention Center's Oktoberfest brought in $3,000 to benefit the Big Bear Valley Historical Society, who will use the funds for off-season upgrades to the Historical Museum, including the relocation of some historic buildings to their (now) permanent site at the former Big Bear City Park. The next fundraising venture for the Historical Society takes place tomorrow, at their Pizza with a Purpose event at Village Pizza. All-you-can-eat pizza will be offered at a cost of $7, from 4 to 8pm. (More information on the Big Bear Valley Historical Society posted on September 30.)



Locals Gene Cyr and Jeri Peacock-Licht Each Take Third in Weekend's Sold-Out Big Bear Lake Troutfest

Over 12,000 pounds of fish were stocked in Big Bear Lake in anticipation of this weekend's Troutfest sponsored by Western Outdoor News, though just 1,045 pounds of trout were reeled in during the two-day event. Anglers braved cool temperatures on Big Bear Lake in hopes of scoring some of the $77,000 in cash and prizes ultimately distributed for the sold-out Troutfest and though no one caught the tagged fish worth a new Ford F150 or $30,000 in cash, Michael Richards of Rancho Cucamonga caught a tagged fish worth $200 in gift certificates; and Harold Horner of Victorville was a $10,000 grand prize boat winner. The biggest fish of the contest, a 4.15 pound trout, was caught by Davie Gonzales of La Puente. Overall winners in the male division were Mike Kroes of Whittier (with nine fish totaling just over 10 pounds), second went to Charles Ball of Ventura, and third to Fawnskin's Honorary Mayor Gene Cyr. Top female finishers were Lynne McCullogh of Los Angeles (with 10 fish totaling just over 11 pounds), Brandy Finch of San Jacinto, and third to Jeri Peacock-Licht of Sugarloaf.

Airport Board to Potentially Move Forward With Terminal Building Acquisitions, Endorses ShakeOut

At last week's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District, the Board agreed to place on their November agenda the motion to acquire through eminent domain all interest in the airport terminal building that the Big Bear Airport does not currently own. The Airport District Board also agreed to endorse the resolution in support of the Great Southern California ShakeOut, which is the disaster drill planned for November 13. Airport General Manager Garry Dokter tells KBHR that they will participate in the drill with Mountain Mutual Aid. “In the event of a real disaster,” Dokter says, “there is a possibility that all roads would be closed and the airport would be used for rescue operations and the airlift of supplies and personnel.” In addition to county-based agencies, the Big Bear Municipal Water District has also endorsed the ShakeOut, and the Big Bear City Community Services District will consider participation during their board meeting this evening.

National Fire Prevention Week Focused on Preventing Home Fires; Tours at Local Firehouses on Saturday

This week marks National Fire Prevention Week and this year's campaign is “Prevent Home Fires,” focused on preventing the leading causes of home fires: cooking, heating and electrical equipment, and smoking materials. According to statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 396,000 reported home structure fires in 2006, resulting in 2,580 civilian deaths—in fact, in that year, NFPA says that home fires caused 80% of civilian fatalities. The San Bernardino County Fire Department encourages families to this week comb through each room in your home to find signs of danger and fix them. Other suggestions include turning off the stove when you leave the kitchen; keep all flammable material, including bedding and furniture, at least three feet from heating equipment; replace cracked and damaged electrical cords; and, if you smoke, smoke outside and use deep, sturdy ashtrays. And, given that it is Fire Prevention Week, all three local fire departments will host an open house this Saturday in conjunction with the Lions Club, which will offer free food at each firehouse while activities and tours are provided: from 9am to noon, stop by the Big Bear City Fire Department for pancakes; from 10am to noon, hot dogs will be offered at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department; and from 2 to 5pm, dessert will be served at County Fire's Fawnskin Station #49. The Big Bear Library is also recognizing Fire Prevention Week, with a special children's program (featuring reading, fire safety and crafts) on Thursday at 4pm. For more information on fire safety, you can visit the websites of the San Bernardino County Fire Department at sbcfire.org and the National Fire Protection Agency at nfpa.org; there is also the official Fire Prevention Week website at firepreventionweek.org.

Service Dog Pearl to Be Recognized as a Humane Society Dog of Valor at Today's CSD Board Meeting
During this evening's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District, to be held at their offices (at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard) at 5:30pm, service dog Pearl, owned by Big Bear City resident Adrian McKee, will be recognized. The boxer-Great Dane mix has been named a finalist in the Dogs of Valor Award competition sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States. Service dog Pearl has earned this recognition for having assisted her owner when McKee fainted as a result of a medical condition. The dog then used her nose to raise her owner's head, then knocked the phone receiver off the hook and pawed at the phone until an operator was reached, and then opened the door when emergency personnel arrived at their Big Bear City home. Per a statement from Paul Bruce of the Humane Society, “We talk about the unique bond we share with man's best friend. Pearls' determination to help her owner shows just how deeply that bond is shared, truly making her a Dog of Valor.”

Big Bear Sheriff's Station Seeks Citizens on Patrol Volunteers; Next COP Academy Begins October 17
The Big Bear Sheriff's Station is now accepting applications for their Citizens on Patrol program, which is manned by volunteers who serve as the “eyes and ears” of the Valley by patrolling neighborhoods, conducting vacation checks, helping with local events, and assisting with other duties. The Sheriff's station will be conducting volunteer interviews later this week, on October 9 and 10, and the next COP Academy will begin on October 17th. COP volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, and possess a valid driver's license. Once an interview and background check are completed, COP volunteers attend a training course, and are asked to attend monthly meetings and volunteer a minimum of 17 hours per month. For more information on the COP program, or to pick up an application, stop by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station during mid-week business hours, or call Service Specialist Tiffany Swantek at 866-0103.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mandarin Garden Re-Opened As of Today; Health Inspector Notes "Thoroughly Cleaned and Sanitized"
The Mandarin Garden Restaurant has re-opened as of this afternoon, following their third Health Department inspection in as many days. Today's inspection of the Big Bear City restaurant resulted in the lifting of a temporary closure, that had been prompted by inappropriate handling of a cow carcass at the facility--though, as noted by owner Barry Wang in a conversation yesterday, no portion of the cow was to be used at his restaurant as, he says, “I buy all my food from a distributor.” The health inspector's comments, as posted at Mandarin Garden, state: “Observed good compliance. This facility has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Permit to operate is hereby reinstated and facility may open. Facility is now under review. No grade card has been issued today. A complete inspection will be conducted within the next two weeks, at which time a grade card will be posted based on the score.” (More on this story posted on Thursday, below.)

Big Bear High School Students and the Community Rally in Support of Bears #56 Sutton Burnard
-- Updated
The community came together in support of injured Bears football player Sutton Burnard last night, for a fundraising spaghetti dinner hosted by his teammates at Bear Mountain Resort—in fact, the parking lot was so full that even Burnard's stepmom Jenn Clegg and others said it looked as though ski season was underway. In a matter of days, friends of the 17-year-old, who underwent brain surgery last Friday in Moreno Valley, pulled together a full dinner, served by Big Bear High School football players in their Bears jerseys in support of their team captain, #56. Event co-organizer Donna Jenkins says that over 475 spaghetti dinners were served and, she adds, “After we ran out of pasta, we made meatball sandwiches!” Bears Head Coach Dave Griffiths told KBHR, “I am just so proud of everybody—the team and our parents. It's amazing how this community comes together.” Friends of the Burnard family made donations of food, raffle prizes, and contributions to the account established for Sutton at Union Bank, which his dad Bill, a former Bears football player, hopes his son can use for college. (This afternoon, Coach Dennis Bracken called KBHR to tell us that over $9,950 was collected last night, and has since been deposited at Union Bank on behalf of the Burnard family. Bracken says, “The entire Bears coaching staff, Donna Jenkins and I want to say thank you to the community. We are baffled by these numbers!”) As for Sutton's condition, it is much improved after a scary week. According to his stepmom, “Sutton is now out of ICU and they're talking about letting him out of the hospital Friday night or Saturday. He really, really wants to come home.” Clegg says that it will be four to six weeks before Sutton will undergo skull replacement surgery, and he will wear a helmet in the meantime. And, she adds, “All of us—Bill, Sutton's mom Kelli, and I—are so grateful to everyone, and it makes us glad to live here in Big Bear.” (More on this story posted on September 29 and 28.)


Bears football players Joshua Soules, Anthony Valdez, Andrew Rodriguez and Cole Fullmer were among the very gracious
Big Bear High School students helping at the event, which featured food donated by Nottingham's, Vons, Stater Bros.,
and Sysco Foods; Bear Mountain, too, donated use of their facility for the special event.

Even Bears from the junior varsity squad stepped up, and helped with serving to, here, the Warren family;
Eddie Muro and Cole Fullmer (above right) served salads to (below) longtime Bears supporter Kathy Matlock and
daughter Tara. For larger versions of any of these photos, you can right click on the photo to copy/save to your computer.


National Transportation Safety Board Releases Final Report on Fatal Airplane Incident of November 2006

The National Transportation Safety Board has released their report findings on the airplane incident on the morning of November 14, 2006 that resulted in the deaths of Bob Cartwright of Sugarloaf, Bob McNutt (then President of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District) of Big Bear Lake, and professional pilot Danny Stokes of Victorville. The pilot, who had logged a total of 4,700 flight hours, had been hired to fly Cartwright's plane, a Cessna 421B, to Las Vegas when shortly after takeoff from the Big Bear Airport, the plane crashed in Big Bear Lake along the south shore. The NTSB lists occurrences prompting the fatal accident as a partial loss of power to the left engine, a fractured turbocharger, the airspeed, and the in-flight collision with water. In the incident statement, released by the NTSB at September's end, it notes probable causes as “failure of the turbine wheel shaft in the left turbocharger during the takeoff initial climb for undetermined reasons, and the pilot's failure to attain and maintain safe single engine airspeed.”

Cooler Temperatures, Chance of Rain, and Windy Conditions Expected in the Mountains This Weekend
The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for our area, noting that significant weather change is coming to Southern California by this weekend; KBHR's weatherman Ben Brissey says we can expect cooler temperatures and windy conditions. The first chance of widespread rain since last spring is predicted, and strong gusty winds will be possible in the mountains and deserts Friday (today) through Sunday. Local gusts could exceed 45mph, per the National Weather Service, and daytime temperatures will average about 10 degrees below normal on Saturday. For more specifics on this weekend's weather, tune in to Ben's weather forecast, which airs at a quarter after the hour, every hour, here on KBHR 93.3 FM (also available streaming live online).

October Is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month; Big Bear Shelter Has Dogs and Cats Available for Adoption
October is also billed as Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and the San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control Program (in conjunction with the American Humane Association) encourage potential pet owners to consider adoption from one of the county's animal shelters, in Devore and here in Big Bear. The Big Bear Animal Shelter, located at 42080 North Shore Drive at Stanfield Cutoff, has a number of homeless pets available for adoption. According to Animal Control Officer Donna Davison at the Big Bear Shelter, “We have both dogs and cats here. We have adult cats, juvenile cats and kittens, and we have adult dogs, puppies, and big and little dogs.” Pet adoption prices through county animal shelters are $95 for a dog, $80 for a puppy, $48 for a cat, and $63 for a kitten. The Big Bear Animal Shelter welcomes prospective pet owners during Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month; hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm; on Wednesday, the shelter is open from noon to 2, and again from 3 to 7pm. For more information, you can call the San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control Program at 800-472-5609, or go online to sbcounty.gov/acc to view all animals available for adoption.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cal State University San Bernardino Advises Prospective Freshmen to Apply Before November 30
Students interested in attending Cal State San Bernardino in 2009-2010 are encouraged to apply during the priority application period, which begins this week and runs through November 30. Because of the state's current budget situation, California State University campuses will not receive additional enrollment funding from the state for the coming academic year. Per a CSUSB statement, all CSU campuses will likely see limited or no enrollment growth for next year, meaning many campuses will stop accepting freshmen applications on November 30. Cal State San Bernardino will continue to accept applications after the priority application period, but students are strongly encouraged to apply by November's end to afford a better opportunity to gain Fall 2009 admission. CSUSB Director of Admissions Olivia Rosas says, “The priority application period gives students a terrific opportunity to secure admission to Cal State San Bernardino, provided they are eligible. The university would like to accommodate as many students as our resources will allow, and so we strongly encourage students to apply right away. It's critical that prospective freshmen who are interested in coming to CSUSB apply before November 30.” For registration information, visit csusb.edu; technical support for electronic applications is available at 800/468-6927.

Local Officials Designate October as Month to Create a Family Disaster Plan; ShakeOut Drill in November

This morning's 4.1 magnitude earthquake, centered in the vicinity of Yucaipa, serves as a reminder that earthquakes can happen in our area and, as a means of encouraging disaster preparedness, San Bernardino County reminds residents: “Be a Survivor, Get Ready Now.” In September, local agencies, including San Bernardino County Fire and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, advised all to pack an emergency supplies kit, which would provide enough essentials to sustain a household for 72 hours. In October, County agencies suggest that the next step in preparedness is to create a family disaster plan, which includes evacuation routes, a safe place to meet, and designating an out-of-state contact. These preparedness steps are in anticipation of the Great Southern California ShakeOut, which will be a disaster drill on November 13, during which time a 7.8 magnitude quake will be simulated. For more information on creating a family disaster plan, visit sbcfire.org/oes (and click on Disaster Preparedness) and for specifics on the Great Southern California ShakeOut, go to ShakeOut.org.


Honk, honk! Migrating Canada Geese made a pit stop just south of Baker Pond on Highway 18,
where it seemed they were stopped to snack on pine nuts Wednesday afternoon.

Odor from Cow Carcass Results in County Health Department's Temporary Closure of Local Restaurant
The Mandarin Garden restaurant in Big Bear City was officially closed by the County's Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Division yesterday, though this closure is temporary. Per Dan Avera, Chief of Environmental Health Services for the County's Department of Public Health, the closure was due to inappropriate handling of a cow carcass at the facility, located at 501 West Valley Boulevard. As Avera tells KBHR, “Yesterday, we received a call regarding a complaint of odors at Mandarin Garden restaurant. At 3pm, our health inspector went on site, and did smell an odor. She found evidence of cow intestines and other internal organs, and fecal matter from the cow, but no evidence of a cow.” Given this, the health inspector posted a Notice of Closure, listing citations as Unsanitary Conditions and Sewage Contamination. In a subsequent conversation with Barry Wang, owner of Mandarin Garden and another restaurant in town, he says, “I don't open that restaurant during the day. I have friends who killed three cows, and they asked if they could clean one at my restaurant before we opened. I didn't know it smelled until the airport people called me. I feel bad. We threw the dirty part away, to the dump, and gave the rest of the cow back to my friend. I did check last night, before I left, to make sure the restaurant was clean—we used three bottles of bleach!” Wang adds that no portion of the aforementioned cow will be served at either of his restaurants, adding, “I buy all my food from a distributor.” Mandarin Garden will be re-inspected today to see if Health Department compliance has been achieved. Adds Avera of Health Services, “There will be a re-inspection today, to ensure all is clean and sanitized, and that all evidence of internal organs have been removed.” The county official also relayed to KBHR that Mandarin Garden will be referred to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, a state agency that regulates the slaughter of animals, which is prohibited in a retail restaurant. Update: Mandarin Garden restaurant did have a follow-up inspection this afternoon and, per Avera, “They still need to do additional cleaning.” The restaurant will remain closed until another inspection can be completed, and this is scheduled for Friday.

Lighthouse Project to Host October 14 Forum for Seven Candidates Vying for Three Seats on School Board

There are seven candidates vying for three seats on the Board of Trustees for the Bear Valley Unified School District, and the Lighthouse Project has invited each of these candidates to participate in a public forum to be held on Tuesday, October 14. The candidates—Sharon Congdon, David Foltz, Beverly Grabe, Jim “Mac” McGowan, Randall Putz, Richard Weathersbee and Paul Zamoyta—will respond to questions prepared in advance, as well as those from the floor of attendees, which will also include student representatives. The Lighthouse Project's Director Beth Gardner says, “The vision of creating a child honoring community in Big Bear is closely linked to the climate and success of our schools. We are committed to supporting their success and understand the significance of a capable and dedicated Board of Trustees in that process. We hope voters will take advantage of this opportunity to hear from the school board candidates in this forum.” The Lighthouse Project's school board forum will be held, again, on October 14, and will take place at the Knickerbocker Conference Center, located at 869 Knickerbocker Road in Big Bear Lake. The forum begins at 7pm, and as parking and seating are limited, attendees are advised to allow ample time.

Big Bear Gets a Shake from 4.1 Quake Outside Yucaipa; No Reports of Damage Here, and Dam Is Fine

If you were awakened by a shaking at 2:41am this morning, that was the result of a 4.1 magnitude earthquake, which was centered five miles northeast of Yucapia and eight miles west of Mt. San Gorgonio. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the 4.1 magnitude tremor registered a depth of eight miles. Though the quake was felt here in the Big Bear Valley, the Big Bear Sheriff's Station says they have not yet received any reports of damage in our area and, the Big Bear Dam, too, remains intact. Per Lake Manager Mike Stephenson, “Yes, we checked out the dam, and it is absolutely, perfectly fine.”

Municipal Water District to Give Dam Surveillance System Completion Another Review This Afternoon
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District will hold their first regular meeting of the month at 1pm this afternoon. During the meeting, to be held at the MWD offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive in Big Bear Lake, the Board is again scheduled to review, and potentially approve, the Notice of Completion for the Bear Valley Dam SCADA upgrade and camera surveillance system.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Big Bear Mountain Resorts Holds First of Two Job Fairs This Saturday; 2,000 Seasonal Positions Available
Big Bear Mountain Resorts hosts the first of their two annual job fairs this Saturday, as over 2000 seasonal employees will be hired for both full and part-time positions at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, which are expected (weather permitting) to be in operation as of Thanksgiving weekend. The first of the job fairs is this Saturday, from 8am to 2pm, at Bear Mountain though, per Glenn Carr of Employee Services, “We will have managers for both resorts at both job fairs.” Employment openings at the resorts include positions in ticket sales and food service, lift mechanics, snowmaking, bookkeeping, and ski and snowboard instruction. As Carr tells KBHR, “Besides all the employee perks, including free skiing and boarding, there's also free lessons--and a big plus for grandparents looking for employment is that we also offer free ski and board lessons for their grandchildren, which serves as an incentive for the grandkids to come visit!” Big Bear Mountain Resorts also have select positions open to those as young as 14, and work permit information will be available at the job fair. In order to expedite the hiring process, prospective employees can pick up an application at the Employee Services office at either Bear or Summit this week and, Carr advises, bring photo identification, phone numbers for references and any certification, such as first aid or USAA, to the job fair. In addition to this Saturday's job fair at Bear Mountain, a second opportunity will be offered at Summit on Saturday, October 18, also from 8am to 2pm. Temperatures for the Big Bear Valley are expected to drop significantly by Saturday, so attendees are advised to dress warmly for the job fair.

CATS Invites Community Participation in Production of "Cinderella"; First Meeting to Be Held on Saturday

The Community Arts Theater Society will be bringing another musical to the Performing Arts Center this year, as Rodgers & Hammerstein's “Cinderella” is due to open on November 14. Though auditions for some of the principal parts have already been cast, Director/Choreographer Michael McConnell invites other community members who want to participate as cast or crew to join CATS for the first rehearsal and orientation meeting for the production of “Cinderella.” The open meeting takes place this Saturday, October 4 at 2pm, at the Masonic Lodge on Summit Boulevard. As is CATS' policy, those who wish to participate may do so without auditioning, and all ages are welcome—however, all children participating in the show are required to have a parent or caregiver also involved in the production, whether as cast, crew or dressing room monitor. For more information on CATS or the upcoming schedule for “Cinderella,” you can visit bigbeartheater.org.

Today's Chat With Kat: Young Eagles Program, Fire Prevention Week, and Local Organic Produce Co-Op
This weekend marks the end of the season for the Young Eagles program, which is offered by the Big Bear Pilots Association. From April through October, children are offered a free flight in an airplane on the second Saturday of each month. On today's segment of “Tuned In on the Bear” with Kat Sawyer, which airs on KBHR at 5pm and again on Sunday at 7am, guests will include Roger and Charlie Schmidt on behalf of the Young Eagles program, as well as Fire Prevention Officer Michelle Caldwell on the upcoming Fire Prevention Week, and Susie Lerma, who coordinates the Valley's local, organic and wholesale produce co-op through Sol Food in Big Bear City (bigbearhealthfood.com).


Teammates on the Bears varsity football team traded out cleats for heels, for Sunday's "Walk A
Mile in Her Shoes" event in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. About 70 men
participated in the DOVES event, including (pictured above) Chris, Josh, Aric, Cody, Jacob,
Craig, Johnny, Joshua, Jacob, Brandon, Myles and Coach Ron Perkins. For more fun photos,
scroll down to Tuesday's posting.

October Signals the Start of Flu Season; County Offers $5 Flu Shots at Upcoming Clinics, Including Big Bear

It's October and, per the County Department of Public Health, that signals the start of flu season. Mid-month, the county will sponsor low-cost flu clinics, with shots offered for just $5. Annual flu shots are now recommended for infants and children ages six months through 18 years, as well as individuals age 50 and over and those with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, those who live in nursing homes, and home caregivers and health care workers. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness, and a new flu shot is recommended each fall as the influenza vaccine components change yearly based on the expected viral strains circulating in the environment. The county's flu clinic for the Big Bear area will be on Monday, November 3 from 10am to noon at the Big Bear Senior Center. Other nearby flu clinics will be held at the Redlands Mall on October 15, the Highland Senior Center on October 17, and the Lucerne Valley Senior Center on November 7. For more information, call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 800-722-4794.

A First for Big Bear: Full, 80-Piece Symphony Orchestra Performance, Slated for Sunday at the PAC
The sound of music is coming to the PAC as, for the first time in Big Bear, a full 80-piece symphony orchestra will be performing, for a single show on Sunday. In a joint presentation by the Rotary Club, the Arts Council of Big Bear Valley, the Performing Arts Center Foundation and the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, the Redlands Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Jon Robertson, will perform at 2pm on October 5. The Redlands Symphony, which was founded in 1950, has been deemed “exemplary” by the California Arts Council, which also noted, “This is a remarkable, strong orchestra, boasting fine ensemble playing, attention to detail and a rich, orchestral sound.” Ticket prices for Sunday afternoon's performance at the PAC are $35 for adults and $30 for students and seniors. David Leach, president of the Arts Council of Big Bear Valley notes, “We hope families will attend, especially those with children taking music lessons. A symphony experience at the Performing Arts Center should inspire music students. It is also very fitting that the first symphony orchestra performance in Big Bear Lake takes place during National Arts and Humanities Month.” Tickets can be purchased online at citybigbearlake.com or by calling the PAC box office at 866-4970.

Airport District Board Meets for General Meeting at 2pm; Final Meeting Prior to Election

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District will meet for their monthly meeting today at 2pm in the airport pilot's lounge. Today's meeting of the Airport District Board will be the first general meeting since the adoption of the Airport Master Plan on September 3 and the last before the November 4 election, during which three seats on the board of five will be voted upon. The agenda for this afternoon's meeting includes a motion to acquire all interest in the airport terminal building, a resolution in support of the Great Southern California ShakeOut, and a status update on the planning, permitting and bidding process for the maintenance building. (Details on the Airport Master Plan are posted in a story, now in our Local News Archive, on September 5.)

No Planning Commission Meeting Today; Commissioners Will Next Meet on October 15
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake will not hold their regular first-Wednesday-of-the-month meeting today, but will next convene in Hofert Hall on the third Wednesday, October 15.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mountain Area Safety Taskforce to Conduct Fire Prevention Survey; Random Calls Begin This Week
The U.S. Forest Service last week released the study findings on research conducted this summer with regard to homeowners and defensible space. Now, the multi-agency Mountain Area Safety Taskforce, or MAST, is planning to conduct their own updated survey to assess fire prevention and knowledge. Per San Bernardino County Fire's Assistant Chief Peter Brierty, “These surveys are critical components of our outreach effort because they tell us where we have been successful at educating the public about fire prevention measures like defensible space and thinning green-fuel, and where we need to focus more effort going forward. Our goal is to reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfire in our mountains.” In the survey conducted by MAST last year, officials found that 89 percent of respondents had taken steps to protect their property; whereas the Forest Service study noted that about 94 percent of homeowners had taken steps toward creating defensible space. The MAST survey will not just be limited to homeowners, however—per Tracy Martinez with County Fire, random calls will be made, starting this week. “It's random,” she tells KBHR, “and we're also reaching out to second homeowners. We're making calls from Mt. Baldy clear across to Forest Falls.” It is expected that survey results will be available by mid-October, though may be released in November. For more information on MAST, visit calmast.org. (Information on the U.S. Forest Service study, and links to local defensible space programs, are posted on September 26.)


Participants in the 2nd annual 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker Memorial Run for Freedom enjoyed
the scenery--and didn't so much enjoy the big hill on Switzerland Drive--during the Saturday
morning 5K, 10K and 15K. More on the family-friendly race hosted by the Seven Stars Foundation
posted below, on Monday.

Friday Is Locals Night at Oktoberfest to Benefit Historical Museum, Open Through This Weekend
This week marks the last of the museum season, as the Big Bear Valley Historical Society closes for the winter (and begins off-season upgrades) after October 5. In the meantime, the Historical Museum off Greenway Drive in Big Bear City is open from 10am to 4pm this Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and the Historical Society will be the beneficiary of proceeds from this Friday's Locals Night at Oktoberfest. As the Historical Society's President Gloria Meade says, “We invite the entire community to come out and celebrate with us, while also helping raise funds for your museum.” Locals Night at the Oktoberfest is offered at a reduced admission of just $3, free for children 12 and under, and doors open at 6pm at the Convention Center. Of the funds expected to be generated at the 'fest, Meade tells KBHR, “We'll use the money to move two, original historic Big Bear buildings—the caddyshack from the Peter Pan Woodland Club and the Boy Scout cabin at Meadow Park—to the museum.” These buildings will join other historic buildings currently on site, and available for viewing this weekend, including the Mt. Doble schoolhouse from the early 1900s and the 1870s Largo cabin. (The Historical Society will also host an all-you-can-eat pizza fundraiser next Tuesday, October 7, from 4 to 8pm at Village Pizza; cost is $7, free for children under 8.)

Community Emergency Response Team Raises $700 Yesterday; Next CERT Course Offered in November
Our local Community Emergency Response Team is currently 120 volunteer members strong, since being implemented in the Big Bear Valley in 1998. Community volunteer members of CERT are your neighbors, who have completed a five-course training series, in order to assist emergency personnel in the event of a local emergency. According to Sue Wright, Logistics Chairman for Big Bear Valley CERT, “Right now, we're involved in fire watch and, during the winter, we do ice patrol, to try to keep people off the lake ice. During the rest of the year, we have drills and ongoing training, in case we have an earthquake, fire or flood.” Yesterday, our local CERT team generated about $700 during their taco fundraiser at Sonora Cantina, which CERT President Gabe Velasquez says will go toward medical supplies, purchased at wholesale, to have on hand in case of an emergency. For those interested in becoming a CERT member, the next series of courses will be offered November 17-21, and at a cost of just $10. As Velasquez tells KBHR, “The more, the merrier. In case of a major disaster, we'll stand up and help.” If you, too, would like to help, CERT registration is available by calling the Big Bear City Fire Department at 585-2362.

Local Men Don Heels to "Walk A Mile in Her Shoes" in Support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Local non-profit group DOVES kicked off Domestic Violence Awareness Month just a few days before October with Sunday's activities focused on the theme “Ending Domestic Violence is Men's Work.” And, much to the delight of DOVES volunteers, about 70 men participated in the Sunday afternoon walk through the Village, billed as “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.” Led by members of the Big Bear High School football team, in high heels, local men, cheered on by wives, friends and children, donned the pumps, as well as shirts that read “real men don't hit women” for a walk down Big Bear Boulevard and through the Village. One member of the football team hurried back to Community Church by the Lake, center of the day's activities, to lose the shoes, saying, “It was so worth running to get back here, to get these off!” According to DOVES, which offers counseling and shelter services, domestic violence is the #1 cause of injury to women in the United States. Four thousand women are killed each year as a result of domestic violence in our country; a woman is being abused by her partner every nine seconds; and one in three women will be battered sometime in her life. For those in need of assistance, DOVES has offices located at Summit Plaza on the Boulevard; their 24-hour crisis hotline is 800-851-7601. For other services and information, visit the DOVES website at doves-stop-violence.org.


Local men were good sports about wearing the high heels to "Walk A Mile in Her Shoes" on Sunday afternoon.
Participants included (in three photos below) Brian Adams, Cliff Sliger and Jason Rice, and Juan Morales.


Registrar Mailing Sample Ballots for November 4 Election; Voter Registration Deadline in Three Weeks
The Registrar of Voters is this week mailing sample ballot pamphlets to registered voters in San Bernardino County. The sample ballot pamphlet provides general information pertaining to the upcoming November 4 Presidential General Election, including contests to be voted, vote-by-mail specifics, arguments and rebuttals for local measures, and candidate statements. On the back cover of each pamphlet is each voter's polling place location, and a vote-by-mail application. Voters who had not registered in time for this initial mailing by the Registrar will be included in the second mailing later in October. If you have not yet registered to vote, voter registration forms are available at all U.S. Post Offices, and must be received by the Registrar's office by October 20 to be eligible for the Presidential General Election on November 4.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Seventeen-Year-Old Burnard Is Better But Remains in ICU; Teammates Host Fundraiser on Thursday
Friends and teammates of injured Bears varsity football player Sutton Burnard will be hosting a fundraiser for the team captain, whose head injuries, sustained during the tied game against San Jacinto on Friday night resulted in surgery for the 17-year-old high school senior. The spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Bears #56 will be held at Bear Mountain Resort on Thursday, October 2. The three-hour event hosted by the football team and coaches begins at 5pm, and requested donation is $10 for adults and $5 for children. As for Burnard's condition, per BVUSD Superintendent Carole Ferraud, as of this morning, all signs are looking very good. Burnard has had his breathing tube removed, and he is awake and has been conversing. He remembers everything that happened at the game on Friday night, up until the time he passed out. Despite this, Burnard remains in ICU at Riverside County Regional Medical Center. Money collected at Thursday's spaghetti dinner will be placed in an account for the Burnard family at Union Bank. In an email from Burnard's family, they wrote, “Sutton will have a long recovery process ahead of him, and your continued assistance and prayers will help along every step of the road.”

New GM Dickson to Join DWP Tomorrow; Agency to Award Drilling Contract for Well #8 in A.M. Meeting
The Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power will convene for a special meeting tomorrow morning, Tuesday, at 9am. At this time, the DWP Board will award the contract for the drilling of Division Well #8, to be located just west of Division between the North Shore and Big Bear Boulevard. DWP staff report that four bids were received for the drilling project, which entails drilling of a 295' deep production well. The lowest responsive bidder on the project was South West Pump and Drilling, Inc., with a bid of $222,319, an amount $60,000 below the engineer's estimate. The staff recommendation is to award the contract, allowing for a 20 percent contingency, bringing the total to roughly $266,000, with funding to be provided by the DWP's Supplemental Water Budget for Fiscal Year 2008/2009. For tomorrow's meeting, and all others of the DWP Board, the starting time will be 9am, rather than 8am, as decided upon during their September 23 meeting. That meeting also included approval of new start date for incoming General Manager Joel Dickson, who will join the agency tomorrow.

Landaker Honored With Second Memorial Run from Snow Summit; Seven Locals Place in Event's First 15K

U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker, honored on Saturday with the second memorial run in his name on behalf of the Seven Stars Foundation (which benefits military families), was a family affair, including those who knew Landaker from his days as an athlete at Big Bear High School and military personnel, including racers and volunteers from the U.S. Marine Corps. As 5K, 10K and 15K races were taking place in Moonridge on Saturday morning, over 50 Purple Foxes from the Marine Corps stationed in Iraq also completed a 5K course to honor Landaker. Of the nearly 300 runners and walkers who participated in the 2nd annual Jared Landaker Memorial Run for Freedom, a number of those were Landaker's cousins, nieces and nephews (including the Villarinos from Big Bear), as well as friends of his parents Joe and Laura Landaker, including Marine veteran Jack Wands who, at age 76, was the top finisher in his division in the 5K. Locals who made the top 10 in the 5K included Ted Devito, James McDaniel, Jake Walmsley and Eric Swartz; in the 10K, Bob Antonacci of Big Bear Lake placed in the top 10; and, in the event's first-ever 15K, the field of just nine included local finishers Kevin Halamicek, Jason Pecoraro, Tyler Wood, Mike Wochner, Les and Vicky Melton, and Sherry McDaniel. (Top finishers are posted below, on Saturday; full results are available at resultsbyprimetime.com.) The third Landaker run is scheduled for Saturday, September 26, 2009; details will be available at SevenStarsFoundation.com.


The event began with members of the U.S. Marine Corps and the presentation of colors at Snow Summit Resort; the start of the 10K.

A family affair: Jared's buddy Matt Johnson not only named his now 14-month-old son after Jared, he also shaved "J-Rod"
on his head for the race; (above, center) Jared with fellow BBHS Class of 1999 graduate Shannon (Meagher) Meketarian
and her son Cooper, with his godfather Jared in 2006 and (right) on Saturday. Right click on photos to save larger version.

Landaker's Uncle Mark Clifton (above, left), one of the founders of the Seven Stars Foundation, and Jared's cousins Heather, Jamie, Tracy and Lisa; (center) KBHR's Catherine with mom Sidney Sandstrom (who, with friends, provided 65 gallons of extra-hydrating iWater for the race) and volunteer Gloria Meade; (right) Joe Haeckle and Rich Collier of the U.S. Marine Corps Detachment 1038 manned one of the water stations; and (below) neighbors along the course showed their support with American flags and cheers.


Pre-Dawn Thunderstorms Only Result in Minimal Precipitation Today; Scattered Showers Possible Later
We did have thunderstorms in the early morning, pre-dawn hours today but, per KBHR's weatherman Ben Brissey, precipitation totals only reached .03 of an inch. Brissey notes that overnight storms tend to stabilize the atmosphere and will tend to suppress any more thunderstorm development, though there is still a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms here in the Big Bear Valley this afternoon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Student Athlete Burnard in Stable Condition Following Injury During Friday's Football Game
A Big Bear High School varsity football player remains hospitalized today at Riverside County Regional Medical Center after undergoing emergency surgery. Paramedics standing by at the Friday night game transported Sutton Burnard (a senior and Bears #56) to the Moreno Valley facility after he exhibited symptoms of a head injury. Big Bear High School Principal Mike Ghelber said Burnard had been stabilized and that the surgery went well. On Saturday morning, school administrators assembled counselors and local religious leaders on campus to offer services to the families of the football team and any interested students. Ghelber said, “We just wanted to make sure everyone knew what we know.” The Bears tied San Jacinto with a score of 14-14.


Happy First Weekend of Autumn!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Capsized Canoe Results in Friday Night Rescue Effort--and Jail Time for One of Three Who Swam to Shore

If you heard helicopter activity over Big Bear Lake on Friday, this was due to an 8 o'clock hour water rescue, which involved local emergency personnel, including watercraft from the Municipal Water District's Lake Patrol and County Fire's Fawnskin Station #49. After dark last night, a canoe with three people in it capsized about 300' from Big Bear Marina. Per Lake Supervisor Travis Carroll, “Everything ended up OK.” The nearly one hour search, lit by the helicopter's searchlight over the lake, was in an effort to find the third individual from the canoe. As Carroll tells KBHR, “Everyone swam to shore, but we weren't sure if the third person made it.” That third individual, a 21-year-old from Big Bear was, per officials, said to be avoiding law enforcement because of an unspecified parole violation. Per Carroll, “It wasn't clear if he was out there in the lake, or if he was hiding, but then we found wet tracks on the dock. Long story short, the third guy, turns out, was on parole—and he went to jail for the evening.” A county parole officer took the 21-year-old into custody and, ultimately, the Big Bear Jail.

Family, Friends and the U.S. Marine Corps Rise Early for Today's 2nd Jared Landaker Memorial Run
Nearly three hundred racers, including countless volunteers, and members of the U.S. Marine Corps participated in this morning's 2nd annual Jared Landaker Memorial Run for Freedom, in honor of 1999 Big Bear High School graduate Landaker and his six fellow CH-46 crew members who were shot down in Iraq in February of 2007. In today's 5K, which started at Snow Summit and ran through lower Moonridge, Thomas McCabe of Carlsbad finished first with a time of 21:33; Marne Stultz of Temecula placed first for the women. In the 10K, first place, with a time of 40:02, went to Nathan Twomey from San Diego; top female finisher was Victorville's Kimberly Smith. The first place finisher in the event's first 15K was Ryan Albu of Pasadena, with a time of 1:08:27; Big Bear City resident Kevin Halamicek took second and Big Bear Lake resident Jason Pecoraro took third in the field of nine. More on this story to be posted on Monday.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Flashback: Big Bear High School's Class of 1988 reunite at historic Miller Park in Fawnskin (the site
of Co-op in the Pines Preschool when they were of pre-kindergarten age) for their 20-year reunion
last Saturday. (To copy this photo, you can use your mouse to right click, then copy/save the larger
version to your computer.)

Big Bear City CSD Resending Water Bills, as Error by Postal Service Accounts for 1,527 Misplaced Bills

The Big Bear City Community Services District says that water customers for Billing Cycle 4, or their southeast section, did not receive this month's statement, given an error by the U.S. Postal Service. Per the CSD statement released this afternoon: “The U.S. Postal Service has misplaced seven trays of water bills (1,527 pieces of mail) from the Big Bear City CSD that were mailed out on September 11, 2008. A problem was initially suspected by CSD employees when incoming payments were significantly lower than normal patterns. Customers began calling in to say they hadn't received their water bills and, after noting that the callers were all in the same billing cycle, it was determined that 25% of CSD water customers did not receive their bills. The missing water bills were issued September 10th with a due date of October 13th. The bills are being reprinted and will be mailed out today. The reprinted bills have a beginning balance date of 9/26/08 (the reprint date). If the Postal Service finds and delivers the misplaced mail, customers may receive an additional bill with the print date of September 11th. The postmaster of the Big Bear City Post Office, Ron Ward, has agreed to waive the $517.46 postage to send the replacement bills.”

Big Bear Lake to Be Home to Largest Aperture Solar Telescope in the World; Installation Begins Monday

Come Monday, the largest aperture solar telescope in the world is coming to Big Bear Lake. The Big Bear Solar Observatory, which is operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, removed the existing 26-inch reflecting telescope in February of 2007 to begin accommodations for the new one, which has a 63-inch mirror. According to scientist and research professor John Varsik, who is one of 15 full-time employees at the observatory, “By a small amount, this is the largest aperture telescope in the world. It's huge, so it comes in pieces. A large crane will be on the causeway, and it will be installed one piece at a time, and it should take two to three weeks.” Since the former telescope (which had been installed in 1973) was removed, the Big Bear Solar Observatory has had two telescopes in operation from the new, small dome (which has been in place since 2007)—of these two telescopes, one will serve as a “finder” for the new, big one, Varsik notes. “We're studying the sun,” he adds, “because it's a star that's close to us and does interesting things. We're primarily interested in sunspots and solar magnetic fields.” These findings, from here in Big Bear, are used by NJIT and are published in scientific journals. And the reason NJIT is set up here, Varsik tells KBHR, “Big Bear is special because we can put the telescope out on the lake, and the lake makes solar images steadier. That's why they chose Big Bear back in the '60s.” Established by Cal Tech in 1969, the Big Bear Solar Observatory will soon be home to the largest aperture solar telescope in the world, and just before its 40th anniversary on the North Shore.

Big Bear Lake Level Higher Now Than a Year Ago; Average Lake Temperature Is Now 65 Degrees
Now that we are into our first week of fall, the lake level has come down due to evaporation during our sunny summer. As of this week, Big Bear Lake is at a level of 66'4”, down just 6' from capacity. At its highest point this year, Big Bear Lake reached a depth of 68'9” in April, which was just 3'7” below capacity. A year ago this week, the lake was down an additional five inches from where it is now. The average lake temperature this week is 65 degrees and, per the Municipal Water District, at its warmest, Big Bear Lake averaged 73 degrees on August 4. For information on how the lake temperature has affected algae blooms, see our story posted on September 19.

U.S. Forest Service Releases Study Findings on Homeowners, Fire and the San Bernardino National Forest

This summer, the U.S. Forest Service conducted a study on homeowners' fire preparedness in areas adjacent to the San Bernardino National Forest, and the findings from that report, titled “The Experience of Community Residents in a Fire-Prone Ecosystem: A Case Study on the San Bernardino National Forest,” have just been released. The study shows that about 94 percent of homeowners who participated in surveys and focus group discussions had taken steps toward creating defensible space—about 75 percent of survey participants said they had reduced their flammable vegetation because it was required. Those who did not create defensible space cited their reasons as inadequate financial resources, physical limitations, and a desire to leave the landscape unchanged. Patricia Winter, a U.S. Forest Service research social scientist, and psychology professor George Cvetkovich conducted the study on the San Bernardino National Forest as it is one of the most fire-prone forests in the country. Of her findings, Winter says, “Overall, we found participants were concerned about fires and thought they were knowledgeable about ways to reduce the threat.” Almost 70 percent of survey respondents said they had experienced an evacuation due to fire, and most residents felt that the psychological impacts linger even a few years after the last major fire. More than 80 percent of respondents also told U.S. Forest Service researchers that they felt the Forest Service had some level of responsibility for reducing fire risks and, on average, assigned the Forest Service the most responsibility. The report further indicates that the agency received a median grade of B for fire-reduction efforts during the last year. To follow are links to the report, and local defensible space programs. Also, on our posting on September 22, is information on defensible space reimbursement for elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners within Big Bear Lake.
The U.S. Forest Service report on the SBNF: fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_rp257/
Information on the San Bernardino National Forest Association's Forest Care program: sbnfa.org/forestcare.php
The Big Bear Lake Fire Department's Thin Is In website: thinisin.org/chpt_01.html
Fire safety tips and other information from the Mountain Area Safety Taskforce, or MAST: calmast.org/sbc/index.aspx
The defensible space page for the Big Bear City Fire Department: bigbearcityfire.org/defensible_space.php

BBARWA Board Reviews Board Room Rental Policy and Pond Upgrade, Though No Actions Yet Taken
At this week's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency, the Board of Chair Liz Harris, Vice-Chair Don Eads, John Day, Rick Herrick and Rick Ollila reviewed the revised board room rental policy, and kept with their earlier recommendation that a change would not be made to allow for regular church services to be held there. As drafted, though not yet adopted, the board room rental policy will not allow for politically-driven gatherings (such as fundraisers), regular church services, or for instructional purposes as a regular part of school curriculum; in addition, all visiting users will be limited to once per month. As for BBARWA's other Old Business item, which included discussion on a possible expenditure to upgrade one of the five ponds, Plant Superintendent Joe Hanford says that this, too, was reviewed though no definitive action was taken at the meeting of September 23.

Small Earthquakes Serve As a Reminder to Prepare for the Big One; Visit ShakeOut.org for More Info
We had another two earthquakes in our area in the last 12 hours. Last night at 11:09pm, there was a 1.5 magnitude quake centered seven miles north of Big Bear City, which registered a depth of eight miles. This morning, at 7:55am, another 1.5 magnitude tremor was in our vicinity, this one four miles southeast of Big Bear Lake and, per the U.S. Geological Survey, at a depth of three and a half miles. In an effort to educate residents of San Bernardino County on the importance of preparation for a natural disaster such as a larger earthquake, San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies are distributing informational handouts, urging everyone to register for and participate in the Great Southern California ShakeOut. The ShakeOut, as we've mentioned in weeks past, is the disaster drill, scheduled for November 13 at 10am, during which time a 7.8 magnitude earthquake will be simulated in cities and counties throughout Southern California. Per the Sheriff's Department, schools, businesses and organizations will join firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency responders in the largest ever earthquake preparedness activity. For more information, pick up a bright yellow flyer from a Sheriff's deputy or visit ShakeOut.org—and, in the meantime, all are reminded to pack an emergency supplies kit.


Big Bear High School's Class of 1998 came home last weekend, to celebrate their 10-year reunion
following the Bears' homecoming game. (To copy this photo, you can use your mouse to right click,
then copy/save the larger version to your computer.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

County Supervisors Approve Additional $59,000 Expenditure for Maple Lane Traffic Signal's Completion
At this week's meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, Supervisors addressed the contract for the Maple Lane and Highway 38 signal installation, by unanimously approving an additional $59,000 to the contract for additional costs incurred during construction. Additional expenditures were unforeseen during the initial awarding of the $452,000 contract in September of 2007. During construction, extra work was necessary to repair asphalt and install additional safety measures for acceptance by the CalTrans Safety Committee. These measures included additional road markers, relocation of warning signs, extending metal beam guard rail, relocating guardrail end treatments and removing asphalt concrete dike. The cost of the Maple Lane signal contract, now at $511,000, is being shared by the state and the county; the county's share will be financed by Gas Tax funds.

Hummingbird Project Funding Fall Break Activities for BVUSD Students of Low-Income Families
As local schools will be on a two-week Fall Break as of next Monday, the non-profit Hummingbird Project is once again offering their Fall Break Activities Tuition Program to low-to-moderate income families whose children attend Bear Valley Unified schools. Most programs, as well as school supplies, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Qualifying families must be of low-to-moderate income and reside in the Big Bear Valley, and children must attend BVUSD schools. For more information, visit the Hummingbird Thrift Store at 400 West Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear City. Questions can also be directed to Elaine Tennity at 584-8642.

Fee-Free Weekend on the San Bernardino National Forest; Saturday Is Also a Free Day on Big Bear Lake
This weekend offers an opportunity to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, whether on Big Bear Lake or in the San Bernardino National Forest, for free. This Saturday and Sunday are fee free in the forest, so no Adventure Pass is needed in celebration of National Public Lands Day. San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor Jeanne Wade Evans says, “This weekend is a great opportunity to get outdoors and appreciate the open spaces here in Southern California.” The free day policy was established as part of the Adventure Pass program in 1998, allowing three free days per year--besides National Public Lands Day, the four Southern California national forests also recognize National Trails Day in June and Veterans Day in November. This Saturday is also a free boating and fishing day on Big Bear Lake. The Big Bear Municipal Water District does not require a lake permit or a fishing license for those enjoying Big Bear Lake on September 27 though, if launching a vessel onto the lake, a Quagga Mussel survey is still required—information is available at the MWD offices on Lakeview Drive or at the East Ramp Boat Launch on the North Shore.

Yesterday's Half-Acre Patriot Fire, South of Big Bear on San Bernardino National Forest, Now Controlled

In a follow-up to yesterday's Patriot Fire, which burned in the vicinity of Forest Service road 2N10 along the Big Bear Valley's south ridgeline on the San Bernardino National Forest, it was fully controlled in the 6pm hour. Mop-up crews left the scene of the fire, which was held to half an acre, last night, though the U.S. Forest Service reports that the area will be monitored over the next couple days. The cause of the Patriot Fire remains under investigation though, yesterday afternoon, John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service told us, “There is no reason to suspect arson at this time.”

MARTA Bus Rates to Increase in October; Possibility of Measure I Funds to Subsidize Costs for Seniors
The Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority, or MARTA, will have increased fees for bus passengers given rising fuel costs and other factors, though this rate increase is not due to take place until late October. At present, fixed routes on MARTA within the Big Bear Valley are at a cost of $1, and 50 cents for seniors and disabled patrons; new fixed route rates will be $1.50 and 75 cents. Betty Ann Merrill of MARTA tells KBHR that with the increased price there are also plans to increase service with minor changes to the local fixed route, such as a decrease in waiting time between buses from one hour to half an hour. “We hope to get it down to half an hour,“ Merrill says. “That's our goal. We figured if it was more convenient, we'd get more riders.” For those who use MARTA services from Big Bear to leave the mountain, the boarding fee will be eliminated by October's end, though the per-zone rate of $1.50 will be upped to $2. That said, a five-zone trip from Big Bear to San Bernardino would cost $10 rather than the current $7. Bill Jahn, one of five MARTA Board members as an extension of his seat on the Big Bear Lake City Council, did not vote for the rate increase, but hopes to off-set it using Measure I funds. As Jahn tells us, “The City is allocated so much money in Measure I funds, and up to 5% of that can be applied to fare subsidies for seniors and the disabled. I am hoping to have Council approve those funds, and take it back to the MARTA Board. I want to get this done before the new fares kick in.”

USGS Reports Earthquake of 1.7 Magnitude Centered Outside of Big Bear City Last Night, in 9pm Hour
Last night, we had the first notable earthquake in our area since mid-August (when there was a 1.6 quake just outside of Big Bear Lake). The more recent 1.7 magnitude quake was centered three miles north northeast of Big Bear City and occurred at 9:21pm on September 24. Per the U.S. Geological Survey, last night's 1.7 tremor registered a depth of nearly four miles.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Breaking News as of 11:50am: Patriot Fire Reported Off Forest Service Road 2N10; Firefighters En Route

The San Bernardino National Forest has just gotten reports of a fire off Forest Service Road 2N10, or Skyline Drive, south of Big Bear Lake and eyewitnesses have said that there is smoke in the vicinity of Mill Creek. The call came in to Forest Service dispatch at 11:28am, and five engines and aircraft are en route to the fire which, at this time, is being called the Patriot Fire, though no further details are yet available. Update as of 12:05pm: Aircraft are currently over the Patriot Fire, and those fire suppression craft include two helicopters and a single-engine aircraft. The Patriot Fire is off Forest Service road 2N10, also know as Skyline Drive, and is along the Valley's south ridgeline, about two miles east of Bluff Lake. Ground crews from the San Bernardino National Forest, the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, the Big Bear City Fire Department, and San Bernardino County Fire are en route to the Patriot Fire, if they haven't already arrived in the last few minutes. The size of the fire has yet to be determined. Update as of 12:50pm: The Patriot Fire now has retardant all the way around it, and the forward rate of spread has been stopped, per John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service. The small fire, the size of which has not yet been released, is in the vicinity of Forest Service road 2N10, along the Valley's south ridgeline about two miles east of Bluff Lake. Crews from the San Bernardino National Forest, the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, the Big Bear City Fire Department, and San Bernardino County Fire are on scene, as is the Heaps Peak helitack crew. Miller tells KBHR, “The cause of the fire is under investigation, and there is no reason to suspect arson at this time.” Update as of 2pm: The size of the Patriot Fire is determined to be just half an acre and, again, a retardant line surrounds the fire, and the forward rate of spread has been stopped. Update as of 3pm: Crews on the Patriot Fire are now in the mop-up stages. By 1pm this afternoon, firefighting crews from the San Bernardino National Forest, the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, the Big Bear City Fire Department, San Bernardino County Fire, and fire suppression aircraft including the Heaps Peak helitack crew, had circled the fire with a line of retardant and had stopped the forward rate of spread, keeping the Patriot Fire to just half an acre. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, “Great work was done by the Heaps Peak helitack crew and Big Bear's local firefighting agencies.” Update as of 4:40pm: The Patriot Fire is contained as of this afternoon, per the U.S. Forest Service, and was held to just one half acre. At present, all aircraft have been released from the Patriot Fire, though two engines, a water tender and a handcrew remain on scene, doing mop-up work.


Newly appointed Captain Ryan Harold is celebrated by the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, wife
Gina Marie and daughters Emily and Brooke, and the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District's
Chairman Michael Karp (far right; Chief Mills is second from right) at this week's meeting of
the City Council of Big Bear Lake.

In His First Official Duty, Big Bear Lake Fire's Interim Fire Chief Mills Promotes Ryan Harold to Captain
In his first duty as head of the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, interim Fire Chief Mark Mills promoted Ryan Harold to captain, following a lengthy training and testing process. Of the department's captains (which include John Arden, Chuck Robillard, and Rick Flint, who is scheduled to retire from the department on October 10), interim Fire Chief Mills says, “Captains train on a daily basis, and serve as a mentor to other firefighters.” Prior to joining the Big Bear Lake Fire Department in 2002, Captain Harold was a firefighter for the San Bernardino County Fire Department. After being pinned by wife Gina Marie, and accompanied by daughters Emily and Brooke, at this week's meeting of the City Council of Big Bear Lake, Captain Harold said, “I am so honored, and I don't take this lightly. It is a distinct honor to serve in this community. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to work under the excellent leadership of Fire Chief Mark Mills.”


Big Bear High School junior Aaron Gibbons runs in the Bears' final touchdown in the third quarter,
bringing the score of Saturday's homecoming game to 41-13 over Beaumont. For more photos from
Saturday's homecoming festivities, scroll down to postings of Tuesday and Monday.

Big Bear Lake City Council Members and City Manager Attend League of California Cities Conference

Four members of the Big Bear Lake City Council—Mayor Rick Herrick, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn, Liz Harris and Michael Karp—are headed to Long Beach today, to participate in the 110th annual League of California Cities Conference. More than 1,800 California mayors, council members, city officials and staff are expected at the conference, this year themed “Sailing into the Future.” Our four Council members, as well as City Manager Jeff Mathieu and COO Kathleen Smith, will attend educational seminars on both Thursday and Friday, and some of those seminar topics will include housing and infrastructure, climate change, public safety, economic development, leadership and government. On Saturday, league delegates will vote on city issues, specifically financial this year, to then present to the California State Legislature. Jahn serves as the City of Big Bear Lake's delegate; Mayor Herrick is the alternate. As for attendance at the League of California Cities Conference, Karp told Council during their Monday meeting, “I very much look forward to that—the workshops, the classes, the fellowship.”

Parents Reminded to Use Properly Installed Child Safety Seats; This Is Child Passenger Safety Week
This week, through September 27, marks national Child Passenger Safety Week. In California, a record-setting percentage of children are riding in car safety seats, according to study findings released this week by the California Office of Traffic Safety. In 2008, reports indicate that 94.4% of California children under age five are using child safety seats, which is up 6.7% over the 2007 rate of 87.7%. Christopher Murphy, Director of OTS, says, “We are very happy to see that parents and caregivers in California are really seeing the need to get their kids in car seats. There is still a lot of work to do. We need to convince that last five percent that their child's life depends on that car seat and we also need to make sure all car seats are properly installed.” For the best possible protection for infants, the OTS recommends a rear-facing child safety seat in the backseat, until age one or at least 20 pounds. At that time, toddlers should be placed in a forward-facing safety seat, still in the car's backseat, until age 4 and 40 pounds.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


More News from City Council: New Lakefront Picnic Area, Party Popper Ban, and Props to Public Works

In other news from this week's Big Bear Lake City Council meeting, Council approved the proposed partnership to develop the Paine Road Lake Access Point, and directed city staff to move forward with lakefront property owner Michael Massoto, who initiated the public/private project. As currently proposed, the Paine Road project would include a lakefront picnic area including landscaping, bike rack, benches, trash cans and parking. Mr. Masotto's contribution of $5,000 in goods and services would include extending his irrigation system from Edgewater Lakefront Lodge, and future watering bills, while the City would fund the $12,000 balance, which would include grading, drainage improvements and a walkway, among other amenities. Council further discussed the Party Popper Ban, as initiated by former Fire Chief John Morley and adopted at Council's meeting of September 8. Of the party poppers, which are packaged to look like fireworks, Mayor Rick Herrick said, “This is not an objection to party poppers, but an objection to the misconception that fireworks are allowed in the Valley. It's really for the visitor.” City staff was directed to do public outreach, though Big Bear Lake interim Fire Chief Mark Mills noted, “We've already met with the vendors who were selling these items.” During presentation items at the September 22 meeting, Michael Perry on behalf of Bear Valley Healthy Start's Family Fun Night, and Cliff Fowler and Shed Conklin on behalf of the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club's Fun Run thanked Council and city staff, namely the Public Works Department, for their support and assistance. This year's Family Fun Night, on September 15, drew 54 county and local agencies and over 2,000 locals were in attendance. August's 19th annual Fun Run sold out in a record 11 days this year, and the Car Club plans to provide economic impact figures to Council later this year, in November or December.

Twelve-Year-Old World-Class Climber Jordan Romero Scheduled to Be on ABC's "Nightline" Tonight
Big Bear Middle School student Jordan Romero is scheduled to be on television today, on ABC's "Nightline." The feature on Romero was prompted by his world-class climbing, as, already at age 12, he has summited five of the world's tallest peaks, including Mt. Denali in Alaska (also known as Mt. McKinley), which he climbed alongside dad Paul and friend Karen Romero this summer, after wrapping sixth grade at North Shore Elementary School. Romero's ultimate goal is to reach the eight summits of the world's continents, which would include Mt. Everest, by his 16 th birthday. In the meantime, a more immediate goal was achieved a little closer to home—this weekend, Romero ran all the way around Big Bear Lake, and did so in less than three hours. To see more on Jordan Romero, you can visit his website, jordanromero.com, or plan to watch him on "Nightline" tonight. Though ABC has noted that programming is subject to change, the news program airs at 11:30pm on channel 7.

DOVES Kicks Off Domestic Violence Awareness With Sunday Events, Including Men's Walk in Heels
In anticipation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, our local non-profit DOVES (which stands for Domestic Violence Education & Services) will host a kick-off event on Sunday, September 28. Per DOVES Executive Director Kathy Harper, “It does take a community to stop domestic violence. This is not just a women's problem. We're having a big kick-off event, all centered around the theme ‘Ending Domestic Violence is Men's Work.'” Sunday's events will start with an 8am pancake breakfast sponsored by Kiwanis, to be followed by Pastor Don Foor's 10:30am presentation, based on the DOVES theme, at Community Church by the Lake. At noon, says Harper, “We're asking the good, upstanding men of our community to don a pair of high heels and walk through the Village.” The one-mile walk, billed as “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” already has 65 men signed up and, as for the high heels big enough for men's feet, Harper says, “We've already got 'em!” The walk will be followed by a light lunch and a free foot massage for the pump'd participants. Suggested donation for the day's events, including meals and a t-shirt, is $10. To register for Sunday's DOVES event, call 866-1546, or visit their offices in Summit Plaza on the Boulevard. And, for those experiencing domestic violence, DOVES offers a 24-hour crisis line at 800-851-7601.

City Council Unanimously Opts to Revoke Unused Service Club Dues Reimbursement Policy for City Staff

Prior to the City Council's discussion on Big Bear Lake's administrative policy with regard to service club membership reimbursement for management level staff, City Manager Jeff Mathieu pointed out, “From the City's perspective, we don't have one employee receiving reimbursement. We don't have one Council member receiving reimbursement.” The current policy, allowing for one club reimbursement, has not been utilized by any city staff other than former Fire Chief John Morley for a $25 per month Rotary Club dues reimbursement—though fellow Rotarians on Council pointed out that Morley's contributions to the club, both financial and in service, far exceed that amount. Councilmember Liz Harris, early in the discussion during last night's meeting, supported the policy, noting, “I want our management to be involved in the community, but I don't think it's appropriate that we [Council] be reimbursed.” Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn pointed out, “For the record, there haven't been any reimbursements to any members of City Council.” Councilmember Michael Karp, the sole member of Council who does not belong to Rotary, referenced other local groups (such as Friends of the Library, the Arts Council and the Sierra Club), suggesting, “If we keep this policy, why not broaden it to include other clubs? I'm not sure that service clubs have the corner on doing good things.” This prompted discussion in terms of which clubs to include, though Harris wanted to be sure that, if the policy were broadened, groups with religious or political affiliations not be included in the City's membership reimbursement policy, which included staff but not Council. All told, Mayor Rick Herrick offered, “I would be in support of dropping this program entirely. It's not being used.” Jahn made the motion that the 2002 policy be dropped, and all five members of Council unanimously voted in favor of that, so the service club membership dues reimbursement policy is now a done deal.

Breaking News: Two-Vehicle Collision Results in Temporary Closure of Highway 18 in Baldwin Lake Area
Just after 10:30am, the California Highway Patrol reports that there is a two-vehicle collision on Highway 18 at Delta in the Baldwin Lake area. According to Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis, this head-on collision has resulted in injuries to three individuals and, as a result, Highway 18 is closed in both directions to allow for emergency crews, including a medevac helicopter. Motorists can expect the closure of Highway 18, just at the top of the grade leading to Lucerne Valley, until roughly 11:45am this morning.Update as of 11:45am: Highway 18 has been re-opened, as scheduled.

BBMS and Elementary Students on Minimum Day Schedule for Parent/Teacher Conferences This Week
Just a reminder for parents: As of today, students at Big Bear Middle School and all three elementaries—Baldwin Lane, Big Bear and North Shore—will be on a minimum day schedule through week's end to accommodate parent/teacher conferences. As of next Monday, September 29, students at all Bear Valley Unified schools will be on a two-week Fall Break through October 10.


Big Bear High School Homecoming at Minder Field on Saturday, September 20


Go Bears! Top left: Junior Eddie Muro runs an interception up the field for a 4th quarter field goal attempt during the varsity game against Beaumont, which the Bears won 41-13. BBHS cheerleaders pump up the crowd, including BBHS classmates for 1958, '88 and '98.

The junior class of 2010 won the float competition, which was themed Shanghai Nights. "Go green" golf carts were used this year.

The Homecoming Court (with dads): Mary Kate Rogers, Vonda Dias, Megan Lewis, Michelle Hirschler and Katherine Smith.

Seventeen-year-old senior Vondalynn Dias, escorted by dad Alvin, is crowned 2008 Homecoming
Queen by outgoing Queen Erika Rojas, who graduated in June. For larger versions of any of these
photos, you can use your mouse to right click, then copy/save to your computer.

BBARWA Board of Directors Meets This Week; Special Meeting Time Is Today at 5:30pm

The Board of the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency holds their monthly meeting this week, but will instead meet today, Tuesday, to accommodate Board members who will be off the mountain on Wednesday, at the California League of Cities Conference. In addition to the Tuesday meeting date, the BBARWA Board will, this meeting only, convene at 5:30pm. Today's agenda includes two Old Business items—those being the revised board room rental policy and discussion on treatment plant improvements, including whether to spend funds to upgrade one of the five existing ponds.

Flagging on Highway 38 Today and Tomorrow, to Accommodate Brush Clearing by CDF Crews
As of this morning, commuters on Highway 38 can expect minimal delays as crews from the California Department of Forestry will be clearing brush from along the roadway. CalTrans says that motorists on Highway 38 can expect flagging both today and tomorrow, in the area between Forest Falls and Mountain Home Creek, from 8am to 3pm.

Monday, September 22, 2008 -- First Day of Autumn


Shoreline Cleanup Sets New Records: 532 Volunteers Pick Up 1,540 Pounds of Trash Along Big Bear Lake
This weekend's 9th annual Big Bear Lake Shoreline Cleanup, overseen by Big Bear Marina's Alan Sharp in conjunction with the 24th annual California Coastal CleanUp Day, set a new local record for participation as 532 individuals contributed to the effort on Saturday morning. These volunteers removed 1,540 pounds of trash from the lake's 16 miles of shoreline. North Shore Elementary School was represented by 198 students, teachers and parent volunteers, and used the Shoreline Cleanup as an outdoor classroom opportunity, during which the kindergarten through sixth grade students learned about the environment and ecology. According to event organizer Sharp, local Starbucks manager Wayne Newmark, through the Starbucks' “Make Your Mark” program, donated $1000 each to the following schools and non-profit groups that contributed to Saturday's cleanup effort: Baldwin Lane Elementary School, Big Bear Elementary School, North Shore Elementary School, Big Bear Middle School, Big Bear High School, Civil Air Patrol Squadron 6750, and Operation Breakthrough. Sharp adds that contributions from the Big Bear Municipal Water District, the Sierra Club Big Bear Group, and Bear and Terry Smith also helped greatly in Saturday's record cleanup, and, he adds, “The birds, fish and mammals that make Big Bear Lake their home thank all who participated in making this the largest cleanup effort ever on Big Bear Lake. Thank you for truly making a difference.”

Department of Water and Power to Meet in Morning; New GM Dickson May Up Start Date to September
The Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power will meet for their regular monthly meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, at 8am. The DWP agenda includes an amendment to the employee agreement with newly appointed General Manager Joel Dickson, to change his start date from October 1 to September 30. During the meeting, to be held at the DWP offices at 41972 Garstin Drive in Big Bear Lake, the agency's five year Capital Improvements Projects are also scheduled to be discussed.

San Bernardino County Offers Free Celebrating Seniors Healthy Aging Fair on Wednesday; Call to RSVP
The 6th annual Celebrating Seniors Healthy Aging Fair, hosted by the County's Department of Aging and Adult Services, takes place this Wednesday, September 24 at the Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino. This year's free event, which is open to all senior citizens, includes warm-up exercises and a healthy walk, followed by a continental breakfast, health screenings, entertainment, lunch, interactive games and information on a variety of senior-focused services. San Bernardino County officials will also be on hand, to answer questions. The Celebrating Seniors Healthy Aging Fair on Wednesday runs from 7am to 2pm and though free, reservations are required by calling 800/510-2020. At this time, transportation for seniors is not being provided from Big Bear. Free parking is available in Lots 8 & 9, in the 600 block of Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino.

Defensible Space Reimbursement Available to City's Elderly, Low-Income and Disabled Individuals
The Big Bear Lake Fire Department is now accepting applications for the new APPLIED Grant, which offers reimbursement to those low-income, elderly or disabled individuals who hire outside contractors in order to meet defensible space requirements. The just-awarded grant, which is funded by the National Fire Plan from the United States Forest Service through the California Fire Safe Council, is name APPLIED as an acronym for Alternative-Personal-Property–Low Income–Elderly-Disabled. Per David Yegge, Fire Fuels Program Coordinator for Big Bear Lake, “We know that physically disabled people may not be able to do the work themselves so they usually hire out fuels reduction work to a contractor in order to get it completed. Sometimes this can be costly. This program will reimburse qualifying property owners up to 50% of the lowest contractor's bid price, up to $500 maximum reimbursement.” Applications for the APPLIED Grant are available at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department at 41090 Big Bear Boulevard, and questions may be addressed to David Yegge by calling 866-4668.


During halftime festivities of the Bears varsity football game (41-13 over Beaumont!) Big Bear
High School senior Vondalynn Dias, accompanied by dad Alvin, was crowed Homecoming
Queen by the Class of 2008's Queen Erika Rojas (far right).

Bears Win Football Game 41-13; Senior Vondalynn Dias Crowned BBHS Homecoming Queen on Saturday

This weekend's homecoming festivities for Big Bear High School included a varsity football game victory over Beaumont—the Bears won Saturday's game on Minder Field with a score of 41 to 13. During halftime festivities, 17-year-old senior Vondalynn Dias, the daughter of Alvin and Teri Dias, was crowned Homecoming Queen, and the junior class of 2010 won the float competition, themed Shanghai Nights. In Friday night's Battle of the Bands, first place went to the Great Danes, and other students bands Atomika, Random Cohort and Vector Sigma tied for second.

Big Bear Lake City Council to Consider Development of Paine Road Lake Access Project This Evening
The City Council of Big Bear Lake meets in Hofert Hall at 6:30pm this evening. The Consent Calendar includes council consideration of a joint public/private development of the Paine Road lake access project, as initiated by Michael Masotto, owner of the lake-accessible property and the Edgewater Lakefront Lodge. Council is also scheduled to discuss the city's administrative policy with regard to local service club memberships, which, per present policy, allows for dues reimbursement for one club for manager-level employees with the City of Big Bear Lake.

County Receives FEMA Grant for Expansion of Emergency Operations Center; Completion in 10 Months
San Bernardino County has been awarded a federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund a long-awaited expansion of the county's Emergency Operations Center. According to U.S. Representative Jerry Lewis, “All five members of San Bernardino County's congressional delegation joined to urge the awarding of this grant, and we are delighted that FEMA recognized the important role our county plays in regional disaster response. The nation's major rail lines, as well as the most important highway links from the West Coast, pass through our county, and it is clearly a national priority to ensure that we can deal quickly and effectively with major disasters ranging from earthquakes to fires to floods.” San Bernardino County is the largest county in the continental United States, and also one of the most disaster-prone counties in the state—which may account for why our county was the only one within California to receive this grant funding from FEMA. Pending County Board of Supervisors approval of the 25% matching funds (from the Capital Improvement budget) to the FEMA grant (for 75%, or roughly $324,000), the EOC expansion completion is anticipated to be within 10 months.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Welcome home, Big Bear High School classes of 1958, 1988 and 1998!

Where There's Smoke... There's No Fire: Bear City Fire Department Plans Training Exercise for Saturday
The Big Bear City Fire Department is planning to do a training burn tomorrow, and this will take place on the grounds of the Community Services District Paradise Maintenance Facility, off Paradise Way in Big Bear City. Though this is billed as a training burn, there will be no live fire; a simulator will be used to create smoke only. Residents in the vicinity of the fire department's training module at the Paradise Maintenance Facility can expect to see smoke on Saturday, tentatively starting at 9am and potentially continuing throughout the day.

Preliminary Hearing for 19-Year-Old Charged in June 18 Lundin Homicide Moved to October 15
This week's Superior Court preliminary hearing for Chalen Wesley Winters, the 19-year-old local charged with the June 18 murder of Michael Lundin, has been moved to October 15, given a defense motion for continuance. Winters and the other three teenagers charged in the incident—those being Mark Potts, Christopher Day and David Ferguson (each charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon)—all remain in custody, and are scheduled to appear in San Bernardino Superior Court on the 15th. The June 18 incident, which took place at the corner of Knickerbocker and Pennsylvania (just east of the Village) in the 11pm hour, resulted in injuries to two unnamed young men and the death of Big Bear Lake resident Lundin, who would have been 21 years old this past Monday, September 15. More information on this incident is posted in our Local News Archive 2008, in stories dated August 6, July 9, July 2, June 25, June 23, June 20 and June 19.


This picture of Big Bear Lake (and the south shore, including Pine Knot Landing and, to the left, Snow
Summit) was taken on Wednesday, the same day that MWD received the report on the blue-green algae.

Blue-Green Algae Accounts for Color to Big Bear Lake; MWD Advises Against Drinking the Lake Water

If you're wondering why Big Bear Lake looks a little green this week, it is normal at this time of year as the algae blooms when the lake temperatures, top and bottom, tend to even out. Scott Heule, General Manager of the Municipal Water District, the agency that oversees the lake, says, “It's an annual event, though the strains of algae may vary due to the water chemistry, temperature and oxygen content.” This typically takes place starting in late August, though Heule notes that it is especially prevalent this week. As of Wednesday, MWD received the report findings on the algae, which list two strains, both of which are blue-green—one of these is a colonial variation (as in, it forms colonies); the other is filamentous (meaning a long, stringy algae). Given recent report receipt, Heule adds, “We're researching it now. Some blue-green algae is the kind that can be harmful, and has an odor. Most algae in our lake is not harmful to humans, though it could make a dog sick. It's not a problem in terms of skin contact, just ingestion—so the appropriate precaution is don't let your pet drink the lake water.”

BVUSD Trustees to Tour Big Bear Middle School Today, As Measure Q-Funded Construction Continues
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District have planned a site visit to Big Bear Middle School today at 1pm. The Trustees, who are Ken Turney, Debra Sarkisian, Julann Warren, Phil Hamilton and Larry Poland, will tour the campus and ongoing construction at BBMS, which is the site of tomorrow's Big Bear High School homecoming games.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


San Bernardino County Launches Comprehensive "Go Green" Website This Week
San Bernardino County yesterday launched a comprehensive “go green” website at greencountysb.com, which offers information on protecting the environment, as well as details specific to county builders and businesses. County Supervisors Chairman Paul Biane, who proposed a series of policy initiatives dubbed Green County San Bernardino in August 2007, says, “We collected information from a number of sources and selected the best 'green' tips and local projects we could find to create a website that will be both enlightening and useful to residents.” The new greencountysb.com website also includes information on the county's Green Builder programs (which feature fee waivers for the installation of renewable energy systems), as well as a variety of “green” tips including how to find a carpool partner, reduce junk mail, and conserve water through the use of water-efficient landscaping.

Big Bear Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering Features Red Steagall, Dan Roberts; Free Daytime Events
The 9th annual Big Bear Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering returns this weekend, and daytime events on both Saturday and Sunday are free. Daytime events, under the pines on the grounds of the City of Big Bear Lake Civic Center (at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard), include live entertaintment and workshops, skits by the Pistols and Petticoats gang, and children's activities including pony rides and a petting zoo; Sunday's activities will also include a non-denominational cowboy church service. Evening events on Friday and Saturday nights are held at the Performing Arts Center and the cowboy poetry and music will include Friday headliner Dan Roberts, a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, western poet Yvonne Hollenbeck, singer Nancy Lee and cowboy poet Gary Robertson; and, on Saturday, musician and “Official Cowboy Poet of Texas” Red Steagall, named one of Cowboys & Indians magazine's top 15 all-time cowboys. Friday night's event at the PAC is offered for a cost of $35, Saturday night is $50; or admission price for both is $75. For more information on this weekend's Big Bear Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering, go online to bigbearcowboygathering.net or call the PAC box office at 866-4970.

Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department, County Fire's Station #97, Extinguishes First Fire Yesterday
The Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department, San Bernardino County Fire's Station #97 as of September 6, responded to their first call yesterday afternoon. Per Baldwin Fire's Captain Larry Winslow, a banker by trade, “We were at our station chopping wood, when a neighbor came running down the the road, saying there was smoke. Turns out someone decided to burn their own brush.” After quickly extinguishing the small, backyard fire—as engines with firefighting crews from the U.S. Forest Service, Big Bear City Fire and County Fire's Fawnskin Department were en route to Baldwin Lake--Winslow tells KBHR that they referred the homeowners to the chipping program, as a safer means of clearing the brush from their property. The Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department is staffed daily and 'round the clock on weekends, starting at 8pm on Fridays, and of the 30 volunteers, Winslow says, “We have two goals: to expedite the call, and supplement the resources.” That said, the volunteer firefighters are not in place of, but an added bonus to, existing firefighting operations of the San Bernardino County Fire Department. County Fire's Mountain Division Chief George Corley tells KBHR, “We are still the parent organization of that area. Every time there's an incident in Baldwin Lake, engines from the Big Bear City Fire Department and County Fire in Fawnskin will be there. Once we get there, we take over. We haven't given up any of our responsibility.” Captain Winslow adds, “Everyone at County Fire has gone above and beyond, and we're extremely pleased to be working with them.” For those who would like to join the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department, training will be provided and, adds Winslow, “It pays a big salary of zero.” For more information, please call Captain Larry Winslow at 951/675-1000.


Over $6,000 was raised in the 10th Annual Kyle Hagmann Memorial Golf Tournament, which
was won by the team of Dave Bleininger, Bob Leterneau, John Petrucelli and Jason Wilson,
who celebrated their 18-under-par victory with (third from left) Tony Hagmann and (far right)
Tournament Director Bob Sokolowski at the Bear Mountain Clubhouse.

Kyle Hagmann, a 1996 BBHS Graduate, Honored With 10th Annual Memorial Golf Tournament at Bear
Over 50 golfers came together at the Bear Mountain Golf Course this month to participate in the 10th annual (and final) Kyle Hagmann Memorial Golf Tournament, which raised over $6,000 for the Steven G. Mihaylo Big Bear High School Education Foundation. The golf tournament was named for Kyle Hagmann, a 1996 Big Bear High School graduate who lost his life in April 1999 when he unknowingly ingested the drug GHB while a student at Cal Lutheran University. Given this, a portion of last year's proceeds went to Project GHB, a non-profit organization that generates awareness of the deadly dangers of the drug. Other monies generated in last year's tournament resulted in a $4,000 scholarship, the Kyle Hagmann Memorial, to BBHS graduate Max Dobis through the Mihaylo Foundation. As for this year's tournament, the winning foursome (at 18 under par) included Dave Bleininger, Bob Leterneau, John Petrucelli and Jason Wilson who, along with the second place team of Mike Allen, John Smith, Fred Valco and Dan Gudgel, took home trophies and prizes.

Today Is Minimum Day for All BVUSD Students; Conferences at BBMS and Elementaries Next Week

Students at all Bear Valley Unified School District sites, including Big Bear High School, have a minimum day today to allow for teachers' Strategic Planning. Big Bear Middle School students, as well as those at all three elementaries, are on a minimum day schedule next week, as of Tuesday, to allow for parent/teacher conferences.

Big Bear Superior Court's New Deputy DA Scott Byrd, as of Last Week, Already a Big Bear Resident
The Deputy District Attorney now serving San Bernardino County at the Big Bear Superior Court as of last week is Scott Byrd, given the transfer of Kristianne Parde, after 5½ years as Deputy DA here in her hometown of Big Bear. Byrd has served in a Deputy DA capacity for seven years, in Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville and, most recently, Barstow. Though Byrd is new to the Big Bear Superior Court, he is not new to our mountain community, as he moved here in August 2007. Pleased with his new assignment, Byrd tells KBHR, “Now I'm getting to know more people here, and getting into the mountain life and Big Bear a little more—now that I don't have to commute as much.”

Municipal Water District Board to Review Notice of Completion for Dam's SCADA Upgrade This Afternoon
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District will hold their second regular meeting of the month at 1pm this afternoon. During the meeting, to be held at the MWD offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive in Big Bear Lake, the Board is scheduled to review, and potentially approve, the Notice of Completion for the Bear Valley Dam SCADA upgrade and camera surveillance system.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big Bear City Fire Department Grows Under Fire Chief Willis; Paid-Call Firefighter Requirements Modified

Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis recommended to the Community Services District Board of Directors, who oversee the fire department, that the job description for paid-call firefighters be modified so that, going forward, there would be a larger pool of candidates from which to draw. In his staff report, Chief Willis pointed out that the current requirement of one year's experience as a reserve firefighter with CSD is prohibitive, as are some pre-employment certification requirements. The CSD Board did on Monday unanimously approve the chief's modifications to the paid-call firefighter job description, as appropriate and thorough training was assured--as, per Willis, “Once hired, the long, arduous task of required training begins. New paid-call firefighters receive several hunded hours of in-service training before they are expected to begin working and fulfilling the role of emergency responder.” Two of Big Bear City Fire's paid-call firefighters were acknowledged during the September 15 meeting of CSD, those being Brittania Huether, who has served since 2002, and Travis Carroll, who has been a paid-call firefighter since 2003. Three new paid-call firefighters were also pinned this week: Justin Fluke, Kyle Olson and Trevor Stewart. The Big Bear City Fire Department also promoted Firefighter Josh Mandolini to engineer, and Engineer Cory Scranton was promoted to captain, the fourth for the department alongside Captains Duane Lindquist, Dave Delay and Mike Maltby. Fire Chief Willis tells KBHR that the department has not yet named an assistant fire chief, but they are considering candidates at this time.

Local Habitat for Humanity Seeking Low-Income Family to Partner for Fourth Home in Big Bear Valley

Big Bear Valley Habitat for Humanity is seeking a fourth partner family, as Habitat is preparing to build their fourth house here in the Valley, this one a three-bedroom, two-bath on 5th Street in Baldwin Lake. According to Habitat volunteer Annette Contreras, “The foundation is about to go in, and we still don't have a lucky family. We have adjusted some of the requirements to better suit our community, and have people available to help fill out the applications. We encourage people to call and ask questions, to find out if they are eligible.” Some of the requirements for home-ownership through Habitat for Humanity are that potential partner families be of low-income, Valley residents for at least a year, provide proof of citizenship or legal residency for all family members, and present housing inadequate. Those interested in potential home-ownership through Habitat for Humanity should call 547-3671.

Big Bear High School Readies for Homecoming Game With Spirit Week; Battle of the Bands on Friday
Students and staff at Big Bear High School have been gearing up for this weekend's homecoming festivities all week. Activities of Spirit Week, leading up to the Bears league football games against Beaumont on Saturday, include Tuesday's Hillbilly Day and this evening's student movie night under the stars and, on Friday, will feature the annual Big Bear High School Battle of the Bands. The 7pm event is open to the public, and will include performances by five student bands (including a teacher/student group); pre-sale tickets to Friday's Battle of the Bands at the BBHS gym are available for $7, tickets at the door are $10. On Saturday, the Bears JV football team takes to the field at 10:45am; the varsity squad plays Beaumont at 1:30pm on Minder Field. Halftime festivities during the varsity game include the parade of homecoming floats (using Bear Mountain golf carts in a “go green” effort this year) and the crowing of the homecoming queen, on a court that includes seniors Vondalynn Dias, Michelle Hirschler, Megan Lewis, Mary Kate Rodgers and Katherine Smith.

This Year's October Troutfest, Featuring a Tagged Fish Worth a Ford F150, Has Already Sold Out
The annual Big Bear Lake Troutfest fishing tournament, produced by Western Outdoor News in conjunction with the Big Bear Municipal Water District, has officially sold out, though the October 4 and 5 event is still weeks away. As event organizer Tom Bette with Western Outdoor News tells us, “We've sold out! Last year at this time we had 633 people sign up, this year we already have 1,000. Two years in a row now we've sold out.” One of the major draws of the annual Troutfest is the tagged fish, which translate into big prizes. Last year, 18-year-old Adrean Flores of El Monte caught his first fish ever, and that tagged fish scored Flores a brand new Toyota Tundra truck. This year, Western Outdoor News offers tagged fish prizes such as a new Ford F150 truck, a trip to Alaska, and $30,000 cash. So, though it is too late to sign up for this year's tournament—and there's already a waiting list—fishermen can plan for the 2009 Troutfest, which will be held on October 3 and 4.

Sheriff's Deputies Investigating Graffiti in Sugarloaf; Post Office and Easy's Tagged Over Weekend

The Big Bear Sheriff's Station is seeking the public's help in locating the individuals responsible for tagging in the Sugarloaf area. Per the statement released by the Sheriff's Department: “On Saturday, September 13th, at approximately 8:30 a.m. deputies responded to several calls of vandalism/graffiti in the Sugarloaf area that had occurred at Easy's General Store, the Sugarloaf Post Office, an adjacent water tank, and the property previously occupied by Cattlemen's Restaurant. The matter is currently being actively investigated. Anyone who may have information regarding the incidents is requested to contact the Big Bear Sheriff's Station at 866-0100.” Those who wish to place an anonymous call on this or any other incident may also contact We Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME (782-7463).

Planning Commission to Receive Improvement Agency Implementation Plan Presentation This Afternoon
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake will meet for their first meeting of the month today, at 1:15pm in Hofert Hall. This afternoon's meeting will include an overview on the Improvement Agency's updated Implementation Plan, in a presentation by the City's Redevelopment Director Lyle Haynes. A Planning Director's report is also agendized, to provide an update on an appeal by Bob Chaney, regarding the denial of a business license for a mortgage company on a property zoned Commercial-Visitor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


CSD's Audit Report for FY 2007/2008 Is Positive; East Valley District's Revenue Exceeds Expenditures
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District received a presentation on the district's fiscal year 2007/2008 audit report during last night's Board meeting. As presented by Ken Al-Imam, partner with independent CPA firm Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., he noted that the district is in good financial condition and that CSD's revenue exceeded expenses by roughly $1.2 million in fiscal year 2007/2008. His audit report further indicated that, given property taxes, there was an 8.5% increase to the general fund, though this was less than in years past due to the slowdown in the housing market. As for CSD's general fund, there was an approximate $389,000 in revenue after expenses; and utility revenues were roughly $566,000 over expenditures. As Al-Imam told the CSD Board, “Our audit process detected no weaknesses in internal control. We found the accounting records to be in excellent condition.”

Forest Service Officials Reports Bear Creek Fire Controlled; 9,285 Marijuana Plants Eradicated Yesterday

In an update on yesterday's activities on the San Bernardino National Forest, the small fire in the Bear Creek area was controlled yesterday evening, as expected. Crews from the San Bernardino National Forest did hold the unnamed fire to one acre, and the cause of said fire, which started Sunday morning, does remain under investigation. As for the marijuana eradication efforts off Highway 18, between Running Springs and Lake Arrowhead, a total of 9,285 plants were taken from the cultivation site. This brings the total of marijuana plants eradicated from the San Bernardino National Forest to over 209,000 this year.

BBHS Girls Volleyball Team Starts Strong in Opening Tournament; Senior Antes Receives Special Honors
The Big Bear High School girls varsity volleyball team, last year' DeAnza League Champions, made an impressive 4th place finish out of 16 Division I teams at the Gladstone Tournament this past Saturday, per their Head Coach Sonia Groover. Senior Antonia Antes, last year's league MVP, also had a strong start. As Groover tells KBHR, “Antonia Antes was named All Tournament Selection after racking up 56 kills and 14 aces. The girls are starting off by making a strong statement early in the season. Big Bear should be very proud of this team!” The Lady Bears' next home game is scheduled for next Monday, when they will play Lucerne Valley at Our House at 4:30pm.

Recreation and Park District's Advisory Commission, Including New East Valley Rep Rose, to Meet Today
The Advisory Commission of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District meets for their monthly meeting today, at 5pm at the Big Bear Senior Center. This evening's meeting will be the first to include County Supervisor Hansberger's Advisory Commission appointee Gloria Rose, who represents the Erwin Lake and Lake Williams areas of the Big Bear Valley. As for ongoing projects of the Recreation and Park District, the new ballfield lighting for Meadow Park was delivered on Friday, and staff is at work this week to install the new lights. A listing of new programs and ongoing classes for the Big Bear Valley Rec and Park will be available in the fall brochure, which is expected to be distributed and available by month's end.


The Department of Water and Power's Board of Commissioners welcomes new General Manager Joel Dickson
(left) to the agency, following Monday's closed session meeting. Dickson was the unanimous choice of
Commissioners Bill Giamarino, Barbara Willey, Robert Tarras, Fred Miller and Chairman Steve Foulkes.

DWP Commissioners Unanimous in Selection of Joel Dickson (of Golden State Water Co.) as New GM

The Department of Water and Power has named Joel Dickson as their new General Manager and, given his appointment, will allow acting GM Bill LaHaye, who has overseen the agency since September 28, to return to his position as Water Resource Manager. To follow is the press release issued by the DWP: “Following a closed session meeting of the City of Big Bear Lake, Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners unanimously announced that an agreement had been reached to appoint Joel Dickson as the new General Manager. Mr. Dickson has worked for Golden State Water Company for over 17 years, serving most recently as a Senior Vice President. His prior experience includes serving as the Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Suburban Water Systems in West Covina and Director of Gas Supply Management for Questar Corporation in Salt Lake City. Mr. Dickson has a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Utah and a Bachelor's in Economics from Weber State University. During his tenure with Golden State, Mr. Dickson has been responsible for managing numerous water systems in various locations in California and Arizona. Mr. Dickson has an excellent reputation for sound fiscal management, customer service improvement and strategic planning. Mr. Dickson indicated that he is delighted to have received the support of the entire Board and is looking forward to working with the staff in providing water service to the community. The Board expressed that it is anxious for Mr. Dickson to get started and are certain he will be an asset to the DWP and an excellent fit in the Big Bear Valley community. Mr. Dickson is scheduled to join the DWP on October 1st.”

MWD Closes West Ramp Boat Launch for Season; East Ramp Boat Launch Remains Open Daily
The Big Bear Municipal Water District will close the West Ramp Boat Launch, in the Fawnskin area on the North Shore, as of today. The East Ramp Boat Launch, just west of Stanfield Cutoff on the North Shore, will remain open for launching. East Ramp hours of operation as of Tuesday are 7am to 3pm daily and, as of November, will only be open on weekends. Come November (and in the meantime), midweek boat launching is available at the Big Bear Marina, near the MWD offices east of the Village, from 7am to 3pm.

Monday, September 15, 2008



The Bear in the Air: This aerial photo of the Butler #2 Fire burn area was taken exactly one year after the
blaze got started, on September 14. The source of ignition on the Butler #2 Fire was traced to the original
Butler Fire, which was sparked by lightning on Labor Day weekend 2007. For more on the Butler #2 Fire,
scroll down to Friday's posting, or see our Butler #2 Fire Archive at bigbearnews.com/butler2.php.

National Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning for Our Area Today, Given Potential Fire Factors
As further evidence that we are in fire season, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for our area today. The Red Flag Warning--meaning a combination of low relative humidity, strong winds and warm temperatures--translates to the potential for critical fire weather conditions. This Red Flag Warning, for the San Bernardino National Forest and mountain areas over 1,500 feet in elevation, is in effect until 7pm this evening, so please be sure to be fire-safe and use extreme caution, especially when disposing of flammable material.

Breaking News
: Marijuana Cultivation Site Off Highway 18 Being Eradicated; Road Remains Open
Yet another marijuana eradication is underway, this one taking place at a marijuana cultivation site off Highway 18 between Running Springs and Lake Arrowhead. The highway does remain open as personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and CAMP (the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) are in the midst of plant eradication. These efforts are the result of an ongoing investigation which, per John Miller with the San Bernardino National Forest, already resulted in three arrests. These arrests were made in the Inland Empire basin, as a result of two search warrants, last Monday, September 8. As for marijuana cultivation arrests, Miller tells KBHR, “So far, in the San Bernardino mountains this year, we have made 12 arrests. For the full San Bernardino National Forest, which also includes Riverside County, 200,000 plants have been eradicated.” Plant totals from today's eradication are expected tomorrow.

Fire Chief John Morley to Be Recognized During County Supervisors Meeting on Tuesday Morning
During the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting, to be held at 10am Tuesday in the County Government Center, Supervisors will vote on a Memorandum of Understanding between the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency and the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District. The MOU will allow the placement of equipment and software necessary to perform pre-hospital data management and provide an early warning reporting system during a chemical, biological, or nuclear event. Equipment and computer software to be implemented, if the MOU is approved, will be purchased in part using funds from the Office of Homeland Security. During tomorrow morning's meeting, Supervisors will also recognize Fire Chief John Morley, named County Firefighter of the Year in 2001, given his retirement from Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District last week.


Fire Chief John Morley sounds the final alarm from the Big Bear Lake firehouse, during the 9/11 ceremony on Thursday, which was hosted by both the Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments. Chief Morley's crew salutes the flag prior to the presentation of colors on his retirement, which is pictured below, on Friday.

"Big Bear Medicine Wheel" Documentary Takes Big Bear Lake Film Award at International Film Festival

The 9th annual Big Bear Lake International Fim Festival had record attendance over the weekend, and Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick welcomed a packed house at the Performing Arts Center Friday. A diverse group of filmmakers arrived from New York, San Francisco, Canada, and most notably, a high school student flew in from France. Four hundred films were submitted from throughout the U.S., and countries as farflung as Israel, Austria, the Netherlands and Peru. Out of those hopefuls, 124 features, documentaries and short fillms were screened at the PAC and Village Theaters. The Big Bear Lake Film Award went to “Big Bear Medicine Wheel: Healing Mother Earth's Sacred Sites,” directed by David Faithful and Debbie Nagata. Copies of the “Big Bear Medicine Wheel” documentary are available at Sol Food Market in Big Bear City.

Community Services District Board to Adopt New Paid-Call Firefighter Job Description This Evening
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District meets for their first regular meeting of the month this evening, as their September 1 meeting had been adjourned in observance of Labor Day. This evening's meeting, to be held at 5:30pm at the CSD offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard, is agendized to include a presentation on the district's fiscal year 2007/2008 audit report. Paid-call firefighers, too, are once again on the agenda, as the Board is scheduled to adopt the new paid-call firefighter job description, as well as recognizing paid-call firefighters Brittania Huether and Travis Carroll during presentation items.

Update on Yesterday's Fire in Bear Creek: Firefighting Crews Have Held Fire Off Highway 18 to One Acre
Firefighting crews with the San Bernardino National Forest are still mopping up a small fire in the Bear Creek area, which was called in just before 10am Sunday morning. The small fire, though not officially contained yet, has burned just one acre off Highway 18 near Slide Peak. Though cause of the fire has not yet been determined, per the Forest Service, it may be the result of a possible lighting holdover. Update as of 2:45pm: Firefighting crews with the San Bernardino National Forest are now in the mop up stages on the small fire in the Bear Creek area. As of this afternoon, the small, unnamed fire off Highway 18 near Slide Peak has been contained, meaning there is a fire line around it, and full control of the fire by Forest Service crews is expected today. Though cause of the fire, held to one acre, has not yet been determined, it may be the result of a possible lighting holdover—though, Forest Service officials now also note that there were also reportedly recreationalists in the area.

BVUSD Trustees to Meet in Closed Session for Board Workshop at School District Offices at 6:15pm

The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District meet at the school district offices on Moonridge Road at 6:15pm this evening for a Board Workshop. The workshop will begin in closed session, and during this time will include a performance evaluation of Superintendent Carole Ferraud. Any actions taken during the closed session portion of this evening's workshop will be reported later, in open session.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Defendant Sentencing for Commercial Burglary of Snowboards from Blauer's Rescheduled for November 4
The theft of snowboards and ski jackets from Blauer Ski and Board Rentals in Big Bear Lake on December 18, 2007 resulted in a court appearance for 20-year-old Brett Evans Howard of Chatsworth in Big Bear Superior Court yesterday. The defendant had pleaded guilty to felony charges of commercial burglary in July, and was due to be sentenced on September 11. As the sentencing report from the County's probation department was not yet ready, per the Deputy DA, sentencing for Howard has been rescheduled for November 4. His jail time for the commercial burglary (during which he was accompanied by several juveniles) could result in jail time up to 90 days.


The beautiful landscape of Fawnskin remains intact, one year later, thanks to the efforts of over
150 federal agencies and fire department crews from throughout California during last September's
Butler #2 Fire, which had been billed the nation's number one priority wildland fire incident.

This Weekend Marks One-Year Anniversary of Butler #2 Fire; Forest Rehabilitation Efforts Still Underway

This weekend, specifically September 14, marks the one-year anniversary of the Butler #2 Fire, which ultimately burned 14,039 acres and resulted in five days of mandatory evacuation for residents of Fawnskin. Despite this, and the fact that the Butler #2 Fire was at that time billed the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation, no homes were lost in the fire, though it did result in closures on the San Bernardino National Forest. Efforts of rehabilitation crews with the U.S. Forest Service have resulted in the recent re-opening of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Gray's Peak Trail, though some closures remain intact. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, “Since the fire, crews have been working non-stop. We have to make the facilities, roads and trails safe for the public, and keeping some of these closed is part of the recovery process for the forest.” Remaining closures resulting from the Butler #2 Fire include Hanna Flat Campground, Forest Service road 3N14 (from Fawnskin to Big Pine Flat), Butler Peak (closed to visitors but still in use as a fire lookout), and Forest Service road 2N13, or the Snowslide Road (which was the original Rim of the World Highway until the 1920s, until being replaced with Highway 18's Arctic Circle). As of this Wednesday, September 10, the San Bernardino National Forest released the Environmental Assessment for the Butler #2/Slide Post-Fire Fuels Reduction Project, to which objections may be filed through October 11, 2008. Details on the Post-Fire Fuels Reduction Project: fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/projects/butlerslide.shtml. Link to the letter outlining objection specifics: fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/documents/butler2_slide_fs_correspondence_objection_letter_090908.pdf. For all the news from the Butler #2 Fire, you can access the KBHR News Butler #2 Fire Archive at bigbearnews.com/butler2.php.

Healthy Start and Other Local Agencies Host Free Family Fun Night in the Village on Monday
This coming Monday, September 15 is Family Fun Night and will, this year, be held at the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce parking lot on Bartlett Road in the Village. The free, four-hour event runs from 3:30 to 7pm, and will feature free hot dogs and popcorn while supplies last. Family Fun Night will provide parents access to information on bike safety and fire safety, health insurance, sports and scouting opportunities, and domestic violence prevention. Activities for children will also be available, including firefighting equipment demonstrations, a bounce house and basketball shoot, and animals from the zoo. A number of service clubs and health agencies are also expected at Family Fun Night, as well as the Sierra Club, who will offer a free drawing to provide two families with light bulb replacements for the entire home. For more information on Monday's Family Fun Night, call the Bear Valley Healthy Start Program at 585-6892 x184.

Big Bear's Deputy DA Parde (a BBHS Graduate) Transferred to Barstow; Byrd Named New Deputy DA

The local Deputy District Attorney's office has seen a transition this week, as Deputy DA Kristianna Parde is now serving the County in Barstow, and Deputy DA Scott Byrd is now at the Big Bear branch. Parde, a 1982 Big Bear High School graduate (and her class's valedictorian) made the move to the County's Barstow office on Monday, though she and her family are still in Big Bear. In a conversation with Parde from her new office, she tells KBHR, “I had a really good 5½ year run in Big Bear, so the time came for a transfer, so here I am in Barstow. I didn't want to leave, but the needs of the office prevailed.” Deputy DA Byrd made the move to Big Bear from Barstow and had, prior to that assignment, served as Deputy DA in Rancho Cucamonga.


Thursday's 9/11 ceremony at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department included the presentation of
colors to Fire Chief John Morley (right), on what was his last day before retirement after 28
years with the department. BBL Fire's new interim Fire Chief Mark Mills (left) did the honors,
following (center) Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis's 9/11 presentation, his first as chief since
Fire Chief Dana Van Leuven's retirement from BBC Fire last December.

Last Year's Shoreline Cleanup Wrapped Early Due to Butler #2 Fire; Next Cleanup Set for September 20
Last year's 23rd annual California Coastal Cleanup Day produced a record turnout here in Big Bear, as 285 volunteers participated in the Big Bear Lake Shoreline Cleanup, which resulted in the removal of 1,225 pounds of trash and 275 pounds of recyclables from the 16 miles of shoreline along Big Bear Lake and Baker Pond. Last year's shoreline cleanup on Saturday, September 15 was also notable in that volunteers were called off the North Shore early in the three-hour effort, as the Butler #2 Fire had picked up momentum and was burning dangerously close to Fawnskin. So, though last year's shoreline cleanup was done in record time, it also produced record results. As event organizer Alan Sharp of Big Bear Marina told us last year, “We appreciate the efforts of everyone who came out to help us. The birds, fish and mammals that call Big Bear Lake 'home' thank all who participated in making this the largest cleanup effort ever on Big Bear Lake.” This year's California Costal Cleanup Day is slated for Saturday, September 20, and service groups, schools, individuals and families who are interested in participating can call Alan Sharp at 866-3218 to get involved. The 24th annual Coastal Cleanup next Saturday is scheduled to run from 9am to noon.

Memorial for Barbara Koza on September 20; Donations Can Be Made to Breast Cancer Screening Fund
The family of Barbara Koza has planned her memorial service for next Saturday, September 20, to be held at 11am at Community Church by the Lake. Koza, a past president of Soroptimists International of Big Bear Valley, passed away Monday, after a battle with cancer. The Koza family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Soroptimists breast cancer screening fund. Donations can be mailed to SIBBV, P.O. Box 6505, Big Bear Lake, CA, 92315. (Soroptimists ask that you please indicate Barbara Koza and/or breast cancer screening fund with your donation.) More information on Koza is posted below, in a story dated September 10.

Thursday, September 11, 2008 -- Patriot Day


Local Patriot Landaker to Be Honored With Second Memorial Run; Proceeds Benefit Military Families
As today is Patriot Day, locals may want to take a moment today to honor one of our own heroes, by registering for the 2nd annual 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker Memorial Run for Freedom. Since 1999 Big Bear High School graduate Landaker's death in Iraq in 2007, his family and friends have established the Seven Stars Foundation, whose purpose is to assist with the educational and financial needs of military families and organizations—and proceeds from the memorial run will go toward these efforts. The memorial run in Landaker's name will take place in two weeks, on Saturday, September 27, and will include a 5K and 10K, which launch from Snow Summit and will cover some of the same scenic neighborhoods on the route of the Big Bear Marathon. For more information on the Seven Stars Foundation or to register for the Jared Landaker Memorial Run for Freedom, visit SevenStarsFoundation.com.

Big Bear Lake's Improvement Agency Reviews Proposal for 32-Unit Affordable Housing Complex

Affordable housing is coming to Big Bear Lake, under the stewardship of Redevelopment Director Lyle Haynes, and a proposed project was shared with City Council's Improvement Agency, under the direction of Chairwoman Liz Harris, during the meeting of September 8. The Pacific Companies, an affordable housing developer from Eagle, Idaho, has secured development rights for a two-acre parcel on Pine Knot at Cameron Drive (just south of the Village) and, though no IA action was taken, Pacific's Caleb Roope shared his company's plans for a 32-unit project billed as The Woods. As Roope said, “We believe that workforce housing can look like the nicest development. We always try to hide parking and provide great curb appeal and nice architechtural design.” Adding to that, Haynes said of Pacific Companies, “They have produced some outstanding, high-quality affordable housing. Their alpine experience includes Truckee and Mammoth Lakes.” The proposed housing complex would feature Energy Star and green construction, solar energy, exterior private storage, as well as a playground, computer center, laundry and exercise rooms. As presented, the complex would potentially include 16 two-bedroom apartments, and 16 three-bedrooms on the property already zoned for multi-family residences. The Pacific Companies would maintain ownership, though could partner with the City for funding, in order to meet low-income housing mandates. Roope says that proposed rents for The Woods are $673-822 for a smaller unit, $780-953 for the three bedrooms. “We sign regulatory agreements,” Roope explained. “The rents might go up slightly from today, but will only go up as median income goes up for the County.” Other benefits of the project are that Pacific Companies would employ local contractors to build The Woods, and the workforce housing would only be rented to those who pass a strict criminal, housing and credit history screening.

Oktoberfest Returns on Saturday; Free Admission for Military Personnel & Firefighters This Weekend
The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest at the Big Bear Convention Center—rated as the #1 Oktoberfest in Southern California and among the top 10 in the country—returns for seven weekends, starting this Saturday. To kick off the 'fest, this weekend celebrates America's heroes and free admission is offered to military personnel (past and present), law enforcement and firefighters both Saturday and Sunday. As with years past, the 38th annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest features authentic German music and food, log sawing contests and the Queen Stein Carrying Contest (reigning Oktoberfest Queen is Tracy Rice of Big Bear City). Oktoberfest is open on Saturdays through October's end from noon to midnight, and on Sundays from noon to 5pm. For opening weekend discounts on general admission tickets, you can order tickets online using the link at the top of this page—and don't forget to save the date of Friday, October 3 for Locals Night at Oktoberfest.


Fire Chief John Morley (standing, center) retires from the Big Bear Lake Fire Department on
Thursday, after 28 years of service to the City. Prior to his departure, Chief Morley will be
saluted by his department, during the 9/11 ceremony at the Big Bear Lake fire station at 5pm.
Here, he joins the City Council of Big Bear Lake (Bill Jahn, Michael Karp, Rick Herrick,
Darrell Mulvihill and Liz Harris) for his final meeting as Fire Chief.

Local Fire Departments to Recognize 9/11 and Outgoing Fire Chief Morley in 5pm Ceremony Today
The Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments are partnering today, to commemorate the events of September 11, 2001 with a 9/11 ceremony to be held at the Big Bear Lake fire station, at 41090 Big Bear Boulevard. The 9/11 ceremony is expected to start promptly at 5pm, and will be followed by a salute to outgoing Fire Chief John Morley. Today will be Chief Morley's last day with the department before retirement, so he will be honored with the presentation of colors and a last-alarm ceremony.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008



Go, Cubs! The seventh and eighth grade students on the Big Bear Middle School Cross-Country
Team did us proud with their strong showing in the Big Bear Marathon's 5K event on Saturday.
As Ryan Hall embarked on his running career at age 14, perhaps there is a future Olympian
in our midst...

Single Vehicle Collision on Highway 330 Yesterday Afternoon Results in Death of San Bernardino Resident
The California Highway Patrol reports that there was a fatal collision on Highway 330 yesterday afternoon. The motorcyclist, 59-year-old Gary Crummel of San Bernardino, struck a guardrail on Highway 330, and was ejected from his 1986 Honda motorcycle at roughly 12:15pm on September 9. The CHP says that Crummel was pronounced dead at the scene, and no other persons or vehicles were involved in the collision.

Big Bear Library Remodel Postponed; Two-Week Closure No Longer Effective as of This Friday
The Big Bear Library will not be closing as of Friday, September 12 for remodeling as originally scheduled. Head Librarian Pamela Heiman says, “The remodel has been postponed, and the new date has not yet been set. We have to wait until all the ducks are in a row. We're waiting on the new circulation desk from the manufacturer.” The new circulation desk, which will ultimately allow for self check-out at the Big Bear Library, is being paid for in part by Friends of the Library. The Friends had held their semi-annual book sale earlier this season to accommodate the remodel project and, as for the sale, Heiman tells KBHR, “The Friends of the Library had a very successful sale, and they were very happy with the results.” Once the library remodel does get underway, the estimated two-week project, being largely funded by the County of San Bernardino, will include the installation of the new check-out desk, fresh paint, and new carpeting which, Heiman adds, “We're really looking forward to.”

San Bernardino County Fire Department to Upgrade Communications, Given Grant Award of $200,000
The San Bernardino County Fire Department will be able to enhance firefighter communication and safety, given a grant of $200,000 that will allow for the purchase of handheld radios, batteries and accessories. At present, firefighting vehicles are equipped with two portable radios each but, with the grant award, two additional radios will be added to each firetruck. The $200,000 in grant funds were given to the County Fire Department by the McCormick Foundation, a non-profit that, following last fall's California wildfires, conducted a fire intervention relief effort to assist local fire departments with new and updated equipment.

Barbara Koza, Past President of Soroptimists, Passes Away Monday; Memorial to Be Scheduled at CCBTL
Big Bear resident Barbara Koza, a longtime member and past president of the Soroptimists Club, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, with her children at her side at Kaiser Permanente, following a battle with cancer. Koza, age 73, and her husband of 54 years, Myron, had owned the Wishing Well Motel on Pine Knot, which had been in the Koza family for nearly 40 years. Koza's friend and fellow past president of Soroptimists Ellen Nichols tells KBHR, “Barbara was one of the sweetest, nicest people; she never had a bad thing to say about anyone. She was so close to her family. Her children and grandchildren were so important to her.” Koza also spent much time volunteering, including spending Saturdays at the airport for the Young Eagles program for children. She was also named to the Laurel Society of Soroptimists International. Koza, who is survived by her husband, children Jeff Koza and Karen Vannoy, and six grandchildren, will be honored with a memorial service at Community Church by the Lake, though the date and time have not yet been announced.

Big Bear Film Festival Returns This Weekend; Screening of Local John Wayne Film at DC Tomorrow
The ninth annual Big Bear Lake International Film Festival returns this weekend, and will include four days of special events, film screenings and the Sunday afternoon Pitchfest, during which time hopeful filmmakers can meet with industry professionals. The first of the events of the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival is Classic Movie Night, to be held outside under the stars at the Discovery Center's amphitheater on Thursday. This year's classic film is the 1960 John Wayne picture “North to Alaska,” which was filmed at Cedar Lake and in the San Bernardino mountains. Gates open at 6:30pm for this special event on September 11, and will feature commentary from local historians Tim and Kim Sweet and Lee Cozad. The Big Bear Valley Historical Society will also be at the Discovery Center, selling popcorn and sasparilla. Thursday's event is offered at a cost of $5, and $3 for children under 12, and attendees are encouraged to dress warmly. As of Friday, the Film Fest will offer screenings at both the Performing Arts Center and at the Village Theater North, and Friday films will include the local documentary “Big Bear Medicine Wheel: Healing Mother Earth's Sacred Sites.” Friday's festivities will also include a reception for this year's honorees, including Dick Kun, who will be given the Community Appreciation Award, and Janusz Kaminski, Academy Award winning cinematographer for 1993's “Schindler's List,” who will be given the festival's Lifetime Achievement Award for Cinematography, before the special, pre-release screening of “Ghost Town.” For information on screening times and ticket prices, visit the website of the festival at BigBearFilmFestival.com or call the PAC box office at 866-4970.

DWP Chairman Foulkes Reports on Agency's Improved Financial Picture; New GM Expected Within Month

Given the $684,000 budget deficit of the Department of Water and Power, which DWP Chairman Steve Foulkes had referred to as a “fiscal crisis” in June, the City Council of Big Bear Lake invited Foulkes to provide an update on the agency at their September 8 meeting. Foulkes and DWP's interim General Manager Bill LaHaye were present at the Council meeting, prior to which Council was presented with a detailed report on DWP's financial status and a prioritized list of supplemental water alternatives. “The bottom line is,” Foulkes said, “this is just a draft report. The picture today looks better than it did even three months ago.” Since the June budget review, Foulkes pointed out that the actual year-end undesignated reserves are higher than the budget estimate by over $206,000, plus an additional $319,000 found in an account not previously included in the cash balance have improved the DWP's financial picture; the agency has also continued with their hiring freeze and will soon be down four positions. The top priority of the new General Manager will be an organizational review of the DWP, and Foulkes anticipates that the new GM will be on board within 30 days, as the contract negotiations are underway. As Foulkes told Council, “Soon you'll know who the successful candidate is. He's from California.” As for the priorities of the supplemental water supply list, Foulkes noted that DWP staff, without the hiring of outside consultants, has grouped these potential water sources into three groups, with those of the highest pay-off to be implemented immediately. And though the possibility of a water blend with high-flouride water from a Community Services District well is still years off, Foulkes referred to the project as a win-win. Council expressed their pleasure with the thorough report offered by the DWP, and Mayor Rick Herrick said, “I'm very satisfied. Priorities were set, and realistic numbers were used.” It was decided that, once a new General Manager is on board, the DWP will report back to Council, as early as November and as late as January.

County Registrar of Voters Offers Online Voter Registration; Mail-In Registration Due October 20
If you plan to vote in the important Presidential General Election on November 4, be sure that you have registered to vote by October 20. Voter registration forms are available at all U.S. Post Offices, and must be received by the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters office by October 20. For those who plan to vote by mail in the November 4 election--which, for Big Bear, will also include opportunities to vote for school board, Community Services District and City Council positions--online voter registration is available at EasyVoting.org. The vote-by-mail registration deadline is October 28.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Valley Ambulance Is Out of Service, But Remaining Fleet Is Ample and Operable, Per Fire Chief Jeff Willis
If you've seen the Big Bear City Fire Department's ambulance out of service and atop a flatbed truck today, know that ambulance services are still available within the Big Bear Valley. Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis tells KBHR that the fire department has a fleet of six ambulances in service. The ambulance that is temporarily out of service has a transmission problem, which was found during a routine, periodic maintenance inspection. According to Chief Willis, “We have reserve ambulances that we put in service when needed. There are six ambulances that we own—four of which are staffed daily—and that gives us the depth to take two ambulances out of service at any time, so we hope residents will feel comfortable and safe knowing that.”

Fire Chief John Morley Honored for 28 Years of City Service; City Council Passes Party Popper Ban

The City of Big Bear Lake's Fire Chief John Morley was recognized for his 28 years of service during last night's meeting of the City Council of Big Bear Lake, as September 11 will be his last day before retirement from the fire department. Mayor Rick Herrick presented Morley with a plaque and a framed photo collage of Big Bear Lake images, while recognizing the chief's “phenomenal” contributions to the City, which include implementation of recently adopted Wood Shake Shingle Roof Ordinance and the Native Brush and Shrub Reduction Ordinance, as well as contributing to the City's distinction as one of just 10 California cities honored as a Fire-Wise Community. The City Council meeting of September 8 also included the adoption of a new, fire-safe ordinance that, from June 28 through July 6, will ban the possession, use and sale of party poppers and snap caps. Chief Morley had initiated the ordinance to coincide with already illegal fireworks, including Safe and Sane fireworks, as the snap caps and party poppers often prompt confusion during the Fourth of July holiday. As Morley explained, “We had received a lot of complaints because they look like fireworks. It's really more of a packaging issue—they're made to look like fireworks, so the fire department gets calls, the City and the Sheriff's department get calls.” Council unanimously passed the new ordinance during their meeting, which also included another presentation to Morley. San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor Jeanne Wade Evans presented the Fire Chief with an official U.S. Forest Service watch and a plaque in appreciation of his efforts (including those to the Mountain Area Safety Taskforce, Forest Care, and the Fire Safe Council) which, per Wade Evans, “result in a safer mountaintop community.” Fire Chief Morley will be recognized by his department, on his last day, during a September 11 ceremony with the Big Bear City Fire Department at the Big Bear Lake fire station. For more information on Chief Morley's career with the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, see our archived story of July 17; for information on interim Fire Chief Mark Mills, there is a story posted on August 13.


The first Big Bear Marathon was won by Tony Torres of Cedar Glen with a time of 2 hours, 41
minutes and 48 seconds, nearly seven minutes faster than the second place finisher on the 26.2
mile course. Participants came to race from all over the Southwestern U.S. For more photos from
the events of the Big Bear Marathon, scroll down to Monday's posting.


Special Cancellation Postmark to Celebrate Big Bear Marathon Available at Local Post Offices All Month
The U.S. Post Offices of the Big Bear Valley are, as of Saturday, commemorating the first-ever Big Bear Marathon with a special pictorial cancellation postmark, which will be available through October 4 at the Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City and Fawnskin Post Offices. Postmaster Cynthia Crane of Fawnskin says that pictorial cancellation postmarks, such as our special Big Bear Marathon one, recognize special events and are considered collector's items.

BVUSD Implements Peace Builders Program at Elementaries; BBMS Remains Safe, Per Fire Department
At the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District, Superintendent Carole Ferraud announced that, given funding from the Lighthouse Project, the Peace Builders program has extended to all four BVUSD elementary schools, since being introduced at Big Bear Elementary in June of 2007. Peace Builders' praise-based curriculum guides have been distributed to elementary teachers, and the district is currently working on guides for grades 6 through 8. In other news from the school board meeting of September 3, Director of Business Services Walter Con reported to the board on safety issues at Big Bear Middle School. The school district has partnered with the Big Bear Lake Fire Department to ensure the safety of students and staff while construction is underway at BBMS. In a subsequent conversation with Con, he tells KBHR that following BVUSD's weekly meetings with construction company Tilden-Coil, the fire department does a walk-through each Tuesday, during which they provide advice and input on maintaining a safe site. As of last week's walk-through, there were no recommendations for safety improvements though Con says the fire officials were pleased with the results of the latest fire drill at the middle school. Per Con, “They were pleased because all of the students and staff made egress in three minutes, rather than the prior fire drill record of five minutes. Part of this was due to improvements being made at the site.” Con adds that ongoing improvements at Big Bear Middle School will contribute to greater access in such situations, thus making for a safer school site.

Another Medical First for County: Tuberculosis Patient Issued Order of Detention; in Isolation at ARMC
In another medical first for San Bernardino County's Health Department, a county resident with tuberculosis was taken into medical custody at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on Thursday. In August, the County was notified by Clark County, Nevada's Public Health Department that a San Bernardino County resident had been treated for tuberculosis and subsequently released from a Las Vegas hospital. A week later, local Public Health staff located the individual and, as of August 26, determined that that person had not been refraining from public contact but had been going to work. The tuberculosis patient ignored the county's formal order to cease all public contact and, per County Public Health Director Jim Lindley, the incident resulted in the first time in county history that an Order of Detention requiring forced isolation was executed—and this depsite the fact that 93 tuberculosis cases are currently being treated in San Bernardino County. It is believed that the unnamed individual with tuberculosis contracted the illness during a visit to a foreign country. The County's Public Health Department urges anyone who believes they may have been exposed to TB to immediately seek a TB test from their health care provider. Initial symptoms for tuberculosis include fever, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, coughing and night sweats.

Lighthouse Project Meeting Moved to BBES; Group Will Tour School's Peace Garden This Evening
The Lighthouse Project meets this evening, Tuesday, at 7pm, but has changed the location for this evening—rather than meeting at the Knickerbocker Mansion, the Lighthouse Project will assemble at Big Bear Elementary School, just east of the Village. The meeting will begin in Big Bear Elementary's Room 15, before touring the school's Peace Garden. The group will then share plans for expanding gardens in our community. Those with questions on this evening's Lighthouse Project meeting may call 951/264-4737.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Bears Football Teams Win Season Openers; BBHS Homecoming Slated for Saturday, September 20
The Big Bear High School Bears football teams, both JV and varsity, won their season openers at home against Grace Brethern on Minder Field Saturday. This weekend, Bears football plays longtime rivals the Falcons at Aquinas High School in San Bernardino (at 2772 Sterling Avenue, SB 92404)—JV takes to the field at 4pm Saturday, and varsity plays at 7:30pm. Big Bear High School's homecoming will take place at Minder Field at BBMS on Saturday, September 20, when the classes of 1958, 1988 and 1998 will be in Big Bear for their high school reunions. Game times on the 20th are 10:45am for JV and 1:30pm for varsity.

Local Athletes Make Impressive Finishes in Saturday Morning Events of Big Bear's First Marathon

The first annual Big Bear Marathon ran through the Valley on Saturday, starting with the pre-dawn untimed Bike Tour, which launched from Pine Knot Boulevard just after 6am, and until the last of the marathoners trickled in to the Village in the afternoon, after completing the 26.2 mile course that wrapped around Big Bear Lake, ran through Big Bear City, and tackled some hills in the lower Moonridge area before wrapping back to Pine Knot. The events of the Big Bear Marathon included those of all ages, from 9-year-old Emerson Warren of Big Bear City, who ran the 5K, to 74-year-old Norm Ablett, who came to Big Bear to complete the marathon with son Paul of Big Bear Lake. Top male and female finishers in the first-ever Big Bear Marathon were 39-year-old Tony Torres of Cedar Glen, with a time of 2:41 and a 49-year-old Idyllwild resident, Judy McGuire, who crossed the finish line in 3:16. Several Big Bear residents also had strong finishes, especially David Dolezal, Alejandro Caballero and Jim Gordon, all of whom placed in the top 15. Los Angeles resident Romualdo Sanchez took the Half-Marathon with a time of 1:13 but local 16-year-old Ryan Lambert wasn't far behind, at third place, and local Rosalva Bonilla placed 14th. Big Bear's athletes were especially strong in the 5K: female locals Vivien Wadeck placed 4th, Lily Hernandez and Lorena Banda came in 9th and 10th, while local teens Miles Fulton, Connor McCutcheon, Mikey Doss and Aaron Larson took 3rd, 5th, 6th and 8th respectively. The Big Bear Marathon, Bike Tour, Half-Marathon, 5K and Kids Run were made possible due to the tireless efforts of local volunteers and service groups—thanks to this enthusiasm, visiting racers raved about the friendliness of our beautiful mountain community. More stats on the marathon, as provided to KBHR by Prime Time Results, are posted below, on Saturday.


At Friday's Expo, local running coach Mickey Hall shares race pointers with some of the women who ultimately finished the 5K
at the front of the pack; about 200 cyclists participated in the untimed Bike Tour, which began pre-dawn at 6am on Pine Knot Blvd.

Local marathoners Sally Martin, Tori Waner (who participated in the 5K), Lisa Waner and Michelle Cassling just before the big race;
at the Big Bear Marathon starting line, ultimate winner Tony Torres of Cedar Glen leads the field of over 250 runners.

Go, Cubs: The Big Bear Middle School Cross-Country Team had a strong showing in the 5K race, which started from Village Drive;
Austin, Texas-based professional triathlete Bobby Overton at the Health and Fitness Expo in the Village on Saturday.
Ryan Lambert, third overall in the Half-Marathon, shares the podium with winner Romualdo Sanchez; Bonne Musique Zydeco at
the awards ceremony; Locals 13-year-old Joe Breuer and 12-year-old David Caballero took top honors for their age group in the 5K.

Top female finishers in the Half-Marathon were Peggy Kern, Rosalva Bonilla of Big Bear City, and Shawna Burgew;
Top three overall in the Big Bear Marathon were Tony Torres (2:41), Hector Lopez (2:48) and Sergio Maduena (3:08).
For larger versions of any of these photos, simply use your mouse to right click and copy/save to your computer.

Common Ground, Local Support Network for Parents of Teens, to Meet Weekly, Starting This Evening
Earlier this summer, a local parent support network was initiated by friends of the Lighthouse Project and, as of August, the group called Common Ground met for their first meeting. Since that first meeting on August 18, Common Ground has established a website (at BigBearCommonGround.com) and found a permanent meeting place, at Community Church by the Lake, thus allowing for weekly gathering for those parents and other adults concerned about the behavior of teenagers in their life. Common Ground is billed as a support group dedicated to conscious parenting for today's teens and the format of the 6:30pm Monday meetings is a guided discussion, in which parents actively support one another in fostering effective family relations. The Common Ground project is offered free of charge and encourages sharing, while also providing information on communications tools and access to local resources. Parents of teens are welcome to join Common Ground each Monday for the hour-and-a-half 6:30 meetings held at Community Church (at 40946 Big Bear Boulevard), and newcomers can be assured that all sharing is done openly and honestly, and that family confidentially is respected. Those with questions on Common Ground can call 273-7759 for more information.

San Bernardino County Reports First Death from West Nile Virus; Safeguard Using the "Four Ds"

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health reports that, as of August 27, the death of a 48-year-old Rialto resident is the first in the County to result from West Nile Virus. This is the third West Nile Virus, or WNV, death in California in 2008 and, of the 132 cases reported statewide, there are presently five cases of WNV in San Bernardino County. Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, the County's Health Officer, says, “While the vast majority of people who contract West Nile Virus recover, deaths, however rare, do occur. We are saddened at this gentleman's death and this underscores how serious West Nile Virus can be. I encourage San Bernardino County residents to take measures to minimize exposure to mosquitoes and reduce the chance of being infected.” Though it remains unknown where the man from Rialto contracted WNV, it is transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite. To reduce this possibility, the Department of Public Health reminds that mosquitoes tend to bite at dawn and dusk, so be sure to secure doors and window screens. The application of insect repellant containing DEET is also recommended, as is the wearing of clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure, such as long pants. In addition to the three Ds of dawn/dusk, DEET and dress, be sure to Drain or remove all standing water to eliminate the presence of mosquitoes. Most people infected with West Nile Virus will not feel sick, though symptoms can include fever, rash, headahces and body aches. The County adds that recent data suggests that those with diabetes and/or hypertension are at greatest risk for serious illness, and remind that horses can also be infected, so should be vaccinated.

City Council of Big Bear Lake to Address Two Public Hearing Items During This Evening's Meeting
The City Council of Big Bear Lake meets for their first regular meeting of the month this evening at 6:15pm in Hofert Hall at the Civic Center. This evening's agenda includes two Public Hearing Items, the first of which addresses an ordinance to ban the possession, use and sale of party poppers and snap caps in Big Bear Lake on the days surrounding the Fourth of July. The second hearing will include Council consideration of a resolution to repeal the certification of the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Hilton Garden Inn, as the adequacy of the EIR was legally challenged by the Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations, including the San Bernardino Valley Audobon Society. During the Improvement Agency portion of this evening's Council meeting, a preliminary proposal to develop a 32-unit multi-family affordable housing project at Pine Knot Boulevard and Cameron Drive will be reviewed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

First Annual Big Bear Marathon Results
The race management company HBT Events produced the first annual Big Bear Marathon on Saturday. Hundreds of athletes participated; the top male and female marathoners were Tony Torres of Cedar Glen (2:41:48) and Judy Maguire (3:16). Several Big Bear residents had strong finishes in the marathon (listed by place, name, time and age):
6 Dolezal, David 3:15 39yo
11 Caballero, Alejandro 3:28 39yo
15 Gordon, Jim 3:35 50yo
34 Halamicek, Kevin 3:47 31yo
53 Congdon, Craig 4:04:19.3 47yo
58 Brunson, Kelley 4:07 34yo
64 Wood, Tyler 4:09 33yo
147 Waner, Lisa 4:50 46yo
148 Cassling, Michelle 4:50 39yo
154 Halamicek, Patricia 4:54 27yo
161 Bradley, Diane 4:57 47yo
162 Masuga, Katy 5:05 32yo
173 Melton, Jonathan 5:07 26yo
175 Moore, Jack 5:11 76yo
179 Martin, Sally 5:15 48yo
185 Loucif, Larbi 5:19 53yo
188 Jenkins, Donna 5:22 49yo
205 Ablett, Paul 5:32 42yo
For a complete list of winners from Saturday's events, visit ResultsbyPrimeTime.com.

HBT Events offers endurance athletes professional events throughout the Inland Empire. Upcoming races include a triathlon in Victorville next weekend, and on January 1, a triathlon and trail run in Snow Valley. For the Big Bear Marathon, HBT had help from many local residents and organizations, including the Event Resource Office, the Chambermaids (who hosted the Kids 1K run) and Mickey Hall, BBHS cross-country coach and father of Olympian Ryan Hall. Mickey Hall, just home from the Olympics in Beijing, was the keynote speaker at Friday's Health and Fitness Expo at Snow Summit. In addition, eighteen local service clubs and governmental bodies hosted aid stations along the race route:
Mile 1: City of Big Bear Lake/The Big Bear Cowboy Gathering, “A Cowboy Gathering”
Mile 4: Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, “Going to The Movies”
Mile 6: Holloway's Marina, “Pirates of Big Bear”
Mile 8: North Shore Improvement Association, “Christmas in Fawnskin”
Mile 10: Discovery Center with Sierra Club Big Bear Group, “Margaritaville”
Mile 12: Big Bear High School Cross-Country Team, “Ice Cream Stop”
Mile 13: Big Bear Valley Historical Society/Convention Center, “Hysterical Oktoberfest Cowboys”
Mile 14: Big Bear Lions Club/Boy Scout Troop #49, “The Boy Scouts in the Lion's Den”
Mile 16: Civil Air Patrol, “Big Bear Salutes, with Mountain Fifes and Drums, The USA”
Mile 18: Moonridge Business Association, “Moonridge Boardwalk Red, White and Blue”
Mile 20: Friends of Moonridge Zoo/Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club, “Misty Animal Car Wash”
Mile 22: Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake, “Rotary Rocks”
Mile 24: Kiwanis Club of Big Bear Valley, “Going for The Gold”

Friday, September 5, 2008


Welcome, marathon runners and cyclists, to beautiful Big Bear! Big Bear Marathon registration
information and road closure specifics are posted below.

* Details on Saturday morning road closures, as prompted by Big Bear Marathon, posted below (Thursday). *

CHP Reports That Labor Day Weekend Travel in the Mountains Results in Zero Fatalities, Six DUI Arrests
The California Highway Patrol has today released the traffic statistics from the Labor Day Maximum Enforcement Period, which covered Friday evening, August 29 from through Monday, Labor Day, at midnight. For the Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, there were two fatal traffic collisions resulting in two deaths—this total is less than last year's six fatalities and, of these, there were no fatalities (this year or last) in our area, which the CHP refers to as the Arrowhead division. Within the Arrowhead area, which includes Highways 18, 38 and 330 and other mountain roads, there were six DUI arrests made, which reflects zero change from Labor Day 2007, during which six DUIs arrests were also made.

CalTrans to Accept Contractor Bids, Come Monday, for Big Bear Dam Bridge Replacement Project

Despite funding issues at the state level, CalTrans is still planning to move forward with the Big Bear Dam bridge replacement project. In May, CalTrans officials said that funding for the estimated $60 million project was secure, and all the money was programmed for the new portion of the roadway which will be installed just southwest of the current dam. This still holds true as, come next Monday, September 8, contractor bids will be accepted over an eight-week period. It is expected that the contract for the dam bridge replacement project will be awarded in December and, per Terri Kasinga with CalTrans, we may see some preliminary work on the project through the winter months (though this will accommodate special species in the area, given the use of U.S. Forest Service land and details of the environmental clearance, which was granted in March of 2007). For the time being, Kasinga says, “Right now we're looking at any traffic impacts.” Once construction begins on the bridge, referred to by the project manager as a “signature project” for CalTrans, it is estimated that completion will take up to 2½ years. The new bridge will have two lanes, a left-hand turn lane, 10' shoulders, a sidewalk on the lake side, and ambient lighting. As initial project manager Bryce Johnston told Big Bear Lake officials in May, “We want it to be something the community will be proud of. We're trying to make everything as natural as possible.”

Local U.S. Post Offices to Offer Special Pictorial Postmark to Commemorate First Big Bear Marathon
The U.S. Post Offices of the Big Bear Valley will commemorate the first-ever Big Bear Marathon with a special pictorial cancellation postmark. The special marathon postmark will be available as of tomorrow, September 6, and for 30 days thereafter. The Fawnskin Post Office will offer the postmark at a booth along the marathon course on North Shore Drive on Saturday, the Big Bear City Post Office will have a post stationed along the Country Club Boulevard portion of the race, and the Big Bear Lake branch will offer the postmark on site, at their location at Pine Knot Boulevard's north end. Postmaster Cynthia Crane of Fawnskin says that pictorial cancellation postmarks, such as our special Big Bear Marathon one, recognize special events and are considered collector's items.

Airport Board Unanimously Approves Airport Master Plan, Sans References to Private Property Acquisiton
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District have, as of this week, unanimously approved the Airport Master Plan. As the updated draft master plan, as initiated by an earlier Board, dates back to 2005, and given much public input this year as airport neighbors feared eminent domain, the unanimous approval of the Airport Master Plan signifies a chapter closed, and, now, compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration achieved. Prior to the Airport District Board's regular meeting on September 3, during which the master plan was agendized for possible approval, Airport General Manager Garry Dokter held a public meeting that morning, during which time neighbors and concerned citizens were given opportunity to address questions to Ryan Hayes of Barnard Dunkelberg & Associates, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based environmental consultants and airport planners who amended the Airport Master Plan, to eliminate any and all references to the acquisition of private properties adjacent to the airport. In his opening statements during the morning meeting, Dokter told the crowd, “The amended master plan is to assure the public that the airport has no intention to acquire property outside the airport boundary, and a lot of time and money has been spent to do that”—and, he added, “The runway length will remain the same.” Hayes, who traveled from Oklahoma to present at both meetings, said that amendments to the master plan also include revisions to the future Taxiway B extension which, in his words, “avoid impacting Mountain View Boulevard, so we don't have to move the fence and we don't have to move the road.” Though the Airport District Board is not (in theory) committed to implementing aspects of the master plan, the first of three phases includes the construction of a maintenance building, a noise use study, the potential purchase of Bear City Park, and the construction of six 50' x 50' helipads on the airport's south side. As Hayes noted, “The Airport Layout Plan is the ultimate product of this master plan, which does not show any land acquisition except for Bear City Park.” The ALP will now be filed with the FAA, bringing the Big Bear Airport in compliance and the ongoing Airport Master Plan issue to rest.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Highway Lane Closures and Delays to Be Expected During Saturday Morning's Big Bear Marathon Race
The Big Bear Marathon gets underway early Saturday morning and, given that the 26.2 mile course wraps around the lake and extends east to Big Bear City, road closures will affect traffic flow on September 6, starting at 4am. Event organizers have worked to minimize traffic delays, and though there will be just one hard closure, the main gist of it will be that vehicle traffic will be asked to drive counter-clockwise, as the racers leave from the Village and proceed west before wrapping around the dam, along the North Shore, travel south on Paradise Way, and return west, taking the loop around the golf course, then through lower Moonridge and Eagle Point. Highway 18/Big Bear Boulevard will be closed to westbound traffic from Pine Knot Avenue to the Big Bear Dam, as of the 5am hour on Saturday until all racers have passed through the area, which is estimated to be by about 9:30am. Highway 38/North Shore Drive will be closed to eastbound vehicle traffic, and will re-open as runners complete the course along the North Shore, which extends from the dam to Paradise Way. The one hard closure will be in the Fawnskin portion of the highway; those on the inner loop of the road will not have driveway access until the race has passed. For all other residential streets affected, one lane will be open and, with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol, Sheriff's deputies, Citizens on Patrol and other volunteers, access will be allowed, though delays can be expected. Residential streets on the race course include Paradise Way, Country Club Boulevard, McAlister Road, Moonridge Road, Clubview Drive, Cedar Avenue, Switzerland Drive, Thrush Drive, Brownie Lane, Summit Boulevard, Garstin Road, Eagle Point Drive, Marina Point Drive, Stone Bridge Road, Eureka Drive, Park Avenue and Knight Drive. Detour signs and other directional signs will be posted along the race course during the Big Bear Marathon and, for those who would like to see the course map, it is available at hbtevents.com/images/coursemaps/08BBM-coursemap.pdf. Following the marathon's awards ceremony, expected to take place around 11am in the Village, there will be a free public concert, hosted by the City of Big Bear Lake. The 11:30am to 2pm performance will feature Bonne Musique Zydeco at the Christmas tree lot at Pine Knot and Village Drive during the fitness and health expo. (Registration and expo information posted below, on September 2.)

Department of Water and Power Board Meet in A.M.; General Manager Position Topic of Closed Session
The Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power hold a special meeting tomorrow morning at 9am, at the DWP offices at 41972 Garstin Drive in Big Bear Lake. The closed session portion of the meeting will be with regard to the agency's General Manager position. Per an August conversation with DWP Chairman Steve Foulkes, the agency's recruiter will be present at this meeting, as the candidate field has been narrowed to three, all of whom Foulkes considers very qualified given their respective water experience. Following the Commissioners' closed session, open session will include a follow-up on DWP's January strategic planning workshop with BHI Management Consulting.

Local Contractors Association to Contribute to Lighthouse Project's Vision for a Child-Honoring Community
The Big Bear Valley Contractors Association, which is comprised of over 70 local, licensed contractors, is doing their part to contribute to the Lighthouse Project's vision for a child-honoring community. Though it is still in the “formation stage,” according to Bob Ludecke of Ludecke's Electrical Service (which has been in Big Bear since 1978), the Contractors Association is implementing a 13-point Community Contractor Program, to which contractors will pledge to commit. Ludecke tells KBHR, “I went to one of the Lighthouse meetings, and my impression was ‘What does this have to do with me?'” It was later, when he was pondering the child-honoring community vision that he realized that, as a member of the Contractors Association, he says, “We as a group can be better, and be better neighbors. Let's see if we can't sharpen things up, and give people a reason to shop for a local contractor.” Among the 13 points of the program is a commitment to use language that is not offensive or vulgar; observe all traffic laws and avoid aggressive or rude driving behavior; park at job sites to allow for traffic flow and driveway access; respect the peacefulness of neighborhoods (including music on job sites); keep job sites clean and safe, and observe proper smoking etiquette; use job site toilet facilities; and, point #13, “be mindful that we are guests in neighborhoods and children are likely watching us.” Ludecke says that in addition to adopting these standards for the Contractors Association, “My hope is that every industry would do something similar, and next thing you know, we've all got it together!” For more on the Big Bear Valley Contractors Association, or to join, you can visit their website at bbvca.com.

Today Is a Minimum Day for Students at All BVUSD Schools, to Allow for Strategic Planning by Teachers

Today is a minimum day for students at all Bear Valley Unified School District schools, including Big Bear High School, to allow for teachers' Strategic Planning and Assessment Articulation. The next minimum day for BVUSD students is scheduled for Thursday, September 18.

Death of David Lasky of Sugarloaf Results in Gross Vehicular Manslaughter Charge for Brother Stephen
On Saturday, June 21 in the 2am hour, a vehicle chase on Keller Peak Road off Highway 18, stemming from an alleged altercation at a campground in the vicinity of Running Springs, resulted in the death of 20-year-old David Lasky of Sugarloaf. San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Homicide Detail has been investigating the incident since the death of Lasky, who had been one of four passengers in the truck being driven by his younger brother, 18-year-old Stephen Lasky of Running Springs. Reports from the late night incident also identified three victims, who had been in the second vehicle, and those unnamed individuals were a 17-year-old male from Skyforest, an 18-year-old female from Crestline, and a 19-year-old female from Green Valley Lake. In the original press release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, it was noted: “The victims of the assault fled in a vehicle and were chased by the suspect, Stephen Lasky. David Lasky was hanging out of the passenger window, while his brother Stephen was driving. Stephen Lasky intentionally rammed the victim's vehicle several times during the chase. On the last intentional strike, Stephen Lasky lost control of his pickup, causing it to roll onto the passenger side.” In a press release issued by the County Sheriff's Department today, the update is as follows: “On Tuesday, September 2, investigators arrested Christina Marhoun (age 20) for PC 245 Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Through their investigation, investigators determined that Marhoun had struck one of the victims in the face during the fight that occurred at the camprgound prior to the two parties fleeing in their vehicles. The District Attorney's office issued a warrant for Marhoun and she was subsequently arrested, transported and booked in to the Central Detention Center. Christina Marhoun is currently out on bail. On Wednesday, September 3, the suspect, Stephen Lasky, turned himself in at the courthouse in San Bernardino. Following the review of the report submitted by the Homicide Team, the District Attorney's office issued a warrant for Lasky's arrest. Lasky will be transported and booked into the West Valley Detention Center, where he will be charged with three counts of Attempted Murder and one count of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while intoxicated. Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Rick Bessinger or Sergeant Tony DeCecio at 387-3589. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call call We Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).”

Municipal Water District Board to Address Contract Proposal Re. Dam Bridge Replacement Today

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District meet for their regular meeting at 1pm this afternoon, at the MWD offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive in Big Bear Lake. Business Items on today's agenda include approval of a $41,800 contract proposal from MWH Americas for the dam impact coordination with the Highway 18 bridge removal, and Board consideration of a resolution encouraging MWD participation in the Great Southern California Shakeout (the earthquake disaster drill planned for November 13).

Breaking News as of 8:40am
: Reports of Possible Fire Off Highway 18, Near Rim of the World High School

As of about 8:30am this morning, reports of a possible fire off Highway 18 were reported to officials with the San Bernardino National Forest. The possible brush fire is said to be in the vicinity of Highway 18 just east of Rim of the World High School. Should these reports be verified and the fire pose any threat to the Big Bear area or the state highway, we will be sure to bring you the latest. Update as of 9:35am: In the hour since we brought you this news, crews from the Forest Service have investigated the report and, as it turns out, it was not smoke but dust. Construction crews are working in the area, and the dirt that was kicked up looked like smoke, which prompted the calls to the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the San Bernardino National Forest--so, that said, no fire off Highway 18 at this time.


Canoers enjoy a serene paddle on Big Bear Lake's Grout Bay, in Fawnskin.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


City of Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Department Still Offering Free Curbside Chipping
Curbside chipping opportunities are still available to residents at both ends of the Valley. Should you have cleared defensible space on your property over the three-day weekend and are ready to have that vegetation removed, simply call to arrange for free pickup. For those within the City of Big Bear Lake, the Neighborhood Chipping Request Line is 752-2805. Crews from the City's Public Works Department will pick up tree and brush trimmings, though request that curbside piles do not contain any rootballs, limbs or trunks larger than eight inches in diameter. Bagged pine needles, weeds and leaves, also, are not for the chipping truck, but pickup can be arranged by calling Big Bear Disposal at 866-3942. For those at the east end of the Valley, in areas serviced by the Big Bear City Fire Department, curbside chipping can be requested by calling 585-2362 by month's end. Says Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis, “The primary goal is to remove overgrown, dense brush, small trees, limbs and dead material. We also encourage property cleanup, such as weeds, pine needles, leaves, etc. These items can be bagged and placed curbside for Big Bear City Community Services District refuse pickup during this same time.” For more information on creating defensible space and curbside chipping programs, you can visit thinisin.org and bigbearcityfire.org.

Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Hosts Power Breakfast at Northwoods in the Village Tomorrow

The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce hosts their first-Thursday-of-the-month Power Breakfast tomorrow, which begins at Northwoods Resort in the Village at 7am. Tomorrow's breakfast will include the round-the-room orientation, during which time each Chamber member and guest will have a moment to introduce themselves and their business, as well as two featured speakers, those being Cathy Schacht, a certified personal trainer with the Village Spa, and Walter Con, Director of Business Services for the Bear Valley Unified School District. Cost for the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast is $12 for Chamber members and $15 for guests.

Be a Survivor, Get Ready Now: September Is National Preparedness Month; Shakeout Drill in November
In anticipation of the Great Southern California Shakeout--the largest disaster drill ever, which will simulate a 7.8 magnitude quake on November 13—San Bernardino County's Office of Emergency Services is recognizing September as National Preparedness Month. The goal of the multi-agency outreach effort is to present a manageable, step-by-step approach for residents to become prepared so, this month, the first of three steps encourages all to “Be a Survivor, Get Ready Now.” Step one is among the must crucial preparedness steps and involves creating and maintaining an emergency supplies kit. Each household is advised to have a kit containing food, water, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools, emergency supplies, and special items for medical conditions. Per the County's OES Department, residents should keep enough food and water to sustain themselves for a minimum of 72 hours, though it is best to be prepared for two weeks. For more information on earthquake preparedness, visit sbcfire.org/oes; for details on the Great Southern California Shakeout, visit shakeout.org.

Recreation and Park District Plans More Concerts and Movie Nights at Swim Beach Next Summer
Reese Troublefield, Director of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, reports that the first “Movie on the Beach” event at Swim Beach on Saturday night was “great” with a turnout of over 250 movie-goers who enjoyed “Surf's Up” lakeside, including lots of children and many seniors as well. Troublefield also noted, “The snack bar was hammered, like at a drive-in movie!” Due to the success of movie-on-the-beach night, and this summer's first-ever concert on the beach, which raised over $9000 to benefit the Teen Center, more activities are planned for Swim Beach next summer. Next year's schedule will include five summer concerts, mixed with five movie nights on 10 Saturdays, beginning Memorial Day weekend and, adds Troublefield, “We're really looking forward to this new programming.”

County Sends Fire Incident Management Team to Mississippi to Assist in Hurricane Gustav Recovery

San Bernardino County last night sent a four-member County Fire Incident Management Team to Gulfport, Mississippi, to assist the Gulf Coast city in its recovery from Hurricane Gustav and to help the community prepare for future disasters. The primary mission of the team—which includes County Fire's Division Chiefs George Corley, Tim Wessel and Alan Stocker, and Battalion Chief Gary Bush—will be to support the city's efforts to create a written Incident Action Plan that would include a scenario based around a Category 4 or greater hurricane. Of the trip, Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Gary Ovitt says, “We are following through on a commitment the county made following Hurricane Katrina to help Gulfport in times of need. Gulfport has made the same commitment, having sent fire officials to assist San Bernardino County during last year's wildfires.” San Bernardino County Fire Chief Pat Dennen adds, “In preparation for a major disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake, we recommend that people have an out-of-state contact they can call after the incident. This is the same concept, just on a larger scale. If Gulfport has a disaster, they can call San Bernardino County, and we will already have a copy of their plan, phone numbers for key personnel, and maps of the city with GPS coordinates. If we have a disaster, Gulfport will have our information.” San Bernardino County's efforts in 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, were honored with a 2006 National Association of Counties Achievement Award and the 2006 Inland Empire Red Cross Humanitarian Award.

School Board to Meet for Regular Meeting This Evening at 6:15pm, at BVUSD Offices on Moonridge Road
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District meet this evening for their regular board meeting at 6:15pm, to be held at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road in Big Bear Lake. This evening's meeting is scheduled to include a sports facility update from Trustee Dr. Ken Turney, and a senior project presentation on solar energy by 2008 Big Bear High School graduate Aimee Fritch.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Airport District Board to Take Action on Draft Master Plan Tomorrow; 10am Meeting for Public Review
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District will convene for their regular monthly meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2pm in the pilots lounge of the Big Bear Airport, during which time the Board will take action on the amended Draft Master Plan for the airport. Prior to the afternoon meeting, a 10am public meeting will be held to review the Draft Master Plan. Per Airport General Manager Garry Dokter, “The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport, in considering public input and comment on the Draft Master Plan, has approved an amendment to remove all references to the acquisition of private property surrounding the airport. Since this is a significant amendment, we want to share this information.” The 10am public meeting, which will include a review by consultants Barnard Dunkelberg & Company, will also take place in the pilots lounge, at the airport at 501 W. Valley Boulevard in Big Bear City. In the meantime, the Draft Master Plan is available for review at the airport offices.

Senior Girls Dias, Hirschler, Lewis, Rodgers and Smith Named to Big Bear High School Homecoming Court
The Big Bear High School 2008 Homecoming Court has been named, as of today. The five senior girls, one of whom will be named Homecoming Queen on Minder Field on September 20, are Vondalynn Dias, Michelle Hirschler, Megan Lewis, Mary Kate Rodgers and Katherine Smith. This year's BBHS court will also include Honorary Princess Katia Bouder, exchange student from France.

Local Vendors, Athletes and Volunteers Encouraged to Participate in Big Bear Marathon This Saturday
The first-ever Big Bear Marathon runs through the Valley this Saturday, September 6, and there are still many opportunities for locals to get involved in the big event. Thousands of racers are anticipated, and vendors can reach this affluent group during the Marathon Expo, which takes place at the base of Snow Summit Resort from 10am to 7pm on Friday, and along Pine Knot Boulevard in the Village on Saturday from 4am to 4pm. During the two-day expo, racers will be checking in for the marathon, half-marathon, bike tour, 5K and 1K runs; vendor booths are available at a cost of $250 for both days, and cost includes tables, chairs and a canopy provided by event organizer HBT Events. To arrange for a booth during this high-profile event, contact Rich White at 573-3700; to participate as a volunteer during the marathon, contact Cheryl at volunteer@hbtevents.com. Local athletes of all ability levels are also encouraged to participate in the five events, including the 6am bike tour, which is not a timed event. Rich White, a local cyclist involved in the event, tells KBHR, “You get a t-shirt, and a great view of Big Bear Lake.” There is also a locals' discount offered so, using the code BBM08 (that's zero 8) online at HBTEvents.com, locals can participate in the bike tour at a reduced cost of $35. Cost to participate in the other events of the Big Bear Marathon range from $20 (for the 1K, open to children and adults) to $80 (for the 26.2 mile run), for those who register by noon on Thursday, though on-site registration will also be available on Saturday (as well as at the expo on Friday). For more information, visit HBTEvents.com and, before the big day, be sure to visit this page again for important Saturday morning road closure information.

Community Emergency Response Team Meets This Evening; Fundraiser Scheduled for September 29

The Big Bear Valley Community Emergency Response Team meets this evening at 6pm at the Big Bear City Fire Department. Current CERT members, inactive members and all those who plan to train with the emergency team are invited to the monthly meeting, which will include updated information on ice patrol training and the Golden Guardian program, sponsored by the state. Our local CERT team have this summer been participating in mountain fire watches and, come September 29, will host their first fundraiser at Sonora Cantina. Funds from this event will be used to purchase equipment and supplies necessary for community emergency incidents. For more information about the Community Emergency Response Team, or this evening's 6pm meeting, contact the Big Bear Lake Fire Department at 866-4668 or the Big Bear City Fire Department at 585-2362.

Local U.S. Post Offices Offer Special Big Bear Marathon Postmark; P.O. Counter Hours Outlined
All five U.S. Post Offices in the Big Bear Valley were closed yesterday in observance of Labor Day and, as of today, normal hours resume. Should you need those specifics, here are the standard counter hours for our local post offices. The Big Bear Lake Post Office, under the direction of Postmaster Javier Fregoso, offers counter hours from 8:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday, and from 10am to noon on Saturday; the Moonridge station, behind Vons, offers counter hours from 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday. The Big Bear City Post Office, overseen by Postmaster Ron Ward, provides counter hours from 9am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday, with pickups available on Saturday from 1 to 2pm; the Sugarloaf P.O. provides counter hours from noon to 4pm Monday through Friday, with pickups available in the noon hour on Saturday. The Fawnskin Post Office, run by Postmaster Cynthia Crane, is open for counter hours from 8am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday (though closed for an hour at 12:30 each day), and Saturday counter services are offered from 8:30 to 10:30am. Online postal services are also available 24/7 at usps.com, but you'll need to visit a local post office to take advantage of the special commemorative Big Bear Marathon postmark, which will be available as of Saturday.

Poll Workers Needed for Presidential General Election on November 4; Training to Be Provided
At 7am on Tuesday, November 4, all polling places in San Bernardino County will be opened for voters to cast their ballots in the Presidential General Election. At present, there are still many openings throughout the County for persons willing to help at polling places. Bilingual volunteers (fluent in English and Spanish) are especially needed for this important civic duty. Poll workers attend special two-hour training classes, detailing job specifics and election procedures. For those interested in serving, no experience is required to be a poll worker, however poll workers must be citizens of the United States and registered voters. Inspectors will earn $135, plus $30 for a three-hour training class; poll clerks will earn $100 on Election Day, plus $15 for a two-hour training class. Bilingual poll workers receive an additional $10 stipend. Those interested in serving on November 4 can contact the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters at 387-8300, or toll-free at 800/881-8683.

San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Will Not Meet Today; Next Regular Meeting on September 9

The Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County will not be meeting today, for their regular weekly meeting. The next regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors will take place on Tuesday, September 9, with the public session beginning at 10am.

Monday, September 1, 2008 -- Labor Day


Marijuana Eradication Operation Near Onyx Summit; Over 3,000 Mature Plants Seized, Two Arrested
On Friday, August 29, at 5:30 am, a ground team consisting of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's Marijuana Eradication Team, Sheriff's Aviation Division, U.S. Forest Service, DEA and CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) entered Deadman's Canyon near Onyx Summit (at Bear Valley's east end). At the cultivation site after about a 45-minute hike, the team encountered a campsite with two Hispanic males who fled from the officers on foot. The officers gave chase through the mountains for about a mile until they located the suspects hiding in the brush. The cultivation contained 3,208 mature, budding marijuana plants which varied in size from two feet to eight feet tall. This cultivation has an approximate value of $11,228,000. The campsite appeared as if it were occupied full-time by the two suspects. All of the plants and equipment were removed as evidence. Approximately 30 law enforcement personnel participated in this eradication. Investigators do not believe there are any outstanding suspects. Federal charges will be filed pending the outcome of a Grand Jury indictment.

Community Services District's Board Will Not Meet Today; Next Meeting Scheduled for September 15

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District will not hold their regular meeting this evening, in observance of Labor Day. The September 1 CSD meeting has been adjourned to the regular meeting of September 15, to be held at 5:30pm at the CSD offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear City.

Big Bear's History Museum Open Today for Labor Day; Valley Artifacts from Serrano Indians on Display
Though the Historical Museum is generally open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday during the summer season, the Big Bear Valley Historical Society will have the museum, the only one in the San Bernardino mountains, open today for Labor Day. From 10am to 4pm, guests can experience Big Bear's history, as the museum offers Valley-specific artifacts and displays on the Serrano Indians and Big Bear's fox farm industry, as well as some historic buildings, including the original Mt. Doble schoolhouse (which was used as early as 1901). The Historical Museum is located in Big Bear City, off Greenway Drive (which is also Highways 18 and 38), and admission price for adults is just $3. For more information or driving directions, you can visit bigbearhistory.org.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Enjoy Labor Day weekend in Big Bear!

Cal State San Bernardino Adds Another Prestigious National Listing
U.S. News & World Report has included Cal State San Bernardino among its top colleges in the 2009 edition of “America's Best Colleges” in its list of Best Universities-Master's for the west region. Also, Cal State San Bernardino was recently listed among the “Best in the West” by the Princeton Review in the Western section of its “2009 Best Colleges: Region by Region” edition. “We're pleased that Cal State San Bernardino continues to be considered a top Western university by U.S. News & World Report, especially following a similar recognition from the Princeton Review,” said CSUSB President Albert Karnig. “This is simply further confirmation of the outstanding quality of our faculty and staff. Their commitment to excellence in and out of the classroom have made the university special." Residents of Big Bear interested in learning more about Cal State San Bernardino can call 880-5000 or go to their website at csusb.edu.

California Boating Safety Reminder
With so many more boaters expected on the lake this Labor Day weekend, the Department of Boating and Waterways urges boaters to operate safely and wear their life jackets. As of August the agency has been notified of 29 boating-related fatalities throughout the state.  Most fatalities occur during the busy summer holiday periods of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends when waterways get crowded and the chances for collisions increase, so it is important that boaters maintain a proper lookout, abstain from alcohol, and wear life jackets. Operator inattention is the leading cause of boating accidents, contributing to 44 percent of all California boating accidents in 2007, according to DBW's 2007 California Boating Safety Report. When boaters are recreating, they may neglect to watch out for other boats. While the operator is ultimately responsible for maintaining a proper lookout, it is a good idea to designate someone else on board to help watch for other traffic.

Protect Against the Quagga Mussel in Big Bear Lake
Before launching a boat into Big Bear Lake, the Municipal Water District reminds that a Quagga Mussel survey must first be completed, to assure that the invasive species does not infect our lake. The invasive Quagga Mussel has not yet infected Big Bear Lake, as it has many waterways in the United States. You can do your part by making sure that your vessel—whether boat, kayak, canoe, or even a floating device—has first been cleaned, drained and dry. Quagga Mussel surveys are available from marinas within the Valley, as well as the public boat launch ramps on Big Bear Lake's North Shore. The public launch ramps also have available a free Quagga Mussel decontamination, which consists of a high-pressure power wash, free of chemicals. For more information, you may call the MWD at 866-5796, or stop by their offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive, just west of the Village off Paine Road.

Big Bear Airport Meetings Scheduled
There is a special meeting of the Big Bear Airport Development Committee scheduled for Tuesday, September 2 at 10am in the Pilots Lounge of the Terminal Building at the airport. Also, there will be a Public Workshop to present the McHugh Consulting hangar construction site selection study scheduled for Wednesday, September 3 at 9am in the Pilots Lounge in the Terminal Building at the airport.

This Weekend a Maximum Enforcement Period on California Roadways for the CHP
Due to a higher number of fatal accidents on mountain roads last year than in years past, CalTrans has joined forces with the California Highway Patrol, the U.S. Forest Service and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department to implement a Safe Roads campaign, targeted at motorists who travel our mountain highways. Terri Kasinga with CalTrans tells KBHR that of 2007's 19 accidents that resulted in 21 fatalities, only one of those collisions was weather related. The message of the Safe Roads campaign, Kasinga says, is “Slow down. Drivers need to review their driving habits and remember that there's not a lot of room for error on curving mountain roads. Only one little mistake can result in a fatality.” The upcoming Labor Day Weekend will be a Maximum Enforcement Period for the California Highway Patrol. From 6pm. Friday through midnight Monday, officers will be looking for violators of the three major causes of highway deaths: speeding, DUI and people not wearing their seatbelts. The worst Labor Day weekend death toll in California was 81 in 1980. Last year, 49 people were killed on California roadways. The CHP want to remind you to drive safely, don't drink and drive, and remember to wear your seatbelt.

Labor Day Weekend Visitors Expected to Visit the National Forest
According to John Miller, Information Officer for the U.S. Forest Service, the San Bernardino National Forest is prepared for the upcoming holiday weekend.  The San Gorgonio Wilderness has two small lakes, meadows, streams, 100+ miles of trail, densely forested northern slopes, and rugged terrain with elevations ranging from 4,400 to 11,499 feet. The Mountaintop Ranger District recently re-opened the Little Green Valley Trail near Snow Valley to hiking, mountain bikes and horseback riding. The 2.5 mile trail was closed as a result of damage from the Butler #2 and Slide Fires last fall. “Forest Service trail crews have done a tremendous job this year getting the trails open” said District Ranger Kurt  Winchester. The Pacific Crest Trail and Grays Peak Trail near Fawnskin also were repaired and re-opened earlier this year. Campers can expect campgrounds to fill up over the holiday weekend and are encouraged to make reservations early. Campground reservations can be made on-line through Reserve USA at recreation.gov or by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777. The Forest Adventure Pass must be displayed on a visitor's parked vehicle when recreating in high impact recreation areas and certain developed sites like campgrounds and picnic areas. Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) users can now download a riding area map, which are also available at the forest ranger stations. The San Bernardino National Forest OHV webpage address is fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/recreation/ohv. Check with the local ranger stations for requirements and restrictions or, for a free forest visitor's guide, you can contact the Big Bear Ranger Station and Discovery Center at 909/382-2790.

Fire Restrictions in the San Bernardino National Forest
Given the high fire risk in the Big Bear Valley, which is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, illegal campfires are prohibited. Per Fire Management Officer Mike Dietrich with the U.S. Forest Service, “Most wildfires are human caused, and most times it's accidental but, accident or not, we are aggressively enforcing fire regulations on the forest.” Current fire restrictions include the following: wood and charcoal fires permitted only in agency developed fire rings in developed recreation sites; no fires in Yellow Post campsites; recreational shooting limited to public shooting ranges, such as the Big Bear Sportsman's Club Shooting Range; approved spark arrestors required for any internal combustion engine, which applies to chainsaws, generators, motorcycles and off-highway vehicles; smoking limited to enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites and areas cleared of vegetation three feet in diameter; and fireworks are always prohibited on the San Bernardino National Forest. The violation of these laws could result in fines, and even jail time, and anyone who causes a wildfire could be liable for all costs associated with suppressing the fire. Questions on fire restrictions can be addressed by calling 382-2600, or visiting the Big Bear Discovery Center, on Big Bear Lake's North Shore.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Protect Against the Quagga Mussel in Big Bear Lake
Before launching a boat into Big Bear Lake, the Municipal Water District reminds that a Quagga Mussel survey must first be completed, to assure that the invasive species does not infect our lake. The invasive Quagga Mussel has not yet infected Big Bear Lake, as it has many waterways in the United States. You can do your part by making sure that your vessel—whether boat, kayak, canoe, or even a floating device—has first been cleaned, drained and dry. Quagga Mussel surveys are available from marinas within the Valley, as well as the public boat launch ramps on Big Bear Lake's North Shore. The public launch ramps also have available a free Quagga Mussel decontamination, which consists of a high-pressure power wash, free of chemicals. For more information, you may call the MWD at 866-5796, or stop by their offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive, just west of the Village off Paine Road.

California Boating Safety Reminder
With so many more boaters expected on the lake this Labor Day weekend, the Department of Boating and Waterways urges boaters to operate safely and wear their life jackets. As of August, the agency has been notified of 29 boating-related fatalities throughout the state. Most fatalities occur during the busy summer holiday periods of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends when waterways get crowded and the chances for collisions increase, so it is important that boaters maintain a proper lookout, abstain from alcohol, and wear life jackets. Operator inattention is the leading cause of boating accidents, contributing to 44 percent of all California boating accidents in 2007, according to DBW's 2007 California Boating Safety Report. When boaters are recreating, they may neglect to watch out for other boats. While the operator is ultimately responsible for maintaining a proper lookout, it is a good idea to designate someone else on board to help watch for other traffic.

CalTrans Paving Schedule for Highway 38
CalTrans has scheduled paving work on Highway 38 for today. Minimal delays can be expected in the Barton Flats area of Highway 38 from 8:30am to 5pm. Caltrans has no planned lane closures for the Labor Day weekend beginning Friday, August 29 at 6am through Tuesday, September 2, at 6p.m. Lane and road closures may be necessary in the event of an emergency event such as police activity, accidents, or weather.

Blood Drive Today at BBCCSD
The Blood Bank of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties invites all healthy residents to give the gift of life today from noon to 4:30pm at the Big Bear City Community Services District located at 139 East Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear City. Each participant will receive a free cholesterol test and points as part of the “Gift of Life” Donor Loyalty Program that may be redeemed for items through the Blood Bank's online store. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit bbsbrc.org or call the Blood Bank at 1-800-879-4484.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

USPS Employee Parris Retires
The Big Bear Lake Post Office is saying good-bye to long time employee Robert "Crow" Parris who will be working his last shift tomorrow, August 28, until 1pm. Parris, a longtime Big Bear resident, is celebrating retirement after 34 years and 10 months with the United States Postal Service. Residents are invited to come say thanks and bid a farewell to Crow and enjoy some cake being served in the Big Bear Lake Post Office lobby.

Big Bear Valley Post Offices Offer Special Pictorial Cancellation Postmark for Marathon
For the first time in the Big Bear Valley, all three Big Bear Valley post offices will be issuing a special pictorial cancellation postmark to commemorate the first running of the Big Bear Marathon on September 6th. Cynthia Crane, Postmaster of the Fawnskin Post Office, announced that there will be a special event table set up at the Fawnskin Post Office on North Shore Drive during the day of the marathon and that the Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City branches will be offering the postmark as well. The special postmark will also be available at all three post offices for 30 days after the event. You can obtain one as a souvenir by purchasing a stamped envelope at the post office or bring your own stamped envelope to any of the three Valley post offices. According to Cynthia Crane, pictorial cancellation postmarks are used nationally by post offices to recognize special events and are collector's items.

BBCCSD Park and Rec Committee Meets
The Park and Recreation Committee of the Big Bear City Community Services District will hold a meeting this morning at 10am at the Bear Valley Rec and Park District office at 41220 Park Avenue at Meadow Park in Big Bear Lake to discuss the final design detail regarding Paradise Park. The meeting is open to the public.

BBARWA Monthly Meeting Today
The Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency will hold their regular monthly meeting today at 4:30pm, at their offices located at 121 Palomino Drive in Big Bear City. The agency will hold a second reading for adoption of an ordinance to increase the current fee schedule for the disposal of waste delivered to the regional treatment plant. Also on the agenda, in new business, is discussion of treatment plant upgrades and an informational meeting of the Ad-Hoc Water Committee. In addition, BBARWA will recognize employee Francis Hobbs for 15 years of service and Drew Ryan for five years of service to the agency. This meeting is also open to the public.

Volunteers Needed for Big Bear's First Marathon
In continuing the momentum set by the Lighthouse Project and the Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign, in less than two weeks, Big Bear will be holding the first Big Bear Marathon, Half Marathon, Bike Tour and 5K on Saturday, September 6th. Volunteers are needed for a variety of different areas, from working at the expo, registration, the start/finish areas, aide stations, first aid and traffic control among others. If you can volunteer for the event, help is needed for Friday and Saturday, September 5th and 6th; contact Cheryl at 760/508-5736. If you have medical certification and can volunteer as a course medical aid, contact Heather at 909/289-0879. Volunteers will receive a t-shirt, food and the reward of working at Big Bear's first marathon!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The Bear in Beijing! KBHR's Rick Herrick joins local Olympian Ryan Hall, following his Olympic marathon
debut, in which Hall placed 10th overall in a field of over 90 runners. Hall says, "I want to thank you for
sharing in this journey. I have been truly blessed by you all."

News and Views from Rick Herrick, the Bear in Beijing: “Ryan Hall Olympian”

The 2008 Beijing China Olympics are over and it won't be until 2012 in London before the next games begin. This year was special in so many ways. It began on the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year of 2000. But for Big Bear these Olympics meant a lot more than just a clever date. We felt a special pride, excitement and love for our local Olympian Ryan Hall. Ryan trained for and ran a 2:12 marathon, which prior to the race and on any other Olympic year was indeed good enough to have earned him an Olympic podium spot. You say 10th in the world is not bad, but for a true Olympian like Ryan Hall it was a disappointing finish. Long before this marathon began it was noted that a winning time of two hours and six minutes was unattainable considering the Beijing air quality, high humidity and air temperature but that indeed was the winning time. In fact it set an Olympic record and earned, for the first time, a marathon gold medal for Kenya. Ryan told me one of his post Olympic missions was to help the people of Africa and I believe that mission for him is now clearer than ever; God does work in many different and interesting ways. Ryan Hall is the epitome of grace under pressure; he is an American icon for speed, strength, endurance and faith. I look forward to other Ryan Hall marathon runs between now and the 2012 Olympics in London, where I'm sure he'll run again. Ryan Hall and the Lighthouse Project, without doubt, excited and inspired many many people in Big Bear and, yes, a lot more across the country and possibly around the world. So what do we do now? The answer is easy: let's keep the momentum going and keep moving for Ryan Hall. It's a great life lesson--“Just Keep Moving”--and remember when you hear or see the phrase “Run Ryan Run” to take a moment to think what that phrase means to you and how it inspired us all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Big Bear Lake City Council Meets Tonight; Presentation on Rate Increase by Bear Valley Electric
The City Council of Big Bear Lake meets for the regular meeting at 6:30pm this evening, in Hofert Hall. This evening's meeting will include a presentation by Bear Valley Electric Service, on their proposed 22.7 percent rate increase for electric service within the Big Bear Valley, which is scheduled for a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission in June of 2009. For those customers who wish to file comment on the electricity rate increase, the filing period expires this Friday, August 29. For consumers wishing to issue comments, the California Public Utilities Commission's Public Advisor may be contacted at 505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103, San Francisco, CA 94102; emailed at public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov; or called at 866/849-8390 or 415/703-2074. (More information on the rate increase is posted in our 2008 Archive, on July 30.)

Ryan Hall Comments On His Olympic Performance
As all of Big Bear Valley must know by now, Ryan Hall made his Olympic debut in the August 24 Olympic marathon in Beijing, competing in only his fourth marathon ever. The 25-year-old runner ran the 26.2 mile race placing an impressive 10th at 2:12:33 in the Olympic marathon. According to a post-Olympic conversation with Rick Herrick, the “Bear in Beijing”, Ryan said he was disappointed and didn't do his best but he gave it his all. Alongside Ryan, his mother Susie replied how could he be dissapointed at being the 10th fastest marathoner in the world. A sentiment echoed here in the Big Bear Valley as Ryan Hall continues to make us proud. Ryan's future plans include attending the Chicago marathon with wife Sara, on behalf of Team World Vision, on October 12.

Suspects Booked on Felony Charges of Marijuana Possession
According to the Big Bear Sheriffs Department, last Friday, August 22, at 2pm, deputies served a search warrant in the 600 block of Kern Ave in Sugarloaf to investigate a report of possession of stolen property as well as narcotics suspected in the residence. In the search stolen property in the amount of approximately $2500 was discovered and returned to the owner. Additionally, deputies seized several pounds of marijuana estimated at a street value of $20,000 and several thousands of dollars. Suspects Richard Andrew Simpson, 59 years old, and Kimberly Charles, 46 years old, were booked on felony charges of possession of marijuana for sale and possession of stolen property and are currently being held on $500,000 bail. Suspect Richard McCabe Simpson, 35 years old, is a parolee and was booked on felony charges of parole violation and possession of stolen property and is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail. Arraignment hearings for the three suspects are scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 at 12:30pm at the Big Bear Superior Court.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Top Mettle: Ryan Hall Places 10th in His Olympic Marathon Debut! Next Stops: Spain, Chicago, Zambia
With his family including wife Sara with him in China, Ryan Hall made his Olympic debut in the August 24 Olympic marathon in Beijing--while, back home in Big Bear, red hats and cheers of “Run Ryan Run!” filled the packed Convention Center for the community viewing party to watch 2001 Big Bear High School graduate Hall compete in only his fourth marathon ever. Hall received much media coverage during the televised event, including a profile piece (which also featured dad and coach Mickey training with Ryan here in Big Bear), as the 25-year-old runner ran the 26.2 mile race, working his way up from 30something to 10 in a field of over 90 runners. Hall ultimately placed an impressive 10th at 2:12:33 in the Olympic marathon, just six minutes and a second behind gold medal winner Samuel Wansiru of Kenya, who set a new Olympic record with his time of 2:06:32. So what's next for Hall, now that he has realized his personal dream of competing in the Olympics? Prior to leaving for Beijing, Hall said that he plans to accompany his wife to a running competition in Spain before the two attend the Chicago marathon, on behalf of Team World Vision, on October 12. Though Ryan has said, “I really love my life and there's nothing I'd rather do than train hard and keep focused,” the Halls are planning an October visit to Zambia as well. There, they will participate in a community water project using proceeds from the Chicago marathon. Adds Hall, “Sara and I, our goal is to feed God's children.”


The Bear in Beijing! The final stretch of the 26.2 mile Olympic marathon course, with the finish
line (which Hall crossed 10th) inside the Birds Nest stadium.


The Bear in Beijing! Family of local Olympian Ryan Hall enjoy the Summer Olympic games, in anticipation of their brother-in-law's run in the Olympic marathon. Uncle Steve Royal and siblings of Hall's wife Sara, Ryan and Amy Bei, find the Bear in Beijing--thanks to the Run Ryan Run banner! Meanwhile, back in Big Bear on the day of Hall's race, community members sign the Run Ryan Run banner at the Convention Center.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Ryan Hall, joined by family, friends and members of the Big Bear High School cross-country team, waves
the Olympic flag during our community send-off on August 4.

Ryan Hall Readies for Olympic Marathon; Community Viewing Party at the Convention Center on Saturday
We've received word from Ryan Hall, who says that training for the Olympic marathon in Beijing has been going really well. The 25-year-old runner reports his days since arriving have been filled with training, icing, stretching and therapy as he prepares for Sunday morning's marathon race which, again, airs in Big Bear on Saturday, with NBC television coverage on the Olympic marathon starting at 6:30pm. The community viewing party to cheer on our local Olympian takes place at the Big Bear Convention Center, and doors open at 2pm for the free event, which will also include children's activities, live entertainment, and food and drinks for purchase. All proceeds from this event on Saturday afternoon will benefit the Big Bear High School athletics department, so there's one more reason to join your friends and neighbors to cheer “run Ryan run!” And while watching coverage of the Olympic marathon, be sure to look for the Run Ryan Run banners, including the million mile one that the Lighthouse Project presented to Hall during the August 4 community send-off, which has since been signed by members of our community and traveled to Beijing with Hall's parents Mickey and Susie. (For more on Ryan Hall, scroll down to postings of August 21, August 15, August 8, August 6, August 5 and August 4.)


The Bear in Beijing! KBHR's Rick Herrick will be bringing you live updates on the Summer Olympics
from Beijing--so be sure to keep your radio tuned to KBHR 93.3 FM through the weekend.

Park Committees Review Paradise Park Design; No Mitigation Measures Needed for Endangered Species
The park sub-committees of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District and the Big Bear City Community Services District met this week, to review the near-final design for Paradise Park, which will be developed on CSD's Paradise Way property in Big Bear City. Some revisions to the design were suggested, including the use of more drought-tolerant plants, and the use of wood chips instead of grass, particularly for some difficult-to-manage areas of the park landscape. These ideas have been submitted to designers Copley Design of San Diego, who will present another draft of the park layout for the next meeting of the sub-committees, scheduled for Wednesday, August 27 at 10am at the Park District offices. Since the meeting of August 19, the Recreation and Park District has received results of the rare plant survey, conducted by environmental consultants ECORP Consulting, Inc. of Redlands. Their findings indicate that “no state or federally-listed plant species were observed during surveys of the proposed project area”--though two sensitive plant species (the Big Bear Valley milk-vetch and the Bear Valley linanthus) were found. Yet the ECORP report further indicates that “no mitigation measures are necessary for the plant species observed in Spring 2008.”

Safety Project Planned for Big Bear City Portion of Highway 18; Implementation Still Two Years Out

The CalTrans safety project being initiated on the portion of Highway 18 just east of Dead Man's Curve in Big Bear City is at least two years away from implementation, though community input was sought at this week's public meeting, which CalTrans held at the BBARWA facility on Wednesday. The half-mile or so section of roadway, from Pinon Drive to Blue Water Drive on Highway 18, or Big Bear Boulevard, had a 60% higher-than-average statewide accident rate for comparable highways, given the 22 accidents in this section of Big Bear City from January 2004 through September 2007. So, CalTrans Engineer Haissam Yahya told those at the public meeting, “We're trying to make it safer for you.” The safety project will include an eight foot shoulder on the north side of the highway, from about 150 feet west of Pinon Drive west to Blue Water and including the portion of roadway at Big Tree Drive, the street that provides access to the Big Bear Airport. The highway will also include left-hand turn pockets at Big Tree. The upgraded intersection will also allow for improved and safer access for large trucks, as well as improved drainage at the intersection. The widened shoulder will not have sidewalks, but will allow for safer and easier passage for pedestrians and cyclists. These features, notes Yahya, “should reduce the number of accidents at this location.” Before the project gets underway, he adds, “We'll be working with each property owner individually to make sure we don't impact their business.” In the meantime, an environmental review will be done, and the right-of-way will need to be acquired. Once the approximately $850,000 project begins, in roughly two to two-and-half years, construction should take 120-150 working days (depending on the weather). CalTrans expects that the road will be open during this time, though there may be flagging--but, again, this won't happen until at least 2010. Though who wish to submit comment on the project have until September 20 to do so, by calling CalTrans at 388-7516 or via email to Ramaiyer_Sainath@dot.ca.gov.



The Bear in Beijing! The Bear was there when America's Men's Beach Volleyball Team of Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers
won the gold medal over Brazil in a 23-21, 17-21, 15-4 final match. You can right click on any of these photos for a larger version.

Repaving Work Completed on North Shore; Alpine Pedal Path and Juniper Point Re-opened for Weekend

The San Bernardino National Forest recreation areas on the North Shore are re-opening today. Asphalt work on the Alpine Pedal Path and Juniper Point parking area was completed yesterday, and these areas are open to the public as of this morning. The Meadows Edge picnic area, also on the North Shore, will re-open to the public as of noon today, per the Forest Service.

As of September, Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department (Now Station #97) Will Be Assisting County Fire
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors did approve the formation application submitted by the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department, to provide fire protection, medical aid and rescue services to the community of Baldwin Lake, yet under the jurisdiction of the San Bernardino County Fire Department. Dan Wurl, Deputy Chief with County Fire, tells KBHR that the fire department has “embraced the enthusiasm” of the 30plus volunteers from Baldwin Lake. Wurl tells KBHR that over the past year or so, County Fire has been working with the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and they have had numerous meetings regarding training, command, jurisdictional responsibilities, dispatching, even uniforms. These meetings have also included the U.S. Forest Service and the Community Services District, which oversees the Big Bear City Fire Department. “Now,” says Wurl, “we're making sure they're able to legally provide emergency medical services, getting the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department authorized by the Inland Counties Medical Authority, and getting them pagers and radios, so we can start dispatching them as early as the first week in September.” Before Baldwin Fire Station #97 (their new number) will service the Baldwin Lake community (and extending to Cactus Flats Road), Wurl assures, “They have to train to our standards. We have 60some fire stations overseen by County Fire, and a lot of them were formed in this way. County Fire will maintain jurisdictional repsonsibility, so the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department will be in addition to normal responding crews.” The Baldwin Lake crew will continue to serve as volunteers, not employees of County Fire. Adds Wurl on behalf of County Fire, “We've had a very positive response from the group, and we're excited.” (Background on the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department posted on August 12 and June 9.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008



Run Ryan Run: Olympian Hall Is Ready to Run and Says to Big Bear, "Know I'll Be Thinking of You"

Ryan Hall's Olympic marathon race is in just two days, and the 25-year-old Big Bear High School grad says he is ready to run. In a conversation with KBHR prior to his trip to Beijing, China, Hall told us, “I've done all the work and put in the miles. I'm feeling healthy and fit.” Hall will also rely on his faith, as he has since he received a calling at age 14, which resulted in a run around the lake with dad Mickey and his life focus on running. “I know the Lord has really prepared me for this,” Hall says. “I knew from that first run around Big Bear Lake, that it wasn't just about me. I can remember very well, sitting in class thinking ‘I'm the only one who wants to compete at the international level'--so maybe I've shown some kids that you can dream big, and your dreams can come true. My job is to get to the starting line, confident and fit. The Olympics is a huge opportunity for me to shine on the worldwide stage. I feel a certain amount of obligation to the other runners who were in the trials, and I've trained really hard.” It was Hall's 2:09:02 Olympic trials marathon and his 2:06:17 run in the 2008 London Marathon that has earned Hall the title of the fastest American-born marathon runner ever—and you can watch him run again this Saturday. Though the Olympic marathon is on Sunday in Beijing, here in California it will air on NBC television on Saturday. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm Saturday on Channel 4 (airing live Eastern Time, but not so here), and all are invited to share in the free community viewing party, which takes place at the Big Bear Convention Center (doors open at 2pm). And while Hall takes the next two days to ready for his Olympic debut, we still have two days to log our miles for the Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign. As a community, we've already achieved our million-mile goal, but we're so close to one million, five hundred thousand, let's go for it! (You can use the link at the top of this page to log your miles.) As Hall said during the August 4 community send-off, “Each of you will be in my heart while I'm out there running. When you're watching TV, know I'll be thinking of you.”


The Bear in Beijing: KBHR's Rick Herrick reports that it has been raining heavily in China (specifically here outside the Birds Nest),
but it is anticipated that the clouds will clear for Sunday morning's Olympic marathon (which airs in California on Saturday).

A Potential "Win-Win for Everyone": CSD and DWP to Investigate Blending of Existing Water Sources

During the Supervisor Reports portion of the meeting of the Big Bear City Community Services District, Water Department Superintendent Tim Moran reported that progress continues on the district's new Well #8 blendline. One hundred percent of the pipeline is installed, as of the August 18 update, and fire hydrants are being hooked up this week. Says Moran, “We anticipate the Well #8 blendline to be in service right after Labor Day.” Per CSD's General Manager Mike Mayer, this puts the project ahead of schedule. In other potential blendline news, Moran presented a blendline idea, which was shared with the Department of Water and Power's Chairman Steve Foulkes and interim General Manager Bill LaHaye during their August 6 meeting with CSD. The proposed project would combine the high-flouride water from CSD's Well 3B in Big Bear City (which pumps water at 1000 gallons per minute) with the DWP's Magnolia test well in Sugarloaf, which has a “non-detect” fluoride level (and is said to pump up to 300 gallons per minute). To potentially blend the water from the two wells would increase the water supply for both agencies and, per Mayer, “Well 3B wouldn't be available to us without the opportunity to blend, and this would cost less than developing a new water source. The cost would be shared by both agencies.” Though it was reiterated that further study on the feasibility of the project would be needed, CSD President Rick Ollila said, “Everybody walked away pleased with the concept—which is just a concept, but a win-win for everyone.”

Third Mountain Marijuana Bust in As Many Weeks: Four Arrested for Cultivation in Sugarloaf Yesterday
The marijuana cultivation arrests continue, as San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies from the Big Bear Sheriff's Station made four arrests in Sugarloaf yesterday. The four individuals arrested—one female and three males, all ages 20 to 23 years old--were booked on felony charges of cultivation. Per the statement issued by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station today: “Investigation by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station resulted in probable cause and a search warrant being issued for a residence in the 700 block of Kern Avenue in Sugarloaf. The warrant was served shortly after 8am yesterday morning. As a result of the search warrant, deputies seized 93 marijuana plants, grow equipment, and paraphernalia. Additionally, a small amount of suspected Psilocybin (hallucinogen mushrooms) was located in the residence. Suspects Courtney Sulfridge, Andrew Ward, John Macias and Derrick Del-Pozo were arrested and booked on felony charges of cultivation. Suspect Macias was additionally booked on felony charges for possession of a controlled substance. All four suspects are being detained at the Big Bear Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail each. Arraignment hearings are set for Friday, August 22, at the Big Bear Superior Court. The eradication of the substantial indoor grow by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station deputies has prevented drug sales in the estimated potential amount of $325,000.”

Mandatory Fall Sports Meeting for Parents of Big Bear High School Athletes This Evening
For parents of Big Bear High School athletes, there is a mandatory fall sports meeting at the high school this evening. All BBHS students participating in football, volleyball, cross-country, girls golf, tennis and cheer need to attend this evening's 6:30pm meeting, which will take place in the BBHS gym and is expected to last an hour-and-a-half.

Municipal Water District's Board Will Consider Proposal for Dam Engineering Services at Today's Meeting
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District convene for their second meeting of the month this afternoon at 1pm, at their offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive in Big Bear Lake. Today's Business Items include Board consideration of a $75,000 proposal from MWH Americas Inc. for engineering services at the Big Bear Dam. Engineering services would include underwater crack mapping, review of structural survey program for conformance with the Division of Safety of Dams, evaluation of dam face resurfacing, and related engineering services on an as-needed basis. The MWD may next month consider a separate contract with MWH, with regard to the removal and design of a replacement for the existing highway bridge on the dam, as the district needs to be sure that all costs associated with a dam bridge replacement are captured for purposes of negotiating a cost-sharing agreement with CalTrans.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The Historical Museum, featuring the blacksmith shop (manned by volunteers Don Schaub and
Arizona Al) is open today, and each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday through October, as
well as Labor Day. For more information on the museum or the Big Bear Valley Historical Society,
visit bigbearhistory.org.

Flagging, Minimal Delays Can Be Expected on Highway 18, Toward Lucerne, Both Thursday and Monday

CalTrans has planned a paving project for Highway 18, on a portion of the roadway near Lucerne at State Route 247, tomorrow. This one-day project will result in flagging and minimal delays, so those traveling eastbound on Highway 18, off the mountain, are advised to allow extra time. The roadwork for Thursday is scheduled for 8am to 4pm. Additional paving work is scheduled for Highway 18, on a stretch of road near Cushenberry Creek, on Monday. Flagging and minimal delays can be expected on this portion of Highway 18 from 8am to 4pm on Monday.

New Flood Maps Effective Next Thursday; FEMA Recommends Insurance Purchase Prior to August 28

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency—or FEMA—last month delivered Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps to local officials in San Bernardino County, and these new maps will be effective August 28. These flood studies and maps identify the floodplains for a 100-year flood event. When finalized, the two reports determine the level of flood risk and flood insurance premiums paid by property owners, renters and businesses. As noted here in July, FEMA suggests that citizens and property owners contact their local flood plain administrator to determine if the new map affects their property. If the property is impacted, FEMA recommends immediate contact with an insurance agent to purchase a flood insurance policy prior to next Thursday, August 28. The purchase of flood insurance prior to this date will allow property owners to take advantage of affordable insurance rates. For the Big Bear Valley, FEMA directs those outside of the City of Big Bear Lake and within the County's jurisdiction to call 387-8213 for the local flood plain administrator; for those who reside within the City of Big Bear Lake, calls can be directed to 866-5831, then ask for the City's Engineering Department.


While Olympian Ryan Hall was being celebrated with a community send-off,
the parents of fellow Big Bear High School graduate Jared Landaker were
headed to Tennessee to partake in another run, to honor fallen servicemen.

In Conjunction With Run for the Fallen, 1st Lt. Landaker's Parents Honor Their 'Seven Stars' in Tennessee
In June, runners on behalf of the Run for the Fallen made their way through Big Bear (including the Highway 38 stretch of the 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker Memorial Highway) as part of a cross-county run to honor those servicemen and women who lost their lives in Iraq. The 4,000 mile run started in California's Fort Irwin on Flag Day and will cover 13 states before culminating at Arlington National Cemetery on Sunday. As runners stopped at each mile to place a flag and personalized sign card in honor of each fallen member of the military, Landaker's father Joe spent his Father's Day with the runners, including Run for the Fallen organizer Jon Bellona--and since that special visit, Joe and wife Laura made the trip to Tennessee, to be there for the placement of son Jared's flag (pictured above), and those of the six military crew members who died with him when their helicopter was shot down in Iraq on February 7, 2007. Laura tells KBHR, “We had a wonderful experience in Noah, Tennessee, where the seven crew members were honored. Joe and I ran Jared's mile and walked the remaining six.” In addition to reconnecting with the Run for the Fallen runners, as well as Bellona's parents, Laura adds, “A gentleman drove 700 miles from Missouri to hand me three roses for the dedication, and a donation for the Seven Stars Foundation. Another man, a former Marine who had read the article in USA Today, came and walked with us—he was over 6'8” and 70 years old, and gave me a Marine Corps flag to take on the trek. We were so honored and humbled by this experience.” For more on the Seven Stars Foundation, including a link to Run for the Fallen and sign-up information for the 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker Memorial Run for Freedom in Big Bear on September 27, visit SevenStarsFoundation.com. (For more information on the Run for the Fallen, see our stories posted on June 17 and June 13.)

School Board Meets for Workshop; Superintendent Performance Review Agendized for Closed Session
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District meet for a Board Workshop at the school district offices, at 42271 Moonridge Road, this evening at 6:15pm. The closed session portion of this evening's meeting will include review of Bear Valley Education Association negotiations and public employee performance evaluation for Superintendent Carole Ferraud.


The Bear goes to Beijing! Keep it tuned to KBHR at 93.3 FM for news from the Summer Olympics, including details on Big Bear marathon runner Ryan Hall, the fastest American-born marathon runner ever.

The Bear Goes to Beijing for Local Olympics Coverage; KBHR Taking Pledges in Support of BBHS Track

The Bear, as in KBHR, is headed to Beijing, in order to bring you all the exciting news from the final week of the Summer Olympics in China, including highlights from Ryan Hall's run in the Olympic marathon, which airs this Saturday on NBC Channel 4, with coverage starting at 6:30pm. In support of our local runners, such as 2001 Big Bear High School graduate Hall, the KBHR team is this week taking pledges on behalf of the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake Foundation to raise funds for the Big Bear High School track project, which would ultimately provide a better high-altitude training facility for our athletes and residents. If you would like to make a pledge in support of a future track at BBHS, call us at KBHR at 909/584-5247—supporters will be thanked on the air at 93.3 FM. (For recent stories and photos of Ryan Hall, scroll down to postings of August 15, August 8, August 6, August 5 and August 4.)

CSD's Habitat Management Plan in Federal Register; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Allows Use of Land
The Pan Hot Springs Meadow Habitat Management Plan efforts of the Big Bear City Community Services District have resulted in kudos from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a final ruling on the property just east of Paradise Way, as of the August 14 edition of the Federal Register. As read from the Register by CSD's General Manager Mike Mayer at the August 18 CSD meeting, “The BBCCSD has worked cooperatively as a partner with the Service for more than 18 years. Their previous conservation efforts include: placing a deed restriction over 10 acres of their lands, limited grazing on their lands, conducting extensive plant surveys throughout their property at Pan Hot Springs Meadow, drafting the HMP and revising the HMP per Service comments, addressing the management of all five federally listed species on their property within the HMP, meeting and partnering with the adjacent private landowner who owns the water rights to Pan Hot Spring, and meeting with the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians to identify and address their cultural interest in the area.” Moving forward, CSD will now continue with the restricted covenant area to protect roughly 40 acres on their land (which includes the San Bernardino Bluegrass and the California Dandelion), and will be allowed to utilize the remaining 90 or so acres for other uses. When this was noted at the CSD meeting, Director Marge McDonald asked, “Does this mean we can put a ballfield out there now?” According to Mayer, “It means we can certainly consider it.” (Background on the Pan Hot Springs Meadow Habitat Management Plan posted on July 10.)

Planning Commission Meets This Afternoon; Community Family Fun Night Application to Be Considered
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake meets in Hofert Hall at 1:15pm this afternoon. Public Hearing Items on the agenda include the major special event application, submitted by Bear Valley Healthy Start, to hold the annual Community Family Fun Night in the Bartlett parking lot in the Village on September 15. The newsrack ordinance for the City of Big Bear Lake is not on today's agenda of the Planning Commission.


The Big Bear City Fire Department's C shift, as represented here by Acting Captain Tony Huefner,
Engineer Greg Robinson and Firefighter/Paramedic Ricky Seward, were honored with their third
Quarter Safety Award from the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services
District. For more on the department, see story posted August 19.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Department of Water and Power Commissioners Have Narrowed General Manager Candidate List to Three
During a closed session special meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power, Commissioners were actually interviewing the final candidates for the agency's General Manager position. DWP Chairman Steve Foulkes tells KBHR, “We had three very qualified candidates, and now we are continuing with background checks. I am very optimistic that we'll select one of those three.” Foulkes notes that each candidate has a lot of water experience, and none of them currently reside in Big Bear. The next step in the hiring process will come with a closed session meeting with DWP's recruiter, scheduled for September 5, during which time the recruiter will have a report, including information culled from candidates' background checks. The Board of Commissioners will then make their selection and negotiate the contract for the new GM. Adds Foulkes, “I hope this will go fairly quickly.”

Regional Traffic Advisory Committee Meets Wednesday Morning at Big Bear Chamber of Commerce
The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce hosts the monthly meeting of the Regional Traffic Advisory Committee tomorrow, Wednesday, at 9:30am. The RTAC meeting takes place at the Chamber offices, located at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village.

CalTrans Holds Public Meeting Tomorrow to Review Safety Project for Big Bear City Portion of Highway 18
On Wednesday evening, CalTrans hosts a public information meeting, to review the widening project for Highway 18. The proposed safety project will cover the Big Bear City portion of Highway 18, or Big Bear Boulevard, from Blue Water Drive to Pinon Drive, and will include a left-hand turn lane at Big Tree Drive, the street that provides access to the Big Bear Airport. Public comment will be welcome at tomorrow's CalTrans meeting, which begins at 6pm at the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency, at 121 Palomino Drive in Big Bear City.


Firefighters with the BBC Fire Department are recognized at last night's CSD meeting, before Director Marge McDonald is presented with a birthday cake, which prompted her to joke, "If they put 87 candles in here, we need the fire department!"

Big Bear City Firefighters Commended; CSD Maintains Paid-Call Firefighter Policy, With Revisions

The firefighters of the Big Bear City Fire Department took center stage at last night's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District. The meeting began with CSD recognition to the fire department's C shift, as represented by firefighters Tony Huefner, Greg Robinson and Ricky Seward, as they received the agency's 2008 Second Quarter Safety Award, the third bestowed upon the group. Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis, on behalf of the San Bernardino County Fire Chiefs Association, also presented each member of the department with the special Meritous Service Ribbon for the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which they battled in October of last year. Given the unanimous Board approval of the Consent Calendar, the continuation of Longevity Pay will be granted to firefighters, per the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding between CSD and the Big Bear City Professional Firefighters Association—beginning in the twentieth year of service to the fire department, a five percent longevity pay increase will carry over to the pay scale on future promotions. And though the bulk of the Big Bear City Fire Department had been present for the August 18 CSD meeting, none of them addressed the Board when the revision to CSD's Personnel Management and Procedures Manual ordinance #186, outlining the paid-call firefighter policy, was discussed. Per CSD's General Manager Mike Mayer, the negotiation process, with regard to the revisions, included the San Bernardino Public Employees Association's Labor Representative Stacey Cue, Fire Chief Willis, CSD's Human Resource Manager Kathie LaHaye, and CSD Employees Association President Becky Wallace. As work within other CSD departments had been affected by the policy allowing for paid-call firefighter duty, the new ordinance revisions, as unanimously adopted by the Board, include the provision that paid-call firefighters must request permission from their superintendent or foreman before responding to a call and, if acting as a CSD supervisor, they will not respond. The other change to the policy dictates that district employees responding to a call during working hours shall have their paid-call firefighter pay augmented by the district to equal their regular district salary, rather than receiving regular pay in addition to volunteer fire pay. (Background on this matter is posted in our story on July 8, in the 2008 News Archive.)

Fawnskin's Miller Park, Complete With Upgrades, Site of Rec & Park Meeting, Paradise Park Workshop

Following the first-ever Fawnskin Town Hall meeting in June, the Friends of Fawnskin sent a letter to the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, asking why funds were not directed to Miller Park, the Fawnskin park at 1178 Chickasaw that includes the log building from the 1930s. Reese Troublefield, Director of Rec and Park, responded to the Friends of Fawnskin inquiry, and outlined those upgrades to Miller Park, completed in the last two years, which include: parking lot and basketball court paving, retaining walls to playground area and basketball court, installation of new basketball pole and hoop, basketball court striping, tennis court resurfacing, restroom renovation, new blinds, and the addition of new microwaves and a refrigerator. In addition, Troublefield noted, “The playground was renovated eight years ago, and is still in very good condition, the park grass is well maintained as always, and ADA access has been improved to the building as well.” Attendees to this afternoon's meeting of the Advisory Commission of the Recreation and Park District will be able to view these upgrades first-hand, as the 5pm meeting will be held at Miller Park (rather than at the Senior Center). This meeting will be preceded by the 4pm workshop of the Paradise Park subcommittees, which include members of the Big Bear City Community Services District.

U.S. Forest Service Statement Says That Forest Land Planted With Marijuana Is Damaged Ten-Fold
Over the past week, personnel from the U. S. Forest Service have partnered with agents from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to eradicate marijuana grows within the San Bernardino National Forest. Agents from the Bureau of Land Management, the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Bernardino and Riverside County Sheriff's Departments, the California Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (or CAMP), along with the U.S. Forest Service, have seized plants valued at approximately $20 million on the San Bernardino National Forest, from locations including the Bear Creek drainage (west of Big Bear Lake) and the Grass Valley drainage (northwest of Lake Arrowhead), as well as the removal of plants from the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. The seven individuals arrested thus far (five resulting from the Bear Creek grow, two at the Grass Valley drainage) are, per the Forest Service, being charged with 'cultivation of marijuana in excess of 1000 plants' and 'conspiracy to cultivate'; the two arrested Wednesday at the Grass Valley drainage had additional charges of 'carrying a firearm unlawfully during the commission of a felony.' Per a statement from the U.S. Forest Service, “Illegal marijuana grow operations jeopardize the fragile ecosystems of the forests. For every acre of forest planted with marijuana, ten acres are damaged. The human footprint on pristine forest land at a large-scale marijuana grow site can leave behind several tons of garbage, biohazard refuse, and toxic waste. Erosion is also a problem, as small streams and other water sources are diverted for irrigating the marijuana fields and the land is compacted.”

County Supervisors to Address Rec & Park Commissioner, Ballot Results for Baldwin Lake Roads
The Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County meets this morning at 10am at the County Government Center in San Bernardino. Today's meeting is scheduled to include the appointment of Gloria Rose to the Advisory Commission of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, as recommended by Third District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger. The appointment would fill the unexpired term of Commissioner Cheryl Shipe, who represented the Erwin Lake and Lake Williams areas, through January 31, 2012. Gloria Rose, a mother of three, is an Erwin Lake homeowner and an escrow officer with Realty Executives. Today's meeting also includes consideration of a $10,000 allocation from the Priority Policy Needs budget to the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering. The financial assistance to the Cowboy Gathering would allow the charitable organization to further the culture and history of the southwest and Big Bear Valley, as well as supporting education through the group's community programs, projects, interactive workshops and scholarship fund. And, also pertaining to the Big Bear Valley, today's County Supervisor meeting will include the June ballot results for County Service Area 70, in Baldwin Lake, to determine if an additional $238 per parcel fee to provide road grading, asphalt maintenance and snow removal services within this unincorporated area of the County would be added to the current $50 per parcel service charge, which is said to be insufficient in providing road service.


This weekend's Art on the Lake, hosted by the Arts Council of Big Bear Valley, featured the work
of 50 artists, including local ceramicists George and Terry Carver (whose work is displayed here).
For the names of local students from the Young Artists Gallery whose artwork was awarded ribbons,
scroll down to our story posted on August 18.

Monday, August 18, 2008

County Registrar Posts Official Candidate List: 35 Candidates Will Run for 15 Seats on Six Local Boards
The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has posted the official candidate list for the upcoming November 4 Presidential General Election. For the two seats on the City Council of Big Bear Lake, the four candidates are incumbents Liz Harris and Bill Jahn, Bill LoPresti,and Barbara Willey. For the three seats on the Board of Trustees for the Bear Valley Unified School District, the seven candidates are Sharon Congdon, David Foltz, Beverly Grabe, Jim “Mac” McGowan, Randall Putz, Richard Weathersbee, and Paul Zamoyta. For the three seats on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District, the eight candidates are Ken Dally, Bill Douglass, Gloria Ann Greene, Chuck Knight, Julie Smith, Edward Stanik, incumbent Gary Steube, and Lynn Wilson. For the two seats on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District, the six candidates are Barbara Beck, Daniel Joseph Brown, incumbent Bob Colven, Rick Nelson, incumbent Rick Ollila, and John Russo. For the three seats on the Board of Directors of the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, the eight candidates are Dennis Carden, incumbent Chris Fagan, Michael Hartstein, Ed Kibbey, incumbent Carol Mulivhill, incumbent Ron Peavy, Brad Summers, and Randy Vanos. For the two seats, one each for Divisions 4 and 5, on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District, incuments John Eminger and Vince Smith will run unopposed in the November election.

Investigation Into Marijuana Grow on San Bernardino National Forest Continues; 30,000 Plants Recovered

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has released additional information regarding Thursday's investigation into a marijuana grow in the Bear Creek drainage area, off Highway 18 and within the San Bernardino National Forest. Per the statement issued Friday evening: “On Thursday, August 14, investigators with the Sheriff's Marijuana Eradication Team and Drug Enforcement Agency were conducting surveillance in the San Bernardino National Forest when they observed several suspects in the grow area. The investigators took five suspects into custody and several other suspects fled the area on foot. The marijuana grow was located over several mountain ranges in treacherous terrain. It consists of approximately 40 acres of grow area and more than 30,000 marijuana plants were recovered. Due to the conditions, the investigation continued through Friday, August 15. All of the suspects are being held without bail at Sheriff's Central Detention Center in San Bernardino. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Narcotic Division at 890-4840, or remain anonymous and contact We Tip at 800-78-CRIME (782-7463).”

Award-Winning Student Artwork from Art on the Lake to Be Featured at The Gallery in the Village
The Arts Council of Big Bear Valley awarded ribbons and cash prizes to 12 local students, whose artwork was featured in the Young Artists Gallery during this weekend's ninth annual Art on the Lake. Those who received top honors in the four age group categories are, for kindergarten through second grade, Luzy Uribe, Cameron Evans (picture, above center) and Katelynn Azevedo; for third through sixth grade, Ilora Booth, Mandy Garvin and Garrett Evans; for seventh and eighth grade, Katie Adams (picture, above right), Laurel Bowling and Tara Hubbard; and for ninth through twelfth grade, Lindsay Hafen (picture, above left), Melissa Doss and Katie Hoover. The award-winning artwork of these students will be on display at the Gallery of the Arts Council, which is in the Village, by week's end.

Parents Will Follow Student's Schedule at Tonight's Big Bear High School Back to School Night at 6:30pm

Back to School Night for parents of Big Bear High School students will be held this evening, and begins at 6:30pm in the BBHS gym. Parents will follow their student's schedule during the course of the evening, and for those whose children have a 7th period class at BBHS, the Back to School Night tour should conclude at 8:42pm.

MOM Project Expands Services to Include Dad Classes, and Programs for Parents of Children to 18 Years
The MOM Project (MOM meaning Mothers on the Mountain) has not only moved to a new location, but has expanded their services to better assist parents in the Big Bear Valley. The new facility, at 1221 East Big Bear Boulevard at Highway 38, is also home to new programs, including classes offered just for dads. Says Director Marilyn Vecchio, “The MOM Project has been doing really well and, with the advent of the Dad Project, we've been busier. The Dad Project is specifically serving men with classes such as Nurturing Dad, which is a real dynamic class, and Daddy and Me, which has been really well attended also. We're helping to turn good dads into great dads.” Vecchio, who oversees the free programs with a staff of three, as well as some volunteers, says that though the clinic is a department of the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, they are 100% grant and donation funded. However, given some additional grant funding, Vecchio tells KBHR, “We are no longer just for parents of children zero to five. We've received a couple new grants that enable us to serve families with children zero to 18. With the new grants, we have some new classes focusing on older kids, such as Parent/Child Study Skills. Using love and logic, we have a credentialed teacher helping parents to help their kids achieve better in school. Our philosophy is to focus on parents, so parents can help their kids all the time.” Though the MOM Project has expanded their services to accommodate fathers, and families of children up to 18, they still offer their core programs, such as Mommy and Me, childbirth and pregnancy classes. The new location, which Vecchio says is a “beautiful, new facility,” also includes a library and a number of resources for families. Adds Vecchio, “We have a case manager available to help with anything that has to do with kids.” So, if you've kids, the MOM Project invites you to visit their facility for free classes, information or resources. They plan to have their new website established soon--until then you can also call at 585-5607.

Community Services District Meets at 5:30pm; Agency's Paid-Call Firefighter Policy to Be Discussed
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District meets for their first meeting of the month this evening, as their August 4 meeting had been adjourned in support of the community send-off for Olympian Ryan Hall. This evening's 5:30pm meeting, to be held at the CSD offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard, will resume the discussion on the agency's paid-call firefighter policy, and is scheduled to include an update on the water meeting with the Department of Water and Power.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Activity Off Arctic Circle Results in Five Federal Felony Arrests, and Seizure of 10,000 Marijuana Plants
Yesterday's law enforcement activity, including helicopters, along Arctic Circle on Highway 18 did result in arrests for marijuana cultivation. The marijuana grow was found on the south side of Highway 18 in the Bear Creek drainage, roughly half-way between the Big Bear Dam and Lakeview Point near Glory Ridge. The plant count was in excess of 10,000 marijuana plants, and resulted in [revised information] five federal felony arrests for marijuana cultivation. The joint effort by law enforcement agencies included personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, and the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP, which is a multi-agency law enforcement task force managed by the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. There is no official word yet on whether the five individuals arrested have local ties, though all are currently being held in a federal detention facility. John Miller, with the U.S. Forest Service, says that typically, these marijuana grows are found via aerial surveillance, or from anonymous reports from the general public, though the source that led to the five felony arrests and eradication of the 10,000 marijuana plants will not be released. For their part, Miller says of the U.S. Forest Service's involvement in the incident, which was on the San Bernardino National Forest, “Our concern is environmental damage because of the amount of chemicals introduced to the water source, for the animals and native plants all the way down the stream—and this damage is long-term.” Miller tells KBHR that, on Wednesday, two federal felony arrests were also made in the Grass Valley drainage. In this area, just northwest of Lake Arrowhead (though not in the community of Grass Valley), 5,843 marijuana plants were found, resulting in the two arrests.

Proposed Upgrades to Boulder Bay Park Include Walking Paths, Dock, Native Wildflowers and Pavilion
The west entrance to the Big Bear Valley, specifically Boulder Bay, is another step closer to beautification and increased usability. The Master Plan for the Boulder Bay Park, as presented by Lacey Withers of Withers and Sandgren, has been approved by the City Council of Big Bear Lake, and city staff will now pursue grant opportunities to fund the $650,000 project. Major features of the Boulder Bay Park design include a fishing dock, a non-motorized boat ramp, a shade pavilion and view terrace, accessible shore entrances, picnic rocks and pathways, as well as wildflower drifts, drought-tolerant and native plants, and the addition of some trees—though, per Council suggestion, not at the expense of the views for Boulder Bay neighbors along Highway 18. Other agencies have also been consulted on the Boulder Bay Park project. City Engineer David Lawrence says, “The Department of Water and Power helped us to develop the initial concept with drought-tolerant plants.” Lawrence will also confer with the Municipal Water District, the agency that oversees the lake, about the feasibility of adding sand to the the shoreline; meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service is involved, to assure that plants and flowers introduced to the landscape are not of an invasive species. Another detail in the Boulder Bay project, as prompted by at least one suggestion from Boulder Bay resident Bill LoPresti, is the repositioning of the large wooden 'greeter' bear which, designer Withers said at the August 11 Council meeting, “We're going to take the bear and move him to a more significant location.”


Local Olympian Hall, a 2001 Big Bear High School graduate, at Big Bear Lake

Community Invited to Sign the Million Miles Banner for Olympian Ryan Hall, Who Races in Eight Days

Though we as a community have achieved a million miles in support of Olympian Ryan Hall, the Lighthouse Project's campaign to move a million miles continues so, they say, keep logging and keep recruiting! The current mileage count, as of this morning, is 1,397,013, and the free, community spirit initiative culminates with Hall's run in the Olympic marathon, which is in just eight days. Those who have contributed to the campaign are welcome to sign the mileage banner, which was presented to Hall during the August 4 community send-off. To add your message for Ryan, simply stop by the Coldwell Banker offices on Big Bear Boulevard—it's the building with the giant Ryan Hall banner (and the nice flowers), just north of Fox Farm Road. Details on the free public viewing party for Hall's Olympic race, which airs on Saturday, August 23, are posted below, in a story on August 8.

The Government Fire, Near Seven Oaks Dam, Was Contained by USFS Crews in 6pm Hour Yesterday
The Government Fire, which we reported on yesterday, was fully contained in the 6pm hour, as expected, by firefighting crews of the San Bernardino National Forest. The fire, which had been reported just before 1pm on Thursday, burned a total of two-and-a-half acres in the area near Government Peak roughly two miles northwest of the Seven Oaks Dam. Though officials with the San Bernardino National Forest suggest that the fire was more than likely prompted by lighting, the investigation into the cause of the Government Fire continues.


Ed Stalcup (top row, far right) coached the Big Bear High School Ski Team of 1968, which included
(from top, left) Bill Lindsey, Jay Forbes, Larry Poland, Lark Hartwell, Steve Blauer, Bobby Fulton, Stalcup,
(middle row) Dave Dodd, Phil Schweitzer, Pam Thomas, Keith Gingerich, Michelle Thomas, Jeff Strategier,
(and front row) Greg Pike, Chuck Bronnimann, Debbie Hawks, Dave Huether, Shelley McGrath, Zane
Johnson and Kathie Hasher.

Ed Stalcup, a 34-Year BBHS Coach and English Teacher, to Be Celebrated in Tuesday Memorial Service
If you attended Big Bear High School between 1958 and 1992 and you can form a complete sentence, chances are you have Mr. Ed Stalcup to thank. Long the high school English and speech teacher—as well as coach of the golf, ski, volleyball and football teams, as well as having been the BBHS athletic director—Stalcup will be celebrated with a memorial service at Northwoods Resort on Tuesday at 4pm. The 60-year Big Bear Lake resident, who passed Monday morning (at age 78) at Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs as a result of a two-month bout with leukemia, was known to all students at Big Bear High School, including his own children with Charlene, his wife of 54 years: Kim, Kirk, Kris, Kent and Karl. In addition to coaching Big Bear students in grammar and sports, Stalcup was also a member of Los Vaqueros Riding Club and started the Big Bear Ski Club in the late '50s--along with Tommy Tyndall and others, he literally built the Tyndall Haus at Snow Summit, which served as the group's clubhouse. Youngest son Karl tells KBHR that during summer breaks from school, his dad also built homes and delivered milk. Karl remembers, “We'd deliver milk to all the camps up here. He'd always take one of us kids to go with him, at 4am.”

Monday's Fire Caused by Illegal Campfire; Fire Restrictions on Forest Being Aggressively Enforced
Monday's quarter-acre fire off Highway 38, which was thought to have been sparked by a lightning holdover, was actually caused by an escaped illegal campfire, per officials with the San Bernardino National Forest. Says Gabe Garcia, Front Country District Ranger, “The forest is in a fire-prone area and this is another example of why campfires are only permitted in designated campgrounds on the San Bernardino National Forest.” In addition to illegal campfires, other prohibited activities include fireworks, smoking, operating vehicles with faulty spark arrestors, and target shooting (except at developed shooting areas). Fire Management Officer Mike Dietrich adds, “Most wildfires are human caused, and most times it's accidental but, accident or not, we are aggressively enforcing fire regulations on the forest.” Current fire restrictions include the following: wood and charcoal fires permitted only in agency developed fire rings in developed recreation sites; no fires in Yellow Post campsites; recreational shooting limited to public shooting ranges, such as the Big Bear Sportsman's Club Shooting Range; approved spark arrestors required for any internal combustion engine, which applies to chainsaws, generators, motorcycles and off-highway vehicles; smoking limited to enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites and areas cleared of vegetation three feet in diameter; and fireworks are always prohibited on the San Bernardino National Forest. The violation of these laws could result in fines, and even jail time, and anyone who causes a wildfire could be liable for all costs associated with suppressing the fire. Questions on fire restrictions can be addressed by calling 382-2600.


Local artists Barbara Jordan and Annie Aldrich will be among the 50 featured at Art on the Lake.

Art on the Lake Returns for Two Days; Lakeside Art Showcase Includes Local Artists and Student Work

The ninth annual Art on the Lake, a free two-day showcase of artwork from 50 artists from the Southwest, returns to the Marina Resort in Big Bear Lake this weekend. The Arts Council of Big Bear Valley hosts the lakeside art show, which is open to the public from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. This year's event features a Young Artists Gallery, featuring the work of local students, as well as the work of local wildlife artist Susan Labouri, photographer Barbara Jordan, ceramicists Annie Aldrich and George and Terry Carver, as well as the paintings of Michael Bausch, Nancy Mendoza, Richard Freeman and Greg Zook, and jewelry by Verlaine Bennett and Janet Nelson. The Marina Resort is located at 40770 Lakeview Drive and free parking is available in the nearby Bartlett parking lot in the Village.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tonight Is Back to School Night for All Three Elementary Schools; NSES at 6pm, BBES & BLES at 6:30
All three Bear Valley Unified elementary schools hold their Back to School Nights this evening, for students and their parents. North Shore Elementary School's Back to School Night begins at 6pm, while Back to School Nights for both Big Bear Elementary School and Baldwin Lane Elementary begin at 6:30pm this evening.

Breaking News as of 2pm: SBNF Firefighters Extinguishing One-Acre Fire Near Seven Oaks Dam
Firefighting crews with the San Bernardino National Forest are at work battling a small fire, dubbed the Government Fire, which was reported at 12:59pm this afternoon. The one-acre fire is burning two miles northwest of Seven Oaks Dam, near Government Peak in the vicinity of (though not close to) Highway 38. Though cause of the Government Fire has not officially been determined, it is presumed to be a lightning holdover, and it is expected to be under control soon. Update as of 4:45pm: Firefighting crews are still at work on the Government Fire. The fire grew to two-and-a-half acres, but a wet line has now been established. Aircraft have been released, but seven engines and crews remain on scene, and full containment is expected in the 6 o'clock hour.

Congressman Lewis Offers Free Home Ownership Preservation Worskhop in San Bernardino on Saturday

As noted following Congressman Jerry Lewis's town hall meeting on August 4, a Home Ownership Preservation Workshop will be offered in San Bernardino on Saturday, for those within the County in need of home foreclosure prevention counseling. The workshop is free and confidential, and a panel of volunteer experts and community lenders will be available to answer questions, as participants are said to include the Federal Housing Administration and NeighborWorks-approved agencies. The Home Ownership Preservation Workshop will be held in the Valencia Room at the National Orange Show, located at 689 South E Street in San Bernardino. Registration for the free workshop begins at 8:30am, and the workshop runs from 9am to 3pm. A respresentative from the office of Congressman Lewis notes that attendees should bring mortgage documents to Saturday's workshop, so that specific questions can be addressed.


Storyteller John Grandi celebrates the successful one-night debut of "An Evening With John
Grandi and Friends" at the post-show reception (featuring New York cuisine) with director Beth
Gardner and Julie, his wife of 37 years. The Saturday evening performance at the PAC generated
nearly $5000 to benefit the Bear Valley Hospital Foundation.

Bevwood Basketball Stars Host Softball & Basketball Games, Fishing & Bowling Events Through Weekend
The tall talents of the Bevwood All-Stars have been circulating through the Valley, basketballs in hand, in recent weeks—from the Doo Dah Parade and the Masonic Lodge's Big Breakfast to this week's Bevwood Fun Camp, which was offered to local youth at Big Bear High School. The group of professional basketball players, led by “Still Bill” Smith, have additional public appearances scheduled for this week, including some participatory events through the weekend. This afternoon, the Bevwood All-Stars are scheduled to do an autograph signing at Village Printing's grand opening (north of Vons) before taking on Sheriff's deputies and firefighters in a 7pm softball game at Sugarloaf Park, which is free to the public. On Friday, a fish-with-the-celebrities event will be held at the Alpine Trout Lake, from noon to 3pm, and cost to participate is $30 per fisherman. Saturday's big event is billed as the Pro-Celebrity Legends basketball game, which will include members of the Big Bear High School and Big Bear Middle School staffs going head-to-head with the Bevwood All-Stars, who have secured BBHS Principal Michael Ghelber for their team. General admission tickets to Saturday's basketball game, to be held at the high school at 5:30pm, are $12 each and available at the door, or pre-sale at Get the Burger, Alpine Slide and the Bowling Barn. The basketball game will also feature a raffle, including Lakers and Celtics jackets, and proceeds are to benefit the BBHS Athletics Department. The final Bevwood event of the week is the Bowling 4 Buddha Tournament, which runs from noon to 3pm at the Bowling Barn. Everyone is invited to attend Sunday's event, and those who wish to participate can sign up at the Bowling Barn at a cost of $60 per bowler. For more information on any of the Bevwood activities or autograph opportunities in the coming days, please call 310/739-1964.

Breaking News as of 10:30am: Law Enforcement Investigating Marijuana Cultivation Off Arctic Circle
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and other law enforcement agencies have been at work on a marijuana cultivation case in the Arctic Circle area of Highway 18 this morning, should you have seen helicopters and other official vehicles in the area. Despite this activity, specifically near Glory Ridge on the San Bernardino National Forest, Highway 18 does remain open, per the Big Bear Sheriff's Station.

Net Assessed Value of Big Bear Lake Homes Up 6.74%; Assessor Reports 57 Home Foreclosures for City

The Office of the Assessor for San Bernardino County has posted the County's 2008-2009 assessment roll and, per a letter issued by San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus, he says, “I am pleased to report that despite the significant downturn in real estate market values, our county managed to record an overall 5.12% increase in total taxable value over the previous year.” For homes within the City of Big Bear Lake, the net assessed value is $3,039,206,783, up 6.74% from 2007-2008, when Big Bear Lake homes were assessed at a net value of $2,847,196,803. Specifics for homes within other parts of the Valley, such as Big Bear City and Fawnskin, were included in totals for the County's unincorporated areas, which saw a 5.5% increase in net assessed value compared to totals of a year ago. The Assessor's office has also tracked home foreclosures for areas within the County and though details on such were not provided for the east end of Big Bear Valley, the number of recorded foreclosures for Big Bear Lake, from January through July of 2008, is 57.

Pedal Path Closure Extends Through Friday; North Shore Paving Projects to Be Completed Wednesday
The Alpine Pedal Path, along Big Bear Lake's North Shore, will remain closed through Friday, as paving work continues. Per District Recreation Officer Paul Bennett with the San Bernardino National Forest, the repaving projects for the pedal path, as well as the Meadows Edge Picnic Area and Juniper Point, came up quickly, given an offer from a paving company off the hill. “It's pretty amazing,” Bennett tells KBHR. “National Paving of Riverside is voluntarily completing this project at no cost to the U.S. Forest Service or the public.” Though the Alpine Pedal Path closure will extend through Friday, it will be open over the weekend, and then paving resumes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. The Meadows Edge Picnic Area will remain closed through Wednesday, and Juniper Point is open at this time, but will be closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week as well.

County Supervisors Approve $15,000 Allocation to Big Bear Chamber, to Promote Off-Season Tourism
At Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County, Third District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger petitioned the Board to allocate $15,000 from the County's 2008-2009 Priority Policy Needs budget to the Economic Development Agency for the purpose of entering into a contract with the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce to promote economic development through recreation and tourism. This request was approved by County Supervisors, and the allocation of funds will serve to bolster our economy. Per the staff report, it has been determined that the Valley's economy could be improved if strategies could be developed to increase off-peak and off-season business activity. In 2002, the Events Resource Office was created to promote tourism and recreational activities. The ERO, which is collaboratively funded by the City of Big Bear Lake, the Big Bear Lake Resort Association, the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, and the County of San Bernardino, has been successful in the economic development of both the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the Big Bear Valley.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008



Assistant Fire Chief Mills is congratulated by Michael Karp, Chairman
of the Fire Protection District for Big Bear Lake, during Monday's City
Council meeting when his promotion was announced.

Big Bear Lake Fire's Assistant Fire Chief Mark Mills Named Interim Chief, Completes FEMA Program
In light of Fire Chief John Morley's pending retirement from the Big Bear Lake Fire Department after 28 years with the agency, Assistant Fire Chief Mark Mills has been named interim fire chief, effective September 12. Though Mills has been with the local fire department for just under two years, his firefighting career spans 25 years, and includes two years as fire chief in Edisto Beach, South Carolina. While serving in South Carolina, Mills was the regional supervisor for the South Carolina Fire Academy, serving a seven-county region, for 15 years; served six years as the fire chief for the Newberry County HazMat Station; and received honors including Newberry County's Bravest and 2006 Edisto Beach Firefighter of the Year. More recent accomplishments, while serving at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, include recent completion of FEMA's Executive Fire Officer Program and the authoring of four publications through the National Fire Academy, including 2007's “Development of a Municipal Emergency Operations Plan” and this year's “Creating Defensible Space in an Urban Forest Environment.” Assistant Fire Chief Mills tells KBHR, “We're still running full fire chief recruitment, and I'll be applying for that as well.” (For more details on Fire Chief Morley, and his career with the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, see our story posted on July 17.)

Airman Jennifer Brandes, a 2006 BBHS Graduate, Completes Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base
The Army and Air Force Hometown News announces that 2006 Big Bear High School graduate Jennifer J. Brandes has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Airman Brandes, the daughter of Jack Brandes of Big Bear Lake and Julie Jiles of Corona, participated in six weeks of training, during which time she studied Air Force mission, organization, and military customs, performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field traning exercises, and special training in human relations. Airmen such as Airman Jennifer Brandes who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

San Bernardino Valley College Offers On-Site Registration at BBHS Tomorrow; Classes Start Tuesday

In anticipation of the start of college classes through San Bernardino Valley College next week, on-campus registration will be offered at Big Bear High School tomorrow, from 2:15 to 8pm in the BBHS Media Center. An SBVC representative will be on hand to answer questions (and will also be available to high school students during lunch periods on Thursday). Night classes through San Bernardino Valley College, to be held at the BBHS campus on Maple Lane, are offered on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, beginning August 19. Fall 2008 programs are offered at $20 per unit and offerings include the just-added Intro to Music course, as well as classes in art, American Sign Language, biology, child development, geography, history, real estate, Spanish, speech and theater arts. As SBVC Director Helena Johnson told us earlier, “No high school diploma is required for most classes, though higher level classes do require assessment.” For those unable to attend tomorrow's on-site college registration, registration is also available online at Valleycollege.edu/department/administrative/big_bear_program or by calling 909/888-1996.

According to the Numbers, City's Private Home Rental Ordinance Implementation Has Been Effective

The City of Big Bear Lake's Transient Private Home Rental Ordinance has been in place since January 9 and, per City Council request, the City's Director of Community Services, Phil Mosley, gave an update on the program during Monday's City Council meeting. Mosley told Council, “Complaints have been addressed effectively by rental agencies. I would say it's highly successful based on the numbers.” In the ordinance's first 83 days, from January 9 to March's end, the City's 24/7 code compliance hotline (at 866-CODE) received 114 complaint calls; of these, 80% pertained to TPHR units. In the subsequent time period, per Mosley, 113 complaint calls were received in the 122 calendar days between April 1 and July 31. All complaints were responded to within one hour of receipt and, it should be pointed out, just 28% of those complaints were related to TPHR units, citing issues such as noise, and too many cars or guests. During this same four-month time period, the City has received 41 new TPHR registration applications, three of which were registered as a direct result of enforcement actions. City Manager Jeff Mathieu pointed out increased effectiveness of the TPHR ordinance as, he says, “We are finally fully staffed at the code enforcement level.” On May 14, the City's Code Compliance Division also implemented TPHR inspection, which also verifies compliance with the Native Brush and Shrub Reduction Ordinance. The conclusion of Mosley's report on the effectiveness of the TPHR ordinance says that staff now has the effective enforcement tools to address overcrowding, parking, inappropriate behavior, illegal use and illegal advertising issues and, in addition, TPHR management agencies are complying with enforcement provisions, as proven by their timely and effective responses to complaints. Per a request from Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn, the ordinance will again be reviewed in January, once it has been in place a year.

In Preparation of Great Southern California ShakeOut, County Hosts Planning Meeting (Also Online) Today
As the Great Southern California ShakeOut, the largest earthquake disaster drill ever, is just three months away, the initial planning meeting for San Bernardino County is today, and can be viewed on the Internet at 11am. County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who serves on the California Seismic Safety Commission and is co-chairman of the San Bernardino County ShakeOut campaign, says, “We need to have every community group, city, church, and all of our residents prepared when this earthquake happens. For community leaders and interested citizens who can't make the meeting, this is a great chance to see how they can get involved.” The Great Southern California ShakeOut is a weeklong series of events during the second week of November, culminating November 13, when residents all over the state will be encouraged to participate in a “drop, cover and hold on” drill. The scenario of the drill will be a magnitude 7.8 on the southern section of the San Andreas, which has not ruptured in more than 300 years, and runs from the Salton Sea, along the foothills on the San Bernardino mountains and slices through the Cajon Pass. This morning's County preparedness meeting is available for viewing at sbcounty.gov/cob/countyvision.asp, and will also be archived on the County website for later viewing. For additional information, visit shakeout.org.

Local Earthquake of 1.6 Magnitude Centered Just Outside Big Bear Lake Last Night
We did have a 1.6 magnitude earthquake, centered four miles northwest of Big Bear Lake, last night at 11:57pm. The 1.6 quake, which registered a depth of just over five miles, was preceded by two earthquakes in the Mt. San Gorgonio area. Both of these, also in the 11pm hour yesterday, were recorded at magnitudes of 1.4 and 1.7, per the U.S. Geological Survey.


As anticipated, the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club's 19th annual Fun Run brought the crowds
to the Village for this weekend's two-day car show, which featured 500 antique and custom cars.
For more photos from Saturday, scroll down to August 11.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recreation and Park District Invites Skaters to Skatepark Design Workshop Tomorrow, Event on Saturday
The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District invites all skaters to participate in their Paradise Park skatepark design workshop on Wednesday, August 13. As with the Sugarloaf skatepark, which opened last year, input from local skaters will be reviewed and incorporated into the final design. The design workshop for the Paradise Park skatepark, which is being developed on the Big Bear City property owned by the Community Services District, will be held on Wednesday at 3:30pm at the Park District offices at Meadow Park. Skaters are also welcome to participate in the grand opening of the Valley's second skate area, at the Teen Center at Community Church by the Lake, on Saturday, August 16 at 10am. For more information on either of these events, please call the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District at 866-9700.

Mayor Herrick May Go to China in Support of Olympian Hall, But Will Not Use City Funds for Travel

Though Mayor Rick Herrick had withdrawn his formal request to City Council to use his travel allowance to attend the Olympics in China, on behalf of the City and in support of local marathon runner Ryan Hall, the agenda item was still discussed at last night's meeting of the City Council of Big Bear Lake. Councilmember Michael Karp addressed the issue by telling Mayor Herrick, “I fully understand your enthusiasm to go. It would be great to have a representative, but I'm not sure the City should pay for that trip. Our citizens are having a hard time making ends meet. It could be important, but I'm not sure it could be justified.” Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn seconded Karp's opinion, saying, “I certainly support Ryan and the Hall family, but I concur with Michael. I support you, Mayor Herrick, but I don't think our tax money should go there. The benefit to the community is not going to be an obvious one.” Mayor Herrick said, “When the idea was first presented to me, it was very easy to get caught up in the moment.” Herrick has since reconsidered, despite a pledge of financial support from fellow Councilmember Darrell Mulvihill and in light of a poll on his proposed travel, which ran in last week's Grizzly. Herrick noted that he had questioned the validity of the poll and the locale of respondents, and was told that Grizzly Editor Judi Bowers would be present at the Council meeting (which she was not). Added Herrick, “I'm not making a pitch to go. I went home and actually prayed about it. Ryan Hall is what's important, and I didn't want to make it a Mayor issue. I still feel there's value to go. If I am going, I'll spend the money myself and, Darrell, I appreciate your offer. We don't need any controversy surrounding this at all. If I do go, I will be going as a citizen.” Councilmember Liz Harris commended Herrick for taking the high road on what she referred to as a hard decision and, for Mulivihill's part, he told the Mayor, “I admire your honesty. If you do go, I don't see why you can't say, 'I'm the Mayor of Big Bear Lake.' I truly hope you do go.”

Encore Mac McAlister Presentation to Be Featured at Wednesday's Historical Society Meeting at DC
The Big Bear Valley Historical Society will feature an encore presentation during this Wednesday's 7pm meeting at the Discovery Center. In what was Mac McAlister's final presentation for his friends of the Historical Society, a panel including McAlister, John Eminger and Catherine Sandstrom spoke on what it was like to grow up in the Valley and attend Big Bear High School. Eminger will introduce the DVD segment on 1942 BBHS graduate McAlister, and longtime friend Bonnie Blue will also share stories about McAlister who, during the 2006 presentation, jokingly referred to himself as one of Big Bear's “historical relics.” McAlister passed in July at age 84, and had long been at docent at the historical museum, in addition to sharing with them his family's fox farm memorabilia, which remains on display. The historical museum off Greenway Drive in Big Bear City is open from 10am to 4pm on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and the free Historical Society presentation will, again, be offered at 7pm on Wednesday at the Discovery Center. (For information on the Friday evening memorial service in McAlister's honor, please see our story posted on August 8.)

School District and Teachers' Association Issue Joint Statement: Better Working Relations in Place

Given teacher contract negotiations of school years past, Bear Valley Unified School District has issued a statement on dealings between the school district and the Bear Valley Education Association, which represents the district's certificated staff. The joint statement, signed by both BVUSD Superintendent Carole Ferraud and BVEA President (and Big Bear High School teacher) Alan Caldwell and dated August 2008, reads: “Representatives of the Bear Valley Education Association and the Bear Valley Unified School District met in an informal hearing on June 10th at the offices of the Public Employees Relation Board to attempt to resolve a complaint filed by both BVEA and PERB. An agreement was reached that included the removal of the letters of reprimand sent to the BVEA negotiating team by BVUSD's school board members. In exchange, BVEA agreeed to withdraw its unfair labor charge against the school board members. As a result of these actions, all parties believe we now have the opportunity to build better working relations based upon our commitment to the present and the future, and a clear focus on the needs of the students we jointly serve.”

Airport District Is Reviewing Amended Master Plan (Sans Property Acquistion); Public Review September 3

In this month's meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District, General Manager Garry Dokter presented the amended Master Plan to the Board, who will now have a month to review it with the changes. The amendment, as prompted by concerns of airport neighbors in past months, reflects removal of all acquisition of any private property. The Airport District will hold a public review of the amended Master Plan on the morning of September 3, which will be followed by their regular first Wednesday Board meeting at 2pm. Also during their meeting of August 6, all Board members present voted to adopt the Resolution of Necessity, which is a procedural step in the eminant domain process (as it pertains to the airport building)—so while eminant domain action has not yet been filed, the Airport District will continue to negotiate with all parties.

County Supervisors to Consider Formation Approval for Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department Today
During this morning's San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting, to be held at 10am at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino, Supervisors will consider formation application approval for the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department, to provide fire protection, medical aid and rescue services to the community of Baldwin Lake and surrounding areas within the jurisdictional area of the San Bernardino County Fire Department. The Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department was organized in April of 2005, and now has over 30 volunteer firefighters who have been trained, or are in the process of being trained, under the guidelines of the California State Fire Marshal's Volunteer Firefighter I designation. The BLF has constructed a firehouse and garage, has purchased firefighting equipment, and has a fleet of seven firefighting equipped vehicles—over $400,000 has been raised, and there is no expectation of funds from the County. The County's report states that roughly two-thirds of the area's residents have signed a petition in favor of the Baldwin Lake Volunteer Fire Department, which also has the support of County Fire Chief Pat Dennen.

Monday, August 11, 2008



Some scenes and classic cars from the Big Bear Lake Antinque Car Club's Fun Run, as the 500 special vehicles (including the
1924 Dodge, below left, and the 1955 KBHR Chevy, below right) line up for the drive around Big Bear Lake on Saturday afternoon.

County Registrar Extends Candidate Filing for Seats on School Board and Airport District Until Wednesday
The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters office today announces that candidate filing has been extended for two local boards within the voting territory of the Big Bear Valley for the November 4 election. For the three available seats on the Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District, none of the three incumbents—Phil Hamilton, Larry Poland or Julann Warren—have filed for the election, so potential candidates now have until 5pm on Wednesday, August 13 to run for these seats. For the Big Bear Airport District, only incumbent Gary Steube has filed for the election and, as both George Berge and Russ Lowery have declined to file, the candidate filing period for these three seats on the Board of Directors is also available, to non-incumbents only, until Wednesday. The Registrar's office tells KBHR that the official candidate list for the Presidential General Election will be made available on Monday, August 18. For those who wish to pull candidate papers, the Registrar's office can be reached at 387-8300.

Today's City Council of Big Bear Lake Meeting to Include Updates on TPHR Ordinance, Boulder Bay Park

The City Council of Big Bear Lake meets for their regular meeting this evening at 6:30pm in Hofert Hall. This evening's Discusion Items include an update on the Transient Private Home Rental Ordinance, presentation of the preliminary Master Plan design for Boulder Bay Park, and consideration of Mayor Rick Herrick's withdrawal request to travel to Beijing, China, on behalf of the City, for Ryan Hall's Olympic marathon race.

Breaking News as of 9:30am
: Forest Service Crews Extinguishing 1/4 Acre Fire Near Angelus Oaks

Firefighting crews of the San Bernardino National Forest are currently at work extinguishing a small fire near Angelus Oaks, off Highway 38. The fire started this morning, and is said to be a “lightning holdover.” The small fire has burned just one-quarter acre, and it is expected to be fully extinguished soon. Update as of noon: Crews remain on scene on this fire, called in at 6:46am. The burn area in light grass has been held to one-quarter acre. Update as of 2:30pm: The fire was contained by firefighting crews with the San Bernardino National Forest today. The burned area was held to one tree and the aforementioned one-quarter acre, and crews are no longer on scene.

Marina Point Development Wins Appeal in Federal Court; Condominium Project Can Proceed in Fawnskin

The Marina Point Development Company project in Fawnskin has been granted permission to move forward, given a ruling in Pasadena on Wednesday in which a three-judge U.S. Ninth Court Circuit of Appeals panel dismissed an injunction against the San Diego-based developer. The ruling is a blow to the Friends of Fawnskin and the Center for Biological Diversity (the non-profit environmental group), who had two earlier rulings in their favor that would have halted the 133-condominium development on 12 acres to the east of Fawnskin's Grout Bay. Per Adam Keats, attorney on behalf of the Friends of Fawnskin and the Center for Biological Diversity, “This case has been long running. In 2004, we won a preliminary injunction to halt development because of the impact on the American Bald Eagle which, at the time, was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.” This ruling was under Judge Timlin in U.S. Federal Court in Riverside. In 2006, the Friends of Fawnskin and the Center were granted a permanent injunction, as ruled by Judge Real in a Los Angeles U.S. Federal Court. Keats tells KBHR, “The second district court judge agreed with the mountains of evidence we had, and also ruled in our favor. Unfortunately, this three-judge panel refused to get the merits of our Clean Water Act claim, throwing that out on a technicality, and then went on to overturn the Endangered Species Act ruling. We strongly disagree with the ruling, and we're terribly disappointed by it.” As the American Bald Eagle was removed from the Federal List of Endangered Species in June of last year, that issue became a moot point in the claim against the condominium development in Fawnskin, the North Shore community whose population is, per Postmaster Cynthia Crane, roughly 500. The attorney who represents the Marina Point Development Company, Bob Crockett of L.A.-based Latham Watkins, tells KBHR, “We're happy with the victory, especially since the plaintiff treated my client so poorly. My client plans to proceed with the development, and market conditions will determine when that happens.”

Specifics on City's New Native Brush and Shrub Reduction Ordinance Being Mailed to Property Owners
This spring, the City Council of Big Bear Lake adopted the Native Brush and Shrub Reduction Ordinance, which dictates the removal of certain types of flammable brush and shrubs from properties within the City of Big Bear Lake. To allow for better understanding of the new ordinance, the City last week mailed a brochure to property owners, in which the new requirements are outlined and the flammable plants are identified. The brochure also details sensitive plant survey areas, and provides specifics on fuel modification during nesting season. The color brochures were created in cooperation with the Big Bear Lake Fire Department and the City's Planning Division, and approximately 11,500 of the 14,000 brochures printed will be mailed—other copies will be made available at the City offices and the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce. Jim Miller, Big Bear Lake's Director of Building and Planning, tells KBHR, “We really want to reassure property owners that they're probably already in compliance, but if they have any questions, they can call the Planning Department at 866-5831 or the Big Bear Lake Fire Department at 866-7566.”

Friday, August 8, 2008 (8-8-8)


Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall (in black) takes a lap with his family and local athletes during Monday's
Community Send-Off at Big Bear Middle School. For more on the story, see our postings on August 5 and 6.

Olympian Ryan Hall Not Participating in Opening Ceremonies, But Scheduled to Be on TV This Evening
Today marks the start of television coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, with the opening ceremonies scheduled to air on NBC Channel 4 at 8pm. Local Olympian, marathon runner Ryan Hall, is not planning to participate in the opening ceremonies (given travel and training considerations) and, he noted earlier this week, “My mom is more upset than I am.” Hall is scheduled to be featured on television this evening, though, when Southern California athletes are profiled in a segment on local broadcast station KNBC, also channel 4, starting at 6:30pm. The 2001 Big Bear High School graduate has been generating substantial press and attention, given his August 24 marathon race and the fact that he is the fastest American-born marathon runner ever—not only is he on the cover of the Special Summer Games issue of Runner's World magazine, Hall is also featured in a 10-page profile piece in the August issue of The New Yorker, which includes mentions of the Grizzly Manor Café, North Shore Trading Company, and the Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign. Hall's entire family is planning to be with him in Beijing, when he runs the marathon on the morning of August 24. As China is a day ahead of us, the Olympic race is scheduled to air on Saturday, August 23 at 6:30pm. The Lighthouse Project, local service clubs and the Lambert family have organized a community viewing party, which will be held at the Big Bear Convention Center on the 23rd. Though the race does not air until the early evening, doors will open at 2pm for the free event, which will also include activities, food for purchase, and live entertainment, with proceeds to benefit the BBHS Athletics Department.

Reports of Smoke Turn Out to Be False Alarms; U.S. Forest Service Confirms No Fires In Our Area
U.S. Forest Service trucks were en route to a possible incident, should you have seen them driving with sirens and emergency lights on this afternoon, but all reports turned out to be false alarms. The San Bernardino National Forest had received calls, particulary directed in the Barton Flats area off Highway 38, alerting them to what seemed to be smoke. As it turns out, it was really “water dogs,” a term used to describe misty clouds that, along tree tops, can resemble smoke. So, per the Forest Service, there are no fire incidents in our area at this time.

North Shore's Alpine Pedal Path Closed Monday for Pavement Work, But Remains Open for Weekend
The Alpine Pedal Path will be temporarily closed as of Monday, August 11. The pedal path, as well as the parking lots at Juniper Point and Meadows Edge Picnic Area are, per the San Bernardino National Forest, getting some last-minute but much-needed pavement work. The three recreation sites will be closed to the public on August 11, 12 and 13, and again on August 18, 19 and 20. The Alpine Pedal Path, Juniper Point and Meadows Edge Picnic Area, all along Big Bear Lake's North Shore, will remain open to the public this weekend.

Memorial Celebration for Mac McAlister Planned for Next Friday, August 15 at United Methodist Church

The daughters and friends of Mac McAlister have planned a memorial celebration for next Friday, August 15 to honor the man much loved by this community. McAlister had long lived in Big Bear Lake, since moving to the family's fox farm at age 4 in 1928 and until his passing, at age 84, on July 29. Given his 80-year connection to this community, daughter Kim told KBHR, “They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it took this whole village to raise my dad.” That said, the entire “village” is welcome to the ceremony next Friday, which is being coordinated by the United Methodist Church and the Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church, and will be held at the Methodist Church on the North Shore at Holden in Big Bear City at 5:30pm. Adds Kim, the youngest of McAlister's three daughters, “Everyone is welcome to attend, and this tribute to our dad is for all of you. There will be a brief program, and a reception following.” For those who so choose, contributions in Mac's name can be made to the Big Bear Valley Historical Society. Questions can be directed to Pastor Marcia Hartsock at 585-4089. For more information on McAlister's life, please see our story posted on July 30.


Big Bear Medicine Wheel Reunion: Since 3:30am this morning, Native American ceremonial leader Bennie "Blue Thunder"
LeBeau and locals, including those from the local EarthHEAL group, have participated in a medicine wheel ceremony
at Pan Hot Springs, which continues until sunrise on Saturday. For more info, visit bigbearmedicinewheel.com.

After Closure Resulting From 2007 Fires, Pacific Crest Trail Re-Opened for Hiking and Horseback Riding
The San Bernardino National Forest has just re-opened the Pacific Crest Trail to hiking and horseback riding, though visitors are reminded that mountain bikes and motorized vehicles are not allowed. The seven-mile section of the Pacfic Crest Trail, or PCT, above Fawnskin had been closed as a result of damage from September's Butler #2 Fire and October's Slide Fire. Mountaintop Recreation Officer Paul Bennett says, “After the fire, local trail crews, supported by a tree-falling crew from Oregon, worked to remove over one thousand burned trees along the trail. Unfortunately, Little Bear Springs Trail Camp suffered quite a bit of damage and will remain closed for quite some time.” The Pacific Crest Trail was a route first explored in the 1930s by teams of young men from the YMCA, and was designated one of the first scenic trails in the National Trails System, authorized by Congress, in 1968. PCT spans 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through three states, with 160 of those miles within the San Bernardino National Forest which, as of yesterday, you can enjoy once again. (For a local story on the hikers of the PCT, you can check out our posting on May 2, now accessible in our 2008 Archive.)

Hospital Foundation Presents "An Evening With John Grandi and Friends," a One-Night Benefit at the PAC
The Bear Valley Community Hospital Foundation presents a special, one-night only fundraising evening this Saturday, in the Beth Gardner-directed “An Evening with John Grandi and Friends.” The 7pm performance at the Performing Arts Center will benefit the hospital foundation, and tickets are still available, at a cost of $25 pre-sale, or $30 at the door. The evening with John Grandi will feature friends Amber Carpenter, Amanda Fisch, Elena Peavy, Sarge Rachels, Brett Smith, Ty Warren, and Jimmy Dean on trumpet. “It's a storytelling evening,” explains Julie, Grandi's wife of 37 years. “John will be telling tales of growing up a child of Italian immigrants in the 1920s and 30s, and then he goes on to talk about his war years and, from there, on to his stage life in New York and playing with the big bands, and eventually moving on to California and on up to Big Bear—and the presenation will include musical vignettes from his friends. Beth Gardner directed this and, for those who saw John at the library last year, this will be a fun expansion of that.” Grandi will also talk about his upcoming book, “We Had Nothing… But Everything” and post-show refreshments include champagne, Coney Island hot dogs and New York cheesecake. Tickets can be purchased via the PAC box office at 866-4970, or online at citybigbearlake.com.


The 19th annual Fun Run, hosted by the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club, returns this weekend
--and will include 500 antique and custom cars circling Big Bear Lake on Saturday afternoon.
More info posted below.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Planning Commission Holds on Decision Regarding Proposed Newsrack Ordinance for Big Bear Lake
At yesterday's meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake, the Commission reviewed an appeal from property owner Bob Chaney, as the City Planner had denied a Business License for a mortgage company on his property zoned Commercial-Visitor at 42262 Moonridge Road. This item will be continued to a future Commission meeting unless city staff can, in the meantime, determine that this location was grandfathered in (having once been the site of a related business) since development codes were updated. Discussion of and Public Hearing on proposed changes to the City's newsrack ordinance will also be continued to a future yet unscheduled meeting of the Commission. As the City had received input from publishers of two local publications questioning a new ordinance (that would effectively have an economic impact on their businesses if new newsracks were required), the Planning Commission asked staff to research options, including a lease program with a private contractor to oversee and provide uniform newsracks, thereby reducing clutter and restricted access to commercial buildings. Staff was also directed to look into extending the Village-specific plan area, beyond the Village L to the Big Bear Lake Post Office on Big Bear Boulevard, to provide uniformity should a newsrack ordinance be adopted.

Bear Backers, the Parent Organization That Supports BBHS Athletics, Holds Meeting on Monday Evening
The first general meeting of the Bear Backers, the parent organization that supports all Big Bear High School sports programs, will take place on Monday, August 11 at 5:30pm, in the BBHS Media Center. Bear Backers Publicity Chair Janice Etter tells KBHR, “We basically just raise funds, and then the coaches come to us for abnormal or special expenses. Some things that Bear Backers recently purchased include an ice machine for the training room (for when players have an injury) and mats for the wrestling team. We've supplemented uniforms for the volleyball team, and we've sent coaches to clinics.” The Bear Backers also produce an annual fall/winter sports program, which includes team rosters, photos, game schedules and directions. For those who would like more information on the Bear Backers, who welcome support for our children and Our House, you can join them at their Monday evening meeting, or contact Janice Etter at 866-0803 or via email at bbhsbearbackers@yahoo.com.

A Local Economic Boon Expected as Antique Car Club's 19th Annual Fun Run Returns This Weekend

This weekend marks the 19th annual Fun Run, hosted by the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club. This year's run 'round the lake and car show in the Village has been highly anticipated, as spots for the 500 antique, classic, custom, street rod and muscle cars sold out in a record 11 days, once signups started in February. According to Cliff Fowler, President of the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club, “The cars will start rolling in to the Village on Friday, but we hear that some of them already came to Big Bear last week.” The Fun Run event includes a 9am show 'n' shine of all 500 cars in the Village on Saturday, which will include a raffle sponsored by the Village merchants. At 3:45pm on Saturday, the barricades come down and all the cars exit the Village to take their Fun Run around Big Bear Lake. The festivities on the 9th continue with the street dance in the Bartlett parking lot, from 6 to 11pm, featuring hamburgers, beer and wine, and the music of local rock band Slick City. (Cost for the Saturday night street dance is just $4, $2 for those ages 10-15, and free for kids under 10.) On Sunday morning, the fun of Fun Run continues with a 9am awards ceremony which, per Fowler, “is unique because it's a drive-thru, so spectators will be able to see all the award-winning cars.” The ceremony will also include the opportunity drawing for a full-dress Chevy small block engine donated by Napa Auto Parts. “The Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club,” adds Fowler, “expects that this year's Fun Run, our 19th annual, will bring another big economic boost to Big Bear. Last year's event had the greatest economic impact of all the events in 2007—and, the more money we generate, the more the car club will have to share with local charities.”

County Supervisors Approve Expenditure for Wildlife Corridor Signs to Be Placed on Mountain Highways

At Supervisor Dennis Hansberger's request, on Tuesday the County Board of Supervisors approved the $9,000 allocation to purchase and install 26 wildlife signs and 10 deer signs at designated locations within the mountain communities. The non-profit organization Friends of the Mountain, Inc., with the help of the County's Department of Public Works, had secured permission from the California Traffic Control Devices Committee for experimental “wildlife corridor” signs to be placed on county roads and state highways. The purpose of the signs is to promote traffic safety, and thereby reduce fatalities of people and wildlife. Per Hansberger's office, a wildlife corridor is a habitual transportation route that animals use from one area to another—unfortunately, these heavily traveled wildlife corridors intersect with many of our transportation routes, causing injury to humans and animals. In a statement from Hansberger, he says, “Our goal is to raise public awareness and promote vehicular safety by installing these signs. Carol Pedder and the Friends of the Mountain, Inc. are to be commended for their diligence in pursuing this program and securing the permission of the CTCDC, in order to protect human life, as well as our wild animals.”

Today Is a Minimum Day for Students at All Schools Within Bear Valley Unified School District
Today is the first teachers' Strategic Planning and Assessment Articulation Day of the school year for Bear Valley Unified School District. For students, this translates into a minimum day at all BVUSD schools, including Big Bear High School.

Municipal Water District May Fund Study for Installation of Bridge Once Dam Roadway Is Removed
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District meets for their regular meeting at 1pm today, at their offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive in Big Bear Lake. During the meeting's Business Items, the Board will consider approval of the proposal submitted by Simon Wong Engineering for preparation of a planning study of the dam pedestrian bridge. Once the highway bridge is removed from the Big Bear Dam, as CalTrans is scheduled to build a new Highway 18 bridge just west of the dam, MWD staff would have limited access to the dam. In order to replace the roadway with a foot bridge and/or a pedestrian/light vehicle bridge, the MWD would need to negotiate a reimbursement agreement with CalTrans. By securing the services of Simon Wong Engineering, the preparation of an Advanced Planning Study could be readied for CalTrans. The report by MWD's General Manager Scott Heule says that the roughly $13,000 expense for the engineering work is not budgeted, but could be appropriately paid for with Dam Repair Funds.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bear City and Big Bear Lake Fire Departments Meet Up in Moonridge--Not for Fire, But Engineer Exams
For those who may have wondered why crews and fire engines of the Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments were gathered in Moonridge today, the two agencies were conducting the engineers practical exam. This in-house promotional exam, which includes the water pumping that was visible to passers-by, is to establish a promotional list for potential promotions within each of the firehouses. Those firefighters who pass the engineers practical exam can then serve in an engineer capacity if needed in an emergency situation.


Before taking laps 'round the BBMS field at Monday's Community Send-Off, Olympian Ryan Hall was joined onstage by his family,
including wife Sara (in blue), parents Mickey and Susie, sister Kasey (in pink) and brothers Steve, Craig and Chad for a moment of
prayer; McKinley Warren displays her Ryan banner.

Olympian Ryan Hall Tells the Big Bear Crowd at BBMS: "I Can't Tell You How Much Gratitude I Feel"

Prior to Monday's Community Send-Off on the Big Bear Middle School field for Olympian Ryan Hall, Beth Gardner of the Lighthouse Project joined Hall for a lakeside press conference, which also included media outlets from off the mountain. In explaining the Lighthouse's Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign (which we as a commmunity have exceeded), Gardner said, “Every mile has meaning. Every mile is a wish of goodwill for Ryan.” Hall concurred, saying, “It has been really inspiring for me to train here, and see all the Run Ryan Run signs. Almost every single run I've gone on, I've had people encourage me, or honk. Those are the images you take with you. I'm sure I'll have flashbacks to all the little kids, I'll have them in my heart when I'm out there. And whether or not I medal in Beijing, it has been worth it to see this community support me.” And support Ryan Big Bear did as, just after the press conference, he was greeted at the Community Send-Off by 2,000 or more friends, fans and family (including parents Mickey and Susie, wife Sara, brothers Steve, Craig and Chad, and sister Kasey). The ceremony for Hall included a prayer led by his dad and BBHS coach Mickey, and presentations by County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger and Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick, who described the 25-year-old marathon runner as a man of grace and power. After taking laps around the field with local students, local athletes Ted and Heather Devito, Karen Lundgren, and Paul and Jordan Romero, and his family, Hall was presented with the miles logged on his behalf, which included 91,800 from BVUSD students, and totaled 1,203,556 miles! Moved to tears behind his Oakleys, Hall told the enthusiastic crowd, “I can't begin to tell you how much gratitude I feel. One of the things that will flash through my mind in Beijing is this send-off. When you're watching on TV, know I'll be thinking of you.”


Ryan Hall's siblings Craig, Steve, Chad & Kasey; local athletes Karen Lundgren, Paul & Jordan Romero, Ted & Heather Devito.

BVUSD students, who logged their miles for Ryan, take a lap; the Big Bear High School cheerleading squad; and (below)
Mayor Rick Herrick congratulates Hall; Ryan and wife (and fellow runner) Sara take another lap around Minder Field.


Potentially 34 Candidates for Local Seats in November Election; Eight Have Pulled Papers for CSD Board
Thirty-four members of the Big Bear Valley have now pulled election papers and, should they be filed by Friday's 5pm deadline, we will have a number of candidates for local offices in the November election. Though no one other than incumbents Vince Smith and John Eminger have pulled papers for the two available positions on the Big Bear Municipal Water District Board, there could potentially be many candidates running for seats for the Bear Valley Unified School District, the Big Bear Airport District, and the Big Bear City Community Services District, for which eight have now pulled papers from the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters. For the two available seats on the CSD Board, the following have pulled papers: Barbara Beck, Daniel Brown, incumbent Bob Colven, Lance Fowler, Rick Nelson, incumbent Rick Ollila, John Russo, and James Smith. For the three seats on the Airport District Board, potential candidates include Ken Dally, William Douglas, Gloria Ann Greene, Julia Smith, incumbent Gary Steube, Jack Williams, and Lynn Wilson. For the three Board of Trustees positions with the Bear Valley Unified School District, no incumbents have pulled papers, but the following have: Sharon Congdon, David Foltz, Beverly Grabe, Cathy Herrick, Jim McGowan, Randall Putz, and Paul Zamoyta. Two incumbents, Christopher Fagan and Ronald Peavy, have pulled papers for the three seats on the Bear Valley Communty Healthcare District Board; others potentially running include Dennis Carden, Michael Hartstein, Ed Kibbey, and Randy Vanos. For the City of Big Bear Lake City Council, the city clerk confirms that four have thus far pulled papers: incumbents Liz Harris and Bill Jahn, and Robert Pool and Barbara Willey. All paperwork must be submitted to the Registrar of Voters by Friday for those who wish to run. For more information on filing for the November 4 election, call the Registrar's office at 387-8300.

Ken Markling of Bear Valley Electric Service to Speak at Tomorrow's Big Bear Chamber Power Breakfast
The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce hosts their first-Thursday-of-the-month Power Breakfast tomorrow morning at 7am. Cost for the Power Breakfast, to be held at Northwoods Resort in the Village, is $12 for Chamber members and $15 for guests. Ken Markling, Operations Manager for Bear Valley Electric Service, will be the featured business speaker and will present information on the ulitity's proposed electric rate increase. (For those unable to attend tomorrow, details on the proposed BVES rate increase are posted in our story of July 30, if you scroll down.)

Preliminary Court Hearing for Winters, Day, Ferguson and Potts Moved from July 31 to September 17
Last week's preliminary hearing for Chalen Winters, the 19-year-old charged with the June 18 murder of Michael Lundin, has been held until September. Though the preliminary hearing for Winters, and the three local teenagers charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon—Christopher Day, David Ferguson and Mark Potts—had been scheduled for July 31, the County's Deputy District Attorney Alex Martinez says that, given the additional reports and audio tapes to share with the defense, the attorneys for the defendants needed more time. As all had previously agreed to a time waiver, allowing for an additional 60 days, the preliminary hearing will be held in San Bernardino Court by September's end. An August date was not scheduled as the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's designated principle investigator is unavailable, so the preliminary hearing has now been set for September 17. In the meantime, Winters, Day, Ferguson and Potts remain in custody at West Valley Detention Center.

BVUSD School Board Meeting This Evening; First of Student Minimum Days Is Tomorrow for All Schools
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District hold their first Board meeting of the school year, this evening at 6:15pm, at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road. This evening's meeting is scheduled to include a staff presentation by Mike Ghelber, principal of Big Bear High School, who will outline the structure and duties of the BBHS counselors, Sarah Ortuno, Rob Benson and Lisa Schour. The Board meeting also includes approval of the BVUSD calendar. The first of the school year's Strategic Planning and Assessment Articulation Days is tomorrow which, for students at all school sites, translates into a minimum day on Thursday.

Airport District Board Meets This Afternoon; General Manager Will Report on Master Plan Amendment
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Airport District meet today for their monthly meeting, as they do each first Wednesday, at 2pm in the airport pilots lounge. Today's Airport Board meeting will address the Master Plan amendment during the Manager's Report from General Manager Garry Dokter. In New Business items, the agenda outlines the continuation of a hearing on a Resolution of Necessity, to acquire through eminent domain all interest in the airport terminal building that the Big Bear Airport District does not currently own.

Planning Commission to Review Code for Newsrack Placement and Maintenance Within Big Bear Lake
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake meets for the first of two meetings this month, at 1:15pm today in Hofert Hall. This afternoon's meeting will include a Public Hearing on a development code amendment, as it pertains to the placement and maintenance of newsracks, on both public and private property, within the City of Big Bear Lake.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Congressman Lewis Answers Questions on Oil Drilling and Home Foreclosures in Town Hall Meeting
Yesterday evening, Congressman Jerry Lewis conducted a town hall meeting via telephone, for those registered voters within the 41st Congressional District who were home to intercept his call in the 7pm hour. Those who answered land line calls within the Congressman's region were able to ask questions, including Mrs. Jones from Big Bear. Constituents from Apple Valley and Pioneer Town asked Lewis whether, in light of gas prices, Congress would be initiating more domestic oil drilling, to which Lewis responded, “There's not any doubt we have to develop domestic sources in a reasonable way. Frankly, I think in September there will be a strong majority thinking the same way.” In response to a question from Landers on the stability of the Social Security system, Lewis simply stated, “The most important thing for you to know is that Social Security is not going to go broke.” Those on the phone from the high desert, Desert Hot Springs and Newbury Springs expressed concern about home foreclosures, and Lewis explained that a Home Ownership Preservation Workshop will be offered on Saturday, August 16 at the National Orange Show's Valencia Room, from 8:30am to 3pm. “We'll have key people there,” Lewis said, and those involved will include the Department of Housing, the Federal Housing Administration and local, non-profit organizations available for advice and counsel. For more information on this workshop, or to assure that you are involved in future town hall meetings from your land line, you can call the Congressman's Redlands office at 862-6030.

First Community Picnic for Peace to Be Held at Big Bear Lake's Meadow Park Wednesday Evening

Tomorrow evening, the Mountain Healing Arts Association hosts a Picnic for Peace in Meadow Park. In what is being billed as the first annual community Picnic for Peace, families, pets, neighbors and stories are welcome. The event gets underway at Meadow Park at 6pm on Wednesday, and those who attend are asked to bring a dish to share and, as peace is created by sharing, say event organizers, all are invited to share in the giveaway table. Items that are in good enough shape for re-use, such as books, clothes and household items, can be brought to the Meadow Park picnic, which is expected to go until dark.


As of Monday's special event, 1,203,556 miles were logged for Ryan--you can add your miles
to the free, community spirit initiative by using the link at the top of this page. For more photos
from the event, be sure to visit tomorrow.

Community Sends Marathon Runner Ryan Hall to Beijing Olympics With Over One Million Miles Logged

Congratulations, Big Bear, as we have officially logged over one million miles in support of Olympian Ryan Hall! At yesterday's Community Send-Off for our local marathon runner, the Lighthouse Project's Beth Gardner announced the completion of 1,203,556 miles on behalf of the Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign, which, still, will continue until his Olympic marathon race date on August 24. On the podium while the mileage banner was unrolled by his wife Sara Hall and Mayor Rick Herrick, Ryan marveled, “Wow, you guys blow me away! Look what can happen when we all rally together.”

CalTrans Completes Highway 18 Repaving Project, Next Plans to Widen Big Bear Boulevard in Bear City
The CalTrans repaving project for the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18 was completed last week, by July's end as scheduled. The next proposed CalTrans project for our area is billed as a safety project and will include the widening of Big Bear Boulevard in the Big Bear City area. The widened roadway, which will include 8' paved shoulders on the north side of Highway 18, will extend from Blue Water Drive (at Circle K) to Pinon Drive (at Eastside Book Café). The plan is to also add a left-hand turn lane at Big Tree Drive, the street that accesses the Big Bear Airport. To review the proposed safety project, CalTrans has tentatively scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, August 20 at the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency offices in Big Bear City at 6pm.

County Supervisor Hansberger to Request Funding for Wildlife Corridor Signs for Mountain Highways
The Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County hold their weekly meeting this morning at 10am, at the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. Today's meeting is scheduled to include a presentation by our Third District County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger, requesting approval of a $9000 allocation from the County's 2008-2009 Priority Policy Needs budget to the Department of Public Works-Transportation Division. These funds would be used for the purchase and installation of 36 road signs in connection with the wildlife corridor sign program. The experimental wildlife corridor signs, to be placed on county roads and state highways within the mountain communities, are intended to promote traffic safety and reduce fatalities of people and wildlife. The experiment will use the currently approved “deer” sign, along with the proposed “wildlife corridor” sign, thus allowing staff to evaulate and determine which is more effective and understandable for motorists.

Monday, August 4, 2008


The float of the Big Bear Valley Historical Society, complete with moving stamp mill and other
details, won the Sweepstakes Award in Sunday's 59th annual Old Miners' Day Parade, as the
group literally took the parade theme "Running for Gold"--and ran with it.

Historical Society and Chambermaids Take Top Honors for Floats in Sunday's 59th Old Miners' Day Parade

The 59th annual Old Miners' Day Parade, which was co-chaired by Neil Nickle and Joe Haeckle and included over 100 entries yesterday, featured the theme “Running for Gold” and the inclusion of many branches of the military, including recognition of the three families whose sons lost their lives as servicemen in Iraq, as the Kenyons, Stephens and Landakers were honored as the parade's grand marshals. In literally keeping with the “Running for the Gold” parade theme, the Big Bear Valley Historical Society took the top prize, the Sweepstakes Award, for best overall float, and the Chambermaids earned the Old Miners' trophy for their float—and, as it turns out, these were the two organizations that won top prizes in last year's parade. In awards for other floats, the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering took first place, second went to Bearly Speaking Toastmasters and third went to the Kiwanis Club of Big Bear Valley. The only children's float entry was from First Baptist Church's Bear Valley Kids Camp, who took first place with their float themed “Run for the Eternal Prize.”


Grand marshals Laura Stephens, Laura and Joe Landaker, and Rick Stephens gather at pre-parade dinner on Saturday; the U.S. Army Calvary Regiment from Ft. Irwin; Big Bear Lake Councilmember Michael Karp and wife Deborah.

Miss Clementine Keli Homan drives her own horse-drawn carriage; the award-winning Chambermaids float; and Skippy Dee Clown.

The car entry from Hamilton Ranch Estates; the Kiwanis Club's "runing for gold" float and tribute to Mac McAlister; and Larbi Loucif with the Bearly Speaking Toastmasters' llamas, "Come Se Llama" and "Dolly Llama."

The runnin' gold boots of the Big Bear Cowboy Gathering float (with scholarship winner Daisy Ojeda in front); the Baptist Church's Jesus-themed float, that reads "Run for the Eternal Prize"; returning float judges Lieueen Thomas, former 'First Lady' of the Tournament of Roses Parade, and locals Katherine Blanc and Catherine Sandstrom. To copy any of these photos, or see a larger version, you can use your mouse to right click on pic.

School Resumes Today for the Seven Schools of Bear Valley Unified School District, Now in Its 50th Year

After seven weeks of summer vacation, the students of Bear Valley Unified School District—about 3,200 of them—return to school today in what will be the 50th year for the district, which now includes seven schools, including Fallsvale Elementary off Highway 38. Superintendent Carole Ferraud says that, last Thursday, all BVUSD teachers and staff gathered for their annual back-to-school summit, which included a '50s theme. “We had our annual summit,” Ferraud tells KBHR, “and it was fabulous. It was a positive, upbeat kick-off to the school year, and we're celebrating 50 years of BVUSD.” As the district moves into the 2008-2009 school year with a reduced budget, Ferraud says, “We had to tighten some things up, but I think we did a pretty good job keeping the cuts away from kids.” One change going forward is the elimination of Late Start days for the high school—instead, BBHS students will get an early release to accommodate teacher planning, and Ferraud expects this will be easier for families as all students, district-wide, will have the same early release dates. And though it is the 50th year for the district, it is the third school year for Ferraud, who was named superintendent in January of 2007. Of those things she looks forward to on the horizon, she says, “We will release test scores in a couple weeks, so we're looking forward to that.”

Community Send-Off for Olympian Ryan Hall at BBMS Field Today; MARTA Trolley Service Available
Today is the big day, as the Community Send-Off for Olympian Ryan Hall gets underway at Big Bear Middle School at 5:30pm--rain or shine. Gates to Minder Field open at 4:30pm, for the event to celebrate Hall, a 2001 Big Bear High School graduate, and the students of our community, who have logged their miles in support of the Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign. Says program coordinator Beth Gardner of the Lighthouse Project, “Ryan has said all along that he feels so supported by the people logging miles on his behalf. We really see every mile as a well wish for Ryan, and every participant one of Ryan's key supporters. Ryan can take the miles with him to Beijing, along with the memory of having his whole community cheer him on as he takes a lap for us at the Middle School before leaving for the games. For those of us who won't be at the [Olympic] games, it's the next best thing.” As a large turnout is expected this evening, carpools are encouraged. The MARTA trolley will be available from the Bartlett parking lot in the Village, with a pickup at 4pm, followed by a pickup at the Vons parking lot at 4:20pm. Second trips will be made from these parking lots to BBMS by 5pm, and cost for the trolley will be $1 each way, half-price for seniors, and free for children under 6. Adds Gardner, “We really hope the whole community will come out and enjoy this special event and not be concerned about parking. The MARTA trolley service gives people the chance to park in some great, spacious lots away from the traffic that will surround the event with a very convenient way to get to and from Big Bear Middle School. It is just one of the many wonderful contributions being made toward making this event a truly memorable one for all of us.” Attendees at this evening's Community Send-Off for Ryan Hall are encouraged to bring signs and banners, as well as blankets for the field—and don't forget to wear your Run Ryan Run hat!


Ryan Hall and Beth Gardner, following their presentations at February's Lighthouse
Project Community Summit at the PAC.

The Campaign to Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall Has, as of This Morning, Achieved 878,420 Miles
Since December, the Lighthouse Project has encouraged the community to take part in the free, community spirit initiative to Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall. Since that time, 2,890 people, including students at all local schools, have moved miles for Ryan, walking, running, skiing, pedaling and paddling. The Million Miles tally, as of this morning, is 878,420 miles logged, and those miles will be presented to Ryan at today's Community Send-Off. Hall's marathon race date is in just 19 days, so you can still contribute to the free Million Miles effort, by simply logging your miles online—a link to the Million Miles campaign is available on the top of this page.



Friday, August 1, 2008

Big Bear's National Night Out Celebration, a Free Family Event, at the Convention Center Next Tuesday
The community is invited to join the Big Bear Sheriff's Station in celebrating the 25th anniversary of National Night Out on August 5. The event for our community will be held at the parking lot of the Big Bear Convention Center, at Big Bear Boulevard and Division, on Tuesday, from 4 to 7pm. National Night Out celebrations are designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit, and build partnerships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. To that end, local law enforcement and fire department personnel will be in attendance at Tuesday's free event, sponsored by the Big Bear Sheriff's Station and the City of Big Bear Lake. A bounce house and activities will be available for children, choppers and antique cars will be on display, information on local programs and resources will be available, and burgers and pizzas will be on sale. The Blood Bank of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties will also be stationed at the Convention Center, for those who would like to donate blood during the National Night Out Celebration which, again, is a free family event which runs from 4 to 7pm on Tuesday.

BBHS's Class of 1987 to Reunite for Homecoming; Class of 1998's Reunion RSVP Deadline Extended
Big Bear High School's Class of 1987 has scheduled an informal reunion barbecue for Homecoming weekend September 20, when the classes of 1958, 1988 and 1998 are scheduled to reunite in Big Bear. The Class of '87 gathering will take place at the home of Tom and Jamie Gustason in Big Bear City, and friends and families of the class are welcome to attend. RSVPs are requested by September 1—call the Gustasons at 584-9607 for more information. Those from the Class of '98 have, now, until August 31 to secure their place at the 10-year reunion, which will be held on Saturday, September 20 at the Vintage Restaurant in Big Bear Lake. Cost for the reunion dinner and entertainment is $35, and RSVPs can be made to Kim Stock Derichsweiler at 949/514-0044 or via email at Kimmers80@yahoo.com.

Basketball Stars Expected at Masonic Lodge's Pre-Parade Breakfast; Bevwood Camp at BBHS August 11
This Sunday's Masonic Lodge all-you-can-eat breakfast, just down Summit Boulevard from the launch of the Old Miners' Days Parade, will include some special guests: the pro basketball all-stars in town to promote the Bevwood Fun Camp, which will be offered at Big Bear High School August 11-13 for 4 to17-year-olds. Basketball stars expected at the Sunday morning breakfast, which is offered from 7:30 to 11am, include “Still Bill” Smith, Ron “Teddy Bear” Knight and Tommy “Tank” Davis (of the Harlem Globetrotters), Darwin Cook (of the New Jersey Nets), Robert Smith (of the San Antonio Spurs), Sam Williams (of the Golden State Warriors) and Flynn Robertson (of the L.A. Lakers). Cost for Sunday morning's breakfast, which is also offered on Saturday, is $8 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. In addition to their appearance at Sunday's breakfast and in the Old Miners' Parade, the basketball all-stars are also scheduled to participate in a pro-am basketball game at BBHS on Saturday, August 16 at 5pm. Bevwood CEO Still Bill and his team will take on the high school faculty and local sponsors, with proceeds to benefit BBHS athletics. For more information on the Bevwood Fun Camp (which is offered at $95 per camper), call Bill Smith at 310/739-1964 or email bevwoodstars11@hotmail.com.


No job--or truck--is too big for Explorer Scouts Tyler Garland, Chelsey Swantek,
Sarah Button and Oscar Holm, who will be conducting a fundraising car wash this
Saturday and next, to pay for their new uniforms.

Big Bear Sheriff's Station's New Explorer Scouts Ready for First Competition; Car Wash This Saturday
The Big Bear Sheriff's Station has a new group of six young people enrolled in the Explorer Scout program, and they are already at work to raise funds to put toward uniforms, fees and equipment for competitions with other scout posts in the County's Explorer Scout program. Last week, the group of 14 to 21-year-olds held their first fundraising car wash, and two more are scheduled in anticipation of the scouts' first competition on August 16. During the competition, posts are evaulated on physical agility, knowledge of codes and procedures, felony traffic stops, clearing buildings and, most importantly, per Tiffany Swantek with the Big Bear Sheriff's Station, teamwork. Those who wish to contribute to their effort can stop by the Sheriff's station at 477 Summit Boulevard tomorrow, and again on Saturday, August 9, for a car wash at a suggested donation of $10. Though this year's group of Explorer Scouts was sworn in on July 4, others are welcome to join the program before they head to the academy. To participate in the program, students between the ages of 14 and 21 must maintain a C average in school, and successfully complete an oral interview and background check. The Explorer Scout program teaches law enforcement fundamentals, instills confidence, and emphasizes teamwork. For more information on the program, contact the Big Bear Sheriff's Station at 866-0100.

The Arts Council Is Accepting Student Artwork for Display at Art on the Lake, to Be Held August 16-17
The Arts Council of Big Bear Valley sponsors Art on the Lake on August 16 and 17 and, in preparation for the event, the Council is accepting entries of original student artwork for display. Four student categories will be presented, featuring artwork from those in kindergarten through 12th grade, and first, second and third place prizes will also be awarded. Student artwork submissions must be received by Saturday, August 9 at the Arts Council Gallery, which is located on Village Drive in Big Bear Lake. The Gallery, which includes the work of local artists, is open from 11am to 5pm, Thursday through Monday. For more information on The Arts Council of Big Bear Valley or Arts on the Lake, call 878-4161.


Eleven bands performed at the Discovery Center's full-day Bluegrass, Bluejeans and Beyond
event last weekend. Here, the Black Irish Bluegrass Band does a song in honor of Smokey Bear,
who turns 64 next week, on August 9.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Damage to Gas Line This Morning Results in Partial Closure of Shay Road; All Repairs Have Been Made
Earlier today, Big Bear City Fire Department responded to reports of a possible gas leak on Shay Road, between Barranca and Palomino, at the Valley's east end. An outside contractor had been at work on the installation of the new Well #8 blendline for the Community Services District when an excavator nicked a gas line along Shay Road just before noon. Crews from Southwest Gas responded to the incident, which did result in a partial closure of Shay Road. Just after 1pm, the road became fully accessible as the repairs were completed by Southwest Gas. The nick in the gas line did not result in any injuries or prompt any evacuations, per an official with Southwest Gas, and all repairs have been made.

59th Annual Old Miners' Day Parade on Sunday at 12:30pm; Big Bear Boulevard Closed to Traffic at 11am

The 59th annual Old Miners' Day Parade will roll down Big Bear Boulevard on Sunday, starting at Summit Boulevard at 12:30pm and proceeding west to Bonanza Trail in the Village. This year's parade is expected to have over 60 floats and entries, including the Twentynine Palms U.S. Marine Corps Band, Miss Clementine, a flyover by U.S. Navy F16 Vipers, an appearance by Po (star of the animated Dreamworks film “Kung Fu Panda”), and three sets of grand marshalls. This year's honorees as the Old Miners' Parade grand marshalls are the parents of Big Bear's three soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq: Rex and Beverly Kenyon, Rick and Laura Stephens, and Joe and Laura Landaker. As with years past, the review stand for the parade will be set up in front of Veterans Park, though viewing of the parade is available anywhere along Big Bear Boulevard, from Summit to Bonanza. The Boulevard will be closed to traffic as of 11am on Sunday to accommodate the parade, which will be followed by the Taste of Big Bear event in the Bartlett parking lot in the Village.

School Resumes on Monday, August 4 for BVUSD; No Late Start Days at BBHS This School Year
School resumes for students of Bear Valley Unified School District on Monday, August 4 and, per Superintendent Carole Ferraud, “All doors will be open for returning students, as well as new students.” Registration paperwork for kindergarten students needs to be completed by tomorrow for parents who have not yet done so, and details are available at the school district offices on Moonridge Road, as well as at each of the three elementary schools. This year's BVUSD calendar has been revised and, going forward, the school district will no longer implement Late Start days at Big Bear High School. The first calendared day off for students and staff is Monday, September 1, in observance of Labor Day. To follow is contact information for each school: Baldwin Lane Elementary School, contact Sue Nunes at 585-7766; Big Bear Elementary School, contact Laura Bulrice at 866-4638; for North Shore Elementary School, contact Cyndi Bauer at 866-7501; for Big Bear Middle School, contact Grace Stapko at 866-4634; for Big Bear High School, contact Sue Merritt at 585-6892; for Chautauqua High School or Independent Study Program, contact Kathleen Kuck at 585-2521; for the BVUSD District Office, 866-4631.

Mayor Herrick May Represent Big Bear Lake at Beijing Olympics for Ryan Hall's Marathon
Race
As prompted by community members' suggestion, Mayor Rick Herrick may be traveling to Beijing, China on behalf of the City of Big Bear Lake, to cheer on Ryan Hall during the Olympic marathon on August 24. During Council's meeting earlier this week, Event Resource Office Director Rick Bates was among those furthering the suggestion. On behalf of the ERO and the Lighthouse Project, Bates said, “It seems to me that the City of Big Bear Lake would be well served by sending an official emissary to Beijing. This could be a great opportunity to network and spotlight Big Bear and its merits as a high-altitude training mecca. Big Bear's profile is gaining in the athletic community, and we need to keep pushing this along. It also would be a major show of support to the greatest athlete ever to come out of Big Bear.” Councilmember Darrel Mulvihill was quick to support the idea, and offered to make a personal contribution to Mayor Herrick's travel, if funding were approved. Herrick determined that his Council travel budget would cover the cost, though would preclude him from attendance at other functions, such as additional conferences, training or travel on behalf of the City. Herrick told his fellow Council members and City Manager Jeff Mathieu, “The objective is to actually carry a banner, and hold it up at the 18th mile, because that's where runners generally hit the wall.” After discussion, Mathieu said, “We have the general sentiment of the Council, to enable [this], so we will have a staff report to vote on in August.”

Recovery Efforts Continue Today for Vehicle and Driver Found 800' Over Highway 18 Near Crestline
Recovery efforts continue this morning for a vehicle found approximately 800 feet over the side of Highway 18 at Red Rock Wall, north of Lake Gregory Drive in the Crestline/Lake Gregory area. Yesterday at about 4pm, a Twin Peaks Sheriff's deputy located a license plate just below a damaged guardrail. With the assistance of a California Highway Patrol officer, the license plate was identified as that of a 2008 Volvo, last seen driven by a missing person from Manhattan Beach. As the vehicle was not visible from the turnout, a San Bernardino County Sheriff''s Department helicopter was dispatched to locate the vehicle, which was found in very steep terrain. A paramedic was lowered to the vehicle, at which time he pronounced a solo female occupant deceased. Given the terrain and instability of the vehicle, as well as limited daylight, the occupant was not recovered and the identity of the driver has not yet been confirmed. CHP personnel secured the scene overnight until recovery operations could continue this morning. Update as of 2:30pm: Emergency services crews today recovered the body of the woman whose car had dropped 800' feet over the side of Highway 18, near Red Rock Wall in the Crestline area. It was yesterday afternoon when a Sheriff's Deputy from Twin Peaks first spotted a license plate near a damaged guardrail, which prompted two days of rescue efforts, given the steep terrain where the 2008 Volvo had landed on the mountainside. Yesterday, a paramedic had been lowered to the crash site via helicotper, and pronounced the solo female occupant in the vehicle as deceased, before nightfall. As of this morning, recovery efforts continued and, as of mid-day, the body was retrieved via helicopter. Since that time, Officer Gary Fernandez with the California Highway Patrol says that the woman has been identified as 34-year-old Molly Kate Wolfgang, who had been reported as missing from Manhattan Beach on Tuesday night. Fernandez tells KBHR, “The cause of the collision has not yet been determined, and the investigation is ongoing. It went from a missing person report to a fatal collision, so this is not your average collision.” Retrieval of Wolfgang's vehicle, from where it remains 800' over the side of Highway 18, is planned for tomorrow.


Four locals took the Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall effort to new heights, when they climbed
Africa's Mt. Kiliminjaro and then logged their miles in support of local Olympian Ryan Hall. Climbers
Tim Wood, Ron Peavy, Tyler Wood and Dan Wood reached the 19,341' summit, which made a
substantial contribution to the Million Miles campaign, which has achieved over 850,000 miles!
The hope is to have a million miles logged by Hall's August 24 race date--or by the
Community Send-Off for Hall at BBMS next Monday, August 4.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Community Services District Adjourns Monday Meeting to Allow for Participation in Ryan Hall Event
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District has adjourned their regular meeting, scheduled for Monday evening, August 4, to their meeting scheduled for August 18. Per a statement issued by CSD's General Manager Mike Mayer, “This action was taken in order to provide our constituents and employees the opportunity to send Ryan Hall off to the Olympic Games with a huge show of support from our community. Our agency lends its support to the efforts of the Lighthouse Project, the Bear Valley Unified School District, the Big Bear Valley Event Resource Office, the Big Bear Lake Resort Association and the City of Big Bear Lake toward making the Community Send-Off for Ryan Hall a great success.” The August 4 event for Hall takes place at Minder Field at Big Bear Middle School. Gates open at 4:30pm next Monday, and the event, which will include a victory lap 'round the field by Hall and local students, begins at 5:30pm. As parking is limited at BBMS, carpools are encouraged to the free event. (More event details are posted in our story of July 28, below.)


Big Bear's first California Multisport, a 100% Earth-friendly event, drew competitors from Big
Bear to Brazil. Eric Sullivan (second from left, in grey shirt) took first in the 25-mile competition
in 3:05:10. For more on the race, see our story posted on July 29.

Longtime Valley Resident Mac McAlister Passes Away Tuesday, in His Family Home on McAlister Road
Longtime Big Bear Lake resident James “Mac” McAlister died in his family home on McAlister Road yesterday afternoon, though the San Bernardino County Coroner's Department has not yet released the cause of death. McAlister, who had jokingly referred to himself as one of the Valley's “historical relics” during a Big Bear Valley Historical Society presentation in 2006 had attended a Kiwanis luncheon with his daughter Kaysie yesterday, prior to his passing, according to friend Neal Hertzmann, who said of Mac, “I loved the guy. I saw him at church all the time, and he was always a kick.” McAlister, who turned 84 in May and had subsequently suffered a stroke in June which resulted in partial paralysis, lived on the fox farm his parents built in the '20s. As McAlister has said, “My folks dragged me up here at the age of four in 1928 with a truckload of foxes.” He went on to be one of six graduates from Big Bear High School (which was then in cabins at the site of the current BBMS) in 1942, before attending UCLA and joining the U.S. Marine Corps, for whom he piloted airplanes during World War II. After 26 years in Hawaii with wife Anne, McAlister returned to Big Bear and, per good friend Don Ekberg, had “been back for 35 years.” McAlister had been a member of the Kiwanis Club, a docent at the Big Bear Historical Museum, and sang in the church choir. He is survived by daughters Kaysie, Connie and Kim, who are planning a burial service in Riverside. Much loved by this community, McAlister said, “It was just a wonderful experience growing up in Big Bear.”

Given Tuesday's Earthquake, County's Office of Emergency Services Urges Disaster Preparedness

In light of yesterday's 5.4 magnitude earthquake in Southern California, the San Bernardino County Office of Emergency Services reminds County residents to prepare for unexpected disaster. The Diamond-Bar area quake on Tuesday morning, and countless aftershocks, did not result in any damage to the Big Bear area, and the Municipal Water District confirms that no damage was done to the Big Bear Dam. The County's OES says that public safety personnel are ready to respond at the first sign of danger, as they did yesterday. Still, per Megan Blaney of the OES, “After Tuesday's earthquake, the possibility exisits for more afershocks, as does a lesser possibility that Tuesday's temblor is a foreshock for a larger earthquake. Residents should be prepared to provide for themselves and their families for at least three days.” The following precautions are also recommended: identify potential hazards in your home, and begin to fix them; create a disaster preparedness plan; prepare disaster supply kits; and, identify your building's potential weaknesses and begin to fix them. During an earthquake, OES advises to drop, cover and hold on. After the earthquake, check for injuries and damage. The County's Family Disaster Plan is available online at sbcfire.org/oes.

Big Bear Lake City Council to File Protest in Response to Proposed 22.7% Electricity Rate Increase

The Big Bear Lake City Council this week held a discussion on the proposed 22.7 percent rate increase for Valley electric service, as filed by Golden State Water Company, parent of Bear Valley Electric Service, with the California Public Utilities Commission on June 27. Bear Valley Electric Service had opted to hold their formal presentation before Council until August, once the rate allocation had been filed (which it will be by July's end), though the utility's Administrative Manager Sandra Gray and Operations Manager Ken Markling were present at Monday's Council meeting, so did take to the podium to address questions from Council and City Manager Jeff Mathieu. Markling told Council, “We have not had a base rate increase since 1997. Bear Valley Electric has proposed an unprecedented phased-in approach, spurred on by our community action meeting.” This meeting took place in early May and though the media was not noticed of the meeting, BVES says that Council members were contacted via email. Of the proposed rate increase, said to increase BVES revenue by $6.8 million so that operational costs do not exceed revenue, Gray noted, “We hope to soften the impact to rate payers by phasing it in over four years.” Gray and Markling explained that the increase would also allow for an energy efficiency program that would extend beyond low-income households, and that increased revenue to the utility would also allow for monthly billing, the acceleration of automated meter reading (and improved accuracy), and the increase in the baseline allowance, from 270 to 320 kilowatt hours. Despite these measures, the City's CEO Kathleen Smith said that the 22.7 percent is “a substantial increase for our community.” Councilmembers concurred, though Mayor Rick Herrick excused himself from the agenda item, as Bear Valley Electric advertises on this radio station, which he owns. Remaining Councilmembers Liz Harris, Bill Jahn, Darrel Mulvihill and Michael Karp did follow City staff's recommendation, and unanimously voted to file a protest to the rate increase by the deadline, which Gray says is August 29. During Council's intermission, Markling of Bear Valley Electric told KBHR, “We don't expect people to like it, but we hope they'll understand it and see it is reasonable.” Though the PUC decision on Bear Valley Electric's rate increase is not scheduled until June 29, 2009, the comment filing period expires August 29, 2008. For consumers wishing to issue comments, the California Public Utilities Commission's Public Advisor may be contacted at 505 Van Ness Avenue, Room 2103, San Francisco, CA 94102; emailed at public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov; or called at 866/849-8390 or 415/703-2074.

Big Bear Marathon Coming September 6; Locals Sign-Up Day This Sunday, During Old Miners' Event
The inaugural Big Bear Marathon is just over a month away, and event organizer Darrel Courtney of HBT Events is seeking athletes and volunteers to participate in the big day, on Saturday, September 6. This Sunday, HBT Events will host a locals sign-up day for the marathon, in conjunction with the Old Miners' Day festivities. At the Taste of Big Bear event, which takes place in the Bartlett parking lot in the Village following the Old Miners' Parade on Sunday afternoon, Valley locals will be able to sign up for the September 6 marathon—as well as the half-marathon, 5K and bike tour—at discounted rates. Local volunteers are also being sought to participate in the Big Bear Marathon, be it at the start or finish line, water aid stations, or with registration or traffic control on the day of the event. So, whether you plan to run in the Big Bear Marathon, or just want to participate from the sidelines, be sure to visit the HBT Events booth at this Sunday afternoon's Taste of Big Bear event in the Village, following the parade. More information is also available at hbtevents.com, or by calling volunteer coordinator Cheryl Zwarkoski at 760/508-5736.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

U.S. Forest Service Re-Opens Grays Peak Trail, Following Fire-Prompted Hazardous Tree Removal
As of this week, the U.S. Forest Service has re-opened Grays Peak Trail, located just west of Fawnskin on the North Shore, since its closure resulting from the wildfires of last fall. A special crew from Oregon worked on the restoration of Grays Peak Trail to remove the biggest of the big trees, according to Paul Bennett, the Forest Service's Mountaintop Recreation Officer. Bennett says, “Grays Peak is one of our more popular hiking and mountain bike trails in Big Bear. Trail crews ultimately removed over 300 hazard trees along the trail.” Crews from within the San Bernardino National Forest are continuing with work in the burn areas of the Butler #2 and Slide Fires, with a full-scale fuels reduction project set to begin this fall. In the meantime, other areas are scheduled to be re-opened to the public. As Bennett tells KBHR, “We're probably several days aways away from the re-opening of the Pacific Crest Trail.” Visitors to the Grays Peak Trailhead will need to display an Adventure Pass, available at the Big Bear Discovery Center, if parking at the recreation area.

Diamond Bar-Area Earthquake of 5.4 Magnitude Shakes the Big Bear Valley This Morning; Dam Is OK
Yes, that was an earthquake you felt at 11:42am today. Per the U.S. Geological Survey, preliminary reports indicate that the quake was of a 5.8 magnitude, centered four miles southeast of Diamond Bar (which is off the 57 and 60 freeways). The 5.8 quake registered a depth of 12 kilometers. By noon, twelve aftershocks had been reported, with three of those registering a 3.8 magnitude. Update: Since this morning's earthquake was first reported, the U.S. Geological Survey has downgraded the 11:42am quake from a 5.8 to a 5.4 magnitude. The Diamond Bar-area tremor has resulted in at least 35 aftershocks in the first two hours since the 5.4 magnitude quake rattled Southern California just before noon. Since the first indication of the earthquake here in the Big Bear area, staff at the Big Bear Municipal Water District did an inspection of the Big Bear Dam, which is standard procedure, Lake Manager Mike Stephenson tells KBHR, for any quake either local or of a magnitude of 1 or more. Says Stephenson, “We immediately do a thorough inspection once there's an earthquake. The protocol is to first check the dam visually, and then we inspect the flow downstream to make sure we don't have any leaks or cracks.” Today's inspections indicate that the Big Bear Dam remains strong and undamaged.

City Council Approves November Ballot Measure to Increase Big Bear Lake TOT by 2% Over Two Years
A second Public Hearing on the proposed two percent Transient Occupany Tax increase for Big Bear Lake lodging facilities, including private home rentals, was conducted during last night's City Council meeting. At issue was whether a ballot measure for the November 2008 election would increase the hotel tax by two percent as of January 1, 2009, or whether the increase, if approved by Big Bear Lake voters, should be phased in over two years, with a one percent increase (bringing it to seven percent) as of 2009, and ultimately an eight percent TOT as of 2010. City Manager Jeff Mathieu said of the potential ballot measure, “We've worked very hard to have very easy-to-understand language for the voters.” During the Public Hearing, a few business owners, including two lodge owners, addressed Council, including Charlie Brewster, who said, “We're trying to hold on to a tourist-based business. If we're going to raise the TOT, let's spend it on marketing.” The City-generated ballot measure also includes an advisory vote, which will allow voters to determine if “the City should solely allocate the additional revenue to rebuild and renovate infrastructure, streets, parks, trails, lake access points and other public facilities, and prohibit the additional revenue from being used for general City operations.” Per Mayor Rick Herrick, TOT funds used in this way would serve as a marketing tool for the City, as the “packaging” of our community would be enhanced. Councilmember Liz Harris explained, “We have more needs, to support the tourist community. Our needs are greater than our budget, but we live within our budget because we have to.” The additional revenue of increased TOT (two percent would translate to roughly $850,000 annually) would provide for the City's capital improvements. Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn said he would support the ballot measure only if it ran in the phased-in approach, and told those concerned about PHRs going underground as a result of increased TOT that code compliance calls can and should be made to 866-CODE. All told, the Council unanimously agreed to submit the phased-in TOT ballot measure to the Registrar of Voters and, in a separate item, took the official step to assure that the proposed ballot measure for a private home rental ordinance be rescinded from the election (as ruled in a Superior Court decision on July 11).


Ted Devito finishes the run ahead of the pack in Sunday's multisport; Cathleen Calkins, Beth Dressel and Tametha Debuque celebrate their team victory; and top finishers Devito, Eric Sullivan and Marcelo Magnanini take to the podium to collect their prize money.

Racers from Big Bear to Brazil Compete in First Local Multisport Competition; Devitos Take Second

Big Bear's first multisport competition—described by one competitior as “triathlon meets dirt”—launched from the Discovery Center on Sunday morning, and drew over 60 participants, from Big Bear to Brazil. The overall winner in the 25-mile course was Eric Sullivan of Colorado with a time of three hours and five minutes. Local Ted Devito (dubbed the “Fastest Bear in the Bear” in February's snowshoe event) took second place honors, and third went to Marcelo Magnanini of Brazil. The women's division top finisher, Manu Villaseca, in the multisport was also from Brazil; second went to Big Bear's own Heather Devito, and third was won by Tiffany Meyers of Redondo Beach. The fun surprise of the day was that the women's team of locals Cathleen Calkins and Tametha Debuque, with eleventh-hour contestant Beth Dressel of Newport Beach, took the overall title in the multisport's team relay competition. Other notable contenders from Big Bear who finished in the top 12 include Grayson McNeill and Eric Bulrice. The next 100% Earth-friendly California Multisport race is planned for September 28 in San Luis Obispo, with another planned for our area next year. (For more on multisport, see our posting of July 25.)

Hummingbird Project Offers Free School Supplies to BVUSD Students of Low-Income Families
As school for Bear Valley Unified students begins next Monday, August 4, the Hummingbird Project is this week making available school supplies for children of low-to-moderate income families. School supplies being distributed by the non-profit Hummingbird Project include backpacks, pencils, pens and binders. In order to qualify for school supplies, students must live within the Big Bear Valley and attend BVUSD schools, in addition to the low-to-moderate income qualifier. Applications are being processed in the order received at the Hummingbird Thrift Store, which is located at 400 West Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear City. For more information, call Elaine Tennity at 584-8642.

Big Bear Lake Fire Offers Free Defensible Space Workshop on Thursday; Certification to Attendees
The Big Bear Lake Fire Department hosts their third and final Defensible Space Workshop this Thursday, July 31 at 4pm. Those who are involved in creating defensible space, such as landscapers and property managers, are encouraged to attend the free, two-hour workshop, to be held at the fire department at 41090 Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear Lake. Attendees will be instructed how to assess a property for wildfire safety, from a structure's foundation to rooftop. Those who attend the free defensible space workshop on Thursday will also receive certification in creating defensible space. For additional information, contact the Big Bear Lake Fire Department at 866-7566.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Federal, State Officials Discover Nearly 20,000 Marijuana Plants Within San Bernardino National Forest
Nearly 20,000 marijuana plants were seized within the San Bernardino National Forest by federal, state and local-area law enforcement agents within the last week. Per a statement issued by the U.S. Forest Service, the estimated street value of the 19,951 marijuana plants from three areas within the San Bernardino National Forest is said to be more than $60 million. Officers from the U.S. Forest Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the California Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting took part in the operation, in which officers found several campsites in the canyons north of Idyllwild, as well as extensive irrigation systems, fertilizer, trash, propane tanks and other items in the marijuana plots. Large areas of native shrubs and trees were cut down to make room for the plants. The confiscated marijuana was carried via helicopters to trucks, then transported for disposal. No arrests have yet been made, and the investigation into the marijuana found on Forest Service land will continue.

Two Weeks Remain for Candidate Filing for Local Seats; Registrar Posts 17 Candidates for Local Offices

There are two weeks left to file candidate papers for those interested in running for local office in the November 2008 election. Per the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters office, the following have filed papers to run for office within Big Bear Valley: for the Bear Valley Unified School District, Sharon Congdon, David Foltz, and Jim “Mac” McGowan; for the Big Bear Airport District, Ken Dally, Julia Smith, incumbent Gary Steube, and Jack Williams; for the Big Bear City Community Services District, Barbara Beck, Lance George Fowler, Beverly Grabe, Richard Nelson, and incumbent Rick Ollila; for the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, Michael Hartstein, Edward Kibbey, and Randy Vanos; for the Big Bear Municipal Water District, incumbent John Eminger; and, per the Big Bear Lake City Clerk, incumbent Liz Harris has filed papers for the City Council of Big Bear Lake. Filing papers for local offices must be received by the Registrar of Voters office by Friday, August 8 at 5pm. The Registrar's office can be contacted at 387-8300.


Fawnskin's Honorary Mayor Gene Cyr took home the trophy for Best Overall Float in the Doo Dah.

Mayor Gene Cyr, "Loco Locals" and Fawnskin Market Take Top Honors in Saturday's Doo Dah Parade
This year's Doo Dah Parade featured all the wackiness and small town entertainment for which the Fawnskin parade is known: from Captain's John and the Chamber Pots float to the Tutti Frutti Chambermaids to John Eminger pulling a wagon full of Meals on Wheels, which toppled over in front of the Fawn Lodge, parade judges had over 40 entries to review. Fawnskin locals judged from the front porch of the Moose Lodge, and Diana Guerrero, Bill Hazewinkel and Bob Drake named Honorary Fawnskin Mayor Gene Cyr's float the Best Overall, the Fawnskin Market entry won Best Children's, and Best Adult trophy went to the “Loco Locals” for their spoof on Big Bear Choppers. The Saturday morning event also featured the as-expected water fight between the Lions Club and the Moose Lodge, and the unexpected—the El Camino for parade grand marshalls, local band Damn Good Question, sputtered out just before the Doo Dah, so Dave, Robby, Josh and Brownie walked the route, throwing candy to the crowd along North Shore Drive, before meeting up with the other celebrities of the day, Harlem Globetrotters (on behalf of the upcoming Bevwood Basketball Camp), at the Moose Lodge. (For larger versions or copies of any of the photos below, just use your mouse to right click on them. Captions are listed below.)





Just some of the highlights from the Doo Dah Parade: (top row includes) Brownie, Robby, Josh and Dave of Damn Good Question; (second row) the Flatlanders, award-winners "Big Bear Choppers", and Denis Thomas of the Discovery Center; (third row) entries from the North Shore Improvement Agency, Fawnskin Market and the Chambermaids; and (bottom row) the Moose Lodge, Habitat for Humanity's Stud-Finders, and judges Diana Guerrero, Bob Drake and Bill Hazewinkel.

City Council to Address TOT Ballot Measures, Proposed Electric Rate Increase and Roof Ordinance Today
Two Public Hearing Items are agendized for this evening's Big Bear Lake City Council meeting, to be held in Hofert Hall at 6:30pm. The first Public Hearing will address the possible adoption of one of two Transient Occupancy Tax ballot measures. At Council's meeting of July 14, first readings were introduced for the potential ballot measures—one would propose a two percent increase (to the current six percent TOT) as of January 1, 2009; the second would phase in the two percent increase over two years. This evening's decision will dictate which ballot measure, if either, will be submitted to the Registrar of Voters for the November election. The second Public Hearing Item references Council consideration of an amendment to the Wood Shake Shingle Roof Replacement Ordinance, which would remove the requirement of roof replacement as a point-of-sale condition for buildings within the City. This evening's meeting will also include Council consideration of discussing opposition to Bear Valley Electric's proposed rate increase. Per Bear Valley Electric Service's Administrative Manager Sandra Gray, the utility agency does not plan to present at this Council meeting, but will do so once the proposed new rate allocation is filed.

Community Send-Off for Olympian Ryan Hall a Week from Today; MARTA Trolley Available to BBMS
Time to start making those banners and planning your carpool as, a week from today, the community send-off for Olympian Ryan Hall takes place on Minder Field at Big Bear Middle School. Program director Beth Gardner of the Lighthouse Project says, “We'd love to get some community spirit and bonding through this event. It's for us, and it's for Ryan.” Gates will open at 4:30pm for the big event and, as parking is limited at BBMS, carpools are encouraged, though MARTA will offer $1 trolley services on the day of the event, with pickups scheduled at the Bartlett parking lot in the Village at 4pm, as well as a pickup from the Vons parking lot at 4:20pm. Event organizers the Lighthouse Project, the Event Resource Office, Bear Valley Unified School District, the City of Big Bear Lake and the Resort Association encourage signs and banners to not only celebrate Hall, but Big Bear's children, who will get to take a victory lap around the track with Hall to celebrate their first day back to school and their miles logged on behalf of the Move A Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign which, to date, has achieved over 800,000 miles! The one-hour event for Olympic marathon runner Hall will begin at 5:30pm on August 4. Major media coverage is expected, so the hope is to spotlight not only Hall, but our community as well, so clubs and groups are encouraged to wear uniforms to the free event—attendees can also bring blankets to sit on the field, and don't forget the Run Ryan Run hats!

Free Food Distribution and Clothes Offered to Seniors, Low-Income Families at Community Church at Noon
Free food distribution will be offered to seniors, those with disabilities and low-income families through the San Bernardino County Food Bank this afternoon. From 12:30 to 2pm, food distribution and free clothes will be offered at Community Church by the Lake at 40946 Big Bear Boulevard at Knickerbocker Road.

Friday, July 25, 2008


The view on the descent on one of the bike trails in Moonridge, between the two ski resorts.

BBARWA Board Seeks Legal Advice Before Revisions to Board Room Rental Policy Are Adopted

The Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, at which time the Governing Board addressed their Board Room rental policy. The ad hoc Facilities Use Committee of John Day and Rick Herrick gave a quick report on the 2005 rental policy before the Board opted to hold on a decision until their next meeting on August 27. In the meantime, BBARWA's attorneys will be consulted to provide legal guidelines on future rental policies for the Board to adopt. Also during the July 23 meeting, the first reading of the new fee schedule for the disposal of waste delivered to the plant was presented; the second reading, at which time the ordinance may be finalized and adopted, will take place on August 27. The new fee schedule would affect those who deliver waste, via truck, to the BBARWA plant, thereby including households on holding or septic tanks.

Eleven Bands in Full-Day Bluegrass, Bluejeans and Beyond Event at the Discovery Center on Saturday
The Big Bear Discovery Center celebrates their 10th anniversary with the full-day Bluegrass, Bluejeans and Beyond event tomorrow, July 26. Eleven bands will take to the outdoor amphitheater stage starting at 10am, and entertainment includes bluegrass bands including the Ramblin' Rangers of the U.S. Forest Service Mountaintop Ranger District and local favorites such as the Holcomb Valley Boys accompanied by the Joyful Noise Clogging Company. Ticket prices range from $10 for a day pass to a full event ticket for $35 and, the Discovery Center's Denis Thomas tells KBHR, “Tickets can be purchased at the Discovery Center, even the day of the event. This year's wristband passes allow you to come and go all day long, so you can enjoy foot-stomping bluegrass and country music all day, from 10 in the morning until 10 at night—and there's lots of kids' events all day long also included in the price, though kids 12 and under are free.” For more information on the Bluegrass, Bluejeans and Beyond event on the North Shore, you can visit the DC's website at bigbeardiscoverycenter.com.

MWD's Mitigation Measures Have Been Effective; Still No Quagga Mussel Contamination of Lake

Though the invasive Quagga Mussel still presents a threat to the ecosystem of Big Bear Lake, mitigation measures implemented by the Municipal Water District have thus far been effective as, per Lake Manager Mike Stephenson, the Quagga Mussel has not yet infected the lake. “We've spent over $100,000, so far, in Quagga control efforts,” Stephenson tells KBHR, “and, as of last week, we've done over 150 free boat decontaminations.” This effort, to assure that each boat and vessel is clean, drained and dry before launching into Big Bear Lake, has worked to keep the lake Quagga-free. Meanwhile, the MWD continues to inspect the lake and implement additional means of mitigation. Adds Stephenson, “We have six [inspection] stations and we check them every 30 days, and we are at zero. Also, we'll be filtering larvae through screens to check for Quagga Mussels in another way. This would give us early detection, like a month earlier, before the Quagga Mussel detaches and starts to grow.” To do your part, you can make sure that your boat, kayak, even float tubes, are clean, drained and dry before entering the lake—if unsure, free Quagga Mussel decontamination, using a high-pressure hot water wash, is available at either of the public boat launch ramps on the North Shore.


Los Vaqueros de las Montañas Riding Club, which was formed in 1946 and now includes 80+ families
and individuals, enjoyed having Holcomb Valley all to themselves on a post-rain weekend ride. For more
on the local group's gymkhanas, horse clinics and rides, visit their website at LosVaquerosRidingClub.com.

Wm. Sumrall Found Alive, Sitting in His Car, in Muscoy; 74-Year-Old Had Been Missing Since Wednesday
William Sumrall, the 74-year-old man visiting Big Bear with his wife who had been missing since Wednesday evening when he left their Moonridge cabin in his Lexus SUV, has been found, per the Big Bear Sheriff's Station. Shortly before 2am Friday morning, Mr. Sumrall was found sitting in his vehicle at the intersection of June Street and N. Acapulco Avenue in Muscoy, roughly 50 miles away. Per the Sheriff's Station report issued this morning, Mr. Sumrall was disoriented and confused at the time he was found by deputies of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Mr. Sumrall was picked up by family members and taken to Community Hospital of San Bernardino for a checkup.

Triathlon Meets Adventure Racing in Sunday's California Multisport Competition, Launching from the DC
This Sunday at 10am, both amateur and professional athletes will take to the hills—and the lake—in a California Multisport competition that will include individuals and relay teams mountain biking, trail running and lake paddling. Event organizer Paul Romero, who is coordinating the event with the San Bernardino National Forest Association, says, “Come join the fun! California Multisport is a 3-5 hour multisport event for novice and expert athletes alike. The course is designed so that a first-timer can make it to the finish line, and the expert still feels challenged. We've taken the best of triathlon and adventure racing and turned it into a fun mix called multisport, and we've brought the event to Big Bear.” The July 27 event launches from the Big Bear Discovery Center and will include a five-mile paddle on Big Bear Lake, six miles of running on fire roads and single track, and 14 miles of mountain biking on double track and fire roads. Sarah Miggins of the SBNFA tells KBHR that the event will be fun to watch for those who aren't up for the competition. “It's our first annual,” Miggins says, “and it's going to be a lot of fun. And if you miss it this year, we'll have it again next year.” For more information, or to register for the multisport competition, log on to calmultisport.com.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


William Sumrall's granddaughter tells KBHR, "We love our grandpa dearly."
Please call the Big Bear Sheriff's Station at 866-0100 if you have seen him.

Missing Person
: Big Bear Visitor William Sumrall, Age 74, Last Seen in His Lexus SUV on Wednesday

The Big Bear Sheriff's Station is asking for the community's help in locating a missing person, as reported by his wife last night. At about 5pm on Wednesday, 74-year-old William Sumrall left the cabin he and his wife are renting in Moonridge. Sumrall, a Caucasian male with mild diabetes (and occasional disorientation) was in his greyish green 2002 Lexus SUV, with California license plate number 4XDL349. Mr. Sumrall is 5'10” tall and 130 pounds with black/grey hair and blue eyes, wears glasses and walks with a cane. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt with a blue collar, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. If you have seen Mr. Sumrall or his vehicle, please call the Big Bear Sheriff's Station at 866-0100.

College Classes in Big Bear Resume August 19; San Bernardino Valley College Registration Opens Today
Open registration begins today for college classes to be offered at Big Bear High School through San Bernardino Valley College. Three and four-unit courses, which begin August 19, are offered on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and the Fall 2008 program includes classes in art, American Sign Language, biology, child development, geography, history, music, real estate, Spanish, speech and theater arts, and a wide range of online classes are also available, at a cost of $20 per unit. Per SBVC Director Helena Johnson, “No high school diploma is required for most classes, though higher level classes do require assessment.” Registration for San Bernardino Valley College classes, offered in Big Bear, is available online at Valleycollege.edu/department/administrative/big_bear_program or by calling 909/888-1996.

Fawnskin Offers Chamber Luau This Evening, and Doo Dah Parade, Festival and Dog Show on Saturday
The Doo Dah Parade rolls through downtown Fawnskin on the North Shore at 10am Saturday morning, and is immediately followed by the Fawnskin Festival (from 11am to 6pm), to be held behind the Moose Lodge at Don Conroy Memorial Park. The Festival includes an apple pie contest, kids games and races, a horseshoe competition, and the seventh annual Precious Pet Contest. The (almost) all-breed dog show (no pitbulls) begins at 1pm, and registration will be available on Saturday morning, for an entry fee of $5, with proceeds to go toward trophies for the top dogs. Saturday's festival is just one of the North Shore events being coordinated by the Fawnskin Chamber of Commerce—this evening at 6pm, they host a free luau at Captain John's Marina. All are invited to join the Fawnskin Chamber for teriyaki burgers along the lake, and find out more about the happenings on the little community on the North Shore. For more information on these events, or First Fridays in Fawnskin, call Chamber President Jim Dooley at 866-3414, or visit online at FawnskinChamber.com.


Members of the Community Emergency Response Team test their newly donated whistles at
their first CERT family picnic on Sunday.

Community Emergency Response Team Is 120 Members Strong, and Welcomes More Valley Participation

Since 1998, over 200 Valley residents have become certified in the Community Emergency Response Team courses, which are designed to train members of the community as emergency service volunteers. The Big Bear Valley CERT program is currently 120 members strong and, this last weekend, the group had their first annual CERT family picnic, which was held at the American Legion and also included members of the Big Bear City Fire Department. Sue Wright, Logistics Chairman for Big Bear Valley CERT, tells KBHR, “Right now, we're involved in fire watch and, during the winter, we do ice patrol, to try to keep people off the lake ice. During the rest of the year, we have drills and ongoing training, in case we have an earthquake, fire or flood. We also have get-togethers during the year, and we have lots of fun as a group. There's also about 20 of us who have gotten our ham radio licenses in the last six months, so we can help out in the event of a disaster.” On Tuesday, August 12, the CERT group will hold a “meet the board” night at the Big Bear City Fire Department, at 6pm. In the meantime, additional CERT training courses will be offered, starting August 4. This series of five courses, four hours each, are open to all Valley residents, and cost is just $10 for the full series. For more information or to register, call the Big Bear City Fire Department at 585-2362.

DWP Board Will Continue to "Look at the System as One Integrated System" Per Chairman Foulkes
At this week's meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power, the agency's water system integration was discussed. With the exception of those serviced in the Rimforest area, the DWP Board agreed that all Big Bear Valley service areas would be treated, and charged, equally. According to DWP Chairman Steve Foulkes, given that the agency is “in the middle of a new rate study,” he says, “The consensus of the Board was to continue to look at the system as one integrated system, including Fawnskin and Lake Williams.” Though no formal action was taken on this item during the July 22 meeting, Foulkes tells KBHR that DWP plans to meet with the Water Committee and General Manager for the Big Bear City Community Services District to discuss water service to the Lake Williams area, which is provided with fire suppression services from the Big Bear City Fire Department under CSD's jurisdiction. Though no DWP/CSD meeting date has yet been set, Foulkes anticipates that it will come together in the not-too-distant future, at which time they could explore which water purveyor would be most appropriate to service those in Lake Williams.

Today Is Application Filing Deadline for Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Today is the last day for small businesses affected by October's Slide and Grass Vally Fires to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Even within the Big Bear Valley, those businesses that suffered economic loss—be it due to road closures, a drop-off in tourism, or a suspension in product delivery—are eligible for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. As today is the deadline for applications resulting from the October 2007 wildfires, loans applications must be postmarked today, even if not received by the Small Business Administration on July 24. For more information, you can visit SBA online at sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, or call their offices at 800/659-2955.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Forest Service Releases Report on Fuels Reduction Effectiveness Related to October's Grass Valley Fire
Though the U.S. Forest Service is still investigating the cause of the Grass Valley Fire, which started on October 22 and ultimately burned 1,247 acres in the Lake Arrowhead area, destroyed 174 homes and damaged another 25 before being contained on October 29, a report has just been released on the effectiveness of fuels treatments during the fire. The two-part report, available online at the website of the San Bernardino National Forest [fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/news/], details researchers' findings, including the following: Fire behavior in fuel treatment areas was less rapid and less intense than in adjacent untreated wildland fuel; fuel treatments reduced fire spread rate and allowed for improved visibility for firefighters; efforts of The Mountain Area Safety Taskforce hazard reduction program enhanced safe evacuation of thousands due to previous dead tree removal (so trees were not in roadways and ember production was reduced); the Grass Valley Fire burned more intensely within residential areas than in adjacent wildland fuels; and although torching and crowning occurred, the wildfire did not spread as a continuously crowning, high intensity fire. The report states that with the exception of six homes of the 199 damaged or destroyed in the Grass Valley Fire, high intensity wildfire was not a direct factor in igniting homes. For 193 of those homes, it was found that they were ignited either by fire spread through surface fuels within the residential area that then contacted homes or from thermal exposures directly related to burning residences. The Forest Service report findings say that firefighters were overwhelmed in their attempt to prevent the residential fire spread due to multiple homes burning simultaneously, though more homes would have burned without their intervention. The residential fire disaster of the Grass Valley Fire--which spread south through wildland fuels before transitioning to urban structural fuels—was principally the result of high home ignition potential. In the words of Forest Service, “The wildfire initiated the residential burning, but burning homes predominantly continued the fire spread to other homes without the wildfire as a significant factor.” For more information on the Grass Valley Fire of last October, you can access our moment-by-moment coverage in our Slide and Grass Valley Fire Archive, accessible from the 2008 Archive page.

County and ABC Offer LEAD Seminar and Certification in San Bernardino for Alcohol Vendors on July 28
The County's Public Health Department and the California Office of Alcohol Beverage Control will offer free training on Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (also known as LEAD) in San Bernardino on July 28. This LEAD training seminar, which takes place next Monday afternoon at City Hall on D Street, is offered to owners, managers and employees of stores that sell alcohol, and information offered will relate to state and local alcohol laws, liabilities, community standards, checking ID, identifying and refusing sales to minors and intoxicated patrons. Those who attend this free, four-hour session will receive a three-year LEAD certification, issued by ABC. As seating is limited to 50, those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP soon, by calling the County's Department of Public Health at 387-6280.


Watty's Famous Ass Explosion Chili, cooked up by Greg Watkins of San Diego and friends, took
top honors in the red chili competition at Saturday's Old Miners' Days Chili Cook-Off. As this
was a regional qualifier for the International Chili Society, Watkins can now take his famous red
chili to the ICS championships. More info and photos from the Chili Cook-Off posted on July 21.

CSD Addresses High Timber Ranch Development, Which Is Undergoing Environmental Impact Report

During the Board member reports portion of the Community Services District meeting on Monday evening, Director Bob Colven referenced the County's Planning Division meeting on the now-underway Environmental Impact Report for High Timber Ranch, the 196-lot development (which also includes three lettered lots) on 166 acres, being developed by Mike Rafferty in the area between Sugarloaf and Moonridge. Colven pointed out that the project is in the County's unincorporated jurisdiction, yet would receive water through the Big Bear Lake Department of Water and Power. Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis took to the podium during the CSD meeting, to address concerns of fire access for the proposed project which, in part, would be adjacent to U.S. Forest Service land. Per Chief Willis, “It's definitely an issue for the County, as well as transportation and fire to work with. Rest assured, the Big Bear City Fire Department and the County's transportation department will work to make sure we have access up there.” San Bernardino County Senior Planner Matt Slowick, in a subsequent conversation with KBHR, says that the High Timber Ranch development's project proposal and completed Environmental Impact Report will go before the County's Planning Commission, once the EIR is completed, but he says, “This may take a number of months. It could be six months, nine months, it could be a year.”


The ladies of the Chambermaids, an auxiliary branch of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce,
participated in a year of fundraising, then gathered for their annual distribution lunch to share
nearly $15,000 with local groups.

Chambermaids Raise Nearly $15,000, and Share Those Funds With 10 Local Groups, Including Chautauqua

After another year of fundraising, the Chambermaids, the women's auxiliary branch of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, held their annual funds distribution luncheon last week. The 60plus women of the Chambermaids raised $14,700, and distributed those funds to local organizations and agencies which support the community, including a $10,500 donation to the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce. Per the Chamber's Executive Director Sara Russ, “The Chambermaids have worked very hard over the past year to raise money for the Chamber and the community. From bake sales to fashion shows and golf tournaments, they deserve a huge thank you for all their efforts, and the Chamber wouldn't be the same without them.” For her part, Chambermaids President Gail Dick says, “It was a lot of work and a complete team effort, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely. I am very proud to be the president of such an amazing group of women and we are already planning for the next year.” As for this year, portions of the nearly $15,000 raised were shared with the following: the Miss Big Bear Pageant, Chautauqua High School, Meals on Wheels, Big Bear Discovery Center, Bear Valley Search and Rescue, AAUW's Tech Trek program for girls, the Rotary Club's fireworks show, the Hospital Auxiliary and Civil Air Patrol.

BBARWA Board to Review Room Rental Policy and First Reading of Disposal Fee Ordinance Today
The Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency will hold their regular monthly meeting today at 4:30pm, at their offices at 121 Palomino Drive in Big Bear City. This afternoon's meeting includes the first reading of the ordinance to increase the current fee schedule for the disposal of waste delivered to the regional treatment plant. This fee increase would not affect households, but would apply to those who, via truck, deliver and dispose of sewage at the BBARWA plant. The BBARWA Board will also review the Board Room rental policy, given a recent request from a spiritual center to hold Sunday worship services at BBARWA. At present, policy established in 2005 does not allow for the room to be used for parties, commercial events, and exercise classes, nor as the primary location for a business or place of worship.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008



Tim Sweet, Sewer Department Foreman for the Community Services District,
was recognized for his 25 years of service to the district during Monday's
meeting, which included a plaque presentation from CSD President Rick Ollila.

Planning Meeting for August 4 Ryan Hall Send-Off Event Set for This Thursday; Group Leaders Welcome
The Event Resource Office is hosting an informational meeting on Thursday, for those who would like to be directly involved in the August 4 community send-off for Olympian Ryan Hall. The ERO and the Lighthouse Project, in collaboration with the Bear Valley Unified School District, the Big Bear Lake Resort Association and the City of Big Bear Lake, are seeking community involvement for this historic event on the Big Bear Middle School field, and leader representatives from Valley organizations, clubs, agencies and churches are welcomed to Thursday's planning meeting, to be held at noon at Northwoods Resort in the Village. Says Event Resource Director Rick Bates, “If you have an organization and you want to be part of this historic event, please join us on Thursday.” Lunch snacks and refreshments will be offered at the meeting, and RSVPs are requested by calling the ERO at 866-2638.

CSD Board Approves Expenditure to Complete Purchase of New Radio Equipment for Bear City Fire Dept.

At last night's Board of Directors meeting for the Big Bear City Community Services District, the Board approved an expenditure of $29,278 in Fire Department Reserves to cover the cost of upgrading the department's two-way radio communication system. The initial portion of the upgrades will be covered by $144,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Office of Homeland Security, which was approved in November. As the Big Bear City Fire Department's portion of the grant is 5% in matching funds (to the grant's 95%) and, in the 18 months since applying for the grant, costs for electronic devices, wiring and shipping have increased 15%, the transfer of funds from reserves to the general fund will cover total cost for the radio equipment upgrades. Per Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis, “This takes our radios, adds to them, and puts our antiquated stuff out of service.” This will allow for “top-notch communication” Willis said, adding, “We've come a long way, and this grant will take us even further.”

Big Bear Chamber Invites Families to This Evening's Networking Mixer at the Moonridge Animal Park
The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce holds a networking mixer this evening, and the two-hour event at the Moonridge Animal Park is open to families, as docents from the zoo will be on hand to introduce the park's smaller animals to attendees, from 5 to 7pm. This evening's free networking mixer is hosted by Friends of the Moonridge Zoo, Big Bear Marina, First Mountain Bank, Holloway's Marina and RV Park, and the Captain's Anchorage, the Mandoline Bistro and Taste of Bear Catering, who will be providing food.

Breaking News as of 11am
: Highway 330 Closed Due to Overturned Big Rig at Middle Passing Lane

Per CalTrans, the overturned big rig just north of the middle passing lane on Highway 330 has resulted in full closure of the roadway. No word yet on when Highway 330 will re-open, as a result of this accident in the 10 o'clock hour, but motorists are advised to, for the time being, take Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley or Highway 38 if leaving the mountain. Once again, Highway 330 is now closed in both directions, at the middle passing lane, due to an overturned big rig in the roadway. Update as of 11:45am: In our most recent conversation with CalTrans, they note that the overturned big rig just north of the middle passing lane on Highway 330 has resulted in, now, not a full closure but significant delays on the roadway. At this time, one lane is open on this portion of Highway 330, as crews try to remove the overturned big rig, with a set of doubles hauling cement, and flagging is underway. It is expected that Highway 330 will not be fully opened until at least 1:30 this afternoon. Update: As of 1:45pm, all lanes of Highway 330 have been re-opened.


The San Bernardino Animal Care and Control Program offers another dog licensing clinic in the
Big Bear Valley today, to be held at Sugarloaf Park from 6 to 7pm. (More details posted below.)

Library Closed for Two Weeks in September to Allow for Upgrades, Including New Circulation Desk

The Big Bear Library is scheduled for some upgrades in September, and Head Librarian Pamela Heiman tells KBHR that the Garstin Drive facility will be closed from September 13 through 27 and will re-open to the public on Monday, September 29. Heiman says that before upgrades can begin, all shelving (and all books) will first be removed, to allow for fresh paint and the replacement of carpet. “That's the biggie,” Heiman says, “the library hasn't been repainted in 16 years, but it's the new carpet we're really looking forward to.” In addition to County funds to be used for these library improvements, Heiman points out, “The community has helped us raise money, and the Friends of the Library are helping to pay for a new circulation desk, which will also allow for self check-out.” Though the library will be closed for those two weeks in September, patrons will be able to enjoy books during that time, if checked out by September 12. Once the library re-opens, the $5,000 in new books, purchased with the check from the 2007 Great American Race, will be available.

Mt. San Gorgonio Quake of 3.0 Magnitude Described as "Just a Normal Old Shaker on the Big Mountain"
Yesterday afternoon, there was a 3.0 magnitude earthquake, centered five miles west northwest of Mt. San Gorgonio at 1:21pm, per the U.S. Geological Survey. This quake, at a depth of four miles, was preceded by two smaller quakes centered outside Big Bear Lake. At 9:36 Monday morning, there was a 1.6 tremor four miles west of Big Bear Lake and then at 12:46pm, we had a 1.5 magnitude quake located eight miles northwest of Big Bear Lake. Per County Fire firefighter Norm Cione, stationed in Angelus Oaks, there were no calls resulting from the 3.0 Mt. San G quake. “Absolutely nothing has happened,” he tells KBHR. “It was just a normal old shaker on the big mountain.”

County Supervisors to Address Two BBV Recreation and Park District Items in This Morning's Meeting

The Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County hold their weekly meeting this morning at 10am, at the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. In relation to the Big Bear Valley, there are two items on this morning's agenda that pertain to the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, as the district is governed by the County. Supervisors will review and make recommendations for adjustments to salaries and benefits for non-represented employees of BBV Rec and Park. In a second item, Supervisors will post the vacancy for the Rec and Park's Advisory Commission, given Cheryl Shipe's recent resignation since moving to Colorado. The open seat on the Advisory Commission runs through January 31, 2012. (Registered voters who reside within the Lake Williams or Erwin Lake area can call Supervisor Hansberger's office at 866-0140 if interested in possible appointment to the Commission.) A regular Board of Supervisors meeting will not be held on July 29.

Monday, July 21, 2008




Local Mountain Bikers Find Fire Along Forest Road 2N10; Create Perimeter Line Until Crews Arrive
In the last two days, there have been two fires (one of them this morning) in the Barton Flats area off Highway 38, and the U.S. Forest Service says that each of these was likely sparked by lightning over the weekend. On Saturday morning around 10am, the Boulder Fire off Forest Service road 2N10, in the vicinity south of the Big Bear Lake Civic Center, had been spotted from the Fire Lookout Tower at Butler Peak and called in to the Big Bear Airport from pilots who had flown over the area. It wasn't until four mountain bikers, notable locals Craig Smith, Ken Dally, Ade Salzer and Rick Herrick, saw the small fire and called it in that U.S. Forest Service crews were able to narrow in on the remote location. In the meantime, the four bikers and three more who arrived shortly thereafter, Mike Well, Zach Dow and Mike Allison, created a fire perimeter line to hold the fire burning in duff and small logs, perhaps the result of an unattended campfire, to a roughly 40' x 40' area. During this early and intense fire season for California, all are reminded to be vigilant in practicing fire-safety and, remember, the U.S. Forest Service has imposed additional fire restrictions this summer, and no fires are permitted outside of designated fire rings in recreation sites within the San Bernardino National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service will continue with aircraft flyovers, to locate smoke in our area, during this monsoon weather cycle, which can result in lightning-sparked fires.

Tomorrow's DWP Meeting to Include Presentation from GM of Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority

The Board of Commissioners of the Department of Water and Power holds their monthly meeting tomorrow morning at 8am, at the DWP offices at 41972 Garstin Drive in Big Bear Lake. Items on the agenda include discussion of the Connection Policy, the template by which DWP instructs staff to address new development, and a Public Hearing on fees for assorted services that do not relate to user fees. The DWP Board will also address Water System Integration, and discuss whether isolated systems, such as those in Fawnskin and Lake Williams, should stay integrated within the overall DWP system. Tomorrow morning's meeting will also include a presentation by Celeste Cantu, General Manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority—per DWP's Bill LaHaye, “She is an outstanding speaker, and knows the Southern California water business extremely well.”

Local Favorites Return for Awards, and Dave Thomas of Oxnard Takes Top Honors in Chili Cook-Off
The results are in for the Old Miners Association's Chili Cook-Off, which took place in the Bartlett Lot during a full day of festivities on Saturday. First place winner in the salsa category was Irene Menchaca; top green chili honors went to Jim Beaty (who, in 1986, won the International Chili Society's world championship for his red chili); and top red title went to Watty's Famous Ass Explosion Chili, cooked up by Greg Watkins of San Diego. The team of Sam's Pirate Chili, created by Van Sorrel of Sugarloaf, son Paix and friends, won the Best Booth Award and, having bet on themselves during Friday night's Calcutta Dinner, they also took the Best Local Cook Award for green chili; the Calcutta winner for red was Mike Ford. John Whittaker of Long Beach was voted Best First Time Cook, and local regulars Susie and Bob Collins once again took home the Perpetual Merchants Award, on behalf of ERA Escrow, for their Western Devils Barn Burners Chili. And the big award for Best Overall was earned by Dave Thomas of Oxnard, who exclaimed “I can't believe it!” when his Crazee Horse Chili was selected by the International Chili Society's Mark Sweeney and other judges for top honors. In addition to cash prizes and trophies, top cooks Thomas, Beaty and Watkins are now eligible to compete in the International Chili Society championships.


Old Miners Days gets spicy: Perpetual Merchant winners Susie and Bob Collins and granddaugher Riley; Granny Clementine
Teresa Vasquez and husband Joe; and double winner Paix Sorrel of Sam's Pirate Chili (with Mark 'Chili' Gaines).

Breaking News
: Small Fire, Presumably Sparked by Lightning, Burning Near Barton Flats Off Highway 38
There is a small fire burning in the Barton Flats area off Highway 38 [as of 9:50am], and smoke may be visible to those in the area. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service says that more than likely this was sparked by lightning over the weekend, as was another small fire in that area yesterday, which was quickly contained by Forest Service fire crews. Miller says these lightning-sparked fires tend to be limited to a single tree, and this morning's fire near Barton Flats is being diffused at this time. Miller says that as monsoon weather continues, fixed wing aircraft will continue to fly over our area, to patrol for lightning-sparked fires. Update as of 2pm: The small fire that was burning in the vicinity of Barton Flats this morning, near the boundary for the San Gorgonio Wilderness, was controlled by U.S. Forest Service crews in the 1 o'clock hour this afternoon. Total burned acreage was held to one quarter acre.

Intense 2008 Fire Season for California; Local Agencies Post Fire Preparedness Tips and Information

Fire season has been intense and early for the state of California this year, though no immediate threats have been posed for the Big Bear Valley. As Governor Schwarzenegger said in recent weeks, “Fire season as we know it in California is pretty much over. Now it's fire season all year long.” The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group, or NMAC, sets national preparedness levels, as it pertains to fire, on a scale of 1 to 5, and for the 2008 fire season, PL5 (which is the most severe) was reached earlier than in years past. Per the National Interagency Fire Center, based in Boise, Idaho, PL5 was called on June 30, which is the second earliest date since 1990 that PL5 has been reached—only on June 21, 2002 was PL5 reached earlier. Per the Interagency Fire Center, “As the season intensifies, it's a reminder to the public to be careful with and around fire, and for those who own homes in fire-prone areas to take the few simple steps needed to help their property to become more defensible.” If you did not receive the locally-specific Mountain Area Safety Taskforce mailing on fire safety, which included evacuation route information and a DVD, you can access the information at calmast.org. Other resources and information are available on the websites of our local fire agencies, at bigbearcityfire.org and thinisin.org.

County Offers Dog Licensing Clinic and Rabies Vaccinations at Sugarloaf Park Tuesday Evening
The San Bernardino Animal Care and Control Program is offering low-cost rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats, as well as a licensing clinic, at Sugarloaf Park tomorrow, Tuesday, from 6 to 7pm. During the clinic, rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats will be offered for just $6 each, payable in cash only. Dog licenses will be available at a cost of $15 for altered dogs; $9 for those belonging to senior citizens. The cost for a dog license for unaltered dogs is $96, and licenses may be paid for by cash or check. County Licensing Supervisor Lynda Louden points out that all dogs at the clinic must be on a leash, cats must be in a pet carrier, and all animals must be in the controlled care of an adult. Staff at the clinic will also be available to answer questions regarding the spay and neuter voucher program. These questions, or any others regarding the clinic, again scheduled for tomorrow evening at Sugarloaf Park, can also be directed to the Animal Care and Control Program at 800/472-5609.

Community Services District Board Not Scheduled to Discuss Paid Call Firefighter Ordinance This Evening
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District meets for their second meeting of the month at 5:30pm this evening, at their offices at 139 E. Big Bear Boulevard in Big Bear City. The meeting agenda does not include continuation of the discussion regarding the paid call firefighter ordinance for the district, which will instead be addressed in August. This evening's agenda does not include any Old Business Items, but is scheduled to include recognition of Tim Sweet, the Sewer Department Foreman who has served 25 years with the Community Services District.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Summer fun on Big Bear Lake, where the average water temperature is 70 degrees!

New FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps for San Bernardino County Will Be Effective August 28

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency—or FEMA—has this month delivered Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps to local officials in San Bernardino County, to be effective August 28. These flood studies and maps identify the floodplains for a 100-year flood event. When finalized, the two reports determine the level of flood risk and flood insurance premiums paid by property owners, renters and businesses. FEMA indicates that citizens and property owners should contact their local flood plain administrator to determine if the new map affects their property. If the property is impacted, FEMA recommends immediate contact with an insurance agent to purchase a flood insurance policy prior to August 28. The purchase of flood insurance prior to this date will allow property owners to take advantage of affordable insurance rates. For the Big Bear Valley, FEMA directs those outside of the City of Big Bear Lake and within the County's jurisdiction to call 387-8213 for the local flood plain administrator; for those who reside within the City of Big Bear Lake, calls can be directed to 866-5831, then ask for the City's Engineering Department.

Lighthouse Project Hosts Community Send-Off for Olympian Ryan Hall, on August 4 at the BBMS Field
Local Olympian Ryan Hall, the fastest American-born marathon runner in history, will be celebrated in a community send-off, organized by the Lighthouse Project, on Monday, August 4, which is the first day students return to school. The 5:30pm event will take place on the Big Bear Middle School field, and the entire community is invited to cheer on Hall, a 2001 Big Bear High School graduate, before he leaves for Beijing, China to compete in the Olympic marathon on August 24. In support of our “child-honoring community,” local students will be celebrated as well, and recognized for their participation in the Move a Million Miles for Ryan Hall campaign, which is now close to achieving 700,000 miles. Hall says, “I'm just blown away that the community and beyond have logged so many miles for me. I'm really thankful to have an advantage that no other competitor will have out there in Beijing—I'll be the only one that has a community logging miles for me.” Of the August 4 send-off for Hall, Lighthouse Project Director Beth Gardner says, “We'd love to see everyone from all walks of life participating in this special, no cost event. Children and adults are encouraged to wear uniforms from clubs and agencies to show pride in their own organizations as well as the community. Banners honoring children and wishing Ryan all the best are also encouraged. Seating will be on the field, so blankets and lawn chairs are recommended. We envision a very uplifting, inspiring event that celebrates our unique community, its exceptional children and young adults and, in particular, our very special Ryan Hall. Ryan serves as an excellent role model for the young people in our community, not only as an exceptional athlete but a man of amazing conviction, work ethic and integrity.”


Have you created defensible space on your property? At left, BEFORE vegetation reduction and, on the right, the same property AFTER the thinning of dense brush and the 'limbing up' of trees. Leftover vegetation can be left curbside for the chipper truck, which chips the material for redistribution as mulch. Last year, chipping material was, in part, used as ground cover at the ski resorts.

Big Bear City Fire Department Offers Free Curbside Chipping of Vegetation for East Valley Properties
The Big Bear City Fire Department has a goal to remove 60 tons of vegetation—that's about 20 tons more than last year--through their curbside chipping program, by October 1. In June, the Bear City Fire Department mailed Chipper Days information to all property owners within their jurisdiction, which includes Big Bear City, Sugarloaf, Erwin Lake, Lake Williams and upper Moonridge, and already they report that about 300 homeowners have called to request free curbside chipping services. The San Bernardino County chipping crews have been making their way through Sugarloaf, and are now in the Moonridge area, though all neighborhoods will be visited. Says Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis, “The primary goal is to remove overgrown, dense brush, small trees, limbs and dead material. We also encourage property cleanup, such as weeds, pine needles, leaves, etc. These items can be bagged and placed curbside for Big Bear City Community Services District refuse pickup during this same time.” For specifics on the East Valley curbside chipping program, you can access the new Bear City Fire Department website at bigbearcityfire.org. Chipper Days will continue through October 1, and curbside visits from the chipper truck can be arranged by calling 585-2362. (For those within the City of Big Bear Lake, please call 752-2805.)

Old Miners' Chili Cook-Off Features a Full Day of Activities and Live Music in the Village Tomorrow
The “hottest” of the Old Miners Days events takes place tomorrow at the Bartlett Lot in the Village, as the Chili Cook-Off returns with award-winning red chili, green chili and salsa. This regional chili cook-off, sanctioned by the International Chili Society, starts at 9am, though event organizer Mark 'Chili' Gaines tells KBHR, “At 3pm, the most chili is available.” However, the all-day event is said to be action-packed and will include live music from local bands Damn Good Question and Skeleton Key, a car and boat show, 100 booths featuring vendors and chili, and activities for the kids including a petting zoo. If you don't already have your 2008 Old Miners button, cost for the event is $6, and free for children 12 and under; with chili tasting kits available for $1.


Village merchants and Valley vendors came together for this week's Locals Night in the Village, which
will take place every first and third Wednesday, from 4 to 8pm. Among those offering extended hours
and services last night were (from left) Leah Cherry of Tradewinds, Dustin McAlonan of Home
Warehouse Design Center, Ginger Budington of Cedar Rose Lane, Kathy Breuer of Mill Creek
Trading Company, Cheri Wilson of Home Warehouse Design Center, Dawn Crawford of the
Village Spa, Susie Lerma of Sol Food Market, and Karon Michel and Janina Tunnell of Curves.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

San Bernardino County Currently Has 20,000 Adult Parolees, Yet Homicides Are Down for This Year
San Bernardino County joins the rest of the country in recognizing Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week through July 19. Per a statement from the County's Chief Probation Officer Jerry Harper, the practice of probation and parole has played a vital role in the country's justice system since 1841, and the professionals who serve in these capacities are a critical part of the public safety system. In addition to one treatment facility, the San Bernardino County Probation Department operates three juvenile detention and assessment facilities, each staffed 24/7 and typically home to 400 to 450 minors at one time. Within the County, there are approximately 3,500 juvenile offenders on formal probation, and approximately 20,000 adult offenders on formal probation. Despite these numbers, at last week's Lighthouse Project meeting, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Sergeant Tony DeCecio said, “In our County, homicides are down this year.” At the same meeting, Lieutenant Errol Bechtel said that, as for gang activity within the Big Bear Valley, “It's very, very slight up here. There's some wannabes out there [but] as soon as we hear about them, we visit those people.”


U.S. Marines Corporal Brett Sobaski and Corporal Christopher Lawrence at the Big Bear Airport,
where they participated in the Young Eagles program, enjoyed the Corvette show, and attended
a Pilots Association hangar party on Saturday.

Big Bear Pilots Association Hosts Two Combat-Wounded Soldiers for a Fun Weekend in Big Bear

Two combat-wounded U.S. Marines, stationed in the San Diego area, got to enjoy a special weekend in Big Bear, prompted by a Veterans Airlift Command request to provide them with an introductory flight in a small aircraft. Members of the Big Bear Pilots Association answered the call, and pilots Donald Shade and Roger Schmidt (also a Vietnam combat veteran) flew to pick up Corporal Brett Sobaski and Corporal Christopher Lawrence, and brought them back to Big Bear. As Shade said, “Our first impression of the two Marines proved accurate throughout the weekend as these two shining examples of courage and patriotism constantly reminded us that there are thousands of servicemen and women like them who risk their lives daily to keep our country free.” While here, the two soldiers first enjoyed lunch in the Village and a drive around the lake. Corporals Sobaski and Lawrence also joined local pilots (including Jay Obernolte) in the Young Eagles program (during which the Pilots Association took 65 children on a free flight in an airplane), before taking in the Corvette show at the airport, and then joining 75 locals for a Pilots Association hangar party and barbecue. During the party, described as both fun and emotional, retired Marine Colonel Bill Alley presented the two visitors with a cake, and thanked them for their service to our country. Corporals Sobaski and Lawrence wrapped their big Saturday with a stay at the home of Laura and Joe Landaker, also a U.S. Marine veteran and parents of fallen soldier Jared. By Sunday morning, Shade says he had the “honor and privilege of flying two heroes back to San Diego” and, the local pilot tells KBHR of the special weekend, “It was more rewarding for us than them.”

After 28 Years With the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, Fire Chief John Morley to Retire in September

The City of Big Bear Lake has announced the pending retirement of Big Bear Lake Fire Department's Chief John Morley, who, after a 28-year career with the local fire agency is set to retire on September 12. In a congratulatory letter from Michael Karp, Chair of the City's Fire Protection District, he says, “Chief Morley supported our community as a committed and dedicated fire professional during his past 28 years of service to the Big Bear Lake Fire Department. This past year, he was instrumental in the conception and implementation of numerous innovative defensible space measures. These measures included the adoption of a Wood Shake Shingle Roof Ordinance, aimed at replacing all wood shake shingle roofs in the City within the next five years; and a Native Brush and Shrub Reduction Ordinance that requires homeowners clear certain types of native brush and other live fuels from around their homes or structures, limb up trees and ensure adequate spacing exists between vegetation. In addition, Chief Morley helped launch the neighborhood chipping program, where residents can clear vegetation from their property and place it curbside for pickup, where it is then chipped and redistributed as mulch or ground cover.” Morley began his career with the department in March of 1980 as a firefighter, was promoted to Captain/Acting Fire Marshal in 1988, Assistant Fire Chief in 1990, and Acting Fire Chief in 1997. After a second round as Acting Fire Chief in 2005, Morley was officially appointed Fire Chief for the Big Bear Lake Fire Department in September of 2005. Other distinguished moments in his career include becoming the department's first paramedic to be certified in San Bernardino County in 1982. Morley was named San Bernardino County Firefighter of the Year in 2001 and received the Rotary Club's Eagle of Excellence Award in 2004. In a conversation with KBHR, Morley says, “I hope I will have left things better than I found them, and I hope the citizens will continue with defensible space.” Fire Chief Morley's wife Joann just retired from her 28-year career with Bear Valley Unified School District, where she most recently served as a second grade teacher at Big Bear Elementary School. “For Joann and I,” Morley adds, “We hope we've made a significant contribution to the community.”

County Supervisors Ask for Additional Mitigation Measures for 88-Home Tract Off Scenic Highway 38

On Tuesday, San Bernardino County Supervisors reviewed the proposed plans for the Sky Valley II project, which would include 88 single-family homes on 28.8 acres off Highway 38 at the northeast corner of Baldwin Lane. As presented in earlier Public Hearings before the County, the Sky Valley II project did not comply with County General Plan goals to preserve and enhance the scenic route along Highway 38. The developer outlined additional mitigation measures, including rear yard setbacks of 30 feet rather than 15 feet. The mitigation measures did not entirely satisfy County Supervisors in their effort to maintain the scenic corridor along the highway, and requested additional efforts, including rear setbacks of 60 feet. The tentative tract map for the Sky Valley II project will once again go before County Supervisors, at their August 5 meeting.

Municipal Water District Board Set to Renew GM Heule's Contract for an Additional Two Years
The Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District meets for their regular meeting today at 1pm, at the MWD offices at 40524 Lakeview Drive in Big Bear Lake. Today's Consent Calendar includes a two-year contract renewal for the MWD's General Manager Scott Heule, who assumed his position with the district on June 1, 2007. Given Heule's negotiation with the Administration Committee, his contract will extend until May 31, 2010. In Business Items during this afternoon's meeting, the MWD Board will consider an approximate $91,000 expenditure for an electro fishing boat and cleaning station to be used for carp removal as, last year, $96,000 was paid to an independent contractor to remove carp from Big Bear Lake. Per the staff report, it was determined that a more prudent expenditure of funds to accomplish the same result would be for the district to purchase an electro fishing boat and have staff perform the same work as the contractor.


Saturday's sixth annual Xeriscape Garden Tour, coordinated by the Sierra Club Big Bear Group,
included nativescape experts, including Mikki Sakai and Orchid Black (pictured here, at Hunter's
Nursery) on the free tour, which also featured seven homes. For those who missed the tour,
the Xeriscape Plant Guide is available online from the DWP at bbldwp.com.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Allen and Poole Named Chair and Vice Chair of Rec & Park District's Advisory Commission; Shipe Resigns
At yesterday's meeting of the Advisory Commission of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, it was announced that Commissioner Cheryl Shipe resigned from her appointed post, as she has moved to Colorado. Shipe joined the Advisory Commission in February of this year, and represented the Erwin Lake and Lake Williams area of the Valley. Those interested in assuming her role for this jurisdiction should live within the Erwin Lake or Lake Williams area and be a registered voter. The Rec and Park's new commissioner will be appointed by County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger and more information can be obtained by calling his office at 866-0140. In other news from the Rec and Park meeting, Commissioner Don Allen was elected to Chairman of the Advisory Commission, and Katheryn Poole was voted Vice Chair. Reese Troublefield, Director of Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, says that expanded recreation facilities will soon be open to the public, including the skatepark at the Teen Center (set to open August 16) and, in September, the new East Valley soccer complex at The Ranch, which will include three regulation soccer fields.

Big Bear Lake's Village Merchants Host Locals Night in the Village This Evening, from 4 to 8pm
This evening, Village merchants host their second of this month's Locals Nights, from 4 to 8pm. In addition to extended shopping hours, Locals Night will feature the classic cars of the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club, free samples from new Village restaurant Desi's, and a booth featuring local organic produce from the Valley's Sol Food Market. The community is encouraged to come out to the Village, meet your neighbors, and enjoy the opportunity and convenience of shopping locally.

Despite Some Setbacks, Big Bear Middle School Will Be Ready for Students, With 15 New Classrooms

Big Bear Middle School will be ready for the Valley's 7th and 8th grade students when classes resume on August 4. Construction efforts on the roughly $13.5 million project, the majority of which was funded by Measure Q funds, are ongoing, despite delays prompted by the discovery of excess groundwater on the Boulevard-facing portion of the campus. Walter Con, Bear Valley Unified School District's Director of Business Services, tells KBHR, “We have created a total of about 15 new classrooms at BBMS. The main focus of Measure Q was to replace portable classrooms with permanent classrooms, and we have eliminated eight portables at that site.” Some of the upgrades include the gutting of the science building, which formerly housed three classrooms and a workroom—it now has seven classrooms and the addition of windows. The former auto shop and library building has also been gutted, and windows have been added to the building which now includes a covered walkway, three science classrooms and a music room, complete with acoustical design. Within the main building at BBMS, improvements have been made to existing classrooms and significant upgrades were made to the main office, which now includes a health office for the district nurse and a new, expanded counter area in the office, which is said to be user-friendly for students and parents. Projects that are still underway, in anticipation of students, are the quad area and the new bus zone, which will now wrap behind the gym (and empty onto Georgia, where there is a traffic light) to allow for less congestion in the parent drop-off area. Though sidewalks are not yet complete within the quad, there are walkways in place for the safe, designated passage between classrooms. As Con has assured, “Big Bear Middle School is safe for students, staff and construction workers.” Due to the groundwater issues, construction is about 120 days behind schedule on the building slated for the northeast corner of campus—due to begin in two to four weeks, this building will house a new computer lab, library (which has a current, temporary space), bathrooms and four more classrooms. Another delay, in the cafeteria expansion at the school's northwest corner, was prompted by what smelled like hydrocarbons in an isolated area. The district has been working with nationally recognized Questa Environmental, a company that deals specifically with environmental issues at public schools, who will continue testing and, pending today's Board approval, mitigation measures. In the meantime, Con says that Questa has assured BVUSD of a safe environment. Construction projects at Big Bear Elementary and Baldwin Lane Elementary are “on hold,” says Con, while issues at BBMS are resolved and, he adds, “We appreciate the support of the community by voting in Measure Q.” Update: The Board of Trustees did approve additional mitigation measures, to be implemented by Questa Environmental, during this afternoon's meeting.


Proud papa Michael Homan with his Clementines: 14-year-old Kailyn Homan (left) was named Junior Miss
Clementine in Saturday's pageant at B's Backyard BarBQ, and 17-year-old sister Keli Homan took the title
of Miss Clementine. Says Keli, "I've been wanting to do this ever since I was eight!" The Homan sisters
will be in the Old Miners Day Parade on Sunday, August 3.

Big Bear City Sisters Keli and Kailyn Homan Take Miss Clementine and Junior Miss Clementine Titles
After dreaming of being Miss Clementine since she was eight years old, 17-year-old Keli Homan of Big Bear City took the title and the trophy in the Old Miners Association's lakeside pageant at B's Backyard BarBQ on Saturday. Homan had been runner-up to last year's Clementine Angela Sue Yeaton who, like Homan, has been home-schooled. As Homan told KBHR, “Angela is one of my best friends, I went to school with her for a long time.” This year, Homan was joined onstage by another special someone, her 14-year-old sister Kailyn, who was named Junior Miss Clementine, and their dad Michael, who took first place honors in the event's Best Dressed Western category. (You may have seen Michael Homan in his western garb before, as he also mans the stagecoach in the Village.) The award-winning Homans will don their western duds for other Old Miners events this summer, including the 59th annual grand Old Miners Day Parade on August 3, when they will be joined by other winners, including Mrs. Clementine Nancy Riffenburgh, Best Old Miner Andrew Riffenburgh, Granny Clementine Teresa Vasquez, Tiny Old Miner Bradley Lee and returning Tiny Miss Clementine Joelle Davis (who you may remember in pink boots atop her pony Matilda last year). For more information on remaining Old Miners' festivities, including this weekend's Chili Cook-Off, you can visit our events page or oldminers.org.

Bird, Squirrel With West Nile Virus Found in the San Bernardino Mtns.; Health Dept. Issues Precautions

San Bernardino County's Department of Public Health reports that, within the last three weeks, five dead birds and one tree squirrel have tested positive for West Nile Virus. The first of these was a Lesser Goldfinch, found on Thunderbird Drive in Blue Jay on June 27, with four American crows since found in Fontana, Grand Terrace, Rialto and San Bernardino; the Western Grey Squirrel, which tested positive for West Nile Virus, was found in Crestline on June 25. Per the Health Department, these results indicate that current weather conditions, existing water sources and high foreclosure rates may have increased West Nile Virus risk in the County. Terri Williams, the County's Public Health Program Manager, says, “The vector control agencies within the county are working diligently to reduce mosquito population and has increased surveillance efforts in the affected communities. Public education, active vector control operations, and surveillance activities are ongoing to minimize the impact of mosquitoes and WNV.” Since mosquitoes (which carry WNV) are dependent on standing water for breeding, residents are encouraged to look for and eliminate any stagnant water on their properties. Mountain communities are said to be particularly impacted by tree-hole mosquitoes that breed in tree holes and small containers left to collect water. To protect yourself from mosquitoes, the County advises that all standing water is drained or dumped; avoid spending time outside at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active, or wear socks, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, preferably loose fitting and light-colored; apply insect repellent containing DEET; and make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. The Department of Public Health also encourages the reporting of dead birds, by calling the state's West Nile Virus hotline at 877/WNV-BIRD.

City's Planning Commission Will Today Discuss Big Bear Lake Policy for Voluntary Structure Demolition
The Planning Commission of the City of Big Bear Lake holds their regular meeting today, at 1:15pm in Hofert Hall. This afternoon's meeting includes a Public Hearing item pertaining to the Old Miners Association's request to hold the Taste of Big Bear event at the Bartlett parking lot on Sunday, August 3. The Planning Commission will also discuss two separate yet voluntary structure demolition requests, for buildings at 552 Knickerbocker Road and 40877 Stone Road, and another at 40651 Village Drive. City staff has requested direction from the Commission on the handling of voluntary razing or demolition of structures that have received land use approvals based on project descriptions that stated that those structures would not be demolished.

BVUSD School Board to Meet This Afternoon; School Bus Stop Routes Scheduled to Be Adopted
The Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District will hold a special meeting at 12:30pm today, at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road. This afternoon's meeting will include the second reading of the student/parent and staff handbooks, and the adoption of bus stop schedules for the coming school year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


If you've any info on the persons or vehicle in this photo, please call the Sheriff's Station at 866-0100.

Sheriff's Station Seeks Help in Identifying Burglary Suspects in April Incident at Lakeview Market
The Big Bear Sheriff's Station is seeking the community's help in locating two burglary suspects, following a burglary at Lakeview Market in Big Bear Lake on April 10 of this year. Per the Sheriff's Department release: “The perpetrators entered the business by smashing the front window and stole several lottery tickets. The suspects were later recorded on video surveillance in the San Diego area, cashing several of the stolen lottery tickets and discarding additional tickets. The vehicle appears to be an older model station wagon. The suspects both appear to be Hispanic males, possibly in their early 20s.” Those with any information leading to the positive identification of the subjects and/or vehicle are asked to call the Big Bear Sheriff's Station at 866-0100. For this and any other case or situation, anonymous calls can be placed via the national We Tip hotline at 800/78-CRIME.

City Council Reviews Big Bear Lake TOT Increase Ordinances for Possible Placement on November Ballot

The City Council of Big Bear Lake last night decided to move forward with two ordinance options that would allow for an increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax, which is presently six percent and paid for by guests at overnight lodging facilities, including private rentals, in Big Bear Lake. During public testimony with regard to the proposed two percent increase (to be used to cover capital improvements to the City), lodge owner Bob Pool told Council, “Daytrippers contribute very little, and impact us significantly. Before you raise the bed tax, I'm asking you—begging you—to add a recreation tax.” Council also considered a recreation tax, though did not take any formal action on this discussion item. What was focused upon, however, was if the TOT tax increase were to be placed on the November 2008 ballot, would it be phased in over two years (at one percent each year), or would the increase of two percent, if passed by a voter majority, be effective on January 1, 2009. Councilmember Liz Harris said, “I know, as a former lodge owner, that it's difficult to have any increase. I prefer the phased-in approach, mainly because of the economic times that we're in.” Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn concurred, saying, “If we have to do this, and I think we do, I would much rather see it phased in.” As Mammoth Lakes, a comparable tourist-driven community, currently has a TOT of 13 percent, Mayor Rick Herrick said of an eight percent Big Bear Lake TOT, “I'm fairly confident that the elasticity in pricing will not price Big Bear out.” Community members will have their opportunity to provide input on the proposed TOT increase at Council's meeting on July 28, during which a Public Hearing will address both potential ordinances. If the Council should choose to put either TOT initiative on the November ballot, they will have until August 8 to file with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.


Racers at the Great American Race pitstop at the Big Bear Airport last July (above left); Sara Russ of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, Pamela Heiman of the Big Bear Library, Cliff Fowler of the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club, Catherine Sandstrom of KBHR Radio, and Bill Ewing of the Great American Race at the 2007 awards ceremony at Nottingham's, during which Big Bear received the Great American City trophy.

A Year Ago Today, Big Bear Was Named the Great American City, Which Results in New Library Books
It was a year ago today that Big Bear was named the Great American City. Drivers in last summer's cross-country classic car race, who made 43 pitstops from Concord, North Carolina to Anaheim, California voted us the friendliest and best pitstop on their tour, resulting in our title of the Great American City. Mike Ewing, with the Great American Race, had told us last year, “It was a tough call, because we had some terrific cities. Everyone really liked Big Bear because the streets were lined with people up and down the mountain. It reminded the drivers of what the race used to be like.” Cliff Fowler, President of the Big Bear Lake Antique Car Club and pitstop organizer for Big Bear, tells KBHR, “We still maintain the Great American City title, because they didn't do an American version of the race this year.” Since being bestowed the title, our library received a check for $5000, of which Head Librarian Pamela Heiman says, “We're selecting new books that we expect will be here in time for the reopening of the Big Bear Library, following our September remodel.” In addition to the check, Big Bear also received a large American Eagle trophy, which is now housed at the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce offices in the Village, where, the Chamber's Shelly Efraim says, “The visitors think it's really awesome.”

Recreation and Park District's Advisory Commission to Meet at the Senior Center at 5pm Today
The Advisory Commission of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District meets for their regular meeting today, after having adjourned the June meeting due to lack of a quorum. Today's Rec and Park meeting takes place at the Big Bear Senior Center at 5pm.

Monday, July 14, 2008


County Supervisors to Review Mitigation Measures for Proposed 88-Home Project Along Scenic Hwy 38
The Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County meet for their regular weekly meeting tomorrow, with open session starting at 10am at the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. Tomorrow's meeting will include a Public Hearing with regard to the Sky Valley II project, which is slated to include 88 single-family residential homes on 28.8 acres off Highway 38, at the northeast corner of Baldwin Lane at the Valley's east end. Per Julie Rynerson Rock, in the County's Land Use Services Department, the Sky Valley II project has gone before the County's Planning Commission and, in March, before County Supervisors as the project, as originally presented, did not comply with County General Plan goals to preserve and enhance the scenic routes along Highway 38. The developer, named as Robert Caron, has proposed additional mitigation measures, including rear yard setbacks be increased to 30 feet; all highway-adjacent properties incorporate four-car garages for vehicle, boat and RV storage; all lots adjacent to scenic corridor to be built by developer, to ensure homes are consistent with alpine character; and a Homeowners Association Architectural Review Board to approve changes to items such as building color and tree removal. Rynerson Rock tells KBHR that County Supervisors can either accept the redesign or require additional mitigation measures, to ensure that the scenic route along Highway 38 is not comprised. Per the staff report, current proposed mitigation measures may not fully achieve the objectives outlined by County Supervisors during the Public Hearing of March.

Filing Papers Now Available for 15 Local Seats on Boards Including CSD, BVUSD, City Council and Airport

For those interested in serving our community in an official capacity, the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters today makes available candidate filing papers for the November 2008 election. For most of the following seats, the only requirement for the office is that candidates are registered voters and reside within the district or division. The seats currently held by the following will be voted upon in the November 4 Presidential General Election: for the City Council of Big Bear Lake, Liz Harris and Bill Jahn; for the Bear Valley Unified School District, Phil Hamilton, Larry Poland and Julann Warren; for the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District, Ron Peavy, Carol Mulvihill and Christopher Fagan; for the Big Bear Airport District, George Berge, Russ Lowery and Gary Steube; for the Municipal Water District (Divisions 4 and 5 at the Valley's east end) John Eminger and Vince Smith; and for the Big Bear City Community Services District, Rick Ollila and Bob Colven. Filing papers are available by calling the Registrar of Voters at 387-8300 or, toll-free, at 800/881-8683. Candidates will receive informational handbooks when filing papers are obtained, and staff at the Registrar of Voters office will be available to assist with paperwork, which must be filed by 5pm on Friday, August 8.

More Rain This Afternoon: Watch for Debris Flows in Burn Areas, Including Arctic Circle on Highway 18
The County of San Bernardino warns that, with the possibility of thunderstorms, there is the continued potential for debris flows and flooding in and below burn areas of last fall's Butler #2, Slide and Grass Valley Fires within the San Bernardino mountains. This burn area also includes portions of Highway 18, west of the Big Bear Dam on the Arctic Circle, so motorists, too, are advised to exercise caution as debris flow and rocks in the roadway are a potential hazard if there are severe rains.

Lighthouse Project Urges a Harmonious, Child-Honoring Community; New Parent Network Starts in August

Last week's Lighthouse Project meeting, which was open to the entire community, focused on envisioning a harmonious, non-violent community—a goal stemming from the incident of June 18, which resulted in the death of 20-year-old Michael Lundin. Meeting facilitator Beth Gardner of the Lighthouse Project said, “The recent tragedy that took the life of one young man and devastated the lives of others involved is a wake-up call for our community and ourselves. The Lighthouse Project is serving as being a voice for the people.” Following a presentation by Sergeant Tony DeCecio and Lieutenant Errol Bechtel of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, community members, including high school students present at the meeting, brainstormed ways in which our community can expand our reach of compassion and respect. While the Lighthouse Project, whose mission is to create a child-honoring community, compiles suggestions from the group for distribution, other ideas were offered in the meantime: be the best you possible, as children are always watching; avoid gossip, rumors and judgment; connect with family and friends, and vow to make a difference; be aware of negative language and give people positive feedback. As Lieutenant Bechtel said of the June situation, “This is a tragedy that hit, but it doesn't go away tomorrow.” Yet, the family of Michael Lundin has urged that this be the end of it. In the words of Lundin's father John, “No one should have to make this sacrifice. Let this be what it takes for this to stop. There will be no retaliation.” For those who are concerned about the teenagers in their life, two parents and “friends of the Lighthouse Project,” Lauren Hood and Julann Warren, have formed a group called Common Ground, which will meet on the third Monday of each month, at 6:30pm at the Discovery Center, starting August 18. Says Warren, “We're calling it a parent network. It's kind of like the Lighthouse Project, but really focused on our teens.” (For other details from last Tuesday's meeting, see our posting of July 9, below.)

This Weekend's Heavy Rains Did Not Result in Flooding in Burn Areas Near Fawnskin

This weekend's rains included hail in some portions of the Big Bear Valley and, though precipitation totals vary, we did receive about a quarter inch of rain here in Big Bear—though some portions of the Valley received as much as a couple inches over the weekend, per our KBHR weatherman Ben Brissey. San Bernardino County had issued potential debris flow warnings, but there were no reports of flooding in the recent burn areas near Fawnskin. Per County Fire Captain Darrel Crane, with Fawnskin Station #49, “We had really, really hard rain, but no flooding. The U.S. Forest Service has been doing stuff, like placing hay bales in burn areas, and that seems to have helped. We also chased some lightning strikes on Saturday, but they didn't amount to any fires so far.”

BBL City Council to Discuss Transient Occupancy Tax and Feasability of Recreation Tax This Evening
The City Council of Big Bear Lake holds their regular meeting this evening at 6:30pm in Hofert Hall, at the Civic Center at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard. Among Public Hearing Items on this evening's agenda is the Transient Occupany Tax ballot measure. At present, TOT is at six percent within the City of Big Bear Lake, and this tax is paid by overnight guests at facilities including private home rentals, full service hotels, bed and breakfast inns, and rental cabins. At the June 23 meeting of the Council, there was discussion regarding a ballot measure for the November 2008 election, which could propose a two percent increase to TOT, bringing it to eight percent, to potentially fund capital improvement projects. Per the city staff report, gross receipts subject to TOT, per the fiscal year 2008/2009 budget, are estimated to be $42.5 million. A two percent increase to TOT would result in approximately $850,000. This evening's discussion, per staff proposals, will cover whether a ballot measure, if implemented, should propose a two percent increase, effective January 2009, or if TOT increases should be assessed in one percent increments over two years. Council will also entertain an entertainment tax, as suggested at their June 23 meeting, which would include local venues such as movie theaters, snow play areas, golf, cover charges for bands, the zoo, bike rentals and local events, including those held at the Performing Arts Center. Per the staff report for the Council agenda, the ski resorts and operational activities at marinas are located primarily outside City of Big Bear Lake limits.



Friday, July 11, 2008

Possible Weekend Thunderstorms Could Result in Debris Flows in Burn Areas; Use Caution on Highway 18
The County of San Bernardino warns that, with the possibility of thunderstorms this weekend, there is the potential for debris flows and flooding in and below burn areas of last fall's Butler #2, Slide and Grass Valley Fires in the San Bernardino mountains. This burn area also includes portions of Highway 18, west of the Big Bear Dam on the Arctic Circle, so motorists, too, are advised to exercise caution as debris flow and rocks in the roadway are a potential hazard if there are severe rains.

Locals Invited to Participate in KTLA Morning Show's Live Remote from Pine Knot Landing on Monday
The KTLA Morning Show and the channel 5 program's weatherman Mark Kriski return to Big Bear Lake this weekend and into Monday, prompted by an invitation from the Big Bear Lake Resort Association. Kriski will be in the Valley on Sunday, pre-recording segments to air on the morning show on Monday, July 14. Live remotes from Pine Knot Landing will also air on the program, as Kriski delivers the weather—and then some--on channel 5 from 6 to 10am on Monday. Locals are invited, per the RA, to join in Kriski's boating adventures on Big Bear Lake. If you would like a free ride on one of three tour boats—Miss Liberty, the Big Bear Queen or the Big Bear Pirate Ship—participants are needed for a shoot, starting at 7:30am on the 14th, and expected to run until 10am. If you would like to be a part of the KTLA live broadcast, please call Dan McKernan at the RA at 866-6190 x235 today, as space is limited.


Climber Jordan Romero on Mt. Denali, courtesy of JordanRomero.com. Romero tells KBHR that
his next big climb will be in Antarctica this winter. Sponsorships are welcome via the website,
he says: "We're hoping to raise money, since it's really expensive just to get there."

Local Climber Jordan Romero a Finalist in Cartoon Network's Props to Talented Kids; Vote for Him Online
World-class climber Jordan Romero spent the first part of his summer, after wrapping sixth grade at North Shore Elementary, climbing to the top of Alaska's Mt. Denali (at 20,320') in his quest to summit the world's tallest peaks, including Everest, by his 16th birthday, which is just four years and one day away. Though he spent this week camping a little closer to home with mom LeighAnne Drake and his younger sister, he tells KBHR that it was “kinda weird” to spend the first day of summer in snow. “All I ever walked in was snow,” Romero says of his fifth summit, climbed with dad Paul, “even at 7,000' there's snow in the alpine climate and tundra climate, but the rest of Alaska was nice--no snow! I thought Alaska was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and climbing Denali showed me how beautiful Alaska really is. It's one of my most favorite places.” Romero's ambitious climbing quest has earned him recognition not just in the climbing community, but among his peers as well. He has been selected as a top 20 finalist in the Cartoon Network's Props to Talented Kids campaign. Romero explains that the top five vote-getters will each receive a half hour segment in a two-hour special to air on the television network. To vote for Jordan, you can visit cartoonnetworkprops.com or use the link on his website JordanRomero.com. Perhaps this is something you can do for Jordan in celebration of his 12th birthday tomorrow, July 12, which he plans to spend with fellow birthday celebrant, buddy Casey, either kicking back at home or perhaps go-cart racing off the hill.

Judge Rules That Private Home Rental Ordinance for Big Bear Lake Will Not Go to November Ballot
This morning, the issue of the proposed transient private home rental initiative (to add additional restrictions and ADA requirements for PHRs within Big Bear Lake) for the November election, as filed by private lodge owner James McLean and subsequently challenged by Citizens Protecting the Rights of Property Owners (or CPRPro), had its day in court, at the County's Needles courthouse. CPRPro had taken the proposed ballot initiative to court, challenging that, as accepted by the City Clerk, it did not comply with California Election Code 9203 (b), as the petitions circulated and signed did not include the title and initiative summary on each page as required. The CPRPro challenge was heard by the Honorable Judge Brisco, and those in court this morning included Nick Lanza (owner of Big Bear Vacation Rentals and Board member of local coalition CPRPro), CPRPro's consultant Michael Perry and attorney David Blackwell, and, via teleconference, McLean's attorney T. Matthew Phillips, and (on behalf of the City of Big Bear Lake, which was also named in the suit) attorney J. Michael Summerour. Per Michael Perry, who spoke to KBHR from Needles following the judge's ruling, “The judge ruled in our favor, and the City must remove the initiative from the November ballot.” Though official documents on today's ruling had not yet been forwarded to the City of Big Bear Lake, the City's Public Information Officer Cheri Haggerty did tell KBHR, “The City of Big Bear Lake is unable to comment on the ruling because it is an issue between two private parties.” According to the Registrar of Voters office, the initiative generated by McLean and approved by the City's Clerk had not yet been submitted for the November 4 election. Per Terry Kouba, Chief Deputy Registrar of Voters for San Bernardino County, “We were aware of the ordinance, but it hadn't yet been filed with the Registrar of Voters for the November election. We were expecting it, pending this court case.” (Background on this case is on our Archive 2008 page, in stories posted on April 11, February 13, and February 6.)

Big Bear Airport Pilots Association Hosts Free Flights for Kids, in Young Eagles Program on Saturday
The Big Bear Airport Pilots Association will again sponsor the Young Eagles program tomorrow, July 12, from 9am to 11:30am. Young Eagles is a free flight program for youth ages 7 to 17 years old, and is held on the second Saturday of each month from April to October. The Young Eagles program has been in place locally for five years, and pilots with the Big Bear Pilots Association have taken hundreds of children on flights from the Big Bear City Airport. Those young eagles who participate on Saturday will be given a pre-flight review of flying, a flight in an airplane and a certificate. No reservations are needed, though a parent must sign a waiver of liability prior to the flight. For more information on the Young Eagles program at the Big Bear City Airport, call Roger Schmidt at 585-0266.

Fulmer New Assistant Principal at BBHS; Amburgey and Haston Named to Principal Posts at Elementaries

At this week's meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Bear Valley Unified School District, a new assistant principal was named for Big Bear High School, as Jennifer Turley resigned at this last school year's end. Long-time BVUSD employee Tina Fulmer will assume the role of AP at BBHS for the coming school year. Fulmer started her career with the district as a teacher at Big Bear Middle School, and has been a counselor at the high school for the past two school years. In a previous school board meeting, Trustees named Kevin Amburgey to the post of North Shore Elementary School principal, where he has served as teacher and, this past year, as interim principal. Baldwin Lane Elementary kindergarten teacher Jeannette Haston will make the move to Big Bear Elementary School as the site's new principal given Sharon Congdon's retirement. Haston had assumed administrative duties at Baldwin Lane at the start of last school year, before current Principal Rosa Murillo joined the elementary.


Local photographers Cathleen Calkins and Scott Cordner displayed their scenic pictures, taken
from California to Siberia, during last weekend's Pine Knot Village Art Walk. The two will share
more photos from their collection during Saturday evening festivities at the North Shore Trading
Company as part of the this weekend's Big Bear Paddlefest in Fawnskin. For more info on local
art activities, visit artsmda.org; for info on the paddlefest, visit gopaddleacanoe.com.

Big Bear Paddlefest Includes Kayaking and Canoeing Clinics, Sunday Morning Race and Kids' Fun Paddle
There is still time to register for this weekend's Big Bear Paddlefest 2008, which will include a 10K, 5K and Kids' Fun Paddle on Sunday, launching from Captain John's Marina on the North Shore at 8am July 13. Paddlers who aren't yet ready to race (though all levels are welcome) can participate in canoeing and kayaking clinics on Saturday, at a cost of $15 if registered for Paddlefest, or for $25 per clinic if not racing on Sunday. The weekend-long event, hosted by the North Shore Trading Company in Fawnskin, will also include an outdoor-industry sports exhibit and boat demos, as well as a Saturday evening slide presentation offered by local photographers Scott Cordner and Cathleen Calkins, who will share their recent kayaking experience in Siberia. The adult Paddlefest competition features prizes including Mitchell paddles, a beachside condo stay, and two nights at Northwoods Resort, and race fee is $50, though free for the Kids' Fun Paddle (which launches at 9:30am). Event organizer Jim Dooley of the North Shore Trading Company tells KBHR, “To be a part of our first, inaugural Paddlefest will be special, because it will go on for a long time!” Those interested in participating can register online at gopaddleacanoe.com or in person at the North Shore Trading Company, though there will be no on-site registration on Sunday morning. As Dooley explains, “We've got to have everyone bring their canoes and kayaks on Saturday, so we can do the Quagga Mussel inspection.” For more information on Big Bear Paddlefest 2008, please call 866-3414.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sierra Club Offers Free Xeriscape Garden Tour Saturday; Garden Club Hosts Flower Show at the PAC
Having introduced the Firewise Planting Guide earlier this gardening season, the Sierra Club Big Bear Group now provides more Valley-specific gardening information with this Saturday's free Xeriscape Garden Tour. Per the Sierra Club's Christie Walker, “The Sierra Club Big Bear Group, in conjunction with the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, has created a pamphlet on firewise gardening, which we will be handing out at this year's sixth annual Xeriscape Garden Tour on Saturday, July 12. This informative brochure combines the principles of defensible space with drought-tolerant/native plants and explains which plants should be planted where, to create not just a drought-tolerant landscape, but a firewise landscape as well--an important consideration when living in the mountains.” This year's self-guided garden tour launches from Eminger's Mountain Nursery at 41223 Big Bear Boulevard, where local experts will be on hand to address questions on composting, native plants and Xeriscape, and landscapers will be on site at some of the seven gardens on the Valley-wide tour. As Walker encourages, “Switching over to a more natural, Xeriscape yard or garden will not only save money on water, but is a beautiful alternative to water-thirsty lawns and more traditional plants.” To participate in Saturday's tour, simply arrive at Eminger's (across from Denny's) between 9am and noon to pick up a tour booklet and map to the gardens, which will be available for viewing until 4pm. In a separate (also free) event, native plants will also be on display at the Big Bear Garden Club's Flower Show at the Performing Arts Center on both Friday (from noon to 5pm) and Saturday (from 9am to 2pm) so, if we may, Big Bear is blooming with floral opportunity and information.

Skatepark and Basketball Court to Be Added to Teen Center, Which Is Open to Youth This Summer

San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, this week, did approve the expenditure of Proposition 40 funds that would allow for a modular skatepark to be installed at the Big Bear Teen Center and, per Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District's Reese Troublefield, plans are now officially underway for the grand opening of the skating facility, to be held on Saturday, August 16 at 10am. The Teen Center, located on the Community Church by the Lake campus on the Boulevard at Knickerbocker, has also benefited from monies raised at two events in recent weeks. Big Bear Choppers has said that $5,000 in proceeds from their June 7/8 Ride the Mountain event will go to the Teen Center, and the Eagles tribute concert and fundraiser at Swim Beach on June 28 garnered $9,300 which, combined, allows for the staffing and summer operation of the center for Big Bear's youth. Of the funds raised, Troublefield tells KBHR, “It's going to be enough to keep it open, and do some other stuff to enhance the building.” The Center, which opened in the spring of 2007, is open to those in 6th grade through 16 years old, during the summer, from 2-6pm Monday through Saturday, and provides a safe and supervised place for Big Bear's youth to hang out. The facility includes two 46” TVs with video games, ping pong and foosball, and Troublefield says that the plan is to add a basketball court this month. When school resumes, on August 4, the Teen Center will revert to serving 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, and will continue to be open Monday through Saturday.


Artist Dani Montoya was among area artists to participate in the Fourth of July weekend's Pine
Knot Village Art Walk in Big Bear Lake. Montoya creates pine needle baskets using the pine
needles from her backyard in Green Valley Lake. She told KBHR that residents in her community
gathered together to watch the fireworks from a cul-de-sac that, since the Slide Fire, now offers
a better view of Lake Arrowhead.

Two Small Earthquakes This Morning, Centered Outside of Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake
We felt a small earthquake here at the KBHR studios today and, as it turns out, there were two small tremors this morning. The first, at 8:15am, registered a 1.1 magnitude centered six miles north northwest of Big Bear City and, then at 10:32am, there was a 1.7 magnitude quake centered six miles north northwest of Big Bear Lake.

CSD Adopts Pan Hot Springs Meadow Habitat Management Plan to Protect Four Endangered Plant Species

The Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District unanimously decided to move forward with their Pan Hot Springs Meadow Habitat Management Plan (or HMP), which CSD staff developed with the assistance of biological consultant (and former Big Bear resident) Dr. Timothy Krantz, Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Redlands and recognized expert on the plant species in the Pan Hot Springs area. In his presentation to the CSD Board on Monday, Dr. Krantz first identified the Pan Hot Springs meadow as the site of the Serrano Indians' Kukatat legend, and pointed out that the area contains at least 16 species of rare plants found only in the Big Bear Valley and Holcomb Valley. The Pan Hot Springs Meadow has been identified as proposed critical habitat by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as it includes the federally-endangered San Bernardino Bluegrass, Pedate Checkermallow, the native California Dandelion and the Slender-Petaled Mustard (of which, Krantz says, “This is probably the largest colony in existence on the planet.”) and the federally-threatened Ashy Gray Paintbrush. Of the roughly 135 acres of CSD property, just east of Paradise Way and south of Highway 18, Krantz said, “Only a small portion of this is sensitive, but I've surveyed the entire property.” Having reviewed the property and sensitive species and others, such as the non-native yet intrusive rye grass that was introduced for cattle grazing, the HMP proposes the designation of a restricted covenant area of approximately 40 acres to protect the endangered species, yet free up the other acreage for potential park expansion or other uses by CSD. As CSD's General Manager Mike Mayer explained, “The reason we chose the restrictive covenant, a hybrid legal document, is because it provides the district with the greatest control over the property and establishes the necessary protective measures to satisfy the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” CSD hopes to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game, the San Bernardino National Forest, the University of Redlands, Ray Bowling (owner of neighboring Pan Hot Springs) and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to implement the goals of the habitat management plan, to conserve and improve the habitat of the rare plant species. Once the plan was adopted by the CSD Board, Krantz said, “This is a great day for me. It's great to see it finally getting protected and sanctioned.”

World Champion Skier Tanner Hall in Big Bear Lake Yesterday for Production on Film "The Massive"
If you saw movie trucks and equipment at Big Bear Lake's west end yesterday, production on the film “The Massive,” starring world champion freeskier Tanner Hall, was underway at the Log Cabin restaurant. The interior scene shot in the Log Cabin will be used in the film's opening sequence, director and producer Constantine Papanicolaou tells KBHR and, he says, “We've shot all over the world—Utah, Colorado, Austria, Alaska, Tahoe, and up in British Columbia as well. This is Tanner Hall's movie; Tanner is the star.” Twenty-four-year-old skier Hall, who was first to earn the title of World Superpipe Champion and has a record seven Winter X Games gold medals, takes to the slopes throughout the action film “The Massive,” which is scheduled for a limited release in September of 2008 before going to DVD.

Bear Valley Electric Asks Customers to Voluntarily Reduce Electric Use Today, Especially This Afternoon
Bear Valley Electric asks that customers continue their voluntary reduction of electric use through today, especially from 3 to 6pm, as high temperatures and high demand on the power grid have prompted a “Flex Alert” for those on the California power grid. Bear Valley Electric customers are not expected to