CHP Holding Sobriety Checkpoint July 11 in the Local Mountains

CHP plans DUI/Driver's License checkpoint this weekend. Don't drink and drive (ever!)

The Arrowhead office of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday, July 11 in the unincorporated mountain area of San Bernardino County

The CHP’s goal is to ensure the safe passage of each and every motorist. The checkpoint is a proven effective tool for achieving this goal and it is designated to augment existing CHP patrol operations. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can expect to be arrested. The objective is to send a clear message to those considering mixing alcohol and/or drugs with driving.

Funding for this checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Fire Burning Near Jenk’s Lake: Evacuations Underway

The U.S. Forest Service has just sent a news update on the Lake Fire that is burning east of Camp de Benneville Pines and south of Jenks Lake Road in the San Bernardino National Forest. According to the Forest Service the closest community near Jenk’s Lake is Angeles Oaks, off Hwy. 38. Recent information has also been received from Laura Dyberg of the Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council so I have combined and updated as much of the information as possible.

Currently, 7,500 acres have burned and at the time of the forest service press release  the fire continues to burn as it is only five percent contained. The cause of the fire is under investigation. In the information Laura  Dyberg released she said that 500 personnel, 32 engines, five air tankers, 13 crews, eight water tenders and three bulldozers are on the scene.

At the time of this release the fire was being fought by 32 fire engines, two air tankers,, seven helicopters (including those that are considered night-flying helicopters), one air-attack plane, 13 crews, eight water tenders and three bulldozers. Additional firefighting resources have been ordered.

The management of the fire i s under a Unified Command with San Bernardino County Fire and San Bernardino County Sheriff. A type 2 Interagency Incident team is expected to take over managing the “incident (AKA fire)” at 6 p.m. tonight.

Information I received from Laura Dyberg of the Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council said that structures are threatened.  All hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area have been closed Preserve to Onyx Summit.due to the proximity of the fire to many hiking trails. Also, the Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Whitewater  Preserve to Onyx Summit.


Senator Morrell Seeking “Women of Distinction” Candidates For Awards!

TrophyDo you know a woman who has done a lot for the community she lives in? If so, if she lives in Senator Mike Morrell’s 23rd Senate District you can nominate her for the 2015 Women of Distinction” award. Our mountain communities (and far beyond) are filled with women who give so much of their time, their love and their heart to helping make our mountain communities a better place.

If you know a woman like this (and I bet you do) please nominate her for this special award that the California senator will be honoring.

Acknowledging remarkable women for their contributions to California has been an annual legislative tradition since 1987. Celebrations include weekly recognitions of women’s accomplishments on the floors of both houses and the passsage of resolutions commemorating Women’s History Month. This year’s resolute was Senate Resolution 13 (lucky 13, I guess!). This local event will also be an opportunity to discuss issues impacting women, including two bills the Senator is authoring on access to midwife service. (Senate Bills 407 and 408).

Nominees should have a strong dedication to making a difference through acts of service, philanthropic efforts or other demonstrations of their commitment to the community. they must also live or work within the 23rd Senate District which includes Running Springs, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Loma Linda, San Bernardino, Running Springs, Highland, Banning, Beaumont, Calimesa, Yucaipa, Big Bear city, Big Bear Lake, Cedar Glen, Cherry Valley, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Hemet, Homeland, Menifee, Nuevo, San Jacinto, Phelan, Pinon Hills, Green Valley Lake, Arrowbear Lake and Wrightwood.

Individuals should try to nominate someone who has not been previously chosen. Honorees will be selected by a committee, so it is important that all the pertinent information information and attach a biography and photo, if one is available. Nomination forms must be complete in order to be considered. Forms can be sent via fax at (909) 919-7739, e-mail to Melissa or by mail to 10350 Commerce Center Dr., Suite A-220.

There are many women who deserve the honor and you probably know one or more of them. Give these talented, hard-working, generous women the opportunity to be selected for this honor. Without a nomination they really won’t win so put on your thinking cap and send your suggestions to Senator Morrell’s office.





County Supervisors and CalTrans Prepare for Snow in Mountain Areas

Caltrans logoThe California Department of transportation (Caltrans) district 8 partnered with San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and various agencies this morning to host a press conference to present information to provide safety tips and to prepare motorists for traveling to the mountains during snow events.

“Big Bear Valley is a hot spot for recreational activities. For visitors to enjoy the beauty of the San Bernardino mountains we ask them to please come prepared for the changing weather conditions,” said Board of Supervisors chairman James Ramos. “Not doing so results in unnecessary burdens to first responders and traffic delays for travelers going to the Big Bear valley,” he said.

“This is a good example of local and state agencies working together. We very much appreciate the visitors who come to play in the snow and ski in Wrightwood. But sadly, some folks are trashing the community, parking illegally, trespassing on private property, littering and even going to the bathroom on residents’ property. So we will be beefing up enforcement actions. Visitors are welcome, but those who trash our community are not,” said San Bernardino County vice-chairman Robert Lovingood

San Bernardino County Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford agreed “We welcome visitors to enjoy the snow in our wonderful mountain communities, but they shouldn’t spoil their visit by not being prepared. Bring and use chains, carry extra clothes, food and water; and please respect our forest and those who call it home by picking up your trash and not trespassing on private property.”

The California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County Sheriff, San Bernardino County Fire, United States Forest Service, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal-Fire) and the San Bernardino Public Works Department joined Caltrans district Director Basem Muallem to encourage safe driving on mountain highways during snow events.

Here are some additional helpful tips offered by officials:

!. Know before you go! Check weather conditions and road closures at: Make sure your car is in good running condition and that you have a full tank of gas before you go to the mountains. Check tire pressure, windshield wipers and vehicle fluids.

2. Have a charged cell phone for emergency use.

3. Be advised that unforseen weather can cause traffic delays and road closures without notice. Have patience, be courteous, reduce your speed and leave more space between vehicles.

4. Do not enjoy snow play in, or next to, roadways, private property or undesignated areas. Bring trash bags to  to stash your trash….never leave it behind!

5. Do not block traffic to install snow chains or play in the snow.

6. Bring Chains! Chains will be required to travel on mountain roads during snow events. Keep chains in your vehicle at all times when you travel to the mountains during winter months….when when chain control is not active. Only chain up your vehicle in designated chain control areas.

7. The mountains can be (and are) a  great place to spend time during winter months for family fun and recreation. Motorists should prepare for unforseen events and changes in weather that can cause immediate road closures or extended periods in your vehicle on the highway. Plan your trip ahead of time, know your destination and pick up maps at Ranger Stations for designated snow play areas.

Winter weekends bring heavy mountain traffic so have patience and follow all traffic laws. Following these simple tips can make the difference between life and death in some situations….and they will definitely add to making your trip a pleasant one!

Follow Caltrans on Twitter at For information on Caltrans projects, visit View traffic conditions at http:/ or view planned lane closures at


Sen Morrell’s Attempts to Get “Illegal” Fire Tax Axed: Authored New Bill

The state senator at a "meet and greet" last year in Blue Jay.
The state senator at a “meet and greet” last year in Blue Jay.

Igniting another debate over the controversial fire prevention fee imposed on rural property owners, Senator Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, has introduced Senate Bill 198 to repeal the illegal tax altogether. Assemblyman Jay Obemolte, R-Big Bear Lake, is a principal co-author of the measure.

“While the legality of the fire tax is more than questionable, it is also fundamentally unfair,” said Morrell. “It forces a small percent of Californians to pay a disproportionate share of fire prevention services. Additionally, approximately 98 percent of the homes in state responsibility areas are within areas already covered by local fire districts or county fire departments. As a result, many of these property owners are essentially being double-taxed without any appreciable increase in the services provided.”

The fire prevention fee was enacted in 2011 by the Governor and legislative Democrats who insisted that the state needed additional money for fire prevention in State Responsibility Areas. Opponents contend that the ‘fee’ many mountain residents are being charged is really a “tax,”  he said. Whereas fees are intended to pay for specific services, taxes are used to fund general government operations and require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. Because some of the revenue is being spent on the latter, it is arguably an illegal tax, he contends.

As an Assemblyman, in 2013 Morrell introduced AB 124 to repeal the fire fee. It passed out of its first policy committee hearing but was killed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. “The Governor and Democratic leaders claim the states finances and the overall economy are strong,” he said. “If this is truly the case, they should scrap the fire fee. But unfortunately, the bills keep landing in mailboxes of residents in the mountains and high desert. I will continue to work until the tax is repealed.”

Outside of legislative efforts, a class action lawsuit challenging the legality of the fire fee is working its way through the courts. The ultimate goal is to over it, with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Leading the effort. To learn more about its status, visit

SB 198 will be referred to committee and set for a hearing in the spring.

Senator Morrell represents the 23rd State Senate District which covers portions of Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles



Last Minute News on Road Work on Hwy. 18

Caltrans logoHello, all of you. I just received an e-mail from Caltrans that they will be working on Hwy. 18 between Lower Bonnie Canyon Bridge and Upper Waterman Canyon road. The work will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 15 and the center lane will be closed in the four-lane section. Traffic will be restricted to the outside lanes.

Caltrans will be replacing missing delineators in the center of the highway so please use extra caution in this area of the highway.


New York Yankees and USO Bring Christmas to Baghdad

Thank you to Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington for this information!



IThis past Christmas the 1st Infantry Division, the United States Department of State, the United Service Organizations (USO), the New York Yankees and many other organizations gathered more than 7,000 presents to show their support for service members in Iraq.

For deployed service members, Christmas can be a time of loneliness and missed opportunity. However, many people and organizations unite to prevent those who are deployed from feeling left out during this time of year.

“The donations come from people who want to let our military members know they support them,” said Priya Butler, director of operations, USO Southwest Asia. “We’re very fortunate to have a large number of Americans who love to contribute to these events and they do it every year.” One of the many gifts service members received were bags filled with items gathered, sorted and compiled by the New York Yankees players and family members.

“The team stuffed care packages for us in Yankee Stadium around Veterans Day,” Butler said. “This year they put together 6,000 packages and shipped them over to us. It is a great tradition we have with the Yankees and we’re very grateful for their support.”

The major league baseball powerhouse wasn’t the only well-known organization that wanted to give to those supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. “Sony donated a lot of PlayStation 4s and the military appreciation bundle packs,” Butler said. “The Xbox came from the NFL, which is a huge supporter of the USO and our troops,” Butler added. Other donated items includes Beats by Dre headphones, Apple iPads and iPods, Samsung Galaxy tablets, Christmas stockings filled with treats and many more items.

“It took a lot of effort from the 1st Infantry Division,” Butler said. “This was a month’s worth of planning.” Partnered with the division and other American agencies, the USO hosted the Dec. 21 event where the gifts were distributed. More than 200 service members participated.

“With the help of the ‘American Employees of Baghdad Association’ and the ‘USO’ we were able to put this all together”, said Staff Sgt. Dianne Hoffman, human resources administrator, 1st Inf. Division, who is deployed as part of the Combined Forces Land Component Command-Iraq.

Hoffman, along with several other soldiers, teamed up with Butler to help bring Christmas to Baghdad. “This is a joy,” Hoffman said. “I enjoy it immensely because it’s about giving back to the community we all work with, to pay it forward to the troops who don’t have the support from home.”