Thursday, December 17, 2009

H1N1 flu shots

Restrictions on the availability of the H1N1 (swine) flu vaccinations are being lifted Monday. Riverside Coiunty departmant of Public Helath distributed a press release yesterday making that announcement.

Dr. Richard Goldberg, who gratefully also thanked, "This happened through the efforts of Cassandra Lynch and Britta Barton at the Rivirside County Dept. of Health.", also said they would vaccinate whomever comes into Town Hall Saturday.

He will have 500 vaccines. Young people and pregnant women are the highest priorities, please encourge any of those sorts whom you know to come.

the county release follows:

December 16, 2009

Press Release

Media Contact: Sean Nealon, Public Information Officer

951-358-7193 (work) or 951-712-3382 (cell)

Public Contact: 2-1-1 or 1-800-464-1123

All Riverside County Residents Can Now Get H1N1 Flu Vaccine

Starting Monday (Dec. 21), all Riverside County residents can walk into 10 county family care centers without an appointment and get the H1N1 flu vaccine.

Riverside County public health officials are no longer limiting doses to people in priority groups because vaccine shipments continues to arrive and officials are confident there is enough to vaccinate anyone who wants a dose.

*We want to get the H1N1 vaccine out as fast as possible,* said Dr. Eric Frykman, Riverside County's public health officer.

Public health officials strongly encourage everyone, especially those in priority groups, to get vaccinated. The priority groups are: anyone 6 months to 24 years old, caregivers of infants less than six months old, pregnant women, health care and emergency service workers and adults age 25 to 64 with chronic medical conditions.

At the family care centers, additional nurses have been brought in to provide the H1N1 shot and nasal spray vaccinations. County residents who recently received the shot at the Corona Family Care Center appreciated the express-lane-type experience.

"It was cool," said Cody Dunn, 24, of Norco. "Real quick. Simple. Go in. Sign the paperwork. I was in and out in five minutes."

The family care centers are offering the vaccine from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The centers will be closed Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Centers are located in Corona, Banning, Jurupa, Perris, Indio, Palm Springs, Rubidoux, Lake Elsinore, Hemet and Riverside. For locations visit or call 2-1-1. Residents with cell phones with area codes not in Riverside County can call 1-800-464-1123.

Individuals with a cough or fever should wait until the symptoms are gone before being vaccinated. To slow the spread of illness, residents with flu-like symptoms are encouraged to stay home from work or school. Everyone should wash their hands regularly and cover their coughs and sneezes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bye Bye VHS

In a low turnout election, Measure P collected nearly 88 percent of the vote. Underwhelming turnout, reflected int he lack of much debate. Mail-in ballots decided the hospitals disposition.

Votes were posted at the Riverside County Registrar of Voter's site shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m. At that time, those in favor of the sale of Hemet Valley and Menifee Valley medical centers to a group of doctors — Physicians for Healthy Hospitals — out number oppenents nearly seven to one.

Here the final results (not official yet) as of 11:22 p.m. and 100 percent of the precincts reporting.

P-Valley Health System
184/184 100.00%
Vote Count Percent
YES 22,866 87.17%
NO 3,364 12.83%
Total 26,230 100.00%

At 10:35 p.m., the following totals were released

P-Valley Health System
145/184 78.80%
Vote Count Percent
YES 21,182 87.68%
NO 2,977 12.32%
Total 24,159 100.00%

initial results from 8:04 p.m
P-Valley Health System
119/184 64.67%
Vote Count Percent
YES 20,482 87.66%
NO 2,884 12.34%
Total 23,366 100.00%

Bogh announces for SD 37

Former Assemblyman, now businessman, Russ Bogh is officially running for the State Senate seat of Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit.

Bogh confirmed his intentions to file for Benoit's former seat in a phone call earlier today. Yesterday, he wrote a piece for FlashReport explaining his intent to be the conservative in the race.

The primary is April 13, 2010 and the general election will be June 8, 2010. Bogh and Benoit faced off in a competitive Republican primary during 2008. Benoit's victory was larger than expected. But Bogh is still well known through the senate district. The first announced candidate to replace Benoit, Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, has just moved to the district in order to qualify for eleccion.

Benoit resigned from the St. Senate on Dec. 1, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to replace former 4th District Supervisor Roy Wilson, who died in August.

RMRU team leads in finding missing Germans

Eight Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU) volunteers played a lead role in discovering what are likely the remains of three Germans missing in Death Valley since 1996. Multi-agency search teams including RMRU, Inyo County Search and Rescue, China Lake Mountain Rescue Group, San Bernardino Desert Search and Rescue, Calaveras County Search and Rescue, National Park Service, and U.S. Customs conducted an expanded search on Saturday Dec. 5 in a remote area of the vast national park. Thirty searchers and 3 dog teams participated in the mission.

A previous private search conducted by RMRU volunteers Tom Mahood and Les Walker on Nov. 12 triggered the expanded mission. Mahood and Walker, employing a search theory developed by Mahood, found what are believed to be the remains of the fourth member of the party, Cornelia Meyer. Positive identification of all remains awaits forensic confirmation by the Inyo County Coroner’s office.

Two U.S. Customs Homeland Security helicopters flew teams in early morning Saturday, Dec. 5. Teams were at the seach site by 8 a.m. The mission used Mahood’s search theory to canvas an expanded area centered on the site where Mahood and Walker found Meyer’s remains. Teams fanned out in half -mile radii from the site of the initial discovery. The RMRU team consisted of Les Walker, Lee Arnson, Tom Mahood, Tom Marshall, Lew Kingman, Nick Nickson, Chad Marler, and Pete Carlson.

According to RMRU President Lee Arnson and Walker, the combined teams found what are believed to be remains of the missing three by end of day Saturday, Dec. 5. Conditions on the day of the search were difficult, with winds gusting to 40 M.P.H. and nighttime temperatures dropping into the teens. Search teams camped overnight on the 5th, worked the site on the morning of the 6th, and hiked 19 miles out.

According to an account from Arnson and Walker, the search area was rugged high desert, remote and pristine. “It’s the most remote place I’ve ever been,” said RMRU team member Carlson. “Other than the four Germans, I don’t think anyone has ever seen this area before we did,” said Walker. “We spent the night at the site. I hiked up on a knoll and looked out over miles and miles of nothing — never a light and not a sound but the wind.” Arnson, remembering the desolation of the search area, wondered, “How in the world did they [the Germans] get here?” Walker observed that the Germans, as Europeans, probably had no comprehension of the vastness, desolation and danger of the American west, especially Death Valley in the summer. As to why they had taken the road they did, before getting stuck in a wash, Walker said, “They may have been intrigued to see this secret military base [China Lake Naval Weapons Testing Center].” Both noted the Germans couldn’t have made worse choices.

Arnson said teams tagged and secured the remains of the additional three. But authorities are keeping the exact location under wraps to prevent any unauthorized interference at the site. “We don’t even know the exact location,” said Walker. “We had to turn over all our GPS information coordinates to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.”

Once back at base camp, Arnson and Walker had to go back to perform another rescue, this time of a very sick member of another rescue team who had participated in the search and could not hike out on his own. They recruited a Park Service Humvee to bring the sick man in.

At the conclusion of the rescue, “All the other team members were shaking our hands,” said Walker.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

IFPD meeting Dec 14 or wait Dec 15 or …

I received the agenda for the IFPD special meeting this week. At the Dec. 8 meeting, the commissioners said the meeting would be 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15. However, the agenda I received said the meeting would be Monday, Dec. 14.

I have asked three different commissioners who confirm it is Dec. 15, but I have not received a revised agenda and don't know what's posted at the station.

As of 2 p.m., IFPD has the agenda posted and dated for Dec. 14. I guess that's when the meeting is despite what the commissioners say or said. Since it is a special meeting, they only need 24 hours to post the agenda, so we might see the posted one taken down Monday and a new one up that afternoon.

Fortunately I work close to station and can show up on both days, sorry for those of you who don't, may a call to 659-2153 will help.

Anyways, here the proposed agenda:



December 14, 2009. (5:30 p.m.)

The meeting is held at the Idyllwild Fire Station, 54160 Maranatha Dr. The Board may approve or take action on items contained in the discussion Calendar.

Call to Order:

Roll Call:

1. Riggi – Killingsworth –Schelly – Capparelli – Charles Stigall - Kunkle – Coopersmith

Pledge of Allegiance:

Consent Calendar:

1. None


1. Presidents

2. Vice Presidents

3. Chief


As Included

Action Items:

  1. 2009 / 2010 Budget Review
  2. Zoll Information Update

Discussion Items:

1. None.

Citizen Comments:

Citizens may comment on any matter as contained on the special meeting agenda.

Executive / Closed Session:

  1. None Scheduled.


If you challenge any decision in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public meeting described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to this agency at, or prior to, the public meeting.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Week end weather

I don't want to clog up the "Breaking News" blog with mundane weather reports or photographs, but living in Idyllwild creates a special sensation when there's moisture in the air! So check our my blog (JP's Blog, just look to your right for a list of all the blogs, under the Newsroom group, select the third one down) for the weather updates through Monday morning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

St. Senate District 37

The special election to fill the St. Senate seat with John J. Benoit left for the County Board of Supervisors will be June 8, 2010. The party primaries are April 13, 2010.

More remains discovered in Death Valley

According to a press release released by the Inyo County Sheriff's Department, a multi-agency search mission took place Dec. 5 and 6 to discover remains of the three missing members of a party of German tourists lost in July 1996 in Death Valley.

Additional remains were found and, as with the remains discovered by Les Walker and Tom Mahood believed to be those of Cornelia Meyer, they will be turned over to the Inyo County Coroner's office for forensic identification.

Agencies identified as participating in the search are Inyo County Search and Rescue, Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU), China Lake Mountain Rescue Group, San Bernardino Desert Search and Rescue, Calaveras County Search and Rescue, National Park Service and U.S. Customs.

Unofficial reports indicate that enough remains were discovered to identify the remaining three, Max Meyer, 4, Connie's son, her boyfriend Egbert Rimkus, 33, and his son Georg Weber, 10.

Eight RMRU personnel participated in the search including Walker.

The remains were all in a location about 9 miles from the Germans' rental van and about 3 miles from the boundary of the China Lake Naval Weapons Testing Center, the destination the Germans were apparently trying to reach.

Further updates and information will be posted when made available.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

IFPD meeting Dec. 8, 2009

From the left, Jeannine Charles-Stigall, Dr. Charles "Chip" Schelly, Peter Capparelli and Ben Killingsworth.

At the beginning of last night’s Idyllwild Fire Protection District meeting, the new commissioners were sworn into office.

Commissioner and Treasurer Killingsworth has been serving, but he begins a new elected four-year term now. (He began his service through appointment to replace former commissioner Dr. Emily Shaw.)

The meeting began at 5:30 p.m. and ended shortly after 8 p.m., It was raucous, funny, amiable, angry, long, sometimes tedious, informative and all in a good spirit. Quite a humbling and startling IFPD meeting, but an impressive start.

A new era seems to be dawning on IFPD. All five commissioners spoke out and frequently during the meeting. The President’s voice was not the only one the public heard.

Secondly, the commission seems quite willing and capable of working in front of the public and, most importantly, comfortable doing so without unanimity.

Thirdly, they are already taking steps to establish their open personality and commitment to the Brown Act procedures.

The commission scheduled a special meeting for 5:30 p.m., next Tuesday, Dec. 15. Killingsworth urged this upon his colleagues to get better acquainted with the agency’s budget and prepare for possible budget problems in the last half of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

In addition, the commission appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate the situation with Zoll Medical over the attempted purchase of $100,000 of equipment. In August, the commission recommended keeping the Autopulse untis and returning the rest of the equipment.

Zoll has requested full payment and IFPD still lacks authority to use the Autopulse equipment.

Commissioners Charles-Stigall and Schelly volunteered to pursue the issue and may have an interim report for the special meeting.

Schelly proposed to open up information for t he public through the use of IFPD’s Web site for posting agenda, minutes and commissioner packages. As an example of the commission’s receptivity of the Brown Act and open government, the majority supported Schelly’s reforms, but voted 3-2 to put them on the genda for the January meeting so the public would be aware of them in advance of adoption.

Although long, it was a good meeting. More details will be in the story for the print edition. Have to prepare for the Editor’s meeting at 8:30 a.m., Please come if you have time, see ya at CafĂ© Aroma.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

School Open

In case you're just getting up or started, Idyllwild School is open today. Most roads are very icey and driving is dicey in many locations.

be careful and, this morning, use chains if you have them (Cal Trans advises them on Hwy 74 from Valle Vista to Pinyon and Hwy 243.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Idyllwild School

Just in from Cal Trans, chain requirements!

Chains are required on all commercial vehicles (trucks or buses). All other vehicles

(cars, pick-ups, vans, etc.) must have either snow tread tires or chains on the drive axle.

This applies to following highway sections:

SR-74 from Mountain Center to Pinyon Dr.

SR-243 from SR-74 to Idyllwild

SR-371 from Anza to SR-74

School was out early — 1 p.m. guess all you parents are excited to welcome home the kids. Drive safely.

It's still snowing here, I think, but could be wrong, but we've exceeded the 1 inch limit the national Weather Service promised this morning.

Not many stores open today. Idyllwild Pharmacy is and the Chamber of Commerce is open. Call and ask for Andrea Cunningham, she has weather reports. 659-3259!

Oh yes, we're celebrities, Channel 2 from the desert was here today, they want to compare the snowfall to a sand storm. Huh?

Meetings and other notices — IFPD, Hist Pres, school

See JP's blog for tomorrow's agenda.

Historic preservation meeting postponed, don't know new date yet, but most likely after the holidays. (see marshall's note below.)

Idyllwild School still open, (see photos below).

Snow cancels Dec. 7 Historic Preservation District Town Hall meeting

Jerry Jolliffe, Riverside County Deputy Planning Director, confirmed this morning that the Dec. 7 Town Hall meeting scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. is postponed due to snow in Idyllwild. "Unfortunately, due to snow, the meeting to discuss the historic resources survey and the potential for Idyllwild to become a Historic Preservation District must be postponed," said Jolliffe. "It will be rescheduled as soon as feasible." With no way to ensure optimal weather conditions and the Christmas holiday approaching, the meeting may have to wait until January.

Jolliffe regrets the cancellation since he believes the formation of a Historic District could help business owners by providing Idyllwild a tourist niche and cache as the county's sole Historic District in addition to protecting historic resources largely absent in the much of the rest of the county.

We will announce the date of the rescheduled meeting as soon as it is set. Information regarding the meeting and any questions about Historic District formation can be found at and directed to the county planning website at

School & Snow

The word of the day for the Idyllwild School is "open". School as normal during a snow storm.Drive safely.

About 2 inches here at the Town Crier, but Hwy 243 has been plowed. We'll keep you posted on events during the day. Seen any missing snowmen or snowgirls, if so please report them to the Town Crier.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Esperanza Fire USDA OIG investigation

Today, more than three years after the Esperanza Fire of October 2006, the U.S Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General has released its investigation of the fire, the conduct of personnel and circumstances of the deaths of five U.S. Forest Service firefighters — Captain Mark Loutzenhiser, Fire Engine Operator Jess McClean, Assistant Fire Engine Operator Jason McKay and firefighters Daniel Hoover-Najera, and Pablo Cerda.

The OIG conclusion expressed in its transmittal letter to Agricultural Secretary Vilasak and Congression officials simply states "OIG investigative findings are consistent with the primary findings of the Forest Service and Cal Fire as presented in the Serious Accident Investigation Team report [of June 2007]. Our investigation raised no issues related to potential misconduct or unauthorized actions by FS personnel involved in the Esperanza Fire."

I'll have more details from the report and possible reactions later.