Tuesday, June 29, 2010

July Lemon Lily Month

Idyllwild may be a small part of Riverside Coiunty, but today, with the help of Supervisor Jeff Stone, Idyllwild was front and center at the board of supervisors meeting. The following story is a first person report from our new correspondent, Jenna Hunt.

The Riverside Board of Supervisors proclaim this July Lemon Lily month

By Jenna Hunt


The endangered lemon lily native to Idyllwild now has its own month thanks to the efforts of Idyllwild citizens who are promoting the Lemon Lily Festival.

The Lemon Lily Festival scheduled for July 16, 17, and 18 in the heart of Idyllwild was honored and proclaimed as the “Festival of the Idyllwild Lemon Lily,” and the lemon lily received it’s own month in July, 2010 at the Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.

“It’s an absolutely gorgeous flower with a beautiful scent,” said Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone during the proclamation. “There are very few of these lemon lily’s left. The Festival will be the start to bring the lemon lily back to prominence.”

Stone had previously given $2,000 towards the buying and planting of lemon lily plants throughout the creeks in Idyllwild, organizers said.

A group of seven Lemon Lily Festival volunteers sang the official Lemon Lily Song titled “Lemon Lily … I Love You,” to the Supervisors and a packed crowd of about 75 people. The song was written by Idyllwild resident Marilyn O’Connor.

“It’s really inspiring to have recognition by the county for our event,” said Doug Yagaloff, of the Idyllwild Business Roundtable.

Yagaloff and the group of volunteers presented lemon lily plants to the board of supervisors as a symbolic gesture, but they were for show and not to keep.

“They are so rare they have to go back to Idyllwild,” Yagaloff said of the plants.

Stone, a long supporter of Idyllwild, said he desires to keep the community flourishing.

“Idyllwild is one of the most special places in the third district,” Stone said.

The Lemon Lily planners said they hope that this year’s proclamation is the beginning of annual support for the three-day educational festival and the prolific growth and appreciation of wild lemon lilies in the mountains.

“It’s created a very special relationship between us and our supervisors,” said Brent Miller, with the Idyllwild Business Roundtable.

The Lemon Lily Festival has created a strong tie in the community with about 70 percent of businesses supporting the endeavor and other organizations like Rotary, American Legion and area churches signing up to provide assistance, said Yagaloff.

The inaugural event will have a Lemon Lily Walk with children’s scavenger hunt, crafts for children, a lemon lily planting and blessing. There will also be live music with a country hoedown with “Dennis Riley and the Mountain Pioneers,” and music by “Change Required.” There will be a pancake breakfast and a BBQ dinner in additions to the many restaurants offering specials for the event.

The educational seminars aimed as fostering education and appreciation for the lemon lily will be held throughout the festival, Yagaloff said. He said they will also have native plants for sale during the festival.

“The lemon lilies are disappearing and we are at a critical juncture,” Yagaloff said. “We want to spread the word about the Lemon Lily Festival.”

The Lemon Lily Festival was first conceived when local flora expert David Stith and U.S. Forest Services worker Kate Kramer teamed up and decided to help promote the Lemon Lily in its dwindling numbers, Stith said. Stith came to the Idyllwild Business Roundtable with Kramer’s idea and it launched, he said.

“The Roundtable group completely fell in love with the idea and that’s how it started,” Yagaloff said. “It’s an opportunity for every group in town to be involved.”

Stith said he is in awe at the progress the Lemon Lily Festival.“It’s unbelievable,” Stith said.

In a survey of Willow and Tahquitz Creeks, Stith said he found 2,662 lemon lily plants growing in the wild, but the numbers need to be double this or greater, he said. “My goal is to replant the lilies in the creek,” he said. “It’s wonderful that everybody is coming together for a similar goal.”

For more information, www.lemonlilyfestival.com.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

County officials warn businesses about scam involving fraudulent health inspectors

Restaurants and other businesses in Riverside County should beware of people posing as health inspectors who try to charge fees or conduct other fraudulent activities, the county Department of Environmental Health announced today.

Throughout Riverside County and California, restaurants are receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be health inspectors. The caller asks the business to schedule inspections through a computerized phone system using a special code.

The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) does not regularly schedule inspections, and does not use a computerized system to make phone calls. The department has NOT developed a new inspection process. Any caller identifying himself or herself as a Riverside County health inspector asking you to schedule inspections using a code is part of a fraud scheme

For protection against this scheme and others, please be aware that county DEH staff and representatives of any legitimate governmental agency will have photo identification. Ask for photo ID and business cards if you have any doubt about the authenticity of an inspector visiting your business. If you have any question about someone claiming to be a DEH employee, please contact the department at (951) 358-5172.

You also should never give out personal or business identification information over the phone. If you are contacted by someone you believe might be fraudulent health inspector or suspect a fraud scheme, contact local law enforcement.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact our Environmental Health office at (951) 358-5172.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

IBRT dinner for Supervisor Stone

Last night, the Idyllwild Business Roundtable at a dinner to thank 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone for his generous assistance to the town and the whole Hill. Nearly 50 people attended and enjoy food which was largely potluck, but included scrumpious dished from Gary Budnick.

After dinner Supervisor Stone discusses some of the issues concerning Idyllwild on which he had just met during Wednesday. The details are provided in the post below.

The evening ended with tone reading the Board of Supervisor Lemon Lily month proclamation (see two posts below) and several renditions of "Lemon Lily … I love you."

Below are some photos from the evening:

the Three tenors leading us in "Lemon Lily"

Stone reading the proclamation to the group.

Supervisor Stone's comments

During the Idyllwild Business Roundtable (IBRT) dinner for 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone, he made several announcements regarding the idyllwild’s future.


“I’m tired of the delay.” Stone began after announcing he had come directly to idyllwild from a meeting about the situation regarding the proximity of the propane to the Idyllwild Library. The idea of enlarging the library has been bouncing between the town and the county supervisors since 2000.

Stone said the county has decided to completely remodel the library at its present location. He said the remodeled facility will incorporate “green” concepts, abundant skylights and infused with state of the art technology.

For example, based on the new constructed library in Menifee and Sun City, individuals will be able to check out books using computers, thus avoiding the wait for the librarian to serve everyone.

Using Community Development Building funds, the county may be able to contribute $400,000 to $500,000 for the refurbishment of the town’s library.

Historic Preservation

Stone said the he has found money to complete the historic preservation overlay study. This step should be compelted within the next nine months. He is anxious to accomplish this project and avoid or deter the many frivolous lawsuits the were filed in Julian over the past five years.

Lemon Lily Proclamation

Stone read the Board of supervisor’s proclamation that will be adopted at Tuesday’s meeting. Doug Yagaloff distributed copies of “Lemon Lily, … I love you” song, written by Marilyn O’Connor. He said the locals who attend the Supervisors meeting will serenade the board before the proclamation’s approval.

A copy is posted in the previous blog. See below.

Idylliwild Trailer Park

“We’re putting the [owner] on notice,” Stone said. Remediation and mitigation work needs to occur, he said. Then emphasized that he and county will enforce the safety requirements with as much compassion as possible.

“We won’t close it down, but we won’t jeopardize the safety of Idyllwild,” he stressed. “We all need to be compassionate and cooperative.” But he expects cooperation to work in both directions.

Public restrooms

The county is also investigating the use of modular equipment which could accommodate visitors to the town. A site with water and plumbing may be necessary, he said. But the county is actively exploring options for this long-time problem.


“Idyllwild is a very important part of the county,” Stone emphasized and added his excitement over how many events will be held in the six months starting July 1. He mentioned the Lemon Lily Festival, Jazz Festival, the Christmas Tree Lighting and the next film festival.

Finally, he did declare how much Idyllwild means to him and this district. Following this year’s census, the county will be redistricting its five supervisorial districts and Stone wants to keep Idyllwlld. He gave notice that he may ask for support at future board meeting to help ensure it remains in the his district.

Lemon Lily Proclamation



Lemon Lily Month

July, 2010

WHEREAS, on July 16, 17 and 18, 2010, the community of Idyllwild will host the Lemon Lily Festival, a three-day schedule of events all centered on the restoration of what was once a major Idyllwild tourist attraction – the Lemon Lily, a flower that once graced the Hill along perennial streams and in wet meadows, canyon bottom seeps and springs; and

WHEREAS, the Lemon Lily Festival is a community event organized under the auspices of the non-profit Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks and it has been dubbed “A Festival for Education, Celebration and Restoration”, to highlight the uniqueness and rarity of one of the San Jacinto Mountain area’s most precious native flowers, whose numbers dramatically declined, in large part, to bulb hunters who removed them by the thousands as well as degradation of their natural habitat; and

WHEREAS, the Lemon Llly Festival is going to turn back time in Idyllwild with an olden-days theme and the planting of the Lemon Lily bulbs, which will be the start of bringing the plant back to prominence, which without intervention, their future in California is uncertain; and
WHEREAS, the Lemon Lily Festival’s objective is three-fold; 1) education: to generate and implement educational programs, course material, children’s curricula, and promotional materials that support awareness of the native Lemon Lily and the importance of preserving its natural habitat; 2) celebration: to hold an annual 3-day festival that focuses on the awareness and restoration of the Lemon Lily; and 3) restoration: to conduct a multi-year, multi-phase restoration project of the Lemon Lilies in the San Jacinto Mountains, the first phase of which is to plant nursery-obtained bulbs in the Lily’s natural habitat along the steams of Idyllwild, while later phases focus on the germination of seeds collected by the Forest Service and planting them in local wilderness areas; and

WHEREAS, the Lemon Lily Festival’s highlights include an around-town Lily Walk, an art show, guided walks to Lily Creek and a back country hike in search of native Lemon Lilies, planting of Lemon Lily bulbs, a barbecue sponsored by the American Legion Post 800, an old fashioned hoedown with live fiddle music and square dance lessons, an outdoor pancake breakfast sponsored by the Rotary and a “Pioneer Town” with hands-on activities and demonstrations by artisans of goods from a bygone era;

NOW THEREFORE, Let It Be Known, that the Board of Supervisors of Riverside County does hereby recognize and proclaim the month of July, 2010, Lemon Lily Month and July 16, 17 and 18, 2010, the “Festival of the Idyllwild Lemon Lily” and wishes them the best for a successful event!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hemet Unified selects new Superintendent

The Hemet Unified School District's Governing Board announced that it has selected Dr. Steven Lowder as the finalist for the position of District Superintendent. In announcing the selection, Board President Joe Wojcik said the Board was impressed with Dr. OLowder's track record of achievement in each position he has held. "Dr. Lowder believes in building and continuously improving all systems so every child is provided with a strong academic and social foundation that will lead to success in every grade and in their future," said Wojcik.

Dr. Lowder is presently the Superintendent of the Lincoln Unified School District in Stockton in California's Central Valley. He successfully guided a $200 million capital construction bond project that improved facilities throughout the district. He also managed diminishing resources effectively, something the district will be facing in the coming years.

Dr. Lowder earned his B.A. in Liberal Studies from Humboldt State University in 1975, his M.A. in Educational Administration and Supervision in 1985 from Humboldt, and his Doctorate in Educational Policy, Curriculum and Instruction in 1992 from U.S.C. in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

IFPD special meeting Wednesday, June 16



Idyllwild Fire Protection District Board of Commissioners

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The meetings will be held at the Idyllwild Fire Protection District,

54160 Maranantha Drive, Idyllwild, Ca

Call to order

Roll call: Capparelli – Killingsworth – Schelly – Stigall – Riggi – Andrewsen

Pledge of Allegiance

Citizens’ Comments

Action items

~ The Board may approve or take action on any items contained in the agenda. ~





~ Announcement of actions taken during closed session ~

Next regularly scheduled Board meeting will be on July 13, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Jimmy Johnson dead at 77

Jimmy Johnson, patriarch of Idyllwild’s historically important Johnson family, and son of Gerald “Jerry” Johnson, a prime mover in Idyllwild’s emergence as a residential community, died Saturday June 12 at 7:10 p.m. at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. The cause of death was congestive heart failure, according to son Jay. Johnson, “Jimmy” to his friends, was 77.

His passing severs a direct link to the seminal days of Idyllwild’s post World War II growth spurt, when, owing to the entrepreneurial initiatives of his father Jerry Johnson, Idyllwild began to evolve from a small community of fewer than 500 people to the Idyllwild of today. Jimmy was part of that historical arc — a man who watched it all happen and who also played an important role in Idyllwild’s maturation.

In 1946, Jerry Johnson and two partners bought Idyllwild All-Year Resorts from Dr. Paul Foster. The purchase of numerous downtown village businesses including the Idyllwild Water Company, Rustic Tavern, Idyllwild Theatre, Idyllwild Market, Idyllwild Stables, 1,500 subdivided lots, and an additional 320 acres returned ownership of most of present day Idyllwild to local control. After the Idyllwild Inn burned in May 1945, taking with it the ballroom where locals had long danced, Jerry Johnson played a key role in getting Town Hall built and dedicated. He donated the site on which it now stands. Jimmy, who was 13 when excavation for the basement started in November 1946, recalled helping mix sand, cement and water to make concrete. “We needed a place,” Jimmy remembered during an interview for an article in the current Visitors’ Guide,. “We used to have songfests, big name bands, dances, and we needed a new social center.”

In the same interview, Jimmy recounted his and his family’s long history with Idyllwild and his dramatic entrance into this world. “My grandfather was a preacher in Long Beach,” Jimmy remembered. “My mom [Eleanor Poates] and dad moved to Idyllwild in 1928.” On a visit to Long Beach, when Eleanor was pregnant with Jimmy, she went into labor and was rushed to the hospital. Jimmy recounted that he was born during the 6.4 magnitude Long Beach earthquake, on March 10, 1933. The quake claimed 115 lives, but at least one, Jimmy, made his debut while aftershocks shook the hospital. Eleanor and Jimmy had to be moved to the hospital grounds temporarily for reasons of safety.

With that kind of arrival, it is not surprising that Jimmy lived life large. According to sons Jay and Steve, he was a Korean War veteran, a Mason, an avid hunter, fisherman, nationally competitive trap shooter and ham radio enthusiast who helped get Mile High Radio Club up and running.

After father Jerry died in the early 1960’s, Jimmy took over the family real estate development business. He built the first small restaurant, the Tax Shelter, at Eleanor Park, the site of present day Jo’Ans, and developed and built many residential sites. He continued to travel to shoot in competitions and to hunt and fish. “Dad liked to travel,” said Jay. “He loved going salmon fishing in Oregon at Winchester Bay and deep sea fishing in Mexico.”

Jimmy Johnson leaves behind sons Jay and Steve, grandsons Jason and Craig, siblings Jerry Lee, Carol Anne and Joanne, and his companion of many years, his English Hunting Cocker Spaniel, Sheila. Johnson’s wife Marrianne preceded him in death in 1994.
Services for Jimmy Johnson are on Thursday, June 17 at 10 a.m. at the chapel of Miller-Jones Mortuary at 1501 West Florida, Hemet, telephone (951) 658-3161. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Jimmy’s name to any heart or cancer society.

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 8 election results overview

Riverside County, in June 9 initial reporting, showed the lowest voter turnout (16.52 percent) in the state for the June 8 election. But as over 100,000 ballots not counted in initial published tallies began to be counted, overall turnout rose to 20.71 percent by the morning of June 11, with 72,000 ballots still to be counted. In the county and state, most results came in as expected with the notable exception of the apparent upset by Judge Paul Zellerbach of first term Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco. June 9 tallies had Zellerbach defeating Pacheco by a relatively comfortable margin of 52.8 percent to 47.2. By the morning of June 11 that spread had narrowed slightly to 52.12 to 47.39 but it appeared that the remaining uncounted ballots would not overturn the result.

Zellerbach’s victory was unanticipated. His campaign was not as heavily funded as incumbent Pacheco’s, owing to a limited time he had to raise funds. Zellerbach took a leave of absence from his duties as judge to make the run and could only begin raising funds in February when his leave of absence became effective. Although there is an outside chance that currently uncounted ballots could change the result, Zellerbach is preparing his transition. Pacheco believed his “tough on crime” message would carry him to victory. Voters apparently looked for a broader vision for county justice administration, which a majority said Zellerbach offered.

In his race for State Senate District 36, Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone came up short against current Assemblyman Joel Anderson (AD 77). The 36th takes in Murrieta and Temecula in Riverside County where Stone is well known but the district is mostly comprised of a large swath of San Diego County where Anderson is better known because of congruencies between AD 77 and SD 36. Geography further complicated Stone’s chances because another candidate, Kenneth C. Dickson, is from Murrieta, Riverside County neighbor of Temecula, Stone’s hometown. Although Stone handily carried the Riverside County section of SD 36, 47.8 percent to Dickson’s 24.36 and Anderson’s 18.97 percent, he lost the full district 30.2 percent to Anderson’s 40.4 and Dickson’s 20 percent. Had Dickson not run, it is possible Stone could have defeated Anderson, since the aggregate of their vote totals would have beaten Anderson by a significant margin.

In other races, current Assemblyman Brian Nestande (AD 64) cruised to victory with 76 percent of the vote against Jeffrey Tahir; appointed Sheriff Stan Sniff soundly defeated retired Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Frank Robles 63.28 to 36.72 percent; John J. Benoit was elected to a full term as Fourth District County Supervisor over challenger Gary Jeandron by a margin of 55.86 to 44.14 percent; and Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack easily outdistanced challenger Clayton Thibodeau 69.11 to 30.89 percent for the right to face Democrat and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet for the California 45th Congressional District seat. Pougnet was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

State races played out as predicted. Former Democratic Governor Jerry Brown will face Republican political novice and EBay CEO Meg Whitman in a contrast of generations and political insider/outsider in the November 9 General Election; although Southlander Janice Hahn carried Riverside County in her race against San Franciscan Gavin Newsome, she lost to Newsome statewide. Newsome will face current appointed Republican Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado; in the race for California Attorney General, Democrat Chris Kelly carried Riverside County against Kamala Harris but Harris prevailed statewide and will face Republican Steve Cooley; former Hewlett-Packard CEO and first-time office seeker Carly Fiorina will face veteran Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer for U.S. Senate; and Democrat Dave Jones will face Republican Brian Fitzgerald for state insurance commissioner.

In state ballot measures, Propositions 13 and 14, Retrofitting and Open Primary won, with the retrofitting proposition winning overwhelmingly. Propositions 15, a trial balloon for public financing, in this case of the race for state Secretary of State went down 57.5 to 42.5 statewide, 60.77 to 39.23 in Riverside County; voters defeated Proposition 16, pushed largely by Pacific Gas and Electric, 52.5 to 47.5 statewide, 59.66 to 47.5 in Riverside County; and Proposition 17, funded largely by Mercury Insurance, allowing transfer of auto insurance loyalty discounts, failed by 52.1 to 47.9 statewide, 56.91 to 43.09 in Riverside County.

In the county, Republicans outvoted Democrats by almost 7 percentage points, 26.23 to 19.32 percent. Statewide, percentages of voters who voted by party will be available on July 16 when election results are certified.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Emmerson sworn in as state senator

Republican Bill Emmerson, former Assemblyman from Redlands (AD 63) was today sworn in as state Senator from Hemet (SD 37).

In taking the oath at a special ceremony on the floor of the California Senate in Sacramento, Emmerson said, "I am deeply humbled and honored to have bee selected to represent the people of Riverside County. In the State Senate, I will continue to fight to create more California jobs, strengthen our economy, and enact government reforms to get our state back on track.

"I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to implement policies that will rebuild our economy and get Californians working again."

Emmerson won on June 8 in a three way race taking 58.38 percent of the vote against Democrat Justin Blake with 30.87 percent, and American Independent Matt Monica with 10.75 percent.

Emmerson had accepted a June 4 Idyllwild debate invitation, but cancelled just before the debate with Blake and Monica was to have begun. It proceeded without him.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Zellerbach upsets; Stone loses

In the June 8 primary election, Judge Paul Zellerbach upset sitting District Attorney Rod Pacheco, Riverside County Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone was unsuccessful in his bid for State Senate, Sheriff Stan Sniff cruised to a full elected term, and Bill Emmerson switched Chambers and strolled to election in Senate District 37.

Riverside County Fifth District Supervisor Marion Ashley and Second District Supervisor John Tavaglione were reelected by large margins, and in a closer race, appointed Fourth District Supervisor John J. Benoit was elected to a full term over Gary Jeandron by a margin of 55.8 to 44.1.

Otherwise the night played out in California much as predicted, with Propositions 13 (retrofitting), 14 (open primary) passing and 15 (trial balloon for public funding of campaigns), 16 (PGE utility initiative) and 17 (Mercury Insurance initiative) going down to defeat.

In the fall Carly Fiorina will take on Senator Barbara Boxer and Meg Whitman will face former Governor Jerry Brown.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The great debate

Despite the sudden cancelation of Assemblyman Dr. Bill Emerson, the other two candidates for the Senate Dist. 37 seat appeared in idyllwild.

Justin Blake, Democratic candidate, below, moderates, Annamarie Padula and Doug Yagoloff.

Matt Monica, American Independent Party candidate.

Photos from the 2010 5K & 10K race and walk

Photos from the Saturday June 5

Karina Li, from Idyllwild School, was the 2010 Idyllwild Arts valedictorian. The Keenwild Helibase dedication.

How the lost hiker got to the desert tram station

Richard Wong, 23, of Valencia and a college student in San Francisco, confounded Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) searchers and all probabilities by turning exhaustion into a prodigious physical feat.

On Monday, May 31, Wong began hiking with several friends from Humber Park to what searchers believed was Tahquitz Peak. Around noon, short of the Saddle, Wong told his friends he was not feeling well, was experiencing extreme exhaustion and was going to head back to Humber. He never arrived.

At 3:30 a.m. Tuesday June 1, RCSD mobilized Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, who, along with Desert Search and Rescue and an RCSD helicopter unit, combed the area from the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tram to Humber and Tahquitz. Late Tuesday, at around 6:00 p.m., 32 hours after beginning his hike, Wong was sited by desert station Tram personnel in a canyon, under Tram towers, directly above the station. Officials hiked up and escorted him down.

How does a man who is too exhausted to go on after less than two hours on a trail, find the stamina and sure footedness to safely navigate his way to the peak. and then down the treacherous north face of Mt. San Jacinto, a descent that has beckoned to and broken other hikers?

“Tuesday was my mother’s birthday,” said Wong by telephone, “and I wanted to make sure not to worry her.” Wong then recounted his odyssey.

After his friends went on, Wong rested, then, feeling better, decided to start after them, but not to Tahquitz, as searchers initially believed, but to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto. And although Wong encountered other hikers and even a park ranger, neither search team nor RCSD’s helicopter ran into him because they weren’t searching where he was heading.

Wong said he got to the summit about sundown, and because it was still snowy there, realized he needed to hike out of the snow. “I thought I’d hike back to Humber, but the dark and the thickness of the trees convinced me I needed to stop for the night,” he said. Wong had on a t-shirt, basketball shorts and tennis shoes. “I also had a jacket and that pretty much saved me,” he said.

The next morning, at sunrise, Wong saw that he was still on the ridgeline and that the cables of the Tram were off to his right. He decided to follow the cables down to the desert station. “Ten decently sized hills turned out to be 80 or 90 with vertical drop offs,” re remembered. “I followed a little creek, with snow runoff, down the mountain. It looked shorter and a lot easier on a map.”

Wong said it took him 10 hours to get down the precipitous north face. “It was a bad guess and a bad gamble,” he acknowledged.

Many hikers lost and desperate hikers have looked from the ridgeline to the lights and civilization of Palm Springs below and decided to make the descent. Wong is one of the lucky few that made it on his own.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Emmerson cancels Idyllwild debate appearance

Citing a family emergency, Assemblyman Bill Emmerson (R AD 63 Redlands) cancelled his Idyllwild debate appearance at 2:42 p.m. on the day of the debate, Friday June 4.
Sponsoring organizations the Pine Cove Property Owners Association and the Idyllwild Town Crier notified Blake and Monica of Emmerson's last minute cancellation.

The debate, one of the only ones Emmerson had accepted during the campaign, was scheduled for 6 p.m. and proceeded with the other two candidates, Democrat Justin Blake and American Independent Matt Monica.

Shortly after receiving notification from Emmerson's staff, the Town Crier began fielding calls from off Hill media seeking to verify Emmerson's cancellation.

In anticipation of a large turnout including off Hill media, the Town Crier had moved the debate into the Fire Station Bay.

Attendees at the debate expressed upset and disbelief at Emmerson's cancellation on such short notice.

New BLOG!!

In case you haven't noticed, we have added a new blogger to our collection of writers. Yesterday, Nancy Layton, of Idyllwild made her online debut.

Please visit, read and comment.

Her BLOG is titled, "2 Authors, 4 Books, 10 Cities." Nancy will be touring the midwest for several weeks and sharing the tales and tidbits of life in the flatland.

Please say, "Hi" to Nancy and wish her well!

AAI's Plein Air Fest and 3-D Show June 12 & 13

Green Pillow by Paul Strahm

The weekend of June 12-13 promises to be one of the liveliest of the year in the art town of Idyllwild as the Art Alliance of Idyllwild rolls two of its most popular events into one fun-filled weekend. The annual Plein Air Festival and the annual 3-Dimensional Art Show and Gallery Tour are sure to thrill visitors and locals alike.

Plein Air is French for “Open Air” and, on Saturday, AAI artists will be scattered throughout the forest, capturing lovely and picturesque outdoor scenes on canvas. Enjoy appetizers and drinks as you stroll from gallery to gallery, watching the artists at work. The idea of Plein Air is to capture, with paint and canvas, a single moment in time. The result is a colorful “snapshot,” which will serve as a keepsake that will evoke fond memories for years to come.

The three-dimensional show presents art in 360°. AAI member galleries will open their doors to feature fine, original 3-D works that include ceramics, wood, clay, fiber, glass art, carved porcelain pottery, jewelry, furniture and mixed media. It all happens Saturday, June 12, from 12pm-5pm. Stop by any AAI member gallery to pick up your route map.

The culmination of both events takes place Sunday morning with a champagne reception, from 10am-noon, hosted by the Quiet Creek Inn (26345 Delano Drive). Come see the finished Plein Air creations and cast your choice for the Community Favorite Award. A juror will choose the First, Second and Third Place awards as well as Honorable Mentions.

For more information on these or other AAI events, please visit their web site at www.artinidyllwild.com or call the toll free number: 877-439-5278. To download a copy of AAI's Gallery Guide, click : http://www.artinidyllwild.com/AAI2010GalleryGuide.pdf

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hiker found

Late this afternoon, Riverside County deputies reported that Richard Wong appeared at or was found near the Palm Springs Tram.

More information will be available later.

Lost hiker, over 24 hour search

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Zeke Escobedo confirmed that a male college student from San Francisco, Richard Wong, resident of Valencia, is lost in a search area from Humber Park up to the Saddle and over to Tahquitz Peak. The search is currently focusing on Tahquitz Peak, the area to which he and two or more friends had intended to hike when they began late morning May 31.

The friends said that a mile short of the saddle, Richard said he was not feeling well, was experiencing extreme fatigue and was going to go back down to the Humber Park parking lot. He separated from his friends just before noon, but never made it back to Humber. The friends reported they saw no sign of Richard on their way back to Humber at the conclusion of their hike.

They did not report him missing until 10:53 p.m., when, according to Escobedo, they made the report at the Idyllwild Fire Department.

The Sheriff’s Department mobilized Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU) at 3:30 a.m. and later mobilized Desert Search and Rescue who took the tram up to the mountain station to cover the area, along with RMRU, between the mountain station and Humber Park.

As of this writing, the search has been going on for over 24 hours. A Sheriff’s Department helicopter unit surveyed the search area, including Tahquitz, with no reported sighting.

Wong is described as 6’1” tall, 185 lbs. 23 years old and dressed for light hiking.

His parents are en route from Valencia to Idyllwild.