Friday, May 28, 2010

Senate District 37 Candidate Debate June 4

On Friday June 4, at 6:00 p.m. at the Idyllwild Fire Protection District meeting room, all three candidates for the Senate District 37 seat vacated in December by John J. Benoit, will meet for one of the very few times all three have appeared on the same platform. The debate is sponsored by the Pine Cove Property Owners Association and the Idyllwild Town Crier.

The three, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson (AD 36-Redlands), and desert school board members Democrat Justin Blake, and American Independent Matt Monica, will answer questions in a typical debate format, with opening and closing statements, 3 minute answers to questions with 2 minute rebuttal.

We're interested in questions from the community. Please submit questions on this blog or by e mail to either to Marshall at the Town Crier, or Annamarie Padula, Pine Cove Property Owners Association at

Please submit questions by end of day Thursday, June 3.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hazardous Waste Collection Saturday

The following notice was received from Riverside County. On Saturday, Idyllwild residents can bring hazardous material to the county Roads facility just beyond the fire station on the right.

May 11, 2010


Contact: Diane Christensen, Waste Management Program Administrator
(951) 486-3200

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event in Idyllwild

A Household Hazardous Waste Collection event is scheduled on May 15 in Idyllwild at the Riverside County Road Yard, starting at 9 a.m. The collection is open to all Riverside County residents.

The Riverside County Household Hazardous Waste Collection event will accept residentially generated household hazardous wastes from Riverside County residents only. Business or non-profit waste will not be accepted. Typical wastes include used motor oil, paint, antifreeze, household and automotive batteries, pesticides, cleaning products, sharps (needles/syringes or lancets), fluorescent lamps, and electronic wastes such as televisions, computers, VCRs and telephones. Limit the amount of waste transported to no more than 5 gallons or 50 pounds maximum per vehicle.

The collection will not accept explosives, radioactives, ammunition, asbestos, compressed gas cylinders over 40 pounds, and infectious or medical waste other than sharps.

Event is subject to cancellation during inclement weather or for other hazardous conditions as determined by the county. The event will go from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Riverside County Road Yard, 25780 Johnson Road, Idyllwild, CA 92549. For questions or information, call (951) 486-3200 or (800) 304-2226.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

blood donation

A LifeStream Blood Drive and Marrow Screening will be hosted by the Idyllwild Fire Station from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 10.
Donors are asked to be sure at least 56 days have elapsed since last donating blood. Also, photo identification is required to donate.
Donors will receive points as part of the Gift of Life donor loyalty program that may be redeemed for items through LifeStream's online store and a discounted coupon to Knott's Soak City. Donors are eligible for a for a complimentary ticket with each subsequent donation until Sept. 26, 2010.

Burrown Owl

The following information was generously provided by Avianna Jones. Her letter to the editor appears in the May 6, 2010 issue of he Town Crier. Readers are referred here to see information on the owl's legal status and photos of the owl (one above and one at the bottom).

To the Editor:

Burrowing owls are listed as endangered, threatened, or a species of special concern in most states where they occur. In California, populations are declining and they are listed as a species of Special Concern.

The legal status of the burrowing owl (From Appendix F, California Department of Fish and Game Report on Burrowing Owl Mitigation, September 25, 1995):

"The burrowing owl is a migratory species protected by international treaty under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 703-711). The MBTA makes it unlawful to take, possess, buy, sell, purchase or barter any migratory bird listed in 50 C.F.R. Part 10, including feathers or other parts, nests, eggs, or products, except as allowed by implementing regulations (50 C.F.R. 21). Sections 3505, 3503.5, and 3800 of the California Department of Fish and Game Code prohibit the take, possession, or destruction of birds, their nests or eggs. ... Disturbance that causes nest abandonment and/or loss of reproductive effort (e.g., killing or abandonment of eggs or young) may be considered "take" and is potentially punishable by fines and/or imprisonment."

“Take” is defined in the MBTA to include by any means or in any manner, any attempt at hunting, pursuing, wounding, killing, possessing or transporting any migratory bird, nest, egg, or part thereof.

Individuals or organizations may be fined up to $15,000, and may face up to six months imprisonment for misdemeanor violations of the Act. Felony violations may result in fines of up to $250,000 for individuals, $500,000 for organizations, and up to two years imprisonment.

The MBTA protects all native birds and excludes only non-native birds and birds classified as game during designated seasons. A list of protected birds may be found on the US Fish and Wildlife Service website: The California Department of Fish and Game has published a report “Guidance for Burrowing Owl Conservation”:

We are so fortunate to live in a place with so many beautiful birds. They deserve our respect and protection as they work tirelessly to raise the next generation. Hopefully they will succeed and mountain residents and visitors will continue to be blessed by their presence.

Avianna Jones

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Snow difficulties for PCT hikers

“Bacon,” “Yellowstone,” “Skyward,“ “Trailhacker,” “Backtrack,” “Nitro,” “Schroomer” — each year Pacific Crest Trail through hikers known by their trail names stop in Idyllwild not long after beginning their 2,650 mile northward trek to the Canadian border. This year they are challenged by late snow. Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU) conducted an April snow survey that found 3 feet of snow still in the Saddle and likely more in the high country.

As a result, some PCT’ers are opting to rent vans to skirt local snow and ice encrusted sections of the trail and return at the end of their 6-month jaunt to complete the section they missed. Of the 300 or so hikers that begin, roughly 60 percent complete the entire trail to receive certification as “2600-Milers.”

Surprised by a six-inch Idyllwild snowfall on Wednesday and Thursday April 21 and 22, many hikers hunkered down in Idyllwild to wait out conditions, rethink next steps and regroup. One hiker, “Trailhacker,” fell down a snow and ice chute and had to be airlifted off Apache Peak, at a much lower elevation than local sections of the trail a little farther on. News of the cautionary episode spread through town and southward to hikers just approaching our local mountains.

“Shroomer,” Scott Williams from Martinez, California, was one who was opting for van rental and returning to the San Jacintos at the conclusion of his hike. He, as had others, had heard about Trailhacker’s fall and rescue. “We’re all talking to each other,” he said. “A bunch of people are still planning to go up [the week of the 26th],” he worried.

The local PCT office notified hikers of the potential dangers but can’t prevent hikers from going on through dangerous sections. PCT representative Sam Commarto acknowledged the risks but said, “It’s their hike and their adventure. We’re advising them that if they do this section they must have snow equipment, compass and maps. People need to be cautious.”

Trailhackers girlfriend came to get him on April 27th — his through hike deferred for this year.

Although bad for hikers, Idyllwild’s late snows are good for the mountain. Still, locals who know how surprisingly treacherous San Jacinto can be with late spring snow, have to worry about those PCT hikers who opt to continue on the mostly north facing high elevation sections of the trail.

Through hiker John Donovan from Virginia disappeared on May 2, 2005, much like this year, in a late spring snow. Donovan, whose remains were found a year later in a box canyon, almost a year to the day he disappeared, apparently lost the trail in snow.

Many hikers, not just those on the PCT, seriously underestimate these mountains. That mistake has too often proved to be fatal.