By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
As we ring in a new year, staff members of The Alpine Mountaineer have carefully considered and then selected a handful of articles from the past year that we feel have had a significant impact on the lives and lifestyles of our readers. The year 2022 will be remembered by many as a year that began and then ended with tumultuous and destructive storms.
Jan. 6 – A rainstorm that began on Christmas Eve resulted in a sinkhole caving in a section of Highway 18 below Panorama Point. Officials closed the major route both into and out of the San Bernardino Mountains in both directions between 40th Street in San Bernardino and Crestline for several weeks, causing major delays, while motorists were re-routed onto Highway 138 and Highway 330.
Jan. 13 – Caltrans Public Information officer Emily Leinen announced that a section of Highway 18 that had washed out just below Panorama Point during a major downpour on Christmas Eve would be reopening to escorted, one-way traffic on or about the first week of February. (PHOTO: Recap 1)
Jan. 20 – Countywide, as of Jan. 3, there were 5,122 COVID cases in one day and 974 confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county. According to Mountains Community Hospital’s Disaster Coordinator and Education Manager Renee Limpus, COVID-related admissions to the hospital’s Emergency Room are at an all-time high. “Our admission levels are nearly double what they were at this time last year.”
Jan. 27 – Highway 18 is now open to through traffic, without the use of pilot cars, with the exception of brief periods while construction crews continue to replace center dividers and guardrails. Caltrans spokesperson Emily Leinen told The Alpine Mountaineer, “We opened two weeks ahead of schedule and we would have opened sooner but we had to wait until the new asphalt paving was cured and dry enough to drive on.”
Feb. 3 – Rim of the World Unified School District Superintendent Michelle Murphy sent a letter to the school community, informing them of her decision to retire at the end of the current school year to work on her personal health issues. Murphy said she was sharing the news now as she plans to work with the school board to help search for the next superintendent.
Feb. 10 – In an exclusive report to The Alpine Mountaineer, Crestline resident Sean Eshelman joined many other brave souls for the 13th annual PolaRotary Bear Plunge, an event that involves jumping into the frigid water of Lake Arrowhead. The event is designed to benefit the Lake Arrowhead Rotary Club, as well as a variety of other local charitable organizations that provide services on the mountain. (PHOTO: Recap 2)
Feb. 17 – Nathan Chen, a 22-year-old figure skater who attended Rim of the World High School in 2011, captured a gold medal at this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Chen, who had traveled with his family from Salt Lake City in 2011 to train at the Ice Castle International Training Center in Lake Arrowhead, is a three-time world champion, having also won the 2017 Four Continents championship and the 2013-14 Junior Grand Prix championship. He is also a six-time U.S. National Champion.
Feb. 24 – Lake Gregory Company General Manager Nathan Godwin made the following announcement: “We have started stocking trout at Lake Gregory. John Mendez from down the hill got off to an early start. He started catching trout in his favorite spot before the truck from Calaveras Trout Farm arrived. We call those fish ‘holdovers’ as they are from last year,” Godwin said, adding that Lake Gregory is well known for its ability to hold trout through all seasons because of its deep and cool snow melt water.
March 3 – Rim High School senior Hailey Chapman completed her high school wrestling career in impressive fashion on Saturday, Feb. 26 at the CIF Girls State Championships in Bakersfield. Chapman, who hails from a family that’s no stranger to wrestling championships, is the niece of Rim High School’s three-time California CIF wrestling champion Scott Chapman, who captured first-place honors in 1991, 1992 and 1993. “Wrestling is so much more than a sport to me; it is my life. Wrestling has taught me to be a disciplined individual in not only wrestling but also in life. It has taught me that not everything in life is given to you. If you want something bad enough, there are no excuses as to why you can’t or shouldn’t do it,” Hailey said. (PHOTO: Recap 3)
March 10 – Crestline has been named an International City of Peace. The International Cities of Peace has as its vision “to ensure everyone’s right to safety, prosperity and quality of life.” Since 2009, the association has “inspired hundreds of Cities of Peace in large and small cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods to take practical and impactful actions to increase the safety, prosperity and quality of life for all in their community. Crestline resident Rudy Westervelt, with the help of his wife, Karyn, launched the effort to proclaim Crestline an International City of Peace. Westervelt organized two peace conferences that took place in Ontario that were attended by hundreds of people from around the world.
March 17 – Returning home from a being in a battle zone can be difficult and may have long-lasting impacts, especially if injured or disabled. During the winter, the Rim Special Athletes program offers some of those veterans an opportunity at a special ski program, where the vets can have a confidence-building experience, despite any previous injuries, amputations or disabilities. Several times each season, veterans from San Diego’s V.A. Health Care and Rehabilitation program travel to Snow Valley, where the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard program brings veterans to learn to ski. While doing that, they have an opportunity to learn new skills that support their treatment goals. The program recently brought visually impaired skiers, those suffering from PTSD, single and double amputees using their prosthetic legs and other non-obvious, military-related disabilities to the mountain to practice their newly learned skills.
March 24 – More and more homeowners throughout the mountaintop communities are having solar panels installed on their rooftops in anticipation of reducing their rapidly rising electric bill. Solar panels generate their own power and can therefore greatly offset your monthly electricity bill, if not eliminate it. A Skyland area homeowner recently had nine solar panels installed on his southern-facing roof, which is perfect for a solar system. The homeowner and his wife chose to go solar because they are fed up with electric bills of over $200 a month. As an added bonus, they are eligible for a federal tax rebate of over $5,000.
March 31 – Highway 18 is still in the midst of being repaired following the washout that occurred last Christmas Eve. Caltrans was able to get the road repaired enough to reopen on Jan. 20 after almost a month of detours due to the closure. However, there are many additional repairs needed to make the highway secure and ensure that this type of road failure doesn’t occur elsewhere on the 55-year-old highway. According to Caltrans Public Information Officer Emily Leinen, the state road agency plans to use single-lane closures to enable workers to safely perform most of the additional work.
April 7 – The senior luncheon held at the San Moritz Lodge in Crestline on National Vietnam War Veterans Day – March 29 – was used as an opportunity to honor those who served during a very unpopular military conflict in America’s history. During the luncheon, two veterans who did serve in the conflict were each presented in a Quilt of Valor, made especially for them by Gina Siembieda and Teri Ostlie. James Beckman, 85, from Lake Arrowhead was the first veteran wrapped in a Quilt of Valor by Ginger Gabriel. The second veteran to receive the honor, also by Gabriel, was Gordon Claudius, who served in the Navy. (PHOTO: Recap 4)
April 14 – Thanks to the devotion of its volunteers, and generosity of public donations, Scots Lodge at Rim of the World High School strives to offer a helping hand to students who need it, when they need it the most. On March 29, after classes ended and the last school buses departed, the school opened its doors to the public to provide a tour of Scots Lodge in an effort to show the public where all of their generous donations, gifts and support have gone over the past four years since the project has started. The tour group, made up of locals, including members of the Lions Club and Rim of the World Historical Society, was led by Scots Lodge volunteers Jordana Ridland and Kristy Mrozek, as well as ROP/CTE Coordinator Stephanie Phillips. Known as the “Free Store” by students, the Lodge is a collection of small rooms containing large piles of various clothing items.
April 21 – Crestline’s new Friday night concert series is incorporated within “The Market at Lake Gregory,” which opened its inaugural spring/summer/fall concert season on Friday, April 29. The vibe they are trying to create is “Woodstock Meets Lake Gregory,” hoping to create an image of community of togetherness with peace., love and rock ’n roll, with some 40 vendors set up under the South Shore Pavilion roof. This is a kid-friendly event with face painting, balloons and a food court and beer and wine for those who are old enough to enjoy it.
April 28 – What Caltrans officials are calling a “slipout” at the north end of the historic Red Rock Wall turnout, just north of Baylis Park, will have Highway 18 closed to all traffic between the traffic signal at Lake Gregory Drive and Pine Ave. in Rimforest for an unknown duration. Caltrans Chief of Public and Media Affairs Terri Kasinga has said the closure could range anywhere from a few weeks to a month or longer.
May 5 – Valley of Enchantment Elementary School’s annual Science Night lured over 550 students, teachers, parents and guardians to the campus on Tuesday, April 26 to watch in amazement as children showed off classroom projects and demonstrated scientific experiments their teachers had taught them to perform in their classrooms. (PHOTO: Recap 5)
May 12 – The Heaps Peak Arboretum, maintained by volunteers of the Rim of the World Interpretive Association, held its annual spring native plant sale on April 30. They sold out of the hundreds of plants within an hour as customers were lined up by 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, In the first 20 minutes, they already had 85 customers.
May 19 – Roundup on the Rim, a cowboy-themed buffet luncheon held at the Lake Arrowhead Resort on May 15, raised over $22,000 for the Rim of the World Educational Foundation. The nonprofit organization supports quality educational programs that enhance student achievement by providing continuing financial support to preserve and encourage the educational excellence of students in the Rim of the World Unified School District.
May 26 – Last weekend’s Rotary Art & Wine Festival, held on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 at the Tavern Bay Beach Club, saw sunny skies and a warm breeze as over 1,000 participants spent the afternoon perusing fine crafted works of art and enjoying pours of fine wine and craft beer, all in an effort to help support some of the Rotary Club of Lake Arrowhead’s pet charities.
June 2 – It was standing room only at the Memorial Day service held at 11 a.m. in the San Moritz Lodge in Crestline, honoring those who gave their all in the defense of their country. The ceremony began with a video with a voice-over by former President Ronald Reagan, setting the mood for the ceremony. Master of ceremonies Pastor Bill Mellinger reminded the audience that not only had the service member lost their life but the entire family and their friends were forever affected by the loss.
June 9 – Caltrans has initiated an emergency repair project with a $1.9 million director’s order to make repairs to Highway 189 near Highway 18. On Friday, June 3, a portion of Highway 189 near mile post 0.2 eroded on the vertical slope below the route that resulted in the closure of one of two lanes. The route is currently under one-way traffic control and remains open to motorists and is the detour route for the full closure on Highway 18.
June 16 – Lake Gregory is now open daily for the summer beach season with new amenities and even more activities will open as the summer progresses. The beach opened for daily use on June 9 at 10 a.m. and will be open until Labor Day, weather permitting. Entrance to the beach area is $10. This year there are new rowboats that also can have electric motors added to tour the lake or for fishing.
June 23 – At their June 14 meeting, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved revisions to the short-term rental (STR) ordinance proposed by the Planning Commission. Key changes include: Permits are limited to two per person; occupancy will be based on the size of the dwelling with a cap of 12; owners will be offered an incentive to install noise monitoring devices; the number of STRs will be limited by parcel size; the permit number must be displayed on rental platforms; and automatic permit transfers upon sale of the property will be eliminated.
June 30 – Lake Arrowhead Village celebrated its 100th anniversary, with performances of many kinds, beginning with the McKenzie Water Ski School performing a three-person pyramid on water skis speeding around the bay area in front of the village and ended with the Village being filled with circus performers entertaining the crowd. Meanwhile, the Rim of the World Historical Society had set up displays of historical posters in storefront windows throughout the Village, as well as an extensive display of local historical items inside a former shoe store. (PHOTO: Recap 6