By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY – Staff Writer
At the June 6 meeting of the Crest Forest Municipal Advisory Council, representatives of FEMA and SBA who announced that, although the Disaster Assistance Center has closed at the Twin Peaks Community Center, the deadline for disaster relief applications has been extended to July 20, 2023. They have already received 2,150 applications for help from the local area and claim to have approved $5.5 million in loans, so far. Initial applications must now be sent to FEMA through their website – DisasterAssistance.gov – from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays or by phone.
A representative from the SBA is now on hand at the Rim of the World Recreation and Park District office at 26577 Highway18 in Rimforest to assist in applying for an SBA loan from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. You must apply through FEMA before applying for an SBA low-interest recovery loan.
Free summer transportation
The summer trolleys and now even Mountain Transit Routes 2 and 4 on the mountaintop, plus Dial a-Ride, are free for everyone to ride for the next two years, announced Mountain Transit General Manager Sandy Benson. She suggested looking at their website, Mountaintransit.org, for the schedules and pickup points. The trolleys run from Crestline to SkyPark and Lake Arrowhead to SkyPark on Saturdays and Sundays all summer long and holiday Fridays. This free transit program was so popular in Big Bear these last two years that it has been expanded to the west end mountain communities.
Fixed Routes 2 and 4 also accept teens who need to go to work or to Lake Arrowhead Village for concerts and other activities. In the fall, Mountain Transit will reevaluate the routes and schedules to see where adjustments need to be made for better connections with other schedules. If anyone has suggestions, contact them at (909) 878-5200.
Mountain Transit is creating a learning program to teach youth how to use public transportation and they are considering a scavenger hunt that could be taken by bus, where the youth earn points as they collect the various objects. For more information or to give suggestions on how to implement this program, contact them at [email protected].
Pothole repair update
Jess Saldana from county Public Works explained that weather has been delaying pothole repair as they cannot patch potholes in wet weather. They plan to have Lake Drive patched in time for Jamboree Days and intend to come back and repave the entire road in the fall. When that occurs, ADA ramps at the curb will be installed and new striping will occur.
An audience member asked to have the roads swept since there is still a lot of cinders on the roadways. Another asked that big equipment not be in the way of shuttle buses when Corks & Hops takes place.
Reports from agencies
County Fire’s Joe Barna stated they are trying to get rubber tracks for all of their snow track vehicles, as the metal ones broke twice as often as those with rubber tracks and required twice the repair time. He reported there is a fast weed regrowth after the snows, but they currently have full moisture content, which reduces the fire danger.
County Fire, in cooperation with other agencies, is attempting to remove the homeless encampments at the foot of the mountain, as they will create a fire risk as the weeds dry out. County Fire also has a fire risk assessment program for residential homeowners to make a property firesafe. Call (909)336-7086 to schedule an assessment.
He recommends using the “Ready, Set Go” preparation for evacuation program. They can’t prevent intentionally set fires; however, with new cameras and investigation they can apprehend arsonists and the public, with proper clearances, can help to mitigate their property’s fire danger. The TENS system can notify registered residents when a fire occurs and, with pre-action plans and preparation, lives can be saved. Those who operate STRs should let their visitors know how to be fire aware and about evacuation procedures.
Inspectors from Land Use Services are out doing weed abatement fire clearance inspections, starting at the lower elevations. They will send out notices for properties that need additional weed clearance and, if those notices are ignored, the county will send out weed clearance crews and bill the property owner.
New CHP Sgt. M. Alvarez was introduced by CHP’s Lt. Napoleon Solis. Alvarez is a new resident of the mountain and formerly worked in Los Angeles and Santa Ana CHP offices. There will be a DUI check point this July. Residents who find road debris left after an accident should contact the station and let the CHP know.
The Running Springs CHP office is currently under construction, but they are continuing to do business from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the back parking lot to sign off tickets and other business. There’s a sign directing visitors to reach the officers on duty. The CHP will be showing off their new station during their annual car show in September.
A representative from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station warned to be on the watch for EBT skimmers, on all card terminals, especially gas stations where they can steal your identity. If there is a small pinhole near the keypad, it may be compromised.
The sheriff’s department was involved in breaking up and arresting the second most wanted skimmer suspect in the state last month in conjunction with the FBI. He is being held on a no-bail arrest warrant, having stolen over $100,000 while under observation.
Sara Green, representing the Crestline Chamber of Commerce, updated the MAC on the Jamboree Days events, with the parade at 10 a.m. on July 1 with numerous announcers along the parade route and fireworks that evening at 9 p.m. over Lake Gregory, weather permitting. There will be a Fun Zone on the tennis courts all day with KOLA radio broadcasting updates all day with games and prizes. There will be vending zones behind the 7-Eleven on Lake Drive and at the corner of Forest Shade. The Arrowhead Credit Union parking lot will have a beer garden with The By-Products band performing.
Funds for the 9 p.m. free fireworks show over Lake Gregory are being raised sthrough the Grand Poohbah contest and through the sale of the Fireworks Haze IPA beer at the local bars and at the Friday Market Night at Lake Gregory. The chamber must raise $15,000 to pay for half of the fireworks cost, as the Lake Gregory Company is also paying half.
Lake Gregory Company
General Manager Nathan Godwin said $463,000 has been approved to dredge Lake Gregory. The water from Huston Creek is still flowing into the lake and the lake is still higher than the overflow boards, so the lake still has outflow as well, resulting in narrower beaches.
The county has raised the entrance prices to the beach area to $15 and the all-access water park pass is an additional $15 for a total of $30, which is at least $25 less than elsewhere, making it the most affordable inflatable water park option in Southern California. It’s open from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. daily through Labor Day, weather permitting.
Lake Gregory has seen heavy trout stocking recently – 11,000 pounds – as they missed some stocking dates during the blizzard, plus they have received an additional 2,000 pounds from the state. They will be doing three more 1,500-pound stockings in July and August. See their website, LakeGregory.com, for dates and fishing licenses. They will be planting large trophy-sized catfish soon. Fishing and hiking are available from sunup to sunset; the park is closed after dark.
Camp Switzerland has received approval for the basic design. The children’s playground near the San Moritz Meadow and dog park did not get approved for the grant they were seeking, but a mothers’ group is working with the park to get donations to make the park happen; a GoFundMe page or something similar may be created.
Lewis Murray reported from Supervisor Dawn Rowe’s office that he will invite Burrtec to the next meeting to explain the new trash policies the county has adopted, as the rules above the 4,500-foot level are different from the rest of the county. He suggested doing yard cleanup prior to that as it is questionable if pine needles will be picked up after that date.
He explained some of the difficulties the county experienced in clearing the massive amounts of snow that were experienced. It was suggested that maybe three levels of road clearance be established and to always plow more than one lane wide as fire trucks could not access some areas.
The next Crest Forest MAC meeting will be held on July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the San Moritz Lodge; the public is invited to attend.