The Idyllwild Community Recreation Council (ICRC) directors previewed new and familiar recreational offerings that promise some fall and winter excitement for Hill residents. They also voted to amend their bylaws, expanding eligibility for sitting on the board to include “residents of the Hill,” with “the Hill” being defined as Idyllwild, Fern Valley, Pine Cove, Stone Creek, Garner Valley and Mountain Center.

The council has not abandoned its popular Speaker’s Series. ICRC Director Scott Redeker announced a new slate of speakers at the board’s Sept. 20 meeting

Beginning in October, Dr. Larry Kawano from Astrocamp will talk about “Astronomy Mythbusters” — conceptions or misconceptions the average layman might have about planets, our sun, galaxies, the big bang theory, the universe and black holes, one of this universe’s great mysteries. Kawano has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago.

Following lead-off speaker Kawano, Redeker has booked nine other speakers, whose topics will span science, the arts, and history. The core of his line-up features noted favorites Doug Austin presenting “An Evening with Charles Dickens,” Bob Smith who will talk about “Idyllwild, Past and Present,” Peter Askim, Idyllwild Arts composer in residence and music director of the Idyllwild Arts Orchestra, and performance artist Ken Young who will recreate French painter Edgar Degas, one of the founders of the impressionist school of painting. The series will run through June 2012.

Ice skating is ICRC’s fall and winter opportunity to introduce an exciting new recreational offering. ICRC will team with Ice Hopes, a company that provides portable ice rinks, to open a 50-foot by 120-foot ice rink on the Idyllwild Community Center (ICC) property. Seasonal skating will be available from November through February or March. Augmenting winter’s cold temperatures, Ice Hope supplies its own refrigeration unit that will create and maintain the ice, even during warmer winter weather.

As part of the agreement with ICRC, Ice Hopes head Gary Steven, a licensed contractor, will install the electrical panel and lighting for the rink. The company will also provide a Zamboni to keep the ice smooth for skaters.

ICRC Acting Chair Dawn Sonnier said she expects ice skating to be available the weekend before Thanksgiving. Ice Hopes will build the rink and provide skate rental facilities and a concession stand.

ICRC does not intend to charge Ice Hopes a rental fee because of ICRC’s tax status, according to Sonnier. “They [Ice Hopes] are installing the electrical panel and will provide some other donations,” said Sonnier. “If this proves to be worth it in the end, it will be considered next year. This is just a trial run this year. Ice Hopes will work with us to have fundraisers on the ice, youth sports (hockey tourneys, bloom ball, etc.) as well as other ideas that I will mention later.”

In other business, Director Emily White noted that ICRC has raised the $700 necessary to insure the Idyllwild Skate Park for a year. What ICRC lacks are the resources to pay staff. The board is appealing for volunteers who either have been or can be Live Scanned, a prerequisite for supervising minors. The board stated it would also be helpful if volunteers had basic CPR and first-aid skills. Contact Claudia Posey, who will chair the volunteer committee, at (951) 659-9832, if interested in volunteering at the Skate Park.

Regarding the playground to be built on the ICC property, Sonnier noted that the tentative date for a public hearing before the Planning Commission will be Monday, Oct. 24. The public can make comments at that meeting about the planned playground. Sonnier said she would send out a mass email with the Planning Commission contact information for people who cannot attend the meeting so that they can lodge comments by email.