Numbers are fascinating. Some are so big we can abbreviate them, just like acronyms. Some are so small we abbreviate them too.
Idyllwild has only one road (Highway 243) through town. It goes both north and south.
Idyllwild has one fire department, but three water districts. We have one elementary school, no public high schools, but one great private high school, which concentrates on the artistic disciplines.
No, I’m not going to enumerate a census of Hill businesses, but we should acknowledge our three gas stations, but zero purveyors of “fast food” from national chains.
To get to double digits, we have to count more than 50 volunteer groups. While some, such as the local Isaak Walton League chapter and the 39ers have faded, others are still strong after many years, even decades.
Here in Idyllwild, we live differently than friends and family closer to sea level. We’re higher and more distant.
When I first moved here, the Internet helped me maintain a connection to the “real” world. While those digital connections have improved greatly over the years of my residence, my focus has grown less distant and more concentrated on where we call home.
While I have no rigorous data to confirm this assertion, I firmly believe Idyllwild and the more broadly defined “Hill” are havens for helping humans.
I can’t believe how many volunteer groups we have. I know some people feel I write too much and of little merit regarding these groups, but I am always in awe of our friends’ and neighbors’ willingness and capability to “just do it themselves.”
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not suggesting that, given our isolation, living here should produce residents who are indolent and befuddled. But we seem much more organized, invigorated and much less motivated by pecuniary incentives.
Just this week, the Idyllwild CinemaFest completed its fourth year — bigger than ever. There were more films to see at more venues and they were much better films, according to many patrons. Sure, some people made some money, but similar to the August Jazz Festival, the essentials were crafted by volunteers.
My rambling comes to a point. Last week, I encouraged some to volunteer for two local county-related programs — the CSA 36 Advisory committee and the new Historic Review board. I hope some readers took advantage of the opportunity.
But today, I’m urging all of us to get involved in several other efforts, which are local and dependent upon just us to protect the neighborhood.
On Saturday, the august Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council is sponsoring a community meeting to discuss the presence of the Goldspotted oak borer amidst our local forest. So far only one has been confirmed. If more are here, the possibility for a devastating environmental disaster exists.
While we won’t be able to confirm whether more have migrated here until spring, it behooves us all to learn more about what can be done.
A second effort involves policing our community. The growth of property crime has been staggering in the past 15 months. A group of businesses are discussing what options and alternatives could be taken to enhance the local public safety.
I’m not advocating vigilantes, although some would prefer that approach. I’m encouraging all of us to be more vigilant. The Sheriff’s Department has released photos of the possible thieves’ vehicles. Take a look (see page 2). Have you seen these cars somewhere on the Hill? If so, call the Sheriff’s office.
I am optimistic that we’ll stop this problem and turn it around. Not because I see a “Lone Ranger” or hero on the horizon, rather I believe we all share these ideas and goals.
Finally, Idyllwild Fire Department is creating an auxiliary to help with duties, other than fire fighting. The first organizational meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.
Now back to the numbers. So, three new opportunities for residents, even part-time friends to get involved in our community. “Three” is a prime number and a single digit.
I have frequently said that one letter-to-the-editor represents 10 or 20 readers with similar perspectives.
This week, that commonality of goals was demonstrated several times. For example, look at the Great Blue Heron photographs on page 32. Three separate photographers saw the bird, took time to take a photograph and then to share it with the Town Crier.
The same thing occurred with sunset photos. Three different people submitted sunset shots this week.
Finally, on page 7, both of this week’s columnists tackled the same subject — gun violence. Only Conor O’Farrell lives full-time here. Dr. Alberto Manetta has a second home in Idyllwild. Yet both felt compelled to write on the same topic.
Let me stress, that our columnists choose their own topics. I do not tell anyone of them what to write.
So the cumulative effect of these three “synchronicities” creates optimism that collectively we will confront and over come these three public safety issues because living on the Hill breeds success.
It’s belated but it’s sincere. During the Christmas and New Years’ holidays, the Town Crier was closed two days each week. That delayed the paper, we thought, just two days, from Wednesday to Friday.
However, unexpectedly, our former printer closed, and developing working relationships with the new printer who is located in San Marcos was more difficult during the holidays.
We are sorry for the inconveniences and assure our readers and advertisers that we have returned to the normal schedule and are finding our association with the new printer to be improving.