Last Saturday, following the untimely death of his wife Stacey, Idyllwild Fire Reserve EMT Vaughn Warriner’s co-workers — Idyllwild Career Firefighters Association, Idyllwild reserve firefighters and the Idyllwild Volunteer Fire Company — took to local streets for a Fill-the-Boot campaign. The campaign raised about $4,500 to help fund the wife and mother-of-two’s funeral expenses.

How extraordinary what these co-workers did to help this family and what the community, and maybe even tourists, gave to the cause.

When you read Warriner’s posts on Facebook, he is heartbroken, pouring out what his wife meant to him, and feeling the support from family and friends. He talked about the last time he saw her leave the house.

He chooses to keep active to avoid becoming too depressed. He stays up-to-date on news and, in turn, keeps his friends up-to-date on such things as the funeral service and his life without Stacey.

(Stacey also was an EMT with the Morongo Fire Department. See story on page A6.)

He is blessed to have co-workers who would do more than just encourage him on social media; they actually hit the streets to raise money for this man’s family. We wish you the best, Vaughn. And kudos to Idyllwild Fire.

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Kudos also go to Idyllwild Water District directors and interim general manager for using true analysis to decide to drop the recycled water project. And, for being honest with the public about the fact that Foster Lake was to be used to store it.

The previous  board relied on who they chose to believe vs. true data. If they had even studied that true data, they would have seen that the project didn’t add up. Even when they hired Tom Lovejoy as a consultant to tell them it was a bad idea, they still decided to go ahead with it, defending it till the cows come home.

People don’t use enough water for irrigation to justify recycling local wastewater so it financially doesn’t make sense to build a $1 to $2.5 million treatment and recycling plant vs. a new $100,000 well. And if that well produced just 10 gallons per minute, that would be equivalent to the recycled program.

Storing recycled water in Foster Lake would diminish the quality of the lake water because of a higher salt content of the recycled water.

The increased costs would have to be passed along to the customers.

Kudos, also, for finding Jack Hoagland and for those five brave folk who stepped up to lead IWD into a sensible and transparent future. Four of the board members attended a recent Brown Act session, along with members of Idyllwild Fire, Pine Cove Water, CSA 36 Advisory Committee and CSA 38 Advisory Committee. Good for them all, good for the community.

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Finally, pay attention to the front-page story on the county budget, especially those of you concerned about having more Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies present during snow concerns. We are about to experience a huge drop in patrols because of cuts coming.

When people complain about not having enough patrol units in the unincorporated areas, they aren’t paying attention to what their county representatives are doing in Riverside. This affects the sheriff in ways over which he has very little control. Putting new deputies on the streets is years-long in training. In other words, when we lose deputies through budget cuts and then we have a cash-cow year where the department gets money, you won’t see the benefit for years.