This year, the Big Pine Civic Club hopes to attract new blood, engaging more townsfolk in their own community, with a new theme – “The Civic Club is the heartbeat of Big Pine.”
So said Club President Sandy Lund, who along with Vice President Howard Walker, Secretary Uncle Bud Jasper, Treasurer Cindy Schlick, Corresponding Secretary Rick Fields and Historian Valerie Hart encourage all the townsfolk to attend monthly club meetings. Citizens can make a difference in the character of the town by getting actively involved, Lund explained.
Inyo County Supervisor Mark Tilleman, Big Pine Fire Chief Damon Carrington, Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze and County Administrator Kevin Carunchio also attend regularly, reporting on town and county happenings, hearing concerns and answering questions.
Lund mentioned some of the topics officials have addressed.
Tilleman has presented an impending campground RV hook-up installations; Department of Fish and Wildlife removal of fish from the Big Pine Lakes Basin to protect the yellow-legged frog species; and animal shelter updates. Carunchio reports on the county budget and state- and federal-level impact on that budget; ways to prevent county personnel layoffs; and programs like the Senior Lunch Program. He also introduces new county employees.
Lutz keeps people aware of “crime trends, areas hardest hit, search and rescue events,” Lund said. “Last month, he reported the massive amount of theft LADWP and other large construction sites were experiencing and asking the residents to report if they see anything suspicious.”
Carrington focuses on recent fire events and cautions everyone to be aware of residential as well as in-town fire hazards. Recalling the 2010 Big Pine fire, Lund said, “Fire impacts all of our residents.”
Officials have answered questions about “the solar project being planned, campground maintenance and road closures – anything that a citizen may be concerned about, they may bring this concern to the meeting,” said the club president.
Aside from providing an informative platform, the Civic Club also sponsors events such as the annual Easter egg hunt and Christmas tree lighting and provides two Big Pine High School graduating student scholarships. The club partners with the American Legion to repair and fly flags on Memorial Day and other holidays. It is working with Big Pine Fire Safe Council and the Big Pine Volunteer Fire Department on a town clean-up, “particularly as it impacts fire safety and home protection,” Lund said.
On the second Monday in October, the Civic Club hosts a potluck meeting to hear the reports of Junior Boy and Junior Girl state representatives, which are sponsored by American Legion and American Auxiliary. “It is a high honor to be selected” for this national event, Lund said.
As for new goals, Lund said, “the Civic Club would like to build a safe path,” to be called Memorial Walk, along which people can walk or bike to The Triangle, just north of town where U.S. 395 and U.S. 168 converge, where the Roosevelt Tree and Veterans Memorial are located. The club is in talks with both Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Caltrans, Lund said.
To accomplish current and future goals, club leadership is eager to attract a more diverse attendance.
Walker said his 2014 goals are getting both the younger generation and more of the local business community involved in the Civic Club.
“I personally love my community and am looking forward to this year with gusto,” Lund said. “My personal goal is to get new energy and get more people involved in their community.”
Fields said he’s a club officer because he really loves the people of Big Pine. “It gives me an opportunity to give something back through the various on-going events and programs that the Civic Club provides.”
“Being an integral part of the Big Pine community is something I value and is a major reason why I chose to live in this bit of paradise,” said Hart, who, among her duties, maintains the club’s Facebook page. Big Pine’s archives include photos, letters, publications and maps. “Maintaining our small town’s history is an important part of keeping our community together. I feel honored to be the keeper of our past and present milestones, as well as our small feats and challenges that help make us the close community that we are and continue to strive for.”
The club’s 2014 Annual Membership Drive letter to residents states that membership is one way to contribute and support ongoing programs. Annual membership costs $10 per person or $25 per business and is a tax-deductible contribution. Although full participation is encouraged, it is purely voluntary. “We urge all ‘Piners’ to step forward and get involved by attending meetings, participating in our events, and especially to consider becoming an officer in the Big Pine Civic Club in order to provide leadership and direction for the future.”
The Civic Club meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the wheelchair-accessible Town Hall, 150 Dewey St. Meetings generally last one hour, Lund said, and everyone is welcome to attend the next meeting on Feb. 17.
For more information, call Lund at (760) 938-2343.