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• The loss of our friend Joyce Wheeler on December 27th has brought up many stories of her life’s attitude of helpfulness, not only shown in the way that Wheeler’s Ship-It Shop operates, but also toward life itself.

Years ago, one visiting couple considering a move to Johnson Valley was taken to meet Joyce because of her experience in property management. Sure enough, one of the houses she managed was to go up for sale shortly. She went with them over to the place, disclosing its history, its pros and cons. That couple is still here over 20 years later, and Johnson Valley would be a poorer place without them.

My own experience, when I was a newcomer living alone most days, became much easier; Joyce had set up a system called Home Alone. I called and left a message before the Ship-It-Shop opened. If they had no message from me (well, I sometimes forgot), they would call. Once, I was outside and did not hear the phone. Joyce’s trusty sidekick Lee Blakely actually came out to my house to check on me.

To their community-minded services, such as wrapping and packing hard-to-ship stuff, lending time on the computer after your old PC failed, directing lost delivery drivers to their customers tucked away on our dusty roads, always posting flyers for JVIA events, we must add to all these, Joyce’s fostering of at-risk babies (a kindness that benefits many other communities beside Johnson Valley).

Her son, Justin Leineweber, and his wife Legacy held a celebration of Joyce’s life last Sunday, in the Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden next to the JV Community Center. It turned out to be a bright sunshiny day.

Of course.🤗



Saturday evening, February 5, head for the Potato Bar, the JV PotatoFest at the JV Community Center. Your choice of lots of different toppings for you to load onto a big baked potato, including chili to pour on top or to enjoy as a side dish.


Dessert is included, all for only 4.00 per person, kids 12 and under 2.00. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Potato Bar at 5:00.


Stay afterward for announcements and the General Meeting, everyone is welcome!



• Operation Hammer Strike began 2022 by eradicating 185 more illegal pot-growing greenhouses! Among all the plants and dope seized, they confiscated 19 guns and eradicated two THC extraction labs.

Also on their done-and-dusted list:

30 suspects were arrested.
One electrical bypass was mitigated.
One stolen recreational vehicle was recovered.
One live fragmentation hand grenade was destroyed by deputies from the Sheriff’s Arson/Bomb Division.

Supervisor Dawn Rowe, who has done a great job on this, sent out an update on the Cannabis Abatement Ordinance. This speeds up the system of citing property owners who don’t clean up the disgusting, toxic mess those illegal operations leave behind.

So, County agencies do what they can, but this needs to be fixed! Our State Legislature must restore the penalty for illegal marijuana cultivation from a misdemeanor to a felony with big fines.

• Notice! The deadline for ad space reservations for the next Johnson Valley Journal is Friday, February 4th.

Yucca Valley and Hwy 247 business owners who offer OHV parts and service, travelers’ supplies, or home improvements, can reach many JV Journal readers directly with a low-cost ad! The layout design is free! Call me for rates or ad space reservation, please leave a message at 760-364-2646.

• Reminder, if you have not signed up yet, the Johnson Valley Improvement Association is still recruiting new members and renewals for 2022. Everyone is welcome, but only members who own property or reside within Johnson Valley boundaries may vote in an Association election or hold office (that’s if your dues are paid before January 31.)

Sign up in person at any Saturday Breakfast 7:00-10:00 a.m. Or download and print the attached membership application, and mail it with your check to JVIA.
Or sign up by secure credit card online at www.johnsonvalley.com . (Please download and print the application form to mail to JVIA.)

Annual dues, only 15.00 per person, cash, check, or credit card accepted. Any extra donation is always very welcome!

(If you are a new member, you receive a Free Breakfast Card when your application has been processed.)


• Our friend and former neighbor Stan Coutant recently sent around a video documenting the official dedication of our community well, situated up on Airport Road.  The people being introduced were members of the Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency officers and directors. (I have lived here for over 20 years and only one face is familiar to me.)

Stan is a historian and has preserved an amazing amount of material dating all the way from early homestead days. His mother Martha Coutant wrote the book, Heart Bar Ranch and Johnson Valley Neighbors (available at the Community Center), so you see Stan comes by his historian talents honestly.
He explained:

“During April of 1998 Dixie and I spent Spring Break at our JV homestead, where we were glad to be able to attend the dedication ceremony of our new community water well. In fact, we even shot a video there.

“Last week we came upon a box of video cassettes, including one labeled Lazarus dedication. This intrigued us sufficiently that we researched what would be needed to convert an analog video into the digital (computer) format.

“As a result, you can watch this video on YouTube. Hope you find it interesting. It’s yours to use as you wish, including for public display and announcements in newsletters. Running time is 18 minutes.”



(Some more community well stories to come, stay tuned.)


• If you have a story for the Journal, and especially if you took pictures at the Celebration of Life for Joyce Wheeler, please e-mail them to me by Wednesday, June 15. Or give me a call at 760-364-2646. You can dictate your story over the phone.

The US Mail works for vintage photos, too. Send to

Betty Munson
c/o Ship-It-Shop
51720 Hacienda Rd.
Johnson Valley CA 92285

Then they won’t get bent going into my little mailbox.


p.s. We love getting pictures of early days in Johnson Valley, too. Originals will be returned.



• To new readers of the JV NEWS who have not visited the Johnson Valley Community Center:

The mailing address is
50567A Quailbush Rd.



From Hwy 247, turn onto Larrea Rd, go 1-3/4 miles to Quailbush Rd. The building is on your left at the corner.

The Paul Van Hook Desert Dreams Garden is next to the parking lot, open to all. (Please help keep kids and dogs out of the garden railway layout; it’s easily damaged, and the trains won’t run with dirt on the tracks.🚂

Everyone is welcome to every event at the Center; you do not have to be a JVIA member.

Of course, you can address questions or comments to me anytime – ranchotaj@gmail.com



To our new members of the Johnson Valley Improvement Association, before lockdown in March 2020, you would have received the Johnson Valley Journal in your mailbox every two months. We plan to resume the regular publishing schedule beginning with the Mar-Apr 2022 issue.

You will also find the JVIA General Meeting, after the First Saturday Dinners in the Community Center, is another resource for learning what’s happening around here, and what’s happening with the Johnson Valley Improvement Association. The next meeting is on Saturday, February 5. Come on in, don’t be a stranger!

In between Journals, this JV NEWS e-mail includes stories and information published in the weekly community news columns in the Hi-Desert Star online editions, plus additional items of particular interest to Association members.

If you prefer not to receive these e-mails, reply and say Cancel.



Keep smilin’,


Betty Munson

Betty Munson
c/o Ship-It-Shop
51720 Hacienda Rd.
Johnson Valley CA 92285

By Betty Munson

Betty Munson c/o Ship-It-Shop 51720 Hacienda Rd. Johnson Valley CA 92285

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