Big Bear Lake Fire Captain John Arden (third from left, with Firefighter David Jayne, Fire Chief Rod Ballard and Mayor Liz Harris) was celebrated for his contributions to the department, and the community, over 20 years.

Big Bear Lake, CA — Big Bear Lake firefighters were recognized during this week’s City Council meeting, in a presentation by Fire Chief Rod Ballard and Mayor Liz Harris. Those singled out for recognition and service pins were Captain John Arden and Firefighter David Jayne. Chief Ballard pointed out that Arden had been in Big Bear during the winter of 1969, though his career with the Big Bear Lake Fire Department dates to 1990, when he started as a paid-call firefighter. Citing Captain Arden’s many accomplishments, Ballard said, “He is a true, actual hero.” Upon receiving his 20-year pin, Arden told Council, “It has been a pleasure to serve the community that raised me.” Fifteen-year firefighter David Jayne, who has also worked for both the Forest Service and the County’s Public Works Department, also started as a paid-call firefighter and now oversees the PCF program, prompting Chief Ballard to say, “He is a mentor.” Jayne, who also grew up in the Big Bear Valley, took his moment at the podium to thank the guys of the department, and his wife.

BVUSD's Superintendent Dr. Nancy Wright and President Beverly Grabe thanked the City for cooperative efforts during the big storms of January (which resulted in seven school snow days).

Bear Valley Unified’s Superintendent Dr. Nancy Wright also stepped up to the podium, along with School Board President Beverly Grabe, and told Council that though she’s only been here three months, she was here for the epic storm. “I am honored to be a part of this community,” Wright said, “because it took care of my children in the school district.” She went on to thank the City, fire and sheriff’s departments for their assistance to the district before adding, “I feel very much at home here.” The City responded in kind, with City Manager Jeff Mathieu thanking Dr. Wright and the school district for generosity during the storms, as BVUSD facilities and staff were utilized in January.
Though the bulk of the February 8 meeting was directed toward Community Development Block Grant funding, Council also authorized the grant application process for the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation (to be implemented by city staff); approved expenditures of $22,000 for new trash cans and up to $30,000 for an emergency groundwater remediation project for the Performing Arts Center; and moved forward in the negotiation agreement with EAH Housing, Inc., to develop an affordable housing complex between the Interlaken Center and Sandalwood Drive. This project, for potentially 160 units on 13+ acres, was initially approved during the September and November presentations before Council’s Improvement Agency and the Planning Commission of Big Bear Lake.