The first Big Bear Lake City Council meeting of the year opened with presentation items, including a big thank you to Santa Claus and the individuals who gave of their time to, as Mayor Liz Harris put it, “provide the holiday spirit and excitement, transforming our Village into a festive winter wonderland.” Among those on the City’s thank you list were Kat Sawyer, coordinator of “Christmas in the Village”; Vicky and Mike Roney, responsible for decorations on the Village Christmas tree; Fred and Linda Goldsmith, for their contributions to the Santa house on Village Drive; and Joe and Theresa Vazquez, for their participation on behalf of the North Pole [read: as Santa and Mrs. Claus—we didn’t want to spoil it for the kids on the radio!].
Public Works Superintendent Jerry Vantine, who followed Santa Claus, said “that’s going to be a tough one to top” before praising Public Works Supervisor Don Bartell for his 15 years of service to Big Bear Lake. Vantine pointed out that Bartell is a supervisor with many roles, and responsive to everyone. In addition to supervising daytime snowplow operations and being a crew leader on street maintenance, Vantine said of Bartell, “He’s just a guy behind the scenes doing everything—when he’s not in the field.” Harris added that Bartell is “one of the walk-the-extra mile people,” before directing the next presentation, a thank you to outgoing mayor of two years, Rick Herrick, who was presented with a plaque for his efforts on behalf of the City.
In action items during the January 11 meeting, Council members approved a moratorium extension of 10 months and 15 days for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries with the City; this action will bring the moratorium to a full year while, in the meantime, staff drafts an amendment to Big Bear Lake’s Municipal and Development Codes, to forbid such dispensaries altogether. Council also moved to take the next steps in pursuing a $130,000 grant, from the Wildlife Conservation Board to be awarded in February, to fund the fishing dock already approved in the plans for the Boulder Bay Park Phase II. Other action items (regarding DWP fees and the Tahoe sewer main bid award) from last night’s meeting were tabled for Council’s January 25 meeting; we will bring you specifics in a future newscast/story.