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Photo by Bette Moses
From left: Morgan Ray, Pia Courtney, Bob Smith, Paul Courtney and Donna Ray at Idle Spurs for the fund-raiser for Assembly Candidate Bob Smith, hosted by the Courtneys and the Rays.

Around and About: Packed crowd at Idle Spurs for fund-raiser

Last Tuesday evening cars filled the parking lot at Idle Spurs when Donna and Morgan Ray and Pia and Paul Courtney hosted a $250-a-plate fundraiser for 34th District Assembly Candidate Bob Smith.

Ben Echols gave the invocation, followed by Judge Steve Malone leading the Pledge of Allegiance. It seems that Steve got transferred to Rancho Cucamonga a month ago. Judge John Gibson was there as well.

It was a jolly crowd. One lovely lady’s name tag said “Bob Smith’s favorite mother-in-law,” and she turned out to be Bea Beckley, Debbie Smith’s mother. She and hubby Tom have been spending the winter here.

The Smith’s caboose guest house has been their home since Christmas when they left freezing Chicago. It’s been a great comfort for Debbie and Bob to have Aaron with them as he’s recovered from his horrible head injury. Aaron looked quite handsome that night. We need to keep him in our prayers though because they are going to reattach part of his skull on March 11 now that the swelling in his brain has gone down.

Bob welcomed all his Rotarian friends and thanked them for their support, especially his number one Rotarian friend and supporter, Paul Courtney.

Steve Stewart is another Rotarian and was introduced as being on the Airport Commission.

The fire department was represented by Chief Darrell Jauss as well as Paul Courtney.

It seemed like every politician in the High Desert was there, including Brad Mitzelfelt and Bill Postmus. Others sent their best wishes as his endorsements are legion through out this huge 34th District, the largest in California.

The Supervisor’s remarks concluded with “Let’s send Bob to Sacramento.” We tried our best to get Brad and his rep, Jessie Flores, on the road to Newberry Springs where they were waiting for Brad to present a proclamation to Steve Miller for 25 years service on the Newberry Springs Fire Department. They eventually made it, but not when they were supposed to.

Postmus said he had always enjoyed working with Bob and looked forward to seeing him in Sacramento.

Echols is running for Superior Court Judge. Ben has been in Barstow for 45 years and as a former professor says he’d like to put his life experience into practice. This is the same with Bob. His experiences are so varied and he wants to make a difference.

Bob introduced his staff, the newest member being Casey Thompson, who is incoming president of the Rotary Club. She resigned her position as Health and Safety Director of the High Desert Chapter of the American Red Cross. He also introduced his campaign stalwart Michelle Perez and younger helpers Melissa Weber, Patricia Kelley and Alyssa Hall. The crowd met his beautiful daughter Michelle and granddaughter Julia, who I think has grown a foot this past year and her dad, Albert Rivera.

Others there were Tom Lewis, without Ruth, who was under the weather, Mal and Connie Wessel, Daryl Schendel, George and Clint Soutar, Brian Morgan, Frank “Mike” Stewart, Bob Vasseur, Manny Lopez, Eb and Nellie Muncy, Andy and Debbie Ziemer, Yvonne Siegner and Joan and Richard Miers. Bob said Richard was the first one that urged him to run for office in the early ‘90s.

Bob said that he had put 83,000 miles on his car since the start of this campaign. It was noted by others that when he represented the state assemblyman for two years he donated his salary to the Boys and Girls Club and the Police Activities League. He said it was the right thing to do, and he wanted to make a difference.

Casino Nite at Barstow Senior Center a really good time

To cap off a busy week, the Barstow Senior Center was filled to capacity last Friday evening for their Casino Nite. This was held in conjunction with the Police Activities League, which meant that Tim Heiden and Jeff Eason Jr. were running the show and Jeff Eason Sr. was manning the hall.

ASB Officers of Barstow Community College did valet parking with their advisor Joann Garcia in charge. We worker bees parked way out back very early before they arrived.

Upwards of 150 people checked in with Mary Lou Barlow and received their play money to gamble at the exceptionally nice equipment rented for the evening, all in hopes of taking home one of the very, very elegant prizes awarded at the end of the evening. There were games that that I didn’t even know existed.

Early on I was delegated to guard the prize tables, but later I got to deal blackjack. There were two Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments, also roulette and Spin the Wheel.

The entertainment was a great jazz band playing mostly ‘40s music directed by Tim Garvin. The other entertainment was a constant barrage of banter by Tim Heiden. At the end we were ready to throttle him as he was reading off the raffle prize tickets, and he wouldn’t shut up and say the numbers. I asked Mrs. Heiden how she put up with him and she said it was years of experience.

It was a fun time, well backed by contributions from the community and a lot of good dealers including Cliff Brock, Jeri Justus and Jim Miles.


Bette “Bee Jay” Moses is a special events correspondent to the Desert Dispatch. She can be reached at (760) 987-6915 or

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