March 2009 Citizen of the Month
Tish and Karen "The Dynamic Duo"

Morongo Valley residents refer to Tish Miller and Karen Lowe as the "Dynamic Duo". These two energetic women are to be found in their Coldwell Banker Real Estate office on Highway 62. They have participated at Spring Fest, the Morongo Valley Trail Rider's Association and the Morongo Valley Chamber of Commerce. Occasionally, they are seen on their horses enjoying a morning ride.

Tish moved to Morongo Valley after a divorce. She was searching for the ideal small town; a community that was inexpensive, safe, a place to ride her horse and where she could see a beautiful sunrise and breathe clean air. Her first Morongo Valley dwelling was a rental. She wanted to see if the area met her needs before setting down roots. Right after she moved in, the power went out in the Valley. Neighbors came to her door with flashlights in hand, asking if she needed anything. " That was it. I knew then and there that Morongo Valley was a great place to live. It was a small town with the nicest people."

Tish had been in real estate since 1980. She decided to open an office in Morongo Valley so that she could provide clients with 100% service, 100% of the time. When she wasnâ't selling real estate, she was riding her horse at the Ivy Ranch in Thousand Palms where she met Karen, another horse enthusiast.

Karen lived in the low desert and worked for a construction firm. In 2002, Karen came up to Morongo for a horse ride through the cottonwood trees and saw that the community was perfect for having horses. She purchased a house and moved her horses up to the valley. " It was kind of a no brainier, since I couldnâ't imagine a better situation than living and working and having my horses all in the same community." quipped Karen. Once Karen got settled, Tish began to pressure her to get her real estate license. " There was just too much business for one person to handle alone." Tish added. And with that Karen changed her occupation and they were able to form "the partnership that works!"

"This is the friendliest place to live in", Karen reports. Both women love real estate and enjoy the fact that they can dress casually while giving their clients first-rate service. We are so glad that they choose Morongo Valley.

November 2008 Citizen of the Month
Gene and Leslie Rotstein, owners of the Cactus Mart

Gene and Leslie Rotstein, owners of the Cactus Mart and Morongo Hardware, have been named Morongo Valley's Citizens of the Month for November 2008. The award was presented to the Rotsteins by Laurie Geeson, long time resident and Chamber member. It was noted the Rotsteins have lived in Morongo Valley since 1983 and have served on nearly every board, commission or organization in the area. The award was presented today, (Saturday, November 1) in front of a gathering of friends and neighbors from the community.

Mrs. Geeson said the Rotstein's "have a record of making everything they touch wonderful in the Valley." In particular, she cited the recent renovation of the Cactus Mart and Morongo Hardware which is now a local landmark for locals and visitors alike. Both Rotsteins are retired educators.

Photo Caption: Laurie Geeson presents the Morongo Valley Chamber's Citizen of the Month Award for November to Leslie and Gene Rotstein owners of the Cactus Mart and Morongo Hardware.

June 2008 Citizen of the Month
Robin Kobaly Thompson honored as Citizen of the Month

Robin Kobaly Thompson was recognized this month by the Morongo Valley Chamber of Commerce for the outstanding work she has done for Morongo Valley and the Morongo Basin over her lifetime.
  As a teenager, Robin volunteered for years as a stencil artist for the Morongo Valley Chamber's publication, The Smoke Signal, as well as serving as a volunteer at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and at many of her town’s annual Fiesta celebrations. After earning her Masters degree in botany and wildlife biology, she returned to Morongo Valley to work for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), ultimately becoming manager of her beloved Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. In the nine years she managed the Preserve, she expanded the boundaries from 2900 acres to almost 30,000 acres, formed the non-profit Friends of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, and planned and oversaw the construction of a half-mile boardwalk winding through the Preserve's oasis. Her tours of dignitaries through the Preserve have resulted in substantial funding being received into Morongo Valley and Big Morongo Canyon Preserve as line-item budget packages directly from Washington DC. Under her direction, the Preserve was awarded national recognition in 2000 as having the best environmental education programming of any BLM site in the nation.
  Robin currently serves as the founder and executive director of The SummerTree Institute. She continues to raise awareness about the desert’s natural treasures through her educational outreach programs through the SummerTree Institute, including fire-recovery workshops for fire victims, water-conservation and landscape workshops for the public, and school presentations and curriculum for local students on field trips to Joshua Tree National Park.
SummerTree Institute

Robin Kobaly Thompson is awarded Citizen of the Month by Morongo Valley Chamber of Commerce President Mike Pollack.

May 2008 Citizen of the Month
Tim Parrott honored as Citizen of the Month

Chamber President Mike Pollack said Tim had helped him to learn how to lead the organization and had contributed many hours to the community. Tim was instrumental in coordinating the beautification of Theils Beauty Shop on Highway 62.
Tim is a native Oregonian who moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and to Palm Springs in 1989. In November of 2003 he decided to make his home Morongo Valley. Tim manages special events for a living including the successful Desert Town Hall Indian Wells speaker series. He has worked all over the United States and Europe on major indoor and outdoor special events including the 1984 LA Olympics, the Statue of Liberty re-opening and the World League of American Footballs' inaugural World Bowl in London and many others.
Parrott said, when given the award, "I'm proud to do all I can for this wonderful community, I know if we all work hard together we can make this the kind of creative, family friendly community we all dream of living in."

Mike Pollack, President of the MV Chamber (left) stands with Tim Parrott, this month's Citizen of the Month. Parrott was recognized for his contributions to the Chamber and the Morongo Valley Community. - photo by MV Chamber

April 2008 Citizen of the Month
Theil McKinney Eastabrook Named Citizen of the Month

In the picture left to right: Mike Pollack (MV Chamber President), Lin Snyder (landscape maintenance), Richard Brewer (MV Fire Safe Council), Tish Miller (Coldwell Banker Realty), (kneeling) Ray Sessums (Artisan Surfaces), Barbara Sliger (Theil's Daughter), Theil McKinney Eastabrook (Centenarian), Laurie Geeson (sign painter), Glenn Eastabrook (Theil's Husband), and brothers Paul & John Geeson (sign painters).

Photo by Jim Steinhoff

March 2008 Citizen of the Month
Local Artist Named Citizen of the Month

  Jim Steinhoff is this month's Citizen of the Month for Morongo Valley. In addition to taking on the responsibility as the editor for the Morongo Valley Newsletter, Jim is a known artist who is involved in the Morongo Valley Art Colony, the Palm Springs Desert Art Center, and is a member of MBCAC.
  Jim is a relatively new resident of the Valley moving here formally in December of 2005. He jumped right in and began getting involved with the Art Colony where he now serves as Vice President.
  Mike Pollack, Chamber Presidents says, "We could not have gotten the new Newsletter off the ground if Jim hadn't come along and volunteered to edit, publish and distribute the local publication."
  When presented with the award Jim Steinhoff stated "I am honored by this award but must acknowledge Gene and Leslie Rotstein as still being the driving force behind the scenes," and then added " but as long as Babs Kobaly, (the original editor of the Smoke Signal) approves, I guess I am doing OK."
  Before moving to Morongo Valley he lived in Norco CA near his sister Marylou Remington, a 40 year resident of So. Cal. One of six children, Jim was born and raised around Cleveland, Ohio.
  He served 4 years in the Air Force including a tour of duty in Korea where he was a disk jockey's for the base's American Forces Network radio station.
  Most of his professional career was spent working in the safety and environmental field including 15 years with the ITT Automotive Division. During that time Jim was recognized by the North American Aluminum Die Casting Association for negotiating with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to improve Air Emission Standards governing the Aluminum Die Casting industry.
  A versatile artist, Jim took Best of show in last years 2007 MV Art Colony Spring Show with a "floral" watercolor. This year he took Best of Show again in the 2008 Spring Show for a charcoal figure drawing which will be on display for the Month of April. . For years Jim worked in oil's creating nearly photographic like landscapes and still life's. Now, he is focusing more on the water color medium in the realm of realistic and abstract landscapes.
In March of 2008 he took first place at the local level in the Veterans Administration National Art Show held at the Loma Linda VA Hospital. His winning entry there is currently being judged for the National Finals to be held in Riverside CA, later this year.
  Jim is the father of two children who live in Texas with his three grandchildren.
  Congratulations to Jim Steinhoff, Morongo Valley's Citizen of the Month.
By Tim Parrott

Chamber President Mike Pollack from Golden State Water and COM Jim Steinhoff pose before the Chamber's Recognition Sign on Highway 62.
(Photo by Tim Parrott)

Febuary 2008 Citizen of the Month
Carrie Sessums and Robin Rotstein

Carrie and Robin are two young women who have chosen to work behind the scenes, anonymously, to better their community. They both volunteered at MV Elementary School., helping out with the P.T.A., candy sales, trips to Catalina Island for the 6th grade science camp, to name just a few of the elementary school contributions.
Both women have 3 children who have attended the local school. Even though they had a great deal to attend to, with their own families, they both carved out time to assist with any programs that would help the school or community events that would assist families in need.
They completely set up the Easter Egg hunt at Covington Park. They helped purchase the gifts for needy families at Christmas time by buying the materials, wrapping the gifts and helping the MV fire department to deliver the gifts. They work selflessly. They spent many hours on the projects. They also made sure that their children understood the importance of giving by including their children in all of the above endeavors. When two teenagers were killed on Highway 62, both women gathered money and support for the families, even though they didn't know them personally.
At this time, Robin's 3 children attend the Joshua Springs School in Joshua Tree. Carrie's children attend La Contenta middle school, Yucca Valley High and Morongo Valley Elementary.

Carrie Sessums and Robin Rotstein accept the Morongo Valley Chambers's Citizen of the Month Award at Morongo Valley Elementary School.
(photo by Mike Pollack)

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