(STUNT)MAN SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE IN FIGHT AGAINST DOLLAR GENERAL BULLYING ITS WAY INTO JOSHUA TREE

This kind of fight is always important, but because Arthur HQ is located in Joshua Tree, we are taking particular notice of this continuing local effort against a national predatory greedhead corporation trying to bully its way into a National Park gateway village in complete contradiction to that village’s Community Plan.

Here’s the latest, pulled from local newspaper The Hi-Desert Star (Dec. 6)…

Stunt man Carl Rice lights himself on fire for a crowd during a fundraiser Nov. 30 in Joshua Tree. The event raised money for a legal battle with the county over Dollar General.

Dollar General’s Joshua Tree foes stay fired up
By Courtney Vaughn, Hi-Desert Star
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 11:10 pm | Updated: 11:24 pm, Fri Dec 6, 2013.

JOSHUA TREE — Opponents of Dollar General raised about $4,000 last weekend and watched a man set himself on fire in protest during a fundraiser for their legal battle.

Proceeds from the event went to a legal fund for petitioners in a lawsuit against San Bernardino County. The lawsuit was filed in court in July by the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance and alleges the county improperly permitted a 9,100-square-foot Dollar General retail store to be built on the corner of Sunburst Avenue and Twentynine Palms Highway.

That suit was […] filed against the county after it issued a permit to Dynamic Development, LLC, which represents Dollar General. […]

The Downtown Business Alliance alleges the county’s Land Use Services staff and the Board of Supervisors didn’t follow California Environmental Quality Act procedure. Petitioners claim county officials should have considered Dollar General’s inconsistency with the Joshua Tree Community Plan and should have conducted an environmental impact report before making any permit decisions. In their opening brief, they accuse the county of trying to conceal the identity of the occupant by characterizing the project as a “general retail store.”

Babak Naficy, attorney for the Joshua Tree alliance, said by phone Friday that the project is inconsistent with the community plan’s goals and policies for Joshua Tree, which means it could have greater effects than what the county acknowledged.

“Ultimately, the objective of the lawsuit is to force the county to comply with the law,” Naficy said.

In a staff report, the county said it lacked evidence to show that a Dollar General would have major impacts like urban decay or blight.

“The county never actually engaged in that kind of analysis,” Naficy said.

Joshua Tree isn’t the first small community to oppose Dollar General. Similar community efforts have taken place in New Hampshire, Vermont, Mississippi, Massachusetts and Florida, in small or historic communities fighting to preserve a specific character.
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Arthur editor’s quasi-manifesto for rural living, published in Wilder Quarterly

The new issue of Wilder Quarterly features a piece by me and my partner, Stephanie Smith, on our “off the pavement but on the grid” life out here in Joshua Tree: wilderness stewardship, structure rehab, edenification, permaculture, mutual aid, climate change mitigation,  urban outreach, stargazing, tortoise-beholding, etc. Here’s an image of the first two (of six) pages, with photography for Wilder by Elizabeth Weinberg

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You can read the full text at our website: JTHomesteader.com/manifesto

We also have a Twitter: twitter.com/JTHomesteader

"New Orleans Soul Red Beans, Rice and Corn Bread" recipe by DAVID CATCHING

Here’s an old “Come On In My Kitchen” column from Arthur’s getting-rarer-by-the-minute March 2004 issue (No. 9, available from the Arthur Store.) Our star chef that issue was Dave Catching, gentleman guitarist of Joshua Tree, California…

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This issue’s chef: David Catching of Joshua Tree, California


David Catching is currently a member of earthlings?, Yellow No. 5 and Mondo Generator and appears on The Desert Sessions Volume 9 & 10 (Rekords Rekords/Ipecac). Take it away Dave…

Hey y’all, Mardi Gras season is here and I hope you’re lucky enough to be celebrating it with me in New Orleans. If you are, you’re probably drunk, still drinking, dancing, chasing members of the opposite or same sex all night, and will be pretty tore up tomorrow. Here’s a little recipe I learned from my friend Jimmy Ford at the Jimmy Ford Clinic (thanks for showin’ me the way) and my friend Chef Big D, of the now-defunct Harbor Bar and Restaurant (R.I.P.), both of New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s easy and oh-so-cheap, which will be helpful while your scrambled brain tries to figure out what you spent all your money on. I’m giving you the vegetarian version here, but it’s also killer when cooked with smoked sausage. It ain’t my fanciest recipe, but it is great and will cure the meanest of hangovers for pennies. Regarding Tony Chachere’s Cajun spice: if you can’t find it in your neighborhood stores, I would recommend a trip to New Orleans. That means you’re probably overdue for at least a weekend there anyway…

New Orleans Soul Red Beans, Rice and Corn Bread
feeds six tore-up folks

one pound dried red beans
two cups white rice
one yellow onion
one half red onion
eight cloves garlic
two vegetable bouillon cubes
two tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Cajun spice
three pinches salt
two pinches black pepper
one pinch white pepper
one cup water
one box Jiffy cornbread mix (I know, but real soul food restaurants really do use this mix)
one jalapeno pepper
six ounces grated cheddar cheese
one egg
one cup milk
optional: one pound smoked sausage cut in one-inch length pieces

Wash and soak red beans overnight and rinse. Add water and boil beans until cooked, then simmer on low. Saute onions and garlic, with spices. Add onion, garlic and spices to simmering red beans and cook a few hours to taste. Follow rice cooking instructions. Follow Jiffy cornbread mix directions, then add chopped jalapeno pepper and most of the cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cook per Jiffy cornbread mix instructions. Serve a mountain of beans (with or without the smoked sausage) on a nice thin bed of rice.

My first taste of this particular recipe was at the Harbor Bar and Restaurant (the best soul food joint anywhere, ever) on Mardi Gras Day, 1993. This was without a doubt one of the best days of my life. I marched with the Lions Carnival Club, starting at 6am, with our second line brass band leading the way, from the sparse uptown gatherings, through to the thousands gathered at Lee Circle with Rex and Zulu, finally reaching the unbridled revelry of the French Quarter at 3pm, our costumes and masks obscuring the awe and joy we all were experiencing, some of us having imbibed many brands and colors of hard alcohol, psychedelics, prescribed and non-prescribed medications, marijuana and, from what I can gather through hearsay and gossip, stimulants of all kinds. In the madness of Frenchman Street at sunset, I met a beautiful stranger, who led me to the Harbor Bar and Restaurant. There, I was saved by the red beans and rice…

….and a double turkey and seven.