More 2016 Basin Wide Stars . . .
Above and Beyond - Barbara Finnegan
Barbara Finnegan began cooking for the annual Tender Loving Christmas Dinners in 1995 and still does to this day. Barbara is also a teacher’s aide at Twentynine Palms High School and works with special needs students. In 2012 she began volunteering with Reach Out Morongo Basin, giving free haircuts to seniors and helping with the baking and cooking for “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” fundraisers. She also participates in community events, helping to spread the word about the organization and its services. In the summer of 2014 Barbara began driving for Reach Out, taking seniors and disabled neighbors to doctor’s appointments while she cares for her mother.
Basin Wide Cultural Contributor - Jarrod Radnich
As the world’s bestselling author of instrumental sheet music arrangements and having attained the top position on You Tube and Youku Tudou for piano performance, Jarrod Radnich has been heralded as “the force that is making the piano cool again.” Partnering with music distribution powerhouse Musicnotes, he is creating an expansive library of new advanced-level piano arrangements of popular work designed to keep music students enticed and excited about practicing. Working with Universal, HBO, and Disney, his music video from HBO’s Game of Thrones was featured during last season’s Emmy Awards. He recently released covers for Disney’s Cinderella and Star Wars. Throughout his schedule, Jarrod volunteers as the President of the Hi-Desert Cultural Center and as the maestro of the Joshua Tree Philharmonic.
Lifetime Achievement Award - George and Nancy Huntington
George and Nancy both grew up in Twentynine Palms, married, and settled in the Morongo Basin in 1973. George, a plumbing contractor, was the principle designer for the Tri Valley Little League fields in 1984. He drafted a Community Park Vision with Paul Hoffman in 1988, designed the Boys and Girls club in 1990, the Club’s south expansion in 1996, and was involved in the first Brehm Sports Park in 2000. George also created the Old Town Gateway Plan vision and recommendation in 1997. Most recently he has volunteered for Sky’s the Limit, a Basin Wide Foundation affiliate. George was appointed as a Planning Commissioner for Yucca Valley from 1994 - 2008 when he was elected to the Town Council. He served as Mayor in 2011 and 2015.
Nancy served as Director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Hi-Desert for 24 years, including six years as Secretary and Compliance Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Clubs Inland Empire coalition, where she was recognized as a Silver Medallion Member for her service. Nancy has served on the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce and its Community Center Authority as well as the Hi=Desert Water District’s Blue Ribbon Committee, the Hi Desert Medical Center’s strategic planning committee, the Desert Regional Tourism Agency, and the California Welcome Center. She has been a Director on the Board of the Copper mountain College foundation since 2010 and is currently serving as Secretary and chair of the Board Development Committee. Her love of horses caused her to initiate an ongoing project with Joshua Tree National Park to increase services for equestrian use.
Together We Can Award - Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy
In 1984 the State Library instituted the California Literacy Campaign in response to a 20% literacy rate among California’s adult population. The Twentynine Palms Branch Library set up its program, created a board of directors, and trained tutors for one-on-one tutoring of illiterate adults. The San Bernardino County Library hired a Literacy Specialist to run the program and later added a site in the Yucca Valley Branch Library. Over the years many people who needed help received it and had their lives changed for the better. In 1987 the board of directors became the incorporated 501 (c)(3) Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy (MBCAL). It raised money to supply books and materials, trained volunteer tutors, and advocated for the program. When the literacy program at libraries changed in 2008, MBCAL offered its services to Copper Mountain College, where it now has tutors in the English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom. MBCAL also offers tutoring at the local Center for Change, where it supplies books and materials as needed. Increasing the literacy rate among native speakers as well as ESL students remains the focus of the MBCAL.
Partnering with the Morongo Basin Communities and Investing in our Quality of Life.