Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Congressman Paul Cook's Newsletter: August 8, 2017

Aug 9, 2017
District Update | August 8, 2017

U.S. Congressman Paul Cook




 Congressman Cook Introduces Airspace Protection Act of 2017

It seems that every day a new wildfire is reported somewhere in our state, striking fear in the hearts of rural homeowners. As we enter the 2017 fire season in California, it’s important to consider ways to make our communities safer and minimize the loss of life and property in the event of a catastrophic fire.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of devastating fires across San Bernardino County. Last year’s Blue Cut Fire, in the Cajon Pass, scorched 37,000 acres, and destroyed 105 homes and 213 structures. The year prior, the Lake Fire burned 31,000 acres and took over a month to extinguish.

To make matters worse, this year’s fire season is already outpacing 2016. According to Cal Fire statistics, through the first six months of last year there were 22,709 wildfires, totaling 30,574 acres. However, this year, during the same period 2,905 wildfires were reported over an area of 68,129 acres. It’s no easy task to battle these fires, in light of the triple-digit temperatures, unforgiving terrain, and strained resources. Thankfully, our local, state and federal firefighting agencies are there to defend our communities.

Recently, the presence of remote-controlled drones in the airspace above wildfires have complicated firefighting efforts. Whether these drone operators have malicious intent or not, these devices cause major disruptions to aerial firefighting capabilities. During the North Fire of 2015, all firefighting aircraft were grounded over fears of collisions with drones. The inability to utilize aerial assets resulted in the fire jumping Interstate 15 and destroying over 20 vehicles in the Cajon Pass. Thankfully no lives were lost that day.

Grounding firefighting aircraft due to drone incursions isn’t unique to California. A number of fires in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah were also impacted by drone activity. As the popularity and capability of these unmanned aircraft increases it’s become readily apparent that we must take action to protect lives, homes and our environment, by restricting drone usage.

After listening to the concerns of fire officials and local residents, I have introduced the Airspace Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 1138) in Congress. This bill would make it a felony offense to operate a drone that interferes with wildfire suppression on federal land. Under the provisions of the measure, anyone convicted of this offense would be subject to five years in federal prison. I’m optimistic that it will gain the support of my colleagues in Congress, so that our firefighters on the front lines have the best chance to protect our communities.

In the meantime, you and your family can take steps to increase your chances of surviving a major wildfire. Creating a defensible space around your home is a crucial component to fire safety. California law requires homeowners who reside in a State Responsibility Area to create a 100 ft. buffer zone around inhabited structures that is free of flammable debris. It’s also important to have emergency supplies, and an action plan prepared, in the event of an evacuation. I encourage you to visit the CalFire website, to learn more about wildfire safety. In addition, CalFire recently launched a new application for smartphones called “Ready for Wildfire” that provides users with critical wildfire alerts. It can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple and Google Play stores.

The most important step you can take to avoid tragedy during major free is to follow the instructions of all public safety personnel. While the thought of losing your home is horrifying, it isn’t worth losing your life I wish you and your families a safe fire season.

This op-ed was published in Rim of The World News, click here for the original editorial.


Memorial Service for U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Brent Witham


It is with my deepest condolences that I share the news that U.S. Forest Service Vista Grande Hotshot, Brent Witham was killed on August 2, 2017 while working on the Lolo Peak Fire in Montana. Please join the community to honor this hero at 10:00 a.m. on August 10th at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino in the Orange Pavilion room.

Condolences for the family can be mailed to the San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 602 South Tippecanoe, San Bernardino, CA 92408. Emails can be sent to . Please put “CONDOLENCES” in the subject line. All correspondence will be given to Brent’s family.

For more information, click here


Apple Valley Unveils Electric Charging Stations


Electric car owners can bolt over to Apple Valley Town Hall for a charge now that the Town’s two electric vehicle charging stations are available.

The Level 2 units were installed in front of the Development Services Building at no cost to the Town, thanks to a $19,244 grant from the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District. Most commercially available electric vehicles have the ability to charge using AC Level 1 and 2 charging equipment. Although Tesla vehicles do not use the J1772 charge ports used for Level 2 chargers, they do sell an adapter.

“From Teslas to Fords, and from Nissans to Chevys, we are seeing more and more electric vehicles on our local roadways,” said Director of Public Works Greg Snyder. “This convenient location will allow drivers of electric vehicles to swing by, plug in and either do business at the town, take a swim in the pool, play in the park, have lunch or do some shopping in The Commons retail center across the street.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, charging equipment for plug-in electric vehicles is classified by the rate at which the batteries are charged. Charging times vary based on how depleted the battery is, how much energy it holds, the type of battery and other factors. Level 2 charge stations typically provide 10 to 20 miles of range per one hour of charging

With the handy payment kiosk, users can get a boost for their vehicle at the rate of $1.25 per hour, which is sold in one-hour increments. This payment schedule was set to cover the cost of the electricity and any administrative costs the service might incur.

For more information call (760) 240-7000 x 7074.


Hesperia Summer Concert Series August 11


This Friday the City of Hesperia is hosting their Summer Concert Series "Urban Skies"-a tribute to Keith Urban. Music will start at 6:00 p.m. with the headliner beginning at 7:00 p.m. The event is free to the public and visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for their comfort. The Hesperia concert series is located at Hesperia Civic Plaza Park on 15833 Smoke Tree Street.

For questions, contact (760) 244-5488


Twentynine Palms Chamber Sundown Mixer


Join the 29 Palms Chamber of Commerce for their Sundown Mixer at 29 Palms Ram Truck Center on Thursday, August 24th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Chamber members are encouraged to bring raffle items showcasing their businesses and their business cards. 

For questions, contact (760) 367-3445


My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at (760) 247-1815.

Inland Empire Veterans Mental Health Collaborative


The Inland Empire Veterans Mental Health Collaborative is hosting a Financial Wellbeing & Mental Health event on August 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Health Services Auditorium. This is located at 850 E. Foothill Blvd in Rialto. If you need assistance registering or require disability accommodations contact the Veterans Success Center at (909) 537-5195 or email  


9th Annual Veteran Operation Recognition-Veterans Diploma Project


The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, in partnership with the County of San Bernardino Department of Veterans Affairs, is announcing their Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project. The Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project provides veterans and internees, who were unable to complete high school due to military service or internment, the opportunity to receive a high school diploma.

The deadline to submit an application to be eligible for the Veteran Diploma Project is August 25.

For more information, Click Here


Veterans Express Transit System( V.E.T.S.)


V.E.T.S. is a free transportation service starting January 9, 2017, provided by VA Loma Linda Health Care System, to assist Veterans with round-trip transportation to the VA Loma Linda for medical appointments.

The V.E.T.S. program has collaborated with local community partners, including the Victorville Valley Transit Authority (VVTA) to coordinate the pick-up point at the Victorville Transfer Point (VTP) in Victorville on Lorene Drive between Valley Center Drive and 7th Street. It is situated adjacent to Interstate 15 behind Costco.

Reservations Must be made 24 hours in advance. Please call V.E.T.S Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at (800) 741-8387 or (909) 825-7084, ext. 6475.



Sent from the Office of U.S. Representative Paul Cook


14955 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley Town Hall
Apple Valley, CA 92307
Phone: 760.247.1815
Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm

34282 Yucaipa Boulevard
Yucaipa, CA 92399
Phone: 909.797.4900
Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm

1222 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202.225.5861
Hours: 9:00am - 6:00pm