Valley News -

By Diane Sieker

Cahuilla Casino helps community during power outage


Last updated 8/16/2018 at 9:57am

Cendy McVoy

Long lines become the norm at the Cahuilla Casino Mountain Sky Travel Center for the first several days of the power outage.

The power outage suffered by the members of the Anza Electric Cooperative as a result of fire damage to the import transmission lines up the mountain was somewhat relieved by the actions of the Cahuilla Casino's Mountain Sky Travel Center.

Independent of the AEC's power, the travel center fired up their generators and were able to provide fuel and goods to people confused by the lack of resources.

The chaos caused by the Cranston Fire included limited and even non-existent electrical power for homes and businesses, wells unable to operate to provide water and an almost hysterical run on portable generators by anxious buyers. Stores as far as 100 miles away reporting being sold out in days. All these generators needed fuel to work, and three of the four available fueling stations on the hill were inoperative due to the lack of electricity.

The Travel Center stepped up to the challenge, providing gas and diesel, ice, goods like food, snacks and incidentals, 24 hours a day. They sold so much gasoline that they ran out of the lower grades yet sold the high test fuel at the regular grade price.

Their gas prices stayed the same during the outage timeline, which was noticed by many people who were afraid of price gouging during the crisis. 

Cahuilla Tribal member Leonella Leash wrote on social media, "I am proud of everyone stepping up to help our community; our children are all raised together. Thanks to our Chairman Daniel Salgado and his team – they were great, making sure the gas and ice kept coming and being able to serve people food 24 hours a day."

Casino security members and other employees scrambled to organize the huge lines that developed as people discovered the fuel source and flocked to fill their cars, trucks and gas cans for their generators. A system was implemented that prevented line cutting and short tempers and provided for a smooth path to and from the gas pumps.

"They also did an amazing job of keeping the line organized, and all had great attitudes," Anza resident GeriLyn Blanton Mellin said.

Christina Soriano wrote, "Not to mention that they took care of the employees by providing a place to shower."

Employees, staff and management made sure that the community was served, despite the logistics of dealing with long lines and sometimes grouchy customers. But in the end, the people of the Anza Valley were grateful for their hard work and perseverance.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]


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