To say last week was busy one is an understatement.


On Saturday, Sept. 1, the community came together to remember Brandon Smith, the popular son of Hesperia City Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith and his wife, Margaret. Earlier, Brandon was tragically killed while competing in an off-road motorcycle race, an activity he loved. Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Apple Valley, which presided over the memorial and graveside services, estimated about 750 people were in attendance.


There were dignitaries, friends, family members and, of course, fellow motorcycle riders. The service was emotional but balanced with several light-hearted remembrances of a young man whose personality and character touched everyone he met.


But the Smith event wasn't the only memorial service to remember a young person who had died. Services were held at Calvary Chapel Hesperia and Desert View Memorial Park for little Madison Faler, a precious 4-year-old who lost a courageous and inspiring fight with cancer. She, too, was remembered as a person who brought something truly special to our world.


One of the biggest bombshells ever to drop in Hesperia hit like thunder on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 4 when Michael Ramos, the San Bernardino County district attorney, announced that Hesperia City Councilman Tad Honeycutt had been arrested. Also arrested, was C. Steven Cox, founder of the California Charter Academy, where Honeycutt had served as head of a for-profit entity affiliated with CCA. Honeycutt, who later was released after posting bail, faces 20 years if convicted. His former business partner, Cox, who last week was held on $1 million bail, faces 64 years for his alleged role in the mismanagement of $5.5 million in taxpayer funds.


Last week's arrests were a surprise. In April, Hesperia Star reporter Beau Yarbrough broke the story that the FBI was closing its investigation of the case. But those who have read even portions of the state's 107-page audit of CCA, which was released in the spring of 2005, could easily see the allegations were extremely serious. Ramos, in fact, said CCA activities "turned my stomach a little bit."


Yes, this week left many Hesperians feeling more than a bit queasy. Perhaps that is why Mayor Rita Vogler was right on when during last Wednesday's City Council meeting she urged residents to take a collective deep breath.


"We're going through some trying times right now," the mayor noted.


The mayor also addressed the shooting death of 65-year-old Seutatia Tausili, who was allegedly shot by taggers as her family was attempting to prevent the taggers from marking their First Avenue neighborhood with graffiti.


"This is not the time for us to be afraid to do what we need to do," Vogler said. "We must take control, we cannot close our doors, close our shades and pretend it's not happening."


However, Vogler recommended people call WE-TIP or the Hesperia Police Station if they see taggers in the act.


Vogler began last week's meeting by honoring parents who had recently lost their children.


"Tonight I want to begin the meeting in honor of all the parents whom have lost their beloved children," the mayor began. "We want to honor them for their extraordinary strength, reaching deep inside themselves, finding a way to keep their world and that of others moving forward at a time when so much pain is being felt."