HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

In high school football tonight, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats host Acquinas at home, with kick-off at 7 p.m. And the Joshua Springs High School Lightning host San Pasqual Academy at home, also starting at 7 p.m.

In high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School cross country team will be participating in the Grant Nunnally invitational meet at Riverside Community College, starting at 8 a.m. The Lady Cats volleyball team will travel to Hemet for the Hemet Tournament. And the Joshua Springs girls’ volleyball team will host the Rock the Dome Tournament, starting at 8 a.m.

SEARCH AND RESCUE DESERT RUN SET FOR OCTOBER 5

An annual event for off-road enthusiasts benefits a good cause. Reporter Taylor Thacker says the annual desert run, set for the weekend of October 5, will benefit our local Morongo Basin Search and Rescue team…

The Morongo Basin Search and Rescue team is having its annual off-road event at the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Park called the Desert Run and will be held over the weekend of October 5 and consists of a 15- to 20-mile course designed to meet a variety of off-road challenges. You must have a four-wheel drive vehicle to participate and the trail will be marked “Easy” and “Hard” so you can choose which challenge you would like to take. On the course, you will encounter sandy washes, steep hills, and activities to complete along the way. There will be prizes and trophies awarded to first, second and third place game winners. Activities such as kids’ games, many vendors, and vehicle Teeter-Totter begin on Friday, October 4 at 4:00 p.m. and conclude on Sunday morning. The Desert Run takes place on Saturday morning. Tickets for the Desert Run are just $55 if you pre-register on-line by October 1 or $60 at the event. For more information call 760-366-4175 or go online to www.desertrun.org.

SATURDAY NIGHT CHURCH AT DESERT CONGREGATIONAL IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Desert Congregational Church in Twentynine Palms will hold a Saturday Night Church tomorrow, September 14, at 7 p.m. Musicians of all types are invited to come and play country, bluegrass, and gospel music. The church is located at 5688 Sunrise Road. Call 760-361-0086 for a free ride to the church.

YU-GI-OH AT THE TWENTYNINE PALMS LIBRARY TOMORROW

The Twentynine Palms Branch Library is continuing its YU GI OH tournaments tomorrow. All ages are invited to bring their own cards to participate in the tournament. Top player will receive a prize. The tournament is scheduled from 1:00 to 4:00 pm in the library meeting room. For more information about the library’s monthly YU GI OH tournament, please call the Twentynine Palms Branch Library at 760-367-9519.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL PART 3 OF 3: MORONGO BASIN TRANSIT AUTHORITY WANTS LOCAL CONTROL

The Twentynine Palms City Council covered a wide range of topics in its meeting this week. Dan Stork broke his report into three parts. Today: Possible jeopardy to local control at the Morongo Basin Transit Authority…

Morongo Basin Transit Authority General Manager Joe Meer briefed the Twentynine Palms City Council on an emerging threat to the local autonomy of the agency. Meer said that two months ago, he got wind of a plan by the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) to form an Ad Hoc Committee to study consolidation of ALL San Bernardino County Transit Agencies. Privatization, as well as investigation of “efficiencies,” is also on the table for discussion. There was no Morongo Basin representation on the committee at its inception, although Twentynine Palms Council member and representative to SANBAG Jim Harris was subsequently added to the committee. Meer explained to the City Council that the SANBAG study is driven by expected shortfalls in funding for transit initiatives elsewhere in the County. Meer is concerned about integrating the financially stable and already-efficient MBTA with a larger entity that has had management issues, financial difficulty and is about to embark upon major infrastructure projects such as heavy rail and a bus rapid transit system. The City Council responded by approving a resolution opposing consolidation of the MBTA into a larger agency. Yucca Valley, which participates with Twentynine Palms in the Joint Powers Authority that governs the MBTA, has made a similar move.

HI-DESERT CHORUS LOOKING FOR LOCAL SINGERS

The Hi Desert Chorus has started rehearsals for “Sounds of the Season,” its’ annual winter concert. The performances will be held December 14 and 15. The chorus is in need of all voices: soprano, alto, bass and tenor. Reading music is helpful, but not mandatory. Rehearsals are held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays at Valley Community Chapel in Yucca Valley A $25 membership donation helps offset the cost of music, printing and other chorus needs. If you love to sing give Rosemary Lane a call at 760-228-1683 to reserve a music book.

TASTE OF THE MORONGO BASIN TONIGHT AT COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BELL CENTER

The 6th Annual “Taste of the Morongo Basin” is set for tonight at the Bell Center at Copper Mountain College. Reporter and Landers Honorary Mayor, Mike Lipsitz gets out his knife and fork…

Local restaurants will serve samples of their best dishes at Joshua Tree Rotary Club’s sixth annual Taste of Morongo Basin beginning at 6 p.m., September 13, at the Bell Center on the Copper Mountain College campus. Local gastronomes are invited to sample cuisine from about a dozen local eateries. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit local non-profit organizations including scholarships to area high school students. Taste of Morongo Basin is cosponsored again this year by Z107.7 Radio and Hi-Desert Publishing. Listen to KCDZ FM and watch the Hi-Desert Star and Desert Trail newspapers to find out how to get tickets to this year’s event.

REPUBLICAN WOMEN TO HEAR ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY THREATS

At the first meeting after a summer break, Yucca Valley Republican Women will hear from Colonel Mike Walker (retired) on the topic, “National Security threats facing America”. Retired from Morongo Unified School District, Walker spent 26 years in the Marine Corps on active and reserve duty and retired as a colonel. Colonel Walker speaks and writes often on national security. Walker has been personally decorated many times, including the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and Master’s Degree from Harvard University. The dinner meeting on September 16 begins at 5:30 PM at Evangelical Free Church, 6804 Mohawk trail, Yucca Valley. The cost for the evening is $12 and reservations are required. For more information or to make a reservation call 760-365-9490.

MONDAY DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES TO JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK ART SHOW AND FAIR

This reminder for local artists that this Monday is the deadline for entries into the Joshua Tree national Park art show. Managing Editor Tami Roleff has the details………

Monday is the last day to submit an entry application for the Joshua Tree National Park Art Show and Faire, a judged art show to be held in December at the Oasis of Mara in Twentynine Palms. The juried show will include up to 50 fine art pieces and $6,000 in awards, including $2,000 for Best in Show. Entries must be inspired by or depict the natural beauty or cultural history of Joshua Tree National Park. The entry fee is $25, and artists may submit up to three images of artwork. The show will be on display at the 29 Palms Art Gallery for the month of December. For an application and complete entry rules, visit jtnpartfaire.com.

DATES SET FOR FILING TWO ANTI-JOSHUA TREE DOLLAR GENERAL LAWSUITS

Parties to two law suits filed in July against a planned Dollar General store in Joshua Tree met in court in San Bernardino Thursday. Activist David Fick said a morning meeting was concerned only with setting a date—January 17—for when legal briefs are to be filed with the court. Trials, if it comes to that, will follow at some subsequent date to be determined. During Thursday afternoon, there were also separate settlement conferences for each suit. No settlements were reached. Both suits, one filed by Joshua Tree Community Action Network, formerly known as the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance, and the other by Joshua Tree resident Keri Tuttle, depend upon environmental grounds, with Tuttle’s suit focused more on elements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

SCHOOL BOARD TO CHANGE ATHLETIC ELIGIBILITY POLICY…NEXT WEEK

About 100 upset parents, students, and supporters showed up at a special meeting of the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education to let the Board know how they felt about the denial of athletic eligibility to six Twentynine Palms High School football players. Dan Stork was there and reports how the work-study session went…

For the most vocal element in the audience at Joshua Tree Elementary School, the issue was this: Kids were betrayed by adults. Student athletes who had failed an elective course last spring were advised that if they took a different elective during summer school, and passed it, then they could play football. After the boys passed the summer school course, the new principal at Twentynine Palms High School ruled that the advice didn’t match up with written Board of Education policy, and didn’t allow them to play football. A succession of speakers returned to the trust theme: From Nicolette Estrada, the mother of one of the boys affected: “Teach them integrity, honesty, and as you go out into the world in a few short months, that your word is your bond.” From Twentynine Palms High School and summer school teacher Karen Beasley: “The bottom line is, they did what they were told to do.” Board member Ed Will acknowledged that the students had been mis-advised. Board President Chris Proudfoot replied to the demands of Trustee Karalee Hargrove for immediate action, saying that the policy could not legally be revised on the spot, because the special meeting had been publicly noticed as a work-study session. John Cole, a former principal of Twentynine Palms High School and a former Twentynine Palms City Council member and Mayor, advised the Board to fast-track the usual lengthy procedure applied to policy revisions, and implement a probation policy that meets California Interscholastic Federation requirements at its next regular meeting September 17, to take effect then. Cole concluded: “So I say, please, I ask you, take action to get these kids back on the bus, and not under it.” Also lobbying for a probationary program, head football coach Ernest Martinez said, “In America we give kids second chances, and they deserve it.” Despite unhappiness by many in the audience that change isn’t happening soon enough to cover this week’s football game, the Board followed Cole’s advice, and directed staff to come up with a probationary program they could consider at this Tuesday’s meeting.