STEAM TRAIN ATTRACTION PLANNED FOR EAST OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

The Cadiz Company, located near Amboy, east of Twentynine Palms, announced it has entered into an agreement with the Arizona & California Railroad Company to develop steam train excursions through the Mojave Desert between Cadiz and Parker, Arizona. The attraction, using historic steam locomotives and vintage passenger railcars, would be would be one of the longest steam train excursion routes in the United States. The proposed new steam train operation, named the Cadiz Southeastern Railway, will operate on 85 miles of existing tracks with water stops in desert locales of Milligan, Chubbuck, Rice and Vidal. A Cadiz spokesman said this Mojave Desert Route, which is located just off historic Route-66, will provide sweeping views of the vast desert wilderness, mountainous terrain and the Colorado River. The museum and cultural center planned for Cadiz will serve as the operation’s educational hub.

AN EMOTIONAL MEETING WITH THE COUNTY ON DEVELOPMENT IN JOSHUA TREE

Emotions ran high last night in Joshua Tree when well over a hundred turned out to discuss the future of development in the village with leadership from the County Land Use Services Department. Assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz was there…

Impetus for the meeting came in part because the County is tasked with updating the General Plan and a new Community Plan for Joshua Tree will come into play as part of that effort. But the meeting was also motivated in part because so many here feel the town’s existing Community Plan was ignored last June when the Board of Supervisors approved a Dollar General Store in downtown Joshua Tree. Last night was the County’s attempt to, quote, “weave thoughtfulness and clarity into future planning” and to hear from the community on specific priorities and concerns. By the end of the meeting, County representatives left with bullet-point specifics of what folks here want to see considered for future planning and development—enough bullet points to fill a dozen large flip chart pages. In his wrap up, Land Use Services Director Tom Hudson said he would organize the many points raised and promised to return.

LANDERS ASSOCIATION BURGLARIZED…AGAIN

For the fourth time in about five years, the Landers Association Thrift Store was burglarized. According to a Sheriff’s report, the burglars broke into the shop sometime Tuesday night and stole some bags of candy, several cans of soda, a box containing some jewelry, and the keys to the cash register and the dumpster. Also stolen were about 15 pairs of socks, which sell for about 50 cents a pair; the burglar left behind a dirty pair of socks. In November of last year, thieves broke into Belfield Hall and stole so many bags of chips, candy, and cans of soda that they had to steal a couple of wheeled suitcases from the Thrift Store to carry it all away. Anyone with information on the theft at the Landers Thrift Store is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

YUCCA VALLEY POLICE FOCUSING ON SPEEDING

This week the Town of Yucca Valley police will focus their traffic enforcement efforts on speeders and other vehicle code violations on Hanford Avenue between Yucca Trail and Highway 62.

3.9 EARTHQUAKE NEAR BORREGO SPRINGS LAST NIGHT

A 3.9-magnitude earthquake hit near Borrego Springs last night, according to U.S. Geological Survey reports. The temblor, centered 26 miles south of Palm Desert, struck at 11:10 p.m., sending a jolt through the Coachella Valley. There were no reports of damage or injury.

DESERT RUN OCTOBER 4-6 TO BENEFIT SHERIFF’S SEARCH AND RESCUE

Search and Rescue volunteers give a great boost to the County Sheriff’s Department, but it’s costly. You can help defray costs, while having a weekend of off-road fun in the desert. Dan Stork says mark your calendar for the Desert Run…

The Morongo Basin Search and Rescue team is holding a Desert Run fundraiser on the weekend of October 4–6. The Search and Rescue team consists of certified volunteers who assist the Sheriff’s Department in covering the huge desert area of Morongo Basin and the Mojave Desert. The volunteers must equip themselves with expensive personal survival gear. To help offset costs, the team sponsors an off-road event every year at the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Park. The base camp will be located at Means Dry Lake this year. This is a family event, not a race. The Desert Run itself is on Saturday morning, October 5, and consists of a 15-to-20 mile course designed to meet a variety of off-road challenges, graded “Easy” or “Hard.” A four-wheel drive vehicle is required. In addition, between 4 p.m. Friday and Sunday morning, there will be vendor booths, kid games, and food. Tickets for the Desert Run are $55 if you pre-register on-line by October 1 or $60 at the event. If you would like more information or to pre-register on-line, visit www.desertrun.org. If you have additional questions, contact Search and Rescue at 951-203-6816.

WE CLARIFY MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT STUDENT TO TEACHER RATIOS

Z107-7 news would like to clarify a story we ran Wednesday after the Morongo Unified School Board meeting Tuesday night. In our story we said, “At a workshop session on class size reduction, the board adopted a 24:1 student-teacher ratio for grades K through 3 and approved the hiring of eight additional teachers.” Morongo Unified Assistant Superintendant Tom Baumgarten clarified the action, explaining that the 24:1 ration was not set as immediate district policy, but a goal according to state standards, which the district would like to reach by 2021. The eight new teachers added would be two teachers at Friendly Hills Elementary; one at Oasis Elementary; one at Morongo Valley Elementary; two at Onaga Elementary; one at Twentynine Palms Elementary; and one at Yucca Mesa Elementary. The new hires will come with $600,000 price tag.

MAJOR HIGHWAY WORK STARTS MONDAY EAST OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

CalTrans will start a $6 million project Monday to rehabilitate Highway 62 east of Twentynine Palms. The project will grind, pave, and restripe the highway in two locations: from Gopher Grove to 11 miles east of Ironage Road; and from just east of Cadiz Road to the Colorado River Aqueduct. The work will take place during daytime hours using one-way traffic control with a pilot car and flaggers. The project is estimated to be completed in November.

THE SHOW GOES ON WITH

The phrase “Break a leg” is supposed to be good luck for actors; they’re not supposed to take it literally. Charles Harvey, starring as King Arthur in Theatre 29′s production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” took the good-luck phrase a little too far when he fell during the first act of the performance August 30, and injured his tendon connecting his knee cap to his leg. But with a couple of cast changes, the show did go on. Managing Editor Tami Roleff this is your last weekend to enjoy the show…

Theatre 29 has another smash hit with its production of the hilariously zany “Monty Python’s Spamalot” now playing weekends through September 21. Anyone who enjoys great music, gut-busting comedy, romance, flying cows, flatulent Frenchmen, killer bunnies, dancing divas, fighting knights, and a thorough lampooning of all that is Broadway, should not miss this show! Marv Schmelling as King Arthur and Analisa Pilecki as the Lady of the Lake head up this cast of off-beat knights and dazzling damsels, featuring some of the top talent in the region, Broadway-level costuming and grand sets. Tickets are $8 to $12 and can be purchased now online at www.theatre29.org, through the box office at 760-361-4151. Theatre 29 is located at 73637 Sullivan Rd, just west of Adobe Rd at Sullivan in the City of Twentynine Palms.

A BUSY JOSHUA TREE VFW

The Joshua Tree Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will be serving up a fish and shrimp dinner, with rings and fries, tonight from 4:30 to 6:30. There will be no Sunday breakfast. But don’t forget Taco Wednesday from 11 to 1.

ALL-CHURCHES PICNIC IN TWENTYNINE PALMS TOMORROW

A picnic to help build the foundation of unity in the community is set for September 21 at Luckie Park in Twentynine Palms. The event is an all-churches picnic, and is set to begin at 10 a.m.

FOOD FOR LIFE SERVES FREE MEAL IN TWENTYNINE PALMS TOMORROW

Food for Life serves meals to those in need in Twentynine Palms every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Little Church of the Desert Community Hall. September 21 the Catholic community will serve chicken cordon bleu, vegetables and dessert.

COUNTY SPECIAL DISTRICTS WATER BILLS ADD INSULT TO INJURY

For the 1,500 customers of County Special Districts in Landers and another 750 in Morongo Valley who depend on the county for water, their current water bills add insult to injury. Assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz explains …

September’s invoices from County Special Districts are the first to reflect a 20 percent rate increase approved to go into effect July 18. But in their zeal to institute the new rates the accounting department began charging the higher rates July 1, 2 ½ weeks early. Correcting the error would have been a minor fix had it occurred to anyone at Special Districts to take meter readings July 18 when the new rates were supposed to begin. But that didn’t happen. Another almost six weeks would pass before anyone collected the data from the radio-read meters. So now Special Districts is busy trying to come up to come up with formulas to estimate refunds due ratepayers. When asked what could be done for customers whose consumption occurred mainly in the first 18 days of the billing cycle, Special District’s Principal Budget Officer Michael Wildes offered no answer, calling that “a one-in-a-million possibility.”

CAR WASH TOMORROW TO BENEFIT ONAGA ELEMNTARY FFA

The FFA (Family, Faculty Association) at Onaga Elementary School is holding a Principal’s Car Wash from 9 to 12 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, September 21, in the parking lot at Onaga Elementary School. The cost is $5 per vehicle and the car will be washed by principal, Kyle Hannah, and other volunteers of the FFA. All proceeds will be used to support teachers and staff, enrich the educational experience of students and improve the school. So come on out, support Onaga’s principal and give your car a bath!

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULES

The Twentynine Palms High School Ladycats Volleyball team bested the Banning Broncos in three sets yesterday. Coach Missy Franz said all girls saw playtime. The team was led by strong back row passing by seniors Rebecca DeGuzman and Cierra Jenson. Junior Koko Cabrera lead the attack with six kills, one ace serve, and nine assists. Freshman Tatiyanna Mackall had three kills and three blocks.

Yesterday the Twentynine Palms Girls tennis team travelled to Banning High School and defeated the Broncos by a score of 14 to 4. All three of the Lady Wildcat doubles teams put in stellar performances and were undefeated for the day.

In high school sports tonight, the Twentynine Palms Wildcat football team will take the long road up the mountain to face defending CIF-champion and number 1 ranked Rim of the World Friday night. The varsity game will start at 7.

The Yucca Valley High School Trojan football team will travel to Barstow tonight for the Aztec’s homecoming game. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.