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.

YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL AT HOME TONIGHT

What was to have been a Friday football game between Yucca Valley High School and Citrus Valley has been changed to TONIGHT Thursday, September 12. The game location and time are the same—at home on Trojan Field, with junior varsity at 4:15 and varsity at 7 p.m. The schedule change was necessary due to a lack of officiating crews this week.

SCHOOL BOARD SPECIAL MEETING ON ATHLETIC ELIGIBILITY TONIGHT

A special meeting has been called to deal with the athletic eligibility issue in the Morongo Unified School District. Dan Stork has the meeting notice…

The Morongo Unified School District has scheduled a special meeting for a work and study session on board policy and administrative regulation 6145 (which deals with Extra-curricular and Co-curricular Activities) and the 2013-2014 California Interscholastic Federation bylaws. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday — tonight — at Joshua Tree Elementary School. The session is open to the public, and to public comment. A link to the current Administrative Regulations on the subject can be found in this story at kcdzfm.com: http://www.gamutonline.net/district/morongo/displayPolicy/271684/6

ARTIST RECEPTION FOR CHAPARRAL ARTISTS’ NEW SHOW IS SUNDAY

“Sunny Day” is the theme of the Chaparral Artists’ Guild’s new show, featuring the art of Ray Lamb. An opening reception will be held Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. at A Roadside Attraction, 69197 29 Palms Highway, in Twentynine Palms. Light refreshments will be served.

THEATRE 29, 3 CHAMBERS, 2014 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT GALA TODAY

The long-awaited announcement of the Theatre 29 2014 season will be made tonight and season tickets will officially go on sale. Managing editor Tami Roleff says the Season Announcement Gala is hosted as a special tri-chamber mixer at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center from 5 to 7 p.m. …

The Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms Chambers of Commerce join Theatre 29 to unveil the theater’s 2014 season tonight. The line-up remains a closely guarded secret, but Z107.7 has learned it includes two musicals, four comedies, and a classic drama. Each production will be unveiled with a theatrical presentation at the gala. The free event includes special chamber presentations and an opportunity to network with local movers and shakers. Refreshments, including beer and wine, will be available as well as a selection of deli delights. The Tri-Chamber Season Announcement Gala will be held at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center’s Friendship Hall from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight.

YUCCA VALLEY CHAMBER GIVING UP GRUBSTAKE DAYS PARADE, SEEKING SUCCESOR

The Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is searching for another organization to take over the Yucca Valley Grubstake Day parade. As a result of the goals set and the limited resources available to the Chamber it was decided to find another organization to take on the parade. The annual parade is held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. If your group is interested in taking on the Grubstake Day parade, call the Chamber of Commerce at 760-365-6323.

MORONGO VALLEY FIESTA DAYS TO FEATURE LOHN LINN BAND

This weekend is the annual Fiesta Days celebration in Morongo Valley. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says special entertainment will headline the event…

Morongo Valley’s big Fiesta Days event is this Friday and Saturday with non-stop events and surprises that will appeal to young and old. Many will be surprised to learn that The John Linn Band will be headlining Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Covington Park Pavilion. The band agreed to step in following the sudden cancellation of the Battle of the Bands contest. Organizers said the cancellation was beyond their control, but were pleased to be able to book the popular country rock band. Morongo Valley Fiesta Days benefits the Firefighters’ Auxiliary. Find more information and updates at MVFiestadays.com.

COUNTY TO GIVE UP ROADS IN MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE

San Bernardino County turned over about a dozen roads in the Mojave Preserve to the National Parks Service this week. The county had sued in 2006 over its rights to the roads because county crews had been maintaining them for decades before the preserve was created as part of the 1994 Desert Protection Act. In the settlement last year, the county agreed to give up its claims to the roads. In turn, the federal government agreed to maintain them and keep them open. The Board of Supervisors formally approved the agreement Tuesday. Environmental groups had backed the settlement, saying it would keep the roads open while also protecting desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and other sensitive species along the routes in the eastern Mojave Desert. County officials were concerned about the federal agency maintaining the roads, some of which cross private lands, and on which many residents rely.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL PART 2 OF 3: CODES, TOURISM, NATIONAL PARK DRIVE CATCH-22

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: Building codes, the strategic plan Workshop, the tourism group report, and a Catch-22 on National Park Drive…

Building codes: In a pro forma vote needed to preserve local variations in the City’s Building Code, the Council amended the code to reference changes in state rules.
Appeal withdrawn: A public hearing on an appeal to a Planning Commission ruling was cancelled, since the appeal has been withdrawn.
Strategic plan workshop: Council directed staff to facilitate the October 24 Strategic Planning Workshop internally, since an external consultant would cost $9,000 to $15,000.
City Manager report: City Manager Joe Guzzetta reported on multiple issues, including:

  •  He expects that the community tourism group will move quickly on marketing initiatives, and urged attendance at the October 2 public meeting;
  •  A work stoppage on National Park Drive improvements due to the discovery of archaeological artifacts leaves a Catch-22 situation. Federal HUD funding requires that there be a 2-month process to study the site. But HUD funds of $247,000 must be used by September 30, and HUD won’t extend the deadline. One option is to relinquish the HUD funding, which could reduce the study process to one week, and allow the project to proceed.

COLLEGE FOUNDATION RE-AWARDS GREENLEAF SCHOLARHIP

The Copper Mountain College Foundation’s Board of Directors has rescinded its offer of the Greenleaf Scholarship to Aiden Blake Smith, 19, at the board’s August meeting. In May, Smith was arrested for assault with serious injuries after he punched a 15-year-old student in the face at Twentynine Palms High School. The District Attorney’s office declined to press charges against Smith, and Smith appeared at the Board’s August 26 meeting to apologize for his actions. Nevertheless, the Foundation Board voted to award the scholarship to another Twentynine Palms High School student, Kelly Christenson. The award will be presented at a scholarship tea held at the college September 25. The Greenleaf Scholarship will pay the winner’s tuition, books, fees, and living expenses while at Copper Mountain College and after she transfers to a four-year school.

SHERIFF'S TEAM RAIDS SIX MARIJUANA GROWS IN LANDERS, 17 ARRESTED

091213aActing on tips from neighbors, aerial patrols, and other sources, about 20 Sheriff’s deputies raided six marijuana grows in Landers yesterday, arrested 17 people, and seized almost 2,000 mature marijuana plants. Deputies raided a residence in the 1200 block of Goat Mountain Road, where 421 plants were seized and two men were arrested; in the 58600 block of Philippe Lane, with 216 plants seized and where one man was arrested; a loaded .38 revolver and methamphetamine were also found; the 60500 block of Lorraine Road, where 414 mature marijuana plants were seized and two men were arrested; the 400 block of Mallow Road, where 322 plants were seized; and the 61600 block of Neptune, where 10 men were arrested, 174 mature and budding plants were seized, as well as 100 pounds of processed 091213bmarijuana, and a .22-caliber rifle; and in the 3000 block of Sage Avenue, two men were arrested, 378 plants seized, and two pounds of processed marijuana.

Managing editor Tami Roleff was there for one of the raids and files this report…

At the first three raids on marijuana grows in Landers Wednesday morning, deputies arrested five people. At the fourth raid in the 400 block of Mallow, the caretakers at the marijuana grow in the 400 block of Mallow had most likely been tipped off; Sheriff’s Sergeant Ernie Perez said no one was at the grow when deputies arrived. “We didn’t get any answer and the door was locked so we had to force the entry inside.” The house, which didn’t have any bedrooms, had two tents set 091213cup inside. “You have a house, a residence, with rooms. Why would you sleep in a tent? You can clearly see they don’t have furniture; it’s not like a normal house.” Outside, the half-acre back yard was completely fenced in with privacy fencing and plastic sheeting to protect the secret crop from the eyes of nosy neighbors. “They want this to be discrete, clandestine, if you will.” And there, planted in neat rows, were 322 mature marijuana plants, ready for harvesting. After conducting their investigation, the deputies pulled out all the plants and threw them into the back of a trailer, to join plants from the earlier raids at the county incinerator. Then, it was on to the next grow, in the 61600 block of Neptune in Landers, and then on and on and on. “Yeah, this is what I do full-time every day.”

091213dA complete list of those arrested can be found with this story at KCDZFM.com.

Arrested for investigation of cultivation of marijuana were:

1200 Goat Mountain Road
Phou Keomahaxay, 55;
Vanphachay Chanthaachone, 45

58600 Philippe Lane
Manuel De Jesus Martinez, 32

60500 Lorraine Road
091213eBounma Yommarath, 58
Thavon Phouthavong, 38

400 Mallow Road
Suspects unknown at this time

61600 Neptune Drive:
James Hubbard Sr., 64;
James Hubbard Jr., 32;
Jesus Tapia, 27;
Ronald Rice, 25;
Oscar Fuentes, 32;
Ronald Aguilar, 25;
Daniel Ortuno, 23;
Angel Flores Gomez, 21;
Hector Sanchez Uvalle, 26;
Leobegldo Antonio, 45

3000 Sage Avenue
Sengchanh Nanthavondouangsy, 44
Manikhone Chithavong, 59

JOSHUA SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL LOOKING FOR A BASKETBALL COACH

Joshua Springs Christian School needs a varsity basketball coach. Contact Israel Hagerman at 760-365-3599 by October 1 for more information.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES IN ACTION

Yesterday, the Twentynine Palms High School girls’ varsity tennis team lost to Palm Springs High School by a score of 6 to 12.

Twentynine Palms High School girls’ tennis team will host San Jacinto High School at home tomorrow. The match begins at 3:15. Also tomorrow, the Ladycat volleyball team will travel away to Coachella Valley. First serve is at 4:30.

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