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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Joshua Springs Christian School Lightning football team will travel away to play Spring Mountain School. Kick-off is at 3 p.m.

DESERT HILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH PLANS ACTIVITIES

Desert Hills Presbyterian Church of Yucca Valley will hold a men’s breakfast 8:30 a.m. this Saturday, September 21, at Carrows in Yucca Valley. The church will hold a family berry and apple picking excursion Sunday, September 22, at Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen. To carpool, meet at the church at 11:30. Call 760-365-6331 to reserve your spot, or sign up at meetup.com/familyup. Desert Hills Presbyterian Church is located at 56750 Mountain View Trail in Yucca Valley.

THEATRE 29 ANNOUNCES 2014 SEASON

Theatre 29 returns for the 15th year with a full line-up of productions for the 2014 year. The playhouse’s season announcement was made during a special gala event last week, hosted by the three Morongo Basin Chambers of Commerce. Theatre 29 Board President Brian Tabeling welcomed the capacity crowd, and then using songs, snippets of scenes, and short videos, the eight directors introduced their productions and programs for the coming year. Managing editor Tami Roleff was there, and gives a run-down of what the Morongo Basin can expect from its premier theatrical venue…
Starting off 2014 is the classic comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” written by Oscar Wilde and directed by Butch Pelfry. This play runs January 10 through February 8. Veteran director Mary Neider has selected “The Farndale Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery,” as her production, which will run February 28 through March 29. Next up is the latest exploit of the Little Sisters of Hoboken in “Nunset Boulevard,” directed by Kathyrn Ferguson. The show runs from April 25 to May 24. Kurt Schauppner directs the classic drama, “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen, running from June 20 to July 19. New this year is the theater’s first annual Summer Youth program, for children 18 and under. This intensive, two-week program, will train young performers in all aspects of what makes a theatrical production, and will culminate with a live stage performance July 25 and 26. Next is the Tony-award winning adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie, “The 39 Steps,” directed by Charles Harvey. Show dates are August 15 to September 13. Instead of a Halloween Haunt, Gary Daigneault will put on “Young Frankenstein,” by the comic genius Mel Brooks. “Young Frankenstein” will play October 3 to November 1. And the last show of the season will be “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” directed by John Wright, from November 21 to December 20. Season tickets, good for all seven main stage productions, can be purchased at www.theatre29.org or by calling the Theatre 29 Box Office at 760-361-4151. Season prices are, General Admission $68, Senior/Military $56, Student (with ID) or children under 12 are $46.

CHILDREN’S CRAFTS AT THE TWENTYNINE PALMS LIBRARY SATURDAY

Join the Twentynine Palms Library this Saturday, from 1 to 2 p.m. for children’s craft corner. This month’s craft will be foil pendants. Enjoy refreshments as you create your one-of-a-kind craft. All supplies are provided by the Friends of the Library. The event is open to children of all ages. For more information and to sign up for the teen craft, please call the Twentynine Palms Branch Library at 760-367-9519.

FAMILY FUN AT SATURDAY’S OKTOBERFEST IN YUCCA VALLEY

It’s time to start practicing holding your beer steins for Oktoberfest, a fund-raising event sponsored by the Yucca Valley Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. The gates open at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 21, and the first contest—a stein holding and carrying contest—begins at 4. Other contests will be a kids’ chicken dancing contest, then a non-alcoholic beer drinking contest, a polka-dancing contest, and a two-man log-sawing contest. At 7 p.m., best costumes will be judged, followed by another beer stein carrying contest at 8 and adult chicken dancing contest. There’ll also be live music, food, and vendors throughout the event. Admission is $5 at the door, with package discounts on admission and drinks available before Oktoberfest from the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce or Realty Professionals. The event will be held at the Brehm Sports Park in Yucca Valley. For more information, call 760-365-6323.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE FOUNDATION INVITES YOU TO THEIR ANNUAL FALL DINNER

Mark your calendars for October 5 for the annual fall dinner in support of the Copper Mountain College Foundation. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells you how to participate in their sponsorship program…..
The Copper Mountain College Foundation’s annual fall dinner to raise funds for students is October 5. Local businesses, service clubs and individuals are encouraged to support CMC students with a fall sponsorship. Sponsorship offers unprecedented access to a variety of CMC events. Sponsor packages range from $100 to $1,000. Sponsors receive recognition at the events plus online acknowledgment and inclusion in marketing materials. All proceeds benefit the students of Copper Mountain College. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, contact the Foundation at 760-366-3791 extension 4200, or go to cmccd.edu/Foundation.

40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE JOSHUA TREE DEATH OF GRAHAM PARSONS

Today is the fortieth anniversary of country-rock icon Gram Parsons’s death in room 8 of the Joshua Tree Inn. Parson’s death by overdose was famously followed by two funerals: The first after the coffin containing his body was stolen from the Los Angeles Airport by his road manager so that he could be cremated in Joshua Tree National Park. The spot, near Cap Rock, is indicated with a crude marker which can still be found after some hardy searching. Relatives got the partially incinerated body back, and brought it to Florida. There’s a film about it: “Grand Theft Parsons,” which was not a critic’s favorite and glamorized the event. Parsons, whose death has been unevenly marked by hit-or-miss events in Joshua tree over the years, helped bring the country-rock sound influence to the forefront though five albums: the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the Flying Burrito Brothers’ Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe, then the solo GP and Grievous Angel, and connections with other musicians of the time. He never had a hit record while he lived.

MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST TRAINING LAND MONITORS

If you have an interest in an active role in conservation, the Mojave Desert Land Trust would like to train you as a land monitor. Dan Stork has details…
The Mojave Desert Land Trust is holding a day of Land Stewardship Training on Saturday, September 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Whitewater Preserve. The training provided will be for volunteer monitors, who watch over lands purchased by the trust, even after they have been donated to the National Park Service. Training includes: Locating properties in the field using a GPS unit and topographic maps; monitoring properties and maintaining a written and photo log; documenting threats such as illegal use of off-highway vehicles and dumping; field safety awareness course; and refresher GPS course for veteran volunteer monitors. Prerequisites for volunteers include the ability to hike an average of three miles off trail on moderate desert terrain. Pre-registration is required. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact MDLT Land Stewardship Coordinator, Mizuki Hanford at mizuki@sheltondouthit.com or 760-366-0542.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL IN BRIEF SPECIAL MEETING TONIGHT

The Yucca Valley Town Council will hold a special meeting at 6:00 tonight to select two members to serve on the sub-division ad-hoc committee. The meeting will be held in the Mesquite Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.

FREE CLASS ON FALL PREVENTION FOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED

The elderly and disabled are especially susceptible to falling, which can lead to not only bruising but broken bones and hospital stays. Reach Out Morongo Basin and the Visiting Nurses Association of California will host a class on how to prevent falls Tuesday, September 24, at 10:15. This free informational class will be held at the Twentynine Palms Senior Center, 6539 Adobe Road, and is open to all seniors. For more information, or to register for the class, call Reach Out at 760-361-1410.

CRUDE OIL PIPELINE MAY GO THROUGH THE MORONGO BASIN

At their meeting earlier this week, the Yucca Valley Town Council heard of plans which could bring a major crude-oil pipeline right through our pristine Morongo basin. Managing editor Tami Roleff has details……
The Yucca Valley Town Council heard a presentation at its meeting Tuesday night about the Questar Southern trails Pipeline Oil Conversion Project. By 2016, the Questar Southern Trails Pipeline Company proposes to transport up to 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day from New Mexico to Los Angles, and that oil could be going right through the Morongo Basin. The Southern Trails pipeline currently carries natural gas 485 miles from New Mexico to Essex, California, and the pipeline would need to be converted to transport crude oil. A 96-mile section, that is not in service at this time, runs from Whitewater to Long Beach. Southern Trails is studying two routes to connect the two pipelines. One route would follow an existing SoCal Gas pipeline, which runs right through the Morongo Basin. The other route would follow a BLM-designated utility corridor that goes south around Joshua Tree National Park to Interstate 10 east to Whitewater. The company is conducting land surveys for both routes. For more information about the pipeline project, visit the Town’s website at yucca-valley.org, or call Steve Chapman at 801-324-5548.