Congressman Paul Cook of Yucca Valley said he, “Voted his conscience” in voting to reopen government and raise the country’s debt ceiling late last night. In an exclusive interview with Z107.7 News from Washington, D.C., Cook said he made the decision to join 87 other Republican Representatives in supporting the bill already approved by the Senate. A hoarse Cook, who had just left the floor of the House after a long and contentious session, said, “I went against the ultra-conservative wing because it was just the right thing to do.” He said his constituency in the Morongo Basin were being increasingly hard-hit from the shutdown, which was affecting businesses that service Joshua National Park visitors and the military readiness of the Twentynine Palms Combat Center. Cook said that in spite of intense pressure, “I could not vote to continue to shut down government.” A press release from the National Parks Conservation Association said all of the nation’s parks, including Joshua Tree National Park, will reopen today. There has been no confirmation from local park representatives.
More than 120 people gathered at a rally in front of the west gate of the Joshua Tree National Park yesterday afternoon, protesting the government shutdown that has also shutdown their livelihoods. The peaceful protest, called “Shutdown the Shutdown,” demanded an end to the fiscal impasse in Congress, so that businesses that cater to tourists in the High Desert can get back to business, and residents can get back to work. Some Joshua Tree businesses, such as lodging, restaurants, rock climbing guides, and retail stores, have reported losses of 50 to 100 percent since Joshua Tree National Park shut down October 1. Other Morongo Basin residents remained on furlough, while they watched their co-workers get called back to work last week. Last night Congress reached an agreement to end the government shutdown. But while the terms of the agreement reached in the eleventh hour say federal employees will receive back pay, that doesn’t help local business owners who have lost business they’ll never recover. The protesters then symbolically crossed into the Park.
The Morongo Valley Community Services District met in regular session last night. Reporter Mike Lipsitz was there as the CSD approved fire fees and heard about a “dollar-a-day” fund-raiser…….
Following a public hearing in Morongo Valley last night the Community Services District dealt with revised fees for fire marshal services and cost recovery. Cost recovery being the effort by the Fire Department to recoup costs associated with emergency calls where the accident resulted from neglect, or violation of law or code. The resolution updates a previous fee schedule and was approved. In other business, the board approved the final year-end audit statements. And in an update to the “Dollar-A-Day” campaign which aims to enlist donors to each contribute $365 annually for the fire and parks departments, 16 donors have come forward thus far. Those actions and others were in addition to regular reports and items on the consent agenda.
Residents at the Combat Center and surrounding areas will hear a lot of noise and activity Friday, as Marines practice a non-combatant evacuation operation exercise. Marines will simulate the evacuation of civilians from a potentially hostile area from 4 to 10 p.m. tomorrow. Helicopter and tilt-rotor flights will be conducted over the Combat Center, with multiple landings onto Lance Corporal Torrey L. Gray Field and the Del Valle track and field.
A Yucca Valley home was completely destroyed in a fire last night. The fire, in the 56000 block of Sunland Drive was called in about 11:30 p.m. When firefighters from Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Mesa arrived, the home and garage were fully involved in flames. The residents and their pets all got out of the house safely. Downed power lines in the back yard prevented fire fighters from attacking the blaze in the back of the house until Southern California Edison arrived, about 45 minutes later. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A Twentynine Palms woman was arrested Tuesday evening, accused of threatening her ex-boyfriend. According to a Sheriff’s report, a neighbor in the 7400 block of Aster Avenue in Yucca Valley called police about 6:30 p.m. to report that Rio Sauer, 26, had a large carving knife, was slashing bicycle tires, and was threatening to kill her boyfriend because she was angry with him for breaking up with her. After an investigation, Rio Sauer was arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with her bail set at $50,000.
The first of two weekends of the Highway 62 Art Tours kicks off this weekend. Managing Editor Tami Roleff has your invitation…
It’s one of my favorite events of the year—the Highway 62 Art Tours. The Highway 62 Art Tours is a self-guided tour of galleries, shops, homes, and private studios showcasing about 130 artists at 90 locations throughout the Morongo Basin. The art tours are over two weekends: October 19 and 20 on the west end of the Morongo Basin (Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley, Pioneertown, Landers, and Joshua Tree); and October 26 and 27 on the east end of the Morongo Basin (Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms, and Wonder Valley). Some artists are open both weekends. Catalogs with artist bios and maps will be available for $5 from the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council in early October. For more information about the art tours, visit hwy62arttours.com
A former Yucca Valley Town councilman and Hi-Desert Water District official has been named the interim manger for the City of Blythe. On a 3-2 vote, Blythe City Council appointed Frank Luckino as interim city manager. Luckino has been the city’s finance director since June. He came to Blythe after serving nearly four years as the assistant general manager/chief financial officer for Hi-Desert Water District and serving on Yucca Valley’s city council from Nov. 2004 until June 2011. Prior to his city council role, Luckino worked for Copper Mountain College District as the director of finance from July 2003-February 2006. As interim city manager, Luckino’s duties will be split. He will continue to do his duties as finance director and work with staff to maintain the city’s daily finances.
Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive Friday, October 18 (tomorrow) at Twentynine Palms High School, in Twentynine Palms from 7 to 3 p.m. Donors will receive incentives. Donors must be at least 15 years old to give blood; students who are 15 and 16 years old must have written parental consent. All prospective donors should be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 877-827-4376.
The Friends of the Twentynine Palms Library and the Public Arts Advisory Council are hosting the dedication of a Simi Dabah’s sculpture right after the Pioneer Days Parade. The sculpture, in front of the library, will be dedicated in honor of Dan Luckenbill, past president and board member of the Friends of the Library. The sculpture dedication is set for 11:30 a.m., or right after the Pioneer Days parade. The public is invited. For more information about Dedication, please call the Twentynine Palms Library at 760-367-9519.
The 77th Pioneer Days kicks off in Twentynine Palms today. ROP broadcast student Alexis Hightower takes a look at some of the activities…
Who doesn’t love a good carnival? Coming up on October 17-October 20, the 77th annual Pioneer Days parade and carnival will be hosted at Luckie Park in downtown Twentynine Palms. Several activities and contests will be held on this historical day, such as the Pioneer Days Little Miss & Master contest for boys and girls ages 3 to 5 years, and the Pioneer Days’ Judge and Sheriff Competition, and more. For additional information, contact the Chamber of Commerce in Twentynine Palms at 760-367-3445 or visit their website at www.29chamber.org Thank you and have a nice day.
The annual Pioneer Days Chili Dinner is Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the 29 Palms Art Gallery. The dinner is one of the biggest fund-raising events of the year for the historic gallery, on Cottonwood Drive off National Park Drive in Twentynine Palms. A traditional Pioneer Days event, the meal will be served under the stars on the gallery’s patio. A no-host bar opens at 4:30. In addition to the meal and music, the gallery will be open for viewing the Hwy 62 Art Tours Collective Show, and the gift shop will be open. Tickets for the Chili Dinner are $13 individual, $25 couple, and $8 for children under 10, and will be available at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at The Silk Purse Art and Antiques and at the 29 Palms Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call the Gallery at 760-367-7819 or visit the gallery’s website at www.29palmsartgallery.com.
The Homestead Valley Community Council will hold its annual Wine and Cheese Party, Saturday, evening, October 19, in Flamingo Heights. Doug Anderson will supply the music. Heavy hors d’ouevres, along with wine and cheese, will be available. Tickets are $10. The event begins at 5 p.m. at the Flamingo Heights Community Center, 55977 Perris Road just off Hwy 247 behind Hero Catering.
Attention motorcyclists: A beautiful day and a beautiful ride is in store for the Twentynine Palms Rotary Club’s poker run this Sunday. Reporter Mike Lipsitz gets out his leathers…
The Rotary Club of Twentynine Palms will host a motorcycle poker run on Sunday, October 20. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. at Desert Cycle Works on Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms. The poker run will begin at 10 a.m. Riders will be given a list of locations where they can draw cards and assemble the best poker hand possible. Prizes will be given for the best and worst poker hands. The $20 entry fee includes lunch for one rider; passengers or guests can purchase lunch for $10. Entry forms are available at Desert Cycle Works and at desertcycleworks.com. Entry forms can be dropped off at Desert Cycle Works or riders can register on site the day of the Poker Run. For more information, contact Desert Cycle Works at 760-361-3226 chase.
The Yucca Valley High School Cheerleader Booster Club will hold a cheer clinic from 9 to 1 Saturday, October 19, in the high school gym. Girls and boys of all ages are encouraged to attend. All participants must bring a white shirt—either long or short sleeve. Lunch will be provided. The cost is $15. All participants at the cheer clinic will perform with the cheerleaders during half time November 1 on Trojan Field.
Tuesday, the Twentynine Palms Wildcats girls tennis team defeated the Yucca Valley Trojans by a score of 14 – 4. Number one and two singles players Tassia Lucas and Paige Rossi were undefeated for the day. Also winning all three sets were the number one and two doubles teams of Heather Centner and Arin Trip and, Heather Lebeda and Becky Raines. The Wildcats are still undefeated in De Anza League play with a record of 6 wins and 0 losses.
Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School girls’ volleyball team will participate in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona, starting at noon.