SHERIFF CRACKING DOWN ON SYNTHETIC DRUG SALES

A Sheriff’s Department task force served warning letters to businesses throughout the county advising them the sales of “bath salts” or “spice,” as they are commonly called, are not permitted in the county. Five teams of deputies served notices at 21 locations in San Bernardino County to give them the opportunity to surrender any illicit products and avoid criminal prosecution. Five locations voluntarily surrendered the synthetic drug product most commonly referred to as “spice.” Business owners surrendered 179 packets of spice from store shelves. The other 16 locations said they no longer sold the substances or were going to return the product and get their money back. Deputies who delivered the letters spoke with business owners about the legal ramifications of selling synthetic drugs. “Spice” and “bath salts” have been scientifically formulated to create the same effects of more common drugs. The “fake” substances are not detected on standard drug tests, so abuse tends to run rampant in the military and other professions in which drug testing is common. The highly addictive, synthetic drugs are marketed as potpourri, decorative sand, shoe deodorizers, or glass cleaner; however they have nothing in common with the products they are advertised to be. They are packaged using bright colors and cartoon characters in an obvious ploy to attract children. The psychotic results of the synthetic drugs are severe and addictive.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS SUSPECTED IN MORONGO VALLEY CRASH

As a follow-up story about a Yucca Valley woman who crashed into the concrete center divider Monday on the Yucca Grade, the California Highway Patrol announced that prescription drugs may be a factor in the crash. About 4:30 Monday afternoon, Kristen Herrera, was driving eastbound on Highway 62, when for unknown reasons she made an unsafe turning movement, according to the CHP. Herrera crashed into the concrete divider at the bottom of the grade, near the shooting range. Kristen Herrera suffered minor injuries and was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.

JOSHUA TREE FIRE RESCUES CAMPER WITH NUT ALLERGY

A teen camper in Joshua Tree National Park mistakenly ate nuts yesterday and needed help from the Joshua Tree fire station paramedics. According to Fire Captain Mark Murphy, about 1 p.m., a teen, who was with a group camping at Sheep Pass campground, ate some nuts and suffered an allergic reaction. Paramedics went to the site and gave the teen some Benadryl, and then transported the camper to Hi-Desert Medical Center for treatment.

TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT GETS FIRE TAX RECOMMENDATION OF ADDITONAL $60 A YEAR

The Twentynine Palms Water Board got the results of a half-year of deliberations on the funding of the fire department by a Citizens’ Committee, and decided to consider whether to act on them three months from now. Or maybe nine months from now. Dan Stork was there, and summarizes the discussions…
The Twentynine Palms Water District Board of Directors received the recommendations of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee on funding the fire department. Director Chancey Chambers observed that the suggested ballot measure–which calls for an per-parcel increase from the current $80 to $140 per year, phased-in over three years, followed by a discretionary annual increase of at most 3 percent per year, and would support the re-opening of the Lear station—is not substantially different from the measure rejected by the voters last year. There was general agreement that a different outcome would require intensive public education and campaigning. Chief Jim Thompson advised that the Board would have to act by February in order to get the measure on the ballot with the June 2014 gubernatorial primary choices, or by July to make the November 2014 general election ballot. During the water district portion of the meeting, General Manager Tamara Alaniz had presented preliminary information indicating that mail-only elections are not cheaper than polling place elections and don’t lead to significantly better turnout (which is somewhat surprising), and that elections in November of even-numbered years get substantially better turnout (no surprise there). Thompson noted that the current level of service–with the Lear station closed–can be maintained with a balanced budget for the current and next fiscal years. The prevailing opinion was to wait until January before taking the issue up, to allow time to gather community feedback, and that a November presentation to the voters would be preferred to one in June. The Board voted to disband the Committee now, so that its members will be free to act as individuals to promote their recommendations in the community, without running afoul of Brown Act constraints.

HIGHWAY 62 ART TOURS 2ND WEEKEND, EVENTS IN JOSHUA TREE AND TWENTYNINE PALMS

The Hi-Desert’s best visual and performing artists will be a part of the 12th Annual Hwy 62 Art Tours, a self-guided tour of more than 200 galleries, shops, homes, and private studios. This final weekend, October 26 and 27, features Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms, and Wonder Valley. In addition, there’ll be poetry readings, live music, theater, and special arts events throughout the Basin. A collective exhibit of artists participating in the art tour is at the 29 Palms Art Gallery through the 28th. The annual closing party will be Sunday, October 27, at Furst World Studio. For more information about the 2013 art tour, visit hwy62arttours.com.

In conjunction with Hwy 62 Art Tours, Harrison House will present an exhibition featuring the sculptural and assemblage pieces of artists-in-residence Keith North and Mark Bulwinkle. Artwork will be displayed inside as well as around the grounds of Harrison House. Viewing hours are 9 to 5 Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27. Harrison House is at 6881 Mount Lassen Avenue, Joshua Tree. For more information, call 760-366-4712.

A Roadside Attraction Art Gallery in Twentynine Palms will be open during the second weekend of the Annual Art Tours, this Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery will feature artworks from many local artists in the Morongo Basin, both those who are participating in the Highway 62 Art Tours, and those who are not. Light refreshments will be available. The art gallery is located at 69197 29 Palms Hwy., just west of Lear Avenue.

MAKE YOUR HALLOWEEN PARTY A SAFE ONE

Don’t look now, but Halloween is just one week away. If you are planning a Halloween party, managing Editor Tami Roleff offers these safety tips from the County Health Department…
Halloween is a holiday that often is celebrated by trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and costume parties. Follow these simple steps from the San Bernardino County Public Health Department to have a fun and safe Halloween party. If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Untreated juice or cider will have a label indicating that it was not pasteurized or otherwise treated. No matter how tempting, do not taste raw cookie dough or cake batter. “Scare” bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped cream and cream cheese frostings. Cold temperatures help keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying. Do not leave the food at room temperature for more than two hours.

JOSHUA TREE PRE-SCHOOL LIBRARY LOUNGE NOW OPEN

The Joshua Tree Preschool Literacy Lounge is open. This free early reading education for preschool aged children is made possible by Joshua Tree Recreation and Parks District in partnership with First 5 of San Bernardino County. Joshua Tree Recreation received a grant to make available a Preschool Literacy Lounge as an avenue to achieving early reading skills for first readers. The Lounge combines students, parents, teachers, and technology to develop and build reading skills as required for success at higher levels of education. Teachers of the Joshua Tree Preschool will host open reading sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and tutor in the use of iPads available at the lounge to develop reading skills in pupils. For more information, contact the Joshua Tree Community Center at 760-366-8415.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CEMETERY DISTRICT BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The Twentynine Palms Cemetery District Board of Directors will meet at 5:30 tonight. On the agenda, the board will discuss monthly projections and review the price list for any needed adjustments. The meeting will be held in the cemetery office, 5350 Encelia Avenue.

FALL FLORA AND FIRMAMENT FROLIC AT SKY’S THE LIMIT

The Fall Flora and Firmament Frolic is this Saturday at Sky’s the Limit. Reporter Taylor Thacker has more…
Families and life-long learners of all ages are welcome to this month’s Sky’s The Limit Observatory “Fall Flora and Firmament Frolic” Discovery Day. On Saturday, October 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, activities such as hunting for fall flora with desert naturalist Darrell Shade and viewing the firmament with Rick Hiestand are sure to interest and delight you. Other activities include a solar energy demo with Matt Dunphy, delving into Cryptobiotics with Tera Bottorff, and frolicking in the firmament with Ken Drummond. This event takes place at the Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center located just north to the entrance of the Joshua Tree National Park on Utah Trail. Everyone is advised to bring snacks, plenty of water, hats, sunscreen, and to dress for unpredictable desert weather. This event is limited to 40 people, and children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Register today at the 29 Palms Park and Recreation Office or call 760-367-7562. For more information call 760-408-6099.

SEASON ENDING FOR PIONEERTOWN WESTERN REENACTMENTS

Two Old West reenactment groups will perform their last shows of the season this weekend in Pioneertown. The Mane Street Stampede invites children to share Halloween treats with their favorite Stampede characters at 2:30 Saturday. At the end of the show, the rootin’ tootin’ cowboys and ladies of the Mane Street Stampede will line up inside the storefronts on Mane Street and pass out goodies to all the trick-or-treating kids.
Gunfighters for Hire’s last show is set for Sunday, October 27, at 2:30 on Mane Street. The first 30 kids to arrive will receive a goodie bag. During the show, the Gunfighters for Hire will present a donation check of $500 to the Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, a non-profit charity that helps abused children.
For more information about the Mane Street Stampede, call 760-365-0044. For more information about the Gunfighters for Hire, visit gunfightersforhire.org.

FIVE CMC STUDENTS FINISH LOCAL INTERNSHIPS

The Copper Mountain College Community Partners program is seeing success with five more interns completing. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has the kudos…
Some five Copper Mountain College students recently completed the 100-hour Community Partners Internship Program. Sarah Gardiner and Darin Sandin interned at Parrten Products; Dustin Freeman spent his 100 hours at the San Bernardino County Public Defenders Office; John Davis interned at Hi-Desert Water District, and Nicholas Monroe spent his time with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The five interns will be awarded an Amazon Kindle Fire thanks to the CMC Foundation. The students benefit from these experiences in many ways including participation in a resume and career workshop, from on-the-job-training; from the entry on their university applications and resumes; and finally, the internships offer networking and job opportunities.

HIGH HONORS FOR YUCCA VALLEY MARCHING BAND AND COLORGUARD IN COMPETITION

The Yucca Valley High School Trojan marching band and Sunsations color guard took high honors during two recent competitions. On October 12, in Barstow, the Trojans dominated the 30th Annual High Desert Class marching band and color guard competitions. The marching band earned second place, while the drumline and colorguard both captured first place. A week later, the Trojan band and drumline took first place, and the colorguard was awarded second place. The judges complimented the band and guard on their musical selections and the variety of the show; one of the visual judges commended the ensemble for creating a huge visual presence on the field despite having a small colorguard.

HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS

Tuesday the Twentynine Palms High School girls’ tennis team defeated the Big Bear Bears by a score of 16–2. The Wildcats are still undefeated in the De Anza League with a record of 8 wins, 0 losses.