The Yucca Valley Town Council heard from County Sheriff John McMahon about AB 109, the Inmate Realignment Act, at its meeting Tuesday night. AB109 requires the state to reduce the number of inmates in prisons. Managing editor Tami Roleff reports that the realignment act is creating unanticipated problems. Here is part 1 of a 2-part report…
Sheriff John McMahon stressed that in order to meet the goals of AB 109, no inmates have been released from prison; the reduction has come from the number of inmates sent to the state prisons. “We sent 400 to 425 inmates a month to the state prison system prior to the realignment; now as a result of that we’re keeping all of them with the exception of about 85.” Since the jails were already full prior to the realignment act, 8,000 inmates have been released since AB109 took effect in October 2011. The Sheriff’s Department attempts to identify those who are least likely to re-offend, the “triple nons”—those convicted of non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual crimes, such as property crimes. “But we’re having trouble finding enough folks that are in custody serving time for property crimes to release.” Keeping these more violent prisoners has created real problems in the jails, McMahon said. “Our assaults, inmate on inmate are up 100 percent in our facilities, and inmate on staff are up 50 percent.” Tomorrow, we’ll hear about how the Sheriff’s department is attempting to cope with the influx of prisoners.
The City of Twentynine Palms will host the Morongo Basin’s Veterans Day Tribute 2013. The event begins at 10:00 a.m. in Veterans Park and will include guest speakers, static displays of law enforcement, fire department, and military equipment, as well as music and entertainment. The Marine Sandpiper and the Marine Corps Color guard will open the ceremony at 11:00 a.m., followed by guest speakers, including City Councilmember Jim Harris and Colonel Jay Bargeron, 7th Marine Regiment, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. A free hot dog and hamburger barbecue will follow the ceremony, sponsored by Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel. The Mojave Vipers breakfast, typically held before the Veterans’ Day Tribute, has been cancelled this year.
How’s the state of the groundwater in Twentynine Palms? Compared to Yucca Valley, pretty good. But it’s not too early to plan for the future. That’s what two Twentynine Palms governing bodies heard from consultants Wednesday evening. Dan Stork expands on the presentation…
In a joint workshop meeting Wednesday, the Twentynine Palms City Council and Water District heard a presentation on Groundwater Protection and Wastewater Management from the consulting firm Kennedy Jenks. The report addressed regulatory constraints, the quality of the local water supply, and future strategies for dealing with these areas. Points made during the evening included:
• Relative to the Twentynine Palms area, Yucca Valley has less favorable geology for groundwater, and its recharge plan led to elevated nitrate levels.
• Twentynine Palms nitrate levels are well below maximum contaminant levels, and have been relatively stable for 50 years.
• Assuming a build-out population of 111,000 (which most regard as an extreme over-projection), the cost of capital improvements to support a centralized water treatment system is estimated at $290 million.
• There is no hard and fast requirement for an appropriate type of water treatment for a given locality; the driving factors are complex: development density, the maintenance and repair state of septic systems, local geology, and much more.
• During the next five years, localities must develop and put into place Local Agency Management Plans, approved by the State Water Resources Control Board.
• More detailed monitoring and analysis of water supplies is needed to support planning.
• The City and the Water District need to discuss how to share ongoing responsibility and authority for planning and engineering of groundwater management and wastewater treatment.
• Public education on the maintenance and repair of septic systems is an ongoing necessity.
A joint task force of the City and Water District will work with the consultants to tweak the draft report, before submitting it to the Colorado Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Get your telescopes, binoculars, and your eyes ready for a once-in-a lifetime celestial phenomenon. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says the Comet Ison is coming….
Another comet will be flying by this month and some astronomers are saying it will be the “comet of the century,” while others think it might be nothing special. The Comet Ison will be at its closest to us on November 28, when it will be only 750,000 miles from the Earth. But for about the next week, observers say it will only be visible through telescopes or binoculars. The next few weeks will be the best time to see the Comet Ison. Go out about 4 a.m. in dark skies, away from city lights, and look to the east toward the constellation Leo, which looks like a question mark near the horizon. The comet will appear as a soft glow with a faint tail. The comet should brighten enough in the next one to two weeks to be visible to the naked eye. Even if the comet doesn’t live up to its hype, enjoy the moment of watching an object from outer space visit our solar system.