Last night, the Yucca Valley Town Council narrowly accepted the sole bid for a construction project on Highway 62 on the west end of Town. The $2.8 million dollar project, which will add raised medians, curbs, gutters, and sidewalks from Mohawk Trail to Palm Avenue, and a traffic light at Church Street, is slated to start in February and will last at least four months. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at last night’s 4-hour marathon meeting. Today in part one of a two-part report, she explains why the vote was so close. Tomorrow, spay and neuter vouchers…
In a 3-2 vote, the Yucca Valley Town Council accepted the sole bid for the second highway median project on the west end of town. Seven business owners told the Council the medians would hurt their business, including Chet Smelser of Chet’s Appliance. “This is going to cost me my business, and I have 12 people working for me. I’m going to move my business to Joshua Tree.” Many spoke out about the dangers of having commercial trucks drive on alternate routes through residential streets to get to the businesses, and about the Town’s poor notification in notifying business owners about the project. Council member Bob Leone agreed with the business owners. “The business people are constituents of this town. The people of this Town own the town, we don’t own the Town. There isn’t a person out there that I’ve spoken to that isn’t against the medians.” Mayor Merl Abel thought the Town should scrap the raised medians and only go forward with the sidewalks and traffic light. “We got a lot of it right; we got part of it wrong. I would love to reject this one and come up with a project and say we’re just not going to do center dividers at this particular time.” Council member Dawn Rowe argued that previous councils made a commitment to the Town that the current council needed to honor. “This is an inevitable project that will come forward sometime in the future; we will be required to do this. I’m not willing to throw away a million dollars that we have put aside and then add more money to do this later.” Voting to accept the bid were Dawn Rowe, George Huntington, and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Lombardo. The revised median project will include a left-hand turn pocket for northbound Palm Avenue only. As part of the approval council members also asked staff to prepare a rough construction cost of paving the alley between Palm and Grand Avenues, and Pima Trail east of Church Street to Palm Avenue.
AB1266, nursing resources, and mileage allowances were the major topics at the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education meeting. Dan Stork reviews the presentations, pleas, and perturbations in two parts. Today, AB 1266…
Assistant Superintendent Doug Weller and John Dietrich, who advises the school district as legal counsel, gave a presentation on AB 1266, and fielded subsequent questions from the Board and the public. The points emphasized by Weller and Dietrich were:
• AB 1266 was intended to clarify an existing section of the California Educational Code, changing just 6 words.
• Nondiscrimination rules to protect transgender students have been a part of state and federal laws for many years, and failure to comply with them could be costly to school districts.
• Current practice in districts such as San Francisco and Los Angeles that have dealt with this issue of facility use for several years use emphasize that “nonconforming gender identification” should be “firmly held,” genuine, and documented.
• Day-by-day changes in gender identification, driven by whim or mischievous intent, just don’t happen, in practice.
• MUSD has formed a committee of teachers, administrators, and the District psychologist to discuss contingencies, and is open to community and staff input.
Questions and comments from the public focused on the lack of specific implementation procedures or decision criteria in the law, for transgender use of restroom and locker room facilities, and the unease that bad things could happen as a result. Dietrich acknowledged that there might be test cases in the future that will test the boundaries of the law from both sides of the issue. But he said that cases should be dealt with as they arise, on an individual basis. When asked specifically, what if there is an incident testing the law when the changed clause comes into effect after the first of the year, Weller said the school administration should be informed immediately.
Joshua Tree National Park is renowned for its dark night skies, making it an ideal place for astronomy and stargazing. Dan Stork says that there will be an exceptional opportunity for learning and viewing this weekend…
Joshua Tree National Park, in partnership with Celestron Telescopes, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), American Park Network, and the Joshua Tree National Park Association, will host an astronomy event on Saturday, November 23. This event will take place in the Oasis Visitor Center parking lot in Twentynine Palms. The day’s events will begin with information tables with equipment for visitors to view and use from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. In the evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., telescope viewing will take place in the Oasis Visitor Center parking area. This event is free and open to the public. Entry to the park is not included with this event. In addition to helping visitors understand and appreciate the night sky, Celestron professionals will also help demystify the technology behind the telescopes, and coach participants on their use. Participants will learn about a variety of stargazing tools.