The suspect in the murder of a Twentynine Palms man Monday night had been released from prison early and was on probation under California’s prison realignment plan, known as AB109. Police suspect Raymond Burney, 51, of Twentynine Palms, of shooting and killing a still-unidentified Twentynine Palms man about 9:40 Monday night in the 6300 block of Palmview Avenue. In April 2011, Burney accepted a plea bargain sentence of four years in exchange for a guilty plea to possession of cocaine base for sales. As a result of California Assembly Bill 109, Burney would serve about two years in county jail before being released on supervised probation. Under AB 109, prisoners with non-violent, non-sexual and non-serious convictions serve reduced sentences in county jails and are placed on supervised probation, as part of the state’s attempt to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to lower its prison population by 30,000 inmates. Raymond Burney was arraigned in Joshua Tree Superior Court Thursday and is being held in the West Valley Detention Center on $1,550,000 bail.
Reporter Dan Stork broke his report on a very long Twentynine Palms City Council meeting Tuesday night into three parts. In today’s final installment: Building abatement, vacation home rentals, two vacated positions, fire truck loan forgiveness, and a policy for unpaved roads…
Building abatement program
Development Director Matt McCleary showed pictures of a dozen derelict buildings that were slated for demolition before the RDA was dissolved. Code Enforcement was directed to contact owners, and ask if they would like their buildings to be demolished by the City. Liens against a property would have to be paid off only when the property is sold, or when the property was improved.
Vacation home rentals
Council acceded to public lobbying for vacation home rentals, and directed the Planning Commission to resurrect their work on the issue. Jay Corbin sees VHRs as unwelcome commercial intrusions in residential neighborhoods.
Gary Blackman retirement
Code Enforcement Director Gary Blackman is retiring this week, after 16 years of service to Twentynine Palms.
Fire truck loan forgiveness
After Joe Guzetta told Council that his worries about the legality of forgiving the remaining $125,000 of the City’s loan to the Fire Department for a ladder truck had been set to rest, the Council waived the loan repayment altogether, by a vote of 3-1, Jay Corbin dissenting.
Unpaved road policy
City Engineer Richard Pederson described technical considerations for establishing an unpaved road policy. Joe Guzetta sketched cultural arguments. Council voted to refer the issue to the Planning Commission for further Development.
Development Director post
In the near future, City Council will be forced to consider the post of Development Director. Interim Director Matt McCleary, who has been an employee of the consulting firm RSG, has taken a new job, and will be leaving the area.
Sheriff’s Captain Rich Boswell, who also serves as the Chief of Police for the Town of Yucca Valley and the City of Twentynine Palms, is retiring. Managing Editor Tami Roleff talked with Boswell, aka “Boz”, about his law enforcement career……
After serving as captain of the Morongo Basin’s Sheriff’s station for just a year and a half, Rich Boswell is set to retire in March. “I started off as a volunteer deputy sheriff in 1991, and became a regular employed deputy sheriff in 1983, more than 31 years.” Captain Boswell took over from Captain Donnie Miller in August 2012. “I’ve had a very successful career. It’s the American dream to retire healthy at an early age and now I’m fortunate enough to get that opportunity.” He’s got plans for what he’s going to do during retirement. “I’ve got loys of grandkids, 6 grandkids I want to spend time with. I have a boy in high school I want to rodeo with him. I want to do some traveling with my wife. It’s going to be wonderful.” But still, after 31 years, retirement will be bittersweet. “It’s always tough leaving something you’re comfortable with and life is full of challenges and I’m willing and ready to take the next challenge in life.” But Boswell is confident the Sheriff’s Department will do just fine without him. “The men and women of the department are very capable, dedicated employees, and they will continue to serve the communities of the Morongo Basin very, very well. I’m leaving the department in good hands.”
The classic comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde, continues its run weekends at Theatre 29 through February 8 with a matinee this Sunday. The play, directed by Butch Pelfrey, features Broadway-class period costuming by Kathryn Ferguson, and a delightfully imagined and intricate setting designed by Pelfrey with help from his wife, Jackie Pelfrey.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” tells the story of a country gentleman who assumes another identity when visiting the city. When his city friend assumes another identity to visit the country, farce and hilarity ensue. Love is lost and found, the laughs are many, and the final “reveal” at the end of the show is leaving audiences delighted. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and military, and $8 for students with ID and children under 12. The play is suitable for all age groups. Tickets can be reserved at www.theatre29.org or by calling the Theatre 29 Box Office at 760-361-4151.
After months of hard work and preparation, the 2014 Miss Yucca Valley Pageant is this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at the Joshua Springs Thunderdome. Tickets are available at the door. For the past two weeks, we have been introducing you to the 10 candidates; today we meet Sophie Wargo…
Today we visit with Sophie Wargo, a junior in Yucca Valley and candidate for Miss Yucca Valley. Hi Sophie. Tell us, who is the prominent woman you interviewed, and what you have learned?
“My prominent woman is Danette Mondary and she’s taught me the importance of one’s character and choices in life through the passion she shows while talking about her job as a nurse. I hope to one day also feel that way towards my career. By seeing the success that my prominent woman is, yet hearing about her own past struggles, I know that with hard work and determination I can get wherever I want in life.”
What have you learned from your experience with Miss Yucca Valley?
“I’ve learned to be better understanding of other situations. It’s also helped me with my own self-confidence. It’s put the important things in my life in the correct order as well as balance them in a healthy way.”
Any final words?
“I definitely recommend Miss Yucca to any current sophomore as I’ve made many new friends and learned a lot.”
The Twentynine Palms High School Lady Cats basketball squad travelled up the mountain Wednesday to Big Bear and came back with a 65 – 24 win. Coach Tim Stanford said top scorers were Andrileah Lee, 14 points; Nokomis Cabrera, 11 points; Cherokee Turner, nine points and nine rebounds; and Tatiyanna Mackall, nine points. Twentynine Palms Record is now 16 and 4 overall, 5 and 0 in league.
In high school sports today, the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will host the Shadow Hills Knights from Indio at home. Tip-off for the girls is at 6; the boys’ game starts at 7:30.
The Yucca Valley High School Trojan boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will travel away to Big Bear. The girls’ team starts at 6; the boys’ at 7:30.
The Joshua Springs boys’ and girls’ Lightning basketball teams will travel to Hemet to play Baptist Christian School. Tip-off for the girls starts at 5:30; the boys start at 7 p.m.
Coming up tomorrow in high school sports, the Trojan wrestling team will host Big Bear in the DeAnza League individual match, starting at 8 a.m.
Also tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Lady ’Cats basketball team will play Cantwell-Sacred Heart from Montebello in the Play 4 Kay Showcase. Tip-off is 1:30 p.m.
Dan Stork broke his report on a very long Twentynine Palms City Council meeting Tuesday night into three parts. In today’s second part: A property management plan, Project Phoenix bond litigation, drag strip boosters, and a tourism marketing contract…
Property management plan
There are four City-owned properties affected by the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency, and only one option that the state allows for their disposition: Sell them. The Oversight Board for the Successor Agency to the RDA will try to figure out how to do that during February.
Mayor Dan Mintz and Mayor Pro-Tem Jay Corbin repeated comments made in a City press release Monday: The judge in a Sacramento court hearing on the City’s suit against the state in the matter of the Project Phoenix bonds asked a lot of questions, and will rule in 60-90 days.
Drag strip boosters
As has been the case for several recent Council meetings, a parade of boosters for a local commercial drag strip touted its potential benefits for the City. City Manager Joe Guzetta announced that Randy Councell is putting together a committee to research the project, and asked for public participation.
Vickie Waite contract
A staff proposal to extend a 3-year contract to Vickie Waite for tourism development services at a rate of $25 per hour was supported only by Council member Jim Harris. Council voted 3-1 (Harris opposed) to authorize a contract to her at $20 per hour through June of this year. The Council majority wants marketing plans beyond that point to be more comprehensively described, with aggressive Internet marketing to supplant travel shows and print marketing, and possibly to let the contract out for competitive bids.
Code Enforcement Overview
Interim Development Director Matt McCleary described the Code Enforcement process as primarily reactive, but also proactive, as time and staffing constraints allow.