Dan Stork broke his report on a wide-ranging Twentynine Palms City Council meeting into two parts. Today: Drag racing, a dues surcharge, waiving the fire truck loan, another solar field, travel promotion, and an impending retirement…
Supporters of establishing a commercial drag racing strip in Twentynine Palms continued their vigorous promotion of the idea during public comment.
Council voted 2-3 to NOT increase its dues to the California League of Cities by about $800 per year. The dues surcharge, which would have supported the League’s litigation efforts, was favored by members Harris and Klink.
A discussion on waiving reimbursement from fire protection development impact fees for $125,000 of its loan to the Water District for a ladder truck was continued to a future meeting, so that the City Manager could research the legal implications.
During his status report, City Manager Joe Guzetta noted that a planned commercial solar energy generation field at Mesquite Springs and Raymond is within the City’s Sphere of Influence. Council directed Guzetta to draft a resolution of opposition, per the new county ordinance on such facilities. Guzetta reported that Vickie Waite will be attending several travel trade shows to promote the City.
Council member Harris reported learning that Sheriff’s Captain Rich Boswell plans to retire in March.
Black Rock Road, the access road to Joshua Tree National Park in Yucca Valley, will remain pocked with potholes for the foreseeable future. The Town of Yucca Valley had applied for a grant last year to pave the road, but its application was not successful. The road was not in the County’s maintained road system when the Town incorporated in 1991, and it is not in the Town’s maintained roads either. Deputy Town Manager Shane Stueckle said the Town is looking at other options to cover the estimated cost of $670,000 to pave the road, such as resubmitting a grant proposal, getting assistance through Congressman Paul Cook, or a regional approach through county and other agencies.
San Bernardino County was hit this morning by a magnitude-4.4 earthquake near Fontana. The quake struck at 1:35 a.m. at a depth of just over 3 miles. The epicenter was 3 miles north-northwest of Fontana and 4 miles west-northwest of Rialto, according to the USGS. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages, but the temblor was felt, one police officer comparing it to the impact of a car crash. “It felt like somebody ran into our building,’’ said Sgt. Chris Hice of the Rialto Police Department. Hice said the only report of damage in the city 25 minutes after the earthquake was of some broken glass at a school.
Rescuing someone who’s fallen into a trench isn’t as simple or as easy as hopping into the trench, and attaching a rope to them to pull them out. The California Regional Task Force-6 Urban Search and Rescue Team, with firefighters from around the county, held a trench rescue drill Tuesday, January 14, behind Fire Station 42 in Landers. In Tuesday’s scenario, a Hi-Desert Water District backhoe dug a trench 60 feet long, 8 feet deep, and two feet wide. A dummy, filling in for a worker, fell into a T-intersection of the trench, and needed to be rescued. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at the drill and explains how the team safely and successfully performed the rescue…
“They have to find where the victim is, the point last seen.” County Fire Captain Mark Murphy and Urban Search and Rescue team member, said rescuers have to develop a plan on how to rescue the victim. “Equipment, more personnel, the number of personnel needed.” After building an edge system to ensure the edges of the trench don’t collapse under them, the rescuers insert support walls to hold up the sides of the trench. Then they use wooden beams, or sometimes hydraulic jacks, the width of the trench, as struts to hold the support walls in place. Meanwhile, the air quality is continually being monitored, and fresh air blown in, to be sure it’s safe for everyone. Murphy described trench rescues this way: “Low frequency, high risk;” they happen rarely, but are dangerous for both the victim and the rescuers. Safety instructor Glen Bales gave kudos to the team working the difficult rescue. “The bottom line is, you guys got the job done, you got it done safely, and you got him out.”
A rubbish fire in Yucca Valley sent up plumes of black smoke Tuesday afternoon that could be seen for miles.
Just before 5 p.m., a rubbish pile, tires, and a travel trailer behind a home in the 7000 block of Scarvan Road caught fire, and radiant heat caused a small fire inside a Conex storage container next to the blaze. Fire fighters from Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and CalFire quickly put out the flames. The residents were not at home at the time of the fire. The Sheriff’s Department is investigating reports that some juveniles were seen running from the area just before the fire was reported.
Banning City Manager Andy Takata has submitted his resignation after four years. Takata came to Banning after serving as manager for the town of Yucca Valley.
Takata was paid almost $268,000 in 2012. Banning spokesman Bill Manis said the city and Takata came to “mutual understanding” about his resignation. He is the second administrator to leave in recent months. During the last six months, the city of Banning was billed $1.8 million to clean up a 300-gallon oil spill of used motor oil, more than three times the estimated amount; and the police department purchased an MRAP military vehicle without the city council or manager’s knowledge or consent.
The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board met last night. Reporter Mike Lipsitz said they took a first step in putting a new tax measure on the ballot…
Last night’s meeting of the Hi-Desert Medical Center Board of Directors kicked off with an overview of a new diagnostic coding and classification system that will launch nationwide next October. With Martie Avels presiding, directors approved revisions to the Community Health Center Bylaws and Co-Applicant agreements, as well as a financial arrangement policy between the hospital and physicians. Also last night, the board directed staff to contract with a marketing research firm to flesh out voters’ opinions on a possible tax measure for the Health Care District which continues to accumulate financial losses. Last night’s meeting was the first for new Chief of Medical Staff, Dr. Sumit Mahajan.
The Joshua Basin Water District board will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. tonight in the District office on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree. Following the likely approval of items on the consent agenda, the board will convene a public hearing to consider increases in water rates and charges. Go to this story at Z1077FM.com for a table of current charges and proposed increases. Directors are expected to vote on the matter following tonight’s hearing. On another hot button issue, the board will consider authorizing the general manager to comment to the County about concerns over a proposed solar power project at Alta Loma and Olympic in Joshua Tree. The District questions the developer’s claim that the 24-acre project will not require any water or grading.
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It will be déjà vu all over again as the Hi-Desert Water District Board tries again to select new officers tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff has more…
The Hi-Desert Water District will attempt to elect new officers during a special meeting at 5:30 tonight. At its last meeting in December, the board couldn’t agree on new officers, and the decision was postponed to tonight when the full board would be present. During its regular meeting at 6, the board will hear a feasibility study from Sunpower on generating solar power. The board will also be asked to approve the purchase of a new vacuum excavator, for more than $68,000. Finally, the board will hear an update on the wastewater project, followed by director reports and comments.
The Morongo Valley CSD Board meets in regular session tonight, a closed session for a legal update and an award are on the agenda. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has details…
At tonight’s regular 7 p.m. meeting of the Morongo Valley Community Services District, directors will adjourn to closed session on the legal matter of Perez Vs Morongo Valley Community Services District. That, following presentation of the Chuck Osborne Volunteer of the Year Award for 2013 to Paul Geeson. Later the board will take up the issues of committee appointments and fire fighter uniforms. Those actions and others follow regular reports and items on the consent agenda. It all happens in the Covington Park Multi-Purpose Room. As always, the public is invited to attend.
Three Yucca Valley High School football players will be playing in the 7th Annual High Desert All Star Football Game sponsored by CYAP (Children’s Youth and Athletic Program). Selected for the game were Joey Rutherford, Shayne Saiza, and Logan Vallo. The game is set for Saturday January 25, at 2:00 p.m. at Silverado High School.
In high school sports today, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball teams will play the Shadow Hills High School Knights in Indio. Both boys’ and girls’ soccer games start at 5 p.m. The Lady Cats’ basketball game starts at 5; the boys’ at 6:30.
The Yucca Valley High School Trojan basketball and girls’ soccer teams will host the Big Bear Bears at home. The soccer game starts at 5 p.m., girls’ basketball at 6, and boys’ basketball at 7:30.
Coming up tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School wrestling team will host the Big Bear Bears at home. Match time is 5 p.m.
Vivian Rosenberg, a 50-plus year resident of Twentynine Palms, died Sunday, January 12. She was 84 years old. Vivian Rosenberg is survived by her husband, Robert Rosenberg, daughters Bobbi Todaro of Santa Cruz, and Sharon Miller of Littleton, Colorado; sons-in-law Tom Dooley and Tom Miller; and one grandchild. She was a wife, mother, and homemaker for 63 years. A service will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, January 16, at Desert Congregational Church in Twentynine Palms, with Jim Cook officiating. Interment will immediately follow at the Twentynine Palms Cemetery with a reception to follow at the church. Vivian loved, as she called it, “my desert.” In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to a charity of your choice in her honor.