A 17-year-old boy was injured this morning when he was hit while riding his dirt bike in Yucca Valley. According to CHP officer Randy O’Brien, about 11:40, a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old boy were riding their dirt bikes northbound on La Contenta and traveling through the Highway 62 intersection on a green light. O’Brien said Patricia Matthews, 22, of YuccaValley, was driving a 2012 VW Jetta when she made a left turn from southbound Yucca Mesa Road and hit the older boy on his dirt bike. The crash sent the boy flying about 75 feet, and he landed on the shoulder of northbound Yucca Mesa Road. He suffered broken bones in his leg and arm and was taken to DesertHospital in Palm Springs. The other boy and Matthews were uninjured. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
With just 12 minutes to spare to comply with State open meeting laws, The Twentynine Palms City Council has called special meeting for 9:30 this morning. The meeting will be held in City Hall. The Special meeting will allow the Council to formally adopt the 2013-2021 Housing Element and addendum to the City’s General Plan Environmental Impact report.
Managing editor Tami Roleff broke her report on Tuesday’s wide-ranging Yucca Valley Planning Commission meeting into three parts. In today’s third and final report, highway and road improvements, and other capital projects…
The existing playground equipment at Paradise Park has been demolished and the new playground equipment has been installed and should be completed next week. The raised medians from Kickapoo Trail to Mohawk Trail are in and work is underway for the curb, gutters, sidewalks and driveway portion of the project. Caltrans has approved plans for a left turn lane at Palm Avenue for eastbound traffic on Highway 62. Construction on medians, curbs, gutters, and sidewalks from Apache Trail to Palm Avenue should begin in mid April. It’s hoped that synchronization of light signals from Camino del Cielo to Mohawk Trail will begin in May. The Safe Route to Schools project will install sidewalks on one side of the street from Highway 62 to Onaga Trail; construction should begin after the end of the school year. Construction on the traffic light at Dumosa and the highway should begin in June. A town-wide slurry seal project should start in July. Restriping of the Palomar and Yucca Trail intersection should be finished by March. And finally, the tennis courts at Jacobs Park will be repaired and resurfaced in April.
Donna Muñoz, field representative for the county’s Third District Supervisor James Ramos, has left his office to “pursue other opportunities,” according to a statement released by his office Thursday. Ramos said Muñoz played a vital role in maintaining communication between his office and the residents of the Morongo Basin, and he thanked her for her service and wished her the best of luck in the future. Ramos added that he is looking for a new field representative. Anyone interested should email their qualifications to SupervisorRamos@sbcounty.gov.
CONGRESSMAN COOK SPONSORS BILL ON FOSTER CARE PLACEMENT
The area’s congressman has allied himself with a bill that has the potential to improve the process of placing children in foster care. Dan Stork explains…
Rep. Paul Cook has signed on as an original cosponsor to H.R. 3923, the “Child Protection Enhancement Act of 2014.” This legislation would provide child welfare agencies with access to the FBI’s national criminal information databases to conduct background checks for accelerated foster care placement. In explaining his support, Cook said, “Currently, agencies can’t access criminal databases for use in foster care placement. This delays placement and hurts children who suffer from extended waiting periods due to bureaucratic hurdles. … This bill fixes the problem by allowing agencies to access the information they need to conduct federal background checks for expedited foster care placement.” Currently, the U.S. legal code supports access to national crime information databases for governmental social service agencies with child protection responsibilities, to be used by such agencies only in investigating or responding to reports of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
The Hi-Desert Water District will begin a pilot program of high-tech meter readers in the Western Hills area of Yucca Valley. About 160 meters in the area south of Buena Vista Drive, between Old Woman Springs Road and Warren Vista Avenue were due for replacement. The meters can take readings and record the data on an hourly basis, resulting in early leak detection, as well as a reduction in man hours. If the pilot program is successful, it will be expanded. For more information, call the water district at 760-228-6267.
Installation of industrial-scale solar fields in rural living zones will be one of the topics discussed at the Homestead Valley Community Council meeting Monday, February 17. Residents are invited to comment on federal, state, or local issues of interest. The meeting starts at 3 p.m. at Belfield Hall, 58380 Reche Road in Landers.
Copper Mountain College will celebrate Chocolate Lovers Month next week. Reporter Mike Lipsitz gets out his bon-bons…
Copper Mountain College celebrates National Chocolate Lovers Month at a brown bag Cultural Series event from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 20, in the Bell Center’s Community Room in Joshua Tree. The public is invited to observe award-winning Sugar Chef Pam Eldridge demonstrate the art of making chocolate truffles including the tempering of chocolate, and the forming and decorating of tasty chocolate treats. Limited samples will be available.
The Star Twirlers Square Dance Club is hosting a plus-level square dance at the Yucca Valley Elks Lodge on Yucca Trail, at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Brent Lively will be doing the calling. Lines will be at 7:00 p.m. and between tips. For further information; contact Dennis at 760-366-8626 or Diane at 760-401-1752.
Tomorrow, Food for Life Ministries will serve a free meal in Little Church of the Desert Community Hall in Twentynine Palms from 3 to 5.
Bingo at the Sportsman’s Club Sunday, February 16, will benefit the Yucca Valley High School Music Department. The doors will open at 3 p.m., with early bird bingo starting at 4:30. The final game will end about 9 p.m. There will also be raffles. The music department is looking for items to include in the raffle. The Sportsman’s Club is at 6225 Sunburst Street in Joshua Tree. Players must be 18 years old to play. Cost is about $25 for all the games.
MUSD curriculum specialist Dr. Deborah Turner explains the Common Core to parents.
“An Introduction to the Common Core Standard: What It Means for You and Your Children.” That was the title of a presentation at an informational meeting hosted by the Morongo Unified School District Office of Instructional Services at La Contenta Middle School, to introduce a new teaching approach and testing regimen. Dan Stork attended; here is a snapshot of what he learned…
MUSD Curriculum Specialist Dr. Deborah Turner, supported by Assistant Superintendent Tom Baumgarten, brought an audience of about 40 parents and school children up to date on the Common Core Standards. These standards replace ones used in annual Standardized Testing and Reporting (or STAR) tests, which state law has declared dead. New state law says that assessment tests will be “computer-adaptive.” This means that the computer programs that administer the tests will increase or decrease question difficulty as the test goes along, according to how well or poorly a student answers the earlier questions. Dr. Turner added that the standards to be tested against have been adopted by 43 states, acting as individual states, and do not reflect a federal requirement. Claimed characteristics of the standards include: teaching fewer topics, but at a greater depth; using real-world examples in math, requiring students to explain HOW they arrived at answers; less literature and more non-fiction. Parents worried about the difficulty for their children in moving from one testing style to another, and how that might penalize them. Turner and Baumgarten acknowledged that lots of implementation details remain to be worked out; new assessment tests will be tried out this year, but won’t count. As for the relation of the Common Core to Federal education requirements, Baumgarten said that’s up in the air, as the No Child Left Behind program expires this year, and its successor is unknown.
Hi-Desert Pony League baseball kicks off player evaluations at Luckie Park in Twentynine Palms tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registrations will be taken during this time as well. The cost is $50 and includes the hat, jersey, belt, pants, socks, and end-of-year award. Hi-Desert Pony League will be holding two more evaluation-registration days: next Saturday, February 22, and next Sunday, February 23, both from 11 a.m. 3 p.m. Make sure to bring a copy of a certified birth certificate and a copy of proof of residency (utility bill, insurance, etc) if you are registering your player. Hi-Desert Pony League would like to remind all parents and players that games will be held at Knott’s Sky Park. For any questions, information, or if you would like to volunteer, please call Jennifer Garcia at 760-367-1351.
A dog parade and pet day in Landers tomorrow will support the Morongo Basin Historical Society. Managing Editor Tami Roleff gets out her leash…
Mr. Bob Barker, a cute, scruffy white dog, is the mascot of the Morongo Basin Historical Society. The Historical Society is holding a dog parade and pet day at the Society’s museum in Landers, 632 Landers Lane, and has named the day in his honor. Bob Barker Day and Dog Parade is set for Saturday, February 15, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The dog parade starts at 11:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded for best of show, best costume, best behaved, and pet that most resembles his owner. Pet photos will be available, starting at $10. For more information call 760-366-7896.
The Yucca Valley High School girls’ soccer team traveled to Shadow Hills for a De Anza League game. Coach Scott Phillips said the Lady Trojans played hard, but fell short 7-0.
Next up for the Lady Trojans Soccer team will be “Senior Appreciation” against Desert Mirage High School in Trojan Stadium on Friday. The boys’ soccer game begins at 3:15 p.m. with the girls to follow at 5 p.m. The “Senior Appreciation” will happen between games for both teams.
In high school sports tonight, the Twentynine Palms Wildcat boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will host the Big Bear Bears at home. The girls’ game starts at 6; tip off for the boys is at 7:30.
Also tonight, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will host Desert Mirage High School at home. The girls start at 6; the boys, at 7:30.