OPTIONS OUTLINED AT TWENTYNINE PALMS FIRE DEPARTMENT WORKSHOP MEETING

What was billed as a special workshop meeting to “Determine the future of the Twentynine Palms Fire Department” was held Saturday at Twentynine Palms Water District offices. Not counting people not related to the district, only five residents attended. Among the 20 people there were Twentynine Palms Mayor Dan Mintz and City Manager Joe Guzetta. The Water District taxes each parcel $80 a year; those funds, according to the Fire Department, are not enough to sustain it due to increasing expenses, including replacing aging equipment, and staff pay, health, and retirement costs. They say if nothing is done, the Department will run out of money in about two years. To reduce costs, the Lear Avenue fire station was closed last year and paid staff was drastically reduced. Fire Chief Jim Thompson outlined three options to fund the Fire Department. Option 1, which would reopen the Lear station and bring the Department up to full staff, was to place a parcel tax of an additional $40 a year with a built-in 3 percent a year increase to adjust for inflation. Option 2, which would reopen the Lear station but still have reduced staff, for $32 a year with the 3 percent yearly adjustment. Option 3, which would just keep the Department at its present level, would be $12 a year with the 3 percent kicker. The few residents there commented; one said “Let the City pay for it;” another suggested they raise the tax to $45 a year for four years, a plan that would be more likely to pass, noting that Chief Thompson is paid about 70 percent more than the fire captains. A third suggested that they “Keep hounding the City,” accusing them of “Not providing for the safety of its citizens.” One returned to the podium asking why only property owners have to pay, while all residents benefit. For the record, the City was willing to take over the responsibility for fire safety, contracting the service to the County. The Water District balked when the County said they would have to close the Lear Fire station, taking the responsibility back; shortly after, they closed the Lear station. After a short break, Board members commented, discussing the options, making note of the poor turnout, and need for public education. The Board concluded by voting to bring back all three options for a vote, plus another with a flat rate just to sustain the existing level of service. They also directed staff to get bids to conduct a public education campaign.

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS OF THE YEAR NAMED

Members of various branches of law enforcement were honored for their services during an award ceremony Thursday in Yucca Valley. The Morongo Basin Chapter 71 of the International Footprint Association honored representatives from the Joshua Tree National Park Service, the County Probation Department, the County Sheriff’s Court Services, Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, the United States Marine Corps provost marshal’s office, and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  Managing editor Tami Roleff tells about the accomplishments of some of the honorees…

CHP Officer Simon Miller receives his Footprint Award from CHP Sgt. Green.

CHP Officer Simon Miller receives his Footprint Award from CHP Sgt. Green.

Among those who were honored were Sheriff’s Deputy Shauna Ables, Deputy Dale Dyer as Court Services Officer, Probation Officer Samuel Warkentin, CHP Officer Simon Miller, military police officer Lt. Kelly Guinther, Joshua Tree National Park Ranger Dylan Moe, and Naval Criminal Investigative Services Special Agent Noman Ravala. Officer Miller, who joins his brothers Levi, Jesse and Caleb at the Morongo Basin CHP station, led the entire Morongo Basin Area in total DUI arrests for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, and was recently recognized by San Bernardino Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk-Driving (MADD) for his hard work. This was Officer Miller’s second consecutive MADD award. Lt Kelly Guinther, a civilian police officer with the Combat Center’s military police, was recognized for his outstanding performance as the Assistant Operations Officer , the Accident Investigations Chief, and Violence Prevention Officer. Park Ranger Dylan Moe was recognized for his work in the investigation and successful prosecution of three of the individuals who graffiti’ed Barker Dam last year. Special Agent Noman Ravala was honored for his aggressive investigation of a sexual assault against a 16-year-old girl that led to a complete confession.

FOUR KILLED IN I-40 CRASH YESTERDAY

Four people were killed in a horrific crash on nearby I-40 yesterday. The County Coroner said at 4:45 p.m., a 911 call was received reporting a single vehicle rollover westbound on Interstate 40 at mile marker 104, west of the Fenner rest stop in rural Essex.  When CHP arrived, they found that there were nine people in the 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe of which seven occupants were ejected from the vehicle.  Four Hispanic males, ages 18-25, were pronounced dead at the scene, while three others were flown to Las Vegas area hospitals.  The driver of the vehicle fled the scene prior to the California Highway Patrol’s arrival. When the identities of the deceased have been determined and next of kin notified, their names will be released. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

SERIOUS INJURIES TO CLIMBER IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

A woman was seriously injured while climbing in Joshua Tree National Park Saturday. According to County Fire Captain Scott Tuttle, rescue personnel from Joshua Tree Fire Department, Joshua Tree National Park rangers, and Morongo Basin Ambulance were called for help about 11:10 a.m. to Cathouse Rock, a rock-climbing area west of Hidden Valley Campground. The unidentified woman had fallen about 15 feet while climbing, and despite wearing a helmet, suffered major head injuries. It took rescuers about 45 minutes to get the woman down off the rock, after which she was flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY TO OFFER FREE “AQUIFERS 101” SEMINAR LOCALLY

A unique opportunity to learn the background behind our regional water issues. Reporter Mike Lipsitz invites you to “Aquifers 101”…

If you have a professional or academic interest in water or you want to know more about aquifers, sign up for Aquifers 101, a free seminar from the U.S. Geological Survey designed broaden understanding and answer questions about water issues specific to Marengo Basin. It all happens on Friday, April 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Street.  RSVP by April 15 and receive a water-wise goody bag. Call 760-821-5716 or email kjradnich@jbwd.com.

JOSHUA TREE DEMONSTRATION AGAINST COMMERCIAL SOLAR

On Saturday, more than 50 demonstrators showed up in front of the County Building in Joshua Tree. They carried signs with messages like, “No Big Solar,” “Why Not Rooftops?” and “Not in Neighborhoods,” and they waved as passing motorists honked in support. Organized by a cross section of local organizations, the protest aimed to send the message to the County Board of Supervisors that people here support rooftop solar systems on homes and businesses, but strongly oppose big solar fields and the problems that come with them such as the loss of pristine desert, the drag on nearby property values, and high costs associated with the power they produce. In December, Supervisors approved an ordinance with 31 conditions developers must satisfy before a project is approved. Already though, developers have attempted to skirt requirements. Such attempts are keeping local watchdogs on high alert.

NOISE AT JOSHUA LAKE CAMPGROUND A CONCERN

Joshua Tree residents who are concerned about noise from concerts and parties at the Joshua Tree Lake campground should email their concerns to joshuatreeserenity@usa.com. These concerns will be presented to the Municipal Advisory Committee’s meeting April 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Joshua Tree Community Center. Residents are urged to attend the meeting to voice their concerns in person as well.

LOCAL ROLLER DERBY TEAM PLANS GARAGE SALE

The “Mojave Rattleskaters,” our hometown Roller Derby team, is planning a fundraising garage sale. Reporter Dan Stork gets out his skate keys…

The Mojave Rattle Skaters women’s roller derby team is asking for donations of gently used, vintage and other sellable items for a fundraiser rummage sale Saturday, April 26. Donations are accepted from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday at Coyote Corner in Joshua Tree, 6535 Park Blvd. Drop-offs can also be arranged by appointment by calling 760-366-9683. All proceeds from the sale will go toward an outdoor roller rink, to be built at the new Brehm Recreation Center in Yucca Valley. Any items not sold will be donated to local thrift stores.

For more information, visit www.mojaverattleskaters.com or Facebook.com/MojaveRattleSkaters.

THE WINNERS OF THE TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL TALENT SHOW

The Twentynine Palms High School Interact Club presented the 16th annual “Showtime in the Desert” talent show Saturday night. Sixteen student acts were judged and two special performances entertained the overflow audience.

033114

Panamanian singing sensation, now Twentynine Palms high school student Eduardo Basil, thrilled the audience with an unjudged opening act for the night. After the competitive acts were over, while the judges were tallying the scores, teacher and seasoned performer Robin Wilson brought the audience to their feet with an a capella version of the Sara Bareilles hit, “Brave.” The judges, Angelica Houston, Derek Keith, and Trish Anderson awarded first place to Breanna Panzarella and Scott Clinkscales for their rousing version of “Everyday” from High School Musical 2. Second place went to Aziah Duhon and Beinn Stewart with a stunning duet of the hit “Say Something. Third place went to Bailey Flynn for her exceptional vocals on “Someone’s Watching Over Me.” I served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. The money raised by the Talent Show goes to support scholarships and community service. The Twentynine Palms Rotary Club sponsors the school’s Interact club.

RELAY FOR LIFE THIS WEEKEND

The annual “Relay for Life” event, benefiting the American Cancer Society, is set for this weekend. ROP Broadcast student Anna Magnani has more…

Hundreds of local residents will join the fight against cancer this weekend in the Marengo Basin’s Relay for Life event held by the American Cancer Society. The annual 24-hour event will be held at the Twentynine Palms Junior High School on April 5, beginning with the opening ceremony at 9 a.m., ending at 9 a.m. on the following day. Participants have been raising money for their respective teams through various fundraisers and pledges, and will continue to do so during the event by selling items and food, setting up games, and walking laps for their pledges. Money raised during the event will be used to fund cancer research as well as supporting programs such as “Look Good, Feel Better” and the “Road to Recovery” Programs.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULE

The Twentynine Palms Wildcat Golf Team hosted Xavier Prep Friday in a pre-season match; the Cats played hard but lost 247-200. Coach Grant Whipple said, Brandon Steffins was a stand out for the cats with a 38 and tied Xavier Prep’s best score.

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School golf team will host Thermal’s Desert Mirage High School at home. Tee off is at 2:45.

Also tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School will host the Twentynine Palms High   School baseball and softball teams at home. Baseball starts at 3:15; softball at 3:30.

 

The Yucca Valley golf and swim teams will play Desert Hot Springs tomorrow. The golf match will be played at home, with tee-off at 3 p.m. The swim meet will be in Desert Hot Springs, starting at 3:15.

ART IN THE PARK

The time is near for one of the Morongo Basin’s don’t-miss annual events.  Ranger Pam Tripp invites you to see the Art in the Park…

Spring is in the air and art is in the park!  This year’s 20th annual Arts Festival takes place at Joshua Tree National Park.  The event runs April 4-6 from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms.  The festival highlights the work of more than twenty artists drawn together by their love and respect for the park.  This multi-media showing features painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics and other exhibits on the patio of the visitor center.   The Joshua Tree National Park Association sponsors the free event. The association, a private nonprofit, operates retail sales outlets in the park’s three visitor centers to sell educational and other park related items.    Proceeds from sales provide support and assistance to the parks interpretive, educational and scientific programs.  Come on out and enjoy the art of those to love and respect the park.  For information about the park and the annual art festival information, call 760 367-5525.  For Z1077, this is Park Ranger Pam Tripp, reminding you to enjoy the solace and wonder of your national park.

PASSOVER SEDER IN DESERT HOT SPRINGS

Jewish residents of the Morongo Basin and Desert Hot Springs — including military personnel — are invited to a community Passover Seder during this year’s Passover holiday.  The Seder is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Desert.  The festival service and meal will be taking place at Mission Lakes Country Club in Desert Hot Springs, at 5 p.m. on Thursday April 17th.  Reservations are a MUST – walk-ins will not be accepted that evening.  Please RSVP by April 10th to Sandy at the Jewish Federation of the Desert, either by phone at (760) 324-4737, or via email at sandy.durham@jfedps.org.

BASIN WIDE FOUNDATION SEEKS AWARD NOMINEES

The 18th Annual Basin Wide Foundation Gala Celebration Awards dinner and meeting is set for Saturday, June 7, 5 p.m. at the Helen Gray Center, in Joshua Tree. Basin Wide Foundation is now accepting award nominees. Award categories are:
Together We Can (person or organization that best display the BWF motto of “Together We Can”);
Lifetime Achievement;
Basin Wide Cultural Contributor;
Volunteer of the Year;
Youth Volunteer of the Year.
Due date to submit form is April 9 at noon. If you would like a form faxed or mailed call Kelly Carson at Basin Wide, 760-365-7219.

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUP

A bereavement support group meets twice a month to help those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. The free meetings provide a safe and comfortable setting to help heal and recover after a loved one’s death. Gloria Beatle, a hospice social worker with the Hi-Desert Home Care Services hospice program, leads the meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 6336 Hallee Road in Joshua Tree. For more information, call 760-366-6427.

ORIGINS OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

How did Twentynine Palms happen?  ROP Broadcasting student Gary Leazer tells us…

The first recorded exploration of Twentynine Palms was made in 1855 by Colonel Henry Washington. Twentynine Palms was named for the palm trees found there by Washington while surveying the San Bernardino base line. After the First World War, many veterans returned to their homes suffering from tuberculosis and the effects of the mustard gas that had been used in combat. Dr. James B. Luckie treated many of these men and in the 1920s began to search for an area in the California desert that would provide a beneficial environment for people afflicted with respiratory and heart ailments. After visiting many places, he chose Twentynine Palms because it had a moderate elevation and clean dry air, as well as being accessible to large cities. And that’s how 29 came to be, according to 29palms.org.

Reporting for Z107.7 news I am ROP Broadcasting student Gary Leazer.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MONDAY

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School boys’ tennis team will travel to Thermal to play Desert Mirage High School. Match time is 3:15. Also tomorrow, the Yucca Valley boys’ Trojan tennis team will travel to Desert Hot Springs to play the Golden Eagles. The match starts at 3:15.

FOOTPRINT ASSOCIATION AWARDS

CHP Officer Simon Miller receives his Footprint Award from CHP Sgt. Green.

CHP Officer Simon Miller receives his Footprint Award from CHP Sgt. Green.

Members of various branches of law enforcement were honored for their services during an award ceremony Thursday in Yucca Valley. The Morongo Basin Chapter 71 of the International Footprint Association honored representatives from the Joshua Tree National Park Service, the County Probation Department, the County Sheriff Court Services, Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, the United States Marine Corps provost marshal’s office, and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells about the accomplishments of some of the honorees…

Among those who were honored were Sheriff’s Deputy Shauna Ables, CHP Officer Simon Miller, and military police officer Lt. Kelly Guinther. Officer Miller, who joins his brothers Levi, Jesse and Caleb at the Morongo Basin CHP station, led the entire Morongo Basin Area in total DUI arrests for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, and was recently recognized by San Bernardino Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk-Driving (MADD) for his hard work. This was Officer Miller’s second consecutive MADD award. Also among those honored Thursday was Lt Kelly Guinther, a civilian Police Officer with the Combat Center’s military police. Lt. Guinther was recognized for his outstanding performance as the Assistant Operations Officer while simultaneously conducting the duties of the Accident Investigations Chief for the last three to four months due to an absence in the billet. He is also the base’s Violence Prevention Officer.

LAST CHANCE TO FOR “FARNDALE MURDER MYSTERY” AT THEATRE 29

Tonight’s performance of the “Farndale Murder Mystery” is the last one in the comedy’s run at Theatre 29.  A check of the theatre’s web site at theatre29.org on Friday morning showed many seats available in the first three rows.  People who have seen it already reported experiencing side-splitting laughter throughout.  We’ve got our tickets for tonight, and can’t wait.  The curtain goes up at 7 pm.  Theatre 29 is located on Sullivan Road, just off Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms.  Check out theatre29.org for seating availability.

UNITY HOME ASKS PUBLIC FOR HELP

Morongo Basin Unity Home Domestic Violence Shelter, Outreach and Thrift Store is once again in need of household donations of any kind. Donations and proceeds from the shelter’s thrift store go directly to support their clients. Especially needed now is a small pick-up truck to transport donations within the community. And a reminder, the March Madness sale at Unity Home Thrift Store will end in a few days. This means there are only a few days left to enter the raffle; the drawing will be held Tuesday, April 1. For more information, call 760-366-8500.