COURT RULING BLOCKS JOSHUA TREE DOLLAR GENERAL, FOR NOW

It ain’t over ’til it’s over. The effort to build a Dollar General retail store in Joshua tree has been halted—at least for now—by a San Bernardino County court. Reporter Dan Stork explains what the judge agreed with, and what he didn’t…
According to court minutes released Tuesday morning, Judge Donald Alvarez granted the petition to overturn the County’s approval of a planned Dollar General retail store in Joshua Tree, with regard to the mitigated negative declaration and the conditional use permit, on the grounds of the failure to properly analyze the project’s impacts on the environment in the area of economic impacts resulting in urban decay. The county is required to undertake an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed project. The Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance, which had filed the suit against Dynamic Development and San Bernardino County over the project approval, applauded the ruling. The court did reject other grounds that the JTDBA put forward in its suit: traffic impact, land use consistency, and the failure by the developer to identify the store as a Dollar General.

MARINE KILLED IN TWENTYNINE PALMS SHOOTING IDENTIFIED

The County Coroner’s office has identified the victim of Sunday night’s shooting in Twentynine Palms. Marine Corporal Steven Kohus, 26, was a motor transport mechanic attached to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. The Marine accused of killing Kohus, Brock Myers, 22, is a motor transport operator with 1/7. On Sunday, about 9:20 p.m., Sheriff’s deputies went to a home in the 7300 block of Saladin Avenue where they found Kohus dead from a gunshot wound. Myers was still at the scene and arrested without incident. Brock Myers pleaded not guilty to murder in Joshua Tree Superior Court Wednesday and is being held without bail in West Valley Detention Center.

WE REVIEW THE FARNDALE COMEDY AT THEATRE 29

The hilarious “Farndale” comedy opened last weekend at Theater 29 and runs through March 29. Managing Editor Tami Roleff offers this review of the comedy…
How do you review a play that’s SUPPOSED to be badly acted? In Theatre 29’s current production, the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery, directed by Marty Nieder, you are watching the Society’s four incredibly incompetent women—and their poor stage manager who is roped in at the last minute—try to put on a murder mystery play while playing the parts of at least a dozen different characters. In this play within a play, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, to hilarious effect. I haven’t heard such laughter from the audience in a long time. It’s not easy for talented and accomplished actors and backstage hands to perform badly—missing cues, getting the lines wrong, forgetting props, and more. All the actors—Mandi Pushkar, Amanda Winters, Char Childs, Leonard Weber, and Donette Swain—are good enough to portray bad actors trying to perform a bad play really well, and are accomplished at slapstick: falling, tumbling, being dragged, and all the bumps and thumps. And don’t forget the stage hands, Brianna Sears and Curtis Mohn, who bring lots of laughs of their own. Donette Swain absolutely sparkles as Phoebe Reece, whose last death scene (yes, she “dies” several times) takes the art of a slow death to new levels. There were several times during the play when I wondered whether Mandi Pushkar’s effort to keep a straight face was part of her act, or if she was seriously trying to not burst out laughing at her castmates. Leonard Weber is a riot in his role of Inspector O’Reilly, a very bumbling, Closeau-like character. Amanda Winters’ role as the Colonel brings guffaws, and Char Childs plays the glamours Miss Farndale, whose muttered snarls turn into smiles for her audience. Marty Nieder directs this play with humor and tongue in cheek, making Farndale an entertaining and enjoyable romp.
Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m. through March 29. A matinee performance will be this Sunday and March 23rd at 2:30 PM. Tickets are $8 through $12 and are available at theatre29.org or by calling the Theatre 29 Box Office at 760-361-4151.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR THEIR YOUTH CONSERVATION CORPS

Joshua Tree National Park is taking applications again this year for its Youth Conservation Corps program. Youth between the ages of 15 and 18 are encouraged to apply for this intensive, hands-on work experience. Proposed projects include trail construction and maintenance, habitat improvement, and resource restoration. Corps members work 7 to 3:30 Monday through Friday, with every other Friday off, starting June 16, through August 7, for minimum wage. Application forms must be turned in by April 11. Call Patty Gerhardt at 760-367-5514 for more information.

TWENTYNINE PALMS MOBILE HOME PARK RESIDENTS STRUGGLE WITH NO UTILITIES

One week after a fire at a mobile home park in Twentynine Palms, residents were still without utilities. Reporter Dan Stork has a status update on Shady Elms…
On Wednesday, February 26, a fire accidentally set off by a resident destroyed two trailers in Shady Elms Mobile Home Park, 5074 Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms. Water service at the park had been turned off before the fire occurred, due to non-payment of the water bill. But according to Tamara Alaniz, that did not prevent firefighters from dealing with that blaze, and would not do so in general, since the Fire Department still has access to water supplies that come to a property. Alaniz told z107.7 that the bill has been paid, and water service was restored on Wednesday, March 5.
But the property remains without electric power. Southern California Edison spokesperson Jennifer Cusack told us that the utility company cannot do the restoration work until it gets an OK from appropriate government authorities that it is safe to do so. A utility pole damaged by the fire—as well as the destroyed trailers—are among the obstacles.
A source told us that one resident of the trailer park suffered food poisoning after eating something from his un-powered refrigerator, and received a Red Cross voucher for temporary motel lodging, after being treated for his illness.

LOCAL DEMOCRATS TO MEET, TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE TO ANNOUNCE

The Morongo Basin Democratic Club meets Saturday morning at Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen on the Copper Mountain College campus in Joshua Tree. Fellowship and a $10 full breakfast begin at 9 a.m.; the regular meeting begins at 10 a.m. On the agenda: an outspoken critic of the Yucca Valley Town Council will announce their bid for one of the council seats expected to be on the November ballot. Attendees can also expect a hello from Los Angeles in a live feed from the California Democrats State Convention. More information, links and resources are online at MBDems.com.

CAREER EXPLORATION DAY AT TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL TOMORROW

Twentynine Palms High School will hold a Career Exploration Day Friday, March 7. Representatives from more than 60 colleges, vocational training sites, non-profit agencies, county and state offices, the military, and private businesses will be on site from 8 to noon in the Twentynine Palms High School  gym. The community is also invited to attend, but visitors must sign in at the office.

LEARN ABOUT THE NOSE AND TONGUE AT HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM SATURDAY

Science Saturdays continues this weekend at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. Reporter Taylor Thacker says this week, learn about the nose and tongue…
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum continues their popular education program, Science Saturdays, with exciting topics in March. On Saturday, March 8, the topic will be the nose and tongue. Most people would easily associate the nose with smelling, but it actually helps with tasting too. The human nose receptors are 10,000 times more sensitive than taste buds, so a delicious cookie simply would not taste as scrumptious without the nose. Join Museum Educator Crystal Mason for this Science Saturday as she teaches children how to taste with both their tongue and nose. This program takes place at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. and is for school aged children. Science Saturdays are free and no pre-registration is required. For more information, call 760-369-7212. Come out and learn something new this Saturday!

WINE AND CHEESE SOCIAL WILL BENEFIT TWENTYNINE PALMS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The Twentynine Palms Historical Society is offering you the opportunity to experience the beauty of Broadview Hacienda while enjoying the camaraderie of old and new friends, and learning about wine and cheese. The Historical Society, in conjunction with Mike and Ann Congdon, the owners of Broadview Hacienda, are hosting a Desert Chic Wine and Cheese Social at the historic residence of Bill and Prudie Underhill in Twentynine Palms. This fundraiser, besides teaching you a little about pairing wine and cheese, will support the Old Schoolhouse Museum. There will also be a silent auction. Tickets are $25 per person for Society members and $30 for non-members. The Desert Chic Wine and Cheese Social is set for Saturday, April 5, from 4:30 to 7:30 at Broadview Hacienda, 73452 Sunnyslope Drive. For more information, email splproj@29palmshistorical.org.

DESERT GUILDS QUILT SHOW IN PALMS SPRINGS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

“Quilting Seasons” is the theme for this year’s Desert Guilds’ Quilt Show to be held in Palm Springs March 7 and 8. The show will feature 150 quilts made by members of three quilt guilds, including Cactus Sewables in Yucca Valley, Coachella Valley, and Pass Patchers, from the Banning/Beaumont area. Other highlights include a certified quilt appraiser, a quilt raffle, a mini quilt exhibit, and merchants and vendors. The quilt show is a fundraiser for the three quilt guilds, who make donations to various community organizations. Admission to the quilt show is $7 with free parking. The quilt show will be held at the Palm Springs Pavilion, 401 S. Pavilion Way. For more information, call Susan Amundsen, 907-229-6034.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL OPENS SEASON AT COACHELLA TOMORROW

Baseball season kicks off this Friday for Twentynine Palms High School. ROP Broadcast student Martin Balsiger has more on the inaugural game…
The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats 2013-2014 baseball season is starting soon. This season the varsity Wildcats will be coached by head coach TJ Stanford and Assistant Coach Sosa, who held a record of 5-17 overall last season. The junior varsity will be coached by Coach Smith, and the junior varsity held a record of 6-10 overall last season. They will begin their first season game at Coachella Valley High School on March 7 at 3:15 p.m.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School and Twentynine Palms High School girls’ softball teams will be competing in a two-day tournament in Palm Springs.

The Joshua Springs baseball team will host Victor Valley Christian School at home. First pitch is at 3:15.

The Twentynine Palms High School baseball team will travel away to play Coachella Valley. Game time is at 3:15.