SCHOOL BOARD HEARS SOLAR ENERGY PRESENTATION

Environmental activists, union electrical workers, and other citizens packed a classroom at Joshua Tree Elementary School to hear—and participate in—a presentation by a solar energy firm to the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education. Reporter Dan Stork attended also, and summarizes the proceedings…

PsomasFMG, in the persons of its VP for Business Development and its President, gave a pitch for its solar energy implementation services to the MUSD Board of Education, before the Board’s regular meeting. The VP, Alex Smith, said that the company has implemented solar energy generation for 71 schools in nine districts —five of them in the high desert—in Southern California. Smith said that his company projects a savings in the neighborhood of $7.85 million to $9.7 million over 25 years, compared to estimated Southern California Edison bills, should the District enter into a Power Purchase Agreement with PsomasFMG. In the first 15 years of the agreement, Smith claimed an average annual increase of 3.9 percent in cost to the District, with no increases in the final 10 years. In response to an audience question, the president of the company, Paul Mikos, said that MUSD could buy a system outright, instead of leasing—but even districts that are fat with bond money have chosen the path of leasing, in order to spend available money on school programs and buildings. In addition to cost savings and environmental benefits, Smith and Mikos talked about their track record in helping districts integrate the how-to of renewable energy technology into their math, science, and social studies curricula.  They also stressed their company’s dominance in the school sector in Southern California, its experience with safety and schedule considerations in school environments, its commitment to the use of local labor, and the bonus of shade structures created by raised solar arrays. A Board committee of Donna Munoz and Karalee Hargrove was appointed to fast track a solar implementation, in consultation with District staff.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE OBJECTS TO SODA LAKE SOLAR PROJECT

The National Park Service has lodged strongly worded objections to a proposed 6.5-square-mile solar development about a half-mile from the Mojave National Preserve, saying the project would harm wildlife and suggesting that it be built elsewhere.

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According to a story in today’s Riverside Press-Enterprise, Preserve Superintendent Stephanie Dubois submitted an eight-page letter to the BLM, who oversees the public land where the SodaMountain solar project is planned and is handling the environmental analysis of the development. A subsidiary of the Bechtel Corporation wants to put solar panels on both sides of Interstate 15, about six miles south of Baker and just outside the northwest corner of the national preserve, where the bright white Soda Lake is a striking landmark. The solar panels would cover 3.3 square miles. Dubois’ letter says the BLM failed to adequately address the project’s potential to harm groundwater, threatened and endangered species, and scenic views. The project would be detrimental to the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep and protected birds in the area and could reduce water supplies that support one of the few populations of an endangered fish. Dubois’ letter says the development would conflict with the California Desert Protection Act of 1994, which created the Mojave National Preserve. The law, calls for preserving, “unrivaled scenic, geological and wildlife values” associated with the parks and wilderness areas the law created. A link to the Press Enterprise Story is in

http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-environment-headlines/20140319-solar-energy-park-service-says-project-would-harm-mojave-preserve.ece

or

http://tinyurl.com/q2b35xd

MORONGO VALLEY CSD REVERSES FEE WAIVER FOR JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK ASSOCIATION

The Morongo Valley CSD Board met in regular session last night. Reporter Mike Lipsitz said former CSD General Manger Meg Foley, representing Joshua Tree National Park Association, heard some good news and bad news…

At last night’s board meeting of the Morongo Valley Community Services District, directors approved a request from Joshua Tree National Park Association’s General Manager Meg Foley to permit alcohol use during an upcoming award presentation at the District’s Covington Park facility. The presentation will honor long-time boosters of the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, Dee and Betty Zeller with the Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award. As part of the same motion, the board reversed a prior commitment from recently retired CSD General Manager Rick Lebel to waive the fee for the event, that action because it did not meet recently adopted requirements necessary for a waiver.

MORONGO VALLEY SPRINGFEST THIS SATURDAY

Some community fun for a good cause in Morongo Valley this Saturday. Managing editor Tami Roleff invites you to Springfest 2014…

Morongo Valley’s Springfest 2014 is March 22 in Covington Park and Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. The festivities kick off at 8 a.m. when folks will gather for a big burrito breakfast in Covington Park. A bird walk at the Preserve also begins at 8 a.m., followed by a flower walk at 9:15. Events and activities like kids’ games, live animal exhibits, and face painting, a fire truck, and a variety of food and other vendors will also start at 9 and continue until 2 p.m. The Art Colony’s gift shop will be open 8 to 4:30. Spring Festival is sponsored by the Morongo Valley Community Services District; funds raised go to the Firefighter’s Auxiliary which supports the Morongo Valley Fire Station.

ARTISTS GATHER TO LEARN ABOUT OPEN STUDIOS ART TOUR THIS SUNDAY

Local artists are invited to join the Arts Council for the Spring Artist Gathering this Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. at Bobby Furst World at 8528 Desert Shadows Road, Joshua Tree. The meeting will include an update of progress for the 2014 Highway 62 Studio Art Tours, including dates, weekends, application dates, Collective Show date details, and more. Hear a new proposal for the Tours and have your ideas and opinions heard. Bring a potluck dish to share. You’ll also be able to update your MBCAC membership and sign up for the Art Tours. For more information go to: arttours@mbcac.org

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE OFFER JOB SKILLS WORKSHOPS

If you are looking for a job, or even a better job, Copper Mountain College is offering free job skills workshops. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has details…

A series of job skills workshops will be presented at Copper Mountain College over the next two Mondays and Wednesdays. The free workshops are open to students and members of the public. Topics include resumes and cover letters, job search techniques, interview skills, and professionalism at work. Each date will focus on one topic. Go to this story at Z1077FM.com for the date, time, location, and presenter for each workshop.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Monday, March 24        4 p.m. to 6 p.m.            Room 217

Robert Wanless, CMC Adjunct Faculty, English

Professionalism in the Workplace

Wednesday, March 26          10 a.m. to Noon            Room 219

Dr. Roger Wagner, CMC President/Superintendent

Search Techniques, Interview Skills & Resumes

Monday, March 31        4 p.m. to 6 p.m.            Room 217

Andrea Riesgo, CMC Human Resources Chief

Search Techniques, Interview Skills & Resumes

Wednesday, April 2     10 a.m. to Noon            Room 219

Andrea Riesgo, CMC Human Resources Chief

For more information, contact Jeffrey Haig at jhaig@cmccd.edu

180 MINISTRIES COLLECTING FOOD THIS SATURDAY

180 Ministries, and other agencies, will be participating in the Feinstein Foundation’s food drive challenge. All food and monetary donations raised during March and April will be matched by the Alan Shawn Feinstein Foundation. 180 Ministries will hold a food drive Saturday, March 22, from 11 to 3 at the church, 61858 29 Palms Highway in Joshua Tree. Live music will be performed during the food drive, along with other activities. For more information, call the 180 Ministries Food Pantry at 760-424-6475 or the American Food Bank at 760-228-2222.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTS MUSICAL “FORBIDDEN BROADWAY” THIS WEEKEND

The Broadway Musical Parody, “Forbidden Broadway” will play this Friday and Saturday night at Twentynine Palms High School. Reporter Taylor Thacker tells you how to get tickets…

The ITS drama department of Twentynine Palms High School invites you to come be a part of “Forbidden Broadway,” a musical about other musicals! “Forbidden Broadway” is a parody of popular musicals such as “Chicago,” “Les Miserables,” “Wicked,” “Annie,” “Hairspray,” and many more! Co-music Director Robin Wilson says, “Join the hardworking wildcats who have given their time, talent, and tears to put on an extraordinary production for your viewing pleasure.” Robin Wilson and Derek Keith are the co-music directors; Elysia Mullen is the choreographer; and McKenna Waycott is the director and producer of the show. Come see “Forbidden Broadway!” Show dates are scheduled for March 21, and 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Twentynine Palms High School MPR. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students, children, senior citizens, and military. Tickets are available from any member of the cast and you may purchase at the door. Wilson says, “In case you’re asked, the answer is casket.”

TODAY IS THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP FOR ROTARY SPEECH CONTEST

Students from all local high schools are invited to participate in the 2014 Four-Way Test Speech Contest, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Yucca Valley. Students must be high school students or home study students at high school level and live within Rotary District 5330. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place, and the winner will advance to the mid-level competition for a chance to win additional prizes. The speech contest is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27 at Joshua Springs Christian School. Students must register by March 20. For more information, or to register, call Ignazio Ficara at 760-365-7000.

LOCAL BAND IN OAKLAND CONCERT TOMORROW

A Twentynine Palms rock band, featured two years ago at the Grubstake Days Community Fair, is making waves. ROP Broadcast student Jessica Harwood says “Forever Came Calling” will perform in Oakland tomorrow…

Our local band, Forever Came Calling, is playing yet another show with prominent artists this month. They’ve gotten a great deal of mainstream exposure in recent years and have a growing fan base. Go support our local pop punk band, Forever Came Calling, on March 21 in Oakland at the Oakland Metro Opera House, at 630 3rd Street. They would really love to see some familiar faces and friends at the Pure Noise 5th Year Anniversary Show. All ages welcome at the event. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and c’mon, tickets only cost $20. The adjoining bands include The Story So Far, No Bragging Rights, Rotting Out, and Elder Brothers. So go have some radical fun and support your local band all at once.

A WIN FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF

The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat Golf team notched its first preseason victory yesterday (Wednesday, March 19) beating Maywood Palm Valley 237-240 at Desert Winds Golf Course. Coach Grant Whipple said standouts for the Wildcats were Brandon Steffin, with a sizzling 2 under par 34, followed by Ty Lueken with a 44, and Justin Delarosa with a 49. The ’Cats are now 1-3 in preseason and take on Xavier Prep next week in an away match.

AWARD-WINNING MARINE AUTHOR DIES IN YUCCA VALLEY

Robert Haney of Yucca Valley died March 13. He was 1 month shy of his 93rd birthday.

Robert Haney is survived by two brothers, William Haney, and Richard Haney, both of Maryland. He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Sue; and a son, James.

Robert Haney enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was 16 years old. As a Marine, he was captured by the Japanese during World War II, survived the Bataan Death March, a horror-filled passage to Japan on a death ship, and four years of deprivation and disease in an Osaka prison camp. The six-foot-tall Marine weighed little more than 100 pounds at the time of his release in 1946. Following his release as a prisoner of war, Haney wrote “Caged Dragons: An American P.O.W. in Japan,” a prize-winning account of his ordeal. Funeral services are Monday at San Secondo D’Asti Roman Catholic Church in Ontario, Calif. A graveside interment and ceremony with full military honors will follow at 1:15 p.m. at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside.