U.S. SUPREME COURT RULES FOR PRAYER AT COUNCIL MEETINGS

Local residents who had disputed use of sectarian prayers at both City of Twentynine Palms and Town of Yucca Valley Council meetings have been waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on a similar case in New York State; the decision came down on Monday. The Supreme Court gave limited approval Monday to public prayers at a New York town’s board meetings, citing the country’s history of religious acknowledgment in the legislature.  The vote on the decision was 5-4, split along long-established conservative/liberal lines, with Justice Anthony Kennedy providing the swing vote. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, focused on the specifics of the case in the town of Greece, New York, and did not offer either a broad expansion of legislative prayer, nor explicit guidelines as to how other jurisdictions might act. Fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia went further, suggesting that even any “subtle pressure” that local citizens might feel would not be enough to ban such prayers. In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said, “When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.”

TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION TO DISCUSS NON-PERMITTED HOTEL KITCHEN

After a special closed session, the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission will work through what happens when a business makes changes without going through the proper channels. Reporter Dan Stork has the background for the agenda…

The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission gets an early start to its May 6 meeting with a 5:30 special closed session with legal counsel, to discuss anticipated litigation. In the regular open session at 6, the Commission will hold a public hearing on an application for a Conditional Use Permit to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages and grant a parking variance, to support a full service restaurant at the Hotel 29 Palms, adjacent to the Stater Brothers center. This past December, the City issued a stop work order, when it discovered that kitchen construction was in progress without any permits having been applied for. Since then, there has been a storm of correspondence in an effort to get all the ducks lined up properly. After the public hearing, the Commission will discuss what policy questions it might pose to the City Council regarding the long-running Development Code amendment process. The Commission meets in City Hall on Adobe Road.

MARINES, BLM, AND OFF-ROADERS TO MEET REGARDING JOHNSON VALLEY

Representatives from the Marine Corps and the Bureau of Land Management will host an informational meeting about the changes in land use in the Johnson Valley area at the Yucca Valley Community Center May 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. State agencies, off-highway vehicle interest groups, and environmental advocacy groups are the focus audiences; however, all interested groups, organization and members of the public are welcome to attend. For more information, contact the Bureau of Land Management Barstow Field Manager at 760-252-6200 or email: ksymons@blm.gov.

CALTRANS WORK ON 62 BETWEEN I-10 AND INDIAN TO CAUSE DELAYS

CalTrans is working on Highway 62 from Indian Canyon Avenue to Interstate 10. The project involves repaving of the existing roadway, widening the existing inside shoulder from two to five feet, upgrading the metal beam guardrail and replacement of an existing dike. Lanes in each direction will be closed 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday this week to perform concrete tests as well as to restripe the roadway. Oversize loads are still limited due to narrow shoulders and lanes during the construction. Turns on to Dillon Road from both directions are also prohibited during road work. The project is expected to be completed by early summer.

YUCCA VALLEY WOMAN DRIVES INTO BUSINESS MONDAY

A woman was arrested Monday afternoon after Sheriff deputies say she drove her car into a building in Yucca Valley. About 5 p.m., Heidi Kelly, 28, of Yucca Valley, is alleged to have driven her car from the parking lot of Crown Contracting, in the 7300 block of Hopi Trail, into the business’s exterior wall, breaking the supporting beams, and causing major structural damage. No one was injured. Heidi Kelly was arrested on suspicion on two counts of driving under the influence. She was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, cited and released.

CHP OFFERS SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTORCYCLE RIDERS

Motorcycles are fun to ride, but there are dangers to riding down the highway at 65 miles per hour. Four people were killed in the Morongo Basin and surrounding area in April while riding motorcycles. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. With a tip on how to ride safely is California Highway Patrol Officer Joan Griffin…

Here are some important safety reminders for motorcyclists. Wear a helmet and protective gear. “No skin below the chin.” It can save your life. Watch your speed. Assume people in cars do not see you. Try to stay out of blind spots, especially around large trucks. Lane splitting is not prohibited if done in a safe and prudent manner.

WINNERS OF THE TWENTYNINE PALMS CAR SHOW CHILI COOK-OFF

The 1st annual Burnin’ Rubber Chili Cook Off  as part of last weekend’s 29 Palms Car Show had 16 entries and was enjoyed by the participants and the spectators.  After the judging everyone could sample the entries for a donation and vote for their favorite.

Judges’ results were:

Best chili with beef: Michelle Wekenman

Best chili with meat other than beef: Sam Moore

Hottest chili: Larry Bowden

Judges’ best overall: Sam Moore

People’s choice best overall: Cathy Snodgrass

The results the of the Car show have not been provided to Z107.7 News.

ANIMAL ACTION LEAGUE OFFERS LOW-COST SERVICES IN MAY

The Animal Action League will be offering low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics in May for dogs and cats, as well as low-cost spaying and neutering. No appointments are necessary for vaccines or microchips; appointments are required for spay and neutering services. Microchips are only $15, and can help reunite you with your lost pet. Clinics will be held in Joshua Tree, behind the dinosaurs on Highway 62, on May 7, 8, 12, 13, 20, 21, 22, 27, and 28. Clinics will also be held at the C&J Feed Store in Landers on Friday, May 9, and at Wild Mustang Feed in Morongo Valley on Friday, May 23. All clinics are held from 10 to 2. To make an appointment for spay or neutering, call 760-322-4560. Visit animalactionleague.us for updated schedules on clinics.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT

The Yucca Valley Town Council meets in regular session tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says rejected sidewalk bids, a charging station, and Brehm Park are all on the agenda…

Among the items on the agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council, Council members will be asked to reject all the bids received for the Safe Routes to School Sage Avenue sidewalk project, and re-advertise for bids. Next, the Council will be asked to release grant funds for partial payment of the construction of a charging station for electric vehicles. Council members will also be asked to review the special revenue funds budget and the five-year-capital improvement program. Finally, council members will be asked to provide direction to staff on the transition of the Brehm Sports Park to Town ownership. The Council will then go into closed session to conference with legal counsel over anticipated litigation, and to continue its discussion on appointing an employee to the position of town manager.

TONIGHT’S HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT CANCELED

There will be no regular meeting of the Joshua Basin Water District. Tonight’s meeting has been canceled.

TODDLER BOOT CAMP AT THE JOSHUA TREE LIBRARY

Listen up local toddlers and their parents. Reporter Dan Stork says the Joshua Tree Branch Library wants YOU in Toddler Boot Camp…

Toddler Boot Camp, a high-energy program for active toddlers between the ages of 0 and 3 years old, has returned to the Joshua Tree Branch Library. Toddler Boot Camp encourages the development of motor and listening skills and the enjoyment of exercise through movement. During Toddler Boot Camp children move to music, stretch, and relax with a story. Come join the fun at the Joshua Tree Branch Library on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m., now thru June 4. The Joshua Tree Library also offers Preschool story time, Tuesday mornings at 11 a.m. This fun and engaging program for children ages 3 to 5 years old promotes a love of reading and provides an opportunity for socialization as children listen to stories, sing songs and construct a simple craft. Preschool story time is a year round program. For more information about Toddler Boot Camp or Preschool story time, call the Joshua Tree Library at 760-366-8615.

SCHOOL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT IN BUSY SESSION

Employee salaries and plans for student achievement make up most of the School Board meeting agenda tonight. Reporter Dan Stork lists the agenda items…

Having settled up with the teachers’ union last month, the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education is set to approve a contract with the classified employees at its May 6 meeting. The Board is also scheduled to approve increases in management and confidential employee salaries. Other business includes approval of

  • the use of Proposition 30 funds on non-administrative expenditures;
  • the 2014-2015 school attendance calendar;
  • several waiver requests for the California High School Exit Exam;
  • Career Technical Education funding; and
  • Single Plans for Student Achievement for the three high schools in the District, and Morongo Valley Elementary School.

The foregoing items are topics for the 7 p.m. open session, which follows a 6 p.m. closed session that will deal with pupil expulsions and re-entries, employee bargaining, existing litigation, and an unexplained item concerning the position of Assistant Superintendent for Business Services. The meeting takes place at Joshua Tree Elementary School.

HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AWARDED SCHOLARSHIP

A Twentynine Palms High School senior has been awarded the 2014 Gladys Carol Scholarship. Heather Centner of Twentynine Palms will receive $5,000 over two years while she pursues her degree in biology. The scholarship is awarded based on academic excellence, work ethic, and a strong sense of civic duty. Heather will be recognized by the Gladys Carol Scholarship Program at the Twentynine Palms High School Awards Night on May 22.

EXHIBITION BASKETBALL FOR FUN AND FUNDS AT TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL TOMORROW

The Twentynine Palms High School Sophomore class is having a Student versus Staff Basketball Game, and it’s open to the community. It will start at 2:15 p.m., right after school tomorrow, Wednesday, May 7, in the Wildcat Gym. Ticket fee is $3 and there will be concessions on site.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Yesterday, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats boys’ tennis team hosted Shadow Hills High School Knights in the ’Cat’s last regular season tournament. The Knights defeated the Wildcats 7-11. Coach Larry Battle said in singles Jarod Burks and John Lanza won two out of three sets. Sam Choi was moved up from doubles to play singles and won one out of three sets. In doubles, Marcus Simon and partner Brian Gaddis, and Vincent Thomas and his partner Jose Valdez won one out of three sets. The final league record is 5-5.

 

The Wildcat qualifiers for the 2014 De Anza League individuals finals will be singles players Jarod Burks and John Lanza. Doubles players will be Marcus Simon and partner Brian Gaddis and Sam Choi and his partner Vincent Thomas. Finals will be held at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on May 8 and 9 at 1 p.m.

 

In high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School swim team will participate in the De Anza League finals at Shadow Hills High School in Indio. The Yucca Valley High School swim team will travel away to Desert Mirage High School in Thermal. Both meets begin at 1 p.m.