TWENTYNINE PALMS FIRES THEIR CITY MANAGER, WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that the City of Twentynine Palms has fired its city manager, what is the city’s next move? Reporter Dan Stork reports that there will be a meeting Monday night, and also describes Guzzetta’s reaction and financial settlement…
In the wake of the surprise firing of City Manager Joe Guzzetta by the Twentynine Palms City Council Tuesday night, the City issued a press release stating what was reported on Z107.7 yesterday: “The Council decided it wanted to go in a new direction and hence voted 5-0 to place the City Manager on paid administrative leave until Thursday, May 15 which will be his last day. The Council thanks Mr. Guzzetta for his services and wishes him well in his future endeavors. The Council appointed the City’s Finance Director, Ron Peck, to serve as acting City Manager while it explores its options.” The press release added that Council “adjourned to a regular adjourned meeting on Monday, May 19, at 5 p.m. at City Hall, at which time it will discuss the appointment of an interim City Manager and possibly executing a related agreement.” Mayor Dan Mintz declined to add anything to the official press release at this time, and emphasized that the May 19 meeting is NOT a special meeting, but is a continuation of the adjourned May 13 meeting. Mintz also told Z107.7 that Guzzetta’s contract calls for 3 months’ severance pay, and no insurance coverage, in the event of termination. When Guzzetta’s employment contract was approved by the City Council, just one year ago, Guzzetta said that he doubted whether any other prospective city managers would accept the limited severance provisions that he had agreed to, adding “I have a passion for cities. I have felt a very good relationship with the Council in the interviews. I think we can work together very well.” Shortly after midnight Wednesday, shortly after the decision was made to fire him, Guzzetta emailed his own press release, referring to himself in the third person, and quoted himself as saying that the termination came as a complete surprise to him. In that release, he went on to review what he accomplished during his year as City Manager, and to express his enjoyment in working with many elements of the Twentynine Palms community. He also noted that Wednesday was his 37th wedding anniversary.

RANCHO MIRAGE MAN DIES IN KELSO ROAD CRASH

A Rancho Mirage man was killed in an early morning crash yesterday on a rural highway east of Twentynine Palms known as a shortcut to Las Vegas. At 3:37 a.m. Wednesday, a 911 call reported an accident on Kelbaker Road, just north of Interstate 40 in rural Kelso. The California Highway Patrol and Baker Ambulance responded to find Ignacio Campa Jr., 32, a resident of Rancho Mirage, dead at the scene. Campa was driving a 2011 Jaguar XJL northbound on Kelbaker Rd when it struck a semi tractor/trailer. The California Highway Patrol Barstow office is investigating.

DOG RESCUED FROM GRAY WATER PIT IN JOSHUA TREE

A scared and wet dog was rescued Monday afternoon from the yard of an abandoned home in Joshua Tree. County Fire Captain John Garber said two 55-gallon barrels were stacked on top of each other, with bottom of the uppermost barrel cut out, and then buried, to create a pit about 6 feet deep; the pit had rocks and about a foot of water at the bottom; presumably gray water from the home was stored in the pit. Somehow, the female Australian shepherd ended up at the bottom of the pit and was unable to get out. She alerted a neighbor to her presence by barking, and the neighbor called about noon Monday for help in rescuing the dog. Fire fighters, Sheriff’s deputies and county animal control officers all responded; due to the tight quarters of the barrels, rescuers were unable to get into the pit to rescue the dog, so animal control used a loop at the end of a pole, which they placed over the dog’s head and pulled her out. Garber said the dog, while frightened and wet, was extremely friendly with all the rescue personnel. She is currently on a 10-day legal hold at the Yucca Valley Animal Shelter while animal control attempts to locate her owner.

WARM WEATHER WILL BRING OUT BEES IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

As the weather warm, the desert and its creatures begin to change as they prepare for the summer heat. Joshua Tree National park Ranger Pam Tripp has tips on avoiding some of the more bothersome…
As the temperature rises and natural water sources dry up, many desert animals suffer from dehydration. Some creatures, such as the tortoise, will retreat to their underground home for a long siesta. Insects, however, including bees, require water and may become bothersome. While camping and picnicking in Joshua Tree National Park, keep food and liquids covered in sealable containers. Bees are attracted to campsites and dumpsters and even to the condensation of vehicle air conditioners. Visitors in campgrounds and picnic areas can reduce the threat of bee stings by not leaving soda cans and water bottles out to attract foraging bees. A small bowl of water set away from your campsite or picnic table can also distract them. Wildflowers rely on healthy pollinators and bees are part of the natural ecosystem, therefore hives are not typically removed. Please check at park visitor centers if you are sensitive to insect stings so you can be advised of risky areas. Call 760 367-5500 for additional information.

FREE DROP OFF FOR UNWANTED MEDICATIONS AND SHARPS AT HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER

Hi-Desert Medical Center is hosting a free drop-off event for unwanted prescription drugs and used sharps/needles. Every year, thousands of pounds of prescription drugs end up in landfills, posing a danger to the environment. Used sharps/needles are also a contamination and health threat if not disposed of properly. Sharps must be brought to the event in a container such as a coffee can; do not bring uncontained sharps to the event. The drop-off event will be held from 10 to 2 on Saturday, May 17, in front of the Helen Gray Education Center on the hospital campus is Joshua Tree.

HELP BEING SOUGHT FOR AREA HOMELESS VETERANS

There are many homeless veterans in the Morongo Basin who are lacking the necessities to keep warm and fed. A new organization, Vets Cruzin for a Cause, is collecting jackets, blankets, and food to distribute to these homeless vets. If you have old jackets, blankets, and food you can spare, call Kevin at 760-368-8715, to make arrangements to donate to help an American hero who has fallen on hard times.

SIGNUPS FOR THEATRE 29 CHILDRENS PROGRAM SATURDAY

An informational meeting and sign-ups for the Theatre 29 Youth Theater program will be held this Saturday. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells you when and where….
An informational meeting and registration for Theatre 29’s Summer Youth Theatre has been set for Saturday, May 17, at 3 p.m. The Summer Youth Theatre is for children ages 6 to 17. During this intensive, two-week long program, held 1 to 5 p.m. July 14 – 25, young performers will learn theater skills—acting, choreography, lights, sounds, and other backstage work—from experienced theater people. The program culminates in a live stage performance of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at 6:30 p.m. July 25 and 26. Space is limited. Registration is $50 and includes a commemorative T-shirt and crew photo.

TWENTYNINE PALMS LIBRARY TO HELP SENIORS PASS THE DMV DRIVER’S LICENSE TEST

The Twentynine Palms Library will offer a FREE Mature Driver Education Class every Wednesday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. through June 4. This continuous class will cover everything needed to pass the DMV written exam over any given 6-week period. Seniors can join the class at any time during the year, and no pre-registration is necessary. Both the California Driver Handbook and sections of the Senior Guide to Safe Driving Handbook are reviewed. In each class, students are given sample written driver tests and the answers are discussed with references made to their location in the handbook. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Twentynine Palms Library at 760-367-9519.

REGISTER FOR TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN

When kindergarten age was shifted during state budget difficulties in recent years, a new program was instituted to cover children whose birthdays fell into the resulting black hole. Reporter Dan Stork describes eligibility for the optional Transitional Kindergarten program…
The Morongo Unified School District will again be offering a Transitional Kindergarten program for students. Students who are eligible for this program are those who are five years of age between September 2 and December 2. This is not a program for students that are eligible for regular kindergarten. All students who live in the Morongo Basin and meet the age requirements will be eligible to attend the program. The Transitional Kindergarten program will be offered at Twentynine Palms Elementary for students that live in the Twentynine Palms area and Friendly Hills Elementary School for students that live in Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and Morongo Valley. You may contact the prospective school in order to begin the registration process. Please note that this requires that parents or guardians provide transportation to this program. Contact the Educational Services division of Morongo Unified School District at 760-367-9191, extension 4224, if you have any further questions. All required immunizations and an oral health exam must be completed before enrolling the student.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GETTING READY FOR NEXT YEAR

Even as the end of the school years approaches, the 29 Palms High School Football team is getting ready for next season. ROP Broadcast Student Martin Balsiger talked with Football player Kames Cosgriff…
According to former football player James Cosgriff, to join the Twentynine Palms High School football team you must have all required CIF forms; two consisting of transfer papers if you are a transfer student and a physical. This is a no-cut football team unless you are failing a class or at a potential for failing. You must maintain a C-Average to remain on the football team. Junior Varsity consists of freshman and sophomores while Varsity consists of juniors and seniors. There is a potential for Junior Varsity players to be moved up to varsity.

TWENTYNINE PALMS UNITED METHODIST SPONSORS READING RALLY AT LUCKIE PARK SATURDAY

The United Methodist Church of Twentynine Palms is sponsoring a reading rally for children Saturday, May 17. Every child will receive free books. The reading rally will be held at the Luckie Park pavilion from 10 to noon.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL TRACK IN CIF PRELIMINARIES TOMORROW

In high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat track team will participate in the CIF preliminaries.