BUSY KITCHEN AT THE JOSHUA TREE VFW

The Joshua Tree Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will be serving up a fish and shrimp dinner tonight from 4:00 to 6:00. Sunday breakfast is chicken fried steak. And don’t forget Taco Wednesday from 11 to 1.

EFFECTS OF NEW WATER STANDARDS ON LOCAL WATER DISTRICTS

Chromium-6 is a cancer-causing chemical made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich.” Chromium-6 is a pollutant from chemical factories, but in the Morongo Basin, it occurs naturally, dissolving from rocks into the groundwater. Federal standards for total chromium, which includes chromium-6 and non-cancer-causing chromium-3, are 100 parts per billion. California set the standards for total chromium at 50 parts per billion, but as of July 1, California water districts may have to meet an even lower standard of 10 parts per billion for chromium-6. Whether the water you drink in the Morongo Basin meets this new standard depends on which water agency you get your water from. Hi-Desert Water District Operations Manager Mark Ban said Yucca Valley’s water has chromium-6 levels of only 1.6 parts per billion. Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency’s General Manager Marina West said her wells haven’t been tested for chromium-6 in several years, but last time they were tested, the results showed 5 parts per billion. But Joshua Basin Water District and Twentynine Palms Water District may have to start testing and treating their water supplies. Joshua Basin’s General Manager Kurt Sauer said total chromium levels in his agency’s five wells range from 12 to 26 parts per billion; Twentynine Palms Water Agency’s General Manager Tamara Alaniz said four of her water district’s nine wells have chromium-6 levels that are above the proposed new limits, but she stressed that all of them are less than 15 parts per billion. Both Sauer and Alaniz said the costs will be significant to test and treat the wells to lower the chromium-6 levels; Sauer estimated it could cost up to $1 million just for the first year; Alaniz estimated it would cost $500,000 for testing and treating the water the first year, and subsequent years the costs would be several hundred thousand dollars per year. One method to lower chromium-6 levels would be by blending water from different wells together. According to Sauer, a water agency in northern California has recently challenged the new levels in court.

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM DOOR-TO-DOOR SCAMS

With the warmer weather that comes along with summer, so do the door-to-door solicitors. And while many operate fairly and honestly, there are ways to spot those who are simply looking for a quick buck. Reporter Diana Jones gives some tips on how to protect yourself from unscrupulous solicitors…
Gary Almond with the Better Business Bureau of Northeast California says some scammers use a bogus sales pitch as a way to snoop around a person’s home for information like credit card numbers, or items to steal. He says always ask for identification, verify the company and that the individual works for them, and inquire about their licensing. Almond adds it’s never a good idea to let a salesperson into your home before you’ve had time to research their company. “I can’t tell you the number of people we’ve heard from, especially the elderly and infirm, who have let people into their homes. I don’t think it’s a good idea. Not because I don’t think they could make good decisions – it’s just not always safe.”  Almond also reminds people that it is your house – so if you don’t like where the sales pitch is going, take a step back and close the door. If a product or service is purchased, many times consumers have a chance to back out of the deal. Almond says in most instances, companies have to offer a three-day cancellation option.
“And if they don’t, your right to cancel still exists. So, you can write a cancellation letter any time you want. If they don’t provide it to you, you still have the right to cancel, up until they do notify you and the three days have passed.”

CASINO NIGHT TONIGHT IN MORONGO VALLEY

Practice your poker face and your dice-throwing. It’s Casino Night in Morongo Valley. Reporter Diana Jones tells you how you can be a part of a fund raiser for the Fire Fighter’s Auxiliary…
Black Jack, Craps, Poker and Roulette: if you like gaming place your bets on Saturday, June 7th and the Morongo Valley Firefighters Auxiliary’s Casino Night at Covington Park. Doors open a 6 p.m.; gambling starts at 7 p.m. and ends with a raffle at 9:30 p.m. With professional dealers and gaming tables provided by Vegas Knights, you’ll want to get your $25 tax-deductible advance ticket at Get Dirty Dirt Bikes, any Auxiliary member, Charlie in the Morongo Valley CSD office, or by calling Debbie Harris at 760-861-8765. Its high stakes for a good cause with funds raised going directly the Firefighter’s Auxiliary. Tickets at the door are $35; you must be 21 or over to enter.

A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THE PARK SERVICE’S WILDLIFE BRANCH

It takes a lot of work to run a national park. Not only are there administrative staff, maintenance workers, and security and protection staff, but rangers work behind the scenes to study the park and its wildlife. Park Ranger Pam Tripp introduces the wildlife branch of the Park’s Resources division…
The Wildlife branch in the Resources division at Joshua Tree National Park works behind the scenes, and out in the field, to research and protect the wildlife. They study the effects of wildfire, climate change, and monitor the areas that provide a water resource for animals. As well as conducting research of animals, our wildlife staff survey for nesting raptors and protect the nests once they are found. They will track the threatened desert tortoise and its movements, and keep track of tortoise habits and health. Visitors and residents can help by reporting sightings of tortoise, birds, and many of the elusive animals that are sometimes seen in the wild. The wildlife branch compiles these wildlife sightings into a large database, which helps them know what is being seen and it even helps with wildlife research. Joshua Tree National Park thanks the Wildlife Branch of Joshua Tree NP for all they do to protect our wildlife and their habitat.

SHERIFF’S IDENTIFIES DRIVERS, VICTIM OF THREE-VEHICLE CRASH IN YUCCA VALLEY THURSDAY NIGHT

The Sheriff’s Department has identified the victim on an off-road vehicle who was hit by two other drivers in Yucca Valley Thursday night. According to a Sheriff’s report, Frank Feeley, 31, was driving a quad eastbound on Buena Vista Drive without lights or a helmet about 8:30 p.m. when he was struck from behind by another vehicle, driven by Michael Nankervis, 40, near Elata Avenue in Yucca Valley. Feeley, on his quad, was pushed from behind into westbound traffic, where he was struck by another vehicle, driven by Angela Wildmann, 43. Paramedics said the man suffered relatively minor injuries, and was taken by ambulance to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs as a precaution.

COMBAT CENTER HONORED FOR INSTALLATION EXCELLENCE

For the fifth year in a row, the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms received the 2013 Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence. The award recognizes the men and women of the Department’s top military installations in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The Combat Center is the world’s largest combined arms, live-fire-and-maneuvering training facility. Considered the “crown jewel” of Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, the Combat Center also excelled at providing a great quality of life for service members and their families by improving housing, facilities, and many other services. In addition, it provided critical medical, dental and counseling support; hosted special events and activities; and assisted the Center’s troops with educational opportunities through its Lifelong Learning and Education Center.

GLASS OUTHOUSE CELEBRATES ITS 5TH ANNIVERSARY SATURDAY

The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery will hold its fifth anniversary celebration this Saturday, June 7, from 5 to 9 p.m. The featured artists will be Tami Wood and Snake Jagger. The Glass Outhouse is located on Thunder Road, just off Highway 62, east of Twentynine Palms.