FORMER YUCCA VALLEY MANAGER ANDY TAKATA IS INTERIM TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY MANAGER

“Three” proved to be the charm for the Twentynine Palms City Council at its regular meeting last night. Dan Stork explains why, and reports that a familiar figure will be filling the post of interim city manager…
After celebrating the remodeling of the Senior Center with an open house before its Tuesday night meeting, the Twentynine Palms City Council conducted the third review of the City’s budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. After mopping up some straggling issues, the council approved the budget. The budget is balanced in its general fund revenue and expenditures, with about $7 ¾ million coming in and a like amount going out. Additional expenditures of over $400,000 from the general fund balance are within the limits of the formula set by the Council last year that is intended to allow cautious use of the Fund Reserve. Some of the uses for funds from the Reserve are a drag strip feasibility study and a lobbyist’s services, at $50,000 each. Before the budget discussion, there was a closed session to discuss acquisition of a property on Smoketree. There was no report from that closed session, and the open agenda item related to that acquisition was dropped. Following the budget discussion, the Council returned to closed session with two purposes: To discuss potential litigation, and to continue the closed session discussion of the previous evening about the quest for an interim city manager. Following that session, City Attorney Patrick Munoz informed local media that Andrew Takata, a former Yucca Valley town manager, was unanimously chosen to be interim city manager, at $100 per hour. After a brief initial period of full time work, the post is expected to be a half-time position.

FOUR ARRESTED FOR DRUGS IN LANDERS, WONDER VALLEY

Four people were arrested on drug charges in two separate incidents yesterday. About 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, deputies executed a search warrant on a home in the 900 block of Trail Way in Landers. Deputies located methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and cash. Russell Ford, 48, was arrested for investigation of possession for sales, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.

Then about 10 a.m., deputies went to a home in the 3100 block of Shelton Road in Wonder Valley where they arrested Bobby Rush, 27, of Twentynine Palms, for investigation of manufacture of a controlled substance; Andrew Braun, 33, of Twentynine Palms, for violating the terms of his parole; and Jason Yoho, 31, of Twentynine Palms, for investigation of possession of a controlled substance for sales, investigation of burglary, and on a warrant for violating his probation. Booked at the Morongo Basin Jail were Bobby Rush on $25,000 bail, and Jason Yoho, on $50,000 bail. Andrew Braun was booked at the West Valley Detention Center with no bail.

BARSTOW RATTLED BY 4.0 EARTHQUAKE THIS MORNING

If you thought the earth was moving early this morning, you were right. A magnitude 4.0 earthquake rattled the high desert at 2:38 this morning, about 9 miles northeast of Barstow. The earthquake was shallow, at a depth of 1.3 miles. The US Geological Survey reports the quake was felt from Las Vegas to Anaheim. There were no reports of damage or injuries in the Morongo Basin.

YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES TWO HOME BUSINESS PERMITS

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission met last night, among items getting public attention were two applications for home occupation permits. Managing Editor Tami Roleff was there and files this report…
The Yucca Valley Planning Commission granted two home occupation permits last night, and even extended the length of both permits from one to two years.

YVPC

More than 50 residents turned out at the Yucca Valley Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night to voice their opinions on home occupation permits for Jonathan Zorawicki’s home-based art studio, and David Falossi’s sculpture studio.

Public comment was mixed on the permit renewal for Jonathan Zorawicki to sell firearms out of his home in the 55900 block of Skyline Ranch Road. Some said selling firearms from the home was a public safety issue, while others pointed out that even his neighbors had no complaints about his business in the past year. Later in the meeting, the planning commissioners had a consensus that home-based businesses selling fire arms should be restricted to parcels of one acre or more, and that permits should be extended to two or three years. In the other home occupation permit, Commissioner Warren Lavender was the lone vote against approving David Falossi’s home-occupation permit for his stone sculpture studio on Hoot Owl Trail. “I think it’s going to create a precedent that’s going to be troublesome in the future. It’s a double standard, one for artists, and one for the rest of us…. He wants to use heavy equipment. Everybody that comes out for a permit and they got some oddball thing that they’d like to call some art of some kind, is going to be able to quote Mr. Falossi’s proposal here as a precedent.” The planning commissioners voted 4-1 to grant the permit to Falossi, and also extended the permit to two years.

COUNTY OFFERING BEHAVIORIAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR MILITARY

A San Bernardino County program offers free behavioral heath services for military service members and their families. All active duty and retired military personnel, reservists, or National Guard who have served on or after September 11, 2001 and their families are eligible. Services include confidential behavioral health assessments, rehabilitative support, family services, and in-home visits as needed. For more information, contact Pacific Clinics at 760-228-9657.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD MEETS TOMORROW

The Copper Mountain College Board of Trustees will meet in a special, closed-session meeting at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, June 12. The trustees will discuss appointing a new superintendent/president to replace Dr. Roger Wagner, who is moving to Victor Valley College next month. The regular meeting starts at 3 p.m. On the agenda, the board will hear reports from staff, faculty, classified employees, and students. Among the items on the action agenda, the board will be asked to vote on granting the student trustee voting privileges, reject and grant bids for various projects around the college, approve the 2014-15 budget, and vote on compensation and contracts for vocational faculty, academic tenure, and California School Employees Association. The meeting will be held in the Bell Center Community Room on the CMC campus.

A REMINDER ABOUT DOGS AND HOT CARS

With the hot desert weather upon us, anther reminder to just leave the dog home when you go out, here is reporter Sara Snyder….
On a hot day, temperatures inside of a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous levels. The temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in minutes, regardless of whether the windows are rolled down or not. Dogs can only cool themselves by panting or sweating through their paws. A hot car doesn’t provide enough fresh air for their body temperature to stay at a safe level. Dogs can sustain brain damage or even die in as little as fifteen minutes. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, immediately call your local animal shelter or the Sheriff’s Department at 760-245-4211 or 760-366-3781. Be prepared to provide a vehicle description and license plate number.

JOSHUA TREE ART GALLERY OPENS ABRACADABRA SHOW SATURDAY EVENING

The Joshua Tree Art Gallery, JTAG, will hold its opening reception this Saturday, June 14, during the Saturday night Art Crawl from 6 to 8 p.m. More than 72 artworks were entered for the open show, Abracadabra, that shows the magic of art. Magician Dean Apple will perform during the show opening. Voting for People’s Choice will go on all day, from 10 to 8; cash prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third places. JTAG is located on the south side of the highway in downtown Joshua Tree.

GALLERY 62 OPENING RECEPTION SATURDAY

Gallery 62 will hold its opening reception for its new show from 5 to 8 p.m. during Joshua Tree’s Saturday night art crawl, June 14. More than 20 artists submitted work for the members-only group show. Gallery 62 is the gallery for the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. The gallery is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 to 5. Gallery 62 is located in the east end of Joshua Tree on the south side of the highway, next to Art Queen.

SUMMER READING PRGRAM STARTS MONDAY AT THE TWENTYNINE PALMS LIBRARY

The Summer Reading Program kicks off this Monday at the Twentynine Palms Library. Reporter Taylor Thacker explains the program…
Have your child experience the joy of reading this summer at the Twentynine Palms Library’s annual Summer Reading Program. This program begins on June 16th, and is not designed to teach children to read, but to encourage them to continue reading throughout the summer by borrowing and reading books from the Twentynine Palms Branch Library. Upon registering, participants will receive a book bag and a reading log to record library books they read and will receive a weekly incentive for reading books. Listening to audio books counts the same as reading books. The Twentynine Palms Branch Library is also offering an adult Summer Reading Program. For each library book read, adults will have an opportunity to win prizes. For more information, or to register for this free program, call 760-367-9519.

LOCAL DEMOCRATS MEET SATURDAY

New officer installations top the agenda when the Morongo Basin Democratic Club meets this Saturday, June 14, at Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree. Newly elected Club President Matthew Campos will take the helm from four-term incumbent Mike Lipsitz. Lipsitz declined to run after accepting the position of field rep to County Supervisor James Ramos in April. Fellowship and a $10 power breakfast begin at 9 a.m.; the business meeting begins at 10 a.m. After taking the oath of office, Campos will preside over several pieces of new business, including votes on bylaw revisions, a proposed change to dues structure, and Club plans to participate in Saturday’s Joshua Tree Gay Pride, as well as next month’s July 4th events. The meeting is open to all registered Democrats and invited guests.

SKY’S THE LIMIT THRIFT STORE SALE THIS WEEKEND

Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center will hold a summer sale at its thrift shop Friday and Saturday. Gently used items such as furniture, household goods, clothing, shoes, books, and children’s toys will be available on a cash-and-carry basis. Proceeds will support programs and development at Sky’s the Limit. The thrift shop is located at 73662 Homestead Drive, at the north end of the Historic Plaza in Twentynine Palms.