FORMER MARINE BASE ROLE PLAYERS TOLD LAYOFFS ARE PERMANENT

While most of former role players who populated the faux Afghani and Iraqi villages aboard the Marine Base have already been sent home, those layoffs have become final and permanent. Tatitlek Corporation, who at one time had employed more than 2,500 workers at the Villages maintained for pre-deployment training on board the Twentynine Palms Combat Center, has notified its workers, most already laid off, that all positions will be permanently laid off next month. The company, based in Anchorage, Alaska, gave its 2,562 employees at the Marine base official notice July 29 that its 2,412 role players, administrative and food service workers, laborers, management, and others would be terminated as of September 30. All lay-offs are expected to be permanent.

NEARBY DESERT HOT SPRINGS FACING DIS-INCORPORATION

Desert Hot Springs City leaders declared a fiscal emergency Tuesday—Desert Hot Springs’ second in eight months—in order to place general tax measures on the Nov. 4 ballot. The previous fiscal emergency, declared last November, enabled the City Council to reduce employee benefits and holidays, eliminate staff by more than 70 percent and cut most salaries by 22 percent to 35 percent. Desert Hot Springs avoided bankruptcy, but the increased costs of a Police Officers Association lawsuit and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System are sapping funds this fiscal year. Mayor Adam Sanchez said, “We’re doing this because we’re trying to keep the city from being dis-incorporated, and we’ve got to have the revenue to meet payroll.” Dis-incorporation would mean Desert Hot Springs’ assets and liabilities would fall to Riverside County, which would provide only essential services. Declaring a new fiscal emergency legally allows the council to add marijuana sales and cultivation tax measures, as well as a 1 percent sales tax increase measure, to the ballot in the city’s off-year.

OFF-ROAD INFORMATIONAL KIOSKS IN LANDERS AND WONDER VALLEY

A cooperative effort between the Bureau of Land Management Barstow office and Community ORV Watch has resulted in guides to Off-Highway Vehicle routes and rules—on the highway. Reporter Dan Stork went to Landers take a look at one of the new displays…

OHV Kiosk ribbon cutting

Community member Peggy Kennedy and BLM Barstow Resource Chief Mickey Quillman cut the ribbon for an Off-Highway Vehicle informational kiosk in Landers.

Informational maps for off-highway vehicle riders were installed in kiosks in Landers and Wonder Valley on Wednesday. A small group gathered on the west side of Highway 247 at Reche Road in Landers to watch BLM Rangers fasten maps to both sides of a structure erected for the purpose. The maps are keyed to show where OHVs are allowed, and where they are not. Victoria Fuller of Community ORV Watch explained the purpose of the display: “For the responsible riders, this tells people where to go.” Phil Klasky, also of Community ORV Watch, emphasized the extent of designated trails and open land legitimately available for OHV recreational riders: “Johnson Valley up here—largest open off-road vehicle area in the entire nation.” Klasky thanked the BLM, represented by Mickey Quillman, (the chief resource officer in the Barstow office), and Leslie Riley, (the acting Regional Branch Chief for the area), for its efforts in creating the display and kiosks. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, BLM rangers Art Basulto and Miguel Mejia headed off to Wonder Valley to put up a similar display at Old Dale Road. BLM maps that show legal OHV trails can be downloaded at:
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/cdd/west_mojave__wemo/wemo_maps.html

LOW-COST MICROCHIP, VACCINATIONS AND SPAY AND NEUTER OFFERED

The Animal Action League has released its vaccine and microchip clinic schedule for August. In the Morongo Basin, clinics will be at 62762 Twentynine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree (just west of the dinosaurs) on August 11, 19, 20, and 25, and at 49964 Twentynine Palms Highway in Morongo Valley (Wild Mustang Feeds) on August 14—all from 10 am to 2 pm. No appointment is needed for vaccine and microchip only. Payment must be in cash only. For a spay or neuter appointment, please call 760-366-1100. Clinics may be cancelled (or added) without notice, so please visit animalactionleague.net for an updated calendar.

HI-DESERT WATER CALLS SPECIAL MEEETING FOR TONIGHT

The Hi-Desert Water District Board has called a special meeting for tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff said a code of conduct and wastewater project engineering are on the agenda……
The Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors will hold a special meeting tonight. Among the items on the agenda, the Board will be asked to approve a code of conduct for directors; will hear an engineering report on the wastewater reclamation project; and will be asked to delay the assessment vote for the sewer project. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at District offices on the highway at Inca Trail in Yucca Valley.

JOSHUA TREE HIGHLANDS ARTIST IN RESIDENCE SHOW SATURDAY

The Joshua Tree Highlands Artists in Residence program offers a new program Saturday, August 9, featuring two artists from Brooklyn, New York. Amia Yokoyama is a visual multimedia artist who works primarily in video and collage. She will be showing new stop-motion video work, alongside a set of 2-D works. Phil Weinrobe is a musician and producer who will be performing a live soundtrack to Yokoyama’s video, as well as showing new music he’s written and produced while at the residency. The opening night event starts at 7:30, with the performance at 8:30. Refreshments will be served. The Joshua Tree Highlands is at 8321 Via Rocosa Road in Joshua Tree.

TWENTYNINE PALMS ROTARY TO SPONSOR OPENING NIGHT AT THEATRE 29

Twentynine Palms Rotary Club will be hosting opening night of the hysterically madcap spy mystery, “The 39 Steps” at Theatre 29 on Friday, August 15. Doors open at 6 p.m. with curtain at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 and include refreshments and the show. Theatre 29 is located at 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. Proceeds from this theater fundraiser will help support Twentynine Palms Rotary Club’s scholarships and projects. For more information or tickets, contact Rotarian Sandy Smith at 760-362-3642.

ST. JOSPEPH’S PLAYERS SET AUDITIONS FOR “BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS”

St. Joseph’s Players of Yucca Valley are holding auditions for their next production. “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” Reporter Cara Conway tells you when and where…
St. Joseph’s Players Production of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” is searching for the brightest talent in the area for auditions on Saturday, August 23 at 2 P.M. at the St. Joseph of Arimathea Church at 56312 Onaga Trail in Yucca Valley. This comedy-drama taking place during the late depression era hosts a struggling family searching to make ends meet by having extended members move in together. Three female and one male roles are left and an ability to speak with a Brooklyn, New York accent is necessary. Rehearsals begin September 2 with performance dates running October 10 through November 2. Spaces for backstage help are also needed, please attend rehearsals. For more information email Director Rebecca Havely at cafecrafty@yahoo.com.

ARTIST TALK AT THE JOSHUA TREE LIBRARY SATURDAY

This Saturday, August 9, Joshua Tree Library guests will be treated to a travel tour and artist talk by Barbara Well-Roberts. The Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council and the Joshua Tree Friends of the Library sponsor the reception and talk which will begins at 12:30 p.m. Barbara’s photography focuses on intense colors of nature and travel sites, capturing glimpses into the lives of her subjects. Photographs of her travels to Ireland, Spain, China and Portugal will be featured during the presentation. Wells-Roberts’ art will be on display in the Joshua Tree Library throughout September.

LOCAL DEMOCRATS MEET SATURDAY

A progressive talk radio host will be the guest speaker at this Saturday’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Democratic Club. Fellowship and a $10 breakfast begin at 9 a.m.; the meeting and presentation begin at 10 a.m. Among items up for discussion is the Club’s new scholarship program. It all happens at Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen on Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree. Members are reminded to pay annual dues this month. More information, links and resources are online at MBDems.com.

FULL MOON RUN TOMORROW IN YUCCA VALLEY

The weather should be cooperating to make tomorrow’s Full Moon Run in Yucca Valley spectacular. Reporter Taylor Thacker laces up her running shoes…
The Town of Yucca Valley invites runners of all ages to its 11th annual Full Moon 5k Run on Friday, August 8. Race time is at 7:00 p.m. at Machris Park located at 59100 Santa Barbara Drive in Yucca Valley. This 5k run will be held on a challenging and beautiful loop course through one of Yucca Valley’s most scenic residential areas. Awards will be presented to the top male and female overall winners and the top three male and female winners in each age category. The registration fee for adults is $20 with a T-shirt and $18 without. For children 12 and under and seniors the cost is $18 with a T-shirt and $13 without. You can register online at www.yucca-valley.org or by turning in a completed entry form and registration fee to Community Services Office at the Yucca Valley Community Center. For more information call 760-369-7211.

“SURVIVIORS OF SUICIDE” SUPPORT GROUP MEETING SATURDAYS

A “Survivors of Suicide” Grief Support Group meets every Saturday from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at the Hospice of Morongo Basin Office, located at 61675 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree. Nancy Goudie, a psychiatric nurse, has offered to conduct this group at no cost to the members of our community. Please feel free to attend this group whether your suicide loss is recent or some time ago. Call Kay Star, Program Coordinator, to confirm your attendance or ask questions at 760-366-1308, extension 31.

TWO CHURCHES OFFERING BACK-TO-SCHOOL BACKPACKS

The United Methodist Church of Twentynine Palms is offering a free back pack with school supplies to school children in grades one through six on Saturday, August 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. The whole family can share in a 20-foot-long banana split. The back packs and banana split will be at the church, 6250 Mesquite Springs Road in Twentynine Palms. For more information, call 760-367-7338.

Joshua Tree Lighthouse Christian Center will give away a limited number of back packs to children in grades K through 6 Saturday, August 9 at 10 a.m. The fire department will have a fire engine on site for the kids. In addition, free T-dap vaccinations will be offered for children who haven’t received their vaccinations yet for school. All children must be accompanied by a parent. The church is located at 5475 Sunburst Avenue in Joshua Tree.