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THREE FILE FOR TWO OPEN SEATS ON MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD

Two seats are available, and three candidates, so far, for the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education. Reporter Dan Stork looks at how the contest is shaping up…
With the deadline for filing approaching, three candidates have filed declarations of candidacy for the two open seats on the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education. They are: Dr. Cindy McVay, who retired at the end of June from the District (at the time of her retirement, she was principal at Palm Vista Elementary School); L. Hilary Slotta, longtime local resident; Gary L. Horne, a parent of schoolchildren in Twentynine Palms, who has been on the Oasis Elementary School site council. Of the two incumbents whose terms expire this year, Donna Munoz—who served four terms on the Board—is not seeking re-election, and Chris Proudfoot—who was elected to his single term in 2010—has indicated to us that he is seriously considering running for re-election. The deadline for completing the filing process for candidacy is Friday, August 8, unless no incumbent files, in which case the deadline will be extended one week.


TWENTYNINE PALMS WOMAN ARESTED FOR FELONY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A Twentynine Palms woman was arrested after fighting with her husband. According to a Sheriff’s report, Deborah Valek, 23, was arguing with her husband in the 2700 block of Ranch Road when the argument escalated, and Valek began striking him with her fists. The report states when he laughed at her, she hit him with a broom. According to the Sheriff’s Department, both Deborah Valek and her husband sustained injuries in the fight; the deputy determined that Deborah Valek was the dominant aggressor and arrested her for investigation of felony spouse abuse. She was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with her bail set at $50,000.


HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT SETS SPECIAL MEETING WITH NO-SHOW SEWER ENGINEERS

Someone has some ‘splainin’ to do after the featured act at last night’s Hi-Desert Water District Special meeting was a no-show. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says board members were not happy…
With just barely 24 hours notice, the Hi-Desert Water District held a special meeting last night for its board of directors to discuss and review an engineering report on the wastewater reclamation project. The discussion was very short, however, as Director Sarann Graham angrily rebuked the engineering firms for not sending representatives to the meeting. “And I’ll tell you, I’m really not interested tonight in going through this report with our staff. I want my questions answered by the engineers who put this report together.” And with that, the Board voted unanimously to table the discussion to a future meeting when the engineers could be present. In other business, the board passed 5-0 the water stand-by assessments on unimproved parcels, and indicated that since the rates have not been changed since 1992, they may want to look at changing the rates charged next year. Current rates, based on lot size and distance to an existing water pipeline, range from $4 to a maximum of $1,000.


JOSHUA TREE RECREATION PRE-SCHOOL AND SOCCER SIGN-UPS OPEN TOMORROW

Beginning tomorrow, August 1, the Joshua Tree Recreation and Park District will be accepting registrations for its fall pre-school and modified soccer programs. The pre-school program is designed to prepare your child with the academic and social skills needed to enter kindergarten. The program offers two different class sessions. The Tuesday/Thursday class is for children age 2-3 years of age. The Monday/Wednesday/Friday class is for children 4-5 years of age.

Modified Soccer is offered again this fall in Joshua Tree. Soccer is open to children ages 4 and up. The early bird registration fee is $50 until August 22, at which point the fee increases to $60. Registration ends on September 12. The season runs from September 22 through November 14. All practices and games will be held at Sunburst Park. There will be a mandatory parent meeting on Friday August 22 at 7:00 p.m. To sign up or for pre-school or soccer or for more information contact the Joshua Tree Community Center at 760-366-8415 or on their website in a link in this story at z1077fm.com
www.JoshuaTreeRecAndPark.org.


TWENTYNINE PALMS RECREATION MOVIE IN LUCKIE PARK TONIGHT

The Twentynine Palms recreation Movies in Luckie Park series will have its final evening tonight. Reporter Taylor Thacker says come see “The Nut Job”…
The City of Twentynine Palms Recreation Department presents the final movie in the Movies in Luckie Park series with “The Nut Job,” scheduled to play on Thursday, July 31, starting at 8:30 p.m. In this movie, an incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang’s bank robbery. Come see what happens. This free movie will take place at the north side of the racquetball courts in Luckie Park in Twentynine Palms. Bring friends, family, blankets, and chairs and enjoy this last movie in the park.


FIRST QUARTER MOON, MARS, SATURN AT SKY’S THE LIMIT SATURDAY NIGHT

The public is invited for a tour of the lunar landscape, Mars and Saturn on this Saturday, August 2 at Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center, just north of the entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park in Twentynine Palms. This free event begins around 8:20 p.m. and continues until approximately 1:30 a.m. A crescent moon will be followed by Mars and Saturn around sunset. A tour of lunar landscape at low and high magnifications will zoom in on the great craters. Mars is a large rusty orange disk through a telescope. Saturn, also fading slightly, is well placed for viewing at sunset. Later, after the moon sets at 11:30 p.m., the telescopes will turn to some bright open star clusters and nebulae in the Milky Way. Guests are invited to bring their own binoculars and telescopes. Pads are provided for telescope setup, and STL volunteers will make every effort to assist as needed in setting up and using equipment. All are encouraged to come around sunset to have time to set up and visit other campus educational attractions before the cosmic tour begins. Everyone should bring snacks, water bottles, chairs, and a small flashlight (red lens, no white lights please) and dress for unpredictable desert weather. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No pets and no smoking allowed on the STL campus, and visitors must carry out all trash. The observatory may not be open during a scheduled event due to weather.


DINOSAUR FAMILY FUN DAY AT HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM SATURDAY

Bring the kids to Dinosaur Family Fun Day at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum Saturday. Reporter Cara Conway has details…
Dig up fossils, play games, and learn about the Age of the Dinosaurs, Saturday, August 2, from 9 to 3 at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum and Yucca Valley Community Center. Hands-on crafts and an outdoor dino water slide are fun ways to escape the heat. Don’t forget your swim suit and towel. The event is free.


INTEGRATRON METEOR VIEWING BENEFITS MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST

Next Saturday, August 9, the Integratron in Landers hosts the 8th Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Star Party The event is a benefit for the Mojave Desert Land Trust and will run from 7:00 p.m. until midnight. Overnight camping is available. The Perseids sometimes peak at 50 per hour. Attendees will enjoy music, fire spinning, and the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon showing. A Joshua Tree National Park Ranger will present educational information, and the Integratron’s Sound Bath. The Integratron is an icon to the Space Age, Its dome structure was built in the 1950s by aerospace engineer George Van Tassel, who claimed that extraterrestrials guided him. Admission prices are $55 per person. Kids 12 and under are FREE! Overnight camping is an additional $33 per person. Hot and cold beverages will be available and additional delectable deserts and dinner will be available for sale. Space is limited and pre-registration is REQUIRED. Reserve your spot(s) early by registering at www.mojavedesertlandtrust.org or calling 760-366-5440. The event benefits the Mojave Desert Land Trust’s efforts to preserve desert wilderness and beautiful night skies.


29 PALMS INN TO REOPEN TOMORROW

The restaurant at the historic 29 Palms Inn will be reopening tomorrow after a brief summer refurbishing. Restaurant fans and regulars are asked to join the Twentynine Palms Inn for a special “Welcome Back” dinner, beginning at 5 p.m. tomorrow evening, August 1. The 29 Palms Inn is located at 73950 Inn Avenue, off National Park Drive in the heart of Twentynine Palms. For questions, lodging reservations, or special event queries contact the hotel reservation staff at 760-367-3505, or email: theoasis@29palmsinn.com.


YUCCA VALLEY MAN GETS SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR ASSAULTING DEPUTY

A Yucca Valley man who has a rap sheet going back to 1998 was sentenced to six years in state prison recently for assaulting a police officer. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Derek Garvin, about 2 p.m. on May 17, Deputy Sean Tabor recognized two men–at least one of whom was on probation–and attempted to stop them near Paxton Outer Highway and Balboa Avenue.

Robert Garcia

Robert Garcia

The men, identified as Robert Garcia, 39, and Edward Garcia, 39, also of Yucca Valley, fled on foot from Tabor northbound on Balboa, and as Tabor was chasing Edward Garcia, Robert Garcia started throwing rocks and pieces of asphalt at the deputy. By this time, several other deputies arrived on the scene to assist, and both men were arrested. Edward Garcia pled guilty to resisting arrest May 30 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Robert Garcia accepted a plea bargain July 17 and was sentenced to six years in state prison for assaulting a police officer.


JOSHUA TREE MAN ARRESTED IN COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BURGLARY

A Joshua Tree man was arrested early this morning, accused of burglarizing Copper Mountain College. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Derek Garvin, a deputy responded to a burglary alarm at the college just before 1 a.m. The deputy saw a man running from the campus into the open desert. The deputy, along with officers from the California Highway Patrol, tracked the suspect for several miles through the desert recovering items of stolen property the suspect had dropped along the way. After several hours, the suspect, identified as Marcus Christensen, 26, was found hiding in dense brush in the yard of a residence on Cobalt Road in Joshua Tree. Garvin said Christensen was hiding in the dense yard as deputies began getting closer to him, and has no association with the owner of the property. Marcus Christensen was arrested for investigation of commercial burglary, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, and is being held on $25,000 bail.


VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT TO BUILD A HOUSE IN TWO DAYS FOR A VETERAN

Yesterday, Z107.7 News featured a non-profit building a house in Twentynine Palms in two days for a military veteran. Today, Managing Editor Tami Roleff says they are looking for volunteers…
The Desert Communities Fuller Center for Housing, or Fuller, plans to build a home in Twentynine Palms for a low-income military veteran. Professional contractors will be brought in to do most of the construction of the home during two days in November, but Fuller also needs volunteers throughout the two days to help with various types of less-skilled work, such as set up, clean up, monitoring, site security, material management, some assembly, and other yet-to-be identified tasks. If you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to donate materials or funds for the project, call Jeff Moritz at 760-567-5053.


TWO ARRESTED AFTER VIOLENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN YUCCA VALLEY

Two people were arrested for felony spouse abuse after a fight in Yucca Valley early Monday morning. According to a Sheriff’s report, Anissa Noriega, 20, of the 7700 block of Victor Vista Avenue, started screaming at her boyfriend, Oscar Huerta, 40, when he took her children to a relative’s house because she had been drinking. Huerta told deputies he had left to stay in a motel, but came back about 12:30 Monday morning and got into another argument with Noriega. The report states Noriega punched Huerta multiple times, causing bleeding and redness, and she put out a cigarette on his chest. According to the report, Huerta then pushed Noriega to the ground and dragged her by her hair, causing significant bruising, abrasions, and bleeding. After an investigation, both Anissa Noriega and Oscar Huerta were arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse, booked at West Valley Detention Center, with their bail set at $50,000 each.


YUCCA VALLEY MAN INJURED IN SINGLE-CAR ROLLOVER CRASH

A Yucca Valley man was injured during a single-vehicle roll-over crash Saturday. According to the California Highway Patrol, James McCain, 51, was driving a gray Toyota Tundra northbound on Old Woman Springs Road shortly before 6 p.m. when he leaned over to pick up something. When he looked up, he saw a dog in the road. McCain swerved to avoid the dog, and left the highway. His car struck a row of mailboxes and overturned near Reche Road.

YV Rollever Victim

County Fire Engineer Jeff Allen said rescue personnel from the Yucca Mesa Station had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate McCain from the wreck. Due to McCain’s severe injuries, he was flown to Loma Linda Hospital via air ambulance. The County Fire Department and CHP remind motorists to wear their seatbelts. James McCain was wearing his seatbelt, and Allen said that saved his life.


SO FAR ONLY ONE FILING FOR JOSHUA BASIN WATER DISTRICT BOARD

As of July 29, only one candidate had filed a declaration of candidacy for an opening on the Joshua Basin Water District. Dan Stork says expect more to enter the race…
A look at the web site of the County Registrar of Voters shows only one candidate officially in the hunt for a seat on the Board of Directors of the Joshua Basin Water District. Former JBWD Director Richard Fountain has filed his declaration of candidacy for one of the two 4-year terms that are available. According to a reliable source, incumbent Victoria Fuller plans to run for re-election. The same source expects that incumbent Bob Johnson, who was appointed to the Board after the resignation of Frank Coats (who himself was appointed after the death of Michael Luhrs) is expected to run for election, perhaps for the remaining 2 years of the seat he now holds. We’ve been told that others are considering a run, but have not come forward officially yet. The deadline for completing the candidacy application is Friday, August 8.


ONE FILED, FIVE PULL PAPERS, FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL

With little more than a week left to file for candidacy in the November election, only one candidate for City Council in Twentynine Palms has completed filing procedures. The City Clerk says more says several more applications are in the pipeline. As of the end of the day on July 29, Mayor Dan Mintz was the only candidate who had filed a declaration of candidacy, according the web site of the County Registrar of Voters. But five others were in some stage of the process of filing for the November election for City Council posts in Twentynine Palms. According to City Clerk Cindy Villescas, incumbent Jim Harris has also completed the necessary paperwork. Last week, McArthur Wright, Adam Lund, and former Council member and Mayor John Cole had also “pulled papers” for candidacy. Villescas told us that Planning Commissioner Bill Easter was also expected to begin the candidacy process. There will be three seats available in the November election. Filing for this election can be completed in Twentynine Palms by Thursday August 7.


MANIC COMEDY, “THE 39 STEPS” CAST AT THEATRE 29

The multi-talented performers at Theatre 29 are hard at work rehearsing their next show, the manic comedy, “The 39 Steps.” Reporter Taylor Thacker has the cast list…
Theatre 29 and Director Charles Harvey have announced casting for the summer theatrical production of Theatre 29’s 2014 season, the hysterically madcap spy mystery, “The 39 Steps.” The crazy adventure tale will begin its run on the Theatre 29 main stage beginning August 15 and play five weekends through September 13. In the role of the fugitive, Richard Hannay, is Theatre 29 veteran Leonard Weber. In the virtuoso roles of the clowns are fellow veteran performers Ben Bees and Cyrus Short. In the roles of the females are newcomer Karissa Matlock as German double agent Annabella Schmidt; Kylie Robinson as shy Scottish housewife Margaret, and Katie Van Sumerin as the captivatingly demure romantic interest, Pamela. Tickets are now available and can be purchased online at theatre29.org, or by calling 760-361-4151.


DRONES NOW ILLEGAL IN JOSHUA TREE AND OTHER NATIONAL PARKS

National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis has signed a policy memorandum that directs superintendents nationwide to prohibit launching, landing, or operating drones, or unmanned aircraft, on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, including our own Joshua Tree National Park. “We embrace many activities in national parks because they enhance visitor experiences with the iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes in our care,” Jarvis said. “However, we have serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks, so we are prohibiting their use until we can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with a rich experience.” The policy memo directs superintendents to use their existing authority within the Code of Federal Regulations to prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft, and to include that prohibition in the park’s regulations. All permits previously issued for unmanned aircraft will be suspended until reviewed and approved by the National Park Service’s Visitor and Resource Protection directorate. The National Park Service may use unmanned aircraft for administrative purposes such as search and rescue, fire operations and scientific study.


HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT BOARD CALLS SPECIAL MEETING FOR TONIGHT

The Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors will hold a special meeting at 6:00 tonight. Among the items on the agenda, the Board will be asked to adopt a resolution establishing water stand-by assessments, and will review the engineer’s preliminary report on the wastewater reclamation project’s draft assessment, as well as receive an update on the sewer project and state revolving fund loan. The meeting will be held in the Water District’s office at Inca Trail and the Highway in Yucca Valley.


TWENTYNINE PALMS CEMETERY BOARD MEETS TOMORROW

Directors for the Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District will hold their monthly meeting Thursday, July 31, at the cemetery office on Encelia Avenue in Twentynine Palms. Among the items on the agenda, the directors will be asked to discuss and approve a conflict of interest code; revisions to the current policy on gravesite appearance and markers; and action on two severely delinquent accounts. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.


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