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The Annual Woof Walk, which benefits the Morongo Basin Humane Society’s No-Kill Shelter, is tomorrow at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. Reporter Taylor Thacker has your invitation…
You and your beloved pet are invited to join the Morongo Basin Humane Society’s annual Woof Walk fundraiser. On Saturday, March 28, the event will kick off at 10:00 a.m. with a blessing of the animals, and then the dog walk will commence. Other activities will include vendors, animal rescues, informational booths, and Marine K-9 demonstrations. Participation in the walk is $35 which includes one lunch. Participants who raise $60 or more in pledges register free. The person who gathers the most money in pledges will win $500 in prize money. Pledge forms are available online at This is the Morongo Basin Humane Society’s largest fundraiser and all proceeds go to their No-Kill animal shelter in Joshua Tree. The public is invited to come out to Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown and enjoy all these wonderful activities and support your local animal shelters and rescues. For more information, or anyone who would like to participate as a vendor, call 760-366-7306.


For the third time, the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms received an award for its conservation efforts. The Secretary of the Navy Environmental Awards recognized the Combat Center Monday for its efforts in advocating environmental responsibility, its contributions in environmental areas, for protecting natural resources, and sustainability. Winners are selected by environmental experts from the government and private sectors, who evaluate the Marine Corps and Navy nominations. Once that is complete, one Navy winner and one Marine Corps winner is awarded in each category and then submitted to compete in the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards competition. The Combat Center was also presented with the award in 2010 and 2011.


The transfer of county water service in the Landers area to the Bighorn Desert View Water Agency is now a done deal. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says the last hoop has been jumped through…
Yesterday in San Bernardino, the Local Agency Formation Commission convened a hearing which marked the close of the public comment period and final determination on the takeover of all water service in Landers by Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency. And with protest votes determined to be fewer than one percent of the affected ratepayers eligible to vote on the matter, LAFCO certified the plan. It was the very final step necessary before midnight on June 30 when Bighorn-Desert View will open the valves allowing clean, economical, transparent water to flow from the taps for everyone in this rural community.


The Star Twirlers Square Dance Club is hosting a plus-level square dance at the Yucca Valley Elks Lodge tonight at 55946 Yucca Trail in Yucca Valley. Rob Grigsby and Phil Farmer will be calling squares from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. Lines will be cued from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. and between tips. For further information, contact Dennis at 366-8626.


Again this year, a public Passover Seder is being offered to Jewish residents of the area. Reporter Dan Stork tells how to reserve a spot at the table…
Jewish residents of the Morongo Basin and Desert Hot Springs— including military personnel—are invited to a community Passover Seder during this year’s Passover holiday. The Seder is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Desert. The festival service and meal will be taking place at Mission Lakes Country Club in Desert Hot Springs, at 5 p.m. on Thursday April 9. Reservations are a MUST; walk-ins will not be accepted that evening. Please RSVP by April 2nd to Sandy at the Jewish Federation of the Desert, either by phone at 760-324-4737, or via email at


The Yucca Valley High School Trojans baseball team traveled to Granite Hills for a pre-season matchup in Apple Valley Wednesday. Coach Brian Schoenborn said they got off to a slow start, giving up three runs in the first inning. Pitcher Parker Jones settled in after that, striking out three batters in his five inning outing. Jared Hudson led the hitting going 1-3 on the day. The Trojans were unable to hit in any runs and stranded five runners and the Varsity lost by the score of 5-0.

Junior Varsity continued its winning streak by routing the Cougars. Winning pitcher was freshman Anthony Gutierrez who pitched a complete game. Final score was 13-2.

The Twentynine Palms Wildcat boys’ tennis team hosted the Banning Broncos on Thursday, March 26. The Wildcats secured another victory by a score of 16-to-2. In singles action, the Wildcats were led by Jarod Burks and John Lanza, sweeping all three of their sets and Sam Choi coming away with a win in the first round. In doubles action, Marcus Simon and Vincent Thomas swept all three sets. Jose Valdez and Raul Hernandez swept all three sets. Marquis Tarver and Franklin Muniz won two sets while Marquis and Justin Ornalez Perez won a set in the second round. The Wildcat boys did an excellent job to secure this victory. The Wildcats are now 4-2 overall and 1-0 in league.

The Twentynine Palms Wildcat golf team hosted Yucca Valley High School yesterday and came away with their third league win, defeating the Trojans 243-283. Standouts for the Wildcats are Brandon Steffins, 38; Justin Delarosa, 44; and Hayden Shupp, 48.

In high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan swim team will travel away to Hemet. The meet begins at 9 a.m.

The Trojan track team will travel away tomorrow for a meet beginning at 9 a.m. at Azusa Pacific University.


An editorial opinion today…. Managing editor Tami Roleff thinks the Yucca Valley Planning Commission is not fairly or evenly enforcing their own building codes…
Attention Yucca Valley business owners: Don’t like something in the Town’s development code? Don’t worry about it. The Yucca Valley Planning Commission is more concerned about making the town “business friendly” than enforcing provisions from its development code and Old Town Specific Plan. So just show up at a planning commission meeting, tell your sob story about how much money it’s going to cost you to make whatever change is required by the code, and don’t worry, the commissioners will fall right in line with granting a variance from the code, whether it’s a block wall for BTI Rock and Sand; the square footage of a sign for Ross; numerous requests to waive undergrounding utilities on your property; or paying in-lieu fees for sidewalks, curbs, gutters, traffic signals, or highway widening. It doesn’t matter that the changes you request make the town look ugly, cluttered, and blighted, or that neighboring businesses followed the requirements of the code. The Yucca Valley Planning Commissioners evidently feel the town’s development code and Old Town Specific Plan—the documents that regulate everything in the town from how many parking spaces a business is required to provide, to the landscaping surrounding the business, to what types of fences are required to screen your storage areas , are just suggestions, and not requirements. Oh, and by the way, don’t worry about waiting two years before applying for conditional use permits for your business; the town will let that slide, too.


In a special meeting last night, the board of directors of the Hi-Desert Memorial Healthcare District signed papers approving a 30-year lease of Hi-Desert Medical Center to Tenet HealthCare of Dallas, Texas. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says another meeting tonight will set up a required election on the agreement…
Following many months of negotiations, last night, the governing board at Hi-Desert Medical Center approved the terms of a 30-year lease/purchase agreement with Tenet California. Highlights of the proposed agreement include Tenet’s commitment to operate the acute care hospital and related District businesses while committing $32 million in capital improvements to the system over the next three years; maintaining Joint Commission accreditation and licenses; and hiring all current medical staff and employees in good standing. These conditions are in addition to other benefits said to come with being part of an integrated medical system that already includes Desert Hospital in Palm Springs and JFK Hospital in Indio. Last night’s meeting was adjourned until 6 p.m. tonight when the board will reconvene to consider a resolution calling for a special mail ballot election June 23. A June 30 closing of the agreement is anticipated pending voter approval.


A Barstow man was arrested early Wednesday morning after he was found sleeping in a stolen vehicle. According to a Sheriff’s report, just before 1 a.m. a witness called to report that someone had stolen his vehicle from his driveway in Yucca Valley. Responding deputies located the empty vehicle on Buena Vista Drive, and followed footprints to the 55900 block of Sunland Drive, where they found Jody Young, 23, sleeping in the back seat of a white Chevy Silverado pickup truck, which deputies determined had also been stolen. According to the report, Young was under the influence of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia was located on the seat next to him. Jody Young was arrested for investigation of grand theft auto, and possession of stolen property, booked at the West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $100,000.


Invasive non-native plants are ones that have been introduced to an ecosystem as a direct or indirect result of human activity. Reporter Dan Stork says that Joshua Tree National Park wants to do something about them, and wants public input…
Public input is being sought regarding the National Park Service’s proposed Invasive Species Management Plan at Joshua Tree National Park. The goal of invasive plant management is to maintain native plant communities by preventing and removing invasive plants possibly using new herbicides as part of an integrated approach to the problem.
The public has opportunities to comment on the project—now during this initial project scoping and again following release of an environmental assessment. The assessment will take in alternatives, mitigation measures, and impacts.
Comments will be accepted through March 31, 2015. They can be submitted online or by mail at:
Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


Representatives from Hi-Desert Water District will be the guests on the Up-Close show tomorrow. General Manager Ed Muzik and Assistant General Manager Mark Ban will be here to answer your questions about the upcoming sewer project and the assessment vote. They’ll be able to answer questions about who the sewer project will affect and when, how much it will cost, what the assessment vote means, why some assessments are higher than others, and more. Get your questions ready to call the Up Close show tomorrow, 760-366-8471, starting at 10 a.m.


When the Twentynine Palms Water District implemented new bill-paying software, the district began charging its customers a $1 fee to pay their bills online. At last night’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms Water District Board of Directors, the directors decided to stop charging its customers the dollar fee because the directors had officially never voted on charging the fee. The board will discuss the matter in a future meeting. During the fire department’s portion of the meeting, Fire Chief Jim Thompson said the department responded to 166 calls for assistance in February, including a couple large fires that drew many onlookers. Thompson asked the public to “please stay away from the fires because when the scene is crowded, it makes it difficult to operate safely and reach the site in a timely manner.”


Harrison House Music in Joshua Tree is offering Easter weekend events, including a live concert and a music workshop. To get involved, here’s reporter Rebecca Havely to tell you how…
Harrison House artist-in-residence, baritone Thomas Buckner, performs live in concert Saturday, April 4, at 8 p.m. at Harrison House in Joshua Tree. He’s joined by Dan Joseph on hammered dulcimer and Big Black on percussion. His Easter Sunday workshop is from 2 to 5 p.m. and will focus on spontaneous music in a group setting. Buckner has a background of distinguished collaborations with composers of new music. He’s featured in over 40 recordings including six of his own solo albums. He’s performed at high-visibility music concerts and has made live appearances at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. A $15 donation reserves your seat at the Saturday evening concert. Workshop donation are between $10 and $25 and enrollment is limited. For reservations or more information call Harrison House at 760-366-4712. Concert tickets are also available at Joshua Tree Health Foods, on Highway 62 at Sunset Street.


Pacific Clinic’s TAY Center offers young adults a safe and comfortable place to define and accomplish their life goals. Clients can come to the TAY Center to meet their basic needs such as a meal, shower, laundry, enrichment groups, job training, housing referrals, and a place to meet new people. Once they become Full Service Partnership (FSP) clients, they can utilize additional services, such as counseling, case management, and medication support services. For more information contact the TAY Center at 760-228-9657 or visit them at 58945 Business Center Drive, Suite D, in Yucca Valley.


Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms will celebrate its first anniversary this weekend with two free concerts. Managing editor Tami Roleff has your invitation…
In honor of Tortoise Rock Casino’s first anniversary, a special two-night stint from Checker’d Past is scheduled for Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28. The concerts will feature all of the infamous ’80s styles and fashion, along with the classic music from Duran Duran, Devo, Men at Work and more, for a fun and entertaining evening. The free concerts will start at 8 p.m. on the outdoor stage at Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms. The free outdoor concerts will run through October.


Twentynine Palms Recreation is offering a spring youth basketball program. ROP Broadcast Student Marcellus Ward tells you how to sign-up…
Basketball season has just ended, but it has also just started. The Twentynine Palms Parks and Recreational Department is holding a spring teen basketball league for 10th, 11th, and even 12th graders. It is a great experience for teens. If you didn’t make varsity or you just want to keep your moves nice and sharp you should sign up. You can also sign up if you are a 7th, 8th, or 9th grader. The basketball leagues are coed, so you girls get a chance to cross a boy up and hit a jump shot in their face, and you boys get to impress the ladies with your sick crossovers. To join, just fill out a sign-up sheet at the park and recreation or fill out one online. There is a fee of $20 to join and let your teens get out of their bad moods and have some fun. The deadline to signup is Tuesday, April 7, so make sure not to be late. For any further information you can reach the parks and recreational department at 760-367-7562.


The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat track and field team dominated the Desert Hot Springs Golden Eagles yesterday in a De Anza league track meet. Coach Ronda Morton said the Lady Wildcats won by a score of 99-27. Senior Nisa Seals led the team with 15 points, with victories in all three jumping events and was named Lady Wildcat of the week. Other multiple-event winners were Kerenza Robinson in the 1600 meter and 800 meters and Makya Bullion 400 meter and 200 meters.

The Twentynine Palms High School boys won by a score of 82 to 45. Multi-victors were Spencer Walton, 800 meters and 3200 meters; Andrew Wilson shot put and discus; and Ronnie Rondeau, 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. KJ Morton was named Wildcat of the Week and was the leading scorer for the Wildcats with 15 points, earning first place in the long jump, 200 meters, and triple jump.
After a week off the Wildcats will travel to San Jacinto High School for the Flying Tiger Invitational on April 4.

The Twentynine Palms High School swim team went against the Cathedral City Lions Tuesday at home. The Wildcat boys won their second meet with a score of 89 to 75 and the girls also won 91 to 79.

In the third meet of the season, the girls continue to get CIF times. Those were Hanna Beard in the 200-yard individual medley, Lexi Wade in the 100-yard backstroke, Lindsey Scamman in the 100-yard breaststroke, along with Nokomis Cabrera who lowered her CIF time in the same event.

The Twentynine Palms Wildcat Golf Team competed in two back to back non-league matches against Xavier Prep High School Tuesday and Wednesday this week and were defeated in both matches. Coach Grant Whipple said the two matches gave the Wildcats a chance to tune up and work on their play before heading into league play today against Yucca Valley High School at home. The ’Cats are 2-0 in league so far.


After months of negotiations and input, the Hi-Desert Memorial Health Care District Board of Directors will put their signatures on lease and purchase agreements, officially agreeing to lease Hi-Desert Medical Center to Tenet HealthCare of Dallas, Texas. Tenet is one of the country’s leading and most comprehensive healthcare services companies, with 80 hospitals and more than 200 outpatient centers. In this region, Tenet operates Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. The hospital board has called a special meeting for 6:00 tonight at the Helen Gray Center on the hospital campus in Joshua Tree. The only two action items a on the agenda is first the approval of the Tenet Lease and then an item calling for a mail-in election to put the lease action to a vote of those who live in the Hospital’s tax district. That voter approval is needed to make the affiliation final. Proponents say the affiliation with Tenet will keep the Hi-Desert Medical Center open and operating in the Morongo Basin.


The Twentynine Palms City Council worked crisply through a lengthy agenda at its Tuesday night meeting. Reporter Dan Stork lists what was accomplished…

Before the agendized business of the Twentynine Palms City Council, the Council viewed a video that gave the history and works of the 35 air quality management districts throughout California. The clean theme continued during public comment and Larry Bowden’s final update as Interim City Manager, as illegal dumping and blighted lots– and what to do about them–were brought to public attention. Bowden also said that it is proving difficult to replace the crosswalk lights downtown at Tamarisk.

Budget adjustments

The Council approved adjustments to the City’s budget described by Finance Director Ron Peck, covering:

  • City contributions to unfunded pension liability, approved at a previous meeting;
  • Purchase of a right of way near Cienega, so Caltrans can put in sidewalks;
  • Funds for traffic light projects at Encelia and at Lear, which are getting underway sooner than expected.

Purchase of a grader

The purchase of a used grader in purportedly excellent condition for $108K was approved. This replaces vintage equipment whose operation past its legal life will not be allowed much longer. The new grader will be paid for by a loan from the general fund to a special fund, which will be paid back at 2.5 percent interest. Some of the cost is expected to be recouped by selling the old grader out of state; Nevada and Arizona are not so careful about air quality.

Selecting delegates to the So Cal Association of Governments

Cora Heiser will be the Council delegate to the May 7-8 conference of the Southern California Association of Governments. Joel Klink is the alternate delegate.

Federal lobbyist recommendations

Council approved the recommendation of Cora Heiser and Joel Klink that The Ferguson Group be selected as the City’s Federal lobbyist. Two other firms were considered. Heiser noted that lobbying has shifted from procuring earmark projects for clients to find grant opportunities, and writing proposals. The selected firm is the only one with a California office, and had the best grant-writing references.

City-owned lots and house at the corner of SR 62 and Lear

The Council decided to have buildings on city-owned property at the corner of Lear and State Route 62 demolished, allowing for future use of the property for commercial service business usage. Rejected were the alternatives of remodeling and renting the house, or of selling it to a private party.

Permit processing fees for Vacation Home Rentals

Council approved a staff recommendation for vacation home rental permit processing fees. The suggested fee was $154 for an initial fee, and $46 for annual renewal, with the understanding that these may be adjusted to reflect administrative cost, after the city has gained some experience with VHRs. These fees are in addition to business fees and inspection fees.

Planning for the Strategic Planning Workshop

New City Manager Frank Luckino sketched an agenda for the April 11 Strategic Planning Workshop, and requested that its scheduled hours be noon to 6 p.m. He suggested that participants concentrate on weaknesses identified in an earlier SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.


The Yucca Valley Planning Commission spent the majority of its meeting last night discussing the Billings Transfer Inc business on Yucca Trail. Billings has two businesses on the property—a rock and sand business, and a newly added auto repair shop, which is not included in the conditions of approval for the site. Commissioners asked town staff to include the auto repair business in a site plan review and conditions of approval for both businesses, which it will review next month. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains that the planning commission is ignoring the town’s Old Town Specific Plan when it comes to screening BTI’s outdoor storage area from public view…
Last year, the Yucca Valley Planning Commission allowed Billings Transfer Inc on Yucca Trail to install slats in its chain link fence to screen its rock, sand and gravel business, even though the Old Town Specific Plan expressly prohibits the use of chain link fencing, and it specifically requires outdoor storage areas to be fully enclosed by a masonry wall. JLT Rock and Sand, right next door, has a block wall surrounding its business. Last year, former Town Council member Dawn Rowe appealed the commission’s decision for non-compliance and inconsistencies with the Old Town Specific Plan. The Council sent the item back to the commission for a review of the business’s conditional use permit. At its meeting last night, the Yucca Valley Planning Commission stood by its decision that a slatted chain link fence was acceptable screening. Commission Chair Vickie Bridenstine said the Planning Commission should make it easier for businesses to develop, not more difficult.

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