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Last August, Joshua Basin Water District passed a conservation ordinance in response to the State Water Board’s call for reductions in wasteful water practices such as over-irrigation. Now the state is imposing more stringent measures. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us how one local water agency is coping with the new regulations…
At last night’s meeting of the Joshua Basin Water District, directors approved a staff recommendation that the conservation ordinance be overhauled in response to new statewide emergency water regulations. Under the mandate handed down earlier this month, the District must reduce consumption a staggering 28 percent, or be subject to fines up to $10,000 per day. Under such pressure, Joshua Tree can expect to see a revised ordinance with strict limits on water uses, and significant penalties for both residential and commercial accounts that waste water. In other business, directors learned several district wells are—or will be—out of compliance when and if the state’s new lower threshold for Chromium-6 goes into effect. The condition is not considered a serious threat to public health, but federal guidelines require customers be notified. Also last night, the board voted to delay issuing a will-serve letter for the 248-unit Alta Mira residential development while emergency water regulations are in effect.


The Twentynine Palms cemetery will host a Memorial Day service on Monday, May 25. The service will start promptly at 9 a.m. Major General Lewis Craparotta will be the guest speaker. The Marine Color Guard and Firing Detail will also be present. The public is invited to attend. The cemetery is located on Encelia Avenue in Twentynine Palms. For more information, call Stacey Lee at 760-367-9316.


The Morongo Unified School District Board of Education began its May 19 meeting with presentations and recognitions. Then it turned to regular business. Reporter Dan Stork broke his report into two parts. In this story, the progress of labor negotiations, teacher transfers, an eliminated position, and a disputed board policy…

During regular reports, Morongo Teachers Association representative Terry Weitz kept the pressure on the Board and staff to come up with a more generous contract, citing the billions of extra dollars likely coming to districts state-wide from Sacramento this year. Classified rep Jim Goldsborough was hopeful and positive about the tentative agreement hammered out by his union with the District. Marine Liaison Tom Cruz distributed tips on school transitions for military families, who are faced with frequent reassignments.

The Board heard teacher and parent comments on a variety of issues. Friendly Hills teacher Pamela Coleman protested her “forced re-alignment” transfer to another school. Twentynine Palms Junior High School teacher Doug Walters begged for assignment of an assistant principal to his school. A noon supervisor at Twentynine Palms Elementary had the same request for her site. Parent Candy Hart had aired a list of concerns, including class size, playground safety, budget clarity, and arts and music funding.

On the action agenda, the board voted 3-2 to eliminate an instructional aide position, Karalee Hargrove and Ron Palmer dissenting. A 4-1 vote approved a revised Advanced Placement policy, with Chris Proudfoot dissenting, saying the cost to families might deter students from taking AP tests. The board unanimously supported the ballot measure that would approve the Medical Center affiliation with Tenet Health Care.


The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board of Directors will hold a special meeting at 6:00 tonight to discuss a performance evaluation of its Chief Executive Officer Bob Tyk. The directors will then go into negotiations over the CEO’s salary. The meeting will be held in the Helen Gray Education Center board room on the hospital campus.


There will be a meeting tonight to update the community about the Sand to Snow National Monument and the California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act. It will be held from 5:45 to 7:15 at Morongo Valley Elementary School. For more information, contact information can be found with this story at

Matthew Jatovsky

California Desert Representative, The Wilderness Society



A weekend Workshop and show at Harrison House in Joshua Tree. Reporter Cassie Zimarik has more on this special offering…

Harrison House Music, Arts, and Ecology will be presenting an indoor workshop on Saturday, May 23, from 2-4 p.m. and a free performance on Sunday, May 24, from 2-6 p.m. Those who participate in the workshop will get to work hands-on with the Letter of Marque Theater Company and have a chance to explore and create live art in all forms including visual art, music, singing and more. The best part is that no previous experience is necessary! After you attend the workshop, watch a live performance the next day titled “Whet Willy’s Short Wave Radio Show.” The hour-long performance is free to the public and explores the last ditch effort by Whet Willy to keep his ship from being repossessed. This is a weekend you don’t want to miss! For more information and workshop pricing, contact Harrison House at 760-366-4712. The address for this event is located with this story online at

Harrison House

6881 Mount Lassen Avenue

Joshua Tree, CA 92252


The Yucca Valley High School Trojan baseball team traveled to Tahquitz High School in Hemet and lost their CIF bid 9-0. Coach Brian Schoenborn said he was “proud of how this young team bounced back and played good baseball down the stretch to make the playoffs.”

Isaiah Kinder will be honored for his outstanding play this year at the senior sports banquet on the 31st of May in the Joshua Springs High School Thunderdome.

In high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School and Twentynine Palms High School track teams will participate in the CIF finals at Cerritos College.


Many fees at Joshua Tree National Park will increase as of June 1, the park service has announced. Park officials said that while the public was generally in support of higher fees, the park received many public comments about increasing the fees in smaller increments than originally planned. In consideration of those concerns, the park service said the annual entrance fee to Joshua Tree National Park will not be increased at this time, and other fees will be increased in two steps. The entrance fees for the 7-day vehicle pass, motorcycle pass, individual pass, and individual camping fees will increase by $5, with another $2 to $5 increase in 2017. Group campground fees will increase by $10. Fees for tours of Keys Ranch will increase by $5 for adults, and $2.50 for children. Park superintendent David Smith said the fee increases will be used to improve visitor facilities in the park and for labor costs for increased maintenance and staff in campgrounds.


The Morongo Unified School District Board of Education began its May 19 meeting with presentations and recognitions, before getting on to regular business. Reporter Dan Stork broke his report into two parts. Today, in part one, a mural-in-a-day and employees of the year…

Onaga Elementary School teacher Heather Possehl opened the MUSD Board meeting with a description of how a desert-themed mural came to life at that site, transforming a space that students had called a “wasteland.” Possehl asked a local mother-daughter team, Linda Shrader and Echo Westover, who operate a mural company, for advice, and they pitched in and prepared the mural, and taught 20+ GATE students how to paint it in a single day. To see the work of 10 hours by scores of hands compressed into a really thrilling 2-minute time-lapse video, go to

Teachers and classified employees of the year for east end schools, plus classified employees from the maintenance and operations, were lauded by their supervisors. The sites and names of those honored are listed in this story at

Condor Elementary School: Patti Burke, Karla Buchanan

Oasis Elementary School: Mary Hannan, Amber Hanson–Iniguez

Palm Vista Elementary School: Angela R. Kozell, Jennifer Burpee

Twentynine Palms Elementary School: Edith C. Walters, Darla Jean Bridges

Twentynine Palms High School: Greg Barber, Timothy Stanford

Twentynine Palms Junior High School: Wally Brumbalow, Megan R. Pfau

Maintenance and Operations: John Naylor

Custodial Services: Nico Villamero

ONES Mural


The Sheriff’s Department received five calls concerning vandalism in Morongo Valley Tuesday. According to Sheriff’s reports, a barbecue at Covington Park was damaged, as well as skylights, security lights, and a freshly seeded area, among other items. Roofing tar was poured on all five slides at Morongo Valley Elementary School, as well as on the handball court and a staircase. Roofing tar was also poured on two vehicles and their windows broken in the 10700 block of San Jacinto Street. Car windows were broken at a dealership in the 49800 block of Highway 62. Rocks were thrown through the window of a vehicle and a living room window in the 10500 block of Morongo Way. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.


A long running celebrity-operated Landers Motel is looking to go legit. Reporter Mike Lipsitz highlights an item on tomorrow’s County Planning Commission agenda…

Seems another Landers commercial development will go before the Planning Commission this week; and while it’s bright and shiny, it’s not a commercial solar plant. At Thursday’s 9 a.m. meeting in San Bernardino, commissioners will convene a public hearing to consider granting a Conditional Use Permit for an existing six-space vintage airstream camper motel and campground on five acres in Landers. Known as “Kate’s Lazy Desert,” the kitschy camp ground has played host to cadres of campy customers since 2013; only now, owner-partners Kate Pierson and Monica Coleman aim to make it legal. The two seem to know what they’re doing as evidenced by their award winning motel venture, Kate’s Lazy Meadow in New York’s Catskills. Kate Pierson is no stranger to notoriety; she is one of the lead singers and founding members of The B-52’s. For details on tomorrow’s hearing or more on Kate’s Lazy Desert, follow the links in this story at

(Planning Commission Agenda is at



In a consent agenda item in its May 19 meeting, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead on a road project in Joshua Tree. The Supervisors authorized staff to apply for a Caltrans grant to widen a major artery in Joshua Tree, and to build a bicycle path alongside it. The improvements would be made on Sunburst, between Route 62 and Calle Los Amigos, which is where Joshua Tree Elementary School is. The grant application will be for about $1.1 million.


The Joshua Basin Water District Board of Directors meets in regular session at 7 p.m. tonight. Near the top of the agenda, the board will receive an update on the District’s chromium-6 compliance effort, next on the agenda, is a briefing on the state mandated 28 percent reduction in consumption, and in a related matter, the board will consider authorizing staff to amend the District’s conservation ordinance. Also of note, the District will again consider issuing a will- serve letter for the 248-unit Alta Mira residential development in Joshua Tree. Those items and others will precede staff and director’s reports. Tonight’s meeting takes place at District offices on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree.


The St. Joseph’s Players of Yucca Valley opened their new play last weekend, “Biloxi Blues,” by Neil Simon. The second in the “Eugene Trilogy,” the play follows Eugene Jerome as he heads off to boot camp along with a diverse assortment of new soldiers, meets the hard-charging Sergeant Toomey, and falls in love. Despite a last-minute replacement of one of the main characters, the show must go on. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at the opening night performance, and offers this review…

Due to a last-minute family emergency, actor Abe Daniels had to withdraw from the role of Sergeant Toomey in the St. Joseph’s Player’s production of “Biloxi Blues” by Neil Simon. So with just one day of rehearsal, Bob Noble stepped up to take over the role. Director Rebecca Havely warned the audience that Noble would be reading from a script, but really, it appeared that he didn’t even need to consult it very often, and when he did, he incorporated the script into the play so well, that it wasn’t even noticeable. Kudos to Nobel for a very impressive performance on such short notice. Other stand-out actors in the play are Jericho McWilliams as wise-cracking Eugene Jerome who wants to lose his virginity, fall in love, and become a writer; and Ryan Fleischman as Arnold Epstein, the Talmudic scholar who rebels against the Army—and Sergeant Toomey—in big ways and small, and who does beat the drill sergeant at his own game. The other soldiers are played by Kory Fleischman, Beau Stoker, and Adam Redmon, with another nod to Jared Phillips as Joseph Wykowski, a big brute that the U.S. Army is lucky to have fighting on its side.

Playing the part-time prostitute Rowena is Bianca Stoker. Liyan Lagevardi is the sweet and innocent and very Catholic schoolgirl, Daisy. Other ensemble roles are KJ Smith and Kaylin Moffitt as Daisy’s classmates. Cathy Inscore is finally playing a woman, Sister Marissa, and Joe Turner as Father Turner rounds out the cast.

“Biloxi Blues” will have you laughing and thinking about dignity, compassion, prejudice, and camaraderie.

“Biloxi Blues” is playing at St. Joseph of Arimathea Church, 56312 Onaga Trail in Yucca Valley. Show dates are Friday, May 22, Saturday, May 23, May 30, and June 6 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 31 and June 7 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $9 and $11. For reservations, call 760-362-9319.


Applications are now available for the 2015 Theatre 29 summer youth theater program. The program will run Monday through Friday, from July 6 through July 30, with four performances of “Disney’s Peter Pan Jr.” July 31 and August 1. The program will break into two age groups, “Juniors” (7-12 years old) meeting from 10:00 a.m. until noon, and “Seniors” (age 12-17) from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. The cost for the program is $60 per student. The program will teach a wide variety of theatrical skills. Applications are now available, the Twentynine Palms Park and Recreation offices, the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Z107.7 studios in Joshua Tree, and must be turned in by June 5. For more information about the Theatre 29 Summer Youth Theater program, e-mail


The Morongo Valley CSD Board will get a look at Cal-Trans plans for State Route 62 tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz checks the CSD’s agenda…

In the hour prior to tonight’s regular meeting of the Morongo Valley Community Services District, Cal Trans will hold a public meeting to talk about plans for Highway 62 in Morongo Valley. The 6 p.m. meeting takes place at the Covington Park pavilion. Then at 7 p.m. the CSD meets close by in the Covington Park Community Building multi-purpose room. At the top of the agenda the board will adjourn to a closed session for an evaluation of the general manager. And under new business, there will be a public hearing followed by a vote on the final budget for fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015. Other items up for board consideration include a change in the regular meeting schedule, discussion of a formal complaint filed by Director Karen Lowe as well as other items.


High Desert Beekeepers Association meets tomorrow, Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. at the Nourishing Tree in Joshua Tree. Michael Shamhart will give a presentation on swarm capture and removals followed by questions and answers. You will quickly learn that there is more than one way to do anything with bees. Ideally, participants will learn to work with bees in a more natural way. HDBA is about education and establishing a community of support for new and current beekeepers in the desert. You do not have to be a beekeeper to attend; just have an interest in bees. The meeting is free with donations accepted. For more information go to High Desert Beekeepers Association on Facebook or call meeting host Nicholas Holmes at 805-215-6025.


The City of Twentynine Palms Recreation Department has announced the only public swimming pool in Twentynine Palms will be open for business this weekend. The hours are from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The pool will then be open weekends only until June 11. After June 11 the pool will be open daily (weather permitting) until the end of August. Fees are $3 for adults, $2.75 for children and $1.50 for senior citizens. For additional information call the Luckie Park Pool at 760-367-5777.


Some light-hearted fun will raise some funds for the Twentynine Palms High School Yearbook. Reporter Cassie Zimarik invites you to “Mr. Hot Spot”…

If you’re looking to have a night of good food and entertainment, then you should consider the Twentynine Palms High School Hot Spot competition, sponsored by the Twentynine Palms Yearbook. Eight boys will by competing in everything from swimwear, to talent, to formal wear, to win the crown of Mr. Hot Spot. For the cost of $5 you get access to a full burrito bar and soft drinks, and a one-of-a-kind show that will keep your attention for the full evening. Audience participation will also help one of the boys win the title of Most entertaining. Come out Friday night, May 22, to support Jarod Burks, Miguel Romo, Tyler McGahuey, Marquis Tarver, Ricky Vega, Curtis Mohn, Kyle Lav and Sam Robinson. You can purchase a ticket from competitors, yearbook members, or by contacting the school at 760-367-9591. Doors open at 6 p.m. for dinner and the show starts at 7 p.m.


The Yucca Valley High School 47th annual senior awards and scholarships program will be held tonight, Wednesday, May 20, at 6:00 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Yucca Valley High School seniors will be honored with numerous scholarships and awards. Representatives from many local organizations, clubs and businesses will award scholarships to deserving seniors. The Class of 2015 Valedictorian and Salutatorian will be honored. Representatives from the armed services will also be present to announce military enlistments, scholarships, and other awards. Graduates receiving academic and athletic university scholarships will also be named. The public is invited to share the excitement of the college and military-bound seniors and their families as they are honored for their achievements. Congratulations to all.

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