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TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT TO HEAR COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT PLAN: A SPECIAL REPORT

It’s déjà vu all over again, as the Twentynine Palms Water District will hear how San Bernardino County Fire might take over responsibility for fire protection services at a special meeting of the Water District Board 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 5, at the District Offices.
Operations of the local fire department have been funded by a special tax of $80 per parcel. In the summer of 2012, the voters in the Water District rejected an increase to $120 plus annual increases beyond the first year.
In response, the Water District invited County Fire to propose a takeover plan, to which the Water District, with concurrence of the Twentynine Palms City Council, was initially agreeable.  But when it became known that the County takeover would not relieve the District of existing pension obligations, some current firefighters would not be offered County jobs, and the County would likely close the Lear station, the District backtracked in November 2012.
Following a projection by Fire Chief Jim Thompson and then-Finance Director Wayne Jones that the District would be able to carry the load (albeit at a reduced level of service), and very vocal public outcry, the District stopped the annexation procedure. The District looked to the City for financial relief, but the City was not receptive. During 2013, a Citizens Advisory Committee, under the tutelage of Chief Thompson, came up with a proposal for a tax increase very much like the one the voters had rejected in 2012.  The voters repeated their disapproval.
During 2014, the Water District was informed that the Fire Department would imminently start operating in the red. So the Water District has gone back to where it was three years ago, and has asked the County to offer up a solution.


MEETING SET AS JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK STUDIES ANNEXING EAGLE MOUNTAIN AREA

Morongo Basin residents will be able to give their input in person at a meeting held by the National Park Service on whether it’s appropriate and feasible to add the Eagle Mountain area back within the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains how the public can weigh in on the proposal…
The National Park Service is conducting a study to explore whether the Eagle Mountain area should be added back into the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. Park service officials will explain the study process, answer questions, and receive public input, at a meeting 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 5 at the Joshua Tree Community Center. To participate in the online meeting, and to submit comments, contact David Smith, Superintendent, Joshua Tree National Park, Phone: 760-367-5500. Or e-mail the study team at JOTR_study@nps.gov.
View the project web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/eaglemountain. The introductory newsletter, maps, and more information are available on the project website.


ONE ARRESTED, TWO SOUGHT, IN JOSHUA TREE CAR THEFT

One man was arrested Wednesday, and Sheriff’s deputies are searching for two other suspects in an attempted vehicle theft. According to a Sheriff’s report, about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, a neighbor saw a man acting suspiciously around a Chevy pick up truck parked in the 62200 block of Verbena Road in Joshua Tree. Arriving deputies interrupted two men and a woman who were trying to steal the truck. One man and the woman fled in another vehicle, but deputies were able to detain Jeffrey Thomas, 27, of Bonair Road. The fleeing suspects left evidence behind, and deputies are searching for them. Jeffrey Thomas was arrested for investigation of attempted grand theft auto, and on a warrant for drugs, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his total bail set at $50,000.


CAR VS. FIRE HYDRANT HIT-AND-RUN IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

The California Highway Patrol is asking for assistance in a hit-and-run that sheared off a fire hydrant in Twentynine Palms early Thursday morning. About 12:30 Thursday morning, CHP officers and Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a sheared fire hydrant at Indian Trail and Meldora Avenue. Law enforcement determined that the hydrant had been struck by a vehicle, which subsequently fled the scene, with assistance from another party. Anyone with information is asked to call the CHP at 760-366-3707


FRIENDS OF COVINGTON PARK FORMING IN MORONGO VALLEY

A centuries long symbol of intelligence, the owl is also revered for excellent night vision. There is no such thing as a flock of owls because when owls gather, it’s known as a “parliament.” Morongo Valley is seeking a parliament of sorts; they’re calling it, “Friends of Covington Park.” Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains…
Considered the heart of Morongo Valley, Covington Park has recently been the site of destructive and costly acts of vandalism. In response, the Community Services District there formed an ad hoc committee to investigate and institute deterrents. Chaired by Park Commissioner Chuck Osborne, the committee has taken a number of steps, such as improved lighting to enhance park security. Another measure is formation of a neighborhood-watch style effort to be “eyes on the park.” Operating under the name “Friends of Covington Park,” local volunteers willing to make random checks of the park are being sought. This could be as simple as a drive through. Osborne and the committee has adopted a set of guidelines and procedures for the Friends of Covington Park with volunteer safety a key element. The “Friends” logo? That keen nocturnal hunter, an owl, this one sporting a heart on its chest. To volunteer, call the CSD office at 760-363-6454.


A DAY AT THE FARM AT HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM TOMORROW

Spend a day on the farm and enjoy farm country games and activities!. Come enjoy a petting zoo, face painting, scarecrow contest, crafts, sack races, hay rides and much more.  The free family fun day is set for Saturday, August 1, from 10 to 3 at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. The rules for the scarecrow contest can be picked up at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum or the Yucca Valley Community Center, or downloaded from the Hi-Desert Nature Museum website, hidesertnaturemuseum.org.


COPPER MOUNTAIN MESA BREAKFAST TOMORROW

Saturday is August 1 and that means Five Buck Breakfast at the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Association will be served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. All of your breakfast favorites, including biscuits and gravy, are prepared and served by the friendly Mesa all volunteer staff. Join them at the Center 65336 Winters Road in North Joshua Tree.


SUNDAY BREAKFAST, TACO WEDNESDAY, AT THE JOSHUA TREE VFW POST

Sunday breakfast of eggs, potatoes, biscuit and gravy, in addition to its regular menu, from 8 to 11. Don’t forget Taco Wednesday from 11 to 1. And new, starting next week, is Thursday night dinners, prepared by Chef A.C., from 4 to 8 p.m.


“HOUSE PARTY” AT THE YUCCA VALLEY SUMMER CONCERT TOMORROW

The Yucca Valley Summer Music Festival continues this Saturday night with a live outdoor concert. Reporter Rebecca Havely has all the details …
The town of Yucca Valley is pleased to present their popular concert series. The dance band “House Party” will perform live this Saturday night, August 1, at 7:00 p.m. “House Party” is the ultimate dance band. They cover everything from pop, rock and soul to funk, Latin and R & B plus your favorite top 40 hits. They go from Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” to Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.” The outdoor concert is held at the Yucca Valley Community Center ball field is at 57090 on Twentynine Palms Highway. The gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert is from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Bring the whole family, blankets, lawn chairs and your dancing shoes and prepare to dance the night away.


CAR WASH TOMORROW TO BENEFIT YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL BAND AND COLOR GUARD

The Yucca Valley High School color guard and marching band will hold a car wash Saturday, August 1 from 8 to 2. The car wash will be held in the parking lot of the Hi-Desert Star on the highway in Yucca Valley. Cars are $5 and $10 for over-sized vehicles. Funds raised will go toward competition expenses.


STORMS BRING FLOODS, MUD, DEBRIS, CLOSURES & STRANDED MOTORISTS

An intense line of thunderstorms inundated parts of the Morongo Basin yesterday. Coming out of the east at about 1:30 p.m., parts of Twentynine Palms north of the highway saw rain and hail turn roads and washes into swiftly moving torrents of mud and debris. Winters Road was mostly impassable from Lear Avenue in Twentynine Palms to Border in North Joshua Tree. Great sections of the road surface were washed away, buried in mud, or under water, leaving some motorists stranded with their vehicles and others with no way to get home. The storm cells, with heavy rain and spectacular lightning and thunder, wreaked havoc across the communities of Copper Mountain Mesa, Landers and into Johnson Valley with parts of Border, Reche Road, Old Woman Springs passable thanks only to the efforts of county road crews. Residents on Littlefield Road called for help about 3:15 when water started flooding their home, but firefighters were unable to reach them due to the washed out roads. About 1,000 residents were without power for hours in Twentynine Palms, North Joshua Tree, and Landers. A power pole at Valle Vista Road and Morongo Road caught on fire shortly before 9 p.m. With more precipitation predicted for today, and the increased risk of flash flooding, Z107.7 reminds drivers, to “turn around and don’t drown.”


TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL PART 2 OF 3: RECOGNITIONS AND UPDATES

At its July 28 meeting, the Twentynine Palms City Council dealt with a lengthy list of presentations and discussions. Reporter Dan Stork broke his report into three parts. Today in part two of three: Recognitions, a legislative update, and the changes in the Healthcare District…
Recognitions
Long-time resident Betty Laferriere was recognized by the Council for her many contributions to the community. Also honored was MCAGCC liaison Jim Ricker, who was named the 42nd Assembly District Veteran of the Month, by Assemblyman Chad Mayes.
Legislative Update
Mayes also gave a legislative update to the Council. He criticized the legislature for not addressing water or transportation reform. He characterized the extraordinary session called by the governor as an attempt to “beat Republicans over the head” in an effort to raise taxes. He cited the I-10 bridge collapse as emblematic of the infrastructure deficiencies, and criticized high-speed rail as a wasteful priority.
Healthcare District presentation
Healthcare District board member Martie Avels heralded the takeover of the hospital by Tenet Healthcare as a boon to the Morongo Basin, and described the dual-board governance of the system. The publicly elected board will have public meetings at new quarters on La Contenta. Recruitment by Tenet for several top administrative hospital posts is in progress.


NEIGHBORS SAVE A YUCCA VALLEY HOME FROM FIRE

Neighbors helped keep a fire from spreading in Yucca Valley Wednesday morning. According to County Fire Captain Jay Dimoff, the fire was burning a small area in a vacant lot in the 6300 block of Fortuna Avenue about 11:40 a.m., but neighbors saw the blaze and used garden hoses to knock down the flames until firefighters arrived. The fire had started to burn a nearby carport next to a house, but the neighbors and firefighters were able to keep the fire from causing more than minimal damage. Dimoff said there were a lot of discarded cigarette butts in the area, and since there was no electricity in the field or lightning at the time of the fire, he suspects the cause to be human caused.


A REMINDER: NO KIDS, ELDERLY, OR PETS IN HOT CARS

Heatstroke is a leading cause of non‐crash, vehicle-related deaths in young children. With temperatures consistently near 100 degrees in the Morongo Basin, the California Office of Traffic Safety cautions parents, plus anyone transporting pets or the elderly, that leaving them in a hot car, even for a few minutes, can have fatal or irrevocable consequences. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers the following signs of heat stroke…
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, immediately call 911. Warning signs of a heatstroke include: fainting; dizziness or light-headedness; red, hot, and dry skin; no sweating; muscle weakness or cramps; nausea and vomiting; and a rapid pulse, which may be either fast or slow. Anyone in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled. Any delay in seeking medical care can be fatal.


BLOOD DRIVE IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW

LifeStream will conduct a community blood drive on Friday, July 31, at Wal-Mart in Yucca Valley from 11 to 3. Donors will receive incentives. In addition, LifeStream now offers free cholesterol screening with every blood donation. Those aged 18 to 44 years may register for Be The Match bone marrow screening free of charge. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 800-TRY-GIVING.


HEALTHCARE DISTRICT BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The local healthcare district board meets tonight at their new headquarters in Yucca Valley. Reporter Mike Lipsitz checks the agenda…
The newly reorganized Hi-Desert Memorial Healthcare District Board of Directors meets in special session at 6 p.m. tonight. Following a staff report from new CEO Jackie Combs, the board will conduct a workshop session to edit the bylaws with any changes going up for approval at the regular August 11 meeting. Tonight’s meeting takes place at the new location at 6530 La Contenta Road in Yucca Valley.

Jackie Combs

Jackie Combs


YOUTH THEATER PRESENTATION OF “PETER PAN JR.” OPENS TOMORROW

Theater 29’s summer youth theater program culminates this weekend with performances of “Peter Pan Jr.” Tickets are selling fast. Reporter Rebecca Havely shares how to reserve your seat…
The talented students of Theater 29’s summer youth program will be using all the skills they’ve learned this summer. Performing the delightful Disney musical “Peter Pan Jr.”, the younger “juniors,” directed by Katie Van Sumeren, have two performances, as do the “senior” students directed by Gary Daigneault. Friday, July 31, the younger junior cast performs at 6 p.m., the seniors at 8 p.m. Saturday, August 1, the juniors take the stage at 2 p.m., followed by the “Seniors” at 4 p.m. Only a few seats remain available. Tickets are $7 each available now on-line at theatre29.org.


MOVIE IN THE PARK IN TWENTYNINE PALMS TONIGHT

The City of Twentynine Palms Recreation Department presents the final in the, “Movies in Luckie Park” series tonight on the north side of the racquetball courts with movie “Paddington,” starting at about 8:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for the community to gather and enjoy family entertainment at its best. Refreshments will be offered by the Twentynine Palms Youth Club. The movie is FREE, so gather your friends, family, blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy. The series was sponsored in part by Z107.7 Radio.


TRANSITION JOSHUA TREE SPONSORS HEALING CHANTS TOMORROW

Sound healing circles employ sound to enhance emotional and physical health, and personal development and well-being. Reporter Dan Stork says there’s a local group that is sponsoring a circle…
The Heart and Soul Team of Transition Joshua Tree will sponsor a Sound Healing Circle on July 31. Leader Karen Soriano invites those in need of healing to “Come Chant with Us” at the Yucca Mesa Community Center, 3133 Balsa Avenue, north of Aberdeen on the Mesa, from 8 to 10 pm. Participants are asked to bring a chair, and a donation of $5 is suggested. For more information, call Karen at 760-401-0809 or Tami at 760-774-2553, or email tjtheartandsoul@gmail.com


BRITISH SOCCER CAMP STARTS MONDAY AT TWENTYNINE PALMS RECREATION

Twentynine Palms Recreation has spots available for the British Soccer Camp that will take place starting this Monday, August 3, through Friday, August 7.  Challenger Sports’ British Soccer Camp is the most popular soccer camp in the country, based upon innovative approaches to coaching youth soccer in the US and Canada. With programs for each age, the curricula includes a variety of foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, freestyle soccer, small-sided games, coached scrimmages, and a mini tournament play. Players also learn about core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and leadership. Kids from 3 years to 16 years of age are encouraged to sign up for the camp.  All sessions begin in the evening at 5 p.m. or later. For more information please contact Twentynine Palms Recreation at 760-367-7562.


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