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Representative Paul Cook of Yucca Valley talked with Z107.7 News Tuesday, explaining his seemingly new stand in favor of a controversial Cadiz water project that would move water from the Fenner Valley east of Twentynine Palms, to Orange County. In June 2013 Cook had asked the Department of the Interior to review environmental impacts of the proposed Cadiz water extraction and pipeline project, indicating an objection to the plan. Then in September of 2014, Cook seemed to reverse his stand, saying in a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, “Developments have changed the dynamics surrounding the Project, calling into question the need for federal environmental review and signaling a need to allow the Project to move forward.” When we asked about the perceived reversal Cook said, “I did not reverse my stand, I took a hard look at the project and the research and came to the conclusion that the jobs created outweigh the risks.” Cook added, “I represent San Bernardino County; my job is to promote job growth and economic growth. After reviewing the studies available, including court denials of six petitions against the project, I saw no evidence of environmental risk.” Cook had listed the benefits: 1,500 jobs for five years, with guarantees for local and military veteran employment; retention of 20 percent of extracted water for local use; greater property tax revenues and school district support; and generation of $1 billion in local economic activity. He told Z107.7 that the Cadiz project would bring additional water resources to San Bernardino County and specifically, Lake Arrowhead. Cook concluded, saying, “I will continue to monitor the project to ensure that no harm is done to the local environment or water supplies.”


Opponents of the proposed Joshua Tree Dollar General store are planning their next legal move against the project. Reporter Dan Stork says a meeting has been called for this week…
Recently, the developers of the Dollar General store planned for Joshua Tree appealed a court decision that favored opponents of the store, embodied by the Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance. (That decision directed San Bernardino County to proceed with an Environmental Impact Report that would address the store’s potential for contributing to blight.” The Joshua Tree Downtown Business Alliance has called for a community meeting on Thursday December 18, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Joshua Tree Community Center. The purpose of the meeting is to learn about the next steps to be taken in defending the “win” by the JTDBA.


The County Coroner’s Office has released the name of the Twentynine Palms Marine who was killed in a roll-over crash on Amboy Road Saturday morning. Kirk Gadsby, 25, of Mariposa, was driving a Ford Expedition northbound on Amboy Road east of Twentynine Palms, when he lost control, and the Expedition rolled over several times into the open desert. A passing motorist spotted the damaged vehicle about 6:30 a.m. and notified CHP. Kirk Gadsby was pronounced deceased at the scene.


The Yucca Valley Town Council met in regular session last night. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says park signage dominated the meeting…
A routine item on last night’s agenda of the Yucca Valley Town Council prompted the only real discussion of the meeting. The town’s Park and Recreation Commission had presented a proposal to the council to authorize the installation of monument signs at Machris and Essig parks. Council member Merl Abel thought the signs should be designed and created by local artists. However, the other council members all thought the new signs for the park should be uniform, and should match the current signs for Jacobs and Paradise parks. The council voted 4-1, with Abel dissenting, to purchase and install monument signs, at an estimated cost of $15,000, that will conform with the town’s park signs currently in place. In other business, the council also approved playground improvements—to include new play equipment and replacing the sand with wood chips—for Jacobs Park, at a cost of about $100,000 from community development block grant funds.


More than 25 vehicles, each decorated with thousands of lights, along with horses and children’s marching drill and cheer teams delighted onlookers during the 17th Annual Festival of Lights Parade held Saturday in Yucca Valley. For the second year, the parade made its way down Santa Fe Trail to the Hi-Desert Water District office where Santa greeted more than 250 children and passed out gifts and candy canes after the parade. The Yucca Valley Rotary Club announced the winners of the entries. For Most Humorous, The Greer Family tractors; Best Spirit of the Parade: Relay for Life. Most Original Use of Lights went to the Morongo Basin Old Car Club. Best Costumes went to the California Youth Spirit Corps drill team. And finally, the Pride of the Parade award went to the Town of Yucca Valley’s float.

YV float fire pit

The Town of Yucca Valley float won top honors, Pride of the Parade.

YV float

Photos courtesy: Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Parade sponsors this year were Southern California Edison and the Town of Yucca Valley, with special thanks to Z107.7 Radio, Hi-Desert Publishing, the Hi-Desert Water District, Starbucks, US Bank, Signs by Wanda, and the Chamber of Commerce.


The Morongo Valley CSD has a full agenda this month. Reporter Dan Stork lists the topics…
At its December 17 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Morongo Valley Community Services District has four items of new business: Board reorganization at the January meeting; volunteer of the year discussion and selection; receptionist hours and office hours; library books and bookcases stored at Women’s Club. The regular monthly agency reports round out the agenda. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in multipurpose room at Covington Park.


A new sidewalk has been constructed in Joshua Tree, from the center of downtown to the Joshua Tree National Park Visitors’ Center. The San Bernardino County Department of Public Works is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday December 18, at the Visitors’ Center entrance, south of Highway 62, on Park Boulevard.


Twentynine Palms High School will host an informational event on getting financial aid for college. Copper Mountain College’s director of financial aid, Brian Heineman, will be on hand to answer questions about financial aid and funding a college education. Students and their parents are urged to attend the event, set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 17, in the Twentynine Palms High School multi-purpose room.


The Hi-Desert Water District Board meets tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff looks at a very busy agenda…
The Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors will hold its regular meeting at 6:00 tonight. On the agenda, the Board will nominate and elect a president and president-elect. Then the board will be asked to approve a civility policy; approve a contract for outreach services for the sewer project; and approve a purchase of PVC pipe. Because of changes to the proposed sewer project, the Board will be asked to approve an addendum to the water district’s environmental documentation. The directors will also receive an update on selecting a project management firm. And finally, the board will be asked to increase the contract with the sewer project engineer firm due to a change in the project’s design that added additional easements to the project. The meeting will be held in the water district’s office at Inca Trail and the Highway in Yucca Valley.


The Twentynine Palms Water District meets tonight. Reporter Taylor Thacker says they will bring up both water and fire business…
The regular meeting of the Twentynine Palms Water District is scheduled for Wednesday, December 17, starting at 6:00 p.m. At this meeting, the Directors will elect officers for the upcoming year. They will also discuss management reports. Immediately following this is the Fire Department meeting. During this meeting, the Board members will hear department reports. Both of these meetings take place at the Twentynine Palms Water District at 72401 Hatch Road in Twentynine Palms.


The Joshua Basin Water District will meet tonight, on the agenda, “replacing rascals.” Reporter Caitlin Logan explains…
The Joshua Basin Water District will have their regular meeting on Wednesday, December 17, starting at 7:00 p.m. This meeting takes place at 61750 Chollita Road in Joshua Tree. During the meeting, the board will receive a presentation from Charles Z. Fedak & Company. They will also discuss the replacement of 10 Rascals with Programmable Logic Controllers, and the installation of pressure release valves at wells 10, 14, and 15.


The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats boys’ basketball team lost a hard-fought battle to San Jacinto High School last night. The final score was 60-53. Coach Michael Schneider said freshman guard D’Shaun Barrett scored a team high of 13 points and Kyle Hope ended up with 11 points.

The Yucca Valley Lady Trojan basketball team opened up De Anza league play by beating Big Bear 69-37. Coach Jess Geeson said senior Ashley Priest led the team with 22 points. She was followed by sophomore Taylor Spitz with 17 points and freshman Savannah Beasley with 11 points. Junior Annika Dendekker came off the bench to add eight points. With the win the team upped their record to 8-2.

The girls’ varsity basketball team at Twentynine Palms High School lost to Palm Springs Monday night in Palm Springs, 58 to 42. Coach Tim Stanford said leading scorers for the Wildcats were Nokomis Cabrera with 17 points and Lindsey Scammon with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Twentynine Palms varsity boys’ soccer team got their first win of the season with a sound 8-0 victory over the visiting Firebirds of Marywood-Palm Valley Tuesday night in Twentynine Palms. Coach Nathan Niles said goal scorers were Samuel Smith, Ronnie Rondeau, Austun Stowers, Tyler Cantrell, and Jon Poore. The team record is now one win and three losses.

The Yucca Valley High School Girls’ Soccer team hosted their first De Anza League game against Big Bear. The Lady Trojans fought hard, but fell by a score of 3-0. Junior Nikole Cody recorded six saves in goal.

In high school sports today, the Yucca Valley High School boys’ soccer team will travel away to play Sultana High School. First kick is at 6 p.m.

The Lady Trojans basketball team will also travel away to play Sultana; tip-off is at 6:30 p.m.

In high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School girls’ basketball and soccer teams will travel away to Indio to play Shadow Hills High School. Soccer starts at 3:15; basketball at 5.

Also tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School boys and girls basketball teams, and the girls’ soccer team will travel away to play the Big Bear Bears. The girls’ basketball game are at 5; the boys’ basketball ball game will be at 6:30. The girls’ soccer game has been moved to Lucerne Valley due to the weather; the game starts at 5 p.m.


Jeff Rigney, the director for San Bernardino County Special Districts, talked with Z107.7 about the status of water service in Pioneertown in general, and of a particular case of supposed special treatment in that area in particular. Reporter Dan Stork reports what we were told…
Jeff Rigney told us that there is an advisory—not a prohibition—about drinking water in Pioneertown, based on uranium and arsenic levels. In addition, there is a moratorium on new connections, based on a supply of water that is insufficient to meet potential fire suppression demand as well as day-to-day operations. (Properties that needed to be rebuilt or remodeled from the effects of the 2006 Sawtooth Complex fire, and which had had an existing connection, are exempt from the moratorium.) The long sequence of approvals needed to bring a pipeline from Yucca Valley to Pioneertown is in the works. A state grant was used to create a design for the project, which Rigney said makes him optimistic that a request for construction funding will be approved.
As to the “special treatment” complaint, he said that two or three years back (Rigney was unsure of the exact date offhand), an individual in the Pioneertown area was granted a building permit which, according to Rigney, should not have been granted. When, permit in hand, the individual asked Special Districts for a water connection, the matter was referred to the County’s Division of Environmental Health Services, which kicked it up to a California state agency, which approved the connection. Rigney summarized: “It was not something that should have happened.” But it did, and it rankles some other residents who want connections.


A Yucca Valley family did everything right to save their house from being destroyed by a fire yesterday. Yucca Valley fire fighters were called to a home in the 56000 block of Golden Bee at 9:35 a.m. According to County Fire Captain Rick Denison, a heating blanket that was left turned on, on a bed malfunctioned, and a sheer wall covering in the bedroom caught on fire, causing the fire to spread rapidly in the room. Denison said the mother had been trying to start a fire in the fireplace, and thought the smoke alarm was going off from the fireplace. She walked by the bedroom and discovered the room on fire. The family used a home fire extinguisher on the blaze, which Denison said slowed down the spread of the fire enough to prevent major damage, although a few more minutes and there would have been a different ending for the family. When fire fighters arrived, the entire family and their pets—except for their cats—were waiting outside the home. Fire fighters used a single hose to put out the flames, which had been crawling up the wall to the ceiling. The cats were found hiding in another room and were also rescued. Denison reminds residents that working smoke detectors and a home fire extinguisher can prevent minor fires from becoming a fire that destroys a home.


The Yucca Valley Town Council meets tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff checks the agenda…
The agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council looks fairly routine. The Council will hear a presentation from Hi-Desert Medical Center, presumably on its affiliations plans. Among the items on the consent agenda, the Council will be asked to approve the development code amendments, approve plans for refurbishment of the community center infield and advertise for bids; and approve the granting of a utility easement for Kickapoo Trail north of the highway and Benecia. Next the Council will be asked to give its approval to advertise for bids for Jacobs Park playground improvements and signs for Essig and Machris parks. Finally, council members will nominate representatives to the various public agency boards. The meeting will be held at 6:00 in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.


Two men were arrested Sunday during a warrant search in Morongo Valley. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies went to a home in the 9300 block of Navajo Trail about 7:30 a.m. Deputies heard people inside the home, but no one answered the door. When the deputies forced the door open, Albert Tyler, 21, refused to give his name and was combative with deputies. Deputies located methamphetamine on his person, which he said was given to him by Joseph Campbell, 44, in exchange for letting him stay at the residence. During a search of Campbell’s room, deputies located a rifle, handgun, and ammunition. Albert Tyler was arrested for investigation of possession of methamphetamine for sales, and on a $225,000 warrant for an August 17 burglary. He was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000. Joseph Campbell was arrested on suspicion of possessing an assault rifle and for vehicle theft, with his total bail set at $60,000.


The Sheriff’s Department is investigating an attempted burglary in Joshua Tree Saturday night. According to a Sheriff’s report, a neighbor in the 61600 block of El Reposo Circle heard glass breaking about 11:15 p.m. The neighbor went next door, deliberately making a lot of noise in an attempt to keep the alleged burglar inside the garage, but the suspect ran out and tried to attack the neighbor. The neighbor then hit the suspect with a baseball bat and tried to follow him, but lost him. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.


The Bighorn Desert View Water Agency PLEGS committee meets tomorrow morning. Reporter Cassie Zimarik tells us what the initials mean and what they are looking at….
The Bighorn Desert View Water Agency will host a special Planning/Legislative/Engineering/Grant and Security, or PLEGS Committee meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, December 17, at 9:15 a.m. In the meeting they will discuss the hazard mitigation plan and a groundwater storage plan among other items. The meeting will be held in the board meeting office on North Cherokee Trail in Landers.


The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission will hold its last regular meeting of the year tonight. It will hold a public hearing on creating a High Density Residential Zone, covering 51 acres. The Commission will also hear an update on the conditions of compliance for Hotel 29 Palms. The Commission meets in City Hall on Adobe Road at 6 p.m.


The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board has called a special meeting for 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. The meeting will be held in the Helen Gray Center on the hospital campus in Joshua Tree. After an opportunity for public comments, the board is expected to approve an application for a CalTrans grant for federal transit funding. The meeting will end with Judge Rod Cortez swearing Marge Doyle and Paul Hoffman in as Board members.

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