Federal employees protest furloughs in Twentynine Palms
Many Morongo Basin residents are dependent on paychecks from the federal government. Having weathered reduced paychecks from the earlier sequestration, the current government shutdown leaves them with no paychecks at all. Dan Stork spoke with some of them near the San Bernardino County public assistance office in Twentynine Palms yesterday…
In the wake of the shutdown of much of the Federal government, local federal employees headed over to the county services office in Twentynine Palms to apply for public assistance, such as food stamps. Many of them also gathered on the corner of Adobe and Sun Valley, near the county office, with hand-lettered signs to publicize their unhappiness. As passing motorists honked and waved in support, we spoke with them:
“How are you hoping people will respond?”
“I think they all see it the way it is–Congress is not doing their job, and we’re paying the price.”
“So what would you urge your fellow citizens to do?”
“Call the congressman, Congressman Paul Cook, we have the phone number…”
“OK, and it’s 202-225-5861.”
“And tell him how you feel!”
Other sign-holders pitched in, “We just want to know why Congress gets paid for not doing their job–we’d be fired–and we don’t get paid for trying to do ours”.
Fifty artists from California, across the nation, and as far away as England, have been selected for the first juried and judged art show for the Joshua Tree National Park Art Show and Faire. The jury spent nearly seven hours one day last month reviewing more than 200 images from 78 artists. The artwork was to depict or be inspired by the natural beauty and cultural history of Joshua Tree National Park. The art ranged from oil and acrylic paintings, to watercolors, mixed media, sculpture, photography, and ceramics. The artists will be competing for $6,000 in prizes. The Joshua Tree National Park Art Show and Faire is set for December 6, 7, and 8 in Twentynine Palms.
Below is a complete list of artists who were selected for the art show:
Joshua Tree: Raini Armstrong, Matt Collins, James Hammons, Anahita King, Noreen Lawlor, David McChesney, Eva Montville, Drew Reese, Karine Swenson, Ellie Tyler, Alita VanVliet.
Morongo Valley: Snake Jagger.
Twentynine Palms: Chuck Caplinger, David Greene, Gretchen Grunt, Anne Lear, Sandra Lytch, Terrence Mayes, Noemy O’Hara, Aaron Scott, Olive Toscani.
Yucca Valley: Janis Commentz, Bill Dahl, David Eckenberg, Mike Fagan, Ethan Garcia, John Greenfield, Shirley James, Mark Junge, Deane Locke, Darlene Morris, Janet New, Tami Roleff, Jean Scobie, Esther Shaw, Margie Trandem, Nichole Vikdal, John Whytock.
Other California cities: Natalie Franco, Alhambra; Robert Arnett, Glendora/ Wonder Valley; Kathy Harmon-Luber, Idyllwild; Michael Gordon, Long Beach; Jenifer Palmer-Lacy, Los Angeles; Gerhard Kammer, Studio City.
Other states: Rikk Flohr, Apple Valley, MN; Shelley Hull, Denver, CO; Laurie Hernandez, Excelsior, MN; Mark Spangenberg, Greensboro, NC; Robert Fogel, Haughton, LA.
Across the pond: John Tierney, Durham, U.K.
Jury members were: Mita Barter, steering committee member, artist, and member of the 29 Palms Artists Guild; Jimbo Jimson, artist and president of Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council; Ann Congdon, artist, architect, and member of the Public Arts Advisory Committee for the City of Twentynine Palms; Caryn Davidson, Joshua Tree National Park Ranger and Artist-in-Residence Liaison; Andy Woods, executive director of Arts Connection for San Bernardino County; and Art Mortimer, artist, muralist, and Action Council for 29 Palms member. Jury facilitator was educator and former Twentynine Palms Mayor John Cole.
A standing-room-only crowd showed up that Morongo Unified School District Board of Education meeting, mostly to be heard on issues of passionate interest–classroom crowding and AB1266. Dan Stork says there were scheduled items too…
The bulk of the large audience at the MUSD meeting were parents and teachers from Condor Elementary School, protesting that none of the eight new teachers recently hired were assigned to their school, which purportedly has the highest average class sizes in the District. A parade of speakers voiced safety concerns about small rooms, and described the difficulties of bearing the instructional burden of 32 kindergarteners at one time.
Pro and con passion was displayed in public comment – again – on AB 1266, which requires “that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity.” A current high school student spoke in favor of the bill, while several parents and grandparents opposed it on grounds of modesty, privacy, or Biblical law. Board member Ed Will quoted from a San Jose newspaper article, which characterized several arguments against the bill as myths that can be refuted.
In scheduled business, eight students were recognized for their achievements and positive attitudes, as part of National Disabilities Awareness Month. They were:
Adrian Acevedo, Condor Elementary
Jacob Draper, Friendly Hills Elementary
David Bureman, Joshua Tree Elementary
Deavante Bogan, Palm Vista Elementary
Angel Rodriguez, Yucca Valley Elementary
Rebecca Phipps, Black Rock High School
Nahjeyel Reid Hardin, Twentnine Palms Junior High School, and
Chaquantae Williams, Twentynine Palms High School.
Assistant Superintendent Tom Baumgarten presented a data-rich overview of the District’s laudable record on Academic Performance Index (API), Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and Program Improvement. Three high-performing schools had been picked to celebrate their achievements by each shaving one-third of Baumgarten’s head, the results of which were gleamingly on display.
The action items–which consisted of an infrastructure completion notice, a sufficiency-of-textbooks finding, and a funding application–were dispatched quickly.
The Town of Yucca Valley is moving toward mandatory spaying and neutering of pit bulls and pit bull mixes as a way to reduce the number of pit bulls in the animal shelter and to prevent dog attacks. In this editorial opinion, managing editor Tami Roleff doesn’t think mandatory spay-neuter ordinances are the answer some make them out to be…
How does requiring people to spay or neuter their dogs solve the problem of irresponsible owners? And how do you even get irresponsible owners to take the responsibility for spaying or neutering their dog? If the Town of Yucca Valley requires pit bulls to be sterilized, do you think owners of intact dogs are going to license them with the town? Of course not, and that’ll mean reduced revenue for the Town. If an intact pit bull is picked up by animal control, how many owners do you think will be willing to pay the impound fee, the cost of the ticket for having an unsterilized dog, AND the cost of the surgery? What if you have a lab mix but Animal Control says it’s a pit bull mix? Sterilizing a dog will NOT change its behavior; pit bulls and other dogs are TAUGHT to be aggressive by their owners. A government that requires people to surgically alter a dog is too much government intrusiveness into private people’s lives. Spaying and neutering is a medical surgery with risks; the decision to sterilize a dog should be between a vet and the dog’s owner, and not forced on the owner by the government. Recent research links health issues, like cancer and torn cruciate ligaments, with spaying and neutering at an early age. And four months is WAY too early; most reputable breeders urge their puppy owners to wait until at least one year, preferably two years, before their dogs are altered. And watch out, Yucca Valley dog owners. Mayor Pro Tem Robert Lombardo and Council Member Dawn Rowe are not content with mandatory spay/neuter of just pit bulls. “Is it practical to extend this measure to all breeds and not just limit it to pit bulls?” “Along with Dr Lombardo, I would also encourage us looking into all breeds.” Mandatory spay/neuter ordinances of any breed is a bad idea.
This is an editorial opinion by managing editor Tami Roleff.