YUCCA VALLEY RECALL PETITIONS FAIL TO QUALIFY FOR THE BALLOT

Last month, recall proponents turned in to the Yucca Valley Town Clerk’s office recall petitions with about 260 more signatures than were needed to recall Council Member George Huntington and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Lombardo. Yet after review by the County Registrar of Voters, about 450 of those signatures were thrown out, leaving the number of signatures on the recall petitions short 197 and 189 signatures, respectively. Managing editor Tami Roleff fills in the details about the failed recall effort…
The effort to recall Council Member George Huntington and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Lombardo has failed. Town Clerk Lesley Copeland announced yesterday that the recall petitions did not have enough valid signatures to qualify for a recall election. Each recall petition needed 2,461 votes to qualify for a recall election; the County Registrar of Voters determined there were only 2,272 valid signatures for Lombardo and 2,264 for Huntington. Copeland said because there were not enough valid signatures, the recall process has failed. Council Member George Huntington was thankful the recall process was finally over. “I am very extremely relieved that the recall process has ended and I can devote full attention to what I should. The last six months have taken an emotional toll on myself and my family. I’m sincerely glad it’s over.”

STORM CAUSES AREA POWER OUTAGES

A downed pole and power lines have caused power outages in various areas throughout the Morongo Basin. According to Yucca Valley firefighters and SoCal Edison’s website, the power outage started Wednesday afternoon in Morongo Valley, when a power pole, with three large transformers on it, at Big Morongo Canyon and the highway caught fire. Power lines came down at Aspen and the highway. CHP shut down Highway 62 for about 45 minutes until Edison could turn off the power and firefighters could put out the fires. A power pole at Joshua Lane and Santa Barbara caught fire about 8:30, and the top of the pole burned through, sheering off the pole right above transformer and the wire cross bars. Edison says it is still working on restoring power.

MILITARY DEATH BENEFITS RESTORED, THANKS TO PRIVATE CHARITY

The Pentagon says families of fallen troops will begin receiving the $100,000 death gratuity that was suspended for more than a week due to the government shutdown. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the department has forged an agreement with the Fisher House, a private charity organization, to provide payments directly to troops families during the shutdown. When the government resumes routine operations, the Defense Department will reimburse the Fisher House. “I am offended, outraged, and embarrassed that the government shutdown had prevented the Department of Defense from fulfilling this most sacred responsibility in a timely manner,” Hagel said in a statement announcing the agreement with Fisher House.

FIRE TAX OF $141.20 A YEAR, WITH INCREASES, RECOMMENDED FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS FIRE DEPARTMENT

Back to the voters for another try at an increase in the tax that supports the fire department–that’s the recommendation the Twentynine Palms Water District Citizens Advisory Committee. Reporter Dan Stork was present at the final meeting, and fills out the details…
Starting at the current base of $80 per parcel per year, increase the special tax for fire services in the Twentynine Palms Water District to $141.20 over three years. Then allow the Water District Board to tack on a maximum 3 percent increase per year, at its discretion, following public notice and discussion. That’s the substance of a ballot measure that a Citizens Advisory Committee will recommend to the Twentynine Palms Water District Board of Directors at its next meeting. At its final meeting, the five-member committee—Mary Reeves, chairman Adam Lunn, Randy Leazer, Tony Jimenez, and Larry Bowden—worked with Fire Chief Jim Thompson to polish the language of the CAC’s 5-page final report. The report says that the recommended tax will allow the re-opening of the Lear station, and the restoration of the previously-provided level of fire and emergency services for an extended period of years. The report is filled out with calls for community and City participation in the affairs of the fire department. With a nod to the sparse audience—consisting of Water Board Directors Chancey Chambers and Suzie Horn, CJ Horn, and City Council Member Cora Heiser, Chief Thompson said, “My recommendation to the Board of Directors is, if we do not get any more community input than this, that we have right here, my recommendation to the Board is going to be, don’t waste the time or money to put something on the ballot.” The report concludes with a description of the dire consequences of all other support scenarios that were considered.

2013 PIONEER DAYS GRANDS MARSHALLS ANNOUNCED

The Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce announced the Pioneer Days 2013 Grand Marshals yesterday. They named Phil and Ginny Cisneros as the Pioneer Days Grand Marshals and Colonel Ronald “Max” Proudfoot (Retired) as the Military Grand Marshal. The Chamber will recognize the honorees during the Explorer Post #229 Firefighter pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Twentynine Palms Fire Department Saturday, October 19, which will be held from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m.

MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST ACQUIRES ANOTHER 40 ACRES FOR PRESERVATION

Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) announced it has successfully completed the acquisition of 40 acres of pristine wildlife habitat near the northern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. The acquisition will permanently preserve a section of wildlife corridor required for the movement of bighorn sheep, badger, mule deer, mountain lion, and dozens of bird species, in addition to providing pristine habitat for the recovery of the threatened desert tortoise. The new 40-acre property, known as QM2m is adjacent to the MDLT Quail Mountain Project, 955 acres that were preserved in September of 2010. The acquisition was made possible through a generous donation by the landowner and donations to MDLT’s Wildlife Linkage Campaign. MDLT has protected over 44,000 acres of desert land through acquisition, land stewardship, and strategic partnerships. More information about the Land Trust is available at www.mojavedesertlandtrust.org.

AQUIFIERS 101 OFERRED BY JOSHUA BASIN WATER DISTRICT

Just exactly how does the water get from deep underground to your tap? Find out all about it at a special presentation next week. Reporter Mike Lipsitz invites you to sign up for “Aquifers 101”…
Aquifers: 101 is a special two-hour presentation which aims to clarify misunderstandings about aquifers and answer questions specific to our Morongo Basin. Designed to benefit educators, and college and high school students; water district personnel, committees and advisory boards, and just about anyone who gets a water bill. Aquifers: 101 takes place at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Friday, October 18th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. With speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey, the event is hosted by Joshua Basin Water District, with sponsorship assistance from Bighorn-Desert View Water, Hi-Desert Water, County Special Districts, and Twentynine Palms Water districts. Joshua Tree Community Center is at 6171 Sunburst in Joshua Tree. The presentation is free, but attendees must RSVP by October 15 by calling 760-821-5716 or by email to KJRadnich@JBWD.com.

JOSHUA TREE ART CRAWL TO UNVEIL NEW MURAL

This Saturday’s Art Crawl in Joshua Tree will feature the official unveiling of a new mural.

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Jacob Dudley, a painter from the Midwest, was a 2010 Joshua Tree Highlands Artist in Residence, who now lives in Los Angeles. Dudley painted the mural, depicting a contemporary and stylized scene of Joshua Tree National Park, on three large-size canvases that are on the west side of the Joshua Tree Art Gallery. Frederick Fulmer of JTAG said the hope is to commission other artists to paint murals that can be rotated in the three frames. The unveiling of Dudley’s mural will be 6:00 Saturday; the art crawl goes until 8 p.m.

YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL PLAYS RUN ALL THIS WEEK

Two great plays are being presented by the theater students of Yucca Valley High School. Reporter Taylor Thacker has more on the productions…
The Yucca Valley High School Theatre Company is showcasing their talent in two plays this week. On October 10, 11, and 12, “Downhill” and “Seth’s Anxiety” will be performed by YVHS students. Downhill’s main actors are Chalise Kunz, Crystal Offutt, Patrick Ferragut, David Kim, and Emmi Partridge. “Downhill,” directed by student Damien Craycraft Colby, explores the inevitable flow of fear and impatience, and what, if anything, can be done to halt it. “Seth’s Anxiety,” directed by student Vivian Chow, is about a boy named Seth who is struggling to cope with the divorce of his parents and the anxieties that come with the first day of school. Starring actors in this play are Chris Stevens, Dalin Nelson, Aimee Frank, Madison Curtiss, Madelynn Nimmo, Hunter Stepp, and Cindy Sou. All plays will start at 6:00 p.m. and take place in the YVHS MPR with an additional matinee on the 12 at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for students, and children 12 and under are free.

LEARN ABOUT THE DESERT QUEEN RANCH TOMORROW

In the high desert country that was to become Joshua Tree National Park, rugged individuals tried their luck at cattle ranching, mining, and homesteading. William F. Keys and his family are particularly representative of the hard work and ingenuity it took to settle and prosper in the Mojave Desert. Join Laureen Lentz, retired National Park Service Interpretive Ranger and Volunteer Coordinator, for an exploration of the history of the Desert Queen Ranch and the Keys family. Lentz will be at the Twentynine Palms Old Schoolhouse Friday, October 11 at 7 p.m. Lentz has conducted tours at the Keys Ranch for 12 years and personally knows Bill Keys 92-year-old son, Willis Keys. There will also be an optional dinner with Lentz at 5 p.m. at the 29 Palms Inn. Space is limited and attendees are responsible for their own meal. If interested in dinner please RSVP to Marion Gartner 760-361-1202 ordesert29palms@yahoo.com.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL EXPANDING GIRLS SOCCER PROGRAM

The 2013 Girls Soccer season is rapidly approaching for Twentynine Palms High School. ROP Broadcast student Jocelyn Valdez says this year they are expanding the program…..
Twentynine Palms High School will be expanding their girls’ soccer program this upcoming 2013-2014 season. In previous years, the high school only offered a varsity team; however, this winter, the program will be including a junior varsity team. The varsity team will be coached for its third year in a row by Megan Pfau, while the junior varsity team will be taken over by Doug Walters. Prior years have not been quite successful in terms of wins, but, hopefully, this year will turn out differently. League begins in January, but conditioning for soccer is starting now. More participants are needed this year, since the team has lost many players. If you, or anyone you know, are interested in participating in girls’ soccer, please contact Twentynine Palms High School at 760-367-9591or stop by the front office for more information. Remember that a current physical must be on file in order to participate.

CO-ED FLAG FOOTBALL OFFERED BY TWENTYNINE PALMS RECREATION

The Twentynine Palms Recreation Department is currently accepting registrations for the 2013 youth co-ed flag football league. Registrations will be accepted on-line at 29palms.org through Wednesday, November 6, and at the recreation office through Thursday, November 7. Children ages 7-14 are eligible to register.  No previous experience is necessary. The season will begin the first week of November and conclude before the Christmas holiday. For additional information call the recreation office at 760-367-7562.