CLICK HERE

FOR TODAY'S
AUDIO FILE

MORONGO BASIN LOCAL NEWS FOR

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2008

GO TO THE
NEWS  ARCHIVE  

 

DUI ARREST FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCILMAN STEVE SPEAR
BURNED TORTOISE FOUND IN BLACK ROCK, JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK IS INVESTIGATING
SCHOOL BOARD RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT SUPERINTENDENT’S RAISE
TORTOISE STUDY DELAYS GROUNDBREAKING FOR NUWU CASINO
POSTMUS A NO SHOW FOR COUNTY SUPERVISORS
YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION HEARS FROM USUAL SUSPECTS, STADUM COMPROMISES
HOSPICE READY FOR FAMOUS TURTLE AUCTION, ANNUAL DINNER *
A BUSY HOUSEKEEPING AGENDA FOR HI DESERT WATER DISTRICT
TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA CLUB CAR WASH TOMORROW
EARTHQUAKE FAULT DELAYS JOSHUA TREE ELEMENTARY CONSTRUCTION
REGISTRATION STARTS TOMORROW FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS YOUTH CLUB *

DUI ARREST FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCILMAN STEVE SPEAR
THE MAYOR PRO-TEM OF THE CITY OF TWENTYNINE PALMS, SHERIFF’S SERGEANT STEVE SPEAR, WAS ARRESTED FOR DUI AFTER AN ALTERCATION AT A NEVADA CASINO. SPEAR WAS ARRESTED IN LAUGHLIN, NEVADA, AT ABOUT 10:00 FRIDAY NIGHT, AUGUST 15, FOR SUSPICION OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL. LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE SPOKESMAN JAY RIVERA SAID SPEAR HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN A MINOR ALTERCATION WITH A SECURITY GUARD AT A LAUGHLIN CASINO AND WHEN HE WALKED TO HIS CAR, THE GUARD NOTIFIED POLICE. RIVERA SAID THE RESPONDING POLICE OFFICER OBSERVED SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS CONSISTENT WITH DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE AND PLACED SPEAR UNDER ARREST. STEVE SPEAR SERVES AS THE SUPERVISOR FOR SHERIFF’S COURT SERVICES AT MORONGO BASIN SUPERIOR COURT. LT. RICK ELLS, THE PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FOR THE SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAID SPEAR WAS DRIVING A COUNTY-OWNED VEHICLE WHEN HE WAS ARRESTED. ELLS SAID AN ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION WILL BE CONDUCTED BY THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT TO DETERMINE WHETHER SPEAR VIOLATED DEPARTMENT POLICIES. STEVE SPEAR, NEXT IN LINE TO SERVE AS MAYOR, WAS VOTED INTO HIS SECOND, FOUR YEAR TERM ON THE TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL IN NOVEMBER OF 2006.

BURNED TORTOISE FOUND IN BLACK ROCK, JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK IS INVESTIGATING
RANGERS AT JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK ARE ASKING FOR THE PUBLIC’S HELP AFTER A BURNED TORTOISE WAS FOUND IN A YUCCA VALLEY AREA PARK CAMPGROUND. PARK PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER JOE ZARKI SAID NATIONAL PARK SERVICE RANGERS ARE SEEKING INFORMATION FROM ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING RELATED TO A DEAD TORTOISE FOUND IN A FIRE GRATE AT BLACK ROCK CAMPGROUND ON AUGUST 4, 2008. THE TORTOISE WAS ESTIMATED TO BE ABOUT 45 YEARS OLD. ZARKI SAYS THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE DEATH OF THIS TORTOISE ARE BEING INVESTIGATED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS. DESERT TORTOISES ARE A THREATENED SPECIES, PROTECTED BY THE FEDERAL ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT AS WELL AS STATE WILDLIFE LAWS, THE DESERT TORTOISE IS ALSO CALIFORNIA’S OFFICIAL STATE REPTILE. ANYONE WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THIS INCIDENT IS REQUESTED TO CALL 760-367-5541. ZARKI STRESSED THE PROTECTION OF NATIVE WILDLIFE, LIKE THE DESERT TORTOISE, IS A PRIMARY MISSION OF NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. ALL PARK VISITORS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT IS ILLEGAL TO HANDLE, HARASS, OR OTHERWISE DISTURB PARK WILDLIFE, ESPECIALLY DESERT TORTOISES.

SCHOOL BOARD RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT SUPERINTENDENT’S RAISE
THE MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD MET LAST NIGHT IN REGULAR SESSION. A CONTRACT EXTENSION AND RAISE FOR THE SUPERINTENDENT, PLACED AS A CONSENT AGENDA ITEM, WAS QUESTIONED, CELL PHONE POLICY WAS DISCUSSED, AND SOME COST SAVING IDEAS WERE BROUGHT UP. REPORTER DAN STORK WAS AT THAT MEETING AND FILES THIS REPORT... THE CONSENT AGENDA FOR TUESDAY’S MEETING OF THE MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION CONTAINED A PAIR OF ITEMS THAT WOULD HAVE EXTENDED, WITHOUT DISCUSSION, SUPERINTENDENT JAMES MAJCHRZAK’S CONTRACT FOR 3 YEARS, AT $163,000 PER YEAR. BUT THE BOARD REMOVED THE ITEMS, AND BOARD PRESIDENT ED WILL DIRECTED STAFF TO SURVEY SUPERINTENDENTS’ SALARIES AT OTHER DISTRICTS, FOR CONSIDERATION AT A FUTURE MEETING. ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT MICHAEL WALKER PRESENTED DETAILS OF AN EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM, WHEREBY TEACHERS WOULD RECEIVE BONUSES FOR SUBMITTING RESIGNATIONS DURING THE COMING SCHOOL YEAR. HE ALSO QUANTIFIED A MODEST COST SAVINGS AND CONSIDERABLE EFFICIENCY GAIN FROM IN-SOURCING THE POSITION OF AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SPECIALIST. ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT TOM BAUMGARTEN ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR RE-INSTITUTION OF THE ANTI-DRUG DARE PROGRAM. ATTORNEY TERRY TAO BRIEFED THE BOARD WITH SLIDES, MAPS, AND CHARTS ON THE SEISMIC SITUATION AT JOSHUA TREE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. A CELL PHONE USAGE REGULATION WAS PRESENTED FOR REVIEW; IT MANDATES EXPULSION FOR TEXTING DURING STATE-REQUIRED EXAMS, OR FOR SENDING PORNOGRAPHY ON CAMERA PHONES. AMONG THE MORE NOTEWORTHY ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE BOARD WERE APPROVAL OF A $78 THOUSAND BID FOR THE YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL CULINARY ARTS PROGRAM CLASSROOM RENOVATION, AND AN AGREEMENT WITH THE COUNTY FOR THE ON-SITE SERVICES OF A PROBATION OFFICER.

TORTOISE STUDY DELAYS GROUNDBREAKING FOR NUWU CASINO
TRIBAL OFFICIALS FOR THE 29 PALMS BAND OF MISSION INDIANS SAY THE GROUNDBREAKING FOR THE NUWU CASINO IN TWENTYNINE PALMS WILL BE DELAYED UNTIL EARLY NEXT YEAR. THE TRIBE HAD FIRST SAID THE CASINO WAS EXPECTED TO OPEN IN APRIL OF 2009, NOW THEY HAVE PUSHED THE GROUNDBREAKING FOR THE PROJECT BACK TO, QUOTE - "SOMETIME EARLY IN 09". SPOKESMAN ROD WILSON TOLD Z107-7 NEWS THE DISCOVERY OF FEDERALLY PROTECTED DESERT TORTOISE ON THE 160 ACRE SITE IS DELAYING THE PROJECT. WILSON SAID THEY ARE WAITING FOR THE RESULTS OF A FORMAL TORTOISE STUDY, PART OF THEIR REQUIRED ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT, TO DEVELOP A HABITAT CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT PLAN. THE PLAN WOULD SEE A PORTION OF THE RESERVATION LAND SET ASIDE JUST FOR TORTOISES. HE SAID A BIOLOGIST WILL DETERMINE HOW MUCH LAND TO SET ASIDE AND WHERE TO PLACE SPECIAL TORTOISE FENCES. WILSON SAID THE TORTOISE STUDY SHOULD BE COMPLETED IN 30-45 DAYS. HE ALSO SAID THAT WHILE THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN IS A CONCERN, THE NUWU CASINO PROJECT WILL GO AHEAD, BUT THE TRIBE IS TAKING THEIR TIME TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS DONE RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.

POSTMUS A NO SHOW FOR COUNTY SUPERVISORS
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY ASSESSOR BILL POSTMUS FAILED TO APPEAR TUESDAY MORNING FOR QUESTIONING BEFORE THE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. BOARD MEMBERS HAD REQUESTED THAT THE ASSESSOR COME BEFORE THEM AND ANSWER QUESTIONS AFTER A GRAND-JURY REPORT CHRONICLED SERIOUS MISUSE OF POWER IN THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE AND AFTER POSTMUS' TOP ASSISTANT, ADAM ALEMAN, WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH SIX FELONIES. ALEMAN LATER RESIGNED. POSTMUS IS MIDWAY THROUGH A 10-WEEK MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE. MULTIPLE SOURCES SAY HE IS ADDICTED TO METHAMPHETAMINE.

YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION HEARS FROM USUAL SUSPECTS, STADUM COMPROMISES
THE YUCCA VALLEY TOWN PLANNING COMMISSION MET LAST NIGHT. THE MEETING WAS DOMINATED BY YET ANOTHER LOOK AT THE CONTROVERSIAL STADUM/FOMOTOR HOUSING PROJECT. REPORTER TAMI ROLEFF SAYS SOME COMPROMISE BY THE BUILDER MAY SOON BRING THE GRADING AND NATIVE PLANT ISSUES TO REST... LAST NIGHT’S MEETING OF THE YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION WAS TO HAVE BEEN AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PUBLIC TO PROVIDE SUGGESTIONS AND FEEDBACK ABOUT A PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF 60-PLUS HOUSES ON 40 ACRES IN AN AREA BOUNDED BY JOSHUA DRIVE, GOLDEN BEE, AND ACOMA TRAIL. INSTEAD, IT WAS THE SAME-OLD, SAME-OLD. THE DOZEN OR SO SUPPORTERS OF THE PROJECT WERE HEAVILY CONCENTRATED IN REAL ESTATE AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES. NEARLY ALL MENTIONED THAT STADUM WAS A FAIR AND HONEST DEVELOPER WHO BUILT QUALITY HOMES. THEY ADDED THAT YUCCA VALLEY NEEDS THE JOBS THIS PROJECT WOULD PROVIDE, AND THAT A PROPERTY OWNER HAS THE RIGHT TO DEVELOP HIS LAND. THE 9 RESIDENTS WHO SPOKE AGAINST THE PROJECT EXPRESSED THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT HOW THE MASS GRADING WOULD DESTROY THE JOSHUA TREE FOREST ON THE LAND, THE POOR SUCCESS RATE OF TRANSPLANTING JOSHUA TREES, AND THE UGLINESS OF THE BLOCK WALL THAT WOULD SURROUND THE PROJECT. THE COMMISSIONERS, ON THE OTHER HAND, PRAISED DEVELOPER BOB STADUM FOR AGREEING TO THE COMPROMISES THEY HAD SUGGESTED IN EARLIER MEETINGS. STADUM’S REVISED PLAN INCLUDES A 30-FOOT BUFFER ZONE AROUND THE OUTSIDE EDGE OF THE PROJECT, ALONG WITH A 10-FOOT LANDSCAPED PARKWAY. THE COMMISSIONERS BRIEFLY DISCUSSED ELIMINATING THE BLOCK WALL FROM THE OUTSIDE PERIMETER OF THE PROJECT, BUT WHEN THEY REALIZED THAT COULD LEAD TO A HODGEPODGE OF DIFFERENT FENCING STYLES WAS THE BEST SOLUTION. AS THE PURPOSE OF LAST NIGHT’S MEETING WAS MERELY TO GIVE DEVELOPER STADUM SOME DIRECTION AS TO WHAT THE COMMISSION WOULD APPROVE, NO ACTION WAS TAKEN.

HOSPICE READY FOR FAMOUS TURTLE AUCTION, ANNUAL DINNER *

A BUSY HOUSEKEEPING AGENDA FOR HI DESERT WATER DISTRICT
THE HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT BOARD WILL EXAMINE HOW THEY CONDUCT BUSINESS AMONG OTHER ITEMS IN A FULL AGENDA. REPORTER KARL GARDNER TAKES A CLOSER LOOK… A BUSY AGENDA FULL OF HOUSE KEEPING ISSUES, FACES THE HI DESERT WATER DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS, MEETING THIS EVENING AT DISTRICT OFFICES ON THE HIGHWAY AT INCA TRAIL, STARTING AT 6. FIRST UP THE BOARD WILL RECEIVE A PRESENTATION ON FINANCING OPTIONS FOR THE SEWAGE TREATMENT PROJECT, THEN LOOK AT THE DISTRICT RECORDS AND PUBLIC ACCESS POLICIES. MOVING ON STAFF WILL UPDATE THE BOARD OF ITS CONSERVATION PROGRAM, REVIEW THE WATER MASTER ANNUAL REPORT, AND GIVE AN UPDATE ON THE SEWAGE TREATMENT PROJECT. LASTLY THE BOARD WILL REVIEW AND CONSIDER ADOPTING BOARD POLICIES ON THE ROLE OF THE BOARD, CONFLICT OF INTEREST, WHISTLE BLOWER PROTECTION AND VOLITION OF DIRECTOR POLICIES. REPORTS AND COMMENTS BY STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS AND A CALL FOR FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS ROUNDS OUT THE REMAINDER OF THE MEETING.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA CLUB CAR WASH TOMORROW
ITS NOT DRAMA, IT’S A CAR WASH. THE 29 PALMS HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA CLUB IS HOLDING A FUND RAISING CAR WASH TOMORROW FROM 10 AM TO 2 PM AT SANTANA’S RESTAURANT ON ADOBE ROAD IN 29 PALMS. DROP ON BY, GET YOUR CAR CLEANED UP ...WITHOUT THE DRAMA

EARTHQUAKE FAULT DELAYS JOSHUA TREE ELEMENTARY CONSTRUCTION
AN EARTHQUAKE FAULT DISCOVERED AT JOSHUA TREE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS BRINGING NEW CONSTRUCTION THERE TO A HALT. REPORTER DAN STORK SAYS MORE STUDIES WILL BE CONDUCTED... ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON, MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION PRESIDENT ED WILL TOLD LOCAL MEDIA ABOUT A POTENTIAL SEISMIC PROBLEM AT JOSHUA TREE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. STATE-REQUIRED GEOLOGICAL STUDIES MADE DURING THE PLANNING FOR MEASURE O-FUNDED EXPANSION AT THE SCHOOL SHOWED THAT THE EXPANSION SITE MIGHT BE NEAR AN ACTIVE FAULT ("ACTIVE" MEANS THERE’S BEEN MOVEMENT IN THE LAST 11,000 YEARS.) ALSO, A FAULT MAY LIE UNDER THE SCHOOL CAMPUS ITSELF. MORE DEFINITIVE STUDIES ARE UNDER WAY, WITH A REPORT EXPECTED BY THE END OF SEPTEMBER. WILL SAID THAT IF THE FAULT IS FOUND TO BE ACTIVE, THE EXISTING BUILDING WILL BE EVALUATED TO SEE IF IT CAN BE RETROFITTED, OR WHETHER AN ENTIRE NEW BUILDING WILL BE NEEDED. DISTRICT OFFICIALS EMPHASIZED THAT THE SCHOOL HAS BEEN UNHARMED BY THE 3 BIG QUAKES THAT HAVE HIT THIS AREA IN THE LAST 20 YEARS. THEY ALSO NOTED THAT ALL SCHOOLS ARE REGULARLY REVIEWED FOR COMPLIANCE WITH EVOLVING EARTHQUAKE SAFETY STANDARDS, AND THAT FIXTURES AND FURNITURE IN JOSHUA TREE ELEMENTARY WERE SUBJECTED TO A RIGOROUS "STRAPPING DOWN" THIS SUMMER. FOR NOW, SCHOOL OPERATIONS WILL CONTINUE AT JOSHUA TREE ELEMENTARY AS PREVIOUSLY PLANNED. LETTERS ARE BEING SENT TO STAFF AND PARENTS TODAY ABOUT THE SITUATION, AND AN EARTHQUAKE SAFETY Q&A WILL BE POSTED ON THE DISTRICT’S WEB SITE. BOARD PRESIDENT WILL ADDED, "STUDENT SAFETY IS OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY."

REGISTRATION STARTS TOMORROW FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS YOUTH CLUB *

*AVAILABLE ON AUDIO FILE ONLY

Copyright © 2004 - 2009 KCDZ FM. All rights reserved.