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Listen To Your News Thursday, January 10, 2013 News Archive
     

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL PART 2: A REQUEST FOR DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE
Dan Stork broke his report on this week's Twentynine Palms City Council meeting into two parts. Yesterday: public hearings on peddling rules, parking and signage exemptions, and home-based food businesses. Today: a request for development assistance, the housing element contract, and outside Council assignments…

Developer assistance request
The Twentynine Palms City Council was intrigued by the prospect of a Sears Hometown Store moving into part of the vacant space in the Stater Brothers center formerly occupied by Rite-Aid. But they want staff to get more details from the developer, Golcheh Development and Investments, which did not have a representative present. Alesia Ellis, the prospective store operator, was present, but was not able to explain why the developer was asking for $500,000 in assistance from the City. Ellis plans to operate a janitorial supplies company and a non-profit job training operation in the same space.

Housing element update contract
Last month the Council balked at awarding the contract to create the "Round 5" Housing Element of the General Plan without more information about the bidding process. At that time, the firm Hogle-Ireland, which produced the General Plan Update, had the low bid. In the interim, the other bidding firm, Pacific Municipal Consultants, revised its bid, undercutting Hogle-Ireland. Council ignored the staff recommendation to award the contract to Hogle-Ireland on the basis of familiarity and proximity of their offices, and unanimously gave the nod to PMC.

Organizational assignments
Mayor Joel Klink assigned Council Members to serve as representatives to regional organizations:

  • San Bernardino Associated Governments and SANBAG Measure I Committee – Jim Harris
  • Desert/Mountain Division – Joel Klink
  • MBTA – Joel Klink and Jay Corbin
  • County Solid Waste Taskforce – Cora Heiser
  • Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District – Dan Mintz

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A CLOSER LOOK AT WHO IS ASKING THE CITY FOR ASSISTANCE
The Yucca Valley businesswoman who told the Twentynine Palms City Council about her plans to open a Sears Hometown Store in the vacant space in the Stater Brothers center formerly occupied by Rite-Aid, also said she plans to use part of the space for a nonprofit organization she runs. Z107.7 News took a closer look. When Alesia Ellis addressed the Council, she referred to a multi-component charitable organization she runs under the name of "Training With Pay." She said in part quote - "I feed children that are food-insecure over the weekend because they don't have access to the school nutrition program." In February of 2008, Z107.7 News investigated Alesia Ellis and her "Feed the Children of the Desert" program. We reported that Ellis had improperly used the names of area organizations and individuals to give herself credibility and had lied about involvement with the school district. Yesterday, an Internet check on Training With Pay, shows a flurry of activity in 2010, much of it connected with a celebrity golf event in Palm Springs in September, but nothing since. Her web site describes multiple programs, as well as multiple ways that one can make donations, but documents no program results. The IRS does list Training With Pay as an organization eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. The IRS web site shows that TWP filed a form 990-N -- now required for charities with income less than $50,000 -- for 2007 and 2009, but not for 2010, the year of the golf event, or for 2011. If TWP fails to file for 2012, it could lose its tax-exempt status. Other information on the IRS site shows TWP as having zero income and zero assets.

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BUILDER'S SUPPLY OPENS TOMORROW IN YUCCA VALLEY
Less than six months after Barr Lumber in Yucca Valley closed, a new hardware and lumber store will be opening in the same location. Builder's Supply, a subsidiary of Parker Lumber Company in Texas, has stores in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, and will be opening its third store in California next month. Here with more on the new store opening is Managing editor Tami Roleff …
Morongo Basin residents may be familiar with Builder's Supply, a home improvement and lumber store, from seeing its delivery trucks drive by on the highway. With two other stores just 30 miles away, in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, Parker Lumber Vice President Chris Miller explains why Builder's Supply decided to open its third California store in Yucca Valley. "They're up there so much we decided we need to have a store up there." Miller said Builder's Supply plans to have a lot more inventory. " We stock a lot more inventory for remodelers or builders. If you don't have it, you can't sell it." Miller said the store will also offer price matching on the spot, so the Big Box stores won't undersell them. Miller said the Builder's Supply store, which will be opening in the old Barr Lumber location on Old Woman Springs Road, will have a soft opening February 11, with a grand opening later in the spring. Initially, the store will have eight to 10 employees, but hopes to increase that number later in the year. "We're looking to hire a lot more people. More employees means the better we're doing."

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NEW COUNTY SHERIFF SWORN IN YESTERDAY
Surrounded by his family, John McMahon was sworn in Wednesday by his wife as the 35th sheriff of San Bernardino County. "I'm humbled and privileged to have this opportunity to lead this great organization," McMahon said after the ceremony at the County Government Center in San Bernardino. After taking the oath, McMahon, a 27-year-veteran of the Sheriff's Department, and his wife of 23 years, Michelle, embraced as the crowd applauded. The Board of Supervisors appointed McMahon to the post after the sudden retirement announcement of Rod Hoops as sheriff. Hoops retired on Dec. 31.

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TWO-VEHICLE CRASH SENDS FIVE PEOPLE TO THE HOSPITAL IN TWENTYNINE PALMS
Five people were sent to the hospital after a two-vehicle crash in Twentynine Palms last night, that also sheared off a fire hydrant. According to Sheriff's Sergeant Randy Warfield, a mini van with four people in it was traveling westbound on Two Mile Road and failed to yield at the stop sign at Lear Avenue. The van pulled out in front of a flat bed truck that was traveling southbound on Lear Avenue about 11:15 Wednesday night. Fire Captain Robert Marquez said the metal barriers at the intersection surrounding the fire hydrant were not strong enough to prevent one of the vehicles from crashing into the fire hydrant. He added that there was so much water in the roadway that it was impossible to see skid marks. All five people involved in the crash suffered minor injuries, from shoulder, neck, and back pain, to foot pain. Two people were taken Hi-Desert Medical Center and three were taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.

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HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER OFFERS FREE SEMINAR ON MENTAL ILLNESS
The issues of mental health in our community and society is getting more attention. The Hi-Desert Medical Center will host a free seminar on mental health issues next week. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says while the seminar is free but you need to let them know you are coming…
Mental disorders are common and affect an estimated 22 percent of Americans age 18 and over. Roughly one in five adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Often ignored, mental illness is treatable and those who get help can lead normal, healthy lives. "Are you ready to talk about mental health? That's the title of the next free "lunch and learn" session at the hospital's Helen Gray Education Center. Sylvia Warren, board-certified psychiatric nurse at the District's Behavioral Health Centre, leads this informative, lively and engaging discussion Thursday, January 17 at noon. Educational materials and lunch will be provided. The seminars are free but registration is required by calling 760-366-0808 or by logging on to www.hdmc.org.

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JURY SELECTION TUESDAY IN ATTEMPTED MURDER CASE
Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday for a man accused of attempted murder of a woman who came to his apartment on business in December 2011. Prosecutors say Jayme Gibbs, 35, became sexually aggressive toward a 22-year-old woman who came to his apartment on business on the evening of December 28, 2011. The woman told police that when she resisted, Gibbs started physically attacking her. Neighbors said they called police after they heard her screaming. The woman suffered serious injuries and was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Gibbs has been held at the West Valley Detention Center for the last year on $1 million bail. Court records show that Gibbs refused to accept a plea bargain in court Tuesday. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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JOSHUA TREE MAN ACCUSED OF STEALING AIR COMPRESSOR
A Joshua Tree man was arrested Tuesday afternoon, accused of stealing an air compressor and violating a court order. According to a Sheriff's report, a deputy contacted Raymond Roof, 67, shortly after noon Tuesday in the 62000 block of Sunburst Circle, about violating a restraining order against his former girlfriend. The woman claimed he was harassing her by phone and coming too close to her home, in violation of the court order. The deputy states that Roof immediately started telling the deputy about an air compressor he had found. After an investigation, the deputy determined that Roof's story of finding the compressor was inconsistent with the facts. Raymond Roof was arrested on suspicion of burglary and violating a court order. He was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his total bail set at $30,000.

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JUPITER ON DISPLAY FRIDAY AT SKY'S THE LIMIT
A special evening with telescopes and Jupiter tonight at the Sky's The Limit facility in Twentynine Palms this evening. Assignment reporter Taylor Thacker has your invitation…
Don't miss this wonderful opportunity! On Thursday evening, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Sky's the limit Observatory and Nature Center will be holding a star party. During the month of January, Jupiter will be as close to Earth as it will be for the next 12 years! Telescopes will be available for families and life-long learners of all ages. Everyone is strongly encouraged to bring water bottles, chairs, their own telescopes, and to dress for unpredictable desert weather. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Sky's The Limit campus is just north of the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park on Utah Trail in Twentynine Palms. This event is free, but please call to reserve a spot at 760-367-7562. For more information call Doris at 760-408-6099 or visit the Sky's the Limit Web Site at www.skysthelimit29.org.

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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULE
Twentynine Palms High School Girls' Varsity Basketball raised its record to 13 and 5 overall and 1 and 0 in league Tuesday night by defeating Shadow Hills 72 to 22. Coach Tim Stanford said Johnette Brown had 21 points and Alex Herrera had 15.

In high school sports today, Yucca Valley girls and boys basketball teams, and girls' soccer team, will host the Desert Hot Springs Golden Eagles at home. The soccer match starts at 5, girls' basketball at 6, and boys' basketball at 7:30.

The Twentynine Palms boys' and girls' basketball teams will travel away to Desert Mirage High School to play the Rams. The girls' game starts at 5; boys' at 6:30.

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