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Listen To Your News Tuesday, February 12, 2013 News Archive
     

CUTBACKS AFFECTS AMBULANCE RESPONSE IN YUCCA VALLEY
If you have an emergency, you expect an ambulance to be available. But with recent financial cutbacks in the San Bernardino County Fire Department, administrators say they've been forced to make some tough decisions resulting in fewer services. Reporter Kristy Lockhart explains how this could affect families in the town of Yucca Valley...
Station 41 on the highway is one of the busiest fire stations in the county. Due to budget constraints, last year, administrators cut one of the two ambulances down to a 12-hour shift, leaving only ONE ambulance running 24 hours a day. "We are just in a position fiscally right now where we have had to take some pretty serious cuts." Then, just last week, Division Chief John Salvate announced staffing the 12-hour shift was NOT a priority. Five out of seven days last week there was only ONE ambulance responding to calls in town. Salvate says the problem is a lack of limited term firefighters, who they use to staff the 12-hour shift instead of full time employees. "We could use a full- time employee but the problem with that is the amount of cost for those overtime positions. We have to balance that." Last Wednesday, San Bernardino County Firefighters and Paramedics responded to a house fire in Joshua Tree; while on the scene, another call came in… a pedestrian struck on Highway 62 in Yucca Valley. Because there was no ambulance in town, Morongo Basin Ambulance responded from Joshua Tree leaving some asking if advanced medical care was delayed. "Anytime you have resources that are committed or ambulances tied up, those are going to increase response time. We do our best to provide the best level of service we can given the resources we have." Yucca Valley resident Josephine Hicks is concerned about the high number of senior citizens living here. Hicks says those extra minutes could mean the difference between life and death. "I think it's very unfortunate because everybody that is able to change this are sitting fat and healthy while the ones that are in need of medical attention are just 'hurry up and wait.'" Salvate says this is a temporary problem, but it could take several months for more limited term firefighters to be hired and trained. Until then, they will have to rely on mutual aid from other departments to help with multiple incidents.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL DISCUSS FIRE SERVICES, SYNTHETIC DRUGS, AND BLOCK GRANTS
Despite the decision by the Twentynine Palms Water District to retain the responsibility for the fire department, the Twentynine Palms City Council still has an agenda items to discuss options for providing fire services tonight. Before the Council gets to that, there will be a 5 pm closed session to consider three cases of potential litigation, and the performance evaluation of the city clerk. Reporter Dan Stork fills in the rest of the agenda for tonight's City Council meeting…

At the start of the 6 p.m. open session, the City Council will hear an administrative review of the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule. Five public hearings follow:

  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding prioritization;
  • a request to vacate an easement on Diamond Bar Road;
  • an ordinance allowing revocation of business licenses for sale of synthetic drugs;
  • changing the time allowed to reestablish lapsed nonconforming uses or structures;
  • and alteration of the boundaries of three specific plan areas.

After the fire services discussion, a mid-year budget report is scheduled. Council meets in chambers in City Hall on Adobe Road.

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TWO BURGLARS HELD AT GUNPOINT IN TWENTYNINE PALMS
Two men were arrested at gunpoint Friday morning in north Twentynine Palms. About 10:30 Friday, an off-duty Riverside County sheriff's officer went to check on his parents' home in the 69400 block of Montezuma Drive, which had been burglarized recently. When he arrived, he saw James Shepard, 54, and Joseph Elliott, 43, of Oak Hills, loading things from the house into a white pick-up truck. When Shepard and Elliott got into their truck to drive away, the officer approached them at gunpoint and told them to get down on the ground, where they were held until a Morongo Basin Sheriff's deputy arrived. After an investigation, James Shepard and Joseph Elliott were arrested on suspicion of burglary. They were booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with their bail set at $25,000.

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A FELONY ARREST AFTER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN TWENTYNINE PALMS
A Twentynine Palms man was arrested late Sunday night after fighting with his girlfriend. According to a Sheriff's report, Rodney Gerloff, 37, was arguing with his live-in girlfriend of nine years about 10:30 Sunday. The verbal argument escalated, and the woman tried to grab Gerloff's neck. He pushed her, and they both fell through the front gate at their residence in the 6400 block of Palmview Avenue. The woman hit the left side of her head on the gate latch, and then fell face first onto the ground, with Gerloff falling on top of her, injuring her lip, nose, and left knee. After an investigation, Rodney Gerloff was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse. He is being held at the West Valley Detention Center on $50,000 bail.

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A CLOSE LOOK AT THE YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATES: PART 2 OF 3
Z107.7 continues our in-depth look at Yucca Valley Town Council candidates. Yucca Valley residents can expect to start receiving their ballot after February 4 for the special mail-in election for the vacant seat on the Town Council. Running for election are former council man and mayor Bob Leone, Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce president and owner of Farmer's Insurance Jennifer Collins, and Planning Commissioner and general contractor Michael Hildebrand. All ballots must be received by the Registrar of Voters by March 5. Managing editor Tami Roleff sat down with the three candidates. In our first report yesterday, we heard their views on the biggest challenge facing the Town. Today, a special tax for the proposed sewer system…
The three candidates for Yucca Valley Town Council say a tax to help residents hook up to the proposed sewer project is probably the way to go, but Michael Hildebrand, who says his expertise is in sewers, is not 100 percent in favor of it. "I don't support it, but it's probably going to be needed. There needs to be some kind of program put out there for people that are low-income." Bob Leone also the tax needed to help those on low-incomes. "It'd be nice if there was a one-half percent tax that would alleviate some of the cost of connecting to the sewer, particularly for the low-income people and all the people in Phase I." And Jennifer Collins says she is on a citizens' committee to put another sales tax on the ballot. "The Town should help residents pay for the sewer because it's the biggest crisis we face. Again, I go back to having to get revenue to pay for that." In our final story, the candidates will discuss what they would have done differently on the Town Council.

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HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER BOARD MEETS TONIGHT: WITHDRAWALS GET A CLOSER LOOK
The Hi-Desert Memorial Healthcare District Board of Directors meets at 6:00 tonight in the Helen Gray Education Center. As always, the public is invited to attend. Tonight's open session will follow a closed session conference with legal counsel in connection with existing litigation between the District and former Board Member Dr. Dennis Wilcox. Then in open session, the board is expected to rescind a Board action from last month replacing the prior decision authorizing automatic investment account withdrawals to meet operational shortfalls with a more hands on policy requiring regular updates of account balances with the Finance Committee. Those actions and others are in addition to regular committee reports and items on the consent agenda.

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BLOOD DRIVE IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW
Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive in Yucca Valley tomorrow. Blood donations will be taken at Vons in Yucca Valley, from 2 to 6 p.m. Donors will receive incentives while supplies last. All prospective donors should be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 877-827-4376.

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THEATRE 29 ANNOUNCES AUDITIONS FOR "RAGTIME"
With the cast and crew hard at work for a March 8 opening of the Broadway Classic, "Gypsy", Theatre 29 is already looking down the calendar for their next 2013 production. Managing editor Tami Roleff says mark your calendar for February 24 and try-outs for "Ragtime"…
Auditions for the third production of the Theatre 29's 2013 season, the Broadway musical, "Ragtime," have been scheduled for Sunday, February 24, at 2:30 p.m. at Theatre 29, 73637 Sullivan Road, in Twentynine Palms. The musical will run for five weeks from May 3 through June 1. Veteran director Charles Harvey will be seeking a cast of 25 to 30 actors of all ages, sexes, and ethnicities for this production. This production is a "singer's musical," and all actors must be able to sing. Please come to audition prepared with either a karaoke tape or professional backing track as accompaniment, there will be no live accompaniment available. In addition, back stage helpers, such as set builders or costume designers should attend the auditions. For more information, contact the director, Charles Harvey at theatre29programs@msn.com or call the Box Office at 760-361-4151.

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JOSHUA TREE CLEAN TEAM OUT ON SUNBURST TOMORROW MORNING
The next Joshua Tree Clean Team clean-up will be tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. on Sunburst Avenue. Volunteers will meet next to the Sportsman's Club at the entrance to the Joshua Tree Community Center and Sunburst Park. The workers will have trash bags, grabber sticks and gloves available for their convenience. Afterwards, they will be meeting at the Park Rock Cafe for optional coffee and breakfast. For more information call 760-366-8415.

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"ASHES TO GO" IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is tomorrow. Many Christians wear a smudge of ash in the form of a cross on their foreheads as a sign of penitence. Some people may find it difficult to go to church tomorrow to be marked with ashes. For them, the Reverend Jane Crase of St. Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church will be on the sidewalk in front of the Yucca Valley Post Office tomorrow from noon until 1:30 as part of the church's "Ashes to Go" program. People of all faiths are invited to show up and be marked with the sign of the cross and then they can be on their way.

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START PLANNING FOR THIS YEAR'S "RELAY FOR LIFE"
Plans are already underway for this years "Relay for Life" event to benefit the American Cancer society. Assignment reporter TaylorThacker says mark the date for April 13 and 14…..
Come on out for a day of fun and memories known as the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. On April 13-14, from 9am- 9am, celebrate your personal journey along with others as you walk and remember the challenges cancer patients around the world have faced and still face today. Find emotional, physical, and practical support from people in your neighborhood who have been affected by the same things you have. Meet, talk, connect and experience the healing and strength of others who have also experienced cancer. Relay for Life is a positive, uplifting and moving event in your honor that also raises funds to stop cancer.

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FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR SENIORS AT TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL TONIGHT
Attention Twentynine Palms High school seniors… Tonight at Twentynine Palms High School, counselors will be hosting their annual FAFSA night at 6 p.m. in the Computer Lab (Room 110). The FAFSA is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and all students need to complete it by March 2. If students and parents need assistance filling out the FAFSA , counselors and a representative from Copper Mountain College will be available to help. Bring your 2011 or 2012 tax information. If you have questions call the Twentynine Palms High School counseling office at 760-367-9594.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL HOSTS TWO CIF BASKETBALL PLAYOFF GAMES THIS WEEK
Twentynine Palms High School will host the first round of CIF basketball playoffs. On Wednesday, the boys' basketball team will play Paraclete, with tip-off at 7 p.m. On Thursday, the girls' basketball team will play Fillmore, with tip off at 7 p.m. CIF rules require that everyone must pay to attend the games, so student ASB cards will not give free admittance to the games. General admission is $8; for high school students with a current High School I.D. it's $5; and children 13 and under are $5. All CIF playoff information can be found on the school's website at www.29wildcats.com.

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YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL BOYS SOCCER TEAM PLACES THIRD IN DE ANZA LEAGUE
The Yucca Valley High School Trojan boys' soccer team took third place in De Anza league and advanced to the CIF playoffs with a league record of 4-4-0 and a overall record of 10-7-0. The Trojans will play away versus Pomona High School from the Valle Vista League in round 1 of the CIF Playoffs Friday; time is still TBA.

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