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Listen To Your News Wednesday, June 5, 2013 News Archive
     

SUPERVISORS UPHOLD PERMIT FOR JOSHUA TREE DOLLAR GENERAL STORE
In a 4-to-1 decision yesterday, County Supervisors upheld the Conditional Use Permit for a Joshua Tree Dollar General. More than two dozen local business owners and residents testified against the development in a public hearing in San Bernardino and from the new Teleconferencing Center at the County building in Joshua Tree. They argued the 9,100-square foot store is "out of scale, out of character and out of compliance" with the Joshua Tree Community Plan. Speaking in favor of the store were the developer's lawyers, the property owner, several commercial realtors, and four or five private citizens. They argued the development is consistent with the Community Plan, calling it a low-density, "small box store" that would serve the community's most needy. Third District Supervisor James Ramos was the lone vote against the project. In a related matter, the Board tabled a proposed temporary moratorium on new commercial construction in downtown Joshua Tree that would have allowed time for the community to add teeth to the Community Plan.

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SUPERVISORS RAISE WATER RATES, ESTABLISH REGIONAL MACS
While the approval of the Dollar General Store in Joshua Tree was the hot point issue at yesterday's County Supervisors meeting, the Board also took a number of other actions which directly affect residents here in our Morongo basin. Reporter Mike Lipsitz was there all day and has the rest of the story……..
In addition to the failed repeal of the Conditional Use Permit for the Joshua Tree Dollar General store, a handful of issues concerning the Morongo Basin were on the agenda at yesterday's County Board of Supervisor's meeting. From the Action Agenda, County Special District's won out over community protests with approval of large water rate increases for their customers in Landers, Morongo Valley and Pioneertown; almost 200 letters of opposition were submitted from Landers alone. And approved on the consent agenda was the establishment of a nine-member Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council as well as a seven-member MAC for the Lucerne and Johnson Valley areas combined. Also approved on the consent agenda was the appointment of Paul Smith of Twentynine Palms to the County Planning Commission. A capacity crowd attended the meeting from the new Teleconferencing Center at the County Government Center in Joshua Tree.

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MORE VICTIMS FOUND IN CHILD MOLESTATION CASE
A Joshua Tree man who was arrested two weeks ago, accused of having sex with minor girls, had two more victims added to his charges. On Monday, Sheriff officials determined two more juveniles were victims of child molestation by Sean Turner, 38, of the 6700 block of Park Boulevard. On Tuesday, Turner and his accomplice, Maurice Lewis, appeared in court for a preliminary conference for the charges. According to the Sheriff department's original press release, the initial investigation began when Yucca Valley High School officials were notified of potential sexual abuse of a female juvenile and contacted authorities May 21. After an investigation, Sean Turner and Maurice Lewis were arrested on suspicion of child molestation. Both Sean Turner and Maurice Lewis were booked into the Morongo Basin Jail and are being held on bail set at $75,000 each.

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SCHOOL BOARD MEETING HEATED OVER SUPERINTENDANT CONTRACT
Last night's school board meeting got heated over the decision of the new superintendent, request to repair the damaged football field at Yucca Valley High School, and international funding turned down for the after school program, Save The Children." Chanda-Lyn Fraschetti tells us the story…
The negotiations over the contract for new superintendent Dr. Cecelia English were contentious and divided. Passing with a 3-2 vote, Board members Karalee Hargrove and Ron Palmer voted no, arguing she should be offered less pay and signed to a two-year contract. As it stands, Dr. English will receive $175,000 per year, a Doctorate stipend of $550 per year and a three year contract starting July 1, 2013. Yucca Valley High School's football field was a major topic of discussion as parents and athletes argued that the field is in desperate need of replacement. Assistant Superintendent David Price assured parents the field would be repaired for the 2013-2014 year and completely redone for the 2014-2015 school year. Board President, Chris Proudfoot informed parents he would do a walk thru with the parents once the work is completed. The school board denied after school program "Save the Children" their request to use images of local children on an international website to raise additional funds for the program. Board members Donna Munoz, Ed Will, and Ron Palmer preferred keeping the funds at a local level.

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17TH ANNUAL BASIN-WIDE FOUNDATION AWARDS SUNDAY
The 17th Annual Basin Wide Foundation Gala Celebration Awards Dinner and Meeting will be this Sunday, June 9, at 4 p.m., at the Helen Gray Center, at Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. The awards will honor basin-wide stars of the Desert with dinner, awards, and a silent auction. The cost is $60 per person or $100 per couple with table sponsorships and table purchases available. Evening attire is suggested. For information or reservations call Basin-Wide Executive Director Kelly Carson at 760-365-7219.

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YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL MEETS, TRAFFIC LIGHT AND DEVELOPMENT CODE DISCUSSED
The Yucca Valley town Council met last night. A new Traffic light and changes to the development code dominated the meeting. Managing editor Tami Roleff was there and files this report……..
Putting in a traffic light at Dumosa and Highway 62 in Yucca Valley in the future just got a little bit easier. At last night's meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council, the Council modified an easement at the intersection, which will eliminate any difficulties with Caltrans when a traffic light is installed there for the new senior housing project. The Council also made amendments to its development code to come into compliance with state regulations concerning the housing element. Changes include making provisions for making reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities; giving developers density bonuses and development incentives for building affordable housing projects; and allowing emergency homeless shelters and single room occupancy housing in industrial zones. The Council also amended its regulations concerning second dwelling units on residential lots, and after a short discussion, directed staff to come back with a lower minimum square footage for the second dwelling unit.

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HI-DESERT WATER LOOKS AT SEWER SYSTEM BUDGET TONIGHT
Tonight's meeting of the Yucca Valley Hi-Desert Water District will focus on the budget for the wastewater project. If you are interested in what's happening with the wastewater project, then tonight is an important meeting to attend. Starting at 6:00, the Board of Director's will discuss the resolution to adopt its $11.1 million budget for the 2013-2014 year. The Board will be voting to revise boundaries of Phase 1 based on cost/benefit analysis and primary construction and financing for property owners. The public is strongly encourages to attend. The meeting will take place at the Hi-Desert Water District offices located at 55439 29 Palms Hwy, Yucca Valley or call 760-365-8333 for further information.

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JOSHUA BASIN WATER DISTRICT PUBLIC HEARING ON STANDBY CHARGES
The Joshua Basin Water District meets tonight in regular session. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says a hearing on standby charges new trucks, and a raise are on the agenda…
The Joshua Basin Water District Board of Directors meets tonight in regular session beginning at 7:00 at District offices on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree. Among the many items on tonight's action agenda, the board will hold a public hearing concerning water standby charges for fiscal 2013/2014. Prior to that, directors will consider purchase of two Toyota Tundra pickups for a total of almost $70,000 after customization. Also tonight, the board is expected to consider a salary increase for acting General Manager Susan Greer and appoint Greer as labor negotiator. And in other business, the board is expected to authorize ads for construction bids for a pump station replacement project.

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OLD SCHOOLHOUSE MUSEUM IN TWENTYNINE PALMS GOES TO SUMMER HOURS
The Twentynine Palms Historical Society has started its summer hours which will continue through September 1st. During the summer, the Old Schoolhouse Museum will be open Fridays through Sundays from 1 until 4 p.m. The museum's library and archives are open Wednesday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m. for those wishing to do research. For more information, call the museum at 760-367-2366 or email 29palmshistorical@gmail.com. The Old School Museum is located at 6760 National Park Drive, directly across from the Twentynine Palms Inn.

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YUCCA VALLEY 4TH OF JULY IS SEEKING VENDORS
The Rotary Club of Yucca Valley will be putting on their annual Fourth of July fireworks show and celebration this year. New, this year, they are seeking vendors for the event. Reporter Taylor Thacker puts out the call…
If you are a crafty person or have some good ideas of fun games to play then you should sign up for this year's Fourth of July fireworks and community fair. Held at the Yucca Valley High School football field from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the Rotary Club of Yucca Valley is looking for vendors to set up booths with crafts, arts, games, food, and children's activities. You can sign up by calling Cynthia Kraemer at 760-365-1988. Vendors will set up between 3 and 4 p.m. and spots for a booth are on a first-come basis so sign up now! Vendors serving food are charged $50, others are charged $25, except for nonprofit groups setting up only for information.

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SPACES ARE AVAILABLE AT YUCCA MESA CRAFT FAIR THIS SATURDAY
The Yucca Mesa Improvement Association will hold a spring fling craft sale, swap meet, and bake sale Saturday, June 1. From 8 until 3, there will be crafts for sale inside the Yucca Mesa community center, a swap meet outside, a bake sale, and food and drinks. Spaces and tables for the craft fair are available inside for $10, or sell your items outside on your own table or from the back of your truck. The Yucca Mesa Improvement Association Community Center is located at 3133 Balsa, just north of Aberdeen. For table rental call Tory at 760-288-6543 or Shelly at 760-669-3698.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL WINS DE ANZA LEAGUE SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
The De Anza League has recognized Twentynine Palms High School as a recipient for a sportsmanship award. Chanda-Lyn Fraschetti tells us the story…
The Twentynine Palms High School Athletic Department has been honored by the De Anza League for CIF's 31st Annual Sportsmanship Award. This award acknowledges the entire department for their overall positive example in the areas of participation, enthusiasm, behavior at home and on the road, treatment of opponents, and treatment of officials. In a league consisting of schools from Big Bear, Desert Hot Springs, Desert Mirage, Shadow Hills, Twentynine Palms, and Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms High School is the smallest in the league. Twentynine Palms High School Athletic Director Jeremy Johnson says, "Around the country, the concept of good sportsmanship has been lost. But sportsmanship really is a reflection on a high school and on the community." Congratulation to the athletes, coaches and fans for setting a great example.

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