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Listen To Your News Wednesday, July 24, 2013 News Archive
     

CORONER IDENTIFIES MAN FOUND DEAD IN POOL IN TWENTYNINE PALMS
The county coroner has identified the man who was found dead in a swimming pool in Twentynine Palms Saturday afternoon. Joesph Jonathan Sayer, 18, of Twentynine Palms, was found dead in the pool of a home in the 75600 block of Encanto Drive about 1 p.m. There were no obvious signs of trauma. The coroner is investigating the cause of death.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL PART 1 OF 3: CONTENTION OVER OPEN MEETINGS
A long Twentynine Palms City Council meeting Tuesday night covered a wide range of topics. Reporter Dan Stork breaks his report into three parts. Today in Part 1: A contentious discussion on potential Brown Act problems, and two items pulled from the consent agenda...
The major item of contention at the meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council was a resolution described on the agenda as "Reaffirmation of the City Council's Commitment to comply with the Brown Act." City Attorney Patrick Munoz explained that the resolution should follow a legal formula intended to "immunize" the City against the cost of what it regards as frivolous lawsuits threatened in reaction to the City's handling of the departure of former City Manager Richard Warne. The resolution can be paraphrased as follows: "We [the City Council] didn't do anything wrong, and we won't do it again." The lengthy discussion was over whether the language should be focused on the Warne affair, or should be broad enough to cover unspecified Council actions that might have occurred in the past. A 3-2 majority opted for a narrowly-focused version, with Jim Harris and Cora Heiser opposed. Council had begun the business of its open session by removing two items from the consent agenda. Council voted 4-1 (Harris dissenting) to not purchase five acres on the highway for an eventual gateway sign location. A sales price of $12,500 had been negotiated. The other removed item was the Visitor Center contract with the Chamber of Commerce. It was approved unanimously, with a change allowing the Chamber to implement more flexible operating hours, to match highs and lows in the pattern of tourist visits.

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ARTIST RENDERING OF
TORTOISE ROCK CASINO
1,000 SHOW UP FOR 150 JOBS AT TWENTYNINE PALMS CASINO JOB FAIR
Cars lined every street surrounding the Little Church of The Desert Tuesday, with the line of eager hopefuls snaking down and around the block as over 1,000 job seekers attended the job fair hosted by the new Tortoise Rock Casino. The response was so unexpected and overwhelming, the company ran out of applications and had to cut off scheduling interviews at 1 p.m. Tortoise Rock Casino plans to open in early 2014 and will hire between 100-150 workers for the 30,000-square foot community casino that will feature gaming, retail, entertainment and dining. Tortoise Rock Casino will be located on Baseline Drive just off of Adobe Road and is being developed by the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians. The Casino will host more hiring events in the near future. To download an application go to http://tortoiserockcasino.com/inc/careers.php

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YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL: TWO ITEMS, TWO LONE LEONE "NO" VOTES
The Yucca Valley Town Council met last night. In what is becoming a recurring theme, two items were approved with Councilman Leone being the lone "no" vote. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains...
Two routine matters on the agenda for the Yucca Valley Town Council meeting last night were approved with council member Bob Leone voting against both measures. As part of the construction of the new Super Walmart, Walmart made street improvements to Avalon Avenue and installed two traffic signals. Under a Town ordinance, these road improvements qualify Walmart for a credit of nearly $581,000 to its development impact fees of $1.4 million. Leone said he voted against giving the credit to Walmart because the Town should have made Walmart give a lot more to the Town besides traffic lights he says the town doesn't need. For the record, Bob Leone was mayor in 2008 when the Town Council approved Walmart's application without requiring it to give any other improvements to the Town. In the second vote, Leone questioned the honesty and competency of the company that submitted the sole bid for highway improvements, saying the company would "do what they need to do to get the contract," and "How honest are they?" (CS Legacy is currently working on five other projects in southern California, and has performed work for the Town in the past.) A second bid was received six minutes past the deadline, which, if the Town had accepted and considered the bid, would mean the Town—and by extension, the Town Council—would be breaking the law. Leone said the Town should reject the sole bid for median and sidewalk improvements to the highway, and reopen the bidding process to get more bids, even though the bid from CS Legacy was below the Town engineer's estimated budget for the work.

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YUCCA VALLEY SLURRY SEAL PROJECT, WHEN AND WHERE
Due to the recent rain, Yucca Valley's slurry seal street maintenance project schedule has been modified in order for crews to remove mud and debris from local roadways, so that the contractor may proceed with the street maintenance project. Today, Wednesday, July 24, slurry seal will be applied to:
Palomar Avenue from Ute Trail to Carlyle;
Paxton Court from Paxton Rd to CDS;
Paxton Road from Avalon to Balsa
Tomorrow, Thursday, July 25 the work will be on:
Sunnyslope Drive from La Contenta to End;
Palomar Avenue from Ute Trail to Yucca Trail;
Palomar Avenue from Carlyle to Juarez;
Sunnyslope Drive from Warren Vista to Hilton.

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COUNTY EXTENDS COMMERCIAL SOLAR MORATORIUM
Remote videoconferencing came into play, as the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors extended the moratorium on commercial solar energy generation projects for another 10½ months. Dan Stork observed proceedings remotely...
A parade of Hi-Desert residents addressing the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors from a government center in Hesperia was followed by 20 Morongo Basin residents speaking from Joshua Tree. The great majority of all speakers, and all local commenters, urged the Supervisors to extend the 45-day moratorium on commercial solar development for up to a total of a year. The speakers piled up concerns: environmental impacts, home values, wildlife damage, water usage, and misdeeds by developers. The extension was requested by County staff that had been tasked with writing amendments to the Development Code to provide guidelines for this sort of renewable energy project. Supervisor Janice Rutherford acknowledged the influence of the speakers: "I was never going to vote for it to go past 45 days, but I've heard some compelling reasons today." She then joined her colleagues on the Board in a unanimous vote to extend the moratorium. Staff has been asked to not fill up the entire year on this task, but to complete their work within 3 to 6 months, and to return to the Board with recommendations for development guidelines. It was noted that there are 25 projects in the county in various stages of progress that will not be affected by the moratorium, and that developers can continue to refine their plans, at their own risk, during the moratorium.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT MEETS ON WATER AND FIRE BUSINESS TONIGHT
The Twentynine Palms Water District Board meets tonight. Reporter Taylor Thacker says the meeting will cover both water and fire business...
The Water District and Fire Department are having a meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the Water District office at 72401 Hatch Road in Twentynine Palms. On the Water District side, they will consider the inclusion of the Twentynine Palms Water District Service Area within the Department of Water Resources. On the Fire Department side, they will have a closed session on employee performance evaluation and another closed session conference with the labor negotiators. The public is welcome to attend.

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BIGHORN-DESERT VIEW WATER AGENCY APPROVES LIENS FOR OUTSTANDING WATER BILLS
Those customers who owe money to the Bighorn Desert View Water Agency could soon be getting a surprise on their property tax bills. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says the agency's board approved putting liens on overdue bills last night...
At the conclusion of last night's public hearing in Landers the Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency Board of Directors authorized property liens through County Tax Rolls in an effort to recover funds owed from delinquencies due the Water Agency. Following last night's decision, tax liens averaging almost $400 apiece will be placed on just over 100 properties in the Landers and Flamingo Heights service area. And in an informational presentation, the board heard from representatives from Cadiz, Inc. They reviewed the scope of the Cadiz Valley Water Project which will annually deliver about 50,000 acre-feet of water to approximately 100,000 households, mostly in Orange County. Cadiz, Inc. owns 70 square miles of property in the eastern part of the county.

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UNITY HOME EXTENDS THRIFT SHOP HOURS IN JOSHUA TREE
Morongo Basin Unity Home is a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence and their families move towards living more independent and self-sufficient lives, free of violence. The Unity Home Thrift Store at 61605 29 Palms Highway in Joshua Tree is now open seven days a week. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Unity Home accepts donations during business hours. Please feel free to contact the Outreach Office at 760-366-1247 to arrange for pick ups.

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LEARN HOW TO SAVE MONEY AT THE TWENTYNINE PALMS LIBRARY
Want to learn how to save big bucks using coupons? Reporter Taylor Thacker says be at the Twentynine Palms Library Saturday...
Learn to save hundreds at the Twentynine Palms Branch Library this summer! On Saturday, July 27, at 2:30 p.m., the public is invited to attend a free workshop, given by Montoya Pritchett, where you will learn to shop smarter and save hundreds of dollars at your trips to the store. Pritchett will reveal where to find coupons other than the newspaper, teach you know to organize your coupons, and how to cut your grocery bill. This program is free! For more information call 760-367-9519.

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CHRISTMAS IN JULY AT JOSHUA TREE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH TOMORROW
The Community United Methodist Church of Joshua Tree, at 6213 East Parkway, will hold a "Christmas in July" kids crafts program tomorrow from 9 to 11 a.m. The program will be for children ages 3-16. All children are invited.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH PARKING LOT SALE FRIDAY
United Methodist Church of Twentynine Palms will hold a parking lot extravaganza, Friday, July 26, from 9 to noon, inside the church. Tables are a $10 suggested donation, or $15 for two tables. Funds raised will finance their second annual backpack and school supplies giveaway along with their famous 20-foot banana split event. The church is at 6250 Mesquite Springs Road in Twentynine Palms. For information, call 760-367-7338.

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