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Listen To Your News Wednesday, August 7, 2013 News Archive
     

SUSPECT IN MARINE BEATING USES LEGAL MOVE TO AVOID JAIL
An interesting legal loophole is keeping a man out of jail, and in fact, is keeping him from being arrested. According to Sheriff records, on Saturday, July 20, Dustin Crowder, a Marine stationed at the Combat Center, was at the Adobe Deli in Twentynine Palms about 10 p.m. when he was attacked by Joseph Nichols, 31. Family members told Z107.7 News that Nichols used a chair to beat Crowder, and fractured his skull, nasal cavity, and left cheek bones. Crowder was taken to Loma Linda hospital where he will undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries. Sheriff's Sergeant Jason Radeleff said an arrest warrant for assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury was issued July 25 for Nichols' arrest, but before he could be arrested, Nichols posted bond for $150,000, which effectively keeps him from being arrested and out of jail. Joseph Nichols is scheduled to be arraigned September 19 in Joshua Tree Superior Court.

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YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS EXAMINE THEIR OWN COMPENSATION
Responding to criticism about the cost of its salary and benefits, the Yucca Valley Town Council took a close look at its compensation at its meeting last night. Managing editor Tami Roleff says while the Council as a whole agreed not to change its compensation, one council member is having second thoughts about the benefits...
Council members are paid $488 a month (an amount they all agreed doesn't even begin to cover their costs associated with serving on the council), and are given an allowance of $1,050 a month which they can use to purchase health insurance, among other benefits. Three of the five council members—Merl Abel, Robert Leone, and Dawn Rowe—receive insurance coverage from other sources, and have therefore opted out of the Town's insurance plan. George Huntington's insurance costs the Town only $100 a month, while Robert Lombardo's insurance costs the Town $877 a month. Confronted with the high cost of his benefit package, Lombardo said he is reconsidering his options. "I didn't realize until recently what the cost of that was to the Town. I am exploring other options that will allow me to opt out of the medical benefits, but they won't take effect until January 1, 2014." The Council agreed not to change the terms of its benefit package (which under state law wouldn't take effect until after the next election in 2014 anyway), and received and filed the compensation report.

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RELIEF FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AS FURLOUGHS CUT BACK AGAIN
Hundreds of thousands of Defense Department civilian employees who have had to take a weekly unpaid day off from work since July 8 are getting some relief, as the total number of furlough days has been reduced from 11 to six. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that a combination of congressional funding and Pentagon "budget management efforts" allowed the reduction. Hagel said the military services were aggressively holding down costs, and the Defense Department was able to shift savings to meet its highest priority needs. But the defense secretary warned that despite the improved situation, "this is a military whose readiness remains seriously degraded as we head toward the budgetary uncertainties of the coming fiscal year." The reduction in the number of furlough days means most employees will have met their furlough requirements by August 17. All employees who are not exempt from furloughs must meet the six-day requirement before the end of the fiscal year.

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COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD MEETS IN OPEN AND CLOSED SESSIONS TOMORROW
The Copper Mountain College Board will meet in both regular and closed sessions tomorrow. Reporter Mike Lipsitz checks the College Board's agenda...
The Copper Mountain College Board of Trustees convenes in open session tomorrow at 3 p.m. On the action agenda, trustees will consider and likely approve the naming of a campus building as yet unidentified. Two new, ballot-measure-approved student fees will also be presented to the board; a $1 student center fee and a $2 student activity fee. With board approval, both will go into effect with Spring 2014 Registration. A 1 p.m. closed session meeting on anticipated litigation, employee evaluation, and goal setting will proceed tomorrow's open session. Both meetings will take place in the Bell Center's Community Room on the Joshua Tree campus.

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COUNTY TO HELP PAY FOR SPAY AND NEUTER OF PIT-BULL MIX DOGS
Residents who own pit bull dogs and who live in unincorporated areas of the county will receive a little extra help from the county to spay or neuter their dogs. The County Board of Supervisors accepted a $15,000 grant at their meeting yesterday that will translate into a $30 voucher for pit bull owners. The County currently provides a $50 voucher to pet owners in unincorporated areas to spay or neuter their dogs. With this grant award, the total savings is now $80. For more information about the County's spay and neuter voucher program, call the Pet Overpopulation Coalition at 888-767-2550.

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MAKE PLANS NOW FOR THE TASTE OF THE MORONGO BASIN
Save the date of September 13; that is when the hugely popular, annual "Taste of Morongo Basin" event is set. Reporter Taylor Thacker gets out her napkin...
Taste what the Morongo Basin has to offer at the Joshua Tree Rotary Club's sixth annual Taste of Morongo Basin. Local restaurants will serve samples of their best dishes to local gastronomes invited to sample the cuisines from about a dozen different eateries. This event takes place at the Bell Center on the Copper Mountain College campus on September 13, starting at 6 p.m. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit local non-profit organizations including scholarships to high school students in the area. The event is cosponsored again this year by Z107.7 Radio station and Hi-Desert Publishing. Listen to KCDZ-FM to find out how to get tickets to this year's event.
Tickets for "A Taste of Morongo Basin" are available here at the Z107.7 studios and at the Morongo Basin Ambulance in Joshua Tree, the Hi-Desert Star in Yucca Valley, and the Desert Trail in Twentynine Palms.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION CANCELS ONLY PUBLIC AGENDA ITEM WITH NO EXPLANATION
With no notice and no explanation a Public Hearing on a a proposed tattoo parlor was pulled off the agenda for the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission meeting last night. Reporter Taylor Thacker said the item was removed from the agenda for further review. The cancelled hearing was for a conditional use permit request to allow "Petroglyph Tattoo and Art Studio," in an existing building at 73565 Twentynine Palms Highway. Planning commissioners did not say when it will be reviewed or why it was removed from the agenda. In addition, Commissioners agreed that the next meeting scheduled for August 20 should be cancelled due to the lack of agenda items and to give the staff members time to work out Development Code problems.

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JOSHUA BASIN WATER DISTRICT MEETS TONIGHT
The Joshua Basin Water District Board meets tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says they will consider appointments and a wastewater contractor...
Two appointments are on the agenda at tonight's 7 p.m. meeting of the Joshua Basin Water District Board of Directors. Up first is consideration of a replacement for former Board Member Frank Coat who recently resigned in order to be considered for the open General Manager position. Later, the board will consider approval of an applicant for the Citizen's Advisory Committee. Directors are also expected to clear the way to begin negotiations with a contractor who will run the packaged wastewater treatment plant serving the Hi-Desert Medical Center. It all happens at District offices on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree.

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JOSHUA TREE VFW OFFERS GUN SAFETY CLASS THIS SATURDAY
The Joshua Tree Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a gun familiarization and safety class at the post Saturday, August 10, from 8 to 4. Instructors accredited by the National Rifle Association will conduct the class. The public is invited to attend. The VFW Post is located at 6402 Veterans Way in Joshua Tree. For more information, call 760-366-2717.

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