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Listen To Your News Wednesday, September 12, 2012 News Archive
     

HUNDREDS OF MARINES AND SAILORS RETURNING FROM AFGHANISTAN
Hundreds of Marines and sailors are expected to start returning to Twentynine Palms throughout September and October. 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment has been deployed to Afghanistan's Helmand province for the last seven months. The unit's commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel David Bradney said the regiment's mission was to facilitate the transition of government from Sangin District to the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan control. The regiment also conducted counterinsurgency operations--focusing on protecting the population--as well as building relationships between the Afghan National Security Forces and the coalition and civilian forces. The unit was a part of Regimental Combat Team 6.

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30,000 MARINES RATE VALOR AWARD FOR DUTY IN AFGHANISTAN
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has approved the Navy Unit Commendation ribbon for thousands of Marines who served in Afghanistan between April 12, 2010, and March 26, 2011. "Personnel permanently assigned or attached to I [Marine Expeditionary Force] (FWD) who were actually present in Afghanistan and participated in the actions for which the unit was cited are authorized to wear the award," reads Marine administrative message 492/12, signed September 5.

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EMOTIONS RUN HIGH AT LAST NIGHT TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Emotions ran high at last night's Twentynine Palms City Council meeting on the subjects of renewable energy development and city spending priorities. Reporter Dan Stork was there...
An agenda item listed only as a presentation by the Tourism Economic Commission turned out to be about renewable energy projects in the desert. Andrea Compton, the Chief Resource Officer at Joshua Tree National Park, reported on the status of solar and wind projects ringing the park. Twentynine Palms Inn owner Paul Smith predicted that the way in which county, state, and federal governments are allowing such projects to proceed will have a devastating effect on desert tourism and the local environment. National Parks Conservation Association representative Seth Shteir asked the City to support an effort to return the Saddle area east of the City to Joshua Tree National Park, with provisions that recreational riding, mining, and shooting will be preserved there.

During general public comment, local fire fighters organization head Lee Martin decried the impending loss of three full-time positions when the County takes over the local department. He suggested that the City could save the jobs by raising the hotel bed tax to 11 percent, from the current 9 percent. The consent agenda, including the awarding of a contract for next year's July 4th fireworks, was approved without discussion. During public comment on the awarding of a $67,400 contract for a monument sign at National Park Drive, Fire Chief Jim Thompson and Council candidate Cora Heiser denounced the project as unseemly and frivolous. Thompson asked, rhetorically, "Do you consider putting in a swimming pool when the roof on the house needs to be replaced and the house needs to be painted?" Public Art Advisory Commission Chair Pat Flanagan and realtor Jack Briggs stated their delight with the idea. Council approved the award 4-1, Joel Klink dissenting. Council agreed unanimously that designation of future council-initiated agenda items will require support of two council members, as will a request that the items be scheduled within the following two meetings.

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MAN ARRESTED AFTER SHOTS FIRED IN TWENTYNINE PALMS
Reports of shots fired brought the Sheriff's department out to a home in the 70700 block of Cove View in Twentynine Palms yesterday. A neighbor called the Sheriff to report that she could hear a man yelling, and then heart a shotgun fired. After an investigation, Rodney Ferguson, 53, was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm. Rodney Ferguson was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000. A shotgun and Smith and Wesson .357 pistol were confiscated by deputies.

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FOUR-CHAMBER MIXER TONIGHT TO ANNOUNCE THEATRE 29 2013 SEASON
Theatre 29 will join forces with all four Morongo Basin Chambers of Commerce to unveil their 2013 performance season in a unique "Season Announcement Gala" event this evening. The special Four-Chamber event, hosted by the Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Morongo Valley Chambers of Commerce, will feature the announcement of the much anticipated 2013 Theatre 29 season of live theatrical productions. The season announcement gala will take place at the spectacular "Friendship Hall" of the Joshua Tree Retreat Center from 5 until 7 p.m. Business people and individuals from the Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Morongo Valley communities of the Morongo Basin will have a very rare chance to network, get together and discuss business growth and mutual cooperation. There is no charge for the season announcement gala event. Theatre 29 Board President Brian Tabeling will host the event, welcoming those in attendance and starting the presentation and announcement of the three musicals, classic murder mystery, a special children's production, and classic holiday presentation as well as the updated "Halloween Haunt" planned for 2013. The season announcement event will give only those in attendance the opportunity to secure season tickets first.

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AUDITIONS FOR HOLIDAY MUSICAL COMEDY SET FOR TUESDAY
Auditions for a hilarious musical holiday spoof will be held at Theatre 29 this coming Tuesday. Reporter Mike Lipsitz invites you to tryout for "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol"...
Theatre 29 and Director Marty Neider announce open auditions for "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol", a musical spoof of the Charles Dickens' classic. Try-outs are set for Tuesday, September 18th beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Theatre 29 in Twentynine Palms. Audition "sides" are available at www.theatre29.org. Auditioners are asked to prepare 16 bars of music to sing. There will be no live accompanist, so bring a backup CD or tape cued up to where the singing begins. Or auditioners may sing acapella. Director Neider will cast a woman age 35 to 50 with an Alto vocal range, another woman 20 to 30 who performs music in the Soprano range. A man 35 to 50 with a Bass vocal range, and two male tenors, one age 20 to 30, the other age 40 to 55. "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol" runs mostly weekends from November 16 through December 15.

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REACH OUT OFFERS RIDES TO SERVICES TO TWENTYNINE PALMS AREA SENIORS
Reach Out Morongo Basin is offering local transportation to Twentynine Palms local seniors to participate in the senior nutrition program and activities at the Twentynine Palms Senior Center. They offer hot nutritious meals and activities such as computer use, Wii Bowling, chair exercises and karaoke. Seniors aged 60 and over who are interested in participating in this program are urged to call Reach Out at 760-361-1410 for more information or to schedule rides.

However, this service may be delayed, as Reach Out's van, that it uses to transport seniors, was vandalized last night at its center in Twentynine Palms. About 1:45 p.m., the Sheriff's office was notified that the van's fuel line was cut and gas, valued at $40-$45, was stolen out of the van. Reach Out employees estimate it will cost about $200 to fix the fuel line hose.

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SPAGHETTI AND MUSIC SATURDAY AT ST. MARTIN OF THE FIELDS
St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church invites you to "Spaghetti and Music" this Saturday between 5-8 p.m. Don't cook! Feed the family! Join us for an all you can eat spaghetti dinner, live music, & raffles all for $10. Proceeds benefit the St. Mart's Door Fund. St. Mart's is centrally located at 72348 Larrea Ave in 29 Palms. For more information, contact us at 760.367.7133.

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"WOOF WALK" TO BENEFIT NO-KILL ANIMAL SHELTER
The Morongo Basin Humane Society, a no-kill shelter, is making plans for a fund-raiser next month. Managing Editor Tami Roleff invites you to get your furry friends ready for the Woof Walk...
Get out your leashes and put on your walking shoes for the Morongo Basin Humane Society's second annual Woof Walk and pet fair. The Woof Walk is a fund-raiser for the Morongo Basin's only no-kill animal shelter, and all proceeds from the walk—registration fees and all sponsorship money raised by the walkers—will go to the animal shelter. Registration is $25, unless the walker raises $50 or more in sponsorship money, then registration is free. A special prize will be awarded to a walker who brings in the most sponsorship money. The Woof Walk and pet fair will be held Saturday, November 3, from 9 to 2 at Pappy and Harriet's in Pioneertown, although the actual walk will take place between 9:15 and 10:30. The pet fair will include a Blessing of the Animals, food, vendors, raffles, a live auction, and canine contests. Registration forms are available at the animal shelter off Sunfair Road in Joshua Tree. For more information, call Mimi Mitz at 760-366-9306.

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PAUL COOK ENDORSES JAMES RAMOS FOR SUPERVISOR
Republican Assemblyman and leading candidate for the 8th Congressional District Paul Cook, announced his support of James Ramos for 3rd District County Supervisor today. Cook adds his name to a list of high ranking Republicans from the area that already includes Congressman Jerry Lewis, Senator Bill Emmerson, Assemblyman Curt Hagman and former Assembly Republican Leader Bill Leonard among others. "I'm supporting James Ramos for Supervisor simply because he is the best candidate to get our county back on track," said Cook. "In November, voters should cast their vote for who they believe can bring integrity back to the Board of Supervisors, restore fiscal order and creates jobs. James is the only candidate I trust to do that for San Bernardino County and that's why he has my support."

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CHP LT TOMPKINS BEING PROMOTED OUT OF AREA
A familiar face will be leaving the Morongo Basin this fall. California Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tim Tompkins will be promoted to captain and transferred to the East Los Angeles area November 1. Lieutenant Tompkins has been the commander of the Morongo Basin CHP office for the last 3 ½ years. We wish Lieutenant Tompkins all the best in his new assignment.

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HEAVY SCHOOL BACKPACKS COULD BE CAUSING BACK PROBLEMS
Have your kids complained of back aches lately? According to recent studies your child's school backpack could be the culprit. Reporter Kristy Lockhart explains...
9-year-old Katie Alexander is a fourth grader at Onaga Elemetary. Katie weighs 65 pounds…her backpack weighs 14. How heavy is your backpack? "It's really heavy." Morongo Unified School Board Member Donna Munoz says kids could be hurting themselves.

"I see them bent over and I did discuss it with the doctor and he says he sees a lot of kids with back problems, especially now with kids walking further distances, I think it's something we need to address Middle and High School students can access some textbooks on line but elementary kids don't have that option." Munoz says there are solutions that are affordable. "In a perfect world all the kids would have Kindles all their books would be downloaded on the kindle. If you look at the number of textbooks and how much those textbooks cost and look at a Kindle I think it would be pretty equal." And what do students think about that? "That's pretty cool." While there are no plans for change in the immediate future the School board plans to look into the matter. In the meantime, here's some tips for handling that heavy load. Help your child pick a lightweight nylon backpack with wide straps to distribute weight evenly, or use a rolling backpack, and teach your child to bend at the knees and lift with their legs to avoid strain on the back.

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YUCCA VALLEY AIRPORT BOARD MEETS TONIGHT
The Yucca Valley Airport District Board of Directors meet in regular session at 6:30 tonight in the Joshua Tree Room of The Yucca valley Community Center. The board will get an overview and update on runway improvements and discuss a public finance assessment and Bond issue; discuss rates on houses and commercial; and secure any other issues for vote in February or March.

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TOMORROW'S HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
In high school sports tomorrow, the Joshua Springs Lightning volleyball team will host the Desert Chapel Eagles at home. First serve will be at 5 p.m.

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