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Listen To Your News Wednesday, September 19, 2012 News Archive
     

ONE MAN KILLED IN FIERY CRASH IN JOSHUA TREE THIS MORNING
One man was killed and two were wounded in an early morning crash in Joshua Tree. According to the California Highway Patrol, a 24-year-old man was driving a 2008 Scion westbound on Highway 62, at a speed estimated to be more than 100 miles per hour about 1:30 this morning. As the driver approached another vehicle ahead of him in the #1 lane, he steered to the right to pass it in the #2 lane. The driver of the Scion lost control of his car at California Street, just east of the California Highway Patrol station about 1:30 this morning. Joshua Tree Fire Captain Steve Lasiter said the car left the road, hit the berm and became airborne, center punched a telephone pole, splintering it into pieces, then traveled another 100 feet into the desert where it rolled over. Lasiter said the three men, who he believes are Samoan, were all ejected in the crash. When firefighters arrived, one man was sitting against the car, which had just caught fire, and firefighters dragged him away from the car and took him to Hi-Desert Medical Center. Another man, who was staggering around the scene with a severe laceration to his arm, was aggressive toward rescue personnel but was finally airlifted to a nearby hospital. The third man, believed to be the driver, was killed in the crash. It appears that none of the men was wearing their seatbelts. Firefighters put out the car fire in just a few minutes. Lasiter said alcohol may be a factor in the crash, but the CHP says it has not yet determined if drugs or alcohol were involved. The identification of the driver is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

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YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL SETS THE RULES FOR THE NEW DOG PARK
Yucca Valley's first dog park is under completion and is expected to be open for public use next month. At last night's meeting of the Town Council, council members approved a set of regulations concerning use of the dog park. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at the meeting and files this report…
Overruling recommendations from Staff, the Yucca Valley Town Council changed the number of dogs that one person could bring to the new dog park, located at Joshua Lane and Warren Vista. Staff had recommended no more than two dogs per owner/handler, but Mayor Dawn Rowe didn't think that was fair to residents who owned more than two dogs. "I know that we have people who frequent the park who have more than two dogs… It seems like it's punitive to them." So despite objections from Town staff, the council increased the number of dogs per owner/handler to four. Other rules set the hours from sunrise to sunset; and all dogs must be spayed or neutered. The Council also approved a policy for naming new parks in the Town, and appointed 10 residents to the General Plan Advisory Committee. Finally, the Council and Staff recognized Town Clerk Jamie Anderson, who was recently installed as president of the City Clerk Association of California.

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EGREGIOUS WILDERNESS CLIMBING VIOLATIONS FOUND IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK
The Access Fund, one of climbing's most prominent organizations dedicated to keeping climbing areas open, says it narrowly averted a shutdown of climbing in Joshua Tree National Park in California. That option was on the table, after Joshua Tree Wilderness representatives found evidence of illegal climbing in the Underground Chasm area. Prior to 1998 there were no regulations for bolting in the wilderness of Joshua Tree and as a result many "sporty" routes appeared on Queen Mountain. In 1998 the Park prohibited placing or replacing any bolts in wilderness. Now existing bolts may be replaced one-for-one and new bolts require a permit. A Park Service investigation of the Underground Chasm discovered hundreds of illegally placed bolts, fixed rope, burnt Joshua Trees, stashed camping and climbing gear, chipped steps and damage to other nearby trees and plants, all misdemeanors punishable by a mandatory court appearance and $5,000 fine. The Park reached out to the Access Fund and Friends of Joshua Tree for help instead of summarily closing the area to climbing. In June, representatives from the Access Fund and Friends of Joshua Tree toured the area with Park staff, then met with the Park Superintendent. The decision was made to use the incident to educate climbers about proper wilderness ethics; evaluate the illegally established routes under the Park's permit application protocol; and, only remove those routes that would not have been granted a permit. The Friends of Joshua Tree, Access Fund, and the Park are highlighting the Underground Chasm story this October at Climb Smart 2012. The Climb Smart Festivities this October 19 - 21 kick off the Joshua Tree climbing season. For more information on Climb Smart 2012 visit www.friendsofjosh.org. Click to view the Access Fund Press Release.

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SCHOOL BOARD HEARS BUDGET WOES, OK'S MAJOR WORK AT TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL
At the Morongo Unified School District bi-monthly meeting Tuesday evening board members approved the 2012-2013 revised budget. Reporter Kristy Lockhart tells us how changes were made and how the effect you.
This year school board members were forced to make tough budget cuts. "We were asked to cut from the budget $457 per student." Assistant Superintendent Dave Price says cuts were made across the board. "There were transportation cuts, we closed a high school, reduced teaching staff by 13 positions and eliminated three administrators." Price adds in 35 years he has never seen budget cuts like these, and hopes he doesn't have to again. "The state talks about how important education is but we can see the cuts in the loss of programs and class sizes." The board also accepted a bid by Young Contractors to modernize and expand Twentynine Palms High school for just over $6 million.

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SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVISORY GROUP MEETS TOMORROW
The Special Education Local Plan Area of Morongo Unified School District is holding a meeting of the Community Advisory Committee tomorrow at noon at Joshua Tree Elementary School. The meeting will cover the Special Education Local Plan Area Local Plan and updates on any changes within the special education for the 2012-2013 school year. For more information, call 760-365-3394.

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MORONGO VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT BOARD MEETS TONIGHT IN BUSY SESSION
The Morongo Valley Community Services District Board meets in regular session tonight. A busy meeting starts with a presentation of the proposed Sand to Snow National Monument…
In Morongo Valley the Community Services District meets in regular session at 7:00 tonight in the Covington Park Multi-Purpose Room. Tonight's meeting will open with a presentation on the Federal Sand to Snow National Monument proposal from the National Parks Conservation Association. Then in closed session, the board will review pending litigation involving former employee Chris Perez. Following a closed session report, the board will consider appointing a staff member as district treasurer and a director as finance director. Also tonight, the board will consider a resolution that opens the door for the acquisition of surplus property, and possibly designate legal counsel to provide the services now provided by County Counsel which are being phased out. And finally, the board will consider financial assistance for the Morongo Valley Fire Safe Council, a community based non-profit which lacks funding for continued assistance to residents for mitigation of potential fire hazards.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEWS DESIGNER DRUGS, CODES, AND SAYS "NO" TO CHOCOLATE
In its meeting last night, the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission dealt with the definition of designer drugs, scrutinized a minor building plan change, continued its review of the Development Code, and relinquished chocolate gifts. Reporter Dan Stork has the details…
With Chairman Cary Alderson out with an excused absence, the other four members of the Planning Commission approved an addition to the city's code, defining "analog," "designer," "synthetic," and "derivative" drugs. Development Director Charles LeClaire explained that the Commission's action is a "land use" decision, which paves the way for the City Council to tie the definitions to the granting (or revoking) of business licenses as a health and safety issue. The language in the definitions, which were written with help from the city attorney, is very technical, and is intended to cover future chemical manipulations that would otherwise get around prohibitions. At LeClaire's request, the Commission reviewed very small deviations in the plans for a new building at the Vipassana Center, and agreed that the deviations are not significant. The Commission continued its comprehensive review of the Development Code, with the sixth study session on the subject. Among the specific items discussed was whether to require block walls around new auto dismantling yards. The Commissioners took as a homework assignment the detailed review of the re-formatted land use tables. The purpose of the revision is to streamline the permit application process, with savings in both time and money. During public comment, a citizen presented the commissioners with large chocolate bars, in appreciation of an earlier vote on the subject of commercial solar fields. At the close of the meeting, the commissioners voluntarily turned the candy over to the City, to avoid any appearance of undue influence on the decision-making process.

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JOSHUA TREE RECREATION OFFERS "MOVIES IN THE PARK"
This Friday, September 21, the Joshua Tree Recreation and Park District will be hosting their "Movies in the Park" program. A family-friendly movie will be shown around 8 p.m., after it gets dark, out on the ball field lawn in Sunburst Park. The public is encouraged to bring their blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy a fun evening under the famous Joshua Tree star-filled nights. This event is being offered free to the public. Popcorn and refreshments will be available for purchase. Contact the Joshua Tree Community Center for movie details.

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HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT BOARD LOOKS AT PHASE 1 AND 3 BOUNDARIES TONIGHT
The High Desert Water District holds its bi-monthly board meeting tonight. Reporter Kristy Lockhart gives us a preview…
Board members are expected to discuss the boundary revisions for phase 1 of the wastewater treatment and reclamation project and vote on the phase 3 boundaries. Janet Hartin from the University of California, Davis will give a presentation on California Irrigation Management Information Systems and discuss conservation practices. Also on the agenda for discussion…meter refunds.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT BOARD TO NAME NEW GENERAL MANAGER TONIGHT
The Twentynine Palms Water District Board of Directors have called a special meeting for 5 p.m. tonight. After a closed session, the directors are expected to name a new general manager. The meeting will be held in district offices at 72401 Hatch Road in Twentynine Palms.

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JOSHUA BASIN WATER DISTRICT GETS PRESENTATION ON CADIZ WATER PLAN TONIGHT
The Joshua Basin Water District Board meets tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says the Board will get a presentation on the controversial Cadiz Water Plans, among other agenda items…
The Joshua Basin Water District Board of Directors meets at 7:00 tonight at District offices on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree. Tonight, the board will hear a presentation on the Cadiz Water Project and consider taking a position on the controversial plan. Also tonight, the board will consider approval of the District's annual investment policy, and do the same for an Indemnity Agreement with Mojave Water Agency giving the District responsibility for meeting the requirements of the Department of Water Resources Proposition 84 funding. And finally, Board President Mike Reynolds is expected to appoint directors to represent the District at meetings of the Joshua Tree MAC, Local Agency Formation Commission, and the County Board of Supervisors. And following those possible actions, reports and consideration of the consent agenda, directors will adjourn to closed session.

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YUCCA VALLEY RECREATION PUNT, PASS, AND KICK COMPETITION SATURDAY
The Town of Yucca Valley will host the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Competition this Saturday at the Yucca Valley Community Center softball field from 3 to 5 p.m. The competition is free and open to boys and girls ages 6-15. Competitors must be 6 - 15 years old, as determined by their age on December 31st of the current year. Boys and girls compete separately in the following age divisions: 6-7 year olds, 8-9 year olds, 10-11 year olds, 12-13 year olds, and 14-15 year olds. All equipment, other than shoes, is provided. Participants may wear regular athletic or tennis shoes; no cleats or turf shoes are allowed. The top finishers from each of ten age groups at the Local competition will advance to a Sectional competition in Banning, California. The top four finishers in each division will qualify for the National Finals to be held at an NFL playoff game in January. Interested competitors can pre-register online at www.yucca-valley.org or in person at the Yucca Valley Community Center. On-site registration will be taken from 2 to 3 p.m. for more information call Yucca Valley Community Services Department at 760-369-7211.

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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS RESULTS AND SCHEDULES
The Yucca Valley High School girls' varsity tennis team lost to La Quinta 3-15 yesterday. Coach Cindy Miller says outstanding players were Cindy Sou, Aimee Frank, Tiana Watson and Jamie Schmid. Next up for the Trojans will be Twentynine Palms at home on Monday

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms Wildcat volleyball team will host the Coachella Valley High School Arabs at home. First serve is at 4:30 p.m.

And the Joshua Springs Lightning volleyball team will host the Desert Christian Academy Conquerors at home, starting at 5 p.m.

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