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Listen To Your News Wednesday, October 17, 2012 News Archive
     

NEW WEBSITE FOR MARINE BASE EXPANSION INFORMATION
As a result of a realignment of military installation website hosting throughout the Department of Defense, there is a new website location where the public can find information related to the proposed expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base. The newly organized project web page is now available here. The Land Acquisition and Airspace Establishment project's Final Environmental Impact Statement was released on July 27, 2012. The Secretary of the Navy is scheduled to release a Decision on the project in late November or early December of this year. For further information, call 760-830-3764.

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MILITARY RETIREES GETTING A RAISE, BUT NOT MUCH
Military retirees can expect a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment effective December 1, with the extra money first showing up in January checks. The same percentage increase will apply to Social Security, federal civilian retired pay and other government entitlements linked to the Consumer Price Index.

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DESPITE LETTER FROM STATE, PROJECT PHOENIX MAY YET RISE
A recent letter from the California Department of Finance says that Project Phoenix, Twentynine Palms' downtown revitalization project, can't go forward. But City Manager Richard Warne has told Z107.7 news that it ain't necessarily so. Reporter Dan Stork explains…
A letter from the California Department of Finance to Twentynine Palms City Manager Richard Warne, dated October 7, repeats its decision from April of this year in which it "denied Project Phoenix, totaling $11.6 million bond proceeds because there were no contracts in place prior to June 28, 2011." The letter goes on to say that the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency was therefore prohibited from transferring bond proceeds to the City, and "the Agency is required to reverse the improper transfer and recover the bond funds from the City." But Warne told Z107.7 that the City is taking advantage of the "Meet and Confer" process that allows it to contest the DoF position. The City's position is that the issuance of the bonds in March of 2011, three months before the deadline, constituted a contract, and the state cannot impair that contract. A second legal point that the City is using is that the DoF missed a 10-day deadline earlier this year in which it could have objected to the transfer of bond proceeds from the Successor Agency to the City.
On September 19 of this year, Warne, Mayor John Cole, and financial consultants met with officials of the DoF to review all the documents and the timeline. Warne told us that the DoF officials told the group from the City that they had never seen any of the information before. Finally, Warne said he's seeking another Meet and Confer with the DoF in the wake of the October 7 letter because, "From the City's point of view, we still don't have an answer regarding the legal issues that we raised with the Department of Finance."

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TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM TONIGHT
The voters of Twentynine Palms will have another chance to sound out candidates for City Council on their views, at a forum sponsored by the City's Chamber of Commerce. The forum starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 17, in the multipurpose room at Twentynine Palms High School, 72750 Wildcat Way. Doors open at 6:30 pm, to allow for informal contacts between the public and the candidates, John Cole, Joel Klink, and Cora Heiser.

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SCHOOL BOARD READY FOR NEW NEGOTIATIONS WITH TEACHERS
The Morongo Unified School Board has approved contracts with the California School Employees Association and Morongo Teachers Association for the 2011-2012 school year. While most of these changes were special language to make the contract clearer, reporter Kristy Lockhart tells us teachers are getting ready for NEW negotiations…
After months of negotiations the board unanimously approved the contracts. Morongo Teachers Association Representative Jason Bolt says teachers have not seen a raise since 2007. "Given the current economic situation we've declined to ask for a COLA raise." But given increasing test scores in the last five years, Bolt hopes this year will be different. Assistant Superintendent Dave Price says the board would love to give employees more if they could. "I understand the job they're doing. I've been in education long enough to know the dedication it takes to work in the classroom and work with the kids and do the good job they are doing." Negotiations for the 2012-2013 school year will begin next month.

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ILLEGAL MORONGO VALLEY MARIJUANA DISPENSARY BURGLARIZED
An apparently illegal marijuana dispensary in Morongo Valley was burglarized early Monday. According to Sheriff's Sergeant Randy Warfield, James Gibson, 22, kicked in the door of Blue Tide Alternative at 49730 Twentynine Palms Highway, just after 12:30 a.m. Monday, and stole some property—but not marijuana—inside the business. Evidence at the scene led deputies to a home in the 50000 block of Twentynine Palms Highway, where they arrested James Gibson, 22, for investigation of commercial burglary. James Gibson was booked into the West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $25,000. Blue Tide Alternative describes itself as providing alternative medicine. In March 2011, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in the county. Sergeant Warfield said the Sheriff's department is aware of the dispensary, but it's up to the narcotics division to take any action concerning the pot shop.

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AN ARREST AFTER A KNIFE ASSAULT AT TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL
A Twentynine Palms High School student was arrested Tuesday morning after she attempted to stab another student. According to Sheriff records, a 17-year-old female student, who was not identified because of her age, brought a knife to school to confront a boy about ongoing issues. The report says that when she confronted him, she thrust the knife at him. When he blocked the knife thrust with his arm, he received a minor cut to his left elbow that was treated by the school nurse. The female student was arrested for assault with a weapon and booked into Juvenile Hall.

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MORONGO VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT MEETS, NEW FIRE COMMAND VEHICLE REQUESTED
The Morongo Valley Community Services District will hear a request for a new fire command vehicle when they meet tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz checks the CSD's agenda…
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 opens with a presentation by Fire Captain Chris Nichols relative to Emergency Medical Services in the district. Once down to business, the board will consider a request by Fire Chief Jock Johnson to use up to $7,000 from the Lease/ Apparatus Replacement Fund for a down payment and expenses for purchase of a new Command Vehicle, plus up to $650 per month for up to four years from the same account. Also tonight, among other business, is the likely review and approval of the Draft Annual Audit for fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.

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LOCAL RADIO OPERATORS PART OF TOMORROW'S GREAT SHAKE OUT
The Morongo Basin Amateur Radio Emergency Service, or ARES, will participate in the Great California ShakeOut tomorrow with an emergency communications drill. At 10:18 millions of people will drop, cover, and hold on in an earthquake drill. Last year more than 12.5 million people were registered in ShakeOut drills worldwide. Local schools will also participate and Z107-7, in cooperation with State emergency officials will sound the official start of the drill at 10:18 tomorrow morning.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION HOLDS ONE OF THREE PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED
The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission heard only one of the three public hearings they had scheduled last night. Reporter Dan Stork was there and tells us what did get done…
Of the three public hearings scheduled for the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission meeting, two new issues were continued, after brief discussion, to November 20, as both matters require a 45-day public notification period. One concerned a code amendment to bring the Housing Element of the General Plan into compliance with state guidelines. Not to do so would risk making the City responsible for creating thousands of new housing units in the near future. The other concerned an amendment to the Downtown Specific Plan that would exempt businesses in that area from parking and signage requirements, so that the Plan can be consistent with existing ordinances. The other public hearing turned on the time interval allowed for lapsed nonconforming uses of property to resume those nonconforming uses. The tendency among the Commissioners is to relax the rules, to encourage business uses of properties. The issue was continued to November 6, to allow staff to tweak the language of a revised rule. The Commission entered its seventh study session on a comprehensive overhaul of the Municipal Code. After returning to an oft-discussed subject -- whether to allow structures like air conditioners, swamp coolers – or any equipment, for that matter – on roofs of new construction, the Commission decided to drop the issue entirely, as some members were uncomfortable with codifying aesthetic judgments, and others were tired of the subject. Then they started on a painstaking review of the new format land use tables devised by Development Director Charles Le Claire.

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ROAD CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY IN YUCCA VALLEY
Work on a major Yucca Valley road project at the intersection of State Route 62 and Old Woman Springs Road began this week. Drivers should anticipate inconveniences due to traffic control and construction, and should allow extra time for travel. Business and property owners may experience temporary access restrictions during the construction project. The project is scheduled to be completed by approximately mid-November. The Town of Yucca Valley encourages the use of alternative routes to avoid the construction project. Available alternative routes include Yucca Trail, Onaga Trail, and Sunnyslope Drive.

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HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT BOARDS MEET TONIGHT
The Hi-Desert Water District holds its regularly scheduled meeting tonight. Reporter Kristy Lockhart tells us what on the agenda…
The Board of Directors will discuss a resolution to update a conflict of interest code for board members before voting on it. Also on the agenda, a resolution dealing with medical benefits. The board will then move to a closed session conference with legal council to discuss anticipated litigation. The water board will hold their meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at their district offices on Highway 62.

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BIGHORN-DESERT VIEW WATER AGENCY BOARD RECEIVES FEDERAL APPROVAL FOR AMES/RECHE PROGRAM
At last night's special meeting of the Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency, Directors received a welcome acknowledgement that there were no paid "workers comp" or "property/liability claims" for the program year. Also last night, directors knocked $200 off a ratepayer's bill in response to request for relief following an irrigation system leak that resulted in extra water charges of about $460. The move came in response to evidence of hardship and the ratepayer's decision to decommission the aging system after efforts to repair proved futile. Turning to the Ames/Reche Groundwater Storage and Recovery Project, the board authorized General Manager Marina West to execute a Right-of-Way Grant/Temporary Use Permit. Three years in the making, the document represents the Federal Government's approval and the last hurdle for the Ames/Reche Program. It clears the way for construction, operation, and maintenance of the facility. West said that receiving the agreement represented one of the happiest days of her career.

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JOSHUA BASIN WATER AGENCY BOARD MEETS TONIGHT
The Joshua basin Water District Board meets in regular session tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says a $3.4 million pipeline project is on the agenda…
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 consider awarding a pipeline bid to Jones Brothers Construction in the amount of $3.4 million contingent on negotiating an agreeable change order to address new Caltrans requirements. Also tonight, the Board is expected to authorize Board President Mike Reynolds to sign an employment agreement with General Manager Joe Guzzetta. Then following likely board decisions on some equipment purchases, work orders, contract work for fencing and a change in job title for the lead customer service rep, plus reports and consideration of the consent agenda, directors are expected to adjourn to closed session.

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LOCAL DEMOCRATS MEET AND GREET TOMORROW
The Morongo Basin Democratic Club is hosting a meet-and-greet Thursday for residents to meet local candidates. The free event is open to all candidates running for local, non-partisan offices. It will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Roadhouse Café, 57173 Sunnyslope Drive, in Yucca Valley. For more information, visit MBDems.com.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL AND JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL JOINT BAND AND CHOIR CONCERT FRIDAY
This Friday evening at 6:30 a combined band and choir concert will be held at the Twentynine Palms Junior High School Football Field. ROP Broadcast Student Lisette Machuca has your invitation...
On October 19, the Twentynine Palms High School choir and band will be joining the Twentynine Palms Junior High music department at the Junior High football field, featuring the following songs: "In the jungle," a favored Lion King song that children will enjoy. "I'll Be There," by the Jackson 5, and "Take My Hand," a lovely gospel song. All friends and family are more than welcomed to come and join us. Admission is $5.

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SCHOOL INFORMATION, SPORTS AND SCHEDULES
Palm Vista Elementary School in Twentynine palms will have a minimum day tomorrow. School begins at 9:20 with an early release of 12:30.

The Twentynine Palms High School Ladycats traveled to Desert Hot Springs and beat the Eagles in four sets. Coach Missy Franz said the Lady Cats volleyball team was led by outstanding play by Alex Herrera and Laveena Benavente. Jaymee Candelaria played awesome defense for the team with some very exciting saves for the night. The Lady Cats are now 3-2 in league.

Volleyball is the sport of the day tomorrow. The Yucca Valley High School Trojans will travel away to play in the Tournament of Champions. The Joshua Springs Lightning volleyball team will host Calimesa at home; first serve is at 5:15.

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