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Listen To Your News Wednesday, November 21, 2012 News Archive
     

CONTROVERSIAL CHURCH TO PROTEST AT MARINE FUNERAL
Members of a controversial Kansas church have announced they plan to picket the funeral today of a Marine who was killed during a confrontation with Palm Springs police earlier this month. Corporal Allan "AJ" DeVillena, 22, was shot and killed about 2 a.m. November 10 in a Palm Springs parking garage after police say he ignored their requests to turn off his car, and then rammed one of the officers. DeVillena was assigned to 1st Marine Logistics Group in Camp Pendleton, but was stationed in Twentynine Palms. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church—who believe that God kills American troops to punish a country that tolerates homosexuality—announced earlier this week they plan to protest at his funeral in his hometown of San Jose.

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YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL DISCUSSES OPTIONS, FALLOUT, AFTER DEFEAT OF MEASURE "U"
The Yucca Valley Town Council said there would be no new tax measure on a March ballot. The council met last night to review options and fallout after the defeat of "Measure U," which would have provided funding for a sewer system and Town infrastructure. Managing Editor Tami Roleff was there and files this report…
The Yucca Valley Town Council will have to make some difficult decisions during its budget meeting next year. Three of the four council members told Town staff at their meeting last night there was not enough time to put together a new tax measure to put on the ballot for the special election in March, especially since representatives from the Hi-Desert Water District and those opposing Measure U were not in attendance at last night's meeting. Town Manager Mark Nuaimi presented six options for a new tax measure to the Council. Most in attendance agreed that the sixth option—which designated a ½ percent tax to the sewer for 30 years, with roads and public safety each receiving ¼ percent for 10 years, and which requires a two-thirds majority to pass—looked the most promising. But Council member George Huntington explained why he did not support putting a new tax on the March ballot. "Without the ability to study the measure, we're shooting ourselves in the foot. If we float a measure this soon, and it fails, we've lost any hope in the future of passing another tax measure." What that means is the Town will have to cut almost 10 percent from its $9.4 million budget next year, as Nuaimi estimates the Town will have an $850,000 deficit without the tax measure. The Town will not scrimp on public safety, but Council member Merl Abel said residents would have to go without other things. "Our pools, our senior centers, our rec programs, our concerts in the park, our museum. Those are all things that are just going to be so sorely missed.…"

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From left: Merl Abel, Robert Lombardo, Sadie Johannssen,
Jean Essig, (Norm Essig's granddaughter and daughter,
respectively), Mayor Dawn Rowe, and George Huntington.
COUNCIL NAMES NEW PARK FOR EARLY YUCCA VALLEY DEVELOPER
In other news from last night's Town Council meeting, the Council decided on an official name for its newest park, located at Warren Vista and Joshua Lane, and formerly known as South Side Park. The Parks and Recreation Department whittled down 78 names, suggested by the public, to three, which it presented to the Town Council: Norm Essig Park, Sky Harbor Park, and Sky View Park. Several residents urged the council to choose the name Norm Essig Park, after a Yucca Valley developer of the 1950s and 1960s who bought hundreds of acres in the Sky Harbor area to develop it, and donated the land for Machris Park to the Town. After some discussion about whether Essig fit the criteria for naming a park after a person, the Council voted 4-0 to name Essig Park, dropping his first name "Norm" from the park's name.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION CHANGES SOME DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES
The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission voted in some changes in guidelines at last night's meeting. Reporter Kristy Lockhart has more…
With only three of the five planning commissioners present at the meeting, the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission voted to bring the adopted Housing Element into line with recommended changes from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development. Commissioners also amended the Downtown Economic Revitalization Plan regarding parking and signage requirements. Commissioner Pamela Carmichael voted against the Amendment. The Commission wrapped up with a study session working on a revision of the City's Development Code.

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CITY, STATE, BACK TO SQUARE ONE WITH PROJECT PHOENIX
After a visit to the State Department of Finance (Dof) in Sacramento last Friday by Twentynine Palms' staff, the status of the city's Project Phoenix is still uncertain. Project Phoenix would build a community center, theater, gym, and 40 housing units in downtown Twentynine Palms. The City maintains that the $9 million in bonds it issued to build the project should be considered a contract, or "enforceable obligation," and therefore the project must go forward. Earlier this year, the Finance Department told the City to use the bond proceeds to either pay off the bonds early, or send the bond proceeds to other taxing entities, like the school district. The City protested this agreement, saying it violated IRS regulations to use the bond proceeds for anything other than what they were issued for. During the meeting last week, the DoF seemed to change its mind. The DoF agreed that the City did not have to distribute the bond proceeds-yet. In addition, all previous DoF decisions on Project Phoenix have been set aside-for now. Twentynine Palms City Councilman Dan Mintz said until the City receives a letter from the Department of Finance confirming the results of the meeting, the City of Twentynine Palms does not yet have a final answer about the status of Project Phoenix.

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MAKE YOUR THANKSGIVING MEAL A SAFE ONE
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and families all over the Morongo Basin families will give thanks by gathering to prepare and consume the traditional turkey dinner. Reporter Sara Snyder has some reminders to prepare your meat carefully and safely……
With any holiday food preparation, safe food handling and storage are important to keep your family and friends safe. Follow these helpful tips from the County Department of Public Health to prepare a safe Thanksgiving meal for your family. Always wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds before and after handling the turkey. When cooking a turkey, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching bone, and cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. Stuffing cooked inside a turkey should also reach 165 degrees or higher. Store leftover turkey in shallow containers and put it in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours of taking it out of the oven. Use cooked leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within three to four days.

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BLOOD DRIVE IN YUCCA VALLEY TODAY
Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive in Yucca Valley today. Blood donations will be taken at Vons in Yucca Valley, from 2 to 6 p.m. All prospective donors should be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 877-827-4376.

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WE REVIEW "A DON'T HUG ME CHRISTMAS" AT THEATRE 29
The delightfully quirky holiday music comedy, "A Don't Hug me Christmas", is playing through December 15 at Theatre 29. Managing Editor Tami Roleff was there for opening night and offers this review…
As someone who grew up in Minnesota, I couldn't wait to see Theatre 29's "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol," that's set in the north woods of my home state. And I wasn't disappointed. The laughs are nearly nonstop. Director Marty Neider and musical director Kathy Ferguson have done another outstanding job casting the play; the ensemble cast of Rob Wanless as Gunner, the bar owner; Betty Wanless, his long-suffering wife; Jonathan Fries as a leach of a bar customer; Angelica Miller, the bar's former waitress; and Charles Harvey, Gunner's slick former partner, Sven Jorgensen; know their roles and are clearly having fun. If you've ever been in a small-town bar in the Midwest you'll instantly recognize the Bunyan Bar. In the play, bar owner Gunner is fed up with Christmas, goes out snowmobiling on the lake, falls through the ice, and goes into a coma. While in a coma, he's visited by Sven, who takes him to visit Christmas past, present, and future. Betty Wanless won me over as Gunner's patient and long-suffering wife Clara. Jonathan Fries as Knute, was a favorite with the audience. Angelica Miller, as Bernice, the former waitress, has the best voice in the cast. The music will have you tapping your toes and laughing 'til you cry, to songs such as "Grandma Cut the Christmas Cheese" and "The Wheel Is Turning, but the Hamster Is Dead." "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol" runs Friday and Saturday nights through December 15 with a Thursday night show November 29 and a Sunday matinee December 2. Tickets are $8 to $12 and are available online at theatre29.org or by calling 760-361-4151. "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol" runs Friday and Saturday nights through December 15 with a Thursday night show November 29 and a Sunday matinee December 2. Tickets are $8 to $12 and are available online at theatre29.org or by calling 760-361-4151.

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TLC LOOKING FOR SPONSORSHIPS AND CASH DONATIONS
Tender Loving Cause, or TLC, a Morongo Basin Christmas tradition, is looking for some help for this year's feast and festivities. Reporter Dan Stork says sponsorships and cash are needed…
Tender Loving Cause has been organizing armies of volunteers for 28 years, helping bring its holiday season programs to the Morongo Basin. But the work requires money as well as people. TLC is asking for cash donations for sponsorships in several categories. An underwriting sponsor is wanted for the Christmas Day buffet, which feeds over 2,000 people, in the amount of $25,000; Santa Sponsors, to support TLC programs in general, for $5,000; Meat Sponsors, to help provide hams and turkeys for Christmas dinners, at $3500; Elf Sponsors for TLC programs, at $1,000; 22 salad sponsors, one for each type of buffet salad, at $250; Or you can become a friend of TLC, at $100 to $150. To arrange a contribution, call Mara Cantelo at 760-333-2413.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS KIWANIS SELLING SEES CANDY AT STATER BROTHERS
The Kiwanis Club of Twentynine Palms has started its seasonal See's Candy Sales. You can support Twentynine Palms Kiwanis in its fundraising effort and get great chocolate in return. Club members will be at the Stater Brothers in Twentynine Palms today from 9 to 6 and tomorrow from 9 to noon to start the holiday season. After that, they will be at Stater Brothers on weekends through December 23. Members will also visit businesses in person for your convenience. The fundraising allows Kiwanis to provide scholarships and sponsor sports teams at Park and Recreation in Twentynine Palms, Boy Scout Troop 229, young men to attend Boys State, and a Pediatric Trauma Prevention Program to name just a few. For information, contact Kiwanis Secretary and Sees Candy Sales Chairman Herman Platzke at 760-972-7205.

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