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Listen To Your News Thursday, November 29, 2012 News Archive
     

TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT PUTS THE BRAKES ON TRANSFER OF FIRE DEPARTMENT TO COUNTY
Before a packed meeting room, the Twentynine Palms Water District and Fire Department Board of Directors made two big decisions – one resolving a labor negotiations impasse with the water district workers' union, and the other halting (at least temporarily) the move of fire services to county control. Reporter Dan Stork was there and tells how it all went down…
The Twentynine Palms Water District Board of Directors, encouraged by vociferous public comment and a presentation by Fire Chief Jim Thompson and Finance Director Wayne Jones, voted 5-0 to put the brakes on the divestment of the Fire Department. It directed staff to hold off on preparing the application to LAFCO, the Local Agency Formation Commission, that is the first step in transferring responsibility for local fire protection to San Bernardino County.

(It is already almost 60 days past the date originally set by LAFCO as the deadline for application submission, in order to make a mid-2013 target for the transfer.) Before the vote, Fire Chief Jim Thompson and Finance Director Wayne Jones presented figures they had developed, projecting that the Water District could provide the level of service proposed by the County, but at a reduced cost. Thompson and Jones were adamant that it was not in the interest of public safety to operate the Lear station with paid-call firemen, as the county has proposed. Nine speakers from the public urged the Board to stop and step back on the transfer process. Among those speakers were City Council Member-elect Cora Heiser and several frequent critics of city government. Some speakers said that when they voted NO on an increase in the fire tax earlier this year, they did not realize that rejection would affect fire services, and blamed officials for not making it clear. Other speakers and the board members expressed astonishment at that perception. Earlier in the evening, the issue was a protracted impasse on a labor dispute over pension fund and medical insurance premiums. A fact-finding panel consisting of labor and management representatives and a third-party mediator had recommended (with the labor rep dissenting) that the District gradually stop funding the employee-responsibility portion of pension contributions. Another recommendation was to increase the employee share of dependent medical insurance premiums from 25% to 30%. The Board approved the panel plan 3-2, with Directors Cisneros, Chambers, and Bourakis in favor, and Shinaver and Moore opposed.

In assessing the financial state of the District, retiring Finance Director Wayne Jones said that the finances are in good shape this year, with little likelihood of an imminent rate increase. But he warned of trouble ahead, as water demand and revenue continue to decline, while expenses are expected to rise in several categories, and several millions of dollars will be needed for future capital projects.

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YUCCA VALLEY MAN HELD FOR RANCHO MIRAGE BURGLARIES
A Yucca Valley man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of burglarizing two Rancho Mirage homes. Authorities arrested Eric Bramlett, 29, about 5 p.m. in the 62-200 block of Dennis Avenue in Joshua Tree, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The thefts occurred in September and October, but officials did not identify the locations of the robberies. Eric Bramlett is being held at the Riverside County Jail in Indio. Anyone with information may call officials at 760-836-1600.

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HUNGRY THIEVES BREAK INTO LANDERS BELLFIELD HALL
A couple of junk food junkies broke into Landers' Belfield Hall sometime Monday night racking up an approximate $1,100 in property damage before getting away with bags of chips, candy and canned sodas. Volunteers discovered the break-in Tuesday morning when they arrived to open the Thrift Store which is located in Belfield Hall. Workers at the store told Z107.7 news that there were enough similarities to a break-in earlier this year that this seemed to be the work of the same petty thieves. The perpetrators gained access by forcing open a back window. Once inside, they broke open a number of supply cabinets, a locked freezer, and a pantry collecting so much snack food that they had to load it into a couple of wheeled suitcases they snatched from the Thrift Store. Tracks in the sand indicated they made their getaway on foot with the suitcases in tow. The incident is under investigation by Sheriff's Deputies who suggested the perpetrators may be responsible for recent vandalism across the road at Lander's Post Office.

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HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT IN A SPECIAL MEETING LAST NIGHT
The Hi-Desert Water District called a special meeting last night. Reporter Kristy Lockhart has more…
The board voted unanimously to purchase a geographic Information system. The board also approved the transfer of 500 thousand dollars from the Water Reserves fund to the Wastewater fund to serve as bridge financing for grants to pay for the collection system design project. Finally, the board received presentations on District improvement to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act and disinfection methods. The water district uses chlorine at low concentrations. Director of Operations Mark Ban says the district far surpasses state requirements on testing to provide the safest water possible to its customers.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS SELLING CHRISTMAS TREES
The Knights of Columbus Council 4482 in Twentynine Palms will sell Christmas trees once again this year, starting Friday. Available trees will include Douglas, Noble, and Grand trees, starting at $35. They are also taking special orders for larger trees or different varieties until December 10. Tree lot hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 to 9 Saturday and Sunday. The Knights of Columbus tree lot is located on Highway 62, across from Circle C Motel.

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QUIRKY, HILARIOUS HOLIDAY MUSICAL CONTINUES AT THEATRE 29
A hilarious, quirky, Christmas musical continues its run trough December 15 at Theatre 29. Z107.7 special correspondent Les Taylor was in the audience and says make plans to bring the whole family for some holiday fun…
I went to see "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol," now playing at Theatre 29 expecting a show about lumberjacks and manly men and their women. After all, it's set in Bunyan Bay, Minnesota and features characters named Gunner, Knute and "the legendary Sven Jorgenson." Boy, was I surprised! It turns out Sven is a legendary songwriter and the only man professing to be "manly" is tavern owner Gunner Johnson who has so far been unable to give his wife Clara the one thing she really wants for Christmas, a baby. Real-life couple Rob and Betty Wanless head the cast as Gunner and the long suffering Clara and bring an ease and naturalness to their roles, This is Betty's first major role and she handles it well making the transitions from present to past and into the future seamlessly. Charles Harvey is his usual delight as songwriter Sven Jorgenson who has gone through more musical phases than Madonna and Prince combined. His song from his Elmer Fudd phase is hilarious and shouldn't be missed. Rounding out the small cast are 29 Palms High School grad Angelica Miller who returns to the Theatre 29 stage as Bernice Lundstrom, a former barmaid at The Bunyan who left with dreams of stardom but comes back to the area with those dreams on hold. Combat Center Marine Jonathan Fries makes his debut locally as Knute Gunderson who, while not the brightest herring in the tin, owns six Bunyan Bay businesses and is the perfect foil for Gunner. The songs in the show are all funny and are performed with fun and energy if not always perfect pitch, but after all this isn't Rogers and Hammerstein. What it is, is a thoroughly entertaining show with lots of laughs from a cast who are obviously enjoying what they're doing. That enjoyment is infectious and the audience is soon caught up in it as well. And, since it is a Christmas show, everything works out for all the characters in the end. "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol" runs weekends at Theatre 29 through December 15 with a Thursday night show November 29th and a 2:30 Sunday matinee December 9th. Evening performances are at 7pm and reservations can be made by calling the box office at 760-361-4151 or going online at Theatre29.org.

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DESSERT THEATRE AT PALMS BAPTISTS CHURCH THIS WEEKEND
Palms Baptist Church will hold a Christmas Dessert Theater Saturday and Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. The evening will feature a musical program entitled "Turn Your Radio On," and a youth drama team and a children's choir will also perform, along with some song spoofs, a sing-along, and Christmas music. Dessert and beverages will be served in a festive "café" environment. The program is free. The Palms Baptist Church is located at 5285 Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms.

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HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR IN YUCCA VALLEY SATURDAY
The big annual Holiday Craft Fair is this Saturday in Yucca Valley. Assignment Reporter Taylor Thacker tells you where to find great local, handmade holiday treasures...
Having trouble finding that perfect Christmas gift? Well, you're in luck! On Saturday, December 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Yucca Valley Community Center will be hosting the long-time local tradition of more than 50 vendors coming together and displaying their unique, handcrafted items, known as the Holiday Craft Faire. Admission is free and everyone is invited. For more information, call the Town of Yucca Valley Community Services Department at 760-369-7211, Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

And with this story we welcome Taylor, a Twentynine Palms High School Student, to the news family she will be covering Morongo Basin features and events here at Z107.7 Radio.

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HI-DESERT ROD AND RUN CLUB HOSTING TOYS FOR TOTS EVENT
A local firearms club will be putting on an event in support of the Toys for Tots program the weekend. Managing Editor Tami Roleff looks though the sights…
The Hi-Desert Rod and Gun Club presents its Seventh Annual Trap and Rifle Match to benefit Toys for Tots. Saturday is the .22 caliber rifle match with three events: pistol, scoped rifle, and open sight rifle. Pistols will be shot at 25 yards and rifles at 50 yards. Sunday will include trap singles, handicap, and doubles, in which shooters will fire from five different stations. First place will be awarded for each event. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Saturday for events on both days. Competition starts at 9 a.m. The shooting range is located at 8046 Yucca Park Road in Morongo Valley, one and a half miles from the top of the Yucca Grade, on the north side of the highway.

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TOMORROW'S HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES
In high school sports tomorrow, the Joshua Springs girls' basketball team will travel away to Nuview Bridge High School in Nuevo. Tip off is 5 p.m.

Also tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School girls' soccer team will be in the second day of the Beaumont High School Winter Classic tournament, and the Twentynine Palms girls' basketball team will play in the last day of the Mustang Tournament.

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