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

WE LOOK AT THE SAFETY OF OUR SCHOOLS
A local elementary student got more than he bargained for after threatening to bring a gun to school during an argument with another student. Just days after the Connecticut school shooting where 20 students were killed. Yucca Valley Elementary school officials say they took the matter very seriously. Sheriff Deputies talked to the 9-year-old boy and his parents, determining he didn't realize the implications of what was said. Deputies also went to the boy's home to verify that he does NOT have access to weapons. Deputies also received several reports of a Yucca Valley High School student who was allegedly bringing a gun to school. These recent incidents, along with the Connecticut shooting has many parents in the Morongo Unified School District wondering if that could happen here. Reporter Kristy Lockhart takes a look at the safety of our area schools…
"I can't imagine what those folks are going thru. It's my worst fear as a principal of an elementary school." In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, Onaga Elementary School Principal Kyle Hannah sent home letters to parents informing them of security measures in place. "If it happened in a small town in Connecticut, I believe it can happen anywhere in this country. I'm not sure we can ever be prepared adequately enough for something to that extent. We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of the kids." Morongo Unified School district has more than 8,000 students. Kim Shartel has children at Onaga Elementary and La Contenta Middle School. "I do feel safe with the staff here and I send them to school knowing they would do everything in their power to protect them." However, Shartell says she would like to see even more precautions. "I would be ok with part of our budget maybe having a Police Officer on Staff or somebody armed. I don't think it would cause panic in the kids and as a parent I would feel a little better." Assistant Superintendent Tom Baumgarten says unfortunately violence in schools is something they must prepare for. "I think anytime you have the public gather in a public place, School is a public place you have more vulnerability. Children being our most innocent members of society there's a great concern for their safety at all times." Baumgarten says schools routinely practice fire and earthquake as well as lockdown drills.

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FAMILY OF CRASH VICTIM LOOKING FOR HELP
The family of a Yucca Valley man who was severely injured in a car accident last week is asking for donations. Jason Jennings, 28, was driving his Mustang up the Yucca grade Thursday morning when he lost control of his car and crashed. Jennings was thrown out the back windshield of his car and suffered major head trauma, and is in a coma at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Jennings is the father of three daughters, including one who was born just 3 weeks ago. Craig Sancher, who works with Jennings at the West Yucca Valley Del Taco said Jennings' wife just received her last unemployment check. His co-workers have cancelled their Secret Santa gift exchange and are donating the money to Jennings' family instead. Both Del Taco locations are accepting donations for Jennings and his family, and the ARHM Restaurant Group, which owns the restaurants, will match customer donations.

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THREE TWENTYNINE PALMS MEN ARRESTED
Three Twentynine Palms men are behind bars, accused of selling marijuana. According to a Sheriff's report, deputies went to a home in the 6400 block of Ocotillo Avenue about 12:30 Wednesday, where they found a registered sex offender, Bobby Carrillo, 26, Andre Carrllo, 25, and Christopher Shaw, 21, along with about 25 individually wrapped baggies of marijuana, and a large amount of cash. Andre Carrllo was arrested for investigation of possession of marijuana for sales, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000. Bobby Carrillo was arrested on a felony warrant, and taken to the West Valley Detention Center. Christopher Shaw was arrested for investigation of resisting arrest and is being held at the Morongo Basin Jail.

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TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT TO REVIEW OPTIONS AND DISCUSS KEEPING FIRE DEPARTMENT
We'll see whether the Twentynine Palms water district directors are ready to drop the other shoe, and set another direction for local fire services tonight. Dan Stork previews the water and fire department agendas…
The Twentynine Palms Water District Board of Directors starts its 6 p.m. meeting with election of officers, review of a water conference information letter, possible selection of an accounting and financial services consultant, and discussion of the next steps in the search for new permanent general manager. After operations and finance status reports, the Board will re-convene for fire department business. The big agenda item–in the wake of the decision at the last meeting to pull back on the application to LAFCO to have the County take over fire protection services in the District--is update, discussion and possible action regarding retention of the fire department, and future financial actions.

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HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT MEETS TONIGHT, TOWN WATER PRE-PURCHASE ON AGENDA
The Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors holds its regularly scheduled meeting tonight. On the agenda the board will consider a pre-purchase of water from the Town of Yucca Valley and a contract with the U.S. Geological Survey to perform a series of depth dependent sampling and flow logging. The meeting takes place at the district offices on the highway at 6 p.m.

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YUCCA VALLEY TOWNCOUNCIL DISCUSSES HOW TO SPEND BEQUEST FOR ANIMAL COMFORT
At its November 6 meeting, the Town of Yucca Valley received a bequest from the estate of Cyla Wells for almost $303,000, with the stipulation that the money be spent for the comfort and benefit of animals at the Town's animal shelter. At last night's meeting, the Town Council determined how that money would be spent. Managing editor Tami Roleff has the details…
A program that would waive adoption fees for hard-to-place dogs and cats is just one of the items the Town of Yucca Valley plans to support with a portion of the $303,000 it received from a bequest from the estate of Cyla Wells. Other items include spay/neuter vouchers; medical and dental care, and medical equipment and supplies; shade livestock corrals, shade structures, and a trailer; dog beds and inserts for kitty condos as well as shelving for cat cages; crates; and slats for chainlink fences. In addition, it plans to set aside $60,000 as a contingency toward the construction of the animal shelter; if the money isn't needed, the funds will be used to equip the animal shelter. And there you have it—how to spend $303,000 at the animal shelter.

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JOHN MCMAHON APPOINTED COUNTY SHERIFF
In county news today, the Board of Supervisors unanimously appointed Assistant Sheriff John McMahon to fill the unexpired term of retiring Sheriff Rod Hoops. McMahon was the only person from within the department who expressed an interest in the appointment. Hoops had publicly endorsed McMahon as his successor. A native of California and a resident of San Bernardino County since 1967, McMahon began his career with the County Sheriff's Department in 1985. As one of two assistant sheriffs, he is responsible for Criminal Operations for the entire organization.

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STATE WATCHDOG TO OVERSEE COUNTY ELECTION RULES
San Bernardino became the first county in California to contract with the state Fair Political Practices to enforce the county's new campaign finance ordinance. The ordinance limits campaign contributions for all candidates seeking local elected office to $3,900. The new ordinance also requires candidates seeking elected office and the political action committees supporting them to electronically file their contributions and expenditures if they exceed $10,000 per election cycle.

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SUPERVISOR RAMOS NAMES THREE STAFFERS
Third District Supervisor James Ramos announced Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Carrillo, Legislative Analyst Tony Mejia, and Communications Director Molly Wiltshire are the latest members to join the Ramos staff. Carrillo will handle policy operations including transportation, social services, and land use issues. Mejia will provide the supervisor with a thorough understanding of proposed legislative and budgetary issues. Communications Director Molly Wiltshire will serve as the primary spokesperson for Ramos. She will be responsible for contact with the press and for the development of community engagement.

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MORONGO VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT BOARD LOOKS AT FIRE DEPARTMENT REORGANIZATION
The Morongo Valley Community Services District Board meets in regular session. Reorganization for the fire department and a line of credit are on the agenda. Reporter Mike Lipsitz takes a closer look…
The Morongo Valley Community Services District meets in regular session tonight at 7:00 in the Covington Park Multi-Purpose Room. The Board will take up several matters under new business, including consideration of a proposed fire department shift reorganization and salary plan as part of a mid-year budget review. If approved, the proposal will likely further retention efforts, increase staffing flexibility, and provide for an overall reduction in overtime. Also tonight, the board will consider applying for a new credit union account for financing the purchase of the new Fire Department Command Vehicle, as well as consider extension of a $200,000 line of credit through Pacific Western Bank for 90 days. Still under new business, the board will likely adopt an update to the 2012 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Update to enable the District's eligibility for federal disaster reimbursement should such need occur.

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HOMESTEAD VALLEY COMMUNITY COUNCIL CHRISTMAS TOY PARTY SATURDAY
The Homestead Valley Community Council will hold its annual Christmas Party Toy Drive Saturday, December 22. Residents are asked to buy a toy for kids, from tots to teens, valued at least at $10, then bring the toy to the party. The toys will be distributed to local children during the Tender Loving Christmas celebration in Yucca Valley on Christmas day. Dinner at the Christmas Party will be your choice of pizza or wings, fresh fruit and veggies, plus great desserts. The Winers will provide the music. The party starts at 6 p.m. December 22, and will be held at the Yucca Mesa Community Center, just off Aberdeen Road. Tickets are $5 at the door, plus a new, unwrapped toy. Call 760-365-8422 for more information.

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REACH OUT GETS DONATION FROM AMERICAN LEGION
The Jack V. Rice American Legion Post 671 of Twentynine Palms recently presented a check for $1,000 to Reach-Out Morongo Basin. "This money is for Reach Out to use for providing services to seniors and the disabled in any way necessary to help, said Legion spokesman Jack Ansell. Reach-Out Executive Director Robin Schlosser added, "American Legion Post 671 has been very generous in the support of our programs for local seniors and the disabled and we wish to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to them."

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DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION
It was déjà vu all over again for the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission, as it argued about changes to a site plan it had already approved almost two years ago. Dan Stork condenses the blow-by-blow…
The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission revisited–at length–a site plan for an intended barber shop at 3733 Adobe Road that it had approved in April 2011. In the interim, the applicant has initiated changes that were not authorized in that approval. Staff had recommended that modified plans be approved now, subject to building, safety, and schedule considerations. The argument among the commissioners centered on whether to revisit a waiver—for provision for a loading zone—that was granted as part of the original site plan approval. Commissioner Greg Mendoza wanted to enforce the code more strictly, while Commissioner Bill Easter was adamant that the issue had been debated enough the first time around. Ultimately, the four commissioners present agreed to accept the modified plans, and required the applicant to create a 12 x 45 foot loading zone behind the building and create a wider driveway to the rear than was in the original plan. Development Director Charles LeClaire reported, per earlier request by the Commission, that there are three open code enforcement cases that are older than three years. He noted that slow progress is the norm for property cleanup cases, and that Code Enforcement is not burdened by a backlog of old cases. The meeting concluded with the tenth study session on the comprehensive revision of the Development Code.

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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES
Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat boys' soccer team travels away to play Marywood-Palm Valley. Game time is 3 p.m.

Also tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat boys basketball team continues its play in the Palm Springs Tourney.

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