The Twentynine Palms City Council licked the plate of its very full agenda clean, but it took it until 10:20 pm to do it. Dan Stork breaks his report on the meeting into three parts. Today in part 1: A very different invocation, a residential science camp, and Community Development Block Grant presentations…
In the first non-clergy invocation in memory, Michelle Mark cited DoD statistics to counter claims that public prayer had made war safer for troops deployed from the local Marine Base. Then for about 10 minutes she read a list of service members who did not return from the two recent wars, while the audience stood to honor them.
Residential science camp
Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent Mark Butler presented plans for a residential environmental science camp for youth. He projected enrollments of up to 6,000 students per year, in groups of 224 per week. Chaperones, educators, and parents would stay in commercial lodging and presumably eat in town. Although Butler said that land acquisition was a ways off in the planning, City Manager Joe Guzetta suggested offering at least part of a 100-acre tract on Mantonya, once intended for a park, for the purpose. City Council agreed enthusiastically, 4-0. (Council member Cora Heiser was absent, due to a family medical emergency.)
Pitches for Community Development Block Grants were made by Reach-Out Morongo Basin, the Twentynine Palms Library literacy program, Family Services Association, Soldiers’ Organized Services, and Unity Home. Community Service Director Randy Councell recommended devoting the City’s portion of CDBG funds to park improvements. He also suggested following a model used in Yucca Valley, by supporting the outside requests from the City’s general funds, and using all of the CDBG money for City projects. This would minimize the County red tape burden, and to be more flexible in filling the outside requests. A two-member Council subcommittee will meet with Councell to come up with final recommendations.