FIRE DAMAGES A FLORIST SHOP IN TWENTYNINE PALMS HISTORIC PLAZA

A fire caused major damage to a florist shop in the Historic Plaza in Twentynine Palms last night. Twentynine Palms Fire Chief Jim Thompson said firefighters responded to a reported commercial structure fire at the Flower Garden in the 5600 block of Historic Plaza at 11:50 Tuesday night. Firefighters arrived to find a large amount of smoke pouring from the florist shop. Firefighters forced entry into the business and located the fire at the front counter area of the shop. Twentynine Palms firefighters, assisted by Combat Center and Wonder Valley firefighters, had the fire under control in 25 minutes.  A county fire engine from Joshua Tree covered the Twentynine Palms district during the fire. Thompson said the fire was reported by retired Twentynine Palms Fire Chief Bob Coghill, who was driving home when he noticed smoke drifting across Adobe Road just north of Two Mile Road. He investigated further, located the fire, and immediately called 911. Thompson said Coghill’s actions limited the severity of the fire and prevented further damage to businesses in the Historic Plaza. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, but appears to be accidental. Fire damage was confined to the front counter area; however the entire building and contents suffered heavy smoke damage. The loss to the building and contents is estimated at $15,000.

REMINDERS TO OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE USERS FROM THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT

Although many think the desert is the perfect place to ride their off-highway vehicles into the sunset, there are many laws governing where OHVs can be ridden. With some important reminders about land-use issues and off-highway vehicles in the Morongo Basin, here is Sheriff’s Service Specialist Anita Baker…

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind OHV enthusiasts of some land-use issues regarding OHV use in the Morongo Basin. The majority of land within the Morongo Basin is either public land supervised by the BLM or privately owned. It is the responsibility of the rider to obtain written permission from the land owner and have it in their possession when riding on private property. Fines for riding on private property without permission range from $100 to $1000 for subsequent violations within three years. There is no cross-country riding in the Morongo Basin. Sunfair Dry Lake is located in Joshua Tree and is designated as a limited use area managed by BLM. Vehicles must stay on existing designated trails and respect all private property and no trespassing signs. Johnson Valley OHV Park is located north of Yucca Valley and is an open area, specifically set aside for cross-country travel. OHV enthusiasts are encouraged to use Johnson Valley OHV Park for all OHV recreation.

COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS COLLECTING TOYS FOR NEEDY CHILDREN

Local county firefighters will be collecting toys to distribute to needy children in the area through TLC and CPS. Boxes where residents can drop off toys are in local businesses, banks, and mobile home parks, including here at the Z107.7 studio in Joshua Tree. In addition, Walmart will host a “stuff the truck” event at the store to collect toys for firefighters to distribute. Firefighters will be at Walmart for the next three weekends, starting Friday, November 29, from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturdays 1 to 5, and Sundays, noon to 5, through December 15 to collect monetary donations and new toys. New, unwrapped toys for both boys and girls up to age 17 should be valued at $20 or less.

TIPS FOR A SAFE MEAL ON THANKSGIVING

Many of us will spend a long time tomorrow in the kitchen preparing the traditional Thanksgiving holiday meal. Managing Editor Tami Roleff has some tips on how to do it safely…

With any holiday food preparation, proper 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 the 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 3 to 4 days.

MORONGO BASIN TRANSIT AUTHORITY AND BURRTEC TAKING TOMORROW OFF

The Morongo Basin Transit Authority will NOT operate bus service on Thursday, November 28, in observance of Thanksgiving Day and will resume its regularly scheduled service on Friday, November 29.

Burrtec Waste and Recycling will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Waste and recycling pick-ups will be delayed by one day and will resume on Friday.

CONTINUING CARE CENTER LAUDED FOR REDUCING USE OF ANTI-PSYCHOTICS

Health industry experts have given kudos to the Continuing Care Center in Joshua Tree for cutting down on their use of drugs. Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains…

Hi-Desert Medical Center’s Continuing Care Center has been recognized for safely reducing the off-label use of antipsychotics by the American Health Care Association, which says that many individuals in skilled nursing centers are living with some type of dementia. As dementia progresses, behavior often becomes key to communication. This can be challenging for families and staff, and too often, antipsychotic medication is used in an attempt to modify behavior. Michelle Amdahl, the Continuing Care Center’s director of nursing and interim administrator, explains that the staff works diligently to reduce the use of antipsychotics. The Association’s goal to safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics is to encourage alternative strategies for responding to challenging behavioral expressions in persons living with dementia before considering medications and to ensure that antipsychotic medications, when used, are as appropriate and safe as possible.

JOSHUA TREE STARLIGHTING AND CAROLING FRIDAY EVENING

Joshua Tree’s downtown businesses will light their “stars” at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, the 29th of November, as the start of the holiday season. There will also be caroling downtown that night. Participants are asked to meet at Pie for the People at 5:31 p.m. for a quick, no host, snack and brief rehearsal with the band. The Joshua Tree Community Jazz Band members and carolers will leave the Starlight Courtyard at 6:30. Music will be furnished. Bring a flashlight and ENTHUSIASM! Vocal talent not necessary.

“A CHRISTMAS CAROL” AT THEATRE 29 NEEDED CAST MUTLI-TASKING

Many people who volunteer at Theatre 29 just can’t get enough drama in their lives. Dan Stork relates how one young stage veteran multitasks…

Director Rob Wanless said the timing of the rehearsal cycle of “A Christmas Carol” at Theatre 29 and the popular “Halloween Haunt” running concurrently did challenge himself and his cast. “We had some good and bad effects of being in rehearsal while a full third of our actors were in the Haunt,” he said, explaining, “Actors and other production staff at rehearsal fill in for those not there. For example, Seth Eskelund, who plays “Young Scrooge” that works for Fezziwig and falls in love with Belle (played by Lizzie Schmelling). Lizzie was in the haunt, so, during rehearsals, we had Seth’s Mom play Belle, then Adam Redmon, then Emily Sheckler.” Wanless chuckled, saying, “Schmelling said she could show up for “A Christmas Carol” rehearsal to play Belle in her Zombie make up from the Haunt, but we told her that would just result in more Facebook moments than rehearsal!” “A Christmas Carol” will play Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. with Sunday matinees November 24 and December 8 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and military, and $8 for students with ID and children under 12. The play is suitable for all age groups. Tickets can be reserved at www.theatre29.org or by calling the Theatre 29 Box Office at 760-361-4151.

VNA LECTURE: “GRIEF AND THE HOLIDAYS” MONDAY

The Visiting Nurse’s Association California Hospice will be presenting Grief and the Holidays, a free seminar for any adult in the community who is grieving the loss of a loved one. Members of the community are invited to attend a session on Monday, December 2, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and repeated on Monday, December 9, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., at VNA California Hospice, 56300 29 Palms Hwy, Suite 105, Yucca Valley. For information, contact Mark Jueschke, Bereavement Services Coordinator at 760-228-2214. RSVP is requested but not required to attend. VNA California Hospice is nonprofit servicing the entire Morongo Basin.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK ART SHOW AND FAIRE IN TWENTYNINE PALMS DECEMBER 6-8

Mark your calendars from next week and the first ever Joshua Tree National Park Art Show and Faire at various venues in and around the headquarters in Twentynine palms. ROP Broadcast Student Crystal Faith Rickman has a preview…

According to a press release from the City of Twentynine Palms, there will be a Joshua Tree National Park Art Show and Faire from December 6-8. The art show and faire is a celebration of art and music, showcasing the work of 50 artists from close to home and as far away as England. The show begins on December 8 at the 29 Palms Art Gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. The Faire portion is on December 7 and 8, and is spread throughout five venues at the Oasis of Mara. Admission is free. The press release said that there will be many activities for the public such as “artists’ booths, art demonstrations, cultural displays, park history presentations, youth art activities, live music, food and beverages.” On the 7th and 8th, there will be a nature walk starting at 9 a.m. at the Oasis of Mara and the various activities until 4 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. For more information visit www.jtnpartfaire.com.