Six people were injured, three critically, in a two-car crash in Twentynine Palms yesterday afternoon that shut down Highway 62 for an hour. According to the Sheriff’s Department, about 4:07, a white VW Jetta attempted to make a left-hand turn onto Highway 62 from northbound Pederson near the Eagles Aerie. The male driver did not see a maroon Jetta traveling eastbound on the highway. The female driver of the maroon Jetta was not able to avoid the white car, and crashed into its left front quarter panel. The white car stayed on the highway, but the maroon car skidded off the north side of the highway, ran over a street sign, and sheared off a fire hydrant, before coming to rest on a chain-link fence at the Eagles Aerie. Two occupants in the maroon Jetta were not wearing their seatbelts and suffered major injuries. They were flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs, and another occupant of the vehicle was taken to Desert Hospital by ambulance. Highway 62 was shut down completely in both directions until 5:30 to allow the helicopters to land. The maroon Jetta also had a child in a child car seat who suffered minor to moderate injuries, as did the male and female occupants of the white Jetta. They were all taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center. The sheered-off fire hydrant was shooting a geyser of water into the air, and the Twentynine Palms Water District had to shut off the water to the fire hydrant. At this time, it’s not believed that alcohol or speeding were factors in the crash. The Sheriff’s Department has not yet released any of the names of the people involved in the crash.


Last year’s recall petition against Yucca Valley Town Council members George Huntington and Robert Lombardo incurred additional expenses for the Town, which is responsible for paying the bill for verifying the signatures, counting the ballots, and for legal costs. At last night’s special meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council, it was time to transfer funds from an undesignated reserve account to pay the bill. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at the meeting, and says the vote was not unanimous…

With a lecture about how the supporters of last year’s recall petition wasted the taxpayers’ money, Mayor Robert Lombardo was the sole vote against approving a transfer of funds to pay the $56,000 unanticipated expense in the current budget. “I think it’s a terrible waste of money to have to pay this for the recall. I know it’s necessary to do—we pay the bills, but I would love to see the recall people have some responsibility. We need to change our laws. We should work on making people that are not successful in lawsuits like this pick up some of the costs because this was unnecessary. There were other ways of handling this. It was inappropriate use of the money.” Charles McHenry, who has said he is running for Town Council in November, scolded the recall proponents during public comment. “It’s a shame that the people who pushed for a recall didn’t have the sense of responsibility to be here themselves for this.” The Council also approved almost $31,000 for a temporary improvement to Black Rock Canyon Road, to pulverize the existing asphalt, followed by grading and compacting. The Council was warned that the road would need to be re-graded every two to three months, and after every rainstorm. Deputy Town Manager Shane Stueckle urged residents along Black Rock Canyon Road to attend the July 15 meeting to find out what road maintenance they will be responsible for. The Town Council then went into closed session and it was announced the Council voted unanimously to initiate litigation, but no indication was given of what the Town will be litigating.


At tonight’s City Council meeting in Twentynine Palms, a request by the Water District for a joint meeting returns to the agenda, as does litigation over the dissolved Redevelopment Agency. Reporter Dan Stork says that a ribbon cutting, Planning Commission issues, and aid to local businesses will be treated before those issues…

The regular meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council meeting on June 24 will be preceded by a ribbon cutting on National Park Drive, on the center median across from the Old Schoolhouse Museum. The ribbon cutting will celebrate completion of the National Park Drive improvement project, which consists of new curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, road surface repaving, and median work. Another feature is a new sculpture by Ricardo Breceda of Temecula, a life-size metal sculpture of a prospector and his burro, honoring the gold mining heritage of Twentynine Palms.
Back at City Hall at 6 p.m., the Council will have several discussions:

The Council’s summer meeting schedule; a review of Planning Commission Salaries; how to proceed with filling the current Planning Commission vacancy; the Community Reinvestment Program (which offers financial support to local businesses for assorted “sprucing up” activities); and the Water District’s request for a joint meeting.

Following these discussions, the Council will move to closed session, to discuss the ongoing legal action over the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency, and to discuss a new case of anticipated litigation. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall on Adobe Road.


The next clean-up for the Joshua Tree Clean Team will be tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25 ,at 7 a.m. at the Joshua Tree Post Office. Anyone interested is encouraged to join us for one short hour of work. There will be trash bags, grabber sticks, gloves and water available to make the chore more doable. Volunteers are invited to meet afterwards at the Park Rock Cafe for coffee and conversation. The Joshua Tree Clean Team is grateful to have seven co-sponsors which include, Park Rock Café, Z107.7, Joshua Tree Outfitters, County of San Bernardino Waste Management, Joshua Tree Recreation and Park District, Cal Trans and The Hi-Desert Star. For more information call 760-366-8415.


Just four very talented performers are being sought for a unique, fast- paced comedy starting in mid August at Theatre 29. Reporter Dianna Jones say auditions for “39 Steps” are this Monday, June 30…

Auditions have been set for the fall production at Theatre 29, “The 39 Steps.” This frenzied comedy—described as a fast-paced mash-up of Alfred Hitchock, a juicy spy novel, and Monty Python—features four actors who play 150 different characters, so the ability to play multiple characters is a must. Needed are a male, 20 to 40 years old, who can play a dapper English gentleman; a female, 20 to 40, who can play three different roles—an exotic secret agent, a shy young woman, and a romantic interest; and two other actors who play the rest of the 150 different characters. Auditions are set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 30 at Theatre 29 in Twentynine Palms. Auditions will consist of improvisation skills and cold readings. Dress prepared to move. The production is also seeking technical assistance as stagehands, set builders and costume construction. Anyone interested in backstage roles should also attend auditions. “The 39 Steps” runs from August 15 though September 13.


The Twentynine Palms Branch Library will offer a free six-week mature driver education class beginning tomorrow. The six-week continuous class will cover information needed to pass the DMV written exam. Seniors can join the class at any time during the weeks of June 25 through July 30 and no pre-registration is necessary. The classes are on Wednesdays at 2pm through July 30. Both the California Driver Handbook and sections of the Senior Guide to Safe Driving Handbook are reviewed. In each class, participants are given sample written driver tests and the answers are discussed with references made to their location in the handbook. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Twentynine Palms Library at 760-367-9519.


The Yucca Valley Planning Commission will continue their work to the Town’s Home Occupation permits tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff has more….

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission will once again take up the issue of home occupation permits. Among the items the commissioners will discuss and possibly approve are amendments to the Development Code which add four classes of home occupations: those that are exempt from obtaining permits; those that don’t require a hearing; those that require public notice and a public hearing; and those that require a conditional use permit. The Commission will then hear a department report on making changes to the Town’s land use districts. The meeting starts at 6:00 in the Yucca Room of the Community Center.


The Morongo Unified School Board wraps up the current school year in its June 24 meeting with a long, but generally pro-forma agenda. Reporter Dan Stork lists the topics that will be addressed…

The Morongo Unified School District Board of Education starts its June 24 meeting at 5:30 p.m. with a public work study session on governance, followed by a closed session at 6 on student and personnel issues, and on employee bargaining. The 7 p.m. open session has a long action agenda, including: ordering a November election for board positions; budgets for the district as a whole; the Special Education budget, adoption of the governance handbook; certification of the Local Control Accountability Plan; Single Plans for Student Achievement for four schools; the classified employees sunshine agreement; the ROP master agreement; piggyback bid for a supply contract and disposal of obsolete property; and an assortment of other housekeeping chores. The agenda contains notice of a continued closed session before adjournment.


The Town of Yucca Valley will host a dog licensing and pet vaccination clinic this Thursday, June 26, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Community Center courtyard. The clinic is offered to all Yucca Valley and San Bernardino County residents. Low-cost rabies vaccinations will be available for $6 each as well as the canine DHLPP, Bordatella, and rattlesnake boosters for $10 each, and feline 5-way booster with Leukemia for $15. Dr. Bethan Smith will administer the vaccinations. Dog licenses will also be available at the clinic. Pet owners are asked to bring dogs on leashes and cats in carriers. Fees for services must be paid in cash. Checks will be accepted for Town of Yucca Valley licensing only. For more information, contact the Town of Yucca Valley Animal Care and Control at 760-365-1807.


The Bighorn Desert View Water Agency meets tonight. Reporter Taylor Thacker says they will begin annexing the County W-1 water agency, among other business…

The Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency is scheduled to have their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 24, starting at 6:00 pm. At this meeting, the Board will first have discussion on the dissolution and annexation of the water agency. They will then adopt a budget, select a candidate for the California Special Districts Association Board of Directors, receive public comments and an update of the hazard mitigation plan, and more. This meeting takes place at the Bighorn Desert View Water Agency at 1720 N. Cherokee Trail in Landers. For more information call 760-364-2315.