MORONGO VALLEY RESIDENTS INVITED TO WELCOME NEW MAIN FIRE ENGINE

The Morongo Valley Community Services District, along with the fire department it oversees, has struggled to keep its aging main fire engine operational for well over a year. Now the CSD, the fire department, and the residents of Morongo Valley can breathe a collective sigh of relief. In this report, Z107.7 news reporter Mike Lipsitz explains why…

So vulnerable was this main engine of the Morongo Valley Fire Department that in a service review and audit last August the Local Agency Formation Commission cautioned that its sudden loss could spell the end for the CSD. Even before the warning, firefighter Daniel Kitt was already working on a grant application, his first. Then at the September CSD meeting came the surprise announcement that the district had been awarded the $420,000 federal grant Kitt had been working on. It was enough to purchase a new fire engine. Soon thereafter, the district located an engine which has since been getting outfitted to fit the needs of Morongo Valley’s Fire Department. And on Saturday, February 18, the new engine arrives amid a celebration in its honor. The public is invited to join in the celebration beginning at 10 a.m. at the Fire Station on Ocotillo Street, just off the highway in Morongo Valley.
The Morongo Valley Fire Department put the new fire engine into service Tuesday night.

CHARGES EXPECTED IN FEDERAL CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION IN PALM SPRINGS

The former Mayor of Palm Springs and two Developers have been charged with corruption after an FBI investigation. In a criminal complaint listing 21 felony charges against him unveiled today, prosecutors allege that during his two years as mayor of Palm Springs, Steve Pougnet accepted bribes from local real-estate developers in exchange for favorable decisions from the City Council. Pougnet is charged with nine counts of receiving bribes, eight counts of conflict of interest as a public official and three counts of perjury.Also charged were businessmen John Wessman and Richard Meaney. Each is charged with nine counts of offering a bribe. All three men face an additional charge of conspiring to bribe a public official. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, in a criminal complaint filed Thursday, allege that Pougnet was paid $375,000 between September 2012 and September 2014. If convicted, Pougnet would be barred for life from ever holding public office and face a potential maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison. Meaney and Wessman face a potential 12 years in state prison. All three men are expected to surrender to the court in the next few days.The charges come 17 months after a public corruption task force made up of the FBI, District Attorney’s Office and the IRS raid on Palm Springs City Hall.

DESERT HOT SPRINGS TO RULE ON MASSIVE PROJECT ALONG STATE ROUTE 62

The Desert Hot Springs City Council will hear an appeal of a planning commission decision to deny an extension for a massive home subdivision on the west side of State Route 62 just south of Mission Creek Road and the entrance to Mission Creek Preserve, bordering the new Sand to Snow National Monument. The Rancho Royale subdivision would have included more than 2,200 homes on 481 acres. The planning commission denied an extension for the project at a special meeting in November, citing environmental concerns, and the developer has appealed the decision. The meeting will be held at 6:00 Tuesday, February 21, in the Mission Springs Water District board room, 66575 2nd Street, in Desert Hot Springs.

AUDITIONS FOR “INTO THE WOODS” SET AT THEATRE 29

The classic Broadway hit musical “Into the Woods” is the next big musical slated for Theatre 29’s season. Veteran director Charles Harvey is seeking a cast of nine female and seven male musical performers. Reporter Rebecca Havely has the cast break down…

The cast of the darkly whimsical Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” consists of a male narrator who also plays a mysterious vagrant; Cinderella and her two step sisters Florinda and Lucinda, who all are in their teens to 20s; Cinderella’s Father and wicked Stepmother, who are age 45+; Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel’s Prince, who are both 18-25; the loopy-but-lovely Rapunzel, who is 18-25; Jack the giant slayer, who is in his teens to 20s; Jack’s Mother, who doubles as the ghost of Cinderella’s Mother; the Baker and the Baker’s wife, desperate to have a child, who are both 25 to 45; Little Red Riding Hood, who is in her teens to 20s; the Wolf, who pursues her doubles as a Steward; and the ugly-then-gorgeous Witch, who must be able to belt out songs.

The auditions will consist of singing a Broadway show tune, movement and cold readings. Bring a karaoke or non-vocal backing track on CD or a mobile device with a speaker and dress prepared to move.
Auditions are Monday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. on the Theatre 29 mainstage. Stagehands, set builders and costume constructors are also encouraged to attend. For more information, check out the audition details on Theatre 29’s Facebook page and website or email the director at webmaster@theatre29.org. “Into the Woods will run four weekends from April 21 through May 14. For tickets visit theatre29.org

MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST ACQUIRES AND TRANSFERS MORE PROPERTY

The Mojave Desert Land Trust recently acquired 50 acres that had been slated to be razed for development in Joshua Tree. The Joshua trees on the five parcels at Alta Loma and Alta Avenue had been marked with ribbons by the prior owners to mark them for removal. On Tuesday, volunteers held a “free the trees” event and removed the ribbons from the trees. The acreage, which the Land Trust has named Bobcat Valley, is a wildlife corridor for bobcats and a habitat for desert tortoises. The Land Trust’s Conservation director Frazier Haney said the organization was alerted to the development three years ago by neighbors.

Earlier this month, the Mojave Desert Land Trust transferred 110 parcels of land, totaling 3,100 acres, to the Mojave National Preserve. The lands, which contain forests of juniper, Mojave yucca, and Joshua trees, also include a century-old home site that was the setting for the history book Maruba: Homesteading in the Lanfair Valley. Over the past decade, MDLT has conveyed 453 parcels, totaling about 23,000 acres, to National Park Service.

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YUCCA VALLEY RECREATION OFFERING BUS TRIP TO NIXON LIBRARY

A comfortable bus ride to a regional attraction is being offered to Yucca Valley residents. Reporter Edica Gonzales tells you how to be on the bus to the Nixon Library…
The Town of Yucca Valley is sponsoring a trip to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. The bus will leave the Yucca Valley Community Center 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 8, and return about 6:30 p.m. The trip includes a self-guided tour of the Nixon library and museum and lunch at the White House Italian Steakhouse in Anaheim. Tickets are $80. The deadline to register is February 23. Register online at yucca-valley.org. For more information, call 760-369-7211.

2017 GRUBSTAKE DAYS RODEO QUEEN AND COURT SELECTED

The 2017 Grubstake Days Rodeo has announced the results of their Rodeo Queen contest. Miss Grubstake Days Rodeo Queen is Serernity Shiotani, 19. Serenity is a fifth-generation cattle rancher who wants to carry on the ranching tradition. Junior Miss Grubstake Days Rodeo Queen is Taylor Ramirez, 13. Taylor plays soccer, softball and is in honors classes with a 4.0; she enjoys barrel racing and roping. Little Miss Grubstake Days Rodeo Queen is Shayne Garner, 10.  Shayne is a complete country girl that loves to give everything she can to kids and animals. Tiny Miss Grubstake Days Rodeo Queen is Kaylin Moon, aged 7.  Kaylin enjoys spending time with her family, dancing, and riding her pony. The Grubstake Days Rodeo, sponsored in part by Z107.7, is set for May 27-28 at the Homestead Park in Landers. This year’s Grubstake Rodeo will thrill attendees with a traditional Rodeo event as well as family fun and attractions before and after the main event. Organizers are looking for Vendors and Sponsors right now with a deadline for sponsors March 1. To sign up to become a vendor and or a sponsor contact Missy Buchanan at kwbmmn@msn.com or call 760-218-1980

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE HOLIDAY CLOSURES

Copper Mountain College will be closed Friday, February 17 through Monday, February 20, for Presidents’ Day weekend.  The College will resume its normal operating hours on Tuesday, February 21.

FREE FEDERAL FOOD S DISTRIBUTION IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino will hold a distribution of federal surplus food 10 to noon, Friday, February 17, at the Church of the Nazarene, 56248 Buena Vista Drive in Yucca Valley.

MARDI GRAS DINNER AND DANCE PARTY SATURDAY IN YUCCA VALLEY

Get out your beads, feathers, and masks for a Mardi Gras dinner and dance party sponsored by the Yucca Valley Senior Club. Managing editor Tami Roleff has all the details…
The Yucca Valley Senior Club and the Town of Yucca Valley will host a Mardi Gras-themed dinner and dance event from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, February 18. The party in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center will include a Southern-style dinner, dessert bar, live entertainment by Bonne Musique Zydeco, dancing, and door prizes. Admission is $25 for couples or $15 for singles. Space is limited so registration is encouraged at yucca-valley.org. The Mardi Gras party is open to those age 21 and over. For more information, call 760-369-7211.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL WINS FIRST ROUND CIF GAME

The Twentynine Palms High School boys’ basketball team defeated the visiting Alhambra Moors in the first round of the CIF division 3A playoffs last night with an 83-60 score. Coach TJ Stanford said D’Shaun Barrett had 23 points and 10 assists. Abraham Bell had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Brother Adam Bell equaled the point total with 17 and chipped in with 10 rebounds. Javier Soriano helped with 13 points. The ’Cats are now 23-3 overall. Their next CIF contest will be Friday at home against Arroyo Grande. Game time is at 5:30 p.m.