WEEKEND RAIN AND WINDS, A REMINDER TO TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN

With a powerful winter storm bearing down on our Morongo Basin region this weekend, some safety reminders from Z107.7 News. Driving or walking into water flowing across the road is very dangerous. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard. Over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters. Stay safe by keeping everyone in mind as you drive in stormy weather. Slow down, leave space between you and the car in front of you and use your headlights when you use for windshield wipers.

HOLIDAY CLOSURES MONDAY

All municipal and county government offices, as well as banks and schools, will be closed Monday, February 20, in observance of President’s Day. Trash and recycling collections by Burrtec will not be affected.

MARRIAGE LICENSES NOW AVAILABLE IN JOSHUA TREE

Getting married just got much more convenient for residents of our Morongo Basin. For the first time marriage licenses will now be available at the County Government Center in Joshua Tree. Reporter Edica Gonzales has more…
Morongo Basin residents who want to get married no longer have to travel to San Bernardino to get their marriage license. Marriage licenses, along with copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates, and document recording services, and marriage ceremonies, are now available at the county government building in Joshua Tree. The recorder service hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Marriage certificates and licenses are by appointment. The public is invited to stop by the county government building Thursday, February 23, between 11 and 12:30 to meet Supervisor James Ramos and county assessor Bob Dutton, and learn more about the services available. For more information, or to make an appointment, call 760-995-8065. 

CORRUPTION CHARGES FILED AGAINST FORMER PALM SPRINGS MAYOR, TWO DEVELOPERS

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, prosecutors allege that during his two years as mayor, 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 alleges 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 raided Palm Springs City Hall.

RAMOS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AT HOMESTEAD VALLEY COMMUNITY COUNCIL MONDAY

County Supervisor James Ramos is scheduled to appear and answer your questions at Monday’s meeting of the Homestead Valley Community Council meeting. The Council will also discuss how the State Route 247 Scenic Highway campaign has stalled, and how it’s being threatened by massive solar projects. The Council plans to ask the county to re-instate its solar moratorium until the county’s renewable energy element in the county plan becomes a reality. The Council will also seek support for AB 366 which would lift the ban on building on property that relies on hauled water. The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. at the Johnson Valley Community Center at the corner of Quailbush and Larrea Road, just off Highway 247.

APPLICATIONS BEING TAKEN FOR TWO YUCCA VALLEY COMMISSIONS

With the resignation last month of Parks and Recreation commissioner Eric Quander, after Z107.7 News revealed he claimed five false non-profits and two false titles, the Town of Yucca Valley is now accepting applications for his replacement, with the term ending January 31, 2019. The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Commission meets Tuesday afternoons in matters pertaining to the planning of public recreation and the development of open space, parks, playgrounds, playfields and recreational facilities. Managing editor Tami Roleff says applications are also being taken for a newly created commission Revenue Measure Oversight Commission…
Applications are now being accepted for two local commissions serving as advisory bodies to the Yucca Valley Town Council: the Parks, Rec, and Cultural Commission, and the newly formed Revenue Measure Oversight Commission. The seven-member of the Revenue Commission will serve in an advisory capacity to the town council on the use of funds generated by tax Measures Y and Z. Those interested in serving on either commission should fill out an application found on the town’s website, yucca-valley.org, along with a cover letter describing why they want to serve.

COUNTY ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF, YUCCA VALLEY RESIDENT, DAN MUNSEY REASSIGNED

County Fire Assistant Chief Dan Munsey of Yucca Valley, who serves as a Hi-Desert Water District Board member, has been reassigned to the East Valley Division 6 effective tomorrow (Saturday, February 18). The East Division covers the metropolitan area of San Bernardino including the southern base of the San Bernardino Mountains to the Oak Glen Preserve. Division 6 also encompasses major sections of I-215, I-10, and State Route 210, all major highways in San Bernardino County. Munsey began his career in the fire service in 1995 as a paid-call firefighter. He became a fulltime firefighter in 1998 in Arrowhead. Munsey has worked in every division of the San Bernardino County Fire Department, and was promoted to captain in 2004 and battalion chief in 2008. Munsey and his wife Amanda live in Yucca Valley with their four children. Chief Munsey fills the vacancy left due to the promotion of John Chamberlin to deputy chief.

HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER OFFERS FREE ONLINE HEART RISK ASSESSMENT

For the first time in two decades, the number of Americans dying of heart disease increased in 2015. The uptick in heart disease deaths came as an unwelcome surprise. In this report, Mike Lipsitz tells us how our own Hi-Desert Medical Center responds…

Thank you Gary. February is also American Heart Month and Hi-Desert Medical Center has launched a month-long educational campaign on cardiovascular disease, including a free online risk assessment which is available at www.hdmc.org/HeartRisk. Part of the hospital’s effort aims to encourage people to “know their numbers.” These are the optimal key numbers for blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar and Body Mass Index. Flyers and posters with the tagline “Knowing your numbers can save your life” will be made available to visitors to Hi-Desert Medical Center throughout this month.

SKY’S THE LIMIT “STAR PARTY” TOMORROW

Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center will hold a star party Saturday night, February 18. The event begins at 6:15 p.m. and will end about 9:30 p.m., but you are encouraged to come when you can and leave when you want. Highlights will include the Andromeda Galaxy, the Great Orion Nebula and the faint glow of the winter Milky Way. Sky’s the Limit Observatory is located on Utah Trail, just north of the Twentynine Palms entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.

A SPIRITUAL TALK FROM THE AUTHOR OF “THE SHACK”

Nearly 30 percent of Americans identify themselves as spiritual but not religious, and the trend is growing. Kirby Davis says participants in the Lifetree Café in Twentynine Palms can discuss the issue in a safe environment Sunday…
William Paul Young, best known as the author of “The Shack,” will discuss the difference between being spiritual and being religious in a filmed interview at Lifetree Café. The free event, “Spiritual but not Religious,” is set for 4 p.m. Sunday, February 19. Lifetree Café, a place where people can discuss life and faith, is located behind Little Church of the Desert on Veterans Way and Ocotillo Avenue in Twentynine Palms. For more information, call Brad at 760-217-2597. 

YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL SWIM TEAM CAR WASH TOMORROW

The Yucca Valley High School Trojan swim team will hold a car wash fundraiser on Saturday, February 18, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Napa Auto Parts, located at 57840 29 Palms Highway in Yucca Valley. Tickets are $5 for cars, and $10 for SUVs or trucks.  All proceeds will go towards the Trojan Swim Team’s 2017 season including equipment and transportation. Car wash will be held rain or shine.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL IN HOME CIF PLAY-OFF TONIGHT

The Twentynine Palms High School boys’ basketball team defeated the visiting Alhambra Moors in the first round of the CIF division 3A playoffs, 83-60. Coach TJ Stanford said the ’Cats are now 23-3 overall. Their next CIF contest will be tonight at home in the Richard Casey Gym against Arroyo Grande. Game time is at 5:30 p.m. Note the change of time.

YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL IN HOME CIF PLAYOFF TOMORROW

The Yucca Valley Lady Trojan basketball team will begin their playoff run at home Saturday night with a second-round game against Royal High School from Simi Valley. The Yucca girls, seeded eighth in the division 3AA playoffs, received a first round bye, while the Highlanders won a 41-37 first round game Thursday over Heritage High School to earn a visit to Trojan Gym. Game time Saturday is 7 p.m., the doors open at 6 p.m. Ticket prices, set by CIF, are $10 general admission, $5 students with current high school ID, and $5 for children 3-13 years old.