STATE ROUTE 62 GETTING $9.8 MILLION IN IMPROVEMENTS IN TWO PROJECTS

Construction started this week on a nine-mile project from the western border of Joshua Tree to the eastern border of Twentynine Palms. The $4.7 million project will add two-way left turn lanes and widen the existing shoulders to a standard eight feet. The California Department of Transportation says the project is needed to address the higher-than-average number of collisions in which vehicles cross the center line. Typical work hours will be from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. seven days a week, although night shifts are also possible. Around-the-clock lane closures are probable, but one lane in each direction will always be open. The project is expected to be completed in June. Please obey the lowered speed limits through the construction zone.

In addition, work is expected to begin shortly on installing raised curb medians and a traffic light in Morongo Valley. This $5.1 million project will take about a year to complete. The raised curb medians are being built to mitigate cross-over vehicle collisions. CalTrans says the temporary delineators that were installed two years ago were successful in reducing the number of cross-over, head-on collisions.

TWENTYNINE PALMS RETAIL STUDY HAS SOME INTERESTING CONCLUSIONS

A retail marketing study commissioned by the City of Twentynine Palms came up with some interesting conclusions. Reporter David Haldane has the details…

Groceries, furniture and clothing. Those are three of the opportunities cited in a retail market study presented at last night’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council. Others include health, sporting goods, hobbies, books, music, electronics, car parts and gas. The bottom line: if you want to start these kinds of businesses, now would be a good time.

That’s the recommendation of Kosmont Companies, a consultant commissioned under a grant from the Federal Economic Development Agency. Its quest: How to rejuvenate the city’s downtown. Among its findings: Twentynine Palms residents are relatively young, live in smaller-than-average households, have lower-than-average incomes and frequently work and shop out of town.

The Council received the study with just one question from Mayor John Cole. Considering the frequent complaints of residents, he wondered, could the list be lengthened to include a laundromat?

JOSHUA TREE MAN ACCUSED OF FELONY DUI IN TWENTYNINE PALMS CRASH

A Joshua Tree man who crashed his car in Twentynine Palms was arrested early Tuesday morning, accused of driving under the influence. According to a Sheriff’s report, Deputy Adrian Garcia responded to the area of Highway 62 and Mantonya Road about 1:30 a.m. for a report of a reckless driver. Garcia discovered that David Huff, 50, had crashed his vehicle into a power pole, and had broken his wrist. Paramedics took Huff to Hi-Desert Medical Center where he was treated and released. David Huff was then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence causing injury, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $100,000.

SEXUAL ASSAULT SERVICES SEMINAR ON TRAFFICKING TOMORROW MORNING

The Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services is hosting a free seminar on trafficking tomorrow. Reporter Rebecca Havely has the details…

Learn about the dangers of social media apps, recruitment, on line gaming and the psychology of grooming. This all-inclusive seminar is sponsored by the Criminal Justice Program of Copper Mountain College. Join them at the Bell Center Thursday, April 13 at 9 a.m. Starbucks of Yucca Valley will provide coffee and pastries; Reach Out Yucca Valley will provide lunch. To reserve your spot call 760-369-3353.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD CONSIDERS $100,000 FOR BELL CENTER SEATS

On the agenda for tomorrow’s 3 p.m. meeting of the Copper Mountain College board of trustees is a public hearing on contract negotiations with the California School Employee Association. Then under “action items” trustees will consider a slate of names for the California Community College Board, and likely approve an almost $100,000 contract with an outside vendor for a telescoping seating system in the Bell Center Gymnasium. Other action items, including a half dozen under “human resources,” are also up for board consideration. Tomorrow’s meeting takes place in the Bell Center’s Community Room on the Joshua Tree campus.

YUCCA VALLEY AIRPORT BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

Some of the items the Yucca Valley Airport District Board of Directors will discuss at their meeting tonight (Wednesday, April 12) are LAFCO correspondence, the aging airport lights and radio receiver, weeds and brush. Under new business, directors will discuss updating the webpage, and a March meeting with the Marine base. The meeting starts at 6:30 in the Mesquite Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.

FREE PTSD COURSE OFFERED ABOARD THE TWENTYNINE PALMS COMBAT CENTER

Veterans and their families who need help dealing with post-traumatic stress syndrome and the after-effects of combat are invited to attend a free 12-week course at the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. Managing editor Tami Roleff fills in the details…

Reboot Recovery is not a support group, but a 12-week course that meets for two hours every week to help veterans, service members, and their families deal with the after-effects of combat. The course focuses on the spiritual aspects of recovery. Some of the topics covered include A Wounded Soul, The Roots of Trauma, A Restored Soul, Making Wise Decisions, Be Free from False Guilt, Depression and Suicide, and more. Meals and childcare will be provided. The first class meets Thursday, April 20. Registration is required. See rebootrecovery.com for more information.

NATIONAL PARK WEEK STARTS SATURDAY; FREE ADMISSION NEXT TWO WEEKENDS

Federal officials are celebrating the nation’s 417 national parks with programs and events marking National Park Week, which is Saturday, April 15, through Sunday, April 23. Joshua Tree and other National parks that normally charge entrance fees will be free on April 15, 16, 22 and 23. Free or discounted annual passes are also available for active duty military families, fourth-grade students, senior citizens, volunteers and those with permanent disabilities.

CHANTING CIRCLE AT RAINBOW STEW IN YUCCA VALLEY TONIGHT

A chanting circle will be held Wednesday, April 12, at Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley, starting at 7 p.m. Participants should arrive no later than 6:50 p.m. as the door will be locked at 7. Rainbow Stew is located on the south side of Highway 62 in Old Town Yucca Valley.

“TAKE A HIKE” WITH PARK SUPERINTENDENT DAVID SMITH APRIL 23

The Morongo Basin Healthcare District and Joshua Tree National Park have partnered on a project designed to promote wellness through exercise and even help patients healing from illness, injury or surgery. Called “Take a Hike,” this free program enables local medical providers to write a prescription good for 90-days’ entrance into Joshua Tree National Park to walk or hike on pre-designated easy, moderate or strenuous trails. Patients who receive the prescription present it at the park entrance. Kirby Davis has more information about a special hike with the park’s superintendent…

To promote the Take a Hike program—and in honor of April 23, National Park Prescription Day, a national celebration promoting the growing movement of prescribing parks to improve health—a special hike is planned with Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith, Sunday, April 23, at 9 a.m. sharp. Participants will meet at the Twin Tanks parking area. The group, which is limited to 40 participants, will hike on the California Riding and Hiking trail. Preregistration is required to go on the hike. Call 760-367-5502. Directions to the trail will be provided at time of registration.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULES

The Twentynine Palms High School boys’ varsity tennis team traveled to Coachella Valley High School to face the Arabs on Monday. The Wildcats lost 7 to 11. Coach Bill Shay said the Wildcats were led by Nathan Thomas, Brett Hope and Camerin Rimmington, who each won one of their sets. In doubles action, the Wildcats were led by the teams of Ben Pressnall/Dylan Smith, winning two of their sets, while Mac Miller/Sean Sears won one of their sets. The Wildcats host Rancho Mirage tonight and Desert Hot Springs on Friday.

In high school sports today, cross-basin rivals Yucca Valley High School and Twentynine Palms High School baseball teams will play each other in Twentynine Palms. First pitch is at 3:15.

Also today, the Yucca Valley boys’ tennis team will host Coachella Valley High School at home, starting at 3:15.