YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION HEARS MORE ABOUT MARIJUANA

Yucca Valley’s Planning Commission heard from more than two dozen people last night about an ordinance that would prohibit all personal and commercial uses of marijuana in town limits, but would allow residents to grow six plants indoors. Managing editor Tami Roleff was there, and files this report…

“I would think you would be equally concerned about stores selling alcohol and tobacco, which are far more dangerous to children. No body dies from marijuana… If you don’t license and regulate stores, you will still have just as much marijuana as if you did. But what you won’t have is hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue from the residents of Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, Landers, and the unincorporated areas in San Bernardino County who will be going to Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, and Cathedral City to buy their marijuana there… If you think prohibiting locally licensed and regulated marijuana distribution is going to mean less marijuana here, and make Yucca Valley safer, I wonder what you’ve been drinking.”

That was Lanny Swerdlow, of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, who was one of more than two dozen people who spoke at the Yucca Valley Planning Commission’s public hearing last night about a draft ordinance prohibiting all personal and commercial uses of marijuana in town limits.
Vickie Bridenstine of Yucca Valley said residents already expressed their feelings about marijuana when they voted down Measure X in 2015, which would have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries in town limits.

Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Barta answers questions from the Yucca Valley Planning Commission about drug use in the Morongo Basin at the planning commission’s public hearing Tuesday night about drafting an ordinance on personal use of marijuana in town limits.

“I think [allowing marijuana in Yucca Valley is] disrespectful to voters who made clear their opinion just a couple years ago. [The ordinance] provides for the rights of our citizens to grown their own plants and get high in their own homes, and my rights not to see it, smell it, or breathe it. If they want to get high, they have the right to do so in their own home, but not in public. Their right to get high should not affect me. Their right to get high should not infringe upon my right not to be exposed to their second hand smoke, odors, or even the sight of their plants.”

Commission chair Steve Whitten was happy with the ordinance.

“I think the ordinance complies with number one, federal law; number two, state law; and number three, with our council’s direction that we are appointed to represent… And most of all, it fits the will of the people of town of Yucca Valley and what they desire.”

And with that, the planning commission voted 4-1 to send the draft ordinance to the Town Council, with commissioner John Terfehr voting against it because he felt the ordinance should allow delivery of medical marijuana as a permitted activity.

A WIN FOR LOCAL WATER, JUDGE ORDERS CHANGE IN STATE CHROMIUM-6 STANDARDS

In a ruling that will save Morongo Basin water agencies and their customers literally millions of dollars, a Superior Court judge ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to implement a new drinking water standard for chromium-6 that considers the limitations of disadvantaged communities. The court said the Department of Public Health failed to consider economic feasibility when, in early May 2014, it set the drinking water standard in California for chromium-6 to 10 parts per billion (ppb). This limit is equivalent to 10 drops of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, far stricter than the federal standard of 100 ppb. Twentynine Palms Water District General Manager Ray Kolisz said “We are pleased with the judge’s ruling and his sensitivity to disadvantaged communities. The protection of public health is our priority. Unfortunately, leaving the lower maximum contaminant level would leave us vulnerable to real threats while requiring significant water rate hikes for businesses and residents.”

For Morongo Basin Water suppliers, particularly Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms, the new standard saddled residents and businesses with unaffordable options to comply. The financial burden threatened to crowd out other threats to drinking water in the area, such as arsenic and nitrates.

In his May 5 ruling, Superior Court Judge Christopher Krueger said the Department failed to consider its own estimate that local water bills would go up by $5,630 per year, or $469.17 per month, to meet the new standard. He directed the Department to set the standard as close as economically feasible to the public health goal of 0.02 ppb.

Kolisz said, “State law requires the adoption of a standard for chromium-6, which was acknowledged by the court. By requiring the state to take affordability seriously in enacting a new standard, we will use the time wisely in looking for treatment systems that are affordable to our residents and businesses.”

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL REVIEWS COUNTY SHORT-TERM RENTAL ORDINANCE

The Twentynine Palms City Council meeting began last night with introduction of a new employee, Brian Soster, who will be keeping the streets of Twentynine Palms clean. James Ramos’ representative, Mark Lundquist, then presented the county’s draft of its short-term rental ordinance. The still-changing document has been designed to accommodate rental structures that are as small as 70 square feet to facilities that can handle up to 16 people. Reporter Eric Knabe fills us in on the rest of the meeting…
The Twentynine Palms City Council heard a presentation about the county’s proposed ordinance for short term rentals, which should be finalized by 2018. The county estimates there are between 500 and 1,000 short-term rentals, with most of them in the Morongo Basin. In other news, the city’s animal control officer again expressed the need for a quarantine building to separate sick animals from healthy ones at the shelter. Council members heard a presentation about the city’s two-year special budget and five-year general fund forecast, which are in good shape now, but when Project Phoenix begins, they will have significant challenges.

$10,000 BURGLARY IN YUCCA VALLEY

Yucca Valley Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a commercial burglary in which about $10,000 worth of jewelry and jewelry supplies were stolen. According to a Sheriff’s report, the owner of the store, Findings to Fuse, in the 55200 block of 29 Palms Highway, called Monday to report her business had been burglarized over the weekend. A table had been slammed through a front window, and the water had been turned on and left on afterwards. The owner told the deputy about $10,000 worth of jewelry findings and costume jewelry were missing, along with some power tools. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

YUCCA VALLEY MAN WHO LEFT CHILDREN ALONE ACCUSED OF CHILD NEGLECT

A Yucca Valley man who left his children home alone while he went to go buy beer was arrested Monday. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies were called to make a welfare check on three children in a home in the 6300 block of Dumosa Avenue about noon. The deputy determined that Eric Salazar, 21, had left the young children alone for about 15 minutes while he made a beer run. In addition, the children had visible injuries from being hit, and Salazar admitted to hitting the children. Eric Salazar was arrested for investigation of cruelty to a child, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $100,000.

CONGRESSMAN’S COOK’S VETERAN’S EMPLOYMENT BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

Unemployed veterans, listen up: a new bill authored by Congressman Paul Cook and signed into law Friday by President Trump, may help you earn a paycheck. Reporter David Haldane tells us what’s up…
If you’re a U.S. military veteran having a hard time finding a job, you may be about to get some help; A new bill by Congressman Paul Cook will award businesses for hiring people just like you.
The bill—HR244, otherwise known as the Hire Vets Act of 2017—will promote private sector recruiting, hiring and retention of men and women who have served honorably in the U.S. military. The means: a voluntary awards program recognizing businesses that participate.
Cook, a former U.S. Marine Corps colonel himself, says the program will provide “an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans.”

DOG LICENSING AND PET VACCINATION CLINIC IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW

The Town of Yucca Valley will host a dog licensing and pet vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 11, 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 $10 each, as well as the canine DHLPP and Bordatella for $10 each, and feline 5-way booster with Leukemia for $15. Dr. Norman Smith will administer the vaccinations. Dog licenses will also be available at the clinic. Fees for services must be paid in cash. Checks will be accepted for Town of Yucca Valley licensing only. Dogs must be leashed and cats in carriers. For more information, contact the Town of Yucca Valley Animal Care and Control at 760-365-1807.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD MEETS TOMORROW

Copper Mountain College Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us what’s on the agenda…
Following a 2:30 closed session on contract renewal for President/ Superintendent Jeff Cummings, the CMC board of trustees will reconvene to open session at 3 p.m. Then following a public hearing on contract negotiations with the California Teachers Association, the swearing in of newly elected student trustee Bernard McFadden, regular reports, information items, and routine items on the consent agenda, trustees will consider an ambitious list of agenda action items. Among those items are a handful of board policies, and items under the subheadings of human resources, business services, and academic and student success. Tomorrow’s meeting takes place in the Bell Center’s Community Room on the Joshua Tree campus.

YUCCA VALLEY AIRPORT BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The Yucca Valley airport board of directors will meet Wednesday, May 10, despite lacking a quorum. Those directors who are there will hear reports from the treasurer and the airport manager. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Mesquite Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.

CINCO DE MAYO ICE CREAM SOCIAL AT THE YUCCA VALLEY SENIOR CENTER TODAY

Come join us for a Cinco de Mayo sing-along and ice cream social May 10, from 1 to 2:15 p.m. at the Yucca Valley Senior Center. On May 12, Jacqueline will be singing your favorites with a free performance at 1:00 at the Yucca Valley Senior Center. Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

COWBOY POETRY AND HUMOR AT THE HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM TONIGHT

The Morongo Basin Historical Society’s second Wednesday lecture series continues with “Cowboy Poetry and Humor.” Reporter Rebecca Havely has more…
The guest for the next second Wednesday lecture is Richard Brewer, a Morongo Basin cowboy. He’s also an auctioneer and square dance caller, a poet and humorist. Join Brewer for a humorous and entertaining evening. He is a master of memorization and recites tongue-twisting poems with astonishing ease. “Cowboy Poetry and Humor” will be presented Wednesday, May 10, at 5:30 p.m. for a $5 donation. The lecture will be held at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley, 57116 29 Palms Highway.

YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL DRUM LINE TAKES COMPETITION KUDOS

The Yucca Valley High School Winter Percussion Ensemble placed ninth at the American Drum Line Association’s championships in Long Beach.  The drumline competed against 14 other drumlines in the Scholastic A division. Congratulations to Yucca Valley High School.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES

In high school sports today, the Twentynine Palms High School baseball team will host Rancho Mirage High School at home; the game starts at 3:15.