EXTREME HEAT CONTINUES, COOLING CENTERS OPEN, 29 PALMS EXTENDS HOURS

With the hottest part of the heat wave still to come, residents can go to cooling centers to get out of the heat. Managing editor Tami Roleff lists where the cooling centers are…
There are cooling centers in the Morongo Basin. In Yucca Valley, the community center is open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, and the Hi-Desert Nature Center is open Thursday through Saturday 10 to 5. Town offices are open Monday through Thursday 8 to noon and 1 to 5. In Twentynine Palms, the Senior Center on Adobe Road is a cooling center from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday; if the heat index reaches 115 degrees, the building will remain open. In Joshua Tree, the community center will be open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. The Hi-Desert Medical Center cafeteria is available as a cooling center every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Wonder Valley Community Center will be open 9 to 2 Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. In addition, the libraries in Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley are open 11 to 7 Monday through Wednesday, Thursday 10 to 6, and Saturday 9 to 5. Other places to get out of the heat are stores, restaurants, and theaters.
The Twentynine Palms Senior Center, a designated cooling center, has extended its hours of operations today and tomorrow, June 20 and June 21. The center will open from 9:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. both days. The Senior Center will stay open as an emergency cooling center for additional evening hours and may be opened on Saturday or Sunday. The building is equipped with a generator in case of power outages. The Senior Center serves lunch at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday; food is not available in the building at other times. Water will be available, but no food service. Residents should bring their own snacks. No pets are allowed inside the building. For pets and animal information, contact the Palms-N-Paws Animal Shelter at 760-367-0157.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL TO DISCUSS MARIJUANA ORDINANCE TONIGHT

The Yucca Valley Town Council has a full agenda tonight. Managing editor Tami Roleff says the real meat of the meeting will be when the council members discuss the ordinance banning all marijuana uses in the town…
After several contentious planning commission meetings, the ordinance banning all marijuana uses and establishing reasonable regulations for the indoor personal cultivation of marijuana moves to the Yucca Valley Town Council for discussion and possible approval. Prior to this item, the council will vote on a consent agenda, which, among other items, includes the purchase of two generators—totaling about $121,000—for the town’s animal shelter; the purchase of a backhoe and skip loader, for about $207,000; and multiple maintenance contracts for street shoulders, medians, parks, traffic lights, and street sweeping. The council will also hear a report about the Fourth of July fireworks and the summer concert series, as well as a proposed budget amendment. Tonight’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the community center’s Mesquite Room with a closed session meeting to discuss potential litigation. The regular meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the community center.

THE “HOLCOMB” FIRE BURNING NORTH AND EAST OF BIG BEAR, SOME ROAD CLOSURES

A wildfire raging north of Big Bear Lake has charred nearly 1,000 acres, prompting officials to issue voluntary evacuations and the closure of a mountain highway. The Holcomb fire is spreading rapidly, moving away from the San Bernardino National Forest’s most populated areas. Smoke from the fire has come into the Morongo Basin.
The fire was reported just after 3 p.m. off Holcomb Valley Road, north of Highway 18. It’s burning through heavy timber, tall grass and chaparral, fire officials said. There were no containment lines around the fire as of 8:30 this morning. Battalion Chief Mike Snow has been sent to the fire zone to lead a strike team, but no other local firefighters have been sent as of Tuesday morning.
There are voluntary evacuations for homes in the Baldwin Lake and Holcomb Valley areas and around the Big Bear dump, according to the County Sheriff’s Department and Big Bear Fire Department. The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 18 from Baldwin Lake Road north to the Mitsubishi Cement Plant just outside the forest boundary in Lucerne Valley.
There are also other local road closures. The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Highway 18 to Van Dusen, and the Doble Trail and Tanglewood Group campgrounds are closed.
Eight air tankers, including a DC-10, six helicopters and a helitanker are working to help douse the flames. Winds of about 5 mph are blowing from the southeast with gusts up to 23 mph, according to a U.S. Forest Service statement. Fire officials are asking drone operators to stay away from the fire zone.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory late Monday warning air quality may reach unhealthy levels at least through Tuesday morning in portions of the eastern San Bernardino Mountains. An information line has been set up for the fire at 909-383-5688.

MORONGO VALLEY CSD HOLDS BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING TONIGHT

A public hearing is just one agenda item at tonight’s meeting of the Morongo Valley Community Services District. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us what to expect…
At tonight’s regular 7 p.m. meeting of the Morongo Valley Community Services District, the board will convene a public hearing, followed by a vote, on the proposed final 2017-18 budget. And among items to be considered under new business, the board will take up initiation of a fiscal audit, a student intern contract, the phone system, mail boxes, the office copier, and a lawn mower. Also tonight, the board will establish an ad hoc committee tasked with evaluating the general manager. And finally, the unpaid directors will adjourn for a closed session conference with a labor negotiator. Tonight’s meeting takes place in the Covington Park Community Building in Morongo Valley.

TWO LA MEN LOST IN DESERT, FOUND ON MARINE BASE SATURDAY

Two Los Angeles-area men who got lost after leaving a party in Joshua Tree, got their truck stuck in the desert, and thought they’d walk to Big Bear, were guests of the county Saturday night until they were sober again. Marco Salinas, 21, of Los Angeles, and William Ruiz, 35, of Santa Monica, left a party in the 7400 block of Elwood Street in Ruiz’s pick-up truck. According to a Sheriff’s report, they thought they were heading to Big Bear, but they ended up northeast of Joshua Tree. When the truck got stuck in the desert, they started walking, and had been walking about 1 ½ hours before they called the Sheriff’s Department for help. Ruiz and Salinas were found by Marines, who said the men were dangerously close to the live-fire exercise area where Marines are training for ITX 4-17. The Marines had to stop their training while the Sheriff’s Department sent in a helicopter to rescue them. Ruiz smelled of marijuana, and Salinas had drunk an entire bottle of hard alcohol at the party. The two men could not remember where they left Ruiz’s truck, and deputies were unable to locate it. William Ruiz and Marcos Salinas were both arrested for being drunk in public, and on misdemeanor warrants from other counties, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, and released the next morning.

LANDERS MAN ARRESTED AFTER SHORT STAND-OFF

A Landers man was arrested Friday night after he was found with a knife. According to a Sheriff’s report, Gannon Barnes, 32, went to a family member’s home in the 60700 block of Reche Road and asked to stay there. Barnes was told to leave. When the resident walked out to his garage about 11 p.m., Barnes allegedly cut a window screen with a knife, entered the home, and then locked the resident out of the house. Deputies were called to the scene, and Barnes refused to come out for some time, despite multiple commands from the deputies. When he finally did emerge, deputies found a knife in his pocket during a search. Barnes told deputies he cut the screen with it and then put it in his pocket for protection. Gannon Barnes was arrested for investigation of possession of a dirk or dagger, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $25,000.

JOSHUA TREE FELON FOUND WITH DRUGS

A Joshua Tree man on felony probation was sent back to jail Saturday after he was found with drugs. According to a Sheriff’s report, a deputy spotted Jason Brown, 35, pushing a bicycle in the 6400 block of Sunset Road. The deputy knew that Brown was on probation and had warrants for his arrest, and stopped to search him. During the search, the deputy found suspected speed and drug paraphernalia on him. Jason Brown was arrested for possession of methamphetamine for sale, and on his two felony drug warrants. Brown was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail and is being held without bail.

VIETNAM WALL REPLICA WILL BE ON DISPLAY IN DESERT HOT SPRINGS

The Vietnam Wall memorial is one of the most popular attractions in Washington, D.C. A traveling version of the Vietnam Wall is coming to nearby Desert Hot Springs. Managing editor Tami Roleff tells us when and where…
The Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall will be coming to Desert Hot Springs. The half-size replica will be on display 24 hours a day and open to the public free of charge at Mission Springs Park, 66750 Park Lane, beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 22, with an opening ceremony at 6 p.m. It will be on display until noon, Monday, June 26 with a closing ceremony at 11 a.m. that will include a fly-over of planes from the Palm Springs Air Museum. No pets will be allowed in the park while the wall is on display.

TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION MEETS TONIGHT

The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission meets tonight with a light agenda. Though there will be no public hearings or action items, the commissioners will hear sub-committee reports on the vision and zoning for the Downtown Economic Revitalization Specific Plan, and receive official notification of an approved administrative use permit for a 10-bed board and care facility on the 6500 block of Desert Queen Avenue. Tonight’s meeting gets underway 5 p.m. at City Hall on Adobe Road.

HEALING CIRCLE AT RAINBOW STEW TOMORROW EVENING

Rainbow Stew is hosting an energy healing circle. Reporter Eric Knabe Fills us in…
On Wednesday June 21, Rainbow Stew will host an energy healing circle.
This circle will be open to the public. Walk in any time between 6 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. No appointment is necessary and there is no charge or fee, though, donations are welcome. Rainbow Stew will also be open for afterhours shopping.