At last night’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council, the council heard from dozens of people who were nearly unanimous in their support of a town ordinance prohibiting commercial marijuana businesses in the town. Managing editor Tami Roleff says council members voted to approve the new ordinance…
“Medical marijuana comes in many forms: oils, salves, ingested pills…. It’s a miracle drug when it comes to reducing pain. Recreational [marijuana] is something different, and as long as you do it at home and to want to be high, great, that’s great, but using it in public is something that’s very disturbing.”
Council member Bob Leone became very emotional as he talked about the benefits of medical marijuana, but as he and many others pointed out, that was not the issue at last night’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council.
Even Jason Elsasser, who once ran a medical marijuana dispensary in the town, and was behind Measure X, to allow two medical marijuana dispensaries in town limits, spoke in favor of the ordinance that would prohibit commercial uses of recreational marijuana.
“I am in favor of keeping ordinance as it is. If I lived in a nice neighborhood and someone started growing next to me, and I had to smell marijuana when I was having dinner with my family, I wouldn’t be that happy about it.”
And council member Robert Lombardo said marijuana laws were certain to change.
“There’s too much uncertainty in the state and federal laws. I think that this is definitely not the time to be considering to make pot shops in town.”
The council tweaked the title of the ordinance, changing “prohibiting” personal marijuana uses to “regulating” it, because residents can still grow up to six plants in their home, assuming they apply for a permit to do so.

The Yucca Valley ordinance will prohibit marijuana dispensaries, commercial marijuana cultivation, deliveries, testing, and distribution.
The council tweaked the title of the ordinance, changing “prohibiting” personal marijuana uses to “regulating” it, because residents can still grow up to six plants in their home, assuming they apply for a permit to do so.
To apply for a permit, residents must complete an application form, a site plan of the property, scaled diagram of the floor plan of the home or structure where the marijuana will be grown, and an application fee (to be set by the town council), along with measures to comply with odor control, security, electrical, and a list of equipment used for cultivation. The town has 30 days to review the application. Permits are valid for 1 year and applications with all the same documentation (except the cultivation plan) must be submitted annually.
Permits can be revoked at any time. Appeals are made to the town manager, and then to the courts.
Personal cultivation must be inside a fully enclosed structure, not visible from any neighboring property, no odors detected from neighboring properties, electrical use shall not exceed the maximum rating of the electrical panel, and the structure must remain a residence with functioning cooking, sleeping, and sanitation facilities.
When town staff was questioned on the need for a permit, council members were told a permit would give law enforcement and code enforcement teeth to enforce the ordinance.



A Twentynine Palms woman was arrested Monday, accused of child endangerment and animal cruelty. According to the Sheriff’s Department, a deputy went to a home in the 5800 block of Halsey Avenue in Twentynine Palms about 10 a.m. to assist an animal control officer. The Palm n Paws Animal Shelter had been alerted that two dogs had been left outside in the 115 degree heat with no shade and no water, and the ground temperature was about 145 degrees. While at the home, the deputy realized a girl about 7 years old was in the home with what appeared to be no adult supervision. Deputy Arden entered the unlocked home and found the mother, Natalya McCourt, 27, asleep in a bedroom. While in the home, the deputy saw a child’s arm reaching under another door and discovered two boys, ages 3 and 6, had been locked into their bedroom with no water or access to toilets. The doors had been locked from the outside, and one of the boys was autistic. Natalya McCourt was arrested for investigation of felony child endangerment and felony animal cruelty, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at $100,000.


The San Bernardino County Coroner’s office has identified the body found in the desert in Yucca Valley last week as Luther Anson Junior, 47. Anson was found about 8 a.m. Thursday, June 15, in the desert near Sunnyslope and Palm Avenue by a passer-by. The coroner’s office has not determined a cause of death yet, but said the there was no trauma to the body.


As the extreme heat continues in our Morongo Basin, cooling centers remain open in our desert communities, go to:
http://z1077fm.com/extreme-heat-continues-cooling-centers-open-29-palms-extends-hours/. Managing editor Tami Roleff also has this timely reminder about dogs in hot cars…
On a hot day, temperatures inside of a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous levels. The temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in minutes, regardless of whether the windows are rolled down or not. Dogs can only cool themselves by panting or sweating through their paws. A hot car doesn’t provide enough fresh air for their body temperature to stay at a safe level. Dogs can sustain brain damage or even die in as little as fifteen minutes. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, immediately call your local animal shelter or the Sheriff’s Department at 760-245-4211 or 760-366-3781. Be prepared to provide a vehicle description and license plate number.


The Holcomb fire near Big Bear Lake burned for a second day, prompting fire officials to briefly evacuate an area northeast of Big Bear Lake. The fire has burned 1,200 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest, and was 10 percent contained last night, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire caused rolling power outages Tuesday afternoon as temperatures in the mountains reached into the upper 80s. Areas in the direct path of the smoke were under an advisory from the South Coast Air Quality Management District that conditions were unhealthy Tuesday.
A spot fire burning near Baldwin Lake Road picked up Tuesday afternoon and ran through an area dangerously close to homes causing an evacuation. Just over two hours after the evacuations began, the orders were lifted. The power failure closed the doors to many businesses in the Big Bear area, including gas stations. Other gas stations not affected by the power outage sold out of fuel and were forced to turn away customers. Highway 18 remains closed between the Mitsubishi Cement Plant and Delta Avenue near Baldwin Lake. Several forest roads are closed, as well as a section of the popular Pacific Crest Trail between Highway 18 and Van Duesen Canyon Road. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


The new improv comedy troupe, The Baker’s Dozen, debuted to a sold-out house at Theatre 29 with overflow seating added. Reporter Rebecca Havely was there and offers kudos to the cast…
If you’ve been to see an improv comedy show you know it’s a blast; if you’ve never been its something you’ve got to experience. The Baker’s Dozen” is a newly formed improv comedy troupe at Theatre 29. Director Chris Fleischman held workshops and auditions to choose the 13 cast members that make up The Baker’s Dozen. He leads them through a series of theatre games and scenes with some suggestions from the audience thrown in, but basically it’s a show without a script. In the moment the actors create the story, characters and dialogue. This will make every performance completely unique, and once you’ve tried it you’ll want to come back again and again. Chris Fleischman is adept at leading the troupe and jumping in repeatedly as a cast member. The entire cast made the evening fun; standouts include Graham Cooley, who even threw in a few celebrity impressions; Korey Fleischman; Joseph Rego; Yvonna Mullen; Amy Fangmeyer; and Katie Fleischman. The cast also includes actors Cindy Daigneault, Cam D’Angeles, Lisa Goldberg, Cody Joseph, and Hope Spicer. Since every performance will be totally different you may as well plan to see them all before they sell out.
The next performance by The Baker’s Dozen is July 15, also August 12, September 23, October 28, November 11, and December 30. All performances will begin at 7 p.m. The performances are rated PG 13. Tickets are $10 each; military and seniors are $7; and students with ID are $5. Theatre 29 season ticket holders may attend one performance at no additional charge. For tickets visit theatre29.org or call the Theatre 29 box office at 760-361-4151.


The Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce held its installation of officers and directors at Bistro 29, June 15. The new executive committee and directors are: President, Jacob Smith; Vice-President, Aaron J. Kyle; Treasurer, Jim Brakebill; and Secretary, Denise Cullum. Board members are: Kevin Hatcher, Tim Christians, Wanda Llewellyn, Star Bassion, and Amanda Mann. At the meeting, the Chamber gave its annual awards with Business of the Year a tie, going to both Aaron’s Air Services and the Bowladium Family Fun Center. Individual Member of the Year for 2017 went to Kim Ortamond and Volunteer of the Year to Ann Congdon. The Chamber said the awards recognize the many contributions of the members including their time, energy, innovation and leadership.

Ann Congdon and grandchildren with Congdon’s award for Volunteer of the Year, along with Chamber vice president Aaron Kyle.

Aaron’s Air Services and the Bowladium tied for Business of the Year.

New board members of the 29 Palms Chamber of Commerce are sworn in.


The Morongo Basin Healthcare District board of directors will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. this afternoon, Wednesday, June 21. The sole item on the agenda is a performance evaluation of the chief executive officer, Jackie Combs. The board will take up the evaluation again in another closed session following its regular meeting on Thursday, June 22, at 5:30 p.m. The meetings will be held in district offices at 6530 La Contenta Road, Suite 100, in Yucca Valley.


At Thursday’s (June 22) meeting of the Morongo Basin Transit Authority, directors will begin the meeting with a closed session for an evaluation of its general manager. Under new business, directors will be asked to approve two grants for operating assistance. Directors will also be asked to approve adjustments to the general manager’s contract. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at the MBTA Operations Center, 62405 Verbena Road in Joshua Tree.


The twice-monthly Joshua Basin Water District meeting is tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us what’s on the agenda …
At tonight’s meeting of the Joshua Basin Water District, the board will consider allocating $110,000 for extension of a joint funding agreement with the US Geological Survey. The money would pay for continuation of study begun in 2006. Primarily, the study is tasked with monitoring water quality and flow at the district’s recharge facility, that in addition to separate, Basin-wide monitoring for water quality. Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Joshua Basin Water District offices on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree.


Learn healthy eating habits for the whole family at the free nutrition classes being offered by Reach Out Yucca Valley. The next classes are Thursday, June 22, and June 29, at 5 p.m. They will take place at Reach Out Yucca Valley’s office, 7255 Joshua Lane. Residents who complete a class will be given a gift. For more information call, 909-982-8641.