$2.5 MILLION CLAIM FILED AGAINST THE CITY OF TWENTYNINE PALMS FOR WATER DAMAGE

A Twentynine Palms commercial property owner filed a claim for $2.5 million against the city, alleging the city caused water damage to his property. Minh Dang purchased the property at 5025 Adobe Road, a former miniature golf and go-cart attraction, for $70,000 in January of 2015. Dang is demanding the city pay him or fix damage caused by storm drainage from a pipe he claims the city installed, and remove the pipe. He is also demanding that the city not trespass onto his property. City Manager Frank Luckino said the flap with Dang started after city code enforcement cited him for having an abandoned vending machine on the property, and for weed abatement and abandoned vehicles. Luckino said Dang is also operating a business there without a business license or sign permit. The initial demand from Dang to the city occurred right after he was served with a 14-day notice of violation. Luckino told Z107.7 News that the storm drain in question was not installed by the city but was part of inherited county infrastructure. Luckino said that the general rule for federal water law is “It is illegal to change the pathway of the water; it can only be retained or slowed down.” Z107.7 News went to the property and found the storm drain in question collects water from the west side of Adobe Road and channels it under the road to the east at a natural low spot on Adobe Road that historically collects storm water to run east along the south property line. A neighboring business said Dang exacerbated the drainage problem himself by using a tractor to expand the existing runoff channel. Luckino said if Dang had done his due diligence when he purchased the property, he would have known it was a natural drainage area. Luckino said the city’s insurance pool will investigate the claim, and code enforcement can get a warrant to enter any property to ensure public safety.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT WITH STARBUCKS ON THE AGENDA

The Twentynine Palms City Council meets tonight with coffee on its agenda. Reporter David Haldane explains…
Twentynine Palms may be a step closer to having its own Starbucks after tonight’s city council meeting. Among the public hearings on the agenda is one pertaining to a Newport Beach developer’s application to build the 1,800 square-foot drive-through coffee shop in a vacant lot at the northwest corner of Highway 62 and Adobe Road.
The plan calls, among other things, for the sidewalk to be removed and the building set back from the street. In addition to 25 parking spaces, the project would include the usual counter service, kitchen prep and dining room areas as well as restrooms and an outdoor patio.
In other business, the council will hold the first of a series of public hearings on whether to switch from at-large to by-district elections in response to a letter—received by dozens of cities and public agencies statewide—threatening lawsuits if the change isn’t made.
Tonight’s meeting gets underway 6 p.m. at City Hall on Adobe Road.

TWO INJURED, POWER OUT FOR HOURS, FOLLOWING SUSPECTED DUI ROLLOVER CRASH IN YUCCA MESA

Two people were injured, and power was out for hours, following a high-speed single-vehicle rollover crash in Yucca Mesa Saturday. According to California Highway Patrol Officer Simon Miller, Jeremy Roses, 28, of Yucca Valley, was driving his 2001 Dodge Durango southbound on Warren Vista Avenue about 5:15 p.m. Witnesses said Roses was driving in excess of 80 miles per hour on the dirt road when he lost control and the SUV overturned into the open desert south of Starlight Mesa Road before colliding with a power pole. The power lines landed on top of the Durango and power was out in the Yucca Mesa area for hours while Southern California Edison worked to repair the line. Roses’ passenger, Aaron Erichson, 23, of Yucca Valley, was thrown from the vehicle and sustained major injuries. Witnesses helped Roses and his 2-year-old son out of the Durango. Roses, who suffered minor injuries, and his son, who was uninjured, made their way to Hi-Desert Medical Center where they were contacted by the CHP. Jeremy Roses was arrested for investigation of felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and felony child endangerment, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $100,000. Aaron Erichson was flown to Loma Linda Medical Center and treated for major injuries. The collision is still under investigation by the CHP.

YUCCA VALLEY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER IN 2013 SHOOTING DEATH

The man accused of shooting and killing a Yucca Valley man more than four years ago pleaded guilty last week to voluntary manslaughter. Brian Cline, 34, accepted a plea bargain Wednesday for killing Martin Reyes, 35, on April 18, 2013. Cline and Reyes were arguing in the 6300 block of Hermosa Avenue in Yucca Valley when Cline pulled out a gun and fired several shots at Reyes, hitting him once in the face. Cline then fled on foot, jumping fences, before he was found trying to hide on a home’s roof at Hermosa and Barron Drive. Martin Reyes was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center where he died. Cline pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, and discharging a firearm. Brian Cline will be sentenced December 13.

TWENTYNINE PALMS COUPLE ACCUSED OF CHILD ENDANGERMENT

Two Twentynine Palms parents were arrested Thursday, accused of child endangerment. According to a Sheriff’s report, a deputy went to a home in the 72300 block of Old Dale Road about noon Thursday for a welfare check. The deputy determined the home was filthy with a strong odor of urine and standing water, and the yard was filled with refuse. The deputy also discovered hypodermic needles and suspected drugs within reach of the children, ages 4 and 5. The parents, Robert Hall, 34, and Amanda Osuna, 41, were arrested for investigation of felony child endangerment. Robert Hall was released Saturday from the Morongo Basin Jail on $100,000 bail; Amanda Osuna was released Friday on $100,000 bail. The Department of Child and Family Services took custody of the children.

TWENTYNINE PALMS COUPLE VICTIM OF RENTAL SCAM

The Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department has received a report of residents who were the victims of fraud when trying to rent a home in Twentynine Palms. The victims responded to an online ad, and paid a deposit and first and last month’s rent. However, when they showed up on moving day, another couple was living in the house they thought they had rented in the 72600 block of Sullivan Road and the “landlord” has disappeared with their money. The victims say they now have no place to live. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers these tips to help you avoid rental scams…
Real estate experts offer the following tips when renting a home. Don’t pay cash for your rental, or send deposits through Western Union or Moneygrams; use a check or cashier’s check. Meet the landlord or property manager in person at the rental unit. Demand a written lease, and have it signed in your presence. The lease should identify the landlord or property manager with name, address, and phone number. Verify these are accurate. Be wary of landlords who don’t perform a background or credit check on you. To reduce your chances of being scammed, use licensed property manager or real estate agents. If you are the victim of a scam, notify the Sheriff’s Department. And if you found the rental ad online, notify the website and the Federal Trade Commission.

MARKING UP MAPS AT THE MORONGO BASIN MAC MEETING

If you like marking up maps, you should have been at the latest MAC meeting last night. Reporter David Haldane was there and explains…
Last night’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council featured a large map with colored markers. Its purpose: to encourage attendees to trace their favorite bike paths.
The art was part of an effort by KOA Corporation, a transportation engineering firm retained by the county, to elicit input on something called the Morongo Basin Active Transportation Plan. Funded by a $200,000 grant from the Southern California Association of Governments, the project’s goal is to create a transportation network allowing area residents to travel without using their cars.
KOA spokeswoman Min Zhou said the company will spend a year gathering community input before presenting a detailed plan in early 2019. To help shape it, call 760-820-9166 or email your ideas to MorongoBasinATP@gmail.com.

SCHOOL BOARD TO HEAR PLAN FOR YUCCA VALLEY TOWN CENTER MALL PROJECT

The Morongo Unified School District Board of Education tonight gets an update on its new Academy of College and Career Excellence and is likely to designate December 12 as its annual reorganization meeting during which new officers will be selected. The Academy of College and Career Excellence is a pet project of Supervisor Tom Baumgarten aimed at using 30,000 square feet of empty space at Yucca Valley’s Town Center Mall to train students and community members for careers in such fields as robotics, child development, culinary arts and pharmacy technology. Tonight’s school board meeting gets underway 7 p.m. at Joshua Tree Elementary School on Sunburst Avenue.

MDLT WORKING TO ACQUIRE 630 ACRE “JUNIPER CANYON” PROPERTY

The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is working to acquire a property in south Joshua Tree on the border of the national park area; MDLT has named the property “Juniper Canyon.” Juniper Canyon features 630 acres of pristine desert lands abundant with desert tortoise and pinyon-juniper habitat near the remote Covington Flats entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The organization has been working for over seven years to acquire the property and hopes to eventually convey the land to Joshua Tree National Park. MDLT’s goal is to raise $11,000 to finalize the purchase of Juniper Canyon by participating in this year’s Give BIG San Bernardino County, on Tuesday, November 28.
To donate:  http://www.mdlt.org/givebig2017.

EMPTY BOWLS BENEFIT FOR REACH-OUT MORONGO BASIN SUNDAY

The Center for Healthy Generations in Yucca Valley will hold the Empty Bowls Benefit to raise money for the Morongo Basin food banks. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has more information on the event and how you can attend…
The Empty Bowls Benefit combines delicious home-made soups and breads made by local cooks, served in beautiful hand-made bowls made by local artists. The non-profit event will take place on Sunday, November 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Center for Healthy Generations in Yucca Valley. The $20 per-person donation includes the meal and the hand-made bowl, which you can keep. Line tokens will be handed out starting at 3:45 p.m.; the first to arrive get first pick of a bowl. All proceeds go to the Community Food Pantry of the Morongo Basin and the 29 Palm Community Food Pantry. For additional information, contact Amara Alban at 760-228-0290, or email info@MazAmar.com

TREASURE SALE AT THE YUCCA VALLEY SENIOR CENTER WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY

There will be a treasure sale at the Yucca Valley Senior Center tomorrow and next month. A little of this and a little of that. Something old, something new, crafts and jewelry too. From everyday finds to Christmas delights, beaded bags and formals to add to your beautiful nights. Holiday cookies, vegan, organic, and gluten-free will be available at the Yucca Valley Senior Center Treasure Sale. Wednesdays November 15, and December 6, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For table information, call 760-601-5978.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT

In college sports, the Copper Mountain College men’s and women’s basketball teams will play a double-header tonight against Imperial Valley College. The women will play their home opener in the Bell Center gym at 5 p.m., followed by the men at 7 p.m.