GOVERNMENT BEGINS TO SHUT DOWN

Congress’s inability to pass a bi-partisan bill Friday to continue funding the government means that the federal government shut down at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Most federal civilian employees will be furloughed, except those considered essential. Members of the military are considered essential, and will still report to work.

A National Parks press release states that the country’s 401 national parks will remain open, although park visitor centers will be closed, and rangers will not be available for guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response. No permits will be issued, trash will not be collected, restrooms and campgrounds will not be maintained, and educational programs will not be held. The press release states that campers will not be asked to leave, but no campground services will be available, including check-in/check-out, and there is no guarantee reserved campsites will be ready and available.

The National Institutes of Health will stop accepting patients and will not answer phone calls, as 77 percent of its staff is furloughed.
The Centers for Disease Control will furlough 63 percent of its staff, although it will continue to monitor the flu outbreak.
Veterans hospitals, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, air traffic controllers, federal prisons, border patrol, and the postal service will not be affected by the shutdown.

Facilities and services will close on board the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

MARINE AND FAMILY PROGRAMS:
• Combat Center Library will close
• Community Counseling Center will close with the exception of the Marine Intercept Program reporting
• Substance Abuse Counseling Center will remain open
• Family Advocacy will close (FAP manager will not be furloughed and will be able to handle emergency cases only)
• Sexual Assault Prevention and Response will remain open
• Education Center services will be closed. The Education Center building will be open to facilities ongoing college classes
• School Liaison, Information & Referral, Personal Financial Management, and Marine Corps Family Team Building Services will be closed
• Family readiness Officers will be furloughed
• Child Care, Transition Readiness (TRS) and Personal Readiness (PRS) services will be unaffected by the furlough

SEMPER FIT:
• Athletic Fields will not be mowed and maintained
• Community Center will be closed for events (the small gym will remain open)
• No recreational swimming will be offered. Officer/SNCO pool will close. Training Tank will be open for unit training only.
• Wood Hobby Shop will close
• Outdoor Adventures will close
• Intramural Sports will cease
• Youth Sports will cease
• Theater, Golf Course, Bowling Alley, ITT, HITT and Fitness Centers will not be affected by the furlough

Update: An earlier version of this story stated that military personnel would continue to be paid. Military personnel will be paid if Congress passes a bill authorizing the payment, which it is expected to do if the shutdown drags on.

CLASS OFFERED TO HELP YOU KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Are you having difficulty keeping your New Year’s resolution? Rainbow Stew is offering a class that could help. Reporter Eric Knabe fills in the details…

Rainbow Stew will host a class with Anne Fernandez for keeping resolutions, Sunday, January 21, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Rainbow Stew. Whether you want to lose weight, eat healthier, or to change habits, this class is for you. Are you ready to make a commitment to change? Access tools to help you stay true to your commitments. The class fee is $25. Bring a pen and paper. Call Anne if you have any questions: 310-433-2083. Rainbow Stew is located on the south side of the highway in Old Town Yucca Valley.

SUNDAY BREAKFAST AT JOSHUA TREE VFW

The Joshua Tree Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7264 will serve up pancake breakfast tomorrow from 8 to 11. And don’t forget Taco Wednesday from 11 to 1. The VFW Post is located at 6402 Veterans Way in downtown Joshua Tree.

THEATRE 29 PRESENTS “THE ODD COUPLE”

Theater 29 is offering a glimpse into what some might describe as a strange relationship. Reporter Rebecca Havely has the details…

The Neil Simon comedy, “The Odd Couple,” is running now at Theatre 29. It’s the story of two friends, both recently divorced, who decide to become roommates. Felix is a neat freak and Oscar’s a slob, which makes for some hysterical situations. The show runs Friday and Saturday nights at 7 and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 through February 4. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12. for Seniors, Military and Students with ID and they’re available on line at theatre29.org or by calling the Theatre 29 box office at 760-361-4151.

REGISTRATION STARTS FOR YOUTH SOCCER

The Morongo Basin Youth Soccer Association will hold registration for its spring league today, January 20, and next Saturday, January 27. Registration is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days in the conference room at the Brehm Sports Complex on Little League Drive in Yucca Valley. The cost is $65 for new players; $55 for returning players. Parents should bring their child’s birth certificate to registration. Practice starts February 5 and games start March 3.

THE FUTURE CONSIDERED AT LIFETREE CAFÉ

The trends that will affect how we live in the future will be explored at Lifetree Café Sunday. Managing editor Tami Roleff sneaks a peak into the future…
Lifetree Café’s free program Sunday, “News From the Future: A Futurist Gives a Sneak Peek,” features a filmed interview with Thomas Frey, senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute. Participants will hear about key developments that Frey predicts will significantly change daily life in the coming decades, including a look at vocational developments in the near future. Lifetree Café is located in Twentynine Palms behind Little Church of the Desert at Veterans Way and Ocotillo Avenue. For more information, call Brad White-Findeisen at 760-217-2597 or scoutmaster229@gmail.com.

DESERT HOT SPRINGS TO OFFER CONCERT CRAWL WITH THREE CONCERTS

The city of Desert Hot Springs will start its fourth season of classical concerts tomorrow, January 21, with an afternoon concert crawl. Three different concerts will be held three times at three venues in the city, making it possible for attendees to enjoy all three concerts in whichever order they choose. The free concerts will be held at 2 p.m., 2:45 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. at each venue: Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, with Anne Ransom on the harp; Miracle Springs Resort and Spa, with Molly Gebrian on the viola; and Desert Cove Assisted Living Community with Margaret Irwin-Brandon on the harpsichord.

STAR PARTY AT SKY’S THE LIMIT TONIGHT

Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center invites stargazers to enjoy the desert night sky of the winter Milky Way. A variety of telescopes will be available for guests to view the incredible cosmic sights. Here’s reporter Tanisha Cureton with the details…

Mid-January is the best time to view several of the brightest constellations that stand out against the star fields of the winter Milky Way. Guests will have the opportunity to see several of the brightest constellations like the Orion Nebula, double cluster and many more. This free event will be held Saturday, January 20, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The observatory is just outside the main entrance to Joshua Tree National Park at 9697 Utah Trail, 29 Palms. For additional information call 760-401-3004.

BLOOD DRIVE AT YUCCA VALLEY VONS TODAY

Lifestream will conduct a community blood drive today at Vons in Yucca Valley from noon to 5 p.m. Donors with O-negative blood are especially needed. Donors will receive incentives. In addition, Lifestream now offers donors free cholesterol screening and a mini physical with every blood donation. For more information, call 800-TRY-GIVING.

IMPROV WORKSHOPS OFFERED AT THEATRE 29

Theatre 29’s resident improvisational comedy troupe, the “Baker’s Dozen,” will be offering two workshops this month. With more details here’s Rebecca Havely…

The “Baker’s Dozen” Improvisational Comedy troupe was formed as Theatre 29 wanted to build upon recent accomplishments with more experimental and diverse forms of performance art training. Improvisation is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment. After a wildly successful first season more workshops are being offered for artists looking to increase their on-stage proficiency or for those wishing to join the troupe. The workshops will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on January 20 and January 27 at Theatre 29, 73637 Sullivan Rd. in 29 Palms. Join either or both sessions free of charge.