A 12-year-old student and a parent were both cited at a planned School protest and walkout at La Contenta Middle School this morning. According to the Sheriff’s Department, parents and students of La Contenta Middle School, in Yucca Valley, participated in a protest and school walk out regarding school safety. Sheriff’s Deputies and officers from the California Highway Patrol were on scene to ensure safety of all participants.

During the walk out, a 12-year-old student pulled the fire alarm, which triggered a fire evacuation for all students, even those not participating in the walk out. After investigation, deputies identified the responsible student who was cited for triggering a false fire alarm. The student’s parent was also issued a citation for parental responsibility.

The Sheriff’s Department would like to thank the participating parents for obeying all vehicle and penal codes, and for peacefully protesting on the sidewalk. 


The Morongo Unified School District Board of Trustees reviewed 13 upcoming California education laws at last night’s board meeting. The laws pertain to topics that the school district may need to comply with over the next few years, including school start times; pupil suicide prevention; and student immunization requirements. During the meeting’s public comment period, protestors from La Contenta Middle School lined up to give the board a piece of their mind regarding bullying and fighting at the school. Reporter Andrew Dieleman was there, and files this report…

The MUSD Board of Trustees. From left to right: Assistant Superintendent Sharon Flores, Assistant Superintendent Mike Ghelber, Trustee Kerri Condley, Superintendent Tom Baumgarten, President Hillary Slotta, Trustee Karalee Hargrove, Trustee John Cole, Assistant Superintendent Amy Woods, and District Executive Secretary Linda Hamilton. Trustee Chris Proudfoot was absent for the meeting.

Parents, and grandparents of students from La Conteta Middle School lined up at last night’s school board meeting to show their disapproval of what they called “out-of-control” fighting and bullying taking place at the school. Protestors demonstrated great concern over the situation and demanded the board strictly enforce district anti-bullying policies and add security for student safety. The board showed collective concern over the situation during the meeting. After the meeting, MUSD Superintendent Tom Baumgarten stated that the district takes the concerns seriously and that the district will work with counselors, parents of students, and whoever necessary to create better solutions to the problem.

The board also held its first reading of 10 proposed district policies, regulations, and bylaws; received a positive review of the district’s 2018-2019 financial audit; approved completion of recent construction work at Yucca Valley High School; and approved the district’s 2020 budget calendar. Lastly, the board was treated to an unscheduled robotics demonstration from members of the Twentynine Palms Junior High School Robotics club.

All upcoming California Laws discussed by the board:

  • SB328 – Pupil attendance: school start time
  • AB5 –  Worker status: employees and independent contractors.
  • AB48 –  Education finance: school facilities: Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020.
  • AB1767 –  Pupil suicide prevention policies.
  • AB1097 – Pupil instruction: credit recovery programs: report.
  • AB605 – Special education: assistive technology devices.
  • AB1651 – Licensed educational psychologists: supervision of associates and trainees.
  • AB1240 –  School accountability: local control and accountability plans: state priorities: pupil achievement.
  • SB714 – Immunizations.
  • AB1819 – Inspection of public records: use of requester’s reproduction equipment.
  • AB218 – Damages: childhood sexual assault: statute of limitations.
  • AB493 –  Teachers: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning pupil resources and training.
  • AB1353 – Classified employees: probationary period.


Two Yucca Valley High School coaches are being credited with helping to save the life of a student athlete who collapsed during a soccer game Friday, January 24. According to a report from School District Superintendent Tom Baumgarten, the 10th grade junior varsity student traveled to Cathedral City High School for a regularly scheduled match. During the match, the student suddenly collapsed on the field and was unresponsive. Yucca Valley High School Coaches Jolene Pessa and Dawn Boatman, along with a Cathedral City High School trainer and the game official, administered CPR to the student until medics arrived. The student was taken by ambulance to an area hospital. The student survived and is reportedly on her way to making a full recovery.


Last night’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council should have included a pitcher’s mound for the 10 organizations and projects that took turns making their pitch to receive grant funding. Reporter Heather Clisby was there…

Lori Cosgriff makes a pitch to the Twentynine Palms City Council for Community Development Block Grant funds. Heather Clisby photo.

One by one, speakers approached the lectern and made their three-minute pitch to the Twentynine Palms City Council, hoping to be included on the final recipient list for Community Development Block Grant funds.

Astrid Johnson, President, Morongo Basin ARCH makes her pitch to the Twentynine Palms City Council for Community Development Block Grant funds. Heather Clisby photo.

The council heard from Reach Out Morongo Basin; 29 Palms Community Food Pantry; Caron-Saxe Foundation for Advancement of Science & the Arts; Mil-Tree Veteran Project; San Bernardino County Library; Food For Life; Morongo Basin Arch; Family Service Association; Power, Unity, Respect, Equity; and even a pitch on behalf of Project Phoenix. The list will be announced at the next Council meeting on February 11.

Cheryl Montelle makes her pitch to the Twentynine Palms City Council for Community Development Block Grant funds. Heather Clisby photo.

The council then unanimously authorized Mayor Joel Klink to send an opposition letter to the state senate regarding SB50.  Designed to address the housing shortage in California, Councilman Daniel Mintz noted that the bill could potentially “erode our local control” over building and planning matters. The bill has moved out of subcommittee on to the senate floor and will be heard Monday.

Steve Caron from the Caron-Saxe Foundation for Advancement of Science & the Arts makes a pitch to the Twentynine Palms City Council for Community Development Block Grant funds. Heather Clisby photo.

At the meeting’s close, various council members noted that a utility pole for the intersection of Utah Trail and Hwy 62 has arrived so CalTrans should have the stoplight functional in a few weeks.

Tom Donahue, Program Administrator, Family Service Association makes a pitch to the Twentynine Palms City Council for Community Development Block Grant funds. Heather Clisby photo.


Longtime Hi-Desert Water District Board member Dan Munsey will resign his seat effective February 29, 2020, due to the demands of his career as Fire Chief for the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District. 

San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey

“The experience and relationships I have formed while on the Board will last a lifetime, but due to my career, I am no longer able to dedicate the time both the district and constituents deserve,” said Munsey, who was appointed Fire Chief in November.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve with this Board for the last decade, to watch the District employees grow and serve in amazing ways, and an honor to have been elected and re-elected by the members our community.”

Munsey was first appointed to the Board in 2009, followed by being elected. During his tenure, the District secured more than $26 million in state and federal grant funding for the area’s first municipal sewer system. He was President of the Board in 2019 when HDWD cut the ribbon at the newly constructed wastewater treatment plant and began operating the sewer system.

“Dan has been a guiding light for Hi-Desert Water District for more than a decade and his contributions to the region have been significant,” Board President Roger Mayes said. “I speak for the entire Board when I say we will miss his wisdom, leadership and sense of humor that was so important in helping us reach consensus on a number of issues.”

The remaining Board members will vote to either appoint a new director or call an election to fill the vacancy within 60 days after Munsey’s last day.