California will allow schools, camps, bars, gyms, and other sectors to begin reopening this Friday, June 12. These are among several new businesses and activities the State Department of Public Health announced can reopen in those counties that have met certain thresholds on the number of cases, testing and preparedness.

The state issued new guidance documents for these new sectors, giving each business or activity adequate time to create reopening plans. The sectors that will be allowed to reopen Friday are:

· Bars and wineries

·Family entertainment centers

· Museums, galleries and zoos

· Fitness facilities

· Campgrounds

· Hotels

· Satellite wagering facilities

Not included were nail salons, movie theaters and youth sports, which are not authorized to reopen.

Most of the new businesses are part of “Stage 3” on the state’s four-stage re-opening plan.

Small businesses that need assistance complying with the guidance should look into the San Bernardino County COVID Compliant Business Partnership Program, Participating small businesses can receive up to $2,500 in funding to pay for improvement, equipment, and supplies needed to comply with safety guidance.


Confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in the Morongo Basin. The county reported Friday that confirmed cases in our area are now up to 53, up from 50 on Wednesday. Two additional cases are in Yucca Valley, which now has 19 confirmed cases, and one additional case in Twentynine Palms, which now has 12. There are 15 cases in Joshua Tree and seven in Morongo Valley.

In the county, confirmed cases are up to 6,040, with 3,553 cases listed as “recovered” on the county’s COVID-19 website. The doubling time is now estimated at 16.6 days, compared to about five days in March.

A free walk-up testing site will be at Copper Mountain College for about two more weeks. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more information about the free testing…

While appointments are required to be tested for COVID-19 at Copper Mountain College, residents do not need to show symptoms. The county is now also offering serology testing, for as long as supplies last. Serology testing indicates if residents have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past. Even residents who think they have never been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested; the more people who are tested, the lower the county’s positive rate will be. One metric for determining whether a county can reopen is whether it has kept new cases over the last 14 days to less than 25 per 100,000 residents; San Bernardino’s rate was 84.7 as of Friday.


When county supervisors meet in San Bernardino tomorrow the proceedings will once again be open to the public, as will be the video conferencing center in the county government building in Joshua Tree. In all cases, strict social distancing will be required, as will face masks. Here’s reporter Mike Lipsitz to tell us what’s on the agenda…

At tomorrow’s 10 a.m. meeting, the board is expected to approve a $100,000 increase to the contract for crisis residential treatment services at Valley Star Behavioral Health in Joshua Tree. The $12 million contract runs through June 2022.

The County’s Mental Health Plan provides behavioral health treatment services for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.  as a result of an increase need by consumers for these residential treatment services. The site provides crisis intervention for individuals diagnosed with mental health and co-occurring disorders including assessments, treatment plan development, collateral services, crisis intervention, medication support services, and individual and group therapy. 

Supervisors are also expected to approve a $31,235 contract extension to allow one probation officer to continue for one year at Morongo Unified School District. For more than 20 years, the Department has used various grants in combination with school district revenue to fund the services of school probation officers. These officers work with students and their families to provide necessary intervention/prevention services in response to problemsthat reach beyond the school setting and affect the student’s academic progress. These intervention/prevention efforts often result in reduced student delinquency and improved classroom attendance and performance.

And then following a public hearing supervisors will consider updates to the contract with Burrtec Waste & Recycling Services for handling of organic waste made necessary since passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 1826 requiring businesses to recycle their organic waste and local jurisdictions to implement organic waste recycling programs to divert organic waste generated from businesses from landfills. The proposed amendments to the Solid Waste Handling Franchise Agreements will (1) add commercial food waste rates, (2) add an Organic Waste Recycling Program in all CFAs that includes outreach, education and monitoring, and (3) add/replace and revise certain exhibits.

Then a second public hearing concerns the County Fire Protection District’s modified budget for 2020-2021 which includes a $7.5 million increase for the fiscal year. The District is a community-based, all hazard emergency services organization that covers approximately 19,000 square miles SBCFPD provides emergency mitigation and management for fire suppression, emergency medical services, ambulance services, hazardous materials response, arson investigation, technical rescue including water borne, flooding and mudslide, winter rescue operations, hazard abatement, and terrorism/weapons of mass destruction. SBCFPD also provides for the management of community safety services such as fire prevention, building construction plans/permits, and household hazardous waste.

While the public may attend in person, everyone is strongly encouraged to attend the meeting via the live video stream. You can access that stream by following a link at

The following table displays the 2020-21 Recommended Budget for SBCFPD:

  Budget Unit2019-20 Modified Budget2020-21 Recommended BudgetIncrease (Decrease) in Budget
  Mountain Regional Service Zone$23,884,106$24,253,799$369,693
  North Desert Regional Svc Zone$50,313,777$50,761,975$448,198
  South Desert Regional Svc Zone$21,024,885$21,698,913$674,028
  Valley Regional Service Zone$112,900,612$111,003,205($1,897,407)
  Hazardous Materials$9,848,031$10,060,866$212,835
  Household Hazardous Waste$3,938,842$4,314,674$375,832
  Office of Emergency Services$5,733,893$4,759,831($974,062)
  Cal-OES Grant Programs$3,868,209$8,250,811$4,382,602
Total Requirements$285,392,663$292,990,405$7,597,742
Budgeted Staffing:   
  Mountain Regional Service Zone9089(1)
  North Desert Regional Svc Zone187188                     1
  South Desert Regional Svc Zone8075(5)
  Valley Regional Service Zone340343                     3
  Hazardous Materials4848                      –
  Household Hazardous Waste2326                     3
  Office of Emergency Services2018(2)
Total Budgeted Staffing1,0431,039(4)


An argument over how to treat a child escalated into an assault in Landers late Thursday night. Jeremiah Johnson, 18, of Landers, was sitting in his aunt’s back yard in the 58400 block of Stearman Road in Landers when they began arguing about how Johnson treated his aunt’s child. The woman and child went in the house, locked Johnson outside, and locked themselves into a bedroom. Johnson forced his way back into the house through a window and punched a hole in the bedroom door. The woman said Johnson grabbed her and dragged her down the hallway. She said he punched and kicked her face, arms, and legs for about 30 minutes, as well as choked her. The victim had large bruises on her arms, legs, face, eyes, and back of her ears. Jeremiah Johnson was arrested about 1:30 a.m. Friday for investigation of aggravated battery causing serious injury, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $100,000.


A Yucca Valley woman was arrested Friday, after she tried to book a motel room with a stolen credit card. Deputies were called to the 73800 block of Sunnyvale Drive in Twentynine Palms about 9:30 a.m. Friday where they were told that Christina Godfrey, 33, had booked a room online, but when she showed up at the location, she did not have the credit card used to book the room. The clerk said that Godfrey became argumentative. Deputies determined that Godfrey was in possession of drugs, stolen mail, including stolen identity cards, prepaid credit cards, and checks. Christina Godfrey was arrested for investigation of identity fraud, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at zero dollars.