1 KILLED, 1 INJURED IN JOSHUA TREE CRASH

One man is dead and another critically injured following a two-vehicle crash in Joshua Tree Wednesday morning. According to the California Highway Patrol, Bronson White, 62, of Twentynine Palms, was driving a 2003 Ford Thunderbird westbound on Highway 62. About 10:43 a.m., for unknown reasons White’s car drifted onto the north shoulder of the highway, just west of California Avenue. White lost control and turned the wheel of the Thunderbird to the left; the car began to spin and crossed all lanes of traffic before the right front of the car struck the left front of a Toyota pickup truck traveling eastbound on the highway. After the collision, both vehicles came to rest in the number 2 lane and south shoulder of the highway. Firefighters from Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and Yucca Mesa had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate the pickup truck driver, who was identified only as being in his 70s, pending notification of next of kin. The truck driver was taken by Morongo Basin Ambulance to Hi-Desert Medical Center and then flown to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs where he was pronounced deceased. Bronson White also suffered critical injuries and was taken by MBA to Hi-Desert Medical Center. Seatbelts were used by both drivers. Fire and paramedic crews were on scene for about 2 ½ hours. The exact cause of this crash is still under investigation by CHP Officer Griffin.

The driver of the Toyota pickup truck was flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs where he was pronounced deceased.. Photo courtesy San Bernardino County Fire Department

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL APPROVES COVID-19 ASSISTANCE, INCREASE IN TRASH FEES

The Twentynine Palms City Council honored two longstanding city employees last night before getting down to business. Reporter Heather Clisby was there…

With City Manager Frank Luckino calling it “bittersweet,” the Twentynine Palms City Council honored 50 years of service in bidding goodbye to retiring city employees, Randy Councell and Noel Perdue.

Public Works Superintendent Noel Perdue accepts gratitude from Councilmember Daniel Mintz as Perdue retires after 21 years. Heather Clisby photo
Community Services Director Randy Councell with Mayor Joel Klink. Councell is retiring after 29 years with the city. Heather Clisby photo

The council then authorized the allocation of $361,000 in funding from the CARES Act to provide assistance to businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. San Bernardino County is also offering the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program, which provides $2,500 to businesses with 100 employees or fewer, and the city is matching that amount.

The council approved the purchase of eight properties that will be utilized for the affordable housing component of Project Phoenix.

Resident and commercial rates for solid waste and recycling will soon rise starting with the next property tax bill. Burrtec VP Frank Orlett explained that the rate increase is necessitated by a decrease in global recycling markets. Average household increase would be about $27 annually.

The council also approved the development of an impact fee for street improvements while eliminating the requirement for curb, gutter, and sidewalks on residential lots, leaving room for flexibility.

The next meeting of the city council will take place on August 25.

Community Development Director Travis Clark addresses the Council. Heather Clisby photo

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICE JIM THORNBURG RESIGNS

In City of Twentynine Palms news, longtime code enforcement officer Jim Thornburg resigned Monday, Thornburg’s resignation was effective immediately. City Manager Frank Luckino confirmed the resignation but said he could not comment as it was a personnel matter. Jim Thornburg had joined the city staff after a stint in the Marine Corps and a subsequent career with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department where he retired as a sergeant.

YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES MURAL ORDINANCE

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission held its first meeting in a couple weeks yesterday. Reporter Joshua King has the details…

Yesterday’s meeting covered two major agenda items. The first item discussed was the limitation of Conditional Use Permit and Site Plan Reviews. The Planning Commission has approved the proposed recommendation, which is to add a limit to both the amount of extensions one can request for a project, as well as the amount of years an extension can be. The new ordinance will grant a potential seven year development period for projects, with three years for the initial timeline, while allowing for up to two two-year long extensions.

After that, the Planning Commission voted to approve and send to the Town Council their ordinances for murals and signs in Old Town Yucca. A big change for the mural requirements was the removal of the Desert Western theme requirement and instead replacing that with a requirement for Yucca Valley’s character, flora, and fauna as a theme, although any mural designs are welcome to apply. The paint must also be long lasting as well as graffiti-resistant.

The Planning Commission is expected to review mural placement whereas the Parks and Recreation department will handle mural design approval. Some members of the public had comments, with most members voicing their approval of the changes.

STREET PROJECTS THIS WEEK IN THE TOWN OF YUCCA VALLEY

Multiple street projects are on-going in Yucca Valley this week. The town is paving Pima Trail and installing curbs, gutters, and driveways, and paving the alley from Palm to Grand Avenue.

In addition to the new paving projects, crack sealing will be occurring on 11 streets ranging from Buena Vista Drive to Palomar Avenue. Crack sealing is the first step prior to the slurry seal of the streets, and extends the life of the pavement to keep them from deteriorating to such a degree that road reconstruction is necessary.

  • Buena Vista Drive: SR247 to Yucca Mesa
  • Skyline Ranch Road: SR 247 to Malin Way
  • Malin Way: Skyline Ranch Road to Paseo Los Ninos
  • Pioneertown Road: Yucca Trail to town limit
  • Mohawk Trail: SR62 to Sunnyslope Drive
  • Acoma Trail: SR62 to Golden Bee Drive
  • Goldenbee Drive: Sage Avenue to Joshua Lane
  • Palomar Avenue: Joshua Lane to Onaga Trail
  • Onaga Trail: Alaba Avenue to Palomar Avenue
  • Yucca Trail: SR62 to Wamego Trail
  • Palisade Drive: Avalon Avenue to the end