TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN IN FATAL CRASH DISCOVERED TUESDAY MORNING

We have a little more information about a fatal crash in Twentynine Palms. According to the Sheriff’s Department, a Twentynine Palms man was driving a Toyota pick-up truck on Valle Vista Road when he lost control for unknown reasons near Monte Vista Street. The truck left the road and rolled over; the driver was ejected from the truck and was pronounced deceased at the scene. County Fire Captain Danny Stamps said the crash happened sometime Sunday night/Monday morning; paramedics were called to the scene at 6:44 a.m. Monday morning when the crash was discovered. The victim’s identification has not been released yet pending notification of next of kin.

TWENTYNINE PALMS MOBILE HOME DAMAGED IN FIRE TUESDAY

A mobile home was damaged in a fire in Twentynine Palms Tuesday afternoon. County Fire Battalion Chief Mike O’Bier said firefighters from Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and the Combat Center were called to a single-wide mobile home on fire in the 4500 block of Adobe Road just after 1 p.m. The single male resident was outside when firefighters arrived. The fire appeared to have started outside near the water heater closet. The American Red Cross was called to help the resident. The cause is under investigation.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL SUPPORTS MEASURE J

Morongo Unified School District Superintendent Tom Baumgarten gave a surprise presentation at last night’s Yucca Valley Town Council meeting about the district’s plans for holding hybrid classes starting in January. He said the students’ desks have already been spaced out six feet. One day will be set aside each week for deep cleaning. Half of the district’s employees will be tested for COVID-19 each month. The district is using $1.2 million from federal funds allocated for the COVID crisis to install internet connections at each school for students to use for online learning. But, he added, it will be a challenge to keep the students separated from each other at meals and during recess. Managing editor Tami Roleff says the town council also discussed the two measures concerning the county charter that are on the ballot…

San Bernardino County is so large that it covers, or touches on, 20 counties in northern California.

San Bernardino County is more than 20,000 square miles, has more than 20,000 county employees, and has a $6 billion budget. Yucca Valley Town Council members agreed that slashing the county supervisors’ salary to $60,000 per year (which includes travel and benefits in that amount), would mean that only the wealthy could afford to become a supervisor, or that supervisors could only work part-time at their supervisor job. Despite pleas from three local residents to support Measure K—which, besides cutting the salary to $60,000, would limit supervisors to one term—the council voted 5-0 to support a resolution in favor of Measure J and oppose Measure K.

Yucca Valley town staff recommended that the town council approve a resolution opposing Measure K.
Yucca Valley Town Staff recommended that the town council approve a resolution supporting Measure J.

The council learned that the town’s budget didn’t fare as badly as projected back in March when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit. While sales tax revenues from auto sales and restaurants were down significantly at the fiscal year end, online sales tax revenues were higher than expected, and the transient occupancy tax for short-term vacation rentals exceeded the budget projections by more than $100,000. Property tax revenues also increased. It’s unknown if the positive numbers in the budget are due to stimulus spending, and will then decline in the next quarter, or some other factor. With the county remaining in the most restricted tier, sales tax revenues for auto sales and restaurants are expected to remain below normal for at least the next quarter. The council agreed to transfer some of the excess revenue into the town’s reserve fund to make sure the town can remain fiscally sustainable in case there is another economic downturn.

Sale tax revenues in Yucca Valley bounced back during the second quarter of 2020.
Despite the COVID-19 economic crisis, the town’s budget did better than expected.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY REMAINS IN THE PURPLE TIER FOR CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS

San Bernardino County remains in the state’s widespread coronavirus risk tier, which means many non-essential indoor business operations are still closed, but some of the county’s numbers that determine the ranking improved slightly. The news came Tuesday (October 20), as seven more people were reported to have died from COVID-19.

The state announces risk-level tier assignments on Tuesdays and the county is still in the purple tier. The number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents, adjusted for testing volume, went up from 10.3 last week to 10.9 this week, but the other metric the state uses went down.

The percentage of tests that came back positive fell from 6.5% last week to 6.2%, and the positivity rate for socioeconomically challenged neighborhoods dropped from 8.7% to 8.5%.

San Bernardino County’s testing is also up. The county conducted 233.6 tests per 100,000 residents, up from 197 the week before.

Neighboring Riverside County, which had been in the less-restrictive red tier for almost a month, joined San Bernardino in the purple tier Tuesday.

NATIONWIDE PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY SATURDAY

Expired prescriptions medications are a hazard that could lead to accidental poisoning or overdose, which is why the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration have teamed up to take back your old, forgotten drugs. Reporter Heather Clisby has details …

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration have joined forces to rid your medicine cabinet of risky pills. Saturday, October 24, is Take-Back Day, where residents can bring unused or expired pills from 10 a. m. until 2 p.m. to the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station at 63665 29 Palms Highway in Joshua Tree. The service is free and anonymous.

Last October’s event garnered nearly 883,000 pounds (441.5 tons) of potentially dangerous expired and unwanted prescription drugs from 6,200 collection sites nationwide. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and keeps pills out of the water system. Prescription drug use is at an all-time high and traditional methods of disposing of expired pills—throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet—are no longer advised as they pose great risk to the environment.

For further info, visit dea.gov or contact the Sheriff’s Public Affairs Division at 909-387-3700.