It’s the return of the MAC. The Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council reconvened over Zoom after an eight-month hiatus due to COVID-19. Reporter Heather Clisby was virtually there…

Since March, the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) has not met, but finally reconnected via Zoom last night.

Captain Luke Niles of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department spoke at some length about the ongoing problem of illegal marijuana growing operations and their drain on the community. Local law enforcement has met with Supervisor Dawn Rowe regarding the massive proliferation of these operations in and around the Morongo Basin.

Capt. Niles described the creation of a task force assigned to the narcotics division focused entirely on tackling the problem. There are 200+ illegal growing operations within the Morongo Basin and the task force has shut down over 55 operations at this time. These illegal growing operations have become a scourge on society as many steal electricity and water while running generators throughout the night. Sheriffs are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Bureau of Land Management to address the issues.

Meanwhile, in Pioneertown, demand for development grows. Currently, there is a proposal for a major addition to the Pioneertown Motel as they are looking to add 47 new units to the current 20 units, and to add a restaurant, spa, and an event space nearby.

There was much discussion around short-term rentals, the potential hazards of unwanted noise, fire and lighting issues and the drain on the housing resources.


Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 11, is Veterans’ Day. In honor of the holiday, the City of Twentynine Palms, the Town of Yucca Valley, and the county courthouse in Joshua Tree will be closed. Copper Mountain College and all schools in the Morongo Unified School District will be closed Wednesday. Burrtec will operate as usual.


Due to concerns from COVID-19, Yucca Valley’s 2020 Veterans’ Day tribute has been modified to ensure a safe and enjoyable program. Managing editor Tami Roleff has details about this year’s event…

Yucca Valley will present a virtual Veterans’ Day tribute November 11 to honor veterans and military service members. This year’s celebration will feature special messages from the U.S. Marine Corps, dignitaries from the town of Yucca Valley and the city of Twentynine Palms, and San Bernardino County. There will also be a flag-folding ceremony and vocal performances. The pre-recorded presentation starts at 9 a.m. on the town’s website,, as well as on the town’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Twentynine Palms will also offer viewing of the event on its website.


San Bernardino County hospitals reported 289 coronavirus patients Sunday (November 8), the most since August 31, according to data released Monday (November 9). County COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 40% from a month ago. Also, the average number of new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days topped 500 Sunday and Monday — the first time it’s topped 500 cases since August 25. County wide, confirmed cases are 68,865, Deaths are 1,096, averaging 2.4 reported per day in the past week.

Here in the Morongo Basin we have had 553 confirmed cases and 31 deaths: Yucca Valley with 269 cases and 24 deaths; Twentynine Palms with 117 cases and one death; Joshua Tree, 102 cases and four deaths; Morongo Valley, 49 cases and one death; Landers, 14 cases and one death; and Pioneertown with two cases.

Here are the latest San Bernardino County numbers, according to county and state public health officials.

People tested: 881,693 total, up 29,340 from Friday, averaging 7,735 reported per day in the past week

Resolved cases (estimate): 64,881 total, up 1,422 from Friday, averaging 430 per day in the past week

Reopening plan tier: Purple (widespread risk level, many non-essential indoor business operations are closed) based on these metrics as of Wednesday:

New cases per day per 100,000 residents: 14.9

Case rate adjusted for testing volume: 13.8

Test positivity rate: 7.4% (8.5% in socioeconomically challenged neighborhoods)

What’s next: San Bernardino County is not meeting the criteria to move to a less-restrictive tier. When it has met them for two consecutive weeks, it can advance. The state typically updates numbers and tiers on Tuesdays.


The Morongo Unified School District Board of Trustees will hold their regular meeting tonight. The board is expected to begin the process of appointing a replacement board member for district area 5. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has the agenda…

The MUSD Board of Trustees will begin tonight’s meeting in closed session at 5:30 p.m. to conference with labor negotiators and legal council. In open session at 7 p.m., the board will begin the process of appointing a new Trustee for district area 5, left vacant by the resent resignation of Chris Proudfoot; approve additions to three assistant superintendent contracts; approve Phase 1 of the District’s return to athletic conditioning, circumstances permitting; and hold a public hearing on the District’s tentative agreements with the Morongo Teachers’ Association, California School Employees Association, and other district employee associations. The meeting will be held via YouTube Live from the official MUSD YouTube page.

MUSD YouTube page: