YUCCA VALLEY MAN ACCUSED OF STARTING A VEHICLE FIRE

Updated 9:49 a.m. with additional information

A Yucca Valley man was arrested Thursday, accused of burning a vehicle. Deputies were called to a vehicle fire in the 58800 block of Natoma Trail in Yucca Valley about 12:20 a.m. Witnesses said smoke and flames were visible, and the vehicle—a 1999 Chevrolet van—was fully engulfed in fire. Witnesses also reported hearing explosions from the fire. After an investigation, deputies identified Thomas Higgins, 33, as a suspect in the fire. Thomas Higgins was arrested on suspicion of arson, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.

PUBLIC MEETING TOMORROW TO DISCUSS VACATION HOME RENTALS IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

The proliferation of vacation home rentals in the Morongo Basin has caused some concern among locals, so the City of Twentynine Palms is hosting a special public meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue. Reporter Heather Clisby has details…

On Wednesday, November 18, the City of Twentynine Palms will hold a community meeting to discuss limitations on vacation home rentals (VHR). The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6136 Adobe Road. In-person attendance will require a face covering and social distancing. Registration is not required and each person will have three minutes to speak.

Due to COVID-19, only a certain number of people will be allowed in the council chambers, so arriving early is advised.

Comments to the city council may be submitted in writing via email to info@29palms.org.

Residents may also attend online via webinar.

To register for the online meeting, go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4577036419764598288

For more info, call the City at 760-367-6799.

WORK STARTS ON YUCCA TRAIL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT IN YUCCA VALLEY

The Yucca Valley Town Council recently awarded a contract for the Yucca Trail Safety Improvement Project, widening Yucca Trail from Warren Vista Avenue to the west side of the Avalon/Palomar Avenue intersection to provide eight-foot shoulders on both the sides of Yucca Trail, 12-foot travel lanes, and a 12-foot center striped median with left turn movements into the intersections of Warren Vista, Bonita, Chula Vista, Victoria, Alaba, Frontera, Balsa, Emerson, Hanford, La Habra, Rubidoux, and Palomar. The project also includes the widening of Warren Vista both north and south of Yucca Trail to include left hand turns at intersections and through lanes. Locating utilities and potholing work started yesterday along the shoulder of Yucca Trail. Construction is scheduled to begin on November 30, to be complete in January of 2021. As with any project, changes in schedules may be necessary.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL MEETS: DEVELOPMENT FEES AND LITIGATION

Tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council will start at 5:30 p.m. with a closed session meeting. Council members will confer with legal counsel over pending litigation by Thomas Geiger, who was driving when his car was hit by a Sheriff’s deputy in a patrol car in October 2019. The collision killed Geiger’s passenger, Robert Barajas, 24, of Yucca Valley. Managing editor Tami Roleff fills in the rest of the tonight’s Town Council agenda…

Tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council will begin with presentations by Mara’s Christmas Wish and an introduction of the newly promoted County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Tuttle. The council will then hold a public hearing on public facility development impact fees. The council will then appoint new youth commissioners and discuss whether the criteria for appointing commissioners should be modified. Council members will also discuss a proposed event meeting space on Elk Trail in Old Town. Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center, or watch it online at yucca-valley.org.

TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER MEETS: RAISING RATES AND GOING TO MONTHLY BILLING

The Twentynine Palms Water District Board meets in regular session tomorrow (November 18) at 4 p.m. at district offices on Hatch Road. After public comments, the board is expected to set the date of a public hearing on a proposed significant increase in fees and rates. Board members will also discuss a change from bi-monthly billing to monthly and a policy for the advanced meter infrastructure. The meeting concludes with a report from General Manager Ray Kolisz and directors’ comments and reports.