TWENTYNINE PALMS STRATEGIC PLANNING “A ROAD MAP FOR THE FUTURE”

The City of Twentynine Palms held its biennial strategic planning workshops over the weekend and from the Friday night and Saturday morning sessions, city staff, city council, and members of the public created a list of city priorities for the next two years. Reporter Heather Clisby has details…

Led by Twentynine Palms City Manager Frank Luckino, the biennial strategic planning meetings took place over the weekend in council chambers at City Hall. Held on Friday evening and Saturday morning, the informal brainstorming sessions were open to the public, albeit online, and featured guest speakers.

Friday night’s session included reports from Erin Adams, the director of Government and External Affairs at the Marine base, Copper Mountain College President Daren Otten, and Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith.

Both sessions began with resident complaints about off-road vehicles disturbing quiet neighborhoods accompanied by aggressive behavior with little to no response from law enforcement. As a result, the issue became a city priority.

Luckino, Mayor Daniel Mintz and the entire City Council focused on “quality of life” for city residents, what that truly meant, and how best to improve and preserve that. An ongoing list of the city’s strengths and weaknesses were discussed and key categories emerged: Infrastructure, economic development, quality of life, public safety, policy, services, human resources and technology. All councilmembers were given ‘votes’ to determine the highest priorities resulting in this list, in no particular order:

• Vacation rentals
• Off-road enforcement
• COVID-19 issues
• Bike paths
• Updating infrastructure and facilities
• Luckie Park pool upgrade
• Staff training
• Remove dilapidated structures
• Recognize and add diversity events
• Healthcare District collaboration
• Veteran services
• Housing

Financing was discussed as the next two-year budget begins July 1. The city has $6.9 million in the bank and, excluding the $1.3 million set aside for firefighter pensions, has $5.6 million in reserves to tackle these priorities.

At the close of Saturday’s exercise, Councilmember Steven Bilderain (who attended by phone) stated, “Now, it’s action time.”

CALTRANS ALLOCATES NEARLY $1 MILLION FOR JOSHUA TREE BIKE LANES

The California Transportation Commission announced Friday, January 29, the allocation of more than $500 million to address transportation needs throughout the state, including nearly $1 million for the construction of bike lanes in Joshua Tree. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has the details…

To help enhance California’s growing network of bicycle routes, Caltrans has allocated $942,000 for the construction and improvement of bike lanes on Sunburst Avenue in Joshua Tree. This will include the extension of class I bike lanes north approximately 1.5 miles to Calle Los Amigos, as well as the widening and striping of travel lanes. Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin stated the project will also help maintain roadways and advance efforts to address climate change. A starting date for the project has not been announced.

MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST WILL SOON OPEN DESERT HOT SPRINGS TO YUCCA VALLEY TRAIL

The Mojave Desert Land Trust announced recently that it will add trail markers and signage to a 12-mile trail that connects Yucca Valley and Desert Hot Springs. With the help of Joshua Tree National Park, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, the MDLT will add trail markers and new signage to the Long Canyon trailhead. A spokeswoman said it hopes the signs will make the seldom-used trail more easily accessible. Long Canyon connects Desert Hot Springs and Yucca Valley. A grand opening is tentatively slated for the spring.

TWO MAJOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS CONTINUE IN YUCCA VALLEY

Two major traffic projects continue this week in the Town of Yucca Valley.

Construction on the Yucca Trail Safety Improvement Project will continue on Yucca Trail from Warren Vista Avenue to Palomar Avenue this week. The project includes widening Warren Vista north and south of Yucca Trail to include left hand turns at intersections and through lanes.

The intersection of Palomar Avenue and Yucca Trail will also be under construction. The project will widen Palomar Avenue, remove existing traffic signals and install new poles, pavement striping, and signal timing and detection.

Both projects are set to be complete this month.

HOW TO PREVENT VEHICLE BREAK-INS

Sheriff Deputies have received numerous reports of vehicle burglary and thefts from vehicles in the Morongo Basin. One of the most infuriating things that can happen to a car owner, and one of the most common forms of theft, is a car break-in. Thieves won’t steal your whole car, just the valuable items in it—which you then have to painstakingly replace. Reporter Cassidy Taylor offers these tips to help prevent becoming a victim of vehicle break ins…

It goes beyond just making sure your car is locked. While there’s no way to 100% deter these kleptomaniacs, there are some common-sense steps you can take to make your vehicle a much less appealing target. Start by locking your vehicle even when you are driving. When you’re parked, leave all windows—including the sunroof—closed. Try to always park underneath lights or install motion lights in your driveway; thieves don’t like the possibility of being seen. When you are not in your car, be sure to put any and all valuable items out of sight. Remember, the more someone has to work to break into your car, the less likely they are to do it.