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TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL APPROVES PLANS FOR PROJECT PHOENIX

Twentynine Palms’ Project Phoenix will have a multipurpose facility including a gymnasium, meeting rooms and banquet rooms with kitchens as well as a public library. That’s the direction City Council gave its staff last night for the city’s ambitious plan to expand and modernize its downtown corridor. In other business, the Council agreed to apply for a $448,000 grant to study the long-term impacts from the historical use of septic tanks on groundwater reliability, storage and quality. The move is the first step in a long-term effort to discuss and ultimately solve the problem of treating wastewater in the city. Finally, the Council appropriated $131,000 to complete several curb, gutter and sidewalk improvement projects citywide.


COUNTY APPROVES THE ALTA MIRA HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN JOSHUA TREE

A controversial housing development in Joshua Tree, the 248 units on 105 gated acres known as Alta mira, got a green light at yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors in San Bernardino. The 3-2 vote in favor of the project, and against the appeal concluded almost a decade of back and forth over development of the pristine desert between Highway 62 and Friendly Hills Elementary School. As expected, Board Chair James Ramos and Supervisor Robert Lovingood voted in favor of the appeal. With no discussion or comment, Supervisor Josie Gonzales voted for the development along with Janice Rutherford and Curt Hagman. Plans call for the gated community to be built in phases with final build out ten years away. Opponents of the project have objected to its high density and other elements which do not conform to the Joshua Tree Community Plan.


MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, TEACHERS, REACH A TENTATIVE ACCORD

The long adversarial process to come up with a contract between the Morongo Unified School District and the teachers’ union may finally be over. Reporter David Haldane said a tentative agreement was announced at last night’s School Board meeting…
The first indication that something had changed was the silence. For the first time in months, the regular meeting of the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education was not crammed with angry teachers. Then came the announcement by Amber Hanson, representing the Morongo Teachers Association: after more than a year without a contract, the district and its teachers have reached a tentative accord.
Neither side would disclose any details regarding the potential new contract and both stressed that the agreement is still only tentative. Before becoming final, Hanson said, it has to be ratified by both the full union membership and the board. But she expressed relief that normalcy may be in sight.
“I’m glad that progress has been made. We want to get back to working. We love the kids.”
Sailing through its regular agenda in record time, the board then approved long-awaited locker room improvements and modernization projects at several district schools.


TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR CAMPAIGN VIOLATION

A candidate for Yucca Valley Town Council is under investigation by the California State Fair Political Practices Commission. After a query by Z107.7 News, Eric Quander confirmed he was under investigation for starting an on-line fundraising effort before he had filed the proper forms with the commission. Teri Rindahl from the Political Reform Enforcement Division confirmed that an anonymous statement was filed in May prompting the investigation. Quander admitted to the violation saying, “Indeed, donations were requested and links were available before May 17, the actual date we filed form 501.”  Quander said the amount of money raised in violation was small and he was sending a written explanation to the commission. Just September 7, Z107.7 revealed that Quander had fraudulently claimed non-profit status for at least five organizations, a false honorary doctorate degree and a false British lordship. In spite of his making false statements on his application, Quander remains on the Town’s Parks and Recreation commission. Town Manager Curtis Yakimow said staff was looking into the false statements.


NON-PARTISAN CANDIDATE POP-UP PLANNED IN JOSHUA TREE

Z107.7 Radio and the Sportsman’s Club are sponsoring a non-partisan office political pop-up event Saturday morning, October 8, from 9 to 11 a.m. The free event is designed to give residents a chance to talk one-on-one with the candidates prior to the November 8 general election. All non-partisan candidates are welcome to bring campaign materials and meet and greet with Morongo Basin voters at the Joshua Tree Sportsman Club on Sunburst. There is no charge for candidates or attendees. Any candidates who wish to confirm can e-mail Z1077 News at Z1077fm@gmail.com.

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YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM TOMORROW

The Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a town council candidates’ forum tomorrow evening. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells us when and where those who want to be informed voters should be…
Yucca Valley residents are invited to a candidates’ forum Thursday, September 29. Each candidate running for Yucca Valley Town Council will be given an equal amount of time to introduce themselves and participate in a timed answer period with questions from the community. The meeting will be held in the Yucca Valley Community Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.


BB GUN DAMAGE TO A JOSHUA TREE BUSINESS

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a third case of possible BB gun damage to a Joshua Tree business in a week. Monday, an employee of a business in the 61800 block of 29 Palms Highway reported an 8-foot-by-8-foot window was broken sometime during the night, possibly by a BB gun. Last week, the Circle K in downtown Joshua Tree reported two instances of windows being shattered by BBs. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.


TWO YUCCA VALLEY MEN ACCUSED OF RESISTING ARREST

Two Yucca Valley men were arrested Sunday night, after they were found in a car associated with a crime. According to a sheriff’s report, a deputy made a traffic stop in the 6900 block of Old Woman Springs Road shortly before 11 p.m. The report states the vehicle was used in an unspecified crime. Inside the vehicle were Christopher Culver, 26, and Jarrod Kime, 40. While the deputy was talking to Culver, he attempted to flee on foot. After a short foot pursuit, Culver was detained and arrested for investigation of resisting arrest, and on warrants for violating the terms of his probation and burglary. Christopher Culver was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail and is being held without bail. Jarrod Kime was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $25,000.


TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The Twentynine Palms Water District board meets in regular session tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz checks their agenda…
At tonight’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms Water District the board is expected to consider a customer request for an adjustment or payment plan on a $1,400 bill following discovery of a leak at the property. Also tonight, directors will consider a late fee waiver policy, declare certain agency property as surplus, pass changes to the Retiree Benefit Trust Program, and adjust the agency’s meeting schedule for November and December. Those items and others are in addition to routine items on the consent agenda. Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the District Office on the south side of Hatch Road in Twentynine Palms.


SIGN UP FOR CLASSES FOR THIS WEEKEND’S ORCHID FESTIVAL

The 20th Annual Morongo Basin Orchid Festival is this weekend, October 1 and 2 at Gubler Orchids in Landers. One of the more popular events at the festival is the orchids classes, instructional “how to” classes conducted by The Orchid Society of Arizona. Three different classes will be offered; Saturday, the Dendrobium classes for teens and adults start at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  The new Phalaenopsis class is slated to start at 1:15 on both Saturday and Sunday.  This is a hands-on class, which lasts approximately one hour.  A blooming orchid, soil, pot, handouts, and instructional guidance are included in the $15 fee. The orchid arrangement class is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday. Participants will select and transplant two double flowering Phalaenopsis orchids, a foliage plant, a decorative container, and all the supplies to create a beautiful arrangement.  Students will bring home their creation to admire for weeks to come. The fee for this class is $25. Space is limited to the first 30 participants per class.  Reservations are highly recommended.  Sign-ups are taken online at http://www.gublerorchids.com or call 866-GUBLERS for classroom reservations. The festival is Located at Gubler Orchids 2200 Belfield Boulevard in Landers.


COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE FALL GALA SATURDAY

The annual fall gala is planned for this Saturday at Copper Mountain College. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has your invitation…
Cooler weather means time for the Copper Mountain College Foundation’s annual Fall Gala on Saturday, October 1 at 6 p.m. in the Bell Center on the CMC campus. The event helps provide ongoing support for CMC students including scholarships, bus transportation, and cultural and leadership opportunities. Jim Pulliam, the first Superintendent/President at the college is the featured speaker. He offers unique memories of how this community built its own college. His stories, lessons and insights are especially poignant as CMC moves forward with a greater commitment to the success of every student. The gala’s theme, “We All Have Time Machines,” will be an evening of reflection of the past and celebration for the future. Sponsorship opportunities are available at $250, $500 and $1,000. Sponsorships offering students a chance to attend the gala are available for $35. More information and tickets are at cmccd.edu/Foundation or call 760-366-3791. Tickets are $75 per person.


HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

In high school sports, the Yucca Valley High School cross-country team will participate in its first DeAnza League meet tomorrow, against Desert Hot Springs. 
The Twentynine Palms High School tennis team will travel away to Big Bear to play Big Bear High School, starting at 3:15.
Also tomorrow, the Joshua Springs Christian School Lightning volleyball team will host Desert Christian Academy from Bermuda Dunes at home. The match starts at 5:30.


EARTHQUAKE SWARM HITS SALTON SEA AREA

The Salton Sea has been hit by more than 200 small earthquakes in the last day or so. The largest, a 4.2, hit Monday night, and nine of them registered at 3.0 or higher. The earthquakes were fairly localized, with most of them hitting Bombay Beach area.


SUSPECTS SOUGHT IN ARMED BURGLARY IN LANDERS

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating a claim of an armed burglary in Landers on Saturday. According to a Sheriff’s report, a homeowner in the area of Sunset Road and Mars Drive called about 11:15 a.m. to report that he interrupted four men who were trying to steal railroad ties and barbed wire from his property. The homeowner told deputies that when he confronted the burglars, one of them pulled a gun and fired a round into the ground, before the burglars fled in a white Chevy crew cab pick-up truck. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.


AN ARREST AFTER A DRUG LAB IS FOUND IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

A Twentynine Palms man was arrested early Friday morning, accused of running a drug lab. According to the Sheriff’s Department, deputies were called to the 6100 block of Ocotillo Avenue in Twentynine Palms about 3:30 a.m. where they found drug manufacturing equipment and paraphernalia. Inside the home was Jervon Winston, 23, who was arrested on suspicion of operating a drug lab. Jervon Winston was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $500,000.


TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL TAKES UP WASTEWATER TREATMENT

The issue of the future of wastewater treatment will be addressed by the Twentynine Palms City Council tonight. Reporter David Haldane says expenditures for Project Phoenix are also on the agenda….
Excrement is at the top of tonight’s Twentynine Palms City Council agenda. More specifically, the septic tanks that have historically been used to dispose of the city’s human waste. At issue: whether to apply for a $448,000 grant to study the long-term impact of those tanks on groundwater reliability, storage and quality.
The move is the first step in a long-term effort to discuss and ultimately solve the problem of treating wastewater in the city.
Other items on the agenda include a discussion regarding public buildings within the downtown Project Phoenix area and the possible appropriation of $131,000 for three curb, gutter and sidewalk reconstruction projects.
Tonight’s meeting gets underway 6 p.m. at City Hall on Adobe Road.


FIRE DESTROYS ABANDONED HOME IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Twentynine Palms firefighters were called to an early morning fire today. An abandoned stone house on Yucca Avenue, just north of 29 Palms Highway, had flames and smoke coming from the front door and eaves when firefighters arrived about 2:15 a.m. Firefighters from Wonder Valley and the Combat Center assisted in knocking down the blaze, which took about 20 to 30 minutes. The cause is under investigation.


YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETS: RECONSTRUCTION AND AUTO PARTS

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission meets tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says a change in code for rebuilding and a new auto parts store are on the agenda…
At tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Planning Commission, commissioners will hold a public hearing on changing language in the municipal code that would allow property owners to rebuild residential structures that have been suffered more than 75 percent damage. Next, the commissioners will hold an environmental assessment and site plan review for a new building for O’Reilly Auto Parts. The new store would be located at the northwest corner of Highway 62 and Grand Avenue. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.


DUI OFF-ROAD MOTORCYCLIST WHO CRASHED IN MORONGO VALLEY IDENTIFIED

The California Highway Patrol has identified the man who was hospitalized following a crash on his dirt bike in Morongo Valley a week ago. Jeremy Reynolds, 39, was riding his 2000 Honda about 11:15 p.m. eastbound on Breezeway when he unexpectedly came upon the wash at Little Morongo Road and was unable to stop in time. He was thrown from his bike into the wash and landed on rocks about 6 to 8 feet below. Jeremy Reynolds was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with serious injuries, and was later arrested for investigation of driving under the influence.


DESERT-WISE LIVING SERIES SATURDAY FOCUSED ON RENEWABLE ENERGY

All of us can recognize the benefits of decreasing fossil fuel consumption. The challenge is how to do it economically and without sacrificing comfort. That aim was the focus of a gathering of experts who met in Yucca Valley for the Morongo Basin Conservation Association’s Desert-Wise Living series on Saturday. Reporter Mike Lipsitz was there…
Experts in resource management, public policy, hydro-electric engineering, and energy research echoed their message to the local audience: successful growth and productivity of communities across the nation will largely be determined by the level at which they embrace fossil fuel alternatives. Successful communities, they said, should be managing renewable energy production, distribution, and use in homes and businesses. Locally, the Mojave Water Agency, the Basin’s wholesale water supplier, is moving forward on a project to install a hydropower turbine and generator on an existing 48-inch water pipeline. It is expected to generate enough power to pump water from the state aqueduct to three big water agencies in the Basin and elsewhere. Twentynine Palms is also looking ahead in a proactive effort that would lower energy costs for residents and businesses there. City Manager Frank Luckino briefed the audience on plans for a feasibility study to look at buying electricity wholesale through a model known as Community Choice Aggregation.


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