Two Joshua Tree event promoters, one a candidate for public office, are conducting business illegally, according to the State of California. The Joshua Tree International Film Festival and the Joshua Tree Music Festivals both offer free event passes and perks in exchange for so called “volunteers” to work preparing for and working at their for-profit events. In response to an investigation by Z107.7 News, the State of California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards enforcement said, quote – “Bartering for wages is not allowed in California as it is not legal for volunteers to perform services that benefit a for profit business.” In the case of the Joshua Tree Film Festival, operated by Yucca Valley Town Council Candidate Eric Quander, website pages had first claimed they were a non-profit until a query from Z107.7, then the non-profit references were removed. According to an Opinion letter posted on the DIR website, Chief Counsel H. Thomas Cadell Jr. said, “If the person performing the service is an employee, that person must be paid pursuant to Industrial Welfare Commission orders.” He went on to say, “The term “employee” and “volunteer” are at odds with each other since there is no expectation of payment by a volunteer.” In a letter to Z107.7 News, State Labor Representative Paola Laverde said, “Such enterprises are subject to the Industrial Welfare Commission Order and volunteers may not be utilized, as is the case in these two situations.” Z107.7 News contacted both promoters for comment. Joshua Tree Music Festival promoter Barnett English said, “Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. We’ve now embarked on our own investigation into proper Work Exchange / Volunteer programs, and will do whatever it takes to operate in compliance with the California DIR.” Film festival promoter Eric Quander said, “I was not aware. I and my staff will look into it immediately, and adjust the business structure accordingly. Understand, it (is) not I [sic] or the festival’s intention to engage in any illegal or untoward practice.”
The Twentynine Palms City Council met in regular session last night. Reporter David Haldane said the question of whether Twentynine Palms should spend money to market Joshua Tree dominated the meeting.
Joshua Tree or Twentynine Palms? If you were a would-be tourist, which would hold the most sway? That was the question of the hour last night as the Twentynine Palms City Council discussed the ins and outs of a $40,000 investment in something called the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities Marketing Process aimed at luring more tourists to town.
If the purpose is to help Twentynine Palms, some council members wanted to know, why the heck is it called Joshua Tree? The answer, according to the program’s promoters: because those are the two most famous words around.
In the end, the Council reaffirmed an earlier decision to spend the money despite dissenting votes from members Cora Heiser and McArthur Wright. In other actions, it approved bingo at the Community Food Pantry and agreed to spend money on relocating residents displaced by Project Phoenix.
Yesterday in San Bernardino, county supervisors pulled the plug on the controversial Soda Mountain solar project, and said no to marijuana. In a late afternoon 3-to-2 split decision, the board voted not to certify the project planned for 2,000 acres—a stone’s throw from the Mojave National Preserve. The vote followed a public hearing where supervisors heard testimony from local conservation groups and others opposed to the project. Our own third district supervisor James Ramos voted in favor of the project, but was outnumbered by those who felt the solar project would come at too great an environmental cost with little to no benefit to the surrounding area. The Board also voted to ban marijuana, even if the state allows it. Marijuana cultivation and sale will remain illegal in unincorporated areas of the county even if state voters approve recreational marijuana. County staff wrote the updated ordinance so that a possible change in state law would not alter the prohibition on marijuana in unincorporated areas that’s been in force since 2011. If state voters approve it in November, Proposition 64 would legalize recreational marijuana throughout California. But it would also give local governments the right to add their own restrictions or bans. State law does require some limited access. For instance, San Bernardino County will allow qualified patients and holders of medical marijuana identification cards and primary caregivers (for no more than five patients) to cultivate as many as 12 plants per patient, which must be indoors. The ordinance allows no more than 24 plants per residence.
The Twentynine palms Water District Board meets in regular session tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says most of the meeting will discuss preparing for emergencies…
At tonight’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms Water District, the board is expected to adopt a resolution intended to assure the safety of employee families during an emergency, so that employees are available to report to the water district. And in a related measure, the board is expected to adopt a district-wide emergency response plan. In other business, directors will select a board vice president from among their ranks. 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.
A Landers man was arrested Saturday afternoon, accused of selling marijuana and making criminal threats. According to a Sheriff’s report, a resident in the 58900 block of Mitch Lane in Landers called about 8:30 a.m. to report that her neighbor, Jay Wilson, 50, threatened to shoot her. When deputies questioned Wilson, they found marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a large sum of money. After an investigation, Jay Wilson was arrested on suspicion of felony sales of marijuana and making criminal threats, and on four miscellaneous warrants, booked at the Morongo Basin, with his bail set at $60,000.
A Yucca Valley man was arrested Friday afternoon, accused of assaulting his wife. According to a Sheriff’s report, Forrest Carter, 32, became enraged about noon when his wife of one year admonished him for the way he was treating his 12-year-old daughter. The report states Carter grabbed his wife by the arms and pushed her to the couch, then took her cell phone away, and punched her in the face. His wife said that last week he threw a lighted cigarette at her which burned her. After an investigation, Forrest Carter was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.
Two people were arrested early Monday morning, accused of transporting drugs. According to a Sheriff’s report, a deputy conducted a traffic stop near Tamarisk Avenue and Highway 62 in Twentynine Palms about 2 a.m. Monday morning. Neither the driver, Marty Crew, 36, or the passenger, Tasha Perales, 36, were wearing their seatbelts. During a search of the vehicle, the deputy found a digital scale, heroin, concentrated THC known as “honey oil” or wax, and drug paraphernalia. Neither Crew nor Perales admitted to owning the drugs. After an investigation, Marty Crew and Tasha Perales were arrested for investigation of transporting heroin, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with their bail set at $20,000 each.
A two-day extreme golf challenge is planned at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club. Reporter Rebecca Havely tells you how to register for the extreme challenge…
Save the date—September 2 and 3—for the Pioneer Pass historic golf challenge. Two full days of golf, fun and food, includes 18 holes on the links at Hawk’s Landing in Yucca Valley and one full day of extreme golf on the mountains coming down from Big Bear, plus an awards dinner celebration. The fee is $130 per player. Call or email to reserve your spot by August 25 as space on the mountain is limited. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call Debbie at 760-365-3315 or Shelly at 760-228-3447.
The National Park Service turns 100 years old Thursday, and the staff at Joshua Tree National Park are inviting you to help them celebrate. Join the park staff at the Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning for birthday cake. Admission to all national parks will be free Thursday, August 25, through Sunday, August 28.
The Hi-Desert Pregnancy Clinic will hold their annual fund-raiser next month. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says save the date…
The High Desert Pregnancy Clinic will hold its annual fundraiser, “A Night for Life Under the Stars,” on Saturday, September 24. This semi‐formal evening will feature entertainment by the Luminators, with hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and a silent auction, all under the stars in upper Sky Harbor. Tickets are $25 each; no children under 12 please. Tickets are available at the High Desert Pregnancy Clinic, from any of the clinic staff or directors, or online at highdesertpregnancyclinic.org. Seating is limited; call 760-369-8512 for reservations.
Street renovations will close a residential street in Yucca Valley for about six weeks. As part of the Sage Estates housing subdivision project in Yucca Valley, Golden Bee Avenue will be closed between Sage Avenue and Aster Street, effective immediately. The street work is estimated to be completed by mid-October. During the street renovations, Sage Avenue will have traffic control in place between Golden Bee and Kismet while street improvements are being made. Motorists are urged to use caution in the area.
A Yucca Valley woman was arrested after her young child was found alone in a park Sunday evening. According to a Sheriff’s report, a park visitor reported about 6 p.m. that a 4-year-old had been at Jacob’s Park, at the corner of Hopi and Onaga Trails, for over an hour; the child said her mother was busy and her grandmother was gone. The deputy walked the child back to her home in the 55600 block of Onaga Trail and found the home’s front door open and the girl’s mother, Nicolette Chambers,24, asleep in the bedroom. The deputy determined that Chamber, who admitted to drinking four shots of vodka and two beers earlier in the day, was extremely intoxicated. Nicolette Chambers was arrested for investigation of felony child neglect, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at $100,000. Three hours after the child was found, Chambers’ blood alcohol content was tested at .22. The child was turned over to Child Protective Services.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating vandalism at the Yucca Valley post office Sunday afternoon. According to a Sheriff’s report, an employee was working in the back of the post office when he heard a loud crash at the front of the building about 5:30 p.m. When he came out to investigate, he discovered 11 of the post office’s windows had been shot. Five windows were completely broken; six windows had a hole in them consistent with that from being shot by a BB gun. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.
Photo courtesy : Tammy Tremblay
The Twentynine Palms City Council will meet in regular session tonight. Reporter David Haldane says the meeting will mostly be about…
Bingo, tourism and relocation. Those are the subjects dominating the agenda at tonight’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council. The bingo, if approved, would take place at the Community Food Pantry, a nonprofit center operated by Immanuel Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.
Tourism is the goal of the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities Marketing Process, a proposed $40,000 contract with the Desert Regional Tourism Agency to help the city capture its fair share of revenues from the increasing Joshua Tree National Park attendance.
And relocation is what the residents of seven houses will have to do after the city acquires their properties to make way for Project Phoenix. On the table: a plan to help those displaced people find new homes.
It all happens starting at 6 p.m. tonight at City Hall on Adobe Road.
Burglars were busy across the Morongo Basin Friday night. According to Sheriff’s reports, at least six residential burglaries were reported in Yucca Valley Saturday morning, two in Morongo Valley, and two in Twentynine Palms. In Yucca Valley, thieves stole: two quads from a home in the 1400 block of Cambria Avenue; electronics and clothing from a home in the 56700 block of Sunnyslope Drive; a Jeep Patriot from a driveway in the 56900 block of Warren Way; a Jeep Wrangler from a driveway in the 54200 block of Pinon Drive; a wallet and marijuana from a home in the 58000 block of 29 Palms Highway; and tools and computer equipment from a home in the 57400 block of Navajo Trail. And residents in the 8300 block of Sage Avenue reported Monday that their home was burglarized sometime Thursday; thieves stole a generator and a vacuum. In Twentynine Palms, a resident in the 6600 block of Pine Springs Avenue reported money and a wallet was stolen from a vehicle; and an attempted break-in was reported in the 72200 block of Sun Valley Drive. And finally, in Morongo Valley, thieves stole a utility trailer filled with a washer and dryer and other items from a driveway in the 49100 block of Park Avenue; and weapons were stolen from a home in the 50700 block of Elm Street; and on Monday, residents reported shoes, tools, a guitar and an air conditioner were stolen from the 51100 block of Canyon Road. Anyone with information on any of these thefts should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.
Yucca Valley deputies “escorted” a man to the ground Saturday morning, when he refused to follow their orders. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies responded to a home in the 6400 block of Hermosa Avenue for a vehicle burglary report. While there, David Scott, 24, of the 58500 block of Barron Drive, angrily confronted the deputies while holding a baseball bat. After several commands from deputies, Scott eventually put down the baseball bat. Scott told deputies he came to the home to confront the resident, whom he believed had broken out the window of his vehicle the previous night. Deputies asked Scott several times to return to his vehicle, and when he did not, the report states Scott was quote “escorted to the ground and handcuffed.” David Scott was arrested for investigation of resisting a police officer, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, cited and released.
Start Smart is a safe driving awareness class for teens and their parents. Reporter Rebecca Havely has the class details…
The Morongo Basin Area CHP will be holding a Start Smart class August 25 at 6 p.m. for teens and their parents. The class will illustrate how poor choices behind the wheel of a car can affect the lives of numerous people. This interactive class focuses on responsibilities of newly licensed drivers and teaches collision avoidance techniques. Parents and teens interested in attending should call Officer Simon Miller at 760-366-3707. The Start Smart program is free of charge and is approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours long.
The Desert Hot Springs Police Department will deploy a special roving DUI saturation patrol and DUI/driver’s license checkpoints through September 5. During the high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving and will be looking for the tale-tell signs of drunk driving in order to stop and arrest impaired drivers throughout the region.
Whoever said that there’s no such thing as a free lunch obviously didn’t go to school in the Morongo Basin. Our local public schools are offering free and reduced price meals. Reporter David Haldane tells us who is eligible and how to sign up…
As it does annually, the Morongo Unified School District is offering federally-subsidized free or discounted meals galore this year; but to qualify you need to apply.
There are income guidelines, of course: a family of four, for instance, needs of earn under $31,590 a year to qualify for free breakfasts and lunches, or under $44,955 to get them at a reduced price. For freebies, add or subtract $5,400 per family member and for discounts make that $7,700.
Bottom line; if you’re not sure, go ahead and apply. You can do that online at www.musdns.com or by filling out the application sent home with your child.
LifeStream will conduct a community blood drive on Wednesday, August 24, at Hi-Desert Medical Center, from 10 to 2. Donors will receive incentives. O-negative blood is especially needed. In addition, Desert Blood Services now offers donors free cholesterol screening with every blood donation. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 877-827-4376.