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MORONGO BASIN LOCAL NEWS FOR

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11, 2008

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SHERIFF DEPUTY DIES OFF DUTY
WOMAN JAILED FOR FALSE ID AND CREDIT CARD FRAUD
SCHOOL DISTRICT PULLS TOMATOES
RUTH CRITES WILL FILL HER SON’S SEAT ON THE HOSPITAL BOARD
AIRPORT BOARD MEETING TONIGHT
REDEVELOPMENT ON TOP AT 29 PALMS CITY COUNCIL
SON OF LOCAL WOMAN BECOMES A SAILOR
COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD IN SESSION TOMORROW
HISTORICAL SOCIETY ONE DAY YARD SALE
SHORT HISTORY OF HI DESERT WATER
LECTURE ON WILDFIRES THURSDAY

SHERIFF DEPUTY DIES OFF DUTY
A COUNTY SHERIFF, WHO WORKED AT THE WEST VALLEY DETENTION CENTER AND LIVED IN THE MORONGO BASIN, HAS DIED OF UNKNOWN CAUSES, SAID SHERIFF SERGEANT ROBERTO LOMELI. DEPUTY BALDWIN KALAMA, 58 WAS OFF DUTY AND OUT RIDING HIS BICYCLE TUESDAY MORNING ON ABERDEEN DRIVE JUST WEST OF FOXY FLATS WHEN HE COLLAPSED. OTHERS AT THE SCENE TRIED TO ASSET KALAMA, AND CALLED FOR HELP. EMERGENCY RESPONDERS ARRIVED SHORTLY AFTER 8, AND PRONOUNCED KALAMA DEAD. THE CAUSE OF BALDWIN KALAMA’S DEATH IS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

WOMAN JAILED FOR FALSE ID AND CREDIT CARD FRAUD
STOPPED FOR WEAVING, A YUCCA VALLEY WOMAN FOUND HERSELF BEHIND BARS FOR USING A FALSE ID AND CREDIT CARD FRAUD. CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL SPOKESMAN ROBERT MCCLOUD SAID THAT AROUND 11:30 FRIDAY NIGHT, 56 YEAR OLD LYUDMILA GOTTESMAN WAS WESTBOUND ON HIGHWAY 62 NEAR HESS BOULEVARD WHEN CHP OFFICER ROBIN LUCK PULLED GOTTESMAN OVER FOR STRADDLING LANES AND WEAVING. WHEN ASKED, GOTTESMAN FAILED TO PRODUCE A VALID ID. DURING THE INVESTIGATION, GOTTESMAN CONTINUED TO GIVE EVASIVE ANSWERS AND MADE SEVERAL ATTEMPTS TO GIVE OFFICERS A FALSE NAME. AFTER ARRESTING GOTTESMAN FOR OBSTRUCTION, A SEARCH OF HER TOYOTA FOUND SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS WORTH OF MERCHANDISE GOTTESMAN CLAIMED TO HAVE PURCHASED. INVESTIGATORS SAY GOTTESMAN USED CREDIT CARDS AND FAKE ID TO MAKE THE PURCHASES. LYUDMILA GOTTESMAN WAS BOOKED INTO THE MORONGO BASIN JAIL ON $50,000 BAIL FOR INVESTIGATION OF FALSE IDENTIFICATION AND IDENTITY THEFT.

SCHOOL DISTRICT PULLS TOMATOES
IN RESPONSE TO A NATION WIDE OUTBREAK OF SALMONELLA POISING, LINKED TO PLUM, ROMA AND RED ROUND TOMATOES, MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT JAMES MAJCHRZAK SAID THE DISTRICT HAS PULLED ALL TOMATOES OFF THE SHELF AND WILL NOT SERVE THEM FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. THE AMOUNT OF TOMATOES THE DISTRICT PULLED IS UNKNOWN, HOWEVER THERE ARE ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT IN THE SCHOOL YEAR. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE SALMONELLA OUT BREAK, VISIT FDA.GOV ON THE WEB.

RUTH CRITES WILL FILL HER SON’S SEAT ON THE HOSPITAL BOARD
RUTH CRITES WILL FILL THE VACANT SEAT HELD BY HER SON FORMER BOARD PRESIDENT ADAM CRITES. THE ACTION CAME BEFORE THE HI DESERT MEDICAL CENTER BOARD OF DIRECTORS, WHEN THE MET LAST EVENING. REPORTER TAMI ROLEFF HAS THE DETIALS… A NO-SHOW BY FORMER HOSPITAL BOARD MEMBER CAROL BARRETT AT LAST NIGHT’S HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER BOARD MEETING LED TO THE APPOINTMENT OF RUTH CRITES TO FILL THE VACANCY CREATED BY THE DEATH IN APRIL OF HER SON ADAM, THE BOARD’S FORMER PRESIDENT. BARRETT WAS IN SACRAMENTO TO BE WITH HER DAUGHTER WHO HAD A BABY ON MONDAY. DURING HER INTERVIEW WITH THE BOARD, CRITES SAID SHE REALIZES SHE KNOWS PERHAPS A FINGERNAIL FULL OF REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF, BUT SHE HAS 4 MASTER’S DEGREES AND HAS BEEN A TEACHER OF ELEMENTARY CHILDREN, SO SHE KNOWS SHE CAN LEARN WHAT SHE NEEDS TO KNOW. THE VOTE TO APPOINT CRITES TO FILL THE VACANT POSITION WAS UNANIMOUS, WITH ALL THE DIRECTORS SAYING IT WAS A DIFFICULT DECISION TO DECIDE BETWEEN THE TWO WELL-QUALIFIED CANDIDATES. IN OTHER BUSINESS, JEFF SCOTT, THE HOSPITAL’S LAWYER, INFORMED THE BOARD THAT BRIM HEALTH CARE, THE MANAGEMENT COMPANY FIRED BY THE BOARD IN MARCH, HAD ACCEPTED THE HOSPITAL’S SETTLEMENT OFFER OF $260,000, A DISCOUNT OF $3,000 FROM THE TOTAL AMOUNT DUE THE MANAGEMENT COMPANY.

THE BOARD ALSO APPROVED THE PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009. THE HOSPITAL EXPECTS TO LOSE $2.1 MILLION DOLLARS NEXT YEAR, WHICH IS 16 PERCENT LESS THAN ITS LOSSES FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008.

AIRPORT BOARD MEETING TONIGHT
THE YUCCA VALLEY AIRPORT DISTRICT BOARD MEETS IN REGULAR SESSION THIS EVENING AT 6:30, IN THE PFF BANK AND TRUST MEETING ROOM. ITEMS OF INTEREST ON THE AGENDA, A REVIEW OF REQUIREMENTS FROM APPLE VALLEY CONCERNING PROOF OF INSURANCE ON AIRPORT PROPERTY, AN UPDATE ON GRANT FUNDING FOR EAST END HAZARD CORRECTION, REPAINTING THE GENERATOR HOUSE, AND UPDATE ON SEGMENTED CIRCLE PAINTING.

REDEVELOPMENT ON TOP AT 29 PALMS CITY COUNCIL
REDEVELOPMENT DOMINATED LAST EVENING’S 29 PALMS CITY COUNCIL MEETING, WITH THE APPROVAL OF $3 MILLION IN HOUSING REVENUE BONDS TO REHAB THE EL PASEO APARTMENTS. REPORTER KATIE ELWELL WAS AT THAT MEETING, AND FILES THIS REPORT… REDEVELOPMENT IS IN THE WORKS IN 29 PALMS. AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY, COUNCIL MEMBERS APPROVED AN APPLICATION BY BETTENCOURT PROPERTIES TO RECEIVE $3 MILLION IN HOUSING REVENUE BONDS TO PURCHASE AND REHABILITATE THE EL PASEO APARTMENTS, A 48-UNIT AFFORDABLE HOUSING FACILITY. MEMBERS AGREED TO THE PROPOSAL ONLY AFTER BETTENCOURT AGREED TO TAKE PART IN THE CRIME FREE MULTI-UNIT HOUSING PROGRAM, WHICH REQUIRES A STRICT SCREENING PROCESS FOR TENANTS. THE OWNERS OF PETE’S RESTAURANT AND THE JELLY DONUT REQUESTED FUNDING FROM THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR BUSINESS IMPROVEMENTS. COUNCIL MEMBERS DISCUSSED POSSIBLE RESTRICTIONS FOR RECEIVING FUNDS. THEY ALSO DISCUSSED AN RDA PROJECT TO INSTALL CURBS, GUTTERS, AND SIDEWALKS AND IMPROVE ALLEYS AND PARKING LOTS DOWNTOWN. THE COUNCIL APPROVED AN $18,000 REPORT TO EXPLORE UPDATES TO THE GENERAL PLAN FOR 29 PALMS. THE REPORT WILL PINPOINT AREAS WHERE DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE LIMITED OR CONTROLLED. DEVELOPMENTS CONTINUE FOR THE FUTURE JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK CULTURAL CENTER. A DESIGN CHARRETTE IN MID-AUGUST WILL ALLOW COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO TAKE PART IN THE DESIGN PROCESS. A BIDDABLE PACKAGE SHOULD BE READY BY FEBRUARY 09. THE COUNCIL ALSO RECEIVED THE 2007 AWARD OF MERIT FOR THEIR DOWNTOWN ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION FEASIBILITY STUDY. STEVE DUQUETTE OF THE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION FOR LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PRESENTED THE AWARD. "ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN TIMES LIKE THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER," HE SAID.

SON OF LOCAL WOMAN BECOMES A SAILOR
NAVY SEAMAN RECRUIT COOPER MOHN, SON OF DONETTE SWAIN OF JOSHUA TREE, AND KENNETH MOHN OF CHINO VALLEY, JUST COMPLETED BASIC TRAINING AT THE RECRUIT TRAINING COMMAND, GREAT LAKES ILLINOIS. FLEET HOMETOWN NEWS SERVICES SAYS THAT MOHN COMPLETED AN 8 WEEK PROGRAM OF CLASSROOM STUDY AND PRACTICAL INSTRUCTION, CULMINATING IN "BATTLE STATIONS" AN EXERCISE THAT GIVES RECRUITS THE SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE THEY NEED TO SUCCEED IN THE FLEET.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD IN SESSION TOMORROW
APPROVAL OF A CONTRACT TO BUILD A MULTI-USE SPORTS COMPLEX, AND THE APPOINTMENT OF AN INTERIM VICE PRESIDENT OF INSTRUCTION ARE TOP ACTION ITEMS AT TOMORROW ‘S VERY BUSY COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING. REPORTER TAMI ROLEFF JOINS US AGAIN WITH A CLOSER LOOK AT THE AGENDA… THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES’ WILL BE HELD THURSDAY IN CLASSROOM 11 AT THE COLLEGE. THE BUSY MEETING STARTS WITH A CLOSED SESSION AT 2 PM TO DISCUSS 2 LIABILITY CLAIMS AGAINST THE COLLEGE; AN EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DISMISSAL; A CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATORS FOR FACULTY, TEACHERS, AND EMPLOYEES; AND AN EVALUATION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT/PRESIDENT. THE OPEN SESSION OF THE MEETING STARTS AT 3:30. AFTER REPORTS FROM BOARD MEMBERS, STAFF, EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATIVES, AND STUDENTS, THE BOARD WILL BE ASKED TO APPROVE THE CONSENT AGENDA THAT INCLUDES CONFERENCE TRAVEL, MEMORANDUMS OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE COLLEGE AND THE FACULTY ASSOCIATION, AND THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, AND PROPOSED REGULATIONS FOR HANDLING COMPLAINTS OF UNLAWFUL DISCIPLINE. AMONG THE ITEMS ON THE ACTION AGENDA, THE BOARD WILL APPROVE CONTRACTS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE MULTI-USE SPORTS COMPLEX, APPOINT AN INTERIM VICE PRESIDENT OF INSTRUCTION, AND APPROVE CLASSIFIED AND SUPERVISOR APPOINTMENTS, AS WELL AS THE COLLEGE’S NEW SUPERINTENDENT/PRESIDENT, DR. ROGER WAGNER. THEN, IF NECESSARY, THE BOARD WILL RECONVENE TO CLOSED SESSION TO CONTINUE DISCUSSIONS ON ITEMS FROM THE CLOSED SESSION AGENDA.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY ONE DAY YARD SALE
THE MORONGO BASIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY IS HOLDING A ONE-DAY YARD SALE, SATURDAY FROM 7 AM TO 1 PM AT THE SOCIETY’S MUSEUM AND RESEARCH CENTER, 632 LANDERS LANE IN LANDERS. LUNCH WILL BE OFFERED AFTER 10:30, WITH HOT DOGS AND ROOT BEER FLOATS. IF YOU LONG TO GET RID OF SOME OF YOUR "STUFF" CALL RACHEL AT 363 1340 OR SALLIE AT 364-4446.

SHORT HISTORY OF HI DESERT WATER
IT STARTED WITH A HAND DUG WELL IN 1884. TODAY, THE HI DESERT WATER DISTRICT PROVIDES A SAFE SOURCE OF POTABLE WATER TO THOUSANDS. REPORTER DAN STORK TAKES A LOOK AT THE DISTRICT’S LONG HISTORY, AND ITS FUTURE… A PUBLIC TOUR OF THE HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT ON MAY 19TH, BEGAN WITH BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE DISTRICT. PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER JENNIFER CUSACK TRACED THE HISTORY OF WATER SERVICE IN THE AREA, FROM CHUCK WARREN’S FIRST WELL IN 1884, TO THE PRESENT-DAY DELIVERY OF AROUND A BILLION GALLONS A YEAR TO 26,000 PEOPLE. RECOGNITION OF OVERDRAFT OF THE LOCAL AQUIFER IN THE EARLY 70S WAS FOLLOWED BY A LONG MORATORIUM ON NEW SERVICE CONNECTIONS. THE MORATORIUM ENDED IN 1991 WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE MORONGO BASIN PIPELINE, WHICH ALLOWED THE RECHARGE OF THE AQUIFER WITH IMPORTED WATER. HOWEVER, IN ONE OF HDWDS BASINS, EXCESSIVE RECHARGE RAISED THE WATER TABLE TO A POINT WHERE NITRATES FROM SEPTIC SYSTEMS SEEPED INTO THE GROUNDWATER. THIS PROBLEM WAS DEALT WITH BY INSTALLATION OF A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR NITRATE REMOVAL SYSTEM, AND BY MORE CAUTIOUS RECHARGE IN THE UNAFFECTED BASINS. THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION LIES IN CENTRALIZED WASTEWATER TREATMENT. WE’LL TALK MORE ABOUT WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT FINANCES, WATER QUALITY, AND OPERATIONS IN FUTURE STORIES ABOUT THE WATER TOUR.

LECTURE ON WILDFIRES THURSDAY
IN VIEW OF THE RECENT ACOMA FIRE IN YUCCA VALLEY, AN APROPOS LECTURE IS BEING OFFERED AT THE HI DESERT NATURE MUSEUM TOMORROW. RICHARD HALSEY OF THE CALIFORNIA CHAPARRAL INSTITUTE IS PRESENTING A LECTURE ON FIRE SURVIVAL IN CALIFORNIA. HALSEY WILL DISCUSS HOW WILDFIRES ARE FOUGHT, WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED, AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO EXAMINE THE ENTIRE FIRE ENVIRONMENT RATHER THAN JUST FOCUSING ON VEGETATION. THE LECTURE IS PART OF THE BROWN BAG LUNCH SERIES, STARTING AT NOON IN THE MUSEUM, LOCATED AT THE YUCCA VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTER COMPLEX JUST OFF THE HIGHWAY AT DEMOSA.

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