Page 1


Desert Hot Springs Page 4

Annual Broken Glass A wards Pages 14-15

Filmmaker Ken Winkler Pages 12-13

Rodeo Palm Springs

Mecca Hills

Pages 22-23

RODEO QUEEN JESSICA TOURINO pages 8-9 ~Photo by Bruce Montgomery

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Desert Hot Springs

Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

From the City Manager’s Desk to yours BY STA F F DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA- Twentysix abandoned residential properties were registered this week, totaling 1169, with total fees collected of $70,140.00 out of 194 listed. Also, seven new business licenses were issued this week as well. Public works staff repaired a broken water line at Tedesco Park. They also filled potholes, caused by recent rains. They removed a broken tree limb on a property at the Rancho Del Oro complex caused by recent winds. Two sign poles at Miracle Hill and Hacienda were replaced, after being knocked down by cars, and replaced a stop sign pole at Pierson Boulevard and Little Morongo Road that was damaged during an accident. City staff met with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, Mission Springs Water District and Dudek representatives on Thursday, February 18th to discuss the water district’s list of projects to be included in the Plan. Staff is awaiting a revised Scope of Work from Dudek to review and approve. A cost sharing agreement between the city and MSWD needs to be executed to split the costs of the work. Staff will also need to amend the Planning Agreement with the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission and the wildlife agencies to include the water district. It is anticipated that the Major Amendment will be adopted in January 2011.


The Redevelopment Agency is working on six capital projects, including Cabot’s Master Plan, the Façade Improvement (Phase One), City Hall Tenant Improvements, the Hart Building, Carl May Center and the Temple, which demolition is out for bid. The Police Department handled 764 incidents, including 18 misdemeanor arrests, 25 felony arrests, 77 traffic stops with 21 citations, 151 patrol checks and 3 DUI arrests. Code Enforcement issued $1,000 in administrative citations, collected $3,861.00 in citation fines, and also collected $1,000 in foreclosure citations. Staff issued demands for payment in the amount of $50,038.12. 129 properties were cleaned up by Graffiti Abatement this past week. A two year old case has finally been settled at 66-099 Buena Vista Avenue and the city recovered $3,861 in fines. Also, staff contacted three transients living on a vacant parcel across from Two Bunch Palms Resort, stating that they were illegally trespassing. They were requested to leave the area or be subject to removal by the property owner. Twenty-six notices were issued to citizens and Code Enforcement received almost a 98% compliance from these citizens. Also, a complaint of illegal vehicle sales at

“ ” for Going Forward!!


DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CAThe Parcel Tax Measure, which extends the parcel tax that is to expire June 30th, will appear on the Desert Hot Springs June ballot as “Measure G”.

DHS City Manager Rick Daniels the corner of Estrella Avenue and Palm Drive were reported. Staff responded to the location and advised the car owners that these sales were prohibited. They ceased sales and vacated the premises. Staff also requested that Rite-Aid clean up trash and debris behind the store and install “no Trespassing” signs, to help deter camping by transients in the area. Finally, the former Revivals property at the NW corner of Palm Drive and Hacienda Avenue is being cleaned up and maintained. Code Enforcement issued a $200.00 citation for failure to maintain the monument sign and to remove the seasonal window paintings.

Passage of this measure will extend the parcel tax until 2020.

requirement for the annexation of the 4,000 acres of land down to the I-10

This Measure will allow the city to maintain its public safety without police force cutbacks and downsizing and extending this parcel tax was a

Cultural Affairs Commission Chair, Dot Reed, commented “G” stands for Growth, Go forward, and Good for our city.

Desert Hot Springs

Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Fresh and Easy Does It By Vonda Pate-Davis DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CAThe Desert Hot Springs Planning Commission members who were newly appointed were sworn in on Tuesday night and opened up its new year of business. The city welcomes one new commissioner, Steve Sobotta, and a new alternate, Anthony Colarossi. This was followed by the selection of John Gerardi to continue as Chair with Elizabeth Versace selected as Vice Chair. Hotel San Carlos, a 20-unit hotel on the Northwest corner of Palm Drive and Ironwood received a CPU approval for the re-establishment of this hotel. It has been vacant for several years; and as stated by Mike Platt, the city needs to get these hotels, large and small back in operation. This will bring new curbs and gutters as well as a water feature around the front tree with lighting to enhance the entrance. Fresh and Easy, a proposed grocery store for the Northwest corner of Palm Drive and Hacienda Avenue, was before

the Commission to request a modification to their previously entitled plans. They are downsizing all 160+ stores to approx. 10,000 sq ft with addition of specialty stores. The Desert Hot Springs store has not started construction as yet, so the change will be easier to implement than those stores already built. There will be a specialty shop added to compliment their business and attract more customers. The 28 Ft height has not changed and the graffiti resistant paint will be used. Commissioners; having concerns of further delays, stipulated that demo of the building must start within 60 days and a completion of the demo within 120 days. As a further condition of the approval, the specialty shop cannot be occupied until after the primary store is occupied. A representative for the Fresh and Easy store stated that March and April are the key months for their commencement of construction.



Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010


The and Marketing of Desert Hot Springs By Vonda Pate-Davis DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CAThe Community and Cultural Affairs Commission of Desert Hot Springs heard those words from Tressed Ventures’ Tony Clarke, as he made a report to them Wednesday, on the progress of the “Wellness and World Music Festival” to be held this coming October 9th and 10th. Everything is on schedule and the plan is working. Sponsor packages are completed and the website is up. http:// www.wellnessandandworldmusicfestival. com As planned, two billboards will be up on I-10. The Commission was pleased to hear from Clarke that an agreement is in place for the Coachella Valley Boy’s & Girl’s Club to be the beneficiary of the Festival, and hopefully the lion’s share of that benefit to be designated for the Desert Hot Springs club. Tickets will be sold on Ticketmaster. However calls have been coming from all over the country; from people who heard about the festival, wanting to purchase tickets in advance of public notice. Commission Chair Dot Reed, said “This is a big thing and we’re doing it.” Other events the Commission is doing is Cabot’s Earth Day on the 24th of April at the Cabot’s Museum from 9 to 6pm. Cathy Romero made a report outlining the event. There are approximately 25 artists and vendors signed up. There is to be a variety of food vendors to satisfy many taste preferences. The Kid’s Village will be set up. It is expected to be a large turnout with many events during the day. Alternate Commissioner George Fisher made a suggestion that the commission look into a Holiday Lighting Contest. This is a pride of neighborhood, feel good type participation by the communities. The suggestion was well

received and Fisher was put in charge of moving forward with it. Commissioner Mary Hutchinson volunteered to assist. It was also suggested that prior to the Festival in October, there could be a public participation for cleanup of the entry streets into the city as well as some major streets. A campaign for the public to remove items hanging from the shrubs and trees, picking up any cans and debris and to give the city a tidier face before the thousands of new people get to our city. This suggestion was also very well received and was to be brought back for implementation.

Call DLNews for the best advertisement rates in the Coachella Valley. Join the Club, ‘THE ADVERTISEMENT CLUB’, to become a member, call 760-301-6291

29 Palms

Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

: i k s j o w a Z n n Pat Fly


Floral Artist Featured At 29 Palms City Hall BY LESLIE ANDREWS

TWENTYNINE PALMS, CAPat Flynn-Zawojski has a thing for flowers. Therefore, she decided to make it the focus of her art pieces and the city of Twentynine Palms honors her this month for her services to the city through their Art In Public Places program. Her painting career began in 1995 after retiring from her job with the Federal Government. A fellow member from the local Soroptomist Club International suggested that she get into the arts, so she decided to take up watercolor and pencil drawing at the Copper Mountain College and go into business eventually selling her artwork on greeting cards and paintings. Besides flowers, she also paints and draws photos of her grandchildren as well as desert animals. Pat’s first wholesale customer was from the Joshua Tree National Park.



Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Local Girl from Desert Hot Springs MissingMother needs your help

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA- A 17-year-old girl from Desert Hot Springs has been reported missing and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has stepped forward to help find her. Sierra Dick, Age 17, has been missing from Desert Hot Springs since January 18, 2010. She is five foot six inches tall, has green eyes, blonde hair and is 120 pounds. Her ethnicity is Caucasian. Her hair may have been dyed auburn recently. Sierra’s nickname is Sierra Bella. She may be in need of medical attention. Also, it has been reported that an 18-year-old male may have gotten her pregnant. The missing teen was last seen at the Ralphs Market where she worked at the Smoke Tree Village in Palm Springs on January 18th. She was last reported to have been seen by a Denver, Colorado man named “Johnny”, aged 26, Caucasian, brown hair with a tattoo on the right side of his chest, driving a black BMW with Colorado license plates. It is also a known fact that this “Johnny” individual is a drug addict. If you have seen her, please contact that NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST or call the Desert Hot Springs Police Department at (760) 329-2904.

Sierra Dick, Age 17-Sierra’s nicknmae is Sierra Bella

DESERT LOCAL NEWS Weekly • FEBRUARY 4, •2009 Desert Local News© • An Independent News Magazine March 15, 2010

Wind is our friend! Advertisement



The Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo in Palm Springs

‘Sheriff’ Don Cook

Desert Local News© • March 15, 2010

Theresa and Marvin O Dell cowboy song writers and performers

Report and photos by Bruce Montgomery Palm Springs, CA.For the first time in 17 years Palm Springs has a rodeo! During the day, March 12-14, there are carnival rides and live entertainment and vendors on the grounds - the rodeo itself are at night. Here are some pics I took during the day on March 12. Bruce

The Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo in Palm Springs

Desert Local NewsŠ • March 15, 2010


The Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo in Palm Springs

Mother And Daughter Pamela And Jacqueline Defrench Enjoying The Rodeo


o S y l t h g i And R

Editorial By Matt Weyuker Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010


THE PARCEL TAX To quote good ol’ Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, surprise!” Watta ya know – the Desert Hot Springs City Council recently approved putting the extension of the parcel tax on the June ballot. It would be at the same rate for an additional ten years. If passed, it will provide the revenue to maintain the city’s public safety at about the same level as it is today. But not before the city leaders wasted $125,000 to hire a “PR-outreach” outfit to find out if the voters would be gullible enough to support the doubling of the parcel tax. That being said, we all need to continue to back this public safety financing measure, because our community needs to rid itself of the criminal element that seems to pervade Desert Springs, causing residents angst, and thwarting future growth. THE “VORTEX” Speaking of our city council – have you seen the mess at Palm Drive and Pierson Boulevard lately? It’s a costly downtown Redevelopment Agency (RDA) project called “The Vortex.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “vortex” as “A spiral motion of fluid within a limited area, especially a whirling mass of water or air that sucks everything near it towards the center.” Wow – did our city leaders ask the Mission Springs Water District if “The Vortex” was OK with them? The city leaders have squandered millions of RDA dollars buying up downtown area property at its PEAK MARKET VALUE – digging up the busy intersection, re-facing adjacent store/


business fronts to the detriment of those establishments, and hampering their trade, or putting some of them out of business. The construction has impeded both auto and foot traffic by the city permitting all four corners of this busy intersection to be torn up simultaneously. When it rained there was an even greater mess! Mud and debris everywhere – and nowhere to walk. When they complete “The Vortex,” there will be FAR LESS DOWNTOWN PARKING than before the “improvement”! What about those cement points that jut out from the “Vortex” curbs? I’ll bet that attorneys and tire dealers are drooling over the potential accidents, and the punctured auto tires from those concrete curb points. DHS HIGH SCHOOL’S LACK OF ACHIEVMENT On to another subject – didya know that Desert Hot Springs High School finished in California’s LOWEST 5% IN ACADEMIC ACHEIVMENT? The Palm Springs Unified School District’s (PSUSD) Board of Trustees should be asking a lot of questions, because we taxpayers pay millions of dollars to provide these students with a “politically correct” ineffective high school education. The Desert Hot Springs High School students are being cheated out of receiving a quality education that they will need for their future endeavors – be it higher education, or finding a good-paying job. As a former school board member, I find the “dumbing-down” of expensive

taxpayer supported California education – no make that American education, repugnantly disheartening. I know I’m going to sound like a nay-saying old guy – but we are short-changing these students by depriving them of some very important basic learning. Many students cannot form a complete “grammatically correct” sentence, nor are they able to conjugate a verb. Many students aren’t being taught the fundamentals of what has made our country the beacon of freedom that it’s been to the world for the past 234 years – it’s called US History. There’s little mention of World War II, and its servicemen and women that Tom Brokaw venerated in his book “The Greatest Generation,” and no mention of the war I am a veteran of – The Korean War. Math and Science courses are becoming more important as the “high-tech” age speeds up – and educators should be more aware of this phenomenon. I have seen several examples of what little these high school students know about their country and state. When asked where such natural national treasures such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone or Yosemite National Parks were located, most students couldn’t point out where they were on a map of the USA. It seems to me that it’s not too late to turn these important educational deficiencies around – but time and the patience of “We The People” are running out – And Rightly So. **DLN Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the relevant contributors.

ADVERTISEMENT Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Call DLNews for the best advertisement rates in the Coachella Valley. Join the Club, ‘THE ADVERTISEMENT CLUB’, to become a member, call 760-301-6291



Artist Spotlight: Filmmaker Ken Winkler

Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Artist Spotlight:

Filmmaker Ken Winkler

STORY BY JACE EDWARDS ~Photographs courtesy of Risen Pictures Have you thought of what it takes to take a story to the screen from concept to distribution? I spoke with an independent filmmaker who is doing just that. Ken Winkler is a writer/director of a feature film that was partly shot in the desert. It was a cloudy day at Patriot Park in Cathedral City, near Palm Springs, California, where I met to discuss his latest foray into horror with the feature film, “Kiss The Abyss.”

Jace: In your words, explain the premise of “Kiss The Abyss.” Ken: “Kiss the Abyss” is a resurrection tale in the tradition of movies like “The Crow,” “Pet Semetary” or even going back to “Frankenstein.” I think what distinguishes it from other movies dealing with immortality and reanimation is that it brings us the perspective of the person undergoing the resurrection. The process of transformation into a new being is slow and painful for the character of Lesley, played by Nicole Moore (“Sorority Row,” “Maneater”), and she did a bang-up job in this role. Another element I think audiences will enjoy is how this innocent girl, who’s brutally murdered by an intruder, is brought back to life. The people around her — -her husband, played by Scott Wilson, and her father — keep her resurrection a secret, and that secret is dark. It involves a mysterious desert dweller and a creature both strange and beautiful. This element was also the most fun my producing partner, Eric Rucker, and I to write. Jace: You shoot several scenes in and around the desert, other than a beautiful backdrop, was there a reason? Ken: Absolutely, I used it a lot when directed my shorts in film school years ago, and I’ve always been drawn to it. It’s such a harsh environment; it’s austere and beautiful. Without sounding like a new-agey kind of person, there is a spiritual element to the desert, or perhaps a primal element

— something that strips away confusion and allows for good, solitary reflection. By contrast, the city is a confusion of concrete and too many people. Our desert dweller, played by Doug Bennett, who boasts an incredible TV and film resume, is a hoarder by nature who happens to have among his collection of stuff a miraculous being. He’s the least likely person on Earth you would imagine having the ability to bring someone back to life. And although he’s doing it for profit, you would never know it by his less than lavish surroundings. He’s a collector; that’s just what he does. The desert was a good fit for a character who likes to be left alone.

Jace: Let’s talk about being an Independent Filmmaker with Hollywood as your neighbor. Ken: Although we are close to Hollywood, it doesn’t mean anything unless you have substantial contacts on the inside, which I and most other independent filmmakers don’t have. Being an outsider builds character, though. It forces us to find new ways of attracting attention, and also allows us to take more creative risks because we’re not dealing with millions of dollars and studio expectations. We’re often dealing with our own personal savings and a handful of investors who want to share the journey with us. This year several thousand independent features were submitted to the Sundance Film Festival. And those films poured in from all over the world. These people are obsessed with “making it” in the industry, or just eager to share something with the world they feel is important. They’ve taken on this incredible commitment. Even the films that do get accepted into these high profile festivals have no guarantee of a distribution deal, so it’s really an insane, absolutely insane thing to pursue. There are no guarantees. For more about Ken Winkler and “Kiss The Abyss,” go to www.PalmSpringsGuides. Com


Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010



Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Denise DuBarry Hay, Congressman Connie Mack, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. ~Photos by Pat Krause

Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling

STORY AND PHOTOS BY PAT KRAUSE The Second Annual Broken Glass Awards Gala honoring extraordinary women was held on Saturday, March 6, 2010, at the La Quinta Resort & Club, near Palm Springs, California. Four women were honored by the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television (PSWIFT) for their achievements in the Film and Television Industry. A crowded Flores Ballroom saw these women being honored by their peers. PSWIFT President Sherry Halperin spoke to the guests about the PSWIFT, its beginning and what it accomplished. Patti Gribow and Shari Davis were two co-chairs. Both extremely accomplished women have been members of PSWIFT for several years. Halperin mentioned many talented women have been instrumental in growing PSWIFT. Lisa Austin from Imago Gallery was responsible for the beautiful one-of-akind awards that were designed by four different artists. These creations were made with the honoree in mind. Glass

artists Ed Benavente, Randy Polumbo, Joanna Manousis and Flo Perkins created the Glass Awards. The first presenter was Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) with the Desert Diva Award for Denise DuBarry Hay. Bono Mack said that she and DuBarry Hay have been friends for many years and it was an honor for her to be a presenter for this award. A video presentation was shown of the accomplishments of DuBarry Hay in her many endeavors in acting, producing and charitable works. Her Blue Moxie Entertainment production company recently produced the movie, “Shoot the Hero,” that was shown at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival. After the video, DuBarry Hay gave a short “thank you” speech to Bono Mack, PSWIFT, her husband Bill and her children for their support. This dynamic woman has won many awards and is involved in the Coachella Valley in many ways.

Continues on Page 15

Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling Continued from Page 14

The second award was the Jackie Lee Houston Humanitarian Award that was given to Barbara Sinatra. Houston spoke about the selfless contributions made by Sinatra of her passion to help mentally, physically and emotionally abused children. Twenty-two years ago, she started the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, where no child would be turned away because of an inability to pay. She has lent her time and energy to be the international voice for these children. After a short video about Sinatra and the Center, she took the stage to tell that more than 10,000 children have been helped at her center, and the need is still great. She thanked the community for the support they have given the Center and her late husband Frank Sinatra for being her biggest supporter.

Barbara Sinatra ~ Photo by Pat Krause

The third award was the Gena Award, named for Gena Rowlands, who is admired worldwide as a successful actress. This award was given to Lindsey Wagner. Wagner is best known for her role as the “Bionic Woman,” but there is much more to her character. She is an actress, writer, mother and has been involved with human rights, animal welfare, domestic violence and environmental causes. She said she asked for creative control when playing the “Bionic Woman,” which was probably a first for women back in the ’70s. The final award of the evening is the Broken Glass Award. This award is for women who have broken through the “Glass Ceiling” to create a fabulous career in the film industry. Patt Morrison presented this award to Gale Ann Hurd, a highly respected producer. Hurd has produced more than two-dozen films and received many awards plus and Oscar Nomination. Her list of produced films include “The Terminator,” “Alien,” “Dante’s Peak” and “Armagedon” to name just a few.

PSWIFT President Sherry Halperin

Linsey Wagner

The Evaros provided entertainment during the evening and the dance following the program. For more about the Broken Glass Awards Gala, go to www.PalmSpringsGuides.Com Gale Anne Hurd

The Envaro




Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

VIP Waiters ~photo by Pat Krause


Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010




United Way Fund-raiser Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Faux Otis Day and the Knights

Jack Fitzgerald and Judy Vossler

Tacky Prom Queens

INDIAN WELLS, CA. Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010


Clowns from Desert Commercial Bank

STORY AND PHOTOS BY PAT KRAUSE The United Way of the Desert held its 20th annual VIP Waiter Challenge fundraiser on Monday, March 8. The event was held at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in the Crystal Ballroom in Indian Wells, near Palm Springs, California. The valley’s community leaders served as VIP Waiters for their table. Every table had a theme and all the guests came in costume befitting that theme. Local businesses, organizations or private persons sponsored the fundraiser. What a fun party! This is one of the most anticipated costume parties in the desert. Each table had a different theme with all the guests in costume. Walking around the ballroom were pirates, Romans in togas, tacky prom queens, chefs, clowns, leprechauns and extravagant Mardi Gras costumes to name just a few of the fabulous and creative outfits. Event Co-chairs were Jack Fitzgerald and Judy Vossler. Linda Krengel and Jack Fitzgerald took turns as emcee. They invited all the VIP Waiters to come on stage.

The Hoot N Holler award was given to the VIP Waiter that received the loudest applause and noise. Local leaders in the community vied for the title. They were introduced on stage in costume. They would work hard to get their table to “Hoot N Holler” the loudest. Guests also in costume would bang on the table and holler as loud as they could make a thunderous sound. A Hoot N Holler barometer would configure the loudest table.

They sang and played music as “Otis Day and the Knights” from the movie with Rock ‘n’ Roll music.

Four tables were tied with the loudest applause — JFK Memorial Medical Center, El Paseo Bank, Desert Regional Medical Center and Tacky Prom Queens. Another Hoot N Holler challenge brought the total down to two — JFK and the Tacky Prom Queens. And the Winner was — Tacky Prom Queens!

The United Way of the Desert supports 25 critical human care programs and services, which serve local people in need. A few of their programs are rental assistance, food distribution, hot meals, domestic violence shelters, inhome health care and hospice for those uninsured, core programs for youth development, escort services for the blind and handicapped, plus many more services for residents that are in need of help.

Judy Vossler and Pattie Daly Caruso jumped up and down with excitement and all 25 Tacky Prom Queens joined in. Tacky Prom Queens was sponsored by Out of the Box and Spotlight 29 Casino. A movie trailer of the movie “Animal House” was shown to get everyone in the mood to dance and party. Entertainment was provided by a group of local leaders.

There is another award called the People’s Choice Award that went to the VIP Waiter who received the most $1 votes. Brian Schell of PENTA Building was the winner for the third year in a row. Second place went to Jack Fitzgerald and third place went to Rancho Mirage Councilman Richard Kite.

For more about the United Way of the Desert VIP Waiter Fund-raiser, go to www.PalmSpringsGuides.Com


‘NEW’ THE MORONGO BASIN NEWS Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Yucca Valley Businesses Encouraged to take a bite out of Crime LESLIE ANDREWS YUCCA VALLEY, CABusiness owners and managers in Yucca Valley have experienced a number of crime incidents in recent months, so they gathered at a special Business Crime Prevention meeting on Thursday morning to voice their concerns to members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which serves the entire Morongo Basin. Unlike other communities nearby (the Coachella Valley and Victor Valley areas), the Morongo Basin area between Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms has experienced far less crime than usual, however, incidents are on the rise. “Knock on wood,” said Crime Prevention Officer Vera Martinez, who along with Yucca Valley Police Chief Captain Donnie Miller led the meeting. It has been reported that at least 300 calls to dispatch have been business related in the town, and only one report of a bank/ strong arm robbery has happened. Soon,

the topics of surveillance cameras and community patrol came up, as Martinez stated were good methods of keeping crime under control. Gang activity is scarce in the Morongo Basin at this time, said Captain Miller, but still, incidents are slowly increasing. He stated that often times, individual gang members (i.e. “Gangbangers”) from the Coachella Valley have been coming up to the area to cause trouble and that he was concerned that branches of gangs may form. He assured the public that the local Sheriff’s Department is keeping watch and that they are doing their best to prevent gangs from forming. However, the town of Yucca Valley has a good graffiti abatement program, which is fairly fast acting. Business owners were encouraged to keep their windows open and not have posters blocking the view. Martinez added, “If you can’t see out, we can’t see

in.” Owners expressed concerns about smashed windows where suspects would grab merchandise and shoplifters. Miller suggested that smaller items be placed near the cash register so that merchants can keep a closer eye on them. Also, the issue of counterfeit money was brought up, as incidents of money laundering have happened in the area. A crime packet was given to all who attended, and inside the folder was a guide to how to detect fake bills. Finally, Martinez encouraged people to always ask for ID when doing credit card transactions and to check people out. “I’m happy when somebody asks me for my ID, even though it may be an inconvenience,” she explained, in light of credit card theft taking place. For more information, please contact the Joshua Tree Sheriff’s Department Station at (760) 366-3781.

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‘NEW’ THE MORONGO BASIN NEWS Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Wild Musical Satire “Walmartopia” Opens at Theatre 29


Yucca Valley to get WalMart SuperCenter by 2012 LESLIE ANDREWS YUCCA VALLEY, CA- As promised to the community of Yucca Valley, the proposed WalMart SuperCenter has gotten the green light to go ahead and proceed, after the Center for Biological Diversity settled a lawsuit brought against the company over possible global warming impacts caused by the construction of the center.

The hard-working cast and Crew of „Walmartopia” had the West Coast premiere of the over-the-top musical with an opening night sponsored by the Yucca Valley Rotary Club Friday, March 12. The „campy, caustic and comically irresistible” show will run Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00pm through April 10. A Thursday performance will b held at 7:00pm March 25th and a Sunday matinee at 2:30pm April 4th. Director Charles Harvey was enthusiastic about the show, which was last seen Off-Broadway in 2007, saying, “Walmartopia” is a story everyone can relate too. Everyone who works or have worked for a corporation will understand the insanity of it all. While this show highlights the world’s biggest retailer, it is a larger indictment on the corporate machine in America. The production is a political satire, it is also a lot of fun. Great music, outrageous characters and, at the heart of it all, a story about the bond of a mother and daughter. It’s silly and serious, all wrapped in toe tapping tunes and hilarious social commentary.” “Walmartopia”, written by Catherine Caparello with music and lyrics by Andrew Rohn, both of Madison, Wisconsin, tells the hilarious and timely tale of a single mom who speaks out against her company‚s working conditions. Through a fantastic series of events, she finds herself jettisoned to 2040, into a future where Wal-Mart has taken over the world! The musical, peppered with lots of silliness, even features the singing head (head only) of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Reservations can be made by calling the Theatre 29 box office at 760361-4151, or online at . Tickets are $12.00 for regular admission, $10.00 for seniors and military, and $6.00 for children under 12 ( the show is not recommended for young children) and students with ID. Theatre 29 is a non-profit, all-volunteer, tax exempt community theater. It is located at 73637 Sullivan Road (right around the corner from Barr Lumber) in the City of Twentynine Palms.

As part of the settlement. WalMart will be required to install three rooftop solar facilities of about 250 kilowatts, to incorporate cutting-edge efficiency measures into the design of the proposed stores, and implement a refrigerant audit and improvement program at certain existing stores in California. The lawsuits challenged the company over the projects for failure to properly consider measures to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution resulting from building the Supercenters. “This settlement is yet another example of the California Environmental Quality Act working to improve new development, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, save energy, save money, and promote a vibrant green economy,” said Matt Vespa, a senior attorney with the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “The settlement raises the bar for future projects. If big-box stores are to be built in California, measures like the installation of solar-power systems must be adopted to minimize the project’s greenhouse gas pollution.” In a letter sent to the Town of Yucca Valley obtained by Desert Local News, it is also agreed that the environmental groups shall not disrupt the opening of the supercenter, scheduled for two years from now. This settlement also includes a $120,000 check payable to the Mojave Desert Land Trust for the purpose of land conservation. Plus, the town acknowledges the right of the Coalition for Environmental Integrity to endorse a ballot initiative prohibiting development of future super centers. Plans to expand the current WalMart store in Yucca Valley into a SuperCenter have been in the works since 2008. This location, like all others in Southern California, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Mecca Hills: Painted Canyon a A Day trip Study of Geology

STORY AND PHOTOS BY RENEE VARGAS If you have never traveled through the Mecca Hills near Palm Springs, California, you may be missing one of the most interesting day trips available within Coachella Valley. Box Canyon and Painted Canyon are located in the Mecca Hills on the east side of the Coachella Valley. Access is easy from the town of Mecca. Just follow 66th Avenue east out

of town about 3 miles. This route used to be the only major road out of Coachella Valley to Blythe. Now, it is a Scenic Byway. But don‘t just travel through; stop and take a short walk to really appreciate the landscape’s features. There are some interesting things about

the area’s geology. One is that the San Andreas Fault cuts right through the Mecca Hills across the mouth of Painted Canyon. An earthquake reshaped the face of this area many thousands of years ago causing some of the landscape to be standing straight up and in a couple of places totally flipped over on its back. There is only one other place in the United


Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

and Box Canyon

States that can claim this geology — the Grand Canyon.

well as bladderwort. There are even some tiny little blossoms on the creosote plants.

As of this writing, the wildflowers are just about to bloom, and there is plenty of spring growth on nonflowering vegetation. The desert holly is healthy, the brittle bush is blooming and there is some purple lupine and desert verbena blooming as

There is a great variety of animal life to be found aside from the occasional coyote. Big horn sheep are often seen in the area along with antelope ground squirrels. Ferruginous hawks, Say’s phoebes, loggerhead shrikes and ravens are

frequent visitors to the area. You might see even more! This area proves to be a great location for photography from fine art to great backgrounds for fashion models. For more about Mecca Hills, go to www. PalmSpringsGuides.Com


K-Swiss Desert Smash



Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010


The Sixth Annual K-Swiss Desert Smash was held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 9 and 10 at the La Quinta Resort & Club. The event benefited Variety-the Children’s Charity of the Desert. Celebrities and tennis professionals participated in this two-day affair that was sponsored by Epic Sports. Day One featured tennis Pro-Am tournaments on many tennis courts in the complex from noon to 2 p.m. A private luncheon with an awards ceremony was held from 2 to 3 p.m. During that time, the press had a chance to photograph the celebrities and professional tennis players as they walked a red carpet. Actor Christian Slater posed with an autographed guitar that was auctioned off live at the evening’s dinner. He talked with photographers and showed a photo on his cell phone. He said he loved tennis but was a newcomer to golf. He said his ball goes right and left but playing in the tournament was all about helping the kids. Pro tennis exhibition matches were held from 3 to 5 p.m. Fans could purchase seats on one side of the court, but the event was free to those who just wanted to watch from the grassy knoll on the side of the court. Other fans just stood to watch from the ends of the court. The matches were full of fun as courtside line judges were not present, and there was a lot of talking by the emcee, who joked with the players. They put microphones on the players, which were a nuisance for them, so they had to remove them in the middle of play.

Christian Slater

The Line Judge’s seat was auctioned off, and several lucky fans bid $100 to watch from that high perch and pretend to be a line judge. Autographed tennis balls and other items were auctioned in between matches and all money raised went to the charity. Michael Johns from “American Idol” sang the National Anthem to start the tournaments. A party and dinner was held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the La Quinta Resort & Club where a silent and live auction was held in the Fiesta Ballroom. Day Two kicked off the annual Celebrity-Am Golf Tournament played on La Quinta Resort’s Mountain Course. Celebrities Christian Slater and Fred “The Hammer” Williamson plus other celebrities and pro tennis stars played in this tournament K-Swiss is the title sponsor for this event. K-Swiss has offered performance and lifestyle footware and apparel for the last 40 years. Variety-the Children’s Charity of the Desert is dedicated to promoting and protecting the health and wellbeing of underprivileged and special needs children in the valley For more on the Sixth Annual K-Swiss Desert Smash, go to www.PalmSpringsGuides.Com

Ralph Vick, Fred Willianson and Christian Slater


Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010



Weekly News Magazine Max Liebermann Publisher ADVERTISEMENT 760-301-6291 NEWS ROOM Editor/Senior writer Leslie Andrews STAFF WRITERS Vicki Lawson Dr. Lisa Robyn Lawrence* Dr. Allen Lawrence* Pat Krause* Line Judge perch

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Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

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Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Downtown Specific Plan Gets Green Light


LESLIE ANDREWS TWENTYNINE PALMS, CAWith a unanimous vote, the city of Twentynine Palms will go ahead and grant the green light to downtown plan improvements, which have been the topic of discussion for years. Tuesday night’s adoption of the plan will lead to a creation of the Downtown Specific Plan to be considered by November or December of this year, said Community Development Director Charles LaClaire. “Even if the plan is adopted tonight any ailment of the plan can be amended due to circumstances at that time,” he explained. Mark Rhoder from the PMC Consulting Firm led the talks much further. “Your downtown is the most visible aspect. People will want to locate their families here. They are an economic tool for the entire community,” he said, discussing the pros of having a Specific Plan, which many cities in California already have. “Study showed that once a plan was adopted, properties go up 13-14% in value. The blueprint is clear.” Details of the plan include keeping design relevant to the California Mojave Desert, and to create a community-friendly downtown corridor along Highway 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway) and Adobe Road, which leads to the Marine Base. Two plans were discussed, whether or not the city decides to construct a sewer system or stay septic. Rhoder added, “The streetscape plan planned for 29 Palms Highway would calm traffic and be pedestrian friendly. I can tell you from first hand experience that crossing 62 would take your life in your hands.” He suggested that the speed limit be around 25 mile per hour. Council members made a few discussions. Mayor Steve Flock wanted to see more higher end businesses coming to the downtown area. “The businesses downtown are sustained by the businesses in the area. We need a higher end development rather than low income projects and still attract the Marine Corps.” Rhoder compared an example of a city with a plan, which was the border town of Chula Vista, California. He stated, “We developed a plan for the city of Chula Vista. It was a forgotten area towards the border. I called them 2 years ago and they got the grant. We got $14 million. They were one of the only cities that did a transient oriented plan. By adopting the plan, you put your cards on the table. I would say that you set yourself up for grant awards.” Jay Corbin, a candidate running for a city council seat, commented, “I agree that our downtown need a plan. I see a lot of positive elements in the plan but there are a couple of things

I am concerned about. We have 100 vacant lots. Half of them are commercial. Unless we have people tearing them down, this $11 million burden will be on those property owners. I’m also concerned about a business improvement district. Unemployment has gone to 15%.” If the city were to go with the sewered plan, fees would be paid by the new businesses and by anybody who hooks into the system, said the Mayor. Much debate was brought up about the sizes of businesses if the downtown area were to go with a sewer system. If septic systems remain in place, businesses would be smaller in size. Steve Van Dusser, a resident, commented, “It may cost 10 to 100 time more than to do it later than sooner. I think it’s better we do it now before we expand the roads.”



Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010





• Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Reporters & Writers Wanted The Desert Local News team is looking for journalists to cover political, feature and entertainment news in the Western Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basin. Experience and education not necessary. Will be willing to train to write if you are interested. Contact Leslie at (760) 780-7109 or email at for your inquiry. Resumes welcome.

Sales Person wanted The Desert Local News team is looking for a motivated salesperson, able to work flexible hours and cover the areas of the Morongo Basin and the Western Coachella Valley. Experience not necessary. Will be willing to train to conduct cold call sales. Great advertising plans available.

To buy our National Advertisement Partners products; just click the corresponding ads!

Contact Max at (760) 671-4309 or email at for your inquiry. Resumes welcome.


• Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010

Desert Hot Springs

Debbie McGowan




Desert Local News© • An Independent Weekly News Magazine • March 15, 2010


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The New desert Local News March 15, 2010  

The New DLNews is a weekly news magazine for the greater Palm Springs area, the Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basin up to 29 Palms

The New desert Local News March 15, 2010  

The New DLNews is a weekly news magazine for the greater Palm Springs area, the Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basin up to 29 Palms