Needles, CA: The Needles Nugget — By Elaine Cullen.

Happy New Year Needles!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday and 2012 has started off positively for everyone!  We have some great opportunities and a few challenges awaiting us this year and I am very excited to work with all of you as we move forward to address both.

First, I want to personally thank the volunteers, business owners, city staff and local organizations who helped with the Olde Fashioned Christmas event.  The camaraderie, enthusiasm and “can do” attitude was evident from beginning to end, and your efforts resulted in an event the entire community is proud of.  We have received nothing but positive feedback! The regional radio exposure we received from My Radio Central and KJJJ before and during the event was a tremendous boost to our outside marketing efforts!  And of course, thank you to the great entertainers, vendors and parade participants!

I want to express my appreciation to those who attended the Chamber of Commerce’s membership luncheon last month; I enjoyed meeting more business leaders in the community and fellow Chamber members.  Thanks to Jeff Williams and Sue Godnick for giving me the opportunity to speak to the group.

Last month I met with Needles High School seniors to conduct the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) just as we did with the local community.  They have a better insight than you might think; once again, local gas prices were chided.  They are also well aware of the economic downturn and how their hometown has declined over the years.  They have concerns about the large number in the local community receiving public assistance, and they would like to see amenities such as a movie theater and more water-related events/activities.  The students also feel regular beach clean-ups are needed, and some were ready to volunteer to help with those efforts.

I will be making a presentation to the Mayor and City Council at the regular meeting on January 24th giving the results of all the SWOT meetings and potential options for moving forward.  (Any future undertakings will be at the Councils’ discretion and will not be decided at this meeting).  I invite all of you to attend –  your continued input and support will be critical to our success!  Let’s fill the Council Chambers with a show of support for the overall betterment of the City for our residents and businesses!  The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m.

We all know local job growth is a necessary part of any economic recovery.  That entails not only attracting new companies, but supporting our existing businesses so they can grow, as well.  Marketing using social media is here to stay, and provides companies access to literally a “world” of customers.  Facebook provides low or no-cost advertising solutions, and in many ways can replace the expense of maintaining a website.

To support that effort, the City has arranged for a FREE seminar for our business community – “How to Use Social Media to Market Your Business”.  Residents can also attend; the focus is business marketing but you will also learn about social media in general.  You DO NOT need to bring your laptop.  Eden Rudin, owner of The Social Garden, will teach the class; she is a small business owner who started using social media in early 2008 and quickly realized the positive impact that “going social” had on her bottom line.  Eden will explain a variety of the benefits resulting from the use of social media to grow your business and cover several popular social sites; the emphasis will be on using Facebook and its ease and value.  Note your calendars now for Wednesday, January 18th from 9am – 11am at Juicy’s River Café.  Thanks to Mike Bradley for providing the class space!  (Attendees are responsible for any food/drink).  Please RSVP by January 11th (or submit any questions) to

I want to remind you that Readers Digest is once again sponsoring the “We Hear You America” contest.  It’s easy to register, and you can vote as many times as you want every day!  The contest goes until March 1 and winning cities get money for specific projects. As I write this, Needles is in 8th place with 227,500 votes, which puts us on the outside edge to win $10,000!  We need as many votes as possible to maintain the $10,000 spot.  If everyone commits to voting 30 minutes/day (even two 15-minute sessions), we might make it.  How much easier does it get to support your community – you don’t have to leave home and it doesn’t cost anything!  Go to to register and vote today!  For you i-phone & Droid users, you can download the app and vote from your phone.  Cathy McConnell, Dennis Kramer, Darrell Shurtz and fellow Mustang Alumni are leading the charge – PLEASE support this major local effort to improve and benefit YOUR city!

Lastly, here’s a great annual event you’ll want to get on your schedule now!  The 4th Annual Route 66 Hot Boats & Custom Car Show is confirmed for February 24-26th at the beautiful Jack Smith Park.  This three-day annual event includes a golf tournament, parade and Bar B-Q, and promises a weekend party with beautiful cars, boats and great music; proceeds go to a local cause.  This is a great opportunity for us to welcome many out-of-town guests!  Let’s “spruce up” our properties and enhance our curb appeal!  Roll out the red carpet and let’s offer our visitors such great customer service they’ll come back again and again!  We want them to leave with a favorable and positive impression of Needles.  If you work in our hotels and/or restaurants, tell them about our murals and about the new efforts to enhance the city – help spread the word.  Be positive and excited, but most of all, thank them for visiting the City of Needles!

I’ve been working with the City for three months now and I sincerely thank everyone in town for your help, input, participation and support – from both the public and private sectors.  I have felt very welcomed by everyone and I’m excited and encouraged to work with you to positively enhance the City of Needles and your lives in the process.  Just a reminder to like the “City of Needles” Facebook page; you can always contact me at

Again, Happy New Year!  Now, Let’s Roll Up Our Sleeves Get to Work!

Crime Stoppers Alert!!!: An arrest made in the arson fire spree around the Los Angeles, California area.

Hollywood, CA: A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy and Los Angeles Police Department Officers arrested 24 year old Harry Burkhart of Hollywood, California around 3am PT Monday morning following a traffic stop on Sunset Boulevard near Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood, California.

Harry Burkhart is being held without bail and is due in court on Wednesday morning.

Harry Burkhart is so far facing 1 charge of arson but that number is expected to go up.

Harry Burkhart’s arrest was in part thanks to an alert Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Shervin Lalezary who volunteers his time to help protect his community and was out on his forth patrol when he pulled over Harry Burkhart’s minivan.

With a Los Angeles Police Department vehicle behind as back up, Lalezary began to question Burkhart.

As Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Shervin Lalezary was questioning Burkhart, Lalezary spotted some charcoal starters inside the minivan.

Arson investigators are saying that charcoal starters started many of these arson fires.

With the spotting of the charcoal starters and Burkhart looking like the man seen in the surveillance video, Lalezary placed Burkhart in police custody.

Harry Burkhart is a German national and was living with his mother in Hollywood, California.

A motive has not yet been determined, but early reports that Harry Burkhart had an apparent gripe against the United States.

Dorothee Burkhart is facing deportation back to her native country Germany.

Federal officials are saying Dorothee Burkhart is wanted in Germany on 19 counts of fraud.

Two more suspects were arrested; 22 year old Samuel Arrington and 55 year old Alejandro Pineda in connection with the arson fires spree.

During a Monday evening news conference, 3rd District Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told reporters, “Our long, four-day nightmare is over.”

Many people thanking Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Shervin Lalezary in putting an end to this arson fire spree.

City and Council Officials thanking the joint task force and the public for calling in tips to help us search for who was starting these arson fires.

The joint task force was made up of both city and county fire and police department personnel, officials from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Arson investigators.

Last Sunday, Los Angeles Police Department released a surveillance video shows a man wearing all black leaving the scene of a car fire last Saturday night inside a parking structure at the Hollywood and Highland complex in Hollywood, California.

Law enforcement officials are saying that the man was caught on surveillance cameras at several scenes where fires have been lit since last Friday.

Over 50 arson fires in 4 days were set across the Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley areas which includes 12 new fires that broke out early Monday morning.

There was 1 injury the occurred during the arson fire spree; a firefighter battling that arson fires was injured.

Early property damage cost may hit over $3 million.

Hospital Sale Ad-Hoc Committee and Board of Hospital Trustees Meetings on Thursday

Needles, CA: Hospital Sale Ad-Hoc Committee and Board of Hospital Trustees Meetings will be held on Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at the Needles City Council Chambers on J Street at Bailey Ave. in Needles, California.

– Hospital Sale Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting starts at 2:00pm PT.

– Board of Hospital Trustees Meetings starts at 6:00pm PT.

Hospital Sale Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting and Board of Hospital Trustees Meeting Items on the Agendas:
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** Hospital Sale Ad-Hoc Committee Meetings Agenda: **

Item #1: Presentation by Dr. Frank Comunali of a proposed business plan for the hospital.

Item #2: Report by Consultant Michael Appelhans on his review of the proposals submitted by Needles Hospital Inc. and AM Pharmacy; and possible recommendation to the Board of Hospital Trustees on the potential sale of the hospital.
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** Board of Hospital Trustees Meetings Agenda: **

Item #6: Unfinished Business:

(A): Update on the operations of the Needles Municipal Hospital/ Colorado River Medical Center (located at 1401 Bailey Avenue, Needles) including presentation of a proposed business plan for the hospital.

More Information at:

(B): Report by Consultant Michael Appelhans on his review of the proposals submitted by Needles Hospital Inc. and AM Pharmacy; and possible recommendation from the Hospital Sale Ad-Hoc Committee regarding potential sale of the hospital.

More Information at:

Item #7: New Business:

(A): Introduction of and presentation by Dr. Mark Comunali regarding anesthesia coverage at the hospital.

More Information at:

(B): Report by the Interim CEO Subcommittee and adoption of Resolution No. 1-5-12 BHT approving an Inter Chief Executive Officer Services Agreement with Visions in Healthcare, Inc.

More Information at:

(C): Appointment of Jon Freeberg as chief operating officer.

More Information at:

(D): Resolution No. 1-5-12-1 BHT authorizing the execution and delivery of an Indenture and Note Purchase Agreement and authorizing certain other actions in connection with the issuance, sale and delivery of the Hospital’s 2011 HIT/ EHR Taxable Promissory Notes (aggregate principal amount not to exceed $1.5 million).

More Information at:

(E): Approval of a Physician Assistant/ Nurse Practitioner Direct Hire Fee Agreement with NP/ PA Recruiters for recruitment of physician assistants and practitioners.

More Information at:

(F): Approval of a Contingency Agreement with American Recruitment of physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

More Information at:

(G): Acknowledge and acceptance of a Conflict Waiver Letter from Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, P.C. regarding their representation of Bing Lum, AM Pharmacy, in the potential sale of the hospital.

More Information at:
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– Hospital Sale Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting and Board of Hospital Trustees Meeting Full Agendas:
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**** First on ZachNews: ZachNews Reporter Zachary Lopez interviewed the new CEO for Colorado River Medical Center Francis L. Comunale. ****

Francis L. Comunale stopped into the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Needles, California last Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 around 12pm PT to talk at members of the Lions Clubs during their meeting which he made his announcement about becoming the new CEO at Colorado River Medical Center.

ZachNews is the first to talk to the new CEO of Colorado River Medical Center Francis L. Comunale and asked about the how he feels about the sale of the hospital, the ongoing investigations happening on the hospital, and his plans for the Colorado River Medical Center as CEO.

The new CEO of Colorado River Medical Center Francis L. Comunale talks about plans for the hospital related to services for mental health patients and veterans, as well as get universities involved with the hospital.

You Can Watch the Full Interview with Francis L. Comunale done by ZachNews Reporter Zachary Lopez at ZachNews on YouTube.

ZachNews on YouTube:

**** The Video Is In Full and Unedited ****
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For More Information, Please Contact Cheryl Sallis – Clerk of the Hospital Board at: 1 (760) 326-2113 Ext. 315

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News from Needles, California.