A Marine was killed Monday, and four others injured, during a training accident on board the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. About 11:20 a.m. Monday morning, an amphibious-assault vehicle caught fire in the Bullion/Lead Mountain area, killing Corporal Nicholas Sell, 21, and injuring four others. One of the injured is in stable condition at Arrowhead Medical Center; the other three injured Marines were treated and released from the Naval Hospital on board the Twentynine Palms Combat Center. The Marine Corps has not released the names of the other Marines involved. The Marines were supporting 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, during the month-long Integrated Training Exercise. Corporal Nicholas Sell, of Eagle Point, Oregon, had deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and had been in the Marines for three years. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Monday’s incident marks the second training death this year during ITX at the Combat Center. Private First Class Casey Holmes died March 11 in a bulldozer mishap during the training program.
A Sheriff’s truck loaded with computer monitors
seized from the Boom Town Internet Café in
The last known illegal online gambling café in Yucca Valley was shut down yesterday following a joint raid by the Sheriff’s department and the California Department of Justice. Boom Town Internet Café, in a strip mall in the Vons shopping center, had been under investigation for illegal gambling activities for a couple of months. Sheriff’s Detective Dan Helmick said undercover officers had gone into the business earlier and played slots, Keno, and online card games. About 13 patrons were inside the business at the time of the raid. “They were using the computer stations. Once we entered and made contact with the manager, we asked everybody to step back from the monitors. What I observed when we did that, there was some of these gaming stations that had slot machines on the screen at the time.” No arrests were made at the time of the raid. Deputies seized 31 computers and about $3,800 in cash. Helmick said once detectives determine who the owner of the business is, he or she will likely face charges of possession of gaming equipment. Town officials were pleased to hear about the raid.
Deputy Town Manager Shane Stueckle said gaming establishments attract the wrong crowd. “Gaming establishments tend to bring certain characteristics that are not always desirable. The state has laws that regulate the location and the type of gaming facilities, and if this is one that does not conform to those types of laws, it should not be here.” Yucca Valley Mayor Merl Abel agreed and gave a pat on the back to the Sheriff’s Department.
“It’s very unfortunate that happened in our community, but I’m glad the alleged culprits have perhaps been shut down and our community can be better because of it, so congratulations to our Sheriff’s Department.”contact with the manager, we asked everybody to step back from the monitors. What I observed when we did that, there was some of these gaming stations that had slot machines on the screen at the time.” No arrests were made at the time of the raid. Deputies seized 31 computers and about $3,800 in cash. Helmick said once detectives determine who the owner of the business is, he or she will likely face charges of possession of gaming equipment. Town officials were pleased to hear about the raid.
The Yucca Valley Denny’s sign lies mangled
after a vehicle crashed into it.
The Sheriff’s Department is searching for the driver who crashed a pick-up truck into the Denny’s sign in Yucca Valley Monday morning and fled. About 5:30 a.m., an unidentified man drove a 2004 Dodge truck into the Denny’s sign along Highway 62 near Sage Avenue. The truck flipped over in the road. The driver then fled and has not yet been located. The vehicle is registered out of the area. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.
A fastidious burglar ransacked a Twentynine Palms home sometime over the weekend. The resident, Elizabeth Hanson, of the 6600 block of Tamarisk Avenue, came home about 1:30 Monday afternoon to find that someone had broken her bedroom window, and “wiped her out.” Hanson said not only did the burglar steal a couple of computers, a jewelry box filled with thousands of dollars of jewelry, and several bottles of old wine, but also soap, a toothbrush, and shampoo. While the jewelry is of sentimental value, Hanson said the only thing she hopes the burglar will return is a briefcase filled with personal items. “They know where I live,” she told Z107.7 News. Anyone with information on the burglary should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.
A correction to a story we ran yesterday about a motorcycle crash in Twentynine Palms Monday. About 4:50 p.m. Monday, Matthew Fletcher, 24, was riding his Yamaha eastbound on Highway 62, with his fiancée, Ashlee Demund as his passenger. Anthony Hilson, 41, was attempting to cross the highway southbound at Split Rock in his Ford truck when Hilson pulled out and collided with Fletcher’s motorcycle. Fletcher and Demund were treated at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs and released later that day.
The Yucca Valley Town Council met in what Managing Editor Tami Roleff says was a relatively calm session…
Slow and careful deliberations were the order of the day at last night’s nearly 3-hour-long meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council. The Council took more than an hour just to go through the consent agenda, pulling for discussion three items. After an attorney for a property owner at Emerson and Yucca Trail protested the Town’s attempt to revert a subdivided parcel of 17 lots back into a single lot, the Council agreed to appoint two members to meet with the owner to work out details on keeping the property as a subdivision. The Council voted to hire Vanessa Cantu as a part-time contract employee for $20,000 to work as a registrar for the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. Cantu has been volunteering as an assistant registrar at the museum for the past year. The new Youth Commission was introduced to the Council. Council members spent quite a bit of time discussing changes made to the development code update before approving the ordinance for its first reading. Construction of new playground equipment at Paradise Park should start in January. The Council also received a report on the Questar Southern Trails Pipeline Oil Conversion Project, which we’ll hear more about tomorrow.
The people of Joshua Tree will have a chance to shape the future of the village when the County of San Bernardino Land Use Services Department hosts a special workshop to discuss a Joshua Tree Community Plan update. Development rules, desert preservation, downtown design, economic development, and tourism will all be on the table at the workshop from 6 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night at the Joshua Tree Park and Recreation District building, 6171 Sunburst Street in Joshua Tree. County Land Use Services Director Tom Hudson will host.
The Morongo Unified School Board met last night. Reporter Mike Lipsitz said they adjusted athletic eligibility policy for all sports after 20 years, set a student teacher ratio, and will hire eight new teachers…
Responding to public outcry at last week’s special meeting, the Morongo Unified School District Board of Ed last night fast tracked a policy revision on athletic eligibility. The move clears the way for five football players from Twentynine Palms High School to rejoin the team now that each has successfully completed a makeup elective course. And at an earlier workshop session on class size reduction, the board adopted a 24:1 student/teacher ratio for grades K through 3 and approved the hiring of eight additional teachers, two each at Oasis and Onaga Elementary Schools, and one each at Twentynine Palms, Yucca Mesa, and Morongo Valley Elementary Schools. The new hires will come with $600,000 price tag.
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum will present a new temporary exhibition, “Water in the Desert–An Interactive Exhibit,” in conjunction with the High Desert Water District. This exhibition encourages visitors of all ages to learn about the process of providing water to this arid region through interactive displays for children and adults about the water cycle and its value to human life. The exhibition will be on display September 19 through January 18, with an opening reception on Thursday, September 19, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is located in the Yucca Valley Community Center Complex at 57116 Twentynine Palms Highway. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.
The Hi-Desert Water District Board will hear from the State water quality board tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff takes a closer look…
Representatives from the Colorado Regional Water Quality Control Board will give a presentation at the Hi-Desert Water District’s Board of Directors meeting tonight. The presentation will be on the Water Quality Control Board’s policy of siting, design, operation, and maintenance of onsite waste water treatment systems. Also on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, the directors will hear an update from the Town of Yucca Valley, consider the purchase of a vacuum excavator, hear an update on the waste water project, followed by reports from directors and staff. The meeting starts at 6:00 in the water district’s office at Inca and the Highway in Yucca Valley.
The Joshua Basin Water Board will hear a recommendation to raise their rates by 8 percent tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz looks at the rest of the agenda…
Prior to tonight’s regular meeting of the Joshua Basin Water District Board, Directors will convene a 4 p.m. joint session with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to review a water rate increase study. That study recommends an approximate 8 percent increase to go into effect the first of the year. Then at 7 p.m., directors are expected to award an agreement for operation and maintenance of the new Hi-Desert Medical Center Wastewater Treatment Plant to Water Quality Specialists of Escondido. The plant is humming along as expected in an operational proving period. Also tonight, the District will acknowledge Production Supervisor Randy Little on the anniversary of his 25th year with the District. Little oversees the department in charge of water quality. It all happens at District offices on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree.
This reminder: Yucca Valley High School will celebrate Back to School Night, tonight, at 6:00 p.m.
The Lady Trojans from Yucca Valley High School travelled to Indio High School to take on the Lady Rajahs volleyball teams yesterday. They defeated the Lady Rajahs 3-0. Coach Matt Jennings said the team served the ball well with a 93 percent serving percentage. From the service line Chelsea Mondary went 18 for 19 with six aces and Chelsea LeBoutillier went 18 for 18 with seven ace serves. Ashley Priest added six kills and Daylin Anderson had 10 digs. The junior varsity team beat Indio also 2-0 with the improvement of Joelle Hahzer, Evelynn Marin and Chloe Smith, and Jade Adair. The freshman team beat Indio in two straight sets with Nichole Sugita going 13 for 13 from the service line.
The Twentynine Palms High School Ladycats volleyball team defeated Cathedral City in three sets. The Ladycats were led by senior Cherokee Turner and junior Koko Cabrerra. Hanna Beard also played well tonight. The Ladycats are 3-0 overall.
Yesterday, the Twentynine Palms High School Lady Wildcat tennis team won their first game of the season against Cathedral City by a score of 11–7. An outstanding effort was put in by the doubles team of Clarissa Felton and Krystiene Delarosa, who won all three sets with scores of 6-4, 6-4 6-2.
In high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Lady Cats tennis team will travel away to Banning. Match time is 3:15. The Lady Cat volleyball team will also travel to Banning; first serve is at 4:30. And the Joshua Springs Christian School girls’ volleyball team will host Temecula Prep at home; match time is 5 p.m.