FORMER MARINE ARRESTED FOR 2004 YUCCA VALLEY MURDER

A former Twentynine Palms Marine has been arrested In Michigan for the 2004 killing of his wife in Yucca Valley. Detectives from Michigan and California arrested 41-year-old Charles Leppan in connection with the disappearance of his ex-wife. On May 12, 2004 a man walking his dog in the desert on the outskirts of Twentynine Palms discovered the skeletal remains of 33-year-old Jean Lizette Leppan buried in the desert. Charles Leppan, at the time a 31-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Marines stationed at the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, was the last person known to have seen his ex-wife at their shared Yucca Valley home in January of 2004. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies initially arrested Charles Leppan, who never reported Jean Leppan missing and remarried two weeks after her disappearance, but he was released when the District Attorney’s office said they were not prepared to proceed with their case. Authorities say Leppan was taken into custody outside his home in Brandon Township, Michigan, Sunday by San Bernardino County detectives with a homicide warrant for his arrest. He is in jail pending an extradition hearing.

YUCCA VALLEY BUSINESS OWNERS VENT FRUSTRATION OVER PLANNED MEDIANS

The Town of Yucca Valley heard from some unhappy business owners and citizens last night at a workshop meeting about two new highway projects, including more medians. Managing editor Tami Roleff was there as they voiced their frustration…
Business owners complained that because semis and other large trucks can’t make U-turns on the highway, they wouldn’t be able to deliver merchandise if the medians blocked access to their businesses. Deputy Town Manager Shane Stueckle admitted that the alternate routes, such as Pioneertown Road to Sunnyslope and back down Grand or Palm to the highway, were not ideal, as large trucks would travel through residential neighborhoods. “While there are secondary routes available for businesses to have access, are they perfect? No, they are not perfect.” One business owner questioned the timing of the workshop. “To me, this meeting should have been done prior to approval of the whole project.” And he also questioned the statistics showing 47 accidents between Apache and Palm Avenues from 2009 to 2013. “47 accidents in five years. Those statistics don’t justify the loss in income the businesses are going to get.” Mike Branning, owner of Unique Landscape wondered why the Town even held a workshop. “Seems like it’s already a done deal as far as the project going out to bid. How can you properly bid a project when these need to be addressed?” Stueckle closed the meeting with three reasons why the medians are being added. “Number 1, based upon the general plan policy, a 6-lane divided highway; 2) traffic safety is a priority in this community for all of the Town Councils since incorporation, and 3) funding availability exists today.”

MORONGO UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The Board of Education will be briefed in closed session on staffing, and later will get a status report on enrollment. Reporter Dan Stork tells what else will be before the Morongo Unified School District Board at its October 15 meeting…
The meeting of the Board of Education of the Morongo Unified School District gets off to an early start with a closed session at 5 p.m. The first half hour of the closed session deals with personnel and collective bargaining issues; 5:30 to 7 is scheduled for a work/study session on staffing. The public meeting resumes at 7 p.m. with more recognition of the accomplishments of selected students, in honor of National Disabilities Awareness Month. Two staff reports follow, one on the Special Education Local Plan, and the other on enrollment. The action agenda items are the declaration of the week of October 21-25 as “Red Ribbon Week”, a completion notice for re-locatable classrooms at Joshua Tree Elementary School, and Fitnessgram waivers for 13 students. Board policies or regulations on the use of copyrighted materials, school plans and site councils, and food allergies and special dietary needs will be presented for first readings. The Board meets at Joshua Tree Elementary School.

TWENTYNINE PALMS JR. AND SR. HIGH COMBINED BAND CONCERT TOMORROW

The Twentynine Palms Junior High and High School music departments will hold a combined concert Wednesday, October 16 at the Tom Nicoll football field at Twentynine Palms Junior High School. The gates open at 5:45 p.m., with the music starting at 6:30. Bring chairs or blankets to sit on the field. Concessions will be available. Tickets are $5. Proceeds will be split between the two schools’ music programs.

75TH ANNUAL TWENTYNINE PALMS PIONEER DAYS CELEBRATION STARTS THURSDAY

The 75th annual Pioneer Days celebration starts this week in Twentynine Palms. ROP Broadcast student Brendan Decker has some of the highlights…
The 2013 Pioneer Days are almost here! Starting October 17 through October 20, Twentynine Palms is hosting the 75th Annual Pioneer Days celebration. This event includes several family-friendly events, including a parade full of decorative floats, the Little Miss and Master Pageant, a Judge and Sheriff Competition, and several fundraising activities and booths to help support local businesses. We are looking forward to seeing you out there.

ANNUAL TWENTYNINE PALMS FIRE EXPLORERS BREAKFAST SATURDAY MORNING

The Twentynine Palms Fire Department Explorer Post will host their annual pancake breakfast Saturday, October 19, at Fire Station 421 on Adobe Road. From 6 to 10 a.m., the Fire Explorers will be serving pancakes, eggs and sausage, as well as an assortment of drinks. The cost is $4 for adults and $2 for children under twelve years of age. The pancake breakfast is the major fundraiser for the explorers and will help send the explorers to the annual Fire Explorer Academy at Fort Irwin. And while you’re there, throw in a couple of dollars for a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Firefighters will hand out Trading Cards and Sparky the Fire Dog will be there to hug all of the kids, big and small. Come have breakfast with your Twentynine Palms Firefighters before watching the Pioneer Days Parade that starts at 10 a.m.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT IN REGULAR SESSION

The Yucca Valley Town Council will meet in regular session tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff checks a routine agenda…
After hearing a wastewater update from the Hi-Desert Water District, the Yucca Valley Town Council will get down to business. Among the items on its consent agenda, the Council will give final approval to an ordinance requiring pit bulls to be spayed or neutered by 4 months of age. Under department reports, the council will be asked to review and approve the winter recreation programs and events; receive and file the review of the Affordable Healthcare Act’s impact on the Town’s employee benefit program, and accept the completion of the community center playground. Following the meeting, the Council will meet as the Successor Agency to the Yucca Valley Redevelopment Agency. The Successor Agency will designate two members to the Bond Proceeds Ad Hoc committee. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the Community Center.

TWENTYNINE PLANNING COMMISSION HEARS VARIANCE REQUEST AND ZONING STUDY TONIGHT

A variance request and a zoning study comprise the agenda for the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission for tonight. Reporter Dan Stork says that there are localized contention and broader impacts connected to these items…
The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a variance request to reduce set backs, increase height allowance, and relax pavement and lot coverage standards associated with a detached garage at a residence on Chia Avenue. There is a long history of contention between the owner and the City’s Code Enforcement arm over this property. Also scheduled is a study session relating to zoning on both sides of Adobe Road south of Highway 62 leading up to Baseline Road. With more traffic traveling down Adobe Road in the future towards the Casino, the Planning Commission wants to review the land uses and zoning along this stretch of Adobe Road to make sure the City is positioned to have the best possible zoning in place to accommodate future growth and development that is consistent with the General Plan. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. on October 15 at City Hall on Adobe Road.

REACH-OUT LOOKING FOR PARADE OF HOMES SUPPORT

Reach Out Morongo Basin officials are looking for homes and sponsors for the 10th Annual Parade of Homes. During the annual event, set for Sunday, February 16, 2014, residents across the Morongo Basin open their homes to curious visitors. The Parade of Homes raises thousands of dollars to help the Neighbors-Helping-Neighbors program support its services to senior and disabled residents of the Morongo Basin. Visitors on the tour will view six homes, which in the past have ranged from simple renovated homesteads to homes with historical significance to truly breath-taking residences. Reach Out is looking for two homes in Twentynine Palms, two in Joshua Tree, and two in Yucca Valley. Homeowners interested in opening up their homes for the tour are urged to call 760-361-1410.

TINY HOPPERS AND STORYTIME AT THE TWENTYNINE PALMS LIBRARY THURSDAY

It’s Tiny Hoppers and Story Time for toddlers at the Twentynine Palms Library this Thursday. Reporter Taylor Thacker has more…
The Tiny Hoppers program for children 1-3 years of age is starting this Thursday, October 17, at 10:30 a.m. at the Twentynine Palms Library and will run through November 21. The purpose of this program is to inspire interaction between toddler and parent through participatory songs and wonderful books. This program will be focused on the development of gross motor skills, following directions, body awareness and a sense of rhythm. Also beginning October 17 and running until November 21, is preschool story time at 11am. Preschool story time is open to children 3 to 5 years of age. The themes for this session are: Letter F, Letter G, Halloween, Letters H and I, Letter J and Thanksgiving. For more information call 760-367-9519.

SERVICE ACADEMY EVENT IN VICTORVILLE TONIGHT

Middle- and high-school students who are interested in attending a military academy are invited to attend a free event tonight to learn more about the country’s five service academies. Representatives from the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will be on hand to answer questions regarding requirements and qualifications for entrance to an academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships, military prep schools, and congressional nominations. U.S. Service Academy Nights will be held 7 p.m. tonight, October 15, at the Victorville City Hall, Conference Room D, 14343 Civic Drive. High School seniors who reside in Congressman Paul Cook’s 8th Congressional district, and who are seeking admission to the military academies for fall 2014, must submit a completed nomination packet to Cook’s district office by December 1. For nomination forms, visit Cook’s website at cook.house.gov. For more information about the service nights, call Jan Leja at 909-797-4900.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE CONCERT TO CELEBRATE HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

Copper Mountain College will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this Thursday with a special concert. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has your invitation…
October is National Hispanic Heritage Month and Copper Mountain College will celebrate with the lively sounds of Machin, at a brown bag concert event October 17 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bell Center Community Room. The concert is free and open to the public. Machin features front man David Macias on guitar and vocals, Bri Cherry on violin, and Andy Gorrill on upright bass. They label the style “Spanglish Jive” a bilingual, contemporary blend of Latin, Gypsy, ska, Salsa and dance music. The trio will discuss traditional links to the music, as well as play. For more information contact Cathy Allen at 760-366-3791.

MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST LOOKING FOR VOLUNTERS TO CLEAN UP COYOTE HOLE

The maintenance of some lands held in the public trust is the business of people who care. Dan Stork says that people who care can help with the cleanup of Coyote Hole…
On Saturday, October 19, Mojave Desert Land Trust invites you and stewards for a fun day of desert restoration and cleanup in the Coyote Hole area of Joshua Tree. The Trust plans to restore a road and clean the area, and urges you to invite any family and friends who would like to be involved in this effort. You also will learn valuable desert restoration techniques that you can apply in your own backyard. The cleanup is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meeting place is the end of Easterly Drive in Joshua Tree. Participants are urged to bring water, lunch, snacks, gloves, sunglasses (for eye protection), long sleeve shirt, long pants, sunscreen, wide brim hat, and hiking boots. RSVP to Miz Hanford at 760-366-2925 or email mizuki@sheltondouthit.com for a map and driving directions.

HOME GROWN POULTRY ASSOCIATION MEETS TOMORROW

The High Desert Homegrown Poultry Association meets tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Yucca Mesa Improvement Association, 3133 Balsa Avenue off Aberdeen Avenue on Yucca Mesa. This quarterly meeting will focus on poultry diseases and solutions with emphasis on natural methods to promote poultry health. Everyone is invited to bring their questions to the meeting. High Desert Homegrown Poultry Association is a group for people who already have poultry and for those who want to learn to raise their own chickens and other poultry for eggs, meat or just for FUN. Meetings are held quarterly in January, April, July and October. For more information about High Desert Homegrown Poultry Association call Charla Shamhart at 760-401-0689.