SIX ARRESTED IN MAJOR MORONGO BASIN-WIDE DRUG BUST

Six men were arrested Tuesday in a major drug bust that ranged from Landers to Morongo Valley. According to a Sheriff’s press release, about 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sheriff’s detectives served a search warrant at a home in the 2700 block of Shawnee Trail in Landers. During a search of the property, narcotics detectives discovered a Quonset hut-style garage and three shipping containers on the property that had been converted into a large marijuana cultivation operation. Two men at the residence, Othman Quran, 39, of Landers, and Jason Noonan, 27, of Joshua Tree, were taken into custody. Evidence at the Shawnee Trail residence led detectives to two homes in Morongo Valley, across the street from each other in the 9300 block of Craver   Road. Four men—Derek Roger, 33, and Siaosi Feao, 55, both of Morongo Valley; and Brian Thalasinos, 36, and Mark Digiulio, 46, both of Palm Springs—were taken into custody. Detectives discovered a Quonset hut-style garage on one of the properties, and several rooms inside both houses had been converted into a large marijuana cultivation operation. In addition, detectives found at all three locations the components for a chemical extraction lab to produce a marijuana derivative know as Honey Butane Oil, also known as Dabs, Wax, or Ear Wax. The process uses butane and is extremely dangerous—with both a high potential for explosion, and to users who ingest marijuana laced with butane. Detectives seized 2,550 marijuana plants, and cultivation and lab equipment from the locations. Othman Quran, Jason Noonan, Derek Roger, Brian Thalasinos, Siaosi Feao, and Mark Digiulio were all arrested for investigation of cultivation and sales of marijuana, manufacturing of a controlled substance, and conspiracy. They were booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with their bail set at $500,000 each.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL SELECT CHOIR TO CARNEGIE HALL: PART 1

In an unprecedented honor, the Twentynine Palms High School Select Choir was recognized for excellence and invited to go to New   York City and perform at Carnegie Hall. A Radiothon here on Z107.7 from noon to five this Saturday will help raise the transportation funds needed. In part 1 of a two-part series, reporter Taylor Thacker talks with Choir Director Michael Mayes about the invitation…

Music Director Michael Mayes received an exciting message to inform him that the Twentynine Palms High School Select Choir was invited to participate in a multi-day workshop in New York City in April of 2014. Mayes said, “I was so impressed and so excited.” American Music Performance is an elite, invite-only division of Choirs of America. “It is extremely significant because the American Music Performance only picks about 17 to 20 choirs in the entire nation to be invited and our choir at Twentynine Palms High School was one of the top choirs that were picked. The choir will have many amazing opportunities by going to New York. “There is a composer who has been commissioned to write a piece just for us to sing and we will be actually singing the premier performance at Carnegie Hall.” Mayes and the TPHS Select Choir are going to need everyone’s help if they wish to accomplish the difficult task of raising enough funds for the trip. For more information call 760-361-5306.

LINE-UP ANNOUNCED FOR 2014 COACHELLA MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL

OutKast, Muse and Arcade Fire will headline the 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, set for April 11-13 and April 18-20 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age, radio-friendly teen sensation Lorde, metalhead veterans Motorhead and ’90s alt-icon Beck are among more than 100 other acts that make up the lineup of the annual concert event. The festival, which draws nearly 200,000 people to the nearby Coachella Valley over the two weekends, traditionally brings together musicians that span musical genres—including electronic artists Skrillex and Calvin Harris sharing the stage with rap stars Nas and Kid Cudi.

IT’S COLD; WINTER HEATING REMINDERS FROM COUNTY FIRE

We’re fortunate in the desert to have a limited indoor heating season.  Reporter Dan Stork passes along ways to be careful when using fireplaces and other heating devices…

Here are some winter heating tips from the San Bernardino County Fire Department: Change furnace filters early in the season. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that burns. Turn them off when you’re away or in bed. The same goes for fireplace fires. Be sure vents aren’t blocked, especially floor vents. Never have an unvented gas heater in a bedroom or bathroom. Get your chimneys cleaned regularly and professionally, and be sure they have spark arresters. Don’t use a fireplace during high winds, especially with a wood shake roof. Fireplace screens should be big and sturdy. Store paper and kindling away from the fireplace, and store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container. Never burn trash, paper, or green wood in your fireplace. Be sure the flue is open before you start a fire, and keep it open until the fire is completely out. Never use a charcoal barbecue or heater indoors. Install, test, and maintain smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Have an escape plan that the whole family knows about.

YUCCA VALLEY AIRPORT DISTRICT AND TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER BOARD MEET TONIGHT

The Twentynine Palms Water District will hold a new board member workshop on Thursday, January 9, at 4:00 p.m. This workshop will take place at 72401 Hatch Rd in Twentynine Palms. For more information call 760-367-7546.

 

The Yucca Valley Airport Commission will hold its regular monthly meeting tonight, Thursday, January 9. Under new business, Chris Hutchins will give a report on Super Unicom, and the board will be asked to approve non-collectable money owed to the Airport by the bankruptcy of Jonathan Alwine. After public comments, the directors will hear reports from the treasurer, airport manager, and other directors. The meeting starts at 6:30 in the Joshua Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.

SOME EASY WAYS TO SAVE ENERGY

Energy costs are eating up more and more of household budgets. Assignment Reporter Katie Baker says a few easy things can help you save money…

With skyrocketing energy costs, understanding how much energy you use in your home can help you make better energy saving decisions. To get started, here are three ways to save energy. First, keep inside air in and outside air out. Start by insulating, weather-stripping, and caulking cracks and holes around your home or apartment. Adjust your thermostat higher in warmer weather, and lower in cooler weather. Remember; turn off the light when you leave a room, along with TV sets, appliances, and other electric items when not needed. Dressing a bit warmer can save you a lot, especially when you use a portable electric heater. Remember, with rising prices, saving a little bit now can save you so much more in the long run.

MORONGO BASIN DEMOCRATIC CLUB MEETS SATURDAY

The Morongo Basin Democratic Club meets Saturday, January 11, at Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen on the Copper Mountain College campus in Joshua Tree. Fellowship and a $10 full breakfast begin at 9 a.m.the meeting begins at 10 a.m. Following a brief presentation, the Club will consider a resolution opposing plans for a solar energy plant that would place 1.5 million photovoltaic panels in a wildlife corridor adjacent to the Mojave National Preserve.  The Club will also hear from John Pinkerton, candidate for the 8th Congressional District and consider his endorsement. More information, links and resources are online at MBDems.com.

“THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” OPENS AT THEATRE 29

The 15th season for Theatre 29 opens tomorrow with seven productions planned for the 2014 year. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says tickets can be reserved on-line for “The Importance of being Earnest”…

Theatre 29 veteran director Butch Pelfry said he knew his cast of the Oscar Wilde comedy of errors, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” was having fun at rehearsals when they said they didn’t want to take time off during Christmas week. Called “a trivial comedy for serious people,” “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a tale of lost and found love and objects. Pelfry has cast a crew of veteran performers: Janet Peercy as the governess with a secret past, Miss Prism; Ben Bees as John Worthing, aka Earnest, aka Jack. Cyrus Short plays the rascal Algernon; Katie Van Sumerin as Gwendolen who hates crowds but lives in the city; Kathryn Ferguson as the extremely upper crust Lady Bracknell; Leonard Weber as the reverend who’s kept busy with christenings; and Lizzie Schmelling as John Worthing’s very spoiled ward, Cecily. “The Importance of Being Earnest opens Friday, January 10 and runs five weekends through February 8 with 2:30 Sunday matinees January 19 and February 2. Tickets are $8 to $12. For more information call Theatre 29 at 760-361-4151, or order tickets online at www.theatre29.org.

FAMILY DINNER AND GAME NIGHT AT DESERT HILLS PRESBYTERIAN

Desert Hill Presbyterian Church will hold a family dinner and game night, starting at 6 p.m. tonight (Thursday, January 9) at the church, 56750 Mountain View Trail, in Yucca Valley. Call the church office at 760-365-6331 to reserve your spot.

“MOJAVE DESERT, THE LAST FRONTIER,” LECTURE IN TWENTYNINE PALMS FRIDAY NIGHT

A fascinating look back at the forces that brought the early Pioneers to our desert is being offered by the Twentynine Palms Historical Society. Reporter Taylor Thacker invites you to this Friday evening’s lecture…

In the 1890’s, historian Frederick Jackson Turner lamented that the frontier was gone, and with it the Old West, but overlooked was some 50,000 square miles of a frontier outlining the Mojave Desert: America’s Last Frontier. Award-winning documentary filmmaker and author, Nicholas Clapp has studied, filmed, and written about the deserts of the world. It was while researching for his book that Clapp discovered the many rare photographs of America’s Last Frontier. Clapp will present his findings and have his book, Gold and Silver in the Mojave: Images of the Last Frontier, on sale at this Old Schoolhouse Lecture on January 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Old Schoolhouse Museum. There will also be an optional dinner with the speaker at 5:00 p.m. at the 29 Palms Inn. Space is limited so sign up now. For more information call 760-361-1202.

TWENTYNINE PALMS RECREATION OFFERING CLASSES

Twentynine Palms Park and Recreation Department is currently offering several instructor classes. If you are looking to get fit or just want to try something new here are some of the classes that are currently being offered: Hot Hula Fitness, Dance, Yoga, Mixed Martial Arts, Karate, Kung Fu, Jui Jitsu and Zumba. For class schedules and fees, call 760-367-7562.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS TONIGHT

In high school sports tonight, the Joshua Springs High School Boys basketball team will travel away to play the Academy for Academic Excellence. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m.