NEIGHBORS HELP 91-YEAR-OLD ESCAPE LANDERS FIRE

Neighbors helped a 91-year-old man escape from his home after his garage caught fire and flames spread to the house in Landers Saturday. County Fire said the two-car, detached garage in the 60000 block of Mitch Lane was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived after being dispatched around 5:45 p.m. Saturday. Radiant heat caused the fire to spread about 25 feet to the home. The garage was a total loss, but firefighters contained the fire in about a half-hour and saved most of the home. The total loss is estimated at about $10,000 to the house, $80,000 to the garage, which had no cars but a motorcycle, plus burned possessions. No injuries were reported. The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but an electrical malfunction is suspected.

LOCAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS GET A LESSON ON ENERGY AND THE GRID

The featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Morongo Basin Conservation Association was Angelina Galiteva. Her topic was “Responsible Energy Development and the Electrical Grid.” Dan Stork was there for the Saturday meeting, and hits the highlights of her talk…
Although California has a legislated goal of 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020, renewable energy advocate Angelita Galiteva believes that an eventual target of 100 percent is doable and necessary. She told an audience of over 60 at the YuccaValleyCommunity Center that the requirements for progress towards this goal is TLC: Transparency, Longevity, and Certainty and Consistency, all of which she finds lacking in most U.S. approaches to the issue. Galiteva said that people should have a secure sense of what they’re getting, and developers should have a reasonable rate of return.

Galiteva cited Germany as an example of a place where the rate system is clear and simple, there is a commitment to distributed solar development, there is a high percentage of individual ownership of generation facilities, and a significant percentage of electrical energy comes from rooftop solar, without a sunny climate. Galiteva urged looking at lifecycle costs of energy projects, not just startup costs, and making a distinction between long-term government subsidies (bad) and shorter-term incentives (good).

California faces a crisis and opportunity, as many conventional generation plants will be retired in coming years. Galiteva said that California is also hobbled by a patchwork of energy agencies, and points to air and water management as providing better models.  Galiteva identified storage of electricity as a significant problem that needs to have a solution in order to smooth out the variations in power demand that occurs in the course of a single day. She cited hydro pumping as one technology that can help in this area, providing that it is sited acceptably.

Galiteva has made a career of working on renewable energy issues.  She hopes to be re-appointed by Governor Brown to the Board of Governors of the California Independent System Operators, a nonprofit organization which is grid operator for the bulk of the state’s power grid.

NINE PEOPLE ARRESTED IN MORONGO BASIN WARRANT SWEEP

At least nine people were arrested last Wednesday during a warrant sweep of the Morongo Basin, and booked at the Morongo Basin Jail. Among those arrested from Joshua Tree were Nephateria Ary, 33, on drug warrants; George Bonney, 57, on a traffic warrant, with their bail set at $30,000 each; and Justin Morrow, 19, for being under the influence of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia, who was released on a citation. Arrested in Yucca Valley were Joann Risnes, 55, for theft warrants, with bail set at $10,000; Courtney Longoria, 20, on a drug warrant and a new charge of possessing narcotics, with bail set at $30,000; and Toyia Weaver, 60, on a felony drug warrant and a new charge of possessing drug paraphernalia, with her bail set at $150,000. Three transients were also arrested: Johnathan Cozart, 22, on a vandalism warrant, with his bail set at $10,000; Eileen Salazar, 37, on a trespassing warrant, with bail set at $5,000; and Gregory Thomas, 55, for multiple warrants, with his bail set at $35,000.

YUCCA VALLEY MAN ARRESTED FOR BURGLARY

A Yucca Valley man was caught red-handed and arrested Saturday morning after a neighbor saw him breaking into a home. Shortly after 7 a.m., a resident in the 7400 block of Barberry Avenue heard banging and loud noises coming from his neighbor’s house, and he knew the homeowner was not at home. He saw a man, later identified as Jeremy Jones, 29, going in and out of the house, and then going in to a shed and a motor home. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Wilson, when Sheriff’s Deputies Adrian Garcia and Christopher Hess arrived, they found a wheelbarrow nearby, filled with tools, a camcorder, laptop computer, and a package of toilet paper, which had been taken from inside the home. Deputies Garcia and Hess discovered Jones coming out of the house and arrested him at gunpoint, with additional stolen items in his possession. Jeremy Jones was arrested for investigation of burglary, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $25,000.

COVERED CALIFORNIA ENROLLMENT AT HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER SATURDAY

The Hi-Desert Medical Center is giving you an opportunity to find out all about the options you now have under the Affordable Care Act. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says the Covered California enrollment drive is this Saturday…

If you’re uninsured you must sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Hi-Desert Medical Center is hosting a Covered California Enrollment Drive for Basin residents on Saturday, February 1, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Helen Gray Education Center on the hospital campus. Certified Enrollment Counselors (including Spanish-speaking staff) will be on-hand to answer questions about the state’s insurance exchanges and assist with the enrollment process. You may be eligible at little or no cost. Those who schedule appointments will have the opportunity to sit one-on-one at the event with trained staff and enroll on-site. The event is free, but for one-on-one assistance with the enrollment process from a counselor you must schedule an appointment by calling 760-366-4370; appointments are limited. Light refreshments will be provided.

KING OF THE HAMMERS START SATURDAY AT JOHNSON VALLEY OHV AREA

The King of the Hammers extreme off-road competition starts this Saturday in the nearby Johnson Valley Off-Road area. The Big Tent in the middle of “Hammertown” went up Sunday, garage addresses have been laid, and Wifi exists on the lake.

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Organizers say it’s all coming together quite nicely. As of today, more than 400 teams are registered for racing during King of the Hammers Week. The race schedule is in this story at Z1077FM.com


Sat. 2/1 – King of the Motos Qualifying Rounds
Sun. 2/2 – King of the Motos Race
Mon. 2/3 – Pre-running day
Tue. 2/4 – 4 Wheel Parts Time Trials & Qualifying rounds – Including LCQ and Modified cars
Wed. 2/5 – 4 Wheel Parts Time Trials & Qualifying rounds continued
Wed. 2/5 – KOH UTV Race
Thur. 2/6 Smittybilt Every Man Challenge (Stocks, Mods, Specs and Legends)
Fri. 2/7 Griffin King of The Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire “The Big Race”

BLOOD DRIVE TOMORROW IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive on Tuesday, January 28, at the Little Church of the Desert in Twentynine Palms from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Donors will receive incentives. In addition, Desert Blood Services now offers donors free cholesterol screening with every blood donation. All prospective donors should be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 877-827-4376.

WE MEET MISS YUCCA VALLEY CANDIDIATE MARIA MUCHTAR

The Miss Yucca Valley Scholarship Pageant is this Saturday with my wife and I as the emcees for the event. Today, managing editor Tami Roleff introduces us to Mariah Muchtar…

Today we visit with Mariah Muchtar, a junior at Yucca Valley and candidate for MissYuccaValley. Hi Mariah. Tell us, who is the prominent woman you’ve been mentoring with and what you have learned…

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“My prominent lady is Debbie Manning. She’s an inspirational woman who owns Manning Child Daycare. She loves her job and says she can’t imagine herself working anywhere else. From meeting with her I have learned that it is ok to take chances in life and go through the process of trial and error to find what best suits me. She also opened my eyes to the importance of living each day to the fullest, laughing at life, and loving everyone in my surroundings. Her advice for those trying to reach their goals is to pray about everything and be positive every day. She said to stay focused and if there’s a bump in the road to not get discouraged, but instead, keep trying to get through the obstacles and, in time, you will eventually reach your goals.”

What have you learned from your experience with Miss Yucca Valley?

“Through this experience with Miss Yucca Valley, I have become a happier person. I have learned the tools needed to live a proactive lifestyle and how to balance relationships between others and myself. Getting to know the other contestants has taught me that I should appreciate life more and understand what those around me are saying instead of having paradigms that prevent it. Through the book of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, I have learned how to manage time by putting first things first as well as ways and reasons to renew my soul, body, heart, and brain.”

Any final words?

“I would suggest doing Miss Yucca Valley to all and coming juniors next year because it is a great experience and you learn so much in what feels like a really short amount of time. The girls get along great and in a way we have become sisters. The best part is it doesn’t feel like a competition because everyone is too busy having fun.”

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK SUPERINTENDANT MARK BUTLER RETIRING

After nearly 38 years of service, Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent Mark Butler announced he plans to retire March 1.

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Butler has been a National Park Service employee since 1976, with many of those years at Yosemite National Park, and the last three years at Joshua Tree National Park. Butler and his wife, Cindy, plan to remain in the area following retirement.

ANIMAL ACTION LEAGUE CLINIC TODAY AND TOMORROW

The Animal Action League has added two more clinics to its January schedule. Clinics will be held Monday and Tuesday (Jan 27 and Jan 28) in Joshua Tree, behind the dinosaurs on Highway 62, from 10 to 2. No appointments are necessary for vaccines or microchips. Call 760-322-4560 to schedule an appointment for low-cost spaying or neutering. Visit www.animalactionleague.us for updated schedules on clinics.

YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER PATHWAYS GOLF TOURNAMENT SET

The annual Yucca Valley High School Career Pathways Benefit Golf Tournament is set. Reporter Taylor Thacker tells you how to tee it up for a good cause…

Yucca Valley High School is asking for your help. On Friday, May 2, the Yucca Valley High School Career Pathways Foundation will be hosting a major fundraising event: their 8th Annual Golf Tournament. This golf tournament will help support the local youth of our community and allow students who complete a job internship to receive a scholarship of $1000. The Yucca Valley High School Career Pathways Foundation is looking for sponsors to help support this event. The cost to be a sponsor is $75 to sign up, or if you already have an existing spot from previous years, the cost is $50. This sponsorship includes your sponsor signs with your business name or organization name posted on tees and at greens. For more information call 760-447-4015.

APPLY FOR FEDERAL AID FOR COLLEGE AT TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL WEDNESDAY

High school seniors who attend a California Cash for College workshop in January or February will not only get help completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other forms, but can qualify for a $1000 scholarship. There will be a “Cash for College” workshop in Room 110 at Twentynine Palms High School, Tuesday, January 28, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Students must complete an exit survey and submit the FAFSA that evening. Brian Heinemann from Copper Mountain College will be in attendance to help with this process. For more information, visit the counseling office or check out the counseling page on the school’s website.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS’ BASKETBALL BEATS DESERT HOT SPRINGS

Twentynine Palms High   School girls’ basketball played Desert Hot Springs Friday. The Ladycats won, 50-38, putting Twentynine Palms’ record at 15-4 overall and 4-0 league. Coach Tim Stanford said top scorers for Twentynine Palms High School were Nokomis Cabrera, 16; Andrileah Lee, 14; and Cherokee Turner, 9.