YUCCA VALLEY CRASH VICTIMS IDENTIFIED

The Coroner’s office has identified the two people who were killed in Yucca Valley in a crash Thursday afternoon. Jesse Torres, 64, and Melissa Torres, 36, both of Yucca Valley, were northbound on Warren Vista, attempting to cross Yucca Trail, when their red Bronco was broadsided by Brooke Nemeth, 23, of Yucca Valley, who was driving westbound on Yucca Trail in a black Cherokee. Both Jesse Torres and Melissa Torres died at the scene. Brooke Nemeth was treated at the scene and released. The Sheriff’s Department originally identified Melissa Torres as being from Kansas, but the Coroner’s office said she had recently moved to Yucca Valley.

TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN ARRESTED FOR KIDNAPPING, SPOUSE ABUSE SUNDAY

A Twentynine Palms man was arrested Sunday, accused of kidnapping and spouse abuse after he barricaded himself inside his home. According to Sheriff’s Corporal Steve Everhart, shortly before 8 p.m., deputies were called to the Combat Center’s off-base housing in the 5900 block of Aztec Avenue after a neighbor called about yelling and banging inside the residence. Everhart said when deputies arrived, Robert Radakovitz, 19, barricaded himself inside the home and refused to come out for just over an hour. Corporal Everhart said Radokovitz choked his wife and hit her in her face.

During the stand-off, Radakovitz told responders he had a knife and threatened to use it on himself. Robert Radakovitz finally emerged from his home and was taken into custody at 9:19 p.m., and booked into the West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $250,000.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT, ACQUISITION OF HOWSER LAND ON AGENDA

Block grant priorities, filling vacant city posts, and acquisition of land owned by the estate of a well-loved resident (now deceased) are among the topics at the Twentynine Palms City Council meeting.  Dan Stork tells what else is doing…

After starting the 6 p.m. open session with a presentation to Captain Rich Boswell on his retirement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Twentynine Palms City Council moves on to the consent agenda, which contains several items of note: opposition to a commercial solar farm on unincorporated land in the city’s sphere of influence; approval of a fireworks contract for the Fourth of July; reimbursement from the general fund to the original fire development impact fee study, and guidelines for hiring a new code enforcement officer. Next up are public hearings on Community Development Block Grant priorities, and the 2013-2021 Housing Element. Further discussions and potential action items cover the purchase of a new telephone system, and a contract with a consulting company for three months of interim community development director services and ongoing Successor Agency administrative support. In addition, the Council will consider acquiring for park use 70 acres registered under the name of the Huell Howser Trust, and will go into closed session following adjournment to follow up on whatever is decided on that subject. The meeting takes place in City Hall on Adobe Road.

BOLD BURGLAR TAKES A SHOWER, STEALS A QUAD

A bold burglar broke into a home in Joshua Tree over the weekend. After drinking some beers from the fridge, and taking a shower in the victim’s home in the 6400 block of Valley View Street, the burglar stole a Honda Quad off-road vehicle. The burglary was reported to the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department at 4:45 p.m. Sunday. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff at 760-366-4175.

TWO TWENTYNINE PALMS BUSINESSES BROKEN INTO

Two businesses were broken into over the weekend in Twentynine Palms. According to a Sheriff’s report, doors to a business in the 5800 and 6400 blocks of Adobe Road were damaged during break-ins Saturday night. The business owner in the 5800 block said it was cost between $600 and $800 to repair the door. The business owner in the 6400 block said cash and jewelry had been stolen. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMSSION MEETS TONIGHT

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission meets tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff checks the agenda…

At tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Planning Commission, the commissioners will discuss granting time extensions for a site plan review on the northeast corner of Geronimo and Pueblo Trails, and a conditional use permit for Magnum Storage, on the corner of Old Woman Springs Road and Sun Oro Drive. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the Community Center.

FUNDRAISER TO REPAIR BUILDINGS AT HOMESTEAD PARK IN LANDERS

Buildings at the Homestead Valley Park in Landers have recently suffered a rash of vandalism. The repairs to fix the vandalism are costly. The Homestead Valley Community Council needs to replenish the bank account so there will be funds for the 3rd of July fireworks show. The Council will hold a live music event Saturday, February 15, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Yucca Mesa Community Center. There will be live music; $10 buys entrance and two beverages.

JOSHUA TREE CLEAN TEAM AT POST OFFICE TOMORROW

The Joshua Tree Clean Team hopes to see volunteers at the Joshua Tree Post Office tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Organizers say the surrounding area of our post office is always in need of their services. As always gloves, grabber sticks and water will be provided. New volunteers are always welcome.

HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER BOARD CONSIDERS, DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY, BOARD VACANCY

The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board meets tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says purchase of mammography equipment and a vacancy on the board are among items on the agenda…

A decision at tonight’s regular meeting of the Hi-Desert Medical Center Board of Directors is likely to benefit women all across the Basin. That’s because directors are expected to authorize purchase of a half million dollar digital mammography unit that will put the Medical Center on par with any lower desert facility as far as use if the most technologically advanced equipment for detecting breast cancers. Also tonight, directors are expected to approve the process for appointing someone fill the vacancy left by the resignation of longtime board member Paul Hoffman. Interviews for the position are expected to begin March 11; the new director will be names by the end of March. Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Helen Gray Education Center.

HELP NEEDED FOR LOCAL HOMELESS VETERANS

There are many homeless veterans in the Morongo Basin who are lacking the necessities to keep warm and fed. A new organization, Vets Cruzin for a Cause, is collecting jackets, blankets, and food to distribute to these homeless vets. If you have old jackets, blankets, and food you can spare, call Kevin at 760-368-8715, to make arrangements to donate help an American hero who has fallen on hard times.

MORONGO BASIN MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COUNCIL STOOD UP BY COUNTY LAND USE SERVICES, AGAIN, PUNTS

After County Land Use Services—for the second month in a row—cancelled at the last minute, a commitment to attend a Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council meeting, the two top aides to Supervisor James Ramos stepped in to discuss local concerns about that department’s procedures. Reporter Dan Stork tells what they advised, and reports on what else went on at the MAC meeting…

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Chris Carillo and Phil Paule, aides to Supervisor James Ramos, field questions and comments at the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council meeting.

Phil Paule and Chris Carillo, the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief for County Supervisor James Ramos, heard complaints from many at the well-attended Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council meeting about the procedures—or apparent lack thereof—used by the County’s Land Use Services department in processing project applications. Concerns included: unreasonably small notification areas for projects such as retail stores and renewable energy projects; limited public access to project questionnaires completed by developers; limited usefulness of the Land Use Services web site; lack of a checklist to monitor the 32 criteria for solar projects written into the new county commercial solar ordinance; and inappropriate handling of grading applications. Attendees also lamented wrong water usage claims by solar developers, and the exemption of renewable energy projects from property tax reassessments. Paule and Carillo urged the MAC to write letters to selected county departments specifying the information it thinks local residents should have readily available about the permitting process, along with what it considers to be reasonable time constraints for public input. The two aides explained that they cannot personally lobby supervisors other than their own boss, and urged the development of grass-roots networks to educate supervisors on local and regional concerns.

In other business, Council member Max Rossi reported on public meetings held by the road use subcommittee, which identified concerns about specific roads, ranging from Amboy   Road to Highway 247 to the entrance road to Black Rock campground. Yucca Mesa resident David Cooper sketched his 25-year effort to encourage local government to be more bicycle-friendly. Morongo Valley representative Gayle Swarat reported that Caltrans is planning an electronic sign for the top of the Yucca Grade, to warn motorists coming down the hill of traffic emergencies ahead.

CREATOR OF NEARBY “SALVATION MOUNTIAN” DIES AT 82

Leonard Knight, the creator of Salvation Mountain, a famous roadside attraction near the Salton Sea died in his sleep Monday afternoon. Knight died in his sleep while receiving hospice care at El dorado Care Center in El Cajon. He was 82 years old. Knight moved from the site of his massive art installation just outside Niland in 2011, he was in hospice care since Thursday. Knight began work on the large installation, which serves as the makeshift gateway to Slab City, an off-the-grid encampment on the edge of the Salton Sea, in the mid 1980’s to spread his message that “God is love.” Biblical passages are riddled throughout the walls of the colorful three-story beacon of mud and straw in the desert. Friends are planning to scatter his ashes at the mountain.

COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS MEET TOMORROW EVENING

The Morongo Basin Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents who have experienced the death of a child, meets Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Helen Gray Education Center at Hi Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. The group is facilitated by Kristin Martin, for more information, contact Martin at 760-250-7295 or visit the Hi Desert Medical website at www.hdmc.org.

LECTURE ON WILLIE BOY TOMORROW AT HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM

The inside story of the last great American posse will be told at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum tomorrow. Managing Editor Tami Roleff invites you to hear all about Willie Boy tomorrow evening…

The Morongo Basin’s most notorious Native American, Willie Boy, will be the subject of the Historical Society’s Second Wednesday Lecture. Historian Paul Smith, who also owns the 29 Palms Inn, will present a new interpretation of the Willie Boy story. Willie Boy, a Chemehuevi Indian, was the subject of the West’s last manhunt in 1909, when it’s said he killed his girlfriend’s father and then ran off with her, staying just ahead of a posse sent out to hunt them down. The lecture will start at 5:30 February 12 at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. A $5 donation is suggested.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS AND SCHEDULES

The Yucca Valley High School girls’ soccer team traveled to Big Bear for a De Anza League game yesterday. Coach Scott Phillips said the Lady Trojans jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but were unable to keep it losing by the score of 3-2. Senior Teresa Nava had one goal, one assist; senior Michaela Milone, one goal.
Coming up in high school sports tonight, the Joshua Springs Lightning boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will host Mesa Grande Academy from Calimesa tonight. The games start at 6:30 p.m.

 

In high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will travel to Indio to play Shadow Hills High School. The girls’ game starts at 3:15, the boys at 5 p.m.

 

Also tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will play the Desert Hot Springs Golden Eagles. The girls will travel away, and the boys will play at home. Both games start at 5 p.m.