Four Twentynine Palms Marines will be decorated for heroism in Afghanistan. First Lt. Kenneth Conover III and Sgt. Kenneth Rick will each receive a Silver Star, while Staff Sgt. Joshua Brodrick and Sgt. Nicholas Brandau will each receive a Bronze Star with combat “V” device during a Feb. 18 ceremony aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. A Marine spokesman said the awards are from a six-day operation during which 1st Platoon, Company D, of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, repeatedly engaged the enemy in close, intense fighting that ultimately resulted in the death of two Marines and the serious injury of another. Fighting began shortly after the unit conducted a nighttime air assault on June 22, 2012, into Qaleh-ye Gaz, an enemy stronghold in Helmand province. After the Marines landed, enemy forces engaged. For six days, 1st Platoon repelled “40 significant events, including 23 direct-fire engagements, one grenade attack, two indirect-fire attacks, and 10 enemy attempts to overrun their position.” Lt. Gen. John Toolan, commanding general of Ist Marine Expeditionary Force, will award the medals during a ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field.
A Joshua Tree man, released on bail last week, was in court again Tuesday, accused of a new crime. Sheriff’s reports say, a search warrant was served in the 6400 block of Valley View Street in Joshua Tree at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Deputies discovered four firearms, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and took three Joshua Tree residents into custody. Laurie Lippner, 53, and Ricky Hopewell, 53, were arrested for investigation of possession of drugs while armed, and booked into West Valley Detention Center; Lippner’s bail was set at $50,000; Hopewell was also arrested on an additional count of being armed while committing a felony; his bail was set at $100,000. Michael Nabb, 52, was arrested for being in possession of an assault weapon, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $150,000. Hopewell was arrested in time to make an appearance in a Joshua Tree courtroom Tuesday for an arrest January 31 for being in possession of a controlled substance for sales.
Managing editor Tami Roleff broke her report on Tuesday’s Yucca Valley Planning Commission into three parts. Yesterday, updates on commercial projects in the town. Today, in part 2, good news about residential housing. Tomorrow, highways and roads…
The foundation for the senior housing project on Dumosa and Highway 62 is complete, and soon installation of the apartment modules will begin in late February or early March. The apartments are prefabricated in a factory and will be assembled on the site. Around the first of April, the developer, National CORE, will start taking applications on its website for the affordable rentals. The last two houses in the 500-plus home subdivision developed by Don Landers are in the final stages of completion. The developer of Mesquite 55 has said he intends to submit two new model plans for the senior housing development. Twelve new home permits were issued in November and December for Desert Vista Village, and the three model homes are complete and feature redesigns, such as interior courtyards, solar panels and accessible floor plans. Permits have been issued for four single family homes—two custom, and two spec homes—and five more homes are currently in plan review. And finally, construction is expected to start late this summer for “Sage Estates,” a 105-home planned development on the southeast corner of Sage Avenue and Golden Bee.
A caretaker for an elderly woman was arrested in Joshua Tree Tuesday morning, accused of endangering the health of his client. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies went to a home in the 71900 block of Gorgonio Drive in Twentynine Palms about 7:40 a.m. to follow up on a complaint that John Lebo, 31, was not caring for his elderly patient properly. The deputies determined that the woman was living in filthy conditions which were endangering her health. John Lebo was arrested for investigation of felony elder abuse, booked into West Valley Detention Center, with bail set at $50,000.
Two Twentynine Palms men were arrested Tuesday afternoon after they were found with drugs. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies contacted Michael Carreon, 21, in the 73700 block of 29 Palms Highway at noon. Carreon and his companion, Carlos Fernandez, 19, both showed signs of being under the influence. During a search of the vehicle, deputies found heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Michael Carreon was arrested for investigation of possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy, and being under the influence. He was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with bail set at $60,000. Carlos Fernandez was arrested on suspicion of transporting a controlled substance for sales, possession of marijuana for sale, and conspiracy. Fernandez was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with bail set at $50,000.
A Twentynine Palms man was arrested Tuesday for failing to register as a sex offender at his new address. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Wilson, 16 years ago Michael Kant, 61, was required to register as a sex offender, but he eluded law enforcement and left the state. He recently returned to California and did not register his new address as required. Deputies contacted Kant at a home in the 6400 block of Cholla Avenue in Twentynine Palms about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, where they arrested Michael Kant, 61, on a sex offender warrant, and on suspicion of failing to register as a sex offender at a new address. Michael Kant was booked at West Valley Detention Center with bail set at $65,000.
The County is looking for citizens interested in serving on next year’s grand jury. Assignment Reporter Katie baker tells you how to apply…
Volunteers for the 2014/2015 San Bernardino County Grand Jury are now being requested. Successful applicants will serve as grand jurors for the period beginning July 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2015. Applications will be accepted through February 28. To be eligible, a person must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the County of San Bernardino for at least one year prior to appointment. Grand Jurors are also required to speak fluent English, be in possession of their natural faculties, and of sound judgment and good character. The County Grand Jury investigates all aspects of County, city and special district government. You can complete the application on-line at the Grand Jury’s website at www.sbcounty.gov/grandjury.
Prescription drugs and used needles end up in landfills and pose a danger to the environment and to people if not disposed of properly. The Hi-Desert Medical Center is sponsoring a collection drive for unwanted prescription drugs and used needles on Saturday, February 15, from 10 to 2 at the Helen Gray Education Center. Used needles pose a contamination and health threat and must be brought to the collection drive in a container. The collection drive is free and no sign-up is required. For more information call 760-366-1809.
The Joshua Tree Art Gallery is participating in Palm Springs Modernism Week. Reporter Dan Stork directs you to where you can find its pop-up gallery…
Works from a baker’s dozen of artists will be on exhibit at a pop-up show established by the Joshua Tree Art Gallery down the hill. It’s part of the Palm Springs Art Fair Modernism Week. The opening reception is Saturday, February 15, from 4 to 9 p.m. at 1414 North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. The exhibit runs from February 13 to February 22. The artists whose work will be on display are: Kim Chasen, David A. Clark, Barbara Drucker, Frederick Fulmer, John Luckett, David Mackenzie, James O’Keefe, Drew Reese, S. Lee Robinson, Steve Rieman, Gregg Ross, Tobi Taboada, and Judy Wold. Closer to home, an exhibit featuring works by 10 artists continues through March 1 at the JTAG home gallery at 61607 29 Palms Highway in Joshua Tree, from 10 to 3 Saturdays and 12 to 3 Sundays. The featured artists in the local showing are: Janis Commentz, Barbara Drucker, Brian Leatart, David Mackenzie, James O’Keefe, Drew Reese, Steve Rieman, Julia Summers, Melissa Spur, and Judy Wold.
Free admission, warmer weather, longer days, and fewer crowds make this day a great time to visit a national park. To celebrate Presidents’ Day weekend, Joshua Tree National Park is waiving entrance fees Saturday, February 15, through Monday, February 17. Presidents’ Day weekend is generally the start of the busy spring season at Joshua Tree National Park. Campgrounds are expected to be full this weekend so visitors should plan to come early to obtain a campsite if camping. Visitors to the national park are reminded that spring weather can be unpredictable and temperatures may fluctuate. When hiking or walking, always carry plenty of water (1 gallon per person per day), use sunscreen, wear a hat, and layer clothing to accommodate the changes in weather. Campers and picnickers are reminded to bring water as most park campgrounds and picnic areas do not have water available. Potable water is available at park visitor centers and at Black Rock and Cottonwood Campgrounds as well as the Indian Cove Ranger Station.
The St. Joseph’s Players, a Yucca Valley-based Community Theater group, is hard at work rehearsing the play “On Golden Pond”. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says the show has a strong local cast and crew…
The St. Joseph’s Players’ production of the classic comedy/drama “On Golden Pond,” opens Friday, February 21, and runs through Sunday, March 16, in the Parish Hall at St. Joseph of Arimathea Church, on the corner of Onaga Trail and Church Street in Yucca Valley. “On Golden Pond” has become something of an American theatrical classic and was adapted to the screen for the 1981 film production featuring Katherine Hepburn, Henry Fonda. Director Rebecca Havely has assembled a talented cast including Lloyd Steele and Sue Kelly, Saddie Johannsson, Benjamin Bees, Ben Sasnett, Jananne Turner and young Trevor Carpenter. Tickets are $10 or $8 for military, students and seniors (55+), available at The Silk Purse in Twentynine Palms and Wind Walkers in Joshua Tree, as well as from church and cast members. To reserve your seats, call 760-365-7133.
Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley will host the Chamber of Commerce’s February Mixer Thursday, February 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. Rainbow Stew offers gifts, cards, and items of every description to feed the mind and spirit. Mixers are held quarterly as an opportunity for business people to network. Rainbow Stew is located at 55509 29 Palms Highway in Old Town Yucca Valley. For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 760-365-6323.
The combined Rotary Clubs of the Morongo Basin are holding a food drive from 9 a.m. To 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at the three area Stater Bros. stores. The drive will benefit local food banks. Non-perishable food and cash donations to buy food will be gratefully accepted.
Donate early at local chambers of commerce, water districts, Opus Bank in Twentynine Palms, Pacific Western Bank in Yucca Valley, Triad Realtors in Twentynine Palms, Copper Mountain College, Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel or Realty Professionals of the Morongo Basin. To learn more or to schedule a pick-up, call Debbi Musser at 760-228-3482.
Attention duffers: A golf tournament for a good cause is set for May 2. Reporter Dan Stork gets out his 9 iron…
Golfers, mark your calendars for the eighth annual Yucca Valley High School Career Pathways Foundation Golf Tournament. The date is set for Friday, May 2, at Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs, with registration at 7 a.m. and an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The $80 individual registration fee or $320 team sponsorship covers greens fees, a golf cart, the awards presentation, breakfast and lunch. First, second, and third prizes will be awarded in both championship and hacker divisions, in addition to special awards such as longest drive, plus raffles and drawings. Register and pay on or before February 14, and get 20 raffle tickets free. For more information, contact Jeff Drozd at 760-365-3391, extension 3106, or 760-447-4015.
The Twentynine Palms High School varsity boys’ basketball team beat Desert Hot Springs in a home game last night. Coach Michael Schneider said the Wildcats played a well-rounded game and came away with a lopsided 81-45 victory. This brings their record to 5-4 in the De Anza league, with Big Bear Bears visiting Wildcat gym Friday night at 7:30. The Junior Varsity boys play at 4:30. Kyle Hope led the scoring with 15 points. Jamal Devers scored 14 points and Elijah Grubbs added 12.
In high school sports today the Joshua Springs Lightning boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will host Redlands Adventist Academy at home. Tip off for the girls’ game is at 5 p.m.; the boys start at 6:30.
In high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will host Desert Mirage High School at home. The boys’ game starts at 3:15; the girls, at 5 p.m.
In Twentynine Palms, the Lady Cats soccer team will host the Big Bear Bears at home, with match time starting at 5 p.m.