YUCCA VALLEY MOTORCYCLIST MAN KILLED IN DUI HIT AND RUN

A motorcyclist was killed when a 69-year-old Yucca Valley man, accused of driving under the influence, turned his truck in front of him, then fled the scene after the fatal crash. According to Sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Greer, Jacob Koval, 26, of Yucca Valley, was riding his blue 2005 Suzuki motorcycle westbound on Buena Vista Drive when Ronald Svidergol, who was driving his pick-up truck eastbound on Buena Vista, turned north in front of him onto Surrey Court. Koval took evasive measures, but collided with the truck’s front passenger side. Svidergol, who is accused of being intoxicated, fled the scene. A passing motorist came upon the scene and called 911 at 5:07. Koval received fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. A motorcycle debris trail from the truck led deputies to Svidergol’s residence in the 57900 block of Buena Vista Drive. Ronald Svidergol was arrested for investigation of felony DUI and leaving the scene of a traffic collision causing death. He was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $250,000. Anyone with information on this crash should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

MARINE ARRESTED FOR SHOOTING AND KILLING A MARINE IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

A 22-year-old Marine was arrested early Monday morning for the murder of another Marine in Twentynine Palms Sunday night. According to a Sheriff’s press release, deputies responded to shooting at a home in the 7300 block of Saladin Avenue at 9:21 Sunday.

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When deputies arrived, they found the 26-year-old victim, who has not yet been identified, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. The suspect, Brock Myers, a corporal assigned to the 7th Marine Regiment at the Combat Center, was still at the scene and was taken into custody without incident. Sheriff records indicate that Myers was formally arrested at the Sheriff’s station at 7:31 Monday morning. He is being held at the West Valley Detention Center without bail.

ROLLOVER CRASH IN JOSHUA TREE SENDS TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN TO THE HOSPITAL

A single-vehicle rollover crash in Joshua Tree Sunday afternoon sent a Twentynine Palms man to the hospital. According to a CHP press release, John Butac, 26, was driving a 2000 Saturn on Highway 62 near Border Avenue about 1:45 p.m. when he made an unsafe turning movement, which caused his car to overturn. Butac and his passenger, Celia Moorhouse, 26, of Yucca Valley, were both wearing their seatbelts. Butac complained of pain and was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs for treatment.

SCHOOL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT, SUBSTITUE TEACHER PAY ON AGENDA

Financial review, Measure O oversight, substitute teacher pay, and four Board policies are on the school board agenda. Reporter Dan Stork has details…
Following a closed session at 5:30 p.m. to deal with pupil and personnel issues, and employee bargaining discussions, the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education will hold an open work study session at 6 p.m. on the Second Interim Financial Report. In the 7 p.m. open session, the Citizens’ Oversight Committee for Measure O funds will give its annual report. On the action agenda for the meeting, are a pay rate increase for substitute teachers, reimbursement for travel and lodging for the parent of an out-of-state residentially-placed student, and a resolution related to custodial equipment and supplies. In addition, several Board policies or administrative regulations are up for approval, covering Administering Medication and Montioring Health Conditions, Education for Foster Youth, Student Leaves of Absence, and Behavioral Interventions for Special Education Students. The Board meets at Joshua Tree Elementary School, 4950 Sunburst Avenue.

FREE FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino will distribute surplus food to low-income residents in Yucca Valley, at the offices of Pacific Clinics tomorrow, March 5. Pacific Clinics is located at 56020 Santa Fe Trail. The distribution will be from 3 to 5 in the afternoon. Recipients are requested to bring their own paper or plastic bags. For more information, call 909-723-1580.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT

The Yucca Valley Town Council meets in regular session tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff checks a busy agenda…..
Among the items on the consent agenda for the Yucca Valley Town Council meeting tonight, the Council will be asked to approve a contract with the County for the animal shelter and authorize a letter to state legislators seeking support against the elimination of the beverage container recycling payments. On the action agenda, the Council will discuss funding alternative routes to the highway of Pima Trail, Church Street to Palm Avenue, and the alley between Grand and Palm Avenues. Next the Council will direct staff to prepare a baseline budget for 2014-16, and then will designate a voting delegate to the Southern California Association of Governments. At the end of the meeting, the Council will go into closed session to discuss recruitment of a Town Manager.

TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION MEETS TONIGHT

For its March 4 meeting, the Twentynine Palms Planning Commission will hold its 34th study session on an update of the City’s Development Code.  Up for discussion tonight is section 19.82 — Offstreet Parking.  The meeting starts at 6 pm in City Hall on Adobe Road.

BLOOD DRIVE IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW

Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive on Wednesday, March 5, at the Yucca Valley Community Center from 12 to 4 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.

RIBBON CUTTING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS THRIFTSHOP TOMORROW

Join the Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce as they welcome Change for Vets thrift store to the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m. All sales and donations received at Change for Vets go toward the fight to end homelessness for American vets. Change for Vets is located at 5758 Adobe Road, Suite B, just south of Two Mile Road.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK NAMES INTERIM SUPERINTENDANT, GENERATING $62 MILION ANNUALLY

Without fanfare, the National Park Service has moved a Joshua Tree National Park official into the position of acting superintendent. Reporter Dan Stork tells about the appointment of Andrea Compton…
With the retirement of Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent Mark Butler, the National Park Service has started the recruitment process for a permanent successor. That’s what Andrea Compton told us, in discussing her appointment as the acting superintendent. Compton, who has been the Chief Resource Officer for the Park, added that the term of her appointment of acting superintendent is until June.
According to a press release issued on Monday, the Park is a sizeable economic force in the Morongo Basin. The press release said that A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that nearly 1.4 million visitors to Joshua Tree National Park in 2012 spent $62 million locally, and supported 770 jobs in the area. According to the report, 39 percent of visitor dollars support jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores; 27 percent supports jobs in lodging; and 20 percent goes toward other amusement and recreation. A copy of the report can be found at a link in this story at Z1077fm.com.
http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm
Andrea Compton and her husband Robert, a mathematics professor at Copper Mountain College, live in Joshua Tree.

TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE FOR SPELLING BEE TEAM REGISTRATION

Tomorrow is the deadline to register for the Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy’s 23rd Annual Spell-a-thon. The spelling bee for adults will be held from 9 to noon March 8 at the Helen Gray Education Center on the campus of the Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. Teams of three people will compete against each other for bragging rights of the best spellers in the Morongo Basin. The entry fee is $25 per team, and team members raise pledges that will benefit the MBCAL. Teams must register by tomorrow. For more information, or to sign up your team, call 760-275-4448, 760-221-4089, or 760-972-7205.

GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP CHURCH OFFERS YOUTH ACTIVITIES

A Twentynine Palms Church is offering young people a way to get together with friends. ROP Broadcast student Christopher Hasley has more on the Gospel Fellowship youth club……
Gospel fellowship Christian Center Church is having a youth night every Monday night at 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Located at 5898 Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms. It consists of Bible study for a half hour, fun games such as football, awesome music, outside events and a wonderful time with friends. Our first lady, Gerry Washington, is in charge of this event for more information visit our website at www.gfccc.org and be sure to come out to our 11:30 worship service on Sunday.

RETIRED TEACHERS MEET NEXT WEEK

The California Retired Teachers’ Association will meet at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 14, at the Helen Gray Center on White Feather Road in Joshua Tree. Guest speakers will Mary Reeves and Kelly Lomax, of the California Emergency Response Team (CERT). Please call Sherry Craft, 760-881-5275, no later than Monday, March 10, if you wish to reserve lunch.

JOSHUA TREE LIBRARY ADULT BOOK CLUB MEETS TUESDAYS

A new program at the Joshua Tree Branch Library combines book discussion with local history. Reporter Dan Stork joins us again, and invites you to join the adult book club, starting up today…
The Joshua Tree library will host a series of adult book club meetings Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. beginning March 4 and continuing through April 8. Library Assistant Mary Anne Eason will lead adults in reading and discussing six fiction and non-fiction titles, each with a focus on a different aspect of local history. Come and explore our rich local history from local homesteaders and mining to native petroglyph art. To enhance the readings the library will include information on how to plan a personal field trip to see local sites related to the book topics. The first book discussion will be The Hunt for Willie Boy by James Santos and Larry Burgess. Copies of this book are available for check out at the Joshua Tree Library. For more information about these or other programs offered at the Joshua Tree Branch Library call 760-366-8615.

HIGH SCHOOL AND YOUTH SPORTS ROUNDUP

The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats Boys’ tennis team competed in their first pre-season match-up against the Cathedral City High School Lions in Cathedral City yesterday. Coach Larry Battle said the Wildcats lost to the Lions 3-15.

Seven teams from Twentynine Palms traveled to Needles over the weekend for the first of four youth basketball all-star tournaments taking place in March. All but one returned with trophies, three teams bringing home first place.

Third- and fourth-grade girls and boys both came in third place led by All-Tournament selections Kate Bobadilla for the girl’s team and Robert Russ for the boy’s team.

Fifth- and sixth-grade boys fought hard all weekend but came up short of the trophies after losing to Beaumont number 1, and the home town Needles team. The fifth- and sixth girls, led by All- Tournament selections Carveona Garner and Jhordan Stanley, came up just short of a first place finish to the host Needles.

The seventh-grade boys lost their first game in overtime to host Needles, and then ran off four straight wins while getting revenge against Needles in the championship game. Tyrell Bell was named MVP and Antonio Carter was selected for the All-Tournament team.

The seventh- and eighth-grade girls’ team and the eighth grade boys’ teams went undefeated, a combined 8-0 to both take first place in their divisions. KJ Morton was selected for the All Tournament team, while D’Shaun Barrett was named MVP for the boys’ division and Lindsey Scamman was named MVP for the girls.

Next on the schedule is a trip up the mountain to Big Bear, California for their 14th annual tournament.