ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER FOR SEX WITH STUDENT

An arrest warrant was issued today for a Yucca Valley High School teacher, who is accused of having sex with a female student. According to the Sheriff’s Department, officials at the high school notified the Sheriff’s Department January 31 that they suspected Zachary Miller, 33, of Yucca Valley, was having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl. The school immediately placed Miller on administrative leave while the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office investigated the allegations. A warrant was issued today for Miller’s arrest; the complaint alleges three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and three other felony counts of sexual misconduct with the student. Bail is set at $225,000.

13-YEAR-OLD RESCUED AFTER INJURY IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

A 13-year-old Manhattan Beach girl on a hiking trip with her class, had to be rescued in Joshua Tree National Park Tuesday. According to Twentynine Palms Fire Captain Robert Marquez, the girl was hiking with her classmates in the Indian Cove area of the park when she stepped on a rock wrong and dislocated her knee about 2 p.m. Joshua Tree National Park Rangers and members from the Joshua Tree Search and Rescue team assisted in the fire department’s 2-hour rescue to reach the girl, who was up high in the rocks, and lowered her down in a litter basket. She was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center for treatment.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL LOOKS AT SOLAR PROJECT AND AN ANNIVERSARY PARADE

Reporter Dan Stork split his report on a lengthy Twentynine Palms City Council meeting into two parts. Today: a federal lobbying presentation, a solar energy facility seeks city favor, and a parade anniversary celebration…
At the behest of City Manager Joe Guzetta, federal lobbyist David Turch described to the Twentynine Palms City Council how his firm could help the City in getting federal funds for city projects. Council directed staff to research the cost and services of other firms, to give the Council background for an informed future discussion.
A representative from Clean Focus, which wants to build a 12-acre solar field on a 148-acre parcel at Mesquite Springs and Raymond, which is outside the city, but within the city’s sphere of influence, asked the council to look favorably upon the project. Under a new county ordinance, cities have a say in solar projects in their SOI. Despite a $200,000 inducement offered by Clean Focus to the City, public comment and Council sentiment was uniformly against the project.
Mary Jane Binge sketched her ideas for a 25th anniversary commemoration of the 1991 Desert Storm victory parade. Public comment and council reaction was generally supportive, although one speaker said she believed that resources could be better applied to meet veterans’ needs. Council designated member Cora Heiser as its representative to coordinate with Binge and city staff on the development of ideas.

CLIMATE MARCHERS COMING THOUGH OUR MORONGO BASIN

You may see a large group of people marching eastbound along the highway in the Morongo Basin during next day or two. The marchers are part of the Great March for Climate Action, a group trying to inspire political leaders to act now to address climate warming. According to the website climatemarch.org, the marchers left Los Angeles March 1, and will walk 10 to 14 miles per day. The marchers will be walking through Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Twentynine Palms today and tomorrow (March 12 and 13), and anticipate arriving in Washington, D.C. November 1. For more information about joining the group, or supporting the marchers, visit climatemarch.org.

YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES TACO BELL AND PANDA EXPRESS, DISCOUNTS FLOODING

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission met last night. Managing Editor Tami Roleff said businesses were approved and flooding was discussed…

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At last night’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Planning Commission, the commissioners quickly approved the plans for a Panda Express and Taco Bell, to be built on the southeast corner of Avalon and the Highway, despite concerns over the parking areas and the convoluted drive-through entrances and exits. Then the commissioners spent two hours going through the development code update, making tweaks here and there in the ordinance regulations. The commissioners agreed to continue the home occupation permit regulations to a workshop at a later date, so that more residents could attend and give their opinions on regulations for home-based businesses. During closing remarks, the flooding on Highway 62 on the west end of town was addressed. The commissioners were told that part of the highway between Inca and Fox Trails has always flooded due to a low spot in the road, and is not due to the new medians which have recently been installed. The Town and CalTrans are discussing options to control the flooding.

YUCCA VALLEY AIRPORT DISTRICT BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

Some of the items the Yucca Valley Airport District Board of Directors will discuss at their meeting Wednesday, March 12, are airport use agreements; setting up a reserve account; and information on Super Unicom. Under new business, the directors will be asked to accept a law firm to represent the airport district. The meeting will start at 6:30 in the Mesquite Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.

HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER BOARD LOOKING AT PURSUING HOSPITAL AFFILIATION

The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board met in regular session last night. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says the board is looking at the process for affiliating, letting an outside organization in, to run the financially troubled hospital…
At last night’s Board meeting of the Hi-Desert Medical Center, Directors heard results of a survey on likely approval of a property tax needed to maintain the current level of care. The survey predicted support far short of the two-thirds vote required to pass a tax measure. With such a poor outcome predicted for a tax measure, the remaining alternative is for the district to seek affiliation with a larger medical entity in order to remain viable. Affiliation would both provide needed capital and assist the district to recruit specialists. With that in mind, Directors authorized management to look into hiring an outside consultant to guide the district through the process of affiliation with another healthcare entity. In his remarks, CEO Bob Tyk pointed out that such affiliations are an increasing national trend.

ARMY VETERAN SEEKING HELP FOR HOMELESS BRETHREN

U.S. Army veteran Kevin Fish has attended many public meetings in the Morongo Basin, to raise public awareness about the extent of homelessness among his service brethren in the Hi Desert. Fish told reporter Dan Stork how he entered upon this mission, what he’s been doing about it, and what he hopes to accomplish…
After moving to the Hi Desert, Fish started a local chapter of the San Diego-based group Vets Cruzin for a Cause. He has focused on homelessness among veterans. He told us that after reading in Veterans Administration records that there are 1,300 known homeless veterans in the Morongo Basin, he went looking for them himself. He told us, “So far I’ve been successful in finding over 290 homeless veterans out in the desert, between Landers and Wonder Valley.” Some live singly (in one case, on the steps of a public building), some in small groups, including bunker-style base camps dug into the desert dirt. In addition to raising public awareness, he has three concrete goals: bringing Veterans Administration assets to the Hi-Desert, to expedite enrollment and processing of veterans; bringing rehabilitative services to homeless veterans who need them; and establishing local shelters for temporary sojourns. He said that he has placed 27 men in shelters in San Bernardino, Loma Linda, and San Diego. Fish operates a thrift shop, Change for Vets, at 5758 Adobe Road, Suite B, in Twentynine Palms. He described one pressing need: “I’m looking for someone that has a passenger van that is willing to volunteer some time so we can transport some of these veterans to Loma Linda, to the VA center, so that way I can get them started on their VA benefits.” Fish would also appreciate donations of food, clothing, and items for hygiene kits, or cash to buy such things. You can reach Kevin Fish at the store, or via email or phone: 760-368-8715 and vccpreshidesert@gmail.com.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY DINNER SATURDAY AT YUCCA MESA IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION

This Saturday, March 15, from 4 to 7 p.m., the Yucca Mesa Improvement Association is having its annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner, from corned beef through dessert including drink, served to you for only $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. The club will offer accordion music for all to enjoy. For tickets or questions please call Bobbie at 760-228-1315.

HI-DESERT WATER BOARD IN SPECIAL MEETING TONIGHT

The Hi-Desert Water District Board meets in a special session tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says purchases and a funding agreement are on tap…
The Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors will hold a special meeting tonight. On the agenda, the Board will be asked to authorize the purchase of pipeline materials, four new trucks, an excavator, and various media devices and equipment. The Board will then be asked to approve the remaining 2013-14 joint funding agreement between the District and the US Geological Survey. Next, the Board will hear an update on the wastewater project, followed by directors’ reports and comments. The meeting starts at 6:00 in District offices on Inca Trail and the Highway in Yucca Valley.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE BOARD MEETS TOMORROW

The Copper Mountain College Board meets in regular session tomorrow. Reporter Mike Lipsitz checks the college board’s agenda…
The regular monthly meeting of the Copper Mountain College Board of Trustees begins at 3 p.m. tomorrow following a 2:30 p.m. closed session in connection with labor contract negotiations. Once in open session, trustees will consider a number of action items, including updates to board policies on agendas, closed sessions, travel, quorums, voting and others. Among other action items, trustees are expected to approve a response to Accrediting Commission recommendations that the College provide counseling services at its office aboard the Marine Base. Those items and others are in addition to regular reports and items on the consent agenda. It all happens in the Bell Center’s Community Room on the Joshua Tree campus.

CHILDRENS AND TEEN ACTIVITIES AT THE TWENTYNINE PALMS LIBRARY TOMORROW

Activities for teens and children at the Twentynine Palms Library tomorrow. At 11:00 a.m., preschool story time will explore the letters Q and R. Children are invited to bring something from home for show and tell that begins with the letters of the day. Parents and caretakers are invited to bring their three-, four-, and five-year-olds to attend this free program. Preschool story time is Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. through April 10, at the Twentynine Palms Library. The program includes age appropriate storytelling, apron stories, fingerplays, songs, and other activities to promote a love of books, reading, and language.
From 4 to 5 p.m., teens in grades 7 through 12 will celebrate Teen Tech Week. Create a one-of-a-kind recycled audio cassette personal journal as you enjoy refreshments. For more information call the Twentynine Palms Library at 760-367-9519.

LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY WILDFLOWERS AT THE HDNM TOMORROW

Learn to spot wildflowers tomorrow at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. Reporter Taylor Thacker invites you to the Winter Lecture Series…
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum will be holding its last Winter Lecture Series of the year this month. On March 13, starting at noon, the lecture topic will be “Wildflowers and the Name Game.” Join Mark Wheeler for a PowerPoint presentation on the tribulations and pleasures of wildflower identification. There will be loads of pictures and suggestions of where to look for the best of this year’s blooms. Admission is free and coffee will be served. For more information call 760-369-7212 or go online to www.hidesertnaturemuseum.org.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL TRACK SEASON STARTS ON NEW TRACK

As track season starts, the athletes of Twentynine Palms High School will be on a brand-new, hi-tech track. ROP Broadcast Student David Knutson has more…
Track season is starting at Twenytnine Palms High School, now with a brand new track. The new polyurethane track has eight lanes, is fully painted, and will be fully functional for all future races. The new track was constructed because the high school didn’t have its own and practicing in the dirt wasn’t ideal. The new track was completed in May of 2013 and wasn’t ready for use until later last fall. Construction is still being done for the other field events. According to school officials, the long-term goal of the school is to put in a new football stadium on the high school campus.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULE

For the second year in a row, the Twentynine Palms Wildcats softball team advanced to the consolation championship during the Palm Spring invitational on March 7 and 8. Twentynine Palms lost to JW North 6-9 in a back and forth game; Twentynine Palms won two and lost two, and Andraliah Lee took home the All-Tournament award.

Tuesday, the Lady Wildcats traveled to Xavier Prep, taking home a 13-1 win to improve their season to 3 and 2. Coach Dan Mintz says he is very pleased on how the season is starting out and the early season results.

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School baseball and softball teams will travel away to Needles.

The Twentynine Palms High School softball team will host Cathedral City at home. First pitch is at 3:15.

Also starting tomorrow, the Wildcat baseball team will be playing in a three-day tournament in Hemet.