YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER ACCUSED OF SEX WITH 17-YEAR-OLD STUDENT

A 33-year-old Yucca Valley High School teacher is expected to turn himself in to the Sheriff’s Department today, to answer charges that he had sex with a female student. A Joshua Tree Superior Court judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Zachary Miller Wednesday. According to the District Attorney’s office, officials at Yucca Valley High School notified the Sheriff’s Department January 31 that they suspected Miller 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. The complaint alleges Zachary Miller committed three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and three other felony counts of sexual misconduct with the student. Once Miller is arrested, his bail will be set at $225,000. In the last two years, three employees of the Morongo Unified School District have been accused of sex-related charges against children. Caleb Hesse, a former teacher at Friendly Hills Elementary School, was sentenced in January 2013 to 60 years to life on five counts of lewd acts with a child under 14. And just three weeks ago, Matthew Frazer, a custodian at Twentynine Palms Junior High, was arraigned on child pornography charges and is awaiting trial. The Sheriff’s Department asks that anyone with information related to the Zachary Miller investigation call Detective Heidi Hague at 760-366-4175.

Zachary Miller

YUCCA VALLEY RECALL PROPONENT ANNOUNCES RUN FOR TOWN COUNCIL

Yucca Valley recall proponent and an outspoken critic of the Yucca Valley Town Council, Ron Cohen, plans to put his money where his mouth is and toss his hat in the ring for a seat on the Council. Cohen made the announcement at Saturday’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Democratic Club. Council member Dawn Rowe told Z107.7 in January she is not running for re-election, and Merl Abel told Z107.7 Wednesday that he does not plan to run for re-election at this time.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL PART 2: VETERAN’S PARK, PUBLIC COMMENTS

Reporter Dan Stork split his report on a lengthy Twentynine Palms City Council meeting into two parts. Today: a discussion of plans for Veterans’ Park, which dominated the meeting; how to pay for a street project; and a survey of public comments…
An extremely long discussion, which included Public Art Advisory Committee members Pat Flanagan and Ann Congdon, on a design for a Veterans’ Monument, foundered on whether a design could be considered separately from a re-design for Veterans’ Park as a whole, as well the practicality of maintaining a list of Twentynine Palms-connected veterans within a monument, and doing everything within a $50,000 cap. Ultimately, no action was taken, with the understanding that the issue will come back for further discussion … someday.
Joe Guzetta described a need to complete curbs, gutters, and sidewalks on National Park Drive, primarily as a flood control measure. With the loss of HUD funding for the project, he suggested using Measure I road improvement funds for the purpose, and Council agreed.
Public comment was far-ranging, touching on recent violent crimes and a perceived need for greater policing, the possibility of legal action against the invocation policy, the condemnation proceedings at Shady Elms Mobile Home Park, and the search for encampments of homeless veterans in the desert.

TWO YUCCA VALLEY MEN HELD AFTER FIGHT WITH JUVENILES

Two Yucca Valley men were arrested early Tuesday morning, accused of fighting with two juveniles. According to a Sheriff’s report, neighbors called police about 3:05 a.m. to report a fight in the street near Acoma and Papago Trail. Witnesses reported that the suspects, later identified as Angel Castro, 25, and Manuel Tarango, 21 were throwing rocks at a 16-year-old and 17-year-old boy. Castro and Tarango allegedly picked up a long piece of wood, such as a 2×4, and hit one of the boys with it, in his head and struck their hands and feet with the wood, before fleeing on foot. Deputies found Angel Castro passed out in a driveway on Cibola Trail about 4:30 a.m. Manuel Tarango was located on Papago Trail. Both men were arrested for investigation of assault with a weapon, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with Castro’s bail set at $75,000 and Tarango’s bail set at $50,000.

A RASH OF CAR BURGLARIES IN YUCCA VALLEY

Eleven vehicles in Yucca Valley were broken into Monday night-Tuesday morning. According to Sheriff’s reports, vehicles in the 7400, 8100, and 8200 blocks of Church Street, the 7500 block of Deer Trail, and the 56200 block of Joshua Drive, were all tampered with between midnight Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. Some had gas siphoned from their tanks, and some had items stolen out of the vehicles, and some had both. In addition, a bicycle was stolen from the yard on Deer Trail. Sheriff’s Sergeant James Porter says evidence leads deputies to believe the cases are all related. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

A NEW SLOGAN FOR LANDERS

Landers now has an official slogan. Reporter and Landers honorary Mayor Mike Lipsitz tells about the process and the winner…
The results of Landers’ Slogan Contest are in. On Saturday residents poured over the 78 entries to come up with a winner. Out is “Landers: Land of Endless Vistas,” and in is “Landers: Beautiful Skies; Miles of Smiles” by Ms. McCall’s combined second and third grade class at Landers Elementary. It narrowly beat out the second place entry of “Landers: Weird, But in a Good Way.” So now, “Beautiful Skies, Miles of Smiles” will be added to the Landers sign at the Post Office and at other Landers locations. The contest was sponsored by the Landers Association which also voted to update the current sign’s population figure from the hopeful 10,000, to the more accurate, census-based figure of 2,667 persons.

LATE HUELL HOWSER’S TWENTYNINE PALMS HOME SOLD

The late Huell Howser’s Twentynine Palms home and property has been sold. Listed for $395,000, the 11.9-acre estate featuring a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house, sold for $650,000. The as-yet unidentified buyer paid cash. Howser was the long-time host of the popular TV show, “California’s Gold” and proceeds from the sale that closed escrow Friday, March 7, will benefit the California’s Gold Endowed Scholarship and the California’s Gold archives at Chapman University. An open house held last month drew more than 130 people and multiple offers were made. The former home of Judy Dunn, the 2,221-square-foot home was built in 1953 and renovated in the late 1990s. Howser died Jan. 7, 2013, of prostate cancer at 67.

h howser pool

Photo Credit: Tami Roleff

howser house front

Photo Credit: Tami Roleff

howser house hidden fence

Photo Credit: Tami Roleff

howser house pool

Photo Credit: Tami Roleff

CITY, TRIBE, THEATRE 29, CUT RIBBON ON NEW SIGN

A multipurpose electronic sign is in place next to Theatre 29. Reporter Dan Stork was at the ribbon cutting, and tells how it came about, and how it will be used…

031314

Officials from sponsoring organizations celebrate a new electronic sign at Theatre 29 with a ribbon cutting. Left to right: Twentynine Palms Council member Jim Harris, Theatre 29 President Brian Tabeling, Mayor Dan Mintz, Council members Cora Heiser, Jay Corbin, and Joel Klink, and Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians CFO Steve Gralla.

Representatives of the City of Twentynine Palms, Theatre 29, and the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians gathered at the corner of Sullivan Road and Adobe Road to inaugurate a new electronic sign with a celebratory ribbon cutting. The placement of the sign will guarantee that its postings will be evident to travelers going to or coming from the Tortoise Rock Casino on Baseline Road. The sign will display theatre offerings and city events, as well as time, date, and temperature. The approximate $18 thousand cost of the sign is a partnership between the City and Theatre 29. The City put up the initial cost, with the theatre’s half to be repaid to the City within a year. A $6,000.00 donation from the Twenty-nine Palms Band of Mission Indians to the theater has already been given to the City to repay the advance. The $3,000.00 balance will be raised by the Theatre through a public fundraising campaign to be announced soon.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL AND YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COLLECTING DONATED PROM DRESSES

The Yucca Valley High School S-Club is accepting donated dresses for its prom dress closet. The dresses can be dropped off at the Yucca Valley High School front office through April 4. The dresses will be free to any student in the Morongo Basin who comes to the school, accompanied by a parent or adult, on April 5, from 9 to noon. More than 30 girls and boys are members of the S Club, a service club sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Yucca Valley. For more information, call Sophie at 760-851-8077.

Twentynine Palms High School is also collecting formal dresses and accessories for the prom. ROP Broadcast Student Heather Centner has more on “Cinderella’s Closet…
With prom quickly approaching, many high school girls will not be able afford to buy a dress. To ensure that every girl gets her special night, the Twentynine Palms High School National Honor Society is hosting an event known as Cinderella’s Closet. From April 14 to May 2, girls visiting Cinderella’s Closet will be able choose and keep a gently used special occasion dress free of cost. You can support this effort by donating dresses, shoes, and accessories to Cinderella’s Closet in Mrs. Robin Wilson’s room at Twentynine Palms High School starting March 1.

BLOOD DRIVE AT YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL TOMORROW

Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive on Friday, March 14, at the Yucca Valley High School, 7600 Sage Avenue, from 8 to 1 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.

FREE FEDERAL SURPLUS FOOD DISTRIBUTION

Surplus food will be distributed to low-income residents of the Morongo Basin. Reporter Dan Stork has the times and places…
The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino will distribute surplus food to low-income residents of the Morongo Basin at the Waystation, 61722 Commercial Street in Joshua Tree, on Friday March 14, from 9 to noon; and at the American Food Bank, 55922 Twentynine Palms Highway in Yucca Valley, on Tuesday March 25 from 11 to 1. Recipients are requested to bring their own paper or plastic bags. For more information, call 909-723-1580.

ART AND MUSIC AT DESERT PRESBYTERIAN

Award-winning artist Darlene Morris is Desert Hills Presbyterian Church Artist of the Month and her work will be shown there through April 3 during church office hours. She works in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, focusing on landscapes and collage. Award-winning pianist, composer and recording artist John Nilsen will present a solo piano concert at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 15, which will include jazz, classical, folk, boogie, spiritual classics and more. The concert is free but donations are accepted. For information on all of the above contact the office at 760-365-6331. The church is located at 56750 Mountain View Trail, Yucca Valley.

TWENTYNINE PALMS RECREATION REGISTERING FOR SPRING BASKETBALL LEAGUE

Twentynine Palms Recreation is now taking registration for their spring basketball league. ROP Broadcast student Laiza Mora tells you how to sign up….
Are you a teen in grades seven through twelve in Twentynine Palms looking for some kind of sport to do in the spring? Grab a friend and come sign up for Twentynine Palms Spring league basketball! It is co-ed which means boys and girls will play together. You can sign up at the Twentynine palms Park and rec office located across the street from the Lucky park pool! Fee is $20 and you receive a jersey. For more information you can call 760-367-7562. The more people the more fun!

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES

In high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School track team will travel to Irvine for a 2:30 p.m. meet. The Trojan baseball team will travel away to Needles.

The Joshua Springs baseball team will host Nuview Bridge at home; first pitch is at 3:15.