TURTLE ROCK CASINO TO OPEN MARCH 31

After 10 months of construction, Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms will hold its grand opening March 31. The opening ceremony will start with a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m., after which patrons will be invited inside to play slots, poker, table games, and listen to live entertainment. Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike, of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians which owns Tortoise Rock Casino, as well as Spotlight 29 Casino in nearby Coachella, said in a press release, that the tribe is “very happy to bring jobs and add excitement to the entire high desert community.” According to the press release, local contractors and workers were given preference in building the casino, with about $1.4 million dollars going to construction wages alone. More than 100 full and part-time employees will work at Tortoise Rock Casino. No one under the age of 18 will be allowed in the casino.

TWO STRUCTURE FIRES IN TWENTYNINE PALMS OVER THE WEEKEND

Saturday, firefighters from Wonder Valley were called to a structure fire shortly before 6:30 a.m. in the 2800 block of Marks   Road in Wonder Valley. The home was filled with smoke when firefighters arrived. The resident told firefighters she had left a candle burning unattended in a bedroom, which is where they found a fire burning inside a wall. After ripping out the wall, firefighters quickly put out the fire.

 

A second fire broke out early Sunday morning in Twentynine Palms, just a few blocks away from another fire suspicious fire a week earlier. According to Fire Engineer Lee Martin, shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday, Twentynine Palms firefighters were called to an abandoned house in the 6000 block of Daisy Avenue, where they found the outside rear of the structure on fire. Martin said the flames were burning the doors and eaves outside the house, with minimal fire damage inside the home. The fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes. Engineer Martin said a week earlier, on Saturday, March 8, Twentynine Palms firefighters were called at 1:22 a.m. to another abandoned home, this one in the 5500 block of Mariposa Avenue, where they found a fire burning on the patio. The cause of both fires is under investigation.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HISTORICAL SOCIETY LOOKING FOR HARD-WORKING VOLUNTEERS

The Twentynine Palms Historical Society is looking for volunteers who want to do some hard work for a great cause. Reporter Taylor Thacker explains…

Volunteers are needed for the Twentynine Palms Historical Society’s newest fundraising project. Committed volunteers are needed immediately to collect and transport the recyclable materials in the Joshua Tree National Park and possibly sort the recycling. It is hard, dirty work and lifting is required. There are 20 collection locations in the park and volunteers are sometimes needed many times a month and other times needed just once a month. The Park Service will provide uniforms, safety gear, vehicles and trailers, bins and just about anything that will keep the recycling material moving out of the park. This program will be extremely beneficial to the park and to the people. Anyone interested can call 760-367-2366 or contact the Historical Society by email at 29palmshistorical@gmail.com.

FRIENDS SAY MARINE SHOOTING IN TWENTYNINE PALMS WAS AN ACCIDENT

Hometown friends say a 22-year-old Marine charged in the fatal shooting of his roommate in Twentynine Palms was involved in a regrettable accident. Cpl. Brock Myers was arrested at the scene of a shooting on Saladin Road that occurred around 9:20 p.m. March 2. The victim, Cpl. Steven Kohus, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the head. Myers was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail on an initial charge of murder. Both men had been serving in the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. Childhood friends in Northmor, Ohio, said they have been told by witnesses that it was an accident that happened while they were horsing around in the front yard. Myers recently pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.

YUCCA VALLEY MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN PALMS SPRINGS PARTY BUS SHOOTING

A 29-year-old former Yucca Valley resident pleaded not guilty Friday to gunning down a man next to a party bus in Palm Desert more than two years ago, leaving the man, Juan Eliasarrars, 35, paralyzed from the chest down and confined to a wheelchair, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. William Sumpter was charged in December with one count each of attempted murder and intimidation of a witness, and entered his not guilty pleas at his arraignment at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. The Judge kept Sumpter’s bail at $1 million, and ordered him back to court for a trial readiness hearing April 29. The shooting was reported shortly after 10 p.m. August. 26, 2011. Eliasarrars, an Indio resident, was shot while walking. Eliasarrars said he’d gotten into a fight with Sumpter on a party bus, and was shot at a stop. Eliasarrars was shot four times and said his back was turned when he was attacked. Sumpter was arrested in Humboldt County, when deputies made a traffic stop in January and found he was wanted on the Riverside County warrant.

POKER RUN TO BENEFIT HOMELESS VETERANS

A Poker run this coming Saturday will benefit local Homeless Veteran’s. Managing Editor Tami Roleff gets her motor running…

Vets Cruzin’ for a Cause will hold its first Poker Run fundraiser for homeless veterans Saturday, March 22. All are welcome, no matter the motorcycle or even vehicle. Start time is 7 a.m. at the Change for Vets Thrift Store, 5758 Adobe Road, in Twentynine Palms. The poker run’s second stop will be the Utah Trail entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The third and fourth stops will be at the Cholla Cactus Garden and Keys View, in side the Park. The fifth stop is the Sand to Snow Monument Bar and Grill in Morongo Valley, before ending at Hi-Desert Motorcycle Supply in Yucca Valley. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third-place for best poker hands. Registration is $40 and includes a T-shirt and a meal. To pre-register, email vccpreshidesert@gmail.com. All proceeds will go to homeless veterans.

DRIVER INVOLVED IN HIGHWAY 62 CRASH AT INDIAN AVENUE LAST WEEK DIES

A Cathedral City man died Saturday, five days after a crash that snarled traffic on Highway 62 near Desert Hot Springs. According to the CHP and the Riverside Coroner, Mark Brogan, 60, was driving his Mini Cooper southbound on the highway shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, March 10, when he slammed into the rear of a Dodge pick-up truck, driven by Margie Trandem, 52, of Yucca Valley, who was stopped at a red traffic light at Indian Canyon and the highway. The force of the collision sent the truck spinning 180 degrees, and tore off one of the truck’s rear wheels; Brogan’s Mini Cooper went off the road into the ditch and he had to be cut out of the car with the Jaws of Life. Southbound lanes of Highway 62 were blocked off for about 45 minutes while police and fire cleared the scene. Brogan was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs where he died Saturday. Trandem suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from Hi-Desert Medical Center.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE OFFERING STEM SCHOLARSHIPS

The Copper Mountain College Foundation is offering a special scholarship. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has more on the opportunity…

College-bound local high school seniors may be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship from the Copper Mountain College Foundation. Multiple scholarships are available for what are called “STEM” fields … Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The CMC Southern California Edison STEM Scholarships are available to students pursuing an associate degree in math, computer information systems, computer programming, computer science, environmental studies, and liberal arts, with emphasis in math and science. Preference goes to students preparing for transfer into a baccalaureate degree (B.S. or B.A.) program in science or math at CMC. For an application, follow the link in this story at z1077fm.com http://www.cmccd.edu/CMC-SCE-STEM-Scholarships. Applications must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2014.

MORONGO BASIN MAC IN SPECIAL MEETING TODAY

The Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council will gather for a special meeting on Tuesday, March 18, in the County Government Center on Whitefeather Road, at 11 a.m.  During that meaning, the MAC will be treated to an overview of the Brown Act, and training in its application, compliments of the San Bernardino County Counsel’s Office.

LORI HERBEL CLOSES CATHEDRAL CITY FARMER’S MARKET

The Cathedral City Certified Farmers’ Market, run by Lori Herbel of the Joshua Tree Farmer’s Market, closed shop after the city made it relocate on March 9. The farmers’ market opened Nov. 3 and operated Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The market’s special use permit required management to submit a quarterly schedule for the city’s approval and stipulated there might be conflicts some weeks. “They didn’t want to move because they thought they were given permission to be in that spot, and people have to know where you are,” said a regular at the market. The market announced its closure March 6. The city said they gave it about two weeks’ notice that it would be relocated for the day. Herbel said in a Saturday news release they only received three days’ notice. Herbel said its permits were not transferable to other city locations, adding the market sustained significant losses on November 24, when its lot was used for an auto event. Herbel had spent funds on advertising and permitting for the March 9 market. She believes the market’s success is based on reliable hours of operation, rain or shine.

PAPPY ANDS HARRIETS OPEN MIC NIGHT TONIGHT

Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown is a local and regional treasure bringing local and visitors back for unique atmosphere and great music. ROP Broadcast Student Brendan Nguyen says open mic night is tonight….

Blessed with local townsfolk of good cheer and feel good vibes is Pappy and Harriet’s. The desert’s very own House of Blues located in Pioneertown, Pappy and Harriet’s so they called it, was founded in 1982 by Harriet and her husband Pappy. It has grown popular through the years and has gained a status in being the roots of the Joshua Tree music, where many local musicians go to perform. Pappy and Harriet’s serves a mean BBQ while you rock out to some of the best musicians the desert has to offer. Every now and then Pappy’s will have an open mic night, one coming up soon on March 17. Some notable musicians have taken the open mic spot before, these including Ke$ha, Elle King, Folk Hero Joe, and Jesse Colter. So you never know who you might see! Come feel good, relax, and enjoy yourself at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Monday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. For reservations or questions call 760-365-5956.

SOCCER CLUB FORMING IN THE HI-DESERT

Desert United Soccer Club is forming teams in the high desert for U10 boys and girls, and U14 girls. Free clinics will be held Tuesday and Thursday night, March 18 and 20, at 6 p.m. at the Yucca Valley High School.  Players from Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley are invited to attend.  For more information, call CJ Lamoreaux at 909-725-3026.