FOUR INJURED IN TWO OFF-ROAD VEHICLE CRASHES

Two people were injured when their off-road vehicle went over a cliff in Joshua Tree Sunday afternoon. About 12:40 p.m., rescue personnel were called after the sand rail went over a 40-foot vertical cliff and rolled over in the hills east of the Joshua Tree dry lake bed. The female passenger was seriously injured and was flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. The male driver received minor injuries and was treated at Hi-Desert Medical Center. Rescue personnel said the driver and passenger were not wearing helmets at the time of the roll over.

 

On Friday afternoon, two women were injured when their off-road vehicle crashed into a car in Landers. About 2:45, the quad with two women aboard collided with a car near Belfield Boulevard and Botkin Road. Neither woman was wearing a helmet. The women were taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with moderate injuries. The California Highway Patrol is investigating both crashes.

OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE ENFORCEMENT SWEEP RESULTS IN 15 CITATIONS

An enforcement sweep of off-highway vehicles in the Morongo Basin Saturday resulted in 15 citations being issued. According to a Sheriff’s Department press release, Sheriff’s deputies, rangers from the Bureau of Land Management, and county code enforcement officers targeted areas where a large number of complaints have originated: Landers, Flamingo Heights, and Yucca Mesa. During the nine-hour operation, deputies responded to three complaints, although no riders were contacted. However, law enforcement made 40 proactive contacts of OHV riders, resulting in 15 citations for operating an OHV on the roadway, expired green stickers, modified exhaust and operating an OHV without a safety helmet; two citations were issued to riders for violating the San Bernardino County OHV Ordinance; two juveniles were cited for operating OHV’s without having attended an approved safety course, and one parent was cited for allowing a juvenile under 14 years of age to operate an OHV without parental supervision or required safety training.

SHERIFF WARNS THEFTS FROM VEHICLES AND STOLEN VEHICLES UP

The Marengo Basin is seeing an uptick in both car burglaries and car thefts. Sheriff’s Safety Specialist Anita Northcutt has these tips…

Crimes of petty theft from vehicles and stolen vehicles are on the rise. The citizens of the Morongo Basin are being victimized more often lately by thieves taking advantage of opportunities. The Sheriff’s Department is reminding the public to lock your vehicle and never leave the keys in the vehicle. Many people think it is OK to leave the vehicle keys or keys to another vehicle on the property in the glove box or ash tray. All you are doing is making the theft of the vehicles easier for the already lazy crook. We no longer live in the day when we could leave our property unsecure and trust that it would be OK. Please lock your vehicles and keep the keys with you.

VICTIMS OF TWO FATAL CRASHES THURSDAY IDENTIFIED

More information about the man who was killed in Twentynine Palms Thursday night while riding his bicycle. The CHP said 32-year-old Mickey Mroz was riding a BMX-style bicycle eastbound along the north shoulder of Valle Vista Road about 8:30 p.m. Ann Platzke, 31, of Twentynine Palms, was driving her 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt westbound on Valle Vista, west of Sherman Hoyt Road, when the man attempted to cross the road directly in front of Platzke. Platzke’s car struck the bicyclist, who was thrown onto the south shoulder of the road and sustained fatal injuries. Platzke and her young daughter were uninjured. It’s not clear where Mroz lived, as the coroner’s report lists his residence as Lucerne Valley and the CHP gives it as Twentynine Palms. Mroz is believed to have been drinking, as an open container of alcohol was found near his body.

 

The coroner’s office has released the name of the man killed in a motorcycle crash in Yucca Valley Thursday night. David Hayes, 59, of Yucca Valley, was riding his 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle westbound about 10:15 on Highway 62 near Wamego Trail when he was rear-ended by Christopher Hannon, 22, also of Yucca Valley, driving a 2010 Dodge Charger. Hayes was thrown onto the Charger’s windshield; when the car crashed into a light pole, Hayes was thrown off the car. Hayes was pronounced dead at the scene.

COUNTY LAND USE MEETING IN JOSHUA TREE WEDNESDAY

Although the County’s Land Use Services department has stood up the Morongo MAC a couple of times in recent months, LUS representatives are coming soon in another forum. Reporter Dan Stork has the topics for a community open house…

The San Bernardino Land Use Services department will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, March 26, as a follow-up to one in which it participated six months ago. After reviewing comments from the September 2013 meeting, the meeting will move to an open house format with multiple “stations” featuring:

  • Community Character/General Plans/Community Plans;
  • Environmental Concerns/Solar/Renewable Energy;
  • Entitlement;
  • Enforcement;
  • Transportation Safety/Bike and Pedestrian Facilities/Caltrans;
  • Flood Control;
  • Economy/Tourism/Small Business/Affordable Housing;
  • Healthy Communities/Environmental Health;
  •  Incorporation.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. in the Joshua Tree Community Center at 6171 Sunburst Avenue.

DRAW-DOWN OF MARINES AT COMBAT CENTER BEGINS THIS YEAR

The Twentynine Palms Combat center will see a reduction of active- duty Marines this year. As we’ve reported earlier, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment will be deactivated May 30 at Lance Corporal Torrey L. Gray Field on board the base. The battalion, with about 840 Marines, is being deactivated under a plan to reduce the Marine Corps from a high of 202,000 Marines to 182,000. The Marine Corps plans to reduce the number of Marine battalions from 27 to 23 over the next few years. Those 3/4 Marines who are not mustered out of the Corps will be absorbed by other units. Another unit leaving the Combat Center this year is Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron-3, or VMU-3, with its 280 Marines and sailors, which will be moved to Hawaii in June or July.

MOJAVE VIPERS YOUNG MARINE PROGRAM RECRUITING

The Mojave Viper Young Marine Program is recruiting. Managing Editor Tami Roleff has more about children who want to earn the title…

The Mojave Vipers are looking for a few good … kids … who want to join their ranks as Young Marines. The Mojave Vipers Young Marine program is for children who are between 8 and 18 and are in good standing at school. This is not a “boot camp” or “scared straight” program. Parent orientation will be held at the Twentynine Palms Elementary School, 74350 Playa Vista, Friday, March 28, from 6:30 to 8, in which parents will learn about the Young Marine program, recruit training, what is expected of their children, and what Young Marines get out of the program. For more information, call Kathleen Arbaczewski at 760-559-3041.

BLOOD DRIVE TOMORROW IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive on Tuesday, March 25, at the Little Church of the Desert in Twentynine Palms from 2 to 6:30 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.

TICKETS FOR LIMITED RUN SHOW AT THEATRE 29 NOW AVAILABLE

A special limited engagement at Theater 29, which garnered rave reviews from the New York Times, called “Fabulous Divas of Hollywood”, is coming for two days only next month. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells you how to get tickets to this special, rare treat for local audiences…

Tickets for Theatre 29’s “Fabulous Divas of Hollywood,” the hysterical one woman, uh one man, review of Hollywood’s iconic women of film are on sale now. The special two-performance engagement runs Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 13, at 2:30 p.m. All tickets to “Fabulous Divas of Hollywood” are $15 payable by cash or check only and available in Twentynine Palms at the Chamber’s Downtown Visitors Center, in Joshua Tree at the Z107.7 Studios across from the Post Office and in Yucca Valley at Chamber offices in the California Welcome Center. Tickets may also be reserved through the Box Office at 760-361-4151 or at Theatre 29 prior to performances of the Farndale Murder Mystery Comedy.

HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT IN STRATEGIC PLAN WORKSHOP TOMORROW

The Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors will hold a strategic plan workshop starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The directors will discuss whether to hire a consulting firm for $19,500 to assist the board with its strategic planning. The meeting will be held in District offices at Inca Trail and the Highway in Yucca Valley.

100 YEARS OF MORONGO BASIN HISTORY NEEDS PARTNERS

A special historical joint project is looking for partners in a chronicle of 100 years of the Morongo Basin. Reporter Taylor Thacker has more…

The Twentynine Palms and Morongo Basin Historical Societies have joined in a project that will culminate in the publication of a document that dedicates a page per year to a featured major Morongo Basin event, a list of several other historical Basin events for that year and some notes on events within the U.S. and around the world – putting it all into interesting historical context. You can become a partner of an event and be included in the Historical Document for a donation of $100. Some of the events still needing a partner are the 1911 first homesteads in Marengo Valley, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley; the 1979 woman rescued from mineshaft; the 1993 Joshua Tree Parade; Turtle Days; and many more! For more information call 760-367-2366.