CHP ENFORCING “ZERO TOLERANCE” FOR DISTRACTED DRIVERS IN APRIL

The California Highway Patrol will be enforcing “zero tolerance” during April for Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Several common distracted driving practices include using handheld wireless phones, iPods, and GPS; anything that causes drivers to divert their attention from safely operating a motor vehicle endangers the lives and safety of drivers, passengers, fellow motorists and bystanders. In April 2013, more than 60,000 distracted driving traffic citations were issued by law enforcement agencies throughout California. CHP personnel will rigorously enforce all California Vehicle Code violations applicable to distracted driving.

Officers from the Morongo Basin CHP Commander will be the guest on Friday’s “Up-Close” show from 10 to 11. Lieutenant Dan DeLong and Officer Joan Griffin will be discussing concerns related to recent traffic collisions and what the CHP is doing to help stem the tide of traffic collisions injures, and deaths. The local CHP office has been working with both the Sheriff and Cal-Trans on the issue of traffic safety in the Morongo Basin.

POSTER CONTEST FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH

The Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services is holding a poster contest to create awareness of Sexual Assault Awareness Month during April. All high school and junior high school students are encourage to enter. Art can be in any medium, but must be done on poster board provided by Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services. The posters will be used for instructional and promotional purposes, and prizes will be given for first-, second-, and third-place entries. The deadline to enter is April 30. For more information, call 760-369-3353, or stop by the office at 57382 29 Palms Highway in Yucca Valley.

CONGRESSMAN COOK INTRODUCES JOHNSON VALLEY OHV AREA BILL

To punctuate the preservation of the Johnson Valley area for off-roading, our local congressman has invented a new distinction, and seeks to have it codified by legislation. Reporter Dan Stork explains…
Rep. Paul Cook has introduced legislation to designate the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area as a National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, the first of its kind. This follows last year’s success in limiting the expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine Base into the area. Johnson Valley is explicitly designated for off-highway vehicle use under last year’s deal negotiated with the US Marine Corps. This area includes the Hammers, both the front and back side, and other topographical features such as Spooners, Aftershock, Sunbonnet, the Riffle Monument, and the Cal200 Memorial (The Rockpile). The majority of the Fry Mountains and full access to Soggy Dry Lake Bed are also guaranteed for off-highway vehicle use, as well as access to Emerson Dry Lake Bed. In describing the intent behind the legislation, Cook stated, “It will show that Johnson Valley is of national significance, raising its profile for economic purposes and within the federal government, which owns the land.”

TWENTYNINE PALMS WOMAN HELD FOR FELONY SPOUSAL ABUSE

A Twentynine Palms woman who was angry about texts from another woman on her husband’s phone was arrested early Wednesday morning, accused of felony spouse abuse. According to a Sheriff’s report, Shemely Diaz, 21, of the 8300 block of Emerson Court on board the Marine base, started arguing with her husband about midnight Tuesday after she found text messages from another woman on his cell phone. The report states Diaz slapped, shoved, and kicked her husband several times, scratching and bruising his arms. After an investigation, Shemely Diaz was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse, booked at West Valley Detention Center, with her bail set at $50,000.

TWO ARRESTED IN YUCCA VALLEY IN A CAR STOLEN FROM MORONGO VALLEY

Two people were arrested late Wednesday night after they were found in a stolen car. According to a Sheriff’s report, a records check of a vehicle sitting in a driveway in the 58500 block of Paxton Outer Highway in Yucca Valley about 8:40 a.m. showed the vehicle had been reported as stolen from Morongo Valley. While the deputy was detaining the driver, Joseph McLaughlin, 24, the passenger, Carissa Long, climbed into the driver’s seat and drove off in the vehicle. Long and the stolen car were later located in the 7700 block of Bannock Trail in Yucca Valley about 9:35 a.m. During a search of the vehicle, a cane sword, and a small amount of methamphetamine were found. Joseph McLaughlin and Carissa Long were arrested for investigation of possession of stolen property and possession of a sword cane; in addition, Long was also arrested on suspicion of transporting methamphetamine. They were both booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with their bail set at $50,000 each.

SHERIFF WARNS ABOUT THE “MEDICAL ALERT SCAM”

Scam artists continue to rip off residents of our Morongo Basin. Sheriff’s Safety Specialist Anita Northcutt warns about the “Medical Alert” scam…….
A new twist to the telemarketing scam hit 2013 hard. With promises of a “free” medical alert system, the scam targeted seniors and caretakers and claimed to be offering the system free of charge because a family member or friend had already paid for it. In many cases, seniors were asked to provide their bank account or credit information to “verify” their identity, and, as a result, were charged the monthly service fee. The system, of course, never arrived and the seniors were left with a charge they had trouble getting refunded. The Sheriff’s Department says be wary of “free” offers that require your personal information upfront and always verify with the supposed friend or family member that the caller says paid for the service.

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK ART FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND

The Joshua Tree National Park Art Festival has been celebrating the inspiration of nature for 20 years. Over thirty local and regional artists will be on hand this weekend at the festival to show and sell their work, sharing their personal interpretation of Joshua Tree National Park and the desert southwest. Original works of painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, art glass, jewelry, woodcrafting and gourd art are featured each year. The Art Festival runs from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. today, Saturday, and Sunday on the Park Headquarters patio near the historic Oasis of Mara nature trail on Utah Trail in Twentynine Palms.  Admission is free.

SPORTSMAN’S CLUB SWAP MEET SATURDAY

The Sportsman’s Club in Joshua Tree will hold its monthly swap meet tomorrow, (date). Shop for great bargains on new and used items, crafts and collectibles, books, and eclectic artworks. Admission is free, and vendors are always welcome. Spaces rent for just $20; for non-profit organizations, the space is free. Call Jose at 760-275-6876. The swap meets are held on the first Saturday of every month from 8 to 3 at the Sportsman’s Club, on Sunburst Avenue just off the highway in Joshua Tree.

CACTUS SEWABLE QUILT GUILD MEETS MONDAY

Cactus Sewables Quilt Guild will meet Monday in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center. Doors open at 12:30, meeting begins promptly at 1 p.m. Guests are welcome. They will have a table with the boutique items that didn’t sell at their quilt show, all at half price. The speaker will be Grace Errea of amzingquiltsbygrace.com.

OPEN HOUSE FOR BOXO HOUSE ARTIST TOMORROW

A New York artist, Jennifer Karady, came to the High Desert to be the artist-in-residence for BoxoHouse in Joshua Tree after receiving a commission from the Palm Springs Art Museum to show her critically acclaimed project, “Soldiers’ Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.” Managing editor Tami Roleff says a reception and artist talk will be held Saturday, April 5 in Joshua Tree…
BoxoHouse in Joshua Tree will hold a reception Saturday, April 5, for its artist-in-residence, Jennifer Karady. For the past seven years, Karady has worked with veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to create staged narrative photographs that depict their individual stories and address their challenges in adjusting to civilian life. Each large-scale color photograph is accompanied by text, based on audio recordings, that consists of the veteran recounting his/her story in his/her own words. Karady will have an exhibition of her photos at the Palm Springs Art Museum in December. The open house will be from 3 to 6 p.m., with an artist talk at 5 p.m. at BoxoHouse, 62732 Sullivan Road in Joshua Tree.

HUMANE SOCIETY ANIMALS IN A MEET-AND-GREET TOMORROW

Animals from the Morongo Basin Humane Society will hold a meet-and-greet Saturday, at Copper Moon Arts and Crafts shop in Yucca Valley, in the hopes of finding their fur-ever home. Animal shelter staff will also be accepting donations for pet food and supplies for the no-kill shelter. Anyone who brings in a donation will receive a raffle ticket for an item from Copper Moon. The meet-and-greet is from 10 to 2. Copper Moon is located at 55690 29 Palms Highway, next to Ground Control Hobbies. For more information, call 760-365-7775.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY FIELD TRIP AND MARKETPLACE TOMORROW

The Morongo Basin Historical Society is offering a special field trip for members to the Sky’s the Limit Observatory in Twentynine Palms, Saturday, April 5. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a nature walk. The “Under the Desert Sky” star party begins after dark when telescopes will be pointed at the waxing crescent moon, Jupiter, and other celestial objects. The cost is $10 and includes dessert. Spaces are limited; call Claudia at 760-366-7896 to reserve your spot.

The Morongo Basin Historical Society’s Museum Marketplace this Saturday will feature more goodies for your garden, from vermi-compost to vegetable seedlings, as well as collectibles and treasures at the vendors’ tables. The cement portico has been poured, so all vendors will now be on an “even keel.” If you have items to donate for the Museum Marketplace, call Claudia at 760-366-7896.

DOGS AND CATS WAITING FOR THEIR NEW FAMILIES AT PALMS N’ PAWS

How would you like to find that perfect four-legged friend for your family? ROP Broadcast student Karla Eussegil says adopt a pet from the Twentynine Palms Animal Shelter…
Are you looking for a new addition to the family, maybe a new special friend? There are plenty of cats and dogs waiting to find new homes. Well, come on down to Palms N’ Paws Animal Shelter and adopt a new pet. They are located at 7086 Bullion Avenue, Twentynine Palms, open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call Palms N’ Paws at 760-367-0157; that is 760-367-0157.

TWENTYNINE PALMS YOUTH CLUB BREAKAST SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MORNING

Twentynine Palms Youth Club we will be offering breakfast for $5 April 5 and 6 from 7 a.m. until noon. Breakfast will include eggs, biscuits and gravy with coffee or juice.  As always, all proceeds support Twentynine Palms Youth Club’s programs. Thank you for any support.

JOSHUA TREE VFW SERVING UP DINNER, BREAKFAST, AND TACOS

The Joshua Tree Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will be serving up a fish and shrimp dinner, tonight from 4:00 to 6:00. Sunday breakfast is chicken fried steak. And don’t forget Taco Wednesday from 11 to 1.

COPPER MOUNTAIN MESA BREAKFAST TOMORROW

Tomorrow is the First Saturday Breakfast at the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Association located on Winters Road in North Joshua Tree. All of your favorite foods including biscuits and gravy to die for at $5 per plate. Friendly neighbors who double as smiling volunteers serve from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

ONE 80 MINISTRIES BAKE AND YARD SALE TOMORROW

One 80 Ministries will hold a bake sale and yard sale tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Baked goodies, hot dogs, and popcorn will be available. Donations may be brought to One 80 Ministries Church on the day of the event. All proceeds will benefit One 80 Ministries outreach programs and various activities. One80 Ministries is located at 61858 29 Palms Highway in Joshua Tree.

UNITED METHODIST CHURCH YARD SALE TOMORROW

The Twentynine Palms United Methodist Church will be holding a Parking Lot Sale on Saturday, April 5 from 9 until noon. Anyone interested in selling items are welcomed.  Suggest donation of $10 per parking space or $15 for two parking spaces.  Call the office 760-367-7338 to reserve a spot or show up Saturday.

A BIG LOSS FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS

In Yucca Valley yesterday, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats boys’ tennis team lost big to the Yucca Valley High School Trojans 0-18. No further information was provided.