LAWSUIT FILED BY FAMILY OF MAN KILLED BY SHERIFF’S PATROL CAR

The family of the man killed nearly a year ago in a crash with a Sheriff’s deputy in Twentynine Palms has filed a lawsuit against the deputy involved in the crash, as well as the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department , the County, and the City. Z107.7 News has learned that the wife and children of Luc Van Bui filed a wrongful death lawsuit February 24. The plaintiffs allege that Deputy Erdem Gorgolu—who was driving eastbound on Highway 62 about 7:30 p.m. on April 30—was driving his marked patrol car “at speeds far in excess of the lawful speed limit … with no head lights, no running lights, no emergency lights, no signals nor any other lights of the vehicle being turned on, all in hours of total darkness.” The lawsuit also alleges that the deputy did not have the siren or any other audible warning signal turned on, adding that Bui “did not know Erdem Gorgolu and the vehicle he was operating was even approaching, let alone the speed at which he was coming.” Deputy Gorgolu’s patrol car crashed into the Toyota Camry driven by Bui as he was pulling out of the Burger King onto Highway 62, killing him. Bui’s family allege in the lawsuit that due to Luc Van Bui’s death, they have suffered economic losses, as well as medical, hospital, and funeral expenses, and the loss of love and companionship, among others. They also contend that in addition to the economic and non-economic damages they have suffered, they are entitled to recover punitive damages.

2nd RIDER FROM SUNDAY MOROTRCYCLE HEAD-ON IN JTNP DIES

The second rider involved in a head-on motorcycle to motorcycle crash Sunday in Joshua Tree National Park has died. Riverside County Coroner’s officials said Elmer Vanhoorebeke Jr., 27, of Twentynine Palms died Sunday afternoon at 4:20 p.m. in the Emergency room at Desert Hospital in Palms Springs. Vanhoorebeke Jr had been taken there after the crash about 1 ½ miles into the Park from the Joshua Tree entrance at 1:51 p.m. The rider of the other motorcycle, a female, died at the scene and has not t yet been identified.

TNPCC MEETS TONIGHT: BUDGET PLANNING, PUBLIC ART, HOMELESSMESS

An evening of discussions is on the agenda for the Twentynine Palms City Council. Dan Stork says they’ll cover budget planning, public art, and homelessness…

In the first discussion item on the agenda of the Twentynine Palms City Council on April 8, the Council will approve the Budget Calendar and receive comments from the community on how the City’s resources should be prioritized. The following two items deal with public art: First, whether to authorize the purchase (for $13,000) of a Ricardo Breceda sculpture of a “Miner and Pack Horse”, and its placement on National Park Drive. Then the Council will return to the question of acceptance and installation of three Simi Dabah sculptures — 2 at the Senior Center, and one at Theatre 29. Finally, there will be a discussion concerning homelessness in the Morongo Basin. That discussion will encompass monitoring of Morongo Basin Haven, the use of city staff and facilities to participate in programs for the homeless that pertain to the City (or not), whether to endorse the efforts of Morongo Basin Haven to acquire a small residential complex somewhere in the Basin to serve as a shelter, and to determine if any Council members should represent the City in any of the various groups that deal with issues of homelessness. The meeting begins at 6 pm in City Hall on Adobe Road.

MAN CRASHES THROUGH HOUSE WHILE FAMILY IS SLEEPING

A family had a rude awakening Sunday morning when a man broke through the walls of their house into their bedroom while they were sleeping. According to a Sheriff’s report, the homeowners were sleeping in their bedroom when about 7 a.m., a black man the residents described as “homeless” and wearing a red shirt and blue jeans, crashed through the exterior stucco wall of the house, making a body-sized hole in the wall, and then walked through the wall into the bedroom. The resident told deputies the man saw the residents and fled back out the hole he made. The unknown man then went to the front door and started knocking on the door, before going into the back yard and then leaving on foot in an unknown direction. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.  The location of the home is in the 6600 block of Adobe Road in 29 Palms.

YUCCA VALLEY CAREGIVER ARRESTED FOR DRUGS, ELDER ABUSE

A Yucca Valley woman was arrested Sunday morning after drugs were found in her residence. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies went to a home in the 56800 block of Antelope Trail about 3:45 to execute a search warrant. During the search, deputies recovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. During the investigation, the occupant, Ronnie Goutin, 51, admitted that she was a caregiver for a 75-year-old victim, and that she had given away the victim’s prescription narcotics. Ronnie Goutin was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sales and elder abuse. She was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with her bail set at $50,000.

YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETS TONIGHT

The Yucca valley Planning Commission meets tonight, a new sign for the Ross store is among items up for consideration. Managing Editor Tami Roleff checks the agenda..
At tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Planning Commission, the commissioners will be asked to deny a variance for a sign for the new Ross Dress for Less. Next up, the Commission will be asked to adopt an amendment to the Development Code’s general development standards that covers infrastructure improvements, landscaping and maintenance, parking, sign regulations, and temporary special events, among other items. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.

RARE BUTTERFLY FOUND IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

March 29, Joshua Tree National Park conducted its annual butterfly count. Local volunteers and park staff worked to catalog species found inside the park. This year, researchers were rewarded for their continuing efforts when they found several mallow scrub-hairstreaks (Strymon istapa) near the Cottonwood area. This is a new butterfly species for the park, whose primary range is from Mexico south to Brazil with only a few U.S. populations along the southern border in California, Texas, and Florida. In California, this butterfly species is found mainly in San Diego and Imperial counties with only a few records in other adjacent counties. More information on the rare butterly follow the link in this story at Z1077fm.com

http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Strymon-istapa

www.nps.gov

HDMC BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board meets tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says that after swearing in new member Joe Sullivan, they face a routine agenda…

Following routine opening formalities at tonight’s regular 6 p.m. meeting of the Hi-Desert Medical Center Board, Directors will adjourn for a closed session in connection with the ongoing litigation with Dr. Dennis Wilcox. Back in open session, directors will consider outsourcing compliance services, likely approve 2014 committee assignments, and weigh some changes at the District’s Data Center. It all happens in the Helen Gray Education Center on the hospital campus. For Z107.7 News, this is assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz.

JOSHUA TREE CLEAN TEAM OUT TOMORROW MORNING

The next clean-up for the Joshua Tree Clean Team will be tomorrow, Wednesday, April 9th, at 8 a.m. The volunteers will meet on Alta Loma and Sherwood, west of the Friendly Hills Elementary School. Everyone is encouraged to work for just one short hour and meet afterwards at the Park Rock Cafe with like minded people for coffee and conversation. There will be trash bags, grabber sticks, gloves and water available to make the chore more doable. For more information call 760 366-8415.

J.T. TORTOISE RESCUE AT HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM TOMORROW

The Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue will be featured at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum tomorrow evening. Reporter Taylor Thacker invites you to the Wednesday lecture series…

Rae Packard of Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue never slows down in her race to save the Desert Tortoise. In the 1920’s there were 1,000 California desert tortoises per square mile in the Mojave Desert and by 1970 they became endangered. On April 9th Rae Packard, founder of the Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue, will speak on how her organization is helping save desert tortoises. Please join Rae and meet several tortoises at Morongo Basin Historical Society’s 2nd Wednesday lecture series at 5:30 pm at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. Donation is $5.00. Please bring paper towels to help Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue continue its work helping save our desert tortoises.

CAR WASH SATURDAY TO BENEFIT HOMELESS, FALLEN MARINE

Vets Cruzin for a Cause will hold a car wash Saturday, April 12, for a fallen Marine and his family at the Change for Vets Thrift Store, 5758 Adobe Rd Ste B, in Twentynine Palms. All cars, trucks, and motorcycles are welcome at the car wash from 9 to 2. Madhouse Foods will be on site with great food. All proceeds go directly to the family of the fallen Marine.

MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST MARKS 50,000 ACRES

The Mojave Desert Land Trust is touting a milestone in its ongoing land conservation efforts. Dan Stork reviews the MDLTs inventory of accomplishments…

The Mojave Desert Land Trust says that it has reached a total of 50,000 acres preserved through its efforts. It breaks those lands down into desert tortoise habitat, areas added to or preserved within the National Parks Service lands, additions to or places within the National Wilderness System, and wildlife linkages. The MDLT also claims the preservation of thousands of Joshua Trees, and removal of tons of garbage from public lands. For more information about the MDLT, visit its web site at mojavedesertlandtrust.org.

COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS MEET TOMORROW

The Morongo Basin Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents who have experienced the death of a child, which meets every second Wednesday of the month from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm, will hold its meeting at the Helen Gray Education Center located  on the medical center campus, Wednesday, April 9. The group is facilitated by Kristin Martin,  For more information, please contact Martin at 760-250-7295 or visit the Hi Desert Medical Center website at www.hdmc.org.

RED CROSS TO HONOR LANDERS WOMAN

A Landers woman will be honored tomorrow at the Riverside County Volunteer Recognition Banquet for her work with the Red Cross. Judy Laffoon is one of three Red Cross volunteers, and one of hundreds of Riverside County volunteers, who will be honored at the event, one of whom will be named Riverside County Volunteer of the Year. Managing editor Tami Roleff says Laffoon is well-deserving of the honor…

Judy Laffoon has been a volunteer with the Riverside Red Cross, which also serves the Morongo Basin, for about a year. Laffoon started her Red Cross volunteer work through the Community Emergency Response Team, then trained to work as a disaster services volunteer who helps those who have experienced a disaster. After a short time, she was named as a Disaster Action Team Captain, and is usually the first Red Cross volunteer on the scene. Laffoon also volunteers as a client caseworker, helping people with their immediate needs after a disaster. And as if that isn’t enough, Laffoon is also a Red Cross Community Ambassador, representing the Red Cross at community events and sharing programs and information with the public.

BIG WIN FOR TPHS TENNIS

Yesterday TPHS Wildcats Boys Tennis Team hosted Desert Hot Springs Golden Eagles and defeated the Eagles 18-0. Eagles forfeited 9 points due to not having singles players and only played doubles matches Coach Larry Battle
said. Wildcat’s Doubles, Edgar Sosa and partner Brian Gaddis swept 3 out of 3 sets and Marcus Simon and partner Scott Clinkscales swept 3 out of 3. Sam Choi and partner Vincent Thomas won 2 sets before being substituted out for Jose Valdez and partner Raul Hernandez. After a 6 games to 6 games tie, Jose Valdez and Raul Hernandez won their first league competition together in a 7 points to 2 tie breaker.