One of the victims of a horrific DUI crash in Joshua Tree Sunday evening has died, and four others—including a 1-year-old toddler— remain hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Angela Matthews, 25, a passenger in a red 2011 Mazda 6 driven by her husband, Christopher Matthews, 28, died at Desert Hospital in Palms Springs at 2:47 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Angela Matthews, 25, died Monday at Desert Hospital in Palms Springs, two days after a horrific crash in Joshua Tree Sunday. Her husband, Christopher, and 1-year-old daughter Dakota remain hospitalized in critical condition.
Christopher Matthews, a Marine assigned to the Provost Marshall’s Office on board the Twentynine Palms Marine Base, had to be cut out of his car using the Jaws of Life; he is also hospitalized at Desert Hospital with critical injuries. His young daughter, Dakota, remains at Loma Linda Hospital with critical injuries. According to the California Highway Patrol, Jennifer Zapata, 22, of Magna, Utah, is suspected of driving under the influence when her white 2005 Hyundai Sonata crossed the center line and crashed head-on in the Matthews’ eastbound car, west of Arizona Avenue on Highway 62 about 6:45 p.m. Also critically injured in the crash were Zapata and Evelyn Martinez, 20, of West Valley, Utah, a passenger in the Hyundai with Zapata. Jennifer Zapata was arrested for felony driving under the influence causing injury, and will be booked if she survives her injuries.
The Matthews family has set up a fundraising site to help relatives from Georgia travel to California to be with the injured family: http://www.gofundme.com/8cgnks
Yucca Valley still has no Town Manager….The Town Council met last night., Managing Editor Tami Roleff said community funds were announced and speed limits were lowered…
Despite an agenda that said the Yucca Valley Town Council would meet in closed session last night to consider the appointment of an employee to Town Manager, Town Staff said no reportable action was expected at the conclusion of last night’s meeting. In other business, the Council heard recommendations from staff about partnership funding requests. The Town received funding requests from 11 agencies totaling $111,400; staff recommended granting requests totaling $80,500 to six organizations: Boys and Girls Club ($16,000); Chamber of Commerce (for marketing and Grubstakes Community Fair, $24,500, including $12,000 in “in-kind” contributions); Desert Regional Tourism Association ($22,500, including $12,000 in “in-kind” contributions); Yucca Valley Rotary for fireworks and Festival of Lights ($9,000, including $500 in in-kind contributions); Morongo Basin Tennis Association ($2,500, including $1,000 in in-kind contributions); Healthy Generations for roof repair ($6,000), (less $16,000 charged to other departments). The Council also agreed to lower speed limits from 40 miles per hour to 35 on portions of five roads: Grand Avenue from Mt. View Trail to Joshua Drive; Joshua Lane from Highway 62 to Yucca Trail; Onaga Trail from Alaba Avenue to Palomar Avenue; and Yucca Trail from Airway Avenue to Joshua Lane; and from 40 miles per hour to 25 on Pioneertown Road from Highway 62 to Yucca Trail. And finally, the Council heard a presentation about the new sidewalks, complete with photos showing that the sidewalks are wide enough for wheelchairs even in areas where trees and power poles jog out into the sidewalk. Sheriff’s Lt. Russ Wilke, in discussing the recent horrific highway crashes in the Morongo Basin, commended the cooperation among the fire departments, Sheriff’s Department, and California Highway Patrol.
Teachers and substitutes for the Marengo Unified School District got a pay raise at the Board of Education’s regular meeting last night. Reporter Dan Stork has the details…
A standing-room-only crowd of mostly parents and students were treated to a performance by the Japanese Dan Group of Joshua Tree Elementary School at the start of last night’s meeting of the Board of Education of the Morongo Unified School District. The crowd stayed on to witness about 60 students from around the District be honored for perfect scores of 600 on some state achievement tests last year. The names of the honored students, and their schools, are listed at the end of this story.
The Board then got down to regular business, which included accepting the tentative agreement with the teacher’s union. The new contract has a 5 percent increase in the overall basic scale. With step increases, the average teacher will have a 6 percent increase over current salary. According to the public-released summary of the proposed agreement, the average total compensation—salary and benefits—per full-time equivalent certificated employee will be a shade under $90,000 per year. Classified hourly substitute pay was also increased, to keep pace with the impending changes in the California minimum wage to $9 per hour.
The Board also approved participation in a Joint Powers Authority with many other school districts to share legal representation. This results in a lowered rate of only $230 per hour for legal services.
The Board also approved several course outlines in biology and technology, plus math for the junior high school Common Core curriculum. During public comment, culinary students brought to the Board’s attention new state regulations that keep them from selling what they make to students and teachers, resulting in a loss of financial support for their classes.
The students who registered perfect scores on a California standardized test last year were:
Condor Elementary School
Friendly Hills Elementary School
Joshua Tree Elementary School
La Contenta Middle School
Landers Elementary School
Morongo Valley Elementary
Brooke Altum Anderson
Oasis Elementary School
Gabriel Loman Rangel
Onaga Elementary School
Palm Vista Elementary School
Twentynine Palms Elementary School
Twentynine Palms High School
Twentynine Palms Junior High School
Yucca Mesa Elementary School
Yucca Valley Elementary School
Yucca Valley High School
A fight at the Yucca Valley Community Center Monday morning led to the arrest of a man for felony spouse abuse. According to a Sheriff’s report, Charles Whitehead, 36, of Oroville, and Jennifer Boatright, 26, of Yucca Valley, were waiting for the Yucca Valley Library to open about 10:30 a.m. when they started arguing. Witnesses said Whitehead kicked and slapped Boatright, cutting her lip. Charles Whitehead was arrested for investigation of felony spouse abuse, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000. Jennifer Boatright was arrested for drunk and disorderly, was cited and released.
Harrison House Music and Arts congratulates recent composer-in-residence John Luther Adams on winning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music, for his composition “Become Ocean.” The piece is described by the Pulitzer jury as “an orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.”
Photo Courtesy: Eva Soltes
John Luther Adams, a former resident of Alaska, considers composer Lou Harrison to be a life-long mentor. In addition to his 2013 Harrison House composing residency, which provided him with an inspirational setting in the Mojave Desert, Adams recently joined Frid Frith, Mark Morris, Bob Ostertag, Terry Riley and Ralph Samuelson as the newest member of their Artistic Advisory Board. Harrison House Music and Arts is an artist residency, performance and community arts program based in the straw bale retreat built by the late composer, Lou Harrison. Gifted artists are invited into this historic and remarkable acoustic environment to share their art with audiences and participants in an intimate setting.
Earth Day will be celebrated with an annual celebration in Yucca Valley that gets bigger and better every year. Reporter Taylor Thacker invites you to join Z107.7 as we broadcast live from the Earth Day event…
In honor of Earth Day, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum will celebrate the diversity of life on earth with a day of activities that will inform, educate, and entertain visitors. Yucca Valley’s 2014 Earth Day Fair will take place on Saturday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Town of Yucca Valley’s Community Center Complex. Admission is free. Local experts will be on hand to provide demonstrations on gardening with native plants, growing your own food, composting, and recycling. This family-oriented event includes live music and dancing, animal presentations, face painting, and kids’ activities, in addition to booths featuring local artists and environmental education resources. For more information call 760-369-7212.