MAJOR LIVE-FIRE, LARGE-SCALE EXCERCISES THIS WEEK ABOARD BASE

A combined-arms, live-fire, large-scale exercise will be taking place in our entire region this week starting today. During the Desert Scimitar exercise, Marines and sailors from 1st Marine Division, 1st, 5th, 7th, and 11th Marine Regiments, 1st Tank Battalion, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st and 3rdLight Armored Reconnaissance Battalions, and elements from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and 1st Marine Logistics Group, will all hone their conventional war-fighting skills. The exercise will encompass training areas at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Fort Irwin National Training Center and the Boron Prison Complex. Residents near these installations should expect to see tactical vehicles on State Highways 247 and 62, Interstate 40, and U. S. Highways 395 and 58 during this period. There are no scheduled road closures as a part of this exercise. For more information, contact 1st Lt. Spencer Kenyon at 760-763-9378
or email spencer.kenyon@usmc.mil.

A STABBING IN YUCCA VALLEY

A Yucca Valley man was arrested Saturday morning, accused of a stabbing another man with a knife. According to a Sheriff’s report, during an argument with the victim in the 6800 block of Center Lane in Joshua Tree, Fredick McElroy, 28, is alleged to have pulled a knife and cut the victim’s stomach about 1 a.m Saturday morning. After an investigation, Fredick McElroy was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, booked at the West Valley Detention Center, and is being held on $50,000 bail.

MAKE-A-WISH REQUEST WILL SEE 13-YEAR-OLD FIRE A MARINE HOWITZER

What boy hasn’t dreamed about blowing stuff up? A 13-year-old boy from San Diego will have his dream come true tomorrow, thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Marines with Third Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment at Twentynine Palms Marine base. Managing editor Tami Roleff introduces us to Ryan and his wish…
Ryan from San Diego may only be 13, and undergoing treatment for cancer, but that hasn’t stopped him from planning his future. Ryan wants to go in to the military and has researched all the different branches and the different types of military weapons. According to Ryan, the Marine Corps’ Howitzer M777 is the modern-day equivalent of a cannon, and he can’t wait to shoot one. The Make-a-Wish Foundation, which arranges experiences for children with life-threatening conditions, contacted the Marines of 3/11, who were only too happy to introduce Ryan to the thrill of shooting artillery. Ryan, along with his parents and brother, will get to live his dream Tuesday when he’ll spend several hours blowing stuff up with the Howitzer on the range of the Twentynine Palms Combat Center.

FIRE FIGHTERS SAVE HOME IN FLAMINGO HEIGHTS

Fire fighters were called out to a garage fire in the Flamingo Heights area of Yucca Valley early this morning. According to County Fire Captain Trent Blanchard, about 12:30, a two-car detached garage in the 56000 block of Luna Vista Lane caught on fire. Fire fighters aggressively attacked the fire and were able to prevent the fire from spreading to an adjacent workshop and the nearby home. The garage and vehicle were a total loss. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

TWO HELD AFTER ALLEGED GUN THREAT IN YUCCA VALLEY

Two Yucca Valley men were arrested Friday afternoon after another man said they threatened him with a gun. According to a Sheriff’s report, Mario Rabanales, 32, and Joey Arredondo, 21, went to a home in the 6400 block of Goleta Avenue in Yucca Valley shortly before 3:30 p.m. and confronted the victim. The man told deputies that Rabanales showed him a black handgun that was concealed in his waistband. He then ran into the house. After an investigation, Mario Rabanales was arrested for violating his parole and was booked without bail at the Morongo Basin Jail. Joey Arredondo was arrested on no bail warrants for burglary and violation of his parole, and booked at the Morongo Basin Jail.

WONDER VALLEY MAN ACCUSED OF CAR THEFT

A Wonder Valley man was arrested Friday, accused of stealing his ex-girlfriend’s car. According to a Sheriff’s report, a woman in the 80700 block of Mesa Drive in Wonder Valley called the Sheriff’s Department about 6:45 p.m. Friday to say she saw her ex-partner, Christopher Daly, 56, take her vehicle without her permission, After an investigation, deputies found the vehicle hidden under a tarp at Daly’s residence in the 82200 block of Valley Vista in Wonder Valley. Christopher Daly was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto booked at the West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $50,000.

MORONGO BASIN MAC TO GET AN UPDATE ON FIRE STAFFING

The featured informational presentation at the Morongo Basin MAC meeting on May 12 is on fire staffing. Dan Stork has the full agenda…

At this month’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council, Battalion Chief Steve Lasiter will give a guest presentation on County Fire staffing levels. There will also be a public hearing for the purpose of taking comments on the community of Desert Heights and the need, if any, for MAC representation there. Public safety, committee, and community reports round out the agenda. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Avenue.

BEREAVEMENT GROUP MEETS TOMORROW

A bereavement support group that meets twice a month meets tomorrow to help those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. The free meetings provide a safe and comfortable setting to help heal and recover after a loved one’s death. Gloria Beatle, a hospice social worker with the Hi-Desert Home Care Services hospice program, leads the meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 6336 Hallee Road in Joshua Tree. For more information, call 760-366-6427.

CHP TO OFFER “START SMART DRIVING” CLASS TOMORROW

The CHP will offer a free “Start Smart” class tomorrow evening. Reporter Taylor Thacker tells you how to enroll…..

Teen drivers are at great risk of collisions, but with the proper amount of control and focus, tragedies can be avoided. The Morongo Basin Area of the California Highway Patrol will be holding a FREE Start Smart Class on Tuesday, May 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. The class is geared towards newly licensed teen drivers and their parents and how they can combat problems on the road safely and efficiently. The class is held monthly and a reservation is required due to limited class size. For more information, or to sign up, call 760-366-3707.

YUCCA VALLEY 4TH OF JULY VENDORS SOUGHT

The Rotary Club of Yucca Valley is seeking vendors for its upcoming 4thof July community fair, on Friday, July 4, 2014 at the Brehm Youth Park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Vendors can reserve a 10-by-10 foot booth space for only $25. Vendors must provide their own tables, chairs and pop ups. Food vendors—which can include desserts, main food items, snacks, and drinks—are also wanted; food vendors must have a current health license and a mobile set up. For a reservation or more information please call Jill Akalski at 760-766-5656 by June 25.

SPARSE TURNOUT FOR YUCCA VALLEY BUDGET WORKSHOP

Suppose the Town threw a budget party and no one showed up. That is almost what happened Saturday. Managing Editor Tami Roleff was among the very few who did show up, and files this report……

Despite the lure of donuts and snacks, only 10 residents showed up Saturday for a special workshop on the Town of Yucca Valley’s budget. The budget for fiscal year 2014-15 is expected to be just shy of $9.4 million, with a projected surplus of $153,000—which may or may not be a surplus at the end of the fiscal year. The budget includes a 1 percent cost of living allowance for Town employees for the next two years. The town manager’s compensation has been reduced to a base salary of $150,000 to $155,000, and the car allowance has been eliminated. Council Member Dawn Rowe stressed that the car allowance was a cost savings for the Town, since it eliminated a lot of time and paperwork for Town staff. The budget still does not include any significant contribution to maintaining the Town’s infrastructure.

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Only three residents spoke during public comment; Richard Harlan to request the Town maintain its street signs; Bonnie Brady to request the Town repair the PFF Bank sign; and Cary Harwin who asked the Town to explore whether machines could fill potholes rather than employees. Staff agreed that the PFF Bank sign is an eyesore, but said the Town is powerless to do anything to the sign until the State makes a determination on the Redevelopment Agency’s Successor Agency’s long-range property management plan.

Council Member Merl Abel was in favor of reducing the amount in its reserves—which is currently at 56 percent of its annual budget, while most cities have 20 percent to 25 percent. “Having a whole bunch of money in the bank and not using it to help long-term expenses go down is not a good way of managing our money.” But the consensus was to keep the reserve level high. However, staff was directed to come to the Council earlier in the fiscal year with a report of any surplus money from the previous year’s budget, which would be directed toward other projects instead of being deposited in the reserve fund. The Yucca Valley Town Council will hold another budget workshop on Tuesday, May 20, prior to its regular town council meeting.

SCAT, TRACKS AND ANIMAL FACTS AT THE HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM WEDNESDAY

The Morongo Basin Historical Society has announced it has a new speaker for its Wednesday night lecture, May 14. Carolyn Mead is a docent and past Director of Environmental Education Development at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Mead will discuss “Scat, Tracks, and Animal Facts,” 5:30 p.m. at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley and explain how to interpret animal signs and become more knowledgeable about animals. Donation is $5; children are free.

YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL THEATER COMPANY TO OPEN “HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL” WEDNESDAY

The Yucca Valley High School Theater Company is ready to put on its spring production. Reporter Dan Stork says get in line for “High School Musical”…

This spring’s high school musical at Yucca Valley High is: “High School Musical,” the wildly popular Disney musical. Directed by Scott Phillips, with musical direction by Teresa McClintock, “High School Musical” goes on at 6 p.m. on May 14, 15, 16, and 17, with an additional matinee performance at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 17. There are almost 50 students in the cast. In the featured roles are:

Troy – Karver Murphy; Gabriella – Madelynn Nimmo; Chad – Ohkwari Tatu; Taylor – Shiloh Moore; Zeke – Patrick Ferragut; Martha – Amanda Adyani; Sharpay – Madison Curtiss; Ryan – Josh Goddard; Ms. Darbus – Vivian Chow; and Coach Bolton – Nathan Lafferty.

Tickets will be available at the door, and cost only $5 for adults, $4 for students, with free admission for children under 12. All performances will be in the Yucca Valley High School Multipurpose Room. The school is located at 7600 Sage Avenue.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan baseball and softball teams will host the Big Bear Bears at home. First pitch is at 3:15 p.m.

 

The Twentynine Palms High School baseball and softball teams will host the Shadow Hill Knights of Indio at home. First pitch is at 3:30 p.m.

 

And the Joshua Springs Lightning baseball team will host Baptist Christian at home; first pitch is at 3:15.