TWO KILLED, TWO INJURED IN JOSHUA TREE CRASH FOLLOWING YUCCA VALLEY ARMED ROBBERY

Two people are dead and two critically injured from a high-speed crash following an armed robbery in Yucca Valley Saturday afternoon. Sheriff’s deputies received a report about 3:15 p.m. Saturday that a home in the 7200 block of Palo Alto had been broken into. The victims called back shortly before 4 p.m. to say that the robbers had returned and threatened them with a handgun, putting the gun to their face and saying they were going to shoot up the house. About 5 p.m., the suspects in the robbery were driving eastbound on Alta Loma, at a high rate of speed when just west of Friendly Hills Elementary School, the driver of the Altima lost control of the car. The car crossed over the westbound lanes and went into the desert north of the road, rolling over multiple times. Three helicopters landed at the nearby school to transport the victims to area hospitals. One man, later identified as Michael Cotterly, 37, of Crestline, died at Hi-Desert Medical Center about an hour later. Sean Keller, 21, of Mountain Home, Idaho, died at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs about 6:25; neither the identities or the conditions of the other two victims have been released yet. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash; the Sheriff’s Department is investigating the robbery prior to the crash.

SUSPICIOUS FIRE DESTROYS JOSHUA TREE DUPLEX

A vacant duplex in Joshua Tree was completely destroyed in a fire early this morning. About 2:40 a.m., firefighters arrived at the scene at El Reposo Street and Highway 62 in downtown Joshua Tree to find the 1000-square-foot building fully involved in flames. The fire was reported by a neighbor. The cause of the fire is under investigation, as there was no electricity or gas to the building. Fire fighters were at the scene for about two hours.

MAN WALKS AWAY WITH SCRATCH AFTER ROLL-OVER CRASH IN LANDERS

A man walked away with just a scratch after his car rolled over Saturday afternoon in Landers. About 5:30, the unidentified driver was traveling on Old Woman Springs Road near Napa when the car drifted off the edge of the road and rolled over into the desert. Bystanders helped the man from his car, who suffered only a scratch to his arm. He was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs as a precaution.

MORONGO BASIN MAC TALKS ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY TODAY

Renewable energy issues dominate the agenda of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council today. Reporter Dan Stork has the details…

In the featured informational presentation at the July 14 meeting of the Morongo Basin MAC, County Planning Commissioner Paul Smith will discuss the review process for solar development applications and the relationship between the Land Use Services and the Planning Commission. The MAC will take up two action items:
Following an overview presentation by Barbara Harris, the MAC will consider a resolution in support of the campaign to have Highway 247 in San Bernardino County designated as a Scenic Highway.
Next, the MAC will consider a resolution in support of extending to 180 days the review period for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The meeting begins at 6:30 pm at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst.

SEARCH FOR ERIN CORWIN CONTINUES

Specialized investigators, along with Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers, continue the search today for Erin Corwin, 19, the pregnant wife of a Twentynine Palms Marine, who hasn’t been seen since June 28. The County Sheriff’s Department said the search has covered more than 200 square miles of remote desert. The search has shown no sign of Corwin and her disappearance does not appear to be voluntary. According to a Sheriff’s source, whom Z107.7 News chooses not to identify, Corwin was having an affair with a married Marine and was pregnant with his child. During interviews with investigators, his answers have shown inconsistencies, and as a result, she is not expected to be found alive.

Corwin was reported missing June 29 by her husband, Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, who told investigators he last saw his wife at 7 a.m. the day before; she said she was leaving their home for Joshua Tree National Park. Her car was found near the back entrance of the base, but there was no indication of her direction of travel or current whereabouts. Sunday, the Sheriff’s Department used one of its helicopters to transport search teams to locations that would take up to four hours to hike into. They have been scouring Joshua Tree National Park and surrounding area to the north, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Bryan Lane. There are several old iron and ore mines, above and below ground, that are being searched by specially trained teams, Lane said. Teams meet at Luckie Park, at 6 a.m. and work up to 16 hours a day. Jonathan Corwin has been placed on “Permissive Temporary Additional Duty,” orders commonly issued to military personnel for official time off. Corwin has served overseas but not in combat, according to the Marine Corps. Anyone with information about Erin Corwin is urged to contact the Specialized Investigation Division at 909-387-3589.

SWEEPSTAKES SCAM VICTIMIZES A YUCCA VALLEY WOMAN

If you have to send money to win a prize, beware! Also, you cannot win a contest you did not enter! In spite of those two basic rules local residents continue to get scammed. Managing Editor Tami Roleff said one local woman lost nearly $20,000.00 in a common sweepstakes scam…

Winning a large sweepstakes prize is a dream come true for many people. However, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare if the win notification was actually a sweepstakes scam. One Yucca Valley resident fell victim to such a fraud recently. The woman was contacted by phone by someone who said she was the winner of a half million dollar sweepstakes prize. All she had to do was send money for processing fees and insurance on the prize. The woman borrowed money from a friend to the tune of $19,530 before she realized she had been scammed. If you are called out of the blue that you won a prize, chances are it’s a scam. You can’t win if you didn’t enter the contest. In addition, legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay fees to participate or to receive a prize. You should never have to pay handling charges, service fees, or any other kind of charges up front to receive a prize—those are sure signs of sweepstakes scams. Report any scams to the Sheriff’s Department.

SIDEWALK PROJECT ON SAGE IN YUCCA VALLEY STARTS TODAY

Construction is set to begin today, Monday, July 14, for the Safe Route to School Project on Sage Avenue between Onaga Trail and Highway 62 in Yucca Valley. The project includes curbs, gutters, and sidewalks on the west side of Sage Avenue from the Yucca Valley High School to the highway; on the east side of Sage Avenue, the work will be done from Onaga Trail to Pueblo Trail. Construction should be completed by August 25, depending on weather.

AFTER DOG ON DOG ATTACKS IN YUCCA VALLEY, SOME SAFETY TIPS

Several dogs have been attacked recently by loose dogs in Yucca Valley. Your very best option to protect your dog when walking together is to walk carrying some sort of stick, such as a walking stick or cane, at least two feet long and one inch in diameter. Reporter Diana Jones says the Dog Breed Information website offers the following tips on how to defend yourself and your dog with the stick…

If attacked, point the stick at the dog’s nose and keep it there. While still pointing your stick at the dog, take a small step towards it. If the dog backs up, take another step until the dog retreats. If the dog does not back down, use the stick as a joust, not a club. The goal is to have the dog grab the stick so that its mouth is occupied. When it grabs the stick, it will instinctively pull. DO NOT PULL BACK. Instead, step toward the dog and push the stick into its mouth. If the dog does not grab the stick and does not back away, begin poking the dog with the stick. It will soon grow tired of being jabbed and retreat. Hopefully these tips will help protect you and your dog from dog attacks.

COUNTY VETERAN’S COUNSELOR AVAILABLE TOMORROW

The San Bernardino Vet Center (SBVC) offers readjustment counseling, benefits counseling, and referral services to veterans in the Morongo Basin every Tuesday. A Vet Center counselor is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays at Copper Mountain College, 6162 Rotary Way, in Joshua Tree, Calif., in the Office of Student Services. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Yesenia Thomas at 909-801-5762.

COUNTY SAYS ASSESMENT APPEALS CAN BE DONE ONLINE

If you believe that your new property assessment is unfair, you can do something about it. Dan Stork says that San Bernardino County provides a way to appeal valuations on the Internet…

The annual filing period for assessment appeals on real property opened July 2. The County Assessor’s office recommends that, for convenience and to ensure timely, accurate processing of your application, you should file online! You will receive immediate confirmation of receipt of your application. You will have the ability to review the information entered prior to submission to ensure that all necessary fields have been completed. For those filing multiple appeals, common data between applications is retained which reduces the need to enter redundant information. Access the Clerk of the Board website at an address in this story at Z1077fm.com http://sbcounty.gov/cob/OtherServices/AssessmentAppeals.aspx to file an online application and to get additional information.

TWENTYNINE PALMS INN TO CLOSE FOR RENOVATIONS

The 29 Palms Inn Restaurant will be closed for renovation beginning Monday, July 14, through Friday, July 25. The Inn will remain open for hotel guests, as will the oasis area and pool. The Inn will continue to offer continental breakfast and box lunches, as well as complimentary picnic dinners for hotel guests. The restaurant will reopen with a special “Welcome Back” dinner at 5 p.m. Friday, July 25. For more information, call 760-367-3505 or visit 29palmsinn.com.

SERVICES SET FOR JOE YAWN

Joe Yawn, retired Sergeant Major, USMC, and retired Marshal’s Deputy, passed away on July 6, 2014. He was 69 and had been a Twentynine Palms resident for 43 years. His entire life was spent in service to his country, his community, and his fellow man. Yawn leaves behind his wife of 48 years, Gale, and one son, Joe III. A memorial service for Joe Yawn will be held on Friday, July 18, at 1:30 p.m. at the Protestant Chapel, Bldg 1541, on the Marine Corps Base. Anyone wishing to attend who does not have a base sticker should call Gale or the Protestant Chapel by Wednesday to have your name added to the guest list.