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BREAKING NEWS: PURSE SNATCHER CAUSES POWER OUTAGE AND ROAD CLOSURE IN YUCCA VALLEY

A purse snatching in Yucca Valley resulted in a crashed U-Haul that shut down Highway 62 between Old Woman Springs Road and Sage Avenue and caused a power outage throughout the Morongo Basin for hours Friday afternoon. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Wilson, three women from Palm Springs drove up to Yucca Valley Friday in a rented U-Haul trailer to possibly buy a used appliance. While in Yucca Valley, the women stopped at the Food 4 Less. While in the store, one of the women, identified only as being 54 years old, snatched a purse about 1:30 p.m. and ran out of the store while one of her companions was in line buying groceries, and the other was in the U-Haul truck. The suspect ran to the U-Haul, followed by employees and customers. When her companion, who was in the driver’s seat, got out of the truck because she refused to drive off, Terri from Food 4 Less grabbed the snatched purse off the truck’s front seat. Meanwhile, the suspect moved over into the driver’s seat and left the parking lot, hitting a 2005 Honda Accord parked next to the truck. DSC_8867The suspect started driving westbound on Highway 62 when for unknown reasons, she lost control of the U-Haul, and crashed into a power pole in front of Carrow’s restaurant. The woman then fled the scene. The crash caused the power pole to fall over onto the U-Haul truck and caused a power outage in pockets from Morongo Valley to Twentynine Palms. SoCal Edison crews said they couldn’t move the U-Haul truck because it would cause the pole to fall over, taking all the power lines with it. DSC_8863Edison estimated it would take a minimum of five hours to re-route the power lines, and possibly all night. Meanwhile, residents in the 56900 block of Antelope Trail, just two blocks from Food 4 Less and the crash scene, called the Sheriff’s Department to report that a strange woman was hiding in their bathroom and refused to come out. Deputies responded to the scene and were able to remove her without incident. Witnesses confirmed the woman hiding was the purse thief who stole the U-Haul. The Sheriff’s Department has not released her name yet. Sgt. Wilson said she could be charged with commercial burglary, two counts of hit-and run, and grand theft auto.DSC_8870

 


YUCCA VALLEY MEDICAL MARIJUANA PETITION SIGNATURES VERIFIED

The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters has determined that there are more than enough signatures on the petition to change a Yucca Valley ordinance to allow medical marijuana dispensaries within town limits. More than 2,000 people signed the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Authorization and Regulation Initiative, and the Registrar determined that 1,873 of those signatures were valid. The number of valid signatures is in excess of the 1,442 signatures that were needed. The Town Clerk will present the completed petition to the Town Council for certification at its next regular meeting of January 20. California election law requires that the Council either adopt the ordinance without changes within 10 days; schedule a special election; or order a report on the impact of the ordinance and then adopt the ordinance within 10 days or schedule the special election.


PHONE SCAMS ABOUND THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

With the holidays come the con artists and scammers trying to take your money. Reporter Cassie Zimarik says here are some of the scams to be aware of…
As the holiday season continues, so do phone scams. There have been recent reports of scams where you receive a call from a person claiming to be an attorney representing a family member that was in a car accident with a foreign diplomat. The attorney will then say that the family member was arrested for a DUI and they need $5,000 for bail money and may ask you to purchase moneypaks at a local drugstore. DO NOT fall for this scam. An attorney will never ask for money over the phone and if you do receive a call similar to this, contact the sheriff to report the call immediately. Chances are that the family member they are speaking of, you can call yourself and learn they were not even in an accident in the first place. Do not let someone else’s greed overpower your good will this holiday season.


BUSINESS HOLIDAY DECORATING CONTEST WINNERS NAMED

With comments ranging from “original” and “clever” to a “beacon of holiday spirit,” the results from the annual Z107.7 and Hi-Desert Publishing business holiday decorating contest are in, with some newcomers and repeats.
In the exterior categories, the judging panel said “Joshua Tree’s eclectic style space known as The Station is a real beacon of holiday spirit best appreciated after dark; it’s tasteful, traditional, and a holiday standout for miles in every direction earns second place” in the small exterior.” Following a few years of being edged out, First Nations Home Finance [in Twentynine Palms] finds themselves back out front and in the winners’ circle with top honors for the Basin’s only display that can be seen from the international space station.”
And finally, in the large exterior category, second place honors go to Route 62 Antiques on Highway 62 in Yucca Valley, whose “original spin on an old-fashion light display puts them in the winner’s circle.” And first place in the large exterior goes to Sunnyvale Garden Suites in Twentynine Palms, with a perfect score. The judging panel’s comments are “beautiful, original, clever, and wow, what a show. Turn your radio dial to 88.7 FM when you turn onto the block or you’ll miss half the show.”

The judges also raved at the wide variety of creativity and spirit in the interiors of local businesses. Reporter Diana Jones tells us who the inside decoration winners are…
Taking first and second place in the large interior category are Cherie Miller and Associates and Pickers Shack, respectively, both in Yucca Valley. Of Cherie Miller, the judges said the business made “remarkable use of every inch of space. The realty shop is so chock full of holiday decorations that they can’t find the cat!” Second place Pickers Shack had “really nice decorations,” but the judges were really impressed by the merchandise for sale, calling it fascinating, eclectic, and with very reasonable prices.
In the small interior, Under the Sun Consignment in Yucca Valley edged out the Copper Mountain College business office. Under the Sun is “like an alpine village” and is “Old-World enchanting and original.” The college’s business office “covered every inch in holiday cheer.” Earning an honorable mention was the Chevron/Subway in Yucca Valley, with a comment that “Santa had a lot of stockings to fill.”
For the first time a People’s Choice award will be given out. Go to Z1077fm.com to vote for your favorite business.
Second place winners will receive $300 in free advertising from the Z107.7 Radio and Hi-Desert Publishing; first place winners will receive a total of $600 in free advertising from Z107.7 and Hi-Desert Publishing. Congratulations to all the winners.


WINTER HOLIDAY FAIR IN JOSHUA TREE TOMORROW

Get out your ugly sweaters and come to the Winter Holiday Fair in Joshua Tree Saturday, December 20. Hosted by the Joshua Tree Recreation and Park District, the holiday fair will run from noon to 5 at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue. Activities will include an ugly sweater contest at 12:30 and a holiday movie at 1 p.m. There will also be photos with Santa, crafts, activities, and games for all ages. The staff will cook up their special chili recipes for residents to vote for their favorite. For more information, call 760-366-8415, or visit their website, JoshuaTreeRecAndPark.org.


DOUBLE TREAT AT THE JOSHUA TREE VFW POST

The Joshua Tree Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will offer a weekend double treat with a complete turkey dinner Friday, December 19, from 4 to 6 p.m. The dinner includes turkey, dressing, potatoes, green beans and a roll. Sunday’s breakfast, served from 8 to 11, is pancakes, two eggs, sausage or bacon, or pick a super meal from the breakfast menu. There will be NO Taco Wednesday on Christmas Eve, but don’t forget Taco Wednesday New Year’s Eve from 11 to 1.


TLC LOOKING FOR HELP FOR PETS AND PEOPLE THIS CHRISTMAS

Volunteers are needed to help package meals for pets to be distributed to shut-ins on Christmas Day by Tender Loving Christmas. If you can help, come to the Yucca Valley Community Center at noon on Monday, December 22.

The 31st annual Tender Loving Christmas Holiday Celebration is right around the corner. It’s never too early to donate or volunteer to be a part of this very special celebration serving those in need and helping make sure no one in the Basin is alone this Christmas day Entertainment reporter Rebecca Havely shares how you can contribute…
Tender Loving Christmas is ramping up their year-round efforts to make this Christmas Day special for those in need. With over two dozen different programs including: Drives for toys, clothes, coats and canned food; gifts for vets, the retired, shut-ins, patients, babies and even pets. Donations are still needed and volunteers too. All these programs and more culminate on Christmas Day with a huge feast, give-a-ways and live entertainment. By then, TLC and its hundreds of volunteers will have touched the lives of more than 5,000 residents across the Morongo Basin. To offer your support to this incredible giving experience, contact Tender Loving Care founder, Mara Cantelo at 760-333-2413.


COLLEGE STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR RETIRED TEACHERS SCHOLARSHIPS

The California Retired Teachers Association, Hi-Desert Division 62, is currently accepting applications for two scholarships, each in the amount of $1,000 and each to be presented in June 2015. One scholarship will be awarded to a Morongo Basin resident or graduate of a Morongo Basin high school. The student must be a current, full-time student at a four-year college or university, must have earned a minimum of 90 semester units by the end of spring semester, and must be firmly committed to a career as a public school teacher. The second scholarship will be awarded to a teacher currently employed by Morongo Unified School District. The teacher must belong to the Morongo Teachers Association and must be enrolled or ready to enroll in a course of study that will provide professional or personal advancement. To receive an application for either scholarship, please contact Scholarship Chair, Joanne Gordon, at P.O. Box 651, Joshua Tree, CA, 92252. Completed applications and supporting documents are due no later than April 8, 2015.


YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL DEBATE TEAM WRAPPING GIFTS AT STARBUCKS TOMORROW

The Yucca Valley High School debate team will be offering free gift-wrapping services on Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00 on the Yucca Valley Starbucks patio. Come relax and enjoy your coffee or sandwich while we wrap those last-minute purchases for you. They’re fast, friendly, and Santa approved.


YUCCA VALLEY TIRE STORE ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY

A Yucca Valley tire dealer has been named one of the top 10 performing dealers in the country. Big O Tires was named a Platinum Performer—and is the only tire dealer in California—in the November 2014 issue of Tire Review, an industry magazine. The dealers were scored on objective questions dealing with their building and equipment, sales, operations, marketing, and personnel. Managing editor Tami Roleff talked with Big O’s owner Tom Huls, who says he is thrilled with the honor…
“They’re sending us a plaque and an award; it’s a big deal for us.” Big O owner Tom Huls said he and his wife were so excited when they learned they were one of the top 10 performing tire stores in the country. “I was amazed. Ecstatic and shocked at the same time. Dumbfounded as to how we could do that in little old Yucca Valley. What we do, we do right.” Huls said his store had a very good year last year, so he decided to enter the contest. “There are some worthy stores out there, but I thought mine was pretty darn worthy, myself.” His store, with 10 employees, was competing against stores in very large metropolitan areas. “I’m very proud of my store and Yucca Valley for helping me and supporting me. In our little area, in a 25-mile radius, we have 50,000 to 55,000 people, competing against areas with one to two, three, four million people. In little old Yucca Valley, our store came out smelling like a rose.” Huls explained why his store does so well in a small town and why 70 percent of his customers are repeat customers. “I believe in my employees and store. The customer comes first at our store.” Congratulations to Tom Huls, Big O Tires, and all his employees.


HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULES

In high school sports, the Twentynine Palms Wildcats basketball team saw first De Anza league action on the road last night against Big Bear Bears. Coach Michael Schneider said it was a defensive battle throughout, but the Wildcats came out on top by a score of 40 – 34. Andrew Wilson led all scorers with 12 points and freshman Adam Bell added 10 points. This brings Twentynine Palms’ record to 2 and 3 overall, with a De Anza league record of 1 and 0.

The Yucca Valley High School Lady Trojan basketball team bounced back from a tough defeat Wednesday to beat Shadow Hills in a De Anza league contest 45-40 last night in Indio. Coach Jess Geeson said senior Ashley Priest scored a team-high 14 points, while sophomore Taylor Spitz hit for 11 points. The Yucca girls now stand 9-3 overall and 2-0 in league play.

Last night, December 18, the Twentynine Palms High School girls’ varsity basketball team started league play with a 57 to 31 victory over Big Bear up in Big Bear. Nokomis Cabrera had 18 points, Lindsey Scammon had 11 points, and McKenzy Johnson had nine points on 3-for-4 shooting from behind the 3-point line.

The Yucca Valley High School girls’ soccer team traveled to take on Shadow Hills High School in De Anza League play and lost by a score of 7-1. Coach Scott Phillips said freshman Jackie Bolha scored the goal for the Lady Trojans off an assist from senior Karson Scaccianoce. Junior Nikole Cody recorded seven saves on goal.

In high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley boys wrestling team will travel away to Palm Springs, while the girls’ wrestling team will travel to La Puente to play Bishop Amat Memorial High School.


A SPURNED WOMAN TRASHES CAR OF EX-BOYFRIEND IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

A Joshua Tree woman who felt spurned by a man she’d been dating took out her anger on his vehicle Tuesday. According to a Sheriff’s report, Marina Montgomery, 33, had been dating a man in the 5900 block of Chia Avenue in Twentynine Palms. When he broke off their relationship, she went to his home. After he told her to leave, the report states she grabbed a crowbar from her vehicle and broke the windshield, rear windshield, and passenger side windows of the man’s Honda, before leaving in her vehicle. Deputies found her on Highway 62 and arrested her for investigation of felony vandalism. Marina Montgomery was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with her bail set at $25,000.


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DROPS PROHIBITION ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Opponents of a medical marijuana dispensary in Yucca Valley have one less argument to fight the proposed initiative that would permit dispensaries to set up shop again in Town limits: that medical marijuana is illegal under U.S. law. When Congress passed its 1,600-page spending bill last weekend, it included a provision that ends the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana in states where it is legal. California legalized medical marijuana in 1996 under Prop 215, and 31 other states and the District of Columbia have also legalized medical marijuana. The Obama Administration has made it a policy not to raid medical marijuana dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal, and when Obama signs the spending bill, that policy will become law. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland said, “The federal government should never get in between patients and their medicine.”

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-medical-pot-20141216-story.html


’TIS THE SEASON FOR HOLIDAY SCAMS

It’s the season of giving, and unfortunately, the season of taking, too. Whether it’s an online shopping scam, gift-card fraud, or a fake charity asking for donations, Managing Editor Tami Roleff says make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate charity before donating…

Crooks are always coming up with new ways to separate you from your money. Some of the newer scams include a $20 “Letter to Santa” scam, and a fake electronic greeting card scam.
“Which are going to appear like something you would want to open because it’s something innocent and something that you may be expecting to get. But if you’re not careful about the address, you may be susceptible to getting malware when you open the greeting card.”
AARP fraud expert Sally Hurme says she finds fake charity scams especially disheartening because people are so generous this time of year. She says a lot of fake charities crop up in December. “They use various schemes. They’ll use names that are similar to a recognized charity or they will just pull at your heartstrings and you think that you’re giving to a legitimate charity when you’re not.”
Before you donate to a charity, check it out on charitynavigator.org or through the Better Business Bureau.


FIREFIGHTERS BRINGING SANTA CLAUS TO JOSHUA TREE NEIGHBORHOODS

Joshua Tree Station 36 firefighters will be giving Santa a ride through Joshua Tree neighborhoods THIS Saturday (Dec 20), Sunday (Dec 21), and Monday (Dec 22) from 6 to 8 p.m. each night. On Saturday, Santa will be riding a fire truck on paved roads in neighborhoods north of Highway 62. On Sunday, Santa and his fire engine will be visiting neighborhoods on paved roads south of the highway, north of Alta Loma and east of Outpost. Then Monday, December 22, the fire fighters will escort Santa through Joshua Tree neighborhoods on paved roads south of Alta Loma and west of Outpost. Neighborhood children are invited to come out and say hi to Santa as he visits their neighborhoods.


FREE FEDERAL FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW

There will be a distribution of surplus federal food at Church of the Nazarene, 56248 Buena Vista Drive, Yucca Valley, from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, December 19.


FINAL WEEKEND FOR “SHAKESPEARE IN HOLLYWOOD” AT THEATRE 29

This weekend is your last chance to see Theater 29’s final offering of the 2014 season, the hilarious Ken Ludwig farce, “Shakespeare in Hollywood.” Entertainment reporter Rebecca Havely shares how you can get tickets…
“Shakespeare in Hollywood” it’s not just a play; it’s a play within a movie within a farce! Shakespeare’s famous characters—King Oberon played wonderfully by Ben Bees—and Puck, his mischievous servant—delightfully portrayed by Lizzy Schmelling—magically land in the 1930’s Hollywood movie set of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Love affairs, love triangles, and cross-dressing chaos ensues.
Local stage favorite Leonard Webber portrays the Austrian film director Max Reinhart and garners lots of laughs, along with the rest of the large talented cast, making this final offering of the Theater 29 season a must-see!
So take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, grab a friend and go have a few belly laughs at Theater 29 this Friday and Saturday night. The curtain rises at 7 p.m.
Tickets range from $8 to $12. For reservations, call the Theater box office at 760-361-4151 or purchase tickets on line by visiting theatre29.org.


TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT SELECTS NEW OFFICERS

Last night, the Twentynine Palms Water District board met for their regular meeting. The board members reelected Sam Moore as president and Chauncey Chambers as vice president. The Water District reported that there were zero main leaks in the month of November. On the Fire Department side, Fire Chief Jim Thompson reported that during the month of November, the Department responded to 179 calls for assistance. November was another month without a structure fire. Thompson also wanted to remind the public to stay fire safe this holiday season in regards to candles, lights, and Christmas trees.


HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT EMPLOYEES SPREAD HOLIDAY JOY

For 12 years, Hi-Desert Water District employees have donated to local charities during the holiday season. At the district’s annual holiday party, employees buy raffle tickets, and the money that is raised is donated back to local charities. This year, 38 water district employees raised $770. Tender Loving Christmas received $500 worth of new toys for distribution to those in need. The Boys and Girls Club of Yucca Valley received a donation of $270 for their programs.


HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT SELECTS PRESIDENT, HEARS OBJECTION TO PR FIRM PAYMENT

The Hi-Desert Water District Board met last night. Managing Editor Tami Roleff said after reorganization, there were some questions about a no-bid contract…
The Hi-Desert Water District board of directors unanimously selected Bob Stadum to serve as its president next year. But Sarann Graham’s nomination of Dan Munsey for vice president failed to garner a second. Stadum’s nomination of Sheldon Hough for vice president passed 3-2, with Graham and Munsey dissenting. In other business, Munsey was the sole “no” vote against a contract with CV Strategies to continue its outreach and public relations services with the district to explain why the district’s customers needed to vote yes on the upcoming sewer system assessment vote. “Outreach is certainly needed for the district; this company has done a great job for us… However, … I can’t continually vote to increase money to a firm that was never competitively bid.” The district hired the firm in June 2013 for $48,000 without going out to bid, then paid it another $49,000 in February 2014, again without a competitive bid, and then approved another payment of $35,000 last night.


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