An iconic Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree National Park, describes as “historic” by Park officials, was discovered burning Saturday night, and park officials say the fire was set intentionally. According to a park press release, park officials were notified at 8:10 p.m. Saturday about the burning tree, located along the road about a mile east of Sheep Pass campground. The visitors who discovered the tree burning managed to slow the burn by pouring their water bottles on it until firefighters arrived. Firefighters put out the fire and kept it from spreading into the desert. Park Superintendent David Smith said, “These iconic trees are the tangible symbol of the park, and of the California desert. The loss of any Joshua tree saddens me.” The tree was cut down at the base to prevent it from falling. Smith told Z107.7 that the iconic tree was one of the biggest and most photographed in the park and he is puzzled by the senseless act. He said an active investigation is ongoing and anyone who was in the area about 8:00 Saturday night and may have seen suspicious activity around the tree is asked to contact park rangers.
The County is starting to ramp up both clean-up and enforcement of illegal dumping in our desert., Reporter Mike Lipsitz says community cleanups are ongoing and a new app will help you report illegal dumpers…
Desert dwellers know dumping is a problem in our communities. Illegal dump sites can be as small as a few bags of trash and some tires to super sites covering acres. Last month the County Board of Supervisors set aside half a million dollars and earmarked for ongoing desert cleanup efforts. Already this year, community cleanups have been held in Johnson Valley, Flamingo Heights, and on the Mesa. Organized through County Code Enforcement, large, open dumpsters were provided for tires, recyclables and other trash to be discarded. The next cleanup is set for February 6 in Landers. Smartphone users can quickly and easily report illegal dumping by first downloading the app “SB Code” or call 909-387-4044.
A Joshua Tree man who was arrested for felony warrants Friday afternoon was also found with drugs in his home. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies went to the home of Jason Llamado, 36, in the 62100 block of Verbena Trail about 9 a.m. to arrest him on outstanding warrants for narcotics possession, driving under the influence, and failure to appear in court. During the search, deputies found heroin, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia. Jason Llamado was arrested for possession of heroin for sales, and on the outstanding warrants. He was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $75,000. Llamado was released on bail Friday evening.
A Twentynine Palms woman was arrested Wednesday morning after she was found driving a stolen car. According to a Sheriff’s report, a deputy stopped a vehicle near Serrano and Adobe Road about 5 a.m. Wednesday. A records check revealed that the 2015 Chrysler had been reported stolen. According to the report, the driver of the car, Destiny Johnson, 29, said she was renting the car for $500 a month from a friend, but didn’t have any receipts for her payments, didn’t know her friend’s address or phone number, and knew that her friend didn’t own the vehicle she was renting. Destiny Johnson was arrested for investigation of vehicle theft, booked at the West Valley Detention Center, with her bail set at $50,000.
A Yucca Valley man was arrested Thursday, accused of beating up a woman. According to a Sheriff’s report, the woman called about 10:30 p.m. and said that Jonathan Sprecher, 67, beat her and she was bleeding. Deputies went to a home in the 7600 block of Acoma Trail in Yucca Valley, and after an investigation, Jonathan Sprecher was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000. Jonathan Sprecher was released on bail Friday evening.
A 58-year-old man was hospitalized Sunday morning after he rolled his car on Old Woman Springs Road. About 8 a.m., the unidentified driver was driving southbound on the highway when for unknown reasons, he lost control of his red Pontiac and rolled it into a hillside near San Juan Road. He was flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.
The Hi-Desert Medical Center is offering a free smoking cessation program. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says sign-up today, it starts this Wednesday…
Recognizing no two smokers are alike, working with others to learn why you smoke, identifying triggers and creating a support network are hallmarks of a successful smoking cessation program. They’re also part of a seven-step process that allows smokers to access personal reasons to quit. If you want to quit, sign up for the Hi-Desert Medical Center’s free six-week smoking cessation program facilitated by Stan Joyce, Director of Cardiopulmonary medicine. The program runs from December 2 through January 6 in the Helen Gray Education Center at Hi-Desert Medical Center. Walkins are accepted, but participants are urged to register by calling 760-366-0808. For more information, call 760-366-6322.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is launched a public awareness campaign about homelessness, “Positive Change, Not Spare Change.” According to the Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement, or HOPE, team, 65 percent of panhandlers are not homeless. The HOPE team says giving money to panhandlers contributes to the panhandler’s drug or alcohol addiction. HOPE team members urge residents to donate to legitimate homeless service providers, who can use donations to find real solutions to move people off the streets. For more information about the Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement team, call 909-387-0623, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students at Twentynine Palms High School are busy preparing this year’s yearbook. ROP Broadcast Student Tiara Tufford talked with the editors…
The Twentynine Palms High School yearbook class is hard at work at making the 2015-2016 yearbook. Have you ever wondered what the yearbook class does?
One of the editors, Ashton Henry, told us: “We do much more than taking photos, we write, we do business and we design pages. We also put on our own fundraisers.”
Do you also wonder if the yearbook is only made in the 55-minute sixth period class?
Ashton Henry told us: “In the school year, I spend about one whole week writing in my personal time and with fundraising it’s about another whole week. I get about 10 to 15 percent done in the classroom.”
The hard-working volunteers of Desert Christ Park will hold their second annual Christmas treasure hunt in the park Saturday, December 5, from 2 to 5 p.m. Christmas ornaments, small toys and stuffed animals and other Christmas-themed items will be hidden around the park for visitors to find. Photos will also be available. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free, although donations are accepted. Desert Christ Park is located at the intersection of Mohawk Trail and Sunnyslope Drive in Yucca Valley.
The Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency program is offering the opportunity to win a Steve Rieman sculpture. Tickets for “Walking Critter” are $100 each, and proceeds benefit the program’s scholarship fund. The Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residence scholarship fun provides artists with accommodations, studio space, a stipend, and a gallery exhibition. Rieman’s “Walking Critter” is on display at the Joshua Tree Art Gallery in downtown Joshua Tree through December 30. The winner of the sculpture will be announced January 15. All donations are tax deductible.
The holidays are upon us, and, the staff at Joshua Tree National Park is expecting very busy weekends. As early as Friday mornings, campgrounds will fill with campers, climbers, and hikers, and day use visitors will enjoy the mild temperatures during this holiday season. Cooler temperatures may also provide a chance for visitors to see more wildlife whom may come out to seek the suns warmth. Ranger-led programs will be offered to visitors with schedules available on the web, in the visitor centers, entrance stations and posted on campground bulletin boards. Expect daytime temperatures to run into the low to mid 70’s, but nighttime temps are dropping down into the upper 30’s, so don’t forget to come prepared. Layer your clothing, carry lots of water, and wear a good hat and sunscreen. On behalf of the Staff of Joshua Tree National Park, and from our park families to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season.
Tuesday, December 1, is “Give Big San Bernardino County,” a 24-hour online giving campaign that allows residents to give to their favorite causes in the Morongo Basin and San Bernardino County. The goal is to raise a minimum of $300,000 in just 24 hours through online donations. From 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on December 1, supporters of San Bernardino County nonprofits can go online, connect with causes they care about and make a donation. The minimum donation is $10, with no maximum amount. Every donation made has a chance of receiving a “Golden Ticket.” When a randomly selected donor is the lucky recipient of a “Golden Ticket,” their charity will receive additional prize money. In addition, the top five organizations on the Leaderboard will receive prize money. Go to givebigsbcounty.org to donate or for more information.
Save the date of May 19. The Mojave Water Agency is offering its very popular tour of its facilities May 19. Yes, this date is many months away, but the tour always fills up quickly. Participants will receive a tour of the agency’s field sites for a first-hand perspective of how the water agency operates its facilities. The tour is from 8 to 12:30 and includes lunch. Participants will meet at the MWA offices in Apple Valley. To reserve your spot, call Gloria at 760-946-7001.
The Animal Action League will be offering low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics in December for dogs and cats, as well as low-cost spaying and neutering. No appointments are necessary for vaccines or microchips; appointments are required for spaying and neutering services. Microchips are only $15, and can help reunite you with your lost pet. Clinics will be held from 10 to 2 at Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley December 4, and in Joshua Tree, west of the dinosaurs on Highway 62, on December 8, 9, 10, 11, 21, and 22. Visit animalactionleague.us for more information. To make an appointment for spay or neutering, call 760-366-1100.
Entries are now being accepted for the 18th annual Yucca Valley Festival of Lights parade. The light parade is set for Saturday, December 12, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Bannock and Santa Fe Trail, and heads west on Santa Fe to the Hi-Desert Water District’s office at Inca Trail. The parade theme is “Light Up the World.” The parade will conclude with a visit from Santa and a puppet show at the water district’s office. All entries are $25. Entry forms are available at the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce. For more information call the Chamber at 760-365-6323.
The Rotary Club of Yucca Valley is collecting books for all ages, whether hard back or paperback and to distribute to local organizations, libraries and children’s centers. The books should be in good condition and be free of any drawing or writing in the book. Books can be dropped off at the following Yucca Valley locations: Dr. Sheldon Hough, at Airway and Hwy 62; Advanced Hearing Solutions next to KFC; The Loan Lady, next to Tire Pros; and Realty Professionals at the corner of Inca and the Hwy. Pick up of large loads can be arranged by calling 760-365-1988 as well.
The region’s blood banks are in desperate need of O-negative blood, as there is insufficient supply to meet the demand of local hospitals. Only about 7 percent of the population has O-negative blood. Those with O-negative blood are known as “universal donors” as their blood can be accepted by all others, regardless of the recipient’s blood type. O-negative blood is especially critical in emergencies when there’s no time to determine the recipient’s blood type. However, when someone with O-negative blood needs a transfusion, their system can only accept O-negative blood. For the location and hours of LifeStream donor centers and mobile blood drives, call 800-879-4484.
While Theatre 29 is packing in audiences to see the talented local volunteers perform on stage, ROP broadcast student Diana Jimenez says a lot of work is done by volunteers back stage…
At Theatre 29 there are many duties off-stage besides those duties on-stage. According to board member Charles Harvey there is a host of technical duties, there is stage management, stage crew, and light and sound operators. Prior to a show opening, there are other duties to be done. These include set designers, costumers, and properties. Harvey said that these roles are vital to a production. Theatre 29 takes volunteers all year round. To volunteer you can attend open auditions, which will be announced, or you can go to theatre29.org and send an email to administration.
The Tri-Valley Little League will host a co-ed softball tournament for adults, 18 and over on Saturday, December 12. The Winter Classic Tournament is one pitch, double elimination at the Tri-Valley Little League fields on Little League Drive in Yucca Valley. The games will start at 9 a.m. The tournament is limited to eight teams. Each team can have a maximum of 12 players, of which at least three must be women. The cost to register is $250 per team, and the deadline to register is December 7. To register, call Julie Alexander at 760-217-1099.