The Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce held an after-event meeting this week to discuss what went right and what went wrong with the recent 78th annual Pioneer Days event. Pioneer Days is a longtime October tradition event celebrating the rich mining, ranching, and military history of the Twentynine Palms areas. Representatives from the Chamber, City, Park and Recreation, volunteers, and local media all agreed that this year’s event was a big success. Chamber Executive Director Cynthia Truitt said this year’s financial results and attendance were both up, reporting a total gross income of $19,844.67 with a net profit of $12,402.63. That compares with a $10,237.42 net in 2013, and a major improvement over the $2,300.00 made in 2012. Chamber President Melanie Robbins presided over the session, writing the pros and cons on a large whiteboard in city hall council chambers. Most agreed that the Luckie Park location worked well, with the Saturday entertainment and arm wrestling bringing in the most activity. The parade was well run and attended and growing with some 63 entrants. Attendance was tripled this year at the Little Miss and Master event, although the outhouse race was cancelled for lack of entries. Among items listed for improvement were the quality of the carnival and the physical layout of vendors and attractions at the park; also button sales and prices. Many suggestions were made in the lively meeting about the duration and location of ancillary events and the future of Pioneer Days with an eye towards planning for relevance while still retaining the traditions.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the signing of the California Desert Protection act, legislation that had a big affect on our Morongo Basin communities. Joshua Tree National Park Ranger Pam Tripp marks the day…
“Lands in the California desert shall be included within the National Park System and the National Wilderness Preservation System, in order to preserve unrivaled scenic, geologic, and wildlife values associated with these unique natural landscapes”. These words are part of the California Desert Protection Act, signed by the president and enacted on October 31, 1994. This act established Death Valley and Joshua Tree as national parks, and created Mojave National Preserve. If not for this act, the Sheephole Valley, Orocopia Mountains, Chuckwalla Mountains, and the Palen/McCoy area, all of which are adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park, would not have been protected. In fact, a total of 74 desert wilderness areas in California have been designated. Thanks to the 1994 Act, many desert landscape wilderness areas are a place of solace and wonder. An appreciation can be gained for protection of human health, wildlife, and the vegetation that make up this great desert resource in California. For more information about the California Desert Protection Act visit www.nps.gov/jotr.
Nearly two years to the day after an unarmed Marine was shot by two police officers in a Palm Springs parking garage, Riverside County prosecutors said Thursday that they will not file charges against the police officers. Corporal Allan DeVillena II was killed by Officers Chad Nordman and Mike Heron in the early morning hours of November 10, 2012. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has been reviewing the shooting for about 14 months. The DA’s decision will green-light a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the DeVillena family against the Palm Springs Police Department and the individual officers; their lawsuit was unable to proceed while prosecutors pondered the case. DeVillena, 22, died in the driver’s seat of his car in the bottom floor of the parking garage, six bullet holes in his upper body. Police said that DeVillena, who was drunk, drove his car at two officers, striking one of them in the leg, prompting them both to open fire. At least one witness disputed the police, saying the shooting was “malicious” and that the police were “murderers.” On the night of the shooting, DeVillena and another Marine, Private First Class Clinton Harris traveled from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday in Palm Springs.
Yucca Valley woman was arrested Wednesday evening after she allegedly punched her ex-boyfriend in the face. According to a Sheriff’s report, Terra Garcia, 28, was arguing with her boyfriend in the 7800 block of Valley Vista Avenue about 7:15 p.m. The report states a woman called the Sheriff’s Department saying she needed help because her boyfriend had locked her out and she cut her hand on a window trying to get in. According to the report, there was a restraining order in place between Garcia and the man. After an investigation, the deputy determined that Garcia had punched the man in the face, causing injury. Terra Garcia was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at $50,000.
This is the second weekend for the Open Studios Art Tour. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says artists on the west end of the Morongo Basin will be featured…
This is the final weekend of the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours. For 13 years, some of the Hi-Desert’s best artists have opened their homes and studios for visitors to buy art directly from the artists. During the self-guided tour, peek into galleries, shops, homes, and private studios of more than 140 artists. This weekend, November 1 and 2, visit artists in Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley, and Joshua Tree, as well as a few artists who have opened their studios in Twentynine Palms for both weekends. The tour hours are 9 to 5 Saturday and Sunday. A collective show of artists on the tour is on display at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. For a full listing of events, visit hwy62art.org, or pick up a catalog from one of the following locations: Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley; ArtFx and Furnishings, Oasis Office Supply, and the California Welcome Center in Yucca Valley; Gallery 62, JTAG, and Windwalkers in Joshua Tree; and 29 Palms Art Gallery and the Twentynine Palms Visitors Center in Twentynine Palms.
Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 2. Remember to set your clock back one hour when you go to bed Saturday night. The Twentynine Palms Fire Department reminds you to use the extra hour to change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 71 percent of smoke alarms which failed to operate had missing, disconnected, or dead batteries. Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce tragic deaths and injuries. For more information about fire safety, call the Twentynine Palms Fire Department at 760-367-7524.
The Twentynine Palms Cemetery Board of Trustees barely had a quorum at their meeting last night, with only three trustees in attendance, due to the resignation of Les Snodgrass last week and the absence of another member. Despite the plea for a new board member, everyone’s focus of the night was the board’s decision to enforce its regulations on gravesite decorations. After almost an hour of heated and strong debate between board members and the audience, the board finally agreed to a temporary solution. The families of those graves which are in non-compliance can apply for a waiver, which will allow the graves to remain in non-compliance, while the board tries to figure out new ways of enforcing the current policy. While not everyone loved the idea, the board realized they’d never be able to please everyone, and passed the new policy unanimously, with the understanding that the policy may be updated at a future date.
The Morongo Basin Historical Society will have their Landers museum and thrift shop open this weekend. Reporter Caitlin Logan has more…
Morongo Basin Historical Society will hold their Museum Market Place and Yard Sale. In addition, the hours are extended 9 to 2:00. The Marketplace is teeming with seasonal decorations and other goods. Come see the selection of items. The yard sale takes place on Saturday, November 1, and Sunday, November 2, at the Museum Market Place, 632 Landers Lane.
The Dale Basin Well Owners’ Association will hold their bi-annual meeting Sunday at 4 p.m. On the agenda is a discussion of the current water situation since the last meeting, an election of officers, and there will be a speaker who will give an update on water happenings in the area. The meeting will be held at the Wonder Valley Community Center, 80526 ½ Amboy Road in Twentynine Palms. For more information, call Mary Quamme at 760-367-2411.
So, here it is the end of October already. November 1 is tomorrow and that means the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center will be hosting their monthly first Saturday breakfast at 65336 Winters Road in North Joshua Tree. The best breakfast ever for $5 is served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. by the best volunteers ever. Come on out and see what’s doin’, perhaps begin the second weekend of the Art Tours with a full belly.
First Tanks Battalion will serve a free meal tomorrow from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Little Church of the Desert Community Hall in Twentynine Palms. Volunteers are still needed for cooking, setting up, serving, and cleaning up. If you are interested in working at this meal, please contact Teresa Brown at 562-324-9099. Drivers are needed also for delivering meals to shut-ins. All volunteers are asked to wear white shirts and black pants.
Those looking for some fun recreation aboard the Twentynine Palms Marine base can play paintball. ROP Broadcast Student Cameron Williams tells you more…
Twentynine Palms Paintball Park, located on 2nd and Griffin behind Outdoor Adventures, is available for ages 8 and up, Friday to Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The park can be rented out on any day with a week’s notice. You must have 15 members to play and players must sign a waiver to be able to play. If you have no equipment you can rent the equipment with the $30 package that comes with your standard equipment: gun, air tank, loader, mask, barrel cover, pods, and a bag of 500 paintball rounds. If you are already equipped all day air or CO2 is $10 for a full day and half day is $5. All equipment is available for renting. For more information call 866-985-4932.
Wednesday and Thursday, the De Anza League girls’ tennis finals were held at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Senior Jasmine Smith of Twentynine Palms took second place. In doubles, it was all Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms. Gold medals were awarded to Yucca Valley’s Dawn Rich and Mariah Goddard. Their teammates, Aimee Frank and Cionne Lonergan took the silver. Bronze went to Twentynine Palms’ Makayla Ogdahl and Alex Morrissey. Carrie Scofield of Yucca Valley took fourth place in singles. Overall for the season, the Yucca Valley High School Trojans won the league with 12 wins and 0 losses. Twentynine Palms came in second at 9-3. Shadow Hills came in third at 7-5. Rich, Goddard, Frank, Lonergan and Smith will all now be representing the De Anza League at individual CIF prelims, to be held November 24.
In high school sports today, the Twentynine Palms High School football team will host Desert Mirage High School at home on the junior high school field. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.
The Yucca Valley High School football team has a bye this week.
In high school sports tomorrow, the Joshua Springs football team will host Faith Baptist at home tomorrow. Kick-off is 5 p.m.
And the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat cross-country team will participate in the De Anza League finals at Lake Cahuilla. The first event is at 1 p.m.
The final two games of the Yucca Valley Lobos Youth tackle football and cheer season are tomorrow, Saturday, November 1. The games are held at the Yucca Valley High School and admission is free. The Micros (ages 9 to 10 years old) play Desert Hot Springs at 10 a.m., followed by the Junior Pee Wees (11 to 12 years old), who play Murrieta at noon. The public is invited to enjoy the action-packed, 11-man tackle football. There will be a full-service snack bar.
The former Twentynine Palms Marine who is suspected of killing Erin Corwin and dumping her body down a mine shaft east of Twentynine Palms, made a brief appearance in Joshua Tree court yesterday morning. During the early disposition hearing, Christopher Lee’s lawyer advised the court he was still receiving discovery documents from the prosecution and requested a time extension to December 2. Erin Corwin went missing June 28 after she told her husband she was going to Joshua Tree National Park to scout out locations to take her mother during an upcoming visit. Her body was found seven weeks later. Lee, who had been honorably discharged from the Marines six weeks earlier, was arrested August 17 in his home state of Alaska, and extradited to California on a murder charge. This is Lee’s third court appearance, in what will most likely be a years-long legal process.
The National Park Service has identified a suspect in vandalism at Joshua Tree and seven other national parks. A report from the Park Service says a 21-year-old New York State woman, Casey Nocket, has been identified as the primary suspect in recent vandalism cases that affect eight national parks in the western United States.
National Park Service investigators have confirmed that images were painted using acrylic paint on rocks and boulders in Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park, all in California; Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument, both in Colorado; Crater Lake National Park, in Oregon; Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park, both in Utah. Investigators continue to collect evidence of the crimes and conduct interviews and are consulting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office about potential charges. The images are generally of a crudely scrawled face with a snake coming out its mouth marked with the word “Creepytings” (sic). She also used large permanent markers on ancient petroglyphs and other protected images. Nocket used social media to document her crimes. The National Park Service said if people visiting these parks come upon these images, they should contact the nearest park ranger with information about the image location. Visitors should not attempt to remove the images. The National Park Service was contacted on October 20 about this vandalism case. The investigation began immediately.
2015 season tickets are now available at Theatre 29. Season tickets offer a significant savings over the year. They are also a gift that keeps on giving as they are good for seven productions over the entire year. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells you how to order…
Season tickets are now available for the 2015 season of Theatre 29. This year’s schedule will feature two comedies: “An Ideal Husband,” by Oscar Wilde, and directed by Butch Pelfry; and “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Production of ‘A Christmas Tale,’” directed by Marty Nieder; three musicals: “Urinetown,” directed by Gary Daigneault; “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” directed by Charles Harvey; and “The Addams Family,” directed by Kathryn Ferguson. Also on the schedule are a thriller, “Wait until Dark,” directed by Ben Bees; and “Jerome Bixby’s ‘The Man from Earth,’” directed by Eddie Tucker. Season tickets for all seven performances are $68, $56 for seniors and military; and $46 for children. Call the box office at 760-361-4151.
A Joshua Tree man was arrested Wednesday after a stolen boat was found in his yard. According to a Sheriff’s report, a boat was stolen from a yard in the 4900 block of Hermosa Court in Yucca Valley on August 3. A neighbor saw two men hook up the boat on the trailer to a white pick up truck with a U-Haul sticker on the door. On Tuesday, the boat’s owner found an unsigned note that said his boat had been re-painted and was at a residence in Joshua Tree. The boat’s owner provided a Sheriff’s deputy with distinctive clues to identify the boat.
After an investigation, a deputy located the boat in a yard in the 60100 block of Natoma Avenue. The deputy contacted Raymond Lindley, 39, who gave the deputy conflicting statements about how he came to possess the boat. The deputy determined the boat and the trailer had the vehicle identification numbers ground off and the boat had been falsely registered with paperwork from another boat on the property. Raymond Lindley, who is on probation for a robbery conviction earlier this year, was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $25,000.
Desert Blood Services will conduct a community blood drive tomorrow, Friday, October 31, at the Black Rock High School, 59273 Sunnyslope Drive in Yucca Valley, from 8 to 1. Donors must be at last 15 years old to give blood, and those aged 15 or 16 must have signed parental consent forms, available from any donor center. Donors will receive incentives. In addition, Desert Blood Services offers donors a mini-physical and free cholesterol screening with every blood donation.
This reminder: Be advised that Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend. Be sure to set your clocks back one hour when you go to bed Saturday night.