A Twentynine Palms man and his ex-wife are behind bars in Pennsylvania, accused of murdering, dismembering, and burning the body of a man they say stole drugs and money from them more than a decade ago. Police in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, say Stacy Britton, 46, showed police text messages earlier this month between herself and her ex-husband, James Britton, 35, of the 4600 block of Saddlehorn Road in Twentynine Palms, in which they discussed the July 2002 murder of Robert Roudebush, 46. Stacy Britton told police they rehearsed the murder of Roudebush the day before, and then used knives and hammers to kill him. Police say Stacy Britton admitted to dismembering Roudebush, and then they put his body parts into 55-gallon barrels on a remote piece of property, which James set on fire. A trucker found the smoldering barrels and called police. It took police 16 months to identify the remains. Police questioned James Britton several times about the murder, and he testified in front of a grand jury in 2008, but he blamed another man for the killing. Police believe the Brittons burned their house in Pennsylvania and moved to California, where they subsequently divorced, but still kept in touch. Stacy Britton and James Britton were charged Friday in Pennsylvania with murder, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, abuse of a corpse, perjury, false swearing and hindering prosecution by concealing or destroying evidence. They are being held without bail.
A Wonder Valley man was arrested Friday, accused of holding up a Yucca Valley pharmacy with a knife earlier that day. According to a Sheriff’s press release, a man, later identified as Justin Becker, 23, entered the New Pharmacy located in the Town Center Mall about 9 a.m., brandished a knife at clerks, and demanded narcotics. Becker then fled on foot with the drugs. About 3:50 that afternoon, deputies stopped Becker on an unrelated call near Larrea Road and Old Woman Springs Road in Johnson Valley. Becker was driving a white Ford which deputies determined was involved in the robbery. Justin Becker was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $100,000.
We have very limited information about a crash that sent a pedestrian to the hospital Saturday evening. About 8:19 p.m., Sheriff’s deputies were called to the intersection of Indian Trail and Adobe Road for a call of a vehicle versus pedestrian collision. The patient was flown from Luckie Park to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.
Convicted sex offender John Korcz was arrested Wednesday, August 26, in Florida. The Sheriff’s Department has been looking for Korcz since 2007 when deputies discovered that he was not living at his registered address in Morongo Valley. Convicted sex offenders are required to notify law enforcement of their home address. Jim Black of the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Children Detail found a possible address for Korcz in Pinellas County, Florida on August 14, and Korcz was arrested without incident on. John Korcz, 64, is facing charges for failing to register in Florida as well as federal charges for crossing state lines to avoid registration under the Adam Walsh Act. Korcz was convicted of distributing harmful matter depicting a child via the Internet, and for lewd acts with a child aged 14 or 15.
Gas thieves sped off with 30 gallons crippling a van and inflicting pain to hundreds of area patients in the process. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us why the recovery period will likely last well into September…
Hundreds of locals who depend on free, non-emergency medical transportation for access to the hospital, Airway Medical, the Family Health Clinics and other area medical offices have been forced to delay treatment or go untreated since thieves severely damaged one of the two patient transport vans operated by the Morongo Basin Healthcare District. Damage to the 12-passenger van was discovered August 14 by Family Health Clinic staff. It was parked behind the facility on the highway in Yucca Valley when gas-hungry thieves made off with the 30-gallon fuel system in its entirety. The van is out of service pending delivery of parts from overseas; repairs are estimated at $3,500. The damaged van offered the District’s only wheelchair transport. The remaining van is providing only about half of the more than 300 weekly patient trip requests. Grants provided by the MBTA and others paid for the van service, but the repair costs will have to be covered by the District.
Firefighters stopped the forward spread of a 15-acre brush fire in the nearby San Bernardino Mountains and got it fully contained less than five hours after it started, fire officials said. The Arrowhead fire, which started about 3 p.m. Sunday, closed down Highway 18 between East 40th Street in San Bernardino and Highway 138 in the San Bernardino Mountains. The fire was contained shortly before 8 p.m.
This reminder to those who live in and around the Twentynine Palms Marine Base. A battalion-level exercise will run through September 8. Marines and sailors of Battalion Landing Team 2/1, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, are taking part in the training exercise. The exercise provides the battalion an opportunity to conduct live-fire combined arms training in its core mission essential tasks. The battalion exercise will run concurrently with the 13 MEU’s Realistic Urban Training Exercise.
We all know to call 911 in case of an emergency. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers these tips on how you can help dispatchers if you ever need to call 911…
Calling 9-1-1 can be intimidating, but try to stay as calm as possible. Be prepared to provide your name, phone number, address or location, and a detailed description of the incident or vehicle being reported. If the emergency involves a criminal suspect, be prepared to give a physical description. Wait for the dispatcher to ask questions, and then answer clearly and calmly. Listen carefully and follow all directions provided by the dispatcher. Remember, 9-1-1 is for life-threatening emergencies. Misusing 911 is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
Among items of local interest at the county’s board of supervisors meeting tomorrow, the Supervisors will be asked to approve a grant award of $200,000 to develop 3.1 miles of trail at Desert View Recreational Trails Project in Joshua Tree, over a five-year- period, along with a 20-year performance contract with the state’s Habitat Conservation Fund. Next, the supervisors will be asked to approve a grant application to the State Water Resources Control Board to request funding for the installation of an inter-connection water pipeline between the county’s service area 70, Zone W-4 in Pioneertown, and the Hi-Desert Water District. The meeting starts at 9 a.m., and will be broadcast live to the first floor teleconferencing room in the county government building on Whitefeather Road in Joshua Tree. Public comment may also be made via live video link from that location.
If you’re eagerly awaiting the announcement of the Theatre 29 2016 season, save the date of Wednesday, September 23. Reporter Rebecca Havely has all the details…
In a special tri-chamber event, the local chambers of commerce will host an event announcing the highly anticipated Theatre 29, 2016 season. The event will take place at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center Wednesday, September 23 at 5 p.m. The plays, musicals, special holiday and youth theater offerings will be announced. Each of the seven directors have prepared musical and dramatic performances for the event. Season tickets will also be available for purchase. Beverages will be available and deli delights served by Theatre 29 volunteers.
The Joshua Tree Retreat Center (formerly Mentalphysics) at 59700 Highway 62 in Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree National Park has put out a special monsoon edition of its blooming wildflower report. Golden carpets of manybristle cinchweed are covering the desert floor on the west entrance to the park, along with yellow bushes of desert senna, and several other colorful flowers. Desert sand verbena, creosote flowers, and datura, among others, can be seen near the Barker Dam area. Park officials urge visitors to keep an eye out at the north entrance and the Queen Mountains area, as the monsoon rains last week may result in blooms of desert senna, apricot globemallow, datura, and bladdersage flowers. For a complete list, go to a link in this story at z1077fm.com.
Enjoy the fall weather by joining a slow-pitch, adult softball league offered by the Town of Yucca Valley. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has all the bases covered and tells you how to join in …
Slow-pitch, adult softball begins next week and includes a men’s league, women’s league or two coed leagues. Teams play once weekly for an average of 10 games followed by playoffs and a championship game. All games are at the Community Center with Women’s League on Monday; Men’s League on Wednesday, and Coed Leagues on Tuesday and Thursday. In addition to the recreation level Traditional Coed League, there is a Casual Coed division for those who prefer a “decaf” level of play. Casual Coed is best suited for newcomers, and corporate or family teams. Team managers must pay a $400 league fee per team at registration. Umpire fees, score keeping, balls, lights and field preparation are included. Registration is available through 5 p.m. today (August 31), or when divisions are full. Register at yucca-valley.org or in person at the Yucca Valley Community Center.
After struggling last year, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan Football team started out their season with a big win Friday night. Coach Andrew Amarosa said his varsity team won the game with Granite Hills High School, 27-6. Amarosa said the team dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Jake Moore threw two touchdowns, connecting with Sean Wallace on both passes. Puda Martinez and Noah Rodriguez combined for 300 yards rushing. Noah Rodriguez also led the defense with 15 tackles and Larry Williamson chipped in with 10 tackles.
The Yucca Valley High School Junior Varsity football team also beat Granite Hills High School with a score of 52 to 12. Coaches say the offensive standout was Caleb Robinson, who had 10 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns behind his offensive line. Defensive standouts Elijah East had eight tackles and Elijah Pineiro had seven tackles and one interception.
This Friday the Trojans take on Bonanza High School from Las Vegas at 7:00 p.m.
Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat volleyball and tennis teams will host Indio High School at home. Tennis begins at 3:15; volleyball at 4:30.
The Joshua Springs Lightning volleyball team will host NuView Bridge at home, with the game starting at 5:30 p.m.
Also tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat girls’ tennis team will host Indio High School at 3:15.
Yucca Valley Mayor George Huntington holds “office hours” at the Town Hall every Monday from 4 to 5 p.m. This is an opportunity for residents to meet with the mayor to discuss concerns, ideas for the community, or to learn more about the activities going on in the town. Meetings are on a first-come, first-serve basis. To schedule an appointment outside of regular office hours, call the town clerk at 760-369-2709 extension 226.
There will be a very special concert at the Harrison House in Joshua Tree this Sunday. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says the Chamber music concert will commemorate the Armenian Genocide…
Harrison House will commemorate the centennial of Armenian genocide with a performance by the Pogossian family string quartet and quintet. The program will include the works of Bach, Mozart, Dvorak, and others, with violins, cello, viola, and clarinet. The concert will be held Sunday, August 30, at 7 p.m. Harrison House is located at 6881 Mount Lassen Avenue in Joshua Tree. Tickets are $15 and are available at Joshua Tree Health Foods in downtown Joshua Tree.
A one-of-a-kind special event will be coming to Tortoise Rock Casino in October. It’s Hollywood Knockouts, featuring gorgeous women, exciting dance performances, oil wrestling, and hot cream mania. The production is 8 p.m. October 3. Tickets for Hollywood Knockouts are $20 and are available at TortoiseRockCasino.com or call 800-585-3737. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Sometimes you just don’t feel like going out to explore our neighboring national park during the heat of the summer. Park Ranger Sarah Jane Pepper says that night time is a good time to experience your national park too…
At Joshua Tree National Park summertime temperatures often climb above 100 degrees in the middle of the day. The heat can make hiking and climbing an unpleasant and sometimes dangerous experience for some visitors. During the summer the best time to enjoy this beautiful park is after the sun has gone down. Although most nature trails and picnic areas are designated for day use only, there are many options available to nighttime hikers and stargazers. The Pinto Basin and eastern boundary of the park have the darkest night skies, but easily accessible parking areas along Park Blvd in the northern part of the park offer visitors the opportunity to see planets, distant star clusters, and our galaxy: the Milky Way. Stop by a visitor center or call 760-367-5522 for help planning your nighttime adventure at Joshua Tree National Park.
The Animal Action League will be offering low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics in September 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 in Joshua Tree, west of the dinosaurs on Highway 62, on September 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 29, and 30. Visit animalactionleague.us for more information. To make an appointment for spay or neutering, call 760-366-1100.
The rain storm that hit east of Twentynine Palms Wednesday caused flash flooding in Joshua Tree National Park. Sections of Pinto Basin Road were flooded, with mud, rocks, and debris covering the road. Park road crews and heavy equipment operators were on site after the rain and the majority of rocks and muds cleared by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating an attempted burglary at Star Pharmacy in Joshua Tree. Deputies were alerted to the burglary in the 6400 block of Hallee Road by an alarm that went off about 5 a.m. Some calls to 911 reported hearing gun shots in the area. It appears a rock or some large object was thrown through the window in an attempt to gain entry. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.