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DRIVER HOSPITALIZED AFTER SINGLE CAR ROLLOVER IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

One person was hospitalized following a single vehicle rollover crash in Twentynine Palms Saturday night. About 10:45 p.m., a pizza delivery driver was driving northbound on Adobe Road when for unknown reasons, the driver lost control and the vehicle rolled and crashed at White Sands Drive. During the crash, the fingers on the driver’s left hand were partially severed. Twentynine Palms firefighters called for a helicopter and the victim was flown to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

Photo courtesy 29 Palms Fire Department.

Photo courtesy 29 Palms Fire Department.


TWO INJURED IN MORONGO VALLEY CRASH

Two people were injured during a two-vehicle crash in Morongo Valley Saturday afternoon. About 4:45 p.m., William Duke, 55, of Yucca Valley, was driving a 2002 Honda Accord westbound on Highway 62. As he neared Bella Vista Drive, Dylan Roche, 38, of Morongo Valley made a left-hand turn to go eastbound on the highway and pulled right in front of Duke. Both vehicles ended up in the eastbound lanes of the highway. Dylan Roche suffered major injuries and was taken to Loma Linda Medical Center and is in stable condition. William Duke was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center with major injuries. Eastbound traffic was diverted into the center lane during the investigation.

Photo courtesy Morongo Valley Fire Department.

Photo courtesy Morongo Valley Fire Department.


ROADWORK ON THE HIGHWAY WEST OF JOSHUA TREE TOMORROW

CalTrans has announced that shoulder work will close one lane of westbound Highway 62 Tuesday, July 7. The number 2 lane will be closed from Sunny Vista Road in Joshua Tree to Yucca Mesa Road in Yucca Valley from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.


HOWSER HOUSE RENTAL OFFERING LACKS CITY PERMITS

Following a years-long process, the City of Twentynine Palms enacted a vacation home rental ordinance earlier this year. So when a web site offering a well-known city residence for rent came to our attention, we were curious about its official status. Reporter Dan Stork looked into it…

Wheelhouserental.com is an attractive web site devoted to the former residence of the late and well-liked Huell Howser, of public television fame, which was purchased by artist Joan Robey. The site extols the setting, aesthetic qualities, and amenities of the property, located in the west end of Twentynine Palms. It goes on to say, “The Wheelhouse is now available for you to rent for photo shoots, weddings, special events, corporate gatherings, writer and artist retreats and extended family holidays.” Although there is no explicit reference to short-term vacation rentals on the site, we decided to ask the city about the property’s status. We asked City Manager Frank Luckino whether any permits were needed for the indicated activities, and whether any had been applied for. He replied that permits of some sort are indeed needed and, after verifying information with the city’s planning department, told us than none had been applied for. Luckino said that code enforcement would deliver an application for a temporary use permit to the property.


ONE ARREST FOR STRONG-ARM ROBBERY

At least one person was arrested Thursday night for strong arm robbery following an attempted shoplifting attempt at a Yucca Valley grocery store. According to a Sheriff’s report, two suspects, one later identified as Michael Rascon, 20, a transient, entered the “new” Stater Brothers store about 10:30 p.m. and tried to steal a bottle of Malibu rum and two bags of chips. Employees tried to detain the suspects; one fled on foot, but Rascon struggled with the employees, scratching one and giving her a bloody nose. Rascon then fled, but was captured by deputies during a check of the area. Michael Rascon was arrested on suspicion of strong arm robbery and on a warrant for assault, with his bail set at $125,000.


THREE ARRESTED IN YUCCA VALLEY DRUG RAID

At least three Yucca Valley residents were arrested Thursday following a drug raid in the 7400 block of Joshua View in Yucca Valley. According to Sheriff’s reports, deputies went to the home about 8:40 a.m. and found heroin, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and weapons. Deputies determined that subjects came to the home to buy and use drugs. Allen Weston, 54, was arrested for investigation of running a drug house, booked at the West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $25,000. Adrienne Alexandre Gillete, 47, who rented a room at the house, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of narcotics, and on a $25,000 warrant for vandalism. She was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, and released. Christopher Harris, 41, was arrested on suspicion of possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, possession of an expandable baton, and for violating the terms of his probation for methamphetamine sales. He was booked at the West Valley Detention Center, and is being held without bail.


BEWARE OF THE “GRANDPARENT’S SCAM”

An old phone scam that is making the rounds again. It’s called the “grandparents scam,” because the caller pretends to be the victim’s grandchild who needs money because of an arrest or car crash Managing editor Tami Roleff explains how you can avoid being a victim….

A grandmother in Yucca Valley received a call recently in which the caller claimed to be her grandson. He said he had been in a car accident with a Mexican diplomat; he would be released if she wired money for legal fees. The victim then received a second call, allegedly from a lawyer. The victim wired nearly $2,500 in money grams and Green Dot cards. After talking with her grandson, she learned she had been a victim of a scam. To avoid being taken in by this scam, ask the caller information only you and your grandchild would know. Do not act without confirming the information; call your grandchild or his or her parents first on their phone to confirm whether the story is true. Refuse to send money via a wire transfer; you can never get it back. If you do fall for the scam, report it to the Sheriff’s Department.


LAKE FIRE 90 PERCENT CONTAINED AT 49 SQUARE MILES

The Lake Fire that has raged in the San Bernardino Mountains since June 17 was 90 percent contained this morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire had burned 31,359 acres (about 49 square miles) near Barton Flats, destroying one home and doing an estimated $39.5 million in damage. Authorities said the cause of the fire remained under investigation.


MATERNITY LEAVE EXTENDED FOR MARINES AND SAILORS

The Secretary of the Navy announced Thursday that he is expanding paid maternity leave for Marines and sailors to 18 weeks. The new policy is retroactive to January 1. While new mothers are eligible for the extended leave, the extended maternity leave for adoptive mothers and parental leave is not affected, as their leaves must be changed by Congress.


ASSESSMENT NOTICES SHOW INCREASE IN PROPERTY VALUES

Each year the county assessor determines market value of all taxable property based on existing home sales, new construction and other market conditions. In recent weeks, most area property owners received an assessment notice post card reflecting any change in market value. Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains what the numbers mean…

The county assessor notifies property owners of changes in value via an assessment notice. The county tax collector applies limits imposed by Prop 13 and adjustments allowed under Prop 8 to determine taxes due. This year’s assessment roll shows an average 5 percent increase countywide, and making for a total that surpasses the previous high in 2008 before the market collapse. Twentynine Palms’ properties showed an average 2.2 percent increase in value, and Yucca Valley came in right along countywide averages at 5 percent, but behind the impressive recovery experienced by our neighbors to the north. Hesperia at 7.8 percent, Victorville at 6.7 percent, and Adelanto at 6.5 percent experienced the county’s highest rates of growth. Taxpayers may appeal the assessor’s valuation first through an informal review which can be arranged by calling 877-885-7654 or in person at the Assessor’s Joshua Tree Office on the ground floor of the county building on the highway at Whitefeather Road.


LOW-COST PET VACCINATIONS, MICROCHIPS, SPAY AND NEUTER OFFERED

The Animal Action League will be offering low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics in July 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 in Joshua Tree, west of the dinosaurs on Highway 62, on July 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 22 and 31. All clinics are held from 10 to 2. Visit animalactionleague.us for updated schedules on clinics. To make an appointment for spay or neutering, call 760-366-1100.


HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM YOUTH CAMP BEGINS WEEK 3

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum kids camp begins its third week of a four-week summer camp. You can register each week as the camp continues. Here’s reporter Rebecca Havely to tell you how…

Eat Well, Play Well” is the theme of the Yucca Valley youth camp at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. Classes run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through July 16. You may enroll your child for just one week or all the weeks offered. Be sure you register before the Tuesday of that week’s activities. Week three begins this Tuesday July 7 through Thursday. The theme: “Art and Food.” Local artists will share their talents with the students. Ed Keesling will design collages with the kids and Janis Commentz will help them create stamp art using fruits and vegetables. Week four is “Fun & Games to Keep you Fit”. Sign up your children for just this week or for both.

Registration cost is $20 per child, per week, materials included. Register online at  hidesertnaturemuseum.org. or in person at the Yucca Valley Community Center, Monday through Thursday from noon to 5:00 p.m. For more information call 760-369-7212.


SANTA FE SOCIAL CLUB RUMMAGE SALE THIS WEEK

The Santa Fe Social Club House is holding a rummage sale July 8, 9 and 10 from 9 to 4 daily. Lots of great items from furniture to clothing and some amazing sun-catchers made by the Clubhouse members. The Clubhouse is located on the corner of Apache and Santa Fe Trail in Yucca Valley. If you would like to donate items to the rummage sale, please come by and drop them off. If you have any questions, please contact Susie or Phebe at 760-369-4057.


SERVICES SET FOR KAY MCGRORTY OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

Kay Gibson McGrorty, a long-time resident of Twentynine Palms, and co-owner of McGeez Auto Body, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Saturday, July 4. Kay McGrorty is survived by her husband, Mick McGrorty, five daughters, 15 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, one great-grandson expected any day, and many extended family members and friends. She touched the lives of many people in our community, both in her co-ownership with her husband at McGeez, as well as her long-time service at the DMV and her volunteer work at Twentynine Palms Elementary and Oasis Elementary schools. A celebration of life for Kay McGrorty will be held 2 p.m. July 11 at Smith’s Ranch in Twentynine Palms.


SUMMER CAMPING

It’s hot for camping in Joshua Tree National Park.  But Ranger Cathy Bell says, it’s not TOO hot…

Joshua Tree National Park welcomed a record 1.6 million visitors in 2014, and this spring the park was really hopping. Now that summer is here and it’s quieted down, it’s a great time for local residents to take advantage of our backyard national park.

Camping is a great way to appreciate the pleasant desert nights. In years past, Belle and White Tank campgrounds have been closed for the summer, but this year they’re open … along with Hidden Valley, Jumbo Rocks, and portions of Black Rock, Cottonwood, and Indian Cove. Altogether, there are three hundred twenty-five individual or family campsites available for you to choose from this summer. You don’t need a reservation!

If you come to camp on a weeknight, you might not have any nearby neighbors in the campground. Even on weekends it’s not likely to be busy. Whether you want to come to the park by yourself to enjoy some solitude, or bring along the kids for some quality family time, there’s a campsite waiting for you in Joshua Tree National Park.

For  Z107.7, this is Park Ranger Cathy Bell, inviting you to sleep under the stars in your national park.


OPENING ARGUMENTS SCHEDULED FOR PHIPPS MURDER TRIAL

Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Monday in the murder trial of Joseph Phipps of Joshua Tree. Phipps, 41, is accused of shooting his estranged wife, Christy Utley Phipps, in the head in their home in the 61600 block of Alta Vista in Joshua Tree in January 2013. Phipps has been out of custody since September after he posted $1 million bail.


GRAND JURY SAYS DEPUTIES FLIPPED CARS, AVIATION MISSED FILINGS

In their annual report, the County Grand Jury said San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department employees purchased vehicles at lien sales and flipped, or resold them after the vehicles had been seized during investigations. The Grand Jury included the scheme in its report for fiscal year 2014-15, released this week. The report also found that the sheriff’s aviation department failed to properly file civilian ride-along waivers more than half the time.


TWENTYNINE PALMS FUGITIVE ARRESTED

A Twentynine Palms man who eluded deputies Wednesday afternoon was arrested Thursday afternoon, after eluding deputies for a second time earlier that morning. According to Sheriff reports, a deputy spotted Christopher Jonas, 18, about 9:15 a.m. near Bagley and Tamarisk Avenues in Twentynine Palms, and tried to sneak up behind him. Jonas spotted the deputy and ran into a wash and then into the desert where the deputy lost him. About three hours later, a woman called the Sheriff’s department to report that she had read about the search for Jonas on Facebook and that she saw a man, matching his description, changing clothes in the 5900 block of Rose Ellen Avenue in Twentynine Palms, and followed him until deputies arrived. Jonas once again attempted to flee, but he was captured shortly before 12:30 near Sunnyvale and Alpine. Christopher Jonas was arrested for investigation of vehicle theft and evading arrest, booked at the West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $100,000.


SHERIFF WARNS THEFTS FROM VEHICLES AND STOLEN VEHICLES ARE UP

The Morongo Basin is seeing an uptick in both car burglaries and car thefts. Sheriff’s Safety Specialist Anita Northcutt has these tips…

Crimes of petty theft from vehicles and stolen vehicles are on the rise. The citizens of the Morongo Basin are being victimized more often lately by thieves taking advantage of opportunities. The Sheriff’s Department is reminding the public to lock your vehicle and never leave the keys in the vehicle. Many people think it is OK to leave the vehicle keys or keys to another vehicle on the property in the glove box or ash tray. All you are doing is making the theft of the vehicles easier for the already lazy crook. We no longer live in the day when we could leave our property unsecure and trust that it would be OK. Please lock your vehicles and keep the keys with you.

 

 


SHERIFF’S ENFORCEMENT PUSH IN JUNE BAGS MANY

A 2-day maximum enforcement push on Yucca Trail in Yucca Valley by the Sheriff’s Department resulted in 118 traffic stops. 75 citations were written for various vehicle code violations, one arrest was made for transportation of narcotics for sales in addition to seven arrests for driving on a suspended driver’s license / unlicensed driver. Two vehicles were towed and one traffic collision investigation was conducted. 


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