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FREE FEDERAL SURPLUS FOOD DISTRIBUTION MONDAY

The third Monday of April is the day for most of the monthly distributions of surplus federal food in the Morongo Basin. Reporter Dan Stork has the times and places…
The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino will distribute surplus food to low-income residents of the Morongo Basin Monday, April 20. The locations and times are:
The Church of the Lighted Cross, at 11518 Elbow Lane in Morongo Valley, from 8 to 10;
Belfield Hall, on Reche Road in Landers, 8:30 to 10:30;
The Community Center in Yucca Valley, 8:30 to 10:30;
Copper Mountain Mesa Foundation, 65336 Winter Road in the Copper Mountain area, 9 to 11;
Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Road, 9 to 11;
The fire station in Wonder Valley, 11 to 12;
and the Evangelist Mission Church at 6595 Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms, from 10 to noon.
For more information, call 909-723-1580.


TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL GOLFER SIGNS WITH CAL STATE UNIVERSITY SAN BERNARDINO

Twentynine Palms High School student Brandon Steffins has secured a spot on the Cal State University San Bernardino Coyotes Golf Team. He was awarded an athletic scholarship of $2,500 per year for the next four years to offset the cost of tuition. On National Signing Day April 15 Brandon signed a National Letter of Intent in a packed conference room at the high school, full of family, friends and the press. Coach Whipple, who was unable to attend, said of Steffins, “He is a fine young man and will do great at CSUSB.” In attendance were Brandon’s parents Scott and Beverly Steffins, Athletic Director Jeremy Johnson, and his golf coaches Gary Bell and Faudel. Brandon thanked his parents, coaches and team members for all their support.


HIGH SCHOOL SORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULES

The Yucca Valley High School Trojan varsity baseball team recorded another win by besting the Rattlers of Rancho Mirage at home 5-3 Wednesday afternoon. Coach Brian Schoenborn said in the second inning, sophomore Tim Parker was the first to cross the plate for the Trojans, after an RBI hit by freshman Christian Elias. The Trojans scored three more in the third after a series of walks and an RBI single by junior Colden McGarvie. The Trojans added one more run in the fifth, after a double by senior Jeremy Schoenborn and RBI single by senior Isaiah Kinder. That was all the run support needed for pitcher senior Parker Jones to record the win. Parker pitched six innings, giving up only one hit and striking out two.

The Yucca Valley High School Trojan track team will be competing in the second day of the two-day Mount San Antonio College invitational track meet tomorrow.


TWO SHOT IN YUCCA VALLEY, SUSPECT CAUGHT AFTER CRASH

A Joshua Tree man is in custody following a shooting and crash in Yucca Valley Wednesday morning. Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Thornburg said Joseph Rojas, 20, was arguing with Terry Hill, 26, and Elaina Bixon, 21, in the 55600 block of Pueblo Trail, when Rojas pulled out a handgun and shot Hill, grazing him in the head. As Rojas left the scene, he fired a shot at Bixon, hitting her in the leg. 911 calls at 9:22 reported two shots had been fired. Thornburg said Rojas then got into a white Mitsubishi, with Alicia Bravo, 39, of Beaumont, in the passenger seat. Rojas drove toward Onaga Trail, and then north on Warren Vista. Witnesses called 911 to report a man driving erratically, and one woman followed the suspect to give his location to deputies. Thornburg said while deputies were responding to the scene of the shooting, they received a report of a car crash at the intersection of Warren Vista and Yucca Trail involving a car that matched the description of the fleeing white Mitsubishi. Witnesses said Rojas drove through the stop sign without stopping. Deputies located the handgun inside the Mitsubishi. Terry Hill and Elaina Bixon were taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Bravo in the car with Rojas had to be extricated using the Jaws of Life; she suffered a neck injury in the crash and remains hospitalized at Hi-Desert Medical Center. It’s unknown at this time what her involvement is with the shooting. The driver of the other vehicle was treated at the scene and released. Joseph Rojas, who sustained minor injuries, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $1 million.


BABY FOUND IN SHOPPING CART IN WAL-MART PARKING LOT

A baby was forgotten for a few minutes in a shopping cart in a Wal-Mart parking lot yesterday. According to Sheriff’s officials, a Wal-Mart employee found a 10-month-old baby in a shopping cart about 3:05 p.m. and brought the child into the store and called the Sheriff’s Department. The father returned to the store about 5 minutes later looking for his baby, but employees were not sure if they should give the child back. The Sheriff’s report notes that after an investigation, it appears the father left his baby accidentally with no criminal intent. A welfare check was done on the home and there is no evidence to support neglect.


MORONGO VALLEY HOME BURNS TO THE GROUND LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT

Morongo Valley firefighters were called to a suspicious fire late last night that burned a home to the ground. According to Fire Captain Jeff Rarey, a resident in the 51400 block of 29 Palms Highway heard a loud boom about 11:30 p.m., and then about 10 minutes later saw flames coming from an abandoned two-story home across the highway. Rarey said the flames from the fire could be seen from the fire station, three miles away. Firefighters from Desert Hot Springs, CalFire and the water tender from Station 42 in Yucca Mesa helped Morongo Valley firefighters keep the blaze from spreading. The cause of the fire is unknown and is under investigation.


CHP HONORS 911 DISPATCHERS

California Highway Patrol dispatchers handle the majority of California’s wireless 9-1-1 emergency calls. Not only are they responsible for sending fire, ambulance, or law enforcement in response to 911 calls, but they are in constant radio communication with the responders, providing needed information. Last year, more than 900 CHP dispatchers in 25 call centers handled about 9.3 million calls for service. This week, the CHP honors its dispatch operators during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Reporter Diana Medley offers these tips 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.


JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK FINES FOREIGN VANDAL, 4 OTHERS CONVICTED

The Swedish-Portuguese street artist, Andre Saraiva, known as “Mr. Andre” has paid the fine for vandalizing a boulder in Joshua Tree National Park. On February 27, park officials were notified by members of the public that Saraiva had posted Instagram photos of his “work” on rock formations thought to be in the park. After investigation, only one location proved to be within park borders. He was subsequently fined an undisclosed amount which was paid April 1 after his return to his home in France. Saraiva was cooperative with park rangers. Park officials are conducting on-going investigations into other incidents of defacing and vandalism of park resources. So far, three local juveniles were charged and convicted of vandalism at Barker Dam and the investigation is targeting others of interest. Another person was recently convicted for paint vandalism at Indian Cove campground. Joshua Tree National Park Chief Ranger Jeff Ohlfs vows to use any and all available resources to bring those who engage in this behavior to justice. Ohlfs calls on the public to report any incidents they see to the nearest park ranger or call park dispatch at 909-383-5651.


“CRAZY GLUE CASE” AGAINST FORMER SUPERVISORS REPRESENTATIVE CONTINUED

Yesterday’s scheduled hearing for Mike Lipsitz, the former Morongo Basin field representative for Third District County Supervisor James Ramos, was continued to May 27 in San Bernardino Superior Court. Lipsitz, 53, was arrested in February during a vehicle stop near the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center. He is accused of smuggling narcotics to an inmate at the Glen Helen Fire Camp. Lipsitz pleaded not guilty to two felony counts during his arraignment last week. Following a review of evidence, Judge William Jefferson Powell yesterday was expected to rule if there was sufficient evidence to hold Lipsitz over for trial; but instead granted a continuance requested by defense attorneys who have dubbed this “the crazy glue case” based on what is thought to be a key piece of evidence. Lipsitz is currently a reporter for Z107.7 News, and vigorously denies the charges.


ENTRIES SOUGHT FOR GRUBSTAKE DAYS PARADE

The 65th Annual Grubstake Days parade is planned for May 23. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says entries are now being sought by the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce…
Entries are now being accepted for the 65th annual Grubstake Days parade, set to take place Saturday, May 23. This year’s theme is “Patriotic Parade: Celebrating the Past, Present and Future.” The grand marshal will be the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center. The parade begins at 10 a.m. The parade route will be on Highway 62 from Inca Trail to Sage Avenue. The route is 1.6 miles long. Walking entries are encouraged to apply. Youth and non-profit group entry parade fees are $25; all others are $40. Entry forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Yucca Valley, or by calling 760-365-6323.


MARINE HELICOPTER LANDS ON SOLANO BEACH YESTERDAY

A huge Marine Corps helicopter made an emergency landing on Solano Beach Wednesday, bringing no damages or injuries but leaving an unforgettable spectacle for surrounding swimmers and sunbathers. The CH-53E Super Stallion landed on the shore of the northern San Diego County beach shortly after 11:30 a.m. after a low oil-pressure indicator light went on in the cockpit, according to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Gunnery Sergeant Donald Bohanner said the precautionary landing came during routine training. The Marines and a local hazardous materials team removed oil that leaked from the copter to the beach. “There was no injuries, no damage to any property, no injuries to any civilians, which was an awesome, awesome thing right there,” Bohanner said.


MAJOR EXERCISE ON MAINSIDE OF MARINE BASE TOMORROW

Residents at the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms and surrounding areas will hear a lot of noise and activity tomorrow, Friday, April 17, as Marines practice a non-combatant evacuation operation exercise. Marines will simulate the evacuation of civilians from a potentially hostile area. Helicopter and tilt-rotor flights will be conducted over the Combat Center, with multiple landings onto Lance Corporal Torrey L. Gray Field, the Del Valle track and field, and Camp Wilson between 4 and 10 p.m. Friday. The base has set up a website to report noise from the exercise:

http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Staff/G5CommunityPlansPAO/SoundReporting.aspx


GROVE’S THEATER ANNOUNCES CAST OF “THE WEIR”

The delightfully intimate Grove’s Cabin Theater in Morongo Valley has announced casting for their next production. Reporter Rebecca Haveley has the cast for “the Weir”…
The Groves Cabin Theatre of Morongo Valley announces the cast of its next offering, “The Weir,” by Conor McPherson, directed by Karl Weimer. Ghostly tales are spun by locals at a rural Irish pub, while a visitor from Dublin harbors one of her own. The mysterious visitor is played by Wendy Cohen. The locals are portrayed by Kurt Schauppner, Howie Cohen, Jim Robertson and Dave Jessup. The production opens May 2 with Saturday evening performances at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. throughout the month of May. Tickets are $12 at the door. The production is suitable for adults only due to strong language. The intimate venue sells out quickly so reservations are necessary, make yours now by calling 760-365-4523.


RAINBOW STEW ART FAIR THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley will be holding its third annual Art Fair April 18 and 19. Come and meet the artists in person who offer their work in gourd art, copper art, jewelry, painting, photography, and more. The art fair will be held outside the store, 55509 29 Palms Highway, on the west end of Yucca Valley, from 10 to 5 on Saturday, April 18, and noon to 4 on Sunday, April 19.


FREE FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN YUCCA VALLEY TOMORROW

There will be a distribution of federal surplus food at the Church of the Nazarene, 56428 Buena Vista Drive in Yucca Valley, from 10 to noon on Friday, April 17.


CALTRANS PUTS THE KIBOSH ON A TWENTYNINE PALMS ART PROJECT

Earlier this school year, a civic beautification idea was put forward in Twentynine Palms. The idea is still alive, but it has hit a snag. Reporter Dan Stork explains…
A while back, a call went out to artistically-inclined students at Twentynine Palms High School about a public art project. Under the direction of local artist Art Mortimer, who worked with students several years ago to create the Battle of the Bell Mural, students would create paintings on traffic signal boxes in the city. However, the project hit a snag, when Caltrans nixed it for their boxes. At the March 9 meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council, Public Art Advisory Committee representative Pat Flanagan asked Caltrans official Haissam Yahya about this. He explained that non-standard paint is not allowed, because Caltrans is responsible for maintenance of the boxes. We asked Art Mortimer about the status of the project. He wrote: “We are still working on a program with young people to paint other boxes that are owned by the City. There’s no real progress to report at this time.”


HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: SCORES AND SCHEDULES

Yesterday the Twentynine Palms High School swim team met with Yucca Valley at home. The boy’s team showed outstanding improvements, but fell short to the Trojans 84-to-86. This leaves them 1-1 in league and 3-3 overall. As for the Lady Wildcats, the team dominated with a score of 119-to-51, leaving the girls 2-0 in league and 6-0 overall. Standouts for the meet were freshman Lindsey Scamman, who lowered her 100-yard butterfly CIF time; senior Hanna Beard, who lowered her 100-yard freestyle time; and senior Nokomis Cabrera along with Lindsey Scamman, who both lowered their 100-yard breaststroke time.

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan baseball and softball teams will travel away to play Desert Mirage High School. First pitch is at 3:30.

Also tomorrow, is the first day of a two-day invitational meet at Mount San Antonio College for the Trojan track team.

The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat baseball and softball teams will travel away to play Rancho Mirage High School tomorrow. Both games start at 3:30.


BABY FOUND AT WALMART

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating a case of a baby that was found in a shopping cart in a Walmart parking lot. Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Thornburg said deputies were called to Walmart about 3:05 Wednesday afternoon about the baby. Thornburg said deputies have contacted the people who claim to be the baby’s parents, and the investigation is ongoing. Z107.7 News will have more information as it becomes available.


BREAKING NEWS--SUSPECT BEING QUESTIONED IN YUCCA VALLEY SHOOTING THIS MORNING

A man is being questioned this afternoon following a shooting and crash in Yucca Valley Wednesday morning. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Thornburg, the Hispanic male suspect–who has not yet been identified– was arguing with a man and a woman in the 55600 block of Pueblo Trail. An anonymous person called 911 at 9:22 to report that two shots had been fired. The suspect got into a white Mitsubishi, with another woman in the passenger seat, and drove off toward Onaga Trail, and then north on Warren Vista Avenue. Witnesses called 911 to report a man driving erratically, and one woman followed the suspect to give his location to deputies. Thornburg said while deputies were responding to the scene of the shooting, they received a report about 9:30 of a car crash at the intersection of Warren Vista and Yucca Trail involving a car that matched the description of the fleeing white Mitsubishi. Deputies and paramedics who responded to the scene of the shooting found that the unidentified male victim had suffered a grazing head wound; the woman had been shot in the leg. The two shooting victims were taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. The female passenger in the car with the suspect suffered moderate injuries in the crash; she was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center. It’s unknown at this time what her involvement is with the shooting. The driver of the other vehicle was treated at the scene and released. The suspect, who sustained minor injuries, was detained, and Thornburg said he expects that he will be arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.


STREET ARTIST PAYS FINE FOR JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK VANDALISM

The Swedish-Portuguese street artist, Andre Saraiva, known as “Mr. Andre” has paid the fine for vandalizing a boulder in Joshua Tree National Park. On February 27, park officials were notified by members of the public that Saraiva had posted Instagram photos of his “work” on rock formations thought to be in the park. After investigation, only one location proved to be within park borders. He was subsequently fined an undisclosed amount which was paid on April 1 after his return to his home in France. Saraiva was cooperative with park rangers.

Park officials are conducting on-going investigations into other incidents of defacing and vandalism of park resources. So far 3 local juveniles were charged and convicted of vandalism at Barker Dam and the investigation is targeting others of interest. Another person was recently convicted for paint vandalism at Indian Cove Campground. Joshua Tree National Park Chief Ranger Jeff Ohlfs vows to use any and all available resources to bring those who engage in this behavior to justice. Ohlfs calls on the public to report any incidents they see to the nearest park ranger or call park dispatch at 909-383-5651.


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