More than 200 students, parents, and art lovers attended the student art auction Tuesday night at Hope Academy in Yucca Valley. The silent auction of 120 student-created art pieces raised more than $2,000. A couple of artworks were part of a bidding war, and sold for more than $100 each. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward school programs. Hope Academy is a charter school located in the Town Center Mall.
Can the staff ever defeat the varsity boys’ basketball team at Yucca Valley High School? They will try again Friday, February 27, at the 5th Annual “Staff Versus Boys Basketball” game. The game starts at 7 p.m. in Trojan Gym and is only $3. The game is a fundraiser for the high school athletic program. Come see if the staff can finally defeat the boys’ basketball team.
Coming up in high school sports, the Yucca Valley High School boys’ wrestling team will compete Friday and Saturday in the Boys’ Masters meet, while the girls’ team will compete in the Girls’ State meet.
A 70-year-old Yucca Valley man pleaded guilty yesterday to the hit-and-run death of a motorcyclist in Yucca Mesa nearly a year ago. Ronald Svidergol was driving his pick-up truck eastbound on Buena Vista on the evening of March 3 when he turned north onto Surrey Court, right in front of Jacob Koval, 26, who was riding his motorcycle westbound on Buena Vista. Koval took evasive measures, but collided with the truck’s front passenger side and was killed in the crash. Svidergol fled the scene. Sheriff’s deputies followed a debris trail to Svidergol’s residence in the 57900 block of Buena Vista Drive. Ronald Svidergol pleaded guilty to hit-and-run resulting in death or injury, and vehicular manslaughter. Sentencing is set for April 9.
Much of the focus at the Twentynine Palms City Council meeting was saying hello to its next administrator. Reporter Dan Stork tells what else happened in the relatively brief session…
Twentynine Palms City Council, staff, and citizens in attendance at last night’s meeting welcomed Frank Luckino, who will assume the position of City Manager on March 23. With the city’s experience of short-tenured city managers in recent years clearly in mind, Acting City Manager Larry Bowen good-humoredly said to Luckino: “You need to stay here for some years. That would be appreciated by all the staff and the community—and by the City Council too!”
Bowden and Council Member Dan Mintz and described a field trip they had made to car-racing facilities in Thermal and Desert Center, which will inform future discussions of a potential track in Twentynine Palms.
Incorporation of a chapter on high-density residential affordable housing into the Development Code, to accord with state requirements for such provisions, was approved. “High-density” means more than 20 units per acre. The place designated for such developments is a 51-acre area across Adobe Road from City Hall.
A mid-year budget review by Finance Director Ron Peck was accepted by council. Peck pointed out the drawing-down of several safety and improvement funds over recent years. Peck also gave the background for an increase in fire impact fees, which council approved. The fee structure, which was instituted when the city bought a fire truck for the Fire Department, and which is supposed to be reviewed and updated annually, has not been reviewed since its creation. Peck emphasized that it is to be used for capital improvements, not for operational or maintenance purposes.
The Twentynine Palms Water Board met will meet tonight in closed and open session. Reporter Taylor Thacker says the board will discuss a new general manager and proposed rate increases…
The Twentynine Palms Water District is scheduled to have their regular meeting on Wednesday, February 25, starting at 6:00 p.m. During this meeting, there will be a closed session with the labor negotiators and a separate session with the public employee appointment. The Board will consider and take possible action on many things regarding the general manager. There will also be a discussion to possibly adjust the public hearing date for the water rate increase. Immediately following this is the Fire Department meeting. There are no new agenda items for this meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend. Both meetings take place at the Twentynine Palms Water District at 72401 Hatch Rd in Twentynine Palms.
A 17-year-old Twentynine Palms girl was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after a party Saturday evening. According to a Sheriff’s report, the girl went to her friend’s home in the 3100 block of Mesquite Springs Road about 9 p.m. where the two girls were home alone. Shortly afterward, the report states people started showing up at the home with alcohol to celebrate a birthday and the girl became extremely drunk. When her brother arrived shortly after 11 p.m. to pick her up, he found the girl passed out in a chair. He took her to Hi-Desert Medical Center where she was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning with a blood alcohol content of .148 and a lowered body temperature. The party guests had dispersed before the friend’s father arrived home about 12:30. The 17-year-old girl’s family notified the Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating.
A Mentone man was arrested after a basin-wide chase Friday morning, accused of possessing heroin. Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Thornburg said Traffic Officer Jim Delgado attempted to stop a speeding motorcycle on Highway 62 near Elk Trail in Yucca Valley shortly after 9 a.m. Friday. The motorcycle rider, subsequently identified as Terry Siefker, 24, sped off, but deputies managed to stop him near Palm Avenue and Onaga Trail in Yucca Valley. During the investigation, deputies determined that the license plate on the 1980 Honda belonged to a different motorcycle, and found heroin in his possession. Terry Siefker was arrested on suspicion of unlawful sale of speed, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.
The Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency Board met in a regular session last night. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says raises and pickup trucks took up most of the meeting…
At last night’s board meeting of the Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency, directors authorized General Manager Marina West to begin the process for adding a 5 percent cost of living increase; once final, the increase would bring director’s per diem compensation from the current $110.25 to $115.76. The board does not receive any benefits above the per diem. Also last night, Directors approved purchase of two Toyota 4×4 pickups, contingent on expected annexation of east Landers; the $70,000 price to ultimately be paid from the Capital Replacement Fund expected to be handed to Bighorn-Desert View by County Special Districts when the annexation is complete. Directors also added $5,700 to a previously budgeted item thus clearing the way for purchase of a third Toyota 4×4, this one a replacement vehicle.
California State Senate Republicans elected Senator Jean Fuller, who represents our Morongo Basin, as Senate Republican Leader-Elect. She will become the Senate’s first woman Republican Leader on November 1, 2015. Senator Fuller has been a member of the California Legislature since her election to the 32nd Assembly District in 2006. She was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and reelected in 2014 to represent the 16th Senate District. Prior to her election to the state legislature, Senator Fuller served as an educator in California for more than 30 years, including time as superintendent of one of the largest K-8 school districts in the state.
Trying to get older cars that generate smog off the Road, the regional Air-Quality Board has started buying them back. Reporter Cassie Zimarik tells you how to get cash for your clunker….
Local owners of older vehicles made in 1995 or earlier are now eligible to receive $1,000 for scrapping their operable cars, vans and light- and medium-duty trucks that cause a lot of pollution. This is available through the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District’s Voluntary Accelerated Vehicle Retirement program. The program is available to owners of vehicles registered within the High Desert portion of San Bernardino County. For a list of requirements, please visit this story on z1077fm.com. Incentives for eligible vehicles will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. To sell your vehicle or receive more information on the program call 800-717-7624.
Vehicle must be driven to a contracted vehicle dismantler
Vehicle must pass the most recent biennial Smog Checks required by DMV
Vehicle must be registered and meet Vehicle Status Requirement, Vehicle Functional and Equipment Eligibility Inspection
For more information, visit www.mdaqmd.ca.gov
Morongo Basin Transit Authority Board of Directors will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday, February 26, at the MBTA Operations Center on Verbena Road in Joshua Tree. The board will recognize a retired employee and the employee of the quarter. After administrative and operations reports, the board will hear a presentation on unmet needs. The board will then go into closed session to discuss personnel matter concerning the general manager/director of cooperative purchasing and grants, and then come back into open session to approve the director’s contract.
Area gardeners and amateur botanists will have a chance to exchange their best seeds this Sunday. Reporter Taylor Thacker invites you to a seed exchange at the 29 Palms Inn…
The 29 Palms Inn is holding a free garden seed exchange event where participants will be able to trade their extra garden seeds with other participants. On March 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., gardeners of all kinds will have the chance to explore new food and flowers and share gardening information with other gardening fanatics. During this event, there will be free packaging and labels available, live music by Artemis and James Groft, and light refreshments provided by the 29 Palms Inn. This free event takes place in the big white tent at the 29 Palms Inn. For more information call 760-367-3505.
Desert Hills Presbyterian Church has cancelled its snow-shoeing event in Big Bear Sunday, March 1 due to a weather forecast of inclement weather.
A local dog groomer won a creative dog grooming competition last weekend in Pasadena. Sandy Hartness, owner of Sandy Paws Dog Grooming in Yucca Valley, competed with her 2-year-old poodle, Crush, in a large class of eight or nine other dogs, in Groom Expo West. Managing editor Tami Roleff spoke with Hartness by phone, who says she was excited by the win…
“I was actually really surprised I got first. I was hoping for third. I knew I had a good groom.” Sandy Hartness has been grooming dogs for 21 years and competing for 16 years in the “creative grooming” contests, in which the dogs are dyed and sculpted to become original works of art. Her winning design? “He was a carousel lion.” Her favorite designs over the years? “The [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtle was fun. And last year on my husky I did kind of an art theme. It was very freeing because I could do what I wanted. It was about art and expression; it wasn’t about ‘she needs to look like this’.” Due to the cost and time involved, she doesn’t do creative grooming for clients, but she does get other requests for creative dye jobs and trimming. “Tips of the tail, tips of the ears, Mohawks are real popular for the clients.” Hartness says both she and her dogs love the grooming competitions. “They want to be up on the table getting worked on; they’re like, ‘me next!’ It’s a blast. I love my job. It’s something you can have fun with your own personal dog. The dogs don’t care what color they are or what color their friends are. They want to be up on the grooming table. They say ‘Me next!’” Congratulations on the win, and good luck at the next competition in Las Vegas in July.
The Joshua Springs Christian School basketball will make its third straight trip to CIF Semifinals after defeating the Upland Christian Academy Eagles 64-47 on Tuesday night. Lightning spokesman Adam Everhart said Tyler Pascale led the way with 21 points, while Jordan Lovejoy was right behind him with 20. The win improves Joshua Springs to an all time school-best 21-3 record, and gives them a home game for the first time in the CIF semifinals.
The Number 4 seed Lightning will take on Orangewood Academy, the Number 1 seed in CIF Division 6. The game will take place Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Joshua Springs Thunderdome. CIF prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students with ID.
Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a second armed robbery in Twentynine Palms in less than a week. About 7 p.m. Sunday, an armed man walked in to the liquor store in the Historic Plaza, demanded cash, and tried to make the clerk walk into the back room, but the clerk ran out of the store and called 911. The suspect is described as a black male, 25-30 years old, wearing a green sweater, black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and wearing a black bandana across his face. Last Tuesday, the Adobe Smoke Shop was robbed by an armed black man who was described as being in his 20s to 30s, 200 pounds, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, and was wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt and black jeans. Detectives do not know if the two armed robberies are linked. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.
A Twentynine Palms man is in custody following an argument Saturday night in Thousand Palms in which three men were shot–including himself. According to the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Department, about 9:20, residents reported they heard shots fired and a woman screaming in the 78000 block of Varner Road. Although no one was there when deputies arrived, they did find evidence of a crime scene. About 10 p.m., a local hospital notified deputies that a man–later identified as Malik Trotter, 21, of Twentynine Palms, had shown up at the hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. Shortly afterward, another hospital reported that two other men had arrived at their emergency room suffering from gunshot wounds. A preliminary investigation revealed that the three wounded men were related to the earlier report of shots fired. Investigators determined that Trotter had argued and fought with the two other men, and shot them. They say that Trotter also shot himself during the altercation. Two of the men were treated and released; a third man remains hospitalized, but investigators did not say which one. Malik Trotter was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio on several counts of assault with a deadly weapon involving a firearm.
There’s some good news hidden in the consent agenda for this week’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council. Reporter Dan Stork tells what that is, and what else will be going on at the meeting…
Within the consent agenda for the February 24 meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council are cooperative funding agreements between the City and the San Bernardino Associated Governments, in which SANBAG will match the $450,000 already assigned by Caltrans to the Encelia and Lear traffic signal projects. Approval of the Encelia signal to go out to bid is also on the consent agenda.
The consent agenda also includes second readings for the social host and vacation home rental ordinances. Public hearings will be held for addition of high-density residential zoning considerations to the Development Code, and a mid-year budget review. Finally, the Council will consider an increase in fire impact fees. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in City Hall on Adobe Road.
Two Marines were arrested Saturday afternoon, after a neighbor said they made a bonfire out of his off-road vehicle. According to a Sheriff’s report, a resident in the 71600 block of Indian Trail in Twentynine Palms called deputies about 9:20 Saturday morning to report that someone had stolen firewood from his yard, along with a non-operable quad, which they dragged to their residence. The quad’s owner said he smelled plastic burning Saturday morning, and when he went to investigate, he found the quad burning in an open pit in a near-by yard. After calling the Sheriff’s department, and taking photos of the burning quad, he said the Marines, later identified as Private First Class Julio Colon, 20, and Private First Class Kasey Caldwell, 20, both machine gunners with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, tried to load the quad onto a trailer to remove it from their property. After an investigation, Julio Colon and Kasey Caldwell were arrested on suspicion of arson and vehicle theft, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with their bail set at $50,000 each. A third suspect is still at large.