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Joshua Tree fire fighters rode to the rescue of a horse that had fallen down and couldn’t get up yesterday. Engineer Dave Faller said that a former search-and-rescue horse had gotten its legs tangled in its wooden rail fence near Broadway and Sun Mesa, and fell over. By the time fire fighters arrived about 4 p.m., the horse had managed to extricate itself from the fence, but it was so exhausted from the struggle that it was not able to stand up. Faller said the three fire fighters just “flipped it over” and the horse then stood up on its own.


At least four vehicles were burglarized Friday night in Twentynine Palms. The Sheriff’s Department said burglaries were reported Saturday morning in the 600 block of Mojave Avenue, 5900 block of Cahuilla Avenue, and two in the 5900 block of Mariposa Avenue; the burglaries are all related. The victims reported that wallets with credit cards, an electric razor, and a cell phone were stolen, along with other small, easily concealed items.


Two men were arrested Thursday afternoon rummaging around abandoned vehicles in Yucca Valley. About 1:30 p.m., Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 3500 block of Condalia Avenue when three men were seen going through abandoned cars on the property. After investigation, Mitchell Richmond, 22, of Sutherland, was arrested for investigation of grand theft auto, and Tyler Albert, 21, of Morongo Valley was arrested for investigation of possession of stolen property. Mitchell Richmond was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000; Tyler Albert’s bail was set at $25,000.


The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission has scheduled a regular meeting for July 29, the fifth Tuesday of this month. Reporter Dan Stork says they’ll continue to work on vacation home rentals…
The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission will begin its July 29 meeting with the swearing in of newly-appointed Commissioner Jeffrey Perry. Following an update by Development Director Jim Hamilton on the City Council’s go-ahead on changing the City Code to allow ambulance services in certain zoning districts, the Commission will return to a workshop on a proposed ordinance regulating vacation home rentals. The Planning Commission discussion on vacation home rentals will be limited to acceptance of public comments only. No Planning Commission action will occur. The next full review and discussion of the topic will occur at the regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting of August 5. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall on Adobe Road.


Former Yucca Valley Town Council member and Mayor Pro-Tem Lori Herbel announced she is running for Yucca Valley Town Council. Herbel says she is running to address the concerns of the people and the business community by holding quarterly open Town Hall community meetings.


She also said she would encourage the growth of local small businesses, examine the annual budget line-by-line, restore the Hi-Desert Nature Museum to full service, expand and enhance community programs for youth and seniors, and engage in an immediate and intensive effort to make the sewer affordable for all. A website for Herbel is available here:


Today’s Morongo Basic Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) subcommittee meeting on the Desert Renewal Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) will be rescheduled because a number of key players will not be available. The committee was to have met at 9 am on July 29 at the Joshua Tree District Office of Supervisor Ramos. The new date has not been selected as yet. Mike Lipsitz, field representative for Supervisor Ramos and the MAC chairman, expressed his regrets at any inconvenience and will provide a notification as soon as an alternative date and time are selected.


You can take a trip to Africa tomorrow at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. Managing editor Tami Roleff invites you to discover Kenya…
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is traveling to Kenya during tomorrow’s Art and Culture program. Children will learn about Kenya through pictures, music, and hands-on crafts. Explore Mt. Kenya and the sweeping plains of the Masai Mara, go on safari to learn about the abundant wildlife and learn about the Masai warriors. The program starts at 10:30 and is $2 per child. No registration is required. For more information, call the museum at 760-369-7212.


Indian Trail, between Mesquite Springs Road and Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms, will be closed until 3:00 p.m. today for storm damage repair. Please use alternate routes such as Morongo Road and Adobe Road if traveling to or from the Marine Corps Base. For further information, please contact Public Works at 760-367-ROAD.


The problems for a former Marine in Twentynine Palms are being encountered all over the country as the Veteran’s Administration (VA) struggles to cope with what is called “Gulf War Illness.” The story of Sean Sanders, 44, is mirrored by many U.S Veterans who served in “Operation Desert Shield” and “Operation Desert Storm.”

On their website, the VA says “nearly 700,000 veterans served in the Gulf War from August 1990 to June 1991. A 2005 VA survey showed that Gulf War Veterans are three times more likely to have chronic multi-symptom illness (CMI) compared to non-deployed GW-era Veterans (37 percent versus 12 percent). CMI symptoms include fatigue, weakness, gastrointestinal problems, problems with concentration, sleep disturbances, headaches, skin rashes, respiratory conditions, and mood changes.”
At the heart of the problem is Gulf War Veterans are being denied care because the VA still does not know exactly what symptoms are service related.
For Sean Sanders, the symptoms have already cost him his business, house, and car. Sanders served in the U.S Marine Corps from 1988-1994, including a deployment to the Gulf area from November of 1990 through April of 1991. He retired on a medical discharge in 1994 because of problems with his knees.
Sanders started experiencing medical problems in 1991 which got more and more extreme, they progressively got worse and in 2011 he was diagnosed with gynecomastic and referred to an endocrinologist. The neuropathy became more painful and he was gaining weight without eating much. In January of 2014 he weighed 300 pounds. He applied for VA Assistance for his Gulf War symptoms two times, both times having the claim rejected. In June of 2014 he was at Hi-Desert Medical center in Joshua Tree when he collapsed; hospital staff suggested he take his case back to the VA and contact U.S. Representative Paul Cook, a retired Marine Colonel whose 8th Congressional District includes Twentynine Palms.
While the VA responded by denying him for a third time, extraordinary service from the office of the Congressman is getting him the help he needs. Merlene Steinbeck, a staffer for Cook, explained, “The VA is still determining what symptoms are actually related to service in the Gulf War. The VA is denying most claims of GWI until they have completed their study of the causes of the illness.”
Research from VA and others suggest symptoms may be associated with many factors, including a range of environmental and chemical hazards that carry potential health risks, but the exact cause or causes remain unknown.
While Sanders was unsuccessful with VA treatment, he will still get the specialized medical attention he needs so desperately. Steinbeck was able to get Sanders placed into a study the VA is currently conducting to determine the causes of the illness. The War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC), operated by the VA in Palo Alto, is currently working with “Veterans with complex, chronic, difficult-to-diagnose illness or who need a detailed evaluation of exposures related to military service.”
Sean Sanders will be going to the WRIISC next month, and while there may not be a cure, thanks to Steinbeck’s tenacity and Cook’s office, he will get treatment. With the information from the study, the VA can tackle the challenge of how to provide treatment for many more Gulf War Veterans.


As of July 1, the state of California tightened the standards for the presence of the infamous chromium-6 chemical in drinking water. In its latest monthly newsletter to ratepayers, the Joshua Basin Water District described where it stands on the issue. Reporter Dan Stork summarizes the Joshua Basin Water District’s status…
Before July 1, the California standard was total chromium in drinking water was 50 parts per billion (ppb), and is now 10 ppb. April tests showed Joshua Basin Water District to be under the old limit, but over the new limit for total chromium, in all its wells. (Total chromium levels are tested, because the different forms of chromium can potentially transform into each other. The federal limit is 100 ppb.) The District says it has up to six months to begin testing under the regulations, with another four quarterly tests required, and it appears that it will be unable to meet the new state standards immediately. Since April, the District has begun planning in three areas to address the problem: depth dependent sampling, treatment avoidance methodologies, and treatment methodologies. It says it will work with several government agencies to develop a compliance plan, the implementation of which will take several years to complete. Costs of this regulation to Joshua Basin are unknown at this time; however they could exceed several million dollars. In the meantime, the newsletter assures ratepayers, “Your tap water can still be used for drinking, cooking, and all other needs. Chromium 6 is being regulated by the state, not because of immediate health risks, but rather for potential health impacts after many years of consumption.” The article goes on: “JBWD board members, staff, and their families confidently drink our tap water every day, and will continue to do so.”


The Yucca Valley Police Department conducted a DUI/drivers’ license checkpoint Sunday night in Yucca Valley at State Route 62 and Prescott Avenue between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public. During the checkpoint 1,307 vehicles were screened, two cited for driving unlicensed, and one cited for driving with a suspended license. The Yucca Valley Police Department will be conducting additional DUI/Drivers License Checkpoints or DUI saturation Patrols in the near future in furtherance of our ongoing commitment to lowering deaths and injuries upon our streets and highways.


Theatre 29 is welcoming a world-class Simi Dabah art piece being installed at the Theater building in Twentynine Palms with a special fund-raiser. Reporter Taylor Thacker says you can put your name, your business, or a loved one on a legacy brick in the new “Serenity Patio”…
Theatre 29 has big plans for their new Serenity Patio currently being constructed. This area will include a giant sculpture—said to be reminiscent of the iconic “Comedy and Drama” masks—and a beautiful garden and seating area. Theatre-goers will be able to enjoy the peaceful seating area before, after, and during intermission of productions at the theater. The sculpture is being built a world-renowned artist Simi Dabah, whose studio is based in Joshua Tree. The sculpture will be on a large concrete pedestal and the area around it will be paved with “legacy bricks.” These ricks—custom engraved for the donor—can be sponsored by volunteers, community members and businesses who wish to leave a mark on this community treasure. There are two sizes: 4×8 for an $85 donation, or 8×8 for $150. The funds raised will be used to retire the theater’s debt on the new electronic sign recently erected on Adobe Road. Theatre 29 invites you to “Be a Part of the Arts.” For more information, call 760-366-8471.


Joshua Tree National Park is offering ranger programs for the remainder of the summer: evening campfire programs, hikes, talks on the patios, and a desert story time for children. Evening campfire programs are held at Jumbo Rocks Amphitheater in Jumbo Rocks Campground Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30. Thursdays at 9 a.m., join a ranger for a 90-minute hike on the Barker Dam Trail. Saturdays at 9 a.m., join a ranger for a 60-minute hike on the Skull Rock Trail. Both hikes leave from the parking areas for the respective trails. On Saturdays at 2 p.m., meet at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center for 30 minutes for Story Time with a Ranger. A ranger will read a desert children’s book and have desert items to share. Sundays at 10 a.m. join a ranger for a talk on the back patio at the Oasis of Mara Visitor Center about various topics related to the park. All programs are open to the public and free of charge. There is an entrance fee to the park and other passes are also available. Visitors are reminded to carry water and food when visiting the park as there are no amenities inside the park.


Change for Vets is putting a biker twist on the Manchu Mile, a 25-mile hike held by the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, to commemorate the 85-mile hike the regiment made to go to battle in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion in China. Reporter Diana Jones fills in the details about the 400K Patriot Run…
Change for Vets, an organization dedicated to helping veterans in the Morongo Basin, is sponsoring its first 400K Patriot Run motorcycle ride. The Patriot Run is intended to give participants just a small taste of the conditions and endurance that men and women in the military go through for our sake. Riders will meet at 7:30 a.m. August 2 at the Change for Vets Thrift Store, 5758 Adobe Road, Suite B, in Twentynine Palms. Kickstands up at 9. Riders will travel 253 miles, or 400 kilometers, during the ride, from Twentynine Palms to Amboy to Apple Valley to Yucca Valley, and back to Twentynine Palms. The cost is $40 and includes a T-shirt. Food will be available for purchase at the end of the ride. Volunteers are also needed. To volunteer, or for more information, call Kevin Fish at 760-368-8715.


Desert Blood Service will hold a blood drive tomorrow in Twentynine Palms at Little Church of the Desert, 6079 Adobe Road, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Donors receive free cholesterol screening and donor reward points that may be redeemed in the online donor store at Healthy individuals at least 15 years of age may donate blood. All prospective donors should be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis. Donors receive a free mini-physical as part of the donation process. Donating blood takes about an hour, yet gives someone a lifetime. For more information, please call 760-777-8844.


The Town of Yucca Valley and Yucca Valley High School are offering a youth volleyball camp next week. Reporter Taylor Thacker tells you how to sign up…
The Town of Yucca Valley has joined with the Yucca Valley High School Lady Trojan Volleyball Team to present a thrilling summer youth volleyball camp for girls entering the sixth through 10th grades. Designed to promote skill development and game knowledge in novice and intermediate players, the camp will help athletes improve their game and prepare for junior high or high school team tryouts. Campers will be given individual and group instruction in the fundamentals of volleyball through training sessions, drills and organized games. The camp will take place at the YVHS gym Monday through Thursday, August 4 through the 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The camp fee is $70 per player which includes a camp T-shirt and daily pass to the swim session at the high school pool. For more information call 760-369-7211.


A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that nearly 1.4 million visitors to Joshua Tree National Park in 2013 spent almost $63 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 770 jobs in the local area. Interim  Park superintendent Todd Suess said, “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis, which covered all NPS units in the country, was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists.  Joshua Tree National Park was one of the relatively few sites for which the data was derived from an actual visitor survey.  For most other locations, ” visitor characteristics and spending averages are adapted from national averages for each park type”, according to a footnote in the full report.


Next week, don’t miss the opportunity to get in touch with your inner reptile.  Reporter Cara Conway previews Dinosaur Family Fun Day…

 Dig up fossils, play games, and learn about the Age of the Dinosaurs, Saturday August 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum and Yucca Valley Community Center. Hands-on crafts and an outdoor dino water slide are fun ways to escape the heat – don’t forget your swim suit and towel! Event is free to the public.

Reporting for Z107.7, this is assignment reporter Cara Conway.


Desert Blood Service will hold a blood drive Tuesday July 29 in Twentynine Palms, at Little Church of the Desert, 6079 Adobe Road, from 2 to 6:30 pm. 

Donors receive free cholesterol screening and donor reward points that may be redeemed in the online donor store at

Healthy individuals at least 15 years of age may donate blood All prospective donors should be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis. Donors receive a free mini-physical as part of the donation process. Donating blood takes about an hour, yet gives someone a lifetime. For more information, please call 760-777-8844.


The public is invited for a tour of the lunar landscape, Mars and Saturn on next Saturday, August 2 at Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center, just north of the entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park at 9697 Utah Trail in Twentynine Palms. This free event begins around 8:20 pm and continues until approximately 1:30 am.

A crescent Moon will be just east of Spica followed by Mars and Saturn around sunset. A tour of lunar landscape at low and high magnifications will zoom in on the great craters of Plato, Tycho, and Ptolemaus. The first quarter Moon is often the most spectacular time to observe the Moon, focusing in on the shadows along the lunar terminator. Mars, while not as large or bright as in the previous months, is still a large rusty orange disk through a telescope. Saturn, also fading slightly, is well placed for viewing at sunset. Saturn and its rings are always a spectacle through a telescope of any size. Later, after the moon sets (11:30 pm), the telescopes will turn to some bright open star clusters and nebulae in the Milky Way.

Guests are invited to bring their own binoculars and telescopes. Pads are provided for telescope setup, and STL volunteers will make every effort to assist as needed in setting up and using equipment. All are encouraged to come around sunset to have time to set up and visit other campus educational attractions before the cosmic tour begins.

Everyone should bring snacks, water bottles, chairs, and a small flashlight (red lens, no white lights please) and dress for unpredictable desert weather. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No pets and no smoking allowed on the STL campus, and visitors must carry out all trash.

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