A two-vehicle crash on the Morongo Grade Monday afternoon sent one person to the hospital, injured four others, and shut down Highway 62 for about 1 ½ hours. According to a CHP website, a silver Civic being driven down the grade hit the center divider and flipped around about ½ mile south of the county line shortly before 2 p.m. A red Chevy 4-door pick-up truck was also involved in the crash. The CHP reported that five people were injured in the crash, but it’s not known how many victims were in each vehicle. Four people suffered slight injuries and one person was moderately injured. Highway lanes were closed in both directions until about 3:30 as Riverside CHP and rescue personnel worked to clear the vehicles and debris from the highway. The Indio CHP office did not respond to requests for more information about the crash.
The Marine Corps will be conducting an active-shooter exercise on board the Combat Center starting today (Tuesday) through Friday. The drill is a regional anti-terrorism force protection exercise which will deploy first responders, a crisis action team, an emergency operation center, and a communication control center. The location of the simulated incident will not be known until the exercise begins. The exercise will give participants an opportunity to practice and improve the emergency actions in an active-shooter scenario.
Sprucing up community businesses, the city budget, and dog park status are all on the agenda of the Twentynine Palms City Council tonight. Reporter Dan Stork tells what else is doing…
Prior to its 6 p.m. meeting on February 25, the Twentynine Palms City Council will hold a workshop at 5:15 with the Public Arts Advisory Committee to consider a veterans’ monument, directional and street sign design, and a Community Reinvestment Program. The Community Reinvestment Program is a proposed fund to be made available to local businesses to construct trash enclosures, pay for new paint, and install drought resistant landscaping. In the regular session there will be a public hearing on a Conditional Use Permit and variance request for modifications to an existing cellular telephone site. Following that are scheduled discussions on a mid-year budget review, the Community Reinvestment Program, the status of dog park plans, and the search for a possibly half-time Interim Community Development Director. The meeting takes place in City Hall on Adobe Road.
The San Bernardino County Grand Jury warns residents that scammers are asking people to pay money due to missing a summons for a grand jury appearance. A resident was recently contacted by an alleged Sheriff’s lieutenant, who said an arrest warrant had been issued because the person had failed to appear before the San Bernardino County Grand Jury. The victim was given a telephone number, an amount for a fine (about $500), and instructions on how to obtain a cash card to pay the fine over the telephone. Once the card was obtained, the victim called the phone number, gave the scammer the cash card information, and was provided a date, time, judge’s name, and a court room number to appear before the Grand Jury, all of which was incorrect. The scam was revealed once the victim found the real Grand Jury’s room. The Sheriff’s Department, the Court, and the Grand Jury never make calls to ask for money over the phone. Anyone who receives such a call should take down the information and call the Grand Jury Office at 909-387-3820.
The Town of Yucca Valley has begun the second phase of its highway construction project, the Transportation Congestion Relief Program. The first phase included raised medians from Kickapoo Trail to Elk Trail, and from Cherokee Trail to Apache Trail. The second phase includes sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and handicap ramps from Palm Avenue to Dumosa Avenue. Work will begin at Dumosa Avenue and proceed west to Palm Avenue. Highway 62 will be reduced to one lane in each direction during this construction phase, which is expected to last until March 28. Drivers are urged to use alternate routes, such as Sunnyslope Drive, Onaga Trail, and Joshua Drive. Drivers in the construction zone are reminded to obey speed limit signs, and all other construction signs.
The Bighorn Desert view water Agency Board meets tonight, Reporter Mike Lipsitz says they will be taking steps to annex the county W-1 water district…
The Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency Board of Directors meets in regular session at 6 p.m. tonight. Among items up for consideration are three related to the Agency’s annexation of County Special Districts water which serves folks in zone W-1 or east Landers. Passage of the three related proposals will bring the promise of lower rates and local governance that much closer for people in east Landers. Also tonight, the board is expected to approve 2014 committee assignments and form an ad hoc committee to evaluate solar power options for Agency facilities. It all takes place on Cherokee Trail under the old water tower in Landers.
Last week we reported that the Joshua Basin Water District Board of Directors were to consider a pay hike for themselves. Following a brief discussion, that proposal was roundly defeated. Directors there will continue to receive the same level of compensation they’ve received since 2008. At that same meeting, an employment contract with incoming general manager Curt Sauer was approved in a 4-1 vote with Director Gary Wilson opposed. Later, Director Mickey Luckman was nominated to serve as the District’s member on the Local Agency Formation Commission; Board President Victoria Fuller was nominated to serve as an alternate.
The Twentynine Palms Kiwanis Club will sponsor this Friday’s opening night gala at Theatre 29. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells you how to get tickets…
Opening night for Theatre 29’s next production, “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estates Town’s Women’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery” opens Friday, February 28. The play, directed by Theatre 29 veteran Marty Neider, is a fast-paced comedic farce about five British ladies who present the “whodunit,” “Murder at Checkmate Manor” and experience a disastrous show in which everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. The opening night gala is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Twentynine Palms. Opening night tickets are $25 each and the evening includes hors d’oeuvres, dessert, and a silent auction. For tickets, contact Herman Platzke at 760-972-7205 or any Twentynine Palms Kiwanis member. The play runs weekends through March 27 with Sunday matinees March 9 and 23. Tickets after opening night are $8 to $12 and can be reserved by calling the box office at 760-361-4151.
Seven climbing routes in the Indian Cove area of Joshua Tree National Park have been temporarily closed, the Park Service announced Monday. Park Superintendent Mark Butler signed a temporary emergency closure notice due to raptors who are nesting in the area. The closed climbing routes include Slatanic Area, Rattlesnake Buttress, Margaret Thatcher Spire, the Stepping Stones, the Bulkhead, the Dunce Cap, and Commissioner’s Buttress. Day hiking in the Rattlesnake Canyon area is not restricted at this time. Butler said the nesting pair appears to have finished building their nest. The area will remain closed until the nest has been abandoned to ensure the protection of the birds for the duration of the nesting activities, which is not expected to last beyond June 15.
The next regular Joshua Tree Clean Team pickup will be held tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. at Alta Loma and Olympic. The team will work for one short hour. The Joshua Tree Clean Team is now up to a total of 23 members. Coordinator John Stannard said the team had a record turnout and picked up 259 pounds last outing, that adds up to an annual rate of 3.9 tons per year! Afterwards, the team will meet for optional coffee and conversation at the Park Rock Café. The team is out every second, fourth, and sometimes fifth Wednesdays for seven years because they care. As always, there will be trash bags, grabber sticks, gloves and water available. For more information call 760-366-8415.
The Morongo Basin MAC is putting together a comprehensive list of local concerns. Reporter Dan Stork says you can be part of the brainstorming process…
The Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council has a committee compiling a list of Basic Regional and Community Enhancements (or BRACE, for short). The committee will meet on Wednesday, February 26 at 9 a.m. in the Joshua Tree Community Center to review, discuss, and adjust the initial list. The initial list includes concerns about homelessness, affordable housing, planning notifications, unemployment and underemployment, encouragement of local industry and tourism, the impact of development on localities, emergency response capabilities, and appropriateness of certain county regulations. The public is invited to attend and contribute to the discussion.
The Twentynine Palms and Yucca Valley High School music departments will hold a combined concert Thursday in the Twentynine Palms Wildcat Gym. Doors open at 6:15 and the concert starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $5. The concert will feature band and choral songs with both schools performing together, with the focus on Twentynine Palms High School students. The two schools will hold a second combined concert at Yucca Valley High School at a later date, which will focus on Yucca Valley High School students.
The deadline to apply for an open seat on the Hi-Desert Medical Center board is approaching. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has this reminder…..
At Hi-Desert Medical Center, the deadline is 5 p.m. tomorrow for applications for the board seat vacated by Paul Hoffman earlier this month. Interested and eligible candidates may obtain an application at HDMC.org, or from the Board Clerk in the administrative office at 6601 White Feather Road in Joshua Tree. Applications may be submitted to that same address to the attention of Board Clerk (Attention Board Clerk, 6601 White Feather Road, Joshua TreeCA92252). For more information, call 760-366-6262. Applicants must be registered to vote and reside within the health care District’s geographic boundaries. Interviews will take place at 3 p.m. on March 11 in the Helen Gray Education Center. A new director is expected to be named by the end of March.
Joshua Springs Lightning boys’ basketball hosts Hesperia Christian Patriots tonight at 7:00 at Joshua Springs in the CIF Division 6 quarterfinal. Spokesman Adam Evergart says the match-up between former league rivals should be a good one, as Hesperia is the number 6 ranked team, while Joshua Springs is ranked number 3. The win earns a spot in CIF Division 6 “Final Four,” a Friday night game against the winner of Desert Chapel (Palm Springs) vs. Besant Hill (Ojai), and a right to play for a championship berth. Game time is 7:00, and tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for students and children 12 or younger.
Joshua Springs Lightning girls’ basketball travels to Corona to take on Crossroads Christian in CIF Division 6 quarterfinal action. The number 6 Lightning, third place in Victory League, look to upset the number 3 Cougars, a freelance team. The winner will go on to the CIF Division 6 semi-final, which will be played Saturday, March 1. Game time is 7:00.
A former Compton police officer who used to help put criminals in jail is himself behind bars today. Retired officer Thomas Zampiello, 67, of Yucca Valley, was arrested Friday afternoon after his wife told Sheriff’s deputies he threatened her and rammed her car. According to a Sheriff’s report, Zampiello went to a home in the 7600 block of Frontera Avenue in Yucca Valley about 11:40 a.m., armed with a bowie knife, and yelled for his wife to come outside. The wife got in her car and started driving northbound on Frontera, and Zampiello followed in his car, ramming her silver Mercury from behind with his beige Honda. When deputies arrived, the woman told them that Zampiello threatened to break out the house windows and kill her. Thomas Zampiello was arrested for investigation of felony spouse abuse, making criminal threats, and assault with a deadly weapon. Zampiello was booked at West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $250,000. Sheriff’s deputies also took for safekeeping 19 firearms belonging to Zampiello. In 1990, Thomas Zampiello was a Compton police officer and was named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles and various law enforcement agencies, in which the defendants were accused of mistreating minority suspects. The lawsuit was settled in 2006.
If a disaster happened in your community, who would be there to help? Well, it could be you. Managing Editor Tami Roleff invites you to sign up for the Community Emergency Response Team…
If an earthquake, flash flood, fire, or other disaster was to hit the High Desert, would you know how to help your family, friends, and neighbors? The Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, trains volunteers what to do before, during, and after a disaster. The San Bernardino County Fire Department will hold a CERT training sessions for Morongo Basin residents. The class will be held on Saturdays, from 8 to 5, beginning March 1, at Machris Park in Yucca Valley. For more information, or to register for either class, call Battalion Chief Mike Snow at 760-365-3335.
The St. Joseph’s Players held their opening weekend of “On Golden Pond” this past weekend at St. Joseph’s of Arimathea Church in Yucca Valley. The opening night Gala on Friday was sponsored by the Gladys Carols Scholarship Program. Ticket sales, donations, and auction proceeds raised more than $2,300 for the scholarships. Cheryl Gillon, of the Gladys Carol Scholarship Program, thanks to all those made the fundraiser a smashing success.
While there is nothing on the agenda of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors’ Tuesday meeting that directly impacts the Morongo Basin, there is an item that may be a preview of coming attractions for our area. Reporter Dan Stork focuses on a solar project in Helendale that is up for discussion…
On an issue continued from its previous meeting, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing on the appeal of a Planning Commission action to deny a Conditional Use Permit to establish a photovoltaic solar power generating facility on 80.6 acres in Helendale, an unincorporated community on Route 66 between Victorville and Barstow. The listed action, following the hearing notice, which the Supervisors may approve, is to grant the appeal and approve a permit for the facility. The open session of the Supervisors’ meeting starts at 10 a.m. on Tuesday February 25. It can be viewed and participated in at the interactive teleconferencing site at the County Building on Whitefeather Road in Joshua Tree, or just viewed via the County Direct feature on the County’s web site.
“Quilting Seasons” is the theme for this year’s Desert Guilds’ Quilt Show to be held in Palm Springs March 7 and 8. The show will feature 150 quilts made by members of three quilt guilds, including Cactus Sewables in Yucca Valley, Coachella Valley, and Pass Patchers, from the Banning/Beaumont area. Other highlights include a certified quilt appraiser, a quilt raffle, a mini quilt exhibit, and merchants and vendors. The quilt show is a fundraiser for the three quilt guilds, who make donations to various community organizations. Admission to the quilt show is $7 with free parking. The quilt show will be held at the Palm Springs Pavilion, 401 S. Pavilion Way. For more information, call Susan Amundsen, 907-229-6034.
Our desert and Joshua Tree National Park are being invaded. Park Ranger Pam Tripp tells you how to be a defender…
Did you know that an invasion of the desert is occurring right below your feet? Sahara mustard is a non-native plant that invades our desert’s natural areas. Sahara mustard reduces our brilliant native wildflower displays in the spring, is poor habitat for wildlife, and creates fuel for wildfires, causing them to spread quickly. Joshua Tree National Park has been fighting off this weed in its protected desert areas for the last 10 years. Please join us this spring for our annual ‘Hold the Mustard’ volunteer days, when we remove Sahara mustard from critical areas of the park. Work alongside park staff, learn about the management of your national park, and meet other community members! It is also a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spring weather. Contact the park for more information on dates and locations of these volunteer events. For more information on how to help with Sahara Mustard removal, contact Josh Hoines at 760-367-5564.