The Rotary Club of Yucca Valley is offering some special packages for their upcoming Oktoberfest event. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has the bargains for the September 21 event…..

Oktoberfest is a community event presented by the Rotary Club of Yucca Valley and the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce to be held Saturday, September 21, at the Brehm Youth Soccer Field. It’s a full day and evening of live music, food, beer, and contests. General admission is $5 for adults and those 13 and up at the event. Or buy your tickets ahead of time and save $1 on general admission, get beer and wine presale tickets for $5 ($6 at the event). Two special packages are available. Package One includes a souvenir stein, two beer tickets, one meal ticket and admission, all for $25 (a savings of $12). Package Two includes two souvenir steins, four beer tickets, two meal tickets, and admissions for two all for $45 (a savings of $29). Packages available at yvrotary.org, at the Chamber Office and at Realty Professionals on the highway at Inca, weekdays, 9 to 4 p.m.


Summer storms in the desert are supposed to be a July-August phenomenon, but daily storms somewhere around us look like they’re going to continue for a while. Ranger Pam Tripp tells what to expect from the monsoons…

Summer sun and rising humidity makes us really feel the heat. At Joshua Tree National park, we watch the sky for clouds and wonder about monsoon rains. The word “monsoon” refers to a wind system that often bring moisture. Summer thunderstorms are typically vigorous with sheets of water washing across the land. Never predictable, summer storms elicit a quick response from Mother Nature. A carpet of golden cinch weed commonly follows after summer storms and barrel cactus grow plump. Desert tarantulas appear during summer rains as well as elusive desert tortoises. The excitement of summer rain reminds us that water is precious. Storm runoff is a critical resource for desert life, and recharges underground aquifers for humans. Benefits of a summer storm come with dangers, too. When the rains come, be sure to heed warnings for flash floods as you pause to smell the wet earth and watch the desert turn green.


Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School girls tennis team hosts Palm Springs High School at home. Match time is 3:15.

Also tomorrow, the Joshua Springs High School girls’ volleyball team travels away to Lucerne Valley for a 5 p.m. game.


The Twentynine Palms Varsity Wildcats Football Team lost their 2013 opening game on the road to Xavier Prep, 25 to 12 Friday night in Palm Desert. Head Coach Ernest Martinez said, “Tonight we had a young ball club, but we saw a lot of improvement and heart in the second half, and that should boast well for the season.” Alonzo Tate led the way with five receptions for 90 yards on the night. Richard Williams also hauled in five catches for 56 yards. Michael Goodale, and Jayvon Johnson also snared their first varsity catches to start the season. Culver connected on a 10-yard touchdown strike to Alonzo Tate on the final drive of the game, to make the score 25-12. Defensively, the ‘Cats fielded a young team with only one remaining starter from last season taking the field. It was led by returning All-CIF senior lineman David Falefitu, who played well along with Alex Chavez, Jamal Devers, Dylan Martinez, A.J. Loman-Rangle, and Michael Grubbs. The ‘Cats will now regroup and play host to the Aquinas Falcons at home Friday night. Aquinas comes in with a 2-0 record having defeated Desert Hot Springs and Mary Star in the past two weeks. The Frosh-Soph game will begin at 4:00 p.m. followed by the Varsity at 7:00 p.m.


Joshua Tree National Park service has closed several roads in the park due to heavy rains. The Park Loop Road from the Twentynine Palms park entrance to the turn-off to Cottonwood is closed due to flooding and debris blocking the road. Clean-up crews are working to reopen these sections of road as soon as possible. In addition, the Queen Valley Dirt Roads, as well as the Keys Ranch Road, are all flooded and are closed until further notice. The Park Service warns visitors that flash floods often catch people unaware, and urges motorists not to enter washes when water is flowing.


The Old Schoolhouse Museum is going back to its regular hours. Reporter Taylor Thacker sets her clock…

With the coming of the fall season, the Old Schoolhouse Museum is returning to its regular schedule beginning immediately. The museum will be open on Wednesday through Sunday afternoons from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. On those days when the museum is open, docents will be on hand to greet everyone and show off the original schoolhouse in Twentynine Palms as well as some very interesting historical displays in the main display area. The museum is located directly across from the Twentynine Palms Inn at 6760 National Park Drive. For more information call 760-367-2366.


A man wanted by police for allegedly firing a flare gun at his brother last month, was arrested Friday in Yucca Valley. Police say that on August 24, Raymond Grogins, 21, was arguing with his brother, Scott, in the 7200 block of Palo Alto Avenue when Raymond Grogins grabbed a flare gun and shot it at his brother. Scott Grogins suffered minor injuries when he put up his hand to protect his face. Raymond Grogins ran off and police were unable to locate him. Then Friday, September 6, the Sheriff’s Department received a call about 9:30 a.m. that Raymond Grogins was arguing with his girlfriend in the 7200 block of Palo Alto Avenue. When deputies arrived, Grogins fled northbound across Highway 62. Deputies chased after Grogins, whom they say kicked in a door to a residence on La Honda. Grogins was found hiding in a bathroom of the home. Raymond Grogins was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.


A Twentynine Palms man, who was too drunk to walk on his own, was arrested Saturday evening when his young children attempted to help him walk into a business. About 7:30 p.m., Twentynine Palms police received a call about Sean McKenzie, 50, who was extremely intoxicated. McKenzie had parked his Honda Accord on Eucalyptus Avenue, and two young children, thought to be about 6 and 7 years old, were helping him walk into the Rite Aid store from his car. Police went to McKenzie’s home where they found the living conditions unsafe and unsanitary for the children. Sean McKenzie was arrested for investigation of child endangerment, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $25,000.


Theatre 29 will hold open auditions for the holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol” tonight. Managing editor Tami Roleff has details…

Auditions for the classic holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol,” directed by Rob Wanless at Theatre 29, have been set for tonight, Monday, September 9. The play is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from an embittered, ungenerous man into a giving, caring human being at the hands of three spirits who show him what life means. A cast of more than 25 actors are needed for this production. Actors should come prepared to perform cold reads, in addition to performing a pre-selected side for their desired role. Also needed are technical crew, set builders, and costume makers; anyone interested in back stage roles should also come to the auditions. “A Christmas Carol” will run for five weekends from November 15 to December 16. For more information, e-mail Rob Wanless at wanlessrd@yahoo.com.


Sales of alcohol sales aboard Marine Corps installations will soon be restricted as the service continues its fight against the abuse of alcohol and crimes associated with drinking. According to Marine Times, the new rules are detailed in a memo signed by Commandant Gen. James Amos. The changes are intended to support initiatives tied to sexual assault prevention and response as well as to promote health. The changes must be completed within 90 days from the date of the letter and include new limitations: liquor will be removed from all sites designated as Marine Marts adjacent to barracks; alcoholic beverages will be sold only from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. in all Marine Corps exchanges; floor space dedicated to the sale and display of alcohol will be limited to no more than 10 percent of total retail space in stores not considered a package store; alcohol and displays will be relocated to the sides or rears of exchanges. In January, the Marine Corps started administering breathalyzers as part of the Alcohol Screening Program. The tests, generally issued in the morning, indicate whether a Marine is showing up to work with alcohol in his or her system. Anyone with a blood-alcohol content of 0.01 could be referred to alcohol abuse counseling.


Academic ineligibility of some student athletes at Twentynine Palms High School has become a sore point at that school in recent weeks. Two TPHS administrators spoke about the issue at recent meetings of the Morongo Unified School District. Dan Stork relates what they said…

Some students at Twentynine Palms High School, who went to summer school to compensate for courses they failed last year, were told after they passed the summer courses that they were nonetheless ineligible for interscholastic athletics. Justin Monical, who this term succeeded Amy Wood as principal of TPHS, said that the students had been incorrectly advised on their summer school options before they took the make-up courses. He told the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education on August 20, “Right now this is impacting four of our student athletes at our school, that were advised by adults, ‘you’re taking an elective for an elective, it should be fine.’ And it’s not.” Monical explained that MUSD has stricter eligibility rules than the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), with regard to what courses may be used for compensatory credit. The MUSD Board policy says this: “If a specific core course needed for a student to maintain eligibility and/or satisfactory progress toward graduating is not offered during summer school, a passing grade in another core academic class in the same discipline, taken in summer school, may negate a spring semester failing grade for eligibility purposes and for determining satisfactory progress toward graduation.” Monical also noted that MUSD does not have a probationary period during which students who are struggling academically can continue to participate on teams while being monitored in their course work. This is an option that the state education code suggests, but does not require. Monical asked the Board to review eligibility policy, saying “I hope we have it as an agenda item at our next Board meeting to at least begin the review process of that policy for the District, to determine whether or not we continue on the same path and the same vein as we have for a number of years, or we take a look at that policy and have it pull into alignment with the policy that CIF offers us.” Such a review was not on the September 3 meeting agenda. At the September 3 meeting, Twentynine Palms High School Athletic Director Jeremy Johnson urged the Board to implement a probationary program: “If I could simply offer a probationary period for you, and I’m going to call you in, and I’m going to check your grades, and I’m going to make sure you’re on track to graduate, and that your grades are where they need to be; if not, you’re not going to practice, you’re going to tutoring.” Board member Ron Palmer requested that a policy review be added to a future agenda. Click here to view Justin Monical’s full statement.