A Gospel Extravaganza in Twentynine Palms will benefit local food pantries and family development programs. The event will be held at Palm Baptist Church, 4973 Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms, tonight, Saturday, September 14, from 5 to 9 p.m. The extravaganza will feature praise dancers, teams, choirs, and prayers. Raffle tickets will be offered at the door. To reserve your spot, call Marlena Washington at 760-288-6434.


Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Lady Cats tennis team will host Cathedral City at home tomorrow, starting at 3:15. The Lady Cat volleyball team hosts Cathedral City at home starting at 4:30. The Yucca Valley High school girls’ volleyball team travels to Indio tomorrow; first serve is at 4:30.


The Twentynine Palms Varsity Wildcats Football team lost a tough battle to a solid team from Aquinas Friday night at home 23-13. As these young players learn the system, “It is a ‘learning process’ and will take time,” Coach Ernest Martinez said. Outstanding performers for Twentynine Palms High School were Jake Culver, David Falefitu, A.J. Rangel, Alex Chavez, and Jamal Devers. The Cats will take the long road up the mountain to face defending CIF champion and number 1 ranked Rim of the World Friday night. The Fresh-Soph game will start at 4:15 and the Varsity will begin at 7.


The number 11 seed Yucca Valley High School Football team defeated the number 5 seeded Citrus Valley Blackhawks 20-7 Thursday night at Trojan Stadium. Coach Tim Cannavo said, “The Trojan defense held Citrus to 182 total yards and caused five turnovers and two sacks.” Joey Rutherford had nine tackles and a fumble recovery. Shayne Saiza contributed six tackles, one sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. On offense, Logan Vallo ran for 130 yards, caught three passes for 48 yards and had another 21 on returns. Gabe Sosa added 90 more yards to his season totals. Sosa, Vallo, and quarterback Bradley Soares all had touchdown runs. Next Friday the Trojans travel to Barstow for their homecoming game.


Our own Hi-Desert Medical Center is getting kudos for quality of care. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has details…

Hi-Desert Medical Center has received recognition for its quality improvement outcomes by the California Hospital Engagement Network. Specifically, Hi-Desert Medical Center was recognized for keeping hospital-acquired infection rates significantly below national rates, reducing patient falls and bed sores, decreasing re-admissions, and preventing early deliveries that are not medically necessary. Hospital CEO, “Chad” Chadwick said, “These achievements promise to have great benefit to our patients and community and affirm our commitment to patient quality.”


About 500 people tempted their taste buds at the sixth annual Taste of the Morongo Basin Friday night. The culinary event is a fundraiser for the Joshua Tree Rotary Club; proceeds benefit local non-profit organizations and go toward scholarships for area high school students. Awards went to Sam’s Pizza and Indian Food for Most Exotic; Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen’s barbecued rib sandwich for Best Entrée. Papa’s Smokehouse won As Good as Mom’s for its pulled pork, smoked beef brisket, and barbecued ribs. Best Southwest went to Las Palmas. Park Rock Café won Best Use of Spices; Most Creative was awarded to the Joshua Tree Saloon. Palm Kabob won Best Finger Food. Louisiana Fried Chicken won Best International. Connoisseur’s Choice was awarded to the 29 Palms Inn, and Little Caesar’s Pizza was named Taste Bud Delight.


Yucca Valley’s Oktoberfest in September is this Saturday evening. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says the entertainment will feature some very popular and fun local musicians…

The Kalifornia Krauts aren’t a new kind of cabbage, but a polka band from Yucca Valley. Brothers Chris and Aaron Poland, and Chris and David Shurley, are joined by Kevin Patterson, Cameron Baldeon, and Miguelangelo Cazares. The Kalifornia Krauts are the headliner at the Yucca Valley Rotary’s Oktoberfest, set for September 21 from 2 to 10 p.m. at the Brehm Sports Park in Yucca Valley. The band will entertain with bawdy and danceable polkas. Joining the Kalifornia Krauts will be the Reallyshooo’s Zydepolk, comprised of Ellen Brenner and Billy Makuta on his accordion, who plays polkas, zydeco, Cajun, and English and Irish music. For more information about Oktoberfest, call the Chamber of Commerce at 760-365-6323.


The Morongo Basin CHP is offering another free Start Smart class for teen drivers and new drivers. These classes provide valuable safety information, and classroom instruction on collision avoidance techniques, collision-causing elements, and driver responsibilities. The class will be held on Thursday, September 19, in the CHP offices on the highway in Joshua Tree starting at 6 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 760-366-3707. Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend as well.


A Twentynine Palms man was hospitalized Saturday after he crashed a motorcycle he was learning to ride. Shortly before 7 p.m., Christopher Sorrell, 28, was learning how to ride a 2005 Harley–Davidson motorcycle in the 5900 block of Lupine Avenue in Twentynine Palms. Sorrell accelerated at a high rate of speed from a stop and lost control of the bike, crashing into a parked 2004 Buick. Sorrell received major lacerations and possible internal injuries. Christopher Sorrell was transported to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.


Starting in October, Californians will be able to sign up for health insurance in the state’s new health exchange, known as “Covered California.” Dan Stork points to places where you can find out what you need to know…

According to Mark Beach, communications director for AARP California, there are a couple of online resources to help guide people through the process of signing up in the health insurance exchange. The website HealthLawFacts.org has useful information about the Affordable Care Act, and the website HealthLawAnswers.org is an interactive site that asks a few simple questions to produce a customized report. Beach says, “It’s really just seven questions: Where do you live? What’s your age range, family status, et cetera. And based on these answers, the site provides guidance.” The actual costs and full details of the health plans won’t be available until October 1, but Beach said they hope people will take the time now to educate themselves so they make the right decisions. The Affordable Care Act requires that most people have insurance by January. Beach said it’s important to demystify the law for people of all ages. “Even if folks are 65-plus and on Medicare, they may have children, grandchildren, other relatives who will be affected by the new health care law.” When people file their 2014 income tax returns, they will have to report their health insurance coverage. Those who are not covered will be penalized 1 percent of their income. In 2017, that penalty increases to 2.5 percent. More information is at CoveredCA.com and at AARP.org


The Sheriff’s Department has arrested five people in connection with the theft of more than $150,000 worth of gold and silver coins in August in Landers. Sheriff’s investigators say a resident in the 60700 block of Adele Road reported the burglary August 7; Robby Sims, 59, of Landers, was the primary suspect an arrest warrant was issued. August 13, deputies served a search warrant in the 55800 block of Flamingo Road in Flamingo Heights, and recovered $3,900 in stolen coins, and identified two additional suspects, Timothy Krey, 53, and Brenda Klein, 63, both of Flamingo Heights. Krey and Klein were also identified as suspects in the theft of jewelry from Gateway Pawn in Yucca Valley; they are accused of stealing jewelry from the pawn shop when they went there to sell the stolen coins. Timothy Krey was arrested August 15, and Brenda Klein was arrested August 22; they were both booked for investigation receiving stolen property and grand theft. Two more suspects were arrested last Thursday after deputies located more than $4,100 in stolen coins during a search at a home in the 56000 block of Tracy Boulevard in Flamingo Heights. John Brewer, 64, and Jessie McFadden, 57, are charged with possession of stolen property. An anonymous tip then led deputies to the 1800 block of Wamego Trail in Flamingo Heights, where they found Robby Sims hiding and he was captured after a short foot pursuit. Robby Sims was booked on his warrant for grand theft at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $500,000. In addition, Sims is the primary suspect in felony vandalism August 20 at the Mojave Market in Flamingo Heights where he is said to have caused over $16,000 in damages to the gas station’s gas nozzles, credit card readers, and the emergency shut-off. Sims was also booked on the vandalism charge with his bail set at $25,000. Detectives are working to recover the coins that are still missing. Anyone with information on the missing coins should call Detective Erik Smoot at 760-366-4175.


The flash floods in the Morongo Basin just over a week ago closed some roads, caused power outages, and washed out some yards. But a Yucca Valley family lost everything they owned, including their home, when a wall of mud smashed through the doors and windows of their house south of Storey Park and Juniper Terrace, leaving three to four feet of mud and debris inside their home. Managing editor Tami Roleff met with Tom and Krista Wargo as they are trying to salvage some of their belongings…

Krista Wargo was excited at first when it started raining at her Yucca Valley home September 7. “It started to hail, which was crazy.” Her husband Tom, looked up into the hills south of their house, and what he saw alarmed him. “I saw a wall of mud coming down… I knew it was coming strong enough to go over our little retaining wall.” “My husband comes running in, ‘You gotta get inside, it’s coming!'” Tom, Krista, and their daughter Sophie ran inside their house, but it turns out, that was not the safest place to be. “Seeing the mud coming in, and I’m thinking, oh my God, it’s going to get on the rug, and then all of a sudden, the mud was up to my ankles, and I’m like, forget the rug, at that point, it’s just like, let’s get out of here.” “I’d say it was no more than 20 or 30 seconds the house was filled with four feet of mud, we were wading around in it. All the doors were pinned shut, so we couldn’t get out…. Finally we came out this window right here.” While the Wargos have homeowner’s insurance, they don’t have flood insurance. “He showed us on the policy where it lists everything that is considered a flood; so any rock slide, mud slide, debris flow, every way you could possibly turn it, they had in there.” With the entire house filled three to four feet deep with mud, anything the Wargos can’t salvage and clean is a complete loss—their clothing, antique and homemade furniture, books, Krista’s paintings, and, of course, their home.
If you would like to help the Wargo family, an online fundraising site has been set up to collect donations at gofundme.com/4a04gw. For photos of the devastation, see the family’s gofundme page, or check out this story at KCDZFM.com, or on the station’s Facebook page.