A Lucerne Valley mans on a bicycle was struck and killed yesterday morning on State Route 247. The County Coroner said at 7:59 a.m., Angelo “Andy” Douglas Azzato, 47, was found dead along the side of the road, the apparent victim of a hit-run-driver. Azzato had been riding his bicycle home from town, and was traveling eastbound along Highway 247, when he was struck from behind. It is unknown when the collision took place, but the incident most likely occurred between Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning. His body was found by a passing motorist. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident. Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP Victorville office at 760-241-1186. The Coroner Division is searching for family. Anyone with information about relatives is requested to call 909-387-2978.
In honor of Veterans Day, all national parks and national forests will offer free admittance to everyone this weekend, from Saturday, November 9 through Monday, November 11. Fees for camping and tours of Key Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park will still be collected. Active duty military are eligible for free annual passes good at all national parks, and national forests, Fish and Wildlife sites, and Bureau of Reclamation sites.
Morongo Basin Unity Home will offer its 40-hour California state-mandated training class beginning November 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Classes will be every Tuesday and Thursday for 5 weeks. This class is offered at no charge. Call Unity Home’s Outreach Office at 760-366-1247 to sign up.
With county jails at capacity, and having to add another 300 inmates a month due to the Inmate Realignment Act, or AB109, Sheriff John McMahon told the Yucca Valley Town Council at its meeting Tuesday night that something’s gotta give. In part 2 of two, managing editor Tami Roleff said the Sheriff’s Department is looking at new strategies for dealing with inmates…
Sheriff John McMahon described how county jails used to work. “We arrest a guy, put him in jail. Problem solved. We moved on to the next one. We just warehoused inmates over the years. It didn’t really help much. It solved the problem, but it didn’t help turn their life around.” But that approach doesn’t work anymore, he said. “We can’t afford to build enough jails, and if we could, we couldn’t afford to staff them, to house the number of inmates we need to house.” McMahon talked about some job programs that give the inmates skills that they can use once they’re released from jail. “We’re now putting our own inmates on fire crews. Great success stories coming out of that. They just love being a part of that crew because everybody appreciates what they do. We’ve had great success stories coming out of that. They can get a job with US government fighting fires, they can get a job with private contractors that fight fires in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, so there are job opportunities once they get released with those skills.” He added the goal is to keep recidivism as low as possible. “We need to spend our time and effort on the ones we can change.” “What we’re doing now is not what we’ve done in the past. But clearly we had to do something to make a difference.” McMahon noted that the recidivism rate of inmates on probation—40 percent—is much lower than the 70 percent rate of inmates released from state prison.
The County registrar of voters has updated its results for the election for three Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency Board seats. As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Dennis Straley is narrowly in the lead with 153 votes, just two votes ahead of Terry Burkhart, with 151. Director Judy Corl-Lorono is in third place with 130 votes. Close behind is Larry Coulombe with 124 votes. The next update will be next Wednesday, November 13.
The Morongo Basin Democratic Club will meet Saturday, November 9, at Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen on the Copper Mountain College campus in Joshua Tree. Fellowship and a $10 full breakfast begin at 9 a.m.; the regular meeting begins at 10 a.m. On the agenda is a letter-writing campaign with some suggested priorities for our congressman. The Club will provide stationary, envelopes, postage and sample letters. More information, links and resources are online at MBDems.com.
In honor of Native American Month, Harrison House Music and Arts will present a free event showcasing the Serrano culture in Joshua Tree. The program, “Serrano Culture and Serrano Bighorn Sheep Songs” will feature elders and members of the Serrano people including tribal historian Ernest Siva, County Supervisor James Ramos, Paakuma, Raymond Marcus and Kim Marcus. The event will include a traditional tobacco blessing, Serrano bighorn sheep songs, ancient coyote dance, and Serrano songs and stories from this region. The event will be held Saturday, November 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. For more information, call 760-366-4712.
Representative Paul Cook has joined a broad bipartisan effort in Congress to express concern about cuts in Medicare payments for dialysis treatments. Those cuts originated in a Congressional vote earlier this year, in a measure supported by about half of those Congress people who now are part of the current protest. Dan Stork looks at the turnabout…
On Monday, November 4, Representative Paul Cook visited the DaVita dialysis center in Yucca Valley, where DaVita officials thanked him for speaking out against proposed cuts of almost 10 percent in Medicare payments for dialysis treatments. Cook was one of more than 200 members of Congress from all along the political spectrum who signed a letter to Medicare last month that expressed concern about the cuts, voicing the fear that they would lead to degradation or even loss of kidney disease care, especially in rural and inner-city areas.
According to the New York Times, up to two years ago, dialysis centers were paid by the dose for an expensive drug commonly used in conjunction with dialysis. To reduce costs, dialysis payments were changed to a flat rate, with the drug cost bundled in. Use of the drug then plummeted, leaving large profit increases for the chains of for-profit dialysis centers, the two largest of which are owned by Denver-based DaVita and Fresenius, a company based in Germany. In January of this year, Congress voted to require the Obama administration to reduce the excessive payments. Medicare accordingly planned an average cut of 9.4 percent in dialysis treatment payments. Then the renal disease treatment industry, which receives almost $33 billion a year specifically targeted for it, and cannot charge Medicare patients to make up their losses, and which contributes heavily to politicians of both major parties, mounted a lobbying effort against the cuts, emphasizing the thin margins on which dialysis centers, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, operate. About 100 legislators changed their positions.
DaVita serves about 500 dialysis patients in four Hi-Desert centers. Background information for this story comes from the following New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/us/politics/health-lobby-tries-to-undo-dialysis-cuts.html?hp&_r=1&
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum continues its popular education program, Science Saturdays, with a lecture on the human body on Saturday, November 9. No matter what a person is doing, whether it’s playing or sleeping, the human body is always at work. The body is filled with all types of complex elements but there is not one single component that can do everything by itself; it requires teamwork. During this super human Science Saturday, children will learn how human bodies work. Science Saturdays are free and are held from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, next to the Yucca Valley Community Center in Yucca Valley.
Saturday, November 9th, will mark the opening of “6 Chicks,” the new POP UP art gallery in Joshua Tree featuring art by six local women artists: Bonnie Brady, Janis Commentz, Esther Shaw, Suzanne Ross, Diana Shay-Diehl, and Alita Van Vliet. The gallery will specialize in original works including gift items. All are invited to the opening gala at “6 Chicks Art Gallery” 61871 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree during the second Saturday Art Crawl from 6-8 p.m.
Teens in grades 7 through 12 can join the Twentynine Palms Library Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m. for teen crafts. This month’s craft will be making a holiday turkey out of pompoms and felt. Enjoy refreshments as you create your one-of-a-kind craft. All supplies are provided by the Friends of the Library. For more information and to sign up for the teen craft, please call the Twentynine Palms Branch Library at 760-367-9519.
An annual tradition for the Marine Corps Reserves is gearing up in our Morongo Basin area. Reporter Taylor Thacker says…
Toys for Tots has started! The Marines will be accepting toy donations and money donations starting now for this Christmas season. To donate money, go online to http://29-palms-ca.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx and then click the donate button at the top of the page. The money donations are used for buying toys for the children. Not one donated dollar goes to pay for salaries or any other man power costs. To donate a toy, you can pick a drop off site near you. For more information call 760-830-0966.
The Joshua Tree Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will not hold a Friday night dinner or Sunday breakfast this weekend. Instead, in honor of the Marine Corps’ 238th birthday November 10, the Post will hold a special rib-eye steak dinner Sunday. The cost is $15. The grilling starts at 3 p.m. and goes til 6-ish, or whenever the steaks run out.
Desert Hills Presbyterian Church will hold a special service honoring and recognizing veterans, Sunday, November 10. The service will also include patriotic hymns. Refreshments will be served afterward. Veterans and their families will also learn about an upcoming talk about adjusting to coming home after serving in a war. The church is located at 56750 Mountain View Trail, in Yucca Valley.
The Door Christian Fellowship of Yucca Valley invites both active-duty and veterans to its annual Honorary Dinner Banquet Monday at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at no charge to veterans and men and women of the Armed Forces. Nursery and transportation is provided. The Door Christian Fellowship is located at 56828 Skyline Ranch Rd. in Yucca Valley. For more information and to reserve a seat please call 760-501-1434.
The Church of Latter Day Saints in Yucca Valley will hold a free community Veterans’ Day breakfast and celebration November 11. The breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m. at the L.D.S. Church, 56885 Onaga Trail, across from the high school, in Yucca Valley. All veterans and active military personnel will be honored and remembered for their sacrifices. Copper Mountain College’s Interim Dean of Instruction Joseph DeSantis will be the keynote speaker during the program, which will include a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, muffins, fresh fruit and juice. For more information, call 760-401-3495.
Tonight is the 46th Battle of The Bell football game, in which cross-basin rivals Yucca Valley High School Trojans and Twentynine Palms High School Wildcats, will go head to head for not just bragging rights, but for the all-important league placement. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more…
It’s been a football tradition since 1968; the 46th Battle of the Bell football game between cross-basin rivals Twentynine Palms High School and Yucca Valley High Schools. The Wildcats hold the series lead with 27 wins, compared to 18 wins for the Trojans, and the Wildcats have won eight consecutive games. The Trojans haven’t won the Bell trophy since 2004. Tonight’s game should be interesting since the Wildcats are in a 4-way tie for second place in the De Anza League, with Yucca Valley, Desert Hot Springs, and Shadow Hills, with one game left to play. Big Bear clinched first place with a victory over Shadow Hills last Saturday. The Yucca Valley Trojans started off the season with an outstanding 7-0 record, but lost their last two games. Meanwhile, the Wildcats won their last two games. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Tom Nicolls Stadium in Twentynine Palms.
The TLC Love Notes will be at Starbucks tonight from 3 to 8 p.m. TLC is gearing up for its 30th annual TLC Christmas dinner. Come have a cup of coffee, sing, sign up to volunteer or drop off a donation of yard, sundries, or canned goods. For more information, call Mara Cantelo at 760-333-2413.
On Saturday, November 9 the Food For Life Staff will be supplying a free, hot, nutritional meal at the Little Church of the Desert Community Hall from 3-5.
Desert Congregational Church in Twentynine Palms will hold a Saturday Night Church tomorrow, November 9, at 7 p.m. Musicians of all types are invited to come and play country, bluegrass, and gospel music. The church is located at 5688 Sunrise Road. Call 760-361-0086 for a free ride to the church.
Sky View Chapel Church of God will hold a Christmas boutique sale Saturday, November 9, from 8 to 2. The sale will include baked goods and homemade craft items. The church is located at 7475 Sunny Vista Road in Joshua Tree.
Attention bikers: Bikers for Christ and 180 Ministries will hold their Fifth Annual Turkey Run Saturday, November 9. Sign up starts at 9 a.m. at the 180 Ministries on the highway in Joshua Tree, 61858 29 Palms Highway. Kick stands up at 10. The poker run will include raffles and a barbecue. The cost is $25 for a single rider, $35 for a rider and a passenger. All proceeds go to the Way Station to provide Thanksgiving dinners to the less fortunate.