‘Tis the season … for mailbox theft. Dan Stork reports on a overnight spike in this holiday-time crime…
Saturday morning, residents of the Monument Manor area of Joshua Tree discovered that banks of locked mailboxes along Quail Springs Road had been broken into and cleared out.

Sheriff’s Deputy Leach dusts mangled mailboxes for prints in Joshua Tree.

Sheriff’s Deputy Leach, who examined the mangled back access panels of the boxes around 9 am on Saturday, said that that he was not used to seeing entry forced so “aggressively.” Other recent mailbox thefts have occurred in Twentynine Palms and the Buena Vista area of Yucca Valley. Saturday afternoon, a man walking his dogs south of Buena Vista in Yucca Valley found a pile of mail, with envelopes opened and emptied, with Monument Manor addresses. When contacted about this find, Deputy Leach told us that another cache of dumped mail had been found as well. He added that a thief or thieves had cut a swath through Morongo Basin mail boxes the previous night. Joshua Tree post office personnel told us that residents should pick up their mail at the post office until the boxes are repaired. The holiday season, with its expectation of checks and gift cards in the mail, is a favorite time for mailbox thieves.

Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest Thursday of a man suspected of stealing mail out of mail boxes in Twentynine Palms. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Rick Millard, about 3:30 a.m. Thursday morning, a woman noticed a dark-colored SUV driving eastbound, on the wrong side of the road in the 73100 block of Sun Valley Drive. The vehicle stopped at every mailbox and the driver appeared to be shining a flashlight into the mailboxes. Deputy Brad Heard was nearby and initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle. The driver and sole occupant, Anthony Logan, 24, initially gave a false name to the deputy. Deputy Heard determined that Logan was under the influence of a controlled substance and arrested him. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, the deputy discovered shopping bags filled with hundreds of pieces of mail. Some of the envelopes had been opened with vehicle registrations and gift cards removed; other mail was still unopened. Anthony Logan was arrested for investigation of burglary and possession of stolen property. He was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $25,000. The unopened pieces of mail were returned to the post office for redelivery. The investigation is ongoing. Logan remains in custody.


A Yucca Valley man was arrested Saturday after police say he attacked his mother with a nail gun. According to a Sheriff’s report, about 2:20 Saturday afternoon, James Nobles, 33, was with his mother in the 1600 block of South Wamego Trail in Yucca Valley when she said he hit her in the face with a nail gun, and she had injuries consistent with being hit with an object. Nobles told police his mother had hit him with a rock, but after an investigation, the deputy determined Nobles had sustained the injuries earlier in the day. James Nobles was arrested on suspicion of assault with a weapon, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.


Twentynine Palms firefighters responded to a small roof fire Sunday morning. According to Captain Robert Marquez, firefighters were called to the 74700 block of Serrano in the Hanson Tract area at 11:23 a.m. Neighbors attacked the fire with a garden hose and the flames were mostly out by the time firefighters arrived. The home had had roof work done the previous day, and so it’s suspected that a blow torch may have caused the roofing material to start smoldering. Firefighters had to tear off a 5- by 5-foot section of the new roof to ensure the fire was completely out.

Yucca Valley firefighters responded to a fire in a travel trailer Friday morning. About 11:30 a.m., firefighters arrived at the 3600 block of Riudoso Avenue to find heavy smoke coming from an old 18-foot travel trailer. They were able to put out the fire quickly, but the travel trailer was a complete loss.


Results are in for the annual holiday decorating contest, which saw record numbers of Basin businesses compete for free local advertising from contest sponsors Hi-Desert Publishing and your Community Radio Station, Z107.7.  Assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us where the holiday spirit shined the brightest…

For the third year in a row, Sunnyvale Garden Suites Hotel in Twentynine Palms takes first place for best exterior in the large business category for their twinkle-light-set-to-music spectacular that is made fresh and new each year. Tama’s Magic Mercantile in Yucca Valley takes second place, not for being the biggest, but for an enchanting outdoor display. And nearby Cherie Miller and Associates takes this year’s top honors for best large business interior; Hi-Desert Family Medical/Urgent Care on Church Street in Yucca Valley takes second place in large business interior. A New Creation Flowers and Gifts takes first place for best small business interior and AIM Rental Properties on the highway across from Vons takes second place in this crowded category. And for the season’s best decorated exterior in the small business category, Affordable Rentals in Yucca’s Old Town takes the prize for their rooftop winter wonderland. Go back toward Joshua Tree and right away you see why second place for best small business exterior goes to Joshua Tree Music.


About 100 people turned out at the Copper Mountain College’s Bell Center Friday to find out if they were the lucky winner of the 2013 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail motorcycle. The motorcycle raffle was a fundraiser for the college’s Christine Proudfoot Student Activity Center by the Rotary Clubs of Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley Noon and Sunset. Doug Peercy of Twentynine Palms was not in attendance, so CMC Foundation Executive Director Sandy Smith called him to tell him he had the winning ticket. Peercy said he bought two tickets—one during Twentynine Palms’ Pioneer Days in October, and the other during the Joshua Tree National Park’s Art Show and Faire two weeks ago. While the Rotary Clubs fell short of selling all 2,500 tickets, they did raise more than $20,000 for the student activity center. Also part of the festivities was a chili cook-off. Six entries were judged on aroma, color, consistency, flavor, and spice. The judges were Rotarians Greg Brown, Pat Welch, and Suzanne Haynes, who selected Cathy Inscore’s chili for Best Aroma, Managing Editor Tami Roleff’s chili for Best Presentation, and the soon-to-be-open Twentynine Palms Hotel Bar and Grill’s chili for Best Overall.

Copper Mountain College will be closed from December 24 through January 1. The college will resume its normal operating hours on January 2.


The Twentynine Palms High School Select Choir and their boosters are raising funds to make possible a trip to New York City and participation in a concert in Carnegie Hall. Dan Stork tells how the opportunity arose, and what the singers will do in the Big Apple…
Some months back, Twentynine Palms High School Music Director Michael Mayes was informed that his select choir was invited to participate in a multi-day workshop in New York City by American Music Performance (AMP) Nationals for top choirs in April of 2014, he was stunned. The invitation is a great honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the 22 students of his select choir. AMP is an elite, invite-only division of Choirs of America. Mayes says that first he was inclined to tell the select choir students how proud he was of their accomplishments, thank the AMP and move on, because he knew it would be a huge undertaking to raise the funds needed to finance the trip. But, after talking to fellow teachers, administrators, school board and community members, he decided to accept the invitation. As part of the fundraising effort to make the trip a reality, Z107.7 will sponsor a radiothon from noon to 5 p.m. on January 11. The conference itself will be filled with workshops and master classes with world-renowned musicians featuring adjudicated performances, one-hour clinics world-class faculty, a vocal master class, and their highly acclaimed workshop, “Premier!” On the final day, the students will sing in a concert in Carnegie Hall with conductor Grant Gerson, director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.


The hard-working volunteers for TLC are now in the Yucca Valley Community Center and are accepting all donations there. Tender Loving Cause still needs volunteers for the Christmas Day event: face painters, decorators, and drivers to deliver meals to shut-ins. TLC will be accepting requests for meal deliveries until 5 p.m. Christmas Eve. On Christmas, TLC will be at the Community Center from 12:30 to 6 p.m. providing a free Christmas meal and toys for kids. For more information or to volunteer, call 760-333-2413.


Joshua Tree firefighters will be escorting Santa around tonight in North Joshua Tree. He’ll be riding in a fire department pick-up truck, complete with lights and sirens, roaming through neighborhoods north of the highway between 6 and 9 p.m. and passing out candy canes.


The Twentynine Palms High School Girls Volleyball squad works hard. ROP Broadcasting student Carelyn Mendoza talked to Coach Jennica Pilayan…
Volleyball players work very hard to practice for their games. Today, I am interviewing the manager of the varsity girls’ volleyball team, Jennica Pilayan, on her personal experiences being a part of the volleyball team.
What type of exercises or routines do you do during volleyball practice?
Jennica: We set, hit, and pass the ball to each other for our warm-ups. We also practice hitting with a setter setting the ball to us. The back players stay on the other court and dig all the balls. We do drills like “Frustration” which helps us practice setting, hitting, and passing. Mostly, we play games against each other, and if there’s time, we also play against Junior Varsity.
How often and for how many hours do you practice?
Jennica: We practice every day from Monday to Friday for two hours, from 4 pm to 6 pm.
Do you feel that extra hours of practice outside of team practices are necessary?
Jennica: I feel they’re necessary if we have a very important game coming up or if we’ve been playing bad. Other than that, no, I don’t think they’re necessary.
So at what point do you honestly feel fully prepared for an upcoming game?
Jennica: I feel fully prepared if we have really good practices before the actual game. When everyone gets along and we have a lot of good plays in our practice games, I feel confident for the actual game.
What do you believe is the importance of teamwork when practicing?
Jennica: The only way to win and be successful is through teamwork. Nothing is possible without it.


After a rocky 0 and 5 start, Twentynine Palms Basketball Team played two games back-to-back Friday: A difficult road tournament game in Rancho Cucamunga, followed up with a race back home to Wildcat Gymnasium, against La Quinta H.S. In the first matchup, the Wildcats faced Rialto High School at 2:30 Friday afternoon and went on to a 64-59 victory. Coach Michael Schneider said after a two and a half hour drive home, the Wildcats faced La Quinta at 7:30. They played as if it was their first game of the day, with fresh legs. Senior Elijah Grubbs, hit four three-pointers, and had 19 points. Jimmy Shragge hit eight of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, and the Wildcats banged in 10 3-pointers. The game ended with a 58-49 victory bringing their overall record to 2 and 5.

The Yucca Valley High School Girls’ Soccer team had an away game against West Shores High School. The Lady Trojans dominated every aspect of the game and finished with an 11-1 victory. Coach Scott Phillips said nine different players scored and twelve had either a goal or an assist for the Lady Trojans.
Senior Teresa Nava: 2 goals
Senior Amy Priest: 2 goals
Senior Savannah Rogers: 1 goal, 2 assists
Senior Sabrina Whiting: 2 assists
Senior Michaela Milone: 1 goal
Senior Vivian Chow: 1 assist
Junior Jennifer Luersen: 1 goal
Junior Karson Scaccinoce: 1 goal
Sophomore Esther Obeso: 1 goal, 1 assist
Sophomore Olivia Paul: 1 assist
Freshman Alexia Missett: 1 goal, 2 assists
Freshman Hayli Mayhood: 1 goal