There are many of us who spend the holidays with four walls and boxes of tissues, and many who just can’t afford to celebrate Christmas. If you can’t afford Christmas, or just don’t want to be alone, join Tender Loving Christmas tomorrow at the Yucca Valley Community Center from 12:30 to 6 p.m. For 30 years, the hard-working volunteers of TLC have been providing a free all-you-can-eat buffet, including turkey and ham and dozens of kinds of salads, side dishes, and desserts. Santa will be there, as well as free toys for kids, entertainment, food boxes, and gently used clothing for those in need. Volunteers will also deliver meals to shut-ins; call 760-333-2413 by 5 p.m. today to sign up for a free meal delivery tomorrow.


On this Christmas Eve, we offer important tips to protect you and your family. Assignment reporter Katie Baker has reminders on how to keep your Christmas safe…
The holidays mean yummy food, parties, and lots of family and friends. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when there are a lot of home fires. Check the batteries in your smoke alarm. Also, remember to unplug all holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed, and use candles carefully. Keep portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn. Holiday lights look pretty, but they can also cause fires. If your lights have cracked or frayed cords, throw them away. If you buy an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled “flame retardant.” If you have a real Christmas tree, water it several times a day and don’t place the tree where it may block exits. Also keep your tree at least three feet from furnaces, radiators and fireplaces. Remember, a fire on any day seems bad, but a fire on Christmas, it just seems to be the worst.


Volunteers for the 2014-2015 San Bernardino County Grand Jury are being sought; the recruiting period is open for those citizens interested in serving. Successful applicants will serve as Grand Jurors for the period beginning July 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2015. To be eligible for selection a person must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the County of San Bernardino for at least one year prior to appointment. Potential grand jurors are also required to possess sufficient knowledge of the English language, be in possession of their natural faculties, of ordinary intelligence, of sound judgment and of good character. By law, elected public officials are not eligible. Service as a grand juror involves an average of 3 to 5 full working days per week. Compensation is $25 per day plus meals and appropriate mileage. The regular grand jury meeting place is located in San Bernardino. The county grand jury is charged to investigate all aspects of County, city and special district government, and possibly hear information on certain criminal investigations. Interested citizens can complete the application on-line at the grand jury’s website at Applications can also be obtained by calling 909-387-3820, pick one up in person at the County Courthouse in San Bernardino. Applications may also be available at the various district Court offices throughout the County. Applications will be accepted through February 28, 2014.


The hard work is underway for the 2014 Miss Yucca valley Scholarship Pageant, produced by the Yucca Valley Rotary Club. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells us who the contestants are…
Ten high school juniors have been named as contestants for the Miss Yucca Valley Scholarship pageant. They are Vanessa Valle, Alicia Murphy, Aimee Frank, Sophie Wargo, Maddy Nimmo, Hailey Lasiter, Rita Zelaya, Rosie Paulino, and Marian Muchtar. One girl will be selected as Miss Yucca Valley, along with three princesses, at a pageant to be held February 1 at Joshua Springs Christian School. The girl selected as Miss Yucca Valley will receive a $1500 scholarship to a college of her choice; the three princesses will also receive scholarships. During the pageant, the girls will perform a dance routine, and they will be interviewed on stage by emcees Gary and Cindy Daigneault, will have to answer questions, and will have to give a speech on a prominent woman they interviewed and what they learned from her. Prior to the pageant, Z107.7 will air interviews with each girl about the prominent woman she interviewed.


Two local organizations have collected toys to distribute to needy children here in the Morongo Basin. The Morongo Basin California Highway Patrol collected and distributed 793 toys in its 25th CHiPs for Kids program. The officers volunteered their time to collect and distribute the toys throughout the Basin. The majority of the toys were collected on December 17 during a toy drive in Yucca Valley. Employees of Hi-Desert Water District raised $690 through the purchase of raffle tickets at the employee Christmas party. The funds raised are used to purchase toys that will be distributed during the Tender Loving Christmas event. This is the 11th year the water district employees have raised money to buy toys for needy children.


The Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce is looking for a three- to five- word theme for the 64th Annual Grubstake Days celebration. The theme will be used by the parade entries to decorate their floats and costumes. In addition to a theme, the Chamber is asking for nominations for Grand Marshal. The creator of the winning theme and the Grand Marshal will be the guests of the Chamber in the May 24, 2014 Grubstake Days parade. Submit your Grand Marshal nomination and parade theme idea to the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce office, 56711 29 Palms Highway, or email to, no later than noon on Friday, January 10. For more information, call 760-365-6323.


Those who work toward the preservation and protection of our magnificent desert are being honored. Reporter Dan Stork says nominations are being taken for the annual Minerva Hoyt award…
The Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA) is seeking nominations for the tenth Annual Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award. Minerva Hamilton Hoyt was a South Pasadena resident whose persistent campaign to preserve the deserts of southern California persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress to create Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936.
Nominees will have made a notable achievement toward conservation of the California desert in one or more of the following areas: 1) leadership resulting in legislative action or public policy in the area of desert conservation, 2) research leading to improved conservation knowledge, techniques or strategies, 3) conservation partnerships and collaborations, or 4) education and outreach activities. Nomination guidelines and forms are available on the Association’s website at All nominations must be received by JTNPA no later than January 10, 2014. The 2013 Hoyt Award winner will be announced in mid-February, 2014.


The Morongo Basin Transit Authority (MBTA) will NOT operate service on Wednesday, December 25, in observance of Christmas Day and will resume its regularly scheduled service on Thursday, December 26.


Burrtec Waste and Recycling Service will be closed tomorrow and January 1. Waste and recycling service will be delayed by one day for both weeks.


Desert Hill Presbyterian Church will hold a Christmas Eve service 5 p.m. Tuesday, December 24. Special music will be provided by Chris Poland and his family, along with traditional carols. The church is located at 56750 Mountain View Trail in Yucca Valley.


In high school sports, the Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms High School soccer and basketball teams will be participating in tournaments starting Thursday. The Trojan boys’ basketball team will be playing in the Linfield Christian School tournament through Saturday. Both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will travel away to play in the Ontario Christian Tournament through Saturday. The Twentynine Palms High School girls’ basketball team will be playing in the Ayala Tournament through New Year’s Eve.