Ten months after a Marine was killed aboard the Twentynine Palms base, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service released information on the death of Pfc. Casey James Holmes. Holmes, 20, of Chico, California, joined the Marines in May 2012. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines. Holmes’ unit was taking part in a month-long training exercise and was killed Monday, March 11, 2013. Marine authorities had refused to reveal any information about Holmes’ death except that it was the result of a “traffic accident.” The Chico Enterprise-Record filed Freedom of Information Act requests and the NCIS surrendered a highly redacted 128 pages. The reports said Holmes had been directed to dig a “fighting hole”. The shallow foxholes were interspersed among a unit of amphibious assault vehicles. Shortly before 11 p.m., a pair of Marine bulldozers, called MCT’s, approached the encampment. The report said many Marines at the scene began screaming and waving at the two dozers, traveling in single file, to stop. The lead bulldozer came to a stop directly on top of Holmes, who was in a sleeping bag in the fighting hole. The driver of the dozer said he stopped and a Marine screamed at him to drive forward. After moving the dozer, the driver said quote – “It looked as if I had driven the MCT over someone. I heard several voices yelling for a corpsman to give aid to the person to the rear of the MCT.” The first medic to the scene later told investigators Holmes had suffered massive traumatic injuries. As the corpsmen began CPR, the unidentified battalion surgeon rushed to the scene, checked for a pulse and pronounced Holmes dead at 11:23 p.m. The NCIS said it found no evidence of drug or alcohol used related to the incident and said there was no evidence of any criminal activity when it officially closed the investigation in late September.


The format of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council features several regular reports, and one highlighted topic. Dan Stork tells what’s in store for this month…
The featured special report at the January 13 meeting of the Morongo Basin MAC is on County Code Enforcement. The subcommittee on Land Use will present its report as well. The meeting begins with regular reports on Sheriff’s, CHP, and County Fire activities, and reports from individual communities within the MAC’s geographical scope. Start time for the meeting is 6:30 p.m., at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Road.


An old phone scam that is making the rounds again. It’s called the “grandparents scam,” because the caller pretends to be the victim’s grandchild. The “Hi Grandma, it’s me” scam starts with a phone call from a “grandchild” in urgent need of money because they’re in jail in Mexico, or were just in a car crash. The caller pressures the victim to wire money immediately. The caller also begs the victim not to tell anyone. In order to avoid being taken by the scam, ask the caller information only you and your grandchild would know. Do not act without confirming the information. Call your grandchild or his or her parents first on their phone to confirm whether the story is true. Refuse to send money via a wire transfer; you can never get it back. If you do fall for the scam, report it to the Sheriff’s Department.


This week, the Twentynine Palms traffic units will be enforcing speed violations and cell phone violations on the main streets and residential areas throughout the city. Speeding and distracted driving is a major cause of collisions. The traffic team will also be focusing their attention on failure to yield violations from side streets and driveways. Failing to yield the right-of-away accounts for approximately one-half of all traffic collisions.


Local Historical Societies are working to highlight the top events in our Morongo Basin over the past 100 years. Reporter Taylor Thacker tells you how to assist and participate in the document…
The Twentynine Palms and Morongo Basin Historical Societies have joined in a project that will culminate in the publication of a document that dedicates a page per year to a featured major Morongo Basin event. These historical societies are asking for donations for them to continue their work of collecting, preserving, and displaying information and artifacts. Any amount of donations is accepted, but if you would like to be a partner with a year, the historical societies are asking for $100. If you decide to be a partner, your name will be included in this historical document. To donate money, go to a link in at and click on the donate button. Some of the projects that have been completed and will be put into this project are the construction of the Smith’s Ranch drive-in, women rescued form a mineshaft, the beginning of Morongo Basin cultural art tours, and much more. For more information, go to a link in this story at


A fund-raising five-hour “Radiothon” here on Z107.7 Saturday raised a substantial amount of funds for travel expenses to send the Twentynine Palms Select Choir to a prestigious three-day workshop in New York, culminating in a performance at Carnegie hall. The five-hour event, with volunteers from the Select Choir and their boosters organization, raised $16,200. While the funds raised are still just short of what is needed, donations can still be brought by the Z107.7 studios in Joshua Tree and the Choir is still conducting fund-raising before their January 31 deadline. The Select Choir was one of only 20 in the nation invited to the event, and in fact is the only choir in the State of California invited.


The Twentynine Palms Cemetery reminds residents that any holiday decorations left on grave sites will be removed and disposed of by the staff on January 31. If the families want to keep them they will need to come retrieve them prior to that date.


No sooner does one play get on the boards at Theatre 29, then it’s time to gear up for the next production. Dan Stork has the audition call for “Murder at Checkmate Manor”…
Director Marty Neider has announced auditions are set for Theatre 29’s second show of the 2014 season. A Farndale Murder Mystery, “Murder at Checkmate Manor.” Auditions are on Monday, January 13, at 6 p.m. at Theatre 29 at 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. This play is a fast-paced (at times) comedic farce about 5 British ladies who fearlessly take on big plays and then struggle with everything from costume changes, injured actors, missed lines, missed cues and sets falling down, but in the tradition of the British, “Stiff Upper Lip and all that,” they carry on and manage to get through the process. There is a fashion show in the middle of the play, not to mention the home movie that starts out the show, and a prize for the patron who pays close attention to what is going on in the play and answers the most questions correctly, and a surprise twist at the end. There are four female roles and one male role, for actors from mid-20’s to their 60’s. The roles that are being cast and selected sides are available at The director is looking for English accents, good comedic timing, and the ability to play the role of a “bad” actor. All roles are open for casting. Rehearsals run from January 14 to February 27. Opening night is February 28, and will run until March 27 with two Sunday matinees. People interested in volunteering for set building, lighting and sound, and backstage support, are also invited to come to the audition session.


Registration for the Joshua Tree Youth Basketball Program is now being accepted online and at the Joshua Tree Community Center Office. Cost is $48 until January 24, and then the fee increases to $55. Price includes a jersey and shorts, and registration is open for ages 4 to 14 years. Final day to register is February 14. The 8 week session begins the week of March 10. All practices and games will be played outdoors at Sunburst Park in Joshua Tree. The Joshua Tree Youth Basketball Program is a great way to learn fundamental skills, basics of the game, and what it takes to be a team player. If you are 15 or older and want to play in a basketball program, contact the Joshua Tree Community Center Office and they will see about getting a program started for your age group. For more information about Youth Basketball or other programs contact the Joshua Tree Community Center at 760-366-8415 or at


The St. Joseph’s Players of Yucca Valley are getting ready for their next production, “On Golden Pond.” Managing Editor Tami Roleff says the cast has just been announced…
The St. Joseph’s Players are in rehearsals for their second production, “On Golden Pond,” directed by Rebecca Havely, which is scheduled to open Friday, February 21. Retirees Ethel and Norman, played by Lloyd Steele and Sue Kelly, spend every summer at their cabin on Golden Pond. This year, their adult daughter, Chelsea, played by Sadie Johansson, her fiancé, Benjamin Bees, and his 13-year-old son, played by Trevor Carpenter visit, complete with generation gaps, turbulent relationships, and the difficulties facing a couple in their golden years. Rounding out the cast are Ben Sasnett and Jananne Turner. Tickets are $8 and $10, and are available at “The Silk Purse” in Twentynine Palms and “Wind Walker” in Joshua Tree, as well as from church and cast members. To reserve tickets, call 760-365-7133 and leave your name and phone number. Performance dates are February 21 and 22, March 1 and 2, and 8 and 9. The play will be performed at St. Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church in Yucca Valley, is located at 56312 Onaga Trail at the corner of Church Street and Onaga Trail in Yucca Valley.


Twentynine Palms girls’ basketball raised their record to 11 and 4 on Friday, January 10, with a win over visiting Palm Springs 41 to 39. Leading scorers were Andrileah Lee and Nokomis Cabrera. The ’Cats start league play on Wednesday, January 15, at Shadow Hills.

Yucca Valley High School junior varsity Trojan wrestler Gabriel Contreras for placed first, Everett Harris and Colton Grey for placed second, and Ramon Echeverria, Julian Henretty, Andrew Reyes, Rene Gamboa, and Trevor Scott placed third at the Drennen Invitational at Palm Springs High School on Saturday.

The Lady Trojans meanwhile competed in the Western High School Invitational in Anaheim and all four Trojans earned placings: Katherine Kennedy, Destynie Candelaria, and Vanesa Contreras each placed fourth, and Julianne Fuentes placed fifth.

The Varsity wrestling team, 2 – 0 in De Anza League competition, celebrates senior night on Thursday as they take on De Anza League opponent Big Bear 5:00 p.m. at home in the Trojan gym.