A minor earthquake centered in Yucca Valley hit shortly before 8:25 pm on Friday evening.  Preliminary reports measured the quake at a strength of 3.0, with the center located about a mile south of the town’s center, at a depth of 3 miles below the surface of the earth.  The coordinates given on an earthquake-reporting web site place the center below San Andreas Road.  (The actual San Andreas fault runs through the city of Desert Hot Springs.)


Fire fighters from two Morongo Basin stations were sent early Friday morning to fight the Colby fire in the hills above Glendora and Azusa. Brush engines from Station 41 in Yucca Valley and from the Morongo Valley Fire Department left about 2 a.m. Friday. Each brush engine has four fire fighters on it: Captain Arthen, Engineer Behrens, Firefighter/Paramedic Trovato, and Firefighter Partida from Morongo Valley; and Captain Jay Dimoff, Engineer Cory Norton, Firefighter/Paramedic Frank Lerma, and Firefighter Garrett Green from Yucca Valley. Brush engines have a mobile pump with 500 gallons of water and designed to travel over rugged terrain. Firefighters normally work in 24-hour shifts; with the very early morning departure, it’ll probably be 30 hours before they’re able to get any sleep. The two Morongo Basin brush engines are part of a mixed bag strike team, joining fire fighters from Apple Valley and Big Bear. The Colby fire has burned about 1,700 acres and was 30 percent contained as of Friday morning. Three men were arrested Thursday for setting the fire; a gust of wind blew embers from their campfire which started the fire.


With wildlands in close proximity to homes, fire prevention actions are always in order.  Reporter Mike Lipsitz passes along important tips…

In response to the ongoing wildfire threat, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes offers the following prevention tips to protect your property and loved ones.

  • Your gutters, eaves and roof should be clear of debris. Your street number should be clearly marked for emergency responders. Firewood and yard waste should be cleared from within 30 feet of buildings. Tree branches should be trimmed to within six to ten feet of the ground.
  • Identify an emergency water supply for firefighting within 1,000 feet of your home. This could be a hydrant, swimming pool, or emergency storage tanks shared among neighbors.

With your family, have a fire disaster plan including at least two evacuation routes. Have on hand a NOAA Weather Radio and disaster kit, and follow evacuation orders immediately. For more information on wildfire prevention go to www.flash.org.


Algernon (Cyrus Short) and Cecily (Lizzie Schmeling) share a moment in the garden, during "The Importance of Being Ernest" at Theatre 29.

Algernon (Cyrus Short) and Cecily (Lizzie Schmeling) share a moment in the garden, during “The Importance of Being Ernest” at Theatre 29.

“I knew the cast is having fun when they didn’t want to take Christmas week off” said Butch Pelfrey, the Director of the classic comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, by Oscar Wilde.  Called “a trivial comedy for serious people!”, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a tale of lost and found love and objects. Pelfrey described the play with a mysterious smile, “It can be a play of deep meaning or a shallow relaxing evening at the theatre, your choice, while it is a play of complexity, and it is simple in its message.” The retired Marine, now a veteran theatrical director, said he was blessed with a truly dedicated cast of young professionals. “The cast has given much more than I ask and so much more than I expected from such a young cast.” He said, adding enthusiastically, “It was more than a pleasure to attend rehearsals each night.”

Pelfrey spoke of his performers glowingly, “The character of Miss Prism, the governess with a secret past is portrayed wonderfully by Theatre 29 veteran Janet Peercy, Ben Bees is superb as John Worthing, aka Earnest, aka Jack, Algernon Moncrieff is immerging as the true rascal of the play admirably by Cyrus Short, Gwendolen Fairfax, who hates crowds but chooses to live in the city, is played to perfection by Katie VanSumeren, Lady Bracknell, the most upper crust of society, is brought to life by the wonderful Kathryn Ferguson, Leonard Weber as Reverend Chasuble is kept busy with numerous christenings and we know he is smart because he has written no books, Marv Schmelling is truly the most sarcastic and dead-pan butlers/man servant you will ever meet, and Lizzie Schmelling is superb as the spoiled ward of Worthing, every night is a mystery as to what Ms. Cecily Cardew might do, her scene with Lady Fairfax is worth the price of admission.”  “The Importance of Being Earnest” will run weekends through February 8th, 2014. Friday and Saturday night shows open at 7:00 p.m. with Sunday Matinees on January 19th and February 2nd at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12.00 for General Admission, $10.00 for Seniors and Military, and $8.00 for students with ID and children under 12. The play is suitable for all age groups.

Tickets can be reserved at www.theatre29.org or by calling the Theatre 29 Box Office at 760-361-4151.


With one production to its credit, and another in the offing, a Yucca Valley theater group is having a fundraiser to support its efforts.  Managing Editor Tami Roleff says, bring an appetite…

The St. Joseph’s Players are holding a chili dinner fundraiser Saturday, January 18 to raise money for their next production, “On Golden Pond.” Chili, including vegetarian chili, cole slaw, corn bread, and dessert, along with coffee, tea, and lemonade, will be served by the cast and crew from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The dinner will be held at the Rusack Parish Hall at the St. Joseph of Arimathea Church, 56312 Onaga Trail in Yucca Valley. There will also be raffle prizes. Tickets are $8 each, $14 for couples, $25 for families of four or more, and are available at the Silk Purse in Twentynine Palms, Wind Walker in Joshua Tree, from members of the cast and crew, and at the door. “On Golden Pond” will open February 21 and run through March 9.


The Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold a seminar on sales and use tax for businesses. The seminar will include information on who needs a seller’s permit, resale certificate, or exemption certificate, and how to obtain them, along with what is and what is not taxable. Participants should bring a brown bag lunch. The sales and use tax seminar is set for Wednesday, January 22, from 11:30 to 1 p.m. in the Joshua Tree Room at the Yucca Valley Community Center.


The Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce will hold a planning meeting for their 14th Annual Car Show and Street Fair Thursday, January 23, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The purpose of this meeting is to allow community members the opportunity to provide input on how they can make this year’s event the best ever. Ideas and participation are welcomed and greatly appreciated. For more information, please contact the Twentynine Palms Chamber at 760-367-3445.


The Joshua Tree Rotary Club is holding its 27th annual Super Bowl Party at Copper Mountain College. Watch the Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, at Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen on the college campus with an all-you-can-eat super buffet. The doors open at 2 p.m.; kick-off is 3:25. Tickets are $25 each and are available from Joshua Tree Rotarians.