The 40th Annual Hilltoppers off-road motorcycle Grand Prix is this weekend, April 5 and 6, at the Twentynine Palms Motorsports Arena, east of the city off Highway 62 on Mojave Road. This grand prix is an AMA-sanctioned event and part of the GPR Big Six Grand Prix Series. The race attracts hundreds of entrants and thousands of spectators every year. Tickets are $10 per day or $15 for both days; there are discounts for military and children. Sign-ups start at 4 p.m. Friday, April 4, through 9 p.m., but the races do not start until Saturday. Gates open 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with the first race at 7:30 a.m. both days. There will be food, vendors, and fun for all ages. For more information visit www.hilltoppersmc.com.


A call to the fire department about smoke at a Yucca Valley apartment Tuesday morning sent a man to jail on allegations of drug possession. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Wilson, a neighbor called 911 at 11:45 a.m. to report smoke coming from an apartment in the 7400 block of Elk Trail. Sheriff’s Deputy J. Delgado discovered Jason Ritchey, 33, was trying to burn the insulation off wire in a metal drum in his back yard. After an investigation, Delgado found suspected methamphetamine on Ritchey. Ritchey was arrested on suspicion of possession of dangerous drugs, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $25,000.


Scam artists are still luring trusting area residents into parting with their hard-earned money. Sheriff’s Service Specialist Anita Northcutt says beware of the “Arrest Warrant” scam…..

In this scam, con artists are taking advantage of technology that can change whatever is visible on Caller ID, and allow the to pose as the office of the local sheriff or other law enforcement agency. They call to say there is a warrant out for your arrest, but that you can pay a fine to avoid criminal charges. Of course, these “police” don’t take credit cards; only a wire transfer or prepaid debit card will do. Sometimes these scams seem very personal; the scammer may refer to a loan or other financial matter. It may just be a lucky guess, but don’t be fooled into thinking you are about to be arrested.


The Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce will honor outstanding citizens of the Morongo Basin during its annual installation dinner and awards ceremony in July. Nominations are being accepted for Yucca Valley Chamber Member of the Year; Business of the Year; Boss of the Year; Unsung Hero of the Year; and a Person or Organization that Represents the Morongo Basin’s Heart and Soul. The deadline to submit the name and a brief paragraph about the person or organization that you would like to see honored is 4:30 p.m. May 9. For more information about nominations, call the Chamber of Commerce at 760-365-6323.


Entertainers young and old, large and small are being sought for this year’s “Grubstake Days Community Fair.” The event is set for Saturday, May 24, at the Hi-Desert Boys and Girls Club and Boehm Youth Park grounds on Little League Drive in Yucca Valley. The outside booths and entertainment area will open immediately following the Grubstake Days Parade, and run until 5:00 pm. Continuous family entertainment will be offered on the Main Stage at the event from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Bleachers will be available to sit and enjoy the community entertainment. Community groups and individuals are welcome to apply to be part of the entertainment lineup. If you sing a song, juggle, have a band, or just want to tell some jokes, contact Entertainment chair Gary Daigneault at Z107.7 radio, 760-366-8471.


The City of Twentynine Palms is giving an early heads-up to its citizens, with regard to budget discussions for the next fiscal year.  Reporter Dan Stork relays the invitation…

The Twentynine Palms City Council is inviting the public to provide input on the city budget during its next regular meeting on Tuesday, April 8, beginning at 6 p.m., at Twentynine Palms City Hall, 6136 Adobe Road. The purpose of the public comment invitation is to provide an opportunity for residents, businesses, organizations, and community stakeholders to express their ideas, suggest priorities, and comment on how resources should be allocated for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. “The Twentynine Palms City Council will begin reviewing the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget and would like to receive comments from the community on how the City’s resources should be prioritized,”” said City Manager Joe Guzzetta.

Comments and suggestions can be directed to items such as City services, parks, streets, buildings, programs, activities, marketing, or capital projects. The City will not be presenting projected budget revenue or expenditure numbers at this meeting. “This is an opportunity to listen to the public,” Guzzetta said.

For more information, contact Twentynine Palms City Hall, 6136 Adobe Road, 760-367-6799, or view previous budget information online at www.29palms.org.


The Palms-N-Paws Animal Shelter in Twentynine Palms will conduct a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic for cats and dogs from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, April 5. The cost is $6 per vaccination, cash only. Licensing for the city and county will also be available. All dogs must be on a leash and cats in a carrier. The Palms N Paws Animal Shelter is located at 7086 Bullion Road, one block south of Sullivan Road, in Twentynine Palms. For more information call 760-367-0157.


The Hi-Desert Water District is wrestling with a decision: to build the sewer system themselves over 5 years or hire a contractor to do it in two years, but for more money. Managing Editor Tami Roleff was with them last night as it was discussed…

The main trunk of the sewer line will follow Yucca Creek through Yucca Valley, with a pumping station near the Park and Ride on Kickapoo and another one at Paxton and Balsa Avenue. Feeder pipes into the main trunk of the sewer will cross Highway 62 and Old Woman Springs Road in 12 locations; Hi-Desert Water District staff said installation of those highway crossings should not impact traffic. The colored areas on the map indicate different project areas for contractors to bid on.

The main trunk of the sewer line will follow Yucca Creek through Yucca Valley, with a pumping station near the Park and Ride on Kickapoo and another one at Paxton and Balsa Avenue. Feeder pipes into the main trunk of the sewer will cross Highway 62 and Old Woman Springs Road in 12 locations; Hi-Desert Water District staff said installation of those highway crossings should not impact traffic. The colored areas on the map indicate different project areas for contractors to bid on.

The Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors heard three informational presentations at its meeting last night about the sewer project. The first presentation gave options for how the water district could contract the construction of the sewer plant. The District could hire a project designer and then solicit bids for a contractor to build the project. A variation of that option is to hire a design firm, solicit bids for the construction, and have the designers and contractors work together on building the plant. The third option was to hire one company that would design and build the project. Each option had its pros and cons, such as whether the district could consider the qualifications of the applicant company; how much risk and control over the design of the project the district had; how much input the contractor had into the design; whether the project cost could be locked in at the start or end of the project; and performance guarantees. The board was informed that the timeline from design to construction completion was about 2 ½ to 3 years, a surprise to some, who had expected the project to take two years to complete.

The main trunk of the sewer line will follow Yucca Creek through Yucca Valley, with a pumping station near the Park and Ride on Kickapoo and another one at Paxton and Balsa Avenue. Feeder pipes into the main trunk of the sewer will cross Highway 62 and Old Woman Springs Road in 12 locations; Hi-Desert Water District staff said installation of those highway crossings should not impact traffic. The colored areas on the map indicate different project areas for contractors to bid on.

Next, the board heard a presentation on treatment technologies. The sewer plant could use oxidation ditches or filters called membrane bioreactors to treat the water. Oxidation ditches are fairly common methods of treating sewage; membrane bioreactors are a fairly new—but rapidly expanding—technology. The two methods cost about the same, but have discernible differences in the size of the plant, the energy costs, and ability to handle peak flows.

And finally, the Board heard a review of the pros and cons of having the sewer pipeline built by contractors versus hiring more employees to build the pipelines in-house. Directors Sarann Graham, Dan Munsey, and Sheldon Hough were not convinced that saving a potential $15 million was worth a five-year disruption to town roads and neighborhoods. The water district still has to get easements for the sewer pipeline from many homeowners, which could significantly delay the start of the project, getting the assessment vote on the ballot, and potentially risk losing the ½ percent interest rate the district is pursuing.

Since all the presentations at last night’s meeting were informational, no action was taken on any of them.


The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is offering spring-time crafting fun for kids Saturday, April 5, from 11 to noon. Children will have the opportunity to make up to six spring-themed crafts. All materials are provided, but space is limited, so pre-registration is required. The cost is $2 per child. Sign up at the museum, or online at hidesertnaturemuseum.org, or call 760-369-7212.


Again this year, a public Passover Seder is being offered to Jewish residents of the area. Reporter Dan Stork tells how to reserve a spot at the table…

Jewish residents of the Morongo Basin and Desert Hot Springs— including military personnel—are invited to a community Passover Seder during this year’s Passover holiday. The Seder is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Desert. The festival service and meal will be taking place at Mission Lakes Country Club in Desert Hot Springs, at 5 p.m. on Thursday April 17. Reservations are a MUST— walk-ins will not be accepted that evening. Please RSVP by April 10 to Sandy at the Jewish Federation of the Desert, either by phone at 760-324-4737, or via email at sandy.durham@jfedps.org.


Two tourist-favorite local old-western reenactment groups will return to Pioneertown with their popular free shows starting this weekend. The Mane Street Stampede Wild West Show thunders into Pioneertown with their season-opener Saturday.


Gents Back row: Bob Stadum, Nick Reiner, Jim Wharff, Philip Bonafede and Bud Hurn. Front: Greg Herring, Billy McBride and William Hampton. Not pictured: James Grimimger, Kim Pederson and Tom Morris


Ladies Back row: Susan Simmons, Jeannine Hurn, President Raelene Wharff, Margo Morris, Becky Malinowski, Carol Husband and Wanda Stadum. Front: Lizzy Schmelling and Vicky Blevins

The Stampede performs a series of family-friendly Old West, shoot-em-up skits every Saturday at 2:30 p.m. through October on Mane St. in Pioneertown. For more information contact: “Desert Rose” at 760-365-0044.

The Gunfighters for Hire start their 2014 season Sunday on Mane Street in Pioneertown. The shootin’ will begin at 2:30 p.m. This year the Gunfighters will be performing the first four Sundays of each month, April through October. The Gunfighters will have new skits and old timers ready to shoot it out. So bring the kids and enjoy some western entertainment for the whole family.


Theatre 29 and Director Kathryn Ferguson have announced the cast for the spring musical production of Theatre 29’s 2014 season, “Nunset Boulevard.” “Nunset Boulevard” follows the latest exploits of the Little Sisters of Hoboken, who have been invited to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. They are thrilled at the prospect until they arrive and realize that they are booked into the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama—a bowling alley with a cabaret lounge—and not the famed ‘Bowl’ they were imagining. Here with the names of the actors is managing editor Tami Roleff…

In the role of Reverend Mother, Sr. Mary Regina, the no-nonsense Mother Superior with a star streak, is Marty Neider.  As her second in command, the strict (but fun) Sr. Mary Hubert is being played by Gloria Garner.  As the wise-cracking “nun with a past,” Sr. Robert Anne, is Char Childs. The crowd favorite role of the daffy Sr. Mary “Amnesia” Paul is played by Theatre 29 newcomer Pamela Crane. Rounding out the principal cast, in the role of the loveable “ballerina” nun, Sr. Mary Leo, is Mandi Pushkar. In the supporting roles of the “Doo Wop” sisters are Katie VanSumeren, Amanda Winters and Jasmine Shaffer, who also is Sr. Mary Amnesia’s understudy. “Nunset Boulevard” runs Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. from April 24 through May 24, with two Sunday matinees on May 4 and May 18. Tickets are $8 to $12 and are available by calling the box office at 760-361-4151 or online at theatre29.org.


The Twentynine Palms Wildcats track and field team bounced back strong to defeat Desert Mirage Rams in a De Anza League Dual. Multiple first-place performances were turned in by Sia Faletagaloa in both throwing events and Adriann Miller in the 4×1,100 meter, 200 meter, and 4×4. Junior Jubilee Bosch completed a triple with victories in the 1600 meter, 800 meter and 3200 meter events. The final score was 95-23.

The boys defeated Desert Mirage 87-36. Jake Culver earned firsts in 4×1, 400 meter, the 4×4 and also placed second in the long jump. Chris Hayes earned firsts in the 4×1, 100 meter, 200 meter, and took second in the high jump.

The top performer of the day was senior team captain, Zach Kanlong who earned 15 points with his triple victory. He earned firsts in the 1600 meter, 800 meter, and 3200 meter.

Saturday, the team will travel to San Bernardino to participate in the Sparta Relays hosted by San Gorgonio High School.