MAN RESCUED WHEN CAR SKIDS OFF ROAD INTO WATER-FILLED DITCH IN YUCCA VALLEY

A man escaped injury, but his car is totaled, when his car skidded off the roadway and landed in a water-filled ditch in Yucca Valley early New Year’s Day. Swift water rescue personnel were called about 3:30 a.m. to Kickapoo Avenue and Yucca Trail where they found the gray, four-door sedan submerged up to its windows. A passer-by had already assisted the male driver out of the vehicle and drove him home; he was uninjured. County Fire Battalion Chief Mike Snow said signs warning of flooded road conditions were in place. It’s unknown if alcohol was a factor.

MAN RESCUED AFTER FALL IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

A man was rescued in Joshua Tree National Park Friday after he fell from rocks. According to County Fire Battalion Chief Mike Snow, the unidentified man, who was in his 40s, was scrambling on rocks near the Hall of Horrors when he fell into a crevice from an undetermined height and suffered a possible broken shoulder and leg. Morongo Basin Ambulance, Joshua Tree Search and Rescue, and County firefighters attempted to rescue him by setting up anchors and ropes to lower him to the ground, but instead, the Sheriff’s Department Air Rescue helicopter was called in to hoist the victim out of the rocks. He was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs by MBA.

Photo courtesy Morongo Basin Ambulance.

Photo courtesy Morongo Basin Ambulance.

PEDESTRIAN HIT CROSSING HIGHWAY OUTSIDE CROSSWALK IN JOSHUA TREE IDENTIFIED

The California Highway Patrol has released its report on the pedestrian versus vehicle crash in Joshua Tree Thursday evening. According to the report, Ernest Ale, 56, of Idlywild, was driving a 1993 Dodge Ram westbound on Highway 62 just before 6:30 p.m. As he approached Veterans Way, he entered the center turn lane at about 20 miles per hour. At the same time, David White, 52, of La Puente, was crossing the highway southbound between Veterans Way and Sunset Road. The CHP report states that White, who was wearing dark-colored clothing, was not in a cross walk nor did he yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. Ale’s truck collided with White, and White was thrown in a southwesterly direction, landing in the center turn lane. Ale stopped near the collision and waited for law enforcement. David White suffered head trauma and facial lacerations; he was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center and then flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.

SALES TAX DROPPING STATEWIDE, EXCEPT IN YUCCA VALLEY

Lots of new laws went into effect on January 1. While some may be cause for concern, others are the harbingers of good news. Reporter David Haldane tells us about one change likely to draw applause in the Morongo Basin…
The State of California has a New Year’s present for you: a statewide decrease in the sales and use tax rate. On January 1, the rate went from 7.5 to 7.25 percent, a quarter of a percent decrease. That means that in San Bernardino County, which adds a half-percent tax of its own, the rate went from 8 percent to 7.75 percent.
The decrease may be wiped out in Yucca Valley, where voters in November approved Measures Y and Z which, together, add a full 1 percent sales tax to bolster public safety, maintain roads and reduce sewer assessments. The tax rate of 8.75 percent will go into effect April 1.
The statewide decrease comes courtesy of California voters who approved Proposition 30—The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act—back in 2012, imposing a temporary sales tax increase.
The good news is that it expired on December 31, so—whoopee—time for a shopping spree!!

SWARM OF 250 EARTHQUAKES HITS NEAR BRAWLEY

Residents near the California-Mexico border are feeling a little uneasy after a swarm of more than 250 earthquakes have struck the Brawley area since Saturday. The strongest earthquake was measured a 3.9-magnitude quake, directly underneath Brawley. The temblors are in the Brawley Seismic Zone, which connects the San Andreas and Imperial faults. A 7.1 earthquake hit Brawley in 1940, killing nine people, and was felt in Los Angeles, 200 miles away.

DOD ANNOUNCES NEW REVIEW PROCESS OUTREACH FOR VETERANS

Veterans who believe they have experienced an error or injustice concerning their military discharge or in their military records can ask for a review. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains how…
The Department of Defense is reviewing its policies concerning post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual assault, sexual orientation, and other issues to ensure that veterans received fair and equitable separations. Veterans who feel their discharge or military records are incorrect or unjust, can apply for an upgrade or a correction from their service’s Board for Correction of Military/Naval Records or Discharge Review Board. When applying for a review or correction of their records, veterans should explain why the discharge or record is erroneous or unjust and how it is connected to or resulted from unjust policies. Veterans should also provide support for key facts, as well as copies of their service records. The more information provided the better.

To request an upgrade or correction:

Veterans who desire a correction to their service record or who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade, are encouraged to apply for review.

For discharge upgrades, if the discharge was more than 15 years ago, the veteran should complete DD Form 293: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/forms/eforms/dd0293.pdf and send it to their service’s DRB (the address is on the form).  For discharges over 15 years ago, the veteran should complete the DD Form 149 http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/forms/eforms/dd0149.pdf and send it to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).

For corrections of records other than discharges, veterans should complete the DD Form 149 and submit their request to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).

Key information to include in requests:

There are three keys to successful applications for upgrade or correction.  First, it is very important to explain why the veteran’s discharge or other record was unjust or erroneous—for example, how it is connected to, or resulted from unjust policies, a physical or mental health condition related to military service, or some other explainable or justifiable circumstance.  Second, it is important to provide support, where applicable, for key facts.  If a veteran has a relevant medical diagnosis, for example, it would be very helpful to include medical records that reflect that diagnosis.  Third, it is helpful, but not always required, to submit copies of the veteran’s applicable service records.  The more information provided, the better the boards can understand the circumstances of the discharge.

BCM/NRs are also authorized to grant relief on the basis of clemency.  Veterans who believe their post-service conduct and contributions to society support an upgrade or correction should describe their post-service activity and provide any appropriate letters or other documentation of support.

Personnel records for veterans who served after 1997 should be accessible online and are usually retrievable within hours of a request through the Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (DPRIS).  To obtain one’s personnel records from DPRIS, go to https://www.dpris.dod.mil, then select “Individual Veteran Access” on the left side of the website and follow the instructions.  Veterans will need to register for a logon and verify their current mailing address before requesting records.  The whole process usually takes less than 10 minutes.  Those who served prior to 1997 or for whom electronic records are not available from DPRIS, can request their records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) using the eVetRecs website at: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.

To submit feedback on policies or processes:
Send an e-mail to osd.pentagon.ousd-p-r.mbx.legal-policy@mail.mil, or mail your feedback to Office of Legal Policy at:

Office of Legal Policy
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness)
4000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-4000

For other information or assistance:

Air Force BCMR
Website: http://www.afpc.af.mil/board-for-correction-of-military-records
Phone: 240-612-5379
E-mail: usaf.pentagon.saf-mr.mbx.saf-mrbc@mail.mil

Air Force DRB:
Website: http://www.afpc.af.mil/board-for-correction-of-military-records
Phone: 240-612-0995
E-mail: usaf.pentagon.saf-mr.mbx.saf-mrb@mail.mil

Army BCMR:
Website: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/
E-mail: army.arbainquiry@mail.mil

Army DRB:
Website: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil
E-mail: army.arbainquiry@mail.mil

Navy BCNR:
Website: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/bcnr/Pages/home.aspx
Phone: 703-607-6111
E-mail: BCNR_Application@navy.mil

Navy DRB:
Website: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/CORB/Pages/NDRB/default.aspx
Phone: 202-685-6600
E-mail: NDRB@navy.mil

FREE SURPLUS FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN YUCCA VALLEY YESTERDAY

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino will hold a distribution of federal surplus food 3 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, January 4, at the Pacific Clinics, 56020 Santa Fe Trail, Suite M, in Yucca Valley.

NEWS LAWS FOR 2017, PART 1 OF A 4-PART SERIES

As we welcome a new year, several new laws took effect as of January 1. Minimum wage earners will notice an increase in their paychecks, as the minimum wage will go up to $10.50 an hour, up from $10, for businesses with 26 or more employees.
And all K through 12 and community college employees, including classified workers and faculty, will receive up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
California has also enacted stricter gun control laws. SB880 revised the definition of assault weapons and expanded the firearms that are banned. In addition, if you own a magazine that holds more than 10 bullets, you will be required to give them up. And before Californians can buy ammunition for their firearms, they’ll have to pay a $50 fee for a background check and wait up to 30 days for their permit, which will be valid for four years.
Law enforcement officers will be required to follow the same rules as civilians in securing their weapons by storing handguns in a lockbox out of plain view or in the trunk if the weapons are left in an unattended vehicle
Tomorrow, in part 2, we’ll look at more new laws.

TWENTYNINE PALMS SOROPTIMIST SPONSOR OPENING NIGHT OF “SYLVIA” AT THEATRE 29

The Soroptimists of Twentynine Palms will host the gala opening night of the tail-wagging comedy, “Sylvia,” at Theatre 29. Reporter Rebecca Havely has your invitation…
Friday night, January 13, the comedy “Sylvia” at Theatre 29 will open with a gala benefit, hosted by the Twentynine Palms Soroptimists. Doors will open at 6 p.m.; refreshments will be served. Get your 50/50 drawing tickets and place your bids on the silent auction items, including gift baskets and art pieces. The curtain will rise at 7 p.m. with sweets served at intermission.
“Sylvia” tells the tale of Greg, played by Jeremy Volsteadt. While facing a mid-life crisis, he adopts a stray dog he names “Sylvia,” played by Amy Fangmeyer. His wife Kate, played by Ann Van Haney, does not approve. A trio of eccentric characters join the mix, all played by Theatre 29 veteran Kurt Schauppner. The cast is led by director Eddie Tucker. Tickets for opening night ONLY are $25 and can be purchased from all Twentynine Palms Soroptimists.
“Sylvia” will run for nine performances January 13 through 29. Friday and Saturday nights are 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets after opening night are $8 to $15 and are available at theatre29.org or by calling 760-361-4151. Due to strong language, “Sylvia” is not recommended for children under 13.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

The Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat boys’ basketball team competed in the Linfield Christian Caged Classic tournament last week. The ’Cats were 4 and 0, taking first place. The MVP of the tournament was D’Shaun Barrett.

Coming up in high school sports today, the Joshua Springs Christian School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will travel away to Redlands to play Redlands Adventist Academy. Tip-off for girls is at 5 p.m.; the boys start at 6:30.