A CLOSER LOOK AT THE DOD HIRING FREEZE

With thousands of Z107.7 listeners employed by the Department of Defense, today we take a close look at exactly what the recent DoD hiring freeze means. Just three days after being sworn in as president, Donald Trump issued an executive order concerning a hiring freeze. The Department of Defense says the freeze impacts all DoD positions, regardless of funding source. To implement this order, no vacant civilian position may be filled, and no position may be created until the freeze is lifted. Some civilian DoD positions are exempt from the hiring freeze, including those who are directly responsible for supporting military deployments and exercises, cybersecurity and intelligence, those who directly provide inpatient care at military medical and dental treatment facilities, firefighters and law enforcement, and employees who provide child care to military personnel.
In addition, Trump ordered that contractors could not be used to circumvent the hiring freeze. “Funds that are above the organizational baselines may not be used to award new contracts or increase the scope of existing contracts.”

For more information, see
https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/OSD000999-17-RES-Final.pdf?source=GovDelivery

KING OF THE HAMMERS’ FIRST RACE TOMORROW, HAMMERTOWN OPENS TODAY

The annual King of the Hammers series of off-road competitions opens today and starts tomorrow at the Johnson Valley Off-Road area. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says up to 35,000 people will be in attendance…
The 11th annual King of the Hammers off-road races is a week-long event that pits off-road racers against the most extreme terrain in Johnson Valley. Starting Friday, February 3, between 25,000 and 35,000 people are expected to start filling Hammertown, the temporary village out in the Johnson Valley Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area. All races from 2016 are expected to return for 2017 including: The Smittybilt Every Man Challenge, Can-Am KOH UTV Race, King of The Motos, and Vision X Shootout. The first race starts Saturday, February 4; the actual King of The Hammers race will take place on Friday, February 10.
Spectator tickets to the King of the Hammers are $20 for the week if tickets are purchased online in advance, or $25 at the gate.

JOSHUA TREE MAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH AT LEAST 3 BURGLARIES

At least four properties were burglarized recently, and so far, one man has been arrested in connection with three of the burglaries. According to Sheriff’s reports, burglaries were reported Tuesday and Wednesday in the 3600 block of Bluegrass Avenue in Twentynine Palms, 60800 block of Campanula Street, 3600 block of Shoshone Valley Road, and 61800 block of Terrace Drive, all in Joshua Tree. Residents reported that an industrial vehicle lift, a generator, shop equipment, a bicycle, electronics, a dune buggy, appliances, household fixtures, and more—valued at about $40,000—had been stolen. Evidence led deputies to the 2900 block of Border Avenue in Joshua Tree where they recovered a car trailer, tools, and industrial shop equipment, valued at about $20,000. Additional information led deputies to the 4700 block of Avenida la Manana, where they found Jason Arrona, 41, along with the generator, vehicle lift, tools, and shop equipment. Arrona, who was arrested in November for possession of stolen property, was arrested about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning for possession of stolen property and violating the terms of his probation. Jason Arrona was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $100,000. All of the stolen property that was recovered has been returned to the owners.

PROBATIONER ARRESTED FOR WEAPONS POSSESSION

A Joshua Tree man was arrested Tuesday following a probation compliance check. According to a Sheriff’s report, probation officers went to a home in the 61300 block of Alta Loma Drive about 4 p.m. Tuesday to check on Aiden Smith, 22, who was convicted of and on probation for a burglary in 2014. At the residence, officers found more than 300 rounds of ammunition, a shot gun, a loaded .45-caliber pistol, and several knives, swords, and other weapons. As a convicted felon, Smith is not permitted to be in possession of ammunition or weapons. After an investigation, Aiden Smith was arrested on suspicion of possession of dangerous weapons, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, and is being held on a no bail warrant for violating the terms of his probation.

A WARNING ABOUT THE GIFT CARD SCAM

The AARP Fraud Watch Networks helps raise awareness of consumer fraud. Reporter Rebecca Havely says beware of online sellers asking for gift card payments…
If you’re purchasing a big-ticket item online, don’t pay with your Amazon gift card; this is a scam. Posing as sellers, scammers claim they need to sell an item fast. They may claim they are in the military and are about to deploy. Amazon gift cards can only be used to purchase goods on Amazon.com. By giving them the card code you’re giving them control of the money on the card. By the time you figure out it’s a scam, the money will likely be gone. If you spot a scam, report it to local law enforcement and contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

IS THE DROUGHT OVER? NOT SO FAST

Is the drought over? Not quite, and we still need to conserve. California has the heaviest snowpack in 22 years. Snow levels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains—a source for about 30 percent of the drinking water for Southern California—have more than quadrupled in one month. Water content contained within the 90.3 inches of snow measured in the central Sierra Nevada contain a water equivalent of 28.1 inches, up from only 6 inches on Jan. 3, the largest since February 2005. Electronic readings from 101 stations in the Sierra Nevada show the snowpack holds 31 inches of water, or about 173 percent of the average for this time of year. Satellite data from NASA shows the snow-water deficit today is what it used to be before the state’s five-year drought began in 2012. Bob Muir, spokesman for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said, “It is trending to be a drought-busting year.” But Noah Molotch, who led the JPL-University of Colorado study, said the state is still years away from making up its snow-water deficit completely. “One snowy winter won’t be able to entirely reverse that, but there is, at least, some cautious optimism,” Molotch said. Muir said the residents of Southern California and the cities should continue water conservation plans because long-range forecasts are unpredictable. “I don’t want anybody flooded out with euphoria yet,” he said. Weather forecasters predict more rain and snow in Northern California for the next five to seven days.

WE MEET MISS YUCCA VALLEY CONTESTANT MEGAN RIEMAN

The annual Miss Yucca Valley scholarship pageant is set for 6:00 p.m. tomorrow evening at the Thunderdome at Joshua Springs church. The annual event, sponsored by the Yucca Valley rotary Club, will see eight high school juniors competing in a contest based on academics and poise. Today, Reporter Kirby Davis introduces us to contestant Megan Riemen…

Today we are talking with Megan Rieman. Megan, tell us about yourself.

“My name is Megan Rieman and I am a cheerleader for Yucca Valley High School.”

Megan Rieman

Who is the prominent woman you interviewed, and what did you learn from her?

“I learned from my prominent woman, Lesley Copeland, that the support of others can help you overcome obstacles you never thought you could. I learned that to deal with tough times in life, you have to put your emotions aside. I learned that I must never compromise my integrity.”

What have you learned from your experience with Miss Yucca Valley?

“If I have learned anything from Miss Yucca Valley, it is that a challenge to move yourself out of your comfort zone. The only way you can fail is if you never try. Miss Yucca Valley has shown me that I can become successful.

Any final words?

“I would like to thank Sheldon, Tara, John, and the 2016 court for this amazing opportunity to bond with other girls my age and serve the community.”

ASSEMBLYMAN CHAD MAYES STAFF TO HOLD LOCAL OFFICE HOURS MONDAY

District staff representatives for Assemblyman Chad Mayes will hold office hours at the Yucca Valley Community Center Monday, February 6. Staff representatives will be available from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Mesquite Room to answer questions and help residents with any issues they may have with state government. Mayes encourages residents who are not able to make the drive to his main district office in Rancho Mirage to attend the mobile office hours in Yucca Valley.

FREE HOME ENERGY WORKSHOP MONDAY

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County will hold a free home energy education workshop Monday, February 6. The workshop about the Home Energy Assistance Program will be held 9:30 to 3:30 at Methodist Community Church, 6213 East Parkway Road in Joshua Tree. Call 909-723-1500 for an appointment.

COPPER MOUNTAIN MESA BREAKFAST TOMORROW

This weekend is the First Saturday Breakfast at the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Association located in north Joshua Tree, at 65336 Winter Road. The friendliest volunteers are serving all your breakfast favorites for just $7 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Come on out for a happy tummy and happy heart!

TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR PARADE OF HOMES

The major annual fund-raiser for Reach-Out Morongo Basin is coming up Sunday, February 19. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says the much-sought-after tickets are available now…
Tickets are available now for the 13th annual Parade of Homes. This event is Reach Out Morongo Basin’s largest fundraiser of the year and features six unique and inspiring homes. This year’s Parade of Homes features two homes in Yucca Valley: Bohemian Chic, and Magic on the Mesa; two in Joshua Tree: Star Ranch and Flora Desierta; and two in Twentynine Palms: the Campbell House (formerly known as Roughley Manor) and Magical Homestead Cabin. Tickets are $25 each and include lunch at the Park Rock Café in Joshua Tree. They are available at the Z107.7 studio and Park Rock Café in Joshua Tree; in Yucca Valley at ArtFx and Furnishings and the Chamber of Commerce; and in Twentynine Palms, at the Desert Trail, Cowboy Attic, and the Chamber of Commerce. For more information call 760-361-1410.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

The Yucca Valley High School Lady Trojan basketball team traveled to Rancho Mirage last night solidified their hold on second place in the De Anza League, coming home with a 50-27 win over the Rattlers. Coach Jess Geeson said the Yucca Valley girls had a balanced attack, led by junior Zena Yakimow’s 11 points. She was followed by juniors Savannah Beasley and Kloee Scaccionoce, along with sophomore Angie Ruetgen with 10 points each. The victory improved the girls record to 6-2 in league action and 16-7 overall.
 
The Twentynine Palms High School girls’ varsity basketball team won their game last night against Coachella Valley High School, 56-29. Coach Tim Stanford said Tatiyanna Mackall had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Lindsey Scamman had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Destiny Dedmon had 12 points and six rebounds, and Makya Bullion turned in eight assists, nine rebounds, and an outstanding night on defense.

The Twentynine Palms High School Boys basketball team beat Coachella Valley 85-60 last night. No individual statistics were provided for the Twentynine Palms boys’ basketball game.