ONE KILLED ONE MAJOR INJURY AT KING OF THE HAMMERS JOHNSON VALLEY

UPDATE: Victims were not participants.

A 55-year-old Perris man was killed in the Johnson Valley Off-Road area just after the King of the Hammers off-road race Saturday. According to the California Highway Patrol, about 1:30 p.m., Todd McLaughlin was driving a 2013 Can-Am 1000 side-by-side westbound along the ridge of a mountain just south of Melville Dry Lake at an unknown speed. McLaughlin made a right turn and was trying to descend the steep mountain trail when the vehicle overturned several times. McLaughlin and his passenger, Lori Sizemore, 55, also of Perris, became pinned under the vehicle. Relatives, bystanders, and CHP and county Sheriff’s helicopters responded and began medical aid. Todd McLaughlin died while in flight to Barstow Community Hospital. Lori Sizemore was flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with major injuries. “King of the Hammers” Founder Dave Cole expressed his regret to Z107.7 News over the incident. Cole said McLaughlin was not a participant in the off-road competition but was recreating in the area after the races were over. The California Highway Patrol is investigating.

CORONER RELEASES NAME OF MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN HEAD-ON CRASH THURSDAY

The County Coroner has released the name of the Twentynine Palms man killed in a head-on crash in Wonder Valley Thursday. At 6:12 p.m., Nikos Lukaris, 43, was riding a 1981 600R Honda dirt bike westbound in the 86900 block of Amboy Road riding without proper lights or a helmet, when he was struck by an F350 Ford Pick-up, driven by Patrick Candelaria, 47, of Twentynine Palms. Candelaria was passing another vehicle traveling eastbound on Amboy Road. Nikos Lukaris was pronounced dead at the scene. Candelaria sustained minor injuries and was medically cleared on scene. Passengers in the pickup, Robert Ash, 29, and Scott Larson II, 29, refused medical treatment. The exact cause of the collision is still under investigation by CHP Officer Adrian Gonzalez.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL MEETS: DEVELOPMENT CODE CHANGES ON AGENDA

The Twentynine Palms City Council, meeting on Monday instead of Tuesday this week due to Valentine’s Day, will consider a variety of topics ranging from demolition to tourism. Reporter David Haldane has the details…
Fire is at the top of tonight’s Twentynine Palms City Council agenda. Meeting a day earlier than usual to avoid conflicting with tomorrow’s lovers holiday, the Council will consider ordering the demolition of a fire-damaged house on the 74000 block of Serrano Drive near Utah Trail. If approved, the owner will have 45 days to comply, after which the city will tear the place down itself and send a bill.
Also on tonight’s agenda: a discussion on modifying the city’s Development Code to allow places of worship and seagoing cargo containers in public zoning districts – provisions unintentionally omitted when the code was adopted last July – as well as an update on efforts by the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities Marketing Process to promote the area to tourists.
Tonight’s meeting gets underway 6 p.m. at City Hall on Adobe Road.

THREE LOCAL CHP OFFICERS CREDITED WITH SAVING A LIFE

Three California Highway Patrol officers are credited with saving the life of a woman who was choking in a Yucca Valley Restaurant. CHP Officer Simon Miller said that he, Officer Caleb Miller, and Officer Aaron Lowe were at Taco Bell about 12:45 p.m. Friday when a woman at a nearby table began to choke. A family member was unsuccessful in dislodging the food using the Heimlich maneuver. As the woman lost consciousness, the officers intervened. She was lowered to the ground and repositioned, at which time she began to cough and vomit. Miller said the woman was encouraged to continue coughing to dislodge the food, and eventually her airway was cleared. She was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center as a precaution.

MAC TO HEAR CALTRANS PLAN FOR DOWNTOWN JOSHUA TREE TRAFFIC

Public safety and improvements along State Route 62—focusing in Joshua Tree—will be the focus of tonight’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has the details…
With a well-earned reputation as one of Southern California’s deadliest roadways, a driver on Highway 62 is three times more likely to die in a crash than a driver on the average California road. That statistic comes from a 2014 expose on the highway in The Desert Sun. Such grim statistics have led Caltrans focus on Highway 62. The state transportation agency will review their plan to create continuous left turn lands along parts of the highway where none exist now, primarily along the portion that runs through Joshua Tree. Shoulder widening is also part of the plan. Whether or not tonight’s presentation will include plans to address the intolerable number of pedestrian versus vehicle fatalities in Joshua Tree’s business district remains to be seen. Tonight’s meeting gets underway 6:30 p.m. at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue.

SEXUAL ASSAULT TRAINING OFFERED

Every two minutes another woman, man or child is sexually assaulted. The effects can be devastating. Volunteer for Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services and make a difference. A few minutes of your time can help someone take back years of their life. Join Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services today and together you can make a difference. Call 760-369-3353 to find out about their free state-certified volunteer training beginning February 21.

FURRY VALENTINES AT THE YUCCA VALLEY ANIMAL SHELTER

A unique opportunity for a unique Valentine’s Day surprise tomorrow. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says the Yucca Valley Animal Shelter will hold their “My Furry Valentine” event tomorrow.
The Yucca Valley Animal Shelter has the purr-fect Valentine’s Day gift, a warm and furry cat or dog. On Valentine’s Day, February 14, the shelter is holding a special adoption event with adoption fees for cat $20, and $50 for dogs. Adoption fees include spaying and neutering and all vaccines. The animal shelter is located at 4755 Malin Way in Yucca Valley. For more information, call 760-365-1807.

GRUBSTAKES DAYS EVENTS AND RODEO LOOKING FOR VENDORS AND SPONSORS

Plans are underway for the 67th Annual Yucca Valley Grubstake Days and the public is invited to help plan the fun. It takes a bundle of volunteers to make the event happen so don’t be shy, call and sign-up to help today. Grubstake Western Kick-off Mixer at the Elks Lodge, Grubstake rodeo, Chamber challenge golf tournament, Western Heritage parade on Hwy 62, Pony Express ride, carnival, horseshoes and tug-of-war, beard contest, Western business decorating contest, 2K/5K/10K Run and more are in the works. Sponsors and volunteers should call 760-365-6323 for details. 
The 2017 Grubstake Days Rodeo, co-sponsored this year by Z107.7 Radio, is set for May 27 and May 28 at the Homestead Park in Landers. Produced by the National Police Rodeo Association, this year’s Grubstake Days Rodeo will thrill attendees with the crowd pleasing traditional rodeo event as well as family fun and attractions before and after the main event. Organizers are looking for vendors and sponsors right now with a deadline for sponsors March 1. To sign up to become a vendor and or a sponsor contact Missy Buchanan at kwbmmn@msn.com or call 760-218-1980.

COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO GREEN LIGHT JOSHUA TREE MENTAL HEALTH CENTER

When county supervisors meet tomorrow, Robert Lovingood will be sitting in the chairman’s seat. Lovingood replaced James Ramos in a board reorganization. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us what to expect during the 10 a.m. meeting…
Among the many items on tomorrow’s agenda when county supervisors meet in San Bernardino, the board is expected to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration and Notice of Determination for the Behavioral Health Crisis Residential Treatment Facility. The facility is planned for the south side of the highway in Joshua Tree just west of the business area. Tomorrow’s action is also expected to increase the project’s budget to $8.5 million with the $6 million construction contract awarded to Hamel Contracting. The 16-bed, 11,000-square-foot facility will provide voluntary crisis intervention for adults diagnosed with mental health and/or co-occurring substance use disorders. It will provide a positive, short-term, community based treatment option with recovery based services and interventions in a home-like setting for stays up to 90 days.

COURTS CLOSED THIS AND NEXT MONDAY

County courthouses will be closed today, Monday, February 13, for Lincoln’s Birthday, and Monday, February 20, for President’s Day.

LUCKIE AVENUE 4-WEEK CLOSURE STARTS TODAY

Luckie Avenue—the street that goes through the parking lot at Luckie Park in Twentynine Palms—will be closed for about four weeks, starting today, Monday, February 13. The parking lot will be repaved, and some of the curbs, gutters and sidewalks will be replaced.

SCHOOL AND COLLEGE BOARD MEET IN JOINT SESSION TOMORROW

The Morongo Unified School District Board of Education will brainstorm with trustees of the local community college tomorrow night. Here with the story is reporter David Haldane…
The Morongo Unified School District Board of Education holds a joint meeting with the Copper Mountain College Board of Trustees tomorrow night. On the agenda: a work study session on options for secondary education.
The school board will also discuss the potential donation of a parcel of land at Baseline Avenue and Utah Avenue in Twentynine Palms.
Tuesday’s meeting gets underway 5 p.m. at Joshua Tree Elementary School on Sunburst Avenue.

FREE FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN TWENTYNINE PALMS TOMORROW

Due to the President’s Day holiday, the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County will hold a distribution of federal surplus food today at Copper Mountain Mesa, 65336 Winters Road, from 9 to 11.

Distribution of surplus food at the Twentynine Palms Community Food Pantry, on Stardune Avenue, will be held tomorrow, from 9 to 11 a.m., instead of its regular third Tuesday of the month.