A suspect in a Twentynine Palms double-murder has been arrested aboard the Twentynine Palms Marine base. Sheriff’s investigators say a 911 call was placed at 12:03 a.m. Friday morning March 24th, stating that two people had been killed in the 7700 block of Bedouin Avenue. Arriving deputies found that Christy McKissic, 32, and her mother, Renee Metcalf, 62, had been shot multiple times. A 10-year-old child was at the home and was unharmed. Since Friday, investigators from the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail have worked to identify the person responsible for what they called “the senseless murders” of the mother and daughter. Detectives from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said that during week, they identified Rafael Ari Aikens, 22, a lance corporal stationed with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment as a machine gunner aboard the base, as a person of interest in the murders. Thursday, March 30, at about 6:50 p.m., homicide investigators, assisted by investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, contacted Aikens at his assigned housing aboard the base. At the conclusion of the contact with Aikens and the service of several search warrants, Aikens was booked into the Morongo Basin jail for investigation of the murders of McKissic and Metcalf. Investigators said The investigation is ongoing and no additional information will be released at this time. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s homicide division at 909-387-3589.
A Twentynine Palms couple was arrested Wednesday, accused of child endangerment. According to a Sheriff’s report, a deputy went to the 72200 block of Joshua Drive in Twentynine Palms about 9 a.m. to follow up on a previous call concerning domestic violence. The report states that one of the residents, Kevin Aide, 25, was found hiding inside the house. Also at the home was Shylow Howard, 19, along with her young child. The report states that the home was in poor condition and that Howard failed to protect her son from the danger. Kevin Aide and Shylow Howard were both arrested for investigation of child endangerment, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with bail set at $100,000 each. Kevin Aide was also arrested on warrants for possession of stolen property, a no-bail warrant for drug charges, and identity theft.
A Yucca Valley woman was arrested early Thursday morning after leading deputies on a high-speed chase through Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree. According to the Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Alex Millan saw a reckless driver near Avalon Avenue and Highway 62 and attempted to make a traffic stop just after 2 a.m. The driver, later identified as Kimberly Corona, 23, fled eastbound on the highway at more than 100 miles per hour. When Corona reached Joshua Tree, she turned onto residential streets before the vehicle crashed into a fence in the 61900 block of Sunburst Circle. Corona fled on foot, but was captured near Easterly Drive and El Reposo Avenue. A records check determined the car was stolen in Las Vegas March 13. Kimberly Corona was arrested for investigation of felony evading and possession of a stolen vehicle, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at $100,000.
Morongo Basin deputies solved a complicated burglary case in Twentynine Palms and made two arrests. According to the Sheriff’s Department, a man who owned a vacation home in the 6800 block of Eucalyptus Avenue in Twentynine Palms called deputies Monday, March 27, to report that the house had been burglarized and a vehicle he had stored there was missing. Deputies discovered that furniture, appliances, household goods, tools, and even wall cabinets had also been stolen. During the investigation, deputies learned that the vehicle had been sold to a Twentynine Palms resident. The vehicle was recovered without incident. On Wednesday, the investigation led deputies to another home in the 6800 block of Eucalyptus Avenue where they served a search warrant on Christopher Barber, 43. Stolen property was located at the home and Christopher Barber was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, and on a no-bail warrant from Las Vegas, and booked into the Morongo Basin Jail. Additional evidence led detectives to an apartment complex in the 6500 block of Sunset Road in Joshua Tree where two more search warrants were served. Additional stolen property was located at the two apartments. Deputies arrested Daniel Hughson, 35, for investigation of possession of stolen property and committing a felony while he was released on bail for his trial for another charge of possession of stolen property. Daniel Hughson was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $100,000. Anyone with information concerning this burglary should call the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.
Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, some 56,000 acres in Johnson Valley was designated for shared use between the public and the Marine Corps. Reporter Mike Lipsitz shares more on the subject …
Representatives from the Marine Corps and the Bureau of Land Management will hold a public meeting on land use in the Johnson Valley area. The meeting takes place April 1 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lucerne Valley Community Center on State Route 247 in Lucerne Valley. Thousands of acres in the Shared Use Area are set aside for public recreation for 10 months out of the year, and restricted to large-scale military training exercises the other two months. The adjacent Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area remains open to the public during the closure. The purpose of Saturday’s meeting is to present the Marine Corps’ planned large-scale exercise during August. Information on temporary land closures and public safety will be discussed. For more information, see http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Staff/G5-Government-and-External-Affairs/Johnson-Valley/ or contact the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Public Affairs Office at 760-830-6213.
Morongo Valley firefighters came to the aid of the Marines Thursday morning. According to Firefighter Jones, the convoy of four Marine vehicles were coming up the grade about 8:45 a.m. when the engine in one light infantry vehicle started smoking. The Marines were able to put out most of the fire with their fire extinguishers when they reached the top of the grade, and firefighters dismantled the panels around the engine to put out the rest. A Marine in the back of the vehicle suffered slight smoke inhalation and was taken to the Naval Hospital on board the Combat Center for treatment.
The Rotary Clubs of the Morongo Basin are once again partnering for a Basin-wide food drive. Rotarians will be at all three Stater Brothers in Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All monetary or non-perishable food donations are welcome. Donations will go to local food banks in the Morongo Basin. For more information, call Mary Helen Tuttle at 760-366-2648.
Hundreds of local residents will join the fight against cancer this weekend in the Morongo Basin’s Relay for Life event, a 12-hour walkathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Yucca Valley High School track with a survivors’ lap, followed by a caregivers’ lap. One of the highlights of the relay will be the luminaria ceremony, featuring the Marine Sandpiper, at 8 p.m. Participants have been raising money for their respective teams through various fundraisers and pledges, and will continue to do so during the event by selling items and food, setting up games, and walking laps for their pledges. For more information about Relay for Life, see a link in this story at z1077fm.com.
District staff representatives for Assemblyman Chad Mayes will hold office hours at the Yucca Valley Community Center Monday, April 3. 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.
Unemployed veterans, listen up: A new bill, about to become law, may help you earn a paycheck. Reporter David Haldane tells us what’s up…
If you’re a U.S. military veteran having a hard time finding a job, you may be about to get some help; a new bill by Congressman Paul Cook will award businesses for hiring people just like you.
The bill—HR244, otherwise known as the Hire Vets Act of 2017—was approved by the Senate this week. After returning for some minor tweaking to the House, which passed it unanimously last year, the measure is expected to become law.
What it will do, Cook says, is promote private sector recruiting, hiring and retention of men and women who have served honorably in the U.S. military. The means: a voluntary awards program recognizing businesses that participate.
Cook, a former U.S. Marine Corps colonel himself, says the program will provide “an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans.”
The Morongo Basin Humane Society no-kill animal shelter will hold an adoption event Saturday, April 1, at ArtFx and Furnishings in Old Town Yucca Valley. Along with the adoption event will be a class demonstrating the use of stones and crystals to help pets. The adoption event is from noon to 4; the class is from 1 to 2 with a $20 fee. For more information about the class, call Holly Rae at 814-688-3442. ArtFx and Furnishings is located at 55836 29 Palms Highway.
Art Queen Gallery in Joshua Tree has a new exhibition on display April 1 through 30. The group exhibition, Resistance as Art: An Environmental and Animal Justice Exhibit, features work from 12 artists, and includes sculpture, painting, prints, photography, political cartoons, and mixed media works. The show includes graphic images; children younger than 14 should be accompanied by an adult. The gallery is located at 61855 Twentynine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree.
This weekend, Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center will host the First Saturday Breakfast from 8 am to 11 a.m. at 65336 Winters Road. Bacon, Eggs, Sausage, Pancakes, including the ever popular Biscuits & Gravy, will cost you 7 bucks; all served with a smile by your friendly mesa neighbors.
Theatre 29 will present the hit Broadway musical “Into the Woods.” The production has been cast by artistic director Charles Harvey and musical director Kathryn Ferguson. Reporter Rebecca Havely has the cast list…
The Stephen Sondheim fairy tale musical “Into the Woods” has been cast. The childless baker and his patient wife will be played by Chris Fleischman and Katie VanSumeren. Cinderella will be played Liyan Lagevardi. Her stepmother is Janet Peercy, and her stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda are Bella Oden and Ceara Davids, and her father is Les Taylor. The cow-infatuated Jack is Owen O’Brien. Playing his cow Milky White is newcomer Isreal Ruiz, and Jack’s mother is another newcomer, Kayla Cotton. The scheming witch will be portrayed by Char Childs. Her ward Rapunzel is Chalise Kunz. The Narrator, who also embodies the Mysterious Man, is Earl Childs. Little Red Ridinghood is Lisa Goldberg. The wolf is newcomer Charly DeTinne. Cinderella’s and Rapunzel’s Princes are newcomer Ben LaCount II and Ethan Flores. Kylie Robinson will play the ghost of Cinderella’s Mother, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red’s Granny. Newcomer Britney Vachon-La Guardia will play Snow White, the Giant’s Hen, and will understudy the Baker’s Wife. The royal Steward is Joe Rego.
“Into the Woods” will run weekends April 21 through May 14. Tickets are $8 to $15 and are available on line at theatre29.org or by calling the Theatre 29 box office at 760-361-4151.
The Morongo Basin Tennis Association will offer lessons for adults, beginning April 1. The first four lessons are free and lessons for the next eight weeks are at low cost. Lessons will be taught Saturdays from 9 to 10 a.m., or Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. All lessons will be taught at Jacob’s Park in Yucca Valley. For more information or to sign up, call Al for the Saturday lessons at 760-363-7137, or Mary for the Wednesday lessons at 805-796-1343.
The Yucca Valley Lobos will hold three youth football and cheer camps in Yucca Valley. Football is open to children ages 7 to 14; cheer is for children 4 to 14. A football only camp is set for April 3 through 7. Football and cheer camps will be held May 15 through 19, and June 12 through 16. All camps are from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Yucca Valley community center athletic fields. The cost is $5 per day or $20 per week, and free to athletes who have already signed up and paid for the 2017 season. For more information, see www.leaguelineup.com/yvlobos, or YV Lobos on Facebook.
A Kiss tribute band takes the stage for the free “Live at the Rock” concert series tonight at the Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says be there and get ready to rock and roll all night…
Tonight at Tortoise Rock, Z107.7 FM presents Kissed Alive, the Kiss tribute band. Kissed Alive takes the stage at 8 p.m. for the free Friday night “Live at the Rock” concert series at Tortoise Rock Casino. Concert-goers will want to get up and move to the high energy, and spectacular showmanship of this band as they flawlessly cover iconic songs from the popular band, including “Detroit Rock City” “Hotter than Hell,” “Shout It Out Loud,” and “Love Gun.” All concerts are held on the outdoor stage at Tortoise Rock Casino. Young and old alike will enjoy the show so bring the whole family to this free concert.
Twentynine Palms High School track and field fell to Coachella Valley High School in a highly contested and wind-dominated meet. Coach Ronda Lockett-Morton said the boys were defeated 71-43 before the meet was finally called off with the triple jump remaining. KJ Morton, Spencer Walton, Adam Mapuatuli and Roy Rathbun all earn first places for the team. The girls were narrowly defeated 64 to 54, led by Vanessa Walton with 13 points in the distance races.
The Wildcats Track Squad will head to San Jacinto for the annual Flying Tiger Invitational on Saturday.
The Twentynine Palms High School swim team hosted Coachella Valley High School with the Wildcats defeating the Mighty Arabs, 125 to 42, for the men, and 116 to 54 for the women. The Wildcats Swim team’s next meet is 3:15, Wednesday, April 7, at Rancho Mirage High School.
200 Medley relay
1st Gabby Crank, Teagan Thompson, Lexi Wade, Lindsey Scamman
3rd Bella Crank, Nicole Elmer, Devanee Johnson, Tabitha Zuniga
1st Kyle Bobadilla, Josiah Henderson, Tyler Abrams, Brian Soster
3rd Cody Landry, Matthew Councell, Marcus Freitas, Jacob Smith
1st Taylor Scamman
2nd Ashley Waring
1st Nicolas Valenzula
2nd Colin Beaudoin
3rd Braden Beaudoin
200 Individual Medley
1st Lindsey Scamman
3rd Teagan Thompson
1st Tyler Abrams
2nd Kyle Bobadilla
1st Gabby Crank
2nd Lea Speer
1st Brian Soster
2nd Cody Landry
1st Lindsey Scamman
3rd Lexi Wade
1st Josiah Henderson
2nd Tyler Abrams
1st Gabby Crank
2nd Teagan Thompson
3rd Lea Speer
1st Brian Soster
3rd Braden Beaudoin
1st Nicole Elmer
2nd Ashley Waring
1st Nick Valenzuela
2nd Colin Beaudoin
200 Free Relay
1st Gabby Crank, Taylor Scamman, Teagan Thompson, Lindsey Scamman
3rd Lea Speer, Bella Crank, Tabitha Zuniga, Ashley Waring
1st Josiah Henderson, Nic Valenzuela, Cody Landry, Brian Soster
3rd Braden Beaudoin, Matthew Councell, Hugo Fournier, Colin Beaudoin
1st Lexi Wade
1st Josiah Henderson
3rd Jacob Smith
1st Taylor Scamman
2nd Nicole Elmer
1st Kyle Bobadilla
2nd Hugo Fournier
400 Free Relay
1st Nicole Elmer, Lexi Wade, Taylor Scamman, Lea Speer
2nd Iris Rivera, Abril Lazaro, Ashley Waring, Devanee Johnson
1st Colin Beaudoin, Kyle Bobadilla, Tyler Abrams, Nicolas Valenzuela
2nd Braden Beaudoin, Matthew Councell, Marcus Freitas, Cody Landry
Coming up in high school sports today, the Yucca Valley High School baseball team will host Rancho Mirage High School at home. First pitch is at 3:15.
Also today, the Twentynine Palms High School baseball and softball teams will host Desert Hot Springs at home. Both games start at 3:15.
And finally, the Joshua Springs baseball team will travel to San Jacinto to play San Jacinto Valley Academy. First pitch is at 3:15.
A Morongo Valley mobile home is a complete loss after a fire Wednesday morning. According to Fire Captain Jeff Rarey, firefighters were called to the Valley View Mobile Home Park in the 10800 block of West Drive at 8:45 a.m. Heavy smoke and flames were showing from the home when they arrived. Rarey said that although the blaze threatened neighboring homes, firefighters mounted an aggressive attack and managed to contain the fire to the home. Two residents suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation and were taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs for treatment. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen, but the cause is still under investigation.
After winning approval last year for what was likely the most bitterly contested industrial-scale solar development in Morongo Basin history, energy behemoth NextEra has pulled the plug on their plan at the site of the former Joshua Tree airport. Reporter Mike Lipsitz shines some light on the situation…
NextEra pushed into Morongo Basin in 2014 with the goal of converting the 110-acre Roy Williams airport site in Joshua Tree into a utility-scale solar power plant. The plan immediately drew fire from preservationists intent on saving the long-closed airport for posterity; from neighbors and conservationists who objected to the dust, blight, and downward drag on property values the project would bring; and from the water district which found itself obliged to make water available while struggling to comply with mandatory state water restrictions. The company, which boasts annual revenue in excess of $16 billion, used its power and influence to beat the opposition, finally winning on appeal to County Supervisors in August 2016. NextEra wasted no time fencing off the site and demolishing the old airport structures, only to stop all work within days of November’s presidential election. But it wasn’t until the end of February that NextEra confirmed to the water district that, at least for now, the project is dead.