TWO FIRES IN MORONGO BASIN OVER WEEKEND; ONE DOG KILLED

Morongo Basin firefighters were busy with two house fires over the weekend, including one in which a dog was killed. According to County Fire Battalion Chief Scott Tuttle, Yucca Valley Fire Station 41, assisted by firefighters from Yucca Mesa, Joshua Tree, and CalFire, were called just after 2 p.m. Sunday to the mobile home park in the 7400 block of Kickapoo Trail, where they found heavy flames coming from the living room area of a mobile home. Tuttle said nearby homes were threatened by the blaze, but firefighters managed to confine the fire to the home of origin and had it under control in 22 minutes. The two occupants suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center. One dog died in the fire; a second dog survived. Tuttle said the home is a total loss and the cause is under investigation.
On Saturday, Twentynine Palms firefighters, assisted by the Combat Center, Wonder Valley, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley fire stations, were called at 9:40 a.m. to a fire at a home in the 72100 block of Winters Road in Twentynine Palms. Tuttle said the home was well-involved with smoke and flames when firefighters arrived, but they had the fire under control in 18 minutes, and were able to save the small house. There were no injuries. The cause is under investigation.

YUCCA VALLEY LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION DAY TOMORROW

Tomorrow has been designated as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day by the Yucca Valley Town Council. Managing editor Tami Roleff says a reception will be held after a ribbon cutting and unveiling of a blue line of support…
The Town of Yucca Valley will show its support for local law enforcement prior to its regular meeting Tuesday, March 21. The Law Enforcement Appreciation Event starts at 5 p.m. with a ribbon cutting of the Sheriff’s newly renovated substation, and dedication of a “blue line of support” on the pavement leading to the substation. A reception will immediately follow in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center. Residents will have the opportunity to “thank a cop” at the reception. During the regular meeting at 6, the town will present proclamations and recognition to law enforcement.

HIGHWAY 62 ROAD WORK AND LANE CLOSURES THIS WEEK EAST OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

Road work and lane closures will continue this week on State Route 62 east of Twentynine Palms The Caltrans maintenance crews will continue crack sealing the pavement on State Route 62 between Vidal Junction and Earp today Monday, March 20, through Wednesday, March 22. They will be crack sealing a seven-mile segment in the proximity of Rio Mesa Drive (post mile 132 to post mile 139). Work hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. One way traffic control will be in effect. Minimal delays are anticipated. Please slow for the cone zone as crews will be working next to an active lane. Operations are contingent upon the weather.

NATIONAL PARKS FACING BACKLOGS ON MAINTENANCE MAY HAVE TO RESTRICT ACCESS

The nation’s national park system is facing unprecedented use and unprecedented costs. Reporter David Haldane explains…
A record number of visitors are enjoying America’s national parks, including the one in Joshua Tree. That’s both a blessing and a curse, park advocates say: with a $12 billion backlog in needed maintenance and repairs, the parks may have to restrict access soon.
“What needs to be done, really, is that the Trump administration and our new secretary of the interior should step up and offer a budget that reflects and prioritizes funding our park system for the long run, for all of us.”
That’s Kimberly Pope, organizing representative with the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America program. While the President’s initial budget calls for an overall cut in agency funding, she says, it also includes an unspecified increase in parks maintenance.
Park service staffers say much of backlog is due to lower-than-expected revenues from federal transportation bills and the increased cost of construction.

LIFEGUARD CERTIFICATION CLASSES IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Registrations are currently underway for the City of Twentynine Palms lifeguard certification course. This course will provide entry-level lifeguard participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies and to provide care for health emergencies, injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services personnel take over. To enroll in the lifeguarding course, applicants must be at least 15 years old before the last scheduled class session and must be able to pass a skills evaluation test. The course fee is $200 which includes the American Red Cross registration fee, lifeguarding manual, adult/child CPR mask, whistle, and instruction. Classes will be held April 17 to 21 from 8 am to 4 pm. at the Twentynine Palms Recreation office and the Luckie Park Pool in Twentynine Palms. Students who successfully complete the course may apply and  interview for the city’s summer aquatic positions. To register, or for more information, call the Twentynine Palms Recreation office at 760-367-7562, or register online at 29palms.org.

GRUBSTAKE DAYS “WESTERN HERITAGE” BUSINESS DECORATING CONTEST

Seems everyone wants to get in on the fun planned for Yucca Valley’s annual Grubstake Days Celebration May 25 to 29. It’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent years and now there’s more reason for area businesses to take part. Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains …

Yucca Valley area businesses are best positioned to help spread Grubstake Days fever. And with that fever comes greater crowds, local shopping, and excitement. With that in mind, The Hi-Desert Star and Z107.7 Radio are co-sponsoring a free “Western Heritage Decorating Contest” for all businesses in the Western Morongo Basin. It is free to enter and the rules are simple. The businesses judged to best develop a “Western Heritage” storefront theme or interior receive hundreds of dollars in local advertising. Judging will be based on “Overall Appeal,” “Use of Space,” “Use of Light and Color,” “Inventiveness and Theme,” and “Wow Factor.” Painted windows do not qualify. First and second place will be awarded for “best” small and large interiors and exteriors. Enter for free by 5 p.m., Friday, May 19 by calling 760-366-8471. Winners will be announced May 26. Some restrictions apply.

COMPLETE CONTEST RULES & RESTRICTIONS

  1. Entry is limited to commercial enterprises; home-based business are ineligible. Employees, and their families, of Morongo Basin Broadcasting and Hi-Desert Publishing are ineligible.
  2. Entries must be businesses physically located in the “Western Morongo Basin,” defined as from Morongo Valley to the west, Joshua Tree to the east, north to Johnson Valley, and south to the border of Joshua Tree National Park.
  3. There is no charge to enter.
  4. Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Friday, May 19.
  5. Winners will be announced May 26.

LEARN ABOUT ESSENTIAL OILS AT RAINBOW STEW WEDNESDAY

If you are wondering what essential oils are all about, Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley will hold a free informational introduction on Wednesday, March 22. You’ll be able to experience the oils and see for yourself how many uses they have. The session begins at 4 p.m. Rainbow Stew is located on the south side of the highway in Old Town Yucca Valley.

FOOD FOR LIFE SEEKING SPONSORS AND VOLUNTEERS FOR SPRING

With spring in the air the Food for Life ministry is gearing up to bring nutritious meals to seniors, disabled, homeless, and those in need of nourishment. Hosts are needed to prepare and serve the meals.  Churches and organizations interested in being involved in this ministry should call President, Wally Currie at 760-449-8683. You will be asked to come in one Saturday the month before you will serve. You will be shown food inventory so you can decide your menu and see the facilities.
Food for Life drivers are also needed. A driver is given a route to take in Twentynine Palms. The job entails delivering meals to those on your list.  A well-check is done at the same time you deliver. Any needs or concerns are reported back to Food For Life.

SIXTH ANNUAL WOOF WALK SATURDAY WILL BENEFIT NO-KILL SHELTER

The sixth annual “Woof Walk,” to support the Humane Society no-kill animal shelter in Joshua Tree, is set for Saturday, March 25, in Pioneertown. Edica Gonzalez has your invitation…
The sixth annual Woof Walk in the Morongo Basin Humane Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The event features raffles, door prizes, auctions, vendors, pet contests, and of course, a dog parade. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. A blessing of the animals will start the woof walk at 10:30. Dogs from local rescues and shelters that will be available for adoption. Participation in the walk is $35, which includes lunch, but is free for those who raise $60 or more in pledges. Pledge forms are available at Petco, vet clinics, or online at mbhumanesociety.com. You don’t need a dog to participate.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES

Coming up in high school sports today, the Yucca Valley High School tennis team will travel away to Desert Hot Springs. First serve is at 3:15.