TWENTYNINE PALMS MARINE ACCUSED IN NORTH CAROLINA DOUBLE-FATAL HIT AND RUN

A Marine stationed at Twentynine Palms was arrested in connection to a hit-and-run that killed two teens and critically injured a third in North Carolina earlier this year. Davis Christian Stewart, 21, a private first class student in the Communication Training Battalion at the Marine Corps Communication Electronics School, was arrested Wednesday afternoon, April 5, aboard the Marine base on an outstanding warrant out of North Carolina. The warrant was issued after the Harnett County District Attorney’s Office filed two counts of felony hit-and-run causing death or serious bodily injury, one count of felony hit-and-run causing injury, altering and removing evidence, conspiracy to alter or remove evidence, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice charges. Five teens went to a convenience store about 11:15 p.m. January 17, in Broadway, North Carolina, to grab some snacks, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol. They were walking back when a truck hit three of the teens. Witnesses said the vehicle then sped off without stopping. Two teens—a 13-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy—were killed. A third teen, a 14-year-old boy, was critically injured. Davis Stewart is being held without bail at the West Valley Detention Center.

MISSING PASADENA WOMAN FOUND NEAR JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

A Pasadena woman who went missing on Tuesday was found Thursday near Joshua Tree National Park. The Pasadena Star-News reported that Connie Sullivan never returned home after driving to a pharmacy Tuesday afternoon. She evidently became disoriented, and called her family to say she was lost. Police tracked her cell phone’s signal to San Dimas, but Sullivan kept driving until she reached a remote area near Joshua Tree National Park. The paper reported that about 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning, two Morongo Valley residents, David Franco, and Jennifer Thompson, were riding off-road vehicles when they discovered Sullivan. They realized that she was lost, confused, and dehydrated, and notified Pasadena police and Sullivan’s family. After a medical exam, Connie Sullivan was reunited with her family.

MORONGO BASIN MAC GETS UPDATE ON COUNTY SHORT-TERM RENTAL ORDINANCE

The Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council will get an update tonight on the county’s plans to regulate short-term vacation rentals of private homes to out-of-towners in unincorporated areas. Reporter David Haldane has the details…

If you operate an AirBnB in Joshua Tree, heads up; you may soon be subject to county control. That’s the likely upshot of a report on short-term vacation rentals to be presented at tonight’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council. The presenter is Andy Wingert, chief code enforcer for San Bernardino’s Land Use Services Department. With the number of AirBnB and other short-term rentals proliferating countywide, his department has been circulating an updated draft of an ordinance that, among other things, requires $700 permits, controls density and limits noise.
Though the ordinance currently applies only to mountain areas, a staff report indicates that it may soon be expanded to include Joshua Tree and other unincorporated county areas.

Tonight’s meeting gets underway 6:30 p.m. at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue.

TWENTYNINE PALMS DEFENDANTS ACCEPT PLEA BARGAIN IN SEX TRAFFICKING TRIAL

Two Twentynine Palms residents accepted a plea bargain Thursday afternoon in the middle of their trial in Joshua Tree for sex trafficking. According to court records, deputies found a teen girl in the desert near Twentynine Palms in June 2015, and determined that she was the victim of a sex trafficking ring. In January 2016, investigators arrested Kevin Akins, now 28, and Aubrei Wilson, now 23, who lured girls and young women to Twentynine Palms, promising them romantic relationships. Once the girls and women arrived in Twentynine Palms, they were forced to work as prostitutes. Akins’ and Wilson’s trial started Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon, the trial was halted when Akins and Wilson agreed to a plea bargain. Kevin Akins pleaded guilty to causing a minor to engage in commercial sex; depriving another of personal liberty; pandering by procuring, and threatening a crime; in exchange, three charges of pimping, one charge of pandering, and one charge of inducing a minor were dropped. Kevin Akins can face up to 20 years in state prison when he is sentenced May 5. Aubrei Wilson, who was being tried along with Akins, pleaded guilty to inducing a minor to engage in commercial sex; pimping; and depriving another of personal liberty, in exchange for the dismissal of three charges of pandering, one charge of pimping, and one charge of a minor engaged in prostitution. She could receive a sentence of eight years in state prison.

MULTIPLE PEOPLE ARRESTED FOLLOWING DRUG HOUSE RAID IN YUCCA VALLEY THURSDAY

Sheriff’s deputies raided a reputed drug house in Yucca Valley Thursday and arrested multiple people on drug charges. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies went to a home in the 7400 block of Condalia Avenue about 11:20 with a search warrant. During a search of the house, deputies found drug paraphernalia throughout the home. Deputies determined that Danny Hoyle, 60, and Kimberly Stine, 48, were in charge of the home and allowed numerous people to use drugs in the house. Danny Hoyle and Kimberly Stine were arrested on suspicion of owning and operating a drug house; Hoyle was released due to medical concerns and his case will be forwarded to a district attorney for review. Stine was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with her bail set at $25,000. Brenda Hoyle, 55, and John Harrison, 47, were arrested for investigation of possession of drug paraphernalia, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, and released. Robert Younger, 55, was arrested and booked into the Morongo Basin Jail for a probation violation.

HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT BOARD MEETS TOMORROW

The Hi-Desert Water District and Warren Basin Watermaster boards will hold a special meeting Wednesday. Managing editor Tami Roleff covers what’s on the agendas…

The Hi-Desert Water District will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Among the items on the agenda, the board will be asked to authorize a purchase of an equipment trailer for more than $50,000; authorize the dissolution of the Joint Powers Authority of the Joshua Basin-Hi-Desert Financing Authority. A change in the size of pipes for the wastewater collection system–at a cost of nearly $162,000–will be up for approval. The board will also be asked to approve a contract of nearly $188,000 for an engineering report. Following the meeting, the board will go into closed session to negotiate over two properties.

The Warren Basin Watermaster board will also meet, and will be asked to accept the annual reports for 2014/15, and 2015/16.

The meetings will be held in water district’s office at the corner of Inca Trail and Highway 62 in Yucca Valley.

KUDOS FOR THE CITY OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

The City of Twentynine Palms has been recognized for its comprehensive annual financial report with a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The certificate, awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, represents the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Among other things, per a press release, the award recognizes a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” in the city’s preparation of its latest financial report.

APPLY NOW FOR THE JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK YOUTH CONSERVATION CORPS

If you are a teenager, or have a teen between the ages of 16 and 18, who is interested in working in the outdoors this summer, make plans to apply to the Youth Conservation Corps in Joshua Tree National Park. Reporter Rebecca Havely says the application period for the Youth Conservation Corps ends soon…

This summer, Joshua Tree National Park will sponsor an eight-week Youth Conservation Corps. Young people between the ages of 15 and 18 are encouraged to apply. To be eligible, applicants may not reach their 19th birthday during the program. Selected applicants will start work in June and continue in the program until August. Corps members will earn the hourly minimum wage for California. Work will be eight-hour days, Monday through Friday, with every other Friday off.

The program provides young people of the community with excellent hands-on work experience. Work is labor intensive and performed throughout the park.

Application forms are available through April 14 at the park’s visitor centers in Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. For more information, call 760-367-5685.

COUNTY NEEDS ASSESSMENT SURVEY BEING CONDUCTED

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County is conducting a 2017 Community Needs Assessment. The survey will help the organization identify the needs of low-income individuals and families living in San Bernardino County, and will help the organization learn what is working well and what needs improvement. All surveys are confidential. 2017 Community Needs Assessment

THEATRE 29 OFFER LEGACY BRICKS

Theatre 29 is offering you a chance to be part of their proud history. The Morongo Basin’s largest and most successful all-volunteer Community Theater Organization will put your name, your business, a memory of a loved or a special message on a brick in their Serenity Garden. Sara Snyder tells you how to put your brick on the wall…

Along with the Simi Dabah sculpture and seating area is a wall that is covered with custom-engraved tiles. The tiles are purchased by volunteers, businesses, and members of the community who want to show their support for Twentynine Palms’ community theater. Two sizes are available: 4-by-8 inches, for $85, or 8-by-8 inches, for $150, and the tiles can be engraved with a message or logo of your choice. The funds raised will be used to retire the theater’s debt. To order a brick, call Cindy Daigneault at 760-366-8471.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Coming up in high school sports today, the Yucca Valley tennis team will travel away to Thermal to play Desert Mirage High School. The match starts at 3:15 p.m.