MORE THAN 30 ANIMALS SEIZED IN ANIMAL NEGLECT CASE IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Twentynine Palms Animal Control officers and Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a case of suspected animal cruelty. According to a Sheriff’s reports, deputies were called to the 75100 block of Mayfair Drive in Twentynine Palms about 11 p.m. to perform a welfare check on a child living at the home. While checking the home, deputies located 25 dogs, a pig, a rooster, and half a dozen reptiles that were living in and around the home. The report states the home was unsanitary due to the number of animals inside and from urine and feces in the home. Animal control officers were called, who determined that the animals were not properly cared for and were neglected. The animals were seized by Animal Control and taken to the Palms n Paws animal shelter. The owner of the home, Brookes Smith, 38, was not at home at the time. The investigation is ongoing; anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

YUCCA VALLEY MAN ACCUSED OF CHILD ABUSE

A Yucca Valley man was arrested Thursday, accused of giving a boy a black eye. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies were called to the 3700 block of Lucerne Vista in Yucca Valley about 11:15 a.m. because a boy there had a black eye. The boy said Reuben Kimball, 36, hit him because he had been playing with the man’s bike. After an investigation, Reuben Kimball was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse, booked into West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $50,000.

ROAD WORK IN THE MORONGO BASIN THIS WEEK

The California Department of Transportation will be performing road work on the Morongo Grade, and on State Route 247 all this week. Caltrans will be repairing guardrails on the Morongo Grade from the county line to Indian Canyon Avenue today through next Monday, June 12, from 9 until 3. In addition, CalTrans will be grinding and repaving both north-and southbound lanes of the highway from Handley Road to Boone Avenue today through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Motorists are urged to use caution in the work zone and allow extra time for travel.

SUMMER CLOSURES IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK START TOMORROW

During the summer when temperatures rise, the number of people camping in Joshua Tree National Park decreases. The park responds by closing some of the campgrounds. With the campground closures is managing editor Tami Roleff…
In order to reduce maintenance costs and allow vegetation a bit of a breather, Joshua Tree National Park will close some camping areas from June 6 until October 2. Closed campgrounds include Loop B of Cottonwood; Ryan; the family sites on the west loop of Indian Cove; and at Black Rock, sites 49 to 60, and 69 to 99. Jumbo Rocks and Hidden Valley campgrounds will be open all summer. White Tank, which is usually closed during the summer, will remain open to allow access to Arch Rock and extra campsites. Park rangers will monitor the number of campers to determine whether campgrounds should be re-opened during the summer months.

2,000 MARIJUANA PLANTS SEIZED IN 3 LUCERNE VALLEY LOCATIONS, 6 ARRESTED

Sheriff’s officials seized nearly 2,000 marijuana plants when they served search warrants at three locations in Lucerne Valley Friday. Sheriff’s officials said the Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team learned the three unrelated locations had outdoor marijuana farms that did not comply with California’s medical marijuana law or the County’s ordinance prohibiting “commercial cannabis activity.” Six men were arrested. Investigators urge anyone with information regarding other illegal marijuana cultivations to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at 909-387-8400.

MARINE BASE ECOLOGIST DECODES DESERT TORTOISE GENOME

The Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms does more than just prepare for war. Sometimes it helps save a species. Reporter David Haldane has the details…
What is a desert tortoise really made of? That’s the question absorbing a group of scientists for the last several years. Now they have an answer, thanks in part to Dr. Brian Henen, an ecologist at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.
Henen recently collaborated with researchers from Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences to decode the large reptile’s genome, the complete set of genes present to build and maintain the species. Their findings were published on May 31.
Scientists hope the breakthrough will help them protect the big tortoises, which are listed as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the genetic map provides a starting point for other studies on disease resistance, adaptations to the desert environment, distribution of genetic diversity and hybridization with its sister species.
The ultimate goal: long-term survival for these gentle giants.

THEATRE 29 SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM TAKING ENROLLMENTS

Enrollment is still open for the Theatre 29 2017 summer youth theater program. Generous grants from the City of Twentynine Palms Public Arts Advisory Commission and U.S. Bank will keep the cost of the five-week program down to $60 per student. Scholarships are available to eligible students who request it. Students from ages 7 to 17 are invited to enroll and be a part of this highly successful summer arts program that takes place at Theatre 29 in Twentynine Palms.
Theatre 29 is the most successful all-volunteer non-profit arts organization in the Morongo Basin providing regional support for other all-volunteer troupes and schools in Yucca Valley, Morongo Valley, and Joshua Tree.
The Summer Youth Theater program will run Monday through Friday from June 26 through July 30, (Fourth of July off) culminating with two performances of “Disney’s Little Mermaid Jr.” July 28, 29, 30. The program will break into two age groups of 30 students each with “juniors” (ages 7-11 years old) meeting from 10 a.m. to noon. The “seniors” (ages 12-17) will meet from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. The program will teach a wide variety of theatrical skills, including auditioning, acting, singing for musical theater, choreography, costuming, make-up, backstage skills, set construction, lighting, sound, visual arts, and box office management. Applications are available at www.theatre29.org, the Twentynine Palms Park and Recreation offices, the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Z107.7 studios in Joshua Tree and must be turned in by June 12.
The Theatre 29 Summer Youth Theater Program will be presented by experienced Theatre 29 volunteers. Gary Daigneault is the program director. The musical, “Disney’s Little Mermaid Jr.” will be directed by Daigneault for the seniors, Katie Fleischman will direct the juniors. The musical director for the program is Bianca Stoker, choreographer is Sarah Fleischman, Cindy Daigneault and Tera Bottorff will coordinate the costuming.
Students will receive a DVD of their performance, a CD or .mp3 file of the music, their script to keep, a program T-shirt, and friends, memories, and skills to last a lifetime. The last performance will culminate in a cast pizza party July 30. 
For any additional information about the program, e-mail Daigneault at z1077fm@gmail.com.

CANDIDATE FILING FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS WATER DISTRICT EXTENDED

It’s not too late to file for anyone thinking to run for the Twentynine Palms Water Board. That’s because the Friday deadline has been extended. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us why…
Candidate filing for a seat on the Twentynine Palms Water District board has been extended to 5 p.m. this Wednesday, June 7. The original filing period for the August mail ballot election ended Friday, but because Director Roger Shinaver did not file for re-election, state law allows for a filing period extension. Three others did file in advance of the original deadline. They are appointed incumbent Bob Coghill, newcomer Randy Leazer, and incumbent Suzi Horn. Three water board seats are up for contest; each carries a four-year term. If no other candidates file by the new Wednesday deadline, the contest will not appear on the August ballot. Anyone considering candidacy must file the requisite documents at the County Elections Office in San Bernardino, or at the Twentynine Palms Water District at 72401 Hatch Road in Twentynine Palms. Find more information on this election at SBCountyElections.com or call 909-387-8300.

COPPER MOUNTAIN COLLEGE SUMMER HOURS START TODAY

Copper Mountain College will begin its summer schedule June 5. Business hours will be 8 to 5 Monday through Thursday; the college will be closed on Friday. Regular hours will resume July 31. For more information, call 760-366-3791.

FREE BREAD IN YUCCA VALLEY TODAY AND EVERY MONDAY

The Santa Fe Social Clubhouse will hold a bread distribution every Monday from 11:00 a.m. until it runs out. Santa Fe Social Clubhouse is located at 56020 Santa Fe Trail, Suite M, in Yucca Valley. For more information, call 760-369-4057.