TWO ARRESTED FOLLOWING HIGH-SPEED CHASE FRIDAY NIGHT

Two people were arrested following a high-speed pursuit in the Morongo Basin Friday night. About 10:35 p.m., Deputy Shane Crowl noticed a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a vehicle violation near Highway 62 and El Reposo in Joshua Tree. When he attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled. Five Sheriff’s patrol cars, along with a CHP patrol car and a Sheriff’s helicopter, pursued the Jeep through residential neighborhoods and on Highway 62 in Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and Twentynine Palms. The report states the driver blew through stop signs and red traffic lights, and drove in oncoming lanes, on sidewalks, and in shopping center parking lots, with speeds reaching 100 miles per hour. After being pursued for 34 minutes over 32 miles, the driver, later identified as Brandon Koenig, 25, of Twentynine Palms, finally pulled into a driveway in the 73800 block of Sunnyslope Drive in Twentynine Palms. Deputies detained Koenig at gunpoint. Brandon Koenig was arrested on suspicion of felony failure to yield, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his set bail at $100,000, and on a $250,000 warrant for choking his girlfriend in Yucca Valley in April. The passenger in the Jeep was released at the scene. After the pursuit, Chelsea Sentz, 33, of Yucca Valley, called the Sheriff’s Department and made an official report stating she was the owner of the Jeep and that it had been stolen. Deputies determined that Sentz was not the owner of the Jeep, but rather, was the daughter of the owner, and had given Koenig permission to drive the Jeep. Sentz had gotten out of the Jeep at the Circle K store in Joshua Tree just before the pursuit began. Chelsea Sentz was arrested for investigation of perjury, and on a $50,000 warrant for drug charges, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at $50,000.

MAN SERIOUSLY INJURED SUNDAY IN ATV VS TRUCK CRASH IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

A 22-year-old man was seriously injured when his off-road-vehicle hit a truck Sunday afternoon. According to the Sheriff’s Department, the man, who was not identified, was riding his ATV eastbound on Sun Valley Drive in Twentynine Palms about 1:30 p.m. As he approached the intersection with Bagley Avenue, a pick-up truck was traveling northbound on Bagley. The driver of the ATV failed to stop at the stop sign and collided into the driver’s side of the truck; the driver of the truck attempted to avoid the collision by swerving to the right, which caused him to lose control. The truck came to rest in a parking lot of a nearby apartment complex. The ATV rider was injured from the crash and was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.

COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO REAPPOINT PAUL SMITH ON PLANNING COMMISSION

Two items are of particular relevance to Morongo Basin, if all goes as expected at tomorrow’s 10 a.m. meeting of the County Board of Supervisors’ in San Bernardino. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has details…
Among the first items of business on tomorrow’s consent agenda, county supervisors will undoubtedly approve the reappointment of Paul Smith to the County Planning Commission. Smith, along with wife Jane, owns the Twentynine Palms Inn and its sister property, the historic Campbell House. Paul Smith first took a seat on the commission in June 2013. Now chairman of the commission, today’s reappointment extends his term for an additional four years. Planning Commissioners are not paid. Much farther down on tomorrow’s agenda, item 118 allocates $102,000 to the City of Twentynine Palms to fund the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program for the coming fiscal year. Tomorrow’s meeting streams online and to the first-floor teleconferencing room in the County Government Center on White Feather Road where public comment may be made via live video link.

MARINE FACES FELONY CHARGE OF BRINGING MILITARY ORDINANCE ONTO PLANE

A 20-year-old Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms is facing a felony charge for allegedly trying to bring live military ordnance onto a plane at Palm Springs International Airport. Court records show Steven Corey Vella was charged Thursday, June 8, with one felony count of unlawfully possessing a destructive or explosive device in a prohibited area. Jail records do not indicate that Vella is in custody, and an arraignment date has not yet been scheduled. According to court documents, Vella was arrested at the airport on March 4 after he allegedly tried to board a flight from Palm Springs to New York with ground burst simulators, smoke grenades, a dummy hand grenade and an inert mortar body. The items, some of which are used to simulate explosions, were allegedly found in Vella’s luggage by Transportation Security Administration personnel. He was initially given a misdemeanor citation and released, according to the arrest warrant declaration.

MAN MISSING FROM DESERT HOT SPRINGS

Desert Hot Springs police are asking for the public’s help in finding a missing man. About 7 a.m. Friday morning, Robert Garris, 63, walked away from his home in the 13200 block of Del Ray Lane in Desert Hot Springs, and has not returned. Garris is described as white, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 160 pounds, brown hair and eyes, with a beard. He was last seen wearing a white polo shirt and light brown pants. Anyone who has seen Garris should call the Desert Hot Springs police at 760-329-2904 extension 2.

YUCCA VALLEY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETS TONIGHT

The Yucca Valley Revenue Measure Oversight Commission—the commission formed to recommend to the town council how the funds from the new sales tax measure should be distributed—meets tonight. Managing editor Tami Roleff says the commissioners will be receiving background on streets and public safety…
The Yucca Valley Revenue Measure Oversight Commission will hear two presentations tonight that will give them more information about making their recommendations to the town council. The first report will be a review of Yucca Valley streets and roads. The second presentation will be a review of current and projected public safety needs. The commission will learn about funding requirements and alternatives for both issues. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Mesquite Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.

MORONGO BASIN MAC IN UNDERWHELMING MEETING TONIGHT

If you’ve ever thought of addressing the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council, tonight would be a good time. The MAC meets with virtually nothing on its agenda except the usual public safety reports from fire, medical and law enforcement agencies. Tonight’s meeting gets underway 6:30 p.m. at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue.

TWENTYNINE PALMS HONOR STUDENT FOLLOWING HER DREAM THIS WEEKEND

Dreams can come true. Just ask a young Twentynine Palms honor student about to board a plane. Reporter David Haldane has the story…
Ashley Waring doesn’t know exactly how it happened. But somewhere along the line, it struck her that she would be a nurse.
“Ever since the third grade I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. I’ve always thought it would be really cool to help someone.”
This summer the 16-year-old Twentynine Palms High School honor student will get a chance to reaffirm that dream as a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders. Scheduled from June 25-27 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the event’s purpose, organizers say, is to “honor, inspire, motivate and direct” the nation’s top students in the medical arts to reach their goals.
Among other things, they will hear an array of Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science winners discuss their work, as well be able to talk to patients described as living medical miracles.
Ashley and her mom take off for Boston this weekend. Their only potential concern: it will be Ashley’s first time on an airplane.

ROAD WORK ON THE MORONGO GRADE AND STATE ROUTE  247 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 this Thursday, June 15, from 9 until 3. In addition, CalTrans will be grinding and repaving both north and southbound lanes of highway 247 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.

EXPLORE THE MOJAVE DESERT IN A WEDNESDAY LECTURE IN YUCCA VALLEY

The Morongo Basin Historical Society is hosting its monthly lecture this Wednesday. Reporter Eric Knabe fills you in…
This June 14, join the Morongo Basin Historical Society’s second Wednesday lecture series, which is held at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley (57116 29 Palms Highway). Kim Stringfellow—author, multimedia-artist, and educator—explores the physical, geological and cultural landscape of the Mojave Desert. It reconsiders and establishes multiple ways in which to interpret this unique and complex landscape, through association and connection of seemingly unrelated sites, themes, and subjects. Lecture begins at 5:30. Donation is $5.

TWENTYNINE PALMS THURSDAY “MOVIES IN THE PARK” BEGIN THIS WEEK

The City of Twentynine Palms FREE Thursday night Summer Movies in Luckie Park start this week. The family-friendly feature films are shown outdoors on the north-facing wall of the racquetball courts in Luckie Park June and July, starting at 8:30 p.m. Watch a family-friendly movie under the beautiful desert night sky. The large grass soccer field will be the designated viewing area. Families are encouraged to bring picnic dinners, lounge chairs and blankets. Animals, marijuana, and alcohol are not permitted in any park area. Concessions will be available for purchase through the Twentynine Palms Youth Club. Movies will begin between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m.

This year’s “movies in the Park” schedule is:
June 15:  The Jungle Book PG
June 22:  Ghost Busters PG13
June 29:  Pete’s Dragon PG
July 6:  Sing PG
July 13:  The Secret Life of Pets PG
July 20:  Moana PG
July 27:  Fantastic Beasts and where to find them PG13
August 03:  Finding Dory PG
For more information call 29 Palms Park and Recreation at 760-367-7562.