EXTREME HEAT WARNING: COOLING CENTERS AVAILABLE

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning from Saturday through Wednesday, June 21, (and possibly even farther into next week), with the hottest days expected to be Monday through Wednesday. Temperatures on Tuesday are expected to reach up to 112 degrees in Yucca Valley and 120 degrees in Twentynine Palms. Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke will be likely for people who spend a prolonged time outdoors or who perform strenuous activity. People most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses include young children, the elderly, those who spend a lot of time outdoors, and those with chronic ailments. Residents are urged to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and stay in air-conditioned rooms. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

There are cooling centers in the Morongo Basin. In Yucca Valley, the community center is open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, and the Hi-Desert Nature Museum is open Thursday through Saturday 10 to 5. Town offices are open Monday through Thursday 8 to noon and 1 to 5. In Twentynine Palms, the Senior Center on Adobe Road is a cooling center; if the heat index reaches 115 degrees, the building will be open evenings. In Joshua Tree, the community center will be open Saturday until 2 p.m. and normal hours are 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. Residents can cool off at the splash park, which is open Thursday through Monday 9 to 7. The Hi-Desert Medical Center cafeteria is available as a cooling center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, the libraries in Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley are open 11 to 7 Monday through Wednesday, Thursday 10 to 6, and Saturday 9 to 5. The Wonder Valley Community Center will be open 9 to 2 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Other places to get out of the heat are stores, restaurants, and theaters.

CHANGES COMING TO OUTLYING LOCAL FIRE STATIONS

Change is in the air for San Bernardo County fire stations in the Morongo Basin’s outlying areas. Reporter David Haldane explains…

If you’re a part time firefighter paid to answer calls in Landers, Pioneertown or Rimrock, you’ll soon be out of a job. That’s the word from the county fire department just one day after the board of supervisors voted to keep the Wonder Valley station open for another year.

Battalion Chief Mike Snow said Wednesday that the so-called “paid call” system—under which firefighters with other jobs earn money responding to calls—will be phased out by June 30. Instead, those stations will be served only by full-time firefighters from Yucca Valley bolstered by Fire Corps volunteers providing support and communications in emergencies and disasters.

In related news, Snow reported that the Johnson Valley fire station was taken over earlier this month by a homeowners group to be used for other purposes. And stations on Sierra Avenue in Joshua Tree and Lear Avenue in Twentynine Palms have been used only for storage for years.

POLICE INVESTIGATING HOMICIDE IN DESERT HOT SPRINGS

Desert Hot Springs police are investigating a homicide that occurred early this morning. About 4:30 a.m., police were called to the 66200 block of Pierson Boulevard, where they found a man—who has not yet been identified—lying on the ground. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. Anyone with information should call 760-329-2904 extension 352.

YUCCA VALLEY MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER IN PALMS SPRINGS DUI

A Yucca Valley man who crashed while driving high on drugs must stand trial for the murder of his passenger who died in the crash, a Riverside County judge ruled Tuesday. Robert Garcia Junior, 51, also faces charges of DUI causing injury for the injuries of three other people in the January 30 crash in Palm Springs. Garcia was driving a sedan southbound on Sunrise Way about 5:45 p.m. when he made a left-hand turn onto Amado Road, directly into the path of an SUV traveling northbound on Sunrise. Keyon Parks, 39, of Yucca Valley, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of Garcia’s car, was critically injured in the crash and died at the scene. The driver and passenger in the SUV, and the rear-seat passenger in Garcia’s car were injured. Garcia performed poorly on field sobriety tests. Police determined that Garcia had taken the painkiller Tramadol, as well as smoked marijuana; marijuana and paraphernalia were found in Garcia’s car. Robert Garcia Junior, who is being held on $1 million bail, will return to court in Indio June 27 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.

THEATRE 29 AUDITIONS: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

Theatre 29 announces auditions for the hit musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Director Rebecca Havely, musical director Analisa Pilecki, and choreographer Sarah Fleischman will cast 12 male and eight to 10 female singers/dancers. With all the details here’s reporter Rebecca Havely…

The story of Joseph and his many colored coat is a classic Bible story. Scorned by his brothers, he’s sold into slavery, then thrown into jail, but he uses his gift to interpret dreams to become the second most powerful man in Egypt. Auditions will be held Monday, July 10, at 6 p.m. at Theatre 29. Prepare a Broadway show tune and bring a backing track on your cell phone. Dress to move. Jericho McWilliams has been pre-cast in the role of Joseph. All other roles are open. The show’s female narrator must have a strong solo voice. Joseph has a huge family; his father Jacob should be 60-70; his 11 brothers range in age from 12 years old to late 50s. Some brothers will have featured solos such as a French ballad, a country western song and a calypso number. Some brothers will double as a second character such as Potiphar, a spoiled rich Egyptian. Potiphar’s wife is a sexy vixen who lusts after Joseph. The brother that doubles as the character Pharaoh will need to do an Elvis impersonation. Eight to 10 female singer/dancers ages 16 through late 50s will also be cast.

“Joseph” will run four weekends at Theatre 29 from August 25 to September 17, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. For the final weekend of the run, the show will travel to the Barstow Performing Arts Center with performances Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24. For tickets call the Theatre 29 box office 760-361-4151 or visit theatre29.org or barstowpac.com for the final weekend.

MARINE TRAINING EXERCISE WILL BRING NOISE TO THE AREA

Morongo Basin residents may hear more noise than usual from the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms over the next month. The Marine Corps will be conducting a 29-day integrated training exercise called ITX 4-17. The exercise will conduct battalion-size, live-fire maneuvers and will incorporate combat support, combat service support, and aviation units. Depending on atmospheric conditions, sound from the training area may be amplified.

To make a comment on the exercise and sound levels, go to:
http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Staff/G5CommunityPlansPAO/SoundReporting.aspx
Call: (760) 830-9222 or
Email: SMBPLMSG_5SOUNDREPORTING@usmc.mil

SUMMER MOVIES SERIES KICKS OFF TONIGHT IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Summer movies in Luckie Park are here again, presented by the Twentynine Palms Recreation Department. Reporter Eric Knabe fills us in…

Summer has returned and so has the summer movie program in Luckie Park. This Thursday, June 15, the summer season begins with the movie “The Jungle Book.” This 2016 movie is the latest version directed Jon Favreau, with the vocal talents of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Scarlett Johansson. This is the story of Mowgli who is threated by Shere Khan the tiger, who now must leave the jungle and embark on a journey of self-discovery, with the help of a panther, Bagheera, and a free-spirited bear, Baloo. The movie starts at 8:30 p.m., at the north end of the racquetball court, with refreshments offered by the Twentynine Palms Youth Club.

ANOTHER MASSIVE SOLAR FARM COULD BE COMING TO THE DESERT CENTER AREA

Riverside County could soon be getting its fifth massive solar farm. The 500-megawatt Palen solar project would be between Interstate 10 and Joshua Tree National Park.

Palen’s developer, San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy, has signed a contract to sell the electricity to Southern California Edison. The California Public Utilities Commission is likely to approve that contract later this month. The developer must also wait for Riverside County and the federal Bureau of Land Management to conduct an environmental review.

Like many solar plants in the desert, Palen has faced pushback from conservationists and tribal groups, who say the facility would harm fragile ecosystems, destroy Native American artifacts, and negatively impact Joshua Tree National Park, just eight miles from the project site.

“DESERT DAZE” TICKETS GO ON SALE NEXT WEEK

An eclectic mix of music, culture, art, and nature will return to Joshua Tree with the 6th annual Desert Daze Music and Art Festival at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center October 13-15. The event will feature a who’s who of live music—including desert-rooted Eagles of Death Metal—and food, film screenings, art installations and even guided meditation classes. A lot of the artists, such as Courtney Barnett, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and the Allah-Las, have all played the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in recent years. Tickets are $179-$450 and go on sale Wednesday, June 21, at www.desertdaze.org. On-site camping starts Thursday, October 12, and camping passes run $100-$199.

YUCCA VALLEY SWIM PROGRAM START JUNE 19

Town aquatic programs start this Monday at the Yucca Valley High School community pool. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says many drop-in programs will be available…

The Town of Yucca Valley aquatic programs will begin Monday, June 19, at the community pool at the high school on Sage Avenue. Drop-in programs include fun swim, family swim, lap swimming, and water aerobics. All drop-in programs are $4 per person, per visit; or $3 per visit when a swim pass is used. Swim passes are available at $30 for 10 visits and can be purchased at the pool or community center. For days and hours of all programs, call 760-369-7211 or visit yucca-valley.org.

WOMEN’S HERITAGE PROJECT CLASS AT RAINBOW STEW SATURDAY

A cross-cultural presentation on the universal blood mysteries is the fifth class in a series in the Women’s Heritage Project. The class will be held at Rainbow Stew on Saturday, June 17, starting at 10:30 a.m. A donation of $25 is requested, but no one will be turned away. Rainbow Stew is located on the north side of Highway 62 in Old Town Yucca Valley. Additional classes in the Women’s Heritage Project will be held July 1 and July 22. To register, call 323-504- 0260.