MORONGO BASIN MAC VOTES TO SUPPORT LOCAL NATIONAL MONUMENTS

The Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council cut it uncomfortably close last night, voicing its opinion on an important national issue just hours before the deadline to do so. Reporter David Haldane was there and explains…

The MAC basically told President Trump to take a hike. Preferably in one of two nearby national monuments whose boundaries, it believes, should stay the same despite the president’s inclination to shrink them.

It all happened last night as the council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the current size and shapes of Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails, both protected areas on Trump’s hit list of national preserves to be reviewed by the Interior Department. To alter them, the resolution argued, would damage important natural resources, undermining the quality of life for Basin residents.

In other business, the MAC was addressed by County Supervisor James Ramos, who endorsed the national monuments resolution and updated them on various county issues. It also heard a report on county efforts to promote tourism, and received a surprise announcement: that Joshua Tree National Park will be officially declared a Dark Sky Park on August 12.

JOSHUA TREE MAN ACCUSED OF ABUSE, STALKING, AND CRIMINAL THREATS

A Joshua Tree man was arrested Saturday morning, accused of beating up his girlfriend. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies were called to the 60800 block of Alta Loma Drive about 9:40 a.m. The victim told deputies that Donald McGrath, 30, beat her up, and then held a knife to his own throat and threatened to kill himself. The woman got away and called for help from her work, as she was afraid he would show up at her place of employment. After an investigation, Donald McGrath was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse, making criminal threats, and stalking. McGrath was booked into West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $250,000.

ALLEGED STOLEN VEHICLE INVOLVED IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASH IN YUCCA VALLEY MONDAY

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating a hit-and-run crash in Yucca Valley involving a stolen vehicle. According to witnesses, an unknown man stole a gray Jeep parked in the Burrtec Waste and Recycling parking lot at Buena Vista and Old Woman Springs Road, and took off southbound on OWS. Witnesses described the Jeep as swerving and driving erratically. At the intersection of Old Woman Springs Road and Highway 62, the Jeep ran a red light about 11 a.m. and crashed into two other vehicles, a white BMW and a black Chevy Cruze. Witnesses reported the driver of the Jeep—described as wearing a hat and backpack, with tattoos—ran off southbound toward Chase Bank. There were no injuries to any of the occupants of the other vehicles. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

One of the vehicles involved in a 3-vehicle crash at Old Woman Springs Road and Highway 62 in Yucca Valley about 11 a.m.

This Jeep was reported stolen from the Burrtec parking lot in Yucca Valley before being involved in a hit-and-run crash.
Photo courtesy MaryKay Sherry.

CALIFORNIA TOPS THE NATION FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING

California has the biggest problem of human trafficking in the nation, judging from the number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. In 2016, the hotline received more than 19,000 calls that led to 5,415 cases in the Golden State. That’s more than five times as many calls as in 2015, when the state had more than 3600 calls and nearly 1,000 cases. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more…

Jenna Novak, a spokeswoman for the human trafficking hotline, says that sex trafficking is everywhere.

“I think it’s happening under our nose everywhere, all of the time.”

A 2012 report from the state human trafficking task force found that sex trafficking, in the form of forced prostitution rings, are run by gangs that now use social media to lure victims and attract customers. It also found almost three quarters of the victims are American-born, not immigrants.

But human trafficking is more than just prostitution.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where an individual is compelled to engage either in commercial sex or some kind of labor through the means of forced fraud or coercion.”

Novak says the hotline also about 20 percent of the calls to the hotline are in the areas of domestic work, traveling sales crews, begging rings, health and beauty services and agriculture.

“Sex trafficking is talked about a lot more and it’s a lot easier to recognize those signs than it is to recognize the labor trafficking victim,” says Novak.

To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the hotline at 888-373-7888 or text “HELP” to “BeFree” on your cell phone.

JOSHUA TREE CLEAN TEAM VOLUNTEERS OUT TOMORROW MORNING

Would you like to help clean-up Joshua Tree? The next regular meeting of our hometown heroes, the hard-working volunteers of the Joshua Tree Clean Team, is set for tomorrow morning, Wednesday, July 12. The team invites you to join them at Highway 62 and Park Avenue from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. The team and volunteers will meet for optional coffee and conversation afterwards at the Park Rock Cafe. For more information contact joshuatreecleanteam@gmail.com or call 909-224-8740.

UNITY HOME TO HOST INAUGURAL VOLUNTEER FAIR THIS SATURDAY

The Morongo Basin Unity Home will host the inaugural Volunteer Fair. Here with your invitation is Rebecca Havely…

“Because in Community We Find Unity Volunteer Fair” is hosted by the Morongo Basin Unity Home. You’re encouraged to attend this event if you want to volunteer your time and skills with a local community service organization. The event is on Saturday, July 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To create a fulfilling volunteer relationship match your interests and skills to the needs of the organizations. The event is free with refreshments offered and as well as drawings throughout the day. Located at the Morongo Basin Unity Home’s outreach offices, 7237 Joshua Lane in Yucca Valley. For more information contact the volunteer coordinator, Dean Lockwood, at 760-366-9663 or dean@unityhome.org.

COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS MEET TOMORROW

The Morongo Basin Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents who have experienced the death of a child, meets tomorrow and every second Wednesday of the month from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the Helen Gray Education Center located on the campus of the Hi-Desert Medical Center at 6601 White Feather Road. The Compassionate Friends is a national support organization reaching out to parents grieving the death of a child. The monthly support group offers practical help from other parents who are on this journey. The group is facilitated by Kristin Martin. For more information, contact Martin at 760-250-7295 or visit the Hi-Desert Medical Center website at www.hdmc.org.

FIRES, FLOODS, EARTHQUAKES: WHAT TO INCLUDE IN AN EMERGENCY KIT

Whether it’s floods, fires, or an earthquake, an hour or two of preparation in advance of a disaster offers peace of mind, but can also mean the difference between surviving or not. Reporter Mike Lipsitz offers some tips on putting together your emergency kit…

Assemble your kit with the thought that its contents may be all you have access to for an extended period. Each person in your household should have his or her own kit. A backpack is ideal because you can carry it hands free. Store food and water separately in a tub or chest on wheels. Set aside a gallon of water per person daily. Include a map with at least two evacuation routes. And have any prescriptions or special medications, a change of clothes, glasses or sun shades, first aid kit, cash, flashlight, dust mask, multi-tool, battery-operated radio and batteries, hygiene items, copies of birth certificates, passports, insurance policies. How about pet food, phone charger and laptop? Every household’s emergency kit will look a little different; that’s why it pays to think about what you’ll need in advance of a disaster.

TWENTYNINE PALMS RECREATION OFFERING A VOLLEYBALL CLINIC

The Twentynine Palms Parks and Recreation Department and Twentynine Palms High School volleyball coaches will be offering a volleyball clinic to girls and boys entering fourth through seventh grades. The clinic will teach the fundamentals of the game as well as specific skills to help participants play the game with confidence. No previous experience is necessary to register. The camp will take place August 7 through August 10 at the Twentynine Palms High School Gymnasium from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. The camp fee is $50 per person and includes a camp volleyball. Register online through August 4 at 29palms.org or by calling the Twentynine Palms recreation office at 760-367-7562.