CORONER NAMES TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN KILLED IN ONTARIO MOTORCYCLE CRASH

The County Coroner has released the name of a Twentynine Palms man killed in an Ontario motorcycle crash. On July 11, at 12:50 a.m., officers with the Ontario Police Department and paramedics with the Ontario Fire Department responded to a collision involving a motorcycle and vehicle at the intersection of Milliken Avenue and Ontario Mills Parkway in Ontario. Paramedics located the driver of the motorcycle, 25-year-old Bruce Woods Jr. of Twentynine Palms, with traumatic injuries. At 1:13 a.m., Bruce Woods Jr. was pronounced deceased at the scene. The Ontario Police Department is investigating the incident.

AN UPDATE ON STATE LEGISLATION THAT AFFECTS CADIZ WATER-PUMPING PROJECT

Earlier this month we brought you news of proposed legislation that aims to safeguard desert groundwater so that water transfers don’t negatively impact cultural and natural resources. In this follow up, reporter Mike Lipsitz brings to the surface some controversies associated with Assembly Bill 1000, the California Desert Protection Act…

Last week, the state’s Senate Committee on Natural Resources voted 7 to 2 along party lines to advance AB1000 out of committee. The Cadiz Project stands to lose the most from the legislation because it would require new restrictions and additional state review processes before the Cadiz owners could pump water from the aquifer below the Mojave National Preserve, some 16 billion gallons or more annually, for sale to SoCal communities along the coast. Cadiz is lobbying heavily against the bill. And closer to home, the Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency objected to AB1000 in a strongly worded letter to the bill’s author, Glendale Democrat Laura Friedman, claiming unintended consequences of the bill would effectively cripple operations at the small, local agency. Bighorn General Manager Marina West has since adjusted her position to “cautiously optimistic” following assurances that an amendment to AB1000 will carve local water agencies out of the area impacted by the legislation.

One thing is certain, many hurdles will have to be cleared if the California Desert Protection Act is to become law. Z107.7 News will keep you in the loop.

FEDERAL BILL WOULD EASE THE WAY FOR JOINT TWENTYNINE PALMS-MARINE BASE SEWER SYSTEM

Twentynine Palms and the neighboring Combat Center may be receiving some federal help in building a joint wastewater treatment facility. On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its annual national security authorization bill, HR 2810, which encourages the base to cooperate with the city to provide a community sewage system that may be mutually beneficial to both the base and the city. Other items in the bill include a 2.4 percent salary increase for service members and an authorization to increase the size of each branch of the military. In addition, it authorizes the construction of a railroad spur from the existing freight railroad to the Marine Base at Barstow. The bill passed the House 344-81 and now goes to the Senate.

SHERIFF’S HOMELESS OUTREACH PROJECT ONGOING

The Z107.7 “Up Close” show Friday featured a lively discussion on the issue of homelessness in the Morongo Basin. In this follow-up, reporter Rebecca Havely outlines the Sheriff Department’s homeless outreach, Project Hope…

In June of 2016 the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department launched a public awareness campaign about homelessness, Positive Change, Not Spare Change. According to the Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement, or HOPE team, 65 percent of panhandlers are not homeless. The HOPE team says giving money to panhandlers contributes to the panhandler’s drug or alcohol addiction. HOPE team members urge residents to donate to legitimate homeless service providers, who can use donations to find real solutions to move people off the streets. For more information about the Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement team, call 909-387-0623, or email hope@sbcsd.org.

PASSER-BY NOTIFIES TWENTYNINE PALMS FIRE ABOUT FIRE NEXT DOOR TO FIRE STATION

The passer-by who reported a fire just before 11 p.m. to the Twentynine Palms Fire Department Saturday night didn’t have far to go; the structure fire in the 6500 block of Adobe Road was right next to the fire station. Firefighters from Wonder Valley, Joshua Tree, and the Combat Center were called to assist. The fire was under control in about 15 minutes. There were no injuries and the loss is estimated at about $10,000. The Sheriff’s Department noted in a report that a trashcan outside the building had been set on fire.

IT’S MONSOON SEASON: SOME LIGHTNING SAFETY TIPS

As we move into the depths of summer, residents of the Morongo Basin can expect summer thunderstorms. Reporter Anthony Abraria offers these safety tips to protect your home from lightning strikes…

According to the National Weather Service, every thunderstorm produces lightning which is a direct threat to most buildings. A whole-house/building surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage from lightning. For best results, the protection should extend beyond the whole-building surge protection. Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment. This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment.

YUCCA VALLEY FELON FOUND WITH WEAPONS AND WARRANTS

A Yucca Valley man was arrested early Friday morning on firearms charges and various warrants. Limited information from the Sheriff’s Department indicates that deputies arrested John Stroschein, 52, of the 54600 block of Benecia Avenue about 3:15 a.m. for investigation of possession of a firearm with the serial number filed off, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. In addition, Stroschein had misdemeanor warrants for his arrest for petty theft, driving without a license, and failure to appear for court hearings. John Stroschein was booked into West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $215,000.

TWENTYNINE PALMS FELON FOUND WITH DRUGS AND AMMUNITION

A convicted felon in Twentynine Palms was arrested Saturday, accused of possessing drugs and ammunition. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies served a search warrant at the home of Tracy Hibler, 29, in the 73200 block of Sun Valley Drive about 9:20 p.m. Inside the home deputies recovered methamphetamine, cash, ammunition, and a loaded magazine to a handgun. As a convicted felon, Hibler is prohibited from possessing weapons or ammunition. Tracy Hibler was arrested for investigation of possession of a controlled substance for sales and being a felon in possession of ammunition. He was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail and was released on $50,000 bail about 2 p.m. Sunday.

LECTURE ON THE ANCIENT LAKE CAHUILLA THIS THURSDAY

The High Desert Nature Museum will hold a brown bag lecture this Thursday about the Salton Sea. Reporter Eric Knabe fills us in on the details…

This Thursday, the High Desert Nature Museum’s Brown bag lecture is “Important Birds of Ancient Lake Cahuilla and the Salton Sea,” presented by Kurt Leuschner, Professor of Natural Resources at College of the Desert.

Before the Salton Sea, there was ancient Lake Cahuilla. Hundreds of years ago, this giant freshwater lake filled the entire Salton Sink and most of the Coachella Valley. Birds and people depended on this body of water just like they do today. In this program, you’ll learn about the special birds associated with this lake that was six times bigger than today’s Salton Sea.

The High Desert Nature Museum is located in the Yucca Valley Community Center Complex, at 57116 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley. The lecture start at 12:00 p.m. Admission is $ 5, free for members/sponsors. Refreshments will be served. For more information call 760-369-7212.

ARRESTS IN TWENTYNINE PALMS, YUCCA VALLEY AND MORONGO VALLEY

A Twentynine Palms man was arrested Friday night, accused of child abuse. Deputies were called by an employee to the Circle K market in the 73900 block of 29 Palm Highway in Twentynine Palms just after 6 p.m. The employee said a man, later identified as Justic Chodos, 29, and an infant, were sitting in a car, with the windows partially rolled down, parked in front of the business, and Chodos was acting erractically; screaming, shaking, talking to himself, and holding his hands in the air. The employee also said the infant was crying. The outside temperature was 107 degrees at the time. Chodos told responding deputies that he had injected himself with methamphetamine earlier in the day and driving away from home with the child. He said he couldn’t remember how long ago he had left home. The child had a soiled diaper and was sweating in her car seat. After an investigation, Justin Chodos, 29, was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $100,000. The infant was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center and released to Child Protective Services.

Deputies serving a warrant arrested a Yucca Valley man late Thursday night. Just before 11 p.m., deputies went to the apartment of Tauish Stager, 24, in the 6900 block of Mohawk Trail. Tauish Stager had warrants for his arrest for felony spouse abuse, with enhancements added for the three-strikes law. Tauish Stager was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $175,000.

A Morongo Valley man was arrested Saturday night, accused of vandalism. Limited information from the Sheriff’s Department shows that deputies were called to the 49600 block of Mojave Drive about 9:20 p.m. where they contacted Joshua Alyea, 42. After an investigation, Joshua Alyea was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $25,000.

HI-DESERT TEST KITCHEN COOKING UP PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS TONIGHT

Summer in the Hi-Desert comes with challenges and treats. One such treat often overlooked is the prickly pear. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has more about this month’s High Desert Test Kitchen featured native food…

The High Desert Test Kitchen is an informal dinner gathering which highlights a different native food each month. This month’s dinner is at 7 p.m., this Monday, July 17 at the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center on Winters Road off Border in North Joshua Tree. The flat, fleshy pads of prickly pear cacti are called nopales. They make excellent additions to smoothies and salsa, and can even go on the grill. The plump oval fruits that grow atop the nopales are called tunas or prickly pears. Slightly sweet, juicy, and magenta when ripe, the pulp from prickly pears can be simmered into a jam, churned with ice cream, pureed into popsicles, or eaten raw. There’s no shortage of possibilities when it comes to this easy-to-identify native food. The High Desert Test Kitchen inevitably ignites debate over the relationship of man to nature. Changing minds? Maybe. Changing taste buds? Most probably.

If you plan to harvest your own be careful to prevent injury from the microscopic hairs that grow on the tunas. For information on collecting and safely processing prickly pears and nopales, go to desertharvesters.org/native-plant-food-guides-the-desert-can-feed-you/prickly-pear/.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CEMETERY BOARD IN SPECIAL MEETING TONIGHT

Among the items on the agenda of tonight’s (Monday July 17) special meeting of the Twentynine Palms Cemetery board of directors, the directors will hear updates of staff projects and industry news and events. Under current business, the board will be asked to approve a contract with a law firm, and approve a modification to the salary schedule. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in district offices on Encelia Avenue in Twentynine Palms.