CALTRANS TO INSTALL DELINEATORS ON DANGEROUS STRETCH OF HIGHWAY IN YUCCA VALLEY

UPDATED 12:56 with comments from CalTrans
UPDATED 4-16- 6:45 a.m. with photos

The driveway into the AM/PM and Sonic parking lots, just east of Balsa Avenue in Yucca Valley, has been the scene of two fatal motorcycle crashes in just three months this year. Wednesday, Caltrans notified the county that it intends to install delineators in front of the driveway Friday, April 13, to prevent westbound vehicles from turning into the driveway across the double yellow lines. The delineators are a temporary measure and will be in place for two to three years while Caltrans monitors the maintenance frequency and their workers’ exposure to traffic while maintaining them. Terri Kasinga, a spokeswoman for Caltrans, said Caltrans will seek a more permanent resolution by placing a permanent raised curb median as a separate project–or as part of current project–in the vicinity of this intersection. She added that this driveway has a right-in and right-out access only and there is no plan to make any changes at this time. Kasinga added, “Based on the existing striping configuration it is illegal to make a left-in or left-out to this driveway from State Route 62.”
On January 1, a driver made an illegal U-turn onto westbound Highway 62 after leaving the AM/PM store, and Benjamin Lawrenson, 21, who was driving eastbound in the number 1 lane, T-boned the car on his motorcycle. Lawrenson died at Hi-Desert Medical Center. Then March 24, Chad Smithling, 50, was riding his motorcycle eastbound on Highway 62 when a westbound driver crossed the double yellow lines, and Smithling broadsided the car and died at the scene.
https://www.gofundme.com/bensride2018

JOSHUA TREE COUPLE, CHARGED WITH CHILD CRUELTY, WERE IN COURT WEDNESDAY, BUT NOT FOR LONG

Daniel Panico, 73, and Mona Kirk, 51, who are facing charges of child cruelty after they, their three children, and some 35 cats were found living in what was described as filthy conditions in a plywood structure off Sunfair Road in Joshua Tree February 28, returned to Joshua Tree court yesterday (Wednesday, April 11). The court appearance only lasted some five minutes as they arrived to find their case had been rescheduled for April 25, because their defense attorneys said they needed more time for discovery. The couple, who had been released last month on their own recognizance, still can’t see the children unsupervised. A go-fund-me account raised almost $70,000 and the funds have purchased a home in the Joshua Tree area which volunteers are preparing for the family to move into.

PARK RANGERS PUT OUT SMALL FIRE ON HIGHWAY IN JOSHUA TREE

Rangers from the National Park Service put out a small vegetation fire on the highway just east of Rotary Way Wednesday. County Fire Battalion Chief Scott Tuttle said Joshua Tree firefighters were called at 4:10 p.m. to the small, 5-foot by 5-foot fire, but park service rangers had put it out by the time they arrived. The cause is under investigation.

JOSHUA TREE ART GALLERY TO HOLD OPENING RECEPTION SATURDAY

The Joshua Tree Art Gallery will hold an opening reception Saturday, during the Second Saturday Art Crawl in Joshua Tree. Here’s managing editor Tami Roleff with the details…
The Joshua Tree Art Gallery will hold an opening reception Saturday, April 14, for its new exhibit, “Acces Interdit,” a solo show by Barbara Drucker. Drucker is a painting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her studio practice includes painting, sculptural installation, documentary video, photography, and artists’ books. The reception will be held 6 to 8 p.m. during the Second Saturday Art Crawl at JTAG in downtown Joshua Tree. The exhibit will be on display through May 6. Gallery hours are 10 to 3 Saturdays, and noon to 3 on Sundays, and by appointment.

SIGN UP TO TAKE TOUR OF THE NOAH PURIFOY OUTDOOR ART MUSEUM

UPDATE: The 1:30 p.m. tour is fully booked.

Come and celebrate Earth Day and be inspired by the art of repurposing and reuse at the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum in Joshua Tree. With the details on how to sign up, here’s reporter Tanisha Cureton…
The next centennial tour of Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Art Museum will be at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. The 11 a.m. tour will be led by Yael Lipschutz, an independent curator and art historian. The 1:30 p.m. tour will be led by Cathy Allen, a former colleague of Purifoy. The tours will last approximately one hour and are limited to 30 guests. To reserve a spot on the tour, send an email to noahpurifoyfdn@gmail.com. A suggested donation of $15 is requested for adults, $10 for students, and free to children under 12.

25 SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN TEACHER’S RECRUITMENT FAIR THIS SUNDAY

More than 25 school districts—including Morongo Unified School District—will be participating in the annual San Bernardino countywide teacher recruitment fair, set for Saturday, April 14 at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. In addition, three local colleges and the Regional Occupational Program will have representatives at the event.  School districts will be recruiting teachers for all grade levels, and some may hold interviews on the spot. To register, go to https://sbcss.k12oms.org/66-146014.

FREE FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN JOSHUA TREE TOMORROW

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County will distribute free surplus food Friday, April 13, at the Way Station on Commercial Street in Joshua Tree, from 10 to noon.

WALK FOR LIFE RAISES $20,000

More than 150 people turned out for the High Desert Pregnancy Clinic’s Walk for Life March 17. The walk raised more than $20,000 for the clinic, with the highest donations from Crown Contracting and Valley Community Chapel. The High Desert Pregnancy Clinic offers free parenting classes, support groups for single mothers, as well as baby clothing, diapers, and formula.

GENTLEMAN, START YOUR BEARDS FOR THE GRUBSTAKE DAYS BEARD CONTEST

Grubstake Days are coming soon and with it, the Grubstake Days beard contest. If you have a special talent for growing a beard, reporter Eric Knabe tells you how you can sign up…
Do you think your beard is special? Enter it, and yourself, in the Yucca Valley Grubstake Days beard contest. There are five categories: Full Beard, Partial Beard, Freestyle, Best Groomed, and People’s Choice. Entry fee is only $5. The entry forms are available at Shortcuts at 57533 29 Palms Highway, Suite 10, in Yucca Valley and at the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce. The contest starts after the parade. Judging starts at 1 p.m. on the carnival grounds located on the north side of Twentynine Palms Highway at Hilton Avenue. For more information, call Joy at 760-820-8033.

DEMOCRATIC CLUB TO RALLY SUNDAY

The Morongo Basin Democratic Club will hold a tax rally Sunday, April 15, at the corner of Old Woman Springs Road and Highway 62. The rally will be held from noon to 2 p.m.

MILITARY VS. LAW ENFORCEMENT TUG-O-WAR IN JOSHUA TREE SUNDAY

What do you get when you cross a bunch of U.S. Marines with the Los Angeles Police Department, and Sheriff deputies from L.A. and San Bernardino for a competition that’s all guts and no guns? You get one heck of a tug-of-war. Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains…

The Desert Refuge for Police Officers and Military Personnel, a local non-profit, invites you to a fundraising competition between the Marine Corps, Los Angeles Police, and the San Bernardino and Los Angeles County sheriff’s departments. It happens Saturday, April 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3961 Avenida del Sol in Joshua Tree. The contest includes qualifying events leading up to the day’s main event: a winner-takes-all tug-of-war. There will be other festivities plus food and refreshments, “live” entertainment, and an inter-faith prayer service. The event is free, but donations will be welcome. Funds raised will go toward expanding programs and services of The Desert Refuge for Police Officers and Military Personnel.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

The Twentynine Palms Lady Wildcat softball team went up the hill to play the Big Bear Bears and came away with a 8-7 win. The Wildcats are now 10-6 on the season.

The Twentynine Palms High School boys’ varsity tennis team traveled to Rancho Mirage on Wednesday to face the Rattlers. The Wildcats lost a tough one 7 to 11. Coach Bill Shay said the Wildcats are now 6 and 2 in league play and sit in second place in the DeAnza League. 
In singles action, the Wildcats were led by Brett Hope, who won two of his sets, while Ben Pressnall won one of his sets.  In doubles action, the Wildcats were led by the teams of Sean Sears/Mac Miller and Donald Albers/Dylan Smith, who both won two of their sets. 

In high school sports today, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan golf team will travel away to play Coachella Valley. Tee time is 3 p.m.
The Trojan track and field team will host Twentynine Palms at home. The meet starts at 3:15.
 
Also today, the Twentynine Palms High School softball team will play a rivalry game against Yucca Valley High School at home. First pitch is at 3:15.