VICTIM OF FATAL ROLLOVER CRASH MONDAY IDENTIFIED

The Coroner’s office has identified the man who was killed in a rollover crash Monday as Branden Smith, 19, of Twentynine Palms. Smith was a passenger in a Hyundai sedan that was being driven northbound on Gold Park Road near Bedouin Avenue when the driver lost control about 6:45 p.m. The car hit a dirt berm and rolled over. Smith was thrown from the vehicle. He was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center by Morongo Basin Ambulance where he was pronounced deceased.

HI-DESERT WATER VOTES TO INCREASE RATES AFTER A PUBLIC HEARING

Last night, the Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors held a public hearing on rate increases for water service charges. The District received two written protests in opposition of the ordinance; 5,000 written protests were necessary in order to force the board of directors into stopping the rate increase ordinance. Assignment reporter Keith Bailey has the meeting details…

The board of directors for the Hi-Desert Water District conducted a public hearing on the district’s ordinance to increase the water service charges, which consist of a monthly fixed charge per meter size and volumetric rate per hundred cubic feet. With a full house in attendance and little opposition, the directors voted yes on  the new ordinance that will increase the district’s water rates by 3 percent per year for the next five years.

Next, directors adopted a resolution that will keep the district compliant with a new state law that says residential water service cannot be disconnected for nonpayment until a payment has been delinquents for at least 60 days. The law also prohibits the water district from discontinuing service to customers who meet certain medical and financial hardship requirements.

NEW SEX OFFENDER IN TOWN ARRESTED FOR NOT REGISTERING

Ryan Guerrero

A Louisiana sex offender was arrested Tuesday, accused of failing to register his new Twentynine Palms address with authorities in the Morongo Basin. A deputy stopped the driver of a 2012 Ford for failing to stop at a stop sign at Two Mile Road and Mesquite Springs Road in Twentynine Palms about 2:30 p.m. During the traffic stop, the deputy confirmed that the driver, Ryan Guerrero, 31, had been convicted in 2012 of attempted sexual battery in Louisiana, had moved to Twentynine Palms, and had not updated his status as a sex offender with the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station. Ryan Guerrero was arrested on suspicion of failing to register as a sex offender, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.

HEALTH CENTER GOVERNING BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

Last week’s cancelled meeting of the Community Health Center Governing Board of Directors was rescheduled for tonight in Yucca Valley at 6 p.m., and the board will elect new officers. Reporter Ernest Figueroa outlines the rest of tonight’s agenda…

At tonight’s meeting of the Community Health Center, the governing board of directors will elect the 2020 officers, in addition to board members Misty Evans and Dianne Greenhouse joining the governing board.

In addition to the finance report, CEO Jackie Combs will also report on: the mobile medical unit and transportation services offered in December; give updates on expanded and reorganized staff and facilities; and on final construction that was required prior to the opening of the Split Rock Clinic.

The meeting concludes with an overview on community outreach efforts and reports on launching two digital marketing campaigns.

Tonight’s meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the district’s offices at 6530 La Contenta Road, Suite 200 in Yucca Valley.

MORONGO VALLEY WOMAN ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLING FROM WALMART

A Morongo Valley woman was arrested Tuesday, accused of embezzling from Walmart. Deputies were called to Walmart at 3 p.m. Tuesday by a loss-prevention employee who said that Kailah Thomas, 31, had been activating gift cards since November, and using the cards to make purchases. The total loss is estimated between $1200 and $1500. Kailah Thomas was arrested for investigation of grand theft, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at $50,000.