BODY FOUND IN DESERT IN WONDER VALLEY

We have limited information about a body that was found in the desert in Wonder Valley Wednesday afternoon. About 12:17, an OHV rider near Wilson Road and Amboy Road called to report finding skeleton remains. The Sheriff’s Department homicide team is investigating.

INJURED LA QUINTA MAN RESCUED AFTER 40 HOURS IN JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

A La Quinta man who went hiking alone in Joshua Tree National Park last Thursday is lucky to be alive after he fell and broke his leg and was stranded in the desert for nearly two days. Robert Ringo went to the park Thursday and parked his car about 1 ½ miles from the Keys View overlook area. He then hiked east into the desert. He hadn’t gone far—about a quarter of a mile—before he fell and broke his left leg. Ringo said he had tagged his location before he left, and on Friday, his family started looking for him. Park rangers were notified in the early morning hours by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department about the missing hiker. When rangers arrived at the Keys View area at 5 a.m. Saturday, they found deputies on scene with Ringo’s vehicle. Canine and human trackers, as well as a CHP helicopter, quickly located Ringo about one-quarter mile east of the Key’s View Road. He was transported by backboard to a CHP helicopter, and then flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs where he had surgery on his broken leg. Ringo is expected to make a full recovery, and said he plans to continue hiking.

Managing editor Tami Roleff offers these tips on hiking safely in the desert…

The first rule of hiking is don’t hike alone. The second rule is to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Bring at least one quart of water for every hour you plan to be gone. Hike in the early morning or late evening hours and avoid the hottest part of the day. Even experienced hikers can be overcome by heat-related illness. Most areas of Joshua Tree National Park and many areas of the Mojave Desert have no cell phone service; to be extra safe, bring a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon that you can activate in case of an emergency.

COUNTY CORONAVIRUS CASES UP 708, LOCAL CASES NOW AT 167

Another four San Bernardino County residents died of COVID-19, as the number of cases rose by 708, according to statistics the county posted Wednesday (July 22). Here are the latest numbers, according to county and state public health officials. San Bernardino County now has confirmed 25,775 cases and 337 deaths.

Here in our Morongo Basin we are up to 167 confirmed cases: Yucca Valley with 99; Joshua Tree, 29; Twentynine Palms, 18; Morongo Valley, 18; Landers, two; and one in Pioneertown. There have been three deaths locally.

California’s confirmed coronavirus cases have topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation. John’s Hopkins University data showed Wednesday that California now has about 1,200 more cases than New York.

Other County-wide numbers today:

Hospitalizations: 606 Tuesday, down from 607 Monday, July 20; suspected patients: 118 Tuesday, up from 69 Monday

Intensive-care unit patients: 181 Tuesday, down from 190 Monday; suspected patients: 13 Tuesday, up from 5 Monday

Recoveries: 15,248

Skilled-nursing facilities: Residents: 1,128; deaths: 169. Employees: 708 (last updated Monday)

State prisons (In County): 99 active in-custody cases Wednesday

People tested: 217,148

Skilled-nursing facilities: Residents: 1,128; deaths: 169. Employees: 708 (last updated Monday)

GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOORS ACT PASSES, AWAITS PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL

Visitors come from around the world to experience California’s deserts. After decades of financial neglect, the Great American Outdoors Act was passed by Congress Wednesday; the Act will help address the deteriorating infrastructure in our national parks, increase funding for the conservation of the desert’s vast public lands, and improve public access. The act requires a mandatory funding of $900 million a year; the funds do not come from taxpayer dollars, but rather from revenue generated by energy projects on public lands. The bill now awaits final signature by Donald Trump.

UNDER FIRE FOR RACISM, SARANN GRAHAM RESIGNS FROM HI-DESERT WATER DISTRICT

Hours before the Hi-Desert Water District board of directors was to hold a special meeting, the water district announced a personnel change. Reporter Joshua King has more information…

It was announced at yesterday’s Hi-Desert Water District special meeting that Director Sarann Graham would be resigning from her position effective immediately following 13 years of service. The November 2020 election will seek to fill her position. This decision comes in the wake of a series of what some say are racist Facebook posts that were made by Graham in recent weeks, with the former director proposing her “solution” to the Black Lives Matter movement would be to “give them Mars [so] they can establish the world/country they desire.” Members of the public were available to comment during the meeting, with the majority of them agreeing that Graham “did the right thing” by resigning and promising to hold candidates for Graham’s position accountable when concerning matters of racism and science.

Hi-Desert Water District board member Sarann Graham posted this comment on her Facebook page. She has since deleted it.