A transient was arrested Wednesday night, accused of arson at the Yucca Valley Community Center park. Yucca Valley firefighters were called to the park at 8:48 p.m. where they found a large cypress tree on fire near the picnic area, with embers threatening the covered picnic shelter and other vegetation. Fire crews were able to knock down the fire in five minutes, and damage was limited to the tree. Multiple people saw a man, later identified as Charles Lathrop, 63, light the fire using lighter fluid, and notified 911. Deputies located Lathrop near Antelope Trail and Dumosa Avenue. Charles Lathrop was arrested for investigation of arson, and on two warrants, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $50,000.

Firefighters found these bottles of lighter fluid at the scene where a cypress tree was intentionally set on fire. Courtesy photo


A Twentynine Palms man was arrested Tuesday night when he was found with a knife and illegal drugs. About 11:40 p.m., a deputy made a traffic stop on a vehicle near North Star Avenue and Serrano Drive in Twentynine Palms. Inside the vehicle was Aaron Rice, 32. When the deputy asked for Rice’s driver’s license, Rice admitted he had a knife in his pocket, and pulled out a fixed-blade knife and dropped it in his lap. Rice also admitted to being in possession of methamphetamine, which was later measured at more than 16 grams. Aaron Rice was arrested for investigation of being in possession of a dirk or dagger, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.

A Yucca Valley man was arrested Tuesday, when he was found in possession of a firearm after a routine traffic stop. Just before 3 p.m., a deputy stopped a vehicle near Highway 62 and Church Street. William Marsh, 54, a convicted felon, was inside the vehicle, which had been reported stolen by a car rental firm. During the investigation, deputies found a firearm inside the vehicle. William Marsh was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and for vehicle theft. Marsh was  booked into West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $50,000.


Receiving a phone call that your Social Security number has been compromised can be frightening. Managing editor Tami Roleff warns residents not to believe callers who say they’re from the Social Security Administration…

“This is Jenna calling you from the head office of Social Security Administration.”

The typical scam phone call will start something like this.

“Your Social Security number is compromised and used for illegal activities. It will be suspended today.”

The callers then warn what will happen if you don’t respond to their calls.

“We will freeze your assets and forfeit it.”

If you answer the phone call, the caller will start asking personal questions such as date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and where you are born.

If you get a call like this, don’t give out any personal information. Hang up and contact the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration to let them know about the scam phone calls.

More information:


The Homestead Valley Community Council approved a resolution in support of law enforcement officers Monday, at its first regular meeting since February. The resolution rejects all calls to defund local, county, and state law enforcement agencies. It urges increased funding to counter what it says are “misguided and dangerous policies by lawmakers (including no bail, mass jail release, and decriminalization of actions formerly recognized as attacks on public safety, law and order),” and says that George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis was not an “indication of systemic minority targeting.”


A legendary recording studio in Joshua Tree that has hosted sessions with a diverse selection of musicians and bands is the subject of a virtual lecture Tuesday, presented by the Desert Institute. Hilary Sloane gives a hint of what’s to come…

David Catching invites you inside Rancho de la Luna to take a look around and talk about recording sessions, techniques and how he ended up in Joshua Tree. Born in Memphis, he made his first trip to Joshua Tree in 1982 on his way to play a concert in Los Angeles, and he moved to California a few years later. He met Fred Drake and together they started Rancho de la Luna recording studio in Joshua Tree. The studio has hosted recording sessions with musicians and bans such as Daniel Lanois, Iggy Pop, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, and many others. The virtual lecture by the Desert Institute, Joshua Tree National Park’s educational arm, is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday.

To access the program, please go to and click on “register.”