MORONGO VALLEY MAN THREATENS FAMILY WITH MACHETE

A Morongo Valley man was arrested Sunday accused of threatening family members with a machete. Just before 8 a.m., deputies say Forest Vasquez, 28, broke into a home in the 10000 block of Sams Trail in Morongo Valley, armed with a machete and threatened three people in the home, a 47-year-old woman, a 73-year-old woman, and a 51-year-old man. They were able to force Vasquez out of the home and he fled in a vehicle. Deputies located Vasquez driving in Yucca Valley and made a traffic stop; however, Vasquez fled. He was later located in San Diego County and was taken into custody without incident. Forest Vasquez was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, booked into the West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $175,000.

SKATEBOARDER INJURED IN COLLISION WITH CAR IN YUCCA VALLEY

A skateboarder suffered multiple broken bones Saturday when he collided with a car in Yucca Valley. Just after 2 p.m., Dominic Colegio, 32, of Yucca Valley, was riding his skateboard north on Sage Avenue. As he crossed Joshua Drive, he rode toward the center of the street, crossing in front of a Kia sedan that was behind him. Colegio and the sedan collided at a low speed. During the investigation, deputies determined that Colegio was found to be in possession of narcotics and controlled substances. Family members said Dominic Colegio suffered fractured ribs, hand, and foot. He was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center for treatment. The case is under review for a potential investigation involving the narcotics.

THREE LOCATIONS TO GET TESTED IN THE MORONGO BASIN

Staying healthy amidst a global pandemic is crucial and regular testing is part of that vigilance, so San Bernardino County and the Morongo Basin Healthcare District have stepped up to provide easy testing for residents. Hilary Sloane has details…

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or event if you don’t, residents should consider getting tested for the virus. There are three locations to get tested in the Morongo Basin:

Morongo Basin Community Health Center, 58375 29 Palms Hwy in Yucca Valley, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9 to noon;  

Morongo Basin Community Health Center, 6380 Split Rock Ave in Twentynine Palms, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 to noon;

And at the Twentynine Palms Community Center, 74325 Joe Davis Drive, Monday through Friday from 8 to 3.

You will be asked for your photo ID and medical insurance information, but if you do not have insurance, you will still be tested. The testing is free and all insurance is accepted.

HOSPITALS SCRAMBLE AS COVID-19 CASES SURGE ACROSS THE STATE

California is closing in on 30,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals scramble to find beds for severely ill patients during a continuing spike in COVID-19 case numbers. The state reported 468 deaths on Sunday, a day after setting a record one-day total of 695, according to the Department of Public Health. California’s death toll since the start of the pandemic rose to 29,701.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations are nearly 22,000, and state models project that number could reach 30,000 by February 1. A surge of cases following Halloween and Thanksgiving produced record hospitalizations in California, and now the most seriously ill of those patients are dying in unprecedented numbers. Officials fear another surge in coming days connected to gatherings during Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Already, many hospitals are struggling to keep up and warn they may need to ration care as intensive care beds dwindle.

San Bernardino County had 4.4% ICU capacity Friday.

“The speed with which we are reaching grim milestones of COVID-19 deaths and cases is a devastating reflection of the immense spread that is occurring across the state,” said one public health official, “And this accelerated spread reflects the many unsafe actions individuals took over the holidays.”

17 TWENTYNINE PALMS RESTAURANT GET KUDOS FOR CLOSING DUMPSTERS

The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens has issued its Gold Star award to 17 restaurants in Twentynine Palms for demonstrating the sustainable practice of consistently closing their dumpsters to protect the local community and wildlife. Reporter Andrew Dieleman explains the significance of the award…

In the City of Twentynine Palms, 17 restaurants were recently presented with the Gold Star award from the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens for consistently keeping their dumpsters closed, a critical factor in reducing the large raven population in Southern California, which is now 17 times larger in the Mojave Desert than it was 50 years ago. Inflated raven populations decimate native wildlife, especially the threatened desert tortoise.

Restaurant owners are encouraged to apply for their own gold star award by contacting Alex Ocañas at aocanas@livingdesert.org.

Living Desert Zoo & Gardens Gold Star recipients:

  • Andreas Char-Broiled Burgers
  • Bamboo Garden Chinese Restaurant
  • Burger King
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Denny’s
  • Edchadas Mexican
  • Fosters Freeze
  • Fuji Restaurant
  • Jack in the Box
  • Kitchen in The Desert
  • Las Palmas Restaurant
  • Papa John’s Pizza
  • Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
  • Rocky’s New York Style Pizzeria
  • Surf City Squeeze
  • Subway
  • The Rib Co.
  • Top 100 Chinese Restaurant