OWNER OF JOSHUA TREE COFFEE CO. KILLED BY POLICE MONDAY MORNING

A Joshua Tree resident and owner of the Joshua Tree Coffee Company was shot and killed by Riverside County deputies following a possible road rage incident in La Quinta Monday morning. According to Riverside Sheriff Chad Bianco, a suspect later identified by family members as Royce Robertson of Joshua Tree, was involved in a verbal confrontation with another driver shortly before 7 a.m. Monday, February 15, at the intersection of Simon Drive and Highway 111 in the city of La Quinta. After the confrontation, Robertson reportedly followed the other driver into a nearby parking lot, exited his vehicle, pointed a handgun at the other driver, and asked the driver if he wanted to die. Robertson then returned to his vehicle and the other driver called 911. Deputies followed Robertson into the Desert Horizons Country Club in Indian Wells where Robertson reportedly exited his vehicle and produced a handgun. A deputy-involved shooting occurred, and Robertson was struck by gunfire. Despite life-saving measures, Robertson was declared deceased at the scene.

In a press conference Tuesday (February 16), Royce’s sister Demetria Robertson voiced her frustration in not being able to get information from the DA or the case Investigator regarding the incident, stating “I was Googling trying to find out what happened to my brother.” Demetria went on to say that the report “did not match up to who my brother is. [He was] a non-violent individual who wanted to help people. He believed that is why he was put on this earth. We want to know what happened; we want to know the truth.” The case is currently under investigation.

As well as being the owner of the Joshua Tree Coffee Co., Royce also owned and operated a hemp-ware store, a local art gallery, and multiple booths at the Joshua Tree Farmers Market. The case is under investigation by the Riverside County Sheriff’s department. More information will be reported as it becomes available.

More information will be reported as it becomes available.

YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL ALLOCATES ALL CDBG FUNDS TO LITTLE LEAGUE PARK

The Yucca Valley Town Council met last night to discuss the allocation of the Community Development Block Grant among other matters. Reporter Joshua King has more details…

The meeting began with the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding that the Yucca Valley Senior Center or Community Center will be used as space for vaccination in the future.

Following, the council discussed the Community Development Block Grant and the allocation of its funds. Both the Library Literacy Program and Senior Nutrition Program have requested $10,000 each from the CDBG, but the funds will be allocated towards Tri-Valley Little League improvements instead.

The Recreation Department reported on the success of its online holiday events in the COVID era. The Hi-Desert Nature Museum has seen successes as well, with Zoom lectures that have hosted 40 to 80 participants on average.

Finally, the council approved Resolution 21, which approves the filing of an application towards the Brehm Sports Park Complex Expansion Project.

VACCINATIONS FOR COUNTY RESIDENTS OVER 65 STILL THE PRIORITY

San Bernardino County continues to receive and administer a steady stream of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses, but demand for the vaccinations still exceed supply. Individuals over the age of 65 continue to be the priority. The county is also taking additional steps to assist seniors trying to schedule vaccination appointments with extended hours for its vaccination hotline and added staff to handle calls. Appointments are available only to people aged 65 and over who live or work in San Bernardino County; proof of age and residency will be required.

There is a county vaccination site locally at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree. Vaccination sites are not the only place to receive a vaccine. People are encouraged to check with their healthcare provider and in some cases their employer for vaccine information, availability and locations. A number of hospitals, pharmacies and physician practices have been provided doses of the vaccines. Residents should check the county’s vaccination webpage often to see if appointments are available.  

All potential providers: https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine/.

To receive alerts: https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine/65plus/#load

Hotline: 909-387-3911

HI-DESERT WATER EXPECTED TO HIRE NEW GENERAL MANAGER TONIGHT

While the Joshua Basin Water District’s regular third Wednesday board meeting has been canceled, the Hi-Desert Water District will meet in regular session at 5 p.m. tonight (February 17). Here’s reporter Mike Lipsitz with an overview of tonight’s agenda…

A single item stands out on tonight’s agenda. That is the board’s expected approval of an offer of employment to Paul Peschel who is expected to take over the seat of retiring general manager Ed Muzik effective April fifth. Peschel starts with a $220,000 annual base salary, plus benefits. He comes from Fresno where he’s general manager for the water district and related hydroelectric power plant which operates in balance with various natural resources. You may follow a link for the complete agenda and instructions on how to observe or participate in tonight’s meeting online. 

https://hdwd.app.box.com/s/j2wr44ad0t2ds6q3rfi2f27qps353r5z.

AN ARREST FOR STRONG-ARM ROBBERY AT WAL-MART

A Covina man was arrested Sunday (February 14) after he reportedly threatened a Walmart clerk who was trying to stop him from shoplifting. Deputies say that about 3:15 p.m., Gregory Pelle, 36, put multiple items in a shopping cart and then went to the self-check-out counter at the Yucca Valley Walmart. Pelle allegedly put a jacket and sweater in bags and paid only for candy bars and a drink. When Pelle tried to leave the store with the unpaid-for merchandise, an employee grabbed the shopping cart and said Pelle was not allowed to take the items with him. Pelle grabbed the shopping bags, threatened the employee, and left the store. Deputies located Pelle shortly afterwards; Pelle was wearing the stolen sweater and carrying a bag with more stolen items in it. Gregory Pelle was arrested on suspicion of strong-arm robbery, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $100,000.