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UPDATE: LOCAL VIRUS CASES NOW 4, 2 IN YUCCA VALLEY, 2 IN JOSHUA TREE

San Bernardino County confirmed another 19 cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday, April 4, giving the county 372 cases. The number of deaths remains 13.

The latest update shows 4 confirmed cases in the Morongo Basin, two in Yucca Valley and two in Joshua Tree. Yucaipa — where a nursing home had 51 patients and six staff test positive as of Thursday — now has 69 confirmed cases, the most in the county.

Fontana has the second-most confirmed cases of any city in San Bernardino County, with 35. Rancho Cucamonga has 26, and San Bernardino has 20.

Countywide, 8.8% of the tests are coming back positive, according to a dashboard set up by the county.


FREE FOOD AT WAY STATION FRIDAY

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County will hold a distribution of free surplus federal food on Friday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Way Station. The Way Station is located at 61722 Commercial Street in downtown Joshua Tree.


NON-PROFITS ENCOURAGED TO APPLY FOR YUCCA VALLEY’S MEASURE Y FUNDS

Residents passed the half-cent Measure Y sales tax measure in 2016 so that the town of Yucca Valley would have more funds to distribute to non-profit organizations to enhance the quality of life in the town. Managing editor Tami Roleff says the town is accepting applications for Measure Y partnership funds…

Non-profit and service organizations are encouraged to apply for Measure Y partnership funds from the town of Yucca Valley. The funds must be used to improve the quality of life in Yucca Valley. The deadline to apply for the funds is 5 p.m. May 8. The Yucca Valley Town Council will make its final determination on who gets funds and how much at a public meeting in June. Application forms are available through a link at the town’s website, yucca-valley. Org. For more information, call Jordan Gumbish at 760-369-7207.

The total available funding for FY2020-21 from both the General Fund and Measure Y will be presented during the FY2020-2022 budget cycle as recommended by the Revenue Measure Oversight Commission and approved by Town Council in June 2020. Applications for funding must be submitted for consideration through the upcoming budget cycle and must be applied for by a public entity, service organization or other private non-profit organizations.  Final approval of the Partnership funding will be awarded by the Town Council at a public meeting. 

Application deadline is Friday, May 8th at 5:00pm.  All applications must be returned to Town Hall at the address listed in the guidelines and instructions.  Application forms and instructions can be accessed on the Town’s website at http://www.yucca-valley.org or can be requested via e-mail by contacting Jordan Gumbish at jgumbish@yucca-valley.org.    For any questions, contact Jordan Gumbish, Finance and Accounting Supervisor by email or by calling 760-369-7207.


HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE IN YUCCA VALLEY THIS WEEK

The Town of Yucca Valley will be performing maintenance on the medians along Highway 62 in Old Town April 7 and 8. On Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the number 1 lanes in both eastbound and westbound directions will be closed from Kickapoo Trail to Inca Trail. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the number 1 lanes in both eastbound and westbound directions will be closed from Inca Trail to Deer Trail.


AVOID THE KIDNAPPING SCAM

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents about a frightening scam in which the caller claims to have kidnapped a family member and is demanding a ransom. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers the following tips on how to avoid being taken by this kidnapping scam…

Law enforcement agencies have been aware of virtual kidnapping fraud for at least two decades. Although virtual kidnapping takes on many forms, it is always an extortion scheme—one that tricks victims into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe is being threatened with violence or death. Unlike traditional abductions, virtual kidnappers have not actually kidnapped anyone. Instead, through deceptions and threats, they coerce victims to pay a quick ransom before the scheme falls apart. To avoid becoming a victim, look for these possible indicators: Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone, insisting you remain on the line. Calls do not come from the supposed victim’s phone. Callers try to prevent you from contacting the “kidnapped” victim. Calls include demands for ransom money to be paid via wire transfer to Mexico; ransom amount demands may drop quickly. If you receive a call about a potential kidnapping, contact the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.


MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AVAILABLE

Mental Health Systems’ Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley Centers for Change are ready and available by phone for referrals, linkages and a friendly ear for its recovery community, including the greater Morongo Basin. Counselors are available Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 by calling 760-369-1074 or 760-366-8641. They just want to remind the community that they are here during this difficult time. Please reach out, no one has to go this alone.  Thank you for allowing of us to be of service.


1 CONFIRMED CASE IN JOSHUA TREE BRINGS LOCAL VIRUS VICTIMS TO 3

The Morongo Basin now has 3 confirmed cases of Covid-19 virus, two previously reported in Yucca Valley and one in Joshua Tree confirmed yesterday. As of this morning (Saturday, April4), The number of positive novel coronavirus cases in San Bernardino County is up to 353 and the death toll is now 13.

Those figures are up from 304 cases and eight deaths on Thursday, April 2. Of the 4,003 people tested for COVID-19, 8.8% had positive results, the county’s data show. Of those who tested positive, 50% are male, 49.7% are female and .3% were unknown. Most of the cases, 147, were among people 18 to 49 years old, while 107 were 50 to 64 years old, 94 were older than 65 and four were 2 to 17 years old, according to the county.


WATER TANK STOLEN IN JOSHUA TREE

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the theft of a water tank in Joshua Tree. Sometime between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 6:30 a.m. Thursday, two suspects came to the 7200 block of Sun View Avenue in Joshua Tree and emptied 4,000 gallons of water from the tanks and stole a black, 2,500 gallon water tank valued at $1300, with the water an additional $260. The suspects also stole fittings valued at $200.


PROPANE TANKS STOLEN IN YUCCA VALLEY

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a theft at Dollar General in Yucca Valley. According to the Sheriff’s report, sometime during the last week, suspects stole 88 propane tanks.


BURGLARY AT SALT MINE IN WONDER VALLEY

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a burglary at a salt mine in Wonder Valley Wednesday night. Employees at the Supreme Salt mine on Ironage Road called deputies about 6 a.m. Thursday to report that two suspects had cut the wires to the security cameras. The suspects forced entry into the office, stole a drill and batteries, and a key to a generator. The suspects are also believed to have taken a car battery and put it into an inoperable truck parked on the property and tried to start the truck but were unsuccessful.  Anyone with information on any of these investigations should call the Sheriff’s Department.


ONLINE ART RECEPTION FOR THE GLASS OUTHOUSE GALLERY

The Glass Outhouse has changed its outdoor opening reception Saturday to a virtual opening. There will be a live feed Saturday, from 1 to 9 p.m. on the gallery’s Facebook page. In addition, many photos and videos will be taken of the art and of the grounds.


TWO MEN ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTED BURGLARY IN MORONGO VALLEY

Two men were arrested Thursday, accused of attempting to burglarize a home in Morongo Valley. A neighbor called deputies to the 49500 block of Rosella Drive and gave a description of two men and their Nissan pick-up truck who were trying to break into a house. The suspects fled before deputies arrived, but the deputy spotted the truck and made a traffic stop. The men’s description matched the one given by the witness. Inside the truck were Eric Pennington, 31, of Highland, and Rusty Kelly, 30, of Yucca Valley. The witness positively identified the suspects as the same ones seen at the location. Eric Pennington was arrested for investigation of attempted burglary and for a warrant, booked into the West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $25,000. Rusty Kelly was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and attempted burglary, and released on $25,000 bail.


TWO ARRESTED IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS FOR SPOUSE ABUSE

We have limited information about two people who were arrested Thursday in separate incidents, accused of spouse abuse. Deputies were called to the 61800 block of Alta Vista Drive in Joshua Tree abut 2:30 a.m. Thursday. After an investigation, Andrew Perez-Villela, 31, was arrested on suspicion of spouse abuse. Andrew Perez-Villela was booked into the West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $50,000.

Also Thursday, deputies went to the 6400 block of El Dorado in Yucca Valley about 7:30 p.m. where they contacted Antonio Raya, 42. After an investigation, Antonio Raya was arrested on suspicion of spouse abuse, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.


GODWIN CHURCH TO OFFER DRIVE-IN SERVICES

Godwin Christian Fellowship in Wonder Valley will conduct all services in a drive-in format. Residents will be able to sing and participate in the service while in the comfort of their own vehicles in the church’s parking lot. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sundays at 6389 Godwin Road in Wonder Valley.


COUNTY REPORTS 50 MORE VIRUS CASES, DEATHS NOW AT 8

San Bernardino County reported 50 more cases of the coronavirus and two more deaths Thursday (April 2). The county now has 304 cases, up from 254 on Wednesday, and eight deaths, up from six, the latest county data shows. Yucca Valley has two confirmed cases; still none in Twentynine Palms. Yucaipa, where an outbreak occurred at the Cedar Mountain Post Acute Rehabilitation center, still has the most cases at 68. That number rose by eight from Wednesday. Of the 3,391 people tested for COVID-19, 9 percent had positive results, the county’s data show.

Of those who tested positive, 51.8% are male, 47.9% are female and .3% were unknown.

Most of the cases, 126, were among people 18 to 49 years old, while 90 were 50 to 64 years old, 83 were older than 65 and four were 2 to 17 years old, according to the county.


COUNTY ORDERS SHORT TERM LODGING TO CEASE OPERATIONS

The County’s Acting Health Officer formally ordered short-term lodging facilities—including hotels, motels, and short-term residential-style rental units—to cease operations until the governor’s “Stay at Home” order and the County’s order prohibiting gatherings have been rescinded. The county issued the specific order Thursday to bring about compliance and assist in enforcement. Short-term lodging facilities may operate only if they are being used for COVID-19 mitigation and containment, such as serving the homeless population, or are being used to house workers supporting critical infrastructure. The county’s order also extends indefinitely the prohibition on gatherings, and continues the closure of all movie theaters, gyms, health clubs, bars, and other businesses. The order does not pertain to essential businesses.


THE USE OF FACE COVERINGS NOW RECOMMENDED

County health officials are recommending that people use face coverings when leaving home to conduct essential business. Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose and include homemade cloth masks, bandanas, handkerchiefs, and neck gaiters. However, staying home, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing are more effective ways to combat the spread of COVID-19, and face masks are not a substitute.

County health officials urge people not to use surgical or N95 masks as those should be preserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Masks should be washed at least daily in hot water with detergent. Hands should be washed or sanitized after touching the face mask.


NON-PROFITS MOVING FUNDRAISERS ONLINE

Nonprofits that serve vulnerable communities are losing income from canceled fundraisers because of the coronavirus. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains how some are adapting…

The COVID-19 pandemic is really hurting nonprofits organizations—in particular those that serve vulnerable populations such as the elderly and low-income. Alphonso David with the Human Rights Campaign says organizations are needed more now than ever.

“Not-for-profit organizations exist because in most cases they are providing critical services and resources to marginalized communities. And those services and resources are more important now than ever.”

Some nonprofits are seeing a huge surge in demand – even as they have to change the way they do business to accommodate social distancing – especially groups that provide food, shelter or medical care to low income families.

Many nonprofits are sending out pleas for donations on their websites and on social media. Eddie Martinez with the Latino Equality Alliance says he fears that many donors are in wait-and-see mode.

“I don’t think, right now, a lot of people are in a giving mode. I think a lot of people are holding onto their resources because they don’t know what to expect.”

The CARES Act does include new tax incentives to encourage charitable contributions.

Locally, schools and senior centers have meals available for pick-up, and Reach Out Morongo Basin is delivering meals to seniors.

Many organizations have turned to online auctions, virtual races, and more.  


TWENTYNINE PALMS MARINE BASE CANCELS THREE UPCOMING TRAINING EXERCISES

Marine Corps officials at the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms have cancelled three upcoming exercises: Integrated Training Exercise, Marine Warfighting Exercise, and Adversary Force Training Exercise. Officials anticipate modified versions of ITX, WFX, and AFX to be held when public health conditions permit. The base’s training schools are continuing, but all other training courses are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if they are mission essential.


CITY OF TWENTYNINE PALMS EXTENDS EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION TO APRIL 30

The City of Twentynine Palms has extended its emergency proclamation to April 30 or until further notice. Residents can still contact city officials and departments by telephone, email, or regular mail. 


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