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PAROLEE SHOT BY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY AFTER A CONFRONTATION IN 29 PALMS

A parolee sustained non-life-threatening injuries after an officer-involved shooting just North of the Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms. According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, On Friday, October 23, at about 4:39 p.m., deputies from the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station were conducting a business check at the Tortoise Rock Casino when the suspect, Joseph McLaughlin, a known parolee at large with a felony arrest warrant, was seen exiting the casino. Deputies attempted to contact McLaughlin and he immediately fled on foot north across the parking lot and into the desert. Deputies gave McLaughlin commands and he failed to obey them. The suspect suddenly stopped and picked up a large rock and a deputy-involved shooting occurred. McLaughlin was struck by gunfire and was transported by Morongo Basin Ambulance to the nearest trauma facility for treatment for a gun-shot wound.  During the confrontation, a deputy sustained an injury and was transported to a local area hospital, treated, and released.


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BEWARE OF THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNA EDISON PHONE SCAM

Recently, some Morongo Basin residents were called by people pretending to be employees of Southern California Edison. The callers said the residents had outstanding bills, and demanded the customers make payments with prepaid cards over the telephone. Hilary Sloane offers these tips on how to avoid being a victim of these types of scams…

Imposters claiming to be from SoCal Edison are calling businesses and residents and telling them their electric bills are overdue. The caller demands immediate payment through a prepaid cash or debit card to avoid having their electricity disconnected. The scammers then collect the value deposited on the card. A Southern California Edison spokeswoman said SCE employees will never ask for payment over the phone or in person at a customer’s business or residence, nor does SoCal Edison accept PayPal payments. Customers should never give out personal information over the telephone. Do not call back the number given to you; use the phone number on your electric bill instead. Customers suspecting a fraudulent call should ask for the caller’s name, department, and business phone number, and then they should call SCE at 800-655-4555 to report the incident. For more ways customers can stay safe, see the safety tips at www.sce.com.


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HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM TO HOLD YUCCA MAN HUNT

You’ve heard of Bigfoot, but have you heard about Yucca Man? Since the 1970s, stories have exploded about the hairy, stinky beast that prowls the desert in the Morongo Basin. This year, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum is hosting a fun Halloween hunt for Yucca Man. Ernest Figueroa has more information…(EF129)

The Halloween hunt for Yucca Man is a mix between an escape room and a treasure hunt. Participants will receive a “survival email” to prepare them for what is to come. And then on Halloween, another email will come with the first clue to start the search in Yucca Valley for Yucca Man. Early registration is required; participants will be assigned a time slot between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Halloween, and there is limited participation per time slot. The entire search will take about 45 minutes and will include driving through Yucca Valley. The deadline to register is October 30. Visit the link below to sign up.


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YUCCA VALLEY TO HOLD HALLOWEEN PORCH DECORATING CONTEST

The Town of Yucca Valley will hold a Halloween Spooktacular porch decorating contest. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains how to enter your spooky porch…

Get in the spooky spirit early and participate in the Yucca Valley Halloween Spooktacular Porch Decorating Contest. Porches will be judged by local artists. A spooky prize will be awarded to first, second, and third place winners. Photos will be displayed on the town’s Facebook page. The deadline to send in your photos is October 31. Send your photos to the email below.

mstueckle@yucca-valley.org


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SUPERVISORS PAY AND TERMS ON TWO BALLOT MEASURES

Voters in our county will have two opportunities to weigh in on how much county supervisors earn and for how many terms they can serve. Reporter Mike Lipsitz explains…

Ballots for the November 3 election will include two ballot measures pertaining to compensation and term limits for county supervisors. Under the title “Revised Charter: County of San Bernardino,” is a proposed new charter that includes a provision that supervisors be limited to serving three four-year terms and receive compensation equal to 80 percent of that of a superior court judge or roughly $160,000 plus benefits. And appearing under a separate ballot measure entitled, “The San Bernardino County Supervisor Compensation Reduction and Term Limits Initiative,” is a provision that would limit supervisors to one year in office only with annual compensation not to exceed $60,000. If both measures pass, the one with the most votes will prevail.


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MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS READY AND AVAILABLE BY PHONE

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 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 760-369-1074 or 760-366-8641. They want to remind the community that they are here during this difficult time. Please reach out, no one has to go through this alone.


DEPUTY-INVOLVED SHOOTING IN TWENTYNINE PALMS FRIDAY

A Yucca Valley man was shot by Sheriff’s Deputies Friday afternoon after he armed himself with a rock. On Friday, October 23, at 4:39 p.m., Sheriffs Deputies were conducting a business check at Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms when, Joseph McLaughlin, 30 of Yucca Valley was seen exiting the casino. Deputies recognized McLaughlin as a parolee at large with a felony arrest warrant. Deputies attempted to contact him, but McLaughlin fled across the parking lot and into the desert, failing to obey commands from deputies to stop. When McLaughlin suddenly stopped and reportedly armed himself with a large rock, a deputy-involved shooting occurred. McLaughlin was struck by gunfire and was transported to a local area hospital with non life-threatening injuries. A deputy sustained an injury during the event and was transported to a local area hospital, treated, and released. Detectives from the Specialized Investigations Division – Homicide Detail are conducting the investigation. Joseph McLaughlin will be booked for assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and his felony arrest warrant upon release from the hospital. Z107.7 news will provide more information as it becomes available.


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TWO INJURED IN DUI-ROLLOVER CRASH EAST OF TWENTYNINE PALMS

Two people were injured during a suspected DUI crash east of Twentynine Palms. About 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Daniel Hernandez, 36, of Anaheim, was driving a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser and pulling a small trailer, westbound on Highway 62. As he approached Ironage Road, Hernandez said he fell asleep and allowed the SUV to drift off onto the north shoulder. Hernandez then woke up and over-corrected to the left, crossing all lanes of traffic. The FJ Cruiser continued into the desert and overturned several times, causing minor injuries to Hernandez and his passenger, Jahayra Vega, 33, of Perris. Daniel Hernandez was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and was arrested for investigation of felony DUI causing injuries. Hernandez and Vega were taken to the Hi-Desert Medical Center where they were treated for their injuries. Hernandez was then booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $100,000. The CHP reminds residents to designate a sober driver.


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TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN ACCUSED OF DRIVING WHILE HIGH

A Twentynine Palms man was arrested last week, accused of driving while high on drugs. About 1:30 p.m. Thursday, October 15, a deputy conducted a traffic stop on a motorcycle for vehicle code violations near Split Rock Avenue and El Paseo Drive. The deputy saw the rider, Chad O’Connor, 36, operating the off-highway dirt bike without a helmet on city streets. The deputy suspected that O’Connor was riding under the influence of drugs and conducted a field sobriety test. O’Conner is on parole, and during a search, the deputy found suspected drugs and drug paraphernalia. Chad O’Connor was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, and was held without bail for his parole violation.


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GROCERY GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE TO THOSE IN NEED

A Yucca Valley church is distributing free grocery gift cards to residents who are in need. Ernest Figueroa has more information…

Desert Hills Presbyterian Church in Yucca Valley has a limited number of Stater Brothers gift cards that are available to people in need. The gift cards are intended to supplement food received at local food pantries, and they will allow recipients to shop for items such as meat and produce. Cards will be distributed at the church by appointment, on a first-come, first-served basis, until the month’s supply is gone. Cards can be delivered to those in poor health or without transportation. Call Pastor Wayne Morrow at 760-365-6331 to make an appointment to pick up a gift card.


RIVERSIDE COUNTY WOMAN STOPPED IN YUCCA VALLEY, ACCUSED OF DEALING DRUGS

A Riverside County woman was arrested early Wednesday morning, accused of being a drug dealer. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies stopped a vehicle, driven by Karen Sirak, 47, of Homeland, about 2:40 a.m. near Highway 62 and Barberry Avenue in Yucca Valley for a vehicle code violation. Deputies determined Sirak was driving from Riverside County to Bullhead City, Arizona, to sell methamphetamine, when she was stopped in Yucca Valley. Karen Sirak was arrested on suspicion of transportation of a controlled substance for sales and was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with her bail set at $75,000.


CAR FIRE IN JOSHUA TREE FIRDAY

Joshua Tree firefighters respond to a vehicle fire on Highway 62 Friday morning. Tami Roleff photo

Joshua Tree firefighters were called to a car fire on the highway in Joshua Tree about 9:35 Friday morning. The 2006 Dodge Stratus was traveling westbound on Highway 62 when a mechanical failure started a fire in the engine compartment. The driver pulled over near Olympic Avenue and Highway 62. Both the driver and passenger were able to get out safely, and firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to nearby vegetation.

Smoke from the vehicle fire could be seen from the Z107.7 studio in Joshua Tree Friday morning. Tami Roleff photo

UNITY HOME HOLDING ONLINE FUNDRAISING AUCTION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENSSS MONTH

October is domestic violence awareness month, the time when Unity Home normally holds their annual Western-themed fundraiser. With county gathering restriction still in place due to COVID-19, Unity Home is transitioning this year’s fundraiser from in-person to an online auction. Managing editor Tami Roleff has the details…

Participants in Unity Home’s Wild West Showdown auction fundraiser will have the opportunity to bid on their favorite dessert baskets, including cakes, cheesecakes, toffees, and coffees. The virtual event will be held on Unity Home’s Facebook page through 3 p.m. Sunday October 25. A Facebook live auction is set for Saturday, October 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Auction items will be available for pickup at the Unity Home Outreach Offices, 7237 Joshua Lane in Yucca Valley, Saturday October 24 or Sunday October 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment. All auction proceeds support Unity Home’s programs to help victims of domestic violence.

Unity Home Wild West Showdown auction fundraiser to be held online in 2020.

Unity Home Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/1662MBUH/


CHRIS PROUDFOOT RESIGNS FROM SCHOOL BOARD

Morongo Unified School District board member Chris Proudfoot announced Friday morning that he is resigning from the school board, effectively immediately. Proudfoot, a member of the school board for 10 years, moved to Arizona last month and in his resignation letter, states that he can’t afford to maintain a second residence in Joshua Tree for the remainder of his term. MUSD Board President Hillary Slotta told Z107.7 news that the school district plans to call for volunteers from District area 5 and appoint a new Trustee to the position during an upcoming board meeting. The school district has 60 days to fill the vacancy.

Chris Proudfoot

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY LAUNCHES FLU WEBSITE

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has launched an influenza (flu) webpage that provides information about how to get vaccinated, an especially important task in this year of COVID-19. Reporter Heather Clisby has details…

It’s always a healthy idea for individuals to obtain an annual flu shot but in 2020, it’s crucial. So the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has added a web page focusing entirely on influenza, known as the “flu.” The page offers valuable information and resources such as where to obtain a free flu vaccination. Locally, there will be a flu vaccine clinic at Copper Mountain College (Bell Center) on October 30 from 9:30 am until 5 pm., 6162 Rotary Way in Joshua Tree. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes, the lungs. It can be mild or severe and occasionally, fatal. The older, the younger and those with health conditions are at higher risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine for those six months of age and older. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is ideal as it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop. Health officials are hoping to avoid a “twindemic” – a double dose of virus spread as the fall and winter settles in, possibly causing an uptick in both the flu and COVID-19 and creating a deeper burden on the healthcare system. Links to the County’s new webpage are available below.


YUCCA VALLEY TO HOLD VIRTUAL COSTUME CONTEST

The Town of Yucca Valley is holding a virtual Halloween costume contest. Here with more details is managing editor Tami Roleff…

Kids and adults, get dressed in your Halloween best and enter the Yucca Valley virtual costume contest. Participants have the option of entering one or all of three categories: life imitates art, pet look-alike, and costume of your choice. Photos will be posted to the Town’s Facebook Page. Costumes will be judged by Town Staff and local artists. Winners will be chosen based on creativity and will receive a ribbon and goodie bag. Deadline for submissions is Friday, October 31. Participants should send a photo of themselves dressed up in their costumes to Recreation Coordinator, Megan Stueckle mstueckle@yucca-valley.org


LOW-COST VACCINE CLINICS FOR NOVEMBER

The Animal Action League will offer low-cost vaccine and microchip clinics in November for dogs and cats, as well as low-cost spaying and neutering. No appointments are necessary for vaccines or microchips; appointments are required for spaying and neutering services. Microchips are only $15, and can help reunite you with your lost pet. Everyone who comes to the clinic—whether for spaying or neutering, or low-cost vaccinations or microchips—must stay in their vehicles, wear a mask, and wait for staff to come get your animal. Clinics will be held in Joshua Tree, west of the dinosaurs on Highway 62, on November 3, 12, 13, 14, 20, 23, 24. For appointments, call 760-366-1100.


CHRIS PROUDFOOT RESIGNS FROM SCHOOL BOARD

Morongo Unified School District board member Chris Proudfoot announced Friday morning that he is resigning from the school board, effectively immediately. Proudfoot, a member of the school board for 10 years, moved to Arizona last month and in his resignation letter, states that he can’t afford to maintain a second residence in Joshua Tree for the remainder of his term.

Chris Proudfoot

CORONER IDS MAN KILLED IN CRASH IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

The county coroner has identified the man killed in a crash in Twentynine Palms. Thavreak Khoeum, 37, of Twentynine Palms, was driving a Toyota pick-up truck on Valle Vista Road when he lost control for unknown reasons near Monte Vista Street. The truck left the road and rolled over; Koheum was ejected from the truck and was pronounced deceased at the scene. County Fire Captain Danny Stamps said the crash happened sometime Sunday night/Monday morning; paramedics were called to the scene at 6:44 a.m. Monday morning when the crash was discovered.


COUNTY TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR GRANTS FOR YUCCA VALLEY NON-PROFITS

The Town of Yucca Valley is taking applications for Community Development Block Grants. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells area community organizations how to apply…

The Town of Yucca Valley is soliciting applications from community organizations for 2021-22 community development block grants. Applications and instructions are available at the link to the county website below. All proposals and applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. Tuesday, December 1, via an online portal. No applications will be accepted after this date.

Please do not send your application to the Town.  All applications must be submitted via the application portal located at https://sbc.hdsoftware.net/login.

Application instructions can be accessed on CDH’s website at https://sbcountycdha.com/community-development-and-housing-department/nofas-notices-rfps/.


- Read Older Newscasts >>

Special Article: UFOs In The Desert – Summer 1991
Special Article: The Legend of Giant Rock – Summer 1991
Special Article: The Little Radio Station That Could – Sunday, June 28, 1992

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