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Reach Out Morongo Basin will hold a drive-thru food giveaway Saturday October 31, at the Twentynine Palms Senior Center on Adobe Road. The food will be distributed from 8 until 10 or until supplies are gone. This event is open to ALL residents of Twentynine Palms. The food give-away will include canned goods, juice, cereal and other items will be provided, one box per household, while supplies last. Recipients will be required to self-certify residency. To help with the flow of traffic all vehicles are asked to line up on Cactus Drive east of Adobe Road.

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The last agenda item at tomorrow’s regular 10 a.m. meeting of county supervisors in San Bernardino is a public hearing on a proposal by Land Use Services. The likely approval of the resolution will essentially free county planners from having to consider community input on development in the unincorporated communities. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has more about what is at stake here…

Approval of agenda item 100 tomorrow will amend the County General Plan and approve a Countywide Plan including repeal of existing Community Plans for Joshua Tree, Lucerne Valley, Morongo Valley as well as the communities of Landers, Flamingo Heights, Yucca Mesa, Johnson Valley, and others. The legally binding Community Plans for those areas will be replaced with what are being called Community Action Guides. These “Guides,” according to protests filed by the Morongo Basin Conservation Association with the state attorney general, will rob the county’s unincorporated communities from having a say in future development. They will ask county supervisors to reject the resolution at tomorrow’s public hearing.

The public may survey tomorrow’s meeting online or at the county government building in Joshua Tree where comments may be made via live video link.

The Board of Supervisors’ meetings are open to the public, including the remote site locations, for participation. Public access to the San Bernardino Government Center will be through the west doors, facing Arrowhead Avenue. All members of the public entering the building are required to go through a security scan and visitor health check, which includes a temperature reading. Facial coverings are required in all locations, and standing or sitting in the lobby is not permitted.

The following applies to meetings:

(1) The public may view the Board Meeting live stream at;

(2) If you wish to make a comment on a specific agenda item or a general public comment prior to the Board meeting, please submit comments via U.S. Mail*, email at or online at Comments received prior to the start of the meeting will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for review;

(3) If you wish to make a comment on a specific item or a general public comment while watching the live stream, please submit comments, limited to 250 words or less, to the Clerk of the Board at Comments received prior to the end of the meeting will be provided to the Board of Supervisors after the meeting;

(4) If attending in person, facial coverings and a temperature reading are required. Seating in the board chambers is limited. Additional seating with video and audio of the meeting is available in the Joshua Room and the Rotunda, located on the first floor of the Government Center, adjacent to the chambers. (5) Any person interested in viewing or addressing the Board by interactive video (the Board members may see as well as hear speakers) may do so at the Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center, 63665 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Joshua Tree.

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Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating at least one death in the Flamingo Heights neighborhood of Yucca Valley. Deputies were called to the 1100 block of Kickapoo Trail at 11:40 Friday morning for a homicide. The Sheriff’s Department has not released any additional information pending notification of next of kin.

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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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Morongo Unified School District board member Chris Proudfoot announced Friday morning that he is resigning from the school board, effective immediately. Reporter Andrew Dieleman spoke with Proudfoot regarding his resignation and files this report…

Each board member of the Morongo Unified School District represents one of five specific areas of the district. With the recent sale of his home in Joshua Tree, Area 5 Trustee Chris Proudfoot, a 10-year member of the Board, could no longer legally represent the area. Despite working with the County Elections office, Proudfoot said he could not find a financially practical way to maintain a permanent residence in Joshua tree for the remainder of his term.

Chris Proudfoot

“I really wanted to finish out my term, so I’m kind of mad about that. But on the other hand, the financial burden of doing that was going to be pretty extensive. So, at the end of the day, the right thing to do is just pull out [of the board] and let Joshua Tree find a better representative.”

Proudfoot will remain temporarily in the Morongo Basin as he retires from work on the Marine base, but emphasized that the Morongo Basin should be very proud of the professional teachers, employees, and staff running the school district.

MUSD Board President Hillary Slotta told Z107.7 news that the school district plans to appoint a new trustee from District area 5 to complete the final two years of the term. The school district has 60 days from Proudfoot’s resignation date to fill the vacancy.

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A doctor from the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health will lead an online town hall presentation Tuesday (October 27). Starting at 9:30 a.m., Dr. Jonathan Avalos will explore addiction and mental health conditions as treatable factors in healing social and economic disparities. The town hall is free and open to the public. To register, see:


A local tradition that began in 1941 is back, stronger than ever. The 79th annual Weed Show will illustrate how a little creativity combined with our unique desert plants can lead to unique works of art. Reporter Heather Clisby has details …

Cathy Snodgrass shows off her People’s Choice entry from the 2019 29 Palms Weed Show. Tami Roleff photo

Created by the wives of WWI vets who had moved to the desert for their health, the 79th annual Weed Show is Twentynine Palms’ oldest tradition. With the theme, “Desert Skies,” this year’s creative contest spans 12 categories.

The competition is open to anyone, including children, and all compositions must include dried desert plant material (except for category 1).

The Weed Show will be held at the Old Schoolhouse Museum, 6760 National Park Drive on Saturday, November 7, from noon to 4 pm and on Sunday, November 8, from 10 am until 4 pm. For more info, contact Weed Show Chairman Larry Bowden at 760-501-1718 or visit

Category 1: Sunrise, Sunset – purple glass perfection. Use museum quality sun-purpled glass with a majority of fresh plant material. Dried weeds may be added.

Category 2: Dust Devil – use broken/imperfect sun-purpled glass in your entry with dried weeds.

Category 3: Little Dipper – use a miniature accessory with dried weeds or a little animal entirely pieced together from small dried weeds. It just needs to fit in a 3″ x 3″ x 3″ box, including the base.

Category 4: Big Dipper – same as “Little Dipper” except it needs to fit in a 6″ x 6″ x 6″ box.

Category 5: Full Moon – use a light-creating device as an accessory with dried weeds (like an old lantern, candle, flashlight, headlight from a car, miner’s headlamp, etc.).

Category 6: Milky Way – use a star as an accessory with dried weeds (like a tin star shape, star-shaped vase or box, photo of an actual star or the Milky Way, etc.)

Category 7: Blue Skies – use an accessory that is the color blue with dried weeds (like a blue spatter ware cup or plate or coffee pot, blue ceramic vase or crockery, a blue bird, blue denim, or any blue item).

Category 8: Thunder and Lightning – use two accessories with dried weeds. One can make a sound and the other is related to electricity (like a harmonica and a light switch, or pocket change and a flashlight, or a kazoo and clock or watch, etc.).

Category 9: Mirage – a scene to-scale or diorama with dried weeds (like matchbox cars on a road to scale through the desert, or a small lake or stream with small desert animals around it, or a homesteader cabin with windmill and water tank, or a train set with desert background, etc.).

Category 10: Raining Cats and Dogs – use something associated with water with dried weeds (like any kind of plumbing, water valve or spigot, water pitcher, desert water bag used on cars in the early days, a cup or pan, etc.).

Category 11: UFOs – Oversize entry with dried weeds that exceeds the weight or size rules.

Category 12: Cloud Gazing – this category is for young children. What do you see in the clouds? Use your imagination.

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The Town of Yucca Valley is looking for civic-minded teens who would like to serve on the youth commission. Managing editor Tami Roleff has more information about who can apply, and how…

The town of Yucca Valley is soliciting additional members for its youth commission. The Yucca Valley Youth Commission is made up of students in grades 7 through 12 who attend school in Yucca Valley. Youth commissioners produce informative video programs, present forums to local schools, and volunteer at community events. This year the commission has gone virtual. Commissioners will meet the first Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Applications are available at area schools, at the Yucca Valley Community Center, or online at The deadline to apply is November 2. For more information, call the Community Services Office, Monday through Thursday, at 760-369-7211.

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Yucca Valley will perform maintenance on the median of Highway 62 Tuesday. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the number one lane in both directions will be closed from Airway Avenue to Hilton Avenue while crews work in the center median. Drivers are urged to use caution in this area.

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In part 1 of our story on the Friends of Copper Mountain College, we reviewed the fundraising efforts of the Friends that lead to the creation of Phase I of the campus in 1984. In part two of a two-part story, Reporter Andrew Dieleman continues with how the Copper Mountain College campus, and the Friends themselves, have changed over the decades…

The Friends of Copper Mountain College continued to raise an additional $1 million through 1994 to further expand the campus. Phase II of the campus was completed in 1988, adding a computer lab and automotive technology building. Phase III was completed in 1993, adding a campus dining facility, student services center, and a 10,000 square foot library; which was upgraded in part by community leader and long-time resident Roy Greenleaf Jr., who matched $100,000 of community donations through the Roy Greenleaf Challenge. Copper Mountain College has continued to see tremendous growth since then: the college separated from College of the Desert in 1999 becoming the Copper Mountain Community College District. In 2001, the college received full accreditation and the Friends became the Copper Mountain College Foundation, which continues to raise funds to grow the college to this day. Because, well, that’s what friends do.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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