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Paris Jackson was in our Morongo Basin last week. Thursday, she shared a series of clips on her Instagram account documenting a road trip she took to Joshua Tree. The daughter of the late Michael Jackson, 19, reveled in the all-natural surroundings of boulders, brush and desert as she said she was aiming for some ‘recalibration’ time as autumn kicks in. She shared a montage of shots from her excursion locally including one in which she’s sipping out of a rusty can that she used to prepare tea; brushing her teeth; and stretching topless.


Wildly enthusiastic audiences are clamoring for more, more, more from The Baker’s Dozen, Improv Troupe at Theatre 29. Their next performance, “School Glaze” is all set for this Saturday evening; with more here’s Rebecca Havely…

“School Glaze” is the theme for the next Baker’s Dozen performance. September 23 at 7 p.m. be prepared to have your ribs tickled and your sides split by a top notch cast of improvisers. The “Baker‘s Dozen” consists of thirteen talented comedian/actors, Director Chris Fleischman, Graham Cooley, Cindy Daigneault, Cam D’Angeles, Amy Fangmeyer, Katie Fleischman, Kory Fleischman, Lisa Goldberg, Cody Joseph, Yvonna Mullen, Joseph Rego, Kylie Robinson, and Hope Spicer. Future show dates include, October 28, November 11, and December 30. All Improv troupe performances are rated PG 13.
Ticket prices are reduced with General Admission at $10, Military, and Seniors are $7. and $5. for students with ID. Theatre 29 Season Ticket holders may attend one performance at no charge. For tickets visit or call the Theatre 29 Box Office at 760-361-4151.


Sheriff Deputies arrested a 26-year-old Yucca Valley man late Sunday afternoon for suspected felony possession of methamphetamine for sale. Joel Minasian was stopped at Paxton and Fortuna Avenue in Yucca Valley and was found to have outstanding warrants. A search revealed a quantity of suspected methamphetamine and paraphernalia. After investigation. Joel Minasian was booked into Morongo Basin Jail for investigation of drug sales, and an outstanding warrant on prior drug charges. His bail was set at $50,000.


The Morongo Basin is surrounded by public lands: Joshua Tree National Park, the Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails National Monuments, Bureau of Land Management lands, as well as preserves and municipal parks. But some people contend that not everyone has equal access to public lands. Managing editor Tami Roleff explains…
Public lands play a key role in America’s identity, but the rules about who has access to public lands are not always reflective of the country’s demographic diversity. The Hi-Desert Nature Museum will hold a free brown bag lecture 6 p.m. Thursday, September 21, in which a panel of experts on public land use will discuss the challenge of equal access, and race, class, and ethnicity. Note the change in time for this lecture.


Is feeding your child more difficult that you thought it would be? Do you have a picky eater? Are you getting into food struggles at the table with your children? Do you want to learn what helps a child be a good eater? Come to Raising Good Eaters with registered dietitian, Nicole Napientek. This free three-session class will take a look at what we can expect from our children as they develop and grow, what parents can do to make a difference, and how to get around stumbling blocks before they become lifelong hang-ups. Classes are Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. starting tonight, September 19, then on September 26, and October 3. All classes are held at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church art room (behind the church building). The classes are sponsored by Partners in Wellness. Child care provided.


In Twentynine Palms, the 2017 Pioneer Days Old Timers of the Year, Ann Congdon and Cheryl Erickson have been announced. The ‘old timers’ will join this year’s Grand Marshals (Ret.) Col. Owen and Audrey Gillick and Military Grand Marshals Col. Charlie and Lt. Cmdr. Mary Kay Sherry in representing the community during the annual Pioneer Days celebration October 19 through 22. In addition to riding in the Pioneer Days Parade each of the honorees will be feted at the Twentynine Palms Historical Society’s annual Old Timers Gathering at the Old Schoolhouse Museum following the parade Saturday, October 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. The honorees were introduced during the September 15 Pioneer Days Kickoff at the Bowladium.

Twentynine Palms 2017 Old Timer of the Year Honorees
This year’s “Old Timer of the Year” honorees are Ann Congdon and Cheryl Erickson. The “Old Timer of the Year” program was created in 2014 to honor early or long-time residents who contributed significantly to the development or betterment of the Twentynine Palms’ community. The program is intended to honor “everyday heroes” whose contributions and efforts over the years have largely gone unsung.

Ann Congdon is a hometown child, daughter of Bill and Prudie Underhill, founders of The Desert Trail newspaper and later the walk-in and drive-in theaters and roller skating rink. Ann worked in them all until leaving to get her degree in Architecture. After raising two daughters and retiring from long careers, Ann and her husband Mike left their home in Annapolis, Maryland, and returned to Twentynine Palms in 2005 so that Ann could care for her mother, who passed in 2007 at age 92.

Ann enthusiastically and willingly shares her talents with the community through her volunteer work with Sky’s The Limit (STL ) Observatory and Nature Center, the Twentynine Palms Historical Society, the Public Arts Advisory Committee, and Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) Advisory Board for the City of Twentynine Palms.

Ann is an early member of Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center. Back in the very beginning of the organization, when it was just a group of people with some just-purchased vacant land, Ann fully committed to help the project become reality by providing her architectural talent for free… before she even arrived. She designed the campus layout and the first buildings, as well as the drawing concepts for the future buildings, which includes an observatory that will hold nearly a 100 visitors, amphitheater and classrooms. She led the printing of the STL Plant book, including assistance on making the grant happen for the book. She also does 99% of the design work and printing of STL brochures and other printed materials. The STL e-letter is happening because of Ann’s talents and get-it-done attitude. She has been one of the pillars that hold up this important educational institute that works for the good of Twentynine Palms and its many visitors. The tasks described are time-consuming projects and she readily tackles them using her special talents, energy, and love for her community. If all that weren’t enough, Ann also serves on the Board of Directors and is Secretary of the STL corporation.

Ann is an active supporter of the Twentynine Palms Historical Society, again using her architectural skills to help design an expansion for the Old Schoolhouse Museum. She has donated use of her childhood home, Broadview Hacienda, to the Society for fund-raising events like the annual Desert Chic event.

Ann is also an appointed member of the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC) for the City of Twentynine Palms Art in Public Places program. She is the “historian” for the group and assists in creating the annual exhibition schedule and designing the postcards for the quarterly shows at the city’s visitor center. PAAC couldn’t operate efficiently without her artistic and organizational skills. Ann is an assemblage artist and jewelry designer, and her work is often displayed at the Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce gallery.

Ann was recently appointed as the vice chair of the newly organized Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) Advisory Board for the City of Twentynine Palms, representing vacation home rentals.
In December 2011 she received the Twentynine Palms Mayor’s Recognition Award for her significant contributions to the city and the people in it.

Cheryl Erickson arrived in Twentynine Palms in October 1970 and became the head librarian at the Twentynine Palms Branch Library. She wasted little time becoming a vital part of the community.

Cheryl has the ability to be comfortable regardless of her situation. Her easygoing manner, knowledge and love of books, love for people, and take-charge attitude have been a blessing to the Twentynine Palms community. When she sees a void or a need, she fills it.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Twentynine Palms was uniquely endowed with a tremendous resource unavailable to older cities. The individuals who created and settled the city were still living, although many were in failing health. Both the immense value and impending tragedy of this situation were apparent. The historical record of Twentynine Palms was not found in books, but in people who were still alive, and unless steps were taken this history would literally pass away.

As the city’s pioneers died, many of the photographs, artifacts and other records of the city’s beginnings disappeared. Many of these invaluable items exited the city in the form of inheritances passed on to family and friends. Other items were discarded in the city dump. That broke Cheryl’s heart. She was determined to do something about it.

Of course the most valuable legacy, the thoughts and memories of the homesteaders, could never be reclaimed. The city and all of its future inhabitants were being robbed of its past — deprived of its greatest asset.
How long this historical hemorrhaging would have continued is speculation. What is known is Cheryl and fellow librarian Harold Weight collaborated to preserve the city’s history, beginning the task of identifying, cataloging and accumulating artifacts from the city’s gilded archives. Cheryl also undertook the epic challenge of interviewing more than 70 of the city’s pioneers—a task she thoroughly enjoyed.

The result of Cheryl’s and Weight’s labor is an extensive collection of books and documents on the history of this region which is stored in two locked bookcases and three filing cabinets inside the library. This resulted in Cheryl establishing the first local history collection in any library in San Bernardino County. For those seeking information about Twentynine Palms and the background of this region, Cheryl has provided a resource which represents one of the largest contributions to the city by any of its residents. All items are available for review by the public but are not available for circulation outside the library.

Cheryl’s work on this project led to her involvement in the formation of the Twentynine Palms Historical Society. She was one of the nine founding board members. She remains actively involved with the Historical Society, currently serving on the Board of Directors as the society’s corresponding secretary. Many of the large historical artifacts she and Weight collected are housed at the Historical Society.

For as many years as Cheryl has lived in Twentynine Palms, she has been an active member of Little Church of the Desert. It is the historic first church built in this town. For many years Cheryl played the organ for the services. As a Ruling Elder of the church, she oversees all the contracts and payroll, pays the bills and oversees the financial reports. She also oversees the entire operation of Little School of the Desert, a Christian preschool. Every year she travels to third world countries to help build schools, water wells and libraries.

Over the years Cheryl has opened her home to at least half a dozen foreign exchange students. Thanks to Cheryl’s dedication to serving the city’s current needs while remaining devoted to preserving its past, the citizens of Twentynine Palms will have access to sources of knowledge and inspiration which can help guide the city in the years ahead.


Hundreds of people attended Saturday’s gala opening reception at the Twentynine Palms Art Gallery for the fifth annual Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition’s juried art show. Out of 120 artists who submitted 290 entries, 63 artworks were juried into the exhibition. Winners include Linda Brown of Claremont, who received first place for her oil painting “Glow Boulders.” Second place went to Greg Lucker of Murrieta for his photo “Domino Rock.” Gerhard Kammer of Joshua Tree won third place for his watercolor “Step This Way.” Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith awarded Joan Lamensdorf of Pasadena the Superintendent’s Award for her pastel “Keys View Panorama.” Honorable mentions went to Remi JaBuh, Chip Morton, Doug Shoemaker, Lee Edwards, and Jim Smart. The artwork will be on display at the art gallery 11 to 3 Thursdays through Sundays through October 1.

1st Place Linda Brown

2nd Place Greg Lucker

3rd Place Gerhard Kammer

Joan Lamensdorf Superintendents Award

Jim Smart Honorable Mention

Doug Shoemaker Honorable Mention

Chip Morton Honorable Mention

Remi JaBuh Honorable Mention

Lee Edwards Honorable Mention


Theatre 29 will join with the three Morongo Basin Chambers of Commerce to unveil their highly anticipated 2018 performance season. Theatre 29 will be giving away a pair of season tickets to a lucky attendee. Managing editor Tami Roleff has the details…
The six productions of Theatre 29’s 2018 season will be revealed at a special tri-Chamber mixer on Wednesday, September 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. Each of the Chambers of Commerce will give a brief presentation on their economic development and upcoming events and activities. Each of the six directors selected for the 2018 season will describe his or her show, complete with musical and dramatic performances. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Theatre 29 season tickets for the 2018 season, which includes Broadway musicals, two classic comedies, a holiday musical, a summer youth program, and one performance of the Bakers’ Dozen Improv Troupe. The gala announcement event will take place at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Street in Joshua Tree. Complimentary beverages and deli delights will be served by Theatre 29 volunteers.


Early indications are that the Mojave Trails National Monument east of Twentynine Palms will not be reduced or eliminated. According National News sources, a memo from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed. The memo from Zinke to President Donald Trump recommends that two Utah monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante, be reduced, along with Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou. Two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean also would be reduced. Trump ordered the review earlier this year after complaining about improper “land grabs” by former presidents. National Monument designations add protections for lands for natural beauty and historical significance. The restrictions aren’t as stringent as national parks, but some include limits on mining, timber cutting and recreational activities.


Motorists will experience major road delays in Yucca Valley due to road paving for the sewer project. Paving will take place Monday and Tuesday (September 18 and 19) on Yucca Trail, and drivers should expect major delays. Detour signs will be posted.


Reducing the number of motorcycle-involved collisions goes beyond training and prevention on the part of the motorcyclists. California Highway Patrol Officer Joan Griffin offers the following tips for motorists on how to drive safely around motorcycles…
Give motorcycles extra room. A minor rear-end collision involving a motorcycle can have major consequences. Look twice for motorcycles. Always check and double check blind spots and mirrors before changing lanes or merging. Passenger vehicles should remain extra vigilant when entering or crossing intersections. Nearly one quarter of all fatal collisions in California occur within an intersection.


The Hi-Desert Chorus is looking for singers who want to sing the songs of the season. The chorus, under the direction of Bill Barrett, will perform two concerts in December with songs relating to spring, summer, fall, and winter. All voices are needed, but especially alto, bass, and tenor. Singers should be able to sing on pitch. The last night to join the chorus is Monday, September 18, during its rehearsal at Valley Community Chapel on Yucca Trail, starting at 6 p.m. For more information, call Rosemary at 760-228-1683.


Volunteers are being sought for Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services. Reporter Rebecca Havely has the free training details…
A few minutes of your time can help someone take back years of their life. Every two minutes, another woman, man or child is sexually assaulted and the effects can be devastating. Morongo Basin Sexual Assault Services offers free state-certified volunteer training. To sign up for the next training session beginning October 3 call 760-369-3353.


A distribution of free surplus federal food will be held Tuesday, September 19, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Twentynine Palms Food Pantry. No identification is required to for the food give-away. Participants should bring their own bags. The food pantry is located at 6450 Star Dune Avenue, behind New Pharmacy. For more information, email


The Santa Fe Social Clubhouse is holding a bread distribution in Yucca Valley every Monday from 11a.m. until we run out. They are at 56020 Santa Fe Trail in Yucca Valley.


The desert has always appealed to explorers of all kinds. In this report, Mike Lipsitz says this is high adventure everyone can enjoy…

The High Desert Test Kitchen, now in its second season, is an informal monthly dinner gathering organized by artist Sarah Witt. Each month explores a different native food that serves as an ingredient or an inspiration for a dish that followers share at a monthly dinner. This month’s ingredient is mesquite. The edible pea is found in the abundant pods of mesquite trees. It’s rich, nutty flavor is akin to carob—some liken it to cacao. Mesquite can be used as a gluten-free addition in baked goods, or as a nutrient-packed addition to sauces and syrups. This month’s dinner is set for 7 p.m. September 18 at the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center, 65336 Winters Road off Border. Bring something to share that is either made with or inspired by mesquite. This is your opportunity to explore the Mojave from a culinary perspective. Witt encourages participants not to be afraid, but to be adventurous.


By Head Coach Andrew Amosa

The Varsity Trojans defeated Linfield Christian in Temecula 46-7. The offense and defense came out on fire. Offense was led by Elijah Lynch who had 272 yards passing and five touchdowns. The offensive line did a great job handling a much bigger defensive line. The offense had a total of 221 yards rushing. Lucas Lopez hauled in four receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was led by Ian Munger with eight tackles. Ian Munger and Chris Worrell has two sacks each. This was a great overall team effort against a team in a higher division. The win brings them to 4-0 on the season. They will continue their efforts against the 2-2 Palo Verde Jackrabbits on Friday at 7 p.m. at Trojan Stadium.

JV Trojans played a hard fought game against Valley Christian High School in Cerritos. They came away with a 33-21 victory. The Trojans went into the half down 20-21, but came out and scored two touchdowns. The defense fought hard and kept their opponent scoreless in the second half. The win brings the JV Trojans to 4-0 on the season. The JV Trojans play at 4 p.m. at Trojan Stadium.


By Coach Ernest Martinez

The Twentynine Palms Varsity Wildcats remained undefeated after a 40-0 victory over Indian Springs High School from San Bernardino. The Wildcats scored on their first three possessions of the game to take a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. The Wildcats moved 61 yards on four plays to score the first touchdown of the contest. Hunter Tygart had a 20-yard run to the Coyotes 30 yard line to set up a 30-yard scoring strike from senior D’Shaun Barrett to Isaiah Castaneda. Barrett was able to find Castaneda two more times, as they combined for three touchdowns on the game. Tygart ran the second score in from 29 yards out, and Barrett found Castaneda open in the end zone from 38 yards on the third score of the opening quarter. The Wildcats led 34-0 at halftime, and the contest went to a running clock in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats defense led by K.J. Magwood-Morton, Tristan Carpenter, and Finn O’Brien and D’Shaun Barrett forced three turnovers in the first half which set up offensive scores. Barrett would return an interception for the fourth score from 43 yards out and the 27-0 lead early in the second quarter. The final two scores of the game, were a 10-yard-pass play from Barrett to Magwood-Morton, and a 27-yard-pass play from Barrett to Castaneda.

The Wildcats dominated the Contest with more than 400 yards of total offense while holding the Coyotes to five first downs and no points for the game. Defensive leaders of the game were Morton, and O’Brien with 10 total tackles each. Carpenter had five tackles and two QB sacks, along with O’Brien’s two QB sacks on the game.

Offensive leaders were Barrett with 233 yards of total offense and four touchdowns on the game. Castaneda had 134 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Hunter Tygart had 82 yards rushing on eight carries and scored a touchdown. Cody Landry had three catches for 42 yards.
The Wildcats will now travel to Big Bear Saturday afternoon to face their former De Anza league rival, who is now in the Cross Valley league. Big Bear is 3-1 on the season having just defeated Malibu 49 to 12. The Varsity game will start at 1:30 after the 10:45 a.m. start for the Frosh Soph game. The contest will be the final non-league game of the season, as the Wildcats will begin De Anza league play in two weeks against Desert Hot Springs.

The Frosh Soph Wildcats also remained undefeated after a 4th quarter rally. Trailing 12-7 in the fourth the Cats scored three consecutive touchdowns, including a defensive fumble return by Chris Rantzow. Alex Burns and Jason Durrum both had long touchdown runs on the contest.


Later this month, folks from all over the Basin will descend on the community of Yucca Mesa for Mesa Fest 2017, an all-day beer and music festival organized for one simple goal: to provide a children’s playground in that community; currently there is none. Reporter Mike Lipsitz brings us an overview…

Grab the kids and maybe a lawn chair and head over to the Yucca Mesa Community Center for Mesa Fest 2017 on Saturday, September 23 from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. This year’s lineup includes six live bands, an expanded craft beer selection with more than 30 brews, up to 60 craft/retail/non-profit, and snack and food vendors, a special art project for youngsters, a horseshoe competition, a chili cook off, and more. Regular admission is $5; kids under 12 are free. Or choose from a variety of craft beer and homemade chili tasting packages and you’ll be set for the day. The Yucca Mesa Community Center is at 3133 Balsa Avenue. Discounted advance tickets as well as vendor rentals and non-profit registration are available at Profits from Mesa Fest 2017 go toward a planned community playground, the first in the Mesa community.


Mark your calendar for a night under the stars to benefit the High Desert Pregnancy Clinic. Reporter Rebecca Havely has the details…

The High Desert Pregnancy Clinic’s biggest fundraiser of the year, “A Night for Life Under the Stars,” will feature a Hollywood actor as the guest speaker. Rusty Joiner starred in the 2015 film “Voiceless,” in which he takes a stand against an abortion clinic across the street from his church. Joiner will share his story about starting churches in California and his experiences. The Luminators will provide live music. The semi-formal event on September 30 starts at 6:30 p.m. and will also include hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and a silent auction, all under the stars in Sky Harbor in Yucca Valley. Tickets are $25; no children under 12 please. Call 760-369-8512 to reserve your spot, or visit

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