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JOSHUA BASIN WATER BOARD MEETS, WANTS PRIMARY PUMP BACK IN OPERATION

The Joshua Basin Water District meets tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us what’s on the agenda…
Tonight’s regular session convenes at 6:30 p.m. On the agenda is a staff recommendation that the district award rehab of Well 14 to Tri-County Pump for approximately $160,000. Well 14 is the district’s primary pump. It has been offline since February 2016 after the original contractor abandoned the job. Tri-County was originally second in line when the contract was awarded. If approved, Tri-Valley will start right away. Any other alternative would delay completion of the project until well after the high-use season. That item and others will precede standing committee, staff and director reports. It all starts at the 6:30 p.m. at the Joshua Basin Water District offices on Chollita Road in Joshua Tree.


TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN ACCUSED OF SELLING METHAMPHETAMINE

A Twentynine Palms man was arrested Sunday night, accused of selling methamphetamine. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies contacted William Bagley, 47 in the 6500 block of Cholla Avenue, and determined that he had in possession methamphetamine, a digital scale. The report also states that Bagley admitted to selling a half-ounce of meth a week. William Bagley was arrested for investigation of possession of methamphetamine for sales, booked at the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.


WE REVIEW “EXIT LAUGHING” AT GROVE’S THEATER IN MORONGO VALLEY

The Groves Cabin Theatre in Morongo Valley opened the comedy “Exit Laughing” by Paul Elliott last weekend, helmed by veteran director Wendy Cohen. The show opens with a group of gal pals gathered after a memorial service with the stolen ashes of their deceased friend. Reporter Rebecca Havely says, the comedy then ensues…
The “Exit Laughing” cast includes Lorraine Williamson, who plays divorced mom Connie hysterically. Her daughter Rachell is vibrantly played by Phylicia Mason. Connie’s best friend, the not-so-bright Minnie, is perfectly played by Joy Groves. Another best buddy, and a really fun drunk, Leona is portrayed by Vickie Montgomery in a spot-on performance. A policeman, played by Aiden McKinsey, crashes the ladies party; he later proves to be a male stripper sent by their departed friend to remind them to have fun in life. He also delivers a letter from the deceased that encourages them, when it’s their time to leave this earth, to “Exit Laughing.” The clever script, smart set and talented ensemble make for an entertaining night of comedy. 
The intimate Groves Cabin Theatre often sells out before a show opens. To be placed on their waiting list call 760-365-4523. “Exit Laughing” runs weekends through March 5.


HUNGRY BURGLAR STEALS A SNACK IN YUCCA VALLEY

A Yucca Valley burglar must have been hungry Sunday night. According to a Sheriff’s report, the owners of Sue’s Health Foods, in the 56800 block of 29 Palms Highway of Yucca Valley, discovered about 5 a.m. Monday that an unknown suspect forced open the store’s front doors, went inside and grabbed a box of crackers valued at about $6 before leaving out the front entrance. Early Friday morning, burglars broke into a nearby smoke shop and stole about 20 cartons of cigarettes. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.


HI-DESERT WATER BOARD MEETS, $783,000 BUDGET ADJUSTMENT ON AGENDA

The Hi-Desert Water District Board meets in regular session tonight. Among items of interest is a major budget adjustment. Managing Editor Tami Roleff takes a closer look…
At tonight’s meeting of the Hi-Desert Water District’s board of directors, the first action item is to discuss changing the meeting time from 6 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Next, directors will be asked to approve a mid-year budget adjustment of nearly $783,000, and review the mid-year budget. Directors will then receive an update on the sewer project. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in district offices at Inca Trail and Highway 62 in Yucca Valley.


DINNER, AUCTION, AND A SHOW AT YUCCA VALLEY UNITED METHODIST SATURDAY

The United Methodist Church of Yucca Valley and Boy Scout Pack 903 will hold a spaghetti dinner, variety show, and silent auction Saturday, February 18. The dinner includes pasta (including gluten-free pasta) with sauce (with or without meat), garlic bread, salad, and beverage. Dessert is an additional dollar. Doors open at 4:30 and dinner starts at 5. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children, or $25 for families, and are available at the door. The United Methodist Church is located at the corner of Onaga Trail and Joshua Lane in Yucca Valley.


REACH OUT PARADE OF HOMES THIS SUNDAY

Reach Out Morongo Basin’s annual Parade of Homes happens this Sunday, February 19. Six homes have been selected for the showcase. The annual fundraiser brings in thousands of dollars to support services for area senior and disabled residents. The homes on the tour are selected for their artistic, historic, or other eclectic qualities. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has details …
Reach Out Morongo Basin’s Parade of Homes offers ticket holders entrée into the Basin’s most unique abodes. Among them is Magic on the Mesa, a rustic homestead artfully decorated. Bohemian Chic, also on the Mesa, is a ranch-style home that showcases the owner’s love of color and art. It’s unconventional inside and out. In the Panorama Heights area of Joshua Tree is a ranch on 2.5 private acres; it offers incredible views from the glorious veranda or the star gazing pavilion. In Joshua Tree, Flora Desierta tells the story of how a love for the desert turned a 900 square foot “plain Jane” house into a reflection of the owner’s love of place. Don’t overlook the gardens. Moving east is The Campbell House in Twentynine Palms. From its humble beginnings nearly a century ago, this may be the Morongo Basin’s most historically significant property. And finally, in the Desert Heights area, the sixth home showcases what is possible when you cross a homestead cabin with magic.
Your $25 ticket for the Parade of Homes includes a pass to all six homes on the tour and lunch at the Park Rock Café in Joshua Tree. Tickets are available here at the Z107.7 studios in Joshua Tree, at Reach Out Morongo Basin, the Desert Trail, Chamber of Commerce, and Cowboy Attic in Twentynine Palms, and in Yucca Valley at Art FX & Furnishings, the Chamber of Commerce, and Reach Out offices.


CALTRANS LAYS OUT ITS PLAN FOR DOWNTOWN JOSHUA TREE TRAFFIC

At last night’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council in Joshua Tree, representatives from Caltrans floated the idea of instituting a pilot program aimed at more safely moving vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists through the Joshua Tree downtown business district. Reporter Mike Lipsitz was there…
Last night’s agenda noted Caltrans would present on a State Route 62 project. Brief as it was, the natural conclusion was that the state transportation agency would go over construction of the two-way left turn lane and shoulder widening set to begin middle of next month. And while they touched on the widening project, the focus last night was a on proposal to actually narrow the highway as is passes through the Joshua Tree business district. To its credit, Caltrans fast-tracked the proposal in response to public outrage over another recent pedestrian fatality. Caltrans’ District Chief of Operations, Haissam Yahya, described a plan that would include calming traffic by restriping to narrow the lanes, reconfiguring parking from parallel to diagonal, carving out five to six feet for a dedicated bike lane, and using cross hatching to discourage traffic where safety is a concern. Baring community opposition, Yahya said the plan could be put into place fairly quickly and economically.
When the MAC meets again on March 13, Caltrans said they would attend with the hope of getting a feel for the level of community support for the project.


YUCCA VALLEY MAN ARRESTED AFTER HE ALLEGEDLY FLASHED A GUN AT WALMART

A Yucca Valley man was arrested early Sunday morning after customers and employees reported that he was flashing a gun in Walmart. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies were called to the store about 12:20 a.m. for a report of a man who lifted his shirt, showing a black gun on his right hip, and telling people that he was “ready for anything.” Deputies located Vincent Fuller, 46, outside the store where they found a BB-gun in his backpack. Fuller denied flashing the gun at anyone, and the customer who witnessed the brandishing had left the store. Deputies determined that Fuller had felony and misdemeanor warrants for his arrest. Vincent Fuller was arrested on $125,000 in warrants, and booked into the Morongo Basin Jail.


TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN ACCUSED OF HITTING HIS CHILD WITH A BELT

A Twentynine Palms man was arrested Thursday, accused of hitting his child with a belt. According to a Sheriff’s report, a deputy was at Joshua Tree Elementary School on an unrelated call when the deputy was asked to look at the child, whose shoulders and buttocks had bruises. The child said Patrick Wright, 27, was responsible for the marks by slapping the child on the shoulder and using a belt on the child’s buttocks. After an investigation, Patrick Wright was arrested for cruelty to a child, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with his bail set at $50,000.


TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL MET LAST NIGHT, WE HAVE A REPORT

The Twentynine Palms City Council met last night and dealt with a smorgasbord of issues ranging from demolishing a house to building a pool. Reporter David Haldane was there and filed this story…
The owner of a fire-damaged house on the 74000 block of Serrano Drive has 45 days to either begin reconstructing, or demolish his property. If neither occurs, the Twentynine Palms City Council said last night, the city will tear the place down and put a lien on the property to cover the costs. “It’s definitely a nuisance,” Councilman Daniel Mintz said, following a brief public hearing.
In other actions, the Council heard a presentation from The Center for Healthy Generations, a nonprofit Yucca Valley health facility that wants to build an Olympic-size pool. The Council also decided to allow shipping containers and places of worship in public zoning districts usually reserved for schools and golf courses, and heard an update on the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities Marketing Process, a campaign to promote tourism in the high desert.
The Council met Monday instead of Tuesday to avoid working on Valentine’s Day.


A BURGLARY AT A YUCCA VALLEY CIGARETTE SHOP

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating a burglary at a cigarette shop in Yucca Valley early Friday morning. According to a Sheriff’s report, a burglar  alarm in the 56800 block of 29 Palms Highway was activated at 3:49 a.m. Video surveillances showed two suspects walked up to the front door and one smashed the glass with a rock. One suspect entered the store and placed about 20 cartons of Marlboro Gold cigarettes into a plastic bag he had brought with him. He is described as wearing a dark color sweatshirt with light-colored shoulder pads, a face mask, light-colored gloves, and light-colored pants. The other suspect was also wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt with light-colored shoulder pads, a face mask, and dark colored pants. Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.


JOSHUA TREE WOMAN ACCUSED OF SELLING HER NEIGHBOR’S STOLEN ITEMS ONLINE

A Joshua Tree woman was arrested Thursday, after she was found to be in possession of her neighbor’s stolen property. According to a Sheriff’s report, a woman reported that she found some of her stolen property listed for sale by Kimberly Weiderman, 49, on a website. A deputy contacted Weiderman in the 61800 block of Terrace Drive and confirmed she was trying to sell the stolen property. Kimberly Weiderman was arrested for investigation of possession of stolen property, booked into the Morongo Basin Jail, with her bail set at $10,000.


YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARING ON POPEYE’S CHICKEN

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission meets tonight. Managing editor Tami Roleff says commissioners will hold a public hearing on plans for a Popeye’s Chicken, and then hear another version of the native plant inventory for Sage Estates…
After the swearing-in of new commissioner John Terfehr, the Yucca Valley Planning Commission will discuss the general plan annual housing element progress report. Next up, the commission will hold a public hearing on a conditional use permit and environmental assessment for Popeyes Chicken, at 57858 29 Palms Highway, on the north side of the highway just west of Hilton Avenue. The fast food restaurant will be approximately 2,265 square feet, and will include a drive-through and outdoor dining area on one acre. Finally, the commission will be asked to accept a revised version of the native plant inventory for Sage Estates, the housing development at Golden Bee Drive and Sage Avenue. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center.


TWO FELONS ARRESTED IN TWO SEPARATE INCIDENTS

A Twentynine Palms convicted felon was arrested Friday, accused of being in possession of a stolen gun. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies went to a home in the 7300 block of Bannock Trail in Yucca Valley about 1 p.m. to serve a warrant at the home. Deputies found Kevion Cooper, 22, who is on felony probation and had a felony warrant for his arrest. During a search of Cooper’s belongings, deputies located a stolen loaded firearm. Kevion Cooper was arrested for investigation of being a felon in possession of a weapon, and on his warrants, booked into West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $185,000.

A Joshua Tree felon was arrested Friday morning, accused of being in possession of ammunition. According to a Sheriff’s report, deputies went to a home in the 61800 block of Verbena Road in Joshua Tree about 8:20 a.m. where they found Levi Barter, 31. Levi Barter was arrested for investigation of being a felon in possession of ammunition and on a no-bail warrant, and booked into West Valley Detention Center.


BLACK ROCK HIGH SCHOOL DOCUMENTARY SCREENING IN PALM SPRINGS

For several years now, Black Rock High School in Yucca Valley has been helping teenagers in trouble make it through school. Recently a film crew spent two years there documenting the process for the world to see. The result is “The Bad Kids,” a film that has been recognized globally and will soon be showing in the desert. Here with the details is reporter David Haldane…
It starts with a knock on the door. A San Bernardino County probation officer is checking on why a kid named Joey didn’t make it to school. “Sometimes I have trouble getting out of bed,” he explains. “I don’t get up until 1 p.m.”
That’s the opening scene of “The Bad Kids,” a 100-minute documentary about the Morongo Basin’s own Black Rock High School that’s been winning accolades worldwide. On Thursday, February 16, it finally screens within commuting distance: at the Camelot Theater in Palm Springs.
Two years in the making, the film depicts the day-to-day struggles of the students and staff at Black Rock, a Yucca Valley continuation high school designed to help 11th and 12th graders in trouble.
After winning at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, the movie opened in New York and Los Angeles and will soon be on Netflix and PBS.
Principal Vonda Viland, who plays prominently in the film, says it shows the so-called bad kids’ potential. “We have an untapped resource in our nation. If we would take the time and energy and the money to tap into them, we could solve a lot of society’s problems.”
Tickets for Thursday’s screening can be purchased for $7 to $11 at the Camelot Theater’s box office on the 2300 block of East Baristo Road in Palm Springs, or online at badkids.eventbrite.com. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session with the cast and crew.


YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER STANDOUT TO SIGN LETTER OF INTENT

Alexia Missett, a senior at Yucca Valley High School, will sign her National Letter of Intent Wednesday, February 15, to play soccer at Nyack College in New York. The signing is set for 3:45 p.m. in the Lecture Hall at the high school.  Missett has set many records in her high school career, including the all-time leader in assists, the single game record for goals scored with seven, and the single game record for assists with seven. She has scored 81 goals in 85 games with 48 assists. Missett has been named as a First Team All De-Anza League selection and made the All-CIF Team for her division every year. As Missett began exploring college options, she received interest from 60 colleges before deciding to commit to NCAA Division II Nyack College in New York. This commitment will earn her a scholarship worth over $100,000. Congratulations, Alexia Missett.


JOSHUA SPRINGS BASKETBALL IN FIRST ROUND CIF PLAYOFFS TONIGHT

Both the Joshua Springs Christian School’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will be competing in the first round of the CIF championships. The girls’ team, which is 11-11, will play La Sierra Academy (8-10) at home tonight (Tuesday, February 14), starting at 7 p.m. The boys’ basketball team, with a record of 10-12, will travel away Wednesday to Helendale to play Academy Careers and Exploration School (16-5). That game also starts at 7 p.m.
CIF pricing is in effect: $10 general admission, $5 for students with ID or children (5-13), 4 and under are free.


ONE KILLED ONE MAJOR INJURY AFTER KING OF THE HAMMERS JOHNSON VALLEY

UPDATE: Victims were not participants.

A 55-year-old Perris man was killed in the Johnson Valley Off-Road area just after the King of the Hammers off-road race Saturday. According to the California Highway Patrol, about 1:30 p.m., Todd McLaughlin was driving a 2013 Can-Am 1000 side-by-side westbound along the ridge of a mountain just south of Melville Dry Lake at an unknown speed. McLaughlin made a right turn and was trying to descend the steep mountain trail when the vehicle overturned several times. McLaughlin and his passenger, Lori Sizemore, 55, also of Perris, became pinned under the vehicle. Relatives, bystanders, and CHP and county Sheriff’s helicopters responded and began medical aid. Todd McLaughlin died while in flight to Barstow Community Hospital. Lori Sizemore was flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with major injuries. “King of the Hammers” Founder Dave Cole expressed his regret to Z107.7 News over the incident. Cole said McLaughlin was not a participant in the off-road competition but was recreating in the area after the races were over. The California Highway Patrol is investigating.


CORONER RELEASES NAME OF MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN HEAD-ON CRASH THURSDAY

The County Coroner has released the name of the Twentynine Palms man killed in a head-on crash in Wonder Valley Thursday. At 6:12 p.m., Nikos Lukaris, 43, was riding a 1981 600R Honda dirt bike westbound in the 86900 block of Amboy Road riding without proper lights or a helmet, when he was struck by an F350 Ford Pick-up, driven by Patrick Candelaria, 47, of Twentynine Palms. Candelaria was passing another vehicle traveling eastbound on Amboy Road. Nikos Lukaris was pronounced dead at the scene. Candelaria sustained minor injuries and was medically cleared on scene. Passengers in the pickup, Robert Ash, 29, and Scott Larson II, 29, refused medical treatment. The exact cause of the collision is still under investigation by CHP Officer Adrian Gonzalez.


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