FORMER DEFENSE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGES OF TAKING CASH TO AID CONTRACTOR’S REQUEST FOR $6.4 MILLION PAYMENT

A former civilian government employee who worked as a construction manager at the Twentynine Palms Combat Center pleaded guilty Monday (July 12) to two felony charges of taking $37,000 in illegal cash payments from a private contractor in exchange for his support for the contractor’s effort to obtain $6.4 million from the government related to construction projects on a Navy base in the African nation of Djibouti. Nizar Farhat, 63, of Palm Desert, plead guilty to one count of being a public official who received an illegal gratuity and one count of being a public official who received compensation from a private party for government services. Farhat face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is set for October 4. More information on the case is available at the link below.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/former-defense-department-official-pleads-guilty-federal-charges-taking-cash-aid

YUCCA VALLEY WOMAN ACCUSED OF BURGLARY IN JOSHUA TREE

A Yucca Valley woman was arrested Tuesday (July 13) accused of burglary. According to Sheriff’s reports, Deputies responded to a report that a woman, later identified as Sara Wilkinson, 26, was breaking into homes in the 62400 block of Gold Nugget Road in Joshua Tree. Deputies arrived on scene and contacted Wilkinson, who initially provided multiple different names and dates of birth to Deputies. Sara Wilkinson was arrested for investigation of burglary and was booked into the West Valley Detention Center with her bail set at $125,000.

HI-DESERT NATURE MUSEUM LAUNCHES DIGITAL EXHIBIT ON GIANT ROCK

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum has announced its latest digital exhibit. Reporter Ernest Figueroa has the details on this tribute to Giant Rock…

“Our Giant Rock: A Touchstone in the Mojave” is the latest Digital Exhibit at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. Giant Rock is most notoriously known for the ‘giant’ personalities who lived near and even under it. However, it has also served as an intermediary for certain stories and events.  The exhibit features an interactive touchscreen, which provides visitors with a series of interpretive narratives explaining the nuances of the site while incorporating some never-before-seen images, documents, publications, and videos which help illustrate Giant Rock’s history.

The Hi-Desert Nature museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, by appointment at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. and now for walk-in visits from 12:30 to 5 p.m.  For updates on programs, call the museum at (760) 369-7212.

FALLEN SHERIFF’S SERGEANT DOMINIC VACA TO RECEIVE HOMETOWN MEMORIAL

A memorial plaque for fallen San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dominic Vaca was recently approved in Vaca’s home town of Yucaipa. The Yucaipa City Council voted unanimously and “enthusiastically” on Monday (July 12) to add Vaca’s name to Yucaipa’s Honor Walk. The bronze plaque will be mounted to a boulder in John Tooker Civic Park near the police station and City Hall. Vaca, a 17-year veteran of the department, was fatally shot in Yucca Valley on May 31 while pursuing a wanted suspect, who was also killed during the pursuit.

Sheriff’s Sergeant Dominic Vaca died of his injuries after being shot during a pursuit in Yucca Valley Monday.

DESERT INSTITUTE OFFERING LANDSCAPE PAINTING CLASS

Joshua Tree’s clustered rock formations are alive with light, shadow, and color. Recreating such images with paint on canvas can be challenging. If you aspire to create dynamic paintings with logical dark and light patterns, sign up for this two-day, online workshop by the Desert Institute. Here’s reporter Mike Lipsitz with details… Workshop instructor, Jessica Schiffman, will help you to simplify and organize what you see. Topics include composition, focal point, perspective, dark and light values, underpainting, color theory, and more. Schiffman has been a working artist for more than twenty-five years. The workshop starts Saturday, July 17 at 9 a.m. and continues on Sunday, July 18 at 4 p.m. The course fee is $85 for Desert Institute members, and $95 for non-members. Some previous drawing experience is helpful but not required. To register, follow the link below.

Online Landscape Painting Class: “Painting Joshua Tree National Park” Registration, Sat, Jul 17, 2021 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite