One of two suspects in a 2010 Yucca Valley murder pleaded guilty in a Joshua Tree Superior Court yesterday. Heidi McDermott, 32, of Twentynine Palms, accepted a plea bargain of voluntary manslaughter in the December 2010 murder of Lauren McLane, 22, of Yucca Valley. Also charged in the murder is Diana Jordan, 38, of Yucca Valley. McLane was reported missing after she didn’t come home from work at the Dollar Tree in Yucca Valley. Her body was later found in a plastic container in Jordan’s garage. McLane’s father told Z107.7 News that the murder was the result of a love triangle, as both McLane and Jordan were pregnant by the same man. Heidi McDermott also pled guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, being an accessory to murder, burglary, mayhem, intent to commit mayhem, grand theft, and possession of a controlled substance. Her sentencing is set for December 6. Jury selection for Diana Jordan’s trial is this week.
Five Twentynine Palms residents were injured in a roll-over crash on Amboy Road Monday night. According to CHP Officer Ryan Swanson, Erik Bryant, 23, was driving a 2010 Dodge Avenger southbound on Amboy Road, north of Bell King Road, when he lost control on a curve about 11:40 p.m. The car left the road and overturned in the desert west of Amboy Road. Scott King, 21, who was in the right front seat, was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was flown by helicopter to Loma Linda Medical Center with moderate injuries. Alyssa Canales, 23, and Alissa Myers, 25, were both in the back seat and were flown via helicopter to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Bryant and Joshua Bowling, 21, who was also in the back seat, both suffered minor injuries and were taken by ambulance to Desert Hospital. Officer Swanson reminds motorists to slow down, and to resist the urge to quickly jerk the steering wheel back toward the pavement if the car drifts off the pavement. Instead, slowly steer the vehicle back onto the pavement.
The Yucca Valley Town Council met last night. Council members heard from some unhappy residents. Managing Editor Tami Roleff was there and files this report…
David Bradley, owner of Cowboy Corral in Yucca Valley, asks the Yucca Valley Town Council to reconsider its plans for medians on Highway 62 in Old Town.
The Yucca Valley Town Council learned at its meeting last night that the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare,” will have little to no effect on the Town. The Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance by January 1; the Town only has 34.5 full-time equivalent employees, and already offers a health plan to eligible employees. The Council was advised though, that in three to five years the Health Care Act may have a fiscal impact on the Town.
In public comments, two people spoke against the mandatory spay neuter ordinance for pit bulls, but it was too little, too late, and the ordinance passed its second reading unanimously. The Council also heard public comment against its highway improvement projects that would install medians on the highway in Old Town. Speakers blasted the Town for a lack of communication with businesses that will be affected by the medians that will block access to their driveways.
During staff reports, the Council was advised that the Town is working to keep Antelope Trail open by the Town Hall and the future senior housing project.
Declining enrollments and more public comment on AB 1266 highlighted the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education meeting last night. Dan Stork was there and cites the numbers and the concerns…
The enrollment for the first month of the school year in the Morongo Unified School District reached a 26-year low at 8,515 students. The peak enrollment of 9,745 was just five years ago. Assistant Superintendent Dave Price said that the five-year drop of 1,230 students translates to a loss in state-provided revenue of over $9 million per year. The net drop in the past year was 82 students, despite an increase in west end schools, Black Rock High School, and Independent Continuing Education (ICE) enrollments. The drop for east end schools was 108. Declines driven by the loss of personnel at the Marine Base are expected to continue.
Public comment against AB 1266, officially called the School Success and Opportunity Act, but termed the “same sex bathroom law” by opponents, continued for a third meeting. Board member Ed Will, who is the legislative representative for the Board, apologized for an erroneous attribution of a pro-AB 1266 article he cited at the last meeting. He also read some Recommended Guidance from the California School Board Association on implementation of the law, which advises case-by-case consideration of specific requests for compliance with the law.
Completing a set of recognitions begun at the previous meeting, eight students were recognized for their achievements and positive attitudes, as part of National Disabilities Awareness Month. They were:
Landers Elementary School: Ryan Miller
Morongo Valley Elementary School: Hillary Robinson
Oasis Elementary School: Krystal Perez
Onaga Elementary School: Michael Lenz
Twentynine Palms Elementary School: Heylia Donham
Yucca Mesa Elementary School: Fernando Sanchez
La Contenta Middle School: Sara Albert
Yucca Valley High School: Jordan Wheeler
Action Agenda items—declaration of the week of October 21-25 as “Red Ribbon Week”, a completion notice for relocatable classrooms at Joshua Tree Elementary School, and Fitnessgram waivers for 13 students—were passed unanimously without discussion.
During the summer, the County Board of Supervisors placed a moratorium on commercial solar development, while planning staff prepared guidelines for such projects. A draft county ordinance regulating commercial solar energy goes before the San Bernardino County Planning Commission tomorrow. Reporter Dan Stork previews the rules…
San Bernardino County staff has finished its assignment to draft an ordinance that amends the County code on renewable energy generation facilities, and will present it to the County Planning Commission on October 17. A list of over 30 “findings” required for a commercial solar energy project to go forward addresses: views, floodways, dust, residential proximity, cultural and historic resources, groundwater, plants and animals, grading, and more. The ordinance also establishes buffer zones around national parks and preserves, and along major approaches to the parks. Rules established by cities can be extended to their spheres of influence in unincorporated areas.
The Planning Commission will consider the ordinance at 11 a.m., at the County Government Center, Covington Chambers, 385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, First Floor, San Bernardino. It can also be accessed remotely and interactively at the video conferencing facility at the County Government Center in Joshua Tree.
The Twentynine Palms Library book sale starts tomorrow. Reporter Taylor Thacker has the details…..
The Friends of the Twentynine Palms Library will be holding its bi-annual book sale on October 17 and 19 at the Twentynine Palms Library. On Thursday, October 17, from 3 to 5 p.m., members of the library will have first choice of the selection. Membership can be purchased at the door individually for $5, $8 for a family, and $20 for a business. Saturday, October 19, the book sale will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Items for sale include adult, young adult and children’s books, magazines, books on CD, videos and DVDs. All funds raised go directly back into resources for the library. For more information call 760-367-9519.
The Yucca Valley High School Lady Trojans volleyball team hosted the Ladycats from Twentynine Palms yesterday. It took five sets to decide the outcome of the varsity match. The teams would go point by point, back and forth with Twentynine Palms pulling ahead in the fifth set to take the match. Leading the Lady Trojans were Chelsea Mondary, 17 for 17 serving and 31 assists; Michaela Milone, 20 for 20 serving and 19 digs; Chelsea LeBoutilier, 18 kills; Ashley Priest, 12 kills, three blocks; and Daylin Anderson, 12 digs.
The Ladycats were led by seniors Cherokee Turner with 13 kills, one ace serve and two blocks; and Tusia Brown with 11 kills, two ace serves and three blocks. They were followed by sophomore Latasia Benevente with six kills, junior Hanna Beard and freshman Tatiyanna Mackall with five kills each. Tatiana also had three blocks. Junior Koko Cabrera had 27 assists for the night.
The Yucca Valley High School junior varsity team also lost to Twentynine Palms