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TWO MARINE OFFICERS KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH ON BASE IDENTIFIED

Two Marine Corps officers were killed Friday evening when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise aboard the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. Captain Elizabeth Kealey and 1st Lieutenant Adam Satterfield died from injuries in the crash at about 4:30 p.m. Friday; they were the only two Marines aboard the UH-1Y Huey helicopter. Lieutenant Colonel James M. Isaacs, their commanding officer, said, “Captain Kealey and First Lieutenant Satterfield were both outstanding Marine Corps officers and talented helicopter pilots. Our heart-felt thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of our fallen Vipers, and we stand poised to support them in this tragedy.” Kealey, 32, of Indiana, Pennsylvania, was commissioned in 2005 and had earned several awards and medals. She deployed twice with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Satterfield, 25, of Oldham, Kentucky, was commissioned in 2011 and supported training operations in Southern California. The pilots were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA)-169 based at Camp Pendleton. The cause of the fatal crash is under investigation.

Capt Elizabeth Kealey 1st Lt Adam Satterfield

Capt Elizabeth Kealey and 1st Lt Adam Satterfield

 


LOCAL SCHOOL BUS DRIVER ACCUSED OF MOLESTATION, PORNOGRAPHY

A school bus driver in the Morongo Basin is facing charges of child molestation and child pornography. Alex Gomez, 57, of Twentynine Palms was arrested Thursday night after a search warrant was served at his horse ranch on Mesquite Springs Road. The County District Attorney’s Office said he’s accused of victimizing two girls, a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old. Detectives believe these alleged crimes happened while Gomez worked as a bus driver. He’s employed by a private contract company for the Morongo Unified School District. Investigators are concerned there may be other victims.

alex final


APPLICATIONS SOUGHT FOR YUCCA VALLEY PARK AND REC COMMISSION

The Town of Yucca Valley is looking for citizens to serve on their Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Commission. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells you how to apply…
The Town of Yucca Valley is accepting volunteers to serve as commissioners on the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Commission. Applicants must be a resident within the Town’s jurisdiction. The Parks and Rec Commission meets on the second Tuesday of each month and acts as an advisor to the Town Council in matters pertaining to the planning and development of public recreation, open space, parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities. The commissioners also review programming related to the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, and special events and projects. For more information, contact the town clerk at 760-369-2709 extension 226 or email townclerk@yucca-valley.org.


FIRST OF THREE PUBLIC MEETING ON HOSPITAL AFFILIATION TONIGHT

The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board of Directors will hold the first of three special meetings to hear public input on its proposed lease agreement with Tenet Healthcare tonight. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Yucca Valley Senior Center behind Town Hall; tomorrow, Tuesday, January 27, they will meet at Little Church of the Desert, 6079 Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms; and Wednesday, January 28, at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue. Residents are invited to speak to the Board of Directors about their concerns, although comments will be limited to three minutes. Refreshments will be served.


BLOOD DRIVE IN TWENTYNINE PALMS TOMORROW

LifeStream will conduct a community blood drive on Tuesday, January 27, at Little Church of the Desert, 6079 Adobe Road, in Twentynine Palms, from 1 to 5 p.m. Donors will receive incentives. In addition, LifeStream now offers donors free cholesterol screening and a mini physical with every blood donation. Those aged 18 to 44 years may register for Be The Match bone marrow screening free of charge. For more information, call 800-TRY-GIVING.


SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS YOUTH ART PROGRAMS

Youth art programs are being offered in Twentynine Palms. Reporter Cassie Zimarik tells you how to apply for scholarships…
The Public Arts Advisory Committee of Twentynine Palms will be offering small grants to support youth art programs in 2015. The committee aims to encourage and assist the community’s participation in the arts through the help of financial aid. All organizations, individuals, groups, clubs, and businesses in Twentynine Palms are invited to apply for all arts categories including; music, dance, theatre, and writing. The committee has established a fund of $8,000 and will award individual grants ranging from $500 to $1,500. Deadline for submitting grant applications is the first Monday in February. Applications can be found in the link in this story on Z1077fm.com. For more information, contact Jon Beard at 760-910-3888.
Jon Beard Email: jbeard@29palms.org
Application website: www.29palms.org


BOARD MEMBER SOUGHT FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS CEMETERY BOARD

The Twentynine Palms Cemetery District is accepting applications for one seat on the board of trustees. The Board meets at 5:30 on the last Thursday of the month. Board members create policy for operating the public cemetery and hold annual performance review for the cemetery’s employees. Applicants must be registered voters in the cemetery district, which covers Wonder Valley to Joshua Tree. Trustees serve for four-year terms. Applications are available online at 29palmscemetery.org, or call 760-367-9316.


LOCAL POULTRY ASSOCIATION MEETS WEDNESDAY

High Desert Homegrown Poultry Association’s next quarterly meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28, at Yucca Mesa Improvement Association Community Center. Founder Charla Shamhart will bring samples of many poultry feeds available locally and talk about nutritional content that chickens and other poultry need to grow properly and lay eggs. There will also be a demonstration in sprouting grains for green forage for poultry (and other animals). Meetings are always lively and everyone learns something new. All are welcome including children. You do not have to already have chickens to attend this meeting. While there is no charge for the meeting, a hat is passed to cover donations for use of the YMIA Community Center. They are on Facebook at High Desert Homegrown Poultry Association or join Raising Homegrown Poultry on FB for poultry discussion and questions. For more information call Charla at 760-401-0689.


JACKALOPE JUNCTION PART OF REACH OUT PARADE OF HOMES

Reach Out Morongo Basin offers its eleventh annual parade of homes fundraiser. Six homes were chosen this year. Reporter Rebecca Havely focuses on one of the chosen homes…
This year the parade of homes stretches from Pioneer Town through Western Hills, Yucca Mesa and the West end of the Morongo Basin. One of the parade stops is in the Pipes Canyon area of Pioneertown, Jackalope Junction. The owners of the home designed it themselves, Hector Alvarez and Jenifer Byrd. They threw in some mid-century modern touches as well as nods to industrial architecture. The beautiful rusted patina on the untreated metal exterior blends into the surrounding landscape reflecting the look of the local homestead cabins.
The parade date is Sunday, February 15 from noon till 5 p.m. and ends at the Park Rock Cafe with lunch and live music. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased in Twentynine Palms at The Chamber of Commerce and the offices of both Reach Out Morongo Basin and The Desert Trail, in Yucca Valley at their Chamber of Commerce and Senior Center, and in Joshua Tree at the Z107.7.

Jackalope Jct

Jackalope Jct


TWENTYNINE PALMS HIGH SCHOOL GYM TO HONOR THE LATE RICHARD CASEY

The Twentynine Palms High School gym is being renamed the “Richard Casey Memorial Gymnasium” tomorrow, Tuesday, January 27, during half-time of the girls’ varsity basketball game. The game starts at 6:00 p.m. Casey, of Twentynine Palms, died October 20 from an aggressive form of melanoma. He was 53 years old. He spent most of his 29 years as a teacher at Twentynine Palms High School teaching algebra, but found his passion in coaching football. Casey’s wife, Dana Casey said, “Our family feels very grateful that Richard is being honored this way.”


SCHOOL ENGLISH LANGUAGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETS TOMORROW

The Morongo Unified School District will be holding a District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC) meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, January 27, at Condor Elementary School at 3:45 p.m. They will be discussing: English Learners—How they are identified and reclassification procedures; the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) and what it means; new supplemental materials to support English Learners; parent resources; Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) input. The meeting is open to the public.


WE MEET MISS YUCCA VALLEY CANDIDATE KATIE FERRY

The annual Rotary Club sponsors the Miss Yucca Valley Scholarship Pageant, set for February 7 at the Joshua Springs Thunderdome. Z107.7 radio is introducing you to the candidates as the pageant approaches. Today, we meet Katie Ferry…
Today we visit with Katie Ferry, a junior at Joshua Springs Christian High School and candidate for Miss Yucca Valley. Katie, who is the prominent woman you’ve been mentoring with and what you have learned?
“The prominent woman that I interviewed is Dr. Megan Smith. During my time spent with her, I learned that the time I have in high school is limited and that I should be grateful for the sacrifices others have made for me. ”
What have you learned from your experience with Miss Yucca Valley?
“After reading the “7 habits of Highly Effective Teens,” I have learned to put first things first, which was one of my favorite habits in the book. Prioritizing has really helped me decide what matters most in my life and what God wants for my life.”
Any final words?
“I would encourage every upcoming junior girl to think seriously about participating in the 2016 Miss Yucca Valley Pageant. Whether you are shy and want to venture out of your shell, or really just want to meet new and wonderful people, you will not regret it.”

Miss Yucca Valley Contestant Katie Ferry

Miss Yucca Valley Contestant Katie Ferry


HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES

Congratulations to Yucca Valley High School Trojan junior varsity wrestler Larry Williamson for placing first, and for girls Fernanda Macias placing second, and both Julianne Fuentes and Vanessa Contreras for placing first at the annual Trojan War tournament here at Yucca Valley High School on Saturday, January 24. Next up is the De Anza League Individuals at Big Bear this coming Saturday for the right to compete at CIF.

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will host Shadow Hills High School at home. The girls start at 3:15; the boys at 5 p.m.

Also tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School girls’ soccer team will host the Big Bear Bears at home, starting at 5 p.m.


IN AND OUT DAY FOR STUDENT ART AT 29 PALMS ART GALLERY

The 29 Palms Art Gallery is inviting all students in grades 7 through 12 to submit art for its annual judged student art show. Art must be brought to the gallery Sunday, January 25, from 3 to 5, or Monday, January 26, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The show will run January 28 to February 22, with an opening reception Sunday, February 1, from noon to 3. Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded at 12:30 during the opening reception. For a complete list of rules, visit 29palmsartgallery.com.


HOSPITAL BOARD TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETINGS ON MERGER THIS WEEK

The Hi-Desert Medical Center Board of Directors will hold three special meetings to hear public input on its proposed lease agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corporation. The meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 26, at the Yucca Valley Senior Center behind Town Hall; Tuesday, January 27, at Little Church of the Desert, 6079 Adobe Road in Twentynine Palms; and Wednesday, January 28, at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue. Residents are invited to speak to the Board of Directors about their concerns, although comments will be limited to three minutes. Refreshments will be served.


APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR CEMETERY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

The Twentynine Palms Cemetery District is accepting applications for one seat on the board of trustees. The Board meets at 5:30 on the last Thursday of the month. Board members create policy for operating the public cemetery and hold annual performance review for the cemetery’s employees. Applicants must be registered voters in the cemetery district, which covers Wonder Valley to Joshua Valley. Trustees serve for four-year terms. Applications are available online at 29palmscemetery.org, or call 760-367-9316.


JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION BRANCH

The parks are America’s greatest classroom, telling our stories, and conserving the best natural spaces offered. At Joshua Tree National Park our Environmental Education branch provides curriculum-based programs to students from kindergarten through 12th grade throughout the southern California desert area. Offering both in-park and in-class programs, education staff present topics in natural and cultural history, helping students learn more about the geology, wildlife, human history and prehistory of what is now Joshua Tree National Park. Programs are scheduled by teacher request and are presented free of charge.

Transportation is not provided and must be arranged through each school site, although the park is sometimes able to fund buses on a limited basis through the generosity of the Joshua Tree National Park Association. Contact the park for more information about school program opportunities at 760-367-3012.

We wish to thank the park’s education program for supporting the mission of the National Park Service by encouraging youth to experience their park through hands-on learning, deepening their knowledge of its resources.

This is park ranger Pam Tripp, encouraging you to enjoy the solace, wonder, and wild of your national park.


TRAINING SET FOR COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

Morongo Basin Community Emergency Response Team, CERT, has a new training academy starting tomorrow, Thursday evening February 12, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. There are eight weekly classes. The final exam, practical, and graduation will be on April 9. All classes will be held at the Senior Center at the Yucca Valley Community Center complex. Space is limited to the first 25 registrations. Participants must attend all class dates in order to be eligible to graduate. There is no cost to attend this course. The flyer and class application can be found at Morongo Basin CERT’s website www.morongobasincert.org. For more information contact Battalion Chief Michael Snow at 760-365-3335.


TWO MARINES KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH IN TWENTYNINE PALMS

Two Marines have died in a helicopter crash during a training exercise aboard the Twentynine palms Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center. According to a release from the Base Public Affairs office, a Third Marine Aircraft Wing helicopter crashed at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday, January 23. Both Marines on board the aircraft died as a result of injuries from the crash. Names will not be released until 24 hours after the next of kin are notified. “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the two Marines we lost in this tragic accident, stated Third Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General, Major General Michael A. Rocco. “We at Third Marine Aircraft Wing stand ready to provide support to their families.” This incident is currently under investigation by military authorities.


SCHOOL BUS DRIVER ARRESTED AND ACCUSED OF CHILD MOLESTATION

A bus driver for the Morongo Unified School District was arrested Thursday evening, accused of possessing child pornography and two acts of child molestation. A search warrant was served at the home of Alex Gomez, 57, of the 4600 block of Mesquite Springs Road in Twentynine Palms, on December 30, 2014. After an investigation, Alex Gomez was arrested 8 p.m. Thursday for investigation of lewd acts upon a child under 14, possession of lewd material depicting a person under 18, and using a concealed camera to photograph a person. He was booked at the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $250,000.


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