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14-YEAR-OLD INJURED PLAYING WITH BLACK POWDER

A teenager got a little more bang than he bargained for when he was playing with some black powder Tuesday. According to the Sheriff’s Department, shortly before 5 p.m. in the 400 block of Mt. Nebo Road in Joshua Tree, a 14-year-old boy poured some loose black powder into an aluminum soda can and then lit the powder with a lighter. The black powder blew up and gave the boy severe flash burns. The boy was taken to Arrowhead Medical Center. The Sheriff’s Department bomb and arson squad is investigating.


MORONGO VALLEY CSD BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The Morongo Valley CSD Board will meet tonight. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says surplus items and selection of new legal counsel are all on the agenda…

Morongo Valley seniors are invited to a brown bag lunch in Covington Park at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. The Morongo Valley Community Services District will provide beverages and dessert. Come meet the District’s new general manager, Donna Munoz, and Fire Chief Jock Johnson. The Senior Affairs Commission will be on hand to advise seniors of the services available to them in the basin. Plans will be made for future senior lunches, crafts, outings, and games. For more information, call Charlie or Donna at 760-363-6454.


SENIORS INVITED TO BROWN BAG LUNCH IN MORONGO VALLEY TOMORROW

Morongo Valley seniors are invited to a brown bag lunch in Covington Park at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. The Morongo Valley Community Services District will provide beverages and dessert. Come meet the District’s new general manager, Donna Munoz, and Fire Chief Jock Johnson. The Senior Affairs Commission will be on hand to advise seniors of the services available to them in the basin. Plans will be made for future senior lunches, crafts, outings, and games. For more information, call Charlie or Donna at 760-363-6454.


MORONGO BASIN HORSEMAN HOST FREE EVENING WITH EQUINE VET FRIDAY

An equine vet will be the speaker at a free event sponsored by the Morongo Basin Horsemen’s Association. Dr. Ron Lenhert from the Apple Valley Equine Hospital will answer questions and discuss equine topics such as feed, lameness, colic, fly allergies, and basic first aid on Friday, April 18, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event will be held at the Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue. For more information call Kim Ortamond at 760-367-1120.


HI-DESERT WATER BOARD MEETS TONIGHT IN BUSY SESSION

The Hi-Desert Water District Board meets tonight, Managing Editor Tami Roleff takes a look at the agenda……

The Board of Directors of the Hi-Desert Water District has a busy meeting planned for tonight. Among the items on the agenda, the board will be asked to approve a contract with a real estate appraiser; elect a candidate and alternate to the Local Agency Formation Commission; and will hear a presentation on outreach efforts for the wastewater reclamation project. The board will be asked to approve selecting an outside contractor to construct the wastewater collection system, and will be asked to dedicate a source for repayment of loans for the wastewater reclamation project. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in District offices on the Highway at Inca Trail in Yucca Valley.


JOSHUA BASIN WATER DISTRICT MEETING CANCELLED

Tonight’s regular meeting of the Joshua Basin Water District Board of Directors has been canceled. The next regular meeting is scheduled for April 30.


RECENT JOSHUA TREE ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE AWARDED PULITZER PRIZE

Harrison House Music and Arts congratulates recent composer-in-residence John Luther Adams on winning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music, for his composition “Become Ocean.”  The piece is described by the Pulitzer jury as “an orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.”

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Photo Courtesy: Eva Soltes

John Luther Adams, a former resident of Alaska, considers composer Lou Harrison to be a life-long mentor. In addition to his 2013 Harrison House composing residency, which provided him with an inspirational setting in the Mojave Desert, Adams recently joined Frid Frith, Mark Morris, Bob Ostertag, Terry Riley and Ralph Samuelson as the newest member of their Artistic Advisory Board. Harrison House Music and Arts is an artist residency, performance and community arts program based in the straw bale retreat built by the late composer, Lou Harrison. Gifted artists are invited into this historic and remarkable acoustic environment to share their art with audiences and participants in an intimate setting.


EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE IN YUCCA VALLEY

An Easter Sunrise Service is planned for 6 a.m. April 20 in the amphitheater at Desert Christ Park in Yucca Valley. Hosted by the Evangelical Free Church, the service will be followed by a pancake breakfast and regular church service at 10:15 a.m. Desert Christ Park is located at 56200 Sunnyslope Drive in Yucca Valley.


EARTH DAY CELEBRATION IN YUCCA VALLEY SATURDAY

Earth Day will be celebrated with an annual celebration in Yucca Valley that gets bigger and better every year. Reporter Taylor Thacker invites you to join Z107.7 as we broadcast live from the Earth Day event…

In honor of Earth Day, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum will celebrate the diversity of life on earth with a day of activities that will inform, educate, and entertain visitors. Yucca Valley’s 2014 Earth Day Fair will take place on Saturday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Town of Yucca Valley’s Community Center Complex. Admission is free. Local experts will be on hand to provide demonstrations on gardening with native plants, growing your own food, composting, and recycling.  This family-oriented event includes live music and dancing, animal presentations, face painting, and kids’ activities, in addition to booths featuring local artists and environmental education resources. For more information call 760-369-7212.


YUCCA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL SWIM TEAM ITALIAN DINNER TOMORROW

The Yucca Valley High School Swim Team will be hosting an Italian Dinner tomorrow night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Yucca Valley High School multi-purpose room. Tickets are $10, and the meal includes a delicious fettuccine, Italian salad, garlic bread, dessert cookie, and drink. Come out and support the Trojan swimmers.


HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULES

Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School golf, softball, and baseball teams will all travel away to Desert Hot Springs to play the Golden Eagles. Tee time for golf is 3 p.m.; first pitch for softball and baseball is at 3:15.

 

Also tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat golf, baseball, and softball teams will play the Desert Mirage High School Rams. The golf team will travel away to Thermal; tee time is 2:45. The Wildcat baseball and softball teams will play at home; first pitch is at 3:30.


DEATH PENALTY SOUGHT IN YUCCA VALLEY CARJACKING-MURDER

The District Attorney’s office announced in court Friday that it intends to seek the death penalty against the men accused of murdering a 33-year-old Beaumont man following a carjacking in Yucca Valley. Jose Gomez, 20, and Bryan Valle, 19, both of Earlimart, are accused of stealing a car in Wasco May 9, 2013, driving it to Yucca Valley, where it’s believed they attempted to carjack a car driven Obette Lacap, a pharmaceutical rep from Beaumont. Police say the suspects shot Lacap through the car’s window, killing him. Witnesses said Valle and Gomez got back into their stolen car and fled westbound on Highway 62 to Interstate 10, pursued by CHP and Sheriff deputies, at speeds of 100 miles or more, to San Bernardino. The car crashed into a light pole after exiting the freeway. The Sheriff’s department said when Valle and Gomez got out of the car, they started shooting at law enforcement, who returned fire, killing Bryan Valle, and injuring Gomez. Jose Gomez was in a San Bernardino court room Friday morning for a preliminary hearing when Assistant Deputy Attorney Cary Epstein stated the state would be seeking the death penalty. Jose Gomez is on trial for two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, carjacking, three counts of robbery, shooting at an inhabited vehicle, and one count of receiving stolen property. Gomez is being held at the West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $1 million.


MORONGO BASIN MAC HEARS OF HOMELESSNESS AND MUCH MORE

The April meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council centered on homelessness. Reporter Dan Stork says that it ranged far beyond that, taking in traffic safety, solar energy, road conditions, and more…

Homelessness was the topic of the featured informational presentation at the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council meeting on Monday night. Rae Packard, who has an educational background and experience in social work, sketched the national and regional dimensions of homelessness. She listed factors that lead to homelessness – poverty, domestic violence, drug addiction, mental illness – and emphasized that children comprise a disproportionately large part of the homeless population. She estimates that there are 800 homeless people in the Morongo Basin. Packard urged participation in the meetings of Morongo Basin Haven. See mbhaven.org for details. MAC Chairman Mike Lipsitz talked up the Homeowners Solar Expo scheduled for April 26 at the JT Community Center. He noted that the financial terms for the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity loan program may be better than published reports suggest. CHP and Sheriff Department representatives acknowledged that April has been a horrible month so far for local traffic safety, and urged increased awareness while driving. Sheriff’s Lt. Wilke said he could not comment on the status of particular officer-involved crashes, but assured attendees that he and the Department take it very seriously.
Community reports ranged widely. Among them:  Spruce-up efforts in Pioneertown; the dangers of soft roadsides in Wonder Valley; an effort to revitalize the senior nutrition program in Morongo Valley; the fate of Coyote Hole. The MAC meetings can be viewed in full on YouTube.


DETAILS ON 4-VEHICLE CRASH SATURDAY NIGHT IN YUCCA VALLEY

The California Highway Patrol has released the identities of those involved in a four-vehicle crash in Yucca Valley Saturday night. At 8:59 p.m., Alan Boggs, 67, of Joshua Tree, was driving his 2014 Ford Mustang westbound on Highway 62 when he drove through a red light at Yucca Mesa Road and struck Margaret Roeber, 63, who was making a left turn onto eastbound Highway 62 from Yucca Mesa Road. Boggs’ Mustang continued on and struck a 2001 Ford Focus, driven by Jennifer Lynne Ellison, 48, of Yucca Valley—who was stopped at the highway’s eastbound traffic light, waiting to make a left turn on to Yucca Mesa Road—and then struck a 2009 Ford Focus driven by Heidi Nelson, 37, of Joshua Tree, who was in the number one eastbound lane and slowing for the red light. Boggs’ Mustang then flipped over onto its roof. Alan Boggs was taken to Desert Hospital with major injuries. Margaret Roeber went to Hi-Desert Medical Center with minor injuries.


YUCCA VALLEY TOWN COUNCIL MEETS: MAY NAME NEW TOWN MANAGER

The Yucca Valley Town Council meets in regular session tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff says they may name a new in-house Town manager…..
Among the items on the consent agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Town Council, the Council will be asked to approve a secondhand dealer’s license for Independence Guns and Ammo at 7211 Joshua Lane. It will also be asked to approve requests for approval for street sweeping services and emergency storm clean-up services. Under department reports, the Council will be asked to approve the establishment of an irrevocable trust to prefund Other Post-Employment Benefit health care costs and appoint a plan administrator. The Council will also review partnership funding requests for the 2014-2016 proposed budgets. Also on the agenda, the Council will be asked to change speed limits on some streets in the Town. The Council will then go into closed session to conference with legal counsel over anticipated litigation; conference with labor negotiators, and appoint an employee to the position of Town Manager.


YUCCA VALLEY SENIOR HOUSING PROJECT HITS A GLITCH

The new senior housing project in Yucca Valley had a minor setback Sunday. According to County Fire Captain Mark Murphy, the pre-fab units were being stored on wood cribbing, about 3 and a half feet off the ground, near the basketball courts behind the Yucca Valley Community Center. Murphy said the wood cribbing, which is like stacked “Lincoln Logs” was leaning, and one of the apartment units fractured and collapsed about 3:15 p.m. due to the poor support structure of the cribbing. Murphy said because several of the other units were leaning and were in danger of falling, the contractor had to bring a crane back to the site and restack the cribbing and the pre-fab units.


TWENTYNINE PALMS PLANNING COMMISSION MEETS TONIGHT

The Twentynine Palms Planning Commission will hold a special hearing on a request for several variances at a residence on Chia Avenue. That will be followed by the 38th study session on the review and revision of the City’s Developement Code. Sections up for review tonight include Second Dwelling Units, Community Care Facilities, and Recycling and Solid Waste Disposal. The meeting starts at 6pm tonight at City Hall on Adobe Road.


MULTI-AGENCIES TOUR ORV ROUTES, PART 2 OF 2

Yesterday we reported on an off-road tour with Community ORV Watch leading representatives from the Sheriff’s Department, BLM, the Marine Base, the National Park Service and County Supervisor James Ramos office. Z107.7 assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz picks up the story where he left off … at Sunfair Dry Lake.

For private property owners frustrated by encroachment from off-road enthusiasts’ putting the brakes on the problem is rarely simple. The patchwork of regulations that govern motorized recreation varies from area to area and even between BLM lands in Wonder Valley and Johnson Valley. Where boundaries aren’t signed, riders can easily stray from designated trails onto private property. Enforcement may be the responsibility of the County Sheriff’s Department, Park Rangers, or BLM officers. And the reality is that law enforcement may respond to a call from many miles away, leaving apprehensions unlikely. Phil Klasky of Community ORV Watch put it like this, “They need to educate themselves as to the law of the land out here and respect our rural communities. A lot of it comes down to common sense and respect.”


TWO BLOOD DRIVES TOMORROW

Desert Blood Services will conduct two community blood drives tomorrow. Residents may donate blood at High Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree from 10 to 2, or at the Yucca Valley Community Center from noon to 4. Donors will receive incentives. In addition, Desert Blood Services now offers donors free cholesterol screening with every blood donation. All prospective donors should be free of infections or illness, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not be at risk for AIDS or hepatitis. To make an appointment to donate blood, call 877-827-4376.


SCHOOL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT WITH A WIDE-RANGING AGENDA

The Board of Education has a wide-ranging agenda at its next meeting. Reporter Dan Stork previews what will go on, from Japanese dancing to labor agreements and course outline reviews…

Following a 6:30 closed session on pupil and employee bargaining issues, the regular 7 pm open session of the Morongo Unified School District Board of Education will be split into two parts. For starters, there will be a presentation by the Joshua Tree Elementary School Japanese Dance Group, and recognition of students who received perfect scores on one section of the California standardized tests. After that, there will be a public hearing on, and the likely approval of, the Tentative Agreement reached with the Morongo Teachers Association on a new contract. The dates in May for Day of the Teacher and Week of the Classified Employee will be approved, and changes in the pay schedules for classified hourly and substitute employees are also up for approval. The Board will set its meeting calendar for next year, and will consider participation in a Joint Powers Authority for legal services. One Board policy, on school-sponsored student trips, is up for review, as are course outlines in several math and science areas. The meeting will be held at Joshua Tree Elementary School.


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