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Listen To Your News Friday, September 21, 2012 News Archive
     

ROBBERY AT CHECK INTO CASH IN YUCCA VALLEY THIS MORNING
Deputies were called out on a robbery Friday morning. Sketchy information from the Sheriff's Department indicates that dispatchers received a call of a robbery at 10:13 Friday morning at the Check into Cash check cashing business in the 56800 block of Highway 62. Captain Rich Boswell said deputies have one suspect in custody and are looking for a second suspect. The Yucca Valley High School was briefly locked down as a precaution.

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RECENT PRISON RELEASEE HELD FOR THE RAPE OF A MINOR
Yucca Valley man who had been released from state prison under an early release program is back in jail, accused of raping a young girl. According to a press release from the Sheriff's Department, Steven McLaughlin, 25, allegedly raped a girl at her home on Desert Heights Drive in Twentynine Palms. The girl told deputies she had been raped in late August, although the crime was not reported until September 12. McLaughlin is the ex-boyfriend of the victim's older sister. Deputies did a records check on McLaughlin, and discovered he had been arrested the day before, September 11, for violation of the conditions for his early release from state prison, and was being held at the West Valley Detention Center. McLaughlin was interviewed at the jail and subsequently arrested on suspicion of rape by force or fear and lewd acts with a child. In 2008, McLaughlin was convicted of receiving stolen property, and in May 2011, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery against a girl on Desert Heights Drive. Under AB109, the State Prison Realignment Program, non-violent offenders are transferred from state prisons to county jails to relieve overcrowding, and criminals in county jails are released to make room for the state prisoners. Steven McLaughlin is being held at the West Valley Detention Center in lieu of $250,000 bail.

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PEDESTRIAN VERSUS VEHICLE IN JOSHUA TREE THIS MORNING SENDS MAN TO HOSPITAL
A man suffered multiple injuries after he was hit by a car in Joshua Tree early this morning. Around 1 a.m., Thomas Taylor, 43, of Twentynine Palms, was walking eastbound on Highway 62 just east of the hospital on the south side of the highway, when he was walked directly into the path of a Toyota truck driven by Chenin Hettig, 19, of Yucca Valley. Hettig and several other witnesses stopped to help Taylor. When paramedics arrived, Taylor was still lying face down in the dirt, but he was alert and able to talk to them. Taylor suffered multiple broken bones on the left side of his body. Thomas Taylor was taken to Joshua Tree airport where he was taken by Mercy Air to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs.

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NAMES OF FATAL VICTIM, PASSENGERS IN FIERY CRASH RELEASED
The California Highway Patrol has identified the victim of Wednesday morning's early crash as Christopher Moala, 24, of Twentynine Palms. According to the CHP, Moala was driving a 2008 Scion westbound on Highway 62, at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour, about 1:23 a.m. when he tried to pass a vehicle on the right and lost control of his car. The car hit a berm, became airborne, struck a utility pole, and overturned, resting about 200 feet into the desert. Moala and his passengers, Ishmael Olo, 18, of Las Vegas, and Paul Shepherd, 28, of Riverside, who were not wearing seatbelts, were ejected as the car rolled. After coming to rest, the car caught fire. Christopher Moala was killed in the crash. Ishmael Olo and Paul Shepherd were both injured and were taken to nearby hospitals. The CHP is waiting for toxicology tests results to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

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JOSHUA TREE MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COMMISSION HEARS PASSIONATE DOLLAR GENERAL STORE VIEWS
It was not until an hour and a quarter into the meeting of the Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council that it got down to the main event on the agenda – soliciting comments on the proposed retail store, formerly identified as a Dollar General store. When it did, passions were intense, as reporter Dan Stork relates...
MAC member David Fick reported that the County Planning Department sent no representative to the meeting because "it would set precedent if they started letting their staff come out and take input on an issue like this." No store representative was in attendance either. The first public speaker stated his support for the store, saying that Joshua Tree is in need of services for its low income population clustered near the highway who would otherwise need to rely on bus service to Yucca Valley in order to buy basic needs. The next speaker said she didn't object to the store per se, but to the ugliness of the planned appearance. She said she would be satisfied if the developer would work with local artists to make the appearance more pleasing. All of the remaining many speakers spoke to general acclamation, and with passion, against having the store in Joshua Tree at all, variously claiming degradation of the environment, damage to tourism, damage to existing or prospective local retail, encouragement of blight, export of profits outside the community, dominance of imported goods, elevated prices, complicity in the exploitation of Chinese workers, and violation of provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act. On a show of hands one person supported the store, and nearly all of the approximately four dozen in attendance opposed it. David Fick proposed requesting an extension of the public comment period, based upon the purported failure of the county to adhere to required procedures for notification of interested parties.

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MORONGO VALLEY FIESTA DAYS KICKS OFF TONIGHT
Morongo Valley Fiesta Days kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight, with Z107.7's own Brian Michaelz acting as emcee and mobile DJ tonight and tomorrow. At 7 tonight, Spankshaft, last year's winner of the Battle of the Band, will perform in the pavilion. Saturday morning begins with a pancake breakfast at 7:30 in the multipurpose room. At 10 is the World's Shortest Parade. Law Dogs 'n Ladies will perform their award-winning gun-spinner show at noon and 3. And be sure to play barnyard bingo at 1:30. Saturday evening, starting at 6, is the Battle of the Bands contest. Sunday's activities begin with an 8 a.m. sunrise service in the pavilion, and breakfast in the multipurpose room. At 9 is a skateboard, scooter, and BMX competition, followed by a chili cook-off, starting at 10. The Morongo Valley's Got Talent talent show starts at noon on the pavilion. And don't forget to check out the Morongo Valley Art Colony's judged art show, Saturday and Sunday. Fiesta Days is held in Covington Park in Morongo Valley, and proceeds benefit the Fire Department and Firefighters Auxiliary.

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COUNTY FIGURES SHOW STUDENT SCHOOL SCORES INCREASING
San Bernardino County students continue to show proficiency increases on Standardized Testing and Reporting or STAR. Reporter Kristy Lockhart explains the improvements...
According to the California Department of Education, county students in grades 2 through 11 improved at every level in every subgroup on STAR results. The biggest jump was in English language arts. Students in grades 5 through 7 showed the most growth in their proficiency scores, rising 4 percentage points in language arts. The reports also shows considerable growth at the high school level with 9th and 11th graders increasing 3 points. In science, grades 5, 8 and 10 gained 3 percent. Overall, county students recorded a gain of 2 ½ points in language arts and 1 point in math. County growth matched up well to state growth.

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TWO ARRESTED AFTER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN TWENTYNINE PALMS
A Twentynine Palms couple was arrested Wednesday for allegedly beating each other up. According to a Sheriff's report, Cheryl Cook, 40, of the 6400 block of West Court Way, called to report that her husband, Miles Cook, 33, had hit her and had a gun in his hand. After an investigation, the deputy determined that there was mutual aggression between the Cooks, and arrested them both on suspicion of felony spousal abuse. They were both booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with bail set at $50,000 each.

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HI-DESERT MEDICAL CENTER PLANS CANDIDATE FORUM
With four people running for the Hospital Board, a candidate's forum is being planned for next week. Reporter Mike Lipsitz says come out to the event and be an informed voter...
The Hi-Desert Memorial Healthcare District will host a candidate forum at 6 p.m. on October 2 in the Helen Gray Education Center. On the local ballot in November's election, four candidates are running for three seats on the Board of Directors, including appointee incumbent Martie Avels, elected incumbents Pat Cooper and Paul Hoffman, and Bighorn Desert View Water Agency Board President Mike McBride. The public is invited to hear the four candidates speak and address issues facing the healthcare district.

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FREE BREAKFAST IN JOSHUA TREE TOMORROW
Joshua Tree Community United Methodist Church will provide a FREE Community Breakfast Buffet Saturday morning 9 to 10 a.m. Used clothing, shoes, coats and blankets are free to those in need as supplies last. The community is invited. The church is located at 6213 East Parkway.

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FREE MEAL IN TWENTYNINE PALMS TOMORROW
Breaking Bread Ministry will serve up a free meal and fellowship from 3 to 5 tomorrow at the Little Church of the Desert Community Hall. Little Church of the Desert volunteers will serve up ham and vegetables with deviled eggs.

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A BUSY JOSHUA TREE VFW
The Joshua Tree VFW Post will serve up a Salisbury steak dinner from 4:30 to 6:30. Sunday breakfast from 8:30 to 11 is pancake breakfast with breakfast burritos and other items, and don't forget Taco Wednesday from 11 to 1.

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MOTORYCLISTS INVITED TO 10TH ANNUAL RUN FOR THE TROOPS
Area Motorcyclists are being invited to take part in the 10th annual "Run for the Troops" next month. Managing editor Tami Roleff gets out her leathers...
Kickstands up! It's time for the 10th Annual Run for the Troops motorcycle ride, sponsored by the Palm Springs Harley Owners Group and the Iron Horse Marines Motorcycle Club. The fund-raising ride will be Saturday, October 13.,Registration is at 8 a.m. and the ride begins at 10. Proceeds will benefit wounded military members returning from active duty. The cost is $25 for a single, or $40 for a rider and passenger, and includes lunch, a poker run, and a motorcycle parade through Palm Springs. Military ride at no charge. All bikes and bikers are welcome. The ride starts at the Palm Springs Harley Davidson, on Indian Canyon Drive and Interstate 10. For more information call Alice at 760-413-1101.

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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: FOOTBALL TONIGHT, CROSS COUNTRY TOMORROW
Friday night high school football will see the Twentynine Palms Wildcats traveling away to Barstow to battle the Aztecs. The Yucca Valley Trojans will host the Indio High School Rajahs at home. The Joshua Springs Lightning will host the Excelsior Education Center Eagles at home. Kick off for all three games is 7 p.m.

In high school sports tomorrow, Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms High Schools cross country teams will compete in the High Desert Classic Invitational at Machris Park in Yucca Valley.

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