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Listen To Your News Monday, September 24, 2012 News Archive
     

DECISION ON MARINE BASE EXPANSION BOUNDARIES DELAYED
A decision set for this month on plans to expand the Twentynine Palms Marine base into the Johnson Valley off-roading area has been pushed back to November or December. A Marine Corps statement released Friday said the Marine Corps is still reviewing about 1,000 comments about the proposed expansion which came in by the August 27 deadline. A Navy report found the expansion could cut into the off-roading area by more than half and cut off access to some of its most popular areas for two months a year. An earlier draft drew more than 22,000 letters and comments, prompting the Marines to work toward a compromise with Johnson Valley residents and the off-roading community. The Marines say an expanded Twentynine Palms is one of the few places the Marines will be able to conduct complex training for Marine Expeditionary Brigades — forces of up to 20,000 troops — with three tank battalions starting from different points advancing to a set meeting place. The 189,700 acres of federal land in Johnson Valley is considered one of the nation's largest and most spectacular off-roading areas.

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MOTORCYCLE RIDER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN SUNDAY MORNING CRASH
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured in a crash early Sunday morning. According to the Sheriff's department, a man, who has not yet been identified, was riding southbound on Lear Avenue at a high rate of speed about 12:45 a.m. When he approached Highway 62, he was unable to stop in time and skidded through the intersection, across the highway. His motorcycle hit the dirt berm on the south side of the highway. The motorcycle and the driver went airborne, just missing a telephone pole. The man and the bike landed on a wooden rail fence. The rider suffered major injuries and was taken by Mercy Air to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. The highway was shut down for about 3 hours.

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THREE MEN WANTED FOR YUCCA VALLEY ROBBERY
A 17-year-old is in custody, and Sheriff officials are looking for three other suspects, after an armed robbery in Yucca Valley Friday morning. At 10:13, a man and the teenager went into the Check into Cash check cashing business in the Big Lots shopping center, showed the clerk a black handgun, and demanded money. The two robbers left the business with about $1,000, and ran eastbound on Yucca Trail toward some apartments on Condalia. Witnesses followed the robbers and called in their location to the Sheriff's department, who located the boy and placed him under arrest. The other robber escaped and has not yet been found. Three arrest warrants have been issued—one for the other robber from Twentynine Palms, and for two other men from San Bernardino who are suspected of being a look-out and a driver for a get-away vehicle. The gun has not yet been found. During the investigation, deputies went to Walmart where they confirmed the identities of the suspects, who had been at the store prior to the robbery. The 17-year-old boy from San Bernardino was booked into Juvenile Hall. Since initial reports had the robbers heading toward Yucca Valley High School, the school was locked down for about 45 minutes Friday morning as a precaution.

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JOSHUA TREE MAC HEARS ISSUES AND ANSWERS FROM CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL
At the recent meeting of the Joshua Tree Municipal Advisory Council, CHP Officer Alex Scott talked about radar signs and serious accidents. Reporter Dan Stork relates what he said...
CHP Officer Alex Scott said that he had looked into the cost of permanent radar-enabled speed limit signs for the extremities of downtown Joshua Tree, and found them to be about $6000 each for the equipment, and about $10,000 when fully installed. Funds would have to come from grants or local money. Scott also described recent fatal crashes on Twentynine Palms highway, as cautionary tales related to drinking and excessive speed -- one in which a Marine lieutenant with a blood alcohol level of 0.33% collided with a truck, and another in which Christopher S. Moala, a young man from Twentynine Palms, who was rushing a friend to the hospital at speeds over 100 mph, died when he lost control of his car.

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TWO ARRESTED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN YUCCA VALLEY
A Yucca Valley man who was arrested last month for trying to ram his wife's vehicle with his truck, was arrested Saturday afternoon after his wife told police he beat her up. According to a Sheriff's report, 911 received a call about 1 p.m. from a woman in the 7600 block of Valley Vista Avenue who said her husband beat her up. The responding deputy noted that the woman had bruising and swelling to her left eye, which she said was from an argument with her husband, Jesse Jimenez, 31. Jimenez told police the argument was verbal only, with no physical contact. After an investigation, Jesse Jimenez was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse and for being arrested for a felony offense while on bail for a previous felony offense. He was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $100,000. In August, his wife, who was 5 months pregnant at the time, called 911 to report that he threw a rock through the back window of her truck, which landed in her lap, covering her with shattered glass. She told Sheriff's dispatchers that Jimenez then went home and got his truck and started ramming her truck with his vehicle. Jimenez was arrested August 23 for investigation of assault with a weapon.

A Yucca Valley man was arrested early Friday morning after a woman said her ex-boyfriend picked her up and threw her to the ground. According to a Sheriff's report, shortly before 3 a.m., a woman called 911 to report her ex-boyfriend, Ray Woods, 31, who still lives with her in the 5600 block of Joshua Drive, picked her up and threw her on the ground, injuring her face. After an investigation, Ray Woods was arrested on suspicion of felony spouse abuse and booked into West Valley Detention Center with his bail set at $50,000.

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THE FIRST IN A THREE-PART SERIES ON THE HDMC STRATEGIC PLAN
The Hi-Desert Medical Center has released its long-term Strategic Plan. Starting today Z107-7's Mike Lipsitz will present a special three-part series on the hospital's vision for the future, Today, in part 1, assessment...
The District's Strategic Plan makes a thorough assessment of its positives and negatives. Based on feedback from town hall meetings, patient focus groups, and other forums, the report reveals a dozen of the Healthcare District's strengths and weaknesses. Ranked in order beginning with the greatest strength, "strong leadership" tops the list followed by staff retention, community partnerships, new emergency medicine group and continuum of care. And ranked in order beginning with the weakest element which was found to be limited specialist coverage, geographic location, the requirement that the hospital serves as a safety net without designation or reimbursement, an aging facility with lack of adequate space to expand services, and the lack of private rooms. Our next report looks at what the Plan sees as the Healthcare District's opportunities and threats.

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HOSPITAL BOARD LOOKS AT POTENTIAL FOR BOND DEFAULT
The Hi-Desert Memorial Healthcare District Board of Directors meets in special session at 4 o'clock tomorrow in the Helen Gray Education Center. On the action agenda is a resolution directing management to work with the bond trustee in order to remove the potential for a technical default on the 2002 revenue bonds. Following that, the Board will likely adjourn to closed session.

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JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK PEAK NAMED FOR EARLY PARK SUPPORTER
A peak in Joshua Tree National Park has been named for a Southern California woman who was influential in establishing the park. In August, the Board of Geographic Names adopted the name of Mount Minerva Hoyt for a previously unnamed 5,405-foot mountain not far from the park's highest summit, Quail Mountain. Minerva Hoyt, who lived from 1866 to 1945, was a pioneering desert conservationist who was known as the Apostle of the Cacti. Hoyt was instrumental in convincing President Franklin Roosevelt in setting aside 825,000 acres near Twentynine Palms that eventually became Joshua Tree National Park. Despite a Board policy against naming geographic places for people, Park Spokesman Joe Zarki convinced the board there was significant public educational benefit in naming the wilderness landmark for Minerva Hoyt. A dedication ceremony for naming the peak will be held in March, to coincide with Hoyt's birthday. For more information call Zarki at 760-367-5520.

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FOREIGN TRAVEL AGENTS IN OUR AREA THIS WEEK
About a dozen travel agents from the United Kingdom and Ireland will be coming to Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree National Park Tuesday. For the fifth consecutive year, the agents will be on a familiarization tour of southern California, including the Coachella Valley, Morongo Basin, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave Desert. The agents will be arriving at the California Welcome Center in Yucca Valley at 8:30 a.m. meet with Yucca Valley Town officials, and will then travel to Joshua Tree National Park for a short tour, before heading off to Amboy to experience Route 66. After the agents return home to the UK and Ireland, they will be able to promote Southern California and the Morongo Basin as a travel destination to their customers back home.

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FREE PARK ENTRANCE SATURDAY FOR PUBLIC LANDS DAY
Public Lands Day is this Saturday. Managing Editor Tami Roleff said that means free entrance to all of the nations national parks, including the one in our backyard...
All 397 national parks, including Joshua Tree National Park, will offer free entrance on Saturday, September 29 for National Public Lands Day. In conjunction with National Public Lands Day, Joshua Tree plans to reopen all park campgrounds that were closed during the summer season. And daily guided tours are back at the Keys Ranch historic site, except on Saturday, September 29, when the Ranch will be closed for a volunteer work project. Joshua Tree National Park will also waive entrance fees November 10-12 in commemoration of Veterans Day. Normal camping fees and other user fees will still be collected at Joshua Tree on September 29 and other free entrance days.

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL REPORTS
The Yucca Valley High School Trojans Football team lost 32-0 Friday night to Indio. Coach Tim Cannavo said the offensive line blocked for 221 yards rushing. The defense had 3 sacks and recovered one fumble. The Trojans next game is their league opener against Shadow Hills at home on October 5th.

The Twentynine Palms High School Varsity Wildcats traveled to Barstow Friday night and lost a hard-fought game against the Barstow Aztecs 30 - 8. Coach Ernest Martinez said the game was much closer than the score indicates with the home team leading only 10-0 at half with both scores coming off Wildcat turnovers. The Wildcats defense, led by Morgan Cole, Talo Wilson, and Tristen Thiers, played solid throughout. The Cats return home for the next two weeks as the will host Cathedral City to end the non-league season. The following week they open the all important De Anza league season with a crucial game against undefeated Big Bear.

The Twentynine Palms Frosh-Soph football team remained undefeated with a 43-14 victory over the Barstow Aztecs.

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