Deserts

Ironman Shutdown Offers Opportunity for ‘Southwest Serve Weekend’

The Ironman race caused traffic near the Indian Wells Tennis Garden even closing down businesses along the route including Southwest Church. That didn’t slow the large congregation down. The church is using the shutdown as an opportunity to welcome the tri-athletes to La Quinta and serve. “It’s what we call serve weekend,” Ricky Jenkins, pastor of Southwest Church, said. “We shut the doors of our church to get into our community and be the church.” Serve weekend consists of hundreds of service projects, performed by 1,800 volunteers in 70 locations. “It’s a great way to give back to the community,” Trey Ladner, a volunteer, said. Ladner plays catcher for College of the Desert. Him, along with several of his teammates pitched in to paint the playground at Jackson Elementary School in Indio. “Chris and I took the yellow and our friend Gonzo took the blue,” Bryce Osman said with a smile and paintbrush in hand. “We really got it knocked out and got it done.” “We’re painting our four squares,” Jose Monano, principal of Jackson Elementary, said. “We have tetherball courts in university and college…

Apple Valley receives a clean audit in spending for Yucca Loma Bridge project

APPLE VALLEY — The Town has received a “clean bill of health” from the state for its financial oversight of a bridge construction and road widening project, officials said.An audit from the California Department of Finance’s Office of State Audits and Evaluations found that the Town’s spending of about $9.63 million for the Yucca Loma Bridge and Yates Road project complied with state and federal guidelines.The report came after a four-month […]

First Cannabis Drive-thru Opens in Desert Hot Springs

There’s a new addition to the Coachella Valley just off Interstate 10. “If they are on the way to the Coachella Festival or any other large event we are just two turns of the I 10  Palm Drive exit. This will be our third California location and our first drive-thru,” said Harborside incorporated Chairman Steve DeAngelo. This will be the first drive-thru in the southern California, the second in the whole entire state. It allows people to get marijuana from the comfort of their own car. “There are a lot of people especially here where we have a large senior population who have mobility issues. They have difficulty moving from the car into the building and then standing in line,” said DeAngelo. Customer Samantha wright knows all about that. “I’m a nine time cancer survivor.  When you don’t feel well and you don’t want to interact with people being able to go through a drive-thru and get your consumables to make yourself feel better is really huge for our valley,” said Wright. Flanked by officials from palm springs and desert hot springs,  both cities happy with…

Duncan Hunter Announces Resignation From Congress to Come After Holidays

Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty this week to a federal felony count for misusing $250,000 in campaign funds, announced Friday his impending resignation from Congress will take place sometime “after the holidays.” Hunter, R-Alpine, who faces a potential five-year prison sentence, previously stated in a television interview that he would step down and that there would be a “seamless transition to whoever takes this seat next,” but Friday afternoon’s announcement provided a clearer timeline for his resignation. “Shortly after the holidays I will resign from Congress,” his statement read. “It has been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years.” Hunter, who had planned to seek another term in the November 2020 election, is scheduled to be sentenced March 17. The 42-year-old former Marine was indicted along with his wife on five dozen criminal counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy and falsification of records, and had been facing a Jan. 22 trial date. Margaret Hunter, 44, pleaded guilty in June to a conspiracy charge and agreed to…

Police: Rumors of Shooting Planned on Corona High School Campus Prove False

Rumors of a shooting threat on the campus of Centennial High School in Corona were determined to be unfounded, with no compromise to public safety, authorities said Friday. Corona police Officer Daniel Clary said the Corona-Norco Unified School District on Thursday night learned of chatter regarding someone possibly intending to shoot students or staff on the Centennial campus Friday. Detectives initiated an investigation and “found no credible threat” to the campus, Clary said. Classes went ahead on schedule. “This investigation was a good reminder not to spread gossip or rumors without knowing the source,” the police spokesman said. “Report these types of rumors or suspicious behavior immediately to the proper authorities to investigate, instead of spreading on social media.” There was no word on whether police had identified the individual or individuals responsible for spreading the rumors.

Convicted Felon Receives 5 Years For Robbing Dispensary at Gunpoint

A 26-year-old convicted felon and current state prison inmate was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for his part in a robbery of a Cathedral City medical marijuana dispensary in 2017. Travion Riddick, formally of San Bernardino, was also sentenced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Dean Benjamini to an additional year for possessing or manufacturing a weapon while in prison, which was described as a razorblade attached to a toothbrush, a prosecutor said. Riddick received three five-year sentences for three counts of robbery in an April 26, 2017 heist at No Wait Meds, which will run concurrently. The weapons charge, however, will run consecutively, for a total of six years. He was initially charged with firearm allegations as well, which were later dropped because the gun was never found by authorities and Riddick claimed it was fake. During the sentencing hearing at the Larson Justice Center in Indio Friday, Deputy District Attorney Jeff Mendoza voiced displeasure with the court’s sentence, insisting the robbery was planned and sophisticated. “One co-conspirator was used to essentially gain access in a legitimate way, and then Mr. Riddick…

Local District’s Cyber-Security System Alerts of Possible Threats

The Palm Springs Unified School District’s cyber-security system alerted officials of possible dangers this past week when school officials were notified about a gun and bomb threats circulating online. Will Carr is the director of the district’s tech services, he said the district monitors the activity of about 60,000 computers, these include the computers at schools as well as the devices students take home. He said the district contracts with a few services that monitor online searches and the student’s activities when they use google gadgets. The Gaggle safety management is software the PSUSD uses to detect any key-words that may raise some flags, such as adult sexual content, vulgarity and violent threats. “This is where kind of the first little defense for safety and appropriate access to content,” Carr said. “If the student is doing something on Instagram or potentially email another student something they are going to do depending on what they say it triggers an alert.” This week alone the district’s cyber-security flagged two possible threats at locals schools. The Cathedral City Police Dept. said a Palm Springs High School student posted…

NBCares: Marks Art Center at College of the Desert

There is a little gem of an art gallery tucked away on the sprawling main campus of College of the Desert. The Marks Art Center celebrates both student and professional art from all over the world as a way to educate and enlighten, and their current exhibition is a juried 2019 student art exhibit and – “Rise Above – Awakening The Greatness Within” presented by Safehouse of the Desert.

A 5-year-old boy’s entire kindergarten class showed up for his adoption hearing

A boy in Michigan showed up at the courthouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Thursday for an adoption hearing with his foster parents, and he had a crowd of unusual supporters. Five-year-old Michael’s entire kindergarten class sat in the audience behind him waving big red hearts mounted on wooden sticks to show their support. Michael’s adoptive father told CNN his favorite part was when the judge asked everyone present in the room to explain what Michael means to them. The kindergartners offered the most touching answers, standing up and telling the court, “I love Michael” or “Michael’s my best friend,” his father said. He added that the judge said it was the first time she’d ever hosted a whole kindergarten class for a hearing in her courtroom. Michael’s parents fostered him for a year Michael’s mother told CNN that her new son’s teacher, Mrs. McKee, floated the idea to her one day when she dropped Michael off at Wealthy Elementary School. McKee knew the adoption would be finalized soon, and the two agreed on how to make the big day particularly special for Michael. From…

Full House at Palm Springs Public Meeting for the Sports Arena

It was a full house at the Palm Springs City Council town hall to discuss plans for the Agua Caliente Tribe downtown sports and entertainment arena as neighbors weighed-in on the massive 11,000 seat structure. The arena is projected to cost more than $200 million, it is a partnership with the Agua Caliente Tribe and the Oak View Group, the arena will be the home for a new AHL minor team as well as host about 30 concerts a year. However, the neighbors who live near the arena have concerns over the traffic the events will draw as well as the lack of parking in the area. The plans from the tribe show the project will have about 650 parking spaces onsight, but the city estimates the amount of parking planned for the arena is short about 1,600 spaces. Mayor Geoff Kors said that will be the next challenge the city and its partners will need to solve. Kors said, “We really have to focus on mitigating the consequences, the impacts to parking for our existing downtown merchants and our neighboring residents and the traffic.”…

Guatemalan boy who died in federal custody was on the floor for hours before anyone found him, video shows

A sick Guatemalan boy who died in government custody was lying on the floor for hours before someone found him dead, a video first obtained by ProPublica shows. The boy, identified by a US Customs and Border Protection official as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, 16, died on May 20 at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas, days after he crossed into the US and was apprehended by immigration officials, CBP said. Surveillance video of a holding cell at the Weslaco facility first obtained by ProPublica and published on Thursday show the last moments of the boy’s life. ProPublica analyzed the video and compared it with police and emergency services records to create a timeline. CNN later obtained a copy of the video. The boy was waiting to be transferred to the custody of the Health and Human Services Department, as is customary for unaccompanied minors, when he was diagnosed with the flu and taken to the Weslaco facility, the CBP official said. In the video, Carlos first appears walking inside a cell in the Weslaco facility, wearing blue jeans, a dark long-sleeve shirt and a disposable white mask. He lays…

An 83-year-old great-grandpa’s Christmas song finally made it on the radio. Next up? World domination.

Ho ho ho, He he he, Coming down the chim-uh-knee This little Christmas ditty might not sound familiar yet, but 83-year-old Johnny Gondesen sure hopes it will soon. The former country band frontman wrote the song “Christmas Is Here” for his children way back in 1965. This week, fulfilling a lifelong dream, the Texan heard his own song on Houston radio. Next up? World domination. “My goal is to get the song all over the world,” Gondesen told CNN. “I would like all the children, especially at Christmastime, to be able to hear it and learn how to sing it.” “Christmas Is Here” is a catchy, jangly tune, backed by sleigh bells and jolly laughter. Gondesen’s hopeful it’ll be a welcome dose of holiday nostalgia. “It isn’t like something you hear nowadays,” he said. “It’s got the sound of that age to it.” “Christmas Is Here” hits the airwaves So how’d a 50-year-old song finally get its due? His family made sure of it. Gondesen still remembers his children ogle at Christmas trees — they’d say “Ho ho ho,” he’d counter, “He he he” —…

School District Employee Suspected of Sexual Relationship with Student

A Coachella Valley Unified School District employee was arrested Thursday on suspicion of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student at Coachella Valley High School in Coachella. District officials informed Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigators of the alleged relationship and an investigation determined the employee had used various social media apps to carry out the alleged sexual relationship with the student, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy White. Deputies located the employee, identified as Edward Noel Alvarado Valedez, 25, of Coachella, at another school within the district and took him into custody. He was later booked at the county jail in Indio on suspicion of lewd acts with a minor, White said.

3 dead and several injured in shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola

[Breaking news update at 11:02 a.m. ET] Three people were killed in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday, according to the Escambia County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office. The shooter was also killed, Sheriff David Morgan told reporters in a news conference, after two deputies engaged the shooter in a classroom building on the base. Both deputies were shot — one in the arm and one in the knee. Both are expected to survive. Eight people are receiving treatment at Baptist Health Care, Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said. [Previous story, published at 10:26 a.m. ET] For the second time in two days, a deadly shooting unfolded at a US Navy base when a gunman opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday, killing at least two people and injuring several others. The shooting is over, the Escambia County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office said, and the shooter is dead. The base remains on lockdown, a Navy spokeswoman told CNN. “Multiple injured personnel have been transported to local hospitals. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies,” Lt. Cmdr. Megan Isaac said in a…

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