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6 trees removed from James Woody Park in Apple Valley due to bark beetle

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APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (VVNG.com) — Six trees at James Woody Park in Apple Valley were removed earlier this week after a professional arborist identified bark beetle damage detrimental to the health of the trees.

The evaluation was done after one of the trees fell into a back stop and utility shed near baseball field two on Father’s Day, and a large branch fell next to a park visitor earlier in the week. 

(photo by Martin Hoover)

“There was no major damage, and no one was injured, but it did create quite a scare for the many people who were there to see the game,” said Public Works Manager, Mike Molinari.  “We can get more than 2,000 visitors to that park in a single day on the weekend, especially during baseball season, and we aren’t willing to take chances with their safety.”

(photo by Martin Hoover)

Public Works Grounds Supervisor Jabez Vargas estimated the trees to be at least 50 years old, pre-dating the town’s incorporation in 1988. An Apple Valley native, Vargas grew up playing ball under those trees and said it was heart-wrenching to have to remove the two Chinese Elm and four pine trees.

“None of us are happy that we had to take those trees down. We like seeing our residents out there enjoying the parks, creating family memories, relaxing in the shade, making use of the playgrounds,” said Vargas. “But those trees were beyond saving, and we don’t want to see anyone injured, or worse.”

(photo courtesy Town of Apple Valley)

Molinari explained that trees also suffer damage from the high desert’s often violent winds that cause trees to grow at an angle and eventually become uprooted. Combined with the damage from bark beetles, the trees become known as “widow makers” because what looks like a healthy tree can fall at any moment as it did on Sunday.

“We share the public’s disappointment in losing a significant amount of shade at that park, but safety takes priority,” said Town Manager Doug Robertson. “We are committed to replanting trees in that area.”

Earlier this year the Town Council designated Community Development Block Grant funds for park improvements that will take several months and must be completed before any trees can be replaced. 

(photo courtesy Town of Apple Valley)

For more information about park amenities, visit the Parks and Facilities page on the website at www.AppleValley.org.

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State and San Bernardino County OK resumption of youth sports – with restrictions

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The State Department of Public Health has issued long-anticipated guidance allowing youth sports and physical education – including school-based, club, and recreational programs – to resume, as long as they are limited to groups of participants who regularly gather, such as a class or organized team, and only when physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained.

Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent possible.

Sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not yet permitted either indoors or outdoors.

“This is an opportunity for young people to stay healthy, stay in shape, and be ready when the State allows team and other group activities to resume,” said San Bernardino County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. The County Health Officer has approved implementation of the guidance within San Bernardino County.

(San Bernardino County Health news release)

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18-year-old U.S. Army Reservist Stationed at Ft. Irwin arrested on child porn charges

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FORT IRWIN, Calif. (VVNG.com) — An 18-year-old reserve with the United States Army National Guard stationed at Fort Irwin was arrested for possession of child pornography Wednesday, officials said.

Detectives from multiple agencies conducted a joint investigation involving the suspect, Neal McCoy, a resident of Fridley, Minnesota, and subsequently arrested him on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

McCoy was booked at the High Desert Detention Center for PC 311.11(A) Possession of Child Pornography with a bail set at $100,000. McCoy is scheduled for arraignment on August 7th.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Specialized Investigations Division Crimes Against Children Detail (CAC), Barstow Sheriff’s Station, and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) worked together in their investigation.

In January 2020, VVNG reported on similar arrests after Steven Berg, 38, was arrested by investigators who determined that child pornography was distributed from a home within the base at Fort Irwin.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Brian Arias of the Specialized Investigations Division, Crimes Against Children Detail at (909) 387-3615. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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18-year-old out on bail arrested again after a pursuit in Victorville

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — An 18-year-old out on bail was arrested again after leading Victorville deputies on a pursuit.

At about 2:28 AM on August 6, 2020, a deputy from the Victorville Police Station observed a vehicle run a red light at Amargosa and Palmdale Roads and attempted a traffic stop.

The driver, identified as Antoine Jackson, of Victorville, failed to yield and led deputies on a pursuit for approximately 7 miles, officials said.

During the pursuit, Jackson drove at high speeds, exceeding 100 mph at times. He also drove in opposing traffic lanes and ran several red lights and stop signs.

The pursuit came to an end in the 12500 block of Terrano when Jackson crashed into a parked car.

Jackson, who was out on bail from a July 28, 2020 arrest, was arrested and booked at High Desert Detention Center for VC2800.2(A) Evading a Peace Officer with disregard for safety and PC12022.1(B) New Felony Offense while on bail.

His bail is set at $100,000 and is scheduled for arraignment in a Victorville courtroom on August 10, 2020.

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