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Apple Valley entrepreneur named 2017 Small Business Person of the Year Finalist

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Apple Valley, CA – June 14, 2017: When John (Jay) Jeffs found himself repeatedly repairing and replacing mailboxes for High Desert residents in the 1980s, he realized that the area needed more service and a better product. Due to a lack of providers in that industry, the business grew and six years later, Jeffs began manufacturing his own patented locking mailbox, The Letter Locker.

Earlier this month, Jeffs was named the 2017 Small Business Person of the Year by the U. S. Small Business Administration.

“This was all my father’s idea of simply repairing and replacing mailboxes. He would drive down Apple Valley Road and see the traditional ‘round top’ boxes smashed up and damaged,” Jeffs said in an interview for the Town’s Shop Local initiative. “He laid out a plan, bought the necessary materials and we began a door-to-door service for repairing mailboxes run out of my parent’s garage.”

As the business expanded, Jeffs realized he needed more space and more resources. In 2000, with the use of a Small Business Administration Loan, he purchased an 18,000-square-foot building in Apple Valley containing offices and warehouse space that allowed him to add modern manufacturing equipment.

Since then, he has acquired additional patents for new locking mechanisms and has added facilities in San Diego, Escondido and Nevada.

“Today, we’re not only serving the local area, we’re serving the country,” Jeffs said, and noted that for the last 30 years, his product has been made in the USA.

Like many businesses that survived the recession, Jeffs’ business went through many challenges. Hiring key people, re-evaluating his pricing model, and retaining quality employees has allowed Jayco Industries to excel in this niche market and increase its staff to 18 employees.

“Jay is an exemplary model of a home-grown success story,” said Mayor Scott Nassif. “For three decades he has essentially provided important services and employment that our residents needed. The Town is grateful that he started here, stayed here and continues to do business right here in Apple Valley.”

Jeffs is active in his local community through the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, participates in the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Enhancement Forum, the High Desert Opportunity events and others. He serves on the Apple Valley Fire Protection Board of Directors, volunteers at his church and participates in holiday toy drives.

Jeffs was recognized at the recent Small Business Week Awards Program earlier this month hosted by the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as part of the National Small Business Week celebration that recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

For more information visit www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw.

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Motorcyclist airlifted after crash on Pawnee Rd and Highway 18 in Apple Valley

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A motorcyclist was critically injured in a Tuesday night crash on Highway 18. (Hugo C. Mary's Valdez, VVNG.com)
A motorcyclist was critically injured in a Tuesday night crash on Highway 18. (Hugo C. Mary's Valdez, VVNG.com)

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (VVNG.com) — A motorcycle rider was airlifted following a crash Tuesday in Apple Valley.

It happened at the intersection of Pawnee Road and Highway 18 at 7:35 p.m. and involved a minivan and black 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

When firefighters from the Apple Valley Fire Protection District arrived on scene they requested one airship to land at St. Mary’s Medical Center for the motorcycle rider, who sustained major injuries. Witnesses reported the rider suffered a serious leg injury.

The rider was subsequently airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, and a second ground ambulance was requested to the scene.

Westbound lanes of Highway 18 at Pawnee Ridge were shut down as authorities investigated the crash. Additional information will be updated as it becomes available.

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Swim coach, 31, arrested after missing Apple Valley teen was found hiding in his bedroom

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Detectives locate the missing teen from Apple Valley and arrest 31-year-old John Casillas for concealment of a child from a parent

The suspect is employed as a swim instructor at several different swimming academies.

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (VVNG.com) — Authorities searching for a missing 16-year-old girl found her hiding two weeks later in the bedroom of her 31-year-old former swim coach, officials said.

Detectives at the Apple Valley Station have been investigating a missing teenager since July 22, 2020. During the past two weeks, detectives followed up on several leads and authored several search warrants to locate evidence and determine the whereabouts of the missing teen, officials said.

Authorities discovered the 16-year-old victim had been communicating with John Casillas, her former swim coach.

According to a news release, On Wednesday, August 5th detectives served a search warrant at John’s home in the 1200 block of West 31st Street in San Bernardino and found the victim hiding in John’s bedroom. John’s father, 62-year-old Alfonso Casillas, was also at the residence.

“At the same time, detectives contacted and detained John at a local country club where he taught swim lessons. John and Alfonso were transported to Sheriff’s Headquarters for further investigation,” stated the release. “Apple Valley and Crimes Against Children Detectives determined that John was aware of the victim’s age and the ongoing search for her. Additionally, Alfonso knew the victim was a juvenile and did not alert law enforcement.”

Authorities said John was arrested and booked at West Valley Detention Center for PC278, Concealment of a Child from Legal Guardian/Parent with bail set at $50,000. On Thursday, August 6th at 5:45 a.m. John posted bail and was released from custody.

Regarding criminal charges against Alfonso, detectives will submit the investigation to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Sheriff’s officials said John is employed as a swim instructor at several different swimming academies and has contact with many juveniles in the course of his employment.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Gus Garcia, Apple Valley Station at (760)240-7400. Callers can remain anonymous and contact WeTip at 800-78CRIME or www.wetip.com.

(John Casillas booking photo courtesy of Apple Valley Police Department)
Photo courtesy of Apple Valley Police Department

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Apple Valley man, 21, arrested for Elder Abuse after pushing relative to the ground

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(google maps)

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (VVNG.com) — A 21-year-old male on parole is facing new charges of Elder Abuse after allegedly pushing his 71-year-old relative to the ground and causing injuries, officials said.

On Sunday, August 2, 2020, at about 3:00 PM deputies from the Apple Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to the 11800 block of Chimayo Road reference a battery report.

When deputies arrived they found the female victim with several lacerations to her arm after she was thrown to the ground by the suspect identified as Justin Patrick Flores.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jackie Alban said the victim was looking for her vehicle keys when she noticed Flores had them. “She asked him for her car keys but Flores refused, pushing her to the ground two times. The victim hit her head on the rocks and sustained several lacerations to the arms, stated Alban.

Flores was arrested for PC368(B)(1) Elder Abuse, PC148(A)(1) Obstructing a Peace Officer, PC415(2) Unreasonable Noise, and PC3056 Violation of Parole, a felony.

According to public court documents, in 2020 Justin has 6 open criminal cases against him both in Victorville and Rancho Cucamonga. In 2019, he had 7 charges in several counties.

Flores is currently being held without bail and is scheduled for arraignment in a Victorville courtroom on August 11, 2020.

(A view of the last 25 criminal related cases located in San Bernardino Count for Justin Flores)

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