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Mountain Desert Career Pathways JPA introduces new director

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Apple Valley, Calif. — The Mountain Desert Regional Career and Occupational Pathways Joint Power Authority, also known as the Mountain Desert Career Pathways (MDCP) JPA, welcomed Matt Wells as the organization’s new director on Feb. 5. Wells formerly worked for Snowline Joint Unified School District as the Administrator of Career/Adult Education, where he coordinated Career Technical Education (CTE) for the district and facilitated the opening and day to day operations of the new Snowline Adult School. The 2003 graduate of Pepperdine University previously worked at Snowline as a mathematics teacher, where he helped establish Serrano High School’s engineering and robotics programs.

In his role coordinating CTE at Snowline, Wells gained valuable experience and connections collaborating with coordinators and teachers from around the High Desert on collectively raising the bar for CTE through regional teacher collaborations, regional advisory meetings, the Student Healthcare Internship Pipeline (SHIP) and regional student competitions. It was such experience that made him an excellent candidate for the Director of the MDCP JPA.

“The students in our region represent such an incredible pool of talent,” said Wells. “I’m eager get to work expanding the awareness of that talent and celebrating the deep partnerships that are helping foster career readiness.”

As the new Director of MDCP, Wells will work closely with regional CTE Coordinators, Superintendents, higher education institutions, government, and, most importantly, an expanding network of industry partners to ensure that the region is collectively equipping students of our local high schools and adult schools with the knowledge, skills, and guidance to either successfully enter an industry or take the next step of education needed for a target industry.

Wells said that he looks forward to continuing the work MDCP has been engaged in since its inception three years ago, building regional awareness of the outcomes MDCP endeavors to accomplish, and working closely with stakeholders to ensure local students are ready to engage in the workforce. Wells plans to coordinate a quality multi-industry regional advisory meeting, establish the JPA’s web presence, and build mutually beneficial and ongoing relationships with business and industry across the High Desert.

The MDCP JPA is made up of nine school districts who work together to coordinate with industry, government, and higher education to build better opportunities for the future of the region’s students. The goal of the JPA is to produce educated, informed students with marketable skills and knowledge, who in turn will be able to pour back into industry opportunities that exist in our community and build a strong and desirable workforce. Current members of MDCP JPA are Apple Valley Unified, Baker Valley Unified, Barstow Unified, Hesperia Unified, Lucerne Valley Unified, Silver Valley Unified, Snowline Joint Unified, Trona Joint Unified and Victor Valley Union High School districts.

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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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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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Apple Valley News

Town of Apple Valley offers day camp, reopens fields for youth sports

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APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (August 5, 2020) — The Town of Apple Valley has reopened some recreation programs, including Distance-Learning Day Camp and the use of its parks and ballfields for youth sports trainings and practices. The change comes as a result of revised industry guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health announcement on August 3.

“The Town’s Distance-Learning Day Camp will allow us to serve Apple Valley parents and guardians who need additional support and a safe environment for their children during the workday,” said Parks and Recreation Manager David Coleman.

Day Camp was developed in accordance with all state and county public health regulations. Camp capacity has been reduced to ensure safe physical distancing and staff members have been trained on proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures, which will be conducted throughout the day. 

In addition to fun games and activities, Town recreation staff will support children as they work on their school-assigned curriculum. Town staff do not provide tutoring services and are not intended to replace a child’s primary educational instructor. Day Camp will be offered as long as possible or until in-person school resumes.

Youth sports clubs and programs will also be allowed to resume use of the Town’s parks and ballfields. Per state guidelines, physical distancing of at least six feet is required and outdoor activities are strongly encouraged. Face coverings must be worn at all times unless the activity is conducted outdoors and players are properly following social distancing guidelines.

Games, tournaments and competitions are not allowed at this time as they encourage crowds.

“Although we won’t see any official games being held just yet, we are excited to once again share Apple Valley’s parks and fields with our youth leagues,” said Coleman.

California’s guidance on youth sports can be found at covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance

For information on the Town’s available programs visit avrecreation.org or call (760) 240-7880.

(source: Town of Apple Valley news release)

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