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A recipe for success: Granite Hills High School’s Culinary Arts programs

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APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (news release) – The Granite Hills High School culinary and bakery programs are whipping up something special. Students in the school’s six culinary classes and six bakery classes are not only being equipped with cooking, baking, food safety, hospitality and management skills, but are also fulfilling catering requests, practicing teamwork, and applying mathematical concepts to practical “real-world” scenarios.

All six of the Granite Hills baking courses are taught by Emily Cornwell. Chef Cornwell said that she has seen many of her students gain confidence, find their niche, and broaden their understanding of homemade food through experience in the program. She explained that many students had never baked without a premade mix, but are now creating delicious treats from scratch.

(submitted photo)

Cornwell also said that baking is beneficial regardless of a student’s future career path because it helps solidify mathematical concepts. “We talk about fractions and we talk about converting fractions,” said Cornwell. “If a student doesn’t have a ¾ measuring cup they can use a ¼ cup three times. It’s putting math into real life situations they enjoy.”

Tristin Waggener, a senior in the advanced baking course, said that she has been able to transfer the skills she has learned in class into her own kitchen at home. “I can make stuff that I make here at home so we don’t have to go out and buy it,” she said. “I think it tastes better that way. I make cookies, calzones, and pretzels at home and my family loves it.”

The GHHS Cougar Kitchen and Cougar Bakery often provide meals for professional development sessions, and have even prepared a wedding cake. “It was actually really fun,” said Nick Griffith, senior in an advanced baking class. “They ordered from us and we made the actual foundation and the individual cakes.”

(submitted photo)

Teamwork plays an important role as students work in small groups to complete recipes, fulfill orders, or participate in special projects. Students in Chef Cornwell’s bakery courses recently completed a Halloween-themed project and are currently preparing to create a Thanksgiving showpiece.

“(Bakery) teaches us how to start up from nothing, make something, and work with other people,” said Griffith. “It teaches you have to work as a team because everyone needs to do their part to make something. We can’t make the dish if we don’t have the flour from somebody or the sugar from someone else.”

“In the end, it all works out because everyone wants to eat,” said Waggener.

Griffith and Waggener both competed in last year’s regional Sweet Genius competition and are preparing to compete for the second time. “The most challenging part is coming up what we want to do to make it cohesive,” said Griffith, referring to the upcoming Sweet Genius competition. “It all revolves around themes. You need to match your theme and everything needs to taste good.”

Culinary students recently competed alongside Apple Valley High School at High Desert Chopped, a regional culinary competition inspired by a popular cooking show of the same name. Bakery students will compete at Sweet Genius on Dec. 13 at Silverado High School.

(submitted photo)

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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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