News

Longtime Inland Empire journalist and KVCR contributor Cassie MacDuff and KVCR's Benjamin Purper review some of the big Inland Empire news stories from the past week, including:

@ModernismWeek

Tickets to Palm Springs’ 21st annual Modernism Week are now available online. The event recently postponed its in-person events to April due to the pandemic.

In a blog post, Modernism Week explained the delay gives more time for the region’s health status to improve and for the event to make additional safety accommodations for the public.

Masks will be required for all in-person events scheduled from April 8 to 18 and will include architectural tours, a car show and a cocktail event.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

Diocese of San Bernardino/YOUTUBE

Bishop Alberto Rojas officially took over as head of the San Bernardino Catholic Diocese in December. Rojas arrived almost a year ago in anticipation of Bishop Gerald Barnes’ retirement, and he hopes to soon finish a cycle of visiting all 92 parishes and 10 missions in the region. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson recently had the chance to speak with the Bishop.

Today on Inland Edition, Lillian Vasquez speaks with Michael Osur, Assistant Director for Riverside County Public Health. Michael is one of the key people working on COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Riverside County. He shares the latest important information. Also on the show, Lillian talks with Ryan Hagen, a reporter with Southern California News Group which includes The Sun. Ryan shares information about restaurants and the requirements connected to Stay at Home orders.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

  1. UC Riverside astronomers are among a team of researchers studying “Super Earth”, a planet about 50% larger than Earth.
  2. California counties are learning that the state system to register high-risk healthcare workers during Phase 1 of COVID-19 vaccinations is presenting challenges.
  3. Governor Newsom is calling for schools to begin welcoming students back to classrooms next month.

Riverside University Health System

Inland Empire counties are quickly learning that the state system being used to register people for the COVID-19 vaccine can cause challenges. 

Riverside County director of public health Kim Saruwatari told her board of supervisors on Tuesday that vaccine registrations on the county’s website are filling up so fast that some people who are eligible to get the vaccine during Phase 1a of the distribution can not get appointments.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

Submitted

The Riverside County Department of Social Services will begin hosting its annual conference on human trafficking prevention virtually on Monday. 

Dr. Katariina Rosenblatt, a trafficking survivor and author of the book Stolen, will speak at the conference on Thursday. She said trafficking is a challenging problem to bring awareness to.

Longtime Inland Empire journalist and KVCR contributor Cassie MacDuff and KVCR's Benjamin Purper review some of the big Inland Empire news stories from the past week, including:

pxhere

U.C. Riverside announced Thursday that it is leading one of the nation’s largest research initiatives to reverse a decline in honeybees which threatens food crops and prices.

With a 900,000 dollar grant, U.C. Riverside will help lead a group of researchers from U.C. Davis, San Diego and Merced campuses looking for solutions to restore bee colony populations.

Inland House Democrats Mark Takano and Pete Aguilar are calling for President Trump’s removal from office following violence in the U.S. Capitol. 

The Wednesday riot by pro-Trump extremists in the U.S. Capitol, spurred on by President Trump, has led to calls for his impeachment and removal by top Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

Now, at least two Inland Empire representatives are joining that call.

The first is Congressman Pete Aguilar, a Democrat from Redlands and the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Riverside County/TWITTER

A state run oxygen depot was set up Thursday in Riverside County to supply area hospitals and relieve high demand on oxygen suppliers. 

The depot, operating 24 hours a day, is made up of two large oxygen generators that can fill up tanks used by hospitals to supplement regional supply.

In a release, Riverside County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said oxygen suppliers are having a difficult time meeting the high demands of area hospitals. He explained COVID patients need a lot of oxygen which has been taxing the entire healthcare system.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

Riverside County District Attorney/TWITTER

Utility scams have existed for decades, but the pandemic is creating new opportunities to seek out victims. Southern California Edison is warning its utility customers about the latest, a COVID-19 relief scam being distributed on a postcard with unauthorized use of SCE logos.

“Essentially, the postcard tries to bate our customers into setting up an in-person meeting with a supposed representative to discuss their eligibility for six months of relief on their SCE bills," said Luu.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

  1. San Bernardino County is doing better than the state average for administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
  2. A Riverside post office will be renamed in honor of late civic activist.
  3. Congress will meet today in a joint session to count the nation’s electoral college votes.

Despite a slower than anticipated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, San Bernardino County is doing better than the state average for administering the immunization so far.

“To date, we have approximately vaccinated, about 45 percent of our allocation," said Arrowhead Regional Medical Center CEO Andrew Goldfrach. "In comparison, the state is seeing about 30 percent.”

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center/TWITTER

San Bernardino County health officials told the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday that area hospitals are preparing to enter "crisis care" mode.

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Hospital Director, Bill Gilbert, told the board this means staff will have to look at demand versus resources.

"Basically, the message to our staff, respectively, is do more with less," said Gilbert. "We expect that there will be another surge in the next few weeks, and we are seeing that already in our emergency rooms.”

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

  1. The U.S. Forest Service is initiating prescribed burns around Idyllwild to reduce vegetation that might fuel wildfires.
  2. Governor Newsom is promising to speed up the process of getting Californians vaccinated against COVID-19.
  3. A new law that took effect on January 1 increased minimum wage to $14 an hour.
  4. A new report suggests California must reduce greenhouse emissions by four times its current rate to meet 2030 goals.

County of Riverside

The combined case count of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has passed 400,000. 

Riverside County reported more than 17,000 new infections on Monday, reflecting test results from the extended holiday weekend.

That brought the county’s cumulative case total to 198,236 cases as of Monday.

There have also been 2,096 confirmed deaths from the virus in Riverside County.

Meanwhile, San Bernardino County reported more than 18,000 new infections, bringing that county’s total to 203,309.

Diocese of San Bernardino/YOUTUBE

Bishop Alberto Rojas became the new leader of the Diocese of San Bernardino on December 28. The leadership change, in the nation’s fifth largest Catholic Diocese, was ushered in by Pope Francis’ acceptance of the retirement of Bishop Gerald Barnes announced by the Vatican the same day.

“Thank you for all you have shared with me," said Barnes in a recorded video message. "Thank you for your prayers, your support, the sharing of your gifts and for your constructive criticism.”

Southern California Stay-at-Home Orders Extended

Dec 29, 2020
pixabay

With ICU capacity at zero percent, the Southern California region will remain under lockdown for at least the next three weeks.

Inland News Today reports the Stay-at-Home order mandates the following closures:

County of Riverside

The rate of intensive care unit admissions for both Riverside and San Bernardino County rose sharply in the last few days. 

In Riverside County, the number of people in intensive care for COVID-19 broke records on both Saturday and Sunday.

As of Sunday, the number of people hospitalized in Riverside County for COVID-19 stood at 1,367, with 282 people in intensive care.

San Bernardino County, meanwhile, has twice as many COVID-19 patients in intensive care as it had a month ago.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

  1. The U.S. Forest Service offers advice on responsible recreation in the mountains now that winter weather has arrived.
  2. Pastors ask the Supreme Court to reverse state COVID-19 restrictions.
  3. Many dentists have seen people put off regular dental appointments this year and also attribute teeth grinding to the high stress of 2020.
  4. This week marks the start of a massive COVID-19 vaccination effort at California’s nursing homes.

U.S. Forest Service- San Bernardino National Forest/FACEBOOK

Winter weather arrived December 28 in the San Bernardino Mountains, with snowfall expected to reach 4,000 feetThe U.S. Forest Service has a few reminders for visitors as they plan their upcoming visits to the National Forest.

In a press release, the forest service said snow chains are a must, and checkpoints along the highways are likely. Also, they advised San Bernardino Mountain visitors to plan for crowds, to keep their snow play to public lands, and to pack out trash including broken sled pieces.

Berdoo Film/berdoofilm.com

On Christmas Day, a documentary film on the city of San Bernardino called Berdoo will premiere on YouTube. The film is the creation of Executive Producer Nishita Matangi, a graduate of Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health. She saw the need to tell the story of a resilient community working to help its youth overcome barriers to simply attending school.

Matangi is originally from Northern California and said she first learned about San Bernardino when she made the decision to move there for graduate school.

Benjamin Purper / KVCR

The family of a man killed in police custody after a violent arrest in a Jurupa Valley grocery store announced today that it is initiating a legal action against the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Ernie Serrano died on December 15 after a confrontation with Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies in a Stater Bros. store in Jurupa Valley.

At a Tuesday press conference, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco released video regarding Serrano’s death, and said he offered condolences to the Serrano family.

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

  1. Several California tribal clinics are starting to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and Native residents address concerns and challenges.
  2. Executives from California’s largest healthcare companies made a plea for public help in order to ensure there is hospital bed capacity to serve everyone in need.
  3. Santa Ana winds are set to return to Riverside County and a windblown dust advisory warns about unhealthy air quality.  

Claremont Graduate University

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has gifted $14 million to Claremont Graduate University to fund a new, multi-disciplinary health research center at the university.

Claremont Graduate University announced the gift, which is one of the largest in its nearly 100-year history, earlier this month.

The money will go towards creating the Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies, which the university describes as an “innovative, multi-disciplinary health research center rooted in a health and well-being initiative.”

sbcounty.gov/museum

The San Bernardino County Museum announced this month that it is returning culturally significant objects back to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, where they originated from. This process of repatriation could get even easier in 2021, thanks to a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom making it easier for California Native American tribes to have cultural artifacts returned to them. 

The approval for the transfer took place at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting in November, and was announced on Dec. 9.

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