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:

  1. A roundup of IE coronavirus news.
  2. Riverside County declares racism a public health emergency.
  3. The Upland police chief is back on the job after being put on leave.
  4. The Mt. Rubideaux cross was vandalized by protestors.
  5. The 909 will get a new area code overlay in January.


The University of California, Riverside received some good budget news from the state Tuesday in a time when coronavirus related revenue shortfalls are requiring cuts in a lot of areas. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more.

The California state budget included two big wins for projects related to the Salton Sea. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more.

Lillian speaks with veterinarian and pet happiness expert Dr. Rolan Tripp. Dr. Tripp shares how the stay at home order has had an effect on pets, specifically how pets will cope once their owners return to work.

To learn more about Dr. Rolan Tripp and pet happiness, visit


For the first time, San Bernardino County is using goats in their fire prevention measures. The animals are used to clear dry grasses in undeveloped areas that put hundreds of nearby residents at risk. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson went to see the animals in action in the city of San Bernardino.

Lillian speaks with author and domestic abuse expert Mannette Morgan about domestic violence as it Relates to COVID-19. Mannette shares how the pandemic has affected domestic violence and how to stop the cycle of abuse.

To learn more about Mannette Morgan, visit

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

  1. The Governor’s recommended closure of bars in Riverside County has become mandatory.
  2. A small plane on a 15-minute flight from Big Bear to the Redlands Airport on June 5 descended into clouds and killed all three people onboard.
  3. A wildfire burns homes in Niland, a desert town near the Salton Sea.
  4. Coronavirus cases are skyrocketing at a Bay Area prison, where more than one in four inmates have tested positive.

Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation

The Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California announced on Monday that it officially received the state funding needed to complete its downtown Riverside project. The funds were approved by Governor Gavin Newsom for the 2019-2020 budget.

With $3.5 million in state funding, construction can now begin on Mission Heritage Plaza—a mixed-use building and home to the new Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA)

How planets are formed is one of the great mysteries of astrophysics. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with a University of California Riverside(UCR) professor who contributed to an exciting discovery on the topic published in the journal Nature.

Scientists believe planets are born from disks of gas and dust orbiting new stars, but it has never been observed first hand. So, when data confirmed the existence of a planet caught in the act of forming in the debris around a young star, Dr. Stephen Kane was thrilled.


Efforts to elevate the stories of undocumented seniors seeking treatment for chronic illness and preventative care failed to win an expansion of Medi-Cal in the approved California state budget on June 25. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke to an immigrant right’s advocate on what this means for the Inland Empire.

Not only are seniors at a higher risk for COVID-19, but immigrant communities have been disproportionately hit hard by the pandemic says Lyzzeth Mendoza, a policy manager for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

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Since the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals(D.A.C.A.), resource officers at local community colleges are seeing both hope and fear in the community.  Please note: San Bernardino Community College District holds the license for this station. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more.

With D.A.C.A. upheld, Mt. San Jacinto College Dreamers and DACA Liaison, Leslie Salas, is continuing to take a holistic approach in her student outreach—focusing not only on legal challenges, but academic counseling, and mental health.


The California Air Resources Board will be voting on a rule to electrify trucks and big rigs on Thursday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on how this could affect the Inland Empire.

Advocates say a yes vote on the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation would be a win for the Inland Empire. Especially neighborhoods impacted by the diesel pollution from the region’s thriving warehouse and logistics industry.

6/24/20 – Jose Arballo Discusses COVID-19 Testing

Jun 24, 2020

Lillian speaks with Jose Arballo, the Public Information Specialist for Riverside County Department of Public Health. Jose talks about COVID-19 testing sites, the process of getting tested, and future plans for testing.

To learn more about The Riverside County Department of Public Health, visit


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Riverside County Superior Court has a new offering to make public viewings of court proceedings safer. 

Livestreams will now be available for all public court proceedings at Riverside County Superior Court starting June 22.

The move is an attempt to balance the right to view public proceedings with the health and safety of the public, court participants, and judicial officers and employees.

Criminal trial courtrooms will be the first to receive the service where it will then then be expanded over the coming weeks. The only exception with be juvenile court.


The state of California is extending an important deadline for families with children who are eligible for food stamp assistance. 

Due to a high volume of applications, families in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties now have until July 15 to apply for the state’s pandemic food stamps program called P-EBT.

The program provides up to $365 per eligible child for food and groceries. Eligible children include those who received free or reduced priced meals at school.

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After the University of Redlands made a statement on June 9 committing to address systemic racism, a group of alumni is demanding an immediate fulfillment of that promise with a boycott.

Emma Wade, a class of 2017 alumna, says the statement made by University of Redland’s President Ralph Kuncl, outlining the college’s efforts to address racism fell short.

“It said Black Lives Matter, and now all we’re asking is that they implement the structure necessary to make such a claim,” said Wade.

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:


A Fontana truck and trailer dealership with be the location of Volvo’s first pilot all-electric truck in North America.

The zero-emissions vehicle will move parts between the T.E.C. Equipment dealerships in Fontana and La Mirada.

The program to develop an all-electric truck was done in partnership with multiple groups including the South Coast Air Quality Management District. It was made possible in part by a statewide initiative to use cap-and-trade money to fund the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(D.A.C.A.) program awaits a U.S. Supreme Court decision this month. If repealed, it could have a significant impact on the Inland Empire with a loss of workers and deportations.

Najayra, a 24-year-old D.A.C.A. recipient says, she is feeling both tired and frustrated about the upcoming Supreme Court decision.

“The decision is like always pending every week and being pushed back," said Najayra. For me it has reaffirmed the need to continue to stay resilient even in times of uncertainty.”


The Riverside County District Attorney and police chiefs from Corona and Riverside held a press conference to announce an arrest in a serial cold case today/Wednesday. Please be advised the following audio story contains details of sexual assault. 

Corona Police Chief George Johnstone says DNA evidence and genetic genealogy led to an arrest for a series of rape cold cases more than 25 years old.

50-year-old Darin Edward Cooke, faces 16 counts including forceable rape and assault against six victims.

Lillian Vasquez speaks with Dr. Sam Zidovetzki, an emergency room doctor who volunteered to serve on the front lines. Dr. Z shares his experience of volunteering for a hospital in the South Bronx in New York. He also teaches medical students at UC Riverside.

To learn more about Dr. Sam Zidovetzki, visit

The Redlands City Council moved a step closer to putting a one cent sales tax increase on the November ballot Tuesday evening. 

During the council's first reading of the meausre, the public comments were mostly in opposition to the idea of a sales tax increase. But a presentation of an initial ballot test showed a two-thirds voter approval rating.

A one cent sales tax increase, could provide $10 million a year for police, fire, library and parks which all took funding cuts in the 2020-2021 budget.

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The loud booms and cracks of fireworks are on the rise as the July 4 holiday nears. In an effort to deter illegal use this year, the City of San Bernardino voted to increase fines in April.

“We don’t want you to hurt yourself or a neighbor or cause a fire by being unsafe so that’s the whole purpose that the measures are in place,” says Sergeant John Echevarria, spokesman for the San Bernardino Police Department Community Affairs Division.

Lillian Vasquez speaks with Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis. She discusses the coronavirus pandemic and her part in the battle, and also talks about recent protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

To learn more about Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, visit

Courtesy of UC Riverside

The coronavirus pandemic may have upended the world of live theatre, but the Theatre Department at the University of California, Riverside has found a way around it. They created a hybrid play, film, and radio drama called “At the Pass” which will soon be turned into a podcast. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with some of the key players behind “At the Pass.”

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

Demonstrators Gather To Demand Release Of Lawrence Bender

Jun 12, 2020
Megan Jamerson / KVCR

Demonstrators gathered Thursday outside the San Bernardino Courthouse to demand the release of Lawrence Bender, a black man shot by Rialto police officers in San Bernardino last year.

The event drew over one hundred people and was organized by Black Lives Matter Inland Empire. Representatives from the group have been in contact with Bender’s family and his attorney, who spoke at the event.

Bender was hospitalized following an officer-involved shooting with Rialto police in June 2019.

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:

Individual grants of up to $10,000 are now available to Riverside County small business owners thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security, or CARES Act.

The CARES Act provided $431 million to Riverside County, and $45 million of that went to an allotment for small businesses.

President Donald Trump signed the act into law in March.

Riverside County is distributing that money in grants up to $10,000 for businesses hit by the coronavirus.

Rob Moran is the Deputy Director of Business Services for Riverside County.

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State Senator Connie Leyva made a statement Thursday amid growing concerns about systemic racism. 

Senator Connie Leyva of Chino, is urging the state of California to declare racism a public health emergency.

In a Thursday press release, Leyva says she was inspired by the recent decision by the County of San Bernardino to draft a similar resolution. She says this is the first step in addressing the systemic racism that has oppressed millions of Californians, particularly Black Americans, throughout state history.