News

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

Audrey Matthews, professor emeritus at Cal State San Bernardino, passed away on December 31, 2020 at the age of 84. Matthews dedicated her life to public service, spending more than 35 years working in local and state government as a professor, budget director, planning director and consultant. She was also a member of San Bernardino County’s Planning Commission and the county’s Workforce Investment Board. 

The first known California case of the Brazilian strain of the coronavirus has been found in San Bernardino County. 

According to San Bernardino County health officials, a San Bernardino man in his 40s is the first person in the state confirmed to have the P.1 variant.

The man was tested on March 2 and was confirmed to have the variant on March 13.

According to the county, contact tracers have been communicating with the man, who has been self-isolating at home.

County officials are investigating how he was exposed to the variant.

State of California Employment Development Department

In the state’s first unemployment report for 2021, the Inland Empire continues to outpace the state in regaining jobs. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports the unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino County dropped to 8.6 percent in January—a marginal improvement since December of last year.

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. The Riverside County District Attorney is accused of interfering in how the registrar of voters runs elections in the county.
 2. The ACLU is suing to stop the district attorneys of Riverside and San Bernardino counties from attempting to “fast-track” executions of prisoners convicted in their counties.

Center Against Racism and Trauma

The Moreno Valley based Center Against Racism and Trauma, also known as CART, is hosting the Inland Empire’s first annual anti-racism summit next week. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on what attendees can expect.

From the start of the virtual event set for the evening of March 17, attendees will be invited to take action against racism in their own lives and communities says CART founder and director Corey Jackson.

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A proposed state mandate, that would aim to get businesses that operate fleets of diesel trucks to transition to zero emissions vehicles will soon be released for public review. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, the rule has the potential to improve the Inland Empires’ air quality issues that have worsened since the region’s logistics industry boom.

house.gov/media

The House of Representatives passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package today, sending the legislation to the president’s desk for his signature. Now that it’s passed both chambers of Congress, President Biden is expected to sign it on Friday, meaning relief payments could hit Inland Empire residents’ bank accounts in the next few weeks. 

Pixy

According to the latest state metrics, San Bernardino County is one week away from reopening more indoor businesses on March 17.

The county’s 6.7% adjusted case rate, 3.2% positivity rate and 4% health equity metric, or the positivity rate in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, have qualified it to advance to the red tier of the state’s re-opening blueprint. Barring any dramatic changes over the next week, businesses like dance studios, gyms, fitness centers and movie theaters, will be able to reopen with modifications.

UC DAVIS

Some elementary school students began a return to classrooms Tuesday as the Riverside Unified School District started to reopen schools.

To start, students will be in the classroom one day a week, but this hybrid in-person and virtual learning approach could advance to a twice a week as pandemic conditions improve.

Inland News Today reports, that continued improvement means middle and high school students may be able to return to in-person instruction as early as March 29.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has arrived in the Inland Empire, which means the new vaccine will be available at both Riverside and San Bernardino County vaccination sites later this week.

Riverside University Health System’s Dr. Geoffrey Leung told his board of supervisors this influx of new vaccine supply means all appointments for county run vaccination sites are now open to both first and second dose appointments. Up until now most sites in Riverside County were limited to first dose appointments.

Environmental Education Collaborative

The Environmental Education Collaborative, a nonprofit which seeks to advance environmental education in the Inland Empire, is holding a 2021 art contest with the themes of air and justice. 

The 2021 Environmental Art Contest is for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students and adults. Applicants must address one or both themes in one of three areas: visual art, writing, or video, which can include spoken word performance and music.

Picpedia

The coronavirus pandemic has had a mixed impact on credit card debt in the Inland Empire. According to Inland News Today, consumers in San Bernardino, Fontana and Ontario repaid millions of dollars in debt in 2020, but people in Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga and Moreno Valley increased their debt.

That list comes from a WalletHub report that shows average credit card debt in Inland Empire cities stands at nearly $15,000. Nationally the average household balance is $8,000.

Submitted/SBCSS

A free online workshop designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in computer science is coming to the Inland Empire this month. 

Middle school girls, administrators and parents from Riverside and San Bernardino County are invited to attend the CyberIE Girls, formerly known as the CyberSB workshop on Saturday, March 13.

CSUSB To Host Virtual "Route 66 Women" Event

Mar 8, 2021
CSUSB

As part of Cal State San Bernardino’s celebration of Women's History Month, they’re hosting a program called "Route 66 Women," which will take place Tuesday, March 9, from 11:30 to 1 p.m. via Zoom. The event will celebrate women of color, San Bernardino’s history, and Route 66. KVCR’s Lillian Vasquez spoke with Marc Robinson, Assistant Professor of History at CSUSB, to learn more about the event.

To learn more about CSUSB’s “Route 66 Women” program on Tuesday, March 9, visit www.csusb.edu/event/539457

KVCR's over the air broadcast coming from our transmitter and tower on Box Springs Mountain was interrupted at approximately 8:00 PM Saturday evening. KVCR engineers restored the transmission just after 11:00 AM Sunday. We are investigating the outage and will do everything in our power to address any issues that might again cause such an outage in the future. We know that KVCR's listeners deserve the best service we can provide and we apologize for this extended outage.
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KC Flynn 2009/Creative Commons

The San Bernardino City Unified School District announced today that its students will stay closed for the remainder of the school year. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on the decision.

Citing concerns over the high COVID-19 infection rates within the district’s boundaries, administrators have decided to keep its 48,000 students in distance learning. The latest county data shows the city of San Bernardino’s daily new case rate is in the widespread risk category.

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.  Jurupa Valley has banned smoking in all new apartment and condo complexes.
2.  San Bernardino’s mayor is under fire for allegedly trying to steer the Carousel Mall redevelopment project to the developer he favors.
3.  Eastvale voters may approve a higher spending cap for their city council.
4.  Criminal cases involving Inland Empire residents.

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez

Riverside County mobilized a team to assist a group of asylum seekers who arrived in Blythe Wednesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez who had the chance to meet the individuals before they were transported to the Coachella Valley.

The group of 15 was made up of five families with minors ranging from age five to 16-years-old that had had traveled from as far away as Cuba and Venezuela. Supervisor Perez said he felt both heartbreak and hope when met the individuals at the Blythe Border Patrol station.

City of Riverside/TWITTER

The city of Riverside is asking residents to keep getting tested for COVID-19. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports testing is central to re-opening businesses, schools and the economy.

Riverside County has shown some encouraging improvements in positivity rates in recent weeks, but the other metrics the state looks at to determine what re-opening tier a county is qualified for are still preventing the region from advancing to the less restrictive red tier in the state’s re-opening blueprint.

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

Listos California

A new project from Listos California and the Inland Empire Community Foundation seeks to keep Filipino Americans informed about resources available to them around the coronavirus vaccine, natural disasters and more. 

It’s called the “Social Bridging Project,” and it uses voter engagement technology to reach vulnerable people by phone and connect them with resources.

The newly appointed California State University Chancellor, Joseph Castro, made Cal State San Bernardino his second stop on a statewide virtual tour of campuses Wednesday. 

During a media briefing, Castro, the former President of Cal State Fresno, said he plans to raise the visibility of the 23-campus system throughout the state and nation.

Honoring San Bernardino's Pastor Mack

Mar 3, 2021

If you live, work or play on the southwestern edge of San Bernardino, you might recognize Pastor Joseph Mack. Pastor Mack was a man who gave of himself in the service of the poor.

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Some youth and adult sports may now resume play in Riverside County now that coronavirus case rates have met a state threshold. The eligible moderate and high contact sports include soccer, football, baseball, cheer and water polo.

Inland News Today reported Tuesday that case rates in Riverside County dipped to 11.3 per 100,000 residents, well below the state threshold of 14 needed to resume sports.

Auto Club Speedway

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

  1. Riverside County health officials announced a milestone of giving over 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses.
  2. Ontario International Airport is expanding service to Chicago this summer, a sign of the airport’s steady recovery from the pandemic.
  3. Humanitarian crisis response organization Team Rubicon assisted at the mass coronavirus vaccination site at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Environmental Education Collaborative

The Environmental Education Collaborative and Rialto Unified School District are holding a Youth Climate Action Summit tomorrow to bring together educators, students and more to discuss climate issues in the Inland Empire.

The Environmental Education Collaborative describes the event as “creating a sustainable and just future through environmental learning experiences for all.”

Mary Borobia Walls is with the EEC.

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