Megan Jamerson

American Red Cross

Blood banks like the American Red Cross in the Inland Empire and across the country are renewing calls for volunteer donations due to shortages.

As COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed and hospitals resume elective surgeries, demand for blood has grown by 30 percent nationally. Now San Bernardino County blood banks are seeing shortages. 

Last week the America Red Cross made a joint statement with American Blood Centers calling for donations. Blood centers are reporting inventories near their lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic. 

MEGAN JAMERSON/KVCR

Thousands gathered in downtown Riverside Monday night to protest the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. While it was mostly peaceful, volunteers showed up Tuesday morning to help clean up. 

Tuesday morning, volunteers were out cleaning up downtown Riverside. It was the day after hundreds gathered there to peacefully protest the death of George Floyd. By 8:30 a.m. there was little sign of the previous night’s event except graffiti and boarded up windows.

Ontario International Airport

Ontario International Airport officials are beginning to see optimistic signs that the worst of the travel declines may be behind us.

With the release of upcoming commercial flight schedules, officials at Ontario International Airport said in a press release they are feeling measured optimism that the worst of the travel declines from the coronavirus pandemic have passed.

MEGAN JAMERSON/KVCR

Graduation in the uncertain era of COVID-19 means postponed ceremonies and virtual congratulations. But one Inland Empire college managed to put together a drive through event to celebrate the class of 2020.

Across Riverside and San Bernardino County nearly two dozen two year and four year colleges are adapting their graduation celebrations during the coronavirus crisis.

“We may be apart for now, but we want to celebrate your many accomplishments as a Cal Poly Pomona Bronco,” said Dr. Soraya Coley.

Loma Linda University Health

An illustrated book to help children understand the coronavirus pandemic written by two Loma Linda University Medical students has become an international success.

When Devon Scott, a Loma Linda University Medical student got to thinking about how confusing the COVID-19 pandemic is for adults he realized kids like his nephews and nieces must be struggling too. So, he called up his partner and fellow med school classmate Samantha Harris and pitched her the idea of a children’s book.

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The Redlands Police Department is holding a safety enforcement event on May 27. They will be watching for driver, pedestrian and bicyclist violations.

When heading out for essential errands or daily exercise on May 27, be mindful to obey the traffic rules. The Redlands Police Department will be patrolling to enforce driving, bicycle and pedestrian safety during a day-long event.

Police will be looking for violations like drivers failing to yield to pedestrians, pedestrians who cross streets illegally, and bikers not following stop signs and signals.

Wikimedia Commons

Some foods are still in short supply due to the coronavirus crisis so the California Department of Health program for Women, Infants and Children, most often referred to as WIC, has temporarily expanded food benefits. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on how this will affect local participants.

Inland Empire recipients of WIC food benefits will be receiving a new California WIC card in the mail. It will allow participants to buy from an expanded food list due to some items being difficult to find during the coronavirus crisis.

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As the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close for Muslims this Sunday, a Riverside mosque continues to adapt to keep the community safe during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community for Muslims, is usually a time of large gatherings and shared meals. Instead, like all other religious groups, the Islamic Center of Riverside had to adjust to COVID-19 restrictions.

"It feels really strange and awkward. Nobody imagined this sort of thing could happen.”

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Community organizations making phone calls to remind historically undercounted Inland Empire residents to take the census have adjusted their scripts to include a coronavirus welfare check. 

Italia Garcia, knows it must be strange to get a phone call from someone you don’t know asking you how you are.

“Sometimes you know, people are not very receptive to that, but for the most part people have been very very receptive to our calls," says Garcia.

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A bill proposed by State Assemblymember James Ramos, that would reduce rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, moved one step closer to state law Tuesday. 

The bill, introduced to the state assembly in February by Highland’s Assemblymember James Ramos, unanimously passed the Public Safety Committee on May 19.

In a press release, Ramos, the former chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, says the murder rates of Native American women can be ten times the national average on some reservations.

state.gov

Riverside County expanded its coronavirus testing, on Monday, to include walk-up sites in Moreno Valley and Cathedral City.

Residents can now be tested at two county operated walk-in testing sites. Sites include a location at Crossword Christian Church in Moreno Valley and a screening site in Cathedral City.

These will be the first walk-in sites operated by the county. There are already eight state run walk-in testing sites in the area.

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Researchers at the University of California Riverside(UCR) say the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse the Inland Empire’s decade of growth in nonprofits.

Non-profit startups have increased by 42 percent over the last decade in the Inland Empire, but it could all be at risks due to pandemic related financial hits says Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Director of the Center for Social Innovation at UCR.

CalTrans

CalTrans has installed a sign on State Route 38 to honor the memory of a Mentone based U.S. Forest Service firefighter.

  

The sign in honor of U.S. Forest Service firefighter Brent Michael Witham was installed near Mentone to rename a section of State Route 38 between Mill Creek Bridge and Mountain Home Creek Bridge in his memory on April 29.

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Couples wishing to get married during the COVID-19 shutdown have a new option in San Bernardino County with online video marriage ceremonies. 

“I now pronounce you married. You may seal your vows with a kiss.”

That’s Melissa Garcia, Chief Deputy Recorder for San Bernardino County performing their first ever video wedding for Yucca Valley residents Trent and Crystal Bell on May 11.

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Riverside County Superior Court announced it will be extending its closure of non-essential matters through the end of May.

Citing COVID-19 related concerns and compliance with federal, state and local guidelines, the court closure, extended now through May 29 will affect most court appearances including jury trials and jury duty summons.

The court remains open for limited emergency matters and notes that all visitors are required to be masked and maintain six feet of social distance.