Megan Jamerson


Like nearly every tradition this year, St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Riverside had to adapt their 30-year tradition of giving out Thanksgiving food baskets. A normally indoor community event was shaped into a drive-thru service.

Second in the car line for her 3 p.m. pick-up time was Thelma Lewis, a 73-year-old Riverside resident, who said she received a call to sign up for the service this year.

“Any little bit helps because so many people is in need," said Lewis. "And so many people are missing families and being able to share and be with their families.”

Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are asking residents to gather responsibly this Thanksgiving as COVID-19 numbers rose quickly in November.

At a press conference Tuesday, Riverside County Public Health Director Dr. Kim Saruwatari urged residents to plan "smaller, shorter and safer" holiday celebrations.

San Bernardino National Forest/TWITTER

San Bernardino National Forest officials warn peak fire season is not yet over and are asking residents to keep on guard while enjoying the forest this holiday week.

A combination of dry vegetation and forecasted Santa Ana winds Thanksgiving weekend means wildfires could still easily ignite and be difficult to control. 

To reduce fire risks, the forest service will continue to prohibit campfires, smoking, and target shooting.

Also, access remains closed for the burn areas of the recent Apple, El Dorado, and Snow fires.

As the pandemic rages on, public trust in institutions is down and disparities across society are up. A panel of U.C. Riverside and U.C. Merced social scientists met virtually on November 19 to dig into why.

During the two-hour panel they shared the ways COVID-19 is worsening existing inequalities across sectors like health, education and the work force. Several panelists pointed to the question of who has the power in policy decision-making and if they are asking the right questions.

Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Representative Raul Ruiz of Coachella introduced a bill November 18 to increase federal investments in the Salton Sea, a region that continues to grapple with an ongoing public health crisis.

In a press release, the office of Rep. Ruiz said the federal government is one of the largest landowners in the area. This is one of the reasons why the bill aims to hold the federal government accountable to its commitment to restore the lake.


The Riverside City Council voted unanimously to adopt unique new guidelines to minimize the impact of bringing warehouses into the community on November 10. 

Revisions to the 2008 Good Neighbor Guidelines and city zoning codes were five years in the making, but now the city has the strictest requirements for new warehouse developments in the region.

National Institute of Health

The news of two promising COVID-19 vaccines, had both the Riverside and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors discussing preliminary plans for distribution at their meetings Tuesday.

San Bernardino County Director of Public Health Corwin Porter says it is not yet clear how many doses the state is set to receive, but the latest vaccine news provides some mid-term hope.

“So that is good news for us because that is one way that we can help combat obviously the virus which has taken a major toll on our county,” said Porter.

U.S. Geological Survey

It has been an active start to the week for San Bernardino County fault lines. The region was hit with two 3.5 magnitude earthquakes within a 10-hour period according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

On Tuesday morning one quake was centered in the Mojave Desert, 40 miles east of Barstow, and on Monday evening another was recorded 60 miles to the southwest near Morongo Valley. It was felt in Big Bear Lake and Palm Springs.

These are some of the largest seismic events since a 3.9 earthquake was recorded near the Salton Sea in late October.

Ontario International Airport

Ontario International Airport continues to show signs of a steady recovery since hitting a pandemic low in April.

The airport’s October numbers showed a sixth straight month of increased passenger traffic, but total traveler volume is still 56 percent lower than in 2019. This steady recovery puts the airport in the lead among California airports. A full recovery is not expected to happen for another year or more.

Francisco Pedraza/TWITTER

As election results continue to trickle in across California and the nation, KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke to U.C. Riverside Political Science Professor Francisco Pedraza about some of the big questions post-election. They discussed record voter turnout during the pandemic, what is at stake for American democracy, and how the professionals got the polls wrong once again.

Riverside University Health System/FACEBOOK

For the 49th year in a row, the Riverside University Health System received a grant from the state to expand access to primary care. 

The grant totaling $625,000 will allow for an increase in the number of medical residents they train for the primary care field. The program has hosted over 300 students during the nearly 50 years it has received this grant.

In a press release, the Family Medicine Resident Program Director Parastou Farhadian said the grant is important as they continue to expand medical access to the region’s most vulnerable community members.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Riverside County officials are eyeing a December end to current federal coronavirus funding, which is partly used for testing and tracing. 

Riverside County Executive Officer George Johnson told the board of supervisors at their meeting on November 10, that he is planning for the worst-case scenario of no extended federal stimulus money in 2021 due to gridlock in Washington.

“We do need state and federal assistance to keep paying for these testing and tracing functions," said Johnson. "We can’t do it alone.”


With the presidential election still undecided, a peaceful demonstration in support of protecting uncounted ballots was held in front of the downtown Riverside courthouse Wednesday afternoon.

Around 100 people wearing masks peacefully gathered for the rally. Organizer Matt Abularach-Macias, said he feels California and the Inland Empire had a successful free and fair election with very few issues, but it is the rest of the country that he is worried about.

Agnes Gibboney

Election Day is tomorrow, and one of the names many Inland Empire voters will see on their ballot is Agnes Gibboney. Gibboney, a retired education assistant for special education children, is running to represent California's 31st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. KVCR asked Gibboney about the local and state reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter and policing, wildfire season and climate change, and more.

A local high school student’s audio commentary was selected to be a part of a San Francisco public radio station KQED’s Election 2020 Youth Media Challenge screening October 21.

Wikimedia Commons

A zero-emissions vehicle future was set into motion when Governor Newsom signed an executive order in September to end the sale of all new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. Programs that train mechanics, like one at San Bernardino Valley College, are already adapting. 

Alexander Cruz, has been teaching an intro to hybrid and electric vehicle technology class at San Bernardino Valley College for about a year. Before that he worked with Hyundai to help techs at dealerships across the U.S. diagnose vehicle problems. He said it was eye opening.

San Bernardino County Department of Public Health/Facebook

San Bernardino County Department of Public Health kicked off a week of Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention on Monday.

The message they want families and community members to hear is that even small amounts of lead can harm a child’s health. Lead poisoning can have serious effects on the brain and nervous system says County Supervising Public Health Nurse Sara Hernandez-Singh.


The Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California broke ground on its new home in downtown Riverside on October 22. It received over $3.5 million in funding from the state of California in June.

Over 150 people gathered at a dirt lot on the corner of Mission Inn Avenue and Fairmount Boulevard to celebrate the ground breaking of Mission Heritage Plaza. It will be the new home of the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California and the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County.

A new U.C. Riverside report found overall suspension rates are down for Inland Empire students, but rates for some minority groups remain disproportionately high.

San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters

Election day is just two weeks away and the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters says early voting numbers are up compared to the weeks leading into the 2016 election. 

San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters Bob Page said at a Monday press conference that on their last count, nearly 12 percent of the more than 1.1 million ballots mailed to voters have been returned so far.  At this point in 2016, there was just over a one percent turnout.


Monday, October 19 is the last day to register to vote, and the latest numbers show that Inland Empire voters have been registering at some of the highest rates in the state.

According to state data, as of September 4, San Bernardino County had the second highest percent increase in voter registrations in the state. Riverside County had the fifth largest. U.C. Riverside political science professor, Francisco Pedraza says this regional rise may be due to decades of work done by community organizations.  

California’s annual earthquake drill is happening Thursday October 15. This year during distanced learning, teachers and students are being asked to participate virtually. 

San Bernardino City Unified School District Emergency Manager, Eric Vetere, says normally the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill is done in-person and involves the evacuation of entire school campuses into field areas.

The University of Redlands has started a process to develop a diversity and inclusion plan that will be ready by the fall of 2021.

This is a follow-up on a KVCR report about a group of alumni who started a boycott in June. They were demanding action to address institutional racism after Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation and the University president declared support for the cause.

U.C. Riverside’s School of Business gave an optimistic outlook for the Inland Empire’s economic recovery from the pandemic-related recession during its annual conference on October 13. In many sectors, the region fairs better than the state despite a slowed recovery of jobs lost due to the shutdown. 

Dr. Christopher Thornberg, director of U.C.R.’s Center for Economic Forecasting, says record home sales and increased consumer spending in recent months shows that people are learning to live as normally as possible with COVID-19.


Both the Riverside and San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters say the U.S. Postal Service received mail-in ballots ready to send to voters on Monday, October 5.

Voters can sign up with the Secretary of State’s “Where’s My Ballot” tracking system to see when their ballots are mailed, received, and counted.

Riverside County received a warning from the state Tuesday that it is in danger of slipping back into the first phase or purple tier of the re-opening plan. This could cause some recently reopened businesses to close once again. 

On September 22, Riverside County’s COVID-19 numbers were improving and so the county advanced into the state’s second or red tier re-opening phase, allowing some businesses like gyms, restaurants and salons to partially resume indoor services.

Former Press Enterprise columnist and long-time KVCR-news contributor Cassie MacDuff and KVCR's Megan Jamerson take a look at the Riverside Mayoral Race and local ballot measures to watch out for. 

The presidential race often steals attention away from local races and ballot measures. Former Press Enterprise columnist and long-time KVCR-news contributor Cassie MacDuff and KVCR's Megan Jamerson review some interesting IE races to look out for including State Assembly District 42 and State Senate District 23.

American Indian Alaska Native Veterans Memorial Committee

September 25 is California’s Native American Day and to celebrate, Riverside National Cemetery is breaking ground on the nation’s first major memorial to honor Indigenous veterans at a national cemetery.


California has a resolution to encourage voter registration in high schools. But just last week the city of San Bernardino’s School Board became the first in the Inland Empire to make it a requirement with just over a month to go before the November election. KVCR's Megan Jamerson has the story.