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.”

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:

Benjamin Purper / KVCR

The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has led many people to take up activism of some kind – whether that’s through donating, protesting, or hashtagging. Now, we hear from a local comedian whose street comedy has taken a turn into activism. Aaron Chase is a stand-up comedian from Riverside who regularly performs in Downtown Redlands, and he spoke with KVCR’s Benjamin Purper.

The full interview will air on an upcoming episode of KVCArts. 

Activists Rally Outside Adelanto ICE Processing Center

May 29, 2020
Benjamin Purper / KVCR

Protesters rallied outside the Adelanto ICE Processing Center yesterday to denounce what they say are poor conditions for immigrants detained in the center. ICE denies this and says it’s taking the necessary steps to combat COVID-19 in the facility. 

Protesters gathered in front of the ICE Processing Center in Adelanto to denounce the conditions inside the facility, which they say are substandard.

The FDA has given emergency authorization to a Fontana-based company to produce and manufacture “Patient Isolation Transportation Units” for use with COVID-19 patients. 

The Patient Isolation Transportation Unit, or PITU, is an enclosure that makes it safer to work with patients with highly contagious diseases.

It’s what’s called a negative pressure isolation enclosure.

The California Employment Development Department today released the state’s unemployment rates for last month, including those of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. 

The state’s unemployment rate was at a record 15.5 percent in April as the state’s employers lost more than 2 million non-farm payroll jobs.

San Bernardino County’s unemployment rate jumped to 13.4 percent, and Riverside’s went up to 15.3 percent.

The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in April was 14.4%, up from only 5.2% in March.

Arek Socha/Pixabay

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.

KVCR has been interviewing local elected officials about the coronavirus. Now, we have an interview with 5th District Supervisor for Riverside County, Jeff Hewitt. Supervisor Hewitt discusses his reasoning for voting to rescind most of the coronavirus restrictions put in place by Riverside County Health Officer Cameron Kaiser. 

Editor's note: The CDC in its guidelines recommends wearing face masks in public. Neighboring Los Angeles County requires masks in public, but it is no longer mandated in Riverside or San Bernardino Counties.

May is Mental Health Month, and we have a series of stories about mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we have an interview with Dr. David Puder of Loma Linda University Health, who is worried about a potential increase in depression and suicide as a result of the pandemic and its economic fallout. As a warning, this story does talk extensively about suicide. Here’s KVCR’s Benjamin Purper in conversation with Dr. Puder.

You can hear more of Dr. Puder’s work on the Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast.


Public comments on budget cuts to a centuries old public institution stretched a Redland’s City Council meeting to nearly eight hours. The council met to discuss a proposed budget to handle revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facing a fifteen point seven-million-dollar shortfall for next year’s budget, Mayor Paul Foster led a virtual city council meeting on Tuesday morning. Broadcast online, with city council members calling in remotely, the tone was somber.

On Friday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors rescinded all but one of their own public health officer’s coronavirus orders, effectively loosening restrictions on mandates such as the requirement to wear face masks in public and practice social distancing. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with Riverside City Councilmember and small business owner Ronaldo Fierro about the Board’s decision and what it means for the city of Riverside. 

Before last week’s vote, the Riverside City Council voted to send a letter to the Board asking them to delay it.

The city of Fontana is out $6.8 million in revenue thanks to the coronavirus. It’s also the city with the second-most coronavirus cases in San Bernardino County, as of Tuesday. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with the mayor of Fontana, Acquanetta Warren, about the revenue loss and what it means for the city.

Coronavirus Interview: Congressman Pete Aguilar

May 1, 2020

As part of our series of interviews with local elected officials about the coronavirus, we now have a conversation with Congressman Pete Aguilar, whose district includes San Bernardino and Redlands among other San Bernardino County cities. Aguilar discusses a recent town hall he held with Small Business Administration experts, what's next for legislative coronavirus relief, and the state of testing for COVID-19 in the Inland Empire. 

Latest COVID-19 Updates in the Inland Empire

Apr 29, 2020

This post will be edited as new information comes to light about coronavirus within the Inland Empire. For additional up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Riverside and SB County, check our daily MIDDAY NEWS REPORT. Listen here  

Update as of April 29th, 2020

Riverside County Offers Growing List of Food Resources for Homebound Seniors   

Now we have a conversation with Sarah McKinnon, Vice President of Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, about how hospice care workers are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care has an office in San Bernardino.

Andrew Caravella / KVCR News

The Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County held a drive-thru food distribution event at San Bernardino Valley College today. KVCR’s Andrew Caravella interviewed the CEO of the organization, Patricia Nickols-Butler.

More information is available at

Now we continue our series of talking to local elected officials about the coronavirus through an interview with Curt Hagman, Fourth District Supervisor of San Bernardino County and Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. 

You can hear the full interview on an upcoming segment of Inland Edition. 

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has named a new chairman, Ken Ramirez. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with Ramirez about the tribe and what it’s doing during this time of pandemic.

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. San Bernardino faces a $5 million deficit, and other news from the city.
  2. Three Inland religious groups suing CA over coronavirus restrictions.
  3. The chancellor of Riverside Community College District has been sued for gender discrimination.


Tad Worku

Musician and trauma nurse Tad Worku's latest release, "Love Is All," seeks to offer some hope amid a global pandemic.

"It feels like the entire world has been thrown into an emergency department," says Tad Worku, a musician-turned-E.R.-nurse whose day job at the Loma Linda University Health emergency room has gotten tangled up with his music in this time of pandemic.

Worku is the son of Ethiopian immigrants to the United States. He got his start in music playing trumpet, but quickly moved on to guitar and piano.

The University of California, Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation has released new resources to help track and fight COVID-19, as well as a new report on the state of nonprofits in the Inland Empire. 

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:

Coronavirus Interview: Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes

Apr 9, 2020

During this time of crisis, KVCR has been interviewing local elected officials about the coronavirus. We continue that series now through an interview with Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes, who represents San Bernardino, Fontana, Colton, and other Inland Empire cities. 

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton will hold drive-through coronavirus testing beginning April 9. 

COVID-19 testing will be available for the public by appointment only.

The testing will be conducted at the outpatient building entrance on the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center campus.

The testing will occur on Thursday and Friday of this week as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week, from 8a.m. to 5p.m.

In a press release, ARMC said additional testing date will be announced at a later date.


Inland Empire Health Plan, or IEHP, has expanded its remote services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jarrod McNaughton is the CEO of IEHP.

He says the expansion of telehealth services is a step in the right direction.

“What's great about this is that both the state as well as the federal government have actually relaxed the requirements that were in place previously to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow providers to actually have both video or telephonic audio visits with their patients," McNaughton says.


The geographic information systems company Esri, headquartered in Redlands, is playing a major role in mapping the spread of the coronavirus. 

Esri’s mapping technology is being used by the World Health Organization, John Hopkins University, and other organizations tracking the spread of the virus.

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

1) Riverside County now has 799 cases of the coronavirus after a large spike over the weekend.

2) San Bernardino County now has 373 cases of the virus and 13 deaths.

3) Tenant rights groups and some lawmakers say Governor Gavin Newsom must do more to protect California tenants who lost their income during the coronavirus crisis. 

Coronavirus Interview: Yucaipa Mayor David Avila

Apr 6, 2020

We continue our series of talking to local mayors about the coronavirus. Today, we have Yucaipa Mayor David Avila in conversation with KVCR’s Benjamin Purper.

To assist Empire KVCR News with local information connected to the coronavirus pandemic, former Press Enterprise columnist and longtime KVCR News contributor Cassie MacDuff has been connecting with local mayors to ask what they're doing to protect residents and help slow the spread of the virus. Yesterday we began with Riverside and today we move to San Bernardino. 

Coronavirus Interview: Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey

Apr 1, 2020

To assist Empire KVCR News with local information connected to the coronavirus pandemic, former Press Enterprise columnist and longtime KVCR News contributor Cassie MacDuff has been connecting with localmayors to ask what they're doing to protetc residents and slow the spread of the virus. She begins now with Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. 

More from Mayor Bailey and the city of Riverside is online at