Local news

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.

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.

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

  1. Riverside County officials released current COVID-19 cases, stating that the positivity rates from corona virus screenings have ranged from 2% - 4%.
  2. The EDD is conducting a mass hiring to deal with a huge backlog of claims.
  3. Governor Newsom says he might have to cut programs to make ends meet due to a budget shortfall, but some workers are pushing back.

Lillian Vasquez speaks with Morongo Casino Resort and Spa’s Executive Director of Marketing, Simon Farmer. Simon Farmer shares Morongo’s preparations leading up to their reopening, how they are using precautions, and how the opening over Memorial Day weekend went.

To learn more about Morongo Casino Resort and Spa, visit morongocasinoresort.com

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

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.

Lillian Vasquez revisits her interview with Dr. Joe Chaffin, Chief Medical Officer for LifeStream Blood Bank. Donations are still needed and now LifeStream is collecting convalescent plasma donations- plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.

For more information about LifeStream and where you can go to donate, visit lstream.org

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

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.

First 5

Lillian Vasquez speaks with two First 5 Executive Directors, Karen Scott who represents San Bernardino and Tammi Graham representing Riverside. They discuss how their work helps connect families to crucial programs across our region.

For more information about First 5 San Bernardino, visit first5sanbernardino.org

For more information about First 5 Riverside, visit rccfc.org

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

  1. Riverside County surpassed 6,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
  2. Riverside County expanded its coronavirus testing, including walk-up sites in Moreno Valley and Cathedral City.
  3. Californians applying for unemployment benefits will automatically be applying for federal coronavirus benefits too.
  4. Plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 could help patients fighting the disease.

Lillian Vasquez speaks with Human Resources expert and Chief Marketing Officer of Hibob, Rhiannon Staples, about adjustments to the workplace due to COVID-19 and how the work environment will continue to change even after the pandemic.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

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:

Freight Volume Increases Continue at ONT

May 15, 2020
pixabay

Ontario International Airport is not seeing much passenger traffic these days. Instead, ONT is one of the only in our region to see an increase in freight volume two months in a row. KVCR's Megan Jamerson.

75,000 tons of mail and packages. That’s how much freight was loaded at Ontario International Airport in April. Representing more than a 26 percent increase from last year, airport spokesperson Steve Lambert says it’s a good sign for the Inland Empire’s economy.

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.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Riverside Free Clinic is now offering free, virtual mental health services every Wednesday. 

The University of Redlands Department of Counseling and Human Services‘ counseling students will be offering a range of mental health services under supervision of the university faculty.

All the services are free and include individual counseling, family counseling, and training in the form of psycho-education.

Janee Both Gragg is the program’s adviser.

  With fire season underway, Southern California Edison is offering a series of public meetingsonline to answer community questions about the utility’s wildfire mitigation plan. Webinars kicked off Wednesday evening.

Residents can expect power outages again this year as part of Southern California Edison’s wildfire prevention measures. With stay at home orders still in effect this may present a new challenge for those working from home.

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

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.

5/13/20 - Dr. Joe Chaffin Discusses Blood Donations

May 13, 2020

Lillian Vasquez speaks with Dr. Joe Chaffin, Chief Medical Officer for LifeStream Blood Bank. Dr. Joe Chaffin explains the process of donating blood, why it's so important, and how blood donation centers are keeping facilities safe for donors and staff during the pandemic. 

For more information, visit lstream.org

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, Empire KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Today’s highlighted story:

LifeStream Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joe Chaffin speaks about the process of donating blood and why it’s so important. 

MEGAN JAMERSON/KVCR

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.

IEHP

Lillian Vasquez speaks with Dr. Gayani DeSilva, the Behavioral Health Medical Director for IEHP, the Inland Empire Health Plan. Dr. DeSilva talks about mental health and some of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information, visit IEHP.com

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.

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

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

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