Local news

Megan Jamerson/KVCR

As part of KVCR’s series for Suicide Prevention Month called “Wellness for Times of Uncertainty,” we are talking about grief and loss during the coronavirus pandemic.

For most of us when we think of grief, bereavement or the traditional grief that involves mourning the death of a loved one comes to mind. But we actually grieve every kind of loss.

Dr. Veronica Kelley, Director of San Bernardino County’s Department of Behavioral Health says grief is defined as deep sorrow, trouble or annoyance and:

“Today our grief is hitting us on multiple levels,” said Kelley.

Local literary nonprofit the Inlandia Institute and the Riverside Art Museum have teamed up for Suicide Prevention Month, presenting an online juried exhibition around suicide prevention in September. 

Cati Porter is the executive director of the Inlandia Institute. She says the project originated with the Riverside Art Museum, where some artists wanted to find a way to commemorate Suicide Prevention Month.

Twitter/San Bernardino County Fire Department

Windy conditions, low humidity and dry brush accelerated the El Dorado Fire in the San Bernardino Mountains Wednesday night. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports as of Thursday morning the blaze had burned 12,610 acres and is 23 percent contained.

San Bernardino County Fire officials say four homes have been lost but hundreds more were saved Wednesday evening by firefighting crews. More than 21,000 people have been evacuated so far.

state.gov

Through COVID-19 contact tracing, Riverside County is now reaching close to 100 percent of infected people and San Bernardino County is reaching nearly 70 percent.  KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports tracing plus testing is key to getting the counties moved to the next tier on the state’s re-opening scheme.

Lana Culp, spokesperson for San Bernardino County Public Health, says tracing has shown that a lot of transmission is happening through gatherings between family and friends. Which she says is hard to avoid in a time when seeing those people brings comfort.

Twitter/San Bernardino County Fire Department

Santa Ana winds caused the El Dorado Fire to flare up Tuesday evening to 11,479 acres, prompting new evacuation warnings. But KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports crews were able to hold the perimeter overnight and increase containment to 19 percent.

Nearly 1,000 personnel are battling the El Dorado fire flames on Wednesday along with over 100 engines, six helicopters, and four fixed-wing airplanes.

Assemblymember Eloise Reyes

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was the guest at a Thursday town hall led by State Assemblymember Eloise Reyes. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports constituents asked a wide range of questions that reflect the diversity of the Inland Empire.

Under Becerra’s leadership the department of justice is keeping a busy schedule this year during the pandemic. A year which Reyes of Grand Terrace acknowledges has been unique.

“I think we are all going to agree on this," said Reyes. This year has been a challenge for all of us Californians.”

Twitter/ City of Riverside

City of Riverside gyms, fitness centers and places of worship can now apply to operate in city parks for free following a city council vote on Tuesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on what this means.

In a press release Wednesday, Mayor Rusty Bailey said physical and spiritual well-being is essential during the pandemic and that the expansion of Riverside’s outdoor flex program aims to help with both.

Rep. Mark Takano of Riverside, hosted a virtual town hall to answer constituent questions about congressional efforts to tackle police reform on Wedensday. Despite a summer of public protests calling for change and bi-partisan support, legislative efforts recently stalled.

Takano says public sentiment around systemic racism in policing and the structure of law in America visibly changed this summer.

cdc.gov

Riverside County health officials reported the area’s first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome also known as MIS-C on Tuesday. It is a rare, but serious condition that can damage multiple organs in children who are exposed to or had COVID-19. 

A child under the age of 15 from western Riverside County is believed to have the first case. Officials also reported a probable second case of a child from the Coachella Valley.

County of Riverside

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to support quarantine housing and financial relief for farmworkers who test positive or are exposed to COVID-19. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with the organization partnering with the county about the fund’s significance and how it is only the beginning of the support these workers need.

Luz Gallegos of TODEC legal center says farmworkers in the Coachella Valley are faced with an impossible choice when they are told they should quarantine.

“It’s either you work or you don’t eat,” said Gallegos.

Wikimedia Commons

Voting will look very different this year in order to protect people from the pandemic. The Inland Empire’s millions of registered voters will all receive ballots in the mail, but a number of in-person voting centers will also be available. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on how voters in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties should prepare to vote this fall.

Voters in both counties need a plan for how they are going to vote and when. San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters Bob Page says it’s their role to help people be informed.

Facebook / Rialto Unified School District

Rialto Unified School District is hoping to resume distance learning classes for its pre-K through eighth grade students on August 31. This comes after the district halted classes to investigate a malware attack on digital devices given to students. 

Facebook / Rialto Unified School District

Rialto Unified School District is continuing its suspension of classes while they investigate a malware attack on digital devices given to students. 

Just two weeks into the school year, classes for Rialto’s approximately 25,000 and 1,300 teachers was shut down. Devices given to high schoolers, teachers and staff will be collected this week and replaced in the near future. Elementary and middle school devices were not affected and can be kept.

census.ca.gov

Census outreach organizers that first faced the challenge of encouraging responses during the pandemic are now dealing with the problem of less time to educate communities. 

Sky Allen, a local census coordinator for Inland Empowerment, says organizers are feeling motivated despite the surprise of the new deadline of September 30.

“We are so close," said Allen. "We only have so much time left so for us so it’s just push, push, push.”

Wikimedia Commons

Congressman Mark Takano sent an email this week asking his constituents in the cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris for more information on their experiences with mail delays.

In an effort to understand the scope of mail delays, the congressman sent an email with a link to two surveys. The first is a general survey for all residents and the second for veterans.

AFP via telesur

Immigrant rights groups held a virtual press conference on August 13 condemning the use of a chemical disinfectant at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in the Mojave Desert. A lawsuit asking for the release of all detainees was filed in April due to coronavirus concerns, and now members of Congress are calling for an investigation. 

Advocates say they started receiving calls from detainees in May reporting symptoms. They allege they came into contact with a hazardous chemical staff were using in unventilated areas to disinfect for COVID-19.

COVID Forces Major Changes to Prison Education Programs

Aug 12, 2020
Chaffey College / California News Service

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- Just like traditional colleges, California's education programs for people in prison have had to make huge changes in the wake of the pandemic, even as Congress decides whether to make permanent the program that sustains them.

 

Robert Rundquist, interim dean of institutional effectiveness and intersegmental partnerships for Chaffey College in Southern California, said his institution has transitioned to a correspondence course model until it's safe to return to in-person learning.

wikipedia

Riverside County Vector Control will begin treating 50 acres in Nuevo for mosquitos on Wednesday August 12 between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. This is after mosquitos in the area tested positive for West Nile Virus in late July and is part of the county’s plan to prevent the spread of West Nile virus and intensify mosquito surveillance.

It’s not unusual for mosquitos to test positive for the virus especially during the summer. West Nile virus can be spread to humans from an infected mosquito. To date there have been no documented cases of infection in the county.

Forum - A New Statewide Call In Show for Listeners of 91.9

Aug 6, 2020
Mina Kim - Host of Forum 10am Hour / KQED

The Inland Empire has joined a growing number of communities around California who now have access to a statewide conversation on public radio called Forum. Now airing on 91.9 KVCR from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, listeners are connected to conversations led by journalists, with experts and newsmakers, addressing issues and topics that are important to California residents. Listener calls and comments are a key part of the show.

pxhere

In the spring, as COVID-19 halted the economy, automobile use plummeted. And so did greenhouse gas emissions. Now, a whitepaper from the University of California Riverside's(U.C.R.) Center for Economic Forecasting and Development says this will not last and, instead, California’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions may be out of reach. 

Like so many annual events, California’s largest pow wow is facing cancellation this year due the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In an announcement by the San Manuel Pow Wow Committee on August 4, the members say they made the decision to cancel this year's event with a heavy heart.

The pow wow was planned for October at the San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino. But the committee says cancellation is the most responsible decision in order to protect the health and safety of their tribe and traveling guests.

Staff Sgt. Kassie McDole/15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The U.S. Marine Corp has now identified the Marines killed during a training accident off the coast of San Diego on July 30th. This includes two Marines from Riverside County.

Among the nine Marines killed are 18-year-old Pfc. Brian Baltierra of Corona and 21-year-old Cpl. Cesar Villanueva of Riverside.

Their unit was on a routine shore-to-ship training exercise when their amphibious assault vehicle started taking on water a half mile from San Clemente Island.

Facebook / CAL FIRE/RIVERSIDE COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Apple Fire which started on Friday afternoon is continuing to spread to the north across the head of the Mill Creek Canyon, and east into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. As the fire burns into the wilderness the vegetation is becoming sparse limiting fire intensity. The fire remained active Monday night into Tuesday morning. Overnight, firefighters were able to complete construction of fireline on the southwest corner of the perimeter. This and other work along the southern and southeastern perimeters increased the percentage of fire containment to 15%.

Facebook / CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department

The Apple Fire, which started near Cherry Valley around 5:00 PM on Friday, has burned over 26,450 acres and there is currently 5% containment.  Much of the northern and eastern edge of the fire is in very steep, rugged hillsides which is not accessible to firefighting vehicles.  Firefighters continue to work to slow the spread of the fire using all resources available including helicopters, fixed wing air tankers, ground equipment and hand-crews.

Rabid Bats Confirmed in SB County

Jul 30, 2020
Northern Long-eared Bat
National Park Service/United States Fish and Wildlife Service

On Thursday it was confirmed that rabid bats in San Bernardino County including four within the past two weeks had been identified in in the communities of Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana and Apple Valley. Confirmation is determined based on testing that's done at the public health lab. San Bernardino County Public Health is urging the public to protect themselves and their pets from interactions with unfamiliar, stray or wild animals.

Homicide detectives have confirmed that the suspect who shot a U.S. District Judge’s son in New Jersey this week is the same suspect responsible for the murder of a men’s rights lawyer in the San Bernardino Mountains in July.

On Monday, detectives began working with investigators in the Newark FBI office to determine if there was a connection to the murder of Marc Angelucci and members of Judge Esther Salas’ family in New Jersey.

On Wednesday, the FBI confirmed there was evidence linking the two murder cases.

MEGAN JAMERSON/KVCR

For the first time, San Bernardino County is using goats in their fire prevention measures. The animals are used to clear dry grasses in undeveloped areas that put hundreds of nearby residents at risk. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson went to see the animals in action in the city of San Bernardino.

Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation

The Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California announced on Monday that it officially received the state funding needed to complete its downtown Riverside project. The funds were approved by Governor Gavin Newsom for the 2019-2020 budget.

With $3.5 million in state funding, construction can now begin on Mission Heritage Plaza—a mixed-use building and home to the new Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA)

How planets are formed is one of the great mysteries of astrophysics. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with a University of California Riverside(UCR) professor who contributed to an exciting discovery on the topic published in the journal Nature.

Scientists believe planets are born from disks of gas and dust orbiting new stars, but it has never been observed first hand. So, when data confirmed the existence of a planet caught in the act of forming in the debris around a young star, Dr. Stephen Kane was thrilled.

pixabay

Efforts to elevate the stories of undocumented seniors seeking treatment for chronic illness and preventative care failed to win an expansion of Medi-Cal in the approved California state budget on June 25. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke to an immigrant right’s advocate on what this means for the Inland Empire.

Not only are seniors at a higher risk for COVID-19, but immigrant communities have been disproportionately hit hard by the pandemic says Lyzzeth Mendoza, a policy manager for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

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