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Both Riverside and San Bernardino County announced Tuesday April 13 that they are following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration(FDA) recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson & Jonson vaccine. This follows the report of six patients developing a rare and serious type of blood clot after the one dose shot.

scag.ca.gov

Five Inland Empire non-profits received grants to support their affordable housing projects from the Southern California Association of Governments in March. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports that the association called SCAG for short, says these awards are part of a commitment to elevating policy solutions with a racial equity lens.

“It’s been a difficult history in America with housing policy," said President of SCAG and Vice Mayor of Long Beach, Rex Richardson. "You can’t point to the good old days of housing policy. It’s an area that needs to continue to improve.”

grassrootsprogress.org

In California, it can be hard to keep track of county level elections because not all races require runoffs and the timing of when elections happen varies. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports that a proposed state senate bill aims to reduce confusion for voters across the state including here in the inland region.

Lisa Ferdinando/OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

San Bernardino made the move to open up COVID-19 vaccinations immediately to people age 16 and older who live and work in the county Tuesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports on this and other recovery news.

Nine days before the state guidance to do so, Board of Supervisors Chair Curt Hagman said it is time to fully expand vaccine eligibility. The county is currently receiving 60,000 doses of vaccine per week and is expecting that number to continue to increase weekly by 10,000.

riversideca.gov

The city of Riverside is accepting items for a time capsule that will be buried at the new Main Library in downtown Riverside.

Residents can bring items like photographs, documents and objects no bigger than two inches through April 30.

“We are excited to bring the new main library to our Riverside community,” said the City of Riverside’s Library Director, Erin Christmas in a news release. “This time capsule is a fun way to show the future stewards of our libraries what it was like to be a Riversider in the 21st century.”

One in ten Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders reported hate crimes and hate incidents in 2021, according to survey results released by AAPI Data and SurveyMonkey Tuesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, this rate which is higher than the national average is driven by a specific harmful stereotype.

Submitted/County of Riverside

Riverside County partners gave the one millionth COVID-19 vaccination dose at a clinic in Beaumont Wednesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports.

The milestone dose was given to 65-year-old retired nurse Shirley Ann Gruenke of Cherry Valley.

“It was a surprise, but I sure thank you all,” said Gruenke, in a news release. “You know, I went back and forth saying I was not going to get the shot, but when I got COVID in December and I felt sick, I said I’m ready for it. I’m getting my shot.”

City Council Offers Up $30k Reward

Apr 1, 2021
City of Riverside

Earlier this week, the Riverside City Council approved a reward of $30,000, for the duration of 60 days, for information that leads to the identification and apprehension of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Keith Allen.

Ken Lund/Creative Commons

Caltrans would like to extend the Brightline West high-speed rail project from Apple Valley to Rancho Cucamonga.

The proposed project called the Cajon Pass Segment would add 50 miles of track along the I-15 corridor, ending with a station near the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink train station.

Inland News Today reports that the privately funded rail project would first connect Apple Valley to Las Vegas over 170 miles of track.

The public can provide feedback on the Cajon Pass Segment before April thirteenth.

U.C. Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation is hosting an Inland Empire Policy Summit this week with a focus on building a more equitable future during COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts.

While this is the third policy summit the center has hosted, Director Karthick Ramakrishnan says this time it’s different.

City of Redlands

The city of Redlands is partnering with local groups and faith organizations to host a vaccine clinic at Citrus Valley High School on March 30. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on the clinic that aims to reach the underserved community. 

For people without transportation who live in the North Redlands area, a bus may be available to bring them to the clinic. Residents should ask about this service when they register for the vaccine according to a city news release.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

Three San Bernardino County women allegedly were co-conspirators in an operation to smuggle large amounts of fentanyl and heroin through Southern California airports. 

Inland News Today reports that Chavon Amber Sayles, 28 of Chino was arrested by federal authorities at her home on Wednesday on indictment charges of recruiting drug couriers.

According to the indictment, from June 2018 to March 2019, the couriers moved the drugs through Hollywood Burbank Airport, Long Beach Airport and Ontario International Airport to Ohio, Oregon and elsewhere in the country.

Submitted/County of Riverside

Riverside County replaced its top health officer as pandemic recovery efforts continue. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on the Tuesday announcement.

In a press release, the county said Dr. Cameron Kaiser was released early Tuesday of his duties as health director after nearly 10 years.

Then in a closed meeting session the same day, county supervisors chose to appoint Dr. Geoffrey Leung as the next health officer effective immediately.

San Bernardino County’s public health director, Corwin Porter, officially stepped down to start his retirement at Tuesday's county board of supervisors meeting. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports on this and more from the latest county board of supervisors meeting.

Porter said after serving the county for 33 years in various roles, he will now be spending alot of time with eight grandchildren.

Riverside County health officials say improvements in vaccine shipments means supply is now outpacing demand. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports on the latest from Tuesday's Riverside County board of supervisors meeting.

Dr. Geoffrey Leung, of the Riverside University Health System, told county supervisors this is partly because federal shipments are now going directly to community health centers and retail pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart.

MEGAN JAMERSON/KVCR

Inland Empire groups joined in a downtown Los Angeles rally Monday in support of the Amazon worker unionization effort in Bessemer, Alabama. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, since Amazon is the Inland region’s biggest employer, a successful union vote in the south could usher in changes in Riverside and San Bernardino County.

Brad Pugh, NOAA/CPC

Saturday marked the beginning of spring, but it also brought an end to a winter of disappointing rainfall across most of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. 

Since the start of the rainy season last November, precipitation was less than half of what is considered normal. The latest numbers could mean the region is headed for another drought, reports Inland News Today.

Across inland valleys, about five inches was the average. For the desert it was less than one inch in the Coachella Valley and just about three inches at Pinon Hills.

The Galilee Center

During the immigration surge at the U.S-Mexico border in 2019, Riverside County partnered with local non-profits to help more than 2,800 asylum seekers reach their final destinations. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, as arrivals surge once again, action is already underway to assist these families.

The Galilee Center, located in Mecca in the Eastern Coachella Valley, is one of the non-profits that works with Riverside County. Helping asylum seekers is an intensive process says Claudia Castorena, the center’s CFO and CO-founder.

commons.wikimedia.org

One year into the pandemic and the changes to how Americans work have not all been fair or equal. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson took a look at the Inland Empire’s biggest sector, logistics, and found the pandemic has raised the stakes for changing the future of warehouse jobs.

Joey Alvarado of Hesperia, a 42-year-old husband with two kids, makes $29 an hour at a local Stater Bros. warehouse.

Audrey Matthews, professor emeritus at Cal State San Bernardino, passed away on December 31, 2020 at the age of 84. Matthews dedicated her life to public service, spending more than 35 years working in local and state government as a professor, budget director, planning director and consultant. She was also a member of San Bernardino County’s Planning Commission and the county’s Workforce Investment Board. 

State of California Employment Development Department

In the state’s first unemployment report for 2021, the Inland Empire continues to outpace the state in regaining jobs. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports the unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino County dropped to 8.6 percent in January—a marginal improvement since December of last year.

Center Against Racism and Trauma

The Moreno Valley based Center Against Racism and Trauma, also known as CART, is hosting the Inland Empire’s first annual anti-racism summit next week. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on what attendees can expect.

From the start of the virtual event set for the evening of March 17, attendees will be invited to take action against racism in their own lives and communities says CART founder and director Corey Jackson.

en.wikipedia.org

A proposed state mandate, that would aim to get businesses that operate fleets of diesel trucks to transition to zero emissions vehicles will soon be released for public review. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, the rule has the potential to improve the Inland Empires’ air quality issues that have worsened since the region’s logistics industry boom.

Pixy

According to the latest state metrics, San Bernardino County is one week away from reopening more indoor businesses on March 17.

The county’s 6.7% adjusted case rate, 3.2% positivity rate and 4% health equity metric, or the positivity rate in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, have qualified it to advance to the red tier of the state’s re-opening blueprint. Barring any dramatic changes over the next week, businesses like dance studios, gyms, fitness centers and movie theaters, will be able to reopen with modifications.

UC DAVIS

Some elementary school students began a return to classrooms Tuesday as the Riverside Unified School District started to reopen schools.

To start, students will be in the classroom one day a week, but this hybrid in-person and virtual learning approach could advance to a twice a week as pandemic conditions improve.

Inland News Today reports, that continued improvement means middle and high school students may be able to return to in-person instruction as early as March 29.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has arrived in the Inland Empire, which means the new vaccine will be available at both Riverside and San Bernardino County vaccination sites later this week.

Riverside University Health System’s Dr. Geoffrey Leung told his board of supervisors this influx of new vaccine supply means all appointments for county run vaccination sites are now open to both first and second dose appointments. Up until now most sites in Riverside County were limited to first dose appointments.

Picpedia

The coronavirus pandemic has had a mixed impact on credit card debt in the Inland Empire. According to Inland News Today, consumers in San Bernardino, Fontana and Ontario repaid millions of dollars in debt in 2020, but people in Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga and Moreno Valley increased their debt.

That list comes from a WalletHub report that shows average credit card debt in Inland Empire cities stands at nearly $15,000. Nationally the average household balance is $8,000.

Submitted/SBCSS

A free online workshop designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in computer science is coming to the Inland Empire this month. 

Middle school girls, administrators and parents from Riverside and San Bernardino County are invited to attend the CyberIE Girls, formerly known as the CyberSB workshop on Saturday, March 13.

KC Flynn 2009/Creative Commons

The San Bernardino City Unified School District announced today that its students will stay closed for the remainder of the school year. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on the decision.

Citing concerns over the high COVID-19 infection rates within the district’s boundaries, administrators have decided to keep its 48,000 students in distance learning. The latest county data shows the city of San Bernardino’s daily new case rate is in the widespread risk category.

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez

Riverside County mobilized a team to assist a group of asylum seekers who arrived in Blythe Wednesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez who had the chance to meet the individuals before they were transported to the Coachella Valley.

The group of 15 was made up of five families with minors ranging from age five to 16-years-old that had had traveled from as far away as Cuba and Venezuela. Supervisor Perez said he felt both heartbreak and hope when met the individuals at the Blythe Border Patrol station.

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