Local news

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After a three-year freeze on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA, December 7 marked the first day new applications could once again be submitted. 

For students who have been unable to support their higher education with DACA’s deportation protection and work authorization, this is a huge boon, said Dr. Jennifer Nájera, a U.C. Riverside Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies.

Asm. Eloise Gomez-Reyes/FACEBOOK

San Bernardino Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes was officially sworn in as the Democratic Majority Leader December 7 and is the first Latina to hold the position. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with Reyes about her priorities for the new legistlative session that begins in January and about the latest state stay-at-home orders.

Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties continue to report record highs for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations at their Board of Supervisors meetings December 8. This comes as all Southern California counties adjust to stay at home orders that will last through Dec 28.

Riverside County Director of Public Health, Dr. Kim Saruwatari, told her Board of Supervisors that the intent of the new order is to keep people at home unless it is absolutely necessary for them to go out.

Hannah Schwalbe/National Park Service

As the winter holidays approach, officials at Joshua Tree National Park are asking the community to take steps to prepare for crowds during this traditionally busy season.

Park Superintendent David Smith says public interest in the park has gone way up in the past four years. Like national parks across America, they too have seen a pandemic trend of more local visitors looking for safe outdoor activities.

TV production students from two Fontana Unified School District High Schools overcame the challenges of the pandemic to win honors in the Directing Change Film Contest. The statewide contest seeks to encourage students to learn about mental health issues and use film to improve outcomes in their communities through public service announcements.

Summit senior Audrey Juarez produced her PSA Overcome about handling the stress of the pandemic. 


Top economists at Monday’s annual Southern California Association of Governments(SCAG) Summit said the region is in for a slow pandemic recovery with lower income groups continuing to suffer most.

With the disproportionate loss of low income and entry level jobs and continued rising housing costs, experts say the pandemic is making clear the weaknesses and inequalities that existed before the virus upended the economy. This is why many are stressing the need for an inclusive economic development plan.


November is Native American Heritage month, and for the past four weeks, Cal State San Bernardino held virtual events focused on building a safe space for students to celebrate their history, traditions and culture.

“Something I’m working on is the greeting from my Native language," said Amanda Rose, a graduate student and Native American peer mentor at Cal State San Bernardino. "I can’t do it, but it’s really exciting to just know that other people are doing that too.”


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.

World Vision

Ontario Christian High School recently became the first in the Inland Empire to start a partnership with the global humanitarian organization World Vision that involves a pen pal exchange with students in Kenya.

In a first exchange of letters, 15-year-old sophomore Courtenay Evans received a photo and a note from an 11-year-old girl. This girl from Kalapa, Kenya, will be her digital pen pal for the next year.

“So she said that she wanted to be a doctor, that her favorite color was green, then she drew a picture of her house,” said Evans.

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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 Peanuts are coming to KVCR! Local fans will have even more ways to watch Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang on their holiday adventures as Apple and PBS team up for special, ad free broadcasts of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” this holiday season.  To complement their release on Apple TV+ this holiday season, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will also air on KVCR on November 22, 2020 at 7:30 pm local time. Next month,  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will also air on KVCR on December 13 at 7:30 pm local time. 


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.

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.

Andrew Caravella / KVCR Social Media

KVCR recently put out a survey to our listeners asking them what’s on their minds as Election Day approaches. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson compiled the results and spoke with Benjamin Purper about them in this interview.

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.

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.

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.