Green Room Theatre Company’s Co-Founders Receive ‘Above and Beyond’ Award

PALM DESERT (CNS) – The Green Room Theatre Company announced Friday that its founders received an “Above and Beyond” award recognizing the company’s excellence in community and leadership service. Co-founders David Catanzarite and Karen Lin were recognized by the Angel Light Academy’s Leadership Training Institute during the 14th annual Above and Beyond Awards dinner gala at the Indian Wells Golf Resort, according to a statement from the company. “The select group of honorees represent some of the finest examples of devoted Coachella Valley citizens who have gone ‘above and beyond’ and are often behind the scenes serving others to make our community a better place to live,” company officials said in a statement. Veteran stage director, activist and theatre educator, Catanzarite, has directed over 150 productions in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Baltimore and in the Coachella Valley, according to company officials. Lin taught theatre, dance, music, and visual arts as part of the Los Angeles Arts Prototype program in 1999. The couple has offered training to children and teens, regardless of their ability to pay, for over 14 years, company officials said. Since

Charges Dismissed Against Pair Accused in ADA Lawsuits Scam

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – All charges were dismissed Friday against an attorney and another man who were accused of conspiring to file more than five dozen harassment lawsuits seeking payoffs from small businesses over purported Americans with Disabilities Act violations. Ross Christopher Cornell, 48, of Big Bear and Bryan Eduardo Estrada, 28, of Homeland both had been charged with five counts each of filing false documents and conspiracy to commit a felony. Following a preliminary hearing that court records indicated was held over three days — April 26, April 27 and May 12 — at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Matthew Perantoni dismissed all counts. The men’s prior bond requirements were additionally exonerated by the judge. The District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the disposition of the case, which was filed in March 2022. Prosecutors had alleged that from mid 2019 to the first quarter of 2022, Cornell and Estrada targeted more than 60 proprietorships countywide in so-called “shakedown” civil actions, claiming the victims were failing to comply with federal disability access requirements specified

DHS Kicks Off Friday Nights On Pierson

The City of Desert Hot Springs is kicking off their Friday Nights on Pierson, showcasing the new Downtown Arts and Culture District. This new lively experience hosts some of the Coachella Valley’s favorite small businesses, in support of a fun and family-friendly celebration. “It’s a really simple process, we help a lot of small businesses, so we’re happy to start sharing how we do it and bringing them here to the downtown.” says Erick Becerril, Desert Hot Springs Community Programs Manager. Friday Nights on Pierson was a vision that the Mayor of Desert Hot Springs, Scott Matas had envisioned, helping small businesses within their community flourish. “He’s been envisioning doing something for the small businesses, he helped push the revitalization of the downtown that were just kicking off, we have our new mural that we have up so he’s been a huge supporter of the idea.” Becerril says. The event will run every Friday starting today all the way until June 9th, where food trucks will line up on Palm Drive and Pierson.  “Now you can come get some food, check out our shops, you’re

CVS: `Pleased to Have Come to an Agreement’ with Riverside, Other Counties

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A multi-million-dollar settlement reached between CVS Health Inc. and a dozen California counties — including Riverside — stemming from the sales of expired baby formula and other products will help keep the corporation on track with “making key enhancements” to policies and practices, CVS said Friday. “CVS Pharmacy has a clear product removal policy in place to help ensure that items are pulled from shelves before reaching their expiration dates,” the company said in a statement released to City News Service. “Any unintentional deviations from this policy that are brought to our attention are quickly rectified.” The chain, which operates more than 800 retail outlets statewide, said that after the legal action was initiated by the plaintiffs, CVS personnel intensified efforts to “ensure that expired products are not sold to customers.” “We are pleased to have come to an agreement in California and are making key enhancements and investments in technology, audits and colleague education,” CVS stated. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office joined D.A.’s offices in Contra Costa, Fresno, Marin, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, San Joaquin, Shasta, Solano and

UPDATED: Tri-County Silver Alert Issued for 68-Year-Old Man

Update: Mr. Acosta has been located. RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A Silver Alert was issued Friday for a 68-year-old man who was last heard from in Riverside. David Acosta was last heard from at around 9:18 p.m. Thursday in Moreno Valley, according to the California Highway Patrol, which issued the alerts on behalf of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Acosta is Latino, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, has gray hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a red plaid shirt and blue jeans and might be driving a 2005 silver Honda Pilot with a California license plate 5MDR711. The alert was issued for Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, Anyone who sees Acosta was asked to call 911. The Silver Alert program was established by the CHP to issue and coordinate alerts involving the suspicious or disappearance of elderly, developmentally disabled or cognitively impaired individuals. Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

Desert Hot Springs to Host ‘Friday Nights On Pierson’

DESERT HOT SPRINGS (CNS) – The city of Desert Hot Springs will begin it inaugural “Friday Nights on Pierson” events Friday evening, featuring Coachella Valley-area food trucks. The festivities will begin at 5 p.m. Friday at the Downtown Arts and Culture District, 11940 Palm Drive, according to the city. The series will continue each Friday until June 9. “Bring your friends to check out pop-up produce stand Farmer in the Dale, and shop for locally grown fruits and veggies, plus, take in Desert Hot Springs Downtown Arts and Culture District’s newest multistory mural by globally recognized artist TRAV,” city officials said in a statement. The mural features patterns, compositions and imagery to match the history of Desert Hot Springs, according to city officials, who said the project was funded by the city’s Arts in Public Places Funds in an effort to improve the area for spectators through exterior painting, lighting and landscaping. Friday nights at the intersection of Palm Drive and Pierson Boulevard will also feature a host of Coachella Valley food trucks, including Barely Cooks, Krazy Daisy, Comfort Inn, Mariscos El Berrinche, Birria Don

Palm Springs Air Museum to Host Annual Memorial Day Flower Drop

PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – The Palm Springs Air Museum Thursday announced that its annual Memorial Day Fair and Flower Drop, featuring thousands of red and white carnations dropping from a vintage warbird to memorialize fallen veterans, will be held May 29. The event will get underway at 10 a.m. with a fair at the museum, 745 North Gene Autry Trail, according to a statement from the air museum. The flower drop ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. to honor those who fought and died defending the United States. “Our brief Memorial service is dedicated to all of our fallen comrades, who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms,” air museum officials said in a statement. “In their honor, we highlight the service with a fly-by and flower drop of over 3,000 red and white carnations from a B-25 Mitchell bomber.” The event will also feature music from the Heatwave Jazz Band, food from various vendors, the F-177 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter exhibit, children’s activities and warbird rides, according to museum officials. General admission to the daylong event starts at $20. Children ages 12 and under enter

Person of Interest Identified in Fatal Attack on Lake Elsinore Man

LAKE ELSINORE (CNS) – Riverside County sheriff’s investigators Thursday were searching for a man identified as a person of interest in the slaying of a Lake Elsinore resident. Samuel Anthony Salazar is being sought for questioning in connection with the deadly attack that occurred Sunday afternoon in the 33100 block of Jamieson Street, just west of Grand Avenue, according to the sheriff’s department. Salazar’s whereabouts are unknown, and the agency did not provide a description. Sgt. Ben Ramirez said patrol deputies were called to the Jamieson Street house shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday to investigate reports of a man down and found the victim, whose identity was not immediately released, suffering from several gunshot wounds. The man was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. A possible motive for the attack was not disclosed. Ramirez said detectives from the Central Homicide Unit are working the case. Anyone with information was asked to contact the investigate team at 951-955-2777. Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

Woman Killed in Thermal Traffic Collision Identified

THERMAL (CNS) – Authorities Thursday identified a 20-year-old woman who was killed in a head-on traffic collision in Thermal. Fire crews responded at 8:50 p.m. Wednesday to the 67000 block of Harrison Street, in Thermal, to a report of a traffic collision, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. A 1999 Toyota Tacoma that was going southbound on Harrison Street, for an unknown reason, veered into the northbound lane and had a head-on collision with a 2002 Dodge Van, CHP public information officer David Torres told City News Service. A “patient perished at the scene prior to arrival of first responders,” fire officials said in a statement. The decedent was the driver of the Tacoma, identified by the Riverside County coroner’s office as Karla Juarez-Florez of Thermal, Torres told CNS. The Tacoma sustained major damage. Torres said that the two occupants of the Dodge sustained minor injuries but that only the passenger was taken to a hospital. The cause of the collision remained under investigation. Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

Region Slated for Warm-Up Going into Weekend

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Daytime temperatures will be about 20 degrees warmer across much of the Inland Empire by this weekend, as a warming trend sets in that’s expected to keep the mercury elevated going into next week, according to the National Weather Service. “Warmer locations in the Inland Empire will exceed 90 on Saturday, with high temperatures in the lower deserts of 100 to 105 degrees,” the NWS said in a statement. The agency said a ridge of high pressure aloft, anchored over the Pacific, will influence weather patterns beginning Friday and continuing into early next week. Highs in the Riverside metropolitan area Thursday were expected to peak in the mid-70s, but by Saturday, the mercury will settle in the mid-90s, with only slight cooling on Sunday and Monday. Overnight lows will hover in the upper 50s, according to the Weather Service. Daytime temps in the Coachella Valley are expected to climb into the low 100s Saturday to Monday, with lows in the mid-70s, while in the Temecula Valley, thanks to sea breezes and marine layers originating from the coast, the highs will stall around

Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Kicks Off White Party With Proclamation

Festivities for White Party started as early as this afternoon, with Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Bernstein presenting a proclamation to kick off the weekend. The proclamation took place right in front of Jeffrey Sanker’s Palm Springs Walk of Star, honoring the original founder of the White Party. “Today we gave an official proclamation from the City of Palm Springs recognizing this weekend as White Party weekend.” Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Bernstein says. The Mayor Pro Tem says this weekend’s White Party is much more than a giant festival. “While there’s been a lot of difficult things happening in parts of the country in parts of the world, Palm Springs is always a safe haven for LGBTQ plus people, and people just all types in our city.” To represent the festival, the White Party’s Global Executive Producer adds on-to what today’s event was really about. “Today is a proclamation kind of a memory of Jeffrey Sanker, the founder of White Party which was started back in 1989, and it’s sort of a thank you to him for starting this amazing event really made

Jury Seated for Trial of Man Accused in MoVal Party Killing

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A jury was seated Thursday for the trial of a young man accused of gunning down an 18-year-old partygoer in Moreno Valley, in an ambush connected to an earlier fight that prosecutors say was fueled by racial animosity. Darren Peter Zesk, 22, of Riverside is charged with first-degree murder, special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and perpetrating a hate crime, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations, for the 2020 fatal shooting of Massai Jevon Cole of Inglewood. Following four days of screening multiple panels of prospective jurors, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz swore in a jury Thursday at the Riverside Hall of Justice. The judge scheduled opening statements for Monday morning. Zesk is being held on $2 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta. His cousin, 21-year-old Jared Lee Zesk of Riverside, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced last June to 11 years in state prison. Prosecutors dropped a murder charge against him as part of the plea agreement. Darren Zesk is accused of gunning down Cole in the predawn hours

CVS Reaches Settlement with Riverside County over Sales of Expired Products

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – CVS Inc. reached a multimillion dollar settlement with Riverside and other counties statewide stemming from the sales of expired baby formula and other products left on shelves beyond their sell-by dates, it was announced Thursday. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office joined D.A.’s offices in Contra Costa, Fresno, Marin, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, San Joaquin, Shasta, Solano and Yolo counties in suing CVS and its subsidiaries for alleged violations of health and safety laws, which specifically prohibit selling infant formula, over-the-counter drugs and other digestible products after their expiration dates have been reached. The civil action was adjudicated in Santa Cruz, and on Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkman certified a $6.5 million settlement between the Rhode Island-based corporation and the plaintiffs. “CVS was cooperative and conducted internal checks for expired over- the-counter drugs, as well as infant formula and baby food, which were past their `use by’ dates at all their California retail locations,” the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “CVS further invested time and resources to create a program for verification of expiration dates