Menifee’s Former Police Chief to Return to Briefly Lead Department

MENIFEE (CNS) – The city of Menifee’s first police chief will return to take the helm next week to temporarily guide the department while the municipality’s interim chief recovers from injuries he suffered outside of work, it was announced Wednesday. Pat Walsh, who served as Menifee’s inaugural chief after the city formed a stand-alone police department in 2020, will assume the top spot again on Monday. Interim Chief Chris Karrer, who was serving in the position while the city searched for a permanent replacement for Walsh, suffered an unspecified injury while off-duty that will require two to three months to recover, officials said. Karrer was appointed interim chief by City Manager Armando Villa. Walsh retired last July. “Chief Karrer has done an outstanding job leading the Menifee Police Department, and we will continue his great work to keep our communities safe,” Walsh said. “While my service here in Menifee will be brief, I am looking forward to once again working with the talented men and women we have here at the department.” Walsh is a 40-year law enforcement veteran. Prior to serving as Menifee’s top

Felon Accused of Fatally Shooting Man on MoVal Street Arraigned

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A felon accused of gunning down a man during a confrontation in Moreno Valley pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and other offenses. David Diaz, 38, of Los Angeles, was arrested last month following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation into the slaying of 44-year- old Giovanni Ibarra. Along with the murder count, Diaz is charged with firearm assault and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. The defendant was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Aug. 18 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. Diaz is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside. According to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche, about 2:30 a.m. April 23, Diaz and the victim were involved in an unspecified confrontation in the 25000 block of Joshua Avenue, near Agave Street. During the encounter, Diaz allegedly pulled a gun and opened fire, mortally wounding Ibarra, Brosche said. He said the defendant immediately fled, and witnesses called 911. Patrol deputies reached the location minutes later and found the victim gravely wounded. Despite attempts to

Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Fest to Feature Concerts, Tastings, Rides

WINCHESTER (CNS) – The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival will draw thousands to Winchester next week for balloon rides, outdoor concerts, wine tastings and other entertainment. The event — a tradition going back to 1983 — will get underway on the afternoon of Friday, May 19, and continue all weekend within the Lake Skinner Recreation Area, just east of Temecula. The fest returned last year following a two-year hiatus stemming from the Covid public health lockdowns. The first night’s main stage entertainment will feature 80s icons Reo Speedwagon, Night Ranger and John Waite. Saturday is dedicated to Country & Western, with Brad Paisley, George Shingleton and Sara Evans performing. On Sunday, the venue will offer a mix of country and pop, featuring Scott McCreery and The English Beat. Hot air balloon rides will be going all three days, with the traditional “balloon glow” after 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, during which the airships ignite their burners in unison. Hourlong daytime rides will be available Saturday and Sunday, organizers said. All rides are subject to cancellation if the weather turns foul. Roughly 100 vendors

Norco Mom Suspected of Causing Tot’s Fentanyl Poisoning

NORCO (CNS) – A 32-year-old Norco woman is suspected of allowing her 17-month-old child to ingest fentanyl, causing the tot’s death, authorities said Wednesday. Jennifer Johanna Allen was arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside Tuesday on suspicion of murder. According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche, patrol deputies were called to Allen’s residence in the 100 block of Eighth Street, near Crestview Drive, about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to investigate reports of a child in medical distress. Brosche said deputies found the victim, whose name was not immediately released, unconscious and “unresponsive.” Efforts by county fire paramedics to resuscitate the baby failed, the sergeant said. “During the course of the investigation, evidence was obtained showing fentanyl played a role in the juvenile’s death,” he said. Allen was taken into custody without incident. Background information on the suspect was unavailable. The case was expected to be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review Wednesday. To date, prosecutors have charged nearly two dozen people countywide with second-degree murder in connection with fentanyl poisonings since February 2021. Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas

Felon Accused of Trying to Recruit Girl for Sexual Services Due in Court

MURRIETA (CNS) – A preliminary hearing is set Wednesday for a convicted sex trafficker accused of cornering a Winchester girl riding her bike and trying to persuade her to work for him as a prostitute. Isaac Symeon Bragg, 43, of Hemet was arrested in April following a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigation. Bragg is charged with false imprisonment, attempted human trafficking, felony annoyance of a child and a sentence-enhancing allegation of targeting a vulnerable victim. The defendant pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on April 27. The preliminary hearing scheduled Wednesday at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta will determine whether there’s sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on all or some of the charges. Bragg is being held on $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center. According to sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Hephner, on the afternoon of April 20, the victim, identified only as a Winchester teen, was riding her bike in the 31000 block of Manford Drive, near Leon Road, when the defendant allegedly stopped his four-door Mercedes sedan and blocked the street, preventing her from passing. Hephner alleged Bragg “asked the juvenile

At Least One Person Dead in Traffic Collision on Route 95 Near Blythe

BLYTHE (CNS) – At least one person was killed Wednesday in a traffic collision in an unincorporated area of Riverside County north of Blythe. Officers responded shortly after 8 a.m. to a report of a traffic collision on Route 95 between Eighth and Fourth avenues, according to the California Highway Patrol. The CHP reported that the collision was between a red Subaru and an unspecified vehicle. The coroner’s office was requested to the scene at around 8:30 a.m. after at least one person died. It was not immediately known if there were any other injuries. The road was closed as multiple officers evaluated the scene. No other information was immediately available. Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

Average Riverside County Gas Price Drops For Eighth Time in Nine Days

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Riverside County dropped Wednesday for the eighth time in nine days, decreasing two-tenths of a cent to $4.771, its lowest amount since April 3. The average price has dropped 5.1 cents over the past nine days, including seven-tenths of a cent Tuesday, according to figures from the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. It is 3.4 cents less than one week ago, 6 cents lower than one month ago and $1.033 below what it was one year ago. The average price has dropped $1.602 since rising to a record $6.373 on Oct. 5. A 19-day streak of decreases to the national average price totaling 16 cents ended with an increase of a half-cent to $3.531. The streak of decreases followed a 23-day streak of increases totaling 25.1 cents. The national average price is 5.5 cents less than one week ago, 7.3 cents lower than one month ago and 84.3 cents below what it was one year ago. It has dropped $1.485 since rising to a record $5.016 on June 14.

Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs Opens New Health and Wellness Center

The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs recently hosted a kickoff event for their new Health and Wellness Center, aimed at focusing on the health and wellness of young people, mind, body, and spirit. The center is a joint project with the city of Palm Springs, with two main focuses: education and health for the youth. The organization completely renovated the building where the new Health and Wellness Center now sits, all done through a grant provided by the state. The result is a state-of-the-art facility that offers a wide range of activities and classes to promote the physical and mental well-being of young people in the community. “When we did the needs assessment about 2.5 years ago, it was clear to us that this was a need within our community,” said a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs. “The center will offer a plethora of activities from yoga and Pilates classes to cooking classes, all to help support the youth.” The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs has been a mainstay in the community for many years, providing

Disney Junior Live On Tour: Costume Palooza to Stop by Acrisure Arena November

PALM DESERT (CNS) – Disney Junior Live On Tour: Costume Palooza, a live show featuring Mickey Mouse and friends, announced Tuesday it will stop by Acrisure Arena in November. The tour will begin Sept. 1 and stop in several cities across North America, including Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert Nov. 17, according to a statement from the venue. Though Spotify Fans First presale tickets became available Tuesday at noon, tickets for the general public won’t be available until Friday at 10 a.m. The tour will feature singing, dancing, 3-D special effects and acrobatics as Mickey, Minnie and friends get ready to throw a costume party that keeps getting interrupted by the weather, according to venue officials. The live show, written and directed by Amy Tinkham, will also include trampoline routines from acrobatic director John Brady. Disney’s new hit series “SuperKitties” will also join the tour, according to Disney Entertainment senior vice president Jennifer Rogers Doyle. More information about the tour can be found at Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

Several EV Charging Stations Coming to Indian Wells with Grant Funding

The City of Indian Wells has announced that it will be adding five new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at the Municipal Golf Course. The stations will be created with funding from a $50,000 grant the city received from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee back in 2018. These charging stations will make the use of electric vehicles more feasible in the city and contribute to the goals of the Indian Wells Climate Action Plan. “We’re excited we added publicly accessible electric vehicle charging to the list of amenities provided by the Resort,” said Indian Wells Golf Resort General Manager Sven Wiedenhaupt. “We expect these charging stations to make a big difference in our visitors’ experience and our sustainability efforts.” The MSRC is committed to reducing air pollution from motor vehicles within the South Coast Air District in Southern California, which includes all of Orange County and portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Indian Wells is among many cities in the district that have received MSRC grant funds. The EV charging stations will be publicly accessible and can be located

Dust Advisory Issued for Parts of Riverside County

COACHELLA (CNS) – Officials Tuesday issued a dust advisory for parts of Riverside County due to strong winds. The advisory will be in effect from 5 p.m. Tuesday until noon Wednesday, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. High winds, blowing dust and air quality that’s unhealthy for sensitive groups are expected to affect the San Gorgonio Pass and the Coachella Valley. “In areas directly impacted by high levels of windblown dust, limit your exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed and avoiding vigorous physical activity,” the SCAQMD said in a statement. “Run your air conditioner or air purifier if available and avoid using whole house fans or swamp coolers that bring in outside air.” Officials added that serious health problems can occur as a result of exposure to high particle pollution levels. More information about air quality in the area can be found at Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

Latino Commission Hosts 1st Annual Walk for Mental Health in Coachella

The Riverside Latino Commission on Mental Health held its 1st Annual Walk for Mental Health Saturday, May 6, at the Coachella Veterans Memorial Park. The event is aimed at raising awareness about mental health and promoting the idea that a healthy mind leads to a healthy life with the slogan, “Mente Sana, Vida Sana.” The free event was an opportunity for individuals to walk together and show their support for those struggling with mental health issues. “It’s very important,” says Seham Saba, Deputy Director of the Riverside Latino Commission Counseling Center. “This side of the valley doesn’t have many services. Once Latino Commission got established, we were able to provide the service to all parts of the valley, but we do provide services all the way to Desert Hot Springs.” According to the commission, substance abuse frequently has roots in mental health issues, so it’s crucial to work together to address both concerns. The Latino Commission’s work is especially crucial for veterans who may not have access to sufficient mental health services. “A lot of the time, veterans don’t have enough services for them, and they

Riverside County Homeless Population Increases By 12% Over Past Year

Homelessness across Riverside County continues to rise. According to the latest data from the annual Point-In-Time Count, the county saw 409 more people (or 12%) who are homeless over the past year. While those numbers at face value may seem like it’s getting worse, the county says otherwise. “Our growth rate is definitely slowing. For instance, like last year it was 15%,” Riverside County Deputy Director for Housing and Workforce Solutions Greg Rodriguez explained. “You can’t solve this problem in just four or five years that’s taken 40 years to create. Is Riverside County on the right track? We believe so. We’re recognized in the state by the governor’s office, as well as HCD [Housing and Community Development], that we’re leading the efforts.” Compared to our nearby counties, they saw a bigger jump. San Bernardino County saw an increase by 26% and Kern County saw a 22% increase. According to our data, the county saw 23% more people unsheltered and a 4% decrease of the sheltered population. But there’s a reason. “We did Project Room Key where we housed individuals, homeless people over 65, in

Desert Hot Springs to Host ‘Friday Nights On Pierson’ Starting This Week

DESERT HOT SPRINGS (CNS) – City officials Tuesday invited the public to its inaugural “Friday Nights on Pierson,” featuring several Coachella Valley- area food trucks, starting this week. The festivities will begin at 5 p.m. Friday at the Downtown Arts and Culture District, 11940 Palm Drive, according to a city statement. 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, according to city officials. Attendees will have the opportunity to