Deserts

1,828 New Coronavirus Cases, 31 New Deaths Reported Over the Weekend in Riverside County

Riverside County health officials are reporting 1,828 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 31 additional deaths, bringing the countywide totals to 47,490 cases and 912 deaths. There are 987 new cases in the Coachella Valley and 5 new deaths. Here are the numbers for the Coachella Valley city-by-city: Desert Hot Springs: 961 (+28) cases, 20 deaths Cathedral City: 1,675 (+48) cases, 27 (+1) deaths Palm Springs: 912 (+26) cases, 41 (+1) deaths Rancho Mirage: 217 (+4) cases, 19 (+2) deaths Palm Desert: 891 (+26) cases, 47 deaths Indian Wells: 42 cases, 2 deaths La Quinta: 686 (+22) cases, 16 deaths Indio: 3,172 (+109) cases, 64 deaths Coachella: 2,275 (+76) cases, 21 deaths Thousand Palms: 190 (+7) cases, no deaths Bermuda Dunes: 114 (+8) cases, 3 deaths Thermal: 152 (+5) cases, no deaths Mecca: 387 (+13) cases, 8 deaths North Shore: 112 (+1) cases, 1 death Oasis: 291 (+12) cases, 2 death Sky Valley: 38 (+2) cases, 1 (+1) deaths Cabazon: 44  cases, 1 death Anza: 11 cases, no deaths At this time age group, 18-39 continues to have the highest number of confirmed cases in the…

Blackouts Monday averted-Cal ISO: “Conservation efforts worked”

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) tonight issued the following announcement that no rotating power outages are anticipated, thanks to reduced demand due to consumer conservation and cooler than expected weather. The grid operator earlier declared a Stage 2 Emergency, and had expected to have to order load shed to take the strain off the grid. Demand, however, came in lower than forecast. The Stage 2 Emergency was cancelled at 7:30 p.m. “We are grateful to families and businesses across the state that answered the call to reduce electricity use during a crucial time on the grid,” said Steve Berberich, ISO president and CEO. “This heat storm is not over, and we still expect exceedingly hot temperatures tomorrow and Wednesday. With continued help from California residents in conserving energy, much like today, we can reduce the risk of power outages. “Our grid operators and all the ISO staff have been doing everything they can to find energy to cover demand during this heat wave and to keep the system balanced during an extreme heat wave,” Berberich said. “We urge consumers to continue to help us in…

Beaumont Man Accused of Producing Child Porn, Abusing Girl Arraigned

BANNING (CNS) – A 30-year-old Beaumont man accused of producing and distributing child pornography via the internet pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges. Devynn Michael Perez was arrested last Tuesday following an investigation by the Riverside County Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement — SAFE — task force, whose members had been alerted to the defendant’s alleged illicit activity by the FBI. Along with selling child porn, Perez is charged with four counts of possession of child porn, two counts of transferring child porn across state lines, and one count each of child cruelty, possession of an assault weapon and illegal possession of a gun. The defendant was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Sept. 17 at the Banning Justice Center. Additionally, based on a reduction motion by the defense, the judge lowered Perez’s bail from $70,000 to $35,000. He’s being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. According to prosecutors, FBI agents in Louisiana were conducting an investigation that allegedly led to Perez as the source of explicit images of minors circulating online. Information was turned…

African Americans in Aviation Travel Museum Takes Off on Cross County Educational Tour

It’s a big day for Chauncey Spencer.   “If I was any more excited I‘d have a heart attack in a happy way,” says Spencer.      A day he dreamed about years ago is finally here: the launch of his African Americans in Aviation Travel Museum.  “Today we’re going to be on our way across more than 18 states, 25 cities and we’re going to do 7,000 miles, if Chauncey doesn’t make a wrong turn, in 25 days,” says Spencer standing at a hangar at the Palm Springs Air Museum. The goal is to make it to the March on Washington with stops along the way in major cities to educate young people about a part of the American story that’s rarely told.  “There’s a piece of American history that’s been left out,” he says. Making that journey with him will be 22-year-old Torii Hilbert from long beach, an intern with the National College Resources Foundation, or NCRF, a non profit  working to bring equity in education, he hopes, like him, young people are able to see the possibilities though this history. “At least I have…

Local representatives and candidates weigh in on growing USPS controversy

  The debate over funding for the United States Postal Service continues this week, as criticism grows over mail delays. President Trump has been negotiating funding for the service with democratic leaders over the past week. “You look at the post office, and for years that’s all people complained about. We’re going to run it well and we’re going to not lose so much money,” said President Trump.  The President assured the country on Sunday that the post office is running well, but members of the American Postal Workers Union are voicing their own concerns over social media after the agency posted over 2 billion in losses in the most recent quarter. “Our current administration, President and new Post Master General are attacking us and trying to take away everything that we have worked hard for,” said Kevin, a USPS Employee.  “This isn’t a political issue, you know. If we don’t fund the postal service you’re going to have a lot of people out of jobs,” said Jaclyn Salmonson, a USPS employee.  The APWU also says on their website, “Money could run out soon and…

Tenant Claims Landlord Hopped Fence to Disconnect A/C during Extreme Heat

A mother of four in Desert Hot Springs is taking legal action after video captured her landlord hopping the fence and allegedly disconnecting her air conditioning on a day with excessive heat. “By the grace of God, we caught this video and there he was on the video just hopping over,” Curtresa Washington said about the video she later posted on Facebook in a Desert Hot Springs neighborhood page. Washington said the man in the video is Chris Dennis, her landlord. “I have four kids that live in this house, he took the disconnect out of our air conditioning unit so that our air conditioner would stop working,” Washington said in the background of the video on Facebook. When Curtresa’s house started getting hot, she said she started getting suspicious. Multiple air technicians told her the disconnect was missing which is a part that makes the air conditioner run. When she looked back at the cameras, she said she was shocked to see her own landlord with what appears to be the disconnect in his hand. “It’s been a nightmare,” she said. NBC Palm Springs…

Blackouts expected this afternoon and evening-Governor calls it “unacceptable.”

Buckling under a record breaking heat wave, The California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) warned Monday afternoon that more rolling blackouts will likely plunge California into darkness over the next three days.  The new round of power outages are forecast to begin this afternoon as Cal ISO says the power demand will outstrip supply by 4,400 megawatts. The alert came less than an hour after Governor Gavin Newsom urged Californians to cut back on power usage during the electricity strain which caused hundreds of thousands of the state’s residents to lose electricity Friday and Saturday evenings.  The Governor signed an emergency proclamation Monday that frees up some power reserves.  But even with that order, Cal ISO is predicting that the state will run out of electricity sometime this afternoon and evening. Cal ISO Chair Steve Berberich said Monday “It is near certain” that utilities will have to cut off power to “millions” of people this week. Shortly before 2:00PM Monday, PG&E began sending automated phone messages to thousands of its customers in northern and central California advising them to prepare for blackouts between 3:00PM and…

Man Killed After Stabbing Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Identified

Update 8/17/20: RANCHO MIRAGE (CNS) – A man who authorities say was fatally shot after stabbing a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy multiple times in the neck and head with a screwdriver in Rancho Mirage was publicly identified Monday as a 33- year-old Cathedral City resident. The deputy was responding to a suspicious person call about 2:40 p.m. Aug. 7 in the 70000 block of Tamarisk Lane, near Palm View Road, when he encountered a man matching the suspect description, according to Sgt. Deanna Pecoraro. Sheriff Chad Bianco wrote on his Facebook page that night that the deputy was responding to a call stemming from a “suspicious man trying to gain entry into a house” and was “immediately assaulted and stabbed multiple times,” resulting in his hospitalization. “He was able to remove himself from the attack long enough to draw his gun, stopping the attack and killing the suspect,” Bianco wrote. “Thank God the deputy did exactly what he should have done under the circumstances.” The suspect, identified as Jeffery Monroy, was pronounced dead at the scene, and the screwdriver was located nearby, Pecoraro said. The…

Gov. Newsom demands investigation after rolling blackouts

California’s governor is demanding an investigation into the rolling blackouts that were implemented over the weekend during an intense heat wave, his office announced Monday. Energy shortages led to California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issuing a Stage 3 emergency for the first time in 20 years on Friday and Saturday. Heavy strain on the power grid meant that customers were asked to conserve as much energy as possible and some were subjected to rotating power outages. “These blackouts, which occurred without warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote in a letter to CAISO, the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission. Newsom said he found out about the blackouts just “moments” before they started. Operators of electrical grids were “caught flat footed, unable to avert disruptive blackouts and to adequately warn the public.” “Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians,” Newsom wrote. “This cannot stand.” When CAISO issued Saturday’s Stage 3 emergency, it cited the loss of a 470 megawatt…

Cooling Centers Are Open As Coachella Valley Faces Scorching Temps.

As we continue to face triple-digit temperatures and humid conditions, cooling centers across the Coachella Valley are a resource that many people rely on. “We’ve seen a little bit of an increase because of the added heat, usually we’ve got a full house and tonight we have a full house as well, and we’re just making room for the extra people as they come in,” said Scott Wolf, Development Director of The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission is open to the public providing many services to try and beat the heat. “We’re just like an oasis in the desert, we’re ready to help. we offer showers, we offer clothing exchange, we offer case management, we offer meals, we offer a place to sleep for the night and just a place to get out of the heat,” added Wolf. And not too far from the rescue mission, Martha’s Village and Kitchen is also used as a cooling center, usually open Monday through Friday. But during extreme conditions, they do open on the weekends. “We’re actually opening up on the weekends as well…

The American Small Business League Sues Trump Administration Over PPP Loan Distribution

Concerns have been raised on whether funds for the Payment Protection Program (PPP) aimed to help small businesses have been distributed fairly. And now a local small business advocate is suing The Trump Administration for fraud. The purpose of this lawsuit is to reveal the dollar amount of all loan recipients, big or small. And The American Small Business League is taking the Trump Administration to federal court to get those answers. “The purpose of PPP program was to help the 30 million small businesses where most Americans work and it’s a small business stimulus program, and as we’ve seen in the media, a large percentage of the money, I suspect the majority went to some very very large businesses,” said LLyod Champman, President, and Founder of American Small Business League Including local businesses like Big Horn Country Club and The San Bernardino Archdiocese, and national political parties on both sides of the political aisle, even including Kanye West’s fashion line. Chapman also suspects that the lawsuit will find big discrepancies when it comes to minority business owners. “What we’re seeing so far is that…

Local political parties debate which voting process is best

  The process of voting remains divided down party lines. President Trump has pushed for in-person voting, citing international interference and fraud as his main concerns. The President is also in the process of negotiating funding for the United Postal Service, who would be responsible for transporting mail-in ballots. Recently, the California Attorney General tweeted saying, “Undermining the Postal Service threatens to undermine free and fair elections.” The debate over how to vote has also reached the Coachella Valley. “In-person voting is the best way,” said Mike Cericola, a volunteer at the Republican headquarters in La Quinta, “For mail-in voting, you get the ballots and anyone can sign the back, and it also increases them by submitting people who’ve already passed away and everything.” But, members of the Democratic Headquarters of the Desert say mail-in voting is a secure and safe option during the pandemic. “There will be location for what’s called ‘lock boxes.’ People will be able to drop off their ballots if they’re uncomfortable. They’ll be picked up everyday and taken to the registrar of the county,” said Elle Kurpiewski, the director. Representatives…

Trash Truck Crashes into Power lines causing Outage

A trash truck pulled multiple power lines down in a Palm Desert neighborhood Friday evening leaving several homes without power. The Riverside Sheriffs Department, Socal Edison and CAL Fire are on scene. The incident was reported at 4:36 p.m. in the Avene of the States neighborhood and affected about 2,040 customers. Power was restored to most by 6 p.m., but there were about a dozen homes on Massachusetts Street still without power after 6. An estimated time of restoration for that section is unknown.

Stein Mart Closing all stores-Big Impact in Coachella Valley

The discount retailer Stein Mart has announced that it will be closing all 281 stores nationwide, just two days after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy.   Those closures include three Stein Mart locations locally in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and La Quinta. Company liquidators will immediately launch a “going out of business sale” at all locations with prices dropping by up to 30-percent. In a news release, Stein Mart CEO Hunt Hawkins said the chain suffered tremendous losses due to Covid-19 and that sales and liquidity nearly vanished.  According to Hawkins, “The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business. The Company has determined that the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation of its assets pursuant to an organized going out of business sale. The Company lacks sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business. I would like to thank all of our employees for their dedication and support.” Gift cards and loyalty reward points will still be honored but “only for a limited time.”…

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