Deserts

Brush Fire in Lake Hughes 12% contained as of Friday morning

LAKE HUGHES (CNS) – A fire burning near the Lake Hughes area is 12% contained Friday morning after scorching 11,000 acres and destroying three structures, authorities said. Firefighters, meanwhile, braced for dangerously hot weather caused by a heat wave this weekend. #LakeFire Incident Update 08/14/20 8AM pic.twitter.com/x1Qw0rCeCJ — L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) August 14, 2020 “Near critical fire weather conditions could develop Friday afternoon and evening as gusty onshore winds could combine with warm and dry conditions in place,” the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported Thursday. Crews were able to take advantage of improved fire weather conditions Thursday with slightly lower temperatures and moisture from the former hurricane Elida moving across the area, the department said. “Current objectives include keeping the fire north of Castaic Lake, south of Highway 138, east of Red Rock Mountain and west of Tule Ridge,” the department said. The fire was reported at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest and was 12% contained as of 7 a.m. Friday, according to the u. S. Forest Service, which…

Containment of Apple Fire Increases to 90 Percent

CHERRY VALLEY (CNS) – The Apple Fire burning in the San Bernardino National Forest was 90% contained Friday morning after burning 33,424 acres, destroying four homes and eight outbuildings and injuring three firefighters. Containment around the fire’s perimeter on Thursday was increased from 60% Wednesday and full containment of the blaze was expected Monday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire erupted in Cherry Valley July 31, sparked by a diesel vehicle malfunction. Bracing for hot, dry and windy conditions through the weekend, firefighters began day-only shifts Thursday as crews and resources continued to depart the area in anticipation of full containment. The 1,159 fire personnel who remained on scene were being aided by two Cal Fire air tankers and 11 water-dropping helicopters dropping water to cool hot spots. Windy conditions in the area made pockets of heat more visible, but fire lines held up against the wind and most hot spots were located around stumps and logs well within the fire’s edge, the Forest Service said. With fire lines holding, the Forest Service has begun assessing the severity of the damage caused by…

Apple Valley mother accused of murder, charged in connection with deaths of her two infant daughters

An Apple Valley woman remains in jail after authorities said she smothered her infant daughter in March while under the influence and negligently caused the death of her two-month-old child in 2017.Prosecutors charged Kristin Ann Brandon, 28, with one count of murder and one count of assault on a child causing death in the 2020 case, and one count of assault on a child causing death in the 2017 case.Brandon pleaded not guilty to all charges on Aug. 6. She is being held […]

Apple RV and Boat Storage moves into former Lowe’s building after decade-long vacancy

A building in Apple Valley that formerly housed a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center but has sat vacant for more than a decade finally has a new occupant.Apple RV and Boat Storage recently announced it plans to open for business in September at the location near Town Hall, though an official date has not been released.The company will provide indoor storage for RVs, boats, campers, cars, commercial vehicles and off-road toys inside the nearly 140,000-square-foot […]

696 New Coronavirus Cases, 26 New Deaths Reported Thursday in Riverside County

Riverside County health officials are reporting 696 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 26 additional deaths, bringing the countywide totals to 44,679 cases and 879 deaths. There are 116 new cases in the Coachella Valley and 10 new deaths. Here are the numbers for the Coachella Valley city-by-city: Desert Hot Springs: 917 (+11) cases, 20 (+3) deaths Cathedral City: 1,603 (+11) cases, 26 deaths Palm Springs: 872 (+8) cases, 40 (+4) deaths Rancho Mirage: 212 (+1) cases, 17 (+1) deaths Palm Desert: 851 (+20) cases, 47 (+2) deaths Indian Wells: 42 (+3) cases, 2 deaths La Quinta: 659 (+4) cases, 16 deaths Indio: 3,018 (+76) cases, 64 deaths Coachella: 2,166 (+12) cases, 21 deaths Thousand Palms: 181 (+9) cases, no deaths Bermuda Dunes: 103 (+1) cases, 3 deaths Thermal: 145 (+1) cases, no deaths Mecca: 363 (+6) cases, 8 deaths North Shore: 110 cases, 1 death Oasis: 276 cases, 2 death Sky Valley: 34 cases, no deaths Cabazon: 42 (+2) 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 county…

Is there a Way to Bring Back Large Events That Generate Billions For Valley’s Economy?

When stay at home orders went into effect in March, the way we do things changed. No more mass gatherings, large events were cancelled. This severely impacted the valley’s economy where music festivals, conventions and international events bring in big dollars. Before the pandemic, the city of Palm Springs had big plans.  “We spent the better part of the last ten years building focused on building the Palm Springs brand, bringing Palm Springs back, the downtown mall, the convention center, the new hotels … then COVID hits and all of a sudden you’ve got to stop,” says David Ready, the Palm Springs city manager. That stop has shrunk their budget by $50 million, but their focus is now on keeping their residents and visitors safe while trying to think outside the box to make sure businesses can survive the pandemic too. They’re doing things like expanding outdoor dining by shutting and drive in movies. “So we’re looking to do the immediate things to we can to help and then of course we’re looking to reentry into a post COVID where we’re ready to hit the…

Parents Sue Governor Newsom To Open Schools

A Republican leader in the state and several parents are suing Governor Gavin Newsom over COVID-19 related school closures. They want schools to reopen, but the governor and health officials say it’s best they remain closed.  NBC Palm Springs spoke with Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s top health officer, to get his opinion on schools reopening. “Here in riverside, and we account for the percentage of tests, it looks like kids get COVID-19 at about the same rate as everybody else. that means a higher risk of kids who are either being affected by school by other kids or by teachers and bringing it home,” explained Kaiser More than a dozen parents represented in this case want Governor Gavin Newsom to let schools and districts decide on their own whether to return to in-person learning or not. “The risk to children and the risk to teachers from children infinitesimal,” said Harmeet Dhillon, CEO of The Center For American Liberty. But Dr. Cameron Kaiser has actually analyzed our local data and he says that’s not the case. “Certainly much fewer kids get sick, at least in…

Almost 5,000 CVUSD families relying on district for wifi this semester

Families at Coachella Valley Unified School district prepare for the first day of school, not knowing when they’ll be allowed to return to campus. “I feel nervous but mostly excited,” said Kimbella Villa, a second grader. “It’s totally different, I don’t know what to do. I’m raising five kids, grandkids, and they’re all scared of this coronavirus, they want to come back to school, but not in this way,” said Eunice Godinez, a parent. Starting around 6:30 Thursday morning, parents lined up at schools across Coachella Valley unified to get Ipads and meals for their students. But many still have concerns over internet connection. “I really want them to learn and I don’t want them to stay back,” said Godinez. In a recent survey, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership says only 39 percent of homes in Thermal have internet service, followed by 42 percent in Oasis, and 63 percent in Mecca, leaving many families to rely on the district for help. And some are still without wifi just a day ahead of the first day of school. “We’ve passed out about 3,000 hot spots, we’ve…

State data glitches may be impacting local COVID-19

California’s technical glitch is now highlighting several problems facing the state, it now appears there are slowdowns at nearly every step of the testing process. Legislators and local nurse practitioners say problemas are coming from testing itself, to the reporting and to contact tracing. As the state attempts to resolve the technical glitch in their reporting system, local legislators are worrying. “The tricky part is going to be how to determine if they are recent positives or were they positives from two to three weeks ago,” said Congressman Raul Ruiz, who is part of the 36th district. Case numbers are all over the place, at the end of July the county was reporting daily new case numbers in the 200’s. This week the daily numbers are in the 14-hundreds. In a press conference, Governor Gavin Newsom said “We will take all of that backlogged 295- thousand cases.” Lawmakers and health officials in the state rely on accurate and timely COVID-19 statistics in order to make informed decisions on when to reopen schools and businesses. Governor Newsom says the issue is being resolved, but county officials…

Teen Sisters Raise Thousands to Protect Local Health Care Workers

Like many teenagers, the Mann sisters, 17-year-old Piya and 19-year-old Samar, have been stuck at home during this pandemic.  “We couldn’t leave the house and it’s hard to think of ways that we could give back and try to make a difference,” says Samar.  Because their parents are doctors they know COVID-19 is a threat to them and all health care workers on the front lines.  “Before this whole coronavirus crisis I never saw it and the way that they were going to work and risking their lives,” says Piya. “I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for them,” adds Samar.  But because they also know personal protective equipment (P.P.E.) can make the difference between them getting sick and staying safe, the sisters took action to raise money for P.P.E.. “We started a GoFundMe, we all spread it though our social medias,” says Piya. “The goal was $1000 initially, I was, personally, I was happy to get even $100,” says Samar.  They did a lot better than that. Four weeks later, they met with administrators at Eisenhower Health, the not for profit hospital in Rancho…

8-year-old boy mowing lawns for first responders and single moms and feeding the hungry

A young boy in Conway, South Carolina, is making a big difference in his community, one act of kindness at a time. Feeding the hungry and mowing lawns for busy first responders and single mothers are just a few of the ways Greyson Winfield is making a positive impact. With the help of his parents, the 8-year-old started an organization called Helping Footprint — which collects donations that are then used to buy gift cards for food or to help pay bills for area families. The son of two former firefighters has grown up around acts of service, which inspired him to do his part in his community — and work toward becoming a man like President John F. Kennedy, said Greyson. Greyson wants to be a Navy SEAL because “helping others is the right thing to do. Also, JFK was in the Navy before becoming president and I want to follow his lead,” he said. Although he’s still much too young to be a SEAL, Greyson is already doing what he can as a fourth grader. He started Helping Footprint in hopes of making the world…

DHS renters struggle with rising rent during the pandemic

For the last year, Jim Farley has rented his property in Desert Hot Springs. The 87 year Veteran says a recent rent increase is forcing him to move out. “I barely squeaked by paying what I agreed to pay, now I can’t afford it at all,” said Farley. Farley qualified for the section 8 program, but says his new property owner says they won’t except section 8 tenants. The action is legal, according to a recent court case that clarifies section 8 is not income, and is therefore not discrimination. “I have to live on a very small social security,” said Farley. Jim and other renters were also notified that besides a slight rent increase, they would be facing higher utility charges. Now his neighbor will pay an additional $500 a month, increasing her total by 37 percent. “There’s just no way that’s going to happen. COVID’s already going on, my husband has missed five weeks of work because of it. It’s impossible to just up and move,” said Jody Pientka. Utopia management, who manages the property, says the increase is to help the owner…

Brush Fire Quickly Grows in Lake Hughes

The Lake Fire has quickly grown to 6,000 acres as of 5:25 p.m. **UPDATE** #LakeFire has been updated to 6000 acres. #LACoFD — L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) August 13, 2020 The Lake Fire was reported at about 3:30 p.m. near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest, according to Marvin Lim of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which was battling the blaze with Angeles National Forest crews. #LakeFire view from Venice Beach provided by @LACoLifeguards. #LACoFD pic.twitter.com/84jv0gSoVU — L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) August 12, 2020 The fire had a “rapid rate of spread,” and the ANF and LACSD called in second-alarm responses. By 4:30 p.m., the flames had burned 400 acres. The Los Angeles County Fire Department was working with the sheriff’s department to evacuate Lake Hughes residents north of the fire. It was not immediately clear if the evacuations would be mandatory. BRUSH FIRE 8/12/20 @LACoFireAirOps Firehawk helicopters assisting @Angeles_NF with the #LakeFire off Lake Hughes Road north of Warm Springs. pic.twitter.com/IN9Ce833Uq — LACoFireAirOps (@LACoFireAirOps) August 12, 2020

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