Inland Empire Weekly

Inland Empire Future Leaders Program holds virtual conference to empower youth

The year 2020 marks the start of a new decade and it signals change. More and more parents of Latinx high school students want their children to succeed and they seek the help of role models in their communities to aid their children to go to college. Inland Empire Future Leaders Program (IEFLP) offers leadership development, cultural pride, and educational awareness to Latinx eighth- and ninth-grade students from schools representing San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. Photo Karino Camacho: Guest speaker Rep. Pete Aguilar shares his story and successes after attending IEFL in 1993. This past week, IEFLP held its 36th Annual conference via an online program. Over 100 Latinx eighth- and ninth-grade students and 60 volunteer staff participated in the online conference. The traditional conference was transformed into a three-day online experience to prioritize student and staff public health safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. R.C. Heredia, an alumnus of Colton High School, UCLA, and Pepperdine Univ. and chair of the IEFLP Board of Directors shares, “The IEFLP Board of Directors made the wise decision that, while it would have been justified…

Rialto resident helps feed 14,000 people per week in response to COVID-19

Rialto resident, Chandrasekar Venkatraman, president of India Association of Inland Empire (IAIE), has been busy volunteering, coordinating and fundraising to ensure 1,500 residents of San Bernardino and Riverside counties receive a hot meal everyday, in response to COVID-19. The initiative, an effort in conjunction with United Sikh Mission (USM), not only feeds hot meals to those in need, but also to healthcare workers. “Initially, we wanted to try and feed 10 people everyday of the week and then we elevated it up to 25 people per day. I then leveraged my network and connected with USM, who was then serving 175 meals per day…Now together, we’re serving as many as 14,000 hot meals per week,” said Venkatraman. Also a senior program manager for Veolia North America, he said he has received the enthusiastic support of his colleagues, supervisors and supporters at VNA, where he handles a portfolio of major engineering and construction projects. He said that at the start of the pandemic, he reached out to his manager and inquired about volunteering on behalf of IAIE, to assist USM handle, package and distribute food. “Just…

American Red Cross recognizes local volunteers

On Tuesday, June 23, the American Red Cross San Bernardino Chapter recognized several volunteers throughout the county.  Traditionally, the Red Cross honors volunteers during a recognition ceremony banquet.  However, this year in keeping with the COVID-19 safety guidelines and social distancing, San Bernardino County Red Cross Executive, staff members, and volunteers formed a parade of vehicles that drove right up to each recipient’s home. Recipients were instructed to meet the parade of cars at their front yard with family and friends.  All participants were instructed to keep a social distance and use face coverings at all times.  As the procession of cars approached the residences, drivers and passengers would approach on foot, staying a safe distance from the home.  At most residences, volunteers would cheer and carry signs, and many would dance to music provided from a loudspeaker.  John Caviness received the “Volunteer of the Year” award for his service as a Logistics Lead for the San Bernardino County Chapter of the Red Cross. San Bernardino Red Cross Chapter’s Executive Director Yevette Baysinger presented each of the recipients a glass award trophy in recognition and…

CSUSB receives 3 Department of Defense cybersecurity scholarships

Three students in the Cal State San Bernardino cybersecurity program will receive full scholarships in the fall from the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program (DoD CySp), which seeks to recruit the nation’s top cyber talent to help protect the nation against threats on information systems and networks. “These scholarships are a tribute to the accomplishments and great work of our students. The DoD CySp program is one of the most competitive and prestigious in the nation, with anywhere between 50-100 yearly participants,” said Tony Coulson, director of the CSUSB Cybersecurity Center and a professor of information and decision sciences in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. “The three CSUSB students receiving the scholarships were chosen from a national pool similar to a National Football League draft and were among the top picks for their agencies.”  Nationally, the DoD CySp program received 571 student applications this year and made 115 new scholarship offers of which 108 students accepted, Coulson said. There were 78 returning students for a total of 186 students this year, he said.  Congressman Pete Aguilar, (D-CA) long a supporter and proponent of the CSUSB Cybersecurity program, said, “I…

Arrowhead United Way included in $15 million anonymous gift for COVID-19 efforts

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arrowhead United Way has been active in collecting funds to support community members in the regions that need dire assistance. The San Bernardino United COVID-19 Relief Fund was established and began accepting donations, as well as applications for individual assistance on March 19, 2020. The San Bernardino United COVID-19 Relief Fund was heartily supported by community partners including, SBCUSD Making Hope Happen Foundation. “Our community leaders have really stepped up to support our efforts to assist those who are facing the biggest hardships from the pandemic. Our partners are aware of the great need in our region and the California-wide donation of $15 million from an anonymous donor is going to make a huge impact on the lives in our regions,” said Gwendolyn Rodgers, Interim President & CEO of Arrowhead United Way. The anonymous donor made an impressive $15 million gift to fund a total of 30 local United Ways. All United Ways that are benefiting from the donation will be using it to help in the relief efforts for those most in need. The San Bernardino United…

Eight students complete Crafton Hills Rad Tech Program, amid difficult final semester

This spring, eight students completed the Radiologic Technology (Rad Tech) program at Crafton Hills College. The 22 ½-month program, offered in partnership with Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, prepares students to perform diagnostic imaging examinations. Each student received his or her associate degree in Radiologic Technology or Radiologic Technology certificate and is eligible to take state and national board examinations to qualify for entry-level employment in radiography. The graduates are Jason Brown, Fabian Cano, Lewis Middleton, Jerry Padgett Jr., Desiree Perez, Julianne Richter, John Shields and Alexis Ward. These individuals endured a difficult final semester with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. “All of the graduates worked hard and persevered through all of life’s unexpected surprises in 2020,” said program director Melissa Huynh. “I’m so proud of them!”In addition to the awarding of degrees and certificates, the program faculty also presented awards and scholarships at the informal “socially distant” gathering on June 9. Jerry Padgett, Jr. received the Clinical Achievement Award for his superior clinical performance and commendable attendance record. Padgett plans to continue his education in computed tomography (CT). Alexis Ward was recognized for her…

CSUSB fraternity raises money to donate meals to hospital workers

Members of the Delta Sigma Phi Eta Beta chapter at Cal State San Bernardino raised more than $1,000 through a virtual fundraiser to buy meals for hospital workers at Dignity Health Community Hospital in San Bernardino. “We as a fraternity wanted to do something special for the hard-working frontline workers who are currently fighting COVID-19 every day,” said chapter president Adrian Valdivia.  The fraternity used the money to purchase meals from Alanbertos Mexican Food, a family-owned business in San Bernardino, said Valdivia, who graduated this month with a degree in communication studies with a concentration in public relations. The chapter arranged to buy 160 burritos as well as chips and water, Valdivia said. On June 12, at about noon, Valdivia and fellow chapter member Juan Saucedo, a senior majoring in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology who will graduate in the fall, donated the meals to the healthcare workers.  “The members of Delta Sigma Phi are very thankful to everyone who donated for this amazing cause, and we want to acknowledge all the heroes who are currently fighting this disease,” Valdivia said. “Stay strong!”…

Legislation to provide second chances passes State Assembly

AB 2147, legislation by Assemblymember Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino) which would provide an expedited expungement process for inmates that have successfully participated as inmate hand crews (actively assisting with fire suppression activities), passed the State Assembly with bipartisan support. Under existing law, once released from custody a former inmate must finish the terms of their parole before applying for expungement of their criminal record.  Even once those records are expunged, the person must disclose their criminal history on applications for state licenses. With nearly 200 occupations that require licensing from one of 42 California government departments and agencies these former inmates are almost entirely denied access to these jobs, as an estimated 2.5 million California workers (approximately 17% of the state’s workforce) need a professional license to work.  Under, AB 2147 a person that participates as part of a state or county fire camp would be eligible to apply for expungement upon release from custody, and if the expungement is approved, could seek various career pathways including those that require a state license. “These individuals are vetted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,…

Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino Launches Summer of a Million Meals

Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB), the regional food bank of the Inland Empire, has launched the first Summer of a Million Meals campaign following the COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure children and families across the Inland Empire can access nutritious food through the summer months. Through the Summer of a Million Meals campaign, FARSB is asking the community to help raise critically needed funds to ensure children can receive food through summer meal programs provided by FARSB and partner charity sites. “For far too many children, the start of summer marks the start of a long, hot, and hungry break. In fact, it’s what we refer to as the hungriest time of the year,” said Stephanie Otero, CEO at Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino. “With so much uncertainty impacting our community, one thing should never be uncertain, and that’s access to a meal,” said Otero. FARSB has set an ambitious $125,000 goal—enough to provide up to one million meals to children, families, seniors, and Veterans in the Inland Empire.  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FARSB has aided nearly 100,000 Inland Empire individuals…

The Neighborhood: A show everyone should watch

During this quarantine, I’ve been bingeing a lot of shows. One show I recently watched for the first time was The Neighborhood on CBS starring Cedric the Entertainer, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Tichina Arnold and more.  It is about a white family (Dave, Gemma and Grover Johnson) moving next door to the Butler family (Calvin, Tina, Malcolm and Marty) in a predominately black neighborhood. Among other things, we see how different the two cultures are, highlighting misunderstanding, prejudice and just regular neighbor issues. Asthe show goes on Dave, Gemma, and Grover are welcomed around the neighborhood and the two families become close friends.  Many jokes are thrown around about how different black and white cultures are. Like how Cedric the Entertainer’s character, Calvin, introduces Dave to the barber shop where Dave is confused how Calvin gets his hair cut once a week!  We also see Calvin’s wife, Tina, introduce Gemma to new vocabulary and fashion.  The show also often makes light of things that may be hard to talk about, like Tina being racially profiled and followed around the store by a security officer.  Or the time Dave gets his table first at a restaurant despite Calvin making his reservation before him. But it doesn’t just stop with the…

San Manuel Casino reopens with safety protocols in place

San Manuel Casino reopened its doors to the public on Monday, June 15, 2020 with safety measures in place after a 3-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The casino was the first tribal casino in California to suspend operations, on March 15, to ensure the health and safety of tribal members, employees, guests and the community. In partnership with Loma Linda University Health, a framework of standards was developed that includes frequent sanitation, health screenings and protocols in identifying those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, in the effort to help prevent and control potential outbreaks of the disease. Photo MJ Duncan: Touch-free temperature scanners at the entrance – guests with 100.4°F and above will not be allowed to enter. “Re-opening our doors safely and responsibly is our first priority,” said San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez. “We have taken our commitment to health and safety one step further by working with Loma Linda University Health’s San Manuel Gateway College on our health screening curriculum and organization-wide training.” According to San Manuel Public Relations Manager Jenna Brady, the tribe had to make the difficult decision to lay…

The NBA is coming back

It’s been months since we saw the last NBA game. The league went on a “hiatus” mid March, and it was questioned whether the season would resume. But, it has seemed to have worked out! The NBA is coming back July 31st in Orlando, Florida. But don’t expect to see any fans in attendance just yet. Here are all the details you need to know about the league resuming play. The NBA is bringing 22 teams to Orlando. The 13 West teams still in playoff contention, and the 9 East teams still in playoff contention. Each team will play 8 games. If after the 8, the 9 seed and 8 seed are separated by 4 or less games, then there will be a play in tournament (like the wild card in baseball).  The season will start July 31st, with training camps beginning early July. The season will go on as late as October 12th. Teams will be able to eat at outdoor restaurants and even golf. Just as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. Eventually, a champion will be crowned.  However that’s not it! Next season will also be altered, and will be…

Tony and Gloria Bocanegra celebrate 65th wedding anniversary

Tony and Gloria Bocanegra are happy to announce their 65th wedding anniversary on June 11, 2020.  Pastor Monsignor Gomez performed the marriage celebration at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Redlands on June 11, 1955, where Gloria had received all her sacraments.  Gloria is a native of Redlands, and Tony was born and raised in the Westside Mt. Vernon neighborhood of San Bernardino. They believe their marriage was blessed, and their strong faith has strengthened them during good and hard times. Their four children – Lisa Marie Fabian, Martin Kerry, Anthony Jude and Maria Renee Gianni have blessed them with 5 grandsons and 1 great-granddaughter. Tony was employed at the San Bernardino Sun Newspaper for 37 years, Mt. View Cemetery and Mortuary in family Service for ten years, and Sinfonia Mexicana for over 22 years. Gloria provided a warm and loving home while employed at San Bernardino County Public Works Agency for 30 years from where she retired. Tony and Gloria were active in the communities of San Bernardino and Redlands for many years.  At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Bernardino, they were honored…

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Loma Linda University Health partner to develop health screening curriculum prior to re-opening

Continuing the decades-long partnership between Loma Linda University Health and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a new curriculum is being built at the Loma Linda University’s San Manuel Gateway College that is specifically designed to help protect the community, guests, and employees of San Manuel. San Manuel was the first Tribal casino to announce a closure, citing the safety of our tribal citizens, guests and employees. The safety of all who live and visit the San Manuel Reservation is also why San Manuel was not the first to open. More than simply sanitizing and taking temperatures, the new San Manuel Health and Safety Plan establishes organization-wide training, expanded cleaning schedules, and, among many other new policies and procedures, several new roles dedicated to preventing further spread of COVID-19. “Re-opening our doors safely and responsibly is our first priority,” said San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez. “We have taken our commitment to health and safety one step further by working with Loma Linda University Health’s San Manuel Gateway College on our health screening curriculum and organization-wide training.” A new curriculum is being developed with the San Manuel…

Firefighters battle three-alarm blaze at distribution warehouse

Redlands Firefighters battled a three-alarm commercial structure fire at a 600,000-square-foot distribution warehouse in the 2200 block of West Lugonia Avenue early Friday morning. No injuries were reported. Firefighters received the call of a commercial structure fire at the building at 2255 W. Lugonia Ave. at about 5:30 a.m. Friday, June 5. Arriving crews found heavy flames and plumes of thick black smoke that, at one point, could be seen from nearby mountain communities rising above the cloud layer. About 100 employees of the distribution center were able to evacuate prior to the Fire Department’s arrival. No injuries were reported. Fire agencies from throughout San Bernardino County and other surrounding communities responded to fight the fire. Ladder trucks surrounded the massive structure pouring water on the flames for several hours. No other structures were damaged. Redlands Police responded to control traffic. Utility crews and ambulance units were also on hand. “We are extremely grateful to our allied agencies for their support,” said Redlands Fire Chief Jim Topoleski. The massive flames were clearly visible from the nearby Interstate 10. At one point, California Highway Patrol closed…

Legacy of Diana Harrison Martinez lives on through family, IECN, scholarship fund

This is an extraordinarily sad and happy time of year for the Harrison family. While we celebrate the birthday of our matriarch, Gloria Macias Harrison in early June, we also remember our dear daughter and sister, Diana Harrison Martinez, who left us so suddenly and unexpectedly in June 2017. Diana’s legacy lives on through the family of Inland Empire Community Newspapers (El Chicano, which began 51 years ago; the Colton Courier and the Rialto Record; and our online presence through IECN.com) and through scholarship and donation programs at Crafton Hills College and San Bernardino Valley College to deserving community college students who represent the ideals that Diana lived by — honesty, integrity, ethical leadership, and community involvement and support. Here are four students that have been assisted by the Diana Harrison Martinez Fund over the last two years: Scholarship recipients, from left: Riane Ferras, Sarah-Beth Roach, Dallas Platter, and Laura Acosta. 2018 Recipient, Crafton Hills CollegeRiane Ferras, Major: Music“My greatest accomplishments are about the willpower and determination I had to overcome obstacles.”Riane has a passion for music and has recently started tutoring others in piano.…

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