Glimpse at a clean-air future for Inland Empire trucks seen in Ontario

You might not see the difference in NFI’s new trucks. But you can definitely hear it. Compared to a diesel engine’s growl, the electric-powered trucks’ whirling fans were barely audible above conversations that took place Tuesday, Feb. 27, at an event celebrating NFI’s emission-free truck fleet, charging stations and maintenance shop in Ontario. Subsidized by an alliance of state government, pollution-fighting regulators and others, officials hope the 50 trucks, along with the chargers and maintenance bay, herald a new era of battery-fueled big rigs ferrying goods without belching toxic exhaust. The partnership’s “enthusiasm and commitment have been indispensable and together, we are revolutionizing the trucking industry and paving the way towards a cleaner, more sustainable future,” Jim O’Leary, NFI vice president of fleet services, said at Tuesday’s event. Part of a fleet of 50 new electric-powered trucks acquired by trucking company NFI are ready to be put in service at NFI’s Ontario depot Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG) Jigar J. Shah, of Electrify America, prepares to unplug a charger from a battery-powered semi at NFI’s Ontario trucking depot

Voting centers now open in San Bernardino and Riverside counties

Voters in the March 5 primary election who want to get a jump on Election Day while still voting in person can do so now, at early voting centers around the Inland Empire. Riverside County has dozens of vote centers open now through Election Day. Visit and choose “Vote Center Location Map” for times and locations. A voter takes advantage of early voting to cast her ballot in the Community Room of the Riverside Main Library in Riverside on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) An American flag marks the entrance to the Community Room of the Riverside Main Library where voters take advantage of early voting in Riverside on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) A voter takes advantage of early voting to cast her ballot in the Community Room of the Riverside Main Library in Riverside on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Riverside Main Library employees and early voters stand outside after a fire alarm went off in the library forcing the building to be evacuated for about 15

Planned Parenthood presses Fontana to lift ban preventing clinic from opening

Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties say that 2,000 Fontana residents are being denied healthcare each month after city leaders blocked the opening of a Sierra Avenue clinic. Volunteers and representatives from the organization visited the stalled clinic site Tuesday morning, Feb. 27, tying pink ribbons to fencing on the property as part of a public campaign to convince Fontana to lift a ban on development there. Sadaf Rahmani, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood, called Fontana a “healthcare desert” lacking affordable medical care. She said she hoped the Fontana City Council would hear the voices of the community and understand why a clinic is needed. “We want to offer a visual representation of what we mean when we say this is essential health care that the community needs,” Rahmani said Tuesday. “Each one of those ribbons represents the patient. And so I think having this visual representation is so important and hopefully this helps drive the message home even further.” A city spokesperson said Tuesday officials would not comment on the matter, which is currently under litigation. Planned Parenthood volunteer Kylie Hunter

Sam Maloof home in Rancho Cucamonga lures Modernism Week visitors

Design lovers at Modernism Week had an array of midcentury homes in and around Palm Springs to explore, including homes associated with Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra or dreamed up by architects Albert Frey and John Lautner. Yet on Sunday, 26 architecture fans made the journey from glamorous Palm Springs to slightly less glamorous Rancho Cucamonga to see Modernism Week’s most distant attraction: Sam Maloof’s home. They spent $145 to board a luxury coach at the Palm Springs Art Museum and travel 75 miles to the late woodworker’s home, studio and gardens for docent-led tours, plus lunch, before heading back to the desert playland. I decided I should be there too — albeit by driving directly from Claremont rather than by chartering a bus. Shamefully, despite all my years at the newspaper, and all the stories I’d read about Maloof and his house, I’d never visited. It was firmly on the list of places I really ought to see sometime. You know how it is. Here was my excuse to go: Tourists would be visiting on a specific day and from a specific place. It

Riverside County residents, now’s the time to weigh in on traffic, transportation issues

If you’re a Riverside County resident and would like to have a say in how the county handles issues in the future related to traffic, potholes, freeway improvements and increasing public transportation offerings, now is your chance. The Riverside County Transportation Commission is encouraging Riverside County residents to read and offer comments on its draft 2024 Traffic Relief Plan, or TRP. “The TRP is a comprehensive, countywide strategic blueprint to reduce traffic congestion by constructing highway improvements, repairing potholes on local roads and streets, increasing the frequency of public transportation, and fortifying our county’s transportation infrastructure against natural disasters,” the commission said in a news release. The plan was last updated in 2020 following a public input period and comments from the community are being sought again for another update, according to the RCTC. Riverside County residents have until March 31 to read the draft of the 2024 updated plan and add feedback in an online form. The plan and form can be found at Projects focus on improvements like smoothing streets, modernizing transportation infrastructure, improving traffic flow and regional connections, and providing expanded

Everything You Need to Know About Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening

By Dr. Deborah Glupczynski Tax forms, check. Car repairs, check. Prep for kids’ school activities, check. Make reservations for Valentine’s Day, check. Schedule your breast exam or cervical cancer screening exam…wait, what? If that last item wasn’t on your to-do list for this month, you’re not alone. It’s understandable that regular cancer screenings can fall by the wayside over the course of our busy lives. Some of us aren’t fully back to feeling “normal” in our routines post-pandemic, and that’s OK.  But it’s so important to get back on track with these routine but lifesaving screening exams, even if you didn’t have in person visits during the pandemic. In particular, you should prioritize getting regularly checked for breast and cervical cancer, two of the most common cancers affecting people in the U.S. As scary as this sounds, it’s important to remember that screening exams can find precancerous and cancerous changes early, when treatment will be most effective, so ask your health care provider if you are due for any screening exams. Because February is National Cancer Prevention Awareness Month, we thought now would be a great time to review everything

Riverside filmmaker’s documentary screens at film festival

A Riverside filmmaker’s documentary on a man who helped thousands of Black students pass the State Bar of California exam got a recent boost. “Bar Daddy” was screened at the Pan African Film + Arts Festival in Los Angeles, which began Friday, Feb. 16. The event is among the largest African American film festivals in the U.S. Los Angeles attorney Al Jenkins is seen March 23, 2023, at Loyola Marymount University with former students of his who passed the state bar exam. Jenkins’ work helping Black students pass the test is chronicled in Riverside resident Jay Gerren’s documentary called “Bar Daddy.” (Courtesy of Richard Nichols) “Bar Daddy” is a documentary on Alfred “Al” Jenkins, who helped more than 3,000 Black students pass the bar exam. Created by Riverside resident Jay Gerren, it was screened at the Pan African Film + Arts Festival in Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Gerren Productions) Show Caption of Expand Based on a true story, it tells how Los Angeles attorney Al Jenkins, who still tutors for the State Bar of California, donated his time and skills to help more than 3,000

El Monte receives $6.7M grant for electric transportation options

The City of El Monte has been awarded $6,703,420 by the California Air Resources Board to implement El Monte’s Clean Mobility Nexus, a project that will provide residents with clean, affordable transportation options. “We are thrilled to receive this grant from the California Air Resources Board to fund the Clean Mobility Nexus project in El Monte,” said City Manager Alma Martinez. “The grant will go a long way towards providing our community with a range of sustainable transportation options that will not only help reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also improve air quality, which is a top priority for us.” In collaboration with nonprofits Active San Gabriel Valley and Mobility Development Operations, the project will facilitate the purchase of four electric buses, introducing new express and market shuttle services. The city will also install seven dual Level II EV charging stations and two fast EV charging stations will be installed across El Monte for the new buses. Funding from the project will be allocated to launch a car-sharing program with the acquisition of 20 electric vehicles stationed throughout El Monte. Additionally, to promote sustainable transportation

Inland Empire’s history will soon be celebrated at Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino

San Bernardino is getting ready for a huge party and everyone is invited. Just in case you haven’t heard, the city’s historic Santa Fe Depot will soon host Inland Empire History Day at the Santa Fe. The extravaganza, which is free, is planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 13. It should be great fun as well as an interesting way to learn about the region’s colorful past. Our story began thousands of years ago. Indigenous tribes inhabiting the area included the Serrano in the mountains, valley and high desert; the Cahuilla in the San Gorgonio Pass and San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains; the Chemehuevi and Mojave along the Colorado River; and the Tongva (Gabrielino). But when Spanish missionaries from San Gabriel arrived during the early 19th century, life for these Native Americans would never be the same. Research indicates that the padres established a rancho in 1819 between what is today San Bernardino and Redlands. The mission outpost was named “San Bernardino” after Saint Bernardine, a 14th century priest from Sienna, Italy. All of the missions were ordered closed by decree

One year after brutal storms in the San Bernardino Mountains, what has been learned?

Capt. Craig Harris starts the engine. The enormous vehicle vibrates as it comes to life, the passenger compartment filled with new-car smell. This isn’t a car or truck, but an enormous orange Sno-Cat. The tracked vehicle recently acquired by the San Bernardino County sheriff’s Twin Peaks station is meant to help plug gaps in emergency response exposed by winter storms in spring 2023. A year ago, on Feb. 25, 2023, a blizzard slammed into the San Bernardino Mountains. Over the next two weeks, up to 11 feet of snow fell on mountain communities. Residents were trapped in their homes, sometimes without adequate supplies of food, medicine and other staples. In some cases, the roofs of mobile homes threatened to cave in. The roof of the only grocery store in Crestline collapsed. Officials were slow to respond at first. When they did, county communication with the public, elected officials and outside public agencies was inconsistent and sometimes confused. The public was told of efforts that weren’t happening and programs that didn’t exist. The county didn’t have enough equipment capable of handling a winter storm of this

1970s photos of Shakey’s Pizza in Riverside offer slice of nostalgia

After my column on the long-lived Shakey’s Pizza in Montclair from 1961, a reader got in touch to share some ’70s memories from her days behind the counter at a Riverside Shakey’s. Leslie Nagby not only has memories, she has photos. She arrives for our appointment with a photo album, labeled “Shakey’s,” devoted to her 1972-78 stint at the Van Buren Boulevard restaurant. Nagby has a ready smile and an orderly mind. Now 67, she retired five years ago from the IRS. (Its Riverside office, by the way, had the street address of 1040. LOL, IRS.) She tends to save things, like receipts. She documented her Shakey’s period too. Her album has photos of the staff, the exterior, the interior, even the walk-in fridge. “One day,” she says, “I took pictures of everything, just to have it.” And she has memorabilia, from Bunch of Lunch cards to her W-4s to a task list for “scullery clean-up.” Young Leslie Fifer, as she was known then, was a junior at Ramona High. Her father was friends with the Shakey’s manager, which allowed her to overcome a hurdle

Riverside Dickens Festival takes guests back to the Victorian era

Famous figures including Edgar Allan Poe, Queen Victoria and Vincent van Gogh came to Jurupa Valley this weekend. Addie, 4, and Laurel Akin, 3, play with sand Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, during the Riverside Dickens Festival at the Jensen Alvarado Ranch in Jurupa Valley. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) Danny, Ronya, Dan and Miriam Cheatham attend the Riverside Dickens Festival at the Jensen Alvarado Ranch in Jurupa Valley on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) Grandmer Orchid reads to Isaiah Lucas, 2, during the Riverside Dickens Festival at the Jensen Alvarado Ranch in Jurupa Valley on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) Actors dressed as Vincent van Gogh and Beatrix Potter chat Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, during the Riverside Dickens Festival at the Jensen Alvarado Ranch in Jurupa Valley. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) Cristian Brveckner, playing Capt. Ravyn, and “Margo” Elsa Cummins look at items for sale during the Riverside Dickens Festival at the Jensen Alvarado Ranch in Jurupa Valley on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) Apollo Hursey, 8

Pasadena mayoral race approaches March 5 Election Day

With the March 5 election nearing, the Pasadena mayoral race is marked by a sharp division in visions for the city’s future as challenger Allen Shay seeks to unseat incumbent Victor Gordo. Pasadena voters are poised to choose between continuity with Gordo’s consensus-building approach and Shay’s push for rapid redevelopment and police accountability. Gordo leans on his first-term achievements and crisis management during COVID-19 disruptions, while Shay is critical of the mayor’s style of governance, urging swifter action on affordable housing, homelessness and economic growth. “What they have right now is a photo op mayor,” Shay said.  Shay’s platform resonates with his experience as chair of the Lincoln Avenue Steering Committee, promising to accelerate initiatives like the transformation of vacant commercial buildings into affordable housing units. “It’s been the same policies and issues as the last four mayors,” Shay said. “It’s like Pasadena hasn’t had new leadership for twenty years.”  Gordo highlighted the transformation of the Kaiser Permanente site into a mental health facility as evidence of his commitment to tackle the city’s deep-rooted issues. His campaign underscored further economic growth, affordable housing, infrastructure renewal

American Red Cross will honor its 2024 Inland Empire Heroes at March 6 event

Cory Wheeler of Murrieta Fire and Rescue is the recipient of the 2024 First Responder Hero award, one of the American Red Cross Inland Empire Heroes awards. (Courtesy of the American Red Cross Southern California Region) Tina Vazquez of Corona is one of the recipients of the 2024 Gift of Life Hero award, one of the American Red Cross Inland Empire Heroes awards. (Courtesy of the American Red Cross Southern California Region) Robert J. Ethridge of Chino is the recipient of the 2024 Service to the Armed Forces Hero award, one of the American Red Cross Inland Empire Heroes awards. (Courtesy of the American Red Cross Southern California Region) Emma Gray of Rancho Cucamonga is the recipient of the 2024 Youth Hero award, one of the American Red Cross Inland Empire Heroes awards. (Courtesy of the American Red Cross Southern California Region) Cesar Morales of Moreno Valley is the recipient of the 2024 Good Samaritan Hero award, one of the American Red Cross Inland Empire Heroes awards. (Courtesy of the American Red Cross Southern California Region) William Taylor of Riverside is one of the recipients

Ontario Chaffey Community Show Band will present ‘An Evening of Love and Jazz’

The Ontario Chaffey Community Show Band will present “At Last: An Evening of Love and Jazz,” a concert featuring jazz and popular songs, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium on the campus of Chaffey High School, 1245 N. Euclid Ave., Ontario. Admission is free, and the Woodwind Celebration Ensemble will present a pre-concert performance at 7 p.m. in the lobby, where coffee and cookies will be available. Guests artists will be Dan Friberg, Skip Cain and Reed Gratz. Gratz is a retired University of La Verne professor of music and has taught at Washington State University, the University of Miami and several universities in Europe. He has been awarded a jazz composition grant from the National Education Association, a research grant in African American music and two Fulbright Lectureships and has performed with recording artists including Herb Alpert, Bobby Shew and Buddy DeFranco, according to a news release. In the Feb. 26 concert, the Ontario Chaffey Community Show Band will perform two of Gratz’s compositions, “Erin’s Eyes” and “George.” Dan Friberg, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from

Affordable housing developer backs off San Dimas project

An affordable housing project on the San Dimas and La Verne border that sparked public opposition has been put to rest. The proposed affordable housing site for at-risk and formerly homeless seniors, located at 740 E. Foothill Blvd., became a point of contention, resulting in a joint meeting of elected La Verne and San Dimas officials in July 2023. Both cities cited a lack of transparency and communication from developer National CORE and eventually involved Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger to intervene and delay the project due to both residents’ and elected officials’ concerns over the proximity to schools, parking issues, and traffic concerns. After several months of no project updates, it was announced in a joint news release from Barger’s office with San Dimas and La Verne city officials that the project would not be moving forward. “I thank National CORE for having listened to the community. Their willingness and participation in discussions with neighbors, residents, and local officials was critical and helped clarify the concerns with this location,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in the release. The La Verne and San Dimas mayors

Inland Empire nonprofit awards scholarships to high school students from single-parent homes

By Greg Archer | Contributing Columnist Creating legacies is key for Evelyn E. Perkins Scholarship Foundation. The organization was founded in 2006 by Michelle Heard, Danessa Jackson and Trudi Perkins, the daughters of the late Evelyn E. Perkins, an educator in the region. Since its inception, the nonprofit group has awarded nearly $50,000 in scholarships to high school students from single-parent homes in several Inland Empire school districts in Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. “Education has always been at the highest level of concern with my family,” foundation President Michelle Heard said. “I come from a long line of educators. But my mother, specifically, started with the Monrovia (Unified) School District in 1965. They were not even desegregated until 1970. My mother influenced the math lab there. She was listed as one of those influential educators that helped with the Monrovia (Unified) School District. We’re very proud of our legacy.” There’s mindfulness with how the Perkins foundation is structured. The directors and board members are a diverse mix of businesspeople, active and retired educators, community leaders, a former principal, an attorney, clergy and

Riverside chapter of California Retired Teachers Association awards three $10,000 scholarships

This fall, Division 21 of the California Retired Teachers Association presented $10,000 scholarship awards to three future teachers. Recipients are Shannon Garman, a student at California Baptist University, and Hailey Rivera and Yesenia Chaidez, students at UCR. California Baptist University student Shannon Garman receives a $10,000 scholarship from California Retired Teachers Association, Division 21, at the group’s Oct. 7, 2023, membership luncheon in Riverside. (Photo by Debbie Waltzer, California Retired Teachers Association, Division 21) The scholarships were presented at the organization’s Oct. 7 membership luncheon at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Riverside, and staff from the UCR and California Baptist University education departments also attended, according to a news release. Members of the band from Moreno Valley’s Canyon Springs High School performed during the luncheon. Yesenia Chaidez graduated from Coachella Valley High School in Thermal and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and linguistics from UCR in 2023. She hopes to teach middle school or high school Spanish, and has done student teaching at John W. North High School in Riverside. Hailey Rivera graduated from Vista del Lago High School in Moreno Valley