Temecula residents debate new race, equity commission

Like several issues before it, a new Temecula panel on diversity is prompting fierce debate. Created in summer 2020, the Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Commission consists of seven appointed residents who discuss these topics in the city. The panel, which began meeting in January, was blasted by many who spoke at the April 27 livestreamed Temecula City Council meeting. Some supported the commission, but others called it unnecessary, a waste of resources and argued the city already is diverse, equal and inclusive. Black Lives Matter protesters raise their fists to support a speaker during a rally on the steps of Temecula City Hall in June. The Temecula City Council later created a commission to address diversity and inclusion in the city. Some now question the need for the commission. (File photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) “Do away with the expense of the commission and eliminate it,” resident Denise Taylor said. “The citizens of Temecula do not want this and did not vote for the commission.” But others at the meeting, and in the community, defend the commission, calling it an opportunity to have…

Canyon Lake City councilmember Jordan Ehrenkranz dies at 87

Longtime Canyon Lake City Councilmember Jordan Ehrenkranz has died, the city has announced. He was 87. Jordan Ehrenkranz, who served on the Canyon Lake City Council for more than 12 years, has died. He was 87. (Courtesy of Ana Sauseda, City of Canyon Lake) The cause, date and location of Ehrenkranz’s death was unknown, according to City Clerk Ana Sauseda. The city was notified Tuesday, May 4, that the councilmember “had passed away in his sleep,” Sauseda said. “Our entire community mourns the loss of Jordan Ehrenkranz,” Mayor Kasey Castillo said in a news release. “He was an incredibly dedicated and beloved public servant. Canyon Lake is a better place because of his tireless work, and he will be deeply missed.” Ehrenkranz served on the council for over 12 years, including three terms as mayor. He was reelected to the council in November 2020. He also served on the board of the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association for five years. Ehrenkranz represented Canyon Lake on regional boards, including the Western Riverside Council of Governments, Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority and the Economic and Energy Committee…

How to attend three Twilight Jams at the Asistencia

People gather in the courtyard of the Asistencia in Redlands for a previous Twilight Jam event. Three Twilight Jams at the Asistencia are scheduled May 16, May 23 and June 6, 2021. (Photo by Heather Ross, Asistencia) Jazz, bluegrass and favorites from the 1970s to 1990s will be among the music featured at three concerts in the courtyard of the Asistencia in Redlands. The Twilight Jams at the Asistencia, fundraisers for the Redlands Conservancy and its operation and restoration of the Asistencia, are scheduled 5-8 p.m. May 16, May 23 and June 6. The May 16 event features the North Bench Band, led by keyboard player Glenn Suveg, with Ricky Brown on drums and Phil Norris on trumpet. The band plays jazz, swing, bebop and blues. Water Tower, a Los Angeles-based indie-folk/bluegrass revivalist band, will perform May 23. Band members Kenny Feinstein, Joe “Juice” Berglund and Tommy Drinkard each sing and play multiple instruments — fiddle, banjo, guitar and lap steel. Singer and guitarist Brooke Ramel will perform acoustic favorites from the 1970s through the 1990s at the June 6 Twilight Jam. She has sold…

California’s 1,230-mile coastal trail 70% complete, according to new online map

California’s decades-old dream of building a coastal trail that covers all 1,230 miles from Mexico to Oregon is about 70% complete, but that accomplishment comes with good news and bad news. A detailed map unveiled online Wednesday, May 12, shows numerous long stretches where you can walk or bike along the shore, like the 23-mile trek from the Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula to the Port of Long Beach. The map, three years in the making, is a project of the state’s Coastal Commission and Coastal Conservancy, two of the state agencies teaming up on the trail. But the map also shows miles-long gaps, with no pedestrian paths and no clear plans for them, including much of Big Sur and Camp Pendleton. Other areas have interruptions to the trail, are unsafe or difficult to navigate, or diverge significantly inland from the coast. Walkers, runners and cyclists use the California Coastal Trail in Huntington Beach, CA on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The states’ goal is to have a coastal trail stretching the 1,230 miles from Oregon to Mexico. A new interactive map from the state shows the…

Inland Empire poised to regain most jobs lost in 2020

The Inland Empire lost 65,600 jobs last year as COVID-19 closures and restrictions hammered the region’s economy, but a new report predicts most of those positions will be regained this year. The report also points to the region’s robust housing market. The forecast from local economist John Husing sees the economy regaining 62,400 jobs, bumping total employment to 1,564,300, just 3,200 jobs shy of the 2019 count. Husing expects the deficit to be filled in 2022. “A lot of this has to do with actions by the federal government,” he said. “They’re pumping money into the portions of the economy that were most hurt by the pandemic.” The biggest losses COVID-19 landed heaviest on Inland Empire restaurants, bars and other eating and drinking establishments, according to the report. Service industries lost 23,700 jobs or 17.3% of their workforce. The sector is expected to add 17,000 jobs in 2021, boosting the industry’s total employment to 130,500 but still down 6,700 jobs from 2019. The Original Graziano’s pizza shop in Ontario was closed to indoor diners for a year, although takeout and delivery services continued. The restaurant…

State’s 1,230 mile coastal trail 70% complete, according to new online map

California’s decades-old dream of building a coastal trail that covers all 1,230 miles from Mexico to Oregon is about 70% complete, but that accomplishment comes with good news and bad news. A detailed map unveiled online Wednesday, May 12, shows numerous long stretches where you can walk or bike along the shore, like the 23-mile trek from the Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula to the Port of Long Beach. The map, three years in the making, is a project of the state’s Coastal Commission and Coastal Conservancy, two of the state agencies teaming up on the trail. But the map also shows miles-long gaps, with no pedestrian paths and no clear plans for them, including much of Big Sur and Camp Pendleton. Other areas have interruptions to the trail, are unsafe or difficult to navigate, or diverge significantly inland from the coast. Walkers, runners and cyclists use the California Coastal Trail in Huntington Beach, CA on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The states’ goal is to have a coastal trail stretching the 1,230 miles from Oregon to Mexico. A new interactive map from the state shows the…

Moreno Valley schools to host coronavirus vaccine clinic Saturday, May 15

The coronavirus vaccine will be available Saturday, May 15, in Moreno Valley. The Moreno Valley Unified School District and Riverside County’s public health department will be hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic and health and resource fair at Vista del Lago High School. The Pfizer vaccine will be available to attendees 16 and older. Parents or guardians must accompany teenagers under 18. Other organizations participating in the resource fair include Alternatives To Domestic Violence, Building Resilient Communities, GeriSmiles Mobile Dental Hygiene Practice, Greater Inland Empire Black Nurses Association, HOPE Collaborative, the Inland SoCal United Way, Island Grad, Inland Empire Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Team, the NAACP, Parent Support & Training Program Riverside University Health System – Behavioral Health, Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce, Riverside University Health System, SAFE Family Justice Centers, SBX Youth and Family Services and TODEC Legal Center. The clinic is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the school, 15150 Lasselle St., Moreno Valley. Information: tinyurl.com/5dhttuzf.

Riverside County coronavirus cases, deaths are among lowest reported

Riverside County reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases Wednesday, May 12, since late April, not counting a few days when the county reported zero cases, county data show. The county recorded 37 new cases Wednesday, down from 203 on Tuesday and 109 on Monday. The county reported three new deaths and hasn’t reported any higher daily deaths since the 19 reported on April 20. Since the pandemic began, 4,593 people in the county have died. The rate of vaccines doses has slowed. The number of residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is up 29,208 in the past week. One week ago, on May 5, the county reported 33,795 residents partially or fully vaccinated from the week prior. As a percentage of the county’s population, about 34.8% have received at least one dose. Across the state, 48.4% have had at least one dose. Here are the latest numbers as of Wednesday, according to county and state public health officials. Riverside County Confirmed cases: 299,413 total, up 37 from Tuesday, averaging 77 reported per day in the past week…

Professing Faith: Inoculations part of Cotton Mather’s complicated past

If one were to cite the name of the famous Puritan divine Cotton Mather, theologians and clergy would generally roll their eyes in horror. The Rev. Cotton Mather was, after all, the famous preacher who had whipped up the mobs with his powerful preaching at the Salem Witch Trials in 1682, which unjustly condemned 30 innocent men and women, 19 of whom were executed. That whole incident tarred Mather’s reputation, which is in one sense unfortunate because of the remarkable leadership he showed in supporting the concept of vaccination, without question saving thousands of lives. Gregory Elder, a Redlands resident, is professor emeritus of history and humanities at Moreno Valley College and a Roman Catholic priest. This photo is from about 2017. (Courtesy Photo) Cotton was born in 1663, the son of well-known Puritan minister the Rev. Increase Mather, the pastor at North Church in Boston. The senior Mather was an old-school Puritan, a man who refused to drink to the health of King Charles II after the restoration of the monarchy. Young Cotton was educated in Greek and Latin so well that he was…

San Bernardino County coronavirus vaccine coverage below state, nearby counties

San Bernardino County has administered about half the number of COVID-19 vaccines in a single day earlier this week compared to one week ago, according to state data reported Wednesday, May 12. The number of doses increased by 8,912 on Tuesday, May 11, the latest day for which vaccine numbers are available, as compared to doses given on Monday, May 10. One week ago, on May 5, the county gave 16,528 doses that day compared to the day before. Doses administered in the past seven days were reported at 77,317 on Tuesday, the lowest weekly total since mid-April, when statewide numbers became available. The county is behind statewide vaccination rates, data shows. Out of San Bernardino County’s population of all ages, 26.1% are fully vaccinated, below the statewide figure of 35.9%, according to state data. The percent of the county’s total population with at least one dose is 34.8%, compared to 48.4% statewide. San Bernardino County’s vaccination coverage is below that in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, state data shows. On Wednesday, the county reported an average of 75 coronavirus cases in the past…

Community brings inspiration for this Lake Elsinore artist

Ricardo Lopez grew up with his family moving often for his father’s work promotions. As a result, he found it difficult to make friends. Instead, he made friends with cartoons. “Shows like ‘Digimon,’ ‘Pokemon,’ ‘Magic Knight Rayearth’ and ‘Sailor Moon’ were major influences on me,” he said. “So I started drawing.” “Unmei Coupid Dimension,” a piece by Lake Elsinore artist Ricardo Lopez. (Courtesy of Ricardo Lopez) Born in San Diego, Lopez’s family landed in Lake Elsinore when he was 15. That community has been his home ever since. On his way to a friend’s house, Lopez would pass the Lakeland Village Community Center. He would see signs on the gates promoting art classes. “I’d say to myself that I’m going to work there someday,” he said. A few years later, Lopez’s church started renting the community center’s multi-purpose room and he would help set up. One day he was approached by Grace Sandlin, the founder and director of Studio 395, which operates the center. “She asked me if I knew how to set up the computer to the projector,” he said. “From there Grace just…

Temecula councilmember’s email called coronavirus the ‘China Virus;’ she says she’s not racist

Temecula City Councilmember Jessica Alexander was scolded by a council colleague Tuesday night, May 11, for an email in which she called the coronavirus the “China Virus.” Councilmember Matt Rahn called the reference “exceptionally offensive” and “surprisingly thoughtless.” Alexander responded, saying she’s not a racist and that Rahn should have approached her if he had an issue with her email. “I don’t know how many people truly know me on this council, or in Temecula, but the people who do know me, first of all, know my background,” Alexander said. “Nobody can sit here and tell me that I’m a racist person, because of what I do. I love working with the community, with all people. And it breaks my heart to sit here and have people tell me that I’m racist because of what’s in my heart.” Before Alexander’s response, Rahn read aloud part of an email he said she sent Tuesday, May 4, to Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards and City Manager Aaron Adams. Rahn read from Alexander’s email: “Mayor Edwards, during our last (City Council) meeting, you stated that we are not opening…

Temecula councilmember’s email called coronavirus the “China Virus;” she says she’s not racist

Temecula City Councilmember Jessica Alexander was scolded by a council colleague Tuesday night, May 11, for an email in which she called the coronavirus the “China Virus.” Councilmember Matt Rahn called the reference “exceptionally insensitive” and “surprisingly thoughtless.” Alexander responded, saying she’s not a racist and that Rahn should have approached her if he had an issue with her email. “I don’t know how many people truly know me on this council, or in Temecula, but the people who do know me, first of all, know my background,” Alexander said. “Nobody can sit here and tell me that I’m a racist person, because of what I do. I love working with the community, with all people. And it breaks my heart to sit here and have people tell me that I’m racist because of what’s in my heart.” Before Alexander’s response, Rahn read aloud part of an email he said she sent Tuesday, May 4, to Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards and City Manager Aaron Adams. Rahn read from Alexander’s email: “Mayor Edwards, during our last meeting, you stated that we are not opening (council) chambers…

Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino requiring employees to get coronavirus vaccine

All employees at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino must get vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have a medical condition or religious belief that prevents it. “Some of our own staff have experienced the tragic death of a loved one due to this virus,” IRC spokesman CJ Cook said in an email. “The population that we serve and interact with includes individuals who are at extreme risk of serious illness or death if they should contract COVID-19. In addition, many of them, due to their medical conditions or disability, cannot be vaccinated.” The requirement isn’t sitting well with many of the more than 770 employees of the nonprofit agency, which provides services for more than 39,800 San Bernardino and Riverside County residents with intellectual disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy. More than 1,100 people have signed an online petition at change.org, titled “STOP Inland Regional Center from forcing unapproved vaccines on employees!” as of Tuesday, May 11. “Despite significant backlash from employees fearing the long term side effects of this experimental vaccine, IRC continues to require the vaccine and threatens termination of hundreds of employees,” the petition…

Upland fireworks show set for July 4th from rock quarry

Upland is bringing back a July 4 fireworks display for the first time in five years. But there are some catches. First, the aerial display only will be viewed from street corners, residents’ backyards and unofficially, from some nearby strip mall parking lots. No attendance is allowed, explained Jessica Gandara, Upland’s recreation manager. “We are encouraging families to stay at home or walk to the corner of their neighborhood, stand on the curb of your street to be able to view it,” Gandara said on May 4. The pyrotechnic company, PYRO Spectaculars by Souza will be launching the screaming, colorful “bombs bursting in air” celebration from the bottom of the Holliday Rock rock quarry at 9 p.m. Sunday, July 4, off Benson Avenue in North Upland. The 15-20 minute fireworks show will reach between 300 and 800 feet in the air, visible from most locations in Upland and as far south as the 10 Freeway, she said. Residents should look in the northwestern sky. “We are not encouraging people to go gather anywhere,” she said, even though Gandara believes some may park in the Sycamore…

San Bernardino County remains in orange tier, despite lower coronavirus numbers

Despite improving coronavirus numbers in San Bernardino County, overall case rates still aren’t low enough to qualify for the yellow, or minimal risk, tier in the state’s reopening framework. On Tuesday, May 11, San Bernardino County remained in the orange, or moderate risk, tier for a fifth week, due to case rates slightly above the state’s yellow tier standards. The rate of new cases per day per 100,000 residents is 2.5. The county reported 45 more cases and one death Tuesday, according to its coronavirus tracker. Sixty-five patients were in the hospital. Nearly 572,000 residents have been fully vaccinated in the county. Here are the latest numbers as of Tuesday, according to county and state public health officials. San Bernardino County Confirmed cases: 296,700 total, up 45 from Monday, May 10, averaging 73 reported per day in the past week Deaths: 4,495 total, up one from Monday, averaging nine reported per day in the past week Hospital survey: 65 confirmed and 12 suspected patients hospitalized Monday, including 21 confirmed and 3 suspected patients in the ICU, with 25 of 25 facilities reporting. The number of…

Riverside County remains in orange tier

Despite improving coronavirus numbers in Riverside County, overall case rates still aren’t low enough to qualify for the yellow, or minimal risk, tier of the state’s reopening framework. On Tuesday, May 11, Riverside County remained in the orange, or moderate, tier for a fifth week, due to case rates slightly above yellow tier standards. The rate of new cases per day per 100,000 residents is 2.7. The county reported 203 cases and two more deaths Tuesday, according to the coronavirus dashboard. Seventy-four patients were in the hospital. Nearly 717,000 residents have been fully vaccinated in the county. Starting Tuesday, coronavirus vaccine clinics in Moreno Valley and Beaumont will have evening and weekend hours to get more shots into people’s arms, Riverside County’s public health officer said. Dr. Geoffrey Leung said Tuesday that county-run clinics in the former Sears building in the Moreno Valley Mall, 22550 Town Circle, and the Chatigny Senior Community Recreation Center, 1310 Oak Valley Parkway in Beaumont, will open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Here are the latest numbers as of Tuesday, according to county and state public…

Riverside County’s coronavirus vaccine clinic in Hemet ‘on hold’

Riverside County’s plans for a coronavirus vaccine clinic at the Hemet Valley Mall are on hold, forcing Hemet and San Jacinto residents to go to Perris or Beaumont if they want the vaccine from a provider in the county’s public health network. The county’s COVID-19 vaccine website on Tuesday afternoon, May 11, showed no clinic locations in Hemet or San Jacinto, which have more than 130,000 residents combined. Related Articles Fully vaccinated, it was time to live a little Evening, weekend hours added at Riverside County coronavirus vaccine clinics Coronavirus vaccine clinics set in Riverside, Jurupa Valley Firefighters, ice cream and churros entice vaccine recipients in San Bernardino No plan to close mass vaccination sites in Riverside, San Bernardino counties On Monday, May 3, the county announced its clinic at Hemet’s Alessandro High School would close Friday, May 7, and a new clinic in the mall’s former Sears building run by OptumServe, a state contractor, would open May 5. But on Tuesday, county spokeswoman Brooke Federico said the mall clinic is “on hold.” “OptumServe is reviewing this specific site,” she said via email. In an…

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