You can ride the bus free on Fridays in western Riverside County

Free Ride Fridays are the Riverside Transit Agency’s most recent effort to encourage travelers in Riverside County to take the bus. The promotion, which began Aug. 31, will continue through the end of June 2024. Any bus passenger can get unlimited free rides on Fridays by using the GoMobile app when they board, an agency news release states. The free rides apply to all local, CommuterLink and GoMicro buses. “This is a new opportunity for RTA to thank its longtime customers for riding the bus and give new ones another incentive to get on board,” agency board Chair Linda Molina said in the release. “Free rides are also a great way to remove cost barriers for connecting our customers with their destinations.” The promotion, funded through a grant from the state-funded Low Carbon Transit Operations Program, began just after the agency’s 25 cent rides promotion ended. The promotions “have gone a long way” to reduce vehicle emissions, the release states. This year, Riverside Transit Agency buses have eliminated the equivalent of almost 9.8 million vehicle miles. For maps and schedules, click here. Related Articles Local News

CIELO Fund Celebrates One Year: Over $1 Million Raised, $280K Granted to 25 Latino-led Organizations, and $125K Awarded in Scholarships

The Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) marked a significant milestone on Saturday as it celebrated its first anniversary of the CIELO Fund. Hosted by Cal State San Bernardino, the event kicked off Latino Heritage Month with a bang, announcing that the fund has raised over $1 million in its inaugural year to uplift and invest in the Inland Empire’s Latino community. IECF President and CEO Michelle Decker expressed her gratitude, stating, “Thank you for being here to celebrate the success of the Cielo fund. It’s a testament to our board, partners, and community and a reminder of our great potential when we come together for our diverse community. It’s about changing lives and giving opportunities to people in our region. This impact is not just being felt here in the IE, but also in Congress.” Senator Alex Padilla lauded the organization’s efforts, saying, “I couldn’t be prouder of your work to uplift Latinos in the area. Our democracy works much better when a diverse number of people participate. We must continue to support Latino-led businesses in the Inland Empire. Because of you, 25 Latino-led organizations

Los Osos High School will present Heritage Festival Sept. 22

Students at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga have organized a Heritage Festival that will take place 4-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at the school. The  event, which celebrates the diversity in the community, will include food trucks and vendors, school clubs selling food and cultural items, cultural music and dance performances by Los Osos students and carnival games, according to a news release. Admission is $5. Los Osos High School’s Future Business Leaders of America, a student-run organization, partners with the school’s choirs to organize the event. Los Osos High School is at 6001 Milliken Ave., Rancho Cucamonga.

San Bernardino dance artist promotes African arts, culture

By Greg Archer | Contributing Columnist There’s no shortage of creativity for Makeda Kumasi. The San Bernardino dance artist’s work and collaborations are something to marvel and her passions fuel several projects and initiatives. The Umoja Ensemble of the Inland Empire, for instance, is one significant group into which Kumasi funnels her talents. The group’s mission is to assist in restoring and regenerating the physical, psychological and spiritual health of the populations it serves. This is primarily done through the preservation, practice and presentation of African Arts. Think of it as a kind of Pan African “art edutainment.” Kumasi also collaborates with others, particularly Monique Williams and the artist’s Unity Dance Studio in Victorville, and longtime dance friend Joy Wilson, who has a Caribbean dance group called Caribbean Joy. She also teaches West African dance at UC Riverside. Then there’s The Sesh Project, which strives to provide education and experiences in Pan African Arts and which Kumasi’s artistic verve has empowered. Makeda Kumasi and Joy Wilson dance during a Kwanzaa celebration at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. (Courtesy of Umoja Ensemble of the Inland

Chalk artists invited to participate in Murrieta Field of Honor

Artists are invited to create patriotic images with chalk at the annual Murrieta Field of Honor that is scheduled Nov. 4-11 in Murrieta’s Town Square Park. The Field of Honor, presented by the Rotary Club of Murrieta in partnership with the Rotary Club of Temecula Valley-New Generations and the city of Murrieta, will feature a display of more than 2,300 U.S. flags. The Field of Honor is in its 15th year, and this is the 12th year for the Chalk Walk, which was organized by the late Al Vollbrecht, a Rotary Club member, to pay further tribute to the heroes honored by the Field of Honor. The Chalk Walk has been renamed the Vollbrecht Rotary Chalk Walk to honor Vollbrecht, who died inlate 2020, according to a news release. The Vollbrecht Rotary Chalk Walk features images painted on the wide sidewalk that rings the display of flags, and members of the Rotary Club of Temecula Valley-New Generations have taken on the organization of the chalk walk. “Members of New Gen Rotary are excited to be part of this amazing display and are looking forward to

Film about Riverside’s Mount Rubidoux is volunteer group’s ‘legacy’

Since 1994, Friends of Mount Rubidoux volunteers have kept their eyes open and their hands busy. They painted over graffiti, repaired railings, cleaned litter and pointed out bigger needs to the Riverside Parks and Recreation Department for the city-owned property. A decade ago the group helped rally the community to raise money to save the cross at the summit. The mountain — truthfully, a 780-foot hill with paved trails — is now one of the city’s feature attractions, walked by an estimated 1,500 people each weekday and 3,000 each Saturday and Sunday. As a result, the city has become a more active steward, handling graffiti, repairs and cleanup with input from Friends. Friends isn’t saying its work here is done, wiping its hands and walking into the sunset — framed by the mountain, of course. But the group, like the crisscrossing paths near the summit, is at something of a crossroads. “We were kind of fishing for our future,” admitted Chuck Beaty, a Friends co-founder and board member. He said the group asked itself: “If we don’t become active again, what kind of legacy will

Los Osos High School’s Third Annual Heritage Festival Celebrates Diversity and Cultivates Future Business Leaders, Community Invited 

Los Osos High School‘s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), in collaboration with the school’s choir department, is set to host its Third Annual Heritage Festival on Friday, September 22nd, from 4-9 PM.  The event promises a rich tapestry of cultural experiences and aims to raise funds to support students’ participation in forthcoming leadership conferences. The festival, located at 6001 Milliken Ave, will feature 13 cuisines from clubs on campus and food trucks, allowing attendees to embark on a gastronomic journey worldwide. From the savory mac and cheese and fried chicken by the Black Student Union to the sweet delights of turon and lumpia by the Filipino club, there’s something for every palate. Last year’s festival saw vendors offering boba drinks, hot chocolate, warm tea, Japanese taiyaki treats, and more. This year promises a broader representation of cultures, with clubs selling cultural items and sourcing products from local businesses. Raghu Chowdhry, FBLA Vice President of Finance and a proud Los Osos student, emphasized the event’s significance. “Diversity is something we celebrate at Los Osos High School, in Rancho Cucamonga, and across the IE. In our

Here are 5 more Riverside County landmarks to know about

Several months ago, I wrote about a few of the many landmark buildings/areas within Riverside County.  This week, we’ll explore a few more of them. The historic Riverside County Courthouse, which opened in 1904 in downtown Riverside, is a county landmark. (File photo by Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Riverside County Courthouse Said to be the oldest, continuously-operating courthouse in California, the Riverside County Courthouse is a monument to the Beaux Arts style of architecture. Opened in June 1904, the massive structure was the seat of all county government (not just the courts) for many years. Until 1923, there was only one courtroom in the entire county – the present-day Department 1 in the middle of the building. Today, it still houses several civil courtrooms. Shaver’s Well Along Box Canyon Road between Mecca and Cottonwood Springs Road lies a monument to Shaver’s Well.  Supervisor John Shaver, who was a member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors for nearly 40 years, pushed to have the well dug in the 1890s to assist the traveling public between the Coachella Valley and the eastern desert regions. Shaver did

Older drivers oppose California DMV’s knowledge test for those over 70

There was quite a bit of reader “road rage” over our recent column discussing the Department of Motor Vehicles knowledge test required for drivers 70 and older. Older readers shared their observations and concerns about the test in letters to On the Road. Many said they’d never had an accident or a ticket and questioned why the DMV didn’t test their driving skills instead. Some said they struggled to pass the test and had difficulty using the computers. RELATED: Why does the California DMV require those over 70 to pass a test every five years? To address readers’ concerns, we’ll be devoting our next three columns to help inform older drivers and provide resources. In this column, we’ll share some readers’ thoughts and suggestions. The second column will focus on the DMV test and the third will offer resources for older drivers. Upland resident Richard Kee shared some wise advice following his recent experience renewing his license, after passing the test on his third try. “Today’s DMV test focuses not so much on driving but rather the new California environment we all may drive in:

Montclair gets $195,000 boost from California cannabis agency to develop pot policies

Montclair has accepted a $195,000 grant from the state to create a commercial cannabis licensing program. The majority of the funding awarded by the California Department of Cannabis Control is aimed at creating an ordinance allowing the sale of cannabis in the city. Montclair voters legalized the sale of cannabis and approved a 7% tax on commercial cannabis businesses in the November 2022 election. Measure R, the tax measure, passed with 70% of the vote and Measure II, legalizing commercial cannabis in the city, passed with about 52% of the vote. Measure R is expected to bring in $3.5 million per year in local sales tax revenue once cannabis sales start. The funds would support the city’s General Fund — which pays for operations, everything from pencils to payroll — and would be used for law enforcement and education, said City Manager Edward Starr. “Our intent would be to use it for code enforcement and additional police enforcement, particularly as it relates in both of those areas, to regulation of commercial cannabis activity in the community,” said Starr. “We would also plan on using it

$16 million federal grant supports Ontario airport taxiway improvements

Ontario International Airport has received nearly $16 million from the Federal Aviation Administration earmarked for runway and taxiway repair and maintenance. The funding goes beyond what yearly maintenance normally costs the airport and will be directed toward major repairs, said Steve Lambert, a spokesperson for the airport. According to Lambert, the airport spends about $3 million on runway maintenance and repair each year. ONT applied for the FAA funding this past winter. With the FAA funding, ONT plans to cover concrete and surface repairs as well as repairs to underground circuitry, all things the airport needs to continue operating, Lambert said. A Southwest Airlines airplane takes off on the runway, as ongoing maintenance construction takes place on existing runways and taxiways at Ontario International Airport in Ontario on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Ontario International Airport secured nearly $16 million in federal funding for essential runway upgrades. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) A United Express airplane navigates the runway at Ontario International Airport in Ontario on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Ongoing maintenance construction can be seen on existing runways and taxiways, while the airport recently

Op-Ed: The Youth Power Hub, A Vision of Freedom Dreaming and Youth Liberation

Written by Torie and Gayle Weiston-Serdan, co-founders of The Youth Mentoring Action Network, a youth power-building organization in the Inland Empire When it comes to curating spaces for young people, generally, little thought is given to building an inspiring environment. Typically, civic areas like schools, recreation centers, and community outreach centers are made with only function in mind. Although it’s been demonstrated that youth display more positive outcomes when transformative spaces are curated for congregation and self-expression, some authority figures still struggle with the concept. The Youth Mentoring Action Network’s (YMAN) Youth Power Hub is a possible model for promoting rest, healing, and play — critical aspects of youth development. In 2007, we formed YMAN as an alternative to the limited support we could give our students as high school educators. For years, we watched several students enter in and out of a cycle of survival because, among other reasons, they lacked the most basic access to loving and affirming spaces. When it was time for YMAN to expand, we chose a one-acre estate to break up the monotonous standards of the educational institutions we

Ontario Museum of History & Art offers Dia de los Muertos events

Activities for the 25th annual celebration of Día de los Muertos at the Ontario Museum of History & Art will begin workshop Saturday, Sept. 23. The free events are associated with the traditional holiday, especially observed in Mexico, in which friends and family recall those who have died. The museum’s Día de los Muertos observance will be filled with references to the holiday’s traditions, including the creation of altars, known as ofrendas. The museum will focus on the practices that make the celebration sweet and savory. From Oct. 5 through Nov. 19, featured artists will exhibit works of art highlighting cuisines that remind them of moments with departed family members or friends. A reception will be held noon-3 p.m. Oct. 7 when the exhibiting artists will be on hand. There will also be artmaking activities and dishes related to the holiday, according to a news release. Before the art exhibit opens, the museum offers a free trastero art workshop 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. A trastero is a form of shelving that holds dishware for display. Workshop participants can decorate their own dishes that will

Flooring company Shaw moving Santa Fe Springs operation to Georgia, eliminating 291 jobs

Shaw Industries Group is shifting its residential carpet manufacturing operations in Santa Fe Springs to northwest Georgia in a move that will eliminate 291 local jobs. The company also is closing a plant in Yuma, Arizona, affecting 249 jobs there, the company said. Shaw said it already is scaling back work at the two facilities and will cease operations in the first quarter of 2024. Also see: Southern California unemployment jumps to 19-month high Scott Sandlin, executive vice president of the Dalton, Ga.-based company’s residential division, said the adjustments will help ensure the company is poised for the long term. Shaw, which has at least 50 distribution centers throughout the U.S., didn’t cite wages as a factor in the move. Data from shows pay levels are considerably lower in Georgia. A forklift operator at the company’s Santa Fe Springs facility averages $20.20 hourly, for example, while a worker doing the same job in Dalton earns an average hourly wage of $15.62. And Georgia’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is less than half the Golden State’s base wage of $15.50, which will rise to $16 an

Soroptimist International of the Chino Valley will hold Western Hoedown fundraiser

The members of Soroptimist International of the Chino Valley will hold their Western Hoedown fundraiser Sept. 29 in Brinderson Hall at the Chino Fairgrounds, 5410 Edison Ave. The event will include a barbecue dinner, entertainment, Western dancing, silent auction, a pie and cake stomp and opportunity drawings. The evening opens at 6 p.m. with a no-host bar, followed by dinner at 6:30, provided by Boys Republic. Christy Coffey and the Coastal Cowboys will provide music for dancing. “Our silent auction will offer some great deals,” Annie Lemento, event co-chairman, said in a news release. “And the pie/cake stomp will be so much fun. Win a cake and share it with your table of friends.” Tickets are $35 through Sept. 25 and $50 after that. Cost for a table for 10 is $325. For tickets or information, call 909-627-2607 or 909-718-3225 and leave a message. Tickets are also available at A portion of the proceeds will be sent to the Soroptimist Club of Maui to be distributed to women of Maui who have been affected by the wildfires, according to the news release. Soroptimist is

American Association of University Women invites prospective members to Redlands brunch

The Redlands branch of American Association of University Women invites prospective members from throughout the region to attend the branch’s annual membership brunch, 8:45 a.m. Oct. 7, on the University of Redlands campus. There is no cost for prospective members to attend, but reservations are required by Sept. 26 by or calling 909-362-4955. “Become a Power for Change” is the theme for the brunch meeting, and Marsha Swails, a member of the California AAUW board of directors, will speak on the personal benefits of community service. Swails has been a high school English teacher and a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. AAUW promotes equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Last year, AAUW provided $6.3 million in funding to 285 fellows and grantees nationwide, according to a news release. “Our Redlands branch is one of the largest and most active AAUW clubs in Southern California. We have many, many ways for new members to get involved in community service and make new friends,” Heather Abushanab, Redlands AAUW co-president, said in the news release. “Most of our members are

Riverside OKs trash, water and electricity rate increases

Riverside leaders Tuesday night, Sept. 19, approved rate increases for trash collection, electric and water. The Riverside City Council OK’d the higher trash rates as recommended by city officials, with with an additional review of the service planned in the future. RELATED: Riverside could increase water, electricity and trash rates Electricity rate increases were approved 4-3, with Councilmembers Clarissa Cervantes, Jim Perry and Steve Hemenway voting no. Revised recommended water rate increases were approved 4-3, with Councilmembers Cervantes, Chuck Conder, and Perry voting no. The Riverside City Council hosts a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, to discuss proposed rate increases for the city’s electric, water and solid waste utilities. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG) The Riverside City Council hosts a public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, on proposed rate increases for the city’s electric, water and solid waste utilities. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG) Riverside resident Greg Stoever speaks at the Riverside City Council’s public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, in opposition to the proposed rate increases for the city’s electric, water and solid waste utilities. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The

Moreno Valley Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora is fired

The Moreno Valley school board has fired Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora. The board voted 3-2 to terminate Kedziora without cause at a special meeting Tuesday, Sept. 19. Chief Human Resources Officer Robert Verdi was appointed interim superintendent of schools. “I would like to thank Dr. Kedziora for his years of service to the Moreno Valley Unified School District,” school board President Susan Smith said at the close of the meeting. “He has exhibited a real love for the students and families of our district. Occasionally there comes a time when institutions such as school districts need to make a change in direction. That time has come for us here at Moreno Valley. We know that everyone will continue to do their best to meet all of the needs of our students and families.” The district did not disclose the reasons for Kedziora’s dismissal, citing state privacy and confidentiality laws. The decision comes a week after the attorney representing the family of a middle school boy killed by two bullies announced that Moreno Valley Unified’s lawyers and its insurers had agreed to a $27 million settlement to

Metrolink’s Perris Valley Line to shut again this weekend

For the second time in two months, Metrolink service along the Perris Valley Line will be suspended this weekend for construction work, with no commuter trains available to retrieve or drop passengers at four stations between Riverside and Perris. “The two-day shutdown will provide safe conditions for crews to continue working on infrastructure enhancements as part of the ‘Moreno Valley/March Field Station Improvements Project,”‘ according to a Riverside County Transportation Commission statement. The locations impacted by the weekend suspension are Hunter Park in Riverside, the March Field stop in Moreno Valley, the Downtown Perris station and the South Perris station, according to the commission. No passenger rail service will be available at the locations on Saturday, Sept. 23, and Sunday, Sept. 24. “Alternate transportation will be provided by Metrolink to accommodate passengers traveling to destinations serviced by the Perris Valley Line,” the commission said. Over the weekend, crews will be continuing work on extending the current train platform at the March Field station, making improvements to a pedestrian crossing and upgrading drainage channels. The $33 million Moreno Valley/March Field Station Improvements Project began in October

Music has long helped fuel the social justice movement

By Juanita E. Mantz | Contributing Columnist Juanita E. Mantz is a writer, podcaster and Riverside County deputy public defender. She has written two books, “Tales of an Inland Empire Girl” and “Portrait of a Deputy Public Defender (or how I became a punk rock lawyer).” (Courtesy of Juanita E. Mantz) Music has always been one of my first loves and if I wasn’t a writer and lawyer, I would love to front a post punk rock band. I have been a working writer for more than 15 years, and a lawyer for more than 20 years, but I have loved music since I was a little girl. Growing up in the 1970s in my blue-collar family, I played hard rock gals like Blondie, Joan Jett and Pat Benatar on repeat and as a teenager, I became obsessed with punk and post punk music. As a result, I find the intersection between my three loves of music, social justice and literature a fascinating one. Recently, I did a speech at Cal State San Bernardino for its race and policing series. In that talk, I spoke

Riverside OKs trash rate increase; water, electricity still on table

Riverside leaders Tuesday night, Sept. 19, approved rate increases for trash collection and are pondering proposed increases for electricity and water. After 9 p.m., the Riverside City Council approved higher trash rates as recommended by city officials, with with an additional review of the service planned in the future. RELATED: Riverside could increase water, electricity and trash rates Dozens of residents gathered to voice their opinions to the council. Riverside’s electric and water services are publicly owned, and trash collection is managed by the city. Every five years, the city website states, Riverside Public Utilities analyzes current and projected costs and decides if increases are warranted. This time around, five-year rate increases have been proposed for all three utilities. The Riverside City Council hosts a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, to discuss proposed rate increases for the city’s electric, water and solid waste utilities. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG) The Riverside City Council hosts a public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, on proposed rate increases for the city’s electric, water and solid waste utilities. (Photo by Anjali Sharif-Paul, The Sun/SCNG) Riverside resident