Inland Empire

San Bernardino OKs $3.6 million contract with Santa Ana firm to update general plan

A community planning and design firm based in Santa Ana will prepare a comprehensive update to San Bernardino’s general plan. PlaceWorks, with whom elected officials contracted last week for $3.6 million, also will create a specific plan for downtown and update the city’s Development Code. San Bernardino last updated its general plan – a long-range policy document that steers future growth and development – in 2005, and while myriad factors in recent years have necessitated updates, the cash-strapped city has been unable to do so. With an assist from Assemblyman James Ramos, D-Highland, the state’s current budget allocates $3 million to San Bernardino to amend its general plan. The city also has received a $625,000 state grant to craft a strategy for downtown development. Councilman Jim Mulvihill last year called the $3 million a “lifesaver.” Related links New 85-bed transitional housing complex for homeless men opens in San Bernardino Seccombe Lake Park in downtown San Bernardino pegged for new housing J.C. Penney at Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino spared from permanent closure San Bernardino misses out on $8.4 million for Seccombe Lake Park renovations…

San Bernardino County coronavirus restrictions easing

San Bernardino County has met criteria that could move it into a less-restrictive state coronavirus tier next week if its numbers stay on course, data released Tuesday, Sept. 22, show. Ahead of that move, the county announced Tuesday that nail salons and physician-ordered electrolysis can immediately begin operating indoors. Nail salons (and physician-ordered electrolysis) are cleared to operate indoors in San Bernardino County effective immediately under this guidance: https://t.co/zKjEDtY8nj. See what else is open here: https://t.co/QqsUynBVeP pic.twitter.com/0m8a1JhZ8z — SBCounty (@SBCounty) September 22, 2020 The county is currently in the state’s highest tier, purple, which indicates widespread risk level. Moving to red, which means substantial risk level, means the state will allow more non-essential businesses in San Bernardino County to reopen. When the county meets the red tier criteria for two consecutive weeks, it will move into that category. The number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents, adjusted for testing volume, stopped the county from meeting those criteria last week, but it made the mark this week. The other requirement, having a less than 8% test positivity rate, was met by the county last…

Community Action Partnership hosting 2020 Census and Free School Supply Giveaway September 26

On Saturday, September 26 Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC) is hosting a 2020 Census and Free School Supplies Giveaway at San Bernardino Valley College, from 9 a.m. until all items are distributed. “The 2020 census is crucial for our communities. The data collected will be used for the next 10 years,” said Darrell Frye, CAPSBC program manager. “This data will determine our elected officials that represent us, street repairs, healthcare funding, educational opportunities, and employment. These are all services that our community desperately needs.” Anyone interested in attending the drive through school supply giveaway is only required to bring along a screenshot of a 2020 census confirmation code. “If an individual or family shows up without a confirmation code, no worries. We can quickly assist them in completing the census here on-site or if they do not have a confirmation code because a numerator visited their home to collect this data, we will take their word,” continued Frye. He went on to share reasons why it’s extremely difficult to get people to fill out the census, and the reasoning is simple, there…

School supply giveaway provides hundreds of backpacks Rialto students

On September 10, 400 Rialto students received a free backpack filled with essential distance learning items from a school supply giveaway coordinated by champions in the community: Never Stop Grinding Impact, Smile America Abdi Foundation, and Music Changing Lives leveraged their networks to host a successful event for students in need, which was open to the public and held near Morgan Elementary School. “Originally, we anticipated giving away 200 backpacks, but with the support of our donors, we were able to extend that amount to 400…and we gave away every single backpack we had. There was one family who walked up to the drive-through giveaway because they didn’t have a car. That family was so appreciative of their backpacks and school supplies, it was a heartwarming moment,” said Darious Harris, Never Stop Grinding Impact founder and CEO. The backpacks were filled with many essential items, also items needed to be successful in distance learning. “We wanted to fill the backpack with supplies that would assist students with distance learning. We provided students with earphones to help them better focus on their teachers’ lectures and we…

How to help Easterseals through Baker’s Drive-Thru’s new Round Up campaign

Easterseals Southern California has teamed up again with Baker’s Drive-Thru restaurants for their 32nd annual fundraising campaign. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the usual Safe Halloween coupon book campaign has been replaced with a Round Up campaign, asking Baker’s customers to round up their bill to the nearest dollar, with the extra funds going to Easterseals Southern California. The campaign, with the motto “Small actions create big changes,” runs through Nov. 30. Easterseals Southern California assists more than 13,000 people with disabilities throughout Southern California, more than 3,500 of them in the Inland Empire, according to a news release. Baker’s Drive-Thru has raised nearly $5 million for Easterseals Southern California’s disability services since 1989 through its Safe Halloween coupon book campaigns, according to the news release. Proceeds from those campaigns and this year’s Round Up campaign go to support Easterseals’ services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and other special needs. “We commend the extraordinary 32-year commitment of Baker’s Drive-Thru restaurants to support the Inland Empire community by helping Easterseals make a profound and life-changing difference to thousands of people with disabilities…

San Bernardino County could see coronavirus restrictions ease next week

San Bernardino County has met criteria that could move it into a less-restrictive state coronavirus tier next week if its numbers stay on course, data released Tuesday, Sept. 22, show. The county is currently in the state’s purple tier, which indicates widespread risk level. Moving to red, which means substantial risk level, means the state will allow more non-essential businesses in San Bernardino County to reopen. When the county meets the red tier criteria for two consecutive weeks, it will move into that category. The number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents, adjusted for testing volume, stopped the county from meeting those criteria last week, but it made the mark this week. The other requirement, having a less than 8% test positivity rate, was met by the county last week and this week. Neighboring Riverside County moved into the red tier Tuesday. Here are the latest numbers, according to county and state public health officials. San Bernardino County Confirmed cases: 52,873, up from 52,649 Monday, Sept. 21 Deaths: 908, no change from Monday Hospitalizations: 164 confirmed patients Monday, up from 156 Sunday; 71…

Riverside County’s move to red tier means schools could reopen in two weeks

Riverside County got the green light Tuesday, Sept. 22, to move from the purple to red tier, when it comes to state coronavirus restrictions, but that doesn’t mean your child will go back to school tomorrow. However, it does mean that some children in schools across the county could begin returning to the classroom as early as two weeks from now. California’s guidelines state that schools may reopen once a county has been in the red tier for two weeks. Then the guidelines permit school officials to decide whether to conduct in-person instruction for a limited set of students. Craig Petinak, a spokesman for the Riverside County Office of Education, said his agency won’t issue official guidance for school districts to follow, as they are well acquainted with the state guidelines and will be free to make their own choices. “They’re going to do what’s right for their communities,” Petinak said. “Some may go hybrid. Some may stay virtual for a while. It’s really up to the districts.” The state allows elementary schools to seek waivers to offer in-classroom instruction in California counties where in-person…

How to enter videos, art in Riverside County program to help slow spread of coronavirus

Riverside County recently partnered with Reach Out, an Inland Empire nonprofit organization, to launch two programs using art to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. One program is a social media challenge in which participants submit a 30-second video focused on one or more of the three steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus: wearing a mask, keeping six feet of distance and washing hands frequently. The other program, the health ambassador program, is a creative arts contest in which participants are asked to submit some form of artwork such as a photograph, music, poetry, sculpture, painting or drawing. Potential artwork themes include “Reasons I wear a mask” and “What I miss most during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Entries in both programs are reviewed by a panel of community judges. The programs began Aug. 31, and weekly winners are being selected from entries received by 5 p.m. every Friday through Oct. 9. Winning entries are highlighted on social media and recognized by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, along with placement in a public location for display, according to a news release. The top…

Emotions high as Riverside County considers split from state coronavirus reopening plan

A long and emotional meeting was expected Tuesday, Sept. 22, as Riverside County supervisors debated whether to defy Sacramento and proceed with its own plan to reopen businesses shuttered or restricted by the state’s coronavirus rules. Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt has proposed a plan to reopen the county’s economy faster than the state’s plan. It is being discussed Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. (File photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG) Scores of speakers were expected to weigh in on the proposal by Supervisor Jeff Hewitt. A line of people waiting to get into county headquarters in downtown Riverside stretched outside the building. Protesters in favor of Hewitt’s plan picketed before the Board of Supervisors meeting. Many of the speakers directed their ire at Gov. Gavin Newsom, blaming him for their kids being locked out of school and accusing him of exceeding his authority. Other speakers, some in tears, spoke of missing weddings and funerals and of neighbors struggling with depression, isolation, substance abuse and unemployment. Pastors demanded their churches be considered essential and for in-person worship to resume. When Supervisor V. Manuel Perez,…

Riverside County moves to less-restrictive red tier in state coronavirus reopening plan

Riverside County will move into a less-restrictive tier in the state’s coronavirus reopening framework, a shift that allows more businesses to reopen and loosens restrictions on others as the county’s COVID-19 metrics improved, county officials said Tuesday morning, Sept. 22. Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, confirmed the county’s move into the red tier during the Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting. The county had been in the purple, or most restrictive tier, of the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” California’s color-coded, four-tier system that allows different levels of reopening based on a county’s positivity rate — the rate at which COVID-19 tests come back positive — and its rate of new coronavirus cases. Red tier status will allows gyms, places of worship, restaurants and movie theaters to resume limited indoor operations. Many churches and eateries had moved outdoors, sometimes meeting and eating under tents. Many Riverside County cities have tried to help businesses weather the closures by allowing them to serve customers outside on sidewalks and even in the street, where the risk of infection, experts say, is far less than inside…

Bobcat fire nears 110,000 acres, as firefighters continue to protect neighborhoods

The Bobcat fire grew to 109,271 acres Tuesday morning, Sept. 22, with containment creeping back up to 17%, authorities said. On Monday, firefighters had worked to keep the blaze away from neighborhoods and new evacuation orders were issued near Colby Ranch and Hidden Springs. That day, the blaze once again advanced on Mount Wilson, which firefighters have worked fervently to save for days. “North of Highway 2 on the west side … the fire crews will look for opportunities to construct both indirect and direct lines to check the westward spread of the fire and carry out structure defense as needed,” a Tuesday update from fire authorities states. Crews aircraft and equipment worked through the evening picking up spots and securing the line. This morning the #BobcatFire is 109,271 acres and has improved containment to 17%. pic.twitter.com/IWlbrkP0Nb — Angeles_NF (@Angeles_NF) September 22, 2020 “The weather today will be similar to yesterday, although with slightly cooler temperatures, higher humidity, and lower winds,” fire officials said. Though they anticipated the warmer, drier conditions would return Wednesday. MAP: Where the Bobcat fire is burning in the San Gabriel Mountains…

738 New Coronavirus Cases, 9 New Deaths Over the Weekend in Riverside County

Riverside County health officials are reporting 738 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 9 additional deaths, bringing the countywide totals to 57,419 cases and 1,162 deaths. There are new 101 cases in the Coachella Valley and 2 new deaths. Here are the numbers for the Coachella Valley city-by-city: Desert Hot Springs: 1,105 (+11) cases, 26 (+1) deaths Cathedral City: 1,895 (+22) cases, 32 deaths Palm Springs: 1,042 (+6) cases, 50 deaths Rancho Mirage: 235 (+4) cases, 23 deaths Palm Desert: 1,016 (+11) cases, 55 (+1) deaths Indian Wells: 46 cases, 2 deaths La Quinta: 783 (+1) cases, 18 deaths Indio: 3,637 (+33) cases, 70 deaths Coachella: 2,651 (+4) cases, 27 deaths Thousand Palms: 224 (+1) cases, no deaths Bermuda Dunes: 134 (+2) cases, 3 deaths Thermal: 175 (+1) cases, no deaths Mecca: 441 (+3) cases, 9 deaths North Shore: 124 (+1) cases, 1 death Oasis: 331 (+2) cases, 4 death Sky Valley: 46 cases, 2 death Cabazon: 60 cases, 1 death Anza: 13 cases, no deaths At this time age group, 18-39 continues to have the highest number of confirmed cases in the county with 24,108…

Seniors Living in Mobile Home Park Plagued With Water and Power Outages Plead for Help

A retired sheriff’s deputy, who doesn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation is temporarily living at a motel. He can barely get around and has a hard time breathing, he should be resting in his own home at the Riverdale Estates in Indio where he’s lived for 15 years, but senior mobile home community has been without water and power since Friday.  “Every year we have constant problems with electrical system, which means that we don’t have electricity or water for days,” says the deputy. Treehouse communities, the company that runs the mobile home park put residents who don’t have power up in a motel.  But the deputy says he had just bought groceries and they bad and can’t afford to buy more. He says he’s experienced hunger.   “Angry, I can’t describe the word angry anymore, it’s just bad, it’s just bad right now,” says the deputy.   Some have stayed behind using generators or back up power, but Rita Sample who’s lived there 13 years  says that doesn’t solve the water issue, “We have to go get the water out of the pool…

No new unemployment claims will be processed until Oct. 5

Month after month, local residents like Jon Barrist have waited to see if their unemployment payment status will change. Jon says he’s collecting debt as he waits for his claim to process, and is concerned about paying the bills. “I’m at 18 weeks right now of nothing. I’m hoping that I don’t get to the point where I have to sell the home. I always worry about that,” said Jon Barrist, a Palm Springs resident.  Over one million Americans haven’t received their full unemployment payment, and for the next two weeks, the department will not be accepting new applications. Instead, at the direction of Gov. Newsom’s strike team, the EDD will be implementing new ID verification software, working through hundreds of thousands of old claims, and increasing staff. “I didn’t want to wait another day to start this reset period to get this system back on its feet and get us in a position where we can address the significant number of backlog cases,” said Gov. Newsom.  But, some local politicians are unhappy about the temporary pause. They say the equipment and fraud issues should…

Firefighter killed while battling El Dorado fire is identified; ‘Charlie’ Morton called a respected leader

A crew boss with the Big Bear Hotshots has been identified as the firefighter who died Thursday while fighting the El Dorado wildfire, started by a smoke bomb ignited during a gender-reveal event in a Yucaipa park. Charles Edward Morton, 39, died Thursday while battling the blaze in the San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest officials said. He had worked as a firefighter for 18 years, 14 with the U.S. Forest Service. “Charlie was a well-respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew at the toughest times,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said in a statement. “He will be missed,” the U.S. Hotshots Association said on social media. Procession for fallen firefighter in El Dorado fire this morning Morton was born in San Diego, Forest Service officials said. He is survived by his wife, daughter, parents, two brothers, cousins and friends. A social media post honored Charles Morton. “This is my brother,” said one post on Facebook. “He died last night. Doing what he loves. Fighting fire in San Bernardino.” The post was superimposed over a photo of a…

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