Inland Empire

Inland Empire officials move homeless into motels amid coronavirus threat

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Jones, his towering 6-foot-7 frame notwithstanding, spoke in a nonthreatening but firm voice to a half dozen people living in a cluster of tents beneath olive trees along a San Bernardino canal. “This hanging out in this group, someone’s going to get sick,” Jones said, as he brought up the topic of the novel coronavirus spreading across California and the nation. He passed out wallet-sized cards that call for good hygiene — “wash your hands, cover your cough, don’t touch, practice social distancing” — and urged them to accept invitations to stay at a family’s home or seek emergency housing in a motel. Jones is a member of the county’s HOPE (Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement) team composed of four deputies and two probation officers. Daily, the team scours the streets, parks and canals of communities from Chino to Yucaipa to the High Desert to warn the homeless about the coronavirus threat. Similarly, officials and advocates across the Inland Empire are reaching out to persuade the homeless to take precautions to protect themselves and to come in off the…

Katie Ledecky hoping next year’s Olympics can be a celebration of ‘the entire world coming together’

Katie Ledecky turned 23 on March 17. It was a day she will never forget. “I celebrated it alone,” the five-time Olympic champion told CNN. “A few days before my birthday, I went on a grocery run, something I’ve been doing much less frequently, and I bought a box of cookies. I face-timed with my parents and my brother, and had a cookie.” It has been a tough few weeks for the swimmer. As a pandemic spread around the world, the uncertainty over whether or not the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled to start in July, would go ahead affected her mental health. “Not knowing what was going to happen with the Games was overwhelming and draining. We knew they shouldn’t happen,” added Ledecky, appreciating there are more serious matters to grapple with than this summer’s Games. READ: Mallory Weggemann offers powerful example of mental fortitude “You just can’t hold an Olympics in the middle of a pandemic. We could see that, but when we weren’t getting the official word we felt like had to try to do our best with training. “We were trying to be so…

US stock futures up Wednesday after a rough start to Q2 for Wall Street

US stock futures were up Wednesday following a rough start to the second quarter for Wall Street. Dow futures rose 155 points, or around 0.8%. S&P 500 futures climbed about 0.8% and Nasdaq futures were up 0.7%. Stocks finished in the red for the second day in a row Wednesday. All three indexes closed down 4.4%. The decline comes ahead of Thursday’s jobless claims report, which is expected to be even worse than last week’s record breaking number. Economists expect that 3.5 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, according to the Refinitiv consensus estimate. Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Barclays expect that number will be 5 million people or higher. Meanwhile, the oil market continues to suffer. On Wednesday, Whiting Petroleum became the first major oil producer to file for bankruptcy since oil prices sank to 18-year lows. Others are likely to follow. The-CNN-Wire

US coronavirus cases pass 200,000. More states are saying stay at home

On a day several more states, including Florida, told most of their residents to stay at home, the number of US coronavirus cases skyrocketed past 200,000 on Wednesday. The news comes while debate revs up on whether all Americans should be wearing a mask. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 210,000 people in the United States have been infected, and at least 4,669 have died. The number of fatality reports again reached a new daily high. One of the deaths was a 6-week old in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said. More data showing people without symptoms are fueling the spread has top US officials rethinking whether the general public should be wearing masks. But the World Health Organization, while it says it is reviewing its advice, tells people there is no need to keep your mouth covered if you are not a patient or health worker. A quarter of people in US who are sick have no symptoms Concerning new data from Iceland shows 50% of those who tested positive said they were asymptomatic. In the US, an estimated 25% of coronavirus carriers have no symptoms, said the director…

Amazon employee at Atwater Village warehouse tests positive for coronavirus

An Amazon employee at a warehouse in Atwater Village has tested positive for the coronavirus, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to City News Service on Wednesday. The employee, who will be paid while they self-quarantine at home, works at an Amazon warehouse at 3334 N. San Fernando Road, Building E, and Amazon has asked the individual not to return to the site for 14 days. Amazon is working to notify all associates who were in close contact with the employee at work. Those employees are also being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days without loss of pay. It was not clear when the employee tested positive for COVID-19 or if they were working while showing symptoms. “We are supporting the individual who is recovering,” Amazon’s Timothy Carter told City News Service. “We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.” At an Amazon distribution facility in Eastvale in Riverside County, two employees have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week. In emails sent to the Southern California News Group,…

Perris siblings, 9 and 11, write book about a heroic mouse

DeSean Martin’s children knew their father had created the art work for several books selling on Amazon. So Nehemiah Martin, 11, and Milajah Davis, 9,  got the idea of writing their own book for him to illustrate. “They suddenly started taking it seriously and came up with some wacky material over a plate of cookies,” Martin said. The story the Perris youths wrote was eventually titled “The Mouse Saves the House.” Perris siblings Nehemiah Martin, left, and Milajah Davis co-authored a children’s book titled “The Mouse Saves the House” that was illustrated by their father, DeSean Martin. (Photo courtesy of DeSean Martin) Perris siblings Nehemiah Martin and Milajah Davis wrote a children’s book titled “The Mouse Saves the House.” Their father, DeSean Martin, illustrated it. (Photo courtesy of DeSean Martin) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Show Caption of Expand “It’s a story about a small hero who is often overlooked and ignored,” Martin said. When a human-size problem arrives, the family who lives with the mouse is overwhelmed and can’t handle it. The family fears they will lose their house until the small creature…

Small businesses desperate for financial lifeline amid coronavirus crisis

Show me the money. That catchphrase from the 1996 film “Jerry McGuire” has become a battle cry of small businesses and gig workers as they struggle to pay bills and stay afloat while waiting for federal assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic. A $2 trillion rescue package was signed into law Friday and the Small Business Administration’s $349 billion, low-interest loan portion of the program could be up and running by week’s end. It’s intended to help small businesses meet payrolls and avoid layoffs. Will help arrive soon enough? But with bills fast coming due and most business operations closed, many fear the financial lifelines won’t arrive soon enough — and may not be enough. One estimate predicts California will lose nearly 2.3 million jobs through June. Michelle Minch, owner of the Rosemead-based home-staging business Moving Mountains Design, said her business has taken a heavy hit. She hopes to tap into an SBA loan for some immediate relief. “This year was starting out great,” the Pasadena entrepreneur said. “We were doing 20 to 30 projects a month, so this is very frustrating. I have 11 employees…

Regional network’s crisis hotline helps small businesses weather coronavirus pandemic

The calls streaming in from Orange County hotels, restaurants, retailers, even a trucking company that moves goods from ports to warehouses, have one thing in common. The business owners are panicked, sometimes in tears, and desperate to find the money to keep their business afloat, said Mike Hill, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cal State Fullerton. Before the shutdowns prompted by the new coronavirus pandemic, consultants at the center — part of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC network — were focused on building and growing small businesses through free virtual consulting and other services. In recent weeks, the centers have started to offer a small-business crisis hotline, with consultants guiding stressed business owners through the confusion and misinformation, and helping them find the state and federal resources they need to keep their businesses going, including the aid available through the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package signed Friday by President Donald Trump. “For every call, the clock is ticking,” said Hill, a CSUF alum and founder of two software companies focused on education and dental practice management, who oversees the 20 consultants…

What small businesses need to know about the government’s new forgivable loan program

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has promised that by this Friday small business owners can apply for a new, forgivable loan to help keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis. Nearly $350 billion has been allocated for that purpose in the new economic aid package signed into law last week. Unless further technical guidance is issued soon, it might be tough for many lenders to launch on Friday, according to Chris Hurn, CEO of Fountainhead, a non-bank direct Small Business Administration lender. Otherwise, he thinks lenders should be ready to go by next week. Many have already done what they can to prepare for an expected surge in demand. Hurn estimates his company alone is likely to process loan applications for more than $1 billion right off the bat. Here’s what small business owners need to know. Who is eligible to apply? Generally, any small business with 500 or fewer employees is eligible. That includes sole proprietorships and independent contractors. It also includes nonprofits, veterans organizations and tribal businesses. In certain circumstances, businesses with more than 500 employees also may qualify. Applications will be accepted up to June 30. But the program…

93% of people around the world live in countries with coronavirus travel bans

At least 7.2 billion people live in countries with travel restrictions as the novel coronavirus pandemic spreads, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center. That’s 93% of the world’s population, Pew said, as most nations have imposed partial or complete border closures to foreign nationals. “The movement of people across borders has come to a standstill in much of the world as countries close their borders to visitors — and sometimes their own citizens — in response to the coronavirus outbreak,” the analysis says. The report, posted Wednesday on the center’s website, combines data from border closure announcements and United Nations population data. And a map from the Pew Research Center shows the sweeping array of restrictions around the globe. Last month the International Organization for Migration reported that 174 countries, territories and areas around the world had coronavirus-related travel restrictions in place, describing the restrictions as “unprecedented (in) scope and severity.” Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, associate director of the Migration Policy Institute’s international program, described what she said was an “extraordinary acceleration” in travel restrictions. Just a handful of countries had travel restrictions in place at…

New Bilingual Hotline Helps Valley Residents During Global Pandemic

Indio’s bilingual hotline has only been in use for two days and the operators have already helped connect more than 200 people with resources and information.  Joshua Bbonner, who is the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, organized the hotline as a way to continue serving the community in the valley. “There’s no sort of a general hotline that people can call and say hey I need help with this,” said Bonner. There’s a lot of information out there about the coronavirus, but most of it is in english.according to the national alliance for hispanic health, one of the most impacted groups during this pandemic are under-resourced spanish speaking communities. Diana Soto, who is a bilingual operator at the chamber of commerce and is now working remotely because of the COVID-19 outbreak, said “We tend to forget that there is a portion of the population..who would rather hear it in their own language” The hotline is used to help local residents and business owners who are recently unemployed and don’t have access to information in their spoken language.  “We thought it was important to offer…

Should you cover your face to thwart coronavirus? The answer varies as local health officials mull over options

Bandanas. Scarves. Homemade fabric masks. Those are some of the items people out in public are wearing to cover their faces in efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. But should they be doing it? That question reportedly is under review by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials. The CDC’s current guidance states that only people who are sick need to wear masks when they are around other people or before entering a health provider’s office, according to the agency’s website. But in Los Angeles and Riverside counties, officials this week recommended the general public should cover their faces. That advice came after new research showed even asymptomatic individuals can spread COVID-19, Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a press briefing Wednesday. “There may be a benefit, as CDC has been noting just in conversations over the last couple of days,” she said. “For the rest of us to use masks that are homemade – this can be a scarf, a bandana, or a mask made out of fabric.” Some companies and people have begun to opt to to sew their…

San Bernardino County coronavirus cases grow to 254, no new deaths reported

San Bernardino County is up to 254 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday afternoon, April 1. No new deaths were reported. The number of cases is up from 183 recorded as of Tuesday. The number of deaths remains at six, according to county data. Yucaipa continues to have the most cases in the county, with 60, which is up from the 53 reported Tuesday. That includes the 51 residents and six staff at Cedar Mountain Post Acute Rehabilitation in Yucaipa reported Tuesday. One of the residents, an 89-year-old female with underlying health conditions, died Thursday. A second resident died Monday. Also on Wednesday, two more San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies tested positive for COVID-19. The deputies, who were assigned to the corrections bureau, have been home from work for the past week with flu-like symptoms, sheriff’s officials said in a news release. An investigation was underway to determine how they were infected. Five deputies with the department have contracted the disease. One was assigned to patrol duty, and the other four work in the corrections bureau. It was not clear if any…

Ralphs shifts to $2 hourly raises instead of bonus for workers

Ralphs and Food 4 Less will pay its workers an additional $2 hourly for at least the next three weeks, matching wage increases already in place at other big Southern California supermarket chains. The announcement, made jointly Wednesday, April 1 by parent company Kroger and the union that represents 22,000 of its California workers, came after the United Food and Commercial Workers criticized a bonus the company had originally offered. Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, and San Bernardino-based Stater Bros. announced $2 hourly raises March 20 as workers struggled to keep up with the demands of coronavirus-stoked crowds. Kroger instead offered its workers one-time bonuses of between $150 and $300. The bonuses led to a harsh rebuke from UFCW Local 1167 President Joe Duffle, who called them “shameful.” The two sides returned to bargaining sessions and came up with a three-week plan for raises. Kroger and UFCW will revisit the situation after that, according to the statement. “The Hero Bonus is just one more way we continue to convey our thanks and gratitude not only to our existing associates but also to the more than 30,000…

Riverside Arlington Post Office worker has coronavirus

An employee at the Riverside Arlington Post Office tested positive for the novel coronavirus, an official said Wednesday, April 1. The facility is at 10275 Hole Ave., at the intersection with Tyler Street. “We are in process of reaching out to the local public health office and will follow the guidance they provide,” spokesman John Hyatt wrote in an email. “We believe the risk is low for employees who work at the Arlington Post Office, but we will keep our employees apprised as new information and guidance becomes available.” The person’s name and the specifics of their condition are not being released, Hyatt said. Hyatt noted that both the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and  U.S. Surgeon General have all said there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through the mail and packages. Related Articles High school athletics flooded with emotion as state’s recommendation likely ends spring sports this school year because of coronavirus crisis San Bernardino County coronavirus cases grow to 254, no new deaths reported Coronavirus infects 2 more San Bernardino County deputies Ralphs shifts to $2 hourly raises…

Riverside County coronavirus cases now at 429; still 13 dead

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Riverside County rose by 58 to 429 on Wednesday afternoon, April 1 as deaths were confirmed for the first time in Corona and Wildomar. The county’s COVID-19 death toll is unchanged at 13. Besides Corona and Wildomar, the county has recorded COVID-19-related fatalities in Moreno Valley, Beaumont and the Coachella Valley. Forty county residents have recovered from the virus, according to numbers posted on the county public health department’s website. Almost 230 of the cases are men, compared to 180 for women. A breakdown of cities and unincorporated communities with cases follows. If an unincorporated community is not listed, no cases have been recorded there. Anza, one case Banning, 12 cases Beaumont, 10 cases, one death Bermuda Dunes, two cases Blythe, one case Calimesa, one case Canyon Lake, three cases Cathedral City, 12 cases, one death Cherry Valley, one case Coachella, one case Corona, 23 cases, one death Desert Edge, one case Desert Hot Springs, six cases Desert Palms, three cases Eastvale, 16 cases El Cerrito, one case El Sobrante, five cases French Valley, 12…

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