Arts and jazz festival in Pomona commemorates first Juneteenth national holiday

The 31st annual Pomona Valley Juneteenth Jazz and Arts Festival welcomed community members back to Ganesha Park in person Saturday, June 19, a year after the pandemic forced the cancellation of the traditional gathering. Community members gathered to celebrate the 31st Annual Pomona Valley Juneteenth Family Jazz and Arts Festival at Ganesha Park on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The event comes after Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves, was officially recognized as a federal holiday. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer) Community members gathered to celebrate the 31st Annual Pomona Valley Juneteenth Family Jazz and Arts Festival at Ganesha Park on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The event comes after Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves, was officially recognized as a federal holiday. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer) Sheri Thompson-Whitten performs during the 31st Annual Pomona Valley Juneteenth Family Jazz and Arts Festival at Ganesha Park on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The event comes after Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves, was officially recognized as a federal holiday. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing…

Volunteer programs are back at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

The volunteer services department at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has resumed its adult and junior volunteer programs. Though the in-person volunteer programs were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Auxiliary of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center continued to offer support to the hospital, including donating personal protective equipment to the hospital and bags of personal products to boost staff morale, according to a news release. Also, funds raised in junior volunteer fundraisers from before the pandemic were used to buy frozen yogurt for hospital staff members. Participants in the Adult Volunteer Program, many of them retired, serve in many areas of the hospital, including the surgery waiting room, the Tender Touch gift shop, discharge and escort services and the shuttle service. Members of the Junior Volunteer Program are students from more than 20 local high schools who assist in areas including the labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum units; the pharmacy; and neonatal intensive care units. The hospital also has a Student Volunteer Program for college-age students and graduates who are pursuing careers in health-care fields. The program offers experience in areas including rehabilitation…

Where to watch July 4, 2021 fireworks in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties

Fireworks illuminate the night sky at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Contributing Photographer) Celebrating Independence Day 2021 is a little different again this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There will be fireworks displays but some organizations have had to cancel, modify or restrict the customary concerts, parades and other activities — including no spectators on football fields or concert venues. Here is a sampling of regional July 4th weekend events in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. JULY 2-4 Valencia Six Flags Magic Mountain Coca-Cola July 4th Fest: The theme park is open and fireworks and laser show with patriotic music, July 2-4. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. July 2-4. Admission $70 and up for July 2-4 (see add-on specials; parking $25). 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. www.sixflags.com/magicmountain/events/coca-cola-july-4th-fest JULY 3-4 Hollywood July 4th Fireworks Spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl: Music from Kool & the Gang and Thomas Wilkins conducts the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in patriotic music favorites, 7:30 p.m. July 3-4. Tickets $26 and up. 2301 N. Highland Ave. 323-850-2000. www.hollywoodbowl.com JULY 3 Arcadia…

As second summer of COVID-19 dawns, writing is as important as ever

By Jennifer K. Sweeney Contributing Columnist After over a year of pandemic upheaval in which life has been dramatically altered, many of us look toward this summer with some hopes of renewal. “This is the cooling part of the fever (Ada Limón).” Maybe we spent the year piecing our lives in Zoom squares, retreating into domestic or interior spaces where binge-watching, reading, and ever-tending our homes was a mainstay. “The months rolled down like towels out of a machine. I sang and drew and fattened the cat (Naomi Shihab Nye).” Or perhaps we continued to enter that altered world with masks and Plexiglas and protective gear and show up for all the parts of society that could not be parsed out through a computer screen. “My mother went to work each day / in a starched white dress, shoes / clamped to her feet like pale / mushrooms, two blue hearts pressed / into the sponge rubber soles (Dorianne Laux).” Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of four books of poetry, most recently “Foxlogic, Fireweed.” She teaches poetry workshops at the University of Redlands. (Courtesy…

Fox Riverside Theater Foundation ready to return to in-person programming

Fox Riverside Theater Foundation envisions a flourishing local arts community with the Fox Performing Arts Center at its heart. The Foundation promotes the Fox Theater through outreach, education, and fundraising. The historic Fox is owned by the city of Riverside and operated by Live Nation, while the Foundation raises community support for its educational programs and necessary upgrades to the theater. “We want people to understand the outreach and education that we are doing and that we maintain the legacy of the Fox,” said Cynthia Wright, the foundation’s executive director. Cyrian Reed, instructor of upcoming Hip Hop Workshop at the Fox Performing Arts Center presented by the Fox Riverside Theater Foundation. (Courtesy of Fox Riverside Theater Foundation) The Foundation has a strong partnership with Live Nation and American Theater Guild, which opens the opportunities for lectures, workshops and classes led by working professionals and offered to local students. As part of its Master Classes & Workshops program the Foundation will be hosting its first in-person dance workshop since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-hour hip-hop workshop, led by Cyrian Reed, will be at…

Riverside County’s short-term rental law is weak, report says

An ordinance enacted to crack down on noise, trash, and other problems associated with short-term vacation rentals in unincorporated Riverside County is flawed, according to a new report. The civil grand jury report suggests ways to bolster enforcement of rules to rein in short-term rentals that become neighborhood nuisances. A revised ordinance is in the works, although it’s not clear when it might come before the Board of Supervisors. “Without serious enforcement efforts, the ordinance and its rules will become another lost opportunity for real change and leave the neighbors of the (rentals) with little leverage to preserve their community’s quality of life,” the 16-page report reads. County spokeswoman Brooke Federico said via email that the county is reviewing the report, which was posted online this month, and will provide “a thorough response” by the legal deadline. By law, agencies that are the subjects of grand jury reports must respond, usually within 90 days. In an email, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who has voiced concerns about short-term rentals, said his office has heard “from residents who are concerned with the bad actors in the rental industry”…

LA County sheriff investigating oversight commissioner’s nonprofit, search warrants show

A previously undisclosed search warrant served at the headquarters of the L.A. Metro in March indicates sheriff’s detectives are digging into a potential felony involving a contract between Metro and Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit run by a civilian oversight commissioner critical of Sheriff Alex Villanueva in the past. The search warrant sought Peace Over Violence’s contracts; call logs from the “Off Limits” harassment hotline the nonprofit operated for Metro; surveys about sexual harassment complaints; any Metro internal investigations involving Peace Over Violence; and six years of communications among Metro employees, Peace Over Violence’s director, county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, a deputy of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other local officials, according to a copy of the search warrant obtained by the Southern California News Group. Deputy Max Fernandez stated in an affidavit attached to the warrant that there is probable cause the records “show that a felony had been committed or that a particular person has committed a felony.” Detectives served warrants at Metro and Peace Over Violence’s offices in February as well, but neither the Sheriff’s Department or Metro would provide details about…

Riverside moves ahead with delayed electric rate increase

Riverside residents and businesses will be paying more for their electricity starting July 1. The Riverside City Council approved a 3% rate hike Tuesday, June 15, by a 5-1 vote. Councilmember Chuck Conder voted against the hike and Councilmember Gaby Pacencia was absent. “Although it sounds hard, it really isn’t,” said Ward 2 Councilmember Andy Melendrez. “That’s a good value to make sure we can deliver that power to families in need.” Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here. Electricity rate hikes timeline May 22, 2018: City Council approves five years of electricity rate hikes. March 17, 2020: City Council directs city manager to suspend disconnecting customers’ utilities during the pandemic. Delinquent accounts receivable grow 391%, from $4.9 million in March 2020 to $24.1 million as of April 27, 2021. December 22, 2020: Board of Public Utilities recommends delaying implementation of 2021 rate hikes until March 31, due to COVID-19. January 5, 2021: City Council agrees, telling city manager to delay the hikes and come back with information on delinquencies. March 23, 2021:…

He lost his wife, but not their baby; now he’s a dad in progress

People ask James Alvarez all the time how he manages to carry on. The question could be sympathetic or prying or annoying. But to Alvarez, it’s understandable. The sad part of his story is pretty well known. On Aug. 11, 2020,  Alvarez and his pregnant wife, Yesenia Lisette Aguilar, were touched by the kind of tragedy you might see in a movie. They were walking on an Anaheim sidewalk when a Jeep, driven by a woman with a history of driving under the influence, jumped the curb and mowed into Aguilar, literally pulling the 23-year-old woman out of Alvarez’s grasp. Aguilar died. But the baby, delivered via an emergency C-section, survived. So, when people ask Alvarez how he keeps going, his answer is simple — Adalyn Rose. James Alvarez, left, with his 10-month-old daughter Adalyn Rose Alvarez-Aguilar at Stoddard Park in Anaheim on Sunday, June 13, 2021. Last August, Alvarez and his wife Yesenia Aguilar, who was eight-months pregnant with Adalyn at the time, were taking their daily walk when she was struck and killed on the sidewalk by a suspected drunk driver. Doctors were…

Cockroaches, flies, broken fridges: Restaurant closures, inspections in Riverside County, June 10-17

Here are the restaurants and other food facilities that Riverside County Department of Environmental Health inspectors temporarily shut down because of imminent health hazards between June 10 and 17, 2021. If no reopening date is mentioned, the department had not listed that facility as reopened as of this publication. Mantra Indian Cuisine, 712 N. Main St., Corona Closed: June 17 Grade: 73/C, failing Reason: Cockroach infestation. The inspector found live and dead roaches “too numerous to count” throughout the restaurant. There were also numerous flies inside. The inspector noted the bugs seemed to be especially attracted to a “thick layer of biofilm” on the floor where the soda machine was improperly draining. The restaurant had three other critical violations, for employees not washing hands, food being at unsafe temperatures in two refrigerators that were impounded and a 30-gallon container of cooked gravy not being cooled down properly. Several lesser violations related to things being dirty or in disrepair were chronically repeated from past inspections, the inspector noted. Arco am/pm, 29012 Newport Road, Menifee (partial closure) Closed: June 17 Grade: 86/B, failing Reason: No hot water.…

San Bernardino diocese reopens churches to full capacity, without masks for vaccinated

After the state’s coronavirus reopening this week, the Diocese of San Bernardino is issuing new safety guidelines for worshippers. Effective Saturday, June 19, all parishes within the diocese can continue to operate at 100% capacity indoors, without masks for those who are vaccinated, according to diocesan guidelines listed in a letter issued this week by Bishop Alberto Rojas. The diocese still recommends distancing crowds by at least three-feet, but that’s not required, said diocesan spokesman John Andrews. If the parish is located in an area where vaccination rates are lower than the county average, they can keep stringent requirements in place. Diocesan reopening guidelines, which include full capacity churches for Mass, will go into effect on June 19th, parishes can elect to continue more stringent guidelines if located in an area with a low vaccination rate. Read the guidelines here (PDF): https://t.co/ruF9Bh4Lr9 pic.twitter.com/BaRdkj2awN — Diocese of San Bernardino (@sbdiocese) June 17, 2021 The San Bernardino Diocese already reopened its churches indoors, and some larger parishes continue to hold services and events outside and through live-stream. Related links San Bernardino diocese welcomes new Bishop Alberto Rojas San…

Join Chino Hills’ Fearless Fighters Blood Drive Challenge

The city of Chino Hills will host a Fearless Fighters Blood Drive Challenge noon-5 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, at the Government Center parking lot, 14077 Peyton Drive. The Fearless Fighters Blood Drive Challenge invites Chino Hills Police Department, Chino Valley Fire District and other first responder agencies to take part in a friendly competition to collect the most blood donations in a LifeStream Blood Bank blood drive. The public is invited to support the challenge by joining the community’s first responders and donating blood. Donors will receive a limited edition Fearless Fighters T-shirt while supplies last, according to a news release. LifeStream is following COVID-19 protocols including social distancing, sanitation and cleaning. LifeStream staff members use personal protective equipment and all donors are required to wear face coverings. Donors must be in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. LifeStream tests all complete blood donations for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The test shows if one has been exposed to the virus, not it one is currently infected. Walk-ins are accepted if space allows, but appointments are recommended. To make an…

Lawmakers seek $540 million from state to push Gold Line to Montclair

A group of state legislators representing the San Gabriel Valley and western San Bernardino County have written a letter to the Senate and Assembly budget committee chairs asking that a slice of the state surplus be used to finance completion of the Gold Line, renamed the L Line, to Montclair. About 15 state lawmakers, mostly from the “San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus,” are making a concerted push for the Legislature to allocate $540 million to close the funding gap and extend the light-rail line that originates in Los Angeles another 3.3 miles into Claremont and Montclair. The work would complete a 12.3-mile extension of the line currently under construction from Azusa to Pomona. “The Foothill Gold Line light rail project from Glendora to Montclair will extend light rail service 12.3-miles and add six stations to the LA Metro light rail system. It will connect Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties; a first for the region, crossing county lines and expanding opportunities for transit ridership to Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside County residents, workers, students and visitors,” reads the letter dated May 7, 2021. Completing…

Mobile clinic treats pets at Riverside homeless shelter

For many living on the streets, having pets means constant companionship and loyalty. But what happens when their pets need care? Enter The ElleVet Project, which began last summer and offers free veterinary care for homeless people’s pets. A veterinarian-led mobile clinic van has visited homeless shelters all over Southern California during the pandemic, led by Maine-based pet company ElleVet Sciences,  a news release states. Dr. Gabrielle Rosa (right), with the ElleVet Sciences project, speaks with dog owner Carmen Scultz (center), from Riverside, as Scultz’s dog Rosie sits near by after receiving her needed vaccinations at the Riverside Access Center in Riverside on Friday, June 18, 2021. The ElleVet Sciences project, an initiative begun last summer with the help from local veterinarians, is a mobile clinic van to help homeless people and those less fortunate and their pets with free veterinarian basic services. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG) Jacob, a 6-year old chiweenie dog, receives a check up by Dr. Gabrielle Rosa, with the ElleVet Sciences project, at the Riverside Access Center in Riverside on Friday, June 18, 2021. The ElleVet Sciences…

Why are so few people getting vaccinated in the Inland Empire?

Less than half of Inland residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — significantly lower than the percentage in Los Angeles County and California overall — but health officials and others are working to increase that number. That requires knowing why people aren’t getting vaccinated. Factors slowing the pace in Riverside and San Bernardino counties include difficulties with access and taking time off work for people in lower socio-economic communities, distrust of government and seeing the vaccine as a low priority. Also there have been mixed messages from elected officials and clergy who’ve argued against state shut-down orders, face-covering mandates and even getting the vaccine, government and academic sources said. Most studying the issue split the unvaccinated into three groups: those opposed, those who are skeptical but could be persuaded and those who are interested but haven’t done it yet. “As a county, we’re focusing our efforts on those who want to be vaccinated but are having a harder time getting vaccinated,” said Andrew Goldfrach, San Bernardino County’s interim health director. “For those who are sure they don’t want to be vaccinated, it’s their personal choice, and…

Riverside student will attend Interlochen Arts Camp this summer

Twila Fraser-Hewlett, 15, a student at Riverside Polytechnic High School, will attend Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer of 2021, studying intensive musical theater techniques. (Photo by Stacey Fraser) Twila Fraser-Hewlett, 15, of Riverside will attend Interlochen Arts Camp, a multidisciplinary summer arts program for aspiring artists ages 8 to 18. Twila, daughter of Stacey Fraser and Albie Hewlett, will study intensive musical theater techniques at Interlochen. Twila has just finished 10th grade at Riverside Polytechnic High School where she is an honors student and regular participant in the theater program, directed by Chris MarkerMorse, and the song team, advised by Lindy Schive, according to a news release. She will play the role of Winifred in the upcoming Riverside Poly production of “Once Upon a Mattress.” Additional credits include the role of the child in the film “Still Life After Death,” recently released on Amazon Prime Video, and multiple productions with Mojalet Dance Collective under the direction of Faith Jensen-Ismay of San Diego; Unity Dance Theatre of Redlands under the direction of Terrill Corletto; and Cal State San Bernardino Opera Theatre. Her other dance and…

San Jacinto city councilmember charged with illegal marijuana sales

San Jacinto City Councilmember Joel Lopez has been charged with running an illegal marijuana dispensary in the city. San Jacinto council member Joel Lopez was arrested on June 10, 2021 on charges that he and another man ran an illegal marijuana dispensary in the city. (Photo courtesy of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.) The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced the charges on Friday, June 18. Lopez did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday afternoon. According to the June 8 indictment, starting around April 2019, Lopez, 35, and Edward Padilla Jr., 32, also of San Jacinto, hired people to work at an unlicensed dispensary. Located on the 1100 block of San Jacinto Ave., it was variously known as “Santa Fe Co-Op,” “Santa Fe Collective” or “Santa Fe.” The defendants and others sold cannabis, including through a delivery service, according to the indictment. The pair face four charges: Conspiracy to commit misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance for sale Maintaining a place for the purpose of unlawfully selling or giving away a controlled substance, a felony Operating without a seller’s permit by…

Claremont Girl Scout troop is holding donation drive to benefit migrant children at Fairplex

Girl Scout Junior Troop 5604 of Sycamore Elementary School in Claremont is holding a donation drive to benefit the migrant children being housed at the Pomona Fairplex. The children at Fairplex will be traveling to be reunited with family members or to sponsors or to Health and Human Services shelters. The troop has created a public Amazon wishlist where people can make purchases that will go to the team that will deliver the donations to the Pomona Fairplex. The items on the wishlist are things intended to make the migrant children’s adjustment easier and help them feel more welcome, according to a news release. The wishlist includes T-shirts, snacks, games and more. To see the wishlist and donate, go to www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/8M17LGGA953W.

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