Inland Empire

Injured Hemet teen wins $25.6 million in lawsuit

A jury Thursday, Feb. 6, awarded $25.6 million to the family of a Hemet high school student severely injured when he was struck by a truck in a crosswalk. The family of Nick Tusant sued the city and the driver accused of striking him in September 2017. Six months earlier, the then-16-year-old was hit by a pickup while in a crosswalk near West Valley High School. Tusant spent 30 days in a coma and was hospitalized for months. He spent more than a year in therapy after that, learning how to speak and walk again. According to his family, as of September 2017, they had incurred more than half a million dollars in medical bills. Attorney Rosen Saba, one of Tusant’s attorneys, said he was “very pleased with the jury’s decision to compensate Mr. Tusant for his injuries and sees it as a positive step towards ensuring the neighborhood is safe for everyone” in a written statement Thursday afternoon. Nick Tusant, 17, is seen in 2017. He was severely injured while crossing a street on the way to school. His family won a verdict Thursday,…

This map shows the location of the Riverside brush fire, evacuations

A fire broke out Thursday, Feb. 6 in the Santa Ana Riverbed in Riverside and has risen to 51-acres as of 1:30 p.m. Evacuations were put into place for all the homes along Old Ranch Road between Parkcliff Court and Rubidoux Avenue, Riverside police said shortly after 1 p.m. Officers will assist the fire department with the evacuations. All evacuations were lifted as of 2:30 p.m. No injuries were reported from the mid-morning fire that closed the bike path alongside the river, in the area of Old Mill Road and Greenbrier Drive. Smoke could be seen throughout the area. This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Here’s the spelling bee winner for San Jacinto Unified School District

Temo Mendez, a fifth-grader at Hyatt World Language Academy, is the winner of this year’s San Jacinto Unified School District spelling bee. Temo took first place in a field of 16 contestants in the Jan. 30 competition, winning with the correct spelling in the 17th round, according to a press release from the San Jacinto Unified School District. He will go on to the Riverside County Spelling Bee to be held March 24 at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center. The San Jacinto district’s second-place winner, fourth-grader Max Corum, also from Hyatt World Language Academy, will serve as the district’s alternate for the county-level contest. The Riverside County Spelling Bee is open to students fourth through eighth grade, and the county winner progresses to the Scripps National Spelling Bee held near Washington, D.C., in May, according to the press release. Taking third place in the San Jacinto district’s spelling bee was Jayda Bass, a fifth grader at Park Hill Elementary School. Renee Carbajal, assistant principal of Record Elementary School, served as spelling bee master. Patty Luna of the district’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department,…

New campus approved for San Bernardino charter school

Norton Science and Language Academy is getting a new campus on Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino. The Spanish-English dual immersion charter school serves more than 800 students from 20 school districts across Southern California. City leaders on Wednesday, Feb. 6, unanimously approved plans to build a 90,000-square-foot campus on a vacant lot at Waterman and Valley Street about a mile from the facility Norton Science and Language Academy has used for more than a decade. Norton Science and Language Academy in San Bernardino could have a new campus built on this site at Waterman Avenue and Valley Street about a mile from its current Central Avenue facility. (Photo by Brian Whitehead, The Sun/SCNG) The school expects to serve 1,450 students, kindergarten to 12th grade, within three to five years, making it the first charter school of its kind in the region. “As educators, we’re dedicated to serving our scholars,” Principal Fausto Barragan said ahead of Wednesday’s vote. “We’re not just dedicated, but passionate about serving our scholars.” In addition to rezoning 16 parcels intended for single-family residences and industrial buildings, San Bernardino leaders granted other…

Vote-by-mail ballots in Hawthorne and Pomona sent this week did not include Measure FD

Those who vote by mail in Hawthorne and Pomona should receive a supplemental ballot soon because the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder left a countywide parcel tax measure off the original ballot, the department said Thursday, Feb. 6. Voters should return both the original ballot and the supplemental ballot, which will have Measure FD on it, if they want to vote completely in the March 3 election. Measure FD would provide roughly $134 million toward fire and paramedic emergency services in L.A. County by levying a parcel tax worth 6 cents per square foot on certain improvements. It would be limited to 2% annual adjustments until ended by voters, and low-income seniors would be exempted. Both the original and supplemental ballots include postage-paid return envelopes and instructions to vote and return ballots by Election Day. “We regret the omission,” said Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan in a statement. “We identified the error and are acting quickly to ensure affected voters receive materials with sufficient time to mark and return both the original and supplemental ballots.” For anyone that requests a vote-by-mail ballot going forward in either city,…

Pomona police arrest man in gang raid on 5 homes

Police in Pomona said they searched five homes in a sweeping raid Thursday morning targeting gang members in the city, but officials have not said what crimes anyone they were looking for committed. The Pomona Police Department in a statement said five search warrants were served during the operation that was conducted alongside the Covina and Azusa police departments, as well as an FBI gang task force. One person was arrested for an outstanding warrant, and another six were detained but later released, said Pomona spokeswoman Aly Mejia. The man arrested was identified as Kevin Lopez; authorities did not provide Lopez’s city of residence, his age or where he was arrested. They also did not provide details about the warrant for his arrest. It is not clear who police were looking for. It’s also not clear if there were any other suspects they sought to arrest who were not found at any of the locations Thursday. The locations raided were described as both homes and apartment units in the city. In addition to the outside agencies, two other units with Pomona police spearheaded the raid:…

Upland warehouse project criticized by California air regulators, Montclair and Claremont

The conclusions that a 201,000-square-foot logistics warehouse proposed for northwest Upland won’t add to air pollution, global warming or cause traffic tie-ups is being questioned by state environmental agencies and two adjacent cities. The South Coast Air Quality Management District says the Bridge Development Partners project’s analysis contained in a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) underestimated the number of truck trips and the resulting air pollution impacts to the community. At issue is the health effects caused by tailpipe emissions from trucks, vans and automobiles entering and leaving the distribution center. A schematic of a warehouse/logistics/retail building and landscaping plan as shown in this diagram. The proposed project, for Foothill Boulevard and Central Avenue in Upland has been analyzed in an environmental study released on Dec. 16, 2019. The project design, environmental study and development agreement will go before the Upland Planning Commission on Feb. 12. (Courtesy of Bridge Development Partners). “The Lead Agency did not perform a mobile source health risk assessment analysis,” concluded the SCAQMD’s Lijin Sun, program supervisor for the California Environmental Quality Act and planning, rule development and area sources. Bridge, through its…

Cal Baptist University sophomore’s title role is her latest feat

Joy Bennett grew up with four siblings who she said are all creative and dramatic. What she called an “imaginative playing pretend energy” had always been a part of her life. “Theater has been the most effective use of that energy,” she said. “Also, I like the attention. As Lady Gaga says, ‘I live for the applause.’” Now 19, Bennett was born and raised in Santa Ana. She attended Foothill High School in Tustin, where she played Romaine Patterson in “The Laramie Project.” Riverside actress Joy Bennett is a sophomore at California Baptist University in Riverside. (Photo courtesy of Jana Bennett) Joy Bennett plays Beatrice in California Baptist University’s 2019 production of “The Servant of Two Masters.” (Photo courtesy of Patrick Aaron Productions) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Show Caption of Expand “That was the production that really made me fall in love with acting, and dream about the possibilities for theatrical communication,” she said. Bennett decided to attend California Baptist University, moved to Riverside and is now a sophomore theater major. Last year, as a freshman, she was cast as Lydia Bennet in…

Riverside County’s homeless youth situation called ‘shocking’

Volunteers conducting this winter’s Riverside County homeless count found a pregnant 22-year-old woman on the street in Moreno Valley and many unaccompanied homeless children under 18 in Riverside. “It was an eye opener,” said Luis Lopez, youth point-in-time count coordinator for the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services. What survey takers encountered, he said, “was just shocking.” In all, teams composed of about 1,000 volunteers fanned out across the county last week, in many cities, to look for people of all ages spending the night under bridges, camping in ravines along creeks and living in tents. In a separate wave, more than 200 volunteers looked specifically for homeless youths ages 24 and younger, Lopez said. The general homeless count that focused on adults took place early Wednesday, Jan. 29. The youth count was done on three afternoons and evenings, Wednesday, Jan. 29 through Friday, Jan. 31. Results from the youth survey are compiled as part of the overall snapshot of the homeless population, which is called the 2020 Point in Time Count. Teams of volunteers do the counts every year about this time across…

In 1908-09, Hemet rallied around high school debate team

Back at the turn of the 20th century, one important source of entertainment for people living in small towns was the activities of local schools, particularly the high schools. Sports teams and their games were popular, but just as popular were other school activities such as the debate team. In 1908-09, the town of Hemet (whose population was only about 900 at that time), was graced with a particularly good debating team at the high school. Many articles were devoted to the team in the Hemet News and other area newspapers. In September 1908, Hemet High School started the year with seven seniors, 13 juniors, and 16 each in the freshman and sophomore years. The school also had 18 students in the “commercial” department, where they could learn skills such as bookkeeping and stenography. However, the small school managed to put together a debating team with as much skill and depth as schools with a much larger student bodies. In October, a schedule of 15 debates was announced, and it is clear that virtually the entire student body of the school was required to participate…

The Salted Pig is open in its new Riverside home

The Salted Pig’s new home doesn’t have a sign over the door, and owner Ronaldo Fierro isn’t in a hurry to put one up. “We’re used to being found by word of mouth,” he said in a phone interview. Server Scotty Wiens prepares a drink in the bar area during the soft opening of the Salted Pig at their new location at Main Street Pedestrian Mall in Riverside on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Jesus Figueroa sautés a mushroom medley dish during the soft opening of the Salted Pig at their new location at Main Street Pedestrian Mall in Riverside on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Taco with marinated flank steak served at the new Salted Pig restaurant at Main Street Pedestrian Mall in Riverside on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) The terrazzo bar and the dinning area at the new Salted Pig restaurant at Main Street Pedestrian Mall in Riverside on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) The MSG…

San Bernardino County leaders tout 10 years of growth, innovation

Innovation at work. Creative healthcare. Safer communities. Neighborhood reinvestment. A global gateway. San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman used those phrases to sum up work done in the county over the past decade during the Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 State of the County Regional Business Summit. “Our leadership is hard at work to ensure that we continue to grow and lead the way, here in the county, in Southern California, across the nation and around the world,” said Hagman, who was joined by ABC 7 reporter Leticia Juarez, a San Bernardino native. ABC 7 reporter Leticia Juarez and Chairman Curt Hagman address the audience during the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) ABC 7 reporter Leticia Juarez and Chairman Curt Hagman address the audience during the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) The stage at the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko,…

The Ladles of Love Warehouse Lunch

This year, Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino’s (FARSB) 5th Annual Ladles of Love luncheon will be held on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the FARSB Distribution Center, 2950-B Jefferson St. Riverside, CA 92504. The post The Ladles of Love Warehouse Lunch appeared first on InlandEmpire.us. For the full article and photos, go to InlandEmpire.us

San Bernardino County’s decade of innovation, growth highlighted at event

ABC 7 reporter Leticia Juarez and Chairman Curt Hagman address the audience during the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) ABC 7 reporter Leticia Juarez and Chairman Curt Hagman address the audience during the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) The stage at the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) ABC 7 reporter Leticia Juarez and Chairman Curt Hagman address the audience during the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors staffer Veronica Hill watches a video presentation during the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer) The audience watches a video presentation during the annual state of San Bernardino County event in Ontario on Wednesday Feb. 05, 2020. (Photo by…

Two top Riverside County officials leave

The leaders of two of Riverside County departments are out, a county spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday, Feb. 5. No explanation was given for the departures of Department of Public Social Services Director/Assistant County Executive Officer Sarah Mack and Rob Field, an assistant county executive officer who oversaw the county’s Economic Development Agency. Tuesday, Feb. 4, was their last day, county spokeswoman Brooke Federico said. Mack’s departure marks the second leadership change at the social services department since September 2018, when Susan Von Zabern left. The agency’s child protective services unit has been heavily criticized in recent years. It’s not clear whether Mack and Field resigned, retired or were fired. New social services and economic development directors “will be named soon,” Federico said via email. She declined to comment further on the departures. Mack and Field oversaw agencies with wide-ranging responsibilities that collectively employ almost 5,000 people. County government has roughly 22,000 employees. Social services’ current operating budget is $1.07 billion, while the economic development department’s budget is $356.8 million. Social services runs child and adult protective services as well as food stamps, welfare, and Medi-Cal for…

San Bernardino mayor accused of sexual harassment by 2 employees

The city of San Bernardino has launched an investigation into Mayor John Valdivia after two employees resigned to end what they describe as a barrage of sexually charged comments, off-color jokes and threats to their jobs. Former San Bernardino senior customer service representative Mirna Cisneros (left), and Karen Cervantes (center), former assistant to Mayor John Valdivia (right) resigned Jan. 29 due to sexual harassment by Valdivia, who they allege perpetuates a hostile work environment. (Courtesy Tristan Pelayes) Former senior customer service representative Mirna Cisneros, 30, and Karen Cervantes, 24, Valdivia’s former assistant, submitted their resignation letters on Jan. 29 to Valdivia’s chief of staff, Matt Brown, alleging a pattern of harassing behavior by Valdivia that promoted a hostile work environment. Valdivia, according to the women, demanded that they often accompany him on business trips and sent numerous texts and photos to Cisneros rife with sexual innuendos, including a photo of a man having a golf ball teed off his penis. Physical ailments Cervantes, in her resignation letter, said she endured so much stress from Valdivia over the last several months that the right side of…

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