Inland Empire

New Director Named for RivCo Parks

The Board of Supervisors today appointed Kyla Brown as the new director for the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District (RivCo Parks). Brown has been the RivCo Parks Assistant Director for the past nine years, overseeing a workforce of more than 100 employees. The post New Director Named for RivCo Parks appeared first on InlandEmpire.us. For the full article and photos, go to InlandEmpire.us

Employment agreement reached with Riverside Sheriffs’ Association

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today ratified an employment agreement with the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association (RSA) to bring deputies’ salaries and benefits in line with other law enforcement agencies in Southern California. Deputies and other RSA members have worked without a contract since June 30, 2016, under terms and conditions previously imposed by the Board of Supervisors. The five-year agreement passed on a 4-1 vote. The post Employment agreement reached with Riverside… For the full article and photos, go to InlandEmpire.us

Theives in Lake Elsinore steal about $7,000 in Christmas gifts for homeless

Thousands of dollars in gift cards to fast-food restaurants and grocery stores, boxes of socks, toys, blankets, jackets and hygiene items meant for homeless people during the holiday season have been stolen. Thieves smashed the glass front door of the Lake Elsinore office of Social Work Action Group about 3:45 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9. Then they carted away items targeted for people living on the streets of Chino, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Perris, Temecula and Wildomar — cities in which the nonprofit group provides services. The group is also working to house homeless people in western Riverside County. Aaron Petroff, director of programs, said burglars took medical instruments used to check homeless persons’ blood pressure, blood sugar and other health indicators, as well as a couple of laptop computers. In all, Petroff said, the early-morning burglary a little more than two weeks before Christmas netted about $7,000 in gift cards, equipment and supplies. Executive Director Monica Sapien called the break-in “just devastating.” Petroff said the stolen items were donated by “good, hard working people.” “That’s what really hurts,” he said. For example, Petroff said, Lakeside…

A real estate company surprised employees with $10 million in bonuses at a holiday party

When a Maryland real estate company handed out red envelopes to employees during the annual holiday party on Saturday, no one knew what to expect. So when the 198 employees of St. John Properties received surprise bonuses averaging $50,000, it was a holiday miracle most didn’t see coming. All the bonuses totaled around $10 million. “When I opened the envelope, I was in total disbelief,” Stephanie Ridgway, an assistant project manager at the company, told CNN. “I couldn’t believe I saw what I saw. I don’t even have words to properly describe how I felt, it was just amazing and incredible. I’m still in shock. It’s definitely life changing.” St. John Properties President Lawrence Maykrantz told CNN the company had reached a major goal of developing 20 million square feet in real estate, doubling the amount in 14 years. “We wanted to do something to thank all our employees for helping us achieve our goal, and we wanted to do something big,” Maykrantz told CNN. Each employee received money based on the amount of years they have been working at the company. The smallest amount,…

The Pensacola shooter wasn’t a US citizen. Here’s how he got a gun

The FBI has said it presumes Friday’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida was an act of terrorism. But what wasn’t a crime is how the gunman, a 21-year-old Saudi national named Mohammed Alshamrani, obtained a gun in the first place. “It was purchased lawfully,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas said of the 9mm Glock handgun Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, used to kill three 3 US sailors. The gun was purchased in Florida, Rojas said Sunday. “Everyone is very perplexed by that, I’ll just be very candid with you,” Escambia County, Florida, Sheriff David Morgan told CNN in an interview Tuesday. He had to ask the sheriff’s office attorneys to research the law that allowed Alshamrani to buy a gun in the United States, he said. “Had you asked me off the cuff, ‘Is it possible for a non-US citizen to legally purchase a firearm?’ I most likely would have told you no,” Morgan said. Here’s how the gunman was able to buy the gun, despite his status as a foreign national. The gunman was issued…

Man dead after crash on transition road between 15 and 10 freeways in Ontario

One man died after a crash in the transition from the 15 Freeway to the 10 Freeway in Ontario on Saturday night. Jesus Garcia, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol’s Rancho Cucamonga Office, said the crash happened just before 11:15 p.m., when a man was driving a 2008 Saturn sedan on a transition road from the 15 Freeway south to the 10 Freeway east. The Saturn left the road on the transition road, overturned and crashed into a eucalyptus tree, Garcia said. The man died from injuries sustained in the crash at 12:10 a.m. on Sunday, according to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office. His name will be released once family is notified of his death. Garcia said the cause of the crash is under investigation. Related Articles Corona police officer has minor injuries after going off motorcycle Beaumont woman died in early morning SUV crash in Redlands Pedestrian fatally struck while in the lanes of 215 Freeway in Colton Driver dies when SUV leaves freeway transition road in Redlands Pickup truck smashes into Jurupa Valley barber shop after hours, driver arrested

Moreno Valley City Manager Tom DeSantis retires

Moreno Valley City Manger Tom DeSantis has retired, after nearly two years on the job. “During tonight’s special meeting the city council accepted my retirement as city manager,” an email DeSantis sent to city employees Tuesday night, Dec. 10, reads in part. His note says that, while the news may seem sudden, “it followed previous conversations with the mayor during which I stated my interest in retiring.” DeSantis’ retirement is effective Tuesday, Dec. 24. The Moreno Valley City Council appointed Economic Development Director Mike Lee as interim city manager. Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez praised DeSantis in a Tuesday night news release. “Tom has made lasting contributions to the City of Moreno Valley,” Gutierrez is quoted as saying. “We appreciate his leadership of the staff and wish him all the best in retirement.” DeSantis wrote that “the time is right” for him to leave, citing eight consecutive years of balanced budgets, “service levels” at an all-time high in quality, the “Momentum MoVal” strategic plan on track for completion in summer 2020, and creation of an “economic development powerhouse … the likes of which have never been seen…

Large solar project east of Barstow wins OK from San Bernardino County supervisors

A large solar project planned in the unincorporated communities of Daggett and Newberry Springs east of Barstow has been given the green light. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors denied an appeal filed by residents over the county planning commission’s approval of San Francisco-based Clearway Energy Group’s plans for a solar-generating facility on about 3,500 acres near the Barstow-Daggett airport. While supervisors’ decision upholds the project’s approval, they asked the developer to keep it farther away from nearby homes and to use technology to monitor dust and air quality. “You have half the members in the room that are residents supporting this. You have the other half so far not supporting it and it’s a struggle,” Supervisor Robert Lovingood said. “My biggest concern is what’s the direct impact on someone’s house?” In September, planning commissioners unanimously approved the project which includes a 650-megawatt photovoltaic solar power generating facility with up to 450 megawatts of battery-storage capacity. The Newberry Community Services District, which provides fire protection, parks and recreation and street lighting services to residents in Daggett and Newberry Springs, appealed the…

Laguna Beach emergency coordinator takes new job in Ontario

Jordan Villwock’s dream of doing work that’s meaningful, exciting and different every day has been a reality for 15 years in Laguna Beach. In just the last decade, Laguna Beach — surrounded by hundreds of acres of open space on its inland side and steep cliffs along its beaches — has had landslides, wildfires and tsunami alerts. Through that time, Villwock, 35, has been at the forefront of the city’s emergency programs, making sure department heads — including the city manager, police chief and fire chief — had the necessary information to protect the community. He also coordinated the city’s emergency management training and kept residents informed by managing the AlertOC mass notification system and social media platforms. In 2018, the city became the county’s first to have the authority to send its own alerts to cellphones. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, city officials and members of the Laguna Beach Police Department celebrated Villwock as he prepares for his new job as Fire Administrative Director for the Ontario Fire Department. Villwock is leaving Laguna Beach on Thursday and will start in Ontario Monday. Laguna Beach police…

Riverside County OK’s first marijuana store in unincorporated areas

Highgrove will be home to unincorporated Riverside County’s first licensed marijuana store after the retailer was granted a permit Tuesday, Dec. 10. The Board of Supervisors’ 5-0 vote came after more than two hours of public debate from roughly 30 speakers centered on whether marijuana businesses should be allowed in residential parts of the county’s unincorporated communities. That discussion stemmed from an item unrelated to the permit. The Artist Tree, which has a sister location in West Hollywood, will operate in the 200 block of Iowa Avenue, about 1,500 feet from the Riverside city limits. Recreational and medical marijuana will be sold from the store, which can be open between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. under county rules. The store is the first to win approval under rules approved by supervisors in 2018 that allow cannabis commerce in certain unincorporated areas. But they’re forbidden from doing business on land zoned rural residential or rural agricultural. Related links Highgrove marijuana store could be unincorporated Riverside County’s first with license In rural Anza, marijuana is seen as a scourge. Could it also be a savior? 7 things…

Hear Community Chorus of Redlands’ Christmas concert in Redlands, Yucaipa and Sierra Madre

The Community Chorus of Redlands, a choral ensemble of about 70 voices directed by Jeffrey H. Rickard, will present its 12th annual concert of anthems, readings and carols for the Christmas season 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at First Congregational Church of Redlands. The program will be repeated at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Faith Lutheran Church, 12449 California St., Yucaipa, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. Rita Catholic Church, 321 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre. The concert features a variety of sacred Christmas anthems and carols, including music by Kim André Arnesen, Nancy Hill Cobb, Dan Forrest, Marianne Forman, Howard Helvey, Molly Ijames, Lloyd Larson, John Rutter, Paul Sjolund and Tom Trenney, according to a press release. There will also be several traditional carols for audience and choir, accompanied by a chamber ensemble of strings, winds, harp, piano and organ. Patrick Anderson and Mary Beth Richardson will present readings from several sacred and secular sources. In addition, Ensemble XXI, a group of about 30 voices, will sing several unaccompanied carols by English, Canadian and American composers. Rickard, who is founding director of…

Federal judge blocks use of billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to build border wall

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Trump administration from using billions of dollars in Pentagon funds for the construction of the border wall. Judge David Briones of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas said Tuesday that the administration cannot use military construction funds to build additional barriers on the southern border. In September, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper authorized diverting of $3.6 billion in military construction funds for 11 wall projects on the southern border with Mexico. The Pentagon said at the time that half the money was coming from deferred projects overseas, and the other half was planned for projects in the US. The lawsuit, brought by El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights, argued that President Donald Trump overstepped his authority when he issued a national emergency declaration to gain access to additional funds for his border wall, despite receiving $1.375 billion from Congress. The complaint also alleges that the declaration doesn’t meet the National Emergencies Act’s definition of “emergency” and pushes back against Trump’s remarks that border barriers led to a drop in crime in El Paso. “The…

Bill Cosby’s appeal of his sexual assault conviction is denied

A Pennsylvania appeals court upheld Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction and rejected his argument that the case was wrongly decided against him. The comedian’s legal team filed an extensive appeal of Cosby’s conviction in June. The appeal argued the trial court ruled incorrectly in eight decisions, including by allowing five “prior bad acts” witnesses to testify and by reading the jury excerpts from Cosby’s civil deposition in which he says he got Quaaludes to give to women. On Tuesday, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reviewed each of the eight decisions and rejected Cosby’s appeal in each instance. Cosby, 82, was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April 2018 for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. At the time, Constand was an employee for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was a powerful trustee and mentor. He was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison and is incarcerated at SCI Phoenix, a state prison near Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Once known as America’s Dad, the comedian was given the inmate number NN7687 when his sentence began last year. Although the assault charges dealt…

Officers shot in ‘active shooter situation’ in Jersey City, officials say

Law enforcement agencies are responding to an incident in Jersey City, New Jersey, where officers were shot during a standoff, authorities said. Jean Jadezaia, a spokeswoman for the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, called it an “active shooter situation.” At least one shooter has been “neutralized” inside a bodega, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the ongoing situation. Law enforcement sent in a robot to have eyes and ears inside the store where some of the shots were fired, the source said. Gov. Phil Murphy, in a statement, said, “I have been briefed on the unfolding situation in Jersey City. Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Jersey City Police Department, especially with the officers shot during this standoff, and with the residents and schoolchildren currently under lockdown.” The ATF office in Newark tweeted Tuesday that agents responded to “reports of an active shooter.” The New York Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit is also responding to the situation, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the incident. No one is in custody in connection with the shooting, according…

Riverside County supervisors OK new contract with deputies’ union

Despite concerns about adding to skyrocketing pension debt and cities’ law enforcement costs, Riverside County supervisors Tuesday, Dec. 10, approved a labor deal intended to keep the county competitive with law enforcement agencies dipping into the same limited talent pool. The 5-year contract covering roughly 2,400 employees in the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association was approved 4-1, with Supervisor Jeff Hewitt opposed. The deal, which has been ratified by union members, follows more than three years of often frustrating negotiations that led to the board imposing contract terms on the union in 2017. The contract converts salary steps to “broad ranges” with 4% raises as employees move up the ladder. Pay at the top of the range for the law enforcement bargaining unit will go up 20% over the life of the contract, while the top of the range of the corrections bargaining unit will see a 13% increase spread over five years. The deal includes pay incentives for school resource officers, union members working at the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio and Special Enforcement Bureau pilots. In all, the county projects the new contract…

60 Freeway in Chino to close Friday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 15

Another closure is coming to the 60 Freeway in the Inland Empire this weekend. It won’t be as sweeping as the 60 Swarm full freeway closures of recent months that forced many to overhaul their weekend driving plans. But a bridge demolition will close a couple miles of the 60 Freeway in Chino, Caltrans officials said. Construction crews intend to tear down half of the Pipeline Avenue bridge, triggering alternating closures of the westbound and eastbound sides of the freeway, Caltrans spokeswoman Kimberly Cherry said. On Friday, Dec. 13, all westbound lanes of the 60 Freeway will close from Ramona Avenue to Reservoir Street, from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. The closure will extend to the westbound on-ramp at Reservoir Street and the westbound off-ramp at Ramona Avenue, Cherry said. Then, on Sunday, Dec. 15, the eastbound side will close from Reservoir Street to Ramona Avenue, from 10 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16. Also scheduled to close during that time are the eastbound on-ramp at Ramona Avenue and eastbound off-ramp at Reservoir Street. No closures are planned in…

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