Kaiser to pay $49 million for dumping syringes, bodily fluids into normal dumpsters

Kaiser will pay up to $49 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the state Department of Justice and prosecutors in six counties, including San Bernardino, that accused California’s largest health care provider of disposing of syringes, medicine, bodily fluids and potentially body parts in dumpsters bound for local landfills. Among the waste, investigators found more than 10,000 pages of medical records for 7,700 patients during those inspections, according to state Attorney General Rob Bonta. Prosecutors suspect millions of Californians’ personal information may have ended up in the trash across the state. Kaiser, under state and federal laws, should have shredded that information and sent the medical waste to licensed facilities for disposal. ‘Serious’ health risk “The items found posed a serious risk to anyone that may have come into contact with them, from health care providers and patients in the same room as the trash cans, to custodians and sanitation workers who directly handled the waste, to workers at the landfill,” Bonta said during a press conference. “Nurses, physicians and patients could inadvertently touch blood or bodily fluids containing dangerous pathogens. Custodians and sanitation

Steve Ballinger, longtime chaplain for Riverside police, firefighters, dies

Steve Ballinger, Riverside police’s first chaplain who also served as a fire department chaplain, died Thursday, Sept. 7. He was 73. Ballinger, who lived in Riverside, died at Riverside Community Hospital of complications from an infection. His family was by his side, Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez wrote in an email to city officials. In that note, the chief called Ballinger “a tremendous friend to many.” He created the Riverside Police Department’s Chaplain Program and was its lead chaplain until a few years ago, Gonzalez wrote. Ballinger had retired from the Riverside Fire Department after 20 years of service and was its lead chaplain. “We will forever be grateful for the service he gave to not just all of us and our families, but to the Riverside community and public safety in our region,” Gonzalez wrote. In a Friday, Sept. 8, statement, Gonzalez wrote: “Chaplain Ballinger’s legacy will forever be etched in our hearts, and his commitment to serving others will continue to inspire us.”  Ballinger retired from the fire department as a captain after 20 years to turn to full-time ministry as a chaplain

40 of our best photos from August chosen by our Inland Empire photographers

The month of August saw the temperatures rise and Tropical Storm Hilary wreak havoc through the Inland Empire as well as the return of high school sports. Our photographers — from The Press-Enterprise, The Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Redlands Daily Facts — were there to capture it all and more. Here is a selection of our team’s top picks for the month. You can find all of their work and more on our websites at: pressenterprise.com sbsun.com dailybulletin.com redlandsdailyfacts.com Eric Vilchis | Photo Editor Eric Vilchis is the photo editor for The Press-Enterprise, The Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Redlands Daily Facts. Eric started as a photographer at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (then known as The Daily Report) in 1984. Since 1993 he has worked as photo editor, systems and new media editor roles. He has also done extensive work with video and served as Southern California News Group’s video editor for a few years.

Number of short-term rentals in Temecula Valley Wine Country, Idyllwild could be capped

The fight over short-term vacation rentals is especially fierce in two of Riverside County’s most popular tourist destinations. Now, the Board of Supervisors could impose more rules on rentals in Temecula Valley Wine Country and Idyllwild, including limits on the number of rentals in those scenic rural areas. Going into last fall, 62% of the county’s licensed rentals were in Idyllwild and wine country and officials at the time noted a 575% spike in applications for new rental licenses in unincorporated areas throughout Riverside County. The proposed rules, which the board could consider as early as October, would cap the number of licensed rentals in Idyllwild at 500. Rentals in wine country, which is divided into several districts for planning purposes, would be capped at 114 in the winery district, 105 in the residential district and eight in the equestrian district. View this document on Scribd Those limits would be on top of rental rules approved by the board a year ago that sought to crack down on raucous late-night parties and strike a balance between residents’ quality of life and rental owners’ ability to

First Congregational Church of Riverside plans Sunday School Kick-Off

The First Congregational Church of Riverside will hold its Sunday School Kick-Off Sunday, Sept. 10. The event, beginning at 10 a.m., will include games, snacks and crafts for children age 4 and older, according to a news release. The church also invites the community to meet the new pastor, the Rev. Kristen Nelson, and to hear the choir, which returns Sept. 10 from its summer break. First Congregational Church, at 3504 Mission Inn Ave., is also one of historic sites open to the public Saturday, Sept. 9 during Riverside’s Doors Open event. That day, the church will be open 2-7 p.m. The church was founded in 1872, and the present building was dedicated in 1914. Sunday services are at 10 a.m. For information, go to fccriverside.org or call 951-684-2494. Office hours are 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Riverside’s Eden Lutheran Church plans 135th anniversary celebration

The congregation of Riverside’s Eden Lutheran Church plans a service Sept. 24 to celebrate the church’s 135th anniversary. Before that, the church will be open for Riverside’s Doors Open event Saturday, Sept. 9, and church members will participate in a God’s Work, Our Hands event Sunday, Sept. 10. Eden Lutheran Church was formed in 1888 by Swedish immigrants who, after crossing the desert, thought the Riverside area was like a Garden of Eden and so named the church Eden, according to a news release. The current building was designed by a member of the church and was built in 1952. The gothic-style building has a Thorvaldsen statue of Christ above the altar. During the Doors Open event, the building will be one of more than 20 historic sites in Riverside open to the public. The church will be open 2-4:30 p.m. For the God’s Work, Our Hands service project on Sept. 10, church members will help at Luther Glen Farm in Oak Glen, a Lutheran camp that needs work following the rains from the recent tropical storm. The church also plans a Taize worship service

Chino Hills invites dogs to its Paws at the Park event

Dogs of all paw sizes are invited to participate in the city of Chino Hills’ Paws at the Park event, 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Vila Borba Dog Park, 17001 Amadora Drive. The free event includes races for little dogs (lighter than 25 pounds), a dog fashion show, a best trick contest, pet vendors, giveaways, door prizes and craft activities for children. Winners of the contests will receive $25 gift cards to Kahoots Pet Store, according to a news release. Registration for contests will be accepted on site beginning at 8:30 am. Space is limited, and participation will be on a first come, first served basis. The event will also include vendors. For information, contact the city’s recreation office at 909-364-2700.

Riverside County restaurants shut down by health inspectors, Aug. 30 to Sept. 7

Restaurants and other food vendors ordered to close and allowed to reopen by Riverside County health inspectors from Sept. 1 to Sept. 7. Shogun at 74225 Highway 111, Suite A, Palm Desert Closed: Aug. 30 Reason: Insufficient hot water Reopened: Aug. 31 This list is published weekly with closures since the previous week’s list. Status updates are published in the following week’s list. Source: Riverside County Department of Environmental Health — Ian Wheeler Related Articles Local News | Riverside County restaurants shut down by health inspectors, Aug. 23-31 Local News | Riverside County restaurants reopened by health inspectors, Aug. 17-24 Local News | Riverside County restaurants shut down by health inspectors, Aug. 10-17 Local News | Riverside County restaurants shut down by health inspectors, Aug. 3-10

San Bernardino County restaurants shut down by health inspectors, Sept. 1-7

San Bernardino County restaurants shut down by health inspectors, Sept. 1-7 Restaurants and other food establishments ordered to close and allowed to reopen by San Bernardino County health inspectors from Sept. 1 to Sept. 7. Starbucks, 7055 Schaffer Ave., Suite A, Chino Closed: Aug. 31 Reason: Sewage overflow Reopened: Sept. 1 This list is published weekly with closures since the previous week’s list. Status updates are published in the following week’s list. Source: San Bernardino County Department of Public Health — Ian Wheeler

Where to find 9/11 commemorations in the Inland Empire

Residents across the Inland Empire will be pausing Monday, Sept. 11, to reflect on the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Events will remember the victims with words and music at ceremonies but also through service days. Here are highlights of commemorations scheduled across the region. A woman photographs the display of U.S. flags for victims of 9/11 at the Temecula Duck Pond on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Events are planned across the region to mark the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Riverside County CORONA Corona’s Remembering 9/11 22nd anniversary commemoration is set for Monday, Sept. 11. The event is at the Corona Historic Civic Center, 815 W. Sixth St. A reading of victims’ names will begin at 5 a.m. The ceremony will start at 8:30 a.m. The lawn in front of the center will feature 2,977 flags planted in memory of those who died. Registration information: bit.ly/CoronaRemembers911 – Staff report EASTVALE

$30,000 public relations contract with Temecula school district draws scrutiny

Critics of the Temecula school board’s conservative majority are questioning a $30,000 contract for a communications consultant who is married to a former Inland Republican state senator and are concerned that the district already has a marketing officer working with the media. The Temecula Valley Unified School District board voted 3-2 on Aug. 22 to approve a one-year contract with Lake Elsinore-based Melendez Consulting. Nico Melendez, who heads the firm, is the husband of Melissa Melendez, a former Lake Elsinore city councilmember who represented southwest Riverside County in Sacramento from 2012 to 2022 and established herself as an outspoken conservative and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump. She left Sacramento because of term limits after serving in the Assembly and Senate. Former Republican state Sen. Melissa Melendez represented part of the Inland Empire for a decade until being term-limited out of Sacramento in 2022. Her husband has been hired on a contract to provide public relations services to the Temecula Valley Unified School District. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Temecula school board member Steven Schwartz said he was “shocked” to see the contract

University of La Verne’s new president sets focus on inclusion, access in higher education

On a warm Tuesday afternoon, in a crisp white suit, she stood poised upon the steps outside Founders Hall at University of La Verne, at ease among the ever-present buzz of students as the second day of the semester settles in. Her name is Pardis Mahdavi, and she is the new president of the 132-year-old institution. She takes over the position as her predecessor, President Devorah Lieberman, retired earlier this year. Mahdavi is no stranger to academia, having started her journey up the ladder of higher education in 1996 and eventually earning two master’s degrees and a doctorate by 2006. From there, she went on to work for several universities, such as Arizona State University and Pomona College in Claremont, in various faculty and leadership positions. Her most recent position as president and director of the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College aided in her perspective of leadership. She approaches her current position through a lens of anthropology, allowing her to ask more introspective questions about complicated topics, she says. Making the strange familiar and the familiar strange are hallmarks of anthropology, says Mahdavi. This

Hoyt’s Ace Hardware in Rancho Cucamonga to close after 97 years

At Hoyt’s Ace Hardware, the hammer is coming down. After 97 years in business, the store that was founded in Ontario and relocated four decades ago to the new city of Rancho Cucamonga is closing its doors next month. Co-owner Frank Nelson is telling people the last day is Oct. 20. He’s also telling them: “Maybe sooner if I sell enough stuff.” He put a “Closing Sale” sign outside 7110 Archibald Ave. on Wednesday. A steady stream of vehicles pulled into the parking lot, including mine. Nelson, who reads my column, wasn’t surprised to see me. Over the years I’ve made a specialty of obituaries for businesses, the older and more beloved the better. Reader Nora Pasma alerted me even before the sign went out. Nelson had been taking longtime customers aside to break the news. He did that with Pasma’s husband, Bob, a onetime Upland Lumber employee, who likes small hardware stores like Hoyt’s and their easy parking. “It has been a mainstay for us since we moved into our home in 1993,” Nora told me, “because they carried many of the supplies, like

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is about to turn 60

Depending on which opening date you wish to use, on Sept. 12, 13, or 14, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will turn 60. As one of the most famous attractions — if not the most famous — in Riverside County, it seems natural to think that the tram has always been there. However, there was a time when Long Valley (the location of the Tram’s Mountain Station) was accessible to a few very hardy souls. Enjoying the San Jacinto Mountains has been a past time for thousands of years. The mountains have played host to people each year trying to escape the heat or enjoy the snow, depending on the season. It was the former that convinced an electrical engineer from Palm Springs named Francis Crocker to propose a quick and easy way to go from the hot desert to the mild mountains. This was in 1935. By 1940, Crocker had been joined by many businessmen in Palm Springs, especially Earl Coffman, of the Desert Inn. They had enough support to begin in earnest an effort to make the tram a reality. The effort took

Assemblymember James Ramos Reveals Youth Homelessness in San Bernardino County Skyrockets by 26% at Hearing 

The Select Committee on Youth Homelessness in San Bernardino County convened for a pivotal hearing on August 18, addressing the alarming rise in youth homelessness in the region. The hearing, chaired by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino), occurred at the San Bernardino County Government Center Board Chambers. “Rates of homelessness, and youth homelessness in particular, are trending the wrong way in our region,” Ramos stated, emphasizing the human aspect of the crisis. “When we talk about homelessness, we are not talking about ‘them;’ we are talking about ‘us:’ our family members, neighbors, sometimes even our co-workers.” Recent data from the San Bernardino County Point-in-Time Count Report revealed that 4,195 adults and children were without shelter at the time of the survey – marking an increase of 862 individuals from 2022. Overall, homelessness has surged by 26 percent. Ruben Mendoza, a youth with lived experience and a member of the Interagency Council on Homelessness, said, “In addition to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count, the numbers of homeless youth included in that report are inaccurate. Our Interagency Council does have a youth Point-in-Time count that we want

Ramos bill to boost high school student vocational workforce programs heads to governor

A measure requiring school districts and other school agencies to notify apprenticeship programs about upcoming college and career fairs to increase student awareness of careers in the trades heads to the governor after a unanimous bipartisan Senate floor vote of 39-0 on Monday. Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) is authoring the measure, AB 643. The post Ramos bill to boost high school student vocational workforce programs heads to governor appeared first on InlandEmpire.us.

How California’s current COVID wave ranks among the pandemic’s Top 5

California’s sneaky summer COVID wave is reaching heights not seen in more than a year as highly contagious strains of the virus continue to spread with the promise of a new vaccine days away. The state’s test positivity rate has now topped 14%, the highest since July of 2022 and the fifth highest mark since the pandemic began in early 2020, according to the latest California Department of Public Health data. Also see: COVID-19 gone? Not by a longshot, local officials warn Since federal and state authorities have stopped tracking COVID case counts, the percentage of lab-processed COVID tests that are positive has become one of the best indicators of how much the virus is spreading in the community, similar to how influenza has been tracked historically. The virus has been active from coast to coast, with some East Coast schools requiring masks, and First Lady Jill Biden testing positive at the end of the Labor Day holiday weekend. In an appearance at the White House Wednesday, President Biden caused some confusion by contradicting CDC guidelines that recommended he wear a face mask indoors in