Inland Empire

Riverside County small business coronavirus help expanded

Riverside County small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic have another chance — and more of them are eligible — to apply for grants of up to $10,000 as part of the county’s plan to use $431 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds. Details of the county’s small business relief program, as well as other ways the county plans to spend money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act of 2020, were spelled out in a Tuesday, July 7, report to the Board of Supervisors. The CARES Act gave the county — the 10th most-populated in the nation — $431 million. While the money can’t be used to make up for lost tax revenue, it can be spent on a range of pandemic-related costs incurred by county government, hospitals, nursing homes and other sectors. On June 2, the board set aside $46.5 million for county-based small businesses — defined as having 50 or fewer employees — that haven’t received federal COVID-19 help. Businesses had until June 19 to seek grants and a third-party nonprofit group was tasked with reviewing applications and…

San Bernardino County reports 11 coronavirus deaths, 828 new cases

San Bernardino County reported 11 coronavirus-related deaths and 828 new cases Thursday, July 9. Rialto has joined four other cities with more than 1,000 cases. As of Thursday, that city had 1,012 cases, behind Chino with 1,615; Ontario with 1,640; Fontana with 2,108; and San Bernardino, which has 2,868. Here’s the latest numbers, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard and state public health department. Cases: 17,414, up from 16,586 Wednesday, July 8 Deaths: 304, up from 293 Wednesday Hospitalizations: 505, down from 511 Tuesday, July 7; Suspected patients: 94, up from 68 Tuesday (Last updated by the state Wednesday) Intensive-care unit patients: 148, down from 166 Tuesday; Suspected patients: 5, down from 9 Tuesday (Last updated by the state Wednesday) Recoveries: 9,466, up from 9,072 Wednesday Skilled-nursing facilities: Residents: 907 positive, up from 864 Tuesday; Suspected residents: 4,169; Deaths: 134, up from 130 Tuesday. Employees: 514, up from 490 Tuesday; Suspected employees: 303. Deaths: 6. (Thursday’s numbers are from county dashboard. Tuesday’s numbers are from state database) People tested: 169,876, up from 167,108 Wednesday See a list of community-by-community cases here. Staff Writer Nikie Johnson…

San Bernardino County facing coronavirus testing shortage

A nationwide shortage of coronavirus testing supplies has forced San Bernardino County to cancel some appointments this week, county officials say. The county is not closing testing sites, but officials are asking some people to reschedule appointments for later dates or get one through their private healthcare provider, David Wert, county spokesman said. Each testing site takes between 400 and 500 appointments a day. That’s being reduced to 170 to 180 per site, Wert said. “It’s being done on a first-come, first-serve basis,” Wert said. The county hopes to resume its expanded testing next week, once it receives more testing supplies. The county is always trying to ensure that it can provide testing at peak capacity, Interim Public Health Director Corwin Porter said in a county newsletter Wednesday, July 8. “Our hope is that we can obtain the necessary supplies very soon so that we can maintain our testing capacity,” Porter said. “Without a sufficient supply of tests, this will bring challenges in identifying cases and treating those who are diagnosed positive for COVID-19. Tests are necessary to identify and isolate positive cases quickly so…

Yes, there are PPE vending machines, and you can find them at Ontario International Airport

PPE — short for Personal Protective Equipment — is an essential weapon in the fight against COVID-19, and it’s just what you might want to stock up on before going up in the air with dozens of potential coronavirus carriers. If you’re ready to board a flight and lack a face mask, gloves or hand sanitizer, Ontario International Airport has got you covered — literally. PPE vending machines are now available at both passenger terminals. The PPE items are sold through machines provided by San Diego-based Prepango. “While the global coronavirus pandemic continues to impact virtually every aspect of life, we are taking steps to make essential travel safe by offering personal protective equipment to those who might forget to bring them from home or are unaware of new requirements,” said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority. The airport is doing even more to help fight coronavirus. Personnel at ONT are continually sanitizing and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces, the airport reported. Hand sanitizer is available for use in passenger terminals, and security screening trays are treated with what officials described…

Murrieta schools hire law firm to investigate ex-students’ racist posts

Murrieta’s school district has hired a prominent law firm to investigate employees’ handling of racist social media messages posted by former Vista Murrieta High School students. A racially charged chat that occurred about five years ago recently came to light, prompting Black parents to demand punishment for staff members who may have covered it up. They are also calling on the district to take significant steps to improve race relations at Vista Murrieta — and throughout Murrieta’s 23,000-student public school system. “If you can’t protect our Black students, how can we trust you to protect all students?” asked Natalee Hartwell, in delivering the African-American Parent Advisory Council’s concerns to the Murrieta Valley Unified School District board June 18, according to an audiotape. Hartwell called for the resignation of an administrator whose son was among the students who posted messages. Reached by phone Thursday, July 2, Darren Daniel, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, declined to comment, citing the investigation. “Amid our country’s turmoil,” Hartwell said, “on June 4, 2020, former MVUSD graduates shared experiences of online racist rants and derogatory images that were previously…

Hemet native serves with Camp Pendleton Fire Department

Sky Nelson, a firefighter with the Camp Pendleton Fire Department, performs mop-up procedures June 11 on a fire in the India Training Area on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. (Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps) Sky Nelson, a native of Hemet, serves with the Camp Pendleton Fire Department. Firefighters with the Camp Pendleton Fire Department, along with partner agencies from the surrounding community, battled three fires in the second week of June that burned more than 8,000 acres in the impact zones and training areas of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, according to a news release. Have your own military accomplishment to share? Send items for possible inclusion in the column to IEcommunity@scng.com.

E-assist bike share program coming to San Gabriel Valley

The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments on Thursday, July 9, launched GoSGV, an electric-assist bike share program for residents in the region. The program starts with 30 bikes in South El Monte, but over the next year, the program will expand to 840 bikes throughout the San Gabriel Valley, a news release said. Electric-assist bikes have pedal assist, which makes it easier to climb hills, ride long distances and assist those with physical limitations, a news release said. According to a news release, the program is supported by a $4.5 million state greenhouse gas reduction grant awarded by the California Transportation Commission in 2017. The bikes are operated by Gotcha, a company that makes electric bikes and scooters. Through the Gotcha app, users can pay $2 to unlock bikes from bike hubs and will be charged 10 cents per minute to ride. Users can also pay an annual flat fee of $79.99, the news release said. Qualified low-income riders will pay $1 to unlock bikes and will be charged 5 cents per minute or pay an annual flat fee of $5. The project will…

How to audition your Inland Empire house for ‘Restored’

Brett Waterman, right, and a television crew work on an episode of “Restored” July 24, 2017, in Redlands. (Staff File Photo) If you own an architecturally significant house in need of restoration, you may have a chance to have your house featured on the DIY Network’s “Restored” program. The DIY Network and Essential Media are looking for houses in La Verne, Claremont, Upland, Pomona, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Redlands, Riverside and the surrounding areas to be included in the television series. “Restored” focuses on houses that have hidden potential despite previous poor renovation attempts and unsightly additions, according to a news release. The show’s host, preservationist Brett Waterman, will work with homeowners who would like to undo earlier remodels, make their homes more functional and restore and enhance their houses’ original style and beauty. Homeowners must have a minimum restoration budget of $80,000. “Restored” premiered in 2016 and the show has featured restoration of houses in Redlands, Riverside and Yucaipa, among others. For information about having a house featured on “Restored,” email casting@essential.media. For information about Essential Media, a film and television production company, go…

Carl Love: Temecula schools learn to teach PE during coronavirus times

Think about physical education and often the first thing that comes to mind for many is running laps. Laps, laps and more laps. James Fenney, a physical education specialist for the Temecula Valley Unified School District, and others worked to find creative ways to make PE fund and creative for students learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Chris Rivard) Then there is the pandemic version done by 15 elementary school PE specialists in the Temecula Valley Unified School District. At a time when educators across the land got creative to keep students engaged, the Temecula crowd came up with activities to get everybody pumped. For example, there was the “ultimate game of catch” — in which teachers, animals and babies were seen tossing balls, juggling them, chasing them and then handing them off to the next participant, all done virtually and with creative editing. Instructors were confident enough to include an “outtakes” section that shows them messing things up. Kids always appreciate when their leaders are willing to concede they’re not perfect either. As for any concerns about injuries from creating…

Black Riverside County social worker alleges American Airlines detained her on suspicion of kidnapping white toddler

A Black Riverside County social services assistant is suing American Airlines, alleging her civil rights were violated after airline employees wrongly suspected her of kidnapping a 1-year-old boy — who is white — because she accompanied him on a flight. Shannon Murphy filed the lawsuit June 17 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In court papers, she is described as a Riverside County resident and middle-aged African American woman who has worked for the Department of Public Social Services’ Children’s Services Division since 1999. According to her lawsuit, the boy, who isn’t named, went to Arkansas for a court-ordered, two-week visit with his father. On the return flight from Fort Worth, Texas, to Ontario International Airport, a passenger told a flight attendant “that Ms. Murphy was holding a kidnap victim,” the lawsuit read. It’s not clear when the flight happened. Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here. Though the boy was light-skinned and blond, he was mistaken for an alleged missing child from New York City who was 5 years old and Hispanic…

In 1942, two Riverside County brothers each hit Las Vegas for war-time weddings

In 1931, Nevada passed a new law making it possible to get a marriage license there without requirements or wait times. This made it a popular spot, within easy driving distance of Southern California, to get married. During World War II, with young couples eager to marry before the young man might have to go off to war, Las Vegas became an easy choice for Riverside County couples ready to tie the knot. According to the Riverside Daily Press, during the week of Sept. 14, 1942, the Ogle brothers, Robert and Alex of West Riverside (now Jurupa Valley) took advantage of the ease of getting married in Las Vegas when both made the trip to the desert city with their future wives. Robert and Alex Ogle were part of a family of at least six children whose father, also named Alex, and mother Morna, bought a farm on Mission Boulevard in West Riverside sometime before 1930, and moved their family there from Colorado. Both brothers attended West Riverside School and graduated from Riverside Polytechnic High School: Robert in 1937 and Alex in 1940. After graduation,…

San Bernardino city schools to reopen August 3 with distance learning

The San Bernardino City Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the re-opening of the school year on August 3 in a distance learning model in light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases countywide. The decision was made primarily with the safety of students, staff and the community in mind. At a later date students will return to campus to connect with educators in a limited capacity only when and if the County Department of Public Health and the board deem it safe to do so; a date has not been determined due to the fluid nature of the coronavirus. Safety protocols such as sufficient face coverings, PPEs, face shields, and hand sanitizers will be in place at each school site before students will be allowed to return. Extended distance learning will be offered to interested families who prefer their child(ren) stay home. Education Trailer Bill AB77 stipulates that school districts offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible, but distance learning may be offered as a result of an order or guidance from a state public health officer or a local public…

How hot is it getting Thursday in your Southern California community?

LOS ANGELES — A heat wave is about to wash over Southern California, generating triple-digit highs in LA County beginning Saturday, while Orange County communities will remain in the 90s. The hottest location in LA County over the weekend will be the Antelope Valley, with extended triple-digit heat from 100 to 107 degrees, according to a National Weather Service statement. Saturday and Sunday will be the heat wave’s hottest days. The weather service urged area residents to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and confining strenuous work or exercise to early morning or evening hours. And, it stressed, “never, ever, leave children, elderly and pets in and enclosed car, even with the windows down during this heat.” Thursday’s temperatures will feel perfectly normal in several communities, but they’ll begin climbing Friday — sharply in some areas — and reach the century mark Saturday. The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies Thursday in the San Gabriel Valley and coastal and metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, while the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys bask in bright sunshine. Highs will be 73 in San Pedro; 75…

Thieves break into Santa Claus Inc. in San Bernardino, 2nd time in as many weeks

There are Grinches and there are Grinches on steroids. The latter comes to mind when we mention those who steal from children in need. Just ask Karen DiCarlo, executive director of Santa Claus Inc. in San Bernardino. Earlier this week she told her board of directors how frustrated she was after another “hit” at Santa’s warehouse by experienced criminals. This most recent break-in, thieves got away with about $25,000 worth of items for local children. Last week they stole one-third of a $100,000 shipment from Amazon. These burglars were armed with sledge hammers, wrenches and blowtorches, “This is a serious crisis for SCI as constant repairs are costing a lot of money that we are doing our best not to spend,” Karen said. Especially now, during this difficult time. Both Karen and her husband Don DiCarlo are hoping for more of a police presence near the warehouse site. “They’re so brazen,” Karen said. “We used to have more of a presence but times are changed.” Don makes the repairs where he can, if specialized repairs are needed, they call in professionals. “If law enforcement could…

This young Riverside artist wants to focus on unity

Until Matthew Stoffel’s sophomore year of high school, he had no interest in art. On a whim, he selected art as an elective and ended up loving it. Now 18 years old and having recently graduated from Woodcrest Christian High School, the lifelong Riverside resident is the winner of the Congressional Art Competition for the 41st District. Sponsored by the Congressional Institute, the competition recognizes and encourages artistic talent among high school students throughout the country. Winners are displayed in the tunnel connecting the offices of the House of Representatives with the United States Capitol. “I was in complete shock,” said Stoffel of the moment he learned of his win during a Zoom call from Rep. Mark Takano. “Since my sophomore year I had been entering art contests in hopes I could win something grand one day. The day I heard the news I was not in the happiest state of mind so to hear I had won something really blew me away. Not to mention having the congressman himself tell me I had won this contest.” Stoffel said he chose Riverside as the subject…

Rancho Cucamonga felon allegedly found with loaded handgun during Pomona traffic stop

POMONA — A probationer was arrested Wednesday during a traffic stop in Pomona for being in possession of a loaded gun. Police stopped a vehicle for a stop sign violation in the area of McKinley Avenue and Gibbs Street about 4:30 p.m. and found the driver to be unlicensed and on probation for robbery, according to Sgt. M. Neaderbaomer. A search of the vehicle led officers to a loaded 9mm semi-automatic gun that was allegedly found under the driver’s seat. The driver, identified as Brandon Williams, 24, of Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested and booked at the Pomona city jail, Neaderbaomer said. Williams is a convicted felon and prohibited by state and federal law from possessing firearms, Neaderbaomer said.

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