Tag Archives: Inland Empire

The Nutcracker Returns to the Inland Empire

Sugar Plum Fairies (2)

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Performances in Riverside & Rancho Cucamonga

By Susan Gordon

Inland EmpireInland Pacific Ballet, returns with its spectacular production of The Nutcracker, the classic holiday story danced to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. Critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet (IPB) brings The Nutcracker to life with dazzling sets complete with falling snow, an antique original Albany Flyer One Horse Open Sleigh, a 40-foot Chinese Dragon, beautiful costumes handmade in-house at IPB’s costume department, and a cast of 80 dancers. New to this year’s production is a completely re-choreographed Snow Scene for an expanded cast of 20 and a brand new lighting design. IPB’s Nutcracker has four performances left this holiday at Riverside’s Fox Performing Arts Center and Lewis Family Playhouse in Rancho Cucamonga.
This season’s cast features brilliant young talent from the region, most notably Emily Baggarly, and Lauren Collett alternating in the role of Clara. Both Emily and Lauren continue to receive their training at the IPB Academy. Both attended prestigious Summer Intensive programs in New York City – Emily at American Ballet Theatre and Lauren at New York City Ballet. IPB Principal Dancer, the exquisite Meilu Zhai of Montclair, will reign over the Kingdom of Sweets as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Meilu is a former dancer with the National Ballet of China and returns for her fourth season with IPB. Also returning is IPB Principal Dancer Cameron Schwanz of Corona, who will dance as the Cavalier and the Nutcracker. Cameron is a thrilling dancer who returned to southern California three years ago to join IPB as the Beast for its premiere of Beauty and the Beast. He previously danced with Texas Ballet Theater, Ballet Pacifica/Festival Ballet Theater, Los Angeles Ballet, and Ballet San Jose. IPB Principal Dancer Jonathan Sharp as Drosselmeyer, returns for a seventh season with IPB and brings an extensive resume of dancing professionally with the Boston and Pennsylvania Ballet companies, and appearances in original casts of five Broadway shows. Jonathan is currently appearing in San Diego’s Old Globe production of In Your Arms.
This annual holiday favorite tells the story of a young girl named Clara who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve, and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. A fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy stir the imagination. Meet the cast after the performance for photos and autographs. A dazzling holiday tradition for the entire family, see it again or for the first time and be swept away in a winter wonderland.
“We are thrilled to again take our wonderful production on tour to four beautiful southern California theaters. As always, The Nutcracker showcases our key Company Principals and Soloists who are in top form,” says Artistic Director Victoria Koenig. “Cameron Schwanz (Cavalier) and Meilu Zhai (Sugar Plum Fairy) are extraordinary. They really honed their partnership in Beauty and the Beast last spring and are a joy to watch.  We look forward each year to enhancing the show to surprise our audiences and this year is no exception. We’re re-choreographing the Snow Scene for 20 dancers, which is fun and inspiring for the dancers, and I think will make for an exciting new addition. We also have a brand new lighting design. Our fans who return year after year really look forward to these fun changes to the choreography and production values.”
IPB is a professional ballet company based in the Inland Empire of Southern California since 1994. The Company is committed to producing exquisitely staged productions of full-length classic story ballets as well as presenting the best in contemporary choreography. Their large studio facility in Montclair also includes in-house costume and scenic departments. In addition, through creative marketing and an extensive Educational Outreach Program, IPB strives to introduce new audiences to the magic of ballet, and to make the experience more available and accessible to all. For students pre-school through grade 12 enrolled in public, private and home schools, IPB offers “A Young Person’s Guide to the Ballet,” connecting the arts to learning through music and movement with five educational outreach performances scheduled for The Nutcracker. The Company is also committed to the nurturing of new talent and provides an essential training ground for serious young dancers.
Choreography for The Nutcracker is by Laurence Blake and Victoria Koenig; Scenic Design by Nancy Seruto and Daniel C. Nyiri; Costume Design by Jeanne Nolden; Brand new Lighting Design by Joseph Walls; and Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
IPBs Founders/Artistic Directors/Choreographers Victoria Koenig and Kevin Myers, are southern California natives who bring a wealth of experience to their visionary leadership of this young Company. Over the past 21 years they have built IPB into the premiere ballet company and a key creative force in the region, enjoying critical acclaim while performing the largest and most varied repertoire in the area. Victoria Koenig is a native of Los Angeles now residing in Claremont. After many years as a professional dancer, and extensive international travel as a guest artist and teacher, Ms. Koenig returned to southern California and has become a shaping force in the region’s dance community. She co-founded the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, was on the faculty of the Stanley Holden Dance Center, and served on the dance faculty of California State University, Long Beach. Ms. Koenig has brought her many years of professional experience to the Inland Valley, one of the fastest growing cultural assets in southern California and is also on the dance faculty at Pomona College. Kevin Myers is a native of Riverside, California. He danced with the Houston Ballet in solo roles in the classic repertoire including Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty and in work created for him by Houston Ballet’s renowned Artistic Director, Ben Stevenson. Later as soloist with the Los Angeles Ballet, he danced principal roles in a variety of Balanchine ballets, including Tarantella and Jewels. As a Co-Founder and Associate Director of Inland Pacific Ballet and of the Inland Pacific Ballet Academy, Mr. Myers is fulfilling a dream of widening the opportunities for the young people of the Inland Empire to experience the art of ballet and providing local talent with the chance to pursue a career in the field.
Performances of The Nutcracker take place at the Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739, Friday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2pm and 7:30pm, and Sunday, the 20th at 2pm. Tickets start at $38 with senior/child/group discounts available. For more information and tickets, please go to IPBALLET.org.

Inland Empire: 91 Project Task Force Seeks Volunteers

Photo Courtesy: RCTC Executive Director Anne Mayer

Photo Courtesy: RCTC
Executive Director Anne Mayer

By Anne Mayer, 91 Project Executive Director

CORONA – Last month, storm damage forced a closure of a lane on the Westbound 91 which made a challenging commute even worse. Although the damage was quickly repaired, the impact it had on the local community was intolerable.
The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) needs to do a better job communicating directly to those impacted by the construction of the 91 and its traffic impacts. During the last few weeks we have enhanced our efforts to work closely with our partners at the City of Corona to get the facts out and address your concerns. We are committed to improving communication and we need your help.
RCTC is creating a Corona Community Task Force (CCTF) to create a productive forum for citizens to raise their concerns and provide feedback to our team on what works and what doesn’t work. A good two-way conversation starts with facts and information and the task force will be a good place to have that conversation. The primary topic will be on traffic and how to address the impact of the construction work on residents, but we could also cover other issues involving the project which might impact local residents. The task force is expected to begin meeting this fall and continue to meet on a monthly basis. Meetings will be held on a weeknight from approximately 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you have an interest in serving, we encourage you to apply. To apply, please email, sr91project@rctc.org, or call, 951-787-7141.  Applications must be submitted by Nov. 16 for the initial CCTF meeting. Late applications will be considered for future meetings. We would like to form this committee quickly and have it in place for the length of the project.

The 91 Project is more than 50 percent complete and great progress is being made on improvements that will benefit commuters and the City of Corona for years to come. We are committed to improving communication and minimizing the impacts where we can. Join us in making this work for your community.

Corona PD Seeks Help Finding Stolen Toy Hauler

City of Corona

CORONA – On Sunday, Oct. 25, at about 5:15 a.m. a 32-foot Weekend Warrior trailer with California license plate number 1LL3041 (model FS3200) was stolen from the area of E. Sixth Street and El Sobrante. The trailer was kept in a secured area behind a business. The trailer was used for a child’s go-kart racing program, and stored a go-kart and all the equipment necessary to race. The trailer is missing the cover for the propane tanks and has black “plasti-dripped” wheels.
The Corona Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify the suspect(s) and the suspect’s vehicle. The pictures below are of the suspect’s truck pulling the stolen trailer at E. Sixth St. and Rimpau Avenue. The truck is believed to be a late 1990’s to early 2000’s model Chevy truck with collision damage on the driver’s side. The truck and trailer were last seen heading west on Quarry Street.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Corona Police Department at 951-736-2330 option 3.

Trailer 1

Photo courtesy: City of Corona

trailer 4

Photo courtesy: City of Corona

Trailer 2

Photo courtesy: City of Corona

Inland Empire: Hear the Beep Where You Sleep

October is Fire Prevention Awareness Month

Staff Reports

Inland Empire – Riverside County Firefighters want all residents to install and inspect smoke alarms in every room.
“I urge you to have working smoke detectors on all levels of your home, and in all areas where people sleep” Riverside County Fire Department Chief John Hawkins said.
National Fire Prevention Month is a good time to make sure all homes have working smoke alarms, on every level, in every sleeping area, and in the hallways leading to the sleeping areas.
This year’s fire prevention theme is “hear the beep where you sleep, every bedroom needs a working smoke detector.”
“When fire strikes, every second counts,” Hawkins said. “Knowing how to react quickly and correctly can mean the difference between life and death.”
According to the latest National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, three out of five fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
These alarms should be hard-wired with a battery backup in case of a power outage. In California, new smoke alarms have a 10 year long battery life.
Residents are encouraged to inspect all smoke alarms every month, clean them annually, and replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.
Roughly half of all home fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep, according to fire officials.
If a smoke alarm sounds, crawl low and go outside to a predetermined meeting place. Fire officials recommend practicing the plan in a fire drill at least twice a year. Families should also have an escape plan with an assigned meeting place outside the home in case of a fire.
This Fire Prevention Month CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department is asking all residents in Riverside County to improve their own safety by having working smoke alarms in every bedroom and on every level of your home.

Green is the New Orange this Halloween

Discover new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle this Halloween season



Courtesy of Waste Management of Southern California

Inland Empire – Halloween is just around the corner and in the next few weeks, residents will begin transforming their homes into haunted castles. Before they do, Waste Management of Southern California wants to remind residents that there are several ways in which they can get into the spooky spirit without scaring off Mother Nature.

“Between the candy, costumes and decorations that are typically used once before being tossed to the curb, Halloween is notorious for accumulating trash,” said Eloisa Orozco, spokesperson for Waste Management of Southern California. “To help keep the spirit of the holiday without making it a nightmare for the environment, we’re offering our customers a handful of tips that they can easily use to reduce waste and be green during the Halloween season!”

Zombies, princesses and superheroes can keep their Halloween celebrations festive and eco-friendly by using the following tips from Waste Management:

  • Give your pumpkin a second life. Instead of tossing your used jack-o’-lantern to the curb after Halloween, remove the candle and add it to a compost pile. Organic waste, such as unwanted pumpkins and fallen leaves, is nutrient rich and can help enrich fertilizer and produce healthier lawns, plants and flowers.


  • Hand out eco-friendly treats. Health food stores offer a wide range of candy from organic chocolates to organic lollipops. These tasty treats are produced using methods that are not damaging to the environment.
  • Use recyclable bags for your trick-or-treaters. Create a unique candy basket or simply put a reusable bag to good use. Avoiding the plastic jack-o’-lantern containers will clear up space in the home, save money and add a dash of originality to your child’s costume.
  • Make your own costumes. Put less stress on your wallet by opting for costumes made of reusable or recycled materials. You can find Halloween costume materials from thrift stores or yard sales.
  • Walk instead of drive. Rather than drive to other neighborhoods, stay close to home and trick-or-treat in your neighborhood. By walking from house to house you are reducing fuel consumption and air pollution.
  • Throw a green Halloween party. Purchase organic pumpkins for carving and apples for bobbing from local organic farms. Once the jack-o-lanterns are carved and the bobbing is complete, use the apples and pumpkins for pies, soups and other tasty dishes.
  • Help keep neighborhoods clean while trick-or-treating. Carry an extra bag and pick up litter along the way. Candy wrappers can be a big source of litter on local streets during Halloween.

Inland Empire: Traffic Delays on Archibald Avenue

Resurfacing began on Oct. 7

Staff Reports

Eastvale– Road construction on Archibald Avenue north of Limonite Avenue will cause traffic delays over the next couple of weeks.
Traffic delays are expected on both north and southbound lanes on Archibald Avenue.
A developer in City of Ontario is resurfacing Archibald Avenue between Limonite Avenue and north of City limits, say Eastvale Public Works Department officials.
The work will continue until Oct. 15.
Local access to businesses and residences will be maintained throughout all construction activities.
Commuters are encouraged to use alternate routes during resurfacing process.
According to a city-issued news release, flaggers will be provided as needed to assist traffic through the work zone.
Road work will continue through the weekend to minimize weekday traffic congestion.
For additional information, contact the City of Eastvale Public Works Department at 951-703-4470.

Many Rally For The Reagan Dedication

Photo By:  Sarah Sanchez Michael Reagan

Photo By: Sarah Sanchez
Michael Reagan

By Sarah Sanchez

Eastvale – On Friday, Aug. 28, a Dedication Ceremony was held in honor of Ronald Reagan Elementary, the 50th school to be opened in the Corona-Norco Unified School District. Michael Reagan, the son of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, was the special guest of honor at the dedication.

A variety of people were also in attendance, including U.S. Congressman, Ken Calvert; Senator Richard D. Roth; Anthony Pennay of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation; Eastvale’s Mayor, Ike Bootsma, and other City officials and dignitaries; CNUSD Superintendent, Michael Lin, and Board Members; Reagan Principal, Susan Helms;  Director of Education Board Members; PTA Board Members; Eastvale Chamber Members, and the students, teachers, and parents of Ronald Reagan Elementary.

The Dedication Ceremony was a great event, starting off with a Reagan student leading the Pledge of Allegiance. The crowd addressed the very same flag that was flown over the Capital on Ronald Reagan’s birthday.

Reagan Elementary Principal, Susan Helms, gave an introduction and thank you to all in attendance, and then Congressman Ken Calvert took the stage. He announced that four U.S. flags were flown over the United States Capital in honor of President Ronald Reagan, his son Michael Reagan, Principal Susan Helms, and Superintendent Michael Lin.

Many spoke at the dedication, including Mayor Bootsma; Superintendent Lin; CNUSD Board of Education President, Jose W. Lalas; Board Vice President, Cathy L. Sciortino; and Reagan PTA President, Brenda Meagher.

Then, the special guest of honor took the stage.

“It is an honor and privilege to be here at Ronald Reagan Elementary.  It is also an honor and a privilege to be the son of Ronald Reagan,” said Michael Reagan, as he chuckled.

Reagan thanked everyone who was responsible for making Ronald Reagan Elementary possible. He also presented Principal Helms with a Challenge Coin from the USS Ronald Reagan.  He then advised the students to always work together toward a common goal, referring to when President Reagan brought down a certain wall in Berlin. Reagan said his father focused on making friends out of enemies, and not enemies out of friends.

Reagan also said that the President always knew his audience when he gave a speech.

“Think about this school. Think about the name it has on this building. Think about who you represent. People will be looking to you for leadership in the future; the leadership that is going to be taught to you and brought to you in this school. Think about when you go out and leave this school campus; what will people be looking at? What message are you going to be giving to them? Always know your audience and know that they are watching. When you do good, the community will do good, and hopefully the state and the world will be doing good right behind you.”

The event concluded with all the Reagan students singing the Reagan Rally, and then officials gathered for the ribbon cutting. However, Principal Helms said, “It is a rope cutting instead of a ribbon cutting, because, after all, we are the Reagan Wranglers.”

Inland Empire: National Night Out

The City of Eastvale comes together with pride


By K.P. Sander

Eastvale – On Tues., Aug. 11, the Target parking lot in the Gateway Shopping Center was transformed into a “Night Out Against Crime.”  It was the perfect opportunity for residents to become acquainted with the phenomenal individuals that keep our City safe, get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes, and make new friends while enjoying a sense of community.

Law enforcement, Firefighters, City personnel and a variety of booths dedicated to the betterment of the City were on hand to give an up close and personal glimpse into the resources available to Eastvale.  Big and little kids alike were able to speak with members of the Bomb Squad, SWAT Team, Hazardous Materials Unit, Paramedic Squad, Mounted Posse, K-9 unit, as well as Firefighters and Police Officers. Wide eyes watched as the hook and ladder truck reached for the sky and future Sheriff’s Deputies donned SWAT gear and sat in an assortment of vehicles.

The evening was rounded out with carnival games, face painting, a rock wall and bounce houses full of fun, and it was great to see a wide range of neighbors, City Council and Staff, business owners and people from surrounding communities come together on a unique and memorable night. There is a formidable force working behind the scenes for the City of Eastvale, and we should be proud to know we are in excellent hands.

If you’d like to know more about National Night Out, visit NNO.org.


Inland Empire: Sheriff’s Air Rescue

Photo Courtesy: SBSD

Photo Courtesy: SBSD

Staff Reports

Forest Falls – On Tues., Aug. 25, hiker Alexis Lopez was climbing at Big Falls, in Forest Falls, when he fell approximately 15 feet, hitting his face on the rocks.
According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff’s Air Rescue 306, manned by Pilot Corporal Mike Gilley, Crew Chief Deputy Paul Kowalski, SBCFD Captain Jack DeJong, and SBCFD Firefighter/ Paramedic Eric Sherwin, were dispatched to assist with Lopez’ rescue.

Kowalski lowered Sherwin via hoist to access Lopez. Due to the extent of Lopez’ injuries, and the remote location of his fall, the crew determined a hoist rescue was necessary.

Lopez was hoisted 120′ out of the falls and then transported in stable condition to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Inland Empire: Teen Arrested For Pointing Laser At Sheriff’s Helicopter

Photo Courtesy:  SBSD

Photo Courtesy: SBSD

Staff Reports


Hesperia – On Mon., Aug. 17, at approximately 10:42 p.m., a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s (SBSD) helicopter 40k1 was en route to Apple Valley to assist with a call when a high powered laser was pointed at them.
According to SBSD, Deputies in the helicopter were able to discern which home the laser came from and notified the Hesperia Station. Deputies responded and made contact with persons at the residence. Through investigation they discovered suspect Spencer Hamm, 18, had pointed the laser at the helicopter.
Hamm was arrested and booked at the High Desert Detention Center on charges of pointing a laser at an aircraft. Hamm’s actions could have resulted in impairment of the pilot’s vision and ability to safely fly the helicopter.

Please keep in mind that emergency vehicles and aircraft need to respond to their call safely so they can help others.

Inland Empire: Deadly Shooting In Apple Valley

Staff Reports

Apple Valley – On Thurs., Aug. 6, at approximately 9:25 p.m., Deputies from the Apple Valley Sheriff’s Station were called to the 21000 block of Nisqually Road in reference to a shooting.

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBSD), Deputies arrived on scene and found victims, Julian Kilgore, 23, and Richard Fenton, 21, both residents of Apple Valley, suffering from gunshot wounds. Kilgore was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center, but despite life saving efforts, he was pronounced deceased that same night at 10:35 p.m.  Fenton was transported to an alternate hospital and is expected to survive.
Detectives from the SBSD Specialized Investigations Division-Homicide Detail were summoned to conduct the investigation

On Fri., Aug. 7, Arieon Shoulders, 23, of Victorville, was arrested and booked into the High Desert Detention Center for Murder.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Adam Salsberry or Sergeant Robert Warrick at (909) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463), or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com.

Inland Empire: Two Arrested For Murder Of Toddler

Staff Reports

Photo Courtesy:  SBSD Darron Daniels, 20, arrested for murder

Photo Courtesy: SBSD
Darron Daniels, 20, arrested for murder

Photo Courtesy:  SBSD Maurice Kelley, 25, arrested for murder

Photo Courtesy: SBSD
Maurice Kelley, 25, arrested for murder

Highland – On Wed., July 29, at approximately 8:28 p.m., Deputies from the Highland Police Department responded to a report of shots heard in the 7400 block of McKinley Street, in Highland. Upon arrival, they discovered the victim, Daniel Munoz, 4, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was transported to a local area hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Investigators from the Sheriff’s Specialized Investigations Division, Homicide Detail, responded to the scene and are conducting the investigation.

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Investigators identified a person of interest – described as a Hispanic male, early 20s, 5’8” to 5’11, 160-180 pounds – and are asking anyone who may have been in or around the area to contact investigators. Investigators are also looking for a 1990s, 4-door Toyota Camry, white in color with black bumpers on the front and back.
During the course of the investigation, Detectives served search warrants and conducted numerous witness interviews. As a result, Investigators arrested Darron Daniels, 20, and Maurice Kelley, 25, for one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Daniels and Kelley were booked at the Central Detention Center, in San Bernardino, where they are currently being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Detective Justin Long or Sergeant Trevis Newport, Homicide Detail, at (909) 387-3589, or Sheriff’s Dispatch at (909) 387-8313. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

Inland Empire: 11 Gang Members Arrested

Multiple agency investigation results in the arrest of known “Noe Luv Gangster Crips” members


Staff Reports

San Bernardino County – For the past four months, Investigators with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Gang Intelligence Team/FBI Gang Task Force have been investigating the illicit activities of a criminal street gang known to Inland Empire Law Enforcement Authorities as the “Noe Luv Gangster Crips.”

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, for the past several years, members and associates of this particular gang have been known for their violent nature toward members from other criminal street gangs; more specifically, gangs from the Inland Empire. Based on several gang related shootings that have occurred at various locations throughout the County – some in which innocent citizens have also been victimized – Investigators conducted surveillance operations to gather evidence to establish the gang’s criminal conduct.
On Thurs., July 23, Investigators, Deputies and Officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino Police Department, San Bernardino County Probation Department, California Highway Patrol, Rialto Police Department and FBI, served ten search warrants at various locations throughout San Bernardino County. As a result of the investigation, 22 firearms were located and seized, as well as six ounces of cocaine.

Several alleged members and associates of the Noe Luv gang – including Rahshun Turner, 30, Fox Burroughs, 30, Mark Tibbs, 33, all of Rialto; Dewitt Johnson, 55, of Fontana; and Thomonte Rander, 29, Markyse Tuggle, 23, Liza Flores, 27, David Blakely, 30, Lancaster Alexander, 21, Sharhonda Jackson, 24, and Sobriety Jackson, 20, all of San Bernardino, were also taken into custody for various criminal charges including: criminal street gang conspiracy, attempted kidnapping, assault, human trafficking/pimping, prostitution, and additional weapons and narcotics violations.
This investigation served to represent the cooperation of law enforcement authorities within San Bernardino County and their commitment to the relentless pursuit of those who engage in criminal street gang activities. In addition, through allied cooperation, authorities will continue to strive toward keeping the County’s citizen’s safe from criminal street gang activity through aggressive anti-gang enforcement and the application of current anti-gang legislation.

Inland Empire: ERHS Student Named Athlete Of The Year

Jasmyne Graham is California Girls Track & Field Standout

Photo Courtesy:  City of Eastvale  Gatorade Track & Field Champ, Jasmyne Graham

Photo Courtesy: City of Eastvale
Gatorade Track & Field Champ, Jasmyne Graham

Staff Reports

Eastvale – In its 30th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, recently announced Jasmyne Graham of Eleanor Roosevelt High School as its 2014-15 Gatorade California Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Graham is the first student at ERHS to be selected for this honor.

“Wow. This is big! So excited for Ms. Graham and her family.  Great job to the staff at Roosevelt for keeping her on task both athletically and academically.  Great job!” said Corona-Norco Unified School District Board of Education member, Bill Newberry.

The award – which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track – distinguishes Graham as California’s best high school girls’ track and field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year award, Graham joins an elite alumni association of state award winners in 12 sports, including Allyson Felix, 2001-02, Los Angeles Baptist HS, CA; Derek Jeter, 1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, MI; Candace Parker, 2001-02, Naperville Central HS, IL; Abby Wambach, 1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy HS, NY; Mark Sanchez, 2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, CA; Lolo Jones, 1997-98, Roosevelt HS, IA; and Bianca Knight, 2006-07, Ridgeland HS, MS.

The 5-foot-2 senior won the 100-meter high hurdles with a time of 13.17 seconds and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 40.73 at the state meet this past season, leading the Mustangs to fifth place as a team. Her 100- and 300-meter hurdles times at the state meet each ranked as the nation’s number one prep performance in 2015, and among the 15 fastest performances in U.S. prep history at the time of her selection.

Reginald Thompkins, who is an Administrative Director for CNUSD, as well as CIF State President, said, “This is a great accomplishment that the Eastvale community can be proud of.  It really is a huge recognition for Jasmyne.  It’s one of my duties as President to hand out the awards to these awesome athletes; it was very special to be there, witness her performance and give her this award.”

Graham – who is also the Citrus Belt Area Athletic Directors Association Female Athlete of the Year – chipped in by running the opening leg for the eighth-place 4×100-meter relay quartet that finished in 47.54 seconds, as well as the second leg of the ninth-place 4×400-meter relay squad that crossed the line in 3:49.90.

Graham has maintained a 3.14 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating her time as a running instructor and guest speaker for youth track athletes, she has volunteered on behalf of the Black Coal and Red Roses mentoring program for girls.

“Jasmyne is the most fierce high school competitor I have seen,” said Eleanor Roosevelt coach, Aaron Shires. “Her parents have instilled in her the discipline, desire and commitment to excellence that John Wooden would be proud of in an athlete. The reason Jasmyne can take over a race the way she does is because of her preparation. She attends extra training sessions; she treats her body properly with the right nutrition and sleep. She lives a life that is not just committed to being great at track, but [to] being the best she can be at anything she does.”

Graham has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on a scholarship at the University of Southern California this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field – and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, working with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, complete lists of past winners, and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit www.gatorade.com/poy.

Inland Empire: Sheriff’s HOPE Helps Homeless Mother And Children

Staff Reports

Victorville – On Thurs., June 25, HOPE Team Deputies were contacted by Jeremy George from the Victor Valley Rescue Mission in reference to a woman, Tijuana Franklin, who came to their shower program at the Victorville Fairgrounds. Franklin informed George of her current situation – living in her car with her 11-year old son and 9-month old daughter.  Franklin is a single mother who simply cannot stretch her income over the course of a whole month. She was staying in a hotel up until recently, when her money ran out.
Franklin had been pursuing assistance on her own for several weeks, working with the homeless housing navigator at the Transitional Assistance Department. She was told, however, that this program will not have funding until after July 1. The HOPE team immediately began contacting area service providers, as they could not allow Franklin and her children to live in their car any longer.
HOPE Deputies contacted several organizations that did not have room, but were lucky when Catholic Charities in Apple Valley stepped up and were willing to help. Franklin was extremely appreciative of the help and was guided to their office, where she completed the necessary paperwork to be assisted. Deputies made sure that she had plenty of diapers and formula and was directed to seek help from the Rescue Mission when critical items become needed again. Franklin was reluctant to ask for help and was very thankful for this opportunity she was given.
The HOPE Team is thankful for people like George, who refers the needy to the HOPE Team and truly has the heart for the less fortunate population. A big thank you also goes to Alejandra Diaz at High Desert Catholic Charities, who really came through when nobody else could. Diaz called Deputies to confirm that Franklin will be housed and to thank the Sheriff’s Department for bringing them together.

Former Moreno Valley Councilman Sentenced

Five years in federal prison for taking $2.3 million cash bribe


Staff Reports

Riverside – In a case stemming from what is believed to be the largest bribe ever accepted by a public official in an undercover operation, a former member of the Moreno Valley City Council was sentenced on Mon., June 1, to 60 months in federal prison for taking a $2.36 million cash bribe from an undercover operative posing as a real estate broker.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Marcelo Co, 64, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge, Jesus G. Bernal. Co pleaded guilty last year to one bribery count and one count of filing a false corporate tax return.

The case against Co was the result of an investigation by the Inland Regional Corruption Task Force, which is comprised of prosecutors, agents and investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office.

Co was elected to the Moreno Valley City Council in November 2010 and resigned from his seat in August 2013 after being charged in state court in an unrelated case. Court documents filed in the federal case outline a bribery scheme in which Co told a businessman – and an undercover FBI operative posing as a real estate broker – that he would control a voting majority of the Moreno Valley City Council and would be able to guarantee land use decisions that would benefit the businessman and the land broker.  Co also promised to always vote in favor of land use decisions that would benefit the real estate broker.

Co solicited campaign donations from the FBI undercover operative and the businessman, who was cooperating with the investigation. Co eventually received payments of $5,000 and $10,000 that he said were to be used to finance the campaigns of individuals who would vote with him on land use issues.

In the fall of 2012, Co met with the undercover operative to discuss a multimillion dollar sale of a 30-acre parcel that he owned. Co told the real estate broker that once he had control of the City Council, he could change the zoning of the property and the land value would dramatically increase. With the City Council election in November 2012, Co told the undercover investigator that he had the votes to alter the zoning and increase the value of his 30-acre parcel, which had been appraised at $710,000. Co proposed that the undercover operative purchase the property for $5.36 million, which would include a cash payment of $2.36 million.

At a meeting on Jan. 30, 2013, Co agreed to sell the property for $5.36 million, but that the publicly filed documents would reflect a sale price of only $3 million. At this meeting, Co accepted $2.36 million in cash.

The tax charge concerns a federal Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120) that Co filed for his company, Qwik Pack Systems, for tax year 2010. In that filing with the IRS, Co failed to report well over $100,000 in income. This tax charge is not related to the bribery scheme.

Co must surrender himself to authorities on October 30 to begin serving his sentence.

Deputies On Leave For Pusok Arrest

Photo Courtesy:  SBSD  Francis Pusok, 30, of Apple Valley

Photo Courtesy: SBSD
Francis Pusok, 30, of Apple Valley

Staff Reports

Apple Valley – Criminal and administrative investigations are currently underway regarding the use of force in the arrest of Francis Pusok.

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, on Thurs., Apr. 9, at approximately 12:12 p.m., Deputies from the Victor Valley station went to a residence on Zuni Road in an attempt to serve a search warrant related to an Identity Theft investigation.

Upon arrival, the suspect, Francis Pusok, fled the location in a vehicle. Deputies pursued Pusok through the unincorporated area of Apple Valley, the Town of Apple Valley and further into the unincorporated area of Hesperia. Pusok abandoned his vehicle southwest of Bowen Ranch and fled on foot. Deputies were actively searching for Pusok on foot, using off-highway vehicles and helicopters.

Within minutes, deputies received information that the suspect came into contact with a group of people near the Deep Creek Hot Springs and stole a horse. Pusok fled on horseback on dirt trails, through very rugged, steep terrain, causing numerous injuries to the horse.
A Sheriff’s helicopter inserted a team of deputies in the area of Hwy 173/Arrowhead Lake Rd. to take the suspect into custody. Deputies made contact with Pusok and as they approached, the horse threw him off. A Taser was deployed by Deputies, but was ineffective due to the suspect’s loose clothing. A use of force occurred during the arrest, sparking the internal investigation.

Two deputies were injured during the search, with injuries consisting of abrasions, a twisted knee and a back injury from being struck by the horse. They have been treated and released.
Francis Pusok was initially treated at a local hospital for minor injuries consisting of abrasions and bruising, and then transported to West Valley Detention Center for booking. He was booked for Felony Evading, Theft of a Horse, Possession of Stolen Property and an active warrant for Reckless Driving. Bail was set at $115,000.

“The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately”, stated Sheriff John McMahon. He further stated, “In addition, members of the Specialized Investigation Detail are responding to conduct the criminal investigation.”

On Fri., May 8, ten Sheriff’s Deputies were placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.