InterChurch News 

'Communicating to the neccesities of the saints.' -Romans 12:13 (ASV)

 Vol. VIII #6 | March 22 - 31, 2020 


Jesus said: 

'For where your treasure is,

there will be your heart also.'

 -Luke 12:34

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 'I will not forget your word.' -Psalm 119:16 

News & Notable: Local 

Essential Services

Orders by Riverside County Public Health to limit social gatherings to ten, and the 'stay-at-home' order by Gov. Gavin Newsom to contain COVID-19 each create public scenes not seen since 9/11.

Photos: Men wait outside to purchase guns and ammunition at Ammo Bros in Riverside (above) as the store limited customers to four at a time; Staples in Menifee (L) ran out of hand sanitizers, bottled water and toilet paper; Ralphs in Menifee (R) limit customers to 50 inside.

-Photos IC News

News & Notable

2020 Archives: Week 1-2-3-4-5-6

Vol VIII #6 | March 22 - 31

The Bible says: Jeremiah 29:7| Jesus said: Luke 12:34

Cover photo (L): '15 Days to Slow the Spread.' Tot-lots in Menifee's Heritage Lake community are closed following government guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 -- a pandemic virus which in the U.S. claimed 201 lives of 15,219 CDC-reported cases as of March 20 -- tragic, but still less than a 1.4% fatality rate. -Photo IC News

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County locates hotel, motel 'stay-at-home order' housing for homeless

Riverside, Calif. InterChurch News 3.25.2020

The County of Riverside has identified hotels and motels with available units for unsheltered homeless individuals to provide emergency temporary housing during the 'stay-at-home' state order.

The temporary housing is a part of a county program that includes caes management, medical and wrap-around services. 

"These much-needed beds will get our most vulnerable homeless residents into safe housing,' said Chairman V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. 

Eligible unsheltered homeless individuals include those who are 65 and older, pregnant, have a serious chronic health condition such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, or have a compromised immune system. 

Homeless individuals who are ill or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 will be housed through a different system.

Eligible clients can be referrred to temporary hotel and motel housing by calling the HomeConnect hotline: 1.800-498-8847.

The program is offered through the Housing Authority of Riverside County,

-Compiled from Riverside County News Release

-Photo (L): 'Homeless, outside the Bank of America.' -Photo by IC News

Vol VIII #5 | March 15 - 20

The Bible says: Psalm 34:5 | Jesus said: Luke 10:16

Cover photo: Historic Day. To help mitigate COVID-19 spread and comply with Riverside County Public Health's March 12th order to cancel all public events with 250 or more persons, churches -- as Centerpoint Church (L) -- canceled onsite weekend services for online services. The order is in effect through April 30th. 

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Attorney: No link in Perris pot shops, billboards to violent crime; 30 shops to open in Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore


Riverside, Calif., InterChurch News, 3.17.2020

FIRST IN A SERIES to investigate cannabis stores in the City of Perris and billboards ads; questioning a connection to violent crime, mental health, youth impact and city tax revenue

Interview: The Attorney: Joshua Naggar

Within several months in rapid succession, local Perris cannabis stores slapped up advertisements on no less than 18 Lamar-owned billboards along the I-215 corridor of the city's borders.

California voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016 to legalize marijuana for recreational users 21 years and older -- the City of Perris today has 15 licensed cannabis stores.

Scattered among industrial park locations and freeway billboard signs are names such as: Dynamic Meds, Empire Gardens, Firehouse 64, Green Kong Cannibas, Higher Learning Dispensary, Strains Dispensary and Westside CLLCTV.

While the pot advertising growth in Perris alone was striking, six murders were commited in the city during February -- a cause for alarm to City Hall as well as its citizens.

Three of the six murdered in Perris were found lying execution-style at a local cemetery near the grave of a restaurant owner killed in Mexico, according to Press Enterprise reports. 

The 33-year old suspect -- Jose Luis Torres-Garcia twice-deported to Mexico and with pending traffic and drug offenses -- was arrested in Wyoming with 15 pounds of marijuana. 

Is there a connection to Perris pot shops, billboards and violent crime?

'I absolutely do not feel there's a connection between the crime we are seeing in Perris and commercial cannabis,' said Joshua Naggar, 40, an attorney, real estate broker, past president and current member of the Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce

Naggar, a Marine veteran with a Perris office in the historic Old Southern Hotel on 445 S. D. St., assists cannabis store owners in the license application process to the City of Perris -- which has the authority to reject any (or all) cannabis stores in the community.

'I will tell you a lawful compliance shop is probably the safest place in Perris,' Naggar said in the phone interview. 'You got four to five armed guards, a lot of order ... we don't sense that the criminal uptick has really anything to do with the lawful cannabis market.'

'[Cannabis stores] pay taxes. They have payroll and employees and none of the violence, none, zero is connected to any commercial cannabis operation,' said Naggar.

Pay taxes? The City of Perris collects $50,000 a month in tax monies from each of the three top cannabis stores, according to Naggar.

And there are 15 cannabis stores in Perris, he said.

'It's a great source of revenue,' he said. 'Everywhere you see retail cannabis, you're likely going to see billboards because billboards are a great way to market. 

'"Exit now! Go to my shop!" and inevitably they sell merchandise,' he said.

And the City of Perris won't be flying solo in Riverside County sporting Mike Tyson or King Kong cannabis ads on billboards -- while raking in casino-like revenue from cannibas shops.

'You keep bringing up Perris,' Naggar said. 'You got 20 plus shops about to open in Moreno Valley, you got about 10 or so in Lake Elsinore, you got Wildomar opening up, and all sorts of other jurisdictions,' Naggar said. 'You're going to see more billboards.' 

Naggar, who served as a machine gunner in the 24th Marine Expedition Unit acccording to his business webpage, distances the Perris cemetery triple-slayer suspect caught holding 15 pounds of  marijuana to any connection with local cannabis stores. 

'He was caught with 15 pounds of raw cannabis,' said Nagger, 'that's over the limit you can buy from a cannabis shop. You're not allowed to buy bulk cannabis. You can only buy cannabis in its manufactured form. This person ... [had] black market, unregistered, unmetric cannabis.'

One more thing: 'He didn't have a license,' Naggar said.

'The was some sort of gang-style killing that had everything to do with a particular person who was killed in Mexico -- it had nothing to do with anything commercial, I'll tell you that,' he said. 

Naggar, who earned his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law according to his business webpage, reiterates his belief cannabis is not a link to violence:

'I don't see the prevelance of violence under the influence of cannabis,' Naggar said. 'Cannabis is more of a docile affect for most people. We just don't see a lot of violence around it like you would a harder drug or a narcotic.' 

'Is it possible that people who commit crimes are high? Certainly,' he said.

-In the second part of this inteview, Joshua Naggar will explain cannabis billboard marketing strategy, advertising restrictions and product regulations.

Additional References: 'Tell Your Children -- The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence,' by Alex Berenson; 'Marijuana Debunked: The Case Against Legalization,' by Ed Gogek.

-By W. Keith Sloane

Correction: The City of Perris has 10 licensed cannabis stores, six more stores have pending licenses according to the Planning Department. The 15 store count was a number used during an example by Naggar -- not a specific current count. InterChurch News regrets the error. 

-Photo (L): Empire Gardens cannabis store uses Mike Tyson to advertise cannabis to potential buyers along the I-215 freeway in the Perris corridor. -Photo IC News 

Vol. VIII #4 | March 1 - 14

The Bible says: Psalm 33:12 | Matthew 12:36

Photo Essay: Marijuana Alley. The I-215 along the City of Perris is saturated with Lamar-owned billboards advertising local cannabis shops (L). Is Lamar in compliance with California cannibis advertising regulations --  and is there a link to violent crime and pot shops

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Public Health order: All County events with 250+ cancelled until May 1st -- includes church services

Riverside, Calif. InterChurch News, March 14, 2020

All large gathering events in Riverside County -- including church services -- with 250 or more persons expected in attendance, are cancelled effective Thursday, March 12 through April 30 by order of the Riverside County Public Health Department.

'Yes, the large gathering does apply to religious services,' stated Brooke Federico, public information officer for the Riverside Public Health Department, in an email to InterChurch News.

And the order is not a suggestion: 'Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.'

The order is intended 'to reduce the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19, thereby slowing the spread of COVID-19 in communities worldwide,' Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Public Health Officer of the County of Riverside stated.

'Many of the events in the County, both large and small,' his order states, 'attract attendees from many regions and countries, including several disproportionately afflicted by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.'

The 249 person limit is set, Dr. Kaiser states, because 'as the population of an event increases, the difficulty and magnitude of tracing individuals who may have been exposed to a case present at that event rises exponentially.' 

Several Riverside County churches with congregations of 250+ parishioners have since uploaded videos on church websites with contingency plans to direct worshippers to go online for this weekend's services -- including Centerpoint ChurchThe GroveHarvest Christian Fellowship, Magnolia Church and Rancho Community Church

'I've spoken to pastors over the last few days,' stated Federico, 'who've indicated they plan to add additonal services to keep attendance below 250 at any one service.' 

'Another church indicated they will also live-stream their service on social media,' she stated

Federico recommends churches 'implement social distancing between seats, place hand sanitizer or hand washing stations at entrances and exits, and clean hard surfaces between services.'

The crowd restriction order is implemented as Jews, Christians and Muslims prepare to celebrate Passover, Easter and Ramadan respectively in April -- drawing some of their largest audiences and activities of the year.  

-W. Keith Sloane

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Vol. VIII #3 | February 15 - 29

The Bible says: 1 Peter 2:17 | Jesus said: Mark 8:33

Cover photo (L): 'Pray then like this ...' (Matthew 6:9). -Adobe Stock photo

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Vol. VIII #2 | February 1 - 14

The Bible says: Hebrews 12:1-2 | Jesus said: John 11:25-26

Photo (L): 'You Will Never Be Forgotten.' Three thousand mourners attended the memorial service Tuesday, January 28 at Crossroads church in Corona, for Drake Ruiz, 16 (L), Daniel Hawkins, 16 (center) and Jacob Ivascu, 16 (R), killed when the car they were riding in was 'intentionally rammed' Sunday, January 19. -Photo by IC News

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Vol. VIII #1 | January 15 - 31

The Bible says: Jeremiah 15:16 | Jesus said: Luke 16:18

Cover photo (L): ACTS International Christian Fellowship Church, Romoland. -Photo IC News

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