Sunday, October 31, 2010

Steele wins, PGA next

Brendan Steele, Idyllwild native, won his first and mort important Nationwide Tour tournament today. He captured the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island today in a four hole playoff with Colt Knost.

Steele was first or tied for first after each round of the tournament. He and Knost finished the fourth round tied at 275, 13 under par for 72 holes. It took another four holes before Steele could claim sole possession of the championship.

This victory and its purse jumped into the sixth highest money winner on the 2010 Nationwide Tour. The Top 25 winners earn the opportunity to compete in the Professional Golfers Association Tour in 2011.

Congrats, Brendan.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brendan Steele run for the championship

Well, former Idyllwild native Brendan Steele is making quite a charge at becoming one of the newest members of the Professional Golf Tour.

For the past several years, Steele has been on the Nationwide Tour which is preparation for the PGA Tour. Each year, the top 25 money winners form the Nationwide Tour advance to the PGA. With one tournament left, Steele was number 30 on the Nationwide Tour's money leaders.

But this week, at the final Nationwide Tour of 2010 in Charleston, SC. Steele has lead the tourney from start through today. For 54 holes he has been number one.

Steele began today tied with two others for first place, but his seven under par performance was the best result of everyone today. He is now five strokes ahead of his challenger.

The Tour Championship at Daniel Island concludes tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Steele Still Tied for Lead After Round Two

In his final tournament of the year on the Nationwide Tour and his final opportunity to break into “The 25” players who will qualify for the PGA Tour next year, Brendan Steele now is tied for the lead after the second of four rounds.

At the Daniel Island Club in Ralston, Charleston, South Carolina, he posted an early birdy, but later struggled with back-to-back bogies before closing his second round with a pair of birdies for a one-under-par 71.

To secure a position in The 25, Steele likely will need at least a top-ten finish—perhaps more likely a top-five—in this week’s $1,000,000 Nationwide Tour Championship, where the winner’s share is $180,000.

Steele tees off in the third round tomorrow, Saturday, at 9:25 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. His exploits may be followed on the Golf Channel from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT. (with a recap from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and online at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brendan Steele in Charleston

This just in from our golf correspondent, Jack Clark, somewhere in the mid-West.

Steele Tied for Lead After Round One

In his final tournament of the year on the Nationwide Tour and his final opportunity to break into “The 25” players who will qualify for the PGA Tour next year, Brendan Steele is tied for the lead after the first of four rounds.

At the Daniel Island Club in Ralston, Charleston, South Carolina, he opened today with a bogey-free, six-under-par 66.

Steele tees off in the second round tomorrow, Friday, at 9:20 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. His exploits may be followed on the Golf Channel from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT. (with a recap from 6:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.) and online at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rainfall Tuesday Oct. 19

As of 9:30 p.m., last night, Tuesday, oct. 19, the national Weather Service is reporting the following amounts of rainfall:

ANZA 1.17

Since 8:20 a.m. yesterday, Keenwild has recorded
nearly .75 inches, for a total of 1.9 inches
since July 1.
Since 1948, the average rainfall
between July 1 and Oct. 31is nearly 3.46 inches.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Suicide Fire

The Forest Service reported the Suicide Fire early this afternoon. It was spot fire — a single tree and about 400 square feet. Then the afternoon rains came.

Bob and Kathy Haine sent this photo of it. They were on Tahquitz View near High Castle. Center right you can see the smoke.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hemet Hospital staff vigil

Midnight, Wednesday, Oct. 13, Physicians for Healthy Hospitals (PHH) finally closed its deal to purchase Valley Health Systems (the local public hospital district) on Wednesday. The physicians’ first action was to let several dozen employees go. So far at total of 14 registered nurses have been asked to leave and more than 40 other employees.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era in quality healthcare for our communities and area residents,” said Dr. Alex Denes, spokesman for PHH, in a press release. “We will honor voters’ confidence in PHH by rebuilding our hospitals into centers of medical excellence, with an emphasis on quality patient care.”

Thursday night a vigil for the dismissed staff was held outside the hospital. At the corner of San Jacinto and Devonshire streets, cars, vans and trucks blared their horns in support of the former hospital staff. The noise made conversation difficult.

“Ninety-six percent of VHS’ approximately 1350 employees were rehired as PHH employees. Those not hired represent departments across both hospitals and include staff and management, union and non-union members,” said Jerri Randrup, the VHS vice president for communication and marketing. “Some were caregivers. The law requires that we maintain specific staffing ratios between patients and caregivers.”

At least seven emergency room (ER) nurses and several from the regular night shift were part of the group the physicians chose not to employee, according to John Stead-Mendez, labor representative for California Nurses Association. Lawanda Turner has more than 20 years working in emergency and critical care nursing. VHS paid her a bonus to join their staff.

But many more, Jessica Lopez and Helen Ostott had been with VHS for decades. Lela Valencia had been 15-year registered nurse in the ER. Rose, a resource secretary for the ER, had been with VHS for years.

“It’s a travesty. People should be concerned,” Stead-Mendez said. “There will be drastic understaffing in the ER. A year ago, PHH said they wanted to keep the ER in the community. Who will hold them to their commitment? This seems politically motivated.”

Current VHS Vice President for Communications Jerri Randrup did not respond to questions about the criteria for the doctors’ decision to not hire these employees. None had been told they were underperforming. Many of the employees felt it was retaliation for their involvement in employee organizations.

“I checked the hire dates and there has not been a nurse hired into ER since August despite the fact that there have been positions posted there for some time. So it is simply disingenuous to claim as, Jerri Randrup did, that ‘We've continued to fill vacancies as they've occurred.’ In fact, they have not filled vacancies in ER for months and they just created [seven] more vacancies there,” Stead-Mendez said in an email.

“I’ll fight the battle 24/7 now,” Turner said, angry about how the nursing staff has been treated. “I’ll protect the workers.”

While she was not concerned about a new job for herself, she worried about her co-workers and patients. “The quality of care isn’t what is should be,” she stressed.

While ER nurses were being asked to leave, many remember that the hospital apparently was still trying to fill its ER staffing.

Lopez, a respiratory therapist, has more than 30 years experience. She now has to find new employment. She cares for grandson Elijah, who is now worried about where Grandma will work.

“I could lose my home, I have no savings,” Sharon Robinson, an oncology nurse, lamented. She was hired only 90 days ago, although she has more than 20 years nursing experience. While some nurses already have potential new jobs, many are still looking and worried. Despite state mandates for minimal nurse to patient ratios, the market for nurses has been weak according to many.

While many will have problems until new jobs are found, most still expressed concern about patient care. “We assumed they would be adding staff for winter,” Turner said.

When PHH initially engaged the district in selling the hospitals, one of the main arguments was the doctors lived here and wanted to protect the community. One nurse lives only two blocks from the hospital. Nurses are in high demand and she already has potential leads, but now she will work outside of the community.

In an interview a year ago, (October 2009), Dr. Alex Denes, one of the PHH founders and spokesman, said “We want to provide as much [medical] service as the communities need. We need to re-establish trust in these hospitals.

During the interview, Denes said PHH”s data suggested that almost 50 percent of patients from the Hemet area and close to 80 percent from the Menifee Valley service area seek medical care outside this hospital district.

“Keeping patients and getting them to return to this healthcare system will be a high priority for PHH” Denes added. “Look at emergency room utilization. We’ll need to make it more appropriate. This is not a ‘quality of care’ issue, it’s about the enormous wait. Sometime people have to sit six to seven hours wait for help. No one, not even the doctors like this.”

Most were informed early Tuesday morning as they came for their shift. Apparently VHS officials were concerned about employee reactions to the dismissals and asked Hemet Police to safeguard the hospital. Several police squad cars were seen parked outside the hospital Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Deputies arrest Pine Cove woman on charges of elder financial abuse and fraud

At around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputies, under direction of Special Investigations Supervisor Sgt. Steven Mike, arrested Pine Cove resident Teri Danette Blackburn, age 50, in the 24700 block of Marion Ridge Road in Pine Cove for suspected felony financial abuse of an elder and felony making false statements with the intent to defraud. Deputies had served a search warrant on the residence at about 11:30 a.m. Deputies removed boxes of files from Blackburn's residence (see photo). The arrest was the result of a departmental investigation that began in Aug. 2010. Hemet Station was alerted by the executer of a deceased Winchester woman's estate that numberous charges were made to pay bills of a former caregiver. The charges began in August of 2009 and continued through July of 2010.

According to Mike, Blackburn had served as caregiver for the deceased Winchester resident from Oct. 2008 until Nov. 2009 when she resigned. According to bank records, the charges began in August of 2009 and continued through July 2010 totaling over $36,000. The Winchester woman for whom Blackburn had cared died in March 2010. The investigation also revealed Blackburn opened two separate life insurance policies in the victim's name, deducting the premiums from the victim's accounts. Unbeknownst to Blackburn, the policies were opened after the victim had died.

If convicted, Blackburn could face fines and prison time of up to four years.

Blackburn was incarcerated at Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and released on Oct. 14 on $25,000 bail, pending a court date on Friday, Dec. 12 at Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Power outage

A power outage has occurred this morning at 8:50 a.m.

Southern California Edison reports that about 1,086 customers from Pine Cove to Allendale are without electricity this morning.Crews are already on the scene.

The cause is still being investigated; but it is not caused by the Smart Meter installations. SCE does not have an estimate of when the power will return to the area, although one customer has reported the return of her electricity.

The exact boundaries are south of Round Robin Drive, west of Foster lake Road, north of Sunrise Drive and east of Deer Path Road.