Category Archives: Recreation

Riverside ‘Halloween House’ Returns

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Tracy Bloom and published in KTLA 5 on October 20, 2015.)

The display is the creation of Kevin and Amber Judd of Creative Lighting Displays. It marks the seventh year they’ve put together such a show and the second year in a row at its current location in the 8300 block of Deercreek Drive.

This year’s version — located at the home of Mark and Melanie Betty, who are friends with the Judds — features the theme song from “Ghostbusters.”

In 2014, the attraction was briefly shut down by police because of noise complaints. It went on again, however, after the Judds obtained a special event permit.

“This year, we went through the proper process to get the block party permits,” Melanie Betty said Tuesday.

For years, before relocating the tradition to the Betty household, the Judds hosted it at their own residence.

The “Ghostbusters” theme is perhaps a nod to what the couple wrote on the Creative Lighting Displays Facebook page after receiving the permit.

“Like the GhostBusters said in the movies ‘We’re Baaack!’ We could not have done it without the support of the community so THANK YOU!” the post read.

From the “Halloween House” to the Festival of Lights, Riverside is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar.  Our community provides an abundance of opportunities to be amazed, inspired and entertained.

To read the full article, click here.


Where: 8381 Deercreek Drive, Riverside
When: 7, 7:45 and 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Halloween; 7 and 7:45 p.m. Sunday.
Parking: Orange Terrace Park, some on-street parking except in areas where a permit is required.
Viewing: Orange Terrace Park

Athletes Get Warm Welcome And Hone Their Skills At Inland Venues

(This Article contains excerpts from the article written by Stephen Wall and published in the Press Enterprise on July 22, 2015.)

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

Dakota bucked a bit, but Milagro was smooth in the saddle.

Changing horses was no big deal to Special Olympian Robert Seignious, who was fine-tuning his equestrian skills Wednesday, July 22, in Norco.

“It’s fun and I like to win medals,” he said with a smile.

The South Carolina resident was among the 10-member Special Olympics USA Equestrian team practicing for the Special Olympics World Summer Games, which begin Saturday, July 25, in Los Angeles.

Nearly 350 athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the country are training for 16 sports at Inland venues through Friday and are staying at the UC Riverside dorms for four days before leaving for Los Angeles..

After the morning workouts, competitors headed to downtown Riverside for an afternoon “Parade of Champions.”

Enthusiastic crowds lined Main Street to cheer on athletes who wore red shirts, waved American flags and chanted “U.S.A,” “U.S.A.” as they walked toward City Hall. About 100 athletes, coaches and trainers from Team Sweden preceded the Americans. The parade included the Martin Luther King High School band and cheerleaders from Poly High School in Riverside.

Riverside residents Holly Fajardo and her daughter Emily, 17, slapped high-fives with athletes as they walked in front of the Mission Inn.

“It’s important that they see the community supports them just like professional athletes,” Holly Fajardo said. “They don’t get the same recognition and they should.“

The care and compassion that Riverside showed towards our guests, truly demonstrated what makes us such a ‘unified city‘.  We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

Emily Fajardo, who graduated from King High in June, was part of a campus club that works to integrate special needs kids with the rest of the student population.

“You get to know how wonderful and unique they are,” she said. “You are drawn to them.”

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

Grand Marshal Lauren Potter, an actress featured in the TV show “Glee,” was part of the procession. Potter is a Poly High graduate and has Down syndrome.

“I’m so excited to be with all these amazing athletes,” Potter, 25, said before the parade started.


Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

Earlier in the day, Seignious, 21, talked about riding horses at the No Drama Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Norco, which is hosting one of the practices.

The horse named Dakota was challenging to ride because it was the first time the animal had a male rider, said Marissa Brzescinski, the equestrian team’s head coach.

“He was getting a little out of control, so I got a replacement,” explained Seignious.

He returned to the arena and hopped on Milagro, practicing proper form and posture with coach Tom Walmsley.

“I feel like I’m on a jet,” is how he later described the experience.

Horses at the ranch are trained for competitive events and are “as safe as can be,” said Walmsley, who lives in Illinois.

The athletes who were honing their equestrian skills hail from nine states — Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri and Arizona.

Team captain Jeremiah Schedlock looked forward to showcasing his talents in front of big crowds in Los Angeles. He also wants to meet and socialize with people from other countries.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Schedlock, 24, who lives in Prescott, Arizona.


After Wednesday afternoon’s parade, athletes mingled in front of City Hall, dancing as they listened to recorded music blaring over loudspeakers.

Basketball players from Minnesota expressed gratitude for the support.

“It feels good to be recognized,” said Joseph Ajayi, 24. “It feels good to be part of something this big and this successful.”

Hearing the cheers was heartwarming, added Abel Mehari, 22.

“It’s a really rewarding experience that I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life,” he said.

Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

As a gesture of friendship, Amy Norton, a triathlete from New Jersey, gave her American flag to a Swedish athlete and got a flag from that country in return.

Describing what it’s like to be in the world games, Norton, 27, said, “It’s just incredible.“

Her sentiment was shared by teammate Courtney Dreyfus.

“You‘re surrounded by so many new people,” said Dreyfus, 18, also of New Jersey. “You get to be in one of the biggest competitions in the world. It’s such an honor.”

Who Says There’s No Such Thing As A FREE LUNCH?

(This information was pulled from the RUSD Nutrition Services webpage on June 25, 2015.)


 “RUSD F.E.E.D.S. (Food for Every child to Eat During Summer).” Beginning Monday, June 15th through Friday, August 21st lunch will be provided to any child, ages 2-18 for FREE.

This program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services, is vital for many low-income children especially in this difficult economy.  Free school meals provide children with up to 75% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances for key nutrients.  When school is not in session, these meals are lost and may not easily be replaced.   As children obviously do not stop growing physically or cognitively because they are not in school, this summer program fills a crucial gap, helping to ensure that students will return to school ready to learn.

The Nutrition Services Department also partners with the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department to provide meals.

During the summer months it is important to encourage your child to eat healthy food and stay active.  Visit one of the eighteen (18) neighborhood parks or six (6) school sites this summer where a daily outdoor bar-b-cue will be provided at no charge. Parents do not have to complete any applications or provide any money for their children to eat.  Any child 2-18 will be eligible for a FREE meal.

Please bring your kids and their friends and join your neighbors for a hot BBQ lunch in the park.  See their flyer for a complete listing of locations and service times where children can receive free meals during the summer. If you need more information please call (951) 352-6740.  Si tiene alguna pregunta, llame al (951) 352-6740.

RUSD’s  commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of all the participating organizations demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

CBU Ranked 4th For Best Intramural Sports School

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on May 26, 2015.)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

Almost 1,300 California Baptist University students participated in intramurals during the 2014-15 academic year. Thirty teams – 19 men’s and 11 women’s – competed in flag football. Several thousand came to watch the last games of the season at the Fortuna Bowl during Homecoming in November 2014. recently named CBU as one of the best colleges for intramural sports. Colleges were vetted based on the number of intramural sports they offered, the qualities of team management and coaching, and student surveys, which assessed how enjoyable intramural sports were to play at each school, according to the website.

Flag football, volley, basketball and soccer are the main intramural sports offered at CBU. Wiffle ball, kickball, ping pong, racquetball and dodge ball are available for one or two weeks or a single day event.

Intramural sports are popular for several reasons, said Tyler Cox, director of recreation programs. Students spend more time out of class, than they do in, so intramurals give them something to do. Athletes who do not play at the collegiate level enjoy the competitive outlet.

“The No. 1 thing, it just builds relationships,” Cox said. “People are going to have a more enjoyable experience while they’re here because they feel a part of something. They’ve made some deeper connections. I think that’s going to overall just enhance the students’ experience while they’re here.”

One of the most popular options is flag football. The season culminates with the Fortuna Bowl, which includes fireworks and brings an exciting end to Homecoming Weekend. Students often join a flag football team because they hope to make it to the end and be part of the event, Cox said.

At new student orientation, students learn about different opportunities for participation, from service projects to clubs to intramural sports. Sports is a popular activity that draws people together, Cox said.

“We’ve seen those connections last throughout the four years,” he said.

Representing Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar, CBU attracts students and athletes from across the country due to their great reputation, scholastic achievements, and athletic programs.

For the full article, click here.

Ruck March Raises Money And Morale For Veterans Court

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Bo Kovitz and published in the Press Enterprise on May 24, 2015.)

Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: David Bauman, The Press Enterprise


Military veterans on felony probation stood shoulder to shoulder with attorneys, probation officers, sheriff’s deputies and court employees Sunday morning, May 24, as they hoisted 35- to 50-pound rucksacks onto their backs and began a grueling, 10-kilometer march.

The friendly competition, which began and ended at the American Legion post in Riverside’s Fairmount Park, aimed to raise awareness of Riverside County’s Veterans Court. The program offers mental health, job training and housing services to veterans who have pleaded guilty to crimes.

“In courtrooms, the focus is so much on the worst of themselves, when they’re reminded of the worst things they’ve done,” said Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Alberto Recalde, whose office helped plan the event. “We want to remind them of the best of themselves, of a time when people relied on them.”

Emulating the rucks in the military in which soldiers haul well over 50 pounds of equipment, Sunday’s march was also meant to encourage veterans to challenge themselves through a team-building competition that is “good for morale,” according to Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark Johnson.

It was hosted by the Inland Empire Champions for Collaborative Courts and drew more than 130 participants on four-member teams from all over the justice system.

Teams began gathering early Sunday ahead of the 8:15 a.m. start. Once the parade of competitors disappeared beyond the park’s perimeter to follow the Santa Ana River Trail, the dewy morning air stilled. A few families perched on lawn chairs, waiting for their relatives to return.

Photo Credit: David Bauman. The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: David Bauman. The Press Enterprise

Just under an hour later, the calmness quickly dissolved as the loudspeaker resonated over the park, announcing the return of the first competitor: Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Jason Newstrom – who was not only bearing a rucksack but was also pushing his 1-year old daughter in a stroller.

The sound of cheers multiplied by the minute as participants slowly, then steadily, returned to the finish line.

Upon finishing, many of them, with beads of sweat streaming down their faces, would throw down their rucksacks and swallow a few gulps of water, then run back down the road to encourage their team members still on the course.

“In the middle, you’re thinking, ‘Why did I do this? Why did I sign up to hurt myself?’” said sheriff’s Deputy Marco Alamillo, who is also a military veteran. “But then your teammates come and boost your motivation.”

Describing the ruck marches as “uniquely military,” participant and National Guard officer candidate Scott Johnson said a soldier carries a ruck with a 50 to 100 pound load at any point from basic training to deployment.

Ruck marches are a necessary part of basic training, he said, that helps “build unit cohesion.”

The Riverside Police Officers Association’s two teams took home the Grand Overall Championship and the Best Women’s titles, while a team from the Larson Justice Center in Indio took home the title for Best Co-ed.

The march raised more than $10,000, about $1,000 of which was used to pay for the event itself — permit fees, insurance and the medals that later hung around competitors’ necks. The remaining funds, Recalde said, will return to the Veterans Court program to help participants access specialized community programs for rehabilitation.

Events like this truly demonstrates what makes Riverside such a unified city. We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read the complete article, click here.

CBU Wins Third PacWest Commissioner’s Cup

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News and Events on May 7, 2015)

Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

For the second year in a row, California Baptist University has won the PacWest Commissioner’s Cup by a good cushion, according to an announcement by the PacWest Conference today.

Since joining the conference during the 2011-12 season and winning their first Commissioner’s Cup, the Lancers have won the Cup three times, becoming the first program to do so. CBU is also just the second school to take home back-to-back awards after claiming the Cup last year and has never finished outside of the top two in the standings.

“Winning the Commissioner’s Cup for the third time in four years is a big accomplished for our student athletes, coaches and staff members,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Micah Parker. “We’ve had to continue to improve as a department because the PacWest has become so much stronger than when we won this for the first time four years ago. This accomplishment reflects the hard work of our coaches who are recruiting the right student athletes for CBU and then developing them each year. I’m proud to work with so many people who want to Honor Christ through excellence in athletics.”

CBU ended the winter in the top spot in the race for the Cup, leading rival Azusa Pacific by .429 of a point (12.429 to 12.000) heading into the spring. In the last standings, the Lancers had increased their lead to almost a full point, 12.611 to 11.677, after capturing their third PacWest conference title in women’s golf by a dominant 34 strokes. With the conclusion of both baseball and softball’s regular seasons, CBU finishes the year with a score of 12.682, towering over the Cougars’ 11.091 mark.

The PacWest Commissioner’s Cup was established in 2007-08 to honor the athletic program with the best overall performance in that academic year. The competition is based upon average finish in PacWest sports. Each school’s points are totaled and then divided by the number of PacWest athletic programs it offers, giving an overall average finish for the school. Since not every team in the conference sponsors the same sports, the PacWest Commissioner’s Cup Standings are based upon average finish instead of point totals. Each school’s points are totaled and then divided by the number of PacWest athletic programs it offers, giving an overall average finish for the school.

CBU’s outstanding scholastic and athletic performance makes it a location of choice for students seeking not only a great education but a first-rate sports program.

For the complete article, click here.

Kids With Special Needs Get Super Bowl Of Their Own

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in the RUSD News on January 29, 2015)

Photo Credit: RUSD
Photo Credit: RUSD

More than 200 special needs students from across the Riverside Unified School District celebrated Super Bowl Sunday at few days early on Wednesday, Jan. 28 as Poly High School hosted its second annual Super Bowl for Kids event.

This event gave students in kindergarten through sixth grades the opportunity experience the excitement of being part of a high school football team. As students arrived, they ran through a welcoming row of cheerleaders and through the Poly Bear tunnel. The Poly band played the fight song as each student got out on the field, grabbed a football and made a touchdown with help from members of the Poly football team.

And, just like a real game, colorful posters lined the fence near the stands, which were, of course, filled with crowds of cheering fans. Television news crews were on hand to capture all of the action.

Lisa Miller, Special Education Student Advisor at Poly, said the event benefits special needs students by letting them be part of an exciting school activity they might not otherwise be able to participate in. It also helps the high school students learn respect and acceptance of others.

“It puts a smile on my face. It’s just really heartwarming,” noted sophomore quarter back Alec Quintero. “Seeing these kids smile, it’s just a good feeling.”

“This speaks to the spirit of the Poly community and the RUSD community,” added Poly Principal, Dr. Michael Roe.

Miller said Poly is excited to keep the tradition of Super Bowl for Kids going and added that they likely will invite middle and high school students to participate next year.

Events like this truly demonstrates what makes Riverside such a unified city. We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

For the complete article, click here.

Riverside Ranks 39th Healthiest City In America

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Divya Raghavan and published in BetterDoctor on January 11, 2015.)

Photo Credit: City of Riverside


Health is the #1 topic on everyone’s mind as they make New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight, quitting smoking and exercising regularly are the top three New Year’s resolutions, together accounting for 3/4 of all the goals Americans set on January 1.

At BetterDoctor, they encourage you to use this year to take control of your health. But this may be easier in some locations than in others. Doctor access, doctor quality, recreational opportunities and health insurance options all vary widely from city to city. BetterDoctor crunched the numbers to determine which of the biggest fifty cities are the healthiest—and which have the worse habits and access to care. Riverside’s unmatched landscape, year-around outdoor activities, and attention to healthy living helped make #39 on the list, making it a location of choice for people seeking a healthy life style.

They used a data-driven approach to determine the healthiest cities in the United States, creating a 100-point composite index that uses the following three questions to assess health of a city:

1. Are residents fit and healthy? They used the American Fitness Index to assess fitness and general health of the residents. This composite index is comprised of many variables, including exercise rates, eating habits, chronic health problems and disease rates, access to parks and recreational activities and more.

2. Is medical care accessible and high-quality? They included the percentage of doctors in the city that are highly rated according to BetterDoctor’s comprehensive, seven-variable algorithm as well as the number of primary physicians per 100,000 residents.

3. Do residents have health insurance? They included the percentage of residents with health coverage to assess how feasible it is for residents to get medical care.

Rank Metro area AFI score Percentage of the population with health insurance Doctors per 1,000 residents Percentage of doctors who are highly rated on BetterDoctor Overall health score
39 Riverside, CA 47.8 80.00% 1.37 13.22% 35.08

For the complete list of rankings, click here.