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Actor Cheech Marin Moves Closer To Opening Chicano Art Center In Riverside

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Cheech Marin, top left, during a recent Zoom event in affiliation with the Riverside Art Museum.

Cheech Marin (Cheech & Chong, Born in East L.A.) is one step closer to opening a center dedicated to Chicano art in Riverside.

State officials announced in 2017 that it will commit $10.7 million to the project, and late last week, the City Council approved a management agreement and a bid for the construction company.

Marin is one of the world's leading collectors of Chicano art, and his collection will be the anchoring exhibit at the Cheech Marin Center, planned to open down the road the Riverside Art Museum this Fall.

Drew Oberjuerge, the museum’s executive director, said that while construction is underway on the center and museum doors are closed during the pandemic, Marin’s project has been active online. The actor has been hosting public Zoom conversations, including a recent event with Carlos Santana.

“Cheech is talking to these artists and these creative people to get a deeper understanding about their art, what's motivated them in the past,” Oberjuerge said. “We've also had [talks with] photographers who documented the protests around the Chicano moratorium.”

Marin has spoken on the Riverside Art Museum’s Instagram about why he's drawn to the artists in his collection.

The Rain Will Keep Coming This Week

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Rain falls in L.A. on Monday, Dec. 28. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

The rain that blanketed L.A. on Saturday has tapered off, but is likely to return tonight and continue into Monday.

Some areas in SoCal may get snow at elevations as low as 2,500 to 3,000 feet.

Adam Roser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Big Bear will get six-to- eight inches of snow, and towns nearby could get even more.

“Places just to the west of Big Bear, or Lake Arrowhead, will probably see a foot, maybe more,” he said.

The rain is expected to be periodic on Monday night and Tuesday — “probably a beautiful day to go see the snow in the mountains,” said Roser — and return at its heaviest on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, when total rainfall could hit two inches.

Experts are advising residents to drive with extra caution, particularly through higher elevations, and to expect snow and ice on mountain highways such as the Grapevine and the Cajon Pass.

Second Vaccination Supersite Opens In Orange County

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A dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Chava Sanchez/LAist

A new vaccine distribution supersite is open in Orange County, the second to open in the area following the launch of the Disneyland site on Jan. 13.

The new location, at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, is in the southern part of the county.

Molly Nichelson, a spokesperson for the Soka site, said that workers there can administer around 3,000 vaccinations per day.

“We have approximately 600,000 people in the tier 1A in Orange County,” she said, “so obviously we're trying to make sure we can get through those people as quickly as possible.”

Wait times at Disneyland have been between one and two hours, so seniors coming to Soka University are encouraged to bring a chair while they wait, and an umbrella for the rainy weather.

Orange County's vaccine supersites all require appointments, which can be made online. The County has also set up a multilingual hotline for questions about the online appointment system, at 714-834-2000.

A Skin Patch To Deliver The COVID-19 Vaccine

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A healthcare worker at UCI Health Center is vaccinated against COVID-19. Healthcare workers across California will be amongst the first to recieve the COVID-19 vaccine as hospitals are overwhelmed. Chava Sanchez/LAist

Local researchers are working to turn the COVID-19 vaccine into an easy-to-deliver skin patch.

Similar to nicotine patches used to quit smoking, such liquid-coated swaths are already used for vaccine administration to guard against other illnesses.

Dr. Lbachir BenMohamed, who is leading the research at UC Irvine's School of Medicine, said that switching the coronavirus vaccine from an injection to a patch will make distribution easier.

“Delivering the vaccine is six times more expensive than the vaccine itself,” he said. “If we come up with something that you can just put in an envelope and ship it to a remote area, I think that is going to be a game changer.”

A vaccine patch would also eliminate the need for the constant cold storage currently required for some of the approved vaccines.

BenMohamed’s lab started testing the vaccine patch with mice late last week. If the trials are successful, the patch will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.

Bombing at Anti-LGBTQ Church Draws FBI Investigation

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The FBI is investigating vandalism and an explosion at an area church known for its anti-LGBTQ stance.

Police and firefighters responded to smoke coming from the First Works Baptist Church in El Monte just after 1 a.m. on Saturday. The walls were vandalized and the windows were broken. No injuries were reported.

Church pastor Bruce Mejia has been the target of protests for preaching again same-sex relationships, and for making derogatory statements about women, Jewish people, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classified the church as a hate group in 2019.

On Jan. 17, Keep El Monte Friendly, an activist group devoted to inclusivity, held a protest outside First Works against what it calls the church’s hateful rhetoric. The group has since cancelled a demonstration planned for today, and issued a statement condemning the attack.