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The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. And why not? Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, picnics and fireworks.

And yet there is a very dark side to this great holiday. For many, the celebration includes alcohol, and the holiday can quickly go from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking. From 2009-2013, nearly 40 percent of ALL traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. Of the five major holiday periods of the year in California, the Fourth of July ranks as having the highest daily fatality rate.

Over the Fourth of July holiday period in 2013 alone (6 p.m. July 3 to 5:59 a.m. July 8), 199 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes on our nation’s roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In California, 28 individuals were killed in alcohol- involved crashes.

Construction has begun on Cypress Avenue and Terracina Boulevard as part of the City’s PARIS Resurfacing Project. Work will begin on Fern Avenue later next month.

Repaving on Cypress Avenue west of San Mateo Street and on Terracina Boulevard from Cypress to Fern Avenue is anticipated to begin the week of July 6 and is anticipated to be completed by the end of the week.

Repaving on Fern Street between Eureka and Center streets is expected to begin later in July. A date for construction to begin has not been determined.

A vegetation fire burned 4.9 acres of brush in south Redlands Monday morning.

A concerted effort by the Redlands Fire Department and resources including fixed wing aircraft and a helicopter, dozers and hand crews from CalFire, San Bernardino County Fire Department and the U.S. Forestry Service quickly contained the blaze which was first reported at about 10:40 a.m. Monday, June 29, in a brushy ravine below the 200 block of Edgemont Drive.

No structures were damaged. One firefighter suffered a minor burn to his chest from a hot ember. The fire was contained shortly before 12:30 p.m.

Redlands Police arrested a man Friday, suspected in an auto theft and attempted kidnapping of two young children.

Cory Michael Ahumada, 24, of Highland, was arrested without incident at about 7 p.m. Friday, June 26, after Redlands investigators developed information that he was at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in the City of Highland. Redlands detectives responded to the casino, located Ahumada and contacted San Manuel security, who took him into custody.

During the investigation detectives recovered stolen property belonging to the victim. The stolen car has not been recovered.

Redlands Police are seeking the public’s help in locating a suspect in an auto theft and attempted kidnapping of two young children.

Cory Michael Ahumada, 24, of Highland, has been identified as a suspect in the auto theft and attempted kidnapping that occurred at 12:41 p.m. Sunday, June 21, at a 7-Eleven gas station at 1161 Lugonia Ave.

The victim parked her vehicle, a 2002 Acura TL, at the gas pump and left her two daughters, ages 10 and 2, in the vehicle with the engine running while she went inside to pay. Security video footage shows the suspect approach the vehicle on foot, get in the driver’s seat and drive away as the victim runs out of the store.

 As the car is driven away, the 10-year-old girl grabbed her sister and jumped from the moving vehicle. The children can be seen jumping from the vehicle in the security video. Both children sustained minor abrasions.

The Redlands Police Department will conduct a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint in an undisclosed location within the City limits from 10 p.m. Thursday, June 25, until 3 a.m. Friday morning. 

Funding for the checkpoint is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

DUI checkpoints are components of the Redlands Police Department’s Responsible Redlands initiative. The Redlands Police Department, with the support of state agencies, including the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Office of Traffic Safety, the County of San Bernardino, and local businesses and community groups, launched the initiative in late August 2013 to focus on enforcing alcohol laws.

The City is seeking volunteers for a General Plan Steering Committee to advise the Planning Commission and City Council during the General Plan update.

Residents who live within the City and its planning sphere are invited to submit an application. Candidates should have lived within the City or its planning sphere for at least three years.

Improvements to East State Street and other streets in Historic Downtown Redlands are set to begin in July, part of the City’s PARIS Resurfacing Project.

Work is set to begin improving East State Street as well as Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and portions of Fifth Street between Redlands Boulevard and Citrus Avenue. While the streets will be closed to automobile traffic for up to two weeks, starting July 13, 2015, all businesses will remain open and the City is taking additional measures to assist visitors in reaching their destinations along those streets.

A family of six, including two young children, lowered themselves out of a second-floor apartment window to the waiting arms of a firefighter/paramedic and police officers after a fire on the apartment patio blocked their exit through the front door.

Firefighters responded at 6:41 p.m. Sunday, June 21 to the report of a fire at an apartment at 106 W. Pennsylvania Avenue with people trapped inside. A paramedic engine and police were the first to arrive and found the family escaping through a bedroom window as smoke billowed into the apartment.

Firefighters and paramedics from Redlands, Loma Linda, Mentone, Colton, Highland and Grand Terrace responded to a two-alarm fire at an apartment complex on Barton Road Sunday afternoon.

The fire was reported at 2:31 p.m. Sunday, June 21, in a multi-unit building in the complex at 1601 Barton Road. When firefighters arrived two upper units were fully engulfed with flames visible coming from the roof.

All occupants were out of the building when firefighters arrived on scene. One civilian maintenance worker was transported to the hospital with difficulty breathing. No other injuries were reported.

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