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County preparing for El Niño storms

Elder Creek at BaselineClearing flood control channels, stockpiling sandbags and holding public outreach meetings in flood-prone areas are just a few things County departments are doing to prepare for El Niño storms this fall and winter.

The Board of Supervisors heard a special presentation today from County staff about what is being done throughout the county to prepare for El Niño.

“The County is doing everything possible to be prepared for heavy rains,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Protecting the public is our highest priority. But we are urging the public to do everything they can to protect themselves, their families and their homes. Surviving El Niño will be a team effort.”

The County Office of Emergency Services is working in conjunction with the Department of Public Works, the Sheriff’s Department, County Fire, and Special Districts – along with local, regional and state partners – to make sure all safety issues throughout the county are being addressed. Risks of flooding and mudslides are higher in areas that have recently experienced wildfires.

Flood control channels and culvert crossings are being cleared in anticipation of heavy rains and advance teams are advising homeless encampments to relocate.  More than 200,000 sandbags are being stockpiled and inmate hand crews have been trained in sandbagging, flood fight techniques and debris removal.  Additional weather stations were added throughout the county and the real-time rain gauge alert system is being updated. Sheriff’s deputies and County firefighters are practicing procedures for swift water rescue training.

Public outreach meetings have been held in Lake Arrowhead, Yucaipa and Victorville to update residents on the latest El Niño forecast and what County departments are doing to prepare. Residents were also offered flood preparation materials. More public meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Yucca Valley Community Center, 57090 Twentynine Palms Highway in Yucca Valley and at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center, 12505 Cultural Center Drive in Rancho Cucamonga. A meeting time and date for the San Antonio Heights/Mt. Baldy area will be announced soon.

An El Niño resources web page for residents to obtain information on storm preparation is available at http://www.sbcounty.gov/main/elnino.asp.

Need help saving your home?

homestrong usaHomeStrong USA, a nonprofit partner with San Bernardino County, is helping people save their homes.

HomeStrong USA may be able to help if you are earning less than before due to increased costs for employee benefits; possibly losing a home through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure; having trouble refinancing; need a loan modification and do not know where to get free help; and if your or your spouse is laid off, recently unemployed or affected by mandatory furlough days.

Find out if you qualify for the free “Keep Your Home California” program and meet with a HUD-approved housing counselor to identify solutions that best suit your situation.

Call HomeStrong USA  at 877-746-2182 or visit HomeStrongUSA.org/KYHCAP to schedule an appointment.

Click here for more details.

 

Election Day is Tuesday

votingThe San Bernardino County Elections Office reminds voters that the 2015 Consolidated Election is being held on Tuesday, Nov. 3.  Approximately 435,000 voters in San Bernardino County are eligible to vote in this election, which includes contests in the following areas:  Arrowbear, Baker, Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Helendale, Highland, Landers, Loma Linda, Montclair, Morongo Valley, Newberry Springs, Ontario, Phelan, Pinon Hills, Rancho Cucamonga, Running Springs, San Bernardino, and Upland.

Voters can find their assigned polling place:

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mail ballot voters have already received their ballots. Those voters who have not yet returned their voted mail ballots can drop them off:

  • At any mail ballot drop-off location during normal business hours from now through Election Day.
  • At the Elections Office, 777 E. Rialto Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92415, on Friday, October 30; Saturday, October 31; and Monday, November 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • At any one of the 72 polling places throughout the county from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

To find a mail ballot drop-off location, voters can use the Mail Ballot Drop-Off Map or the Polling Place Look-up Tool found on the Elections Office website.

Voted mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, November 3, 2015, and received no later than three business days after the election.

For more information about this election, visit the Elections Office website, www.sbcountyelections.com, or call (909) 387-8300.

Summit to share best practices to end homelessness

Homeless PersonThe San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership (SBCHP), in collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Health Office of Homeless Services, is hosting their 9th Annual Homeless Summit to inform stakeholders and community members of the current and future efforts that have been and will be made to address the issue of homelessness in San Bernardino County.

The Homeless Summit will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Ontario Convention Center, 2000 East Convention Center Way, in Ontario. The summit is free of charge to attendees.

“The County of San Bernardino is on track to completely eliminate veteran homelessness by the end of this year.  In addition, we are committed to ending chronic homelessness for children and families once and for all. The Homeless Summit will showcase our countywide approach to ending homelessness, and ultimately improving quality of life in every one of our communities,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who is also chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Guest speakers will include: Tom Hernandez, Office of Homeless Services; Sharon Green, Victor Valley Family Resource Center; Theodore “Ted” Alejandre, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools; Amy Sawyer, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH); and Philip Mangano, American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness. Gonzales will make closing remarks.

Interested individuals can learn more about the Homeless Summit or register to attend by visiting www.sbcounty.gov/dbh/sbchp or by calling Deanna Luttrell at (909) 386-8225 (7-1-1 for TTY users.)

The SBCHP works to develop countywide public and private partnerships and to coordinate services and resources to end homelessness in San Bernardino County. Through this, SBCHP is helping to achieve the Countywide Vision by working to create a sustainable system of community health, public safety, and housing. Information on the Countywide Vision, the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and the Department of Behavioral Health can be found at www.sbcounty.gov.

El Niño is coming, are you ready?

Elder Creek at BaselineThe San Bernardino County Fire Department Office of Emergency Services will host a series of public awareness meetings beginning tonight regarding this winter’s expected El Niño storm system.

The first meeting will be held Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at  Victorville City Hall, 14343 Civic Drive.

Meetings will also be held on:

- Monday, Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Yucca Valley Community Center, 57090 Twentynine Palms Highway in Yucca Valley
– Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center, 12505 Cultural Center Drive in Rancho Cucamonga

The public is strongly encouraged to attend. The best way to get prepared is to get informed. The first 50 attendees will receive a personal disaster preparedness kit from California Volunteers.

In its most recent El Niño Diagnostic Discussion, the National Weather Service along with the federal Climate
Prediction Center stated “there is an approximately 95 percent chance” that El Niño will continue through the winter
and begin to weaken in the spring.

After four years of drought, our ground is so dry and hard that it cannot absorb enough water when we do get
rain, which leads to dangerous flooding situations. Risks are higher for areas that have experienced wildfires
recently, specifically the risk of mudslides. According to the US Geological Survey, “post-fire landslide hazards
include fast-moving, highly destructive debris flows that can occur in the years immediately after wildfires in
response to high intensity rainfall events.”

Already this year we have seen multiple major flooding and mudslide events. In mid-October, flooding and mud
flows trapped hundreds of motorists in adjacent counties and forced the temporary closure of Interstate 5
through the Tehachapi Mountains. In early September, a couple on a first date got caught in a flash flood at Mill
Creek crossing in Forest Falls. While she was able to make it to shore, he did not make it out of the water alive.
In August, flash flooding in Riverside County washed out a bridge on Interstate 10.

San Bernardino County Fire Office of Emergency Services, the National Weather Service, San Bernardino County Public Works, and the state Department of Water Resources will update you on the latest El Niño forecast and how local
government is preparing. They will also provide flood preparation materials for residents.

For additional information, please contact the Office of Emergency Services at (909) 356-3998. To learn more
about flood preparation, visit www.sbcfire.org or visit the County’s El Niño page.

Affordable Bloomington project opens waiting list

affordablebloomingtonApplications are now being accepted for the first phase of the Bloomington affordable housing development for low-income seniors and family households.

Information about income requirements and applications can be found at www.bloomingtonapartmenthomes.com, at any County Library, or at the County Community Development and Housing Department in the County Government Center, 385 North Arrowhead Ave. in San Bernardino.

All applications received by Dec. 1 will be entered into a random drawing, the first 106 selected will proceed in the application process. Applications received after this date will be placed after the lottery in the order they are received. Occupancy is expected to begin March 2016.

The project has Spanish/Monterey-style architecture and will include carports and beautiful landscaping.   The development has easy access to freeways and shopping and will be a catalyst to the revitalization of the Bloomington community.  The development has two housing components: “Lilian Court” for seniors 55 years and older, and “Bloomington Grove” for families. The first phase consists of 70 units for seniors, 36 units for families, and a new 6,500 square foot County Library to serve residents and the community.

Lillian Court will have a separate access and will be an active 55+ adult community which features one and two bedroom homes that include central heating and air, balcony or patio and an all-electric kitchen. Community amenities include community room, spa, and laundry facilities. Some of the units are designed for mobility and hearing/sight impaired households.

Bloomington Grove will be a community which features two and three bedroom apartment homes that include an all-electric kitchen with refrigerator included, breakfast bar, plush carpeting, and high ceilings. Some of the units are available for mobility and hearing/sight impaired households. Bloomington Grove will include a community room, swimming pool, laundry facilities, and a tot lot playground.

For additional information or if you would like to have an application mailed to you, please contact Kathy Brann at kbrann@eda.sbcounty.gov or call (909) 387-4552.

Skillsoft now available for Library cardholders

Skillsoft22The San Bernardino County Library is excited to announce Skillsoft is now available among its collection of free online databases. Skillsoft provides online business and computer skill classes for free to all San Bernardino County cardholders.

Users may brush up on their Microsoft Office skills and take a PowerPoint or Word class or add to their resume with a business accounting or marketing course. Skillsoft provides a rich catalog of Microsoft and business courses for all levels, including those just beginning and those who are looking for more advanced skills. Each course is available on demand and can be repeated as often as desired. Courses are available wherever cardholders have Internet access and are frequently updated. Additionally, in course coaching is available through an online chat feature and online tech support is provided as well. For a complete listing of courses or to begin your Skillsoft course visit your local San Bernardino County Library or visit our website at www.sbclib.org.

The San Bernardino County Library System is a dynamic network of 32 branch libraries that serves a diverse population over a vast geographic area. The County library system strives to provide equal access to information, technology, programs, and services for all the people who call San Bernardino County home.

The library plays a key role in the achievement of the Countywide Vision by contributing to educational, cultural, and historical development of our County community.

For more information on the San Bernardino County Library system, please visit www.sbclib.org or call (909) 387-2220.

 

First 5 San Bernardino seeks pediatricians for Reach Out and Read

fbpostreachoutandreadFirst 5 San Bernardino and American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 2 have partnered to bring an early literacy initiative to pediatric care waiting rooms.

Reach Out & Read® is a national program that distributes books through pediatricians to connect reading as a vital practice for quality early childhood development. While in the waiting room, volunteer readers or parents themselves are provided books to read to their children, increasing the child’s interaction and exposure to words. Parents of children ages 5 and under will able to take prescribed books home to build their child’s library and early literacy capacity.

“This partnership leverages the timing of well-child check-ups to reinforce reading as a critical activity for brain development in the first five years of life,” says Karen E. Scott, Executive Director of First 5 San Bernardino. “A partnership with our local pediatricians through this program is timely as our county acknowledges the needs of literacy programs through the Vision2Read campaign. We hope to find pediatricians that are interested offering this added benefit of developmental support to their patients.”

Edward Curry, MD, FAAP, Vice President of American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 2 says, “Reach Out and Read is an opportunity to address the holistic well-being of our developing patients and cultivate bonding activities with their parents. The results from this program implementation across the nation are impressive and we’re looking to have that same impact on children in San Bernardino County.”

First 5 San Bernardino in partnership with American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 2 is hosting an informational dinner for pediatricians, pediatric subspecialists and pediatric medical representatives to introduce the program and gain interest from the local medical community. The first event, ROAR & Explore the Possibilities!, is set for Thursday, Nov. 5, at the office of First 5 San Bernardino located at 735 E. Carnegie Drive, Suite 150 in San Bernardino from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Details on an additional dinner targeting the High Desert region are forthcoming.

For more information on this initiative in San Bernardino County or to register and RSVP for the informational dinner, visit http://bit.ly/roarsanbernardino or call (909) 386-7706. For information on the national program, visit www.reachoutandread.org.

Invasive mosquitoes found in San Bernardino County

mosquitoOn Oct. 15, the Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services, Mosquito and Vector Control Program discovered Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito) in the city of Upland, and Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) in the city of Colton. Specimens were confirmed by the state Department of Public Health, Division of Communicable Disease Control Vector-Borne Disease Section.

The Asian tiger and the yellow fever mosquito bite primarily during the day, both indoors and outdoors. The adults are small (about a quarter-inch in size), are dark brown or black, and have distinctive white markings around the body and legs.Both species of mosquito are not native to California, but are found elsewhere in the U.S. and in many other regions of the world (the yellow fever mosquito prefers tropical and subtropical areas).The Asian tiger mosquito was discovered in Los Angeles County in 2011 and has recently been detected in Kern and San Diego counties. The yellow fever mosquito was discovered in urban areas of Fresno, Madera and San Mateo counties in 2013 and is now found in 12 California counties. Most recently, the yellow fever mosquito was detected in Riverside County and the city of Montclair.

Both species of mosquito have the potential to transmit several viral diseases including dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever, although the risk of transmission in California is still low.

At the beginning of the 2015 season, the Mosquito and Vector Control Program established a Mosquito Day-Biting Surveillance Program in anticipation of the arrival of invasive Aedes mosquitoes to the county. Specialized traps were placed in target areas to monitor changes in mosquito populations and to collect mosquitoes for disease testing.

Artificial or natural water-filled containers that are within or around the home are ideal habitats for these mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes can lay eggs in any container holding as little as a teaspoon of water– plant saucers, cups, bird baths, old tires. Eggs have the ability to dry out and survive for several months.

“I strongly encourage the public to be aware of mosquito activity around their homes as well as other outdoor areas and take action to protect themselves and their family by taking appropriate precautionary measures,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer. Residents can help control these aggressive and highly invasive mosquitoes by taking the following precautions:

  •  Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos lay eggs such as birdbaths, old tires, pet watering dishes, buckets, or even clogged gutters.
  • Clean and scrub any container with stored water to remove possible eggs.
  • Dress – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever you are outdoors to avoid mosquito bites.
  • DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, PICARDIN, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.

If you notice these small black and white mosquitoes in or around your home, please contact the Mosquito and Vector Control Program at (800) 442-2283. For more information, you can call us or visit our website at www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs, or the state Department of Public Health website at http://bit.ly/1u35fQx .

The book that changed your life

Vision2Read_Logo_FINALVision2Read, a year-long campaign designed to help improve literacy throughout San Bernardino County by connecting people to literacy programs, is well underway.

On Sept. 19, Vision2Read launched at the Family Reading Rally held at Cal State San Bernardino where 5,000 books donated by the Molina Foundation were given to children who attended.

Vision2Read is a project of the Countywide Vision, which seeks to support the success of every child from cradle to career. Experts say a key milestone in achieving that success is reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

About 69 percent of San Bernardino County third graders do not meet new California English language arts/literacy standards on the 2015 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests, which is lower than their peers in neighboring counties.

I invite you to join the Vision2Read campaign – whether you can help someone learn to read or if you or someone you know needs help reading. Visit Vision2Read.com for resources and information.

Literacy changes lives and inspires people to do great things. Watch this video and tell us what book changed your life using #Vision2Read on Twitter or Instagram @SBCVision or Facebook at San Bernardino Countywide Vision.

Thank you,

Robert A. Lovingood, Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors

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