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County employee scores appointment from governor

Gov. Jerry Brown today announced he has appointed San Bernardino County Public Works traffic chief Mohammad Qureshi of Redlands to the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists.

formal with glasses Qureshi has been chief of traffic at Public Works of since 2012. He was regional director and senior project manager at LIN Consulting from 2007 to 2012, director of the Jackson State University Institute for Multimodal Transportation from 2006 to 2007 and assistant professor and director at the University of Missouri-Rolla’s Missouri Local Transportation Resource Center from 2000 to 2006. Qureshi was a research specialist at the University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research from 1998 to 2000 and senior associate at the Resource Systems Group Inc. from 1995 to 1997. Qureshi earned a Doctor of Philosophy in civil engineering from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Science in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sabre tooth lecture at Victor Valley Museum

Smilodon from Scheele Family at CMNHSabre-toothed cats, those amazing icons of the Ice Ages, roamed western North America more than 10,000 years ago. Armed with long, curved, sabre-like canine teeth, these fearsome predators have captured our imaginations for decades. Join Eric Scott, the San Bernardino County Museum’s curator of paleontology, at the Victor Valley Museum on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 2 p.m. as he discusses what we know—and what we don’t know—about these remarkable animals and their forebears, showcasing new fossil discoveries from the museum collections. This presentation is free with paid museum admission.

“When one thinks of the Pleistocene Epoch—the ‘Ice Ages’—one frequently envisions sabre-toothed cats,” said Scott. “If you’re a paleontologist but you don’t study Tyrannosaurus or Triceratops, you can still win people over by telling them about sabretooths.”

But the popularity of these extinct animals—even extending to their designation as California’s official state fossil—belies how much we know about them. “How did they hunt?” wonders Scott. “How did they use those sabre-like teeth? What did they like to eat? Did they hunt alone, or in groups? Scientists are asking all sorts of questions like these – and the answers aren’t yet as clear-cut as we might like.”

Sabre-toothed cats are the second most common large mammals at the world-famous Rancho La Brea “tar pits” in nearby Los Angeles. Elsewhere in the American southwest, these predators are far more rare. But recent discoveries by Museum scientists in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada have confirmed that sabre-toothed cats roamed there, as well. These discoveries shed new light on how these animals may have hunted their prey during the Pleistocene Epoch.

The Victor Valley Museum is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum located at 11873 Apple Valley Road in Apple Valley. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 (adult), $4 (senior or military), and $2.50 (student). Children under 5 and San Bernardino County Museum Association members are free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org.

The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669.

Spring forward and check your home safety devices on Sunday

smokedetectorOn Sunday March 9 when we spring one hour ahead, make sure to change batteries in all your home safety devices (smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights, etc.).  Working smoke alarms are critical to helping save your life.  Each month news reports have stressed how important smoke alarms were in either saving a life or unfortunately reporting that someone had died in a home with non-working or no smoke alarms.

If you installed the 10-year lithium smoke alarms then you have eliminated the need for batteries every year; however, a little spring cleaning for your home safety devices will ensure they are free of dust or defect.  Make sure your other devices have new batteries or just check to see if batteries are present.  Checking all your home safety devices can be a family activity which will reinforce to all that safety is a top priority.  Having the devices is the first step, but making sure they are working and having a plan brings safety full circle.

Other steps to help your family stay safe include residential home sprinklers, a home escape plan, and general preparedness for various natural disasters, such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes, etc.  Having a plan and making sure you have all the equipment/items you need will help in your families safety.  For more life safety information, visit www.sbcfire.org.

Mountain lion attack occurs in North Fontana, residents warned

Mountain LionThe Rancho Cucamonga Police Department would like to alert area residents of a recent vicious mountain lion attack in a residential area of north Fontana.  The incident occurred approximately one-quarter of a mile from the city of Rancho Cucamonga.  Residents are being warned to avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active- dawn, dusk, and at night.

Today at approximately 3:30 a.m., officers from the Fontana Police Department responded to the 4100 block of Fox Borough Drive for a report of a mountain lion attack against a 100 pound German Shepherd in a backyard located in the northern part of a Hunter’s Ridge neighborhood. The owner heard the dog in distress and went outside to find a large mountain lion standing over his deceased pet displaying a very aggressive behavior toward the resident.  When officers arrived they found the mountain lion in the front yard. Officers shot at the mountain lion and scared it into the canyon. The mountain lion kept returning and coming towards the officers in front of the residence a total of four times before disappearing into the canyon.  There is no evidence that the lion was ever struck by any rounds.

The Rancho Cucamonga Police Department has deemed the mountain lion an imminent threat to public safety.

Mountain lions are nocturnal animals.  Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant, keep pets inside and call 9-1-1 if you spot the mountain lion in your neighborhood.

 

New data shows high percentage of tobacco marketing to kids in the county

publichealthNew data reveals that the County of San Bernardino has a significantly higher percentage rate than the state average of stores that sell candy, mint, and liquor flavored non-cigarette tobacco products near schools. This finding is part of new data released today on the availability and marketing of tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy and healthy food products in stores that sell tobacco – the first time all three categories of products have been analyzed together.

The large survey collected information from more than 7,300 diverse retail stores – including convenience, supermarket, liquor, tobacco, small market, discount, drug, and big-box stores – in all 58 counties, with the goal of shedding light on which products are available and promoted in our communities. Nearly 700 public health representatives, community volunteers and youth participated in the survey, which was conducted from July through October 2013.

“We have made a lot of strides in recent years but, as these survey results show, the tobacco industry and other companies offering unhealthy products are continuing to find new ways and new products to entice our youth, like flavored cigars which are the same price as a pack of gum. These are being marketed throughout our county, many times in stores just a few blocks from schools,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, County Health Officer. “We are committed to working with retailers, partners, and parents throughout the County of San Bernardino to protect our kids and make our communities healthier. We all must be educated about how the places we shop are influencing unhealthy behaviors.”

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Business leader selected to head Real Estate Services

terrythompsonTerry W. Thompson, an experienced and highly qualified manager with deep roots in the region’s business community, has been tapped to serve as the County’s Director of Real Estate Services, succeeding the retiring Dave Slaughter.
The Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved an employment contract with Thompson, who begins with the County on March 10.
Thompson will oversee 153 employees in Architecture and Engineering, Facilities Management and the Real Estate Division with multiple budgets that aggregate to nearly $380 million. Currently, Architecture and Engineering is managing 275 projects throughout the county, Facilities Management maintains and repairs County-owned facilities, and Real Estate Services manages budgets for rent payments and property management totaling $58.4 million.
“We are excited to have a professional of Terry’s caliber join the organization,” said County Chief Executive Officer Gregory C. Devereaux. “His experience and business background will make for a seamless transition and help the department continue to successfully manage projects.”
Thompson has nearly 30 years of experience in real estate management, development, acquisitions and leasing in the commercial real estate business throughout Southern California.
He is a member and past president of the Southern California chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), a prestigious commercial real estate development association.
Thompson comes to the County from W3 Partners LLC in Aliso Viejo where he was managing principal. Over the years, Thompson has managed assets and portfolios in excess of 13 million square feet of commercial properties, coordinated the marketing of land sales and handled a variety of acquisition activities.
Thompson graduated with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business.

State of the County highlights collaboration and successes

2014_StateOfTheCounty_1Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford gave an inspiring and captivating speech during the State of the County on Wednesday night.

Rutherford emphasized that through collaboration, we can achieve the goals of the Countywide Vision. During her presentation, Rutherford gave a rundown of the unique and important role County government plays in our everyday lives with statistics that reveal the work County departments engaged in over the last year. More than 1,000 county residents, County employees, government leaders, business leaders, and community leaders attended.

Poet David Bowden gave a special performance tailored to the event in which he compared collaboration to how water, soil and seed are essential for growth.

Watch a snippet of Rutherford’s presentation here: http://youtu.be/sgkXJRedROg

Watch the full presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI3vK12Pbao

Visit www.sbcountyadvantage.com for more information about State of the County.

2014_StateOfTheCounty_11

County forecast: Heavy rains and forceful winds beginning Friday

Falling Rain

Rainfall and wind beginning early Friday may cause unsafe conditions throughout areas of San Bernardino County, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts from 40 to 45 mph are expected in the valleys but mostly in the desert communities of Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms.

Rain began falling overnight Thursday but the storm is expected to pick up on Friday.

National Weather Service forecasters predict:

  • A foot of rainfall in Crestline and other south facing mountain areas where rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour can occur
  • A half foot to a foot in Lytle Creek
  • Four to five inches in Rancho Cucamonga and other foothill  communities
  • One to two inches in the High Desert
  • Ten inches in Yucaipa and Forest Falls

These rainfall amounts may lead to flash flooding.

The heavy rains on Friday will transition to showers through Friday night and Saturday, ending on Sunday.

Although the sun will peek out of the clouds on Saturday, rainfall is expected to continue throughout the day.

County crews and departments are mobilized to address storm-related issues.

Residents are advised to stay clear of flood control debris basins and channels. Persons can be swept away by a surge of water runoff, mudflow, or debris flow. Do not drive where water is over the road as flood waters can rise rapidly and sweep a car and its occupants away.

Sandbags are available at the following locations: County Sandbag List

For information about road closures and to report road and flood problems, visit the Department of Public Works website at www. sbcounty.gov/dpw/

In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

 

State of the County by the numbers

chairsotc

San Bernardino County is the largest county in the world and one of the nation’s most populous. The diversity and volume of services County Government provides might still surprise you. During tonight’s State of the County speech, Chair Janice Rutherford cited a number of quirky and interesting facts about the County:

2,076,399 – County population (more than 14 states)
20,160 – Size of the county in square miles (larger than Switzerland)
5,981 – Tires purchased by County Government in 2013
200 – Mosquito Fish on-hand for county residents with fish ponds
676 – Copies of “Green Eggs and Ham” in County libraries
5,825 – Average daily jail population
64 – Species at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge
160 – Animals at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge
1,134,088 – Cookies baked by the County in 2013
22 – Rare-earth minerals and metals mined in the County
15,000 – Toothbrushes purchased by the County in 2013
10,000 – Tubes of toothpaste purchased by the County in 2013
65,464 – Environmental Health inspections during fiscal year 2012-13
258,148 – Outpatients seen at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in 2013
0 – Deficiencies found during a recent inspection of ARMC
115,000 – Arrowhead Regional Medical Center ER visits, 2013
278,560 – Latex gloves purchased by the County in 2013
19,953 – Gas pumps inspected by the County in 2013
$56 million – Saved by county consumers in 2013 thanks to scale/gas pump/scanner inspections
7,000 – Coloring books purchased by the County in 2013
6,500 - Crayon 4-packs purchased by the County in 2013
80 - Sentinel chickens to warn the County about impending disease
200,000 – Bird eggs at the County Museum
185,742 – Calls for Sheriff service in unincorporated County areas in 2013
1,403 – Square miles covered by the Victor Valley Sheriff’s station (just shy of Rhode Island)
8,000 - Disposable diapers purchased by the County in 2013
15,171 – Public Health immunizations during fiscal year 2012-13
102,450 – Apples purchased by the County in 2013
250 – Bridges maintained by County Public Works
1,805 – Number of Sheriff’s volunteers
3,800 – Poll workers who served during the 2012 presidential election
1,171 – People who received job training through the Workforce Investment Board in 2013
13 - Aircraft Owned & Operated by the County

County schools success highlighted at State of Education Address

drgarythomas

California’s educational system is undergoing tremendous change as it transitions to new state standards, as well as new ways public schools receive funding and have to account to their communities. Those were highlights of San Bernardino County Superintendent Gary Thomas’ annual State of Education Address on Tuesday.

Thomas delivered his address at the California Theatre for the Performing Arts before a crowd of hundreds of educators, as well as elected officials and dignitaries.

“We are not strangers to change in education,” Thomas said. “For years, even decades, we’ve responded to educational trends, special legislation and the latest in school reform.”

Among the big changes in California are adoption of the new Common Core State Standards that will be implemented statewide for the 2014-15 academic year, as well as a new funding model from the state called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

Along with the funding model, schools and districts have to be more accountable for how they are spending their money through the adoption of Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP).

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