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Community garden opens in Big Bear City

community garden big bearGardeners are invited to begin planting fresh fruits and vegetables at the new drought-friendly Ranch Community Garden located at 2050 Erwin Ranch Road in Big Bear City.

The site offers 10 by 12 feet garden plots filled with screened dirt and a nearby water source.

Plots are $50 per year, paid annually to the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, and are selling fast.  Gardeners are required to use only organic soil additives and planting materials and are encouraged to grow their favorite vegetables.

The garden was designed by Robbie Bos, Big Bear’s community garden guru, and built by the Park District maintenance staff, under Robbie’s watchful eye.  The property used to be a large grass soccer complex that was not drought-friendly, using 15,000 gallons of water per day. The community garden is expected to consume only 500 gallons per day with the added benefit of producing food.

“I am excited about this project because it supports the Countywide Vision of promoting healthy communities,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “This community garden will provide an opportunity for ‘farm to table’ produce and will teach people the benefits of healthy eating and sustainable agriculture.”

Thirty gardening plots are ready for planting and more will be available in the near future. The weather is perfect for growing some vegetables. Gardeners can sign up for a plot by logging on to www.BigBearParks.com and registering. Gardeners may also call the Park District at (909) 866-9700 for plot assignment, or come in to the office located at Meadow Park, 41220 Park Avenue, Big Bear Lake, CA, 92315.

Coming soon:  18 more garden plots, including two ADA-compliant raised beds, composting bins, wash sink and counter beds, fruit trees, redwood privacy fencing, benches, decorative education beds and large crop fields for fun crops like pumpkins and melons.

The Park District is also seeking groups and students interested in gardening, tending to large crop fields and educational beds, as well as assisting people new to gardening.

County CEO receives regional leadership award

Devereaux portraitCounty Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux today received a regional honor for his work with the Board of Supervisors and other county leaders on the Countywide Vision, as well as his 19 years of service as an executive with the County and the cities of Ontario and Fontana.

Mr. Devereaux became the 59th recipient of the Clarence A. Dykstra Award for Excellence in Government from the Southern California Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration during ceremonies in Los Angeles.

“My fellow Board members and I are proud of the work Greg has done to develop and achieve the Countywide Vision, which will make our county community a better place for our residents and investors,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Greg also deserves credit for working so closely and so well with the Board of Supervisors to get County Government back on the right track.”

Information on the Countywide Vision is available at www.sbcounty.gov/vision.

“It is very rewarding to work for a Board of Supervisors that is committed to good government and to achieving the vision the people of our county have for our community’s future,” Mr. Devereaux said.

“No one accomplishes anything alone in government,” Mr. Devereaux said. “In government, you always work as a team, and everything for which I have been given credit would not have been possible without the elected representatives, elected department heads, executive staff, line staff, and community members who have worked with me over the years.”

Mr. Devereaux has served as the County’s chief executive since early 2010. He served as city manager for Ontario from 1997 to 2010, and city manager for Fontana from 1993 to 1997.

The American Society for Public Administration, ASPA, is a 9,000-member organization of government and nonprofit administrators, scholars, educators, and students. ASPA advances the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration through its programs and services and fosters core public service values, including accountability and performance, professionalism, social equity, and ethics at the local, national and international levels.

The Southern California Chapter of ASPA was founded in 1948, has approximately 400 members, and is the second-largest chapter of ASPA. The Southern California Chapter’s mission statement is, “To inspire and promote leadership in the Southern California region.”

The Clarence A. Dykstra Award for Excellence in Government was first awarded in 1956 and is named for the nation’s first city manager, having held that position in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Dykstra also served as provost of UCLA from 1945 to 1950. Mr. Devereaux will join a long line of distinguished Southern California leaders who have received the award. Mr. Devereaux was nominated for the award by Phil Hawkey, executive vice president emeritus and assistant professor of Public Administration at the University of La Verne.

During the past four years, San Bernardino County has claimed nearly 150 national and state innovation awards for developing or improving services for county residents and investors. Earlier this month, the county led the nation in claiming 46 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties.

Public Health issues a heat advisory for the weekend

Rising TemperatureSan Bernardino County Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare has issued a heat advisory for residents. High temperature above 100 degrees are forecasted for the inland valleys, mountains and desert regions for the weekend. Residents are urged to take precautions that will help prevent heat-related illness.

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Find an air-conditioned Cooling Center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1, or online at www.coolingsb.org
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

For more information on the extreme heat visit the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health website here. Or visit the California Department of Public Health website here. 


Community Transformation plan to be launched

communityvitalsignsA plan to transform San Bernardino County into a healthier place to live, work, learn, and play will be formally unveiled during the National Innovative Communities Conference on June 23, 2015, at the Ontario Convention Center.  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors received and  filed the plan during Tuesday’s meeting. The Community Transformation Plan is currently available on the Community Vital Signs website at www.communityvitalsigns.org and copies will also be available at all local San Bernardino County Public Library branches.

“Releasing a transformation plan alone is not enough to achieve transformation,” said San Bernardino County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare. “It is a call for community action with an understanding that wellness extends beyond just physical health. On behalf of Community Vital Signs, I invite everyone to join us to create opportunities for health and wellness in all of our communities.”

The Community Transformation Plan, which will be presented during a conference breakout session entitled, Transforming Health in our Communities through Collective Impact, offers a common understanding of key issues facing County residents, and potential cross-cutting strategies and policy recommendations for addressing the priority areas of:  Education; Economy; Access to Health and Wellness; and Community and School Safety.  It is a culmination of over two years of data analysis, community engagement and feedback, and input from subject experts across a broad spectrum of sectors.  In addition to establishing collective goals and measures of success, the plan will be used for prioritizing existing activities, setting new priorities, aligning the use of resources, and mobilizing action among all sectors in a strategic manner.

The Community Vital Signs Initiative addresses the Wellness Element of the Countywide Vision.  Developed through collaborative efforts of residents, community organizations, and government agencies, it sets evidence-based goals and priorities that align and leverage resources to improve the overall health and well-being of the County’s residents.

Since 2013, the Community Vital Signs initiative has engaged more than 2,000 stakeholders from healthcare, education, public safety, business, government, transportation, faith-based and community-based organizations, and residents for developing a collective plan to create a healthy county through prioritized and strategic action.

Supervisors adopt balanced budget, restore services

sb_cologo-full_colorThe Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously adopted a balanced and fiscally responsible budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, investing in infrastructure, public safety, social services, and reserves, and supporting achievement of the Countywide Vision.

“This budget reflects the board’s desire to improve life in our communities and keep our county finances on the right track,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.

The $5.2 billion budget includes funding for medical and mental health services in county jails, which under state prison realignment are now being used to house inmates serving long sentences. It also includes additional funding to support increased social services caseloads, funding to begin restoration of services reduced during the recession – including fiscal auditing, ongoing funding for road maintenance, investments in capital improvement and transportation projects, and a sizable contribution to county reserves – referred to by some as a “rainy-day fund”.

“I commend the board for doing the hard and responsible work of government,” said County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux. “Rather than spending money flashy items that grab headlines, the board is investing in operating systems and facilities that will save money in the long term.”

Supervisor Curt Hagman praised the investment in reserve funding, something he said the state failed to do while he served in the state Assembly. Supervisor Josie Gonzales recognized county staff for creating a clear, easy-to-understand budget. And Supervisor Janice Rutherford commended “the entire organization for the incredibly innovative work this county does”, noting that earlier this month San Bernardino County led the nation in claiming 46 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties.

During the past four years, the County has claimed nearly 150 national and state innovation awards for developing or improving services for county residents and investors.

“There are some great improvements in this budget. The worst times are behind us,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Robert Lovingood.

Despite a small surplus in the coming fiscal year, the County is still looking at many more years of tight budgeting in response to projections showing a shortfall of $17.7 million to $40.8 million by 2020 when the cost of possible employee pay and benefit increases are factored in.

The recommended budget adopted today by the Board of Supervisors can be viewed at http://www.sbcounty.gov/CAO/Budget/.

Missing Persons Day helps families, friends make connections

sheriffFamily and friends impacted by the mysterious disappearance of a loved one should plan to attend Missing Persons Day on Saturday, June 20.

Sheriff-Coroner investigators hope to help families of missing persons make connections that could bring a missing person home and give people a chance to meet up with local law enforcement agencies dedicated to finding missing persons.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Inland Regional Center, 1365 S. Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino.

Missing Persons Day will allow people to file missing persons reports, and have a semi-private area to talk with missing persons professionals. Forensic professionals will be performing identification cheek swabs and helping people put together child identification kits.

If you are searching for a loved one please bring photos of the missing person; two of the missing person’s closely related family members from the mother’s side for the collection of identification cheek swabs; and X-rays, dental or medical records, or other identifying documents. Families and friends are also welcome to wear memorial T-shirts and bring posters to commemorate their missing loved ones.

For more information, visit www.missingpersonsday.com or click here for details.

County Fire urges firework safety on 4th of July

memorial day picIndependence Day celebrates the birth of our nation and gives us much to celebrate, but fireworks can be dangerous and should not be treated as toys. They cause blindness, maiming and even death when misused. Fireworks cause more fires on the Fourth of July than all other causes combined.
In California all fireworks that explode, shoot into the air or move along the ground are officially called “dangerous” and are illegal to possess anywhere in the state.
In unincorporated San Bernardino County possession of any fireworks is illegal. Fire and law enforcement officials will confiscate any fireworks and issue citations to the offender. If misused fireworks cause a fire, the responsible persons are likely to face criminal charges and liability for damages.
San Bernardino County Cities That Allow “Safe and Sane” Fireworks
Adelanto, Chino, Colton and Rialto, as well as specific locations in Fontana, Grand Terrace, and San Bernardino. Please call the fire departments in these cities for more information.
Safety Advice
If you’re thinking about using fireworks this July 4th, please keep these safety tips in mind:
Consider alternatives. For example, you can watch spectacular fireworks safely at a
community celebration.

  • Don’t allow children to use fireworks – even “Safe and Sane” ones – without adult supervision. Even “Safe and Sane” sparklers can ignite clothing easily.
  • Always read and follow label directions.
  • Always have water (garden hose/bucket) and a fire extinguisher within arm’s reach.
  • Always place fireworks on a firm, non-combustible surface before lighting.
  • Never alter fireworks.
  • Never re-light “dud” fireworks.
  • Never attempt to make your own. Leave the making of fireworks to the experts.
  • Never point, throw or mishandle fireworks.

Fire officials will be issuing citations for the illegal use of fireworks, with fines up to $1,250 for the first offense. Property owners may be cited if they allow fireworks to be possessed, stored or used on their property.
Due to the severe fire season, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and County Fire encourage residents to partake in a locally sponsored 4th of July celebration and leave the firework displays to the experts.
To report a fire emergency: 9-1-1 Fire dispatch (non-emergency): (909) 356-3805

Have a SAFE celebration!

Sign up for next week’s SANBAG General Assembly

Time is running out to sign up to attend the annual San Bernardino Associated Governments General Assembly next Thursday, June 18, at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Register today at http://bit.ly/SANBAG2015GA for this unique event celebrating SANBAG’s many accomplishments.

This year’s keynote address will be given by retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark.2015-SANBAG-GA-Evite-0611

SANBAG is the council of governments and transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County. SANBAG is responsible for cooperative regional planning and furthering an efficient multi-modal transportation system countywide. SANBAG serves all 2.1 million residents of San Bernardino County.

As the County Transportation Commission, SANBAG supports freeway construction projects, regional and local road improvements, train and bus transportation, railroad crossings, call boxes, ridesharing, congestion management efforts and long-term planning studies. SANBAG administers Measure I, the half-cent transportation sales tax approved by county voters in 1989.

The organization is unique among councils of governments and transportation commissions in California and is viewed by many as the model for integrated planning. Local governments within San Bernardino County find value in the monthly forum of city and county representatives who address issues of mutual concern with a unified voice.

County first in the nation with 46 NACo Awards

NACo Awards badgeInnovative and money-saving programs instituted by the County of San Bernardino won 46 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties, more than any other county in the nation.

NACo recognizes groundbreaking county government programs throughout the nation in the areas of children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, planning, information technology and health. The 46 programs recognized by NACo vary widely from helping homeless families find housing to improving the Land Use permit process for customers.

This year, the County broke its own record of 31 NACo Achievement Awards set in 2014. In 2013, the County won 18 NACo awards and has won an average of 14 NACo awards during the last 10 years.

This year, only 17 of California’s 58 counties won awards. San Diego County won 39, Los Angeles County won 25, Orange County won nine and Riverside County won two. Nationally, Maricopa County, Arizona came second to the County of San Bernardino with 43 awards.

“These awards emphasize what a great County we live and work in,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “County officials are continuously working together to provide our residents with the most innovative and efficient programs and services. I congratulate all recipients recognized with NACo awards.”

The following are the County’s award-winning programs:

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