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Frank Guevara appointed new director of Veterans Affairs

Guevara_10A retired colonel with more than 36 years in the United States Army has been appointed as San Bernardino County’s Veterans Affairs Director.

Frank Guevara, who retired from the Army in May 2013, will begin his new role on June 1, 2015.

“I’m excited to join Veterans Affairs and look forward to serving our veterans and their families,” Guevara said.

Guevara has been an application development manager for San Bernardino County’s Information Services Department since 1989. He has a BS in Computer Information Systems from Cal Poly Pomona and an MBA from the University of La Verne.

“We are pleased that Frank Guevara is San Bernardino County’s incoming Veterans Affairs Director,” said Linda Haugan, San Bernardino County Assistant Executive Officer. “Frank is a veteran with more than three decades of service to our country and we look forward to all that he will do for San Bernardino County’s veterans and their families.”

He is actively involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. During his time in the service, he held various positions of increased responsibility, including Officer in Charge of the Intelligence and Security Command, where he was in charge of 5,400 military and civilian personnel, providing intelligence personnel and equipment to US and NATO forces throughout Afghanistan. He was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia during his service.

County embarks on first-of-its-kind Countywide Plan

sb_cologo-full_colorSan Bernardino County today launched an effort to go further than any county or city has ever gone with a general plan by creating a web-based comprehensive “complete county” plan.

General plans are almost always strictly rule books for guiding development and growth. San Bernardino County’s General Plan, last updated in 2007, will go well beyond a traditional general plan to become a comprehensive Countywide Plan that complements and informs the Countywide Vision, www.sbcounty.gov/vision, by taking into account all services – not just land-use planning – provided by County Government, and the unique values and priorities of each community. It will serve as a guide for all County decision-making, financial planning, and communications.

The web-based format will provide a wealth of easily accessible data on how the County operates, and allow independent research using County data and information.  A development toolkit will guide users to resources that will help them develop priorities in their quest for a complete community.

The Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a contract with planning consultants PlaceWorks Inc. to assist the County in creating the Countywide Plan over the next four years. PlaceWorks has assembled a team of subcontractors specializing in economic analysis, transportation and environmental planning, data management, and web design.  Redlands-based Esri is part of the consultant team.

“This is a historic and pivotal moment for San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Some counties and cities have made their general plans more comprehensive than before, but no one has set out to create anything like the Countywide Plan, which will address and improve all areas of life in all of our great and diverse communities.”

The Countywide Plan will include:

– A County Policy Plan, which will be an update and expansion of the County’s General Plan and community plans for the unincorporated areas. It will be a new approach to County planning with a Regional Services Plan for social services, healthcare services, public safety, and other regional county services within both incorporated and unincorporated areas.

– A County Business Plan, which will contain governance policies and operational metrics that outline the County’s approach to providing municipal and regional services.

– A Regional Issues Forum, which will be an online resource for sharing information and resources related to issues confronting the County as a whole, including the work of the Countywide Vision element groups.

Community and stakeholder workshops are projected to begin by the end of the year, and final products will be subject to a public hearing process.

The Countywide Plan is one of a series of innovations San Bernardino County is creating and implementing to improve services and save money and time for taxpayers.

This month, San Bernardino County became the first Southern California county to use virtual building inspections to save travel costs and wait times. The County is also instituting a new system to identify and reduce welfare fraud.

During the past four years, the county has claimed more than 100 national and state innovation awards for developing or improving services for county residents and investors.

County employees honored for public service

award for excellenceA commitment to the Countywide Vision and improving the quality of life for San Bernardino County residents was celebrated at the Government Center Thursday during the Public Service Recognition Award for Excellence ceremony. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and Chief Executive Officer Gregory C. Devereaux recognized 42 County employees during the annual event that recognizes the everyday work of public servants. One employee from each County department was selected for an Award for Excellence, based on outstanding service to the county and its citizens.

“It is our goal to have a vibrant economy and a skilled workforce. Each of these honorees is a reflection of the Countywide Vision in action,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “We thank them for their continued commitment to improving the quality of life for those whom we serve.”

The honoree selection was based on specific criteria including customer service, initiative and leadership, accomplishments, and the commitment to the realization of our Countywide Vision. Following the awards presentation, honorees were recognized with a private reception in the government center rotunda, sponsored by the San Bernardino County Human Resources department.

This year marked the 26th year the County has participated in this national Public Service Recognition event. Public employees in the United States and around the world take part in the annual celebration honoring the men and women serving America as federal, state, and local government employees.

The following County employees were recognized as part of Public Service Recognition Week:

Robert Saldana, Administrative Office – Finance and Administration

Willo Couey, Aging and Adult Services

Paul Sharpe, Agriculture/Weights and Measures

Rikki Vahovick, Airports

Louis Tickemyer, Architecture & Engineering

Staci McClane, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center

Ed Liou, Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk

Joanna De La Cruz, Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector

Dr. Gurmit Sekhon, M.D., Department of Behavioral Health

Tina Sides, Department of Child Support Services

Sheila Muir, Children and Family Services

Anne Michelle Ellis, Children’s Network

Michelle Moreno, Clerk of the Board

Kathryn Brann, Community Development and Housing

Angela Rodriguez, County Counsel

Flerida Alarcon, District Attorney

Monique Carter, Economic Development

Dyana Peterson, Facilities Management

Shane Glaze, Fire

Scott McGrath, First 5

Gary Schiele, Fleet Management

Elena Zamuner, Human Resources

Mary Chase, Human Services Administration

Anju Kapoor, Information Services

Larita Manalili, Land Use Services

Michael Jimenez, Library

Craig Putnam, Museum

Joe Prologo, Preschool Services Department

Mark Bradley, Probation

Raymond Bell, Public Defender

Jason Phillippe, Department of Public Health

Richard Cho, Public Works

Debra Kirkpatrick, Purchasing

Michele Cohn, Real Estate Services

Wayne Hartel, Regional Parks

Kamelyta Plimley, Registrar of Voters

Brent Williams, Risk Management

Jassmyn Sanchez, Sheriff/Coroner/Public Administrator

Tim Millington, Special Districts

Richard Calles, Transitional Assistance Department

Malinda Hernandez, Veterans Affairs

Madeline Tsang, Workforce Development Department

Wanted: Summer youth volunteers at County Museum

shakeoutmuseumThe San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands is seeking youth volunteers, ages 14 through 17, to facilitate family activities during the museum’s Summer Adventures program, which begins June 15 and runs through early August.

“This program is run entirely by volunteers,” said Jolene Redvale, curator of education. “Our youth volunteers participate in training, and learn communication, organization and leadership skills during the program.” Youth who volunteer over the summer will be eligible to participate in on-going leadership volunteer corps programs in the fall and throughout the next school year, Redvale said. Summer activities for families include art making, games, participation activities, and a good dose of unplugged family time.

“We rely on our volunteers to make all of our public programs viable,” said Redvale. “They are essential to the museum visitor experience. Summer programs draw thousands of visitors. During the year, our popular Santa’s Pajama Party, family fun days, Train Days and Insect Festival events cannot happen without our dedicated volunteers.”

Program volunteers must plan to attend a mandatory training workshop on May 30, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are required to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours during the program.

Youth may submit a volunteer application on the museum website, www.sbcountymuseum.org. Applications are due by May 27. When received, staff will send a confirmation by email. Applicants should plan to attend the training even regardless of receipt of confirmation. For more information, contact sbcmreservations@sbcm.sbcountymuseum.gov or 909-798-8608.

Summer Adventures and the County Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors. Summer Adventures are supported in part by a contribution from Johnnie Ann Ralph.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 5pm. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

Fiscal overview shows progress, but tough times ahead

sb_cologo-full_colorThe economic recovery will allow the County to start restoring some levels of service that were reduced during the recession. However, the County is still looking at many more years of tight budgeting in response to projected shortfalls.

The Board of Supervisors today received the County’s annual fiscal overview, which projects $4.7 billion in revenue to address $4.7 billion in expenses for the fiscal year that begins July 1, including modest increases to community and fiscal oversight services that were cut to the bone during the recent economic downturn. It also includes prudent investment in basic County operating systems and infrastructure.

“The fiscal overview presented today shows that the County is continuing to focus on fiscal responsibility while slowly restoring service levels to where they were before the recession,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.

Projections show a modest $10.8 million budget surplus for the fiscal year that begins July 1. However, those same projections show 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.

“We have been able to provide more to our hard-working County employees, who make public service possible, in areas where recruitment and retention have become challenges,” Chairman Ramos said. “But we must be extremely cautious going forward. Putting the County on stable fiscal footing, and restoring and maintaining vital public service levels, have to remain the County’s top priority.”

Rather than using funding and going into debt to pay for flashy new projects, the County is concentrating on restoring funding that was previously cut and investing in infrastructure to avoid higher costs later. This includes repairing roads, replacing antiquated emergency communications and fiscal systems, making the best use of existing space instead of building or leasing new space, and gradually restoring drastic cuts made to parks, museums, elections, and the Auditor-Controller.

Rebuilding the Auditor-Controller function will help the County keep even greater control of spending and collecting.

The County is also focusing on innovations that save money and time for taxpayers. San Bernardino County is the first Southern California county to use virtual building inspections to save travel costs and wait times. The County is also instituting a new system to identify and reduce welfare fraud.

During the past four years, the County has claimed more than 100 national and state innovation awards for developing or improving services for county residents and investors.


Hundreds of pets waiting for you at adoption event

dogphotoadoptionHundreds of pets in need of loving homes will be available for adoption during the Homeward Bound Mega Pet Adoption Event on May 16 and 17 at Yucaipa Regional Park.

Animal rescue groups from throughout the county will have dogs and cats of all ages, sizes and breeds available for adoption at the two day event.

San Bernardino County’s Animal Care and Control (ACC), the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley (HSSBV) and Yucaipa Animal Placement Society (YAPS) will be hosting the event, now in its fourth year.

Parking will be at the Rick McCown Soccer Complex, which is directly adjacent to the area within Yucaipa Regional Park. The Soccer Complex has a distinct separate entrance from the park. Admission is free to the public. Gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hundreds of adoptable pets will be available to adopt.  Low-cost vaccinations and micro chipping will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, please call the San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control Program at 1-800-472-5609 or visit www.sbcounty.gov/acc.

The ‘Birthplace of Humanity’ shared at the County Museum

sbcmuseum entryFossils from the remote deserts of Africa have enriched human origin studies and excited popular interest for nearly a century. In 2013, an international team of scientists working at the Ledi-Geraru site in Ethiopia uncovered the oldest-known human-like remains ever discovered. This year, San Bernardino County Museum paleontologist Eric Scott joined the Ledi-Geraru team for a month in the field, searching for fossils of extinct animals. In honor of Mothers’ Day weekend, Scott will offer a travelogue of his adventures in the region that mothered us all in his illustrated presentation, “The Birthplace of Humanity” on Saturday, May 9, at 2:00 p.m. The lecture at the County Museum in Redlands is included with paid museum admission.

A specialist in fossils of extinct horses, Scott was invited by scientists from the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University to share his expertise as part of the research team at Ledi-Geraru. The team included paleoanthropologists, paleontologists, geologists, and archaeologists, each group of experts exploring different facets of the Ledi-Geraru site.

Scott’s participation as a researcher on the team led him to the wilds of the Afar region of Ethiopia, where he encountered scorching deserts, exotic wildlife, and fascinating local cultures – as well as rare and priceless fossils. His lecture will showcase pictures from throughout his time in Africa, sharing details of fossil hunting, camp life, and what it’s like to live and work alongside international scientists, students, and regional Ethiopian peoples while exploring human origins.

“The Birthplace of Humanity” and the County Museum’s other exciting programs and exhibits reflect efforts by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 am to 5pm. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.


Virtual inspections are the County’s next innovation

Final Government Works StampSan Bernardino County’s spirit of innovation, recognized in recent years with a record number of state and national awards, will soon make building inspections a whole lot easier for businesses and homeowners.

The county this week will become perhaps the first western U.S. jurisdiction to launch a virtual inspection program that will allow county building inspectors to review projects over the Internet.

“This is the kind of smart innovation that saves time, taxpayer dollars and improves customer service,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Robert Lovingood, who represents the First District.

By downloading a special application, permit applicants will be able to show county inspectors their projects and exchange information using their smartphones or tablets. Traditionally, applicants have had to wait at their project sites for a building inspector to arrive during a window of time. Virtual inspections will take place at a precise time, eliminating the wait.

“Our customers deserve the best service we can provide,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Eliminating wait times is a major improvement in how the county conducts building inspections.”

The San Bernardino County virtual inspection program will be conducted on a pilot basis at first, only in the county’s desert and mountain communities, and will focus only on the simplest of projects, including water heater installations and roof inspections.

The desert and mountain communities were chosen because they pose the greatest challenges in obtaining a sufficient wireless data connection for the program to succeed. The pilot program, which will last at least 90 days, will also test the accuracy of the project site verification process and the clarity of the video signals. The goal during the pilot is to conduct two to three virtual inspections per week.

“Using technology to make the County’s inspection and permitting process more efficient will help residents and contractors save both time and money,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot project and to expanding the use of virtual technology to improve efficiencies throughout the County.”

During the past four years, the County of San Bernardino has claimed more than 100 state and national innovation awards for developing or improving services for county residents and investors. The awards have recognized the county’s efforts in emergency response, inmate re-entry, senior housing, public health, behavioral health, and economic development, to name a few.

This project helps fulfill several of the County’s Board-adopted Goals and Objectives, including achievement of the Countywide Vision, www.sbcounty.gov/vision; Create, Maintain, and Grow Jobs and Economic Value in the County, Improve County Government Operations, and Operate in a Fiscally-Responsible and Business-Like Manner; and Ensure Development of a Well-Planned, Balanced, and Sustainable County.

Many of the county’s other innovations are featured here on CountyWire under the category “Government Works.”

“San Bernardino County has a solid record of innovation,” Vice Chairman Lovingood said. “We will continue working to leverage technology and innovative thinking to deliver better results to taxpayers.”


Join the Friends of the PE Trail at the Cucamonga Challenge

Hundreds of runners, walkers, and cyclists are expected for the 10th Annual Cucamonga Challenge starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at Central Park in Rancho Cucamonga. The Cucamonga Challenge, presented by the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail, was created as a lifelong initiative to challenge individuals with their own fitness goals, from couch to trail to intermediate and expert fitness levels.

run1The annual Cucamonga Challenge is a family event, which is held to encourage health and wellness goals while connecting with the community. The Countywide Vision recognizes that wellness is a key element in our community, and is essential toward attaining educational goals and a robust economy. The realization of the Countywide Vision depends on support, participation, and leadership from all community stakeholders, including non-profit organizations.

Join us to support the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail in its efforts to promote the use of the 21-mile Pacific Electric Trail in the Inland Empire and contribute to the achievement of the Countywide Vision by fostering wellness.

The event is open to all levels. The Cucamonga Challenge will consist of five events:

* 5K

* 10K

* 35-mile Bike Ride

* 8-mile Pacific Electric Trail Ride

* 1-mile Family and Pet-Friendly Fun Runrun2

For route maps, registration and other information, visit: www.CucamongaChallenge.com. Costs vary depending on the event. The event location is: Central Park, 11200 Baseline Road, in Rancho Cucamonga.

Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail, a 501 c(3) organization, promotes the use of the 21-mile Pacific Electric Trail to encourage a healthy lifestyle. The PE Trail is a rail-trail that connects five cities: Rialto, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, and Montclair. All funds raised from the Cucamonga Challenge will support trail amenities such as benches, rest stops, bike racks, pet stations, and drought-tolerant landscaping.

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