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Environment Element Group takes step toward preservation

The Countywide Vision Environment Element Group on Wednesday prioritized what additional research is needed to develop a comprehensive approach to the preservation and conservation of habitat for threatened and endangered species in San Bernardino County.

The Group selected as its next steps:

  • The creation of a countywide inventory of conservation lands in the county and establishment of a system for tracking new conservation land acquisitions
  • The completion of a detailed analysis of where threatened and endangered species live in comparison to known conservation lands to identify any gaps in protection of those focal species

Joshua Tree WildflowersThis was the fourth time in the past year that the Group consisting of experts in environmental protection, land use, infrastructure, utilities, business and regulatory agencies has met to develop a plan for how to best balance habitat preservation and conservation with expected population and economic growth.

Dudek, an environmental and engineering consulting firm hired last year by San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), has been assisting the Group with the creation of a framework and plan for developing a regional conservation approach.

The additional research tasks chosen by the Group were among the potential next steps suggested by Dudek. The Group decided it needed the information from the countywide conservation lands inventory and habitat gap analysis to better understand the benefits and limitations of possible conservation approaches.

The Group will request financial assistance from the County of San Bernardino and SANBAG to complete the research.

In December and January, the Group reached agreement on a set of policy and biological principles to guide future preservation and conservation of habitat for threatened and endangered species in a way that is beneficial for the health of the environment, the economy, and the citizens of San Bernardino County.

Last year, Dudek staff collected information about existing conservation efforts throughout the county. They provided the Environment Element Group with their insights from their interviews of officials with cities and towns, the County, regional planning and infrastructure entities, environmental protection groups, resource conservation districts, state and federal regulatory and resource agencies, including:

  • Some municipalities have addressed habitat conservation by designating lands as open space, adopting hillside protection ordinances, and preparation of individual habitat conservation plans.
  • State and federal wildlife agencies would like to see a connected and comprehensive approach to habitat conservation.

Anyone with valuable insights into conservation planning efforts anywhere in the county is encouraged to contact Josh Lee at SANBAG – jlee@sanbag.ca.gov.




Middle School Students To Attend STEM Day At Auto Club Speedway

Eleven middle schools in San Bernardino and Riverside counties will attend the sixth annual Auto Club Speedway STEM Day on March 20 as part of the Auto Club 400 Weekend. The STEM Day event will be held at the speedway beginning at 9 a.m.

More than 500 students are expected to participant in the event, which will feature special guest speakers Daniel Suarez, a NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver; Dakota Sun, National Hot Rod Association Sportsman Motorcycle National Event Champion; and Ivan “Iron Man” Stewart, an off-road racing legend.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are a foundation to the motorsports industry. Students will spend the day participating in a series of hands-on activities demonstrating how concepts are used in the sport of racing.

Students attending will receive a pair of reserved grandstand tickets to the Auto Club 400 race on March 22, courtesy of sponsor King Taco.

Participating schools – and their districts — include:

Almeria Middle School, Fontana Unified School District; Alliance_for_Education

Big Bear Middle, Bear Valley Unified;

Cobalt Institute for Math and Science, Victor Valley Union High School District;

Grace Yokley Middle, Mountain View;

Kolb Middle, Rialto Unified;

Mesa View Middle, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified;

Ranchero Middle, Hesperia Unified;

Upland Junior High, Upland Unified;

Vanguard Prep, Apple Valley Unified;

Vineyard Junior High, Ontario-Montclair;

Vista Verde Middle, Val Verde Unified.

STEM Day is made possible with the funding from Alcoa Foundation; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Toyota Financial Services; John Elway’s Crown Toyota; Toyota Motor Sales; King Taco; and the Inland Empire United Way.

Educational partners teaming up with Auto Club Speedway include San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools’ Alliance for Education; Chaffey College; Ontario-Montclair School District; San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools; San Bernardino Community College District; San Bernardino Valley College; MESA Program; and University of California, Riverside.

IEEP honors SBCounty red-tape cutters

The Inland Empire Economic Partnership recently recognized the leaders of more than two dozen Inland Empire governments and agencies at its Second Annual “Turning Red Tape to Red Carpet Awards” reception, 14 of them representing San Bernardino County and the Countywide Vision’s Regional Goal of  establishing the county as a model in the state where local government, regulatory agencies and communities are truly business-friendly.

ieeplogoThe IEEP, the region’s largest economic development organization, honored the cities, counties and agencies that came up with innovative ways to enhance job growth and the local economy despite an often-difficult regulatory environment. These are the San Bernardino County agencies, departments and people that have gone the extra yard to grow the economy.

Business Retention and Expansion

FINALISTS: The San Bernardino Community College District for far exceeding its goals of hiring local people to work on capital improvement projects; City of Redlands for an aggressive downtown improvement project that was accomplished without the use of the city’s general fund.

Sustainable and Green Development

WINNER: City of Rancho Cucamonga for an automation project for numerous city departments that puts vital services online for the first time, dramatically reducing the amount of paper and ink that must be used as well as the need to drive to city offices.

RUNNER UP: San Bernardino Associated Governments, for a regional plan to reduce greenhouse gases in compliance with state laws that brings simplicity and consistency for 21 cities in San Bernardino County.

OTHER FINALIST: San Bernardino Community College District, for alternative energy measures in construction, landscaping and energy consumption, along with other environmental strategies.

Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse

FINALISTS: City of Ontario, for a downtown office building project the will provide jobs while maintaining the character of the area; City of Rialto, for its repurposing a blighted area and helping create that land into the site of a 718,000-square-foot logistics center.

Public-Private Partnership

RUNNER-UP: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which rallied other agencies to work with the promoters of the San Manuel Pavilion and other venues, achieving the twin goals of smooth operations and public safety.

Response to Globalization

WINNER: San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department, for using GIS technology to develop a computerized system that lets would-be developers, even developers in other countries, to self-search vacant land in the county.

Tales of Two Cities: Stories of Interagency Cooperation

WINNER: City of Rancho Cucamonga Library, for developing a program, in partnership with Riverside, Ontario and others, to establish new training parameters for a next generation of librarians in the Inland Empire.

RUNNER-UP: City of Fontana, for bringing other cities and agencies on board to solve issues relating to Interstate 10 interchange development, which helped Fontana redevelop some blighted areas.

OTHER FINALISTS: San Bernardino and Riverside counties, along with UCR and Los Angeles, for implementing the state’s Innovation Hub economic development project; The cities of Yucaipa and Calimesa, which work together on numerous projects despite being in two different counties.

Leadership in Public Service

RUNNER-UP: Kristen Riegel, the Supervising Hazardous Materials Specialist for the San Bernardino County Fire Prevention District. She has worked hard to ensure that businesses can operate with a minimal amount of government-imposed fees and still not compromise the environment or the safety of workers. Under her guidance, fees have come down for 20 percent of the businesses that are covered.

Agencies help introduce students to higher education

On March 6, the San Bernardino School District, in partnership with the City of San Bernardino, led a “Path to Success” field trip designed to excite junior high students Pathway_3about local options in higher education.  Six hundred students from Richardson, Shandin Hills, Rodriguez, and King middle schools participated in the event.

The Art Institute, Valley College, and Cal State San Bernardino provided free campus tours and presentations. Omnitrans sponsored transportation for students between institutions on city buses and its sbX rapid transit service. Representatives from the bus agency were on hand to assist each group in navigating their routes.

The three schools are also participants in the Omnitrans GoSmart program, which offers students unlimited free bus rides with their student IDs. Funding for the discounted fare program comes from student fees and administrative sources.

Wanted: Participants for Career Day at Colton Middle School

coltonjointunifiedThe Colton Joint Unified School District is looking for people interested in presenting to students for Career Day at Colton Middle School on March 17, 2015.

The district would like to provide students with information on a variety of career options to use as tools for planning for their future. Past guests have always had a great time at this event and enjoyed sharing their careers with our students.

By participating, you can increase student and parent awareness of your services.

Presentations will consist of five to six 35-minute discussions to groups of 20-36 students regarding your professional field including time for question and answers. Feel free to bring any media such as video, PowerPoints, pictures and slideshows, visuals or other items to display. Participants will be provided with a continental breakfast and a complimentary lunch.

The event will be held at Colton Middle School, 670 Laurel Street in Colton on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Email Veronica Rodriguez at veronica_rodriguez@cjusd.net or call (909) 580-5009 ext. 3628 to respond to this invitation.

Morongo Basin Education Summit on March 6

copper mountain collegeCopper Mountain College invites the Morongo Basin community, teachers, instructors, educational leaders, business leaders and resource managers to the first Basin Wide Education Summit on March 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Bell Center Community Room.

The Summit supports the San Bernardino County Office of Education’s Cradle to Career Initiative for Student Success.

The Summit hopes to establish basin-wide priorities, strategies, and networks for creating a cohesive K-16 “Cradle to Career” approach to educational success and new levels of collaboration between Copper Mountain College, community and educational partners.

Diane “Di” Strachan, the director of Positive Futures, will facilitate the Summit. She has provided 25 years of city, county, state, and national development and marketing services, leadership training, along with successful development facilitation for communities in transition. She has helped tackle tough community college issues and worked with UC Santa Cruz along with hundreds of small businesses and resource agency managers throughout rural California.

Please don’t forget to RSVP your space to Jolie Alpin at jalpin@cmccd.edu.

Fontana Community Cabinet holds inaugural meeting

Students from A.B. Miller High School in Fontana came to the event to interview, videotape and photograph participants.

More than 100 people participated in the Fontana Unified School District’s first community cabinet meeting on February 11, which was held at the district’s adult school site.

Fontana Superintendent Leslie Boozer and her executive cabinet members introduced themselves and shared their outlook on increasing academic success for students throughout the district.

The community cabinet plans to meet quarterly with the next scheduled meeting on May 20. For more information about the group, email communitycabinet@fusd.net.

Cucamonga Valley Water continues successful internship program

cucamongavalleywaterLast spring, the Cucamonga Valley Water District and San Bernardino Valley College partnered up to offer a unique student internship program.

The internship allows students to earn one school credit for each 60 hours volunteered with the water district. Each internship session lasts 18 weeks and allows students to learn about the water utility industry.

So far, 28 interns have completed the program and five more are scheduled to start next semester.

The internship was developed as an applied field training course to augment the Water Supply Technology Program offered at San Bernardino Valley College. Interns use the classroom knowledge they gain at the college and apply it to their internship at the water district, rotating through the Water Maintenance, Sewer Maintenance, Field Service, Engineering, Production, and Treatment divisions.

According to the water district, the internship is offered twice a year. Participants come from a wide variety of age groups and backgrounds; many work full-time elsewhere and are looking to enter the water industry. This program affords them the opportunity to earn their internship hours through flexible scheduling, including weekdays, weekends, evenings, and days off, while still working at their current job.

Participants must be currently enrolled in one of the San Bernardino Valley College Water Supply Technology Certificate Programs. If you are interested in participating in this internship opportunity, contact the SBVC Department Chair Achala Chatterjee at (909)384-8507/ achatter@valleycollege.edu or visit www.valleycollege.edu.

Save the date for the first education summit in the Morongo Basin

copper mountain collegeIn support of the Countywide Vision’s Cradle to Career goal, Copper Mountain College is holding their first Basin-Wide Education Summit.

The Summit is scheduled at 1 p.m. on March 6 and will establish priorities and networks for a cohesive Morongo Basin K-16 and increase educational success of all students through collaboration.

More details of the Summit will be forthcoming.

Portion of Santa Ana River Trail receives $3.4 million in funding

SANTA ANA RIVER TRAILThe California Coastal Conservancy Board on Thursday approved $3.4 million for construction of a portion of the Santa Ana River Trail in San Bernardino County.

Once completed, the Santa Ana River Trail will be about 100 miles long and will connect the Inland Empire from the crest of the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean near Huntington Beach. Once complete, it will be one of the longest urban recreation river parkways in the United States.

The $3.4 million will be used for the construction of Phase 3 of the trail from Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino to California Street in Redlands. This trail segment consists of a paved bikeway – a shared use path that is physically separated from any street or highway and may be used by pedestrians, skaters, wheelchair users, and other non-motorized users.

The funding is part of the Proposition 84 bond that allotted $45 million to the Santa Ana River Trail, giving each county $10 million towards their segment of the trail. The California Coastal Conservancy Board is the administrator of these grant funds.

Once accepted by the Board of Supervisors, the County can begin working on construction documents, permits and then construction of the next 3.8 miles of the trail. After completion of Phase 3, there will still be 11 miles of the trail to compete which could take approximately four more years.

To view a map of the Phase 3 segment, click here.

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