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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Redlands’ ESRI pledges $1 billion in software to U.S. schools

JackDangermondRedlands-based mapping software giant Esri, operated and founded by Redlands native Jack Dangermond, has made a major commitment to America’s K-12 and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education efforts, pledging to provide $1 billion in mapping software to 100,000 U.S. schools.

Esri announced on Tuesday that it will make its advanced mapping software ArcGIS available to K-12 schools across the country. Through the program, students will now have access to the cloud-based software — the same GIS technology used by governments and businesses — to map and analyze data.

“Geographic Information System technology gives students powerful tools for understanding our planet, and teaches them to become problem solvers,” Dangermond said. “It is a perfect complement to STEM courses and many other classroom activities, while preparing students for further education and expanding career opportunities in fields that can help better manage our world, build better lives for more people, and design a better future.”

According to Forbes magazine, it all started when Dangermond met with President Obama a few months ago to discuss how Esri can contribute to the ConnectED Initiative, a program by the White House to help strengthen STEM education for K-12 students across the country. “I asked myself: ‘What’s the biggest idea that we can go for?’” Dangermond recalled in an interview with Forbes. As soon as he proposed that Esri would offer its software for free for every K-12 school in America, the President was immediately on board. “We thought this is a way to scale it up and bring GIS education to schools in the whole country,” Dangermond said.

By bringing the tool to K-12 classrooms across the country, Dangermond is hoping that students will learn “creative problem-solving” through hands-on projects. He gave an example of “Get The Lead Out,” a project in which students in Detroit used the company’s software to identify environmental issues and come up with plans to fix them. “It let kids to use analytics and come up with ideas for their own communities,” Dangermond said. “The kids learned citizenship, science, problem-solving, and political involvement.”

While bringing the mapping software to all the public K-12 schools is a big step forward, Esri has experimented with the initiative on a smaller scale over the past few years in different states. Students who benefited from the program have researched a wide array of topics, from mapping out health issues in Los Angeles to using demographic data to get Walmart products delivered to returning veterans, according to the billionaire.

“This kind of project-based learning is going to have an impact on the students,” Dangermond said. “We have to build a better education in this country. We need to step it up.”

 

Business-friendly best practices established across the county

Businesswoman Assisting CustomersIn May 2012, the SANBAG Board of Directors and the County Board of Supervisors adopted implementation goals for the Countywide Vision. One of the implementation goals was to establish San Bernardino County as a model in the state where local governments, regulatory agencies and communities are truly business friendly.

The Jobs/Economy Element Group that consists of representatives of the business community as well as staff from SANBAG and the County took up this implementation goal. One of the tasks that they identified was to find a way for local governments and businesses to share what already works.

The Business-Friendly Best Practices Inventory is the result.

This Inventory was compiled from a survey sent to every city and the County asking them to identify “Business Friendly” practices and programs.  Also included are some best practices identified by other governmental organizations in reports from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Washington State Governor’s Office of Regulatory Assistance, the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies, the University of North Carolina School of Government, and the Southern California Association of Governments.

Insights were also gained during a Countywide Vision workshop on best practices in development processing between cities and developers and hosted by SANBAG, the County and the Building Industry Association (BIA).

Read the Best Practices Inventory here: Business-Friendly Best Practices Inventory.

Read the Building Industry Association Baldy View Chapter’s Best Recommended Practices.

Micro libraries encourage literacy

Man Reading Book and Sitting on Bookshelf in LibraryRedlands resident Gabe Ramirez joined with area organizations to open two Micro Libraries in the city to help people gain access to books and promote literacy.

The libraries are located at the Greater Good Coffee Company in downtown Redlands and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Redlands’ Hansberger Clubhouse on Clay Street.

The libraries are mostly full of children’s books but also carry books for everybody’s interest.

Read more about Ramirez’s efforts in the Redlands Daily Facts here.

 

 

San Bernardino County and CEO Devereaux honored for civic excellence

County Seal No BackgroundSan Bernardino County has distinguished itself among Southern California communities, receiving four of 13 awards for excellence and sustainability granted by the Southern California Association of Governments on Thursday, May 1.

San Bernardino County’s Chief Executive Officer Gregory C. Devereaux, the Countywide Vision, San Bernardino County business leader Randall Lewis, and Yucaipa’s revitalization program were all honored with awards.

Mr. Devereaux was named Public Service Leader of the Year and recognized for his outstanding civic leadership for his many years of service in Southern California. Mr. Devereaux played a leading role in assisting the county’s elected leadership in developing the Countywide Vision. He is a consistent and regular leader on best practices for our communities on business revitalization and investments.

The honor is particularly prestigious because the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 191 cities and more than 18 million residents.

Mr. Lewis, Executive Vice President for the Lewis Group of Companies, was also recognized as the Sustainability Leader of the Year.

Mr. Lewis is regarded as an industry leader in promoting the arts, education, healthy living and sustainable development initiatives. He was recognized for contributing company resources to establish a student fellows program in many cities in the SCAG’s six-county region, increasing community awareness of community health.

“These gentlemen are true leaders in our region and our state, and we’re proud to honor them as President’s Award winners,” said Greg Pettis, SCAG President. “Each has contributed significantly to making Southern California such an extraordinary region and upholding SCAG’s principles of mobility, economic advancement, sustainability and improving quality of life.”

Also, the County of San Bernardino and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) were recognized for Achievement in Integrated Planning for collaborating on the Countywide Vision.

The City of Yucaipa received an award for Achievement in Active Transportation for their Historic Uptown Revitalization Program.

Community Vital Signs featured for efforts to engage community in wellness

community vital signsWorking to achieve health and well being for San Bernardino County residents is a priority for Community Vital Signs, a health improvement effort developed through the collaboration of county residents, community organizations and government agencies.

The Community Vital Signs initiative addresses the Wellness Element of the Countywide Vision.  It sets evidence-based goals and priorities that align and use our resources to improve the overall health and well-being of the county’s residents.

In April, Community Vital Signs was featured in the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Community Spotlight. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps is collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The website feature highlights Community Vital Signs’ efforts to engage the community in working toward wellness.

The Community Spotlight can be viewed at http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/community-spotlights/community-engages-san-bernardino-county-ca-assessment.

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