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New exhibit sheds some light at the County Museum

Shed Some Light exhibitA new interactive exhibit at the San Bernardino County Museum invites visitors to learn the science behind hydroelectric power with hands-on activities and informative text panels. The display, funded by a grant from the Edison Foundation, enhances the current exhibit of hydroelectric power in the museum’s Hall of History. The exhibit is included with paid museum admission and will continue indefinitely.

Inland southern California was a pioneer in hydroelectricity. Mill Creek No. 1, built by the Redlands Electric Light and Power Company, began operating on September 7, 1893. It was the first commercial use of 3-phase alternating current generators in the United States. The power was transmitted more than seven miles to the city of Redlands as well as to a nearby ice house. The demand for electricity was so great that an additional generator was added less than 3 years later.

Among the hands-on components in the display is a demonstration of how magnets work with motors; how direct current flows; and how falling water can turn a Pelton wheel to generate electricity. Text panels explain electricity vocabulary, offer hints on saving energy, and present a map showing the variety and distribution of various power sources throughout the state of California. There’s even a panel to introduce visitors to the “Current Wars”—Edison vs. Tesla!

“Very fun – kids loved it,” “The kids like making energy with water,” “Easy to understand and very informative,” and “It is a very interesting exhibit” were among the comments from museum visitors during the exhibit’s opening weekend.

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.

Groundbreaking held for new Sheriff’s Crime Lab building

crimelabSan Bernardino County officials and law enforcement partners broke ground today for the new Sheriff’s Crime Lab building at 200 South Lena Road in San Bernardino.

In June 2007, the Board of Supervisors allocated $25 million for the construction of a new crime lab. Several studies were done, along with a needs assessment. Between 2009 and 2012 the department evaluated several options, from remodeling the existing building to building a new one. In 2013, the department selected LPA Inc. to design the new 20,000 square foot laboratory annex. The new building will cost $17 million and will be located west of the current 35,000 square foot crime lab building. 

In September 2014, AMG & Associates Inc. was awarded the contract for the new construction. 

The following units will be moving into the new crime lab: 

  • Controlled Substance Unit: One supervisor and up to 10 criminalists; three more than current staff. 
  • Crime Scene Investigation: One supervisor and up to six crime scene investigators and clerical employees; five more than the current staff.
  • Firearms/Toolmarks Unit: One supervisor, up to five criminalists and two techs; two more than prior. 
  • Forensic Alcohol Unit: One supervisor and three criminalists; adding one additional criminalist. 


The new building will house a narcotics lab, indoor vehicle processing area, indoor shooting tank, indoor 40-yard shooting range and a combined breath and blood alcohol testing lab. 

Celebrate National Fossil Day on Oct. 15

fossilThe County Museum will participate in National Fossil Day on Wednesday, Oct. 15 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Activities scheduled inside the Hall of Geological Wonders are included with paid museum admission.

National Fossil Day is a celebration organized by the National Park Service to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values.

At the County Museum, visitors can tour the latest special exhibit, “Fossils Underfoot,” and discover prehistoric animals that once lived in southern California. Museum educators will present interactive cart talks related to fossils during the day.

“People driving down to San Diego through the Temecula area, or people driving over Cajon Pass and through Barstow on their way east may not realize that they are passing millions of years of life preserved as fossils,” said Eric Scott, the museum’s curator of paleontology. “National Fossil Day is celebrated across the United States, but here in the Inland Empire we should celebrate fossils every day—we’d certainly never run out of discoveries to talk about.”

Museum guests can also bring in a rock, a mineral, or another geological wonder for identification by museum specialists. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org.

Charity golf tournament to benefit youth, families

Wood Driver by Golf BallThe 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament benefitting children and families will be held Oct. 24 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Tukwet Canyon Golf Club, 36211 Champions Drive, in Beaumont.

CASA of San Bernardino, the San Bernardino County Public Defender and Enhancing Forward Action, Inc. are hosting the tournament in a collaborative effort to raise funds to enhance the lives and advocate for our community’s children and families in the areas of stability in foster care, hope, and obesity prevention with fitness and nutrition. It is our hope that you share the same desire and dreams for children who are in much need of an opportunity to become successful, productive, and healthy citizens in our society.

For more information regarding the Golf Tournament and sponsorship donations contact:

Steve Lozolla, Tournament Organizer (909) 877-3332  info@enhancingforward.org

Marco Pulido, Advocate Supervisor at CASA of SB County (909) 881-6760 marco@casaofsb.org

www.casaofsb.org  or  www.enhancingforward.org

Click here for more information about the tournament.

Myth: The ‘Big One’ will happen in the morning

ShakeOut_CA_JoinUs_851x315Just after 3 a.m. on August 24 2014, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Napa Valley in Northern California.

The 1999 Hector Mine quake, a 7.0 magnitude, started at 2:46 a.m.

The 6.7 magnitude 1994 Northridge quake struck at 4:30 a.m.

Despite the times these earthquakes occurred, it’s a myth that earthquakes only happen in the early mornings.

According to the Earthquake Country Alliance, earthquakes occur at all times of day. The 1933 Long Beach earthquake was at 5:54 p.m. and the 1940 Imperial Valley quake was at 8:37 pm. The 1992 Joshua Tree earthquake was at 9:50 p.m. and the 2003 San Simeon quake was at 11:15 a.m.

Want to know more facts about earthquakes? Visit www.shakeout.org/california and register to take part in the Great California Shakeout at 10:16 a.m. on October 16, 2014.

 

 

Enjoy a safe Labor Day holiday

Grilled meat on barbecue grillA majority of County departments are closed in observance of Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. The County Museum is open on Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

County government offices will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.

We wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Supervisors pass balanced budget

The Board of Supervisors today unanimously adopted a balanced budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.budget-2014

The budget is geared toward achieving the Countywide Vision, www.sbcounty.gov/vision, while reflecting the County’s ongoing struggle to cope with a deep economic downturn and dramatic and continuing increases in pension liabilities.

The $4.8 billion budget is $165.2 million smaller than the current budget and responsibly closes a $21 million gap between projected ongoing revenues and expenses without using reserves to cover ongoing expenses. The gap was fueled primarily by $12 million in federal and state takeaways and $9.7 million to cover the costs of AB 109 state prison realignment.

The budget fills the gap mainly through anticipated concessions from labor union members. If for any reason those concessions do not materialize, the only alternative will be to make deep and drastic cuts to other county programs.

County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux described his staff’s effort to bring the Board a responsibly balanced budget as “two steps forward, one and a half steps back.” The economy has improved and revenues are slowly on the rise. However, it will take the County several more years to recover from the recession, which put the County behind in funding infrastructure, pensions, and basic services.

The economic downturn forced the County to make 47-percent cuts in non-public safety services such as parks, museums, and Registrar of Voters; get many employees to agree to forgo raises and fund their share of retirement contributions; and eliminate funding for community projects.

Needs that have gone unmet include jail staffing, adequate law enforcement patrol and Code Enforcement in unincorporated areas, roads and other needed infrastructure, and funding for worn out vehicles and other equipment.

The budget leaves 84 percent of the recently built 1,392 High Desert Detention Center expansion unstaffed and unused. There are also $117.1 million in county assets – vehicles, computers, etc. – that are beyond their useful life and there is no funding to replace them.

The budget manages to build up County reserves, but reserves will only be at 13.8 percent, which is well below the 20 percent mandated by County Policy. Healthy reserves are essential to maintain the County’s good credit rating and are necessary to fund large projects and to cover unexpected expenses.

“When we have an earthquake we will need this pot of money available,” Mr. Devereaux said.

County wins record-breaking 31 national awards

2014-AwardsLargeThe County of San Bernardino this week surpassed its own record, winning 31 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties for its innovative programs and services, including top honors for the Countywide Vision as well as the State of the County event, which promotes the Vision.

Last year, the County won 18 NACo awards and has won an average of 14 NACo awards annually for the past 10 years. The most awards the County received from NACo were 27 in 2011. The NACo Achievement Awards Program recognizes innovative county government programs in the areas of children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, and health.

This year, San Bernardino County led the region with more awards than the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura. Only 29 of California’s 58 counties received top awards.

The Countywide Vision won a 2014 Achievement Award in the category of County Administration and Management. The Board of Supervisors formed a partnership with the San Bernardino Association of Governments and launched the Countywide Vision in 2010 after receiving public input and feedback from experts on improving the county and moving it forward. The Countywide Vision is an active, ongoing, collaborative process aimed at setting a course of the county as a whole, improving life within the county and making the county attractive to investors.

“San Bernardino County consistently earns these accolades because we encourage our employees to share their ideas on how to improve services and find efficiencies so we can better serve our residents and businesses,” Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford said.

The Board of Supervisors will recognize and honor the people and departments responsible for the 2014 winning programs and services at an upcoming public meeting.

The following are San Bernardino County’s 2014 winning programs:

Continue reading

Recommended budget available online

On Tuesday, June 17, the Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing and then consider adoption of a balanced budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.Budget Cover

The $4.8 billion recommended budget is $165.2 million smaller than the current budget and reflects the County’s effort to achieve the Countywide Vision. It also reflects the County’s ongoing struggle to recover from the Great Recession and cope with dramatic increases in pension liabilities. However, it does manage to fund the  first phase of High Desert Detention Center staffing, fully fund the County’s leave liability, invest more in road maintenance and improvements, and fund an upgrade to the County’s public safety radio system without incurring additional debt.

The Executive Summary for the 2014-15 Recommended Budget can be viewed here. The complete 2014-15 Recommended Budget can be viewed here.

Early voting starts today in Hesperia and Montclair

votingThe San Bernardino County Elections Office is continuing to make it convenient for voters to cast a ballot in the 2014 Statewide Primary Election by expanding early voting in the County. Beginning today, voters can vote early during normal business hours at the Hesperia Branch Library and the Montclair Branch Library. Earlier this month, early voting began at the San Bernardino County Elections Office.

All three early voting locations will also serve as a mail ballot drive-thru drop-off location on Election Day. Elections Office staff will be stationed in the parking lot to accept voted mail ballots and distribute “I Voted” stickers. The drive-thru drop-offs will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

“These new early voting locations and mail ballot drive-thru drop-offs are just two examples of the many improvements we’ve implemented to make voting more convenient for San Bernardino County voters,” said San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, Michael J. Scarpello. “In addition to these improvements, we recently added 55 locations throughout the county where voters can deliver their mail ballots,” Scarpello said.

Voters can also drop-off their mail ballots at any one of the county’s 413 polling places on Election Day. All mail ballot drop-off locations and polling places can be found on the Elections Office website at www.sbcountyelections.com. Voters can sign up to receive a mail ballot by filling out the Mail Ballot Application found in their Voter Information Guide, by downloading an application from the Elections Office website, or by calling the Elections Office. The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is tomrrow, Wednesday, May 28.

For more information about this election, visit the Elections Office website, www.sbcountyelections.com, or call (909) 387-8300.

 

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