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Monthly Archives: September 2014

County supports bipartisan bill on homeless youth

Kids Getting on School BusThe San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday supporting the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2014 which will accurately depict the population of homeless youth and expand assistance to more children in need.

Children living in unsuitable conditions such as hotels and motels or doubled up in households are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, predators and human trafficking because they are hidden from social service providers and have no access to resources or protection. The bill would make these children eligible for federal homeless assistance programs.

For now, homeless youth definitions used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Education differ. The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Office reports more than 33,859 students in our schools are homeless including 555 living in hotels and 31,354 living with relatives or friends. The HUD numbers are drastically different showing only 2,321 homeless individuals including 161 children living in shelters or receiving motel vouchers in San Bernardino County. The bill will eliminate conflicting agency regulations and close the gap between disparate and inaccurate homeless youth counts.

The bill also provides added flexibility for local community leaders to set priorities to best serve the needs of the community and draw on expanded access to funding.

Click here to read the letter from the Board of Supervisors.




Fossils Underfoot exhibit, special programs at County Museum

dinosaurA special interactive exhibit, “Fossils Underfoot,” will open in the San Bernardino County Museum’s Hall of Geological Wonders on Saturday, Sept. 27. An opening night reception for Museum Association members is planned for Friday evening, Sept. 26. The exhibit, which is included with paid museum admission, will run through Jan. 4.

“Our prehistoric past really comes alive in this new exhibit,” said Eric Scott, the museum’s curator of paleontology. “Visitors will have a chance to see fossils found in their own backyard—literally underfoot in and around San Bernardino County. They will also be able to test their skills and knowledge with interactive displays, and learn how fossils can give us clues to past life and geologic processes on Earth.”

Displays will lead visitors through the early oceans that covered most of the county 500 million years ago, evidenced by extinct trilobites and ammonites that swam in these seas. Explore life during the Permian, as life began to move from water to land only to be nearly wiped out by the great Permian extinctions when about 75% of life in the ocean and 95% of life on land died off. Marvel as dinosaurs evolved to rule the earth, only to themselves suffer extinction—or did they? See the rise of mammals, from tiny creatures to the giants of the Ice Ages.

Museum guests will also be able for the first time to explore the first floor of the museum’s Hall of Geological Wonders and some of its exhibits.

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Victor Valley Museum hosts lecture on fossil horses

horseslectureHorses are American icons, running free over the open deserts and plains of the west. Now the very ground beneath their hooves is yielding clues about their deep ancestry. New fossils from the upper Las Vegas Wash outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, are forcing scientists to reconsider horse evolution and extinction in the American west. These fossils are the focus of a presentation by Eric Scott, Curator of Paleontology at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley. The illustrated lecture, “Through the Desert on a Horse with No Name,” is free with paid museum admission.

Tule Springs and the upper Las Vegas Wash have been known to contain fossils from the Pleistocene Epoch – the “Ice Ages” – for over a century, but the full paleontological richness of the area was not recognized until intensive studies by the County Museum were initiated over a decade ago. These ongoing investigations, funded through a research grant from the Las Vegas field office of the Bureau Land Management, have documented hundreds of localities and thousands of fossils of long-extinct mammoths, camels, bison, and horses, among other mammals. But many of these fossils, including those of horses, are often fragmentary, making it difficult to determine exactly how many species lived here during the Ice Ages.

In late 2012, County Museum scientists excavating an Ice Age mammoth skeleton from Tule Springs uncovered a skull and lower jaw of an extinct species of horse. The new finds preserved anatomical features never before seen in any horses from Tule Springs, making firm identifications possible for the first time. The fossils belong to the extinct species Equus scotti, a large horse common in much of western North America during the Pleistocene Epoch. This species has never before been reported from Tule Springs or Nevada. The site yielding the remains has been dated to over 13,000 years in age, making the fossils among the youngest records of Equus scotti anywhere in North America.

Equus scotti was a highly successful species throughout much of western North America for most of the Ice Ages. The new discovery shows that these horses survived in southern Nevada right up until the end of the Pleistocene – a fact never before known. But in southern California, the species was replaced in the later Ice Ages by an anatomically distinct form.

“That’s likely either a pulse of evolution – a speciation event – or else the immigration of a different species northwards into California from Mexico,” said Scott. “Either way, we can now clarify the timing and geographic extent of this episode, and the relationships of these two species, in a very exciting way. And it means we had as many as four horse species living in the American southwest at the end of the Ice Ages. Compared to horses today, that’s quite a lot of species!”

The Victor Valley Museum is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum located at 11873 Apple Valley Road in Apple Valley. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 (adult), $4 (senior or military), and $2.50 (student). Children under 5 and San Bernardino County Museum Association members are free. Parking is free. For more information, visit

The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669.

Aquaponics Greenhouse opens at County Museum Sept. 20

aquaponics greenhouseThe Aquaponics Greenhouse will open at the San Bernardino County Museum on Saturday, Sept. 20. During opening day, a variety of hands-on activities will be offered for children and families. Activities start at 10 a.m. and continue through 3 p.m. Activities and tours of the greenhouse are included with museum general admission.

The greenhouse is a self-contained ecosystem supporting plants and fish through water recycling. Tilapia swim and grow in tanks through which water circulates into growing tanks for vegetables. “We’re essentially growing our own fish tacos,” said Serving Proud Industries Veteran Jeff Allen. “The greenhouse is a demonstration project, built by volunteers using recycled materials and learning as we progress. Eventually, this simple technology will make backyard and small scale subsistence farming practical and productive.”

The greenhouse is a Design/Build Project partnership that includes volunteers from The Incredible Edible Community Garden; Serving Proud Industries, a Veterans service program; San Bernardino Veterans Affairs; and Integrated Infrastructures, a planning and architecture firm. The installation is funded by the USDA Forest Service with additional support from Braceros Landscaping and Maintenance, Home Depot North Upland Store, Riverstone Industries, Invisible Structures, Art Specialties, and educator Mary Walls.

“The Aquaponics project is a great example of volunteers and agencies, including the County Museum, working together to provide practical and inspiring learning opportunities,” said Leonard Hernandez, the museum’s interim director. “Its location beside our ethnobotany garden reinforces the premise that native plants and responsible use of resources, including water, can play an important role in our everyday lives.”

“With Aquaponics you have a renewable source of protein as well as renewable source of produce,” said Eleanor Torres, Co-Executive Director of Incredible Edible Community Garden and Serving Proud Industries. “It is a scalable and contained system that can feed a family for relatively little money.”

Severe storms damage roads and bridges in Mojave Desert

desertflooding1 desertflooding2Severe thunderstorm activity hit the Mojave Desert on Sunday, Sept. 7 and Monday, Sept. 8 triggering flash flood warnings throughout the region.

Because of washouts and bridge damage, Interstate 95, Interstate 40, National Trails Highway, Needles Highway, and various other desert roads were closed. The damaged roads and bridges are located in the communities of Helendale, Silver Lakes, Barstow, Newberry Springs, Ludlow, Amboy and Essex.

The Department of Public Works estimates $1.4 million in damage consisting of debris cleanup, shoulder washouts, bridge damage and roadway asphalt damage. The most extensive damage was along National Trials Highway where currently the sections between Fort Cady Road to Amboy Road, and Cadiz Road to Mountain Springs Road/Interstate 40 are closed pending roadway repairs and bridge evaluations.


Office of Emergency Services wins gold for second year

Final Government Works StampFor the second year in a row, the San Bernardino County Fire, Office of Emergency Services (County Fire OES) was awarded the Gold Award by the California Emergency Services Association (CESA) at the association’s annual conference in Indian Wells.  On September 10, the Office of Emergency Services received the association’s highest honor for its creation of the “ROPE FOG” (Responders Organized for Pass Emergencies – Field Operations Guide).  Last year’s award was received for the development of the innovative Shelter Operations Compound, or SHOC, plan.

Recognizing the nationwide significance of the Cajon Pass/I-15 corridor, lessons learned from the 1996 train derailment that caused a 59 hour I-15 full freeway closure; and taking into account the possibility of a 7.8 catastrophic earthquake, County Fire OES took the lead in assembling critical stakeholders to address vulnerabilities and challenges faced in a catastrophic incident affecting the Cajon Pass. Stabilizing and restoring critical utilities is of the utmost importance to sustaining life, restoring the economy, and overall recovery.

OES steered the two-year planning effort and established a planning team, comprised of all the Cajon Pass stakeholders, to help create the ROPE FOG. Evaluating the progress of the FOG development involved a combination of training events, exercises, and real-world experience to determine whether the needs of the end user were addressed by the FOG.

The end result was the creation of a user-friendly hands-on tool that provides critical incident communications planning guidance, locates possible sites for essential operational locations and pinpoints critical infrastructure.

Receipt of the CESA Gold Award by County OES demonstrates the commitment of the County to be prepared for all hazards and serves as a reminder to all residents to take steps to be prepared themselves. Visit: to download your own copy of “Your Family Disaster Plan” and learn how you can take steps now to become better prepared for San Bernardino County’s next disaster.

Pallet yard fire sparks three-alarm response

countyfirefontana countyfirepalletfontanaFirefighters responded to a three-alarm commercial fire at Monarcas Pallets, located at the 13800 block of Slover Ave. in Fontana. Initial reports stated there were explosions coming from within the pallet yard.

Upon arrival minutes later, firefighters found numerous stacks of pallets, some as high as 30 feet, encompassing about 2-1/2 acres, fully engulfed in 100-foot flame lengths and quickly spreading to adjacent properties. Semi trucks with tractor trailers attached, as well as stand along cargo trailers and passenger vehicles surrounding the facility were already catching fire and putting adjacent businesses at risk.

A chain link fence surrounding the property hindered firefighting efforts.  Once access was made, firefighters were able to extinguish the semi and vehicle fires and keep the fire from spreading into over 90 additional semi-tractor trailers.  Firefighters were then instrumental in keeping the pallet fire at bay and from burning a commercial building, two manufactured buildings, and reaching a multi-pump fuel station.

Within two hours, more than 63 firefighters from San Bernardino County Fire and partnering fire agencies (Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Rialto) had the fire under control. San Bernardino County Fire Inmate Hand Crew (17 additional personnel total), as well as a County Fire Dozer, responded to the business for overhaul and mop up operations, relieving firefighters and medic engines to return back to service. Numerous piles of pallets and other materials have to be broken up to make sure all fire is extinguished. Crews are expected to be on scene throughout the morning.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by San Bernardino County Fire and Sheriff Investigators. There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. In all, 10 passenger vehicles were destroyed, 31 semi-tractor trailers were either destroyed or sustained major damage.  Firefighters are credited with saving well over $5 million in property and content.  Preliminary fire damage and loss is estimated at $1 million.



Earthquake myth: California will fall into the ocean

ShakeOut_CA_GetReady_300x250For those of us who live in inland areas of Southern California, the myth persists that in a strong quake, our homes could end up as beachfront property.

Not so.

According to the Earthquake Country Alliance, the motion of the plates will not make portions of California fall into the ocean. Rather, southwestern California is moving horizontally northward towards Alaska as it slides past central and eastern California.

The dividing point is the San Andreas fault system, which extends from the Salton Sea in the south to Cape Mendocino in the north. This 800 mile long fault is the boundary between the Pacific Plate and North American Plate. The Pacific Plate is moving to the northwest with respect to the North American Plate at approximately two inches per year (the rate your fingernails grow).

At this rate, Los Angeles and San Francisco will one day (about 15 million years from now) be next-door neighbors, and in an additional 70 million years, Los Angeles residents will find themselves with an Alaska zip code.

To learn more about earthquakes, visit and don’t forget to register for the Great California Shakeout at 10:16 a.m. on Oct. 16.

Heat advisory issued in San Bernardino County

Rising TemperatureWith above average temperatures expected, the County of San Bernardino Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare has issued a heat advisory for residents. High temperature above 100 degrees forecasted for the inland valleys, mountains and desert regions are expected to continue into early next week. 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
  • 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 at

Or visit the California Department of Public Health website at:

Project Connect providing services to homeless, families Sept. 25

Gonzales CenterThe San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership will host Project Connect from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  on Sept. 25 where nonprofit medical and social service workers will provide services to low-income families and the homeless.

Free dental care, family support, housing support services, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, SSI benefits, legal advice, and employment services will be available.

Project Connect will be held at the Gonzales Community Center, 670 Colton Avenue in Colton. For more information, contact Deanna Luttrell at (909) 386-8225 or 7-1-1 for TTY users.


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