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Monthly Archives: February 2015

County Museum open on Presidents Day

sbcmuseum entryThe San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, usually closed on Mondays, will be open on the Presidents Day holiday, Monday, February 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular museum admission fees apply.

Visitors will see exhibits about the cultural and natural history of inland Southern California and the southwest, including minerals and fossils, Native American artifacts, birds and mammals, and historical objects. Two special exhibits, “Turn Left at the Rockies: Mountain Men in San Bernardino County 1826—1850” and “Fossils Underfoot,” are included with paid museum admission.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. 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.

WIB encourages companies to attend manufacturing summit

MCIE-logo1A survey among manufacturing companies in San Bernardino County shows almost a quarter of businesses have seen an increase in sales in the last three months.

The good news comes as the region prepares for the annual Inland Empire Manufacturers’ Summit which is co-sponsored by the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board.

The event is being held at the Riverside Convention Center on February 19 and is expected to attract more than 500 participants.

“Manufacturing is one of the important industries in our region and we are proud to be supporting this important summit to ensure on-going job creation in this field,” said Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director of the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board.

The annual summit is organized by the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE), which helps local manufacturers find solutions to problems like employment training, research, regulation compliance, and import and export issues.

The San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) has had a long standing relationship with the Manufacturers’ Council and works in partnership to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees in the industry.

“With almost 87,000 people employed in this sector, earning an average of $50,000, this industry plays a key role in the success of our local economy,” said James Ramos, Chairman of San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

While expansion in the industry is welcome news, analysts also foresee a skills gap in the coming years due to an increase in workers eligible for retirement. Nationally, around two million jobs will be left vacant as many engineers and machinists come to the end of their career.

One local company already seeing the effects of this change is Vista Metals Corp. of Fontana where hiring managers turned to the WIB for help with recruitment.

The company employs 240 staff members at its plant in Fontana, but HR Manager, Sheryl Baez says a large percentage have been with the company for up to 30 years and are beginning to retire.

“We are constantly recruiting to replace these workers with the next generation of skilled manufacturing staff,” Baez said.

The company recently hired three production staff through the WIB’s On-The-Job Training program which helps businesses offset the cost of training new employees.

“Finding workers with the right skills is always a challenge for us,” Baez continued. “The Workforce Investment Board program has been very beneficial to us, but not just from a monetary point of view. The WIB staff work hard to match us with the right employees and support the trainees to ensure they are successful. We will continue to work closely with the WIB and local schools to help us find the employees we need.”

Workforce development is one of the key issues under discussion at the upcoming Annual Manufacturing Summit, as well as the impact of new technology and resources for growth.

Manufacturing companies wishing to attend the Summit on February 19 can register online at

http://mfgcouncilie.com/tickets/

To learn more about how On-the-Job Training can help your business, please call (800) 451-JOBS or visit www.csb-win.org.

*The WIB’s quarterly Business Services Report showed manufacturers in the county recorded a 23 percent increase in sales during the last quarter, while four percent had plans to expand.

**The most recent Economic Report on the Inland Empire by Chmura Economics and Analytics showed 86,544 people in the region are employed in manufacturing, earning an average of $49,083.

Supervisors weigh in on renewable energy plan

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a report outlining concerns over a state and federal plan for renewable energy projects in Southern California.

First District Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood said the County has numerous concerns about the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, a document prepared by four state and federal agencies. County concerns range from limiting access to mineral resources, recreational use as well as community and environmental impacts.

sb_cologo-full_colorThe Board of Supervisors approved a 56-page position paper outlining concerns and asked for changes and clarification before the county could consider supporting the DRECP. The County’s concerns will be sent to the DRECP task force made up of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Energy Commission and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. More than half of the acreage in the draft DRECP is in San Bernardino County.

Lovingood called for greater use of distributed generation and prioritizing already-disturbed lands for renewable energy projects, thereby protecting pristine desert. Lovingood also advocated for  mechanisms providing discounted electric rates or rebates for consumers in the High Desert.

“If you live in the corn belt and you’re surrounded by corn fields, your price for corn is going to be very inexpensive. So it only seems fair that desert residents who bear the brunt of impacts from renewable energy projects should see a similar benefit,” Lovingood said.

The supervisor also noted that  renewable energy technologies are changing very quickly.

“Graphine technology is revolutionizing solar technology that could make existing solar panels obsolete,” Lovingood said. “Cutting-edge research is developing films and paints that could turn any man-made surface into a solar panel. So renewable energy projects in the future will be far more efficient and will need far less land.”

Following a staff presentation on the County position paper, 21 members of the public requested to speak on the issue, with widespread support for the County’s position.

Click here to view the County’s position paper.

 

Museum brings artifacts online at the Google Cultural Institute

googlelogoThe San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands today announced it is adding high resolution images to the Google Cultural Institute allowing people across the United States to explore its collections online. The images went online today and can be viewed here.

Native American baskets and pottery from the museum’s ethnology collections were selected to become part of the Google Cultural Institute. The resolution of these images, combined with a custom built zoom viewer, allows everyone from art-lovers anthropologists to discover details of objects they may never have seen up close before.

“We are delighted to join the Google Cultural Institute to make some of our collections accessible to a wider public,” said Leonard Hernandez, the museum’s interim director. “The artifacts that will be available for study and enjoyment through this project will expand many viewers’ perceptions of ‘art.’ These Native American baskets will be joined by examples of other aspects of the museum collections, including some beautiful mineral specimens that could be seen as Nature’s works of art.”

Visitors to the Google Cultural Institute can browse works by the artist’s name, the artwork, the type of art, the museum, the country, collections and the time period. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site, allowing viewers to invite their friends to view and discuss their favorite works in a video chat or follow a guided tour from an expert.

The ‘My Gallery’ feature allows users to save specific views of any of artworks or artifacts and build their own personalized gallery. Comments can be added to each object and the whole gallery can then be shared with friends and family. It’s an ideal tool for students or groups to work on collaborative projects or collections. In addition, a feature called ‘Compare’ allows you to examine two pieces side-by-side to look at how styles evolved over time, connect trends across cultures, or delve deeply into two parts of the same work.

The Google Cultural Institute is dedicated to creating technology that helps the cultural community to bring their art, archives, heritage sites and other material online. The aim is to increase the range and volume of material from the cultural world that is available for people to explore online and in doing so, democratize access to it and preserve it for future generations.

County executive Keith Lee announces retirement

Keith LeeSan Bernardino County Deputy Executive Officer and Regional Parks Director Keith Lee, a longtime leader in County government and the community, is retiring after 29 years of service to the public.

“I appreciate the years of service I’ve been able to have in San Bernardino County,” Mr. Lee said as he was being honored during today’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

County Librarian Leonard Hernandez has been appointed to succeed Mr. Lee.

In addition to the County’s 10 regional parks and recreational facilities, Mr. Lee oversees the County Museum System, the County’s six airports, the County Library System, Registrar of Voters, and the Agriculture/Weights & Measures Department.

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Executive Officer, Mr. served as Director for the Jobs and Employment Services Department, where he was responsible for providing job training for economically disadvantaged adults and youth, welfare recipients, laid-off and older workers.

Mr. Lee began his service with the county as a field representative to the Board of Supervisors, serving as liaison to the local community, assisting in the drafting of legislation and ordinances, tracking and coordinating constituents’ concerns.

Mr. Lee holds an MBA and bachelor’s degrees in business administration and sociology.

In addition to his duties with the County, Mr. Lee has been active in the community, serving as past president of the Downtown YMCA and on the boards of directors of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, the San Bernardino Valley College Foundation, The Unforgettables Foundation, The Volunteer Center, and the Youth Action Project.

Get to StarLab at the Victor Valley Museum

starsThe San Bernardino County Museum’s portable planetarium, StarLab, returns to the Victor Valley Museum on Saturday, February 14. These family-friendly programs will begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and last about one-half hour. The programs are free with paid museum admission.

StarLab programs explore the stars through legends from various cultures. The programs are recommended for families with children over age 4.

The Victor Valley Museum is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum at 11873 Apple Valley Road in Apple Valley. 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 www.sbcountymuseum.org. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

County reschedules renewable energy listening session

sb_cologo-full_colorThe renewable energy policy initiative (SPARC) listening session originally scheduled for February 19, 2015 from 2-4 p.m. is being rescheduled to March 5, 2015 from 2-4 p.m., due to requests for additional time from community organizations.

Many community organizations are preparing comments for the State of California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) which is currently under public review. DRECP comments are due by February 23,  2015.

Unlike the DRECP, the County General Plan Renewable Energy Element is a County government project that would balance desert conservation with renewable energy development within the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County not owned by the state or federal government.

The listening session will focus on plans for the County General Plan renewable energy element and will be held in the Board of Supervisors Covington Chambers in San Bernardino, with opportunities for videoconference testimony from both the High Desert (Hesperia) and Joshua Tree county government centers. The session will begin with an overview of the County’s planning progress and priorities from County Planning Director Terri Rahhal, followed by public comments on the Element Framework and Outline.

The listening session will be the third round of public exchange on the County General Plan Renewable Energy Element process. Additional public workshops will follow in the spring.

The March 5th listening session will be conducted at:

Covington Chambers

County Government Center, First Floor

385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino

During the meetings, the public can participate via videoconferencing at:

Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center

15900 Smoke Tree Street, Hesperia

Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center

63665 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree

HOPENOW offering mortgage help at March 16 event

saveyourhomesbSave your home! Are you unemployed or earning less than before? Are you behind on your mortgage payments? Having trouble refinancing?

Get the help you need at the upcoming HOPENOW event on Monday, March 16 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Arrowhead Event Center, 180 S. Arrowhead Ave. in San Bernardino.

Meet face to face with your lender or a non-profit housing expert. You may qualify for a loan modification, short sale, forbearance and other non-foreclosure option. You may be able to significantly reduce your monthly mortgage payments. You will learn about the many government and private programs available to you.

Bring two current pay stubs, two current bank statements, mortgage statements, property tax and home insurance information, hardship letter, profit/loss statement if self-employed and documentation of all income.

For more information, visit www.hopenow.com.

Click here for more details.

 

 

First confirmed flu-related deaths in the County

DPH_Version2_FullColorThe Department of Public Health has confirmation of its first two flu-related deaths. Both adults had underlying medical conditions and were from the High Desert area. One had been vaccinated. As of January 24, 2015, California Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of nine flu related deaths statewide.

“The families have our sincerest condolences. This fatality is a reminder that flu can be a serious and often deadly disease,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer.

Flu activity is beginning to increase statewide, including reports of hospitalizations and severe disease, according to Dr. Ohikhuare.

“We are early on in what could be a severe flu season, as it has yet to peak in California. You can help prevent further spread of the flu by getting a flu shot,” Ohikhuare said.

The flu shot remains the most effective protection from the flu. A seasonal flu shot is recommended every year to all persons age 6 months and older, to help protect you, your family and the community from the flu.

The flu is caused by the influenza viruses and is easily spread from one person to another. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Those at highest risk of severe flu (the elderly, pregnant women, infants, or people with other health conditions) who show flu symptoms should contact their medical provider immediately in order to get the most effective treatment for flu.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, prevent the spread of illness by following these steps:
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after a cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used if soap and water are not available
• Avoid close contact with sick people and stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others
• Contact your medical provider for treatment options

To find a flu shot clinic nearest you visit http://flushot.healthmap.org. For more information on flu activity please visit the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health website at sbcounty.gov/dph/publichealth, or contact the Communicable Disease Section at 1-800-722-4794, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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