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Adoption finalization celebrates families, record number of siblings adopted

Amanda and Avi Bloom

Amanda and Avi Bloom

A record number of brothers and sisters were among nearly 100 children who celebrated their adoptions during the San Bernardino County Children and Family Services (CFS) Adoption Finalization event held Thursday at the Ontario Convention Center. The adoptions of the 22 sets of siblings marked the most sets of siblings adopted at the annual event.
This year’s theme “Viva Las Familias,” described what adoption is all about. Some of the families adopted between two and five children from the same family.
CFS Director Randall Schulz credits the many sibling adoptions to the department’s commitment to keep brothers and sisters together. CFS facilitates nearly 200 adoptions per year. This year, families came from throughout California and as far away as Oregon to finalize adoptions. All of the children at the event have been living with their caregivers, relatives or prospective adoptive parents for some time.
“We have many children, from toddlers to teenagers, in our care who aren’t able to safely return home,” said Randall L. Schulz, Director of CFS. “It’s very exciting know so many families in our community are willing to give their love to our kids by making them a part of their family through the life-long commitment of adoption.”
The families legally united in ceremonies performed by San Bernardino County judges:  the Honorable Christopher B. Marshall, Juvenile Court Presiding Judge, who spoke at the event; Honorable Cheryl C. Kersey; Judge of the Superior Court, Honorable Lily L. Sinfield, Judge of the Superior Court and the Honorable Lynn M. Poncin, Judge of the Superior Court.
In addition to making their child(ren) legally part of their family, families enjoyed lunch, children’s activities and photo opportunities.
The event also featured the CFS Heart Gallery in conjunction with Heart Gallery of America, Inc. The Heart Gallery features photos of children with special needs who are in need of committed families that can meet their special needs and provide the security of a loving family. (For more information, please contact the Heart Gallery at (909) 891-3300 or by email at:
Children and Family Services provides family-centered programs and services designed to ensure safety, permanence, and well-being for San Bernardino County’s children, while strengthening and attempting to preserve the family unit. Children and Family Services helps prevent further harm to children from intentional physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, exploitation, or neglect by a person responsible for a child’s health or welfare.

For more information about adoption or foster care, contact San Bernardino County Children and Family Services at 1-800-722-4477 or (909) 891-3300 or access our website at

Turkeys and fixings donated to foster youth by Public Defender

tdaydonationsThe Office of the Public Defender collected more than $500 in groceries for CASA, a nonprofit organization serving foster youth and juvenile offenders throughout San Bernardino County.

Four 15-pound turkeys, two hams, Thanksgiving-themed plates, utensils and other fixings were collected for CASA’s Thanksgiving event which is expected to serve 35-45 foster youth and staff. The Public Defender’s office also collected $400 in cash and grocery store gift cards to supplement the event.

In San Bernardino County, there are approximately 5,400 children and youth living in foster care.

Reserve your spot at Santa’s pajama parties

santahatSanta will visit families at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands at two pajama parties, Friday December 6 and Saturday December 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. A third pajama party is scheduled for the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley on Saturday, December 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. Advance reservations are required for each party.

Pick one evening to bring your family to play holiday games, hear holiday stories, make winter crafts, have refreshments, visit with some live animals, and have a photo op with Santa. You can wear your pajamas and bring your favorite teddy bear to keep you company. Please arrive by 6 p.m. to enjoy the whole party.

“Families love this program and return year after year,” said Jolene Redvale, curator of education. “Our relaxed, seasonal atmosphere gives everyone a chance to enjoy each other’s company while they take part in long-held holiday traditions including story time, snacking, craft-making and, best of all, the thrill of talking to Santa Claus himself.”

Cost is $10 per person. Under age 1 is free with paid adult. Each admission includes all holiday crafts and activities, a chat with Santa, and refreshments. Space is limited and fills quickly—only reservations with payment received by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4, will be eligible to register for either party at the museum in Redlands. Reservations must be received by Thursday, December 12 for the event at the Victor Valley Museum. No payments will be accepted at Santa’s PJ Party, and the museum is unable to give refunds for this program. Call (909) 798-8611 with questions about the Redlands events or (760) 241-2111 for the Victor Valley Museum party. Registration forms are available at the museums or on-line at

Public Defender’s Office helps raise $9,000 at charity golf tournament

GolfThe Public Defender’s Office co-sponsored the fourth annual CASA golf tournament at the Tukwet Canyon Golf Course in Beaumont to help raise money for two local organizations, San Bernardino CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and Enhancing Forward Action.

Golfers and volunteers showed up to show their support, by way of paying for a day of golf or purchasing raffle tickets for prizes donated by local businesses and individuals.

The October 25 event raised an amazing $9,000.00. Members of the public defender’s office played an integral role in planning and soliciting donations and golfers for the event. The Public Defender’s Office alone had 19 members from all job classifications, either volunteering at the event or participating as golfers.

Fossil trilobite lecture at Victor Valley Museum

TrilobiteKathleen Springer, senior curator of geological sciences at the San Bernardino County Museum, will lecture on “Trilobites: Friend or Foe?” at the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley on Sunday, November 24 at 2:00 p.m. The lecture is included with paid museum admission.

Trilobites are an incredibly opportunistic and diverse group of arthropods that inhabited the shallow seas of the Paleozoic Era worldwide, including San Bernardino County. Their beginning was 542 million years ago in the lower Cambrian Period and they continued to prowl the oceans until their untimely demise at the end of the Permian 251 million years ago – a fate they met along with 90% of all organisms on Earth.

“Trilobites are such a great group to teach about—their form, their biology and their distribution globally,” said Springer, “especially those that we find right here in our backyard!”

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.

Weddings by the numbers

Wedding-ImageDennis Draeger, San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk, reported a significant increase in marriage activity on Tuesday primarily due to the sequential date of 11-12-13.  County Clerk staff performed 50 civil marriage ceremonies on that day, which is a 194% increase over the typical daily average of 17 ceremonies performed.  A recent repetitive date that generated an increase in civil marriage ceremonies was 12-12-12, on which 81 ceremonies were performed, a 376% increase. Draeger said there is no anecdotal evidence to explain this phenomena, but men probably pick these calendrical rarities because they are easy anniversary dates to remember.  Another traditionally busy day for the County Clerk is Valentine’s day.  The next sequential date is 12-13-14.

Hinkley Road Bridge to Reopen

Hinkley Bridge at the Mojave River in the Barstow area is reopening now that repairs from the December 2010 storm are complete.  The bridge will officially reopen to the public on Friday, November 15, 2013.  Supervisor Robert Lovingood said, “I know the reopening of this bridge will be a major relief for the local residents, who no longer have to drive 20 miles out of their way.”

imageHinkley Road Bridge was originally washed out during a period of storms and heavy flooding in December 2010.  The bridge sustained damage during those storms.  Subsequently the road was closed until the bridge could be repaired.

The project included removal of the damaged pile, retaining wall and unsound concrete and construction of a pile/pier and a wingwall, and erection of a steel structure to connect the new pier to the bridge superstructure.  The final stages included paving, marking and striping. The total cost of the project was $297,000 which was comprised of funds from the Measure I Local Stimulus.

The contractor, Trinity Construction Company of Blue Jay, was able to complete the work ahead of the December projected completion date.  This early opening will allow the residents in the area have an alternate route through the Barstow area.

For further information please contact the Department of Public Works at (909) 387-7920.

Native American Heritage Month Celebration

Native American Heritage Month Event for DBH 005

First District Supevisor Robert A. Lovingood, Keynote speaker Ernest Siva – Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Historian and Cultural Advisor, DBH Director CaSonya Thomas, Third District Supervisor James Ramos

More than 140 people representing various cultures, communities and organizations attended the Native American Heritage Month Celebration on November 13, 2013, at the University of Redlands. The event was hosted by the County Department of Behavioral Health in collaboration with the Native American Resource Center, and the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc.

On November 5, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution honoring November as Native American Heritage Month. The month of November is also a nationally recognized month honoring the Native American Heritage.

The theme for this year’s event was “Four Directions of Wellness.” This theme was selected to focus on the importance of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health when working with Native American/Alaskan Native Community members in recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse. The event included a keynote presentation from Ernest Siva – Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Historian and Cultural Advisor. The event also included cultural dancing, craft activities, entertainment and food.

The Native American Heritage Month Celebration was started by the DBH Native American Awareness Sub-Committee in 2009, as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States. The purpose of the celebration is to further our understanding of Native American Culture through education. The event is also used as a platform to raise mental health awareness, reduce stigma, promote access to care and share community resources.  For more information visit

Flights of Fancy at the County Museum


Life in the air will take center stage during Flights of Fancy at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The event includes the first west coast exhibition of the top entries from the Federal Duck Stamp competition along with guest artists, conservation and environmental organizations, and a range of activities for adults, families, and children—even an early-bird walk and a breakfast with the birds! All activities are included with regular museum admission. More information can be found at

Volunteers are needed for the event. If you would like to get involved, click here:

Adam Grimm, this year’s winner of the Federal duck stamp contest, will meet museum visitors and set up an exhibit of duck stamp and waterfowl paintings. He will be joined by his daughter, Madison Grimm, who is coincidentally the winner of the 2013 Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest. World-champion carver Dennis Schroeder will show waterfowl and songbird carvings, and last year’s Duck Stamp winner, Robert Steiner, will exhibit art and both state and federal waterfowl stamp paintings and prints. All artists will have works for sale; proceeds benefit the San Bernardino County Museum Association in support of programs and activities at the San Bernardino County Museum.

On Saturday, the weekend kicks off with an Early Bird Walk at the museum from 7 to 8 a.m. Led by Museum Director Robert McKernan, participants will walk through the museum grounds and native plant gardens to observe local wintering and resident birds. The Early Bird Walk is free; participants should bring binoculars.

From 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. museum visitors can enjoy a sneak preview of Duck Stamp Art and works by the visiting artists along with a buffet breakfast. Breakfast with the Birds is sponsored in part by Costco of San Bernardino, Orange Tree Lane Deli and Bakery, and Starbucks #10346. The preview breakfast is included with paid museum admission, and is free to Museum Association members and Flights of Fancy sponsors.

Flights of Fancy opens at 9:00 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. Environmental organizations, including the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association, California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, Inland Empire Resource Conservation Board, and San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation will be represented; all will offer special activities for children. The museum’s education division will invite families to create colorful three-dimensional butterflies, to make and color flip books that show birds in flight, to paint decoys, and to look through microscopes to see feathers up close and personal. Selena Bryan will employ music and free-form dance while helping visitors make colorful feathered bird masks. These family activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

At 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, the winning Federal Duck Stamp artist Adam Grimm and his daughter Madison, the winning Junior Duck Stamp Artist, will give a brief presentation followed by a drawing workshop for children. At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Museum Director will present “Duck Stamps and Conservation” in the Land Birds Gallery.

Flights of Fancy is open on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Director McKernan will lead a gallery walk through the Life in the Air galleries on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Duck Stamp Art will be exhibited at the San Bernardino County Museum during “Flights of Fancy,” November 23 and 24, 2013. The exhibit includes the top entries from this year’s Federal Duck Stamp contest and Junior Duck Stamp entries.

County will upgrade High Desert railroad crossings


BNSF Railway, the San Bernardino County Public Works Department and the Town of Apple Valley are jointly participating in a project to upgrade the railroad crossing along Kiowa Road just south of Tussing Ranch Road. This project includes placing concrete panels across the railroad tracks in Kiowa Road that will provide a smoother surface resulting in decreased wear and tear on your vehicles.  The project is scheduled for December 3, 2013.  Kiowa Road must be closed up to eight hours for the work.  A detour will be available on Tussing Ranch Road, Central Avenue and Roundup Way.

BNSF and the County Public Works Department are jointly participating in a second project, one that will upgrade the railroad crossing along High Road. This project also includes placing concrete panels across the railroad tracks on High Road to reduce vehicle wear and tear.   This project is scheduled for December 2, 2013.   High Road must be closed up to eight hours for the work. A detour will not be available.

For questions, please contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Works yard at (760) 247-8208.


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