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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.


Mountain community has a new fire station

firestationMore than 100 community members and dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new San Bernardino County Fire Station 98 in Angelus Oaks. The ceremony kicked off with the County Fire Department Color Guard accompanied by Local 935 Pipes & Drum Band.

Fire Station 98 serves over 400 residents of Angelus Oaks, Barton Flats, and Seven Oaks, along with State Highway 38 from Valley of the Falls Drive to Onyx Summit.  On average, Station 98 firefighters respond to 175 calls a year, mainly medical calls and traffic collisions. They actively assist the Sheriff’s Department with search and rescues, as well as the U.S. Forest Service.
Funding for this $2,275,000 project came from the County general fund.  “When the Board of Supervisors is able to support the building of much needed fire stations, it shows that the economy in our County is rebounding,” stated 3rd District County Supervisor James Ramos. “Public safety remains a priority for me and the Board.  A fire station in Spring Valley Lake in the High Desert is also being built and will be completed next month.”
Pesavento Construction of Las Vegas, Nevada started construction on the 5,570 square foot facility in October of 2012.  The station includes an apparatus bay, a community/training room; living quarters, and an approximate 1,200 square foot mezzanine area that can be used for storage and other future needs. Station 98 houses a fire engine, a brush engine, a brush patrol, a snow cat and a skid steer.

“This is a great day for the community of Angelus Oaks. This is really the community fire station,” stated County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. “This tight knit community first gained fire service in the early 1970’s when the town’s people felt the need and build an apparatus bay. This is their house and I am proud to serve as their Fire Chief.”

County Fire previously served the Angelus Oaks area out of an aged and substandard fire station that was constructed over 40 years ago as a storage facility for fire apparatus.  An office and training room was added to the station 25 years ago. That building has since been demolished to make way for this functional station.
More photos of the event are posted at under latest news.

Get your free flu shot at your local Community POD site

flushotBe prepared for the flu season by receiving your free flu shot. The County of San Bernardino, Department of Public Health, Preparedness and Response Program is encouraging residents to get their flu shot and discover their local Point Of Dispensing (POD) site. A POD site is a location where the community would go to receive medication and or vaccinations during a public health emergency, such as pandemic influenza or bioterrorism.

The Preparedness and Response program will be offering FREE Flu shots to residents while exercising management of community POD sites. The free flu shot clinics are designed as a learning environment for the Department to exercise plans and procedures for a local pandemic influenza response. The goal of the exercise is to test the Department’s mass distribution of prophylaxis and vaccinations to county residents as a response to a bioterrorism attack, an outbreak or pandemic influenza, such as the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic.

County residents are encouraged to start planning and preparing for an emergency by using these three simple steps: Know Your Part, Learn Where to Go, and Learn Where to Find Information.

  • Know Your Part: Be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community and prepare for them by knowing about your community Point Of Dispensing (POD) site.
  • Learn Where To Go: Know where your nearest community POD site will be to receive medications or vaccinations.
  • Learn Where To Find Information: Identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency.

For more information on public health emergencies or to see the FREE Flu shot clinic schedule, visit the County of San Bernardino, Department of Public Health, Preparedness and Response Program website at or call 909-252-4406.

Board of Supervisors Chair invites public to weigh in on charter modernization

County Seal No BackgroundThe foreword to the 101-year-old Charter of the County of San Bernardino begins with these sage words from the Greek philosopher Aristotle: “Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always remain unaltered.”

Indeed, the County Charter has not remained unchanged; voters have approved more than 30 amendments to the governing document since its adoption in April 1913.

Yet even with those changes, the Charter is outdated in many ways. It contains provisions that are no longer applicable or relevant to the County, it neglects to clearly define lines of authority, and it fails to incorporate modern ethics or best practices provisions such as requirements for campaign finance rules.

It’s time to take a comprehensive approach to modernizing this important document to ensure that it provides the clearest and most efficient roadmap to governing our great County in the decades to come.

In October, I held a public meeting at my Rancho Cucamonga office to discuss potential changes and additions to the County Charter. The meeting generated some interesting conversation about ways to bring the document into the 21st Century.

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First 5 celebrates 15 year anniversary of Proposition 10

First5PhotoRialto preschool children gathered with Potter the Otter in the Board of Supervisors Covington Chambers  on Wednesday to sing Happy Birthday and celebrate the 15th anniversary of First 5 San Bernardino.

November 3 marked the 15th anniversary of voter-approved Proposition 10 which funds First 5 San Bernardino, an early childhood development initiative, through cigarette and tobacco-product taxes.

Pioneers behind Proposition 10’s legislation, founding commissioners and champions of the agency including Kent Paxton of the Children’s Network, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center’s Director of Women’s Health, Dr. Guillermo Valenzuela and Fifth District County Supervisor Josie Gonzales, and former County Administrative Officer John Michaelson presented comments on the early phases of First 5 San Bernardino.

“The millions of dollars that have been invested have influenced the nonprofit sector, our community infrastructure, and the delivery of developmental services for children. This has resulted in children experiencing positive outcomes for health and safety needs, and also enhances the quality of learning. Children have been positioned to fare better in education and in life, through our investments,” said Karen Scott, executive director of First 5.

“We are proud of the thousands of families and children we have touched over the 15 years, but we have much more to offer to improve our children’s experience during their first 5 years of life in San Bernardino County as our agency matures.”


Probation Department’s Gateway program lauded by legislator

Morrell Speaks to GraduatesAssemblyman Mike Morrell visited the San Bernardino County Probation Department’s Gateway Program on Nov. 5.  to speak to court wards graduating from the Phoenix Gang Intervention Program.

Gateway is a San Bernardino area juvenile placement facility operated by the Probation Department that provides housing and vocational programming for 16 and 17 year old minors to prepare them for emancipation.  The Phoenix Gang Program is an individual component for Gateway youth who have gang involvement in their past.  The twelve week program immerses the youth in counseling and curriculum designed to instill different thinking about gangs and ultimately leads to behavioral changes.  The program is facilitated by Terrance Stone of Young Visionaries and touted as one of the most successful street gang intervention programs in the probation department’s history.

Eight youth graduated from the program on Monday night in front of an audience of 19 other Gateway minors, staff, teachers, and Probation Corrections Officers.  Assemblyman Morrell’s unexpected visit surprised the graduates.

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WWII, Korean War and Vietnam veterans receive high school diplomas

ClassphotoSeven San Bernardino County Veterans received high school diplomas during the 2013 Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project graduation ceremony on November 4, 2013. The project recognizes veterans from WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

 The California Education Code authorizes the granting of retroactive high school diplomas to eligible veterans, as well as those who were interned by federal order in WWII. 

The veterans and their families attended the ceremony made possible by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and the County of San Bernardino Department of Veterans Affairs.

A video of the event can be viewed here:

County Museum open on Veterans Day

veteransThe San Bernardino County Museum, usually closed on Mondays, will be open on Monday, November 11 to recognize Veterans Day. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and regular museum admission fees apply.

The museum houses displays that invite visitors to explore the cultural and natural history of inland Southern California and the southwest. In addition to exhibits of regional archaeology and anthropology, history, geology, paleontology, and natural sciences, there are sculptures, displays, and gardens outside the museum, along with picnic areas for visitors. A new special exhibit, “Portraits and Views: The Redlands Photographic Studio, 1897 to 1924” will be open in the museum’s Crossroads gallery.

“Each year, we celebrate Veterans Day to honor and thank living veterans of our country’s Armed Forces,” said Michele Nielsen, the museum’s curator of history. “This traditional celebration began as Armistice Day, and was officially deemed Veterans Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954.”

“Today, many of us have a family member, a friend, business associate, or neighbor who is a veteran,” continued Nielsen. “Veterans Day is a great opportunity to not only thank them for what they have done, but to ask them about their story. Their stories are a part of our history as a nation, and their experiences and contributions are important.”

Information and ideas about how you can become involved or attend a Veterans Day ceremony can be found on the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs website: . The County of San Bernardino Department of Veterans Affairs offers services and resources for veterans and their families. More information is available at:

Fire burns in river bottom during high wind event

riverbottomfireFirefighters responded to a vegetation fire in the river bottom near Cottonwood and “E” St. in the City of Victorville. Due to a Santa Ana wind event that the High Desert was under, three brush engines, one water tender, one hand crew and two Chief Officers were dispatched.

Initial units arrived within five minutes after dispatched and worked their way into the river bottom to find a large area of vegetation and trees on fire being pushed by erratic winds. With a quick attack, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to surrounding vegetation near the original fire.

With thick and heavy vegetation found in the river bottom, engine firefighters were assisted by Glen Helen I, an inmate hand crew out of Glen Helen Detention Center. These inmates are an integral part of the firefighting capabilities in the wildland fire arena as they use hand tools and chain saws to overhaul the fire and allow engine crews to get water into deep seated areas that may still be burning below ground.

Due to the predicted Santa Ana Wind event, the San Bernardino County Fire Department had up-staffed the wind prone areas, to include the high desert communities it serves. This up-staffing allowed a swift response from personnel who were staged and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Several homeless individuals were seen in the area prior to fire department arrival, with one individual being detained for questioning. San Bernardino County Fire Investigators determined the fire started from an open campfire which appeared to be actively being used to cook food.

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