Rialto Record

Rialto resident helps feed 14,000 people per week in response to COVID-19

Rialto resident, Chandrasekar Venkatraman, president of India Association of Inland Empire (IAIE), has been busy volunteering, coordinating and fundraising to ensure 1,500 residents of San Bernardino and Riverside counties receive a hot meal everyday, in response to COVID-19. The initiative, an effort in conjunction with United Sikh Mission (USM), not only feeds hot meals to those in need, but also to healthcare workers. “Initially, we wanted to try and feed 10 people everyday of the week and then we elevated it up to 25 people per day. I then leveraged my network and connected with USM, who was then serving 175 meals per day…Now together, we’re serving as many as 14,000 hot meals per week,” said Venkatraman. Also a senior program manager for Veolia North America, he said he has received the enthusiastic support of his colleagues, supervisors and supporters at VNA, where he handles a portfolio of major engineering and construction projects. He said that at the start of the pandemic, he reached out to his manager and inquired about volunteering on behalf of IAIE, to assist USM handle, package and distribute food. “Just…

Uncertainty about the upcoming college academic year and what it means for recent high school graduates

An opinion written by Kenny Hua, Rialto High School Class of 2020 Valedictorian. As many aspects of society have adapted to operate amid the coronavirus pandemic, colleges and universities are faced with difficult decisions concerning what the next school year will look like. Some schools, like the University of California, have proposed a mixture of in-class, remote, and hybrid learning settings. President Tessier-Lavigne of Stanford University stated that the school plans to host half of the undergraduate student body on campus each quarter. Many other schools have yet to announce their plans as developments with the coronavirus are rapidly progressing. Many students have begun considering taking a gap year in fear that starting college on time would mean sacrificing the “full freshman experience.” A poll conducted by the Art & Science Group, a consulting firm for higher education institutions, found that 35% of high school seniors in March were planning on taking a gap year. For Jennifer Jimenez, Rialto High School class of 2019, having most students living on campus is a major contributor to a rich social scene. Jimenez, just finishing her first year…

Legislation to provide second chances passes State Assembly

AB 2147, legislation by Assemblymember Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino) which would provide an expedited expungement process for inmates that have successfully participated as inmate hand crews (actively assisting with fire suppression activities), passed the State Assembly with bipartisan support. Under existing law, once released from custody a former inmate must finish the terms of their parole before applying for expungement of their criminal record.  Even once those records are expunged, the person must disclose their criminal history on applications for state licenses. With nearly 200 occupations that require licensing from one of 42 California government departments and agencies these former inmates are almost entirely denied access to these jobs, as an estimated 2.5 million California workers (approximately 17% of the state’s workforce) need a professional license to work.  Under, AB 2147 a person that participates as part of a state or county fire camp would be eligible to apply for expungement upon release from custody, and if the expungement is approved, could seek various career pathways including those that require a state license. “These individuals are vetted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,…

Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino Launches Summer of a Million Meals

Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB), the regional food bank of the Inland Empire, has launched the first Summer of a Million Meals campaign following the COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure children and families across the Inland Empire can access nutritious food through the summer months. Through the Summer of a Million Meals campaign, FARSB is asking the community to help raise critically needed funds to ensure children can receive food through summer meal programs provided by FARSB and partner charity sites. “For far too many children, the start of summer marks the start of a long, hot, and hungry break. In fact, it’s what we refer to as the hungriest time of the year,” said Stephanie Otero, CEO at Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino. “With so much uncertainty impacting our community, one thing should never be uncertain, and that’s access to a meal,” said Otero. FARSB has set an ambitious $125,000 goal—enough to provide up to one million meals to children, families, seniors, and Veterans in the Inland Empire.  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FARSB has aided nearly 100,000 Inland Empire individuals…

Rialto City Council to prepare measure for public vote on use of all fireworks

On June 9, Rialto City Council rescinded the emergency declaration (order 2202) to conjure a more suitable response to the heavy use of fireworks in the community. In a 3-1 vote, council also directed staff to generate a community based ad-hoc committee to formulate solutions on how to improve upon the use of illegal fireworks…which is intended to make its way onto the November 3, 2020, ballot measure regarding the ban of all fireworks, including Safe & Sane. “On June 4, the city manager, with the recommendation of the police and fire chiefs, and serving as the director of emergency services under Council Resolution 7600 declared a local emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, issued an order suspending the sale, use and possession of safe and sane fireworks in the city of Rialto,” said Police Chief Mark Kling. According to council agenda, all fireworks are illegal in 17 cities and towns, and all unincorporated areas within San Bernardino County. Safe & Sane fireworks are legal, with some restrictions, in seven cities within the county, those being Adelanto, Chino, Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Rialto and…

Rialto Unified hosts first-ever drive-through graduation

This year, Rialto Unified high schools celebrated graduation in a novel fashion due to national and local restrictions put on large gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, Rialto Unified hosts their graduations at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. However, recently enacted laws meant to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus prevented schools from celebrating their graduating seniors in a proper and grand fashion. Students were left clueless as to whether or not a graduation ceremony would be held. Congratulations to each and every Class of 2020 graduate! On May 20, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Avila released a newsletter detailing drive-through graduations for Carter High, Eisenhower High, Milor High, and Rialto High. The ceremony was planned to take place through June 2nd and 3rd from 12 to 7 pm. Plans, however, were once again subject to abrupt change when protests as part of the Black Lives Matter movement were organized across the nation, sparked by the murder of George Floyd. The City of Rialto mandated a 6 p.m. curfew on June 2nd and Rialto schools were forced to advance their ceremonies to earlier on…

Colton Joint Unified School District celebrates Valedictorians and Salutatorians

During this time of school closures, graduations have looked very different for all school districts, including Colton Joint Unified School District. CJUSD has worked hard to honor our graduates even at this difficult time through activities including drive-thru graduation ceremonies, congratulatory signs placed in graduates’ yards, a billboard honoring the Class of 2020, individual congratulatory ads on social media for every graduate who chose to participate and more. CJUSD also wants to highlight our valedictorians and salutatorians for the Class of 2020.  Let us introduce you to these outstanding young men and women who completed their high school careers at the top of their class. Bloomington High School: Benjamin Walton — Valedictorian Valedictorian Benjamin Walton, one of two valedictorians at Bloomington High School, has earned a GPA of 4.65. He will attend UC San Diego in the fall, majoring in aerospace engineering. “I plan to work in the industry as an engineer and hopefully lead a team one day,” he said. Benjamin has proven his scientific ability already as a gold medal winner in the SIMS Science and Engineering Fair as well as a recipient…

Transparency Certificate of Excellence awarded to West Valley Water District

Further cementing its commitment to transparency and accountability, the West Valley Water District (WVWD) today announced that it received the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence from the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) in recognition of its outstanding efforts to promote transparency and good governance. “Some efforts are all talk, but the WVWD is walking the walk,” said Board President Channing Hawkins. “This award is a testament to our commitment to open government and evidence of the great strides we’ve been making to restore public confidence.” David Aranda, SDLF Board President, wrote, “On behalf of the SDLF Board of Directors, I would like to congratulate your district on achieving this important certificate. By completing the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence Program, West Valley Water District has proven its dedication to being fully transparent as well as open and assessable to the public can other stakeholders.” Board Vice President Kyle Crowther stated, “Our Board of Directors have been united in our efforts to increase transparency and incorporate reform measures that protect our ratepayers. I look forward to our board discussing how together we can expand on the progress we have made and continue moving in this direction.”…

Rialto City Council, staff discuss Frisbie Park discrepancies ahead of October completion

As anticipation continues to build in regard to the opening of Rialto’s renovated 27.4 acre Frisbie Park, it was announced on May 26 that constituents can expect it to be completed in October 2020. “The motion is to move items number one through four on tab number six. We will be amending item number five, we will not be deleting the dog park, but ask staff to bring back a plan on how to reduce the cost on the dog park,” said Councilmember Joe Baca Jr. According to the city council agenda, item #1 includes the elimination of the basketball/tennis courts, with RC Graves Construction; item #2 is to authorize the city manager to approve a construction contingency in the amount not to exceed $300,000 (2%) for any potential construction contract change orders; item #3 is to approve a first amendment to the professional services agreement with Griffin Structures, Inc. in the Amount not to exceed $42,000; item #4 is to approve purchase order to West Valley Water District for permit fees in the amount of $22,011.68. During discussion city council and city staff had…

West Valley Water District selects certified public accounting firm to build on transparency, accountability improvements

In an effort to continue improving and providing better transparency and accountability for ratepayers, the West Valley Water District (WVWD) Board of Directors approved the selection of The Pun Group, LLP as a certified public accountant to audit its finances and ensure compliance for the next three fiscal years. Director Dr. Clifford Young stated, “This is an additional step we are taking in our reform measures by making certain we seek competitive proposals from well-qualified and experienced firms. I look forward to making the final report available to our ratepayers for their review.” WVWD selected The Pun Group to audit the agency’s financial statements for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2020, June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2022. The firm is charged with providing an opinion on WVWD financial statements and keeping board members and management updated with best practices and new developments affecting special district accounting and reporting policies. This includes the WVWD’s approximately $30 million operating budget and $13 million capital improvement budget, which fund water services for 31 square miles within Counties of San Bernardino and Riverside through approximately 23,000 water service connections.…

Legacy of Diana Harrison Martinez lives on through family, IECN, scholarship fund

This is an extraordinarily sad and happy time of year for the Harrison family. While we celebrate the birthday of our matriarch, Gloria Macias Harrison in early June, we also remember our dear daughter and sister, Diana Harrison Martinez, who left us so suddenly and unexpectedly in June 2017. Diana’s legacy lives on through the family of Inland Empire Community Newspapers (El Chicano, which began 51 years ago; the Colton Courier and the Rialto Record; and our online presence through IECN.com) and through scholarship and donation programs at Crafton Hills College and San Bernardino Valley College to deserving community college students who represent the ideals that Diana lived by — honesty, integrity, ethical leadership, and community involvement and support. Here are four students that have been assisted by the Diana Harrison Martinez Fund over the last two years: Scholarship recipients, from left: Riane Ferras, Sarah-Beth Roach, Dallas Platter, and Laura Acosta. 2018 Recipient, Crafton Hills CollegeRiane Ferras, Major: Music“My greatest accomplishments are about the willpower and determination I had to overcome obstacles.”Riane has a passion for music and has recently started tutoring others in piano.…

Barbershops, hair salons can reopen with modifications, nail salons remain closed

San Bernardino County hair salons and barber shops join other counties in the state allowed to reopen for business, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today. Modifications such as mandatory face coverings for both barbers or stylists and clients must be strictly adhered to. State public health leaders noted that Californians staying at home and exercising caution when out helped flatten the COVID-19 curve. Public health leaders acknowledge that today’s announcement is also possible based on statewide indicators such as PPE, testing capacity, hospital surge capacity and hospitalizations. Permitted activities include services that can be provided with both the worker and customer wearing face coverings throughout the service. These include haircuts, hair coloring, blowouts, weaves and extensions, braiding, lock maintenance, wig maintenance and hair relaxing treatments. Salon activities that cannot be done with face coverings on both the worker and client – or that require touching the client’s face – such as shaving, facial waxing, threading, eyelash services and facials – remain prohibited at this time in all counties. Likewise, nail salons remain closed. “San Bernardino County businesses and residents worked very hard and made tremendous sacrifices…

San Bernardino County cleared to reopen restaurants, stores and malls

Because San Bernardino County has flattened the COVID-19 curve and secured the resources needed to continue keeping the novel coronavirus under control, dine-in restaurants, stores and malls can now reopen with safety measures throughout the county after a state-ordered shutdown that lasted more than two months.“San Bernardino County businesses and residents worked very hard and made tremendous sacrifices to make this moment possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Your efforts to keep our community safe and healthy have paid off. We can now proceed significantly further toward resuming our normal lives.”“This virus is still very present throughout our county, state and nation, so we must remain vigilant by physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing our hands often. But our goal of minimizing illness and building the capacity to protect the vulnerable, serve the sick, and track the virus in our communities has been achieved,” Hagman said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our public health and healthcare professionals, who are putting in long hours on the front lines of this battle, and to our County Government team for working around the clock in…

New guidelines allow places of worship to resume services

The County announced yesterday the reopening of places of worship with new State-specified guidelines. Under the new State guidance, issued Monday morning, places of worship can hold religious services, including funerals, if attendance is limited to 25 percent of a building’s capacity, but no more than 100 attendees. “This is a great first step for our residents of faith who have refrained from gathering for more than two months,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “The COVID-19 virus is still very present throughout our county. With places of worship, dine-in restaurants, stores, and malls now suddenly open, it is more important than ever that we practice physical distancing, wear face coverings in public, and frequently wash our hands to protect ourselves and those around us.” The State Monday morning issued new guidance for religious services and cultural ceremonies, https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-places-of-worship.pdf, that encourage organizations to continue online services and activities, especially for the protection of those who are most at risk from COVID-19, including older adults and people with specific medical conditions. To reopen for religious services and funerals, places of worship must: Establish and implement a COVID-19…

During unprecedented crisis, Water District budget proposal protects ratepayers, commits to fiscal responsibility

In the wake of an unprecedented global health and economic crisis, West Valley Water District (WVWD) staff introduced a proposed fiscal year (FY) 2020-2021 operating budget that maintains water safety, protects ratepayers and reflects the need for fiscal responsibility and accountability.   The proposed WVWD FY2020-2021 budget prepares for revenue decline due to the negative economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data presented by Governor Gavin Newsom, initial unemployment claims show that 4 million Californians, or one in five workers, applied for unemployment insurance in mid-March through early May. These economic issues have grossly affected government revenues and are reflected in a nearly 25 percent anticipated drop in overall state tax revenues. Public utilities, like WVWD, are hit especially hard as they must continue to provide essential services even when many ratepayers may not be able to make payments. Anticipating this decline, WVWD staff conducted an unparalleled organization-wide, collaborative effort to prepare the proposed FY2020-2021 operating budget. The budget maintains critical infrastructure while considering several workforce reductions and applies a 10 percent reduction to operation expenditures. Staff is currently considering other measures to improve efficiencies and reduce expenses. Thanks to the foresight of staff, just a few…

Loma Linda University Health using convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients

Loma Linda University Health is currently treating eligible patients battling severe novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with convalescent plasma in hopes of boosting their ability to fight the virus. The patients are treated while in the hospital through a transfusion of serum containing virus-neutralizing antibodies, which were removed from a recovered individual’s donated blood. Tait Stevens, MD, president of medical staff at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said some evidence shows that patients currently suffering from COVID-19 recover better if they receive plasma from those who have previously recovered. Stevens cited a study published in April that showed encouraging results from 10 severe adult cases who received the convalescent plasma, maintained or increased the antibodies and went on to recover. “This study showed promising results, and we want to do everything we can to continue this fight against COVID-19,” Stevens said.  Rohith Mohan, MD, a second-year pediatric resident at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, began having symptoms in mid-March. He recovered within approximately 10 days but continued to test positive for the virus for 40 days. Mohan donated blood at a LifeStream donation center on May 16. His antibody-filled…

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