Rialto

County COVID-19 dashboard now includes confirmed cases by city

The County COVID-19 dashboard now includes confirmed cases of COVID-19 by city. The dashboard can be viewed on wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus. “The number of cases by city provides a picture of community spread within our county,” stated County Acting Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. “However, residents of cities not listed or with low case numbers should assume and behave as if there are cases within their communities and comply with the statewide stay-at-home order. Residents of cities that are listed should not panic and feel the need to go somewhere else. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of staying at home and practicing good hygiene to reduce further community spread.” The city data added today is intended to represent the places of residence for each confirmed case within the county, regardless of where they were tested or where they might be hospitalized. Cities and communities not listed have zero confirmed cases.Those who view the data should also keep in mind that residence data is based on information contained on lab slips that accompany test results. In some cases, that information might pertain the hospital where a…

San Bernardino County school districts extend school closures through May 1

In a unified effort to protect the health of students, staff and school communities, San Bernardino County Superintendent Ted Alejandre and school district superintendents countywide, in collaboration with the County Department of Public Health, made the collective decision to extend public school closures at least through May 1. “Because of the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus in our region and across the state, we are taking a proactive and aggressive approach to maintain the health, safety and well-being of our schools and communities,” County Superintendent Alejandre said. “These are very difficult circumstances for our education leaders, since developments with this virus are happening so quickly,” he added. “I fully support our district superintendents’ collective decision to do what is best for our students, employees and families across our county.” Most districts in the county decided on March 13 to close schools as a preventative measure to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since the closures, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Bernardino County continue to rise. On March 17, the Board of Supervisors issued a countywide order to help stop the spread of…

Board of Education votes to shut down Rialto School District, breakfast, lunch provided to students via “Grab & Go” bags

The Rialto Unified School District Board of Education held an emergency meeting on Monday morning, March 16, to consider adopting a resolution that would allow RUSD Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila the authority to close the district to ensure and protect the welfare and safety of the community in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Board members voted unanimously in favor of the motion; non-essential personnel will not be required to report to work and placed on paid leave. Prior to board members going into closed session, Lisa Lindberg, president of Rialto Education Association, and RUSD educator Tobin Brinker expressed concerns about teachers reporting to school sites during the closure. “During this crisis you must also consider your employees and their families, our members have legitimate concerns about their loved ones and personal circumstances,” Lindberg noted. “Just as (RUSD Board Clerk) Mr. Martinez has chosen to self-quarantine himself from this meeting this morning, our members have the exact same concern.” Martinez participated in the meeting remotely. According to statements read by Brinker teachers were concerned about their safety and that of their families for fear of exposure…

Rialto City Council declares local emergency in response to COVID-19

An emergency meeting was held in Rialto on March 12 when Rialto City Council announced a local emergency in response to the coronavirus. Although at the time of the meeting no residents within city limits had contracted the virus, City Council was adamant towards being proactive in protecting constituents in the community and beyond. “Let’s all be very diligent, helpful and observant in this space. This is the time for us to look at each other, be kind and understand that we are all in this together. Do not racial profile or give anyone a sense of not being wanted or belonging,” said Mayor Deborah Robertson. During discussion, council recommended residents utilize air purifiers in their home. “This is an unfortunate local and international issue. We need to take action on these items today. I’m proud that we were able to secure some supplies from the Office of Emergency Services from the County of San Bernardino so our police and fire fighters have proper equipment while they’re out in the field,” said Councilman Andy Carrizales. Some of the action taken in the city is the…

Rialto approves funding from San Bernardino County to conduct Census 2020

On February 25, Rialto City Council approved $45,000 in funding from San Bernardino County to provide outreach services and conduct the 2020 Census. The census is performed every 10 years and in 2010, over 95,000 California residents were undercounted. “Obtaining an accurate and complete count poses challenges due to several factors. The housing affordability crisis has forced more Californians to move into hard-to-count unconventional housing and overcrowded dwellings or to become homeless,” said City Administrator Rod Foster. At the meeting, Foster stressed the importance of counting accuracy in order to garner an adequate amount of resources for Rialto residents. “The 2020 Census is important because it advocates more resources for community members. The Census helps plan new communities and schools and creates jobs for the community. It is about redistricting, fair representation and fair shares of funding,” continued Foster. In order to garner an accurate count of residents, Rialto has created its own complete count committee to inform the public on the importance of completing the Census 2020 questionnaire. “San Bernardino County Administrative Office has been allocated funds by California Complete Count Census 2020 to…

West Valley Water District hires firm to rewrite HR policies, procedures

On February 24, 2020, West Valley Water District (WVWD) Board President Channing Hawkins announced that the Water District selected a firm to rewrite the Human Resources: Policies and Procedures Manual, which is a critical step towards increase accountability, improving hiring procedures and ensuring the Water District maintains a healthy working environment and efficient operations for ratepayers. President Channing Hawkins stated, “It is inexcusable that we’ve been operating on an outdated policies and procedures for the Water District. I am confident the new policies and procedures will help end dysfunction and address ongoing personnel issues that need to be corrected. With these changes, employees can expect a better organization and ratepayers can expect a better, more efficient public resource.” Beyond written company culture, values and mission statement, the new manual will contain human resource and legal information as well as rights and obligations to employment. It will also contain organization expectations for employees and employee expectations for the company. Other items may include job descriptions, compensation, vacation time, sick days and other medical and family leave information. The new manual will help to fill knowledge gaps for…

City of Rialto submits state budget request to California State Assembly

On February 11, Rialto City Council approved state budget requests that will be sent to the office of Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes. “On Jan 14, a member of Assemblymember Reyes’s district office addressed the city office regarding a request for a potential budget request that the city could submit to the assembly member as part of the normal state budget process,” said Stephen Erlandson, deputy city manager. Since January, city staff, including public safety, public works, community services and community development, generated a potential budget request list of $70 million in funding. Public safety asked for $5.6 million to cover firefighter rehabilitation and breathing support, vehicle interoperable emergency radios, emergency operations center, and citywide license plate reader systems. In a $63.9 million request, Public Works and Community Services asked for state assistance for projects such as a traffic management center upgrade, Riverside at Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) Bridge Widening SR-210 at Alder Avenue Interchange Improvements, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Improvements. As for economic development, $625,000 is being requested to improve the city’s mobile home repair program and to generate a civic center place…

Chihuahua Cerveza quenching thirst in the Inland Empire and beyond

Chihuahua Cerveza, co-founded by Phil Jamison, former Rialto and Inland Empire resident, has found much success over the past two years. Jamison, a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino, has found a niche in beer that makes his product stand out from the rest by focusing on generating lagers. “Our two best-selling beers include the Rico-Mexican strong lager. It’s 6.5% by volume and it has a malt flavor. The other is the El Primero which is brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malt. It’s light and crisp at 5% alcohol,” Jamison said.   The Northern California brewed beers “Rico” lager is described as featuring a light cereal character and a subtle fruit note, without the bitterness. Jamison shared that his beer blends two cultures…Mexican and American. “We compete in the Mexican lager category. In the grocery store, we are located in the Mexican import section…but the beer is created here in the United States. We are not a craft brewery, our focus is simply Mexican lagers,” Jamison shared. Another special element that makes Chihuahua Cerveza so special is that it does not have to be…

Carter High School students present Activism Through Art Show

Homelessness, global warming and poverty were some of the social issues Carter High School 11th grade history students explored during the first Activism Through Art Show coordinated by U.S. History teacher Jessica Buckle. Projects were featured on campus on Friday, Feb. 7. According to Buckle the art show provided the opportunity for students to link history to current events and to get them active and involved with history. Photo MJ Duncan: One of the many social issues that were addressed by students. “Students are not apathetic, they’re uninvited,” is a quote that resounds with Buckle and has shaped the method in which she teaches. “My goal is to invite students to find their voices and share their voices,” Buckle imparted. Student groups, who were learning about the Great Depression and the photographers of the time who depicted the era, were tasked with selecting a social issue they wanted to raise awareness on and create an art installation around it. Components of the project consisted of 3 – 5 art pieces using an art medium of their choice, videos that explain their piece and its relation…

Rialto to send letter to California State Senate to oppose Senate Bill 50

On January 28, Rialto City Council approved the city manager to send a letter to the California State Senate and Senator Connie Leyva opposing Senate Bill 50. The bill, which limits local government enforcement of planning, zoning, and design standards, aims to significantly increase housing construction in areas well suited by transit and jobs opportunities. “Despite the recent amendment, SB 50 continues to pose a serious threat to local governments’ ability to control development within the high-transit or job-rich areas, even if the local government is taking steps to support affordable housing growth,” shared City Manager Rod Foster. In addressing concerns from cities across the state, Senator Scott Weiner recently moved forward with an amendment to the bill, called the “local flexibility plan.” The plan, which aims to implement more input and local flexibility on how to implement the legislation, still leaves many components undefined. “The recent amendment created an alternative planning process for jurisdictions to develop a ‘local flexibility plan’ that, if approved by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), would exempt cities from nearly all aspects of SB 50 with…

West Valley Water District hires HR manager to help implement best practices, mitigate employment issues

Under the direction of Board President Channing Hawkins and Vice President Kyle Crowther, the West Valley Water District (WVWD), announced the hiring of Martin Pinon as Interim Human Resources and Risk Management Manager on Feb. 4. President Channing Hawkins stated, “We are glad to have selected Mr. Pinion. He has the education, experience and skill set to assist West Valley at the critical time. The board and I look forward to working with him to develop and implement Human Resources policies and practices to move our organization forward.” Martin Piñon, Interim Human Resources and Risk Management Manager, stated, “I am truly excited about accepting this appointment to serve West Valley Water District. With the support and leadership of the board of directors, our senior administration, and department leaders, I know we can turn this place around and achieve even more. The District ratepayers deserve the best service and the employees deserve a good, engaging and respectful workplace.” On December 19, 2019, WVWD administered a temporary ban on recruitment and hiring of new personnel to address several human resources issues within the District. The ban included…

Redlands wins Academic Decathlon title for first time since 2011

Redlands High School is back on top in the San Bernardino County Academic Decathlon competition, winning its first title since 2011, after results were announced at the banquet for the 37th annual event on Friday, Feb. 7. With 45,395 points, Redlands (White) slipped past defending champion Rancho Cucamonga(Purple), which had 44,463.1 points. It was the second-closest finish in the competition in the past 12 years. For Redlands, which is coached by Donna St. George, this was the school’s record 14th Academic Decathlon crown, but first since the 2010-11 school year when it defeated Chaffey High School. By winning the county title, Redlands advances to the state championships for the sixth consecutive year. The state championships will be held March 27-28 in Sacramento. In this year’s county competition, the rest of the top five finishing schools behind Redlandsand Rancho Cucamonga included Etiwanda (42,173.2 points), Chaffey (41,860.1 points) and Rialto (38,647.7 points). Joining Redlands in qualifying for the state competition will be Rancho Cucamonga, Etiwanda and Chaffey. In this year’s county competition, there were 43 teams representing 25 high schools that participated. Teams, as well as about…

Countywide Teacher Recruitment Fair set for Feb. 29

Twenty-eight K-12 schools and districts, as well as institutes of higher education, are scheduled to participate in the annual San Bernardino Countywide Teacher Recruitment Fair that will be held on Feb. 29 at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. The event is a collaboration among the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools California Teachers Association and district superintendents with 23 K-12 schools and districts participating. In addition, five local colleges and universities will have representatives at the event, which will be held in the Valencia Room at the National Orange Show (930 S. Arrowhead Ave.) from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 29. Recruitment for applicant teachers is for all grade levels — as well as subject areas — of K-12 education, and districts may hold interviews on site. For applicants to register online for the event, go to: https://sbcss.k12oms.org/66-182092. The deadline for applicants to register is Feb. 28. Among the K-12 local educational agencies scheduled to have representatives at the event include: Adelanto; Apple Valley; Barstow; Chaffey; Chino Valley; Colton; Etiwanda; Fontana; Hesperia; Morongo; Mountain View; Ontario-Montclair; Oro Grande; Redlands; Rialto; Rim of…

Joe Baca Jr. announces run for County Supervisor

Rialto City Councilmember Joe Baca Jr. announced earlier this month his run for San Bernardino County Supervisor, 5th District. He starts his race off strong with large support from the local community. Rialto Professional Firefighters, Local 3688 Rialto Police Benefits Association Deborah Robertson, Mayor of Rialto Grace Vargas, Former Mayor of Rialto Ed Scott, Mayor Pro Tem City of Rialto Andy Carrizales, Councilmember City of Rialto Edward Carrillo, Treasurer City of Rialto Barbara McGee, Clerk City of Rialto Frank Gonzales, Former Mayor of Colton Rikke Van Johnson, Former Councilmember City of San Bernardino Edgar Montes, Rialto Unified School District Board Member Nancy O’Kelley, Rialto Unified School District Board Member Joe Ayala, Rialto Unified School District Board Member Joanne Gilbert, Former Rialto Unified School District Board Member San Bernardino City Unified School Board Member Dr. Scott Wyatt San Bernardino City Unified School Board Member Dr. Barbara Flores Joe Baca Jr. had this to say about his endorsements: “I am deeply honored by these endorsements, especially so many from my home city.” Baca continued, “They have seen first-hand the work I have done for the city of…

Rialto City Council moves forward with bus stop and sidewalk improvement projects

On January 14, Rialto City Council accepted the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s Transportation Development Act. An Article 3 grant was accepted in the amount of $226,000, specifically for the Easton Sidewalk Improvement Project. Another $14,432 grant was accepted for the city’s Bus Stop Accessibility Improvements. “The first application requested funding for construction of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant sidewalk and curb ramps along the north and south sides of Easton Street,” said City Manager Rod Foster. “The proposed sidewalk improvements from Acacia Avenue to Sage Court will provide continuous pedestrian access and connectivity for neighboring residents to the Easton Commercial Center located at Riverside Avenue, and to nearby Frisbie Park located easterly of Acacia Avenue,” continued Foster. The second application will improve seven bus stops that are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bus stop improvements will consist of accessible sidewalks and paths for all; this project is slated to be completed in conjunction with the city’s annual curb, gutter and sidewalk project. “Area residents utilize the corridor for access to Frisbie Park, the Easton Commercial Center, churches, and nearby…

Dan Flores: ‘I have the most experience in county government’

Dan Flores is no stranger to residents of the county’s 5th Supervisorial District, the Chief of Staff to Supervisor Josie Gonzales is driven by the determination to advocate for policies and deliver services that will improve the quality of life for residents, and his commitment to the community is what inspired Dan to run for the office for which he has worked 15 years, since 2005. “I feel most myself when I get to listen (to the community), talk with them, and, driven by our values, make decisions on what we believe,” Dan shared. “I know the community, and I want to speak for them – the decisions are based solely on what’s best for the community. I’m not interested in anything other than that.” Dan, a third generation Colton resident and Colton Joint Unified School District board member since 2012, expressed an obligation he feels to protect the community, one in which his wife and three young children reside. “I’m not going to let anyone take advantage of this place; corruption tends to victimize low income and working class communities, and I refuse to…

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