Rialto

SBCCD Trustee and Rialto resident Joseph Williams appointed by Governor to state board

Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed San Bernardino Community College District Trustee Joseph Williams to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, making him the only Inland Empire resident to serve on the statewide board. The board of governors sets policy for the largest higher education system in the nation, serving more than 2.1 million students through 116 community colleges. Williams, 44, of Rialto, will join the 17-member board. “I am delighted to welcome Joseph Williams and Iulia Tarasova to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. They both bring outstanding experience and a commitment to community college students that will add great value to our board,” said California Community Colleges Board President Tom Epstein. “I look forward to working with them to move our system forward in our unyielding push for equity and student success during this challenging time.” Williams is an alumnus of Crafton Hills College and San Bernardino Valley College and served as a student trustee on the SBCCD governing board. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands, and a master’s in social impact from Claremont Lincoln University. “I am…

Rialto Community & Learning Center celebrates grand opening, mural depicts city’s outstanding contributors

City of Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson and the community celebrated the grand opening of the Rialto Community and Learning Center on Saturday, August 1 with a ribbon cutting and mural painting. Of the 4,250 square-foot space leased by Robertson to serve as her campaign headquarters for the next four months, she will only be using 250 square-feet, leaving the rest of the space for the community to use for free. “We’re in a time of a pandemic where it’s tough and causing a lot of us to be scared… we have to figure how to go about being involved and engaged,” Robertson said during the grand opening. “But we’re always very creative, innovative people, and we have to figure a way where we can continue to stay in contact.” The center, located at 150 W. Baseline, will serve as a place where the community can interact and engage safely. Photo MJ Duncan: Community members left a colorful array of positive messages. During the grand opening celebration Music Changing Lives, a nonprofit geared toward youth access to music, academic assistance and community outreach founded by Josiah…

Assemblymember Reyes honors 2020 California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship recipients from Rialto, Fontana

On Friday, July 17th Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes honored two of the 2020 California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship Recipients. Now in its 6th year, the foundation received 1,266 scholarship applications this year throughout California, awarding 52 recipients a $5,000 scholarship each. The program was established to assist deserving students by offering financial assistance to meet educational expenses. Two of the 52 students are from the 47th Assembly District. Each student received a $5,000 scholarship, recognition from the California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation and recognition from Assemblymember Reyes. This year’s scholarships from the 47th Assembly District were awarded to Carla Castillo from Rialto and Katherine Rodriguez from Fontana.  Both Carla and Katherine are part of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and have excelled in their educational endeavors. “With so many applicants, it is always a difficult choice to select the finalists.  We have many worthy students in our District.  These $5,000 competitive scholarships are essential to help our students thrive in higher education,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “Congratulations Carla and Katherine for being selected. The community is proud of who you are and who you will become.  You are…

Coach Erik Sabogal, Eisenhower girls soccer coach, changing the local soccer landscape

By Salvador Torres Rialto is home to three high schools: Rialto High School on the border with Colton in the southeast, Carter High, the youngest located north of the 210 freeway, and Eisenhower High located centrally between the two and the oldest high school in the city. I had the pleasure to connect with Coach Erik Sabogal, the current coach of Eisenhower girls varsity soccer team. Coach Erik, 30, has been involved with the game since his early teens and has been coaching youth in Fontana, Rialto, and Colton before making his way to coaching high school. A 2008 graduate of Rialto High, Eric has always been connected to the Rialto soccer community and has a passion for making it stronger with his expertise and experience. In the interview, I learned about Erik’s soccer story, his thoughts on local soccer culture, and his plans for making a difference in his community. The first question I just want to ask you is what’s your soccer story, what got you into this sport, was it one event or was it something that has always been a part…

Coach Eric Sabogal, Eisenhower girls soccer coach, changing the local soccer landscape

By Salvador Torres Rialto is home to three high schools: Rialto High School on the border with Colton in the southeast, Carter High, the youngest located north of the 210 freeway, and Eisenhower High located centrally between the two and the oldest high school in the city. I had the pleasure to connect with Coach Eric Sabogal, the current coach of Eisenhower girls varsity soccer team. Coach Eric, 30, has been involved with the game since his early teens and has been coaching youth in Fontana, Rialto, and Colton before making his way to coaching high school. A 2008 graduate of Rialto High, Eric has always been connected to the Rialto soccer community and has a passion for making it stronger with his expertise and experience. In the interview, I learned about Eric’s soccer story, his thoughts on local soccer culture, and his plans for making a difference in his community. The first question I just want to ask you is what’s your soccer story, what got you into this sport, was it one event or was it something that has always been a part…

City of Rialto, United Sikh Mission distribute more than 500 carloads of free food to families impacted by COVID-19

A steady line of cars, at times more than a mile long, descended on Rialto City Hall on Saturday, July 18, as part of a free drive-thru food distribution sponsored by the City and the United Sikh Mission. Volunteers from the City and its police and fire departments loaded up more than 500 carloads of free food to local families – many of them facing ongoing economic struggles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Sikh Mission, which operates one of the largest COVID-related foot relief efforts in Southern California, provided the food and had many of their own volunteers on hand during the distribution at the City Hall parking lot. “It turned out to be a great event. In times like this especially, it’s important for us to come together as a community and help one another,” said Rialto Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott, whose idea it was to host the drive-thru after conversations with local members of the Sikh community. “People are struggling. Some have lost their jobs and can’t afford to go to the store. Every little bit helps. If…

Rialto City Council approves deferment of disposal service rates

Rialto City Council approved the deferment of residential municipal solid waste collection, recycling and disposal service rates for fiscal year 2020/2021. “I’m here this year to present the proposed rate adjustment for the residential and commercial rates for the 2020/2021 year. Every year we come before the council for due consideration for the rates that are adjusted by certain contractual items such as the consumer price index, which came in at 3.07 percent this year,” said Richard Nino, Burrtec representative. At the meeting it was announced that Rialto residents generated less trash on a per home basis this year than they did in 2019. “These items on the chart are the impacts in regard to the most prevalent subscription for a 60 gallon tax billed account. These items delineate the adjustments for the 2020/2021 rate year,” continued Nino. The chart that Nino presented to council included cost components such as service, trash, green waste, recyclables and windy day price adjustments. “The service fee would see a CPI adjustment indicative of a $0.49 price increase. The county annual cost adjustment would be reduced by $0.04 due…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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