Historic MOU Signed by San Bernardino County, CSUSB, and SBCCD to Combat 66% Food Insecurity Among College Students

In a landmark move to combat food insecurity among college students, leaders from San Bernardino County have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at expanding access to CalFresh benefits for potentially over 181,000 college students. The agreement was officially signed on Friday, April 12, 2024, at the County Government Center. The partnership involves the County of San Bernardino, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), and the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD). A recent survey conducted by the California Student Aid Commission highlighted that a shocking 66% of students experienced food insecurity during the 2022-2023 academic year, a significant rise from 39% in the 2018-2019 period. Dr. Tomas Morales, President of CSUSB, addressed the critical issue of student hunger affecting learning and their families. “Hungry students cannot learn, they just cannot. Hungry students come from hungry families. This is not just about our students, this is about their families too,” Morales said. He further noted, “As an anchor institution here in the Inland Empire, we serve the needs of our community so that we can help build its growth and sustainability.” Angel Rodriguez, Associate Vice

San Bernardino Valley College Foundation Receives $2.2 Million Grant from San Manuel to Support Educational Initiatives and Advancement Efforts

The San Bernardino Valley College Foundation has been awarded a three-year, $2.2 million grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The grant will continue the Tribe’s long-term support of the SBVC Valley Bound Commitment program, as well as significantly expand the Foundation’s advancement capacity. “On behalf of the San Bernardino Valley College Foundation, I want to express our heartfelt appreciation to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for their extraordinary generosity in awarding us a three-year $2.2 million grant,” said Michael Layne, director of the SBVC Foundation. “This is a transformational investment that will enable us to implement the Foundation’s Development Plan and cultivate relationships with donors at a much higher level, which is key to building our capacity and sustaining those efforts.” “Every student should have an opportunity to pursue their educational dreams regardless of the hardships and challenges they might face. The SBVC Valley Bound Commitment Program offers a wonderful path for students to launch their life ambitions right here in the Inland Empire,” said Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “This grant is an investment to

City of San Bernardino Seeking the Public’s Help to Identify Individuals Responsible for a Severely Burned Puppy

The City of San Bernardino is asking the public to help identify the individual or individuals responsible for severely burning a three-month-old puppy in what may be an intentional act of animal cruelty and abandoned it and another puppy at a veterinary office on Highland Avenue on April 4. On Thursday, April 4, 2024, the City of San Bernardino’s Animal Services Department was called to a veterinary office on West Highland Avenue regarding two puppies abandoned in its parking lot overnight. When officers arrived at the location, they found two labrador retriever mix puppies, each approximately three months old. One of the puppies had what appeared to be burns to their face, ears, and body. The officer quickly brought both puppies back to the San Bernardino Animal Shelter for assessment. Upon examination, the veterinary technicians determined the puppy with the burns had suffered severe injuries that needed to be treated by a Veterinarian.  Both puppies were transported to the Shelter’s contract veterinarian. While the puppy without injuries was cleared by the Veterinarian, the puppy with the burns, named “Ember” by the vet team, required immediate

Shocking Report: 73% of San Bernardino Residents Avoid Parks Due to Safety Concerns

A recent survey has revealed a startling truth about the city of San Bernardino, a staggering 73% of residents do not visit local parks because they do not feel safe. This alarming statistic was just one of many findings presented to the City Council during a Master Plan update on San Bernardino Parks by Neelay Bhatt, CEO of Next Practice Partners. The survey, which reached 10,000 random households, aimed to gauge community needs and opinions regarding the city’s parks and recreational fac i lities. With a response rate yielding 419 completed surveys, the results paint a concerning picture of public perception and park usage in the area. One of the most shocking revelations shared to council on April 3, 2024 was the lack of park access for city residents. According to Bhatt, only 46% of people in San Bernardino have access to a park within a 10-minute walk. “This means more than 1 in 2 people in this city do not have access within a 10-minute walk, falling below the national average of 55%,” Bhatt stated. The survey also found that only 60% of respondents

Over 108,000 Californians on Medicare to See $35 Insulin Cap: Inland Empire to Benefit from Healthcare Savings

In a move to elevate healthcare affordability, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, alongside Representative Pete Aguilar, announced groundbreaking measures to reduce prescription drug costs for Californians, particularly for the Latino community, which has historically faced challenges in accessing affordable medication. During his visit to the Inland Empire as part of his “National Latino Health Tour,” Secretary Becerra emphasized the positive impact of the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. “We have to remember that there were days before the Inflation Reduction Act became law and lowered the price of insulin, people were having to ration their insulin and make decisions about what to do in their daily lives if they wanted to afford it,” said Becerra. “Today, people paying no more than $35 for insulin when on Medicare is a big deal, and the fact that we now have the ability to negotiate the prices on medicine is huge.” The $35 insulin cost cap is set to benefit 108,164 Californians on Medicare who use insulin, addressing a critical need in a state where one 10-milliliter vial of insulin can cost up

Tesla to Build Collision Service Center in the City of San Bernardino

Tesla Motors and ViaWest Group have announced that they will be building a state-of-the-art Collision Service Center in the City of San Bernardino. This marks the first Tesla Collision Service Center in the Inland Empire, with their nearest collision facilities currently in Aliso Viejo, San Juan Capistrano, and Santa Monica. The 30,000 square foot collision center will be located at 424 West Orange Show Lane near E Street. “Having Tesla in San Bernardino is a big win for the Inland Empire,” said Mayor Helen Tran. “There are more and more Tesla’s on the road every day, and not having to travel to L.A. or Orange Counties is very appealing for local and potential owners.” The project was approved by the San Bernardino Planning Commission on February 13. However, Tesla’s involvement was only confirmed this week. “We are thrilled to partner with Tesla in developing this state-of-the-art Collision Service Center in San Bernardino,” said Rodney Boden, ViaWest Group’s Vice President of Investment and Development, “This facility not only represents the growing presence of Tesla in the region, but highlights ViaWest’s ability to develop cutting-edge facilities. We

City of San Bernardino Names Rochelle Clayton as Deputy City Manager

The City of San Bernardino has announced the appointment of Rochelle Clayton as its new Deputy City Manager. Clayton, a San Bernardino native, has nearly 30 years of leadership roles with public agencies in the Inland Empire, most recently as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Menifee. Her first day will be April 15. “This is a homecoming for me,” said Clayton. “I grew up here. We raised our kids here. Our girls graduated from Aquinas High School. I couldn’t be more excited to serve the residents of San Bernardino and be a part of the great things taking place.” Having spent the past five years in Menifee, Clayton oversaw the Police, Fire, Community Services, Information Technology, Finance, Human Resources, and City Clerk departments. She served as the City’s lead negotiator with developers, businesses, school districts, and labor unions. Clayton also led the development and implementation of a five-year plan to successfully transition Menifee’s municipal police services under City control and no longer the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. “We are very pleased that Rochelle will be joining our team,” said City Manager Charles

Historic Harris Building Donated to City of San Bernardino as Severely Dilapidated Homeless Attraction Valued at $4M

The historic Harris Building, a 207,000-square-foot landmark in downtown San Bernardino, has been donated to the city in a move that could herald a new era of revitalization for the area. Valued at $4 million, the building has suffered from years of neglect, leading to its current dilapidated state. The donation comes from El Corte Inglés, S.A., a Spanish Corporation (ECI), which has owned the building since 1998. “The Harris Building is the last remaining property within our real estate portfolio located in the United States,” stated a representative from ECI. “It is no longer economically viable to continue maintaining the property, given the challenges of vandalism and trespassing due to its vacant status.” Assistant City Manager Edelia Everland clarified the nature of the transaction, stating, “It’s a private property that we will acquire via a donation. If we dispose of the property through development, then the Surplus Land Act would apply, but this is a donation from the private sector to the city. The city does not have plans at present to tear it down, and it would be a council decision, but staff

City of San Bernardino Names Gabriel Elliott as Director of Community Development and Housing

The City of San Bernardino has announced that Gabriel Elliott has joined its leadership team as its new Community Development and Housing Director. “Gabriel Elliott has a diverse and distinguished background in planning and community development,” said City Manager Charles Montoya. “His experience in these areas will be instrumental in moving projects forward like the General Plan Update and the recently funded $35 million Community Wellness Campus.” Elliott’s appointment as Community Development and Housing Director became effective March 18. Prior to joining San Bernardino, Elliott was the Director of Planning for the County of Calaveras. “I am excited to join the City of San Bernardino as Director of Community Development and Housing,” said Elliott. “I plan to lead with empathy, as the most important virtue in community development leadership is empathy.”  Elliott has over 30 years in planning and community development for local government agencies. In addition to his work for Calaveras County, Elliot served as the City Manager and Development Services Director for the City of Adelanto, as well as leadership positions with the City of Salinas and College Station (Texas). Elliott holds both a

City of San Bernardino Approves $8.78 Million to Repair 21 Streets

The San Bernardino City Council approved a pavement rehabilitation contract for twenty-one streets throughout the City. The contract, awarded on March 20 to the Matich Corporation in the amount of $8,787,473.20, will encompass five – and one-half miles of roadway. Work is expected to begin in May and be completed by October. “Improving five and a half miles of streets throughout the City demonstrates our continued commitment to not only bettering the quality of life for our residents but also for everyone who visits and works in San Bernardino,” said City Manager Charles Montoya. The twenty-one streets were selected through a Pavement Management Analysis that was completed in 2021 to rate the condition of all public streets in the City. Street segments (intersection to intersection) were rated based on each segment’s remaining service life. The project includes the following locations: 13th Street from Waterman Avenue to Sierra Way (Ward 2) 16th Street from Sierra Way to Mt. View Avenue (Ward 2) 27th Street from Davidson Avenue to Little Mountain Drive (Ward 2) 2nd Street from Lena Road to Tippecanoe Avenue (Ward 1) 33rd Street from

Nurses on the Picket Line: Crisis at San Bernardino’s Dignity Health Community Hospital Over Unsafe Staffing

Registered nurses at Dignity Health Community Hospital in San Bernardino are set to hold an informational picket on Thursday, March 28, to highlight their concerns over unsafe staffing levels that they say are compromising patient safety. The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) announced the action, stating that the hospital administration has failed to meet its own staffing standards. Nurses have raised their concerns in meetings with the hospital’s chief nursing officer, but they claim that management has consistently failed to adhere to safe staffing standards. This lack of support has reportedly led to delays in care, patients developing pressure sores, and increased workplace violence. “Community Hospital is continually short-staffed, putting patients’ safety at risk and forcing nurses to work in unsafe conditions,” said Virginia Licerio, RN in the post-partum unit. “Community Hospital is accepting more patients than it can safely take care of. It’s time Dignity Health invests in staffing and prioritizes safe patient care.” The informational picket is scheduled to take place from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at Dignity Health Community Hospital, located at 1805 Medical Center Dr., San Bernardino. Lidya Sihotang

San Bernardino County Breaks Ground on $124M State-of-the-Art Valley Communications Center to Boost Response to Critical Incidents

A groundbreaking ceremony on March 19 marked the start of construction for the San Bernardino County Valley Communications Center, a $124 million project that is set to enhance response to critical incidents in the region. The three-story, 75,085 square-foot LEED-certified building, featuring a 200-foot tall communication tower, is set to become the primary Emergency Operations Center in the San Bernardino Valley. Located at the southeast corner of E. Rialto Avenue and Lena Road, the facility will be operational 24/7, 365 days a year, even under extreme conditions. It will house the sheriff’s office, coroner, public administrator, office of emergency services, consolidated fire agencies, Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency, and innovation and technology departments. San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon D. Dicus emphasized the importance of the new center. “We’re getting a 3-story building that’s co-located between sheriff’s communication, CONFire communications, and the office of emergency services – these are all county resources that can be deployed with greater collaboration,” said Dicus. He also highlighted how the center would have been beneficial during the San Bernardino Terror Attack of 2015, improving the efficiency of response. Supervisor Joe

Rob Adams’ $100M Lawsuit Settled with City of San Bernardino Over 2022 Fatal Officer Involved Shooting

The City of San Bernardino has announced that an agreement has been reached to settle a $100 million lawsuit stemming from a 2022 officer involved shooting, filed by the estate of Rob Marquise Adams. The settlement amount was $4 million. “San Bernardino agreed to the settlement recognizing the costs and attorneys’ fees to take a federal civil rights case to trial, as well as the risks associated with a civil jury, given the current climate in the courts,” said attorney Steven Rothans, who represented the City on the case. In addition to the City and the estate of Rob Marquise Adams, the agreement includes the two police officers involved. Both the City and representatives of the estate of Rob Adams had been in mediation with retired Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dan Buckley. The settlement was reached on February 17, 2024. The trial was scheduled to begin in June. The $4 million total includes all payments to the plaintiffs and fees to their attorneys, Ben Crump and Brad Gage, as well as additional costs, expert witnesses, etc. The case was a result of a

Successful 3rd Annual Fishing Day at Glen Helen Hosted by Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr.

It was all about smiles, laughter, and a bit of friendly competition at Glen Helen Regional Park last weekend. This event was dedicated to our community’s underserved at-risk youth and children from San Bernardino County Children and Family Services (CFS), aiming to provide a joyful and inclusive experience for all participants.  This year’s event was made possible through the collaboration of various partners, including the San Bernardino County Probation Department, Regional Parks, and Bass Pro Shop.  “I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped make this day happen,” Supervisor Baca shared, “It’s events like these that remind us of the simple joys in life—fishing, laughing, and spending time with each other. It’s about the kids, their families, and seeing those moments of pure happiness. That’s what it’s really all about.”  In addition to the fishing activities, the event also provided free lunch to ensure that all families were fed. “Seeing the community come together for our kids—especially those who’ve had it tough—means the world to me,” Baca added.  In acknowledging the collaborative effort, Jonathan Byers, Assistant Director of Children and

San Bernardino Forward Hiring Event: Bridging Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers Amid Worker Shortage and Rising Unemployment Crisis

The San Bernardino Forward Hiring Event is set to take place on March 27th from 10 AM to 2 PM at the New Hope Family Life Center, located at 1505 W Highland Ave., San Bernardino.  This event, organized in collaboration with the Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire, Sista’s Making a Difference, Rebound Inland Empire Reentry Services, and San Bernardino County Workforce Development, aims to connect over 300 job seekers with potential employers to address the ongoing worker shortage despite the rising unemployment rate in California. Recent data from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) indicates that unemployment increased to 4.9 percent in November 2023, highlighting a worker shortage amidst rising unemployment rates. Ronnie Miller, the founder of Sista’s Making a Difference and a member of the Black Chamber of Commerce Inland Empire, shared insights into the current employment landscape. “I believe there is a disconnect between businesses and job seekers, with many applications on job hosting platforms not progressing from the business side of things,” Miller explained. This event is designed to benefit both employers and the community by removing barriers that job seekers may

Student Talent Takes Center Stage at San Bernardino County Honor Concerts

More than 650 student musicians from throughout San Bernardino County were selected to showcase their musical talents during three separate honor concerts. In partnership with the San Bernardino County Music Educators Association (SBCMEA), San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) was proud to provide students the opportunity to perform in front of packed audiences that included elected officials, community members, educators, and families. “Our honor concerts show just how important arts education is to our students and community,” said County Superintendent Ted Alejandre. “SBCSS is proud to continue providing our students with opportunities to showcase their incredible talents and fuel their passions.” To qualify for a spot on stage, each student auditioned in front of professional musicians. After just three rehearsals together, these outstanding students at the elementary, middle and high school levels delivered a masterful performance. Whether playing wind instruments like the clarinet, flute and oboe or stringed instruments like the violin, cello, and string bass, each of this year’s selected student musicians practiced for countless hours, ensuring an exceptional performance in front of a live audience. “Overall, this gives students a place to

CSUSB Celebrating Womxn’s History Month: Aerospace Professor Discusses Overcoming Obstacles in Male-Dominated Fields

Each week during Womxn’s History Month, we’re profiling womxn faculty members who have pursued academic careers in male-dominated professions and have made significant contributions to their fields. Aerospace and defense is one such industry, with womxn comprising only 19.7 percent of the workforce. Similarly, only 20 percent of Air Force officers are womxn. Whitlock was a forensic investigator in the Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia area before she followed her family’s legacy and embarked on her military career. She completed Air Force Officer Training School in 2013 and commissioned as a second lieutenant. As a logistics readiness officer, she has deployed to the Middle East and Africa and has been stationed at various locations across the U.S. When did you become a university faculty member for the first time, and how would you describe your experience? I arrived at Cal State San Bernardino in September 2022 after the Air Force selected me to teach Air Force ROTC at the university. Being assigned to this teaching opportunity was competitive — the Air Force wants high-caliber individuals to teach the next generation of military officers. I’m still an active-duty

Nicole Dumaguindin: Illuminating Colton’s Environmental Justice Through Theatre

In the heart of Southern California, artist Nicole Dumaguindin is weaving a tapestry of community engagement and storytelling. She is a Community Theatre Artist of Tagalog, Kapampangan, and Ibanag ancestry and is on a mission to amplify the voices of communities facing barriers to theatrical storytelling. Nicole’s work goes beyond the confines of formal theatre spaces in Colton, San Bernardino, and the broader Inland Empire. Her journey as an artist began in 2010 when she completed her first production as a dramaturg in UCR’s “Metamorphoses.” Since then, she has been tirelessly working on projects that blend theatre with community engagement. Her influences range from Agosto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to Bertolt Brecht and Joseph Campbell’s TeAda Productions, all while drawing inspiration from her ancestral roots in the Philippines. Over the past three years, Nicole has undertaken projects that exemplify her commitment to community and creativity. One such project was her role as the Education Coordinator for PAIS-IE’s 2021 Fall Sessions. She orchestrated a platform that recruited instructors and students to explore intercultural traditions, contradictions, and human rights, culminating in a community celebration of International

The Social Lites Annual Beautillion is Set for March 30

The Social Lites, Inc. will award scholarships to deserving Black high school senior young men at its Beautillion Knights event on March 30 at Cal State San Bernardino. The Inland Empire nonprofit has provided scholarships for 54 years to young men going on to college or technical school. The 2024 Beautillion Knights are Ali Dphrepaulezz of Etiwanda High School; Daniel Rivera of Cajon High School; Destyn Maurice of Flabob Airport Preparatory Academy in Moreno Valley; Frank Cox III of Summit High School; Solomon Moore of Citrus Valley High School, Syncere Brackett of Centennial High School in Eastvale, Darvion McGee, The PAL Charter Academy in San Bernardino.  “College-bound 11th and 12th-grade students who are enrolled in the Beautillion Knights program participate in a five-month extracurricular program. During that time, they gain practical knowledge and experience that grounds them with lifelong foundations that benefit their academic and career success,” said Social Lites spokesperson Marlene Davis. Subjects include leadership development, life skills, and health education. Mentor-tutors work with young men to develop their talents and skills, exposing them to real-world experiences that give them insights into how to solve

Leading American Rabbi to Speak at CSUSB Mar. 26

Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, one of America’s leading rabbis, will be the guest speaker at the 7th Annual Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience on Tuesday, March 26th at 6:00 pm at California State University, San Bernardino. Rabbi Cosgrove will speak on “What It Means To Be A Jew Today.”  Rabbi Cosgrove is acknowledged as one the major voices of American Judaism and among the top leaders of Conservative Judaism. He is the senior rabbi of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City and is a key participant in interfaith activities nationally.  Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1999, Rabbi Cosgrove earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of 15 collections of selected sermons and the editor of Jewish Theology in Our Time. The weekly services of Park Avenue Synagogue are watched throughout the world.  The annual lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience was established in 2017 in honor of Rabbi Hillel Cohn who has been a prominent religious leader in the Inland Empire since 1963. He currently serves as rabbi emeritus of Congregation Emanu El in Redlands.  The lecture

San Bernardino’s 7th Ward Forum Tackled Affordable Housing and Employment with Candidates Ortiz, Penman, and Incumbent Alexander

By Nathanael Hernandez, IECN/SBVC Film Student Intern The race for the San Bernardino City Council’s 7th Ward seat heated up as candidates Treasure Ortiz, James Penman, and incumbent Damon Alexander shared their visions for the city at a forum on Thursday, Feb. 8. The event, organized by The People’s Forum and live-streamed by KVCR Public Media, allowed each candidate two minutes to address critical issues facing the city, such as affordable housing and quality of life improvements. Moderator Vanessa Perez, Executive Director of the Time for Change Foundation, kicked off the forum by asking the candidates about their motivations for running for City Council. Alexander introduced himself as the elected American Legion District Commander, responsible for “10,000 veterans and their families.” Penman, a former city attorney, cited a lack of respect and opposition in the current City Council as his reasons for running, emphasizing that “this must change.” Ortiz, focusing on community needs, expressed her desire to improve public safety, street conditions, and build a better future for San Bernardino residents. The candidates were then asked about their plans to ensure affordable housing in light