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Cooling Centers Open for Hot Weekend

Stay cool this weekend at one of several Cooling Centers open in the 5th District of San Bernadino County

The San Bernardino County Health Department has issued a heat advisory for residents. High temperature above 100 degrees are forecasted for the inland valleys, mountains and desert regions for the weekend. Residents are urged to take precautions that will help prevent heat-related illness.

Agency Name:



Phone Number:



Hours of Operation:

Service Area:

Carter Branch Library

Carter Branch Library

(909) 854-4100 x


2630 N. Linden Ave. Rialto, CA 92377

Monday-Thursday 3:00pm-8:00pm Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Regions: Central Valley

Fontana Lewis Library & Technology Center

Fontana Branch Library

(909) 574-4500

8437 Sierra Ave.

Fontana, CA 92335

Monday-Thursday 10:00am-9:00pm Friday & Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm

Regions: Central Valley

Grace Vargas Senior Center

Grace Vargas Senior Center

(909) 877-9706

1411 S Riverside Ave Rialto, CA 92376

Monday-Thursday 8:00am-5:00pm Friday 8:00am-4:00pm

City/Town: Rialto

Gonzales Community Center

Gonzales Community Center

(909) 370-6153

670 Colton Ave.

Colton, CA 92324

Monday-Friday  8:00am-8:00pm

Regions: Central Valley

Lytle Creek Community Center

Lytle Creek Community Center

(909) 887-1198

380 S. K Street

San Bernardino, CA 92410

Monday- closed

Thursday 9:00am-8:00pm Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm

Regions: Central Valley

Nicholson Community Center

Nicholson Community Center

(909) 874-3423

2750 W. 2nd Street

San Bernardino, CA 92410

Monday-Friday 10:00am-6:00pm Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm

Regions: Central Valley

Norman F Feldheym Central Library

Norman F Feldheym Central Library

(909) 381-8201

555 W 6th Street

San Bernardino, CA 92410

Monday-Thursday 10:00am-6:00pm Saturday 1:00pm-6:00pm

City/Towns: San Bernardino

Rialto Branch Library

Rialto Branch Library

(909) 875-0144

251 W. 1st Street Rialto, CA 92376

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 11:00am-7:00pm Thursday, Friday 10:00am-6:00pm

Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Regions: Central Valley

Ruben Campos Community Center

Ruben Campos Community Center

(909) 384-5421

1717 W. Fifth St.

San Bernardino, CA 92410

Tuesday- Saturday 11:00am--6:00pm

Regions: Central Valley

Rudy C. Hernandez Community Center

Rudy C. Hernandez Community Center

(909) 384-5420

222 N. Lugo

San Bernardino, CA 92410

Tuesday- Saturday 11:00am--6:00pm

4th of July Firework Shows in and around the 5th District of San Bernardino County

July 4 - Fontana
Fontana High School at 9453 Citrus Avenue - 9:00 PM


July 4 - Rialto
Jerry Eaves Park at 1485 Ayala Drive - 9:00 PM

July 4 - San Bernardino
San Manuel 66ers Stadium after the 7:00 PM baseball game.

Please remember  that possession and use of any type of fireworks, including “safe and sane” are against the law in any unincorporated area of San Bernardino County.


“Safe and Sane” fireworks are only allowed in the cities of:


  • Fontana
  • Adelanto
  • Chino
  • Colton
  • Rialto
  • and specific locations of Grand Terrace and the city of San Bernardino.

Equus Medendi – A Horse of a Different Color for Therapy

She’s not your typical therapist. She takes her sessions in the ambiance of the outdoors, surrounded by the relaxing embrace of nature; away from the noise and distractions of a big city.  She trots around and without saying anything,ever, the two of you understand each other through nonverbal cues. Her name is Heidi. She exudes a quiet and gentle strength,and she will never judge you … because she’s a horse.

Equine Assisted Therapy is an alternative method for individuals seeking help for a multitude of issues, from depression to anxiety,trauma, stress, anger and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), among other conditions.At Equus Medendi Inc., their focus is healing…through horses.

Angie Sheer, Founder and Executive Director of EquusMedendi, realized that the rehabilitation of an abused animal fits the same mold as any person who has experienced trauma.  Equus Medendi started after Angie was approached by a combat veteran friend whose therapy was hitting a dead end. He had tried all possible avenues including prescription medication, which he ultimately became addicted to.  At the time,Angie was working with inner city kids from South Central Los Angeles as a riding instructor, and also studying at Flag is Up Farms, an internationally renowned horse training facility. Through Angie’s work with horses and children, she had an idea that perhaps working with horses might have therapeutic value for her friend. 

Their experiment was a resounding success!  After a few weeks of this alternative form of therapy, he reveled to Angie that if it wasn’t for working with the horse he wouldn’t be alive today.  His overwhelmingly positive experience prompted him to ask Angie if she could do this for other veterans.  She wholeheartedly agreed, and Equus Medendi was born.

Since its inception in 2010, Angie and her staff have been providing free therapy services to veterans. The team at Equus Medendi is made up of former clients, volunteers and certified therapists who devote their time to helping veterans, military families, underprivileged or at-risk youth, or anyone who has experienced trauma.

Working with a horse to achieve a state of rehabilitation may seem unconventional and intimidating. Susan Lilly, Clinical Director and certified therapist in equine therapy at Equus Medendi, stated that while people have apprehensions about getting close to a horse, it “usually passes pretty quickly once they realize the horses are there to help them.”

While every program is tailored toward the individual’s needs, typically people start off in a large space with one horse. This tactic is used to help people get familiar with the animal. Susan describes the round pin as a moment when you have to truly be honest and real with how you feel.Working with the horses allows people to focus on their particular issues or triggers and learn how to manage them in a positive way.

Jorge Aguayo, a current volunteer and Marine Corps veteran,went through the program and expressed that it was a magical moment where he became candid with his feelings and honest with himself.  If you’re feeling sad, angry, mad, anxious,nervous…you recognize it in the pin with the horse. “It was very important for me to see that this animal had enough trust to come near me.  I think they help you get to this place where you’re balanced, and once you get to that place they’re going to want to be around you because they’re safe.”  

Jorge mentioned that the connection and relationship you ultimately build with the animal somehow helps you to connect with yourself.

Equus Medendi operates in a form that gives people an opportunity to move forward with their lives without, quite literally, having to say a word; whereas with traditional therapy you may feel pressure to discuss information you’re not ready to share with another person.  Time in the round pin is an extraordinary experience where the horse connects with you and mirrors your emotions.  You know immediately there’s no judgment.  In order for the two of you to work together,you need to be balanced within yourself and to let go of what could be holding you back in that moment.

Signing up for the program is also non-intrusive.  You’re given an overview and shown what the program entails, how it works and why they do it.  People are then asked to reflect on what they’ve seen and think about whether it’s something that is suited for them.  If it is, staff along with the horses welcome you into the program and you have the ability to go at your own pace.

It’s never too late to feel better. For more information about Equus Medendi or to make an appointment visit:

Do You Support Our Veterans? Here's a New Way To Do It!

November 19, 2015 — The Incredible Edible Community Garden, a local nonprofit working in San Bernardino County, has started a project that aims to permanently honor all veterans. 

The Guardian Project, which launched on Veterans Day, gives an individual, group, or organization the chance to honor and memorialize a veteran or veterans, past or present, with a special gift.

"The Guardian Project is one of those ideas you have to love. This is a special way to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country by giving them a permanent gift that symbolizes the lasting honor and respect our heroes deserve," Supervisor Josie Gonzales said. 

Watch the video above and click the link here for more information on The Guardian Project

Grocery Shopping...on a Bus?

An innovative idea from the Family Service Association (FSA) is bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to local neighborhoods where access to healthy foods is scarce. 

FSA's Mobile Fresh is a Riverside Transit Authority bus converted into a mobile grocery store stocked with varieties of produce and goods at a 20-30 percent discounted rate, making it easy and affordable for residents to maintain a healthy diet.

For the seniors and staff at the Bloomington Senior Center (pictured), Mobile Fresh is an opportunity to buy the groceries they need without the extra trip to the grocery store.

Click here to see a video walk through of the Mobile Fresh bus during its stop at the Bloomington Senior Center, located at 18313 Valley Blvd. 

Items regularly available for purchase include apples, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, lemons, sweet potatoes, pineapples, squash, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, avocados, bread, cereal, eggs, and milk.

Look out for Mobile Fresh coming to these locations/dates/times! 

Monday, October 5 & October 19
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Chino City Hall, 13220 Central Ave, Chino
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Rialto Senior Center, 1411 S Riverside Ave, Rialto
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Valley View Senior Mobile Homes, 12995 6th St, Yucaipa
2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m. Yucaipa Senior Center, 12202 1st St, Yucaipa

Monday, October 12 & October 26
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. The Magnolia at 9th, 2196 Medical Center Dr, San Bernardino
10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Dellman Community Center, 2969 Flores St, San Bernardino
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Muscoy United Methodist, 3006 N Macy St, Muscoy
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The Magnolia at Highland, 2196 Medical Center Dr, San Bernardino

Tuesday, October 13 & October 27
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Grand Terrace Senior Center, 22627 Grand Terrace Rd, Grand Terrace
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Bloomington Senior Center, 18317 Valley Blvd, Bloomington
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Hutton Senior Center, 660 Colton Ave, Colton

Locations and times are subject to change. 

For more information on Mobile Fresh, call (951) 686-1096 or visit

Click here to view more photos of the Mobile Fresh visit to the Bloomington Senior Center.

Sup. Gonzales Challenges Community to Help Drive The Rosa Parks Statue Home

SAN BERNARDINO — The San Bernardino Black Culture Foundation wants to permanently honor a national hero, Rosa Parks.

To meet that end, the nonprofit foundation has started an online crowdfunding campaign entitled “Help Drive the Rosa Parks Statue Home” on to raise $2,000 towards the completion and unveiling of the Rosa Parks Statue.

Donors can contribute to the crowdfunding campaign by visiting

Supervisor Josie Gonzales was the first donor to “Help Drive the Rosa Parks Statue Home.” She has issued a challenge to fellow community leaders to also contribute and help the $2,000 goal by the September 30 deadline.

“I contributed to this cause in order to pay my respects for the blessings and opportunities afforded to millions of people like me due to the civil rights movement,” said Supervisor Josie Gonzales. “Our entire nation has benefitted from the brave and heroic journeys others have taken before us; we as a community have a duty to preserve the history that advanced our nation and its people so that we may use that knowledge to enrich the young lives of future generations.”

The statue will be placed at the Rosa Parks Memorial Building in San Bernardino. Donors are requested to claim up to three different perks as an incentive for their contribution.

Perks include a personalized invitation to the unveiling event projected for February 2016 and a special certificate of recognition signed by Supervisor Gonzales and other elected officials. Donors contributing $100 or more will have their name featured on a plaque near the statue

This is the first crowdfunding campaign the foundation has attempted, they urge community members to contribute and share the “Help Drive the Rosa Parks Statue Home” campaign on social media.

“The more people we have involved in this fundraising effort, the better chance we have of solidifying Rosa Parks’ historical character into our community. Every contribution helps preserve and remember the importance of the United States civil rights movement and its leaders,” said, Genevieve Echols, President of the San Bernardino Black Culture Foundation.

For more information on the“Help Drive the Rosa Parks Statue Home” campaign, visit 

Photo courtesy of John Valenzuela | The Sun

VIDEO: Korean War Veteran Honored by Sup. Gonzales

Watch the story of Bill Gonzales, a Korean War veteran who recently achieved a special accomplishment through the San Bernardino County's Veterans Diploma Project. 

Click here to see the full photo album from his recognition by Sup. Josie Gonzales. 

For more information on the Veteran's Diploma Project, visit or call (909) 386-2412

VIDEO BLOG: Your First Look at ARMC's Mother-Baby Unit

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center's talented medical staff are committed to make ARMC your family's choice hospital in the Inland Empire. 

Designated as a Baby Friendly USA, Inc. hospital, ARMC is dedicated to preparing families for childbirth and keeping mothers and babies together for a family centered experience. To meet that goal, ARMC has opened a new Mother-Baby Unit as part of their women's and children's health services. Call (909) 580-3174 for more information.

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) is a 456-bed university-affiliated hospital located at 400 North Pepper Ave. in Colton, CA. The 70-acre campus is home to a designated Level II trauma center, regional burn center, primary stroke center, behavioral health center, four primary care centers including three family health centers, and provides more than 40 outpatient speciality care services. 

For more information, visit

Got Kids? This County Agency Has Over 9,000

Californians put their children first. It’s the reason why voters passed Prop 10 in 1998 to generate tobacco tax revenue to fund local programs that invest in our youngest children’s health, educational development, and most importantly, their families.  

Funds from Prop 10 are distributed from the state to counties through agencies like the Children and Families Commission for San Bernardino, also known as First 5 San Bernardino. First 5 provides children ages 0-5 and their families with resources like preschool enrollment, health care, early education programs, parent education, employment, and supportive services. Parents can find out how to access these services by or dialing 2-1-1 and asking the operator about First 5 San Bernardino.

First 5 services are typically provided by accredited agencies like Reach Out, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports children through programs like their Nurturing Parenting Program, a 12 to 16-week course that helps parents understand the social and emotional development of their children.

“I expected going into the program to learn information about feeding my daughter, time-out, things to help us get through our day,” said Mathew Lomelin, (as quoted in The Daily Bulletin) a local father of two from Rancho Cucamonga. “To my surprise, Nurturing Parenting went above and beyond that. I learned through this program that being a parent is more than just having an obedient kid, you’re building someone. It not only helped me be a better parent, but it helped me be a better person.”

First 5 San Bernardino is guided and led by the Children and Families Commission that consists of seven commissioners; one of them is Supervisor Josie Gonzales.

“Our duty on the commission is to make sure the taxpayer’s dollar is wisely invested in our most precious resource, our children,” Supervisor Gonzales said.

“Those investments must include constant communication, collaboration, and cooperation with existing county resources and stakeholders that have common goals in order to streamline services and maximize benefits for families with children 0-5 years of age. It is extremely important to align First 5 San Bernardino programs and resources with our partners to prepare our kids for success in the school system.”

The end result of these programs is that parents are able to find greater meaning and enjoyment in their roles as mom or dad, which means a happier family at home and a more supportive, nurturing environment for their children.

This fiscal year, First 5 San Bernardino used a $34 million budget to promote, support, and enhance the early development of children, their families and communities.

As the agency’s name implies, First 5 San Bernardino focuses on the 0-5 age population. Brain development research indicates that a child’s first emotional, physical, and intellectual environments have a profound impact on how his or her brain develops. In short, positive early childhood experiences create a foundation for future lifelong success.

“Typically there is a lack of funding and programs to support the most critical developmental period of our children’s lives. With First 5 San Bernardino’s new strategic plan, we seek to be more collaborative and systemic in our approach to focus on positive outcomes and greater gains for children,” Karen Scott, executive director of First 5 San Bernardino, said. 

“Realizing our vision to see children healthy, safe, nurtured, eager to learn, and ready to succeed will be beneficial to our families and the future of our county’s vitality.” 

In the last few years First 5 San Bernardino’s service population has doubled according to their most recent data. In 2013-14, the agency served 9,084 children (56 percent increase from 2012-13) and 4,448 parents (45 percent increase from 2012-13).

Children are served through preschool enrollment, health care access, dental services, health and developmental screenings, and early literacy programs. Parents can use First 5 San Bernardino to find access to family literacy programs, parent education, employment and supportive services from the commission’s funded agencies. 

Together these First 5 San Bernardino services help families develop and maintain long-term self-sufficiency and provide critical education that ensures children are safe, healthy, and receive the best possible start in life.  

Visit for more information.

Supervisor Gonzales Gives To Seniors To Save Downtown Farmshare Season

Since Feb. 5, locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables have been hand delivered to the Bloomington Senior Center in Ayala Park courtesy of Supervisor Josie Gonzales. Every Friday morning, seniors who arrive at the center are treated to a variety of seasonal produce ranging from blood oranges and avocados to bok choy and baby potatoes, without a penny out of pocket. 

“It’s so hard to find fresh stuff,” Pete Espinoza, a regular at the Bloomington Senior Center, said. “And the farmshare is all very fresh. There are so many things you can cook with it at home, that’s the best part.” 

The produce is grown by Old Grove Farm Share, a group of 28 farmers centrally located in Redlands. Together they raise crops all year round to provide a wide selection of food made available to the public through a weekly delivery program called the Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare. 

The Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare works in sync with the four seasons, with each season offering a new and different harvest for its participants. During its most recent season, which started on Feb. 5, the farmshare lacked enough registrants needed to keep the program in operation. 

That’s when Supervisor Gonzales stepped in and bought out the eight remaining shares necessary to keep the season alive. 
“The benefits of the Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare were too great to just allow it to discontinue this season. The need for healthier foods at the Bloomington Senior Center was there, and I knew the farmshare was a perfect fit for our seniors,” Supervisor Gonzales said. 

The farmshare is available to the public all-year round, and signing up is easy. Sign up for the summer season by clicking here to be taken to, call (909) 384-5322 for further information. Different farmshare quantities and payment options are available. 

Since the farmshare began in San Bernardino in October 2013, over 150 families have enjoyed the health benefits that come from eating fresh fruits and vegetables grown close to home. Local grown produce does not need to be dipped in wax or shipped overseas like some grocery store produce, and the shorter distance from the farm to your plate means less environmental impact during transportation. 

Together, farmshare participants have bought nearly $40,000 worth of crops that go back into the hands of local farmers and our local economy.

“The biggest blessing is when I hear participants say, ‘my kids are eating more fruits and vegetables,’ or ‘I always look forward to walking down to the market on Thursdays; I wish I could stay down here longer,” Aviana Cerezo, City of San Bernardino’s Community Recreation Manager who coordinates the farmshare, said.

Cerezo is Co-Chair of the Healthy San Bernardino Coalition, a group that meets once a month to promote healthy lifestyles for residents in the region. 

Like Supervisor Gonzales, one of the coalition’s goals is to improve access to healthy foods and stimulate the local economy.

Cerezo says with growing support from the community for programs like the Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare, “we are doing just that…one orange and one family at a time.”

For more information on the Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare, call (909) 384-5233. 

Say goodbye to impersonal customer service...welcome the Virtual Counselor Network to San Bernardino County

Have you ever felt trapped in limbo on a customer service hotline? Cursing at your favorite retailer’s automated message system?

“Press 1 to continue in English...Are you still there? Say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

“Noooooo!” *Click*

After years of frustration, there finally is a solution to your torment—the Virtual Counselor Network.

The Virtual Counselor Network (VCN) provides real-time face-to-face resource and referral services through the use of kiosks equipped with Internet technology.

We’ve all endured the frustratingly epic journey that is navigating through automated customer service, but when it comes to finding answers you need, the Virtual Counselor Network wants you to kiss all your robotic voice command worries goodbye and say hello to the new face of customer service.

Using the VCN is simple. Simply sit down at the nearest VCN kiosk to you (find all 22 locations at, connect to a Virtual Counselor, and tell them what you’re looking for.

On January 27, the Housing Opportunities Collaborative Inland Empire (HOC) announced the launch of the VCN at the Lewis Library and Technology Center in Fontana.

Roberto Gonzalez, Program Manager of HOC, explains the intake process. “When a resident contacts the VCN, they initially have a conversation with a triage staff member who assesses their needs and makes suggestions on the counselors that can help. The counselors then initiate and facilitate a counseling session with a virtual counselor who is live on the network,” Gonzalez said.

That’s right—a real, live person to help you right then and there, face-to-face.

Virtual Counselors can directly connect users to various nonprofit resources, information on how to start a business, homeownership workshops, financial literacy, and any resource connected to the VCN.

The goal is to provide easy access to multiple services in one place, improve efficiency for nonprofit partners so they can serve more residents, and connect residents to appropriate services as soon as they need it. The VCN is also a very important tool for those with limited mobility as it makes services readily available, even in the largest of regions like San Bernardino County.

Since it began in 2012, the VCN has referred over 1,500 residents throughout Southern California.

“I had my taxes prepared for free using the VCN. The process was efficient and saved me time and money. The counselor was very well informed and professional,” Joseph Munger said, a VCN user.

Tax services are just one of the many resources that users can be connected to upon using the VCN. Kiosks are equipped with scanning, audio and video capabilities in a secure communication environment that allows for many services to be conducted right away without the need to travel to another resource location.

VCN kiosks are located at the Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center at 8437 Sierra Ave. and at the El Sol Educational Center at 972 North Mount Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino. Virtual counselors are standing by now. For immediate assistance, call 1-800-826-1502. 

By Louis A. Penna

Spotlight of success: Veteran finds the KEYS to his success

Photo credit

A decade ago, DeLance Mills returned home to his wife in Hesperia after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force. He had all the skills needed to find a job, but his homecoming to civilian life was met with financial uncertainty and instability. The happy and healthy family he planned with his wife, Chrissy, seemed like a distant dream.

Soon after coming home Mills and his wife moved out of state for a job with Washington Mutual but they hit another road block when the bank’s branch closed. Without a permanent place to call home, two growing kids and a newborn, post-military life proved difficult to handle on their own. 

“We got tired of bouncing from temp job to temp job. Chrissy found a job, and then I lost one. I found a job, and then she got sick and lost hers,” DeLance said.  

The Mills were on the brink when things turned for the worst—they were evicted from their apartment, DeLance had lost his driver’s license, and they had few places left to turn. The Mills were homeless. 

Thankfully, organizations like KEYS (Knowledge and Education for Your Success, Inc.) make it their mission to advocate for and support veterans and families that have served our nation. Just as a fellow soldier would act in the line of duty, KEYS, through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program, gives a hand up to those who have fallen.

“If a veteran has served this country and fought for our freedom, as Americans, we have the opportunity to respond and help them find stability. The SSVF program allows us to provide the necessary support to not only find housing, but also provide the services that help veterans never return to the streets again,” said Maureen O’Keefe-Hodge, KEYS Executive Director.

The Mills approached KEYS in August 2014 and received immediate assistance. They were quickly put in a hotel as KEYS worked on their personalized housing stability plan. With DeLance unemployed, KEYS paid for their housing until he returned to work 3 months later. 

Now the Mills family is stable and permanently housed. 

“They helped us plan out our finances, where it was going and how it was spent. Knowing that they were there and looking out for us with a guiding hand, that was a comforting feeling,” Mills said.

KEYS acts swiftly. Once they enroll the veteran into the SSVF program they connect him or her to multiple resources for mental health, legal, financial and employment services. Most importantly, they find them a permanent home.

“Many of us have never made the sacrifice to serve in the armed forces, but by helping provide a basic need to our veterans like housing, we can help entire communities become stable,” said O’Keefe-Hodge.   

DeLance, now a graduate of American Career College with a nursing license and gainful employment, could not imagine his life without the support of KEYS.

“I have no idea where we’d be if it wasn’t for them. I’m scared to think about it,” Mills said. 

Few people understand the profound and immeasurable service that veterans and their families give to our country, but many of us can understand the struggle of finding our way out of troubled times. If you know a veteran or a veteran family in need of assistance, call KEYS at (909) 381-3953 or email

By Louis A. Penna, Communications Advisor

Flipping-Off Your Electric Bill, the Story of Mrs. Crowell

Photo: Marguerite Crowell, of San Bernardino, outside her home next to one of the solar panels installed on her roof. The installation came courtesy of the Solar Affordable Housing Program. 

“I’d heard about solar, but never thought I’d be able to get it.”

These are the words of Marguerite Crowell, a retired school nurse and 38-year resident of San Bernardino. With medical bills, higher living expenses, a daughter and grandson to raise and support, Crowell was fed up with paying an electric bill that sometimes reached over $400 a month

Then Crowell met Leida Chambliss and the friendly people from GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit solar contractor that leads teams of volunteers and job-trainees who install solar electric systems for low-income families through their Solar Affordable Housing Program.

“She (Leida) came in and told me what I needed. I was glad to have her, they’re all very friendly. They connect with you and explain how important it is to have solar,” Crowell said.

Most importantly, they help homeowners realize the money they can save on their electric costs by switching to solar. 

“We want to help families like Mrs. Crowell’s save on their electricity bills, afford to stay in their homes, and improve their quality of life,” A. Bambi Tran, GRID Alternatives Inland Empire Regional Director said. “And in the Inland Empire in 2015, we’re going to focus our work in disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately vulnerable and burdened by pollution.” 

Since 2004, GRID Alternatives has installed renewable power for over 4,000 families, preventing the release of 340,000 tons of greenhouse gasses over the systems' lifetimes and providing more than $110 million in energy cost savings. More than 15,000 volunteers and job trainees have received hands-on solar installation work experience as part of the program.

After qualifying, a team of two supervisors and eight volunteers came to Crowell’s home and installed her new rooftop solar electric system in just two days

“They were so organized. They had everything they needed—the safety equipment, helmets, tools—they work like professionals, everything was done properly. I was amazed by how organized they were, nice and cheerful too.”

Crowell can now expect to save nearly 50 percent on annual electricity costs thanks to the new solar panels installed on her roof; over $1300 this year alone, and approximately $38,000 in lifetime savings.

My bills were almost $400 a month, so that was a big relief. When you’re on your pension and social security, you can’t do it. It hits you hard,” Crowell said.

Crowell ribboncutting

Crowell flipped the switch on her new solar panel electric system on Jan. 14 during a celebration at her home attended by local dignitaries, neighbors, friends, and the GRID Alternatives team. Crowell says her neighbors took note of the new addition to her home and are now looking to qualify for their own solar electric system courtesy of GRID Alternatives.

She applauds GRID Alternatives for their friendliness and assistance throughout the entire process. 

“They kept me updated all the time. You can call, ask questions, and they’ll be there.”

To find out if you qualify for a solar electric system for your home, call GRID Alternatives at (888) 496-4743 or email 

Photo courtesy: GRID Alternatives

New Benefits for Veterans Roll Out This Week

Veterans are now free to move about the county at a discount rate thanks to Omnitrans' new veterans fare. A 50 percent discount on all bus passes (sbX, OmniGo, and regular bus routes) is offered to retired U.S. military personnel with valid ID. Veterans can receive their Military Veteran ID card from San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs, click here to access the application at or call 866-4SB-VETS.

“It’s our way of saying thanks to those who have served to protect our freedom,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, himself a veteran of the US Marine Corps.  

In addition, Omnitrans will provide free rides to uniformed active-duty military members, police, and firefighters. Omnitrans joins other Inland Empire transit agencies and over 1,000 businesses in San Bernardino County that offer veterans discounts including: Victor Valley Transit Agency, Mountain Transit, Pass Transit, and Riverside Transit Agency.

“This [fare change] will have a big impact on affordability for our veterans,” Osvaldo Maysonet said. Maysonet, a Veterans Specialist of 211 San Bernardino County and former Marine sergeant who served in the Iraq war, helped lead the new fare proposal after hearing concerns from fellow veterans about the need for inexpensive transportation. “We have many vets in San Bernardino County who are dealing with low income or no income. Access to affordable transportation will connect them with education, healthcare and employment opportunities and possibly help them to become taxpayers again,” (from

Approximately 175,000 veterans live in the county according to San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs. To date, the San Bernardino County VA has issued over 4,000 Military Veteran ID cards that help ensure veterans are easily recognizable to area businesses that offer a benefit such as a discount, a free item, or preferred status.

With a county-issued Military Veteran ID card, veterans no longer need to carry a copy of their military discharge papers to prove their Veteran status, nor do they need to go to the Loma Linda V.A. hospital to apply for an ID card which may or may not be issued.

“This program has been beneficial to San Bernardino County businesses and, most important, our veterans,” Bill Moseley, County of San Bernardino Veterans Affairs Director, said. “We are grateful to all of our local businesses who have shown their support of our veterans community.”

The ID cards also assist those who may be eligible for federal monetary benefits that the VA helps veterans and their families receive. San Bernardino County veterans secured $85 million in federal benefits in the last fiscal year, the most of any county in California.

“The County of San Bernardino aims to ensure our veterans receive the recognition, honor and support they deserve. Thank you to the organizations that have stepped up to the plate and have shown their appreciation and humble gratitude through these valuable benefits,” Supervisor Josie Gonzales said.

To obtain a Military Veterans ID card, visit or call 866-4SB-VETS. A list of the Omnitrans veterans fares are available at

You can help end homelessness in San Bernardino County (read more)

On Jan. 22, you can help end homelessness in San Bernardino County. 

Click here to find out how and sign-up. 

The cold hard facts:

  • Homeless individuals, families, and children are in EVERY community in the County of San Bernardino
  • 33,859 students in San Bernardino County, 8 percent of the total student population, were designated homeless during the 2012-13 academic year

What you can do:
  • The 2015 Point-in-Time Count will take place on Jan. 22, 2015 in order to secure federal funding required to provide the County programs and services that remove people from homelessness

County employee honored for her military service

Click here for full photo album of the special presentation.

If you asked Marian Motley who she is, she’d tell you she is just like any other secretary. She comes into work each morning at the San Bernardino County Government Center, rides the elevator to her floor, and tacitly labors at her desk. 

But those who know her closely would tell you there’s something rather special about the executive secretary at the front desk of the fourth floor. 

Yes, she has two college degrees with high honors AND a Pharmacy Technician certification in her back pocket, but that was light work compared to the real honor she holds. 

Marian T. Motley is a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and California Air National Guard. She enlisted in 1975, a time when it was unusual and culturally contentious to see women in the military, especially a young woman of color. 

“I had a lot of young men that wanted to challenge me,” Motley said. 

Rising through the ranks, Motley had to overcome the adversity of those unwilling to accept her leadership role within the military. 

“A lot of guys, especially during that time, had issues with women being in charge. I’d ask them, ‘How many stripes do you have on your arm? You have two, I have four. You do the math,’” Motley said.

As she speaks during an interview about these personal contests, you still feel the weight her words carry decades later. 

“There was a little friction there, but we got along a lot better later,” Motley says with a smirk. 

Undeterred by the trouble she faced, Motley exited her military career with a higher sense of what it means to be an American and a greater respect for her homeland.  

“You don’t know how patriotic you are until you put on that uniform and say ‘I do.’ It just sends chills down your spine,” Motley said. 

“In my time I saw people come here and kiss the ground—I can relate to that. You hear a lot of people talking about the government in a negative way, but let them go overseas and come back like I did, they’ll say ‘I see what makes the United States the United States,’ because we do have the best country.” 

After 15 years as an executive secretary with San Bernardino County Counsel, she’s never forgotten the meaning of her years in service. Motley was hesitant but decisive in leaving the military, especially with her daughter and three sons at home, all of which were born during her time in service. 

In 1999, she was honorably discharged from the California Air National Guard with the rank of Master Sergeant. 

“If it was up to me I would’ve stayed another year or two, I might still be in the Force!” 

Motley still reminisces about her days stationed abroad in the Azores, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey. She jokes about being pinched on the rear in Norway by a stranger, but makes serious note of the real life lessons her military service taught her. Lessons she instills in her children today. 

“You learn who you are, you learn to be structured, and learn your own direction,”

Understanding the cultural significance of her decision to join the military almost 40 years from today, it’s easy to say that Motley’s direction was the road less traveled. 

(Continue reading for resolution language)

On November 4, 2014, Supervisor Josie Gonzales presented Marian Motley with a special resolution from the Board of Supervisors to recognize her extraordinary courage and honorable service to our nation throughout her 24 years of military service (see picture above).

The resolution language can be read below. 

“Whereas, MARIAN T. MOTLEY is hereby recognized for her extraordinary courage and honorable service to our nation throughout her 24 years in the United States Air Force; and 

Whereas, MARIAN T. MOTLEY bravely began her outstanding military career in May 1975, enlisting into the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a young woman from Los Angeles. In active service, she was charged with accounting and monitoring the transmission of top secret materials. She was stationed all over the world including the Azores, and the countries of England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Turkey; and

Whereas, after completing basic training, Marian was assigned to Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino as an E3/Airman 1st Class. Once promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant, Marian was later assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona from 1976-1978, and then transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, serving there until 1980; and

Whereas, in March 1981, Marian continued her military service and enlisted in the California Air National Guard. Starting as an E5/Staff Sergeant at the Compton Air National Guard, she was promoted to numerous titles and roles. In January 1999, Marian was honorably discharged with the rank of E7/Master Sergeant; and

Whereas, Marian received an Associate’s Degree from Compton College in Business Administration, achieving High Honors; received an Associate’s Degree from Community College of the Air Force in Information System Technology; and 

Whereas, MARIAN T. MOTLEY is also recognized for her continued commitment to public service through 15 years as an executive secretary with San Bernardino County Counsel beginning immediately following her military service. Marian began her post-military career with the County of San Bernardino as a clerk at the Head Start Center in November 1999, later accepting her current position with County Counsel on July 2000; and 

Whereas, MARIAN T. MOTLEY exhibited inconceivable strength and courage in joining the armed forces during a time of severe cultural dissension in respect to race relations, and when public disapproval of women in the military was commonplace. She is commended not only for her valiant service, but for the social and cultural significance of her actions and enlistment as an African-American woman in the military. May her service and determination be a testament to the perseverance and enduring fortitude of the human spirit.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Bernardino, State of California, does hereby recognize MARIAN T. MOTLEY for her outstanding career and strength of character, and express their sincere appreciation.

Be it further resolved, that this resolution be noted in the minutes of this Board and that a copy be presented to MARIAN T. MOTLEY.”

Eco-friendly machines coming to a freeway near you

They’re lean, mean, environmentally friendly machines—and not to forget, good for business too. Natural gas powered 18-wheeler trucks will soon be hitting on-ramps across the Southland, and trucking industry giant C.R. England, Inc. is leading the way.

“C.R. England is a strong advocate of sustainable transportation and is aggressively implementing and testing new technology, equipment and training to provide our customers and our environment with greener transportation," Zach England said, Chief Operating Officer of C.R. England, Inc. 

In addition to their newly opened truck terminal in Colton, C.R. England added 10 new Mack Pinnacle 12-liter liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors to their Southern California fleets this year. 

“We have made the commitment to continually test this equipment and introduce them into strategic areas where the freight and fueling networks fit best," England said. 

One of those strategic areas is the City of Colton, where C.R. England’s new truck terminal recently opened. Located at 2250 South Riverside Ave., the 34-acre site is the second largest facility in the nation that the company owns. 

Colton is the perfect home for an LNG truck fleet. No other place of business provides the fueling support network California has. The Golden State is home to 14 public LNG fueling stations, the most of any other state in the U.S. (Tweet this factoid)

“We are optimistic about the future of LNG and are hopeful to grow the fleet significantly. We have seen some of the many benefits of natural gas and hope to continue to expand our presence this year and into the future.”

According to C.R. England, LNG trucks offer a variety of benefits over their diesel-fueled counterparts. 

One advantage is energy security. Natural gas reserves are abundant in the U.S., meaning that LNG fuel can be domestically produced at a lower cost compared to foreign oil. This is a major benefit compared to diesel trucks that hold hundreds of gallons of high-priced fuel and only average 5 to 6 miles per gallon. 

LNG trucks are cleaner too. Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide and less than a third as much nitrogen oxides according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

For C.R. England, the choice to expand their eco-friendly fleet was simple. 

“Our customers are demanding greener transportation modes and these types of offerings help us meet their needs,” England said, “We had a unique opportunity with this introduction to find a situation that was a fit from a customer, freight, fueling and equipment standpoint.”

This isn’t C.R. England’s first venture in alternative fueled trucks. The company first introduced LNG trucks on a smaller scale nearly three years ago. Improvements in natural gas technology have allowed the company to steadily grow their already impressive LNG fleet. 

“As an industry leader, we are driven to continually find ways to decrease our carbon footprint,” said England. 

Supervisor Josie Gonzales recently took a tour of the Colton facility to get a glimpse of the company’s newest addition. 

“C.R. England is a company on the cutting edge. The England family is taking a firm lead in the LNG trucking industry while meeting the needs of their customers and helping protect the environment,” Gonzales said. “As a South Coast Air Quality Management District board member, we are grateful to have C.R. England as a helping hand in cleaning the air that we breathe.”

The C.R. England Colton truck terminal is located at 2250 South Riverside Ave. To schedule a visit or tour of the facility, call Melvin Maclin at (951) 231-1155. 

Think about it: In 2003, natural gas reserves in the United States were estimated to be 1,338 trillion cubic feet, and U.S. gas production was 18.6 trillion cubic feet.

Local boy takes helm at pivotal IVDA

Born and raised in San Bernardino, Mike Burrows was recently appointed the Acting Executive Director of the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA), a locally controlled agency responsible for the redevelopment of the former Norton Air Force Base (NAFB).

For Burrows, NAFB and the community around it is a special place.

“The base has been a part of our family forever,” Burrows said, sitting in his chair comfortably at the IVDA main office on 3rd Street in San Bernardino. “I remember being at my grandma’s house seeing C-130s flying overhead. It’s part of your upbringing.” 

His mom and dad even met at the base, later marrying at a chapel across the street. His father, a civil engineer on the former NAFB, eventually finished his career with San Bernardino County Flood Control District. His mother worked for TRW Inc., a missile technology development company charged with working on the Titan missile and Minuteman II missile programs. 

Burrows, a sharped-faced man with an equally sharp mind, half-jokingly calls himself a “literal product” of NAFB.

“You saw the impact it had; not just the military personnel but in the fabric of the community. The shops, stores, machine shops, and businesses that supported the base, you really get an appreciation for what it meant to the community. It was our economy.”

Burrows is a local boy true to heart. He graduated from Cajon High School and attended California State University San Bernardino as an undergraduate, later earning his MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management in Claremont. 

When it came to finding a job however, Burrows wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He was into sports, played trumpet in the school band, and at one point thought he wanted to become a journalist. 

“I just liked doing things. I wasn’t bad or terrible at anything, but I can’t say I was excellent at anything either. I just wanted to learn.”

It was in the learning environment that Burrows felt most in tune with himself. Before graduating he worked for the County Superintendent of Schools in a program helping adults on public assistance attain their GED—it was clear to him that he was on track to be a teacher. 

He remained in school and received undergraduate degrees in English literature and creative writing.

“I was going to be the next William Faulkner of our generation,” Burrows said. 

“I loved short stories, they always kind of spoke to me. I was always a fan of Shakespeare,” Burrows said. “William Blake was my poet, Shakespeare was my all around artist.”

After a San Bernardino Valley College professor rekindled his passion for writing, Burrows felt he knew the career he wanted.

“What I wanted to do, honestly, was be a community college professor teaching remedial English I. That’s what I really wanted to do, I really enjoyed that,” Burrows said. 

Late in his senior year, a couple colleagues got him into writing grants. His fraternity brother had been working for IVDA as an intern and turned him on to a position with IVDA. 

“When I first heard about it, my first thought was, ‘What the heck is IVDA?’”

He soon learned that IVDA was the agency formed to restore the economic prosperity that the former air force base generated. As an intern, Burrows first worked on grants for the U.S. Department of Commerce for roadways and infrastructure around the base. 

“That work kind of gave me the bug,” Burrows said. “I thought that was really cool; it was big dollars to the community. It really opened my eyes to another side of things.”

From there he was brought on as an analyst working on real estate and development projects that hoped to reinstate the economic benefit of the shuttered NAFB. With the same excitement he held after receiving that first multi-million dollar grant, Burrows takes as much pride in knowing every dollar brought back to the IVDA project area is another dollar in the community’s pocket.  

“Every job we bring, and what that job means to that individual and their family…that’s what keeps me here. That’s what makes this place unique for me.”

After 17 years with IVDA, Burrows has worked his way up from an intern drafting grant proposals to the Executive Director’s office, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. 

“I still haven’t written my book yet,” Burrows said with a smirk. “But it’s on my list.”

IVDA Leading the Way Toward Job Growth and Economic Recovery for San Bernardino County

At IVDA, it’s all about the economy. In 1990, following the closure of Norton Air Force Base (NAFB), the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA) was created from a Joint Powers Authority between the County of San Bernardino and the Cities of San Bernardino, Colton and Loma Linda. Their goal was for IVDA to work hand-in-hand with the private sector to bring in new business, increase the tax base, and reestablish the region as the powerful economic engine it once was. 

“It’s about making sure that we’ve done something at the end of the day that will provide lasting benefit to the community, which deserves the economic equivalent of what [NAFB] was,” Burrows said.

If you ask anyone who lived in or around San Bernardino during the NAFB era, from WWII into the late 1980’s, they would verify the economic significance the base held in the community. 

When NAFB officially closed in 1994, the impact was enormous. An estimated 15,458 jobs were lost, $1.5 billion in annual payroll evaporated, and nearly $2 billion of economic activity ceased to exist.

Since then, IVDA, along with its master developer, Hillwood, have helped secure many name brand employers in the area including Kohl’s, Mattel, Pep Boys, Pepsi, Stater Bros., Legget & Platt®, Kohler, and Amazon. Together, these businesses and other IVDA developments have returned nearly 9,000 local jobs to the region.

Many of those jobs are housed within the 11.2 million square feet of new industrial buildings constructed by Hillwood in recent years. Additional IVDA developments like the Mountain View Avenue Widening Project and resulting bridge over the Santa Ana River are designed to serve as future corridors for increased traffic—the same traffic and goods movement that signifies increased private investment in the region. Other streets on deck for enhancement include the 3rd and 5th Street Corridors, which are due for over $15 million in renovations.

A steady stream of tenants and employers coming to the IVDA area, the newest being Amazon’s nearly 1 million square foot distribution center, point to a steady economic recovery from the 2008 downturn. With a newly appointed Acting Executive Director at helm, these road projects will lay the literal groundwork in preparing for additional investment heading into the future. 

Supervisor Josie Gonzales, Co-Chair of IVDA, knows first-hand IVDA’s newly appointed Acting Executive Director possesses the qualities that will lend to the Agency’s success moving forward.

“Mr. Burrows has the local knowledge, experience, and organizational expertise that we need in this pivotal position. IVDA’s focus is now looking ahead, delivering the projects, future developments, and good paying jobs that our residents need,” stated Supervisor Gonzales. 

IVDA is located at 1601 East 3rd Street in San Bernardino. Call 909-382-4100 for more information. 


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Goodwill, Transforming Lives Through the Power of Work

When you drive by a local Goodwill you might see racks of clothes, shoppers darting to-and-fro to find a hip outfit at a great price, or a neighbor making an in-kind donation. What you may not see are the Goodwill employees and the unique role they play in the community that’s worth far more than anything you can buy in a store. 

Jessica Rodriguez is one of those special Goodwill employees that you just won’t see at the local retail store. She works behind the scenes as program manager at Goodwill’s San Bernardino Career Resource Center (located at 444 S. Waterman Ave.) and also manages multiple workforce and career development programs that are dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities and other vocational barriers prepare for and find stable employment. 

With that much responsibility, you’d think work motivation would come at a premium; but if you ask Rodriguez, she’ll say it’s easy. All she has to do is step out of her office. 

“If I look onto the work floor, looking at the participants doing their job, hearing their stories, looking at their successes, that’s why I continue to come every day to work. Why I motivate and inspire my staff to do the best that they can, it’s those successes,” said Rodriguez. 

In her 10 years with the organization, Jessica has been focused on Transforming Lives Through the Power of Work, as is the mission of Goodwill.  

Goodwill serves local businesses and individuals through their multifaceted career development programs, several of which Rodriguez manages. According to, Goodwill is committed to helping people with disabilities “secure sustainable employment and enjoy a greater sense of independence, dignity, purpose and pride,” and is helping thousands of people achieve career success every year. 

Goodwill provides services through their Career Resource Center at no cost. They prepare job seekers for employment through resume workshops, interview coaching, job search tools, and a host of other services that are focused on helping their clients not just find a job, but sustain a career. 

Whether you’re a teenager looking for experience to build a resume, an individual with a specific barrier to employment, or a veteran seeking help transitioning into the civilian workforce, Goodwill wants to help give you the tools you need to succeed. 

For the road ahead, Rodriguez sees Goodwill expanding its reach throughout our region, continuing to partner with local businesses and helping many more people in our community reach the success they want to achieve.  

“When we hear that one success story that day or that week, we know that it’s worth it.”

For more information on Goodwill Southern California business and career services

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Winter 2014

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November/December 2012

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