High Desert Keepers collects more than 100 tons of desert trash

The High Desert Keepers, a grass-roots organization in Phelan, has collected more than 100 tons of trash from the High Desert. The group reached the milestone of 114 tons, or 228,000 pounds, of trash collected, said High Desert Keepers President and Founder Scott Brown. They have also removed about 1,500 tires. “We have acquired a new (used) truck, a couple of trailers, and miscellaneous equipment needed to perform our core purpose, cleaning up and preventing illegal dumping in our beautiful desert,” Brown said.

HD Keepers truck “High Desert Keepers has done absolutely magnificent work in cleaning up illegal dump sites,” said Supervisor Lovingood. “On behalf of the residents of San Bernardino County, thank you for your work to better our communities.” High Desert Keepers is now a licensed California Waste Tire Hauler and has an agreement with the Mitsubishi Cement Plant in Lucerne Valley to accept tires. High Desert Keepers is working with the cities of Hesperia and Victorville to clean up trash in those areas. “We want to work with all the government agencies involved with the enforcement of illegal dumping laws,” Brown said. “We don’t just want to clean it up, we want to put a stop to it. We would like to thank Supervisor Lovingood’s office for their continued support in our war on trash and look forward to continuing to work closely with the county to achieve our parallel goals, keeping our beautiful desert beautiful!” For more information, visit www.highdesertkeepers.org.
Winter 2019

Supervisor Lovingood ends term as chair

Supervisors Rowe, Gonzales, Lovingood, Hagaman and Rutherford Supervisor Lovingood ended his term as chair of the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 8, a term marked by leading through change.

During his two years as chairman, Supervisor Lovingood led the Board during a series of changes: The selection of a new County chief executive officer, transition in county counsel and recent unanimous selection of Dawn Rowe as the new Board member representing the 3rd District. There have been great accomplishments throughout our County departments, including the recent roll out of the County’s Vision2Succeed initiative. This launch is pivotal in taking our collaborative work with industry and education partners to the next level.

“It’s been a privilege to serve, but it’s also about the people who do the work, from the Sheriff, the Assessor, the District Attorney and others that really have us moving forward in a positive direction that we want to continue,” Supervisor Lovingood said. “So this is kind of bittersweet.”
The Board elected Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman as the new Board Chairman and Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales as Vice Chair.

County Department of Veterans Affairs tops in state

San Bernardino County has an amazing Department of Veterans Affairs, under the leadership of retired Col. Frank Guevara. The County V.A. filed service connected disability claims which resulted in veterans receiving over $45 million. This is the highest amount received by any county in California. The department filed and were granted 1,258 California college tuition waivers worth $5.9 million. College fees and tuition are waived for children of disabled veterans or children of service members who died on active duty.

Veterans resource fair planned May 30

Supervisor Lovingood talking with a veteran Supervisor Lovingood will host the sixth annual High Desert Veterans Resource Fair 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. On May 30 at the Apple Valley Conference Center, 14975 Dale Evans Parkway in Apple Valley. The resource fair will include numerous public and nonprofit providers to connect veterans with services. The event will highlight information on veterans’ benefits, job openings and personalized claims assistance. The San Bernardino County Department of Veterans Affairs will be available to discuss and file disability claims, issue veteran ID cards and provide general assistance. Veterans who require assistance with claims are encouraged to bring a copy of their DD-214 and identification. For more information, call Susan Drake at Supervisor Lovingood’s Victorville office at (760) 995-8100 or email Susan.Drake@bos.sbcounty.gov.

Public Safety update

San Bernardino County Sheriff Badge
In working on the 2018-19 budget, Supervisor Lovingood successfully advocated for $1 million in additional funding for Sheriff’s operational overtime to conduct specialized crime sweeps in 2018-19. These special funds are helping the Sheriff’s Department conduct targeted enforcement operations on repeat offenders. Sheriff McMahon has added deputies to gang teams and human trafficking operations.

While communities across California continue to struggle with the effects of AB109 and Propositions 47 and 57, which reduce criminal penalties, San Bernardino County has launched several programs aimed at reducing repeat criminal offenses. The Sheriff’s Reintegration Pilot Program provides classes and supervised work assignments for inmates nearing the end of their sentences. The “Stepping Up Initiative” is helping reduce the number of mentally ill adults in jail. The Sheriff’s Department also launched a program to systematically measure what programs are effectively reducing recidivism and which ones aren’t.

The Board of Supervisors provided funding for the “New Hope” program, which helps newly released jail inmates establish themselves in a new and stable life. The all-volunteer program is managed by Abundant Living Family Church in Hesperia and provides clothing, food, cell phone access and transportation to the individuals who are released. The initial results are encouraging.

The D.A.’s office has started a Major Frauds Unit to investigate and prosecute large, complex fraud cases. The D.A. has also has expanded its investigative work on cybercrimes and computer forensics through partnerships with other agencies.

Did You Know?
  • San Bernardino County Public Works completed projects on 105 miles of roads in the First District during 2018? Projects ranged from Lone Pine Canyon and Needles to Silver Lakes and Newberry Springs. Paving started on Spring Valley Parkway, with a final layer of pavement to be applied when the weather warms up in spring. Public Works has plans for continued road maintenance work throughout the First District in 2019 to ensure our roads are kept in good condition.

  • In 2017-18, County inmate crews cleared 433 parcels of 133 tons of trash and 3,089 tires in unincorporated First District communities. Previously, inmate crews cleared 578 tons of trash and 7,922 tires at an illegal dump in unincorporated Apple Valley.

  • The County recently opened a 16-bed crisis residential treatment facility in Victorville to provide behavioral health treatment in a home-like environment. The center fills a vital need in our community for folks in the midst of a crisis and helps ease overburdened emergency rooms.

More ways to contact County Code Enforcement

County Code Enforcement administers programs designed to protect the public’s safety, welfare, and property value through enforcement of San Bernardino County ordinances and State/Federal laws relating to land use, zoning, housing, public nuisances and vehicle abatement within the unincorporated areas of the county.

Code Enforcement may be reached at
(760) 995-8140 or (909) 884-4056. Complaints may be filed online at http://cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/CodeEnforcement.aspx.

A smartphone app called SBCode can also be used to file complaints.

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Sheriff’s Department is recruiting now

Sheriff’s Department is recruiting now The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is recruiting for both deputy and civilian positions. The Sheriff’s Department is one of the leading law enforcement agencies in the region – foremost in many areas of technology, and is on the cutting edge when it comes to advanced community policing techniques. Its training facilities rank with the best, and the employee family is second to none. For information on becoming a Deputy Sheriff or a member of the Sheriff’s civilian staff, visit www.SheriffsJobs.com.

Earn your high school diploma & get career training for free through the County Library

Graduation cap and degree The San Bernardino County Library offers adults the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online through Career Online High School. Career Online High School through the San Bernardino County Library is open to eligible County residents. Applicants who successfully complete an online self-assessment and prerequisite course, followed by an interview, will be considered for enrollment. Once enrolled in the program, Career Online High School pairs each student with an online academic coach who provides the student with an individual career path, offers ongoing guidance, evaluates performance and connects the student with the resources needed to master the courses. Students will be given up to 18 months to complete the program. For more information, visit http://www.sbclib.org/OnlineHighSchool.aspx.

Board of Supervisors endorses Vision2Succeed Initiative

The Board of Supervisors has endorsed Vision2Succeed, a new campaign designed to strengthen the career skills of our local workforce by connecting county residents to opportunities that enhance their qualifications to support existing employers and attract new employers to San Bernardino County. Vision2Succeed logo “A skilled workforce encourages a vibrant economy, and that is why we support Vision2Succeed,” said Supervisor Lovingood. “I encourage our community to get involved in learning experiences and programs that help to propel career growth and lifelong learning. Across the county we have a strong system of schools, colleges and universities as well as training and job resource centers that benefit residents and employers alike.” The Vision2Succeed.org website provides residents with information about career exploration ideas, programs and events focused on workforce and skills development, as well as sharing opportunities to explore and participate in career options such as mentorships, internships and apprenticeships. For more information, visit http://vision2succeed.org/.

High Desert history

U.S. Air Force Capt. Joe McConnell, Jr. During the Korean War, the High Desert community took pride in U.S. Air Force Capt. Joe McConnell, Jr. who became the first triple jet ace in American history. Originally from New Hampshire, Capt. McConnell was a navigator in World War II and later became a pilot, flying F-86 Sabres in Korea. Between January and May 1953, McConnell shot down 16 enemy MiG-15 fighter jets. Immediately after his 16th air victory, he returned to the United States, where he met with President Dwight Eisenhower and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, America’s second-highest decoration for valor. A national hero, McConnell returned to his home in Apple Valley, and was stationed at George Air Force Base in Victorville. On Aug. 6, 1953, the people of Apple Valley gave Capt. McConnell a new home, the “Appreciation House.” The house was completed in 45 hours with all land, material, and labor donated. Warner Brothers released “The McConnell Story,” in 1955, starring Alan Ladd and June Allyson. In 1954, Capt. McConnell died in a flight test accident. He is buried at Victor Valley Memorial Park. His jet, “Beauteous Butch,” named for his wife, is on display at the Apple Valley Airport.

Safe Return Program to help developmentally disabled citizens at risk of wandering

Safe Return Program logo

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has developed a website to assist citizens in the county who have developmental disabilities and are at risk of wandering away from home. The Safe Return Program is a registry database where citizens can register their loved ones who are at risk of wandering and becoming lost. Having these profiles available to law enforcement can help to reduce the amount of time a person is missing and keep law enforcement resources available for other calls. For more information, visit www.sbcounty.gov/sheriff/safereturn.

Visit the spectacular Mitchell Caverns

Mitchell Caverns Mitchell’s Caverns are a trio of limestone caves in the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in eastern San Bernardino County. The “Tecopa” (named for a Shoshone Indian chief) and “El Pakiva” (Devil’s house) caves are connected by a man-made tunnel and are open to guided tours led by California State Park rangers. The caverns are home to a diverse habitat full of limestone cave formations and unique wildlife - everything from bats to tiny pseudoscorpions and more. The caverns were created during the Pleistocene epoch, when ground water with a high carbonic acid content ate into the surrounding marble and sedimentary limestone. Scientists have found the remains of several prehistoric animals, including a sloth. The caverns were a sacred place for the Chemehuevi Indians, and a number of tools and fire pits have been found. The caverns are named after Jack Mitchell, who owned and operated the caves from 1934 to 1954 as a tourist attraction and rest stop for travelers on neaby Route 66. Spectacular and intricate limestone formations found include stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, lily pads, draperies, curtains and cave coral. The most popular months to visit are October through May. Mitchell Caverns are off Interstate 40, about 116 miles east of Barstow. Park Administration is open on Mondays for phone reservations only. For more information, visit
California Department of Parks and Recreation Providence Mountains State Recreation Area