Saturday, March 03, 2007

Weekly News Roundup: March 3 Edition

Once again, no seriously bad news in Yucaipa this week. Excellent!

City News

March 2, Press-Enterprise, "Yucaipa road projects to improve access" (with podcast and video)

The article covers three road improvements in Yucaipa: 10th Street bridge at Wilson Creek, the 3rd St. bridge at Wildwood Creek and the widening of Oak Glen Road.
The city of Yucaipa has cobbled together federal, state and local funding sources, and is fronting $8.7 million for the $19 million interchange work at Oak Glen and Live Oak Canyon roads to speed up the project. It will recoup about two-thirds of the advance money when the next increment of Measure I gas tax becomes available starting in 2010.

"It's something that needs to be done, so you do what you have to do," Mayor Dick Riddell said by phone.
March 1, Yucaipa News Mirror, "Sewer project to eliminate all septic systems"

The Yucaipa Valley Water District would like to eliminate septic systems in Yucaipa and Calimesa. In Yucaipa, they plan to focus on the 1,500 septic systems in western Yucaipa. While there are plans to construct new sewers along Avenue E, 16th St., 18th St. and Bryant to serve new development in those areas, homeowners that are not immediately adjacent to the sewer system will require the construction of additional mainlines.
“The current regulatory environment has placed this issue on the front burner for the District,” said Joe Zoba, general manager, pointing out that the Basin Plan adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board focuses on eliminating the buildup of nitrogen and salt within the Yucaipa area. “With interest rates relatively low, now may be the best time for residents on septic systems to do their share to protect our groundwater supplies,” Zoba added.
Zoba pointed out, “At this point, the decision to invest in eliminating septic systems will be up to property owners to decide as a group if they want to connect to sewers. Unfortunately, it may be a matter of time before a regulatory agency steps in and forces the sewer connections to occur.”
March 1, Yucaipa News Mirror, "YCEA files unfair labor charge against school district"
The News Mirror has picked up on the story reported last week by the Press-Enterprise and Sun that the Yucaipa-Calimesa Educators Association (YCEA) has filed unfair labor practice charges against the school district, claiming that the district is bargaining in "bad faith" and charges that the district has used "threats and intimidation against union members", specifically naming Yucaipa High Ninth Grade Campus Principal Sherry Smith.
In an e-mail to the News Mirror, Smith responded, “I was very disappointed to learn that YCEA would make such irresponsible and unprofessional allegations against me. The charges are riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation. Furthermore, in some instances the charges are just outright absurd.”

Smith went on to say, “My professional administrative record speaks for itself. In eleven years as a site administrator I have never received so much as one formal complaint or grievance filed against me. I am confident that this is just a ploy on behalf of YCEA's leadership to distract from the fact that they have their own unfair labor practice charges pending against them that were filed earlier this year by the school district.”
Last December the school district filed charges agains the YCEA, "claiming union leadership did not support the tentative agreement reached by the two sides last June and because of that the union membership did not vote to approve the agreement."

Related: The Yucaipa-Calimesa Teacher blog was highlighted in the February 28th Carnival of Education.

Monday's City Council Meeting (all from the Yucaipa News Mirror)
  • Yucaipa in good shape": Yucaipa is in financially good shape, with almost $10 million in the "Undesignated Balance of the General Fund". Building and Safety revenues are expected to decrease, due to fewer building permits and inspections, but property tax revenues will likely be higher than originally projected. Costs will probably be higher than budgeted to finish the new fire station and City Hall Park.
  • Yucaipa City Council allocates block grant money
    • $12,000 to the Yucaipa Public Library literacy program
    • $6,000 to the City of Yucaipa to fund "scholarship program to for eligible, low income children in Yucaipa to participate in fee-based recreational programs sponsored by the city at no cost."
    • $10,000 to a program for crisis intervention and counseling service for victims of violent crimes (administered by San Bernardino County Sexual Assault Services)
    • $10,000 to Family Service Association for the purchase of kitchen equipment. The Association administers Meals on Wheels in Yucaipa
    • $2,800 remaining will be added to the capital improvements budget
    • Not funded: Audio Vision (ineligible for not providing financial information to HUD), Big Brothers and Sisters of the Inland Empire
  • Yucaipa's Redevelopment Agency approves expansion of façade program": only $18,000 of the alloted $60,000 has been used, so it has been recommended that the program be expanded to include almost all businesses in Yucaipa. "Any business owner interested in applying for up to $5,000 in matching funds to upgrade the façade of the business is encouraged to contact John McMains, director of community development, at 797-2489."
  • Get the February 26 agenda packet and minutes. (pdf) The City Council will eventually post an agenda packet for the next meeting, to be held on March .
March 2, San Bernardino Sun, "First charter school coming to Yucaipa/Calimesa?
The Sun picks up the story about the proposed Inland Leaders Charter School.
"It will be unique with a unique school schedule so students can go home early to be with their families and we require community service from our student and staff," [assistant principal of Wildwood Elementary and Valley Elementary and Charter school supporter] Gordon said.
Does "going home early" that mean the school is only for children who have at least one parent at home in the afternoon? The proposed school would have an admirable focus on community participation.
Gordon said Inland Leaders has a goal to provide a program that teaches students to apply leadership to their everyday activities and to the service of the community at large.

"Each day for half an hour we have a curriculum called Positive Action that students are working through with their teachers and applying it in the classroom and the community," Gordon said.

"Each year, our students and our staff are required to put together a community service project. That project is designed by the students in collaboration with the parents and their teacher to make a positive impact in the community, and it's student designed," Gordon said.
March 1, Yucaipa News Mirror, "School District opts to change election years"
The Yucaipa-Calimesa JUSD has approved a resolution to consolidate election of its members with the statewide general election. This will save $2.50 per voter, and is expected to improve voter turnout. The resolution needs final approval from both the Riverside and San Bernardino County Boards of Supervisors.

Locals in the News

March 1, Yucaipa News Mirror, "Yucaipan produces her second book"
Yucaipan Ann Burke has recently self-published her second book, "To the Last Drop of Our Blood".
In her book, Burke sketches excerpts from the story of the Waldenses, a religious minority who for generations lived under the looming shadow of church-state power. The book was inspired, in part, by a visit with her husband to the Waldensian Valley in northern Italy and on the border with France.
The last 22 pages of the book are an appendix of Burke's research.
Her first book, Light the Lantern, Daughter,” was released 20 years ago, in 1986.

March 1, Yucaipa News Mirror, "Science Fair for elementary school students was terrific"
March 2, San Bernardino Sun, "Pupils explore life's questions at science fair"

The Yucaipa-Calimesa JUSD February 24th Science Fair was a success, with close to 150 students participating. One of the goals was to help kids learn the scientific process.
"The first is they need to ask a question - the intent is to recognize a problem and ask a question about it. Once they've asked the question, their next step is to research the topic and at this point the third step is to form a hypothesis, which is a guessed answer to their question based on the research," Carter said. "The fourth step is to test the hypothesis and this is where the experiments comes to place."

While experimenting with their projects, the third- to sixth-grade students observed and kept a journal of the changes. The fifth step is to organize and analyze their results, Carter said.

Creativity, skills and thoroughness are some of the categories that the students were graded on.
The top ten students (not named in either article) will get to participate in the RIMS (Riverside-Inyo-Mono-San Bernardino) Science and Engineering Fair in April.

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