Saturday, May 26, 2007

Weekly News Roundup: May 26 Edition

City News

The News Mirror reports that the price tag for the extension of Sandalwood Drive to the as-yet-unopened Mesa View Middle School will be $5.75 million, plus the cost of environmental studies. Those studies will take four to six months, and construction will last six to eight months.
According to Alejandre, “In the best case environment, we could open up some time during the 2008/09 school year. If the timeline slips for any reason, then we may have to push back until the 2009/10 school year.”
The News Mirror reports on rising gas prices and found a lot of variation on price even within Yucaipa. Their findings:
  • gas is cheaper in Redlands and even, on average in Beaumont, than inYucaipa
  • the Valero station on Yucaipa Blvd. near 13th Street (map) sells gas for at least 10 cents a gallon less than the station on the corner of California and Wildwood Canyon (map)
  • the Arco station on Hampton Road near the Yucaipa Blvd/I-10 intersection (map) sells gas for two cents a gallon less than the station on Yucaipa Blvd near 2nd St (map) and 3rd St. (map). The stations along Redlands Blvd. are even cheaper.
The gas companies aren't explaining the difference in prices in stations. According to the cheapest gas in Yucaipa can be found at the Arco and Mobil stations near the Yucaipa Blvd. / I-10 interchange. The most expensive is at the 76 Station at Yucaipa Blvd. and Bryant. It seems worth a drive down the hill to save 16 cents a gallon.

The Press-Enterprise reports that the Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District is planning to beef up its libraries.

In some ways, the district is an information pacesetter -- a collaboration with the technology committee aims to teach technology skills in the context of subjects students already are studying.

In other ways the district lags -- the benchmark library at Yucaipa High School has 7,400 volumes, about half of the state per-student standard, said Margaret Updike, the district librarian and Yucaipa High librarian.

The library improvement plan could be approved by the district as early as June 5.

Meanwhile, in the Fontana Herald News, Yucaipan Bob Otto explains why he prefers to drive to the Hemet Public Library (54,000 square feet, completed in 2003) than a few blocks to the Yucaipa Public Library. It's not just that it's bigger, the Hemet Library has computer and internet resources, and even a community room with live music.
The children's section would nearly fill the entire Yucaipa library. It has a children's reference section, several aisles of fiction and non-fiction books, reading areas, play areas, a craft room, and four computers just for the kids.

And there's a section just for teenagers. "I've gotten better grades because of all the research material they have," said Natalie Campos, 15, of West Valley High School.
The new Fontana public library, opening next spring) will be almost double the size of Hemet's and have just as many amenities.

The Press-Enterprise reports on the battle of Inland Empire supermarkets for shoppers. A new player on the scene is the UK retail giant Tesco, which is opening up to 20 Fresh & Easy food markets in the Inland Empire, including one slated for Yucaipa.

Tesco has been mostly mum on its product and pricing plans. What's known is that Fresh & Easy stores will range from 10,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet in size, about the size of a Trader Joe's.

Fresh & Easy will offer a mix of prepared and ready-to-cook foods, along with basic grocery staples, catering to time-strapped customers.

The Yucaipa Planning Commission has approved a permit for commercial development on the corner of Calimesa Blvd and Avenue G (map). Oak Tree Industrial plans two buildings of 16,500 and 8,500 square feet. The permit included a variance from Yucaipa's hillside and ridgeline regulations that allows the developer to set aside only 6,500 square feet of open space at the top of the hill on the southeastern side of the property.
The only person to speak in opposition to this development was Bill McEwen, a member of Yucaipa's Parks and Recreation Commission. Noting that I Street Park was not all that far east of this proposed site, McEwen was concerned that the southern most section of the Oak Tree Industrial development site encompasses a path, running east and west, that could be used at some point as part of a trail head connecting Calimesa Boulevard with I Street Park.
The planning commission also approved development of a storage facility on Dunlap Blvd.

You can read the entire agenda of the May 16th planning commission meeting. When the agenda for the next meeting, scheduled for June 6, is available, it will show up on the planning commission web page.

The City of Yucaipa has reached a tentative agreement to adjust the salaries of its General Employees, so that they are paid at or near the average rate for comparable employees in other local cities. That means a 2.5% to 5% raise for most employees. All General Employees will also receive a 4% cost of living salary increase beginning in July. California Teamsters Local 911 represented the General Employees during negotiations.

Other Bits:

Yucaipans in the News

The Yucaipa Animal Placement Society will be holding a charity golf tournament at the Yucaipa Valley Golf Club on June 1.

Congratulations to the 311 students who graduated from Crafton Hills College today! This year's commencement speaker was Jose Jara, president and founder of Jose's Mexican Food restaurants. The Redlands Daily Facts talked to some of the graduates and graduation attendees:

Yucaipa resident Carol Burris was among the horde of family and friends on hand to watch their loved ones stride across the stage to receive their degrees. Burris was there to see her sister-in-law, Julie Lamoureaux, graduate at age 42.

"I'm so proud of her," Burris said. "It's such an accomplishment to graduate at a later stage in life."

Lamoureaux started at Crafton 2-1/2 years ago after being laid off from a job she held for nearly two decades.

"This feels outstanding," she said. "I'm very proud. I hope seeing someone like me graduate will encourage kids not to wait so long."

See the article for the full list of grads.

The Redlands Daily Facts also profiles the Crafton Hills College professors of the year: counselor Debbie Bogh, psychology instructor Diane Pfahler and Spanish instructor Ray Gonzalez. You can read more on the CHC web site.

Crafton Hills College respiratory care students Ryan Pope, of Colton; Sherleen Modhu, of Highland; and Tyson Schafer, of Yucaipa, won first place in the California Society for Respiratory Care Chapter II regional competition. This is a "four-peat" for Crafton Hills College in the competition.

Mesa Grande Academy will hold its 8th grade graduation on May 31. See the article in the News Mirror for the list of graduates. High school graduation will be held on June 3. Mesa Grande Academy is a K-12 parochial school operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Yucaipa High School Theatre Department members received special honors at the California State Thespian Festival. Honorees include Laura Smith for solo musical, Townsend Gallinger-Scholz, solo acting; and Analise Staudt and Nicole Smith, All State Show Tech. Both Smith and Gallinger-Scholz qualified for the national Thespian Festival, to be held in Nebraska. The Theatre Department has also been invited to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008 - I hope they get to go!

Yucaipa High School grad Jason Martinez will be graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this spring. According to an article in the Press Enterprise, Martinez struggled to earn his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. When he was profiled as a freshman in 2000, and he proclaimed "I plan to mix in social times and look for the right fraternity." His freshman year turned out to be harder than he expected, though. After being placed on academic probation, he took a year off to reassess his goals. He returned to Yucaipa and enrolled at UC Riverside, then, after getting straight A's, reapplied to MIT. He finished his classwork last year and is currently employed by the UK office of Barry-Wehmiller. If you run into him when he's home for a visit, ask to see his brass rat.

The News Mirror has a nice article about the Yucaipa Pee Wee All-Star Cheer Squad. Their winning season gave them a spot at the Sharp International National Competition in Las Vegas where they took first place in the Elementary Cheer division, despite the injury of one of their team members.
In Las Vegas, while the girls were warming up their final stunt, about 15 minutes before they were scheduled to perform, Tyler Morris (one of the flyers) fell from a high-level stunt and broke her arm. The team was devastated. The girls were hysterical. There were many tears and doubts. The team was able to think of ways to alter the performance to cover up the loss. With no practice running through the new changes in the routine, and with Tyler on her way to the hospital, the Yucaipa Pee Wee All Stars got in line to wait for their turn on the mat. As the team was walking out, they decided that the performance was for Tyler and that they would not let her down. When their performance was over, and they stepped off the mat, there wasn't a dry eye to be found.
The Yucaipa Midget All Stars took first place in the Jr. Youth Cheer division.

The Pee Wee All-Stars put on a special show for the father of one of their members. Jessica Hernanedez' father, Sgt. Hernandez, had missed all of Jessica's competitions while on duty in Iraq. So, when he returned to Yucaipa on leave, a special event was held in his honor. The May 16 event included the Pee Wee All-Stars, the Yucaipa High School Air Force Junior ROTC, and two special motorcycles from Phat Choppers. Desserts were donated by Michell's Fine European Bakery and the Claim Jumper. Hernandez returned to duty the next morning.

The Redlands Daily Facts takes a look back at the service of Marine Cpl. Robert David Ward who was fatally wounded in battle in Viet Nam on January 9, 1966. The Redlands High School graduate and Yucaipa resident wanted to help others.
According to Jack Dangermond, owner of Redlands-based company ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute), Ward enlisted in the Marines to go overseas and help others during the war. "While he was a pacifist, he still volunteered to go to Vietnam," Dangermond said in an e-mail. "He helped in village assistance programs where he was killed."
"His death was a significant loss to his friends and humanity in general," Dangermond said. "He was a great person and he had a big heart."
Thunderbird Sports
  • The News Mirror reports on week-before-last's CIF baseball playoffs, with Yucaipa High School's win over Chino Hills, followed by the loss to El Toro. The Yucaipa boys finished third in the Citrus Belt League. The leaders in the stats: third baseman Cory Tossetti was the top hitter with a 0.448 batting average, pitcher Matt Davidson was the top home run hitter with six, the top in RBIs with 30, and top pitcher with a 1.21 ERA.
  • The News Mirror reports that the Yucaipa high school varsity softball team was knocked out of the CIF playoffs in a 12-inning battle with Chino Hills. The Yucaipa girls tied for second place in the Citrus League with Redlands. The leaders in the stats: Alycia Romea was the top hitter with a 0.507 batting average; Katie Miller was the top home run hitter with three; Ashley Kivett had 25 RBIs and the top pitcher was Jessica English with a 1.67 ERA.
  • The boys' varsity volleyball team lost in the second round of CIF playoffs to Loara, ending their undefeated season.
  • The News Mirror reports on the CIF Master's championship swim meet. See last week's news roundup for details.
Redlands Daily Facts reports that the Emmerson-Bartlett Memorial Chapel of Redlands and Yucaipa has acquired a motorcycle hearse from Hawg Heaven Hearse. (You might have seen it on display at last weekend's Iris Festival). Families who want their loved one carried to the cemetery in biker style can use the hearse for $250.

Finally, Daily Bulletin writer Andrew Edwards snarks about Yucaipa in his reminiscence about Star Wars.
Obviously, I didn't follow Lucas into the world of super-rich filmmakers. I wound up going to college to take political science and history classes that often drew lessons from the Cold War. In my current assignment, my degree might become useful if Yucaipa ever gets The Bomb.
Little does he know . . .

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