Saturday, May 05, 2007

Weekly News Roundup: May 5 Edition (2 weeks' worth!)

My folks were in town last weekend, so I postponed the weekly news roundup until today. So, here forthwith is all the Yucaipa news from the past two weeks.

City News

April 25, The Record Gazette, "Judge threatens to shut down State Water Project delta pumps in 60 days"
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch denied a request by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) for a hearing to present additional information in order to address compliance methods with the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).
Watershed Enforcers, a group of sport fishermen, brought the original case that claims that the DWR "takes" protected fish species from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta without a state permit. The judge's April 18 ruling started a 60 day clock for the DWR to rectify the situation (a process that normally can take up to two years), which could result in the Delta pumps being shut down. San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (SGPWA), which delivers water to parts of Yucaipa, Calimesa, Banning and Beaumont water districts, is only due to receive 60% of it's alloted water for 2007, due to a dry rainy season. If the Delta pumps are shut down, SGPWA will only receive 20-30% of its allotment. The article did not indicate whether the Yucaipa Valley Water Agency would be affected, and if so, whether there are contingency plans in place. The DWR is appealing the ruling.

April 26, San Bernardino County Sun, "New school signals younger city"

On Tuesday, April 24, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified Chool officials broke ground for the district's eighth elementary school, Chapman Heights Elementary.
`God's Waiting Room' doesn't need schools," Calimesa Mayor John Chlebnik quipped at the new school's groundbreaking ceremony. "Things have changed. Our population is getting younger."
400 to 500 students are expected to initially enroll in the school, which has a maximum capacity of 800.

Related: Yucaipa/Calimesa News Mirror, "YCSD names and breaks ground for new school"

April 26, San Bernardino County Sun, "Area schools awarded academic achievement award"

On April 16, several San Bernardino County schools were awarded the Title I Academic Achievement Award, including Calimesa Elementary in the Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District.

Besides having to meet certain poverty-level requirements, it gets more difficult each year to qualify academically for the award, according to a CDE press release.

Just said that 95 percent of students at a school must participate in regular testing, barring some minor exemptions. Then an "appropriate amount" of students have to score "proficient" on their California Standards Test, which measures grade levels in reading, language, arts and mathematics.

"These schools keep the basic things going well, and they contribute to enhancing what they're doing for the kids," Just said. "What makes them remarkable is that... the principles and staff take the challenge to look very closely at the instructional program of the students. Everything was measured against the standards of: `How will this help our kids learn and perform well?"'

May 2, San Bernardino County Sun, "Teachers from two school districts picket"

On May 1 - May Day - about 300 of the 450 Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District teachers rallied at the intersection of Oak Glen and Yucaipa Blvd. to publicize the fact that they were in their 629th day of contract talks.

The Yucaipa-Calimesa district has offered teachers 9 percent in salary and health-benefits increases over two years, said school board member Patty Ingram.

She said district officials believe that's fair given needs in areas such as school safety. Money will be necessary, for example, to install security devices such as a schoolwide intercom system at one campus that would allow administrators to notify everyone quickly in an emergency.

According to district numbers, the district's offer would make Yucaipa-Calimesa educators some of the area's best compensated teachers.

[Yucaipa-Calimesa Teachers' Association President Cyndi] Holman said teachers want annual salary hikes that roughly match the cost-of-living increases the district received from the state - about 6percent in 2006-2007. The district's offer, in percentage points, is lower than what teachers in nearby districts have received, she said.

The Yucaipa-Calimesa Teachers blog has photos here and here.

  • April 24 (related): 22-year-old Michael Rodriguez and a 17-year-old were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a 15-year-old, in a shooting incident that happened at Sixth Place & Wildwood Canyon Road, behind the Wildwood Canyon Mobile Estates.
  • April 24: The defense for Earl Venton Buchanan, accused of kidnapping a 5-year old boy were able to get a tape admitted into evidence that they say proves the boy went willingly and with his grandmother's permission. Buchanan was accused of molesting two girls, ages 11 and 12, in a Yucaipa home in 2000.
  • May 5: There has been a marked increase in indoor-pot-farm busts in the past few months, including one in Yucaipa.

Yucaipans in the News

April 25, Yucaipa/Calimesa News Mirror, "Two Yucaipa educators honored by peers"

Two Yucaipa-Calimesa school district administrators were given awards at the Association of California School Administrators San Bernardino County region Spring Celebration awards ceremony. Sherry Smith, principal of Yucaipa High School Ninth Grade Campus, was named "secondary principal of the year."
Her award cited Smith for “outstanding performance and achievement” and for “boundless energy and ability to lead and motivate others to put forth their best efforts to provide the best of education for all students.”

The award also praised her for developing “a program that considers the needs of the whole child by addressing both the social and academic needs of students.”
Assistant superintendent of educational services Lucia Hudec received the "valuing diversity" award.
“Mrs. Hudec had the opportunity to live in South America where she learned about being a new student who does not speak the classroom language,” her award said. This led to “her life-long passion of working in support of those who are often overlooked in American society.”
The News Mirror was given a statewide award for the Outstanding Media Coverage of Public Education. (As an aside, I have to admit that that award surprises me, at least based on the reporting I've seen in the News Mirror - there seems to be a lack of fact checking and details in some of the articles, which suggests that they have room for improvement in their news coverage.)

Related story: Redlands Daily Facts, "Daily Facts reporter honored by local school administrators"

April 22, San Bernardino County Sun, "Back to Yucaipa's days of yore"

This is an interesting article about the writing of the newly released book, Yucaipa, from the Yucaipa Valley Historical Society.

The project was joyful, [YVHS President Claire Teeter] says, always full of surprises.

Many generous people came forward willing to share grandma's school mementos. There were lots of amazing stories - like Crafton Hills gold mining in the 1870s.

The book will be specially promoted at the Yucaipa Iris Festival (May 21-23).

April 26, Press-Enterprise, "A Slugger's Palace"

The walls of the Yucaipa Batting Cages (34199 Yucaipa Blvd) are lined with plaques commemorating donations to local teams made by owner Chuck Moore.

There are photographs, baseball cards and other baseball-related artifacts. There's a photo of Moore standing next to Hall of Fame baseball star Billy Williams, the former Chicago Cubs outfielder.

In a strong baseball-oriented community like Yucaipa, it may be the most popular place for youths throughout the city, Moore said. "It's the only thing for kids in town."

Moore is trying to sell the place on, but has been unsuccessful so far.

April 26, San Bernardino County Sun, "'Radio Gals' takes audience to 1920s"

Yucaipan Diana Combs is directing a play called "Radio Gals" ("Mayberry meets the 'Golden Girls") at the Rialto Playhouse.

April 30, Press-Enterprise "Inland veteran's injuries keep his war alive" (with video)

Calimesan and Yucaipa High School graduate Marcos Chavez, Jr. suffered severe facial injuries while serving in Iraq in 2005.
Chavez, 21, won't get a Purple Heart because his injuries weren't the result of enemy action. The U.S. Army, which provided some initial treatment, says he's not injured enough to warrant disability payments.
He says the Department of Veterans Affairs has shown a cavalier and dismissive attitude toward his long-term dental treatment. He's not the first veteran to complain about the federal department responsible for ongoing care of injured soldiers after they are discharged from active duty.
Dean Stordahl, director of the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda says that the hospital is "well-prepared to meet the needs of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans" and blames Chavez's lack of treatment on "a "regrettable" misunderstanding between Chavez and the hospital's dental staff."

May 1, San Bernardino County Sun, "Elderly man's trek baffling"

84-year old Ernesto Gomez, suffering from Alzheimer's, went missing from Braswell Family Senior Care on 2nd Street on Sunday, April 29.

More than 25 search-and-rescue volunteers and Citizens on Patrol members combed the streets of Yucaipa for any sign of the missing man.

No park, store or fast-food restaurant was left untouched.

Searchers even checked abandoned buildings known to house squatters.

Calls went out to transportation centers, hospitals and senior centers. Dozens were looking for the 4-foot-7-inch, gray-haired man who moseyed off.

Gomez was found by Riverside County sheriff's deputies on Sunday night 60 miles away in Perris. He was transferred to Rosemead hospital Monday morning.

May 3, Yucaipa/Calimesa News Mirror, "The incredible shrinking woman lives in Yucaipa"

Yucaipa Debby Hampton lost 80 pounds to giver her a chance to donate a kidney to her brother-in-law Carl Hampton.
Sadly, after she was tested, it was determined that she too was not a good tissue match. Needless to say, she was extremely disappointed. Carl knew how bad she felt and sent her flowers to cheer her up. He's still on the years long transplant list, waiting for a new kidney.
Despite that disappointment, Hampton continued to lose weight and has lost 113 in 8 months. She had lots of support from friends and family, and her boss at County Line Cleaners altered her clothes as she dropped in size.
She agreed to talk to the media at this time for several reasons. First, she wants people to realize that they too are potential kidney donors for someone they are close to or love. Living donors can't donate their kidney to just anyone, you have to be connected somehow to the person in need. But if that need comes, she hopes that family and close friends will realize they have the potential to save a life.

Second, if her weight loss inspires someone else, even if it's just one person, to lose weight and have a healthier life, it's worth talking about it, even if it's hard for her. And lastly, now that people know about the weight loss, she won't be able to back slide with her weight. She wants to be held accountable.
The National Kidney Foundation has more on kidney donation.

Last, but not least, congratulations to local sports teams:
  • Yucaipa High School varsity volleyball, winners of the Citrus Belt League title with a record of 14-0. The News Mirror doesn't say if it was the girls' team or the boys' team. This Press-Enterprise article about junior volleyballer Ashton Hippenstiel, makes me think it was probably the boys. I apologize to the girls team if I got that wrong.
  • Both the "Pee-Wee" (6th-7th grade) and "Midget" (8th-9th grade) Junior All-America Football cheer squads won national titles at the Sharp National Competition in Las Vegas (April 21-22). Yucaipa Thunderbird cheerers also won the Spirit Trophy "given to the group that best exemplifies enthusiasm and sportsmanship during the competition." The teams will perform at the Yucaipa Iris Festival, May 21-22.
  • The Tumble City Hawks cheer team also won big in Las Vegas, being awarded first place, and member Miranda Siegersma won the Junion Hip Hop Solo competition.
  • Yucaipa High School tennis also won the Citrus Belt League title - again the article has no indication if it was the girls team or boys team (nice reporting there, News Mirror). I'll assume both the girls and the boys won the title and say "congratulations" to both.
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