Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Weekly News Roundup: August 25 Edition

Yes, the news round-up is way late this week. It's just taken me a couple of days to recuperate from vacation. I miss the sea breezes and clear air already.

Anyway, here's the Yucaipa news for the week ending August 25:

City News

The August 27 City Council meeting is canceled, apparently a longstanding tradition for the last meeting scheduled in August.

Results from the California High School Exit Exam have been released. According to the San Bernardino County Sun, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified students exceeded state averages in both in mathematics and English language portions.

Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified, which tested about 800 incoming juniors, had 81 percent pass the math portion and 80 percent passed the English language arts portion.

"We're very happy. This is the first time we've ever had higher passing in math than language arts," said Superintendent Sherry Kendrick. "It shows our teachers are working with students to be sure they're prepared for the test."

In addition to offering support classes to students who are not on track to pass the test, Yucaipa-Calimesa school officials closely monitor the students' progress.

Teachers are also working especially hard to help special-education students, who generally struggle to pass the exam.

"It's just a matter of targeting what is tested and making sure the students have practice and review," Kendrick said.

I hope the teachers aren't spending too much classroom time simply teaching the test. Students should be able to pass if they have been keeping up in their math and English classes.

The San Bernardino County Sun talked to Joseph Zoba, general manager of the Yucaipa Valley Water District about the heavy demand for water in the region. They use a special microfiltration system to purify the water piped from Northern California streams which requires less chemicals than traditional methods. In an interesting move, they are also requiring that new developments have dual piping systems - one for drinking water and one for recycled water for watering grass and other landscaping.

Zoba's district provides water to Yucaipa and Calimesa. The first development required to feature dual plumbing is SummerWind Ranch, a 3,683-home project planned for western Calimesa.

"We'll use that agreement as the template for all future development coming in," Zoba said.

That would mean Mesa Verde Estates, a 3,450-home project yet to be approved in Calimesa, and Heritage Oaks, a 45-home project that is on tap to be built in the northeastern part of the city, will also be required to use recycled water.

Zoba said as much as 60 percent of the water used at a house isn't for human consumption. Nonpotable water, continually recycled, could give homeowners a steady supply of water that would make it possible to water lawns even when droughts strike the East Valley.

It sounds like a fantastic idea to me. Having lived in Northern California during the drought in 1976-7, when many people replaced their front lawns with landscaping that doesn't require much watering, it doesn't make much sense to me that every house in my neighborhood has a purely decorative water-loving front lawn. Considering the arid climate here, using recycled water for landscaping is a no-brainer. I wish I had that option.

The News Mirror reports that several Public Works projects should be finished by the end of August:
  • Phase I (utility relocation) of the Oak Glen Road widening project has been completed, and Phase II (pavement and widening) is almost complete.
  • Phase I of the 7th Street Park rehabshould be complete, including meandering sidewalks, planting and new restroom facilty.
  • New and/or modified traffic signals at Wildwood Canyon Road & 5th St, Yucaipa Blvd and 4th St., Oak Glen Road and Calimesa Blvd., and County Line Road & 5th should be completed in September.
  • Work on the new Civic Center Park (in front of City Hall) is on schedule.
Other Yucaipa News Bits:
  • Yucaipan Bob Otto writes a column for the Fontana Herald about how cigarette butts are littering his neighborhood.
  • The News Mirror reports on the arrest of the third suspect in the murder of Mark Douglas Smith, whose body was found along Avenue E.
    The investigation is continuing and anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Detective Rick Bessinger or Sergeant Tony De Cecio at 909-387-3589. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call WETIP at 1-800-78-CRIME.

Yucaipans in the News

Local law enforcement agencies will be focusing on DUI enforcement over labor day weekend.
Virginia Gautier of Yucaipa, executive director of MADD in San Bernardino County, said she's been fighting for heftier penalties for drunken driving ever since she lost her brother in a DUI crash 30 years ago.

Her brother, Lorenzo Leon, was driving on the 10 Freeway in Loma Linda when another driver crossed into oncoming traffic and struck him head-on. The intoxicated driver was also killed.
Gautier's 18-year-old son was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Mentone in 1983. A witness followed the driver to his house, where he was arrested. Gautier said she later found out the driver who struck her son had been drinking and taking cocaine all day. The driver received a year in prison but only served three months, she said. "I wanted to know why the system let me down," she said.
The Press-Enterprise writes about the Avenue E front yard of Yucaipans Janice Ross and Bill Annis, which is an "ode to Oak Glen's apple-picking season." They remind her son and his Army colleagues - currently deployed with in Iraq - of home.

In an e-mail message shared by Ross, son Jesse "J.J." Jimenez wrote that photos of home and family help soldiers "forget about the environment we're in and give us a sense of feeling close to Home during certain seasons of the year."

Jimenez is due home in October.

The San Bernardino County Sun has a feature article on Yucaipa High School's Matt Davidson, who was in Venezuela playing on the USA Baseball Youth 16-and-under National Team.

Davidson also has been popular with the young people of Barquisimeto.

"He has the blond hair and blue eyes and everyone wants their picture taken with him," Glen Davidson said. "The boys are giving the kids baseballs and wristbands and autographs - it's like they're professional players."

USA defeated Brazil on Saturday to win Gold. Be sure to check out the USA Baseball Youth National Team official blog for a behind the scenes look at the tournament.

In other Yucaipa High School baseball-related news, senior Thunderbird pticher Scott Snodgress has made an oral commitment to attend Stanford University and Adam Miller has committed to Brigham Young University. Good luck to them both.

New York Magazine writes about a fastpitch softball team - the Gremlins - organized by a Staten Island cop with a dream. A dream that was crushed by the Yucaipa So-Cal Bombers.
Despite the top seeding in the world tournament two weeks ago, the Gremlins made it through only three rounds before running into the So Cal Bombers, a team from Yucaipa, California, armed with an Argentine pitching sensation named Lucas Mata. Mata struck out fourteen Gremlins in seven innings, and they were dropped to the losers’ bracket—from which they were then bounced in a nail-biting one-run loss to their old archrivals, Patsy’s.
The Bombers are sponsored (and owned) by Casa Trejo Mexican Restaurant (34636 County Line) and Casa Trejo Tortilla Factory in San Bernardino.

LA Daily News points out the great pick-your-own-fruit options in Oak Glen, with a focus on Snow-Line Orchards and Riley's Farm.
There's also a sense of history for both the farms and the people who visit them.

Snow-Line was established as a business in 1898, and the Hudson family, the fourth family to own it, has been running it for 28 years. They've seen more than a little change over that time.

"We've just seen (you-pick) become more popular," said Scott Hudson, one of the owners of Snow-Line Orchards. "We've had people who came up here as kids, then they come back as adults and bring their kids. It's a really good feeling."

Apple season is around the corner, and raspberries are pickable until the first frost.

The Highland Community News reports that Chino Hills resident Cheryl A. Marshall is the new vice president of instruction at Crafton Hills College.
“Coming from a huge college to a small college has been really nice,” she said. “Everyone has been very welcoming and very open. I look forward to getting to know everyone.”

Among Marshall's main goals is implementing the college's educational master plan, which is geared toward making CHC a premier community college for public safety and health services and for college transfer preparation.

“CHC is a very student-centered campus, which is a huge advantage,” she said. “Students who are considering coming to CHC should know that they're going to get an excellent education from people who care about them.”




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