FLASHBACK TO YEAR 2009!
New Fire Station Dedicated in Hesperia
More than 100 people joined officials from the City of Hesperia and County of San Bernardino on November 30 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the new Fire Station 305 in Hesperia.
“The County of San Bernardino is dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of the citizens of our County,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. “This state-of-the-art fire station will improve public safety by reducing response times to residents and will provide needed emergency services to homes, businesses and travelers along the I-15 corridor and surrounding areas.”
Supervisor Mitzelfelt was joined by Hesperia Mayor Thurston “Smitty” Smith along with Hesperia City Councilmembers Mike Leonard, Ed Pack and Rita Vogler, along with state Assemblyman Anthony Adams, representatives of the Oak Hills Property Owners Association, the Zone J Advisory Board, and San Bernardino County Fire Chief Pat Dennen.
The $6.7 million station was funded through the cooperative efforts of the City of Hesperia, San Bernardino County Fire Department and the County of San Bernardino. The final cost for construction was $4.5 million below original estimates.
At 18,000 square feet, Station 305 is now the largest fire station in the County. The facility will initially house one paramedic fire engine and will serve as the future headquarters for the Fire Department’s North Desert Division. The station was built with the area’s future growth in mind and can house 15 crew members on any given shift. There are 14 dorm rooms and four equipment bays for fire safety vehicles.
“This partnership is an example of good government,” said San Bernardino County Fire Chief Pat Dennen. “This is a perfect example of how City and County government can partner to meet the needs of all citizens in the most cost effective way.”
Station 305 is located at 8331 Caliente Road in Hesperia.
County Launches Program to Improve Tracking of Sex Offenders
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on December 1 launched a new “Offender Watch” program, featuring an improved website that will provide the public – and investigators – with greater access to detailed information about sex offenders in their neighborhoods.
“When I proposed the creation of a sex offender tracking team two years ago, this is just the kind of result I envisioned,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “I would like to thank Sheriff Rod Hoops and the members of the Crimes Against Children Detail for their work in bringing this important new program to our County. I also want to encourage all County residents to log on to the Sheriff’s website, click on Offender Watch, and explore the new capabilities to help keep your families safe.”
The Offender Watch software program is an interactive database that provides up-to-date information on registered sex offenders. One of the most useful features for the public is the ability to sign up for e-mail updates. For residents who sign up, the program will automatically send an e-mail notification if a sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
The database is searchable by address or name, and the website includes an extensive list of safety tips and fliers that can be reproduced for neighborhoods or schools. The website also has contact information for Sheriff’s staff who will be available to answer questions.
The program will be especially useful for investigators who will be able to maintain a more complete file on sex offenders, which is especially useful if an offender moves from one jurisdiction to another.
All 14 cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Department for police services are automatically included in the program. Police departments in Colton and Redlands are also participating and San Bernardino, Upland, Ontario and Fontana police departments are expected to join soon.
The launch of the program received regional media coverage from local newspapers and area television stations.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has a compliance rate of more than 98 percent for the more than 2,700 registered sex offenders in its jurisdiction. That means only a handful of registered sex offenders are unaccounted for.
Click here to view the San Bernardino County Offender Watch website.
Trauma Center Study Shows Future Need in High Desert
St. Mary’s commits to goal of Trauma Center in Victor Valley
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on December 15 received a report regarding the status of the county’s trauma system, which included recommendations about the possibility of building a new trauma center in the High Desert.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors serves as the governing board for the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency, which is tasked with ensuring an effective system of quality patient care and coordinating emergency medical response, including hospitals. In January, the Board of Supervisors, acting as the governing board of ICEMA, approved a contract with the Abaris Group to conduct a trauma system assessment. The Abaris Group was selected because of its extensive background in trauma system development and trauma hospital funding and its familiarity with California statutes and regulations.
The study, commissioned by the Board of Supervisors, concluded that the county’s current trauma system is healthy, sufficient to meet current and expanding needs, and that it is working well. Nevertheless, it also concluded that population growth in the High Desert could be sufficient to support a Level III trauma center in one to two years.
ICEMA’s goals would include ensuring that a new trauma center is sustainable and that the addition of a new center does not threaten the continued existence of the current high-quality trauma system anchored by Loma Linda University Medical Center and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.
As part of the study process, hospitals throughout the County were interviewed. St. Mary Medical Center, which operates a hospital in Apple Valley and has plans to construct a new hospital in Victorville, expressed a desire to begin efforts to establish a trauma center in the Victor Valley.
The study concluded that in order to successfully establish a trauma center in the High Desert, St. Mary’s would need to overcome several obstacles, including recruiting specialized physicians such as neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons to the area.
“This study gives us a clear picture of the status of our trauma system based on actual data – which I’m glad to hear is strong,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt, who called for the study. “I commend St. Mary’s for their willingness to pursue a trauma center for the High Desert and the contributions they make while carrying out their mission to continually improve the health and quality of life of the people in our community.”
Funding from Mitzelfelt Gets Nurses Trained and into Workforce
Thanks to funding provided by Supervisor Mitzelfelt to expand the Victor Valley College nursing program, scores of Victor Valley College students graduated on December 4 and are ready to start careers in the health care profession.
“After the economic crisis we’ve endured, it’s gratifying that the funding provided two years ago has paid off with these dedicated young people ready to enter the work force as health care professionals,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “I want to congratulate them for their hard work and commitment. I know their future patients will be in excellent hands.”
In 2007, Supervisor Mitzelfelt provided $150,000 to double the size of the well-regarded Victor Valley College nursing program by funding training for 40 nurses. Historically, more than 93 percent of graduates from the Victor Valley College program have passed the licensing examination on the first try, which is significantly higher than the state average.
In remarks to the graduates at their pinning ceremony, Supervisor Mitzelfelt commended them for their desire to help others, and also pointed out that health care is a growth industry. Nursing provides the type of well-paying jobs that will be instrumental in a sustainable and robust economic future for the High Desert, he said.
It is estimated that San Bernardino County needs 2,000 additional nurses by 2012.
“These professionals are embarking on careers that will improve the quality of health care throughout the region, and they also represent a significant step in spurring economic growth in the High Desert,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “Not only will they be helping their patients, they should now be able to buy houses and purchase goods and services that will help create even more jobs.”
County Seeks Renewable Energy Projects on Landfill Properties
At the request of Supervisor Mitzelfelt, the Board of Supervisors on December 15 agreed to seek development of renewable energy projects on County-owned landfills.
“We have several thousand acres of land owned by our Solid Waste Management Division that are perfect for sites for renewable energy projects,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “This will not only help us meet the state’s mandated renewable energy goals, but will create jobs and provide revenue to support the County’s budget.”
The County will seek proposals from energy companies to site wind, solar and other types of projects on land owned by the County’s Solid Waste Management Division, which owns and operates six active landfills and oversees several closed landfills.
“San Bernardino County is going to be a national leader in the development of renewable energy and it will be a key component of our economic future,” said Supervisor Mitzelfelt. “We need to be as creative as possible in encouraging development of this emerging and important industry.”
A study commissioned by the County found that several sites have good to excellent solar and wind potential. It is possible the County will award more than one contract for energy development, given the variety of renewable technologies and the number of sites available. The study found that more than 3,000 acres of land could be suitable at the locations of both active and closed landfills.
The County will accept proposals through January 20, 2010 from qualified companies, which must demonstrate that they have the financial and technical resources to construct and operate the projects, and will be required to obtain all environmental clearances and permits.