Riverside Community Hospital Hosts First Family Health Fair

Riverside Community Hospital hosted its first “Family Heart Healthy Health Fair and Motorcycle Rally” on July 23 drawing a crowd in the thousands. The health fair was a free family-oriented event open to the public and took place from 2:00pm to 7:00pm.

The purpose of this event was to raise heart disease awareness and to promote heart-healthy lifestyles. It was also an opportunity for Riverside Community Hospital to provide health education and materials to the community regarding the importance of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. During the event, families were able to meet the physicians in their area and get to know Riverside Community Hospital’s HeartCare Institute team.

As part of the health education focus, free cardiac risk health screenings were offered on a first come, first serve basis to families. These screenings included:  glucose, blood pressure, BMI, and echo cardiac screenings. Ask the Doc booths, vendors, giveaways, drawings, a kid’s fun zone, and live music performances by TMK, Melissa K, and Rodeo 1 were also at the event to encourage everyone to get involved and have fun learning about living a healthy lifestyle.

Riverside Community Hospital’s Cardiology physician team, Riverside Medical Clinic, Mercy Air and Reach helicopters, City of Riverside Fire Department and Police Department, The American Heart Association, and other community agencies were present at the event as well as, Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, and Councilman Mike Gardner.

As an example of next-century health care, a mobile truck unit demonstrating Riverside Community Hospital’s new state-of-the-art Stereotaxis Robotic Ablation technology was also on display, providing interactive and fun demonstrations for patients of all ages.  With a growing number of patients with cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and coronary artery disease, there is a need for new technology that enables physicians to confidently treat areas of the heart previously unreachable.  Leading medical centers from across the country have adopted Stereotaxis Robotic Ablation to improve patient outcomes. The Stereotaxis Robotic Ablation System is a state-of-the-art computer-controlled magnetic navigation technology that allows physicians to safely maneuver the catheter within the patient’s heart to the precise location of the required therapy.

The health fair was great success and provided an invaluable experience for the community to engage in health education and the medical community.

UCR’s Commitment to Social Mobility, Service, and Research Earns it a Top 5 National Ranking

UC Riverside rose to number 5 in the September issue rankings of the nation’s universities and colleges published by the Washington Monthly College Guide. The magazine compared 258 national universities for the survey and seated UC Riverside in notable company between Stanford ranked 4th and Harvard ranked 6th.

The survey is a much different ranking system than the common list found in U.S. News and World Report. Instead of focusing strictly on academics, the magazine asks questions such as, “What are colleges doing for the country? Are they engines of social mobility? Do they promote the idea of service to the country? Do they foster scientific and humanistic research?” Given this focus, many of the usual top schools are not ranked as well, giving recognition to those institutions that take a more holistic approach to learning and serving the community, an area where UCR truly excels.

A core reason for the high ranking is the fact that UCR maintains a high degree of access for low-income students in combination with a higher-than-predicted graduation rate.

“This illustrates the value that the University of California brings to the state,” said UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White. “We are not speaking of a private good-for-a-single-individual-earning-a-degree, but rather we are talking about a measurable public good for all of us. This achievement highlights the importance of sustained and consistent public investment in the University of California.”

This is the seventh year the Washington Monthly’s College Guide, which includes an analysis from the magazine’s editors, echoes the idea of the UC as a public good:

The fact that six of the UC campuses land among the best-ranked universities in the nation “is a testament to California’s historic commitment to institutions that combine world-class research and access for low-income students,” wrote the magazine’s editors in an accompanying story.”

The overall score in these rankings represents the combined score of three equally-weighted metrics—social mobility, research, and service—where the highest is 100 and the lowest is zero.
Social mobility: This measure asks how well the university graduates students who are receiving federal Pell Grants, which are given only to low-income students.
Research: This measure asks how well a research university attracts research grants; and graduates students who then successfully earn PhDs.
Service: This ranking measures rates of Peace Corps service; ROTC service; and percentage of work study money that goes to community service (versus non-community service); as well as community service hours by students and staff; and whether the institution provides scholarships for community service.

“In surveys of UCR undergraduates, 59% report that they participated in community service, including tutoring, mentoring and environmental cleanup efforts. UCR had the second highest total among UCs in terms of the average hours per week that students spend on community service.”

This ranking is an acknowledgement of the link between education, community engagement, and service for lifelong learning that Riverside values so highly within our institutions of higher education and which UCR truly exemplifies.

The complete rankings of national universities can be found here.
For the full press release provided by the UCR newsroom click here.

UCR’s RISE Research Symposium Celebrates Work of Up-and-Coming Undergraduate Innovators

The University of California, Riverside’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) sponsored a daylong symposium in culmination of a university program aimed at student retention and success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields

Called the Research in Science and Engineering (RISE), RISE is a 9-10-week summer research program that prepares participants for graduate and professional study by providing valuable research experiences, training, seminars and multiple workshops aimed at better preparing scientists.

“The 29 research projects being presented today at the symposium represent the collective efforts of undergraduate student researchers, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and their respective principal investigators,” said Rich Cardullo, the divisional dean of life sciences. “We congratulate all of the students for their dedication, commitment, and hard work over the past nine weeks.”

This year, the RISE program is comprised of the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program, the CNAS Scholars program, and the College Cost Reduction Access Act (CCRAA) summer bridge program.

The RISE program is an extraordinary example of the work UCR has done to ensure underrepresented undergraduate students have the opportunity to showcase their dedication and hard work while preparing for advanced education and their future career.

Riverside Declared the Green Innovation District of Southern California

On Tuesday August 23, the City Council took great strides to transform Riverside into a Green Machine with its unanimous vote to designate the City of Riverside as a “Green Innovation District”.

The designation comes from the insistence of Mayor Loveridge in his 2011 State of the City address in which he declared that “Job growth must have the City’s highest attention” and the role of the City must be to facilitate “connections and innovations required to grow the economy”. In April 2011, the City Council approved a Job Creation Strategy and directed staff to begin researching and developing a Green Innovation District for the City of Riverside.

Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) in collaboration with UCR on a federal work-study grant, conducted research on other business incentive zones across the country to compile a list of best practices for the development of the Green Innovation District. From this research, several incentive programs were recommended as part of the District designation, as well as the continuation and expansion of others that have already proven to be best practices.  Some of these incentives include the creation of a recognition and awards program for green businesses to identify companies that are working to lower environmental impact either within their own business or the community.  RPU will also expand the New Construction Energy Efficiency Program to include a LEED Construction Rebate Incentive Program to encourage green building for new developments within the city.  Public Works will work with AQMD in an effort to expand the alternative fuel vehicle rebate program to help businesses purchase electric trucks in lieu of traditional diesel and gasoline vehicles for deliveries and goods movement within Riverside.

The Green Innovation District will become a key component in the City’s businesses retention, expansion and attraction efforts led by the Development Department. Riverside has long been a leader in green initiatives having received recognition as a national best practice model for water and electric rates incentives. The  new designation of a Green Innovation District is already being recognized by the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Department of Economic Development, further promoting the City of Riverside at the forefront of green initiatives.

For more information about green incentives in Riverside, click here.

Joint Use Project Lands New Jobs in Riverside

Riverside welcomes 115 new jobs to the area as a result of a joint use project between the City of Riverside and March Joint Powers Authority (March JPA).

AMRO Fabricating Corporation, a metal fabricating company with multiple aerospace contracts and other aviation-related companies, is subleasing 100,332 square feet of the existing DHL facility – approximately one third of the building. AMRO was recently awarded a contract by Boeing to build and assemble large shipping fixtures used to secure airplane production parts carried aboard the Boeing 747 Dreamlifter. A modified 747-400 passenger airplane, the Dreamlifter is the primary means of transporting major assemblies of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Because of the size and scale of these shipping fixtures, AMRO needed to locate on an airport to load the assembled pallets onto the Dreamlifter. AMRO expects to begin moving into the new facility in two to three months.

This project is an example of the vast opportunities Riverside has to offer, particularly in the technology field. The arrival of AMRO Fabricating Corporation is a major asset to the city and the region as a whole. “Especially given the continued high unemployment rate, we are constantly seeking jobs, jobs and more jobs for our residents,” said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge. “But more importantly, we are delighted to welcome the kind of high quality jobs which AMRO Fabricating Corporation is bringing.”

According to Riverside City Councilman Melendrez, “this is the beginning of many jobs that the March Joint Powers Authority is working to create in the coming months.” This project will bring a mix of skilled labor (60%) and professional (40%) positions with salaries ranging up to $100,000 providing new opportunities for Riverside’s well-developed and highly sought-after workforce.

Family Village Festival Returns to Downtown Riverside on October 1st

The Multicultural Council of the Riverside Museum Associates will present the Family Village Festival, an outdoor event for adults and children, in downtown Riverside on October 1, 2011.

The one-day celebration of cultures presents singing, music, dance, crafts, art and food from more than fifteen different cultures. Representatives from these cultures will entertain on stage as well as in “villages” so that visitors can learn more about the culture in an entertaining way. Cultures represented will explain and demonstrate traditional musical instruments as well as demonstrate ways to make some of them with re-purposed materials. Children will have the opportunity to learn songs from different countries such as Japan and China. The Festival will take place outdoors between Lemon and Orange Streets on Mission Inn Avenue from 10 am until 5 pm. Vehicular traffic will be closed on this block from 6 am until 6 pm.

The event is free to the public and this year’s Honorary Chair is the Honorable Mayor of Riverside, Ronald O. Loveridge. Mayor Loveridge has been a long time supporter of multicultural projects in the City. Along with the support of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and the Riverside Museum Associates, the colorful event promises a variety of music – the theme this year is Music Around the World. Some of the cultures to be represented are China, Scandinavia, Peru, Samoa, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan and more. There will be craft activities designed for children and special projects such as the Passport to Culture for the first 500 children to sign up at the event.

This year a new feature of the Festival will be the eco-friendly aspect of its production. “The Family Village Festival believes that protecting the environment is an important step in promoting healthy families and communities.” Beginning with this year’s event, the festival will incorporate environmentally-responsible strategies and practices as fundamental and integrated components of the operations and programs of the Family Village Festival. The Family Village Festival is committed to partnering with others to make our community a more sustainable place to live, work and play.

The event has been designed and developed yearly since 1997 – with a hiatus between 2008 and the present – by the Multicultural Council, a cadre of volunteers interested in promoting a better understanding of the cultures represented in the community.

For more information contact Katherine Wilson,  Family Village Festival Volunteer Chairperson at (951) 283-4347 or email doplerkat@yahoo.com

A Collaboration of Riverside Education Stakeholders – Completion Counts – is Aggressively Working to Develop National Best Practice Methods for Increasing College Completion Rates

Through Seizing Our Destiny, Riverside embraced a vision for an innovative future sustained by a highly sought-after next-generation workforce and a culture “that ensures a passion for learning, job prosperity and an increased quality of life for all through a full slate of educational opportunities.”  Yet, across the nation too few young adults are completing degrees and obtaining job prosperity.  If left unchanged, the education deficit will severely limit the city’s future economic vitality and competitive advantage.  

Locally, increasing college-going and college-completion rates has become a social and economic imperative.  For Riverside, a 1% increase in graduation rates for associate and bachelor’s degrees could produce an increase of $181.7 million in annual per capita income. 

To respond to these trends and continue to be on the forefront of quality life, Mayor Ron Loveridge and the City Council, Riverside City College, and the Riverside and Alvord Unified School District Superintendents, formed a strategic partnership now known as Completion Counts – A Riverside Learning Partnership.  This partnership was awarded a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to lead a concerted effort to increase college-going and college-completion rates. 

The robust plan is divided into five focus areas to accomplish its goals:

  • The Academic Professional Learning Community – its purpose is to align secondary and postsecondary curriculum and revisiting articulation agreements between the college and the school districts;
  • College 311– a Student Support Services working group that is building a network of college and career resource providers and creating an enhanced digital infrastructure for college and career resources which will be available to students, parents and mentors throughout the city;
  • Career Pathways/CTE – a set of working groups concentrating on streamlining career technical education business advisories and revisiting articulation agreements to expand student training in health care and health allied fields;
  • P-14 Data Consortium – a research network to provide support to all areas of the initiative by measuring progress and ensuring that strategies that work are pursued; and
  • Business Education Partnership – a committee supported by the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce to lead education advocacy efforts and promote business practices that encourage postsecondary completion.

In its first year of implementation, Completion Counts launched the Academic Professional Learning Community between K-12 educators and college faculty.  Already they have designed a Math and English course that align academic standards between high school and college, providing a seamless transition into college.  The Welcome Center is now providing students and families with hands-on financial aid assistance, career exploration and community services.  The Fund Your College Dreams campaign was launched to ensure that financial aid workshops were held at every Riverside high school.   And finally, College 311, a virtual one-stop for college enrollment and success information, will launch in October.  

Working closing with the Education Roundtable, the City of Riverside will be a catalyst in building a citywide college-minded culture with passion for life-long learning.

Child Leader Project Enlightens Riverside Youth About the Global Community

Child Leader Project is a transnational community organization facilitated by young people and their allies. CLP works in coordination with local and international organizations to create a space for young people to reflect, connect and take action on the issues that matter most to them in their local communities. CLP then connects youth and young adults to their international peers through creative collaboration, leadership, conflict resolution and community organizing.

The Child Leader Project is building a community of socially-aware youth leaders within the City of Riverside. They offer many volunteer opportunities and a safe place for young people to gather and discuss issues of true importance to the community and the global society.  CLP also has a partnership with Norte Vista High School in which they meet on campus and discuss social justice issues both within in the community and from a global perspective.  In addition, they have launched a “Send Us To India” Campaign in which they were able to raise $23,000 to send eight youth leaders to India to experience a different culture and discuss important issues first hand.

The Child Leader Project has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative as an “exemplary approach to addressing a specific global challenge”  and was awarded the “Outstanding Commitment Award”, accompanied by a $4,000 implementation grant.

For more information visit their website and Facebook page.

Free Nozzle Program Provides Green Savings for Your Yard and Your Pocketbook

Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) has once again brought award-winning water conservation to the residents of the City of Riverside. RPU’s “FreeSprinklerNozzles.com” program provides Riverside water customers with thousands of water-efficient sprinkler nozzles that will save millions of gallons of water. The outstanding success of the Riverside program, launched last July through a partnership between RPU, Western Municipal Water District (WMWD), and Riverside-based The Toro Company, prompted eight other Southern California water providers to offer the nozzles to their customers this year using the FreeSprinklerNozzle.com website.

This web-based program ran March 1 to June 30 and allowed customers to learn about how they could retrofit their existing sprinkler system with the Toro Company’s patented Precision Series Spray Nozzles, which provide up to 20% in water savings per sprinkler head without adjusting sprinkler controllers or run times. After reviewing the instructional website, customers receive a voucher good for 25 (residential), or 100 (commercial), free precision series nozzles redeemable at local irrigation suppliers.

RPU water customers picked up almost 55,000 water conserving nozzles this spring, which will save more than 390 million gallons over their five-year lifespan. This combined with last year’s pilot program in which, customers picked up 36,000 nozzles in just three weeks, will provide a savings of over 644 million gallons, enough water to serve nearly 4,000 average homes for one year. “The results of this water conservation program have gone far beyond our expectations,” said RPU Assistant General Manager Mike Bacich. “We set out to create an easy to understand retrofit program that customers could undertake themselves which would not only provide them with measurable results on their water bills, but would also help us in meeting state-mandated per capita water use reductions.” “Just one-year later, the numbers are adding up to show that we have succeeded in that goal,” Bacich said.

“Together, WMWD and member utilities of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency provided over 75,000 precision series nozzles to water customers throughout the inland area this year. The continued popularity and expansion of the program, which recently received a Best Management Practices Award from the California Municipal Utilities Association, along with additional funding from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will allow the program to come back again between September and October this year, before resuming again in 2012.” 

The measurable successes of this program further boasts of Riverside’s environmental innovation and transformation into a “Green Machine”.

E-Waste Helping the Economy? …in Riverside it Does

Did you know that getting rid of your e-waste can provide you with a tax deduction? SmartRiverside is a non-profit that collects e-waste and provides refurbished PCs to low-income households in Riverside (over 5,000 have benefited). The collection center is located at 2801 Hulen Place in Riverside and is open 9:00am – 4:00pm M-F and the last Saturday of every month from 9am-2pm. In addition to e-waste (TVs, computer, stereos, cell phones), SmartRiverside also accepts printer toner cartridges.

In addition to helping the environment, your donation of PC’s helps provide skills training and employment opportunities to at-risk youth in Riverside who are hired to help refurbish the computers through Digital Inclusion and Project B.R.I.D.G.E. (Building Resources for the Intervention and Deterrence of Gang Engagement).  

For more information on the e-waste or Digital Inclusion programs, please call (951) 351-6190 or  email digitalinclusion@riversideca.gov.