Astronomy Professors Choose the City of Arts and Innovation and Join UCR Faculty

UCR recently hired two new professors to the astronomy department who are excited to set down roots in Riverside and share their excitement for the subject matter with UCR students. The article below was published November 26 in the Press Enterprise. 

Two new professors at UC Riverside have given its astronomy department an even bigger bang.

The school hired Brian Siana and Naveen Reddy this summer, bringing the total number of astronomy professors on campus to five.

“A nice critical mass,” joked Jory Yarmoff, acting chairman of physics and astronomy and acting divisional dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Cosmology, a new science about the origin of the universe, has generated even more excitement since three astronomers won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for their observations of very distant exploding stars, Yarmoff said.

The trio is sharing the award for their discovery of dark energy, an enigmatic phenomenon that is pushing on the fabric of space itself, causing the universe to expand faster.

For almost a century, the universe has been known to be getting bigger as a result of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the three Nobel Laureates’ findings that this expansion is speeding up surprised even them.

With cosmology a “high-priority area, hiring the two young astronomers in this area rounds out the program, Yarmoff said. They join the school’s three senior astronomers: Bahram Mobasher, Gillian Wilson and Gabriella Canalizo.

The two junior members of the team have been involved in several international research projects.

For their part, Siana, 34, of Rancho Cucamonga, and Reddy, 33, of Austin, Texas, said they’re thrilled to have access to the University of California’s powerful Lick telescope near San Jose and the Keck telescope in Hawaii.

Both scientists fell in love with astronomy as boys after receiving their first telescope. They’ll begin teaching next semester.

“It’s easy to get students excited about astronomy,” Siana said. “What we really look at is hundreds of billions of galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars.”

He’s conversant in topics that include the Big Bang, the evolution of the early universe, what it’s made of, the formation of galaxies and stars, dark matter and dark energy.

Trained in observational cosmology, Siana was a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech in Pasadena before coming to UCR. He’s already laid down roots by buying a house in Riverside.

Reddy soon plans to do the same. He specializes in distant galaxies, their evolution time and the intergalactic medium, the nature of heavy element production, black holes and star formation. He’s working on several projects aimed at understanding the history of star formation and the buildup of stellar mass in the universe.

“Studying the universe in an investment in our future,” Reddy said. “We want to get the younger generation interested in math, science and engineering and understand where we came from.”

These new UCR professors demonstrate that Riverside is a destination of choice for its distinguished universities and innovation. 

TriTech Small Business Development Center Helps Entreprenueurs and Inventors

During the third quarter of 2011, TriTech SBDC has hosted several events aimed at providing management training content to the public and business owners.

TriTech is constantly scouting for ways to improve the client-consultant working relationship. TriTech senior consultants are using a combination of online meeting sites such as GoTo Meeting and Skype in order to better serve our clients by increasing our ability to consult virtually.

Check out the new on-line videos:

  • Becoming Investor Ready: Bootstrapping Your Business
  • The Elevator Pitch: Legal Nuts and Bolts for Early Stage Companies
  • Presenting Investor Opportunities to Investors: Potential Pitfalls of Raising Capital

The first webinar, “Becoming Investor Ready” was hosted on October 7th. The webinar had 42 attendees from various background and industries. TriTech brought in two angel investors who gave an overview of the current funding landscape, and how to make an effective investor presentation.

On August 18th, TriTech hosted “Transitioning from R&D to Commercialization” which brought together high-tech companies that wanted to pursue Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants.

TriTech’s 3rd Annual Funding Conference: Funding the Big Idea was hosted at the Riverside Convention Center on October 11th. The event was a huge success bringing entrepreneurs to Riverside from all over California, and from as far away as Ohio. Attendees of the event had a chance to pitch their businesses to investors in the form of speed dates, attend a panel discussion and see investor deal reviews.

Events such as these are examples of TriTech  inspires and helps to support an innovative economy.

Festival of Trees Benefits Children’s Healthcare

The annual Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) Foundation’s Festival of Trees has become a special holiday tradition. First begun in 1990, the Festival of Trees fundraiser successfully displayed corporate as well as individual support for the hospital. The community has now fully embraced the event and participants range from school children to elected officials

The fundraising Festival is scheduled over five days (November 23-27) during Thanksgiving week and has grown to attract over 30,000 people and growing each year. Hundreds of volunteers each year join together to transform the Riverside Convention Center into Riverside County’s holiday extravaganza. The Festival of Trees features over 50 elaborately decorated trees, each with its own unique theme.

The event is free and open to the public. In addition to the beautifully decorated trees the event will also include crafts, games, entertainment, holiday shops, sweet shops, children activities including story time with Santa and more.

RCRMC Foundation’s Festival of Trees is the only major fundraiser benefiting the Pediatric units at the hospital. Proceeds each year are used to purchase desperately needed and often life saving equipment for the children’s units including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Child Abuse and Neglect Unit, and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. With the Foundation’s goal to assist in providing RCRMC with equipment and programs to best serve the young patients in need of medical care, monies raised by the Foundation augment rather than substitute the existing funding sources for RCRMC, thus strengthening the healthcare services provided to the ever-increasing number of residents of Riverside County.

Through the support of the residents of Riverside County, the 2010 Festival of Trees raised approximately $480,000. Since 1989, the Foundation has raised over $7 million to better serve the children of Riverside County.

If you would like to be a sponsor of the 2011 Festival of Trees please contact the Foundation office.

Riverside Honored with 2011 Outstanding Energy Management Award

As published on PR Web – Oct 18, 2011

In October, Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) was awarded a 2011 Outstanding Energy Management Award for its ongoing evaluation of an in-pipe hydropower system from Lucid Energy Inc., a renewable energy technology company and pioneer in the development of in-pipe hydropower systems for large water users. The award, which was presented by the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) at its annual fall conference, recognizes top water utilities for innovative energy management.

The first prototype of the LucidPipe™ was installed in February 2010 and the third generation system, which has been in continuous operation since March 2011, has already generated more than 23 megawatt hours of renewable electricity. A permanent installation of the system is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2011.

The in-pipe turbine captures energy from fast-moving water inside of gravity-fed water pipelines to produce clean, reliable, low-cost electricity with no impact on operation. The installation at RPU utilizes a portion of a gravity-fed water pipe that is fitted with Lucid Energy’s vertical axis spherical turbine, which spins as water passes it. Because of the turbine’s lift-based design, the LucidPipe can operate across a wide range of flow conditions, volumes and velocities with no interruption of water flow. The study at RPU confirmed that less than 1 PSI of pressure was extracted from the system as a result of the in-pipe turbine.

“We’re proud to accept this award from the AWWA as a recognition of RPU’s commitment to cost-saving, renewable energy,” said Kevin Milligan, assistant general manager of water utility for the City of Riverside. “It’s very exciting to be on the cutting edge of water-to-wire technology, and the Lucid Energy system has enabled us to turn our existing municipal water infrastructure into a generator of clean, continuous electricity.”

 “We chose Riverside for our field testing because of RPU’s progressive outlook and the City of Riverside’s commitment to environmental sustainability, and this AWWA award reinforces that,” said Josh Kanagy, director of business development for Lucid Energy. “Based on our experience results at RPU, we are engaging other leading municipalities, and industrial water users who can benefit from clean, predictable, low-cost energy.”

For more information, visit:

“Spark of Love” Toy Drive Brings Holiday Cheer to Our Community

The City of Riverside Fire Department will once again join KABC 7 for the 19th annual “Spark of Love” Toy Drive to collect new, unwrapped toys and sporting equipment for the under-served children in our communities.

Last year alone, “Spark of Love” collected over half a million toys within all five Southern California counties and 7,500 were collected here in the City of Riverside. Toys collected here are distributed locally to the children within the City of Riverside.

You can support the “Spark of Love” Toy Drive by bringing a new unwrapped toy or sporting equipment to any of the 14 City of Riverside Fire Stations. Collections will be accepted until December 24th.

You may also donate by attending one of these events:
“Stuff the Bus” Spark of Love Toy Drive will take place on December 8th between 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm at the Mission Inn Ice Skating Rink (located on Main Street between University Avenue and Mission Inn Avenue). This event is being co-hosted by the City of Riverside Fire Department and the Riverside Transit Agency. Everyone who brings a toy will receive a free ice skating session – a $10 value – that is valid Monday – Thursday (excludes skate rentals).
“The Metro-Link Holiday Train” will be arriving to entertain community members at the La Sierra Train Station on Saturday, December 10th, at 5:00 pm. The station is located at 10901 Indiana Avenue near La Sierra Avenue. Our own City of Riverside Firefighters will be on hand to receive donated unwrapped toys or sporting equipment. We encourage you to bring your family and friends to enjoy this year’s holiday show. Come join the fun!

For further information, contact the Engineer Chris Adams, City of Riverside Fire Department at 951-553-3415 or email

Youth Organization ‘Changing Lives’ in Riverside

Music Changing Lives (MCL), a California non-profit organization, was established in July of 2003 for the purpose of providing mentorship and after school educational programs for underprivileged and neglected children. MCL’s CEO, Josiah Bruny, established the organization to encourage young people in the Inland Southern California neighborhoods to pursue their love for creating music by tying it to education, including learning to publish their own work and launch music careers.

Although currently based in Redlands, Music Changing Lives has recently launched a service club at UCR to provide mentors and encourage youth to explore higher education opportunities and is actively seeking a second home in Riverside.

MCL offers several programs to serve the youth and offer opportunities for success. The “No Excuses” program focuses on youth within the age range of 11 through 18 who have typically had poor or sporadic school attendance and low academic performance in their previous educational history. The goals of this program is to increase school attendance, improve current academic skills, enhance self-esteem, and educational attitudes in students who have dropped out of high school, and may have no other opportunity in completing a high school education. “No Excuses” has a variety of features and services within a comprehensive model to allow every student to be successful in his or her education. These include a supportive non-traditional school structure, a small student-teacher ratio, individualized learning, student contracting, intensive counseling, vocational skill training, and a diagnostic prescriptive teaching process.

The “Ignorance Stops Here” tour takes high school students around to various college campus and is designed to make students aware that post-secondary education is possible with a little strive and determination. By providing the youth with encouragement and knowledge, MCL hopes to increase their interest in their education and their future.

MCL would also like to share a brief public services announcement depicting what they have done not only right here in our backyard but internationally as well.

Click here to view the MCL website and Facebook.

“City Showcase” Features Riverside’s Green Successes

The National League of Cities recognized Riverside’s innovations towards becoming a green machine at the Congress of Cities and Exposition, Nov. 9-12 in Phoenix, Arizona. Representatives from the City of Riverside were present at the conference to showcase their accomplishments in creating a more sustainable and livable community.

It is a high honor for Riverside to be chosen to participate in the exposition’s “City Showcase,” NLC’s premier program celebrating city achievements and successful programs in the areas of economic development, green cities/sustainability, infrastructure, and healthy family living.

“We are looking forward to sharing our successes, strategies, and lessons learned,” said Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge. “As Riverside has developed into an award-winning model green city we’ve gained a lot of knowledge about creating a more green-conscious community, a more engaged government, and an overall better quality of life.”

Riverside earns it recognition along side Portland, Oregon and five other cities from around the country that will be sharing information about successful green cities and sustainability programs. These are programs which have helped to strengthen local economies, enhance physical infrastructure, protect natural resources, and promote public health.

Riverside Ranks 9th Best City in America for Tech Jobs by Forbes

Riverside’s efforts to create an ‘innovative economy‘ are showing real results based on the latest Forbes’ ranking that put this City of Arts & Innovation near the top of a list of cities described as being hot spots for technology jobs.  Tied with San Diego, the Riverside MSA ranked 9th overall based on gains in technology jobs in manufacturing, software and services over the past 10 years.

In fact, Riverside is only one of 11 cities on the overall list to have shown positive job growth in these sectors in the past decade, along with Seattle (No 1),  Baltimore (No. 2), Columbus, Ohio (No. 3), Raleigh, N.C. (No. 4), Salt Lake City (No. 5), Jacksonville, Fla. (No. 6), Washington, D.C. (No. 7), San Diego (Tie-No. 9), Indianapolis (No. 11) and Orlando, Fla. (No. 24).  In contrast, other areas such as Silicon Valley (includes San Francisco and San Jose), New York and Boston (none of which broke the top 10) have experienced negative growth in these sectors. Joel Kotkin, author of “The Best Cities” article, suggests that although proximity to research institutions is key for tech job creation, cost of living and the business environment are equally – if not more – important factors for companies when deciding where to base these types of permanent jobs.

Click here to read the full article.

Riverside Aquatics Association to Host 2012 Summer Junior Olympics

Proving Riverside is a place for “Big City Recreation“, Riverside Aquatics Association (RAA), Riverside’s leading swim club will host the 2012 Southern California Swimming (SCS) Summer Junior Olympics Competition.  The event will take place on July 25-29, 2012, at the newly opened Riverside Aquatics Complex located on the Riverside Community College Campus.

The SCS Junior Olympics Competition showcases some of the best swimming talent in Southern California and the United States, with approximately 40 swim clubs from across Southern California and Nevada participating.  Approximately 1,000 swimmers competing for medals in a variety of events ranging from 50 meter sprints to the 1,500 meter freestyle are expected to attend.  This summer’s five-day meet is expected to draw a spectator crowd of thousands, bringing an economic boon to our local community.

RAA won its bid to host the meet this year, the first of its caliber in the Inland Empire.  RAA’s swimmers have already kicked their practices into high gear hoping to have many of its swimmers qualify for the meet and to ensure that the competition will be an exciting and successful one for the City of Riverside and neighboring communities.

“We are pleased to bring the Southern California Swimming Junior Olympics to our community,” said Shari Chun, coordinator for the event.  “The City is an ardent supporter of youth sports and we’re fortunate to have a world-class aquatics facility and top swim clubs like RAA right here, in our backyard.  With support from the City and college, we can continue to make Riverside a desired destination for great sporting events like this one.”

“We’re excited to host the SCS Junior Olympics this year,” said Rodney Pilman, head coach for RAA. “This is a great opportunity for our age group swimmers to compete against some of the top athletes in Southern California and Nevada on their home turf.”

Coaches, swimmers and parent volunteers alike look forward to welcoming the swim community to a great event in 2012.  RAA is also seeking business sponsors for the event.  Any interested parties can contact the team by e-mail at

Riverside Aquatics swim team, with locations at the Sippy Woodhead Pool, Martin Luther King High School and The Cove at the Jurupa Aquatics Center, strives to provide the best competitive program in Riverside for technique, physical conditioning, commitment, development and personal excellence.  For additional information, visit:

Contact Info:
Carrie Ridgway
RAA Board Member
Riverside Aquatics Association
Phone: 951.205.2268

Alvord and Riverside District Schools Recognized as Models of Excellence

The 2011 Riverside County Education Summit will honor several Alvord Unified and Riverside Unified schools this year as “Models of Excellence”. The goal of the  Education Summit is to spotlight outstanding practices from schools all across the county that address instructional strategies, student engagement, school culture, and many factors that provide invaluable contributions to student success.

Alvord Unified School District received an impressive certificate of recognition from the California State Senate, which declares Alvord as an “Innovation District” by the Riverside County Office of Education “Models of Excellence Awards Luncheon”. The certificate was awarded by Senator Joel Anderson from the 36th State Senate District. La Sierra High School in particular was recognized for the “Biology InterRichment” program in which, Biology teachers, working in Planned Learning Communities (PLCs), use a standard to add enrichment labs or intervention to curriculum. After three years, the school has seen tremendous gains from the program.

RUSD was recognized for “Pyramid of Support and Accountability: Interventions and Innovations” as well as “FAST Talks (Focus on Achievement of Students)” at Fremont Elementary School, the “Macaw Clubs” at Miller Middle School, the “Success for All in Mathematics” program at Chemawa Middle School, and “A Systematic Approach to Master Schedule Design” at Sierra Middle School. 

The Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Kenneth Young believes that it is important to encourage educators across the county to stay focused every day on preparing students for college and the workforce, and that by creating these educational success stories the county will produce high school graduates bring with them all the tools they will need to succeed in college or the competitive 21st century job market from day one.