Alvord Unified School District Awarded Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Grant

Norte Vista High School’s Green Construction Academy application was recently approved by the California Department of Education. As one of only a handful of grantees in the state, the Green Construction Academy provides students with a career themed college prep curriculum in a small learning community. The $15,000 planning grant was made available to assist the Norte Vista staff in the creation and implementation of this new academy focusing on renewable and sustainable resources in the building and construction industry.

Partnering with local businesses and public agencies, Norte Vista students will receive practical training and hands on experience from experts in the various fields of clean and renewable energy. Students can also earn college credit in several of the “green” classes through the local community college system.

The second phase of the grant provides up to $1,000 per student as they proceed year to year along this academy pathway. Traditional course offerings in construction technology are supplemented with “green” themed projects such as solar and wind. Students also take their core classes together with a team of academy teachers. It is anticipated that the first of Norte Vista’s academy students will begin “green” classes this fall.

The Green Construction Academy will not only prepare students for college but will also connect students with local business and pubic agencies in an increasingly important industry. This curriculum will provide invaluable lifelong learning opportunities that can readily translate into their future workplace.

Riverside Named a Top 7 Intelligent Community for Second Year in a Row

Intelligent Communities announced Tuesday that Riverside was named to the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of the Year for the second year in a row. Riverside is one of only two U.S. cities identified as global leaders in innovation and municipal technologies.

Riverside had recently been chosen for a Smart21 Communities Award, which recognizes the top 21 intelligent cities worldwide, and with this announcement, Riverside advanced to one of the Top 7.

The award recognizes Riverside for its commitment to broadband, citywide innovation and its knowledge-economy.   It was specifically recognized for its collaboration to promote technology initiatives and tech-based transformation with universities and private technology executive officers.   “The Top Seven of 2012 have demonstrated a profound dedication to the future of their communities,” said ICF Co-founder Louis Zacharilla who presented the Top Seven at the awards luncheon in Honolulu. “Each of these communities has created a uniquely powerful ecosystem on a foundation of information and communications technology. By becoming platforms for innovation, they are creating a better life for citizens on all rungs of the economic ladder and a vibrant future for the next generation.”

SmartRiverside, a non-profit headed by city officials and private high-tech firms (), is dedicated to attracting and retaining high-tech businesses, creating a tech friendly environment, as well as ensuring Riverside residents are technologically equipped to compete in school and in the workforce.

 “Being named a Top 7 Intelligent Community two years running is an incredible honor recognizing that Riverside excels as a world leader in innovation and municipal technologies,” said Mayor Ron Loveridge, the chair of the SmartRiverside board of directors.  “That Riverside competes, and wins, among cities across the globe illustrates our commitment to municipal innovation in technology.”

The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year

The following communities were named to the Top Seven based on analysis of their nominations by a team of independent academic experts:

  • Riverside, California USA
  • Austin, Texas, USA.
  • Oulu, Finland
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  • Stratford, Ontario, Canada
  • Taichung City, Taiwan
  • Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

CBU College of Engineering Receives $250,000 Grant for High-Tech Green Lab

Reproduced courtesy of the CBU Media Center:

California Baptist University’s College of Engineering has received a grant of $250,000 from the W.M. Keck Foundation that will be used to purchase equipment and develop an advanced “green” computing, teaching and research laboratory.

The high-tech lab will feature field programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware and advanced robotics equipment.  FPGA is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by the user, after manufacturing, for customized use.

Dr. Anthony Donaldson, founding dean of the College of Engineering, said the new “green” lab advances the university’s growing engineering program.

“This grant will continue CBU’s development of a first class engineering curriculum and solidify our relationship with an industry leader in compact high speed computing,” Donaldson said.  “It enables our engineers, both faculty and staff, to have amazing scalable and computation power for advanced development in robotic sensors, bioinformatics and other applications.”

Working in an FPGA applications laboratory, offers students the opportunity to develop real-world applications and products using equipment that addresses the demand for fast, energy-efficient and low-cost computing. Undergraduate engineering students will study topics such as bioinformatics, directed toward ongoing cancer research, as well as robotics, including the specialty areas of enhanced recognition, ethics-based decision-making and sensor interface development.

Use of the laboratory, FPGA hardware and other equipment, and concepts and applications will be integrated into all four years of the undergraduate Electrical and Computer Engineering degree curriculum. Existing courses are being augmented and new laboratory equipment will be integrated into those classes in fall 2012.

Established in 2007, the CBU’s College of Engineering’s enrollment has grown more than five-fold from its initial 57 students to 290 in fall 2011.

This grant will advance the development of CBU’s Engineering program while offering students the opportunity to gain practical experience using the high-tech equipment. The “green” lab will also further CBU’s partnerships with industry leaders, bringing the University to the forefront of green innovations.

Habitat For Humanity Riverside Hosts TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” Viewing Party

The “TEDxManhattan event, “Changing the Way We Eat” was a collaborative effort between Habitat for Humanity and community members to bring  the live webcast to Riverside.

The viewing party included time for collaboration, networking, and guest speakers from Riverside Food Coop, Growcology, Wood Streets Green Team, and the Riverside ReStore. This event truly evokes Riverside’s passion for all things sustainable and is another step to further the communities’  efforts in “Becoming a Green Machine”.

The second annual TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” – an independently organized event, licensed by TED – was held in New York City on Saturday, January 21, 2012. The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming was the lead sponsor of the one-day TEDx event that explored the issues, the impacts and the innovations happening in the world of food as we shift to a more sustainable way of eating and farming.

The program was enthusiastically received and brought community members together in a synergistic relationship around local issues. Fresh and Easy provided full lunch and juices, and Starbucks provided coffee for all of the attendees.

Riverside Aquatics Complex Celebrates its First Birthday!

Happy First Birthday, Riverside Aquatics Complex!

The Riverside Aquatics Complex (RAC) celebrated its grand opening on January 21, 2011. Thanks to a true community partnership of Measure C, Riverside Community College District, the City of Riverside, the County of Riverside, the RCCD Foundation and private donors that contributed to the building of the RAC with the vision of launching Riverside as one of the top venues for high-level aquatic competitions.

In its first year, RAC has hosted many aquatic events, such as a national level diving competition, several synchronized swimming competitions and camps, two Southern California Swimming (SCS) regional swim meets, and RCC water polo and swimming competitions. RAC has brought in over $1 million in tourism dollars to the Riverside community. The future for RAC is bright as many events have already been scheduled through 2014.

In the summer of 2012, RAC will host the SCS Junior Olympics for Age Group Swimming. Riverside Aquatics Association Swim Team is the first Inland Empire team to be awarded the honor of hosting the Junior Olympics. Approximately 800 to 1,000 athletes will compete in the five-day event from July 25-29. RAA has already contracted for over 500 room nights in the downtown area to accommodate the traveling swim teams. The economic impact of the Summer Junior Olympics is forecasted to exceed $238,000. Support from area restaurants and businesses is crucial to the success of this and all aquatic sporting events at RAC.

Early in its infancy, RAC is proving to be an excellent investment into the future of athletic development for Riverside’s aquatics participants as well as the City of Riverside’s economic future. The Riverside Aquatics Complex is a training ground for world-class athletes and a major asset for both the local community and the region.

For events, photos or additional information about the RAC, click here.

MLK Day of Service Inspires “Grow Arlanza” Community Build Event

The Child Leader Project (CLP) hosted an event called “Grow Arlanza” to begin work on the Arlanza Community Garden, located on the corner of Cypress Ave. and Challen Ave. The event was held on Monday, January 16 in honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day of service.

CLP partnered with Norte Vista High School to promote awareness of the community garden project. The event was also sponsored by the UC Riverside Cultivate R-Space Initiative and Urban Garden Seminar, the UC Riverside Undergraduate Research in the Community program, Growcology, California Campus Compact, and Learn and Serve America.

“Grow Arlanza/Cultivate Arlanza is a youth-led vision of social change in the Arlanza community,” said Samantha Wilson, founder of the Child Leader Project. “It began when youth explored issues of environmental justice in Riverside and seized the opportunity to lead the initiative to restore and revitalize the community garden in Arlanza. The MLK Day of Service is the perfect opportunity to include more people in actualizing that vision.”

The day’s events included planting in raised garden beds, contributing to garden design plans, and raising awareness of the project in the surrounding community through signage and neighborhood canvassing.

Grow Arlanza also featured information booths hosted by local organizations and presentations from guest speakers including Ralph Nunez from the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation & Community Services and MDS Shiva, a former guest scholar at UC Riverside and a leader in the CLP-India program.

“This event is a great way for students to connect to their neighbors, learn about food access and place-making in Riverside, and get out of the classroom for some hands-on learning,” said Becca Spence, coordinator of Undergraduate Research in the Community at UCR. “There are different levels of potential involvement – students can get their hands dirty and do a lot of good in the garden during just a day, but they can also choose a longer-term commitment and tie their participation to their curricular activities.”

The Grow Arlanza event is a perfect example of a diverse group of people joining together for the shared common good and working towards a safe, healthy, and strong community. The Arlanza Community Garden is another step towards Riverside becoming a green machine and creating a more sustainable place to live.

Information reproduced from the UCR Newsroom. Click here to view the full article. Photos courtesy of the Child Leader Project Facebook page

College Council of Riverside Focuses on the College Culture in the Community

The College Council of Riverside (CCOR) is an advisory group of students from the four (CBU, LSU, RCC, UCR) higher education campuses working to promote Riverside as a “university community”.

The mission of CCOR is to encourage a “college” culture within the City through quality off-campus experiences, engaging activities, and connecting students and recent alumni to the region’s workforce through internships and potential jobs.

Some other goals and agenda items for CCOR include:

An example of both building cross campus relationships and connecting students to the community is the upcoming event titled, “The Amazing College Race: Riverside Edition.” This event will take place on Sunday January, 22 from 12:00-3:00pm in Downtown Riverside.

The Amazing College Race will give you and your friends a chance to compete against other Riverside college students in a scavenger hunt around Downtown Riverside for a chance to win a $300 book scholarship for each member of your team. Gather your friends, roommates, study buddies, sorority sister or anyone who’s up for some fun!  Pick a cool name, an awesome team leader, and register for only $20.  First 150 teams to register will receive a free T-shirt!

The registration deadline is January, 14  and costs $20 for teams of 3 with College ID’s. Register by clicking here today!

Riverside Names Amro Albanna as First ‘Innovation Honoree of the Month’

The City of Riverside named Amro Albanna as the first Innovation Honoree of the Month at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 10.

For eight years, the City of Riverside and Riverside Arts Council have presented the Arts Honoree of the Month Award. The honor was created to recognize the contribution that the arts make to the quality of life in the Riverside community, highlighting arts and cultural organizations and individuals that exhibit artistic excellence as well as service to the community. The City is modifying the Arts Honoree of the Month program by expanding it to now include Innovation Honorees.

“As a City of Arts & Innovation it’s important to recognize the integral linkage between creativity and economic development on the overall quality of life in a community. The expansion of the already successful Arts Honoree of the Month to include an Innovation Honoree better reflects our identity as a City of Arts & Innovation” said Mayor Ron Loveridge. 

The first Innovation Honoree to be recognized is Amro Albanna, a long time contributor to Riverside’s tech and innovation endeavors including being a founding member of the High Technology Task Force Report, CEO Forum and a long time SmartRiverside board member. Mr. Albanna is instrumental in fostering start-up technology companies in Riverside and created the Innovation Economy Corporation (IEC) as a one-stop shop approach. IEC is a creative way to harvest the best research at UCR and in the community and bring together the resources, people, and capital to incubate startup companies in technology, bio-medicine and environmental science.

One of the recent commercialization initiatives is a partnership with UCR where the IEC obtained the intellectual property (IP) and research and creating OLFactor Laboratories Inc. OLFactor research may be the next big breakthrough in fighting malaria, dengue fever, west Nile virus and other tropical disease around the world. Another majority owned subsidiary of IEC is Nano Engineering Applications, Inc or NEA. This company has created patent pending chemical and gas detection technology which was acquired by exclusive license from UCR, to serve a broad spectrum of industries.

“Riverside is proud to recognize the significant efforts of Mr. Amro Albanna in developing new businesses, keeping our graduates here and growing the economic development of our city and this region” concluded Mayor Loveridge.

New Restaurants Open at Two of Riverside’s Entertainment Hubs

Riverside welcomes two new restaurants to the list of high quality cuisine and cultural offerings Riverside proudly serves. Mazz Bar & Grill at the Riverside Plaza and Elephant Thai Cuisine at Main Street Riverside both opened over the holiday season.

Mazz Bar & Grill is a one of a kind restaurant, with its name being derived from the Spanish word ‘mas’ meaning abundance. The family-owned business offers just what the name says, an abundance of menu selections, plenty of ambiance and exceptional service. Located in the former Citrus City Grill restaurant space, Mazz Bar & Grill has remodeled to offer patrons an open and inviting atmosphere and an eclectic menu of “California Comfort Cuisine” prepared by Chef Alfonso Magana.  The menu caters to the diversity that California is known for with a variety of flavors and something for everyone — burgers, steaks, seafood, tacos and more.

“The opening of Mazz Bar & Grill is a wonderful addition to the Plaza,” Council member Rusty Bailey said.  “It fills a key location at the shopping center to maintain economic vitality.”

As a one-of-a-kind restaurant in a plaza dominated by chains, father and son owners Ray Garcia and Ray Jr. see Mazz as a dining destination that will become a part of the community; from the thoughtfully chosen menu to the carefully trained crew of local employees, Mazz Bar & Grill strives to be a place where Riversiders feel at home.

Elephant Thai Cuisine is the fifth Thai restaurant for the owner who places a high value on providing quality food and service, customer satisfaction and affordable prices. Located on Mission Inn Avenue next to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Elephant Thai has an authentic décor to go along with its wide range of delectable Thai cuisine.  Choices from the menu include Panang Curry, Orange Chicken and Pad Thai to name a few. The entrees for the most part are less than $10.

 “The City is excited to welcome this new restaurant to Main Street Riverside.  It provides great food and a welcoming atmosphere where people can spend time catching up with friends or do business,”  Council member Mike Gardner said.

Elephant Thai is located at 3720 Mission Inn Avenue.  Hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.