Eastside Apartments Set For Long-Awaited Overhaul

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Alicia Robinson, published in the Press-Enterprise on March 27, 2014.)

Built in the mid-1960s, the Grand Prix apartments on Seventh Street in Riverside’s Eastside neighborhood have clearly seen better days.

Shonda Herold, housing project coordinator with the city of Riverside, inspects a hole in the ceiling of one of three city-owned apartment buildings on Seventh Street on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. The city plans to replace the old buildings with new affordable housing units. Photo Credit: David Bauman

Shonda Herold, housing project coordinator with the city of Riverside, inspects a hole in the ceiling of one of three city-owned apartment buildings on Seventh Street on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. The city plans to replace the old buildings with new affordable housing units. Photo Credit: David Bauman

The seafoam-green paint is peeling from the wood trim on the boxy, flat-roofed building, and the kidney-shaped pool was long ago filled with dirt that has sprouted weeds. Now vacant and boarded up, the complex is weeks from being demolished, the first big step in a city plan to improve the neighborhood officials call Chicago/Linden because it’s near that intersection.


Photo Credit: David Bauman

Within two years, the Grand Prix and two other apartment buildings on the block will be replaced by an affordable housing complex that will have something for the community – a public garden, children’s play area or a child care facility. It’s part of an estimated $16.8 million strategy to make the area safer and more attractive for those who live there.

Fixing up the area, which lies between Chicago and Dwight avenues and West Linden and Seventh streets, has been a priority for city officials since 2006, housing project coordinator Shonda Herold said.

The overall strategy, created by a consultant with community input, includes installing new landscaping and more streetlights, improving driveways and alleys, reopening two cul-de-sacs that have become places for loitering, and building a community center at Patterson Park that could offer library programs, a commercial kitchen for public use, and activities for youths and seniors.

Photo Credit: David Bauman

Photo Credit: David Bauman

Officials expect the process of building community support and involvement to take time, just as finding money and fixing buildings will. Councilman Andy Melendrez, who represents the area, said he’s heard mostly positive feedback and excitement about plans for the neighborhood. He said he knows making the plans a reality is “not anything that’s going to happen from one year to the next.”

Transforming old spaces into new places throughout the city is what makes Riverside a location of choice.  With the mission to improve quality of life in Riverside, our community takes pride on maintaining it’s well defined, welcoming neighborhoods.

To read the full article, click here.


Council Votes To Add Sister City In Vietnam

(This article contains excerpts from article by Alicia Robinson, published in the Press-Enterprise on March 18, 2014.)


Riverside will add Can Tho, Vietnam, to its already large collection of sister cities.  Riverside has sister city relationships with Sendai, Japan; Ensenada and Cuautla, Mexico; Obuasi, Ghana; Hyderabad, India; Gangnam, South Korea; Jiangmen, China; and Erlangen, Germany.

The ideas of “people to people” relationships and healing after war won out Tuesday, March 18, when the Riverside City Council narrowly voted to add Can Tho, Vietnam, as its ninth sister city.  The decision came after lengthy and impassioned public comments on the goals of the sister city program and whether having such a relationship in Vietnam would disrespect American veterans.

“The purpose is to promote peace and common understanding,” said Bill Gavitt, a Vietnam veteran. “It’s time to start helping others if we want to change their behavior.”

Vien Doan, a Vietnamese American physician who lives in Riverside, has spearheaded efforts to add Can Tho, Vietnam, to Riverside's sister city program.  Photo Credit:  Alicia Robinson

Vien Doan, a Vietnamese American physician who lives in Riverside, has spearheaded efforts to add Can Tho, Vietnam, to Riverside’s sister city program. Photo Credit: Alicia Robinson

The vote was 4-3. Councilmen Chris Mac Arthur, Steve Adams and Mike Soubirous dissented.

Riverside was among the earliest participants in the sister city program, which was created in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to foster cultural, educational and economic exchange between countries. Riverside formed ties with Sendai, Japan, in 1957 and has since added sister cities in South Korea, China, India, Ghana and Germany, and two in Mexico.

Vien Doan, a Vietnamese American physician who lives in Riverside, helped revive the idea of a sister city in his native country in 2012. He personally met with veterans’ groups in the past year and a half to build support for the plan.  “We have every reason to hate communism,” he said, describing how his family was rescued by American soldiers during the war. “I will never forget the past, but the past will not determine my future.”

Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey has said his office spends about $10,000 on the sister city program annually, but most other costs are borne by the International Relations Council, a private nonprofit group that oversees the friendships and raises money for related events and travel.

Like Riverside, Can Tho is home to a university and a medical college, and it’s an agricultural center producing fruit and rice.

Adding Can Tho to Riverside’s collection of international sister cities is a model of the seizing our destiny pillar, unified city.  We are a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

Riversiders respect and value the cultural heritage, distinct needs and varied input of each of our neighbors, while proactively engaging them across historical dividing lines.  Riversiders are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation and world…

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Maker of Aerospace Component Soars in New Directions

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Laurie Lucas published in the Press Enterprise on March 07, 2014)

STAN LIM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER  Henri Rahmon, left, and Iggy Araujo are owners of Accuturn Corporation, a Riverside-based company that makes parts as small as a grain of sand for the aerospace, military, medical, dental and other industries.

Henri Rahmon, left, and Iggy Araujo are owners of Accuturn Corporation, a Riverside-based company that makes parts as small as a grain of sand for the aerospace, military, medical, dental and other industries.

Accuturn Corporation is a manufacturer of precision components, such as screws and washers, for aerospace, medical, dental, computer and other industries. At the controls since 2006, Iggy Araujo, 59, Henri Rahmon, 47 and a silent partner, have doubled annual sales, branched into the medical, automotive, computer, defense and dental industries and added state-of-the-art machinery that can make screws as small as a grain of sand or as fine as a strand of hair. These miniscule components, manufactured from stainless steel, titanium, gold and other materials, wind up in everything from cameras, tooth implants, orthopedic devices, drone antennas and Boeing cockpit panels to Caterpillar joysticks.

STAN LIM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER   Parts much smaller than a penny manufactured at Accuturn.

Parts much smaller than a penny manufactured at Accuturn.

Business has taken off since the two immigrants bought a Riverside manufacturer of aerospace parts. In fact, like other successful innovation focused businesses in the city of Riverside; Accuturn has outgrown its location at 6510 Box Springs Road and is poised to expand its markets in Europe, South America and Canada. Rahmon said they’re pacing themselves, but expect to keep growing in strong, overseas markets. “We have a good name, low production costs and a quick turnaround,” he said. “And we have Iggy. He IS Accuturn.”

Riverside is a location of choice for people and organizations from all over the world; attracting a dynamic and diverse people as its residents and business owners. To read the full article click here.

Wells Fargo UrbanLIFT Community Grant Program Awards $486,000 to Strengthen Neighborhoods

(This article contains excerpts from a Wells Fargo News Release dated March 7, 2014)

On March 7, 2014 Wells Fargo, announced its award for $458,600 to Habitat for Humanity Riverside (HFHR) and the Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS) as part of the UrbanLIFT Community Grant Program with each organization receiving $229,300. Wells Fargo Grant

With the grant funds received, HFHR and NPHS will support neighborhood revitalization efforts that will include: NHFR’s Neighborhood Revitalizations Initiative helping to engage the community, creating holistic improvements and neighborhood cohesiveness, and further filling its mutual goal of creating safe, decent affordable housing.

NPHS will use grant dollars awarded to install solar panels on homes in Riverside County and to remove several dilapidated properties paving way for the construction of seven new affordable homes. These revitalization efforts fall under NPHS’ Sustainable Communities Catalyst Project, a multi-pronged redevelopment strategy which guides and prioritizes resources to targeted neighborhood clusters throughout the Inland Valley.

The UrbanLIFT community grant program is funded by Wells Fargo and operated by NeighborWorks America. The program is designed to provide support to local nonprofits for neighborhood revitalization projects in 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with diverse populations that are impacted by foreclosures. Since its launch in February 2012, LIFT initiatives which is the parent for programs such as UrbanLIFT including the NeighborhoodLIFT and CityLIFT have helped create more than 5,000 homeowners with the support of down payment assistance and homebuyer education in collaboration with NeighborWorks America, members of the national nonprofit’s network and local city officials.

This is an example of a unified city and of people being brought together around common interests and concerns. Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all. To read the full news release by Wells Fargo click here, or visit their blog at blog.wellsfargo.com for more information.

Remodeled Convention Center Brings High Hopes

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Alicia Robinson, published in The Press-Enterprise on February 14th, 2014)

Riverside’s renovated convention center hasn’t yet opened but is already eliciting the “wows” city leaders hoped for in 2012 when they ponied up an extra $4.6 million dollars for a more attractive design.  A large scale renovation of the Riverside convention center has been long overdue, and on March 1st, 2014 the new convention center is scheduled to open it’s doors.  Loaded with state of the art technology and high end capabilities, the convention center will become a choice for new markets such as biomedical and pharmaceutical conventions, financial services events and corporate meetings. We will have the opportunity to showcase the City as a location of choice to many new visitors.

Now it sports a custom chandelier hanging in the 66-foot-high glass entry tower, a 40 percent larger exhibit hall, building-wide Wi-Fi and hundreds of smart phone charging stations, giving city and tourism officials hope that the center has everything a 21st century convention needs.

Photo credit: Kurt Miller/ staff photographer

Photo credit: Kurt Miller/ Staff Photographer

Riverside officials had been planning for nearly a decade to update the convention center, which opened in 1976 and had its last major touch-up in the late 1990s.  “It was a little worn before,” said Councilman Mike Gardner, who represents downtown.

Officials have said they got complaints about inadequate restrooms and a lack of “breakout rooms” for smaller sessions, and the center didn’t meet current earthquake standards. It also had a boxy, nearly windowless, dated design that didn’t command attention.

The redesigned center has a larger exhibit hall, two ballrooms, more small meeting rooms, a modern kitchen, a glass-walled entry tower, and the first escalator in a Riverside city building. Officials with the city and Raincross Hospitality Corp. said the furnishings – cherry wood paneling and a variety of carpet patterns in brown, beige and colonial blue – are meant to evoke a boutique hotel.

Photo Credit: Kurt Miller/ Staff Photograpgher

Photo Credit: Kurt Miller/ Staff Photographer

Riverside officials are banking on the kind of results Palm Springs has seen, after a $34 million upgrade completed in 2005.  Business has come back stronger than ever after dipping in 2008 and 2009 due to the recession, said James Canfield, executive director of the Palm Springs Convention Center and the city’s bureau of tourism.

Riverside Convention Center officials expect the upgrade puts them in a better position to compete with convention centers in Ontario and Pasadena and the Pechanga Resort & Casino near Temecula. They also say it enables them to go after a higher caliber of events.

To read the full article, click here.

Sign Code Update In Progress For City Of Riverside

(This article is an update of a meeting held on December 9, 2013.)

The first in a series of 6 meetings of the Sign Code Review Committee took place on Monday, December 9, 2013.  The committee is made up of 38 individuals representing a wide array of stakeholders – Chamber of Commerce, Riverside Neighborhood Partnership, Riverside Historical Society, Planning Commision and members of the community at large as appointed by the City Council and Mayor, sign companies and Realtors/brokers/property managers.  The goal of these meetings is to help guide a comprehensive update to the General Sign Provisions of the Zoning Code and the Sign Design Guidelines.

altura Forever 21

City staff introduced the consulants that will be assisting with the update – Vivian Kahn of Dyett & Bhatia, Urban and Regional Planners and Randal Morrison of Sabine & Morrison.  The group received a presentation on Sign Law 101 – to ensure the Code is legally adequate – along with information on the process of how the Code currently regulates different types of signage.

The goal of the review is to achieve a Sign Code that is updated to reflect best practices and latest technologies guided by the input from the Committee.  They expect to have a concensus and clear direction on the update by their meeting in June of 2014 with approval and adoption by the City Council targeted for the fall.

live work bannerSeizing Our Destiny’s Community Quality of Life Survey reflected a 75.9% score for Riversiders who believed the city is a good place to own or operate a business or non-profit organization.  The City of Riverside looked for ways to improve this number and believes that an update to the existing Sign Code will help spur Intelligent Growth and Catalyst for Innovation activities. Other overall Economic Development targeted improvements include Business First and Business Ready programs.

For more information on the Community Quality of Life Survey, click here.

For more information on Economic Development activities, click here.

Culinary Website Gains International Popularity

(This article includes excerpts taken from the Notre Dame High School website under Alumni Success Story.)

Notre Dame Students

Food2Fork is an innovative website started in late December 2012 by Notre Dame High School  Alumni Adam Ruppert, Bryan Thornbury, and James Haire (Class of 2010).  Combining their unique and diverse skills, the three alumni created a unique culinary website that is gaining international popularity.  In their first full month of operation, www.Food2Fork.com has received an astonishing 60,000+ visitors from around the world, and is steadily expanding. Not only has it been growing rapidly throughout the culinary community, it has also been selected by Microsoft to participate in a startup accelerator program designed to attract investors to new and innovative companies.  Catalyst for Innovation is alive even amongst young adults in the Riverside community.

Our three alumni were very active members of the student body while attending Notre Dame High School.  Adam Ruppert was involved in sports teams where he was captain of both the Varsity Soccer and Swim Team.  Following graduation, he attended the Portland Art Institute receiving a degree in Culinary Arts and is continuing his education at University of La Verne to study Business.  Bryan Thornbury was active in extracurricular activities as well. Bryan was a Varsity Soccer player, member of the Varsity Swim Team, and the Wrestling Team. Bryan currently attends California Polytechnic University, Pomona and is studying Computer Engineering. This summer he will work as intern with Microsoft in Seattle.  James Haire took part in many sports at Notre Dame as well. He was Captain of the Cross Country Team for four years, played Varsity Soccer and Varsity Swimming. James attends California State University, Fullerton as an undergrad in Business and Economics.

Some of the Food2Fork site features include an ingredient recipe search, socially ranked recipes and recipe title search. Visitors to the site can see what they can cook with the ingredients that are already in their refrigerator and view the recipes that are most popular in those categories, as well as searching by recipe titles. Other features on the site include a “How to” Search to answer any of your culinary questions. Food2Fork expects to have many other apps and features in the near future.

For more information about Notre Dame High School, click here.

For the full story, click here.


Discovery May Improve Insect Repellants

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Mark Muckenfuss and published in The Press Enterprise on October 3, 2013.)

UC Riverside researchers say they have found the long-sought receptors in mosquitoes that are affected by DEET, the most common active ingredient used in popular insect repellents.

Identifying the receptors, they say, could lead to more effective and less annoying chemicals for deterring mosquitoes, as well as other insect pests. One compound they’ve identified so far is a grape extract that, unlike DEET, doesn’t damage plastic and nylon. The study appeared Wednesday in the latest online edition of Nature.

(Photo Credit: 2011/File Photo, The Press-Enterprise)

(Photo Credit: 2011/File Photo, The Press-Enterprise)

Anandasankar Ray, pictured above, an associate professor of entomology and the study’s director, said the discovery opens new doors for dealing with mosquito-borne illness as well as other insect-related problems, possibly even as treatments for agricultural crops. Finding better ways to keep the insects at bay is important worldwide, where mosquito-borne diseases kill hundreds of thousands of people every year.

In recent years, Ray’s lab has made other mosquito discoveries, such as finding ways to block a mosquito’s ability to detect carbon dioxide, the primary method it uses to find human or animal prey.  Discoveries such as this demonstrate Riverside as a leader in Catalyst for Innovation, a pillar of Seizing Our Destiny.

This most recent work, he said, “is certainly as important if not, potentially, more important than our earlier discovery.”

Read the full article here.