Riverside Named “Coolest” City

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by David Danelski, published in The Press Enterprise on October 23, 2014.)

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey, center, leads the pack at a “Bike with the Mayor” event held in March 2013. The city won a statewide contest that fostered bicycle riding and other measures to the reduce carbon emissions linked to climate change. Photo credit: Press Enterprise, David Bauman

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey, center, leads the pack at a “Bike with the Mayor” event held in March 2013. The city won a statewide contest that fostered bicycle riding and other measures to the reduce carbon emissions linked to climate change. Photo credit: The Press Enterprise, David Bauman

To reduce his contribution to global warming, Taher Bhaigee started taking a bus from his home in Riverside’s Canyon Crest neighborhood to his job downtown. “I bought a monthly pass, and that really reduced my driving,” said Bhaigee, 23, a recent UC Riverside graduate who works as an intern in the mayor’s office. Bhaigee also replaced his incandescent lights with energy-efficient CFC bulbs. He was also more careful about turning off the air conditioner and lights when they weren’t needed.

Bhaigee was among more than 1,100 Riverside residents who tracked their energy savings online and helped the city win a contest sponsored by state air quality officials to encourage people to slash their energy use. The California Air Resources Board announced winners in the CoolCalifornia City Challenge on Thursday at a meeting in Diamond Bar. Riverside edged out runners-up Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga to be the “coolest city” in California.

Another Riverside resident, Ryan Bullard, worked on big-ticket items to reduce his carbon footprint. “I have all LED lighting, an efficient AC unit and all energy efficiency appliances from washer to fridge,” said Bullard, who works for Riverside’s electric utility. “In fact, I use about half of the energy a typical household in Riverside uses. “I also frequently walk to work, dinner and more since I live about a half mile from downtown,” Bullard said.

Bhaigee and Ryan are everyday examples of Riversiders working together to address local issues and building an even more Unified City.

For the complete article, click here.

What have YOU done to slash energy use? Let us know and comment below.

UCR Ranks 3rd in Nation for Hispanics

(This article includes excerpts from the study published in BestColleges.com on October 27, 2014.)

Photo Credit: UCR Today

Photo Credit: UCR Today

In a nationwide study, the University of California, Riverside made the Top 50 Colleges for Hispanic Students list, according to BestColleges.com.

The rankings, based on Hispanic enrollment and graduation rates, and were created to help students transition from high school to higher education, the site said.

“Many Hispanic students are the first in their families to attend college, so it is important for them to find a support system that will help them navigate degrees, financial aid and their school and social obligations,” the study’s reads.

All the schools on the list offer a cultural center, as well as degree programs and scholarships, for Hispanics.

According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Hispanic students that enrolled in higher education after graduating high school surpassed that percentage for white students last year, marking the first in history. Also, the dropout rate for Hispanics continues to decline, dropping from about 23 percent in 2008 to about 15 percent in 2012.

UCR is a testament to the diversity of our city which falls within the pillars Unified City and Location of Choice.  People have a desire to meet and communicate with others that are not like themselves, and there are many opportunities for that in Riverside.

For the complete story, click here.

“Ideas Worth Spreading”: TEDx Riverside Speakers United By Ideas

(This article contains excerpts from article by Kurt Miller, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 16,2014.)

TEDx Riverside brought together 20 speakers for an eight-hour marathon of inspiration on Thursday at the Fox Performing Arts Center.   TED conferences are brought to communities throughout the world to encourage a convergence of technology, design and entertainment.  To promote education, TEDx Riverside gave 500 tickets to local high schools and filled the balcony with teenagers. It provided buses and lunch for students of Riverside Unified School District.  

“Everybody in this room is a lifelong learner,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey declared in his opening remarks.

Nobel Prize winner and UC Riverside alumni Richard Schrock.  Photo credit: City of Riverside

Nobel Prize winner and UC Riverside alumni Richard Schrock. Photo credit: City of Riverside

Most of the speakers had Inland ties, but many have wide renown.  They included Nobel laureate Richard Schrock, who earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside in 1967 and is now a chemistry professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Another UCR graduate was Steve Breen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning and a children’s author.

Among the more unusual presentations was performance artist Gregory Adamson creating a 6-by-6-foot painting of John Lennon in 11 minutes, accompanied by a medley of Lennon and Beatles songs. Photo credit: Fielding Buck

Among the more unusual presentations was performance artist Gregory Adamson creating a 6-by-6-foot painting of John Lennon in 11 minutes, accompanied by a medley of Lennon and Beatles songs. Photo credit: Fielding Buck

The TEDx Riverside event was a model of all the Seizing Our Destiny pillars.  Riversiders from of all ages and backgrounds attended the event on Thursday October, 16 as a unified city with a common interest to be entertained and inspired.  Although each speaker was completely different, they all seem to be on the same wavelength of maximizing personal potential and advocating intelligent growth in our community.  Riverside is a city that honors and builds on its assets to become a location of choice that catalyzes innovation in all forms, while enhancing quality of life.

To read more about TEDx Riverside, click here.

UCR Earns Top-10 Ranking in New Social Mobility Index Survey

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Ross French, published in UCR Today on October 17,2014.)

UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: Ross French

UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo credit: UCR Today.

The University of California, Riverside has been included among the top-10 schools on the new Social Mobility Index (SMI) survey, co-sponsored by CollegeNet and PayScale. The SMI ranking emphasizes economic mobility and the extent that a college or university helps its students with family incomes below the national median improve their social and economic standing.

UCR placed eighth overall among the 539 schools with a SMI ranking of 43.79. UC Davis placed sixth overall with 49.58 points and UC Berkeley was ninth with 43.36 points. The top school in the survey was Montana Tech of the University of Montana. The full rankings can be found on their website.

The survey’s methodology incorporated five weighted variables: published tuition, percent of student body whose families are below the US median income, graduation rate, reported median salary 0-5 years after graduation, and endowment. The survey specifically did not incorporate reputations based upon the opinions of faculty or administrators regarding social or economic mobility, as it would “perpetuate the biases and stereotypes collected in such surveys.”

According to the survey 42.98% of UCR students are considered “low income.” The salary for UCR grads considered “early career employees,” defined as “full-time employees with five years of experience or less in their career or field working in the U.S. who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees,” is $45,600.

This is the second significant survey in which UCR has received high marks for social mobility, proving once again that Riverside is indeed a Location of Choice. For the last four years, the university has been ranked in the top-10 among national universities in Washington Monthly’s Annual College Ranking Survey, placing second overall in 2013 and 2014.  The Washington Monthly Survey considers civic engagement, research, and social mobility.

The article accompanying the Washington Monthly ranking read, in part:  “The UC campus in Riverside…. stands out as a model for other public universities to follow….. Riverside is unusually focused on social mobility. Since 2006, its enrollment has grown by 25 percent. Half of all freshmen are first-generation college students, and the campus is the most racially and ethnically diverse within the UC system. Riverside’s focus on public service exceeds that of almost every other national university.”

For the complete article, click here.

Reductions in Toxic Emissions Reported by SCAQMD

(This article contains excerpts from an article posted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District on October 2, 2014.)

A major study by Southland air quality officials has found that reductions in toxic emissions have cut residents’ cancer risk from air pollution on average by more than 50 percent since 2005.

Photo Credit:  South Coast Air Quality Management District

Photo Credit: South Coast Air Quality Management District

“Air pollution controls on everything from cars to trucks to industrial plants have dramatically reduced toxic emissions in our region,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  “However, remaining risks are still unacceptably high in some areas,” Wallerstein said. “We need to maintain our commitment to reducing toxic emissions so that everyone can breathe healthful air.”

SCAQMD’s Multiple Air Toxics Study IV (MATES IV) found that the average cancer risk from air pollution across the region declined from 1,194 in 1 million during MATES III in 2005 to 418 in 1 million in 2012-13 using similar methods of analysis. The risk reduction follows a trend of declining toxic emissions in the region since the first MATES study was conducted in 1987.

MATES IV found that diesel particulate emitted from diesel trucks and other diesel-powered vehicles and equipment was responsible for 68 percent of the total cancer risk. Fully 90 percent of the risk is due to mobile sources, which includes everything from cars and trucks to ocean-going ships, locomotives, aircraft and construction equipment.

Information like this is important to quality of life issues in our area.  Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar deals with our unmatched landscape and ability to hold year-round outdoor activities.  Riverside must remain a livable and healthy community.

For the full article, click here.

Riverside Recognized For Encouraging Healthy Workplace

(This article contains excerpts from an article Suzanne Hurt, published in the Press-Enterprise on October 9, 2014.)

The American Heart Association has recognized the city of Riverside’s continued effort to improve employees’ health.  The association gave the city a 2014 Platinum Fit-Friendly Award and Work site Innovation Award at a City Council meeting Aug. 12, according to city spokesman Phil Pitchford.  The city was also recognized with the health award in 2013.

Photo credit: Press-Enterprise

Photo credit: Press-Enterprise

The award is given to companies and organizations that meet criteria such as offering healthy food at the workplace, supporting workers’ fitness activities and taking other steps to encourage a healthy work site, according to the association.

The City’s Human Resources Department began its wellness programs in 2009. Workers lost 7,400 pounds in four years through an annual “Get Fit Challenge” weight-loss program.

The City of Riverside being recognized by the American Heart Association for two consecutive years, makes our beloved city a location of choice for individuals seeking a healthy lifestyle.  What really makes Riverside so unique are the intangible benefits and values that enhance the quality of life in the city.  Riverside is becoming a location of choice for people and organizations all over the world.

To read more, click here.

CBU Announces Record Fall Enrollment Of 7,957 Students

(This article contains excerpts from an article published in CBU’s News Articles on September 26, 2014.)

Enrollment at California Baptist University for the fall 2014 semester is a record-high 7,957 students—an 11 percent increase above the fall 2013 enrollment figure, President Ronald L. Ellis announced today.  This year’s enrollment number represents an increase of 813 students over the fall 2013 total of 7,144. All enrollment segments, including undergraduate, graduate and Online and Professional Studies, are included in this year’s figures.

CBU welcomed a record number of students for the fall 2014 semester.  Photo credit: Calbaptist.edu

CBU welcomed a record number of students for the fall 2014 semester. Photo credit: Calbaptist.edu

“This size of increase is extremely rare in institutions the size of CBU,” Ellis said. He noted that 2014 marks the fourth consecutive year of 600-plus enrollment growth compared to the previous year and a 94 percent increase in five years. Fall 2009 enrollment was 4,105.

California Baptist University is always expanding and improving in a remarkable fashion.  Representing Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar, CBU attracts students and professionals from across the country due to the great reputation and overall integrity that the campus stands by.

The current student body is 8.8 times larger than the 808 students enrolled when Ellis began his tenure as president in 1994. During the 64-year history of the institution, enrollment has jumped by triple digits 14 times – all of those since fall 1995.

California Baptist University offers 158 undergraduate majors and concentrations and 41 master’s degree programs. Founded in 1950, CBU is a private comprehensive institution located in Riverside, Calif. and affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention. CBU is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities and the Consortium for Global Education.

Riverside has increasingly become the location of choice for creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic and diverse people as residents, workers, business owners.

To read more, click here.

Regional Intelligence Report Highlights Positive News for Riverside

(Excerpts from this article were taken from the Beacon Economic Intelligence Report prepared by Beacon Economics and released on September 22, 2014.)

The seventh edition of the Beacon Economics Regional Intelligence Report continues to show positive growth in Riverside’s economy.  Unemployment is declining in the Inland Empire (8.5% as of July 2014) and the city has recovered nearly 9,700 jobs since a low point in March 2010.  There’s been growth in the Leisure and Hospitality sector increasing 7.5% from July 2013 to July 2014.  The new Riverside Convention Center, with 65,000 square feet of meeting space, should increase convention traffic into the City of Riverside, which should bring higher demand for hotel accommodations in and outside of the city.

Photo Credit: Beacon Economic Intelligent Report

Photo Credit: Beacon Economic Intelligent Report

Another area of growth was employment in the Education and Health sector which saw a 25% increase over the last year.  This sector is vital to the City of Riverside’s economy, constituting approximately 18% of total employment in the City.

The report highlights several areas of Seizing Our Destiny’s pillars including intelligent growth and location of choice.  Continuous positive economic numbers are important to gauge our economic recovery.  Reporting this data is also important so Riversiders know the hard work is paying off.

A few other highlights:

  • Taxable sales in the City have risen 11.5% over the past year.
  • Home sales increased 4.9% to 908 homes from the first quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2014.
  • Apartment vacancy rates in the City have fallen to 2.4%, a 25% decrease from a year ago.

For a complete copy of the report, click here.

Riverside Bike-Sharing Program In The Works

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Alicia Robinson, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 16, 2014)

In Riverside’s continuing quest to expand public transit offerings and foster a “bicycle culture,” the city plans to launch what is likely the Inland area’s first public bike sharing program.  A city wide bike-share program would be a great opportunity for all Riversiders, providing one more reason why Riverside is a location of choice.  Not only would this provide Riversiders with more convenient public transportation options, it would be a fun opportunity for people to stay active and enjoy the great climate and environment that Riverside has to offer.  Our city is increasingly becoming the location of choice for people and organizations from all over the world.     

People check out bicycles from a Citi Bike station in New York City's Central Park. Riverside plans to test a bike share program, possibly starting in 2015.  Photo credit: Matthew Christensen

People check out bicycles from a Citi Bike station in New York City’s Central Park. Riverside plans to test a bike share program, possibly starting in 2015. Photo credit: Matthew Christensen

The bike share concept isn’t new. Community bikes were used in Amsterdam as early as the 1960s. The first organized programs in the U.S. date to the 1990s, said Susan Shaheen, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center.  Esri, a Redlands geographic information systems company, offers free shared bicycles as an employee perk.

Riverside’s pilot project, which could start in 2015, will likely include four bike kiosks – one near City Hall, one at the downtown Metrolink station and spots near the UC Riverside and Riverside City College campuses, said Brandi Becker, a senior administrative analyst in the city’s public works department.  For most systems, pricing is set to encourage trips of a half-hour or less. Denver’s B-cycle, for example, starts at $8 for a 24-hour pass or $80 for a year, with weekly and monthly passes also offered. With all passes, trips up to 30 minutes are free; extra hourly charges apply for those who keep bikes out longer.

Many bike shares are still ironing out financial and logistical issues, but Riverside should be able to learn from others’ early mistakes, said Charlie Gandy, a bike consultant and vice president of the California Bicycle Coalition.    Gandy expects a bike share to fuel even more interest in cycling, whether for work, fun or fitness.   “Cities that take on this type of project see a major shift in people’s attitudes towards bicycling,” he said.

To read more, click here.

Task Force To Enhance International Relations For Students

(This article contains information provided by the Office of the Mayor on September 10, 2014)

In spring 2014, Mayor Bailey convened a task force consisting of representatives from Riverside schools, colleges and universities, businesses (including realtors), transit agencies, and the IRC to develop a strategy for making Riverside a more international student friendly city.

IRC Logo

The determination to nurture and expand international relations for students across the globe exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s unified city and location of choice pillars.  Establishing relationships with sister cities and proactively engaging students of different cultures and backgrounds is what sets Riverside apart from just any other city.  Riversiders are working together everyday to not only address local issues, but to also have a positive impact on the region, nation and world.

 

According to the Office of the Mayor, “Riverside was voted 2012’s most intelligent community in the world by the prestigious Intelligent Community Forum. Our City of Arts & Innovation is a world class city, in part because of a sister city program that has been hailed by Sister Cities International as one of the best in the country.”

Mayor Bailey led a Riverside economic development/education delegation to China May 23-30, 2014.  The visit, which has significantly increased the inflow of Chinese students, especially to CBU and UCR, resulted in an MOU between the UCR School of Business and Jiangmen’s WuYi University, and a reciprocal visit by a WuYi University delegation to UCR in August 2014. A highlight was Mayor Bailey’s visit to Jiangmen’s No. 1 High School where he delivered a brief civics/government lecture.  Just this past August, a group of 45 students from sister city Jiangmen’s No. 1 High School visited sister high school John W. North.  The visiting students home stay and interact with students, faculty and administrators at North High.

One of the most significant sister city milestones was the 2007 4-Party agreement signed by Riverside, Sendai, UCR and Tohoku University on the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Riverside and Sendai.  This agreement resulted in the creation of SC-RISE (Southern California Research Initiative for Solar Energy) at UCR. SC-RISE annually brings in solar energy researchers from Tohoku, and has expanded its base of support to corporations such as Riverside’s SolarMax Technology and entrepreneurs such as Shenzhen’s Winston Chung.

Maintaining the momentum of Riverside’s international presence, Mayor Bailey will be visiting Mexico sister city Cuautla in September 2014 to participate in the Mexico Independence Day celebration and explore cultural and business opportunities.

For more information, click here.