Riverside Ranks #8 in Forbes’ Coolest Cities In America!

(This article contains excerpts from an article published on Forbes.com on August 8, 2014)

Forbes just released a list a of America’s “Coolest” Cities, and Riverside ranked #8.  How do you define “cool”?  According to Erin Carlyle, Forbes staff, “We sought to quantify it in terms of cities, partnering with Sperling’s BestPlaces to rank the 60 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions (cities and their surrounding suburbs, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) based on six data points we weighted evenly.”  The six data points used to rank the cities include: arts and culture, reacreation, diversity, local eats, population age, and net migration.

Arts & Culture Index: 88, Recreation Index: 93, Diversity Index: 77.27, Local Eats: 72.2%, Population age 20-34: 29.7%, 2010 - 2013 Net Migration: 1.8%.  Photo credit: Forbes.com

Arts & Culture Index: 88, Recreation Index: 93, Diversity Index: 77.27, Local Eats: 72.2%, Population age 20-34: 29.7%, 2010 – 2013 Net Migration: 1.8%. Photo credit: Forbes.com

Although many might dispute that Riverside should be #1 on the list, being ranked one of the “coolest” cities in the country is an outstanding representation of our beloved city being a true location of choice.  Riverside has proven to be an attractive place for all types of residents, workers, professionals, entrepreneurs, and visitors.  Riversiders take pride in our beloved city with countless opportunities to be entertained, amazed, and inspired.     That is why the City of Riverside will continue to become a location of choice for people and organizations from allover the world.

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

Riverside Artnival Has Great Turnout

(This article contains excerpts from the Riverside Arts Council)

Artnival 2014 was a great opportunity not only in terms of serving a traditionally underserved population with a free, family-friendly event, but also as a cross-county promotional effort.  Approximately 300 people attended the event over the course of the day.  The Riverside Arts Council assisted The Community Foundation with the culminating activity of its Arts Regranting Program Inland Empire (funded through The James Irvine Foundation).

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Victor Valley had a musical petting zoo, with one of the students served through the program there to demonstrate instruments for children and to guide them in trying the instruments out for themselves. The High Desert Cultural Arts Foundation had an exhibit of the work created by students, as well as a drawing workshop and a performance of work created in their children’s theatre workshop. The group from tps had an exhibit and a workshop.

This family oriented Artnival event is a great portrayal of seizing our destiny’s unified city pillar.  Riversiders from all backgrounds came together to be a part of the event and join in the fun.  People are brought together around common interests and concerns, while the unique character of Riverside’s neighborhoods and diverse communities are celebrated and valued. 

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Photo credit: Patrick Brien

Events such as this have the power to have a far greater impact than numbers will show. One of the teenaged performers from the High Desert Cultural Arts Foundation is autistic. Until just a few months ago, she was non-verbal. When she began the program funded by The Community Foundation, she began to speak. At Artnival, she sang a number with her mother. No one in her family would have ever imagined that she would be able to stand up on a stage in front of a group of people, much less sing a song. Through Park and Rec’s sponsorship of this event, this girl was provided a therapeutic opportunity that will have a lifetime’s worth of benefits.

 

Mission Inn Ranked In Conde Nast Traveler Magazine

(This article contains excerpts from from an article by Richard K. De Atley, published in the Press-Enterprise on February 28th, 2014.)

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside has scored three times recently with Conde Nast Traveler magazine.  In the publication’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards, with nearly 80,000 taking part in the survey, the historic inn made the Top 25 list in the highly competitive best hotel list for Southern California.

Kimber Licitra, a receptionist, stands in Kelly's Spa at the Mission Inn on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa scores with Conde Nast Traveler magazine's reader poll: No. 25 in the Top 25 list of best hotels in Southern California; No. 10 in the top 50 best spas in the world, according to the November 2013 issue.  Photo Credit: Kurt Miller

Kimber Licitra, a receptionist, stands in Kelly’s Spa at the Mission Inn on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa scores with Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s reader poll: No. 25 in the Top 25 list of best hotels in Southern California; No. 10 in the top 50 best spas in the world, according to the November 2013 issue. Photo Credit: Kurt Miller

 

It’s in the company of Beverly Hills’ The Peninsula (No. 1) and L’Ermitage (No. 7) ; Los Angeles’ Hotel Bel-Air (No. 3); Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas (No. 22) ; and San Diego’s Tower 23 Hotel, which missed matching its name by coming in at No. 24 . The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa was No. 25.  A separate survey for Top 50 Hotel Spas in the United States has Kelly’s Spa at the Mission Inn rated No. 10. The Readers’ Choice Awards were announced in November.

The magazine more recently recommended The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa as a romantic vacation proposal destination, where suitors can arrange for a walk along the inn’s rotunda staircase that winds up at a small table with candles, champagne and roses for popping the question as flowers rain down.  All of the outstanding rankings, and vast selection of sites and activities at the historic Mission Inn, make this destination a true location of choice.  In the heart of Riverside, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is an elegant place where anyone can go relax and have a good time.

The inn’s largest draw has been the annual Festival of Lights, a Thanksgiving week-through-New Year’s celebration. The 21st edition featured 4 million lights decorating the inn along with holiday-motif characters on its balconies. An estimated 50,000 people attended the fireworks opening, and the festival attracted shoulder-to-shoulder crowds during its run.

Duane Roberts, co-owner and CEO, also moved to add restaurants to the inn’s standing lineup of the Mission Inn Restaurant and the Presidential Lounge. Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood just earned its 18th consecutive AAA four-diamond rating, which Roberts believes is unmatched.

The inn “is not a chain operation, so we are able to do special things, and we are able to do things the way we want to,” Duane Roberts said.

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Alum Pilots Bobsled At Winter Olympics

(Excerpts from this post were taken from an article written by Ross French, and published today on UC RiversideThursday, February 6, 2014.)

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

During his time at UC Riverside, Cory Butner was what Student Recreation Center Associate Director Mike Eason describes as a “gym rat.” Whether it was working as a SRC staff member in the weight room, playing basketball, or working out himself, when Butner wasn’t in the classroom pursuing his degree in statistics, he could likely be found within the walls of the Student Recreation Center.Now just eight years after earning his degree and six years after taking up the sport of bobsledding, the 32-year old, 6-2, 210-pound Yucaipa native is representing the United States as a pilot of a two-man bobsled at the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The two-man competition is scheduled for Feb. 16 and 17 at the Sanki Sliding Center.

“Being a part of this team is the best thing to happen to me,” Butner said. “I’m really excited to be representing the USA on the big stage.”

Butner is currently ranked fifth in the world and is in the midst of a strong 2013-14 World Cup campaign that has seen him record bronze medal finishes at Lake Placid on Dec. 14, 2013, and Winterberg, Germany, on Jan. 3. He also has three fourth-place finishes, including the most recent event on Jan. 25 at Schönau am Königsee, Germany. In 2012-13, he won silver medals at the Park City World Cup and Lake Placid World Cup. He finished ninth overall in the competition at the Sochi track and finished the season ranked eighth in the world.

“Most people don’t know about 95 percent of the stuff that goes into racing. You only get to see 5 percent of what we do on TV once every four years,” he said. “Four years for four minutes of racing to prove to the world who is the best.”

A basketball and track athlete at Colton High School, Butner didn’t play intercollegiate sports at UCR, but fed his desire for competition in the weight room and through intramural sports. He credits his sister, Charity — who played volleyball at UCR and graduated in 2000 — with giving him the idea to pursue the bobsled following his graduation in 2005. It’s great to hear stories like this of former UCR alumni. He is truly a champion and reflects the community’s creative side with a desire for lifelong learning.

For the full article, click here.

Hundreds Turn Out for Citrus Heritage Run

(Excerpts from this post were taken from an article written by Stephen Wall, Correspondent, for PE.com and published on January 11, 2014.)

Several hundred runners and walkers traversed the scenic streets of Riverside Saturday, Jan. 11, for the 2014 Citrus Heritage Run. With the combination of great weather and a perfect location, runs like this are very popular here.  As Riverside continues to shine as a Location of Choice, people will come from surrounding areas to participate.

The fifth annual event, which included an inaugural half marathon and one-mile kids’ run, was organized by the Riverside Road Runners, a running and walking club.

Participants begin the one-mile kids' race at the fifth annual Citrus Heritage Run in Riverside Saturday, Jan. 11. The event featured 800 runners and walkers competing in a half marathon, 5K and kids' run. Proceeds from the event help high school students pay training costs and entry fees for marathons in Huntington Beach and Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: STEPHEN WALL/FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER

Participants begin the one-mile kids’ race at the fifth annual Citrus Heritage Run in Riverside Saturday, Jan. 11. The event featured 800 runners and walkers competing in a half marathon, 5K and kids’ run. Proceeds from the event help high school students pay training costs and entry fees for marathons in Huntington Beach and Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: STEPHEN WALL/FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER

The addition of the half marathon – the most popular distance in running – made the event more attractive to people from outside the area, said club President Ed Ettinghausen.

“It makes it more of a Southern California race because people are willing to travel further than the typical 5 or 10K event,” said Ettinghausen, 51, of Murrieta.

He said the club imposed a limit of 800 participants to guarantee a quality run for each person. The event quickly reached capacity through online registration, he said.

Runners cross the finish line of the 5K race at the fifth annual Citrus Heritage Run in Riverside Saturday, Jan. 11. The race featured 800 runners and walkers competing in a half marathon, 5K and one-mile kids' run. Proceeds from the event help high school students pay training costs and entry fees for marathons in Huntington Beach and Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: STEPHEN WALL/FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Runners cross the finish line of the 5K race at the fifth annual Citrus Heritage Run in Riverside Saturday, Jan. 11. The race featured 800 runners and walkers competing in a half marathon, 5K and one-mile kids’ run. Proceeds from the event help high school students pay training costs and entry fees for marathons in Huntington Beach and Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: STEPHEN WALL/FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Proceeds from the race help area high school students pay training costs and entry fees for the Surf City Marathon Feb. 2 in Huntington Beach and the LA Marathon March 9. In the past, the club has raised enough money to sponsor 10 to 12 students each year, Ettinghausen said.

Runners who finished the race received a medal. Participants who took part in the Nov. 10 Mission Inn Run and Oct. 12 Riverside Hometown Heroes Honor Run received an additional medal celebrating their completion of the three events.

John Story said he participated in the 5K to support his 9-year-old daughter, Renee, who belongs to the 100-mile club at Promenade Elementary School in Corona. She has logged 290 miles since Aug. 19, running 30 minutes every day before school.

“I love this course,” said Story, a Riverside resident. “There’s a lot of challenge to it. Running through the orange groves is relaxing to me, even though the hills are taxing.”

The race started on Victoria Avenue next to Arlington Heights Sports Park. Runners passed through California Citrus State Historic Park, then returned to finish near the starting line.

Story, 50, said running helps burn off some of his daughter’s excess energy.

“I got tired, but I kept running on and on until I was done,” Renee said. “I’m proud of myself.”

Michael John Stanley, 42, said he enjoyed the race but didn’t like that the 5K and half marathon shared the same route.

“It slows you way down,” he said. “You had to pass a lot of people who were in the way.”

Stanley’s 12-year-old daughter, Michaela May Stanley, said she was impressed with her performance.

“It was very difficult, but I did better than I thought I would do,” said Michaela, a member of the cross-country team at Woodcrest Christian Middle School near Riverside.

For the complete article, click here.

Improvements Underway At Villegas Park

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by ALICIA ROBINSON, Staff Writer, and published in PE.com on December 06, 2013)

The community center at Riverside’s Villegas Park, where young people can box or play basketball and older folks gather in the mornings for coffee and conversation, is getting some long-awaited upgrades.

“We’ve been looking forward to it,” 76-year-old Harvey Zamora, a volunteer at the community center, said Thursday, Dec. 5.

Renovation work continued Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Villegas Community Center in Riverside.  DAVID BAUMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Renovation work continued Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Villegas Community Center in Riverside. DAVID BAUMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Zamora and a handful of other old-timers from the Casa Blanca neighborhood were sipping coffee in a modular building that’s standing in for the now gutted community center. Built in 1972, the center will get new lighting, a game room and new office space, a more formal entryway with a lobby, and – most important, Parks Director Ralph Nuñez said – an expanded kitchen.

“Whenever there’s a community meeting, (or) something’s taking place, food’s always part of it,” Nuñez said.

The $3.4 million project should take about a year. It also includes redoing a soccer field, parking lot and several outbuildings, and will create a new courtyard for two monuments – one honoring men from Casa Blanca who died in military service, and another that memorializes Ysmael Villegas, the soldier killed in World War II for whom the park and community center are named.

The start of work is a relief for residents, who had to wait nearly two years while the project funding was in limbo, said Councilman Paul Davis, who represents Casa Blanca. Continued improvements to our park facilities is important in order for Riverside to remain a Location of Choice – an important aspect of Seizing Our Destiny.  Providing spaces for the community to meet also helps to foster Riverside as a Unified City.

The Villegas Park improvements were intended to be a redevelopment project, and the city had issued bonds to pay for the work several years before state legislators dissolved redevelopment agencies in 2011. But preparing specifications and getting bids takes time, Davis said, and that process wasn’t finished when state finance officials stepped in to review all proposed expenditures of former redevelopment money.

For the full article, click here.

Riverside Ranked As Bicycle-Friendly Community

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Sarah Goodyear and published on www.theatlanticcities.com on October 18, 2013.)

Welcoming bicycles to the streets isn’t just an urban thing anymore. Increasingly, according to the new rankings of “Bicycle Friendly Communities” released by the League of American Bicyclists this week, suburbs are getting in on the act.

Places like Elmhurst, Illinois; Riverside, California; Montclair, New Jersey; and Dublin, Ohio; are among the 32 municipalities making LAB’s list for the first time this year. The list, which ranks towns and cities in a four-tier system from bronze up to platinum (the full list here, PDF), was inaugurated in 2003. It now includes 291 towns and cities in 48 states.

The City of Riverside, who adopted a Bicycle Master Plan on May 22, 2007, was ranked on the Bronze level.  Bicycle enthusiasts have definitely been increasing here by the number of bicycle events including “Bike With The Mayor”.

Group shot Mayor Biking

A recent Bike with the Mayor event in Riverside.

Increasingly, Nesper says, suburban leaders are seeking out a “bicycle friendly” designation because they think it makes their communities more attractive to new businesses and residents. He cites Greenville, South Carolina, as another unexpected place that earned a bronze designation this year. Amenities like good bike infrastructure can help set a suburb or small city apart from its sprawling counterparts.

“What’s happening is that bicycling is an indicator of a high quality of life,” says Nesper. “It helps the community compete.” High quality of life is definitely a part of Seizing Our Destiny.  Those interested in biking will consider Riverside a Location of Choice.

For the full article, click here.

Local Ice Skating Rink Part of Olympic Journey

(This article includes excerpts from the article written and published on website PRWeb On October 11, 2013.)

Icetown, which opened its first facility in Riverside, CA in October 1997,  is a premiere international training center for competitive figure skating with  several top level athletes training at Icetown who represent various countries  around the world. Icetown’s world class coach Tammy Gambill coaches athletes  that represent Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Philippines, Norway, and Japan.  Many of these athletes will compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. “I  have kids coming in to train at Icetown Riverside from all over the world now.  I’m teaching kids from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada to name a few. The  Australian boy, Brendan Kerry, just qualified for the Olympics and we couldn’t  be more proud and excited!” says Gambill.

With world class recreation facilities and sports, Riverside is a location of choice for premier athletes.

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Coach Tammy Gambill watches newly qualified Olympic hopeful Brendan Kerry of Sydney, Australia, during a training session at Icetown in Riverside. Photo Credit: Stan Lim Press Enterprise

This is serious business to these young hopefuls, who are skating sometimes  five and six days a week to reach their goal of becoming figure skating  champions — Olympic champions, or at the very least, to make it to the U.S.  Figure Skating Nationals. Upcoming is the 2014 qualifying competition season.  Icetown’s Richard Dornbush will be attempting to qualify for the 2014 Olympic  Games at the 2014 US National Championships in Boston.

“I have trained at some of the most competitive facilities in the country, but Icetown tops them all. Icetown is a place where kids can start learning in a fun environment while having high level athletes from around the World to look up to” – Felicia Beck

In addition to athletes competing to qualify for the Olympics, Icetown has  over 30 athletes that will compete on behalf of the All Year Figure Skating  Club, at the Regional and Sectional qualifying events. These competitions will  determine whether or not they are able to compete at the National and Jr.  National competitions in Boston. This is an exciting time for Icetown and figure  skating with the Sochi Olympics around the corner. For all figure skating  enthusiasts and future Olympic hopefuls and Ice Town offers one time free  introductory lessons for boys and girls ages 3 and over. This is a perfect  opportunity to learn the basics of skating. First time skaters are encourage to  take this free class. Introductory lessons are offered Wednesdays 6:30pm -  7:00pm and Saturdays 11:50am – 12:20pm. Contact Figure Skating Director Felicia  Beck for more information.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/icetown/olympics/prweb10931482.htm

Riverside Community College Tigers #2 in National Football Rankings

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Brad Hoiseth and published September 16, 2013 for JCGridiron.com)

The Riverside City College Football team have maintained a high ranking this week at #2 after last week’s impressive #1 ranking in the latest JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 Rankings. The rankings noted, “The folks at Riverside appear to have all the pieces in place to make a run at a national title and all their weapons have been on display through two weeks of the season.”

RCC Tigers

Riverside roughed up Palomar QB Ryan Lamb in week two

The JCGridiron.com Dirty Thirty Junior College Team Rankings enters it’s eighth season (2005-present). The rankings reflect the performance on the field, the strength of the program’s conference, team records, players in key positions and input from Brad Hoiseth and the staff at JCGridiron.com.  This is a National Junior College Ranking that includes the NJCAA and California programs.

It’s time to check out the Tiger’s schedule  and plan to attend because this strong team has the national title in it’s sights! The success of the RCC football program is a reflection of the world-class recreation opportunities in the community, which make Riverside a Location of Choice!

Read the full article, here.