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.

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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.

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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.

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Shaping The World’s Food Future In Riverside

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Kris Lovekin, published in UCR Today, on July 1, 2014.)

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, announces a new kind of Food CORPS focused on healthier ways to grow and distribute food

More than a century of agricultural research at UC Riverside has helped feed the human population.  When a pest invades California and starts killing important crops, it is Riverside scientists who find the natural enemy, raise it and release it, in concert with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

When far flung countries are fighting drought and flood, crops developed in Riverside can withstand the weather.  Catalyst for Innovation isn’t just a saying when speaking of  UC Riverside – it’s a lifestyle.

A campus community garden keeps UCR students connected to the land, and provides locally grown fruits and vegetables for students and others. And every piece of citrus in a California supermarket has a connection back to the campus, because Riverside hosts the budwood and genetic material for citrus growers around the world.

Buddha’s Hand is one of the more than 900 citrus varieties in UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection.

Buddha’s Hand is one of the more than 900 citrus varieties in UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection.

“Keep in mind, the issue of food is not just about what we eat,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “It’s about delivery systems. Climate issues. Population growth. Policy. All of these and more come into play when you begin to think about the colliding forces that shape the world’s food future.”

On July 1, Napolitano promised a laser focus from the 10-campus University of California on a new UC Global Food Initiative, an issue with global implications.

The campuses in Riverside, Berkeley and Davis serve as a hub for Agricultural and Natural Resources, the University of California applied science that has advised and informed California’s growers for a century. But each of the 10 campuses, as well as the national laboratories, have a piece of the food puzzle.

“This initiative will help us address food security issues on our own campus, in our community and across the world,” said Peggy Mauk, a cooperative extension specialist who is director of UC Riverside’s Agricultural Operations, which covers 440 acres on campus, and another 500 acres in the Coachella Valley. She has heard growers ask for new certificate programs and an agribusiness degree. She is working to provide UCR grown crops to campus restaurants as well as schools in the Riverside Unified School Districts and local food banks.

“Our research has been going on for generations, but what this initiative does is ask us to knit it all up with the local community, local restaurants, even our local students. It’s totally doable in my opinion, given some time and some resources and some good partnerships,” Mauk said.

One of the tensions of the UC Global Food Initiative is that food means a lot of things to a lot of people, from growing organic greens in the backyard to large industrial production of soy and corn and beef shipped to the world.

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Riverside Tops The List Of Best Cities For Small Business

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Amy Whyte, published in inc.com on May 12, 2014.)

A new study from Biz2Credit.com examines how a number of U.S. cities measure up and Riverside tops the chart as best city for small business when ranked by annual revenue.  See the infographic chart below. 

Infographic map comparing major cities based on annual revenue and average credit score.  Photo credit: shutter stock

Infographic map comparing major cities based on annual revenue and average credit score. Photo credit: Biz2Credit.com

The study, which defines a small business as a company with fewer than 250 employees or less than $10 million in annual revenue, analyzed more than 12,000 businesses that have been in operation for at least a year. The findings place San Jose in the top spot, on the basis of a weighted score that includes annual revenue, credit scores, and the average age of the city’s small businesses. Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco round out the top five.

This is an outstanding representation of Riverside as a location of choice.  For small businesses across the country, choosing what location to set up shop can be difficult and exhausting.  This type of chart is a useful tool for entrepreneurs to compare big cities side by side.   Riverside attracts creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic and diverse people as residents, workers, business owners and visitors.

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Riverside Home Prices Up Over 20% In 2013

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Paul Ausick, published in 24/7 WallSt.com on May 13, 2014.)

As a location of choice, Riverside tops the list of California cities with rising home prices.  Although the value of homes across the country has risen roughly 11%, Riverside is way ahead of the curve at almost 24%.  Home prices in seven U.S. metropolitan areas rose at least 20% in 2013, according to the latest CoreLogic Case-Shillehome price index. The seven are Las Vegas (25.6%) and six California cities: Riverside (23.8%), Oakland (23.3%), Sacramento (23.0%), Los Angeles (20.3%), San Jose (20.1%) and San Francisco (20.0%).

Skyline view of Riverside, California.

Skyline view of Riverside, California.

House prices across the country rose 11.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, but remain 21% below the peak reached in the first quarter of 2006.

Overall, 308 of 384 U.S. metro areas posted price gains between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013. In those areas with populations greater than 1 million, every city either posted a gain or remained flat with the previous year.

For the current year, the CoreLogic Case-Shiller index is expected to post a home price gain of 5.3%, less than half the 2013 gain. Over the next five years, home prices are expected to rise at an annual rate of 3.1%.

Riverside attracts creative, entrepreneurial, dynamic and diverse people as residents, workers, business owners and visitors.

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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.)

INTERNATIONAL SISTERS

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…

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