Tag Archives: City of Riverside

Library’s New MakerSpace Lets Patrons Create

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sandra Stokley and published in the Press Enterprise on June 8, 2016.)

Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Pree Enterprise
Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

The quiet main library in downtown Riverside has catapulted into the 21st Century with the official launch of its MakerSpace room.

The “do-it-yourself” area lets library patrons use computers, software, 3-D printers and other cutting-edge technology to create everything from jewelry to clothes to art.

“This is a whole new field for libraries,” Riverside City Councilman Andy Melendrez said Tuesday, June 7, minutes after emerging from the recording booth, where he laid down some rap tracks.

“It was cool,” he said.

Just a few feet away, people crowded around the 3-D printer – a Maker-Bot Replicator – oohing and aahing as it created a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower. The printer creates actual objects using code.

In addition to the printer and recording booth, the Riverside Library MakerSpace features a collaborative media table, iMac and MacBook Pro computers, Lego Minecraft kits and littleBits, electronic building blocks that teach youngsters how to create circuit boards.

“The MakerSpace is the next evolution of libraries as a center for information and knowledge,” library Director Tonya Kennon said. “Participatory learning is king in the MakerSpace environment and our library has many of the top tools for learning, inventing and creating.”

Other Inland area libraries are in various stages of creating their own creation spaces.

In Rancho Cucamonga, an unused second-floor space at the Paul Biane Library is being readied as a STEM Lab that will open in fall, said Brian Sternberg, assistant library director for the Rancho Cucamonga Libraries. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Meanwhile, Rancho Cucamonga’s two libraries have been offering programs that utilize MakerSpace-style activities, Sternberg said. The library system has four 3-D printers, programmable Legos, deejay equipment and turntables.

The MakerSpace and STEM Labs are ushering in a new era in which libraries are seen as exciting centers of learning, Sternberg said. The MakerSpace is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

“People want to come to the library to create things,” Sternberg said. “It’s a transition from libraries as a place where you get a book and read. Libraries are becoming the places where you do things, create things, make things.”

The San Bernardino County Library system has no MakerSpace but offers programs that focus on creating things, experimenting with aerodynamics, motion and engineering principles, county Librarian Leonard Hernandez said.

“There’s a lot of interest on the part of students and families,” Hernandez said. “Many of these programs have wait lists.”

Kennon said she was inspired to lobby for a MakerSpace in Riverside after reading about two UC Davis students who designed a tool called a hex flex to tighten gears on a bicycle. They used a 3-D printer at a local library to create a prototype and it’s now in full production.

The Riverside Library Foundation began fundraising for the project in 2014, Kennon said. It raised $80,000, which covered the cost of furnishing the space and paid for the recording studio, the iMac and MacBook pro computers and the interactive media table. Five Riverside-area Rotary Clubs raised $6,500 to buy the 3-D printer.

Kennon told the crowd at Tuesday’s dedication that the collaboration that led to the MakerSpace “shows that Riverside can do anything we set our minds to.”

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Getty Foundation Awards UCR ARTSblock $225,000

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Mojgan Sherkat and published in UCR Today on April 12, 2016.)

Hector Hernandez, Bulca, 2015 (detail). COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND UCR ARTSBLOCK
Hector Hernandez, Bulca, 2015 (detail).

The Getty Foundation awarded the University of California, Riverside ARTSblock a $225,000 grant for “Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas,” an exhibition that brings together contemporary artists over the last three decades from across the Americas who have tapped into science fiction’s capacity to imagine new realities and alternate worlds.

“Based on our extensive research ‘Mundos Alternos’ will include large-scale kinetic works, sculptures, photographs, drawings, paintings, costumes, and video works by more than 30 artists,” said Tyler Stallings, the interim executive director of UCR ARTSblock.

The grant follows a $125,000 award given to UCR ARTSblock in 2014 for research toward the conception of the exhibition, which allowed for curatorial travel, research, and planning. Co-curated by Stallings, Joanna Szupinska-Myers, curator of exhibitions at California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, and Robb Hernández, assistant professor of English at UCR, the trio had the opportunity to meet with artists and scholars in cities throughout the U.S., Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and South America.

The exhibition will encompass the 8,000 square feet that comprise the changing exhibition galleries at UCR ARTSblock’s three venues – California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts, and Sweeney Art Gallery. It is expected to travel to other venues, accompanied by a heavily illustrated book that includes original essays, art and science fiction by the curators and leading scholars with expertise in Mexico, Brazil, and Central America.

“Mundos Alterno” will utilize the world’s largest holding of science fiction materials, the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the UCR Libraries. In 2012, the Eaton Collection acquired a major collection of science fiction and fantasy pulp magazines published in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Spain.

“Science fiction offers a unique artistic landscape in which to explore the colonial enterprise that shaped the Americas, and to present alternative perspectives speculating on the past and the future,” said Szupinska-Myers.

“‘Mundos Alternos’ is a historic show placing UCR at the forefront of the first transnational effort to identify a growing tendency in contemporary Latin American and Latino art, a tendency that recasts ‘the future’ at a time when debates over immigration reform, militarized borders, and American citizenship continue to take center stage in this country,” said Hernández.

“This exhibition is particularly apt for UCR as it is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), which is reflected not only on the campus but in the surrounding community, too,” said Milagros Peña, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS) at UCR. UCR was named an HSI in 2008, the first in the UC system to receive the honor.

“Mundos Alterno” is part of “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 60 cultural institutions from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and from Los Angeles to Palm Springs. “Pacific Standard Time” is an initiative of the J. Paul Getty Museum. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

“All of ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’s’ exhibitions are grounded in significant original research carried out by teams of curators – including scholars, artists, and critics – in the United States, Latin America, and Europe,” said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “The fruits of their collaborative research will be evident in the resulting exhibitions. The exhibitions will also leave a lasting legacy of scholarship through numerous catalogues and other publications. The Getty Foundation is proud to support all of this work.”

UCR ARTSblock is located at 3824 and 3834 Main St., Riverside, Calif., and includes three venues: California Museum of Photography, Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, and the Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery, which are open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., plus 6-9 p.m. for First Thursday ArtWalks. Admission is $3, which includes entry to all three venues, and is free during First Thursday ArtWalks. For film screenings, the Culver Center opens 30 minutes prior to the start time. www.artsblock.ucr.edu.

This grant is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s Intelligent Growth Pillar.  Riverside embraces economic growth and directs it so it maintains and improves our already outstanding quality of life. This includes growing the economy, raising the standard of living and managing a growing population.

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Volunteers Beautify Camp Anza Army Base-Turned-Veterans-Housing

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Laurie Williams and published in the Press Enterprise on April 2, 2016.)

Photo Credit: Laurie Williams, The Press Enterprise
Photo Credit: Laurie Williams, The Press Enterprise

A squad of volunteers reported for duty Wednesday at the site of a former Army training camp in Riverside.

The mission: Help beautify the property that recently had been turned into an apartment community for disabled veterans and their families.

Two years ago, Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. in San Diego was chosen to install affordable housing for disabled veterans at the former Camp Anza in Riverside’s Arlanza area, Wakeland spokeswoman Elaine Camuso said. “The camp was closed at the end of World War II,” Camuso said.

The property was sold, and the former Officers Club was used by a local service club lodge. Later vacant, it got run down.

“Kids used it as a hangout, and it was damaged and vandalized,” Camuso said.

The 30-unit apartment community – Home Front at Camp Anza – was built around the refurbished Officers Club, which now serves as a gathering place and offers services to residents.

Construction is almost finished, Camuso said, and most residents have moved in. Rents range from $381 to $896 per month, she said, depending on income level.

On Wednesday, volunteers from Home Depot in Temecula focused on creating a garden near the Officers Club for kitchen herbs, tomatoes and jalapeños.

Volunteer Thomas Sanders, a Home Depot employee, said it means a lot to him to reach out to veterans, because many of his friends and relatives have served in the military.

“We’re all neighbors,” he said. “All of us work and face challenges. The people here served their country, and I’m glad to serve them.”

Photo Credit: Laurie Williams, The Press Enterprise

Helping veterans is also a priority for Home Depot: 35,000 of its employees have served in the military, and the company added $500,000 to the $14 million in federal low-income housing tax credits that paid for construction.

Builders uncovered a wealth of history as they refurbished the Officers Club, which will be used as a community building, said 6th Ward City Councilman Jim Perry, who was among the volunteers Wednesday.

“You should have seen it before,” he said, gesturing toward the edifice. “It was all stuccoed over, the windows were boarded up and it had been painted white. Now it looks like it did in World War II.”

Builders found that they could repair and reuse most of the building’s wood siding and paneling, Perry said, and the wood floors inside, now shining, are all original. The interior features a kitchen and a computer lab for residents’ use.

“One of my favorite things about this development is how it’s been embraced by the neighbors,” Perry said. “A lot have offered help. There was no water to the site at first, and a family north of here let the contractor use their water. The contractor offered to pay their water bills, but they turned it down.”

Air Force veteran Benny de la Rosa, 59, said he lived on the street for years before his application to move into Home Front at Camp Anza was accepted.

“Those were hard times,” he said. “I was using a lot of drugs and got addicted.”

Clean and sober now after rehab though the Veterans Administration, he lives with his girlfriend, Ronnie Trevino, 68, in a two-bedroom apartment filled with art and plants.

“It’s a lot different for me now,” de la Rosa said. “I actually have money in the bank.”

Riversiders commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of all the participating organizations demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Was Selected To Participate In The TechHire Initiative

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Jeff Horseman and published in the Press Enterprise on March 9, 2016.)

Suzanne Sullivan, who is a welding and sheet metal instructor at Vocademy: The Makerspace, works on a Worbla costume, part of a personal project. Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise
Suzanne Sullivan, who is a welding and sheet metal instructor at Vocademy: The Makerspace, works on a Worbla costume, part of a personal project. Photo Credit: Stan Lim, The Press Enterprise

The White House has picked Riverside to join a nationwide effort to connect residents with the training they need for good-paying information technology jobs.

Riverside’s inclusion in the TechHire initiative is being announced announced Wednesday, March 9. TechHire is expanding to 50 communities nationwide after launching with 21 communities in March 2015.

The initiative will include areas surrounding the city of Riverside. TechHire hubs include the states of Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware and Colorado as well as cities from Los Angeles to New York City.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said he’s “honored and thrilled” to be included in TechHire, which he learned about during a trip to Washington, D.C. He said local employers have told him they had to go outside the region to find skilled tech workers.

“If we don’t at the local level provide training into this pipeline, then we’re going to have issues in the long run,” Bailey said.

TechHire links local government, educators and private employers to offer training in cybersecurity, software development and related fields. Non-traditional education is emphasized to put students on a quicker path toward the skills they need for tech jobs.

There are more than half a million unfilled tech jobs in the United States, said Jacob Leibenluft, deputy director for the National Economic Council, during a White House conference call. The average IT-related job pays 50 percent more than the average private-sector job, he added.

Locally, Riverside County’s workforce development agency; Riverside Community College District; Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce; and Vocademy: The Makerspace have committed to connecting 4,000 people to tech jobs over the next five years.

Based in Riverside, Vocademy is like “an Olympic training center for hands-on skills,” said founder/CEO Gene Sherman. “We are offering unconventional short programs to get people skilled up for these in-demand jobs instead of going to a convention school for a year or two years.”

Vocademy’s offerings cost less than $5,000, Sherman added.

In addition, companies such as Loma Linda University Medical Center, Redlands-based geographic information system company Esri and Riverside Public Utilities have promised to hire or provide paid internships for 500 employees from non-traditional pathways.

Local efforts to teach tech skills include SmartRiverside, a nonprofit coalition launched in 2006 that promotes tech education in part by offering high-tech business grants and free computers and training for low-income families. TechHire’s goals are “perfectly aligned” with SmartRiverside, said Steve Massa, the city of Riverside’s economic development coordinator, who has played a lead role in getting the TechHire designation.

TechHire could help the Inland Empire solve a chronic problem, said Inland economist John Husing. “The most difficult issue that we face as a region is a very marginally educated labor force,” he said.

That said, “(TechHire) needs to be implemented,” Husing added. “So many of these things tend to make great headlines and then very little comes out the other end.”

Liebenluft said TechHire provides a “call to action” for communities to provide tech training and offers data and other tools to those communities.

“There is something very useful and powerful about the White House rolling out a particular program,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said during the White House conference call. “It’s an organizing principle for those of us on the ground. It also gives credibility to our efforts.”

While there’s no federal funding directly attached to TechHire, the Department of Labor last fall announced a $100 million grant competition to expand advanced tech training.

Be selected to be a part of the TechHire initiative is a testament to why Riverside is a Catalyst for Innovation.  Our community leaders collaborate to address issues, which lead to more inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas, research, products, scholars, businesspeople, artists and entrepreneurs.

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Riverside Firefighter Gives His Shoes To Barefoot Homeless Man

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Katie Kindelan and published in Yahoo/ABC News on January 19, 2016.)

Photo Credit: ABC News
Photo Credit: City of Riverside Fire Department/Facebook

A California firefighter and his captain are being praised for pulling their fire truck over to give a pair of shoes to a homeless man walking barefoot on a highway.

The firefighters, from Riverside, California, were driving back to the fire station last week from a physical fitness test when they saw an elderly homeless man walking on the side of the freeway, Bruce Vanderhorst, the battalion’s Chief Public Information Officer, told ABC News.

The firefighters turned their fire truck around to help the man and then noticed he was barefoot.

One of the firefighters aboard the engine, David Gilstrap, donated his own pair of sneakers to the homeless man, while the engine’s captain, Rob Gabler, walked over and helped the homeless man put on his shoes.

The moment was captured on camera and shared on the fire department’s Facebook page last Thursday.

Vanderhorst told ABC News the firefighters also offered the homeless man water and access to the city’s homeless services.

“Services are always offered and we tell them, ‘We can get help to you,’” he said. “We’re very proud of the work we do building our community relations and we’re here to help in any way we can whenever those opportunities present themselves.”

Riversiders commitment to making one-other’s life a little better is a great example of Riverside acting as a unified city. The actions of this Riverside firefighter demonstrates that Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all of its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all.

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Ranked Number 1 For Total Housing Sold In November

(This blog contains data from the IVAR Housing Data Report – November 2015 and excerpts from the article written by Fielding Buck and published in the Press Enterprise on December 16, 2015.)

Downtown Night Shot

The city of Riverside ranked #1 for total units sold in Inland Southern California for the month of November. With a total of 242 units sold at a value of $85.5 Million.

In Riverside County, 2,797 homes sold, a 5.5 percent increase year over year, and the median home price rose from $305,000 to $318,500, a 4.4 percent increase year over year.

In San Bernardino County, 2,005 homes sold in November, 2.3 percent rise in sales year over year. But the median sale price was up 9.3 percent year over year, from $254,000 to $277,500.

Inland Southern California continues to see a spillover as potential homebuyers from coastal areas seek more affordable housing here than they can get there. Affordability and amenities continue to make Riverside a location of choice for people seeking the California lifestyle at an affordable price. An unmatched landscape, year-round outdoor activities, ample recreational options and attention to healthy living make Riverside one of the most inspiring, livable, healthy and adventurous cities to live in or visit.

To view the IVAOR report, click here.

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RPU Uses Lithium Battery Technology In Power Plant Work Carts

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in the inlandempire.us on December 8, 2015.) TWO

Out at Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) Riverside Energy Resource Center (RERC) state-of-the-art is the norm.

The power plant facility features four, 49 megawatt (MW) natural gas fired turbine engines (similar to what powers a 747 jetliner), employs highly skilled personnel (many who have military backgrounds and jet engine maintenance training), and features technology that allows RPU to start one or all four RERC units within 10 minutes locally or remotely from the Power Resources headquarters downtown to provide up to 192 MW of power for RPU energy customers.

Now the 16-acre facility has begun using state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery technology in its work carts. “Over the last two years, our site and our staff have grown,” said RPU’s Generation Manager Chuck Casey. “To help us get around the complex, move parts, tools, and personnel, we started purchasing old golf carts.”

While the seven carts in RERC’s current fleet have greatly helped with efficiency around the plant, the issues of storing, maintaining, and constantly charging the carts’ lead-acid batteries quickly became the biggest costs to operating them.

Seeking alternatives to provide a cleaner, greener, and easier way to maintain the work carts, Utilities Generation Test Technician Johnny “Sonny” Voytilla and Utilities Senior Generation Test Technician William Patton ended up contacting Lithium Boost Technologies Inc. out of San Diego.

Lithium Boost’s patented technology provides a complete performance optimized lithium-ion battery system that retrofits older, lead-acid batteries in low-speed carts with state-of-the-art equipment.

“Since retrofitting our first two carts last month, we’ve already seen the benefits,” Casey said. Those include: no maintenance, the Lithium Boost system doesn’t require water filling; longer range and slower discharge, carts are now charged every other week instead of daily saving on electricity costs; and greater safety, as there are two less cords that present tripping hazards and two less sets of batteries full of sulfuric acid.

“We are very pleased that Riverside Public Utilities has selected our product to retrofit their carts with,” said Lithium Boost Technologies’ CEO Sam Lev. “In addition to the higher performance levels our products provide, RPU will also enjoy the environmental aspects of maintaining a lean and green electrical car fleet,” Lev said.

According to Lev, Lithium Boost’s batteries have a smaller footprint, last about 4 times longer than lead-acid (over 2,000 charging cycles), are four times lighter, and use 40 percent less electricity. They also feature a “fuel gage” meter that can tell staff how much battery power is left.

“It is great that Will and Sonny did the leg work to find a technology that provides us with such an increase in performance while adding the types of environmental benefits we embrace, encourage, and promote as an energy utility,” said RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran.

With the growing concern of climate change and pollution from fossil fuels, Riverside is taking steps to reduce their foot print on the environment and promote the quality of life for all through intelligent growth of their city.

For additional information on Lithium Boost Technologies Inc. products visit www.lithiumboost.com. For additional information on RPU, call us at (951) 826-5485 or log on to RiversidePublicUtilities.com

To read the full article, click here.

Riverside Ranked 3rd In The Nation For Job Growth

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Kathryn Dill and published in Forbes on November 11, 2015.)

Downtown Night Shot

A few cities and states have offered job seekers far friendlier climates than the nation at large this year.

The cities and states that make this list have experienced the strongest non-agricultural job growth over the first three quarters of 2015, according to analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by Professor Lee McPheters at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Projections show the U.S. on track to add 3 million jobs this year, indicating a 2.2% monthly average in national job growth, an increase of about 1.8% since last year.

Topping the list of cities and metro areas (including one million or more workers) for job growth thus far this year is San Jose, California with 5.5% growth so far in 2015–more than twice the nationwide average. Orlando, Riverside, Dallas, and Seattle round out the top five, all with job growth of 3.5% or above.

This ranking is yet another example of Riverside continuing to fuel the intelligent growth of the region.

The Top 10 Cities For Job Growth* in 2015

1. San Jose, California – up 5.5%
2. Orlando, Florida – up 4.1%
3. Riverside, California – up 3.9%
4. Dallas, Texas  – up 3.6%
5. Seattle, Washington – up 3.5%
6. Atlanta, Georgia – up 3.4%
7. San Francisco, California – up 3.3%
8. Denver, Colorado – up 3.1% (tie)
8. San Diego, California – up 3.1% (tie)
8. Portland, Oregon – up 3.1%(tie)

For the full article, click here.

Lawnmower Emission Reduction Device Wins National Award

(This article contains excerpts from the article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on October 13, 2015.)

The Nox-Out team receives its award with their advisor,
The NOx-Out team receives its award with their advisor, Kawai Tam, and Reza Abbaschian, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering. Photo Credit: UCR Today

A team of University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering students won a national sustainable development award last week for creating a device that drastically reduces harmful emissions from lawnmowers.

The team — Alyssa Yan, Priyanka Singh and Anna Almario — their advisor and the University will receive $43,000 for winning the Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development. They learned they received the award during an Oct. 8 award ceremony in Miami, where they were accompanied by Kawai Tam, their advisor, who is a lecturer at the college, and Reza Abbaschian, dean of the college.

“This win is a testament to our college’s commitment to hands-on undergraduate research that can be applied in the real world,” Abbaschian said. “With a single device, these students can significantly improve our air quality and have the potential to revolutionize an industry that has been around for more than 100 years.”

UCR is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas, research, and scholars.

To read the full article, click here.

CBU’s Dean Of Engineering Named Mayor’s Innovation Honoree

(This article contains excerpts from the article published in CBU News & Events on October 7, 2015.)

Dr. Anthony Donaldson (center), flanked by his wife Darla Donaldson and Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, is recognized as the Mayor’s Innovation Honoree at the Riverside City Council meeting on Oct. 6. Photo Credit: CBU News & Events
Dr. Anthony Donaldson (center), flanked by his wife Darla Donaldson and Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, is recognized as the Mayor’s Innovation Honoree at the Riverside City Council meeting on Oct. 6. Photo Credit: CBU News & Events

Dr. Anthony Donaldson, dean of the Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering, has been named this month’s Mayor’s Innovation Honoree.

The Mayor’s Innovation Honoree Program is designed to recognize people or groups in the City of Riverside that exemplify its motto as a “city of arts and innovation.”

“Your leadership and focus on academic excellence has created a world-class, accredited engineering school which delivers critical-thinking graduates to our community,” Mayor Rusty Bailey wrote to Donaldson to notify him of the award. “The commitment you’ve shown toward city initiatives…continues to be an inspiration for improved collaboration among government, education and private industry stakeholders.”

Donaldson leadership is a great example of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas, research, products, scholars, businesspeople, artists and entrepreneurs.

Donaldson received the award at the city council meeting Oct. 6. He briefly addressed the council and thanked his wife and staff and faculty for their support.

To read the full article, click here.