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UCR Symposium to Focus on Water Scarcity

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The University of California, Riverside will host the symposium “Turbulent Futures: Water and Climate Change in Times of Crisis” on Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12 on the UCR campus.

The conference is organized by UCR’s IGERT Ph.D. training program, WaterSENSE: Social, Engineering and Natural Science Engagement, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The symposium will offer an interdisciplinary look at the past, present and future of water in changing times, and will bring together researchers and policymakers from academia, industry, non-profits, and government to address modern environmental, social, and political water crises.

Please register to attend or present a poster at this free event. Media are invited and should RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The keynote speaker will be Newsha Ajami, Director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford University’s Water in the West program, and Senior Research Associate at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Panel discussion topics will include water management, response to climate change, and water in an international context.

UCR’s NSF-IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. training program that focuses on preparing the next generation of water researchers and leaders in the social and natural sciences and engineering. The principal investigators on this grant are professors Mary Gauvain, Department of Psychology; Peter Atkinson, Department of Genetics; Anil Deolalikar, School of Public Policy; Sharon Walker, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering; and Marylynn Yates, Environmental Microbiology.

For more information about the speakers and agenda, visit

Read the release here:


Metallic Balloon Outages Remain a Towering Problem

Bojan Plavsic has removed kites, animals and even a drone from overhead power lines.

But the Southern California Edison troubleman says nothing comes close to the metallic balloons he removes from power lines, calling the ratio “20 or 30 to one.”

Unfortunately, it is supported by the soaring number of metallic-balloon-caused outages. SCE, while not on the record pace of the last two years, is not far off, having experienced 280 of the outages through April compared to 295 at the same point last year.

Not surprisingly, Plavsic finds the problem most prevalent around major holidays and celebrations like this month’s Mother’s Day, graduations and proms. He and safety experts offer a simple solution to an issue that led to back-to-back years of 924 balloon outages for SCE in 2015 and 942 last year.

SCE has launched an extensive “Stay Aware. Stay Safe.” ad campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of released metallic balloons.

“The safest metallic balloon is one that is kept indoors or tied down by a weight or something else sturdy outdoors,” said Andrew Martinez, SCE vice president of Safety, Security & Business Resiliency. “Stores and vendors should only sell properly weighted balloons, and buyers should never remove that weight or release balloons outdoors.”

Plavsic, a 12-year SCE employee who started as a lineman, echoes Martinez, saying, “Keep them tied down. They’re not made to let fly away, especially because of the metal and electricity. Nothing good can come out of it.”

He speaks from experience, once witnessing a balloon explode above a fellow troubleman’s head as he approached to remove it from power lines in Redondo Beach. The troubleman was not injured, but such balloon explosions can bring down power lines — something that happened 111 times last year in SCE territory — and potentially lead to serious injuries and property damage.

Because of the public safety threat, hundreds of easily avoidable power outages and typical spike in those outages in May and June, SCE strongly supports AB 1091 in the state Assembly. It would tighten the existing California law by completely banning outdoor releases of metallic balloons. The current law requires that balloons must be tied to a weight and partially bans outdoor releases.

It is also why SCE has launched a territory-wide campaign to educate its customers about the dangers of released metallic balloons by encouraging them to “Stay Aware. Stay Safe.”

The problem comes in all shapes and sizes for Plavsic, who once removed a graduation balloon as tall as himself from a power line.

Metallic Balloon Safety 2017

Balloons tangled in SCE’s equipment caused an all-time high 942 power outages last year, meaning SCE experienced an average of 2.5 balloon outages per day.

“It was right next to a high school,” said the 5-foot-11 Plavsic. “Six feet tall and a big golden balloon with a letter P, and I think, L. It was a challenge to take down with a 40-foot stick.”

The balloons also are a challenge to keeping the lights on, costing SCE customers 2,502 total hours of lost power last year, and just last week leaving more than 12,000 customers in the dark in San Bernardino. Full restoration took 13 hours. Meanwhile, one of Plavsic’s recent jobs involved a metallic balloon that affected 3,835 customers in Manhattan Beach. The balloon took out an entire circuit and blew a main line wire while tangled above a transformer. Power was not fully restored for four hours.

Though, fortunately, there were no downed lines.

“Most of the time we don’t find [the balloons], just what’s left of them,” said Plavsic. “Such a small thing made for fun that can cause a lot of damage. It can go from zero to a hundred with them. It can just be a blown main line wire or multiple wires down.”

Safety Tips

Metallic balloons should always be tied to a weight.

Stores and vendors should only sell properly weighted balloons

Balloon owners should never remove the weight

Balloons should never be released outdoors

Do not try to retrieve balloons tangled in power lines

When disposing of balloons, puncture them before throwing them away


Community brought together to support young medical professionals in the Inland Empire

CHINO HILLS, CALIFORNIA (APRIL 29, 2017) More than 350 middle school students came together at Chino Hills High School on Saturday April 29th to compete in the first-ever JUMP Showdown. These JUMP (Junior Upcoming Medical Professionals) students from 12 schools have been preparing all year to compete against each other in health-inspired challenges.

School cheers echoed and school banners waved as the Inland Health Professions Coalition quizzed students all day on medical terminology, athletic taping prowess, medical drawing expertise, medical trivia, and more.

"The JUMP Spring Showdown aims to integrate competition with skill-building that will be beneficial to these students in their futures."- said Celina Su, Project Support Specialist, Inland Health Professions Coalition.

Although the Inland Health Professions Coalition created the JUMP Showdown to be competitive in nature, it brought together 350 students with a passion for the medical field.

"It was fun to see them all getting along and enjoying the competition. They jumped right in to see what they were capable of." said Dr. Ferraro, Assistant Principal of Auburndale Intermediate School.

Parents, teachers, and community members were amazed at the level of knowledge and passion these young health pathway superstars had for the health field.

"It was more intense than I've ever seen. It was my first time seeing a HOSA Bowl Competition, so it was exciting. Very fun to watch!" said Mr. Palomino, Badger Springs Middle School.

The overall winner of the JUMP Showdown was River Heights Intermediate School, but all of the students left feeling pride for themselves and hope for their futures as medical professionals.

It would have been impossible to host an event this size without the generous support from Patricia Chan at Live Well Therapy, Target, volunteers from the Chino High School Health Science Academy, families, friends, and local businesses from the Inland Empire.

To learn more about the Inland Health Professions Coalition and the work we do to build the workforce in the Inland Region, visit or follow us on Facebook

About the Inland Health Professions Coalition

The Inland Health Professions Coalition is a part of Reach Out, a non-profit organization serving the San Bernardino and Riverside communities for the last 50 years. The Inland Health Professions Coalition supports the efforts of school districts, community colleges, and universities in promoting health professions. We help fill a need for health professionals in the Inland Empire by helping students identify health-related careers and by providing work-based learning experiences.


Are You Listening?

On Tuesday April 25, 2017, PAL Charter Academy students participated in a Youth and Law Enforcement Listening Session held at the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino. Hosted by Young Visionaries, the event provided excellent dialog about relations between law enforcement and the community. Students voiced their concerns and gave personal accounts of their experiences with the law: good and bad. The mediator inquired how relations can be improved and one student replied “I’ll never trust the police.” The listening session allowed for real discussion on real issues, and helped change perceptions. We can improve relations by opening this type of dialog with the community and law enforcement. This event and the Live 2 Learn community forums are part of a national push in improving these efforts and utilizing the information gathered to create change.


PAL Students Learn 2 Live

On Friday, April 21st, the PAL Center and PAL Charter Academy hosted the second Live 2 Learn Community Forum of this school year. The purpose of the forum was to proactively improve communications between the local community and law enforcement.

Chief Joseph Paulino of the San Bernardino City Unified School District Police Department has spearheaded this event in response to the negative connotations associated with law enforcement in current media. The vision of the community forum is to increase positive awareness and engagement between law enforcement and community. In many cases, reluctantly, the crowd gathered unsure of what to expect and defensive due to personal bias. Officer Ryan Tillman of the Chino Hills Police Department put spectators at ease and began to shift perspective as he shared his own personal testimony prior to joining the department. The officers who shared at this event empathized with community concerns as they began to illustrate their daily responsibilities through conversation and role-play.

Allowing students to role play with fake weapons and real life scenarios was an eye-opening experience. Student participants shared the following thoughts: “Police wouldn’t pick on you for no reason; there’s probable cause for everything they do and I saw that in action.” Alfredo Perez, PAL Sophomore. “I think there are good and bad officers but I’ve only experienced bad ones before today. This was educational and informative. I appreciate good officers taking the time to share their stories and experience with us.” Jeremiah Cook, PAL Junior

Many of the myths to law enforcement were addressed by officers who are engaged in the trenches of this work daily. The question was asked, “How important is it for kids to grow up and become police officers in their neighborhoods?” The response was simple and echoed by the entire panel of officers, “There is no better option than for an officer to return and serve in the neighborhood they knew as home.”

Mr. Radden, CEO of PAL Center and Academy, reminded the audience, "Community builds community, not police. The police are there to helps us maintain law and order in the communities we build. If we want change in our community we must have knowledge and understanding about the things we need to change. This event was a great platform for students and community to get firsthand knowledge from officers, to aid in our efforts to make change in our communities and lives.”

PAL Charter Academy is providing solutions for student success by supporting students through an individualized approach to learning. PAL is currently enrolling for 2017 summer and fall sessions as well as PCA Middle School, 6th – 8th grade scheduled to open fall 2017. For more information visit the website at or call 909-887-7002.


PAL Center Hosts First Annual Community Cookout

The PAL Center hosted its first annual Community Cookout on Saturday, March 18th. It was a beautiful day of fellowship among good people, good music, and some great down home cooking. The invitation was extended to community members, students, and staff who assist weekly in the Food Distribution Program. There were 70 to 80 people who brought family and friends, in addition to students who participated earning community service hours and work experience. The event is our effort to say "Thank You" to the great people who contribute to building a better community. We believe in working collaboratively with organizations such as the Community Action Partnership, San Bernardino Valley College, and Westside Kinship Support Services who help make our work a success. To date the PAL Center has assisted 40 to 60 families on average, with boxes of food, and 15 to 20 students, parents, and citizen volunteers with community service opportunities every week. The PAL Center represents the family atmosphere of a village investing in the best interest of the people it serves through education, employment training, and outreach. This is a great way we can make a positive impact on everyone involved. "It's a win-win" says CEO Dwaine Radden, Sr. We recognize there is a large homeless population in this area, and poverty and hunger are two issues we can actually do something about. The PAL Center is proud to address these issues especially when it involves our youth and breaking down those obstacles that would hinder them from getting their education. If you would like more information about what we do, visit:


The next Einstein?

Did you know that one of America's top physicists is a young woman by the name of Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski? She's a 22-year-old phenomenon who graduated from MIT with a 5.0 Grade Point Average and is now a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard where they call her "the next Einstein," reports the Association of Mature American Citizens.

In fact, Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the most celebrated minds in science, has Ms. Pasterski on his radar. Hawking has even cited papers she wrote on the topic of quantum gravity.

But Ms. Pasterski is known to be a down-to-earth individual who is embarrassed when people compare her to Einstein. As she puts it, "Sorry for the title; my mentors appear to have astronomically high hopes for me."


New Report Calls for the Elevation of Black Women’s Leadership in Progressive Organizing and Social Justice Movements

Advocates to Release Curriculum at Black Worker Centers Nationwide

Community/Education News

Los Angeles—To close Women’s History Month, the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, and affiliate of the National Black Worker Center Project (NBWCP), released a pilot project report, “Black Space for Women: From LA Practice to National Model for Sister Empowerment,” that reveals what Black women experience as barriers to leadership in progressive organizing. The report also offers a set of seven curriculum-based activities, including Letters to My Sister, Focus Groups and a Wellness Wheel, to address the health and wellness of Black Women in the labor and social justice movements.

Findings show that inequities in areas including education, housing, healthcare access and wages, challenge the capacity of Black women to fully exert leadership. In LA County, for example, Black women struggle through a widening gender gap, as well as a racial wage gap. There, Black women represent 14% of low wage workers, which is higher than all white male and female low-wage workers combined. There is also a $5,000 race wage gap between Black women who hold managerial positions and work professional roles compared to their white counterparts. These are oppressive economic obstacles that limit professional and social mobility.

“Historically, Black women have been hardest hit by economic and social crisis,” said Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, UCLA Labor Center Project Director and LABWC co-founder. “Our legacy of leadership has inspired generations to fight, but most of the Black women leaders who participated in the Black Space for Women workshops had stories of backlash to their leadership ambitions.”

The report, an assessment of the Black Space for Women project, is a compilation of more than two dozen interviews, focus groups, workshops and research by the UCLA Labor Center. It is also part of a local and nationwide effort to transform current norms and practices into supportive pathways to Black women’s leadership.

The national goal is to develop a collective plan with the National Black Worker Center Project (NBWCP), a national network of nine Black Worker Centers in Baltimore, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, LA, Mississippi, New Orleans, North Carolina, and Washington, DC, dedicated to addressing the multi-dimensional Black work experience.

“Enhancing Black women’s leadership incorporates the crucial mission of NBWCP’s recently launched #WorkingWhileBlack program,” said Tanya Wallace-Gobern, executive director for the NBWCP. “We have every intention of exposing the impacts of racial and economic injustice in the workplace, across the economic strata, regardless of geography, profession, skills sets, or income level.”

The report also cites unquantifiable barriers. During interviews and focus groups, participants answered a series of questions for discussions around personal experiences, involvement in social justice work, historical influences, role of Black women in the movement, life balancing, mentorship, and advice for sustainability in the work. They also described recent events that required healing. Several themes recurred including the LA jobs crisis, poverty, public perception, defying stereotypes, access to wealth and lack of trust among black women.

“I would like to see people go out there and regain what was took from us,” said Terri Green, LABWC leader activist and merchandiser. "There are so many things that we have done and accomplished that we do not get credit for. It is just time for us to get our rightful dues.” Green participated in the assessments for the report.

While the project initially centered at the LABWC, which is at the forefront of advocating for Black women in Los Angeles, the goal of Black Spaces for Women is to develop partnerships with women leaders at allied organizations to further understand these unique obstacles, advance strategies to overcome barriers, and grow Black women's leadership. Current partners of the LABWC effort include: SEIU Women and African American Caucuses and Summer Institute on Union Women.

“What we learned speaks directly to the challenges Black women face and why creating spaces for them to heal and gain support for their leadership ambition is imperative to elevating existing Black women leaders and developing new Black women leaders,” said Smallwood-Cuevas.

The next steps for the Black Spaces for Women includes fundraising to help refine the SPACEs model and sharing the curriculum with allies through the NBWCP affiliates across the country.

“Black Worker Centers play a critical role in grassroots progressive community organizing. Because Black women continue to be at the center of so many social justice movements, there should be dedicated spaces for them to heal, for fellowship with other Black women activists, and to help fulfill their ambitions to lead,” said Smallwood-Cuevas.


Green Ribbon Award Goes to Kimbark Elementary

Students at Kimbark Elementary School see their environmentally conscious efforts as a way of life.

They recycle as much as possible, are vigilant about conserving water, and love spreading their concern for Mother Earth with other students from across the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

And, state officials are taking notice.

The California Department of Education recently recognized Kimbark Elementary as a Green Ribbon School, an honor that went to fewer than 30 public schools across the state. The award acknowledges schools that demonstrate exemplary achievement in three key areas: environmental impact, student and staff health and wellness, and environmental education. Kimbark was honored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at a ceremony held at Redondo Union High School on March 3.

“These schools and districts serve as role models for their students in two important ways,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach. “First, they manage their own facilities wisely by saving energy, conserving water, and reducing their impact on the environment. Next, they provide innovative education programs that teach students about nature, the importance of clean air and water, and how to make good choices to preserve the environment for future generations.”

As a magnet school with an environmental emphasis, Kimbark Elementary students have always focused on conservation as a way to reduce their impact on the planet, said Principal Mario Jaquez.

That focus became even more evident in the last year, when the state’s drought dried up one of two wells in the unincorporated, semirural community of Devore, where Kimbark is located. Students turned that near crisis into an opportunity to conserve water.

“Our students and parents understand why our grass isn’t green,” Jacquez said. “They know that we’re being water wise.”

Aside from significantly reducing its water use by 92 percent from 2013 to 2016, Kimbark Elementary also cut its greenhouse emissions by 40 percent as part of the District’s energy conservation program. And, plans are underway to decrease student’s reliance on plastic water bottles by turning to stainless steel, canteen-type bottles, Jacquez said.

Kimbark students are spreading their concern for the environment across the District by teaching other students to recycle. Recently, fifth- and sixth-grade students in the Kimbark Environmental Leadership Program, also known as KELP, visited Belvedere Elementary School in Highland to help children learn how to be better stewards of the environment.

This spring, Kimbark students will put on “Recycle,” an original musical funded by a $12,000 grant from the San Bernardino Fine Arts Commission.


Grocery Outlet Celebrates Its First Anniversary in Southern California by Fighting Hunger

Emeryville, CA (March 1, 2017) – About 5.4 million people in California are affected by food insecurity1, which equals to 1 out of 8 Californians not having access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. As part of Grocery Outlet’s first anniversary in the Southern California market, the local independent operators from all 20 stores located in Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire launched a One-Year Anniversary Food Drive. Customers and employees will help address the issue of hunger by donating to those in need during the month of March. As part of Grocery Outlet’s commitment to making a positive impact in the community, the company will match up to $15,000 of the donations made by customers to contribute to the food banks.

“This initiative is a continuation of our commitment to being true partners of the communities we serve – from offering extreme savings up to 70% off on brand name products to raising awareness about food insecurity and the need to help address the issue,” said Brian Tademy, Senior Director of Field Marketing of Grocery Outlet. “This first year in Southern California has been marked by success and there is no better way to commemorate it than by helping families who struggle to access food on a daily basis.”

Throughout the entire month of March, Grocery Outlet will be collecting donations that will go directly to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino Food Bank (FARSB), three nonprofit organizations that distribute more than 101 million meals annually, assisting over 925,000 families and children each month.

Customers can make a difference by visiting their local Grocery Outlet store and participating in the One-Year Anniversary Food Drive by picking up a pre-made bag that is filled with an assortment of the groceries identified as part of the initiative. Customers can also ask their cashier to make a cash donation for $1or $5, which will go directly to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino Food Bank.

The initiative led by Grocery Outlet has been welcomed by those relentlessly fighting food insecurity. As stated by Michael Flood, CEO and President of Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, “the support from Grocery Outlet will provide hope for children, adults and seniors throughout our community who struggle with hunger, and will mobilize valuable resources around this serious issue.” In addition, speaking on behalf of the Riverside and San Bernardino communities, Stuart Haniff, MHA-Chief Philanthropy Officer for FARSB, said “hungry men, women, and children throughout will benefit from the food and funds collected.” Lastly, and to reinforce the messages from her counterparts, Nicole Suydam, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, expressed words of appreciation for the help provided by Grocery Outlet to help end hunger in Orange County and beyond.

This program will build on Grocery Outlet’s past efforts, including the ‘Independence from Hunger’ campaign, a national food drive that collected more than 2.2 million dollars for local food assistance agencies across the country, helping advance the company’s greater goal of touching lives for the better.

For more information, please visit

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