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High Desert News

High Desert News (19)

Lahontan Water Board Receives $2.67 Million Grant to Clean up Perchlorate Plume Near Barstow

Cleanup Project to Help Private Well Owners with Contaminated Groundwater

VICTORVILLE, Calif. – The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Lahontan Water Board) announced it has received a $2.67 million grant to clean up a perchlorate plume near Barstow that has affected several private well owners’ drinking water supplies.

Funds from the grant award, issued by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Site Cleanup Subaccount Program (SCAP), will be used for a feasibility study and pilot project in an area northeast of Barstow in San Bernardino County. The pilot project will treat contaminated dirt by installing a soil-flushing unit over the area where perchlorate salts were illegally dumped. In addition, groundwater extraction wells will be installed to capture perchlorate flushed from the soil. The extracted perchlorate-contaminated water will be treated to remove the perchlorate and the finished water will be re-injected into the aquifer. Monitoring wells will be installed to track the groundwater plume and determine the effectiveness of the treatment system.

Several private wells in the area are contaminated with perchlorate, a chemical used for making fireworks and solid-fuel rockets. Some wells have levels of perchlorate as high as 2,400 parts per billion (ppb). The drinking water standard for the contaminant is 6 ppb. Several other wells in the area are threatened by the perchlorate plume and could be contaminated if the pollutant is not cleaned up. The Lahontan Water Board is currently providing bottled water to those whose wells are contaminated with perchlorate.

“Cleanup will begin soon to fix a long-standing pollution problem that affects the heart of the Barstow community,” said Patty Kouyoumdjian, executive officer for the Lahontan Water Board. “We are pleased to lead this effort to ensure safe drinking water for residents.”

The Lahontan Water Board received the grant money from SCAP, a new program established by Senate Bill 445 (Hill, 2014) authorizing grants for projects to remediate the harm to human health, safety, or the environment caused by existing or threatened surface or groundwater contamination. Senate Bill 445 allows the regional water boards to apply for grant money to clean up “orphaned sites” where there is no viable responsible party to pay for the cleanup costs. The perchlorate-contaminated site near Barstow – once a local business owner’s private residence where the pollutant was stored -- is considered an orphan site because no viable responsible party can be identified as the owner is no longer living. The Lahontan Water Board will oversee implementation of the grant-funded work, which is expected to occur in early summer 2017.

For more information about the perchlorate-contaminated site near Barstow, see the Lahontan Water Board website:

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board is a California state agency responsible for the preservation and enhancement of the quality of California’s water resources in eastern California. For more information about the Lahontan Water Board visit its website.


desertFiat Makes It A Gas To Go To Class In 2017

What could motivate students to attend class every day besides the prospect of learning and earning good grades? According to desertFIAT, it is the chance to win a 2017 FIAT 500X.

Last year, as part of the It’s a Gas to Go to Class, desertFIAT awarded Elizabeth Jimenez of Indian Springs High School a new car because she had perfect attendance for the entire 2015–2016 school year. The desertFIAT dealership also paid the vehicle tax and license fees.

This year, San Bernardino City Unified School District high school students have the opportunity to win a new FIAT 500X by maintaining perfect attendance for just the second semester of this school year, which begins Monday, January 9, 2017. Contest rules define perfect attendance as a student not missing more than three periods of their assigned schedule, and those absences must be properly excused.

All students who are enrolled in grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 and attend Anderson, Arroyo Valley High, Cajon High, Community Day, Indian Springs High, Middle College High, Pacific High, San Andreas High, San Bernardino High, San Gorgonio High, or Sierra High Schools are eligible to participate in It’s a Gas to Go to Class.

Although only one student will win the FIAT 500X, every qualifying SBCUSD student with perfect attendance for the second semester will be eligible to win other prizes.

It’s a Gas to Go to Class is sponsored by desertFIAT, the Making Hope Happen Foundation, and the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

For more details, visit


Supervisor Benoit’s Funeral Scheduled for Jan. 10 in La Quinta

*** Please note the update: per order of Vice Chairman Tavaglione, flags at county-owned and leased facilities will be flown at half-staff until January 10. ***

Local News

LA QUINTA – A funeral Mass for Supervisor John J. Benoit will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in La Quinta. A reception at St. Francis will immediately follow the funeral.

A rosary will be said at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 47-225 Washington St., La Quinta. Public viewing will be available from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.

Benoit, whose public service spanned a lifetime and helped shape issues statewide, passed away Monday evening at his Bermuda Dunes home. He had been battling pancreatic cancer.

Benoit, 64, spent decades serving as a member of the California Highway Patrol, a school board member, state lawmaker and county supervisor.

Benoit’s fellow supervisor, Vice Chairman John Tavaglione, has canceled the Riverside County Board of Supervisors’ Jan. 10 meeting to accommodate the funeral.

“We are devastated by this loss,” Tavaglione said. “John was dedicated to the Coachella Valley and to the residents he served. For him, problems and challenges were simply opportunities to work with people on all sides and develop real solutions. I will miss him terribly as a friend and colleague, but his loss to the community is incalculable.”

“We are all saddened by the passing of our brother, Chairman John Benoit,” said Supervisor Marion Ashley. “His legacy of achievement and care for the County of Riverside and the Fourth District are well-known, and his many accomplishments are lasting. Our hearts go out to his family, staff and friends.”

Among Benoit’s proudest accomplishments were closing Duroville, a dilapidated mobile home park where egregious living conditions existed for years, and releasing funds from the state to relocate 181 families from Duroville into safe housing.

Benoit was instrumental in redirecting plans for county jail expansion from the Whitewater area near Palm Springs. The East County Detention Center, currently under construction in Indio, is driving nearly a half-billion dollars in public safety and infrastructure investments to improve community safety, create hundreds of construction jobs and generate new business opportunities downtown.

Benoit considered his greatest blessings to be the love and support of Sheryl, his wife of 38 years, and his family, which includes daughter, Sarah; a son, Benjamin (wife Jaimie); brothers Mark and Paul; and grandchildren Abrielle and Nick.

Benoit was a United Way of the Desert board member since 1989, a member and past president of the Indio Rotary, and a committed parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. A Renaissance man, he was a longtime ham radio operator, aviator, avid reader and a patent-holder, and an enthusiast of space exploration and technology.

In honor of Supervisor Benoit, the American flag, the state flag and the POW/MIA flag will be flown at half-staff at all county-owned and leased facilities until January 10.

In lieu of flowers, the Benoit family is requesting that donations be made to the United Way of the Desert, P.O. Box 13210, Palm Desert, CA 92255.


Fall Festival at the Newton T. Bass Apple Valley Branch Library

The San Bernardino County Library is celebrating fall with a fun, family-friendly event at the Apple Valley Branch Library! Come dressed in costume and enjoy great activities including face painting, balloon artists, kid’s crafts and more.

This event is another opportunity to celebrate and support the Countywide Vision’s literacy campaign, Vision2Read. The Fall Festival event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. in the Town of Apple Valley Conference Center Community room with an amazing performance by magician Jay Leslie, followed by crafts and additional activities inside and outside of the library. Be sure to bring a San Bernardino County Library card or sign up for one at the library, as every 15 items checked out during the event earns an opportunity drawing ticket for a chance to win awesome incentives! All activities are free and open to all ages.

The Apple Valley Branch Library is at 14901 Dale Evans Parkway.

The San Bernardino County Library System is a dynamic network of 32 branch libraries that serves a diverse population over a vast geographic area. The County library system strives to provide equal access to information, technology, programs, and services for all people who call San Bernardino County home.

The library plays a key role in the achievement of the Countywide Vision by contributing to educational, cultural, and historical development of our County community.

For more information on the San Bernardino County library system, please visit or call (909) 387-2220.


High Desert Job Fair

The High Desert Regional Job Fair is returning to Victorville on Oct. 12, providing a one-stop opportunity for employers to meet, interview and hire high-quality, experienced job seekers.

The Job Fair, hosted by the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB), will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Building 2 of the County Fairgrounds, 14800 Seventh St.

Hundreds of job seekers are expected to attend, and are urged to dress for an interview and bring plenty of resumes.

“The High Desert has a lot of business opportunities, and thanks to the efforts of our Workforce Development Board, we have a pipeline of qualified workers to help those businesses grow and achieve their goals,” said San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood, who represents the High Desert.

Tony Myrell, WDB Chairman, said connecting businesses with a skilled labor force is critical to achieving a strong, vibrant local economy.

“At the Workforce Development Board, we’re an invaluable resource for finding well-trained, high-quality employees that meet the needs of all industry sectors,” Myrell said.

Employers who wish to participate in the High Desert 2016 Regional Job Fair should register no later than Oct. 7 at




Leadership in a law enforcement organization is the process of influencing human behavior to achieve organizational goals that serve the public, while developing individuals, teams and the organization for future service.

After seeing the video shooting and beating death of an unarmed Nathaniel H. Pickett II by an out of control 23 year old rookie San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy and his citizen ride along, many questions need to be answered by the leadership within the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The citizens of San Bernardino County should not rest until questions are answered about the killing of Nathaniel H. Pickett by the Deputy.



Media Contact: Shane Philipps 

Direct: (760) 983-4556
Office: (760) 246-6287
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 760.246.6287 Twitter: @hdmavs



Garage/Yard-like Sale to include Mavericks Memorabilia, Game worn items, Furniture, and More

ADELANTO, Calif. — The High Desert Mavericks, Advanced-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, will be having a Ballpark Bazaar on Saturday, January 23 from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at Heritage Field. This garage or yard-like sale gives High Desert residents the opportunity to purchase unique and miscellaneous items from around the ballpark to game worn/used memorabilia before the new season begins on April 7.

Highlighted in the sale include items from autographed bats, game-used bases, player-worn cleats, broken bats, baseballs to furniture, sound equipment, chairs, tables, televisions, computer accessories, pet supplies and much more.

What:   Ballpark Bazaar (Garage/Yard-like Sale) 

When:  Saturday, January 239:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.

Where: Heritage Field Visiting Clubhouse – South side of the ballpark (Primm Rose road entrance off of Adelanto Road)
12000 Stadium Way
Adelanto, CA 92301

Who:    High Desert Mavericks Professional Baseball Club Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers

The High Desert Mavericks open their 26th season in the High Desert on April 7 against the Inland Empire 66ers. The Mavericks offer a variety of season ticket plans and packages, which are on sale now. Company and group outings may be booked now as well. Individual game tickets will be available for sale in March.

For more information on group outings and ticket packages, call the Mavericks front office at (760) 246-6287 or visit


Victorville Collected Record Number Of Gifts For Operation Christmas Child

Residents Sent Joy to 23,600 Children in Need Worldwide

Local/National News

Victorville, Calif., Dec. 08, 2015—Thousands of children will soon experience the joy of Christmas, thanks to the Victorville community. Residents packed empty shoeboxes with small items like toys, school supplies and hygiene items for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse that sends gifts to children living in difficult situations around the world.

Victorville volunteers and residents contributed to the Inland Empire West Operation Christmas Child Area Team collection of more than 23,600 shoebox gifts for the project this year, a record over last year’s area collection of 21,708 gifts.

For those who missed National Collection Week, you can still get involved. Through the Samaritan’s Purse website, you can virtually “pack” a shoebox, allowing anyone with a computer or mobile device to provide a tangible gift to a child a world away.

At, visitors can select a child’s age and gender, shop through an online selection of culturally relevant gifts, and finish by uploading a photo and writing a note of encouragement to the child who will receive it. After the shoeboxes are packed and sent by the Operation Christmas Child team, participants can discover where in the world their gifts will be delivered. It is a convenient yet meaningful way to join in a project that brings hope to children in need.

The virtual-packing tool also offers participants the option to challenge friends to participate or the opportunity to share the gift of giving through a shoebox gift card.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children in more than 150 countries and territories. In 2015, Operation Christmas Child hopes to deliver gifts to another 11 million children.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (714) 432-7030 or visit


State Treasurer John Chiang Attends Victor Valley Democratic Club Picnic

Victorville, CA-John Chiang, our State’s banker, talked about broadening and strenghthening the State’s financial service products for small business, taking money on account in Wall Street banks and putting the funds in California banks and urged people seeking to build startups and affordable and low income housing to call his Department for funding opportunities.


Four-D College closes; 600 students, faculty, staff displaced

After 23 years, Four-D College — with a campus in Colton, shown, and Victorville — announces its closure. will lester — staff photographer

After 23 years of graduating more than 18,000 students, Four-D College — which has a campus in Colton and another in Victorville — announced Sunday evening that it is closing its doors effective immediately.

Nearly 600 students, faculty and staff members will be displaced by the decision, said Linda Smith, a San Bernardino native who founded the school and is its president.

“The (U.S.) Department of Education took a wrecking ball to our cash flow,” Smith said.

Four-D College, which educates students for careers in the health care field, is closing, Smith said, because the Education Department changed the way it reimburses the school from making payments within 48 hours after bills are submitted to 30 to 40 days afterward.

Department of Education officials did not immediately respond to a question posed Friday about why that change was made.

Smith said it was because the school’s accreditation agency, the private Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools in Falls Church, Virginia, denied the institution’s application for accreditation renewal in June.

In response to a reporter’s question, Education Department spokesman Al Betancourt wrote “the school is still accredited until the appeal process has been exhausted.”

Smith said the appeals process could take nine months.

“We are currently working a complaint submitted by Four-D College against the accrediting agency,” Betancourt said.

Four-D ran afoul of its accrediting body over what the agency says, in letters to Smith, is the institution’s failure to document placement of graduates in appropriate career fields related to their studies.

This dispute goes back to 2012, documents say.

Smith accused newly hired officials of the accrediting agency as having a vendetta against her, and said the school had not changed its reporting practices since its initial 1996 accreditation for the Colton campus and 2006 for the Victorville campus.

Smith said that Four-D is being held to different rules than similar for-profit health field schools in Ontario and Dallas.

Michael D. White, director of legal and regulatory affairs for the ABHES, said “any information not on the website is confidential and cannot be discussed or disclosed. Neither I nor any other person associated with ABHES can do anything more than refer you to the website.”

“I am devastated as are our top executives and directors. We have 600 individuals who are being displaced,” said Smith, a 1970 graduate of San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino who says she has a B.S. in nursing from Cal State Long Beach and teaching credentials from Cal Poly Pomona.

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