Board, county employees commended for CSAC awards

San Bernardino County again distinguished itself among California’s 58 counties when it was officially presented with two California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Challenge Awards during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

“I want to commend this county for its dedication to the community,” said CSAC Chief Executive Officer Graham Knaus upon presenting the awards. “The five supervisors, the CEO Luther Snoke and the more than 23,000 employees of San Bernardino County come to work every single day to lift up their community and to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors and those who are struggling in their community, and that’s incredibly powerful.”

“The Board of Supervisors is very proud of the work done by the county’s departments and employees in pursuit of our Countywide Vision,” said Board of Supervisors Chair and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe. “These and the many other awards the county organization wins for innovation, service and efficiency are a testament to how serious we are about consistently helping our residents and investors achieve prosperity and well-being.”

There were more than 4,000 entries last year for California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Challenge Awards. Only 14 awards were presented, and San Bernardino County claimed two of them.

“This county has a long history of being innovative and creating a culture of really finding responsive, efficient ways to benefit the community,” Knaus said. “That’s the leadership of this board and this county. The community should be thrilled to have such incredible public servants here in San Bernardino County.”

San Bernardino County was honored for the Sheriff and Public Defender’s Parent and Child Connection Program and Probation’s Juvenile Gun Deterrence Program.

In addition to the CSAC awards, in 2023 San Bernardino County claimed 160 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties, the most among America’s more than 3,000 counties for the second year in a row.

The Sheriff and Public Defender’s Parent and Child Connection (PACC) is a collaborative program that provides an opportunity for incarcerated parents to record themselves reading a book to their child. The book and the recording are then sent to the child.

The program is designed to maintain and strengthen the parent/child bond and encourage literacy. Kids who are not able to read are less prepared for school, are at risk for poor language development, and are more likely to need remedial or special education classes.

In turn, they are more likely to drop out of school, struggle to find employment, and may run a higher risk of living in poverty and ending up incarcerated themselves.

“Since its inception in 2020 more than 1,000 incarcerated parents and their children have benefited from this program, and that’s awesome,” Knaus said in presenting the award.

Probation’s Juvenile Gun Deterrence Program was implemented by the department’s Central Juvenile Supervision Unit in September 2021 to address an increase of youth on supervised probation for firearm-related crimes.

“Probation is about making a lasting difference in people’s lives in the community,” said Chief Probation Officer Tracy Reece.

Youth in the program, their family members and other supportive persons in their lives, probation officers, and a representative from the County Department of Behavioral Health sit down and review the youth’s terms and conditions of probation, establish goals, highlight their strengths and weaknesses, and go over the classes they will be required to complete.

Through Behavioral Health, the youth are referred to Juvenile Justice Community Reintegration services, which encompass being assigned a case manager, referrals for weekly therapy sessions, drug and alcohol support services, and links to various other programs to allow the youth to be successful on probation.

Through the Probation Juvenile Day Reporting Center (DRC), the youth can be referred to classes such as Anger Management and Weapon’s Diversion along with community service events, building skills classes, or be enrolled at the community day school located at the Juvenile DRC.


Supervisors fund community projects throughout San Bernardino County

The Board on Tuesday voted to invest almost $8.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and District Specific Priorities Program funding in nine projects throughout the county that promote the health, safety, economic well-being and overall quality of life of county residents.

  • On the recommendation of Board Chair and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe, the board approved $5 million in contracts with the Town of Yucca Valley to help fund a $30 million Aquatics and Recreation Center. As a result, for 10 years all county residents will enjoy the same reduced facility use surcharge fee offered to town residents.
  • On the recommendation of Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman, the board allocated $1 million to partially fund the construction and installation of two pickleball courts, inclusive playground, outdoor fitness stations, walking trails with benches, shade pavilion, restrooms, parking lot, open space, drought tolerant landscaping, utilities connection, and the undergrounding of communication lines at Chino Rancho Park. The park is a 1.18-acre neighborhood park site in development on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Phillips Boulevard in Chino. This project will increase health and safety as a way of promoting healthier living environments.
  • On the recommendation of Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr., the board allocated up to $100,000 to assist the Colton Fire Department with the purchase of 10 Motorola Mobile Radios, including necessary accessories and software. The equipment will continue to ensure quick and effective communication when the Colton Fire Department is responding to calls.
  • Also on the recommendation of Rowe, the board allocated up to $1 million to assist the City of Yucaipa with the construction of a new 18,000-square-foot Yucaipa Library. The City of Yucaipa and the surrounding unincorporated communities, including Oak Glen, have outgrown the existing library, which was built in 1969. The new library will include modern Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility.
  • Also on the recommendation of Rowe, the board approved $1 million for the Hi-Desert Water District Waterline Replacement Project to replace existing steel pipes with new PVC pipes to eliminate leaks, improve water quality, and increase reliability. The project will significantly reduce water loss while ensuring sufficient capacity for the protection of Yucca Valley and unincorporated areas. The county’s contribution will fund the purchases of the new pipelines and other materials to cover the area of Hilton Drive and County Club Area in Yucca Valley.
  • Also on the recommendation of Hagman, the board approved a $50,000 contract with the Roman Catholic Bishop of San Bernardino to fund the Food Ministry program administered by St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Chino Hills. The program provides food to 1,250 community members throughout the year during four major holiday food distribution events. County residents will be served by efforts to mitigate food insecurity through the program.
  • Also on the recommendation of Rowe, the board allocated $48,000 to the Needles Unified School District for the purchase and installation of keyless doors and gates, cameras and fencing at Vista Colorado Elementary School, Needles Middle School and Needles High School. This project will be an important step towards creating a safer and more secure school area for students, school employees and visitors.
  • Also on the recommendation of Baca, Jr., the board allocated up to $160,000 to the Colton Police Department to support the purchase of seven drones and ballistic shields, including necessary accessories and identifying decals to enhance law enforcement operations for missing persons, search and rescue and at large community events.
  • Also on the recommendation of Rowe, the board approved up to $100,000 to assist New Hope Village in Barstow with New H.O.P.E. Mobile Food Distribution and Transitional Housing programs. New Hope Village is a non-profit organization that has provided programs and services to the high desert communities for the past 25 years. The communities served by New Hope Village are historically underserved and economically disadvantaged. New Hope Village operates the New H.O.P.E. Mobile Food Distribution program, which was created to mitigate food insecurity for local families. The program provides bags of fresh and healthy foods to families on a weekly basis. New Hope Village also operates a 10-unit apartment building and provides transitional housing assistance to homeless individuals and families. Through the housing program, participants are provided with wraparound services to support a successful transition from homelessness.


Board accepts funding to address the opioid crisis

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday accepted funding from two prominent organizations to address the opioid crisis.

Loma Linda University will provide $60,000 to support the implementation, training and data reporting of a naloxone leave-behind program, which involves distributing naloxone kits to individuals or organizations that may encounter opioid overdoses. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an effective medication that can be used to reverse or reduce opioid overdoses, namely Fentanyl.

The funding will go to the board-governed Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA), which is the local emergency medical services (EMS) agency for the counties of San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono.

The program’s focus is to train participating EMS agencies to use and leave behind Narcan in situations where a future overdose is anticipated. As part of the program, data on the use and distribution of Narcan will be collected, along with patient contact information voluntarily provided. A substance abuse navigator will use this information to engage patients and offer them long-term treatment options. The data collected will track program effectiveness and highlight geographic areas where future community outreach efforts should be targeted. This program is a vital tool to combat the ongoing opioid crisis.

The funding will provide ICEMA grant funds to support training and tracking of the Emergency Management Strategies to Decrease Opioid Deaths project. Loma Linda University will provide ICEMA with access to materials, training and technical assistance for navigators, clinicians, nurses and other hospital staff and stakeholders.

The board also approved a $111,065 agreement with the RAND Corporation for work on the National Institute of Health funded study, “Reducing Overdose and Suicide Risk in Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder and Co-occurring Disorders.”

The RAND funding will allow the county’s Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton to serve as the primary site of the National Institutes of Health-funded study. The study will provide optional access to mental health counselors, funded and provided by RAND, for same-day counseling services to help improve the likelihood of completing opioid use disorder treatment services.

ARMC has had a very successful Substance Use Navigator program in place through its Emergency Department for the past five years. ARMC has received state funding in prior years to support the program, and the success rate is one of the highest in California. This is what led RAND to approach ARMC about becoming the site for a study on the integration of mental health counseling into ARMC’s existing program.

Additional County Update News – February 29, 2024

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