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Author Archives: WSS News

Changing Your Garden Can Change Your Water Footprint

Did you know that up to 70% of your annual water use occurs outdoors? Replacing your lawn with water-wise plants can save as much as 44 gallons per square foot each year. Here are a few tips on how to maintain a beautiful and less thirsty garden:

  • Use less thirsty plants: African daisies, California poppies, celosia, creeping zinnia, cosmos, dwarf morning glories, gaillardia, marigolds, nicotiana, portulaca, and many more beautiful plants require much less water than grass.
  • Cut back on fertilizer: It causes the plants to become more thirsty.
  • Know your sprinklers: Use water-efficient sprinklers that focus on precise coverage and eliminate run off.
  • Water for short intervals: Watering for short periods allows plants time to absorb water without causing run off.

Additional indoor and outdoor water-saving tips are available at Metropolitan’s conservation website bewaterwise.com®. The site also has information about education programs and rebates for water-saving devices.

Kevin’s Corner

Kevin Jeffries

Kevin Jeffries

With Riverside County being the 10th largest county in the nation and the 4th largest in the State of California, and projections saying we may one day be the second largest county in the state, you can’t help but wonder what the future will look like for our growing county.   When I was first elected to the Board in November 2012, one of my questions for our county’s future was – what do we want to be when we grow up?  Are we going to become one mass of concrete and houses?  While we hear a lot about the logistics industry’s impact on the Inland Empire, will our largest export continue to be people, with workers heading out every morning at the crack of dawn to work in LA, Orange and San Diego counties? Or are we going to control and shape our own destiny and bring our people home?

I remember a time when builders built a variety of new buildings for professional offices, small neighborhood commercial centers, and light industrial facilities for small businesses and manufacturers to start and grow.  Today it’s either large residential developments or large warehouses.  Where did the little guy go? Hasn’t it always been the small mom & pop businesses that have all the plaques on the wall, because they could never say no to a little league or soccer league sponsorship request?  That wall of plaques usually doesn’t exist at a corporate chain store.  

My point is – as we grow and question how to add more roof tops and of course more cars on our congested streets, we have to simultaneously figure out where our future high school and college graduates are going to live and work. While we have some beautiful, hillside, gated communities being built, where are the starter homes for young families or professionals? A couple of warehouses along major transportation corridors doesn’t cause me to lose much sleep – but we owe it to our kids and grandkids to attract high tech, professional, and yes, good paying retail and blue collar jobs to our county.  Putting all our eggs into one basket and becoming the mega-center of warehouses for Southern California is not my idea of a long term promising future.  Let’s think outside the box (pun intended).

You may have seen some news stories about the county budget, and the contentious discussion surrounding it.  I ended up voting no on our new county budget and its deficit spending of $1.17 million per week. On a 4-1 vote the Board lifted the previous restrictions that had been imposed a month earlier on travel, new hiring and the purchase of large items (cars, etc.). It also increased spending for a non-public safety agency (or two) and then left unanswered how we are going to deal with a $34 million shortfall in the Sheriff’s Department and at least a $6 million short fall for the District Attorney.  I had hopes that all spending was going to be on the table for re-evaluation and funding prioritization, but that was not the case.  Something tells me we will be re-visiting our decisions by the end of the year.


Kevin Jeffries

Fontana Unified Opens Doors to Dolores Huerta International Academy

FONTANA, CA- An eager group of students cheered alongside Fontana Unified officials on Aug. 4 as a ceremonial ribbon was cut to celebrate the first day of the new Dolores Huerta International Academy, a $30 million campus that provides dual-language and pre-International magnet programs for 350 learners.

The academy, named for civil rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, will serve students in kindergarten through third grade in 2016-17, and add fourth grade in 2017-18 and fifth grade in 2018-19.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the highly anticipated opening featured school and District officials, community members, parents, and students dressed in blue and white school colors.

“This school is truly a dream come true,” Principal Maribel Lopez-Tyus said. “It is the result of what we can accomplish as a community when we come together and demand the best for our children. This is an exciting time for Fontana.”

High demand for enrollment led Fontana Unified officials to select students through a random drawing that included 600 applicants.

The academy’s vision was a collaborative effort, with a council of 15 to 20 parents helping to develop the school’s beliefs, logo and vision, which is “Academic excellence and global compassion through innovative and multilingual education.” The academy’s international flair will be on display in the school’s foyer later this year when flags from multiple countries will hang to acknowledge the diverse heritage of the students.

The academy’s dual-language classrooms include a mix of native English and Spanish speakers so students can learn from each another.

Dual-language students receive 90 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 10 percent in English in kindergarten and first grade. As they progress through the grades, the percentage of English instruction grows until lessons balance equally between English and Spanish in fifth grade.

The Pre-International program will provide K-5 students with a challenging course of study to prepare them for enrollment in high school IB programs, which feature college-level coursework. Fontana Unified offers an IB program at Jurupa Hills High School.

“The international program here at the academy will put our students on an advanced track to achieving their academic goals,” FUSD Co-Interim Superintendent Randal Bassett said. “The bright and talented students of this school are our true dignitaries. They will be building our future.”