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Attorney General Harris Announces Settlement to Protect Public Health in Jurupa Valley

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LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris recently announced a settlement in a lawsuit challenging the approval of an industrial project in Riverside County that would cause additional diesel truck traffic near a community already disproportionately affected by diesel exhaust and noise pollution.

As part of the agreement, the City of Jurupa Valley and other parties will take action to significantly reduce the project’s air quality impacts on Mira Loma Village, a primarily Hispanic residential community.

“It is a false choice to suggest that in order for California business to thrive, public health must suffer,” Attorney General Harris said. “It is my intention that this settlement will provide a model for local governments, developers and communities to work together to ensure responsible development benefiting all Californians.”

In September 2011, Attorney General Harris joined the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) action filed by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice to set aside Riverside County’s approval for the Mira Loma Commerce Center, which would consist of a million square feet of warehouses and industrial buildings.

The suit outlined the county’s failure to adequately analyze and mitigate the project’s impacts on Mira Loma Village residents in light of the already serious health and environmental risks suffered by the community.

The City of Jurupa Valley, which was incorporated in 2011, now has jurisdiction over the project site. The city and the project developers agreed as part of the settlement to implement and fund the following:

- Proceedings for preparation of an Environmental Justice Element of the City’s General Plan;

- Installation of air filtration systems in the homes of Mira Loma residents;

- Air quality monitoring in Mira Loma Village;

- Landscaping in setback areas with plants with potential to remove or reduce exposure to diesel particulate emissions; and,

- A “green” project site, including a 100kW capacity solar photovoltaic system, LEED Silver certified project buildings, and electric vehicle charging stations.

“We are extremely impressed with the cooperative process that took place to arrive at this agreement,” said Penny Newman, Executive Director of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. “This settlement has created the ‘gold standard’ for settlements in addressing impacts through a model process of how diverse stakeholders can come together and cooperatively find comprehensive solutions.”

The settlement also requires the City of Jurupa Valley to conduct proceedings to adopt an ordinance to prohibit heavy trucks on the road adjacent to Mira Loma Village, to implement an anti-idling enforcement program and to consider environmental justice during CEQA review for future projects in the City.

Since the 1990s, Riverside County has approved a series of warehouse projects that are now under the City of Jurupa Valley’s jurisdiction. Thousands of trucks travel to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to distribution centers and warehouses in the City of Jurupa Valley and other areas of Riverside County each day. These trucks spew diesel exhaust causing harmful health impact to residents living near the freeways and roads on which the trucks travel. Diesel exhaust is listed as a known carcinogen under Proposition 65. The levels of particulate matter and ozone pollutants in the Jurupa Valley area are significantly higher than both California and federal air quality standards.

This settlement will help reduce the public health impacts caused by the project and existing warehouse facilities on the overburdened community of Mira Loma Village. This settlement serves as a model for how other local governments can encourage smart development while also addressing environmental public health in their communities.

Assemblymember Brown Introduces Bill to Assist Small Businesses

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SACRAMENTO - Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) introduced her first bill of the legislative session last week, AB 285, which will expand the definition of a microenterprise. This bill is necessary to enhance the technical services available to small businesses in California.

Microenterprises are business that are started for less than $35,000 and lack access to traditional loans and capital. California has three million microenterprises that employ over four million people. AB 285 will provide microenterprises with increased resources to help them grow.

“I’m pleased to introduce my first bill, AB 285, a bill to support small business growth and job creation in our state. AB 285 will improve the quality of life for residents in the 47th District by promoting small business growth, which will translate to job creation within some of our district’s highest unemployment areas,” said Assemblymember Brown, “Small businesses are so important because they provide a majority of jobs and it is vital for our economy that we continue to push policies that assist in their growth. Passing this legislation will be my top priority.”

Under current law, a microenterprise is classified as a business with four or fewer employees including the business owner. AB 285 will allow for a firm to employ five employees including the business owner. Additionally, this bill will allow local workforce investment boards to provide entrepreneurial training programs and specialized assistance to microenterprises.

The bill was introduced and has been moved to the Assembly Rules Committee for assignment to the appropriate policy committee.

VA Medical Center Hosts "Welcome Home" Event

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LOMA LINDA – The VA Loma Linda Healthcare System will host a “Welcome Home” event at its flagship facility, the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the event, VA will be offering same-day registration and physical examinations to Veterans not yet enrolled in VA health care.

Other representatives from a variety of VA programs will be on-hand to take questions about Veterans benefits, including claims processing, women’s health, readjustment, and many others.

Reservations are not necessary, but interested veterans may call (909) 583-6305 to learn more about the program. Anyone who receives an in-take physical examination will be entered in a drawing to win a 60-inch SMART TV. The drawing will be held at 3 p.m. and the individual must be present to win.

With approximately 2,300 employees and more than 1,000 volunteers, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System serves more than 65,000 veterans who entrust their health care needs to VA for a wide variety of services through inpatient and outpatient care.

The Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center is the centerpiece of the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System. Opened in 1977, it is located ½ mile from its major affiliate, Loma Linda University. In partnership with Loma Linda University Medical Center and Loma Linda University Healthcare, VA provides primary care and mental health at outpatient clinics located in Blythe, Corona, Palm Desert, Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Riverside Alumni Chapter Participates in 34th Annual RBHP

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The members of the Riverside Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in attending the Riverside Black History Parade joined City officials following a tragic week, in celebrating law enforcement officers, firefighters, and members of the armed forces. The event contributed greatly to the numerous events being planned for Black History Month throughout the area.

This was the 34th annual Black History Parade & Expo and it provided a time for the Chapter to join in the procession through the downtown streets of Riverside with the Dubois Institute youth who are mentored by the Chapter’s Guide Right program. The Expo featured healthcare, job fair representatives, community professionals, a stage for live entertainment, and an array of merchandise and food vendors.

The Riverside Alumni Chapter joined other community groups in the celebration: High School marching bands, drill teams, church groups, classic car clubs, equestrian teams, and others. Additionally, this year’s event was brought through a collaboration of the Black History Month Committee of Riverside, the NAACP, the Riverside African American Historical Society, the City of Riverside, and the Riverside Public Utilities.

Janet Goeske Foundation hosts Black History Program "Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr."

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Riverside – The Janet Goeske Foundation and Senior Center will present their 13th Annual Black History Program and Luncheon on Friday, February 22nd at 11:00 AM. This year’s program is titled “Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.” The program will feature special guests, as well as performances by the Martin Luther King High School Treble Choir.

JGF hosts the Black History program and luncheon every February as an opportunity for the senior community to join together, learn about, and celebrate diversity. A traditional meal of Southern cooking that includes fried chicken, black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread will be served! Feel free to wear your favorite African-American attire!

Melva Cooke, Chairperson of the event states, “You will not want to miss this awesome choir and their presentation!”

Tickets must be purchased by February 18th at the Janet Goeske Center (5257 Sierra Street, 92504). Tickets are $5.00 for Goeske members and $6.00 for non-members. Please call 951-351-8800 for more information.

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