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UCR Hosts 2008 State of the Arts Conference

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UC Riverside will host State of the Arts 2008, the annual conference of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), Nov. 6-8 at venues on campus and in downtown Riverside.

The event brings together artists, scholars and arts administrators from across the UC system and beyond. Located at a different UC campus each year, this year's program will be held at UCR and in the historic downtown arts district in the Life Arts building, a working artists' studio space and event center located at 3485 University Ave.

Registration is required by Oct. 31 and costs $40, which includes the cost of meals.

This year's program engages the theme of "demonstration" and will include performances, installations, presentations, workshops and nightly events by UC and Southern California artists. The conference will demonstrate new models for university/community partnership in artistic research, with participation and performances from a broad spectrum of non-UC affiliated artists.

The event will begin Thursday, Nov. 6, during Riverside's Artswalk with a 6 p.m. performance on the downtown pedestrian mall of Buckworld One, a hip-hop theater production created by Rickerby Hinds, a UCR associate professor of theater, and the Free Improvisation Ensemble, a group of musicians, dancers, visual, media and theater artists working in both traditional and experimental performance genres.

The full schedule and registration information are available at www.ucira.ucsb.edu.

Fontana Park Set To Open October 25

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The enhancement and expansion of the recreational amenities available to Fontana residents have been high priorities to the City Council and city staff since 2003. While the unprecedented growth in development, redevelopment and retail have received considerable media attention, the Community Services Department has blossomed before the eyes of the Inland Empire.

With a staff expansion of almost double its' original size, the Fontana Community Services Department is a stalwart example of the "Total Quality Development" envisioned and set forth by the Council years ago.

Everyone from the Council, to the City Manager's Office, to the Public Works employee and the Community Services staff are in complete agreement concerning the value of providing residents with the opportunities to enjoy the highest quality recreational amenities.

In 2007-2008 a total of five recreational hot-spots will have been opened or are under construction. Of these, two include newly constructed recreational centers which will allow the City to properly serve the nearly 190,000 residents who now call the area home.

Jessie Turner Health & Fitness Community Center is the largest in Fontana.

"For most cities, opening this many state-of-the-art community venues within months of each other is unparalleled," says Mayor Mark Nuaimi adding, "Accepting the challenge of juggling multiple projects and footing the expenses is inconceivable...lucky for us we aren't most cities - we are Fontana and we are fortunate to have a council with vision and a city manager with the ability, and most importantly - a team of dedicated professionals -- to get the job done."

In fall, 2008 the entire region will look to Fontana with the opening of Fontana Park complete with Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Community Center and a competitive Aquatics Center making this one of the largest in the Inland Empire.

The Skate Park

Fontana Park offers residents a promenade and passive play area, a fully supervised 25,000 square foot skate park, a dog park with space for both large and small dogs, a multi-purpose pavilion for roller hockey, basketball, and special events, an open play area for walking, jogging, recreational classes as well as a picnic area perfect for corporate picnics or outdoor weddings. Even sitting in the shade can be enjoyed by all as one decides whether to sit beneath a gigantic butterfly or flower canopy or enjoy a more traditional picnic under one of the 1,000 trees planted in the Park.

The new gymnasium will be the home of Adult League Basketball.

The Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center, conveniently situated along Summit Avenue, is the largest Community Center in Fontana. The 43,000 square-foot facility includes a full-size indoor gymnasium, a dedicated aerobics room, a large assembly hall, full service kitchen, Tiny Tots room, periodical room, juice bar, and educational classrooms.

Taking full advantage of the fitness center, several specialized martial arts classes are being introduced. These include Ninpo, Karatedo, and Youth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Fun and hard-to-find dance classes include Ballroom and Social Dance, Acrodance (for acrobats who love to dance), and the newest craze, the free expression, confidence building Krump. Jessie Turner will also be the new home for Fontana's highly competitive Adult League Basketball.

For more information about the Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Community Center, the Aquatics Center or how to become an instructor at either of these state-of-the-art facilities, please call (909) 428-8360.

Vintage Cars Help Celebrate Drive-In Mural

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The most popular drive-in in Southern California, Riverside's Van Buren Drive-in Theatre, will open in the daylight next week -- but not for a movie.

The drive-in, 3035 Van Buren Blvd, will unveil a mural commemorating the citrus-growing glory days on its original 1964 façade Wednesday.  The mural, designed by David VonDerLinn of Vonderland Studios, shows a sun-lit orange grove, circa 1930s.  The drive-in was built on the site of an orange grove. 

The vivid 42-by-60-foot mural will definitely be seen by drivers on Van Buren.

"We thought this would be a good way celebrate our 44th year in the same location -- to remind everyone of the citrus heritage in the neighborhood, "said Manager Fred Williams, who has been the drive-in manager for 40 years. 

The racy melodrama "The Carpetbaggers" awed Riverside audiences at the sold-out opening in July 1964 and, unlike other drive-ins, the Van Buren has been booming every since, Mr. Williams said.

As part of the celebration, vintage cars will parade to the theatre at 10 a.m., Wednesday, starting from Arlington Park, 3860 Van Buren Boulevard.  They will remain at the theatre until 1 p.m.  The auto parade, featuring several auto collector societies in the area, is meant to bring back the memory of the drive-in heydays.  Everything from a 1913 Model T to'60s Detroit steel will be on display.Image

"A lot of us remember when the whole family would jump into the car and go to the movies, said Councilmember Chris Mac Arthur, Ward 5, who solicited support from the auto societies.  "This mural project reflects our commitment to preserving Riverside's small town feel and citrus heritage."

Williams Wins Miss Black California USA Talented Teen Crown

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Brittney Williams
Brittney Williams was awarded the title of Miss Black California USA Talented Teen  2009 by the national Miss Black USA Pageant and Scholarship Foundation. She competed against hundreds of the states' most competitive African American Teenagers throughout the state of California in a closed competition through the national organization. She will represent the Golden State next summer in the Miss Black USA Talented Teen pageant, to compete for a 5,000.00 scholarship, and a host of other prizes.

The 14-year-old teen sensation is a ninth grade student at Wilmer Amina Carter High School in Rialto, California and is interested in pursuing a college education beyond high school, with a concentration in Law. Brittney Williams is a stand out student who is very involved in student activities, in addition to being an active member of New Direction C.O.G.I.C in Pomona.

During her reign Miss Williams will travel the state to speaking and appearing at various events. She will also promote the Heart Truth Campaign and the 50 Million Pound Challenge as an official spokes model for these organizations which have partnered with the national organization.

City Prepares For Upcoming Riverside Freeway Construction

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The high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on the Riverside Freeway (State Route 91), between Tyler Street and Magnolia Avenue will be closed this weekend, Oct. 17-19.

Construction of the La Sierra Avenue overpass requires the closure of the freeway's eastbound and westbound HOV lanes from 8 p.m., Friday, until 5 a.m., Sunday. 

Additionally, both eastbound and westbound No. 1 and 2 lanes will close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

La Sierra Avenue over the freeway will remain open during construction, although delays are expected.  All businesses will remain open and accessible.  Drivers should use alternate routes, such as Pierce, Magnolia or Tyler Streets, during the closures.

The $38 million project will replace the La Sierra Avenue bridges over both the freeway and the railroad tracks with six-lane bridges to reduce traffic congestion.  New dual left-turn lanes onto the freeway will make it easier for vehicles to access the 91, while ramps will be widened from two to three lanes. 

The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2009.

For more information, call the City of Riverside Public Works Department at (951) 826-5760.

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BVN National News Wire