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Supervisor Gonzales Funds Computers for Children's Library

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Supervisor Josie Gonzales today donated funds to purchase state-of-the-art computers and works stations for the proposed children's library section of Fontana's new Lewis Library and Technology Center.

Children will be able to use the library to complete homework assignments or to read online with their parents when the Technology Center open in April 2008.

San Bernardino County 5th District Supervisor Gonzales allocated $100,000 to help purchase 65 new computers for the proposed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Children's Library. Plans for the 13,000 square-foot facility named after the civil rights leader will feature a homework club area, a small computer lab, and individual study rooms.

It also will offer learning stations and "Peek-a-stations" for early literacy and pre-school readiness programs.

"Education is the master key to our county's financial success," said Supervisor Gonzales. "Parental involvement and interactive computer programs not only help promote a love for reading and learning at an early age, they also enable our young people to realize broader educational horizons."

"Instilling that love within our children translates into increased literacy rates in our schools, higher academic achievement among our students, and the creation of our own talented, professional workforce," said Gonzales.

In addition to the children's library, the new 93,000 square-foot Lewis Library and Technology Center will include: wireless high-speed Internet access throughout the facility; over 200 public use computer workstations; an expanded collection of reference, media and periodical items; a computer technology support and training center; a career center; a 330-seat auditorium; and a bookstore and coffee bar.

For more information about the Technology Center visit www.fontanalibrary.org

City Call Center Processes 50,000th Work Order

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ImageThe City of Riverside's Call Center began in 2004 as a way to provide a centralized point of contact for any non-emergency calls for city information and services.  The first day the call center received a meager 15 calls and produced one work order about an uneven sidewalk.

In April, less than three years after its humble beginnings, the call center cracked the 50,000th work order mark (it was about graffiti removal), and the calls show no sign of slowing.

"Graffiti removal requests are our most common call," said Jerry Rogers, of Riverside Public Utilities, who oversees the 311 Call Center operations for the city.  "Nearly 1,500 graffiti calls are reported each month, and they are typically cleaned up within 24 hours."

Riversiders have taken the call center's 826-5311 number to heart and now the center receives about 500 calls a day and has processed 2,275 work orders since that April call.

The service is designed to take pressure off of the 911 emergency lines and allow safety dispatchers to handle emergency calls, as well as being a city services point of contact.

"Before, people would be transferred to several different offices, even departments, in order to speak to the right person," Rogers said.  "With 311, you don't have to know what department or what person; we'll find out for you and direct you as quickly as possible."

Since its activation, the call center has fielded more than 160,000 phone calls with its 10-member team.  However, Rogers said that as more residents find out about the service the number is expected to rise.  They have fielded more than 125,000 calls this year alone.

The 311 Call Center is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends.  Messages left during off-hours are responded to when the center opens the next day.  In addition to the 826-5311 line, requests for information and action can be made online at www.riversideca.gov by clicking the 826-5311 icon at the bottom of each page.

"By the end of this year, we hope to have our three digit 3-1-1 dialing system in place," Rogers said.  "It will allow any resident in the city to reach us by simply dialing 3-1-1."

Preventing Workplace Violence

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Local Professor Offers Advice on Steps To Avoid Incidents

Frightened workers scatter, police officers crouch behind squad cars as an angry employee roams the office with a loaded weapon. Americans have become all too familiar with the scenario as incidents of workplace violence occur around the country.

However, Dr. David Sellen, a professor at Argosy University/Inland Empire, says work-related homicides are less common than other forms of workplace violence. "Rape and physical assaults are more common," he said. "But they don't get the attention of the media."

Sellen, a professor in Argosy University's department of Psychology, teaches courses such as psychodynamics, counseling and interview techniques. He has a law degree from Southwestern University, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in Neuropsychology from University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Sellen works with law enforcement agencies in Critical Incident Debriefing, where psychologists help victims of violent acts normalize their feelings. He says that workplace shootings are often caused by a combination of events.

"These situations include a triggering event, such as a job termination, interpersonal trauma, such as depression, stress or substance abuse, and an unprepared workplace environment," he says.  "Office buildings are often less prepared for violent acts than courthouses and police stations which often have security."

The typical workplace shooter is more often male than female, has a history of violence, tends to be withdrawn and a loner. Other signs include antagonistic and obsessive behavior and career frustration. Workers are also under additional pressure because of the lack of stability in today's workplace.

"People tend to feel less secure in their jobs because of the way the economy has changed," Sellen said. "The average person is likely to see at least three major job changes in their lifetime and most people are not prepared. People tend to think the employer will take care of them."

Failing to prevent and protect workers from workplace violence is extremely expensive for American companies. Sellen estimates workplace violence-related lawsuits cost American employers about $500 million annually. Faced with these rising costs, more companies are being proactive in training workers to prevent and identify potentially violent situations.

"Ever since 9-11, more companies have started offering training to help employees address grievances and to defuse situations," he said.  "Many companies now offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) which offer free counseling for employees who are facing personal problems."

Sellen said Cal/OHSA, which is responsible for enforcing workplace safety laws in California, has strong guidelines for companies on creating a violence free workplace. They also suggest companies have a workplace violence prevention policy and committee. Cal/OHSA also gives recommendations on how employees can report potentially violent situations to the company's human resources department.

Sellen says workplace violence is preventable if companies take a more hands-on approach.

He offers these suggestions:

• Companies need to ensure that employees have workplace violence prevention training.

• Companies need to have an open line of communication to the supervisor so threats or strange behavior can be reported.

• Employees need to be active listeners. No threat should be taken lightly. Any threat should be reported to the Human Resources director or the supervisor.

• Employers need to make sure that employees have a venue to handle their grievances.

• Companies need to do in-depth background checks to screen out employees with violent histories.

• Companies planning to do layoffs can prepare employees for the change by offering counseling, career training and letters of recommendations.

For more information about Argosy University/Inland Empire, call (909) 915-3800 or go to http://www.argosyu.edu/inlandempire. For more information on Cal/OHSA recommendations to prevent workplace violence, go to http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Director Resigns

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June Griffith-Collison, submitted her resignation as director of San Bernardino County's Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC).  Ms. Griffith-Collison cited a desire to spend more time with her family and help guide her son Darren on his pending career choices.  "I find myself increasingly drawn to his growing needs and the need to be more available to assist him at this important time" stated Ms. Collison.

June Griffith-Collison
Existing staff will continue to oversee the management of the Medical Center and will work closely with the County Administrative Office until a permanent replacement is found.

County officials today praised the departing executive's accomplishments during her time as director, which began in early 2000 when June was named Chief Operating Officer.

"We appreciate the dedication June showed to the Medical Center, and we wish her well in her future endeavors," said Mark Uffer, County Administrative Officer.  "We are all excited as we watch Darren and know that her guidance will be invaluable in the business world."

"June's departure will not disrupt the outstanding public service provided by Arrowhead Regional Medical Center," Mr. Uffer said. "The Medical Center's critical work and importance to the residents of San Bernardino County will continue without interruption."

The County will soon name an interim director to serve until a new director is selected.

First 5 Riverside and First 5 San Bernardino to host Leading Ladies for School Readiness workshops

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Workshops geared to train African American Leading Ladies to become advocates for early learning

Studies show that many of California's African American children are entering kindergarten without the basic learning and social skills that are needed to be successful in school and life. For this reason, First 5 Riverside and First 5 San Bernardino teamed up with First 5 California to bring the Leading Ladies for School Readiness program to the Inland Empire to help African American parents and caregivers better prepare their children for success in school and in life. At the workshop, leading ladies will gain a better understanding of school readiness, learn how to become effective school readiness advocates, get tips for educating parents/caregivers, and receive a free Outreach Tool Kit. The workshop is free and open to leading ladies interested in joining this important effort.

Riverside County

Where: First 5 Riverside

Address: 2002 Iowa Ave., Suite 100

Riverside, CA 92507

Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Date: Friday, May 11th

Contact: Michelle Burroughs at

(951) 248-0014

San Bernardino County

Where: First 5 San Bernardino

Address: 330 North D Street, 5th Floor

San Bernardino, CA 92415

Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, May 9th

Contact: LuCretia Dowdy at

(909) 386-7706

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BVN National News Wire