The High Desert Report » July 2011

Monthly Archives: July 2011

General Transportation

The High Desert Corridor

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By Brad Mitzelfelt
1st District Supervisor, San Bernardino

 With stimulation of job growth as one of my top priorities, the High Desert Corridor project is especially exciting because it will attract long-term, sustainable economic growth and create immediate construction jobs while improving the quality of life High Desert residents, easing congestion, and speeding goods movement through Southern California and the West.

Post-war Southern California has followed a pattern of growth that promotes congestion. Bedroom communities become populated with commuters who increasingly clog overburdened roads and freeways to reach faraway jobs. Highway infrastructure lags decades behind and never catches up. Family time decreases as commuting time increases.

We can learn from that historical trend by creating state-of-the-art infrastructure first and, with good land use planning, create the kind of jobs and housing together to reduce commutes, improve safety and our quality of life.… Read the full article

General Transportation

High Desert Transportation Update

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By Jane Dreher
SanBag Public Information Offices

San Bernardino Associated Governments, known as SANBAG, is the council of governments and transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County. SANBAG is responsible for cooperative regional planning and furthering an efficient multi-modal transportation system countywide. SANBAG serves the 2.1 million residents of San Bernardino County.

As the County Transportation Commission, SANBAG supports freeway construction projects, regional and local road improvements, train and bus transportation, railroad crossings, call boxes, ridesharing, air quality, and congestion management efforts, and long-term planning studies. SANBAG administers Measure I, the half-cent transportation sales tax originally approved by county voters in 1989 and reapproved to extend from 2010-2040.

SANBAG looks at the transportation needs of the entire county and breaks into specialized committees, such as the Mountain Desert Committee.… Read the full article


The New Barstow Community Hospital Reaches the ‘Topping Out’

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By Michael Stewart
Barstow Community Hospital CEO

The new Barstow Community Hospital celebrates its “topping out” on April 19, 2011, with the last piece of structural steel being placed. Somewhere between groundbreaking and ribbon cutting comes a little-known ceremony in construction called “topping out.” It occurs when the highest or last structural element is about to swung into place. This latest milestone in the construction of the new Barstow Community Hospital keeps the project on schedule for opening in late 2010.

Barstow Community Hospital celebrated the groundbreaking of the new hospital on September 8, 2010, with community members, local dignitaries, and hospital representatives taking part. The last groundbreaking for Barstow Community Hospital took place nearly 60 years ago in the early 1950s, so this groundbreaking marked a significant step in the evolution of care in the community.… Read the full article

Economy General

Applying Lessons Learned from Our Past

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By Joseph W. Brady, CCIM, SIOR and Susan Bloomfield

As we turn the corner on the second quarter of 2011, any indications of recovery are met with trepidation and a great deal of speculation about our economic future. The last three to four years has challenged even the most seasoned veterans of economic downturns and the High Desert commercial real estate market was hit especially hard as most tertiary markets were. But we have had plenty of experience with boom-busts and there is a lot to learn from history. As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” and the following economic cycles throughout history make that statement one of the few certainties we can rely upon:

1929-1945: The Great Depression

On what is now referred to as Black Tuesday, October 29th, 1929 marked the beginning of the Great Depression following a period of great economic growth.… Read the full article

Economy General

San Bernardino State of the County

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By Mary Jane Olhasso

On April 6, the County of San Bernardino presented its State of the County address to close to 1,000 business, community, and government leaders. The address included information gathered as part of the Vision Process.

The County-wide Vision Process included thousands of online surveys, community meetings held throughout the county’s 24 cities and towns, as well as meetings with more than 25 business roundtables, including retail, environment, home building, military, education, health care, and commercial real estate, among others.

The Vision Process results outlined the county’s priorities as jobs, economy, education, housing, public safety, transportation, quality of life, environment, health care and image.

In an era of limited and competing resources, the county is striving to prioritize its resources wisely and invest its energies in aligning priorities with the collective vision for the county.… Read the full article

Economy General Property

Victor Valley Housing and BIA Efforts Hold Keys to Recovery

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By Carlos Rodriguez
CEO Building Industry Association Baldy View Chapter

Residential construction in the Victor Valley and along the I-15 corridor cities leading to the region holds the key to San Bernardino County’s economic recovery, and the Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter is launching a program to ensure it happens.

According to figures released by the Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB) and compiled by the Chapter, “the Victor Valley and I-15 corridor continues to anchor our recovery and will provide the gateway to prosperity,” said BIA Baldy View President Jonathan Weldy of Meridian Land Development.

“In 2010, the four incorporated Victor Valley cities of Hesperia, Adelanto, Apple Valley, Victorville and unincorporated county areas in their spheres of influence accounted for over 40 percent of the 1,844 single – and multi – family permits issued in all of San Bernardino County in 2010,” Weldy said.… Read the full article

Economy General

The Difference a Year Makes

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By Bob Thompson
Advanced Listing Services

It is a surety that one day the current troubles in the real estate market will end and appreciation will replace the pervasive depreciation that rules today’s market—but not today. But if not today, when?

Guessing when a market will turn for any good or service is an imperfect exercise due to the number of independent variables that affect the final outcome. The changes and differences in this myriad of small variables make up the large overall swings that become apparent only after they have occurred.

One such indicator is the supply of properties on the market, or current listings. Observe Table 1. In April of 2010 there were 1,554 units of supply on the market in the listed cities.… Read the full article

Air Quality General

Air District Offers Emission-Reduction Grants Up to $1,000,000 Available in the High Desert

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By Eldon Heaston
Executive Director, MDAQMD

The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District is now accepting proposals for projects that reduce smog forming emissions from motor vehicles and help improve air quality in the High Desert portion of San Bernardino County and in Riverside County’s Palo Verde Valley.

Approximately $1,000,000 in grant monies is available to public or private entities for projects that reduce emissions from mobile sources, which account for more that 60% of air pollutant emissions gauged in the High Desert. Eligible projects include those that reduce vehicle trips or miles traveled, or encourage the use of alternative travel modes, such as public transit. Projects related to alternative fuel vehicles, parking management, telecommuting, and public education programs that do not duplicate the MDAQMD’s mobile source education efforts are additional examples of projects which may be eligible for funding.… Read the full article

General Water

Preparing for the Next Drought and Beyond

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By Michael Stevens
Community Liaison Officer

There’s a saying that goes: “No one plans to fail, but many fail to plan.” This adage, however, cannot apply to Mojave Water Agency (MWA) and most water agencies in the High Desert as we work to provide water for a region totaling 437,357 people-and expected to increase 60% by 2035 to 706,388.

The adage can’t apply because in 1983, the State of California adopted the Urban Water Management Planning Act, which requires water agencies to prepare an Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) every five years when a water agency’s service area includes at least 3,000 connections or water deliveries are equal to or greater than 3,000 acre-feet per year.

Despite better-than-average precipitation levels this past winter and this spring-and the recent cancellation of a three-year statewide drought-the state’s water resources are still subject to increasing demand for a finite supply.… Read the full article

General Water

Taking the Waste Out of Wastewater

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By Ryan Orr
Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority

Many High Desert residents don’t realize that the water they’re using to irrigate their gardens and lawns, and that municipalities use to irrigate parks, schools and golf courses, is perfectly safe for drinking.

At the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, we believe this precious resource should be conserved for just drinking and other uses that will sustain our water resources. The agency is introducing two new facilities, that when built out, will provide more than four million gallons of treated, reclaimed water to irrigate nearby parks and golf courses.

This much-needed benefit will not only help conserve water in our drought-ridden region but also create extra capacity in VVWRA’s currently crowded sewer pipe system, allowing for continued responsible growth and making way for new businesses to come to the Victor Valley.… Read the full article