Author: Vanessa Finney

With Declining Enrollment and Aging Buildings, School District May Close Elementary School

Big Bear City, CA, August 26, 2014 — (Written by Cathy Herrick) The Bear Valley Unified School District (BVUSD ) held a Board Workshop meeting last week.  Discussion included an overview of the district’s facilities in terms of maintenance and operations.  The Board is exploring options in moving the District forward in light of 17 years of declining enrollment and the plight of aging facilities.  At the Workshop meeting, Superintendent Kurt Madden explored the breakdown of each facility citing age, square footage, acreage, classroom usage, number of students currently in attendance, the Facility Inspection Tool Score, capital improvements already made and the cost of long term improvements needed.  School principals each addressed their top three concerns with improved security and safety measures making everyone’s list in addition to an increased area for outdoor shade for students, curb appeal improvements, and storage.  Discussion led to the possible closure of a school, most notably, Big Bear Elementary School given the 73-year-old age of the facility and the $15 million dollar price tag for long term improvements.  However, BVUSD will face many challenges in potentially closing a school given the State of California’s laws on the process.  Entities given first priority for surplus property include a Charter School, Affordable Housing and Park and Rec organizations.  The Board will need to determine what the best educational goals and programs are for our community.  At...

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The Risks of Rocks on Mountain Highways

Big Bear City, August 23, 2014 – As beautiful as these mountains are, living so close to nature means being more vulnerable to its hazards. One of those hazards is rock slides. Local highways that wind between Big Bear and the San Bernardino Valley are tightly squeezed against towering hills in spots, and those hills are stacked with loose decomposed granite and teetering boulders that are easily unsettled by earthquakes or rainstorms. Wildfires also contribute to instability by making the land more prone to erosion. In 1970, the Bear Fire set into motion slides that killed one person, and in 2004, after the Old Fire of 2003, a nine-year-old boy was fatally injured by a 18-inch rock that came through a vehicle window on Highway 330. Falling rocks along State Routes 18, 330 and 38 have been known to severely damage cars, as well. One consistent trouble spot is the part of highway 18 between Bear Valley dam and Lakeview Point to the west, an area known as Arctic Circle. The five-mile segment has six avalanche zones. A Maintenance Superintendent at Caltrans, the state agency responsible for highway planning, construction, and maintenance, says their crews make regular sweeps of the road when there is a known or suspected rock fall–especially during and shortly after storms, which further unsettle the ground. Besides those regular patrols, a Traffic Management Center operates 24/7...

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Human Cases of West Nile Virus Appear

San Bernardino County, CA – Two human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been confirmed in the County of San Bernardino–the first confirmed this year. At this time last year, the County had a total of three confirmed cases and one death due to the WNV. Historically, the California Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 57 human cases and two deaths from infection. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms, but some people may develop a severe fever, head or body ache, rash or vomiting, which can lead to brain inflammation or paralysis. West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, so the most effective way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites the following precautions: Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active. Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored. Remove or drain all standing water around your property where mosquitoes could lay eggs (bird baths, old tires, leaky hoses, etc). Apply insect repellent containing a low concentration of DEET.   When using DEET, be sure to read and follow the label instructions. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting, hole-free screens. County of San Bernardino Health Officer Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D. says. “People over 50 years old should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract WNV.” The public can participate in the WNV surveillance program by reporting dead birds to the state’s...

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Suspect Apprehended in Fawnskin

Fawnskin, CA, August 17, 2014 – The autistic man accused of stabbing a woman he was living with has been booked on felony charges of attempted murder, and is being held at West Valley Detention Center. Although bail was set at $500,000 in this case, Foster had already been on probation for unrelated charges, so he remains in custody without the possibility of bail. An arraignment hearing on this incident is set for August 19th. Jordan Lee Foster was arrested shortly after 2:00 p.m. Saturday, thanks to a citizen who reported seeing the suspect walking on the highway near the scene of the crime. The reporting party then kept Foster in sight until deputies arrived and apprehended him after a short foot pursuit. The 53-year-old victim was airlifted for medical treatment after Foster stabbed her in the abdomen on Friday. Her condition has not been...

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Stabbing Suspect at Large in Fawnskin

Fawnskin, CA, August 16, 2014 – A 53-year-old stabbing victim was airlifted to a hospital for treatment from her Fawnskin residence Friday, after Big Bear Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a disturbance on Barbara Lee Lane. The suspect is a 22-year-old autistic male named Jordan Lee Foster, who fled from the scene into a wooded area. A police helicopter followed him north but lost his trail; today deputies have been looking for vacant houses he might have broken into. The Sheriff’s Station describes Foster as 5’9″ and slender with long black hair and brown eyes, last seen wearing a tan t-shirt with light blue board-style shorts and his hair in a ponytail. It’s not known if he is carrying any weapons, but due to his mental disabilities, he may become agitated if approached. Anyone seeing Jordan Foster should not engage with him, but call the Sheriff’s Station immediately at (909)...

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