The Endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog

(July 16) A critically endangered species inhabiting the San Bernardino Mountains is one of the two types of  mountain yellow-legged frogs, Rana muscosa.
Another type of yellow-legged frog, which is also endangered, is the  and Rana sierra, which does not live in the San Bernardino Mountains but does inhabit the Sierra Nevada range.
Yellow legged frongs have existed in the mountains of California and Nevada for millions of years, moving up and down in elevation as glaciers advanced and retreated, over time adapting to alpine lake habitats too cold for other amphibians and devoid of predators.
These frogs have been on the decline since the mid-19th century, when settlers began to stock these naturally-fishless habitats with trout.
While they exist elsewhere, populations of Rana muscosa were found in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mountains, and on Palomar Mountain. In these ranges, R. muscosa was found primarily in fast-flowing streams.
Reproduction in mountain yellow-legged frogs begins soon after lakes, ponds, and streams become ice-free, ranging from April at low elevations to June or July at high elevations. Females lay 40-300 eggs in a compact cluster that resembles a small bunch of grapes. Eggs are similar to those of other frogs, with the embryo being encased in a thick protective jelly coat. Individual eggs, including the embryo and jelly coat, are 3/8″-1/2″ in diameter and the entire egg mass is often the size of a tennis ball. Eggs are often attached to submerged vegetation, undercut banks, or near-shore rocks. Lake-dwelling frogs often lay their eggs in small streams entering or leaving the lake.
The frogs are in part responsible for their own endangerment in that eggs are often preyed on by mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles. The eggs are also vulnerable to invertebrates.
After 2-3 weeks when the embryos are approximately 1/4″ long and are sufficiently developed to swim, they wriggle their way out of the egg mass and start life as a tadpole.
Mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles are among the largest of any frog in North America, reaching sizes of more than 3″ (76 mm). Dorsal coloration varies from drab olive to dark chocolate brown, and the belly is black with gold flecks.
One of the most unique aspects of the natural history of the mountain yellow-legged frog is that tadpoles usually overwinter 2-3 times before transforming (“metamorphosing”) into young frogs Most anurans (the group that includes frogs and toads) complete the transformation from egg to froglet or toadlet in a single summer. Since mountain yellow-legged frogs are typically at high elevations where water temperatures are cold, tadpoles grow very slowly and are not ready to metamophose into young frogs by the end of their first summer. They spend at least one winter beneath the ice and generally don’t metamorphose until their third or fourth year.
Throughout the summer, tadpoles of all ages congregate in the warm shallows near shore where they feed on algae. In the months prior to metamorphosis, the tadpoles begin to grow legs and, during their final weeks as tadpoles, they reabsorb their tails, replace their gills with lungs, and finally hop onto land.
Reborn as frogs, they remain as juveniles for up to four years before reaching adulthood and sexual maturity. Adult mountain yellow-legged frogs typically range in size from 2-3″. Color patterns are highly variable across the range of the mountain yellow-legged frog. Dorsal surfaces have a light- to medium-brown background color that is heavily flecked with tan and dark-brown spots. This color pattern provides excellent camouflage against a wide variety of backgrounds. Muscosa means “mossy” in Latin. Undersides of both species range in color from cream to brilliant yellow. Males tend to be smaller than females.
Juvenile and adult mountain yellow-legged frogs are highly aquatic, and are rarely found more than a few hops from water. On warm days, they bask at the water’s edge, often aggregating in dense clumps that allow frogs to maximize heat intake while minimizing water loss. By selecting particular basking sites, frogs are able to raise their body temperatures well above the ambient air temperature. Frogs feed opportunistically on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and occasionally on other amphibians. With the arrival of cooler temperatures in the fall, frogs retreat into deep-water habitats where they spend the entire winter. Mountain yellow-legged frogs are long-lived, with adults likely reaching ages of 15-20 years.
During the active season, mountain yellow-legged frogs often move hundreds of meters between breeding, feeding, and overwintering habitats. When moving between these habitats, frogs often follow lake shores and streams, but will also move short distances across dry land. Over their lifetimes, individual frogs typically show high fidelity to particular lakes or ponds, and dispersal from natal areas is characteristic only of juveniles.
During the spring breeding season, male mountain yellow-legged frogs attract females with their distinctive calls Rana muscosa lack the vocal sacs that many frogs and toads use to produce calls, but are able to produce a relatively loud call nonetheless. The call is rarely heard because it is made from underwater. To initiate mating, a male grasps a female with his powerful front legs (“amplexus”), positioning him to fertilize the eggs as a female lays them. Single males often attempt to break apart amplexing pairs, and if successful often pair with the now-single female. Some mountain yellow-legged frogs smell strongly of garlic during the breeding season, but the source of the smell is unknown.
While these frogs have been around for eons,  the same adaptations that served the mountain yellow-legged frog so well  have also made it extraordinarily vulnerable to the nonnative trout that were stocked into many of these habitats during the past century. Ninety percent of Rana muscosa populations have disappeared during the past century. Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog are an integral part of the ecosystem: the tadpoles feed on algae, but after the metamorphosis into frogs they feed primarily on aquatic insects. The frogs are an important prey for birds, garter snakes, coyotes and bears. In some areas the disappearance of mountain yellow-legged frogs has led to a t decline in garter snake populations.

County & Cities Lack Coordinated Response To Threat Of Bee Extinction

(July 9)  SAN BERNARDINO — With  a host of ecological factors representing what some doomsayers insist is an apocalyptic threat to the worldwide bee population, efforts to limit that devastation or make incremental progress in increasing the number of bees locally have been compromised by bureaucratic regulations enforced by many of San Bernardino County’s cities.
As recently as three weeks ago, on June 20, President Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum to the heads of 14 executive departments and agencies in which he called for formulating a federal strategy to promote the health of honeybees and other pollinators.
Obama’s request came four years after the deaths of bees began accelerating worldwide.
According to scientists, America’s traditional honeybees, known by the nomenclature apis mellifera, have been decimated by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), brought on by the combination of drought, the proliferation pesticides and fungicides, disease bearing parasites and a decline in the quality of nutrition available to bees. It is estimated that 11 million beehives, worth $2.2 billion, have disappeared in North America alone over the past seven years.
Moreover, the importation of Africanized honey bees into America and their takeover of the more docile apis mellifera hives has complicated the situation.
Bees are a critical element of the natural ecosystem, pollinating plants as they flit from one nectar-bearing plant to another. The drop in their numbers represents a threat not just to the $30 billion in U.S. crops annually depending upon their pollinating activity but to the entire food chain and plant, animal and human life as we know it.
A prime suspect in Colony Collapse Disorder is a chemical family called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids, developed by Shell in the 1980s and Bayer in the 1990s, are neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine and the first new class of insecticides to be developed in the last 50 years. They were considered very promising because they were far less toxic to mammals than to insects. The neonicotinoid imidacloprid is currently the most widely used insecticide in the world. After two decades of neonicotinoid use, however, it has been learned that neonicotinoids, rather than diffusing chemically, break down into persistently toxic byproducts. They have been linked to the escalation of bee deaths after 2007. In Europe, where bee deaths have plummeted as sharply as in America, nicotinoid use was banned for two years beginning in April 2013.
Many scientists believe that nenicotinoids alone are not responsible for the worldwide bee population decline.
An analysis of pollen collected from hives by American researchers turned up a toxic mix of chemicals, including unadulterated pesticides, herbicides and fungicides or their derivatives as well as chemicals used for fertilizing purposes. When that infested pollen was fed to healthy bees, those bees lost their natural resistance to being infected by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. Nosema ceranae several years ago was identified as having a causal effect with regard to Colony Collapse Disorder.
In addition, the uptick in the use of fungicides in recent years is a suspected culprit in the bee die off. While previously it was assumed fungicides represented no direct threat to bees given that they were designed to inhibit or kill fungus, evidence is growing that fungicides applied to apple trees and other fruits are deadly to bee colonies. Bees consuming pollen contaminated with fungicides are three times as likely to be infected by parasites, according to researchers.
With the bee population under such severe challenge, bee keepers, known as apiarists, have stepped up their efforts, individually and collectively, to establish apiaries, also known as  bee yards, places where beehives of honey bees are kept.  This effort has been met with encouragement by farmers, who naturally want to encourage the proliferation of bees to assure the pollination of their crops. Indeed, farmers occasionally provide apiarists with free sites to operate their apiaries and will even occasionally pay apiarists to place hives near their crops.
San Bernardino County, the largest county in the United States outside of Alaska, was once an agricultural powerhouse, boasting concentrated vegetable and fruit growing operations, in particular citrus orchards and the Cucamonga wine region, which was a lesser rival to those in Napa and Sonoma. Later, the Chino Agricultural Preserve was formed in conformance with the Williamson Act which gave tax protection to milk producers who committed to utilizing their land for exclusive agricultural use. In its heyday, the Chino Valley hosted over 300 dairies. Following the urbanization of the 1960s, and the sharply accelerated urbanization of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, agriculture in San Bernardino County has declined. Over 90 percent of the citrus groves in the county have been supplanted with subdivisions. Few vineyards remain in the county. Today there are fewer than 70 dairies in the Chino Valley.
Accompanying San Bernardino County’s urbanization has been a growing intolerance of the trappings of agriculture. Reflecting the attitude of San Bernardino County’s current population, which is virtually unmindful of the critical threat of Colony Collapse Disorder, municipal officials and the regulations they enforce have proven inimical if not downright hostile to apiarists, their apiaries and the bees themselves. While these regulations have relatively benign intent in that they are aimed at making the environs more livable for the human population, they have inhibited, hamstrung and handcuffed the handful of humans who, either motivated by their consciousness of the ecological threat of Colony Collapse Disorder or by professional economic interest, have sought to establish beekeeping operations.
The city of San Bernardino, for example, restricts beekeepers to just two hives. This makes it virtually impossible for a dedicated apiarist to set up shop in the city of San Bernardino.
Redlands makes no restriction on the number of hives an apiarist can have but requires that the hives be removed from the city limits during the late spring and early and midsummer months when the bees are most prone to swarming. Hive relocation can be a complicating factor, both financially and logistically, for keepers with large numbers of hives. Redlands’ regulation  discourage large scale apiaries from locating there.
Last year, the city of Chino Hills put the kibosh on a couple who had aspirations of utilizing a remote piece of property in Soquel Canyon as an apiary.
Monty and Farrah Sommer, Chino residents, had hoped to facilitate the establishment of multiple bee colonies on 10 acres of unpopulated ranchland in Soquel Canyon they had arranged to lease from a property owner who was no longer utilizing it for agricultural purposes. The property in question fit within the city’s requirement that it be at least 500 feet from its nearest residential neighbor.
The Sommers researched the city code thoroughly and in March 2013 applied for a home operation license for a concern that would allow for the establishment of hives composed of bees rescued from locations from which they had been removed, the production, harvesting and sale of honey, and the creation of a beekeeping club that would be dedicated to educating the community about bees.
For its standard fee, the city gave the Sommers a license to sell honey from their home. The city initially gave indication the beekeeping operation would be approved pursuant to an inspection of the property upon which it was to be located.
After five months delay, in August 2013, the city informed the Sommers that they would need to pay a $5,000 review fee for their proposed operation.
The $5,000 charge, the city said, was a cost recovery fee, based upon a calculus of $170 per hour for the staff time the city claimed would be needed to carry out the inspection. The city contended it would require somewhere in the neighborhood of 29 to 30 staff hours to carry out the inspection and file the requisite paperwork.
The Sommers objected and the city agreed to accept a deposit of $3,450 toward 20 hours worth of inspection to get the process started, with the proviso that the Sommers pay $170 per hour for any inspection time beyond the 20 hours. The Sommers were unwilling to make that deposit and the city countered with an offer to accept a deposit for city staff time of ten hours at $177 per hour, i.e., $1,770 toward the review cost.
Ultimately, the Sommers elected to forego their apiary plans and in November they removed from the Soquel Canyon property the last of the several hives of bees that they had rescued from extinction.
In Apple Valley, a group of residents has petitioned the town council there to change the town’s code to allow beehives on half-acre properties.
At present the town’s code allows apiaries to exist on property zoned R-A (agriculture), R-LD (low density) and R-VLD (very low density). All of those zones entail lots of at least 2.5 acres. While the town code allows up to one hive per 13,500 square feet, those hives must be located within the 2.5 acre lots.
The town council turned down even considering the request to allow owners of half acre properties – 21,800 square feet – to maintain a single hive.
John Gardner, San Bernardino County’s agricultural commissioner, told the Sentinel the urbanization of the county over the last fifty years has rendered large portions of it off limits to bee colonies.
“Where we have open areas, the beekeepers can be unhindered because they are less restricted than what you typically see in the cities.”
Most city restrictions are aimed at limiting the human population from exposure to the bees, which can sting when provoked, Gardner said. Some people have extreme allergies to bee stings, which in some of those cases can be fatal.
“Usually, cities have certain criteria with regard to keeping bees,” Gardner said. “They generally have to be at a required distance from occupied structures. You must have a certain amount of water available. The codes are meant to prevent them from causing problems.”
Gardner noted that by contrast there are some remote areas in the unincorporated areas of the county that are “virtually without restrictions” as far as the keeping of bees goes.
Asked if there was a hierarchy of restrictivity among cities, Gardner said, “Restrictivenes is in the eye of the beholder. In some cities there are certain months where you can’t keep bees. Some of those cities, such as Redlands, have no limit on the number of hives you can have during the fall, winter and early spring. There are other cities that are what you might perhaps call more liberal and you can keep bees there all year long. But some of those restrict the number of hives you can have. It depends on which way you measure the restrictions. Certain cities are more liberal or more restrictive on some ends.”
Gardner said that in most of the county’s cities, bee restriction “enforcement is not a priority. If you have a really good beekeeper who makes sure his bees have a constant and good water source, they won’t be a problem. Often in the summer, when bees don’t have access to water, they will swarm and go out to find it. They will seek out water at the closest place they can find. You will see a whole lawn covered with them. When people encounter a large number of them like that, they are afraid.”
Gardner said a significant number of hives in San Bernardino County have become Africanized, that is, are headed by a queen bee that traces its lineage back to Africa, where the bees are far more aggressive towards humans in terms of stinging and are less productive in terms of honey output than the bees that originated in Europe and which historically populated America.
With some degree of difficulty, apiarists can re-queen Africanized hives with what are temporarily, at least, positive results.
“A large percentage of the bees in our county now have Africanized traits,” Gardner said. “They are more aggressive than the European bees. You can extract the queen from the colony and replace her with one of the European variety and box the hive back up. That works for a while. Eventually, though, when the colony grows and another queen is produced it will lead a swarm out to create another colony and, because of the Africanized bees’ dominant traits, that queen will mate and pick up the aggressive tendencies.”
Given the importance of bees’ role in the ecosystem and the confluence of threats they face, Gardner said he thinks some sort of forum with regard to a consistent policy being formulated throughout the county might be a good idea.
“We’d be willing to enter into a discussion with the cities about what those standards should be,” Gardner said of the county agriculture department. “I’d be glad to participate in something like that.”

Cameras Put In Probation Department Vehicles

(July 8)  The county probation department will be outfitting the vehicles it uses to transport its juvenile charges with video and audio recording systems.
The county board of supervisors this week gave go-ahead to a purchase order with Wild Rose Motors, Ltd. in the amount of $134,034 for the purchase and installation of an in-car video recording system for probation department vehicles used to move minors to and from the juvenile detention facilities in Apple Valley and San Bernardino.
As part of the program, the board of supervisors also agreed to purchase, at a total cost of  $22,000, two storage servers to which the video images will be downloaded.
According to Christine Owens, the county’s deputy chief probation officer, “The probation department has a need to procure an in-car video recording system to provide audio and video recordings in transportation vehicles used to move minors to/from the juvenile detention and assessment centers in Apple Valley and San Bernardino. Such systems provide security cameras, as well as features to allow for real time monitoring of high risk transports to court facilities, medical appointments, or other locations. In addition to providing a solution to capture audio and video within each vehicle, the department is seeking a system that can wirelessly upload the vehicle’s on-board memory to a local server (supplied by the department) when in proximity to  either of the two juvenile detention and assessment centers. Proceeding with the purchase of an in-car video recording system will increase the department’s ability to observe juveniles, provide staff a strong measure of security when juveniles claim staff acted inappropriately, and protect juveniles from false claims.”
According to Owens, the department contacted five vendors known for their leadership in the in-car video recording system field and requested the opportunity to evaluate their respective equipment in San Bernardino County vehicles. Three vendors, Lenexa, Kansas-based Digital Ally, Anaheim-based Wild Rose Motors and Houston-based COBAN Technologies, Inc. responded and agreed to install their equipment in department transportation vehicles for demonstration purposes.
The department evaluated each vendor’s equipment for two months and then solicited quotes from the three vendors.
Digital Ally’s system cost $58,058.64. Wild Rose Motors’ system cost $134,033.93. COBAN Technologies’ system cost $176.971.10
“Although the quote submitted by Digital Ally was the least costly, the features and quality of their equipment do not best meet the needs of the department,” Owens said. “The equipment features included in the quote submitted by Wild Rose Motors, Ltd., meet the following higher standards favored by the department: high definition video, enhanced audio, true night infrared vision, military grade equipment, [and] federal standards for encryption, date stamping, and water marking. Because these additional features are not available with the system provided by Digital Ally, the department recommends a purchase order with Wild Rose Motors, Ltd. for the purchase and installation of a Martel Electronics Digital Cruise
R3 system in each of the Department’s 18 transportation vehicles. Included in the purchase is a three-year extended warranty on component equipment. The department is also requesting separate approval for two servers that will be needed to store data resulting from this system.”
Owens hinted that problems during the transportation of juvenile offenders have already occurred and/or that accusations against probation officers by their wards have already been made.
“For security reasons, the department considers it best to obtain board approval to purchase the in-car video recording system at this time rather than delaying until the next quarterly budget report.” she said.

County’s 1994 Expansion Of Landfill Persists As Major Environmental Liability

(July 8)  The way in which the county went about expanding the Mid-Valley Landfill two decades ago has already cost the county more than $8.75 million in technical surveying and legal costs and this week county counsel signaled that it will cost the county even more.
At the root of the matter is perchlorate contamination in north Rialto that has seeped into the region’s water table and is continuing to spread.
In north Rialto, Pyro Spectaculars, Ken Thompson Inc., Chung Ming Wong, BF Goodrich and Emhart Industries had operations that were ongoing in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. All of those operations utilized perchlorate in their manufacturing processes. Near those operations Broco Inc. maintained a hazardous-waste disposal operation which was active from the mid-1960s until the late 1980s.
The county purchased the Broco property in 1994 and used it in the expansion of the Mid-Valley Sanitary Landfill.
In the late 1990s, a plume of contaminants containing perchlorate was found to be migrating through the local water table. Perchlorate is a product used in the manufacture of both fireworks and ordnance. In very minute quantities perchlorate can wreak havoc on the thyroid gland.
It has been established that the five aforementioned corporate entities – Pyro Spectaculars, Ken Thompson Inc., Chung Ming Wong, BF Goodrich, and Emhart Industries – were responsible for the accumulation and release of the perchlorate.
Water agency officials, state officials and federal officials also believe the county of San Bernardino may have engaged in activity that exacerbated the perchlorate problem.
Officials with the Rialto-based West Valley Water District and their lawyers have alleged that San Bernardino County razed and buried structures at the Broco facility to make way for the landfill expansion, action those officials maintain was not only illegal but has worsened the contamination of the groundwater below Rialto.
According to attorney Barry Groveman, who represents the West Valley Water District, it appears the county simply knocked the hazardous waste facility down and spread the debris around before burying it. That action was against the law, Groveman said.
Groveman said the county was in violation of state hazardous waste handling regulations and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Burying hazardous waste and storing it without a permit is illegal.
The Environmental Protection Agency  has designated the north Rialto area as one of its Superfund sites, which makes federal funding for the remediation available but also carries with it a requirement that the parties responsible for the contamination assist in the effort. Simultaneously, the EPA will apply the Superfund money toward the remediation. Eventually, if any of the parties deemed responsible for the contamination refuse to sponsor or otherwise pay for a share of the remediation, the EPA will sue and under federal law, any party proven responsible will be required to pay triple the cost of that portion of the clean up for which it was the contaminating party.
The ability to impose triple damages serves as an incentive for the responsible entities to undertake the clean-up on their own or participate in funding an EPA-sponsored remediation.
Previously, the city of Rialto sued BF Goodrich over the contamination issue. Rialto dropped that lawsuit after the company agreed to undertake a remediation effort. BF Goodrich did pay a total of $4 million – $1 million each to the cities of Fontana, Rialto and Colton as well as to the West Valley Water District. That money was used to treat specific wells that were producing perchlorate-laden water but did not redress the underlying problems in the aquifer. BF Goodrich, like the other companies, will yet likely be on the hook for millions of dollars more in decontamination efforts.
An EPA-designed program of remediation, consisting of contaminated water being pumped out of the ground to then be treated and distributed to water districts, is underway. It will likely take two decades or more for the perchlorate levels to be reduced to acceptable limits.
The county has already paid the environmental engineering consulting firm Geo-Logic Associates $2,430,892  for assistance with regard to perchlorate contamination in northern Rialto.
In May 2009, then-county counsel Ruth Stringer convinced the county board of supervisors to retain the law firm of Gallagher & Gallagher at an original cost of $710,000. The legal services Gallagher & Gallagher was to provide pertained to allegations against the county relating to  perchlorate contamination in connection with particular matters that fall outside of the defense work covered by the county’s insurance. Gallagher & Gallagher currently represents the county in connection with the federal and state court litigation and federal and state agencies’ investigations of the perchlorate groundwater contamination in the Rialto-Colton Basin.  Records show that so far the county has paid Gallagher & Gallagher  a total of $2,325,000 and that another law firm, Price Postel & Parma has been paid $4 million by the county for its work with regard to perchlorate contamination litigation.
This week, in compliance with recommendations made to it by county counsel Jean-Rene Basle and county director of public works Gerry Newcombe, the county board of supervisors consented to entering into a new contract with Gallagher & Gallagher that will likely cost the county several more million dollars in legal fees.
In his presentation of the report to the board, Basle stated, “Since about 2009, Gallagher has been providing legal services under contract with the county in connection with perchlorate and other contamination issues in the Rialto-Colton Basin as assigned by county counsel. On July 1, 2013 the county issued a purchase order to Gallagher to advise and assist county counsel in the on-going perchlorate and other contamination issues in the Rialto-Colton Basin that were not resolved by federal court settlements reached in 2013. The Gallagher firm was selected to provide these additional legal services because of their familiarity with the federal lawsuit and associated contamination issues due to their representation of the county in the consolidated federal lawsuits, identified as city of Rialto v. Dept. of Defense.”
Basle continued, “It is now necessary to enter into a new contract with the Gallagher firm. Continuing contamination issues concern third parties who were not named parties in the federal lawsuit. In the fall of 2013, certain water purveyors in the basin commenced new litigation concerning legal rights to water in the basin. While this new lawsuit does not name the county, certain water purveyors are asserting claims against the county related to that new litigation. Gallagher has assisted in the legal analysis of those claims and in the presentations made to the board of supervisors to assist in the county’s timely responses (which were required to be made within 14 days of each tender). On April 17, 2014, Fontana Water Company and Fontana Union Water Company each filed claims against the county asserting that the county is obligated to defend and indemnify each of them against the litigation filed in September 2013, and the county has contaminated groundwater. They asserted that damages could amount to more than $10 million. Litigation against the county is anticipated but has not yet been filed.”
Basle said, “By contracting with Gallagher, a qualified law firm, county counsel is able to augment services in this specialized area of law, including federal law (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) and state law (Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act), groundwater contamination and water-related issues in the basin.”
Basle did not delineate a specific contract amount but said, “Services provided by The Gallagher Law Group, LLP will be funded by the department of public works. Sufficient appropriation and revenue exists in the solid waste management district’s 2014-15 budget operations fund for the cost of these services.”

$22.6 M Increase For Troubled Foster Children Care Program

(July 3)  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors last month upped by $22.6 million its contract with four entities to continue the county’s so-called Foster Care Wraparound Program.
According to Randall L. Schulz, the director of the San Bernardino County Children and Family Services Department, “The Wraparound services program is an intensive, community-based, and family-centered process designed to allow children with serious behavior and/or emotional difficulties to remain in their community at the lowest level of care possible instead of being placed in a group home setting.”
Schulz said the Wraparound program was established “in accordance with state requirements as the official planning, assessing, implementing, and monitoring group for” dealing with children living within the county who are beset with behavioral issues.
The Wraparound team includes staff from San Bernardino County Children and Family Services, the San Bernardino Department of Behavioral Health, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, the county superintendent of schools, the probation department, community-based organizations, churches, and family advocates, with the children and family services department acting as the lead public agency. The program has been serving eligible children and families through contracted vendors since 2002. San Bernardino County’s Children and Family Services Department currently has somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 children in out-of-home placement.
In June 2011, using a formal procurement process, the board of supervisors approved contracts with Families First, Inc., Lutheran Social Services of Southern California, South Coast Children’s Society, Inc. and Victor Community Support Services, Inc. in a total combined amount of $42,543,753 to provide Wraparound services countywide for the three year period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014, with the option of extending for two additional one-year periods. On August 2, 2013 the board approved amendments to those contracts, increasing the total contract amount to $51,786,171, for the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014, to comply with state mandated increases in foster care rates.
Last month, the board of supervisors approved further amendments to the wraparound program agreements, effective July 1, 2014, so the contracted-with entities to have them continue their work for another year, thorough June 30, 2015. That action provides for increasing the total combined contract amount by $22,600,000, from $51,786,171 to $74,386,171.
Accordingly, Families First, Inc’s contract was increased by $6,936,180, from $17,219,401 to $24,155,581; Lutheran Social Services of Southern California’s contract was increased by $3,100,000, from $3,127,599 to $6,227,599; South Coast Children’s Society, Inc.’s contract was increased by $5,580,180, from $14,111,971 to $20,270,471; and Victor Community Support Services, Inc.’s contract was increased by $6,983, 640, from $17,327,200 to $24,310,840.

Fermin Makes Move To Preserve State’s Revolving Fund For Crime Victims Til 2017

(July 9) The county board of supervisors this week acted to maintain the district attorney’s office’s potential access to up to $200,000 available in a state of California revolving account for emergency expenses incurred by crime victims over the period running from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017.
At the behest of assistant district attorney Michael Fermin, the board of supervisors approved an agreement with the State of California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board to keep that money available.
According to Fermin, “Penal Code Section 13835 et seq. allows counties to establish victim/witness assistance programs for services to crime victims. These services include assistance with claim applications to the state for reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of crime. The Victims of Crime Program Board, in accordance with Government Code section 13952.5(c)(3), may delegate authority to the district’s attorney’s victim services staff to process crime claims and disburse emergency funds per established guidelines. Delegating this authority at the local level expedites the claims process.”
The district attorney’s office has a unit that processes claims submitted by victims. The victims of crime program reimburses victims for qualifying losses incurred as a result of a crime. However, the verification and reimbursement process can take several months. In certain circumstances, according to Fermin, “victims are unable to wait an extended period of time to receive assistance (i.e., funeral/burial costs, domestic violence and sexual assault relocation costs, and crime scene clean up). Through previous agreements with the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, a process was developed by which the county may pay verified expenses when a provider is unwilling to wait for reimbursement through the normal claims process. These expenses are paid with funds advanced by the state to facilitate the claims process. The original amount advanced in 1999 for this purpose was $25,000. This revolving fund was increased to the current amount of $200,000 as approved by the board of supervisors on October 2, 2007. This proposed agreement with the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board will continue the process.”
In a somewhat related move, the board of supervisors also appropriated $25,000 toward the purchase of prepaid Target, Walmart and Stater Bros purchase cards to be provided to crime victims in emergency situations.
“The district attorney’s office has been using prepaid cards to assist victims of crime since 2003,” Fermin said. “This crisis response tool is used for the immediate needs of crime victims to purchase hygiene products, clothes, diapers, formula and other pressing needs faced by these victims, thus providing for the social services needs of county residents. Approval of this item will allow the district attorney’s office to continue to distribute these prepaid cards as an efficient way to deliver direct services to victims of crime in emergency situations.”
The prepaid cards, in $25 denominations, are available for three stores: Target, Wal-Mart and Stater Bros.
Fermin said, “These stores were selected because they exist in all regions of the county and are the most accessible for victims. Prior to disbursing prepaid cards, victims are required to provide identification and a police report to the district attorney’s office listing them as the victim of the stated crime.”
According to Fermin, “Unclaimed victim restitution money held in trust is the source of funds for the purchase of these prepaid cards. Government Code section 50050 authorizes the county to use these unclaimed monies after a three-year period for the purposes of providing direct victim services. Historically, the district attorney’s office has not disbursed prepaid cards in an amount exceeding $10,000 in a fiscal year. However, the not-to-exceed amount of $25,000 being recommended for 2014-15 allows for any extraordinary and unexpected situations that could arise.”

County Museum Displays To Be Featured In Google’s Street Art Program

(July 8)  The county has entered into an arrangement with Google to have art and other displays inside the San Bernardino County Museum incorporated into the internet search service’s Street View Art Project.
According to Leonard X. Hernandez, the director of the county museum, the deal forged between the county and the research giant clears the way for the county “to participate in the Google Art Project, allowing Google to take 360 degree photographs of the inside of the museum, which will make art, cultural artifacts, and objects at the museum more accessible to a global internet audience. The project provides a platform for cultural institutions to upload and present high resolution images and extensive information about their collections.”
The county tentatively entered into the arrangement with Google on February 11, 2014. The board of supervisors’ action this week set in print a secondary agreement specific to photography.
The agreement covers a two-year term with automatic one year renewal periods until terminated by either party.
The arrangement, Hernandez said, benefits the county “by sharing its cultural artifacts with an online accessible audience of county residents and others. The Google Art Project is an online platform where the public can access high-resolution images of artworks, cultural artifacts and objects. The Google Art Project started within Google in 2010 and had its first public showing in 2011. Initially 17 museums came to allow users to explore collections online from a centralized web site. Since 2011, the Google Art Project has become a large offering within Google – which is part of the Google Cultural Institute. There are over 300
partners in 44 countries who actively contribute to the project, putting up unique items from street art in Sao Paulo, Brazil to some of the most important impressionist paintings and artifacts of our time. The Google Art Team will visit the Museum for one day of planning and coordination, then over a two-day period photograph the county museum with the Street View trolley which provides an interior 360° virtual tour of exhibits and buildings that is uploaded into the Google Cultural Institute Art Project. The Google Art Project is a powerful awareness tool to serve the regional residents and the global audience using high resolution images and extensive information about the museum’s collections, exhibitions and mission. The county museum is hopeful that the Google Art Project will stimulate an interest among a local and worldwide internet audience, who will be motivated to patronize the museum to see first-hand some of the county’s most treasured artifacts and the 5th largest egg collection in the world.”

Chino Voters Support 3 Zone Change Measures

(July 9) With just seven percent of the city of Chino’s 31,789 registered voters participating in Tuesday’s special mail election, three measures that amended the city’s general plan to allow for the rezoning of designated areas to residential use were passed.
The mail balloting was necessitated by 1988’s Measure M passed by Chino’s voters, which prevents the city council from converting the zoning of non-residential land to residential use or otherwise upping the city’s population density without prior voter approval.
Because a handful of landowners wanted their property rezoned to residential for development, they requested the election. Three measures were offered to voters for a decision: Measure H, Measure I and Measure J.
Measure H called for rezoning 11.6 acres south of Schaefer Avenue between Fern Avenue and Euclid Avenue. Measure H was endorsed by both the city council and the planning commission. It passed with 60.3 percent of the vote.
Measure I sought rezoning approval on 9.2 acres at the east side of Central Avenue and north of Francis Avenue.
Measure I received 61.2 percent of the ballots cast.
Measure J proposed rezoning 38.5 acres of former dairyland north of Eucalyptus Avenue between San Antonio and Euclid avenues. It received 59.8 percent.

Early San Bernardino County Supervisors

By Mark Gutglueck
(July 10)  It is of historical note, perhaps, that San Bernardino County’s earliest crop of county supervisors were not particularly long serving in their official capacities. This is perhaps because the early years of San Bernardino County were fraught with several major upheavals, not the least of which was the approaching Civil War.
San Bernardino County came into existence on April 26, 1853 by a legislative act in Sacramento, separating it from Los Angeles County. At the time of its creation, San Bernardino County entailed not only its current confines, the largest county in the lower 48 states, but also what is today Riverside County. which seceded from San Bernardino County in 1893.
Shortly after its creation, in August 1853, San Bernardino County’s First Court of Sessions, headed by county judge D.M. Thomas, divided the county into three townships: Chino, San Salvador and San Bernardino. The Court of Sessions remained as the governing body of the county until the board of supervisors was formed. In 1854, the city of San Bernardino was selected as the county seat in a close and bitterly contested vote.
San Bernardino had been established a few years before as the westernmost outpost of the Mormon exodus westward. The town was dominated by the church, run as much by the edicts of Mormon Leader Brigham Young emanating from Provo, Utah as the judgment of any local elders. At that time, Amasa Lyman was elected mayor of San Bernardino, essentially at the suggestion of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints authorities.
In March 1855 a new California statute made it mandatory for each county to have a board of supervisors of either three or five members. San Bernardino County, despite its immense size – at that time larger than five of the states in New England –  was allotted only three supervisors. An election was ordered for the second Monday in April 1855. The county’s three districts, corresponding roughly to the county’s three townships, had already been established by the county clerk, assessor and surveyor.
Elected in that first election were Daniel Stark in the county’s First District, William Crosby in the county’ Second District and Louis Robidoux in the county’s Third Supervisorial District.
On May 7, 1855 the first attempted meeting of the board of supervisors took place. Only Crosby and Stark were present. Accordingly, they adjourned to Saturday May 12. Only Crosby and Stark were again present so they adjourned again to May 19, at which point Robidoux was yet a no-show. On a motion, Crosby was elected chairman of the board. The board’s first official act was to create a road authority, by which the county was divided into five road districts. The board named personnel to look after each road district.
On May 26, 1855, the first board of supervisors meeting at which all of the members were in attendance was held.
Daniel Stark was born on June 29, 1820 in Windsor, Nova Scotia. At the age of 17, Stark left home to work with his brother in a Boston cabinet factory, completing his apprenticeship in 1842. He joined the Mormon Church in Boston and was ordained an elder on July 23, 1844 by Brigham Young. With his bride, the former Ann Cook, the couple left Boston and accompanied a large party of Mormons sailing by ship around South America to Hawaii and then to San Francisco, arriving there on August 3, 1846. He worked as a cabinet maker and miner in the Bay Area and then acceded to a request by C.C. Rich and the aforementioned Amasa Lyman to invest in the new San Bernardino community. He built a home on a ten acre ranch there and thereafter acquired another 160 acres.
San Bernardino at that time was being rapidly built up by the Mormons living there. One testimony to the steely determination and heartiness of those in the settling party was the road they built running 23 miles up into the San Bernardino Mountains, wide enough for the passage of two horse drawn wagons, all without the benefit of modern machinery.
William Crosby was born on September 19, 1808 in Knox County, Indiana. Succumbing to some proselytizing, he converted to Mormonism and he married Sara Harmon, another member of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church in Monroe County, Kentucky in 1832. He departed on his own to Utah’s Salt Lake Valley on April 6, 1846 and then returned to Kentucky to move his family to Utah in October 1848.
Crosby and his family were among the hundreds of Mormons who sojourned to California at the behest of Brigham Young  in wagon trains led by Amasa Lyman and Charles Rich.  The Mormon Party, which consited of 150 wagons, settled into the 80,000-acre Rancho de San Bernardino on October 1, 1851.
William Crosby was ordained a bishop in the church in San Bernardino. His ecclesiastical duties brought him into close contact with each member of the community.  He purchased part ownership in a sawmill and operated a hotel in San Bernardino.
Louis Robidoux( variant spelling: Rubidoux)  was born near St. Louis, Missouri on July 7, 1796. As a young man he worked as a fur trader. He picked up a fluency in Spanish, French and some Indian dialects as a consequence of his trade and came to Taos, New Mexico in the late 1820s. He married Guadalupe Garcia while there and shortly thereafter, in 1829, obtained Mexican citizenship.  He and Guadalupe had eight children.
As a Mexican citizen, Robidoux  became involved in politics, serving as an election district official in Santa Fe in 1830 and being elected an alderman on the Santa Fe Town Council in 1834. In 1839, he was elected alcalde, i.e., mayor, of Santa Fe. A contemporary esteemed him as being “shrewd, aggressive and an ambitious man of high intellect.”
Robidoux and his family moved to California in 1844, having taken with them his cattle and sheep. They settled at an abode near what is now Riverside. He purchased land and sold it in parcels to others coming to the area. He built the first flour mill in the region. With the onset of the Bear Flag Revolt, Robidoux fought on the side of the Americans and was wounded and captured in a battle near Chino. He was imprisoned and almost executed as a traitor to Mexico, but survived the war and profited by supplying stock and goods to the influx of 49ers during the Gold Rush. He was the only non-Mormon member of the original San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
On August 6, 1855, both Stark and Crosby resigned from the board of supervisors, having been in office, less than five months. They were replaced by Norman Taylor and Charles Rich, respectively, both of whom were hand-picked by the Mormon leadership to take on the county supervisorial positions. Norman Taylor served just 16 months and was replaced by his father, Benjamin. Benjamin Taylor served as supervisor ten months and was replaced by Stark, who once again was approved to serve by the church. In the Second District, Charles Rich lasted as supervisor just a single month, and was replaced by another church designee, William Cox.
Meanwhile, in the Third District, Robidoux’s first term as supervisor lasted until December 1856, at which time he was replaced by Cornelius Jensen. Robidoux would return as supervisor twice more, from September 1857 until October 1858 and from August 1859 until October 1861, alternating in office each time with Jensen.
A major event impacting the stability of San Bernardino County and the longevity of the early members of the board of supervisors in their posts was the contretemps between the Mormon Church and the United States Government. In April 1857, shortly after James Buchanan became president, it appeared that the U.S. Army was marshalling its forces for an attack on Salt Lake City. Later that year, Brigham Young issued a summons for all of the church members in their far flung settlements out west to return to Salt Lake to defend the city and its tabernacle, the church, their families, and their way of life. Like Joseph in the Old Testament who obeyed the command of the Angel of the Lord to kill his own son, many Mormons complied with Young’s edict, renouncing ownership of the homes they had toiled for years to establish, abandoning their settlements and the vast improvements they made. The majority of the San Bernardino Mormon community, though not all of it, returned to Salt Lake City. Despite that abrupt outflex of more than half of its population and more than two thirds of its skilled laborers, artisans and craftsmen, the city – and the county that had grown up around it – survived.