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Fun run turns the mild-mannered into superheroes to help Riverside County communities

Have you ever wanted to don a superhero costume, leap tall buildings, help your community, and be idolized by throngs of admirers? Well, here’s your chance – sort of, without the tall buildings.

Riverside County’s Superhero 5k Run/Walk is set for April 29 in Jurupa Valley at Rancho Jurupa Park. The family friendly event is a way to get a little exercise, support non-profit organizations throughout Riverside County, and have a ton of fun all at the same time.

The run/walk is an annual fundraiser of the County of Riverside Employee Campaign, a 501(c) (3) organization, but the public is invited to attend and participate. Registration fees offset the cost of the event and the remaining proceeds are divided among local non-profits to support programs throughout Riverside County. Each year, county employees voluntarily contribute more than $700,000 dollars to their favorite non-profit organizations through payroll deductions and other coordinated fundraisers.

The event starts and finishes at Rancho Jurupa Park. Registration begins at 7 a.m., with staggered race times starting at 8 a.m., rain or shine. Early-bird pricing is $35 until April 1 and $40 through April 29, or until the maximum of 500 participants is reached. All race participants will receive a limited-edition medal, t-shirt, and bag. Awards will be given for best superhero costume, as well as for the overall male and female winners. Due to a limited number of parking spots inside the park, runners and walkers are encouraged to carpool. Parking will also be available along Crestmore Road.

For more information, visit http://rivco5k.org, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 951-955-3568.

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UC Riverside Gets $5.1 Million to Fight Citrus Killer

Research will focus on attacking Huanglongbing, a disease that is destroying Florida’s citrus industry and threatens California

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A team of scientists, led by a group at the University of California, Riverside, has received a five-year, $5.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fight a disease that is devastating the citrus industry.

The team, led by Caroline Roper, an associate professor of plant pathology, will design and identify bactericides, which are chemicals that kill bacteria, to target Huanglongbing, a bacterial plant disease decimating citrus trees worldwide. They will also focus on better understanding the pathways those bactericides travel inside citrus trees.

Huanglongbing, which has devastated citrus trees in Asia and South America, was detected in Florida in 2005 and has since led to a 75 percent decline in the Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. Fifteen U.S. States or territories are under full or partial quarantine due to the presence of the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect which feeds on citrus trees and – in doing so – transmits Huanglongbing.

Past research has identified the bacterium (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus or CLas) associated with Huanglongbing that is killing citrus trees. But, it has proved difficult to deliver bactericides to the phloem, the part of the citrus tree where the harmful bacteria resides.

The UC Riverside team will analyze phloem transit routes that bactericides take when introduced through common application methods, such as trunk injection or leaf or root applications.

They will also continue to develop a new delivery system for use in field citrus trees. The delivery system targets the branches and petioles, which are the stalk that join a leaf to a stem. The idea is based on previous work that indicates that this is an effective and efficient way to tap into and introduce material into phloem tissue, a tissue that is hard to access.

They will also conduct fluorescent tracer experiments that map phloem transport pathways in citrus and harness that information to predict and test the routes that bactericides take when introduced. This will yield information about the routes bactericides travel when administered through delivery methods used by growers and the branch/petiole feeding technique.

The researchers will develop two classes of bactericides, the first based on mining anti-CLas compounds naturally produced by microbes that inhabit Huanglongbing survivor trees in Florida, and the second based on silver and sulfur nanoparticles.

Finally, the researchers will also undertake an extension and outreach program for citrus growers and non-commercial citrus growers (homeowners and hobbyists). They will also perform an economic cost-benefit analysis for adoption of these treatments in the commercial citrus industry.

In addition to Roper, the following UC Riverside scientists are involved: James Borneman, Philippe Rolshausen, David Jassby, Georgios Vidalakis, and Haizhou Liu. And, the following researchers from other institutions are involved: Robert Turgeon (Cornell University); Katherine Maloney (Point Loma Nazarene University); Pieter Dorrestein (UC San Diego); Greg McCollum (U.S. Department of Agriculture), and Jonathan Kaplan (CA State University, Sacramento).

The grant is one of four given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food (NIFA) and Agriculture to combat Huanglongbing. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

To read press release visit: https://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/44313

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UCR Conference on Big Data in Medicine in the Inland Empire Set for Jan. 14

The past, present and future uses of “big data” and how it can be used to improve health care in inland Southern California and other underserved communities is the theme of the second annual R-Health Conference, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine Education Building.

The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Free parking for attendees will be available in Lot 13.

Founded in 2015 by the UC Riverside School of Medicine Health Management Interest Group, the conference is an opportunity for clinicians, students and healthcare business leaders to network and overcome the challenges facing modern health care.

For more information, please visit: https://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/43307

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Assemblymember Reyes Appointed to Select Committee on the Office of the Attorney General

Sacramento– Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) was appointed to the Assembly Committee on the Office of the Attorney General. The committee was formed by Speaker Anthony Rendon as part of the confirmation process for Attorney General-designate Xavier Becerra.

“I am honored to be appointed to engage in this essential oversight responsibility in the confirmation process for the next Attorney General for the state of California,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “California is the last line of defense against the politics of division emanating from the national level, and the role of our Attorney General will be crucial in protecting the rights of our most vulnerable communities.”

On December 1st, 2016 Governor Jerry Brown announced the nomination of veteran lawmaker, Congressman Xavier Becerra to fill the post vacated by Senator-elect Kamala Harris. Becerra was a deputy attorney general from 1987 to 1990 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992. He is chair of the House Democratic Caucus and member of the Committee on Ways and Means. The legislature is required to confirm Becerra for the post.

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Riverside NAACP Hosts 46th Annual Vet Recognition Luncheon

William "Bill" Howe, Lt Col, USAF, (ret), Master of Ceremonies.

Pictured: Andy Melendrez, Member, Riverside City Council, presented a Certificate of Commendation to Riverside NAACP. President, Woodie Rucker-Hughes and Lt Col Howe .

Attorney William "Bill" Kennedy, Cpl, USArmy, introduced 'Special Guest Speaker-1', WWll Veteran, & POW, USArmy Cpl, James Gobel.

Lt Col Howe introduced 'Special Guest Speaker-2', WWII Veteran, & POW, USAAC, Tuskegee Airman, 1st Lt,Thurston Gaines.

Members, NAACP Veterans Affairs Committee: Franklin Benjamin, USMC, CWO4, (ret), Frances Lucas, USAF, Lt Col, (ret), Michael Seay, USArmy, Capt, (ret), Ellis Frank Lilly, USArmy, CSM, (ret), Bill Howe, USAF, Lt Col, (ret), William Farmer, USMC, Sgt, (ret). (et-al).

USMC Sgt, William Farmer plays the ceremonial/memorial 'call' TAPS , during which all service members (able), stand at 'attention'.

Photo credits: John Coleman

The Riverside Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(s) celebrated it's 46th Annual Anderson Copeland Memorial Veterans Recognition Luncheon, Veterans Day/Armistice Day, Friday November 11th.

To accommodate the increasing attendance, the event was relocated from the facilities of the Kansas Avenue Seventh Day Adventist Church to the auditorium, John W North High School, Riverside.

Waudieur "Woody" Rucker-Hughes, President, NAACP Riverside Branch offered the Welcome and introduced the Master of Ceremonies.

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Riverside County reaches milestone in housing homeless veterans

Riverside County has become the nation’s first large county to meet “functional zero,” a federal benchmark for making permanent housing available for all homeless veterans who seek assistance from the county.

The Board of Supervisors established the Veteran Assistance Leadership of Riverside County (VALOR) initiative in June 2013 to find permanent housing for every homeless veteran in Riverside County. Together, the Housing Authority division of the county Economic Development Agency, the Department of Public Social Services, Riverside University Health System, Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, and Veterans’ Services partnered with housing providers, cities, law enforcement agencies and community agencies toward the goal of helping all homeless veterans get off the streets.

Since VALOR’s inception, more than 1,100 homeless veterans have been placed into permanent housing, including 582 veterans housed since January 2015, when Riverside County launched the federal Zero 2016 initiative.

Air Force veteran Michelle Steckel, who once was homeless and struggled with alcohol addiction, now helps connect homeless veterans with services for housing support, behavioral health and substance abuse. Steckel said some veterans are unaware of the available services and that education is key.

“I am now giving back to Riverside what it has given to me,” Steckel said.

Reaching the federal benchmark of “functional zero” requires a well-coordinated and efficient system that ensures homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring, and that all veterans have access to the resources they need to move quickly to permanent housing. Although some individual veterans and their families still will become homeless or return to homelessness, a housing-crisis response system is in place to quickly identify and link them immediately with resources to help them maintain permanent housing.

“‘Functional zero’ means the county has the resources and response systems in place to ensure any veteran who is homeless or is at risk of becoming homeless will get timely help and support,” said Lynne Brockmeier, manager of Riverside University Health System – Behavioral Health Housing Crisis Response Team. “We have achieved this milestone and we plan to file for that official federal recognition later this month.”

Damien O’Farrell, chief executive officer of Path of Life Ministries, said participants have focused on the “yes” of opening doors rather than concentrating on obstacles. The Riverside-based ministry operates housing programs that provided shelter beds, bridge housing, behavioral health support and outreach services to chronically homeless veterans.

“The outreach staff within our housing teams have been on the frontlines,” O’Farrell said “It’s been really rewarding and fun to see systems start to change.”

District 4 Supervisor John J. Benoit, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said it is gratifying to help struggling veterans who are homeless. And while many still will need social services and behavioral-health support, the system to help is now in place.

“We are determined to be here for them as a safety net, just as they were there for our nation when they answered the call to serve in the Armed Forces,” Benoit said.

Veterans in need of housing assistance may call 1-877-424-3838 or 1-877-4AIDVET

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UCR reaches records for enrollment, new hires

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – Official numbers for Fall 2016 enrollment at the University of California, Riverside are in, and indicated record numbers for both fall enrollment, and the number of new students.

The growth on campus is palpable, with 22,921 total students, 19,799 of whom are undergraduates. There are 6,592 new students, including freshmen and transfer students.

Also, the university hired a record number of new faculty members – 132 – for the fall semester.

“It’s truly an exciting time at UCR,” said Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox. “Growth doesn’t come without it’s challenges, but I’m inspired by the effort across campus to make a UCR education available to more and more deserving students.”

UCR remains one of the most diverse universities in the nation, with more than 85 percent of its students non-white. More than 37 percent of UCR students are Hispanic or Latino; 30.9 percent are Asian.

Of the total campus enrollment, 11,472 are first-generation college students.

The faculty hires represent almost half of Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox’s stated goal of hiring 300 new faculty by 2020.

For more facts about the fall 2016 UCR student population, visit www.ucr.edu/about/facts.html

For information on the faculty hires, visit https://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/41311

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New Mental Health Urgent Care Opens Doors To Adults In Crisis

PALM SPRINGS, Ca. -- A mental health urgent care opened its doors on Thursday to begin providing around-the-clock assessment, psychiatric support, medication management and customized services to adults who are voluntarily seeking assistance in crisis situations.

Desert Crisis Walk-In Center is located in a remodeled storefront at 2500 North Palm Canyon Drive, Suite A4, Palm Springs. The center will remain open 24 hours a day throughout the year. RI, International, a private provider of behavioral health programs, is operating the center under a contract with Riverside University Health System (RUHS).

Guests may walk in to the urgent care at any time of the day or night. Guests also may be referred to the walk-in center by mobile crisis teams or law enforcement for crisis and assessment services. All visits and stays are voluntary. Length of stays cannot exceed 23 hours.

During that time, guests will participate in the development of individualized care plans that include recovery education, peer-to-peer support, mental health services, nutritional counseling, coordination and referral to community-based services.

Steve Steinberg, the director of RUHS Behavioral Health, said the center will help relieve pressure on local emergency departments that get overwhelmed by individuals brought in by law enforcement on involuntary psychiatric admissions known as a 5150.

“Our goal is to provide timely support before a situation becomes so volatile that people are involuntarily held in hospital emergency rooms,” Steinberg said. “We are providing an environment and a level of services that engage people in their recovery.”

Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit, whose district includes the Coachella Valley, said he is working closely with RUHS - Behavioral Health and other stakeholders to implement an array of solutions that will meet the mental health needs of residents and communities throughout eastern Riverside County.

“This is an important piece of a large puzzle,” Benoit said of the urgent care. “It’s the kind of program we want to see replicated as we fill other gaps in our mental health services.”

Telecare Riverside County Psychiatric Health Facility in Indio provides round the clock emergency services for adults and youth experiencing crisis related to a mental health condition. RI, International operates a mental health urgent care in Riverside.

Peggy Wiley, administrator at the crisis walk-in center in Palm Springs, said the relaxing atmosphere and the peer-to-peer support are an important component of the program. Guests may have visitors and use the phone during their stay.

“Our site quite often is the appropriate alternative to holding people involuntarily in an emergency room,” Wiley said. “It’s a location that promotes healing and individual participation.”

For more information visit www.ruhealth.org.

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Farmers Market Set To Go And Grow At Medical Center Campus

Just in time for peak summer produce, a new weekly farmers market will open Thursday, Aug. 18, on the campus of RUHS Medical Center in Moreno Valley.

“Local residents, employees and campus guests will find locally grown fruits and vegetables in a beautiful environment,” said Judi Nightingale, DrPH, director of population health for Riverside County. “We are leading the way to health. A nutritious diet is an important part of that journey in every community.”

Nightingale said she expects the farmers market to flourish in coming months as activities that promote health and wellness are added and new vendors set up shop.

Farmers Market hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Thursday, rain or shine, except holidays. Located steps from the Cactus Avenue entrance of the medical center, vendor tents will be set-up in the courtyard between the medical center and the education building, on the west side of the campus. Vendors will be selling fresh flowers, stone fruit, grapes, berries, citrus, eggs, leafy greens, tomatoes, Mediterranean foodstuffs and baked goods. Cash, credit cards and WIC will be accepted. In coming months, Cal Fresh EBT also will be accepted. Live music will play and free samples will be offered opening day.

“The increasing number of farmers markets in the region reflects growing consumer interest in locally grown food,” said Oscar De Leon, farmers market manager. “Supporting local producers helps ensure farmers are paid a fair wage for their labor and strengthens the region’s food system.”

Vendors at the RUHS Farmers Market are certified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which verifies the produce being sold is high quality, locally sourced and meets regulatory standards. Studies have shown farmers markets boost local economies as a higher percentage of dollars remain within the regional economy in contrast to purchases made at large chain supermarkets.

“This is an important endeavor to promote healthy eating habits while supporting family farmers and expanding community engagement,” said Riverside County 5th District Supervisor Marion Ashley, whose own family history is deeply rooted in local farming. “It is exciting to see a renewed appreciation for our farmers.”

The farmers market is sponsored by Riverside University Health System and County of Riverside Culture of Health. For more information, please visit www.RUHealth.org/FarmersMarket.

About Riverside University Health System – Medical Center: Founded in 1893, the medical center provides exceptional care in specialties such as pediatrics, obstetrics and psychiatry, and in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis C. The 439-bed hospital is a Level II Trauma Center, the only Pediatric ICU in Riverside County and a designated Primary Stroke Center. It also is a teaching hospital with training programs for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals.

More info: http://ruhealth.org.

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UC Riverside Awarded $1.1 Million to Help Underserved Students

UCR’s TRIO program receives a five-year Student Support Services grant

RIVERSIDE,Calif.(www.ucr.edu) — The University of California, Riverside will continue to help underserved students succeed in college with the assistance of a $1.1 million Student Support Services grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This is the second time UCR has been awarded this competitive grant, which will disbursed over the next five years.

The Student Support Services (SSS) grant, known as the TRIO Scholars Program at UCR, is a federally funded grant program which provides outreach and services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, low income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with physical or learning disabilities. The program goals are to improve retention and graduation rates.

“For me,” said participant Arlene Padilla, “TRIO means having a support system that also serves as a second family on campus. They provide such great services that have made my college experience that much more enjoyable and hassle free.”

TRIO Programs include Upward Bound Programs, and an Educational Talent Search Program .

TRIO Programs include Upward Bound Programs, and an Educational Talent Search Program .

The TRIO Scholars program offers 140 participants a year academic, social, personal, and career advising and support, from program entry until graduation. Participants can access priority registration, a computer workstation, printing, workshops, academic advising, career counseling, information about financial aid and financial literacy, leadership development, and other resources.

Alicia Velazquez, executive director of the Educational and Community Outreach Programs at UC Riverside, was grateful for the renewed funding. “Having the Student Support Services (TRIO Scholars Program) grant on campus is a real honor. I look forward to continuing to provide supplemental services to 140 UCR students,” she said.

Brighitte Preciado, director of the SSS TRIO Scholars Program, sees it as an opportunity to impact many more lives in direct, meaningful ways. “Beyond the tangible benefits,” she said, “my hope for our TRIO Scholars is that they will develop a sense of community and find a strong support system. I am excited to be able to support UCR students through their collegiate journeys with the help of this grant.”

Student voices echo the importance of the academic and social support. “TRIO is an opportunity – a space for personal, academic, and social growth,” said participant Tevin Bui. “It offers resources to support their students and a sense of community that facilitates their growth. To its present and former scholars, TRIO is and will always be our home away from home.”

The TRIO Scholars Program is open to eligible undergraduate students in all levels. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students interested in applying may obtain and submit an application at the TRIO Scholars Office, HUB 261. For more information, interested students can call (951) 827-6195.

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