May 28, 2012 Leave a comment
May 24, 2012 Leave a comment
A 2010 Pew Center on the States report showed that one of every five children under the age of 18 in America live without dental care every year. The statistic is even higher in California, where one in four children under age 11 have never seen a dentist.
But that is about to change for students in the Lemon Grove School District with a free oral health clinic operated by UCSD on the campus of the new Lemon Grove Academy for the Sciences and Humanities.
The governing board approved two addendums Tuesday night that expand its partnership with UCSD, which has run a free health clinic at Golden Avenue Elementary School since 2011.
The dental clinic is funded by the School Based Comprehensive Oral Health Services Grant Program. It will initially provide free dental services to students and families at the academy or Golden Avenue School, but has the option to expand services to families at other schools in the district in the future.
Dr. Gina Potter, assistant superintendent of business services, said the partnership with UCSD has been very successful so far and the addition of dental services is highly needed for the children of the district.
“I am very excited about extending this project,” she said. “I believe we are one of the only school districts in the country to have a dental clinic on site.”
Superintendent Ernie Anastos said the board’s approval is an opportunity to continue to provide health and dental services through June 2017. He said along with the grant, funding and equipment would be provided by UCSD.
“The addendum also allows for a wider range of potential family and students in the district to be served,” he said. “Originally just set up for the community at Golden Avenue Elementary this leaves services open for other schools in our district. That opens this to the entire Lemon Grove community.”
Trustee Blanca Brown said she is thankful for the staff who went through the long process of putting together a program to benefit the children of the district.
“I know it has taken a long time, but if these are the results that serve more of the community members as a whole, this piggyback of services is a benefit well worked on,” she said.
With a projected funding of about $200,000 per year, the program provides for a director to oversee the development of the dental clinic; an assistant director to supervise data collection and interpretation, and a dental clinic administrative assistant; and procurement of equipment and supplies. A second dentist and dental hygienist are included to launch the new program.
In addition to providing a healthier outlook, work at the clinic also has an eye on the future—UCSD and the district are to establish a learning program to teach students about careers and educational opportunities in the dental and medical fields.
May 22, 2012 Leave a comment
By: Albert H. Fulcher/ Senior Staff Writer
Published: Monday, May 21st, 2012 at 8:12 pm
It is a metaphor that is too obvious to miss. Angelina Stuart is a quilter, just ask all the people she has stiched together.
Painstakingly, stitch by stitch, she pulls together a panoply of colorful and textured fabric patches into patterns, creating striking quilts that become a treasure for their owners. She has done the same thing at Southwestern College, quilting together scattered fragments of SWC in the midst of dysfunctional leadership, accreditation battles and rebuilding the structure of an ailing educational institution.
People from around the state noticed. Stuart was recently awarded the Norbert Bischof Memorial Faculty Freedom Fighter Scholarship from her peers at the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges (ASCCC). Beth Smith, president of the Academic Senate Foundation for California Community Colleges, said this prestigious award is not given every year, only when there is someone truly worthy.
“(Stuart) was nominated by three different members of the executive committee and a unanimous vote occurred,” said Smith. “Each of them knew Angie from a different perspective and saw different talents she utilized in her role as a teacher and academic senate president. Her students are very lucky to have her and faculty the same. What she accomplishes with her students and colleagues works in every way possible.”
Stuart said that she had no idea when she began her role as SWC Academic Senate president in 2010 that it would take her through the trials of corrupt college leadership that led to a war-like relationship with a belligerent superintendent, an accreditation crisis, a revolution at the ballot box and a rebuilding process that required enormous vision, energy and patience.
During the tumultuous administration of Raj Chopra the college was in the national spotlight for incompetence, corruption and civil rights violations. Stuart said a friend in the ASCCC gave her advice that she took to heart.
“In a conversation with Jane Patton she told me, ‘You have to pick your battles,’” said Stuart. “I said to her, ‘I think my battle is the 10 Plus 1.’ Jane told me it was a great hill to die on.”
She said she based her leadership on the rights faculty have by law under California shared governance statutes that determine to help lead the college.
“It really helped guide me in my decisions,” she said. “Our district had never really looked at the 10 Plus 1, and so I kind of pushed the envelope, not by myself but with all faculty, we held out for what was right by law.”
The Academic Senate’s primary function is to make recommendations with respect to academic and professional matters and promoting shared consultation in the college’s process and procedures.
“I don’t think anyone could have foreseen what happened,” said Stuart. “Four years ago I had no clue we were going to go through what we went through.”
After resignation of Chopra and the selection of Denise Whittaker as interim-superintendent, Stuart said she is extremely happy with what the college did to restore its accreditation after nearly losing it.
“I am probably proudest of being part of that whole accreditation push,” said Stuart. “I think it is a new era for our faculty, the college and prioritization. It is not silos anymore, it is good. There is fresh air and the walls are down.”
She said it is the result of support and unity from the students faculty, classified and administrators to elect a new board and find a new superintendent.
“We were able to do it,” she said.
Linda Hensley, director of institutional research, planning and grants, said Stuart is a unique leader due to her collaborative nature and her compassion for her students and the college.
“I do not think anybody knows how hard she worked,” she said. “She did it for SWC, not herself.”
Hensley said Stuart endlessly labored during the summer, on weekends, late nights and early mornings. She said her ability to listen to and respect those she works with, her flexibility and responsiveness makes Stuart a great decision maker.
“We were extremely lucky to have had her during this period of time,” she said. “She repeatedly demonstrated her abilities to articulate and assert the opinion of the whole of the academic senate.”
Stuart said being part of shared consultation has been a revelation and taken away the chaos of the past. With the hiring of Superintendent Dr. Melinda Nish, she said she is very happy to see the college continuing in the right direction.
“I think Melinda is keeping true to shared governance and I am happy to see that she is giving the due diligence to the academic senate and the items that pertain to the 10 Plus 1,” said Stuart. “To me that is very telling, because if you have someone that dismisses them or chooses to ignore them or push them aside, that is not shared governance.”
Stuart said though she is honored, she is a bit embarrassed because the award only went to her and it is really about her team of colleagues.
“I couldn’t do what I did by myself,” she said. “Who am I? My philosophy is that your friends, team that you work with—they half the troubles, and double the joy. They shared that burden, they helped me, and when it is time to celebrate, they double it.”
When ASCCC Vice President Julie Adams, contacted Stuart, she said she thought it was a local or regional event and was shocked to find out about the award.
“To me it took on greater meaning once I read it was named after the founder. I had done the right thing,” she said.
Hired in 1990, Stuart teaches Spanish and English as a Second Language. Her term as academic senate president ends and she said she gets to go back to being a “regular faculty member” June 1 after six years as an Academic Senate Executive.
“I love what I do here,” she said. “I am looking forward to going back to teaching in the fall. I really miss my students.”
Time for a new quilt and time to admire some past masterpieces.
May 18, 2012 Leave a comment
By: Albert Fulcher, A Perspective
Published: Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 9:13 pm
Vincent Van Gogh sold one piece of art in his lifetime. Critics called his free style of painting with vivid colors “undeveloped” and “intangible.” Jackson Pollock fearlessly defied the norm with his emotionally-charged layering of abstract strings and splashes, laying canvases on the floor and using household items as media.
Critics during the lifetimes of Van Gogh and Pollock prophesized the death of traditional painting and said their work defiled the art world, but they were wrong. Upon reflection that revolutionary pair are now considered pioneers of great art.
Naysayers who have condemned print newspapers to death are as premature and out of touch as the early critics of Van Gogh and Pollock. There remains a large consumer demand for print and ample evidence that daily and weekly community newspapers have many miles to go before they sleep. Print is not on its deathbed, it is evolving to today’s economic realities.
Print is weaved through America’s history like the stars on Betsy Ross’ flag. Since their introduction in 1690, newspapers have been the voice of America through revolution, war, peace, triumph and tragedy. Today, as through the centuries, newspapers are America’s most trusted and complete source of information.
Since the early 2000s, the newspaper industry has suffered through layoffs, bankruptcies and recession. Loss of advertising revenue, increased production and distribution costs, and the explosion of the Internet looked insurmountable. Pernicious Craigslist caused classified ads income to evaporate. Newspapers seemed to be on life support.
Like feisty Mark Twain, however, reports of newspapers’ demise seem greatly exaggerated.
“Still, even in an age of 24/7 cable news and thousands of websites, newspapers maintain their status as the best source for in-depth and investigative news coverage,” wrote Tony Rogers, of theAbout.com Guide to Journalism.
In March 2009, 24/7 Wall St. predicted the collapse of 10 major newspapers, giving eight of them an 18-month life span. After three years, however, all of these “doomed” newspapers remain in full operation.
A Congressional Research Service report indicated that since 2000 America has lost less than one percent of its 1,400 daily newspapers. Analysts concluded that smaller daily and community papers with circulations less than 50,000 remain profitable and better positioned with readers and advertisers than larger dailies.
“As old-style, print newspapers decline, new journalism startups are developing around the country, aided by the low entry costs on the Internet,” the report read. “The emerging ventures hold promise but do not yet have the experience, resources, and reach of shrinking mainstream newspapers.”
Of 16 specific local topics studied in a 2011 Pew Research Center Report, newspapers ranked or tied as the most reliable source for news in 11 categories.
“This dependence on newspapers for so many local topics sets it apart from all other sources of local news. The Internet, which was cited as the most relied upon source for five of the 16 topics, was distant second to newspapers in terms of widespread use and value.”
A 2010 Pew report saw improvement in profits, but the industry still faces declining revenues and has not found reliable sources to replace advertising. Some members of Congress are wondering if newspaper insolvency poses a public threat warranting federal action. Corrective measures could include tax breaks, relaxing antitrust policy, tightening copyright law, general support for the practice of journalism and helping newspapers transition into nonprofit organizations.
Evolution can be a painful process in a world where technology is almost running amuck. Time Magazine, “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life” reported, “Each day, the average American spends about 12 hours consuming information, taking on more than 100,000 words that total 34 gigabytes of data.”
Watchdog journalism and important local news reporting are critical to America’s civic health, and newspapers are migrating in that direction. Papers are experimenting with alternative sources of revenue. Many local papers rely on legal advertising revenue and have closer relationships with local businesses. QR codes can be embedded in ads. This is an open market revenue stream with possibilities of more ads using less space. Collaborating with radio, television and online outlets can bring business-to-business revenue used extensively in the Internet world.
It is time to think outside the box because the box is already gone. The future of print, like Van Gogh and Pollock, looks better with time.
May 11, 2012 Leave a comment
A portion of the project’s funding came from the city’s now dissolved redevelopment agency. A final vote will take place at a May 16 meeting.
Situated in the city’s northeast corner on the edge of the Bayshore Bikeway, the Bikeway Village would convert two warehouses into a 42,000 square foot property that may include a coffee shop, other commercial properties and a hostel.
Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolultion that approves the project’s design and site plan reviews as well as steps deemed necessary to mitigate the project’s environmental impact.
Another ordinance will be decided on next week to approve the creation of an ecotourism commercial/recreation zone for the project to operate within.
Property owner Rex Butler will invest about $4.5 million in project, he said, and the city may invest up to $1.8 million from remaining redevelopment agency funds, said Finance Department director Michael McGrane.
Whether that money goes toward the Bikeway Village depends heavily on Sacramento defining vague portions of AB26, the bill that dissolved redevelopment agencies Feb. 1, McGrane said.
Once council approves the project it will then need a thumbs up from the California Coastal Commission.
City Planner Jim Nakagawa said he hopes to get the commission’s approval at a meeting in San Diego in October and break ground within a year.
Mayor Jim Janney instructed city staff to “engage with the Coastal Commission” and that the city needs to “campaign” on investor’s behalf to attract more businesses to the area in the future.
“The only way Imperial Beach is going to move forward is to be proactive in helping private business to move forward. We are going to make life easy and accommodate people that want to invest their own money in our town,” Janney said.
“We cannot be waiting for somebody else to tell us what to do. We are going to have to ask, we are going to plea. We will campaign for things that we think the city needs to make it better.”
Steps deemed necessary to take to offset the project’s environmental impact were also discussed.
“There were some chemicals found through testing, on the northern part of the airport parcel, running along the Bayshore Bikeway which sits on the old railroad tracks of the San Diego/Arizona Railway Company,” Nakagawa said.
“We believe those chemicals were used to preserve the old railroad ties that are now proved hazardous. During soil disturbance, if these chemicals are found, it must be removed.”
Other steps necessary to diminish the project’s impact include noise impacts for local wildlife and birds, and an archeology expert will be needed since Native American artifacts have been discovered in the area.
Both ordinances, the site’s design and plans, an environmental impact study and steps deemed necessary to curb the project’s environmental impact are incldued in the attached agenda packet in agenda item 3.2.
A list of 32 conditions of approval are also included.
Public comment on the matter at the meeting came from one City of San Diego resident who voiced support for the Bikeway Village.
May 9, 2012 Leave a comment
With a budget deficit looming, trustees take action to lay off teachers.
Facing an expected $4.3 million budget gap, the governing board of the Lemon Grove School District voted 4-1 to lay off nine teachers. The action comes after voting April 24 to cut 30 classified employees.
Glenn Heath, director of human resources, said the cuts were reviewed by an administrative law judge who looks at all of the employees’ records to ensure the district has made appropriate selections. He said the district asked the judge to skip some employees on a seniority list because of their specialized credentials.
“The judge agreed with us,” Heath said. “We had to give notice to 23 people because we were not sure if the judge would allow us to skip certain people.”
Pierre Finney, president of the Lemon Grove Teachers Association (LGTA), said this year there was no reduction in class size and classes had a high student-to-teacher ratio. Currently there are a dozen kindergarten classes with 29 to 32 students per class, and 15 fourth- and fifth-grade classes with 31 to 38 students per class, she said.
Finney said the K-8 district functioned with 125 teachers this year, and that 119 teachers were required to open the new Lemon Grove Academy for the Sciences and Humanities in September.
With the opening of the new STEM school, teachers are expecting the student population to increase or stay at the same level, she said.
“It’s a lose-lose situation,” she said. “The children lose out on getting the best-quality education from experienced teachers here in our district. After five years of riffs, increased workload, decrease in pay—the climate has changed. People are discouraged and beaten down. Moral is not good.”
Trustee Blanca Brown voted against the resolution, saying she does not know what the options are in the ongoing negotiations with the LGTA.
“Yes, I have to assist with balancing the budget this evening,” she said. “At the same time, I am not going to give up on the negotiations that can take place right now.”
Heath said the district and LGTA might be able to save jobs before summer through negotiations.
“Those people that are permanent and probationary and now laid off, go on a 39-month rehire list in seniority order,” said Heath. ”We hire those people back first.”
May 7, 2012 Leave a comment
Sport Park employees laid off, reduction in hours and an increase of fees part of city’s plan in reducing imminent $327,000 budget gap.
A rollerskating night may be held in the gym once a month, baseball and softball leagues may be charged for lighting and near half of staff have already been eliminated.
Since April, the Sports Park and Recreation Center has eliminated five out of 11 employee positions, reduced operating hours from 51 hours a week to 40 and the city terminated the Sports Park maintenance contract.
The Sports Park and Recreation Center is no longer open Saturdays. At one point there was even talk to hand control of the Sports Park and Recreation Center back to the Boys & Girls Club who managed the property in the 1990s.
Since city staff open and close the skate park, hours changes at the Sports Park and Recreation Center will not impact the Imperial Beach Skate Park.
Combined, extra steps presented to City Council May 2 could save the city near $100,000, said director Jim Coates.
City Council took no action on the proposed fee increases. A hearing requesting public comment and final decisions will be scheduled for June.
Other ideas proposed to generate revenue include an increase in usage fees, additional after school programs and increase café sales. Rental of audio equipment and possible advertisement space and sponsorships of the park were also recommended.
Proposed fee increases will be based on a comparison of similar facilities in South San Diego and Chula Vista.
City staff estimates an annual increase of more than $35,000 in increased fee revenue for usage of the gym, music room or BBQ and picnic table rentals and expansion of the Café’s menu.
Combined with the money saved from cuts, the city could be $135,585 closer to closing its immediate $327,000 fiscal year shortfall.
City Manager Gary Brown said the projected numbers in fee increases are conservatively estimated by last year’s facility usage and other revenue generating ideas.
Sports Park and Recreation Center Director Jim Coates said park facilities are operating smoothly and its closure on Saturdays is an easy transition.
He said Saturdays are high competition between the Café and league snack bars and parking and the most of the park’s clientele are Monday through Friday.
“It leaves the park open for those that pay to play little league or softball and the picnic shelters,” Coates said.
Mayor Jim Janney said it is now up to council to look at the proposed fee increases and possible revenue streams recommended by staff.
“I think that the reductions that you are doing is a no brainer,” Janney said.” We had no choice but to do that.”
Councilwoman Lorie Bragg said she is most interested in the revenue enhancing ideas.
She said exploring advertising revenue streams, seeking corporate sponsors, renting facilities and fundraising ideas were innovative and had great potential for generating revenue.
She asked if city staff contacted to YMCA to run the programs and Brown said they were exploring the possibility at this time.
“I would like to throw a couple more ideas in there,” she said. “A 5K run and an e-waste recycling event. [The] National City Chamber of Commerce did that and raised more than $4,000 in an afternoon.”
Janney said he is continuing discussions with the Navy to utilize the facilities for personnel from Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach at times when students are not using the facilities.
Brown said the goal is to have the fee increases in place at the beginning of the new fiscal year July 1.
For a complete list of proposed fee increases, see Item 6.3 in the attached City Council agenda packet.