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    State of San Bernardino County: Collaborating, thinking big are keys to a bright future
    February 26, 2014
    By Joe Nelson, The Sun
    02/26/14, 8:07 PM PST

    ONTARIO  People will need to think bigger and collaborate more to help San Bernardino County meet its future economic, educational and quality-of-life goals, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Janice Rutherford told more than 1,000 people at Wednesday evening’s State of the County event at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

    “My challenge to you tonight is to think bigger than getting a job. That’s not going to be enough to sustain future development,” Rutherford said.

    She said the county needs to usher in a new era of entrepreneurship, the kind that saw Jack Brown’s success with Stater Bros. Markets, Jack Dangermond founding Esri in Redlands and the Lewis family responsible for residential and commercial developments across the Inland Empire.

    It’s that same kind of entrepreneurial spirit seed that needs to be planted in the county’s youth so it sprouts and grows into something great, Rutherford said.

    “Our young people can do better and aspire higher, and they will do it because you people in this room will go out there and encourage them to do it,” she said.

    The annual State of the County event is the county’s largest networking event geared toward fostering relationships among the county’s civic, business and educational leaders.

    In 2010, the Countywide Vision, a 20-year strategy plan to increase the quality of life and economic climate in the county through collaborative efforts, was implemented.

    Rutherford told a story of San Bernardino County in numbers, laying out a few facts. Among them:

    • The recent opening of the expanded Adelanto Detention Center will make the county’s jail operation one of the largest in the nation.
    • The Public Health Department administered 15,171 immunizations last year.
    • The emergency room at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton had 150,000 visits last year, making it one of the three busiest ERs in the nation.

    The county has also stepped up its involvement with nonprofit agencies, and on May 8 will launch its first 24-hour web-a-thon, Give Big San Bernardino County, modeled after one in Riverside that proved successful.

    “As nonprofits flourish, the quality of life in our county flourishes,” Rutherford said.

    A video presentation centered around the Countywide Vision theme, stressing the importance of the continual push for creating job and educational opportunities.

    Poet David Bowden concluded the evening’s event with a spoken word performance tailored specifically for State of the County. The words fly by fast, but some, those that captured the event’s essence, stuck.

    “What good is one without its partners/the seed left alone remains unharvested./What could be made alive left to die,” said Bowden. “When we separate anyone of these as more prominent or important, we are missing the force for truth. So let us come together to cultivate tomorrow’s ecology.”
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