Monday, May 18, 2009

{The Sun 5/17/2009}

Grand Terrace Little League loses fields
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer

GRAND TERRACE - The city is working to help Grand Terrace Little League build its field of dreams.
League officials are scrambling for places to play because the Colton Joint Unified School District is taking two of their three fields at Pico Park to build a new high school.
The fields are on a L-shaped parcel that the city sold to the district in 2006 for the high school.
The 67-acre campus, called Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex, is slated to open in fall 2011 at the corner of Pico and Taylor streets.
District officials told the league they need to start moving dirt next week in preparation for construction of the school.
"They are fencing us off on Tuesday," said Russ Sulzmann, the league's softball representative. "We knew we were going to lose the fields, but we didn't know we would lose them halfway through our season."
The league's season ends in mid-June, he said.
Jaime Ayala, the district's assistant superintendent for business services, said the district let the league hang on to the fields as long as possible.
"It's an unfortunate situation," Ayala said. "I can imagine how those poor kids feel. But construction has to happen like clockwork or we're going to lose our two-year building schedule." The league, which serves about 350 boys and girls ages 6 and 14, moved some of its games to Loma Linda because of the field situation.
The older boys division is also traveling to Rialto, Colton and other cities for games.
City officials are working with the league to find a solution.
The city owns adjacent vacant property north of the park that it could let the league use on a temporary basis, officials said. The city is hoping to eventually use the land for part of the so-called Grand Crossings retail and residential project.
Acting City Manager Steve Berry said the city has park funds that could be used to help the league put in grass, an irrigation system and backstops on the property.
"We're working diligently with the Little League to help them out on this," Mayor Maryetta Ferre said. "It's a problem that needs to be solved."
The city has a joint-use agreement with the district to share field space once the high school opens.
But Ayala said playing fields for high school baseball have different dimensions than Little League fields.
"If there's anything we can do to assist in that area, we will," Ayala said. "To say the district will provide Little League fields, I don't see that happening."
Sulzmann said he is worried that many parents will drop out of the league next year if there aren't enough fields.
"It will be a sad thing," Sulzmann said. "We don't want to see Grand Terrace Little League go bye-bye."

{Construction update}

This morning I drove by the GTHS site to see what was going on. I decided to take some pictures to give you an idea.
Here they are tearing down one of the last two metal buildings that are still standing. These are located on Main Street.

This is on Main street where the lumber used to be stored.
Another picture further down Main St. Today they were rolling up the old fences from the lumber yard.
We saw this coyote as we were driving down Taylor Street. He didn't seem to mind us or the big back hoe that was digging about 50 feet in front of him on Pico Street.
Here is the back hoe taking out the different trees along what used to be Pico Street.
Below is a tractor clearing debris of what used to be the building that held the offices for the lumber company.
Whats left of the lumber company building.
Its exciting to see the progress that is being made. Every day they are working on something new. Grand Terrace High School has been a long time coming so to finally see construction makes it finally seem real.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

{Terrace View Elementary}

Attention Parents:

Terrace View Elementary did not fulfill there hours needed for the year so the school will need to remain in Session an extra 7 days. That means that the last day of school will be Monday, June 29th. We have not heard any official word form the principal as of yet but we should be hearing something soon. I talked to a school board member who did confirm this information. This only affects Terrace View Elementary.

If you have any questions please call the principal Dr. Adeyemo at 876-4266.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

School-Naming Turmoil Ends

For a while, it looked like the Colton school board was going to dig in its heels on naming the future high school in Grand Terrace after a former school board member instead of the city that will be its home.
The March 12 decision to name it "Ray Abril Jr. High School" stirred up lots of resentment among the vast majority of residents who wanted the long-awaited high school to be named Grand Terrace High.
Board member Robert Armenta Jr., who was the most vocal advocate of naming it after retired board member Abril, at one point said he wouldn't be bullied or intimidated into backing down.
But this week, Armenta acknowledged the widespread outcry against the name caught him by surprise and ultimately made him change his mind.
Last week, in a specially convened meeting, four board members did the right thing. They voted to change the school's name from "Ray Abril Jr. High School" to "Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril, Jr., Educational Complex." Cumbersome? Yes. But it satisfied both factions.
Three board members were absent, but one sent a message of support for the retooled name.
The compromise resolved seven weeks of turmoil for the district and its community.
From the moment the board voted to name the future high school after Abril, residents of Grand Terrace pleaded, petitioned and threatened the school board to reconsider.
Former board member Tobin Brinker, now a San Bernardino councilman, suggested students might "opt out" of state performance testing that helps determine school funding. Talk about playing hardball.
Under unrelenting pressure, the board agreed on April 23 to consider a compromise: "Grand Terrace High School, honoring Ray Abril." But the compromise died when the board deadlocked on a 3-3 vote.
Amanda Betten, whose group championed the Grand Terrace High name, said she had gone into that meeting believing Armenta would support the compromise.
But Armenta told me he had realized the compromise didn't fit the purpose of honoring Abril's 28 years on the board.
Naming a facility after Abril was a personal mission for Armenta.
Abril was a mentor as Armenta grew up attending Colton schools. Abril regularly attended PTA meetings and parent nights, Armenta said, and always asked him how he was doing in school and encouraged him to go to college.
Having a Latino role model inspired him, he said, and he wanted Abril's name to be a lasting inspiration for future students.
Armenta said he couldn't be at peace with himself until he came up with the right name. On April 29, the board chose the new title, honoring the city and Abril.
Armenta called it a win-win.
Betten agreed, saying it was wonderful and amazing to see the community and the school board overcome their rancor and reach an agreement that honored Abril and the community's wishes.
A full-time student at Riverside Community College, Betten said the experience was a real-life exercise in the kind of social movements she was studying in her political science class.
The move has made the people of Grand Terrace very, very happy, Mayor Marietta Ferre said.
The compromise was a relief for Armenta. "I lost many nights of sleep," he said of the long ordeal.
It's just too bad Abril didn't gracefully demur when the controversy surfaced and ask the board to name something else after him.
The district and the community could have been spared this long, divisive battle.

Cassie MacDuff can be reached at 951-368-9470 or