Subscribe to List View Past Issues RSS translate   facebook facebook Like 0 Comment 0 twitter
The Great Valley Center:  Connect. Inspire. Act.

Updates & Highlights

February 2012

One of the glorious things about living in the Central Valley is how early spring arrives.  Daytime temperatures have already warmed and any day now the almond orchards will blossom, quickly followed by blooming cherry, apricot and peach trees.  Soon wildflowers will accessorize our highways, roadsides, pastures and nearby hills.  The visible new growth makes this season an inspirational time to make changes, try innovation or launch a pioneering project. The Great Valley Center is heralding spring with a fresh new look to the GVC website. Check out our updated site at and let us know what you think! 

GVC is also working with the San Joaquin Valley Broadband Consortium to kick off a series of work group meetings on March 20, and recently partnered with UC Merced to complete data gathering for our next Environmental Indicators Report. For more information and updates on GVC’s projects – read on.  Whatever initiatives you are working on this spring, I encourage you to plant seeds for a positive future for our Valley!                             

-- Dejeune Shelton, Executive Director
Photo of  interns at Green Communities orientation

GVC Program Updates

Green Communities seeks additional interns in Kern County:
The Great Valley Center is seeking several additional college or graduate students, or recent college graduates, for internships in the Green Communities program in west Kern County. The  program, sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric, provides participating local governments with comprehensive no-cost greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories. GVC trains interns to collect, organize and analyze the GHG data using state-of-the-art software provided by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA. This second round of the program takes place in two regions. Ten entities from San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced Counties will participate in the north, while at least four in Kern County will participate from the south Valley.  Selected south Valley interns will attend training on March 2 so applicants need to apply immediately for consideration.  For additional information on the internship opportunities in Kern County, contact Erik Jaszewski, Program Coordinator, at or (209) 522-5103 x124, or visit the Green Communities information pages on the Great Valley Center website:
The Green Communities Program is a collaboration between Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the Great Valley Center. The program is dedicated to providing innovative energy efficiency and climate change solutions for local governments and communities in the Central Valley within PG&E service areas. This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium kicks off first set of work group meetings:
The San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium (SJVRBC) has scheduled the first set of work group meetings for Tuesday, March 20 at the Great Valley Center. The March 20
schedule includes meetings of the Digital Literacy Workgroup (8:30 – 9:45 a.m.), Infrastructure Workgroup (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.) and Telehealth Workgroup (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.), and a conference call option is also available.  The consortium is seeking volunteers, chairs and co-chairs to serve on the work groups.  Closing the digital divide will require a multifaceted broadband plan with input and expertise from a variety of diverse partners from throughout the Valley. If you are experienced in one of the work group areas and interested in serving, please contact Christine Nutting, Associate Director, Office of Community and Economic Development, California State University, Fresno, at (559) 294-2230 or

The SJVRBC received funding from the California Public Utilities Commission to focus on accelerating deployment, accessibility and adoption of broadband within Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare Counties over the next three years. Future work group meetings are scheduled for April 23 in Kern County and May 24 in Tulare County, with conference call options planned for both.

California Connects adds community trainers and partnerships:
The Great Valley Center recently hired bilingual community trainers in Tulare, Merced, Stanislaus, Placer Mariposa, and San Joaquin Counties to conduct basic Internet computer
classes.  An orientation session to prepare and equip the trainers took place December 16. The new trainers join others who are already holding Internet classes in other assigned counties. Training will take place in 18 counties designated in the CA Connects grant through June 2013.  A list of current trainers is available on the GVC website along with information on available trainer openings
CA Connects is a digital literacy program targeted at increasing Internet use among low income and Spanish speaking adults.  The program works through partnerships with local training sites.  Four new partners recently signed on to assist.  Hamilton Elementary School in San Joaquin County began hosting classes on February 14, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The Prusso Child Development Center in Merced County starts classes March 5, 1:30 to 4:30 pm.  New Stanislaus County training locations include Hughson Family Resource Center and Ceres Unified School District - Project YES, with training schedules yet to be determined for both sites.  GVC welcomes additional partnerships with community agencies, educational institutions and governmental organizations in all 18 counties served by the grant.  For more information on CA Connects or community partnerships contact Program Manager Desiree Holden at or (209) 522-5103 x136.
Production underway for child abuse prevention video:
GVC will produce an abuse prevention video for parents as part of its grant from the Child Abuse Protection Act (CAPTA) program.  The federally funded project provides abuse prevention education to Spanish speaking parents and children in Merced County.  GVC is working with the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) and Merced Education Television. The video will have both Spanish and English versions and is expected to be completed in April 2012.  Entitled “No More Silence,” the video will provide an important tool in educating parents about child abuse prevention.  For more information email Senior Program Manager Jami Westervelt at or (209) 522-5103 x122.

National Parks Institute will bring participants from around the globe:
Nearly 30 park managers from across the globe and the nation have confirmed participation in the National Parks Institute Executive Seminar taking place
April 17-28, 2012. They will meet at Cavallo Point, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge to kick off the 12-day intense training. The seminar highlights three diverse locations. In addition to Cavallo, the group will visit University of California, Merced and Yosemite National Park. The Great Valley Center partners with UC Merced and the National Park Institute on the event. GVC leads logistics planning for the event and coordination with the International visitors. More information on the National Parks Institute is available at the NPI website or by contacting Sr. Program Manager Jami Westervelt at or (209) 522-5103 ext.122.
Photo of blossoming almond trees

Valley Highlights

St. Joseph's Medical Center recognized with Consumer Choice Award:
St. Joseph’s Medical Center has been recognized among the nation’s top hospitals as a 2011/2012 Consumer Choice Award winner.  The award identifies hospitals that healthcare
consumers have chosen as having the highest quality and image in over 300 markets throughout the U.S.  This is the sixteenth year the National Research Corporation, an independent consumer-polling firm and recognized leader in healthcare performance measurement, has issued the award and St. Joseph’s Medical Center has been the recipient in this market for each of those sixteen years.  The award places St. Joseph’s in a group of the most prestigious names in healthcare.  Read more!

Family farm in Merced County honored for efforts at going green:
The Burroughs family of ranchers and farmers was recently recognized in a statewide competition for sustainable practices they have implemented on their organic family farm in northern Merced County.  The multi-generational family has been using "management-intensive grazing" to reduce the loss of topsoil and build up the soil.  The family grazes their cows on organically grown grass instead of giving them corn-based feed, which improves the health of the soil and the health of the animals.  Read more!

Non-storable federal water made available to Central Valley farmers:
The Bureau of Reclamation had some welcome news for Central Valley farmers, on the heels of a very dry December. The Bureau is making temporary supplies of non-storable water available to farmers located south of the Delta.  The amount of “Section 215” water that will be made available will depend on actual conditions in the Delta.  Read more!

On the Calendar

Water 101: The Basics and Beyond
February 23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and February 24, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., University of California, Davis  -  The course on water basics and water district board member governance is open to anyone interested in learning more about the history of and the management structure of water in California, and about the water issues facing the state.  The course will be beneficial to water resource industry staff, engineering and environmental firm personnel, legislators, legislative staff, advocates, stakeholders, environmentalists, public interest organization and water district directors.  The course is sponsored by the Water Education Foundation. Registration is $250 and includes all educational materials, coffee breaks, lunch on Feb. 23 and a certificate upon course completion.  Read more! 
Water Education Foundation Central Valley Water Tour
April 11-13, 2012  -  The 3-day, 2-night tour travels the length of the San Joaquin Valley, giving participants a clear understanding of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.  Issues of growth, water supply, flood management, groundwater banking, wetlands, salmon restoration and agricultural supply and drainage are addressed by a wide-range of speakers representing different viewpoints. The tour begins and ends in Bakersfield, and registration is $695 for one person, single occupancy room and $595 per person for two people sharing a room.  Read more!

CA Higher Education Sustainability Conference
June 18-21, 2012, University of California, Davis  -  The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) highlights cutting-edge case studies as well as research, curriculum development, and community partnerships in a cross section of topic areas including climate action planning, energy, food systems, green building, healthcare, institutional sustainability, business services, and social equity. The event is jointly organized by private colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities and the University of California. Also included is a Student Convergence – a free, half-day workshop on Thursday, June 21, and students can participate without attending the main conference. For more information visit
their website or contact Katie Maynard, CHESC Event Manager and Sustainability Coordinator for UC Santa Barbara, (805) 448-5111,

Links of Interest

Outlook improves: glass half full in the Central Valley

New almond promises independence from bees
State facility to provide jobs, massive economic benefit
Grant programs available to help specialty crop farmers
California farmers, ski areas fret about dry spell
California walnut industry surges with record exports

Spanish public radio gives U.S. Latinos a voice
Report backs California farmers’ efficient use of water

Share your news

The purpose of the Great Valley Center’s e-newsletter is to provide you with updates on current GVC programs, as well as bring you news and highlights from around the Central Valley.  We want to know what is going on in your area that will impact the region.  Please share activities that are addressing the economic, environmental, educational and social challenges in your community, as well as noteworthy accomplishments.  News and links can be sent to Linda Hoile, Program Manager, at