CITY OF CHINO HILLS ACTIVATES REDESIGNED WEBSITE
Months of activity behind the scenes is now complete and the City of Chino Hills' redesigned website has been activated with a new look and new features as part of the City's ongoing goal to continually improve communication with the public. The City's website provides a virtual online City Hall, full of information that is available 24/7 at www.chinohills.org.
Visitors to the homepage will see a brand new, bigger look with new graphics, icons, features, and highlights. The homepage display resolution has been upgraded which provides a wider view (1024 x 768 instead of 800 x 600).
Across the top of the website, a new "Translate" feature allows the website visitor to select a language and convert the website through Google translation. A link to Twitter and a "Contact Us" link to the City's directory are visible at the top of every page. The upper left section of the homepage provides a left-toright scroll of eight website features. Click on "Welcome Video" to view a two-minute video.
Scroll through to link to the most recent City Council agenda or minutes, a parks and facilities map that provides links to information about each of the parks, a Media Center that is home to several short videos, the Photo Gallery, a Postcard feature, Council meeting videos, and FAQ's.
The City's logo seems to glow on the upper right side of the page. Notice the words "Help Center" below the City logo. Hover over the logo with the mouse and the "Mega Menu" will open so visitors can navigate directly to the most commonly sought information.
"Find It Fast," "New Resident," and "Visitor Information" are options. All residents will find useful information in the New Resident Guide under "New Resident." The document is viewed like a book and the pages can be turned with "flip book" technology. Website visitors can "share" the booklet on their Facebook page or via email. It can be downloaded or printed. The new "flip book" technology is also used to display the quarterly Recreation Brochure and budget book. The "Mega Menu" also helps residents quickly find information they are looking for based upon the action they want to take such as: Apply For, Pay For, Register For, Report, Request, Find Out More About, and View. The search box is located in the center of the homepage.
Clickable links below the search box allow the visitor to "share" information on social media, subscribe to RSS feeds, and email or print a page. Down the center of the homepage are permanent link icon buttons that feature interactive e-services that allow visitors to pay their utility bill, register for a recreation class, sign up for e-notifications, view official City bid opportunities, apply for jobs, or submit service requests. These icons move to the left and appear on every page that is viewed.
A slide show of scenes around the City is a major visual feature on the upper right. "Local News" is located on the bottom right where City news and announcements about events and services are posted. Click on the "Calendar" tab and the view the City calendar of events. Click on any item in the calendar to learn more about the details of the event.
"In the Spotlight" on the left side of the homepage is new and shares highlights about City honors, events, etc. Currently, the City's recognition as one of the "100 Best Communities for Youth" is "In the Spotlight." Just above "In the Spotlight" is the City's contact information and a green box with yellow triangle and exclamation point and the words "Emergency Alert." In the event of a major emergency, the green box would change to red and emergency information would be posted at the top of the homepage, pushing the graphics of the homepage down. A flashing red circle highlights the emergency information that would be visible at the top of every page on the website.
Coming soon, iPhone users will be able to report potholes, fallen trees, broken sprinklers, and more on the "Citizen Request Tracker" iPhone App. When the App becomes available to residents, persons with an iPhone will be able to take a photo of an issue and report it to the City. Geographic information available on the phone will pinpoint the location of the issue. This new feature is expected to be available soon.
The City's new website replaces the site the City designed with CivicPlus which was activated in December of 2006. Community Relations staff recommended in 2006 that the City website be refreshed or redesigned every five years to incorporate changing technology.
Community Relations staff negotiated a $2,500 design cost with CivicPlus which automatically allows for another website redesign in 48 months at no additional cost. For additional information about the City website, please call (909) 364-2629.
TEHACHAPI RENEWABLE TRANSMISSION LINE UPDATE
A pre-conference hearing was held on March 19th at the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco. The Administrative Law Judge Jean Vieth (ALJ) heard comments from the parties in regards to the need to move forward with a hearing, the scope of testimony anticipated, and the time needed to prepare and present testimony and conduct hearings. The ALJ indicated that she would discuss the information provided with the assigned Commissioner, President Michael J. Peevey. It is the City's expectation that the ALJ will issue a ruling directing how the process will proceed.
FINANCE SYSTEM UPGRADE WILL AFFECT ONLINE UTILITY BILL PAY ON SATURDAY, MARCH 24TH FROM 8:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
A Finance system upgrade will be underway at 8:00 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, March 24th and during that time residents will be unable to access the online utility bill payment system. The City's IT Division will be performing the system upgrade between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and once complete will include feature changes and enhancements to all finance system computer applications. A notice of the hours the online utility bill pay is offline will be posted on the bill pay pages of the City website and as a newsflash on the home page.
Residents will have the ability to pay their water bill online before or after the service interruption at www.chinohills.org/BillPay.
GRAZING SHEEP RETURN TO CHINO HILLS FOR 12th YEAR OF WEED ABATEMENT PROGRAM
A total of 2,800 ewes and lambs have been munching their way through the open space areas near Hidden Trails Elementary School this month. This week they stopped traffic for a few minutes as they crossed Grand Avenue to get to the north side of the street. Notice of the planned street crossing on the City website brought some people out to Grand Avenue Park to watch thousands of sheep crossing Grand Avenue.
Their popularity continues throughout their stay in Chino Hills, as families seek out the grazing sheep to watch them chomp their way through the vegetation. This marks the12th year that sheep have returned to Chino Hills. They are an important part of the City's award-winning open space weed abatement program. The sheep will continue to graze their way through the open space over the next several months and will be moved out of Chino Hills when the remaining weeds turn brown. The City's "green" weed abatement efforts also include the periodic use of goats to munch on the low-growing chaparral such as the Laurel Sumac. Grazing cattle can be found on 270 acres of open space in the Village Oaks area and grazing horses enjoy 155 acres of open space in the Butterfield Ranch area. All of these animals play a role in the City's efforts to mitigate wildfire danger in the open space. Some humans get involved too. City crews and community service workers play a part as well. The overall effort clears weeds from over 200 of the City's 3,000 acres of open space.
The City of Chino Hills creates fuel modification zones each year, to clear the brush 30 to 100 feet away from residential property lines adjacent to the City's open space. These fuel modification zones help protect residents in the event of a brush or wild fire. The sheep grazing throughout the open space help reduce the fire fuel in the interior open space areas. Sheepherder and owner Vincente Narganes brings in the sheep to graze areas where the terrain is very steep and more difficult for City crews to work. The partnership is a win win situation. The City of Chino Hills saves approximately $17,250 in yearly weed abatement costs this year; and the sheepherder is able to have his sheep graze in areas with abundant vegetation. The City of Chino Hills has saved over $210,000 during the program's history.
The sheepherder and border collies will tend the sheep 24 hours a day, and pen them at night. The sheepherder will reside in a small trailer on the site. The State Department of Fish and Game was consulted about the initial plan to graze sheep in the open space, and they support this form of weed abatement.
For more information on the sheep grazing - weed abatement program contact Sean O'Connor, Maintenance and Operations Manager at (909) 364-2812.
STUDENT MEMBER SOUGHT FOR PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
High school students who would like to gain some interesting experience are encouraged to apply to serve on the Chino Hills Parks and Recreation Commission. The Commission includes a non-voting student member who must be a Chino Hills resident attending high school on a full-time basis. The student must be a junior or senior during the 2012/2013 school year and must be in good academic standing.
The Parks and Recreation Commission meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. to review and discuss items relating to parks, recreation, trails, community events, wildlife preservation, and programs. Commissioners also work with community sports organizations and provide input to the design of park and recreation facilities. Mayor Art Bennett will interview applicants and plans to recommend an appointment to the City Council at their April 24th meeting.
The new member will serve through April 30, 2013. Applications have been sent to Ayala and Chino Hills High Schools and are available at City Hall, 14000 City Center Drive or online at www.chinohills.org/ParksandRecApplication. Completed applications must be submitted to the City Clerk's office at City Hall, 14000 City Center Drive, by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6th.
Please call the City Clerk's Office at (909) 364-2622 for more information.