sbX patrons get $5 food truck meal vouchers

Calling all foodies! The San Bernardino Third Thursday Food Fest is June 18th from 11:00-2:00 outside City Hall. Visit your favorite food truck or try out something new!

As a thank you to our riders, sbX passengers disembarking at the Civic Center Station across from the event between 11:00 and 2:00 will receive $5 vouchers towards a meal from any food truck or food vendor!

Here’s just a few of the delicious offerings you will find there.

Waffle chicken

Wings ‘N Waffles will bring its famous Waffle Chicken Sandwiches to San Bernardino. Soul Wraps, Turkey Burgers, Kid’s Meals, & dessert waffles are also on the menu. Try their perfectly seasoned, one-of-a-kind wings & waffles combinations

belly bombz

The Belly BombZ Korean BBQ food truck is back! Try their delicious Sriracha Lime, Firecracker, Soy Caramel, or Spicy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings. Belly BombZ will also be serving tender Pork Belly Sliders, Steamed Rice, Bomb Dust Fries and more.

Piaggio

Love Argentinian food? The Piaggio food truck returns with mouth-watering empanadas, burritos, tacos, and braised pork over fries.

Steak-Salad

Want to indulge without the guilt? The Greenz on Wheels food truck features healthy sandwiches, wraps, and salads.  From Chinese chicken salad, tuna salad, steak salad, veggie salad, Greek salad and more, they have something to fit every taste.

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Los Lobos Truck, 2014 Winnerof the Best LA area food truck, will bring their sensational ribs, salads, wachos, and more.  Be sure to try their famous Green Dragon Wachos!

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What could be more refreshing on a hot day than a delicious saved ice treat from Sweet’n Snowie?  Buy a cup of shaved ice, and head over to the Flavor Station to pick your flavor. Mix and match as much as you want to make your own signature creation!

burgerRolling Burger Barns is serving up fat juicy burgers, fried mac and cheese bites, corn nuggets, onion rings and more. Those brave enough may want to try their Farmer’s Protein Delight: 2 1/3 lb. patties, 3 thick slabs of bacon, 4 creamy slices of cheese, and topped off with a fried egg.

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If hot dogs and brats are your thing, head over to The Greasy Weiner and try one of their award-winning original  handmade hot dogs and sausages. They also offer vegetarian options, specialty fries, and sliders!

banana-donutLast but not least, Haute Burger brands itself “Where classy meets trashy.” They offer gourmet burgers like  Wowie Maui, Trashy Burger, and Porc Chic. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try their decadent Banana Donut that includes peanut butter, chocolate, carmelized bourbon, banana, and banana cream.

 

Bus & shuttle service to Huck Finn Jubilee

huck finnLooking for something to do this weekend? The annual Huck Finn Jubilee in Ontario is fun for the whole family!

This popular three day bluegrass music festival runs from June 12-14. Enjoy music from headliners like entertainer and award-winning banjo player Steve Martin, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley, Grammy award winning musician Del McCroury as well as many up and coming artists.

Kids will love the free classes on gemstone panning, rag doll making, and wooden kazoo making. They can test their skills with activities like sack racing, the Game of Grace, Hoop & Stick, and an old-fashioned pie-eating contest! On Friday and Saturday, they can even get hands-on experience in a Basic Introduction to Bluegrass Jamming class.

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The festival is held in Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park at 800 N. Archibald Avenue in Ontario. As there is extremely limited parking available at the event, taking the bus is a great option. Omnitrans Route 61 will get you there (see map below). Use our trip planner for a complete travel itinerary from your location.

Omnitrans is also offering free shuttle service on Saturday and Sunday between the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink Station and the Huck Finn Jubilee. Click here for shuttle schedule information.

Read the press release.

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sbX Sweepstakes winner pays it forward

Jenn6Jennifer Guerrero, the winner of our sbX Anniversary Sweepstakes, has been riding Omnitrans since 9th grade.  She and her two younger sisters used to rely on their dad to drive them everywhere.  About three years ago he was diagnosed as permanently blind. Since then, their little family has taken the bus wherever they needed to go. Having a bus stop just down the street from them makes it very convenient, and they use NexTrip so they know exactly how much time they have before the bus arrives.

Jennifer is a Route 8 regular, and coach operator Peter Borrero, who drives the first run of the day, is one of her favorites. She likes the fact that he talks and jokes with his passengers.

“It feels nice because it’s such a great way to start your morning,” Jennifer says. “Especially if it’s 5 a.m. and you’re feeling grumpy. The bus drivers are always there, smiling and saying good morning. Sometimes they’ll even say things like ‘I didn’t see you the other day’ or ‘I noticed you were gone.’”

“That totally helps, because sometimes you can’t tell if people notice whether you’re here or not. It’s like you matter. It’s cool. You know the routes and the drivers and they know you. They’ll say ‘Oh, you got Starbucks today! Where’s mine?’” Jennifer laughs.

She also likes the fact that they look after her father. “He feels really comfortable using the bus and is pretty happy about it. The drivers always take care to pull down the ramp for him. Then they wait for him to get into the seat before driving off because they can tell he’ll be scared of the sudden motion. They talk and joke with him just like they do with me so he feels relaxed.”

Her sisters are a high school freshman and junior, and she is helping them learn how to get around. She shares her travel trips for first time riders.

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“I would tell someone to get a bus book for sure. And don’t be afraid to ask the bus drivers questions, because they can be really helpful in telling you where you need to get off. The other riders can help too. They’re really nice. You might be asking the bus driver a question, and one of the passengers will say ‘I know where that is! Get off at the next stop and that will make it easier for you to cross the street.’ It’s cool, total strangers helping each other out like that.”

Jennifer is a big fan of sbX. When she can, she likes to take rapid transit line for longer trips because it’s so fast.

“My sisters and I like to sit in the middle so we spin,” she grins. “We try to sit there all the time. We also love the free WiFi. I use it all the time—and, of course, the power outlets. I wish there were outlets on all the buses.”

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Jennifer graduates from high school this month and plans to attend Crafton Hills College in the fall. The Omnitrans Go Smart program played a big factor in deciding what college she wanted to attend.

“I originally thought about going to Fullerton Community College,” she explains. “But if I stay here, I’m already familiar with the bus and know my way around. Besides, with the Go Smart program I can ride the bus free with my student ID. Every little bit helps. My boyfriend is also going to school at Crafton, so that played a factor too.”

Jennifer plans to pursue a degree in sign language translation with a double major in math and liberal arts. Her goal is to become a math teacher.

“I want to teach high schoolers because I think it would be more fun, and that they would get my sense of humor. I’m that person who goes all out on Pajama Day or Polka Dot Day.” She laughs.

In the meantime, Jennifer is getting some hands on experience through community service work.

“I’m still friends with my 4th grade teacher, so I sometimes come in to help her out,” she says. “I offer to help the other teachers as well. Sometimes it can be hard for the teachers to keep up with all the work they have to do. So I come in and help them grade papers, put up and tear down stuff. I like doing it, and it gives me some experience.”

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Helping others has always been important to Jennifer.  She already has plans on how she will share her Grand Prize winnings which includes twelve 31-day bus passes, four Inland Empire 66ers baseball tickets, four movie passes and a $100 restaurant gift card.

“My dad is a huge baseball fan, so my sisters and I will take him to a 66ers game for Father’s Day. Even though he’s blind, he can still hear the announcer, and we have fun telling him what’s happening on the field. I’m going to take my boyfriend out for a movie and dinner and then take my sisters to a movie and dinner. Everybody wins!”

- Juno Kughler Carlson
  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

 

5-year-old chooses Omnitrans for class project

Omnitrans kindergarten class project

When Mrs. Morales at Corona Elementary School assigned a transportation project to her pre-K class, 5-year-old Teresa knew immediately what she would pick. While other children worked on models of  planes, trains, ambulances and cars, she created a diorama featuring her beloved Omnitrans bus.

“I love Omnitrans because it takes me and my mom everywhere we want to go,” Teresa grins, peeking from behind her project. “And I get to see my favorite bus drivers, Landru and Alicia!”

Teresa and her mom Matty

Teresa and her mom Matty

Her mom Matty smiles, “Landru has known me since I was pregnant with her. I’ve been taking the bus for the past 15 years since I was a student at Chaffey. My mom was actually the one who taught all of us kids how to use the bus. We were more afraid to take the bus than her–and she had no English then!  She used to take us everywhere. We were always worried we’d get lost, but she’d tell us, ‘No you won’t. Don’t be afraid.’ Now the drivers are like family to us.”

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Matty remembers how she used to work late nights at a Burger King in a bad section of town. “Every night after my shift, I would have to run to the stop so I wouldn’t miss the bus home. It was not a great area for a woman to be alone, so I used to tuck my hair under a baseball cap and put on a big coat to try to disguise myself as a man.”

The coach operator who drove the route was concerned about the young woman, especially since his was the last bus of the night.

“I don’t want you to be stranded out here alone,” he told her. “It’s too dangerous. If I get to the stop and don’t see you right away, I’ll wait. ”

Matty smiles, “He was very kind, and made me feel safe. We’ve always had nice drivers who looked after us.”

diorama

Teresa nods her head and bounces in her seat excitedly, “Landru and Alicia are my friends. They always say hi to me, and I tell them about school. They helped me with my project.”  She points to two photos she has glued to the the sky on her diorama. “My mom took my picture with them on the bus.”

Teresa shows me all the other tiny details she’s included in her project, like a bus bench, a route 63 sign and a flower garden. “I love it so much,” she says proudly. “I like school  and always get 4’s and ‘great jobs’ on my projects. That’s the most you can get. Do you know that when I grow up I want to go to college? I want to learn new things.”

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“Tell her what you want to be when you grow up,” her mother prompts her.

“A veteranarian!” Teresa grins. “I love all kinds of animals and want to take care of them.”

“Are you going to take the bus to work when you’re a vet?” I asked.

“I think so,” she says, considering. “Then I can tell Landru and Alicia about the animals I’m helping!”

TeresaAndFriends- Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Transit trainer discusses sleep apnea

Omnitrans Employee of the Year Don FrazierThis year, new government health regulations take effect for commercial drivers, including sleep apnea testing. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where the sleeper’s breathing becomes very shallow or can stop altogether at intervals thoughout the night. It occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat relax which causes your airway to narrow or close when you breathe in. Many people never realize that they have the condition.

“Sleep apnea is no joke,” says Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor Don Frazier who was diagnosed with the disorder two years ago. It was Don’s wife Audrey who convinced him something was wrong. “She told me that I just didn’t seem like myself. I was moody and irritable, I would drowse off whenever I sat down during the day, and I would have these breaks in my breathing during the night. My doctor recommended a sleep test where I was hooked up to a machine at night and it would track my breathing.”

When the doctor looked at Don’s sleep report, he was concerned. He told Don he had one of the worst cases of sleep apnea he had seen. His rating was 60.

“I was shocked,” Don admits. “I asked him if that meant my breathing had stopped 60 times during the night. He shook his head and told me that my breathing had stopped 60 times in an hour. I was a very high risk for a heart attack.”

Commercial drivers and new DOT regulations on sleep apneaThe sudden drops in oxygen levels, caused by sleep apnea, can increase blood pressure, lead to fatigue and drowsiness during the day, affect memory and mood, and even cause a heart attack or stroke.

The doctor confided to Don that he himself had sleep apnea and explained that it was a managable condition. He immediately had Don begin using a CPAP machine at night when he slept. The machine is about the size of an office phone. It pulls air from the room and pumps it directly into the nostrils. The sleeper may use either a clear mask or nose tubes, whichever is more comfortable.

Right away, both Don and his wife noticed a difference. His moodiness fell away, his mind felt more alert and active, his blood pressure went down, and he woke each morning feeling completely rested and ready to tackle the day.

don and audrey frazier

Don and Audrey Frazier

Now when he goes in for a checkup, the CPAP machine downloads his sleep pattern information to a plastic swipe card. The doctor can read the report from the card which also tells him how frequently the machine has been used. Don must use the machine at least 70% of the time in order to pass his physical.

Does it make things awkward when you’re sharing a bed with a spouse? Don shakes his head. “Actually, no. I’m a lot easier to live with now. Audrey is also sleeping better because she no longer wakes up constantly during the night worried because my breathing had stopped. We joke around a lot too. When I put on the mask I can flirt with her in my Darth Vader voice.” He grins.

Don believes that the new DOT health regulations may help a lot of coach operators who don’t realize they have sleep apnea. “It was a life-changer for me,” says Don. “I feel like a whole new person. I know that a lot of operators are concerned about these new licensing regulations, but sleep apnea testing is really a good precaution that can actually save your life.”

Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Student takes bus to brighter future

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Omnitrans rider Maria Aguilera has overcome many challenges in her life. As a little child in Mexico, an injury from an accidental fall resulted in hospital stays and the use of a leg brace until she was 12.

When her family moved to the United States in 1994, Maria faced another obstacle: learning to speak a new language.

“English has been the most difficult for me,” she explains. “When we came to the U.S. to live, I was a teenager. I had to go to a special school to learn the language. The teacher put labels on everything–the chairs, the table, the teacher’s desk, the tape recorder, the bathroom, the door–so that we would learn their names. Basically the way they would teach us is by singing and playing games. This way it is not so stressful. It took about a year and a half for me to be able to communicate. But in my final three years of high school, I was on the principal’s honor roll.”

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Today Maria attends Westwood College where she is in her second year studying business administration. Because of her hip injury she is unable to drive, so she relies on Omnitrans to get back and forth to her classes.

“Without the bus I would not have been able to go to college,” she says. “I would have had to quit school and continue to work factory jobs or at a fast food restaurant. I wanted to do better. One day I’d like to work in sales or marketing or maybe manage an office.”

Maria also likes the sense of community she gets from riding the bus. “The drivers are very friendly. Our family has been using the bus for so many years, that they all know us and what stops we normally use.”

“Most of the time my parents ride the bus together. One day they took separate buses going in opposite directions. That afternoon the driver joked with me asking what was going on with my parents taking seperate buses now.”

She laughs. “It actually gives me peace of mind to know that that someone is paying attention and looking out for us that way.”

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Potential donors sought in bone marrow drive

gaylord2So many of our Omnitrans family of employees and passengers have big hearts and a deep caring for those in our community. Nowhere is that more evident than when one of us is in need.

In February 2015, Rialto resident and retired Omnitrans coach operator Gaylord Hicks was diagnosed with MDS, a rare form of blood cancer. This loving dad and granddad is now fighting for his life, in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Attempts to identify a match from siblings and the National Bone Marrow Registry have been unsuccessful.

gaylord1Last month, several Omnitrans employees volunteered to be tested as a possible bone marrow donor in the hope that they would be able to help save Gaylord’s life or lives of others in need. The test is so simple. Just a quick swab inside your cheek can determine if you are a match to provide a lifesaving transplant .

Omnitrans HR Assistant Jennifer Villalobos was one of those who were tested as a possible match.

“If I’m not a match for Gaylord, my screening will stay in the system and I could be matched with someone years later,” she explains.  “How could I not give up a little convenience for someone experiencing the fight to live?  Donating could be the most significant thing I do in life, the greatest gift one can give.  And I’d do it again.”

Gaylord Hicks and wife Sheila in 2013

Gaylord Hicks and wife Sheila in 2013

Family friend and Omnitrans coach operator Debra Downton feels the same way. “Gaylord is a great man who always goes out of his way for others,” she says. “He has such a big heart. When I first moved out here, he took me under his wing because I have no family. He still checks up on me to make sure I’m doing alright. I call him Big Daddy because he’s always doing for other people and doesn’t like to have people do for him. Even now, he never complains. When I ask how he is, he just says ‘I’m okay, I’m okay. Just a little tired.’ He is a wonderful man, and we are all so grateful for the kindness and support of people who are reaching out to help him.”

Bone Marrow Drive to be held May 30th 
On Saturday, May 30th from 10:00 – 4:00, a Bone Marrow Drive will be held at 505 N. Arrowhead, Suite 505/505a in San Bernardino. Those interested are invited to attend, enjoy free refreshments, and be tested as a possible bone marrow donor for Gaylord or others. For more information on this event, please contact Gayla Hicks-Wheeler at gayla626@aol.com.

swabIn addition to bone marrow donation, umbilical cord donation can also be a cure for someone with MDS or other forms of blood cancer.

To learn more about blood cancer and the different ways you can help, please visit http://bethematch.org.

-Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@gmail.com