Congressman Cook Newsletter: October 7, 2014
Congressman Cook Works to Save Public Access to the San Gabriel Mountains
Last month, Rep. Paul Cook (R–Apple Valley) wrote a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opposing any effort to designate a national monument in the San Gabriel Mountains without local consent. This letter noted the need for more public meetings in San Bernardino County to discuss the proposal and highlighted the major economic, recreational, and safety challenges that such a designation would impose on local communities. Cook was joined on this letter by fellow San Bernardino County Representatives Gary Miller (R-Rancho Cucamonga) and Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Montclair). The letter can be seen here.
This national monument proposal stemmed from Los Angeles County Representative Judy Chu’s legislation, H.R. 4858, which was introduced only four months ago and has not had a single hearing in a committee. Rumors persist that the President will take unilateral action to create this monument. Doing so would completely bypass Congress’ legislative role in land use decisions and would prevent local residents from having a voice in this important decision.
Additionally, Cook has joined with the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in demanding that San Bernardino County lands be excluded from any monument designation. They are united in demanding that public lands in San Bernardino County remain accessible to the public and that local businesses such as Mt. Baldy Lodge and Ski Lifts not be threatened by an executive order from the President.
Cook said, “I’m extremely concerned that the President may be prepared to impose another Washington solution on our local communities. I implore San Bernardino County residents to speak up and make their voices heard. Too often, I’ve seen outside interest groups dictate to us and ignore our wishes. These are our mountains. Let’s speak with strength and conviction when deciding our future.”
San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Janice Rutherford stated, “San Bernardino County residents, property owners and recreation enthusiasts have not been given the opportunity to give their input about a National Monument designation. There is a high level of skepticism about the purported benefits of such a designation and a great deal of concern about the potential negative consequences. Unless and until there is an honest public discussion of these, I oppose the President’s unilateral action affecting our community.”
40,000 Books coming to San Bernardino County
On October 17 and 18, First Book will distribute a total of 40,000 books at the Inland Empire United Way Warehouse located at 9644 Hermonsa Ave in Rancho Cucamonga.
First Book, an organization started by two friends in 1992, is dedicated to providing new books to children in need. In their first year, they distributed 12,000 books in three communities. Today, they are delivering an average of over 25, 000 new books per day.
As a former educator, I know the importance of early childhood education. Educating our children is a long term investment for our country. I’m glad to see these benefit the children of our community. More information can be found here.
Military Academy Nominations
The new school year has started, and that means high school seniors from our district will begin the process of applying for college. If you are a current high school senior and are interested in attending one of our nation’s prestigious military academies, I encourage you to fill out an application through my office.
Young Americans who attend West Point, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, or the Air Force Academy receive a world-class university education. This gives them the skills to not only serve in our nation’s armed forces, but to lead successful careers later in life.
The deadline to apply is December 1, 2014. The application for a service academy nomination can be found here.
My office will be hosting informational "Academy Nights" in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned for more details.
The Annual Arrowhead Pine Cone Festival
The annual Arrowhead Pine Cone Festival, which celebrates the beautiful mountain scenery and communities of the San Bernardino Mountains, will take place on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM. The festival will feature local vendor booths, food, crafts, and live performances. This event will be held at the Alpine Camp and Conference Center, 415 Club House Dr., in Blue Jay.
Thanks to the support of donors, the festival is free to attend. For more information, visit the festival’s website here.
Apple Valley Airshow
The San Bernardino County Department of Airports will host the Apple Valley Airshow on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Come watch a variety of planes take part in an acrobatic air show while enjoying food and local vendors. Admission will be $5, and kids under 12 years old get in for free.
The show will be held at the Apple Valley Airport, 21600 Corwin Road, Apple Valley. For more information, click here.
Women of Distinction- CORRECTION FROM LAST WEEK’S EDITION
On Friday, October 24, 2014, I’ll be hosting the second annual Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony to honor women from the district. The event will take place from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Apple Valley Town Conference Center, located at 14955 Dale Evans Parkway, Apple Valley, CA 92307.
This event is an opportunity to recognize women throughout the district who have made significant contributions to their communities without the recognition they deserve. People from all over the district nominated women who they believe have taken an active role in their communities by focusing their time and effort to improve the lives of others. It’s important that we honor recognize these contributions.
My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at 760-247-1815.
Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
If you are a service member or veteran with a permanent and total service-connected disability, you may be entitled to a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant or a Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant from the Veterans Administration (VA).
Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
SAH grants help Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities live independently in a barrier-free environment. SAH grants can be used in one of the following ways:
- Construct a specially adapted home on land to be acquired
- Build a home on land already owned if it is suitable for specially adapted housing
- Remodel an existing home if it can be made suitable for specially adapted housing
- Apply the grant against the unpaid principal mortgage balance of an adapted home already acquired without the assistance of a VA grant
Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant
SHA grants help Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities adapt or purchase a home to accommodate the disability. You can use SHA grants in one of the following ways
- Adapt an existing home the Veteran or a family member already owns in which the Veteran lives
- Adapt a home the Veteran or family member intends to purchase in which the Veteran will live
- Help a Veteran purchase a home already adapted in which the Veteran will live
For more information about these programs or questions about qualification please visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp or call my district office at 760-247-1815.