Victorville hospital recognized among nation’s top 100

   Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville has been named one of the nation’s 100 top hospitals by Thomson Reuters.  The winning hospitals were announced in the March 30 edition of Modern Healthcare magazine.  According to a news release, the award recognizes hospitals that “have achieved excellence in clinical outcomes, patient safety, patient satisfaction, financial performance, and operational efficiency.”  This is the fourth time Desert Valley Hospital has been recognized with this honor in the past six years.

   Information: www.100tophospitals.com

Meeting in Ontario to focus on the economy and housing

   The impacts of the nation’s economic stimulus plan and newly enacted state and federal tax-credit programs on the regional housing market and economy will be the topic of the Building Industry Association Baldy View Chapter’s next membership meeting.  The event, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the DoubleTree Hotel, 222 N. Vineyard Ave., Ontario, will feature guest speakers Richard Hedrick of Countrywide Home Loans and former state Sen. James L. Brulte, R-Rancho Cucamonga, now of California Strategies.  Cost: $40 for members; $50 for nonmembers.  Reservations are required by Tuesday, April 7.  Information: (909) 945-1884 or at www.biabuild.com

Inland Empire foreclosure rates climb in February

   Foreclosure rates in the San Bernardino-Riverside-Ontario area increased in February over the same period last year, according to First American CoreLogic.  According to the firm’s most recent data, the rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 3.3 percent for February, an increase of 0.3 percentage points compared with February 2008.

   Foreclosure activity in the San Bernardino-Riverside-Ontario area was 1.6 percent higher than the national foreclosure rate, 1.7 percent for February.  Mortgage delinquency rates also increased for the month of February, by 3.9 percentage points.  According to the report, 12.7 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared with 8.8 percent for the same period last year.  Information: www.realquest.com

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Private equity firm acquires assets of Black Angus Steakhouse

   Black Angus Steakhouse has announced that an affiliate of private equity firm Versa Capital Management Inc. has completed its acquisition of Black Angus’ assets from ARG Enterprises Inc. and its affiliates.  Black Angus operates casual dining restaurants in seven Western states, including locations in Chino, Montclair and San Bernardino.  “Thanks to our restructuring during bankruptcy, and our new ownership, Black Angus Steakhouse is poised to be a strong, successful company for the long term,” President and CEO Meredith Taylor said in a news release.

   Starting Tuesday, April 7, Black Angus restaurants will roll out a new dinner menu.  A new lunch menu will follow on April 28.  Information: www.blackangus.com

Class to focus on better business through online social networking

   Cal State San Bernardino’s Inland Empire Women’s Business Center will offer a workshop aimed at teaching businesses how to increase their client base using online social networks. The class will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. April 13 at the center’s office, 202 E. Airport Drive, Suite 155, San Bernardino. Cost: $20 if pre-registered online; $25 at the door.
Information: Carla Ulloa, (909) 890-1242, or www.iewbc.org

Groups join forces to help out forests

   The U.S. Forest Service in March launched Forest Aid, a partnership with the San Bernardino National Forest Association and L.A.-based TreePeople to plant 32,000 seedlings and help restore the San Bernardino National Forest.  Forest Aid was created in response to the 2007 and 2003 tragic wildfires where 185,000 acres burned in the San Bernardino National Forest.  For volunteer, leadership and sponsor opportunities, or to learn how to join Forest Aid, contact (909) 382-2780, info@forestaid.net or www.forestaid.net

I.E. Women’s Business Center to hold franchise workshop

   Cal State San Bernardino’s Inland Empire Women’s Business Center will hold a workshop on franchise business ownership on April 6.  “Careers in Franchise Ownership — A Roadmap to Success” aims to teach how to gain a better understanding of the franchise industry and the options available, according to a news release.  The workshop will take place 9 – 11 a.m. at the center’s office, 202 E. Airport Drive, Suite 155, San Bernardino.  Cost: $15 if registering online; $20 at the door.  Information: (909) 890-1242, or online at www.iewbc.org

JPMorgan Chase president to speak at Pomona College

   Andrew Crockett, president of JPMorgan Chase International and a member of the Executive Committee of JPMorgan Chase & Co, will present a lecture on “The World Crisis in Banking:  The Failure of Past Banking Regulation and Suggestions for Future Regulatory Reform” at 4:15 p.m. April 14.  The lecture will take place in Pomona College’s Rose Hills Theatre in the Smith Campus Center, 170 E. Sixth St., Claremont.  There will be a question-and-answer session after the lecture.  Information: (909) 621-8881, or e-mail chincarinil@hotmail.com

State commissioner settles with Wachovia, Citigroup

   California Corporations Commissioner Preston DuFauchard has announced a settlement agreement with Wachovia Securities LLC and Wachovia Capital Markets LLC, and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. to return more than $4.7 billion to investors in the state, according to a news release. The agreement will settle an investigation alleging Wachovia and Citigroup misrepresented auction rate securities to investors as safe, cash-equivalent products, even though the products faced increasing liquidity risk, the release says.

   Under the settlement with Wachovia, the brokerage has agreed to offer to repurchase securities in the amount of $1.5 billion.  Offers have already been made to individual investors, and repurchase offers for institutional customers will be completed no later than June 30, according to the release.

   Under the settlement with Citigroup, the brokerage has made repurchase offers of $3.2 billion in auction rate securities from California eligible customers.  For institutional investors, Citigroup will continue to work with issuers, customers and regulators to attempt to provide liquidity solutions by Dec. 31, according to the release.

   Information:  For Wachovia, customers may call (866) 283-7943; for Citigroup, customers may call (866) 720-4802.

Ontario architecture firm donates cash, services to research group

   Ontario-based HMC Architects is contributing more than $100,000 in cash as well as professional services over the next two years to the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at UC San Diego.  According to a news release, “The gift will expand the institute’s multidisciplinary research into human responses to the built environment.”  Information: Online at www.hmcarchitects.com