Riverside auto care store celebrates 80th anniversary

Bridge Stone Retail Operations LLC recently celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Firestone Complete Auto Care store in Riverside.  The anniversary event began Nov. 20 with a recognition ceremony with BSRO executives and local community members.  The public celebration continued throughout the weekend with raffles, prizes, refreshments, discounted services and family fun activities, according to a news release.

I.E. dialysis facilities honored for having ‘highest standards’

Fresenius Medical Care North America, operator of a network of dialysis facilities, recently named three of its San Bernardino-area dialysis facilities “Centers of Excellence” for achieving the “highest standards in patient care in 2008,” according to a news release.  This year’s Center of Excellence award winners in the San Bernardino area are Fresenius Medical Care Rancho Cucamonga, Fresenius Medical Care San Bernardino, and Fresenius Medical Care Riverside.  Information: (866) 434-2597; www.ultracare-dialysis.com

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Two dentists purchase building in Chino for $1.2 million

Drs. Tiffany Truong and Hoang Nguyen have purchased the freestanding retail property at 12385 Central Ave., Chino, from Vincent Paul DiSalvo Trust for $1.2 million, according to costar.com. They plan to open a dental office in the building, which they will share with a tenant, Custom Tile & Stone Inc.  Eric Ramirez of MGR Real Estate represented the seller in the sale and the lease negotiation with the tenant.  The buyers represented themselves.

Art Institute graduates to show work to potential employers

Students set to graduate from The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire in San Bernardino will showcase the best of their work when the school hosts its Graduate Portfolio Show on Dec. 15.  Employers looking for talented, newly graduated professionals in the fields of Interior Design, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Culinary Arts and Media Arts & Animation are invited to attend the reception from 4-6 p.m. at the museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside.  Information and reservations: Brenda Medina, (909) 915-2192.

Upland chamber plans holiday party at monthly event

The Upland Chamber of Commerce is having a holiday party for its monthly “First Friday” networking meeting.  The event, which is sponsored by Main Street Upland, starts at 7 a.m. Friday at La Villa, 792 W. Arrow Highway, Upland. Cost: $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers.  Breakfast will be provided by Pine Haven Catering & Confections. Reservations are required by Tuesday.  Information: (909) 204-4465; or e-mail

Sale of flavored, roll-your-own cigarettes illegal under new rules

The state Board of Equalization recently released information notifying wholesalers and distributors that it is illegal to sell flavored cigarettes or roll-your-own under the new federal U.S. Food and Drug Administration provision of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  Under federal law, these products can no longer be manufactured, imported or sold in the United States and could be seized by federal, state or local law enforcement authorities.  Information: www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts; ag.ca.gov/tobacco/directory.php

54.41% of I.E. homeowners are ‘upside down’ in their mortgages

First American CoreLogic has released third-quarter data showing more than half of the mortgages in the San Bernardino-Ontario-Riverside metro area are “under water.” The report shows 54.41 percent (474,265) of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity as of September.  Negative equity means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.  Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both.  Nationally, nearly 10.7 million, or 23 percent, of all residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity as of September.

The distribution of negative equity is heavily concentrated in five states: Nevada (65 percent), Arizona (48 percent), Florida (45 percent), Michigan (37 percent) and California (35 percent).  California (2.4 million) and Florida (2 million) had the largest number of negative equity mortgages, accounting for 42 percent of all negative equity loans.

According to the company’s data, the average value for all properties with a mortgage is $270,200, but properties in negative equity have an average value of $210,300 or 22 percent less. The average mortgage debt for properties in negative equity was $280,000 and borrowers that were in a negative equity position were upside down by an average of nearly $70,000.

California teens hit hardest by struggling employment market

Recent state employment data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a grim picture of unemployment in the state of California, with teens being hit especially hard.  The state unemployment rate in October was 12.5 percent. The teen unemployment rate was 38.5 percent — nearly four times the national rate.  According to a news release from the Employment Policies Institute, California has the fifth highest teen unemployment rate in the nation, and it has increased more than 40 percent since October 2008.  Information: www.epionline.org

Home building slows nationwide as recession continues to take a toll

According to statistics compiled by the Construction Industry Research Board home builders nationwide pulled permits for 2,815 housing units in October, down 6 percent from September and down 33 percent from October 2008.  The data show permits pulled for single-family homes in October dropped 9 percent from September to 2,017, which is 14 percent lower than the same period last year.  The report found multifamily permits totalled 798, up 5 percent from the previous month, and down 57 percent from a year ago.  During the first 10 months of the year, permits were pulled for 29,901 units, down 46 percent from the same period last year when 55,632 permits had been issued. Single-family units were down 30 percent while multifamily units were down 64 percent.  CIRB is forecasting permits will be pulled for just 36,000 total units in 2009, which would be the lowest total on record.