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Statement from Speaker John A. Pérez on Announcement of VA Grants to Aid Homeless and At-Risk Veterans and Their Families

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SACRAMENTO - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki of $100 million in federal grants to help homeless and at-risk veterans and their families:

"Today's announcement by Secretary Shinseki of federal grants for services to at-risk veterans and their families is welcome news for veterans across California. Our state's share of these funds will be over 14 million dollars, which will help make a genuine difference in the lives of veterans who are at-risk, homeless or transitioning to permanent housing. Aiding our veterans is a job for everyone, and I am pleased at this latest addition to the efforts being made here in California and throughout the country to do just that."

According to the Veterans Administration, the grants will go to 151 community agencies in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that provide services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing. California agencies will receive approximately $14.2 million.

Speaker Pérez is currently leading a bipartisan Assembly delegation to Washington, D.C., which included a meeting this afternoon with the VA on ways to increase support for veterans.

Over the past two years, Speaker Pérez and the Assembly have directed $2 million in savings from the Assembly operating budget to fund programs for veterans, ranging from job training to mental health counseling to employment assistance.

Community Enjoys A Fun-Filled Day At Riverside Community Hospital During Hospital’s 2nd Annual Family Health Fair

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Riverside, CA - Riverside Community Hospital hosted its 2nd Annual “Family Health and Fitness Fair and Motorcycle Rally” on Saturday, June 9 with over 3,000 in attendance from the community. Families from all over the Inland Empire spent the day at the Hospital while enjoying fun-filled activities, raffle prizes, giveaways, and live music performances by the TMK All Star Band and special guest Bryan Duncan, a Dove and Grammy Award winning soloist, who was also the Master of Ceremonies for the day. The purpose of the Health Fair was to raise heart disease awareness and to promote heart-healthy lifestyles. It was also an opportunity for Riverside Community Hospital to provide materials and health education to the community on the importance of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The Health Fair took place from 9:00am-2:00pm in the parking lots behind the Hospital along Brockton and 14th Street. It was hosted by Riverside Community Hospital and co-sponsored by Riverside Medical Clinic Foundation. Karla Adams Fitness, a fitness gym located on Magnolia near Central Ave, joined efforts with the Hospital to sponsor a kid’s health and fitness zone which included mini kid’s runs, an air weight lift contest, dance performances, water balloon toss and more. Through these activities, the hospital in joint efforts with Karla Adams and Riverside Medical Clinic Foundation along with other community partners, focused on addressing issues of such as childhood diabetes and obesity. While having fun, kids were encouraged to eat healthier, and spend less time sitting around and more time outside engaging in outdoor activities such as running, dancing and exercising.

Special guest appearances were made by NFL Players Kermit Alexander from the Philadelphia Eagles, and Ricky Ellis and Efren Herrera from the Seattle Seahawks who participated in the kid’s fitness activities while encouraging kids to exercise on a daily basis. At noon, crowds of people gathered around the Edible Fruit Arrangement booth to watch the NFL players who were joined by Karla Adams and Mayor Ron Loveridge, who stopped by to greet the community, compete in a friendly fruit eating contest.

Nearly 60 vendors supported the event and provided health education and tools to families at the Health Fair. Clarks Nutrition, one of the event sponsors, gave out healthy snack samples to parents and their kids. During the event, families were able to meet physicians at ‘Ask the Doc’ booths and had the opportunity to get to know Riverside Community Hospital’s HeartCare Institute team. Dr. Patankar, a Cardiologist at the Hospital and Dr. Carl Knopke, a Family Medicine physician who specializes in weight loss, spoke to the crowd about heart disease and steps towards healthy living. The Hospital along with other sponsors such as PrimeCare and Riverside Medical Clinic, offered many free health screenings to the community, including cardiac, Echos, bone density, blood pressure, BMI, body fat, strength grip tests and glucose testing. The City of Riverside, who was also one of the sponsors, had a booth to promote the city’s Fit, Fresh and Fun initiative in which the hospital is a part of.

The Health Fair included a Motorcycle Rally and Poker Run that began early in the morning at Skip Fordyce Harley Davidson. The riders returned to the event after completing their ride to take advantage of the free screenings and education. Peter McBride, Director of the Heart Care Institute, announced the high-hand winner of the ride, who was awarded an $800 trip to San Francisco, including free airfare. A free motorcycle training course was donated by Skip Ford Harley Davidson for the mid-hand winner, and Sunday Brunch for two was donated by the Mission Inn to the low hand-winner. The ride was part of the Hospital’s fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association’s 2012 Inland Empire Heart Walk. Motorcyclists came together from as far as San Diego to ride in support of the Hospital for heart health. The Health Fair was a huge success and provided invaluable health education to over 3,000 people in the Inland Empire Community.

Omnitrans Carries Over 16 Million College Students Fuel Increase

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SAN BERNARDINO - Omnitrans added a million riders in 2011-12 compared to the prior year, surpassing the 16 million mark for the first time since 2004. On an average weekday, the transit agency’s buses carried over 52,000 passengers, a 7.7% increase from fiscal year 2011. “Transit ridership is growing across the country,” said CEO/General Manager Milo Victoria, “but Omnitrans is ahead of the trend. Nationally, ridership was up about 5% for the first quarter of calendar year 2012, while Omnitrans grew 8%.”

A key growth factor is the “Go Smart” college program that provides unlimited bus rides to students at participating colleges. A one-year pilot program generated over 1.4 million trips from students at California State University San Bernardino, Chaffey College, Crafton Hills College and Valley College. Over 25 percent of enrolled students hopped on board. 15 local cities, the County, partner colleges, and Omnitrans funded the pilot program. This spring students at Chaffey, Crafton Hills and Valley Colleges approved student fees to continue the program for five years. CSUSB is hoping to fund another year of the pilot program. The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire joined the program in May.

The growth comes at a time when the transit agency has implemented only modest enhancements after service cuts were implemented in 2010 due to budget shortfalls. While ridership increased 7.4% on average among all routes and services, some led the way. OmniGo community shuttle routes continue to capture new riders, achieving a 34% upsurge year over year. Introduced in September 2010, OmniGo serves the cities of Chino Hills, Grand Terrace and Yucaipa using smaller 16-passenger vehicles more suited to these residential areas than traditional transit buses. Express Route 215, which travels the 215 freeway corridor to connect San Bernardino and Riverside posted a 17% gain. “This bodes well for our sbX bus rapid transit line under construction,” said Director of Marketing Wendy Williams. “Commuters are looking for low cost alternatives that are time competitive with driving.”

While high gas prices are likely contributors to rising transit ridership, national studies also show that younger Americans are driving less. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that between 2001 and 2009 the average annual vehicle miles traveled by Americans ages 16 to 34 fell by close to a quarter, from 10,300 to 7,900 per capita. At the same time, the amount of bicycling, walking, and public transit ridership increased.

Visual Master Bernard Hoyes' Art Comes Alive

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"Seven Paintings, A Story in Performance" An Interdisciplinary Artistic Production at the Ford Amphitheatre on Sunday, August 5, 2012

Los Angeles - For over four decades the paintings of visual art master Bernard Stanley Hoyes have stimulated the masses. With compositions that boast majestic color, bold creativity and magnetic passion, his artwork is known for stirring the heart, mind and soul. As an iconic craftsman channeling images from a deeply spiritual space, it has been said that Hoyes' work 'speaks' in more ways than one, touching the core of African worship through Jamaican Revivalism. The fervor behind it all; the moans, hallelujahs and laments, the whispers and the shouts, as well as the wailing and chants that seep through his compositions, are now going to literally jump off the canvas and come to life in a interdisciplinary materialization entitled, "Seven Paintings, a Story in Performance." The event take place Sunday, August 5, at 8.:00pm at Los Angeles' Ford Amphitheatre as part of the venue's ever-popular "FORD 2012 DANCE" series . Presented by Bernard Hoyes' Caribbean Fine Arts Publishing and the Jamaica Cultural Alliance, "Seven Paintings" features the art imagery of Hoyes, the choreography of Pat Taylor with her Jazzantiqua Dance Ensemble and drumming in the Yoruba/ Nyabengi tradition from the Kabasa Drum Ensemble. Seven separate works from Hoyes' Revival Series will serialize a story of ambition and redemption. Each work will represent a scene as it is rear projected, stimulating the chapter's interpretation by the dancers as Hoyes' art is transformed into a magical staging of music, dance and pantomime. An engaging tambourine chorus chants the narrative of the next painting as they luminously transform from scene to scene.

The interdisciplinary odyssey relates the spiritual journey of a young Jamaican medium who flees her position as the village healer to pursue her dreams of becoming a dancer. She experiences the wider world through relationships with a Rastafarian, a sailor and a policeman. Each encounter becomes a duet in the backdrop of a carnival masquerade. The carnival is a metaphor for the world at large. Finally, as the medium is lost in despair, a vision reveals her true path. Prices start at $35 for adults; full-time students with ID pay $15 and children 12 and under $12.Tickets are available at www.FordTheatres.org or 323 461-3673 (for non-visual media 323 GO 1- FORD).

"This is truly another incredible peak in my career," expresses Hoyes, "as my work will actually come to life and be expressed through dance, performance and music. I paint visions that transmit pinnacles of movements and these are now being interpreted - I can't even begin to convey my excitement. I am overwhelmed to have my work included in the 'Ford 2012 Dance' series. This is going to be beyond spectacular! The audience is going to witness true magic as life will now imitate art!"

LLUCH Acquires New, Bigger Pediatric Transport Helicopter

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LOMA LINDA – Air transport to and from Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) just got better and safer. LLUCH has acquired the EC-145 helicopter---an upgrade from the EC-135 that was used in 2011---which is equipped with cutting edge technology and safety features, including twin engines, an autopilot system satellite tracking, night vision goggles and enhanced communication capabilities.

Theresa Doran, R.N., Pediatiric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Transport Coordinator at LLUCH, along with Victor Bannis, RCP, Respiratory Coordinator, and Rene Santiago, R.N., Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Transport Coordinator worked hand-in-hand with Mercy Air to get the new airship to Loma Linda. The new helicopter is owned and operated by Mercy Air Services, Inc., but it is dedicated solely to LLUCH.

”We chose the EC-145 because we felt it was the aircraft that could take us into the future,” Doran said. “The airship’s reliability and enhanced safety features will allow our pilots to maneuver through mountainous regions and rapid weather changes, while its large interior offers optimal functionality enabling our crew to provide in-flight critical care to our patients, regardless of their size.”

The new chopper is used to transport pediatric patients, newborn to 18-years-old, to LLUCH from other hospitals, as far north as Fresno, Ca all the way to the Mexican border. The majority of transports are, however, done within Southern California, and on occasion out-of-state. The new helicopter took its first transport flight to LLUCH on June 3 from Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree, Ca when a young patient needed quick medical treatment due to severe asthma. The PICU transport team was able to critically treat the patient in the air during the 30-minute flight to Loma Linda. Had the patient been transported by ambulance, it would have taken over an hour.

Approximately 40-percent larger than most medical transport helicopters, the EC-145 can carry a team of three in addition to the patient and a family member, whereas most airships can only accommodate a team of two.

LLUCH has two dedicated pediatric and neonatal critical care transport teams on-call 24-hours a day, seven days a week. They can pick up, stabilize and transport very critical patients from any hospital back to Loma Linda. LLUCH’s Pediatric and Neonatal Critical Care Transport team consists of highly trained nurses, respiratory therapists and pediatric physicians. “Our main priority is to make sure our patients get the proper care as quickly as possible,” said Sonea Qureshi, M.D., Attending Physician at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. “With this new helicopter, we are able to focus on the needs of our kids and also try to make them feel comforted and safe during transport.”

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BVN National News Wire