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Governor Appoints First African-American Woman as General of National Guard

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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Brigadier General Mary J. Kight as the first female adjutant general of the California National Guard and first African-American female National Guard adjutant general in the nation. He also thanked General William H. Wade II for his years of dedicated service.

“Brigadier General Mary Kight is a proven courageous, loyal and honorable leader. She has a long and distinguished history of service to our state and nation and I am proud to have her as the first female adjutant general of our military forces here in California,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am confident that with General Kight's leadership, the California National Guard will continue to be fully prepared, standing ready and able to assist our local communities and our country when called upon in times of emergency.”

General Kight has served the California National Guard for nearly 25 years. She has been assistant adjutant general since 2006 and previously held the positions of assistant adjutant general, air for the California National Guard Headquarters from 2004 to 2006, 201st Mission Support Squadron detach commander for all members on Title 10 from 2001 to 2004, 144th Mission Support Group commander in Fresno from 1999 to 2004 and first aircraft generation squadron commander for the 144th Fighter Wing from 1994 to 1998. Prior to that, Kight was an aircraft maintenance officer from 1990 to 1994, a field maintenance officer from 1987 to 1990 and an avionics maintenance officer from 1984 to 1987. She was a wing executive officer for the Nebraska Air National Guard from 1981 to 1984 and served the U.S. Air Force from 1974 to 1981.

“I whole-heartedly share in the Governor’s commitment to public safety and ensuring that our armed forces are well-trained and equipped to provide support and assistance here in California and abroad at a moment’s notice,” said General Kight. “I am honored to take on this new position serving the California National Guard as adjutant general and I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to uphold California’s military forces’ outstanding legacy of service.”

General Kight, 59, of Sacramento, earned a Master of Strategic Studies from Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, a Master of Science degree in human resources management from Gonzaga University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in social welfare from California State University, Chico and an Associate of Arts degree in general studies from Monterey Peninsula College. She also graduated from Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,201. Kight is a Republican.

The Governor also thanked General William H. Wade II for his years of dedicated service to the California National Guard as he transitions to his newly selected position as deputy chief of staff for operations, Joint Forces Command-Naples, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Response Force, Naples, Italy.

“Major General Wade has been an exceptional leader of the California National Guard, working to keep our state and nation safe and our men and women in uniform trained for success,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “On behalf of all Californians, I thank Major General Wade for his service to our state and extend my best wishes for an exciting and fulfilling future as he represents and serves our country with NATO.”

The Military Department is responsible for the command, leadership and management of the California Army and Air National Guard whose purpose is to provide military service support to California as well as the nation. The California National Guard protects the public safety of the people of California by providing military support to civil authorities during natural disasters and other emergencies, and provides support to the local communities. These services are provided through 118 armories, four Air National Guard air bases and four Army Aviation flight facilities located throughout California. The California National Guard is the largest National Guard force in the United States, with an assigned strength of approximately 16,606 Army National Guard and 4,757 Air National Guard members. Of these 21,363 men and women, 1,975 are currently deployed and since September 11, 2001, more than 32,449 California National Guard personnel have been deployed both at home and abroad.

Helping Haiti - One Shoe At A Time

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SOLES4SOULS, Inc., the shoe charity, D & J Barber & Beauty Center and One Body - One Life Homes will hold a shoe drive to benefit earthquake victims in Haiti. The public is invited to recycle their "gently worn" shoes for people in need in Haiti Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 10:00 am - 4:00 PM at D&J Barber & Beauty Center - 1245 North E Street - San Bernardino, Ca. 92405.

Food, music and a charity parking lot sale.

Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from the warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you. The charity distributes these shoes free of charge to people in need. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 5.5 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes. Donations are tax deductible.

Contact: Joshlyn Earls (909) 685-9667

Gas Company Offers Help With Post-Holiday Utility Bills

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As post-holiday bills arrive in mailboxes this month, some families will be faced with tough financial decisions, struggling to make payments in a difficult economy. Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) urges customers to take advantage of the utility’s assistance programs -- programs that can help reduce winter heating bills and increase energy efficiency.

“We are trying to help our customers in need, including those who are unemployed and those having difficulty paying their bills,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for The Gas Company.

Customers are encouraged to call The Gas Company before their account is overdue and learn about the available assistance programs. A Gas Company representative will work with customers to set up a payment plan that meets their needs.

The Gas Company offers a wide range of assistance programs for qualifying customers on a limited income or with special medical needs.

• The California Alternate Rate for Energy (CARE) program provides a 20- percent rate discount on the monthly natural gas bill.

Customers may be eligible automatically if they currently receive benefits from the Women, Infants and Children, Healthy Families, Medi- Cal/Medicaid, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or LIHEAP programs.

• The Direct Assistance Program (DAP) provides energy- saving home improvements to income-qualified renters and homeowners. Free services include: door weather-stripping and caulking to keep out drafts; ceiling insulation to keep the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter; low-flow showerheads that can save energy used to heat water; furnace replacement (owner-occupied homes only) and other minor home repairs.

• People who require additional heating for health reasons may qualify for additional natural gas service at the lowest rate through the Medical Baseline Allowance program.

There are no income requirements for the Medical Baseline program; however, doctor certification is required.

• The Gas Assistance Fund provides a one-time grant to customers during the winter who are income-qualified and unable to pay their bill. The program, which is available until funds are depleted, is administered by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and is funded by donations from customers and employees of The Gas Company, as well as shareholders of Sempra Energy, The Gas Company’s parent company.

For all customers, The Gas Company also offers hundreds of dollars in rebates for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and can provide customers with a free energy- and watersaving kit. The kit includes three faucet aerators and a lowflow showerhead to help customers save energy and water.

These devices allow air to enter into the water stream, maintaining a high-pressure flow while reducing water usage – ultimately saving money.

U.S. Census Bureau Opens Local Census Office In Riverside

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Along with state and local officials, the U.S. Census Bureau will mark the countdown to the 2010 Census with the grand opening of its Local Census Office in Riverside, California. The event signals the beginning of a massive operation to count everyone, one time, where they live. The Local Census Office in Riverside will be the hub of census operations for surrounding communities, including Corona, Moreno Valley, Beaumont, Banning, Idyllwild, and Mountain Center.

The grand opening will happen today at 2 pm to 4 pm at U.S. Census Bureau, 11820 Pierce Street, Suite 100, Riverside, CA 92502. Free parking in the lot in front of the building.

Refreshments and tours of the Riverside Local Census Office will follow the opening ceremony.

The Local Census Office in Riverside is one of 39 Local Census Offices opening in January, 2010, throughout the Los Angeles Region's 19 southern California counties and the state of Hawaii. During peak operations the Local Census Office in Riverside will employ approximately 1,500 people from the surrounding area.

State Controller John Chiang To Speak At EITC Awareness Day

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California State Controller John Chiang will be the featured speaker at EITC Awareness Day sponsored by Community Action Partnership of Riverside County (CAP Riverside) on Friday, January 29 at 10:00 a.m. at California Baptist University. National EITC Awareness Day is organized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its stakeholders to educate the public about the Earned Income Tax Credit and requirements to claim the credit. The reception will take place in the Copenbarger Room at the Yeager Center, California Baptist University, 8432 Magnolia Avenue in Riverside. Controller John Chiang, Supervisor Marion Ashley, Mayor Ron Loveridge, representatives of the IRS, CBU and CAP Riverside will have remarks for the press and community.

At the conclusion of the remarks, the new CAP Mobile will be available for inspection. Volunteers will be preparing taxes on site in the mobile unit, which will be used to bring tax preparation services during special events throughout Riverside County.

Tax preparation will take place until 1:00 p.m. EITC is a refundable federal tax credit for working families who earn less than $50,000 a year. This credit helps reduce the tax burden on low and moderate-income families. Based on earnings and family situation, taxpayers can receive up to $5,657 in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds. Families may also qualify for other tax credits, including the Child Tax Credit, which can reduce a family’s tax liability by up to $1,000 per child. Also, refunds may be split and direct deposited into up to three different bank accounts.

Community Action Partnership of Riverside County is operating eight Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Riverside County, providing weekend and evening hours and bilingual volunteers to assist taxpayers.

Please contact Community Action Partnership of Riverside County at (951) 955-4900 or (800) 511-1110 or visit www.capriverside.org for addresses and times of operation.

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