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Christ Our Redeemer Hosts 11th Annual MLK Gospel Concert

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The 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Gospel Concert will be held on Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm, on the campus of the University of California, Irvine inside the Barclay Theatre. The event is co-hosted by Christ Our Redeemer AME Church (COR), the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, 100 Black Men of Orange County, and the Orange County Ministerial Alliance.

Every year, the event is designed to raise funds for deserving college students and to honor two individuals who embody the character and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This event is intended to provide worthy students an opportunity to achieve a higher level of education, and to pay homage to a true American icon,” said Reverend Mark Whitlock II. COR’s objective is to award deserving students with financial support toward achieving their academic and professional dreams. One scholarship recipient will receive $5,000, while the other winners receive scholarships between $1,000 and $3,000.

The honorees that will receive the Woman and Man of the Year Awards are Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Edison International Barbara Parsky, and President of California State University at Fullerton Milton Gordon. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision was undeniable, as well as everlasting. I am grateful for the recognition during such a symbolic event,” said Parsky. The CORale Choir, who was most recently featured in “How Sweet the Sound” is scheduled to perform, as well as a surprise gospel-recording artist. Dr. King’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, has also planned an electrifying step show performance. “I am honored to be recognized at such a prestigious event, and greatly anticipate being in attendance,” said Gordon. Under the leadership of Reverend Whitlock, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church has hosted the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Scholarship Gospel Concert for the past 10 years. All funds raised are for minority students attending a college or university in Orange County.

More than $125,000 in scholarships have been awarded to minority students attending Orange County colleges and universities.

Students interested in applying for scholarships must submit a detailed application including a personal statement and an essay, which is reviewed and evaluated by a scholarship committee.

The cost to attend the 11th annual fundraising event is $25. For more information, visit www.corchurch.org or call 877-426-7263.

Residents Offered A Sneak Peek Of The New Fox Center

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The City of Riverside is opening the doors to the Fox Performing Arts Center to the community for a sneak peek on January 16 and 17.

Community members will be able to tour the newly renovated lobby and auditorium at no cost.

In addition to the tours, the free two-day event will offer live radio remotes, children’s activities, Model A car display, community entertainment and refreshments.

In May 2007, more than 1,300 visitors took one final tour through the auditorium of the Fox before it closed its doors for construction. Now those visitors can come back and be awed by the remarkable renovation efforts that took place to restore this facility to its original grandeur.

The Fox Performing Arts Center is a 1642-seat state-of-the-art performance arts theater.

Thanks to the funding of the Riverside Renaissance Program, the Fox is ready to mesmerize its visitors. The inaugural concert season begins on January 22 & 23 with the Grammy Award-winning Sheryl Crow as the grand reopening performance.

Following Crow is Latin artist Benise, Natalie Cole, Warren Hill, Gladys Knight and much more. For a complete listing of concerts, visit www.foxriversidelive.com.

The Fox will also host a Broadway Series presented by Broadway in Riverside bringing Annie, Jesus Christ Superstar and Hairspray to their 2010 spring line-up.

“I take pride in what Riverside has accomplished with the renovation of the Fox Performing Arts Center,” stated Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge. “This will be the premier performance art theater for the Inland Empire and will showcase the best of professional and community talent.”

Black Heritage Day Celebration

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The Banning Cultural Alliance will host its second Black Heritage Day Celebration, on February 27.

It is a Pass area event that is open free to the public. They are looking for talented individuals and groups: singers, dancers, artists that would like to display their talents and perform.

They are also interested in people and families with local Black history, photos and information to be on display at the event along with guest speakers.

Monetary contributions and supporters for the event are gratefully accepted. For more information please contact us at (909) 645-6545 or leave your info and mention Black Heritage Day at (951) 922-0500. This program is brought to you by the Banning Cultural Alliance.

Pastor Bennett Impacting Youth and Community

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By James Shanklin –

The Faithful Covenant Baptist Church is located in the city of Colton with a ministry that just started in March. As the church begins to grow, and the number of members becomes larger, Pastor Cleo Bennett watches as the church he started begins to expand with love and trust in the Lord.

Originally from Arkansas, yet raised in California, Pastor Bennett, now at the age of 46, began his career in preaching on Thanksgiving of 1999. He was inspired by other members of his family who preached, and realized that Christ had been calling him to conduct sermons of his own and speak the word that people needed to hear in order to move their lives forward.

After spending years at a church in San Bernardino, Pastor Bennett decided to move on to a church where he could have more of an impact on his community.

“This is a church where we want to go out into the community and we want to try and fulfill the needs of the community from a spiritual standpoint,” said Bennett.

The Faithful Covenant is doing all it can as it is still in its beginning stages, but it is already on track to creating a daycare and after school programs for the youth. The church is also interested in making sure the young people come to hear the word as around 65% of the church is from ages 10 to 30.

“There are a lot of young kids dying in the streets because nobody has made an effort to impact their lives.

And that’s the thing we are trying to do, we want to reach people,” Bennett said.

The church gives kids a chance to worship God in their own way, with instruments, singing and rapping, just as long as they understand the difference between performing and praising.

As society today has been uplifted and brought together by the idea that it is time for change, Pastor Bennett has been touching on the topic for years in his sermons, where his major theme is the Power of Change, and that Christ can change your circumstances and he can change you as long as your heart is open.

“I preach to empower people, because many of us struggle through life because we do not realize that God has empowered us to be able to live beyond our circumstances,” said Bennett.

Pastor Cleo Bennett saw the power of change firsthand, after going through the loss of his father, Bennett himself became a cancer victim and went through chemo therapy, he has gone through surgeries and has had half his liver removed, all this just in the last year.

But now after the struggles, Pastor Bennett is still preaching, working out and can still get in a game of full court basketball from time to time.

He knows the power of God and takes with pride the job he has been called to do.

The Faithful Covenant Baptist Church is open to all races, and nationalities, and to people from all backgrounds.

Pastor Bennett, with the love of his wife and 3 sons, continues and will continue to speak the word and keep the doors of his church open for those who are willing to listen.

“It’s a ministry of freedom, and love, and it’s non-traditional, we don’t have all the Baptist rules,” Bennett said, “We want people to come as they are.”

State Gets High Marks for Emergency Health Preparedness

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The seventh annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, released today by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), found that the H1N1 flu outbreak has exposed serious underlying gaps in the nation’s ability to respond to public health emergencies and that the economic crisis is straining an already fragile public health system.

California achieved 8 out of 10 key indicators of public health emergency preparedness. Overall, the report found that 20 states scored six or less out of 10 key indicators of public health emergency preparedness. Nearly two-thirds of states scored seven or less. Seven states tied for the highest score of nine out of 10: Arkansas, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Vermont. Montana had the lowest score at three out of 10. The preparedness indicators are developed in consultation with leading public health experts based on data from publicly available sources or information provided by public officials.

“The H1N1 outbreak has vividly revealed existing gaps in public health emergency preparedness,” said Richard Hamburg, Deputy Director of TFAH. “The Ready or Not? report shows that a band-aid approach to public health is inadequate. As the second wave of H1N1 starts to dissipate, it doesn’t mean we can let down our defenses. In fact, it’s time to double down and provide a sustained investment in the underlying infrastructure, so we will be prepared for the next emergency and the one after that.”

Overall, the report found that the investments made in pandemic and public health preparedness over the past several years dramatically improved U.S. readiness for the H1N1 outbreak. But it also found that decades of chronic underfunding meant that many core systems were not at-the-ready. Some key infrastructure concerns were a lack of real-time coordinated disease surveillance and laboratory testing, outdated vaccine production capabilities, limited hospital surge capacity, and a shrinking public health workforce. In addition, the report found that more than half of states experienced cuts to their public health funding and federal preparedness funds have been cut by 27 percent since fiscal year (FY) 2005, which puts improvements that have been made since the September 11, 2001 tragedies at risk.

“State and local health departments around the country are being asked to do more with less during the H1N1 outbreak as budgets continue to be stretched beyond their limits,” said Michelle Larkin, J.D., Public Health Team Director and Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Public health provides essential prevention and preparedness services that help us lead healthier lives -- without sustained and stable funding, Americans will continue to be needlessly at risk from the next public health threat.”

The report also offers a series of recommendations for improving preparedness, including:

  • Ensure Stable and Sufficient Funding. The 27 percent cut to federal support for public health preparedness since FY 2005 must be restored, and funding must be stabilized at a sufficient level to support core activities and emergency planning. Increased funding must also be provided to modernize flu vaccine production, improve vaccine and antiviral research and development, and fully support the Hospital Preparedness Program.
  • Conduct an H1N1 After-Action Report and Update Preparedness Plans with Lessons Learned. Strengths and weaknesses of the H1N1 response should be evaluated and used to revise and strengthen federal, state, and local preparedness planning, including assessing what additional resources are needed to be sufficiently prepared. Identified gaps in core systems, including communications, surveillance, and laboratories much be addressed. In addition, continued surge capacity concerns, including establishing crisis standards of care, must be addressed.
  • Increase Accountability and Transparency. Federal and state health departments should regularly make updates on progress made on benchmarks and deliverables identified in the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act available to the public so they can see how tax dollars are being used and how well protected their communities are from health threats.
  • Improve Community Preparedness. Additional measures must be taken to reach out quickly and effectively to high-risk populations, including strengthening culturally competent communications around the safety of vaccines. Health disparities among low-income and racial/ethnic minorities, who are often at higher risk during emergencies, must also be addressed.

Score Summary:

A full list of all of the indicators and scores and the full report are available on TFAH’s web site at www.healthyamericans.org and RWJF’s Web site at www.rwjf.org. For the state-by-state scoring, states received one point for achieving an indicator or zero points if they did not achieve the indicator. Zero is the lowest possible overall score, 10 is the highest. The data for the indicators are from publicly available sources or were provided from public officials.

9 out of 10: Arkansas, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont

8 out of 10: Alabama, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Wisconsin

7 out of 10: Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia

6 out of 10: Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

5 out of 10: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Washington

3 out of 10: Montana

Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. www.healthyamericans.org

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need—the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.



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