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San Manuel Makes A Merry Christmas For SB Youth

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The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has offered to make this Christmas a merry one for underprivileged children and youth in the City of San Bernardino.

The Tribe has donated $10,000 to the Operation Phoenix Foundation for the purchase of sporting goods equipment for underprivileged children and youth identified through the San Bernardino Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department.

“Once again the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has demonstrated their generosity and community spirit to help make this Christmas a happy one for children and youth in San Bernardino,” said Mayor Pat Morris.

Mayor Patrick J. Morris and Chairman James Ramos of the San Manuel Tribe will shop for the sporting goods on Tuesday, December 22nd, at 8:30 AM, at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store at 245 North E. Street in San Bernardino.

The Operation Phoenix Foundation is a 501©(3) non-profit organization established to help support the City’s multi-faceted, comprehensive crime-fighting strategy, Operation Phoenix.


Kaiser Permanente Honors 45 Local Community Organizations

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Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center recently honored local nonprofit healthcare organizations, medical clinics, and government agencies at a special luncheon event attended by more than 100 people, including a number of local elected officials and honorees.

In 2009, the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center’s Community Benefit Program awarded close to $2,500,000 to 45 local organizations and community health clinics that provide free and/or low cost programs and services to the underserved and uninsured.

All of the organizations were honored at the event; eight were highlighted during the presentation and given the opportunity to share their perspectives and stories about their programs that are being supported by Kaiser Permanente.

The highlighted organizations were Kids Come First Community Clinic, Al Shifa Clinic, Building a Generation, Assistance League of Redlands, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Boys & Girls Club of Fontana, and the San Bernardino City Unified School District. These organizations were highlighted in three priority-focused areas: Access to Primary Care, Specialty Care, Mental Health, Dental Health, and Prenatal Care; Health Education and Promotion to Prevent, Reduce, and Manage Chronic Diseases; and Increase Awareness of Smoking and Obesity as Health Risks.

“Kaiser Permanente strives to help eliminate health disparities and build healthier communities,” said Jennifer Resch-Silvestri, Area Director, Public Affairs. “We couldn’t even begin to do that without partnerships like the ones we have with these organizations here in San Bernardino County.”

Also at the event, Kaiser Permanente presented a check to the San Bernardino Specialty Care Coalition (SBSCC) for its Specialty Care Grant. The Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center has implemented a Specialty Care Grant for $900,000 over three years from Kaiser Permanente to the SBSCC. These grants will help provide specialty care services to uninsured and under-insured families in San Bernardino County – people who might otherwise be denied or have to wait months for an appointment. The grants aim to increase specialty care access by building and expanding medical care networks, increasing appointment availability, establishing specialty care hubs, improving patient-level care coordination, and recruiting paid physician specialists.

The Grantee Acknowledgement Luncheon was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fontana. A number of local elected officials were represented or in attendance to meet the community organizations who are making a difference for the underserved and uninsured in San Bernardino County, including State Senator, Gloria Negrete-McLeod, Congressman, Joe Baca, Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter, Paul

Biane, San Bernardino County Supervisor, 2nd District, and California State Senator Bob Dutton.

Leaders from the Cities of Fontana and Redlands were also present.

Healthy communities are critical to individual health and wellness. Creating them has always been central to Kaiser Permanente’s mission.

“At Kaiser Permanente, improving the health of our members and the communities we serve is a serious focus and commitment,” said Greg Christian, Executive Director, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals/Health Plan, Fontana and Ontario. “The Fontana Medical Center’s community health partners are filling critical gaps by providing physical, mental, and dental care as well as new programs and services vitally needed by the community.”


Local Non-Profit Holds Holiday 5K Jingle Bell Walk/Run Fund-Raiser

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A Place Along the Way (APATW), a nonprofit organization primarily helping troubled teenagers and young adults, is holding a 5K Jingle Bell Walk/Run fundraiser on Saturday, December 19.

Proceeds will be used by the agency in its work helping the area’s homeless youths. It will be held on the sports track at Alder Middle School, 7555 Alder Ave. in Fontana.

“Homelessness can be devastating to anyone,” commented Carla Canada, founder and executive director of A Place Along the Way.

“But imagine how it must feel to a teenager or young adult. What should be a growing, developing, enjoyable time in their life is filled with angst, despair, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I urge the public to show their support for this vital sector of our society by coming out and enjoying this fun, family-oriented event.”

Registration for this just over 3 mile fun walk/run begins at 9:30 a.m. the morning of the event. The run gets under way at 10:30 a.m., followed by the walk at 11 a.m. The event ends at 3 p.m.

Individuals may pre-register for $5; families for $20. Registration on the day of the event will be $10 for individuals and $30 for families.

Families include two adults and unlimited number of children under the age of 18.

The day includes face painting, jumpers, music, and activities for the entire family. Games and prizes will also be part of the fun. Refreshments will be available.

“Many teens have been or are at risk of homelessness,” added Canada. “A problem that had been sharply increasing in recent years, grew even worse this past year with the horrible economy. Homeless adolescents have a multitude of needs that must be addressed in order for them to live satisfying and independent lives.”

As an example as to what will be done with the proceeds from the 5K Jingle Bell Walk/Run, she said $1000 would provide an entire year’s worth of hot meals for a homeless youth.

For further information, to pre-register, or to make a donation, contact Carla Canada or Jeorgina Flores at (909) 200-6893 or via e-mail at carla@aplacealongtheway.org.

Holding Up The Pillars Of Our Country

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By Derek K. Galloway –

It has been said, “You can judge the quality of a country by the number of people trying to enter its borders.” Despite the many hurdles that exist in our nation, without question the U.S. offers freedom, and opportunities found no where else in the world. Such privileges did not come without a price to pay.

Of course, this cost was paid in large part by a core group of Americans, the service men, and women of the armed forces.

Last month, the armed forced came from all branches of the military to be honored at the 40th Annual Veterans Luncheon held at the Stratton Center at Bordwell Park .

These veterans served in campaigns dating from World War II until present day tours in Afghanistan. The gala which was hosted by the NAACP chapter of Riverside gave the community an opportunity to show their appreciation for the sacrifices made.

The Veterans, young and old, donned various military decor with medal of distinction.

Their uniforms were wonderfully adorned ranging from fatigue to marine, and navy blue. “I believe if people had the opportunity to experience what we went through back, then, there would be more of an appreciation,” says Navy Veteran Bill Bufkin. His service in the military over 50 years ago came at a time when this country openly engaged in segregation. This is a sobering reminder that great acts of sacrifice are often met with reproach.

Bufkins quiet, unassuming demeanor that exudes the countenance of something that all the honorees appear to have in common. It was a humble, yet powerful spirit that is exemplified in great men, and women of faith. It is those same qualities that has lent this same Bill Bufkin to soar as a member of The Gospel Music Hall of Fame’s Pilgrim Travelers. Bufkin reflects, “While driving my sister to the Living Gospel Choir in Detroit, I was attracted to the music, and girls there. And the rest is history.”

The contribution of African Americans is at the cornerstone to our nation’s military success.

William Collier is a member of the 1402 Combat Engineers. They were one of the last regiments to serve in the Korean War. “Our participation went a long way in the cause for integration in the military. There were so many casualties amongst both black and white soldiers it got to the point where it didn’t matter what color the troops were, as long as they were able to help, “says Collier.”

His military roots run even deeper. Both his father William Collier, Sr. , and uncle Ernest Collier served as members of the elite all Black regiment, the Buffalo Soldiers. At the close of the Civil War, the U.S. army formed regiments of Black men. Their calvary units were the 9th and 10th Calvary, along with the 24th and 25th Infantry Units.

These men served their country with integrity, and distinction during the Indian Wars in the South West, as well as the Pershing Mission. It was here the last independent Horse Calvary in 1916, went into action against an enemy (most notably Pancho Villa). Their participation went on into World War I. Collier points out, “The name Buffalo Soldiers was not given as an insult. Moreover, it described the bravery, and courage of the revered buffalo often resembled the course hair characteristic of many African-American men.”

Our country is better because of the brave efforts of our women veterans, including women like Lieutenant Colonel Laraine Hall who served valiantly in Desert Storm. She offers these thoughts for others who are pressing towards a goal, “Remain focused on whatever your dreams are, and be determined.” This strong women of stature with ladylike grace continues, “I credit my mother who is the real general, and the Lord for my success!”

For soldiers who are no longer with us, the legacy they left of giving back continues on in their children. Dr. Rita Ramirez-Dean is the daughter of Joe Acevedo Ramirez, a Technical Sargent in the Army. He served with General MacArthur in 1944. In addition, her uncle Corporal Rudy Hernandez was also a hero who fought in Korea. In 1969, he received a Congressional Medal of Honor. “My dad instilled that you don’t have to ask, stand up for your home, God, and country. Home gives us our values, God who gives us faith, and country which gives us equal opportunity,” Dr. Ramirez-Dean states.

Dr. Ramirez has 38 years of educational and leadership experience with credentials that would rival and humble any elected official. This year she plans to run for San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. She would be the first woman of color to hold such a position in over 100 years in this county. “My love is education. My priority is quality education for all students, my goal is for all teachers to teach and students to learn. My satisfaction will be to know I have done my best with the help of parents, educators, and students,” Dr. Ramirez-Dean says.

As we celebrate on veterans we also reflect on the faith, sacrifice, and cost connected with service. In many regards, they demonstrated the impact individuals can accomplish when committed to a common good. A notion not unfamiliar to Wadieur Hughes, as the President of NAACP Chapter of Riverside she reminds us, “A lifetime of service requires staying power.” She challenges others to uphold the baton that many have passed before. She warns that burn out can be common. “If your drive is to receive constant praise and awards you will be quite discouraged,” Hugh says. In this country we have witnessed how far our nation has come when it elected our first African-American Commander In Chief, President Barack Obama. A victory that was that many of our veterans thought they would never live to see.

Community Briefs

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RPU Officials Refute Water Report Finding

Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) officials announced today that a recent Internet blog report placing Riverside’s drinking water among the worst in the nation is just plain wrong.

“Bottom line: Riverside’s water is safe to drink and meets or surpasses state and federal water quality requirements,” said Kevin Milligan, RPU assistant general manager/ water.

The Environmental Working Group, a watchdog nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. , released the report on Saturday. It placed Riverside as No. 2 on a list of cities with the worst water in the nation.

However, Milligan said, what the report does not indicate is that samples used in the survey were from groundwater sources taken before treatment as required by California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

RPU General Manager David Wright said the people of Riverside can see annual water testing statistics going back to 2001 at the RPU Web site: http://www.riversideca.gov/utilities/water-wqr.asp.


“Big View” Meeting On Developing Your Personal Financial Plan To Be Held In Moreno Valley Community Action Partnership of Riverside County (CAP Riverside) and United Way of the Inland Valleys are offering a free presentation on “The Power of your Paycheck” to be held on Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. This “Big View” meeting will be located at the Moreno Valley Community Education Center, 23910 Alessandro Boulevard in Moreno Valley. It is being sponsored by the Guiding Coalition, a community advisory committee that is a part of Project B.L.I.S.S. , a CAP Riverside initiative to help families move out of poverty.

Topics to be discussed include:

How to Develop a Financial Plan, Living Within Your Means and What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You.

The meeting is open to all, and reservations are requested. For reservations or information, contact Lanita Tademy at (951) 955-4900 or info@capriverside.org


Help A Neighbor – Volunteer To Ring A Silver Bell

The Salvation Army has started its Christmas tradition of ringing silver bells by shiny red kettles, so that passersby have a trustworthy opportunity to help those less fortunate.

“The Red Kettle fund raiser is our biggest fund raiser of the year,” said Capt. Nancy Ball, co-director of The Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps. “We use the funds received to support our programs year-round to provide food, shelter and youth programs to our community.

The Salvation Army will continue ringing bells, Monday through Saturday until Christmas Eve. It seeks volunteer bell-ringers so that it can staff even more locations, more of the time.

For the past several years, Salvation Army of San Bernardino board member, and Dameron Communications founder and creative director, Carl Dameron volunteered with his wife Malaika and two daughters, Shaila and Shiane. The entire Salvation Army of San Bernardino board also volunteered their time to ring silver bells and ask the community for help.

“We receive great satisfaction knowing we had made a difference in our community,” Carl Dameron said. “We also enjoyed spending the time together as a family and teaching our children about the responsibility we have to care for those in our community who are less fortunate.”

55 and Better Line Dance Class

The City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department will be hosting a Line Dancing class from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm each Wednesday beginning February 3, 2010. The class will be held at the new La Sierra Senior Center, located at 5215 La Sierra Avenue.

Come to the La Sierra Senior Center and learn the Cotton Eyed Joe, Olé and Slappin’ Leatherhearts. Line dancing can be doubly rewarding, offering a chance for social interaction and gentle exercise.

Come into the La Sierra Senior Center Monday through Friday to sign up for a fun and exciting lesson of Beginning Line Dance. The cost is $20.00 for residents and $32.00 for non-residents.

For additional information regarding Beginning Line Dancing class at the La Sierra Senior Center, please contact Michael Mitchell at 951-351-6435 or email mpmitchell@riversideca.gov.

Pechanga Hosts So Cal’s Largest New Year’s Eve Party

More than 75,000 people are expected to descend upon Pechanga Resort & Casino on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, possibly breaking last year’s record of the biggest NYE ever. Southern California’s greatest party will feature a cirque-themed gala in the Ballroom; American Idol winner, David Cook, in the Showroom; LMFAO in Silk; a flashback party in Eagle’s Nest; not to mention free live bands in The Cabaret.

Pechanga will be the place to celebrate the countdown to 2010 as thousands gather in the Round Bar to count off 2009’s final seconds.

Tickets available at the Pechanga Showroom Box Office, or call 877-711-2946, or visit www.pechanga.com.

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BVN National News Wire