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Riverside Chosen As A Leading City In Green Challenge

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The Environmental Media Association (EMA), in cooperation with Southern California Edison, Green Seal, and the Institute for Local Government issued a challenge to ten southern Californian cities to be recognized as a “California Green Community” by 2012.

Riverside has been selected to serve as one of the ten communities to lead California in preserving our natural environment.

Participating cities are asked to develop Green Community Actions plans in fields including: energy efficiency, water management, green building, climate friendly purchasing, land use and community design, waste management, urban forestry, community and individual action, air quality, and transportation.

Other cities participating in the challenge include Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Claremont, and Redlands.

Cities will be recognized at either a Silver Level (basic city commitments), Gold Level (advanced city commitments), or Platinum Level (city and communitywide commitments).

“We are proud to play a role in California’s effort to improve the quality of the environment and the lives of our residents,” said Riverside Mayor and President of the National League of Cities, Ron Loveridge.

“Cities throughout the state –indeed throughout the nation – look to us as role models for restoring a vibrant economy in our communities, while at the same time improving the quality of our environment for the generations to come.”

Riverside is established as a model environmentally friendly community, having received the honor of being recognized as California’s first “Emerald City” by the State’s Department of Conservation. In addition, Riverside has an established Clean and Green Riverside Sustainable Action Plan that serves as the city’s road map for committing to creating a green city. The Action Plan can be viewed by visiting: http://www.riversideca.gov/utilities/pdf/gp/GreenPlan.pdf.

Fatherhood Celebration Set 11/21

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Father’s Time is announcing the Fatherhood Celebration as they recognize fathers whom have participated in the Fatherhood Academy, a 10-week interactive course. The event will be held at the Riverside Convention Center on November 21, 2009 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dinner tickets are $60.00 each.

The course was designed to help fathers overcome the everyday challenges of balancing themselves, their family and the lives of their children.

The Fatherhood Academy is for new fathers, seasoned veterans or dads somewhere in between. All fathers are welcome to attend any of the numerous locations throughout the county.

The course provides dads with leadership and organizational skills and other life values, which will support them as they take the necessary steps to achieve fatherhood excellence.

Keynote speakers for the evening are Kenneth M. Young, RCOE Superintendent of Schools; Ron Loveridge, Mayor for the City of Riverside; Dr. Michael Conner, Dean of Mt. San Jacinto College and Harry Freedman, Executive Director of First 5 Riverside.

The honorary Father of the Year is Ron Woodbury, CIAO, Altura Credit Union.

Father’s Time collaborated with the Volunteer Center of Riverside, a 501©(3) organization for this event. The Volunteer Center operates the “211” system for the County of Riverside, including resource referrals for shelter, food, clothing, physical and mental health wellness and senior services. For more information, ticket purchases or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities and advertising, please contact Michele Diaz at 951-328-8284 or contact Father’s Time at 877-898-9989. You can also email your inquiry to: staff@fatherstime.com.

SEIU 121RN Joins Kaiser Coalition, Labor Management Partnership

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Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN was voted into membership by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions on Oct. 29. 121RN represents about 250 nurses at Kaiser Moreno Valley Community Hospital. 121RN will also sign onto Kaiser’s Labor Management Partnership (LMP) of which members are covered by a national collective bargaining agreement.

The goal of the Coalition and Labor Management Partnership is to put Kaiser Permanente patients and members “at the center of every decision, to focus our teams on achieving the highest quality, the best service, the most affordable care and the best place to work. These achievements are created by high-performing teams that engage physicians, managers and frontline workers in ensuring that each patient has the best possible experience,” according to LMP literature.

“As nurses, our No. 1 goal is always to provide the best quality care to our patients,” says Barbara Washington-Knight, a registered nurse at Kaiser Moreno Valley Community Hospital for 16 years and a member of the SEIU 121RN Moreno Valley bargaining team. “Any effort that can help us achieve better patient care and a safer, more effective workplace, I’m all for that.”

By next year, all 96,000 Coalition Union members at Kaiser Permanente will be working in Unit-Based Teams, which are natural work groups of physicians, managers, supervisors and front-line workers who use joint decision making to identify and solve problems.

“The performance improvement model the teams use makes the process of change easy and intuitive,” says Maureen Anderson, communications director for the Union Coalition. “It gives workers a greater voice in their jobs than anywhere else –far beyond any other collective bargaining agreement in the U.S.”

The LMP offers core training courses that cover topics relating to key issues and how to work together to improve performance and create a better workplace.

The key issues are: attendance, service, unit-based teams, workplace safety, quality, transforming KP and workforce development.

In-depth courses are available on Unit-Based Teams and Performance Improvement.

For more information on the Labor Management Partnership, please visit www.lmpartnership.org.

California Wellness Foundation Announces 2009 California Peace Prize Honorees

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Brian King, a former gang member and drug dealer, started a faith-based program in partnership with law enforcement, city leaders, and schools to provide services and support to at-risk youth in southwest Fresno. A refugee from Cambodia, Phalen Lim became an integral leader in an agency that combats gang violence and promotes cultural pride and understanding in Santa Ana. Olis Simmons applied her extensive experience in developing systems and programs that foster community wellness to create a youth leadership development center in East Oakland that prepares low-income youth of color for leadership and successful careers.

On October 28, The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) will honor these three community leaders with its 17th annual California Peace Prize at a ceremony in San Francisco. In recognition of their efforts to prevent violence and promote peace, the honorees will each receive a cash award of $25,000.

“The honorees are representative of thousands of unsung heroes who work with youth to prevent violence in communities throughout California,” said Gary L. Yates, TCWF president and CEO. “This year’s honorees also show that perseverance through hardship can help build essential leadership that makes our state healthier and safer.”

Brian King - As co-founder and chief executive of Fresno Street Saints, Brian King has come a long way from his days as a gang member and drug dealer in Chicago. Fresno Street Saints, a faith-based organization that seeks to restore southwest Fresno as a safe and healthy community, provides services and support to at-risk youth and their families.

The organization’s services include gang prevention and intervention programs that offer educational enrichment, youth employment training, grief counseling and family leadership development.

“What we’re doing is taking back these streets and directing resources right to the people, especially to the youth,” said King. “The community leaders and resources must be as visible and as accessible as the gangs are, or the gangs will continue to win.”

Phalen Lim - Escaping genocide, disease and starvation in Cambodia, Phalen Lim made her new life in Santa Ana, California.

Lim and her family sought help from The Cambodian Family (TCF), an agency that provides health, employment and youth services to the refugee and immigrant community of Orange County. Originally a client — and then a volunteer — she is now a youth program director for TCF, working primarily with Cambodian and Latino youth.

“Youth can identify with people who have lived in the same neighborhood, gone through similar struggles and made it,” said Lim.

“I am a very strong believer in leading by example.”

Pechanga Turns Up The Heat With Hottest New Games

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Pechanga Resort & Casino has just installed 15 brand new slot and video games (comprised of several dozen machines) as well as an exciting blackjack side bet at its 200,000 + square-foot casino.

Ensuring that the casino stays at the forefront of gaming technology and innovation, the latest machines have taken to the floor and 18 Buster Blackjack tables are now among the impressive inventory of 3,400 slots and 130 table games, plus the 54-table Poker Room.

“We know that our guests like to try the hottest new slots, so we have one of the country’s best selections of cutting-edge games, featuring the latest releases from all the top manufacturers,” said Buddy Frank, Vice President of Slot Operations at Pechanga. “But they also like the classics and their old favorites. With our large floor, we can do both very well. In other words, we have the perfect machine for just about anyone.”

Slot players drawn to the most state-of-the-art technology can now test their luck at such games as Atronic’s 8-foot tall, three-reel progressive machine, Return of the Sphinx; IGT’s hyper-visual, 5-reel, 30-line, bonus-packed penny machine, Star Wars; Shuffle Master’s virtual-dealer Vegas Star Roulette; and Aristocrat’s fully loaded movie-themed game, Jaws, complete with the film’s classic soundtrack song, among others.

The tables have also turned for blackjack players at Pechanga where, in addition to classic casino games and Pechanga Craps, 18 Buster Blackjack tables have recently been introduced. This new side bet, in which the player wagers $1-50 that the dealer will bust, is in addition to the regular blackjack bet and pays out up to 250 to 1, depending on how many cards it takes for the dealer to bust.

“The best variations on traditional games are those that give players more chances to win,” said Mike May, Pechanga Vice President of Table Games. “Buster Blackjack is an exciting addition to our casino floor because now, not only can you bet on beating the dealer, but you can also bet that they will bust and win, even if you lost your hand. You will also make an extraordinary payout when low cards are being drawn on that bust.”

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BVN National News Wire