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Interstate 215 Widening Project Phases 3 & 4 Ceremonial Groundbreaking

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The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking today for the next two phases of the Interstate 215 Widening Project through downtown San Bernardino. The ceremony took place at 10:00 a.m. at Fairview Ford, on the top floor overlooking I-215.

Caltrans Director Randell Iwasaki was joined by Federal Highway Administration Administrator Victor Mendez, California Secretary of the Business, Transportation, & Housing Agency Dale Bonner, San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, District 8 Director Dr. Raymond W. Wolfe, San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales, and other local and state officials, as well as community members. Transportation leaders faced funding challenges to keep this nearly $800-million project on track. It is funded with a combination of sources from federal, state and local Measure I funds. This is one of the first major infrastructure projects using stimulus funds to start construction in California.

“After working around the clock to pump federal Recovery funding into the California economy, we are seeing the start of more jobs that will drive our state down the road to economic recovery,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “This Recovery funding will not only help stimulate the local Inland Empire economy, but also improve area transportation infrastructure for generations to come.”

On September 2, SANBAG awarded a $172,655,044 contract to Skanska-Rados Construction to build Phase 3. The investment includes $128 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds that will create thousands of jobs, many in the Inland Empire.

“Projects like this are evidence that strengthening the economy begins with investment in our local communities,” said FHWA Administrator Mendez. “Improving major routes like the I-215 will ease local traffic congestion, put thousands of people in southern California back to work and pave the way toward economic prosperity.” “Today’s groundbreaking ceremony exemplifies what can be accomplished in the Inland Empire when local agencies, elected officials, and the community unite for the good of the region,” said Paul Eaton, President of SANBAG. “SANBAG thanks our federal and state legislators for their collaboration in getting funding for this project, as well as the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) for their support. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Caltrans and RCTC to improve the mobility needs of the Inland Empire.” Caltrans is expecting to hold a bid opening of the Phase 4 segment on September 24 to complete the northern most segment of this 7.5-mile project. This segment funding also includes $81 million of Proposition 1B funds and State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds. “This double investment of stimulus and Prop 1B will payoff with jobs sorely needed in the region,” said Caltrans Director Randell Iwasaki. “But it is also critical for the area’s economic growth and sets the foundation for the City’s revitalization plans.”

This four-phase project is a collaborative effort between Caltrans, SANBAG and the City of San Bernardino.

The project spans a 7.5-mile stretch at an estimated cost of $800 million. The entire project starts on the I-215 from just north of I-10 to University Parkway. Phases 3 & 4 will continue the widening of I-215 from Rialto Avenue to University Parkway. They include 17 new bridges, new on- and off-ramps, a wider freeway and I-215/SR-210 connector ramps.

John Sotelo Remembered

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John Martin Sotelo "Johnny" was born in Riverside on January 19, 1925 to Feliciana Esobedo and Meliton Sotelo. He had three older brothers, Teodoro "Ted" Ignacio Arroyo, and Alejandro Hernandez, one younger brother Meliton Sotelo, Jr. and sister Alicia Sotelo-Garnett. He attended La Habra Elementary School and Irving Elementary in Riverside, then continued to University Junior Heights and graduated from Polytechnic "Poly" High School. While in high school he played basketball with the YMCA and was on varsity football. He was also a cadet with the ROTC. While in his senior year in auto shop he was approached by his instructor based on his quick learning abilities along with other high academic level students; which were to serve with auto dealers in Riverside to work under apprenticeship. As the only Mexican American this level of achievement was very honorable and he was the first to be chosen and placed in this group. Rubidoux Cadillac dealership was where John was placed for this assignment and he continued until he graduated in 1943.

John joined the Navy and served as Motor Machinist's Mate Third Class. He did basic training in San Diego and Idaho, also served on the USS Fulton, USS Proteus, USS Grenlet. He was in Tokyo Bay at the time of the signing of the surrender of Japan. After the war, he returned to Riverside in May 1946, where he continued his employment with Rubidoux Cadillac Motors. He was enlisted in the Reserves for an additional four years.

In the summer of 1947, he met Ramona Estrada and married her in 1948. During his marriage John and Ramona went to Michigan for technical trade school education through his employer. He along with other Mexican American veterans formed the Dario Vasquez American Legion Post #740. They would meet at the Community Settlement House where he served as the Second Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors. He became active and volunteering his time with the Junior Chamber of Commerce later to becoming a member. In 1952, the Sotelo's started their family which includes Phyllis Anne, Kenneth John, Michael, and Cynthia.

In 1957, John started Victoria Shell located on the corner of Victoria Ave and 14th Street and to this present day is known as Victoria Auto Towing, which moved to 3161 Prospect Ave. In the fall of 1961, he contracted polio and was hospitalized for much of that year and into 1962. Until this present day you were able to see the ill effects of polio. This was no concern for John to believe he had a handicap, but pushed to continue to strive and accomplish more. In early 1962, John was approached by Minority Business Leaders from the Eastside community asking him to run for City Council to make a change; serving as City Councilman for 10 years on Ward 2. After leaving City Council, he continued his business of Victoria Auto Towing, but never left community active services. In 1971, he was involved with the Baja 500 from Tecate to Ensenada; also in 1973, with Ron Quesada they transported to Ensenada (Sister City), motorcycles, and 1 Fire Engine. Around the late 70's, John with a group of Firefighters and Cautla, Mexico (firefighter) took 9 surplus police cars to Cuatla, Mexico.

May 2004, John developed cancer and was able to fight, but was unable to conduct business as usual, which lead him to remain home to care for his wife Ramona who had developed Alzheimer's disease. John remained by Ramona's side until her death in February 2006. After the passing of his wife, he became active in the community once again.

Congressman Baca Hosts 2009 Women's Conference

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Congressman Joe Baca will be hosting a free empowerment conference for women in the Inland Empire. The conference will be held on September 18th from 9am to 12pm at the Lewis Library and Technology Center, 8437 Sierra Avenue, Fontana.

The conference theme is “Protecting Women’s Rights in a Tough Economy” and features guest speakers: Gillian Zucker, President, The Auto Club Speedway; Michelle Skijian, Director, Inland Empire Women’s Business Center; Hilda
Kennedy, Executive Director, AmPac TriState; Robin De-Ivy Allen, Founder, Necessary Nutrition; Peggy Long, Director, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union.

Congressman Baca has been a passionate advocate of women’s rights especially as it relates to equality and fairness in the workplace. He is personally responsible for getting several pieces of legislation passed regarding equal pay, equal access and professional advancement.

During this turbulent time, everyone is experiencing a large increase in unemployment.

A large number of these unemployed individuals are women, many of whom are mothers caring for underage children.

It is the hope that this conference will provide hands-on tools to assist women in understanding and coping with this current climate and to develop necessary skills to compete for current jobs. This is a great time to begin the process of “thinking outside the box” with respect to retraining, job creation and entrepreneurship.

To RSVP, contact Karen Serrano, Virginia Marquez or Beverly Thomas at (909) 885-2222 or karen.serrano@mail.house.gov.

Members of the Parliament of Ghana to visit USA

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This week, delegates from the Parliament of Ghana West African will visit Southern California. In response to a invitation from Mission Africa 2000 Inc, a nonprofit Christian organization based in USA & Ghana West Africa. Members of Parliament have agreed to come and thank Mission Africa and its partners for their joint efforts. Founder Dr. Kodjoe Sumney and the Mission Africa Team have taken over seven hundred Americans from all backgrounds to Africa for humanitarian and mission work. Mission Africa, together with other local churches, has collaborated with the Parliament of Ghana in the annual National Prayer Conference for the past six years on African Union Day.

According to the founder, Dr. Kodjoe Sumney; “The recent visit of President Barrack Obama to Ghana was very fruitful, there was much positive dialogue, and President Barrack Obama stated he wants more of Ghana. “Dr. Sumney stated “Ghana wants more African Americans and other nationalities to come to Ghana.”

On September 11, 2009, at 9:00 AM local elected San Bernardino officials and delegates of the Ghana Parliament will meet for breakfast to have dialog regarding business & humanitarian opportunities that are available in Ghana West Africa.

On September 12, 2009, at 11:30AM delegates of the Ghana Parliament (Parliamentary Christian Fellowship) will attend the annual Mission Africa Bridging the Gap Banquet and Conference Hosted by Pastor Larry Weaver at Atherton Baptist Church, 2627 West 116th St. Hawthorne, California.

On September 13, 2009, at 6PM, Pastor Chuck Singleton will host the ‘’Mission Africa Bridging the Gap Unification Thanksgiving Service’’ at Loveland Church located at 2970 Inland Empire Blvd in, Ontario, California.

An invitation is extended for this special event to all churches, general public and persons

of all walks of life, to come and join us to bridge the gap and rebuild Africa. For more information on the upcoming Bridging the Gap Banquet and Thanksgiving service, contact Mission Africa Executive committee at 951-500-2609 or 909-238-6891 or visit us on the web at missionafricainc.org. email us at missionafricaincorporated@yahoo.com

Kaiser Riverside offers Free "I Can Cope" Class For Cancer Patients

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Kaiser Permanente of Riverside is offering a series of free “I Can Cope” classes for cancer patients and caregivers, covering various aspects of cancer treatment and recovery. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of medical professionals.

The upcoming sessions are: “Managing Side Effects of Illness and Treatment” on Friday, Sept. 11 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Kaiser Riverside in Medical Office Building 2, Room MC 1C-D. Speakers will be Robin Green, MSN, OCN, RNP-C, and Melanie Honeywell, RD.

“Exploring Self-Esteem and Intimacy, and Communicating Concerns and Feelings” on Friday, Sept. 18 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Kaiser Riverside Medical Office Building 2, Room MC 3, 3C-D-E. Speakers will be Andy Jang, MD, and Elvira Pan, LCSW.

“Mobilizing Resources and Support” on Friday, Sept. 25 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Kaiser Riverside in Medical Office Building 2, Room MC 3C-D-E. Speakers will be Jerry Arnold-Bell, RN, American Cancer Society, and Kathi McIntyre.

I Can Cope is a free educational program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Riverside in partnership with the American Cancer Society, aimed at providing empowering information for cancer patients and their loved ones.

The classes are facilitated by medical professionals. Each class highlights a different topic relevant to the cancer experience to enhance knowledge and skills, and empower participants to cope more effectively with the challenges that living with cancer can bring.

For questions at Kaiser Riverside, contact Elvira Pan, LCSW, at (951) 353-4755. For the American Cancer Society, call (800) ACS-2345, or visit www.cancer.org anytime.

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