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Stroke A Concern for All Americans, Especially Blacks

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Online health and wellness tools can help identify risks and improve health.

By Corliss Hill, national director, UnitedHealthcare’s Generations of Wellness®

Families are a powerful force and serve as the bedrock of the African-American community. From multigenerational households to family reunions and Sunday dinners, strength comes from the appreciation and celebration of familial bonds.

However, being part of a family also means we inherit certain health risks, including stroke.

Stroke is our nation’s No. 3 killer, behind heart disease and cancer, according to the American Stroke Association. About 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year; and stroke will cost the nation more than $73 billion this year in health care and other related costs such as loss of productivity.

African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared to non- Hispanic whites. That’s because African Americans have higher risks of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, according to the American Stroke Association. Plus, one’s risk of stroke is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke.

However, we can decrease our risk of stroke if we take charge of our health and encourage our families to do the same. Now is the time for us to take steps toward improving our health and well-being. One way to start is to create a “Family Health History Tree.” Available online at www.uhcgenerationstree.com, the Family Health History Tree walks users through simple steps to create a family health history.

The tool then draws up a detailed maternal and fraternal family tree, creating a visual record that can be printed or e-mailed to share with family as well as a doctor to learn how to reduce health risks such as stroke.

As an incentive to use the Family Health History Tree, people who register and complete the online tree and e-mail it to at least five family members by the end of the year will be entered into a sweepstakes with AfricanAncestry.com. The winner will receive a free DNA testing kit to trace their genealogy*.

There are other valuable online resources and tools that help educate and empower African Americans about health and wellness. The following resources are available at UnitedHealthcare’s Generations of Wellness website, www.uhcgenerations.com:

• Ask the Doctor answers frequently asked questions about health issues that affect African Americans across generations.

• Health Tip Flyers share information about conditions that disproportionately affect African Americans such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

• Online Wellness Center offers exercise regimens and healthy alternatives on family-favorite recipes.

• Quizzes and Self Assessments test knowledge of health and wellness and review risk factors for chronic illnesses.

• Community Resources lists local groups and organizations that work to improve African Americans’ health.

• African-American Physician Directory is an online nationwide listing, in collaboration with the National Medical Association, to find health care providers who understand African Americans’ unique health concerns.

Everyone inherits certain health risks; however, we can decrease our risks of many conditions – including stroke – and even overcome them by adopting healthy habits and staying current on important checkups and tests. The key to good health is prevention and education, and early diagnosis, so that a small problem today doesn’t become a chronic or disabling condition – or a matter of life and death – later.

Bill Cosby and Malcolm-Jamal Warner Launch Duets & Dialogues Series

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The California African American Museum (CAAM) has played host to some of Los Angeles' most culturally significant events over the last 30 years.

From art openings to book signings to vintage film screenings, CAAM has shone a fresh perspective on the rich traditions and legacy of African American art, history and culture.

On Friday, June 11, 2010, CAAM will set yet another precedent with the launch of its new series, Duets & Dialogues featuring television's most beloved father and son duo, Bill Cosby and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Produced by Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum as a fundraiser for CAAM, this great evening will begin with dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. followed from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. by conversation between Cosby and Warner before a general audience with a closing question and answer session. KNBC-TV's Morning News Anchor Chris Schauble will serve as program host for this special evening.

A limited number of dinner/ reserved seat program/postprogram dessert tickets are available for $150. General admission tickets for $50.00 include program and post-program desserts. CAAM is located at 600 State Drive in Exposition Park, in Los Angeles. Parking is available at Figueroa and 39th Streets for $10 per vehicle.

"We are extremely excited to have the very distinguished Bill Cosby, alongside Malcolm-Jamal Warner for the launch of our series, Duets & Dialogues," states Charmaine Jefferson, executive director of CAAM.

"Our program is designed to pair African American celebrities of note and accomplishment in a setting that allows the easy flow of memories and thoughtful examinations of the present and the future. For so many of us, Cosby is a pivotal role model within the African American community and beyond. His television role as father to Theo, played by Warner on 'The Cosby Show,' continues to speak volumes to generations of sons and fathers, and Mr. Cosby regularly uses his celebrity to keep asking our young people to be all that they can be."

"And then there is the extremely talented Malcolm-Jamal Warner," Ms. Jefferson continued.

"We all watched Malcolm- Jamal Warner grow into an accomplished and talented young man in his own right. Whether it is his project selection as a director and actor, or the power of the messages and composition in his brand of jazz and hip-hop style music, Warner is impressive in the scope and range of his talent and human generosity....and we would have expected nothing less. We know the dialogue from this duet will be stimulating, thought provoking and entertaining."

Internationally renowned comedian, actor, philanthropist and activist, William H. Cosby, Jr., Ed.D. has dazzled generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums, bestselling books and the groundbreaking television hit series, "The Cosby Show." Perhaps his greatest contribution to American entertainment and culture, "The Cosby Show," portrayed a closeknit, upper class black family and dominated the #1 spot for years, earning popular and critical praise and altering the previous characterization of black families.

Actor, spoken word artist, poet, composer and musician Malcolm-Jamal Warner first rose to national prominence starring in "The Cosby Show." He has continued to achieve success as an actor, but also has received accolades as a poet and bass player. A seasoned director as well, Warner directed several episodes of "The Cosby Show" along with the comedy series "Malcolm & Eddie," "All That," "Keenan & Kel," and a host of music videos. He can be heard on the audio book version of Simon & Schuster's "Fatherhood" by Bill Cosby. Warner also heads his own band Miles Long and independently distributes their CD's, "The Miles Long Mix Tape" and "Love and Other Social Issues," both of which are extremely popular in the underground music scene.

Both men have recognized CAAM in the past, Cosby supported and made a performance appearance with his friend Sammy Davis, Jr. at the public opening of CAAM in its then new building back in 1984. Warner and his band Miles Long have twice headlined CAAM's once a month family performance series Target Sundays at CAAM.

The California African American Museum (CAAM) researches, collects, preserves and interprets for public enrichment the history, art and culture of African Americans. In addition to Duets & Dialogues, the CAAM galleries will be open on June 11 to showcase CAAM's current exhibits which include Dance Theatre of Harlem, Forty Years of Firsts, Our Love of John T. Scott, and the Gallery of Discovery. CAAM's newest exhibition, How We Roll, will open July 22, 2010 and feature a glimpse into the African American influences in the surfing, skating and very contemporary skateboarding culture.

Chartered by the California State Legislature in 1977, the California African American Museum is a state supported institution. In addition to its permanent collection, CAAM hosts specially borrowed and selfcurated exhibitions, free public and school-age education programs, and tours CAAM-owned exhibitions throughout California and the nation.

Admission to CAAM is generally free and open to the public, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.

Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to provide resources, staffing, programming and exhibition resources in support of CAAM's mission. Net proceeds from this June 11th Duets & Dialogues program will benefit and further the collections, programs and exhibitions of the California African American Museum.

Explore the California African American Museum's offerings at http://www.caamuseum.org. For general CAAM information call (213) 744-7432.

SCE Asks Customers to 'Round Up' Bill Payments to Help Less Fortunate

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Southern California Edison (SCE) is inviting customers to give a few pennies each month to the Energy Assistance Fund (EAF) to help their neighbors in need.

The EAF program grants up to $100 per year to help customers who cannot pay their electric bills. This program is funded by SCE employees and the utility’s parent company, Edison International, as well as through the voluntary donations of SCE customers. Although EAF recently received a $500,000 grant from Edison International shareholders, the program will run out of money in a few months.

“If 170,000 customers round up their bills to the nearest dollar amount, more than $1 million will be generated for the EAF program and can help keep the program running all year long,” said Lynda Ziegler, SCE senior vice president, Customer Service.

“Rounding up your bill each month only comes to about $6 per year but can make a huge difference in someone’s life.” To sign up for the “round up” program or to make a one-time donation, customers can call (800) 655-4555, visit www.sce.com/eaf, or choose the “round up” option on their monthly bill.

Since 1982, the Energy Assistance Fund has helped thousands of SCE low-income families.

In 2009, it served about 8,600 customers. United Way of Greater Los Angeles administers the funds for the company through 75 community-based organizations.

SCE customers donated $58,000 directly in 2009, and contributed another $53,500 by designating their rebates for recycling refrigerators go to the fund.

In addition to the Energy Assistance Fund, SCE also provides many other programs to help customers in need.

Customers can also receive bill assistance through the following programs, many of which have new income guidelines as of June 1:

• The California Alternate Rate for Energy (CARE) program provides a discount of 20 percent or more on income-qualifying customers’ monthly electric bills. There are 1.3 million SCE customers enrolled in CARE but an additional 126,000 customers are eligible, though they have not yet begun to take advantage of the discounted rate.

• FERA, the Family Electric Rate Assistance program, provides a discounted rate on the monthly bill for families of three or more who fall within the income guidelines and exceed their baseline electricity usage by 30 percent or more.

• EMA, the Energy Management Assistance program, helps income-qualified households conserve energy and reduce their electricity costs.

SCE supplies and installs energy- efficient appliances and equipment at no cost to eligible customers. EMA services are available to homeowners and renters.

• SCE can offer assistance to customers having difficulty paying their bills through payment plans or extensions. Reaching out to SCE as soon as customers recognize they may have problems paying their bills will help avoid disconnections and the fees and deposits that often are required to restore service.

• Customers who rely on electronic medical equipment may be eligible for the Medical Baseline discounted rate.

• Customers who need additional help should call 211 to connect with community service programs throughout California.

To learn more about these programs and other ways SCE helps customers keep current on their electric bills, please visit www.sce.com/assistance or call 1 (800) 369-3652.

Community Briefs

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The Provisional Accelerated Learning (PAL) Center and Charter Academy will hold Commencement Exercises

Thursday June 10, 6:00pm, on the beautiful grounds of the PAL Education and Employment Complex, 2450 Blake Street in Muscoy/San Bernardino. Seventy ((70) graduates of the Class of 2010 will receive high school diplomas, certificates, scholarships, and recognitions for their significant achievements.

Graduates will be saluted at a Senior Breakfast Wednesday June 2, at the Inghram Community Center in San Bernardino.

Keynote speaker for Commencement will be Dr. Albert Karnig, President of California State University at San Bernardino. Dr. Karnig’s illustrative service achievements includes books, 60 refereed articles, numerous monographs; consulting with the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Labor, International City Managers’ Association, and other organizations.

Involvement includes External Advisory Board, Quality Education for Minorities /NASA Ames Research Consortium; International Initiatives Program of the American Council on Education (ACE); N.D.E.A. Fellow, and a Kendric C. Babcock Fellow at the University of Illinois, where he was awarded Master’s and Ph.D. Degrees in Political Science.

Dr. Karnig achievements at Cal State, too numerous to list in this article, include record enrollments and diversity of faculty and students; grant and contract funding; international program development; raising $40 million toward the fourbuilding Palm Desert campus; creation of the President’s Academic Excellence Scholarships, with more than 200 scholars who were in the top 1% of their high school classes; expansion of more than 1 million square feet in campus facilities; and the creation of 10 highly-active research and service centers. A well-known youth motivator, Dr. Karnig’s contributions include service on a multitude of international, national, state, county, local, and community boards, for which he has received numerous awards.

Commencement will begin promptly at 6:00pm, and will be immediately followed by a reception sponsored by Community Hospital of San Bernardino.

For additional information, please call the PAL Center and Charter Academy at 909/887- 7002.

Community Briefs

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Pals Hosts 9th Annual Golf Tournament

The PALS of PAL George Lee Jr. 9th Annual Golf Tournament will be held today May 27th at the Shandin Hills Golf Club in San Bernardino.

Proceeds support the 24 year old PAL Center & Charter Academy which provides high school diplomas, GEDs, youth employment, college-bound programs, and a host of other services. PAL specializes in "at risk" students. Eighty percent of enrollees are "youth of color", and the majority of those are males - the endangered species! Please help "keep their dream alive" Sixtyfive to seventy youth will graduate June 10th at the PAL Education and Employment Complex. Dr. Al Karnig, President of CSUSB, is commencement speaker.

The bargain basement prices for penthouse services are $400 for a foursome and $115 for a single player. COME and WIN A CAR, or A TRIP to anywhere in Continental USA, or $1,000 cash, or many, many other prizes!

Registration and Continental Breakfast at 6:30 am with Shotgun Start at 7:30 am. Please visit their website, www.palsofpalgolf.com for additional information and/or registration. Please call the PAL Center at 909-887-7002 for information and/or delivery of flyers or brochures.

Free Admission to the County Museum

Admission to the San Bernardino County Museum will be free of charge on Sunday, June 6 from 9am to 5pm. Free admission is sponsored by James Ramos, San Bernardino Community Colleges Trustee.

Visitors will enjoy a special exhibit, "Generations of Symbols: the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Basket Collection," in the Fisk and Schuiling galleries. More than 100 baskets will be on display, all from the collection of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. The baskets reflect several southern California basketry traditions, including Cahuilla, Cupeño, Serrano, Luiseño, and Diegueño. In addition, see exhibits of cultural and natural history relating to inland southern California and our southwest, including geology and paleontology, anthropology and archaeology, history, and the natural sciences. The Exploration Station live animal gallery will be open from 1 to 4 pm. Outdoor exhibits include native plant and cactus gardens, a steam locomotive and caboose, mining and lumbering equipment, heritage orange groves, and sculpture. The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. Everyone is admitted free on Sunday, June 6. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org.

The San Bernardino County Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services' telephone number is (909) 307-2669 ext. 229 or (TDD) 909-792-1462.

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