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Gas Company Offers Safety Tips For Earthquake Preparedness

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Following this week’s 4.4-magnitude earthquake in the Pico Rivera area and the recent devastating quakes in Haiti and Chile, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is reminding customers that advance preparation is critical in getting ready for the next major earthquake.

The Gas Company offers these safety tips to help reduce the chance of injuries or property damage from the next quake:

Before an earthquake:

• Securely strap water heaters to prevent them from moving or toppling over. The water heater should be fastened securely to the wall studs in two places -- the upper and lower one-third of the tank -- with heavy bolts and metal straps.

• Replace semi-rigid (aluminum or copper) gas appliance connectors with approved connectors made of corrugated metal. These are less likely to crack during an earthquake.

Connectors and water heater strapping kits are available at most hardware and home improvement stores, or may be purchased and installed by a licensed, qualified professional or The Gas Company.

• Know where the natural gas meter is located. Gas meters are commonly located above ground next to the home on the side, front or back, but may also be in a cabinet or underground.

• Have a 12-inch or larger adjustable wrench handy to manually turn off the gas meter should it be necessary if a gas leak is suspected after an emergency.

After an earthquake:

• Do not turn off the gas meter after an earthquake, unless there is a gas smell or the sound of gas escaping. Once the gas has been turned off, it may take The Gas Company several days to restore service, depending on the magnitude of the emergency.

• If an appliance appears to have a leak, turning off the valve between the appliance and gas line may stop the leak. If not, shut off the gas at the meter.

For more natural gas safety information, visit The Gas Company’s Web at www.socalgas.com/safety.

Community Briefs

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Black Male Teachers:

Do you know any Black males who are seniors in high school who want to go to college out of state for "FREE”?

Several Black Colleges are looking for future black male teachers and will send them to universities/ colleges for 4 years FREE.

The 'Call Me MISTER' program is an effort to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers particularly among South Carolina’s lowest performing public schools.

Program participants are selected from among underserved, socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities.

The program is a collaboration between Clemson University and four historically Black colleges in South Carolina: Benedict College, Claflin University, Morris College and South Carolina State University.

The project provides: Tuition for admitted students pursuing approved programs of study at participating colleges.

An academic support system to help assure their success.

A cohort system for social and cultural support.

Visit www.callmemi for more details and the online application or call (800) 640- 2657.

Stimulus Money Available For Employers

Hiring, Training Federal stimulus funds are available now through the East Valley Special Education Local Plan Area for employers in Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Lake Arrowhead, Redlands, Rialto and Yucaipa, for those who are hiring and training new employees.

The funds are available to firms who hire recent graduates from local high schools.

Contact Guy Williams, business linkage technician for the East Valley SELPA, for more information at (909) 252-4518.

County History Day Competition Set For March 20

About 150 students representing 18 schools in San Bernardino County will participate in the History Day competition at Summit High School on March 20.

The event, which will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m., has three divisions:

Elementary (Grades 4-5), Junior (Grades 6-8) and Senior (Grades 9-12). There are 91 entries in all the divisions, representing six county school districts and one private school.

The event is sponsored by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

Summit High School is located at 15551 Summit Ave. in Fontana

Senator McLeod Recognizes Census Partners

On Saturday, March 20, from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod will be recognizing 2010 Census Partners that have committed to support the Census Be Counted/Questionnaire Assistance Centers and Testing/Training sites at the Ontario Open Air Market, 7407 East Riverside Dr., Ontario.

RSVP with Rosendo Torres at (909) 771- 5817 or Victor Yu at (818) 268-0878. For more information, contact (909) 984- 5131.

Union Bank, KCET Honor Los Angeles African Americans As Heroes

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Union Bank, N.A., and KCET recently partnered to honor four extraordinary Southern California African Americans as Local Heroes during its 13th Annual Local Heroes Awards celebration. The Local Heroes award recognizes the leadership and dedication of the recipients to serving their community. The honorees received their recognition in the company of family and friends at the KCET Studios in Los Angeles. This year’s honorees were:

• Areva Martin, Special Needs Network, Inc.;

• Billy Mitchell, Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy (SAPPA);

• Shonte Henderson, Los Angeles County Superior Court; and

• Millicent “Mama” Hill, Mama Hill’s Help.

Video profiles, produced by and broadcast on KCET throughout the month, showed a glimpse of the spirit behind each honoree’s personal triumph and determination and preceded their presentations.

“It is with great pleasure that we celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of each of our honorees,” said Union Bank Executive Vice President Julius Robinson, head of Corporate Social Responsibility and chairman and chief executive officer of the Union Bank Foundation, who emceed the event.

“Their selfless acts of courage are exemplary of Union Bank’s core belief in community service.”

Entertainment for the evening included a performance by Hollywood’s Da’ Poetry Lounge co-founder, Brutha Gimel, and selections by the P.S.A.L.M.S. (Praising, Serving, Adoring, Loving and Magnifying Our Savior) choir, representing the City of Refuge Music Ministry.

To view the Local Heroes video profiles airing on KCET throughout the month, visit kcet.org. For more information about the Local Heroes Awards, please also visit www.unionbank.com/heroes.

Jerome E. Horton Hosts Free Tax Preparation Events

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Jerome E. Horton, Vice Chairperson of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), is providing free tax preparation and efiling for the public starting Monday, March 15.

“Tax season should not be a great cause of worry as we are providing plenty of free income tax help at convenient community locations to help the people who need it most,” said Vice Chairperson Horton. “Please take advantage of this wonderful service as our volunteers are trained and eagerly awaiting to help their neighbors.”

Tax help is provided through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Volunteers participating in the VITA program have been trained by the Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board. The participants volunteer their time and talents to provide this free service to individuals who may find it difficult to complete their own returns.

The volunteer program offers free help completing both federal and state income tax returns to the elderly, blind, disabled, and low-income taxpayers.

Volunteers can assist taxpayers in claiming the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a federal incentive for low-income individuals and families.

Taxpayers earning less than $43,279 can qualify for a “refundable” credit that can total up to $5,657. “Refundable” means that you do not have to have a tax liability to get a refund check from the government.

The volunteer sites offer free efile. Efiling has many advantages such as getting your state refund back in 7 to 10 days. The volunteer sites provide help in English, Chinese, and Spanish.

To make an appointment, contact the site nearest you. The sites are located at: West Covina District Office, 626.480.7200; Culver City District Office, 310.342.1000, Norwalk District Office, 562.466.1694, and Van Nuys District Office, 818.904.2300.

Community Briefs

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Supt. Dr. Art Delgado Kicks off Campaign for County Superintendent of Schools

San Bernardino County Superintendent candidate Dr. Art Delgado, Superintendent for San Bernardino City School District will be hosting his official campaign kick off this Sunday, March 14 at 1069 South Mount Vernon in Colton, CA from 1:00 to 3:00 pm Superintendent Dr. Art Delgado campaign kick off will be held at his new headquarters in Colton, centrally located in the County wide race for Superintendent.

Refreshments and food will be served.

Spring Dance

The Perris Hill Senior Center invites seniors to the Spring Dance. This event will be held on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. sponsored by the Visiting Angeles Living Assistance Services for seniors ages 60 years or better. This event will include music, dancing, and a light lunch. Tickets are $5 per person. The Perris Hill Senior Center is located at 780 East 21st Street, San Bernardino.

For more information, please call (909) 384-5436. American Legion Post 710 D.J. Larry will be performing every Friday and Saturday at the American Legion Post 710, 2181 W. Highland Ave., San Bernardino. There is a dress code and it’s 21 and over. For more information contact (909) 880-1336.

Riverside Arts Walk

Awaken your artistic senses and celebrate the diversity of arts and culture in the Inland Empire. Browse over 20 different art galleries, studios and museums with exhibits in various art mediums. Special performances, poetry, theater, hands-on art activities, refreshments and more are some of what you will experience at Riverside Arts Walk.

Become a part of the pulse! Riverside Arts Walk is every First Thursdays from 6- 9 p.m. in Downtown Riverside. For more information call 951.682.6737 or visit www.RiversideCulturalConsortium.org.

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BVN National News Wire