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Our Children Sing Holds Annual Program

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By Deborah Ealy

‘Our Children Sing’ will hold their annual program at Norman F. Feldhym Library on September 8, 2012 at 2 pm. This year’s recipient of The Alice F. Page Award will be The San Bernardino Public Libraries. ‘Our Children Sing’ is an annual program held in San Bernardino around September 11th of each year. This event was founded by the late Alice F. Page, community leader, entrepreneur, and peace major in September 2002. The “Our Children Sing’ program allows a venue for many of the talented youth in the schools, churches, and gang-riddled communities to come together in peace to celebrate one another without the fear of violence. In this world of grown-up wars, national rivalries, and teen and young adult gang violence, Page believed that we should start our peace outreach by reaching out to our children while they are still young and impressionable and teach them how to work, play, fellowship, perform, and communicate with one another without resorting to violence.

After the devastating events of 9-11, Page felt that she could no longer sit idly by without doing something, anything, to help in the fight against violence and in the push towards peace. She began her fight by reaching out to numerous public officials and people of influence in the city and state in an effort to bring about a National Day of Peace which would be observed annually on September 11th; - just one day of peace when there would be no guns, no violence, and no fighting. She felt that there was no better time to observe this Day of Peace than on the memorable anniversary of the day that our nation was forever transformed and we honor the thousands of lives that were lost.

Page worked tirelessly to bring about peace and non-violence one step at a time, starting here in her own backyard. She measured her own success not by her own wealth or comfort, but by the lives she touched on a daily basis. Like the heroes of 911 she knew that she needed to do something to make the world a better place. She chose to put her words, her beliefs, her dreams into action and stepped forward with a plan to promote peace.

Participants for Our Children Sing include: The Rockstarz from The Rock Church and World Outreach Center, Jayon Dumas from New Hope MBC, Gloria Chavez and The Ballet Forklorico Cultural Group,Pastor Joshua Beckley, Elder Larry Ealy, Garrett Ostrinski, Bronique Martindal, JuuMani Chess, and the Master of Ceremonies will be Terrance Stone from The Young Visionaries. We must remember why our children sing. They are not just singing because their group was invited. They are not just dancing because their parents and friends are watching. They are not here just to support another community event. They are not performing just to showcase their talents. No: they dance, they perform, they sing for peace.


Gov. Signs Assembly Member Carter’s Bill Targeting Foreclosure Blight

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Black Voice News Staff Report

In the Riverside San Bernardino-area, one in every 155 housing units had a foreclosing filing in June 2012 according to a report by RealtyTrac.

Now a bill giving homeowners who have recently purchased a foreclosed home additional time to remedy any code violations and would help compel the owners of foreclosed property to pay for upkeep has been signed into law, the State Attorney General’s office announced Monday. Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 2314, which was sponsored by local assembly member Wilmer Carter (D-Rialto). The bill provides additional tools to local governments and receivers to fight neighborhood blight caused by vacant homes, said officials with Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office.

“The foreclosure crisis has had a devastating impact on many families and communities,” Harris said through a news release. “This legislation will help victims of the crisis who remain in their homes, but have been forced to endure the negative economic, health and safety consequences of blight in their neighborhoods.”

In Walnut, there were 155 foreclosures reported in July, according to RealtyTrac.com. The entire county had 57,570 total foreclosures last month. “We need solutions to the problem of blight which threatens the health and safety of California communities hit hardest by the mortgage crisis,” Carter said. “AB 2314 will ensure that local jurisdictions continue to have the tools to prevent and fight neighborhood blight due to foreclosures.”

The new law is part of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which builds upon and extends reforms first negotiated in the recent national mortgage settlement between 49 states and leading lenders, according to Harris’ office. Harris secured up to $18 billion for California homeowners in that agreement and built a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to investigate crime and fraud associated with mortgages and foreclosures, state officials said.

In July, two key parts of the Homeowner Bill of Rights were signed into law. Those bills, which came out of a two-house conference committee, provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home, according to Harris’ office. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers, officials said. Other components of the Homeowners Bill of Rights are pending in the state legislature. These will enhance law enforcement responses to mortgage and foreclosure-related crime, in part by empowering the Attorney General to call a grand jury in response to financial crimes spanning multiple jurisdictions. A bill to provide enhanced protections for tenants in foreclosed homes has passed both houses and is awaiting action by Governor.

Lifelong Resident, Business-woman and Educator Announces Candidacy for SBCCD Board of Trustees

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Retired Crafton Hills College President Gloria Macías Harrison has announced her candidacy for the November election for the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) Board of Trustees. Community activities in support of the campaign will begin after the Labor Day Holiday, but those interested in volunteering or contributing to the campaign are encouraged to contact the Committee at (909) 800-3286 or to visit the website, MaciasHarrison4Trustee.com. Macίas Harrison brings a unique perspective to her candidacy, having spent her professional career as an educator in the SBCCD, in addition to founding and continuing to serve as publisher of a number of weekly newspapers serving the Inland Empire.

Raised in San Bernardino and an alumna of San Bernardino Valley College, she earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of California at Riverside. Macίas Harrison began her career in academia as a professor of Spanish, spending 24 years in the classroom before she moved into educational administration. She served as the Dean of Humanities at San Bernardino Valley College, then Vice President of Instruction at Crafton Hills College, prior to her appointment as President, where she served from 2000 to 2012. Macίas Harrison is also the founder/owner publisher of the El Chicano Community Newspaper, and co-owner/co-publisher of the Colton Courier, Rialto Record, Inland Empire Weekly and Sun Newspaper Group. A first-time candidate for public office, she pledges to make sound policy decisions that emphasize providing quality education and training opportunities to the most students possible while implementing efficient oversight of the district administration. Known throughout her career for always considering students first, she is committed to making the most of limited resources in these challenging times by the effective use of every tax dollar. Gloria Macias Harrison, in her campaign statement, said, “As an educator and business owner, I am uniquely qualified to be a trustee.

I know firsthand that our future depends on providing our students with quality opportunities for higher education and training.

I am a testament to this belief - without my education I would not have been able to form IECN weekly newspapers. My education, in concert with running a successful small business, has taught me to manage money and to maximize limited resources. A continuingly active force in the community, Macias Harrison was a governor’s appointee to the California Commission on the Status of Women and served on the California Council for the Humanities and on numerous state committees on education. Locally, she is a member and past chair of The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, a member of the Kiwanis Clubs of Yucaipa and of Greater San Bernardino, a member of the San Bernardino Symphony Association and Guild, a board member of Planned Parenthood for Orange and San Bernardino counties, and secretary of the Crafton Hills College Foundation.

She also belongs to many professional organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the Hispanic Council of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges, and the Association of California Community College Administrators. She is the recipient of numerous awards. For additional information, please contact Gloria Macias Harrison at (909) 800-3286 or by email at gloharrison@me.com

London Olympic Games 2012

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By Leland Stein III

LONDON – US men’s Olympic boxers have won a record 108 medals. But since David Reid took gold at Atlanta in 1996, only one US man — Andre Ward, in 2004 — has taken the Olympic title.

The list of pugilist that has taken the sweet science by storm over the years after achieving Olympic glory is simply legendary. Any list will have to start with Floyd Patterson (1952), Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) in 1960, Joe Frazier (1964), George Foreman (1968), Sugar Ray Leonard (1976), Pernell Whitaker (1984), Mark Breland (1984), Evander Holyfield (1984), Michael Spinks (1976), Riddick Bowe (1988), Roy Jones Jr. (1988) Oscar de la Hoya (1992), and David Reid (1996).

There are others that found noteworthy success as professional fighters like Ray Seales (1972), John Tate (1976), Howard Davis (1976), Leo Randolph (1976), Steve McCrory (1984), Frank Tate (1984), Meldrick Taylor (1984), Tyrell Biggs (1984), Henry Tillman (1984), Michael Carbajal (1988), Ray Mercer (1988), Andrew Maynard (1988), Chris Byrd (1992), and Antonio Tarver 1996).

All of the above mentioned Olympians medaled at their Olympic Games and went on to successful professional careers. Fast forward into the 2000 and anyone can see something has happened to USA Boxing. In fact, the 2012 Olympic Games is the first in history where the US men did not medal in any of the weight classes. It took the US women to hold the boxing torch. In the first Games where women were allowed to participate in boxing, out of the three weight classes US women won two medals. Marlen Esparza won a bronze medal as a flyweight and Claressa Shields won the USA’s only boxing gold medal.

Shields’ historic gold was the first US gold since Ward and Ward’s was the first since Reid in 1996. The Olympic boxing gold has been hard to obtain for the US. That makes 17-year-old Shield’s remarkable win over two world champion women on her way to gold even that more impressive.

How does USA boxing get back on track? Are the mix martial arts diluting the talent pool? Surely the allure of college and professional football has taken away the Ali’s, Frazier’s and Foreman’s in US Boxing.

Another problem is that the USA Boxing names coaches, but the trainers that have worked with the fighters that make the Olympic team cannot be in their corners at the Games. Who knows the fighter better than the men and women that train them? No one!! And as the sweet science continues to grow internationally the fighters are getting better and better.

For example, I was watching a young lady from Ireland (Katie Taylor) fight for lightweight gold and in her corner was her father, who has trained her since she started boxing. The Irish Olympic officials told me, “Why would we put anyone else in her corner?”

I looked at the Americans and they have people in their fighter corners that simply do not know the fighters they are charged to cajole. The US Olympic Committee is also disappointed by boxing’s medal-less men’s team. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun offered no specifics, but it’s clear the governing body expected more from US fighters, who left the Olympics empty handed for the first time in team history.

‘‘We’re going to sit down and take a hard look at why we are where we are, and make some changes,’’ Blackmun said. ‘‘I don’t want to say anything beyond that.’’ The US men’s team, the most successful in Olympic history, lost nine of its last 10 bouts in London. USA Boxing has been criticized for a sharp decline in recent years, along with the fact that the coaching staff was not in place until just about a month before the games opened.

‘‘It’s very disappointing for all of us, but we all fought hard and tried,’’ welterweight Errol Spence said. ‘‘We’re disappointed in boxing,’’ Blackmun said. ‘‘We want to do better, particularly in men’s boxing. By saying disappointed in boxing, I don’t mean in the people. I mean, we’re disappointed that we didn’t do better in boxing, because I know that we can do better and we have to focus on how we do that.’’ Leland Stein can be reached at HYPERLINK "mailto:lelstein3@aol.com" lelstein3@aol.com or at Twitter @lelandsteinIII

SB City Schools “Fiscally Solvent” despite funding shortfalls Leaders credit conservative approach to spending

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By Chris Levister

San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) which educates more than 52,000 students remains fiscally solvent, according to new superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden. That’s good news in an era of rapid fire funding cuts to California’s public schools - $17 billion in statewide budget cuts over the past two years.

"Overall we're looking good,” said school board member Danny Tillman. The District began the 2012-2013 school year with a new superintendent, a balanced budget and 22 new school principals. Based on current projects, the district will meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year. Reductions through attrition, including retirements, are helping to keep the district stable. While the District is not affiliated with the City of San Bernardino, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection the “cheery’ financial assessment was welcome news for jittery school employees and families worried about the potential negative impact in the classroom. “We have had a sound, balanced budget for more than a decade,” said Chief Business and Financial Officer Mohammad Z. Islam. “For years, our approach has been to plan for a rainy day.”

The District has received positive budget certification from the County Superintendent of Schools since 2000.

During some of the most critical financial times public education has faced, it pays to have Mohammad Islam on your side, said Tillman.

“It is because of Mohammad’s fiscal responsibility that the District has ‘not’ been forced to make deep cuts in recent years. The cuts that have been made have been kept as far away from the classroom as possible,” said Tillman.

In late February school board officials struggled to cut more than $22 million from its budget. In March 224 final layoff notices were approved during an emergency board meeting. The jobs ranged from clerical, secretaries, and custodial workers. The cuts also included positions in its special education segment. Sending large numbers of “final” layoff notices and then rehiring those people before the start of the year has become a dreaded annual ritual in recent years. “Staying financially sound is a delicate balancing act,” said Tillman.

“Eighty percent of our budget is personnel. We know it’s a painful process however, if we hire more teachers than we have money to pay for, that’s not only unfair to the employees, but it’s a recipe for financial disaster,” said Tillman.

“If state funding is cut by $22 million, we have $22 million less to spend. The bottom line is by insisting on a conservative approach to budget decision making we remain fiscally solvent.”

This school year, there are fewer teachers in the classroom, less per pupil dollars and an increase in the number of students per class. Before the recession, California spent more per student on K-12 education than most other states, ranking 23rd in the nation. In 2010, it ranked 35th, according to the latest figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. As the state deals with perennial budget deficits, per pupil spending on K-12 education grew by just 2 percent from 2007 to 2010, much slower than the 10 percent rate of growth seen nationwide. All told, California spent about $9,375 on education per student in 2010, roughly 12 percent below the national average. Tillman said the severity of future per pupil spending cuts will also depend on voters. In November, a proposition will be put forward for special education funding. If it doesn't pass, the district will have to consider another $39 million in cuts. August 10, Dr. Marsden held a Gathering of Excellence meeting at the Coussoulis Arena, at Cal State San Bernardino.

A proponent of collaborative learning, Marsden told approximately 1,000 employees his vision includes parent, community, and school employee engagement.

“We serve one of the toughest districts in the U.S., and with the work that we’re going to do, we will change the face of education,” Marsden said. During his presentation, Marsden showed a slide that stated; Formula for Excellence: Mastery + Autonomy + Purpose = Excellence. One of the most important changes Marsden said will be a renewed focus on subjects such as science, social studies and the arts. In many schools, they received less attention in the push to improve math and reading scores. He told listeners he believes that divergent thinking is a way in which students can explore possible answers as well as possible questions. He also believes that greater learning happens in groups; whether it is teachers collaborating on effective teaching models or students engaging in academic dialogue to solve problems in math, science, reading, and the arts.

Marsden said the District is starting off the school year with 22 new principals to fill positions at nearly one third of its schools.

“These leaders will play a critical role as our district and our schools work to build a shared vision, which strengthens our mission to ensure all San Bernardino and Highland students are college and career-ready,” he said. The new principals are filling positions left vacant by their predecessors, many of whom decided to take the district's retirement incentives at the end of the last school year. The 22 new principals include principals Elizabeth Cochrane-Benoit and Alan Kay at the newly opened Norton Elementary and Indian Springs High Schools, respectively. The other 20 openings were created by principals retiring or getting hired away from their school.

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