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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.

The Black Voice News Celebrates 40th Anniversary - 40 Community builders will be acknowledged

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RIVERSIDE, CA – August 2012 –The Black Voice News will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary on August 18, 2012 from 10 am to 12 pm at the Grier Pavilion located at City Hall on 3900 Main Street, Riverside, CA. There is no charge for admission and brunch will be served.

The Black Voice News was founded on the campus of the University of California, Riverside in 1972 by Ardess E. Lilly, Jr. then president of UC Riverside's Black Student Union. The Riverside-based newspaper is one of the oldest remaining family-owned newspapers in the U.S. In 1980, The Black Voice News was purchased by long time inland activists and community leaders Hardy and Cheryl Brown from publisher Sam Martin. This kicked off a new era of activism and reporting which would propel The Black Voice News from a small community publication to a powerful voice for the voiceless.

Since its inception, the Black Press has been a tool for the African American community in combating racism, promoting personal growth, community engagement and self-empowerment. The award winning publication has since broadened its editorial perspective to include social media. Globally, this expanded reach has produced considerable interest and readership from all sectors of the local, national and international communities. The Black Voice News would like to invite the community to join them in celebrating the success of their 40 years of publishing and community outreach. Forty Community Builders will be acknowledged at this event because of their outstanding contributions to community outreach in the Inland Empire. The title sponsor for the anniversary and Community Builder reception is General Motors along with sponsors: Macy’s, UCR, and Wells Fargo.

Guests are encouraged to also attend The Green Economy and Sustainability Symposium and Mini Job Fair which will take place from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. There will be a Q&A session on the current job trends, green economic development, and job opportunities. Workforce Development, EDD, Robert Half & Associates and AppleOne will be available to speak with potential applicants. Sponsors of this event are Riverside Public Utilities and The Southern California Gas Company.

For more information, please contact Anna Wenger at (951) 682-6070 or RSVP by sending an e-mail to rsvp@blackvoicenews.com with the number of attendees. Seating is limited.

The Healthy Heritage Movement

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The Healthy Heritage Movement, which strives to educate and empower the African American community to make healthy lifestyle changes, has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to offer Free Community Health Screenings in Riverside County. Healthy Heritage offers free screening to bring access to care to the underserved and uninsured population by bringing the Kaiser Mobile health unit to the area. The mobile health unit is literally a medical office on wheels, completely staff with a medical health team. It gives the community an opportunity to get an update on their vital health numbers.

Over 120 people were served at two recent Riverside outreaches. Rubidoux Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Terry Starks and the direction of Health Ministry leader Linda William, 55 of their members were screened and received health education counseling. La Joyce’s Coiffures Hair Therapy Center hosted the community screening at the Kmart Center where over 65 community members were screened. The preventative screening is vital in determining your overall health status. The screening included blood pressure checks, body mass index count, diabetes and cholesterol screening and nutrition and emotional wellness counseling.

Phyllis Clark, CEO of Health Heritage said in this slow economy many people are finding it difficult to address their health issues, “I think it is important for everyone to pull their resources together and provide services to those that find themselves without. More and more people need help these days. Healthy Heritage is here to bring resources to the community,” states Clark.

First Bank Helps Jurupa Valley Celebrate Sweet First Birthday

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In celebration of Jurupa Valley’s first anniversary as a city, First Bank’s Riverside branch provided free birthday cakes to the community during the keynote event on June 30 at the Cove Water Park. In addition to members of the community, local business people and dignitaries were on hand for the celebration. Part of a weeklong party, the Jurupa Valley community also celebrated with a 5K walk/run, fireworks, and a parade. First Bank is one of the largest privately owned banks in the country with over $6.92 billion in assets and 149 locations in California, Florida, Illinois, and Missouri.

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BVN National News Wire