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The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire Climbs Aboard College Bus Ride Program

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San Bernardino - More than 2,000 students at The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire are joining other local college students who are packing Omnitrans buses. The two organizations will partner for a two-month pilot program starting on May 7, allowing students from The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire to ride Omnitrans with a swipe of their college ID card.

The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire, located at 674 E. Brier Drive in San Bernardino, is served by Omnitrans Route 2, which provides 15-minute frequencies on weekdays. The school offers Associate and Bachelor programs in design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts.

"We are excited to be joining the 'Go Smart' program and offering this benefit to our students," said John Andersen, Dean of Student Affairs, The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire. "This program not only helps students get to and from school but also benefits the community decreasing carbon footprint and traffic congestion." The pilot program is funded by The Art Institute -Inland Empire and if embraced by the student body for the initial trial (May through June) the program will transition into an ongoing program.

"The tremendous success of the 'Go Smart' program is a major contributor to our total ridership being up 8.2 percent year to date," said Omnitrans Director of Marketing Wendy Williams. "We are seeing students make a choice to save money and save the environment by using transit."

Students at Chaffey, Crafton Hills and San Bernardino Valley Colleges and California State University San Bernardino have racked up over 1 million bus rides since a one-year pilot program was launched last August. Over 22 percent of enrolled student have utilized the program and in the process have eliminated more than 68 tons of emissions compared to driving to campus.

Students can use their student ID card to ride Omnitrans at anytime on any route, not just trips to and from campus. ID cards are swiped in the fare box on board buses, which allows the agency to capture usage data by school, by route and even individual ID. Omnitrans offers trip planning at 1-800-9-OMNIBUS or www.omnitrans.org.

Fontana Police Officers’ Association Endorses State Assembly Candidate Cheryl Brown

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Fontana – The Fontana Police Officers’ Association is supporting Cheryl Brown to represent the 47th District in the State Assembly in the June 5th Primary. “Cheryl Brown understands the importance of public safety and will be an asset to our district,” explains Brian Binks, President of the Fontana POA. “She knows that the state’s continued economic recovery depends on safe communities where people can raise their families and grow their businesses.”

Cheryl Brown has both public and private experience with 31 years of running a publishing company with her husband Hardy and 17 years on the San Bernardino City and County Planning Commissions. Her civic engagement has spanned a lifetime and includes work with such groups as the Inland Empire Urban League, Arrowhead United Way, YWCA and the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council. Brown’s years of experience in the California legislature extend from her posting as district representative for State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod to her current work for Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter. Her job is to make sure community issues – what matters to residents and business owners -- reach the Capitol.

“Our organization believes Cheryl Brown has a proven track record of leadership in her community, a record that has included strong support for law enforcement,” adds Binks. The Fontana Police Department is recognized at the state and national levels for award-winning community policing programs. The 156 members of the Fontana Police Officers’ Association are dedicated to its department’s goals of preventing crime, identifying and apprehending those who violate the rights of others, preserving the peace and providing a safe community. For more information about Cheryl Brown and her campaign for the California legislature, visit www.BrownforAssembly2012.com

Local Youth Hero Recognized

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Local business, Gi & Associates and tps, Creative Expressions, Inc (a local non-profit) partnered in celebration of Black History Month to recognize several local citizens for their outstanding accomplishments and community service. One of the outstanding young people recognized was DaShan Donique White Jr.

In 2010, DaShan Donique White Jr. was stabbed protecting a woman and child from being attacked in a Victorville shopping parking lot. “Our organization has established an award to recognize the outstanding contributions of community service made by our young people. Through a financial gift pledged by Gi & Associates we are now able to annually give this award of $200 to a deserving young person. It was by the Board’s unanimous vote that DaShan would be this year’s recipient,” stated Theresa Polley-Shellcroft, founder and President of tps, Creative Expression, Inc.

“We are compelled to support an award that recognizes the service and positive acts performed by our young people. Equally it’s our honor to partner with a Foundation that enriches our community through the cultural arts and education,” says Regina Weatherspoon-Bell, President of Gi & Associates.

During the recent Victor Valley African American Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, Dashan and his mother, Franshella Hopkins was introduced to the many Chamber members, business and community leaders in attendance. DaShan received his award along with several certificates and a special recognition was presented by Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron. Mayor McEachron was the luncheon’s featured guest speaker.

Lionel Dew, President of the Victor Valley African American Chamber of Commerce addressed the crowd stating, “We are honored to recognize DaShan White Jr. for his unselfish act to save someone else’s life. Without regard for his own life and without thinking twice he felt compelled to take it upon himself to be extraordinary in action. We extend our sincere gratitude.”

Local Students Launch Into A Day Of Space Exploration

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Space Day returns to Riverside for a 14th year, offering local students the chance to experience the many wonders of space exploration and research in an educational setting.

RIVERSIDE – Nearly 1,600 Riverside elementary school students spent Friday flying an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter simulator, exploring the moon and experiencing new and different ways that science is part of our everyday world at the 14th annual Space Day, sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

With Earth Day coming up this Sunday, this year’s Space Day event at Riverside’s Jefferson Elementary School offered students the chance to experience science hands-on and featured many stations focused on ways they can protect the earth and our environment.

“Over the years, Space Day has become one of my favorite days as an educator because of the opportunity it provides our students to apply what they have been learning in the classroom,” said Maria Ortega, principal at Jefferson Elementary School. “Not only do students engage with real-life applications of math and science, but they get to meet face-to-face with the professionals who work in these fields every day.”

Close to sixty activity stations provided unique, first-hand learning opportunities for students from Jefferson, Emerson and Longfellow elementary schools. Students took the controls of a model Lunar Rover and UFO, simulated soaring through the skies in an F-117 flight simulator, explored robotic technology and witnessed rocketry demonstrations.

Keynote Speaker Wally Funk, a top-ranked Mercury 13 astronaut candidate and female aviation pioneer, presented an informative and engaging presentation to students on her journey to becoming a nationally known pilot and her experience in the Women in Space program. Today, Funk is still at work to achieve her dream of going into space on the Virgin Galactic Spaceplane.

“I knew from the age of five that I wanted to fly, and I know there are students here today who are already being inspired to pursue their dreams to explore space, learn to fly or save the planet,” said Funk. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of an event that gets students fired up about their future.

Lockheed Martin knows that in order for our nation to continue to grow and progress in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology, it is imperative to motivate our future leaders, the children of today.  Space Day provides the catalyst for students to see first-hand the numerous possibilities available to them in the fields of math and science.

“We’re delighted to continue our partnership with the Riverside Unified School District and local schools to offer students this one-of-a-kind learning experience,” said Gary Cambre of Lockheed Martin. “Today’s students will be tomorrow’s astronauts, engineers and scientists and we want to do everything we can to inspire them to achieve their goals.”

The first Riverside Space Day took place at Grant Elementary School in 1999 with 370 students and nine activity stations.  The program has since quadrupled in size to include nearly 1,600 students from three schools and almost 60 activity stations this year.

NAACP Questions Rash of Police Shootings

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By BVN Staff

During a Monday afternoon press conference, the San Bernardino Branch of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), is seeking answers to the recent increase of officer-involved shootings amongst minorities within the San Bernardino community.

“We’re a city of over 200,000,” states NAACP Chair Walter Hawkins “and it’s a city that’s basically a non-White city so the incidences we’re talking about or concerns if you have a city that’s over 70% non-White and you a have a police department that’s primarily White and you’re interacting with those citizens, that has created a problem.” The recent shooting and death of Anthony Paul Gilmore, Jr. (23) of Rialto, during a traffic stop on February 29, 2012 is only one case cited by the NAACP.

According to a police statement released after the shooting, Gilmore grabbed a weapon during a struggle with an officer. Other police shootings and misconduct and abuse of authority cases were 19-year-old Jerriel Da’Shawn Allen, killed by a San Bernardino police officer on April 14, 2007; 16-year-old Jonneshia Reese, excessive force on January 8, 2006; and Terrell Markham shot by a police officer who is now blind.

The NAACP alleges that the City of San Bernardino has twenty-three open legal cases against the city with the majority of those cases involving the police department.

NAACP Branch President, Patricia Smalls states, “The NAACP is not making a blanket statement that all police are guilty of these deadly shootings or using excessive force in the treatment of our Black and Latinos citizens. Nor or we saying that some of these incidents might not be justified as they perform their duty. However, most of these shootings involve Blacks and Latinos subjects with the same old line; I thought he was reaching for or had a gun so I shot him in self-defense.”

“If it was one shooting then it would go unchallenged as many of these have in the past. However, when you look at them as a group, as we have done; we think we have a problem in our police department in racial attitudes and a lack of police training protocols in the performance of their duties,” she continued.

The SB NAACP is seeking answers from elected officials whom they state might be “enablers” of the problem.

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BVN National News Wire