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Locals Donate And Pray For Haiti's Earthquake Victims

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Perris man waits to hear from family members

By Chris Levister –

On the outside Redeemer Apostolic Fellowship may look like an abandoned storefront. But for native Haitians like Oda Lamarre it is respite for the soul. Worship services on Sunday were very emotional as details of the horror in Haiti unfolded. Lamarre kept glancing at his cell phone, moving it from his right hand to jacket pocket while cradling his four year old daughter Jessia.

“I feel numb right now,” he said as he clutched his phone.

Lamarre, a 43 year old surgical nurse who lives in Perris was waiting for word on whether his aunt Glassie, cousins Jake and Vinda who live in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince had survived the earthquake. In the wake of the devastating quake, Lamarre has frantically tried to call friends who lived near his cousins or worked at Port-au-Prince’s General Hospital where Glassie was a social worker.

The silence is all the more unnerving he said since Jake and Vinda are adept at using mobile communications, Facebook and Twitter.

“Before the quake we texted or talked by phone at least once a week. They planned to visit this summer.”

Like many of the thousands of Haitian immigrants in the United States, Lamarre stayed up all night after the earthquake, fielding and making phone calls, crying, praying and crying some more.

“I asked God what has happened to them, but I have no word. It’s too enormous to comprehend. It’s like a dream, a sci-fi movie.”

Members and concerned residents gathered at the church to pray, plan and burn through calling cards, said Lamarre. “We’ve made a lot of calls, but most of them never went through. Text and e-mail messages, still no word, mostly you wait and hope. You can’t sleep. It’s so frustrating.” He seemed to lose himself in the melodic music and prayer. The sermon in French, Creole, and English provided comfort and hope.

“We need a miracle,” he said scratching his head. Lamarre was born in 1966 and came to the United States in 1989. “Lord, just give us a sign. Why Haiti? Why put such a burden on people who have suffered so much?”

His thoughts raced back to his impoverished boyhood land. “The people are poorer than poor. The government and infrastructure were in bad shape before the quake, now this.”

Kneeling on the ground, congregant Cassie Mozingo asked God to watch over the people of Haiti. “It’s just so unfair Lord. In a blink of an eye it’s wiped out. Let the hope shine through,” she said. Mozingo also a social worker signed up to serve as a volunteer so she could put her training to good use in Haiti. Lamarre says he received an e-mail from a friend who works for the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. That man described the situation as surreal, but said he and his family survived the quake. Lamarre whose parents operated a restaurant in Los Angeles’ ‘Little Haiti’ community during the 90s is urging people to make cash donations to funds and organizations like the Red Cross, the United Way and Yele Haiti, Wyclef Jean’s grassroots organization or the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (former President’s Bill Clinton and George W. Bush).

He said while these organizations are in a better position to get emergency help to the people. “My concern is, after the first wave of volunteers go home, the real suffering begins.”

Lamarre met with church members and others to talk about ways the Inland community can help the victims abroad. “I’m laying out the groundwork for the rebuilding and future stability in Haiti.” Congregants, church leaders and visitors placed offerings in an African grass basket which was blessed and placed among several boxes of donated clothing, can goods and bottles of lotion, aspirin and cough medicine.

Larmarre is encouraged by the worldwide response to his native Haiti. “It warms my heart to see so many people wanting to help.”

Governments worldwide have pledged nearly $1 billion in aid, and thousands of tons of food and medical supplies have been shipped. But much remains trapped in warehouses, diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic, or left hovering in the air. The non-functioning seaport and impassable roads complicate efforts to get aid to the people.

The U.S. Air Force said Tuesday it had raised Haiti airport’s daily capacity from 30 flights before the quake to 210. Meanwhile the U.S.’s oldest Black medical organization, the National Medical Association (NMA) and the oldest Black Greek letter organization Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. have launched separate appeals to aid Haiti earthquake victims. NMA President Willarda V. Edwards, M.D., MBA, says there is a great need for Creole speaking medical professionals. “Monetary donations are the most critical need now to ensure that aid organizations-NGOs on the ground and the U.S. government have enough resources to meet demand. Depending on specialties, there will be opportunities to work in existing hospitals, on the hospital ship USNS Comfort and at emergency field hospitals.”

Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. General President Herman ‘Skip’ Mason made an urgent appeal for financial donations through the fraternities’ on-line disaster relief fund.

“To date, we have identified more than 30 Alpha brothers with family ties to Haiti. Our plan is to provide each documented family in Haiti a donation of cash to assist them in their recovery. Brothers, we will have faces to go with our donations. “We are our brother’s keeper?”

Beware Haiti Relief Scams; How To Avoid Them

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By BVN Staff –

Whenever there is a natural disaster, there are two things you can count on, says Art Taylor, president of the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, a nonprofit consumer group.

“The first is the generosity of Americans to donate time and money to help victims, and the second is the appearance of poorly run, and in some cases fraudulent, charities.”

More than 400 Internet addresses related to Haiti have been registered since January 12’s devastating quake. “Some of those websites may be legitimate, but many others are fraudulent,” says Taylor.

“Not only do Americans need to be concerned about avoiding fraud, they also need to make sure their money goes to competent relief organizations that are equipped and experienced to handle the unique challenges of providing assistance,” Taylor says.

Here are five tips, culled from information from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Better Business Bureau, to ensure your donation reaches its destination:

· Stick to well-known, reputable charities. The American Institute of Philanthropy recently published their list of top Haiti relief organizations, and Charity Navigator evaluates charities with a four-star rating system.

The BBB also accredits charities based on fund-raising practices and how the charities spend the funds.

· Be cautious when donating online. Scammers can put up a website and open a PayPal account overnight, so be wary of donating on sites you don’t recognize.

Also remember that most nonprofit groups’ Websites end in .org rather than .com. Don’t respond to unsolicited e-mails, and don’t click links or open attachments from people you don’t know since they may contain computer viruses.

· Donate to organizations, not individuals. Be skeptical of individuals who approach you – in person, on phone, or via e-mail – asking for money. Some may pose as an official or claim to represent a charity.

· Check the charity out. Find out if it has on-the-ground presence in Haiti, and ask how your funds will be used. If a charity doesn’t already have staff in Haiti, it may find it difficult or take a long time to provide immediate assistance.

· Give money, not food, clothing, or equipment. Although well intentioned, donations of food and clothing are inefficient ways to help victims quickly, when transportation and distribution are taken into account. Give money and let the experts determine how best to use it.

The FBI and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) have established a telephone hotline to report suspected Haitian earthquake relief fraud. The number is (866) 720-5721. The phone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also e-mail information directly to disaster@leo.gov

MLK Events Around the Inland Empire

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Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. events were held this past weekend in Riverside and San Bernardino County.

In Riverside, the 17th annual Walk-A-Thon was held with over 400 walkers braving the clouds and rain from Stratton Center to downtown Riverside including Mayor Ron Loveridge, Councilmen Andy Melendrez, Rusty Bailey, and Chris Mac Arthur.

In San Bernardino, the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches held their annual MLK Breakfast and honored Norm Nunez, Mayor Patrick Morris, Helen Harris, and Dr. Margaret Hill.

In observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued the following proclamation:

Few individuals have had as powerful an effect on American society as Martin Luther King, Jr. His fearlessness and determination in the face of incredible opposition changed the course of our nation’s history. Growing up, discrimination was a way of life for him, but he gave his life to make sure it wasn’t the way of the future.

Dr. King’s impact on African-Americans and millions of others in the United States and around the globe resonates today. His words continue to inspire and his ideals remain at the heart of the movement for equality and fairness in our world.

He once said that “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” These were words Dr. King lived by. Certainly his speeches are legendary and influential, but it was his willingness to take action that made him great and transformed our country.

In that same spirit of action, I ask the people of California to transform their communities by making this year’s celebration of Dr. King’s life a day of service.

Many of us will not be working on this holiday, so let’s make it a day on instead of a day off. We have limitless opportunities to make a difference, and if you need some ideas, www.CaliforniaVolunteers.org is a wonderful resource. What we choose to do may not have a worldwide impact like Dr. King’s actions, but it can change the world for those we serve.

As we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, I thank all those who embrace his work and advance the noble causes of equality, civil rights and service.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2010, as the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 14th day of January 2010.

Hundreds Attend Bishop Hubbard's Home Going Service

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By Cheryl Brown –

Anyone who has been in San Bernardino for any length of time has heard of Bishop H. H. Hubbard. Over 60 ministers, bishops, and pastors from all over the United States attended his homegoing service last Friday that was held at Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

Bishop Hubbard was the pastor of Community Missionary Baptist Church in Redlands, California.

There wasn’t a seat left, so many stood outside just to be a part of the service and to pay respects to a man who in his ministry ordained 68 pastors, 18 bishops, chartered 10 churches, founded a theological seminary, and an international organization.

Hubbard was a radio announcer on KUOR radio in Redlands, until relinquishing the reins to a young upstart and member of his church, Bro. Roy Harris. Every Sunday morning, beginning early, the audience could turn to the station for the best in God’s Gospel Music. It is said his legacy increased church membership in the area.

Every church gained from his efforts. He facilitated more musical careers than anyone in the area. He sponsored concerts of great gospel singers including the late James Cleveland. He had an entrepreneurial spirit. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on September 15, 1935.His parents Edward and Maude Hubbard, a sister, two brothers and a son preceded him in death.

He was a product of Patrick Henry High School and in 1982 received a Doctorate in Theology from Enoch University New York.

Many knew him as a singing preacher but his background with the FBI was not widely known.

He retired from the Bureau in 1979.

Bishop Hubbard arrived in California after accepting Christ at Rehoboth Church of Christ Pentecostal. He became a Deacon at Calvary Baptist Church in San Fernando Valley, but when he relocated to Indio he became a member of Mt. Holy Calvary Church where he served as a singer and a musician. He was called into the ministry under the leadership of his father in the ministry Bishop C.E. Simmons and preached his first sermon in November 1975.

At this time he found the love of his life, Mary Brown. They were married and had no children together but shared David, Terry, Kimberly, Craig, Bobby, Latrice, Shaunna and Danette.

October 22, 1978 Hubbard was called to pastor Community Missionary Baptist Church in Redlands. The proclamation from the city signed by Mayor Pat Galbrith lauded his work in the city. Among his many awards he received a Distinguished Service Award from the Redlands Police Department.

His organization Jesus Joy Jubilee National Fellowship, a vision God gave him brought together 1000 churches to call on the name of Jesus. In March of 2001 he was consecrated into the office of International Prelate Bishop.

God and education being important, he founded Community Bible Institute of California.

He leaves to cherish his memory Mary, his wife, sons David, Craig and Bobby; his daughters Kimberly, Latrice, Shauna and Danette daughter in law Pastor Cynthia Jamerson; brother Deacon John (Rachel) Hubbard; sister Barbara (Solomon Buster; 15 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren; a host of nieces nephews, relatives, a godson, goddaughters, the entire Community Missionary Baptist Church and a multitude of friends and clergy.

Community Police Academy On Tap For SB Westside

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Chief Kilmer reaches out to one of city’s most challenged populations

San Bernardino Police Chief Keith Kilmer is making good on promises to break down barriers and improve community relations in the city’s largely Black and Latino populated Westside.

Coming off a successful 6-week run last fall, the department’s Community Police Academy is set to launch a second round of one night a week classes at San Bernardino Community Hospital in the Henderson Auditorium starting January 26, 2010, at 6:30 PM.

There is no cost to attend and there is ample parking.

Kilmer called the first academy of 55 participants a success that begged for even greater exposure.

“The first academy was a unique experience. There were people from different parts of the city, but not so much the Westside,” he said.

Relations between police and Westside residents have been strained for years. Kilmer said as the city’s new police chief bringing the academy to the Westside is part of his long range commitment to open the department’s doors. “I think for a long time the police department had not been focusing on outreach in the community.

We had some incidents on the Westside that led to those strained relations. The way that I know how to solve problems and open up communications is to go out and talk with people, listen and educate. We’ve been working hard to get the word out. We want to fill those classes.”

Kilmer called the academy concept a kind of ‘bread and butter for getting face time’ with the community.

“Transparency is a big part of my agenda so we’re doing everything we can to show positive visibility in the community to include working with neighborhood associations, local clergy, and African-American and Latino citizen advisory groups,” said Kilmer.

He said the first academy was a positive education for police and participants alike.

“At the very end everybody wanted more classes. They wanted to know more about police work. It was a good opportunity for our officers to see the public in a different setting other than at a crime scene, writing a ticket or when someone has been the victim of a burglary.”

Police department training coordinator, Lisa Patnode says the classes are interactive and fun. The sessions range from community oriented policing and problem solving to gang enforcement, graffiti laws and citizen volunteer and career opportunities.

“Our goal is community engagement. We want to hear the people’s questions and concerns. We want them to become more comfortable talking to police officers and working with the police department,” she said.

“There is a feeling of intimidation when you see an officer in a uniform with a gun. But they are in the communi ty to protect and serve. An officer is just a person like you or I. These sessions we hope will help change some of the negative perceptions out there.” said Patnode.

Seating is limited. RSVP at (909)388-4846 or register online at note: patnode_li@sbcity.org.

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BVN National News Wire