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RAAHS Dedicates Memorial at Evergreen

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On a warm Sunday afternoon, in the beauty and serenity of the renovated Evergreen Cemetery, the Riverside African American Historical Society unveiled a dedicated monument with a partial list honoring Riverside's African American loved ones buried at the cemetery and provided a booklet which included family photos and historical background of these early settlers and builders of the Riverside community.

In the past, Evergreen Cemetery lost funding for maintenance and the cemetery fell into disrepair and suffered from vandalism. The Riverside African American Historical Society, whose current membership includes persons related to early Black families buried at Evergreen, joined the community response to restore and revitalize the cemetery and to celebrate the memory of the African Americans who could be located and identified.

Near downtown Riverside, Evergreen Cemetery lies at the foot of Mt. Rubidoux. Founded in 1872, it is the final resting place for more than 27,000 people, including an unknown number of African Americans, buried at the graveyard, instead of segregated in a separate area, as was the universal practice across America in that era.

UC Riverside Listed in “Guide to 322 Green Colleges”

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U.S. Green Building Council is a partner in selection of Most Environmentally Responsible Colleges

By Kris Lovekin

RIVERSIDE — As the nation gears up to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, The Princeton Review and the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released the third annual guidebook saluting the nation’s most environmentally responsible “green colleges.” “We’re happy to see UC Riverside on the list, with a score of 95 out of 99 possible points,” said John Cook, UCR’s sustainability coordinator. “From research into battery technology to solar-power farms, to a student organization called Sustainable UCR. To LEED-certified buildings, we will be celebrating quite a bit this Earth Week.”

“The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition” profiles 322 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The list is part of the Center for Green Schools intended to improve how campuses are designed, constructed and operated.

The guide includes: School profiles with application, admission, financial aid and student enrollment information; “Green Highlights” write-ups detailing each school’s most impressive environmental and sustainability initiatives; “Green Facts” sidebars reporting statistics and facts on everything from the school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies programs, and green jobs career guidance; A glossary of 40+ green terms and acronyms from AASHE to “zero waste”; and Lists identifying schools in the book with various green distinctions – among them: those with LEED-certified buildings and those that are signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

The Princeton Review chose the 322 schools based on a survey it conducted in 2011 of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual “Green Rating” scores (scaled from 60 to 99) of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The survey asks administrators more than 50 questions about their institution’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. The Company tallied Green Ratings for 768 institutions in summer 2011. The 322 schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment. (Note: The Princeton Review does not rank the schools in this guide hierarchically (1 to 322) according to their Green Rating scores, nor does it include those scores in this book’s school profiles.)

First Black Sergeant of Ontario PD Remembered

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Longtime San Bernardino resident and community organization enthusiast Julius Grey Hemingway, Jr.’s life was celebrated this week in a home going celebration fit for a king. His home church, Ecclesia Christian Fellowship celebrated a job done well by Hemingway.

Born September 30, 1941 in San Bernardino, CA to Lillie Elizabeth Fountain and Julius Grey Hemingway, Sr. He spent his early childhood attending schools in San Bernardino. He received Christ at an early age while a member of St. Mark Baptist Church. He graduated from Pacific High School, received an AA degree from San Bernardino Valley College, and also earned a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, San Bernardino. While attending school, he worked at Patton State Hospital as a Psychiatric Technician and also served 9-1/2 years in the Air Force Reserves. He then started his 20-year career in law enforcement which included being the first African American sergeant with the Ontario Police Department.

Hemingway has always been involved in community organizations, some of which included the following: Ecclesia Economic Community Development Collaboration through Ecclesia Christian Fellowship, where he has been a member for over 12-years; Rialto Kiwanis; board member the Citizen’s Advisory Committee at California Rehabilitation Center – Norco; NAACP board member; member of Prince Hall Masonic Lodge #17; Riverside Consistory #273; Sheik Temple #98 of Prince Hall Shriners. Hemingway was a founding member of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement); a member of California Cruisers RV Club, and NAARVA (National African American RVer’s Association). One of his favorite pastimes was going to car shows and RV shows. His dream car was a Ferrari. Hemingway met Liz in 1967 and they were married on August 21, 1970, a union that lasted for 41 years. They enjoyed camping, waterskiing, spending time with friends and family, and going on cruises.

“Julis was an active member of the San Bernardino Branch and a life member of the NAACP,” said close friend Walter Jarman. He continues: “As a member of the Legal Redress Committee, he could look at an issue fairly on both sides for the best outcome of a complaint. I was Best Man at his wedding and a fellow law enforcement officer. We were founding members of the NOBLE organization. He had a love and respect for fairness.” Hemingway leaves to cherish his memory his wife Liz, brother Keith, and sister Elizabeth; three sons, Erick, George and Will; nine grandchildren; three great grandchildren, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews.

Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod Brings Free Tax Preparation Assistance

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Tax Preparation Services Event by Qualified Volunteers for Those Who Qualify Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino), in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service announced tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $50,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to qualified individuals in local communities. They can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

“I’m happy to bring this free service to the citizens in the 32nd Senate District and I commend the volunteers for their work,” said Senator McLeod.

Volunteer tax preparers require a valid photo ID, Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITN) for all family members, all W-2s, 1098s, and 1099s (if any), a copy of your prior year’s tax return, other income/expense information, total expenses paid for child/day care, total tuition fees and expenses, day care providers’ identifying number, landlord’s name, address and phone number for the California Renter’s Credit.

No appointment is necessary. Tax filers can go to the Boys & Girls Club of Pomona Valley on Saturday, April 14, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year the State and Federal deadline for filing your 2011 income taxes is April 17, 2011.


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Freddie Mae’s Southern Cooking closes, family turns to faith for comfort

By Chris Levister

Willa F. Bratton’s the matriarch behind Freddie Mae’s Southern Cooking died February 28, just short of her 100th birthday, according to her mother Freddie Mae Fort. Four months earlier, on October 6, 2011 Bratton lost her oldest daughter Doris Bradford at the age of 80. Sadly, mother lost a daughter. I lost a mother and sister,” said Freddie Mae.

Bratton’s authentic sweet southern lemonade, mouth watering macaroni and cheese and trademark ‘ooeygooey’ sweet potato pie spawned a cult following and birthed the popular Rancho Cucamonga eatery named after Freddie Mae.

On Friday family members announced that Bratton received a posthumous award last week from President Barack Obama honoring her work as a mentor to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Ironically news of the distinguished recognition was overshadowed by yet another family loss. On Wednesday, April 4 cancer claimed the life of Freddie Mae’s 46-year-old daughter Sylvia Charamaine Fort. She died from complications related to pleomorphic sarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer. At Draper Mortuary in Ontario Friday family members and friends gathered at Sylvia’s wake trying to make sense of losing three loved ones in a space of six months.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven,” Freddie Mae said borrowing from Ecclesiastes’: “A Time for Everything.” Sylvia was a teacher at Frisbie Middle School in Rialto. She held a master’s degree in business administration.

“There's grief. There's sadness. There's anguish. But there are no words to describe the loss of a child,” said Freddie Mae. “Grandma Willa had the recipes and Sylvia had the business brains,” said Leticia Rogers, Sylvia’s sister.

“She loved the Lord and lived to run things,” recalling Sylvia’s entrepreneurial spirit. Rogers says the family’s painful journey began in April 2011 when Sylvia who had been healthy all of her life noticed a small abrasion on her breast.

“We were getting ready to renew the lease for our restaurant located at Victoria Gardens,” said Rogers. “Sylvia advised us not to. I think she knew she was facing an uphill battle.” Stunned by the news, the family closed the eatery to focus on Sylvia’s care. “We all thought she would heal quickly and return to running things, instead she continued on a downward spiral,” said Freddie Mae.

“My sister was a fighter who dreamed big. She relished running the family business. In the classroom she was not just a teacher. She was an inspiration,” said Rogers. “When she took ill, it was difficult for her to accept that someone so full of life and vitality could be staring her own mortality in the face.”

Freddie Mae says when Sylvia’s health worsened the family turned to faith. “Two pastors in our family held daily prayer vigils at her bedside. We prayed every morning and every night. When news of Sylvia’s illness spread throughout the community the outpouring of love and support proved overwhelming.”

Still says Freddie Mae, “sometimes I have to step back and look in the mirror and ask myself, is this really happening to me. But wisdom has taught me that strength doesn’t grow without the support of others. That’s why I know now we’ll get through this. I don’t think God would give us more than we could handle.”

“A lot of tears, handwringing and prayers,” says family member Marilyn Bratton. “We’ve had our share of bumps and setbacks on the journey, but also had some miracles. We can attest to a family that prays together stays together.”

At Sylvia’s funeral Saturday, Mt. Zion Baptist Church pastor Brian E. Kennedy told mourners, “We are comforted knowing our Sylvia is free from all pain and suffering.”

“You never really know a person’s pain from losing a loved one until you’ve stood in their shoes and walked around in them,” said Rogers. “We’ve walked in those shoes now - three times in a row.”

As for the future of Freddie Mae’s Southern Cooking - It will remain closed for now. “Like a tree we’re bending beneath the weight of God’s wind and mercy,” said Freddie Mae. “He will use our pain to plant a seed, which will grow into a future of many great things.”

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