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Reception Held for Bartee’s Beauty Salon

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This past weekend, a reception was held at the Elks Lodge in Riverside in honor of Willie F. Bartee, owner and operator of Bartee's Beauty Salon. Bartee closed the business of 61 years on April 30, 2007, closing a chapter of Black history in Riverside.

A crowd of 200 people gathered to celebrate and remember the many years and various experiences at Bartee's Beauty Salon. It is believed to have been the oldest Black owned business in Riverside that was still in existence at the time of its closing. Bartee's Beauty Salon was located on Eleventh Street in Riverside and operated at that same location the entire 61 years.

Willie Bartee is presented a certificate from RiversideCommunity Relations Coordinator, Yvette Pierre
Bartee was recognized with an expression of public acknowledgement and appreciation for valuable and distinguished service to the city of Riverside. A certificate was presented to him on behalf of Mayor Ronald Loveridge and City Councilman Andy Melendrez by Yvette Pierre, Community Relations Coordinator, City of Riverside, Office of the Mayor.

The celebration began with a welcome by the Mistress of Ceremonies, Susan Griggs. Susan and her sister Sharon reflected on how they, along with their mother Mattie Wilson and Susan's daughter Stacy Aubert, had all been clients of Bartee since Susan, Sharon and Stacy's childhood. They, along with their brother Greg, shared how Bartee had a positive impact on their lives over the years.

Susan asked for a show of hands from the women in the audience of how many had at least one time had their hair prepared by Bartee. Ninety-five percent of the women raised their hands.

l-r: Jill Battle, Willie Bartee and Tiffani Graham
Bartee was escorted in by his granddaughters: Tiffani Graham, Randi and Aften Bartee. Each of them presented him with a red rose as Evangelist Gere Perry sang "Give Me My Flowers." The invocation was given by Pastor L.E. Campbell, pastor of Park Avenue Missionary Baptist Church in Riverside. Rev. Will Edmond, a lifelong friend of the Bartee family began the verbal tributes to Bartee.

Mrs. Mylie Davis, who early in her career as a beautician worked at Bartee's Beauty Salon, shared how she learned much about survival in the business from Bartee. Bartee's oldest and longest patronizing customer, Ellen Strickland was also in attendance.

Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo Griffin were special guests. Griffin presented Bartee with a plaque on behalf of LaRAN Products, thanking him for his many years of service in hair care and naming him the Founding Father of the Black Hair Care Industry in the Inland Empire.

Dorella Anderson, Sue Strickland, Rose Mays and Jeanette Ward represented the Riverside African American Historical Society. They shared words of appreciation and fond memories of Bartee through the years.

Mr. and Mrs. Dell Roberts, longtime friends and chairpersons of the Riverside Black History Parade attended the celebration, Dell reflected on some recollections of times with Bartee over the years and the friendship between the two families.

Musical selections were rendered by Perry, Alice Alexander and the Hope Inspirators.

Sanci Patterson and LaRose Edwards presented a verbal history of Bartee and the Beauty Salon along with a powerpoint presentation entitled "Combing through memories down to the last curl." This included pictures of Bartee, his family and customers as far back as the 1930's.

During the evening, there was much speculation as to whether Bartee is now or will ever truly retire but he has slowed his pace. With the closing of the shop, he has more free time to tend his garden, read and relax in his backyard.

The evening closed with Bartee thanking his family, friends and customers for their continued support enabling him to remain in business culminating in 61 successful years of service in the community.

Aging Baby Boomers, Wars, Fuels Police Recruiting ‘Goldrush’

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By Chris Levister

Despite the Hollywood image of a cop's life, they don't live in million dollar houses, and they don't always get the bad guy. So police recruiters can't offer the prospect of glamour  to prospective officers and that leaves them in a pickle. Police departments across the country are desperate to beef up their ranks and are using unprecedented recruiting tactics that include luring officer candidates from other cities and offering dramatically increased pay, housing allowances and other perks.

So when 33 year old former Atlanta police officer Steven P. Vaughn sold his house, packed his car and drove to southern California he had one thing in mind: He was determined to cash in on the state's police recruiting ‘goldrush'.

"For guys like me - it's a feast," gushed Vaughn. "I wasn't worried about landing a job as a police officer in California."  What he didn't realize was the unapologetic elbowing that ensued over whose badge he'd covet.

"It turned unto a feeding frenzy, all of these police departments are looking for diverse recruits," he said. Vaughn landed in Irvine complete with a hefty pay and benefits package, a $5,000 signing bonus, a generous housing allowance and the promise of a promotion after one year on the job.  A quick Google search turned up hundreds of other police and sheriff's departments eager to get their hands on Vaughn.

ImageWhen it comes to hiring peace officers Vaughn is a pearl for departments "tapped out" of prospective minority candidates. He's African-American, experienced, college educated, bilingual, physically fit and single.  

But sharp elbow type tactics haven't proven very successful in attracting minority recruits.  Ethnic minorities remain severely underrepresented in police forces all over the country. The Department of Justice reported in April: The average percentage of sworn personnel who were members of a racial or ethnic minority was 25 percent for county police department, 27 percent for municipal police departments, 21 percent for sheriff's departments, and 15 percent for State police agencies, hardly a reflection of the nation's rapidly changing demographics.   

Fire service and law enforcement can be lucrative careers. However, these are careers which many Blacks, Latinos and Asians have not considered, according to Carl Dameron, producer of the Inland Empire Diversity Career and Job Fair.  The July 30 Fire and Police Fair is geared towards increasing the numbers of people from ethnic groups in both of these agencies.

"Local fire departments have not hired as many persons from ethnic groups as other places," Dameron said. "Fire departments seem to have a problem finding applicants who can complete the application process."

Applicants for fire and police jobs must be American citizens, permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship, and have to pass a rigorous background check.  They must also meet certain physical and psychological standards.

"Our goal is to bring prospective recruits face to face with police and fire departments. The fair is designed to help agencies find Black, Latino and Asian candidates who can complete the process required for a career in these fields," said Delores Armstead, vice president of the Inland Empire African-American Chamber of Commerce.

Armstead said area law enforcement agencies are facing a huge increase in demand for their services as the population of the Inland Empire soars.

Local police recruiters point to an "in your face" print, television and billboard media campaign targeting Inland minority neighborhoods. A billboard perched high above Baseline Street in San Bernardino boasts a starting pay of $73,000 for California Department of Corrections' officers.

Armstead says the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, LAPD, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Department of Corrections have put out a dragnet for minority recruits.

Local agencies are fighting back with their own aggressive campaign saying L.A. is the one place in the country where smaller departments can compete with the cost of housing, referring to the soaring cost of real estate in L.A. where the median home price is about $475,000.

The Riverside Police Department is offering a $5,000 signing bonus for new officers and a $1,000 referral fee.  Starting pay is $56,000 per year plus benefits. San Bernardino is offering new officers $50,000 to start.

"It's a perfect storm, 911, wars on two fronts, baby boomers are retiring and potential minority recruits have more career opportunities. Police and fire departments are desperate to find new blood," says recruiter and former police captain Martin Billings.

Experts say the problem is compounded by a lack of communications among police agencies. There's no clearinghouse for job postings at the nearly 20,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., but hundreds of departments are listing and searching for recruits on a popular police website, lawenforcementjobs.com, where agencies seek candidates for an array of jobs.

The Inland Empire Diversity Fire and Police Job Fair will be held July 30 at the San Bernardino Boys and Girls Club, located at 1180 West 9th Street in San Bernardino, from 9 am to 2 pm.

For more information on local recruitment in law enforcement, see the BVN Employment Section on A-6.

Riverside Public Works Department Unveils High Tech Traffic Management Center

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By Billie Jordan

Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge cuts the ribbon launching phase one of the Riverside Traffic Management Center at City Hall.
Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge cuts the blue ribbon launching phase one of Riverside's Traffic Management Center at City Hall last Tuesday. The center will allow traffic managers to monitor traffic congestion in real time at major intersections and instantly change signal lights to ease heavy traffic.

"The old symbol of management traffic was the traffic cop, that was the way we thought we'd move people around streets," said Loveridge. "We have now moved beyond the idea of having some person out in the middle of the streets trying to move traffic around.

"I'm proud as mayor to say congratulations Riverside, we have a traffic management center. We have now moved from the minor leagues to the major leagues of managing our streets."

The TMC project cost the city about $600,000 of revenue acquired from the Red Light Enforcement program. Once TMC reaches full capacity, operation is expected to toll $75,000 annually.

In the current phase of operation TMC communicates with 170 of the 360 traffic signals that span the 80 miles composing Riverside. "You'll be able to hit all the green lights like six at time now. Traffic will flow much smoother," said Public Information Officer, Austin Carter.

According to traffic engineer, Jim Ross, TMC will benefit emergency operations, such as earthquakes and accidents. "It allows us to instantly create arteries that can move people around the city in different ways," Ross said.

TMC will allow the public works department to monitor traffic on a daily basis and it will have the ability to use the center in special events. "For example, when we have the festival of lights downtown in December, we'll be able to keep traffic moving smoothly," said Public Works Director, Siobhan Foster.

TMC's grand opening preview tour included a view of the physical center, five viewing screens and the video wall, signal timing capabilities, close circuit cameras at three intersections; video feeds from the city's Red Light Photo Enforcement cameras, real time traffic status maps and traffic news cameras.

"We can move the five cameras as we need to look at the different intersection directions. We can zoom up to a half a mile in any one direction," said City Traffic Engineer, Steve Libring. "We have our traffic signal coordination patterns that are set for average conditions during the day, but when we get extreme or unusual conditions, we have the ability to make adjustments."

When the Southern California Association of Governments considered eight major California concerns it gave mobility an "F" on its report card. "If you think about Southern California, the problem that bedevils us, both for the economy and for the quality of life is traffic," said Loveridge. "All of us experience what its like on the streets... We think [TMC] will make our streets move better."

The concept was conceived when officials at the city's Transportation Accountability Performance summit meetings began asking how can traffic work better in Riverside. Jim Ross, who is a former Walt Disney Engineer, designed and will run TMC operations.

Phase two will include the installation of 30 cameras at intersections throughout the city and began immediately after the grand opening Tuesday.

TMC will operate at full capacity by the end of the next fiscal year. Once TMC reaches 100%, operators can monitor what's happening on the freeway and adjust traffic signals to accommodate the overflow of traffic.

National Pan-Hellenic Inland Empire hosts 2nd Annual Black Greek Weekend

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By John Gordon

The National Pan-Hellenic Council Inland Empire, a national public organization comprised of the "Divine Nine" members of the Black Greek letter organizations invited all of Southern California to their 2nd Annual Black Greek Weekend "A Foundation Based on Unity" began Friday, June 29th for a Greek Mixer at the Jazz Café in Ontario. On Saturday evening, a formal banquet and dance at the Ontario Marriott Hotel brought out all the fashion mavens of the "Divine Nine". The weekend culminated on Sunday, July 1st with an old fashioned Cookout at Guasti Park in Ontario, California.

From l-r: Jennifer Smith, Chair of Black Greek Weekend (Delta Sigma Theta); Malita Wilson, Chair of Cookout (Delta Sigma Theta); Nicholas Thompson (Omega Psi Phi); John Iszard (Phi Beta Sigma); Jerome Cannon (Alpha Phi Alpha); and Chantell Ridley (Zeta Phi Beta).
Appearing at the cookout to read excerpts from their work and autograph copies of their books were, Victoria Christopher Murray with her latest book "The Ex Files", Cheryl Iszard and former ‘Young and the Restless' star Victoria Rowell and her latest book "The Women Who Raised Me," who shared that she, her daughter, and niece used the Metro Link rail system to travel to the park from her Los Angeles home. These three ladies did not disappoint their audience and fans and were present at the request of event sponsor Malita Wilson, owner of Heritage Bookstore & More located in Upland, California.

Members of Kappa Alpha Psi
The cookout, which is considered to be the highlight of the entire weekend exceeded expectations of 300 in attendance, and featured radio personality DJ JiJi Sweet, formally of 100.3 The Beat's noon day time slot, who laid down tracks that kept the flow of the cookout moving and encouraged many to participate in group dancing and banter. Several of the fraternities in attendance showcased their smooth choreography, and everyone showed up to represent their group by proudly displaying their colors.

All of this excitement was not just a weekend of leisure. The event was for a wonderful cause as partial proceeds from the event will benefit scholarship programs in all of the communities served in the Inland Empire.

Events in & Around the IE

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Dining & Playing on the Freeway

Click here to view pictures of this event.

Levister Reception in White Park

Click here to view pictures of this event.

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BVN National News Wire