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Tonieka Spencer Wins Queen Honors

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SAN BERNARDINO

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Tonieka Spencer
Tonieka Deon Spencer, 17 has been crowned Black History Queen in the San Bernardino pre-celebration activities. Tonieka is a senior at Cajon High School. She was first in a field of 4. The others were: Britney Allise Doss, Brittany Nicole Birks and Kristina Yvonne Watts. Sturges Theater was emceed by 6th Ward Councilman Rikke Van Johnson and Ms. Kay Toliver.



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The Queen ad her court: Tonieka Spencer, Britney Allise Doss, Brittany Nicole Birks, and Kristina Yvonne Watts.
The Senior King and Queen for the San Bernardino Black History celebrations are Artis and Joann Gilbert. The Gilberts have been active residents of Rialto. He is employed by the Knotts Family Agency located in San Bernardino and she is employed by the Moreno Valley School District. She is also an elected member of the Rialto School Board of Trustees.



Eleanor Jean Grier Leadership Academy Holds Graduation

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RIVERSIDE

By Jequetta Bellard

 

The Riverside African-American Historical Society and The Group will present the graduation ceremony of the 2007 inaugural class of the Eleanor Jean Grier Leadership Academy on January 28, 2007 at 2:00 PM. The Parkview Founder's Center was chosen as the graduation site and is located at 3885 Jackson St., Riverside, CA 92504.  This term's graduates are: Lolita Barnard, Jequetta Bellard, Alex Bowier, Jacqueline Bowier, Christina Duran, Equilla Edwards, Tim Gachago, Elisha Hall, Lisa Jarman, Pilar Jones, Hazel Lambert, Sir Isaac Lindsey, Kevin Randon, Bennett Reid, Ralph Rivers, and Gloria Willis.

The keynote speakers for this term's graduation are Lisa Marie Platske and Robert Byrd, Auditor-Controller, County of Riverside.  As the President and Chief Excellence Officer of Upside Thinking, Inc., Lisa Marie Platske brings passion and excitement to her work every day.  Committed to transforming organizations, Ms. Platske teaches professionals how to develop a clear leadership vision, increase their sphere of influenced and achieve long-term growth and steady profits.  An energetic and inspirational trainer, leadership coach and certified True Colors facilitator, she has influenced the lives of entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate executives with her "call to commitment", challenging individuals to create a plan for excellence.

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Members of the first Jean Grier Leadership Academy funded by the Irvine Foundation.


Active in the community, Lisa Marie generously gives her time, knowledge and expertise to help others.  She serves on several committees and boards for the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, is the current Director for the For You Network-Moreno Valley and on the Corporate Affiliates committee of the National Association of Women Business Owners-IE. Lisa Marie is also a member of the American Society of Training & Development and the National Association of Female Executives.  She enjoys volunteer work and serves as the Vice-President, Fundraising for non-profit 501 (3) (c) organization which provides emergency relief services to families in need and as the local coordinator for an organization that helps couples prepare for marriage.

Robert Byrd was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.  He has had the privilege and honor of being married to the former Patricia Robinson for 24 years.  The Byrds have two children, a son Robert, 22 and a daughter Kailah, 14.  During his time-off, Mr. Byrd enjoys music, sports, coin and stamp collecting, and working with advanced technology.  He also enjoys playing the trumpet and lead and bass guitars in a music ensemble, in which his wife is also a member.

For more than three years preceding 2002 he served as the Assistant Auditor-Controller in Riverside County's Auditor-Controller's Office.  Today, as the elected Auditor-Controller he is responsible for the policy, operations, and vision of this office, which consists of four divisions and an administrative section.

The emcee for the program will be Jack B. Clarke Jr., Esq.  Mr. Clarke is a partner in the Litigation Department of the Riverside office of Best, Best & Kreiger LLP. He joined the firm after graduating from law school in 1985. He is involved in litigation concerning education law, special education disputes, business torts, public agency litigation, and he has developed expertise on defending defamation issues for clients. Mr. Clarke has successfully defended school districts and other education clients in Orange and Riverside counties in student disciplinary matters, civil rights and Constitutional claims, special education matters, and business litigation.

In law school, Mr. Clarke was elected to the Order of Barristers, a national honorary society for outstanding achievement in courtroom advocacy, and he served as a staff writer on the Legislative Review of the Pacific Law Journal. He also received the United States Law Week Award for Outstanding Contributions to the law school community. Currently, Mr. Clarke participates in several community activities.

The Eleanor Jean Grier Leadership Academy project was funded in April 2006 by a $90,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation. This private, nonprofit grant making foundation is dedicated to expanding opportunities for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, inclusive, and successful society.

Community volunteers served as speakers and presenters for academy classes. Experienced elected and appointed leaders made presentations on their leadership experiences, what motivated them to become involved in their respective areas and the mission of their organization. They shared the challenges and benefits of leadership as well as advised the participants on how to prepare to become a successful leaders. Volunteers mentored participants to assure their success as new leaders.

The next term will begin February 15, 2007 at 6:00 PM.  Shirley Coates is the Project Coordinator and can be contacted at 951.628.5306 or via e-mail at EJGACADEMY@SBCGLOBAL.NET


Help For Parents Faced With Paternity Decisions

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SAN JACINTO

By Terri L. Stromatt

 

In response to a growing need from the Inland Empire and surrounding communities, DNA Services of America continues to help its neighbors fully understand how DNA testing can resolve complex, highly-emotional and confusing situations.  One critical area for unwed parents is completion of the Declaration of Paternity.

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DNA Services of America Regional Manager, Mr. Akbar El-Amin
The birth of a new baby should be a time of joy and excitement.  A new life has entered the world and is joined with its adoring mother and father.  The miracle of birth should be a time of joy, with as little stress as possible - a time for learning, family bonding and loving.  For those parents who have children outside of marriage, currently at a rate of 35.7% on a national level and 34.4% in the State of California, the joyous moment can come to an immediate halt when it is time to complete the birth certificate paperwork and they first learn about a legal document called a Declaration of Paternity. 

The Declaration of Paternity ("DOP") is also known by other names in various states, such as the Affidavit of Parentage and Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity; however, the rules that apply to its completion are standard across the country.  Believe it or not, most new parents are completely unaware of the DOP until they meet with the birth certificate registrar or other trained hospital personnel for the first time when they complete the birth certificate documents for their newborn.  This can come as quite a shock, leaving parents unsure what to do or how to respond given the amazing birth experience that just took place and awesome responsibility that they are now faced with. 

The DOP is a legal document and its application is generally managed at the state level through the Attorney General's office.  The DOP is meant to have a positive impact on the child, to ensure it begins its new life with emotional and financial security through participation by both parents.  In situations where the mother and father of the child are not married, the only way the father can be legally recognized is through written acknowledgement or through a court order.

The mother and father are encouraged to make a decision at the hospital as to whether or not the father will sign the DOP.  If he does not sign the document right away,

• He may seek a DNA test to establish paternity then he and the mother may file the completed DOP at a later date for a minimal fee; or

• The mother may open a case to establish paternity through the state; or

• If neither the mother nor father act, the child's birth certificate will be left without a father's name or recognized paternal guardian.  The mother may not be entitled to certain welfare benefits if she does not attempt to establish a father to help support the child.

It is extremely important for a child to have a father involved in his or her life; however, it can be very stressful for new parents who may not be prepared for an immediate decision that may have far-reaching effects, such as:

* emotional security

*Personal identity

*Family belonging

* Financial support for the child

* Visitation and/or custodial rights

• Medical history relative to paternally-inherited diseases

• Medical, dental, social security, military child survivor or other benefits

• Moral and ethical upbringing of the child.

It is important for new parents faced with acknowledging the paternity of a child to remember that this is a voluntary action.  New parents have the choice to wait and think through the best options for their particular situation and should not feel pressured into making an uninformed decision that may be personally detrimental or most importantly, negatively impact the child.  It is easier for parents to add a name to the DOP and birth certificate than it is to remove a father's name if a subsequent DNA test finds that he is not the biological father of the child. If a father signs the DOP, he generally has only sixty (60) days to rescind his name.  Depending on the state, rescission means his name is removed from the AOP; however, many times it does not mean his name is removed from the birth certificate.  In fact, this action may require legal intervention.  If the father signs his name then wants a paternity test, he must generally seek one on his own accord and is no longer a candidate for testing services through the state. 

If the father does not rescind his name during the 60-day period and later wishes to remove his name, it will be challenging and sometimes impossible.  Remember, the purpose of the father acknowledging his desire to be the recognized father of the child is to protect the newborn and to protect his parental rights.  Most DOP instructions clearly state that if a father is not sure of his biological relationship to the child, he should seek proof through a paternity test.  If the father does not seek a test before signing the DOP and the 60-day grace period passes, most states have a four (4) year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit to contest the voluntary DOP.  This does not make the reversal a guarantee.  The court will require proof that the document was signed under one of the following three conditions:

• Fraud - someone lied when signing the document

• Duress - the father was forced to sign the document

• Mistake of fact - the father thought one thing and another thing was true

Check with the Attorney General's office for your state's regulations.

Unwed parents-to-be are encouraged to research their state's paternity acknowledgement process before their child is born so that they fully understand what they will be signing when the child arrives.  Education, open communication, and keeping the child's best interest at the forefront are key when establishing legal paternity.  Being prepared for this life impacting decision will not only reduce family tensions at a critical time but will also help create emotional and financial security for this new life through the participation of both parents.

DNA Services of America's local offices established throughout the U.S. personally handle DNA testing needs in an attentive and confidential manner.  Each office personally answers client questions, coordinates the testing services, collects the DNA samples using a non-invasive cotton-tipped swab, and releases test results to the tested parties following appropriate chain-of-custody procedures to ensure clients receive the highest level of discretion.  DNA Services of America is a leading referral source throughout the medical, legal, social service and private investigative communities for people seeking the truth when it matters most®.


Nordstrom Celebrates Black History Month With Kamoinge Photo Exhibit

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SEATTLE

Highlighting style, spirit and pride of African American Musicians

In celebration of Black History Month, Nordstrom will showcase a photography exhibit by Kamoinge, a talented group of African American photographers.  These images illustrate life and culture as expressed through music over the past 40 years.  The exhibit will be displayed in select Nordstrom stores and at www.nordstrom.com throughout the month of February. 

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Joey Morant
Appearing for the second year at the Nordstrom exhibit, Kamoinge is a group of New York City-based photographers whose work has been featured in books, museums, newspapers and magazines throughout the United States.  Kamoinge (a Swahili word meaning "a group of people acting together") was established in 1963 in Harlem to alleviate the sense of photographic isolation generally felt by Black photographers.  Today their mission has evolved to produce visual images of time that reflect human relationships, political and social interactions and the spiritual world of imagery.  Nordstrom has recognized Black History Month over the past five years with in-store exhibits.

"We are honored to celebrate Black History Month with the Kamoinge photography exhibit," said Amelia Ransom Letcher, vice president of Diversity Affairs. "Through this exhibit, our customers will see a wonderful mix of old and new photographs that reflect African American culture and spirit through music."

The exhibit will feature 11 photographers:  Salimah Ali, Anthony BarBoza, Mark Lee Blackshear, Adger Cowans, Gerald Cyrus, Colette Fournier, Herbert Randall, Herb Robinson, Radcliffe Roye, Jamel Shabazz, and Shawn Walker.

 
Exhibit Locations

The exhibit will be on display at select Nordstrom stores: San Francisco Centre, Arden Fair (Sacramento), Fashion Valley (San Diego), Galleria at South Bay (Redondo), Calif.; Park Meadows (Littleton), Colo.; King of Prussia, Pa.; Michigan Avenue (Chicago); Circle Center (Indianapolis); Southpoint (Durham), N.C.; Dallas Galleria (Dallas); Houston Galleria (Houston); Perimeter (Atlanta); Pentagon City (Arlington), Va.; Lloyd Center (Portland), Ore.; Downtown (Seattle) and Southcenter (Tukwila), Wash.

 
About Nordstrom

Nordstrom, Inc. is one of the nation's leading fashion specialty retailers, with 157 US stores located in 27 states.  Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 99 Full-Line Stores, 50 Nordstrom Racks, five Façonnable boutiques, one free-standing shoe store, and two clearance stores.  Nordstrom also operates 35 Façonnable boutiques in Europe.  Additionally, Nordstrom serves customers through its online presence at www.nordstrom.com and through its catalogs.  Nordstrom, Inc. is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.


“Is Grandpa Cold?” Tips to Minimize Heating Costs While Keeping Warm This Winter

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By Mark Schurmann

Last winter I took my ninety-year old grandfather out of a nursing home and brought him to live with the family in San Francisco.

"I never, ever thought I'd live to be ninety," or "It's a terrible thing to get this old," he says apologetically as I help him move about the house.  But over the last year he's become a valued part of our home, helping when he can and bringing a warm, vibrant personality into the house.

What has been difficult, however, is our heating bill. Due to slow blood circulation, my grandfather gets cold easily, and to maintain his comfort and health we've had to keep the heat cranked up. Last winter, as energy costs soared nation wide, my family's PG&E bill was eight hundred dollars for the month of February alone, more than double the usual cost.

According to the California Energy Commission, about thirty percent of residential energy costs come from heating and cooling a home. Energy efficiency takes on an added importance when families must provide for the special needs of loved ones while minimizing the cost.

This winter, my family is equipped with new energy saving tips to help us keep the heat up and costs down:

 
1. Set the thermostat as low as comfortably possible. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall heating bill will be. Small energy efficient space heaters can increase the heat more cheaply than heating the entire house.

 
2. Reduce hot water use by installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. A new, water efficient showerhead can reduce your water consumption by one-third to one-half. A top-quality showerhead costs between $10 and $20 and will quickly pay for itself in energy saved. Spending ten minutes or less in the shower can reduce your hot water usage by up to thirty three percent.

 
3. Seal your home's "envelope" (walls, floor, ceiling and roof) and save up to 10% on your annual energy bill. Test for drafts by holding a long, lit match next to windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there's a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you've located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.

 
4. Clean furnace filters monthly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Keep the furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted to save up to 5% of heating costs.

 
5. Close drapes, blinds and shades to help retain heat at night. Open the drapes during the day and take advantage of sunlight. Up to 16 percent of your heat can escape through unprotected windows.

 
6. Zone your furniture. Make sure furniture is positioned away from windows or doors where it may be colder. Make sure all heating vents, ducts and baseboards are unblocked.

 
7. Use your thermostat wisely.  Invest in a programmable thermostat and set it to turn down when people are out of the house or at night. It takes less energy to warm a cool home than to maintain warm temperatures all day long. Proper use of a thermostat can drastically cut your heating costs.

 
8. Use energy efficient light bulbs. Lighting your home can represent 20 percent of home electricity bills.  Using efficient bulbs and turning off lights when not in use are some of the easiest ways to save on energy.

 
9. The same goes for using your appliances. Do only full loads of laundry and use cold water. Turn off appliances when not in use.

 
10. Layer up with lightweight clothes. It's the simplest way to conserve heat. Silk or thermal underwear and a hat all help retain body heat (the body loses 20 percent of its heat through the top of the head). Use a hot water bottle when you go to bed. Eat well and drink warm, sweet beverages and hot broth. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks as they lower body temperature.

 
11. Consider investing in an energy-efficient heating system and windows. Though a new energy-efficient furnace is expensive, it quickly recoups its cost. Energy Star qualified furnaces are 15% more efficient than old furnaces. You can also install insulated windows to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to fifteen percent.

 
Flex Your Power is California's statewide energy efficiency marketing and outreach campaign. For more money-saving tips and rebates, visit www. FlexYourPower.org.


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