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-- Please provide a brief history of your business. I own and operate two newly built gas stations from the ground up in the City of Thousand Oaks, Town of Newbury Park, California. The two major brands are Chevron with Extramile Convenience Store with a touchless carwash; and Arco with Arco AmPm convenience store.

-- How did you get your start in the convenience/petroleum retailing industry? It was my dream to own the real estate of the business I establish. I researched for five years before deciding to purchase the gas station properties.

-- What was/were your previous job(s) before getting into this business? I work as a Statistician part time in the medical research industry and had helped my spouse with 7-11 convenience stores on a limited basis.

-- Describe the first c-store you opened (what did it look like, what did it stock, etc.)? The first C-store I personally opened was with the Chevron Extramile Store franchise. It is a 2,000 square foot facility offering hot foods, energy drinks, sodas, Icee, coffee, candies, newspapers, ice and so much more.

-- What was the greatest opportunity you found in operating a single store? Since I built the station from the ground up with my husband, the greatest opportunity was to establish from the beginning was convenience to include the floor plan, product placement and design of the circulation/flow of the store itself.

-- What was the greatest challenge you faced when operating a single store? The greatest challenge was to establish a business when the economy began to lag. When the recession hit, our projections were based on pre-recession numbers. It was a very tough ride. The property loans and financials were difficult to meet but we were able to keep afloat with hard work, great employees, marketing, and sacrifices. -- Why did you decide to open a second store, third store, and so on? We decided to build the second gas station from the ground up, also in the tough economic times of 2010-11, to provide a name brand that is not available to our neighborhood for miles. In Newbury Park, there were no Arco AmPm’s within a 15-mile radius of our location, which brings a value brand of gasoline to our community at the lowest competitive price possible. -- What’s been the most important lesson and/or best practice you have learned going from a single store to a multi-store operation? It is crucial to get financial projections that would work if the income reduced by up to 20%. If planned right, multi-store operations allows for diversification in a lagging economy providing a financial cushion and constant income base.

-- What’s been your best idea yet? The best part of our endeavor has been to seek SBA financing for both projects. Although with stringent qualifications and criteria for SBA loans, we found that it is the best financial product for new businesses with property.

What’s been your worst mistake yet? Undertaking large construction projects with basic financial cushion.


-- How is your company/business/stores unique compared to your competitors? We operate two name brands across from each other and are able to offer customers both a value brand and a premium brand at an every day fair price possible.


-- What advice can you offer a single-store owner today who’s considering expanding? Expansion from single store to multi-store is successful with good financial planning, experience with all facets of daily store operation, ability to recognize when change is needed in any aspect of operation, marketing skills and organized infrastructure for management of employees.

-- What are the growth goals for your current operation? If opportunity arises we would expand with additional locations.

Lightning Bolt Shock World

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By Leland Stein III


LONDON — Sprinters are truly the thoroughbreds of track and field. They are like finely tuned machines. The muscles in the legs can snap like guitar strings when under the pressure sprinter put on themselves.

When running the fastest race on the planet that rightly dictates the world’s fast human, sitting right near the finish line in the London stadium I could see the muscles in the face contort, the muscles in the legs extend and flex, and, the arms plowing back in forth to help give the body the thrust it needs to travel 100 yards in under 10 seconds. Although America only fixate on the wonderful athletes that give their heart and soul to track and field every four year, the rest of the world gives the sport the respect it deserves. So, here in London the arrival of the 100-meter dash was met with a frenzied enthusiasm. In fact, reports note that the 100 was witnessed by close to 2 billion people.

Much of the attention was in part elevated because of the present of Usain Bolt. I was sitting in the Beijing Birdcage in 2008 when the long, lean, super-human Jamaican set three world records in the 100-, 200- and 4x100-meter relay. He became an international star and icon. Here in London there are buses all over London with his likeness on them. To illustrate just how big this race was, sitting behind me were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The 2012 American Dream Team was in full force. Kobe Bryant, LaBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, just to name a few were standing and high fiving each other after Bolt burnt the great 100 field in Olympic or any track meets history. “The whole world is going to watch this tonight,” James told reporters. “This is the biggest event of them all, right here.”

Added Bryant: “This was the one. I had to be here to see this. I respect all the sprinters, but Bolt has that something special.” This was the first time all eight qualifiers had run under 10 seconds in the preliminaries. There was no hyperbole in recounting just how exciting that nine second race was. In between the four years since Beijing, the 6-foot-5 Bolt has seen his training partner and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake beat him in competition, and, there were also some injury concerns. Plus world-class sprinters Blake, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Richard Thompson, Asafa Powell, Ryan Bailey and Churandy Martina all were performing at personal best and healthy. This fact made the race that more intriguing.

The race did not disappoint as Bolt who ran that sixth fastest time in preliminaries took his one-of-a-kind long stride into overdrive to pull away from the very even pack only about 10 yard from the finish line. He surged after his typical lumbering break from the blocks and overwhelmed a star-studded field to win in 9.63 seconds Sunday night, the second-fastest 100 in history and an Olympic record that let him join Carl Lewis as the only men with consecutive gold medals in the Summer Games' marquee track event.

"This means a lot,” Bolt said after his historic run, “because a lot of people were doubting me. A lot of people were saying I wasn't going to win, I didn't look good. There was a lot of talk. It's an even greater feeling to come out here and defend my title and show the world I'm still No. 1.”

Bolt's victory in the 100 four years ago began a stretch of dominance by Jamaica, an island nation of 3 million people – about 1 percent as many as the U.S. – that now owns seven of the last eight Olympic men's and women's sprinting golds, including relays. I just do not get it? What are they putting in the water or food to do what they have done? It is an incredible story a very small country taking the world to task in the sprints, especially the Americans.

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com

Alaska Jones

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Redlands 404 Wilber Circle Redlands, CA 92374 Retired Member U.S. Air Force, Assistant Principal, Cajon/San Gorgonio High School Boy Scout Master, Scouting Coordinator Contribution to the community: 1st thing I was a Veteran, serving the country for 20 years.

The U.S. brought me to California from Mobile, Alabama when I was 18-years-old. Transferred to George AFB in 1963, bought a home in the San Bernardino community and worked in Victorville last 5-years of service with my wife and 2 children. (sons). Began working with the Boy Scouts of America at New Hope Baptist Missionary Church in 1966. While I was in service, I went to school at night and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in education through a program in the service called Operation Bootstrap in 1966. When I retired from service in 1968, I began teaching school in San Bernardino in 1968 at Franklin Junior High School now Dr. Martin Luther King Middle School and that’s when I became really involved with the community. Retired as Assistant Principal at Cajon and San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino in 1990. While teaching school, I was attending school at University of California Riverside at night and earned a Master’s Degree from UCR in 1974 in Educational Administration. Article on file written by Mary Anderson when he retired in 1990.

First week in High School

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By Jordan Brown

Last week was my first week in high school and it was great. I really liked my classes and the school. Before school started I went to a weeklong summer study program at USC (to be featured in a later article) and learned some tips towards being even more prepared the first month of school. So here are some tips for the next couple of weeks.

1. Talk to your counselors/teachers. The first month of school is your chance to get your schedule the way you need it. If you want to get into a specific college, go to their website or call and see which classes you need, to put you in the running to be admitted; otherwise when you apply to your dream university you will wonder why you didn’t get an acceptance letter. Another reason to talk to your counselors is if you ever have any problems, you’ll have a relationship with your counselor and they will be glad to be at your service. Counselors can also introduce you to different scholarships for college. They are definitely a benefit for your education when you require guidance in your educational endeavors.

2. Find out when and where your classes are on campus. This may seem minor but it’s not. Knowing where your classes are is important so you’re not late. When you know where they are located it’s easier to get to class because you don’t have to ask or get lost. Knowing where your classes are allows you to do some time management. For example, if you know your lunch is after fourth period and you go to the bathroom after lunch you need to know what time fifth period is so you’re not late. This can be as simple as asking your teacher what time each period is or it might even be on your schedule.

3. Read the syllabus. Most teachers will give you a syllabus for their class. It is basically a tool to help you be more organized in their class. For example, in my honors geometry class, my syllabus tells us when each test is scheduled. That allows me to study ahead of the lesson plan at home so class will be a review. The syllabus is a very important tool, so please read it. No matter what school you go too, you can use these tools to be more prepared. Don’t worry you will survive high school.

Empowering Girls to Embrace Technology

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By Lea Michelle Cash

Over 20 years ago, African American Latasha Gary, 37, became interested in computers. Today, she is the Director of World Wide Sales Operation Systems for Compaq Computer Company. She manages 25 employees working on various projects around the country and overseas. She became interested in computers in high school, and the school only had one computer. Gary says, “Hanging around that computer was my natural interest. My high school math teacher noticed my computer talents and encouraged me to look into colleges with strong computer science programs. I did and was accepted in my senior year at Texas A & M.”

She continues, “I found myself one of only a handful of females. Texas A & M at that time was exclusively male and populated by mostly white males, many of whom had been exposed to high-level math and computer programs at their school. So, I had to show some initiative to my professors and ask them for help, letting them know that I was going to stick to it and go all the way.” Gary graduated and stuck it out. Then she moved on to Howard University where she earned a Master degree in Computer Science. The year was 1987.

Today, 25 year later the technology field (at large) is desperately looking for architects of change. Females who put an end to the long living myth that girls and women cannot perform as well as men in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Environments and afterschool programs promoting “girl power” are popping up all over America, supporting leadership development and career exploration for girls, transferring knowledge of technology, while introducing concepts such as logical relationships, graphing, and algebra. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and National Science Foundation the STEM fields are expected to add 2.7 million new jobs by 2018, yet women and minorities are vastly underrepresented in those fields. Women make up 46% of the total workforce but hold only 24% of jobs in technical or STEM fields. African-Americans and Latinos each comprise 13% of the total workforce and only 3% of the technical workforce.

In the Inland Empire, starting a technology program for girls has been a dream for the founder, President & CEO of Tech Divas, Cynthia Renee Frazier. Its title is “Girls Got Geek”. Girls who enter this program will learn about creation, innovation, problem solving, teamwork and career development. Recently in June, Frazier held an open house at the Henderson Auditorium located at Community Hospital of San Bernardino. Girls were introduced to many of the latest e-devices that they could explore. The Greek sorority sisters from Sigma Gamma Rho volunteered to assist with the event. The turnout was exceptional and Frazier was very happy. She says, “Girls like solving problems as much as boys. Girls can develop games and mobile apps even better than boys. So, we have got to get girls more excited about today’s technology.” Therefore, Frazier has taken on this project passionately in the efforts to engage, enrich, and empower girls in STEM. She has been active in technology for years. The application creation is growing into a $55 billion dollar industry. Frazier states, “More girls in this career field can really change their lives.”

Latasha Gary would agree. Gary said, “My career field has provided more opportunity beyond anything that I could imagine. I would definitely encourage women to consider a career in technology.” Her greatest achievement was spending 13 months in Singapore, rolling out and implementing a Software Application Program (SAP) for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and India.

This Fall, “Girls Got Geek” is having a Hackathon. They are looking for girls ages 13–25 who would like to put together a “webisode” as a challenge. A webisode is a short episode, which can be downloaded or streamed on YouTube or Cable television. It could be a commercial or collection of short stories. The girls who participate will be grouped into teams. Each team will come up with a theme for their webisode. As a challenge, the webisodes will be played and judged for fun and prizes. The dates are November 16, 17, and 18. The technology used for creating, making and editing the webisodes will be provided.

For more information or to register for this event visit the Girls Got Geek website at www.girlsgotgeek.com.

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BVN National News Wire