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Merdies Hayes

Stories by Merdies

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‘Showtime’ fondly recalls Lakers’ championship years

When Earvin “Magic” Johnson abruptly changed Jack Kent Cooke’s lunch menu, a new era of Los Angeles Lakers basketball had begun. By then, the eccentric sports mogul had turned over the keys to his Fabulous Forum to Dr. Jerry Buss and that 1979 transaction begins Jeff Pearlman’s Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s (Penguin Group, 2014, $30), which transports readers to the remarkable ‘80s filled with fast breaks, fast women, fast highs and plenty of famous headlines that made the Lakers the talk of the sports world.

Almost 100 percent of California in ‘extreme’ drought condition

San Joaquin River endangered

The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor revealed that 99.81 percent of the Golden State is in the grip of drought. The snowcap across the entire state is a paltry 35 percent of normal, as water systems and residents continue to feel more strain from the Central Valley “bread basket” to the weekly shopping basket.

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Drought may hinder job growth in L.A. County

More than 23 percent of California in ‘exceptional drought’ conditions

The ongoing California drought may hinder economic growth in Southern California for years to come. A UCLA-Anderson forecast this week revealed that the dry conditions could diminish the fishing and manufacturing sectors statewide, with Los Angeles County still recording no job growth...as it has for the past 23 years.

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Black children excluded from school more often than White counterparts

A result of zero tolerance, ‘willful defiance’

Most boys are marvelous mischief-makers. In between their frequent shenanigans and monkeyshines is the desire to satisfy a curiosity to explore, to make friends and to be included in the learning process. But sometimes a wide-eyed, rambunctious spirit can get them into trouble. The U.S. Department of Education revealed this spring that African American children as young as four years old are three times as likely than their White counterparts to get suspended or expelled from preschool and Kindergarten for violating classroom rules

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Black children excluded from school more often than White counterparts

A result of zero tolerance, ‘willful defiance’ By

Most boys are marvelous mischief-makers. In between their frequent shenanigans and monkeyshines is the desire to satisfy a curiosity to explore, to make friends and to be included in the learning process. But sometimes a wide-eyed, rambunctious spirit can get them into trouble. The U.S. Department of Education revealed this spring that African American children as young as four years old are three times as likely than their White counterparts to get suspended or expelled from preschool and Kindergarten for violating classroom rules.

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Homeless veterans to get permanent lodging through unique partnership

Lancaster, CalVet will build affordable housing

On any given night in America, there are an estimated 165,000 veterans sleeping in shelters, on a park bench, in a vehicle or anywhere where they can rest safely. The economic downturn, still continuing for millions of citizens, has had a particularly harsh effect on returning military personnel who can find it difficult to readjust to civilian life, may struggle to land gainful employment, and often are not able to secure an affordable place to live.

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Southern California aviation history on display this weekend in Lancaster

Blue Angels are back in the air

The Blue Angels will take flight for their first show in a year at the 2014 Los Angeles County Air Show today and tomorrow at William J. Fox Airfield, 4555 W. Avenue G, in Lancaster. Gates will open at 9 a.m. both days with tickets priced at $20 for persons 13 years and older, $10 for ages six to 12 years and free for children five years and under. A “Family Fun” pack is available for $50. The admission price does not include seats.

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Water may flow more freely to drought-stricken farmers

Mass rallies help ease restrictions

There has been good news from Sacramento for drought-weary farmers. On Tuesday the state Water Resources Control Board moved to ease some protection for fish in the fragile San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, a decision that may make available more water for farmers...and ease political tensions in an election year.

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Jordan Downs passed over for redevelopment grant

nDouble blow for South L.A. this year By Merdies Hayes OW Staff Writer

The Jordan Downs housing project in Watts will wait a little longer to undergo a much-needed makeover as it was bypassed this week by the federal Choice Neighborhoods grant program which opted to allot a $30 million sum to other cities, two of which being Pittsburgh, Pa. and Atlanta, Ga. This is the second rejection this year of federal redevelopment funds to South Los Angeles; in January the poverty-stricken region was skipped in favor of Pico-Union to receive a “Promise Zone” grant.

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Lancaster and A.V. Hospital partner in wellness campaign for new moms

Welcome Baby Program begins on May 18

The birth of a child—particularly the first baby—is one of the great miracles and surprises a person will experience. The mother, however, maintains a symbiotic link to that miniature human being, a biological connection that has taken place for the better part of nine months and generally continues for a lifetime.

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Gov. Brown signs latest relief package for water infrastructure, farmworkers

Water now $1,350 per acre-foot

Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed a $687 million relief package for infrastructure improvements, emergency water shortages and money for agriculture statewide as the drought continues to press finances from water table to dinner table.

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Women’s History Month captures story of famous American innovators

Sally Ride an icon in Palmdale

March is Women’s History Month, a celebration of the accomplishments that women have made throughout the nation’s history, from women’s rights pioneers Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Clara Barton of the American Red Cross; media mogul Clare Boothe Luce; first ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton and thousands more who have struggled to gain recognition while improving lives in what was believed through millennia as “a man’s world.”

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Local Black women become pioneers from the arts, sports and in politics

Celebrating the ‘sheroes’ among us

There has always been a pioneering spirit among Black women in Los Angeles and throughout the nation. That courage and character—not often recognized by contemporaries—may be traced as far back as businesswoman Biddy Mason who did everything from manning a stage coach to founding the city’s African Methodist Episcopal Church, to journalists Charlotta Bass and Ruth Washington who elevated women into Los Angeles publishing; political pioneers Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan and Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke, to present-day “sheroes” some of whom may travel in famous circles, and others who often toil in obscurity to brighten the future for the next generation of Black girls.

Board of Supervisors approves more well water from Bouquet Creek

NASA studying ‘atmospheric rivers’

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to declare a local emergency in order to get well water to some 150 families living in Bouquet Canyon in the Santa Clarita Valley.

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LPAC to close season with top acts in music, comedy and classic theater

Something for all ages this spring

From child prodigies to literary masterpieces, the Lancaster Performing Arts Center will close its 2013-14 season with some of the entertainment industry’s most popular and surprising acts.

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Carson leads southland cities with new developments, budget surplus

The little city of Carson has slowly moved past the day when motoring Angelenos, taking a leisurely drive south to seaside attractions in San Pedro, Long Beach or Palos Verdes, would cruise past the sleepy bedroom community often associated with smelly refineries, abandoned oil fields and early strip malls.

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Women contract heart disease in levels that surpass most men

Death rate exceeds 300,000 yearly

Coronary heart disease, heart failure and resulting stroke are the top killers of American women. In short, one woman dies every minute from heart disease. With February proclaimed American Heart Month, more women are adopting better health habits such as getting regular exercise, not smoking, and eating a more balanced diet to counter what is increasingly called the “silent killer.”

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‘Water cops’ may become a reality for many southland communities

Desalination becoming more feasible

There may be “water cops” patrolling your neighborhood this summer. As the state drought continues to dry up pastures, crops, orchards and reservoirs, residents statewide could be fined for overusing water.

Kash Register says faith, courage guided him in wait for freedom

Family continues to pick up the pieces after 34 years

He emerged as strong and as resolute in character as he did when he walked in. Last November, Kash Delano Register was released from prison after 34 years when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge found the man had been wrongly convicted of murder and overturned the conviction.

Grocery prices expected to spike as drought limits water availability

nCalifornia among 15 states baring the dry conditions

Get ready for higher food prices this summer as the California drought has forced the agricultural industry in the Central Valley to spend more money to produce more food.

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Homeless population increases in Antelope Valley

Money to help is in short supply

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris last week railed against officials at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) regarding inadequate funding for the growing population of homeless persons in not only his city, but throughout the Antelope Valley.

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Eastside-Westside: Change in circumstance; change in scenery

Blacks define Los Angeles social mobility

Quick and little, he darted up the steps with big news that couldn’t wait: “Moma, is it true? Is it true? Are the Bennetts really moving to Baldwin Hills?” She winked and nodded yes: “That’s right. James and Alice are moving to Baldwin Hills...the house is on ‘Don’ something or other.”

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Missouri’s Sam may become NFL’s first openly gay player

Holder extends same-sex marriage rights

The announcement last weekend from Michael Sam, All-American lineman from the University of Missouri, that he is gay could mean he may become the first openly gay player in the National Football League upon his likely draft in early May.

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Poppies likely to be absent during annual spring festival

Ongoing drought is to blame

The state drought has spread to the Antelope Valley which this year will see practically no multi-colored blossoms at its annual Poppy Festival set April 26-27 at Lancaster City Park, 43011 N. 10th Street West.

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Race relations in Antelope Valley continue to stir controversy

Hate crimes down in L.A. County

The number of hate crimes reported and prosecuted throughout Los Angeles County has dipped during the past five years, but African Americans residing in the Antelope Valley remain skeptical of these findings. Representatives of a number of civic groups met recently with OurWeekly to reveal widespread incidences of threats, intimidation and physical altercations which have ranged from “hate literature” being strewn around Black neighborhoods, to “storm trooper”-like tactics among law enforcement.

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President lays out lofty goals during State of the Union speech

Will use ‘pen and phone’ in attempt to bypass Congress

Vowing to act “wherever and whenever” he can, President Barack Obama on Tuesday presented a more subdued list of proposals to help restart the U.S. economic engine with policies ranging from increasing the minimum wage, to more spending on infrastructure.

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‘Beatlemania’ and the legacy of Black Music

50th anniversary of ‘British Invasion’

Next weekend will mark the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion, that seminal moment in Rock ‘N Roll history when the Beatles “hopped the pond” and landed on the Ed Sullivan Show. American teens had widely anticipated the Liverpool lads that Sunday evening, Feb. 9, 1964, with fanfare dwarfing any display of the popular arts in American history.

Antelope Valley braces for another drought

Tips to reduce water usage, small steps in the right direction

Gov. Jerry Brown this week declared a drought emergency throughout the state, telling residents they must reduce their water usage by a minimum of 20 percent, as well as directing agencies and water districts to initiate steps to ease the effects of certain water shortages affecting everything from farmland in the Central Valley, to municipal use, as well as residential front and rear lawns.

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AV job prospects remain uncertain

Construction is down...but not out

As the national economy continues to wobble its way out of the Great Recession, employment numbers in Los Angeles County are on a slight upswing with jobless rates hovering around 9.4 percent at the beginning of the year. The state labor force actually grew last year by .7 percent, while the County saw an increase of 1.5 percent.

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Sex, human trafficking: Both brutal and high-tech

L.A. County is a top destination point

Los Angeles County is among the nation’s three most infamous destinations for sex trafficking. With January serving as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the scourge of underage persons forced to participate in the multi-billion-dollar sex trade has focused attention nationwide on how to spot, report and possibly save another child from a life of danger, health risks and, if not rescued, an early death.

The Northridge Earthquake 20 years later

L.A. still not prepared for the ‘Big One’

Is Los Angeles prepared for the “big one?” The general assumption around town is no. Twenty years after the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake awakened Angelinos at 4:31 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1994, most buildings erect then have not been retrofitted, nor are drivers confident that roadways will be safe.

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Power plant further divides cities of Palmdale, Lancaster

New jobs but at what cost?

Controversy has erupted again regarding complaints by the City of Lancaster that the proposed Palmdale power plant will result in undue air pollution that will waft its way downwind. The power plant, expected to come online at a cost of more than one billion dollars, has become a sore spot between the two cities.

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King Day: Service to others

In honor of Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 20, the city of Palmdale will kick off its “Season of Service” program on Jan. 25 with a “Desert Reveal” clean-up from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Avenue S and 70th Street East.

Local King Day activities abound

The 29th annual Kingdom Day Parade, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will roll through the Crenshaw District on Jan. 20 beginning at 11 a.m. traveling west from Martin Luther King Boulevard and Western Avenue, and culminating at Leimert Park (Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue).

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Holiday DUI arrests are in decline

Checkpoints set in Lancaster, Palmdale

Law enforcement agencies nationwide are preparing for impaired drivers this holiday season. Whether you’re coming home from the office Christmas party, had a drink before embarking on a shopping trip, or even just a beer or glass of wine before making a quick trip to the market for the holiday meal, be warned that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) will be out in force through the New Year looking for persons willfully driving under the influence.

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Cold snap hits Antelope Valley

Benefit from a few helpful tips for keeping warm

“I really can’t stay (Baby, it’s cold outside) I’ve got to go away (Baby, it’s cold outside)” words and music by Frank Loesser, 1944

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Compton Christmas parade set Saturday

Part of city’s 125th anniversary

The city of Compton on Saturday will host its 61st annual Christmas Parade, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning at the corner of Compton Boulevard and Alameda Street and culminating about one and one-half miles south at the Gateway Town Center at Alameda Street and Greenleaf Boulevard.

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Lancaster Christmas parade kicks off season

Pearl Harbor veteran will be honored

The Antelope Valley will play host to a number of holiday activities, beginning with the Lancaster Christmas Parade which will roll through town tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon. The annual event, sponsored by the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, will travel down 10th Street West to Division Street and will have special significance this year because a genuine Pearl Harbor survivor, Eugene Lajeunesse, will serve as an honorary grand marshall in commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the attack by air and naval forces of Japan on the U.S. Navy base in Hawaii.

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Thanksgiving Day: history’s bitter harvest

Native Indians have mixed views

Native Indians have mixed views

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Thanksgiving Day: history’s bitter harvest

Native Indians have mixed views

The Thanksgiving pageant has been a staple of grade school lesson plans for about 100 years as youngsters dress up as Pilgrims and Indians to celebrate bounty and good fortune, as well as to usher in the holiday season. And as America celebrates both Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage month in November, it is quite fitting to take a look at the history of the event.

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Empower yourself to fight diabetes

Control it through better diet, exercise

Diabetes is one of the most serious and life-changing diseases among Americans today. With November serving as National Diabetes Month, physicians nationwide urge the public to take action against the disease which, according to a 2012 report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, affects 8.3 percent of the U.S. population (or 25.8 million people).

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Empower yourself to fight diabetes

Control it through better diet, exercise

Diabetes is one of the most serious and life-changing diseases among Americans today. With November serving as National Diabetes Month, physicians nationwide urge the public to take action against the disease which, according to a 2012 report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, affects 8.3 percent of the U.S. population (or 25.8 million people).

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Fred Thompson makes history in Palmdale

Becomes first Black council member

Fred Thompson, a former dean and member of the board of directors at Antelope Valley College, last week became the first African American to win a seat on the Palmdale city council. The retired college administrator won one of two contested council seats on the ballot, but when he will take the oath office is unclear. An appellate court will decide no later than mid-January 2014, if the election was legitimate.

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Former Raider succumbs

Todd Christensen dies during surgery

Todd Christensen, popular tight end with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders who helped the organization win Super Bowls in 1980 and 1983, died Wednesday morning during surgery at a Utah hospital after battling liver disease. He was 57.

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AV youth court changing lives

Gives at-risk kids ‘a Second Chance’

In these days of “Three Strikes,” “lock ‘em up . . . throw away the key” or the growing awareness of the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” a unique program underway in the Antelope Valley has for three years tried to keep youthful offenders off the prison rolls and onto a viable path to self respect and accomplishment.

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Nov. 5 Palmdale vote is a go

Election results subject to court review

The on-again, off-again Palmdale election will take place on Nov. 5 after the California Court of Appeals granted the go-ahead two weeks ago. The court’s ruling stated: “As phrased, the injunction written in the disjunctive, permits the defendant (Palmdale) to hold an at-large election and even count the votes but not to certify the results.”

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Other notable Black-White alliances

Throughout American history there has existed a benevolent but cautious working relationship between famous and powerful Whites and a number of great names in African American lore. Such bonds, although at times tenuous, came full bloom with the election of President Barack Obama when huge numbers of influential Whites supported his campaign.

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Domestic violence still a challenge

Acceptance of abusive treatment can start young

Domestic violence is a silent scourge prevalent within all California communities, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or the sex and age of the victim.

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Domestic violence has decreased

Acceptance of abusive treatment can start young

Between 600,000 and 6 million American women will be a victim of domestic violence this year. The median of that 2010 figure from the Domestic Violence Resource Center might exceed the total population of the City of Los Angeles (which is home to a little more than 3.7 million).

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‘Cactus Curtain’: the thorns of pride

Fighting has gotten very personal

While Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill remain fiercely divided regarding the nation’s fiscal and social path, Palmdale and Lancaster continue to wallow in their own political “sandbox.” Instead of “reaching across the aisle” for camaraderie, solutions and goodwill, the respective city halls are firmly entrenched on each side of the so-called “Cactus Curtain.”

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