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Merdies Hayes

Stories by Merdies

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Antonovich announces retirement; sets series of goals through 2016

County’s second longest-serving supervisor

Longtime Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich announced this spring his retirement effective at the end of next year. By way of term limits, the November 2016 County election will mark the first time in 35 years that the veteran politician has not had his name on a ballot. The race to succeed him quickly drew a sizable field of candidates vying to represent the sprawling fifth supervisorial district which is generally considered the county’s last Republican stronghold.

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Shatner floats plan to bring more water into California

In a noble enterprise to boldly “flow” where no water has gone before, legendary actor William Shatner is planning to launch a $30-billion Kickstarter campaign to build an above-ground pipeline from rainy Seattle, Wash. to Lake Mead. Best known for his portrayal as Capt. James T. Kirk on “Star Trek,” Shatner said this week that the plan is more than just a pipe dream but could actually work—provided they come up with the money and convince Seattle to give up its water.

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Climate change may foretell precarious future for LA County

Officials predict more allergens, vector diseases and wildfires

Los Angeles County has been a travel destination point for millions since its founding 165 years ago. The region has experienced unprecedented population growth and attraced new residents from across the country and from numerous nations to comprise the cultural “melting pot” we witness today. Questions arise, however, regarding the relationship between the historic drought the state is currently in and climate change: “Can the county sustain its reputation for growth and prosperity with a dwindling supply of water?”

Poor water policy decisions put ‘green’ community on hot seat

Outside of Mother Nature, who among us is responsible for the drought? A growing body of criticism is spreading up and down the state attesting that the drought is a man-made disaster brought on by misguided environmental policies.

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Top jazz artists will appear May 9 at Lancaster City Park

Presented by Marco and Sandra Johnson Foundation

The best in jazz is on tap May 9 as some of the recording industry’s most popular artists take the stage at the Johnson’s Smooth Jazz Festival. Presented by the Marco and Sandra Johnson Foundation, the festival will take place at Lancaster City Park and is being touted as a “Mother’s Day” event.

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Black church continues mantle of liberation, social justice

From ‘storefronts’ to ‘mega’ sanctuaries, scripture and faith lay path to prosperity

African American voices have always been lifted to Heaven. The infamous plantation fields may yield a valuable clue about why: the old “call and response” that was recited and rejoined to help sustain weary souls during centuries of back-breaking drudgery.

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STEM programs unleash hidden talents among AV students

EXPO set April 15 at Quartz Hill High

Hundreds of local students are preparing for the Quartz Hill High School STEM Expo set April 15 at the campus, 6040 West Avenue L. The event, open to the public, takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (official judging from 3 to 5 p.m.) and will award prizes to the first-, second- and third-place winners in each of seven categories: Environmental and Agricultural Innovation, Invention, Reverse Engineering, Robotics, Rube Goldberg, Science Fiction and Scientific Inquiry. Winners will advance to the district STEM Expo scheduled later this year.

Brown orders mandatory water restrictions, fines up to $10,000

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday announced what had been long expected in parched California: there will be indefinite mandatory water restrictions.

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California Poppy Festival will usher in colorful spring season

Scheduled April 18 and 19 in Lancaster

It’s time again to break out the sun hats, walking shoes, short pants and binoculars to capture the breathtaking beauty of the 2015 California Poppy Festival set for April 18 and 19 at Lancaster City Park, 43011 N. 10th Street West.. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, the annual showcase of multi-colored poppies is said to be one of the nation’s most picturesque events as thousands of visitors are expected flock to the region to catch a glimpse of the brilliant, beautiful blossoms.

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Weekend heat wave expected to be precursor to extra dry year

With the mercury again rising throughout the southland this weekend, the ongoing drought will only be exacerbated. That’s the latest assessment from climatologists from U.S. Drought Monitor and other forecasting agencies which reported this week that California is about to enter its driest season without any immediate prospects for rain.

New play remembers music impresario John Dolphin

In the late 1940s—a full decade before Motown Records—John Dolphin opened his world-famous record shop at Vernon and Central avenues in South Los Angeles. It was an immediate hit with teenagers of all colors as Rock ’N Roll and Rhythm & Blues began to supplant the Big Band and Jazz sounds once favored at sock hops and record hops that were so popular among the high school set.

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Third annual ‘Stand Down’ will address issue of homeless veterans

Set May 20 throughout L.A. County

Goodwill Southern California, in partnership with a number of cities in Los Angeles County, will host on May 20 its Third Annual Veteran Stand Down for homeless veterans and their families.

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‘Ghettoside’ sheds light on LAPD South Bureau

The screenplay could develop into one of Hollywood’s most provocative and politically-charged films. Lots of cops. Plenty of bad guys. Loaded with pathos and sentimentality for those wishing to find justice. But the aspect of “suspended disbelief” would be too taxing on the audience. The tears too frequent. The neighborhood too close. The reality far too depressing.

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Lancaster continues ambitious push toward ‘Net-Zero’ energy status

Dream rapidly becoming reality

In case you haven’t heard the news, all new single-family homes in Lancaster will be outfitted with solar panels. And energy-efficient plumbing. And gas-saving heaters. And eco-friendly insulation. Even drought-tolerant landscaping is part of the plan to effectively transform the town into one of the world’s most environmentally-concious municipalities.

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El Nino has arrived but is much weaker

El Nino is here. Rather, “poquito” El Nino is here. It seems the vaunted weather pattern that brings with it coastal showers will be much weaker this year. Climatologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggest its influence on weather patterns will likely be diminished. Researchers gave the conditions a 50- to 60-percent chance of lasting through the summer.

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ACA, Covered California note increased enrollment

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Tuesday that nearly 11.7 million consumers have either selected or were automatically re-enrolled in Affordable Care Act insurance coverage as of Feb. 22. Of those, 8.84 million persons were in states using the HealthCare.gov platform and another 2.85 million were in the 14 states using their own marketplace platforms, including Covered California.

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Angels great Alex Johnson dies

Alex Johnson, who in 1970 became the first player with the then California Angels to win the American League batting title, died early this month in Southfield, Mich., following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. He was 72.

Rare agreement statewide: Drought is ‘serious’ concern

Virtually all Californians say the drought is serious. The results of a new Field Poll released Thursday found that the water shortage and supply is the top concern statewide as the drought enters its fourth year.

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Next-generation bomber could boost aerospace industry

nBoeing, Northrop battle for contract

The Pentagon is ready to spend billions to build a new stealth bomber in the Antelope Valley. Two teams of defense contractors, Boeing Co. and Northrop-Grumman, are vying to win the coveted contract to return large-scale aerospace manufacturing to Los Angeles County. Boeing opted to team up with Lockheed-Martin—the latter being the Pentagon’s most frequent contractor as well as Boeing’s primary sub-contractor—in bidding against Northrop to build the world’s latest and fastest high-tech bomber. The winner is expected to be announced this spring.

Covered California extends enrollment

April 30 is new deadline

Covered California is offering a special, extended enrollment opportunity for consumers who did not know there would be a tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014, or for those who learned they may face a penalty later this year.

Covered California extends enrollment

April 30 is new deadline

Covered California is offering a special, extended enrollment opportunity for consumers who did not know there would be a tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014, or for those who learned they may face a penalty later this year.

Fight continues against ‘big oil’ role in Carson

In a continuing battle against the interests of “big oil,” the Carson Coalition on Tuesday met before the city Planning Commission to chart exactly what methods they may take to prevent further oil exploration and well stimulation from taking place within the community.

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Parris lays out lofty goals during state-of-city address

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris recapped a number of innovative and environmentally-concious projects taking place in the city as part of his annual State of the City address.

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Restaurants prepare new water rules

Will limit amount of water for diners

It’s an old practice that has been given new meaning in wake of the ongoing California drought. Years ago many restaurant chains along the West Coast decided to forgo placing a glass of water on the dining table, because it was discovered patrons didn’t drink it right away. They’d have water during the meal, of course, but would often request that the original glass be replaced by a fresh, cold serving. That meant pouring water down the drain.

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Lots of rain in the north, more pain in south

The great state divide continues. If it is not the Dodgers vs. the Giants—or apples vs. oranges—it’s something else like the weather threatening to further split the quality of life in the Golden State. Rainfall averages in practically every community in Northern California are reportedly at 100 percent or above their historic averages, and reservoirs are steadily filling.But rainfall totals in the South are anemic, and said to be falling further behind as each major storm skips the southern part of the state. If the trend continues, California may experience two droughts with a mild one in the north that is now barely noticeable, and a severe one in the south that places this area at more risk of strict conservation, fines, fires, smog and increased groundwater pumping.

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Palmdale sets quest to provide summertime jobs for local youth

County teen unemployment at record high

It’s never too early to start a job search—particularly if you’re a teenager. As the national employment figures continue to tick up, young people looking for work this summer may have an even more difficult time trying to secure a steady paycheck because more experienced workers are re-entering the job market.

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Californians meet call for conserving water

Thanks to a wonderfully wet December, Californians were able to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for a 20 percent reduction in monthly water consumption. More restrictions may loom, however, as the state adapts to long-term drought conditions.

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Measles outbreak spreads; no cases so far at AV schools

Health officials stress vaccinations

Stretching from the streets Disneyland to the steps of Capitol Hill, the measles outbreak and resultant commentary has returned focus to a generations’-old discussion of why and when children should receive vaccinations.

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Vaccinations are best way to prevent infectious diseases

Measles, whooping cough, influenza and other infectious diseases were once believed to be largely contained and/or erradicated in America. Now some parents, teachers and medical pratictioners are at odds over what are the best safeguards against communicable illness while maintaining a balance of community wellness and personal choice.

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Two months of storms not enough to end drought

The storms that wafted their way through the Los Angeles Basin this month--with more light showers expected today--have not had a discernible effect on the drought now entering its fourth year.

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‘Roots of the Soul’ takes audience on search for identity and place

Feb. 21 at Legacy Commons

In a nod toward service to his community, noted actor/director Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter on Feb. 21 will host the Caribbean American Repertory Theatre West’s production of the play “Roots of the Soul” at Palmdale’s Legacy Commons senior facility. The production, set for 2 and 7:30 p.m., is part of Palmdale’s continuing Season of Service campaign as well its celebration of Black History Month.

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Foreign places, familiar faces:

Young Blacks and the allure of jihad

Within some American communities, the foreign faces of terror can look familiar. Last week in Paris two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, and a lone gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, brought the city’s most famous thoroughfare, the Champ-Elysees, to a standstill. In the end, these latest converts to jihad had murdered 18 persons as part of their fight against Western imperialism, shouting proudly that their deadly campaign was both commissioned by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and consecrated by God.

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Arts education provides outlet for free expression, ownership

Lancaster museum fills void

Friday morning was something to look forward to. Not only did the weekend beckon, but on that day Dorothy Hansen provided a one-hour respite from the daily academic grind. A little blue-haired lady wearing those “cat-eye shaped” spectacles popular among women then, Mrs. Hansen was a stern taskmaster and a virtuoso on ... the autoharp.

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Slow but steady gains half a decade after Haiti quake

Five years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed a minimum of 100,000 buildings, there are small but positive signs of hope that the impoverished island nation is rebounding.

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Lancaster ‘Season of Service’ offers volunteer opportunities for all ages

Community spirit on display Jan. 17

Lancaster continues to be among the leading Southland cities in supporting community outreach. This year its Eighth Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service will include 30 projects designed in still community pride while providing residents an opportunity to enhance not only their neighborhood, but also to begin the year with a renewed spirit of service.

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Civilian oversight commission may add stability to Sheriff’s Department

Board of Supervisors unanimous on ‘working group’

In a widely anticipated move, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week voted 3-2 to establish the first-ever civilian oversight commission to periodically review the embattled Sheriff’s Department.

McCarthy leads delegation to Middle East

Helps Boehner pass spending bill

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy earlier this week returned from leading a congressional delegation to the Middle East to examine the unfolding campaign against ISIL and to confer with some of America’s partners about regional security threats.

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Civilian oversight commission may add stability to Sheriff’s Department

Board of Supervisors unanimous on ‘working group’

In a widely anticipated move, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week voted 3-2 to establish the first-ever civilian oversight commission to periodically review the embattled Sheriff’s Department.

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Covered California unveils latest efforts to boost Black enrollment

Navigator Grants prove effective

Thousands of Angelinos each week continue to enroll in California Covered, the Golden State’s version of the Affordable Care Act, but African Americans locally remain just on the fringe of regular health care services, even as the process is being continually tailored to include more persons of color into its ranks.

Latest drought not the result of mankind’s ‘handiwork’

Greenhouse gas has played role

Scientists and environmentalists have been debating the issue for years. Are droughts the result of man-made carcinogens lofted into the air by way of the Industrial Revolution, or are they part of natural weather patterns witnessed by man for the past 200,000 years?

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Storms bring welcome relief but drought far from over

McCarthy backs new water bill

The welcome rain this week saw about 14.5 inches of precipitation fall on the San Barnardino Mountains, but the drought status remains unchanged as 55 percent of California is still considered in the most extreme category. Up to 99.7 percent of the state still lies within moderate to severe drought status.

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Covered California in second phase; L.A. County leads all state regions

Black enrollment lags behind

Enrollment for the second phase of Covered California got underway two weeks ago with Los Angeles County expected to again lead all state regions in sign-ups. In March, more than 200,000 persons in the county had enrolled, far outpacing the nearest region, the San Francisco Bay area, which saw 164,000 consumers opt for state-run heath care coverage. Since Nov. 15, more than 100,000 additional Californians have submitted coverage applications for the latest enrollment period.

Carson hosts enrollment center for Covered California sign-ups

Also at Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza

An enrollment center for Covered California is open through Feb. 15, 2015 at the South Bay Pavilion in Carson. Open to all legal residents of Los Angeles County, interested parties may visit and sign-up for healthcare coverage from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Kelly Rolfe Financial Services, adjacent to JC Penny, will conduct the enrollments.

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‘Black Friday’ is now obsolete as retailers open earlier for dollars

AV Mall in sales marathon

Today may be the last “Black Friday.” Department stores have decided not to wait for the last balloon float down the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, they’ll forgo the final football whistle, and they are providing less time each year to digest even the last slice of pie. American retailers want you in the stores as early as...yesterday.

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‘Black Friday’ is now obsolete as retailers open earlier for dollars

AV Mall in sales marathon

Today may be the last “Black Friday.” Department stores have decided not to wait for the last balloon float down the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, they’ll forgo the final football whistle, and they are providing less time each year to digest even the last slice of pie. American retailers want you in the stores as early as...yesterday.

‘Water Year’ off to slow start; San Diego goes ‘toilet-to-tap’

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported this week that the brief rains in central and northern California were not nearly enough to provide relief to three years of extensive dry weather. In fact, the state’s water reservoirs are at critically low levels, and the mild start to the rainy season in the Sierras suggests conditions may not improve this winter.

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Cool, clear water: AV officials work to protect valuable supply

Conservation projects underway

Although much of California remains parched as big cities and little towns devise plans to find and/or conserve water, the Antelope Valley is managing its way through the drought with relative ease. That’s not to say that water conservation is a low priority, but this section of northern Los Angeles County undertook measures years ago to manage its water affairs which apparently are paying off under the latest statewide restrictions.

Power plant comes online to help reduce water costs

nDry-weather runoff more appealing

With an eye toward future water conservation and cost savings to customers, the Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) and SunPower on Wednesday announced completion of the new 3.5 megawatt photovoltaic solar plant that is touted to use less water to produce electricity for tens of thousands of residents of northern Los Angeles County. In combination with the CLWA’s existing 1 megawatt SunPower solar plant, electricity costs may be reduced by as much as $20 million over the next 25 years.

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Lynch, Harris, Lacey: Latest icons for American girls

Leaders in county, state, and the national government

President Barack Obama’s nomination Nov. 8 of veteran prosecutor Loretta Lynch for the position of attorney general may mark a bigger social milestone than his 2008 election to the White House.

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Lynch, Harris, Lacey: Latest icons for America’s Black girls

Leaders in county, state, and the national government

President Barack Obama’s nomination Nov. 8 of veteran prosecutor Loretta Lynch to the position of attorney general may mark a bigger social milestone than his 2008 election to the White House.

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