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Merdies Hayes

Stories by Merdies

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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.

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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.

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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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.

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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.

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.

‘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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‘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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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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Child adoption: One of life’s most unexpected miracles

Adopting a child can be one of the most momentous events to ever bless a household. Every year in the United States, tens of thousands of infants, toddlers and teens are welcomed into warm and supportive families. Los Angeles County is one of the nation’s leading regions for adoption as the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) embarks yearly to find loving homes for those who simply need a guiding hand navigating a previous life sometimes devoid of joy and hope into one that promises familial love and kindness. Inner Circle Foster Care and Adoptions Services in Palmdale is one of the county’s many adoption agencies.

Proposition 1 passes overwhelmingly; NASA says food supply threatened

While waiting for Mother Nature to provide drought relief, California voters this week decided to pay for it. Proposition 1 passed overwhelmingly, 67 to 33 percent, to approve $7.5 billion to fund measures related to water conservation, recycling, ecosystem and watershed restoration, drinking water protection and groundwater cleanup, as well as to invest toward two new major storage reservoirs.

Black military leaders uphold a proud tradition of service

As the nation pauses this Veteran’s Day to honor past and present members of our fighting forces, a brief review of the long list of African American men and women in the military reveals faith in country, courage within and outside of battle, and above all personal strength and spiritual conviction.

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Arnett Hartsfield succumbs at 96

Fought to integrate fire department

Arnett Hartsfield, deemed the “eternal rookie” of the Los Angeles Fire Department because he never got a promotion, died Oct. 31 in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 96.

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Bullying robs self esteem, dignity before it consumes young lives

Antelope Valley schools take action

We’ve seen the statistics, and they are troubling. We’ve seen the participants, and they are younger each generation. We’ve seen the results, and they are often tragic.

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AV commuters may soon have easier trips in and out of town

Welcome relief for weary drivers

Travelers from the Antelope Valley have for years been popularly referred to as “extreme commuters.” In fact, the commute from Palmdale into Los Angeles may be considered among the worst nationwide in relation to time spent, route efficiency, road quality and, most of all, money.

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Black gun tradition reveals courage and torment within 2nd Amendment

‘Ol Betsy’ and armed self defense

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bessie Winchester. Companions throughout the ages have often called me ‘Ol Betsy.’ I was born in 1866, serving as the assault weapon of my day, and conceived from an urgent need to fire more rounds more accurately against my enemy than any weapon prior. Although I have cousins with names like Colt, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Glock etc.—some of which preceded my birth and many others born after—I came to represent self defense to my bearers when confronted with imminent threat and danger. I was there unexpectedly in 1850, just after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, to protect runaway slaves against violent oppression and to provide them with a viable, confident pathway to freedom.

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Latino accomplishments abundant as are hopes, dreams of future

Remain ‘backbone’ of state economy

In the southwest United States, persons of Latino origin have probably had more influence in settling the region than anyone else. You never have to look far to see the stamp these neighbors have embellished on American culture, from the names of big cities and small towns, famous thoroughfares and little roadways and even historic houses of worship that dot California.

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Drones may hold key to finding fresh water

nLess rain results in better wine

It’s an old idea with a new twist. Cloud seeding by way of drones may be in California’s future as scientists, politicians and the business sector are considering just about any plausible idea to find fresh water.

Stanford team finds link to global warming, drought

A team of scientists at Stanford University on Thursday reported that the lingering California drought is “very likely” linked to human-caused climate change.

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Palmdale Amphitheater presents music, fun, excitement galore this fall

Wounded Warrior concert on Oct. 4

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Palmdale Amphitheater this fall will offer a variety of concerts and events that are practically guaranteed to peak the interest of fine arts fans and those who owe a debt of gratitude to military veterans. Marie Kerr Park will also feature a number of events to coincide with the music venue anniversary.

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U.S. to dispatch 3,000 troops to Liberia

Will help combat Ebola outbreak

The Obama administration is preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to supply needed medical and logistical support to assist overwhelmed local health care systems in managing the Ebola pandemic.

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Lancaster Grand Prix promises downtown thrills and excitement

Annual event attracts thousands

Lancaster will be roaring and revving with high-powered excitement Sept. 26-28 as the sixth annual Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix winds its way through downtown. Each autumn, Lancaster hosts one of the west coast’s largest and most prestigious professional KART street races. The event draws hundreds of North America’s elite drivers, all vying for the title of “fastest street course racer.”

New USC Village in 2017

Largest development project in South L.A. history

University of Southern California officials were joined by counterparts from city and county government on Monday to break ground on the new $650 million USC Village project.

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The power of the pen: Obama and the history of executive orders

Why presidents love to bypass Congress

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary ...” —United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, July 1776

Water bond measure set, will appear on November ballot

Conservation methods are working

The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) board this week threw its support behind a $7.5 billion water bond that will appear on the November statewide ballot. The bill may be a crucial step for the state to survive the continuing drought.

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The power of the pen: Obama and the history of executive orders

Why presidents love to bypass Congress

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary ...” —United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, July 1776

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Water bill passage unlikely

Democrats, GOP at odds on drought relief

Negotiations on Capitol Hill regarding much-needed legislation on a water bill for California finds the state’s two Democratic senators—as well as House and Senate Republicans—struggling to find a balance between sympathy for Central Valley farmers and concern for environmental protection.

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Garcetti minimum wage hike is city’s largest anti-poverty plan

‘Good for city, good for economy’

Citing stagnant wages for a shrinking middle class, and a low-income population that is working full-time for near poverty-level income, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday announced plans to increase the city’s minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017.

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Community initiative may reduce gangs, help ‘redefine’ Black youth

New pathways to progress, not prison

“We have decided to stop complaining and to get up and do something about the problem.” That’s Ansar “Stan” Muhammad commenting about the nearly-unrelenting stories about “troubled,” “at-risk,” “wayward” and “angry” Black youth here and nationwide who have come to represent a so-called “lost” generation that American society believes may be pre-destined for unemployment, despair and ultimately prison, if adults fail to recognize and act on the many social maladies that plague them.

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Exposition Park

From dinosaurs to space shuttle: a walk through time

Exposition Park has for 100 years been a destination point for millions of Angelenos and visitors to Los Angeles. Whether you’re a sports fan, music fan, history bug, sci-fi enthusiast or even a naturalist, Exposition Park likely offers something of interest to all visitors.

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Lancaster city officials at odds with CPUC

Water bills much too high

Lancaster city officials say they are fed up with unfair utility rates. With the drought serving as a reminder to conserve as much water as possible, city officials last week expressed displeasure and dismay toward a decision by the state Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA) which recommended that water rates be raised for some Lancaster residents who claim they already pay more than the prevailing market value for water.

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Local funding, Common Core among latest strategies for secondary schools

Minority enrollment is new ‘majority’

Although Labor Day has traditionally marked the end of summer, students in the Palmdale School District headed back to class this week. Long gone are the days of the three-month vacation, and many public school campuses have opened this week for the new year.

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AV YouthBuild latest grant guides young people to success

Reviving vocational education

Antelope Valley YouthBuild, a Palmdale-based leadership development program that offers vocational training and helps 16 to 24 year olds earn their high school diploma, received a grant of $6,500 from SunPower Foundation this month. The foundation is the not-for-profit arm of SunPower Corp., a world leader in solar technology and energy services.

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Recent thunderstorms bring little relief to parched state

A series of thunderstorms that hit Southern California last weekend delivered torrents of rain and caused flash floods, but did practically nothing to ease the worsening drought. The soil throughout the state is simply too hard and dry to absorb the rainfall which washed away down gullies and ravines almost as most as fast as it hit the ground.

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‘Get On Up’ captures life, spirit of James Brown

Chadwick Boseman embodies a legend

Well into the storyline of “Get On Up,” Imagine Entertainment’s latest Hollywood biopic, James Brown in 1968 ponders the dilemma of either meeting with President Lyndon Johnson at the White House, or with Black nationalist H. Rap Brown in New York City. Such attention to Brown’s social influence during the turbulent decade is part of the appeal of director Tate Taylor’s film. It is an engrossing, surprising and thoroughly rewarding film for fans of “The Godfather of Soul.” By the way, L.B.J. won out.

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Lancaster lauded for community service efforts

Cited by League of California Cities

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris is an advocate of building a strong community by means of regular input and volunteer participation from residents. This is taking place daily in Lancaster as the city council commended recently three volunteers from the AmeriCorp and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) programs for their efforts to “lead, inspire and connect” with one another.

July driest month in state history

Pasadena: ‘How are the roses?’

It’s official. California is now under the most severe level of drought since the federal government began issuing regular drought reports in the late 1990s. The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday reported that July was the driest month ever with 58 percent of the state experiencing an “exceptional drought,” the harshest finding based on a five-level scale.

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Supervisors postpone vote on increasing services to mentally ill

Children focus of UCLA study

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week postponed voting until Sept. 6 on a motion authored by Mark Ridley-Thomas (Second District) to allocate $20 million to fund diversion of persons with a mental illness away from jail and into community treatment programs.

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Palmdale, Lancaster reach out to find homes for shelter pets

‘Four-footed friends’ can make good companions

Pets may be the great equalizer of mankind. It seems no matter where you live nor what culture or station in life, people naturally gravitate toward a loving companion. Sometimes they’ll have four legs, other times two wings or maybe they live in water.

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Drought exposes new social divide

Wealthy have ‘more green’

The ongoing drought has revealed a startling economic division within California—residents who live closer to the shoreline reportedly have greener grounds than do persons who reside in the eastern regions. It seems these coastal residents are using much more water—at least eight percent more—to keep their lawns green, while others residing inland or near the Nevada and Arizona borders may have to contend with more brown landscapes.

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Steeper fines now ordered for state ‘water-wasters’

Lady Gaga lends voice

Water regulators in California this week issued stringent new conservation measures to limit outdoor water use, including authorizing local agencies to levy fines of up to $500 for using a hose without a shutoff valve. That means no more washing a car, hosing down the driveway, rinsing windows or practically any familiar activity using an old-fashioned water hose. Non-circulating water fountains are now prohibited until further notice.

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Palmdale continues to lead region in renewable energy sources

LED lights, solar shades part of ‘green’ initiative

The city of Palmdale is continuing its quest to become one of the nation’s most energy-efficient municipalities by virtue of its Energy Action Plan (PEAP) which in four years has resulted in a significant reduction in energy costs for residents and businesses. Carbon emissions are reportedly as low as any city on the West Coast, thanks in part to a series of policies and programs put in place to reduce the output of greenhouse gasses (GHG).

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Antelope Valley Fair presents the best in R&B, Rock music

Don’t miss tonight’s fireworks show

The city of Lancaster, Antelope Valley Fairgrounds and Lancaster Auto Mall will present this afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. its annual Pro Bullriders Tour followed by the yearly Fireworks Extravaganza tonight beginning at 9 at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, 2551 W. Avenue H. Grandstand tickets for the rodeo range from $5 to $20 and may be used for the otherwise free fireworks show

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Landowners are auctioning ‘water banks’

Money needed to pay bills

The state drought has taken its toll the past three years on everything from fallowed fields, to dry lawns and increased water bills. Now a few landowners in the Central Valley are selling the rights to their water holdings—some claims dating back 100 years—in order to pay bills.

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LPAC has it all for 2014-15 season

Music, circus, ballet, and animal trainer Jack Hanna featured

From classic Rock ’n Roll, to the best in Country music, and legendary Soul sounds, the Lancaster Performing Arts Center has introduced a 2014-15 lineup for practically all modern music tastes. There will also be performances by Cirque Zuma Zuma, Cedar Street Theatre, the Antelope Valley Ballet and a late-season show by animal expert Jack Hanna.

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Fireworks on sale tomorrow in Palmdale; steep fines levied for illegal use

“Safe and Sane” fireworks will go on sale at noon tomorrow in Palmdale. These are the only fireworks that may be used legally by persons 18 years and over within Palmdale city limits. If they are purchased in Palmdale, they can be used only in Palmdale.