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Merdies Hayes

Stories by Merdies

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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.

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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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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McCarthy named new House majority leader

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-23rd) continued his near meteoric rise in politics yesterday by assuming the House majority leader post vacated by Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor who lost his primary bid earlier this month.

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Blacks overcharged, forced more often into plea bargains

Residents decry Antelope Valley’s ‘Hanging Courthouse’

Minority defendants in the Antelope Valley are being overcharged and forced to agree to plea bargains at a much higher rate than at any regional court in Los Angeles County. According to the Antelope Valley branch of the NAACP, this practice of bypassing the Sixth Amendment has become typical of judicial proceedings at the court which has gained infamy as the “Antelope Valley Hanging Courthouse.”

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‘Spice,’ and other synthetic drugs latest worry for law enforcement

By the time Jonathan Brown or “Big Papa”—as he was so warmly referred to by kids in the community found out about the spice invasion—it was too late. His grandson was addicted.

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Low home sales, brown lawns, latest effects of state drought

Bees may swarm water parks

Even in the best climates, homeowners usually have a hard time keeping their lawns and gardens green in the summer. The California drought has made that chore more difficult, and now realtors have had to curtail their expectations of “curbside appearance” as the brown lawns, wilted plants and a lack of flower blossoms are reportedly driving down the prices of homes that are on the market.

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Palmdale officials launch assault on ‘spice’ and other synthetic drugs

City council passes ordinance

A new and potentially lethal drug has been sweeping the nation during the past decade. “Spice,” sometimes referred to as “K2,” “Bombay Blue,” “Blaze” and “Zohai,” is on the radar among deputies at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Palmdale station to such an extent that law enforcement urged passage of a city ordinance that will severely crack down on the possession, distribution and sale of this and other illegal synthetic drugs.

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Marshall Broadcasting Group purchases three community-oriented TV stations

Black ownership on the rebound

It’s been nearly 70 years since American families were introduced to television. According to experts from Stanford University, television must take on an active role in the promotion of economic development and equality for minorities. Through the creation of Black-owned television stations and networks, viewers are more likely to see positive images of themselves.

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Anti-fracking bill defeated

Mitchell vows to press on

California Senate Bill 1132, the anti-fracking measure introduced last year by Sens. Holly Mitchell (D-30) and Mark Leno (D-11), was shot down last week by the State Senate in Sacramento in a 16-16 vote with eight abstentions. The bill would have placed a seven-month moratorium on fracking, the controversial method of oil exploration that forces huge amounts of pressurized water and chemicals underground to tap petroleum deposits.

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Summer youth activities planned in Antelope Valley

Outrun the “zombies” tomorrow

Although school will end soon for the summer break, a variety of youth activities will be scheduled over the next three months throughout the Antelope Valley that are designed for physical fitness, academic enrichment, community involvement and just plain fun.

Anti-fracking bill defeated

Mitchell vows to press on

California Senate Bill 1132, the anti-fracking measure introduced last year by Sens. Holly Mitchell (D-30) and Mark Leno (D-11), was shot down last week by the State Senate in Sacramento in a 16-16 vote with eight abstentions. The bill would have placed a seven-month moratorium on fracking, the controversial method of oil exploration that forces huge amounts of pressurized water and chemicals underground to tap petroleum deposits.

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Mental illness remains one of nation’s most acute, misunderstood diseases

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The mystery of mental illness has perplexed society since the dawn of man. Modern scientists, mental health professionals and, most important, the troubled individual and their families have had to grapple with the causes, effects, medical treatments and how to care for the person whose daily life is often confined within a sphere of confusion, anxiety and separation from society.

McDonnell says new perspective best solution for troubled LASD

Jim McDonnell believes an “outside set of eyes” is the best answer for the troubled Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. McDonnell, the current chief of police in Long Beach, entered the race for sheriff in January determined to bring an outsider’s perspective to the nation’s largest sheriff’s department.

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War On Poverty: Success and failure of America’s commitment

Merits of program still debated by liberals and conservatives

“This administration today here and now declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” --President Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address.

State agriculture profits may not suffer from drought as expected

Groundwater eases burden

The proverbial “good news-bad news” scenario presents itself this week with indications that the California drought may not cost the agriculture industry as much as was believed. The industry will reportedly incur less than half the losses forecast in March as groundwater supplies have eased the burden on farmers and ranchers. The California Farm Water Coalition said losses are expected to reach $3.4 billion for farming and related activity (trucking and shipping), far below the predicted $7.8 billion.

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War On Poverty: Success and failure of America’s commitment

Merits of program still debated by liberals and conservatives

“This administration today here and now declares unconditional war on poverty in America.”

LAUSD candidates square off as District 1 race nears finish

Common Core, more funding, safer schools mark debate

They’re heading into the home stretch in the campaign for the District 1 seat with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The seven candidates, Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Alex Johnson, Rachel Johnson, Omarosa Manigault, Hattie McFrazier, George McKenna and Sherlett Hendy Newbill fielded wide-ranging questions Tuesday evening at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park before a crowd of 200 or so District 1 stakeholders. The special election will be held on June 3 to replace the late Marguerite LaMotte.

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New retail center, AnyWind Power may bring more jobs to Palmdale

BYD open in Lancaster

The Rancho Vista Specific Plan in Palmdale got another boost this month as construction began on the Rancho Vista Town Center, a long-anticipated retail development at the intersection of Rancho Vista Boulevard and Town Center Drive. Adding to the economic revitalization of Palmdale was the announcement that a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) has been signed to help lure AnyWind Power Electric Inc. to town to manufacture wind turbine systems.

Rogers, Hellmold square off for community support

It was a smaller debate than usual, but steeped in community interest and concern as the Los Angeles Area Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. hosted a forum on May 7 at Inglewood City Hall, to hear from the candidates for Los Angeles County Sheriff heading into the June 3 election.

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Alex Johnson: New generation of leadership steps up in push for change in LAUSD

Alex Johnson believes the District 1 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board needs fresh ideas and a new direction. Currently the assistant senior deputy for education and public safety for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Johnson has been working closely of late with the superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education to preserve Head Start in the county’s second district.

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Gov. Brown signs drought proclamation

Cattle now leaving for ‘greener pastures’

Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed a new, sweeping emergency drought proclamation to cut red tape for a number of government entities with an eye on assisting water agencies to find new sources of water. The latest U.S. drought monitor says 100 percent of California is in an official drought.

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Summer nights at Palmdale Amphitheater

Variety of musical acts will grace the stage

From today’s top sounds in Country music, Rhythm and Blues, Hip Hop and Banda music, the Palmdale Amphitheater has something in store this summer for most all musical tastes.

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April is Autism Awareness Month

Disorder occurs in 1 in 68 births in United States

Parents naturally obsess over an infant during the first year of life. The joys and concerns are often myriad as the newborn occupies practically all of the parent’s waking hours. A developmental disability, however, may be one of the worst fears a parent/caregiver may encounter. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a dreaded diagnosis that afflicts one percent of American children ages three to 17 years.

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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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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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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’ 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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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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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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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.

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