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Merdies Hayes

Stories by Merdies

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New methods in breast cancer treatment excites doctors, patients

Diagnosis no longer a death sentence

Each year promises new advancements in research and treatment of breast cancer. In 40 years, breast cancer has changed from an often fatal disease to one that most patients can conquer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and scientists not only in America but around the world believe that the coming years will promise more progress in the ultimate fight to end the disease.

McCarthy drops out of race for Speaker

Fight between Freedom Caucus, moderates continues

In a surprise decision that caught most everyone on Capitol Hill and political reporters off guard, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn his name from consideration for being the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Farmers angered at new water rules; ‘upscale’ restaurants use plastic utensils

Farmers operating from in the Central Valley down to Ventura County say that new environmental regulations are barring them from irrigating their dry land and are making them an even more “endangered species” than the Mojave ground squirrel, Chinook salmon or the tiny Delta smelt. The farmers are getting increasingly angry at state and federal agencies whom they claim are putting wildlife far ahead of jobs, families and food.

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Mass murders expose bias, stereotypes in media coverage

Where is the national outrage over inner-city slaughter?

The murders in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado generally brought the heinous nature of mass killings into the American mainstream. There had been previous mass murders prior to that—perpetrated largely by young, so-called “disaffected” White teens and young adults—but now these horrific incidents are matched almost monthly by the strings of killings taking place in America’s inner cities.

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Golden State residents saving more water, but drought takes heavy toll on snowpack

The drought has encouraged Californians to make water saving an integral part of their daily lives. Officials at the State Water Resources Control Board announced this week that for the third straight month residents are making drastic cuts in their water use, noting a 25 percent reduction which is the original goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown. They warn, however, that talk of an impending El Nino should not be considered an opportunity to return to heavy residential or business use, because it is still not a guarantee of a wet winter.

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Los Angeles County remains far behind most other regions in charitable giving

‘Brass Butt’ looks to change dynamic

The resurgent economy, extended tax cuts for the wealthiest residents, and even Pope Francis’ appeals for a more egalitarian spirit of giving have yet to entice more Los Angeles County residents to dig into their pockets to assist the less fortunate.

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Pope Francis appeals to nation’s charity, while advancing authority of Gospels

Father Serra is now Saint Serra

Pope Francis this morning is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly to help the organization celebrate its 70th anniversary. After hosting a non-denominational service at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, he’ll visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, lead a procession through Central Park and then conduct Mass tonight at Madison Square Garden. After that he’s on to Philadelphia—including a special visit to Independence Hall—and will conclude his American visit with a Mass and comments before the World Meeting of Families.

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Black Lives Matter campaign seeks justice for victims of police abuse

Opposition paints familiar argument

In January 2011, a deranged man shot and killed six people in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords. Media pundits on the left tried to connect the murders and the wounding of the liberal Democrat to the Tea Party. A few years earlier upon the election of President Barack Obama, some liberal commentators believed that the ascension of the Tea Party was driven largely by secret racism. There were reports about racist signs at Tea Party rallies which allegedly gave more proof that the movement was only there to diminish one of America’s greatest socio-political triumphs, rather than advance the group’s ultimate goal of reigning in big government.

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Sierra Nevada snowpack lowest in past 500 years

The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the lowest than at any time in the previous 500 years. That’s the latest finding from researchers at the journal Nature Climate Change who reported this week that the level of snow at the end of March on the high hills separating California and Nevada was just one-twentieth of the average for the last half century.

‘March’ provides unique insight into famed Civil Rights Movement

Trilogy by Rep. John Lewis

John Lewis has provided to youth a rare and unique perspective of the Civil Rights Movement in his unfinished trilogy “March” (2015, Top Shelf Productions, $8.50-$15.30). Books one and two have been released to thunderous praise from politicians, major news outlets and a number of celebrities all of which contend that the Georgia congressman’s inside view of the social struggle more than half a century earlier is important, worthwhile reading for the present generation. It helps them learn about the motivation, struggles, setbacks and ultimate victory of one of the great mass movements of the 20th century.

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County, cities prepare for latest El Nino; storm could be one of biggest in history

Tips to keep you and family safe

Practically every part of Southern California is prone to a natural disaster. Earthquakes aside, raging brush fires, devastating high surf, mud slides and, in the upper elevations, powerful snow storms can bring daily life to a sudden halt. The newest fear stems from the impending El Nino set to strike sometime in early January. And while the rain will bring welcome relief to the on-going drought, there is a strong possibility that there will be severe flooding, particularly in parts of the High Desert.

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Sobering report on county aging; severe ‘life-gap’ 20 miles apart

Angelenos are living longer. Well, at least some Angelenos are living longer. The 2015 “Los Angeles Health Aging Report” is out and offers both happy and sad news about the health prospects of older adults residing in the City of Angels.

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LPAC, Palmdale Playhouse to feature best in comedy, music, classic theatre

The Palmdale Junior Ballet and Theatre Dance Company will offer a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 6 featuring “Hansel and Gretel” and “For the Love of Christmas.” The famous children’s story by The Brothers Grimm will be presented as a one-act dance fantasy featuring forest creatures, angels, gingerbread children and, of course, the evil witch who lures the children through the forest, then onto her gingerbread house and eventually into her wicked kitchen. As their parents search the woods for their lost children, the kids conspire to escape the witch’s giant oven and to free the gingerbread children from her evil spell. Immediately after the show, the dance company will perform to holiday-inspired tunes featuring “We Wish You the Merriest” by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, “Sound of Christmas” by Ramsey Lewis and “Zat You Santa Claus?” by Louis Armstrong.

Scientist suggests amazing 1-day climate swing of 10 degrees

El Nino to offer only ‘temporary’ relief

Despite the thunderstorms and heavy downpours that blew through the Antelope Valley region this week, the searing heat is expected to expand across the Southwest through early next week which only tends to worsen conditions for drought-stricken California.

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Morgan makes triumphant return to ‘Saturday Night Live’

Tracy Morgan is back. The popular comedian is set to make his triumphant return to “Saturday Night Live” Oct. 17 by hosting the show during its 41st season.

New state ordinance will limit amount of homes’ natural turf

One of the joys of homeownership is that neatly-trimmed patch of green grass in the front and back of a house which has traditionally signified pride, dedication and character. Whether a regular crew is needed to manicure a stately landscape, or the homeowner every other weekend rolls out the trusty power mower and edger, maintaining your lawn in pristine condition is one of those regular pleasures which has been learned from childhood.

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Ben Carson brings ‘outsider’ status to packed GOP presidential field

Joins Trump as Iowa frontrunner

Ben Carson is definitely an “outsider.” He’s never run for public office. He is not a “Beltway insider” nor a career politician. There are few, if any, known lobbyists or big business interests pulling his strings. Within the ranks of the GOP, he does not fit within any prescribed characterization or historic image so familiar to American voters.

High school football fields melting prior to new season

It couldn’t be a worse time for prep football players. With the season scheduled to begin in the next few weeks, five high schools that had all-weather sports fields (commonly known as “Astroturf”) installed by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) during the past five years must scramble to replace the turf—and find another field to play—because the material used is defective.

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Amelia Boynton Robinson, civil rights icon, dead at 104

Amelia Boynton Robinson, the civil rights activist who was almost beaten to death during the “Bloody Sunday” march in 1965 in Selma, Ala., and the first African American woman to run for Congress in Alabama, died early Wednesday at age 104.

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Black Lives Matter movement takes presidential contenders ‘off point’

Activists force way into political season

Is it a groundswell among young, disenfranchised African Americans? Or is it the latest en vogue fad resulting from the “instant information” age? Whatever the rationale for the mass movement, the Black Lives Matter pilgrimage is quickly reaching a level of social activism almost forgotten by baby boomers, while attracting the attention of the mass media in ways not seen since the “Free Speech,” “Anti-War” or “Black Power” movements almost 50 years ago.

Central Valley land is sinking

Problem caused by over pumping water

Agricultural profits are not the only things sinking in the Central Valley. The ground is sinking—in some places as much as two feet per year—because during the drought thirsty residents and desperate farmers have extracted too much ground water from the aquifer beneath the terrain in the region. New data from NASA suggests this practice has led to an unexpected dilemma because infrastructure—from roads, train tracks and bridges—is being placed as risk.

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‘Anti-vaxer’ movement contests studies touting benefits of early inoculations

In caring for your child, ‘who calls the shots?’

The anti-vaccination movement (“anti-vaxers”) may be considered as a two-pronged campaign. One prong denies a casual connection between vaccines and the eradication of diseases like smallpox, polio, measles and rubella, while the other prong believes vaccines—particularly the MMR shot for mumps-measles-rubella—are a direct cause of autism.

El Nino chance looks promising

Popular river in north now dry

As wildfires continue to rage in parts of northern California, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week issued some promising news for the drought-stricken state: El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean are gaining momentum thereby increasing the chances of an extra-wet winter on the West Coast.

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Watts Riots: What has changed 50 years later?

A look back at a week of terror

The ring of the old black phone had an ominous tone. Something had happened not far away which had the neighborhood on edge. “Hello, M.D.? Oh, M.D.! We’ve got to come pick you up (from work) right now ... the police beat up a boy down in Watts and they’ve been burnin’ things ever since. Yeah, we’re fine ... but you’ve never heard so many sirens. They’re ’bout to break into White Front. We’re on our way.”

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Babyface, Peter Frampton among stars set to perform this year at A.V. Fair

Pat Benatar, Heart also scheduled

Everyone loves a county fair. The sights, sounds and aromas of the annual community festival attracts “kids of all ages” to a memory-filled experience that brings together family and friends to enjoy a warm summer’s outing.

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Central Valley dam project could bring relief

Water-starved farmers may benefit

The debate about how to better manage water has continued for four years, but now the drought is triggering more political momentum for several water storage projects in the Central Valley. The Bureau of Reclamation said, in a report released this week, that it wants to increase the height of the Shasta Dam near Redding by almost 20 feet, thereby adding capacity to store an additional 634,000 acre-feet of water for agricultural, municipal and industrial use.

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One year after protests

Ferguson yet to see policy changes

One year ago, Ferguson, Mo., became the center of the world’s media as widespread protests broke out across the St. Louis area following the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson. However, the media eventually moved on to other stories. But in Ferguson, local activists are still fighting for change.

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More Californians enrolled in Covered California plan

More Californians have enrolled in and are seeing the benefits of Covered California. That’s a finding taken from a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Feinstein files drought legislation; Chinook salmon near extinction?

Sen. Diane Feinstein this week filed her long-anticipated legislative response to the California drought. The veteran lawmaker wants to broker a compromise that has for four years eluded Congress as her home state reveals each day more fallowed fields and brown lawns.

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Stroke can strike at moment’s notice, but there are ways to prevent tragedy

‘Time lost is brain lost’

It appears to strike out of nowhere. You have a sudden headache with no known cause. Your vision gets blurry, and you feel drowsy and nauseous. A little later, you may have trouble speaking and an arm or a leg is suddenly weaker. These are the early signs of a stroke, and at this point, you must immediately call 911.

County seeks major review, overhaul of troubled Compton Fire Department

The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency this week called for a “sweeping overhaul” of the Compton Fire Department after reports surfaced about inadequate service to the thousands of 911 calls it responds to each year.

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New studies offer insight into emotional impulse behind hoarding

Fine line between ‘value’ and ‘separation’

Most people waffle back-and-forth about discarding something they sincerely believe may come in handy. This indecision usually involves a keepsake of sorts, an object that’s not terribly valuable but memorable, nonetheless. A serious problem, however, arises when individuals cannot separate themselves from an inanimate object because they believe it will occupy a vital place in their lives. Experts contend this irrational belief may give rise to hoarding.

Nurses put forth demands as local hospitals change hands

A new team may soon operate both the St. Francis and St. Vincent medical centers in Lynwood and downtown Los Angeles, respectively. A change in ownership depends on whether California Attorney Gen. Kamala Harris gives the go ahead in the next few months—and if the new owners abide by a list of demands submitted by the California Nurses Association (CNA) to prospective purchaser Blue Mountain Capital Management. The Daughters of Charity Health Systems (DCHS) own the two hospitals and four more in other parts of the state.

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Orange County recycled water plan may become state’s ‘new normal’

At Angels Stadium, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and the Honda Center, visitors who wish to quench their thirst (for free) may likely be drinking recycled sewage water.

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Oasis ‘wellness center’ is welcome addition to AV health community

New development may attract more physicians

The Antelope Valley is one of Southern California’s largest geographical regions, but the area lacks a sufficient number of large-scale medical facilities to serve its rapidly increasing population. A Los Angeles development firm plans to remedy this problem by building state-of-the art facilities near the middle of town.

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Disappointing test results for new stealth fighter

There’s bad news for prospective buyers of Lockheed-Martin’s vaunted new F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JFS). The pricey stealth fighter reportedly can’t turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight, or dodge the enemy’s gunfire. The cockpit is also said to be too small for a pilot to turn his or her own head and see another plane approaching from the rear.

Jazz festival scheduled next weekend on Central Avenue

It’s time again for cool jazz in a warm setting. The 20th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival is set for July 25 and 26 outside the famous Dunbar Hotel in South Los Angeles. Each year, the family-friendly event celebrates the city’s rich history of jazz at one of the nation’s seminal locations of African American urban history and culture.

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African Americans rapidly become the face of modern homelessness

They forage as others flourish

They weren’t always, but for the past three decades he hasn’t had much access to regular hot water. Recently he was waiting for a bus on Western Avenue near Gage Avenue in Los Angeles, when I pulled up. I glanced to my right and saw him sitting alone, sheltered from a light rain.

El Nino threatens burn areas; Tom Selleck pilfering water?

Be careful what you wish for. That old adage may ring true, if the predicted heavy El Nino storms this winter bring with them unexpected calamity.

McCarthy, Knight join chorus rejecting Export-Import Bank

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Steve Knight, representing California’s 23rd and 25th congressional districts respectively, have joined a growing list of GOP conservatives who oppose renewing the charter of the Export-Import Bank.

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African Americans rapidly become the face of modern homelessness

They forage as others flourish

“D.C.’s” hands are dirty. They weren’t always, but for the past three decades he hasn’t had much access to regular hot water. Recently he was waiting for a bus on Western Avenue near Gage Avenue, when I pulled up. I glanced to my right and saw him sitting alone, sheltered from a light rain.

New training sessions at LAPD

Connecting with the mentally ill

Fervent public concern regarding the treatment of mentally ill persons by the LAPD has resulted in the department opting to retrain its 10,000 officers in the next few weeks on how to better de-escalate confrontations with suspects and how they approach them.

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World Games will feature athletic courage, character sometimes forgotten among pros

Palmdale serves as a host city

What better locale can rival Los Angeles as host to some of the world’s most dedicated athletes? Some of the greatest sports stars in history, of course, have performed locally, but these household names may pale in comparison to the character and determination on display July 25 through Aug. 2, when the 2015 Special Olympics World Games comes to southern California.

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Californians reduce water use; summer months to be more telling

California cities have set a record for water cuts. In May, the reductions amounted to 29 percent, according to data released this week by the State Water Resources Board.

Feds issue latest drought relief package; farmers may benefit

The Obama Administration this week has unveiled its “Sierra Cascade California Headwaters” package that will direct $130 million toward drought relief. Most of the money will support tree thinning, watershed restoration, streambed improvements and other work that the White House believes will assist California in finding its way through four years of financially-crippling drought. Another $13.6 million will be allocated later for ranchers, and $6 million is forthcoming to provide grants to rural communities.

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The best in ‘hogs’ and hot rods this weekend at annual Thunder on the Lot

Proceeds go to Kids Charities

Charitable contributions to underserved children remains a strong and noble commitment across the nation. There are numerous, worthwhile charities throughout Los Angeles County which do wonderful work caring for the less fortunate. The donations they collect are directed to persons in need because of physical or mental disabilities, self-induced problems (e.g. substance abuse recovery) or the most common application of charitable giving involving poverty. People donate at work, at church, online and practically anywhere, anytime they are approached with the familiar phrase: “Can you spare a little something for the less fortunate?”

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Charleston murders latest instance of persecution of Black Christians

The massacre of nine parishioners two weeks ago at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., is a stark reminder of the sad vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow still present within the United States. The deadly rampage of a 21-year-old avowed racist has brought to fore painful memories of when African Americans at great peril dared to study and adhere to the Gospels.

Officials ponder yet another name for South Los Angeles

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Juliet from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” made this argument to imply that the names of things don’t necessarily affect what they really are. But “SOLA” standing in as a hip moniker for South Los Angeles may not go over as well with Latino residents. Councilman Bernard Parks (Eighth District) wants to incorporate this acronym to replace the negative connotations sometimes associated with South Central (or the newly-minted South Los Angeles) because it could invigorate the maligned area with a new, more gentrified contemporary-sounding name. Trouble is, the term “SOLA” in Spanish could suggest a “woman in sexual need.”

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L.A. Convention Center will undergo latest expansion plan

New stadium step closer to reality

In continuing his pledge to forge a “New Ninth,” Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price announced recently that a key step has been taken in the proposed construction of the city’s latest sports stadium.

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Verbum Dei sends entire senior class off to college

For the eighth consecutive year, each graduating senior at Verbum Dei High in Watts has been accepted into a four-year college or university.