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Merdies Hayes

Stories by Merdies

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Chuck Berry taught world the meaning of rock ‘n roll

Legendary musician dies at 90

By now, all of the accolades and applause have been afforded to the late Chuck Berry. The man who more than any other musician put a stamp on rock ‘n roll music died last weekend at his Wentzville, Mo. home at age 90. Known for the classic hits “Maybellene, “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “School Days” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” Berry was America’s most influential rock ‘n roll singer/songwriter and left a legacy of musical influence that will likely never be repeated. On these and dozens more seminal recordings, Berry played clarion guitar riffs and a relentlessly rhythmic blend of blues and country music to define the rock ‘n roll sound while celebrating teenage life and loves of 1950s and ‘60s America.

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‘Kill ‘Em And Leave’ provides inside glimpse of the Godfather of Soul

The intriguing life of James Brown is best explained in just two words from the forward of James McBride’s riveting work “Kill ‘Em And Leave” (Spiegel & Grau, New York, NY, 2016) in which the author is warned “watch yourself” when undertaking the writing of the southern history of one of America’s most famous entertainers. McBride ventured into Barnwell, S.C.—Brown’s birthplace—a little country town where Blacks and Whites still maintain an uneasy racial paradigm and where the inquisitive person can find himself in more trouble than it’s worth.

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Chuck Berry taught world the meaning of rock ‘n roll

Legendary musician dies at 90

By now, all of the accolades and applause have been afforded to the late Chuck Berry. The man who more than any other musician put a stamp on rock ‘n roll music died last weekend at his Wentzville, Mo. home at age 90. Known for the classic hits “Maybellene, “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “School Days” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” Berry was America’s most influential rock ‘n roll singer/songwriter and left a legacy of musical influence that will likely never be repeated. On these and dozens more seminal recordings, Berry played clarion guitar riffs and a relentlessly rhythmic blend of blues and country music to define the rock ‘n roll sound while celebrating teenage life and loves of 1950s and ‘60s America.

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Proposed cutbacks in medical insurance result in uncertainty for county and state

GOP unveils American Health Care Act

The rancorous debate and political standoff on Capitol Hill over the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) has the public, physicians and providers wondering what will happen to healthcare funding. Medicaid allocations to states is expected to be sharply curtailed next year. For California, it’s called Medi-Cal and depending who you ask, 1.2 million residents of Los Angeles County and another 13 million people nationwide—may no longer have access to a primary care physician just at a time when America’s overall health is at substandard levels.

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American women are making history; traditional obstacles slow to change

More women serve as the ‘breadwinner’

Women are making history. You can see it in the home, the workplace, the media and, in judging from the worldwide Women’s March in January, definitely in the streets. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. It’s been a gradual, hard-fought process highlighted recently in Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. Politics may be the most visible aspect of the American woman’s social influence. Locally, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors can serve as an example of the shifting power base with four of its five seats (Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis, Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn) occupied by powerful, influential women with extensive national and statewide experience in setting policy.

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American women are making history; traditional obstacles slow to change

More women serve as the ‘breadwinner’

Women are making history. You can see it in the home, the workplace, the media and, in judging from the worldwide Women’s March in January, definitely in the streets. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. It’s been a gradual, hard-fought process highlighted recently in Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. Politics may be the most visible aspect of the American woman’s social influence. Locally, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors can serve as an example of the shifting power base with four of its five seats (Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis, Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn) occupied by powerful, influential women with extensive national and statewide experience in setting policy.

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The strength of Black media

African Americans have played a pivotal role in helping to shape American journalism.

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The strength of Black media

African Americans have played a pivotal role in helping to shape American journalism. From the abolitionist crusade of Frederick Douglass’ “The North Star,” to the popular “O” magazine published by Oprah Winfrey, the Black press has traditionally shined a spotlight on the pressing issues pertaining to its diverse community. Ebony magazine is perhaps the most famous Black publication. Founded by John H. Johnson, Ebony was the standard-bearer of Johnson Publishing Co. and at its height boasted a circulation of almost 2 million readers. Johnson used a $500 loan in 1942 to launch a business empire that made him one of America’s most influential businessmen with his company eventually securing major holdings in book and magazine publishing, fashion and cosmetics, and radio and television stations.

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Top acts headline a showcase of stars now through spring at LPAC

Beatles, Rolling Stones tribute ‘battle’ tonight at 7

From the hottest comedian on the circuit, to classic theater and musical trips down memory lane, the Lancaster Performing Arts Center for the next few weeks promises some of the Southland’s best entertainment choices. For fans who wish to relive the British Invasion—when mop tops and mini skirts were all the rage—then tonight’s “Beatles vs. Stones: A Musical Showdown” review is for you. There has always been a debate about which of these two legendary musical groups was the most popular. While the Beatles relied more so on melodic love songs, the Rolling Stones were a more blues-influenced band.

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California storms bring needed rain as well as unexpected havoc

Oroville emergency spotlights crumbling infrastructure

One year ago Southern California was wondering what happened to El Nino? Outside of a few showers, there was practically no rain to speak of. “Darn those wacky weathercasters!” “Curse those miserable meteorologists!” were common complaints. One year later and we’re inundated with too much rain with more mud flowing, more floods growing and more hillsides sliding than anyone could have anticipated.

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Valentine’s Day traditions are more than just candy and hearts

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt” —Charles M. Schultz

The “Peanuts” creator may have been on to something. Love is the first thing that comes to mind, when you think of Valentine’s Day. The symbolism can’t be missed: Heart-shaped boxes of candy, heart-shaped greeting cards, floral arrangements with heart-shaped love notes, and even a little cherub sporting a bow and arrow. With Valentine’s Day arriving next Tuesday, it’s time for love and affection toward those we desire and cherish most.

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Seat belts protected children in local school bus crash

Some special needs students and others aboard a school bus that collided with a Cadillac in Lancaster were spared serious injuries and likely have seat belts to thank for it, according to law enforcement. The injuries of those aboard the bus ranged from moderate to minor in the crash reported about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday at 20th Street East and East Lancaster Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol, who added that all of the students appeared to be wearing seat belts.

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High-tech surveillance coming to a neighborhood near you

Sheriff wants ‘aerial vehicle’

Is “Big Brother” watching us? A few weeks ago, Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnell held a news conference at the Hall of Justice to announce that the use of a drone—specifically an “unmanned aerial vehicle”—for search-and-rescue, bomb detection and certain hostage situations is a good idea to help keep the public and law enforcement personnel safe. Many law enforcement entities across the nation—including the Los Angeles Police Department—have purchased such aerial reconnaissance devices to assist in their efforts to increase public safety and to keep at least one-step ahead of criminal activity.

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High-tech surveillance coming to a neighborhood near you

Sheriff wants ‘aerial vehicle’

Is “Big Brother” watching us? A few weeks ago, Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnell held a news conference at the Hall of Justice to announce that the use of a drone—specifically an “unmanned aerial vehicle”—for search-and-rescue, bomb detection and certain hostage situations is a good idea to help keep the public and law enforcement personnel safe. Many law enforcement entities across the nation—including the Los Angeles Police Department—have purchased such aerial reconnaissance devices to assist in their efforts to increase public safety and to keep at least one-step ahead of criminal activity.

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John Amos looks back at ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’

‘I couldn’t have had better training’

Iconic television actress Mary Tyler Moore died yesterday in a Connecticut hospital at age 80 following a decades-long battle with diabetes.

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Inauguration address may sometimes land gifted speaker in history books

Donald Trump takes oath at noon

When Donald Trump gives his inaugural address tomorrow, expect our 45th president to try to soothe some tensions after a particularly contentious campaign and tumultuous transition.

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George Thorogood at LPAC for one-night-only on March 5

George Thorogood and the Destroyers will perform for the first time March 5 at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center. George Thorogood is one of the most popular and sought-after acts on the rock ’n roll circuit. His new Rock Party limited tour this spring will feature all of his favorite songs over the past 40 years that have seen the band amass millions of fans around the world.

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America prepares to celebrate life, legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A true ‘Drum Major for Justice’

For much of one-half century, the policies and ideology of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have been espoused and renounced, adopted and co-opted by practically every socio-political movement the world over. Americans, rightly, consider him as their benevolent representative of peaceful social change—a latter-day Gandhi in terms of reshaping the public landscape—whose brief and fateful sojourn would force this nation to look inward toward a more perfect union.

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Lucas Museum in Expo Park may increase economic growth

South Los Angeles was chosen this week as the new home of filmmaker George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art, with the museum’s board of directors selecting Exposition Park over a competing bid from San Francisco. “We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process,” according to a statement from the board. “Settling on a location proved to be an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities.” The museum will abut Vermont Avenue just west of the Coliseum.

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America prepares to celebrate life, legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A true ‘Drum Major for Justice’

For much of one-half century, the policies and ideology of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have been espoused and renounced, adopted and co-opted by practically every socio-political movement the world over. Americans, rightly, consider him as their benevolent representative of peaceful social change—a latter-day Gandhi in terms of reshaping the public landscape—whose brief and fateful sojourn would force this nation to look inward toward a more perfect union.

USC comeback was ‘one for the ages’

USC on Monday orchestrated the greatest comeback in Rose Bowl history in a thrilling 52-49 victory over Penn State. The crowd of 95,128 was the second largest in the previous 19 Rose Bowl games. The Trojans, in making an unprecedented 34th appearance in the annual contest, entered the fourth quarter trailing 49-35 after allowing a Rose Bowl record 28 points in the third quarter. USC trimmed the lead to 49-42 on a three-yard touchdown run by Ronald Jones II with eight minutes remaining in regulation. Then they tied the score on Sam Donald’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Deontay Burnett with 1:20 remaining.

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Life expectancy of Black males still lags behind White counterparts

Scientific studies indicate internalized racism as unexpected culprit

With advances in practically everything from medicine, personal well-being and leaps and bounds in transportation safety, it would be believed that Americans are living longer. That assumption was refuted not long ago by a report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) that indicated that American life expectancy is in decline for the first time in more than two decades.

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Life expectancy of Black males still lags behind White counterparts

Scientific studies indicate internalized racism as unexpected culprit

With advances in practically everything from medicine, personal well-being and leaps and bounds in transportation safety, it would be believed that Americans are living longer. That assumption was refuted not long ago by a report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) that indicated that American life expectancy is in decline for the first time in more than two decades. Researchers can’t point to a single qualifier as to why we’re not living longer. Instead, it may be due to a number of factors—from heart disease to suicides—that have contributed to the drop. The scientists see the drop as particularly alarming, when during much of the past century, life expectancy has generally risen for all sectors of American society, even when HIV-related deaths were at their peak in the early 1990s.

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‘Chase the Night’ reveals power of faith during darkest moments

Sometimes the best in us is revealed through our worst moments. Such is the take of “Chase the Night” (2015, T&Z Publishing, Roseville, Calif.) in which author Shirley Summers and co-writer Cullen Vane retrace the dark voyage of a “God-fearing” small town woman into the depravation of the crack epidemic.

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Free yoga class tomorrow

The Palmdale City Library, 700 E. Palmdale Blvd., will host at 1 p.m. tomorrow a free yoga session conducted by The Yoga Roots, a local exercise studio. Registration is required for the session.

Most banks remain reluctant to invest in minority-owned firms

Greenlining Institute report

The banks with the largest market share in California remain reluctant to contract with businesses owned by minorities and/or women. That’s the sober assessment from a new report issued by the Greenlining Institute, a Bay Area financial advocacy group focusing on eliminating economic barriers to minority-owned businesses.

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New aerospace bill signed; a boost for Virgin Galactic

Whether it was building a rocket to the moon, or welcoming the space shuttle home, the Antelope Valley is the certified aerospace capitol of the world. In further promotion of commercial space flight, President Barack Obama this week signed into law H.R. 6007, new legislation to give the Secretary of Transportation the authority to conduct aeronautical studies at spaceports to study the potential impact of structures on spacecraft arriving or departing from a licensed launch site.

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Indian Museum provides insight of sometimes forgotten people

For more than 70 years, the Antelope Valley Indian Museum has served as a social and archeological repository for the history of Native Indian tribes in Northern Los Angeles County. With the nation now observing Native Indian History Month, a trip to this remarkable educational facility can provide visitors with a wealth of knowledge about the people who lived and reared families here many centuries ago.

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Lancaster mayor promises bold action on gang activity

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris spoke in strident, forceful tones at a recent city council meeting in condemning Proposition 47 as a poorly conceived measure that has jeopardized the safety of his constituents.

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Tide of racism sweeps land following presidential election

From the littlest voices yelling “build the wall” and scribbling “kill ni**rs” in grade school hallways, to adults targeting various religions and persons of color with threats and intimidation, a dark cloud of overt racism has descended upon America for the past 10 days.

Small business takes center stage

Small companies across America including Eso Won Books in Leimert Park Village are preparing to celebrate Small Business Saturday, and this year the independent book seller will feature a day of authors, food activities Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at its location, 4327 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles.

DuBay’s ‘The Priest and the Cardinal' reveals entrenched religious dogma

Looking back at L.A. Catholic Church

The title suggests a running confrontation between a subordinate and a superior. And while the dichotomy between two partners in faith may reveal how difficult change can be within religious orthodoxy,

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Gwen Ifill dies at 61; host of ‘Washington Week’

Gwen Ifill, the award-winning journalist best known for hosting the television programs “Washington Week” and “PBS NewsHour,” died this week after a months-long battle with cancer. She was 61. The network said Ifill was not part of election night coverage explaining she was “off the air this week” while she addresses health issues. WETA-TV President Sharon Rockefeller emailed her staff on Monday informing them that their colleague had died while in hospice care in Washington, D.C.

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Gwen Ifill dies at 61

Gwen Ifill, the award-winning journalist best known for hosting the PBS news programs “Washington Week” and “PBS NewsHour,” died today after a months-long battle with cancer. She was 61.

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Trump wins in America’s most stunning upset for White House

Kamala Harris goes to Washington

In the most stunning presidential upset in American political history, New York businessman Donald J. Trump on Wednesday defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a vociferous White House campaign that saw criminal investigations on one side and unseemly personal revelations on the other.

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Trump wins in America’s most stunning upset for White House

Kamala Harris goes to Washington

In the most stunning presidential upset in American political history, New York businessman Donald J. Trump on Wednesday defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a vociferous White House campaign that saw criminal investigations on one side and unseemly personal revelations on the other.

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Third-party candidates often reveal hidden angst among voters

They keep the major parties ‘honest’

Americans have generally tolerated the constraints of the two-party system by demonstrating civic duty and patriotism. And while even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson delivered strong cautionary words against the threat of permanent political parties, the nation has generally coalesced around the often bifurcated political system to select our Commander in Chief.

Early voting data finds people eager to cast presidential ballots

Vote this weekend in Los Angeles County

The opportunity to cast an early ballot in Los Angeles County continues this weekend, Nov. 5-6, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at El Camino College, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; West Los Angeles College, 9000 Overland Ave., Culver City; North Hollywood Regional Library, 5211 Tujunga Ave.; West Covina City Hall, 1444 W. Garvey Ave. S, and at Antelope Valley College, 3041 W. Avenue K in Lancaster. You may also vote today and tomorrow at the County Registrar/Recorder office, 1200 Imperial Hwy. in Norwalk from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m.

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Jackson Limousine owner dies of coronary

Provided thousands of meals to those in need

E.J. Jackson, who for 34 years distributed Thanksgiving dinner to mostly underserved families in South Los Angeles, died on Tuesday from a heart attack. Jackson was founder and owner of Jackson Limousine Service which through years transported some of the world’s most famous celebrities.

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Lawmakers hail DOD decision to waive repayment of bonuses

In a sordid tale reminiscent of the old Bonus Army scandal of World War I, Defense Secretary Ash Carter this week suspended an effort by the Pentagon to reclaim enlistment bonuses paid to approximately 10,000 California National Guard personnel.

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City homeless measure tops local ballot choices on Nov. 8

Would provide more affordable housing

Several city of Los Angeles ballot measures will be considered on Nov. 8, the most pressing of which is Proposition HHH, officially the Homelessness Reduction and Prevention, Housing and Facilities Bond.

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Donald Trump retains hallmarks of historic misogyny, chauvinism

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That familiar saying can be easily associated with the base, misogynistic tirades of Donald Trump. Since announcing his presidential run, the brash New York billionaire has left in his wake a growing list of women who have reportedly been castigated, criticized and caricatured in ways not demonstrated since the days of corsets and bustles.

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The best of Motown tonight

Take a soulful trip back to the golden age of Motown with “So Good for the Soul” tonight at 8 p.m. at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center.

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Donald Trump retains hallmarks of historic misogyny, chauvinism

“Frailty thy name is woman”—"Hamlet,” Act 1, Scene 2 “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That familiar saying can be easily associated with the base, misogynistic tirades of Donald Trump. Since announcing his presidential run, the brash New York billionaire has left in his wake a growing list of women who have reportedly been castigated, criticized and caricatured in ways not demonstrated since the days of corsets and bustles.

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Thousands line Lancaster streets in farewell to Sgt. Steve Owen

Hailed as a trusted community friend

A sad and solemn procession traveled yesterday through the streets of Lancaster as relatives, friends and colleagues of Sgt. Steve Owen bid farewell to the decorated member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who was gunned down Oct. 5 in an ambush attack while performing his duties.

AB 32 marks 10 years as first anti-GHG law

The state that introduced the “car culture” to America—as well as the term “smog”—this week celebrated the 10th anniversary of an inspiring idea to reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere and make the future a little more habitable for its citizens.

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America's elderly population faces dramatic financial, health issues

Expanding Antelope Valley Senior Citizen Center

African American senior citizens have witnessed dramatic changes in the national landscape. Within social and economic status, African Americans from the Civil Rights Movement through the election of the first Black president have risen from the depths of discrimination and poverty to bear witness to many significant events offering increased opportunities.

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Gloria Naylor, prolific author, dies from heart attack at 66

Gloria Naylor, the award-winning novelist whose debut work “The Women of Brewster Place” would be adapted into a 1989 TV miniseries starring Cicely Tyson and Oprah Winfrey, has died. She was 66.

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African American history of poverty leads to the modern carceral state

Innocent victims of ‘blind justice’?

How did we get here? A far-reaching NAACP study of the criminal justice system released in 2013 revealed that African Americans constitute 1 million of the 2.3 million people behind bars. Black persons comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population yet account for almost half of its incarcerated citizens.

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Vin Scully legacy will never be repeated or forgotten

Legendary broadcaster to retire at end of season

There was a generation of workers after World War II who found it not uncommon to remain on the job for 30, maybe 40 years. They were as regular and reliable as clockwork—always ready, always on time … always excellent. Now, imagine someone “clocking in”—albeit for five months at a time—for 67 consecutive years.

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