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DECEMBER 2013

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The Women’s Auxiliary 27th Annual Red, Black & Green Ball

Photo: By Greg Savage Justin Nesbitt, a scholarship recipient who will be graduating this month from Sacramento State with a degree in economics. statement. The Women's AuxBy Greg Savage The Women's Auxiliary re- iliary was founded in 1988 cently held their 27th annual and to date, has provided Red, Black and Green Ball over $300,000 in scholarship at the Double Tree Hotel in and merit awards. A great Modesto. With the theme of night was had by all....great "Harlem Nights," this crowd food, great music...for a great was truly dressed to make a cause!

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The 42nd Annual Black & White Ball For The Ebony Socialites

Photo: By Kelly Thomas Eula Toca, left, with daughter Angelica Toca, right, at the Black and White Ball. By Kelly Thomas Pearl Butcher. Members in- bar. There were many aucThe 42nd annual Black & cluding: LaVerne Davis, Essie tion items: Hand-Made Black White Ball for the Ebony So- Gordon, Wanda Howard, Vir- & White Quilt accented with cialites was held at the Atwa- gie Mackey, Dolores Maples, White Candles and Black ter Community Center on De- Fannie Mitchell, Earnestine Lace, Breakfast Gift Basket, cember 7th. This year’s theme Portis and Mildred Vassell. Ladies Black Leather Watch, was “Stepping Out.” This group provides schol- Wine Gift Basket, Men’s SilThe new officers for 2013 arships for graduating Atwa- ver Watch by Charles-Hubert, are President: Sylvia F. Fuller, ter High School and Buhach Paris, Hand Made “Stepping Vice President: Lula Powell, Colony High School Seniors. Out” Shoe Quilt – Black/Hot Recording Secretary: Mary C. These are informational Ses- Pink, Macallan Single Malt Jones, EdD, and Correspond- sions on Health, Economics Scotch Gift Basket, Designer ing Secretary: Ruby Fagan, and other items. Purse with Jewelry from JewTreasurer: Patricia Mims, FiThe program began at elers from Atwater and four nancial Secretary: Barbara 6:30 p.m. with Hors d’ oeu- pairs of Designer Shoes. Wilhoit, and Parliamentarian: vres and a no host cocktail Ebony Socialites also donate to Sickle Cell Research, The Cancer Society, The Heath Association, Atwater High School Grad Night and May Your Holiday Season Be the Boys & Girls Club!

Merry Christmas Filled With Joy and Blessings!

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Some Christmas Pros & Cons “Let Freedom Ring By Greg Allen Christmas isn’t really about some fat guy sliding down the chimney. The significance of it should represent a spirit of “Peace on earth and goodwill toward man,” but it’s Christ’s birth foremost. Yet, it's not appropriate to say “Merry Christmas” because you might offend someone; it's best to say “Happy Holidays.” It's not kosher to display a nativity scene in public anymore either - someone might not like it, so it's best not to display one at all. And it’s surely not right to mention the name Jesus. However, President Ulysses S. Grant declared Christmas a legal holiday in 1870. The law, in part, said: “the twentyfifth day of December, commonly called Christmas, a day appointed or recommended by the President of the United States as a day of public fast or thanksgiving, shall be a holiday.” My mom says, “Life’s not always a bowl of cherries,” and for too many that philosophical gesture falls in line with where the rubber meets the road anymore. With humans it’s best to sooner or later come to the conclusion we aren’t always in control, and when one wants to reflect and weigh the pros and cons of circumstances around Christmas time it might not be a bad idea to conjure up a list of your own - I think you’ll find there’s more pros than cons. Here’s a sampling: Pro: For many, it’s a time for reflection of what’s truly important. Con: Self-pity seems to be the path of least resistance. Pro: “Is there a Santa Claus?” was an editorial appearing in a New York newspaper in 1897. The editorial, which included the famous reply, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” has become an indelible part of Christmas folklore

2 DECEMBER 2013

and the most reprinted editorial in history. Con: But who reads the paper anymore? Pro: Mixed in with gifts under the tree wrap a few solitary packages with nothing more than a note inside. Write on those notes something like: “This is my gift to you - I vow to love you more.” “I’m going to see the world in a different light from now on.” “I have little control over my circumstances, but I’ll make the best of it.” Make your own subtitles, apply what fits, and use the idea. I’m sure you’ll find it’ll move those getting that unorthodox gift. Con: There’s a chance you may be likened to that of Ebenezer Scrooge - before his conversion of course. A close relative of mine, who came from a family of nine, told me of a Christmas she remembered during the Great Depression. Her mother was a stay-at-home mom and her father struggled to feed all those mouths, but he was able to buy a red wagon for the kids to share and an apple and orange for them all - it was the most memorable one of all for her. I recall one magical Christmas when we were living in our first home and being a relative newlywed. The kids were small, we were dirt poor, and it was Christmas Eve. We may have had a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, but we had no money for gifts that year - I was tore up inside. That evening, there was a knock at the door and the kids yelled: “It’s Santa, it’s Santa!” I said something like: “Stop foolin' around.” They weren’t kidding. A trio of County Jaycee members, one dressed like St. Nick, had bags of toys and food. Although we never learned how they found out about our plight, we did learn they spent their entire budget of a thousand dollars on us.

We made a meal that night and I sat on the floor opening gifts with the kids, crying. The next morning I heard a ruckus outside. It wasn’t Santa and his reindeer; it was the next-door neighbor filling our empty fuel oil tank. I told Ron we didn’t have the money for that. He said: “I know.” When I pressed him for an answer to why he was doing such a thing he stated: “Three churches in town said there will come a time when someone will need to heat their home and here’s the money; put it to good use.” I can’t remember all of life’s Christmases, many are forgotten or less-memorable, but I remember that magical Christmas vividly. Most of the “stuff” I’ve purchased or received for Christmas is no doubt rotting in a landfill somewhere, no disrespect intended, but I remember the generosity and sacrifice, as well as the thoughtfulness and kindness of others more than anything else this time of year. Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, is published bi-monthly. He’s an author, nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit in Jamestown, Indiana, a non-profit organization aiding the poor. He can be reached at www. builderofthespirit.org or follow him on Twitter @GregAllencolumn.

Martin Luther King, Jr. The King Center is calling on all King holiday celebration organizers to include “Let Freedom Ring: Choose Nonviolence” bell-ringing events in their 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday observance programs at an hour of your choosing on January 20th. The bells that will ring across the nation on the 2014 King holiday will symbolically sound the knell for the age of addressing conflict and social injustice with violence, and herald a new era of nonviolent social change undergirded by the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. In conjunction with the bell-ringing ceremonies on the holiday, The King Center

is encouraging citizens to study, teach and practice nonviolence and to heal wounds and build new bridges of mutual understanding and hope in every state. We are calling on young people in particular to observe a moratorium on violence --- “No Shots Fired, whether by tongue, fist or guns.” We hope you will join us in supporting this initiative, which will advance awareness of nonviolence as a way of life in your community. The King Center’s web page at www.thekingcenter.org will include a registration form for all bell-ringing events, and I encourage you to contact The King Center if you have any questions at (404) 5268944 or email sklein@thekingcenter.org. We will be back in touch with you later with more details and guidelines about the bell-ringing events on the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. We thank you for considering this request and we look forward to learning of your bell-ringing plans for the 2014 MLK Holiday observance.

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other former political prisoners and newly returned exiles standing tall and free, along with a sense of vindication at having been on the right side of history, and also a tinge of anger at the wasted years. Just being in Mandela’s presence had a calming effect. At the press conference the next day, a journalist asked President F.W. De Klerk whether he could imagine a black person ever being president of South Africa. In that room, with a freed Nelson Mandela sitting beside him, that was still a radical notion. De Klerk paused, and then said, "I have embarked on this road, and I will follow it in whatever direction it takes us." At that moment I realized that

the chain of events De Klerk had unleashed were not just a delaying tactic, but that he was serious about embracing fundamental change. Then an American journalist sitting next to me asked Mandela whether he thought apartheid was dead or dying. "I am 71 years old,” he replied. “I have never voted in the country of my birth. You tell me if apartheid is dead or dying." His opportunity to vote came almost exactly four years later. Early in the morning on April 27, 1994, I gathered with other journalists in a village just outside Durban waiting for him to do so. Suddenly he was standing next to us. We shook hands, and I congratulated him on his imminent victory. A journalist asked him

(Baltimore, MD) – The NAACP released the following statements following the death of Nelson Mandela: Roslyn Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors: “The Honorable Nelson Mandela embodied the hopes, dreams, aspirations and values of all who seek justice against tremendous odds. He responded to unfathomable violence with peace and courage, and in doing so he forever changed the world.” Bill Lucy, member of the

NAACP National Board of Directors and labor leader: “The world has lost one of the great statesmen of our time – a man who spent 27 years in prison because he believes in the cause of equality. His loss should set an example for political leaders still here, that there is a need to lead and govern in a manner that is equitable to all people.” Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the NAACP Board of Directors:

Growing Up in the Shadow of Nelson Mandela

New America Media, Commentary, Louis Freedberg

As a teenager growing up in Cape Town in the 1960s, a favorite weekend activity was climbing to the top of Table Mountain, the glorious promontory at the end of the African continent. From there it was impossible to avoid seeing Robben Island, the flat mile-long smudge where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners had been incarcerated just a few years earlier. I left South Africa as an 18-year-old to attend colCentral Valley Voice is published monthly

Felicia D.Roberts Publisher

Views expressed by writers, columnists and stories printed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Central Valley Voice newspapers. Only when indicated as Central Valley Voice's or editorial views can it be interpreted as the views of this publication. The editorial team of Central Valley Voice reserves the right to edit, cut or piece any article, letter, statement, poem, report, ads, quotes and all other materials submitted before printing. Editorial Team Charlotte Marcelli Contributer/Photographers Greg Savage Charlotte L. Blevins Kelly Thomas Lisa Coelho

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lege in the United States, but returned frequently in the 1980s as a journalist -- usually surreptitiously -- to cover the anti-apartheid struggle. By the late 1980s, the government had caught up with me and I couldn't return. I was still barred from the country on that luminescent February day in 1990 when Mandela was released. Instead of being in Cape Town, I watched his release on television with other South African exiles in the hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay. It was a sight I had only imagined in my dreams. Could it really be that he had been resurrected, to lead his people -- us -- into the Promised Land? It took a few more months, and intervention on my behalf by the congressman who headed the House Subcommittee on Africa, before the apartheid government agreed to give me a visa. “But,” a consular official told me, “We are doing so reluctantly.” A week later, in May 1990, I saw Mandela in person for the first time at the opening of the first official negotiations between the ANC and the government held at Groote Schuur, the mansion that housed generations of white prime ministers and presidents. My emotions were multi-layered – enormous pride to see Mandela and

who he was going to vote for. "I have been agonizing over that for some time," he said, with a mischievous smile. "When I decide it will be a secret." We then walked with Mandela to the gravestone of the ANC’s first president, Rev. John Dube, who died a half century earlier. His epitaph read, “Out of the darkness into the glorious light.” A few minutes later I stood within a few feet of Mandela when he voted, signaling the decisive end of more than 300 years of racial rule. It was a transcendent moment not only in the history of South Africa, but in my own life. Ten days later, I saw Mandela inaugurated as President at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, for decades the heart of SEE PAGE>4

The NAACP ON NELSON MANDELA’S PASSING “Nelson Mandela’s legacy remains an inspiration for the work of the NAACP. In Mandela’s name we must continue to bring attention to all aspects of global apartheid characterized by poverty, inequality, discrimination, and prejudice of all kind.” Lorraine Miller, Interim NAACP President and CEO: “President Mandela was humanity’s greatest living hero. His unwavering sense of justice and peace transformed a nation and inspired the world.”

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MANDELA

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 the apartheid state. The most moving moment was when jets from the South African Defense Force – the same force that had tried to eliminate the ANC– flew overhead,, the colors of the new flag streaming from their engines behind them. The last time I saw Mandela was in 1999 in his last appearance in the Parliament in Cape Town as president. "Things that were unimaginable a few years ago have become everyday reality and of this we must be proud,” he said, stating the obvious. But in his typically modest way, he downplayed his

role, "I have noted with deep gratitude the generous praise that has often been given to me as an individual," he said. "But let me state this, to the extent that I have been able to achieve anything, I know that this is because I am the product of the people of South Africa." I too am a product of South Africa. I have been profoundly blessed by having met one the great figures in world history and seen him in action. I have been infused by the dominant but simple lesson to be drawn from his life: that change is possible, regardless of how long it takes, and how bleak the current situation may seem. We live in a world impov-

erished by its lack of heroes. I can only imagine how the lives of young people would be transformed, as mine was, if they too could grow up in the shadow of someone of even a fraction of Mandela’s stature. The miracle is that unlike Rev. Dube and other freedom fighters, in South Africa and around the world, Mandela did not have to go to heaven to experience liberation. Out of the darkness into the glorious light. Louis Freedberg, a correspondent for Pacific News Service in South Africa in the 1980s, is executive director of EdSource where a longer version of the above essay appeared.

Nelson Mandela

Increase in Auto Thefts Linked to State’s Public Safety Realignment But No Evidence That Policy Shift Has Affected the Most Serious Violent Crimes SAN FRANCISCO,—Property crime—particularly auto theft—increased in California as a result of public safety realignment, which substantially reduced the state’s prison population. But there is no evidence that this policy shift had an impact on the most serious violent crimes, murder and rape. These are the key findings of a new report released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). The report finds that California crime rates increased during the first year of realignment, from 2011 to 2012. The rates vary widely across the state, with California’s 10 largest counties generally seeing greater increases in crime than in the state overall. Property crime—motor vehicle theft, larceny, and burglary—rose 7.6 percent. This increase is higher than the increases in states whose crime trends were similar to those of California before realignment. Nationwide, property crime decreased slightly. Auto theft increased 14.8 percent due to realignment, which translates to about 24,000 more auto thefts per

4 DECEMBER 2013

year. This reverses a decline in the auto theft rate and brings it back to 2009 levels. In an analysis based on data from the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center, the PPIC report finds that auto thefts began to increase noticeably at the time realignment began. While violent crime—including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—rose 3.4 percent during the same time period, the increases appear to be part of a broader trend also experienced by the comparison states. There is some indication of a modest increase in robberies related to realignment—by about 6 per year per 100,000 residents, say the report’s authors, PPIC research fellow Magnus Lofstrom and Steven Raphael, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and PPIC adjunct fellow. "Realignment has brought enormous change to California, and it appears to have affected auto thefts, in particular,” Lofstrom said. "Nonetheless, despite recent increases, rates of property and violent

crime remain at historically low levels in the state—substantially lower than they were a decade ago.” The PPIC report finds that realignment increased the number of property crimes by 1 to 1.5 per year for each realigned offender who is no longer incarcerated. Realignment went into effect on October 1, 2011, in response to a federal court order that California reduce overcrowding in its state prisons. This was achieved by sentencing lower-level felony offenders to county jails, rather than prison, and giving counties much of the responsibilities for parolees. A recent PPIC report found that the state quickly reduced its prison population by 27,000, with county jails absorbing many of the inmates. But about 18,000 who would have been in prison or jail before the policy shift are now on the streets, raising concerns about the policy’s impact on crime rates. Because California still has 8,000 more state prison inmates than its court-mandated limit of 110,000, the new PPIC report, Public Safety Re-

alignment and Crime Rates in California, assesses how further reductions would affect crime rates. The authors find that if the state further reduces the prison population—rather than transferring prisoners to other facilities— the effect on property crime could be between 7 and 12 percent greater per released offender than realignment’s current effect. The report also looks at the cost-effectiveness of prison

incarceration in reducing crime and finds that alternatives could improve public safety and at lower cost. The analysis suggests that spending an additional dollar on policing would prevent more crimes—3.5 to 7 times as many—than spending it on prison incarceration. Public Safety Realignment and Crime Rates in California is supported with funding from the Smith Richardson Foundation.

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Almost $1.8 Million in Grants Education Awarded to Help Older Adults COLLEGE LOANS with Disabilities The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of almost $1.8 million in grants to help older adults with disabilities. The grant money was disbursed before the recent government shutdown and was not affected by the temporary lapse in funding. The awards include: $924,999 to the Georgia Tech Research Corporation for a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability; and $875,000 to the University of Washington for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Promoting Healthy Aging for Individuals with

Long-Term Physical Disabilities. “As adults with disabilities age, they face the risk of developing additional health problems and conditions that create significant barriers to employment and quality of life,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “Finding ways to promote healthy and successful aging for these individuals is essential.” The grants are being made by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a component of the department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Online Paralegal Career Training Programs Merced College’s Community Services program makes it easy for you to take highquality, affordable Online Career Training Programs to prepare you to launch a new career or advance in an existing one, no matter where you’re located. This partnership between Community Services program and “ed2go” allows students to develop new skills and knowledge in order to stand out in today's competitive job market. Through well-crafted lessons, expert online instruction, and instructor and peer interaction, you will gain valuable knowledge at a time and place that is convenient for you. These programs provide the flexibility of studying at your own pace and enough structure and

support to complete the course. They can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection. The Paralegal program is available for students to start anytime and consists of 300 hours of instructions which can be completed within six months. The program is entirely Web-based, but expert instructors provide office hours and quick responses to any student questions. Community Services offers the Paralegal course in addition to other online programs, which provides the most convenient, affordable, and accessible Career Training Programs available anywhere. For more information, call Community Services at 209.384.6224 or visit online at www.mercedcommunityservices.com.

News

Expert Advice On Student Loan Repayment

(NAPSI)—Here are two bits of good news for recent and soon-to-be college graduates with student loans: 1. You probably have a sixmonth grace period after graduation before you have to start making payments. 2. While adding a new payment of any kind into your life can be daunting, the vast majority of Americans with student loans do successfully pay them off, due, in part, to the value of their college education. These student loan repayment tips can help you be among them: • Contact your servicer. Some students have more than one loan, so it’s best to contact each servicer to discuss your payment options. The servicer can also help identify alternatives if you’re experiencing difficulty. • Pay every month, and pay extra when you can. Make payments every month. Options to postpone payments

Once you graduate from college, you may have a few months before you have to start repaying your student loans. typically mean you’ll pay more over the life of the loan, so tackle your payments now. Whenever you can, pay extra to reduce your interest costs and pay off faster. Put money from a raise or bonus toward your student loans. • Create a budget. Know how much is due every month and create a budget that’s in sync with the amount due. Get the big picture when creating your budget. Put together a snapshot of all your financial obligations, including your credit cards, car loan, student loans and rent. • Pay yourself. Build an

emergency savings fund of $500 to $1,000 to be prepared for car expenses, an emergency trip or life’s other unexpected expenses. • Sign up for auto-pay. Automatic payments not only make sure you never miss a payment, but servicers such as Sallie Mae, the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education, may reduce your interest rate if you pay by automatic debit. It’s peace of mind with a bonus. • Learn more. Go to www. SallieMae.com.

CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 5


2014 Bill Gates Scholars Program Will Give Away U.S. Applications For The 2014-15 Knight Journalism 1,000 Scholarships To Talented Minority Students the education of more than Applications are Fellowships Due Jan. 15 16,000 students, awarding now being accepted. The deadline for submission is January 14, 2014

Photo: Samaruddin Stewart 2013 Knight Fellows brainstorm during an Institute for the Future workshop about the future of media. Are you a journalist who has an innovative idea to help build a new future for journalism? Would you like to spend 10 months experimenting, testing and creating your idea, leveraging the many resources of Stanford University and Silicon Valley — and get paid to do so? Are you a journalist or journalism entrepreneur who wants to gain new skills and broaden your perspectives while collaborating with a group of 20 top-notch journalists from around the world? Through Jan. 15, 2014, we are accepting U.S. applications for the 2014-15 class of John S. Knight Journalism Fellows at Stanford University. Applications are done online. We are not a traditional sabbatical-style fellowship program and we are seeking a different type of journalist. We are striving to re-engineer journalism by focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership — and we need your help.

6 DECEMBER 2013

Who are great candidates for our program? People who make things happen. Journalists and journalism entrepreneurs who are curious and optimistic about the opportunities presented by the dramatic changes in journalism. People who want to create something that will help other journalists as well as themselves. Fellows in our program work on solving problems, from leveraging technology to help journalism, finding new ways to reach underserved communities, seeking innovative ways to financially support quality journalism as well as fostering independent journalism in countries without a history of a free press. We are not a digital fellowship and we are not a program focused solely on creating technology products or companies, although some fellows have done so. We want journalists and journalism entrepreneurs who have a track record of accomplishment and are ambitious to do more; people

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- Every year, the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program selects 1,000 talented minority students to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. The program provides scholars with personal and professional development through our leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career. Administered by the United Negro College Fund, the program was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 1999, it has funded who will make great use of a year at Stanford, in Silicon Valley and will keep innovating. We want journalists who are seeking new leadership roles in existing news organizations. We want people we’ll be proud to call John S. Knight Journalism Fellows in the years to come. If you don’t see someone exactly like you on the list of recent fellows, don’t assume that you shouldn’t apply. Maybe it’s your turn to be a Knight Fellow. We are seeking a pool of applicants who are diverse in all ways: race, ethnicity, media background, region of the country, regions of the world, perspectives and life experiences. We believe that a rich mix of fellows improves the fellowship class, and makes SEE PAGE >7

them more than $614 million dollars to pay for tuition, fees, books and housing. Individuals selected as Gates Scholars will receive funds in an amount to be determined based on their financial need. The amount determined will be based on the cost of tuition, fees, books and living expenses for the 2013-2014 academic year, as well as the availability of grants and other scholarships reported on the financial aid award letter. The average scholarship award in the 2000-2010 academic years was $11,000 per student. The deadline for submission is January 14, 2014. To apply for the 2014 Gates Millennium Scholars program, visit: www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/08/ the-gates-millennium-schol-

ars-program.html To find hundreds of other scholarship opportunities, visit: www.ScholarshipsOnline.org For more details, contact: Gates Millennium Scholars P.O. Box 10500 Fairfax, VA 22031-8044 Toll-Free Phone: 1-877-6904677

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COMMUNITY CALENDAR Sunday Dance Social

Every 4th Sunday, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. -- Sunday Dance Social with live Latin, waltz, fox trot, polka, swing, and old fashioned rock 'n' roll at the Merced Community Center, 755 W. 15th St. Refreshments served. Admission $8. Call (209)723-0839 for more information. Last Sunday of the month -- "Conjuntos," an artist, poet, and musician create improvised music on the spot at J and R Tacos.

AARP

The Atwater AARP 2194 meets at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Community Center, 760 Bellevue Road. Call (209) 357-7391.

Keep Your Balance foe Senior 60 & Over

Strength Training & Tai Chi Classes For Merced County Senior Adults 60 and over. Classes are held Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Atwater Community Center, 760 E. Bellevue Road (Across from Osborn Park), Atwater, CA 95301. These classes are free, however, donations are accepted. Monday-Tai Chi, Mobility & More Wednesday-Strength Mobility & Stretch For more information about the classes, please call Merced County Human Services Area Agency on Aging at (209) 385-7550 or Starr Carson Cleary at (209) 827-1960 or you can visit their website at www.regenerationswellness.org.

Free senior legal services

Central California Legal Services Inc. and Merced County provide free legal services to seniors. Clients must live in Merced County, be 60-plus years old and a U.S. citizen. Appointments are available in Dos Palos, Livingston, Los Banos, Atwater and Merced. Call (209) 385-7550.

Legal services free to eligible people

Central California Legal Services offers legal advice and representation to eligible individuals involved in tenant rights and homeless issues, Social Security and SSI disability claims, CalWorks, Medi-Cal, unemployment and CalFresh (food stamp) cases and much more. This is available to low-income people at no cost. Call (209) 723-5466 or go to 1640 N St., Suite 200, in Merced. January 19, 2014 The Motherlode Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee presents the 19th Annual MLK Birthday Celebration. Keynote speaker: Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union with Cesar Chavez.

Sonora High School Auditorium, Shaws Flat Rd. and Washington St., Sonora, 2:00 p.m. FREE. Info: Pat Cervelli, 209-928-3494. January 20, 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and March Amtrak Station @ 11:00 a.m. March to Merced County Fair

Winter/ Spring ART – Register today! Classes beginning January 9, 2014 "Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Einstein Get on the road to creativity with art classes in downtown Modesto! Find your own path with a range of methods from printmaking to oil painting! The City of Modesto Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department, in partnership with the Central California Art Association, bring you a variety of art classes for all ages and abilities, novice to expert! New unique classes have been added to satisfy even the most obscure creative; including leather stamping, sand art, op art and more! Classes begin as early as January 9, 2014 so register today to reserve your spot! Register in person at Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department office 1010 Tenth Street, Suite 4400 online at www.modestogov. com/econnect or call (209) 577-5344.

JOURNALISM... CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 for better conversations and better solutions for journalism. We expect this to be a transformative year for our fellows, one that changes their thinking, their career paths and their lives. It often is also a transformative year for spouses and partners of fellows, who are welcomed as Knight Affiliates to attend Knight Fellowship seminars and Stanford classes. Children of Knight Fellows can attend excellent Palo Alto-area schools. What should you do now?

Read through our website, paying special attention to Become a Fellow and Meet the Fellows.

Review the application instructions and start gathering your application materials. Find a mentor. Do you know anyone who has been a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford? Ask his or her advice up front; our alumni have the best perspective on the program. A complete listing of our fellows, by class year, is in the Meet the Fellows section of our website. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply! If you have questions, email us at info@ kf.stanford.edu. We look forward to reading your application and having you join us at Stanford to help create a strong, new future for journalism.

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Liberty Fellowship Annual Black History Program The Liberty Fellowship 5th Annual Black History Program will be on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Location is 1900 Shaffer Rd, Atwater, CA 95301. For more information: (209) 605-7119 or (209) 631-4143.

CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 7


New Year’s Atwater Ebony Socialites held Dinner & Annual Black & White Ball Dance December 31, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Lula Powell and Dora Hart at the Ebony Socialites Black & White Ball held in Atwater, CA. in the bins located in the lobby of the Modesto Police Department at 600 10th Street. Donations will be accepted Modesto,CA-Explorers from until December 20th. The the Modesto Police Depart- Explorers will deliver the toys ment are hosting a toy drive to the Family Crisis Center on to benefit the Family Crisis December 21st. If you have any informaCenter. The Modesto Police Explor- tion regarding criminal activers are a volunteer organiza- ity please call Crime Stoppers tion in which young men and at (209) 521-4636. Callers to women, ages 16-20, learn the Crime Stoppers can remain aspects of law enforcement. anonymous and may be eligiThey also volunteer their time ble for a cash reward. Tipsters in the community with local can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a projects and events. To donate a new or gently text message to 274637. Just used toy, simply place them type “TIP704” along with your message.

Holiday Toy Drive

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to 12:30 a.m. Come celebrate with the TWI’ Lighter (Variety of Music) Latin-Country-Salsa-Latin Rock-Old School American Legion Hall Post 83, 939 W. Main St. Merced, CA. Limo Transportation 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. one way only. Tickets $25 per person, or $20.00 in advance. Dinner tickets $10.00 per perspn starting 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For tickets call Ruben Gonzales (209) 626-6105 or Melissa at (209) 356-8676.

Coming January 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King

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City Council Begins New Era For Town In Need

Michael Belluomini Merced City Councilman By Jonathan Whitaker Mid Valley Publications There was a striking message at just about every turn of the Merced City Council meeting this week. Many residents who made up the packed audience at City Hall noticed a sign posted at the entrance that read: "No Kidding: $1,000 To Open Your Business... Inquire Within." Once inside they witnessed the emergence of new leaders Michael Belluomini and Kevin Blake. "One of the city's highest priorities should be to bring basic industries to the city," Councilman Belluomini said after taking his new seat on the dais. "The city can facilitate industries locating here by zoning land for industrial development, by completing environmental assessments and mitigation in advance of specific industrial proposals, by structuring the financing and construction of public improvements and by soliciting industries to locate here." It was interesting to see Peter Padilla address the council during the public comment period. Padilla failed in his attempt to land a seat on the council, but he is still an active member of the Planning Commission, and he is still speaking out on the maneuvering behind the Parsons Avenue Corridor project. He

was deeply concerned on why more residents, including himself, were not informed by city staff of a new bridge study along the route. He asserted: How could this be after so much talk about transparency over the past year? It was no surprise to see another candidate from the election observing from the sidelines. Homeless advocate and tent dweller, Monica Villa, got up and warned everybody about the oncoming cold front and how it would threaten the lives of some vulnerable people living on the streets. Villa said she and her neighbors were OK bundled up in the place she calls home near the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Sure enough, the Times later learned that a warming shelter was being set up at the Rescue Mission downtown. Also present were the parents of Victor Alfonzo Gutierrez Jr., who died after birth in 2012. Victor Sr. and Christina have turned their grief into the non-profit Baby Victor Foundation. They are planning an ambitious "Christmas In The Park" at Applegate Park from Friday, Dec. 20 to Sunday, Dec. 22. The all-day and evening events for the weekend promises to transform the

park into a holiday fantasy with exhibits, performances, glittering lights and a huge Community Giving Tree. Despite some safety concerns about holding such a broad event for the first time, they have support from the City Council and some community sponsors. More sponsors and donations are needed. (Call 769-1098) "You have to start somewhere," Victor Sr. told the Times. Yes, indeed. After ceremonial issues and the public comment, the new council was faced with its first tough decision of the night: Spend more money on an assessment of the Bellevue Ranch West development? The city is concerned about the possibility that alleged grading work on the property might have damaged a crucial floodplain that protects neighborhoods. They have already issued $45,000 for a "Light Detection and Ranging" scan. Staff wanted the budget pushed to $100,000, despite no guarantees they will be reimbursed. The owner, Greg Hostetler, has offered to pay for his own study, and denied any damage to the floodplain by his crew during his ownership. The council voted to increase the spending with a 5-2 vote. Councilmen Blake and Josh Pedrozo voted against the move.

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CHRISTIANS AND CHRISTMAS By Eddie Parrish The holiday season is upon us once again. With it come houses Glowing with decorative lights, exchanges of gifts, opportunities to Gather with families and friends, good food and hope for a new year. Personally, it is one of my' favorite times of the year. But the holiday Season also brings with it a degree of controversy among brethren. Viewpoints regarding the Christmas season come in three general varieties in the church. (1) Some look at the Christmas season as an opportunity to celebrate a special religious Holy Day honoring the birth of Christ. (2) Others believe that nothing should be done any differently in December than is done the rest of the year. They argue that even decorating trees and exchanging gifts should be avoided. (3) Still others attach no religious significance at all to December 25, but enjoy certain aspects of the holidays that are not necessarily associated with anything religious, such as the aforementioned decorating of trees and exchanging of gifts. In light of these differing views, what should the Christian do about Christmas? Respect the Silence of Scripture The Bible is clear that everything a person does must be authorized by God if it is to be accepted by Him (Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 4:6; 2 John 9-11). Here, therefore, is the first question that one must answer: Is there authority in the New Testament for a special religious celebration of the birth of Christ? Answer: no. Neither Jesus, who rightly claimed to possess all authority (Matt. 28:18), nor His inspired apostles, who were guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13) instituted such an observance. If the passage exists

10 DECEMBER 2013

that established such, I would be interested in knowing its location. Historically speaking, the observance of Christmas as a religious Holy Day did not arise until the mid-fourth century, some 350 years after the days of Christ and the apostles (see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, pp. 394ff; Earle Cairns, Christianity Through the .Centuries, pp. 120, 160). Whatever else may be said about Christmas, this point is beyond dispute. As with all matters religious, we must observe only that which is biblically authorized and reject that which is not. If that is not the case, what would prevent us from setting aside special Holy Days to honor other events in the life of Christ? How about having a special worship assembly in which we commemorate the cleansing of the temple (John 2; Matt. 21) by Passing out whips to everyone and encouraging the church to overturn tables conveniently set up in the foyer? Or, how about celebrating the day Jesus walked on the water (Matt. 14) by erecting a swimming pool, then having everyone walk across a shallowly submerged wooden bridge to simulate the Lord's miracle? It's not my intention to be flippant, but simply to point out that there is just as much authority in the Bible for those celebrations as there is for a religious observance of Christ's birth. If we may observe one, we may observe them all-plus any others that we may want to create. The point is that neither did Christ nor the apostles authorized a special religious celebration of Christ's birth. It was created in the minds of men. Incidentally, how ironic it is that the New Testament places great emphasis on the weekly commemoration of the death of Christ (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23ff ) something the

religious masses have largely ignored but gives no authority for the yearly celebration of His birth something the religious masses greatly emphasize. Maintain a Proper Balance Our current cultural environment finds a number of activities taking place on or around December 25 that are not necessarily connected to any religious observance. Irreligious, humanistic, and even atheistic people are regularly known to exchange gifts, send cards, decorate trees and sing non-religious carols at this time of year without so much as a passing religious thought. While some may argue that those traditions began centuries ago with religious overtones, it cannot be successfully argued that those things carry the same significance today. If they did, antagonists to Christianity would have no part in them. Consider these examples by way of illustration: do I sin when I refer to the first day of the week as "Sunday," since it was originally called that in connection with the worship of the sun? "Thursday" was called that originally to honor the false god "Thor." Do I sin when I call the fifth day of the week "Thursday?" Certainly not, because the current usage of those terms does not imply that the user is worshiping the sun or Thor. Now let us apply that accepted principle to the topic at hand. Some activities and words associated with the present season (like "Christmas" and "holiday'') are not things that automatically carry with them religious connotations in our day. Therefore, to label such special holiday activities (like decorating trees, sending cards, etc.) as wrong just because they are done near or on December 25 is' in my opinion, inconsistent and unnecessary. Yet, if one cannot with clear conscience involve himself in these kinds of holiSEE PAGE >11

RELIGIOUS NEWS Poll Questions First Amendment Freedoms A new survey finds more than a third of Americans believe the First Amendment goes too far in guaranteeing personal freedoms. A nationwide poll found that 34 percent think the First Amendment is overly generous with individual rights, a jump from 13 percent in last year's survey. This is the largest single-year increase in the 16-year history of the State of the First Amendment national survey. "It's unsettling to see a third of Americans view the First Amendment as providing too much liberty," said

Ken Paulson, president of the Nashville, Tennessee-based First Amendment Center. "If we truly understand the essential role of these freedoms in a democracy, we're more likely to protect them." Americans identified freedom of speech as the most important freedom that citizens enjoy (47 percent), with freedom of religion a distant second at 10 percent. Just 4 percent of those surveyed could name "petition" as one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment, the lowest percentage for any of the five freedoms. Only freedom of speech was named by more than half of the respondents, 59 percent. Freedom of religion was named by 24 percent, while 14 percent named freedom of the press and 11percent named freedom to assemble. --"Pentecostal Evangel"


Depression in the Church

By Hermione L Williams It seems as if depression and church don’t belong in the same sentence but the truth is it does. Christians feel guilty about being depressed. They feel they should "know better." This leads to denial, which only makes matters worse. Well-meaning friends, and even pastors, who don’t understand what is going on, encourage them to "snap out of it," and offer advice on "getting their Christian act back together." But depression isn’t something a person can "snap out of." We all accept the fact that our bodies wear out and run down and are susceptible to disease. We can even accept the fact that our brains can be ravaged by diseases such as Alzheimer’s. But some Christians will not accept the fact that clinical depression also has specific biological causes. They’d rather categorize depression as a "bad attitude" or "lack of faith." The church is God's hospital. It has always been full of people on the mend. Jesus himself made a point of inviting the lame, the blind, and the possessed to be healed and to accompany him in his ministry, an invitation often rejected by those who thought they were fine as is. We should not be surprised, then, that the depressed populate not only secular

hospitals and clinics, but our churches as well. Yet depression remains both familiar and mysterious to pastors and lay church leaders, not to mention to those who share a pew with depressed persons. Virtually everyone has experienced a "down" day, often for no clear reason. We might say we "woke up on the wrong side of the bed," are "out of sorts," or just "in a funk." Such polite references are commonplace in America. Yet as familiar as melancholic periods are to us, the depths of a severe depression remain a mystery. We may grasp in part the distress of King David: "Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak" (Ps. 31:9-10). But most of us have no idea what David meant when he further lamented, "I am forgotten by them as though I were dead" (v.12). Severe depression is often beyond description. And when such deep and painful feelings cannot be explained, they cut to the heart of one's spiritual being. Rate of major depression in women who have attended religious services since childhood: 27% Rate in women who have changed attendance patterns (nearly all had stopped attending services): 36% Incidence of major depression in men who have always attended religious services: 31% Incidence in men who have stopped attending: 24% What is depression? First we need to clarify what we are talking about. In order to distinguish severe or "major depression" from everyday blues, the American Psychiatric Association offers the

following diagnostic criteria: Major depression is diagnosed when an adult exhibits one or both of two core symptoms (depressed mood and lack of interest), along with four or more of the following symptoms, for at least two weeks: feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt; diminished ability to concentrate or make decisions; fatigue; psychomotor agitation (cannot sit still) or retardation (just sitting around); insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much); significant decrease or increase in weight or appetite; and recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation. This clinical definition is sterile, however, and fails to capture the unique quality of the severely depressed person's suffering. Deep depression is embodied emotional suffering. It is not simply a state of mind or a negative view of life but something that affects our physical being as well. Signs of a severe episode of depression include unfounded negative evaluations of friends, family, and oneself, emotional "pain," physical problems such as lethargy, difficulty getting one's thoughts together, and virtually no interest in one's surroundings. Though most of us know at least an acquaintance who has committed suicide, this tragic act baffles us perhaps as much as it pains us. "I just don't understand," we say. The irony is that survivors of serious suicide attempts frequently reflect on those attempts with a similar attitude: "I have no idea what came over me." The pain and mental dysfunction of major depression are that deep. What should you do? If you suffer from depression, there are some things you can do. SEE PAGE >16

CHRISTIAN AND CHRISTMAS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10

day activities, they should be avoided (Rom. 14:23). Remember: Not All Things Are Expedient One of the issues that also arises this time of year is whether or not we should sing songs about the birth of Christ as the holiday season approaches. First of all, it is an acceptable practice to worship God the Son. The passages are plenty that authorize such (Matt. 2:2, 11; 8:2; Mark 5:6; Matt. 9:18• John 9:38; Matt. 14:33; 28:9, 17, et.). This includes worship in song (Rev. 5:9). If, therefore we are authorized to sing songs of praise about our Lord and Savior in March or August, then we are authorized to sing them in December. Would anyone argue that we are strictly forbidden by God, under any circumstances during the last month of the year, from doing what we've been clearly authorized to do during the other eleven months, just because a confused religious world has created an unauthorized Holy Day in that month? Personally, I think not. But it is also the case that all things authorized are not necessarily advantageous (1 Cor. 6:12 10:23). If our singing of songs m December relative to the birth of Christ has the potential of causing someone to think that we have accepted the unauthorized creation of a religious Holy Day (and that potential is clearly there), then would it not be expedient to save those songs

for a different time of year? I believe such would be the proper application of 1 Corinthians 6:12and10:23. In addition, if there are good Christians who cannot with clear conscience sing "Joy to the World" or some other song about the birth of Christ during the holiday season, would it not be the right thing to do to forego those songs until a less controversial and problematic time of year? Again, I believe so. There is no reason to stop praising our Lord at any time of the year. But one can acceptably worship the Lord without calling specific attention to his birth, especially if such attention leaves another with the impression that we approve of a man-made religious Holy Day. Surely we can apply wisdom in this area by focusing on songs that don't emphasize his birth, thereby keeping us from contributing to the confusion that characterizes so many folks at this time of year. Conclusion Let us not do anything for which we have no Bible authority. But let us not legislate for others that which God has not legislated. And let us be mindful of the consciences of others (Rom. 14). While we should never attach religious significance to any day that God hasn’t authorized (cf. Gal. 4:8-11), there’s nothing wrong with observing festive times of the year for other reasons (cf. Rom. 14:5-6).

CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 11


PASTOR’S AND WIVES APPRECIATION Dr. Rodger and Loretta Tyler Pastor Rodger and Sister Loretta Tyler Celebrated their First Annual Pastor & Wife Appreciation Sunday, November 10, 2013 at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. To God Be The Glory! Bringing the word for the morning service was their son Rev. Rodell Tyler from Westside Church of God, Fresno, California. For the afternoon service the word was brought by Pastor Roland Hollins from Third Baptist Church, Stockton, California.

Bishop Dwight Amey

Pastor Gwen Amey

Bishop Dwight and Pastor Gwen Amey of New Faith Tabernacle Christian Church, at their 38th Pastors Appreciation held October 5, 2013. Theme “Our Pastors Trusted By God” 1 Thessalonians 2:4

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Allen and Celebrating the Faithfulness Of God Sister Ruby Hewitt

Pictured above are: Pastor Rodrick Cochran Friendship Baptist Church, left, Dr. Eddie P. Goodin, Pastor, center, and Dr. Sterling Kyle Jr, Associate Pastor, right. Dr. Eddie & Joyce Goodin ful occasion celebrating the Dunham, Merced, CA, Mount Pastor, and Dr. Sterling & San- faithfulness of God; Lamenta- Zion Baptist Church, and dra Kyle Jr. Associate Pastor, tions 3:23. Pastor James Bobo, Bethleof Antioch Missionary Baptist Pastor Rodrick Cochran, hem Christian Center Church Church celebrated the 66th Guest Speaker, from Friend- Modesto, CA. Church Anniversary Sunday ship Baptist Church, Merced, Dr. Sterling Kyle Jr. was the November 17, 2013. Services CA. Emcee for this event. were held at 11:00 a.m. and Guest Churches; Second 3:00 p.m. This was a very joy- Baptist Church, Pastor Ronald

12 DECEMBER 2013

Pastor Allen and Sister Ruby Hewitt, of Church of The Living God in Merced, CA celebrated their 16th Pastor and Wife Anniversay October 11-13, 2013.


Around the Central Valley

The Women's Auxiliary 27th Annual Red, Black and Green Ball

Finalist in best dressed contest

CONGRATULATIONS

Photos: Greg Savage Finalist in best dressed contest at The Women’s Auxiliary 27th annual Red, Black and Green Ball at the Double Tree Hotel in Modesto, CA.

(NCNW) Held Annual Soul Food Dinner To Aundre Sherman for being selected as Varsity football Team Player of the Year for Buhach High School.

“Our mission is to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities.”

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Merced local chapter of The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) held their annual Soul Food Dinner on December 5, 2013 at the Merced Civic Center. The National Council of Negro Women is an African American women's organization that leads, develops, and advocates for black women. Guest speaker was Izzard Milan Institute of Cosmetogy in Merced.

CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 13


Eight safety tips: Avoid these common holiday mistakes

Safety is the best gift to give your family this time of year. Keep their holiday season safe, merry and bright with these simple tips. 1.Look into the lights. It pays to spend at least as much time looking at your holiday lights as you do looking for them. Once you pull your holiday lights out of the attic or that dusty storage closet, give each string a careful inspection. Look for frayed wire, broken sockets and signs of significant wear. When in doubt, toss them out. Also, check for the UL symbol from Underwriter's Laboratory or a similar tag showing the product has passed the safety tests of a national lab. Finally, before you hang a string of lights, plug it in to make sure everything is working properly. 2.Three's company, four's a hazard. Stringing strands of lights together is a lot like golf–a lower number is better. Connecting too many strands can overload circuits, so play it safe and follow the rule of three: connect no more than three strings in a row. Also, avoid tucking cords under rugs (which creates a fire hazard), and keep them away from walkways where they can trip someone or be stepped on and damaged. 3.Right lights, right place. It's natural to want to showcase your holiday style with a brilliant outdoor display. Just

14 DECEMBER 2013

be sure to use lights and power strips that are approved for exterior use. And remember, outdoor equipment is sturdy, but not invulnerable. Use common sense and keep connectors off the ground, out of gutters and away from downspouts. 4.Turn off the show before you go. When you pull out of the driveway at night, it's tempting to leave your house glowing in full glory, like a beacon to guide you home. But if safety and savings are top priority, turn off holiday lights whenever you hit the road. Want the best of both worlds? Set up a timer to turn lights on and off automatically. That way, you can enjoy the spectacle when coming and going, and never worry about forgetting to shut down the show after hours. 5.Prevent forest fires. When you bring an evergreen indoors, the same precautions apply to your forest of one. Campers know that dry pine needles are great for starting fires, so keep live trees far from candles, heaters, stoves and fireplaces. And make an effort to keep the greenery green. Water your tree as diligently as you would a pet–up to a gallon of water per day will help keep your tree safe and fresh. After the holidays, or if your tree becomes dry, don't wait to take it down and SEE PAGE>15


Tips For A New Smile In The New Year (NAPSI)—Any time of year can be the right time to begin taking better care of your smile. Many see the New Year as the best time to make a resolution to practice better dental hygiene—starting with regular dental visits. While routine dental visits are something many people dread, practicing good oral hygiene throughout the year may change the way you feel about your smile, improve your overall health and boost your self-confidence. Routine visits to the dentist help ensure your dentist is catching and fixing any small dental issues before they become big issues. To help, here are a few key tips from Dr. Nathan Laughrey, D.M.D., of Aspen Dental. Dr. Laughrey has been treating patients for more than 15 years and believes that by incorporating his advice into your daily, monthly and yearly oral health routine, you can improve your overall health. • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day WILL help with dental decay. Brush your teeth and gums twice a day for at least two to three minutes. Put your timer on and don’t forget to floss twice a day to remove food particles and prevent plaque buildup between your teeth. • Choosing and using the proper equipment makes a difference. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your mouth comfortably. Consider using an electric or batteryoperated toothbrush, which can help reduce plaque and a mild form of gum disease. • Toss your toothbrush and get a new one regularly. Buy a new toothbrush, or a replacement head for your electric or battery-operated toothbrush, every three to four months.

Here’s a tip for better dental health: Every three to four months, buy a new toothbrush, or a replacement head for your electric or battery-operated toothbrush. When your bristles are frayed, they do not clean properly and bacteria can harbor in the bristles. • Don’t delay going to the dentist, even if you dread it. It pays to visit the dentist twice a year for an annual checkup and more often if you have high risk factors for periodontal disease. That’s because you will save money in the long run with routine visits and your visits will likely be

less eventful. • Even if you wear dentures, visiting the dentist is important. Visiting the dentist is not just for teeth cleaning. Dentists also screen for oral cancer and help with many other issues. Preventive visits are key for everyone. For more information, call 800- ASPEN-DENTAL (800277-3633) or visit www.aspendental.com.

HOLIDAY SAFETY... take it outside. 6.Don't skimp on safety. Artificial trees are gaining in popularity, but don't sacrifice safety in the name of style or savings. Before you decide which tree to bring home, make sure it's been tested and labeled as fire–resistant. If the tree comes with lights, look for a sticker showing it's been safety-tested by Underwriters Laboratories or a similar national lab. 7.Keep cool with LEDs. There's nothing wrong with blending time–tested tradition with cutting–edge technology. When shopping for indoor or outdoor holiday lights, consider light–emitting diodes (LEDs). These high–tech, high–efficiency bulbs are shatterproof, shock–resistant, and cool to the touch, which greatly re-

CONTINUED FROM PAGE14

duces the risk of fire. Even better, they can reduce energy consumption by up to 90 percent. They also last up to 25 times longer, which means they can be part of your holiday celebration for years to come. 8.Look up and live! Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven't grown into or near power lines. Branches, entire trees and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines. Never place yourself or any object — like a ladder — in a position where you or it may come in contact with a power line — the result can be fatal. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines. -PACIFIC GAS &ELECTRIC’

BEAUTY TRENDS Salon Manicures Preferred

(NAPSI)—When Freud famously wondered what women want, he should have checked in the nail salon. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey: • 91 percent of women feel better after visiting one • More than half of women have been disappointed with do-it-yourself results A salon visit ensures a superior service and an opportunity for comfort and community. That’s why many women like to take time to pamper themselves and leave the

work to the pros. What’s more, women who love the sustainability of a long-wear manicure can now rest easy when it comes to UV safety. Dr. John Dowdy and Dr. Robert Sayre recently reported that UV lamps are safer than natural sunlight. In addition, the back of the hand requires four times the amount of UV exposure than the cheeks, chest or abdomen in order to cause sun damage. This makes it nearly impossible to suffer from unsafe exposure during a UV manicure.

Eighty percent of survey respondents said they get better results from a salon manicure than from doing their own nails at home. Many women, relieved by these findings, head straight to the salon for a CND Shellac manicure. Since not all service is created equal, they look for

the CND Shellac Pro Certification in the salon window. Learn more or find a salon at www.cnd.com.

CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 15


Prevent Diabetes And Improve Oral Health (NAPSI)—While diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans and is one of the fastestgrowing diseases in the nation, there are ways you can protect yourself. That’s particularly important for the 79 million Americans who have prediabetes, which means they are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Yet many people are unaware of the prevalence of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-quarter of Americans with diabetes and 90 percent with prediabetes are unaware that they have the disease. To help curb and control the condition, people should recognize the connection between diabetes and oral health. Researchers have shown a link between gum disease and an array of serious health conditions including diabetes. People with diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop gum disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Here are five tips to prevent and treat diabetes and improve oral health: • Look for risk factors and warning signs— Common risk factors for diabetes include high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, being overweight or obese, being 45 years old or older or a family history of diabetes. Common warning

DEPRESSION...CONTINUED FROM 11 First, find a good professional who can help you, someone who is licensed by the state where you live. They will have credentials like LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, or a Psy.D. (Psychological Doctorate). When you contact them, ask if they have a specialty. If they don’t, ask if they will work with someone who is challenged with depression. If they answer yes, ask whether they refer their clients for medication evaluations, or use counseling only. If you happen to have a history of trauma or abuse (many do, so don’t feel alone), make sure you ask whether the therapist is trained in such areas. It’s important for you that they are. Finding a counselor may feel like an overwhelming task, but it’s extremely important. Admitting that you can’t carry this load on your own is a huge step toward feeling better. If you want a Christian counselor,

16 DECEMBER 2013

HEALTH HINTS

signs include increased hunger, blurry vision, and tingling or numbness in hands, legs and feet. • Identify ways to control the condition— There are many ways to control diabetes and prediabetes more effectively, including getting active and setting—and meeting—fitness goals, drinking plenty of water, cutting back on high-calorie snack foods and sugar-sweetened drinks, and choosing whole grain foods rather than processed grain products. • Improve oral health—Practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing daily, as well as using an oral rinse. Research shows that reducing oral inflammation can lower bloodsugar levels for people with diabetes and even help enhance their overall health. • Visit your dentist—Frequent visits to the dentist are also important, including for preventive services and treating gum disease. In fact, people with diabetes who got dental care had annual net medical claims that were much lower than people living with diabetes who did not receive that type of care, according to a recent study from UnitedHealthcare. • Seek support—There are resources available to help prevent and manage diabetes. For instance, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a 16-week group lifestyle intervention program that helps people reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A list of locations is available at www.ymca.net/diabetesThe millions of Americans with diabetes and prediabetes prevention. For more information, visit www.united- should not delay treatment and should pay particular attention to having healthy teeth and gums. healthgroup.com/Diabetes/Default.aspx.

you can check websites such as "The American Association of Christian Counselors" AACC). They have a search option that will help you find a counselor in your area. Again, make sure they are state licensed, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You do have the right to find a counselor you’re comfortable with, but realize you will have to eventually make a decision; it may never feel "perfect." When you finally see the counselor, be honest. They are there to help, not condemn. The more you tell them, the more they can help. Sometimes, when you talk with someone who has an objective perspective, it can make the gloom begin to lift. What about personal spirituality? In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your

souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Jesus understands our dark feelings, our doubt, our discouragement, and yes, even our depression; and his desire is to help us. Sometimes, the help we need might include professional counseling and antidepressant medication. After all, God created the minds that created these medications, and it is not a sin to take them if you truly need them. If you are depressed, there is help for you. It is okay to admit it, and it is okay to get help. Life will still have its ups and downs, but there are options for you if the "downs" last for a long, long time. If those around us are telling us that something is wrong with us and they don’t know what to do for us, we need to listen with a humble heart. Disclaimer The topic discussed in this article is based on research, knowledge, and experiences from the health community.

Please keep in mind that I am not a Doctor or other health professional so please consult the appropriate professional for further help.

Merry Christmas

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


CENTRAL VALLEY CHRISTMAS COOKING OVER SWEET POTATO: COCONUT PIE FABULOUS FOOD MOVE POPULARITY IS ON THE RISE -Russell Dilligard is the Go-To Pie Maker for 'The Best You’ve Ever Tasted’ Coconut Pie

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Russell Dilligard, the go-to pie maker with stellar reviews Dilligard has been a foodie (BlackNews.com) -- Life is about possibilities; remixing all his life and cooking since old tradition and offering a he was a teenager. It began as dose of love in the name of part of a family ritual, enjoyscrumptious coconut pie. Meet ing the soul-enticing flavors Russell Dilligard (www.rus- of traditional southern recipes selldilligardscoconutpie.com), handed down from generatelevision/film actor; song- tion to generation. Sunday dinwriter; and now in-demand ners, holiday meals and despie maker. His coconut pie is serts were a big deal growing positioned to become the next up in the Fort Greene Housing must-have dessert sensation, projects in Brooklyn, NY. Dilprepared to rival sweet potato, ligard knew that life was bigred velvet and apple pie as the ger than a concrete jungle go-to dessert and holiday sta- and if his acting career ever stalled, he would simply pivot ple. Dilligard’s pie is made from to his entrepreneurial passion coconut - rich in antioxidant and start baking coconut pies. properties: 100% from scratch, After enjoying moderate sucno fillers, no custard - simply a cess acting, jobs were far and soft buttery crust, fabulously few, however, the demand for flaky, exotic coconut, hint of homemade coconut pie were citrus, super moist and sweet growing. A passion for baking, his for the discriminating cocomomma’s coconut pie recipe nut lover. Dilligard says, “Once you’ve tasted my coconut pie remixed has made Russell Dilyou will say it’s the best you’ve ligard the go-to pie maker with ever had. Not only is it made stellar reviews: “I finished the with the finest ingredients, it’s whole pie in less than 2 days made absolutely with love to and it was simply amazing and melt your heart, warm your yummy,” says Giovanna Aguilar, soul and reasonably priced at Writer/Producer/Director. Samantha Taylor laughs, “I can’t $35.”

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begin to tell you how much I love coconut, and this pie is good.” Dilligard has turned his passion into a culinary experience and is ready to share his coconut pie with pie lovers around the country. Move over sweet potato, coconut pie is here to stay. To schedule an interview with Russell Dilligard and order the ‘best you’ve ever tasted’ coconut pie, visit the website: www.russelldilligardscoconutpie.com, 800-304-5772 and contact@russelldilligardscoconutpie.com. To follow on social media: www.facebook.com/RussellDilligardsCoconutPie and @RDcoconutpie on Twitter. Russell Dilligard’s tips for selecting the ultimate dessert this holiday season: 1) Know your pies. Select a pie with the finest natural ingredients made from scratch and love 2) Be Healthy. Coconut is an antioxidant which can increase metabolism, ward of germs and build cells 3) Keep it simple. Each pie is homemade and handmade with no after taste from being factory produced 4) Purchase today. Sample a slice of pie heaven today with Russell Dilligards’ mouthwatering coconut pie at www. russelldilligardscoconutpie. com

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CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 17


Sports News RAIDERS NATION

Photos Credit: Lisa Coelho Raiders defense Brandian Ross & Mike Jenkins swept Cheif's TE Sean McGrath off his feet in the December loss.

Legend, Bo Jackson surprised Raider fans VS the Titans with a rare visit to the field. He also lit the ceremonial torch in honor of Al Davis.

18 DECEMBER 2013


Colgate Women’s Games Celebrate 40 Years On The Track To Scholastic Success

(NAPSI)—Every year since 1973, thousands of girls and young women from elementary school through college and beyond participate in the Colgate Women’s Games. Now in its 40th season, the series has helped countless students succeed academically, by providing a safe and healthy athletic program that motivates them to make the right personal lifestyle choices. Each year, more than 11,000 female athletes compete within their own age/ grade divisions in a series of preliminary meets where ribbons and medals are awarded weekly, and finalists compete at a world-class sports arena for trophies and educational grants-in-aid from ColgatePalmolive Company. The Colgate Women’s Games offers girls of all ages the opportunity to challenge themselves in an atmosphere of friendly competition. The program also promotes the importance of health, self-esteem and continuing education. All school-age girls must present their attendance records and submit a topical essay to compete in the finals. Fred Thompson, the meet director and program’s founder, says, “Track and field builds self-esteem by providing girls a means to measure their own abilities and see how mental focus and physical practice improve results. This affirms their capacity to affect their own futures, a lesson that lasts a lifetime.” The Colgate Women’s Games boasts 20 former Olympians and hundreds of age/grade national champions, and high school participants are consistently among the most heavily recruited female athletes in the nation. However, it can be a life-changing experience for

many who compete, even if they don’t make the finals. Thompson says, “We’ve always attracted top talent, but we’ve been very careful to stay just as welcoming to those who may have never competed in an organized event before. Countless former participants return as accomplished adults and say the Colgate Women’s Games instilled a sense of empowerment that contributed in large part to their success. “Competitive athletics remain one of the healthiest ways to build self-esteem and encourage continuing education, and we’ve been able to provide a successful model for positively affecting young lives for four decades because Colgate-Palmolive Company shares these core values,” Thompson adds. Participation in the Colgate Women’s Games is completely free. Girls and young women compete within their own age/grade divisions for

ribbons, medals and points. Events include 55 meters, 55-meter hurdles, 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, high jump and shot put. Top point scorers advance to the Finals, where they compete for trophies and educational grants-in-aid from Colgate-Palmolive Company. To date, more than $2 million has been awarded in the form of educational grantsin-aid to nearly 4,000 top winners. The 40th annual Colgate Women’s Games are the largest amateur track-and-field series for women. Coaches, recruiters, athletes, fans and press can follow scores by division and hopeful young track stars can also find information about the program at www.colgategames.com. One sports program helps young women leap over obstacles to success by offering educational grants-in-aid and building self-esteem.

One sports program helps young women leap over obstacles to success by offering educational grants-in-aid and building self-esteem.

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QUICK RETIREMENT Reverse Mortgages Provide Financial Flexibility (NAPSI)—Each day, 10,000 Americans turn 62, according to U.S. Census reports. Many retire with the expectation that a solid retirement account will make it possible to travel or enjoy their home with friends and family. Unfortunately, too often, retirees find that their savings account or investments don’t look as promising as they once did or that other expenses have emerged and need to be paid. The good news is that a growing number of seniors are coming to the conclusion that they can put the equity in their home to work by getting a reverse mortgage. With a reverse mortgage, seniors 62 and older can access the equity in their home to get tax-free funds that can be used for whatever they want. While this kind of mortgage may not be for everyone, it can benefit seniors who want to improve their financial situations after retirement. Plus, the seniors can continue to live in their home without monthly mortgage payments. Putting Your Home To Work Here are five examples of how seniors are putting reverse mortgages to work for them: Payment of hospital or medical bills—More and more Americans are going into debt because of medical bills. Never before has the cost of medical coverage been so high. Many seniors rely on Medicare, but that only covers a percentage of

Seniors have a unique advantage to use a reverse mortgage to help provide financial flexibility. the total cost of medical expenses. Home improvements—Seniors are hesitant to make home improvements while living on a fixed income. A reverse mortgage can allow seniors to make home improvements or repairs. Pay off debt—Reverse mortgages provide the funds needed for seniors to pay down debt or eliminate debt completely. This gives many seniors the feeling of financial relief and flexibility. Improvement of quality of life—One of the benefits of a reverse mortgage is financial freedom. With a reverse mortgage, the current mortgage is eliminated and monthly mortgage payments are not required for as long as the senior lives in the home. Seniors receive relief by not having to make a monthly mortgage payment, as well as gain financial flexibility to be able to do more in their retirement years, like dining out, traveling to see family, or simply providing the financial cushion that some seniors seek. Travel—Funds from a reverse mortgage give seniors a chance to take the dream vacation they have always wanted but may have not had

the funds to do. An Attractive Option Reverse mortgages are increasingly becoming an attractive option for seniors who want a comfortable retirement. The consumer no longer makes a monthly mortgage payment but remains responsible for all applicable property taxes and homeowners insurance. When the home is sold, the proceeds go toward paying off the reverse mortgage and any remaining money is kept by the former homeowner. The money received from a reverse mortgage is tax free and it doesn’t affect Social Security benefits. “Reverse mortgages give senior homeowners financial flexibility so they can comfortably retire and remain in their own homes,” said Richard Mandell, CEO of One Reverse Mortgage. “There is no greater satisfaction than helping seniors do what they thought was impossible with a loan program that is insured by the federal government and has helped thousands of seniors live a better retirement.” To learn more, visit www. onereversemortgage.com.


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Check Your Credit Report (NAPSI)—Generously stuffing everyone’s holiday stockings needn’t leave you with empty pockets. Fortunately, you can keep track of your finances. By law, consumers are entitled to one free annual report from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. So now could be a good time to get a free copy of your credit report. “Knowing how much outstanding debt you have before you head out to the mall makes sense and a credit report is the best place to get the financial facts,” said Stuart K. Pratt, president and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association. “We encourage consumers to give themselves a gift this holiday season by getting their free credit reports now,” he added.

Credit report literacy is an essential building block of overall financial peace of mind. Many do just that. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that 16 million consumers access their free credit reports annually, through www.annualcreditreport.com.

USDA Overhauls Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program Changes will strengthen rural housing markets; encourage new construction WASHINGTON, DC– U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a series of sweeping changes to a popular loan program for rural homebuyers. The changes are part of an extensive overhaul that will strengthen rural housing markets, increase the availability of rural home loans and spur the construction of new homes in rural areas. "These improvements will help create jobs and enable more people to participate in the rural home loan guarantee program," Vilsack said. "The changes will add significant capital to rural areas and give rural Americans more opportunities to make fi-

nancing decisions that lay the groundwork for the future prosperity of their families." The changes are published in today's Federal Register. They take effect Sept. 1, 2014 and make several improvements to USDA Rural Development's Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program. Among other things, they expand the types of lenders who are eligible to participate. With the rule change, any lending entity supervised and regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Banks, or the Federal Housing Finance Board may underwrite loans guaranteed by Rural Development. This will enable many small community banks and credit unions to participate in the guaranteed loan program. SEE PAGE >23

CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 21


Automotive Services Corner

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22 DECEMBER 2013


BE CAR CARE AWARE A Word To The Wise: Winterize (NAPSI)—Savvy drivers know it’s wise to winterize their car before the cold weather hits. That’s the word from experts who say investing an hour or two of your time to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind. Plus, it’s an investment that pays dividends when it comes to avoiding the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather. Says Rich White, executive

director, Car Care Council, “A vehicle check before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid being stranded out in the cold and the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.” Winterizing Your Vehicle To help, the Car Care Council recommends the following tips: • Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years. • Inspect heaters, defrosters, lights and wipers. • Check the brakes, tire

tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. • If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks. Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. • Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times. And stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket and needed medication. For a free copy of the council’s “Car Care Guide” or for more information, visit www. carcare.org. Winterizing your car before the temperatures drop is a smart way to avoid being stranded and emergency repairs.

HOUSING LOAN PROGRAM... CONTINUED PAGE 21 Currently, these entities are not eligible lenders. In another policy change, for the first time, borrowers will be able to choose home loan terms shorter than 30 years. This will result in a significant cost savings for borrowers who qualify for the higher payments and who want to pay off their loan faster and pay less interest on their loan. Collectively, these changes will make housing loans more readily available to residents in underserved communities, such as those targeted by USDA's StrikeForce initiative. Through StrikeForce, USDA staff work with state, local and community officials to increase awareness of USDA programs that help rural residents, businesses and communities. As part of the overhaul, Rural Development has begun a series of enhancements to automate processes, reduce paperwork and reduce loan approval times. Additional program improvements are: • Lenders may consider a home's energy efficiency as

a compensating factor when underwriting a mortgage application. Energy efficiency is an attractive feature for homebuyers and sellers. Energy efficient homes help the nation lessen its dependence on foreign oil and result in lower utility costs for homeowners. Lower utility costs also improve the local economy by directly increasing consumers' disposable income. • Lenders and borrowers no longer will be required to initiate separate construction and permanent loans for new homes. Instead, there will be one closing for one loan, known as a construction-topermanent loan. • Lenders will be required to consider foreclosure prevention techniques such as loan modifications and short sales. Currently, lenders are "encouraged" but not required to do so. These changes will be fully outlined in a new handbook to accompany program regulations. The handbook will provide a single reference point on program rules for borrowers and lenders. It will replace more than 20 admin-

istrative notices that are written separately and must be updated annually. For additional details, see page 73927 of the December 9 Federal Register. USDA welcomes public comment on the changes. The deadline to submit comments is January 8, 2014. See Page 73927 for information on how to submit comments. Since the start of the Obama Administration, more than 700,000 rural residents have bought homes with mortgages guaranteed by USDA Rural Development. In many rural areas, the majority of homes are financed with loans underwritten through this program. Vilsack said that today's announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy, Vilsack added, saying that's just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Bill done as soon as possible. President Obama's plan for rural America has brought

about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, communit y facilities, businesses and infrastructure have em-

powered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

CENTRAL VALLEY VOICE.COM 23


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24 DECEMBER 2013

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December 2013