Friday, October 17, 2008

Competition opens doors to fashion industry

Put your best fashion forward and walk off with a scholarship to The Art Institutes.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Converting your passion for fashion into a career in the design field or fashion merchandising industry is no easy task. One computer database lists nearly a thousand clothing designers, those with reputations and distribution and retail outlets.

Four years ago The Art Institutes of North America came up with a unique plan, a way to encourage and reward high school level fashion design students and those interested in fashion marketing and management with local and national competitions, competitions that would yield full tuition scholarships.

Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for The Art Institutes Bruce Dempsey says, “There are so many wonderful fashion courses in high school today, and many students see a career in this industry within their reach.”

Monica Jeffs, The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire Senior Director of Admissions says this “Passion for Fashion” competition is exactly what the schools are about. “The Art Institutes stress hands-on education, not just burying a nose in a book and answering multiple choice questions. With this North America-wide competition, high school seniors may actually design apparel or create a fashion marketing or sales plan.”

While this is the fourth year of competition for the schools nationally, it’s just the first for the San Bernardino campus. As Jeffs says, “We just debuted our Fashion Design and the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management programs in July of this year, so this is the Inland Empire’s first participation in the Passion for Fashion competition. We expect, however, to have at least 50 area high school seniors competing.”

Winners at the local level will receive $3,000 in scholarship and go on to the U.S. and Canada competition where the two category winners each receive $89,000 scholarships with $5,000 and $4,000 scholarships earmarked for second and third place winners. The two categories are (1) Fashion Design and (2) Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management.

At this level of competition, participation is more than just filling out a coupon on the back of a soft drink bottle. The Entry Requirements are clear:
• Students must be high school seniors scheduled to graduate in 2009;
• A school transcript must show at least a 2.0 GPA;

• For the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management category:
• A short essay of up to 800 words must address how the entrant’s fashion creation will contribute to the advancement of the fashion industry, as well as what sparked the student’s interest in the fashion field;
• Along with this, an original Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising or Retail Management product or plan should be detailed, and might cover a retail store concept, marketing promotion, store layout, fashion business concept, new retail concept, an Internet fashion concept, a catalog retailing concept, home fashion concept or an industrial fashion/safety/consumer trend product;
• An accompanying written description of up to 1,000 words is to detail this product or plan.

For the Fashion Design Category
A short essay (800 words or less) outlining why your fashion entry is unique/innovative and explaining your interest and motivation for a career in fashion.
• A finished, originally designed eveningwear garment product.* The product may be any of the following – shirt (size Medium); pants, dress, or skirt (women’s size 8 or men’s size 40); or suit, including blouse, pants, or skirt (women’s size 8 or men’s size 40).
• Process Book (compiled in 8-1/2” x 11” binder), which serves as your design process summary, from original idea to finished product.

The book should include:

1. A written summary of your overall concept.
2. A review of influences on your entry, including fashion designers, music, television shows, or movies.
3. Sketches, illustrations, photographs, or digital images of your project as it evolved from concept to completion.
4. A written summary of people that you contacted for information about your project, including the advice they provided and its influence on you.

But the scholarship funding isn’t all that national recipients are accorded. Each of the two Grand Prize winners will have all-expense-paid trips to New York City for Fashion Week in February of 2009, a “meet and greet” at the offices of Seventeen Magazine, plus lunch with a Seventeen Magazine Style Pro.

For entry details go online to The entry deadline is November 21, 2008.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Culinary Management, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion Design & Retail Management, and Media Arts & Animation. There are also Associate of Science degrees in Graphic Design and Culinary Arts. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start classes at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. Courses begin Nov. 13 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

For more information or a free tour of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire call (909) 915-2100 or go on line to

The Art Institute of California –Inland Empire is one of the Art Institutes (, a system of more than 40 locations throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.

Council Member Deborah Robertson ready to lead

(RIALTO, Calif.) Rialto City Council member Deborah Robertson is ready to lead the city as mayor.

“I have vision, leadership ability and commitment to lead Rialto through what will be a time of great opportunity,” she said. “We are facing challenges now, so it’s important to have strong leadership to steer us through them.

“My top priority as mayor will be to strengthen Rialto’s economic base,” Robertson continued. “We need to build up our revenue, so we can provide all of our citizens public safety, quality businesses and the other essentials of a good life in Rialto.”

Robertson has served on the Rialto City Council eight years and has lived in Rialto for 18. She’s active in the East Rialto Kiwanis, the National Council of Negro Women, HIV/AIDS awareness and education program Brothers and Sisters in Action and other local organizations.

In addition to her elected seat on the Council, Robertson is also the Deputy District Director of External Affairs for the California Department of Transportation, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. She has worked for the State of California for the last 20 years, and in her current position oversees a budget of about $4 million, plus is responsible for Public, Media and Government Affairs, Public Records, Small Business and Community Outreach and Graphic Service.

As she has on the Council, Robertson stated as Mayor she will continue to carefully analyze the issues before her and make decisions that are in the best interest of the city.

“I tend to be analytical and well-focused and ask a lot of specific questions,” she said. “When I am clear on the position we should take I am assertive about what I think is in the best interests of the city. However, I am not so dogmatic that if new information develops, I won’t change my mind if it is in the city’s best interest to do so.”

“We should not take action out of dire necessity,” she said. “We should make plans, and allow time for careful review before we implement them.”

Robertson stated she is endorsed by the San Bernardino Sun, Black Voice News, Inland Valley News and Westside Story. She’s also endorsed by mayors, city council members and school board members from throughout the Inland Empire, commissioners on Rialto’s advisory boards and numerous organizations and private citizens.

“Rialto needs Deborah Robertson as mayor. The two-term councilwoman's smarts, tenacity and commitment to taxpayers are Rialto's best defense to unstable economic factors that threaten its progress.” San Bernardino Sun editorial, Oct. 8, 2008

“Deborah Robertson is an assertive city councilwoman who espouses vision and an eagerness for the city to move forward on longstanding programs,” Riverside Press-Enterprise article, Oct. 4, 2008

“Who is putting forth the energy and vision to turn the corner to greatness for Rialto? To me, Deborah (Robertson) will bring that energy and the knowledge of state government to turn that corner.” Editorial by Hardy Brown, publisher of Black Voice News, Oct. 9, 2009.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Agency Helps Foster Children Find Loving Families

Photo caption: Gwen Knotts, with James Knotts, her husband of 30 years. As the Chief Executive Officer Gwen Knotts she has lead a diverse and dedicated team of child development professionals to provided a safe, loving environment for hundreds of children since 1992.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Sixteen years ago, Gwen Knotts’ heart was breaking. As a public health nurse, she saw many children being neglected. It wasn’t that their parents didn’t love them. They simply did not know how to be good parents.

“Unfortunately, babies don’t come with an owners’ manual,” she said. “Raising children is the most important job people will ever have, but one for which so many are ill-prepared.”

Knotts’ passion for children led her to develop the Knotts’ Family and Parenting Institute in 1992. Since then, by recruiting and training foster parents to care for children who must be removed from unsafe home situations. Knotts has provided a safe, loving environment for hundreds of children.

“All you need to be a foster parent is a heart for children and a house large enough to reasonably accommodate them,” Knotts said. “We provide training, a small amount of compensation and other support for our foster families.”

Knotts Family and Parenting Institute can place foster children with qualified families living in San Bernardino or Riverside counties. To qualify a family, Knotts’ social workers will interview the parents, conduct background checks and visit their homes to make sure they are safe and adequate. Parents are required to attend special training. Once everything is completed, Knotts Family and Parenting Institute will certify them as foster parents.

Once a foster child is placed in the new home, a Knotts social worker will visit them weekly to see that all is going well. Social workers also help the children work through any problems they might be having.

These children come to Knotts through Child Protective Services and other government agencies. The Institute maintains a list of pre-approved foster parents, so it can receive children from CPS and place them in homes on short notice.

About 50 foster families are working with Knotts at any given time. In some areas of the Inland Empire, especially the Low Desert of Riverside County, there is an immediate need for more foster parents, and there is need throughout the two-county region for parents who will accept teenage children.

Knotts also offers training to biological parents. This training helps the foster children return home to their families. “Always the ultimate goal is to return the child home or to a permanent situation,” she explained. “Ideally, that is with the parents, another family member or foster parents are encouraged to adopt.”

Knotts is committed to helping its children find permanent homes. It is currently in the process of applying for an adoption license. Until then, it supports the foster parents as they go through the application process of either county or a private adoption agency.

Since 1992 the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute has provided foster family services for the children, parents and foster parents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

For more information, or to become a foster parent, call the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute at (909) 880-0600 or 1-800-9-KIDS-FAST (1-800-954-3732).


Deborah Robertson to host business fundraiser

Deborah Robertson with Artist Gilbert and Joanne who support Debora Robertson for Mayor of Rialto. Photo by: Carl Dameron

(RIALTO, Calif.) Mayoral candidate Deborah Robertson will host a fund raiser event 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 at the ACQUIRE Learning Center, 1188 W. Leiske Dr.

The event is an opportunity for Rialto business and community leaders to meet Robertson. She will address key campaign issues and community concerns.

Robertson has served on the Rialto City Council eight years and has lived in Rialto for 18 years. She’s active in the East Rialto Kiwanis, the National Council of Negro Women, HIV/AIDS awareness and education program Brothers and Sisters in Action and other local organizations.

She is also the Deputy District Director of External Affairs for the California Department of Transportation, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. She has worked for the State of California for the last 20 years, and in her current position oversees a budget of about $4 million, plus is responsible for public, media and government affairs, public records, small business and community outreaches and graphic services.

To RSVP for the event, call Eddie Catoe at (909) 888-0017.

Monday, October 13, 2008

CSUSB Economist Thomas Pierce will speak to Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce

(RIALTO, Calif.) Local economist and business professor Thomas J. Pierce, will discuss strategies to increase sales and profits at the next Inland Empire African-American Chamber of Commerce mixer.

This mixer is set for 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the Acquire Learning Center, 1188 W. Leiske Dr., Rialto.

“Thomas J. Pierce has been tracking our local economy for many years,” said Dolores Armstead, vice president of the Inland Empire African-American Chamber of Commerce. “He sees the strategies used by successful businesses and believes in sharing that knowledge and insight to assist other businesses survive and thrive.”

Pierce is a professor of Economics at California State University, San Bernardino. He has taught economics and other business-related courses at CSUSB since 1976; in addition he has served as dean of CSUSB’s School of Social and Behavioral Issues (of which the economics department is part) and has won an award for outstanding teaching from the Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Issues.

“Since community education is part of the service we provide at ACQUIRE Learning Center, we are pleased to have Thomas Pierce, an instructor of such high caliber, speak here,” said Suzy Aguillard, who owns the Learning Center with her husband, Craig. “If you own a business you will not want to miss this opportunity to meet and hear him speak.”

ACQUIRE Educational Services is located at 1188 West Leiske Drive in Rialto, 92376. Within its ACQUIRE Learning Center building, it offers tutoring programs for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, and computer courses for adults. Acquire also has a 9,000 square foot ballroom available for rent by interested community groups and private parties.

For more information, call (909) 875-3356 or visit


Healthy Seniors Can Live Long Lives

Dr. Ghaly checks the vital statistics of Beatrice Cuellar, who plans a long and healthy life by following her physician's recommendations for staying healthy.

(LOS ANGELES) – Age 65 may be the official beginning of life as a senior citizen, but those who pay good attention to their health can live 20, 30 or more years after they reach that milestone.

The keys to a long life are paying careful attention to the medications one takes, and maintaining a healthy diet, said Dr. Azmy Ghaly, owner of Senior Care Clinic in East Los Angeles. Exercise can also go a long ways in boosting longevity.

“Seniors are living longer because if we diagnose early, there are medications and new technologies that can cure their diseases,” Dr. Ghaly explained. “But we still have bad habits that need to be addressed.”

Senior Care Clinic, a practice specializing in senior citizens, works with its patients to help them make choices that will lead to long, healthy lives. Whether this is by using the latest advances in medications and technology, advising them on healthy lifestyle choices, or simply caring for each patient as an individual, Senior Care Clinic is held in high regard by the senior citizens who already rely on it for medical care.

“We love it here,” said Carlos and Beatrice Cuellar, who have been patients at Senior Care Clinic for six years. “The doctors, the service, everything here is fantastic.”

Besides providing friendly service and expertise in the latest medical breakthroughs, doctors at Senior Care Clinic make sure they have complete medical histories for their patients. This includes keeping inventory of medications their patients are taking.

“Taking the right medications is crucial,” said Dr. Ghaly. “At Senior Care Clinic, doctors encourage their patients to bring ALL medications they take to every appointment. That way, the doctor can evaluate which ones are necessary, which ones aren’t, which ones might cause harmful interactions with others, and which ones are not helpful.”

“Sometimes it is necessary for a patient to take three or four medications for diabetes, and five or six for high blood pressure,” he added. “But as doctors, we should not assume things, so bring in the medications every time.”

“It is also important to watch your diet as you get older,” Dr. Ghaly said. “Most senior citizens need 1,800 calories, those with diabetes only need 1,500. Seniors (and others) should eat three balanced meals each day, low in sodium and cholesterol. Senior women should have a high-calcium diet, as this reduces their risk for osteoporosis.”

Exercise is not as essential as proper medication and a healthy diet, according to Dr. Ghaly, but for most seniors, it will greatly improve their quality of life.

“Exercise can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes,” he said. “And if you have arthritis, it can help your joints to feel better. It also can help a senior’s mental well-being, as seniors who walk are less dependent on others for their needs.”

With proper medical care, diet and physical activity, seniors will live well into their golden years.

Senior Care Clinic was established in East Los Angeles in 1994, and is affiliated with nearby White Memorial Medical Center. A staff of four physicians, headed by Dr. Azmy Ghaly, handles all geriatric health care needs. Physicians are fluent in Spanish and several other foreign languages.

Appointments are welcome, but not necessary. For more information about Senior Care Clinic, call (323) 307-0800.