Friday, July 18, 2008


Veteran foster parents parents Anna Rodriguez-Murillo and her husband Jose of Rialto hold their newly adopted children two-year-old Matthew and three-year-old Seren. They were their foster parents for two years. The couple are also foster parents of the four more children through the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute.


(RIALTO, Calif) Anna Rodriguez-Murillo is consumed with caring for other people’s children. The 26-year-old foster care mom from Rialto loves the 11 children she has parented as if they were her own.

“I don’t think it matters if I’m not their real mom,” said Rodriguez-Murillo, who has cared for as many as six foster care children at a time. “Right now, I don’t have time to have my own children, maybe in the future. I’m so attached to these kids. For me, it’s as if I had them.”

Soon, Rodriguez-Murillo and her husband, Jose, a 27-year-old finish carpenter, will become legal parents to two of the six children in their busy household. A seven-week-old boy and 14-month-old girl came to them two years ago through the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute in San Bernardino, which opened in 1992. This month, the couple and Matthew and Seren will be dressed in their nicest clothes to attend the adoption finalization proceedings at the county courthouse in San Bernardino.

Matthew and Seren represent two of the 434 adoptions that are facilitated annually by San Bernardino County Department of Children’s Services. Knotts Family and Parenting Institute, which contracts with the county, recruited and trained Anna and Jose Murillo to care for children who are temporarily removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.

When a child can’t be returned to the parent or be placed permanently with relatives, Gwendolyn Knotts, CEO of the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute, said she hopes that some of their 40 foster care families will choose to adopt. Parents such as Anna and Jose Murillo need no encouragement. “Anna reflects it in the care she provides. She has a natural passion and a lot of patience. She personally has a desire to give love to other children.”

“My wife does a nice job,” said Murillo, who is originally from Carson. “She treats them well. I love having a lot of kids around to play with.”

Matthew came to the couple at seven weeks old. His bones were broken from being shaken. A county nurse visited their home weekly and taught them how to gently care for the infant so his injuries would heal.

“My husband, he got so close to the baby boy,” Rodriguez-Murillo said. “He was so delicate. We couldn’t hold him or he would cry. It would hurt too much. We would hug him and rub his back.” A CT head scan at Loma Linda University Medical Center showed no evidence of brain injury, the most serious complication for shaken babies.

Rodriguez-Murillo didn’t plan on adopting when she signed up with Knotts Family and Parenting Institute almost two and a half years ago. But she became so attached to the children that she knew if any of them could not be reunited with their biological family, she would probably want to adopt.

Gwendolyn Knotts said that more and more of the families who work with the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute are willing to take that step. “It’s become such a natural progression, that the Knotts Institute is now in the process of getting licensed to facilitate adoption.”

Rodriguez-Murillo’s path to foster parenthood began in her own childhood in South Los Angeles. Her mother never worked at home as a housewife, so Anna, the oldest of seven children, helped care for her younger siblings. Anna Rodriguez was 16 when she married Jose Murillo, her boyfriend at Locke High School. The young couple followed her mother when she moved to Rialto. They lived in her home for three months, and then bought a house on a quiet dead end street – a perfect place for children to play.

For five years, Rodriguez-Murillo was the caretaker of her brother-in-law’s children after the breakup of his marriage. One day, a neighbor asked her what happened to the two kids who used to play outside. Rodriguez- Murillo explained that they had gone to live with their grandmother. The neighbor, who was a foster care parent with the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute, suggested that Rodriguez-Murillo also get certified.

“After my brother-in-law’s kids left, I felt that something was missing. Then I thought, my house is big. I could take care of some other people’s kids.”

The couple went through a three-month training and certification program at the Knotts Family and Parenting Institute to learn how to parent foster children -- from CPR and first aid to learning how to be a mentor to the child’s biological parent – if it’s determined that the child can be safely reunited with the family.

Rodriguez-Murillo said she is never on her own as a foster parent. Knotts offers the children tutoring, mental health services, mentoring and recreational and cultural activities. “If we need something, Knotts is always there,” she says.

The Knotts Family and Parenting Institute will be there for Rodriguez-Murillo and her husband next Christmas for an unprecedented family vacation. The Knotts Institute will step in to care for their four boys in foster care when the parents take Matthew and Seren to meet their new relatives in Mexico.

“I can’t take the others out of the country, but my family in Mexico is excited that I am adopting,” Rodriguez- Murillo said. “They see them as my own.”

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.

Foster Care in San Bernardino County
• The Children’s Services Department investigates 30,358 emergency referrals annually
• Emergency referrals increased by 25 percent from 2000 through October 18, 2007
• The County supervises 6,000 children monthly, approximately 4,568 of whom are placed in foster homes.
Why are children removed from their parents care?
• General neglect: 41 percent
• Physical abuse: 17 percent
• Sexual abuse: 9 percent


Mary Cooksey

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Mary Jayne Cooksey joined Dameron Communications as one of its youngest interns.

“It’s a pleasure to have Mary working for Dameron Communications. She brings a youthful insight to projects. She is a hardworking young woman and I’m sure she will go far in the Public Relations field, “said Carl Dameron, president of Dameron Communications.

Cooksey is a third year student at California State University, San Bernardino. She is currently working towards her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marketing and Public Relations. At the age of 20, Cooksey has decided to get an early start on her career experience.

“Dameron Communications, being one of the Inland Empire’s leading public relations and advertising firms, it's common sense to want to intern here. Interning at Dameron Communications has been an excellent opportunity to participate in Public Relations related activities, it has allowed me to come in contact with some very accomplished individuals and get a real feel of what it is I want to do once I graduate from college,” said Cooksey.

As the first in her family to attend college, Cooksey decided to go away for school to experience college life away from home. She attended Humboldt State University in the fall of 2005. After a year and a half at HSU, Cooksey transferred to California State University, San Bernardino. “The campus at Humboldt State was gorgeous and the classes taught me a lot about myself, however, after some thought I came to the decision to transfer. CSUSB was always my first choice, I love the way the communications program is organized and the way the faculty treats their students,” said Cooksey.

Cooksey has always enjoyed writing. At Azusa High School she was the school’s sports editor. As a three sport varsity athlete during her high school career, she was able to give the inside perspective of every sport she covered.

“Playing sports my whole life I often found myself the youngest member of every team. But, that never killed my drive. That only made me work harder to exceed the level of competition and bring up a couple notches, “ Cooksey said.

In every sport she participated in she received awards. She was second team all league in volleyball, all tournament on her two time league champion varsity basketball team, three time high jump league champion, one of them being in her freshmen year of high school.

She also received the most outstanding field athlete award in 2003 and was the Athlete of the Month in her senior year. Ending a long list of awards at her graduation ceremony, she received the Distinguished Athlete Award from the United States Marine Corps for displaying courage, poise, self-confidence and leadership as a high school athlete.

Cooksey was strongly involved in her academics. On top of being involved in athletics, she was also part of the National Honor Society and was elected to the School Site Council. The board included the principal of the school, a number of teaching staff and other selected students.

Giving back to the community is something to which Cooksey is committed. While going to school and participating in extracurricular activities, Cooksey found time to help out in her community. She volunteered to do youth coaching for children ages 6-12 and helped out as teacher’s aid at the local elementary schools. Also, Cooksey and some girls on her varsity basketball team did a basketball camp for young girls ages 8-12 at local parks and a recreation center in the city of Azusa.

For more information about Dameron Communications, call (909) 888-0321.

About Dameron Communications
Since 1989 Dameron Communications has creatively met the needs of our diverse client base locally, regionally and nationally. We are an award winning advertising and public relations agency that creates integrated marketing solutions to increase sales and profits, win elections, inform the public or gain acceptance of potentially controversial issues. We use our 20 years of communications knowledge and experience to advance our clients’ objectives.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Cuca Gutierrez

(SAN BERNARDINO, CalIf) Cuca Gutierrez joined Dameron Communications as a Public Relations Coordinator.

Gutierrez is a newcomer to the world of public relations and advertising. She brings both passion for writing and logistical support for the company, which are reasons that lured her to join the Dameron Communications team.

Prior to joining Dameron Communications, Cuca worked for Allstate Insurance where she started out as a front desk agent but quickly received her California insurance license certifying her as an auto and home insurance agent. There she worked closely with clients regarding proof of insurance and provided customer service.

“At Allstate my customer service experience prepared me to pursue the position at Dameron Communications,” says Gutierrez.

Cuca attended Chaffey College where she majored in English with a desire to become an English teacher. She also studied at San Jose Community College and wrote for the college newspaper.

Also Cuca worked for the Fontana Unified School District as a teachers aide for special education students. Where she tutor students with homework and help set-up lesson plans with teachers.

“I always enjoyed working closely with children,” said Gutierrez.

As Cuca begins her professional career as a writer and public relations representative, she sees Dameron Communications as a place to continue her advancement within the competitive corporate world.

“My experience with Dameron Communications so far has been an excellent ride. I have met very influential people all over the Inland Empire and I enjoy being in the presence of important figures within San Bernardino and Riverside County,” says Gutierrez.

For more information on Dameron Communications call (909) 888-0321.

About Dameron Communications
Since 1989 Dameron Communications has creatively met the needs of our diverse client base locally, regionally and nationally. We are an award winning advertising and public relations agency that creates integrated marketing solutions to increase sales and profits, win elections, inform the public or gain acceptance of potentially controversial issues. We use our 20 years of communications knowledge and experience to advance our clients’ objectives.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Ron Husband shows how he starts the animation process with pen and paper sketches.

(SAN BERNARDINO Calif.). Hundreds of animation sketches and a dozen of his few hundred filled sketch pads packed the tables in a lecture hall at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire July 11 as Disney animator Ron Husband delighted a room of 30 student animators as part of the institute’s week-long Invasion of Infinite Creativity workshops and seminars.

The 33-year Disney veteran lists major credits as long as his arm: The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company, The Little Mermaid, Rescuers Down Under, two versions of Beauty and the Beast, Atlantis: Search for the Lost Empire, Treasure Planet, The Small One, Fantasia 2000, Pocahontas, Lion King, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Aladdin, Fat Albert The Movie and so many more, even including creation of the Cool Cat in singer Paula Abdul’s music video “Opposites Attract.” “I’ve worked on nearly all Disney animations except Tarzan from 1975 through 2005,” Husband said (he’s currently an illustrator with Disney’s publishing group).

Husband’s almost countless awards span a Father of the Year, a Teacher of the Year, a Man of the Year, a National Achievement in Art honor, Best New Artist, and the Centurion Award from the National Religious Broadcasters in Washington, D.C.

But Ron wasn’t at the institute to sing his own praises; that was left to Academic Director of Media Arts & Animation Santosh Oommen, the session’s organizer and host. “Success such as his requires incredible talent,” he has said, “but breaking Disney’s color barrier 33 years ago proves he also has great determination.” Oommen recalled, “I met Ron in 1995 at an art gallery, his sketchbook in his hand.”

“I always have one with me,” Husband said. “I’ve been drawing since I was five, and I have hundreds of books by now, with more to come. Drawing is what I do and enjoy doing. Like a baseball player who practices to keep his talents sharp, I do the same with drawing.”

Prior to joining Disney in 1975, Husband, his University of Nevada Las Vegas Bachelor of Arts degree in hand, landed a job with Honeywell in West Covina, slugging along doing block diagrams, he said. “I had a wife and two kids, and needed a job.” He heard about a Disney possibility and took his commercial art portfolio with him to an interview where they scanned his work and sketchbook. “I’d no animation experience,” he recalled, “but they saw movement in my drawings and gave me a chance.”

“Drawing is communicating and entertaining,” Husband explained. “If you don’t entertain, you don’t work for long. And drawings should give people information: who the character is and what it’s like, you show what they’re doing and communicate the ‘why.’ It all starts somewhere, up here,” he said touching his forehead.

The film animation process begins with what the director wants, he described. “You show the director your quick sketches to see if you’re going in the right direction,” instead of spending days finalizing a scene, “and then the director says it’s not quite right, try it again. But, if it works, and you get the anticipated reaction you wanted, then you create the full animation. So, first you do the whole movie in storyboards, then the rough sketch animation, then the cleaned-up animation and then the full animation. You can be on one movie for four or five years with each single drawing being on the screen for only 1/24th of a second.”

Making the impossible believable is some of the animator’s fun, he noted. You may have Mickey Mouse running off a cliff, realizing what he’s done and scampering back to safety before falling to his doom. “But it all seems natural,” he said.

Research plays a major role in the animator’s work, Husband pointed out. “When I was to do the Dr. Sweet character in Atlantis: Search for the Lost Empire, I studied medical tools and equipment and spoke to people in the profession. When I have to do animals at Disney, I research their anatomy and their movement first.”

Has computer-generated animation, the current rage, crept into his life? “I did some CGI animation,” he recalled, “but I really missed pushing the pencil, drawing. Little did I know CGI was going to take over as it has. I went back to drawing.”

Born in Monrovia, the San Dimas resident is happily married after 35 years to LaVonne, with three adult children and three granddaughters.

“I’m now adding a new challenge, a new direction, to my career,” he said. “I’m writing a book; it’s on quick sketching. No publisher yet, but I still have a way to go.”

With an easy smile crossing his lips, Ron Husband concluded, “I haven’t ‘gone to work’ a day in my life. I’m truly blessed to be doing what God gave me the skills to do. And to make a living at it.”

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 and 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.

The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire is one of The Art Institutes ( ), a system of over 40 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.

LaSalle Medical Associates Awarded for Helping more than 100,000 people obtain health insurance

Dr. Albert Arteaga threw out the opening pitch at a recent Inland Empire 66ers baseball game, part of an honor he received for helping thousands of people to obtain health insurance.

(San Bernardino, Calif.) - Together Rx Access honored Dr. Albert Arteaga, president of LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc. at a recent Inland Empire 66’ers baseball game for helping more than 100,000 people obtain health insurance. His honor included throwing the first pitch of the game during the Inland Empire 66’ers vs. the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes game.

“This was the first time I’ve ever pitched a baseball in my life,” said Dr. Arteaga. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the 13 doctors and 113 staff members of LaSalle Medical Associates. We are pleased to help Rx Access give more people low cost prescriptions.”

The Together Rx Access program is sponsored by leading pharmaceutical companies; it gives help to hardworking uninsured Americans and their families, by granting them immediate access to savings on prescription drugs at their neighborhood pharmacy. This help comes in the form of a card that is free to obtain and free to use.

Together Rx Access enrolls nearly 10,000 uninsured individuals every week nationwide. Over 1.5 million Americans have already enrolled in the program and 260,000 of those are children. Current cardholders have already saved nearly $68 million on their prescriptions.

Rex, the Together Rx Access mascot, was at the game to assist in passing out information and to direct fans to Together Rx Access representatives that were located throughout the stadium. These representatives assisted fans in determining if they were eligible for the program, as well as enrolling anyone that qualified for the program onsite.

LaSalle is also one of the top enrollers in California for the Healthy Families program, a low-cost health insurance for children 0 to 18 years old. The program provides medical, dental and vision coverage for children.

The LaSalle staff is trained to enroll uninsured patients into one of the many government-sponsored health insurance programs including Healthy Families. If patients do not qualify for a health insurance program, instead of billing a large fee, then sending the patient to collections, LaSalle charges the patient $25.

As the son of an Adventist minister Dr. Arteaga is dedicated to deliver the best healthcare possible for his patients. He also demands all staff from the receptionist to the doctors treat patients with the dignity, compassion and respect we all deserve.

“LaSalle has created a system that delivers quality healthcare regardless of ethnicity or income,” said Dr. Arteaga.

LaSalle has also received other awards for its commitment to quality health care for all. These include:

* The San Bernardino County Medical Society’s Merlin Hendrickson, M.D. Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community. Dr. Arteaga was recognized for his efforts to provide health services to Inland Empire children.
* Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) as Riverside and San Bernardino’s best health care provider.
* The African American Health Initiative as a model provider in a two-year study of Black healthcare in San Bernardino County.

This is the third year Together Rx Access has sponsored minor league baseball games, in an effort to raise awareness about the program to more Americans. The program has been reaching out to minor league baseball fans in hopes that they will pass along the valuable information they have gained about the savings card.

“We have helped more than 1.5 million individuals obtain their medication at little to no cost and we are pleased to work with the 66’ers to raise even more awareness about our program within San Bernardino and its surrounding counties,” said Roba Whiteley, executive director of Rx Access.

The average Together Rx Access cardholder saves 25 to 40 percent on more than 300 brand-name prescription products included in the program. There are also savings available on a wide range of generic prescription products. Medicines in the program include those used to treat asthma, depression, diabetes, high cholesterol and many other common conditions.

To qualify for the free Together Rx Access Card, applicants cannot be eligible for Medicare or have public or private prescription drug coverage, must have a household income of less than $30,000 for a single person or $60,000 for a family of four (income eligibility is adjusted for family size). Applicants must also be legal residents of the United States or Puerto Rico.

Those who are eligible for the Together Rx Access Card may also qualify for additional savings on prescription medication or even free medication, through other patient assistance programs affiliated with the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA).

For more information about the Together Rx access or to enroll in the program call 800-966-0407 or visit The website also has the most current list of brand-name medicines and products.

The 66ers are part of the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league farm system. The team competes in the California League against other teams from throughout the state who are at the “A” level of the minor league system.

A-level players are usually two years or more away from playing with the Dodgers or another major league team. An exception is current Dodgers third baseman Blake Dewitt, who played with the 66ers for part of last season before moving up to the Dodgers “AA” team in Jacksonville, Mo.

The LaSalle medical clinics are at 17577 Arrow Blvd. in Fontana, 1505 17th St. and 565 North Mount Vernon in San Bernardino, and 16455 Main St. in Hesperia.

For an appointment or more information or to sign up for The Healthy Families health insurance program with maximum monthly premiums of $48 per month, per family call LaSalle Medical Associates at (909) 890-0407.