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Louisiana lawmakers make Juneteenth a legal state holiday
6/16/2021 1:41:17 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)—Louisiana has recognized Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a legal state holiday. The third Saturday in June will be celebrated as Juneteenth Day under a bill passed without any nay votes and signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. The House voted 87-0 for the measure by Baton Rouge Democratic Rep. Larry Selders, while senators gave it final passage 37-0. Juneteenth—which officially falls on June 19—honors the day in 1865 when enslaved Blacks in Texas were freed with the arrival of federal troops....

Compton College student overcomes odds to create impressive success story
6/16/2021 1:24:11 PM

COMPTON—“It blows my mind that in just a few years, I’m a single mother who went from having no high school diploma, no job, no transportation, and no means to support my family to now having a job, graduating from community college, and transferring to a university this fall,” said Jessica Ramos, Compton College class of 2021 graduate and mother of two. Ramos is graduating from Compton College this month with an associate degree and was accepted to California State University, Dominguez Hills to major in business administration. She is considering a career in...

Racial diversity in children's books grows, but slowly
6/16/2021 1:13:07 PM

By Christine Fernando   CHICAGO (AP)—In the world of children's books, villagers can protect their water from a black snake, dark skin is as beautiful as the night sky, and a little girl's two puffs of hair can make her feel like she's floating above the clouds. Kids are seeing more of these possibilities in the books they read as authors make a bigger push to reflect the diversity around them. Racial diversity in children's books has been picking up since 2014, reversing a 25-year plateau, according to Kathleen T. Horning, director of the University...

Rash of mass shootings stirs U.S. fears heading into summer
6/16/2021 1:10:12 PM

By Kathleen Foody   CHICAGO (AP)—Two people were killed and at least 30 others wounded in mass shootings overnight in three states, authorities said Saturday, stoking concerns that a spike in U.S. gun violence could continue into summer as coronavirus restrictions ease and more people are free to socialize. The attacks took place late Friday or early Saturday in the Texas capital of Austin, Chicago and Savannah, Georgia. In Austin, authorities said they arrested one of two male suspects and were searching for the other after a shooting early Saturday on a crowded...

'Space race' level attack on future public health crises
6/16/2021 1:04:26 PM

By Daniel Moore   PITTSBURGH (AP)—Maureen Lichtveld's nearly 40 years in environmental public health—from her home country of Suriname, to the U.S. government, to the Hurricane Katrina-devastated Gulf Coast and, finally, to Pittsburgh this year—has focused on a central principle: how to prepare for the next big crisis. Her “aha” moment came early, in her mid-20s as she worked to increase vaccination rates among children in the Amazon jungle. By training more health care workers and promoting vaccine effectiveness more widely, she helped...

Connecting through children’s books
6/16/2021 1:00:13 PM

By Marian Wright Edelman FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT EMERITA   “When we think about what it is to be connected, we think about memory. We think about history. We think about storytelling. All of these words that we hear—‘literacy,’ ‘inclusion,’ ‘diversity’—those are all words for connection . . . When I say to people ‘why do we need to have diverse books?,’ it’s not because necessarily everybody needs to see themselves reflected in every book, but because we need that sense of connection. We need to live in...

Where do wrinkles come from?
6/16/2021 12:42:57 PM

By Dr. James L. Snyder   Several months ago, I had two cataracts removed from my eyes. How they got there, I don't know. As far as I can remember, they never asked my permission, and furthermore, they never paid rent for being there. According to the eye doctor, and doctors are never wrong, I now have 20/20 vision. I've never had such vision since I was ten years old. All I really need now are reading glasses, and my vision is quite good. That sounds like a good thing on the surface, but every good thing has a little dark corner somewhere hidden. The...

LA City Council calls for increase in rental assistance resources
6/10/2021 1:13:35 PM

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas spoke Tuesday about the need for federal aid and a "Right to Housing" ahead of the City Council's approval of a resolution to support any legislation that increases rental assistance resources, including housing vouchers, to help the region address its homelessness crisis. "We need to aggressively seek a new paradigm of federal legislation that would effectively support our attempt to scale up our response to this crisis. I think all of us recognize and appreciate that we have to do more, but we cannot...

Cops squabble as former SoCal tourist destination overrun by homeless
6/10/2021 1:05:34 PM

VENICE—The growing political battle over homelessness on Venice Beach escalated Tuesday, with City Councilman Mike Bonin lashing out at Sheriff Alex Villanueva's plan to dispatch deputies to Ocean Front Walk—outside his agency's jurisdiction—to meet with the homeless and begin an effort to clear the encampment. Villanueva told reporters Monday deputies will talk to people residing in an encampment at the beach to determine what they are doing to move from being homeless to having a place to stay. He said the homelessness crisis within Los Angeles city limits...

Will we be served coffee in Heaven?
6/10/2021 9:48:52 AM

By Dr. James L. Snyder   The last several weeks have truly been hectic in every sense of the word. Trying to catch up can be a never-ending job. When I think I’m caught up, I see another thing I need to do. I have learned that kicking the can down the street only hurts your big toe. With so much to do lately, it's hard to prioritize what should come first. The one thought rattling through my brain is, will anybody know if I don't do this job? It doesn’t have to rattle too long before I come to the answer to that inquiry. If I don't do a...