From August 2009

Local Youth Return from Hawaii With 15 Medals From Karate Championships

By Kevin Jefferson

Larkins Bukido Karate, youth team has returned from five days in Honolulu, Hawaii. The team competed in the 27th Annual Aloha State Traditional Karate Championships. The team consisted of 9 members from 6 to 17 years old. The team won 15 medals. Shihan Larkin stated, “The team finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the toughest disciplined competition we have ever faced.” The students were able to experience the warm and gracious culture of the Hawaiian people. They were exposed to their culture, their people, businesses and the rich traditions of island life. The discipline of Sport Karate encompasses a spiritual uplifting though maturity and self confidence.
The winning team members included: Salah al Din Muhammed 6, Malik Session 7, Raja Muhammad 7, Elijah Dillon 13, Kaeron Toliver-Grays 14, Jahbari Sirles 15, Vaina Larkin 15, Shaheed Rooasl 16, and Christopher Davis 17.
The Martial Arts, of which Karate is a discipline of, is a major vehicle for child development which has been embraced by every community in San. Each community in the City has multiple schools that teach some form of Martial Arts. Youth between the ages of 4 and 17 fuel the Martial Arts Discipline throughout the United States. Karate has been adopted by middle class America as today’s “right of passage” for young adults. Disney Land has even embraced Martial Arts by developing a $40 million training facility in Florida for international competition of Karate and Sports Ju Jistsu for both adults and youth. Martial Arts is opening the door for children to travel the world, be exposed to various cultures, introduction to various forms of governments, exposed to international commerce and business which help young people view themselves in the world community not just their local community.

Front row: Zahara Curtis, Evah Ann Marie, Salah al-Din Muhammad, Raja Muhammad, Malik Session, Erin Abdlulaah, Jihad Muhammad, Halimah Muhammad, Arshad Muhammad. econd row: Leverts Stallings, Toure Muhammad, Athena Martin, Christopher Ross, Mical Woldemichael, Viana Larkin, Kameron Toliver-Grays, Elijah Dillion, Toniesha Byrd. Third row: Royale Eubank, Eric Dillion, Hermon Woldemichael, Christopher Davis, Kiara Collins, Onahji Hyson, Jahbrai Sirles, Fatir Muhammad. Back row: Black Belt Instructors: Josiah Larkin, Sidney Wilson, Anthony Larkin, Shihan Jim Larkin, Michael Smith, Ted Champion, Meastro Curtis.

Front row: Zahara Curtis, Evah Ann Marie, Salah al-Din Muhammad, Raja Muhammad, Malik Session, Erin Abdlulaah, Jihad Muhammad, Halimah Muhammad, Arshad Muhammad. econd row: Leverts Stallings, Toure Muhammad, Athena Martin, Christopher Ross, Mical Woldemichael, Viana Larkin, Kameron Toliver-Grays, Elijah Dillion, Toniesha Byrd. Third row: Royale Eubank, Eric Dillion, Hermon Woldemichael, Christopher Davis, Kiara Collins, Onahji Hyson, Jahbrai Sirles, Fatir Muhammad. Back row: Black Belt Instructors: Josiah Larkin, Sidney Wilson, Anthony Larkin, Shihan Jim Larkin, Michael Smith, Ted Champion, Meastro Curtis.

African American Art and Culture Complex Re-Opens After a $1.5 Million Upgrade

San Franciscans came out in huge numbers to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of the African American Art and Culture Complex.
The summer youth program showcased their talents with music productions, poetry readings and many displays of various artwork throughout the building.
Da Mayor Willie Brown came to bless Executive Director London Breed on a job well done. Public Defender Jeff Adachi was in attendance to cut the ribbon. Board President gave an update on the financing of the project and the future of the center. There were over 500 people in e to witness activities on all three floors of the building.
Tenants of the building; including AfroSolo and Larkin Studio, participated in the ceremony. The Sargent Art Gallery has a beautiful art display entitled: Nina Symone with great works showcased throughout the building
The African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC) is a community based 501c3 nonprofit arts and cultural organization. Their mission is to nurture and facilitate the empowerment of our community through Afro-centric artistic and cultural expression, mediums, education and programming. The AAACC is dedicated to inspiring children and youth to serve as agents of change, cultivating their leadership skills and fostering a commitment to community service and activism. In addition, the AAACC is dedicated to encouraging, supporting, and promoting the work of young aspiring Bay Area artists.

Community celebrates opening of the upgraded African American Art and Cultural Complex.

Community celebrates opening of the upgraded African American Art and Cultural Complex.

Lakers and Celtics Find a Common Opponent: Cancer

By Bill Dwyre

A tall and somewhat cranky man with a white beard and a mystical presence stood before us. There he was, old No. 6, reminding us again how damn difficult it is, and always will be, to keep this green-wearing, shamrock-loving basketball team out of the spotlight.
Bill Russell is 75 years old. He had 13 chances at NBA titles as a player and won 11. Before he came to the pros, he led his University of San Francisco team to two NCAA titles and squeezed in a gold-medal performance in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne before reinventing the pro game and demolishing Celtics rivals. All too often, those competitors were the Lakers.
Russell was introduced by Doc Rivers, the current Celtics coach, who said he didn’t expect to be welcomed back to this dinner next year, meaning he plans to take the title back from the Lakers. Russell was also introduced by Sam Jones, who said the only reason he made the Celtics back then was because he was the only other black player, “and Red Auerbach said Russell needed somebody to talk to.”
Russell said he wanted to make his whole career about winning, and he joked about all these “Greatest Players of All Time” lists he sees.
“I’m always No. 8 or No. 9,” he said, laughing, “and I always want to ask them to take any two of the players above me and I’ll match rings with the pair.”
He praised Magic Johnson and said that Magic’s Showtime Lakers were the only non-Celtic teams he had watched closely over the years with some trepidation.
“But we’d still have beaten you,” he said, the famous Russell cackle echoing through the room.
But he was there for more than joking and joshing about the good old days.
“In January, I lost my life partner,” he said. “Now, any time I hear the word cancer, I feel sad.”
He called the disease that had taken the life of Marilyn Nault, whom he had known since the early ‘70s and married nearly three decades later, his “mortal enemy.”
“All the time I was with her, we were having fun,” he said. “We went on a trip, she was driving and handed me her glasses. She said they were smudged. I cleaned them off and handed them to back to her. She put them on, looked at me and said, ‘My God, you’re black.’ “
“She was the great gift that God gave me,” he said, “and cancer took that away. I’m wounded by that. I’ll never be the same.”
In the end, the evening may have marked the first joint Lakers-Celtics undertaking.
The mutual success could be easily measured in dollars, one million of them raised in the midst of a bad economy and enhanced by such magical moments as Denzel Washington calling in his regrets for not being able to attend.
“But he said he’d donate $100,000,” announced Dana Pump, one of the twins who is indistinguishable from his brother and who started this dinner 10 years ago to honor their late father.
Johnson was introduced by West and Pat Riley, spoke last and not only understood the impact of the evening’s Celtics invasion, but correctly deferred to his legendary senior peer.
“You talked about me tonight, Bill, and that meant a lot,” Johnson said, “because, all along, I only wanted to be you.”

Basketball legend Bill Russell (left) shares a joke with Laker’s star Kobe Bryant.

Basketball legend Bill Russell (left) shares a joke with Laker’s star Kobe Bryant.

West Contra Costa County Emergency Preparedness Fair to be Held Sept. 26

The West Contra Costa County Emergency Preparedness Fair will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Hilltop Mall, located at 2200 Hilltop Mall Road in Richmond (in front of the JCPenney parking lot) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..
The free one-day event helps residents prepare for natural and manmade disasters.
More than 30 local businesses and agencies, including police, fire and health departments, are partnering to provide demonstrations, presentations, and offer the latest information about emergency preparedness.
West Contra Costa County is at risk of many natural and manmade disasters—such as earthquakes, fires and outbreaks of disease. Preparing for a major disaster increases your chance of survival and minimizes the impact to your health.

Michelle Obama: Setting Trends

Parade.com polled Americans on celebrity pop culture in its annual Summer Pop Culture Poll. Forty-one percent felt that Michael Jackson’s death was the most gripping headline of 2009.  Also noted were: Bernie Madoff swindling investors out of millions (31%) and John Travolta’s son Jett’s sudden death (18%).  The biggest trendsetter in America is First Lady Michelle Obama, with 50% of the vote. Sarah Jessica Parker came in second with 17%, Victoria Beckham came in third (13%).  Among the ‘beautiful people’ highlighted are: Sexiest male is Johnny Depp, (49%) Sexiest lady is Halle Berry (34%) Most distinguished-looking gentleman is George Clooney (40%), while Barack Obama came in second, with 15%.

Parade.com polled Americans on celebrity pop culture in its annual Summer Pop Culture Poll. Forty-one percent felt that Michael Jackson’s death was the most gripping headline of 2009. Also noted were: Bernie Madoff swindling investors out of millions (31%) and John Travolta’s son Jett’s sudden death (18%). The biggest trendsetter in America is First Lady Michelle Obama, with 50% of the vote. Sarah Jessica Parker came in second with 17%, Victoria Beckham came in third (13%). Among the ‘beautiful people’ highlighted are: Sexiest male is Johnny Depp, (49%) Sexiest lady is Halle Berry (34%) Most distinguished-looking gentleman is George Clooney (40%), while Barack Obama came in second, with 15%.

Hassani Campbell is Still Missing

This week marked the second week since Hassani Campbell disappeared. His foster Mother Shemika Campbell has asked for prayers for her five year old foster son who was first known to be missing when her fiance said he had dropped the child off at her work place in Oakland’s Elmwood District on College Avenue. He said he had left the child, who suffers from cerebral palsey and wears leg braces, in the parking lot behind the shoe store. The boy was not there when Campbell went to get him.
This week a second vigil was held for the child and rewards have been offered of $10,000 plus for information leading to his whereabouts. Anyone with information may call 510-238-7934 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.

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Gender Bender Twist, IAAF Screws Up Sex Test

Is Caster Male or Female? Seminal question answered by Birth Certificate and family’s proof

Controversial world champion athlete Caster Semenya, who’s female sexual identity has been challenged after she broke the 800m record of white South African Zola Budd, arrived home in South Africa to a rapturous welcome.
Semenya’s testerone test revealed levels higher than most females.
Her uncle, Ben Semenya, said: “Caster is a girl… I am not worried about that too much. Caster is like my child. I know where she comes from. For myself, I know Caster is a girl.”
The ex-wife of former President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, also greeted her and said, “We are here to tell the whole world how proud we are of our little girl.”
Semenya sat silently through an hour-long news conference, looking mortified as various officials spoke in her defense.
Her family in Limpopo province has shown the news media her birth certificate, which states she is female.
Athletics South Africa President Leonard Chuene last week told a local paper he had had to “persuade” the athlete to go to the podium to accept her gold medal because she was so upset about the gender row.
The ANC women’s league said it viewed the order for the test by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) “as [a] vicious attack on the dignity of Caster Semenya and all women athletes because they suggest that women can only perform to a certain level and that those who exceed this level should be men”.
IAAF President Lamine Diack accepted that the affair had been handled badly.
“I deeply regret that confidentiality was breached in this case and that the IAAF wasforced into a position of having to confirm that gender testing was being carried out on this young athlete.”
The IAAF ordered Ms Semenya to take the “gender verification test” after she improved her personal best by more than eight seconds over the past year.
The IAAF stresses that it does not suspect her of deliberately cheating, but questions whether she may have a rare medical condition which gives her an unfair advantage.

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Donna Ray’s a High Achiever

The Post News Group congratulates Donna C. Ray for graduating from San Francisco State University with a Masters degree in Instructional Technology and Design. Ms. Ray is originally from Kansas City, Missouri but calls West Oakland her home since it is where she grew up. She now lives in Richmond where she volunteers for Project Leap, Friends to Save the Richmond Plunge, and political campaigns. Ms. Ray also volunteered at the Institute for the Advanced Study of the Black Family Life and Culture in West Oakland where she completed a resource mapping project.
As a student at SF State in 2001 she helped establish the first school of African Philosophy in the Black Studies Department. She was also chosen to address the Students, Faculty, Staff and the press as campus-wide speaker during the Task Force to Improve Race Relations on campus held in 2004. She attends St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in West Oakland. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree next. Donna Ray is a Post Graduate.

Donna C. Ray

Donna C. Ray

World -Traveling Bluesman Sonny Rhodes To Play Marin City Blues, Jazz & Soul Party Festival

By Lee Hildebrand

Sonny Rhodes called himself “the Sheik of East Oakland” during his days as a mainstay on the Bay Area blues scene, from the mid-1960s until the late ‘80s. He wore a turban on his head as he wailed the blues in a manner that combined the smooth phrasing of his hero, Little Junior Parker, with a rough Z.Z. Hill-like squall. Sometimes he’d answer his vocals with biting obbligatos on standard guitar or, more often, with screaming shards of sound played on Hawaiian lap steel guitar, reflecting the influence of legendary Oakland bluesman L.C. “Good Rockin’” Robinson.
The Smithville, Texas-born musician operated a nightclub called the House of Blue Lights in South Berkeley during the early ‘70s before becoming a fixture at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland. He played there when Eli Thornton owned it and later, after Thornton’s girlfriend, blues singer Frankie Williams, shot him to death while he was tending bar, when Troyce Key bought the place. Rhodes had earlier followed Key and musical partner J.J. Malone from Fresno to Oakland after answering a “talent wanted” ad in the Fresno Bee and landing a contract with Fantasy Records in San Francisco.
Bad habits picked up on the streets of Oakland led Rhodes to relocate to New Jersey in 1987. “I thought I could do better,” Rhodes, 68, explains. “I drank a lot, and that didn’t help my case any. When I tried to quit doing these things on my own, my so-called friends would say, ‘Let’s go help him.’ They would call themselves helping me by bringing me drinks and drugs.”
Rhodes has been clean and sober since 2002. “I can play in bars and have it (alcohol) all around, but I don’t think about it,” he says.
He moved back to the Bay Area in 2004 so that his wife Annie, who has been battling uterine cancer, can be near her doctor in San Francisco. They live in a large two-story house with a three-car garage in Antioch. All 25 of his grandchildren, he says, live within a 30-mile radius of his home.
His return to the Bay has been little-noticed, however. “I don’t play here because there is no work here,” says Rhodes, who just got back from a two-month tour of Europe. He’s lost count of the number of times he’s been to Europe since first going there in 1976 as part of a San Francisco Blues Festival tour. His latest CD, titled “I’m Back Again,” was recorded last summer in Milan, Italy. Most of his gigs, however, are in Canada, which he’s been crisscrossing for the past three decades.
Rhodes will make a rare local appearance on Labor Day, Monday, September 7, at the 12th annual Marin City Blues, Jazz & Soul Party in the Park. The free event, which takes place from noon to 6 p.m. on the 100 block of Drake Avenue in Marin City, also features performances by jazz vibraharp great Bobby Hutcherson and bluesmen Craig Horton, Henry Oden and Ron Thompson.

Sonny Rhodes

Sonny Rhodes

Youth in Summer Jobs Repair Bikes, Harvest Fruit

By Post Staff
Part 4 of Series

Kashif Asaad, 15, a student at Met West High School in Oakland is enthusiastic about his summer job helping to repair bikes at Cycles of Change, an East Bay youth bicycle program.
“I’ve learned the basics – I’d like to keep working here because I like the coworkers and that I can help people with their bikes,” said Kashif, who hopes one day to find a profession that combines his interest in oceanography and working with his hands as a mechanic.
Cycles of Change has partnered this summer with the Urban Youth Harvest program at People United for a Better Oakland (PUEBL0) to provide jobs to 31 young people, ages 14 to 24, utilizing federal stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and overseen by the Workforce Investment Board (WIB).
The citywide goal of this year’s summer jobs program has been to find work for 1,100 Oakland youth. Thirteen organizations were selected to be part of the program by the WIB, which is composed of local, business, labor, education and community leaders. The Oakland Private Industry Council has administered the program on behalf of the WIB.
As Cycles of Change taught teams of Oakland youth to refurbish discarded bikes and how to run a bicycle business, other teams of young people rode the bikes to sites where they maintained community gardens and harvested excess produce from backyards, with owners permission, delivering the fruit to Oakland’s low income seniors, many of whom lack access to healthy produce.
Besides learning bicycle maintenance and repair at Cycles of Change, “We discussed what a community bicycle shop should be like. We visited some shops in the area to see what other people are doing, what is possible,” said Isaac Rodriquez, a staff member at Cycles.
“They also learn what can be expected in a job, any job. They learn more professional behavior,” he said.
Cycles began in 1998 at Roosevelt Middle School in East Oakland – the Roosevelt Village Center, which is a collection of after school programs administered by East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC).
“It was like a little community center for bikes. We’d go on camping trips, all-day trips. It started growing, and in 2000 we began opening programs at other schools,” said Grey Kolevzon, a member of the staff at Cycles.
Cycles now operates at eight Oakland middle and high schools, mostly in the Fruitvale District and San Antonio area. The group also has a countywide safe routes to school program, an eight-hour orientation that teaches students how use bikes as transportation in their neighborhoods.
The group restores bicycles that have been discarded, abandoned or donated by public agencies such as parks, Waste Management and the police department.
Cycles has a shop at the Alameda Point Collaborative and in June opened a new storefront at 2889 International Blvd in Oakland. There are almost no local places where someone in East Oakland can buy a bike, said Kolevzon. “Our bikes are recycled but they will last forever. Our mission to provide young people and low income communities with affordable but sustainable transportation,” he said.
While there are a few urban harvesting programs around the country, they are mostly based on volunteer labor. What makes the Urban Youth Harvest program unique is that “young people are earning a paycheck while harvesting from people’s backyards and delivering the fruit to low-income seniors, said Rashida Grinage, Director of PUEBLO.
“Most of what is grown on people’s trees generally goes to waste,” she said. “The young people picked 1,500 pounds of fruit this summer. We had upwardly of 60 to 80 donors.”
“Not only have we been able to create jobs for youth this summer, we’re promoting fitness and teaching the connection between nutrition and health.”
Cycles of Change is holding a bicycle sale this Saturday, Aug. 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 2289 International Blvd. in Oakland. For information, go to www.cyclesofhange.org.
For information on PUEBLO and Urban Youth Harvest, go to www.peopleunited.org.

Working together to refurbish bikes are (L to R) Cycles of Change staffer Isaac Rodriquez; Kashif Asaad, a student at Met West High School; staff member Grey Kolevzon; and summer employee San Saechao.

Working together to refurbish bikes are (L to R) Cycles of Change staffer Isaac Rodriquez; Kashif Asaad, a student at Met West High School; staff member Grey Kolevzon; and summer employee San Saechao.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, 77, ‘Lion of the Senate,’ Leaves Strong Legacy

By Glen Johnson
and Bob Salsberg,
Associated Press Writers

Hyannis Port, Mass. – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in an enduring political dynasty and one of the most influential senators in history, died Tuesday night at his home on Cape Cod after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.
In nearly 50 years in the Senate, Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, served alongside 10 presidents — his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy among them — compiling an impressive list of legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, immigration and more.
In a brief statement to reporters at his rented vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., President Barack Obama eulogized Kennedy as one of the “most accomplished Americans” in history — and a man whose work in Congress helped give millions new opportunities.
“Including myself,” added the nation’s first black president.
Kennedy’s only run for the White House ended in defeat in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter turned back his challenge for the party’s nomination. More than a quarter-century later, Kennedy handed then-Sen. Barack Obama an endorsement at a critical point in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, explicitly likening the young contender to President Kennedy.
To the American public, Kennedy was best known as the last surviving son of America’s most glamorous political family, father figure and, memorably, eulogist of an Irish-American clan plagued again and again by tragedy. But his career was forever marred by an accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969, when a car he was driving plunged off a bridge, killing a young woman.
Kennedy’s death triggered an outpouring of superlatives from Democrats and Republicans as well as foreign leaders.
“If Teddy were here, .. as they say in the Senate, if you would excuse a moment of personal privilege, I personally think it would be inappropriate for me to say too much about the initiative we’re announcing today and not speak to my friend,” Vice President Joe Biden said during a public appearance. He said he was “truly, truly distressed by his passing.”
“Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America and for 36 years I had the privilege of going to work every day … and being a witness to history,” an emotional Biden added. “Every day I was with him … He restored my sense of idealism and my faith in the possibilities of what this country could do.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch, the conservative Republican from Utah who was alternately a political partner and opponent of the unapologetic liberal for three decades, said “Ted Kennedy was an iconic, larger than life United States Senator whose influence cannot be overstated.”

In this Jan. 28, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, stands with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., during a rally for Obama at American University in Washington, where Obama was endorsed by Kennedy.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci).

In this Jan. 28, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, stands with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., during a rally for Obama at American University in Washington, where Obama was endorsed by Kennedy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci).

Families Celebrate Back-to-School

Top: Keith Brown, master of ceremonies, wears his signature t-shirt at the 2nd annual Oakland Natives Give back. Middle: Barbers give free back-to-school hair cuts for students K-5. Left - Barber Stylist Baz of Hamilton Barber Shop cuts Ayl Mattox who attends Horace Mann School. Right - Derrick Gibbs of Scizzors Haynz cuts Dawarj Terry  who attends KD Academy. Below: The “Oakland Natives Give Back” was founded by Nyeisha Dewitt, Tameka Raymond and Dee Dee Abdur-Rahim and they have partnered with the City and schools to help students.

Top: Keith Brown, master of ceremonies, wears his signature t-shirt at the 2nd annual Oakland Natives Give back. Middle: Barbers give free back-to-school hair cuts for students K-5. Left - Barber Stylist Baz of Hamilton Barber Shop cuts Ayl Mattox who attends Horace Mann School. Right - Derrick Gibbs of Scizzors Haynz cuts Dawarj Terry who attends KD Academy. Below: The “Oakland Natives Give Back” was founded by Nyeisha Dewitt, Tameka Raymond and Dee Dee Abdur-Rahim and they have partnered with the City and schools to help students.

On August 23, hundreds of families gathered at City Hall to celebrate returning to school. Nine hundred young people received free books from Scholastic Books, free backpacks, free haircuts, free pizza, inspiring workshops, and messages of support from Gary Payton, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Dwayne Wiggins, Noel Gallo, new Superintendent, Tony Smith, and others.
The Warrior Girls, Poplyfe, and the Cougar Cadet Drumline performed.
This annual event was initiated last year by members of the Effective Teacher Task Force, Kimberly Mayfield and Nyeshia DeWitt. They enlisted Oakland Natives Give Back and the Office of Mayor Dellums.
The Mayor’s Education Director, Kitty Kelly Epstein, told the crowd, “This City Hall is your building, and the Mayor wants you to use it to get ready for school. He grew up in Oakland and his highest priority is Oakland’s youth.”

Wells Fargo Plans to Hire More Than 100 in the Bay Area

Despite challenging economic times, Wells Fargo today announced that California-based bank has more than 100 jobs immediately available in the Bay Area. As one of the Bay Area’s largest private employers with more than 200 banking locations, Wells Fargo is seeking customer service candidates for banker and teller positions to better serve the financial needs of the local community.
“Wells Fargo is hiring sales and service positions in our stores,” said Michael Billeci, Wells Fargo San Francisco Bay Region President. “We are seeing more customers walk into our stores with questions and we have opportunities for more talented bankers to help our customers achieve their financial goals.”
Wells Fargo was recently recognized as one of the top 25 Best Places to Launch a Career by BusinessWeek.
Those interested in applying for the open positions are encouraged to visit Wells Fargo’s career site, www.wellsfargo.com/careers to search for available job opportunities in their communities.
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally.

“Terminator O.K’d New Death Row”

By Rico Sims

We now have a new prison in California which brings us to 33 operational prisons in our state.America has more prisons than any other country in the world.
Why? It’s simply a money thing, or didn’t you know. It seems to me that I heard months ago, that this particular prison was already built. Nevertheless, get ready for it. They’re removing a successful program which deals with AIDS and other incurable diseases, in order to build a ‘two men cell’ in the new death row prison.
Our Governor has lost the meaning of rehabilitation. Now they want to release 5,800 prisoners by the end of the year.
Where are they going to go? What are they going to do? There are approximately 670 prisoners on death row today. By the year of 2014, that number will double. That is why they are installing two men cells. This is an open invitation for more violence in the new death row prison. How can two murderers live together?
We need more programs which deal with life skills, drug and alcohol awareness, plus room and board. We also need sponsors such as Walmart,Target, etc .to fund monies for training and for building and installing solar paneling. There should be an institution that deals with nothing but education and training for different trades. There should also be an institution which is really a hospital that deals with health and safety, such as AIDS and Mental Illness.
The $200 the state gives away to enable people to return to society won’t buy a room for a week. This new prison is costing the taxpayer more than $356,000,000.The prison would be an eyesore; the state isn’t planning on electrocuting anyone soon. It’s been more than 20 years since our last execution, with the exception of Tookie Williams. What makes this new prison so sufficient? Could it be that they are going to crank up the old death chamber? Oh, did I mention that there are more than 500 inmates infected with the Swine Flu? Where are they being treated and with what? What is wrong with our old death row, which had no escapes and lasted more than 150 years.
Don’t you see what our Governor is doing. This is another way to funnel monies through our wonderful and beloved Prisoners Union. This particular union makes more than some of our richest banks in the U.S. and abroad. Crime is big business.
So please don’t say crime doesn’t pay!!! It all depends on what crime it is and who’s committing it!

Blacks Comprise Half of 56,000 Americans Infected With HIV Annually

By Jesse Brooks

Every 9 ½ minutes someone in the United States becomes infected with HIV, which equates to every 19 minutes someone black is infected with HIV. That statistic is based on CDC estimates released last year, which found that approximately 56,000 Americans become newly infected with HIV annually – and nearly half of them are black. In America, in 2009, HIV and AIDS should not be taking such a toll.
My past articles were meant to educate and inform, hoping to bring back a sense of urgency around the state of emergency in our community. There has been a state of emergency in Alameda county and surrounding counties, especially in the Black community, of HIV/AIDS transmissions, for over 11 years. The definition of a State of Emergency is a sudden unforeseen crisis, usually involving danger that requires an immediate response.
A positive HIV antibody test is scary news but today it’s not a death sentence. As better therapies continue to be developed, it’s entirely possible to live out a normal life-span after testing positive. A positive result is an important medical message that may help you save and extend your life. Whether you took the test or not, sooner or later you would have learned of your HIV status. The key to living a long life with HIV is availing you of health care and suitable therapies.
If you learn by testing, you have a chance to slow or prevent some of the possible health outcomes. Even if you didn’t get tested, HIV would present itself at some point as an infection or damage to your immune system. And, if you had waited for HIV disease to present itself, many of your best medical options may already be lost.
HIV is a “spectrum” illness: all who are infected have the same disease, but there are different stages of it. AIDS is the name given only to the later most serious stage. In the earlier and less serious stages, people are HIV-positive, meaning they tested positive on an HIV antibody test but they have no life-threatening symptoms of illness. If left untreated, most people generally progress along the spectrum toward AIDS. A large part of our challenge as Blacks is testing late for HIV; as a result we sometimes are immediately given an AIDS diagnosis and are further along in the disease process. Dr. Lisha Wilson, of The Magic Johnson Clinic, in Oakland, says “you usually find this scenario in emergency room settings, or with people with private insurance, sometimes waiting to the point of collapse to seek help.”
It’s very sad to watch brothers and sisters being taken out by HIV/AIDS, knowing that treatment administered early enough has the potential to maintain quality of life and extend one’s life. From the streets to the suites those who understand the devastating affect HIV/AIDS has on Black Americans must work tirelessly within their means to help. “Learning our HIV status is the single most important step most of us can take to stop the epidemic from ravaging our community. The numbers and the prognosis does not look good, and I’ve painted a grim picture, but my next series of articles will focus on what our community is doing, and how personally, collectively, people are making a difference, and hopefully inspire you to get involved.

From left to right: Dr. Lisha Wilson, M.D. is Medical Director of the  AIDS Health Foundation/Magic Johnson Clinic, in Oakland and  San Francisco, and staff members, Monica Arceneaux,  R.N.,  and Joseph Aiello.

From left to right: Dr. Lisha Wilson, M.D. is Medical Director of the AIDS Health Foundation/Magic Johnson Clinic, in Oakland and San Francisco, and staff members, Monica Arceneaux, R.N., and Joseph Aiello.

Mary King, Minorities Honored For Transportation Service

The Northern California Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) honored seven outstanding individuals and businesses for their transportation achievements and contributions to the industry at its 5th Annual Industry Awards and Recognition Reception late last week at the Carnelian Room in San Francisco. Noted media personality Barbara Rodgers, one of the most recognizable newscasters on CBS 5 Eyewitness News for more than three decades, acted as Mistress of Ceremonies at the event, which raised more than $30,000 for the organization’s scholarship program for minority students living or attending colleges in the Bay Area.
Awardees were recognized for advancing COMTO’s goals of providing equal access to careers in transportation and advancing the transportation interests of communities of color. “Our annual event forwards COMTO’s mission – to promote minority businesses and recognize individuals and organizations that advance minorities in transportation,” noted COMTO Northern California Chapter President Lee Davis.
Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mary King, Assistant General Manager of Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) acknowledged the “incredible efforts [of COMTO] on behalf of the organization, the scholarship program, and minorities in transportation and in need of transportation.”
COMTO National President/CEO Julie Cunningham stressed the importance of including minority and small businesses in contracting opportunities resulting from stimulus funding. At the national level, COMTO has been working with President Obama’s transportation team to ensure that minority voices are heard in the discussion.
Other honorees at the event were:
Special Recognition Award: BEVAN DUFTY, Chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and Member, San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Employer of the Year – Public Sector: CALTRANS
Employer of the Year – Private Sector: JACOBS ENGINEERING GROUP, one of the largest global providers of professional transportation services, scholarship programs.
Employee of the Year: ALBERT YEE, Director, Highway and Arterial Operations, Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Minority Business Enterprise of the Year: MERRIWETHER & WILLIAMS INSURANCE SERVICES is being recognized for its success in developing the SFMTA Third Street Light Rail Surety and Bond & Financing Program, the City & County of San Francisco Surety Bond Program, and the Port of Oakland Surety Bond & Contractor Financing Program.
President’s Award: GHASSAN SALAMEH, Booz Allen Hamilton’s leader in its global transportation business. His mission is to provide world class transportation strategy, management, technology and operations services to United States and international clients across all transportation modes.

Lee Davis (left), President of the Northern California Chapter of the Conference on Minority Transportation Officials; and The Honorable Rocky Fernandez (right), President of Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) Board of Directors; congratulate Mary King, Assistant General Manager of AC Transit.  Ms. King received the Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 5th Annual COMTO Industry Awards and Recognition Program, held in San Francisco last week. Photo by Warren Foster.

Lee Davis (left), President of the Northern California Chapter of the Conference on Minority Transportation Officials; and The Honorable Rocky Fernandez (right), President of Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) Board of Directors; congratulate Mary King, Assistant General Manager of AC Transit. Ms. King received the Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 5th Annual COMTO Industry Awards and Recognition Program, held in San Francisco last week. Photo by Warren Foster.

OHACommissioners Certified by NAHRO

Commissioners of the Oakland Housing Authority were among the first in the nation to be certified for the successful completion of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Professional Development Program for Commissioners. Certificates were recently presented at a national NAHRO conference in Portland , OR . The certification program is designed for those who are members of the boards of commissioners providing policy and budget direction for local public housing authorities across the nation.
The inaugural class of 47 commissioners from around the country completed the certification courses, including four members of the Oakland Housing Authority Board of Commissioners: Vice Chair Robert J. Pittman, Jr.; William Curry, Marlene Hurd, and Esther Purvis-Allen. Expected to receive certificates at up-coming NAHRO events are OHA commissioners: Chair Moses L. Mayne, Jr.; Gregory D. Hartwig, and Tanya Pitts, who are completing their course work.
“Oakland Housing Authority had the largest group of commissioners who were certified and it is a tribute to their initiative,” stated Commission Chair Moses L. Mayne, Jr. “It also demonstrates how seriously our commissioners take their responsibilities to our community.” Chair Mayne has been active in the Professional Development Subcommittee for Commissioners for NAHRO and is one of the principal supporters of the new program of commissioner certification.
Oakland Housing Authority Executive Director Jon Gresley said, “Oakland Housing Authority is gaining a reputation as an innovator among housing authorities. Commissioners gain a great amount of knowledge from the courses designed to train them in their leadership role. The fact that Oakland Housing Authority commissioners are some of the most active participants in NAHRO training has been very beneficial in preparing our commissioners to support the authority as it undertakes new initiatives.”
The seven Oakland Housing Authority Commissioners are appointed by the mayor with the approval of the Oakland City Council, and serve either a two or four year term.
OHA provides housing for approximately 10 percent of Oakland’s families, with 3,221 public housing units in its stock. 11,142 of Oakland families, elderly and disabled rent with Section 8 vouchers, which is a public/private partnership allowing clients choice in the private rental market. The average income of OHA families is about $15,000.
For more information on the Oakland Housing Authority call 510-874-1512 or visit www.oakha.org

OHA commissioners display  Awards of Merit which the OHA won recently. From left to right: Commissioner Marlene Hurd; Commissioner Esther Purvis-Allen;  Executive Director Jon Gresley, Commissioner William Curry; Chair Moses L. Mayne, Jr., Vice Chair Robert J. Pittman, Jr.,  NAHRO President Renee Rooker.

OHA commissioners display Awards of Merit which the OHA won recently. From left to right: Commissioner Marlene Hurd; Commissioner Esther Purvis-Allen; Executive Director Jon Gresley, Commissioner William Curry; Chair Moses L. Mayne, Jr., Vice Chair Robert J. Pittman, Jr., NAHRO President Renee Rooker.

Hall’s Vibe’s Editor-in-Chief

The Vibe Lifestyle Network, which recently acquired Vibe magazine and Vibe.com announced that publishing veteran Jermaine Hall will serve as Editor-in-Chief of the re-launched properties. This marks a new combined strategy for the Vibe brand that was recently rescued by music legend Quincy Jones,and allows for a consistent voice across all Vibe brands.
A veteran publishing and on-line executive with extensive experience in pop culture, music and fashion, Hall returns to Vibe after serving most recently as Editor-in-Chief of King Magazine, where he almost doubled circulation and developed content alliances with AOL’s Black Voices as well as leading the title to its greatest growth during his tenure. Prior to that, Hall served as Music Editor at The Source, developing relationships with talent, discovering new music trends and selecting cover subjects.
Hall started his publishing career at Vibe Magazine, where he served as Webmaster from 1997 to 1999, developing original online content that complemented the magazine’s editorial direction in addition to writing exclusive articles for print and on-line.

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“Bring Your “A” Game” Screening and Discussion

“Bring Your “A” Game” is a new documentary film that, in Van Peebles’ words, “sheds light on the resilience and influence of Black males.” The film will be used as a springboard for discussion and more importantly, action.
The film is hosted by Van Peebles and includes innovative special effects and interviews with prominent Black men such as Ice Cube, Lupe Fiasco, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Cornell West, Spike Lee, and others. Its message, one that President Obama has spoken about, is clear: a high school diploma is not enough.
We must bring our “A” Game!
The film will be shown Saturday, September 19 at the James Moore Theater in the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland. Lunch for African-American males in the 9th through 12th grades will be served. The screenings for youth will occur from 9:00AM-5:00PM and from 9:00AM -12 Noon for adult stakeholders. Mario Van Peebles and Kevin Powell will attend.

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Raiders Community Involvement Results in

By Malaika Bobino

Grants For Local Youth Field Refurbishments
Over the last 10 months, The Oakland Raiders have been involved with the award of $140,000 in grants toward youth field refurbishments in the East Bay. Willie Wilkins Park and Ernie Raimondi Field in Oakland as well as San Leandro’s Burrell Field are benefitting from the Silver and Black’s community involvement.

“It is our great pleasure to provide this assistance to the parks utilized by children and others in our communities,” said Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the initial phase of upgrades at Willie Wilkins Park took place in January at the park which is located in Oakland’s Elmhurst neighborhood.  The park is receiving improvements thanks in part to a $40,000 Youth Fitness Zone Program Grant from The Oakland Raiders and NFL Charities.  The Youth Fitness Zone Grant, awarded by the Oakland Raiders and NFL Charities, is part of the NFL’s commitment to health

and fitness.

The first phase of the Willie Wilkins Park improvements is providing new play equipment for a 2-5 year old tot lot, with new accessible pathways, safety surfaces, and site amenities. The second phase of the project includes a larger tot lot for older children, ages 5-12, additional site furniture, restroom and other improvements to pathways within the park.  The Willie Wilkins Park area has been identified by the city of Oakland’s General Plan Open Space Conservation

and Recreation (OSCAR) element as an underserved area for open space and recreational opportunities. The communities surrounding the park have been longing for renovation to their park and specifically improving amenities for children’s use. By improving the playground, the neighborhood children benefit from added recreational opportunities that will promote physical and social well-being as well as build a stronger community as a result.

Last June, the football field at Oakland’s Ernie Raimondi Field got new bleachers thanks in part to a $50,000 grant from the NFL Grassroots Program. The grant, awarded by the Oakland Raiders, the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), was part of $5.43 million in field refurbishment awards allocated to community groups in areas surrounding the 32 NFL markets.

The Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation is as an advocate for Oakland’s parks and recreation services and facilities. Ernie Raimondi Field is undergoing a two-phase renovation, including a multi-purpose synthetic turf field, a new playground, site lighting, and American Disabilities Act upgrades. The Grassroots grant is being used to install four additional bleachers for the new field to accommodate players and spectators. NFL Grassroots funds is being matched with more than $1 million in donations from various foundations and private contributors.  The football field at San Leandro High School’s Burrell Field is receiving new lights thanks in part to a $50,000 grant from the NFL Grassroots Program.

The San Leandro Unified School District consists of 12 schools serving approximately 8,900 students in grades K- 12. Upgrades to the lighting system at Burrell Field, which includes insulation to prevent outages caused by exposure to the elements, benefits not only the students at San Leandro High School, but the members of the San Leandro Youth Football and Cheerleading League and the community at large. The Grassroots grant is being matched by funds from San Leandro Unified School District.

The NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC, the nation’s leading community development support corporation, has resulted in the construction or renovation of 170 football fields nationwide in the past decade. In the last 10 years, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted over $20 million to revitalize playing fields in underserved neighborhoods. Fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements such as irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf.

In addition, the Raiders have been involved with California State Parks and the California State Parks Foundation for the past two years promoting outdoor recreation and youth fitness. The Raiders’ unique relationship with California State Parks and The California State Parks Foundation involves teaming up to help families and children connect with their natural environment. The Raiders and California State parks have and will continue to join in

events throughout the state to promote outdoor recreation and physical fitness.

The Raiders’ ever expanding programs associated with the organization’s commitment to youth and family initiatives are listed on the team’s website under Raidersforkids.com.  Programs for youngsters administered by the Raiders include:

The Raider Rookie Zone:  The interactive area for kids at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, where young fans are able to participate in a variety of family focused activities during the season beginning two hours before kickoff. Kids of all ages can jump in a Raider inflatable bounce house, throw a touchdown pass or kick a field goal, or solve puzzles and color while sitting at child-sized picnic tables. Community sponsors of the Raider Rookie Zone include Chabot Space & Science Center, The Oakland Museum of California, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, and The Oakland Zoo.  These community sponsors are present throughout the Raider Rookie Zone and each offers a unique learning experience to young fans.

Raidersforkids.com: The site contains many exciting activities for youngsters including a trivia challenge, tackle geography and coloring pages.

Youth Skills Camp:  The camp is designed to encourage boys and girls, ages 8-14, to participate in and enjoy the game of football. The camp is organized and structured to provide every participant, regardless of skill level, with the same top-notch instruction by Raiders players and coaches, along with Bay Area high school and college coaches.

Punt, Pass & Kick Program: The program has given many current NFL stars a beginning to their football careers.  With more than four million girls and boys from around the country taking part in the competition every year from July through January, it is one of the world’s largest youth sports participation programs. Girls and boys, ages 8-15, compete against each other in punting, passing and place kicking in four separate age divisions (8-9, 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15).

Flag Football:  The National Football League has official youth leagues for kids 6-14 years old.  This program gives boys and girls the opportunity to play in an organized non-contact football league and the chance to compete in the NFL FLAG Regional Tournaments around the country in October.  Winners from the tournaments advance to the NFL FLAG National Tournament of Champions at DISNEY’S WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS ® Complex in November.

The Junior Raiderettes:  The program is open to young people of all ability levels, between the ages of 7 – 15, and provides fun and motivational challenges where youngsters can strengthen their talents, abilities and confidence in a non-competitive environment.

High School Coach of the Week: The Oakland Raiders High School “Coach of the Week” program promotes high school football by giving high school coaches and teams the recognition that they deserve.  Designed to honor coaches who have created successful programs for teams and players, both on and off of the playing field, the “Coach of the Week” program provides teams with financial assistance to maintain their football programs.  During each week of the high school season, The Oakland Raiders select one high school coach as the “Coach of the Week” winner, and a High School Coach of the Year at the end of the season.

Gatorade Junior Training Camp Program: The program is available to elementary schools, recreation centers, and other non-profit organizations for clinics. A Junior Training Camp features the educational and recreational benefits of football presented in a safe and fun environment.  The camp’s curriculum is very safe, and was developed by Gatorade so that any student can participate – regardless of age, gender,

ability, or experience.

THE TEAM OF THE DECADES

49ers Rush to Victory Over the Raiders

San Francisco, CA—After watching their team finish second-to-last in rushing defense the last two seasons, Oakland Raider fans were hoping that change had finally come this season. Unfortunately, after being gashed by the 49ers for 275 rushing yards in a 21-20 loss in the “Battle of the Bay,” Raider fans were left feeling like they were in for more of the same. The real punch in the gut was that the ground game beat down wasn’t issued by star running back Frank Gore (2 carries for 7 yards), but by seldom-used running back Michael Robinson (14 rushes for 97 yards) and rookie running back Glen Coffee (16 rushes for 129 yards). The Raiders only have a few weeks to iron out those defensive kinks before the regular season begins with a real test when the San Diego Chargers come to town with future Hall of Famer LaDainian on Monday Night Football.

“We have a lot to work on, but our main focus is to be ready for the season opener” said linebacker and Oakland native Kirk Morrison.  “We definitely need to find ways to stop the run, and today was not good for the defense.  We can’t dwell on it because it is preseason. We have the time to fix it before Monday night’s game (against the Chargers)!”  Morrison left the game in the first quarter with a dislocated left elbow.  He is expected to miss a few weeks.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell and the Raider offense got off to a slow start. The offense was handed great field position late in the first quarter when linebacker Ricky Brown picked off a tipped Alex Smith pass and returned it 46 yards to the 49er’s 12-yard line. They moved inside the 5-yard line when Russell connected on a pass to tight end Zach Miller at the 4. But the 49ers defense mounted a goal line stand, holding running back Justin Fargas to a gain of a yard and forcing Russell into two incompletions to retake possession of the ball and, theoretically, momentum.

But the 49ers drive stalled at the Raider 40-yard line, and it wasn’t long before Russell found rookie wide receiver Louis Murphy for a 24-yard touchdown to cap an impressive 7-play, 59-yard drive to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.

The 49ers were able to move the ball quickly down field but had to settle for a 21-yard field goal from Joe Nedney.  With 1:59 left in the second quarter Jeff Garcia replaced Russell at quarterback and quickly rushed and threw for first downs. But after driving the offense to the 49er’s 28-yard line Garcia threw an interception on a pass that glanced off wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins’ hands. The Raiders took a 7-3 lead into the locker room at halftime after the 49ers ran a couple of plays.

Nate Davis started the second half at quarterback for the 49ers and moved the ball well. San Francisco was able to drive to the Raiders’ 33 before attempting a 51-yard field goal that was no good.  Bruce Gradkowski took over at quarterback for the Raiders and drove the offense downfield 59 yards, ultimately connecting with rookie tight end Brandon Myers for a 2-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 14-3 lead.  Davis quickly responded  by driving the 49er offense downfield for an 80-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker.  After the 2-point conversion made the score 14-11, Gradkowski’s pass intended for Nick Miller was intercepted by Scott McKillop at Oakland’s 29, and the 49ers converted a field goal to tie the score.

Charlie Frye replaced Gradkowski at quarterback, and his first pass was intercepted by Carlos Thomas.  The 49ers capitalized with a rushing touchdown by running back Kory Sheets to take a 21-14 lead.

Frye was able to redeem himself by leading the Raiders on a late 8-play, 67-yard drive that included a 14-yard scramble for a touchdown. But the two-point conversion failed and the 49ers held a 21-20 with 3:30 left in the game. The Raiders forced the 49ers into a three-and-out, but then fumbled a punt return that sealed the game.

Raiders’ coach Tom Cable spoke about the loss after the game.  “We were up and down in terms of rhythm, and I don’t think we tackled well on defense.  The penalties in the fist half were very costly, so we have a lot to clean up.  I like the effort, but I’m not happy with the discipline,” said coach Cable.

The Raiders’ next game will be Saturday August 29, 2009 against the New Orleans Saints.

Written by: Malaika Bobino

Yankees Dominate A’s in Series

Oakland, CA—With the A’s only winning 7 of the last 21 games against the Yankees over the last three seasons, any rivalry that exists is solely in the mind of the fans. Throughout this three-game series that began on Monday, August 17, the “Yankee Nation” showed up in full force to support their beloved Bronx Bombers. The stands at the Coliseum were an interesting mix of green and gold versus navy and grey, with Yankee fans attempting – unsuccessfully – to drown out the cheers of the hometown faithful. Unfortunately, the Yankee fans had more to cheer about this time around with the Yankees taking two of three games from the A’s.

In game one, A’s pitcher Brett Tomko was able to exact a bit of revenge by leading the A’s to a shutout victory over the Yankees, who had released him less than a month before. The 30-year-old right-hander was sharp against his former team, allowing just five hits and one walk in five scoreless innings.

The A’s scored all of their runs in the fourth inning.  Rajai Davis extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games as he got things rolling by doubling with one out and stealing third base.  Kurt Suzuki brought him in with a single to center.  After a single by Scott Hairston and a ground out by Ryan Sweeney advanced Suzuki to third, Yankee’s pitcher A.J. Burnett made a critical mistake by being called for a balk, sending Suzuki home to make it 2-0.  Mark Ellis doubled and Hairston crossed the plate to give the A’s a 3-0 lead.

The bullpen was able to shut the Yankees down. Reliever Craig Breslow retired six of the seven batters he faced. In the eighth inning Brad Ziegler  allowed a leadoff single to Derek Jeter and a two out walk to Alex Rodriguez, but he got out of the jam by striking Jorge Posada out looking. Andrew Bailey sealed the win with a perfect ninth inning. The first game was a huge win for Oakland, but it wouldn’t be long before the Yankees took control of games two and three.

In game two, the A’s had the Yankees on their heels early. After A’s starting pitcher Vin Mazzaro beaned Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez in the top of the first, Yankee starter C.C. Sabathia appeared to retaliate by throwing a fastball behind Suzuki, drawing a warning for both benches from home plate umpire Jerry Layne. Suzuki responded by belting the next pitch over the left field wall to put the A’s on top 1-0. The Yankees responded quickly after an error by Adam Kennedy allowed Melky Cabrera to cross the plate and tie the score at 1-1 in the top of the second. But the A’s wrestled the lead from the Yankees again in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by Tommy Everidge.

Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the A’s could muster as

Sabathia showed the form that made him a prep star at Vallejo High School. He looked calm and unfazed as he dominated the A’s lineup, giving up just five hits and striking out seven in eight innings.  The Yankees gave Sabathia plenty of run support, tying the game in the top of the third and breaking it open with a five-run sixth inning to coast to a 7-2 victory. The A’s didn’t help themselves by committing three errors in the game.

The deciding game three was played in front of a sold out crowd of 35,067.  Unfortunately, the A’s squandered seven impressive innings by 21-year-old rookie pitcher Brett Anderson with multiple missed scoring opportunities. The A’s stranded 10 men on base, and it was the Yankees who walked away with a 3-2 victory.

Known for their power hitting, the Yankees jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by giving the A’s a taste of their own medicine: small ball. Derek Jeter led off the game with a single to center field, stole second, advanced to third on a Johnny Damon ground out, and scored on a ground out by Mark Teixeira. A’s third baseman Adam Kennedy might have prevented Jeter from scoring had he tried to throw him out at home, but he opted for the sure out at first base instead. The A’s had a chance to do some damage in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with only one out, but they were unable to bring any runners across.

The Yankees struck again in the fourth inning when Teixeira homered with Damon on first to make it a 3-0 game.  Again, the A’s appeared ready to match the Yankees in the bottom half of the inning when they got runners on first and third, but again they failed to score.

Jack Cust’s solo home run in the sixth snapped a career high 23-game streak without driving in a run and finally got the A’s on the board. Mark Ellis brought the A’s within one on a two-out single in the seventh inning to score Rajai Davis, who had singled and stolen second base.  The A’s came close but just didn’t have enough to stop the Yankees from taking two out of three in the series.
Written by: Malaika Bobino

Raiders On Right Path With Win Over Cowboys

By Malaika Bobino

Oakland, CA– The excitement was overwhelming last night at the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders opened the 2009 pre-season with a 31-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The starters only played one quarter while the reserves took flight during the remainder of the game while trying to secure a spot on the roster. The Raiders are on the right path under the direction of coach Tom Cable. For the past two weeks in practices Cable has stressed the importance of technique, position and ball handling.

“I thought we played with really good effort and thought we were playing at a very fast pace. We had some goals going out and wanted to get in some rhythm offensively, I thought we did that throwing the ball. A couple of protection issues in that first half we got straightened out early. Defensively we wanted to be discipline, stay in gaps and game tackle. Part of that I feel decent about after the first pre-season game and some of that has to improve” said Cable.

Raiders quarterback JarMarcus Russell found his rhythm early in the 1st quarter when he completed five of his six passes, with four secured by WR Chaz Schilens. In his second season, Schilens continues to look good. He had several successful catches and did a great job executing plays. Cable felt Schilens finished well at the end of last season and expects him to improve. Schilens proved tonight he is the top receiver giving JaMarcus Russell more options with his passing game. “I worked hard in the off season and it was great to finish on a good note last season. It gave me confidence to know that I could do good, be productive and help the team win” said Schilens.

The Raiders got on the scoreboard with a 23-yard field goal from Janikowski in the 1st quarter. Tony Romo threw an 8-yard pass to TE Jason Witten and this was the Cowboys only touchdown of the game. Dallas moved the ball well but the Raiders defense kept them scoreless in the entire 2nd quarter. Back up QB Bruce Gradkowski took over for JaMarcus Russell and quickly got the offense rolling by connecting with a surprised TE Tony Stewart for a 3-yard touchdown.

“I wasn’t surprised I caught the ball for a touchdown. The way the play worked out is not how we originally ran it” said, Stewart. As a back up TE, Stewart is also trying to secure his position on the team, by playing defense on special teams. “I understand as a back-up TE my role is to help where I’m needed, being in this league for the past 9 years, I know just how to do that.”

The Raiders defense continued to shut down the Cowboys in the first half, FS Michael Huff intercepted QB Jon Kitna’s pass at the Oakland 6 yard line. The Raiders were unable to capitalize of the play giving Dallas an opportunity to score but, kicker Nick Folk’s missed a 36-yard field goal. The reserves for the Raiders dominated on both offense and defense. Rookie TE Brandon Myers 18-yard catch set up RB Louis Rankin’s 3-yard touchdown. This gave Oakland a 17-7 lead and they didn’t stop there.

QB Brad Gradkowski completed 9 of 16 passes for 153 yards, including a 48-yard pass to WR Nick Miller to set up RB Gary Russell’s 2-yard touchdown giving Oakland a 24-10 lead. QB Charlie Frye who is competing with Gradkowski for the third string quarterback job threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Will Franklin in the 4th quarter sealing the victory to 31-10. Back up QB Jeff Garcia missed the game with a calf injury.

The Oakland Raiders will travel across the Bay to play the San Francisco 49ers next week for game two of their pre-season schedule and hope to go up 2-0.

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A's Walk-Off Win On Ellis' Homerun

Oakland, CA–  On this past Sunday, the Oakland A’s hosted their “Turn-Back-the-Clock” celebration.  In front of a sun-baked crowd of 20,241, the A’s wore throw back jerseys to honor the 80th anniversary of the 1929 World Champion Philadelphia Athletics.  A’s manager Bob Geren even donned a navy pin-stripped suit with a fedora instead of former A’s manager Connie Mack’s trademark straw hat.  Known more in recent years for their penchant for playing “small ball”, the A’s turned back the clock to the “Bash Brothers” days when second baseman Mark Ellis hit a walk-off home run to give the A’s a 3-2 vicotry and avoided a sweep by the Chicago White Sox.

“It feels good not to get swept at home. They’re playing good baseball right now and it was a big win for us today, ” said Ellis after the game.  “I knew to swing early on the fastball.  I thought it was going to be a double… when I saw the ball go over the fence it was a great feeling.” Ellis, who has been one of the A’s hottest hitters lately, tied an Oakland record with a career high five hits on Monday, August 10 against the Baltimore Orioles.

In Sundays game the White Sox took the lead 2-0 in the top of the 6th inning, a rally that included doubles by Scott Podsednik and former Athletic Mark Kotsay.  The A’s responded in the bottom of the 7th with a leadoff single by (DH) Nomar Garciaparra, who advanced to third base on shortstop Bobby Crosby’s double and scored on Ellis’ sacrifice fly to center.  In the bottom of the 8th centerfielder Rajai Davis extended his hit streak to 11 games with a single. He has hit successfully in 18 of the last 19 games, which is the longest streak by any A’s player this year. Davis then stole 2nd base, prompting fiery White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to rush out to argue the call.

“I came out to the field to question the umpire’s call…I wanted to know if my second baseman dropped the ball,” said Guillen.  “But [on] plays like that the umpire has a better view than we do.”  The steal turned out to be pivotal as right fielder Scott Hairston doubled and brought Davis in to tie the score at 2-2.  “I figure if I’m on base, my game is to get into scoring position,” said Davis.  “The closer I get makes all the difference, and for Scott to hit the double behind me was clutch!  With the game on the line you can’t give up.  I have faith that the guys behind me are going to get the job done as well.”

The game remainded tied going into the 9th inning.  White Sox 2nd baseman Jason Nix hit a grounder to shortstop Bobby Crosby and was ruled safe at 1st base.  Geren came out to argue the call, and from the replay it appeared he had a legitimate beef.  Nix then stole 2nd base and again he appeared to be out on the replay.  Geren came out a second time to argue the call and was ejected.  Fortunately, no runs scored for the White Sox in the inning, and by the time Geren was back in his office Mark Ellis had hit the walk-off home run to lift the A’s to victory.  No better way to win the game and honor the 1929 champion Philadelphia Athletics.

Written by Malaika Bobino