This is National Stroke Awareness Month and at this time and throughout the year Community Memorial Health System encourages the community to better understand the risk factors and symptoms of stroke, a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the United States.

“Time is crucial in the treatment of stroke, as on average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke and roughly every four minutes someone dies from a stroke,” said Stephanie Lara-Jenkins, RN, Stroke Center Coordinator at CMH. “The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient presents to an emergency department for treatment, the greater chance of recovery.”

Strokes occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. When this occurs, part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, destroying millions of valuable nerve cells within minutes.

“If you suspect a stroke, remember the word FAST – F-A-S-T,” said Lara-Jenkins. “F is for face - is your face drooping? A is for arms – can you lift both arms? S is for speech – are you slurring your words and T is for time, call 9-1-1 immediately because with stroke, time is brain.”

The primary stroke symptoms include:
• Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face or facial drooping
• Sudden numbness or weakness in an arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Stroke risk factors include:
• Hypertension
• Atrial Fibrillation
• Diabetes Mellitus
• High Cholesterol
• Inactivity/Obesity
• Coronary Heart Disease
• Excessive Tobacco and/or Alcohol Use
• Blood Disorders, and
• Depression

Stroke is a leading cause of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year, and 87 percent of these are ischemic strokes. An acute ischemic stroke occurs when an obstruction, such as a blood clot, blocks blood flow to the brain. The obstruction deprives the brain of blood and oxygen, destroying valuable nerve cells in the affected area within minutes. The resulting damage can lead to significant disability including paralysis, speech problems and emotional difficulties.

Treatment to reverse the disabilities caused by stroke may be available if get to the emergency room immediately upon recognition of stroke symptoms. Leading a healthy lifestyle, including lowering risk factors like high blood pressure and weight, can also help reduce the risk of stroke.

Find out if you are at risk of a stroke by attending a free Mini Stroke Screening first Fridays each month from 11am-1pm, by appointment only. For stroke survivors, family and caregivers a Stroke Support Group meets second Wednesdays each month 2-3:15 pm. To take a Stroke Risk Assessment visit www.cmhshealth.org/myhealth or call CMHS’s HealthAware office 805-667-2818.

Community Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system, which is comprised of Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, along with the Centers for Family Health serving various communities within and located in Ventura County, California.

 


 

To Whom It May Concern:

Enclosed you will find an FPPC Complaint that was filed today against Carla Castilla, Candidate for Ventura County Supervisor – Third District. As a former council member, I understand first hand the importance of raising money for a campaign. Early on in the campaign cycle it had been suggested by members of Ms. Castilla’s campaign and the Democratic Party that Carla should be the only endorse candidate because she was the only one managing her finances. As a public servant and an old hand at politics I decided to review Ms. Castilla’s fillings when they were posted in February and monitored them since. What I discovered are the discrepancies listed in this complaint. I am sharing this with you the media because I feel the public needs to be aware of the manner in which Ms. Castilla and others have been misleading members of our community in making them believe Carla was being a good custodian of her campaign finances, therefore a “chosen” candidate.

As a political leader and elected official, we have a responsibility to our constituents, to manage their money with their best and highest interest in the forefront. We must be transparent and honest with the public. They need to know that they can count on their elected officials, that they have integrity and respect the public and their interests. Carla’s decision to handle her expenses in this manner suggests that she will go to great lengths to get elected including deceive the public. It is in the public interests to learn this truth.

If you are interested in discussing the complaint and the details around it, please feel free to contact me at 805-290-8217.

Sincerely,

Laurie Zuniga
Former Councilmember City of Fillmore

***

Tuesday, May 11 2016

Fair Political Practice Commission
428 J Street, Suite 620
Sacramento, CA 95814

To Whom It May Concern:

Enclosed you will find my complaint against Carla Castilla - Candidate for Ventura County Supervisor, Third District. I have included a complete complaint that includes the following:

1.) A complete complaint

2.) Identified person(s) who have violated the Act. A list of specific provisions I believe the person(s) violated, and the dates on which the violation(s) occurred.

3.) Description of the facts constituting the alleged violation and evidence to support the complaint.

4.) Official signature

Sincerely,
Laura Zuniga

***

***

 


 
Fillmore FFA held its 4th Annual May Festival Pancake Breakfast Saturday, May 21st from 7:00 - 9:30am at the Fillmore Veterans Memorial Bldg. Many Fillmore residents came to enjoy the breakfast. Photos courtesy Bob Crum.
Fillmore FFA held its 4th Annual May Festival Pancake Breakfast Saturday, May 21st from 7:00 - 9:30am at the Fillmore Veterans Memorial Bldg. Many Fillmore residents came to enjoy the breakfast. Photos courtesy Bob Crum.
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The volunteers and staff who made the FFA Pancake Breakfast a success.
The volunteers and staff who made the FFA Pancake Breakfast a success.
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Rattelsnake season is here and so are the snakes, like this one spotted in Bardsdale. Clear weeds and clutter away from your yard and be aware.
Rattelsnake season is here and so are the snakes, like this one spotted in Bardsdale. Clear weeds and clutter away from your yard and be aware.
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The Fillmore Photography Club for beginners and enthusiasts conducted by photojournalist and digital art photographer Bob Crum. Mini workshops, monthly shooting assignments and photo critiques. Two requirements: A camera and a desire to have fun shooting photos. Watch this space for further details.

 
Presley McLain age 9, a 3rd grader at San Cayetano Elementary, raised $3,038 to be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Presley McLain age 9, a 3rd grader at San Cayetano Elementary, raised $3,038 to be donated to the American Cancer Society.
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Monday, May 16th marked the kick off for the 2016 American Cancer Society’s Fillmore/Piru Relay for Life. It was a beautiful evening at Elkins Golf Course with 27 of the 29 registered teams represented. There was good food, great company and lots of helpful information discussed. The 2016 Relay is scheduled for Saturday, September 24 beginning
at 9:00 AM through Sunday, September 25, 9:00 AM at Shiells Park. If you would like information on registering a team you can contact Faith Lugo, 805-990-8736. Please plan on joining the event in September to help raise money for a wonderful cause.

 

For those readers who have been following the last 9 columns on the science of meditation and mindfulness, it should be clear to you by now that our neurobiology is tantamount to a type of advanced computer - the information the brain receives determines its categorization and its categorization determines its output. Our neurobiology and consciousness will continue to evolve depending on a few factors. For instance, our present social brain capacity cannot even conceive of advanced human potentiality. Currently, our perception of our potential is about chasing the hierarchical “Golden Calf.” Humanity can’t even imagine achieving a type II or III civilization which is levels of advanced intelligence that harness their Sun’s or galaxy’s total energy. Neurobiological evolutionary continuance, that’s us, completely depends on if and when we discover that Twinkie's are not bananas.

To expand on the offering of nature, humanity and particularly world leadership are thankless of “Goldilocks’s” gifts considering our stewardship on planet Earth. Note that we have been very fortunate to be given a planet located the perfect distance from a perfect sized Sun for that distance. But this is just a needle in the haystack of breathtaking alms given to us so that we can actually ponder nature’s artistry. No endowment stands out amongst the myriad of others. It’s all magic! But, let’s peruse Goldilocks’s geo-astronomical time scale. We have been very lucky not to have met the same demise as our dinosaur family either geologically or astronomically. Our lineage stretches far back into geological time. Be grateful we have not been hit by a giant asteroid or become victims of unstable tectonic plate movement during our evolution. Why be grateful? One reason is that gratitude is the elixir of life from a scientific biological perspective meaning it's healthy. But in my intended context, our evolving consciousness manifests an inner and outer vast mysterious cosmos for us to look for answers to the magic. The operative term is “evolving.” What discoveries await us?

Use your meditation practice to feel the sentience of hallowed Earth and beyond. Though we are currently stuck in the Twinkie zone of “he said you said, it's mine, not yours,” Goldilocks is still waiting for us, her arm stretched out to hold our hand and guide us along the path of consciousness potentiality. The criticality of connecting to the future is nevermore upon us today. Sort your categorizations using your meditation practice.

Paul Benavidez, MFA

 

Domino’s Pizza Teams Up With Blood Center To Give Pizzas To Blood Donors

Memorial Day is fast approaching and the need for blood is expected to rise. Starting this week, United Blood Services is asking blood donors along the Central Coast of California to give 1,105 pints before May 30th in order to prepare for the anticipated need.

The blood needs of our community are so great that the Blood Center has teamed up with Domino’s Pizza to give a way coupons for FREE Medium One-Topping PIZZAS to every Central Coast donor from now until the end of the month. “We are thrilled that Domino’s Pizza is helping us recognize the many heroes in our community who will be saving countless lives, “ notes Sergio Coppa, spokesperson for the Blood Center. “There is no greater gift than saving a friend or neighbor with your life’s blood.”

Holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day, are traditionally a hazardous time of year causing an unusually high need for blood. With increased travel and the beginning of many vacations it is difficult to maintain supplies in the face of increasing summer usage, and decreased donations. It is vital that the blood supply remain strong following the holiday, as there is no substitute.

Donations may be made at United Blood Services Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo Centers, as well as a number of community blood drives happening throughout the region. Donors are asked to make an appointment by contacting United Blood Services at 877.827.4376; or online at www.Blood4Life.org. Just click on “Donate Blood” and type in your zip code to find a list of drives nearby. Appointments are appreciated, but not necessary. Walk-ins are also welcome, and will be honored.

United Blood Services vitally needs 1,105 donors before Memorial Day who will save a life and walk away with FREE Domino’s pizza as a special thank you.

United Blood Services is the Central & Southern California Region non-profit community blood provider and serves patients throughout the area. The United Blood Services network is one of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit blood service organizations, and is a founding member of America’s Blood Centers and the AABB.

 

In celebration if its 84th anniversary, the Humane Society of Ventura County is holding an open house at its Ojai kennel on June 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to providing behind-the-scene tours of HSVC’s facility at 402 Bryant St., humane educator Dawn Reily will be giving presentations, with the help of animals at the shelter, and be available to answer all animal questions. There will be a craft table, scavenger hunt and refreshments available, so attendees are encouraged to bring their children.

The HSVC also is using the day to launch its “Tiles for Tails” campaign to help build a new kennel. Donors will have engraved personalized titles made by Firefly Ceramics that will be on permanent display at the kennel.

For more information, call 646-6505.

The Humane Society of Ventura County is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1932. It does not receive federal, state or local tax dollars to operate and relies solely on private donations.

 
Theresa Robledo with Civic Pride Vision 2020 presents Yard of the Month to Adrian & Carol Rivera. Congratulations! This Craftsman Style Home located on 435 Fillmore Street is beautifully gardened with Geraniums, Begonias, mix of Gerber Daisies, Lavender, Amarillo flower, Flowering Christmas Cactus, Lavender Trumpet Vines, Hanging Impatience and Wisteria Vines which makes this home so inviting to sit on the front porch and enjoy chirping birds invade the garden looking for juicy grubs and shiny seeds. Thank you to Otto & Sons Nursery for the generous gift certificate to the Rivera Family.
Theresa Robledo with Civic Pride Vision 2020 presents Yard of the Month to Adrian & Carol Rivera. Congratulations! This Craftsman Style Home located on 435 Fillmore Street is beautifully gardened with Geraniums, Begonias, mix of Gerber Daisies, Lavender, Amarillo flower, Flowering Christmas Cactus, Lavender Trumpet Vines, Hanging Impatience and Wisteria Vines which makes this home so inviting to sit on the front porch and enjoy chirping birds invade the garden looking for juicy grubs and shiny seeds. Thank you to Otto & Sons Nursery for the generous gift certificate to the Rivera Family.
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Bank of the Sierra, the banking subsidiary of Sierra Bancorp, (NASDAQ: BSRR), announced that it has completed the assumption of deposits and certain loan assets of a Porterville branch of Citizens Business Bank located in Porterville, California, finalizing the agreement with Citizens Business Bank, the banking subsidiary of CVB Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: CVBF).

Bank of the Sierra President and CEO Kevin McPhaill was pleased with the acquisition, adding, “We are happy to extend our services to the customers of Citizens Business Bank. We’ve been pleased with the transition, and are confident that customers will enjoy access to the range of products and services Bank of the Sierra offers.” Customer accounts were transitioned over to Sierra’s Porterville Branch, located at 90 North Main Street in Porterville. All the employees from the Citizens Business Bank branch were retained in the acquisition.

About Sierra Bancorp & Bank of the Sierra
Sierra Bancorp (NASDAQ: BSRR) is a publicly-traded company with approximately $1.8 billion in assets. Headquartered in Porterville, California, the company operates primarily through Bank of the Sierra (the Bank). The Bank is a multi-community financial institution that offers a full range of retail and commercial banking services, specializing in agricultural lending. Since opening for business in January 1978, the Bank has grown to be the largest independent bank headquartered in the South San Joaquin Valley. More information about Sierra Bancorp and Bank of the Sierra can be found at the following websites:
www.sierrabancorp.com
www.bankofthesierra.com.

About CVB Financial Corp.
CVB Financial Corp. (“CVBF”) is the holding company for Citizens Business Bank. The Bank is the ninth largest bank holding company headquartered in California with assets of approximately $7.9 billion. CVBF recently earned the ranking of “Best Bank in America” according to Forbes’ America’s Best Banks 2016. Citizens Business Bank has 43 Business Financial Centers, eight Commercial Banking Centers, and three trust office locations serving the Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and the Central Valley area of California.
Shares of CVB Financial Corp. common stock are listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “CVBF.” For investor information on CVB Financial Corp., visit our Citizens Business Bank website at www.cbbank.com and click on the “Investors” tab.

Forward-Looking Statements
The statements contained in this release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements based on management's current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on the Company. Readers are cautioned not to unduly rely on forward looking statements. Actual results may differ from those projected. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties including but not limited to the health of the national and local economies, the Company’s ability to attract and retain skilled employees, customers' service expectations, the Company's ability to successfully deploy new technology, the success of branch expansion, changes in interest rates, loan portfolio performance, the Company’s ability to secure buyers for foreclosed properties, and other factors detailed in the Company’s SEC filings, including the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of the Company’s most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

 
Ian Morris, Chloe Richardson students who attended RYLA camp (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) and Martha Richardson, RYLA Chair. The high school students spoke about there experiences at camp and how it impacted their lives.
Ian Morris, Chloe Richardson students who attended RYLA camp (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) and Martha Richardson, RYLA Chair. The high school students spoke about there experiences at camp and how it impacted their lives.
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New members inducted into Fillmore Rotary by President Kyle Wilson, Alicia Hicks, Jennie Andrade and Ernie Villegas.
New members inducted into Fillmore Rotary by President Kyle Wilson, Alicia Hicks, Jennie Andrade and Ernie Villegas.
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May 24, 2016

Joint pain caused by athletic injuries and arthritis will be focus of a free seminar Community Memorial Health System is holding on Tuesday, May 24.

Jason Hofer, M.D., and Kentaro Suzuki, M.D., local orthopedic surgeons, will lead the seminar that will run from 6 to 8 p.m. in the eighth-floor Nichols Auditorium at Community Memorial Hospital, 147 N. Brent St.

In addition to discussing the cause and diagnosis of joint pain, Drs. Hofer and Suzuki will cover procedures and lifestyle modifications that can prevent joint pain as well as surgical treatment options and rehabilitation available to patients, and pain management.

Dr. Hofer specializes in hip and knee replacement surgery. He received his medical degree from the University of Southern California School of Medicine and completed an orthopedic surgery residency at University of California, Irvine. Dr. Hofer is a member of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons and California Orthopedic Association. Dr. Hofer is an active member of the Community Memorial Hospital medical staff.

Dr. Suzuki specializes in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine. He received his medical degree and also completed an orthopedic surgery residency from University of California, San Diego. Dr. Suzuki is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of North America and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. Dr. Suzuki is an active member of the Community Memorial Hospital medical staff.

Registration is free but reservations are required. Visit cmhshealth.org/rsvp or call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800/838-3006.

Future Speaker Series events include: Aging for Women seminar on June 18 at the Ventura Beach Marriot; and New Treatments for BPH or Enlarge Prostate on June 21 at CMH.

Community Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system, which is comprised of Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, along with the Centers for Family Health serving various communities within and located in Ventura County, California.

 

The GLAPHC is a American Paint Horse Association Gold Star Club and has been supporting local communities with their fund raising activities and collecting merchandise for donations to those in need.

Every year the club holds a St. Jude's Trail Ride to raise money for St Jude's Children's Research Hospital. St. Jude's is the largest children's research hospital in the world for treating childhood cancers. This years ride will be October 8th in the mountains of Tehachapi. Contact the club to sign up to sponsor a rider or make a straight donation and get a St. Jude's T-Shirt.

The GLAPHC has lso collected diapers, clothing,furniture etc. for their “Babies in Need” program to benefit the Ventura based Tender Life Maternity home.

They also collect “Labels for education” from the Cambell's Soups and other prodcuts so that the local schools can purchase computers for their students.

This year the club has decided to offer a scholarship to help a deserving graduate to contiue their horse activities while in college. Candidates need to reside in the Greater Los Angeles Paint Horse Club territory of Ventura County and Los Angeles County.

“Many kids are active with the horse community by working or volunteering as well as showing and competing” President Taurie Banks said. “We want to encourage them to continue to be active with horses while they pursue their education.”

The club is looking for a candidate that is active in the horse industry, has financial need, and expresses a desire to give back to the horse community. Candidates can be riders, grooms, working students, volunteers, involved in 4H, Pony Club, breed associations, clubs, and other horse related activites.

Horse ownership is not required. Preference will be given to those candidates that own or ride an American Paint Horse, but candidates that own, lease, or care for any breeds and active in any disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Candidates are asked to include two letters of recommendation from sources in the horse community, a copy of their transcript, and a statement as to their personal interests and activities. Finalists may be asked to do an interview in person, by phone, or via the internet.

The application for the scholarship is available on the club website www.GreaterLAPaintHorseClub.com

The GLAPHC's biggest fundraiser is hosting the “Fun at the Fair Open Horse Show” at the Ventura County Fair. This will be the third year that the club has hosted the two day English and Western Horse Show.

English classes are on Tuesday, August 9th with Hunters and Jumpers in the morning and English flat classes in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, August 10th there will be Western Classes including Halter and Showmanship in the morning, Trail Classes, and Rail Classes. In the afternoon there will be Reining and Speed Classes like Barrel Racing and Pole Bending.

There are great High Point Awards for age breaks and a Two day Overall high Point Award. There is also a High Point Paint Horse Award for each day.

All breeds, as well as Mules and ponies, are welcome. More information is available on the website or call Sue Fleczok at (805) 428-6581

New members are always welcome and encouraged to join the Greater Los Angeles Paint Horse Club. Horse ownership is not required, just a love of horses. The club meets monthly in Simi Valley over dinner at various restuarants. Membership is only $25 per year for individuals and $20.00 a year for a Jumior and $35.00 for a family.

The club also has a great Paint Promtion Program that awards rider for using their American Paint Horse in many horse activities like showing English, Western, Dressage, Roping, Driving, Trail Riding, Mounted Patrol and much more. They also offer an awards program for Horses of Color, for those horse that display the color patterns of the American Paint Horse but are of any breed and may be unregistered. Information regarding the awards programs are available on the website.

If anyone is interested in making a contribution to the scholarship fund, supporting St Jude's or making any other donations to the club, please call Sue Fleczok or send an email to whoopteedoowest@aol.com . You can also follow the Greater LA Paint Horse Club on Facebook

 
(l-r) Kessa Christiansen, owner of The Green Oasis Farm & Feed, and Cindy Jackson from the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau. Green Oasis Farm & Feed is opened to the public during the week and weekends. They have pick your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They sell fresh eggs, honey and jerky. They have farm animals that you can pet and much more. Visit them at 3531 E. Telegraph Rd. Fillmore, CA 93015. They are just west of Piru.
(l-r) Kessa Christiansen, owner of The Green Oasis Farm & Feed, and Cindy Jackson from the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau. Green Oasis Farm & Feed is opened to the public during the week and weekends. They have pick your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They sell fresh eggs, honey and jerky. They have farm animals that you can pet and much more. Visit them at 3531 E. Telegraph Rd. Fillmore, CA 93015. They are just west of Piru.
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In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, employees of Santa Clara Valley Disposal will be taking the day off on Monday, May 30. As a result, Fillmore city residential customers will have their trash and green waste collected on Saturday, June 4, one day later than usual.

The regular Friday collection schedule will resume the following week.

For more information, call 647-1414.

 

Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation and Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation has announced Don Felder, a former legendary guitarist with the Eagles, will be performing at this year’s “At The Bowl” benefit concert on Oct. 22 at Libbey Bowl.

Felder, who played lead guitar with the Eagles for 27 years, originated the music on numerous Eagles milestones and co-wrote their biggest hit – the iconic “Hotel California.” In addition to performing this song, he will be showcasing many Eagles hits in a specially crafted concert entitled “Don Felder, an Evening at the Hotel California.”

The funds raised by this event will support Community Memorial Health System construction projects – the building a new Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura and a new Continuing Care Center in Ojai.

General admission tickets and sponsorship packages are available at www.cmhsatthebowl.org. Or call 805-667-2881.

Community Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system which is comprised of Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, as well as the Centers for Family Health, serving various Ventura County communities.

 
Community bank gave back in 2016 by donating $45,000 to local non-profits through its Sierra Grant Program

Bank of the Sierra announced that the first quarter of 2016 saw $45,000 go to a variety of non-profit organizations throughout its footprint. Each quarter the Bank commonly awards approximately 15 organizations with grants, usually totaling $1,000 to $5,000 based on the specific needs of the organization.

The grant program partners with traditional non-profits, public school districts, and other local organizations. The types of projects that benefit from the grants range widely, including initiatives to help underprivileged children and the elderly, housing and community building projects, cultural and educational initiatives, and environmental preservation efforts.

Many of the grants from this quarter were distributed to organizations that support local youth, including Bags4Kids, which hands out backpacks, toys, and supplies to underprivileged foster children, the Olivia’s Heart Project, which works to promote awareness and prevention of fatal cardiac arrest in youths, and a number of other afterschool programs aimed at mentorship and enrichment.

Kevin McPhaill, Bank President and CEO, expressed his appreciation for the grant program and the organizations that benefit from it: “It’s great to learn about the philanthropic work that these organizations can accomplish—especially when local children benefit from it. As always, Bank of the Sierra is pleased to do its part.”

About the Sierra Grant Program
Since its inception in 2004 the Sierra Grant Program has been responsible for donating over $1.4 million to organizations that improve local communities. Non-profits who wish to apply for a Sierra Grant can pick up an instructional brochure at any Bank of the Sierra branch, or visit the bank’s web site at www.bankofthesierra.com/resources/sierra_grant_program.

About Bank of the Sierra
Since its founding in 1977, Bank of the Sierra has grown to become the largest independent bank in the southern San Joaquin Valley, with approximately $1.8 billion in assets. The Bank is a multi-community financial institution that offers a full range of retail and commercial banking services, employing over 400 people at 29 locations, including an online branch, a real estate industries center, and an ag credit center. Offering more than just financial services, Bank of the Sierra is committed to providing the benefits of local banking with a focus on improving the communities in which it serves.

 

“Through a crack of light I was unable to find my way
Trapped inside a night but I’m a day.”

The above verse is from the song, Seven and Seven Is,” by Arthur Lee, founder of the 60‘s rock band LOVE.

I headed our 9th meditation column with these lyrics to follow-up with our last two studies on the benefits of meditation mitigating suicide, suicidal thoughts, and depression. The lyrics describe essentially the out-right fact that everything is in our brain, all perceptions of life, death, money, food, sociality, sex, traditions, racism, happiness, sadness, religion, the cosmos - you name it. Some are instinctual at their base level, but most are perverted culturally constructed add-ons attached to the instincts through epigenetics. The lyrics tell us that we are filled with light and not darkness. Is the “crack of light” your meditation practice?

It would be grand if we could strip our minds of all perceptions having to do with life and start over. Does that sound scary? Let’s be real!! What is truly scary is the conduct of our species throughout our civilization up to present times. I shouldn’t have to remind anyone of heinous conduct perpetrated against individuals or groups of people by the epigenetically humanly constructed perception of “us or them” or “you or me.” “Your group’s religious beliefs are not the truth of God, but our group’s beliefs are the truth of God.” This statement is not my opinion. It is a fact of perverted sociality. World leadership through the ages have attached material resources to that flawed concept adding to the hierarchical sociality a militaristic war economy based perverted civilization. Sadly, it's all due to humanly constructed perceptions. Imagine for a moment that you are an extraterrestrial studying planet Earth and its inhabitants. What would you write in your report regarding the condition of the planet and the current state of fitness of the 8.7 million known species? Let’s not fool ourselves, folks. The unbiased report would be dismal at best if for no other reason than the top tier species having created a hellishness for many of the 8.7 million species ultimately determining a catastrophic extinction rate coupled with an unbelievable deleterious alteration of the planet’s life support for the planet’s inhabitants including the top tier “intelligent” species. The first paragraph of the extraterrestrial’s report would begin with the question, “Who are the leaders of this unsustainable catastrophic mess?” The extraterrestrial would rubber stamp its report with “CIVILIZATION CLASSIFICATION 0.7 of 4.0; COLLAPSE IMMINENT WITHOUT IMMEDIATE NEURAL EVOLUTIONARY LEAP. I don't know of another method of freeing our perceptions and finding the light of sustainable life other than mindfulness meditation. The science is clear.

Paul Benavidez, MFA

 
Eradicating Polio Discussed At Rotary Meeting
Jim Lewis, Rotary District Polio Chair, discussed Rotary’s commitment to eradicate Polio in the world. The only two countries with polio now are Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sean Morris presented him with a Fillmore Rotary mug.
Jim Lewis, Rotary District Polio Chair, discussed Rotary’s commitment to eradicate Polio in the world. The only two countries with polio now are Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sean Morris presented him with a Fillmore Rotary mug.
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