Dyke confident of Edwin Allen hat-trick at Penns

first_imgSEVERAL of the country’s top senior and junior athletes will be busy competing at the 122nd staging of the Penn Relays in Franklin Field, Philadelphia, from Thursday to Saturday. Most of these athletes from top high schools and colleges will depart the island today.Top college team, the University of Technology, will be leaving the island this morning through the Norman Manley Airport, while top high school female team Edwin Allen High will depart from the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay this evening for New York, before driving over to Philadelphia.Several schools, including Kingston College, Holmwood Technical, and Vere Technical, will also be leaving from Montego Bay this afternoon and will head straight to Philadelphia.After winning two titles last year among the girls, head coach of Edwin Allen Michael Dyke is very optimistic.”We are very strong in the 4×100 and 4×800 metres, and despite not running consistently well in the 4×400 metres so far this season, I am confident that the girls can pull it off,” said Dyke.St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), Holmwood, and Hydel have posted fast times in the event so far.”Edwin Allen is yet to run at full strength all season, but come this weekend, we will be at full strength as we have three members from last year’s winning team, and a member of the team who was injured for the majority of the season is now fully fit,” Dyke advised.Despite his top half-miler Cemore Donald, not competing at Penns this season, Dyke is confident that they will pull it off in the 4×800 metres.”Donald (Cemore) is just in Class Three and we are not taking her this year as we risk not having her in the final year of competition as an athlete can only compete at this meet for four years,” said Dyke.Several years ago, Dyke saw one of his teams being disqualified after one of his athletes was deemed to have competed for more than four years.Meanwhile, George Forbes, competition’s officer of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), is warning schools to ensure that all their athletes are ‘legitimate’ to compete at Penns as he does not want any embarrassment. Forbes recently sent letters to the various principals of the schools attending the meet, reminding them of Penn Relays’ eligibility rules.In the letter, he stated two things:1. No athlete can participate at the Penn Relays for more than four years.2. Eligibility is recorded when the athlete first competes. Example: If the student first attended in 2014, misses 2015 and 2016, then this student’s final eligibility is 2017, even if there is a change of school.In closing, Forbes is asking everyone to do their diligence in order not to cause embarrassment to schools or athletes.last_img read more

Pollard fails again for losing Strikers

first_imgMELBOURNE, Australia, (CMC):Kieron Pollard failed to make an impact and Adelaide Strikers suffered their fourth loss of the Big Bash League (BBL) season, when Melbourne Stars edged to a two-wicket victory yesterday.Pollard conceded 17 runs in two wicketless overs, as the Stars successfully chased 153 for victory in the 22nd match of the tournament at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.Discarded Australia fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus notched the Stars over the finish line when he chipped a delivery from medium-fast bowler Michael Neser through square leg for a single with three deliveries remaining.Earlier, Pollard struck a couple of boundaries in 16 from 13 balls before Hilfenhaus had him caught at mid-on in the penultimate over from a miscued pull, as the Strikers reached 152 for eight from their allocation of 20 overs after they were put in to bat.The result meant that the Stars now have six points – the same number of points as Perth Scorchers – but they are third in the standings due to a superior net run rate.The Strikers, whose squad also includes the Barbados-born England all-rounder Christopher Jordan, are one of four teams with four points. They are, however, sixth in the standings due to net run rate.Brisbane Heat, whose squad includes West Indies Twenty20 star leg-spinner Samuel Badree, and Sydney Sixers are the current front runners with eight points each – but the Heat have the superior net run rate.The BBL continues on Wednesday, when Badree and the Heat face the Scorchers at the Gabba, while Pollard and the Strikers have to wait until next Monday to see further action when they host the Melbourne Renegades, whose line-up includes star West Indies spinner Sunil Narine at the Adelaide Oval.last_img read more

Dr. Tom Frieden Pays Courtesy Call on President Sirleaf

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received a delegation of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), headed by its Director, Tom Frieden.During a meeting held at her Foreign Ministry office last Friday, President Sirleaf briefed the CDC delegation about the current state of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease, expressing appreciation to Mr. Frieden for the role  the CDC has played in the fight.“The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been there with us at the time all hope seemed to have been lost. You stood as a true partner and helped turn the scourge around for the good of the country, the Mano River Union Basin and the global community,” President Sirleaf stressed.She told the delegation that the focus will now change from treatment to prevention and that the government is now keen on strengthening its regular healthcare system with strong infection control measures. She also encouraged the partners to work with the government in strengthening the regular healthcare system.“We have heard and do encourage the concept of establishing an African Center for Disease Control that puts the continent in charge when there are future outbreaks anywhere on the continent. A National Public Health Institute for Liberia as is being suggested is also a welcomed development,” she said.In response, Director Tom Frieden expressed joy at being back in Liberia, thanking President Sirleaf for her leadership in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease. “I was here around August and September and it seemed all was lost. Coming back, the difference is unimaginable,” he stressed.An Executive Mansion release quoted Dr. Frieden as saying the situation in Liberia was much better not just in terms of case management but robust response as well. He urged the Liberian government and partners to now find a way to ensure safe and dignified burial of Ebola victims so as to address the concerns of families who have lost and continue to lose love ones.He named effective laboratory system, proper surveillance, robust contact tracing, proper staffing and the intensification of quality infection control measures as urgent steps that must be undertaken to continue the advance against the further spread of the disease.The director of the Centers for Disease Control also thanked the Liberian President and her government for considering a regional leadership and dimension of the Ebola fight by announcing the deployment of Liberian responders to Sierra Leone where the situation is still not very good. “This action demonstrates your strong leadership role in the fight against Ebola”, Mr. Frieden said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Senate Confirms Tweh, Findley and McGill

first_imgConfirmed Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweh.-But defers election of staff membersThe Senate yesterday voted to confirm the first group of President George Weah’s cabinet, less than 24 hours after that body received their nominations, and subsequent confirmation hearings.In a report by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais, the committee members informed plenary that the Minister of Foreign Affairs-designate Gbehzohngar Milton Findley was found qualified to handle the foreign affairs of Liberia, and therefore recommended his confirmation.“In consonant with the findings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of the 54th Legislature, and after scrupulous consultations with key stakeholders, former and current diplomats and administrative experts, the committee is pleased to herein recommend to the full plenary of the Senate to unanimously confirm nominee Findley, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia,” the report signed by five members of that committee recommended.In its confirmation report to the plenary on the Minister of Finance-designate, the statutory committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget recommended to plenary that, “following a thorough examination of the nominee’s curriculum vitae, exhaustive analysis of his oral testimony, answers to questions posed to him by committee members, and given his services records with institutions of government and his policy vision, which the committee has determined will positively impact the government’s pro-poor policies through the Ministry of Finance, Development and Planning, the committee is convinced that Samuel D. Tweh has the requisite educational background and working experience to effectively serve the Ministry of Finance, Development and Planning as Minister.”“Wherefore and in view with the foregoing, the committee with no reservations recommends to the plenary of the honorable Senate to unanimously confirm Mr. Tweh, Minister of Finance, Development and Planning of Liberia,” the Morris G. Saytumah chaired committee noted under the signatures of 11 members, which represents the majority.On the confirmation report for Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Minister-designate for the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, the Committee on Executive chaired by Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif told plenary that through the confirmation proceedings, members of that group found it pleasing to recommend the nominee for the post.The over 20 members present at yesterday’s 4th day sitting then unanimously voted by a show of hands to move to executive session where the eventual decisions of confirming the three nominees were taken.On Wednesday, which is a non-sitting Senate day (Tuesdays and Thursdays are session days), the Senate went into a special sitting at which time communications from President Weah’s office nominating the three officials were read, followed by immediate confirmation hearings.Except for Tweh, who eloquently and coherently elaborated on why he should be confirmed based on his expertise in the area of finance, former Pro Tempore Findley was outright to inform the Foreign Affairs Committee that he was venturing into a terrain that he would rely on the experience and consultations of experts who have threaded that path.He has nonetheless been confirmed.In a related development, the Senate yesterday voted to accept a motion from Senate Pro Temp Albert Chie to amend a provision of their Standing Rules to postpone for one week, the elections of legislative officers of the Senate.According to the Senate’s Rules, the Secretary of the Senate, Assistant Secretary, and the Sergeant-at-Arms are elected during the 4th day sitting of a new administration.The plenary has, meanwhile, instructed the chair on Rules, Order and Administration, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, to prepare a communication announcing the holding of elections for the said posts, and submit said communication to plenary for approval on Tuesday.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Amb. Kemayah Calls for More Technical, Expert Support for Gender Equality

first_imgAmb. Kemayah used the meeting to emphasize the need to continue gender-responsive budgeting and planning, as budget allocation is key to sustaining efforts at the national level.Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has called for continuous technical and expert support to strengthen and deepen the global framework for gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.Amb. Kemayah, who was addressing the United Nations Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs during its consideration of its Agenda Item 26 (Advancement of Women), said its strengthened gender strategies and policies will not only empower women, but enhance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Kemayah highlighted the need for UN Women to increase the embedment of technical experts to work closely with national governments and ministries to develop capacities on gender mainstreaming interventions at the program and technical levels.He also encouraged UN Women to continue joint efforts with other UN agencies — UNDP, UNICEF, and UNFPA on program implementation, noting that joint programs can be more effective and efficient in concertizing national platforms on gender issues.A dispatch from the Mission said that the Liberian Envoy used the meeting to emphasize the need to continue gender-responsive budgeting and planning, as budget allocation is key to sustaining efforts at the national level.In Liberia, Amb. Kemayah shared that Gender Equality and Women empowerment are among key priorities of the Government’s National Development Plan–the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD); “pioneered by President George Weah, Liberia’s “Feminist-In-Chief.”Kemayah said that Liberia has remained steadfast in creating the enabling and inclusive environment for women and girls to thrive in spite of daunting challenges, and outlined several initiatives taken to address gender equality and women empowerment, including enactment of laws; and review of necessary policies.He added, “Liberia embarked on the following initiatives: the review of the National Gender Policy (NGP), which aims to promote gender equality, social economic development; and enhance women and girls empowerment for sustainable; and inclusive development. Also, the availability of the second phase of our National Action Plan (NAP) on the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; to enhance the active and direct participation of women and girls in conflict prevention, peace-building and leadership; the recent passage of the Domestic Violence Law to help combat violence against women and girls; and other vulnerable groups. This law is an added boost to the “Spotlight Initiative,” funded by the European Union to help fight violence against women and girls; and other vulnerable groups.”Amb Kemayah thanked UNSG Antonio Guterres, for his commendable role in achieving gender parity, and gender mainstreaming within the UN System and assured that the Government of Liberia (GoL) is on a steady path to ensuring women participation; especially in the security sector.“Liberia has experienced steady progress in the participation of women in the security sector. The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL); in particular, is exerting all efforts to increase its recruitment of females by the year 2022; with the aim to deploy them in peacekeeping missions; while in the process; fulfilling the United Nations Peace Operations gender parity requirement of twenty percent,” he said.Kemayah said that as part of a proposed constitutional review process, President Weah is currently championing the provision of additional seats in the Legislature for women, persons with disability, and youth.He stressed that gender equality cannot be sustained unless it is inclusive, and brings all women into the fold.Amb Kemayah said that the GoL in a bid to mitigate the disadvantage rural women face, has instituted a yearly program, the National Rural Women Conference to bring women from various sectors together to discuss issues of women, and work towards the political participation and decision making of their colleagues in the rural part of the country.He said that in recognition of the profound impact of climate change on rural women, and the importance of their contribution in mitigation, Liberia’s “National Disaster Policy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act; and the National Disaster Management Act, consequentially, ensure that all activities implemented by the Government and development partners before, during and after disasters, proactively and consciously include the participation of women and other vulnerable groups”.Amb. Kemayah then expressed the hope that the commemoration of the key milestones in 2020–the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPA), and the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 will propel UN Member States to take inventory of their achievements, gaps and challenges and to recommit to ensuring gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Mrs. Rosemarie McFarland Dies

first_imgThe late Mrs. Rosemarie Sando Stewart-McFarlandMrs. Rosemarie Sando Stewart-McFarland, wife of deceased former Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Richard McFarland, has passed.An active church worker, a homemaker and a loving family woman, who would be remembered for her kindness, passed away at the home of her daughter in Atlanta, Georgia, in an orbit of love and care.Sando, as she was affectionately known and called, was a loving, kind, understanding and a beautiful individual.Born on December 3, 1948 to parents, John H.T. Stewart, Sr., and Sarah Porte-Stewart, Rosemarie began her education at the footstool of her mother, who was a school teacher.She later moved to the St. Theresa Convent Catholic School where she earned her high school diploma.She enrolled at the University of Liberia to study sociology, and found a job working as a library assistant at the University.In 1972, she wedded her husband of 38 years, Richard McFarland, who was then a newly minted graduate of the Lewis Arthur Grimes School of Law. Following their marriage, they moved to the United States where her husband had enrolled at Georgetown University to acquire an LL.M. in comparative law.During this time, she gave birth to her two children, and enrolled at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia. Her husband moved to Liberia to where he had been appointed by President William R. Tolbert as assistant commissioner of Immigration.Rosemarie immediately moved back home following the ailment of her husband who’d suffer a minor stroke, making her unable to complete her degree. Doing the ailment of her husband, Sando engaged herself in an enterprising pastry business in order to support her young family.Years later, she re-enrolled at the University of Liberia and graduated with a degree in accounting. She was urged by her husband to pursue a career in law but she declined.Originally a Catholic, she moved to Lutheranism following her marriage, and was a staunch member of the Barnesville Lutheran Church. She served as chairperson of the church council, and under her stewardship, the church moved from worshiping under a tent to its own edifice.In 2014, Rosemarie moved to the States to be with her children, following the death of her husband in 2010.In passing she leaves to mourn her Children, Kona McFarland -Cooper (Austin), Richard McFarland Jr., (Melvina), Melvin McFarland and Flaawetta McFarland;  Aletha Tuya Stewart eight grandchildren and a great grand.She also leaves to mourn her siblings, John H.T. Stewart, Jr., Natalie Elenda Stewart, Emma Stewart-Sieh, Cletus Mark Stewart, Gertrude Stewart, Velma Stewart, Henry Tarweh Stewart, Benetta Stewart Howard, Albertha Togba Kpenkpah,  and several foster siblings.She was predeceased by her husband of 38 years, Cllr. F. Richard McFarland Sr., her parents John Henry Tarweh Stewart & Sarah Jane Porte-Stewart, siblings, Johnetta Stewart-Morris, Yvonne Stewart-Gooding, Angeline Stewart-Konah and Paul Togba. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Lakers can’t keep up with Kings

first_imgLOS ANGELES – The Lakers had no problem scoring. But, they were unable to play enough defense to pick up a win. Mike Bibby scored 10 of his 33 points in the final 4:04 Friday night and Kevin Martin added 20, leading the Sacramento Kings to a 116-108 victory over L.A., which shot 52.5 percent from the field, but committed 19 turnovers. It was the first time the Lakers shot at least 50 percent and lost (13-1). Kwame Brown returned to the Los Angeles lineup, playing 20 minutes off the bench with no points and three rebounds after missing 27 games because of a severely sprained right ankle. But Luke Walton’s sprained right ankle prevented him from joining Brown on the active roster, and reserve swingman Maurice Evans remained on the bench because of a sore right knee. Sacramento outscored Los Angeles 14-4 during a 3:34 stretch of the third quarter with 3-pointers from Martin and Bibby, increasing an 11-point lead to 83-62 with 5:27 left in the period. Bryant spent the first 4:33 of the fourth quarter on the bench, while his teammates narrowed the gap to 94-83 on Sasha Vujacic’s fast-break layup with 9:43 to play. But the Kings extended their margin to 101-85 by the time Bryant returned to the floor with 7:27 remaining, and the Lakers got no closer than the final margin. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “We played hard all the way through, and you can’t ask for any more,” Bibby said. The wire-to-wire victory, coupled with Golden State’s loss at New York, pulled Sacramento out of last place in the Pacific Division and ended the Lakers’ three-game winning streak. It was the fourth time this season that the Lakers lost without ever leading. The other times came in games against Dallas, Miami and Detroit. “They took it to us from the start,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. The loss was the Lakers’ 10th at home and seventh in 10 games overall. “I am frustrated that we can’t play defense as a team,” said Lamar Odom, who had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. “We have the athletic ability and the height. We should be a much better team.” center_img “It was just a bad defensive performance in the first half, giving up that many points,” said Kobe Bryant, who had 30 points and 10 assists for the Lakers. “We allowed them to set the tone by coming out and getting off to a 10-0 start. It’s tough to get off to that kind of start. And when you combine that with the fact that we had only four free throws in the first half, that’s not a good combination.” Ron Artest, playing with the word “Kings” shaved into the back of his head, added 19 points and six assists in his return to Sacramento’s lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s 135-120 victory against Charlotte with a sore left knee. last_img read more

Rashford gets England back to winning ways over Switzerland

first_imgHowever, Gareth Southgate did at least stave off an unwanted record of becoming the first England boss to oversee four straight defeats and further puncture the feel-good factor of a run to the World Cup semi-finals.The two teams could have met in the quarter-finals in Russia had the Swiss not limped out of the competition with a whimper to Sweden in the last 16.England proved far too strong for the Swedes before falling short against Croatia in the last four, but it is Switzerland who have so far bounced back from their World Cup disappointment the stronger.Vladimir Petkovic’s side thrashed Iceland 6-0 to kickstart their Nations League campaign and were the better side for the first 45 minutes at the King Power.Southgate insisted after being outplayed for the majority of a 2-1 defeat by Spain in his side’s inaugural Nations League encounter on Saturday that England must persist with his intention to improve on playing out from the back under pressure.However, it nearly cost the hosts the opening goal twice in a matter of seconds inside the first 10 minutes.Jack Butland misplaced a pass which rolled dangerously close to his own goal, and when the goalkeeper’s next clearance to James Tarkowski was cut out by the Swiss high press, Xherdan Shaqiri should have scored rather than striking the post on his weaker right foot.England’s best efforts early on were restricted to set-pieces as Eric Dier headed just wide from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick before the Liverpool full-back fired another effort too close to Yann Sommer.Southgate has lamented England’s failure to produce midfielders of the calibre that Croatia and Spain possess.But his side, containing nine changes from the weekend, was struggling even to cope with the Swiss’ passing and movement as the visitors enjoyed nearly 65 percent possession before the break.Butland redeemed himself for his earlier errors with smart saves low to his right to deny Mario Gavranovic and Ricardo Rodriguez.A more positive start to the second period for the hosts was rewarded with the only goal on 54 minutes when Kyle Walker’s hanging cross to the back post was swept home by Rashford for his fifth international goal.The importance of holding on for a morale-boosting win for Southgate was shown as he introduced a host of regular starters, including captain Harry Kane off the bench for the final quarter.Shaqiri came closest to an equaliser, but saw his fierce strike bravely blocked by John Stones as England held out for victory.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Marcus Rashford scored the only goal as England beat Switzerland on Tuesday© AFP Paul ELLISLEICESTER, United Kingdom, Sep 11 – England bounced back from three consecutive defeats for the first time in 30 years as a much-changed side edged past Switzerland for a 1-0 friendly win in Leicester thanks to Marcus Rashford’s winner.The Three Lions failed to hit the heights from their World Cup campaign in a laboured performance against an impressive young Swiss outfit.last_img read more

Four stars the Gunners could ‘gamble’ on in the transfer market

first_imgArsenal are getting into the habit of signing at least one superstar every summer.Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez joined in 2013 and 2014, respectively, but so far only Petr Cech has moved to the Emirates this time.This means Arsene Wenger has some money burning a hole in his pocket and he’s openly admitted he could splash the cash on one more star as the end of the transfer window approaches.“There is always time to take a gamble and we are not against taking a gamble but what you want is to take a gamble in a market where the opportunity is there,” he said.But who will the Frenchman put all his chips on? talkSPORT takes a look at the possibilities.Click the right arrow above to see who Arsenal could gamble on… 4 As Arsenal look to make another signing before the transfer window shuts, could Arsene Wenger make a move for Sevilla star Grzegorz Krychowiak? Click right for more players the Gunners could gamble on… – Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly set to beat the Gunners to the Pole’s signature as both sides look to give their defence some extra protection. Krychowiak wasn’t at his best in an unfamiliar centre-back role against Barcelona in Sevilla’s UEFA Super Cup defeat but interest is still high in the talented defensive midfielder, 25. His release clause is €30m (£22m), which should be manageable, especially if they ditch Mathieu Flamini and free up some money for wages. 4 4 Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain) – Find out which Bundesliga captain could move to the Emirate by clicking the right arrow above… – Reports in Spain reckon Edinson Cavani could be the answer to Arsene Wenger’s prayers and give them a world class striker to pick ahead of the competent but not prolific Olivier Giroud. Any deal would be a club record. He’s scored 57 goals in 100 games over in France, but could he maintain that record in the Premier League? Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen) – See which Spanish international could complete Arsenal’s summer spending, next… – Being made captain of the Bundesliga side hasn’t stopped Arsenal stepping up their interest in the defensive midfielder as they look to give his side some more steel. Wenger appears reluctant to bring in this type of player given Francis Coquelin’s rise to prominence but his below par start to the campaign saw the Gunners send scouts to watch Bender in the Champions League against Lazio. He could be signed for around £18m but it could hamper a move for a striker. 4 Asier Illarramendi (Real Madrid) – The Spaniard appears to have no future at the Bernabeu creating a scramble for his signature and Arsenal may want to get in before the rest of the pack ahead of deadline day. Illarramendi was left out of the Real squad, which drew 0-0 with Sporting Gijon at the weekend, and could be available for just £15m. The Gunners will face competition from his former club Real Sociedad and Liverpool.last_img read more

PACT program reaching out to parolees

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA FE SPRINGS – Every month, about 100 paroled felons are released into communities in the Whittier area, where they are expected to begin new, productive lives. To help with their transition, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Parole Operations holds a monthly mandatory workshop where parolees are provided referrals for literacy services, job training and other services. Representatives of about 30 nonprofit service groups attend the workshops to provide information on insurance, tax help, job training, vocational schools, parenting classes, substance abuse help and other programs. Called the Police and Corrections Team (PACT) program, the workshop has been held monthly in the San Gabriel Valley Parole District’s Santa Fe Springs office for nearly two years. “It’s like one-stop shopping when you just get out of prison,” said Jerome Marsh, parole district administrator. “We review their conditions of parole and explain to them the expectations. We show them resources to help them adjust.” The district also holds workshops in El Monte and Pomona monthly, with about the same attendance. Department of Corrections officials hope access to area resources and clear explanations of what is expected of them might help reduce the recidivism rate of parolees. More than half of parolees return to prison within two years, according to department statistics. In 2004, 6,324 parolees were returned to prison on parole violations, department statistics show. But about 10 to 15 percent of parolees are discharged from the parole system within one year. “Are some of you going to go back to prison? Probably,” Marsh told about 70 parolees Wednesday morning at a PACT meeting in Santa Fe Springs. “But our goal is that you don’t. The prisons are full. The goal is that you folks make it here in the community. We can’t do it for you.” Arturo Rivas, 27, of Santa Fe Springs was released from prison last month. He served two years for stealing cars and for credit card fraud. He said he found help at the workshop finding low-cost dental insurance. “They cover a lot of bases – work, getting a driver’s license,” Rivas said. “Their main goal is keeping us from going back in. I want to get a truck-driving license and go to school.” The parolees seemed to warm up to the workshop after a parolee and self-proclaimed reformed felon spoke. Henry Aguirre is now a credit manager at Los Angeles Freightliner, a Whittier business that manufactures truck parts. Two years ago, he left prison for the second time, after being jailed on charges of kidnapping and robbery. Reluctantly, he said, he attended a PACT meeting after being paroled. There, he connected with resources in the community and decided to change his life. He got a job, stopped hanging out with criminal friends and started spending more time with his children. Aguirre, who lives in Whittier, has one year left on his parole. “I want to share a little encouragement and inspiration,” he told the parolees. “I’m one of you. I done it all, and maybe some of you done worse, but it doesn’t matter – all that matters is what you do when you get out of here.” During the meeting, Whittier Police Department gang officers interviewed parolees residing in Whittier. They asked them about their goals and took pictures of them and their tattoos. Police will follow up with the parolees during unannounced compliance searches, where police can search their homes for drugs, weapons or other indications that they aren’t following their parole regulations. If caught violating, they can return to prison for up to one year. “This is one of the few neutral interactions these parolees have with law enforcement,” Marsh said. “We have a big job to bridge this transition. There are some who nobody’s ever said to them, `Get your GED.”‘ Aguirre emphasized to the parolees that freedom is sometimes tough to handle, but the struggle to rebuild their lives is worth it. “I just took a vacation. I never took a vacation before except to Folsom Prison,” Aguirre said. “I got three meals a day and would go back in when things got too hard on the streets. “Now that I’m out, I love my freedom too much. I can get up in my house – where I pay the rent – in the middle of the night and eat what I want to eat, instead of having someone tell me when chow time is.” sandy.mazza@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026last_img