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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
California 3Rd Congressional District’S Women Of The Year September 19, 2014
John Garamendi, D-CA
"Pat Ash (City Councilwoman and preservationist; Williams— Colusa County): Pat Ash, the current mayor of Williams, has served as a Williams City Council Member for many years. She is the founding and most active member of Citizens for a Better Williams, known locally as CBW. Through her membership on the city council and in CBW, Pat has played a crucial role in beautifying vacant areas, including a parcel that was annexed into the town square park. An outstanding example of Pat’s leadership and generous spirit is her preservation of the aging Masonic Hall in town. Pat recently purchased it herself, thus maintaining its historic value to the city and county. Under Pat’s sustaining leadership CBW recently arranged for a mural to be painted on the Masonic Hall, adding local interest and a festive atmosphere to this popular park. On June 7th, the mayor hosted a mural dedication ceremony that featured Governor Jerry Brown and relatives of W.H. Williams, founder of the town. Through her creativity and tenacity, Pat has been instrumental in organizing Williams’ Summer Concerts in the Park series featuring local musicians. The venue offers the community a place to mingle and for nonprofit groups to hold fundraisers. In further testimony to Pat’s enduring appreciation for her city, she has written a book illustrating the influence of Western Europeans settling in Williams. Pat’s fellow citizens appreciate her efforts to preserve and showcase the city’s history. Marci Coglianese (Municipal law attorney, former city official, land use advocate; Rio Vista—Solano County): Marci Coglianese, past mayor and council member for the City of Rio Vista, has practiced municipal and environmental law for more than 25 years. Her achievements in furthering good land use planning, and environmental and risk management practices for the Delta are extraordinary. Marci represented the League of California Cities on the State Floodplain Management Task Force and on the public advisory committee to update the California Water Plan. She has been instrumental in protecting Solano County farmland and served as co-chair of the Delta Levees and Habitat Subcommittee of the Bay Delta Public Advisory Committee. She is an active member of the Rio Vista Army Base Steering Committee. Marci has always been a vocal and staunch advocate for fairness and for racial and gender equality in local government. After assuming office she was notable for her openness in listening and responding to the needs of her constituents of every political stripe and economic status. A person of the highest integrity and forthrightness, Marci sets an exemplary standard for all in political office, from the smallest village to the national capitol. Despite serious illness and family trauma, she has maintained a manner of openness, grace, and humor toward even her most bitter opponents. Marci Coglianese is greatly loved and admired by all who know her. Deborah Eernisse (Fitness instructor, mentor, and volunteer; Davis—Yolo County): Deborah’s outstanding trait is her ability to build community with diverse groups of all ages, particularly around fitness and health. In Davis she has built a supportive community of older adults who remain active and engaged in their own health and happiness. Her “Fit for Life” program at the Davis Senior Center has reduced injuries, falls, and the need for hospitalization or skilled nursing care. Deborah graduated from UC Davis with a minor in Adult Development and Aging. She had planned to be an at-home mom, but faced with serious medical problems in her immediate family she had the foresight and strength to persevere and graduate from the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Sacramento City College. Since then she has earned a number of other certifications. Participants in Deborah’s fitness classes have been able to improve their muscle tone, balance, coordination and strength in such a way that many age-related declines are slowed or prevented. Class members who have had strokes, joint replacement, fractures and similar problems are able to follow through with their long-term rehabilitation. Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or neuropathy are able to optimize their independence and quality of life. Beyond strength, friendships are created and social support flourishes. Her classes fill up quickly and have a waiting list. Deborah also conducts a popular free yoga class for the Davis High School football team, and she has served on the board of the Davis Food Co-op. Recently she completed 30 hours of training to become part of the Davis Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Deborah is now part of a pool of volunteers ready to assist in large-scale emergencies. Gloria Estrada (Veteran advocate and peace activist; Williams—Colusa County): Gloria Estrada works tirelessly for the interests of Colusa County families, donating much of her time to organizations that benefit the community’s veterans and the families of fallen soldiers. On August 11, 2011, not long after recovering from a head-on crash Gloria’s son, Pfc. Rueben “Boy” Lopez, was killed in action by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Since then Gloria has dedicated herself to helping families in need and advocating for peace. She celebrates her son’s service and sacrifice by paying it forward. One way she has done this is by arranging for the placement of Peace Poles in each community in Colusa County. The Peace Pole serves as a symbol to remind community members that they are the peace builders. On August 11, 2014, Gloria and her family organized a ceremony on the grounds of the state capitol in Sacramento. Veterans of Colusa County traveled to the state capitol for the ceremony in which 193 full-size flags of the world were carried. A Peace Pole featuring the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in 12 different languages was presented to the People of California. Each year on the anniversary of her son’s death, Gloria chooses an agency, school, or group where she hosts a celebration urging those present to celebrate life and to please pay good works forward. Gloria is a tireless community volunteer and an exceptionally loving and giving woman. Whenever someone is in need, Gloria is quick to search on their behalf. If someone needs company, Gloria is at their side with reassuring words. Those who know her well agree that each of us is a better person because we have Gloria in our life. Lee Ann Grigsby-Puente (Flood protection advocate; Hamilton City—Glenn County): As president of Reclamation District 2140 Lee Ann played a leading role in working with Congressman Garamendi and other federal, state and local representatives to secure federal funding in an Energy & Water Development appropriation to begin construction of the Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project. The current J Levee, now mostly in disrepair, was built in the early 1900s. The levee failed twice in the 1970s and required emergency reinforcement six times in the past 30 years. If the river floods, the homes of 2,000 Hamilton City residents are at risk, as are the farms and Highway 32. The project is multipurpose. Plans include 6.8 miles of setback levee to protect the town and farmland. The existing J levee will be “degraded” and 1,400 acres of land will be restored to native habitat along the Sacramento River floodplain. Thanks to Lee Ann’s perseverance and effective work with elected representatives, Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones, who serves as head of Glenn County’s Office of Emergency Services, was able to say: “I am very pleased. The project is vital to our public safety… . Now I can start to look forward to the time when the J Levee is no longer one of my biggest concerns.” Lee Ann serves on the Hamilton City Task Force developing a 5-10-20 year strategic plan for the city. She is president of the Hamilton City Women’s Club that leads the way in adding new civic amenities in the downtown. Mary Grimmer (School and community volunteer extraordinaire; Arbuckle—Colusa County): Mary Grimmer is an amazing woman, full of energy and passion, and extremely giving of her time and resources. For the past five years, Mary has volunteered at least 12 hours per week in the school library, helping students locate books, cataloging new books, and reminding students to return overdue ones. Each year she donates a generous number of titles to the library collection. Meanwhile, the school office can count on Mary to help with school pictures in the fall and spring of each year. Through the Parent Club, she takes the lead on ordering all of the school tee-shirts and sweatshirts that students purchase. You also will see Mary Grimmer at all kinds of events, camera around her neck, taking thousands of pictures that she shares with the students. Mary is an active 4-H leader and a member of the Arbuckle Little League where she is responsible for many aspects of the organization, including scheduling of games. She is a part-time employee of the Arbuckle Parks & Recreations Department, giving more time than she could ever be compensated for. And, when someone in the community is ill or has just had a baby, Mary graciously delivers a home- cooked meal as a show of support for them. Programs for children just don’t happen. They take the dedicated people who care about kids to devote their time, energy and often their own financial resources. Mary provides initiative and the physical labor to fill the gaps. She is a beacon calling others to volunteer their time to change the lives of children. Samina Masood (Working to end poverty, homelessness, and abuse of women; Fairfield—Solano County): Since 2012 Samina Masood has partnered with the City of Fairfield to seize the twin horns of homelessness and domestic abuse in order to demonstrate that renewal is possible for homeless, abused, and neglected women and their children. Were it not for her direct intervention and program services, hundreds of women and children would go without hope, a place to live, or resurrected lives. Each year her organization, Heather House, takes in hundreds of needy and vulnerable women, then shelters and supports them. Samina resides on campus with them to run the seven-day-a week program. Empowered by their experience in a 90-day work program, they are able to leave the shelter with a job, housing, and the skills to achieve economic independence. Samina’s passion and dedication are quite infectious, engaging many city leaders to join hands and work together on behalf of these at-risk local women and their children. She has served as a commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on Crime to help prevent and reduce crime in the city. Masood herself is a role model. She came to the United States as an immigrant from the third world country of Pakistan. She is a writer and published columnist with her columns appearing in the Tracy Press nationally and in the U.S. State Department Gazette. Samina has two master degrees—an MA in Communications and an MS in Clinical Psychology. In the 80s and 90s she worked for the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State, and U.S.- AID as an advocate for women and children. An abuse survivor herself, Samina talks openly about her childhood growing up in a county where women and children are deprived of rights. She often speaks of how she saved her own soul by fighting for other women who had no voice. She is writing a memoir. Dr. Frances Nelson (Librarian, educator, literacy advocate; Fairfield—Solano County): Frances Nelson has brought outstanding gifts to the educational community of Solano County. She is a preeminent librarian whose commitment to diversity and whose advocacy for the teaching of U.S. history and government have enriched the lives of many students and adults. Frances has a myriad of community and educational experiences over more than 15 years in Vacaville’s secondary classrooms and, after her retirement, as adjunct librarian with 20 years of service at Solano Community College. She is the only African-American librarian that Solano Community College has had in its seventy-year history. Dr. Nelson has pioneered information access techniques with individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Through the California School Library Association Dr. Nelson participated on a committee that developed “Standards for Information Literacy: Grades k-12.” This endeavor prompted her to develop a library skill workbook and a video tape presentation on school site curriculum for a Vallejo school library. Frances travels regularly to Oakland to select as many as 75 books that she then donates to the Solano Juvenile facility. She also donates hair care products to African- American girls there when these are requested. Dr. Nelson is a newly appointed Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commissioner for Solano County, is active in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society Beta Psi Chapter, and has served in leadership roles at her church. Dr. Frances Gholson Nelson has elevated the whole community—not just with the time she has spent in community service but in the quality of her service that counts for so much more. Gloria Partida (Advocate for restorative justice and anti- bullying activist; Davis—Yolo County): When her son was savagely attacked near downtown Davis the night of March 10, 2013 in what was deemed to be an anti-gay hate crime, Gloria Partida responded with composure and grace. She not only cared for her son Mikey’s needs, physical and emotional, she led the community in a candlelight vigil coordinated by concerned community members. Mikey spent months in rehabilitation and many more in at-home care by family members relearning the tasks of daily life and receiving counseling for PTSD. Gloria faced the tragedy and its aftermath courageously and with compassion. In an October 6, 2013 editorial, “Innocence Lost: Now where are my virtues?” she set a powerful example, showing our community how to push back against hate crimes and bullying behaviors of all kinds: “Having survived this magnitude of violence, my son and family became magnets for people who had suffered similar experiences and wanted to share their stories. Sadly, there were many. This produced for me, ever the optimist, an internal civil war. How could people who started out sweet and promising turn into vessels of evil? … What became evident to me … was that I needed to be responsible for more than my own children. And not just the smart, easy-to-get along with ones … the marginalized ones.” Gloria attended a church meeting on the topic “Standing Up to Hate,” and in that meeting the Davis Phoenix Coalition was born. Gloria worked ceaselessly on the group’s projects, including a March 2014 anti-bullying workshop; a screening and discussion of “The Laramie Project” and other awareness-raising events; find-raising and attending the “Not in Our Town” national gathering in Montana; designing a tee shirt and bumper sticker; writing an anti-bullying brochure … always turning a devastating personal event into an opportunity for community growth. Linda Plummer (Healthcare advocate, arts supporter, community volunteer; Marysville—Yuba County): Linda Plummer is known as a distinguished advocate for health care and for the arts, twin passions that merged when she created Rideout Healthy Kids. RHK is a musical theater program teaching healthy eating and exercise habits. Still in its first year, the program created seven jobs—four actors, a director and two sound technicians—and reached more than 4,000 school children in its first season. As part of her job as marketing manager for Rideout Health, Linda helps to get the word out about the newly expanded Rideout Regional Medical Center, the largest construction project in recent memory in Marysville and its neighboring communities. Linda is a dedicated steward of the project. As 30 ironworkers, eight carpenters, six deck builders, two rebar workers and 15 other laborers and inspectors worked on the structure last year, Linda observed the sudden transformation following years of planning. “It’s like Christmas,” she said. The Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce has recognized Linda for her deep community involvement. She founded the Way, Way, Way Off Broadway event to give performance opportunities to high school actors. She is a board member of the Sutter Performing Arts Association and Yuba-Sutter Arts. A past president of the Rotary Club of Yuba City, she has been involved with Friends of Yuba City Parks and Recreation; the Casa de Esperanza shelter for victims of domestic violence; Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts; and the Galena Street East performance group to encourage young artists. She was a judge for the Sacramento Regional Theater Alliance. When asked how she manages her busy schedule, she admitted: “What schedule?” For Linda, “Volunteering is addictive. Whatever form it may take, volunteerism has an incurable impact on people—you see it change lives.” Lonetta Riley (Educator and school district trustee; Yuba— Sutter County): Lonetta Riley has served on the Yuba City Unified School District board for 16 years as District 3’s representative and for the past two years as board president. Says a friend, “you can count on Lonetta’s support for the students and she stands up for teachers and the job that they try to do in these times of diminished funding.” Lonetta Riley is the only African-American woman to ever have been elected to office in Sutter County. When asked what it was like to be the first, she always responds that “it doesn’t really matter unless I work to make sure there is a second, third and fourth.” Lonetta began her advocacy for education in 1970 while a graduate student at the University of Nebraska where she led demonstrations to address the poor graduation rates of black athletes. As a member of the Douglas County (Nebraska) Citizens Committee, she was instrumental in bringing attention to local civil rights violations. More recently as a Juvenile Justice Commissioner for Sutter County, she has worked to raise awareness and organize efforts to address the difficult issues facing delinquent youth. She is passionate in believing that mentoring during probation is an opportunity to help individuals get their lives back on track. A criminal justice professor in the Los Rios Community College District, Lonetta is the Training Coordinator for the Regional Public Safety Training Center of American River College and guides the training of law enforcement personnel. She is a member of the Bethel AME Church, the National Urban League, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Bridges 2 Housing and other community organizations. Lonetta believes that “if you don’t use your voice for change, your silence says the status quo is okay.” She exemplifies the adage to be the change you would like to see in the world."
Honoring Lawrence Brooks September 15, 2014
Cedric Richmond, D-LA
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Mr. Lawrence Nathaniel Brooks, Sr. Mr. Brooks, a World War II veteran and Louisiana resident, celebrated his 105th birthday on September 12, 2014. Mr. Brooks was born in 1909 in Norwood, Louisiana. He joined the United States Army in 1940 and did basic training at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Serving our country was a family legacy for Mr. Brooks. He had three uncles who fought in World War I, and his brother, Chester, was a member of the United States Coast Guard. The bombing of Pearl Harbor would change Mr. Brooks’ life forever. Shortly thereafter he was called to duty. He served in the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. He served three white officers in his battalion, and his daily routine included cleaning the officers’ sheets, shining their shoes, making sure their uniforms were clean, and accomplishing any task these officers asked of him. Brooks attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war. During his service, he had two alarming encounters. While he was stationed in New Guinea, the Japanese bombed the base where he was located. Additionally, Mr. Brooks was on a C-47 going from Australia to New Guinea, transporting a load of barbed wire when one of the engines went out. The crew had to work quickly to lighten up the load in order to make the plane light enough to continue on. A true New Orleanian, even Hurricane Katrina couldn’t keep Mr. Brooks away from the city he loves for too long. A few days after the levees failed and the city flooded, Mr. Brooks moved to Los Angeles. However, he returned to New Orleans a little more than a year later."
Infrastructure Needs Of America July 15, 2014
John Garamendi, D-CA
"There is a report card out on how our infrastructure is today. This was put together by the engineers and others who do this kind of work. I am just going to read through this: aviation—these are our airports—D; bridges, C-plus; dams, D; drinking water, D; energy, D; hazardous waste, D; inland waterways, D; levees, D; ports, C—whoa, that is good; public parks and recreation, C-minus; rails, C-plus; roads, D; schools, D; solid waste, B—I guess we can get rid of our trash, that is good—transit, D; and wastewater, D. So, the entire infrastructure is D."
Make It In America June 10, 2014
John Garamendi, D-CA
"I am going to put up this photo of a levee break in California. I represent 200 miles of the Sacramento River Valley and probably have over 1,100 miles of levees. Today, actually is the best of times. The levees are not breaking. Actually, we are in the middle of a drought."
Wrrda Conference Report May 22, 2014
David Vitter, R-LA
"Another very important category which I certainly deeply care about, considering the State I represent, is flood protection and levee safety. Not only does WRRDA authorize critical flood protection projects, but it also strengthens levee safety initiatives to provide critical funds to State and local agencies to make sure levees and flood protection systems stay up to par. There are over 15,000 miles of Federal levees and almost 100,000 miles of non-Federal levees protecting communities all around the country. However, many are graded as in unsatisfactory condition. These levees protect nearly 43 percent of the Nation’s population, so we need to make sure they are strong and adequate. This levee safety initiative will provide national and local leadership the resources they need to promote sound technical practices and to keep up with aging levee and protection systems."

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