In celebration of Women’s Equality Day, the U.S. Army Reserve 79th Sustainment Support Command at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos recently hosted Major General Marcia Anderson, the first African American female to rise to such rank in the 237-year history of the U.S. Army. She currently serves as the deputy chief of the Army Reserve at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.“There are still other countries in the world that do not have women’s rights including voting, owning personal property or running for office,” she said. General Anderson has traveled extensively to the Middle East and Africa, and said the U.S. is at the forefront of opportunities for women.She was glad to announce that in the military men and women are treated equally with regards to training and pay. She said that since 1775 women have served in the military in some kind of capacity.“Women provide combat support, as they have the hearts of warriors,” she continued. “A quarter of all reserve forces are women.”“There is still a lot of work to be done,” she continued. “In the United States, we rank as the 68th country in the world in equal pay for men and women.”While abroad in Saudi Arabia, General Anderson saw how women were not allowed to be out in public without a male relative, and how there were no women’s restrooms. “They are where we were 90 years ago,” she said. “But the United States is slowly planting seeds for change.”She especially felt that every person could be a seed for change in women’s equality and how every person can be a game changer towards equal rights for women around the world.“We have to leverage all our human capabilities to improve society together,” she added. Women’s Equality Day especially remembers the addition of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in the U.S.In civilian life, Anderson works in U.S. Courts as a clerk of the Bankruptcy Court in Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Creighton University, and holds a law degree from Rutgers University. She has held every level of command from captain to general officer in the Army, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College. She has been in the Army Reserves since 1979, has two step children, and is a new grandmother.

Quirk-Silva’s Veterans Cemetery bill passes committee

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s (D-Fullerton) Assembly Bill (AB) 1453, a bill that would establish a veterans cemetery in Orange County, passed with unanimous support in the State Assembly Veterans Affairs committee.“Orange County’s Veterans and their families deserve an accessible location to celebrate the life and contributions of the brave men and women who have courageously served our nation. In addition to the positive outcome today, we have gathered outpouring support from 15 Orange County cities, endorsements from veteran community stakeholders and over 2,000 constituents have contacted our office in support of this project. These are all signs that we must continue to advocate toward finding a final resting place, close to home, for our country’s heroes,” stated Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva.California is home to more veterans than any other state in the nation with a majority of those veterans residing in Southern California. According to the National Cemetery Administration, the closest regional option for Orange County veterans is Riverside Veterans Cemetery, which offers neither a convenient location nor long term solutions for the large number of Orange County veterans and their families.Assembly Bill 1453 would direct the California Department of Veteran Affairs, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and participating city councils to work collaboratively to design, develop and construct a state-owned / state-operated Orange County Veterans Cemetery.“What this bill represents to veterans is the acknowledgment of service and sacrifice to those who wore the uniform and were willing to bet their lives on behalf of this nation,” said Vietnam veteran and American Legion Chaplain, Bill Cook.“I believe that a Southern California State Veterans Cemetery would be a valuable benefit of the families of those soldiers who spent part or all of their lives defending our freedoms,” said Robert Brower, a 27-year resident of Irvine, California and a decorated combat veteran who served in Vietnam during 1969.Veteran community stakeholders were present at the hearing to testify on behalf of this piece of legislation including Vietnam veteran and American Legion Chaplain Bill Cook, Vietnam veteran Robert Brower and California Department of Veteran Affairs Assistant Deputy Secretary on Veterans Memorials and Cemeteries, Steve Jorgensen.For questions or more information on how to support AB 1453, please call 714-526-7272 or send an email through www.asmdc.org/Quirk-Silva<http://www.asmdc.org/Quirk-Silva>.Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva represents the 65th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, Hawaiian Gardens, LaPalma, Stanton, and West Anaheim.

Neighbor saves elderly couple from fire

On Thursday, Oct. 4, at approximately 7:15 p.m., Adel Nimrods rescued an elderly couple whose house had caught fire in Cypress (near the Anaheim city border).Nimrods knocked on the front door of the Amberwick Circle home, alerting the couple to the danger. If she had not acted in such a quick fashion, the couple, which was sleeping in bed, would have most likely died.The Cypress Police Department did not say what started the fire.

Kobe Bryant: The Black Mamba lives

When Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers went to the mat against the Boston Celtics for the NBA championship, the onus was on the Orange County resident to dig deep to help the Purple and Gold pull off winning their 16th league title.Well, Bryant dug deep, but wasn't able to pull change out of his pocket as he connected on just 6-of-24 shots from the field for the 23 points that he scored in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Staples Center. But like the legendary icon he has become in the 20 seasons has played in the NBA, Bryant would re-invent himself in the moment to lead the Lakers to a nearly improbable win against the rival Celtics, and their Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Pau Pierce and Ray Allen…a victory adequately represented through his 15 rebounds. More importantly, it was Bryant's competitive fire that eventually drove home the Lakers' 83-79 Game 7 and series-clinching win. "You, know, I just wanted it so bad," Bryant said. "I wanted it so, so bad. On top of that, I was on E (empty). Man. I was really, really tired. And the more I tried to push, the more it kept getting away from me. I'm just glad that my teammates really got us back in the game. I was thankful that I was able to make one damn shot at the end of the game and made some free throws. But it was a tough one."It was Bryant's fifth title as he peaked into the twilight of his prime years. Unfortunately, it looks as if that may be the last calling card the Black Mamba makes in an NBA Finals appearance other than as a spectator, game analysis or as an executive. When Bryant and the Lakers clinched that 16th title, it was widely presumed that earning one more championship ring was not out of the question. The Lakers still had its core of players of Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom. But then the bottom dropped, and it's been tough sledding for Bryant and the Lakers since. The hit-and-miss business of trades and offseason acquisitions in recent years, have left the Lakers mired in mediocrity the past few seasons, therefore effectively denying Bryant a chance to come up with a sixth title. Such is the business of professional sports. You can be up one moment and become an afterthought in the next. A superstar in his prime eventually becomes an elder statesmen watching the young guys do their thing. Change. It is inevitable. Life happens in cycles.It is played out in sports as well. Bryant and the Lakers are experiencing this now. The era of "Showtime," still magical, but a distant memory and fueled by highlight clips now. The time capsule with Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant running Phil Jackson's "Triangle" offense to three championships, as great as it was, is in the past. Even the two titles that Bryant won without "The Diesel" seems like a long time ago. But what a run is has been for Bryant and the Lakers. It's been a marvelous one; two decades of joy, excitement and the thirst by many fans to see one of the all-time greats in living color. There will never be another Kobe Bryant. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you believe that.When Magic Johnson retired it was hard to imagine anyone coming behind this Hall of Fame point guard and becoming his equal, if not superior, when it comes to ranking the all-time list in Los Angeles Lakers annals. Bryant, with his threshold for the late-game heroics, the unrelenting will and the drive to be merciless to his opponents, gave the NBA and the game of basketball something to cheer for every night, whether you are a fan of his or not. Yeah, we can point to his 25.2 points career average and 33,00 plus points as a discussion about his greatness. We can take aim at his five titles to highlight his clutch jeans.Or we can examine the numerous accolades and awards, such as being the two-time NBA Finals MVP, as a way to cement his career. That simply would still fail to illustrate the clear magnitude of Bryant, one of the two best shooting guards that we have seen grace NBA courts. The other guy goes by the name of Michael Jordan. When we first laid eyes on Bryant, he was this afro-wearing kid with the infectious smile, the kind of smile that moms are proud of. That smile was like an invite for fans to see the light side of a happy teenager being drafted by one of the most storied franchises in the NBA.But hidden behind that precocious and warm smile that many didn't pick up on was the drive, the dedication and relentless ambition to be at the top of his game. We all have another side to us, and this is where the Black Mamba comes into play. Bryant is the Black Mamba: lethal at anytime, deadly if you think he won't strike. You don't score 81 points in an NBA game as Bryant did in 2006 against the Toronto Raptors-by being a nice guy. A hug and a smile won't pave the way for you to become the best player of your era as Bryant became. It is an era, any fan of the Lakers, wish they can have back. The sight of Bryant slashing and dashing his way to the basket down the baseline for a one-handed, tomahawk dunk over then Houston center Yao Ming, is an unforgettable memory.Dropping 65 points against the Portland Trailblazers in a 2007 matchup was typical of the Bryant fever that was easy to catch on to and root for. So nowadays when fans see Bryant they expect something magical to happen, whether it comes from his patented fadeaway jump shot or a familiar drive to the hoop for some sort of acrobatic layup, the kind he used to make routinely. At the age of 37, that's not going to happen too often for Bryant. But the good stuff is still there. The will is still intact. The fire still breathes through No. 24 nostrils. But as it is, Father Time catches up with even the great ones, even with Bryant.Every time he takes a shot, it feels like to you can hear a collective angst in the building as fans hope that this is another great Bryant moment for Bryant they can share with their family and friends. It is both agony and expectancy of elation as we watch Bryant dribble, rebound, run down the court and attempt a shot. In home games in December against the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets, respectively, the energy of the Staples Center crowd, correctly reflects the position of anticipation of seeing Bryant doing something great. In the Lakers' 113-95 win against the Bucks, Bryant gave the crowd a little something to cheer for, going for 22 points and handing out six assists. He looked controlled. He looked energetic. He looked like the Black Mamba. Two days later against the Rockets, Bryant collected 22 more points and grabbed eight rebounds in a 107-87 defeat. He still looked like Kobe, especially with that one-handed dunk he elevated to when he took on Clint Capela at the rim. Take that for old age!He may not be the Kobe Bryant who won the league MVP in 2008, but he is still Kobe Bryant. He is still the Black Mamba. This season is history. Catch it while you can.

President Obama and dignitaries recognize volunteers at annual Youth Center Awards

Youth philanthropic volunteers shined at the 4th annual A Night Among the Stars awards ceremony held at the Youth Center in Los Alamitos on April 30. All the nominees were formally recognized at the red carpet event for their outstanding volunteerism with a letter from President Obama and certificates from senators, congressmen and city dignitaries, with the top three being awarded $500 scholarships.“It's an incredible feeling to see the Youth Center bring so many outstanding young leaders of our society,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “It brings joy and pride to all of us to see how much these youth nominees have accomplished already.One person can truly make a difference.”“I just really love helping out and making a difference,” said 16-year-old Madison Berry of Long Beach who was nominated by Village Bible Academy’s Leo Club and recently nominated to be District Leo of the Year. She served in various activities including homeless ministries, visiting nursing homes, and “BeepBall” (baseball for the blind).Her parents, Mike and Rena Berry, said their daughter is self-motivated and is all the good parts of both of them. Twins Andy and Kyle Farmer, 17, of Cypress were honored nominees for working more than 5 years at a memory care facility as singers bringing cheer to seniors after becoming involved when their grandmother was suffering from lung cancer and subsequently passed away.“We started then and continued it in memory of our grandmother,” said the young men. Their mother, Cindy Farmer, said the young men didn’t have any grandparents after their grandmother died, were approached at a facility to sing by one man and woman who sang regularly there, and were asked to join in. “The kids just wanted to give back,” she said. They sang songs like Amazing Grace, which would bring back fond memories for the residents at Valley View Gardens.Los Alamitos Superintendent Sherry Kropp summed up the true heart of volunteerism by saying, “I think it’s up to all of us to give where we can and when we can to make this world a better place.” She said the young people being honored here gives all of us hope for a brighter future. Oak Middle School Principal Erin Kominsky was also in attendance and said that volunteerism is what the world needs.“If we can teach them young, it benefits all of us,” she said.City of Cypress Mayor Pro Tem Paulo Morales spoke of a heartwarming story about one man walking along a beach filled with starfish, throwing them back into the ocean one at a time. Another man came up to him asking why he did this when there were so many, and he replied that he can at least make a difference in the one starfish’s life by returning him to the sea.With this in mind, the all the nominees made a tangible difference for the betterment in the local community and beyond through their selfless efforts. One such volunteer and $500 scholarship winner was Josie Pearce, 18, of Los Alamitos who overcame personal challenges all the while giving back.She was nominated by Los Alamitos High School Principal Brandon Martinez for her more than 1,200 hours service to the Lupus Foundation of America, the Assistance League of Long Beach and a Costa Rica summer project all while overcoming Lupus herself.“She is a shining example of all that is right with the youth of today,” said Martinez in Josie’s nominating letter. Another $500 scholarships award winner was Brielle Johnson, 18, of Westminster who eagerly volunteered for Grateful Hearts in Los Alamitos as soon as she turned 14 years old.“Every time she walks in with her million dollar smile, we know she is going to leave us in a wake of ‘getting the job done,’ said Grateful Hearts Executive Director Blair Pietrini in Brielle’s nominating letter. “Brielle’s zest for life, her willingness to connect, and desire to help other wherever she is … we are trained to recognize as priceless.”Max Russell, 14, of Seal Beach was awarded the third $500 scholarship for his more than 100 hours work with special needs children in the Friendship Circle. He said he does it mainly for the smiles he gets from the other children, who have taught him a great deal.“He always has a smile on and is ready for what the day brings,” said his nominating letter from Jocelyn Koff. “It isn’t always easy to volunteer with kids with special needs, but Max makes the most of it.”The remainder of the nominees not mentioned already are Cassidy Hornung, 11, of Los Alamitos for her work at the Youth Center; Cassy Lumme, 12, for her work at the Youth Center; Dominic Cashiola, 16, of Long Beach for his work at Urban Community Outreach; Lindsey Torgerson, 17, of Seal Beach for her work with the Seal Beach Lions International Club; Mario Lara, 11, of Huntington Beach for his work with Summer Harvest; Nicole Johnson, 17, of Long Beach for her work with the Youth Center; Pauline Foster, 16, of Seal Beach nominated by Miss Seal Beach; Rylie Long, 17, of Rossmoor for her work with Precious Life Shelter; Sarah Bancroft, 17, nominated by the Girl Scouts; Shira Frank, 17, of Seal Beach for her work with the Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF); and Sophia Gascoigne, 18, of Los Alamitos for her work with Special Olympics, Nominees outside of the three awarded the $500 scholarships were each given $200 scholarships, and all the funds were provided by the Los Alamitos/Seal Beach Rotary Club.“I want to specially thank Rotary Club of Los Alamitos/Seal Beach for giving scholarships to every single nominee this year,” said Lumme. “It was a special night for all the students, parents, agencies, and everyone in attendance.”

‘SMART Girls’ get a tour of City Hall

On Friday, April 1, Soroptimist International of Cypress and members of the Boys and Girls Club of Cypress’ SMART Girls Program toured City Hall and Council Chambers with Mayor Mariellen Yarc and Councilmember Stacy Berry. The girls experienced firsthand how City Council meetings are held and enjoyed sitting on the dais, taking turns sitting in the Mayor’s chair. Mayor Yarc spoke about serving on Council and answered questions posed by the girls. “This is a wonderful way to expose these impressionable young women to local government and public service. My hope is they came away seeing their potential as future leaders in their community and the importance of giving back,” shared Councilmember Berry. SMART Girls is short for Skills Mastery and Resistance Training, and is a program of the Boys and Girls Club. Cypress Soroptimist sponsors and volunteers as mentors for this yearly spring program. Soroptimist member Donna Kastner organizes the provided 10 week curriculum which includes discussion, favors and snacks. Topics include self-esteem, healthy eating, exercise, hygiene and healthy friendships. Soroptimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls by supporting programs leading to social and economic empowerment. We meet bi-monthly; the second Wednesday at noon and the fourth Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Cypress Courtyard by Marriott. Join us and see what we do for the community! For more information go to www.CypressSoroptimist.org or email us at sicypress@soroptimist.net.

Hawaiian Gardens accepting bids on school safety project

The city of Hawaiian Gardens is accepting bids for the “Safe Route to School” project, which will be implemented at Fedde Middle School, Furgeson Elementary School and Hawaiian Gardens Elementary School. The city will receive them in the office of the city clerk at 21815 Pioneer Boulevard in Hawaiian Gardens.The city held a pre-bid meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30 and will not accept bids after Friday, Feb. 8.This project will install traffic related objects that will create safer passage for children walking to school. It will consist of the removal and replacing of existing crosswalks, markings, pavement legends, stop bars with thermoplastic white and yellow crosswalks, solar driver feedback speed sings, replacing old stop sings, and mobile drive feedback signs.

New genomic analysis promises benefit in female urinary incontinence

Pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence, but also faecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, have a devastating effect on quality of life. Most commonly they occur after childbirth, or at menopause, though some women report incontinence dating from childhood. Of the 25% who are affected sufficiently for it to affect their daily lives, most suffer from stress incontinence — the loss of small amounts of urine associated with laughing, coughing, sneezing, exercising or other movements that increase pressure on the bladder. Isolated urgency incontinence — where a sudden pressing need to urinate causes the leakage of urine — affects only around 5% of women, and 5-10% have a combination of both forms.

“25% of adult women will experience incontinence severe enough to impact on their quality of life,” says Dr Cartwright. “Finding a genetic cause and a potential treatment route is therefore a priority.”

The researchers undertook a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in just under 9,000 women from three groups in Finland and the UK, confirming their findings in six further studies. Genome-wide association studies work by scanning markers across the complete sets of DNA of large numbers of people in order to find genetic variants associated with a particular disease.

Analysis of the study data yielded a risk locus for urinary incontinence close to the endothelin gene, known to be involved in the ability of the bladder to contract. Drugs that work on the endothelin pathway are already used in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension and Raynaud’s syndrome, a condition where spasm of the arteries causes reduced blood flow, most usually to the fingers.

Regular use of aspirin can lower risk of breast cancer for women

Bernstein and her colleagues saw an overall 16 percent lower risk of breast cancer in women who reported using low-dose aspirin at least three times per week. Such regular use of low-dose aspirin reduced the risk by 20 percent of estrogen or progesterone receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer, which is the most common breast cancer subtype.

“The study found an interesting protective association between low-dose aspirin and breast cancer,” said lead author Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. “We did not by and large find associations with the other pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. We also did not find associations with regular aspirin since this type of medication is taken sporadically for headaches or other pain, and not daily for prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

This study differed from other studies that have looked at aspirin and cancer risk because it focused on the dose levels of the aspirin women had taken and tracked the frequency of the use of low-dose aspirin as opposed to regular aspirin. It was also able to look in detail at subtypes of breast cancer.

“We already knew that aspirin is a weak aromatase inhibitor and we treat women with breast cancer with stronger aromatase inhibitors since they reduce the amount of estrogen postmenopausal women have circulating in their blood,” said Bernstein. “We thought that if aspirin can inhibit aromatase, it ought to reduce the likelihood that breast cancer would develop and it could also be an effective way to improve breast cancer patients’ prognosis once they no longer take the more potent aromatase inhibitors.” Bernstein added, “Aspirin also reduces inflammation, which may be another mechanism by which aspirin taken regularly can lower risk of breast cancer developing or recurring.”

Making bones stronger

When that rhythm shifts with advancing age or the onset of osteoporosis, the rebuilding process decreases. Bones lose density and strength and become more prone to fracture.

More than 10 million people in the United States live with osteoporosis and the resulting fractures demand more than $17 billion in related health care each year.

Now two University of Delaware researchers and their students have joined forces — applying the mathematical modeling expertise of one to the biological inquiry of the other — to point the way to a promising remedy.

The biologist — Anja Nohe — has shown that treating a mouse with a peptide known as CK2.3 increases bone mineral density. The mathematician/engineer — Prasad Dhurjati — has calculated estimated dosages for human beings.

According to their model, injections of CK2.3 can raise bone mineral density of bones badly degraded by osteoporosis back to healthy levels.

Their work has just been published in Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology.

Bone mineral density is affected by two processes: bone formation and bone degradation. Current drug treatments, especially bisphosphonates, address the cells involved in bone degradation (osteoclasts). Only the approved drug PTH addresses the cells involved in bone formation (osteoblasts) but doctors must prescribe bisphosphonates with it to target bone degradation simultaneously. The peptide used in this research — CK2.3 — is the only one that decreases bone degradation while simultaneously increasing bone formation.