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San Bernardino’s Isabel Cholbi Returns to Washington for National Spelling Bee

Isabel Cholbi

Isabel Cholbi

SAN BERNARDINO, CA—Seventh grader Isabel Cholbi, the two-time San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) Collaborative Spelling Bee winner will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 28 to 30. As the winner of the San Bernardino spelling bee, the Chavez Middle School student won a trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This will be Isabel’s second time competing in the national event.

The competition begins on May 28 with the Preliminaries Test for all 281 competitors.  The test includes spelling words and vocabulary questions. Competitors who misspell a word in round two or three of the preliminaries, on May 29, are eliminated. A maximum of 50 competitors will qualify for the semifinals. The preliminaries will be broadcast on ESPN3 on Wednesday, May 29 at 8 a.m. and at 1:15 p.m. EDT (5 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Pacific Time). The semifinals will air on ESPN2 on Thursday, May 30 at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. Pacific Time). The finals air on ESPN on Thursday, May 30 at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. Pacific Time).

Every competitor will receive Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged and, courtesy of Jay Sugarman, a 2013 United States Mint Proof Set, plus and Award Certificate. The SBCUSD Collaborative Spelling Bee is affiliated with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, giving Cholbi access to official study guides and materials.

Isabel is not only an accomplished speller, she also builds websites and is learning computer programming languages; she has also competed in the regional science fair every year since 2010; placing fourth in 2013. The talented Isabel is also a musician and plays the xylophone, glockenspiel and vibraphone.

We will be tuning in on ESPN next week to cheer Isabel on.  We hope the community will join in and show support for one of the many special young people coming up in the Inland Empire, and in San Bernardino particularly! (WSSN-5/17/13)

Cal State San Bernardino Alumni Gabrielle Mays Wins Michigan’s Top News Broadcaster Award

Gabrielle Mays

Gabrielle Mays

SAN BERNARDINO, CA—Gabrielle Mays graduated from California State University San Bernardino in 2011 with a communications degree, and she has already been honored as the recipient of the 2012 Broadcasting Award of Excellence for news reporting by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB).

Mays, who grew up in Redlands, works as a news reporter for WLUC-TV 6 in Houghton, Michigan.. The station’s website highlights her work at Cal State San Bernardino where she gained most of her experience as the producer for the campus news station segment ‘Local Matters.’ Mays entered the MAB’s news reporter category with three feature stories she produced in the Houghton/Hancock region. “What makes this award so special is that all of the stories I entered were about the people in this area,” said Mays.

“It’s particularly impressive that Gabrielle graduated from CSUSB in 2011,” said Michael Salvador, chair of the university’s communications studies department. “To win this award in her first year speaks to Gabrielle’s talent and the quality of her professional preparation here at CSUSB.”

Her entries consisted of a story about a young girl with brittle bone disease who wanted an outdoor wheelchair to aid her in getting through the snow; a group called the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly who assisted senior citizens in their everyday lives; and a fire that broke out in a senior living complex.

“People in the community trusted me enough to tell their story; and to win an award based on how amazing, kind and generous the Houghton/Hancock community truly is; makes me smile,” said Mays.

The award, which she received this March, now sits in the front office of the Houghton news station among the station’s other awards. “I came into this job not being the best on-camera personality, but I learned that if you want to be a reporter, you have to get good at telling the stories of the people that watch you every single night,” Mays added. (WSSN-5/17/13)

Councilman Rikke Van Johnson to Run for Mayor of the City of San Bernardino


Sixth Ward Councilman Rikke Van Johnson is shown here announcing his candidacy for Mayor of the city of San Bernardino to friends, neighbors, supporters and concerned community members. Petitions were also circulated after the gathering.. (Photo courtesy Sharon Johnson)

SAN BERNARDINO, CA— Sixth Ward Councilman Rikke Van Johnson launched his campaign for Mayor of San Bernardino last Thursday May 16 with a kick-off meeting held on the lawn of his home.  Johnson announced that both his campaign and his vision for the city were inclusive, with the theme “Campaign for L.I.F.E.” (Leaders, Investors, Friends and Everyone).

He states his goal is to help “create, grow, and maintain economic value in the city, which will aid the community in realizing and accessing all the necessities that define quality of life.”  He laid out a vision for the city as a safe and prosperous community, offering a wide range of housing, recreation, education, cultural, and employment opportunities for all who come to live and work here.

He also said that San Bernardino residents need to continue to provide a strong sense of community for each other in these economically trying times.  He also laid out three primary areas he would focus upon as the Mayor:

     1. Public Safety to reduce crime rates with a two pronged strategy of, a) Decreasing gang violence and gang activity,; and b) Increasing Citizen Engagement in local government, realizing that a government goes bad when it’s citizens are not engaged;

2. Economic Stimulation through Job Creation, and helping to retain and maintain Local Business by helping them grow and strengthen their Consumer Base;

3. Beautification of areas of the city that have experienced neglect, thereby raising the esteem of both residents and businesses, and providing an attractive environment for consumers, potential home-buyers, and potential new businesses.

Johnson said he would also partner with area school systems to ensure an educated workforce, and would simplify the city’s system of government which he says has become “ambiguous and antiquated.”

“I truly believe that this is the frame work for a pathway to strengthening, sustaining and restoring our City to once again be that proud ‘City on the Move.’  This will be achieved by working together with vision, planning and hope,” he added. (WSSN 5/23/13)