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Board appoints CaSonya Thomas to lead Human Services

CaSonya Thomas, director of the Department of Behavioral Health

CaSonya Thomas, director of the Department of Behavioral Health

A director with 25 years of experience in meeting the social service and mental health needs of San Bernardino County residents was appointed on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors to lead County Human Services.

CaSonya Thomas, director of the Department of Behavioral Health, will succeed Linda Haugan, who is retiring as Assistant Executive Officer of Human Services on Oct. 15 after more than 35 years of service to the County.

Haugan has spent the past 11 years as head of Human Services, a County agency that includes eight departments, more than 6,000 employees, and a $1.9 billion annual budget. Both Haugan and Thomas began their careers in what is now known as the Transitional Assistance Department as eligibility workers, an entry-level position in County Government. Thomas began her career in 1991.

Their careers illustrate the County’s successful efforts – mandated by the Board of Supervisors – to identify and develop talent from within the County organization, and ensure the County maintains a bench of qualified managers and executives to promote when vacancies occur. This practice will allow a nearly three-month transition for Thomas to work closely with Haugan before assuming her new role.

“It is an honor to receive this appointment, which comes with a tremendous responsibility to the people of San Bernardino County,” Thomas said. “Each day, Human Services changes lives through a number of programs and services, and we will remain committed to our Countywide Vision to build healthier communities by strengthening individuals and families, enhancing quality of life and valuing people.”

Thomas has held a number of positions within Human Services over the course of her 25-year County career, including Director of Behavioral Health and executive and management positions within Human Services. Under Thomas’ leadership, Behavioral Health played a key role in the County’s efforts to assist the survivors of the Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino and the families of those who died.

“CaSonya Thomas is an outstanding employee and an asset to the county. As the newly appointed Assistant Executive Officer for Human Services, Ms. Thomas will bring professionalism and expertise that will continue to strengthen the County of San Bernardino,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman and Third District Supervisor James Ramos.

“CaSonya has proven herself as a successful and well-qualified leader for this position. Her experience, hard work and professionalism will serve our residents and the County well,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood.

“It was a privilege to appoint Ms. Thomas as the Director of the Department of Behavioral Health in 2012, and I am thrilled to now support her appointment as the Assistant Executive Officer for Human Services,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales. “I am so pleased to see her succeed and I have no doubt she’ll continue to do a remarkable job.”

“CaSonya has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the well-being of all county residents,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “Her intelligence, compassion and creativity are perfectly suited to the challenges we face.”

Haugan assumed the reins of Human Services in July 2005 after an already-notable career that included the implementation of the landmark C-IV Statewide Automated Welfare System. Her first order of business as Humans Services chief was to successfully and dramatically reduce the County’s food stamp error rate.

Throughout her tenure, Haugan has fostered collaboration between Human Services departments to improve services to the public, a practice that has made the County a consistent leader in winning national and state awards for innovative and effective programs.

“I have had the good fortune of working with many talented people who carry out their public service mission with passion and intelligence. That’s why I feel I am leaving Human Services in a very good state and in very good hands,” Haugan said.

Thomas has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a post-graduate degree in public administration, both from California State University, San Bernardino. She is also certified in healthcare compliance by the national Health Care Compliance Association.

Thomas serves as president-elect to the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA), whose goals include advocating and developing public policy agendas that support access to necessary quality services that promote behavioral health and wellness, and resiliency and recovery in communities. She also is co-chair of the CBHDA Cultural Competence, Equity and Social Justice Committee.

Human Services departments, divisions and offices include Aging and Adult Services, Animal Care and Control, Behavioral Health, Child Support Services, Children and Family Services, Children’s Network, Environmental Health Services, Homeless Services, Preschool Services, Public Health, Transitional Assistance and Veterans Affairs.

Pro Boxer Mikey Garcia Wins His Return Fight by Knockout on Showtime

RIVERSIDE, CA- On Saturday night, July 30, 2016, twenty-eight year old professional boxer Mikey Garcia returned to the ring at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, after a two and a half year layoff due to a contract dispute with his former promotional company, Top Rank. On the Showtime televised broadcast, Garcia knocked down former WBC World Featherweight Champion Elio Rojas four times, before referee Eddie Claudio called an end to the fight at 2:02 of Round 5. Following Saturday’s TKO win, Garcia’s record improved to 35-0, with 29 KOs, while Rojas’ record dropped to 24-3, with 14 KOs. Garcia-Rojas was scheduled for ten rounds in the junior welterweight division as the co-main event on the fight card promoted by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Cyclone Promotions, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions. In the main event, Carl Frampton won the WBA Super World Featherweight Title by defeating Leon Santa Cruz by majority decision.

Garcia, a former two-time WBO world champion in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions, last fought on January 25, 2014, when he successfully defended his WBO World Super Featherweight Title in a unanimous decision win against Juan Carlos Burgos on HBO. In October 2014, he vacated the WBO World Super Featherweight Title because he had plans to move up in weight. Mikey grew up in Oxnard, California, trains in Riverside at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy, and resides in Moreno Valley.

He shared his thoughts about his winning performance against his opponent, Elio Rojas. “It took me a round or two to get my rhythm going. I had to find that right distance and range to connect my punches. I didn’t feel any ring rust. My defense and footwork were fine, my punches felt sharp and fast, and I felt good with my jab. My opponent used the ring well and demonstrated solid footwork. The plan was always to keep my distance and measure him. It was difficult to land that one big shot, because he kept moving and using his legs. He was smart and he wanted to win. Rojas had good reflexes, and he was able to see me coming in. He kept moving out of the way before I could land a big punch. I worked hard to close the distance, and when it happened, I let my hands go. Once I started landing hard shots, I knew that I hurt him, and eventually he went down.

After the first two knockdowns, Rojas didn’t look like he wanted to be in the ring anymore. The last time that I dropped him, the referee asked him if he wanted to continue. He kept looking down and finally said no. I made a statement by stopping Rojas in my return fight. Everybody at the Barclays Center was cheering, and it was great to get a victory in that manner. I easily made 138 lbs for this fight, and the contracted weight had been set previously at 140 lbs. I felt real comfortable on fight night, so making 135 lbs for my next fight won’t be any problem.”

Mikey discussed his career going forward. “During the past two years, I never went away from boxing. I’ve stayed busy helping other fighters get ready for their fights, and continued making improvements in the gym. I had good sparring prior to this fight, and I had adequate time to prepare. It’s very important that I get right back in the ring again soon. I didn’t have any cuts or abrasions, and my hands feel good. I’m ready for a world title fight right away at 135 lbs. I would love to fight for the WBO World Super Featherweight Title, which is currently held by Terry Flanagan of the UK. If the world title opportunity isn’t available, then I want to be back in the ring as soon as possible so that I can stay active. My next objective is to challenge for a title at 135 lbs, then perhaps unify titles in that division if the opportunity presents itself. After that, a move to 140 lbs would be likely, and I’ll seek world title opportunities there. I’ll target big names and the big fights that fans want to see. There are plenty of big challenges ahead of me. Because of the time away, it’s important to me that I’m moved on the fast track, so that I can face champion after champion. Now that the Rojas fight is over, I plan to resume conversations with boxing promoters. I’m still a free agent and am willing to negotiate a deal if it is in my best interest to do so.

I want to thank Stephen Espinoza, Al Haymon, and Lou DiBella for giving me the opportunity to fight on Saturday night. I also want to thank my sponsors: B&B Plastics Inc., Asanti Wheels, and Everlast. It feels great to be back, but there’s so much more I want to accomplish. This is just the beginning, and I will do my best to give everyone memorable fights. The time off helped me regain that fire, and it motivated me to come back stronger. I’m thankful for all the fan support I’ve received. My performance on Saturday night hopefully reminded everyone what I’m capable of doing inside the ring, and it’s a great way to begin this next stage of my career.

Mikey Garcia Fight Night Recap Video:

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Hashtags: #TeamMikeyGarcia #RGBA #TheReturn #GarciaRojas

 

San Bernardino Valley College Hosts Weeklong Leadership Academy for Young Women

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- A recent series of workshops at San Bernardino Valley College educated young women about the importance of aspiring to leadership roles to bring about change in their local communities.

Sponsored by the BLU Educational Foundation, the Soul Sisters Leadership Academy was launched on July 18 and attended by several dozen local high school and college students, ages 14 to 21. Workshops focused on African American women’s history, self-identity, racism, sexism, and the importance of women taking leadership positions on school and college campuses.

“I am glad that we can discuss the realities of discrimination in a safe and open environment,” says Ana Stewart, an SBVC economics major. “I don’t think there is enough discussion about the challenges of being minority and female in the Inland Empire.”

Debra Robertson, the mayor of Rialto, shared an inspiring account of her own path to becoming the first black mayor of her city, referencing her family’s long history of community involvement.

For more information on the BLU Educational Foundation, visit www.bluedfoundation.org.