Fresno – Local icon, legend, and long-time publisher of the California Advocate Lesly Howard Kimber passed away this weekend on January 10th. Affectionately known as “Les” to many, he was surrounded by family and close friends when he passed. Kimber was 80 years old.
By The Institute for College Access & Success
“The White House plan announced today elevates the universal need for some post-secondary education in today’s economy and the need to make college affordability a national priority. The White House plan differs significantly from Tennessee’s and other “free community college” plans and addresses many, but not all, of those plans’ limitations.
“In particular, low-income students could benefit from the White House proposal because it is not a “last-dollar” scholarship like the Tennessee Promise, which only helps students who don’t already get enough aid to cover tuition. This is a critically important distinction because, given the relatively low income of community college students and the relatively low tuition charges at community colleges, last-dollar scholarships rarely benefit community college students with the greatest need and rather benefit those with the least need. Instead, the White House plan provides greatly needed additional federal funding to states that make key reforms, including not charging tuition or fees at community colleges. The proposal is aimed squarely at stopping state divestment from public colleges, which is crucial to making college more affordable.
“Still, making community college tuition free for all students regardless of their income neither focuses resources on the students who need aid the most, nor addresses the bulk of the costs of attending community college since tuition charges comprise only one-fifth of the cost of attendance. Consider California community colleges, which have the lowest tuition in the nation plus waivers for low-income students; application rates for federal aid are notoriously low, part-time enrollment rates are sky high, and too many students still can’t afford to stay in school and graduate.
“This Administration has rightly made college affordability a top priority, from increasing need-based Pell Grants to making student loan payments more manageable, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to increase college access and success for students who need help the most.”
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Crouch, sometimes called “the father of modern gospel music,” led the choirs that sang on such hits as Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and Madonna’s Like a Prayer. As a songwriter, he wrote several gospel favorites, most notably The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power, My Tribute (To God Be the Glory) and Soon and Very Soon, a song sung at Jackson’s public memorial service.
A San Francisco native who grew up in the Church of God in Christ, Crouch wrote his first gospel tune at age 14. By 1960, he had formed the Church of God in Christ Singers, a group that featured Billy Preston on keyboards.
He started another group, Andraé Crouch & the Disciples, in 1965, eventually signing to a contemporary Christian label, Light Records. Crouch brought a contemporary pop and R&B melodic sensibility to gospel, making him uniquely suited to appeal to both black and white audiences during the early days of the countercultural “Jesus movement” and also bringing him attention beyond the church.
Elvis Presley recorded Crouch’s I’ve Got Confidence for his 1972 gospel album He Touched Me, and Paul Simon recorded his Jesus Is the Answer on 1974’s Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin’. Crouch also became the go-to vocal arranger for Los Angeles recording sessions that needed a gospel sound, working not only with Jackson and Madonna but also Elton John, Quincy Jones, The Commodores, Diana Ross and Ringo Starr.
Crouch’s gospel albums often featured guests from the R&B and jazz worlds, including Stevie Wonder, El DeBarge, Wilton Felder and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey. Chaka Khan, Sheila E. and vocal group Take 6 appeared on his most recent album, 2011’s The Journey.
His recordings brought him seven Grammys, and Crouch also received an Academy Award nomination for his arranging work on the 1985 film The Color Purple.
Throughout his life, Crouch struggled with dyslexia, sometimes memorizing words by the shapes of their combination of letters. He often drew simple pictures to help him comprehend words and write songs.
Crouch’s sister, Sandra Crouch, served as his spokeswoman, and the siblings were pastors at the New Christ Memorial Church in San Fernando, Calif., carrying on a work begun by their parents.
Crouch survived multiple bouts with cancer and also suffered from diabetes. In early December, Crouch was hospitalized with pneumonia and congestive heart failure, forcing the cancelation of his Let the Church Say Amen Celebration tour, which had been scheduled to begin Dec. 6 in Philadelphia. He was re-admitted to the hospital Saturday with what his sister characterized in a statement as “serious health complications.”