Arroyo Vista Dedicates Ruby Cedillo Breast Care and Imaging Center

October 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The late wife of a Los Angeles councilman was recognized Monday as the inspiration behind legislation that has resulted in tens of thousands of low-income, mostly Latina women having access to potentially life saving technology and breast cancer treatment.

The Arroyo Vista Family Health Center in Highland Park on Monday formally dedicated and renamed its Breast Care and Imaging Center in honor of Ruby Cedillo, the wife of Councilman Gil Cedillo who died from breast cancer in 2002.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the pink ribbons that have come to symbolize the fight against cancer were everywhere. The naming of the center after Ruby calls attention to the countless women who have lost their lives to the disease, and the advances in treatment and early detection that could save many more lives.

Arroyo Vista breast cancer patient Olga Hernandez de Lemus emotionally thanks Councilman Gil Cedillo for his part in her survival during dedication of the Ruby Cedillo Breast Care and Imaging Center Monday in Highland Park. (photo by Steve Weigarten)

Arroyo Vista breast cancer patient Olga Hernandez de Lemus emotionally thanks Councilman Gil Cedillo for his part in her survival during dedication of the Ruby Cedillo Breast Care and Imaging Center Monday in Highland Park. (photo by Steve Weigarten)

Arroyo Vista Chief Executive Officer Lorraine Estradas told the gathered crowd that legislation co-authored by Cedillo while in the assembly had resulted in a $284,000 grant to purchase the very expensive mammography and other diagnostic equipment in the clinic’s breast care and imaging center. The equipment, she said, is saving the lives of women like Olga Hernandez de Lemus, a patient whose breast cancer was discovered by a routine mammogram taken at the community clinic, and who is now nearing the end of her successful cancer treatment.

AB 2875, the Cedillo [Richard]Alarcon Grant Program, authorized funding for community clinics that are often the front line and safety net in the delivery of health care services to women without health insurance.

The sophisticated equipment available today at Arroyo Vista was not readily available to women without health insurance or of limited financial means, said Estradas.

Arroyo Vista was the very first clinic to offer onsite mammograms, Estradas said, adding there are still only two or three community clinics in Los Angeles County that provide the important diagnostic screening to low-income women.

While Ruby was not a patient of Arroyo Vista, like many of their patients she struggled to find the care and treatment she needed. At the time she was diagnosed, the Cedillos did not have health insurance because her husband had just lost his job with the union where he’d work. The couple would scramble to get Ruby medical care, calling in favors and referrals from friends and using the services of community clinics like Arroyo Vista, according to the councilman.

Ruby was full of life, an avid sports fan who loved the LA Lakers and UCLA Bruins and the Garfield High School Bulldogs, her alma mater. Passionate about issues that affect people, she involved herself in the political campaigns of people she thought could make a difference, and visited and mentored at-risk children in local juvenile facilities, according to the councilman.

She led vacation bible school at the Foursquare Christian Church in Garvanza where she’d been a member for years.

In the end, Ruby would lose her battle with breast cancer.

The struggle of what she went through was the inspiration behind AB 2875, Cedillo said.

Derek Oye with the American Cancer Society said Monday that the services provided in the now named Ruby Cedillo Breast Care and Imaging Center are “unique and special.”

One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 16% percent will lose their fight with the disease, Oye said. More women are surviving today, he said, but many more would survive if they had better access to early detection screenings like those offered at Arroyo Vista.

As a group, Latinas have the lowest rate of getting mammograms, just 46%, Oye said. Poverty, no access to health insurance are a big problem, that’s why the work Arroyo Vista does is so important, said Oye, congratulating Estradas, the center’s staff and board of directors for the job they do.

Since 2004, Arroyo Vista has administered 26,000 clinical breast exams and 21,000 mammograms, according to Board Chairman Roger Estrada. The center’s dedicated team provides case management and follow up with patients’ primary care providers at all five of Arroyo’s Vista Clinics.

Arroyo Vista provides healthcare to patients regardless of their immigration status.

Gilbert "Gil" and Ruby Cedillo (Photo Courtesy of Gil Cedillo)

Gilbert “Gil” and Ruby Cedillo (Photo Courtesy of Gil Cedillo)

Olga Hernandez de Lemus is one of the patients who can attest to the quality of care Arroyo Vista offers its patients.

Lemus went to Arroyo Vista in 2015 for a check up after having fainted. During the exam, she mentioned she had not had a mammogram in more than a year and the clinic immediately arranged one for her. She soon received a call informing her that the mammogram had picked up something and more tests were needed.

“I felt my breast and I couldn’t believe I had lump,” recounted Lemus in Spanish. “I was scared.”

The tests revealed that Lemus had breast cancer.

Arroyo Vista arranged for her to get a mastectomy and radiation. They kept track of her treatments and provided much needed encouragement, Lemus said, appreciative of the competent and compassionate care she receives at the community clinic.

It was very hard, very painful, she said.

“At times I just wanted to give up, but I told myself I could do it, I can’t give up,” she said, telling the audience that Arroyo Vista had saved her life.

She said if she had any message for women it’s to get a mammogram because early dedication of breast cancer can save your life.

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo (left), surprises Arroyo Vista CEO Lorraine Estradas (center) and Board Chairman Roger Estrada with a $25,000 donation on Oct. 23. (Photo by Steve Weingart)

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo (left), surprises Arroyo Vista CEO Lorraine Estradas (center) and Board Chairman Roger Estrada with a $25,000 donation on Oct. 23. (Photo by Steve Weingart)

Turning to Cedillo, tears in her eyes and her voice breaking, Lemus thanked the councilman for his part in her survival.

“Without a leader like you, women would not have a center like Arroyo Vista to come to,” Lemus said.

Visibly moved, Cedillo called the naming of the center for his deceased wife “bittersweet.” He said Ruby would have been very proud and while she’s not here physically, she’s always by his side as he works to bring to fruition what they wanted to do to help the working poor.

Cancer can take its toll on a family, Cedillo said. It is one of the most horrifying moments in your life, he said.

“I don’t understand why people like scary movies, life is scary enough.”

Cedillo closed out his remarks by surprising Arroyo Vista’s staff and board with a $25,000 check to use for its continuing care of women. He said community clinics like Arroyo Vista are vital to the communities they serve.

“This money will help us provide services to many more women,” said board chair Estrada.

Court Overturns Alarcon’s Conviction

January 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A state appeals court panel Wednesday reversed the convictions of former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife, Flora, who were charged with fraudulent voting and perjury by declaration.

A three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal cited a jury instruction given during the Alarcons’ trial in ordering the case against the couple to be sent back to the trial court.

“My wife and I are extremely pleased,” Alarcon told City News Service.

“This is a tremendous victory. We still have to wait. The decision was remanded back to the court. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

But he added, “We never felt we did anything wrong.”

“I have a consulting business,” Alarcon said. “I don’t have any plans to run for office, for example. It really is a personal victory because, as I said, the worst you can accuse a politician of is lying and there are probably some other things, but that is one of the worst things you can accuse a politician of.”

Alarcon was at City Hall Wednesday to represent his client Hillview Mental Health, in Pacoima, at a Housing Committee hearing on Councilman Gil Cedillo’s House L.A. initiatives. He said he is also interested in efforts to create more affordable housing and to help the homeless because he has a son who is homeless.

One of the Alarcons’ appellate attorneys, Amy Jacks, said she was “pretty confident there had been a serious error in the jury instructions.”

She added that she was also “confident that the Court of Appeal would see the same error.”

In their appeal, defense attorneys contended that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G.

Lomeli erred by giving the jury an instruction on domicile during the Alarcons’ trial regarding allegations that they had lived outside the district he was elected to represent.

In a 15-page opinion, the appellate court panel ruled that the jury instruction required jurors to determine whether the Alarcons had physically resided at the home inside his City Council district.

“Once the jurors found that defendants had not done so, the mandatory presumption of (the jury instruction) required them to find that home was not defendants’ legal domicile,” the justices wrote.

The panel found that it “cannot conclude that the instructional error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The California Attorney General’s Office could ask the California Supreme Court to review the ruling before the case is sent back to the trial court.

Richard Alarcon was convicted in July 2014 of three counts of fraudulent voting and one count of perjury by declaration, but was acquitted of a dozen other felony counts.

The charges on which he was convicted involved fraudulent voting in the November 2008 and the March and May elections in 2009, and perjury by declaration involving his November 2008 declaration of intent to become a city council candidate.

He was sentenced in October 2014 to a 120-day jail term, along with 600 hours of community service, five years probation and barred from holding public office.

He surrendered in December 2014 to begin serving the jail term and was sent home after being fitted with an electronic monitoring device.

Alarcon’s wife was convicted of two counts of fraudulent voting in the March 2009 and May 2009 elections, and one count of perjury by declaration involving a provisional ballot in November 2008, and acquitted of two other counts. She was sentenced to 400 hours of community service and five years probation.

Deputy District Attorney Michele Gilmer told jurors that the evidence proved the couple lied about living at a home in Panorama City, which was within Alarcon’s city council district.

The longtime legislator — who served two separate terms on the city council along with stints in the state Senate and Assembly — insisted that he began living at the Panorama City home within the council district in November 2006.

Shortly after a search warrant was served, he told reporters that an intruder had caused significant damage to the Panorama City home during an October 2009 break-in and that he had returned to the house several times to try to repair the damage. He said then that he and his wife were temporarily staying at a house in an adjacent council district.

In July 2010, just before a grand jury indicted Alarcon and his wife, he said: “Because my wife owns two homes and we have stayed in both of them during the last four years, I can understand the confusion, but my permanent home has always been on Nordhoff Street (in Panorama City), regardless of where I may stay.”

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office could not be reached for immediate comment on the appellate court panel’s ruling.

Breves de la Comunidad

October 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Bell Gardens

El lunes se llevó a cabo un servicio funerario público en honor al alcalde Daniel Crespo. A la Capilla Memorial Rose Hills en Whittier llegaron más de 200 personas para rendir tributo, muchos quienes dijeron que Crespo cambió sus vidas para bien.

Crespo, 45, fue fatalmente baleado por su esposa Lyvette Crespo, 43, durante una disputa doméstica, el 30 de septiembre en su casa de Bell Gardens.

El servicio incluyó una foto que mostraba el trabajo de Crespo a lo largo de sus 13 años como funcionario electo. Sus compañeros miembros del consejo y amigos hablaron en la ceremonia. Un homenaje privado se celebró el martes para familiares e invitados especiales.

Desde el tiroteo no se han hecho arrestos. La Oficina del Fiscal de Distrito aún tiene que tomar una decisión sobre si se presentarán cargos.

 

Montebello

Más de 50 estudiantes de la escuela intermedia Suva fueron seleccionados la semana pasada para recibir exámenes, como parte de una serie de revisiones y refracciones en el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Montebello.

Optometristas certificados hicieron los exámenes de la vista, que se centran en los problemas comunes de la visión como la miopía, la hipermetropía y el astigmatismo. Estudiantes que resultaron necesitar lentes se les enviarán en una semana a su escuela.

El programa conocido como Helen Keller International ChildSight continuará con exámenes de la vista en las escuelas intermedias de Bell Gardens, Eastmont, La Merced, Macy y Montebello, así como las preparatorias Bell Gardens, Montebello y Schurr.

 

Los Ángeles

El ex concejal demócrata de Los Ángeles Richard Alarcón fue sentenciado a 120 días de cárcel, cinco años de libertad condicional, inhabilitación de cargo público y 600 horas de servicio comunitario por voto fraudulento y perjurio.?? Alarcón, 60, había sido declarado culpable en julio pasado de tres cargos de fraude electoral y un cargo de perjurio, mientras su esposa, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcón, fue hallada culpable de dos cargos de fraude electoral y uno de perjurio.

Montes de Oca Alarcón, 49, fue sentenciada a 400 horas de servicio comunitario y cinco años de libertad condicional.

Alarcón y su esposa fueron investigados después de que asegurasen que residían en la ciudad de Panorama, localizada dentro del Distrito 7 en votaciones realizadas en los años 2007 a 2009. ??Las reglas de la ciudad de Los Ángeles exigen que los concejales vivan en el distrito que representan.

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