Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Gilroy is the Perfect Destination Right in Your Backyard"

By: Kevin L. Nichols

The economy is in the toilet. Disposable cash is a figment of the imagination. How does a hardworking Bay Area family plan a vacation while processing how to pay their rising mortgages, utilities, and gas in their oversized SUV or minivan? Take a mini-destination vacation to Gilroy.

Gilroy is the perfect place to take an overnight mini-vacation, without getting on a plane and/or driving 5 hours or more to get there. In about an hour and a half's time, you can still absorb the sunny and warm temperatures that foster wholesome family fun at a reasonably low cost.

The must see attraction outside the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in July, is Gilroy Gardens, formerly known as Bonfante Gardens. Gilroy Gardens was founded by Michael and Claudia Bonfante for the purposes of educating guests and galvanizing a spirit of horticulture. It is committed to promoting environmental stewardship amongst K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Gilroy Gardens has over 40 attractions, rides, educational exhibits, and magnificent gardens.

The rides are designed for all ages, however, the little tikes will be most excited because there are few rides that they cannot get on. Not only does Gilroy Gardens have an estuary for monarch butterflies, but it also has
Michael Bonfante's signature "Circus Trees." In 1985, Bonfante rescued the surviving 29 Circus Trees originally created by Axel Erlandson in the early 1920's, which consisted of mysterious tree trunks engineered to grow in unique ways.

With roller coasters, a train, carousels, a water park, a lake, paddle boats, and other attractions, Gilroy is the best place to go for all ages. It even has the Musical Market Show that educates viewers about the importance of vegetables and agriculture in the surrounding area, as well as spectacular sites such as Bonfante Falls and rare gardens/botanicals. Please visit http://www.gilroygardens.org/ for their park hours, admission prices, more historical background, and information on their Holiday Lights celebration.

Although Gilroy is not too far to travel, it is always nice to find affordable and comfortable accommodations so that you do not have to make the trek back to the Bay Area right away. If you choose to stay in Gilroy, you cannot beat the Hilton Garden Inn http://www.hiltongardeninn.com/. It has a wonderful decorum and splendid ambiance for a romantic getaway and enough space to bring the entire family. Their rooms feature small refrigerators, microwaves, hair dryers, 27" televisions, and coffeemakers. They also have a wonderful staff and management team.

If you do not mind driving about 10-15 minutes away, I highly recommend staying in Morgan Hill. The Courtyard Marriott www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjcmh-courtyard-san-jose-south-morgan-hill is quaint hotel with that has an affordable breakfast buffet, wine, beer, and cocktails served Monday through Saturday. The rooms are spacious along with a decent amount of amenities and is most convenient for couples and those in the area for business with its furniture and free high speed wireless internet access.

The best bang for your buck, however, is the Residence Inn http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjcmo-residence-inn-san-jose-south-morgan-hill. Not only is it affordable, but a hot breakfast buffet is including in your room rate. The rooms are like a "residence" in the sense that you have a hard tile floor, kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, silverware, pots and pans, a conventional oven, and a stove, coupled with a pull out sofa/bed and two televisions (one for the parents to watch the Sex and the City Marathon's and one for the children to watch the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon). Free high speed wireless internet access and business furniture is also included in the room. The hotel even has an indoor pool. After staying at a Residence Inn, it is the only way to travel with the family.

Although there are lots of eateries to choose from, Gilroy has a signature premier restaurant, known as the West Side Grill http://www.thewestsidegrill.com/. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available, but dinner is by far the reason to partake. They offer a seafood and meat menu to die for. Some of the notable items are pasta with clams, jumbo prawns, or crab; filet mignon, prime rib, New York steak, and much more. The West Side Grill provides a unique ambiance of elegance, however, is friendly enough to have a family dinner with a wholesome children's menu. Ultimately, you need to stop by and try a meal there, and cap it off with one of their signature desserts, such as the decadent chocolate cake.

Gilroy is an awesome place that is often overlooked. After all of the fun that you can have at Gilroy Garden's, resting in a nice hotel, and eating a delectable meal, why not shop at the Gilroy Premium Outlets http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=23. This will be a mini-vacation that you will not forget.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit http://klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com.

Kappa's Black & White Ball and Century Club Scholarship Dinner

KLN Publishing, LLC
"Eclectic writing in its simplicity . . ."

For Immediate Release

December 22, 2008

Media Contact:
Kevin L. Nichols, KLN Publishing LLC
Telephone (775) 255-4573
Telefacsimile (775) 258-1471
Electronic Mail: kevin@klnpublishing.com
Website: http://klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com

61st Annual Black & White Scholarship Ball and 7th Annual Century Club Scholarship Dinner presented by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Berkeley Alumni Chapter

The Distinguished Gentlemen of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Berkeley Alumni Chapter will host its 61st Annual Black & White Ball and Century Club Scholarship Dinner on January 31, 2009 at the Oakland Marriott Convention Center.

The Century Club Dinner will be from 6pm-8:30pm in the Oakland Marriott Convention Center's A. J. Toppers Room. The cost is $100 per person.

The Black & White Ball will be from 8:30pm-1am in the Oakland Marriott Convention Center's West Hall. The cost is $425 per 10-person table or $75 per person.

The deadline to purchase tickets is January 15, 2009.

Over the past 60 years, Berkeley Alumni has diligently awarded over 700 scholarships to exceptional high school graduates to assist them in their pursuits to college and beyond. This scholarship program is a major component of the fraternity's national Guide Right Program.

There will also be a souvenir booklet that is accepting advertisers. All advertisements and donations should be made out to Berkeley Alumni's Community Project, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible (Tax ID #94-2952968).

For more information, please contact Derrick Carr at (510) 601-8561 or dlcarr23@aol.com.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

El Cerrito’s first Black mayor transitions off City Council

By Kevin L. Nichols

The city on “the little hill” has become a metropolis over the last decade. One major contributor to El Cerrito’s success has been Letitia Moore, its first African American City Council member and mayor. Moore was elected to the City Council for her first term in 2001. Typically, most City Council members in El Cerrito have an opportunity to serve one year as mayor; at the start of her second term in 2004, Moore became mayor. Last Tuesday, Dec. 2, marked the end of her second term, and she is not seeking another term or office at this time.

Moore was born in British Honduras, Belize, which is now known as Belize City. She lived in New York when she first moved to the United States and then moved to and grew up in Los Angeles. She attended Yale University and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1986. Moore then went to UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall to study law and graduated in 1989. She is now the assistant regional counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX.

Along with the visible achievements of new retail storefronts, thriving businesses and restaurants and new school buildings, Moore prides her tenure on more quiescent accomplishments. For example, one of the most difficult tasks the council faced was coming up with a budgetary solution to the city’s road maintenance problem. Financing for the upkeep and creation of new streets, some of which have not been repaired in over 30 years, was regularly diminished due to other line items that took priority. Moore championed a 5-cent sales tax, which was recently approved by voters, to permanently address the road maintenance issue.

Some of her other accomplishments while on the council included overseeing the formation of the Cerrito Speakeasy Theater on San Pablo Avenue and the new City Hall building, also on San Pablo Avenue. Now that her political career is temporarily at halt, Moore plans to dedicate more of her time to the EPA and the American Bar Association’s Environmental Bar — specifically its Diversity Fellowship Program, which provides a $5,000 stipend for law students of color to work with a leading environmental organization during the summer.

According to Moore, since “there is always too much work to do and not enough people to do it,” I am certain that we will be hearing more from her in the months and years to come.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author and the president/CEO of KLN Publishing, located in San Francisco. For more information, visit http://klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com.

Copyright © 2008 The Globe Newspaper Group, LLC - All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Photos from Shakir Stewart's Memorial at St. Mary's

Special thanks go to the family, St. Mary's College High School, Mr. Puck, Shawn Granberry, Bryan Brown, Ph.D., and Jerome Spence for assisting with the planning of this wonderful event.

Volunteer Opportunity: Feed the Children

Please Join…

Feed the Children
The Willie Brown Institute
The National Basketball Players Association
(Houston Rockets’ and Oakland Warriors’ Players)
Port of San Francisco San Francisco Fire Department
And Local Community Partners

To Volunteer For…


Thursday, December 11, 2008
Pier 48
Sheds A, C, and Valley
San Francisco, California

Up to 300 local volunteers from business and community based organizations will join forces with other volunteers from Major National and Local organizations, including the NBA, (Players from the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets) and Political and Media groups, to present the “Miracle at Pier 48” to distribute food and personal care products to 5,000 San Francisco families in need.

About the Volunteer Opportunity:

q Volunteers will distribute boxes of non-perishable food and milk to families in need. Be prepared to transport boxes with a total weight of up to 80 pounds.

q Food will be distributed in two shifts:
(8:30AM-1:00PM) and (1:00PM-5:00PM)

It is estimated that Feed the Children will bring in 12-16 semi-tractor trailers full of food to Pier 48. Families and representatives from community-based organizations and churches will arrive at Pier 48 with pre-assigned, timed tickets to pick up the food and personal care boxes.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me hkhijazi@yahoo.com or at 415-307-4607.