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NFL Veteran Launches Supplement Brand

THE AFRO — Health is a “lifestyle” for Visanthe Shiancoe. Regarded as the greatest NFL tight end, since Raymond Chester from Morgan State University, Shiancoe was notorious for his insane training regimen while preparing for a pro football career.. That same drive now fuels his foray into the business world as he launches a nutritional supplement brand.

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Former Morgan State and NFL player Visanthe Shiancoe has launched a locally based nutritional supplement brand after an 11-year pro football career. (Courtesy Minnesota Vikings)

By Mark F. Gray

Health is a “lifestyle” for Visanthe Shiancoe. Regarded as the greatest NFL tight end, since Raymond Chester from Morgan State University, Shiancoe was notorious for his insane training regimen while preparing for a pro football career.. That same drive now fuels his foray into the business world as he launches a nutritional supplement brand.

Shiancoe, a decade long NFL veteran, is owner of Gavvai Nutrition, a company that creates healthy products to support healthy lifestyles. The supplements from his company creates are not chemically based, and are designed with athletes in mind. The vitamin works to restore joints so that athletes and workout enthusiasts alike can maximize their efforts to stay in shape and decrease recovery time.

“Health is a lifestyle choice,” Shiancoe tells the AFRO. “The stuff I put into my body is very important before and after working out.”

Shiancoe’s fitness training regimen at MSU remains the talk of the campus especially in Hill Field House. The former football player came to MSU as a tall and slender 195-pound stick of a man Montgomery Blair High School, where his team finished with only one victory in his senior year. With a lot of hard work, Shiancoe would finish MSU as a 250 pound NFL prospect who would play for more than a decade. The weight room was his sanctuary and saving grace, keeping him from the social distractions of the HBCU experience which would eventually plant the seeds for the second act of his professional life.

“They used to kick me out of the weight room,” Shiancoe recalls with a chuckle. “Even when I got to the league I was really into fitness and really into taking care of my body everyday. So I just took that strategy and passion and put it in a product that other people can enjoy too.”

Shiancoe’s body took an enormous pounding during his NFL career. His odyssey began as a special teams player with the NY Giants, and also where former MSU legend Roosevelt Brown became a Hall of Fame offensive linemen. He would go on to play in Philadelphia, New England, and Minnesota. These cities were known for having brutally cold weather and older stadiums with outdated artificial surfaces. All of that makes the process of after-game recovery very important.

Those factors can be the gateway to a bigger issue. Players looking to bounce back immediately after a game will often use opioids which ultimately leads to abuse.

For this reason, Shiancoe created natural organic supplements for his consumers. The products aren’t genetically modified at all, and are able to restore joints by reducing inflammation without creating a chemical dependency.

“Most of the ingredients are natural and organic,” Shiancoe said with an exhale. “They aren’t made in a lab. We went through the non-GMO [certification] process and didn’t just slap the term on them like some others do, but I think it’s worth it.”

Shiancoe is the most accomplished professional non-olympic athlete that MSU has produced over the last 30 years. He was selected by the Giants with the 91st pick in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft. During his career he caught 245 passes for 2,679 yards, and 27 touchdowns while averaging almost 11 yards per reception.

However, Shiancoe is most remembered for his prolific 2009 season with the Minnesota Vikings. Shiancoe teamed with Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre to lead the Vikings with 11 touchdown catches. The Minnesota Vikings ultimately lost the NFC Championship Game to the future Super Bowl Champions New Orleans Saints with a final score of 31 to 28.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

Bay Area

Value of Marin Agricultural Products Slips 5%

As in past drought years, the resiliency of local farmers, ranchers, and their workforce was noted in the annual report. The lingering COVID-19 pandemic required agricultural producers to find new markets to sell their products to stay viable and handling complicated issues with human resources around their facilities.

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The bright spot in the new crop report was in the aquaculture sector. Tomales Bay shellfish operations experienced increased product demands as restaurants rebounded from the height of the pandemic.
The bright spot in the new crop report was in the aquaculture sector. Tomales Bay shellfish operations experienced increased product demands as restaurants rebounded from the height of the pandemic.

On the positive side, West Marin aquaculture experiences a comeback

Courtesy of Marin County

Agricultural production in Marin County shrunk by 5% in 2021 compared with the previous year, mostly because of the ongoing drought and farmers opting to fallow more of their land.

Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Scott Wise and Inspector Allison Klein presented the 2021 Marin County Crop & Livestock Report to the Marin County Board of Supervisors on June 14. The estimated gross total production value of local products was $96,656,000, down from $101,840,000 in 2020 and wiping out a 4% gain in value between 2019 and 2020. Only three times in history has Marin eclipsed the $100 million mark in annual gross value of agricultural products. The record is $111,061,000 in 2015.

As in past drought years, the resiliency of local farmers, ranchers, and their workforce was noted in the annual report. The lingering COVID-19 pandemic required agricultural producers to find new markets to sell their products to stay viable and handling complicated issues with human resources around their facilities.

“We are now seeing the data that shows the long-term impacts this drought is having on our agricultural industry, such as significant reductions in livestock, exorbitant feed costs, and fallowing of land,” Wise told the Board members. “In 2021, Marin’s share of this megadrought reached critical levels. Due to the lack of precipitation, ponds and wells ran dry and many farmers and ranchers resorted to hauling water to their ag operations. Still, there is only so much water an operation can afford to haul, so many growers had to fallow fields and many ranchers were forced to sell off animals.”

Marin experienced record low rainfall and a second consecutive dry winter, affecting everything from livestock to field crops to fruits and vegetables. It takes years to rebuild a livestock herd for specific traits and genetics, and crop and livestock producers are working hard to build drought resiliency into their operations.

The brightest news in the report came in the area of aquaculture, an important part of the West Marin economy. The total gross value of oysters, mussels, and clams jumped from $3.75 million to $8.2 million, an increase of 119%. The increase was attributed to revitalized demand by consumers after a year of coronavirus lockdowns and restaurant closures in 2020.

On the downside, field crops continued to slip in value because of the drought. The value of hay was down 49%, silage down 43% and harvested pasture down 33% (much of hay and silage are not sold but instead stay on local farms as feed). The total value of field crops fell from $14 million to just over $9 million. Also, fruits & vegetables were down 34% and nursery products went down 25%.

Livestock products led the way by accounting for 41% over the overall gross value of Marin agricultural products. However, the value of cattle was down 13%, slipping from just over $16 million to just under $14 million. Conventional milk production value was up 7% but the organic milk sector – traditionally a strong point for Marin farmers – was down 8%.

Over the past year, 21 Marin ranchers participated in a livestock protection cost-share program to help build and repair fences, purchase and support protection animals, and use scare devices to protect animals from predators. Protected animals include sheep, poultry, goats, cattle, water buffalo, and alpacas.

The annual report includes updates on pest prevention programs, sudden oak death, invasive weed management, and the organic certification program. All Marin County livestock and crop reports are online, including the new one. Reports are sent to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to be included in statewide reports.

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Groups Unite to Oppose Landmark California Mental Health Legislation

“With broad support from California’s state Senate, CARE Court is one step closer to becoming a reality in California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, “I am also grateful to have the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Downtown Association, and 21 local chambers of commerce join our ever-expanding CARE Court coalition, which includes a diverse group of supporters focused on tackling the challenge of severe mental illness that too often leaves individuals on our streets without hope.”

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The proposal, introduced in February by Senators Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would create a supportive alternative to the criminal justice system in California for people who are mentally ill or suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder.
The proposal, introduced in February by Senators Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would create a supportive alternative to the criminal justice system in California for people who are mentally ill or suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder.

By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

Senate Bill (SB) 1338, also known as the CARE Court Program, is attracting growing resistance as it makes its way through the legislative process. Some legal advocacy and civil rights groups say the law would negatively African Americans and other minorities.

The proposal, introduced in February by Senators Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would create a supportive alternative to the criminal justice system in California for people who are mentally ill or suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder.

Focused on the state’s unhoused population, SB 1338, would mandate treatment for people diagnosed with mental illnesses. About 40% of homeless adults and children in California are Black, a number nearly seven times higher than the total percentage of Blacks (5.6%) in a state with about 40 million people.

Opponents of the legislation say SB 1338 dangerously expands judicial power and empowers the criminal justice system to commit people to mental health treatment that is sub-par – and often against their will. There is also the potential for misdiagnosis, they warn.

“CARE Court promotes a system of involuntary, coerced treatment, enforced by an expanded judicial infrastructure, that will, in practice, simply remove unhoused people with perceived mental health conditions from the public eye without effectively addressing those mental health conditions and without meeting the urgent need for housing,” read the Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) opposition letter.

“We urge you to reject this bill and instead to take a more holistic, rights-respecting approach to address the lack of resources for autonomy-affirming treatment options and affordable housing,” the letter said.

SB 1338 unanimously passed in three Senate committees before the full State Senate approved it in May.

The legislation is currently making its way through the Assembly, where the Committee on Judiciary is reviewing it.

“Given the racial demographics of California’s homeless population, and the historic over-diagnosing of Black and Latino people with schizophrenia, this plan is likely to place many, disproportionately Black and Brown, people under state control,” HRW’s letter continued.

Some members of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations share HRW’s opinion, claiming that the program would “disproportionately affect people of color by imposing another unnecessary court process on an already overloaded and biased system.”

SB 1338 does, however, have support from various California-based organizations.

“With broad support from California’s state Senate, CARE Court is one step closer to becoming a reality in California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, “I am also grateful to have the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Downtown Association, and 21 local chambers of commerce join our ever-expanding CARE Court coalition, which includes a diverse group of supporters focused on tackling the challenge of severe mental illness that too often leaves individuals on our streets without hope.”

Jennifer Barrera, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, expressed her support for the bill.

“The California Chamber of Commerce and our colleagues from throughout the state are pleased to support Governor Newsom and his vision to provide support for those suffering from severe mental illness and substance use disorders through the newly proposed CARE Court plan,” she explained.

Barrera says that CARE Court is a thoughtful, measured response to the tragedy of untreated mental illness impacting thousands of individuals. California employers have a clear stake in seeing the success of CARE Court as many business owners and their employees experience, first-hand, the impacts of inadequate policies that fail to address the needs of those individuals suffering on our streets and in our communities.

Disability Rights California (DRC) is also voicing its opposition to SB 1338.

“CARE Court is antithetical to recovery principles, which are based on self-determination and self-direction,” read the DRC’s opposition letter. “The CARE Court proposal is based on the stigma and stereotypes of people living with mental health disabilities and experiencing homelessness.”

DRC proposes an alternative solution to the problems CARE Court is attempting to address.

“The right framework allows people with disabilities to retain autonomy over their own lives by providing them with meaningful and reliable access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing combined with voluntary service,” read the letter.

The HRW expressed concern about how the program might impact personal rights.

“In fact, the bill creates a new pathway for government officials and family members to place people under state control and take away their autonomy and liberty,” HRW warns.

About a month before Umberg and Eggman introduced SB 1338, Gov. Newsom foreshadowed the bill’s arrival in his January budget proposal.

“We are leaning into conservatorships this year,” the governor said. “What’s happening on the streets and sidewalks in our state is unacceptable. I don’t want to see any more people die on the streets and call that compassion.”

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Inflation Worries Grow as California Legislature Approves State Budget

During the public comment section of the Assembly Budget Committee hearing on June 13, Adrian Mohammed, an African American representative of the Bay Area Health Initiative spoke about the exclusion of a $500 million proposal to address Black housing and anti-displacement in the Bay Area in the budget the Legislature passed. “We believe that this is an incredibly timely and incredibly necessary ask and we ask that you continue to work with us to get this to come to fruition,” Mohammed told lawmakers.

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If the governor approves the budget, it will take effect July 1, the beginning of the 2022-23 fiscal year. However, negotiations are expected to continue through the end of August as lawmakers hammer out final details.
If the governor approves the budget, it will take effect July 1, the beginning of the 2022-23 fiscal year. However, negotiations are expected to continue through the end of August as lawmakers hammer out final details.

By Aldon Thomas Stiles and Edward Henderson, California Black Media

Diane Lanette Barkum is an in-home care provider and mom of three. She commutes about 40 minutes every workday between the Riverside County cities of Lake Elsinore, where she lives, and Moreno Valley, where she works.

Over the last few months, Barkum says she has been stressed and scraping by, struggling to balance sharp increases in the cost of gas and food with making enough money to pay for other expenses.

“What worries me most about rising prices is that they’ll continue to rise, making it more difficult for low-income working parents to be able to support their families,” she said.

Terence Henry, who lives in Patterson in the Central Valley, used to drive 77 miles to the Bay Area to make deliveries as an independent contractor. He says the high cost of gas forced him to give up the job late last year and opt for only making local runs.

“It used to cost me about $50 each way to fill up the tank to get to Oakland, San Francisco and other cities,” he said. “It just was not worth it anymore. I was losing money.”

Barkum says she hopes there is relief around the corner for people like her who are working hard, raising children and still unable to make ends meet.

Barkum and Henry are not alone. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 27% of Californians say jobs, the economy and inflation are their top concern over housing costs and availability (12%) and homelessness (11%).

Across the United States, the inflation rate is 8.6% — up from 4.7% last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And the American Automobile Association reports that the average price per gallon of regular gas in California has risen above $6. Several economists agree that the effects of inflation hit poor and working-class families the hardest.

In Southern California, the inflation rate in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in the Inland Empire has risen to 9.4%, according to the UCLA Anderson School of Management. That number is among the highest of increases in the country.

Last week, the California Legislature approved a record $300 billion-plus budget for the next fiscal year, the largest annual spending plan in the state’s history. The package includes a surplus of close to $100 billion dollars, half of which must be used to fund schools by law.

Included in the budget are plans to spend the other half. So far, legislators have allotted $8 billion in rebates to taxpayers. Another $1.3 billion has been designated for grants to small business and non-profit organizations. Another $600 million has been specified for tax credits to the lowest-income Californians.

While lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – and the governor’s office agree that addressing spiraling inflation is urgent, they have not reached agreement on how to provide relief to struggling families.

Anthony York, Newsom’s senior advisor for communications, said in a statement that the governor still wants “more immediate, direct relief to help millions more families with rising gas, groceries and rent prices.”

At the federal level, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell approved a three-quarter (0.75) percentage point rate hike — the highest single percentage rate increase since 2008.

“African American-owned businesses and families are experiencing the damaging effects of inflation including the current interest rate increase instituted by the Federal Reserve Board.

“It is important for financial institutions to work with Black-owned businesses and their families to help navigate the rising cost of capital needed to operate and sustain all businesses,” said Timothy Alan Simon, board chair of the California African American Chamber of Commerce.

By statute, Newsom has until June 30 to veto the legislators’ budget bill or sign it into law.

If the governor approves the budget, it will take effect July 1, the beginning of the 2022-23 fiscal year. However, negotiations are expected to continue through the end of August as lawmakers hammer out final details.

During the public comment section of the Assembly Budget Committee hearing on June 13, Adrian Mohammed, an African American representative of the Bay Area Health Initiative spoke about the exclusion of a $500 million proposal to address Black housing and anti-displacement in the Bay Area in the budget the Legislature passed.

“We believe that this is an incredibly timely and incredibly necessary ask and we ask that you continue to work with us to get this to come to fruition,” Mohammed told lawmakers.

On June 15, Republican leaders held a rally at the State Capitol blasting their Democratic colleagues for their inaction on addressing the high cost of gas.

“Legislative Republicans are gathered here to remind Californians that it has been 100 days since the governor and the Democrats here in Sacramento promised California consumers relief on gas prices. One hundred days is far too long,” said Assemblymember James Gallagher (R-Yuba City). After 100 days, we are still waiting with no relief in sight. We need action now. We’ve been calling since January to suspend the gas tax.”

Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said the state’s wealth needs to work for hardworking Californians. She pointed to a provision in the budget that provides $200 rebates to working families earning up to $250,000 a year and $125,000 for single filers.

“We are focused on providing struggling families the relief they need to weather rising costs of fuel and groceries, investing ongoing funding in core programs and services, funding one-time infrastructure projects that will keep California moving for years to come,” she said.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) echoed Atkin’s optimism.

“We share a firm belief that our state is strongest when it cares for the weakest among us,” said Rendon. “Our budget proposal continues to lay the groundwork with infrastructure and other investments for future prosperity.”

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