Clergy Activists Demand Answers Regarding Mishandling of Evidence for Missing Austin Teen

by Lesley R. Chinn

Six months and one week.

That’s how long 15-year-old Yasmin Acree has been missing. AWestside clergy activist group and members of Acree’s family said the police allegedly took two additional days before they confiscated a broken padlock from Acree’s home to use as evidence in the case.

The LEADERs Network has continued to demand answers from police not only about the whereabouts of Acree but also this time the alleged mishandling of evidence. On Monday, the group met for the first time with Chief Tina Skahill of the Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division at the group’s West Garfield headquarters on 22 N. Kildaire.

Rev. Cy Fields, president of the LEADERs, said that the internal affairs division promised that they would conduct the investigation of Acree’s case in a timely and thorough manner.
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Chatham Resident in Custody after Episode of Violence Shocks Neighbors

by Lesley R. Chinn

A situation last week involving a fifty-one year-old former police officer in Chatham who allegedly locked himself in his garage; threatened to hurt himself and who reportedly threatened violence to a woman, has left some neighbors puzzled by what could have caused Ellis Peal to respond so erratically. According to Chicago Police Department spokesperson Officer Laura Kubiak, the situation turned violent after the woman Peal allegedly victimized threatened to kick him out of the residence. Police said Peal was armed with a knife and reportedly went into the garage, but would not come out.

Responding to the situation last Tuesday, Chicago Police SWAT teams descended upon Peal’s home located on the block of 84th and Wabash, charging him with simple battery and criminal damage to property. Peal surrendered around 7:20 p.m. Although no injuries were reported, the case is under investigation by Calumet Area detectives.
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Michelle Obama Opens DNC With Hope

Prepared remarks of Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, for her address to the Democratic National Convention on Monday night in Denver, as released by the Obama campaign:

As you might imagine, for Barack, running for President is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother Craig.

I can’t tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here
tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I’ve felt his presence in every gracefilled moment of my life.

At six-foot-six, I’ve often felt like Craig was looking down on me too…literally. But the truth is, both
when we were kids and today, he wasn’t looking down on me – he was watching over me.

And he’s been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when
- with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change – we joined my husband, Barack
Obama, on the improbable journey that’s brought us to this moment.

But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.

I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong
friend. I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.
I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world – they’re the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future – and all our children’s future – is my stake in this election.

And I come here as a daughter – raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar
city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always
been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.

My Dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in his early thirties, he was
our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer
to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing – even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder.

He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can
receive: never doubting for a single minute that you’re loved, and cherished, and have a place in this
world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives – and mine – that the American Dream endures.

And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he’d grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single
mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that
he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of
the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he’d
done when he first moved to Chicago after college. Instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack had
gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he’d been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.

The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn’t support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren’t asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work – they wanted to contribute. They believed – like you and I believe – that America should be a place where you can make it if
you try.

Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be.” And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is – even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves – to find
the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn’t that the great American
story?

It’s the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms – people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had – refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals. It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.

I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history – knowing that my piece of the American Dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country:

People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift – without disappointment, without regret – that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they’re working for.

The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and
women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.

The young people across America serving our communities – teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.

People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters -
and sons – can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

People like Joe Biden, who’s never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do – that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and
Barack’s journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the
current of history meets this new tide of hope.

That is why I love this country.

And in my own life, in my own small way, I’ve tried to give back to this country that has given me so
much. That’s why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young
people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us – no matter what our age or background or walk of life – each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.

It’s a belief Barack shares – a belief at the heart of his life’s work.

It’s what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people
back to work and afterschool programs to keep kids safe – working block by block to help people lift up
their families.

It’s what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work.

It’s what he’s done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this
country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care – including mental health care.

That’s why he’s running – to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That’s what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America.

He’ll achieve these goals the same way he always has – by bringing us together and reminding us how
much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn’t care where you’re from, or what
your background is, or what party – if any – you belong to. That’s not how he sees the world. He nows
that thread that connects us – our belief in America’s promise, our commitment to our children’s future
- is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree. It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago.

It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the
man who’s unemployed, but can’t afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister’s health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.

And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that’s been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation.

Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.

And in the end, after all that’s happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the
same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He’s the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail’s pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he’d struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father’s love.

And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they’ll
have families of their own. And one day, they – and your sons and daughters – will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country – where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

So tonight, in honor of my father’s memory and my daughters’ future – out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment – let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
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Closing of Howe Development Center and Reconstruction of Tinley Park Mental Health Center

by Dwayne T. Ervin

Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced the closing of Howe Development Center, 183rd and Harlem in Tinley Park on July 1, 2009 while Tinley Park Mental Health Center, 7400 183rd Street in Tinley Park will be restructured and have privatized services. IDHS mental health and developmental disabilities officials announced the changes for Howe Development Center and Tinley Park

Mental Health Center last Friday. The Division of Mental Health hopes to find new positions for all or most
staff at Tinley Park. Residents of Howe will be moved to community-based homes or other state-operated developmental-centers. The restructuring plan for Tinley Park Mental Health Center will temporarily move all services into one building on the campus. Additionally, a portion of the bed capacity will be moved to other
Chicago land mental health centers and private psychiatric wards.

IDHS recently filed a notice of the intent to close with the Commission on Government Forecasting and
Accountability (CGFA) and the Health Facilities Planning Board. Notice with the CGFA starts a 50-day period during which action to implement closure is on hold, according to a released statement.

According to Grace Hou assistant secretary of Illinois Department of Human Services, the Southland is
growing and plans are in the offing to build a state of the art facility to serve mental health and people with
development disabilities. “We are working with families of the residents of Howe,” she said. “We also plan to provide other employment opportunities for the staff of Howe when it closes.”

Dr. Tanya Anderson, director IDHS  Division of Mental Health, stated that this plan has been in the works since 2004. “We will be working closely with the unions and staff throughout this process to move some staff into positions at Chicago Read or Madden Mental Health Centers.”

According to Lilia Teninty director of IDHS Division of Development Disabilities, there are 316 residents and 754 staff at the Howe Development Center. “We care  about and value the staff at Howe Development Center and will be working with them and providing support and resources throughout the process,” she said. “We will add jobs to other developmental disability centers. We plan to allocate funding to community based housing,” she added.

According to State Rep. Kathleen A. Ryg (D-59), Illinois ranks at 51st and failing with mentally ill treatment
in the country. There have been reports to the court for the mistreatment of the mentally ill. There has been a lack of revenue for mentally ill and the federal dollars have been denied. “We in the state are taking the first step to fix a broken system,” she said. “There must be dollars reinvested into state facilities.

“We must offer quality care and choice for programs that offer the best service. We must have quality care in state facilities. We must have a change during these difficult situations with the staff. We cannot accept 51st and failing and our voices must be heard. This reinvestment of dollars will go towards improving state-operated centers. Additional resources will build a stronger system, community based programs and services. More funding will mean more jobs and increased wages for the staff,” she stated.

“Good things happened there (at Howe),” Art Dykstra said. Dykstra has worked for 20 years for the State of Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (DMHDD) in several capacities. He has served as superintendent of two state-operated facilities, the regional administrator for developmental disabilities of the nine-county Chicago metropolitan area facilities, and also worked as a program advisor to the MHDD. In 1987, Trinity Services, a Jolietbased school employing 33 people and serving 40 people with  developmental disabilities, invited Dykstra to serve as their executive director. Referring again to Howe, he  added, “People learned skills there. Many things happened to improve lives at that facility. It was a troubled facility before the Blagojevich administration. People who came from Lincoln and Dixon to Howe had
good things happen to them. We look for the alternatives they have and not the alternatives they do not have. This is about (improving) the quality of lives,” he stated.

The long-range goal is to build a new state-of-the-art, privately managed psychiatric hospital in the south suburbs. Guided by input from stakeholders, IDHS plans to begin a bidding process by January 2009 to award a contract to build and operate a new mental health facility as a public-private partnership. Under the current timetable, a new facility would open in 2010 at a location within the southland region. The number of beds, the size of the new facility and other features will be determined as the state receives input form stakeholders over the coming months.

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White Sox and Cubs Come Up Short in Post Season

by Dwayne T. Ervin

The Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs made it to the post season for the first time together in 102 years, but both fell short in their Division Series. 

Chicago White Sox lost 3 games to one and Chicago Cubs lost 3 games to zero and were eliminated after the first round of the Major League Playoffs. The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays now advance to the American League Championship. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies advance to the National League Championship.

The White Sox lost at home Monday evening after clinching the Central Division title near the end of the season. This was also a back-toback trip to the playoffs for the Cubs.

After winning their final three games to win the AL Central, the Sox lost their first two games in St. Petersburg, but managed to pull off a victory on Sunday. With injuries at the end of the season, the Sox went as far they could go Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

After the defeat, it was too late to delve into how Carlos Quentin, Joe Crede, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks could have made a difference. Quentin and Crede were out for all of September, while Linebrink missed two months and Jenks was out one.

“We weren’t a good defensive team the last three weeks of the season. Some of it was due to injury, some of it due to whatever. But I am proud of the guys, they worked,” hitting coach Greg Walker told reporters.

Depending on whether you see the glass as half-full or half-empty, there was some sadness with success, since this year was a huge step up from last year’s 72-90 disaster. The group defied the odds and produced one of the most exciting seasons in recent history for fans.

For Sox catcher AJ. Pierzynski, the season had its high and low points. “I’m disappointed but not ashamed with what we did this year. There’s no way anyone saw this coming to do what we did except for the people in this clubhouse. It was a fun year, an interesting year, full of ups and downs.”

The White Sox also won the World Series in 1917, but later on lost in 1959. The last time they won the World Series was in 2005 by defeating the Houston Astros four games to zero.

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Drunk Driving Victims Remembered by DUI Memorial Signs

by Dwayne T. Ervin

In order to remind motorists to drive safely, Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown supported and Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed “Tina’s Law,” which authorizes the first DUI memorial sign to recognize the tragic loss of life due to drunk driving.

“Tina’s Law,” allows DUI crash victims’ family members to request IDOT install memorial signs along Illinois Highways. The overall number of traffic fatalities in 2007 reached its lowest level since 1994. There was a - 0.4 percent change in the number of people killed in Illinois due to motor vehicle crashes between 2006 and 2007. Nationally there were 13,491 fatalities related to alcohol in 2006 and 12,998 in 2007, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

The first sign will be in memory of a 17-year-old DUI crash victim Caitlin Elizabeth Weese of Elgin, who died in 2003. IDOT recently installed the sign along Illinois 72 in the north suburbs of Chicago. “The family knows that the DUI related deaths are tragic, but the sign will be a memorial to her and will bring comfort to her family,” Cook County Circuit Court Clerk spokesperson Deana Williamson stated. “This is a reminder on the road telling people not to drink and drive,” she said. “Tina Bell’s family was involved in getting the legislation passed,” Williamson continued. “We had people putting in requests for more road markers.” 

Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) played a part in having the sign put up. AAIM’s goal has been to create a program to install state signs where fatalities have occurred as a result of an impaired driver. The law allows relatives of DUI crash victims to request a memorial marker for any crash that occurred on or after January 1, 1990. 

The memorial markers are a 26 x 24 inch blue signs with white letters that read, “Please Don’t Drink and Drive.” At a relative’s request, a separate 36 x 18 inch panel reads, “In Memory of (victim’s name)” followed by the date of the crash. 

The law was named after Tina Bell, a mother of seven and a road construction worker who was killed by a drunk driver while she was working on I-57 on September 15, 2003. The Tina Bell Memorial DUI Task Force was instrumental in pushing for passage of “Tina’s Law,” formally known as House Bill 1900. The bill’s sponsors were Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) and Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago). 

Family members of DUI crash victims can apply for memorial signs through IDOT’s district offices. AAIM and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) can assist family members in obtaining and completing applications. There is a $150 fee for the “Don’t Drink and Drive,” sign and a $50 fee for the plaque bearing the name of the victim. The Teamsters International Union is also providing funding for signs memorializing their members who have been killed by DUI offenders.

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Harold’s Broad Base Appeal Inspired Obama’s Campaign

by Lesley R. Chinn

Before U.S. Senator Barack Obama emerged as the first Black president of the United States on November 4, 2008, 25 years earlier, Congressman Harold Washington was elected Chicago’s first Black mayor. On November 25, 2008, the city observed the 21st anniversary of the late Mayor’s death.

Chicago’s image of corrupt politics has been helped by both of these figures, changing the way people view the city, both nationally and abroad. At a party held shortly after his re-election on April 7, 1987, the late Mayor said to a group of supporters, “In the old days, when you told people in other countries that you were from Chicago, they would say, ‘Boom-boom! Rat-a-tat-tat!’ Nowadays, they say, ‘How’s Harold?’!”

With Obama’s election, the Citizen talked to renowned WVON radio host and magazine reporter for “In These Times,” Salim Muwakkil. Muwakkil, the author of “Harold: Photographs from the Harold Washington Years,” featuring photographs by Antonio Dickey, and Marc PoKempner, first became fascinated with Harold in 1976 when Mayor Richard J. Daley died and the Chicago Democratic Machine refused to allow then 34th Ward Ald. Wilson Frost, who is Black and who was the city’s President Pro Temp, to become the next mayor.

Muwakkil, who interviewed Washington as a Congressman for the Chicago Reader, recalled that the failure to elect Frost sparked protests among Black leaders. The controversy led the Black community to set up a series of meetings in search of a qualified African-American mayoral candidate to run in the 1983 election. Those actions resulted in Harold Washington becoming Chicago’s first Black Mayor.

Citizen: What propelled these two Black leaders to social power? Was it social politics or was it their charisma and charm with the people that carried them through? 

Muwakkil: What propelled them is a mixture of their own internal motivation and the times that opportunities provided by the environment of the times. Harold Washington took advantage of the fact that Richard M. Daley was running against Jane Byrne…and that split the White vote and allowed Harold an opportunity to get in between those two warring Irish factions and assert the Black vote in a strong way. Senator Obama had a completely different dynamic. Most Black people didn’t really support him because they really supported Hillary Clinton until he won in Iowa. Once we realized that White people would vote for (Obama), we said that he had a good chance of making it and so let’s get behind him. It was Black people that propelled Harold and White people said that he’s got all this solid Black support and let’s get onboard.

Citizen: Do you think that both Harold and Obama helped unite the Black community into supporting one candidate? Muwakkil: Harold united Black Chicago like nobody has and nobody has done it since. Obama had a lot of Black support — almost unanimous Black support— because Black people saw that White people would vote for him and we had to do everything we could to help him win. Harold had this Black support because he simply inspired Black loyalty. Harold and Obama were working in different stadiums. Barack had a much wider stadium and many more considerations to make and potential pitfalls than Harold and he had to be more careful. Anything that hinted that he would be an angry Black man—that would have done (Obama) in. Now Harold was often pictured and relished as the angry Black man to let you know that we’re not going to take it anymore in Chicago and that really inspired Black people. They had different playing fields. Harold Washington performed well on his playing field and Barack Obama performed exceedingly well on his to get through it all. Citizen: How would you compare the campaign styles of Obama and Washington?

Muwakkil: There are some similarities. I did a book on Harold Washington called “Harold: Photographs from the Harold Washington Years,” with Antonio Dickey and Marc PoKempner. In one of the pictures, we have a photograph of Harold Washington where he was at the Hilton. It was during the vote primary (sic) and he was watching the vote count process in a suite where a group of White progressives and many of those same ones who were in that photograph were essential in the Barack Obama campaign. In many ways, Obama appealed to those same kinds of White progressive constituencies that Harold Washington appealed to…We have excerpt where Obama talked about his first exposure to people talking about Harold Washington in his barber shop and how he saw in their faces and gestures and voices…he understood just how Harold Washington inspired the Black community.

Citizen: Do you think Obama soaked in some of what Harold did in regards to his own campaign? Muwakkil: Yeah. I think that’s why he came to Chicago essentially is because the city is really the Black political capital of America. He understood that Harold Washington was the embodiment of that and he absorbed that very carefully. Citizen: Do you think that Obama would have commanded the support he would have gotten if he were running for president in 1983 or 1987 when Washington ran for Mayor? Why or why not? 

Muwakkil: No, no, it wouldn’t have worked. This country wasn’t mature enough racially to accept that kind of candidacy from a Black man. The field hadn’t been plowed yet. (Rev). Jesse (L. Jackson) and others helped plow that field. Jesse’s campaign in 1984 and 1988 was the beginning of a serious quest for White House power for Black politicians. We’ve often forget how popular Jesse Jackson was especially in his 88’ campaign. He attracted a lot of White votes and won the Michigan primary. He was formidable. I think that plowed the field for someone like Barack Obama to run. 

Citizen: According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Obama’s campaign raised more money in the first quarter of 2008 at over $133 million than in 2007 at $103 million. By the General Election, he raised a total of more than $650 million. Obama attributed this to the use of collecting donations from private donors rather than the use of public campaign funds. Obama has broken all fundraising records of previous presidential campaigns. How do you think this will change the face of future presidential campaigns, or better yet any political campaign? 

Muwakkil: I’m a little wary of the precedent this may set because one of the longstanding demands of the progressive political movement in this country is to take money out of politics. When you have a politician who is disproportionately wealthy, they have an advantage and so money becomes an advantage and it perpetuates privileges. The progressive movement has always been urging the government to become less dependent on political fundraising. On the other hand, a whole new paradigm has been created through the Internet (because) it can reach deeper into political constituencies…than we ever had been able to reach before. Small donors can contribute and have as much of an impact as large donors. This may in fact be fulfilling the argument of conservatives who have argued that political donations are like freedom of speech. The conservatives say if you limit the amount of money you can donate, you’re actually limiting the freedom of speech of someone’s political allegiance. Technology has equalized things in ways we haven’t expected. 

Citizen: How would you describe Obama and Washington’s campaign styles as far technology is concerned?

Muwakkil: The fundraising expertise that was demonstrated by the Obama campaign was astounding. That notion of going to the Internet and cultivating small donors who can continue to provide increments of funding here and there whenever necessary, that was an amazing insight. The idea of community organizing model from the bottom up, which is how the campaign used its campaign office, was also an innovation that can be attributed to the Obama campaign and perhaps his community organizing experience…

Citizen: How do you see Harold’s legacy in Obama? 

Muwakkil: Obama realized that he had to broaden his campaign beyond the parochial concerns of the Black community, but Harold did the same thing. A lot of people were angry at Harold because he wanted to be fair. I think that is one of the lessons that Senator Obama learned. He had to craft a progressive platform that could attract Blacks and Whites, not necessarily on issues of race, but on issues on political fairness and social justice. 

Citizen: What if anything, will this mean for a new generation of leaders? 

Muwakkil: It eliminates the mental barrier that many of our people concerning the notion of accomplishment. It opened the road on their aspirations and (Obama) proved to many folks that you could succeed, if you simply had the right formula. That’s always been our problem (with Black people) because we act as though we don’t have that ability…and what Barack Obama does is that he demonstrates to us that we can apply ourselves and succeed.

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Chatham Business Association Holds It’s Monthly Meeting

Insurance and Certification Discussed at CBA Meeting

by Dwayne T. Ervin
Representatives fromCountry Insurance and Financial Services spoke about insurance and Montel Gayles, Chief Procurement Officer of Chicago Department of Procurement Services, spoke about how to become a certified minority or women-owned business in Chicago at Chatham Business Association (CBA) meeting recently.
Roger Robinson, investment representative agent with Country Financial, gave an introduction of the type of insurance Country has to offer for businesses.
“We have been referred to as the best kept secret in Chicago for doing insurance,” Robinson said. Country started to do business in Chicago last year. Previously, the company was based in the southern rural towns in Illinois and suburbs.
Country was created in 1925 in Bloomington, IL and began offering life insurance in 1929. It’s a full-service investment management and trust institution. “Our mission is to be the best financial security in America,” Robinson added.
“You have to ask yourself is that policy keeping up with the finances of your business,” Country presentative/agent Artis Simpson said. “If you don’t have proper coverage,

you will have to close your doors. In these times, we have to protect ourselves and our customers. We want to work as business partners.” gt;

Country’s target market is small to medium-sized businesses. They offer general liability, workers compensation, umbrella coverage and business owner policy. Country Insurance and Financial Services office is located at 87th Street near Cottage Grove.
Montel Gayles spoke about what’s ahead under an Obama administration. “He wants to rebuild roads, bridges and communication polls,” Gayles said. “Obama is going to give us the tools to get things done.”
Gayles stated that every Monday his office sends out an alert for procurement opportunities and target market opportunities. Minority and women-owned businesses are eligible. “The common thread is to turn in your paperwork on time. It takes 30 days to respond.”
Gayles mentioned that the most profitable are construction businesses, which make up 40 percent of all contracts awarded. What hurts African Americans is the fact that they are behind in becoming certified.
“You have to have partnerships,” Gayles continued. “You cannot isolate yourself to get your business going. We want to see each of you successful.”
To receive weekly Department of Procurement Services alerts, send an email to DPSalerts@cityofchicago.org or visit cityofchicago.org/procurement.
Also, Executive Director Melinda Kelly announced the new members of the CBA and other upcoming events were announced.

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Governor Blasts House Members for Impeachment

The case moves to the Senate on January 26

by Lesley R. Chinn

The Illinois House voted 114-1 to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich for abusing his power, mismanaging the state government and allegedly committing criminal acts.

However, after the House voted on their decision last Friday, the Governor blasted the chamber for their actions during a press conference downtown at the Thompson Center. Blagojevich said that he was not surprised at the decision because he knew that they had been planning this action since the summer of 2007.  At that time, the state was faced with a government shutdown just to pass a budget after the
House was responsible for not passing a budget, according to the Governor.
The Governor said that the House has given him problems ever since he was re-elected to a second term in 2006. He claimed that he has worked very hard with the House to pass public works legislation that would create 500,000 jobs and has worked to expand affordable and equal access to health care for adults and children. The Governor also added that the House stood in the way of providing property tax relief for Cook County residents. “The House’s action and the causes of the impeachment are because I’ve done things to
fight for families,” Blagojevich contended.

Blagojevich also claimed that the House is impeaching him for implementing an affordable prescription
drug program for senior citizens. He said through this action drugs can be purchased from Canada and save them up to 50 percent.

Joined by constituents who have benefited from health care reform efforts, the Governor asked, “Is that an impeachable offense?” “I took actions with the advice of lawyers and experts to find creative ways to use the executive authority of a Governor to get real things done for people,” he said.

Before he left the podium, the Governor reasserted that he is not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing and will not resign. “That issue will be dealt with on a separate course and in an appropriate forum in federal court. At the end of the day, I will be properly exonerated. In the meantime, I have a job to do for the people.”

State Rep. Monique Davis (D-27), who voted to have the Governor impeached, dismissed Blagojevich’s comments. She said that the Governor has abused his power and this fight is not about health care or any other issue that he wants to bring up. One example Davis mentioned was the state’s $2.8 million lawsuit that resulted from a previous purchase of a flu vaccine that totaled more than $8 million that was not approved by the Federal Drug Administration. “He has refused to accept the fact that Illinois operates under a democracy…it is improper and illegal to decide to spend dollars in anyway that has not been approved or gone through the legislative process,” Davis stated.

Rep. Milt Patterson (D-32) was the only member who decided not to vote for the impeachment. Patterson, who served two terms and previously suffered a stroke, decided not to run for re-election last year. His successor, Andre Thapedi, will be sworn in with the rest of the 96th General Assembly on Wednesday. In a
statement, Patterson explained his decision:

“I was not comfortable with casting an affirmative vote. I believe the special committee did its job to the best of its ability. However, I did not feel like I had enough information based on the report to make an
informed decision to remove the governor from office.”

Meanwhile, it was also reported that another outgoing State Rep. Elga Jeffries (D-26) voted present. Jeffries, who served oneterm, was defeated by Will Burns in the February 2008 primary for re-election. Burns will also be sworn in.

The Senate is expected to have a trial on January 26 on whether to remove the Governor from office. Aconviction by more than two-thirds of its members would result in Blagojevich’s removal from office. In the meantime, Blagojevich said he hopes to have a different outcome in the Senate.

State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-17) described public opinion regarding the Governor’s impeachment and arrest as nothing but “hype.” “The man has not been indicted and convicted, but thankfully there is a Constitution
that adheres to due process and equal protection under the law.”

Trotter said that the decision to remove the Governor from office will have a large impact not only on his life, but on his family’s life as well. “That’s a big judgment that we will have to make. I pray that all of my colleagues will listen to this (trial) with an open mind,” he stated.

Earlier, a group of more than 150 protestors under a new organization, “Rod Must Resign,” stood outside the Thompson Center to demand the Governor’s resignation. The group was led by Scott Cohen, a local businessman and entrepreneur. Citing reasons such as the Governor’s alleged attempts to sell the U.S. Senate seat, Cohen said that anything he tries to do is “put under such scrutiny that nothing is getting done.”

In 1988, Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham was the last governor in U.S. History to be impeached and removed from office. He was convicted of obstruction of justice and misusing $80,000 in state funds allegedly funneled to
his Pontiac dealership to keep it afloat, according to court documents.

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ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY!

President Barack Obama hosted a news conference on Monday, February 9, 2009 in Elkhart, Indiana. Secretary Ray LaHood, Senator Evan Bayh, Representatives Joe Donnelly, Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth, Fred Upton, and Andre Carson, and former Representatives Tim Roemer and Lee Hamilton joined Obama when he made his remarks that came on the heels of the Senate passing Obama’s economic recovery plan on a 61-37 vote.

I want to start by thanking Ed for coming here today and sharing his family’s story with all of us.You know, we tend to take the measure of the economic crisis we face in numbers and statistics. But when we say we’ve lost 3.6 million jobs since this recession began – nearly 600,000 in the past month alone; when we say that this area has lost jobs faster than anywhere else in America, with an unemployment rate over 15 percent; when we talk about layoffs at companies like Monaco Coach, Keystone RV, and Pilgrim International – companies that have sustained this community for years – we’re talking about Ed Neufeldt and people like him all across this country.

We’re talking about folks who’ve lost their livelihood and don’t know what will take its place. Parents who’ve lost their health care and lie awake nights praying the kids don’t get sick. Families who’ve lost the home that was their corner of the American dream. Young people who put that college acceptance letter back in the envelope because they just can’t afford it.

That’s what those numbers and statistics mean. That is the true measure of this economic crisis. Those are the stories I heard when I came here to Elkhart six months ago and that I have carried with me every day since.

I promised you back then that if elected President, I would do everything I could to help this community recover. And that’s why I’ve come back today – to tell you how I intend to keep that promise.

The situation we face could not be more serious. We have inherited an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression. Economists from across the spectrum have warned that if we don’t act immediately, millions more jobs will be lost, and national unemployment rates will approach double digits. More people will lose their homes and their health care. And our nation will sink into a crisis that, at some point, we may be unable to reverse.

So we can no longer afford to wait and see and hope for the best. We can no longer posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place – and that the American people rejected at the polls this past November. You didn’t send us to Washington because you were hoping for more of the same. You sent us there with a mandate for change, and the expectation that we would act quickly and boldly to carry it out – and that is exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States.

That is why I put forth a Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that is now before Congress. At its core is a very simple idea: to put Americans back to work doing the work America needs done.

The plan will save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years. But not just any jobs – jobs that meet the needs we’ve neglected for far too long and lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth: jobs fixing our schools; computerizing medical records to save costs and save lives; repairing our infrastructure; and investing in renewable energy to help us move toward energy independence. The plan also calls for immediate tax relief for 95 percent of American workers.

Now I know that some of you might be thinking, well that all sounds good, but when are we going to see any of that here in Elkhart? What does all that mean for our families and our community? Those are exactly the kind of questions you should be asking of your President and your government, and today, I want to provide some answers – and I want to be as specific as I can.

First, this plan will provide for extended unemployment insurance, health care and other assistance for workers and families who have lost their jobs in this recession.

That will mean an additional $100 per month in unemployment benefits to more than 450,000 Indiana workers, extended unemployment benefits for another 89,000 folks who’ve been laid off and can’t find work, and job training assistance to help more than 51,000 people here get back on their feet.

That is not only our moral responsibility – to lend a helping hand to our fellow Americans in times of emergency – but it also makes good economic sense. If you don’t have money, you can’t spend it. And if people don’t spend, our economy will continue to decline.

For that same reason, the plan includes badly needed tax relief for middle class workers and families. The middle class is under siege, and we need to give you more of the money you’ve earned, so you can spend it and pay your bills. Under our plan, individuals get $500 – families, $1,000 – providing relief for nearly 2.5 million workers and their families here in Indiana.

The plan will also provide a partially refundable $2,500 per-student tax credit to help 76,000 Hoosier families send their kids to college. This will benefit your household budgets in the short run, and will benefit America in the long run.

But providing tax relief, and college assistance and help to folks who’ve lost their jobs is not enough. A real recovery plan helps create more jobs and put people back to work.

That’s why, between the investments our plan makes – and the tax relief for small businesses it provides – we’ll create or save nearly 80,000 badly needed jobs for Indiana in the next two years. Now, you may have heard some of the critics of our plan saying that it would create mostly government jobs. That’s simply not true. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector. More than 90 percent.

But it’s not just the jobs that will benefit Indiana and the rest of America. It’s the work people will be doing: Rebuilding our roads, bridges, dams and levees. Roads like US 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on, and that connect small towns and rural communities to opportunities for economic growth. And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart. We’ll also put people to work rebuilding our schools so all our kids can have the world-class classrooms, labs and libraries they need to compete in today’s global economy.

Investing in clean alternative sources of energy and the electric grid we need to transport it from coast to coast, helping make Indiana an energy-producing state, not just an energy-consuming state. Weatherizing homes across this state, and installing state of the art equipment to help you control your energy costs.

Building new high-speed broadband lines, reaching schools and small businesses in rural Indiana so they can connect and compete with their counterparts in any city in any country in the world.

And there is much, much more. Now I’m not going to tell you that this bill is perfect. It isn’t. But it is the right size, the right scope, and has the right priorities to create jobs that will jumpstart our economy and transform it for the twenty-first century.

I also can’t tell you with one hundred percent certainty that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope. But I can tell you with complete confidence that endless delay or paralysis in Washington in the face of this crisis will bring only deepening disaster.

We’ve had a good debate. Now it’s time to act. That’s why I am calling on Congress to pass this bill immediately. Folks here in Elkhart and across America need help right now, and they can’t afford to keep on waiting for folks in Washington to get this done.

We know that even with this plan, the road ahead won’t be easy. This crisis has been a long time in the making, and we know that we cannot turn it around overnight. Recovery will likely be measured in years, not weeks or months. But we also know that our economy will be stronger for generations to come if we commit ourselves to the work that needs to be done today. And being here in Elkhart, I am more confident than ever before that we will get where we need to be.

Because while I know people are struggling, I also know that folks here are good workers and good neighbors who step up, help each other out, and make sacrifices when times are tough. I know that all folks here are asking for is a chance to work hard – and to have that work translate into a decent life for you and your family.

So I know you all are doing your part out here – and I think it’s about time the government did its part too. That’s what the recovery plan before Congress is about. And that is why I hope Congress passes it as soon as humanly possible, so we can get to work creating jobs, helping families and turning our economy around.

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Survey Reveals America’s Interest in Black History

Peaked by election of President Barack Obama

by Lesley R. Chinn

This year, Black History Month is celebrated on the heels of an historic inauguration of the nation’s first Black President Barack Obama.

While there has been a “pinned-up” interest in Black History for a long time, Cynthia Lowery Morris, executive director of the Washington, D.C.- based African-American Experience Fund (AAEF) of the National Park Foundation (NPF), hopes that with Obama’s historic election and inauguration, people will start to pay more attention.

Inviting the Tuskegee Airmen and members of the Little Rock Nine group to be special guests at the inauguration, “helps connect the dots for kids so that they understand that it is just not about Obama,” Lowery Morris stated. “President Obama has done a good job of acknowledging the trailblazers and the people who have made the way for him. Hopefully, that is sinking in with some of our younger people.”

The Little Rock Nine was a group of Black students who integrated Central High School in 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas, three years after the U.S. Supreme court case Brown vs. Board of Education ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional. The Tuskegee Airmen are a group of Black pilots who flew with distinction during World War II as the 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps.

Author, historian and professor Timuel Black said the dramatic ascendancy of President Obama has promoted interest not only in his background, but also in the background of other prominent African- Americans, like members of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Little Rock Nine. “Obama is living proof that you can rise to the top, but you have to be prepared,” he said.

According to a Kelton Research study conducted recently on behalf of the AAEF of the NFP, a large percentage of Americans do not know about Black contributions to U.S. History. While a study of more than 1,000 respondents revealed their lack of knowledge, it also showed that a percentage of Americans were interested in gaining more information.

According to the study, 32 percent of the respondents surveyed weren’t aware of Brown vs. Board of Education, nor the significance of this landmark case. Only 14 percent of the respondents correctly identified Carter G. Woodson as the founder of Black History Month (formerly Negro History Week) while 29 percent thought Black History Month’s founder was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

About 61 percent of the respondents said they would like to know more about Black History. Other Americans have visited on the average of one historical site per year, according to the survey, in order to increase their knowledge about Black History facts. The number tends to increase in adults under aged 30, who have visited on an average of seven historical sites in the past five years.

While fifty-seven percent of the respondents said they didn’t receive a comprehensive overview of Black History in school, Lowery Morris added more education is needed. “A lot of it is not being taught in the schools as part of the curriculum. If you talk about World War II and you don’t talk about the Tuskegee Airmen, then you’ve missed a huge component. Unfortunately, so much of our history is invisible and people just don’t even think about it,” she stated. Recollecting historic moments such as when Frederick Douglas persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to free the slaves and encouraged them to join the Union Army during the Civil War, Black mentioned these and other contributions should not be ignored. “How can you teach American history without dealing with the slave period or the conditions of Africans before they were snatched off from Africa?,” he asked.

Other statistics are even more alarming. According to an article in the Washington Post three years ago, a significant number of junior high school students believed Dr. King was instrumental in freeing the slaves, Lowery Morris said. “That’s kind of scary, isn’t it? We’re not doing a very good job. We need to figure out a way to teach in our schools and in our community projects,” she said.

About 92 percent of those surveyed indicated they believe the emphasis on teaching Black History should be given the same attention as other subjects taught in school.

Although the late State Sen. William “Bill” Shaw was instrumental in passing legislation to ensure that Black History was taught in the schools, Maureen Forte, a fifth grade teacher at Sawyer Elementary School, said the measure has not been enforced. She agrees a greater emphasis should be placed on teaching Black History outside of the classroom.

Expressing pride in her son who was the only first grader in his class to understand the basic concept of a law enacted in 1787 and later challenged in 1856, which classified Black people as three-fifths of a person, Lowery Morris said, “Sometimes we just have to take it upon ourselves to see to it that they get that exposure.”

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Brown Urges Banks That Received Bail Out Money to Stop Foreclosures

by Dwayne T. Ervin

Dorothy Brown, clerk of Circuit Court of Cook County, Denise Dixon, executive director of Action Now and a group of other elected officials want banks that received federal bail out money to start modifying more loans to prevent foreclosures.

Brown sent letters to President Barack Obama, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and U. S. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid for help to end the foreclosure crisis in Cook County.

With a spike of files in the Cook County Courthouse, banks that received federal funding are steadily pushing homeowners into foreclosure as opposed to modifying loans, officials said.

Cook County endured a record 43,726 foreclosure case filings in 2008, which is a 338 percent increase over ten years. There were 4,672 mortgage foreclosures filed in February 2009, and 1,114 cases filed the first week of March 2009.

Brown is urging Governor Pat Quinn to sign Senate Bill 2513, which allows troubled homeowners to obtain a “substantial workout plan,” while prohibiting legal action against them.

“Foreclosures up to January 20 were 171,” Brown said. “The day after Obama’s inauguration, the numbers were 214,” she added. After March 4, foreclosures continued to rise, she stated.

“Banks are selling foreclosed homes to other people,” Brown continued. “Banks are issuing more loans. Banks are not issuing more modified loans. In order for the president to get a clear picture, we have to tell him what is going on,” Brown said. The staggering number of foreclosures represents families and not just numbers, said Dixon. “Those people are being turned to the streets.

They have come to the end of the rope and don’t know what to do, so they call us.” All levels of government need to work together to get banks to modify loans instead of foreclosing on homes, she said.

“We are in a state of emergency,” Dixon continued. “If ever there has been a natural disaster in Illinois, this is it. We are looking for federal legislation to come from President Obama.

“When we get homeowners to come to us for help, we have to play the role as intervener. We talk to the lender to get a modification for those loans. Sometimes we have to sit in offices for days. It is a very slow process, doing one house at a time,” she stated.

“With the crisis…we know that there has to be some legislation passed in order to put an end to it. That is why we support the Philadelphia plan that says the borrower and the lender have to come together to talk about the loan before the house can be foreclosed on. It can be done with chief county judge
Evans signing an executive order that says that is what his judges should do. We are in support of the moratorium coming from Obama,” she stated.

“Some of the loans have been chopped up into so many parts that we do not know who has the loan,” she said. “We worked with ShoreBank on getting people loans…having them buy the loans for people in trouble. They are small banks and cannot do all of this. The larger banks have received bail out loans, need to step up to the plate and make sure that they are not putting people out of their homes,” she added.

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Linking Youth With Positive Options Provide Keys to Survival

by Lesley R. Chinn

Linking youth with options is the key that helps a Markham youth agency survive, even through the toughest financial times.

The Link and Options Center, Inc. recently received a $200,000 grant from Congressman Bobby Rush’s office to house an alternative-toschools suspension program for at-risk students. “If they’re not in school, they’re involved in the criminal justice system and it’s just a cycle,” stated Twin Green, the Link Center’s founder/CEO/President. “Our agency is empowered to providing intervention and prevention programming for students to rise above these circumstances and decide that education, family, and community play a big role in self-sufficiency.”

Although the agency has received federal funding, Green stated that state funding has been a little slow.

It forced her to put her staff on a temporary leave of absence back in December. “That was the first time that Iever had to do anything like that.” 

However, by “God’s grace,” Green stated that the agency has been fortunate enough to escape that obstacle because of the support from Markham Mayor David Webb and his administration in addition tocollaborations with other community partners. “We haven’t had to close any of our programs and that’s an accomplishment for a grassroots organization to keep its doors open for 10 years.”

The Center’s 10th year anniversary is August 4, but the agency will celebrate their milestone three months earlier at a fundraiser on May 17 at Sweet Georgia Brown, 4167 W. 183rd St. in Country Club Hills from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $65. For more information, call Natalie Mayfield, the center’s executive assistant at (708) 331-4880.

Based in Markham, the agency offers education and prevention services for “at-risk” youth. Throughmentoring services, opportunities are available for youth to expand their range of choices to empower themselves to achieve positive growth and development, improve their life expectations for future success, and avoid negative behavior.

“It’s an extra outside person that helps them to get them to be the best person that they can be. It’s not that we’re taking away the parents’ role, sometimes with parents’ work schedules— or if there is one parent in the home, a lot of kids don’t get that opportunity to get the tutoring that they need…,” said Damita Cravins, the center’s mentor coordinator. 

The agency, which also has a music engineering program where students can produce their own songs, touts an 85 percent success rate of high school graduates attending college and graduating from higher learning institutions. 

“The students that we encounter are on the low-end of the grading scale. Once we get these students, we work with them along with their parents, teachers, and counselors to help bring those grades up,” Cravins stated. “We need the parents’ cooperation to help become successful.” 

In the mentoring program, students have an opportunity to discuss current topics that impact their lives. Two of the most recent student topics that Cravins spoke of involved the alleged domestic abuse dispute between R&B stars Chris Brown and Rihanna. They also discussed youth gun violence that have impacted more than a reported 31 Chicago Public School students.

“We need to know where  head is because a lot of times kids have the wrong perception of what’s right and wrong and what’s really acceptable. A lot of kids may think that someone that got shot on their block is what happens all the time. We’re trying to get them out of the mind frame  that’s not ok. Once we let them know that there are other things going on in the world, that helps them to grow,” she said.

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First Black Mayor of Sauk Village Elected

In an historic election Lewis Towers amassed more than 60 percent of the vote over his opponent last week in the general election, and was elected Mayor of Sauk Village, as the head of the ticket of a political party. This was the first political party affiliated election of its kind held in the Village.

Towers is the first African American to be elected Mayor of Sauk Village. He is a 10-year resident of Sauk Village.

The election victory of Towers and the Citizens for Progress, may not carry the same political historical significance as Barack Obama’s election as President, however, Towers insisted, he was no less thankful and delighted with the results of his election.

“I’m overcome with humility and excitement at the same time,” expressed Towers. “This is my Barack Obama moment, only on a much smaller scale. I plan to work on behalf of the people of Sauk Village and serve them with the highest degree of integrity, honesty and professionalism.”

Married for 35 years and a father of two children, Towers is the Founder/President of Concerned Citizens of Sauk Village, Commissioner of Sauk Village Fire and Police Board, Former Commissioner of Sauk Village Zoning Board, Member of the Sauk Village Parks and Recreation Committee, and a Member of Bloom Township Democratic Organization.

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No Summer Vacation for More Schools

by Dwayne T. Ervin

The summer will not be the same for some Chicago Public School students as more schools are added to Track E, the year-round school program.

Under the Track E calendar, schools open the first week of August instead of after Labor Day. The traditional school calendar has a 10-week summer break. Students enrolled in the yearround Track E program have the same number of school instructional days, but student vacations are interspersed throughout the year into shorter, more frequent breaks.

Last August, the number of Track E schools rose in number from 18 to 41. The Chicago Board of Education in March added another 24 schools to the Track E roster and this month is being presented with a list of another 67 elementary schools seeking Track E status.

According to Franklin Shuftan spokesperson for CPS, the board approved 132 elementary schools in the Track E program. More schools will be added depending on whether additional schools apply for the 2010-11 year. The experience of the past couple of years indicates school communities are increasingly viewing Track E favorably, he said.

“Individual schools do their own outreach and we are likely to do district-wide outreach prior to the August start date,” Shuftan said. “As part of the process in becoming a Track E, principals collaborate with teachers and other stakeholders in the school (parents, local school councils) to ensure a comfort level with the change.”

The Track E program has benefits for students who otherwise would be out of school an entire summer. It allows teachers to more effectively manage time and to design more meaningful lessons plans in shorter bursts, which can contribute to enhanced instructional programming and improved student achievement. It also minimizes teacher burnout by providing for regular and better-spaced time off. Regularly scheduled time off allows for better student and staff attendance, according to a written release from CPS.

“Because it maximizes a student’s opportunity to learn, we have agreed with many of our principals, parents and community leaders to spread their school attendance more evenly throughout the year,” said CPS CEO Ron Huberman in a released statement. “This means that instead of one long summer break, students get several shorter breaks throughout the year, which means greater learning opportunities,” he added.

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Aldermen Blast Emil Jones on Olympics Deal for Minorities

by Lesley R. Chinn

Former Senate President Emil Jones Jr. was sharply criticized on Wednesday when the City Council approved 40 percent of contracts for minorities and women towards the 2016 Olympic Games— if Chicago gets the bid in October.

In last week’s Chicago Defender, Jones called the memorandum agreement “a slap in the face,” and emphasized Blacks would get less than 10 percent of the work. Under the agreement, minority-owned firms would receive 30 percent while female-owned firms would get 10 percent of the contracts. This is a 5 percent increase from the 25 and 5 percent set-aside program. But Jones said, Blacks would end up getting, “the short end of the stick,” and the deal would sell the Black community “down the river.” He also pointed out that Blacks are not the only minorities in the city.

While many city council members including Aldermen Freddrenna Lyle (6); Ike Carothers (29); Leslie Hairston (5) and Walter Burnett Jr. (27) criticized Jones, the strongest criticism came from 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith.

Referring to Jones’ record as the Illinois Senate President, Smith said, “He didn’t come to Chicago with in terms of apprenticeships or set-asides for minorities. Yet, he said those of us who sat around the table did not have the ability to negotiate. Where is his brain? We negotiated the best memorandum that I have seen since I’ve been in the city council,” Smith stated.

Lyle called Jones’ remarks “cheap shots” at the individuals who were involved in the decisionmaking process.

While the 2016 Olympics is seven years away, Carothers and Hairston said that the memorandum agreement is just the beginning and would open opportunities for an increased percentage of contracts.

When contacted by the Citizen for a response about the aldermen’s criticisms, Jones defended his comments and said that he does not care to “dignify their comments with a reply.”

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Youth Seek Employment at CBA Job Fair

by Dwayne T. Ervin

Last Saturday, at ICE Theater on 87th Street, 100 youth from seven area high schools attended a second job fair hosted by the Chatham Business Association Juniors in partnership with the Department of College and Careers at Chicago Public Schools.

Letters were sent to Bowen High School, South Shore High School, Harlan Community Academy High School, Julian High School, Chicago Career Academy, Simeon Career Academy and Hirsch Metropolitan High School to tell students about the job fair. However, students from other schools came out seeking job opportunities. The fair was open to students ages 16-18.

Ninety-three of the students attended a job readiness program the week before and seven others went through the readiness program during the week through CBA Juniors.

Employers discussed job opportunities at their companies and told youth how to apply for work with their companies before they presented their resumes.

Chicago Area Project mentioned they needed youth to sign up for jobs in Springfield by May 5 and some other companies invited the students to visit their companies.

Students were told that if their job performance was good, they could continue to work for them during the school year. Students moving on to college in the Chicago area could continue to work for the companies too.

The companies represented were GAG Masonry, Inc., Illinois Department of Employment Security, DC Mad Hatter, Jewel Osco, Chicago Area Project, and Prime America.

The job seekers stood in lines at the tables to give resumes that were reviewed by company recruiters. Some applicants were interviewed for various positions. Most of the students were well prepared based on the job readiness skills workshop they participated in the week before.

More schools were added this year, “the partnership increased, because the students were interested,” said Taheria L. Brown, career development facilitator, at Corliss High School.

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PAYING THE PRICE FOR CORRUPTION

By LesLey R. Chinn

The following is the first of a threepart series on the impact of corruption on taxpayers in Illinois and in Chicago as Americans face tough economic times. This week, the Citizen focuses on how minority communities suffer when corruption occurs, particularly as it relates to social programs that help strengthen communities. In part two, we’ll examine corruption in higher education and focus on what happens when minority applicants are shut out of the admissions process when getting accepted into a college or university is based on power and clout. Finally, an analysis of political corruption and the price local communities pay in urban areas will encompass part three of this report.

Instead of using funds appropriated by the state to pay for important social programs that help build communities, taxpayers are paying millions of dollars annually for the price of corruption.

A recent Chicago Sun-Times article pointed out that $2.7 million was reportedly wasted in state grants that could have gone towards helping communities with social programs including job training services for homeless men, youth services for African-Americans and literacy training for others.

While a Chicago Coalition for the Homeless report recently noted that Illinois should invest $2 million in transitional jobs programs with a therapy focus for people living in supportive housing facilities to help them move out of poverty and homelessness, Thomas J. Gradel, the coresearcher of a study entitled, Curing Corruption in Illinois: Anti-Corruption Report at the University of Illinois said, “You’re not only ripping off the taxpayers, but the homeless people that could have got the training. The people who were supposed to get the training, access to a job. The businesses would have benefited from the trained employees. So there’s a whole ripple effect caused by taking money to provide training and not providing it,” Gradel said. According to the Coalition’s report, less than one percent of the $270 million spent on workforce development in Chicago in 2004 targeted the homeless. The report pointed to another UIC study in 2001 on homelessness in the city and stated that of the 1,300 homeless adults in the collar counties, 19 percent were military veterans; 31.4 percent had been incarcerated, 46.3 percent were substance abusers and 13.8 percent were mentally ill.

In addition to groups like the homeless, it’s the children who end up paying the price through school dropouts and incarceration when funds fail to reach the people it was supposed to help, said Marrice Coverson, founder of the Institute for Positive Living, a non-profit organization that helps families solve educational, social and economic problems.

While 63 percent of Black male students in the Chicago Public Schools failed to graduate in 2005-2006 according to a study conducted by the Schott Foundation for Public Education based in Massachusetts, Coverson said, “We’re going to look up and we’re not going to have quality people to run our hospitals or banks.”

But the cost on taxpayers is just as high than it is on society overall. In the report Curing Corruption in Illinois, UIC researchers found that taxpayers have paid an estimated $500 million a year, tallying scandals that have included:

*Gov. Blagojevich’s well-publicized corruption case that lowered the state’s bond rating and cost more than $20 million extra for the last state bond; *Unused hired trucks that cost the city $42 million in the 2004 Hired Truck Scandal;

*Sale of truckers licenses for bribes in the 1994 “License for Bribes Scandal” at a taxpayer cost of almost $5 million and; *Silver Shovel of 1996 cost $5.4 million in taxpayer dollars. The investigation involved public officials misusing their offices by allowing illegal landfills and other environmental abuses to occur.

“The cost of these scandals is not funny and it’s not free,” said Gradel, who added corruption pushes the price of everything up from food and gas to other services while citizens end up paying the price if they want to receive basic services they need just to live in the city. In turn, they receive less of a benefit for their tax dollars than they actually deserve, he said. For the people who are caught up in these corruption cases, “it’s going to cost more than what it’s worth,” Gradel added.

But Coverson said indirectly, other organizations that are trying to do the right thing, also suffer when their organization’s reputations are jeopardized as a result of unethical behavior. “People make a general assumption that the majority of nonprofits are not doing what they are supposed to be doing with the funds and that is not true,” Coverson stated. When non-profits get funding, Coverson suggested that they should be prepared to be monitored and evaluated.

Although Gradel believes that some operators do what they say they are going to do with state grants, it’s also a question of oversight, he said. The city doles out so many grants per ward and no one pays attention to how effectively the programs are being run, he added. Minority communities are susceptible to being, “ripped off,” by operators because the majority community, tends to look at distributing grants in these areas as a way to win favors with the community. So in turn, “There’s no real effort to scrutinize it closely to make sure its working,” he continued.

Accepting the evidence of corruption, Gradel believes will lead to the reality that changes need to be made. Some of those efforts have included the City of Chicago Inspector General and the Office of the U.S. Attorney General investigating cases that have led to the arrests of numerous elected officials. Once citizens become informed about corruption activities, Gradel said that they have to make sure wrongdoers get “caught” and punished for their actions. “As soon as the players realize that it’s going to cost more than it benefits, then the behavior will change,” he said.

Efforts to reduce corruption have been passed by the Illinois legislature that involve a series of ethics reforms including new requirements for quarterly reporting of contracts greater than $25,000; the right for the state to audit programs receiving grants; and the ability to suspend grants for noncompliance. This measure is currently awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature.

Additionally, since January 2009, the state has obtained nearly $2 million in wasted grants, according to Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokesman Ashley Cross. “Anytime that we learn that taxpayer money wasn’t spent appropriately, we take that seriously and whatever steps  to get that money back,” Cross said.

John Paul Jones, an Englewood community resident, said that ethics reform is not going to be a “quick fix” because the challenge lies in broadening the communication between elected officials and knowledge about how government works. “Those issues are not discussed in community settings. Until we get to that point where people can be comfortable talking about those things with their state officials without being blackballed, we’re going to have a disconnect of having state reform,” he said.

Lisette Livingston contributed to this story

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Athletics, Academics Dominate 12th Annual Football Classic

by Lesley R. Chinn

Last Saturday, thousands of fans where at Soldier Field but they were not cheering for the Chicago Bears.

In a contest between the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils (MVSU) vs. the Alabama State University (ASU) Hornets at the 12th Annual Chicago Football Classic academics and athletics reigned as more than 50,000 fans cheered the teams on. MVSU Delta Devils gained their first win of the season as they defeated the ASU Hornets 10-3. The MVSU Delta Devils gained a lead early with a 19-yard field goal by Carlos Sanchez with 7:43 left in the first quarter. The ASU Hornets later got on the scoreboard when Jake King took advantage of a 33-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3, but that wasn’t enough to stop the Delta Devils who responded with a 44-yard pass and catch from Quarterback Paul Roberts to Paul Cox which gave MVSU the lead of 10-3 with 9:53 remaining in the first half.

The remainder of the game, which also featured performances by Bobby Valentine and K-Jon, was filled with missed opportunities by both teams. In the final period, the Alabama State Hornets had three opportunities to tie the game or take the lead but came up short despite a late rally in the fourth quarter.

The Classic’s title sponsor, Nike, presented MVSU quarterback Paul Roberts and defensive lineman Daniel Clay with MVP honors as they were named Offensive and Defensive Most Outstanding Performers.

After the Hornets fell short against the Devils, they came back with a vengeance as they won the Battle of the Bands contest which immediately followed the game. The Hornets dazzled the crowd as they performed a special tribute to the late King of Pop Michael Jackson that included “I Want You Back,” when he was the lead singer of The Jackson Five to his solo hits that included “Human Nature.”

The Classic brought together people from all walks of life and highlighted the excellence and rich legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Among the attendees, was Secretary of State Jesse White, who proudly cheered for his alma mater, ASU. White graduated from ASU in 1957, two years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were among civil rights leaders who led the fight to desegregate the buses during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

“It’s nice to bring those Black colleges from the South up North because you have a lot of people who graduated from these wonderful institutions of learning and there’s a lot of history there,” White stated. “I think it is important for us to do all that we can to encourage our young people to attend some of those schools in the South because there is a lot of history
there.”

“The fact that we can promote higher education shows the kids how serious college can be,” said Larry Huggins, Classic co-chairman, who also worked alongside Chairman William Garth and Cochairmen Everett and Tim Rand to promote such events including the college fair, president’s reception, and golf outing that culminated the Classic. “It also gives parents the confidence that they can walk away that they can send their kids to an HBCU.”

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Local Youth Leader Says Grandstanding Was Unnecessary at Fenger

by Lesley R. Chinn

A peace vigil at Fenger High School that turned into an ugly protest on Monday caught the ire of a Roseland leader, who often works to find solutions to help stop the violence that has taken the lives of so many youth.

Diane Latiker, founder of Kids Off The Block, Inc., was one of many invited guests to participate in a peace vigil at Fenger that was prompted by last Thursday’s beating that took the life of 16-year-old Derrion Albert.

Derrion, an honor student at Fenger, was an innocent bystander near 343 W. 111th St. when a fight broke out on September 24 between students who live in Altgeld Gardens and a nearby neighborhood known as the “Ville.” He was allegedly kicked and punched by Silvonius Shannon, 19, Eric Carson, 16, Eugene Riley, 18, and Eugene Bailey, 17. The three offenders—-Shannon, Carson, and Riley-were reportedly charged with first-degree murder. Bailey was later charged Monday with the beating and also accused of first-degree murder, according to reports from Cook County prosecutors. Police are reportedly looking for more suspects.

More than 250 individuals shouted at each other over whether a vigil should be held to memorialize Derrion or to have a protest about the violence that killed him. One of the protesters included community activist “Queen Sister” who reportedly demanded that the school’s front doors be opened so that people could be let in. She was also angry at elected officials because she felt that nothing is being done to stop the violence.

“I saw a lot of posturing and stunting as the kids would say. It was very disturbing because that was not what was for…It was about the family and friends of Derrion,” Latiker recalled.

The moment was disheartening, Latiker described, because instead of uniting under one purpose which was to find solutions to stop the violence, the message ended up getting lost. “If we don’t any other time, we should have done so especially at that time for the family and we couldn’t even do that,” she stated.

A video of the Derrion’s fatal beating was taped by a witness and it has been shown on different media outlets. Seeing that video has everybody hurting, Latiker recalled. “That was barbaric on what was done to Derrion. That was below the belt. When young people get to that point where they don’t care about their lives, then there’s something wrong .”

Latiker said that although everyone is hurt by Derrion’s tragic death, blaming people for the youth violence is not going to help matters either. “We focus on that because we can’t vent our own anger for what we’re not doing.”

For past six years, Latiker has advocated through Kids Off The Block, Inc., that more needs to be done to reach the youth where they are. “Until we find out from them why they are so angry and what pushes them to violence, we are going to continue to push things on them that they are not going to accept.”

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Ministers Back Stroger

by Lesley R. Chinn

Before a standing room crowd on Tuesday at the historic Quinn AME Chapel, members of the Concerned Clergy for a Better Chicagoland (CCBC) chose incumbent Cook County Board resident Todd H. Stroger as the best candidate in the race.

Stroger is currently running against: Congressman Danny Davis; Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown; and 4th Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, who are all African- American and Terrence O’Brien, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, who is White.

The ministers said they did not want to “repeat the history of the past” when they referred to the fragmented vote of the Black community in 1989 between interim Mayor Eugene Sawyer and then 4th Ward Ald. Tim Evans, now Cook County Judge who ran against then Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley. Sawyer and Evans, both Black, were defeated by Daley, a White candidate, who has been mayor ever since.

“We believe through Todd Stroger’s candidacy, it’s an opportunity to keep the Democratic Party united and we’re asking them not to blow this opportunity by coming out against what we consider our political interests,” stated Bro. Leonard Muhammad, who is a CCBC executive committee member and an adviser to Nation of Islam Min. Louis Farrakhan.

Since Stroger took office in 2006, he has managed to balance three budgets; increase minority contract participation from 25 to 35 percent; and he has kept the county health care system open. Stroger, with the support of Cook County Commissioner John Daley, passed a one penny on a dollar increase in Cook County’s portion of the State of Illinois sales tax increase. This move raised Cook County’s portion of the tax to 1.7%. However, the county’s portion is lower than the various municipal and state portions of the state sales tax.  Moreover, supporters have pointed out that Stroger has been unfairly tagged with owning the state sales tax. They contend that the sales tax provided the necessary additional revenue which saved the Cook County Healthcare system from collapsing.

Stroger contends that he has “kept the County in the black,” while the city of Chicago and State of Illinois, have their own fiscal woes. He added that while he has been fiscally responsible, Chicago has shut down its government, laid off countless workers and demanded numerous furlough days and still has a $500 million dollar deficit. He also pointed
to the State of Illinois, which has a $7 billion dollar deficit.

Stroger was grateful for the ministers’ support because it “shows the good work that he’s done” in office,” he said.

“I know my record and I knew when I showed it to , I knew that they would be behind me,” he stated. “As a young man, if you work hard and do the right things, people will notice and get behind you.”

Three CCBC executive committee members and several community activists, business, religious, and political leaders recently met at the home of Atty. Jim Montgomery to discuss the current climate of Black politics in Cook County. During that meeting, they thought it would be wise to endorse one candidate for Cook County Board president. President Stroger received 19 out of 24 votes from this coalition of leaders.

Last month, the CCBC Executive Committee met without the candidates at Quinn Chapel AME Church. The 90 executive committee members in that meeting, representing congregations countywide, endorsed Stroger—-with 87 votes while 3 clergymen abstained from the vote. The CCBC members endorsed Stroger’s three Black opponents for the offices
they currently serve.

Fellow CCBC members previously met in August with all four candidates separately in Posen, IL where they presented their current platforms for the Office of Cook County Board
President.

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Stroger Decides Not To Attend Forum After Reports Show Opponents Used the Same Volunteers

by Lesley R. Chinn

A controversy alleging a conspiracy to oust Cook County Board President Todd Stroger prompted the incumbent not to appear at a candidates forum on the Northside.

The alleged conspiracy involves Stroger’s opponent s in the race for Cook County Board President including Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and Terrence O’Brien, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. A Chicago-Sun-times investigation showed Brown and O’Brien used the same campaign volunteers to circulate petitions.

After Stroger failed to appear at a forum for Cook County Board primary candidates, his campaign released a statement on Monday morning. The campaign stated that “due to the strong nature of the allegations now detailed on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times, it was then decided that the President not attend the 43rd Ward forum…” Vincent Williams, Stroger’s campaign manager, also noted that the President attended another candidates’ forum last Saturday in Oak Park.

The petitions showed 10 out of O’Brien’s 2,000-plus petitions resembled the ones Brown submitted, according to a Sun- Times investigation. Nearly 200 voters signed 10 petitions for O’Brien in the same order they signed for Brown’s petitions. Three people circulated 10 petitions. Two notaries stamped more than 200 petitions for O’Brien and more than 75 for Brown.

The Sun-Times also discovered that two longtime Democratic supporters—-Sam Morabito and Teresa Navarro—-reportedly notarized petitions circulated by 25 people for O’Brien or Brown. Morabito notarized 150 petitions for O’Brien and 42 for Brown. Morabito is an assistant chief operating engineer for the city’s aviation department while Navarro landed a city job with the assistance of the 33rd Ward Regular Democratic Organization, according to reports.

Another petition circulator, Jeremy Dean, who identified himself as a stand-up comedian, gathered 80 signatures for Brown and 45 from O’Brien. Sam Butcher, a Northwest side resident, gathered 60 signatures for O’Brien and Brown.

Andrew J. Tolbert, another Northwest side resident, gathered 280 signatures for Brown and 45 for O’Brien. Nearly a majority of all the voters who signed O’Brien’s petitions also signed Brown, which includes Tolbert, who signed his own name on three—-once for O’Brien and twice for Brown, the Sun-times investigation uncovered. In response, the Brown campaign said in a released statement that they did not, “authorize anyone to circulate petitions for any other candidate,” and that “Dorothy Brown is not working with Terry O’Brien.” Calls to O’Brien’s campaign office however, went unreturned.

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Glenwood Village Board Denies Special Use Permit for Day Care Center

by Lesley R. Chinn

An ordinance to grant a special use permit to operate a child day care center located in a strip mall on the 18400 block of S. Halsted in Glenwood repealed.

The Village of Glenwood unanimously approved an ordinance to repeal the measure during a meeting held this past Tuesday to deny a special use permit to allow the Alphabet Campus II to operate.

Village administrator Eric Wiederhold explained that the Alphabet Campus II Day Care Center located at 18425 S. Halsted had previously been abandoned and the Village has an ordinance that does not allow day care centers to operate in strip malls.

The Citizen later called officials from the Alphabet Campus II for their reactions to the Village’s decision. Melodie Peters, the Alphabet Campus’s owner, said the property is currently sitting abandoned because her lease expired in July.

However, Peters sold the business earlier this year for $50,000 to her business partner, who applied for the special use permit. Peters said her business partner had $35,000 up front and was hoping to collect the rest of her money once the day care center opened.

Peters said the Village denied the permit application because of a village ordinance does not allow day care centers to operate in strip malls. Right now, Peters said that she can’t collect the rest of her money as a result of the Village denying her business partner a permit. So right now, Peters said she is short $15,000.

However, Peters said she is currently operating a day care center in Homewood, where she’s been since 2000. Meanwhile, Wiederhold said interested individuals have inquired about the former day care center property in Glenwood.

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Family of Nigerian Bomb Suspect Pens Open Letter Expressing Shock and Prayers

Special to the NNPA from GIN

(GIN)-The family of a young Nigerian traveller who allegedly attempted to detonate a powerful explosive while travelling to Detroit from Amsterdam, has issued a statement that provides more details of the alleged conversion of their son to extremist beliefs.

The statement was prepared by the suspect’s father, Dr. Alhaji Umaru AbdulMutallab, a banker and a member of Nigeria’s powerful ruling elite. He had been identified early in the course of the neardisaster by a Nigerian website. According to the story as it first appeared on SaharaReporters.com, an anti-corruption website produced by Nigerians, Dr. AbdulMutallab said he had warned U.S. embassy officials of his son’s possible links to an al Qaeda organization that grew out of a visit to Yemen and his studies in London.

Although his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was added to the terrorist watch list, he was not denied boarding privileges on the Amsterdam-Chicago Northwest Air flight. He reportedly paid cash for a one-way ticket and was allowed to board.

But shortly before arrival, Umar Farouk attempted to ignite a fire which would have set off explosives he was carrying in his underwear. It is believed these explosives were strong enough to blow a hole in the plane’s fuselage. At the sound and smoke from the fire being ignited, Umar Farouk was wrestled down by passengers and attendants who successfully doused the flame.

The first official response by the Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, was that “the system worked really very, very smoothly over the course of the past few days,” but she retracted that assessment and now admits that there were failures with airline security.

As to the al-Qaeda connection, as late as last August, experts said they were unable to find evidence of Osama Bin Laden’s group in Nigeria, despite several arrests by the government and two warnings from the US about potential attacks on its interests in the country in as many years.

Analysts remain sceptical about any link between Nigerian radical Muslims and global jihadists.

Today Dr. AbdulMutallab released the following letter:

“Our family, like the rest of the world, were woken up in the early hours of Saturday, 26th December, 2009 to the news of an attempt to blow up a plane by a young Nigerian man, who was later identified as Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is the son of Alhaji (Dr.) Umaru AbdulMutallab, the head of this Family.

“Prior to this incident, his father, having become concerned about his disappearance and stoppage of communication while schooling abroad, reported the matter to the Nigerian security agencies about two months ago, and to some foreign security agencies about a month and a half ago, then sought their assistance to find and return him home.

“We provided them with all the information required of us to enable them do this. We were hopeful that they would find and return him home. It was while we were waiting for the outcome of their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day.” The disappearance and cessation of communication which got his mother and father concerned to report to the security agencies are completely out of character and a very recent development, as before then, from very early childhood, Farouk, to the best of parental monitoring, had never shown any attitude, conduct or association that would give concern. As soon as concern arose, very recently, his parents, reported it and sought help.

“The family will continue to fully cooperate with local and international security agencies towards the investigation of this matter, while we await results of the full investigation.

We, along with the whole world, are thankful to Al-Mighty God that there were no lives lost in the incident. May God continue to protect us all, amen.”

Finally, as the matter is being investigated by the various agencies, and has already been mentioned in a US court, the family requests that the press should regard this as the only statement it will make for now.

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Originators, Not Imitators: The Genius of Black Inventors

By Shanita Bigelow

Imagine an America, a world without potato chips or ironing boards, dust pans, refrigerators and automatic breaks. Imagine your life without a TV or radio, without your laptop or PC. The genius of black invention lies in innovation and perseverance, in searching for solutions to shared problems. But Black inventors represent more than patents and products. For more than 300 years, they have represented possibility. “…Even in a time when were held back,” said Stacyann P. Russell, National Chair of the National Society of Black Engineers, “they were inventing things…necessary for our quality of life today,” she said.

Jan E. Matzeliger (1852-1889) was one of those inventors. He laid the foundation of the shoe industry in the United States and made Lynn, Massachusetts the shoe capital of the world.

When Matzeliger moved to Massachusetts in 1876, he spoke little English, had little money and didn’t know many people. “Before Matzeliger, hundreds of inventors and thousands of dollars had been spent in an effort to make a complete shoe by machinery,” according to Inventors.org.

Inventors before him developed crude shoe making machines but the final problem of shaping the upper leather over the “last” and attaching this leather to the bottom of the shoe had so-called “Hand-lasters,” perplexed. “Matzeliger heard of the problem… For ten years he worked, steadily and patiently, with no encouragement.” But finally, on March 20, 1883, he received a patent (no. 274,207) for his “Lasting Machine,” which revolutionized the capabilities of mass shoemaking.

Matzeliger’s machine could turn out from 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day versus an expert hand-laster’s fifty.

Russell, who works with the NSBE Juniors, which includes groups of students spanning grades three through twelve from low-income communities, is aware of the many challenges they face and hopes to show them that there are no limitations on what they can achieve. “When you see someone going through what you think is impossible…they prove it is possible,” she said.

Patricia Bath (b. 1942) of Harlem, N.Y, is another example of a person surpassing societal expectations and limitations. Bath came from humbled but inspired beginnings. Her parents encouraged her interest in the world and in science, and after only two and a half years in high school, she graduated. In 1959, during her short high school career, she was selected to participate in a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) where she worked on cancer research. She went on to Hunter College in New York and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964. Later, she went on to Howard University’s medical school and graduated with honors. She is most known for her work in devising, “ safer, faster and…more accurate approach to cataracts surgery,” according to BlackInventor.com.

People like Matzeliger and Bath, like Otis Boykin(1920-1982) who’s interest in the burgeoning field of electronics led the way for the electrical resistors used in radios, computers, TV’s and most notably, pacemakers, are examples of what happens when individuals test the limits of what is believed possible.

Boykin was a graduate of Fisk University. After graduating he secured a job as a laboratory assistant in Chicago, testing automatic aircraft controls, according to Associated Content. He then worked as a research engineer at the P.J. Nilsen Research Labs in Illinois. Boykin chose to continue his studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology, but could not afford tuition after two years. Despite this setback, he continued to work on his inventions: 28 electronic devices, most importantly, the pacemaker.

Mark Dean (b. 1957), another pivotal engineer, is an IBM Fellow and Vice President of Technical Strategy & WW Operations for IBM Research. Today, he leads a life of learning. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, he began working as an engineer for IBM and continued his education while pursuing his career.

“In his capacity as an engineer for IBM, he didn’t take long to make a big impact, serving as the chief engineer for the team that developed the IBM PC/ AT, the original home/office computer,” according to BlackInventors.com. “Dean would own three of the original nine patents that all PCs are based upon.”

With over 29 years of experience at IBM, Dean is now responsible for the direction of IBM’s Research Strategy, which spans eight labs worldwide, according to IBM. He is leading IBM’s global operations and information systems teams and is proof that one’s work is never done, as the issues of today present new problems to be solved tomorrow.

For the many Black Americans that have shaped and continue to shape America, recognition is due. “When people don’t know…they tend to make things up,” Russell said. When this knowledge is attained, it allows for a “different perception of black people today,” and blacks’ perception of themselves, she continued.

More information on little known inventors like George Crum (potato chips), Sarah Boone (precursor to the ironing board), Thomas Elkins (refrigerated apparatus and chamber commode), Willis Johnson (egg-beater), Lloyd Ray (dustpan) and Richard Spikes (turning signals, automatic gear shift, etc.) can be found on BlackInventor.com.

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Parents, Teachers, Students Await Decision on School Closures

By Lesley R. Chinn
The Chicago Public Schools system is in the midst of shutting down several schools and so far students, parents, and teachers are awaiting the Board of Education’s decision on February 24 to see if they stay open or not.

Right now, five schools are on the list for a turnaround. The proposed turnaround schools are: Bradwell Elementary School, 7736 S. Burnham; Gillespie, 9301 S. State; Deneen, 7257 S. State; Wendell Phillips High School, 244 E. Pershing, and Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams. Under this proposed action, staff and faculty at these schools will be terminated while students remain. New faculty and staff will be brought in to implement new teaching strategies to improve academic achievement.

At Deneen, Joyce Fisher, principal, said the school, which has a population of more than 492 students, has made improvements in academics and attendance under her leadership for the past two years. “The staff has invested greatly in the students,” she said. “When the students come back to the school , the only thing that will be familiar to them will be the building.”

Deneen teacher Odessa Jefferson who recently attended a PUSH rally to keep schools open, said she could retire but doesn’t want to. “The students have a special connection with me so why should I retire from a job that I already love,” she asked.

Four schools will be consolidated into other nearby schools due to low enrollment, low or under performance or poor facility conditions: McCorkle, Marconi, Mollison, and Paderewski Elementary Schools. McCorkle, 4421 S. State, will merge into Beethoven Elementary School, 25

W. 47th St. Students from Paderewski, 2221 S. Lawndale will transfer to Mason Elementary School, 4217 W. 18th St. Students from Marconi, 230 N. Kolmar will consolidate with Tilton School, 223 N. Keeler to form the Tilton-Marconi School. Mollison Elementary School, 4415 S. King Dr. will be consolidated with Ida B. Wells Prep Elementary School, 244 E. Pershing Rd. to form the Wells-Mollison School.

George Schneider Elementary School, 2957 N. Hoyne, is under the phase-out plan. When a school is phased out, existing students at the school will stay at the school, but there will not be any enrollment for new students.

Finally, four schools will simply be closed because of poor academic performance or low student enrollment. These schools include: Curtis Elementary School, 32

E. 115th St. The designated receiving schools for Curtis are Haley, 11411 S. Eggleston and Pullman Elementary Schools, 11311 S. Forrestville. Prescott Elementary School located on 1632 W. Wrightwood will be closed. Designated receiving schools are Agassiz, 2851 N. Seminary and Burley Elementary Schools, 1630 W. Barry.

Another school that will be closed is Guggenheim Elementary located at 7141 S. Morgan. The designated schools for Guggenheim students are Hinton, 644 W. 71st St. or Altgeld Elementary School, 1340 W. 71st St.

Guggenheim eighth grader Robert Campbell said he has two younger cousins that currently attend the school, but in the fall they will have to travel seven blocks to another location. “ is right across the street from their home, but now they would have to cross dangerous paths just to get to school,” he said.

Guggenheim assistant principal Gervaise Clay said she would have to look for another job. “I haven’t started looking yet because I refuse to say our school is going to be closed and we’re going to fight until the very end.”

Students at Bartholome De Las Casas Occupational High School located at 8401 S. Saginaw will be closed because of facility-related reasons. Students from this special needs school will be either placed in private schools that can meet their needs or they will be transferred to Montefiore School, 1310 S. Ashland.

CPS officials have previously defended their decisions on school closings as part of their education reform efforts while touting the benefits of closing underutilized or underperforming facilities. “Our primary obligation is to assess the performance of schools and provide the best possible educational opportunity for students in every school,” said CPS chief Ron Huberman in a written statement. “This means taking a long hard look at every school…and making what can be difficult decisions on whether a school is properly serving its students.

For example, CPS pointed out on their website that when Sherman Elementary School, 1000 W. 52nd St., became a turnaround school in 2006, standardized test scores have increased in reading from 30 percent to 40.3 percent and in math, percentages rose from 26.3 percent to 46.4 percent.

However,a study released last October by the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago showed that eight in 10 CPS students displaced by school closings transferred from one low-performing school to another. After one year of school closings, displaced students fell behind a month-in-half in math and reading. This is in contrast to students who transferred to high-performance schools who excelled by nearly a month in the same subjects. The study also pointed out that students have traveled longer distances to get to school.

If a decision is made to close or consolidate a school, CPS officials plan to address public safety concerns of children transferring to another school. They will also work with receiving school principals to extend instruction time in designated receiving schools. These plans are part of provisions presented in the Bill of Rights Initiative presented last December before Board officials. The initiative’s aim is to encourage successful transfers for students impacted by a school closure or consolidation. The Board’s recommendations will not be effective until the school year of 2010-2011.

Previously, there were numerous public hearings at CPS headquarters downtown and community hearings concerning the impacted schools. Huberman said officials will evaluate testimony from previous public and community hearings before recommendations are presented to the Board. He pointed out that he removed six schools last year from proposed school actions list after assessing input from the hearings.

At a Sixth Ward meeting held last Thursday, CPS officials informed residents that they will recommend that Gillespie School be removed from a turnaround list.

CPS chief administrative officer Robert Runcie spoke very highly of Gillespie principal Dr. Michelle Willis, who has been at the school since 2007. Under Willis’ leadership, Gillespie has increased its test scores in 2007 and 2008; improved student attendance by 93 percent and staff attendance by 96 percent; obtained 200 new computers for the school and decreased student discipline problems that occurred in previous years.

“Gillespie is already turning around,” Runcie stated. “ is already one of the best principals in the academy. I truly believe that. This community is very fortunate to have an educational leader to make the kind of changes in the short period of time that she’s been at the school.”

When she heard the news that Gillespie was going to be a turnaround school, Willis said she was “shocked” because the school had been making improvements in the two years under her leadership despite having a slight decrease in test scores in 2009. “We invited the Board out to see the work that we’ve done and they did come.”

But now after hearing the announcement to recommend that Gillespie be removed from the turnaround list, Willis said that while it sounds like good news, she wants to “wait-and-see” what the Board’s final decision is going to be during a meeting on February 24 at its downtown headquarters. “I don’t know if it’s definite, but we’re trusting that will take advice.”

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Citizen 2010 Endorsements

It’s a week away before the February 2nd gubernatorial primary election. With early voting, which started on January 11 and continuing through January 28th, some voters have already made up their minds. Others are waiting until Election Day to make a decision. In reviewing past records and performance, the Citizen has released its list of endorsements, starting out with the race for U.S. Senate and continuing through with races for the positions of Governor; Lt. Governor; Secretary of State; Comptroller; State Representative; Cook County Board President as well as elections for judges. Based on this, we hope that voters will use this list as a guide in helping them to make a final decision on February 2nd.

For U.S. Senate: Cheryle Jackson.

Frustrated by a culture focused more on personal ambition than on public service and what she called, “ineffectiveness,” of former Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s office to bring about real and sustainable progress for the people, Jackson left Blagojevich’s administration as former press secretary and brought about change as CEO of the Chicago Urban League. Committed to changing “business as usual” in state politics, she has remade the Urban League where she has focused on the urgent mission of economic empowerment, a particularly important mission for Blacks who still have not achieved parity in this area. In tough economic times, where minorities have been hit hardest by the recession, Jackson has helped build small businesses through her “ProjectNext,” initiative and has provided a five-point jobs plan to help get Illinois families back on track. Additionally, she has been an advocate for education reform and has demonstrated her commitment to this effort by suing the State for violating the civil rights of disadvantaged minority children who were being denied equal access to a quality education.

For Congress: Bobby Rush (1st District)

Since his election to Congress in 1992, Rush, a former Black Panther, has continued to work on unemployment and youth violence issues that have plagued his district. Time and time again, we have seen what senseless violence in our communities has cost us. While our young people have been the victims of these crimes, Rush has worked to put an end to the violence. As a co-sponsor of bills designed to curb the flow of guns in the community, he has led the way in teaching students to resolve disputes without the use of violence. He also organized a bi-partisan caucus devoted to creating more jobs for his constituents and has turned his attention towards helping small businesses. By hosting workshops where hundreds of people have been able to gain access to stimulus funding and contracting opportunities, Rush has opened the doors for Blacks who may not have otherwise been afforded this opportunity.

For Governor: Pat Quinn

During Quinn’s short time in office, he has worked hard to balance the state budget, create new jobs, and create new opportunities for Illinois families, bring fairness to the tax code and reform to state government. Through Quinn’s jobs initiative, Illinois Jobs Now!, the state has invested $75 million in vocational education at Chicago Public Schools to create opportunities for students in order to make them ready to compete and succeed in the job market. Quinn is also working to invest in community colleges, which he says are the “gateway” to the middle class for hard-working young students. He has also led the effort to save the Minority Assistance Program (MAP) grants for more than 130,000 lower-income college students to help them continue their education. For many families struggling over how to keep their children in college, this was a real win for students and parents. Quinn has also worked to provide statewide opportunities for minority and women-owned business in construction programs by creating a new position, Director of Diversity Enhancement and named Darryl Harris to the post. Under Harris, Illinois will double the amount of work for minority-owned firms in an estimated $100 million worth of highway construction contracts on the Eisenhower Expressway.

For Lt. Governor: Sen. Rickey Hendon

We chose State Sen. Rickey Hendon to be the next Lt. Governor in a crowded field of six Democrats who are running in this race. In his 17 years in office, Hendon has had a reputation of being a progressive effective legislator in Springfield as he represents a district covering the West side. He knows politics and policy and has successfully advocated for the disadvantaged and worked his way up the ranks within Democratic Party. As a state Senator, Hendon has continued to push for government reform in health care, education and jobs for his district. He was instrumental in a capital bill for $31 billion towards funding for education passed last spring in the General Assembly. Part of the bill would have ensured that $40 million in funding would go to Chicago State University for a West side campus. On the health care front, Hendon sponsored a bill designed to assist low-income families on Medicaid by restricting the co-payment for brand name drugs to $3 and eliminated the co-pay for generic drugs. As a reflection of his career as a film producer, he sponsored legislation aimed at expanding opportunities for minority owned businesses to compete and ultimately bring additional film projects and television studios to Illinois. With these accomplishments as a state Senator, Hendon believes he could use his expertise he has accumulated to help move the governor’s agenda through the General Assembly.

For Attorney General: Lisa Madigan.

Since her election to office in 2003, Madigan has been the state’s chief consumer advocate . Working to keep people in their homes, she filed a lawsuit against the mortgage lender Countrywide in a suit which ended up in an $8.7 billion settlement for consumers. The funds from the settlement allowed more than 10,750 borrowers in Illinois to receive $185 million in loan modifications. Madigan has also responded to the devastating crime of identity theft by creating a hotline in 2005 for consumers to help victims repair their credit and dispute fraud debts. Since its creation, the hotline, which has been the first created in the nation, has fielded over more than 6,000 complaints. Madigan is running unopposed.

For Secretary of State: Jesse White.

Named Secretary of State in the late 1990s, White has transformed how the office is run. During this time, he has modernized the use of new technology resulting in shorter lines at motor vehicle facilities statewide. Over the last few years under his leadership, Internet transactions have increased by more than 78 percent. In 2006, Internet transactions accounted for over $41 million and by 2008, they accounted for more than $73 million. Through his efforts, he has been committed to digitizing services, making them easier, more convenient, less wasteful and more cost efficient for the people in the state. While he has made technology work for people in Illinois, he has also addressed what is not working with technology. During his administration, White has kept Illinois’ roads safer by fighting against texting while driving and he has been at the forefront in efforts against drunk driving. As he runs for a fourth term, he pledges to continue to restore integrity; keep Illinois’ roads safe; fight against drunk driving; modernize customer service and support organ donation. White is running unopposed.

For Comptroller: David Miller.

We choose Miller as our choice for Comptroller. He has earned a reputation for caring about his community and for taking action in doing something about the problems affecting constituents. As a representative for the 29th District, he has worked to propose legislation to reform education funding; he has provided better access to quality health care, economic development, and consumer protection for people in Illinois. These efforts have been demonstrated through his efforts to address educational funding inequities; reforming the pay day loan industry; and bringing economic development of a third airport in the Southland. As Comptroller, Millerpledges notonlyto build coalitions, but also to streamline and expedite payments to all service providers and small business owners, thus creating a consistent payment schedule. He also plans to clean up the contract process by becoming a watchdog to ensure that contractors are hired based on qualifications and not connections. He also wants to create a database that will include a catalogue of every contractor’s political donations. It’s this kind of transparency we believe would be good for the people and for the process.

For State Representative: The Citizen endorses Marlow Colvin (33rd District) and Connie Howard (34th District.)

Since becoming a state legislator in 2001, Colvin has worked to help create business and employment growth opportunities in his district. He helped facilitate the Finkl Steel relocation from the 8th North side to the Ward by sponsoring two pieces of legislation aimed at expanding the state’s enterprise zone to create an energy tax credit to allow the company to operate on 93rd and Kenwood. He also sponsored legislation to extend the TIF district where the plant is located. Additionally, Colvin, who is running unopposed, also helped pass legislation to allow Ford Motors to accelerate the use of their tax credits to retool their Chicago assembly plant to build Ford’s new 2011/12 Explorer. As a result, Ford will need to hire an entire second shift to assemble the smaller, lighter SUV. This could add more than a 1,000 new workers at the facility.

For the majority of the time Howard has served in the Illinois General Assembly, much of her focus has been on employment opportunities, ex-offender re-entry, neighborhood and community safety, eliminating the digital divide, and HIV/AIDS. Howard sponsored legislation to promote awareness, funding, and research through the African-American HIV/AIDS Response Act which also led to the creation of the HIV/ AIDS Policy Research Center at Chicago State University.

For Cook County Board President: Todd Stroger.

At a time when the city and state are currently facing deficits, Stroger has made sure that the county has remained intact. He describes his approach to government as fair and transparent while making decisions based on what’s right and fiscally responsible. Examples of Stroger’s efforts have been demonstrated by successfully balancing four $3 billion budgets and making sure that county employees do not have to take furlough days. In his first 100 days of office, Stroger closed a $500 million budget deficit without raising taxes or fees, reduced the county’s employee headcount from 24,700 to 22,100 and brought in an independent inspector general and human resources director to ensure fair hiring. Stroger’s administration has exceeded his goal of working with more minority, disadvantaged businesses. Thirty-five percent of contracts have been awarded to minority business enterprises and ten percent of contracts have been awarded to women-owned businesses. Stroger, who has previously served as an alderman, state representative, county jury supervisor, and an investment banker, is the only candidate that has run a successful county government for the past four years and has balanced the second highest county budget in the nation. While he has had to make some difficult and unpopular decisions, he has made them in the best interest of Cook County residents.

Cook County Sheriff: Sylvester Baker Jr.

As a 22-year veteran of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Sylvester Baker Jr. is no stranger to the job. He has worked as a Cook County Jail Corrections Officer to supervising sergeant in the gangs’ crime unit. Baker and the men he supervised made the streets safer. As a narcotics officer, has been involved in more than 300 investigations targeting drug dealers countywide. He wants to bring this wealth of experience to the Cook County Sheriff’s office and also use this position to create programs that will help inmates adjust to life after prison. He hopes to change the image of the sheriff’s office by focusing on public safety, reducing recidivism, establishing community partnerships, and elevating the level of professionalism in the department.
Cook County Treasurer: Maria Pappas

For Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas has increased efficiency in her office and manages the second largest property tax collection in the nation. She has provided taxpayers with hundreds of new payment locations; delivering new 24-hour Internet and automated phone systems to taxpayers. As a result of Pappas’ efforts, homeowners can pay at any of the 379 Chase locations citywide. Through this system, more than 6.8 million payments have been made at bank branches. Besides paying their taxes at banks, Pappas has also made it convenient for taxpayers to pay their current and prior year taxes online. Addressing diversity, she initiated the Treasurer’s Outreach Program and Services (TOPS), a grassroots initiative to providing tax information to the county’s ethnic communities.

Cook County Clerk: David Orr

For Cook County Clerk: David Orr has found ways to reform how government works. Besides maintaining birth, marriage and death records and assisting property owners in redeeming delinquent taxes, he serves as the chief election authority for the entire county, one of the largest jurisdictions nationwide. Since Orr took office in 1990, he has increased the number of registered voters in Cook County. Under his leadership, more than one million new voters have been added to the county voting rolls. Orr also established an award-winning interactive voter website, voterinfonet.com to help increase voter turnout and awareness. He also led the fight for new early voting legislation, which allows people, especially Election Day judges, to vote over a 20-day period without having to take a vacation day to vote.

Cook County Assessor: Robert Shaw

For Cook County Assessor, Robert Shaw: After helping more than 430,000 property owners receive tax relief while serving as a Cook County Board of Review Commissioner, Shaw can use his experience by taking it to the next level as Cook County Assessor. He pledges that he will assure fair and equitable property assessments countywide. He believes that his role will help negate the need for so many thousands of property owners who appeal to the Board of Review. Shaw sees the ÒAmerican DreamÓ being destroyed among current and potential property owners in this economic climate where taxes are increasing; property values falling; and where assessments in poor neighborhoods are skyrocketing. Some communities, he notes, are facing as much as a 46 percent increase. He wants to help restore the 7 percent tax cap on property restored so homeowners can get some relief. He also envisions bringing together a group that consists of legislators, educators, lawyers, community leaders and others to find a better way to fund education other than with property taxes. Shaw is campaigning on the notion that through innovation, schools can create avenues to improve quality education without putting a burden on homeowners.

In the Cook County Board Commissioner’s race, we are endorsing incumbent William Beavers (4th District). Beavers voted to support sustaining a sales tax increase to help keep the county health care system open and operating for patients who rely on the facilities the most and supported William a contract awarded to a Beavers major technology firm that saves the county $1 million annually. Ignoring the race for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District would not be a good thing to do if you care anything about protecting your basement against flooding during stormy weather. This governmental agency processes sewage and also collects storm water waste that can carry dangerous pollutants. Three seats on the nine-member board are currently up for election for six-year terms. We chose Barbara McGowan, Wallace Davis III, and Kari Steele as our picks. With 11 years of experience as a chemist and having worked in Chicago’s purification system and at the MRWD, Steele’s background will help the board contend with discarded prescription drugs that people flush into sanitary sewers. Through her community outreach with the 6th Ward Young Democrats, she could also use her experience and role as an activist to educate more citizens about why water quality and conservation are critical issues for Chicago’s future.

Wallace Davis III would also be a great asset to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago because he brings more than 10 years of hands on experience of working in the sewer and water management departments. Davis, who currently works as a general superintendent with the Department of Water Management which oversees the entire sewer lining program with the City, plans to implement a better storm water management infrastructure to help reduce water pollution and decrease residential, business and street flooding. He believes that the MRWD should be less economically wasteful and that it should institute more environmentally progressive policies and practices. Davis also feels that more outreach needs to be done to educate people about water conservation and protection.

As a 12-year veteran on the MRWD, McGowan has been a strong advocate for controlling sewage pollution and protecting the area’s prime drinking water supply. She was previously instrumental for the District holding thefirstHazardousWaste Collection in the western BARBARA J. suburbs. As Chairperson MCGOWAN of the Committee on Affirmative Action for the MRWD, McGowan has been instrumental in ensuring that minorities and women participate in bond issues. She was responsible for the district investing $40 million into minority banks and revising the district’s affirmative action ordinance to include fines and penalties to contractors violating the inclusion of minority and women apprentices on district construction contracts.

For judge, we chose to endorse Arnette Hubbard who is running for 1st District Illinois Appellate Court Judge (Vacancy of McNulty);

William Hooks for Cook Circuit Court Judge (Berland Vacancy); Linda J. Pauel (Dolan Vacancy) for Cook County Circuit Judge; Pamela Cotten for Cook County Sub Circuit (Third District Vacancy A); Marvin Gray for Cook County Circuit Court Judge (Riley Vacancy); William O’Neal for First District Appellate Court Judge (South Vacancy); Thaddeus L. Wilson for Judge of the 1st Judicial Court Subcircuit (Coleman Vacancy); and Steven G. Watkins for Cook County Circuit Court Judge of the 3rd Sub Circuit (Carmody Vacancy). Hubbard has 15 years of experience in the trial and appeal of criminal cases, from misdemeanor to murder in state and federal courts. While implementing Chicago’s cable ordinance as Commissioner and oversight of Chicago’s election board, it helped broaden her knowledge of administrative law and public concerns. Hubbard Judge Arnette believes in keeping Hubbard current on legal issues that impact the community a practice which has helped her make sound decisions in the courtroom. She promotes better efficiency in managing caseloads.

Hooks has represented victims of racial discrimination in a variety of cases in state and federal courts and in civil and criminal matters. One of the highly publicized cases that he and the late Judge R. Eugene Pincham worked on was on a class action suit against DaimlerChrysler which claimed the car dealership’s management intentionally denied low-interest vehicle financing to creditworthy African-Americans. Following this victorious class action lawsuit, Hooks went onto successfully defend the Ford Motor Credit as its lead counsel in U.S. District Court. In one of Hooks’ high-profile cases, known as the “Girl X case,” he and his co-counsel Robert A. Clifford of Clifford Law Offices, won a settlement from the Chicago Housing Authority and a private security guard on behalf of a 9-year-old girl who was raped, beaten, poisoned, and left comatose in Cabrini-Green.

Pauel, who brings 18 years of legal experience, has been committed to fighting for civil and women’s rights. She has advocated for women’s rights, worked to enforce orders to prohibit discrimination based on sex, race, economic status, physical disability Linda J. Paeul and sexual orientation. In addition, Pauel has worked to prevent animal abuse and fighting and developed safeguards to protect defendants’ privacy rights. She vows to continue those accomplishments as she seeks the Dolan Vacancy for Cook County Judge.

By working as a lawyer for the Chicago Housing Authority where she has resolved disputes on residents’ matters and worked in corporate counseling, litigation, and housing policy, Cotten, who has been a licensed attorney since 1995, has obtained a broad knowledge of legal experience. She has the honor of being chosen as judicial clerk for then Chief Justice Charles E. Freeman of the Illinois Supreme Court and Justice William Cousins Jr. of the Illinois Appellate Court. In this capacity, she researched legal issues raised on appeal and wrote legal opinions on all areas of the law. As a lawyer, Cotton continues to be a teacher in the community giving lectures on housing issues and on domestic violence. She hopes to continue working in the community as she provides legal perspectives in her role as judge of the Third Sub Circuit Court District of Cook County.

Gray has practiced law for the past 37 years in Cook County and for a short stint in Knox County. His experience in education, law, and service organizations gives him a perspective needed in applying laws equally. In the case of Ross vs. Aryan International, Gray demonstrated his knowledge of the law when he set precedent in the determination of the parameters of the legal duty owed to plaintiffs injured by negligence of contractors who have control of only a portion of construction sites.

William O’Neal

O’Neal has dispensed justice from his courtroom in the 6th Municipal District in Markham, which is nearby his hometown in Harvey, where he was a private law practice attorney. O’Neal’s real expertise is in the civil realm. As a former IRS agent, O’Neal worked on a numerous tax cases and as a pension and profit sharing examiner. He believes these skills will help him as a judge on the Illinois First Appellate Court.

Thaddeus L. Wilson

Wilson was appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court and sworn-in as a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County on August 31, 2007. He is currently assigned to the Criminal Division (“26 & California ”). Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Wilson was the managing attorney of the Law Office of Brookins & Wilson (A Partnership of Professional Corporations). He practiced in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, civil rights/ policebrutality, bankruptcy, and election law. As part of his multifaceted litigation practice, he represented corporations, insurance companies and individuals in connection with personal injury, wrongful death, police misconduct, election law and commercial litigation. He represented citizens in federal civil rights litigation, debtors and creditors in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in addition to banks and other financial institutions in bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings; and in turnaround management and asset recovery. He argued cases before the Illinois Appellate Court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. As an attorney, he served as an arbitrator with the Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program and as a hearing officer for the Chicago Board of Elections. Wilson currently sits on the Criminal Division Technology in the Court’s Committee, the Illinois Judicial Council Website Committee, the Cook County Bar Association ARDC Liaison Committee, and is a past chairman of the KIPP Ascend Charter School board of directors.

Watkins has practiced law for 18 years and is an experienced trial attorney with Steven G. Watkins & Associates, P.C. He is also a licensed real estate broker, certified arbitrator, Circuit Court of Cook County and is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association; the Cook County Bar Association; the Federal Bar Association; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and 100 Black Men of America, Inc. He is a 1991 graduate of DePaul University, where he received his law degree and a 1987 graduate of Howard University , where he obtained a B.S. degree. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Local School Council at Keller Regional Gifted Center and he coaches the Little League Baseball and Youth Basketball teams in his community.

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Black Business Leader Brings African Leader to South Side

by Lesley R. Chinn

A local Black entrepreneur said he hopes an African leader’s trip to the United States will be part of a mission to encourage more United States companies to do business in Zimbabwe.

Last Saturday, Dr. Willie Wilson introduced Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Arthur Mutambara to numerous political, community, business and religious leaders during a reception in his honor at New Covenant M.B. Church, 77th and Cottage Grove.

Wilson said he met Dr. Mutambara when he went to Zimbabwe recently to discuss a possible business opportunity through his company, Omar Medical Supplies, Inc. The company, which is based in University Park, specializes in manufacturing three billion disposable gloves annually. Some of those products have been shipped to China and now he wants to do business in Zimbabwe. “We just got a purchase order over there two weeks ago and we should be shipping a product out within the next 60 to 90 days. We’re the only the company doing business in Zimbabwe,” Wilson stated.

Relations between the United States and Zimbabwe have currently been strained over Western criticism of embattled President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe also has a 95 percent unemployment rate, according to The Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book. That figure is about 10 times higher than the United States’ unemployment rate.

“We need to go to and create manufacturing to help create some jobs because the businesses over there have been taking money out of the community and not putting it back to create jobs,” Wilson stated.

In February 2009, Dr. Mutambara emerged as Deputy Prime Minister following a power-sharing arrangement in September 2008 between the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) that kept Mugabe as President and Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister.

Mutambara, who is an Oxford University doctoral graduate, is no stranger to Chicago after having worked from 2001 to 2003 at a management consulting firm McKinsey & Company where he provided strategic advice to senior managers and business leaders of top companies in the United States in sectors that included manufacturing, technology, telecommunications, and agriculture.

Wilson invited former U.S. Congressman Mel Reynolds (D-2) to introduce Mutambara to make his keynote address before the public. In pointing out that there are 1.2 billion individuals of African descent worldwide, Mutambara stated that “We’ll never be successful in Africa unless Africans in Chicago are doing well,” Mutambara stated.

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The Chi-Lites: 50 years of music history

The legendary Chi-Lites, known for hits like “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh, Girl” are now in their 50th year and continue to delight audiences with their soulful vocals and impeccable style. They are “the sharpest cats on stage there ever was,” according to original Chi-Lites member Marshall Thompson. The Chi-Lites, consisting of Thompson, Frank Reed and Fred Simon, are currently on tour and will be featured at the Quentis Bernard Garth (QBG) Foundation Scholarship Gala on July 31st.

“I’m looking forward to it (the gala). It’s going to be fabulous,” Thompson said. The event is “very important to the Chi-Lites,” he continued. Growing up in Chicago, Thompson is more than aware of the challenges Chicago’s youth face. “All we had was the CDC, the Cadet Drill Corps prepared young folks to be men and not to be violent,” he said, adding “there’s got to be a change… is helping more lives stay alive.” Last month, the Chi-Lites performed at the “Forever Michael” memorial held in Los Angeles and next February through March they will embark on a European tour. With more than 23 top ten hits spanning 50 years, it’s no wonder the Chi-Lites continue to entertain audiences worldwide.

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New business owners end up doing juggling acts

Joyce M. Rosenberg

NEW YORK – Multi-tasking is something that most people have to do at work. Those who start their own companies quickly find they have an even bigger juggling act.

Many brand-new entrepreneurs try to do it all: finding new customers, doing the work when they land an account, sending invoices, keeping the books, dealing with high-tech problems.

Building a new company can be exhilarating, but doing it all yourself can be overwhelming and that can lead to burnout. It may end up hurting rather than helping the business.

People who have started companies usually find ways to get the work done. Often, though, it means getting some help.

SHOULD YOU GET SOME HELP?

Many entrepreneurs try to do everything themselves at the start simply because they can’t afford to pay someone else to help them. Others believe they can and should do it all. And many can, until they get so much work that it’s impossible to keep juggling. Or, when they realize their time needs to be focused on building the business, not on administrative tasks.

Jason Brown juggled everything when he started PublicCity PR, a Beverly Hills, Mich.-based public relations firm, in 2008. But as the company grew, he was spending more time on administrative chores, and that took away from finding and working for clients.

His first solution was to hire a part-time bookkeeper to handle invoices and the company’s books. Then, as he became more successful, he took on a full-time staffer to help with clients. He also enlisted the help of an accounting firm.

This has made it easier for Brown to focus on clients. “You don’t want to get bogged down and have them wait three days for you to call them back,’’ he said.

Craig Clark said at first he could manage to do everything himself, but not if he wanted his business, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Clark Communications, to grow.

“I can get by, but if I’m going to take the firm to the next level, I have to be mature in how I run the business,’’ Clark said. He now has full-time staffers and has outsourced his accounting and human resources work.

A JUGGLING ACT IS A SERIES OF JUDGMENT CALLS

John Mooney, owner of Over the Moon PR in Westfield, N.J., has found that he sometimes has to stop and ask himself, what really matters right now? For example, do you do the work for a current customer, or look for new ones?

“You don’t want to lose your biggest client and not have another one in the hopper,’’ Mooney said. On the other hand, “if you don’t take care of your current clients, you’ll lose them as well.’’

The answer requires a judgment call by an owner. And the answer might be different tomorrow,
or next week, depending on your circumstances at that moment.

Mooney has learned that he needs to be careful about what he focuses on. One of his problems is chasing after clients who don’t pay or who are slow in paying. How much time should he devote to that chore? Again, he noted, it requires a decision. Is this bill big enough to spend time trying to collect? Is the client one you’d want to work with again?

Another possibility: Can someone else do the chasing for you?

BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO

Be honest with yourself as well as your customers. If two customers want a project or a job done at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning and it’s impossible to get them both done, don’t say yes to both of them.

Clark says he learned “not just to take requests, but to give counsel and change a client’s priorities.’’ In other words, talk to a client or customer and see if they’re flexible about when they need results. Does it really have to be done right away?

And, if both jobs have to be done at the same time and you can’t do it all yourself, there’s that mantra again: Get help.

FLEX TIME AND DOWN TIME

Don Domanus opened a Fibrenew franchise in Fort Collins, Colo., after he was laid off from a manufacturing company. He repairs leather and plastic upholstery in cars, homes and offices.

“I’ve always been a big company guy,’’ used to having teams of people to handle different tasks, Domanus said. Now, he says: “I am everything. I delegate to myself.’’

Domanus spends his days going from one car dealership to another to assess and repair torn upholstery. As soon as the work is done, he writes out an invoice. While he’s on a job, he takes phone calls to set up more appointments.

There’s more work to do, including keeping the books. So, like many owners, he’ll work at night. Sometimes he’ll take a car seat home with him to accommodate a dealer who has a prospective buyer coming the next day.

But Domanus realizes that he can’t work around the clock. He starts the day with some down time.

“I start out every morning giving myself at least a half-hour walk or workout,’’ he said. During that time, “I pump myself up and think about the rewards that come with owning and running my own business.’’

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PLANS Topic: 366 The Church Plan and Business

Vincent C. Ragland is President PLANS.

PLANS can be reached at
(312) 286-6886 and by
E-mail at vncnt599@sbcglobal.net

Each week individuals visit their local churches for spiritual strength, greater understanding of their faith and renewal of the spirit. The church has long been the sanctuary away from the problems of the world and a safe haven for believers. In these dangerous and difficult times, the church has taken on the role of being both counselor and provider. With our youth being killed in the streets in record numbers, the church has become the death counselor. Helping grief stricken families deal with loss due to senseless violence in our streets. With so many out of work and homeless living in the streets the church has become the provider. Feeding individuals and families through food pantries and providing resources for the homeless. Often individuals begging for change and holding signs asking for assistance on city streets, at the end of the day, find themselves in church operated centers and homeless shelters.

So the role of the church continues to expand, meaning churches have to be prepared to take on the larger challenges of our communities and thus need to develop their Church Plan to meet these responsibilities.

Churches are needed to provide community social services as well as spiritual services. Many churches have community outreach programs, senior assisted living services, daycare and head start programs, family living centers and youth center facilities. The ability to acquire the necessary funds and resources to establish and run these programs requires the church to have a financially stable Church Plan. A Church Plan is the equivalent of a small business having a Business Plan. The church must show fiscal responsibility and manage its operations like a business to be successful. The following represents items to be maintained in the Church Plan:
1. A Mission Statement detailing the churches spiritual and business goals, objectives and strategies.
2. Past three years to current financial statements of the church.
3. Programs and an outline of the churches financial plan and structure.
4. Operational church budget and three to five year projections.
5. New programs and initiatives that will assist the community and help existing membership.
6. A history of the church, from it’s origin to current including any national affiliations.
7. Breakdown of funding contributions, special offerings, pledge drives, special programs (food pantry, prison ministry etc.)
8. Biography of church minister, director’s deacons, elder and major financial leaders of the church.
9. Explanation of the Financial Controls and Fiscal Policy of the church.
10. Church incorporation documents, bylaws and resolutions. The aforementioned information should be a part of the Church Plan. Churches have to prepare to address the needs of their communities, and to do this effectively they must have a plan. The Church that fails to plan, is planning to fail.

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$1.6 Billion in 2010 Census Savings Returned

William Garth, Sr, CEO of the CItizen Newspaper Group, INC
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it is returning $1.6 billion in 2010 Census operational savings. The savings occurred because the American people stepped up — 72 percent of households returned the questionnaire by mail so there were lower costs in following up on households; because contingency funding set aside for disasters or major operational breakdowns was not tapped; and a more productive workforce completed assignments more efficiently.

“This is a significant accomplishment, and I would like to thank the American public for responding to the census and the more than 255,000 private and public sector partners who joined with us in making the 2010 Census a success,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.

“The 2010 Census was a massive undertaking with great risk for operational problems and cost overruns,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “But with the leadership of Dr. Groves and his team at the Census Bureau we had an incredibly successful count that came in on time and well under budget.”

Approximately $800 million in savings are realized in the contingency funding set aside in case of natural disasters or operational breakdowns. No significant events disrupted major census operations that took place earlier this year.

Another $650 million in savings were realized in the labor intensive, door-to-door, follow-up operation because 72 percent of households returned the questionnaire by mail, meaning fewer homes had to be visited to obtain census answers. Furthermore, the 565,000 census workers used in this operation were more productive than in the previous census, resulting in lower labor costs.

An additional $150 million in savings were realized because a number of other census operations, such as counting the population in Alaska and on tribal lands, came in at a lower cost.

The savings represent 22 percent of 2010 Census costs this fiscal year.

Census operations continue throughout the summer with a number of planned, rigorous quality assurance checks to ensure an accurate and complete count.

“The Census management team, along with a dedicated census workforce, worked diligently to ensure we keep the census on track and on schedule while being vigilant with taxpayer dollars,” Groves said. “Early data are showing improvements in the quality of the field work even as we achieved these savings. We will remain focused until all 2010 Census operations are completed.”

The Census Bureau is required by law to report by the end of the year the nation’s population and apportionment of seats to each state in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Beating the Odds: One school’s formula for success

by Thelma Sardin

Structural disparities in the urban public school system make no group more at risk than
black males. Released by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, a new report shows the toil inner city life is having on Black males. Representative of 48 states, the study found that for Black males, the national graduation rate, between 2007- 2008, was only at 47 percent.
For their white counterparts however, the figures were much higher, with whites graduating
at a rate of 78 percent. In Illinois, there was little improvement where reportedly, the graduation
rate for Black males was only 47 percent. In Chicago, the picture was more dismal, with only 44 percent of Black males being counted as high school graduates.

Examining the causes, Michael Holzman, Senior Research Consultant for the Schott Foundation
believes funding and access to education are contributing factors. “Some districts in Illinois spend 5,000 dollars per student, while some spend 25, 000,” he said.

The head of Schott says the report should be a wake-up call. The report is “meant to challenge
states and districts to institutionalize the policy recommendations needed to change outcomes for
overwhelming majority of Black males in this country…” says Schott Foundation, president and chief executive officer Dr. John H. Jackson in the report.

Unfortunately, a Black male student who manages to achieve high school graduation speaks
more for that individual’s ability than for benefits he may have received from the system. In fact, most systems contribute to the conditions in which Black males have nearly as great a chance of being incarcerated as graduating, the report shows.

Holzman adds that labeling and mislabeling of learning and behavioral disabilities can change
educational opportunities for black males. Also, more high-quality early childhood education
programs should be implemented in order to provide the same quality of education to disadvantaged students as their wealthy counterparts receive.

But if one school on the South side is beating the odds, it’s Urban Prep Academies located in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

In 2010, all 107 members graduated and received 100 percent college acceptances. The school is the first charter high school for boys in the nation. It thrives on creating a family atmosphere
for students and flourishes academically.
“I believe all the guys feel as though someone in the building has their best interest at heart, loves them and wants them to succeed,” co-principal Richard Glass told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I think that is why some of them were pushed so hard to get to this point,” he said.

Urban Prep opened its doors on Sep. 5, 2006. Founded by, Tim King, the key to the school’s success is its culture. “At Urban Prep, we have created a culture which sets high expectations and provides the tools and relationships necessary for the students to meet those expectations,” King said.

Students have an extended school-day, wear uniforms consisting of blazers and ties and benefit from extra-curricular activities along with community service projects.

While the school promotes a rich educational environment, King says students have the desire to succeed. “While we work hard to inspire and motivate our students, we recognize that what we do can only go so far. Our students understand that achievement at Urban Prep will lead to achievement in college, which will lead to achievement in life,” he said.

Urban Prep educators are engaged intensively in professional development activities. In August, teachers go on a two-day overnight retreat followed by four hours of additional training for the remainder of the month. Weekly professional development occurs on an ongoing basis during the school year. “We believe that this amount of time helping our faculty hone their craft leads to
more effective teachers and higher achieving students,” said King.

Literacy is a core educational component of Urban Prep’s curriculum. Being a language-arts focused school, in the area of English, students take more than twice the credits of other CPS students. “It is essential that students possess the ability to read, listen, comprehend, interpret and communicate effectively in order to be successful in life,” said King. With a rigorous college-prep curriculum including honors and advanced placement classes, students place into advanced
classes based on applicant portfolios, teacher recommendations and demonstrated
ability.

Educating the urban black male is not as arduous as it may appear. It is clear that when inner-city youth coming from oppressed backgrounds are given an equal footing as others, they can achieve. With mottos like, “We Believe,” Urban Prep students and faculty use it as a mantra to help transform lives. Nestled in a predominately Black area on the city’s South side, it’s an
example of what can go right when the right mix of resources are made available.

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Fantasia denies allegations she is a homewrecker

NEW YORK- Fantasia said she was so upset about allegations that she broke up a marriage she was ready to die. The former “American Idol” champ took a mixture
of aspirin and sleeping pills after she was named in divorce papers as the cause of a couple’s breakup. The 26-year-old said she was so devastated and upset about lies being spread about her that she couldn’t function anymore.

As for the accusations that she knowingly dated Antwaun Cook even though he was married with kids, she said he was already separated when they started dating. While she called Cook a good guy and a “great friend,” she said they are no longer together, and haven’t been
for a while.

She is in therapy, and said she’s now better able to cope with her problems.

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What Works? — South African delegation takes back ideas on ways to build their country after visiting Chicago and South Suburban Homewood

A delegation from Cape Town, South Africa including Rev. Leonard Maart, United Presbyterian Church, Beatrice Truter, A.N.C. Womens League/Maart Education Trust and Mpho Molaoa, from Malibongwe Women Development, recently visited Chicago and Homewood, Illinois.

The focus of the delegation’s visit was to meet with community leaders, schools, academicians, youth advocates and others who are working on finding ideas for resolving conflict, reducing crime and peacemaking. The delegation hoped to obtain youth development strategies to enact in their own country.

The Chicago trip consisted of a day with State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez at the Cook County Juvenile Court where they met with Child Protection and Juvenile Justice judges, public defenders and probation officers. The visit also included stops at two west side agencies and a meeting with Homewood Flossmoor Peer Jury Program members. The delegation learned the mechanics of setting up a peer jury program including how to recruit and train youth who sit on juries.

“Sixteen years after Apartheid, there is a pressing need to have the infrastructure to continue the struggle for freedom for all South Africans,” stated CAP Senior Associate Executive Director. Edith Crigler. “This visit is just one of many approaches being considered to build a new and greater South Africa,” he said.

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Classic’s Message: “We can stop the violence”

by Wendell A. LaGrand

Strike up the band! One of the largest and most exciting African American events of the year is
coming to town. Co-founded by Everett Rand, Timothy Rand, Larry Huggins and Bill Garth, the
13th Annual Chicago Football Classic promises to be another great year for football as students,
alumni, families, friends and fans come out to enjoy the fun.

To get everyone’s spirit up, a pep rally will be held at the Daley Plaza, downtown Chicago, at 3p.m, on Friday September 17. The game’s theme is “We Can Stop the Violence. It Is Up to Us. The Chicago Football Classic supports education to end the violence in our community”. Additionally, public service messages will be aimed at addressing the level of violence in Chicago. The “Battle of the Bands” will be a part of the Chicago Football Classic weekend festivities. The Morgan Park High School Marching Band recently showed their skills at the events kick-off, which was held at the Chatham neighborhood’s Nike Factory Store on
8510 South Cottage Grove Avenue.
Everett Rand, a co-founder of the Chicago Football Classic (CFC) had one question for attendees
at a press conference last week, “Are You Ready for Some Football?”

Widely known as one of the largest reunions of Historically Black College alumni, the game will
be played on Saturday, September 18, at 4 p.m. on Soldier Field.

Larry Huggins, another co-founder of the classic added, the theme is also about honoring Michael Scott, the late Chicago School Board President, who was a devoted and long time advocate of the CFC. Homage will also be paid to fallen Chicago Police officers.

The gridiron match up will pit the Alcorn State University Braves, alma mater of the late All
Pro quarterback Steve McNair, against the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils, the alma mater of 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Rice.

“We are partners. We all have a part to play in stopping the violence,” said Cook County States Attorney, Anita Alverez. “Education is the great equalizer.It’s the key that opens so many doors. We’ve seen the effect of violence. The message is so strong, there is an alternative way to go, there is a goal. That is getting our kids off the street,” she said.

“This year, given all of the deadly shootings and crime that has devastated families around the
city, we feel passionate about the theme,” Rand said.

The CFC’s mission is to also bring awareness to Historically Black Colleges, expose Chicago
students to the various aspects of the college experience and to focus on an uplifting theme to unite the community, according to Rand.

The highly anticipated weekend of events is being touted by organizers as an “extravaganza” that
will include a free, open to the public, HBCU College Fair, from 10 a.m. to noon, the morning before the game. The Battle of the Bands, featuring local high schools, will take place from 12 to 1:30 p.m., followed by a local talent show, sponsored by the Illinois Lottery from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.

Tickets are $15, $25, $30 and $40 and can be purchased at selected Dominick’s locations,
Ticketmaster, or by calling 1-800-Safeway.

Both teams are members of the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC), whose history dates back to 1920, when eight men representing six colleges from Texas discussed college athletics and the many challenges that faced their schools.

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Survey: Workers remain nervous about employment

William Garth, Sr, CEO of the CItizen Newspaper Group, INC
Still nervious: Americans remain nervous about their job security and the strength of the economy, according to a survey by jobs website SnagAJob.com.

Worries about jobs are pervasive: 35 percent of those polled this summer said they felt their jobs were less secure than in 2009. That’s an improvement from how respondents felt a year ago, though, when 52 percent said job instability was worse than in 2008.

Part of the reason for worry may have been the experience of being laid off. The survey showed that 34 percent of people who said they had changed jobs in the past year did so after losing their previous position, up from 25 percent who said they had changed jobs because of a layoff in summer 2009.

The number of people polled whose top fear for the future is losing their job has tripled since the 2007 survey to 9 percent, this summer’s survey showed. Saving for retirement and college education remained the biggest worry throughout the four years that the survey has been conducted.

SnagAJob.com, an online jobs board, randomly polled 1,000 U.S. adult workers by telephone from July 8-26. The margin of error for the poll was 3.1 percentage points.

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PLANS Topic: 368 SBA Disaster Assistance for Businesses

Vincent C. Ragland is President PLANS. PLANS can be reached at (312) 286-6886 and by Email at vncnt599@sbcglobal.net.

Through its Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA), the SBA is responsible for providing affordable, timely and accessible financial assistance to businesses following a disaster. Financial assistance is available in the form of low interest, long-term loans.

SBA’s disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance for the repair and rebuilding of
non-farm, private sector disaster losses. For this reason, the disaster loan program is the only form of SBA assistance not limited to small businesses.

Disaster Assistance has been part of the agency since its inception in 1953.

The application form asks you for the same information about the business and its substantial
owners and managers that is required for a bank loan. SBA personnel will explain the forms and give you assistance at no charge. You may use the services of accountants, attorneys or
other representatives if you wish, but be sure they are reliable and that their fees are reasonable.
You must report the use of a representative and the fees charged on your loan application.

The disaster loan is intended to help you return your property to its pre-disaster condition and,
under certain circumstances, for mitigating devices. Normally, SBA funds cannot be used to expand or upgrade a business. If, however, city or county building codes require such upgrading, then you can use the SBA loan for that purpose. Your loan will be made for specific and designated purposes. Remember that the penalty for misusing disaster funds is immediate repayment of one-and-a-half times the original amount of the loan. The SBA requires that you obtain receipts and maintain good records of all loan expenditures as you restore
your damaged property, and that you keep these receipts and records for three years.

The SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages, evidenced by a recorded lien, when the applicant: 1) does not have credit available elsewhere; 2) has suffered substantial, uncompensated disaster damage (40 percent or more of the value of the property); and 3) intends to repair the damage.

Loans of $14,000 or less do not require collateral. Loans in excess of $14,000 require the pledging of collateral to the extent it is available. Normally the collateral would consist of a
first or second mortgage on the damaged business property. In addition, personal guaranties by the principals of a business are required. To make a loan, the SBA must estimate the cost of repairing the damage, be satisfied that the business can repay the loan from its operations and take reasonable safeguards to help ensure that the loan is repaid. The SBA tries to make a decision on each application within seven to 21 days.

After the SBA approves the loan, they will tell you what documents are needed to close the loan. Once the SBA receives these documents, they can disburse the funds. Because disaster loans are subsidized, the SBA provides the money in installments, as you need it to repair or replace the damage.

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Lost Lives and For What?

These are some of the faces. The images shown here only tip the iceberg and represent a small
number of lives lost in what seems to be a perpetual wave of violence crippling the citizens of
Chicago. Held hostage by criminals who have no value for life, many Chicagoans feel things just
aren’t getting better even though statistically, the crime rate dropped for the 17th consecutive
month this past May. July was brutal, with 303 shootings taking place in that one month
alone. Thirty-three of the 303 victims died.

Chicago has got to get a grip, but how? To solve the problem of crime, Chicago can’t afford to take a bandaid approach. Covering up the problem without attacking it at its core, will only make matters worse.

But who’s going to do it and how can this city come together?

If you listen to seasoned cops, they will tell you that some of the children involved in crimes are children of gang members themselves. How do you reach those kids when their parents are engaged in the same activity the child should seek to prevent?

When attacking any complex problem, the most logical place to start is to look at the origin and then attack it at its core.

In order for Chicago to get a grip, the problem has to be addressed in the cradle. Catching children at birth and instilling in them the type of value system that they need to avoid the pitfalls of engaging in a life of crime is the only logical first step.

It also takes a sense of community. Stopping the silence to end the violence means that people can’t be afraid to speak out and report crime to the police when they see it. But reporting crime does not mean that the people elected to serve and to protect this great city bear no responsibility.

Taxpayers have a right to receive equal and full protection under the law. They have a right to have their complaints investigated. They have a right to feel a reasonable sense of security in the homes that they pay for and they have a right to some peace and tranquility.

You have a right to march, a right to let your voices be heard and a right to change things that do not comply with your own personal goals. But you can’t change anything unless you organize. you can’t build coalitions unless you get involved and you certainly can’t change anything by remaining silent.

But change doesn’t come easy in tough times while the three eyed monster with wings swarms down on households everywhere. Ravaging families, the economy has been like giant, pressing down hard on Americans in monstrous proportions.

Chicago, like so many other urban areas face cuts in budgets for programs that could help solve the problem. At the same time, deficits too large to even mention loom in the offing while the economy is slowly creeping back. The city is upside down with too much crime and not enough resources to handle it.

The Fraternal Order of Police recently echoed these concerns by holding a protest outside of Chicago Police Headquarters on Sep. 15. The FOP warned that Chicago Police do not have enough resources to effectively “serve and protect” the city. FOP president, Mark Donahue argued that the violence underlines a bigger issue. In a recent interview with the Citizen, Donahue said, “the officers need to be able to proactively police instead of reactively.”

This is the other challenge. But when analyzing it, let’s look at values. If the citizenry values life, whether it’s the life of a child or a cop or anyone, they will place an emphasis on solving the problem of crime, first. And when you put your priorities in order, isn’t the value of life far more important than everything else anyway? Without life, really— what is there?

If the people appointed to run this city and to run the police department value life, then they will make fighting crime a priority by re-directing, reorganizing, reevaluating and rethinking the process so that the resources are placed in the right direction. So the question becomes, what do these public officials value?

The next mayor hired to run this city will have his or her values tested too. He or she should be asked, what do you really value, Mr. or Mrs. Mayor? Do you value life more than anything? If you do, then how can you direct resources towards an agenda that addresses the problem of crime? If life is more important than anything else, this is the first question to ask.
Several weeks ago, a group of gangbangers and ex-gangbangers held a press conference where they talked about how creating jobs and having gainful employment will help deter the crime. Jobs are important while similarly, equality in the hiring and selection process, are all important. They are the very things that people like Dr. King lost his life for and what other civil rights leaders fought for and still do today.

But before a person can hold down a job, before they can get up every day, be on time for work and maintain that job when they get there, they have to have instilled in them a core group of values. To be successful, they need to have a work ethic that allows them to be responsible enough to go in every day to perform that job in order to take home an honest pay. That’s why it starts at the cradle…that’s why it starts at the logical point, at the beginning. At the beginning is the best time to address it.

In 2008, the nation elected its first Black president. Right now, his political rivals contend that he just doesn’t get it. It was the economy, not healthcare, that he should have been concerned with during his first year as president they say.

But the president does get it. He has enough sense to understand that without good health, you can’t do anything, including work; and that good health includes one’s mental health. Serious psychological problems result in negative behavior. That behavior skews a person’s judgment, forcing him or her to make the wrong decisions. At the same time, the ability to make a wise decision is based on a positive mental attitude and a strong value system which is learned from the time a child enters the world.

If rectifying negative behavior is not addressed in the beginning nor at any point in a person’s adult life, and if the priority to direct resources in that direction does not exist, then we are all fooling ourselves in thinking that the problem will ever be completely resolved.

At some point, the issue of what in a person’s mind gives them the idea that they have the right to unlawfully commit any crime against another individual has to be thoroughly examined. Somewhere in the race to find solutions, the issue of changing behavior, has to become a priority.

On Sep. 25, you can renew your commitment towards stopping the violence by attending a candlelight vigil held in honor all of the people who have been victimized by crime during National Day of Remembrance. The vigil will begin at 1:00pm at St. Sabina Church, 1210 West 78th Street. Everyone in Chicago has a stake in this problem and as many people in the city as possible should be there. It will send a clear message to the crooks that Chicago is bigger than they are and that the cost of human lives is way too high of a price to pay. The criminals have already shown that they do not value human life. But by taking a stand, you can show them that you do.

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Jobs Program Extended by Quinn

by Wendell A. La Grand

Although education and the state’s budget deficit have his attention, Pat Quinn is also focusing on jobs. Quinn recently announced an extension of the Put Illinois to Work (PIW) program for
up to two months until November. The federal program which supports PIW was set to expire on September 30. “Our Put Illinois to Work Program is a model for the nation,” Quinn said during a
recent interview with the Citizen where he talked about education, the budget and jobs. Through the PIW program, “We put 25,990 people to work since early May, many of them on the South side of Chicago. They’re in mostly private jobs. They make ten bucks an hour. They also, in some cases, work for not for profits,”Quinn said.

The extension is designed to serve as a bridge until Congress votes to extend the federal program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund (TANF/ECF), which supports PIW.

TANF/ECF was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“I worked with the president to pass the federal stimulus,”Quinn told the Citizen, adding in a press release about the PIW extension, “The best way to make our economy stronger is to put people to work.

“It is good for families, small business owners and communities. We cannot afford to lose momentum as we continue our economic recovery,” he said. “Quick action by Congress will keep thousands of people at work in Illinois and we will continue to build on the progress we have already made,” the Governor stated.

U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis who also attended the press conference said, “Jobs creation is on the mind of Nancy Pelosi, Henry Reid and Democrats in the House and Senate. Job creation is the first priority for all of us,” he said.

Gloria Hill, an employee of manufacturer CPC Laboratories, secured her employment at he company through the PIW program and has been working there for four months.

Hill said because of PIW, she doesn’t have to look for a job everyday adding, “When I got
to CPC, I trained as a supervisor. Every day I learned a lot. Had it not been for the PIW
program, Hill said, “I would have not known CPC, it got me up off the unemployment line.
I’ve had a great working experience,” she said.

While putting people back to work is a key priority for Quinn, he inherited a large budget deficit when he took office, which is also a major issue in the race. The governor has proposed an income tax increase that he says is needed to help repair the state’s $13 billion deficit.

Quinn accuses his Republican opponent Senator Bill Brady of not being up front with voters regarding his own plan to close the budget. The governor told the Associated Press recently that Brady has a “secret set” of budget proposals that he does not want to share until after the November election.

According to Quinn, Brady’s budget cuts repeatedly call for 10 percent cuts across the board, and if this plan is used to make cuts on education in grades P through 12, it could mean $1.1 billion
in cuts for education, Quinn says. Brady contends that he would cut less than $1 billion, according to a recent report in the Chicago Tribune.

But Quinn adds under Brady’s plan, over 15,000 teachers would be laid off or if cuts were applied instead to teacher pay, a pay cut of over $5,300 per teacher would be the end result.

“I want to invest in education and use the income tax to reduce property taxes, but also make sure we have more money for schools,” Quinn said.

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Emanuel Visits the 6th Ward

By Wendell A. LaGrand

After announcing that he was stepping down as President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff last Friday to run for Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, hit the ground running Monday landing in the 6th ward at Izolas Restaurant.

The visit was part of Emanuel’s “Tell It Like It Is” neighborhood tour which according to his
website, chicagoforrahm.com; has him traveling the city to hear from Chicagoans“in blunt and honest terms–what they’d like from their next mayor”.

Emerging from a dark,sport utility vehicle, which parked quietly in an alley on the westside side of the restaurant, located on 524East 79th Street, Emanuel stepped out onto the sidewalk greeting a female resident that seemed surprised to see him as she passed by.

Continuing through an anxious crowd of news media that waited for nearly an hour for his arrival, Emanuel entered the building and sat down with three, male residents of the Park Manor
Neighborhood.
When asked what he was having for breakfast Emanuel said, scrambled “eggs with toast” and coffee.

With the media closely seated, Emanuel, William Morris, Charles Hood and Paul Bryson sat down for breakfast.

At one point news reporters and cameras were so close to the group,Emanuel asked, “Can we get a private conversation?”

Bryson, Hood and Morris said they met regularly at the establishment, but were not expecting Emanuel to be there.

When asked what Emanuel talked about Bryson, who is self employed said “college” cost and “employment”.

“He (Emanuel) said he believes training should come to the (6th) ward. He said he felt getting job training is beneficial. The question behind that was how do you get a job?”Bryson said.

“He asked us what do we need, more so than, what he’s going to do,” Hood said.

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PLANS Topic : 376 Finding funding for your new small business

By Vincent Ragland
Wouldn’t you love to have a few million dollars to start your business? Me too! With a great idea and a great business
plan, you probably feel almost entitled to get the funding you’re seeking. Realistically, for most entrepreneurs,
you must prove your concept first before anyone will put up that kind of money. But most businesses require some sort of initial
capital for things like inventory, marketing, physical facilities, incorporation expenses, etc.While poor management is cited
most frequently as the reason businesses fail, inadequate or ill-timed financing is a close second.

When exploring your funding options, there are several factors to consider:

Are your needs short-term or long-term? How quickly will you be able to pay back the loan or provide return?

Is the money for operating expenses or for capital expenditures that will become assets, such as equipment or real estate?

Do you need all the money now or in smaller pieces over several months? Are you willing to assume all the risk if your company doesn’t succeed, or do you want someone to share the risk?

Fundamentally, there are two types of business financing:

Debt financing – You borrow the money and agree to pay it back in a particular time frame at a set interest rate. You owe the
money whether your venture succeeds or not.

Equity financing – You sell partial ownership of your company in exchange for cash. The investors assume all (or most) of the risk–if the company fails, they lose their money. But if it succeeds, they typically make much greater return on their investment
than interest rates. In other words, equity financing is far more expensive if your company is successful, but far less expensive if it isn’t.

Let’s take a closer look at the many options available for start ups.

Friends and family are still your best source for both loans and equity deals. They are typically less stringent regarding your credit and their expected return on investment. Prepare a business plan and formal documents—you’ll both feel better, and it’s good practice for later.

Credit cards are a great tool for cash flow management,assuming you use them just for that and not for long term financing. Keep one or two cards with no balance on it and pay it off every month to give yourself a 30 to 60 day float with no interest.

Bank loans come in all shapes and sizes, from micro loans of a few hundred dollars, typically offered by local community banks, to six figure loans by major national banks. These are much easier to obtain when backed by assets (home equity or an IRA) or third-party guarantors (government-sponsored SBA loans or a cosigner). If you obtain a line of credit rather than
a fixed-amount loan, you don’t start paying interest until you actually spend the money.

Vincent C. Ragland is
President and CEO of PLANS.
PLANS. can be reached at (312)
286-6886 and by Email at
Vncnt599@sbcglobal.net.

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Poll: Americans Opposed to‘Outside Money’ In Elections

by Lisette Livingston
A survey of 1,000 Americans nationwide suggests a wide majority believe it is unacceptable for groups to spend heavily on political
advertising in districts where they are not located, a phenomenon dubbed “outside money.”

Two-thirds of those polled say they oppose this practice, while 26 percent support it.

Recent published reports in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other major media outlets have noted that television spending by outside groups has more than doubled from what was spent at the same time in the 2006 midterm elections.

An analysis published earlier this week in Politico.com reported that, “Never in modern political history has there been so much
secret money gushing into an American election. By Election Day, independent groups will have aired more than $200 million worth of campaign ads using cash that can’t be traced back to its original source.”

“While it might be true that outside groups have the legal right to flood these races with ads, many Americans are concerned
that it distorts the democratic process,” said Daniel M. Shea, director of the Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College,
which developed and commissioned a poll, “Nastiness, Name-calling & Negativity: The Allegheny College Survey of Civility
and Compromise in American Politics,” in spring 2010.

Shea expressed concern with the volume of money being spent by outside pressure groups in local races. In Pennsylvania’s 3rd
Congressional District, where Allegheny is located, numerous outside groups have hammered the airwaves with ads for and against
both the Democratic and Republican candidates.

“On one level, outside money is not entirely new. We’ve seen this before. But the amount of money that is being spent by national groups is unprecedented. As the head of an organization designed to promote grassroots campaigning, I worry that outside money will lead all citizens, but especially young citizens, to question the value of their own engagement,” said Shea.

Much of Allegheny’s spring poll centered on issues related to the tone of politics, and its results have been widely circulated in the news media. But the poll also queried about the outside money issue. “We knew it would be a big issue this fall, and, sure enough, it
is one of the most important issues of this campaign season,” said Shea.

Group spending has become the focus of attention since a January U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United
v. Federal Election Commission. The High Court lifted restrictions on corporate spending in elections. Corporations, including
nonprofit ones like labor unions, are no longer restricted when it comes to financing radio and television commercials that focus
on voters and identify a political candidate.

The New York Times reported that in the weeks leading to this November’s hotly contested House and Senate races, many
nonprofit advocacy organizations have begun to be more aggressive, explicitly asking voters to cast their ballots for or against candidates. “The vast majority of these political commercials are billed as ‘issue advocacy,’” said Shea, “but they are more easily recognized as attack ads.”

According to Shea, this latest twist on campaign financing laws speaks to the
incivility permeating politics today. An overwhelming majority of Americans polled last spring said they perceived an increasing
rancor and hostility in politics. A second survey, conducted two weeks ago by the CPP, indicates that the majority of Americans
believe civility has gotten worse, in large part due to the nature of campaigning.
“It’s no wonder”, Shea noted, “that four times as many Americans see the tone of campaigning as much more negative this year, than those those who see the election as more positive. The floodgates are open, and we’re a torrent of nastiness and negativity.”

Self-described independents expressed the most opposition to outside election spending, at about 72 percent. Self- described Democrats and Republicans both oppose the practice, at about 65 percent, respectively.
Self- described conservative, liberals, and moderates oppose outside spending by about 65 percent, while a full 75 percent of Americans aged 50 and older oppose it, too. About 63 percent of Americans who earn more than $100,000 and 69 percent of those making less than $25,000 oppose outside spending.

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Candidates’ Petitions Scrutinized for Legitimacy

CHICAGO -Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says federal authorities should join state investigators into checking claims that nominating petitions for mayor were improperly notarized.

He told reporters recently that there should be federal and state investigations.

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that state officials are investigating signatures on several ballots appearing on candidates’ petitions, including state Sen. James Meeks and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

Daley announced earlier this year that he won’t seek re-election.

Sen. James Meeks’ campaign spokesperson, Bryan Zises, responded to the controversy through e-mail. “In the last week of the petition process, our campaign contracted with two coordinators to help circulate petitions to supplement our volunteer efforts, CL Sparks and Tyronne Tucker. They provided notarized signatures and we paid them. That’s the extent of our campaign’s involvement in this story. Any suggestion to the contrary is purely sensational, conspiracy theories and innuendo.”

Mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, one of the candidates in question for allegedly having improper signatures on her nominating petitions responded to the scandal in a recent news release. “We need a complete investigation why these signatures are fraudulent, because this is Chicago, and there’s a long history of political mischief and dirty tricks and all sorts of insidious stunts to keep candidates off the ballot – and that’s the very culture this campaign wants to clean up,” Van Pelt-Watkins said.

The Citizen reached out to Braun’s campaign for comment but did not receive a response by press time.

According to Elizabeth Kaufman, spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office, the Secretary of State police are investigating the alleged forgeries and currently working with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. If any criminal charges are found with impersonating a notary, “Each signature would be a misdemeanor offense of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. Each signature can be a count,” Kaufman told the Citizen. The Secretary of State’s office regulates notaries in the state of Illinois.

In all, 20 mayoral hopefuls have filed nominating papers to be on the ballot, but the list is likely to be shorter by Election Day because nearly a dozen of them face petition challenges.

Additionally, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is facing questions about his residency.

According to Jim Allen, spokesperson for the Chicago Board of Elections, a decision was not reached in Monday’s hearing regarding challenges to Emanuel’s residency. “The hearing officer heard from all of the lead attorneys on both sides, as well as the other parties who have filed objections,” stated Allen in an e-mail to the Citizen. Allen added that a witness list is being developed for subpoenas and stipulations which should be entered by the end of the week. As a result, a testimony and introduction of other evidence may begin Mon., Dec. 13.

Allen was also asked about the alleged forging on nominating petitions for Meeks, Braun and Watkins and stated, “We have 426 objections that were filed. We cannot comment on any pending cases; however, we can say that if and when any evidence of any fraud emerges, we will forward that to the State’s Attorney’s Office or other investigative bodies.”

Additionally, over 400 challenges were filed to candidates in the Feb. elections. When the Citizen asked Allen to provide names of aldermen facing this issue, he declined to comment due to pending litigation.

Wires, Thelma Sardin

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Local Doc Fulfills Mission at Home and Abroad

Dr. Howard McNair, a Little Company of Mary Family Medicine Physician, recently returned from a missionary trip with his church, New Life Covenant, to the Dominic Republic in June. It was a life altering experience for him to view the devastation, and the population that are far less fortunate than one could imagine. He visited La Bambita, Bora Hana, which was 45 minutes away from border of Haiti. People spoke Creole and Spanish – as most individuals were native Haitian and Dominican.

With much of the land undeveloped and no sanitation system or running Water, people bathed in a creek, which flowed with dirty water incapacitated with all sorts of feces and human waste. There was overflowing trash and waste and when there were downpours of rain, the ground was incredibly muddy and the majority of people didn’t have shoes, so they would risk cutting their feet.

Medical care was very scarce and could be 15 to 20 minutes away, Dr. McNair recounted.

There were limited or archaic medical resources, as they are not equipped like in the United States. Items such as saline in bottles or infusion pumps were not readily available. Their ICU only had three beds and Dr. McNair’s team was at the mercy of what the Hospital had available.

Dr. McNair says, “This trip made me grateful for the items as simple as over-the-counter medications. We were able to give what we had, but I’m more sensitive than I was to people who are not as fortunate to have medical insurance. I had to sit back and appreciate little stuff that I had. Even just a breath of fresh air as the temperatures easily hit 90’s and were very humid…”

Prior to arriving, church members had taken up a collection for medications, sports equipment, clothes and food. They collected enough items to fill an entire truck. It was shipped weeks before they left as the team had heard the delivery and screening process was lengthy, however, when Dr. McNair arrived, the items had not arrived. Their goal was to help build a makeshift filtration system for the people, but by the time their shipment was released from customs, they were already four days behind schedule. They were luckily to be able to continue to build four filtration systems in the town. Once started, the system was fed the dirty water, and through the filtration system, it came out clear. And, since they didn’t have bathrooms, were also were able to build a latrine for the community’s use.

Dr. McNair’s team also worked on a local field that was originally overflowing with trash. They used tree branches and barbed wire to ward off part of that field, to limit the animals from entering or excavating there. Baseball is the most favored sport, so they were ultimately able to use the field to play there. The items that were collected from the church were given to the children so they were able to receive new baseball equipment and uniforms.

“…I would say that today, the conditions remain to be very poor. This trip taught me many things and most notably moved me, and I would encourage everyone during this holiday season to give of their time for any charitable cause,” Dr. McNair said in a statement.

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Report Tracks Students’ Performance Globally

by Thelma Sardin

Although some public school students are benefitting from stimulating math and science
educational programs, nationally, American students still lag behind their global counterparts in
math, science and reading.

While science fairs like the ones held recently at Granville T. Woods Math and Science
Academy in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood help peak a student’s interest in science, a
recent Associated Press report, indicates there’s still much more work to do among students
nationwide.

The AP report unveiled America’s rank among its global counterparts in the areas of math,
science and reading. According to results from the 2009 Programme for International Student
Association (PISA), students in the United States rank 17th in science, 25th in math and 14th in
reading out of 34 countries that were assessed.

The test results demonstrate that American students perform average in reading and science and
below average in math.

Among the attendees at the Wood’s science fair held recently at the school was State Rep.
Monique Davis (D-IL). A former school educator and administrator, Davis believes science fairs
are beneficial because they help students understand the relationship between life and science
and they help build important communications skills, including writing, since students have to
write reports based on the experiments they conduct, she said. “It’s just an overall excellent
experience for children,” she added.

When you think about all of the advances that have been made in this country, there’s no reason
for Americans to lag behind any other group, Davis said, adding, parental involvement is key to
the success of any child.

As an educator, Davis posed several questions while sharing techniques she used in the
classroom. “… I would use plays in order to teach math,” she says. “The children would have to
design their own props and memorize their lines. Parents would come out and give children their
encouragement.

“We must ask ourselves, when was the last time you attended a program at school, when was the
last time you visited a science fair at the school? Does your school have them? When was the last
time you attended a play that your children participated in?”

Although Bobby Otter, spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) says science fairs at CPS
are still quite popular, other schools have seen a decline in participation.

In March 2011, CPS will host its citywide science fair for the 61st year at the Museum of Science

and Industry. He adds CPS is preparing students globally by, “expand our extracurricular
science offerings to include additional programs related to science. This has produced two types
of impact for students: it has given a wider spectrum of students’ access to science programming
and it allows students to experience other aspects of science and the scientific process,” he said.

CPS also has several schools designated as “math and science” academies including Walter
Payton Math, Science and World Language Academy, Lindblom Math & Science Academy and
Galileo Math& Science Scholastic Academy.

The academies include a rigorous program of math, science, and technology courses that help
prepare students for the future.

In spite of these efforts, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the 2009 PISA results show
there’s a lot of work to be done. Referring to the results, he told the Associated Press, “This
is an absolute wake-up call for America…the results are extraordinarily challenging to us and
we have to deal with the brutal truth. We have to get much more serious about investing in
education,” he added.

While CPS has not seen a drop in activities like science fairs which help keep students involved,
Laura Hirsch, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at Crete-Monee School
District 201-U in the far South suburbs said participation in science fairs has declined because of
a lack of student interest.

“Science Fairs are not popular in our district,” Hirsch said. “About six years ago we attempted
to resurrect a K-8 District Science Fair,” she added. “The student participation rate was very
low, even with teacher and classroom support. This did not support our goal of having more
students engaged in science discovery,” she stated.

Currently the district is focused on developing a “hands-on science curriculum that fosters
student engagement, inquiry and high-level thinking,” she said. The school district does not
receive special funding for science programs, she said, however, “We use our local funds and
annual federal grant dollars to support our science programs including teacher training. We have
been able to accomplish our goals by establishing a multi-year plan for science, and planning our
budget allocations accordingly,” Hirsch stated.

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Entertainment – December 29th 2010

Laurence Fishburne to Be the New Voice of Cadillac

DETROIT, — Laurence Fishburne will lend his voice to television advertising for Cadillac. Advertising will launch in the Rose Bowl game telecast on Jan. 1, 2011.

Fishburne’s multifaceted career makes him unique in the creative industry. Not only has he been recognized with Emmy and Tony Awards as well as an Academy Award nomination, he is also a noted screenwriter, director and producer.

“At Cadillac our ambition is to continue to set a new standard in our own distinctive way,” said Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing. “We are excited to be working with Laurence Fishburne as we bring new thinking to the automotive luxury space in 2011.” PRNewswire

Prince Calls Celebs on Stage to Party at NYC Show

By Nekesa Mumbi Moody
AP Music Writer

NEW YORK- Sherri Sheppard finally got her wish to spend the night with Prince _ but she had to share him with a few other celebrities, including Spike Lee, Naomi Campbell, Jamie Foxx and her “View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg.

Prince called Sheppard and a host of other stars on stage Saturday night during his sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden. Lee played the tambourine as Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx, Professor Cornel West, talk-show host Tavis Smiley and others danced onstage with Prince and Sheila E. to the hit “A Love Bizarre.” (AP)

After Australia Tour, Winfrey Vacations in Fiji

SUVA, Fiji – Fresh off an Australian tour with her frenzied talk-show fans, Oprah Winfrey is taking a respite in the South Pacific island nation of Fiji, where the military regime wished her “a great time.”

Local media reported she arrived Thursday and that she and longtime beau Stedman Graham were to stay until Dec. 26.

‘Driving Miss Daisy’ Stays on Broadway into Spring

NEW YORK – James Earl Jones will be staying behind the wheel of “Driving Miss Daisy” for quite a bit longer.

Producers of the play by Alfred Uhry said Wednesday they are extending the show’s run with its original cast until April 9. It also stars Vanessa Redgrave and Boyd Gaines and was originally expected to end Jan. 29. (AP)

SIRIUS XM Celebrates Richard Pryor’s 70th Birthday with ‘Richard Pryor Radio’

NEW YORK — SIRIUS XM Radio announced recently that it will launch “Richard Pryor Radio,” a four-day uncensored channel devoted to the legendary comedian’s decades of groundbreaking work.

“Richard Pryor Radio” will launch December 30 at 5:00 am ET and will run through 11:59 pm ET on January 2 on SIRIUS channel 108 and XM channel 139. PRNewswire

Mel Gibson’s film `The Beaver’ due out in March

Distributor Summit Entertainment announced that Gibson’s comic drama “The Beaver” will open in limited release next March 23 and expand to more theaters on April 8.

The film has been in limbo amid Gibson’s custody battle with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who claims he physically abused her. (AP)

Flo Rida Not Too Concerned with Selling Albums

NEW YORK – Flo Rida has sold millions when it comes to hit singles, but his albums have yet to get that kind of love from music fans.

His first two albums haven’t reached gold status, and his latest, “Only One Flo (Part 1),” debuted at No. 107 on the charts earlier this month.

But Flo Rida says he’s “not too fond of even just worrying about that.” He says selling millions of singles is just as good as selling millions of albums. (AP)

Showtime

New York Film Critics pick `Social Network’

NEW YORK – “The Social Network” continued its virtual sweep of the early awards season, earning best film from the New York Film Critics Circle.

David Fincher, director of the Facebook drama, won best director in the awards, announced Monday. The New York critics followed the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Online in choosing “The Social Network” as the year’s best film.

The New York reviewers are among the influential critics groups that suggest potential favorites ahead of the Feb. 27 Academy Awards.

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Verizon Adds 872,000 Smart-phone Subscribers

Verizon confirmed rumors two weeks ago, announcing that it would start selling Apple Inc.’s iPhone on Feb. 10.

NEW YORK (AP) – Verizon Communications Inc. on Tuesday said it attracted more than half a million smart-phone subscribers in the latest quarter, showing strength even before it starts selling the iPhone in February.

Verizon Wireless added 872,000 subscribers on contract-based plans, well above analyst expectations of about 650,000. Contract-based subscribers are the most lucrative, and Verizon said three-quarters of the new subscribers bought smart phones, which come with added data fees.

Verizon was also helped by another Apple device. It started selling the iPad tablet computer in October, and bundled it with an Internet access device that comes with a two-year contract. It also started selling a competing tablet, Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Tab, with a data plan. Together, Verizon sold 86,000 tablets.

Verizon was also helped by the launch of its new “4G” cellular data network in December. It sold 65,000 plug-in modems for laptops for that network in three weeks.

The New York-based telecommunications company reported net income of $2.64 billion, or 93 cents per share, for the last three months of 2010. That’s up from $617 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago, but the increase was mainly due to adjustments for the value of the company’s retirement plans.

Excluding items, earnings were 54 cents per share, a penny shy of estimates by analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue fell 2.6 percent to $26.4 billion from $27.1 billion and also just below analyst estimates of $26.5 billion. Verizon sold off landlines in outlying areas last summer, reducing revenue compared to last year.

Its shares rose 85 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $36.10 in morning trading. The shares hit a multi-year high of $37.70 in early January as investors grew excited about the prospect of a Verizon iPhone.

Verizon confirmed rumors two weeks ago, announcing that it would start selling Apple Inc.’s iPhone on Feb. 10. AT&T Inc.’s exclusive hold on the phone has left Verizon well behind in attracting smart-phone subscribers, but it now hopes to catch up. Analysts believe it could sell anywhere from 5 million to 13 million iPhones this year.

Verizon announced last week that it was changing how it accounts for the value of the plans that cover pensions and retiree health care. Instead of looking at their performance once a year and then amortizing any gains or shortfalls over several years, as has been standard practice. Verizon will adjust its results full every year to account for the plans.

The change also had the effect of allowing Verizon to adjust past earnings to reflect changes in the value of the pension plans. It had accumulated $20.2 billion in losses from the plans that were going to weigh on future earnings, but the maneuver allowed it to move those losses into the past.

In making the change, Verizon was following in the footsteps of AT&T, which moved $17 billion from future losses to the past. Analysts believe other companies with substantial retiree benefit plans may follow suit, allowing them to move the dismal fund returns of 2008 into the past.

While Verizon Wireless is doing well, that doesn’t help the parent company, Verizon Communications, as much as it would like. Vodafone Group PLC, a British wireless company with global reach, owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless, and claims that proportion of its earnings. Meanwhile, Verizon’s local-phone business operates essentially at break-even, despite massive investment in upgrading its lines with optical fiber for FiOS Internet and TV service.

For the full year, Verizon said its net income fell to $2.5 billion, or 90 cents per share, from $4.9 billion, or $1.72 per share, in 2009. Revenue fell 1.2 percent to $106.6 billion, though it rose 3.9 percent excluding the summer’s sale of landlines to Frontier.

by Peter Svensson

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Toyota Edges Out GM in Auto Sales

GLOBAL TITLE: Toyota Motor Corp. reported 8.42 million sales worldwide last year, 30,000 more than General Motors Co.’s 8.39 million in global sales. Toyota’s sales were up 8 percent from 2009, while GM posted a 12 percent increase from a year earlier.

CHINA VICTORY: GM came out on top in China, selling more cars and trucks in the country last year than it did in the U.S. It sold 2.35 million vehicles in China, up 29 percent. Toyota sold just 846,000 vehicles in China.

THE RACE SO FAR: GM and Toyota tied for the global sales lead in 2007, ending GM’s 76-year string of dominance. Toyota took the title in 2008 and has held it ever since.

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Mejorar tu página web

Recordemos que solo el 62% de las personas hace click sobre los resultados de la primera página versus el 28% que hace clicks sobre los resultados de la segunda página. Quiere decir que si no aparecemos entre la primera y la segunda página es poco probable que un usuario que no nos conozca nos encuentre. Adicionalmente el 90% del tráfico de Internet llega a través de los buscadores más conocidos. Para lograr esto es necesario que el sitio a optimizar sea visible con las palabras clave que los usuarios frecuentemente usan para sus consultas. Con una buena estrategia de posicionamento con técnicas Online y Offline, se logrará que su sitio sea accesible por los clientes potenciales en el momento que se solicita la información sobre el producto o servicio. El posicionamiento en el listado natural es una herramienta de negocios potencial ya que al permitirle a los usuarios que lo ubiquen más facilmente, ayuda a generar más tráfico, visitas y por ende clientes potenciales a su site. empresa seo en chile. Todos estos cambios afectan a la manera de trabajar y a los resultados de los esfuerzos de los profesionales del marketing, del SEO y el SEM. Los continuos cambios en las herramientas de Internet y en el uso que el internauta y los clientes hacen de las mismas, no nos permiten seguir haciendo lo mismo que hacíamos ayer para conseguir los mejores resultados.

Cuando hablamos de posicionamiento SEO, involucramos muchos elementos que influyen de forma directa o indirecta en el proceso y ayudan al éxito o no del mismo, tales como: código HTML, arquitectura del sitio, calidad de contenidos y estrategias de intercambio de enlaces relevantes.

En cuanto a los enlaces entrantes y salientes, debes enfocarte en tres tipos de enlaces: los internos (sitios que desees enlistar dentro de tu sitio), externos (aquellos sitios amigos que deseen enlistar tu sitio en sus Web) y dentro del mismo sitio (referidos a la navegación propia del sitio).

El SEO forma parte del SEM, ya que este último implica todas las acciones relacionadas con la aparición de una web en los resultados de un buscador, las cuales incluyen SEO, PPC (sí, lo he dicho bien), creación de contenido para aparecer en otros resultados de búscadores (sí, en Universal Search de Google), en Twitter (ahora que también sale en Google) y en la sección de Noticias (sí, vale, también de Google).

El SEO tiene que ver con los enlaces en la web. Los contenidos tienen enlaces, las redes sociales tienen enlaces, en Twitter hay enlaces, hasta los vídeos de YouTube tienen enlaces, pero ningún SEO tiene la más mínima gana de crear todo ese contenido. No por lo que cobran, eso seguro.

Un SEO debe hacer ciertas modificaciones y análisis de la página Web si realmente quiere alcanzar los puestos más altos. Estas modificaciones tienen que ser a nivel de contenidos, títulos, etiquetas, códigos y diseño entre otras, para que los buscadores consigan navegar fácilmente.

La diferencia está en las técnicas. En primer lugar, hay técnicas recomendadas por los motores de búsqueda y métodos prohibidos (spam por ejemplo, granjas de enlaces (link farms), paginas de entrada (doorway sites), contenido duplicado, etc.). En cuanto al sombrero blanco, su principal objetivo es entregar calidad y contenido interesante – contenido para los usuarios, no para motores de búsqueda.

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Los científicos y los estudios de células madre

Son en verdad células pluripotenciales o multipotenciales, es decir, que pueden originar diversos tipos de tejidos (muscular, nervioso, óseo, etc.). Las células totipotenciales pueden generar un ser vivo completo; éstas, en cambio, sólo una porción. Por ejemplo, en la cicatrización de una herida hay una generación nueva de un número de tejidos donde estas células intervienen.

El lugar indicado para sacar células madres es sacándolas del cordón umbilical.

Las células madre de cordón umbilical, que son obtenidas del cordón y la placenta, normalmente descartadas después del parto. Su origen, por lo tanto está libre de controversias éticas (la investigación en estas células y en las adultas ha sido decididamente apoyada por El Vaticano). Su obtención es segura para la madre y el bebé, a la vez que indolora y rápida. La preservación de estas células a – 196º C puede mantenerlas viables y útiles durante muchísimos años. Su utilización no tiene problemas de rechazo cuando son empleadas en el niño, puesto que son sus propias células, y tienen una alta chance de ser compatibles con sus familiares directos.

¿Qué es la clonación terapeútica? La llamada clonación terapeútica consiste en lo siguiente: se toma un oocito de cualquier mujer y mediante clonación se le pone el núcleo perteneciente a otro individuo con idea de obtener un embrión igual al del individuo. Luego se mata al embrión clónico obteniendo de él células madre para el otro.
¿Qué es la clonación terapeútica? La llamada clonación terapeútica consiste en lo siguiente: se toma un oocito de cualquier mujer y mediante clonación se le pone el núcleo perteneciente a otro individuo con idea de obtener un embrión igual al del individuo. Luego se mata al embrión clónico obteniendo de él células madre para el otro.

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La existencia misma me da problemas

Mi prima chica de verdad cree que pillar cosas para bajar en internet es lo más fácil del universo universal. Y claro, si uno insistente casi siempre termina por encontrar lo que busca, pero después de mucho rato esquivando sitios con virus, de descargas falsas o que piden la tarjeta de credito antes de darte algo. O, lo que es peor, los archivos que pesan varios gigas y que están divididos en muchas partes que hay que bajar una a una. Y la muy manipuladora me dice que necesita descargar windows 7 full ya que le dijo a una amiga que se lo llevaría. Como si fuera culpa mía. Pero la amiga está super rica y tasante, aunque es muy chica para mí. El drama después de descargarlo es pillar como diablos validar windows 7 Windows 7, porque se debe buscarle un serial o alguna cosa parecido que la mayoría de las veces está con virus o algo asi. Pero la única manera de saber es intentando no más. Hay que jugar con fuego.

A propósito de Internet, de igual forma como en las noticias todo lo que aparece son robos y homicidios, a cada momento hay más malware y otros tipos de estafas en Internet. Sin embargo ya no son virus que molestan un poco, que eliminan archivos o modifican el registro. Se trata de virus que se roban los datos personales del usuario y de la tarjeta del banco y más tarde se los venden a un programador chino que extrae todo tu dinero . Creo que lo más sano es buscar un antivirus y spywares gratis, y hay que tener cuidado al navegar.

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Good Citizenship: Timika Hoffman-Zoller

Name: Timika Hoffman-Zoller

Occupation:Safety Advocate

Why does she stand out?

As a child, Hoffman-Zoller‘s parents expected her to “do something positive” that would help society, whether it be fund-raising for charities, working at soup kitchens, or assisting at shelters. She contributes to the Black community by promoting emergency preparedness.“I get personal fulfillment from sharing resources that help others feel secure,” Hoffman-Zoller stated. In addition, her goal is to get more people of color trained in emergency preparedness. “ the Black community can have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace … and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards…,” she said.Hoffman-Zoller is also the founder of On the Safe Side, Inc., a not-for Profit Corporation dedicated to promoting and enhancing public awareness of safety issues and emergency preparedness to individuals and communities, with a focus on underserved and underrepresented minority populations. According to Hoffman-Zoller, “People should volunteer because it strengthens your community, strengthens your character, and strengthens your spirit,” she said.

by Thelma Sardin

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Group Kicks Off Lead Poisoning Campaign

by Thelma Sardin

Last week, Imagine Englewood If (IEi) began its six-week series of free Lead Awareness and Prevention workshops for families of lead-poisoned children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 250,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.

Closer to home the numbers become more frightening. Posted on IEi’s website are the Chicago Public Health Department’s (CPHD) numbers for lead poisoning in Englewood. According to (CPHD), 4454 (39.3%) of Englewood’s 11,339 children, ages 0-6, were screened for lead-poisoning in 2008, with 567 (12.7%) recording elevated lead blood levels. With less than half of all Englewood children in that age range screened in ’08, recent budget cuts have resulted in even fewer screenings.

“Self, Family and Team” is IEi’s theme for the first phase of a parent-driven initiative to increase screenings and treatment for children of the Greater Englewood community. Additionally, workshops are made possible through the Woods Fund of Chicago and will be presented by Idida Perez, community organizer and executive director of West Town Leadership United in Humboldt Park.

Jean-Carter Hill, executive director of IEi, believes lead poisoning is not highly publicized in the Black community for a number of reasons. “People do not connect the impact of the results of lead poisoning with many of the issues facing the black community. Examples of which are irreversible learning disabilities, attention deficit and behavioral problems, “adding, “The community is apathetic, overwhelmed by so many other challenges, high crime, high incarceration, poor health, unemployment, underemployment, lack of housing, etc.,” she said.

Lead poisoning is caused by old housing stock with lead-paint on the walls, chips from the window sills and in the soil from demolition and leaching, as well as toys and other objects.

IEi developed the six-week series of workshops to inspire families to strive for a positive quality of life. “We cannot help our children if we can’t help ourselves,” Carter-Hill said. The six week series is centered on the COFI (Community Organizing Family Issues) model of leadership preparation for parents.

Workshops are scheduled for Feb. 22, Mar.8, 15, and 22 from 9:30am to 12:00 pm at IEi located on 6720 S. Stewart Ave. A continental breakfast will be served. To register, call 773.488.6704 or e-mail info@imagineenglewoodif.org.

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Steve Harvey’s Ex Wife’s Claims Denied in Court

Special to the NN-A from the AFRO-American newspapers

Comedian and popular radio personality Steve Harvey appears to have the upper hand in a case filed against his ex-wife, as a Texas judge refuted Mary Harvey’s claims of infidelity and abandonment, among a list of other accusations.

Harvey took his ex-wife to court on last week to contest her claims and determine whether she had violated a gag order forcing them not to speak about their marriage. She took to the Internet last month and posted a series of videos on YouTube, claiming that her ex-husband had left her homeless, turned their 13-year-old son against her, left her broke, and cheated on her prior to their divorce.

But court documents reveal that Mary’s claims were refuted, moving that Steve maintained primary custody over their son and had been giving Mary $40,000 per month up until March 2009. He also gave her $1.5 million following that date.

Additionally, the court said that the two divorced due to irreconcilable differences and Steve’s current wife had nothing to do with their split.

The court granted Steve’s request for temporary injunction and forced Mary to remove all of her videos online. But, as of Feb. 11, the videos could still be viewed on YouTube.

Steve Harvey briefly addressed the issue on his talk show, according to US Magazine.

“I know the truth,” Harvey said during the show. “I don’t care what you say about me, but my wife and kids are off limits.”

Steve and Mary Harvey first met in 1989 and got married in 1996. The couple divorced in 2005. Steve later married his current wife, Marjorie Bridges, in 2007.

The ex-couple will appear in court again in March so the judge can determine if the imposed gag order had been violated.

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Emanuel: Good for Chicago

The city of Chicago is in need of strong leadership and we believe Rahm Emanuel is right for the job. From gun violence to the budget crisis, the city requires a no nonsense mayor who can help move Chicago forward.

Like any other large city, one of Chicago’s greatest challenges is resolving the problem of corruption. Corruption leads to abuse of power, to waste and fraud and in the end, the people who suffer most, are those already living in underserved communities, many of whom are Black.

Although corruption comes in different shapes and forms, it arises in the Black community when so-called “front” companies eat away at employment opportunities. Abuse of Chicago’s Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Certification process is well documented and severely hurts the upstart businesses it is supposed to help.

“Front” companies come about when minorities obtain contracts fraudulently. However, the more legitimate Black businesses there are in the community to employ residents, the greater an opportunity for job creation. In the end, that helps decrease high unemployment. Among counties in the nation, Cook County had the most Black-owned businesses with 83,733 accounting for 4.4 percent of all the nation’s Black-owned businesses and that’s a lot of opportunity when legitimately exercised.

Emanuel plans to eliminate the problem of so-called “front” companies by going after individuals who abuse the system and by barring them from receiving any city business for a decade. We think that’s a winning idea. Additionally, he plans to add transparency to the procurement process by hiring professionals to operate the Department of Procurement Services to guarantee that politics no longer play a role in the awarding of contracts.

Emanuel has also declared that if elected, his administration would fight to end corruption in City Hall and that he would sign an executive order excluding his appointees from lobbying the city for two years after leaving his administration. This will help reform the city’s hiring practices which for years have been blemished by illegal political patronage.

Emanuel also has the experience to get the job done. His work for the federal government where he served most recently as the White House Chief of Staff, we think, will be good for the city. Prior to the Obama appointment, Emanuel was a U.S. Congressman representing Chicago’s North side. In the totality, we think based on his background, however, he has the ability to bring all of Chicago together.

With recent polls showing Emanuel in the lead, he is receiving support from people all over the city. For example, a recent poll by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA)shows Emanuel leading the mayoral race with 58 percent. Gery Chico came in second at 24 percent, Miguel Del Valle at 10 percent and Carol Moseley Braun at percent.The latest IRMA is not the only poll indicating Emanuel is ahead. A recent ABC 7 poll showed Emanuel with a 54 percent lead and a Tribune poll with 49 percent.

Moreover, in the Black community, the importance of receiving a quality education is more important now than ever. In the end, it’s the only way little Black boys and little Black girls can overcome their greatest enemy—poverty. In August, the Schott Foundation for Public Education released a report where it revealed out of 48 states across the nation, Black males graduated at 47 percent in 2007-2008, which means less than half of nation’s Black males are receiving high school diplomas. The report also found that in Chicago only 44 percent of Black males are counted as high school graduates.

We like Emanuel’s plan to get the parents involved but we also like his ideas on reforming the educational system. If elected, he says he’ll focus on turning around high schools that account for 50% of Chicago’s dropouts. Community organizations, universities and other civic institutions will supply individuals to mentor and tutor students as well as provide job training and access to college courses.

He says he’ll also address educational disparities. As mayor, every public school will have a five year performance contract; principals will be empowered and also held accountable; and parents will be involved. For parents, Emanuel was inspired by 16-year-old “Jeremy” whom he met on the campaign trail. Jeremy had an afterschool program and was able to help keep the parents involved by asking them to sign written contracts memorializing their agreement to participate in their child’s learning experience. For parents who consent to signing these contracts, it’s another way to keep them involved because without their participation, city nor school officials can do it alone.

Emanuel appears to have a solid plan on fighting crime in Chicago but has pointed out that job creation is tied to ending violence in the city. He says economic development cannot occur without the reduction of crime and he’s proposed to put 1,000 additional cops on the streets followed by a three-year plan to reduce violent crime in blighted Tax Increment Financing (TIF) areas. The strategy will shrink crime rates by utilizing surplus TIF funds. This directive will strategically deploy 250 police officers in areas impacted by high crime rates. In an Emanuel administration, TIFs will be restored to their “original purpose” of serving blighted communities. In the end, that will spur job creation in the Black community when crime rates go down.

Additionally, Emanuel has a comprehensive food desert policy, a problem that affected 480,000 Black Chicagoans in 2009 according to the Chicago Reader. To help allay the problem, Emanuel says he wants to meet with grocers from across the city so that they can lay out a plan for the south and west side food deserts.

There is no doubt Emanuel can lead Chicago into the future. Based on his solid plans for pushing the city forward, his experience and strong leadership abilities, the Citizen Newspaper endorses Emanuel for mayor.

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Authors: Stealth Was Key to Civil Rights Movement

by Linda Conley

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) – Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks drew national attention to racial injustices, but it was the quiet heroic work of others that forced an end to segregation in the South.

Glen Browder, a white Democrat and former representative from Alabama, and Artemesia Stanberry, a black assistant professor of political science, have teamed up to talk about the work of those unknown leaders.

They co-authored a study and book titled, “Stealth Reconstruction: The Untold Story of Southern Politics and History.” The authors were part of a dialogue about race relations in the 21st century in Hartness Auditorium at Converse College.

“Glen Browder was in Congress with Liz Patterson, and she told us about him and Artemesia,” said Melissa Walker, history professor at Converse. “We are always working on educating students on issues and race relations. We also would like to be a leader in improving race relations in our community.”

In honor of Black History Month, the college wants to create dialogue between black and white people. Walker said the first step is to get people talking.

Browder, a South Carolina native and professor emeritus at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, said he started thinking about the role biracial politics played in the civil rights movement. He contacted Stanberry, who worked as his congressional aide and is now a political science professor at North Carolina Central University, to help him with the project.

“I don’t know of any book that has been written about the black leaders and white politicians who worked quietly behind the scenes,” Browder said. “The heroic drama involved Dr. King and Rosa Parks on one side and you had Bull Connor turning fire hoses on people and George Wallace standing in doors of universities on the other side, but it occurred to me a lot of change was not of that nature. There where some white politicians and black leaders who got together behind closed doors and said, We have to do things differently.”’

The authors said the work of these leaders was done “stealthy” or in secret. They said there had to be a transition right after the civil rights movement made up of politicians and leaders interested in moving the South beyond segregation in the 1970s through the ’90s.

“It had to be done stealthy because white politicians wouldn’t have been able to get elected if people knew what they were doing and black leaders couldn’t get elected at that time,” Browder said. “Civil disobedience helped to change laws in the legal system, but there was mass resistance. It took practical politics to help change things.”

As part of the project, Browder and Stanberry conducted interviews with black civil rights leaders and white politicians. When they started working on the project, they realized how different their views were on race and Southern politics.

“He (Browder) is conservative, and I am progressive,” Stanberry said. “I don’t want to undermine the struggles and successes of African Americans during the civil rights movement, but there was a biracial coalition that occurred.”

Stanberry said she had no idea how much work was going on between black leaders and white politicians until she started working on the study and book. She now has more respect for the work these groups were able to accomplish.

“People write about Martin Luther King and rightly so, and they write about the bus boycott and rightly so, but then you had what happened in the 1970s during the implementation phase,” she said. “Southern states weren’t rushing to integrate the schools. You needed politicians to work with the black community to implement these policies so there wasn’t such a backlash.”

Browder and Stanberry are in the middle of a speaking tour on race relations in the South. They have appeared at the National Archives and on C-SPAN Book-TV. They also have presented programs at Wofford and Presbyterian colleges and Winthrop University.

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Winter reminds business owners: Get insurance!

by Joyce Rosenberg

NEW YORK – (AP) – Roofs that collapsed under heavy snow in the Midwest and Northeast this winter are a graphic reminder to small business owners: Get insurance!

Gas stations, factories and stores have been heavily damaged or destroyed. In Easton, Mass., the roof of a commercial building began collapsing while workers were inside. They all got out OK.

A small business without adequate property, casualty and liability insurance can be in jeopardy of failing in these kinds of situations. If a building is heavily damaged or destroyed and the owner can’t pay to rebuild, he or she may not be able to stay in business. So, this is a good time for owners to buy insurance if they don’t have it. And if they do have insurance, look at their policies to be sure they have enough coverage in case the roof literally caves in.

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

The good news is that snow-related damage like a roof collapse is covered in a standard business owner’s insurance policy, or BOP. This kind of insurance covers property damage. It also contains liability insurance, the coverage you need in case someone is hurt on your property. That’s a big worry when the ground is icy after a snowfall or freezing rain.

A BOP also has insurance that is critical for a company’s survival, business interruption insurance. This kind of insurance covers a company’s operating expenses, including payroll, when it’s shut down. But it also covers a company if one of its key vendors is shut down and unable to supply key parts or products. So, if your vendor’s roof collapsed and you have to stop production, business interruption insurance will cover your economic losses.

Business interruption insurance also covers power outages. So if you can’t operate because an ice storm took down the power lines and the utility can’t repair them right away, your insurance will reimburse you for your expenses.

You can find out more about business insurance at the Insurance Information Institute’s website, iii.org and the site for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at insureuonline.org/smallbusiness.

HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?

Unfortunately, many companies don’t have adequate insurance. Many owners worried about their finances during the recession cut back on their coverage, says Loretta Worters, a vice president at the Insurance Information Institute.

Other owners may just not know how much insurance they should buy. Worters suggests owners meet with their accountant as well as their insurance agent to decide what and how much to buy.

Another mistake owners can make about insurance is to not buy more when they have more equipment or property to protect. If you just bought a new computer system and the cost of replacing it would exceed what your insurance policy will pay, then you need to increase your coverage.

BUT DON’T WAIT FOR DISASTER TO STRIKE

If there’s a lot of snow on the roof of your building, and you can safely remove it, you should. Keep an eye on the building and walkways while there’s snow and ice around. That way you’ll lessen the likelihood of someone falling on ice or getting hit by ice falling off the building. Check on your water pipes to be sure they’re not in danger of freezing and bursting.

Worters said an insurance company will reimburse you even if you haven’t tried to mitigate any damage. But look at it this way: Why go through the hassle of a lawsuit, or why have to pay higher premiums if you do have property damage?

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Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot

Susan Peters, aka, Ahnydah (pronounced ah-NIE-dah) Rahm, brings a treasure trove of experience gained from 1979 through 1990 in West Africa, to her memoir, Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot. She worked tirelessly for the Liberian National Red Cross Society leaving in January 1989 when she and a Liberian friend opened a school, First Steps, Child Development Center, only to close its doors in May due to the encroaching war. Stubbornly remaining after America evacuated its citizens from Liberia in June, she and her children were stranded as the conflict described by The British Broadcasting System as, “The bloodiest war in West Africa since the Biafran War,” raged.

Finally, on August 8, her family made a harrowing escape to the United States Embassy. The book is a delightful, painfully honest memoir that chronicles the thick slice of humanity sandwiched between Liberia’s April 12, 1980 coup and the Civil War in 1989. Like many others who embraced Black Pride, Afros, African clothing and names in the 70’s, Susan and thousands more took it one step further and immigrated to Mother Africa. This touching memoir is set against the author’s personal growth, her cultural struggles, and her triumphs, and is an informative, personally revealing, and often-comical account of her family’s eleven-year journey immersed in the rich culture of Liberia, West Africa.

Now, as Liberia stands on the threshold of rising under the leadership of Africa’s first elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Susan writes about the wisdom, beauty, and resilience she witnessed during her sojourn.

Susan Peters was the keynote speaker for the 163rd Liberian Independence Day Celebration held on July 25, 2010 and hosted by the Liberian Community of Illinois and was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for Devoted and Invaluable Services Rendered to Liberia from the Consul General of Liberia, Mr. Alexander P Gbayee, Consul General of Liberia and the Liberian Community of Illinois.

She is also the recipient of the Black Excellence Award 2009-2010 from the African American Alliance of the Arts in Chicago Illinois, awarded on November 1st at the DuSable Museum of African American History for Outstanding Achievement in Literature (Non-Fiction Category.) For more about Peters, visit ahnydah-sweetliberia.blogspot.com/ or her website: sweetliberia.com.

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