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Op-Ed By Dr. Barbara Reynolds   Dr. Barbara Reynolds   (TriceEdneyWire.com) - Hillary Clinton should not endure another ...

Archive for December 17th, 2010

Chicago Bulls Star Luol Deng to register to vote today on Southern Sudan Independence

Posted by Admin On December - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago Bulls Star Luol Deng, a Sudanese native, will register to vote in the upcoming Southern Sudan Referendum at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 17th, at the Southern Sudan Referendum voting location at 3245 N. Ashland in Chicago. Deng and leaders of Illinois’ Sudanese community will also address the media.

The referendum will determine whether the region of Southern Sudan will become an independent nation – the world’s newest – or remain part of Sudan. The referendum on Southern Sudanese independence  is part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended decades of war between northern and southern regions of Sudan.  Two million people died – and approximately four million were displaced – during the conflict.  Violence continues to plague Sudan’s Darfur region.

Thousands of refugees from the conflict live in the United States – many of them in Illinois.  Individuals originally from Southern Sudan – including Deng – are eligible to vote in the referendum on independence.  The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, working with the International Organization for Migration, has set up a Chicago voting location where Sudanese from throughout the Midwest are registering to exercise their right to vote.

More information on the Southern Sudan Referendum may be found at: http://www.southernsudanocv.org/

More information on the Sudanese Community Association of Illinois may be found at www.SudaneseCommunityCenter.org

The event is open to the media and the public.

 

Coalition urges mayoral candidates to make sustainable transportation a priority

Posted by Admin On December - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

On behalf of tens of thousands of members and supporters, a coalition of eight environmental and transportation leaders requested Thursday that Chicago mayoral candidates support their Sustainable Transportation Platform. The platform focuses on strategies to improve transportation safety and availability while enhancing Chicago’s economy.

To stem the rising tide of car dependency and to safeguard residents from the threat of surging gas prices, the coalition recommends creating more opportunities and incentives for people to make trips by biking, walking and transit. The 2009 American Community Survey shows that one third of all commutes in Chicago are by biking, walking and transit. The coalition believes this is a good start, but Chicago must do better.

The platform recommends 10 key transportation priorities designed to give Chicago a world-class transportation network that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. Most of the recommendations are under the purview of the mayor; some recommendations require cooperation with regional and state agencies.  

The platform outlines infrastructure improvements that will benefit all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and people who take transit. Securing funding and distributing transportation monies equitably also are recommended in the platform.

To generate funding for transit and other non-road transportation projects, the platform urges candidates to support legislation that would increase the state gas tax.

Other recommendations include:

  • Carry out accessibility improvements to all city sidewalks.
  • Implement a city-wide network of bike lanes that separates bikes from cars.
  • Fund a public-private partnership that would operate a robust bike-sharing program.
  • Create and test bus rapid transit (BRT) routes on arterials where BRT can have the greatest impact.
  • Execute traffic calming projects around the city and expand 20-mph school and park zones.
  • Expedite approvals for transit-oriented developments (TOD) and encourage TODs to require car-sharing spaces.
  • Support federal and state funding for a Midwest high-speed rail network.

Illinois third in nation for number of new teachers achieving highest teaching credentials

Posted by Admin On December - 17 - 2010 1 COMMENT

Fifth year in a row Illinois attains national ranking

 

Springfield, IL – The State Board of Education announced that Illinois ranks third nationally for the number of teachers who achieved National Board Certification in 2010 and ranks sixth in the nation for the cumulative total of teachers who have earned this professional milestone. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) released the findings today as part of National Board Certification Day. This is the fifth year in a row that Illinois has ranked among the top 10 states for the number of new teachers achieving the profession’s highest credential.

“Great teachers make all the difference and National Board Certification is a proven route for teachers to improve their skills,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We commend these teachers for undergoing this rigorous process to evaluate and strengthen their professional skills. Their hard work will improve student learning and benefit colleagues.’’

In 2010, 771 Illinois teachers achieved National Board Certification, which is the highest credential in the teaching profession. Of that number, 302 teachers work in the Chicago Public Schools, District 299. The district ranks second nationally for generating the most new NBCTs last year and in total has 1,755 teachers with the National Board Certification.

Illinois teachers are among those who bring the total number of teachers and school counselors certified by NBPTS across the country to more than 91,000 in 2010. Illinois ranks sixth in the country for its cumulative total of NBCTs with 4,692 teachers to date who have achieved the prestigious certification.

National Board Certification is a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize and retain great teachers – and make them better. Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment that typically takes one to three years to complete. As part of the process, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, video tapes and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching. Additionally, teachers are assessed on their knowledge of the subjects they teach.

In May 2000, the Illinois State Board of Education began issuing Illinois Master Certificates valid for 10 years and renewal thereafter every 10 years through compliance with requirements set forth by the State Board of Education for NBCTs. ISBE also provides an annual stipend for National Board Certified Teachers who hold the Illinois Master Certificate as defined by the Illinois Teacher Excellence Act, pending availability of state funds. In addition, nationally certified teachers are eligible to receive additional money if they mentor other teachers.

To access more information about NBPTS and National Board Certification you may visit the NBPTS Web site at http://www.nbpts.org

To search for National Board Certified teachers in Illinois by district, visit http://www.nbpts.org/resources/nbct-directory.

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Share the Warmth this Holiday Season

Posted by Admin On December - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Nicor Gas is reaching out to the community and media to inform the public about Nicor’s Neighbor Helping Neighbors Share the Warmth this Holiday Season. 

 

For 27 years the Salvation Army has administered the Nicor Gas Sharing Program, providing millions of dollars and helping close to 80,000 customers stay warm during the winter months.  The Sharing program has helped so many thanks to the generous contributions from customers, the general public, and Nicor Gas’ own employees.  Donations are also matched by Nicor Gas, up to $175,000 annually.

Claudia Colalillo, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Contributions for Nicor Gas said, “Due to the greater demand for help, we hope those who are able to make a donation would consider giving a gift of warmth through the Sharing Program.”

Through the Sharing Program, Nicor Gas is asking the general public to give the gift of warmth for a family or individual in need that helps qualifying customers pay their heating bills.  During Nicor’s holiday fundraising sharing drive be a good neighbor, give the gift of warmth.

Who may be helped:

  • A single mother supporting her children
  • A senior on a fixed income
  • A family of 4 with a wage earner recently laid-off
  • An uninsured person with an illness
  • A person on temporary disability
  • A recent widow/widower
  • A family or individual that meets the federal government poverty level guide lines

How to make contributions to the Sharing Program:

Customers can make donations to the Sharing Program by simply circling the appropriate box on their monthly gas bill payment stub and adding the contribution amount to what is owed.  If you pay your gas bill electronically, call 1-888-Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748) or log on to your account at www.nicorgas.com to pledge a sharing contribution.  To make a donation by check, please make it out to “Sharing c/o the Salvation Army” and mail it to: Sharing c/o The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 30049, Chicago, IL 60630-0049.  The Nicor Gas Sharing Program provides annual grants up to $450 to qualified residential customers who need assistance in paying their heating bills.  

It is all about neighbors helping neighbors stay warm during the winter months. 

Who may qualify:                                                                                                                                                      

To qualify you must be a Nicor Gas heating customer with a payment due and be ineligible for state or federal energy assistance programs.  Eligible customers must meet the income level guidelines.

How to apply for the Sharing Program:

Apply in person at your local Salvation Army office.  If you are approved for a Sharing Program Grant, the Salvation Army will make payments to Nicor Gas on your behalf.  What better gift to give then the gift of warmth to those in need.  Nicor Gas is sending a bill insert to customers in the hopes of continuing to meet the rising needs of qualified applicants by increasing donations to the Sharing Program.  Nicor Vice President Colalillo continued, “We hope to continue the programs efforts in the years to come.”

The Nicor Gas Sharing Program can help…. but we can’t do it without you.

For more information about on the Sharing Program and a list of Salvation Army offices, call:  1-888-Nicor4U (1-888-642-6748) or visit www.nicorgas.com and click on financial assistance. 

Nicor Gas is one of the nation’s largest gas distribution companies.  Owned by Nicor Inc. (NYSE: GAS) a holding company, Nicor gas has provided safe and reliable natural gas services for over 50 years. The Company serves two million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago.

The Trinity River Plays, Regina Taylor’s Critically-Acclaimed Trilogy, launches 2011 at the Goodman, January 15 – February 20

Posted by Admin On December - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Penny Johnson Jerald and Karen Aldridge journey through nearly half a century as mother and daughter in this Epic Tale

Chicago, IL – Artistic Associate Regina Taylor kicks off 2011 at Goodman Theatre with her most ambitious work to date, the critically-acclaimed The Trinity River Plays.

“Florid, earthy and abundantly alive” (Dallas Morning News), Taylor’s new trilogy consists of three stylistically distinct plays—Jar Fly, Rain and Ghoststory—that follow Iris Spears and her matriarchal Texas family. Ethan McSweeny directs this world premiere, in which Taylor explores transformative moments throughout Iris’ life and the intricacies of her relationship with her mother.

The ensemble cast features Chicago actress Karen Aldridge as Iris, and stage and screen star Penny Johnson Jerald as her protective mother, Rose. The Trinity River Plays, a co-production with Dallas Theater Center, runs January 15 – February 20, 2011 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre; tickets are $25 – $78.

Target is the Major Corporate Sponsor of The Trinity River Plays and Albert Goodman/The Edith-Marie Appleton Foundation is the Major Production Sponsor. Principal Support of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives is provided by The Joyce Foundation.

“The Trinity River Plays came to me when I was sorting through things after my mother’s death. I was inspired by the storms that we go through in our lives, and how we navigate through those storms,” recalls playwright Regina Taylor. “I think of these plays as different chapters in the life of Iris Spears—and they are each able to stand alone or work altogether as a triloger. Together, the plays draw a portrait of Iris as she overcomes life’s seemingly insurmountable obstacles.”

In the first play, Jar Fly, Iris is determined to go to college and become a writer, while her rebellious cousin Jasmine has dropped out of high school to follow a path of self-destruction. The cousins come to a crossroads when Jasmine draws Iris into the terrible secret she has been hiding since childhood. In the second play, Rain (first seen as part of the Goodman’s 2009 New Stages Series), fiercely independent Iris has made a successful life for herself as a journalist in New York City—but when her marriage fails, she begins to unravel. In search of solace, Iris returns to her mother’s house in Texas, but her homecoming proves more confounding than consoling when her mother makes a shocking announcement. As longburied family secrets come to light, Iris must face her past and make some difficult decisions about the future. In Ghoststory, the third play in The Trinity River Plays, Iris is surprised by a visit from her estranged husband, Frank, desperate for a reconciliation. But before this reconnection can be explored, she must confront and embrace the specters of her past that continue to haunt her present.

As previously announced, the cast is completed by Jacqueline Williams as Rose’s sister Daisy; Christiana Clark as Iris’ rebellious cousin Jasmine; Jefferson A. Russell as Jasmine’s stepfather, Ray Earl (in Jar Fly), and Iris’ ex-husband, Frank (in Rain and Ghoststory); and Samuel Ray Gates as Jack, Iris’ love interest (in Jary Fly and Ghoststory. McSweeny has tapped an award-winning design team for the co-production—Todd Rosenthal (Set), Karen Perry (Costumes), Tyler Micoleau (Lighting), Steven Cahill (Sound/Original Music) and Daryl Waters (Original Music).

The Trinity River Plays marks playwright Regina Taylor’s 10th production at the Goodman. Over the course of her 17-year tenure as a member of the Artistic Collective, she has amassed a varied and complex body of work, often drawing inspiration from historical characters and events (Crowns, Oo-Bla-Dee,

The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove) and classic literature (Drowning Crow, Magnolia). Taylor’s other plays include Oo-Bla-Dee, which premiered at the Goodman and which won the 2000 American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award; Escape From Paradise, a one-woman show; Watermelon Rinds; Inside the Belly of the Beast; Mudtracks; Love Poem #97; and she curated Urban Zulu Mambo, an evening of plays by Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, Suzan-Lori Parks and Kia Corthran. Her acting credits include roles on Broadway, off-Broadway and in numerous regional theaters. Her film credits include Clockers, Losing Isaiah, Lean on Me, A Family Thing, Courage Under Fire (with Denzel Washington) and The Negotiator (with Samuel L. Jackson). For her role as Lilly Harper on the television series I’ll Fly Away, Taylor won an NAACP Image Award, was nominated for an Emmy Award and received the Golden Globe Award for Best Leading Dramatic Actress. She appeared as Cora in Cora Unashamed in PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre American Collection. She was seen on CBS’s The Education of Max Bickford as Judith Bryant. Her additional television credits include the CBS series FEDS, Law & Order, Crisis at Central High, The Howard Beach Story, Children of the Dust (with Sidney Poitier), and Strange Justice, a Showtime original film in which she portrayed Anita Hill (Peabody Award, Gracie Award). She most recently played Molly on CBS’ The UnitI, written and produced by David Mamet and Shawn Ryan (2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama). She received an honorary doctorate from DePaul University.

Tickets to The Trinity River Plays ($25 – $78) are currently on sale at GoodmanTheatre.org. Tickets and subscriptions can also be purchased at the box office (170 North Dearborn) or by phone at 312.443.3800. Mezztix are half-price mezzanine tickets available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10 a.m. online (promo code MEZZTIX) day of performance; Mezztix are not available by telephone. 10Tix are $10 rear mezzanine tickets for students available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10am online on the day of performance; 10Tix are not available by telephone; a valid student I.D. must be presented when picking up the tickets; limit four per student with I.D. All tickets are subject to availability and handling fees apply. Discounted Group Tickets for 10 persons or more are available at 312.443.3820. Purchase Goodman Gift Certificates in any amount at GoodmanTheatre.org. The flexibility of Goodman Gift Certificates allows recipients to choose the production, date and time of their performance. Artists, dates and ticket prices are subject to change.

About Goodman Theatre – Now Celebrating A Decade on Dearborn

Goodman Theatre, “the leading regional theater in the nation’s most important theater city” (Time), is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago, generating nearly $300 million in economic impact over the past decade in its state-of-the-art two-theater complex on North Dearborn Street.

Founded in 1925 and currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls, “Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, Chicago’s oldest and largest not-forprofit resident theater has experienced unprecedented success over the past 10 years in its new downtown facility, welcoming nearly 2 million patrons to productions and events—including 10 festivals celebrating playwrights such as David Mamet, August Wilson and Horton Foote, as well as the biennial Latino Theatre Festival—serving 30 percent more students through its Education and Community Engagement programs (including the FREE Student Subscription Series and other interactive programs) and employing more than 3,000 artists and theater professionals.

The Goodman has earned more than 90 awards for hundreds of productions, including the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined by Lynn Nottage—one of 25 new-work Goodman commissions in the last decade. The Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees is Patricia Cox, and Joan Clifford is President of the Women’s Board. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre.

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