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Archive for February, 2011

Senator Kirk to advance Anti-Piracy Legislation in wake of slaying of four Americans on Arabian Sea

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

 “Decatur Initiative” Would Establish ‘Pirate Exclusion Zone’ To Allow Boarding or Sinking of Vessels

  Kirk: “The murder of four Americans shows the requirement for a tough response to Somali pirates.”

 

Chicago, IL —In the wake of the killings of four Americans last week, U. S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) drew attention Monday to a recent New York Times report detailing the escalating threat to the international shipping industry from increasingly demanding and violent Somali pirates.

Senator Kirk said he will advance anti-piracy legislative options to safeguard U.S. economic and security interests off the coast of east Africa.

“The murder of four Americans shows the requirement for a tough response to Somali pirates,” Senator Kirk said.  “This is a growing problem, not only victimizing innocent Americans handing out bibles, but also the safe passage of oil-filled tankers bound for the United States.”

Senator Kirk, who plans a mission this spring to the Horn of Africa to get a first-hand look at current anti-piracy efforts on both land and sea, said published reports confirm that bloody Somali pirate attacks are on the rise, expanding their threat to critical oil shipping.  The Horn of Africa has the most growth potential for two burgeoning al Qaeda franchises: al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM), a morph of an earlier ultraviolent Algerian Islamist movement, and Somalia’s al-Shabaab group, which effectively controls 80 percent of Somalia, pledging loyalty to Osama bin Laden in early 2010.

The New York Times reported Sunday the Somali pirates now sail more than 1,000 miles from east Africa to find prey.  They have extorted more than $100 million in ransom.  Today’s ransom demands are as high as $5 million for ship owners—costs that get passed on to consumers.

The “red zone” patrolled by Western forces, including the United States, also has expanded to more than one million square miles of water, an area that naval officers told the New York Time is impossible to control.

Senator Kirk is calling his effort to explore anti-piracy options the “Decatur Initiative,” named after the legendary Navy captain Stephen Decatur, who became a national hero when he recaptured the U.S. frigate Philadelphia from pirates in Tripoli during the Barbary War of 1801-1805.

“Captain Decatur, for whom Decatur, Illinois, is named, torched the Philadelphia so it couldn’t be used by the pirates again,” Senator Kirk said.   “I think we could learn an important lesson from that strategy.”

Senator Kirk said he is studying the advancement of several anti-piracy legislative options, including but not limited to, establishment of:

•A ‘Pirate Exclusion Zone’ that would allow the immediate boarding and/or sinking of any vessel from Somalia not approved and certified for sea by allied forces;

•An Expedited Legal Regime permitting trial and detention of pirates captured on the high seas;

•Blockade of pirate-dominated ports like Hobyo, Somalia.

•Broad powers and authority to on-scene commanders to attack or arrest pirates once outside Somalia’s 12-mile territorial limit, including the sinking of vessels if a local commander deems it warranted.

Through his position on the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Kirk will explore financial links between pirates and the terrorist groups al Shabaab and IQIM, and target pirates with financial sanctions in the same way as other terrorist networks.

With his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee, he will review U.S. expenditures to support stabilizing governments in the region.

“This effort will recall the spirit of President Thomas Jefferson and the first major mission of the U.S. Navy,” said Senator Kirk, a 20-year intelligence officer in the Naval Reserves.  “The open ocean should become increasingly dangerous for pirates to operate against the world’s most powerful navy.”

With each successful Somali pirate operation, expert worry about profits used to support terrorism against America and her allies.  According to a report compiled by the Congressional Research Service, authorities reported 445 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2010, representing the fourth consecutive year of increased reports of piracy incidents since 2006.

In 2010, 1,201 crew members were taken hostage, kidnapped or ransomed in increasingly violent attacks, according to the CRS report.  USA Today reported that the pirate attacks around the Horn of Africa increased another 10 percent in 2010 to 160 from 145 in 2009.  Somali pirates were responsible for the majority of those attacks.

According to the New York Times, the pirates currently hold more than 50 vessels and more than 800 hostages—figures that are consistently on the rise.

Experts say the hostages normally are held an average of six months while the pirates await their ransom. Recently, however, pirate attacks have become increasingly violent as the seafaring predators troll the waters far from their homeland.

The four Americans killed February 22 were sailing these troubled waters when Somali pirates seized their 58-foot yacht in the Arabian Sea.  U.S. Navy forces trailed the yacht, the Quest, and stormed the vessel upon hearing gunfire. 

Authorities said by the time U.S. forces boarded the yacht, pirates had already shot and killed Californians Jean and Scott Adams.  The Adams family had been handing out bibles to new acquaintances during a sailing trip around the world.  Fellow sailors Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, both of Seattle, were also murdered.  Authorities said the killings marked the first time the Somali pirates had killed U.S. citizens they had taken hostage.

President Obama authorized Navy warships to follow the Americans’ yacht and use deadly force if necessary just as he did in 2009 when four Somali pirates captured the container ship Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean.  Navy SEALS shot and killed four Somali pirates who had taken the ship.

For a map showing the range and rapid expansion of pirate attacks, visit here.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to highlight Better Business Bureau 84th Annual Dinner on March 1

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
CHICAGO, IL February 22, 2011 – Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart will be the featured speaker at the 84th Annual Dinner Meeting of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago & Northern Illinois (BBB) on Tuesday, March 1 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel.

 

Tom Dart will speak on the importance of making ethical hiring choices a reality in the marketplace. In addition, he will discuss the BBB mission and the fact that ethical business actions are good for business especially in today’s economic climate.

 

“It’s really an honor for the BBB to have Sheriff Tom Dart speak on ethics in today’s society at our Annual Dinner Meeting,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Dart is a former state prosecutor and state legislator who has long fought for the rights of others and protecting the most vulnerable of our society. As Sheriff, Dart is responsible for overseeing a police department that patrols and investigates crimes, throughout suburban Cook County. This combination makes him uniquely suited to speak on the topic of business operations and ethics.”

 

The 84th Annual Dinner Meeting of the BBB will be emceed by NBC 5 Chicago News Anchors Allison Rosati and Rob Stafford, with the presenting of the coveted Torchbearer of the Year Award to Attorney General Lisa Madigan following dinner.  This award is presented annually by the BBB to recognize the efforts of an individual business leader in our community. 

 

“We are especially appreciative, not only of the excellent work Attorney General Madigan has done with the BBB during the past several years, but also for her ongoing efforts regarding consumer protection,” noted Bernas.

 

Several other award presentations will be made on March 1st, including the Diogenes Award for Excellence in Media to Hosea Sanders to honor his exceptional work on ABC 7 News Chicago which helps to educate consumers in our community.

 

Bernas said: “Hosea Sanders has won six Emmy Awards, gaining honors for live coverage, spot news, entertainment reporting, news writing, and overall news achievement. He has also received more than one hundred awards from various civic and community organizations.

Through the years, the BBB has been proud to work with Hosea in his efforts.” 
 Also recognized at the meeting will be Gary Hicks as the Better Business Bureau Arbitrator of the Year. Mr. Hicks has served as a volunteer arbitrator for the BBB since October of 2000. He is the first two-time recipient of the Daniel D. Calibraro Arbitrator of the Year Award, previously having received it nine years ago in 2002.

 

A special award will be presented to the Daily Herald-Paddock Publications of Arlington Heights, IL for 50 years of Accreditation with the BBB.

 

State GOP Chairman calls on RTA Board to rescind employment agreement of Speaker Madigan’s son-in-law

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady called upon the Board of Directors of the Regional Transportation Authority to rescind the employment agreement of Speaker Mike Madigan’s son-in-law, Jordan Matyas.  Matyas, who is married to Madigan’s daughter, was recently given a $130,000 per year lobbying position with the RTA. 

“Whether the job offer was a peace-offering with the Speaker or an attempt to curry favor, it stinks and we need to stop running the State of Illinois like a banana republic,” said Brady.  “How about hiring an experienced Government Relations professional with a deep understanding of regional transportation issues instead of an individual whose only qualifications are family dinners at the Madigans and an occasional ride on Metra?” 

According to the GOP, last summer, it was widely reported that Matyas, while employed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, helped a company called Veritic set up a database to track payday loans.  Matyas subsequently left state payroll and, as a lobbyist, helped secure three contracts for Veritic that, among other things, monitored payday loans.  These contracts would not have been possible without the efforts of Attorney General Lisa Madigan to introduce legislation, later enacted by her father Mike Madigan, that made this monitoring necessary due to new regulation on payday loans. According to news reports, Matyas helped draft the legislation that ultimately benefitted his own financial interests.

Union Bank and KCET honor Los Angeles African Americans as local heroes

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Honorees named to help kick off expanded cultural diversity partnership

 

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — As part of its ongoing commitment to cultural diversity, Union Bank has partnered with KCET to launch a year-long program designed to celebrate local heroes who are making a difference to enrich the lives of others. The 2011 Cultural Diversity Partnership will recognize and pay tribute to 10 Angelenos who are making a difference by improving their workplace, profession, neighborhood, community, region and the world.

The program kicks off with the 2011 Black History Month Local Heroes to include: Pastor Ruett Stephen Foster and wife Rhonda Foster and Charmaine Jefferson.

Joining the Black History Month Local Heroes, honorees will also be identified during Women’s History Month (March) and Jewish American Heritage Month (May), marking an expansion of the annual celebration. Honorees will continue to be recognized during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May) and Hispanic Heritage Month (September/October). The year-long celebration of diversity will culminate in an awards ceremony in October, where recipients will be formally recognized as part of the 14th Annual Local Heroes Awards, which Union Bank sponsors.

Union Bank and KCET will also identify Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (June) Local Heroes as part of the expanded initiative and honor them during a similar event in June.

“Union Bank and KCET share a rich history together, and we are honored to again partner with one of Southern California’s greatest treasures,” said Pierre Habis, senior executive vice president and head of Community Banking at Union Bank. “The Local Heroes program honors the contributions of outstanding individuals who have contributed so much to the Los Angeles community, just as KCET has done for decades. This year we have expanded the program to recognize honorees as part of Women’s History, Jewish American Heritage and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Months. Our Local Heroes program has grown to more clearly reflect the diverse and vibrant community we serve.”

“KCET is proud to continue its longtime affiliation with Union Bank on this new Cultural Diversity Partnership initiative,” said Al Jerome, KCET president and CEO. “Expanding the Local Heroes celebration to better reflect the diversity of our region emphasizes the contributions of all those who dedicate their lives to improving our communities, and celebrates each culture’s unique and vibrant heritage.”

For each heritage month, KCET will ask for nominations of local community members in the arts, business, community activism, education and/or social services. You may visit www.kcet.org/heroes to submit a nomination.

The 2011 honorees for Black History Month are:

Charmaine Jefferson is the executive director of the California African American Museum. She is deeply dedicated to enriching her community and the lives of others through the promotion of artistic endeavors. Her innovative advocacy of arts education and programming has earned her wide acclaim in both the private and public sectors. Ms. Jefferson is also very committed to charitable works and philanthropic organizations. Her advisory board and consulting memberships is as varied as it is extensive, and she is particularly involved with the California Institute for the Arts, Arts for LA, and the California Arts Council.

Pastor Ruett Stephen Foster and Rhonda Foster. Pastor Foster has over thirty years of experience as a teacher, counselor, and an advocate for the children, youth and families of Los Angeles. For the past thirteen years, he has served as an ardent public activist for violence prevention. He became an assiduous advocate after the tragic and senseless loss of his innocent seven-year-old son, Evan, to gun violence in 1997. Pastor Foster and his wife, Rhonda, have partnered with several causes in the hopes of eradicating youth violence by instilling empathy and cultivating emotional growth in incarcerated youth.

Rhonda Foster has dedicated her life to helping children reconcile with their families and their communities as a whole. She and her husband Pastor Foster established the Evan Leigh Foster Foundation in memory of their son to provide care and services for children who have perpetrated crimes against society as a result of being separated or estranged from their families. Her commitment to youth is reflected in her position as the case manager for Community Build and the Gang Reduction Youth Development Program of Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa’s office. She coordinates therapy, tutoring, sports, arts activities and life coaching for children between the ages of 10 and 15.
Throughout each of the celebratory months, KCET will air a video profile of each honoree that highlights how they made a difference in their community. The 2011 on-air profiles, which begin in February, can also be viewed on the Web at kcet.org. KCET also celebrates the rich and vibrant history and cultural diversity being honored with special programs throughout each featured month.

For more information on the Local Heroes Awards, please also visit www.unionbank.com/heroes.
 

About UnionBanCal Corporation & Union Bank, N.A.
Headquartered in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation is a financial holding company with assets of $79.1 billion at December 31, 2010. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank, N.A., is a full service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operated 401 banking offices in California, Washington, Oregon and Texas, as well as two international offices, on December 31, 2010. UnionBanCal Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG, NYSE:MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations. Visit www.unionbank.com for more information.

 

About KCET
On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. With a viewership of 3.6 million viewers in the average month, KCET is the largest independent public television station in the country. KCET is the second most-watched public television station in the U.S. and has the largest geographic reach of any public television station in California. KCET currently produces the Emmy®, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Award-winning SoCal Connected, a hard-hitting prime-time weekly television news program that examines the issues and people of Southern California. Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. More than half of the funds raised to support KCET’s operating budget come from individual support. For additional information about KCET productions, Web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit www.kcet.org.

Eight Chicago-area Italian restaurants certified ‘authentic’ by Italian government

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

‘Ospitalità Italiana Seal – Italian Restaurants in the World’ To Be Awarded On Date Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Italy’s Unification

 

Chicago, IL -Italian cuisine is greater than the sum of its ingredients, as this edible art form is as much about authentic hospitality as about extra-virgin olive oil, exquisite recipes and fine wine. And now, eight Chicago-area restaurants that excel at all these will receive the “Ospitalità Italiana Seal – Italian Retaurants in the World” for their culinary contributions to Italian culture.

And on Thursday, March 17-the day that marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy-the Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest (IACC) will celebrate these culinary honors by awarding certificates to these restaurants and their chefs at an evening event held at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, 1431 W. Taylor St., in Little Italy. Each restaurant will provide its signature dishes for the evening’s event, which begins with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by a sit-down dinner and program at 7:15 p.m. The event is being co-sponsored by the Milan Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International. Admission is $50 for IACC members and $70 for non-members.

Just as events are being staged across the Italian peninsula to celebrate the Risorgimento (the movement that resulted in the establishment of the Italian nation), the IACC will celebrate both this historic day and the awarding of the Ospitalità Italiana seal during one of its regular Networking Events. With specifications determined by Italy’s Istituto Nazionale Ricerche Turistiche (National Institute of Tourist Research), the seal was created in 1997 to develop a high quality of consumer service among restaurants, hotels and agriturismi, or “holiday farmhouses,” across Italy. In order for restaurants worldwide to earn this distinction-one that is voluntary and which requires that the restaurant apply-each had to meet 10 stringent criteria and submit proof of their authenticity.

Among the criteria: each restaurant selected must employ at least one staff member who can speak to guests in Italian; the menus must be written in proper Italian; at least 20 percent of wines offered must be DOP-certified (Denominazione di Origine Protetta, or “Protected Denomination of Origin”); and the head chef must meet requirements of experience and proficiency in Italian cooking. Each restaurant also had to submit descriptions of at least five Italian-tradition recipes, including the Italian region that inspired the ingredients and dishes. The Chicago-area restaurants that will be honored on March 17th are:

  • Spiaggia Restaurant, 980 N. Michigan (Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano)
  • Piccolo Sogno, 464 N. Halsted (Chef/Owner Tony Priolo)
  • Coco Pazzo, 300 W. Hubbard (Executive Chef/Partner Chris Macchia)
  • Merlo on Maple, 16 W. Maple (Chef Luisa Silvia Marani)
  • Tocco, 1266 N. Milwaukee (Chef/Owner Bruno Abate)
  • The Village (at Italian Village), 71 W. Monroe (Executive Chef Robert Trevino)
  • Volare, 201 E. Grand (Chef Massimo Campagnini)
  • Pelago Ristorante, 201 E. Delaware (Chef/Owner Mauro Mafrici,)

“Our goal for this event is to celebrate the Italian nation’s wonderful 150-year history, but also to celebrate some of Chicago’s most outstanding Italian restaurants,” said Fulvio Calcinardi, executive director of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest. “These restaurants take tremendous pride in the ingredients used in their dishes, the wine served-and in sharing authentic Italian culture. Our guests will get to enjoy all this, and more. ”

The “Ospitalità Italiana Seal – Italian Restaurants in the World” certification process is ongoing, with Italian restaurants around the world invited to apply or resubmit applications once they meet all 10 of ISNART’s requirements.

“For generations, Americans have had a love affair with Italy and with Italian cuisine,” said Robert Allegrini, president of the IACC-Midwest. “We are very proud to play a role in helping to identify some of Chicagoland’s most authentic Italian restaurants. We are honored that the esteemed chefs from these restaurants will be preparing and serving some of their signature dishes at this 150th birthday event.”

“To taste our food is to taste our history,” says Paula Waters, Chair of the Chicago Sister Cities International Milan Committee. “All of the influences, invaders and blessings of nature that made up the Italian nation a mere 150 years ago are present in our cuisine.”

Italian American Chamber of Commerce – Midwest
The Italian American Chamber of Commerce-Midwest is a business association founded in 1907 to provide services to the Italian business community and to American businesses involved with the Italian market and products. The IACC’s primary goals are promoting its member activities as well as promoting trade relations between Italy and the United States, with a particular focus on the Midwest region. Within North America, the Chicago-based IACC is one of nine Italian Chambers located in the major metropolitan areas in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Milan Committee/Chicago Sister Cities International
The Milan Committee is one of 28 under the umbrella of Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI), which provides leadership to develop, manage, and coordinate comprehensive programs and projects with Chicago’s 28 sister cities. CSCI is committed to promoting Chicago as a global city, developing international partnerships and networks, and sharing best practices on a city-to-city basis.

Casting is complete for Tanya Saracho’s Hilarious and Poignant EL Nogalar

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

At Goodman Theatre, March 26 – April 24, 2011 Cecilie Kennan directs this World-Premiere Teatro Vista Production with a cast of six Chicago actors

 

Chicago, IL – Goodman Theatre announces casting for the world-premiere production of El Nogalar by playwright Tanya Saracho, “one of Chicago[’s] most talented young writers” (Chicago Tribune). Director Cecilie Keenan stages the production, presented by the Goodman and commissioned by Teatro Vista. A heartrending tale of family, home and displacement in contemporary Mexico, the ensemble cast of six Chicago actors includes Charin Alvarez (Electricidad; Dollhouse) as Maite, whose family has owned the titular “pecan orchard” for generations; portraying Maite’s daughters are Sandra Delgado (Mariela in the Desert; The House on Mango Street) as Valeria and Christina Nieves (The Sins of Sor Juana; Esperanza Rising) as Anita; Carlo Lorenzo Garcia (Cherrywood: The Modern Comparable; St. Crispin’s Day) is Lopez, the family’s longtime friend; Yun Pardo (Erendira; Mala Hierba) is the family’s housekeeper, Dunia; and Bert Matias (Seven Snakes; disOriented) portrays the Old Man. El Nogalar runs March 26 – April 24, 2011 in the Goodman’s Owen Theatre; tickets are $10 – $42. Photos and bio information for these artists are available in the Goodman Theatre Press Room. The Scenemakers Board is the Contributing Sponsor for El Nogalar. Principal Support of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives is provided by The Joyce Foundation.

In El Nogalar, Maite and her daughters can’t stand the idea of losing their family’s home and beloved orchard to developers—but their time and money are running out. Despite warnings from her family and friends, Maite ignores her declining fortune as ardently as she has ignored the social consequences of the Mexican Revolution. Set in present-day Northern Mexico and sprinkled with Spanish, Spanglish and Espanglés, El Nogalar (Pecan Orchard) is a comical and moving story about the choice between adapting to the changing world and getting left behind.

Tickets to El Nogalar ($10 – $42) 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 10am 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.

Playwright Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and is a resident playwright emeritus at Chicago Dramatists, a current resident playwright at Teatro Vista, a Goodman Theatre Fellow at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago, an artistic associate with About Face Theatre, the founder of The Ñ Series and founder and former artistic director of Teatro Luna. She has been the lead artist in many of Teatro Luna’s ensemble-devised works, including Generic Latina, Dejame Contarte, The Maria Chronicles, Solo Latinas, Solo Tú, S-E-X-Oh! and Lunatic(a)s. Her plays include an adaptation of The House on Mango Street at Steppenwolf Theatre Company (2009); Our Lady of the Underpass with Teatro Vista, commissioned by the Goodman (2009); Surface Day at Steppenwolf/Chicago Humanities Festival (2008); Jarred: A Hoodoo Comedy at Teatro Luna (2008); Kita y Fernanda at 16th Street Theatre (2008) and Quita Mitos with Teatro Luna (2006) and coming to NextTheatre Company in March 2011. Saracho is a recipient of an National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished New Play Development project grant, and the winner of the Goodman’s Ofner Prize, a 3Arts Artists Award, named Best New Playwright of 2010 by Chicago magazine, named one of nine Latino Luminaries by Café magazine and a recipient of the inaugural Revolucionario Award given by the National Museum of Mexican Art. Upcoming projects include The Good Private for About Face Theatre and two Andrew W. Mellon Foundation commissions for Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Her directing/co-directing credits include Jarred: A Hoodoo Comedy; Solo Tú; S-E-X-Oh!; both productions of Lunatic(a)s; the remount of Generic Latina; The Maria Chronicles; and Solo Latinas. Saracho is also a Chicago-based actress, and her stage credits include Neil Labute’s Fat Pig at Renaissance Theaterworks in Milwaukee; Migdalia Cruz’s Another Part of the House at Teatro Vista; Living Out at American Theater Company and Teatro Vista; Electricidad at Goodman Theatre and La casa de Bernarda Alba at Aguijón Theatre. Her voice can be heard around the country in radio and television commercials.

Director Cecilie Keenan is Resident Director and Producing Director for Teatro Vista. Along with Artistic Director Edward Torres, she has been instrumental in Teatro Vista’s growth for the last seven years, and involved in the company’s recent productions of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and Our Lady of the Underpass. Keenan’s directing credits for Teatro Vista include The Messenger, El Nogalar, Dreamlandia, Another Part of the House and Living Out. She has been active as a freelance director and producer in the Chicago theater community for more than twenty years, was a company member with American Blues Theater, and has held staff positions with several Chicago theaters including Artistic Director of Bailiwick Repertory, Producing Director at Apple Tree Theater and Assistant Artistic Director for Northlight Theatre. Her most recent directing credits include the Jeff Award-winning Tobacco Road for American Blues Theater, Joel Drake Johnson’s The End of the Tour at 16th Street Theater and the highly-acclaimed The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow for Collaboraction.

Hip Hop Label, Dirty Block Music, pledges to donate sales from new single to help the nation’s homeless

Posted by Admin On February - 28 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

— 5% of all sales of the newly released hit single “Talkin’ Bout Money” will be donated to homeless shelters

Topeka, KS (BlackNews.com) — As the economy continues to fluctuate, and with more and more record labels cutting corners to maximize profits, it’s refreshing to discover a label whose foundation is based on inspiration and elevation. With the highly anticipated “Talkin’ Bout Money” single released today, the company has devoted that 5% of total sales will be donated to homeless shelters in the communities of Washington, DC and Topeka, Kansas.

To explain the concept of the Dirty Block philosophy, CEO/Founder/Artist Zeem a.k.a SJ Hazim, comments: “Dirty Block Music, L.L.C., is not just a Record Label, it’s a way of life, a movement, better yet, think of Dirty Block Music as ‘Grown Man Conversation’. I feel our Record Label has a lot to bring to the music industry and especially the community. We are really making key connections within the music industry, and feel that our path as a company has been predestined by a higher calling.”

Zeem has been an underground sensation in the Topeka, KS area for quite sometime now. When asked about his relations in the Hip Hop community, he stated, “I have performed with many multi-platinum artist such as Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G. Turk, The Big Tymers, Krayzie Bone, Too Short, Yukmouth, Tech n9ne, Rich the Factor, Boy Big,etc.”

He continues, “I am currently creating new material with the legendary Young Noble from the group “The Outlawz”. The first Dirty Block Music compilation entitled “DIRTY BLOCK” features Young Noble, and is set for release in April of 2011. I am also working with legendary bay area DJ Pizo on his project called “Yard Full of Pits” as well as Baby Bam from the jungle brothers on a remix of “I’ll House You”. We can only anticipate with great excitement the release of future singles and projects.”

“Talkin’ Bout Money” may be purchased thru Electronic Music Distribution (EMD at www.dirtyblockmusic.com, iTunes.com and Tunecore.com), and 5% of all gross proceeds from the song will be donated to homeless shelters in Washington DC and Topeka, KS.

For further information or interviews, please contact info@dirtyblockmusic.com or 785-250-5520 for Zeem and 571-991-4998 for GOP. If you are an artist that wants to be heard, connect with them at Iamnot@groups.facebook.com – the only “Lyricist Lounge on Facebook” with over 1700 (and counting) contributions and networking connections in just a few weeks of existence.

Attorney General Madigan: Kane County man arrested on child pornography charges

Posted by Admin On February - 26 - 2011 1 COMMENT

18th Arrest in Statewide Crackdown on Child Porn Traffickers                                

 

Chicago, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the arrest of a Kane County man on child pornography charges as part of a continuing statewide crackdown.

South Elginpolice arrested Ronald Lee Gablin, 31, of South Elgin. He is charged with one count of aggravated possession of child pornography, a Class 2 felony punishable by a three- to seven-year prison term in the Illinois Department of Corrections, and one count of possession of child pornography, a Class 3 felony punishable by a two- to five-year prison term.

“Possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime. Each time an image or video is viewed, downloaded or traded online, it victimizes again and again these children who are being horribly abused,” Attorney General Madigan said. “My office will continue finding these offenders and making arrests throughout Illinois to protect the innocent victims whose lives are destroyed by their crimes.”

Gablin’s arrest makes the 18thsuspect in Madigan’s crackdown on the most active traffickers who download and trade child pornography on the Internet. Gablin’s bond was set at $250,000, and his next court date was set for 9 a.m. Thursdayat the Kane County Judicial Center.

Madigan said cooperation among state and local law enforcement was key to the success of today’s arrest and her overall crackdown on child pornographers throughout Illinois. Today’s arrest involved Attorney General’s Office investigators, the city of South Elgin Police Department and Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph H. McMahon.

In late August, Attorney General Madigan announced the initiative, dubbed Operation Glass House, to find and arrest the worst child pornographers in Illinois using the unique identifier that each computer is assigned when it accesses the Internet, known as an Internet protocol (IP) address. As of Friday, 6,000 Illinois IP addresses were seen trading child pornography images and videos across the state by Attorney General’s Office investigators.

Studies have shown that users of child pornography are more likely to also be sexual abusers of children. A total of 24,796 sex offenders are listed on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, of which more than 81 percent committed a crime against a child. The Illinois Sex Offender Registry is located at www.isp.state.il.us.

Madigan also works with local and national law enforcement organizations to address Internet exploitation of children and women. Madigan’s office, with a grant from the Department of Justice, runs the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, which investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement. Since 2006, Madigan’s office has been involved in more than 350 arrests of sexual predators and provided Internet safety training and education to more than 164,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 12,500 law enforcement professionals.

The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. 

Hundreds of clergy attend CPS cultural diversity training class

Posted by Admin On February - 26 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

By Chinta Strausberg

 

Sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Faith Base Initiatives, hundreds of ministers from around the city attended a multi-cultural faith base diversity-training seminar Thursday at the Parent Center where they learned the value of diversity that leads to cultural and racial healing.

Held at 521 E. 35th Street, black, white, Hispanic and Asian ministers attended the nearly six-hour cultural diversity training class that included a game of cultural jeopardy and even provided an ethnic Mexican and Soul food luncheon.

Whether the ministers headed a for profit or not-for-profit organization, the guest speaker, Darnell L. Johnson, CEO/founder of the Holistic Community Coalition NFP, told the audience, “cultural sensitivity leads to cultural competency” and explained that achievement comes as a result of better understanding the diversity of people including respecting gender preferences.

He warned them about making generalizations about people without first doing their homework and stressed the importance of  “dealing with each person individually” one visit at a time.

Johnson said that same client who may come back a week later for help may have a different set of problems and circumstances and that the best treatment they can offer is to be an excellent listener and allow their clients to talk.

Explaining the purpose of the event was Rev. Renaldo Kyles, Interfaith Director for CPS. “We wanted to bring all of our churches together to do capacity building, program development and to provide resources to the faith base community.

Kyles also invited the ministers to be a part of CPS’ “Church Adopt A School” program.  He wants the churches to adopt a school which includes meeting with the principals “and see how your church can partner, doing an after school program, mentoring and parental involvement activities.

“This is important because the church is a valued part of the community. We need the church because the church is the anchor of the community; so what better place than to get the church to come and be involved with the schools,” Kyles explained.

He also announced a CPS Safe Haven program that will be held during the spring break from April 18th through April 21st.  The goal is to help provide students with a safe haven that includes supervised after school activities while providing them with positive role models.

Johnson warned the ministers that any social services to people “they cannot be offered as a mandate to be the participants of a church. There is something that requires the separation of service….”

They can offer people service in their churches but not in conjunction with their church services. “You cannot tell a person in order to get this service you got to come to my church service….. We have to understand that in a world of cultural diversity when you’re offering service to the community, you become a community service provider,” said Johnson.

He further explained that when they come to a public entity like a school district or if they apply for federal or state grants there are boundaries they must respect. “You can not take public money and them posture it in such a way to tell people that you can only get this service if you come to my church or if you become a member of my church….”

It boils down to ministers understanding that “even though we may have to serve a population that we don’t necessarily agree with. It does not necessarily send a message that I am condoning or supporting the types of behavior that may be presented to you…. The key is we have to make sure that we’re willing to serve the public regardless of what they present to you,” said Johnson.

He asked the ministers who had programs that include a policy and plan to address people with ADE and ADHD to raise their hands. Only six did. “They have a different need than the other children that may be in our program. So, what you just said to that community is you’re not welcome here. We want all the kids who are not on medication.

“Do you see how the things we fail to do and how we alienate certain groups and basically send a message to them that says you’re not really welcome here,” said Johnson. He challenged them saying, “if you’re looking for money on a state or federal level and you offer programs, there is a 94.9 percent of all RFP’s they are going to have a mandate that you give an explanation and show them how you’re going to handle individuals with special needs.

“Even nationally, they are starting to recognize that you cannot continue to overlook people, and when we are culturally insensitive, it forces us to overlook people….”

Johnson asked them how many organizations that worked with ex-offenders. “One of our greatest frustrations in working with the ex-offender population is the disregard that our nation has for them.

“When we start speaking about unemployment, we don’t consider individuals who came out of prison and don’t have a job. We consider them ex-offenders and the reason why we tell them further that they are not important is because all of the laws that are in place that prohibits them from being able to get back on track once they get out of prison,” said Johnson.

“That says to them once you’ve made a mistake you’re not welcome here anymore. You’re basically ostracized from the community of doing anything positive and getting back on track and there are laws in place that support it,” he stated. “There is another culture that we as people have written off and feel they are undeserving of a fair second chance.”

Johnson asked the ministers if any of them had ever made a mistake one or many times. “If they gave you another chance, then why is that we feel individuals who are different from us do not deserve another chance,” he told an applauding audience.

“It’s a culturally disconnect. We don’t understand the culture of the life of an ex-offender and until you’ve been labeled as a felon…everywhere you go you have to tell them you’re a felon…, you have to regurgitate the same thing. You’re still labeled by society of being something that’s not deserving of another opportunity. It’s a cultural problem,” said Johnson.

“Many times these individuals come back to the community rehabilitated only to be rejected by a community that is not rehabilitated.” Johnson said they have paid their debt to society but “you don’t want to let it go.”

Saying they must be culturally sensitive, Johnson said, “You have to understand the importance of making sure your organization and your staff know how to be culturally sensitive to any situation.” He explained, “Your staff will set the tone for the reputation of your organization.”

Johnson had the audience break up into eight groups where they listed five programs in a community and solutions. Each discussed their solutions with Johnson expounding on their problems.

That too is part of the healing process and one that will open up venues of assistance they may not have arrived at had they not listened intently. Johnson also told them “If your organization is not reflective of cultural and professional diversity, you are headed down a dangerous path. Everyone in your office cannot look just like you…can’t think like you think.

“There has to be diversity in your staff, and when you become culturally proficient, you look for opportunities to be culturally diverse so that you hire that person.

 “You make sure that you embrace the diversity needs. You make sure that diversity is a priority and a foundational principle that you build each and every program or initiative your organization offers to the community. When you become culturally proficient, you become nervous when you don’t have someone who is not bi-lingual on staff,” said Johnson.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.

Chicago Art Dealer and TV Show Host David Leonardis to Open the Howard Finster Vision House Chicago

Posted by Admin On February - 26 - 2011 51 COMMENTS
Chicago, IL – Successful Chicago artist, Art Dealer, Museum owner, TV Show Host, David Leonardis will be opening a new Chicago location of his world renowned Howard Finster Vision House (HFVH).
The David Leonardis Gallery Wicker Park has been a leader in Chicago neighborhood’s Wicker Park and Buck Town Gallery District for nineteen years and a land mark for contemporary, POP, Folk Art, and Photography.
At the end of last year owner Leonardis closed his eponymous gallery and began preparations to open his second location of the Howard Finster Vision House in Chicago.
Leonardis has installed close to 200 pieces of Howard Finster artwork as well as items from his studio including unfinished cutouts, markers, glitter and his pants purchased from Mrs. Howard Finster.  Leonardis has also installed pieces of the walls from the original Howard Finster Vision House in Georgia in the new Chicago location.  Included as well are art works from several of Howard’s family members such as his son, Roy Finster and grandsons, Michael Finster, Allen and Tommy Wilson.
The current exhibit at the Howard Finster Vision House Chicago will include the permanent collection as well as two of Chicago’s own nationally acclaimed artists, award winning portrait photographer Marc Hauser and Chris Peldo, who’s art was featured for the Absolut Vodka Illinois campaign.
Leonardis has also been shooting a new series of TV shows. Currently airing in Chicago is a two-part interview with LeHigh University Professor of Religion, Norman Giardot filmed at the original HFVH in Georgia.  Airing later this month are two new shows – a two-part interview with Photographer Marc Hauser, which was filmed at the Howard Finster Vision House Chicago.
Leonardis’ collections are meant to be affordable giving even the most modest collector an opportunity to build a collection.  “I want to raise people’s awareness about the importance of culture in their lives,” states Leonardis, “Art collectors are better, more well rounded people — in my opinion.  I’ve always been about bridging a gap between people that create art and people who buy art.  Being able to promote art and culture on TV is another venue for me to creatively spread a message, share perspectives and promote artistic ideas.”
The opening receptions for the Howard Finster Vision House Chicago will be held at it’s Wicker Park location 1346 N. Paulina Street, on Friday, March 4th & Saturday, March 5th, 2011 from 6:00 to 9 PM.
Chit Chat with David Leonardis is broadcasted in Chicago on Comcast, WOW and RCN Channel 25 Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 10:30 PM CST.
More on The Howard Finster Vision House Chicago and Chit Chat with David Leonardis:

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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