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Archive for March 14th, 2011

Donor Alert: Giving to Pacific Tsunami and Japanese Earthquake victims

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
(From The Better Business Bureau) 
 

Be Sure Disaster Relief Charities are Legit and Equipped to Help                                

 

CHICAGO, IL - Featured news videos and media reports detailing the enormous damage from of the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan last week resulted in damage even to the Hawaii and the west coast of the U.S. has prompted many Americans to consider making donations to charities that provide relief to survivors.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises potential donors to be cautious because fraudulent charities and individuals often crop up to take advantage of their sympathy for victims of natural disasters.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen time and time again that scammers will try to take advantage of the generosity of the public after a disaster,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “That’s why it’s so important to take your time and do your research before donating to relief efforts.”
 

The best way to help is to donate money to a reputable humanitarian organization with a history of providing assistance in disasters and other crisis situations.

 

When making a donation of any kind, the BBB encourages consumers to follow to certain guidelines, including:

 

  • Before donating, visit www.bbb.org/charity to research organizations you’re considering supporting.
  • Be wary of charities that are reluctant to answer reasonable questions about their operations, finances and programs.
  • Ask for written information about the charity’s program(s) and finances such as the charity’s latest annual report and financial statements. 
  • Ask what the charity intends to do with any excess contributions remaining once they’ve fully funded the disaster relief activities mentioned in solicitations.
  • Don’t give cash. Checks or money orders should be made out to the name of the charitable organization, not to the individual collecting the donation.
  • Beware of fake charities that imitate the name and style of well-known organizations in an attempt to confuse donors.
  • Don’t give in to excessive pressure for on-the-spot donations. Be wary of any request to send a “runner” to pick up your contribution.
  • Be wary of any charity that is inexperienced in carrying out relief efforts but is suddenly soliciting for aid in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. Although well intentioned, they may not be able to quickly deliver aid to those in need.
  • Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Check out the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.
  • Be wary of appeals that are long on emotion, but short on describing what the charity will do to address the needs of victims and their families.
  • Find out if the charity has a presence in the impacted areas. Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers into the area to provide assistance. See if the charity’s website clearly describes what they can do to address immediate needs.
  • Don’t give your credit card number or other personal information to a telephone solicitor or in response to an e-mail solicitation.
  • Make sure your contribution is tax deductible: donations should be made to charitable organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Go to IRS Publication 78 on the IRS’ website for a current list of all organizations eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable gifts

For more information you can trust when making giving decisions, or to view BBB Wise Giving Reports on charities across the nation, visit www.bbb.org

Kyrgzstan political journalists visit as part of WorldChicago’s Open World to learn freedom of the press and independent editorial policy

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 1 COMMENT

 

 

Chicago, IL -  WorldChicago announced that it is hosting a group of Kyrgyzstan political journalists starting today through Saturday. The group is visiting Chicago to learn practices for developing independent editorial policy in print and online media and editorial independence when faced with political reporting.

 

The Windy City, named more aptly after politics than weather, has had a Daley mayor for 20 years. The city’s history of politics, coupled with the recent change of Chicago’s mayor, and of international female journalists facing life-threatening situations while performing their roles, has never been more visible.

 

WorldChicago is pleased to develop a program that gives these journalists best practices for organizing investigations while writing their stories. A big issue for many journalists is searching for sources and working with them to ensure confidentiality while maintaining their personal safety,” said Peggy Parfenoff, WorldChicago executive director. 


Since declaring its independence in 1992, Kyrgyzstan policy changes aimed at a democratic government and a market economy have improved the level of freedom of press. Elena Ageyeva, a 37-year old political columnist with News Media LLC and an editorial board member of the Moskovskiy Komsomolets, said goodbye to her son and husband to pursue the week-long program with four others and to stay with a professional WorldChicago host. The delegates will meet with representatives from Northwestern University‘s Medill School of Journalism, WBEZ, WGN, ABC7 and legal counsel.

 

Ageyeva is one of more than 800 delegates hosted by WorldChicago each year. “I am honored that the United States Congress chose me as a delegate for WorldChicago‘s OpenWorld program. I intend to learn and bring home with me practices for public and legal support of journalistic investigations and an understanding of the prosecution risks that come with the pursuit of my role and freedom of the press,” noted Ageyeva.

 

About WorldChicago

 

WorldChicago, founded in 1952, is a 501©3 organization dedicated to citizen diplomacy and funded by U.S. Department of State, USAID, Library of Congress, private programs and individual donations. WorldChicago serves over 800 visiting delegates annually, who support global relationships that enhance Chicago’s and the United States’ image.  For more information or to be a professional host, visit WorldChicago.org.

Attorney General Madigan: Sunshine Laws Shining Light on Illinois Government; changing culture of secrecy

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Public Access Counselor Releases New Guidelines to Assist in Requests for Law Enforcement Documents

 

Chicago, IL – In honor of Sunshine Week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan noted that new, stronger open-government laws are beginning to change Illinois’ culture of government secrecy.

Madigan urged Illinoisans to learn about the changes to these laws and how to use them. Improvements to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are making it easier for members of the public and media to access government documents and are helping to shine a light into how government works. In 2010, there were 5,228 new matters before the Public Access Counselor’s Office, with 91 percent of requests and inquiries being submitted by the public or other non-media entities. 

“Sunshine Week serves as a reminder of the importance of the public’s right to know how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Attorney General Madigan. “We have made important steps forward in ensuring more government transparency by strengthening the law. Thousands of government officials have been trained in their responsibilities for providing public records and providing people with access to government meetings. And in cases where the process does not work, the Public Access Counselor’s office is helping to pry open public records and meetings.” 

In conjunction with Sunshine Week, Attorney General Madigan released new guidelines to help both the public and law enforcement agencies across the state to determine when documents should be made public. Madigan said questions on how FOIA applies to law enforcement records were among the top concerns raised with the Public Access Counselor’s Office last year.

Attorney General Madigan and open government advocates worked in 2009 to strengthen the state’s transparency laws to make the process for obtaining access to records and meetings easier and more effective. Under the strengthened Freedom of Information Act, public bodies must respond to records requests, appoint a specific official to handle such requests and have that person undergo annual training.

Madigan said for the first time, officials designated by government bodies as FOIA officers or as responsible for Open Meetings Act compliance are receiving training to increase their understanding of the law and ability to comply with records requests and open meeting procedures. Since the law was enacted on Jan. 1, 2010, more than 17,000 FOIA officers have taken the Attorney General’s compliance training. 

The changes to FOIA also are making it more difficult for public bodies to inappropriately deny documents. Before withholding records by relying on two frequently cited exemptions to the law, public bodies must now obtain pre-approval from the Public Access Counselor. This practice is helping stop the abuse of certain exemptions as a way to withhold information that should be made public.

“Changes to the law are leading to greater access to government information than ever before in our state’s history,” Attorney General Madigan said. “We know more work must be done to ensure a smooth process for Illinoisans to access information about the people’s business. We are committed to continuing our work to make government transparent and accountable.”

The requests also show that the Public Access Counselor’s efforts to enforce the law have helped people obtain information. Those successes have ranged from high-profile media requests to local matters sought by members of the public keeping watch on their government.  

Success Stories of Illinois’ New Sunshine Laws:

      University of Illinois at Springfield: The Public Access Counselor issued a subpoena to the university seeking documents after a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by a newspaper was denied. In response to the subpoena, the university revealed a settlement agreement to pay $200,000 to a student that the university previously did not make public.

      Village of Lyons: The village refused to release to a citizen and a newspaper reporter documents detailing how the village president was selling liability insurance to local bars and nightclubs while also serving as liquor commissioner in the village. With the help of the Public Access Counselor, the village reversed its position and released the documents.

      Boone County: The Public Access Counselor’s Office stepped in after receiving a request from a resident about the lack of meeting minutes posted on the county board’s website. After the PAC issued a letter inquiring about the matter, the county board posted the minutes on its website.

Sunshine Week was founded by the American Society of News Editors and is recognized annually every March.  More information about Illinois’ sunshine laws can be found at Attorney General Madigan’s website, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov. Anyone seeking assistance from the Public Access Officer can contact its hotline at 1-877-299-FOIA (3642) or send an email to publicaccess@atg.state.il.us.

Desmin Borges joins Cheryl Lynn Bruce in Cast of Freedom, NY, Teatro Vista’s 20th Anniversary Season Finale

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

2010 Jeff Award-winning Best Actor to co-star in Jennifer Barclay’s world premiere drama about black/Latino relations, May 8 – June 12 at Theater Wit

 

 Chicago, IL – Teatro Vista, Chicago’s largest Equity Latino theater, has confirmed ensemble member Desmin Borges, winner of the 2010 Jeff Award for Best Actor for last season’s smash hit The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, will co-star opposite fellow Teatro Vista ensemble member Cheryl Lynn Bruce in the company’s 20th anniversary season finale, Freedom, NY by Jennifer Barclay.

The two titans of Chicago’s live theater scene have been smartly paired up for Barclay’s potent new drama about trust, joy, and black/Latino race relations. Teatro Vista ensemble member Joe Minoso will direct Barclay’s allegory of Mexican and American border relations, in which the residents of a small town in rural New York must weigh the value of confining themselves to their side of the fence. The cast also includes newcomer Paige Collins, reared in Naperville and a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Performances are May 8 through June 12 at a new venue for Teatro Vista – Chicago’s nicest, newest storefront theater, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Previews are Sunday, May 8 at 7 p.m.; and Tuesday and Wednesday, May 10 and 11 at 8 p.m.  Press opening is Thursday, May 12 at 7 pm. Performances run through Sunday, June 12:  Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.  Preview tickets are $15.  Tickets for regular performances are $20 (students and seniors) and $25.   Tickets are on sale now.  For tickets and information, visit theaterwit.org or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.   Or, go to teatrovista.org or call 312.666.4659 to purchase a Teatro Vista Flex Pass, for three admissions to any show for just $75, including Opening Night. 

Freedom, NY:   A synopsis

Twelve-year old Portia (Collins) hasn’t left her yard in a year. After a brutal shooting in Portia’s school, her grandmother, Justice Mayflower (Bruce) has kept her at home. Safe in the cocoon of their lush, well-tended garden, Portia and Mayflower have banished all contact with the outside world and found everything they need in each other. Their lives are safe and simple; their days filled with flowers. But then Gabriel (Borges), a handsome, mysterious young Mexican man full of joy and the celebration of life moves into the house next door, carrying a coffin. 

Behind-the-scenes of Freedom, NY

Desmin Borges (Gabriel) won the 2010 Jeff Award for Best Actor for originating the role of professional wrestler Macedonio Guerra in the world premiere of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Teatro Vista resident playwright Kristoffer Diaz, produced by Victory Gardens Theater in association with Teatro Vista, under the direction of Teatro Vista Artistic Director Eddie Torres. Borges subsequently went on to reprise his role for the Off Broadway transfer of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Chad Deity to New York’s Second Stage, also directed by Torres. A Teatro Vista ensemble member since 2008, Borges has performed in his home company’s productions of La Posada Magica and Elliot (A Soldier’s Fugue), and elsewhere, Romeo and Julieta at Chicago Shakespeare, The Ascension of Carlotta at 16th Street Theatre, and I Sailed with Magellan and The Defiant Muse at Victory Gardens.

Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Mayflower), also a Teatro Vista ensemble member, has performed on stages across the U.S. as well as in Europe and Mexico and created the role of Elizabeth Sandry for Steppenwolf’s Tony Award-winning production The Grapes of Wrath, adapted and directed by Frank Galati and featured at Britain’s National Theatre. Other Chicago credits include The Old Settler (Writers Theatre); Gem of the Ocean (Ensemble Theatre); The Snow Queen, Eurydice, Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams, Voice of Good Hope (Victory Gardens); Intimate Apparel, Everyman, and Nomathemba (Steppenwolf); The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, Oo-Bla-Dee, Trojan Women (Goodman Theatre); and in Studs Terkel’s RACE, co-adapted and co-directed by Lookingglass’ David Schwimmer and Joy Gregory.

Paige Collins (Portia) most recently appeared in Eclipsed and understudied for A Civil War Christmas at Northlight Theatre, Hunting and Gathering with Theatre Seven of Chicago, The Twins Would Like To Say with Dog + Pony Theatre as part of the Visiting Company Initiative at the Steppenwolf Garage. She has also worked with Filament Theatre, AppleTree Theatre, and Halcyon Theatre. She graduated with a BFA in Acting from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she was seen in Necessary Targets, (Anon)ymous and In the Continuum. 

Joe Minoso (director) is Associate Artistic Director for Teatro Vista, where he assistant directed The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and Tanya Saracho’s Our Lady of the Underpass, and directed an earlier version of Freedom, NY in a co-production with Remy Bumppo for their annual Think Tank Festival. As an actor, Minoso has appeared in Teatro Vista’s Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Sing to Your Children, A Park in our House (co-production, Victory Gardens) and Living Out (co-production, American Theatre Company). Other Chicago credits include Celebrity Row and It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (ATC), Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams (Victory Gardens), Esperanza Rising (Chicago Children’s Theater) and Short Shakespeare! The Comedy of Errors (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

Jennifer Barclay (playwright), a graduate of Northwestern University, is an actor, playwright and screenwriter who is now based in California, but still considers Chicago her artistic home.  Earlier this season her play Obscura:  a voyeuristic love story opened Chicago’s Red Twist Theatre’s 2010-2011 season.  Her other plays, including Clearing Hedges, The Human Capacity, and The Attic Dwellers, have been produced and developed at Steppenwolf,  The International Theatre of Vienna,  Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Northlight, Piven Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Teatro Vista, Stage Left, American Theatre Company, Collaboraction, NY Theatre Experiment, Beyond the Wall Productions, The Kennedy Center and UC San Diego, among others. As an actress, Barclay has performed in Chicago with Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Live Bait, Mary Archie and Collaboraction. She has also performed in Austria, Scotland, California and New York, and has toured her one-woman show, Clearing Hedges, far and wide. Barclay has been granted playwriting residencies at The Hawthornden International Writers Retreat (Scotland) and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Awards include The Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award, Princess Grace finalist, Heideman Award finalist, Final Draft Big Break semi-finalist, Pinter Review Gold Medal, San Francisco Fringe Best Dramatic Solo, and Northwestern’s Mary Margaret Linn Theatre Award.  Barclay is a graduate of Northwestern University (BS) and UC San Diego (MFA), and is currently the Playwright in Residence at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA. www.BarclayStudios.com.

The design team for Freedom, NY includes Regina Garcia (set), Mac Vaughey (lights), Andrew Wheatley (sound) and Christine Pascual (costumes). 

About Teatro Vista

For 20 years, Teatro Vista has been at the forefront of the Latino theatre movement in the United States, building its reputation by sharing provocative Latino stories that reveal the power and frailty of our humanity.  Today, Teatro Vista is Chicago’s largest non-profit equity Latino theater company producing full scale, Latino oriented, theatrical productions in English. The company continues to examine and redefine the American landscape through the use of new, provocative and unique voices that reflect the Latino urban experience. 

Teatro Vista is supported in part by Alphawoods Foundation, Artswork Fund, The Boeing Company Charitable Trust, Chicago Community Trust, a CityArts Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Hispanics In Philanthropy, Illinois Arts Council, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, and Woods Fund of Chicago.

For more information, visit teatrovista.org.

 

Midwest Women’s “Always Sisters” Conference to be held at Hyatt Regency Woodfield, Schaumburg, IL

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

 

 “Mind, Body, & Soul” A time of spiritual refreshing, personal enrichment, mentoring, relaxation, relationship building and some personal pampering. All of these areas will be focus of  discussion at the Midwest Women’s “Always Sisters” conference Hyatt Regency Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL (1800 East Golf Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173) Thursday, March 24th thru Sunday, 27th, 2011   .

A great gathering of women – young girls, young ladies and women of all ages will attend the conference.

“You owe this event to yourself, your daughter(s), and friend(s),” according to the organization. “It’s time for us to pour love, strength, support, and encouragement into our young girls, young women and each other.” 

The conference will feature a host of workshops and seminars such as:

•         My Parents Don’t Understand Me

•         Looking Good and Loving It

•         40 and Still Not Married – What’s Wrong?

•         Financial Success: Planning For The Future

•         The Truth About Hip Hop with Bro. Craig Lewis – Ex Ministries

In addition, there will be an Ice Cream Social, Dinner/Fashion Show/ Shopping / Makeovers, among others.

Some of the Speakers and Soloist Include:

Dr. Mildred Harris – God First Ministries

Apostle/Bishop JoAnn Long – New Covenant Life

First Lady Jamell Meeks – Salem Baptist Church

First Lady Susan Davenport Smith – Apostolic Faith Church

Apostle Kim Daniels – Spoken Word Ministries

Vickie Winans and Kierra Clark-Sheard and many more,

 

Also the evening general sessions are free to all.

 

To register for this event, go to morganparkchurgh.org or contact Dr. Gale Frazier (Committee Chairperson) at (708) 985-1579; and E. Ramona Turner (Event Facilitator) at  (312) 914-4734women.

Japan’s Tsunami & Nuclear Plants: Humans, not nature, made this crisis

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

(From New America Media)

 

By Yoichi Shimatsu

 

The Wave, reminiscent of Hokusai’s masterful woodblock print, blew past Japan’s shoreline defenses of harbor breakwaters and gigantic four-legged blocks called tetrapods, lifting ships to ram through seawalls and crash onto downtown parking lots. Seaside areas were soon emptied of cars and houses dragged up and back out to sea. Wave heights of up to10 meters (33 feet) are staggering, but before deeming these as unimaginable, consider the historical Sanriku tsunami that towered to 15 meters (nearly 50 feet) and killed 27,000 people in 1896.

Nature’s terrifying power, however we may dread it, is only as great as the human-caused vulnerability of our civilization. Soon after Christmas 2004, I volunteered for the rescue operation on the day after the Indian Ocean tsunami and simultaneously did an on-site field study on the causes of fatalities in southern Thailand. The report , issued by Thammasat and Hong Kong universities, concluded that high water wasn’t the sole cause of the massive death toll—230,000 people dead. No, it’s buildings that kill—to be specific, badly designed structures without escape routes onto roofs or, in our greed for real estate, situated inside drained lagoons and riverbeds or on loose landfill. In today’s Tohoku disaster, an ultramodern Sendai Airport sat helplessly flooded on all sides while nearby a monstrous black torrent swept entire houses upstream.

Other threats are built into the vulnerabilities of our critical infrastructure and power systems. The balls of orange flames now churning out of huge gas storage tanks in Ichihara, in the prefecture of Chiba, might never have happened if technical precautions had been properly carried out.

Most people assume that the meticulous Japanese are among the world’s most responsible citizens. As an investigative journalist who covered the Hanshin (Kobe) earthquake and the Tokyo subway Sarin gas attack, both in 1995, I beg to differ. Japan is better than elsewhere in organizing official cover-ups.

Hidden nuclear crisis

The recurrent tendency to deny systemic errors—”in order to avoid public panic”—is rooted in the determination of an entrenched bureaucracy to protect itself rather than in any stated purpose of serving the nation or its people. That’s the unspoken rule of thumb in most governments, and Japan is no shining exception.

So what is being silenced after today’s 8.8-magnitude earthquake on orders from the Tokyo government? The official mantra is that all five nuclear power plants in the northeast are locked down, safe and not leaking. The cloaked reality is that at least one of those—Tepco’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant—is under an emergency alert at a level indicative of a quake-caused internal rupture. The Fukushima powerhouse is one of the world’s largest, with six boiling-water reactors.

Over the decades, the Japanese public has been reassured by the Tokyo Electric Power Company that its nuclear reactors are prepared for any eventuality. Yet the mystery in Fukushima is not the first unreported problem with nuclear power, only the most recent. Back in 1996, amid a reactor accident in Ibaraki province, the government never admitted that radioactive fallout had drifted over the northeastern suburbs of Tokyo. Reporters obtained confirmation from monitoring stations, but the press was under a blanket order not to run any alarming news, facts be damned. For a nation that has lived under the atomic cloud of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, total denial becomes possible because the finger on the button is our own.

People are the best defense

Despite the national addiction to nuclear power that keeps the neon lights bright over Shibuya’s famous corner, Japan still remains the most prepared of all societies for earthquakes, tsunami, conflagrations and other disasters. Every work unit, large or small, has an emergency response plan. Today’s Tohoku quake hit on a workday afternoon, meaning the staff in every factory and office could act as a team to quell small fires, shut the gas lines, render first aid and restore communication systems. Even in most homes, residents have a rechargeable flashlight plugged into a socket and emergency bottles of water.

Northeast Japan is better prepared than other localities because, in the wake of the Kobe quake, the regional Keidanren, or federation of industrial organizations, sponsored a thorough risk-management and crisis-response study. Tohoku Keidanren staffers, who had known of my reporting on the San Francisco and Kobe quakes, asked me to write an article prioritizing disaster preparations.

First on my list was a people-based communications network, such as the citizen’s band radio that enabled Northern Californians to self-organize after the 1989 quake despite power blackouts. That pointed directly led to the quick licensing of new mobile phone towers equipped with back-up batteries. Second was independent power generation inside all major factories so that these large facilities could recharge batteries, provide lighting and pump water for their neighborhoods and, if necessary, offer shelter, sanitation and medical care. These systems must be routinely used—at least on weekends— so that the equipment is regularly checked and the staff stays familiar with their operation.

Third, and most important, is the ability of individuals to rally as self-sustaining communities. In Kobe, society collapsed under a sense of personal defeat. In San Francisco, by contrast, neighbors reached out as friends and opened their doors, food stocks and hearts to victims and their kin. Without compassion, each of us is very much alone indeed.

As participants in communities who can suddenly find themselves naked before unthinkable hazards, we must act to defuse the deadly “bomb” that provides us lighting, energy for appliances and air-conditioning. Prevention of the next Chernobyl or Three Mile Island begins when we stop naively believing in the cost efficiency of uranium (and, for that matter, the cleanliness and healthiness of “clean” coal).

Japan has vast untapped reserves of offshore wind energy, the only practical alternative to nuclear power and fossil fuel. Yet the nuclear lobby, coal companies and oil majors have strong-armed the government and industry to stubbornly refuse to invest in advanced and efficient turbine engineering, including magnetic-levitation rotors that eliminate the need for energy-sapping bearings. At certain stages of societal evolution, there arrives an unmistakable message to leave behind our worn-out security blanket and surf the wave of the future. The tsunami is just such a signal arising from the ocean’s depths to awaken Japan, as a global technology leader, to push much faster into a cleaner, greener and safer world.

Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times Weekly, has covered the earthquakes in San Francisco and Kobe, participated in the rescue operation immediately after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and led the field research for an architectural report on structural design flaws that led to the tsunami death toll in Thailand.

Attorney General Madigan warns donors to be wary of scams tied to relief efforts for Japan

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Madigan Urges Illinois Contributors to Research Charities Before Donating                   

 

Chicago, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan urged Illinois residents who plan to donate to earthquake and tsunami relief efforts underway in Japan to be on the lookout for fundraising scams by con artists seeking to exploit the natural disaster for their personal profit.

“Unfortunately, it’s common to hear of fraudulent charities taking advantage of people’s generosity amidst a tragedy such as this,” Madigan said. “In the wake of this crisis, I want to urge Illinoisans donating to relief efforts to take the time to investigate before donating. Taking that extra step will help ensure your donations reach legitimate causes that will directly contribute to helping the victims of this disaster.”

Donors who are seeking to give to the Japanese relief efforts should be wary of requests for clothing, food or other in-kind donations, which may not be appropriate. Unless the charitable organization has the staff and infrastructure to distribute such aid, the donations may be more of a burden than a help. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

In addition, potential donors should find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Donors may want to avoid the middleman and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Attorney General Madigan advised that donors may want to ask questions to determine the ultimate recipients of the donations to ensure that the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.

Under Illinois law, fundraisers and charitable organizations are required to register each year with the Attorney General’s Office. To assist potential donors in making wise giving decisions, Attorney General Madigan provides important information about charitable organizations such as income, expenditures and programs. This information is available at http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/charities/index.html.

Attorney General Madigan suggested the following tips to best ensure a donation will be used for its intended purpose:

  • Ask how much of your donation will go to the charity and how much will be used to pay fund-raising costs. Solicitors must give you this information if you ask.
  • Pay close attention to the name of the charity. Some fraudulent charities use names that sound or look like those of legitimate organizations to mislead you.
  • Ask questions about the charity. Donate only when your questions have been answered and you are certain your money will be used according to your wishes. Ask questions like whether the charity is registered with the Illinois Attorney General’s office and what percentage of the money the charity takes in goes to fundraising, administration and charitable programming.
  • Take caution when giving online. Spam and email solicitations from charities claiming to be linked to relief groups are common after natural disasters. Be wary of any solicitations online from unfamiliar charities.
  • Do not pay in cash. For security and tax record purposes, pay by check. Be sure to write the full official name of the charity on your check—do not abbreviate.
  • Request written information. A legitimate charity will provide you with information outlining its mission, how your donation will be distributed, and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
  • Do not donate if the solicitor uses high-pressure tactics, asks for cash payment or insists on sending someone to pick up your donation. These are all hallmarks of a scam.

Madigan encouraged donors to contact her office’s Charitable Trust Bureau to report suspicious solicitations at (312) 814-2595. The Attorney General recommended that, whenever possible, keep notes detailing the date and time of the call, the organization’s name and the name of the solicitor. Madigan also advised to try remembering the “pitch” as well as any other pertinent information.

Illinois State Board of Education announces meetings for March 16-17 in Springfield

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education has announced the following upcoming meetings for March 16-17 in Springfield, Illinois.

All State Board of Education meetings listed on this agenda will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons planning to attend who need special accommodations should contact the Board office no later than the date prior to the meeting. Contact the Superintendent’s office at the State Board of Education, Phone: 217-782-2221; TTY/TDD: 217-782-1900; Fax: 217-785-3972.

                WHO:            Illinois State Board of Education

               WHAT:           ISBE Committee Meetings and Plenary Session

               WHEN:          March 16-17 (detailed schedule below)

 WHERE:        ISBE Springfield Office, 100 N. First St., Springfield, IL (unless otherwise noted)

 NOTE: Staff presentations and detailed Board discussion typically take place during committee meetings prior to the State Board taking action in the plenary session. Note that some committee meetings will begin at the conclusion of the previous meeting.

 March 16, 2011

All open meetings will be audio cast on the Internet at:  www.isbe.net

 10:30 a.m.       Education Policy Planning Committee of the Whole

 

AGENDA 

                I.    Roll Call

               II.    Board Member Participation by Other Means

              III.    Public Participation (15 minutes maximum)

             IV.    Early Childhood Education (Diana Rauner, Ounce of Prevention Fund) 

              V.    Strategic Agenda Update (verbal update)

             VI.    Committee Agenda Planning/Additional Items

            VII.    Motion for Closed Session (as needed)

           VIII.    Adjourn

 

* Items listed with an asterisk (*) will be discussed in committee and action may be taken in the plenary session. 

 

11:30 a.m.       Break for lunch and closed session

  

12:30 p.m.      Finance & Audit Committee of the Whole

(This meeting will begin immediately following lunch.)

All open meetings will be audio cast on the Internet at:  www.isbe.net

 

AGENDA

                  I.    Roll Call

                 II.    Board Member Participation by Other Means

                III.    Public Participation  (15 minutes maximum)

               IV.  *Contracts & Grants Over $1 Million

A.    Low-Cost Laptop Grant Program

                V.  School District Financial Profiles

               VI.  Special Education Expenditures & Receipts vs. Revenue Report

              VII.  Cairo Financial Status Update

             VIII.  State Board of Education Budget Update

               IX.  Committee Agenda Planning/Additional Items

                X.  Adjourn

 

* Items listed with an asterisk (*) will be discussed in committee and action may be taken in the plenary session. 

 

2:00 p .m.       Ad Hoc Rules Committee of the Whole

 (This meeting will begin immediately following the previous session.)

 

AGENDA (timeframes are estimated for planning purposes)

                  I.  Roll Call

                 II.  Board Member Participation by Other Means

                III.  Public Participation  (15 minutes maximum) 

               IV.  *Rules for Adoption

A.    Part 151 (School Construction Program)

B.    Part 5001 (Access to Info of the State Board of Education under the Freedom of Info Act)

                V.  Committee Agenda Planning/Additional Items

               VI.  Adjourn

*  Items listed with an asterisk (*) will be discussed in committee and action may be taken in the plenary session. 

 2:30 p.m.        Board Operations Committee of the Whole

 

(This meeting will begin immediately following the previous session.)

 AGENDA (timeframes are estimated for planning purposes)

                  I.  Roll Call

                 II.  Board Member Participation by Other Means

                III.  Public Participation

               IV.*Review Nominations for Recognition

                V.  2011 Board Calendar

               VI.  Board Operations Review

              VII.  Procurement Communications Reporting Requirement

             VIII.  Follow-up Discussion re Board Self Evaluation Instrument

               IX.  Committee Agenda Planning/Additional Items

                X.  Adjourn

                                                                                                                                     XI.   

*  Items listed with an asterisk (*) will be discussed in committee and action may be taken in the plenary session.

 

March 17, 2011

All open meetings will be audio cast on the Internet at:  www.isbe.net

 

8:30 a.m.         Governmental Relations Committee of the Whole

 

AGENDA

                I.    Roll Call

               II.    Board Member Participation by Other Means

              III.    Public Participation (15 minutes maximum)

             IV.    Legislative Update

              V.    Committee Agenda Planning/Additional Items

             VI.    Adjourn

 

* Items listed with an asterisk (*) will be discussed in committee and action may be taken in the plenary session.

 

March 17, 2011

10:00 a.m.       ISBE Plenary Session

 

(This meeting will begin immediately following the previous session.)

 

NOTE:  Staff presentations and detailed Board discussion typically take place during Committee meetings prior to State Board action in the plenary session.

 

AGENDA

            I.  Roll Call/Pledge of Allegiance

A.    Consideration of and Possible Actions on Any Requests for Participation in Meeting by Other Means

          II.  Public Participation (up to 30 minutes)

         III.  Resolutions & Recognition

a.     Nicole Maslow, Senior, Hinsdale South High School District 86; Illinois Arts Education Poster Contest Winner

         IV.  Superintendent’s Report

* Consent Agenda

All action consideration items listed with an asterisk (*) are considered to be routine and will be enacted in one motion and vote.  Any board member who wishes separate discussion on any item listed on the consent agenda may remove that item from the consent agenda, in which event, the item will be considered in its normal sequence. 

 

Action Considerations

A.  *Approval of Minutes:  February 17, 2011

B.  *Rules for Adoption

1.     Part 151 (School Construction Program)

2.     Part 5001 (Access to Information of the State Board of Education under the Freedom of Information Act)  

C.  *Contracts & Grants Over $1 Million

1.     Low-Cost Laptop Grant Program

D.  *Approve Annual Financial Profile of School Districts

E.  *Approve Special Education Expenditures & Receipts Report

End of Consent Agenda

        V.    New Business

       VI.    Announcements and Reports 

A.    IBHE Liaison Report (Dr. Proshanta Nandi)

B.    P-20 Council Liaison Report (No report this month)

C.    Superintendent’s/Senior Staff Announcements

D.    Chairman’s Report

E.    Member Reports

 

     VII.    Information Items

A.    ISBE Fiscal & Administrative Monthly Reports (available online at http://isbe.net/board/fiscal_admin_rep.htm

    VIII.    Adjourn

March 17, 2011

 

1:00 p.m.        29th Annual Illinois Alliance for Arts Education Service Recognition Awards Ceremony;

                        Executive Mansion (Board members invited)

 

Jenny Bacon and Mark L. Montgomery are romantic leads in Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, an off-beat fairytale about love on the stage and off

Posted by Admin On March - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Jessica Thebus directs this World-Premiere Goodman Commission, April 30 – June 5

 

Chicago, IL – Romance —or Showmance? Goodman Theatre announces the seven-member cast for its world premiere Goodman commission, Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Jessica Thebus. As the leading lady, She, Jenny Bacon (In the Wake at The Public Theater and Ivo van Hove’s New York Theatre Workshop productions of A Street car Named Desire and More Stately Mansions) returns to her native Chicago, where her numerous Goodman Theatre credits include A Touch of the Poet and Three Sisters, directed by Robert Falls; Molly Sweeney (Steppenwolf); Mary Stuart (Court); and The Arabian Nights (Lookingglass). Mark L. Montgomery, who portrays He—the leading man and She’s ex-lover—was seen on Broadway in The Seagull and Mamma Mia! and in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s productions of Twelfth Night and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. Ross Lehman (The Tempest on

Broadway) portrays Director, who helms the play within the play. Married to She is Husband, portrayed by Scott Jaeck, who was twice seen on the Goodman’s stage this season in Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary and The Seagull, directed by Falls. In his Goodman Theatre debut, Jeffrey Carlson (All My Children, Broadway’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? and the title role of Edward II at Chicago Shakespeare Theater) portrays the dual roles of Kevin and Tyler. Erica Elam (The Trip to Bountiful at the Goodman, Orlando at Court Theatre) portrays He’s girlfriend, Laurie. Also in

her Goodman debut, Sarah Tolan-Mee (Chaste at Trapdoor Theater) portrays She’s daughter, Angela. The Design Team includes Todd Rosenthal (Set), Linda Roethke (Costumes), James Ingalls (Lighting) and Andre Pluess (Sound). Stage Kiss begins previews April 30 (opening night is May 9) and runs through June 5, 2011; tickets ($25 – 78) are now on sale. Northern Trust is the Major Corporate Sponsor of Stage Kiss and Mayer Brown and the Motorola Solutions Foundation are Corporate Sponsor Partners. Stage Kiss is the recipient of Edgerton

Foundation’s New American Plays Award.

 

Stage Kiss marks Chicago native playwright Sarah Ruhl’s third production at Goodman Theatre, following Passion Play: a cycle in three parts (2007) directed by Mark Wing-Davey and The Clean House (2006)—directed by her

longtime collaborator, Jessica Thebus, who also helmed the Chicago productions of Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Steppenwolf, 2008); Eurydice (Victory Gardens, 2008); Late: A Cowboy Song (Piven Theatre Workshop, 2010); and the current Court Theatre production of Orlando (through April 10, 2011).

 

“I’m thrilled to have such a wonderful cast together for this world premiere production at the Goodman,” said Ruhl. “I love working with Jessica because, at this point, we have a shared vocabulary. Things I always love about Jessica are her sense of playfulness, her visual imagination and her gifts as a story-teller. ”

 

Art imitates life—or is it the other way around?—in Stage Kiss, a new comedy by MacArthur “Genius” Grant winner Sarah Ruhl. When ex-lovers HE and SHE are thrown together as romantic leads in a long-forgotten 1930s melodrama, they quickly lose touch with reality as the story onstage begins to follow them offstage. Stage Kiss is a hilarious, off-beat fairy tale about what happens when lovers share a stage kiss…or when actors share a real one.

 

Tickets and subscriptions for Goodman Theatre productions can be purchased at www.GoodmanTheatre.org, 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; 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; 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. Gift Certificates (recipients choose the production, date and time) are available in any amount at GoodmanTheatre.org.

 

About Goodman Theatre – Now Celebrating A Decade on Dearborn

Currently on stage is God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, directed by Rick Snyder (through April 10).

 

Upcoming productions in the 2010/2011 Season include: El Nogalar by Tanya Saracho, directed by Cecilie Keenan (world premiere, March 26 – April 24); Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Jessica Thebus (world premiere Goodman commission, April 30 – June 5); and Chinglish by David Henry Hwang, directed by Leigh Silverman (world premiere, June 18 – July 24).

 

Just announced—the 2011/2012 Season: Red by John Logan, directed by Robert Falls (September/October 2011); the 34th annual production of A Christmas Carol (November/December 2011); Race by David Mamet, directed by Chuck Smith (January/February 2012); The Convert by Danai Gurira, directed by Emily Mann and coproduced with McCarter Theatre (NJ) and Center Theatre Group (CA) (February/March 2012); Camino Real by Tennessee Williams, directed by Calixto Bieito (March/April 2012); and Crowns, written and directed by Regina

Taylor (June/July 2012).

 

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-for-profit resident theater has experienced

unprecedented success over the past 10 years in its new downtown facility, welcoming nearly two 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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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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