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Archive for March 21st, 2011

Chicago City Council supports Alderman Berny Stone: 35 Sitting Alderman Endorse Stone for Re-Election

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 4 COMMENTS


Chicago, IL  – 70 percent of Aldermen in Chicago’s City Council endorsed Alderman Berny Stone for re-election today. Thirty-five Aldermen from across the city came out in support of Alderman Stone, whom they say is an incredibly effective and productive member of the Chicago City Council and is an asset to the 50th Ward. Alderman Stone has been running a vigorous campaign based on his experience in City Council and is in a run-off election to be determined on April 5th.


“In the Chicago City Council, I have seen firsthand how hard Alderman Berny Stone works to bring jobs and economic development to his ward,” says 21st Ward Alderman and Democratic Committeeman Howard Brookins, Jr.  “Alderman Stone truly has the best interests of the 50th ward at heart.”


“Berny is one Alderman who knows how to get things done in City Hall,” says Alderman Brian Doherty of the 41st Ward.


The 35 sitting Aldermen attested to Alderman Stone’s wisdom, experience, and knowledge, something that Alderman Stone hopes will help the City of Chicago transition to a new mayor.

“Berny’s vast amount of knowledge and wisdom is a huge benefit to the council,” says 34th Ward Alderman and Democratic Committeeman Carrie Austin.


Alderman Stone has been Chicago’s Vice-Mayor since 1998. A position he was elected to by his fellow aldermen showing their faith in his ability to lead not just the 50th Ward, but the entire City of Chicago if the need arises.


“I can always count on Alderman Stone to be knowledgeable and up to date on all the issues in the Council,” says Alderman and Democratic Committeeman of the 8th Ward, Michelle Harris, “He is a wealth of knowledge and never turns anyone away.”


Alderman Stone, who received the most votes in the February 22nd election, says he is “honored to have the endorsement of so many of my colleagues. My working relationships with these Aldermen help me get things done for the 50th ward.”


In addition to his colleagues, Alderman Stone is endorsed by former 50th Ward aldermanic candidates Ahmed Khan and Tom Morris, as well as the Chicago Police Sergeants Association, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Amalgamated Transit Union, The Federation of Indian American Associations, The Greater Punjab Cultural Association of North America (Chicago Chapter), Sikh Religious Society of Chicago, Chicago Dispatcher, and the United Hellenic Voters of America.


Below is a growing list of the Aldermen who endorse Stone’s re-election:


Joe Moreno — Alderman, 01st Ward
Bob Fioretti — Alderman, 02nd Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Pat Dowell — Alderman, 03rd Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Leslie Hairston — Alderman, 05th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Freddrenna Lyle — Alde
rman, 06th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Sandi Jackson — Alderman, 07th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Michelle Harris — Alderman, 08th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Anthony Beale — Alderman, 09th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
John Pope — Alderman, 10th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
James Balcer — Alderman, 11th Ward
George Cardenas — Alderman, 12th Ward
Ed Burke — Alderman, 14th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Toni Foulkes — Alderman, 15th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Latasha Thomas — Alderman, 17th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Lona Lane — Alderman, 18th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Virginia Rugai — Alde
rman, 19th Ward
Willie Cochran — Alderman, 20th ward; Democratic Committeeman
Howard Brookins, Jr. — Alderman, 21st Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Mike Zalewski — Alderman, 23rd Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Daniel Solis — Alderman, 25th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Roberto Maldonado — Alderman, 26th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Walter Burnett, Jr. — Alderman, 27th Ward
Jason Ervin — Alderman, 28th Ward
Ray Suarez — Alderman, 31st Ward
Dick Mell — Alderman, 33rd Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Carrie Austin — Alderman, 34th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
John Rice — Alderman, 36th Ward
Emma Mitts — Alderman, 37th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Tim Cullerton — Alderman, 38th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Brian Doherty — Alde
rman, 41st Ward
Brendan Reilly — Alderman, 42nd Ward
Tom Tunney — Alderman, 44th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Pat Levar — Alderman, 45th Ward; Democratic Committeeman
Helen Shiller — Alderman, 46th Ward
Mary Ann Smith — Alderman, 48th Ward

Black Marriage Day 2011: “Married and Proud of It”

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


Wedded Bliss Foundation, Inc., presents the Ninth Annual Black Marriage Day celebration, Sunday, March 27, 2011, with the theme “Married and Proud of It.” 


Marriage activists in hundreds of communities around the country will highlight the benefits of married life and offer celebrations to strengthen and promote marriage in the Black community.  From a free dinner program in DC to several events in Dallas to a movie premier in Wichita of “Men Aint Boys” by Lamar and Ronnie Tyler to an evening event in Detroit at the Charles Wright Museum to dancing lessons in Boston; organizations, groups and families are taking the time to spotlight couples in the Black community that are “Married and Proud of It“.


Wedded Bliss Foundation is also encouraging local Black Marriage Day sponsors across the country to involve singles and youth in their Black Marriage Day events on Sunday, March 27, 2011, with film festivals, workshops, conferences, marriage vow renewals and much more. 


 “Healthy married couples in the Black community are nearly invisible from the media but they exist.  All we generally hear about is the pain.  We’re creating a cultural shift in the Black community to reconsider the benefits of marriage and show the many couples who are, “Married and Proud of It”,” Wedded Bliss Foundation Executive Director Nisa Muhammad said.  “Much of what we hear about marriage in the Black community is a blues song about low rates, out of wedlock births, escalating divorces and how somebody done somebody wrong.  We want to replace that blues song with a love song of joy.” 


Black Marriage Day has been celebrated annually at locally sponsored events hosted by faith-based and community groups on the fourth Sunday of March since 2003.  Marriage activists in more than 300 communities participated in 2010, Mrs. Muhammad said. 


Wedded Bliss Foundation and Black Marriage Day activities have been featured nationally in Black Enterprise, Ebony and Essence magazines, on CNN, and the Michael Baisden Show. 

Eight-year-old future Judge Adrian N. Bailey wins Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Jackie and Me Essay Contest

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

winnerHow does Jackie Robinson’s story inspire you?


 Chicago, IL – More than 200 Chicago-area kids answered that question in 500 words or less as part of Chicago Children Theatre’s Jackie and Me Essay Contest in February, designed to celebrate Black History Month and the theater’s smash hit world premiere play Jackie and Me, a time-travelling adventure about baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

But it was Adrian N. Bailey, an 8-year-old from Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and a third grader at Chicago’s Plato Learning Academy, who most impressed essay contest judge Dan Gutman, author of the beloved children’s novel Jackie and Me from which the play is based, with this eloquent, Grand Prize-winning composition:

“The story of Jackie Robinson inspired me because it tells me you can do or be anything you want to if you just keep believing in yourself.  The story also inspired me because it lets me know that I do not have to be afraid to face my dream.  Even though I may be poor, I can still achieve my dream of becoming a judge.  I may be black, but I can still achieve my dream. There may be other barriers that I will be faced with, but I still can fulfill my dream of becoming a judge.  The story of Jackie Robinson inspired me because it lets me know if I have the mind to achieve my precious dream, there is no stopping me.  If I have the support of my grandma and other family members and friends, I will be Judge Adrian Bailey someday.  Finally, the story of Jackie Robinson inspired me because it lets me know after I have achieved my dream of becoming a judge, I must work hard to be a just and fair judge.  It lets me know the story of the famous Judge Adrian Bailey will be important in American history.  Someday, boys and girls will read and tell my story.” In addition to one Grand Prize winner, Gutman selected four more First Place winners:


Jessuly Ramos (11), Josephine Locke Elementary School

Caya Johnson (10), LaSalle Language Academy

Deryk Gonzalez (11), Josephine Locke Elementary School
Jesus Andrade (11), Josephine Locke Elementary School

All five winners were treated to complimentary tickets the Jackie and Me performance and post-show Cast Party on Saturday, March 5 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts.   In addition, the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Bash Sports Academy stepped up to the plate with fantastic prizes for each winner, including four box seat tickets to the White Sox vs. Angels game on “Jackie Robinson Day,” Friday, April 15, when each winner will be recognized on the scoreboard and participate in a pre-game photo opp on the field.

Of course, Jackie Robinson transcends any franchise rivalry, so the Chicago Cubs added four tickets each to the Cubs versus Padres game at Wrigley Field on April 19, including a pre-game photo opp.  As Grand Prize winner, Bailey also received one Bash Pro Annual Membership at Bash Sports Academy, a 15,000-square-foot indoor facility for year round youth baseball training, located on Chicago’s northwest side.  Bailey will be able to take advantage of complimentary use of the Bash batting and pitching cages up to three times a week, as well as discounts on lessons, clinics and special events and one free personal training session.

Children 15 years and younger were invited to participate in the contest. The contest entry forms with complete rules, deadlines and prize package details was posted on Chicago Children’s Theatre’s website, handed to children at every performance throughout February, with multiple copies shipped to schools, libraries, book stores, and children’s and sporting goods retailers throughout Chicagoland.   

Jackie and Me Update:  Weekend performances SOLD OUT!  Weekday matinee tickets still available

Chicago Children’s Theatre hit it out of the ballpark last month when it officially opened its world premiere play Jackie and Me about Jackie Robinson, the courageous athlete who broke baseball’s color barrier.  The play, adapted by acclaimed playwright Steven Dietz, based on the popular children’s novel by Dan Gutman, and directed by Jeff Award winner Derrick Sanders, was awarded 3-1/2 stars by the Chicago Tribune, and hailed as “smart, charming and tremendously engaging” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

With less than two weeks left in the run through March 27th, tickets to all weekend performances are now officially sold out.  However, seats are still available to select weekday matinees via CCT’s website, chicagochildrenstheatre.org, or the ticket hotline, (866) 811-4111.   For discounted group rates call (773) 327-3778 or visit GroupTix.net.    Jackie and Me is recommended for children ages 8 and older due to its honest depiction of historical racism.

For more information, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call 773.227.0180.

Better Business Bureau Chairman Roy Spencer re-elected

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


Chicago, IL – Roy E. Spencer, president of Perma-Seal Basement Systems, located in Downers Grove, Ill., was re-elected Chairman of the Board of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.    


Previously, Mr. Spencer was Vice Chairman of the Better Business Bureau for five years and on the Board of Directors for seven years.


“We are very pleased to continue having Roy, with his extensive understanding of business issues and concern for ethical business operations, as the head of our Board of Directors,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.  “Roy has been a long-time supporter of the BBB.  As chairman, his knowledge and active participation in BBB programs continue to be an even greater benefit and example to our over 7,400 current northern Illinois Accredited Businesses, along with those wishing to apply for Accreditation.”  


Mr. Spencer’s company has been an Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau since 1985.  He is the founder of Perma-Seal Basement Systems and has been its president since he started the business in 1979.


“Early in my working career, I worked for companies where I was thoroughly disgusted with their shoddy approach to workmanship and ethics. I knew there was an opportunity for a company that did the job the right way,” Mr. Spencer explained.  “Both Perma-Seal and the BBB place a high value in supporting and fostering ethical business operations. I’m excited about how I can continue bringing my energies to benefit the BBB and its other Accredited Businesses.”

Students honored during the 29th Annual Illinois Arts Education Week

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Poster contest winners recognized at Governor’s Mansion
in Springfield

Springfield, IL  — The Illinois State Board of Education honored student winners of the statewide arts education poster contest on Thursday at the Governor’s Mansion, a highlight of the 29th annual Illinois Arts Education Week that runs March 14 through the 20th and celebrates the importance of the fine arts. Students across the state competed to create posters reflective of this year’s theme, “The Arts Rock!.”
“Art education is a critical component of a students’ development,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Whether they’re learning to play a new instrument, choreographing a dance routine or designing a stage, they’re accessing their creative talents while increasing new skills and confidence. We congratulate these winners as well as their teachers and parents for celebrating the arts.”
 The statewide poster contest celebrating Arts Education Week alternates between elementary and secondary students each year. The contest was only open to students in grades 9-12 this school year.

Nicole Maslow, a senior at Hinsdale South High School in Hinsdale School District 86, was chosen as the winner of the 2011 statewide poster contest. Nicole’s painting features various symbols of the arts, including a playbill, backstage pass to a dance performance and a film strip.

“My goal was to have all the arts images (Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts) in my art work,’’ said Nicole of Darien. “I wanted to do this in a creative, neat way that portrayed my style of art.”

“We’re encouraged to see so many students and schools still offering great art programs even in these challenging economic times,” said Becky Blaine, IAAE President and Art Teacher at St. Charles East High School. “The benefits of participating in a fine arts program lasts long beyond a student’s school days.”

 While celebrating Arts Education Week, ISBE also commends Adlai E. Stevenson High School, SD 125, Lincolnshire, one of five schools in the country to win the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Schools of Distinction Award for their work during the recent 2009-10 school year. The award recognizes schools that have made the arts an essential part of their students’ education.

Illinois Arts Education Week 2011 is sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education in conjunction with the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education and the Governor’s Office. The IAAE is a member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network, receiving support, award recognition programs and professional development opportunities. ISBE is also a partner with the Illinois Arts Council.

AAE/ISBE Poster Contest Awards:

Winner Nicole Maslow, senior Greg Gardner, Art Instructor
Hinsdale South High School
Hinsdale Township High School District 86
Darien, IL  
Second Place Stella Tu, juniorGlenbrook North High SchoolGlenbrook High Schools District 225
Northbrook, IL
Third Place Ariel Koprowski, seniorGreg Gardmer, Art Instructor
Hinsdale South High School
Hinsdale Township High School District 86
Darien, IL  
Honorable Mention Lena Biedrzycki, junior
Hinsdale Township High School District 86
Hayne Ryu, sophomore
Champaign CUSD 4
Josh Whalen, freshman
Farmington Central CUSD 265        

Additional posters can be requested by contacting the Illinois State Board of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction division at (217) 557-7323; arts@isbe.net; or via mail at 100 N. First St., Springfield, IL 62777-0001. The back of the poster contains references to the Illinois Learning Goals and Standards for the Fine Arts, upcoming art events for 2010, Internet resources and more. To view the winning posters online, please visit http://www.isbe.net/curriculum/html/arts_week.htm.


Iyanla Vanzant hits NY Times Bestseller List again

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 3 COMMENTS



Master Teacher’s Latest Chronicle of Turning Challenges Into Blessings Tops “Advice” Category


New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — SmileyBooks is proud to announce the return of Iyanla Vanzant, author of PEACE FROM BROKEN PIECES: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through (SmileyBooks Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-4019-2822-3), to the #1 spot on the New York Times bestsellers list for the week of March 13, 2011.

“We are thrilled that Iyanla’s inspiring message has reached so many people. Her mission – to promote family healing – affirms why she remains one of the nation’s most beloved teachers,” says publisher Tavis Smiley. This marks Vanzant’s fifth time on the Times list, and her first with SmileyBooks. She previously spent 20 weeks on the list with In the Meantime.

“Iyanla radically redefines what it means when ‘life falls apart,'” says Michael Bernard Beckwith, New York Times best-selling author of Spiritual Liberation. “This nourishing and healing book teaches the most necessary lesson of all: Trust in the innate wholeness of the human heart and spirit.”

Part metaphorical teaching story, part wrenching personal chronicle, Peace from Broken Pieces is a phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes tale about men and money, love and work, mothers and daughters, life and death, and the patterns and pathologies that families pass down through the generations – until someone gets clear enough to break free. Courageous, poignant, and straight from the heart, the unforgettable story of Iyanla’s determination to find peace amidst the fragmented pieces of her life will inspire anyone who refuses to be defeated by adversity.

Vanzant is the founder and executive director of Inner Visions International and the Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development. The author of 13 titles, she is the former host of the television series Iyanla, and former co-host of the NBC daytime reality show Starting Over. She is a 2010 Black Girls Rock! honoree acknowledged on their national BET special, and she recently joined Oprah for a two-part reunion on the Oprah Winfrey Show. A proud grandmother of eight, she currently resides in Maryland.

Founded by media pioneer Tavis Smiley in 2004, SmileyBooks is a general trade book publisher that specializes in quality nonfiction and is distributed by Hay House, Inc. A dynamic company dedicated to the new media landscape, SmileyBooks publishes books by authors ranging from established New York Times bestsellers to exciting new voices on topics that appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. 

Tax refund anticipation loans provide immediate money but with high fees

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS



(From the Better Business Bureau)



CHICAGO, IL –  Many Americans are looking forward to the expected refunds from their 2010 Federal Income Taxes. Many people may also consider applying for a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) to speed up the process of receiving the refunds that they expect. The Better Business Bureau suggests consumers consider all of the options before deciding how to collect their refunds this year.


A RAL is an advance payment based on the amount of your refund, minus fees and interest charged by the tax preparation service offering the loan. While RALs might be a good source of instant cash, the Better Business Bureau warns that they may come at a high cost.“Taxpayers needing their tax refund money immediately may not consider that their instant refund comes at a high price,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “However, if taxpayers filed online, they would receive their refunds in approximately ten days and would save a substantial amount in interest and fees incurred with a refund anticipation loan.”If you are considering an instant refund loan, the BBB offers the following advice:


·         Use e-File and Direct Deposit? The fastest and most secure way for you to get your refund is to file your taxes online and then allow a direct deposit of the refund into your bank account. Taxpayers can have the money usually in eight to 15 days.  


·         Be cautious with debit card offers. Some tax preparers offer to provide instant refunds on debit cards. However, these cards may include hidden fees and can have limits on how much money you can access, which means you would incur the high transaction fees over and over again.


·         Shop around for the best RAL deal. Fees and interest rates for RALs vary by tax preparer so compare a few before selecting one, if you absolutely need you refund immediately.


·         Check with the BBB first. Before you sign a contract, be sure to check out the tax preparer’s record of integrity and performance at www.bbb.org


‘On the Edge’ Artist embraces the environment

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Dittmar Gallery to feature sculptures and installations by Nnenna Okore March 30-May 8 


Evanston, IL – Nigerian-born artist Nnenna Okore takes a naturalist’s approach to art by turning decaying biodegradable materials into stunning sculptural forms. Her regenerated works will be featured in a spring exhibition at Northwestern University.

Okore’s “On the Edge” opens March 30 and runs through May 8 at the Dittmar Gallery, located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. Both the exhibition and an opening reception at the gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, are free and open to the public.

Okore’s works are made from handmade paper layered with fibrous materials and dyes that the artist weaves, twists or rolls. She transforms discarded newspaper, wax, cloth, rope, burlap, clay and sticks into intricate and fragile-looking sculptures and installations that allude to the ephemerality of life and mimic traces of the Earth and its topography. For example, “Emissaries,” a wall installation featuring six airy and highly-textured shield-like forms, is made from handmade paper, red dye, burlap and yarn.

Okore is an assistant professor and chair of the art department at Chicago’s North Park University. Her works have been showcased in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad. Her work recently was exhibited at the 2010 Sao Paulo Biennial. For more about the artist, visit www.nnennaokore.com.

For more on the exhibition, call the Dittmar at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit the Dittmar Web site at www.norris.northwestern.edu/dittmar.php.


National Walk to Work Day, April 1: Lace up your walking shoes

Posted by Admin On March - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Chicagoland residents are encouraged to put the pavement beneath their feet on April 1, Walk to Work Day.


(From the Active Transportation Alliance) 


Walking to work is probably easier than you think.  To fulfill a daily walking regimen, many people take transit or drive for part of the distance and walk for the rest.

“Walking to work is good not just for your health, but it’s good for the environment, too,” said Melody Geraci, deputy executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance (Active Trans). “It takes cars off the road and allows you to get to know the neighborhood. You’ll see things that otherwise would escape your notice.”

Walk to Work Day falls on the first Friday of April.

The beauty of walking is that it requires almost no special equipment. A comfortable pair of shoes, good socks and a willingness to get your body moving is all that is needed.

If there are no good walking options where you live and work, Geraci said you can help make needed improvements. “Communities can become more walkable when they build infrastructure like sidewalks and crosswalks,” she said. “Slowing traffic and focusing on pedestrian safety encourages more people to walk for transportation and exercise.”

Here are a few tips that can help with your bipedal commute:

  • What equipment do I need? Very little: Wear comfortable shoes, loose pants and be ready to shed layers once you get warm.
  • How can I walk to work when the distance is so great?  Take transit or drive for part of the way and then walk the rest of the way.
  • How can I get motivated? Get a group of co-workers together and meet up on the way as a walking group. 

If you walked on Walk to Work Day, connect with Active Trans via Facebook ( www.facebook.com/activetrans) and let us know how it went.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by more than 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

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