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Archive for May 14th, 2011

Spending the issue for Illinois: State Comptroller Topinka

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on Spending the issue for Illinois: State Comptroller Topinka

Talk of new revenue, borrowing must cease until cuts are made                                      

By Judy Baar Topinka, Illinois Comptroller

 

(Guest Commentary) 

 

Chicago, IL – I had just entered office as State Comptroller in January when already-struggling Illinois families and business owners were blindsided by the largest tax increase in state history.

No one liked paying more to Springfield, particularly in this economy. At the same time, many taxpayers understood the serious budget challenges facing the state and took some solace in believing that the tax increase – however painful – would allow Illinois to regain its fiscal footing.

Sadly, that has not been the case.

In fact, as the Illinois General Assembly enters the final weeks of the Spring legislative session, the state is on pace to end the fiscal year on June 30 with $8.3 Billion in unaddressed financial obligations – including roughly $4.5 billion in unpaid bills from businesses, hospitals, schools, social service and not-for-profit agencies.

The state has indeed brought in additional revenue through the tax increase, but those dollars are already spent. To clarify, Illinois raised an additional $1.6 billion in tax dollars over the last four months, and estimates show it will bring in $6-$7 billion more in the coming fiscal year. But those dollars are needed for future pension and Medicaid costs – leaving few new dollars to pay down the bill backlog and address other unaddressed financial obligations.

The predicament underscores an inescapable reality: spending reform is the only way to restore the state’s fiscal integrity.

That is nothing new. How many times have elected leaders and candidates stressed that “we must address spending?” How many discussions of state government in recent years have been dominated by hand-wringing over the size of the state deficit, and its inability to pay bills? And yet as we look to close the books on another fiscal year the state finds itself with an $8.3 billion hole, matching its unaddressed obligation total from last year.

It is important to note, however, that there are leaders – Republicans and Democrats – who are committed to doing whatever it takes to begin making ends meet, and positive steps have been made. For one, the General Assembly has taken fiscally-responsible action in approving the state’s pension and bond payments, and limiting further growth of our long-term liabilities. Leaders have also increasingly come forward with budget-cut lists and proposals, moving legislative debate toward where savings can be found, instead of how to generate more revenue.

Still, as the state nears the May 31 deadline to complete a financial plan, discussions continue to include talk of new spending and additional borrowing. That must stop, at least for now. To put it simply: Illinois cannot afford spending increases – regardless of the cause. And while borrowing can be an effective financial tool in certain instances, it is stunningly irresponsible without coinciding spending cuts.

From consolidating the state fiscal offices of Comptroller and Treasurer to save dollars and improve efficiency, to adjusting Medicaid eligibility requirements to ensure its long-term sustainability, there are options available.

But with the end of the legislative session approaching, time is of the essence. For the good of Illinois and its taxpayers, action is required on spending – and the clock is ticking.

Judy Baar Topinka was sworn-in as Illinois Comptroller in January, making her the state’s Chief Fiscal Officer.

Lt. Gov. Simon supports federal order to clean up Chicago River

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on Lt. Gov. Simon supports federal order to clean up Chicago River

 Disinfection needed for safe recreation

 

Chicago, IL –  Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said she supports the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency’s order to clean up the Chicago River so people can use it safely.

Simon, who chairs three Illinois rivers conservation councils, made her comments at a Chicago River Summit at the Merchandise Mart hosted by the Friends of the Chicago River, which has led the charge for higher water quality standards and improved recreational activities on the city’s “second shoreline.”

Simon said: “The Chicago River is a great recreational asset, and we have an obligation to ensure that the people who use it are safe. Today, when our friends and family enter the river, they are exposed to harmful bacteria that could make them sick. I encourage federal, state and local officials to work together to expedite the disinfection of the Chicago River. As stewards of public health and the environment, we should aim for the highest water quality standards, not the minimum.”

Under state law, Simon chairs the Illinois River, Mississippi River, and Wabash and Ohio River Coordinating Councils, which work with local communities to address watershed issues.

CNN’s Donna Brazile to address Chicago’s Business, Education, Community Leaders on May 19th

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on CNN’s Donna Brazile to address Chicago’s Business, Education, Community Leaders on May 19th

Brazile to keynote The Working Lunch, Women Employed’s don’t-miss annual event

 
Chicago, IL – Veteran political analyst and CNN commentator Donna Brazile will be in Chicago on Thursday, May 19th to address nearly 1,000 business, civic, and education leaders at The Working Lunch, Women Employed’s annual event. Ms. Brazile, best-selling author of Cooking with Grease, worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, and was the first African-American woman to manage a major presidential campaign, when she served as Vice President Al Gore’s campaign manager in 2000.

A New Orleans native, Ms. Brazile began her political career at the age of nine when she campaigned for a City Council candidate who promised to build a playground in her neighborhood. He won, the playground was built, and Ms. Brazile found her calling to make a difference in the world. Through hard work and personal resolve, Brazile, who began her childhood in poverty, has become a respected and influential political voice, whom Essence magazine named one of the Top 50 Women in America. At The Working Lunch, Ms. Brazile will speak to the crowd about how every single person has the power to make a difference in the world, and every type of commitment, both personal and political, matters.

 

“We’re so excited to have Donna Brazile at The Working Lunch this year,” Women Employed Executive Director Anne Ladky stated. “Women Employed is all about inspiring people to get involved and make a difference for lower-paid women and their families—and I know Donna will motivate our guests to make their voices heard on the important economic issues facing women today.”   

 

The Working Lunch, whose lead sponsor this year is Allstate Insurance Company, is Women Employed’s premier annual event, bringing together hundreds of advocates in support of improved economic opportunities and increased access to education for working women. The event will be held from 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m. in the Imperial Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel Millennium Park, 200 N. Columbus Dr., Chicago. Ms. Brazile’s keynote speech will begin at approximately 12:50 p.m.

 

About Women Employed
Founded in 1973, Women Employed’s mission is to improve women’s economic status and remove barriers to economic equity. Women Employed focuses on the millions of women who are paid low wages, advocating for better workplace policies and increased access to and success in education and training leading to good jobs.

 

For more information, call (312) 782-3902 ext. 239, or visit www.womenemployed.org.

 

Gays to mark Intn’l Day of Protest for their rights

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on Gays to mark Intn’l Day of Protest for their rights

 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people and allies around the world will join in united protests on “I.D.A.H.O.” – International Day Against HOmophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia

 

People around the world who oppose discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity will join together on all inhabited continents Tuesday, May 17th in a united day of protests to mark International Day Against HOmophobia (I.D.A.H.O.).

In Chicago, people opposed to discrimination based upon sexual orientation and identity will gather in front of Millennium Park, corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, May 17th, in a protest sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network (www.gayliberation.net).

The purpose of the worldwide protests is to make the general public aware of the serious situations facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people around the globe.

For example:
South Africa
Despite being one of the few countries in the world whose constitution guarantees full legal equality for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals, men frequently perform “corrective rape” on women alleged to have same-sex desires, in an effort to make them “straight.” The government only recently acknowledged that HIV causes AIDS – letting the disease spread like wildfire while severely stigmatizing those women and men who have caught it.

Uganda
With encouragement from far-right U.S. evangelicals, the foremost leader in the country’s parliament has repeatedly flirted with legislation that would prescribe the death penalty for gays, and make it an imprisonable offense for those who know of gays’ sexual activities not to inform the authorities. A local newspaper ran the pictures and names of many alleged gays on its front page under the caption, “Hang them.”  One of the country’s most prominent gay activists pictured in the paper, David Kato, was subsequently murdered in an apparent hate crime.
Russia
Since 2006, LGBTs have attempted to demonstrate in the streets, in accordance with rights supposedly guaranteed all Russians under their constitution. But the authorities have repeatedly banned most protests by LGBTs and have allowed neo-fascist thugs to physically attack peaceful demonstrators in broad daylight.  Despite their differences, the most prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders of Moscow are united in calling for the physical suppression of gay rights demonstrators.

Jamaica
Leading performers of the country’s most popular music genre, “dance hall,” frequently call for murdering lesbians and gays in the lyrics of their songs. The country’s most prominent LGBT activist, Brian Williamson, was murdered in his home in 2004 in an apparent hate crime.  A Human Rights Watch staffer who visited Williamson’s home shortly after the murder reported a crowd gathered outside singing the chorus to one of dance hall’s most infamous kill-the-gays anthems, Buju Banton’s “Boom Bye Bye,” which talks about shooting and burning gays.
Brazil
Last year 260 LGBT people were murdered in Brazil – one every 36 hours, more than seven times the rate in the U.S., making it the world’s capital of anti-LGBT hate murders. As in the United States, Transgender people suffered by far the highest proportion of hate murders. And the trend is all in the wrong direction. Over the past five years Brazil has seen a 113% increase in the number of LGBT murders. 

United States
Even in the most liberal states of this country, LGBT people still lack full legal equality thanks to federal laws passed largely during the Clinton administration. Few major religious denominations embrace full equality for LGBTs such as their full acceptance as worshippers and access to religious offices. LGBT youth endure far greater rates of homelessness and suicide attempts than their straight peers, and few schools embrace affirming education the way they do for other minority groups. Even fewer schools treat gay or lesbian sexuality with the frankness and respect they pay heterosexual sex. In most areas of the country, local laws still fall short of endorsing equal access to jobs, housing and public accommodations, and offenses based on sexual orientation are the second leading type of hate crime.

Chicago’s I.D.A.H.O. protest is sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network, an LGBT direct action organization founded in 1998.   For more information, email LGBTliberation@aol.com or telephone 773.209.1187

First Lady Michelle Obama credited in ‘dispelling stereotypes’ of Black women in groundbreaking national study

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on First Lady Michelle Obama credited in ‘dispelling stereotypes’ of Black women in groundbreaking national study

Political Commentator & Opinion Columnist Sophia A. Nelson Writes Book to “Redefine Black Women’s Tattered Image”

 


Bookcover

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — In a first of its kind groundbreaking national study on the lives of college educated, accomplished black women, more than 87% of the black female survey respondents (n=540) believe that First Lady Michelle Obama has helped dispel negative stereotypes of accomplished black women in America.

The results of what author Sophia Nelson has dubbed as the “Age of Michelle Obama” survey are published in a new book Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama. Essence Magazine has hailed the book as a “Game Changer” for black women in America. The New York Post writes “At a moment of profound economic and cultural change for America, Black Woman Redefined comes along at the perfect time. While Sophia Nelson knows her target audience, she’s also aware of the broader, diverse world. With solid research and a smooth inclusive voice, Nelson has produced a book that that holds lessons for many.”

In this book, Nelson, a respected cultural and political thought leader, opinion writer and former national columnist for Jet Magazine, reveals a different side of black women that provides historical, anecdotal, and quantitative research on the lives of 21st century black women. The release of the book comes at a time when a recent article in Newsweek analyzed how poorly reality TV portrays successful black women like Nene & Star Jones on the top rated “Celebrity Apprentice” as well as a solid 12-month barrage of negativity lambasting black women from the Pepsi Super Bowl add to ABC’s “Why Can’t A Successful Black Woman Get a Man”, “Black Marriage Negotiations” video and numerous other examples.

In addition to the national survey results, Nelson opens her much heralded book with an ‘open letter’ to the First Lady who is scheduled to make the commencement address at Spelman College on Sunday, May 15th. Nelson’s book, which is a cover feature story in the June issue of Essence Magazine and set to be released May 31st, also dissects Mrs. Obama’s professional success and family success in the context of how she is affirmatively “changing the game” in a positive direction for black women of a new generation in America.

Nelson opines in her letter to the First Lady that she has taught women of a new generation how to handle conflict and criticism with grace and class:

“You don’t have to shout back at your critics or crawl into the pit of mudslinging with them. The best revenge (in life) is success, and success comes with a willingness to constantly reinvent, reform, and redefine the rules of the game, how you play the game, and what you consider a “win” at the end of the game.”

Nelson uses proprietary national research (conducted with expert women’s pollster Kellyanne Conway of The Polling Company, Inc./Woman Trend and noted black studies scholar Dr. Silas Lee, Silas Lee & Associates/Xavier University) and real-life stories to reveal what drives and perpetuates common myths and misconceptions of black women.

* Fully 87% of professional Black women credited First Lady Michelle Obama with dispelling stereotypes about the accomplishments and actualities of being a Black woman in America.

* The top descriptor words used in the 1,000 sample of all Americans to describe Mrs. Obama chose the following words: wife & mother (82%), intelligent (76%), strong-willed (71%), and accomplished (70%).

* The top descriptor words the BWR Black Female Sample Survey respondent (n=540) used to describe Mrs. Obama: intelligent (40%), accomplished (35%), wife and mother (28%), inspiring (26%), and role model (23%).

* White men had the least favorable opinions of Mrs. Obama and women in general (across race) had favorable responses toward her.

Celebrity guest contributors to the book include: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Tom Joyner Morning Show’s Roland S. Martin & Jeff Johnson, Academy award nominated actress Taraji Henson, For Colored Girls‘ Kimberly Elise along with Dr. Lamont Hill, Co-host of ABC’s The View Sherri Shepherd, Congressmen Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-IL), Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) and many more.

Black Woman Redefined is available for pre-order at Amazon.com and bn.com. Nelson is available for interview and speaking engagements. For interviews, media review copy and/or high resolution artwork, contact Neil Foote, Foote Communications, (214) 448-3765, neil@neilfoote.com with credential and complete shipping details.
SURVEY RESEARCH ON MICHELLE OBAMA
(On behalf of Sophia A. Nelson and Black Woman Redefined)
Online Survey of 540 Professional Black Women:
In your opinion, which ONE or TWO of the following words best describes First Lady Michelle Obama? Please select up to two answers only. (RANDOMIZED)

40% INTELLIGENT
35% ACCOMPLISHED
28% WIFE AND MOTHER
26% INSPIRING
23% ROLE MODEL
18% STRONG
12% REFRESHING
11% POWERFUL
6% JUST LIKE ME
1% OVEREXPOSED
1% SEXY
* ANGRY
– NONE OF THE ABOVE
1% OTHER, PLEASE SPECIFY

Nationwide Telephone Survey of 1,000 Americans:
In your opinion, of the following words, which best describe First Lady Michelle Obama? Please select all that apply. (RANDOMIZED RESPONSES)

82% WIFE AND MOTHER
76% INTELLIGENT
71% STRONG-WILLED
70% ACCOMPLISHED
66% ROLE MODEL
58% INSPIRING
16% MADE-OVER
10% ALL OF THE ABOVE (DID NOT READ)
2% NONE OF THE ABOVE (DID NOT READ)
2% OTHER, PLEASE SPECIFY (DID NOT READ)
2% DON’T KNOW/REFUSED
the polling company(TM), inc./WomanTrend for Sophia A. Nelson 1 Survey Research on Michelle Obama May 2011

Kirk responds to Republican Senators Meeting with President Obama on the Administration’s request to raise the Debt Ceiling

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on Kirk responds to Republican Senators Meeting with President Obama on the Administration’s request to raise the Debt Ceiling

Washington, DC – United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released a statement following a meeting between Republican Senators and President Obama on the Administration’s request to raise the debt ceiling. 

“Senate Republicans and the President expressed a common goal of protecting economic growth by cutting spending.  Many of us in the room agree that any debt increase must be tied to large, comprehensive and lasting spending cuts to protect young Americans from deficits and debt.  

“Because there is a limit to how much debt the House would even consider, I believe we have to plan for multiple debt limit bills – giving us the chance to attach multiple anti-spending reforms to any new debt.”

The meeting with Senate Republicans comes one day after a meeting between the President and Senate Democrats as both the House and the Senate continue to prepare for the pending debate on debt limit legislation.

Johannes Mehserle Could Be Out of Jail in June

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on Johannes Mehserle Could Be Out of Jail in June

(From New America Media)

By Thandisizwe Chimurenga
 

Los Angeles – Rumors have swirled recently over whether Johannes Mehserle, the former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer convicted last summer of involuntary manslaughter in the death of an unarmed Oscar Grant, had already been released from prison. Those rumors have turned out to be false. Mehserle, however, may walk out of prison some time in June.

Mehserle was sentenced to two years in state prison by Judge Robert Perry on Nov. 5, 2010. Oscar Grant was fatally shot in the back by Mehserle, and the events were captured by videos and cell phone cameras and widely disseminated.

At the time of sentencing, Judge Perry calculated that Mehserle had a total of 292 days in custody based on “good-time credits.” According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website (CDCR), “… for every six months of continuous incarceration from the date of sentencing to the CDCR, an eligible inmate shall be awarded six months reduction in term of imprisonment (1 day credit for every day served).”

Although Perry sentenced Mehserle to state prison, Mehserle has earned his credits in the Los Angeles County Jail where he has been held since the jury reached its verdict of involuntary manslaughter.

“He was arrested on Jan. 13, 2009. He stayed in custody until being released on bail on Feb. 6, 2009. He was remanded following the guilty verdict on July 8, and he has remained in custody until now. I calculate that he has 146 actual days in custody, and he is entitled to a like amount, 146, for good-time credits for a total of 292,” said Perry at the sentencing.

Based on these calculations, many people thought Mehserle had already been released.

Yobie Benjamin, who blogs for the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com “City Brights Blog,” wrote last November that Mehserle would be “free in 72 days.” That would have put Mehserle back on the streets around January of this year. Rose Mesa, grandmother of Oscar Grant’s daughter Tatiana, stated on a Facebook memorial page for Grant that Mehserle had been released in February.

Mehserle is currently listed on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) website, under the section titled Inmate Information Center, as being in the Men’s Central Jail. Steve Witmer, spokesperson for the LASD, stated that Mehserle is in their custody as a “keep away,” where he’s being held in isolation from other prisoners due to his status.

The sheriff’s website also lists a June 1, 2011 court date at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Perry at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Courts Building. It is possible that Perry will release Mehserle at that time, yet according to an assistant for Michael Rains, Mehserle’s attorney, the June 1 court date is not confirmed.

Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant, and Cephus Johnson, Grant’s uncle, both said they were under the impression CDCR would notify them when Mehserle would be released. However, John Burris, attorney for the Grant family, said that the department of corrections was not legally bound to notify the family. Burris is representing the family in its  $50 million lawsuit against BART, Mehserle and other officers.

Nevertheless, activists are gearing up in both Los Angeles and Oakland in preparation for Mehserle’s impending release.

Keith Muhammad, a minister with the Nation of Islam in Oakland, said continued demonstrations were necessary due to “the unholy relationship between law enforcement and the courts that have only produced one charge and one conviction of any cop in the history of California for an on-duty killing.”

“Justice has not been served,” he said. “Justice has been compromised.”

“Since we don’t know exactly when he will be released, we will begin mobilizing now and the Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant will be prepared to take action on the day that this murderer is released back onto our streets,” said Cat Brooks, co-chair of the Onyx Organizing Committee, one of several organizations involved in the coalition.

In Los Angeles, activists will gather June 1, at the L.A. County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m., to protest Mehserle’s release and continue to press for justice for Oscar Grant, including the filing of federal Civil Rights charges against Mehserle.

The San Francisco office of the Justice Department opened an investigation into the case last summer but has not yet released any findings or made any statements on the case.

Illinois and the Korean War, June 1951

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on Illinois and the Korean War, June 1951
 
 
 The State of Illinois is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War by supplying information each month about the state’s involvement in the conflict. 
 
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Illinois Korean Memorial Association, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are sponsoring “Illinois Remembers the Forgotten War” along with media partners the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Broadcasters Association.  For more information, visit www.Illinois-History.gov or www.veterans.illinois.gov.
 
    Illinoisans killed in action in Korea, June 1951
By county of residence
(Source:  U.S. Department of Defense records)
 
Champaign       Cpl. Charles W. Wheatley, Army, June 20.
 
Clay            SFC Virgil H. Volk, Army, June 1.
 
Cook            1st Lt. Thomas A. Baldwin, Jr., Marines, June 19.
                PFC Henry L. Bruder, Marines, June 2.
                PFC Jack J. Buchl, Marines, June 6.
                Sgt. Richard D. Buns, Marines, June 8.
                Pvt. Andrew E. Connor, Jr., Army, June 7.
                Cpl. James S. Craig, Marines, June 19.
                1st Lt. Edward D. Fischer, Marines, June 16.
                Pvt. Albert P. Giguere, Army, June 17.
                PFC Theodore J. Herman, Army, June 25.
                Pvt. Gustavo Hernandez, Army, June 17.
                PFC Winfred J. Holzman, Army, June 3.
                PFC Robert J. Hunt, Marines, June 6.
                PFC John F. Knight, Army, June 7.
                Pvt. Horace McClennon, Army, June 2.
                Pvt. Andrew McLaughlin, Army, June 5.
                Pvt. Robert K. Miyamoto, Army, June 23.
                PFC James A. Montoya, Marines, June 10.
                Pvt. William L. Neil, Army, June 4.    
                Pvt. Vernon E. Schmiedl, Army, June 3.
                Cpl. Donald S. Sereika, Army, June 7.
                PFC Orville L. Simpson, Army, June 5.
                PFC Ralph S. Stackig, Jr., Army, June 20.
                Capt. Harold E. Willecke, Army, June 7.
 
DuPage  Sgt. Walter W. Hoeltje, Army, June 2.
 
Franklin        PFC Oren M. Odum, Army, June 11.
 
Fulton          PFC Robert E. Davis, Marines, June 19.
 
Henry           Cpl. James W. Bishop, Army, June 30.
                SFC Robert L. Evans, Army, June 30.
 
Kane            Pvt. Arnold E. Eggleston, Army, June 9.
                Pvt. Robert L. Schubbe, Army, June 3.
 
Kankakee        Pvt. Gerald J. Bertrand, Army, June 7.
                Cpl. Theodore J. Wright, Army, June 6.
 
Lake            PFC Primo A. Zanni, Army, June 2.
 
LaSalle MSG Edward Fristock, Marines, June 7.
 
Lee             Pvt. George E. Dempsey, Marines, June 14.
 
Macoupin        LTJG Paul L. Schaefer, Navy, June 20.
 
Madison PFC James R. Cawthon, Army, June 11.
                PFC David L. Hampton, Army, June 11.
 
Marshall        PFC John W. Lauf, Army, June 1.
 
Perry           Cpl. Jackie McDonnough, Army, June 8.
 
Rock Island     PFC Donald E. Rowe, Marines, June 13.
 
St. Clair       PFC Thessaloni Adams, Army, June 1.
 
Sangamon        Cpl. Clarence E. Gruber, Army, June 6.
 
Tazewell        Pvt. Oscar F. Roth, Army, June 27.
 
Vermilion       Pvt. Gerald W. Goodner, Army, June 6.
 
Winnebago       Cpl. Joseph A. DeSanti, Marines, June 2.
                PFC Robert C. Krueger, Marines, June 9.
 
Key events during the Korean War
June 1951
       
June 1951 began with United Nations and Communist forces holding onto territory that had been claimed at a high price after two massive and costly Communist offensives were beaten back by United Nations forces.   
United States Army and Marine units begin to move in early June from the Hwachon Reservoir area in South Korea to the vicinity of what was known as the “Punchbowl.”  This was an ancient volcanic crater about five miles wide that was rimmed by hills between 1,000 and 2,000 feet tall.  The Punchbowl was controlled by North Korean troops who had an ideal vantage point from which to observe and fire upon United Nations forces.  By the middle of June, the Marines had gained control of the Punchbowl’s northern ridgeline.  Fighting along the rest of the front raged on during June with U.S. troops engaged in small-scale but often fierce firefights with the enemy.    
On June 23, the U.S.S.R.’s United Nations delegate, Jacob Malik, proposed that both sides in the Korean War begin cease-fire talks.  On June 30, under orders from Washington, General Matthew Ridgway broadcast that the United Nations was willing to discuss an armistice.  
 
Illinois Korean War Memorial
 
The Illinois Korean War Memorial is located in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, the same cemetery that contains the Lincoln Tomb.  Oak Ridge is the nation’s second most visited burial ground behind only Arlington National Cemetery.
        Dedicated on June 16, 1996, the memorial consists of a 12-foot-tall bronze bell mounted on a granite base.  At the circumference of the base are four niches, each with a larger-than-life figure representing a branch of the armed services.  Inscribed on the base are the 1,754 names of Illinoisans killed in Korea.
        The Illinois Korean War Memorial is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and may be visited daily free of charge. 
 
Korean War Veterans Oral History Project
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
 
        The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s Oral History Program offers “Veterans Remember,” a collection of interviews with Illinois residents about their wartime experiences, at the Library’s website,  www.alplm.org/oral_history/home.html.  The interviews concern the experiences of Illinois veterans who fought in several conflicts, including the Korean War, as well as the experiences of those on the home front.  Visitors to the website can listen to or watch the interviews in their entirety.  Several of the interviews have transcripts, and most have still images as well.
Website visitors will need a computer capable of playing MP3 audio files or MPG compressed video files in order to listen to the interviews.  The transcripts and still images are also accessible.  Volunteers conducted and edited many of the interviews and developed the transcripts that accompany them.   
 
Korean War National Museum
 
        The Korean War National Museum (KWNM) celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War with a new Board of Directors, new professional staff, and a renewed focus on getting a world-class museum built now, in the lifetime of the Korean War veterans.  Recent news media reports outlined a proposal of the KWNM to obtain 7,000 square feet of prime space on Navy Pier in Chicago for a state-of-the-art, world-class museum where visitors could come to honor and learn about the service and sacrifices of the Americans, South Koreans and their UN Allies in the “forgotten victory.”  Those plans are continuing to be developed, and the KWNM hopes to be able to share some exciting news soon.  Meanwhile, the Denis J. Healy Freedom Center, located at 9 South Old State Capitol Plaza in Springfield, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free, but donations are accepted.  The KWNM welcomes donations of photographs, documents, diaries, and artifacts of those who served in the Korean War. To learn more about the KWNM, or to volunteer or donate, please visit www.kwnm.org or look for the Museum Facebook.
 
Korean War Booklet
 
        The Illinois Korean Memorial Association, an all-volunteer organization, has published a booklet, A Brief History of the Korean War, copies of which have been provided free of charge to public libraries, high schools and junior high schools in Illinois.  Individuals may obtain a copy by sending a $10 check or money order to:  Illinois Korean Memorial Association, P.O. Box 8554, Springfield, IL  62791. 
        Tax deductible donations are welcome.  One hundred percent of all donations go to the book project and to the upkeep of the Illinois Korean War Memorial. 

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

Posted by Admin On May - 14 - 2011 Comments Off on Desmin Borges joins Cheryl Lynn Bruce in cast of Freedom, NY, Teatro Vista’s 20th Anniversary Season Finale

2010 Jeff Award-winning Best Actor co-stars with Bruce and newcomer Paige Collins in Jennifer Barclay’s world premiere drama, 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

In the year following a brutal school shooting, Justice Mayflower keeps her 12-year-old granddaughter, Portia, nestled safe at home in their garden. But their little cocoon is ruptured when Gabriel, a vibrant young Mexican, moves in next door with skulls and a shovel. Rumors ripple throughout the town, Mayflower clings onto her authority, and, in the middle of the night, Gabriel teaches Portia how to face death and celebrate life through Dia de los Muertos..

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).  Production stage manager is Helen Lattyak.

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.

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