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Archive for September 5th, 2011

Madigan alerts consumers to recall of nine fuel gel products

Posted by Admin On September - 5 - 2011 Comments Off on Madigan alerts consumers to recall of nine fuel gel products

In Advance of Labor Day Weekend, Attorney General Urges Consumers to Cease Using ‘Over-the-Counter Napalm’ Products 


Chicago, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan heralded the voluntary recalls of pourable fuel gel products announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)  in response to reports of consumers in Illinois and across the country who suffered severe burn injuries, as well as two deaths, in accidents involving flaming fuel gel.

“Consumers should not use fuel gel products,” Attorney General Madigan said. “They amount to over-the-counter napalm and have already caused severe injuries and deaths.”

Last month, Attorney General Madigan called on the CPSC to issue a national recall of these products and a ban on the products’ sale. Madigan said the CPSC today announced the voluntary recalls with nine manufacturers and distributors, citing 65 incidents, including two deaths and 34 hospitalizations of consumers due to second- and third-degree burns.

The recall involves 2 million units of fuel gel packaged in one-quart plastic bottles and one-gallon plastic jugs sold since 2008 by BirdBrain Inc., Bond Manufacturing, Sunjel Company, Fuel Barons Inc., Lamplight Farms Inc., Luminosities Inc., Pacific Décor Ltd., Real Flame and Smart Solar USA. The CPSC also asked retailers to stop the sale of fuel gel and immediately remove the products from store shelves. Madigan urged quick action in advance of Labor Day weekend when consumers may be more likely to use these products at holiday parties and barbeques.

Fuel gel is usually sold in conjunction with a firepot or similar vessel for use as a decorative flame or outdoor light. Madigan said injuries have resulted when fuel gel spilled or was poured into a pot in attempt to light or re-light the flame, causing the product to explode into a fireball. When the gel contacts a person’s skin, it reacts similarly to napalm, making it nearly impossible to extinguish. Victims and witnesses indicate that traditional ways to put out a flame, such as dropping and rolling, don’t work. The flaming gel ignites other materials and does not stop burning.

The Attorney General’s Office has received accounts of three fuel gel-related accidents in Illinois. In the Chicago suburbs last year, a 3-year-old girl was critically injured when a firepot containing fuel gel manufactured by BirdBrain Inc. spilled, causing severe burns to her head and face. Last month, a Chicago man suffered serious and extensive injuries when fuel gel manufactured by BirdBrain exploded, causing burns to his face and arms. Madigan said a mother of four from downstate Illinois was also reportedly burned when a fuel gel product exploded at a backyard birthday party.

Madigan urged consumers to contact her office’s Product Recall Hotline for more information at (888) 414-7678, TTY (800) 964-3012 and (866) 310-8398 for Spanish speakers.

Consumers can report a dangerous product or a product-related injury to the CPSC by visiting SaferProducts.gov or calling its hotline at (800) 638-2772 or TTY at (800) 638-8270.


Pro Concealed Carry group targets pols for defeat

Posted by Admin On September - 5 - 2011 Comments Off on Pro Concealed Carry group targets pols for defeat


State Rep. Colvin: “The bill is flawed.”

State Rep. Davis: “I won’t be threatened.”


By Chinta Strausberg


It was a teachable moment at WVON where a pro-concealed carry group hosted a town hall meeting demanding state lawmakers pass the controversial bill or face defeat but where Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-33rd) said it is “flawed” and that the “devil is in the details.”

Pressing the emotional buttons of African Americans, the group showed a video that depicted racism in executing gun control laws where during the slave era blacks were legally banned from owning guns and laws passed to include race for buyers of weapons. The video also included scenes of slaves with lash marks on their backs and notices posted saying slaves had no right to own guns.

The pro-gun group even went so far as to accuse elected officials who voted against the pro-concealed carry bill (HB 148) of committing “treason.”

Hosted by The 2nd Amendment Collective in conjunction with several other pro-gun groups, they rented WVON’s Legacy Center, 1000 E. 87th St. for their town hall meeting. WVON’s Cliff Kelley, who favors the bill, was Masters of Ceremony.

They packed the room and were quite vocal in issuing veil threats of political revenge if the bill, which is shy six votes of passage, fails again during the October veto session.

While leaders of this pro pro-concealed carry group didn’t mince words on their legislative foes, they boldly put Colvin on the hot seat because of his continued opposition to the bill.

However, Colvin stood his ground shrugging off allegations by one irate man who loudly accused him and his peers who voted against the bill of committing “treason.”

Rep. Brandon W. Phelps (D-118TH) whom Colvin called “an honorable guy” sponsored the controversial HB 148. Phelps’ bill authorizes the county sheriff to issue permits to carry concealed firearms to those who are.  It also calls for mandatory firearm training developed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board that includes classroom instruction along with live firing exercises.

The legislation also preempts home rule, and it calls for additional hiring and equipment needed to effectively carry out the mandates once passed. The estimated cost to carry out these mandates is around $720,000.

Colvin said the General Assembly will go back to the veto session at the end of October and that it is Phelps’ call to bring the bill to the floor for a vote since he is the sponsor.

However, Colvin made it clear, “If he brings the same bill back, it is unlikely that a lot of people will change their positions on it,” said Colvin saying Phelps has been open to a lot of discussions.

But, referring to Shawn Gowder, vice president of The Chicago Firearms Safety Association, who said his group has compromised enough and will not tolerate any further watering down of the bill, Colvin said there has been some compromise.

“There has been some give on this issue with respect to that bill, but those of us in Cook County and the City of Chicago, from my perspective, are pretty much still opposed” to HB 148, said Colvin.

“I think this bill is flawed because it creates one overwhelming policy with a charge of governing the actions of 12.8 million people,” said Colvin. “I think we have to sometimes allow for the differences in geography in the state of Illinois. We do it in a lot of issues, but we chose not to do so on this bill.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to be putting more guns on the street when we pass this bill. Whether or not it’s good or bad is in the details of the bill,” said Colvin. Saying he’s been talking about this bill with his constituents to “get a real feel” for the consensus, Colvin those in his district oppose it.

“That does not mean they are right or wrong. It means they have an opinion,” Colvin said crediting the town hall “highly partisan” bur informative meeting. “The devil is always in the details. It’s not the bill that gets drafted, it’s how we implement policy.” Colvin said this issue is not going away.

Asked about promises that this group will run an opponent against him, Colvin said, “I have run five times, and the one thing I can promise you is that somebody will run against me…. This is one issue I have to deal with.”

Gerald Vernon, the Chicago spokesperson for IllinoisCarry.com, said, “In 1968, they banned the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition within the Chicago city limits. In 1982, they banned the possession of handguns within the city limits.

“In 1994, they banned the possession of assault rifles; therefore, by 2010, 42-years after the 1968 handgun ban, Chicago should have been substantially safer in 2010 than it was in 1968. Do statistics bear that out”? he asked.

But, Father Michael L. Pfleger, who attended a similar pro-conceal carry forum hosted by Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-8th) on the West Side, asked, “If the NRA and the gun pushers are serious about responsible gun ownership, why do they fight us trying to close the loop holes and title guns just like cars”?

Answering his own question, Pfleger added, “The answer is because the number one consumer of guns is the criminal and stopping easy access means making less money. Their motive has always been money at the cost of our children’s lives.”

When Gowder vowed to run a candidate against all legislators who vote against HB 148 like Chicago police officer Frederick Collins, a Republican who is running against Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st), when contacted Rep. Monique D. Davis (D-27th), who did not attend the meeting, said, “I will not be threatened.

“My vote will not be based upon a threat. There were 52 ‘no’ votes on that bill.” Davis wonders if this group will target all 52 lawmakers or “just the black ones.

“I have heard there are many Republicans and some Democrats who would love to get rid of senior Democrats in the General Assembly,” Davis said. “They want new people because new people will have to learn what’s going on. Those of us who are veterans understand how to develop legislation, how to get it passed and how to get appropriations” from the budget. I will not be threatened and my vote will not be based on threats.”

Expressing similar sentiments was Colvin who said, “This isn’t a debate that I’m afraid of….” He said he learned a lot from the forum and will continue to talk to his constituents on this issue.

But panelists Lori Meriweather, an African American who is a member of the Second Amendment Sisters, Rhonda Ezell, co-plaintiff with the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) in Ezell v. Chicago, the federal case that recently forced Chicago to permit firing ranges in the city, Gerald Vernon, the Chicago spokesman for The Chicago Firearms Safety Association and his president, Shawn Gowder, urged people to target anti-HB 148 legislators with political defeat.

In support of the bill was W. L. Lillard, who owns the International Detective and Protective Services, a statewide agency licensed since 1964, Star Planet TV and who taped the forum, said, “I want this bill to pass because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a part of the Constitution.

“Every time a citizen is arrested for a weapon the policeman is violating his Constitutional right.

“I’m for the Constitution. We all should all follow the law not just the citizens but also the officials of the state and the officials of the state are not following the law when they ordered their policemen to violate the law and arrest a person for carrying a weapon when the Constitution says you have a right to keep and bare arms,” said Lillard.

Agreeing was a truck driver, John Oleinski from Lindenhurst, Illinois. “We, as citizens, should have the right to pro-actively protect our selves and our families from violent criminals. We’re sick of the violent thugs out there who don’t give a damn about obeying the law. That’s why they’re called criminals,” said Oleinski.

Blair Garber, the NRA election coordinator for the Ninth Congressional District, said it’s important for this bill to pass because “in Springfield, they think there is no conceal carry in Illinois.

“There is conceal carry in Illinois. It’s only restricted to the class of criminals. It’s time for law abiding citizens actually were empowered to protect themselves outside their home as well as inside their homes because that’s where the majority of crimes happen,” said Garber.

Father Michael L. Pfleger, who attended a similar pro-conceal carry forum hosted by Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-8th) asked, “If the NRA and the gun pushers are serious about responsible gun ownership, why do they fight us trying to close the loop holes and title guns just like cars”?

Answering his own question, Pfleger added, “The answer is because the number one consumer of guns is the criminal and stopping easy access means making less money. Their motive has always been money at the cost of our children’s lives.”

Merriweather, a 41-year-old mother of three who is a health home care worker, who was stalked by a strange man and assaulted in her home, said the police didn’t respond fast enough. “You never know who is watching you,” she said. “I am a firm believer in defending myself because if I’m not here for my children, who will be”?

Ezell, also a recruiter, said she is looking for new members for her pro-gun groups and urged them to apply for a Firearm Owner’s Identification program and to carry it “like you do your voter registration card. This is not a license to kill anyone. It’s just a license to carry and protect yourself and have a right to bear arms…. It’s nothing that anyone grants you. It’s a Constitutional right,” said Ezell.

Gowder, who is an Army veteran and who brings his medal-laden uniform these forums, told of how a teenager accosted him for money in a gas station first asking for change. Gowder, who was driving his mini-van and had stopped to get some cigarettes, said the teen stood in front of his vehicle.

“If he reaches for something, he’s gone,” said Gowder who threatened to run the teenager down he said had a gun. “I saw him fumbling the gun.” Gowder said he stepped on the gas and backed out of the station. “As I put my car in drive, he started shooting. When I finally stopped and looked at my mini-van, I had seven holes in it. Thank God they only had 9 millimeters because if they had a .45 or a .357 I would not be here today….”

Looking at Colvin, Gowder said, “I’m so proud of brother Marlow Colvin showing up today because it takes a special man to come here today.” He also recognized former Rep. Coy Pugh who is now a lobbyist for the Illinois State Rifle Association.

Kelley, who normally agrees with Father Pfleger, said, “I think this bill should pass so that so people can protect themselves and it would be in keeping with the Constitutions.

“I think it is very difficult when you have 49 states who have a similar bill to suggest that Illinois can be different.” Kelley said for those who think passing this bill will result in more crime, they are wrong. “There’s no evidence to support that,” he said. Kelley said the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right.

However, Josephine Wade, owner of Josephine’s Hardtimes Cooking Restaurant, who sat in the back of the room, later told this writer, “I am not for this bill because I think that is what is wrong now. People have too much access to guns.”

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

Deadline for School Petitions extended to Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Posted by Admin On September - 5 - 2011 Comments Off on Deadline for School Petitions extended to Tuesday, September 6, 2011


By Chinta Strausberg


The deadline for faxing petitions in support of longer classroom time and academic year has been extended until Tuesday, September 6, 2011, Chicago Public School (CPS) Interfaith Director Rev. Reynaldo Kyles confirmed late last night.

The attached petition should be signed and faxed to Rev. Kyles’ new fax number: 773-553-1501.

In just four-days, more than 275,000 Chicago Public School students will return to the classroom.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS/CEO Jean Claude Brizard are calling for longer school days and a longer academic year for the students not just because it will produce smarter children but it is also for their own safety.

For the sake of the children, please fax the attached school petition to CPS Interfaith Director Rev. Renaldo Kyles’ office at this new fax number:

773-553-1501 no later than TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2011

**NOTE: If you did not receive a petition, please call Rev. Reynaldo Kyles at: 1-773-553-2573.

I, ___________________________________, do attest that I am in full support of lengthening the school day and school year, not next year, but right now.  Chicago’s public schools provide students with 15% less instructional time than the national average. Lengthening the school day is an absolute necessity that will provide more learning time dedicated to Math, Science, and Social Studies. An extended school day will also provide a safe environment for our children to engage in art, music, reading, and physical education. I enthusiastically support this much needed initiative.




Name of Church


Address of Church

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

Labor Day travel tips from the Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On September - 5 - 2011 Comments Off on Labor Day travel tips from the Better Business Bureau

(Message from the Better Business Bureau)                                        



Chicago, IL  – With Labor Day weekend upon us, and millions of drivers taking to the road, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises drivers to practice safe driving to avoid potential accidents.


AAA, a BBB Accredited Business, forecasts 31.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 2.4 percent decrease from the 32.3 million people who traveled one year ago.


The National Safety Council has released traffic fatality information for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, estimating across the country 400 traffic fatalities will occur and another 38,800 injuries requiring medical attention will be sustained from motor vehicle collisions.

“To avoid troubles on the road, it’s important for travelers to plan ahead,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Illinois. “We all look forward to celebrating with family and friends but remember to ensure safe, effective travel when planning your special events.”

The BBB provides the following safety tips when traveling:


Before You Go:

  • Create a car safety kit. Bad weather can lead to accidents, car troubles, long delays and road closures. Basics for the kit include a blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, radio, first aid kit, jumper cables, non-perishable foods like granola bars and nuts, bottled water, family medicine and emergency telephone numbers.
  • Take the car in for a checkup. If your car is due for a checkup, take it in before making that long haul. At the very least, check the car’s fluid levels, wipers and tire pressure. Check the condition of your tires and make sure they are properly inflated.
  • Know the weather. Check local websites for traveling information for states you may be traveling through to allow extra time for bad weather.
  • Charge your cell phone and make sure your GPS is running properly.
  • Be well rested before traveling. Tired drivers are a hazard to themselves, those in their vehicle and often fatal or devastating mistakes can be made to other drivers on the road.


On The Road:

  • Make sure everyone is properly buckled up and especially that children are in age appropriate safety seats, and are properly secured.
  • Don’t tailgate and remember the three-second rule when following vehicles. Don’t rely just on mirrors when changing lanes; turn around to check your blind spot.
  • Obey all traffic signals and speed limits. Law enforcement will be out to ensure everyone is obeying all speed limits and laws.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t text and drive. When behind the wheel, pull over if you have to do anything that would take your full concentration off of driving.
  • When you see an emergency vehicle’s lights flashing, slow down and pull over. If you want to help, it would be best to call 911 and report the accident. 
  • Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and allow for extra stops.
  • Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather.
  • Keep the BBB with you on the road. The BBB has a free app for iPhones on iTunes. Look for “bbbsearch” to receive this free service in the App Store. For those who do not have this app, visit www.bbb.org


Get The Most From Your Gas:


  • Stay within posted speed limits. Gas mileage decreases at speeds above 60 miles per hour.
  • Improve your mileage up to 5% by avoiding quick starts and stops.
  • Avoid unnecessary idling. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a wait.
  • Use overdrive gears or cruise control when appropriate to improve highway fuel economy.
  • Remove items from your trunk; an extra 100 pounds can reduce fuel economy by up to 2%.
  • Remove items on top of your car; wind resistance reduces fuel economy by 5%.

For more information on keeping yourself and others safe, visit www.bbb.org


Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Amplified includes six new works in five weeks

Posted by Admin On September - 5 - 2011 Comments Off on Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Amplified includes six new works in five weeks


Staged readings by Noah Haidle, Laura Jacqmin and Christopher Shinn announced


Chicago, IL – Goodman Theatre announces the full line-up for New Stages Amplified, a series of never-before-seen works in modestly-scaled developmental productions in the intimate Owen Theatre. New Stages Amplified is an expansion of the theater’s successful free new play festival New Stages, which has birthed 47 new plays in nine seasons—more than half of which have gone on to receive full productions at the Goodman and other venues across the country. New Stages Amplified includes Dartmoor Prison by Carlyle Brown, directed by Chay Yew; Chicago Boys by Kathleen Tolan, directed by Ann Filmer; and Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley, directed by Joanie Schultz (casting included on subsequent pages). In addition to these developmental productions, the Goodman presents three new plays in staged readings: Smokefall by Noah Haidle, directed by Dexter Bullard; Two Lakes, Two Rivers by Laura Jacqmin; and Teddy Ferrara by Christopher Shinn. Goodman audiences have the opportunity to engage in the new play development process during a series of Insider Access events, including an Artist Encounter with three of the New Stages Amplified playwrights, and PlayBacks following each performance. Tickets ($10 – $20) to Dartmoor Prison (October 13 – 23), Chicago Boys (October 27 – November 6) and Ask Aunt Susan (November 10 – 20) are on sale now. Tickets are also available by subscription: five-play Albert Theatre subscriptions start at $105; eight-play Albert and Owen Theatre subscriptions start at $168. Each Goodman subscriber sees one play as part of their subscription series; additional tickets are available at a discount. Staged readings of Smokefall (October 24), Two Lakes, Two Rivers (November 7) and Teddy Ferrara (November 14) are free to the public, though reservations are required. For tickets and reservations visit GoodmanTheatre.org.

“We’re thrilled to continue our commitment to supporting writers in the creation of ambitious new works for the stage,” said Tanya Palmer, the Goodman’s Director of New Play Development. “The plays featured in New Stages Amplified have all emerged out of our new play development programs: Carlyle Brown’s play Dartmoor Prison is a Goodman Theatre commission that received a reading as part of the 2009 New Stages Series; Chicago Boys was developed in our New Stages Series earlier this year; Ask Aunt Susan and Two Lakes, Two Rivers were both written during our inaugural Goodman Playwrights’ Unit; and Smokefall and Teddy Ferrara were each Goodman commissions. All six writers are tackling big, complex ideas and a unique theatrical language and this festival represents a critical next step in helping them to realize their visions.”

The Goodman’s New Stages Series and Playwrights’ Unit, a residency program for Chicago-based playwrights, are part of the Goodman’s ongoing initiatives to commission and develop new plays and cultivate emerging American writers. New Stages has provided the first look at nearly 50 new plays, many of which have gone on to receive worldpremiere productions at the Goodman—including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Others have been produced at theaters across the country, including Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater in New York, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Theatre Company and Geffen Playhouse.

All productions in New Stages Amplified are designed by Kevin Depinet (Sets), Rachel Healy (Costumes), Jesse Klug (Lights), Mikhail Fiksel (Sound) and Mike Tutaj (Projections, Ask Aunt Susan).

Tanya Palmer is the Director of New Play Development at Goodman Theatre, where she coordinates New Stages, the theater’s new play program, and has served as the production dramaturg on a number of plays including the world premieres of Vigils by Noah Haidle, Magnolia by Regina Taylor, The Long Red Road by Brett C. Leonard and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Prior to her arrival in Chicago, she served as the Director of New Play.

Development at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she led the reading and selection process for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. She is the co-editor, with Amy Wegener and Adrien-Alice Hansel, of four collections of Humana Festival plays, published by Smith & Kraus, as well as two collections of 10-minute plays published by Samuel French. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, she holds an MFA in playwriting from York University in Toronto.

New Stages Amplified is supported in part by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. New work development at the Goodman was instituted by the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for Artistic Development, and is supported in part by generous grants from the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Glasser and Rosenthal Family and an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award for Fish Men. The Davee Foundation is a Major Contributor to Research and Development for New Work; The Joyce Foundation provides principal support for Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives; and Prince Charitable Trusts is the leading contributor to the Goodman’s New Works Endowment Fund. The Sara Lee Foundation is the 2011/2012 Owen Season Sponsor.

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