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Archive for January 6th, 2012

ICIRR praises White House action to keep families together

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

(From the ICIRR)                                                                                                                                                            

 

 Family Unity Waiver would simplify process for close relatives of U.S. Citizens to gain legal status

 

Today, the Obama Administration announced that it is proposing a regulatory change that would enable certain close relatives of US citizens who qualify for legal status to more easily process their applications.   The following is the statement of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) applauds the Obama Administration for this Family Unity Waiver proposal, a significant step to enable spouses, sons, and daughters of US citizens to gain legal status without needing to face long-term separation from their families. 

Under current procedures, these relatives in many cases need to pursue their applications in their native countries—but may trigger bars of up to 10 years if they leave the US.  It is possible for these immigrants to seek waivers to these bars based on hardship to the US citizen relatives.  However, applications can only be filed after the immigrants have departed—and if the waiver is denied, the immigrants are trapped outside the US away from their families.

“These families face a heart-breaking dilemma,” said ICIRR executive director Joshua Hoyt.  “Do the immigrants proceed with getting their permanent status but separate from their families for up to 10 years—or do they remain in the US with their families but remain vulnerable to immigration detention and deportation?”

The Family Unity Waiver would enable these immigrants to apply and get decisions for their applications for hardship waivers before they leave the US.  These immigrants would still need to go abroad to process their applications for residency.  However, if their waivers are approved, they will have the assurance that when they leave the US they can return without triggering the bar.  They will also not be stranded outside the US if their waiver applications are denied. 

“We thank the Obama Administration for moving forward on this significant change that will benefit many immigrant families,” Hoyt added.  “We also thank US Representative Luis Gutierrez for his key leadership role in advocating for these families.”

This change will help families like the Navas.  Emiterio Nava came to the US at age 13 in 1993.  He has a clean criminal record.  He works full-time to support himself, his US citizen wife Ana, and their children, including a newborn.  Ana has recently endured health issues that required major surgery.  The Navas own their own home, which was recently burglarized.  The burglary has left Ana traumatized and fearful of being alone if Emiterio leaves the US for the many months it will take to get the consulate to process his visa.  With this change, Emiterio will be able to seek a waiver based on Ana’s hardship and know for certain whether he will be able to safely proceed abroad to get his visa and return to his family.

While the Family Unity Waiver may eventually help families like the Navas, it does not by itself change any existing legal standards, and does not entitle anyone to legal status or create any new program to apply for one.  “Do NOT believe anyone who tells you that they can get you a green card now based on this announcement,” warned ICIRR policy director Fred Tsao.  “This announcement is only the first step in changing a complicated process—it does not change anything yet.”

Families who want more information or need referrals for legal or other help can call ICIRR’s Family Support Hotline, 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY (1-855-435-7693).  In addition, ICIRR will hold a training regarding the Family Unity Waiver at its Integration Summit on Saturday, February 4, 2012, at Malcolm X College; more details will be available at www.icirr.org.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit www.icirr.org.

Prosecutors secure 20-year sentence in attempted Lakeshore sex assault

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Prosecutors from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s North Side Community Justice have obtained a guilty plea for a Chicago man who attacked a woman in a public restroom on Chicago’s Lakeshore, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Joseph Mbatchou, 31, of Chicago, plead guilty when he appeared in court this morning for the 2010 attack and attempted sexual assault of the 38 year-old victim. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, shortly past noon on September 21st, the victim was walking along Chicago’s Lakeshore near Foster Avenue when she stopped to use a public washroom. Unbeknownst to the victim, Mbatchou had followed her into the restroom. He tapped her on her shoulder as she was washing her hands and punched her in the face as she turned around. He slammed her head into a wall and forced her on to a toilet. He began to unbuckle his belt when a samaritan heard the victim’s screams and came to her aid. The samaritan pulled Mbatchou off the victim who then punched him before he walked out of the bathroom. Several bystanders called 911 and followed the defendant until police could take him in to custody.

The victim suffered cuts and scrapes to her face and needed several stitches over one of her eyes.
Mbatchou was charged with the attack and today pled guilty to one count of attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault before receiving his sentence.

 “Anyone who could commit such a brazen attack in broad daylight is a clear danger to the community,” said Alvarez. ”This prosecution was a community effort from beginning to end.  It started with good samaritans coming to the victim’s aid and helping police quickly apprehend this defendant and continued with community members and advocates attending each court hearing over the last 15 months.”

Assistant State’s Attorneys assigned to the Community Justice Centers work closely on the prosecution and prevention of local crime.
The North Side Community Justice Center is located at 5333 N. Western Avenue. For more information on the services available call (773) 334-4066.

Better Business Bureau's Top Ten Scams of 2011

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

 

Chicago, IL Topping the list of scam activity is work-at-home schemes that account for over 45-percent of scam inquiries in the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois’ (BBB) region. This scam is especially tempting for those out of work or needing additional income. Coming in second with 22-percent of scam inquires is credit repair services. This scam attracts individuals with bad personal credit ratings.

 

The BBB’s top ten scams are ranked based on number of specific inquiries made by consumers to provide insight on the trending illegal and certainly deceptive business practices in 2011.

 

“In 2011, some consumers were trying to improve their financial situations in these challenging economic times,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “That opened the door to scammers who were ready to capitalize on this vulnerability.”

 

Bernas explained, “Being aware these scams exist is the most important way to avoid becoming a victim and losing money.”

 

The complete list of Top 10 Scams in 2011 from the BBB includes:

 

1. Work-At-Home schemes. There are certainly legitimate telecommuting jobs, but many work-from-home opportunities are scams. Promising convenient work always attracts attention; however, when the requirement is to send money for materials first, consumers should always be on guard. Do not purchase services or products from a firm that’s reluctant to answer your questions and be cautious of any company that offers an exceptionally high salary requiring few skills and little work. Check offers out thoroughly with the BBB at  www.bbb.org

 

2. Credit Repair Services with Advance Fees. Consumers with bad credit ratings are particularly vulnerable to this scam. Everything a credit-repair operation offers an individual can do personally at little or no cost. Credit repair operations cannot ask for money in advance and they cannot automatically remove legitimate negative reports from your credit history.

 

3. Advance Fee Lenders. Often these appear to be very professional operations with attractive websites and advertisements. However, it is illegal for a business to charge a fee prior to providing a loan. Typically, after wiring money to the scammer, the victim never receives the loan. These “lenders” will use fake physical addresses or the addresses of real companies that are victims of identity theft.

 

4. Foreign Lotteries. Any lottery from a foreign country is illegal in the United States. Stating a person can win, or is a winner already provides a strong incentive; however, people should never send money to obtain lottery money. Scammers using fictitious addresses will request you send “fees and taxes” to them through a wire service, they take the cash and never provide any winnings because there are no winners.

 

5. Ponzi/Pyramid Schemes. Both Ponzi and pyramid schemes are frauds because they pay returns to investors from their own money or the money paid by the newest investors, rather than from any actual profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. These scams collapse because payouts exceed investments, or because the legal authorities prosecute the organizers for sale of unregistered securities. Often the organizers simply disappear with funds sent to them.

 

6. Prize Promotions. There are several variations of this scam, but most include some aspect that requires people who are identified as “winners” to provide money or some type of personal information, such as a credit card or social security number, to verify being a winner. In the end, no prize is awarded and the personal information is then used to withdraw a victim’s money from accounts or for identity theft.

 

7. Office Supplies – Sale by Deceptive Telemarketing. This scam features fake invoices for office supplies being sent to a business, often for only a couple of hundred dollars. This relatively low amount makes it easier for company personnel to quickly sign off and feel it is not worth their time to check the invoice’s validity, which would be done if it was for a larger amount.

 

8. Paving, Painting, Home Improvement by “Traveling” Workers. Never pay upfront to a “traveling” contractor who just happens to be in the neighborhood, is doing work nearby, or has extra materials. The technique to get your money often requires you to pay for added materials. Once you pay the contractor, he disappears with the money and no work is ever done. Having access to your property also provide an opportunity for these people to check what valuables you may have for a future burglary or ID theft.

 

9. Sweepstakes. If you don’t remember entering a sweepstakes, be very suspicious about being declared a winner. If the prize provider wants you to send money or give your social security number to receive your prize, take no action. If you send money you will likely never receive a prize, or you will get a prize of lesser value than the money you’ve sent.

 

10. Online Drug & Prescription Services from Unapproved Foreign Locations. Buying any type of drug or product from a foreign location bypasses the protections that are part of the drug delivery system used by the medical community in the United States. You may risk your health and your life by using unapproved drugs from out-of-the-country locations.

 

“Remember, before giving any company credit or debit card information, the BBB recommends reviewing the business fully to avoid potential billing nightmares,” said Bernas. “As always, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

 

For more information on these top 10 scams, visit www.bbb.org

 

Vachel Lindsay Home to host Early African American Cinema Series January – March

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Features silent and sound movies from the 1920s; Lindsay was one of the nation’s first film critics

 

Springfield, IL – The home of one of America ’s first film critics will host a cinema series with showings of early African American films on January 21, February 4 and March 3.  

The Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site at 603 S. Fifth Street in Springfield will host the “Early African American Cinema Series:  Silent and Sound” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday in January, African American History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.  All showings will be on Saturdays – January 21, February 4 and March 3 – and all begin at 2 p.m.  Since seating is limited, free reservations must be made by calling (217) 524-0901. 

“People from all across the country visit the Vachel Lindsay Home specifically due to Lindsay’s writing about film, and we are thankful for the opportunity to partner with Dr. Angela Winand and the University of Illinois at Springfield to present this important program,” said the Lindsay Home ’s Jennie Battles.

Saturday, January 21

Within Our Gates (1920) This silent film was writer-director Oscar Micheaux’s second feature-length film, which was also produced and distributed by his company as a response to D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915).  Starring Evelyn Preer as Sylvia Landry, Flo Clements as Alma Prichard, James D. Ruffin as Conrad Drebert, and Jack Chenault as Larry Prichard, it is the story of a young schoolteacher’s struggle to keep a black Southern school from closing. (78 minutes.)

Saturday, February 4

Hallelujah! (1929) This MGM musical directed by King Vidor, starring Daniel L. Haynes, Victoria Spivey and Nina Mae McKinney, is the story of a sharecropper who becomes a famous preacher.  Filmed in Tennessee and Arkansas , Hallelujah! was one of the first all-black films produced by a major studio, intended for a general audience and considered so risky a venture by MGM that they required King Vidor to invest his own salary in the production. Vidor’s vision was to attempt to present a relatively non-stereotyped view of African American life, and he was nominated for a Best Director Oscar for the film.  In 2008, Hallelujah! was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” (90 minutes.) 

Saturday, March 3

The Scar of Shame (1927) This crime drama from the Colored Players Film Corporation uses the conventions of the genre to teach a moral lesson as an orphaned heroine searches for love and meaning in her life. The story by David Starkman, as directed by Frank Perugini, is melodramatic yet effective. The “all colored” cast is led by Harry Henderson, Lucia Lynn Moses, Norman Johnstone and Lawrence Chenault. (79 minutes.)

Following each screening, a discussion will be led by Dr. Angela Winand, assistant professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield , where she teaches courses on black women in film history, African American women’s biography and autobiography, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and on African Americans and Afro-Creoles in New Orleans history and culture.

Any portions of the series cancelled due to inclement weather will be presented on March 24.

Independent companies, both black-owned and white-owned, competed with mainstream Hollywood productions to serve new black movie-going audiences in urban areas during the decade of the 1920s, making acting careers possible for African American entertainers.  Black audiences wanted to see their lives and experiences reflected on screen truthfully and meaningfully, without exaggerated stereotypes of minstrelsy and vaudeville.  These films give us a glimpse of the kinds of stories told with the new technology of moving pictures. The Art of the Moving Picture (1915), arguably the first study of film as an art form, earned Vachel Lindsay the respect of film theorists and filmmakers.  The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which administers the Vachel Lindsay Home , is providing guests with the opportunity to view and discuss these significant early films in the historic home of one of our nation’s first film critics.

The Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site is the birthplace and longtime residence of poet, author and artist Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, 1879 – 1931.  It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for free public tours.    

NAM launches 2012 Women Immigrants Fellowship – Now taking applications

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

New America Media is launching its call for applications for its 2012 Immigration Fellowship, “Women on the Move,” a national fellowship program open to both ethnic media and mainstream media reporters, including bloggers and online journalists, to report on women immigrants.

Women are now the majority of immigrants, and in many ways immigration can be seen as a feminist issue. With funding support from The Atlantic Philanthropies, New America Media is offering a fellowship program for journalists across the country to cover immigrant women’s issues and report on the intersection of immigration and gender.

The fellowship includes a two-day training in Washington, D.C., on April 19-20, 2012; and the publication of an in-depth, substantive story (or series) focusing on the challenges and/or triumphs of immigrant women in the United States, before August 30, 2012.

Fellows will receive a $2,000 stipend following publication of the story in their media outlet and on New America Media.

For more information and to apply, go to: http://newamericamedia.org/2012-nam-women-immigrants-fellowship.php

Applications are due on Monday, January 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm Pacific Time. All application forms must be sent to womenimmigrants@newamericamedia.org. Please direct any inquires to Project Co-Director Elena Shore eshore@newamericamedia.org or 415-503-4170 x112. Applications may also be faxed to 415-503-0970.

Jesse White’s Disability Parking Crackdown results in more than 180 Citations statewide

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that the Secretary of State Police issued 187 citations during a statewide crack down on people who illegally park in disability parking spaces at local malls.  The enforcement kicked off on Black Friday, November 25th and continued through the end of December.

Sixty-five people were issued tickets for improper use of a disability parking space or parking in a disability space without a placard or license plate during the holiday season.  One hundred and twenty-two people were cited with misuse of a disability parking placard, or using someone else’s placard.  One hundred and sixteen placards were confiscated and a total of 5,696 placards were checked.

Secretary of State Police were enforcing the provisions of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities at 183 malls and stores statewide including the Chicago area, Rockford, Springfield, Carbondale, Marion, Peoria and Champaign.

“I’m pleased with the results of the disability parking enforcement efforts,” said White.  “As I’ve said before, our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the disability parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said. “Remember –if you don’t belong there — don’t park there.”

White is preparing to meet with his Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety to improve road safety in Illinois, save lives and consider increased penalties for those who disregard traffic laws.  The Committee will consider White’s recommendations to improve the state’s disability placard program by targeting fraud and abuse with strengthened penalties.

The fine for illegally using a placard or disability license plates without the authorized holder of the placard or disability license plates present is a maximum of $500.  In addition, violators can be subject to a 30-day administrative driver’s license suspension from the Secretary of State for the first offense.  The fine for parking in an accessible parking space without a parking placard or disability license plates can be as much as $350.

Secretary White urged people to report abuse of accessible parking spaces by calling 217-785-0309.  Callers should be prepared to report placard and license plate numbers as well as locations of vehicles.  People can also report abuse via the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com and complete the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities Abuse Complaint Form.

There are over 577,030 placards and approximately 82,050 disability license plates in Illinois.

Chicago Detours launches Photo Contest

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Winner and 12 Friends Experience a Private “Good Times Historic Bar Tour”

 

Chicago, IL – To celebrate the February launch of the “Good Times Historic Bar Tour,” Chicago Detours is running a creative photo contest. Grand Prize is an all-inclusive private “Good Times Historic Bar Tour,” a walking tour which takes place 95% indoors and shares hidden history around the Mag Mile area. The $1,000 value private tour package includes beer or wine at three stops, light appetizers, shared use of iPads, expert guide commentary, and a valuable gift packet.

The “Good Times Historic Bar Tour” visits the present and former spots of grand balls, Jazz Age shows, elite soirees, speakeasies, theater performances, and more, as Chicago Detours founder Amanda Scotese shares stories of both scandalous and wholesome forms of entertainment. Guests share iPads with historic photos and video clips.
 
Contestants must share a digital photograph that creativelyPhoto for the Photo Contest expresses their idea of a “good time” in Chicago. Image submissions accepted through an app on the Chicago Detours Facebook Page through 11:59pm on Jan. 21st.

The photo contest was launched earlier this week, and submissions thus far include pictures of sparkling lights, silouettes of hands in the air at a rock concert, and the flash mob “white dinner” in Daley Plaza. Contestants are encouraged to increase their chances of winning the grand prize by inviting friends to participate.
Other valuable prizes:
2nd Place: $240 Value: 2 tickets to Chicago Detours’ Jazz, Blues and Beyond tour by bus and a $100 gift certificate for Italian-inspired cuisine at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush.
3rd Place: $52 Value: 2 tickets to Chicago Detours’ signature Inside the Loop: Explore the Uenxpected walking tour of interior architecture and the underground Pedway network.
4th Place: $16 Value: Rick Kogan’s book published by Claremont Press: A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream
Photos will be judged on originality, composition, expressive quality, and visual appeal. Judges are C.J. Smith, Professional Photographer with Out of Chicago blog, and Wendy Bright, Photography Curator of Wendy’s City.This tour will be available to the public for the month of February as an antidote to winter cabin fever. Tour stops include the opulent late 19th-century mansion that is now Lawry’s Restaurant, and the recreational fantasy for the Shriners that is now the magnificent Intercontinental Hotel. Tour times for February 1-29 are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays 5:45pm-8:00pm. Cost is $29 for regular tickets, $27 for students and seniors. Guests must be 18 or over, and reservations are required. Tour starts inside Argo Tea at 435 N. Michigan Ave (Tribune Tower), and includes guide commentary, shared use of iPads with photos and video clips, light appetizers, and valuable gift packets. Guests are advised to bring cash for drinks.

This fun, cultural tour will always be available for private group tours. Chicago Detours can accommodate family reunions, birthday parties, and corporate group outings with the “Good Times Historic Bar Tour.” Interested parties can email amanda@chicagodetours.com or call 312.350.1131 for the private tours catalog.

Chicago Detours, after one year in business, has five-star ratings on both Yelp and TripAdvisor, and was voted one of Chicago’s Best Tours in the Chicago Reader Best of Chicago polls. Scotese has 8 years experience as a tour guide, and especially honed her skills while employed as a guide and guidebook researcher with Rick Steves, one of the nation’s most well-known travel authors and television personalities. She enriched her knowledge of architecture, urban studies, and art history through her M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Further information on Amanda Scotese and Chicago Detours is available on the website, www.chicagodetours.com.
 

State’s Attorney Alvarez announces first graduates of Alternative Prosecution Program

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has dismissed felony criminal charges against the first group of offenders who have successfully completed the requirements of a new alternative prosecution program aimed at giving first-time, non-violent offenders a second chance, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced recently.

Joined by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans, Alvarez announced that 32 adult offenders who participated in the State’s Attorney’s Deferred Prosecution Program appeared in court last month to have their felony charges formally dismissed as a result of the first-of-its-kind program to be implemented by prosecutors in Cook County.  The program was begun in joint cooperation with Judge Evans and Presiding Judge Paul Biebel, with the participation of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, the Cook County Pre-Trial Services Department and TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Special Clients).

Since it started last March, more than 370 offenders have been accepted into the Deferred Prosecution program.  The program is designed to enable non-violent offenders to avoid a felony conviction if they successfully complete an intensive 12-month pre-indictment diversion program.  The program requires the consent of the victim of the crime and participants must voluntarily enter the program and complete all mandatory requirements during the course of their participation.

“Our work as prosecutors does not just involve racking up convictions and putting offenders in jail,” said Alvarez. “It is clear that there are too many cases in our criminal justice system and I think that we can play an important role in implementing new alternative sentencing measures that not only bring just results, but also provide non-violent offenders with a second chance.”

To date, 94% of the participants admitted into the Deferred Prosecution Program have not been arrested for new criminal activity and 90% are in compliance with the expectations of the program.  The State’s Attorney’s Office has the sole discretion of determining which individuals are accepted into the program.  A defendant is not eligible for the program if they have been charged with a violent crime involving bodily harm, sexual conduct or possession of a firearm or a dangerous weapon. 

Among the crimes that are accepted in the program are retail theft, theft, forgery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, burglary, possession of cannabis and other specified narcotics charges.  Upon successful completion of the program, the felony charge will be dismissed by the State’s Attorney’s Office.  Eligible participants must be charged with a non-violent felony offense and cannot have a past conviction for any violent crimes.

Once an offender has been accepted into the Deferred Prosecution Program and screened by the State’s Attorney’s Office, Adult Probation Pre-Trial Services and TASC, the case is given a 90-day status date to monitor the progress of the offender.

During the 90-day period, an emphasis is placed on providing the offender with appropriate educational, vocational and treatment activities to improve the offenders chances for success.  If the defendant violates any conditions of the program or fails to complete the program in the specified time frame, the case will proceed to a felony courtroom where prosecution of the defendant proceeds as in all criminal cases.

These graduates successfully completed the program in 9 months, earlier than the allotted 12 month time frame. In addition to dismissing the felony charge, the State’s Attorney’s Office is also providing all program participants with information on how to have the charge permanently expunged from their record.

“This program is not designed to let anyone off the hook, but rather to hold the offender accountable with mandatory participation in intensive court services programming,” Alvarez said.  “If the defendant is willing to acknowledge their crime and successfully complete the terms of this program, they can avoid the permanent consequences and stigma of a felony conviction.”

The requirements of the program include:

~  Defendant must be employed or must obtain a job.  Those that are not employed must complete 96 hours of community service.

~  Where applicable, defendant must make restitution to the victim or property owner impacted by their crime.

~  Defendant must not possess drugs, firearms or weapons of get arrested while in the program.      

~  If they do not have a high school diploma, defendant must attend GED classes.

~  Where appropriate, offenders must participate in drug or alcohol treatment.

~  Offenders must attend all court dates and court-ordered appointments.

New Year's Resolution: Improve your Credit Score

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) As you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, consider taking the important step of improving your credit score, and in the long run, strengthening your financial well-being.

You’re not alone as so many Americans are dealing with the reality of maxed out credit card bills after a busy holiday gift-buying season on top a year when paying bills has gotten harder due to the nation’s prolonged weak economy.

To kick off the New Year, Dionne Perry, sales director of Financial Education Services, is offering a free seminar on improving your credit score between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, January 14 at the Women’s Professional Building, 3905 Georgia Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C. To reserve a seat, call her at 703-593-5488.

“More today than ever before our increasingly tight credit market demands a high credit score,” says Perry, who has been a licensed mortgage broker and certified loan-signing agent. “Most lenders use credit scores when deciding whether to approve consumers for loans or credit. It also determines your ability to get a car loan, the premium on your auto or homeowners insurance and even your ability to get a job.”

The higher your credit score (720 and above), the more likely it is that you can get loans, refinance your mortgage and in some cases, land a new job or get a promotion. A low credit score (below 720) is not the end of the world, Perry says, but you can do something about it. Of course, paying your bills on time is always essential, but that can be tough nowadays if you’ve had to take a cut in salary or been laid off.

“This is the time of year when you need to look at your credit score, and if it’s below 720, you need to do something about it,” Perry says. “Over the past year, I’ve been working with hundreds of individuals who didn’t know what to do about removing outdated, inaccurate and unverifiable information from their credit report that were lowering their scores. Millions of inaccurate items have been removed from consumers’ credit reports since the Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed. Because your financial health revolves around your credit score, it is important that the information your credit report contains be as accurate and up-to-date as possible.”

Perry is available for free consultation or to conduct credit repair seminars by contacting her by email at dionneperry37@yahoo.com or by phone at 703-593-5488. For more information about her expertise and other services she offers, go to www.rebuildmycredittoday.com.

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

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