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Archive for February 15th, 2012

Oh, what a loss: Whitney Houston dead at 48 – Gone too soon

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on Oh, what a loss: Whitney Houston dead at 48 – Gone too soon


A loss to the music world, family, friends and millions of fans


By Juanita Bratcher


Pop Superstar Whitney Houston had it all – she was a great artist, a great performer, an international entertainer, an icon in the music world, and had the gift of an eloquent, incredible VOICE – a voice heard and loved by many; a voice that has now been silenced, yet, will forever live on in the archives and annals of time.

The music world has lost a superstar, an icon. Houston was an international entertainer, crossing all ethnic lines and appealing to all ethnics.

Like so many others, I’m shocked!

I’m saddened!

Emotions run rampant. What a great loss to the music world…to her millions of fans.

What a powerful legacy! So much talent, so many powerful songs. Houston was a legend in her own time. What Houston weaved together was a showcase of rich music heritage. It was music with passion – “I Will Always Love You”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “I Learned From The Best”, and “One Moment In Time”.

More of her popular songs were:

“How Will I know”, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “Greatest Love of All”, “Saving All My Love For You”, “I Have Nothing”, “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)”, “I’m Every Woman” and numerous others.

She made hit song after hit song, scoring seven straight Number One hits in the 1980s.

Houston, pop music’s queen, died Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA hours prior to the Pre-Grammy celebration that was hosted by her mentor and Producer Clive Davis. She was expected to participate in the event.

Funeral Services will be held for Whitney on Saturday, at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey, where she started singing in her younger years. The church service is private and by invitation only. There will be no public memorial.

Reportedly, it will be weeks before toxicology tests are completed to establish cause of death. However, authorities said there were no indications of foul play.

I followed Whitney’s career, her music, her brilliance in recording. She had a rare gift – the gift of an incredible, eloquent voice – and sung with a passion, an explosion of energy. She was a phenomenal woman on stage during her many concerts and public appearances.

Prior to the release of my first book, “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor”, I was gung-ho in making sure that my book party opened with Houston’s song, “One Moment in Time”. I called my husband, Neal A. Bratcher, Sr., at work and asked him to find a record shop in the Loop area that had the record in stock. At the time it seemed so befitting to me as to what my thoughts were at the time. It played (softly, low) through most of the book party. 

Whitney had the following of all age groups and ethnics, including that of many young people. Nicholas Bouyer, 16, a Junior at an urban prep school in Chicago, an honor roll student and avid fan of Whitney, said he was “incredibly saddened by her sudden death. She was a legend, and will always be an unprecedented talent. Her music inspired many generations and her voice touched so many souls. She had a rare and refreshing talent. She will truly be missed, not only as an artist but as a woman who has set the bar for what it means to be a success in the African-American community.

“This sudden tragedy has taken many around the world by surprise”, Bouyer added. “My condolences go out to her family and friends who will now feel her absence. Whitney Houston has definitely gone too soon at the ripe age of 48, and it is my belief that she could have done so much more in the way of her illustrious career if she were here with us now.”

Bouyer’s comments certainly echo the sentiments of many others.

And while there were some dramatic negative moments in Whitney’s career, one can look at them as the pitfalls of show business and human frailty – which can happen to anyone.

As a fan of Houston, when problems arose, I looked forward to her comeback. And she did so with her album “I Look to You.” I continued to look forward to more new songs and music coming from the pop superstar.

But one thing’s for sure: Whitney is gone but she left a legacy we can all still enjoy – music that will continue to remain a part of the international music domain through replay of her songs and videos. Though her voice has been silenced, her music will still be a major incentive in the world of music as with superstars Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and a few others.

Juanita Bratcher is the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com, the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for more than 35 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics. 

Sec'y of State Jesse White awards $11.9 million to public libraries statewide

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on Sec'y of State Jesse White awards $11.9 million to public libraries statewide

SPRINGFIELD, IL —Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded grants totaling $11.9 million to 620 public libraries statewide. The awarded funds come from the Fiscal Year 2012 Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants.

“I am extremely proud of the outstanding service Illinois’ public libraries provide to our communities,” White said. “Our public libraries have never been more important to their patrons, serving almost 12 million people. I truly believe public libraries are cornerstones of our communities, and I am pleased to help them provide funding to serve the public.”

Per Capita Grant funding is authorized under Illinois library law and provides for expenses such as paying for materials, personnel, equipment, electronic access, telecommunications and technology. Equalization Aid Grants help certain public libraries which have a low library tax base ensure a minimum level of funding for library services.

Some of the valuable services public libraries provide include:

  • Free Internet access
  • Books, magazines, newspapers, CDs and DVDs
  • ·        Audiobooks and eBooks
  • Interlibrary loan service
  • Reference services
  • Social media tools
  • After school and summer programming for children
  • Book clubs
  • Multicultural programming and translation services
  • Assistance with genealogy
  • Arranging special programs and services for senior citizens
  • Voter registration
  • Meeting rooms for important community events

Extending the Payroll Tax Cut and the unemployment insurance "is the least of what we should be doing for working Americans”: President Barack Obama

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on Extending the Payroll Tax Cut and the unemployment insurance "is the least of what we should be doing for working Americans”: President Barack Obama

President Obama’s remarks on extending the Payroll Tax Cut

South Court Auditorium, February 14, 2012, 10:55 A.M. EST


Thank you, everybody. Thank you.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Well, good morning.  And let me start with a quick public service announcement for all the gentlemen out there:  Today is Valentine’s Day.  Do not forget.  I speak from experience here.  It is important that you remember this.  And go big — that’s my advice. 

Lately, I’ve been saying that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class in America, and for folks who want to be in the middle class.  We face a choice.  We can settle for a country where a few people do really, really well and everybody else struggles just to get by.  Or we can restore an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  And that second option is, I strongly believe, the kind of America that we want for our kids and our grandkids.  That’s who we are. That’s the America that we believe in.  That’s what we have to roll up our sleeves and get back to doing, is creating an America where everybody is doing their fair share, everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is engaging in fair play.

We’re still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do and a long way to go.  It’s going to take time to recover all the jobs that were lost when the recession was at its depth.  But the fight is beginning to turn our way. 

Over the past two years, our businesses have added over 3.7 million new jobs.  Our manufacturers are hiring more new workers to make more new things here in America than at any time since the 1990s.  So our economy is growing stronger.  And the last thing we need, the last thing we can afford to do, is to go back to the same policies that got us in this mess in the first place.  The last thing we need is for Washington to stand in the way of America’s comeback.
First and foremost, that means Washington shouldn’t hike taxes on working Americans right now.  That’s the wrong thing to do.  But that’s exactly what’s going to happen at the end of this month — in a couple of weeks — if Congress doesn’t do something about it.  The payroll tax cut we put in place last year will expire.  The typical American family will shell out nearly a thousand dollars more in taxes this year.  You’ll lose about $40 out of every paycheck if Congress does not act. 

And that can’t happen.  Not now.  And it doesn’t have to.  Congress needs to extend that tax cut — along with vital insurance lifelines for folks who’ve lost their jobs during this recession — and they need to do it now, without drama and without delay.  No ideological sideshows to gum up the works.  No self-inflicted wounds.  Just pass this middle-class tax cut.  Pass the extension of unemployment insurance.  Do it before it’s too late.  And I will sign it right away.

Now, the good news is over the last couple of days, we’ve seen some hopeful signs in Congress that they realize that they’ve got to get this done and you’re starting to hear voices talk about how can we go ahead and make this happen in a timely way on behalf of the American people.  That is good news.  But as you guys know, you can’t take anything for granted here in Washington until my signature is actually on it. 

So we’ve got to keep on making sure that the American people’s voices keep breaking through until this is absolutely, finally, completely done.  Until you see me sign this thing, you’ve got to keep on speaking up.  Until you see that photograph of me signing it at my desk — (laughter) — make sure it’s verified, certified.  If it’s not on the White House website, it hasn’t happened.  And I’m going to need to make sure that your voices are heard. 

Last December, when we had this same fight, your voices made all the difference.  We asked folks to tell what it was like — what it would be like if they lost $40 out of every one of their paychecks — because we wanted to make sure that people understood this is not just an abstract argument, this is concrete.  This makes a difference in the lives of folks all across the country in very important ways. 

Tens of thousands of working Americans flooded us with their stories, and some of them are here with me today.  And their feedback has been pretty unanimous.  Allowing this tax cut to expire would make people’s lives harder right now.  It would make their choices more difficult.  It would be $40 less for groceries to feed your kids; it would be $40 less for the medications you depend on; $40 less to cover bills and the rent; $40 less to take care of an elder parent, or to donate to a church or a charity.  And when gas prices are on the rise again — because as the economy strengthens, global demand for oil increases — and if we start seeing significant increases in gas prices, losing that $40 could not come at a worse time. 

One local entrepreneur named Thierry — where’s Thierry?  He’s right here.  He told us that $40 would cover the gas that gets him to his day job, or, alternatively, the Internet service his small business depends on.  So he’d have to start making a choice — do I fill up my gas tank to get to my work, or do I give up my entrepreneurial dream.  “Forty dollars,” he wrote, “means a heck of a lot.”  Means a heck of a lot.

And that’s what this debate is all about.  This is what’s at stake for millions of Americans.  This is why it matters to people — it matters a heck of a lot.  And I’m asking the American people to keep their stories coming.  Tell us what $40 means to you.  If you tweet it, use the hashtag “40dollars.” Call, tweet, write your congressmen, write your senators.  Tell them, do not let up until this thing gets done.  Don’t let taxes go up on 160 million working Americans.  Don’t let millions of Americans who are out there looking for work right now, and the economy is starting to improve but they don’t have a job yet — don’t leave them without a lifeline in terms of cutting off their unemployment insurance.

When a plane is finally lifting off the ground, you don’t ease up on the throttle.  You keep the throttle on full.  You keep going.  And our plane is up there, but we’re not at cruising altitude yet.

After all, extending this tax cut and the unemployment insurance is the least of what we should be doing for working Americans.  It’s just a start.  We need to rebuild an economy where middle-class folks can focus on more than just getting by and folks who want to get in the middle class have those ladders to get into the middle class.  We’ve got to rebuild an economy where the middle class thrives and more Americans have a chance to earn their way into it — an economy built to last.

Yesterday, I released a blueprint for how we get there.  It’s a blueprint for an economy built on new American manufacturing, and new American energy sources, and new skills and education for American workers, and a new focus on the values that are the bedrock of this country — values like fairness and responsibility for all and from all.  We’re going to be better off if we start building that economy right now.

And we can do it, because we’ve done it before.  We have a common challenge; it’s time for us to meet it with a common purpose, and to show a sense of seriousness that’s equal to the task. 

So on behalf of all the hardworking Americans who are standing behind me, I want to thank you for helping to tell your story, and tell the story of why this is so important.  And I just want everybody, all across the country, to keep the pressure so that we get this done.  It is going to make our economy stronger, and it’s going to put us in a position where we can start really rebuilding on behalf of not just this generation but future generations. 

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.

Desegregating Jackson, Mississippi schools

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on Desegregating Jackson, Mississippi schools

Author’s own memory offers testimony of court ordered formidable task

Shoals, AL (BlackNews.com) — Dr. Brandon Sparkman’s Called to Jackson, Mississippi: The Last Bastion of Segregation: a Historical Documentary, (published by iUniverse 2011), is a narrative of the excruciating execution of integration in Jackson schools. Written by the man who was superintendant of schools during that period, Sparkman’s narrative is clear, cogent, concise and intriguing.

The Civil Rights movement, from 1950 to 1980, witnessed the greatest conflict and turmoil America has known since the Civil War. The heart of this conflict centered on integration of public schools. Called to Jackson, Mississippi: The Last Bastion of Segregation is a three-year snapshot of this struggle that changed America forever.

Jackson, Mississippi, in 1970, was the last place Sparkman would have chosen to work, but an anonymous threatening letter lured him there. Sparkman recalls his quest to ensure a quality education for all students in Jackson, and to save the schools from complete chaos and destruction during the height of desegregation.

His book details how he regularly faced rebellious communities, hostile parents, disruptive students, defiant elected officials, unreasonable judges and the Ku Klux Klan. It describes how he confronted the most hated white man in Mississippi, how he courageously took the governor of the state to court while dismantling the last bastion of segregated schools. He accomplished this despite interference from his own assistants.

Presenting a firsthand account of an important pivotal moment in American history, Sparkman takes his readers behind-the-scenes of political maneuvering, clandestine meetings with adversaries, a face-to-face encounter with the Klan, and other personal and intriguing recollections.

The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at iUniverse.com (http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000469153/Called-to-Jackson-Mississippi-The-Last-Bastion-of-Segregation.aspx)

About the Author
Brandon Sparkman spent 35 years in public education serving as teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. He is also a writer, speaker, consultant and adjunct professor. Semi-retired, he and his wife, Anne, live in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He can be contacted at buster14@charter.net

Sparkman is the former owner and CEO of an educational publishing company, and holds more than 125 publications in various trade books, magazines and instructional training materials.

Copies may be purchased, or ordered, through local booksellers, on-line retailers, or the publisher. It is available in hardcover, soft cover and ebook editions.

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Lt. Governor Simon urges rural citizens to complete broadband survey

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on Lt. Governor Simon urges rural citizens to complete broadband survey


Online poll to identify needs, promote statewide access


CARBONDALE, IL – As a statewide voice for Southern Illinois, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is urging rural residents to participate in a new online survey about high-speed internet usage that launched today and will help create jobs, improve medical care and enhance educational opportunities.

Unlike past surveys that simply looked at internet access, this statewide poll will reach out to households, farmers, businesses and anchor institutions, such as community colleges and hospitals, to learn how they put broadband to use now and their needs moving forward.

The 20-minute survey includes questions about preferred internet devices, frequent web activities such as research, workforce training and buying or selling of goods, and the importance of broadband to job retention and expansion.

“Rural Illinoisans need affordable, high-speed internet access to land new employers, expand educational opportunities and improve health care,” said Simon, who chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council. “I encourage my neighbors in Southern Illinois to participate in this research project to ensure that we are a part of the state’s broadband strategy and can compete in the 21st century economy.”

The survey is being conducted by Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a Springfield nonprofit, enlisted by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as part of the High-Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Act of 2007 to guide local, state and federal policymakers. The results will be used to develop broadband plans in several categories: agriculture, energy and the environment, economic development, education, health care, public safety and government performance.

Illinois is already working with its federal and private sector partners to improve current broadband infrastructure. In his State of the State address, Governor Pat Quinn announced the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge, a $6 million statewide competition funded by the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. It will provide seed money to private and public organizations that expand broadband networks and connect at least 1,000 end-users to ultra-high speed Internet.

Simon said it is crucial for rural Illinoisans to compete in the challenge and complete the survey, as they represent the communities that can benefit most from high-speed internet. Nearly one-fifth of the land area in Illinois lacks any broadband access, and eight of the 10 counties with the least access to broadband in the state are in Southern Illinois. Many suffer from slow speeds.

Similar surveys have been conducted recently in Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. A 2010 North Carolina survey of 6,266 businesses showed that 17.5 percent of new jobs created over a 12-month period were attributed to the use of the internet and that 32 percent of those businesses consider access to mobile internet essential to their operations.  

Partnership for a Connected Illinois, also known as Broadband Illinois, is working with organizations such as the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University and state agencies such as DCEO and the Illinois State Board of Education to distribute the survey to internet users throughout the state.

“A major goal of this survey is to ensure that residents of rural Illinois will have access to better broadband,” said Drew Clark, executive director of Partnership for a Connected Illinois. “By developing a statewide strategy for better broadband, we’re creating a future that includes enhanced economic opportunities, increased availability of educational tools, and higher-quality health care for Illinois residents.”

The online survey is open to the public and can be accessed at www.broadbandillinois.org.

The Music Institute of Chicago's prestigious Academy for gifted pre-college musicians holds auditions April 20 and 22

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on The Music Institute of Chicago's prestigious Academy for gifted pre-college musicians holds auditions April 20 and 22

This is an opportunity for gifted pre-collegiate young musicians to train for professional careers

The Music Institute of Chicago announces auditions for the Academy, an elite training program for gifted pre-collegiate string players and pianists seeking professional careers, for the 2012–13 academic year. Auditions take place Friday, April 20, 4–8 p.m. and Sunday, April 22, noon–4 p.m. at the Music Institute’s Winnetka Campus, Thoresen Performance Center, 300 Green Bay Road.

Those auditioning will perform before a panel of adjudicators including MIC President and CEO Mark George, Academy Director James Setapen, and members of the Academy Artist Advisory. Additional auditions will take place in late August.

Guidelines for auditions are available here. For more information or to schedule an audition, contact Vice President of Administration Sue Polutnik at 847.905.1500, ext. 122.

About the Academy

Founded in 2006, the Music Institute of Chicago Academy has established itself as one of the most respected pre-collegiate conservatory programs in the United States. The Academy’s internationally recognized faculty, rigorous curriculum, and instructional model, as well as the program’s highly gifted students, have solidified its preeminent reputation. Students in this prestigious program have come from throughout the United States, as well as from Central and South America, Europe, Japan, China, and Korea. The very selective program focuses on providing an intensive and comprehensive musical education and significant performance opportunities for developing musicians. The carefully assembled faculty represents teachers and performers with a passion for developing young talent and an established reputation for student achievement.

Approximately 50 young musicians participate in all aspects of the curriculum, including private lessons with Academy artist faculty, a rigorous chamber music component, a stimulating chamber orchestra, and accelerated music theory classes. Pianists additionally study keyboard literature, skills, and improvisation in an intimate group setting. A hallmark of the Academy is the Enrichment program offering regular master classes, discussion panels, lectures, and workshops with internationally recognized visiting artists, masterful pedagogues, and professional experts in the field. The Academy introduces students to a vast music community of peer musicians, pedagogical styles, and the rigors of conservatory training. The nation’s most elite college and university music conservatories, including The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and the New England Conservatory, actively pursue graduates of the four-year program.

About the Music Institute of Chicago

The Music Institute of Chicago believes that music has the power to sustain and nourish the human spirit; therefore, our mission is to provide the foundation for lifelong engagement with music. As one of the three largest and most respected community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute offers musical excellence built on the strength of its distinguished faculty, commitment to quality, and breadth of programs and services. Founded in 1931 and one of the oldest community music schools in Illinois, the Music Institute is a member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Each year, the Music Institute’s world-class music teachers and arts therapists provide the highest quality arts education to more than 5,000 students of all ability levels, from birth to 101 years of age at campuses in Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Winnetka, and Downers Grove. The Music Institute also offers lessons and programs at the Steinway of Chicago store in Northbrook and early childhood and community engagement programs throughout the Chicago area and the North Shore. Nichols Concert Hall, an education and performance center in downtown Evanston, reaches approximately 14,000 people each year. The Music Institute’s community engagement and partnership programs reach an additional 6,500 Chicago Public School students annually. The Music Institute offers lessons, classes, and programs through four distinct areas: Community School, The Academy, Creative Arts Therapy (Institute for Therapy through the Arts), and Nichols Concert Hall.

Shirley Strawberry of "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" empowers women in business at the Third Annual Stiletto Woman in Business Awards

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on Shirley Strawberry of "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" empowers women in business at the Third Annual Stiletto Woman in Business Awards

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Shirley Strawberry, bestselling author of The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy (One World/Ballantine) and co-host of “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” empowers women in business at the third annual Stiletto Woman in Business Awards (SWIBA) in Atlanta, Georgia on March 17, 2012. The SWIBA Awards, designed to be part business conference, empowerment workshop, and networking social; is one of the first comprehensive award programs to honor everyday women in the solo and micro business sector on a national level.

Stiletto Woman Media has celebrated women business owners across United States and Canada for the past three years. They’ve honored history makers and personalities such as Olympian and acclaimed filmmaker Mary Mazzio and attorney Marshawn Evans of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice”. Simultaneously, pioneers such as Dr. Connie Mariano, the first military woman to become the White House physician to the President of the United States graced the cover of the organization’s signature publication, Stiletto Woman Magazine.

At the 2012 SWIBA Awards, keynote Shirley Strawberry is joined by six powerful women including Danielle Knox Ross, entrepreneur and host of Lifetime Television’s “The Balancing Act”; bestselling author and Atlanta trailblazer, Robyn Spizman of A Legendary Event, and special guest Stacie Francombe, creator and host of “Get Married” on WeTV and founder of Inspire Smart Success. Additionally, entrepreneurs Antoinette Sykes (Standing Tall Revolution), Kelly Lynn Adams (Kelly Lynn Adams Int’l), and Amy Barnes (Amy Barnes Healthy Living) bring balance to the day’s events by equipping guests with practical strategies to excel in business.

“The SWIBA Awards is a celebration designed to inspire, educate, and recognize women doing brilliant work in their solo and micro businesses,” said Wallace, founder and CEO. “At our inaugural event, we aim to offer a multi-level experience that’s beneficial for honorees and every woman looking to grow in business.”

The celebration will take place on March 17, 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Airport Hotel. Registration begins at 8:30am. Single tickets are $129.00 and discounted at $193.50 for a party of two. Tickets include continental breakfast, plated luncheon, award ceremony, keynote presentations, strategy sessions, pitch contest, swag bags, and invaluable networking. Shirley Strawberry will be conducting a book signing at this public event; therefore be sure to purchase tickets in advance, as no sales will be accepted at the door.

Register at www.swiba2012.eventbrite.com. Keep up to date on Twitter using #SWIBA hashtag. To get more information, visit www.stilettowoman.com.


Stiletto Woman Media (www.stilettowoman.com) is a leadership-centric personal and performance improvement company designed to empower women in business through coaching, mentoring, and training. Stiletto Woman Media is well-known for its signature businesswomen’s publication, Stiletto Woman Magazine. The magazine has been called meaningful, chic, and empowering; an independent publication that’s become a fast-growing source of inspiration and real talk for women entrepreneurs.

Photo Caption: Bookcover – The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy (One World/Ballantine 2011)

An Open Letter to Parents: Leave A Legacy of Health Not Just Wealth

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on An Open Letter to Parents: Leave A Legacy of Health Not Just Wealth


By Dr. Rani Whitfield


The current state of our economy has raised questions about whether today’s kids will be better or worse off than their parents. But, as a physician and father, I question whether they will be healthy enough to even live longer than their parents. Today, more physicians than ever are treating children for “adult” diseases like diabetes, hypertension and even heart disease. So, we should be equally concerned about the future of their health as we are about their wealth.    


This Black History Month and Heart Health Month, I decided to write an open letter to African American parents, urging you to start a family legacy of good health. The future of our children depends on it.


It’s no secret that heart disease, obesity and diabetes are taking a toll on our families and our communities at a rate higher than any other ethnic group in the country. And it is mostly preventable. As a father to a six-year-old, I know “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work when kids are watching and mimicking your every move. Therefore, as parents, we have to take the first steps toward building a healthy, active lifestyle for ourselves with hopes that our kids will “do as we do.”


Contrary to what you might think, taking those steps doesn’t mean cutting out the things you enjoy – doing that can actually lead to weight gain. To be honest, I’m not giving up my favorite foods and beverages, and neither should you. It’s really about making better decisions. If you use two sticks of butter in your famous peach cobbler, use one or a healthier butter substitute. If you use salt pork in collard greens, try smoked turkey instead. Or, if you love soda, try a low- or no-calorie version or drink from a smaller cup.


Another problem I often see in my practice is the idea that kids need to “clean their plate.” This was once a good rule, but now that we are feeding our children adult-sized portions, it can be dangerous. With my daughter, I allow her to decide when she’s full – clean plate or not – because kids are good at saying when they’ve had enough. So, next time you sit down to dinner, put a little less on your child’s plate and listen when they tell you they’re full. It might also help you rethink the amount on your plate, too.

Lastly, family time shouldn’t only be TV time. Get up and be active together. If your kids are jumping around with their Wii game, join them. If they’re playing tag in the backyard, be “it.” One thing I love to do with my daughter is dance because it’s good exercise and lets us be silly together. Leaving a legacy of good health doesn’t have to be serious and boring, so have fun with it.


This isn’t a letter of “shoulda, coulda, wouldas” because I understand food is a cultural and satisfying experience. Rather, it is a challenge for you to take inventory of your family’s health habits and make small adjustments that could bring about big changes. Studies show that just a small weight loss can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.


So this month and year round I’m taking a pledge, and I hope you will too: I pledge to leave my daughter with better health habits than the generation before her. I will leave her with less risk for heart disease, diabetes and obesity. I will be active for her and with her. And I will make decisions that set her on the path to good health for the rest of her life.


Good luck creating your family’s good health legacy for this generation and the next.


Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, known best as “Tha Hip Hop Doc,” is a board certified family physician with a private practice in Baton Rouge. He uses hip-hop music to educate teens and young adults on health issues and is a consultant for several organizations including The Coca-Cola Company. He can be reached at www.h2doc.com.


Illinois State Board of Education awards grants to bolster local Arts and Foreign Language Programs

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2012 Comments Off on Illinois State Board of Education awards grants to bolster local Arts and Foreign Language Programs

Seventeen districts receive grants totaling nearly $872,000 to improve student opportunities 


SPRINGFIELD, IL —The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Arts Council Wednesday announced they have awarded nearly $872,000 to 17 school districts across the state for Arts and Foreign Language (AFL) Assistance Grants. In addition to general state education funds, these competitive state grants aim to support arts and foreign language programming in the classroom.

“These grants help districts promote a well-rounded education through arts and foreign language programming,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “They are developing innovative programs that can be shared and perhaps replicated in other schools across the state.”

The AFL program, established in 2006, helps Illinois public school districts, public university laboratory schools, charter schools and area vocational schools with the development, maintenance, or enhancement of curricular programs in the Arts or Foreign Language. Funding is available for up to four years; one year of program planning and three years of program implementation.

A panel of experts in foreign language and the arts reviewed 39 new planning and implementation proposals before awarding 10 grants totaling $516,775. Another seven districts were awarded $355,123 in continued AFL implementation funding for Fiscal Year 2012. 

District plans range from using funds to establish a choral program to expanding a Chinese immersion program. The winning districts are listed below:



Amount Received


Planning Grants
Mundelein Consolidated High School District 120


World Language Curriculum
Meridian CUSD 223


K-12 Foreign language Curriculum
Harvard CUSD 50


Arts Program
Implementation Grants
Ina CSD 8


Fine Arts expansion
Lake Forest ESD 67


Mandarin immersion expansion
Cook County SD 130


Dramatic and Performing Arts Expansion
Sesser-Valier CUSD 196


High School Spanish
Schaumburg CCSD 54


Chinese Immersion Expansion
Fremont SD 79


Middle School Choral
CHSD 117 (Lake Villa)


New String Program
Continuing Implementation Projects
Bushnell Prairie City CUSD 170


High School Spanish
Consolidated SD 158 (Algonquin)


K-12 Music Education
Elmhurst CUD 205


World Language Program
Meridian CUSD 101


Visual and Performing Arts
Woodstock CUSD 200


Orchestra Program
Anna SD 37


Visual and Performing Arts
Peoria SD 150


World Drumming Curriculum


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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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