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Archive for April 16th, 2012

Lt. Governor Simon to release road map to streamlined school districts

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Classrooms First could cut $1 billion in operation costs


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Classrooms First Commission is expected to release a set of draft recommendations Tuesday that would make it easier for school districts to consolidate and help them save up to $1 billion in operations costs by sharing services, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said today.

No districts would be forced to consolidate under the recommendations, but the state would require counties with small and declining school-age populations to study whether county-wide consolidation or sharing services would save money and boost learning.

Money recouped from what Simon calls “voluntary and virtual consolidations” would be redirected to public school classrooms so students and taxpayers would benefit from the efficiencies, according to the draft report.

“These recommendations are a road map to stronger, streamlined school districts,” said Simon, chair of the Classrooms First Commission. “There’s no one-size-fits-all way to achieve efficiency, but there are many ways to eliminate wasteful spending and free up money to improve learning in classrooms.

The Classrooms First Commission is a bi-partisan group of education stakeholders that was charged last fall by Governor Quinn and the General Assembly to reduce duplicative education spending and improve educational outcomes. It reviewed several paths and collected input from hundreds of Illinois educators and taxpayers through public hearings and an online survey.

The commission found that mass consolidation would cost state taxpayers nearly $4 billion up front under current law. A more cost-effective approach would be to eliminate or modify state regulations that discourage districts from voluntarily consolidating. At least 40 districts were in the process of or considering such realignments in the past year, according to the report.

“Forcing districts to merge is not realistic, but providing them the resources and tools to consolidate on a voluntary or virtual basis is well within reach.” said State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, a member of the Classrooms First Commission.

The draft recommendations to promote voluntary consolidation at little or no new cost to the state include:

· allowing compact but not contiguous districts to consolidate; currently districts must be compact and contiguous

· expanding the regional board of school trustees dissolution authority, by allowing local districts with under 750 enrollment to seek dissolution with or without a referendum; currently this is an option for districts serving communities with under 5,000 people

· piloting a new capital project list that targets school construction money at districts willing to consolidate and that are in need of new buildings, additions, and/or building renovations

· phasing in lower local tax rates for new unit districts; currently, elementary and high school districts become a lower, unit taxing district immediately after consolidating

·  requiring counties with small and declining school-age populations to conduct efficiency studies that could lead to shared services, district mergers, or even county-wide districts; 12 counties currently have county-wide districts and another 16 counties have small and declining student populations, according to state and federal population projections through 2030

“These changes will help to remove red tape so districts can more efficiently provide students with a quality education whether that be through consolidation or shared services,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch.

The draft recommendations also include two legislative proposals that would promote shared services in areas such as technology, transportation and food service across districts.

The first proposal would create a revolving fund to provide short-term, low-interest loans to seed cooperative service agreements or conduct efficiency studies. The loans would be repaid with the money gained through resulting streamlining.

A second proposal would authorize the Illinois State Board of Education to provide a web-based resource management program to districts to help them identify potential savings in five major spending areas: instruction, transportation, food services, administration and facility maintenance. A pilot program of a similar service in Ohio resulted in at least a 5 percent operational savings at participating districts. At that rate, Illinois districts could realize a net savings of almost $1 billion.

“Right now districts are required to complete many annual reports, but they simply end up in a black hole and are never linked,” said Michael Jacoby, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials and member of the commission. “This new service would create a business analytics tools for districts to compare their data, learn best practices and make operational changes to initiate new efficiencies. This could free up significant resources for instruction and offset the funding losses all districts are currently experiencing.”

The Governor’s office would establish a resource repository for the shared service agreements so districts could have samples to follow. It could be patterned after a shared service repository for municipalities in New Jersey.

“Shared services offer school districts the opportunity to provide more diverse curriculum options and expand educational opportunity, while streamlining delivery and saving money,” said Jason Leahy, executive director of the Illinois Principals Association and a member of the Classrooms First Commission. “It is my hope that the Classrooms First Commission recommendations will point districts towards the tools and resources they need to accomplish this goal.”

A statewide health insurance pool and a state-run online professional development tool for various health/safety trainings are additional options for savings and streamlining, the report states.

“Through these recommendations, we hope to eliminate barriers to efficiency and provide school districts the tools they need to streamline operations and put resources into the classroom,” said Paul Swanstrom, executive director of the High School District Organization of Illinois and a member of the Classrooms First Commission. “I look forward to working with Lt. Governor Simon and my fellow commission members as we gather public input and work to finalize these recommendations.”

The Classrooms First Commission is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Springfield to vote on the release of the draft recommendations, and public hearings are set to begin Thursday in Champaign. Comments will also be collected at www.ltgov.illinois.gov.

Simon said public input will be incorporated into the final recommendations. A final report will be delivered to the Governor and General Assembly by July 1.


Dr. Conrad Worrill, coalitional leaders seek meeting with Mayor Emanuel to get Washington’s name visible on Loop library

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 1 COMMENT


By Chinta Strausberg


The name of the late Mayor Harold Washington must be carved and highly visible on the Loop library named in his honor, Dr. Conrad Worrill, director and professor of the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, said Saturday.

Interviewed at Josephine’s Hardtime Cooking Restaurant, 436 E. 79th St., Worrill, who Thursday had appeared on WVON’s Cliff Kelley show along with noted writer Lerone Bennet, said it’s time for a group of leaders to meet with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over this issue.

 “The African American collective leadership and coalitional forces who understand the importance of maintaining the legacy of the late Honorable Mayor Harold Washington should come together and seek and demand a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to address the issue of placing signage on the Harold Washington library that will illuminate his name….”

Worrill also embraces the We Can, Inc, Committee, headed by Florence Cox, demand that the Chicago Public School (CPS) obey the 1991 state law then passed by the late Senator William “Bill” Shaw which states the CPS must teach African American history to all grade and high school students. 

Cox and other member of the We Can, Inc. Committee recently met with CPS personnel but received no commitment that African American history will be taught to students.

“We need a resurgency and a revitalization of a movement that will bring forth all the tactics and strengths necessary” to win this battle to ensure all students know the contributions of Africans and African Americans in all subjects.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Alvin J. Boutte: an astute banker, civil rights leader and Chicago treasure, dies at age 82

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On April - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Boutte was success you could bank on

Boutte died at his home in Hazel Crest, IL, April 1. He was 82 years old.

By Juanita Bratcher

Alvin J. Boutte was an astute banker. He was knowledgeable about the banking industry and shared much of that banking and financial expertise in an extensive interview with CopyLine Magazine in 1991.

It was an extraordinary interview with Boutte, entitled, Alvin J. Boutte: Success you can ‘Bank’ on. Following is a reprint of that article from CopyLine’s 1991 archives:

It’s one thing to write your own success story, but it’s a strike of ingenuity to carve out success stories for others.

Alvin J. Boutte, president and chief executive officer of Indecorp, Inc., and chairman and chief executive of Independence Bank of Chicago and Drexel National Bank, has been carving out success stories for entrepreneurs for more than 20 years. And, he relishes every minute of it!

Boutte has made his mark in both the banking and business communities (was involved in other business endeavors), and has an unquestionable track record of success.

“I’ve been at this for a long time,” Boutte said. “I like what I’m doing. I know what it means to people. So I have a great deal of personal satisfaction from it.”

When Boutte and four other investors set-out to start Independence Bank more than 20 years ago, they started with $800,000 in capital. The bank now has 40,000 customers and over $21 million in capital. Three of the five original investors are deceased. The remaining original investor is businessman George Johnson.

And although the country is in a recession, Boutte said for 40 years, since World War II, “Our country has had an unprecedented economic growth.”

This economic growth, he said, was caused because most of the countries in the world were destroyed by the war – all of Europe, all of the major powers in Asia, literally all of the western democracies except this one, including England.

“Their infrastructures were destroyed, and as a result of that, we had a huge advantage for 40 years…it began to slow down about eight to 10 years ago when these other economic systems like western Europe, especially Germany…Japan, which had been devastated by the war, rebuilt their infrastructures and economic systems and began competing in the world markets.”

And due to this competition, Boutte added, “this country had a much slower rate of growth, which is understandable in these cases. But a recession in this country is not like traditional recessions in the world that we’ve known for centuries. Recessions in economic systems have lasted sometimes for a generation. In this case, our recessions – which we have had four or five – usually last anywhere from a year to three years. The longest we’ve ever had a recession was three years, of course excluding the great depression in1929, which was a different act of reasons altogether.”

Further, Boutte said because other economic systems have “begun to catch up with us, begun to export more and reduce our markets, we’ve had much slower growth. This country (America) even today is still the most powerful economic force in the world, including Japan and Germany. And it has produced a standard of living unparalleled in history.”

He sees the recession as being temporary. “As a matter of fact, we see evidence now that we’re coming out of that. Slow economic growth means a reduction in value to any banking system. We have a banking system which is tied to money supply. It has affected the banking industry, particularly the larger banks. As the recession gets worse the banking system normally would get worse; and that is what has happened here.”

Some years ago, banks began charging fees for various services provided that were unheard of before.

“You want to know who is really responsible for this (fees)?” Boutte asked. “I think President (Jimmy) Carter made a critical error when he deregulated the banking industry. I testified against this. He insisted that we pay interest on certain deposits.

“We used to have a maximum interest that you could charge. Under the new law, under President Carter, that was eliminated.

“When Carter made this decision, which in my judgment it was a very poor decision, especially for poor people. What he said is, you must pay people that have a checking account – which we do – but the minimum (balance) doesn’t help our people.

“In other words, you must keep a minimum of $1500 in your account. Well, these people have a checking account to pay their rent, so they get nothing out of this. In terms of the deregulation of banks, I think the Carter Administration…and Carter who is a very decent man and a very liberal man, made a very ignorant, dumb error.”

CopyLine: Do you foresee bankers pushing to have deregulation of the banking industry removed? Or, is it a small matter and not that significant?

Boutte: It’s a very minor matter, really, it’s not significant. I think there are several things that should be deregulated by government. However, the three industries which have been deregulated have been devastated. We now know after 12 years what the results are. I think the airline industry has been devastated by deregulation. I think the trucking industry has been devastated by deregulation. And I think the banking industry has also been hurt by it.

CopyLine: Why has Independence Bank been so successful?

Boutte: I think one of the reasons why we are so successful is that we have the first and second generations of highly educated blacks working all over our company. These are Blacks – some of them – the first Blacks in their families to go to college and get MBA degrees. These are the people who are driving all of this…very bright people. We’ve got the best in the black community. We’ve got the cream of the crop…people from Harvard, Yale, and the University of Chicago Graduate School. We have the advantage of getting the very best and very brightest. Most of the young people that I recruit, or we recruit, know that if they’re really going to have upward mobility in their careers, it is with us. The only Black presidents of banks in the state are our guys. We don’t have a problem retaining people. People who work here now have been working here for many years.

CopyLine: What are your thoughts on the S&L scandal?

Boutte: Banks and S&L’s missions are not the same. S&Ls make mortgages to people. We do all kinds of things. However, I think it’s a tragedy (scandal). It’s unfortunate that it happened. One of the ways to avert that is to be more critical of the people who own and run these things. In S&Ls, anybody and his brother could do that. In the banking industry you have to be approved by the Federal Reserve Board. They check you out and make sure that you have the funds, to make sure that you have the reputation, that you have the expertise.

We are in the business of causing upward mobility and increasing the wealth of Black Americans. That’s what we do. And, we do it on a very large scale, not a small scale. The reason why so many Blacks have McDonald’s franchises is because we did this. But people don’t know this.

CopyLine: How much is the average McDonald’s franchise?

Boutte: The average McDonald’s franchise is a loan of about anywhere from $400,000 to $600,000. We’ve got them all over the country. So our job is to funnel funds in to people who know what they’re doing and who have a project which has merit. Reggio’s Pizza (owner), he’s getting ready to build a huge factory that makes frozen pizzas with a market all over the country. We are in the business of causing economic development to happen on a much, much larger scale. That’s what we’ve been doing for many years.

CopyLine: Aside from Reggio’s, is there any other black firm here in the city that perhaps your bank gave a loan to and they made it big?

Boutte: Let’s take Cirilo McSween (owns five McDonald’s), he started with one. People criticized me for lending in the Loop. He literally owns every McDonald’s in the Loop, and I financed every one of them. He’s been a great success.

CopyLine: So, there were a lot of success stories?

Boutte: Many. Many of them. Hundreds of them.

CopyLine: There are many people in the city who say that the business community is not out-front. They would like to see business persons run for public offices. Are businessmen so content in what they do that they have no interest in the political arena?

Boutte: That’s a great fallacy, and it is one of the weaknesses of our people. Everybody ought not to be a politician. A society of people is a conglomeration of many kinds of people. We have our role to play – we play it. We have our job to do and it shouldn’t mix. If you want to be a politician, fine, but we all have a role to play in this society. We need more people that can create wealth, who’s bright enough that can not only make their own lives for their wives, their children and their families, but can create opportunities for other people. I am very content in what I am. I’ve never had any aspirations to be (a politician). The public things I do, I do it as a part of a civic responsibility…you have to understand that there’re only a few people who are doing what I am doing. Suppose I decided to leave, who could do this? The banks here are not ordinary banks. I mean, I don’t know if the public understands that. We’re the only black business that’s not only better than the best in the black community, we’re better than our white counterparts, which no black business can say that – no line of black business. We beat the hell out of other banks – white ones in the suburbs and everywhere else. Our numbers are better, that’s the only way I can explain it.

CopyLine: Why are your numbers better?

Boutte: Because we work harder, we have better people, and we have more loyalty among our people…that means an awful lot.

CopyLine: During your time in the banking business, what has been the greatest disappointment? What has been the high point?

Boutte: I have not had a major disappointment. I think I’m disappointed that more of our young people are not interested in business. They seem to go to college to do everything but that. It’s beyond me as to why. I just don’t understand why. Many of the colleges still are teaching the same thing they taught years and years ago – teaching them how to be a teacher, how to be a social service worker – and that’s reflective in the reproduction of capital. I think if I had a disappointment, and this one isn’t that great, is that we have not stressed enough the importance of a business career, it’s the only way you can create wealth- significant wealth, not just for yourself but for many, many other people. We’re much more intoned to politics and to social services – things that are important – but we need men and women who understand the dynamics of capital and the interrelationships of them, that can generate wealth. And we don’t put any effort into that, not enough.

The greatest joy I’ve gotten, is watching this marvelous, educated second generation which is on board now bring their valuable skills and intelligence that they have been trained for so many years.

CopyLine: What kind of plan is needed in the black community in order to bring about economic empowerment?

Boutte: I think the process is going on. The problem is, it’s happening and nobody realizes it or they don’t understand it. You got to understand that when I started there wasn’t a single Black automobile dealership in America. There wasn’t a single black McDonald’s owner in America. There wasn’t a single black bank in America. All of these businesses that we are now in, we’ve only been like this for 25 years. It takes a long time for it to regenerate itself.

The publishing business, now you don’t have just John Johnson and Ebony, you’ve got Essence, you’ve got nine significant black publications today in 20 years. Well that doesn’t sound like a lot, but that is a lot. You’ve got an upward mobility; that’s significant in the black community. Of course you have an underclass, and of course that has to be addressed, and of course they need help, but clearly, I think the latest census will show that – the significance of race. Look at the Blacks who are actually now living in the suburbs. The process is going on every day; these are victories and defeats, but there are more victories than defeats.

I wish it can be done in two years, but economic development isn’t something that can be done overnight. I am the guy that helped to bring cable to Chicago. We own part of the systems here, not just here, but all over the country. I remember when Blacks owned no radio stations, they owned no television stations, they owned no cable companies, and they owned nothing! They had nothing! Well that isn’t true today. Tom Lewis, who used to work for me, owns four or five radio stations around the country. You have Blacks who own TV stations, the Seaway Group started that 15 years ago…the process is going on, a very difficult one, but it is causing upward mobility. We want to work with intelligent, bright people who know what they are doing. And if they do, they will have our support.

Between the black banks in this city, you only elected one black mayor (Harold Washington), and he came here first. I’m the guy that gave him his first $100,000. Everybody in the city knows that. We had the meetings right next door in this room every night until he was elected.

Our job is to help. Not to help making speeches on a corner, but to help by using my creative intelligence; not just me, these creative, young, bright people who know what they’re doing; who understand the dynamics of business and can make a difference. They are all over this place, on every floor. Not like us who had a hard time being out there. Of course I went to college, but I don’t have the kind of education they have. This is the cream of the black community. That’s what gives me the most good feelings. And, frankly, they are going to do a better job than we did. The next group that comes in here, look what they’ll have to work with. Look at what I had to work with. They will take this to a conclusion and to a level that is unmatched by me or anybody that was in my generation. The next guys are going to do a hell of a lot more than me.

Brief Highlights of Boutte’s career

Boutte was born in Lake Charles, La., but moved to Chicago

Earned a degree in pharmacy from Xavier University

Boutte owned and operated a Chicago drugstore and later expanded into a chain

Alvin J. Boutte, Sr. was founder and CEO of Independence Bank, 79th and Cottage Grove, a bank he founded with Businessman George Johnson and three other investors. It became the largest minority-owned bank in the nation.

A Civil Rights leader

In the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy frequently visited Boutte at his Chatham home. He raised money for the Southern Christian leadership Conference (SCLC)

A supporter of Operation PUSH

Acquired Drexel National Bank

Served on the Chicago Board of Education

Funeral Services for Mr. Boutte were held April 14, 2012. He is survived by wife, Barbara; daughters, Janice Boutte and Jeanette Simpson; sons, Al, Jr. and Gregory; and four grandchildren.

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.

Illinois State Board of Education announces meeting on Wednesday, April 18

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education has announced the following meeting for April 18 via video-conference.  All State Board of Education meetings listed on this agenda will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons planning to attend who need special accommodations should contact the Board office no later than the date prior to the meeting. Contact the Superintendent’s office at the State Board of Education, Phone: 217-782-2221; TTY/TDD: 217-782-1900; Fax: 217-785-3972. 

Chairman Chico may call for a break in the meeting as necessary in order for the Board to go into closed session. 

State Board of Education Meeting via video conference

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 

10:30 a.m.

 Chicago Location: ISBE Video Conference Room, James R. Thompson Center, 14th Floor

      100 W. Randolph, Chicago

 Springfield Location: ISBE Video Conference Room, 3rd Floor

100 N. First Street, Springfield

This meeting will also be audio cast on the Internet at:  www.isbe.net


    I.Roll Call/Pledge of Allegiance

A.   Consideration of and Possible Actions on Any Requests for Participation in Meeting by Other Means

II.Public Participation

III.Resolutions & Recognition 

A. Digital Safety Contest Award Winners

IV.        *Superintendent’s Report – Consent Agenda

All action consideration items listed with an asterisk (*) are considered to be routine and will be enacted in one motion and vote.  Any board member who wishes separate discussion on any item listed on the consent agenda may remove that item from the consent agenda, in which event, the item will be considered in its normal sequence. 


A.   *Approval of Minutes:  March 21, 2012

B.   *Rules for Adoption

1.   Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision)

2.   Part 575 (School Technology Program)

C.   *Contracts and Grants Over $1 Million

1.   Renewal of Intergovernmental Agreement:  World-Class Innovations in Developing Assessment (WIDA) Consortium for the ACCESS Assessment for English Language Learners (ELLs)

2.   Request to Release RFSP for 21st CCLC Technical Assistance

3.   Contract Renewal:  Illinois State University for Illinois National Board Professional Preparation and Support System

4.   Contract Renewal:  Harrisburg Project

5.   Contract Renewal:  Illinois Resource Center for ELL Technical Assistance and Professional Development

6.   Contract Renewal:  Illinois Migrant Council for Technical Assistance and Professional Development

7.   Continuation Grant Agreement with the University of Illinois for Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map (IECAM)

8.   Grant Agreement Renewal with the University of Illinois for Illinois Early Learning Project

9.   RFP for Grant Agreement for Illinois Early Learning Project.

10.  Amendment to FY 12 Intergovernmental Agreement with Northern Illinois University for Illinois Interactive Report Card (IIRC)

11.  FY 13 Intergovernmental Agreement with Northern Illinois University for Illinois Interactive Report Card (IIRC)

12.  Request to Release RFSP for Local Assessment Support Management Entity

13.  Contract Award for Illinois Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS)

D.   *Ratification of Policy for Score Setting Panels for State Testing


End of Consent Agenda


E.   2012 and 2013 Board Meeting Dates

F.    Accept Special Education Expenditure & Receipt Report

G.   District Oversight – East St. Louis (Financial Oversight Panel) (as needed)

         V.        Discussion Items

A.    Legislative Update

B.    Budget Update (Linda Mitchell)

C.    District Oversight (verbal update) (Superintendent Koch)

D.    Other Items for Discussion

VI.    Announcements

A.    IBHE Liaison Report (Dr. Proshanta Nandi)

B.    P-20 Council Liaison Report (Joyce Karon)

C.    Superintendent’s/Senior Staff Announcements

D.    Chairman’s Report

E.    Member Reports

VII.  Information Items

A.   ISBE Fiscal & Administrative Monthly Reports (available online at http://isbe.net/board/fiscal_admin_rep.htm)

VIII.    Adjourn


Only 12% of Black Males are Proficient in Reading!

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 1 COMMENT


By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu


 Chicago, IL – Why is it so difficult to teach Black boys how to read? Why are some governors building more prisons based on 4th grade reading scores? Is illiteracy the precursor for special education? Dropping out? Incarceration?


  • Why are so many Black males placed in special education? African Americans are 17% of the public school population, but are 41% of special education students. For some strange reason, if a Black child is placed in special education, 80% of the time it’s the male child. Have we designed a female classroom for male students? Are teachers aware that many boys have different learning styles than females? How do teachers allow for a difference in attention span, energy level and maturation? Is the future of Black boys in the hands of White female teachers?


  • Is special education the new form of segregation? Tracking? Why do they call it special? Do boys go there for several years and return to the mainstream classroom on grade level? What percent of Black boys in special education graduate with a regular education diploma? Why are so many Black boys being given Ritalin? What is the relationship between Ritalin and crack?


  • Why are so many Black students retained? African American students are 17% of public school students, but are 56% of all 4th graders retained and 49% of all 3rd graders. Black males are 70% of this population being retained. Why are so many Black boys failing? Is the solution to give them the same teacher, curriculum, and pedagogy next year and expect a different outcome?


  • Is there a relationship between retention and the dropout rate? Is there a relationship between suspension and the dropout rate? Black males are only 8.5% of the students, but are 33% of the suspensions. Only 47% of Black males graduate from high school. A 53% dropout rate is unacceptable. What is a Black male to do in this current economy without a high school diploma? Selling drugs is not the answer.


  • We believe this has reached the stage of a state of emergency. African American Images is hosting a national conference – The Education of Black Males. It will be held in Chicago May 1-2. The host will be national bestselling author Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu. His books include Raising Black Boys, Understanding Black Male learning Styles, Keeping Black Boys out of Special Education, Reducing the Black Male Dropout Rate and Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys.


  • The conference is for educators, parents, social workers, psychologists, professors, college students, ministers and community activists. The conference will provide solutions to the illiteracy rate, special education placement, retention, suspensions, and the dropout rate. To register, go to africanamericanimages.com or call 800-552-1991 or bring the conference to your city.


Terry McMillan, Hill Harper to Attend Anguilla Literary Festival in NYC

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Best-selling authors, publishing industry power brokers, celebrity notables & book enthusiasts set to converge at First Annual Anguilla Literary Festival May 24th through May 28th 2012


Terry McMillan, Randall Robinson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Hill Harper and Crystal McCrary announced for week-long festivities with Picturesque Anguillan Landscape ss backdrop

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — The Anguilla Tourist Board will host its first annual literary festival May 24th through May 28th at the statuesque, Paradise Cove Resort.

Best-selling authors, publishing industry power brokers, celebrity notables and book enthusiasts will converge on the peerless Caribbean destination, known for its buttery soft vanilla sand, beautiful people, rich history and seductive water in shades of blue – turquoise, aqua and marine.

Officially billed as “Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification,” the auspicious five-day event will be a celebration of literature, arts and culture featuring an array of distinguished authors from the Caribbean and Abroad. Best-selling author, screenwriter and professor Terry McMillan (‘Waiting to Exhale’) will join esteemed lawyer, activist and author Randall Robinson (‘The Debt’) in top-lining the festival, which will include exclusive author readings, informative workshops, empowering panel discussions and other specially-tailored activities.

Award winning author and actor Hill Harper (‘The Conversation’), producer/author Crystal McCrary (‘Inspiration: Black Woman Who Are Changing The World’) and actress/singer/activist and new author Sheryl Lee Ralph (‘Redefining Diva’) are also confirmed, along with literary industry key influencers Malaika Adero (Atria/Simon & Schuster), Lasana Sekou (House of Nehesi Publishers) and Marva Allen (Hue Man Books), among others.

The distinctive name of the festival speaks to a very important facet of Anguilla’s cultural heritage–the Jollification, a gathering of people to share and help neighbors. This was traditionally done through the plowing and planting of ground, all against the backdrop of men working together, women cooking, and children playing, while the work was carried out free of cost, with much laughter, singing and “jollification.”

“This festival could not have been staged without the Anguilla Jollification approach,” said Director of Tourism Candis Niles. “Through the assistance, support and sharing of the Ministry of Social Development, the Anguilla Tourist Board, the Anguilla Social Security Board, Paradise Cove Resort & Conference Centre, Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa, DaVida’s Restaurant, and our partners from the business sector, Coral Reef Bookstore, Merchants’ Market and Tropical Flower Distributors, we have been able to make the Anguilla Literary Festival a reality, and for that we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation.”

“Literacy has always been of paramount importance to the people of Anguilla,” said Hon. Haydn Hughes, Parliamentary Secretary Tourism. “The Anguilla Literary Festival was conceived to highlight the creative mastery of celebrated authors to promote excellence in publishing while also igniting the imagination and aspirations of book enthusiasts. We look forward to kicking off this worthwhile effort celebrating the literary arts and by so doing, motivate young prospective writers to embark on a career in writing.”

Special packages for the event are being offered by Anguilla’s leading accommodation establishments, including Paradise Cove Resort’s “Lit Talk Anguilla” package; Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa’s “Invitation to Exhale with Terry McMillan” package; Little Butterfly’s “Lit Talk Anguilla” package, Anguilla Great House presents “Great Anguilla Lit Talk” and Anacaona Boutique Hotel’s “Book Binder Girls Getaway” package. For more info on exclusive hotel packages please visit www.ivisitanguilla.com/anguillas-literary-festival-accommodations-packages/

We Are Anguilla
The beautiful and peerless island of Anguilla offers one of the most culturally enriching Caribbean experiences in the world. Rated by Conde Nast as one of the world’s “Most Romantic Hideaways,” Anguilla’s Cap Juluca Resort has held its standard as a premier destination for international travelers. As the celebrated cuisine capital of the caribbean Anguilla also boasts more than 100 restaurants and eateries ranging in a multitude of cuisine and tastes throughout its tranquil landscape; including the world renowned Blanchard’s, which has been hailed as one of the best restaurants in the Caribbean. Anguilla’s newest resort, Viceroy Anguilla, is a sprawling showplace of picturesque beauty, which was considered “perfect” by Vogue magazine. The small country has hosted Bankie Banx’s live music extravaganza, ‘Moonsplash,’ for over 20 years. Accommodations on Anguilla range from beautifully-appointed boutique properties and visually stunning villas, to quaint bed & breakfast outposts and award-winning, five-star resorts. Flights can be arranged on American Airlines, Jet Blue, US Airways, United Airlines and Continental Airways through San Juan, Puerto Rico on Anguilla Air Express (T. 1-866-966-1881 E. info@anguillaairexpress.com) or St. Maarten with onward connecting flights or ferry into Anguilla; or on regional carriers LIAT and Winair via Antigua. For more information on travel to Anguilla, visit www.ivisitanguilla.com, Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/VisitAnguilla, or Follow us on Twitter: @anguillatourism or contact the Anguilla Tourist Board at (800) 553-4939.

The Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) is responsible for the development and management of the island’s tourism industry, charged with the promotion of tourist travel, and the establishment, maintenance and improvement of high standards of product and service quality in the tourism sector. Working in tandem with its overseas Marketing Representatives in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, Puerto Rico and South America, the board promotes Anguilla as the Caribbean’s premier, exclusive, quality destination experience, where “feeling is believing.”

Congressman Allen West must apologize

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

(Letters to the Editor)


When Allen West said last week that nearly half of the Democrats in Congress were members of the Communist Party, no one could’ve imagined just what a firestorm he was creating.

Newspapers and TV stations from across the country denounced his dangerous, unstatesmanlike comments.  Even Brian Williams and Stephen Colbert got involved.

So what has West done in response?  Instead of attempting to make amends for his baseless claims, he doubled down – saying that anyone who fights in Congress for social justice, health care reform, and equity in the tax code is a Marxist or Socialist.

Please click here to sign my petition demanding that Allen West apologize for his backward-thinking, incendiary accusations.

I find West’s words deplorable and outrageous.  Those of us along Florida’s Coast need hard-working problem-solvers in Congress, not name-callers who drudge up 60-year old rhetoric from the dark days of our nation’s past.

Please view, sign, and share the petition here.  It only takes a few seconds to tell Allen West that we refuse to tolerate his brand of divisive politics.


Patrick Murphy, CPA

Editor’s Note: Patrick Murphy is a candidate for Congress.

Living Legends remember and honor Mayor Washington’s 90th birthday

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


By Chinta Strausberg


Monday, many African Americans will be celebrating the 90th birthday of the late Mayor Harold Washington for it will be his actual birthday; however, some remembered him in a very different way.

A number of living legends honored the 90th birthday of Mayor Harold Washington late Thursday night at Josephine’s Hardtime Cooking Restaurant where they revealed little known secrets about the charismatic late Mayor Washington.

For more than four-hours scores of Washington supporters listened intensively at the stories told by such men like Herman Roberts who once owned nine motels and still owns four active oil wells on 160-acres in Oklahoma, Herbert Hedgeman, who owns a motel and other businesses, Illinois Appellate Court Justice P. Scott Neville, Toure Muhammad, a former firefighter, Vince Lane, former CHA Chairman and LeRoy Martin, former superintendant of Police who served 12-days before Washington died on November 25, 1987 at the age of 65.

The event was supposed to be a 90th birthday party in memory of Mayor Washington given by the We Can, Inc. Committee chaired by Florence Cox with the popular NBC 5 on-air personality Art Norman as the Masters of Ceremony, but it mostly quickly turned a trip down memory lane, a call to action on social issues and ending with a fun-filled Karaoke sing-a-long.

Roberts, who owned the Robert Motels in Chicago, Gary, Oklahoma and St. Louis, once held a heated meeting in Room 300 in his 63rd Street motel where elected officials and activists met to discuss the mayoral candidacy of Washington.

“Any time a politician wanted a room in my place for a meeting, there was never a charge. The same thing with ministers because sometimes you have to give in order to make. You give up some money, pretty soon they’ll come back.”

Roberts reflected on the time he had the “My House.” He told the late Congressman Ralph Metcalfe he could have a party at “My House.” “He sent out all of his invitations saying he was having a party at my house. All the people went to his house….

“Harold Washington is the only person I really threw a party for…. We invited all the businessmen. I am not a politician. I’m not a preacher. I am not a teacher. I’m a business person. I said we need somebody to represent the business people. We had four or five car dealers.

“We filled the place,” he said referring to his 500 Room at his Roberts Motel. Syd Ordower, who had the Jubilee Showcase on TV, also came to this fundraiser. “We raised a lot of money for Harold plus I raised a little money for myself,” he said laughing. Roberts had everyone laughing when he quipped: “I know a lot of stuff that a lot of people don’t know,” and when Brookins interjected  “because you had the rooms,” Roberts fired back, “If I really want to tell it, I’d have all ya’ll ducking….”

Roberts once owned the largest black cab company in Chicago and said at one time Hedgeman was one of his drivers. “He drove my cab from Chicago all the way to Wilberforce, OH, and he ain’t picked up one passenger. I didn’t know where my cab was,” he said laughing. Hedgeman said he took the cab one time because he was attending Wilberforce University and he had to get to school.

Hedgeman looked up to Roberts who also once owned several other businesses besides the motels including Roberts Chauffeur, Roberts Bowling Alley, Roberts Skating Rink and other businesses. Roberts liked Washington and considered him a close friend.

Roberts revealed, “Some of the black politicians didn’t like Harold that well because he was making them stand up…. With (Ald. Edward R.) Vrdolyak, all those fighting (Washington), people thought he was crazy, but he was the nicest person you’d ever meet.” Roberts said the fight between Washington and Vrdolyak was one of power and an opposition to change.

Former Senator Howard Brookins knew Washington when the late mayor was a state senator. “When he went to congress and I became a state senator, Rev. Jesse Jackson called us to help us get products in the A&P store. Harold and I went with Jesse to the A&P headquarters to get black products in their stores, and he was successful. He meant a lot to me.”

Brookins said the deputy registrar bill that allowed them to increase the number of registered voters “to get him elected was the first bill I passed in Springfield. I’m very pleased with Harold.” Brookins said he respected Washington. “He was a knowledgeable man. He would stay up all night reading. He was kind of recluse, too. He would be in his room just reading, studying and drinking, too,” he said.

“You could go to him with legislation, and he would interpret it and explain it to you, and those guys would go on the floor and look like geniuses. He was a nice guy. He could go anywhere…a tavern talking their language, in the White House with a king talking their language. That’s a man for all seasons…,” said Brookins.

Brookins said he was only one of three to endorse Washington in the primary and that he is very proud of that. Brookins said the other two were Ald. Eugene Sawyer (6th) and Ald. Niles Sherman (21st).

Muhammad became a fireman after Washington was elected. The mayor gave this writer a list of men who had passed the test but the city claimed they could not find them. When their names were published, Muhammad responded and became a fireman.

Rev. Nathan Edmond, pastor of the Empowering Word International Ministries, a chaplain at the Cook County Jail, and a real estate investor and an entrepreneur, said he too did not know Mayor Washington. “I thought he was a great politician, a great mayor and was a great example that if you persevere, you can rise to the top.”

Sylvester J. Hendricks, Commander of the American Legion of Illinois 3rd District, asked for the support in keeping Mayor Harold Washington’s name on the post located on the far South West Side of Chicago.

“The American Legion wants to pull the charter for the Sons of Legionnaires (which is a squadron),” said Hendricks. “They are going to proposed at their June meeting the pulling of the charter because they say the our post is not at the level that it needs to be because we don’t have enough active members.”

Hendricks said the post has 13 active members but he needs up to 16 active members to prevent the American Legion from pulling their charter.  He’s seeking help from veterans who would like to become members of this historically named post to call him at: 312-685-9292.

Marlon McClinton, president/CEO of the Utilivate Technologies, said he did not know Mayor Washington personally but he loved him through the media. “My children and I spent a lot of time in the park from across the street” where Washington lived.

“It was nice seeing him in Walgreens and other places in the neighborhood. I admired his work, that he hired from our community, that he was a model of excellence in our community, a model of scholarship and political activity. I admired him from community for many years. I loved him and I loved his work. He inspires me today.

“Mayor Washington was a brilliant man. He was a fair mayor, which means that everybody benefited from his great work and our community benefited. I knew a neighbor across the street from me who served at a high level in his administration. For the first time, it allowed me to see people who actually served in government. I didn’t see them before he was mayor. It was great seeing both him and seeing professionals work and live in our community, on my block…,” said McClinton.

Administrative Law Judge Bernadette Freeman said she did not know Washington. She was not living in Chicago but had heard “about how he was effective and the things he did in the African American community in terms of opening doors for small business owners and making sure blacks had access to contracts.”

Muhammad certainly knew Washington as a member of the Third Ward Democratic Party. “A lot of conversations took place and a lot of deals got cut in the basements,” he recalled.  One day Muhammad was in the basement and said when he told someone he wasn’t interested in politics, but an older woman who worked for the sheriff’s department came over and gave him this tip, “Baby, let me explain something to you about politics. Politics is like going to bed with a woman and wake up in he morning and not know it. Politics make strange bedfellows. I’ll never forget it”

At that time, Washington was a state representative. Muhammad said he ran across Washington who asked him for his vote, but Muhammad said, “We don’t vote” prompting Washington to tell him, “One day you will.”

It wasn’t long before Muhammad ran across a certain black state representative “who was riding with (Mayor) Jane Byrne. He had a suitcase full of money. He was coming around asking people to take care of Jane Byrne, and so we met with Harold who told us, ‘take the money and vote for me.”

“It was so beautiful because Harold set example for a lot of us young guys,” said Muhammad who also praised Washington’s vocabulary.

Johnson, who has been fighting for a postal stamp for Washington for decades, said the late mayor was a contact person for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

Twenty-five African American women to be honored at Anniversary Gala for Denver community newspaper

Posted by Admin On April - 16 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Singer Dianne Reeves, Little Rock Nine Carlotta LaNier, DNC Chair Elbra Wedgeworth among honorees

Denver, CO (BlackNews.com) — The Denver Urban Spectrum, an award-winning monthly publication, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987. From national headlines to the celebration of local “African Americans Who Make a Difference,” the paper, with a distribution of over 25,000, has been a driving force within the Denver metro African American community for 25 years.

To celebrate the silver anniversary, a four-day slate of community events are planned, culminating with a black tie awards dinner honoring 25 “Timeless Legends” – women who hail from Denver, many who are internationally known. The recipients include Grammy award-winning singer Dianne Reeves, the Little Rock Nine’s Carlotta LaNier, former Denver City Councilwoman and 2008 DNC Chair Elbra Wedgeworth, internationally-known choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson, and former First Lady of Denver Wilma Webb.

The gala will be Saturday, April 28, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel, 3801 Quebec St., in Denver. Former Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and the Honorable Mayor Michael Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee are the honorary chairs. Entertainment will be provided by The Julius Show. Sculptor Ed Dwight has been commissioned to design the Timeless Legends awards.

Saturday morning’s event will be dedicated to youth. Families are invited to attend “It’s Your Time,” an educational and health youth rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Montbello High School, 5000 Crown Blvd., in Denver. The special guest speaker is author and self-made millionaire Dr. Farrah Gray who will address the 12-18 year old students. Also included in the activities will be live entertainment and remarks from Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon.

Other celebration events include “A Moment In Time,” a VIP kick off reception at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library on Wednesday, April 25 and a “A Time for Laughter,” a night of comedy featuring local comedians on Thursday, April 26 at the Improv.

For more information on events, tickets, tables, volunteer opportunities or sponsorship, call 303-292-6446 or visit, A Celebration of Time, http://bit.ly/HAVf5O.

About the Denver Urban Spectrum:

Since 1987, the Denver Urban Spectrum newspaper has been spreading the news about people of color. The Denver Urban Spectrum’s 25th anniversary is a celebration of community, youth, progress, entrepreneurship and leadership. With a distribution of over 25,000, the Denver Urban Spectrum is the most sought-after community publication in the Denver metro area. For more information, visit www.denverurbanspectrum.com or call 303-292-6446.

About Ed Dwight:

A man whose resume reads: former Air Force Test Pilot, America’s First African American Astronaut Candidate, IBM Computer Systems Engineer, Aviation Consultant, Restaurateur, Real Estate Developer and Construction Entrepreneur can best be described as a true renaissance man. For the last 30+ years, Ed has focused his direction on fine art sculptures, large-scale memorials and public art projects. Dwight has become one of the most prolific and insightful sculptors in America. For more information, visit www.eddwight.com or call 303-329-9040.

About Dr. Farrah Gray:

Raised on the impoverished South side of Chicago, Dr. Gray defied the odds and became a self-made millionaire by the age of 14. At the age of 21, he received an Honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters from Allen University. In his rise from poverty to national and international prominence as an entrepreneurial icon and pre-eminent power speaker, Dr. Gray has inspired millions around the world. At the age of 26, he has achieved more than many achieve in a lifetime. For more information, visit www.drfarrahgray.com or call 702-878-8665.

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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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