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CHICAGO, IL - U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement marking the 15th ...
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Archive for May 8th, 2012

The National Black Church Initiative calls on President Obama to declare his “support for jobs for black people” not for gay marriage

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

(From the National Black Church Initiative)

‘We have a 25% unemployment rate’


Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative, a faith-based coalition of 34,000
churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, is sad to see that
the Obama administration is sending the gay marriage political trail balloon up again. We love
our gay brother and sisters, but the black church will never support gay marriage. It is and it
always will be against the ethics and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
The church believes that anyone who violates the teachings of Christ should be denied the right
to communion. President Obama is using the Vice-President Biden and Secretary of Education
Duncan as trail balloons.
 
NBCI begs President Obama in Christ not to declare his support for same-sex marriage. It would harm his soul and undermine his Christian witness.
 
Rev. Anthony Evans, President of NBCI says “the current move by the Obama administration onsame sex marriage will cost him support from the black church. The administration knows alltoo well that even though we love the President, the black church will never support same sexmarriage. They must stop taking black voters for granted. We view this as pandering to the gaycommunity after they have done more for them than for the black community. We do not needto talk about same sex marriage. The black community only wants to talk about jobs, jobs and jobs.”
 
The President and the Democratic Party should also be prepared to lose 15 to 25 percent of the
Black Christian vote. The Black Church will never support anyone or any issues that go against
our personal faith and belief in God, Christ Jesus and the Bible.
 
We are appealing to President Obama to use your energy to bring jobs to our community. Black
unemployment is 25%, including those who have given up looking for work. 70% of black youth
do not have jobs and there is 50% black male unemployment in every major American city. We
do not want your administration to be only concern with gay rights, how about our rights —
Trayvon Martin and our black families.
 
We too are Americans.
 
About NBCI
 
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and
Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education,
housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all
of its members, congregants, churches and the public. The National Black Church Initiative’s
methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science. The National Black Church Initiative’s
purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce
racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work.
 
Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.#

Four finalists competing for 13th District Republican vacancy

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

13th District Nominating Committee will vote on May 19th

Statement from Mike Bigger, 13th District Chairman:

 

The Nominating Committee for the 13th Congressional District Republican Vacancy convened today (May 5th) in Springfield, Illinois and heard the eight candidates present their case to be selected to fill the vacancy.

The Committee selected four finalists to be considered on May 19: Jerry Clarke, Rodney Davis, Erika Harold and Kathy Wassink.  On that date the Committee will then vote, by Republican Primary weighted vote, for the candidate of their choice.  The committee will carefully examine the candidates’ qualifications to be the Republican Nominee for Congress from the 13th District.

The Committee is confident that it will choose the best candidate to defeat David Gill and maintain the Republican majority in the Illinois delegation and in Washington, DC.

Madigan: Illinois receives $20 million in landmark settlements with Abbott Labs

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Abbott to Pay $1.6 Billion Over National Civil, Criminal Claims of Illegal Marketing of Depakote

 

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined her federal counterparts, 44 other states and the District of Columbia in announcing two national settlements with Abbott Laboratories, totaling $1.6 billion, over allegations of illegal off-label marketing of its Depakote drug. Madigan said Illinois will receive $20 million under the agreements.

In the first settlement, Madigan and the states alleged in a civil complaint that Abbott engaged in deceptive practices to market Depakote, which is FDA-approved for treating seizure disorders, mania associated with bipolar disorder and prophylaxis of migraines. But Madigan alleged the company deliberately opted to bypass the regulatory approval process and instead promoted off-label uses, including as treatments for schizophrenia, dementia and autism, when medical studies failed to adequately prove the drug to be effective for these conditions. Off-label drug use occurs when a drug is used for certain treatments and conditions that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved.

In a separate agreement with federal authorities, Madigan and the states alleged the company’s off-label marketing resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health care programs. Madigan said Abbott improperly marketed Depakote for off-label uses in nursing homes and illegally paid health care professionals and long-term care pharmacy providers to promote or prescribe the drug.

“Abbott made a deliberate decision to circumvent the regulatory approval process, opting instead to deceptively market Depakote for treating seniors with dementia and mental health patients despite a lack of convincing medical evidence for such uses,” Attorney General Madigan said.

In the civil complaint filed along with the settlement, Madigan and the states detail how Abbott allegedly conducted off-label promotions through a variety of deceptive practices. The company distributed studies that showed Depakote could be used to treat off-label conditions and instructed its sales representatives to draw attention to the studies. In one such study, Abbott sought to determine Depakote’s effectiveness to treat schizophrenia. The final results showed the drug was mostly ineffective for treating schizophrenia, but the company allegedly delayed releasing the negative results while it continued to promote Depakote for treating the mental condition.   

As a part of the civil settlement, Abbott has agreed to significantly change how it markets Depakote and cease promoting off-label uses, in addition to a $100 million payment. Additionally, under the settlement, Abbott is prohibited from making false or misleading claims about Depakote, and the company is required to ensure financial incentives for sales of the drug do not promote off-label uses. Abbott also must restrict other specific practices it used to promote off-label uses of the drug.

The second settlement with the states and federal government resolves false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health care programs. As a condition to that agreement, Abbott pled guilty this morning to a violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. As part of this settlement, Abbott has agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture of $700 million.

Joining Madigan in today’s announcement were attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Actresses Vivica A. Fox and Demetria McKinney will help “Celebrate Our Brothers” at Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Honorees are Michael Baisden, Gerald Hudson, Al Dotson,

David Honig, Jonathan McDaniel, Joshua DuBois, and Shawn Dove   

 

Washington, DC – Actress and producer, Vivica A. Fox (Set It Off, Independence Day), will host and actress, singer and star of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Demetria McKinney, will perform, and as The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (The National Coalition) “Celebrates Our Brothers” during the 15th annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala. Presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to social justice and creating balance in the democratic process, the awards gala will take place Thursday May 17, 2012. at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.   

 

Honorees are Michael Baisden, nationally syndicated radio personality, author, philanthropist, and

 

social activist instrumental in exposing the Trayvon Martin case; Al Dotson, chairman of the board, 100 Black Men of America; Shawn Dove, campaign manager, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Open Society Foundations; Gerald Hudson, executive vice president, Service Employees International Union (SEIU); David Honig, founder and president, Minority Media and  

 

Telecommunications Council; Jonathan McDaniels, actor, recording artist and technology advocate; and Joshua DuBois, executive director of The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

 

“This year we are proud to be ‘Celebrating Our Brothers.’ The leadership of these men in their respective fields helps to empower underserved communities across the country” said Campbell. “These strong, positive men also set an example of excellence in achievement for young brothers across the country.”

 

There will also be a special tribute to the late Ruby Campbell Pulliam who was a servant leader in civil rights and women’s rights.

 

The Spirit of Democracy Awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to creating balance in the democratic process and support The Nation Coalition’s mission and vision of making civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition. Sponsors include AT&T and Verizon, among others. The event is open to the public. Individual ticket prices are $175. For tickets or more information call 202 659-4929 or visit www.ncbcp.org to purchase online.

 

 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL COALITION

 
Founded in 1976, the NCBCP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society. The current programs and initiatives of the organization include Black Youth Vote!, Black Women’s Roundtable, and a Black Men & Boys Initiative. The National Coalition has trained and engaged African American leaders and community activists in overcoming institutional barriers that have hindered the growth of Black communities politically, socially and economically.
 
Photo Captions: Vivica A. Fox and Demetria McKinney

 

 
   

African American employees claim race discrimination and discriminatory employment practices in lawsuit against Anne Arundel County Public Library

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Anne Arundel County, MD (BlackNews.com) — Anne Arundel County Public Library (“AACPL”) employees, Larry Randal, (custodian), Ronald Smith and Cyrus Scott, (drivers) have sued AACPL for discriminating against them in the terms, conditions and benefits of their employment because of their race and color as African Americans and engaging in employment practices that give preference to white employees over black employees. The cases were filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and assigned Civil Case Numbers C-11-163402 and 02-C-12-167831.

In the case of Mr. Randall, the complainant alleges that on or about March 29, 2010 AACPL issued a memo to library employees about the opening of a position titled, Maintenance Mechanic I. Mr. Randall, who had been a custodian with AACPL since 2002, applied for the position. However, Mr. Randall was not given the usual interview. Mr. Randall was told by the white HR director that the position would be announced to the public because only two library employees applied. The position was subsequently announced to the general public, and a white custodian from Anne Arundel County Public Schools was given the position. The white custodian is substantially less qualified and less experienced than Mr. Randall and the other applicants. However, AACPL used an all white interview panel, with at least one panelist who was friendly with the white custodian, to conduct and subjectively score the interviews. Mr. Randall was told that the white custodian scored higher on the interviews. Mr. Randall recalls how devastated he and his 14 year old daughter were when she inquired, and he had to tell her that he was denied the promotion because of his race and color as a black man.

In the case of Messers Smith and Scott, the complaint alleges that over the years AACPL had three drivers serving its 15 branches. Then in 2010 one of the driver positions opened. Then AACPL upgraded the driver position to a maintenance mechanic I, position with a premeditated plan to employ the white custodian who was hired for the position. The decision was made with the intention to elevate the white custodian above Smith and Scott as black drivers, gave him better pay than Plaintiffs, and increased the job duties and responsibilities for the 15 branches between Smith and Scott as the two black drivers. Smith and Scott also allege that AACPL policies and practices pertaining to training, leave, performance evaluation, etc, are implemented in a way that is more favorable to white employees than blacks.

Commenting about these allegations, Messers Randall, Smith and Scott’s, attorney, George A. Rose, says, “It appears that the ruling class in Anne Arundel County, are keen to perpetuating the legacy and effect of its colorful slave history, through it’s various county institutions and structures. However in this age of the ‘rule of law’, AACPL’s actions can be measured against Federal and state law prohibiting race discrimination in employment, and slave descendants who are employed at AACPL, have recourse to justice through an independent judiciary.”

In order to ensure that this AACPL is held accountable, they are asking that anyone with facts and information pertaining to these complaints call their office at 410-727-7555.

SOURCE: The Rose Law Firm, LLC, counsel to plaintiff Felicia Martin.

CVS High School Senior wins National Golden Gloves Tournament

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Harvey resident wins, too

By Chinta Strausberg

 

With a made up mind and focusing on one goal at a time, Shawn Simpson, an 18-year-old Chicago Vocational Academy senior, recently won the National Golden Gloves tournament held at the CasaBlanca Resort in Mesquite, NV, but he’s not stopping there.

Reached at home, Simpson, who is the reigning National Police Athletic League 114 pound National Champion, said, “I felt I had to win.”  An amateur boxer since the age of 10, he won the coveted 114 pound championship. “I have won so many matches you get used to it,” he said. Simpson said he felt in his heart he would be victorious.

In winning the National Golden Gloves title, Simpson defeated Hector Valdez of Texas, Jesus Cerda of Wisconsin and Ja’Rico O’Quinn of Detroit to advance to the final. He’s anxious for the next championship game and is determined to keep his mind and body in shape for the showdown.

Simpson is trained by 1996 Olympic Heavyweight Bronze Medalist Nate Jones who is part of pound-for-pound champion and former Olympic teammate Floyd Mayweather’s training team. He won the Chicago Golden Gloves 114 pound championship last year and in 2012. He was named the Chicago Golden Gloves “Best Boxer” in 2012 and in 2009 he was the Junior Olympic National Flyweight Champion.

Having won more than 100 boxing matches beginning at age 10 when he fought in Kansas City, Mo. and including this recent tournament, Simpson has set yet another goal—to go the USA Boxing Training Camp in Colorado Springs after he graduates on June 9, 2012.

In four-years, he wants to win the Olympics, but in the interim Simpson said, “I will be training and staying in shape,” and his father, Tony Simpson, will be right by his side.

Young Simpson is hoping to win the National Police Athletic Leagues tournament in Toledo, Ohio in October. There are only a select number of tournaments recognized by the USA Boxing as being elite. This tournament is one where all of the top boxers will participate.  Simpson plans to be there and to win.

Also winning the National Golden Gloves title was Alex Martin, 21, a graduate from the Joliet Township High School who currently lives in Harvey, Illinois, who defeated David Grayton, Washington, D.C., 165-pounds. He is the most highly decorated amateur boxer in the Chicago area. Martin’s goal is to turn professional sometime this year.

Trained by Mark Chears of Team Chears Boxing/Boxing For Boxers, Martin defeated Montrel Wade of California, Tony Losey of the 
Kansas-Oklahoma franchise and Wesley Tucker of Toledo, OH to advance to 
the championship. 

Martin was the 2011 National Golden Gloves 152 pound runner-up, 
the 2011 and 2012 Chicago Golden Gloves 152 pound Champion and he received 
the 2011 Chicago Golden Gloves “Best Boxer Award.”

Martin was the USA 
Boxing Welterweight Silver Medalist in 2010 and 2012. In 2009, he won the National Police Athletic League 152 pound National Championship. 
 Martin has international experience and has represented the U.S. in dual 
competitions vs. Mexico in April 2011, China in October 2010 (in New York) and in March in Assisi and Rome, Italy and in September of 2010.

Martin did not return calls prior to deadline.

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.

Select Illinois districts accelerate education reform under federal Race to the Top program

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Thirty-seven districts raise the bar to improve student achievement

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education announced the final 37 Illinois school districts that will join with the state agency as part of the federal Race to the Top (RTT) phase three program. These districts will serve as leaders by first implementing key initiatives aimed at improving school performance and student achievement across the state under the $42.8 million RTT grant awarded to Illinois and participating districts.

“These districts are moving forward with courage to change the status quo,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “All of them are ready to accelerate reform efforts and share their experiences to help all our school districts succeed and better prepare students for college and careers in the 21st century.”

The federal grant is aimed broadly at closing achievement gaps. It will help bolster state initiatives across many areas.  Funds will improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and build a stronger connection to post-secondary education and training.  Funds will also support the on-going implementation of the new rigorous Common Core Learning Standards in Math and English Language Arts as well as innovative data systems that better inform educators and improve classroom instruction.  Chief among the reforms is that districts will use new, more comprehensive principal and teacher evaluations that tie student growth to educators’ reviews.  Legislation calls for all Illinois districts to incorporate student growth into teacher evaluations no later than fall 2016. Participating Race to the Top districts, however, will be required to pilot these evaluation systems in the fall of 2013.

“The districts that are joining with us under this grant program know that these are good measures and they’re eager to be among the first to put them in action and track results,” said State Board Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Their leadership on key issues will help other districts as they follow toward implementing the aggressive reform agenda we’ve adopted in Illinois.”

Illinois was awarded the $42.8 million phase three RTT grant last December after being a finalist in the competition’s two prior rounds. Under the RTT grant, Illinois and six other states keep half their awarded funds for statewide reform work and disseminate the remaining half among participating districts. Each district’s share is based on a required federal formula directing funds to the participating districts with the greatest number of low-income students. Other phase three winning states are Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For more information about the Illinois program, visit the State Board’s Race to the Top web page at: http://www.isbe.net/racetothetop/default.htm.

The following districts are participating with the Illinois State Board of Education to implement statewide reform.

 

District Name

Addison SD 4
Bensenville ESD 2
Bloomington District 87
Brooklyn Unit SD 188
Calumet Public Dist 132
Canton Union SD 66
Carbon Cliff-Barstow 36
Country Club Hills District 160
CPS District 299
East Richland CUSD 1
East St Louis SD 189
Eastland CUSD 308
Freeport SD 145
General George S Patton SD 133
Illini Central SD 189
Illini West HSD 307
Lincoln-Way HSD
Marion CUSD 2
Matteson SD 162
McLean CUSD 5
Morrison CUSD 6
Niles Township HSD 219
Pembroke CCSD 259
Peoria SD 150
Prairie-Hills ESD 144
Rantoul City District 137
Rich Township HSD 227
Sandoval CUSD 501
Sterling CUSD 5
Township HSD 211
Unity Point SD 140
Urbana SD 116
Wabash CUSD 348
West Richland CUSD 2
Western CUSD 12
Winnebago CUSD 323
Zion ESD 6

MWRD working to protect quality of Palatine’s Peregrine Lake

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
Numerous reports of unusually thick green algae have prompted the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) to begin seasonal water quality and habitat testing on Peregrine Lake in Palatine.
 
MWRD owns a majority of the lake, and staff aquatic biologists began the testing earlier this month. They will return to  the lake during the summer and fall to complete their analysis. The MWRD routinely monitors waterways such as small streams, creeks, rivers and the canals.
 
Among the specific water quality items the biologists will measure include temperature, dissolved oxygen and turbidity, or the water’s clarity.  Like humans, aquatic organisms need oxygen to live. Depending on the type and location of the water body being assessed and the time of year, dissolved oxygen can differ greatly. Because cooler water can hold more oxygen, temperature affects dissolved oxygen concentrations, which ultimately affects the ability for aquatic life to survive.
 
Excess turbidity can be caused by erosion, silt, algae, storms, and even from fish disturbing bottom sediments.  Turbidity keeps light from penetrating into the water so it affects aquatic plant growth. Different fish tolerate varying amount of turbidity in the water. Some need clearer water to feed and reproduce, whereas others are able to tolerate more turbidity. 
 
Residents are nervous about the algae ever since a major fish kill occurred in the lake in 2009. Excess algae in conjunction with less daylight during the winter months may have contributed to the fish kill by lowering dissolved oxygen levels in the water.
 
“It’s understandable to be concerned about the algae in Peregrine Lake, and we want to ensure that all waterways remain healthy,” said Executive Director David St. Pierre. “We are conducting analyses throughout the year to monitor the lake and to educate residents how they can help to keep the water clean.”
 
Peregrine Lake freezes through almost every winter, and as a result, the fish population size naturally varies each year. But because the lake is shallow and un-shaded, conditions are good for algae growth.
 
Once testing and analysis is completed, the MWRD will use the information to better manage the algae and make recommendations to homeowners about how they can improve conditions and prevent further amounts of algae from growing.
 
 

Simon: Time to weigh in on Classrooms First recommendations

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Deadline to provide input on school district efficiency proposals is May 14

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In advance of the May 14 deadline, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is inviting parents, teachers, administrators and community members to submit online comments about a set of draft recommendations that will make it easier for school districts to consolidate and help them save up to $1 billion in operations costs by sharing services.

Individuals can leave comments on each of the commission’s individual recommendations at the Lt. Governor’s website. The input will be used, along with the testimony from four public hearings, to finalize the commission’s recommendations prior to their submission to the Governor and General Assembly this summer.   

“The Classrooms First Commission started its work six months ago with public input on school district efficiency and effectiveness,” said Simon, who chairs the Classrooms First Commission. “We incorporated the concerns and ideas of hundreds of constituents in our draft recommendations, and we want to hear from educators, parents and community members again before we take our plan to the Governor. This input will make our final recommendations more valuable and representative of our state.”

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. To read the draft recommendations and find out more about the Classrooms First Commission visit www.ltgov.illinois.gov.

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