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Archive for June 14th, 2013

Major gang takedown in Chicago

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on Major gang takedown in Chicago

Officials announce results of major gang takedown in Chicago

More than 40 leaders and senior members of a Chicago street gang responsible for the operation of a violent drug-dealing enterprise on Chicago’s West Side were charged today in an unprecedented gang takedown applying the legal tools provided in the state’s new “RICO” statute, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today. 

For the first time in Cook County history, state prosecutors announced “RICO” related charges against 23 defendants who are primarily members of the “Black Souls,” including the gang’s top leader or “chief” and other top tier members of the notoriously violent Chicago street gang.  An additional 18 defendants have been charged with state drug offenses and other crimes as a result of the investigation, dubbed “Operation 40 Cal.”  The investigation was conducted in partnership with the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The 23 defendants have all been charged with Racketeering Conspiracy and Calculated Criminal Drug Conspiracy, both Class X felony offenses.  Among those charged is gang “chief” Cornel Dawson, 38, also known as “Corn”; and the gang’s second in command, Teron ODum, 34, also known as “Ty.”  Also charged were the gang’s top four “princes,” or “top runners,” who each manage one of the gang’s street drug market locations.   They are identified as Antwan Davis, 30; Ulysses Polk, 32; Clifton Lemon, 41, and Jeff Thompson, 44.  The charges were unsealed today in an affidavit and criminal complaints filed by the State’s Attorney’s Office in Cook County Criminal Court.  

“Operation 40 Cal” targeted top gang leadership as well as key members, gang enforcers and gang supervisors who have been operating an open-air, 24-hour-a-day criminal drug enterprise with the primary street sales spots for both cocaine and heroin located in a two by three block radius in the vicinity of Madison and Pulaski. 

Selling primarily small packets of heroin in hand-to-hand transactions with drive-by customers, law enforcement authorities estimate that the operation could have been taking in as much as $11 million annually in cash proceeds.

The RICO charges enable prosecutors to target organized gang activity and gang leadership and charge each defendant with a criminal conspiracy based on the patterns and practices of the gang’s criminal enterprise. 

In this case, the RICO charges are based on the previous violent criminal conduct of the gang leadership and members dating back to May of 1999.  The underlying charges in “Operation 40 Cal” consist of multiple counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, including the attempted murder of two Chicago police officers.  Additional underlying charges include the murder or intimidation of witnesses, murder of other gang members as a form of punishment, drug trafficking, bribery, kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary and various weapons offenses. 

State’s Attorney Alvarez, whose administration wrote the new RICO law, said the elements of the statute will now enable local prosecutors to tackle gang cases much like federal-style prosecutions targeting gang violence.  While the federal government has successfully used RICO to combat criminal gangs for more than 40 years, Illinois was one of few states that lacked a modern state RICO law.

“The new Street Gang RICO law has enabled us to launch an unprecedented attack on the leadership of this violent and notorious Chicago street gang,” Alvarez said.  “It is a Game Changer for law enforcement in our war against Chicago street gangs.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who strongly supported legislative efforts to enact a state-based RICO law, hailed the new measure as a valuable tool for police and prosecutors.  

“I pushed for a statewide RICO law so that our public safety officials would have a valuable tool in reclaiming our neighborhoods from gangs, guns and drugs,” said Emanuel. 

“Building cases like this take a long time and thanks to the hard work and cooperation of the Chicago Police Department, the FBI and Cook County State’s Attorney, these violent criminals are facing stiff penalties and communities across Chicago will continue to see more progress in the fight against crime.” 

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy said the operation marked a “milestone” for law enforcement efforts. 

“This is a milestone moment in our effort to continue reducing violence and crime in Chicago, made possible by our officers and our state and federal law enforcement partners,” said McCarthy. “The arrests and charges under the state RICO law are significant and meaningful, and this powerful tool will help us continue to reduce violence as part of our comprehensive policing strategy.”

 Added Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI:

“Today’s arrests are another chapter in our focused efforts to rid Chicago’s neighborhoods of violence,” said Nelson.  “They demonstrate the effectiveness of joining forces with our law enforcement partners toward that common goal.”

The investigation began seven months ago after gang members sanctioned and carried out the murder of West Side resident Claude Snulligan, who had contacted police repeatedly to complain about the gang’s illegal activities on his block and was targeted for murder by the gang as a result.  Snulligan was found dead with one shot to the back of his head by a .40-caliber bullet at Madison and Pulaski on Oct. 20, 2012.

 The investigation employed the use of multiple court approved wiretaps and search warrants as well as video surveillance.  Law enforcement surveillance also captured gang activity in the primary areas where the gang members would gather for meetings and where much of the criminal activity occurred.One year ago the state Legislature approved the “Street Gang RICO” law, which was written by the State’s Attorney’s Office and strongly supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department.  The law was sponsored by State Sen. Tony Munoz and State Rep. Michael Zalewski. The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Protest planned at White House; Grassroots leaders to challenge Obama on investment in Black America

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on Protest planned at White House; Grassroots leaders to challenge Obama on investment in Black America

Protest Planned at White House on Anniversary of the War on Drugs


Amidst growing disaffection in some quarters of Black America with President Obama’s failure to directly address a myriad of crises afflicting distressed Black communities, contingents of “Drum Majors for Justice” are planning a Day of Direct Action, Monday, June 17th in Washington, D.C., to mark the 42nd Anniversary of the “War on Drugs.” Mobilized by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), drug and criminal justice policy reform advocates, faith leaders, heads of community based organizations and formerly incarcerated leaders will call on President Obama to end the War on Drugs as a “pipeline” to the mass incarceration of Black people.  Leaders will also demand massive, direct investment of jobs and economic development projects in urban inner-city neighborhoods plagued by joblessness, drugs, gun violence and fratricide.

Declaring the crises in distressed Black communities a “State of Emergency,” Dr. Ron Daniels, President of IBW states:  “there is a direct connection between the so called War on Drugs as a racially biased strategy and the devastation, death and destruction in America’s ‘dark ghettos.’  The recent ALCU Study of marijuana arrests clearly confirms what we have known for some time, ‘the War on drugs is a war on us,’ a war that has severely damaged Black communities across the country.  We need President Obama to go beyond lecturing us about ‘personal responsibility’ and declare the State of Emergency in America’s dark ghettos a moral and political crisis which requires immediate action!”

According to the organizers, Drum Majors for Justice are expected to call for the elimination of the disparity in sentencing between crack and powdered cocaine; decriminalization of marijuana; an end to use of prison labor; the allocation of more federal funds for drug education, counseling and treatment; and a Presidential Commission to initiate a national dialogue on the regulation and taxation of drugs. Rev. Ronald Braxton, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church, D.C.; Courtney Stewart, Chairman, Re-entry Network for Returning Citizens, D.C.; Neill Franklin, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Baltimore; Jasiri X, Hip Hop Activist,  Pittsburgh, PA; Rev. Willie Wilson, Senior Pastor, Union Temple Baptist Church, D.C.; Rev. Kenny Glasgow, Executive Director, The Ordinary People’s Society, Dothan, AL; Joe Beasley, President, African Ascensions, Atlanta, GA; Bertha Lewis, Founder/President, The Black Institute, New York; Dean Williams, Founder/President, Formerly Convicted Citizens Project, Pittsburgh, PA; Tyrone Parker, Executive Director, Alliance of Concerned Men, D.C.;  Dr. Divine Pryor, Executive Director, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, New York; Leonard Dunston, President Emeritus, National Association of Black Social Workers, Durham, NC; David Mann, Man Up! Inc., New York; Khalid Raheem, National Council for Urban Peace and Justice, Pittsburgh; Dr. Marvin Cheatham, Civil Rights and Election Law Consultant, Baltimore; Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad, Regional Representative, Nation of Islam, D.C.;  Sonnie Jones, Community Activist, Baltimore Justice Collaborative; Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President, Hip Hop Caucus, D.C.; Atty. NkechiTaifa, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations, D.C. and Charles Thornton,  Director of the D.C. Office of Returning Citizens are among the scores of leaders who will speak at the Day of Direct Action.

Day of Direct Action  

Date: Monday, June 17th – 42nd Anniversary of the War on Drugs
Where: Washington, D.C.
Time: 10:00 AM – Pre-Rally, Historic Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M Street, NW 20005
          11:00 AM – March to Lafayette Park (Across from the White House)
          12:00 Noon – 2:00 PM – Rally at Lafayette Park

For Further Information or to arrange interviews contact: Don Rojas, 410.844.1031
or Carolyn McClair,  917.686.0854 – www.ibw21.org

Interrupting the School-To-Prison Pipeline

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on Interrupting the School-To-Prison Pipeline

By Judith Browne Dianis

America’s Wire Writers Group


ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Salecia Johnson, age 6, grew frustrated in her Milledgeville, Ga., kindergarten class last year and erupted into a temper tantrum. Unfortunately, it’s something that mothers sometimes must confront with raising young children. But what happened next was not routine, nor should it be happening to Salecia or any other children.

Creekside Elementary school called the police, who said they found Salecia on the floor of the principal’s office screaming and crying. Police said she had knocked over furniture that injured the principal. The African American child was handcuffed, arrested and hauled to the local police station. She was held for more than hour before her parents were notified and charged with simple assault and damage to property, but didn’t have to go to court because she is a juvenile.

But the ordeal has severely impacted the child. Her mother, Constance Ruff, says Salecia is traumatized, having difficulty adjusting back to school and may never recover. Salecia, she says, has awoken at night screaming, “They’re coming to get me!”Sadly, her case is not an anomaly.

Across the country, young people are being arrested for behavior that used to be solved through a trip to the principal’s office or the intervention of a counselor. In Florida, a 14-year-old was arrested and charged for throwing a pencil at another student and spent 21 days in jail. In New York, a 12-year-old was arrested for doodling, ‘I love Abby and Faith on her desk.’ In Chicago, 25 children, some as young as 11, were arrested for engaging in a food fight.

Supporters of zero tolerance policies say being tough on any infraction creates strong incentives to behave. But the reality belies that myth and cries out for the implementation of common sense discipline polices that ensure that students are put on a pathway to career or college rather than the destructive criminal justice system.

The Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization based in Washington, DC, tracks the increasing encroachment of law enforcement and the juvenile justice system into American classrooms, particularly impacting students of color. The research has documented racial disparities nationally and in specific school districts. According to a 2005 report by Advancement Project, Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track, Black and Latino students in Denver were 70 percent more likely to be disciplined (suspended, expelled, or given police tickets) than their white peers. There were no states where Black students were not suspended more often than their white peers.

The easy answer is that Black and Latino students misbehave more than other students. However, research consistently shows that this is false. Black and Latino students are punished, even arrested, most often for subjective infractions (i.e. “disorderly conduct,” “disobedience,” “disrespect,” etc.), while White students are more likely to be punished for concrete dangerous activities (e.g., carrying a weapon, using drugs).

During a convening for “America Healing,” a racial equity initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a panel discussion this spring focused on examples where different sectors of the community have achieved some success interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline.

Jody Owens, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mississippi office, which filed a lawsuit against the district, asserted that “we are losing a generation” in Meridian, Miss., because of the way children are needlessly introduced to the criminal justice system. Kids are pushed into police detention directly from the classroom. Students referred to the Police Department for misbehavior are automatically arrested and sent to the juvenile justice system. There, these students are given probation requiring them to serve any school suspensions incarcerated in the juvenile detention center. One student spent 48 days in jail for wearing the wrong color socks. Youth who run afoul of school rules, not criminal law, are routinely handcuffed to a pole outside the school for the entire eight-hour school day.

Data shows that zero tolerance policies result in higher dropout rates, lower academic achievement and young people being pushed into the criminal justice system – hence the name school to prison pipeline.

How have practices like these become common?

After the Columbine tragedy, we saw the emergence of zero tolerance policies extended into the nation’s schools. Proponents argue that safety in schools is the key issue though there is little to no evidence these practices create safer learning environments or change disruptive behavior.  

America Healing panelists cited the importance of empowering community groups to achieve victory over these destructive policies.

Developing leaders among both adults and children willing to advocate for common sense school discipline; building the capacity of organizations through training and providing community resources; and broadly connecting the movement across the nation can build a movement that works.

Following this model, parent and youth groups, have successfully fought for change.  Denver and Baltimore traded out of school suspensions for minor infractions and adopted a system of positive behavior support, more engaging classrooms, in-school suspensions and restorative justice. Denver reduced the use of police in school discipline. The results are higher academic achievement and graduation rates.  

Jerry Tello, director of the national Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute, shared how strong culture and families can play a significant role in diminishing the effects of living within these toxic environments. He emphasized how extreme discipline policies harm the spirit of youth and their self-perception. He H

The discussions at America Healing highlighted the power of combining legal and policy strategies, cultural awareness and community activism to reverse zero tolerance.

If quality education is to be a critical factor to the long-term success and independence of all children, there must be a myriad of innovative practices and partnerships between schools, families, communities, government and business to align and strengthen conditions that will break the school-to-pipeline.

Judith Browne Dianis is co-director of the Advancement Project. She is a prominent civil rights litigator and experienced racial justice advocate in the areas of voting, education, housing, and immigrants’ rights.America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Our stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com. )


Goodman Theatre presents four free staged readings of new plays developed in the Playwrights Unit

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on Goodman Theatre presents four free staged readings of new plays developed in the Playwrights Unit

Playwrights Unit Members Greg Allen, Alice Austen, Ike Holter and Christopher Oscar Pena present free staged readings July 20, 21 & August 16


Deadline to apply for 2013/2014 Season’s Playwrights Unit is July 1st


CHICAGO, IL - Goodman Theatre presents four free staged readings of new plays developed in the Playwrights Unit, a season-long residency program for local writers who meet twice monthly with members of the theater’s artistic staff to discuss their plays in progress. Out of this process emerges four brand new plays, which appear in FREE staged readings: Prowess by Ike Holter (July 20 at 2pm); Sleeping with the Prince of Darkness: The Imagined Pillow Talk of FBI Agent John O’Neill by Greg Allen (July 20 at 7:30pm); F(law)less by christopher oscar peña (July 21 at 2:30pm); and Ninth Man Out by Alice Austen (August 16 at 7:30pm). Playing an essential role in the Goodman’s efforts to commission and develop new works for the American theater, the Playwrights Unit is facilitated by Tanya Palmer, director of new play development. FREE readings take place in the Goodman’s rehearsal rooms; reservations are required and can be made by calling 312.443.3800 or visiting GoodmanTheatre.org/PlaywrightsUnit.

Chicago-based writers are invited to apply to be a Unit member for the 2013/2014 Season; visit GoodmanTheatre.org/About/Play-Submissions. Applications are due July 1, 2013. Participating playwrights receive a commission fee and a mid-point reading at Chicago Dramatists in January 2014. The residency culminates in a final public reading at the Goodman in Summer 2014. Time Warner Foundation is the Major Supporter of New Play Development. The Glasser and Rosenthal Family and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust are Supporters of New Work Development. The Davee Foundation is the Major Contributor to Research and Development for New Work and The Joyce Foundation is the Principal Supporter of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives.

Parents announce school boycott, demand CPS reverse school closing

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on Parents announce school boycott, demand CPS reverse school closing

Parents to announce extended boycott, demand CPS keep Goodlow Elementary School open


CHICAGO, IL – In the Englewood neighborhood, parents of Goodlow Elementary School students will announce a school boycott until Chicago Public School agrees to keep the school open. Over 120 students have been kept out of school this week and more are expected to join the boycott on Monday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS plan to close Goodlow and 49 other neighborhood schools at the end of the year and move students into nearby schools. Despite the facts that Goodlow has a science lab, computer lab and library, which are all of the resources that CPS is promising to closing schools. In CPS’s recently released five-year plan, they promise to give all children access to Arts Education classes and access to more counselors, which Goodlow already offers. Goodlow has small class sizes with an average of less than 22 students per homeroom. CPS and Emanuel intend to close Goodlow and move students from nearby Earle Elementary School into the Goodlow building, which will lead to overcrowding for the combined students.

“Rahm Emanuel and CPS are telling us that they know what is best for our children and that we don’t. The parents have no say in the situation,” Bobbie Brown, a Goodlow parent, said. “How are they going to fit all of these kids into a class? You can’t pack kids together like that. How are they going to give us resources we already have? Is the reason our school is closing is to give our kids iPads? Are we supposed to be happy now?”

Brown noted that Goodlow already has all the programs and service CPS is promising to closing schools and the school is not underutilized. Additionally, Earle is not an academically-higher performing school than Goodlow.  

Parents kept over 120 Goodlow students out of school this week and they are vowing to keep them out until CPS backs down on its plans to close the school.

What: Press conference: Parents announce school boycott, demand CPS reverse school closing

When: Friday, June 14, 10 a.m.

Where: Goodlow Elementary School, 2040 W. 62nd Street, Chicago

Who: Speakers: Melanie Goldman, Bobbie Brown, Michelle Clark, Goodlow parents

After Community Outcry, Wife of Soldier Will Not Be Deported

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on After Community Outcry, Wife of Soldier Will Not Be Deported

After Community Outcry, Wife of Soldier Will Not Be Deported

INQUIRER.net/New America Media

By Rene Ciria-Cruz

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cancelled the deportation order for Karla Gaerlan, an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines, following hundreds of emails and phone calls from community members and a protest this morning.

Supporters of the young Filipino mother protested Wednesday in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices.

Karla Gaerlan, an undocumented 28-year-old Filipino immigrant and the wife of an active duty U.S. Army soldier, was facing deportation on Sunday, June 16, Father’s Day.

Friends, community supporters and her husband, Specialist Thad Schmierer, appealed to ICE to stop her expulsion. Lawyers from San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus are representing Gaerlan.

“I can’t imagine leaving my family,” said a tearful Gaerlan. “Please Mr. President, you’re a father too. Please don’t put me on a plane.”

Schmierer, a Specialist in the U.S. Army stationed in Northern California, is due to leave for training in a week. He and Karla have a nine-month-old child, Christopher. The family lives in Stockton. “I’m away a lot and I’m afraid to come home and my family won’t be there,” he told the press.

The result of S-Comm

Gaerlan’s predicament began after Christopher was born, when she began struggling with severe post-partum depression. During a serious argument between her and Schmierer, she scratched him. Both said the scratches were light, but a concerned relative called the police, who arrested Gaerlan.

Then, the controversial ICE “Secure” Communities or S-Comm deportation program kicked in.

Even though Karla was not convicted of a crime, a voluntary immigration “hold” request trapped her in the San Joaquin county jail for eight days when she otherwise would have been quickly released.
Next, immigration authorities picked Karla up from the jail. Thad waited outside ICE’s office, unable to get information about what was happening to his wife. ICE agents allegedly proceeded to give her false information and threatening her.

“I was forced to waive my rights,” Gaerlan alleged. “They didn’t tell me I was qualified to get a green card. When I asked to see a judge an immigration officer yelled in my face, saying they will send me away and I won’t be able to come back if I don’t sign a paper agreeing to voluntary departure.”

Gaerlan said officers told her falsely that if she signed she would be back in the U.S. in two months. She signed the paper.

Controversial process

ICE and the Border Patrol offer voluntary departures to some immigrants without criminal records, sparing them the possibility of stiffer penalties under formal deportation orders. Voluntary departures prohibit immigrants from re-entering the U.S. for up to 10 years.

Civil rights advocates have criticized immigration officers for using voluntary departures as a way of coercing detainees into signing away their rights. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a landmark lawsuit over the “voluntary” departure process just last week. Critics also said that ICE has a deportation quota of 400,000 expulsions a year, and that this pressure is a likely cause of the abuse of the process.

“We asked for a stay from the Stockton ICE, but we were denied,” said Anoop Prasad, immigrant rights staff attorney with Asian Law Caucus. “We filed with Sacramento and were also denied. We filed with San Francisco and can go on to Washington, but we’re running out of time. Karla’s departure is this Sunday.”

ICE canceled the deportation this afternoon, after receiving hundreds of emails and phone calls from community members.

Married while in detention

Schmierer leaves for military police training in a week. Their son would leave with Karla for the Philippines. Schmierer and Gaerlan have been in a relationship for almost two years. He had been planning to propose to her this July, he said, and marry her before his deployment. Gaerlan’s detention forced the couple to speed up their plans, and they were married while she was detained.

Since its inception, S-Comm has deported some 96,800 Californians, nearly seven in 10 of whom had either no convictions or minor ones. Many were witnesses or victims of crimes, according to a Caucus lawyer.

A bill by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (AB 4 – the TRUST Act), passed by the Assembly on May 16, would limit immigration holds only to people convicted of serious or violent felonies.

Supporters appealed to California Governor Jerry Brown to sign the bill. “Had the governor signed the bill before Karla was picked up, she wouldn’t be in this predicament today,” said one of them.

Photo Caption: Protesters gather in front of Immigration offices in San Francisco to support Gaerlan. Photo by Rene Ciria-Cruz.

New Milwaukee Ave. bike lane to improve commute for thousands of people who bike to work

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on New Milwaukee Ave. bike lane to improve commute for thousands of people who bike to work

The Active Transportation Alliance congratulates Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett and the Chicago Department of Transportation for the successful completion of the city’s newest bike lane on Milwaukee Ave. between Kinzie St. and Elston Ave. This new innovative bike lane uses a combination of buffered, barrier-protected and conventional bike lanes to make people riding bikes feel safer and give them greater separation from auto traffic.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Bike to Work Week in Chicago than with the completion of a cutting-edge bike lane on the city’s busiest route for bike commuters,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “Every day thousands of people ride their bikes down Milwaukee Ave. to workplaces in the Loop, making it one of the busiest streets for cycling in the entire country. Now it will be one of the safest as well. This is a huge step forward for our efforts to make Chicago the best city for biking in the country.”

The new Milwaukee Ave. bike lane is the latest in a series of bike infrastructure improvement projects carried out under the city’s Streets for Cycling Plan 2020. Among the core elements of the plan is a network of “spoke routes” along key streets like Milwaukee Ave. that will create direct links between outlying neighborhoods and the city’s central business district. 

The new bike lane on Milwaukee Ave. includes traditional bike lanes, protected bike lanes — which use physical barriers to separate people riding bikes and motorized traffic — and buffered bike lanes, which are similar to conventional bike lanes but with extra padding that keeps people biking further from moving traffic and away from the danger of car doors opening in their path.

By providing people on bikes with their own protected space, the design of the new lane on Milwaukee Ave. helps people of all ages feel more comfortable biking on city streets. Active Trans’ Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign is mobilizing thousands of people from across Chicago to achieve our goal of building a 100-mile network of protected bikeways by 2015.

“This project showcases the widespread public support for new and safer types of bike lanes in Chicago. Almost 3,000 people signed a petition we circulated supporting the project,” said Lee Crandell, Director of Campaigns at Active Trans. “People know bringing these types of improvements to Milwaukee Ave. will address safety issues along the corridor, which includes some of the most dangerous bicycling intersections in the city, such as the intersection at Grand, Milwaukee and Halsted.”

Statistics show barrier-protected bike lanes in particular encourage more people to bike while improving overall safety for everyone using the street, whether they walk, bike or drive. A study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health found that risk of injury is 89 percent lower biking on protected bike lanes compared to major streets with no bike infrastructure.

In addition to addressing safety concerns, the new spoke route will create a stronger connection between existing bikeways on Elston Ave., Kinzie and Dearborn Streets.

“With this latest addition on Milwaukee Ave., you can really start to see the network of innovative bike lanes starting to take shape across the city,” said Crandell. “Not only will the network improve access to Chicago’s neighborhoods and enhance overall quality of life for people already living in the city, it will also help attract new residents and businesses seeking to put roots down in a region that promotes active lifestyles and livability.”

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by nearly 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 40 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.


Help Protect Your Identity – FREE BBB Paper Shredding and Electronics Recycling June 22nd

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on Help Protect Your Identity – FREE BBB Paper Shredding and Electronics Recycling June 22nd

CHICAGO, IL – Crime statistics show that last year, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, costing them roughly $5 billion.

The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, in conjunction with various government agencies, invites consumers and businesses to protect their identities by shredding unwanted personal, financial or confidential documents FREE at the annual “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day at the United Center 1901 W. Madison St. Lot E in Chicago from 9AM-1PM on June 22nd. Gates close at 12:45pm. Free electronics recycling will also be available.      

Hosts of the annual event include the BBB along with the City of Chicago, Chicago Police Department, FBI, FTC, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and United States Postal Inspection Service. Shredding and recycling services will be provided by Acme Document Destruction, Beaver Shredding Inc., Chicago Shred Authority, Cintas Document Management, Shred-It, Inc., ShredStation Express, and Vintage Tech Recyclers.

As of January 1, 2012 the  Electronic Products Recycling & Reuse Act requires people to recycle their electronic devices including televisions, monitors, printers and computers, rather than allow them to be disposed of in a landfill.
TVs, monitors, laptops, PCs, servers, data storage devices, printers, fax/copy machines, cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras and game consoles are among the types of electronic equipment that will be collected for recycling at the event. To learn more about the electronics you can recycle at this event, visit www.chicagoshreds.com      

Participants are asked to limit the material they want shred to 10 boxes of documents per vehicle. There will also be free home shredders given away during the event every 15 minutes. You can register online to win a free shredder at www.chicagoshreds.com

Below are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:  

  • A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years. The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim.
  • Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.
  • Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.
  • Be sure to keep bank statements and canceled checks for at least one year.
  • Bills should be kept for one year or until the canceled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.
  • Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.
  • Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.
  • If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to SHRED!

More information about the “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day event can be found at www.chicagoshreds.com 

For more information on how to protect your identity, visit www.bbb.org

Saint Sabina Social Services Director Seeks 100 Walkers to feed the Hungry

Posted by Admin On June - 14 - 2013 Comments Off on Saint Sabina Social Services Director Seeks 100 Walkers to feed the Hungry

Deadline to ride bus, 6.26.13


By Chinta Strausberg

No one should ever go hungry, Sharon Tillmon, director Social Services, said Sunday during the morning worship service at Saint Sabina where she called for 100 people to sign up for the church’s 28th annual Hunger Walk being held at Soldier Field, Saturday, June 29, 2013.

Registration will be conducted at 7:30 a.m. and the Hunger Walk steps off at 8:30 a.m. “All proceeds will go to the Saint Sabina Food Pantry,” she explained. “The purpose of the Hunger Walk is to raise funds and to raise awareness of the work that we do in the community” including providing food for those in need.

Tillmon urged people to take a pledge sheet, to get sponsors and to attend the June 29th event. “If you can’t come, please sponsor someone. If you can walk, I’d appreciate it because we get an additional $12.00 for every walker and this year we want 100 walkers,” she told the congregation.

“It will be a fun day and something for the entire family. Everyone will receive goody bag and a T-shirt to commemorate the day,” Tillmon said.

You can either register for or donate towards the Hunger Walk by calling the Church Rectory at: 773.483.4300 or register online by clicking on: www.chicagosfoodbank.org/hunger walk. After you sign on to the website, look for Saint Sabina Parish, agency # A00024.

If you need a ride to the hunger walk event, you must call the Church Rectory at 773.483.4300 before Wednesday, June 26, 2013.  Buses will leave the church on Saturday, June 29th at 7:30 a.m.

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.

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