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 New guide highlights 1,000 healthy, plant-based alternatives to the Western diet   Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) -- ...
WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals ...
Delia Ramirez, along with other GIA-endorsed candidates Aaron Ortiz, Alma Anaya and more part of ...
CHICAGO, IL – As we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Illinois ...
  The International Olympic Committee has awarded Sport for All Grants to Eco Sports Group, the ...
Programs ensure low-income students are well-fed when school is out SPRINGFIELD, IL –Though ...
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement in response to ...
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- As the economy rebounds, many companies across the country ...
WASHINGTON, DC – The Justice Department and U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that ...
Activists in Chicago submitted two FOIAs requests today for the Mayor of Chicago to release ...

Archive for July 12th, 2013

Topinka highlights minority owned business success

Posted by Admin On July - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Comptroller joins Rainbow PUSH for 42nd Annual Convention

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka joined the Rainbow PUSH Coalition at the Chicago Hilton and Towers Wednesday, July 10, for its 42nd Annual International Convention.

The event highlighted the challenges, perseverance, and success of minority owned businesses in Illinois and across the United States.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is the result of a merger between Operation PUSH and the Rainbow Coalition. Established in 1971 by Rev. Jackson, PUSH was an organization dedicated to improving the economic conditions of black communities across the United States. It later expanded into areas of social and political development using direct action campaigns, a weekly radio broadcast, and awards that honored prominent blacks in the U.S. and abroad.

Canada, Chicago and Maine are potential venues for Quebec Rail Explosion Lawsuits

Posted by Admin On July - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(From Clifford Law Offices, Chicago)

As rescue workers and investigators continue to sift through the catastrophic wreckage of 72 tanker cars that derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, questions continue to be asked concerning potential legal actions that may result from this derailment and explosion.

In the wake of the terrible tragedy that has claimed the lives of up to 60 people, Clifford Law Offices has been asked what laws and what courts will be available to those who seek justice against this U.S. railway company.

“The tragedy occurred in Canada, but one of the companies involved, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc., is based in Maine with what has been reported as a parent company, Rail World Inc., which is based in the Chicago area,” said Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, which has handled many rail and transportation crash cases across the country. “All potential venues must be examined to determine the forum in which injured victims and those who lost their loves ones can seek justice for this horrific explosion that appears to have been avoidable.”

Canadian investigators, law enforcement officials and company executives are on the scene of the explosion, sifting through the rubble following the derailment. Edward Burkhardt, CEO of the Chicago-based Rail World Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, reportedly suspended without pay the engineer who was operating the train as a result of this catastrophe. At this time, it is unclear where his training took place.

“Ultimately, the courts will decide what law applies” Clifford said, “but it cannot be ignored that the best venue for a lawsuit may, in fact, be in America. We are looking into all of appropriate venues based upon some inquiry calls we have already received.”

Clifford Law Offices has extensive experience in rail crash litigation and explosion cases. The firm just received one of the highest verdicts in the U.S. in 2012 for a grain bin explosion case in downstate Illinois. The firm also has successfully worked on cases involving Amtrak, Metra and various train lines crisscrossing the continent.

The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices are available to speak on this issue. Please contact Clifford Law Offices’ Communications Partner Pamela Menaker at 847-251-4877 or 312-899-9090 or 847-721-0909 (cell). Pammenaker@cliffordlaw.com

For details, visit the website at www.CliffordLaw.com www.CliffordAviationLaw.com

Simon: Remove barriers to college completion

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Receives “Champion” Award from College Changes Everything conference

 

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, the state’s point person on education reform, urged educators to continue working to remove academic and non-academic barriers for college completion as she accepted the 2013 College Changes Everything Champion Award today from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).

The award, presented annually at the College Changes Everything conference, recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to help the state improve college access and completion efforts for Illinois students. Simon said undergraduates attending four-year schools, full-time and right out of high school make up less than 30 percent college students nationwide, and more students are attending for-profit schools than ever before. She said more transparency and low student loan rates will help older, part-time students succeed.

“I will continue to advocate for higher education that is affordable and accessible for all Illinois students, and to focus on reforms that help students from all backgrounds earn credentials that translate to good-paying jobs,” said Simon, who visited the state’s 12 public universities and 48 community colleges in her first two years in office. “I count higher education institutions and education advocates across the state as great partners as we focus on increasing the college completion rate in Illinois.”

This month, Simon will convene education leaders to develop a statewide College Scorecard with data on completion rates and costs that will help students make the most of their tuition dollars. The effort follows a resolution drafted by Simon and approved by the General Assembly urging all Illinois colleges and universities to prominently display a link to a federal College Scorecard on their websites to help students assess college costs.

Simon has also worked with students and advocates to urge Congressional action on student loan rates. On July 1, interest rates on some federal student loans doubled. Simon has encouraged students to contact their federal representatives to explain what $2,600 annually – the average increase with doubled rates – means to them.

Simon and the state Board of Education are also rolling out the state’s first middle school and high school math curriculum models this fall. Prompted by Simon’s work on Senate Bill 3244, the units outline teach techniques aligned with Common Core standards and are designed to reduce remedial needs at college. Math is the biggest academic barrier to college completion, Simon said.

“Sheila Simon is one of the true champions of education in Illinois, and it’s my honor to present her with this recognition,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of ISAC.

The conference, coordinated by ISAC, brings together educators, students, legislators and other advocates to work towards the state’s college completion goal. To keep pace with employer needs, the state wants 60 percent of working-age adults to hold a college degree or credential by 2025.

Car break downs and accidents can be scam opportunities, Better Business Bureau advises

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – July is a popular month for driving vacations and other road trips. Unfortunately, driving can sometimes mean breakdowns or accidents, which can lead to towing. If these problems occur and your car needs to be towed, the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) recommends being cautious to avoid tow truck scams.

When you are in trouble, it might be a relief to see a tow truck coming behind you, offering help. However, dishonest towing operators, aka bandit tow trucks, prey on drivers who need assistance. The tow truck drivers offer people help with their car, but then end up charging hefty fees for their services.

“There are many dishonest towing operations that take advantage of drivers in stressful situations,” said Steve Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Before agreeing to any service, make sure you get all the details up front especially as it relates costs.”

The BBB offers the following tips to avoid tow truck scams:

  • Be wary of unsolicited help. Don’t deal with tow truck operators who arrive on the scene unannounced. Don’t allow the operator to take your vehicle until you are given a printed invoice. This should include a listing of towing and daily storage fees.
  • Use the police as a resource. If there is a crash, call the police, and only accept help from tow trucks that are contacted by the police. If the police get a truck to tow your vehicle, don’t sign any additional paperwork from the company, as this could allow the company to add extra fees.
  • Don’t give out personal information. It is dangerous to provide insurance information to tow truck companies, since bandit tow truck operators could use this information for scams.
  • Choose where your car gets towed. Have your car towed to your home or at a repair shop of your choice. This prevents additional fees. Some scam artists take cars to an impound lot instead of a repair shop, which can result in extra storage fees.

For more information on tow truck scams, visit www.bbb.org

 

Ongoing Operation Nets $82 Million in Unpaid Sales Tax from Gas Station Owners

Posted by Admin On July - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) announced that a Chicago area gas station owner pled guilty and was sentenced to prison for defrauding the state of nearly $1 million in gasoline sales taxes. It is one of the largest cases of gas sales tax fraud in the state’s ongoing criminal enforcement operation. To date, the operation has recovered more than $82 million owed the state from gas station owners who evaded sales tax payments.
 
Earlier today, Samer T. Farhan, 33, of Palos Hills, appeared before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth J. Wadas and pled guilty to filing fraudulent sales and use tax returns and mail fraud, Class 3 felonies. Farhan was sentenced to two years in prison and will pay the total $975,862 that he defrauded the state by underreporting sales taxes at his two gas stations.
 
From May 2008 to April 2011, Farhan underreported sales at Citgo Gas, 2959 W. Fulton St., Chicago, and Valero Gas, 1812 E. Sibley Blvd., Calumet City. Farhan schemed to conceal the underreported sales by laundering more than $200,000 to an overseas bank account based in Amman, Jordan.
 
“This is among the largest cases of sales tax fraud committed by a gas station owner that we have uncovered in our ongoing criminal enforcement initiative,” Madigan said. “It is an extremely significant result that will bolster our efforts to pursue individuals intent on defrauding the state.”
 
The case is part of the ongoing operation led by Madigan’s office and IDOR to recoup sales tax losses from gas stations throughout Illinois that underreported revenues to avoid paying taxes to the state.
 
“The court’s action is an example of how both the state’s tax enforcement team and the courts take tax fraud seriously,” said Brian Hamer, Director of Revenue. “When taxpayers cheat, they will be punished.”  
 
The crackdown on gas station owners, now in its third year, has led to a new law in Illinois to penalize these criminals. The law, which was an initiative of Madigan’s office and took effect in January, established stronger penalties and strengthened prosecutors’ ability to pursue Illinois businesses and retailers that evade their sales tax bills. The law created the new crime of Sales Tax Evasion and imposed graduated penalties based on the amount of sales taxes that were evaded.
 
This case was investigated by IDOR’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Madigan’s office with assistance from the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant Attorneys General Paul Bervid and James Rustik handled prosecution of the case for Madigan’s Special Prosecutions Bureau.

Housing Rights Activists Stop Home Auction

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CHICAGO, IL – Members of various housing rights and activist groups will hold a rally and press conference on Monday July 15 at 10:30AM, at 1 S. Wacker Dr., to protest the auctioning of foreclosed homes in Chicago.
 
“Five years into the crisis and millions of displaced families later, we continue to see around 80 evictions per day in Cook county. Too many of these evictions have been due to foreclosure, and too many homes end up boarded up and abandoned, creating instability in our communities,” said Jorge Ortiz, organizer with Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction (CUAFE).
 
Activists, homeowners facing foreclosure, and other members of the community will rally Monday morning to stop the auctioning off of foreclosed homes, and also to demand that the homes be donated to the community in exchange for a tax-write off for the banks.
 
“The complicit actions of the banks, the courts, and the Cook County Sheriff, have resulted in the weakening of our communities.  We demand that our homes not be sold at auction, but instead donated to the community through a community land trust,” said Jorge Ortiz.
Organizers will meet at 1 S. Wacker Dr. at 10:30AM, Monday, July 15, 2013.  A press conference will begin shortly thereafter.

Tavis Smiley and the University of Maryland announce $75,000 Social Innovation Challenge

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Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — Broadcaster Tavis Smiley, in partnership with the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, will launch a $75,000 TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge to help address some of society’s most pressing issues in three key areas: hunger, education, and sustainability.

The inaugural TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge invites aspiring entrepreneurs to develop transformative solutions to affect positive change for individuals and communities across the nation. The Challenge serves as a prompt for diverse groups of people to come together to solve specific societal issues by harnessing inventiveness and bringing innovative ideas to the marketplace.

Submissions will be evaluated by a panel comprised of representatives from academia, business, community/grassroots, government, nonprofit groups and the technology community. The winners will be announced in January 2014.

The TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge supports Tavis Smiley’s initiative to dramatically reduce poverty in America and the University of Maryland’s commitment to increase the number and quality of new businesses inspired by competition to create a large and strong new generation of entrepreneurs who benefit society.

“Solutions to the many daunting problems facing the United States and the global community will come from a diversity of thinking in the areas of science, engineering and technology,” says Smiley. “I can think of no better way to invest in our collective well being than to invest in the minds of the future.”

Adds Darryl Pines, Dean and Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Clark School, “I believe that competitions are crucial to create a climate of innovation and entrepreneurship, and for driving new advances in targeted social areas. The future economic growth and competitiveness of the United States depends on our capacity to innovate.”

The TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge will award a minimum of $25,000 each to three social innovators, one in each of the target impact areas of hunger, sustainability and education. Additionally, each winning entrant will have an opportunity to appear on the Tavis Smiley Network, receive an entrepreneur mentorship at the Clark School’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), and showcase their innovation at Platform Summit 2014.

Key Information for Challenge Entrants:

Entrants’ submissions must include a written executive summary and short video articulating the issue being solved; methodology; a sense of the potential local, national and global impact of the solution; and more.

* Friday, July 12-September 13: Pre-registration for announcements and award increase
* September 13, 2013 at 9:00am EST: Entrants may register online (no cost) and post project submissions
* October 13, 2013 at 5:00pm EST: Deadline for entrants to register online (no cost) and post project submissions
* November 2013: Finalists will be notified and invited to pitch their idea to the panel of judges
* January 2014: Winners will be listed on tavistalks.com/socialinnovator and announced on the TAVIS SMILEY NETWORK

The winners and the three promising projects will share a minimum of $75,000 in cash prizes. For more information, visit http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001t927E3Fzh1z3D57VkBpXRgqcImUbTGUsDOKXzkr6flHF7Aag19baCRcg_ZX9d_HOXUdJzoYvHVzhxePlteKPgD-6DxF0NeTXHtu-B49SY33qLnV9UI7GCddT1SOkOU_xIbKNcIv9gUE4R9BvyFKMBg== or via Twitter #socialinnovator.

A key aspect of the TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge is its emphasis on collaborations to advance social innovation. For donors or partners interested in making a financial contribution to increase the cash award for solutions to promising innovators, please contact Denise Pines at (323) 290-1182 or dpines@tavistalks.com.

About Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley is host and managing editor of the nightly talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS produced by TS Media, Inc., and the host of The Tavis Smiley Show and co-host of Smiley & West from Public Radio International (PRI), both produced by Smiley Radio Properties, Inc. Smiley is also the author/editor of 16 books, including New York Times bestsellers Covenant with Black America, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, and his most recent, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. In 2009, TIME magazine named him one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People. 2013 marks his 10th season on PBS and is the inaugural year for the Tavis Smiley Network (TSN) on BlogTalkRadio. For more information, visit http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001t927E3Fzh1wezMXnIuYwOXfMaSRSaTZwwbXOhVf7TJALvpIAVL9kqR8OOQdTc7axjD3jSjTKggK_HYEn9MHhrrBKR4aYfk5YpK0GJFnA1O35myhYN4adsA==.

About A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland

The Clark School of Engineering, situated on the rolling, 1,500-acre University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md., is one of the premier engineering schools in the U.S., with graduate and undergraduate education programs ranked in or near the Top 20. In 2012, the Clark School was ranked 14th in the world by the Institute of Higher Education and Center for World-Class Universities in its Academic Ranking of World Universities. Three faculty members affiliated with the Clark School were inducted into the National Academy of Engineering within the last three years.

The school, which offers 13 graduate programs and 12 undergraduate programs, including degree and certification programs tailored for working professionals, is home to one of the most vibrant research programs in the country. The Clark School garnered research awards of $171 million last year. With emphasis in key areas such as energy, nanotechnology and materials, bioengineering, robotics, communications and networking, life cycle and reliability engineering, project management, intelligent transportation systems and aerospace, the Clark School seeks to develop engineering solutions that impact the lives of millions.

Playwrights Unit Members Greg Allen, Alice Austin, Ike Holter and Christopher Oscar Pena present free Staged Readings July 20, 21 & August 16

Posted by Admin On July - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
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: 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); Prowess by Ike Holter (July 21 at 7:30pm); 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.

Master P, Cymphonique and Romeo host Essence Festival Family Day 2013

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Master P and his children, Romeo and Cymphonique Miller hosted the Family Empowerment Experience at the Essence Festival, sponsored by Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Verizon. The event took place at the New Orleans Convention Center where thousands gathered being empowered and entertained by the Miller family.
The audience members were blown away by the powerful and amazing vocal performance of teen R&B superstar Cymphonique. The music mogul and his family’s message of faith, education and family values were well received.
“Some people may think of Hip Hop as being ignorant, lacking education, but we’re changing that,” says Percy Miller, he continues, “We’re breaking that negative cycle by instilling the importance of education and going to college to the next generation. My son and my daughter, they’re going to college. We’re preparing them for careers and to help them take their lives to the next level by having faith, setting goals and working hard to follow your dreams.”
Romeo, a student of the University of Southern California, commented on his educational experience while growing up, saying: “People may not have ever known, but I always went to regular school. I had to get A’s and B’s while I was making music, movies and going on tour. My dad always told me that in order to break the poverty cycle in our family and build generational wealth, it starts with education.”
Cymphonique also talked about her family telling the Essence Festival audience, “Our family’s top values are God, family and education. I’m so thankful to have my family and to be able to work in the music business with them. A lot of entertainers, especially young people get taken advantage of in this business. Since my dad has helped me to understand the necessity of attaining a higher education, my goal is not only to be successful but to make a real difference by making positive choices and helping other people with my God-given talents and abilities.”
The Millers hosted a memorable and historical event on July 4th 2013, The Essence Empowerment Experience, accompanied by special guests, policy makers, civic leaders and entertainers whose collective goal was to give our culture the tools and the knowledge to take the initiative individually and as a family to better our world.

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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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