April , 2019

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- The National Association of University Women., Inc. has chosen Atlanta, Georgia as ...
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- The African American community was once viewed as the ...
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office has seen an increase in deaths attributed to fentanyl ...
Korean War Veterans from across the nation attended observance Arlington, VA - President Barack Obama has ...
by Juanita Bratcher   It is appalling that President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia ...
More than 50 organizations have joined a coalition to educate and organize around dozens of ...
One of the world’s largest diesel manufacturers will set up its North American headquarters in ...
  Chicago, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently joined nine other states in reaching a ...
Why is the Candidate of “Tomorrow” Pumping Policies fromYesterday? Draft Biden 2016, ...
Alderman Anthony Beale has declared war on Englewood Hero Englewood Political Task Force, P.E.A.C.E, Action Coalition ...

Archive for January 16th, 2014

President Obama nominates Maria Contreras-Sweet as administrator of the SBA

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama nominates Maria Contreras-Sweet as administrator of the SBA

Remarks by President Barack Obama in nominating Contreras-Sweet as administrator of the SBA

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much. Well, welcome to the White House.  And I am pleased to be joined by many of the people on the front lines when it comes to creating jobs and new opportunities — America’s small business owners.  And I want to thank all of them for the hard work and the sacrifice of these entrepreneurs, as well as the workers and the families across the country that have helped us pull ourselves out of one of the worst recessions in our history.

Now what we’re seeing is businesses having created more than 8 million new jobs since we hit bottom.  Manufacturing is growing, led by a booming auto industry.  Our investments have helped bring about new technologies, more affordable energy, and our slowing health care costs, all of which are making America even more attractive for investors.  And we’re starting to see a lot of the jobs that had left our shores in manufacturing, for example, starting to come back, because we put ourselves in a much more competitive position.

And so all the pieces are there to bring back even more new jobs to America this year, but it’s not going to happen by itself.  This has to be a year of action.  We got to keep our economy growing.  We got to make sure that our working families are sharing in growth and increasing success.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re creating more good jobs that pay good wages and provide families with some measure of security.  We’ve got to make sure that the recovery doesn’t leave anybody behind.

And that’s where our small businesses can help lead the way — because small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy.  They create most of the country’s new jobs.  They’re cornerstones of our communities.  And they’re part of the pact that America makes — the idea that if you work hard, if you take responsibility, then you can build something new.  You can make something of yourself.  You can leave something behind for your children.  And that’s the dream that brought generations of hardworking immigrants to our shores, and that’s the idea that drives small business owners to create new products and expand their businesses every single day.

And that’s one of the reasons why I made small business a priority from day one when I took this office.  It’s why we cut taxes for small business owners not once but twice — not once or twice, but 18 times in my first term.  Small business owners had a real tough time in the financial crisis.  When lending froze, they were the ones who were getting hit the hardest.  So my administration supported record amounts of lending to small businesses through the SBA — more than $130 billion to more than 225,000 small businesses during the course of five years.

We made it easier for small business to compete for and win federal contracts by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and cutting red tape, and accelerating payments to small business contractors through the “QuickPay” program so that they can maintain the cash flow that they need to grow their businesses and create more jobs.  And so in my first term, nearly $380 billion in federal contracts went to small business.  That’s almost $50 billion more than in the four years before I took office.

So I deeply believe in small businesses that can help to drive and continue the growth that we’ve already seen.  And I elevated the role of the Small Business Administrator to Cabinet level — to give small businesses a seat at the table when we are talking about our economic agenda.  I searched for an exceptional person to serve as the next leader of the SBA.  I wanted somebody with a proven track record of helping small businesses succeed; somebody who had firsthand experience both in the private sector and the public sector who can work with us and work with me to increase growth and expand opportunity.  I wanted somebody who understands entrepreneurs, and it would be even better if that somebody had actually started a business of her own.

And that’s why I’m so proud to nominate Maria Contreras-Sweet to be the next Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Maria knows how hard it is to get started on a business — the grueling hours, the stress, the occasional self-doubt — although I have not yet seen self-doubt out of Maria.

(Laughter.)  She knows it herself.  She’s the founder of ProAmérica Bank, the first Latino-owned business bank in California in over 30 years.  Its focus is small and medium-sized businesses in Latino neighborhoods.  So not only did she start small businesses, but those have also been her customers, and she understands all too often that the lack of access to capital means a lack of opportunity.

As Secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, Maria was the driving force behind major job creation and major public investments in infrastructure and in housing.  As a consultant, she helped companies expand into the Latino market.  She’s a champion of women-owned and family-owned businesses.  When she started her bank, she said she wanted the bank to be a place where families would come for help, “because when family businesses thrive” — and I’m quoting — “the community thrives and the economy thrives.”  And as someone who moved to California from Mexico as a young girl, and whose mother worked long hours to support Maria and her five siblings, she knows firsthand the challenges that working families and recent immigrants are facing.

So she understands the needs of small business owners like herself.  She knows how they can lift entire communities, and ultimately how they lift our country.  So as we work to keep our economy growing, Maria will be charged with looking for more ways to support small businesses -– to help them get that good idea off the ground, to expand, to hire, to sell their products and ideas not only in our domestic markets, but also overseas.  And I’m absolutely confident that she is going to do an outstanding job as our Small Business Administrator.

So I want to thank her for accepting this position and the challenge, and I know that she’s going to be up to the task.   And I want to thank her husband Ray and her three outstanding children -– because jobs like this turn out to be family affairs — and I know that Ray is very supportive and is going to be a great partner with her in this task.

Now, Maria follows in the footsteps of two extraordinary leaders –- Karen Mills, who served as Administrator of the SBA in my first term, and Jeanne Hulit, who has graciously agreed to serve as Acting Administrator after Karen stepped down last year. Together, they made it easier and faster for entrepreneurs to get loans, to win contracts, to hire more people — and the results are thriving small businesses across the country.

Some of those entrepreneurs are here today.  Twenty years ago, Deb and Dan Carey wanted so bad to start their own brewing company that they sold their house to help pay for it.  And with a little help from the SBA, they rented an old appliance factory, set up their equipment, they got to work.  Today, the New Glarus Brewing Company is one of the top craft beer-makers in Wisconsin, with more than 80 full-time employees.  So Deb and Dan, where are you?  They’re around here somewhere.  There they are, right there.  Good to see you again.

There’s another success story here — the team behind Taylor Gourmet, a hoagie shop with locations all over D.C., including one just half a block from the White House.  (Laughter.)  If you’re wondering why I know about this, the staff are steady customers at Taylor Gourmet and I have tasted those tasty sandwiches.  When Casey Patten and Dave Mazza moved to D.C., they looked everywhere for hoagies like the ones they’d grown up with in Philly.  And when they couldn’t find any, they thought, we should make them ourselves.  And with the help of the SBA, they opened eight shops in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  And so not only are they providing great sandwiches, but they’re also creating jobs here in the area.

That’s the power of small business.  That’s the charge of the SBA.  That’s the extraordinary work that Jeanne has done and, before her, Karen, to help advance the agenda of people who just have a dream and are willing to put in all the blood, sweat and tears that they need to do in order to achieve that dream.  And so when we think about our small businesses, just remember that’s what keeps our communities and our country strong, and we should be doing everything in our power to help them succeed.  If here in America, you’re willing to work hard and dream big, you should have your shot at success.

Jeanne has understood that and, in fact, she’s going to be going back into the private sector and helping small businesses back in Maine.  I told her she might have wanted to stay here until the winter is over — (laughter) — but she’s eager to get back and she’s already stayed longer than she originally intended.

And I know this is something that Maria understands.  Maria, on the way in, told me a wonderful story about how her grandmother, back in Mexico who was a migrant worker, said to her that if she worked hard, studied, stayed in school, that someday she’d be able to work in an office as a secretary and really make her proud.  And she ended up being the Secretary of Business Development and Transportation in California.  And now she’s going to be helping the folks who are following behind her achieve their dreams.  That’s what America is all about.

So Maria is fulfilling the vision of her grandma in ways that maybe are not entirely expected.  And I’m confident that she’s going to put her heart and soul into making sure that all the other people who are out there striving and trying to achieve their dreams can succeed as well.  That’s what this administration is about and I’m looking forward to working with her.

So thank you very much.  Give them a big round of applause.

ReMARCs: Achievement Gaps: Are we failing our children?

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on ReMARCs: Achievement Gaps: Are we failing our children?

By Marc Morial

President and CEO, National Urban League

On Monday, I joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and National Council of La Raza President & CEO Janet Murguia, among others, in addressing a group of approximately 200 parent leaders and education activists during the National Assessment Governing Board’s Education Summit for Parent Leaders.

The goal of the one-day summit was to convey the urgency of improving student achievement in the United States for all children and of reducing achievement gaps between students.  This meeting and others like it are critical to continuing to raise awareness and drive action around necessary education reform in our nation.

This year marks 60 years since the U.S. Supreme Court called education “a right which must be made available to all on equal terms” in its Brown v. Board of Education decision.  Yet, since 1970, the achievement gap between high and low-income students has increased by almost 40%.  According to the most recent 8th grade National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as The Nation’s Report Card, about 40% of all students were proficient or advanced in reading and math – compared to proficiency rates of Black students at 13% in reading and 10% in math.  As a nation, we trail other countries in the critical areas of math (26th), reading (17th) and science (27th) and are below-average in equity in education opportunities.  The economic impact of our achievement and graduation gaps is an across-the-board loss of tens of billions of dollars per year in earnings, increased GDP and sales.  But the cultural and psychological impact on our children is immeasurable.

We are facing an undeniable Education State of Emergency.  It’s time to invest in our children with the same level of commitment and resources that have built our nation up as the world’s #1 military power or that rescued and stabilized the financial system when it was on the brink of collapse.  When we commit ourselves to being the best, we do it.  Our children’s future is too big to fail.

Chicago man charged in child pornography case

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Chicago man charged in child pornography case

A Chicago man appeared in bond court, charged with possession of child pornography after investigators recovered numerous videos depicting children engaging in sex acts on a computer in his home, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Miguel Angel Villegas, 46, of the 10100 block of South Avenue J, was charged with Possession of Child Pornography (possession of videos; depiction of child under 13 years of age), a Class 2 Felony. If convicted Villegas faces up to 7 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, a search warrant was executed at Villegas’ residence following an investigation by the Chicago Police Department. During the search, officers recovered a computer from Villegas’ residence. A forensic review of the computer revealed videos depicting young children engaging in a variety of sex acts.

Villegas was arrested by the Chicago Police Department yesterday (Jan. 14) and appeared in bond court today at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago before Judge Israel Desierto who set bond at $50,000. Villegas’ next court date is Feb. 5th.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Madigan urges consumers to protect against Identity Theft in wake of data breaches

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Madigan urges consumers to protect against Identity Theft in wake of data breaches
Illinois, Connecticut Lead Investigation into Massive Security Breaches
at Target, Neiman Marcus

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan alerts consumers to several steps they can take to protect themselves against identity theft and unauthorized charges in the wake of data breaches reported by Target and Neiman Marcus stores nationwide.

Madigan is urging consumers to immediately take several steps to protect their bank and credit card accounts:
  • You can cancel your old debit or credit card and obtain new cards.
  • You can contact your bank to change your debit card PIN numbers and passwords, if you have ever used a debit card to shop at a Target store.
  • You can check your bank and credit card accounts daily online and your billing statements every month. Contest unauthorized charges immediately over the phone and in writing.
  • Any consumer who has ever shopped at a U.S. Target store can sign up for free credit monitoring being offered by the company in response to its massive data breach. Visit creditmonitoring.target.com to sign up. Consumers must sign up by April 23. You will be provided a copy of your credit report, daily credit monitoring and access to personalized assistance from a fraud resolution agent. But understand, you will not see unauthorized charges through the monitoring, but will see if new accounts are opened in your name or a change of address for an account has been requested.
  • You can set up an alert on your account to receive notification when your credit or debit card is used over and above a certain dollar figure. This is called “Setting Transaction Alerts.”
  • Beware of callers who claim to be with your card issuing bank. These calls may be a scam. Consumers should contact their bank first at the toll-free number on the back of your card before you disclose any personal information.
Madigan and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen are leading an investigation into both breaches of customers’ personal financial information.

“The magnitude of the Target breach is a wakeup call to all shoppers to be vigilant about activity on your credit and debit cards—because it’s not a matter of if but when you are going to be a victim of identity theft or a security breach,” Madigan said. “This is why I created our identity theft hotline in 2006. My office can provide you with resources on how to best protect your personal and financial information and how to clean up and restore your credit if you have been victimized. Please visit our website for further information or call my office for assistance.”

Last month, Target first reported a data breach affecting 40 million customers during November and December 2013. Stolen information included credit and debit card data, customer names and PIN numbers. Last week, Target further revealed that names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for up to an additional 70 million people nationwide were also compromised.

Media reports have additionally indicated the department store chain Neiman Marcus sustained a recent data breach, which Madigan’s office is investigating.

Consumers with questions regarding Target’s breach are encouraged to visit target.com/databreach or to contact Target directly at (866) 852-8680.

Consumers can also contact Madigan’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1 (866) 999-5630. The hotline is staffed with identity theft experts who can help victims report the crime to local law enforcement and financial institutions, work to repair their credit and prevent future theft. Hotline operators can also assist callers who want to take proactive steps to prevent their personal information from being stolen.

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez names seasoned Chicago attorney to manage Civil Bureau

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez names seasoned Chicago attorney to manage Civil Bureau

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has appointed a private sector attorney with decades of experience in civil and municipal litigation to manage the State’s Attorney’s Civil Actions Bureau.

Daniel F. Gallagher has been sworn in as the new Chief of the Civil Actions Bureau, a major division of the State’s Attorney’s Office that handles civil legal matters for Cook County government, its employees and county office holders.

Gallagher, 65, has been in private legal practice for nearly 40 years, most recently for the last 25 years at the Chicago law firm of Querrey and Harrow, where he concentrated his practice in trial work with emphasis on commercial litigation, civil rights and contract litigation. Gallagher has tried more than 75 cases to verdict in both the state and federal courts and has argued appeals in the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“I am very pleased to welcome Dan Gallagher to this very important leadership role in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office,” Alvarez said. “Dan brings a wealth of experience in civil law that will serve this office and all of Cook County government extremely well.”

The State’s Attorney’s Civil Actions Bureau is divided into three major divisions. The Special Litigation Division consists of the Medical Litigation Section and the Labor and Employment Section. The General Litigation Division consists of the Torts and Civil Rights Section, the Industrial Claims Section and the Revenue Recovery Section. The Transactions, Municipal Litigation and Real Estate Taxation Division consists of the Transaction/Health Law section, the Municipal Litigation section and the Real Estate section. The Bureau also includes the Child Support Division, which assists citizens seeking delinquent child support payments.

In addition to his legal practice, Gallagher has been very active in the Chicago Bar Association, serving on the Finance Committee, the Judicial Evaluation Committee and as Chair of the International Continuing Legal Education Committee. He is also an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel.

Gallagher, a lifelong Chicagoan, received both his undergraduate degree and his law degree from the University of Illinois.

Lt. Gov. Simon launches important military study

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Lt. Gov. Simon launches important military study

Committee addresses economic, education concerns in military communities

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced the launch of a comprehensive economic impact analysis of active military bases in Illinois. The study, announced during a quarterly meeting of the state’s Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), is to be completed by October.

“We need the best information available to retain our military economy and grow the direct and indirect jobs it creates,” Simon said.

The study will calculate the economic impact of the state’s military installations and provide the data needed for Congressional, state and business leaders to protect Illinois’ military economy at a time of federal cuts. Simon said bidding for the project will be begin shortly.

With shifting national budget priorities, force reallocations through the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, and the threat of future BRAC (base realignment and closure) rounds threatening key regions of Illinois, Simon says the statewide impact study will educate stakeholders and promote the importance of defense assets and the defense industry economy in Illinois.

The study will be commissioned by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in conjunction with the IMBSEDC. Created as an entity within Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in 2005, the IMBSEDC is chaired by Lt. Governor Simon. The impact study aligns with the committee’s statutory duties regarding military base retention.

The IMBSEDC meeting also featured a presentation by military school liaison officers regarding the Illinois Educational Opportunity for Military Children Act, which is modeled on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children. Key education transition issues were discussed, including how to strengthen school policies regarding enrollment, placement in classes and extracurricular activities, access to kindergarten, and graduation requirements.

As chair of the IMBSEDC, Simon helps coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois. Simon is committed to protecting the state’s military operations, installations, and the families of those who selflessly serve our state and country.

Is Your Presentation Putting People to Sleep? Try This To Wake them Up!

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Is Your Presentation Putting People to Sleep? Try This To Wake them Up!

SoapBox Rants

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan
President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.

Remember the slide projector? I used to love it when the teacher would pull that thing out to show the classroom examples to go with lessons. We also watched Show & Tell presentations and slides from the teacher’s or family member’s vacations. I remember the sounds of the projector running, and the warm smell of the bulb burning in the machine. Presentations have come a long way since then. Many are probably still using MS PowerPoint, Open Office Impress and Corel Presentations, but how many times have you stayed up late working on a presentation only to get to your meeting and something is missing? For example, your graphics aren’t showing up, the links to your embedded music or video is broken and you don’t have the files with you.

Enter the 21st century. Put that presentation on the cloud with Zoho Show. It’s like a production studio at your fingertips. Dazzle your audience with these powerful tools. With a laptop/tablet and an internet connection, you can share your presentation wherever you are. With online software like Prezi, you can create a layout with images, videos and text. Infographics work great here. Yes. Infographics. They are layouts that tell your story at a glance with one large story telling image with bold text, statistics, charts and illustrations throughout. Anyway, with Prezi your audience will never get bored with the broad sweeps as it moves back-and-forth or across the image.

There is also GoAnimate which allows you to create animated videos to tell your story. Their drag-and-drop tools are great for creating training documents and telling your story. You can add characters, backgrounds, props and effects. You can even use your own artwork here. You create your video online with an internet connection. Everything is online.

SlideSnack lets you share presentations online using their site and create flash videos. You can start with a template of a plain slide and work through the wizard and put your whole presentation together without fussing with layout. When you are done, you can even add voiceover to it. Make sure you have a microphone attached or turned on your laptop or tablet. If you don’t like the recording, you can do it over. Press “finish” when you are done, and viola! You have a slide show you can download as a movie or embed in a web page.

All of the above presentation software is unique so choose wisely. Determine what would be best for a kid’s presentation or adults, vacation images or business presentation, art show or concert background. It’s up to you.

Pamela Bratcher-McMillan is a technology Expert and President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al. She is also a weekly columnist for CopyLine Magazine

This article was first posted October 25, 2013.

Ensemble Member Yasen Peyankov stages comedy-turned-thriller, Russian Transport by Erika Sheffer

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Ensemble Member Yasen Peyankov stages comedy-turned-thriller, Russian Transport by Erika Sheffer

Chicago Premiere features Ensemble Members Tim Hopper, Mariann Mayberry and Alan Wilder, February 6 – May 11 in the Upstairs Theatre

CHICAGO, IL – Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Chicago-premiere production of Russian Transport by Erika Sheffer, “a gritty but often humorous portrait of the immigrant nuclear family” (Time Out New York). Bulgarian-born ensemble member Yasen Peyankov is at the helm of what Variety declared a “thoughtful, well-written domestic drama with something original to say about immigrant families living by old world values in a new world culture.” The cast of five features ensemble members Tim Hopper, Mariann Mayberry and Alan Wilder with Aaron Himelstein and Melanie Neilan. Russian Transport begins previews February 6, 2014 (opening night is February 16; press performances are February 15 at 3pm and February 18 at 7:30pm) and runs through May 11, 2014 in Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 – 78) are on sale now at steppenwolf.org.

A rowdy Russian family in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn is on a daily hustle to achieve the American Dream. When Uncle Boris (Hopper) arrives from the old country, his mysterious business ventures force the family to decide just how far they are willing to go to come out on top. A funny, passionate family drama that slyly transforms into a heart-pounding thriller, Russian Transport is a fascinating look at the contemporary American immigrant experience.

“Our season theme, Getting Ahead: How Far Will You Go? is brilliantly explored in Russian Transport. It’s fitting that our theme should be given such relevance in the reflection of an immigrant story.” comments Artistic Director Martha Lavey. “We have great admiration in America for the ‘pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps’ but what does that look like really? What does it mean to have nothing, to want everything, and to know that money is the ultimate measure of success? Are our personal ethics a luxury of prosperity?”

The cast of Russian Transport features ensemble members Tim Hopper (Boris), Mariann Mayberry (Diana) and Alan Wilder (Misha) with Aaron Himelstein (Alex) and Melanie Neilan (Mira, Sonya, Vera and Girl).

The production team for Russian Transport includes: Joey Wade (scenic design), Ana Kuzmanic (costume design), Scott Zielinski (lighting design), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound design and original music), and Stephan Mazurek (projection design). Additional credits include: Erica Daniels (casting), Scott Weinstein (assistant director), Dassia Posner (dramaturgy), Eva Breneman (dialect coach), Malcolm Ewen (stage manager) and Cassie Calderone (assistant stage manager).

Tickets to Russian Transport ($20 – $78) are on sale now through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. 20 for $20: twenty $20 tickets are available through Audience Services beginning at 11am on the day of each performance (1pm for Sunday performances). Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket. For additional student discounts, visit steppenwolf.org/students. Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/groups.

OptionsHouse is the Corporate Production Sponsor of Russian Transport.

Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance in the Subscription Season. Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is America’s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spaces—the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and two repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work and Garage Rep. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and 12 Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.

For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.

Report: Protected bike lanes good for business locally and across the country

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Report: Protected bike lanes good for business locally and across the country

(From The Active Transportation Alliance)

As the economy rebounds and Americans flock to cities, companies find physically protected bike lanes benefit real estate, talent retention, health costs, retail vitality

Entrepreneurs and city leaders in Chicago and across the country have discovered an unexpected tool to create opportunities in growing downtown economies: the protected bike lane.

In a new report from PeopleForBikes and the Alliance for Biking & Walking, http://bit.ly/PBLSMeanBiz entrepreneurs and business leaders from major U.S. cities explain how protected bike lanes — on-street lanes that are physically separated from automobile traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts — have meant big benefits for their companies.

The report combines this original reporting with an overview of the latest academic and technical research to find changes associated with four mega-trends:

  • Companies scramble to attract the most skilled Millennials and Gen X-ers, who increasingly prefer downtown jobs and commutes that don’t involve a car. Working in a city with comfortable bike lanes is so important to Jeff Judge that when his Chicago business was considering a relocation, his first bit of research was the bike lane network near his potential new headquarters. Judge recently weighed moving his marketing startup, Signal, from Chicago to Boston when a Massachusetts-based company approached him about acquisition. “The first thing I looked at was what the bike infrastructure is like in Boston,” said Judge. “It’s so important to me. … Cities that invest in biking infrastructure are going to win. It’s better for business. It’s better for planning. It’s better for infrastructure. It’s better all around.” “We’re close to many protected bike lanes downtown,” explained Judge, who rides in Chicago’s new protected bike lanes on his commute to work. “For me and for my employees, it makes a big difference.”
  • Americans are flocking to urban areas, congesting city streets. By making biking appeal to more people, protected lanes increase access to fast-developing neighborhoods without the negative impact of additional auto traffic.Studies show that homes near bicycle infrastructure appreciate in value more than equivalent houses away from bike lanes. In Indianapolis, proximity to a bike route increases your home price by an average of 11%.
  • With health care costs at an all-time high, companies are scrambling to encourage active living. As Cheryl Zalenski was working her way up the ranks of her career in Chicago, she would go to a gym every evening after work. But as she advanced, the time was harder to fit in. The answer for her schedule, Zalenski found, was a tool she’d lost track of after college: the bicycle. “Having that time to recharge your brain gives you more creative energy and allows you to come up with ideas that you wouldn’t have while sitting and staring at the computer,” said Zalenski, a middle manager at the American Bar Association’s Chicago headquarters. She’s certain that bike commuting makes her better at her job, and that Chicago’s fully signalized and protected bike lane on Dearborn Street, one of her frequent routes, makes the street better for bikes and cars alike.
  • In urban shopping districts where space is at a high premium, the most lucrative customers are those who stop by often and have a small parking footprint. Increasingly, shop owners are looking for ways to encourage biking.Studies in California, Oregon, Ontario, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland all found that people who arrive to a shop by bike spend less per visit but return more often, resulting in similar overall spending per month but far lower parking needs. In a Melbourne study, each square foot of auto parking generated 19 cents in retail revenue, while a square foot of bike parking led to 69 cents.

“These data and testimonials from business leaders make it very clear that, as a nation, we need to prioritize investments in 21st century transportation networks where bicycling plays a key role,” said Jeffrey Miller, President / CEO of the Alliance for Biking & Walking. “This is an especially timely finding given that Congress is beginning work on a new federal transportation bill. Protected bike lanes help businesses thrive — in today’s world and in the context of our nation’s shifting demographics.”

“More and more communities across the country are investing in protected bike lanes — and for good reason. These lanes are part of the solution to getting small and large businesses back on their feet,” said Martha Roskowski, PeopleForBikes vice president of local innovation. “Just in the past two years, we’ve seen the total mileage of protected bike lanes in the U.S. nearly double, and we expect this growth to continue.”

See the full report online here: http://bit.ly/PBLSMeanBiz

PeopleForBikes is leading the movement to improve bicycling in America — and to improve America through bicycling. The PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project works closely with cities to build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

Alliance for Biking & Walking is the North American coalition of over 200 state and local bicycling and walking advocacy organizations. The Alliance creates, strengthens and unites leaders who are transforming communities into great places to bike and walk.

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. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness helps Illinoisans start a healthy New Year

Posted by Admin On January - 16 - 2014 Comments Off on Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness helps Illinoisans start a healthy New Year

Healthy Worksite Annual Recognition Program and We Choose Health 365 launched

CHICAGO, IL – As part of the effort to improve the well-being of Illinois residents, the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness today hosted a kickoff event at the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago to encourage Illinois citizens to participate in health and fitness activities that will help them live a healthier, happier and more productive life.  Interactive sessions such as Walk Across Illinois Counties Bingo, Cooking Matters demo, Are You Fitter Than A Fifth Grader and Muscle Up With The Mascots, demonstrated how residents can incorporate healthy habits into their lives.

“The best preventative medicine is a healthy lifestyle,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “Innovative programs like the ones we’re kicking off today will help people from every corner of Illinois on the path toward healthy living.”

“Good nutrition and regular exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and many other chronic diseases and serious health conditions,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.  “I encourage residents to take charge of their health and to actively participate in improving the health of their community.”

Many people spend a large part of their day at work, so IDPH is launching the Illinois Healthy Worksite Annual Recognition Program, a program to engage healthy practices that benefit both the employer and employees.  Workplaces can seek the “Healthy Worksite” designation at the gold, silver or bronze achievement level by completing up to five criteria.


1. Actively promote and support healthy nutrition at work.

2. Provide and encourage opportunities for physical activity at work.


3. Develop a 12-month Health & Wellness Calendar and an ongoing communication plan to promote employee health and well-being throughout the year.

4. Demonstrate a commitment to employee health and well-being by making it part of the organization’s mission statement, goals and operations.


5. Develop lifestyle and disease management strategies and measure their success annually.

To help workplaces succeed in becoming healthier and achieving the “Healthy Worksite” designation, IDPH is also launching We Choose Health 365, a wellness portal providing customized company competitions, health tools and trackers, as well as education materials.  Participants will have 24/7 access to a food and calorie tracker; recipes with local coupons; a weight and activity tracker; exercise, walking and weight-loss company challenges; and more.  Register at www.wechoosehealth365.org and click “Join Today.” And find out about the Amazing Challenge, coming February 1.

Helping businesses and residents work together to improve the health of their communities is one way IDPH is working toward developing essential partnerships and implementing IDPH’s Five Year Strategy. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf.

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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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