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Washington, D.C.- The National Black Church Initiative declares its support for Pastor Jamal Bryant's Empowerment ...
A convicted felon pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attacking ...
CHICAGO, IL – Sixteen Chicago nonprofit agencies are among 23 law-related nonprofit ...
WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to ...
  Bookcover Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) -- Author and Relationship Educator Yolanda "Yanni" Brown believes real love ...
CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a lawsuit against three underground employment ...
  State Rep. Colvin: "The bill is flawed." State Rep. Davis: “I won’t be threatened.”   By Chinta Strausberg   It ...
  Author - Tim Hampton   Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- It's common to hear about professional athletes, who ...
‘Enigma’ tells story of a girl struggling to cope with damaging effects of parental ...
Recognizing that these are difficult times for many families and that unemployment rates in communities ...

Archive for February 4th, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus to Host National Day of Prayer to End Poverty and Income Inequality

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, February 6 at 1pm, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and faith leaders from around the country will gather on the Capitol Hill East Lawn for the first national CBC Day of Prayer to End Poverty and Income Inequality. CBC Members will also host similar events in their districts with members of their local communities.

WHO:

Chairwoman Marcia L. Fudge, Congressional Black Caucus
Chair Emeritus, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Congressional Black Caucus
Mayor Vincent Gray, Washington, DC
Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, Chaplain, U.S. House of Representatives
Bishop Martin Holley, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Washington
Reverend Dr. Sharon Stanley, Director of Refugee and Immigration Ministries
Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America
Reverend Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners & Facilitator, Faith Table of Progressive Evangelical Leaders
Rabbi Fred N. Reiner, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Sinai, Washington, DC
Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman, Sikh Council on Religion and Education
Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention

The National Day of Prayer to End Poverty and Income Inequality will be held Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 1 p.m., at the Capitol Hill East Lawn/House Triangle.

Since 1953, leaders from all religions backgrounds, sectors of society, and communities around the world have gathered in Washington, DC for the National Prayer Breakfast to unite in faith and to build new relationships that will benefit goodwill for all. This year, when faith leaders gather in our nation’s Capital, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus will also host the first National Day of Prayer to End Poverty and Income Inequality in our communities.  As millions of American families continue to live below the poverty line, and the gap between the wealthiest in our nation and all others continues to grow, faith leaders are invited to attend and stand in solidarity with the CBC as we pray for the consciousness of America to be awakened and united against this startling and harrowing trend.

This event is free and open to the public.

Man from Normal Sentenced to 8 ½ Years in Prison for Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Longest sentence for Workers’ Compensation Fraud in Illinois since Anti-Fraud Provisions first enacted in 2005


CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) Director Andrew Boron announced a recent workers’ compensation fraud investigation has resulted in an eight and a half year sentence for a central Illinois man. Elbert Rayford, Jr., of Normal, was sentenced on January 24 to more than eight years in prison for attempting to obtain roughly $45,000 in workers’ compensation benefits through fraud. Rayford, a former employee of T.G. Gum Trucking in Farmer City, misrepresented his medical condition and exaggerated his symptoms to doctors and physical therapists in order to remain off work, collect temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, and receive medical care that was no longer necessary.

“Workers’ Compensation Fraud is a crime. We will investigate to determine wrongdoing and then work with law enforcement to make sure perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said DOI Director Andrew Boron.

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit. Video surveillance showed Mr. Rayford engaged in activities that demonstrated his statements to medical providers were untrue. The case was referred to the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

“We appreciate the investigation done by the Illinois Department of Insurance which helped bring about the successful prosecution of this case. The McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office does not take the attempted misappropriation of public funds lightly and we were pleased to assist in bringing Mr. Rayford to justice. We hope this sentence serves as a deterrent to anyone else who considers committing this type of fraud,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Woods.

Eight and a half years is the longest sentence handed down for violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.The anti-fraud provisions were first enacted in 2005 and were later amended in 2011. The 2011 amendments included stronger sentencing provisions which applied to this case based on the date Mr. Rayford committed fraud. Rayford, who pled guilty, will also be required to pay $585.38 in restitution and serve two years of mandatory supervised release as a part of his sentence upon his release from prison.

For more information about Workers’ Compensation Fraud, including matters that may involve fraud perpetrated by a claimant, visit the DOI website at http://insurance.illinois.gov/WCFU/default.asp. To report an employer, healthcare provider, attorney, insurance agent or company, contact the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit at 877-WCF-UNIT (877-923-8648).

Topinka unveils Tax Return Alert System

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Site allows taxpayers to register for email, text alerts


CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on Monday unveiled a new Tax Return Alert system that allows residents to check on the status of their returns and sign-up for text message and email payment notifications.

The easy-to-use resource allows taxpayers to see if their payment has been processed by the Comptroller’s Office by simply entering their name and Social Security number. Taxpayers also have the opportunity to enter an email address and phone number to receive a notification when their payment is processed.

The feature can be found by visiting illinoiscomptroller.com

“Taxpayers no longer have to wonder if the check is the mail,” Topinka said. “By simply visiting illinoiscomptroller.com and submitting an email address, they can be assured that they will be notified immediately after their payment is processed.”

Beyond registering for a tax return notification, the resource allows residents to view a history of their return payments, a breakdown of state spending and bill backlog information. The site also links to the Comptroller’s Office transparency websites: the Ledger and the Warehouse. Taxpayers are further offered a hotline number to call for additional information.

The Tax Return Alert initiative is part of Topinka’s ongoing effort to make state government more transparent and accessible to taxpayers. In launching the Ledger last year, she enabled residents to click their way through everything from the state’s daily bill backlog numbers to state agency budgets and employee salaries. She then launched the Warehouse, a comprehensive database that puts Local Government financial information and tens of thousands of records at a single location for taxpayer review. Last month Topinka announced that her Office would include an insert in tax returns providing residents with state spending and bill backlog information.

Each of the initiatives was completed using existing office resources.

“As we’ve shown time and again: if we can make it happen, we’re going to do it,” Topinka said of the transparency initiatives. “And as I’ve said before: we’re not done yet. So stay tuned.”

Simon urges support of education funding reforms

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Lt. Governor backs findings and recommendations of education committee


CARBONDALE, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today issued the following statement supporting education funding reform recommendations released by Sen. Andy Manar’s (D-Bunker Hill) Education Funding Advisory Committee (EFAC).

“These recommendations could lead to one of the most important pieces of legislation the General Assembly will see this year. We have the potential to right the wrongs in our education funding formula and direct funding toward the students who need it most, no matter where they live.

“By creating a single funding formula, increasing transparency about how school funds are being spent, and prioritizing resources, we can take important steps toward a sustainable and equitable education system.

“I appreciate the efforts of Sen. Manar and this committee and look forward to working with legislators and the governor to pass these important changes.”

Simon serves as the state’s point person on education reform. In this capacity, Simon is working to increase the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent by 2025. As chair of the 25-member Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, Simon is also working to improve the delivery of state services and education opportunities to rural Illinois.

Do You Know the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack?

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Illinois Department of Public Health wants everyone to learn the signs of a heart attack during February – American Heart Month


SPRINGFIELD, IL– February is American Heart Month and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging everyone to learn the signs of a heart attack and how to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease includes heart disease, heart failure, stroke, hypertension, congenital cardiovascular defects and other diseases

“Although the rate of cardiovascular disease is declining, it is still the leading cause of death and accounts for 1 in every 3 deaths in Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “This February, I challenge Illinoisans to learn the signs of a heart attack and how to reduce the chances of having one.”

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Signs of a heart attack include:

© Chest pain or discomfort

© Upper body pain or discomfort (arms, back, neck, jaw)

© Shortness of breath

© Lightheadedness

© Nausea

© Cold sweats

If someone shows signs of a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity. To reduce your risk:


© Eat a healthy diet

© Maintain a healthy weight

© Exercise regularly

© Monitor blood pressure

© Don’t smoke

© Limit alcohol use

© Check cholesterol


IDPH is currently partnering with health professionals in Macon and Peoria counties for a new Million Hearts Learning Collaborative with the goal of identifying, controlling and improving blood pressure readings to help prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. This learning collaborative includes sharing and using health data to help physicians see how to reduce hypertension, as well as increasing the integration of clinical and community services in communities to manage hypertension. Similarly, the Healthy Hearts Project, funded by a Community Transformation Grant, also aims to use a population approach to cardiac prevention and care by integrating public health and primary care services, reducing individual and community factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, and improving the use of health data. To learn more about or going the Million Heart initiative, visit www.millionhearts.hhs.gov, and for more information about the Healthy Hearts Project, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/healthyhearts/.

IDPH will also celebrate Go Red Day, Friday, February 7, 2014, by encouraging all IDPH staff to wear red and decorate their offices for Go Red Day. These are things workplaces around Illinois can do to show support for heart disease awareness and encourage employees to learn the signs of a heart attack – chest or upper body pain, shortness of breath, and possibly lightheadedness, nausea or cold sweats.

Building partnerships and working together are essential to overcoming public health problems and battling health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, which is why IDPH has made it a priority in its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf

Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ Hallie Gordon is at the helm in the Downstairs Theatre, February 26 – March 15, 2014

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Games turn deadly in Chicago Premiere of Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Leveling Up


CHICAGO, IL – When the game turns deadly, how will you play? Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ 2013/14 season explores that question in Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Millennial coming-of-age drama, Leveling Up. Hallie Gordon helms the production in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre, featuring Carolyn Braver, Jerry MacKinnon, Clancy McCartney and JJ Phillips. Leveling Up runs February 26 – March 15, 2014; the press performance is on March 1 at 11am. Performances at 10am are reserved for school groups only; public performances are scheduled March 1 at 11am and March 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30pm. Single tickets ($20) are on sale now through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. School group tickets are available through Education and Community Programs Coordinator Lauren Sivak at 312-654-5643.

Three twenty-something roommates are glued to their video games. They are masters of the virtual worlds behind the computer screens in their Las Vegas basement. When one of them uses his gaming skills to land a job with the National Security Agency launching actual drones and missiles, online battles begin to have real consequences. Leveling Up is a fresh, contemporary look at how we navigate the blurry line between worlds both virtual and real and learn to live with the choices that we make.

“This season we investigate one new and one classic play in which young people navigate tricky moral landscapes in games both virtual and real,” comments Artistic and Educational Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults Hallie Gordon. “Through Lord of the Flies this fall and Leveling Up in the spring, we examine what it means to grow up and take responsibility for our actions and their sometimes devastating consequences. Building on the themes of last year’s Now Is The Time initiative, aimed at empowering youth to take action against violence and intolerance in their communities, we ask the question: when the game turns deadly, how will you play?”

The cast of Leveling Up features Carolyn Braver as Jeannie; Jerry MacKinnon as Chuck; Clancy McCartney as Ian; and JJ Phillips as Zander.

The production team for Leveling Up includes: Brian Sidney Bembridge (scenic and costume design), JR Lederle (lighting design), Rick Sims (sound design) and Anna Henson (projection design). Additional credits include: Erica Daniels (casting) Ryan Bourque (fight coordinator) and Jonathan Nook (stage manager).

Tickets to public performances of Leveling Up ($20) are on sale now through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St), 312-335-1650 and steppenwolf.org. Tickets to the performances on Saturday, March 1 and Friday, March 7 are 2-for-1.

Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available through Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St) or by calling 312-335-1650. Must present a valid student ID for each ticket. School Performances are currently on sale. Contact Education and Community Programs Coordinator Lauren Sivak at 312-654-5643. Adult Groups: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org/groups.

Target is the sponsor of the Target 2-for-1 Matinees. JPMorgan Chase is the major corporate supporter of Steppenwolf’s career readiness and professional leadership program.

Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance. 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 for Young Adults’ unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. SYA creates two full-scale professional productions each season specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, SYA annually ensures access to the theater for more than 12,000 participants from Chicago’s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in more than 30 classrooms in 12 public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theater’s operations.

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.

Currently on stage is Tribes by Nina Raine, directed by ensemble member Austin Pendleton (December 5, 2013 – February 15, 2014) in the Downstairs Theatre.

The 2013/14 subscription season also includes Russian Transport by Erika Sheffer, directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov (February 6 – May 11, 2014) in the Upstairs Theatre; The Way West by Mona Mansour, directed by ensemble member Amy Morton (April 3 – June 8, 2014) in the Downstairs Theatre; and The Qualms by Bruce Norris, directed by Pam MacKinnon (July 3 – August 31, 2014) in the Downstairs Theatre.

Tickets for all remaining 2013/14 productions are on sale now.

Illinois State Board of Education seeks sponsors/sites for summer food programs

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Programs ensure low-income students are well-fed when school is out

SPRINGFIELD, IL –Though the thermostat says otherwise, summer will be here soon and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) wants to make sure every child has access to nutritious meals during the break from school. School districts, local government entities and non-profits are encouraged to become a summer food site sponsor and/or site to provide free, healthy meals and snacks to low-income children.

Sponsors may submit their online applications to ISBE starting March 10. Potential sites should contact the Illinois State Board of Education at (800) 545-7892 to receive a list of sponsors in their area.

Last summer, Illinois had more than 1,700 summer food service program sites and 150 participating sponsors across the state.

“Low-income families often have difficulty fulfilling their children’s nutritional needs outside of the school day, which can negatively affect their developmental, social and emotional well-being,” State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch said. “Engaged learning requires healthy bodies and minds, and summer food programs play a crucial role in filling the nutritional gap over the summer months so students return to the classroom ready for success. I urge school administrators to spread the word about these valuable programs and encourage their local families to participate.”

Summer food programs provide free meals and snacks to low-income children through age 18 when schools are on break. Individuals age 18 through 21 who are enrolled in school programs for persons with disabilities and have an IEP on file may also participate. Summer food programs typically operate when school is not in session during June, July and August, but can start as early as May and may go into September. Sites must be located in areas where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free and reduced meals from the National School Lunch Program or the family’s income is 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

During the summer of 2012, nearly 95,000 low-income Illinois children ate free meals through summer food programs. Those children represent 12.8 percent of the roughly 740,000 children who ate free or reduced-priced meals during the 2011-2012 school year. Nationally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that only 2.8 million children received summer meals on an average day during the summer. The total number of children participating in summer nutrition nationally saw a small increase of 13,000 meals in July 2012 from July 2011. However, only one in seven children who receive regular year school lunch is getting summer nutrition.

ISBE administers the USDA’s ‘Summer Food Service Program,’ also known as ‘Summer Meals,’ which is designed to bridge the summer nutrition gap by offering free nutritious breakfasts, lunches or snacks to children age 18 and younger. Sponsor applications are due no later than June 15 and can be found at: http://www.isbe.net/nutrition/htmls/summer.htm.

School districts, local governments and non-profits can all sponsor summer food sites, which may include schools, parks, recreation centers, housing projects, migrant centers, churches, summer camps, and others. Most summer food program sites are open to all children in the community without any sign up or enrollment. However, some sites only serve meals to those children enrolled in a specific program.

Training is required to apply and participate as a sponsor. Upcoming sponsor workshop dates and cities are listed below. To register for the workshops, please visit www.isbe.net/nutrition/htmls/sfsp_training.htm.

Date

City

March 11, 2014

Marion

March 20, 2014

Alsip

March 26, 2014

Fairview Heights

April 10, 2014

Schaumburg

April 16, 2014

Galesburg

April 30, 2014

Lisle

May 14, 2014

Springfield

Institutions may also participate as a feeding site through an existing or a new sponsor.

Schools may help sponsors get the word out to students, their families and the community about available programs.

To find a summer meals site close to you, contact the Illinois Hunger Coalition’s Hunger Hotline at 1-800-359-2163 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline is available in both English and Spanish. Summer meal sites can also be found by texting FoodIL to 877877 or visit SummerFoodIllinois.org.

For the latest news from the Illinois State Board of Education, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Illinois-State-Board-of-Education/136022251779 or Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/ISBEnews. Visit the official ISBE website at http://www.isbe.net.

African American Expressions celebrates 365 days of Black History; Releases new Sister Friends Collection

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


Sacramento, CA (BlackNews.com) – African American Expressions(TM) (www.black-gifts.com), the nation’s largest black-owned gift and greeting card company, kicks off Black History month with the release of its much anticipated 2014 Celebrating 365 Days of Black History catalog.

Black history is filled with inspiring stories of individuals who have overcome adversity, in its various forms, to make lasting impressions on every aspect of society. From the human rights activists who fought tirelessly to secure equality, to the literary geniuses who used their God-given intellect to expose the evils of racism, African Americans boast an extraordinary heritage full of trailblazers and trendsetters. African American Expressions(TM) is pleased to honor this rich cultural legacy with an exciting line of gifts items that authentically reflect the spirit of the Black Community.

For more than twenty years, African American Expressions(TM) has served as the nation’s market leader in ethnic gifts. A household name, AAE(TM) offers America’s best selection of culturally authentic, inspirational gift items such as calendars, greeting cards, journals, figurines, handbags and more.

The recent release of the 2014 Black History catalog commences the fundraising season for customers across the country. Since the company’s inception over two decades ago, AAE(TM) has sought to empower African American communities by providing individuals, churches, schools and other organizations with a means to generate additional revenue. AAE(TM)’s fundraising program has helped thousands of individuals and groups stay afloat in the face of economic hardship.

The program functions similarly to candy drives or home party sales: fundraisers use the AAE(TM) holiday catalog to take orders from members of their community, selling items at retail price. Fundraisers then purchase at a discounted price, with the difference being their profit.

The 2014 Black History catalog features over 40 exciting new items including the fresh, youthful Sister Friends Collection which colorfully expresses why AAE(TM) is second to none in the realm of Black gifts.

To receive a FREE 2014 Black History catalog, visit www.black-gifts.com or call 800-684-1555; (Facebook) www.facebook.com/pages/African-American-Expressions/122665353649



Black Entrepreneurs, Pull Up Your Entrepreneurial Bootstraps – A Tribute to Black History Month

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By Sheila Thomas

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Slavery – that wretched, inhumane experience that had Africans uprooted form their native lands, packed like sardines in slave ships, and brought to America to be sold to the highest bidder – was abolished in America in 1865. Nevertheless, for almost another hundred years, African-Americans were subjected to Jim Crow laws, which perpetuated the ideal of separate but equal facilities. Finally, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African-Americans, in writing at least, were given the freedoms we deserved.

Now we are in a new millennium, celebrating Black History Month for the 38th year in this country. And while we have so much to be thankful for – our first African-American president, improved race relations and improved career opportunities, the question arises – “Are we really taking advantage of the American dream?” Are we really honoring the sacrifices of our forefathers who suffered on slave ships, cotton fields and in the streets of America, being sprayed with fire hoses and attacked by police dogs? Are we really taking advantage of our ability to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

I would like to think that we still have a long way to go in that arena. Yes we have an African-American president, and yes, we have advanced in our racial relations since the civil rights movement, but are we as individual Americans – black, white, yellow and red – truly taking advantage of the freedom and liberty that is bestowed upon us in this great nation in which we live? I think we are not. I believe that the path to true freedom for most Americans is the path of entrepreneurship, and for that reason, I would like to propose, in this all-inclusive message, that you pull up your entrepreneurial bootstraps.

Yes, pull up your entrepreneurial bootstraps. I believe that during our short time on planet earth, we owe it to our Creator and ourselves to uncover the gifts, talents and skills that may lie dormant within, and to use them to create enterprises that will catapult us to higher levels both socially and economically. As an entrepreneur and a May 2014 MBA candidate, I read a lot of business and entrepreneurial books. I recently found myself reading three books that I highly recommend to anyone thinking about creating a new enterprise and/or helping to promote a culture of entrepreneurship in your own city or region. They are The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires by Dennis Kimbro, The Unstoppables: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial Power by Bill Schley, and Startup Nation – The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.

These books further strengthened my entrepreneurial spirit with words that should cause any human being to be inspired and motivated to become an entrepreneur. While I certainly do not intend to provide full summaries of these books, I do have three take-aways, and they are as follows: 1) You must be a risk-taker who is confident in yourself, and confident in your business ideas. 2) You must develop and utilize sales skills. 3) You must work hard.

Being a risk-taker is a necessary part of becoming an entrepreneur. In The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur, a report published by the Kauffman Foundation in 2009, researchers discovered that the most commonly-named hindrance to entrepreneurial success was a lack of ability or willingness to take risks. In addition, Bill Schley, in The Unstoppables, writes that “risk doesn’t go with the territory – it is the territory, if we plan to build, create, innovate, experience, achieve or win at anything.” According to Dennis Kimbro, in The Wealth Choice, “Self-made millionaires are realistic enough to expect challenges and setbacks. Further, they do not become discouraged or depressed by difficulties or temporary defeat. Mention the word risk to a millionaire, and he or she will only hear the term money. As a result, they find promise where others find pessimism.” Kimbro also states that “Over the course of seven years, I have found the Black wealthy to be constant learners and calculated risk takers unafraid to attempt new ideas, even at the risk of appearing foolish to their peers.”

In Start-Up Nation, the authors make it clear that the reason that Israel has the largest concentration of entrepreneurs in the world (relative to its size), is because Israelis have a lot of chutzpah, which is a Yiddish word meaning “audacity.” Yes, if you study Israeli entrepreneurship, you will find that there is a culture of risk-taking in the atmosphere. According to Senor and Singer, “In Israel, if you haven’t tried and failed to start a business two or three times, people wonder what’s the matter with you. You must be a slacker or something.” While some people have a natural audacity about themselves, it is an element that I believe, can be developed in every individual.

Another skill that can be developed is the ability to sell goods and services. Although many individuals do not consider themselves salespeople, Kimbro, in The Wealth Choice, states that “sell is not a four-letter word. “ He goes on to say that “the selling process is the most effective and efficient way to increase your earnings and reach your financial goals. The Black financial elite are thoroughly prepared, completely engaged sales professionals tough enough to deal with any rejection, resilient enough to overcome any objection and caring enough to help customers and clients achieve their goals.” He also states that “the wealthy know that selling is not just a business skill, but an essential life skill.”

Last, but not least, all three books touch on the element of hard work. You won’t excel in business if you are not willing to dig in the trenches while wearing many hats, in order to fulfill your entrepreneurial goals. In The Wealth Choice, Kimbro highlights the successes of Madame C.J. Walker, the nation’s first self-made female entrepreneur, who built a hair-care enterprise with a small, yet successful team of female sales representatives called “Walker Agents.” In his book, Kimball states that “with her million dollar fortune – a rarity for her race and gender – Walker gave as lavishly as she lived. ‘There is no royal flower-strewn path to success,’ this entrepreneurial wizard admonished. ‘And if there is, I have yet to find it. For if I have accomplished anything, it is because I have been willing to work hard. I was raised at a time when everybody had something to do, and they did it. Don’t sit down and wait for opportunities to come – get up and make them!’”

To add to this powerful idea of hard work, I would simply say that regardless of your race or economic status, I encourage you to pull up your entrepreneurial bootstraps. It may require a lot of risk, confidence, prayer , creativity and hard work, but it is well worth the experience. And if you fail, yes – if you fail, then get right back up, dump your pride in the trash can, increase your faith in self and God, and in the right timing, after much preparation, pull up your entrepreneurial bootstraps again. You will never know your possibilities if you just sit there and stare.

Sheila Thomas, a graduate of the University of Illinois School of Journalism, is editor and publisher of Prayer and Praise Magazine (www.prayerandpraisemagazine.com), an online magazine designed to transform live through the power of prayer and praise. A Detroit native, her mission is to help others emerge from darkness into the Light of God, through prayer, agreement and the discovery of their God-given purpose. She will graduate with her MBA in May of 2014. She can be reached at prayerandpraisemagazine@gmail.com.

IDOT winter crews clean up, prepare for heavy snowfall on Illinois roads

Posted by Admin On February - 4 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Snow Accumulation, High Winds, Freezing Rain Forecasted


CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced that winter weather crews are cleaning up from this weekend’s storm to prepare for the forecasted snowfall expected on Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service forecasted snow accumulations of five to nine inches throughout Illinois. Forecasters also warn of high winds up to 25 mph in some areas. The anticipated winter weather will create slick and dangerous travel conditions for motorists.

IDOT is readying its fleet of 1,755 snow plows and 3,700 employees ahead of the next winter storm to remove snow and ice from state routes to help ensure the safety of the motoring public.

Due to the anticipated weather conditions, IDOT encourages motorists to check winter road conditions and road closures at www.gettingaroundillinois.com before heading out. Currently, all state routes are open. However, Kampsville and Brussels Ferries remain closed, due to ice. Cave in Rock Ferry reopened on Sunday. IDOT will continue to monitor the winter weather statewide and respond accordingly.

“Illinois is expecting heavy snowfall and high winds, which will have significant impact to travel conditions throughout the state. Roads and bridges will be extremely slick and visibility will be low as a result of the blowing and drifting snow,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Motorists are advised to only travel if absolutely necessary for their own safety and to allow IDOT crews to clear critical areas. For those who must travel, take it slow, give plow drivers plenty of room to work, buckle up and avoid distractions when behind the wheel.”

Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow and ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during winter storms or when temperatures are extremely low. During the severely cold weather expected, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair, and bring pets indoors.

For a list of warming centers in Illinois, visit

http://www2.illinois.gov/KeepWarm/Pages/warmingcenter.aspx. Those traveling by Amtrak trains are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices.

Safety tips to remember:

· Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.

· Don’t crowd the plow – a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.

· Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.

· Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

· Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary – if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.

· Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.

· Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.

· Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).

· Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.

· Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

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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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