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Archive for February 25th, 2014

The White House and USDA announce School Wellness Standards

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announce proposed school wellness standards and roll out of breakfast and lunch programs for schools that serve low income communities

Washington, DC – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joins U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies.  The bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandated that the USDA set guidelines for what needed to be included in local school wellness policies in areas such as setting goals for nutrition education and physical activity, informing parents about content of the policy and implementation, and periodically assessing progress and sharing updates as appropriate.  As part of local school wellness policies, the proposed guidelines would ensure that foods and beverages marketed to children in schools are consistent with the recently-released Smart Snacks in School standards.  Ensuring that unhealthy food is not marketed to children is one of the First Lady’s top priorities; that is why it is so important for schools to reinforce the importance of healthy choices and eliminate marketing of unhealthy products.

“The idea here is simple—our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.  “Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school.

This action comes after the White House Summit on Food Marketing to Children last fall where Mrs. Obama called on the country to ensure children’s health was not undermined by marketing of unhealthy food.

“The food marketing and local wellness standards proposed today support better health for our kids and echo the good work already taking place at home and in schools across the country.  The new standards ensure that schools remain a safe place where kids can learn and where the school environment promotes healthy choices.  USDA is committed to working closely with students, parents, school stakeholders and the food and beverage industries to implement the new guidelines and make the healthy choice, the easy choice for America’s young people,” Secretary Vilsack said.

To help schools with the implementation of the school wellness policies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a new “School Nutrition Environment and Wellness Resources” website, which includes sample wellness policy language for school districts and a dedicated page of resources for food marketing practices on the school campus.

These new resources will complement a second announcement which highlights the nationwide expansion of a successful program that was piloted in 11 states  with the goal of ensuring children who are in need of nutritious meals are receiving them.  Beginning July 1, 2014, more than 22,000 schools across the country—which serve primarily low-income students—will be eligible to serve healthy free lunches and breakfasts to all students.  This will help as many as 9 million American children eat healthy meals at school, especially breakfast, which can have profound impacts on educational achievement.  Research shows that kids who eat breakfast in the classroom preform over 17% better on math tests and have fewer disciplinary problems.

For more information, go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge announces CBC staff changes

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) announced Kwame Canty as Director of Member Services and Programming and Charlyn Stanberry as Professional Staff for the CBC.

“Kwame Canty served CBC Member Edolphus Towns with the highest integrity and professionalism. His policy experience and knowledge of the legislative process will be invaluable to the CBC,” said Chair Fudge. “As a lawyer and with her experience as an organizational leader, Charlyn Stanberry will bring a unique and fresh perspective to the CBC staff. I am pleased to welcome both Kwame and Charlyn to the CBC.”

Kwame Canty, Director of Member Services and Programming

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Kwame Canty understands the value of being a dedicated public servant. In his role, Kwame is responsible for CBC Member Services, management of CBC Taskforces and provides logistical support for all programing. Kwame is also responsible for the CBC’s coalition building efforts with external organizations.

Prior to joining the Congressional Black Caucus, Kwame worked for Congressman Edolphus Towns as a Senior Legislative Assistant, and was the lead staffer on all hearings related to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer, Manufacturing and Trade and he generally managed the full committee’s member services. Kwame also worked in the House of Representatives Office of the Clerk, under the leadership of Lorraine C. Miller, where he assisted House Members with introducing legislation, amendments and statements for the Congressional record.

Kwame is a graduate of Hampton University and is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated.

Charlyn Stanberry, Professional Staff

Charlyn Stanberry is honored to serve as Professional Staff for the Congressional Black Caucus. In her role, Charlyn handles the day to day operations for the CBC and assist with policy matters. Prior to joining the CBC staff, Charlyn served as a CBC Legal Fellow.

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Charlyn received her B.S.B.A and M.P.A. from the University of Central Florida. While at the University of Central Florida, Charlyn was named a National Leadership Fellow with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a finalist for the eWomen Network “Emerging Leader of the Year” award.

Charlyn received her J.D. from Florida International University-College of Law. While in law school, Charlyn interned with Miami Children’s Hospital, the American Health Lawyers Association, and Politic365. Charlyn also served as Southern Regional Chair of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), the largest student run organization in the United States. As regional chair, Charlyn was responsible for organizing the region’s job fairs, academic retreats, advocacy events, community service, and regional convention.  Under Charlyn’s leadership, the Southern Region received the NBLSA 2012-2013 Region of the Year award.

For more information, call (202) 226-9776.

“The House and the American people are losing a great public servant”: Vice President Joe Biden’s statement on the retirement of Congressman John Dingell

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Vice President Biden’s statement:

House Speaker Tip O’Neill used to say “All politics is local”, but in John Dingell’s case, all politics has always been personal. It’s only when you have a personal relationship with someone that you establish trust, even when you’re on opposite sides of an issue. Through 59 years of public service, John fought for what he believed in, and got things done through relationships and his deep respect for others.

And there was no one he respected more than his constituents. He respected their hopes, their dreams, and their values. He has been relentless in his efforts to secure for them the right to live a decent middle-class life.

He has always been a staunch advocate for health care for every American, and he has been a player on every significant piece of legislation that has helped make America a more just, fair, and free country for over half a century.

It was a privilege walking the floor of the Detroit Auto Show with John this past January. I’ve never known a man who has been a better champion of the American worker, and he deserves a great deal of credit for the resurgence of the iconic American automobile industry.

The House and the American people are losing a great public servant. But John is gaining a well-deserved retirement, and I wish him many happy years with his family.

John has always been more than Mr. Chairman to me. He’s been Dean, the longest serving Member of Congress and one of the most effective in our history. There’s never been a colleague I’ve admired more. Happy retirement, John, and thank you for your service.

Comptroller hosts program ‘Celebrating Empowered Women’

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Comptroller honors Congresswoman, WNBA Star & Renowned Business leader

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka honored Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chicago Sky superstar and Olympic Gold Medalist Swin Cash and nationally renowned business leader D. Michelle Flowers Welch during a program “Celebrating Empowered Women.”

The event was hosted in partnership with the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council. The African American History Month program included remarks by Topinka and each of the honorees as well as a keynote address by Shelia Hill Morgan, President and CEO of MSDC.

The show also featured an impressive recital of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” by Sumner Elementary School students Zyon, 9, and Zyire, 6, Nichols.

Photo Caption: Shelia Morgan President and CEO Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Marshette Turner Director of External Affairs Office of the Comptroller, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, D. Michelle Flowers Welch Founder and Chairman Flowers Communications Group, Swin Cash WNBA Chicago Sky (left to right). Photo by: Teresa Potasiak

Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund giving scholarships to low income women

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS


Deadline to apply is Saturday, March 1, 2014

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund (JRF) provides scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older to build better lives through college completion. They give financial awards without regard to race, creed, religion, color, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, or disability.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., must be pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree, and must match JRF’s low-income eligibility – which is based on the student’s estimated household income for the coming school year. Their income guidelines come from the Department of Labor’s Lower Living Standard.

In 1978, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation awarded one scholarship in the amount of $500. Since that time, JRF has awarded more than $1.8 million in scholarships to more than 700 women. The deadline to apply this year is March 1, 2014.

For more details and/or to apply, visit:

To search hundreds of other 2014 scholarships, visit:

An Ancient Chinese myth becomes a magical romance in Tony Award Winner Mary Zimmerman’s The White Snake at Goodman Theatre, May 3 – June 8

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Family-Friendly Chicago premiere of this visual and musical spectacle includes three live musicians on flutes, strings, percussion and cello

Tickets on sale February 21

CHICAGO, IL – “Puppets, singing, live music, elaborate choreography…even the darkest evil is brightly beautiful in The White Snake” (New York Times)—Tony Award-winning director and playwright Mary Zimmerman’s enchanting adaptation of the 1,000+ year-old Chinese fable that has been reimagined across art forms throughout the centuries. Girl meets boy and falls head-over-heels in love; trouble is, the girl is a white serpent from the spirit world who must join the human world in order to pursue her heart’s desire. Amy Kim Waschke appears in the title role for the Chicago premiere, and Jon Norman Schneider is Xu Xian—the object of White Snake’s affection. Chicagoans Tanya Thai McBride appears as Green Snake, White Snake’s mischievous sidekick, and Matt DeCaro potrays Fa Hai, a monk who plots to keep White Snake and Xu Xian apart by any means necessary. Zimmerman’s ensemble cast assumes multiple roles, including Richard Howard (Canopus); Emily Sophia Knapp (Crane); Vin Kridakorn (Boatman); Eliza Shin (Acolyte); Lisa Tejero (Sister); and Cristofer Jean (Brother-in-Law). A three-piece musical ensemble includes Tessa Brinckman (flutes), Ronnie Malley (strings/percussion) and Michal Palzewicz (cello). The creative team for The White Snake includes Daniel Ostling (scenic design); Mara Blumenfeld (costume design); T.J. Gerckens (lighting design); Andre Pluess (original music and sound design); and Shawn Sagady (projection design). Headshots and bio information for all artists can be found in the Press Room (Username: Goodman; Password: Theatre).

The White Snake, appropriate for adults and families with children 6+, runs May 3 – June 8 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is May 12). Tickets ($25-$86, subject to change) can be purchased by telephone at 312.443.3800, at GoodmanTheatre.org/WhiteSnake, or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman is grateful for the support of Fifth Third Bank, the Corporate Sponsor Partner for The White Snake.

The Chicago premiere of The White Snake, which arrives at the Goodman on the heels of Zimmerman’s 2013 world-premiere stage musical adaptation of The Jungle Book, has been critically hailed as a “strikingly beautiful” (National Public Radio) “classic tale told with abundant charm and wit, presented with an elegant visual flair” (The Oregonian) in which there is “not a moment in this 100-minute visual feast when the eye isn’t entranced, the heart touched” (San Jose Mercury News). The White Snake chronicles the tale of a gentle serpent spirit who lives for centuries coiled on a mountaintop. One day, she transforms herself into a beautiful young woman and, with her feisty companion, Green Snake, travels down to the world of humans. There, she unexpectedly finds love, happiness and family—and vows to remain a human forever. But when a vengeful monk discovers her true identity, he becomes determined to destroy the life that she’s built—and break apart her marriage to her one true love. Zimmerman directed the world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (February 2012) followed by productions at Berkeley Repertory (November 2012) and McCarter Theatre Center (October 2013).

Women’s Business Development Center offers March Programs that support and accelerate Women’s Business Ownership

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WBDC provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneurs including counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance

CHICAGO, IL –Workshops/events offered in March by the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), a nationally and internationally recognized women’s business assistance center providing services and programs that support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen the impact of women on the economy, are:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

“Wisdom, Wine and Cheese: Introduction to WBDC Services”

Description: This interactive, networking session is for both prospective and established business owners.  Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or growing the business you already have, this session will help you clarify your needs and learn more about WBDC resources.

Cost: $10.00 in advance, $20.00 at the door

Location: WBDC, 8 S. Michigan Avenue, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603

Registration: http://bit.ly/MANe8P

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

“New and Important Federal Laws that Affect Small Businesses”

Description: Don’t miss out on government contracting opportunities, due to unawareness. Laws are ever-changing and it is important to know how these changes will affect the way you do business. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA) includes some major changes in the rules for federal contracting with small businesses. Join the Women’s Business Development Center and Michelle Kantor, an attorney who leads the Federal Government Contracting practice group in the Chicago office of McDonald Hopkins, LLC.

Cost: $15.00

Location: McDonald Hopkins, 300 N. LaSalle St. Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60654

Registration: http://bit.ly/1kY1eI8

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

“Navigating Health Care Reform & Your Small Business”

Description:  Join the Women’s Business Development Center in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield for a panel discussion on the Affordable Care Act and how the law affects small businesses. You will learn about new regulations that impact small businesses, the various tax implications of your decisions, new terminology and healthcare disparities.

Cost: FREE

Location: Blue Cross Blue Shield, 300 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL 60601

Registration: http://bit.ly/1fzLfIV

For further information about these or other WBDC workshops, visit http://www.WBDC.org or call (312) 853-3477. Now in its 27th year of operation, the WBDC provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneurs including counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance in Spanish and English.

Illinois Department of Public Health promotes oral health during National Children’s Dental Health Month

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In recognition of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging parents and caregivers to plan dental visits and discuss the importance of good oral health for their children.

“One reason children miss school is due to dental neglect. National studies show that 51 million school hours (around 10 million schools days) are lost every year due to dental problems. Dental problems can affect a child’s ability to speak and learn, as well as their self esteem,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Healthy teeth are an important part of overall health and I encourage parents to take this opportunity to teach their children good oral health habits they can use throughout their lives.”

Primary, or baby teeth, are just as important to keep clean, healthy and cavity free as permanent, or adult teeth. Primary teeth act as space holders until permanent teeth come in. If primary teeth are lost early due to cavities, the remaining teeth can move, which causes problems when permanent teeth are ready to come in.

Dental cavities are preventable,” said IDPH Division of Oral Health Chief Dr. David Miller. “However, cavities left untreated can cause infections can spread to the rest of the body and be life threatening.

IDPH offers the following tips to promote good oral health.


Clean teeth with a soft, clean cloth or a baby’s toothbrush.

Avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle, and check teeth regularly for spots and stains.

Toddlers to Teens

Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste; floss between teeth.

Eat healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks. This includes power drinks.

Schedule regular dental check-ups.

For more information, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/HealthWellness/oralhlth/factsheets.htm.

Providing educational health information is one way IDPH is working toward becoming the state’s leading public health authority, 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

ReMARCs: The President, Partnership & Priorities

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Opening ReMARCs

By Marc Morial,

President & CEO, National Urban League

On Tuesday, I and several national civil rights leaders attended a meeting at the White House with President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and others to discuss many of the priorities the President laid out in his State of the Union address last month.

We were all encouraged by the administration’s extensive conversation around – and commitment to – addressing some of our nation’s biggest challenges: unemployment and under-employment, including underlying racial disparities; livable wages for all working Americans and an increase in the minimum wage; job creation; education; healthcare for all Americans through the Affordable Care Act; workforce training and development; voting rights; and criminal justice reform.

We also presented the President with our “21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom.”  First released last August during the National Urban League’s Redeem the Dream Summit in Washington, DC, this domestic policy agenda was developed by a coalition of civil rights, social justice, labor, business and community leaders and articulates a vision for national priorities that can – and must – drive economic recovery and rebirth for African-Americans, urban communities and all low-income and working-class Americans.  The agenda lays out five urgent domestic goals for the nation:  1) Achieve Economic Parity for African-Americans; 2) Promote Equity in Educational Opportunity; 3) Protect and Defend Voting Rights; 4) Promote a Healthier Nation by Eliminating Healthcare Disparities; and 5) Achieve Comprehensive Criminal Justice System Reform.

I have said this before, and I will repeat it until no longer necessary: the issues that our nation is facing are too big for one entity alone to solve.  As evidenced by our Jobs Rebuild America initiative and the on-the-ground, direct services that the Urban League provides to hundreds of communities across the country every day, a tripod partnership of the government, business and non-profit sectors is needed to drive the policies, job creation and program innovation required to revitalize struggling communities.

I am proud that the administration recognizes our efforts – and I look forward to continually working together to help put America on the right track.

NBA All-Star Weekend Concert Series a Big Success

Posted by Admin On February - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Cliffhanger’s All-Star Weekend Concert Series featuring Ricky Rozay, Miguel, T.I., Yo Gotti and Darnaa at The Howlin’ Wolf was NOLA’s live music hot spot for off court entertainment

Hollywood, CA (BlackNews.com) – The NBA All Star game has long been a spectator celebration for sports enthusiasts, celebrities, and players from all over the world to unite over the love of the game of basketball. This season NOLA fans were not only cheering for the hoops, but also for Cliffhanger Productions All Star live music line-up at the Howlin’ Wolf (located at 828 South Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 70130) February 14th-16th, 2014. Clifton Dutton, founder of Las Vegas based Cliffhanger Productions, was the powering agency behind these past three nights of rhythmic revelry. Diddy’s REVOLT Cable Network was streaming live on the scene to catch it all, both on stage and backstage.

Hip-Hop Superstar, the “REAL” Ricky Rozay, kicked off the concert series with DJ Khalid on Friday night, in promotion of his sixth studio album “Mastermind”, set to release on March 4th by the Maybach Music Group, Slip-n-Slide Records and Def Jam Recordings. Hosted by Miracle Watts, Grammy-Award Winner Drake and Grammy-Nominated Keyshia Cole partied until the wee hours of the morning.

All eyes were on Saturday’s stage with R&B Grammy-Award Winner Miguel and #1 Billboard Recording Artist/Rapper T.I. Sultry, Pop Recording Artist Darnaa opened up for the shared bill, debuting her new single “Cowgirl” in honor of her upcoming March 2014 album release party at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Closing out Cliffhanger’s All Star concert series, Yo Gotti’s sold-out Sunday show had hundreds of fans lined up outside the venue, all in hopes of getting extra tickets released. The Memphis rapper had the star-powered support from celebrities such as Grammy Award Winning, hip-hop/R&B singer-songwriter Monica, “Twilight” Actress Kristen Stewart, Hip-Hop Recording Artist Young Jeezy, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s Erica Dixon & Karli Redd, DJ Drama, DJ Demp, DJ MLK and Comedian Lil Duval, plus others.

In response to All Star Weekend’s shows and their turned up triumphs, Mr. Dutton recently stated “I want to thank the Howlin’ Wolf and all the R&B and Hip Hop fans for helping Cliffhanger have a safe and successful event. All of the artists put on a hell of a show! Thank you to the city of New Orleans and the NBA. See you next year in New York!”

Future Cliffhanger Productions plans include a loud and proud presence at the upcoming SXSW 2014, where they will be showcasing a 15,000 square foot tent with a 40-foot stage — the second largest at the festival. Cliffhanger will be promoting Recording Artist Darnaa’s album release, amongst other acts TBA. They will also have a promotional tent next to MTV for their sponsors.

About Cliffhanger Productions:
Founded in 1999, Cliffhanger Productions LLC is an all in one entertainment agency servicing image consulting, artist development, marketing, promotions, and event planning nationwide. A customer service first and last company, this fact sets them apart from the rat race known today as the “Industry”. Cliffhanger Productions is about bringing clients dreams and vision to reality, let alone the first of its kind in regards to charging below industry standard rates for all types of entertainment while still striving to provide five star services.

Following the lead of its CEO, who at one point of time was the number one sales manager in the US auto industry, Cliffhanger along with its employees and affiliates devote numerous hours to their clients to ensure the highest level of customer service available and considers themselves unmatched in today’s industrious entertainment circle. More information for Cliffhanger Productions can be found on their website www.CliffhangerLV.com

Photo Caption: Miguel at Cliffhanger’s All Star Weekend Concert Series at the Howlin’ Wolf in NOLA

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