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Archive for March 24th, 2014

As City Policies Turn Away Mental Health Patients, Protesters to Hold Vigil at Cook County Jail to show where they end up

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

With the city poised to terminate hundreds of paying clients from its mental health clinics, mental health advocates will hold a vigil outside of the state’s largest mental health provider – Cook County Jail – to draw attention to the place that people struggling with mental illness increasingly end up when denied service.

Mental health policy experts, current and former clients of Chicago’s public mental health clinics and supporters will gather for a candlelight vigil this Monday March 24th at 5pm on the steps of the Cook County Courthouse at 26th and California, call attention to Chicago’s mental health crisis, city policies that are turning away patients from city mental health clinics who sign up for health benefits.

Appearing at a recent town hall held by the Mental Health Movement, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart once again pointed out the injustice of jails being used in lieu of adequate mental health treatment in communities. The town hall he appeared at highlighted the most immediate threat to mental health services – the city’s failure to join any provider network, triggering the termination of services for current Medicaid patients as the state moves towards managed care.  Testimony addressed the severe shortage of mental health services for Chicago’s most vulnerable, many of whom now have coverage through expanded Medicaid.

The Mental Health Movement is calling on the city health department to take immediate steps to join a provider network, allowing for continued service to current Medicaid clients and additional revenue from new clients.  Advocates argue that failure to do so will starve the mental health clinics by cutting off all revenue to the clinics and set the stage for closure of the remaining six clinics.  They are also urging the Chicago City Council to hold hearings on the city’s policies and the mental health crisis in Chicago, noting that the city failed to hold a single hearing about mental health services has been held in the last three years despite repeated promise to do so during the 2012 closure of half of the city clinics.

The Mental Health Movement fought hard in 2012 to stop the closure of six of the twelve city mental health clinics and points to the serious impact of those closures – a spike in hospitalizations, hundreds of former clients unaccounted for, a growing mental health problem in Cook County jail and many individuals who suffered serious consequences.


Black Entrepreneurs Being Denied SBA Loans

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Only 1.7% of SBA loans went to black entrepreneurs in 2013

Are Black Entrepreneurs being denied by the U.S. Government?

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – In 2013, U.S. banks and financial institutions made $382.5 million in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to black-owned businesses. This may initially seem like a good deal of money, until you compare it to the aggregate amount of loans made. According to the Wall Street Journal, the amount of loans that black borrowers received was only 1.7 percent of the total $23.09 billion loaned to all small businesses that year.

Only 1.7% of SBA loans went to Black entrepreneurs

The concern is that the number of loans to black business owners is decreasing. In 2008, black businesses received 8.2 percent of total SBA loan dollars, so the 1.7 percent is a huge decrease. You can look at the numbers from a percentage of loans extended, but the story is the same; the numbers are decreasing. For example, in 2008, black business owners received 11 percent of SBA loans, but in 2013 that percentage dropped to just 2.3 percent. No matter how you look at it, it’s not good.

Read the full article at:
http://blog.blackbusiness.org/2014/03/black-business-owners-entrepreneurs-denied-sba-loans.html


SOURCE: www.BlackBusiness.org



It’s Time to Make the Minimum Wage a Living Wage

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Opening ReMARCs

By Marc Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League

Because adjustments in minimum wage have not kept pace with increases in the cost of living, the real value of the minimum wage has significantly decreased over the years.

It has been 46 years since the minimum wage, then $1.60, reached its peak value (in real terms) of $10.69.  In other words, to equal the same purchasing power that minimum wage workers had in 1968, today’s $7.25 federal minimum wage would need to increase by $3.44, or 47%.  Further, when adjusted for inflation, the current minimum wage is worth $2 less than it was in 1968.

Minimum wage has also not been kept on par with worker productivity.  If it had, today’s minimum wage would be $21.72 per hour.

Instead, low-wage employees who work 40 hours a week at the current minimum wage make roughly $15,000 a year.  The majority of those who would benefit from a minimum wage increase are adults in working families, primarily women, who depend on this income to support their families.

Six hundred economists – several of them Nobel laureates – recently signed a letter to the President and Republican and Democratic leaders in support of increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 and then indexing it to inflation thereafter.  The majority of credible research shows that a minimum wage increase has minimal, if any, negative effect on employment, even during a weak labor market.  It could indeed have a positive economic impact as these workers invest their additional earnings back into the economy through spending on such basic needs as housing and food – thereby increasing demand and jobs.

The case for increasing the minimum wage is clear.  It’s time to make the minimum wage a living wage.

President Obama signed an executive order last month to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour starting in 2015 and encouraged employers across the nation to increase wages for their workers.

The National Urban League supports an increase in the minimum wage, and we urge Congress – and you – to act now.

Click on the link below to sign our Raise the Minimum Wage petition and tell Congress that it’s time to give America a raise.

Sign the petition here.




Jack and Jill Foundation to give away $2,500 Scholarship Awards to African American Students

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Deadline To Apply is April 1, 2014

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – The Jack and Jill of America Foundation is committed to the ongoing positive development of African American youth and the development of future leaders. In addition, the foundation provides personal, professional and financial support to children in the areas of leadership skills training and development.

They are engaged in education, mentoring, health & wellness, early childhood and economic development programs. The foundation promotes the preparation of succeeding generations of children as leaders so they may attain the fullest potential as individuals, enjoy rewarding and fulfilling lives and contribute to world peace and prosperity. The key to fulfilling this vision is through education.

The Jack and Jill of America Foundation’s National Scholarship Program is available to high school seniors who will become and maintain full-time status at an accredited, four year post secondary institution beginning in the fall of the year working toward a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements and deadlines to qualifiy.

Scholarship awards can be applied toward tuition and room & board ranging from $1,500 to $ 2,500, and the deadline to apply is Tuesday, April 1, 2014.


For more details and/or to apply, visit:
www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/04/jack-and-jill-foundation-scholarship.html

To search hundreds of other 2014 scholarships, visit:
www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

Two Gang Members Sentenced to Lengthy Terms in the 2009 Murder of a Chicago Police Officer

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Two gang members convicted of the murder of a Chicago Police Officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Chicago’s Englewood community have each been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison in a case prosecuted by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Kevin Walker, 24, and Christopher Harris, 25, were sentenced to the lengthy prison terms for the murder of Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez, who was fatally wounded while responding to a call of shots fired in 2009. Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso sentenced Walker to 120 years in prison and Harris was sentenced to 105 years in a hearing that took place March 19 at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago. A third defendant, Shawn Gaston, was convicted of the crime in 2011 and is serving a 125-year prison sentence.

Valadez was just 27 years old when he was struck down while he and his partner were investigating a report of gunshots fired in the 6000 block of South Hermitage in June of 2009. The three defendants were in the area seeking retaliation for an earlier confrontation with rival gang members when they came upon Officer Valadez who was responding to the call. The defendants began firing from their vehicle and Officer Valadez was struck in the head.

“These sentences should send a strong message to those gang members who want to take the law into their own hands and shoot up our streets. There is no place for this behavior on the streets of Chicago or in our society. You will be held accountable,” Alvarez said.

The murder of Officer Valadez served as a catalyst for the passage of tougher criminal penalties for gang members caught by police with loaded weapons. The State’s Attorney’s Office drafted and helped pass the “Valadez Law,” in 2010 which mandates a prison sentence for the crime of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Gang Member.

The law has proven to be an effective tool for police and prosecutors in the ongoing battle against gang and gun violence. Since its implementation, the Valadez Law has led to charges against more than 460 gang members with a conviction rate in those cases prosecuted of more than 90 percent.

State’s Attorney Alvarez, who led the prosecution for the trials of all three defendants in this case, thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Frank Marek and Jeffrey Allen as well as the investigators and victim witness specialists from her office for their dedication and hard work. She also thanked the Chicago Police Department for their assistance and cooperation in the successful prosecution of this case.

Scammers are Heating Up for Spring and Trying to Rip Off Taxpayers, Says Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – According to recent reports more than 20,000 taxpayers have been the target of phone calls from scammers impersonating IRS agents and totaling a loss of over 1 million dollars. This phone scam is just one of the techniques that scammers use to rip-off unsuspecting consumers. The “dirty dozen” is a list of tax scams that the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois is warning consumers about.

The phone scam being number one, others on the list include:

2. Identity Theft – The IRS continues to be overwhelmed by identity theft, which occurs when a fraudster uses someone else’s name and social security number to claim refunds.

3. Phishing – If you receive an e-mail that appears to be from the IRS and asks for personal information, it’s most likely a phishing scam that wants your identity and your money. The IRS does not reach out to taxpayers via e-mail, texts or social media, so relay any such messages to phishing@irs.gov.

4. “Free Money” – Be wary of fliers and ads promising “free money” from the IRS or anyone offering a refund that sounds too good to be true. Some scammers target low-income and elderly people, often through churches, convincing them to claim credits they aren’t entitled to — and even Social Security rebates that don’t exist. These con artists often charge up-front fees and disappear without a trace before the IRS rejects the claims. The victims don’t just lose the scammer’s “fee” — they could also get hit with a $5,000 penalty for making intentional errors on their return.

5. Return preparer fraud – From inventing extra children to stealing identities, some preparers are bad news. Make sure your tax preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). If a preparer doesn’t put this number on your tax return as required, or fails to sign the form, that should raise a red flag. And watch out for preparers who base fees on the size of your refund.

6. Hiding income offshore – Don’t let anyone convince you it’s a good idea to hide income abroad. The IRS has been cracking down on taxpayers who do this and has collected billions of dollars in back taxes and penalties from tax cheats since 2009.

7. Fake charities – It’s common for scammers to create fake charities to fraudulently collect money — especially in the wake of disasters. Before giving money to a charity, verify that the organization is legitimate and that your donations will be tax deductible by using the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Select Check. And don’t give cash — use a check or credit card so you have proof of payment. Inflating income and credits

8. Boosting income or expenses – Getting bigger credits than you deserve can get you in big trouble with the IRS. If you get caught, you’ll have to return any fraudulent refund and pay interest and penalties on any amount owed.

9. Frivolous arguments – Trying to get out of paying taxes? Here are some arguments that will never work: “Filing a tax return is voluntary”, “only gold-based money is taxable” or “your state isn’t part of the United States.” Anyone who tries to tell you differently can’t be trusted. These are considered frivolous arguments and will be rejected, and you could face a number of penalties.

10. Falsely claiming no income -Taxpayers who fall prey to schemes convincing them to falsely report their taxable income as zero could face a penalty of $5,000.

11. Evading taxes – Some shady investment advisers and tax preparers are creating and promoting complicated tax structures and shelters that clients can use to evade taxes — often involving multiple entities and offshore accounts. If someone has tried to convince you to evade taxes, report the incident using Form 14157.

12. Abuse of trusts – Common schemes recommend you transfer money into trusts to reduce your income and avoid paying taxes. While there are appropriate uses of trusts, the IRS has seen a growing number of people improperly using them. The rules governing trusts can be very complicated, so to avoid getting caught up in an illegal arrangement, the IRS recommends consulting with a tax professional.

“These scams are spreading and consumers need to understand the risk of financial harm that can occur to them by providing personal information and sending money to scammers” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The best protection is suspicion don’t put your trust in any unknown person who contacts you.”

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Don’t give out your financial information over the phone. The real IRS will not ask for financial information over the phone. Any contact from the IRS will be through direct mail.
  • Hang up the phone. If you are being asked for personal and financial information by someone claiming to be an IRS employee, simply hang up.
  • If you receive an email, trash it. The IRS will not attempt to contact you through email. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be the IRS, then it is probably a scam. Emails that scammers send may include computer viruses that could harm your computer or access personal information.
  • Report the incident. If you are a victim of this scam, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” Make sure to add “IRS Telephone Scam” to your comments.

For more advice on scams, visit www.bbb.org

Dance Center’s 40th Season Concludes With Co-Commisioned Moses(es) by Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel performance Group April 3-5

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — Representing 40 years of commitment to presenting important contemporary dance artists and developing new work, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago presents Reggie Wilson and his company Fist & Heel Performance Group in a work co-commissioned by The Dance Center. Performances are April 3–5, 2014 at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The company also concludes The Dance Center’s 15th season of FamilyDance Matinees, offering a 45-minute family-oriented performance preceded by a free workshop that encourages parents and children to move with the artists Saturday, April 5.

Moses(es), an evening-length work, explores our relationship to leadership and the effects of migration on beliefs and customs. Grounded in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Moses, Man of the Mountains and arising out of Wilson’s exploratory travels to Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Mali, the work looks at diasporic movement out of Africa and into the rest of the world through the lens of Moses stories in their various cross-cultural and cross-faith interpretations.

“This is the second time my work has been presented at The Dance Center,” said Wilson. I’ve also taught and set pieces on students, and The Dance Center was instrumental in supporting the early research and development of Moses(es). My relationship with The Dance Center feels deep and long; I trust that it will be there into the future.”

Residency Activities
There will be a post-performance conversation with the artists Thursday, April 3, and a pre-performance talk Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. with Moses(es) dramaturg Susan Manning, professor of English, theatre and performance studies at Northwestern University and past president of the Society of Dance History Scholars. Both events are free to ticket holders. Wilson also will participate in The Dance Center’s DanceMakers series, which features leading contemporary dance artists offering insight into their choreographic process, Monday, March 31, 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. In celebration of The Dance Center’s 40th season, DanceMakers sessions are free. Preregistration is required.

Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel performance group
Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group blends contemporary dance with African traditions, creating brilliant new performances from the rich spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora. Claudia La Rocco of the New York Times called Wilson “one of this country’s most talented choreographers.

Funding
Reggie Wilson’s Moses(es) is co-commissioned by The Dance Center with funding from a 2012 Joyce Award. The Dance Center’s presentation of of Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group is funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

The Dance Center
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine and “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader, is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. Programs of The Dance Center are supported, in part, by the Alphawood Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, New England Foundation for the Arts, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and Arts Midwest. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Special thanks to Athletico, the Official Provider of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy for The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, and the Friends of The Dance Center.

Ticket Information
The Dance Center presents Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group April 3–5, Thursday–Saturday at 8 p.m. at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Single tickets are $26–30. The FamilyDance Matinee takes place Saturday, April 5 at 3 p.m., with the free movement workshop beginning at 2:15 p.m. Admission for children 12 and younger is free; adult tickets are $15. All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. For information, call 312-369-8330 or visit colum.edu/dancecenter.

Illinois students participate in pilot tests to prepare for new assessments tied to states’ more challenging learning standards

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Students in nearly half of Illinois schools will participate this spring in a limited amount of field testing to prepare for next year’s new, more rigorous assessment system


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Students in Illinois schools will take a practice test this spring that will help them become familiar with next year’s line of new assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics and provide state policy makers and educators with valuable feedback before the tests are finalized. These new state tests, developed through a group of states called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), are aligned to Illinois’ new learning standards and aim to deliver clear and timely information about what students know and can do and whether they can demonstrate the academic preparation necessary to succeed as citizens and in college and careers.

“We’re grateful for the many schools and districts across Illinois that have agreed to help us as we essentially ‘test’ the new test,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We’re excited that we now have a test that was developed to measure how well students are meeting these new, more demanding expectations. We know that feedback from Illinois schools will make this a more accurate and meaningful assessment system that will give families and educators information they can put to use.”

Illinois is among 14 states and the District of Columbia that plan to administer the PARCC to all third- through 11th-graders in 2014-15. Across the country, more than 1 million students in 14 of the PARCC states – roughly 10 percent of students in grades 3 through 11 across this group – will take the practice or “field” test this spring.

Beginning today, March 24, about 125,000 Illinois public school students – or 12 percent of all eligible students – in nearly 1,800 schools and 650 school districts will take a PARCC field test in English language arts or mathematics. The Illinois State Board of Education has worked since last fall to find participating schools and ensure that the test takers are a representative sample of Illinois students.

The PARCC will replace the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) given to third- through eighth-graders and it is also planned to replace the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) given to 11th graders. The PARCC differs from these current state tests in a number of important ways, beginning with how and when students will be tested in 2014-15.

Students taking the online tests offered through PARCC will use computer-based tools, such as drag-and-drop, multiple select, text highlighting and an equation builder. Tests will be given throughout the year to gauge progress and provide teachers with timely information aimed to inform classroom instruction.

The PARCC assessments represent a range of more rigorous and engaging test items — from a new take on traditional multiple choice style questions aided by technology to longer tasks that ask students to demonstrate their understanding. In reading and writing, students will have to show they can read and understand complex passages, write persuasively and present findings based on research. In math, they also will have to show their work and demonstrate they understand a concept. Rather than simply memorize a formula, they will have to apply math knowledge to real-world problems. Overall, the tests will require higher-level thinking and analysis from students.

“The PARCC assessment promises a clearer profile of our incoming students, providing the type of information that will enhance our capacity to help them fulfill their potential and achieve their goals,” said University of Illinois President Robert Easter. “The testing standards reflect the higher-order thinking skills that students must demonstrate to succeed throughout college and in their careers.”

The practice run of the PARCC and administration of the ISAT, our current grade 3-8 assessment, will vary within schools and from school to school this spring. The PARCC test consists of two components – the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) and the End of Year Assessment (EOY). To minimize the testing burden on schools, the majority of students participating in the practice PARCC testing will take only one PARCC component in one content area, either ELA or math. That means the majority of field testing schools still administered the ISAT in both English and Math earlier this month, and their scores will go toward their school’s Adequate Yearly Progress designation under No Child Left Behind.

A “full” PARCC practice test is defined as participation in both the PBA and the EOY in one of the two content areas. About 300 field testing districts in Illinois that are administering the full practice test this spring were allowed to forgo administering the same content area (either ELA or math) of the ISATs as Illinois has been granted a one-year “double-testing waiver” from the U.S. Department of Education. That means those schools will not be held accountable for scores in that subject area under NCLB. Schools are still responsible for student participation in all other ISAT content areas assessed at a grade level.

The U.S. Department of Education has given that same double-testing flexibility for students taking the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), an assessment for children with severe cognitive disabilities.

The practice tests will give students the chance to try out a new test before it counts and help education leaders determine the fairness, validity and accuracy of the test questions and format. A few classes from each of the schools participating in the practice run will take the test. Students and schools will not be scored on the field tests, which are designed to make sure test items and the technology function correctly.

Regardless of PARCC field testing, all Illinois third- through eighth-graders took the ISAT in at least one subject, ELA or math earlier this month. All fourth- and seventh-graders took the science portion of the ISAT during this testing administration. Illinois recently adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, and districts will be implementing those standards in the next several years. Additionally, in April, all 11th-graders will take the PSAE, which includes the ACT college-entrance exam, as they have in the past.

“We believe the field testing will help both our students and our faculty become more prepared for this new generation of assessments,” said Superintendent Tim Farquer of Williamsfield CUSD 210, which is located about 30 miles northwest of Peoria. “We understand there may be some glitches and a little additional work this spring, but the pay-off is that our students and faculty will get a chance to practice taking this more rigorous online test without worrying about scores and teachers will have a better understanding of what to expect from state testing next school year. It’s a win-win.”

Hundreds of educators from all of the participating PARCC states have been instrumental in developing and reviewing the test items. The PARCC has posted sample test items for every grade on the testing platform students will use when taking the field test later this spring. These items can be found at www.parcconline.org/computer-based-samples.

The ultimate goal is that all Illinois schools will eventually administer the PARCC online. ISBE recognizes, however, that not all schools currently have this capacity. Therefore, some schools will field test the PARCC through paper-based assessments. The State Board’s FY15 budget recommendation includes a $450 million capital request to support districts as they improve their technology infrastructure.

In 2010, the Illinois State Board of Education adopted the more demanding Illinois Learning Standards and since then, the Board has provided resources and training to help districts implement the standards into curriculum. The agency has recently developed a model math curriculum. Officials from higher education, employers and educations have supported these new internationally-benchmarked standards as a way to better prepare students for college and the workplace.

“As careers have evolved, so must our education and our means of testing students,” said State Superintendent  Koch. “This assessment system will give everyone a better understanding – earlier in each student’s academic life – of their abilities and readiness to succeed.”

A new video from ISBE takes a look at the PARCC assessments and new Illinois Learning Standards. “Improving Student Assessments” explains the keys to PARCC success, which include employing innovation and measuring students’ higher level thinking abilities. The video features interviews with ISBE Director of Assessment Mary O’Brian, Illinois PARCC Coordinator Dan Long, and Mathematics and English Language Learning Content Specialists. It is available online at http://www.isbe.net/asx/2014/PARCC_Imp_Student_Assess_022814.asx.

In order to view the video, viewers will need to have Windows Media Player. Mac users may need to download Windows Media Components for QuickTime to view the video. Go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-media-components-quicktime.

For more on PARCC, please visit: http://www.parcconline.org.

Illinois districts and schools participating in the Spring 2014 PARCC Field Test (as of 3-17-14). http://www.isbe.net/assessment/pdfs/parcc/field-test/parcc-ft-partic0314.pdf

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.

Collins: “Devastating and unacceptable cuts” an immediate fiscal reality

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Urges action to protect seniors, veterans and the poor


SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement after this morning’s joint Senate appropriations hearing, at which agency directors and representatives testified on the likely effects of budget reductions consistent with the scheduled expiration of the current income tax rate on January 1, 2015:

At today’s budget hearing, my colleagues and I learned that this year’s revenue shortfall will require state agencies to make devastating and unacceptable cuts. These include eliminating community supports for 18,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness, substance abuse treatment and prevention services for more than 200,000 residents, access to food pantries for 1.96 million families, treatment for 10,000 veterans suffering from PTSD, child care for 39,000 young children and almost $1 billion in funding for public schools.

At a time when sweeping reductions like these are no longer a distant threat but an immediate fiscal reality, it is unconscionable that Illinois maintains corporate tax loopholes and still gives handouts to large corporations without sufficient accountability for job creation.

We owe it to our most vulnerable residents to examine every option available to us, beginning with scaling back corporate welfare, before eliminating services our neighbors depend on for life, dignity, safety and hope. I also urge my colleagues to seriously consider increasing the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Both would give relief to the working poor, decrease dependence on government assistance and drive economic growth.

Newly Enhanced Mobile APP and Marketing Tool Helps Black Salon Owners and Independent Hair Stylists

Posted by Admin On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Techturized Inc. Announces the Myavana “Stylist Account” Through Partnerships with TAG Concept Salons and Urban Tangles Salon

The Myavana app is currently available in the iTunes App Store

ATLANTA, GA (BlackNews.com) – Techturized Inc. announces the launch of the Myavana Stylist Account (an enhancement to the Myavana social hair and beauty network mobile application) through partnerships with TAG Concept Salons and Urban Tangles Salon.

The Myavana Stylist Account grants salons and stylists unique access to the Myavana Application where they can upload branded images of client photos and promote the unique styles and techniques offered by their designers. Salons can promote their images on Myavana and develop a following among users living within a 50 miles radius of their salon. According to CEO Candace Mitchell, “the ultimate goal is to help salons and stylists gain more exposure and attract more clients.”

Techturized Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Chanel Martin further explains, “We want the Myavana App to be the primary source salons and stylists seek when they want to establish and build their brands.” Martin continues, “Salons and stylists have traditionally relied on word-of-mouth marketing to promote their businesses. Myavana gives these artists the ability to turn client hairstyles into digital billboards.”

Alicia Igess, owner and operator of Urban Tangles, an Atlanta, Georgia-based salon, has promoted her business using a Myavana Stylist Account since January 2014. Igess explains, “This partnership is going to be phenomenal on every level. Being a professional hair stylist for over two decades and sharing my love for natural hair with other natural Sistas is going to be an experience in itself. What better place than Myavana to get your questions and concerns addressed in the natural hair community! Being around Myavana is going to benefit you! ”

Amir and Gilda Salmon, Artistic Directors and owners of TAG Concept Salons, a leading natural hair salon headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, also created a Myavana Stylist Account in January 2014. Amir Salmon believes Myavana can help share his vision for healthy natural hair with more consumers and stylists. Mr. Salmon notes, “We style natural hair and offer classes to stylists to help them improve their knowledge and techniques for supporting natural hair. Myavana can help us reach both audiences and develop an on-going dialog.”

Myavana is currently available on the Apple App Store. By April 2014, Myavana will be available on Google Play. The Techturized founders are targeting the end 2QTR, 2014 to have a web-based solution that will mirror its mobile functionality.

Join the Myavana community. Myavana, Sisters Helping Sisters Achieve Hair Nirvana!

Myavana is a registered trademark of Techturized Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.


About Techturized Inc
Techturized Inc is a beauty technology company that creates innovative solutions for women. It was created by four female African American engineers, Candace Mitchell, Jess Watson, Chanel Martin, and Joy Buolamwini, based in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about the brand, please visit www.techturized.com.


About Myavana
Myavana is an online social hair and style network where women can collaborate on haircare and styling issues. Users can access the network via the iPhone App on the AppStore. Android and web versions will be available in the 2QTR, 2014. www.myavana.com


About TAG Concept Salon
TAG Concept Salon is an upscale destination in natural haircare design and imagery located at 3005 Peachtree Rd, NE, Atlanta, Georgia (Buckhead). TAG offers natural solutions to create looks that are typically only achieved with chemical applications and excessive heating instruments. www.tagconceptsalons.com


About Urban Tangles
Urban Tangles is an upscale, client-focused, healthy-hair salon located at 3143 E. Shadowlawn Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia (Buckhead). Urban Tangles offers a 100% money-back guarantee to any client who is not satisfied with her hairstyle. www.urbantangles.com


For advertising rates and packages, salons and stylists only:
Contact Mark Peterson at mark@techturized.com

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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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