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Archive for April 2nd, 2014

7.1 million Americans signed up for private insurance plans through marketplaces

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on 7.1 million Americans signed up for private insurance plans through marketplaces

President Obama’s remarks on 7.1 Americans signing up for private insurance plans

Six months ago today, a big part of the Affordable Care Act kicked in as healthcare.gov and state insurance marketplaces went live.  And millions of Americans finally had the same chance to buy quality, affordable health care — and the peace of mind that comes with it — as everybody else.

Last night, the first open-enrollment period under this law came to an end.  And despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces — 7.1.

The truth is, even more folks want to sign up.  So anybody who was stuck in line because of the huge surge in demand over the past few days can still go back and finish your enrollment — 7.1 million, that’s on top of the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family’s plan.  That’s on top of the millions more who have gained access through Medicaid expansion and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Making affordable coverage available to all Americans, including those with preexisting conditions, is now an important goal of this law.

And in these first six months, we’ve taken a big step forward.  And just as importantly, this law is bringing greater security to Americans who already have coverage.  Because of the Affordable Care Act, 100 million Americans have gained free preventive care, like mammograms and contraceptive care, under their existing plans. Because of this law, nearly 8 million seniors have saved almost $10 billion on their medicine because we’ve closed a gaping hole in Medicare’s prescription drug plan.  We’re closing the donut hole.  And because of this law, a whole lot of families won’t be driven into bankruptcy by a serious illness, because the Affordable Care Act prevents your insurer from placing dollar limits on the coverage they provide.

These are all benefits that have been taking place for a whole lot of families out there, many who don’t realize that they’ve received these benefits.  But the bottom line is this:  Under this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up and the growth of health care costs is down, and that’s good for our middle class and that’s good for our fiscal future.

Now, that doesn’t mean that all the problems in health care have been solved forever.  Premiums are still rising for families who have insurance, whether you get it through your employer or you buy it on your own — that’s been true every year for decades.  But, so far, those premiums have risen more slowly since the Affordable Care Act passed than at any time in the past 50 years.  It’s also true that, despite this law, millions of Americans remain uncovered in part because governors in some states for political reasons have deliberately refused to expand coverage under this law.  But we’re going to work on that. And we’ll work to get more Americans covered with each passing year.

And while it remains true that you’ll still have to change your coverage if you graduate from college or turn 26 years old or move or switch jobs, or have a child — just like you did before the Affordable Care Act was passed — you can now go to healthcare.gov and use it year-round to enroll when circumstances in your life change.  So, no, the Affordable Care Act hasn’t completely fixed our long-broken health care system, but this law has made our health care system a lot better — a lot better.

All told, because of this law, millions of our fellow citizens know the economic security of health insurance who didn’t just a few years ago — and that’s something to be proud of.  Regardless of your politics or your feelings about me, or your feelings about this law, that’s something that’s good for our economy, and it’s good for our country.  And there’s no good reason to go back.

Let me give you a sense of what this change has meant for millions of our fellow Americans.  I’ll just give you a few examples.  Sean Casey, from Solana Beach, California, always made sure to cover his family on the private market.  But preexisting medical conditions meant his annual tab was over $30,000.  The Affordable Care Act changed that.  See, if you have a preexisting condition, like being a cancer survivor, or if you suffer chronic pain from a tough job, or even if you’ve just been charged more for being a woman -– you can no longer be charged more than anybody else.  So this year, the Casey family’s premiums will fall from over $30,000 to under $9,000.

And I know this because Sean took the time to write me a letter.  “These savings,” he said, “will almost offset the cost of our daughter’s first year in college.  I’m a big believer in this legislation, and it has removed a lot of complexity and, frankly, fear from my life.  Please keep fighting for the ACA.”  That’s what Sean had to say.

Jeanne Goe is a bartender from Enola, Pennsylvania.  Now, I think most folks are aware being a bartender, that’s a job that usually doesn’t offer health care.  For years, Jeanne went uninsured or underinsured, often getting some health care through her local Planned Parenthood.  In November, she bought a plan on the marketplace.  In January, an illness sent her to the hospital.  And because her new plan covered a CAT scan she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford, her doctor discovered that she also had ovarian cancer -– and gave her a chance to beat it.  So she wrote me a letter, too.  She said it’s going to be “a long tough road to kill this cancer, but I can walk that road knowing insurance isn’t an issue.  I won’t be refused care.  I hope to send a follow-up letter in a few months saying I am free and clear of this disease, but until then, I know I will be fighting just as you have been fighting for my life as a working American citizen.”

And after her first wellness visit under her new insurance plan, Marla Morine, from Fort Collins, Colorado, shared with me what it meant to her.  “After using my new insurance for the first time, you probably heard my sigh of relief from the White House.”  “I felt like a human being again.  I felt that I had value.”

That’s what the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is all about -– making sure that all of us, and all our fellow citizens, can count on the security of health care when we get sick; that the work and dignity of every person is acknowledged and affirmed.  The newly insured like Marla deserve that dignity.  Working Americans like Jeanne deserve that economic security.  Women, the sick, survivors — they deserve fair treatment in our health care system, all of which makes the constant politics around this law so troubling.

Like every major piece of legislation — from Social Security to Medicare — the law is not perfect.  We’ve had to make adjustments along the way, and the implementation — especially with the website — has had its share of problems.  We know something about that.  And, yes, at times this reform has been contentious and confusing, and obviously it’s had its share of critics.  That’s part of what change looks like in a democracy.  Change is hard.  Fixing what’s broken is hard.  Overcoming skepticism and fear of something new is hard.  A lot of times folks would prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t.

But this law is doing what it’s supposed to do.  It’s working.  It’s helping people from coast to coast, all of which makes the lengths to which critics have gone to scare people or undermine the law, or try to repeal the law without offering any plausible alternative so hard to understand.  I’ve got to admit, I don’t get it.  Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance?  Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?  Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked.  There are still no death panels.  Armageddon has not arrived.  Instead, this law is helping millions of Americans, and in the coming years it will help millions more.

I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better.  But the debate over repealing this law is over.  The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.

And those who have based their entire political agenda on repealing it have to explain to the country why Jeanne should go back to being uninsured.  They should explain why Sean and his family should go back to paying thousands and thousands of dollars more.  They’ve got to explain why Marla doesn’t deserve to feel like she’s got value.  They have to explain why we should go back to the days when seniors paid more for their prescriptions or women had to pay more than men for coverage, back to the days when Americans with preexisting conditions were out of luck — they could routinely be denied the economic security of health insurance — because that’s exactly what would happen if we repeal this law.  Millions of people who now have health insurance would not have it.  Seniors who have gotten discounts on their prescription drugs would have to pay more.  Young people who were on their parents’ plan would suddenly not have health insurance.

In the end, history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security.  Nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of America’s progress or our people.  And that’s what the Affordable Care Act represents.  As messy as it’s been sometimes, as contentious as it’s been sometimes, it is progress.  It is making sure that we are not the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t make sure everybody has basic health care.  And that’s thanks in part to leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin, and all the members of Congress who are here today.  We could not have done it without them, and they should be proud of what they’ve done.  They should be proud of what they’ve done.

And it’s also thanks to the often-unheralded work of countless Americans who fought tirelessly to pass this law, and who organized like crazy these past few months to help their fellow citizens just get the information they needed to get covered.  That’s why we’re here today.  That’s why 7.1 million folks have health insurance — because people got the word out.

And we didn’t make a hard sell.  We didn’t have billions of dollars of commercials like some critics did.  But what we said was, look for yourself, see if it’s good for your family.  And a whole lot of people decided it was.  So I want to thank everybody who worked so hard to make sure that we arrived at this point today.

I want to make sure everybody understands:  In the months, years ahead, I guarantee you there will be additional challenges to implementing this law.  There will be days when the website stumbles — I guarantee it.  So, press, just — I want you to anticipate  — there will be some moment when the website is down — and I know it will be on all of your front pages.  It’s going to happen.  It won’t be news.  There will be parts of the law that will still need to be improved.  And if we can stop refighting old political battles that keep us gridlocked, then we could actually make the law work even better for everybody.  And we’re excited about the prospect of doing that.  We are game to do it.

But today should remind us that the goal we set for ourselves — that no American should go without the health care that they need; that no family should be bankrupt because somebody in that family gets sick, because no parent should have to be worried about whether they can afford treatment because they’re worried that they don’t want to have to burden their children; the idea that everybody in this country can get decent health care — that goal is achievable.

We are on our way.  And if all of us have the courage and the wisdom to keep working not against one another, not to scare each other, but for one another –- then we won’t just make progress on health care.  We’ll make progress on all the other work that remains to create new opportunity for everybody who works for it, and to make sure that this country that we love lives up to its highest ideals.  That’s what today is about.  That’s what all the days that come as long as I’m President are going to be about.  That’s what we’re going to be working towards.

ILGOP Chairman’s Update: March to Victory in 2014 — Our Winning Ticket

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on ILGOP Chairman’s Update: March to Victory in 2014 — Our Winning Ticket

From Chairman Jack Dorgan

With a spirited primary behind us, it’s time to come together as Republicans and move toward our most important goal: winning the election in November and rescuing our great state.

Illinois has had to endure 10-plus years of one-party, tax-and-spend, far-left control, and every one of us has felt the impact:

  • The second-worst jobless rate of any state.
  • The biggest tax hike in Illinois history – 67% on families and 45% on job creators – which Gov. Quinn now wants to make permanent.
  • Billions in unpaid bills and the worst credit ratings of any state.
  • Failure to lead on the things that really matter: crime, education, property taxes, the economy, you name it.

The last ten years haven’t been pretty. But this past month officially introduced us to the individuals who have stepped up to hold the Democrats accountable for their failures. As Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, I am proud to introduce you to the Republican ticket for the 2014 election:

Governor/Lt. Governor: Bruce Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti

U.S. Senator: Jim Oberweis

Comptroller: Judy Baar Topinka

Treasurer: Tom Cross

Attorney General: Paul Schimpf

Secretary of State: Mike Webster

I want to thank all of the candidates who ran in the primary, and all the campaign staff, volunteers and everyone who voted in the primary. Every one of you contributed to a strong start to a winning campaign… as we fight to take back Illinois.

Be a Part of the Action

Beating Gov. Quinn and taking back our state isn’t going to happen with Republicans sitting on the sidelines.

It’s going to take every one of us pitching in, working together, and doing the important work of educating voters and driving turnout to WIN in November.

Our website, ILGOP.org, has an easy-to-use, easy-to-share volunteer sign-up form, where you can register to do anything from voter contact in your own neighborhood, to putting up a yard sign to show your support. It’s going to take a team effort to win, so I hope I can count on you to do your part!

Have You Contributed Yet?

As you know, the Democrats aren’t going to give up the power they’ve seized without an epic battle.

Illinois Democrats are well-entrenched, well-connected, and well-funded for the fight. Beating them is going to take a lot of hard work and a well-funded campaign of our own. And it starts with YOU!

We can’t afford to let them out-spend us and drown out our message, up and down the ticket. This truly is a grass-roots, bottom-up campaign to rescue our state, and our fundraising efforts need to reflect that.

Please, click here to contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can to help fund our important work between now and November.

March to Victory Event

Thanks to everyone who joined our March to Victory event in Chicago the day after the Primary. It was an important reminder that we’re stronger together than we are apart, and of the challenge we have ahead of us.

If you weren’t able to be there in person, click below for links to some of the press coverage:

Illinois Review (including photo gallery)

Gov. Quinn: Making Your Tax Hike Permanent

Last week, Gov. Quinn officially unveiled the centerpiece of his 2014 re-election campaign: raising YOUR taxes.

During the Governor’s annual budget address (a speech that was conveniently delayed this year until the week after the primary election), Gov. Quinn announced that he would seek to make Illinois’s largest tax hike in history — 67 percent on families and 45% on businesses – permanent.

In case you don’t remember what that 67% tax hike meant in your life… it meant that a full week of your paycheck now goes straight to Springfield for Pat Quinn and the Democrats to spend, not you. And if Pat Quinn gets his way, that becomes permanent.

Of course, Gov. Quinn has had five years now to deliver results for Illinois, and he has failed on nearly every measure. And he’s broken promise after promise during those five years, so we have no reason to believe him now.

  • We can’t trust Pat Quinn to balance the budget – he promised to do so five years ago and we still have $7 billion in unpaid bills today.
  • We can’t trust Pat Quinn on jobs – he promised to make it his top priority and we’re second-worst in the country on jobs today.
  • We can’t trust Pat Quinn on taxes – he promised his biggest-tax-in-history would be temporary, and he’s breaking that promise now, to nobody’s surprise.
  • We can’t trust Pat Quinn on education – he promised to invest in education, only to turn around and cut funding by more than $600 million.

Plenty of food for thought as Gov. Quinn ramps up the campaign promises from now until November.

Click here to read more on Gov. Quinn’s budget
Click here to read more about the Democrats’ tax obsession

Holding Democrats Accountable

One of the roles of the Illinois Republican Party is holding Democrat officials and candidates accountable for their actions. Too often, the mainstream media tends to gloss over the shortcomings of the Democratic party, while screaming from the rooftops about Republicans.

Here’s a sampling of our efforts in the past month:

Holding the Democrats accountable is a responsibility we take very seriously. If you know of an elected official or candidate who needs to be highlighted, please, contact us at info@ilgop.org or 312-201-9000.

State Central Committee Update

On April 16, Illinois Republican County Chairmen and State Central Committee elections are held throughout Illinois. It’s an important day, when Illinois Republicans select the party officials who will lead us to victory in November.

We received an impressive response of nominees to serve on the State Central Committee in all 18 Congressional Districts, and we are currently in the process of vetting the nominees ahead of the April election.

For an update on the applicants to State Central Committee and more information about the election process, please click here.

Happy Birthday!

And just in case you missed it, the Republican Party was born 160 years ago this month!

On March 20, 1854, a group of former Whigs and others in the anti-slavery movement met in the upper midwest, and formed a new party to fight for our shared values and take on the failed leadership of the Democrats (sound familiar?).

Since then, we’ve been the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan, and today we continue to lead with a shared commitment to liberty, freedom, equal opportunity and modern ideas.

Happy birthday, fellow Republicans!

Leland Yee Helps Set Dangerous Precedent for Affirmative Action

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Leland Yee Helps Set Dangerous Precedent for Affirmative Action

Leland Yee Helps Set Dangerous Precedent for Affirmative Action

New America Media
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Ranking California Democratic State Senator Leland Yee made the news twice in recent weeks. And both times it was for the wrong thing. The first time was for his FBI bust on charges of gun running and public corruption. The second reason he was in the news potentially has far more damaging consequences. Yee had been a strong supporter of Constitutional Amendment 5 that passed the California Senate last January. The bill would have given voters another chance to consider the use of race in college admissions. This could have been a direct assault on Proposition 209 passed by the voters in 1996 that banned the use of race as a factor in college admissions.

But then Yee loudly declared that he wanted the bill pulled after receiving an outraged letter from an Asian-American constituent group claiming that reinstituting affirmative action would do major harm to Asian-American students’ chances of getting admitted to state colleges and universities. Yee was unapologetic in explaining that he “would never support a policy that we believed would negatively impact our children.”

Yee shamelessly caved to one group at a moment when the legislature was poised to pass the measure. It could have served as a model for other states that have imposed various bans on affirmative action programs. The potential damage doesn’t stop here. The Supreme Court is weeks away from handing down yet another possible landmark ruling on affirmative action. The case involves a challenge to Michigan’s 2006 voter approved ban on the use of race and sex based factors to be used in admission decisions to public universities. Like California’s Proposition 209, the ban was written into the state constitution.

Yee in one fell stroke gave the court and states even more ammunition to fire against affirmative action initiatives at state universities and beyond that in public employment. The ammunition is even more potent because it’s now no longer just conservatives waging their relentless war against affirmative action, with their arsenal of lawsuits, ballot initiatives and administrative rulings. Now the anti-affirmative action battle is being waged by some well-heeled, vocal Asian-American advocacy groups that contend Asian students will suffer the most from affirmative action. While other Asian-American groups firmly support affirmative action programs, unfortunately they are being drowned out by the opponents.

The first warning that some Asian-American groups oppose affirmative action programs came in 2012 when four Asian-American groups filed a brief with the Supreme Court in the case involving a white woman that sued the University of Texas claiming that she was denied admission because of affirmative action. They called on the justices to bar all race based admissions decisions. Their brief upped the ante in the fight in that they didn’t simply call for tailoring or modifying affirmative action programs to insure fairness. They demanded that race not be used in any way as a consideration in university admissions.

The charge that Asian-Americans would and are getting the short end of the admissions stick from affirmative action doesn’t hold up. Asian-American students already make up a disproportionate number of students at many public universities. According to university figures, at the University of Texas they make up 16 percent of the university enrollees though they are only 4 percent of the state’s population.

The figures there are typical of their enrollment at many public universities where Asian-American students make up double digit numbers of the student population.

The great fear of the anti-affirmative action Asian-American groups though is not that so few are getting into universities because of affirmative action. But that fewer Asian students would get in if affirmative action programs were put back on the table. They assert that they’d lose out to packs of supposedly unqualified or less qualified black and Latino students. This is nothing more than a rehash of the old quota or reverse bias argument that’s been used for years by conservatives to thwart affirmative action.

Quotas have long since been ruled illegal. Despite popular myth even before the imposition of Proposition 209 in California there was never a quota system that mandated a set number of blacks and Hispanic students be admitted at any California university or state college. Race, then, was simply used as one of several factors that could be considered in a student’s admission. Asian-American students at the universities in those days could hardly considered to be underrepresented. They made up less than 10 percent of California’s state population but nearly 20 percent of the students at the colleges.

Yee did not cite any of these arguments in calling for the scrap of the bill. He and the Democrats that bowed to pressure from some Asian groups did grave harm by giving added fodder to the bitter opponents from legislators to Supreme Court justices that are bound and determined to do away with all programs that help all underserved minorities, and that includes Asian-Americans. That’s a dangerous precedent he helped set.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

EBONY Magazine Partners with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation To Release the State of the Black Family Survey

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on EBONY Magazine Partners with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation To Release the State of the Black Family Survey

Survey Reveals Black Family Concerns Regarding Race, Money, Education and the Economy

CHICAGO, IL In the May issue of EBONY magazine, the publication partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to release the State of the Black Family Survey. In the study, a national sample of 1,005 African-American respondents identified job loss and financial insecurity as the number one issue confronting Black families.

The survey polled African-Americans on their views on the economy, education, relationships, race relations, health care, employment, finances and media trends.

The findings from the study revealed the following:

· 84% of respondents says racial discrimination still pervades American society

· 74% think society isn’t doing enough to support young men and boys of color.

· Almost two-thirds of respondents say they are better off financially than they were five years ago, but 82% are concerned that Whites still make more than Blacks for doing the same jobs.

· 52% see the media portrayal of African-Americans as generally negative.

· 60% of respondents agree we are making progress in providing access to health care.

· 50%, however, feel that we are losing ground in reducing the gap between rich and poor.

· Almost 1/3 are concerned that their children are not getting a quality education.

· 44% of survey respondents said they know someone that has been killed or committed suicide

· 30% said “improving the creating more jobs/good paying jobs” as a top issue of concern.

La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, noted that poll respondents expressed concerns about the impact of racial bias and the income inequality gap that is prevalent within the African American community, as well as other demographics in American society. “We have a lot of work to do in creating jobs and making sure that people of color receive the training and education needed to obtain those jobs,” she said. “We believe the lack of employment is really critical and impacts a child’s well-being and limits opportunities.”

She added that a recent study, ”The Business Case for Racial Equity,” by the Altarum Institute with funding from WKKF underscores the potential benefits to business, government and the economy if racial inequities are addressed. “Discriminatory policies and disparities in housing, education, health and crime and justice are outlined and we estimate substantial economic benefits of racial equality, including an increase of almost $2 trillion in minority purchasing power and millions of job opportunities for college graduates.”

Montgomery Tabron said that President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative is bringing government, the private sector and non-profits together to address the obstacles faced by boys and young men of color. She said the initiative exemplifies the type of public-private partnerships needed to improve life outcomes for communities of color. “By directly engaging the business sector to promote racial equity,” she said, “we will create a healthier, better educated and more diverse workforce, help close the minority earnings gap, and provide an overall boost to the economy.”

Amy Barnett, the editor-in-chief of EBONY magazine, said, “For more than 70 years, EBONY magazine has been at the forefront of delivering important news that impacts the African-American community, and we are proud to have had the opportunity to partner with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to release these results.” She continued to say, “As the curator of the African-American experience – past, present and future, it is important to shed light on these topics in order to address them properly.

Readers can read the remaining results in the May issue of EBONY magazine, on newsstands now. Part two of the survey is scheduled for release in the June issue of the magazine.

ABOUT The W.K. Kellogg Foundation:

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to help break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers based on race or income that hold back children, so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

About EBONY:

EBONY is the No. 1 source for an authoritative perspective on the African-American community. The monthly magazine, now in its 68th year, reaches nearly 11 million readers. EBONY features the best thinkers, trendsetters, hottest celebrities and next-generation leaders of African-Americans. EBONY ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration. Available nationwide on newsstands and the iPad, EBONY is the heart, the soul and the pulse of African-Americans.

Follow us and tell us what’s on your mind: @EBONYMag on Twitter | EBONYMag on Facebook| EBONYMag.Tumblr.com on Tumblr| EBONY.com online

How To Get Free Help With Your Taxes

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on How To Get Free Help With Your Taxes

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program assists millions in preparing their returns

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Milagros Aguas used to pay someone to prepare her taxes until her employer filed for bankruptcy and she lost her job. That’s when a friend recommended AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, a program that provides free tax assistance and preparation for low- and moderate-income filers, particularly to those age 60 and up. “It helps me a lot,” says Aguas, of Washington, D.C., who recently had her taxes prepared for the second year by Tax-Aide volunteers. “It’s easy. There is no charge for the service… and the volunteers are very nice and helpful.”

Millions over the years, though, have taken advantage of Tax-Aide. Started by a few AARP volunteers in 1968, the program has since grown to more than 35,000 trained volunteers in more than 5,000 locations nationwide. Last year, 2.6 million taxpayers used the service for their federal and state income tax returns. One recent morning, a group of Tax-Aide volunteers at the Chevy Chase Community Center in Washington, D.C., waited for a snowstorm to subside and taxpayers to come in.Most of the volunteers were new to the program, and each had reasons for wanting to spend 10 weeks on other people’s taxes.

“It’s like the ultimate sudoku,” says William Slade, 67, who had been a tax preparer for H&R Block for 25 years before retiring in 2008. “There are more moving parts to the tax code than almost anything else.”

That, along with dealing with each taxpayer’s personal story, “makes it more fun than any other intellectual activity that you can imagine. Better than chess. Much better than bridge or cribbage.”

Tamara Belden, 63, also volunteers to give her brain a workout, saying she’s read that learning things gives people a mental edge. That wasn’t her only goal, though.

Belden, who retired as a budget analyst with the Library of Congress and now works as a part-time tour guide, is weighing whether to become a paid tax preparer. The experience with Tax-Aide gives her the chance to see if she likes the work. She does so far and enjoys the interaction with taxpayers.

Recently, Belden prepared a return for a 30-something couple who were overjoyed to learn they were getting federal and local refunds totaling $1,500. “You would have thought I was the fairy godmother,” she says. New volunteers say they underwent five days of intensive training — with homework.

“It was rigorous. It was like taking a crash college course,” says Susan Phillips, a 65-year-old retired teacher. “It was challenging, which I liked.” Training leads to IRS certification. Even experienced volunteers undergo annual training to keep them up to date on the tax code.

Volunteers can spot overlooked tax breaks, though they say that regular Tax-Aide clients often are quick to point out deductions. “Our clients keep us on our toes,” says Dick Riegel, 72, a retired Air Force pilot and coordinator of the Chevy Chase site.

Tax-Aide doesn’t handle complicated returns, such as those dealing with royalties or farm income. And though the program focuses on helping older taxpayers, it’s open to all ages.

“On a single day four years ago, my first client was 18 years old, filing his first return, and my second client was 102,” Riegel says.Volunteers commit to four hours a week for the duration of tax season.”Many people do much more than that,” says Dorothy Howe, the assistant national director of AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. The typical length of service is seven years, although some have been with the program for more than 30 years, Howe says.

Still, the program loses 10 percent to 20 percent of its volunteers each year through attrition and must replace them. Ideal candidates enjoy working with numbers, are comfortable with computers and are not afraid to ask for help, volunteers say. They also must be discreet, patient, easygoing and good listeners.

“You do have times where a taxpayer gets anxious because he or she thinks they owe a lot,” Riegel says. “And we get spouses who are newly widowed, so we have to help them through that first period.”

Slade recalls an 80-year-old taxpayer who had always done his own return until this year, when his taxes suddenly got complicated. The man had inherited money from an annuity and distributed the cash to others as the deceased had wanted, although this triggered an income tax for him, Slade says.

Slade was able to walk the man through the situation, and as it turns out, the tax bite was much less than feared. Brandy Bauer, communications manager for economic security with the National Council on Aging, says her group refers people to Tax-Aide.

“AARP is a very trusted [organization] for a lot of older adults, my mom included,” says Bauer, whose 72-year-old mother uses Tax-Aide. “It works for her. She does it every year,” Bauer says.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide’s 35,000 volunteers are ready to start serving taxpayers. With over 5000 locations nationwide, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program is prepared to assist millions of low to moderate income taxpayers of all ages with special attention to those aged 60 and older. Visit www.aarp.org/findtaxhelp or call (866) 623-1115 to get FREE help with your taxes.

Drowning is the 2nd Highest Cause of Accidental Death Among African-American Children – But This New Invention Will Save Lives

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Drowning is the 2nd Highest Cause of Accidental Death Among African-American Children – But This New Invention Will Save Lives

AJADD Watch to Prevent Drowning

San Diego, CA (BlackNews.com) — A typical story played over and over again in African-American families all over the country, which involves the drowning of African-American children, yet it goes un-noticed, and under-reported. It may be a swimming pool, a lake, a river or the ocean, all too often, are places of no return for a disproportionate number of African-American children. The following story is true, however, at least partially typical. The bad news is, that this story ends in the death, and destruction of a typical African-American family. The good news is, that a possible remedy was born out of this tragedy. This tragic beginning led to the birth of the Alfred Jones Anti-Distress Device (AJADD) U.S Patent # 8,659,435 B2 issued Feb. 24, 2014, the first true swim safety system.

In the fall of 2009 there was a swimming party for children which was given by a middle-class African-American family with two children, one 9 years old, and one 15 year old, that were using their home as a fun house for children of various economic backgrounds. One of the children, named Albert who was 7 years old, came from Los Angeles to San Diego, with his two sisters all under the age of 14, were brought by the Sister-in-law of the homeowners. The sister-in-law’s name was Muriel. Months earlier, Muriel who was Albert’s teacher noticed that Albert’s clothes where un-kept and that he seemed to be always hungry. Muriel inquired, and did her own investigation, and found that Albert’s family was living in a car. Muriel at that point, approached Albert’s mother and offered her home as a temporary residence. Muriel saw this as an opportunity, and introduced the children to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, and many fun parks and places that the children had never been. During this particular party, the children were having great fun, playing water games, diving, and having fun with water toys. Interestingly the homeowner had been throwing swimming parties for over 10 years without incident.

As happened to be the case, Muriel who was also a professional lifeguard kept a somewhat watchful eye on the pool along with a designated parent on duty to make sure that the utmost safety was observed. The party was held at the home of George and Wendy McKinney who were the homeowners. Wendy was Muriel’s sister. During the party Muriel and Wendy where frying fish, and fries for everyone. During the party, the kids were playing dead man float, and as fate would have it, Albert got in trouble, yet no one notice, and before anyone caught on, Albert was at the bottom of the pool. Once discovered, Wendy, and her 9 year old son Tyler, along with Muriel immediately dove to the bottom of the pool, and brought Albert to the pools edge, began to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation(CPR), as one of the parents called 911. George who was in another part of the house, relaxing and listening to music, and was unaware of the events that had just taken place. It wasn’t until George heard the cries of Albert’s sister on the stairway, that he realized that something had gone wrong, very wrong. Instinctively George knew it had something to do with the children in the pool, which created terrifying scenarios in his mind. George rushed to the pool, and observed Wendy, and sister-in-law performing CPR on Albert.

The fire department was only a mile from their home and the paramedics were there in minutes. George remembered that the paramedics rushed Albert to the hospital. George and Muriel left from the home devastated with a friend, and fellow parent named Barbara, who drove them to the hospital. When they got there, they were greeted by a member of the hospital staff who whisked them off to a special room. George remembered how his friend Barbara, who had a similar experience just a few years ago, said that, ” this doesn’t look good, and they are getting ready to give us some bad news.” Well, they were all asked to sit down, and designated hospital staff began to tell them how their medical team had tried desperately to save Albert, but, “he was gone.” George, Muriel and Barbara were devastated. In fact, Muriel and George had to be checked in to the hospital because their blood pressure sky-rocketed. George remained almost overnight until his blood pressure was under control. The devastation to Albert’s family and to all that were there could easily occupy a 2,000-page novel.

Through this experience George was motivated to do research on drowning and its effects on households. Hefound that drowning is the second highest cause of accidental death among children, and that African-American children, had the highest death toll among all, was reported at triple the rate of Caucasian children. A cause was born, and as a result of this experience, George reportedly had a vision, which led to the creation of AJADD. George envisioned a underwater distress signal device in the form of a watch or hand instrument which would be worn on the body, which would be coupled with GPS, vitality monitoring, and swimmer identification technologies, which together would form the solution. George’s device, recently named AJADD after Albert, would add a layer of protection by allowing a swimmer to send and received signals to a lifeguard, or a caretaker, on land, or on by ship. So, if a swimmer was in distress, the swimmer would be able to transmit vitality information, or other needed information to a lifeguard, or caretaker. The beauty of this system would be that it allows the lifeguard or caretaker to monitor the activities of several swimmers in real-time, at the same time.

The applications of this device could be far-reaching, including use in swimming pools, rivers, lakes and in the ocean. George’s proposed device could also be used on cruise ships, oil rigs, and by the US Military. He is looking for investors to help complete his first prototype. He has already assembled a team of electrical, mechanical engineers and doctors to assemble the prototype, but he is looking for qualified investors, and of course, they will share in the future profits of the company. George says that a percentage of the proceeds that will be designated to help children and families affected by drowning, and for swim lessons for impoverished youth.

Journalists or investors interested in contacting George McKinney should call (619) 517-6729 or visit www.betterlifetechnologiesgroup.com for more info.

The Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council’s 2014 Red or White Ball, with Honorary Chair Tarell Alvin McCraney, Raises nearly $60,000

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on The Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council’s 2014 Red or White Ball, with Honorary Chair Tarell Alvin McCraney, Raises nearly $60,000

CHICAGO, IL – Four hundred of Chicago’s young arts supporters turned out for a high-energy evening of music, dancing, cocktails, impressive local cuisine and a silent auction at Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council’s 2014 Red or White Ball on Friday, March 28, 2014 at Chicago’s sleek, contemporary Venue One (1044 W Randolph St). The signature event for the city’s most active young professionals raised nearly $60,000, benefiting Steppenwolf for Young Adults, the theater’s nationally recognized arts education program, which annually impacts more than 12,000 students, teachers and families.

The evening kicked off with an exclusive VIP cocktail reception at 7:30pm, with VIP gift bags, special access to Steppenwolf artists, and delectable tasting stations from CH Distillery, City Winery, Freestyle, Geja’s Café, Goose Island, RA sushi and Summer House Santa Monica.

The party continued in the main room where guests enjoyed scrumptious tasting stations from Taco Joint and Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!, delicious samplings from Venue One catering, multiple open bars including a superb wine selection from City Winery and beer from Goose Island. Guests danced the evening away to hits spun by MDM Entertainment, enjoyed an Instagram scavenger hunt with live photo feed, and hit the photo booth from Fotio to capture the night’s best moments and a fantastic after party hosted by Nellcôte.

The silent auction featured 30 amazing and diverse packages with something for everyone including a custom suit from the Tom James Company, a getaway to the Grand Geneva resort and a Wrigleyville experience with Cubs tickets. Raffle prizes for the 2014 Ball included a Kindle Fire, a romantic “stay-cation” at Hotel Lincoln with dinner for two at Geja’s Café and an exclusive Steppenwolf Opening Night package with pre-show dinner, opening performance and after-party with artists from the show. The event’s first ever Live Auction was a hit with packages such as a New York weekend getaway, a Steppenwolf experience for 8 with artists from The Way West and a private rooftop party for 12 from Chicago Specialty Gardens.

The 2014 Red or White Ball Honorary Chair was ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, playwright of Head of Passes, which premiered at Steppenwolf last season, and The Brother/Sister Plays, produced at Steppenwolf in 2010. McCraney was also a recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship and was included in Crain’s Chicago Business’s 2013 “40 under 40.” The 2014 Red or White Ball Chair was Jennifer Stuart. Co-Chairs included Aimee Graham, Ryan Stafford and Tanya Stanfield. The Auxiliary Council President is Kim Davis.

Other notable guests in attendance included: Steppenwolf ensemble member Alana Arenas and numerous Steppenwolf artists from the 2013/14 season, including Delia Baseman, Judy Blue, Carolyn Braver, Cassie Calderon, Phil de Guzman, Rudy Galvan, Laura Glenn, Aaron Himelstein, Jerry Mackinnon, Clancy McCartney, Caroline Neff, Melanie Neilan, Cole O’Beirne, Zoe Perry, Brennan Stacker, Steve Walker, Brendan Meyer, Ty Olwin, J.J. Phillips, Loretta Rezos, and Gabriel Ruiz.

The annual Red or White Ball serves as the primary fundraiser for the Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council, a community of more than 100 dynamic young professionals who strengthen the theater’s ability to advance artistic experimentation and collaboration by developing new financial resources and new audiences for the creation and presentation of innovative theater. Since its inception in 2000, the Auxiliary Council has raised more than $1.5 million in contributions, enabling Steppenwolf to continue its mission of advancing the vitality and diversity of American theater.

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.

Illinois among five states selected to work with CEEDAR Center

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Illinois among five states selected to work with CEEDAR Center

Outcome will lead to improved preparation systems for teachers and leaders serving students with disabilities.

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A panel of education experts selected Illinois as one of five states to work with a national center to better prepare educators to serve Illinois public school students with disabilities and ensure those students are ready to succeed in college and the workforce. The center, the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform, or the CEEDAR Center, will work with Illinois education partners to align educator preparation programs, certification standards and evaluation systems with the goals and best practices for educating children with special needs.

Through a competitive selection process, Illinois was chosen to participate in this important collaboration based on its commitment to multiple education reform efforts, such as the implementation of the new Illinois Learning Standards and comprehensive teacher evaluations. A total of 16 states vied to be among the five states that will work with the CEEDAR Center, a national technical assistance center dedicated to supporting states in their efforts to promote the academic and social growth of students with disabilities.

Illinois State University, Loyola University Chicago and National Louis University have been selected to participate in the technical assistance collaboration. ISBE will help coordinate the collaboration between the selected institutions of higher education and the CEEDAR Center.

“This is a terrific opportunity for Illinois to ensure our teacher candidates as well as teachers in the classroom have access to the very best and most up-to-date training and expertise for working with children with disabilities,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “This collaboration with the CEEDAR Center is another step toward preparing all students for success in college and careers.”

State Superintendent Koch is co-chairing a CEEDAR Policy Framing Forum of experts that will include representatives from both general and special education. The forum will work to identify and discuss key issues at the intersection of educator preparation, college and career-readiness standards and the needs of students with disabilities. David Chard, Dean of the School of Education at Southern Methodist University, will be co-chairing alongside Superintendent Koch.  The forum will meet twice this spring to articulate how policies can be designed to ensure that evidence-based practices, multi-tiered systems of support and inclusive practice are used to assist students with disabilities attain college and career-readiness.  The group of experts will specifically focus on educator candidate and faculty capacity to implement college and career-ready standards.

Receiving technical assistance from the CEEDAR Center will further benefit Illinois’ K-12 students by expertly preparing Illinois’ future teachers and school leaders for the classroom. By collaborating with the CEEDAR Center, Illinois teachers will be at the forefront in meeting the needs of a diverse student population. The technical assistance received from the CEEDAR Center will allow students in Illinois teacher preparation programs to better their understanding and application of methodologies such as instructional design and differentiated instruction for the betterment of academic outcomes for all students.

As part of a collaborative effort, the CEEDAR Center and its partners – Illinois State Board of Education, participating Illinois higher education institutions and local educational agencies – will review current state policy and participating educator preparation program requirements and curricula to ensure that teacher and leader graduates can demonstrate evidence-based practices for educating students with disabilities and demonstrate that revised programs and policies result in better student outcomes.  Partners will also work together to develop policy, a plan for implementation and infrastructure for collecting and reporting  outcome data to assess the impact of revised educator preparation programs on the performance of students with disabilities.

“We look forward to working closely with each of these entities as we all share the same goal of providing rigorous instruction to all students,” said Elizabeth Hanselman, Assistant Superintendent of Specialized Instruction, Nutrition and Wellness. “The technical assistance offered by the CEEDAR Center will provide teacher candidates with the necessary training and knowledge for fostering academic success in future classrooms.”

Effective preparation and training for teacher candidates will ultimately lead to positive educational outcomes for students of all ages and abilities. According to the CEEDAR Center mission statement, higher education institutions and Local Education Agencies will be assisted in creating aligned learning systems and standards that will support students with disabilities in achieving college and career readiness.

States will receive up to $200,000 in funding from the CEEDAR Center over the course of two years. The funds can be used toward expenses incurred from carrying out the work of the grant such as travel, meeting costs, and sub-awards to institutions of higher education.

The CEEDAR Center’s efforts will complement multiple initiatives that Illinois currently has in place to enhance educator preparation and development. The Center will coordinate resources among various education partners to improve the quality of instruction. Illinois uses a multi-tiered comprehensive system of learning supports to better prepare teachers, provide ongoing training and foster collaborative initiatives such as adoption of the new Illinois Learning Standards based on the Common Core and leading training and professional development practices.

In 2010, Illinois adopted the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards which focuses on addressing the needs of diverse learners and the individual needs of every learner. These standards are directly aligned to various other preparation initiatives currently in place in Illinois.  Various advisory groups having multiple contributors from across the state developed standards for specific content areas such as bilingual education, high school education, special education, elementary and middle school, early childhood.

Illinois has established several regional service delivery systems that target specific student groups, including students with disabilities. These regional delivery systems provide explicit services relative to school improvement by offering technical assistance in areas such as data-driven decision making, response to intervention and family and community engagement.  In addition to the Statewide System of Support, which provides research-based support, services, and resources designed to improve student outcomes for all Illinois school districts, the two other primary regional delivery systems serving Illinois school districts are the Illinois Statewide Technical Assistance Collaborative (ISTAC) and the Illinois Resource Center (IRC).  ISTAC is designed to specifically build the capacity of school districts to serve the needs of students with disabilities and their families. The IRC has similarly provided technical assistance, since 1972, to teachers and administrators serving linguistically and culturally diverse students.

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.

IDOT Joins Other Motorcycle Safety Advocates to Encourage Riders to “Gear Up – Ride Smart”

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on IDOT Joins Other Motorcycle Safety Advocates to Encourage Riders to “Gear Up – Ride Smart”

Riders Advised to Use Proper Safety Gear, Get Bikes Checked and Not Ride After Drinking

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In an effort to reduce motorcycle fatalities and injuries, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association (IMDA) joined forces to kick off the 2014 riding season’s “Gear Up-Ride Smart” motorcycle safety campaign. As the riding season gets under way, IDOT and IMDA are urging cyclists to have their bikes safety-checked to make sure they are in proper running condition, check their high-visibility (Hi Viz) clothing and take advantage of the free motorcycle training classes throughout the state.

Motorcycles represent 3 percent of total vehicle registrations, yet motorcycle fatalities account for more than 15 percent of all vehicle fatalities. Statistics show that about half of motorcycle rider deaths occur in crashes involving only the motorcycle, and approximately 40 percent of those fatalities involve motorcycle operators who rode after drinking.

“We want to eliminate fatalities on Illinois roadways, and motorcyclists can help by ensuring they are wearing the proper gear, taking a training or refresher course as needed, and not drinking and driving,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Motorcyclists are at an increased risk of injury or death when involved in a crash, so it is imperative that all riders “Gear Up-Ride Smart” this riding season.

Jay Hall, president of the IMDA, stressed the importance of having motorcycles checked thoroughly so riders are ready for long summer rides. As with automobiles, a well maintained bike makes for a safer ride. Also important is the need to wear the proper protective gear. By taking the necessary precautions: bike in proper running condition – tires checked, fluids and brakes checked, and ensuring your gear is Hi Viz, riders can keep themselves and others safe on the roadway. 346**14

Terry Redman, IDOT Cycle Rider Safety Training Program Manager, reminds riders that warmer weather brings out more bikes and that the motoring public is not always used to sharing the road. Motorcycle fatalities increased from 148 in 2012 to 155 in 2013, according to provisional data. IDOT encourages all riders to make the right choices to include checking your bike before each ride, hydrating with water, evaluating your medical condition before and during the ride, never assuming you are seen by other motorists, using proper braking techniques, staying alert during the entire ride and using all appropriate and Hi Viz riding gear.

Motorcyclists need to be properly licensed. Also critical to safe riding is continuing training, especially after acquiring a new bike. Illinois is one of two states in the nation offering free motorcycle training classes to Illinois licensed residents. Sign up for a class – beginners, intermediate or advanced. Riders have a responsibility to help ensure safety on the roadways.

IMDA President Jay Hall reminds riders to make that appointment to have your bike checked out before your first ride. Don’t be left on the side of the road!

“Gear Up – Ride Smart” also warns against riding after drinking or taking medications. A rider has difficulty staying alert when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Remember– when properly trained and equipped, motorcyclists greatly improve prospects for a safe ride. Riding offers freedom and enjoyment but it is your responsibility — for your safety as well as others — to Gear Up-Ride Smart.

IDOT encourages all Illinois motorcycle riders to help create a safer motorcycling environment for all. To learn more about IDOT’s motorcycle safety program and courses, laws and regulations, statistics, and additional educational materials, please visit http://www.startseeingmotorcycles.org/.

Chess “Guru” and Master Motivator Orrin C. Hudson Makes Move Into D.C. Public Schools – Will be Honored by the FBI

Posted by Admin On April - 2 - 2014 Comments Off on Chess “Guru” and Master Motivator Orrin C. Hudson Makes Move Into D.C. Public Schools – Will be Honored by the FBI

LaSalle-Backus Education Campus will host one of America’s most successful motivators for inner-city and at-risk youth

Orrin Hudson

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – LaSalle-Backus Education Campus principal Dr. Deborah A. Cox is taking an unusual step for her northeast D.C. students. She has invited a chess champion to her school to use the game to provide some special lessons.

Chess guru and founder of “Be Someone, Inc.” Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson, will visit the school April 2 with a particular goal. “Dr. Cox tells me she is focused on developing practical skills and techniques to overcome many of life’s obstacles,” he explains. “The game of chess has helped me do just that so I will be sharing my special lessons with these students.”

Hudson, once an inner-city youth destined for trouble until a teacher taught him the game of chess, has several goals for the LaSalle Backus youngsters. “First, I hope to piqué their interest. Next, together we are going to turn an after school chess club into national chess contenders,” said the motivator Hudson. “Using techniques I have used around the world, I will promote and motivate students to make calculated moves through empowerment – by pushing kings around.”

According to Dr. Cox, “Hudson’s Be Someone movement stresses such ideas as responsibility, thinking before making decisions, and to be champions not only in the game of chess but also in life. A key lesson Orrin teaches is just as there is a consequence for a wrong move on a chess board, there is a consequence for every poor decision we make.”

“I can’t wait to meet these new students,” Hudson excitedly explains. “This is what I do. I truly believe a teacher saved my life and I’m now paying back that debt.” The former Alabama state trooper with a determination forged through years of personal challenge, emphatically underlines why he does what he does, “Teaching the children to think strategically about their future makes my heart sing.”

But that’s not the only reason why Hudson is in town. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Headquarters will be honoring Hudson on April 4, 2014 at the J. Edgar Hoover Building 935 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20535 at 1:00 p.m. The award is for his service, leadership and his exceptional insight and success in reaching disadvantaged youth through the game of chess. All media and journalists are invited to attend.

About Be Someone
BE SOMEONE is an Atlanta-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization that focuses on helping youth, particularly at-risk youth, in the community discover their potential and learn the skills necessary to win in any situation. Since BE SOMEONE opened more than a decade ago, thousands of children have proven to themselves and others that they can achieve anything they set their minds to by learning the game of chess. For more information on the BE SOMEONE program, visit www.besomeone.org.

To see Orrin in action, check: www.cnn.com/video/?/video/living/2011/03/06/whitfield.chess.moves.for.life.cnn

About After 6 Media LLC
After 6 Media LLC., is a global communications leader operating as a full service promotions, sports and entertainment management, marketing and public relations firm. We specialize in helping clients maximize their public exposure in an effort to secure and protect their presence in the media. We are innovative and forward thinking. The seed has been planted to push the boundaries of media and PR! We go beyond the common and accepted norm and are in pursuit of the bold and unconventional while remaining grounded by high standards, a spirit of excellence and integrity.

For media inquiries, speaking engagements or questions contact After 6 Media LLC. Guernica D. Williams at 410-340-4503 or guernica.williams@after6mediallc.com. Follow on Twitter: @after6mediallc or @guernicaw

Photo Caption: Orrin C. Hudson (centered) is on a mission to help 1 million inner city youth. He teaches them how to make better decisions in life via the game of chess.

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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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