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Archive for April 8th, 2014

President Obama Urges House Republicans to Take Up Unemployment Bill Without Delay

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama Urges House Republicans to Take Up Unemployment Bill Without Delay

The U.S. Senate yesterday by a 59-38 vote voted on a bipartisan bill to renew unemployment benefits for five months to 2.3 million Americans. However, the measure still must be voted on by the House of Representatives, which at this time has an uncertain future. Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) doesn’t seem likely to bring it to the House Floor for a vote.

President Barack Obama’s response to passage of the bill in the U.S. Senate:

“Today the Senate acted in a bipartisan way to reinstate emergency unemployment insurance for 2.3 million Americans who depend on it as they search for work. As I’ve said time and again, Washington needs to put politics aside and help these hard-working, responsible Americans make ends meet and support their families as they look for a job.  Each week Congress fails to act on this crucial issue, roughly 70,000 long-term unemployed Americans lose their vital economic lifeline. I urge House Republicans to stop blocking a bipartisan compromise that would stem this tide, take up the bill without delay, and send it to my desk. Let’s remove this needless drag on our economy and focus on expanding opportunity for all Americans.”

Madigan Cracks Down on Unlicensed, Predatory Payday Lenders

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on Madigan Cracks Down on Unlicensed, Predatory Payday Lenders

Attorney General, Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Take Action Against Online Payday Lenders & Lead Generator Promoted by Talk Show Host Montel Williams

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan iled five lawsuits in a sweep cracking down on unlicensed, online payday lenders and a loan lead generator promoted by talk show host Montel Williams for illegally offering expensive, predatory loans that trap Illinois borrowers in excessive, cyclical debt loads.

Madigan filed lawsuits this week in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) against four out-of-state payday lenders that are operating exclusively online, selling payday loans racked with fees that are double the amount allowed under state law. The lawsuits allege BD PDL Services LLC, Mountain Top Services I LLC, Red Leaf Ventures LLC and VIP PDL Services LLC charged Illinois borrowers $30 for every $100 loaned and allowed borrowers to take out multiple loans at once.

The Payday Loan Reform Act limits the fees a payday lender can charge a consumer to no more than $15.50 per $100 loaned. Payday lenders cannot issue a loan to a consumer if the loan would result in their being in debt to one or more payday lender for more than 45 consecutive days, and they cannot issue a loan to a consumer who already carries balances on two loans. Lenders must also wait seven days before issuing a loan to a repeat customer, once their loans are paid off.
“These online, unlicensed predatory lenders are putting Illinois consumers into unregulated, unprotected payday loans,” Madigan said. “None of these payday lenders is complying with the consumer protection we fought for over a decade to put into place to keep borrowers from being trapped in loans with excessive interest rates and fees.”

Madigan filed a fifth lawsuit against online broker MoneyMutual LLC for its role generating customer leads on payday loans with unlicensed lenders in violation of state law. The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges the company was able to attract borrowers to its website in large part due to the profile of its celebrity spokesman Montel Williams.

Madigan also expressed concerns about the company’s data collection practices in light of the recent wave of major data security breaches. MoneyMutual requires potential borrowers to share their personal banking information, Social Security number, date of birth, driver’s license information, private address and employment records, all of which can be shared with third parties, putting borrowers at significant risk of identity theft.

Madigan’s lawsuits follow several cease and desist orders issued to the lenders and Money Mutual by IDFPR.

“Out-of-state lenders who ignore Illinois laws to take advantage of vulnerable consumers deserve to face the full weight of our laws,” said Manuel Flores, Acting Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation. “It is gratifying that the Attorney General is backing up our cease and desist orders with demands for full restitution for the unwary borrowers.”

Madigan’s lawsuits ask the court to permanently ban the defendants from the payday loan business in Illinois, cancel pending payday loan contracts with Illinois consumers and require full restitution. The lawsuits also seek to impose on the defendants an array of civil penalties for violations of the Payday Loan Reform Act of 2005 and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act.
Assistant Attorneys General Sarah Poulimas and Khara Coleman Washington are handling the cases for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

Mothers of murdered children seek closure, justice

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on Mothers of murdered children seek closure, justice

Launch a movement to reduce unsolved murders

By Chinta Strausberg

In memory of their 18-year-old son, Terrell, Tom and Pamela Bosley held a press conference Friday, April 4, 2014; to remember their son’s murder eight-years ago to the day and to announce they have begun a movement to reduce the number of unsolved murder cases in Chicago.

At a press conference held outside of The Lights of Zion Ministries Church, 11636 So. Halsted where her son was killed and flanked by a number of other parents who also lost their children to gun violence, Pamela Bosley said she wants closure and announced they have launched a movement that includes working with police to reduce these unsolved murders.

Referring to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy who says crime is at its lowest since 1958, Mrs. Bosley, who stood where her son was killed on April 4, 2006, said, “The unsolved cases remain the same.” She wants closure of her son’s case as well as other parents who have lost their children to gun violence. “I want this part of my life to end,” she said calling for people to come forward with any information.

She made her comments on April 4th a date she said is the same death date as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated 46-years ago. Like Dr. King,  Mrs. Bosley said, “I believe truly in my heart that God has put me in a place to put action behind justice for our children.”

Joining the Bosley’s was Father Michael L. Pfleger, whose son, Jarvis Franklin, 17, was killed on May 30, 1998. His cold case also remains unsolved. Referring to King’s being gunned down 46-years ago and Terrell Bosley’s 8-years ago, Pfleger said, in just a week 33 people have been shot and 5 killed.

“So while violence is down, we have a long way to go in Chicago, and one of the pieces of ending violence in Chicago is sending a clear message you cannot shoot and kill our kids and go back home, put your feet up and watch TV like nothing is wrong,” said Father Pfleger. “We’ve got to be able to be enraged as a community, as a city. We’ve got to do away with the name cold cases. There is no such thing as a cold case until it is solved.”

Pfleger added, “We’ve got to make sure the police don’t get tired of it, and we’ve got to make sure the community doesn’t get tired of it. The community has to speak up. In every crime, there are countless people who know. Stop being afraid. Stop being immune. See the faces of these children like Terrell who have been killed and let your conscious convict you to say something….

“We ask the police don’t get tired. We ask the community not to get silent. We ask everybody to work harder until there are no statistics to report and every case gets solve. When there is a consequence, people will think twice about shooting,” Pfleger told reporters.

Challenging people to be present on their blocks, Pfleger urged parents to “put your arms around them, love them, but draw a very clear line that if you are a terrorist in the community, you shoot and kill our children, you are not welcomed…. We’re going to turn them in…. When we become silent, we become co-conspirators of that murder….”

When told that many people are afraid to tell, Pfleger said they can call him at: 773.483.4300 or tell their own pastors.

Vance Henry from the mayor’s office called for passage of commonsense laws. Referring to a few warm days, Henry said gun violence increased. While he said the police department collects more guns than other police department in the nation, he said last year they recovered 7,000 firearms.

“Between September 2007 and December 2008, 508 Chicago Public School students were the victims of shootings…nearly 32 students a month. In 2012, 24 CPS students were killed and another 319 were wounded by gunfire,” said Henry.

“It’s about preserving life, not the profit of gun manufacturers,” Henry said. “It’s about protecting the interest of innocent lives of children and not special interests….”  Mrs. Bosley focused on the unsolved murders.

Asking those parents who lost their children and whose cases remain unsolved to raise their hand, Mrs. Bosley said 70 percent of murder cases remain unsolved.  In an effort to find the killers of their children, she said they go into the community along passing out flyers like the $5,000 reward flyer of her son.

Calling for unity in her mission to reduce the number of unsolved murders, Mrs. Bosley wants the parents to work together. “We can start a movement just like Dr. King…Nelson Mandela…Rosa Parks. Whenever you get mad and angry, you start a movement.”

Like other years when she awakens on April 4th, her son’s death date, Mrs. Bosley said she’s always sad but not this year. “I was angry…tired…upset that Terrell’s case is not solved. I cannot sit back and let Terrell’s case remain unsolved…. It’s got to happen this year.”

That is why she asked all of the parents who lost their children to gun violence to join a “justice movement and we stop this…and take the community back…just like the police department when somebody is killed they go into the community and shut it down. We can do the same thing for our children as long as we stand together we can make it happen. We can change it,” Mrs. Bosley said. Her goal for 2014 is to reduce the number of unsolved murder cases.

Calling it a “bitter/sweet day” not only for his family but for others whose children were victims of gun violence, Mr. Bosley  said, “We can’t forget our loved ones, and we can’t allow the community to forget and we have to partnership and end this code of silence so that these families can have some sort of peace.”

Mr. Bosley said the partnership would include the parents, the police department, citizens and the faith based community to help end the code of silence “so that the perpetrators of these crimes can be caught.” He said, “This is a movement” that will work with the police.

Annette Nance-Holt, a member of Purpose Over Pain, a group of parents who lost their children to gun violence and whose son Blair Holt was killed on May 10, 2007, stood in solidarity with the other parents whose cases remain unsolved. “My case was solved because there was video,” Nance-Holt said referring to the 100-year sentence of her son’s killer, Michael “Mario” Pace, 18.

“The community can stop being partners with the criminals and start reporting what is going on in the community,” Nance-Holt said. Saying there are only a few are killing, she asked, churches, the community…everyone speak up so that “children can be children again.”

Maria Ramirez, who lost her only child, a son to gun violence nearly 8 years ago, said she was “devastated” at her son’s death. “We won’t stop until who ever did this gets turned in…. We’re not going to go away. Just turn the people in.”

Community activist Andrew Holmes asked those parents whose cases remain to hold up their pictures. “Those are the many faces that are still crying out for some justice…. You can’t keep pointing the finger at the police, the mayor and the governor. You have to look in the mirror at yourself inside of your home and see which one of your relatives, one of your family members are destroying our community….”

Saying no one knows how many people shooters have killed, Holmes said all people have to do is to report the crimes and “not worry about snitches get stitches…. Just report the crime. We can shot the shooting” by reporting them.

Leonard Evans from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office said, “It is not a single individual problem. It’s all of our problems.” Billy Dyson, an aide to Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White also came in support of the family. “There is nothing wrong with telling…,” he said. “You don’t have to be known as a stool pigeon. It’s just commonsense…just helping to solve a crime.”

Mrs. Bosely said, there will be “no justice, no peace” until these cases have been solved. “I’m pleading with you for closure.”

One of the last people to have seen the Bosley’s son was Rev. Charles Mickens, pastor of The Lights of Zion Ministries Church. He said Terrell Bosley had just finished practicing in the sound room. “He was our bass guitar player. He had been here for two-hours. He came out to get some more instruments out of the car and that is when it happened.”

There is a $5,000 reward being offered by the Faith Community of Saint Sabina for information leading to the arrest of the murderer of Terrell Bosley.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com .

African Americans Say ‘Parent Involvement’ Key to School Success

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on African Americans Say ‘Parent Involvement’ Key to School Success

By George White

New America Media and America’s Wire Writers Group

The “lack of parental involvement” is the biggest issue affecting black students’ quality of education.

That is one of major findings in a new national survey of African Americans on factors in their quality of life. The survey, sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and Ebony magazine, polled 1,005 African Americans on their mood and on issues related to income, housing, health care, relationships, race and education.

Responses to education-related questions made up a large part of the summary of survey findings. When asked to identify the biggest issues in education, about a fifth of respondents said lack of parental involvement, making it the most frequently cited concern. Other concerns included “overcrowded classrooms” (17 percent), “funding differences among school districts” (17 percent), “quality of teachers” (16 percent), and “students with behavioral issues or special needs” (10 percent).

Of those respondents with school-age children or grandchildren, only 37 percent said the nation was “making progress” in efforts to provide “a quality education.” About a third said the country is “losing ground” in education and 28 percent said that there has been no appreciable change in educational quality.

Conducted in February, the survey results were released after the launch of two new Obama Administration initiatives on behalf of young people of color. In January, Pres. Obama appointed leaders in education, philanthropy and law to serve on a commission for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The president is also seeking support from foundations and businesses for “My Brother’s Keeper,” a campaign he announced on February 27 to improve the education and life prospects of young Latino and African-American males.

WKKF is one of 10 major foundations that have agreed to work with the White House to support the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. However, education has been a priority for WKKF throughout its 83-year history, said Carla Thompson, vice-president of program strategy at the foundation.

“If parental involvement” as the biggest education issue, Thompson said “that doesn’t surprise me [because] everyone has a stake in education and a vested interest in education.”

Thompson said African-American focus groups told WKKF last year that education ranked second only to job security as the most important issue to blacks overall. In response, the foundation in August made a request for grant proposals for “innovative” initiatives to engage families in education.

“We received more than 1,200 applications, which broke all Kellogg [application] records,” said Thompson. “Family involvement is a foundational element of quality education.”

WKKF had planned to provide $5 million for family engagement programs over a three-year period. However, responding to the wave of applications, the foundation has decided to provide $5 million during the first year of funding. Thompson said WKKF will announce the amount it will invest in the second and third years when it identifies the grant winners of first round of funding in mid-April.

WKKF is already funding some parental engagement initiatives – among them, programs managed by Parents for Public Schools of Jackson (Mississippi) and the Orleans Public Education Network in New Orleans (OPEN).

OPEN Executive Director Deirdre Johnson Burel said more parental involvement is needed but cited “institutional school problems” as a more important factor in the education of black students. She said there is a need for more professional development training for teachers and that black students are not getting the best instruction because teachers at schools in low-income communities generally have less experience.

Burel said parental involvement is becoming more important as school districts in 44 states begin to adopt the more rigorous Common Core education standards.

“We need to help parents understand this shift,” she said. “We need higher education standards, but we also need the resources to meet those standards.”

About  America’s Wire

America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Our stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at mike@frisbyassociates.com

About New America Media

New America Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media outlets, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. Founded by the non-profit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women 2014 Annual National Legislative Day – Washington, D. C.

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on The National Coalition of 100 Black Women 2014 Annual National Legislative Day – Washington, D. C.

From across the nation, more than 100 leading members representing 62 Chapters of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (NCBW), will meet at the Capitol in Washington, D. C. on April 8, 2014 at 9:00 A.M in the Rayburn House Building, Room 339 for the 2014 NCBW National Legislative Day.

During this years National Legislative Day hosted by U. S. Congresswoman Corinne Brown, NCBW members will engage with influential Legislators and leaders to develop and strengthen strategic alliances that promote local, national and international initiatives that affect the lives of women and girls of color and the communities in which they live.

NCBW is a non-partisan organization. Founded in 1981, NCBW purposefully advocates on behalf of women and girls of color with specific emphasis on issues of leadership development and gender equity in the areas of health, education, and economic empowerment. NCBW commits to Advocacy in Action that leads to meaningful and positive change.

During this 2014 National Legislative Day, NCBW members will participate in policy forums and dialogue with representatives from the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and other key federal agencies. U. S. Congressman James Clyburn, Assistant Democratic Leader, will open this powerful event designed to provide focus and clarity on the issues that grip our communities. Immediately following the opening, participants will enjoy a panel discussion focusing on the Perspectives, Challenges and Triumphs of Advocacy in Action Today. Speakers leading this discussion include National Black Think Tank Executive, Spencer Overton, President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; media industry innovators, and White House representatives.

Another highlight for the 2014 National Legislative Day will take place as
U. S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, steps forward as the Keynote Speaker during the luncheon for this event.

Later NCBW members will meet with Legislative Representatives for their communities and then all attendees and supporters including U. S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and other Legislators will culminate the day with a Congressional Reception.

NCBW consistently seeks opportunities to engage with our nations leaders, to equip our member for progressive advocacy, and to empower our communities. The NCBW 2014 National Legislative Day promises to exceed each of these goals, says Michele McNeill-Emery, President of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

To learn more about NCBW, our advocacy work, and organizational initiatives please go to our website at ncbw.org. NCBW Mission Statement: To advocate on behalf of black women and girls to promote leadership development and gender equity in the areas of health, education and economic development.

Republicans Out On a Limb

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on Republicans Out On a Limb

By Bill Spriggs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest numbers this week. Its preliminary number for people on payrolls, reported by private-sector establishments, is 116 million. That figure is higher than the last peak in January 2008, before President Barack Obama took office.

This marks 49 straight months of job growth from the second year of the president’s first term. It took four years and three months for both the president and George W. Bush to get private-sector employment back to the level when they took office. The difference is that employment was falling when Obama took office, so it took an additional year to make up for the jobs lost during the Great Recession while Bush was still president.

Early on, Republicans chided President Obama that he could not blame everything on Bush. Now Republicans have a problem, because going forward, it will be difficult to blame this president. Republican strategy so far is to be anti-Obama. So it means they cannot claim any success in the economy.

So far, payroll employment in the private sector has returned. The federal deficit is half its size, relative to the economy, from when the president took office. The broadest measure of economic growth, GDP per capital (the total value of all goods and services produced in the United States per person) is back to its peak too. The stock market is at record highs. Corporate profits are at a record high, as well. Business investment has returned to its previous peak, as well. The key components of the economy that Republican policies aim at are all back to record levels.

Going forward, what is it the Republican Party has to sell to America? At the moment, the president is selling a vision and set of policies to address the unequal growth of the recovery. Incomes and wealth are back for the 1 percent, but not for the 99 percent. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), after blaming inner-city men for having a culture of laziness, put forth a budget this week that aims to help the 1 percent. The message of his budget for the 99 percent is that they will benefit if the top 1 percent receives even more favors from the government while cutting assistance to the bottom 20 percent.

That sell is tough. So far only the top 1 percent is gaining. If you think the problem facing the 99 percent is that the 1 percent needs even more before everyone else benefits, then you could buy the Republican plan. Or, as the Republicans hope, if you think people in the middle are better off if people on the bottom lose, then you could buy their plan. This is the limb Republicans have climbed out on.

The problem for the Republicans is that the children of the middle are facing low wages, the lack of employer-provided health insurance and they need help like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to hold on. Families also are increasingly dependent on fair wages for women to make ends meet.

In the 1980s, when policies like gutting the purchasing power of the minimum wage hurt the bottom 20 percent, the middle did not make gains on those at the top. Instead, they merely did better than the bottom. The wages of the middle are far more dependent on how the bottom 20 percednt does than on what happens to pay in the CEO office. The past 35 years make that clear. When the middle saw rising incomes from 1946 to 1979, the bottom saw rising incomes. The pay of those in the middle ultimately is a bargain on how low the bottom goes, not a bargain based on the idea of CEOs that workers need a raise when CEOs exercise their stock options. Young workers understand their bargaining position is weak because of the high cost of losing a job.

Broad-based, inclusive growth helps everyone. Increasingly, this is clear to Washington and the international elite. It looks like this is a moment when sentiment and facts line up. Or is the way off the limb for Republicans a hope that Democrats will flinch if the rhetoric turns to lazy inner-city men?

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs. Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142

Steve Scott Directs the Chicago Premiere of the Tony Award-Winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang in the Goodman’s 2014/2015 90th Anniversary Season

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on Steve Scott Directs the Chicago Premiere of the Tony Award-Winning Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang in the Goodman’s 2014/2015 90th Anniversary Season

Larry Yando set to reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge for the seventh time in the 37th Annual Production of a Christmas Carol, directed by Henry Wishcamper

CHICAGO, IL – Today, Artistic Director Robert Falls announces that his longtime associate, Producer Steve Scott, will direct Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning, “deliriously funny, hilariously demented” Broadway hit, in Spring 2015 (dates TBA). A loving send-up of Chekhov’s greatest works, Vanya makes its Chicago premiere in the Albert Theatre as part of the Subscription series in the theater’s 90th Anniversary “Season to Celebrate.” (One play is TBA.)  For a limited time, Subscriptions start at $90 in honor of the milestone season; call 312.443.3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org. Individual tickets go on sale in August. The Goodman also announces that Chicago favorite Larry Yando will return as Ebenezer Scrooge—“a role he has played with relish for six years” (Chicago Sun-Times)—for his seventh turn in the 2014 production of A Christmas Carol, November 15 – December 28. Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper returns to direct for his second consecutive year. Group tickets (15 or more people) for the 37th annual production of A Christmas Carol are on sale now; call 312.443.3820 or e-mail Groups@GoodmanTheatre.org. Individual tickets (starting at $25) go on sale in August.

“We’re thrilled to produce this wonderful new play by Chris Durang, one of America’s finest comedic writers, in our landmark season. It is in capable hands with Steve Scott, who has established himself among Chicago’s most prolific directors with an impressive body of work over the past three decades,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “We also warmly welcome back Larry Yando, one of Chicago’s finest, most versatile actors, to A Christmas Carol.”

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a “deliciously madcap” (USA Today), “terrifically kooky” (Entertainment Weekly), “comic tour de force” (Village Voice), premiered at McCarter Theatre in 2012 prior to its 2013 Broadway engagement, for which it earned the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play. Siblings Vanya and Sonia have spent their adult years trapped in mundane lives at their family’s cottage, caring for their ailing parents. Meanwhile, their self-involved sister Masha, a glamorous movie star, has traveled the world in decadent style. After their soothsayer/cleaning woman Cassandra warns Vanya and Sonia of impending doom, Masha arrives unannounced—accompanied by her hunky young lover Spike.  When Masha reveals plans that will upend the family, long-repressed resentments bubble over in a weekend full of wild costume parties, voodoo dolls and surprise romance.

Christopher Durang’s other works include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical); The Actor’s Nightmare; Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award); Beyond Therapy; Baby with the Bathwater (Playwrights Horizons); The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theater, Obie Award and Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award); Laughing Wild (Playwrights Horizons); Durang/Durang (an evening of six plays at Manhattan Theatre Club); Sex and Longing (Lincoln Center Theater); Betty’s Summer Vacation (Playwrights Horizons, Obie Award); Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge (City Theatre in Pittsburgh); Adrift in Macao (a musical written with composer Peter Melnick, at Philadelphia Stage Company); Miss Witherspoon (McCarter Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, Pulitzer Prize finalist) and Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Loved Them (Public Theater).

A member of the distinguished Artistic Collective, director Steve Scott has overseen more than 200 productions in his role as Producer of Goodman Theatre, where his directing credits include Horton Foote’s Blind Date; Rabbit Hole; Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock and No One Will Be Immune for the David Mamet Festival; Dinner With Friends; Wit; the world premiere of Tom Mula’s Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (co-directed with Michael Maggio) and the 1989- 1992, 2011 and 2012 editions of A Christmas Carol. Other recent directing credits include Yellow Face, The DNA Trail, and Yohen at Silk Road Rising; American Myth at American Blues Theatre; The Mandrake at A Red Orchid Theatre; Clybourne Park, Elemeno Pea, Elling, A Delicate Balance, Lettice and Lovage and Shadowlands for Redtwist Theatre; Souvenir and Black Pearl Sings at Northlight Theatre; The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Buried Child and Dealer’s Choice for Shattered Globe Theatre; Frozen for the Next Theatre Company; A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing for the St. Lawrence (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival; and a number of productions for the Eclipse Theatre (where he is an ensemble member).

U.S. Senator Kirk urges House of Representatives to swiftly pass unemployment Benefits Extension

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on U.S. Senator Kirk urges House of Representatives to swiftly pass unemployment Benefits Extension

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement following the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan, fully paid-for unemployment benefits extension:

“Extending unemployment insurance for the thousands of Illinoisans seeking relief has been a long-standing priority of mine. I am pleased that this bipartisan, fully paid-for compromise passed the Senate this evening. I urge the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this legislation.”

2014 Michael Merritt Awards And Design Exposition April 21st

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on 2014 Michael Merritt Awards And Design Exposition April 21st
CHICAGO, IL – The 21st Annual Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration program will take place on Monday, April 21, at The Theatre School at DePaul University.    4:30 p.m. – 9:30p.m.

The Michael Merritt Awards And Endowment Fund honor the memory of a brilliant designer and inspirational teacher. The Michael Merritt Award, a national award unique in its emphasis on excellence in both design and collaboration, has been presented annually since 1994 To outstanding professional theatrical designers. The Endowment Fund recognizes and encourages the work of young professionals and students through a national design exposition and prizes to promising theatrical design students.
Student – $ 5.00
General Admission – $ 20.00
Book tickets online at merrittawards.com
General Public is welcome.
Food, wine and beer are included in the ticket price.  Funds go to support the awards endowment fund.
4:30-6:30 p.m.
Showcasing the works of Chicago-area emerging theatrical designers and graduating design students from Chicago’s best theatrical design programs and attended by many of Chicago’s artistic directors, production managers, and industry professionals.

6:30-7:30 p.m.
A discussion moderated by Hedy Weiss featuring the award recipients exploring current issues of interest to professional and student designers.

8:00-8:45 p.m.
Presentation of The Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, our four academic prize recipients, the Prizes for Best Exhibit and The Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration.  Additionally, this year features a brand new annual award honoring a backstage technician.
Food, wine, beer and fellowship until  9:30 p.m.
Gallery of photos from last year: 2013 Merritt Awards:
The Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration
21st Annual Recipient: Costume Designer, Susan Mickey
Susan recently designed costumes for Barbara Gaines’ The Merry Wives of Windor at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.
Scenic Designer Walt Spangler his former student, collaborator and close friend will present him the award.

Susan E Mickey(Costume Designer) Susan Mickey is an accomplished costume designer with a career in theatre, film and television. Her first professional costume design was Cymbeline in 1979 for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.  She is the winner of 2 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Costume Design for School For Lies, and The Madness of George III both designed at The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Susan’s costumes have graced the stage in almost every major regional theatre in America.  She has collaborated on over 35 world premiers with teams as diverse as: Kenny Leon and Pearl Cleage on an emotional drama about personal choice; Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett on a a new musical about family secrets and violence, and Jimmy Buffet and Herman Wouk on a new musical about a crazy hotel in the Caribbean.

Susan has enjoyed extended design relationships with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Huntington Theatre in Boston and The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, but her most lengthy artistic collaboration was with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta where she designed over 58 productions spanning 30 years. She is the author of several books on sewing and home décor.  Since 2004 Susan has been a part of the design faculty at The University of Texas where she is the Senior Associate Chair and the Head of the Production Division.

The Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award
This annual award recognizes and supports the work of an outstanding emerging theatrical designer within the Chicago area. A $2000 honorarium is given annually to an emerging scenic, costume, lighting, sound, or other media designer in acknowledgment of excellence in artistry and collaboration.

Izumi Inaba, Costume Designer
Izumi Inaba is honored to receive the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award. Born and raised in Japan, she came to the states to study the performing arts at age of 18. She double majored in dance and theatre design at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Upon graduation she moved to Chicago to attend the MFA program at Northwestern University, focusing on costume and scenic design. After completing the program in 2009 Ms Inaba began working as a freelance costume/makeup designer in Chicago. She joined Red Tape Theatre as an ensemble member in 2012, where she has designed all productions since such as Skriker, Elephant’s Graveyard, Lear, Madam Barker, and Hamlet is Dead. Other costume designs include Griffin Theatre (Stage Door, Spring Awakening, Burnt Part Boys, Flare Path, and Spelling Bee), Chicago Dramatists (The Kid Thing with About Face), A Red Orchid (The New Electric Ballroom), The Gift (Broadsword), The Music Theatre Company (Pajama Game), The Hypocrites (Woyzeck), Lifeline (The City and The City), Strawdog (Miss Marx), Albany Park Theatre Project (I Will Kiss These Walls, God’s Work 2014), Steep (Greensboro), Porchlight Music (The Fantasticks), The Building Stage (Moby Dick 2011), Marry-Arrchie (Homecoming), Two Pence Shakespeare (Richard II, As You Like It), Sideshow (The Ugly One), TUTA (The Jewels), Raven Theatre (Good Boys and True), and Buzz 22 (Ghost Bike). Her makeup designs appeared in productions of Theo Ubique Cabaret (Cats, Non-Equity Jeff Award for Artistic Specialization), and Chicago Dramatists (Freshly Fallen Snow, South Bridge). She has served as a staff costume designer at the National High School Institute for the last 7 years.

Academic Prizes  $2000
The John Murbach Columbia College Chicago Prize
Moriah Lee Turner is a senior BFA Theater Design (Costume Design) major from St. Louis, Missouri. She has costumed for many theatrical productions and dance shows at Columbia College Chicago. Her most recent work was seen in Columbia’s main stage production of Heartbreak House, directed by Kathleen Perkins. She is also a freelance fashion designer and has co-founded a custom wedding dress business named ‘Auriah’. After she graduates she is going to Los Angeles to attend Columbia’s Costume Design for Film program. When she returns to Chicago after the program, Moriah hopes to continue her work as a designer and seamstress with the dance company Driven 2 Dance as well as becoming a freelance theatrical designer in the city. She is also looking forward to being a draper and seamstress as she continues to learn and grow as a designer.
The Theatre School at Depaul University Prize

Greg Pinsoneault is a third year BFA Scenic Design major at The Theatre School at DePaul University.  Originally from Irvine, CA, Greg has sought both educational and professional opportunities in New York, Colorado Springs, and West Virginia.  Theatre School design credits include 35 MM, Moth, Hansel and Gretel, and Tartuffe, as well as the upcoming productions of Vigils and Kafka’s Metamorphosis.  Other credits include Scenic Designer for Underscore Theatre Company’s second annual production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Live!] at the Chopin Theatre and Assistant Scenic Artist to Chelsea Warren on Griffin Theatre’s production of The Burnt Part Boys.  This summer, Greg will be working as one of three design interns for Kevin Depinet and Todd Rosenthal.

The Loyola University Chicago Prize
Bridgid Danahy is thrilled to be honored among her fellow Chicago student designers. She is about to finish her final year at Loyola University, where she studies Theatre and Advertising/Public Relations. Bridgid has designed costumes for multiple shows at Loyola, including Epic Spectacles (2012), Frankenstein (2013) and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (2013). She has also had the pleasure of working with The House Theatre of Chicago, Next Theatre, Lifeline Theatre and The Hypocrites. You can find Bridgid next year at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre where she will be interning in the costume shop. She hails from Buffalo, NY and is the recipient of the 2013 Ebeling PR-ize.

The Northwestern University Prize
Carolyn Sullivan is a costume design MFA candidate finishing her third and final year of Northwestern University’s program for Stage Design. Her recent work there includes The Pajama Game!, Night of the Iguana, Bunbury, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Hot Buttons! (Danceworks 2014). As part of the 2014 Found Site Festival in Evanston this spring, she is working on American Dead, and Thou Proud Dream (an adaptation of Henry V). In May she will open a new iteration of Moby Dick, adapted and directed by Looking Glass Theater’s David Catlin. She was recently accepted for USITT’s Young Designer’s Forum, and is honored to receive the Michael Merritt Award this spring from her wonderful faculty. She is in love with her work, and thanks all of the mentors and friends who provided Love and advice along the way.
The Michael Philippi Prize for Best Exhibit: Professional Designer
This year the prize is 500.00 !

Emerging professional designers are encouraged to exhibit  http://merrittawards.com/2013-event/exhibit-professional/
Sponsorships that cover admission, food, drink and parking are available for emerging exhibitor and emerging director, producers and production managers  http://merrittawards.com/2013-event/attendance-sponsorships/
Prize for Best Exhibit: Student Designer
This year the prize is 500.00 !
Student designers are encouraged to apply to exhibit  http://merrittawards.com/2013-event/exhibit-studentl/
Sponsorships that cover admission, food, drink and parking are available.

Orrin Hudson’s Annual Spring Break Leadership Chess Camp Helps Atlanta Inner City Youth to “Be Someone”

Posted by Admin On April - 8 - 2014 Comments Off on Orrin Hudson’s Annual Spring Break Leadership Chess Camp Helps Atlanta Inner City Youth to “Be Someone”

Orrin Hudson's Spring Break Chess Camp

Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com) – Orrin Checkmate Hudson, “Master Motivator Teacher and Mentor”, will hold his annual Spring Break Leadership Chess Camp from Monday, April 7 through Friday, April 11, 2014 in Stone Mountain, Georgia. This week long leadership camp will be from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with early drop-off and late pickup available. Hudson will use his signature chess skills and abilities as he offers information, insight and advice on the importance of making every move in life count.

Hudson has trained more than 40,000 students and his goal is to reach one million youngsters as he continues to train new teachers/motivators to spread the positive life lessons learned through the game of chess. Hudson is a believer in the ‘pay it forward’ concept.

“I was a young know-it-all teenager in Alabama and I was on the road to certain destruction and possibly even a premature death, ” he readily admits. “But I had a teacher who saw potential in me, I’m not sure what that was, but he taught me the game of chess.” Hudson is quick to say that seemingly simple act “saved my life.”

“By using the game of chess, my teacher showed me that for every move I make on the chess board there are consequences,” he adds. Hudson then stresses what is the bottom line of this game. “I not only learned how to play chess but I also gained self-esteem and realized I could be someone if only I chose the right moves in my life.”

Hudson went on to serve as an Alabama State Trooper but later realized his true calling. “I knew I had to give back. I saw too many young African American males headed down the wrong path – gangs, drugs, crime, sexual irresponsibility, no education and focus -, the same path I was on until someone cared enough to set me straight.” Hudson deftly uses the thinking man’s game of chess to both teach and mentor at the same time. It is a combination that is both effective and unobtrusive.

“These kids love this game and it opens doors. They often are surprised that they can handle the game that many educated adults shy away from, but more importantly they naturally learn life-lessons along the way.” Hudson rattles off some of those skills, “Responsibility, consequences for every action, think, think, and think some more.” He counsels them that they are important just as they are and that they hold unlimited potential inside. Working from his Atlanta training site, Hudson can often be found moving back and forth from multiple chess boards making moves and offering advice at the same time. It is apparent to any and all that he cares personally for each one of his students.

The young people who have had the good fortune to cross his path often say Hudson has been a guiding light in their lives as he has helped them learn how to solve problems and overcome challenges. “Successful people are not people without problems,” he stresses, “they are people who learn to solve their problems.” This is the lesson Hudson so adamantly teaches with his Be Someone program. He is resolute in his prediction. “We will reach these teens through this game and teach them how to think on their feet. They will be somebody and we will all win because of it!”

Hudson seems to have a saying for every circumstance. From his new facility in the shadow of famous Stone Mountain, Hudson often encourages many young people intently studying the chess board in front of them with something like this, “Every wall is a door every obstacle is an opportunity. That’s how you have to look at life. Attitude is everything.” It really is music to these young ears.

Spring Break Chess Camp
Be Someone, Inc. Headquarters
949 Stephenson Road
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Monday, April 8 to Friday April 11, 2014- 9am to 3pm

About Orrin Hudson and Be Someone
Orrin Hudson is on a mission to empower one million young people using the game of chess to teach them problem-solving strategies, life skills, and to offer kids them a positive alternative to gangs, drugs, crime, and violence. In his assemblies, kids learn practical skills and techniques to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and realize their potential. Hudson instructs, educates, motivates, and inspires, and uses catchy phrases, like “Push Pawns, Not Drugs” and “Heads Up, Pants Up, Grades Up,” to reinforce his overall message. Since 2001, Hudson has taught more than 20,000 kids to make every move count. For more information, go to www.besomeone.org

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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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