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Archive for May 20th, 2014

Working When Congress Won’t Act: President Obama’s Weekly Address

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Working When Congress Won’t Act: President Obama’s Weekly Address

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s address, the President discussed actions to expand opportunity for more Americans, with or without the help of Republicans in Congress, including his Administration’s efforts to cut red tape for major transportation infrastructure projects. In the coming days, the President will meet with business leaders to highlight the importance of bringing jobs back to America and will also discuss the economic benefits of making it easier for tourists to visit and spend money at attractions in the U.S., which in turn helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone. The President has called 2014 a year of action, and he will continue to do whatever he can to continue to strengthen our economy, create jobs and restore opportunity for all.

Remarks of President Barack Obama

At a time when our businesses have created 9.2 million new jobs in just over four years, and more companies are considering bringing jobs back from overseas, we have a choice to make.  We can make it easier for businesses to invest in America – or we can make it harder.

I want to work with Congress to create jobs and opportunity for more Americans.  But where Congress won’t act, I will.  And I want to talk about three things we’re doing right now.

First, we’re helping more businesses bring jobs to America from overseas.  Three years ago, my Administration created SelectUSA – a team of people in embassies abroad and agencies here at home focused on insourcing instead of outsourcing.  Today, they’re helping a Belgian company create jobs in Oklahoma. They’re helping a Canadian company create jobs in Kansas.  In my State of the Union Address, I asked more businesses to do their part.  And this week, business leaders from across the country are coming here to the White House to discuss new investments that will create even more jobs.

Second, on Thursday, I’ll be heading to Cooperstown, New York – home of the Baseball Hall of Fame – to talk about tourism.  Because believe it or not, tourism is an export.  And if we make it easier for more foreign visitors to visit and spend money at America’s attractions and unparalleled national parks, that helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone.

Finally, we know that investing in first-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs.  And I want to spend a minute on this, because it’s very important this year.

We know business owners don’t seek out crumbling roads and bridges and backed-up supply chains.  They set up shop where the newest, fastest transportation and communications networks let them invent and sell goods Made in America to the rest of the world as fast as possible.

Here’s the problem: If Congress doesn’t act by the end of this summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out.  States might have to put some of their projects on hold.  In fact, some already are, because they’re worried Congress won’t clear up its own gridlock.  And if Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year.

That’s why I put forward a plan to rebuild our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way.  It would support millions of jobs across the country.  And we’d pay for it without adding to the deficit by closing wasteful tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Now, the Republicans in Congress seem to have very different priorities.  Not only have they neglected to prevent this funding from running out, their proposal would actually cut by 80% a job-creating grant program that has funded high-priority transportation projects in all 50 states. And they can’t say it’s to save money, because at the very same time, they voted for trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, weighted towards those at the very top.

Think about that.  Instead of putting people to work on projects that would grow the economy for everyone, they voted to give a huge tax cut to households making more than $1 million a year.

So while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’ll keep doing what I can on my own.

On Wednesday, I was in New York where workers are building the area’s first large new bridge in 50 years.  And they’re doing it ahead of schedule.  Three years ago, I took action without Congress to fast-track the permitting process for major projects.  Normally, it would have taken three to five years to permit that bridge.  We did it in a year and a half.  And I announced a new plan to cut red tape and speed up the process for even more projects across the country.

All these steps will make it easier for businesses to invest in America and create more good jobs.  All of them can be done without Congress.  But we could do a lot more if Congress was willing to help.  In the meantime, I’ll do whatever I can – not just to make America a better place to do business, but to make sure hard work pays off, and opportunity is open to all.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

* The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, May 17, 2014.

State’s Attorney Alvarez announces top management appointment

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on State’s Attorney Alvarez announces top management appointment

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has named Daniel Kirk to the position of First Assistant State’s Attorney.

In his new role, Kirk, 42, will serve as second in command in the State’s Attorney’s Office, managing day-to-day operations and legal affairs that the office prosecutes, investigates and litigates. Kirk will also serve as an advisor to the State’s Attorney on issues including violent crime, public corruption, financial crimes, gang crimes, narcotics and civil litigation. In addition to his managerial role, Kirk also continues to prosecute specially assigned matters in court.

Prior to his new appointment, Kirk served as Chief of Staff to State’s Attorney Alvarez.

“I am proud to name Dan Kirk as my First Assistant. He brings a diverse legal background as well as a keen understanding of the day-to-day operations of our office,” said Alvarez. “Most importantly, he shares my commitment to continually look for ways to improve our operations and provide justice and public safety to the citizens of Cook County.”

Before returning to the State’s Attorney’s Office in 2008, Kirk was a partner at the Chicago law firm of Querrey & Harrow, Ltd. His practice focused on personal injury defense, commercial litigation and contractual disputes. In 2004, Mr. Kirk was elected as a partner at Querrey & Harrow, a position he held until his return to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

From 1997 to 2002, Kirk served as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney with assignments in the Child Support Enforcement Division, Juvenile Justice Bureau, Narcotics Prosecutions Bureau and Criminal Prosecutions Bureau at 26th and California.

Kirk has been an active member of the Chicago Bar Association since 2002 and served as a member of the Board of Managers for a two year term from 2010 to 2012. Prior to his election to the Board, he served on the Judicial Evaluation Committee conducting investigations and hearings of all judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court.

He is a 2010 Fellow in Leadership Greater Chicago, volunteers for philanthropic development for Teen Living Programs and is the 2010 Recipient of the Richard J. Phelan Public Service Award given by the Chicago Bar Foundation. In 2011 he was selected as “40 Under 40” by the Chicago Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of forty Chicago attorneys under 40 to watch.

Kirk is a graduate of Fenwick High School (1989), Eastern Illinois University (B.A., 1993) and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (J.D., 1996). He is a Chicago resident and lives in the Lakeview neighborhood.

The Difficult Math of Inequality

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on The Difficult Math of Inequality

By William Spriggs

Thousands of fast food workers took to the streets this week, staging strikes in protest over their low pay. In states where the minimum wage has not been raised above the federal level, if a worker could put together a full-time, full-year schedule, she would earn just $15,080 a year.

Some people scoff at raising the minimum wage for these workers, on the basis that “they only flip burgers.” By that logic, what should you get paid if you are the chief burger flipper? Not much, right? Well, the CEOs of fast food restaurants average $11,884,000 in pay annually. That’s a lot of hamburgers to flip.

Here is where the math of inequality comes into play. We haven’t given minimum wage workers a raise in more than five years, yet inflation has continued. So minimum wage workers’ purchasing power has been falling. In 2009, $15,080 a year would place a single mother with a child above the poverty threshold. Today, she and her child would be living in poverty.

Let’s suppose the CEO wants his pay to keep up with inflation. Assuming inflation runs as it has the last 12 months, he needs a pay raise of 2 percent, or $237,680. That raise equals an entire year’s worth of pay for about 16 of his minimum wage workers. Company sales have to increase by almost a quarter million dollars to cover the CEO’s pay raise.

You can see the hard math that inequality creates. When one worker makes 788 times what other workers make, the math of how much it takes to increase everyone’s pay by the same amount gets tricky. Such a huge amount must go to just one worker. But raises for fast food CEOs haven’t simply kept pace with inflation. Analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the average fast food CEO’s pay has almost doubled since 2009.

That should appear odd. If CEOs’ pay has doubled, then clearly we would expect the performance of their companies to have doubled. That would be the result of workers doubling their efforts since 2009 in increasing the companies’ bottom lines. If that were the case, we should see workers’ pay also go up. If performance didn’t improve and workers weren’t more productive, how did CEOs get rewarded for poor management?

Others look at the workers on strike and wonder what would happen to the price of their hamburger if the workers making $7.25 an hour got a raise. But the real question is, what is it doing to the price of your hamburger that one person got a $6 million raise since 2009. That raise is more than the combined annual earnings of 398 minimum wage workers making $7.25 an hour.

Congress could act to rebalance the equation, but Senate Republicans blocked a vote to raise the minimum wage. Despite appeals from workers, the president and the secretary of labor, and despite polls showing support from the American people, House Republicans have indicated they also would block a raise for workers.

If it doesn’t want to address the wage problem head-on, Congress could at least take action to get Americans back to work. A giant rally was held this week at the AFL-CIO headquarters with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to tell Congress it is time to pass the appropriations needed to put Americans back to work building bridges, fixing roads, updating sewer systems, providing more public transportation options and expanding port facilities. These are investments America must make to remain globally competitive. When we don’t make these improvements, our deteriorating infrastructure becomes a mounting debt we leave for our children to pay.

Full employment is a sure way to help raise the wages of all Americans. Just like pushing up wages from the bottom, it changes the math of inequality. Having job choices, and standing on a higher floor for wages, puts workers closer to eye-to-eye with CEOs when bargaining for wages.

Congress has choices. It can raise the minimum wage. It can invest in America. Or it can continue to make it hard to address American inequality by standing for the 1 percent.

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

Social Justice Advocate Cornell William Brooks Selected President-CEO of NAACP

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Social Justice Advocate Cornell William Brooks Selected President-CEO of NAACP

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – The NAACP National Board of Directors announced its selection of Attorney Cornell William Brooks to be the Association’s next National President & CEO. He will become the 18th person to oversee operations at the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization in its 105-year history.

“We are proud to welcome Attorney Cornell William Brooks as our new president and CEO,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. “Mr. Brooks is a pioneering lawyer and civil rights leader, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Association. We look forward to leveraging his legal prowess, vision and leadership as we tackle the pressing civil rights issues of the 21st century.”

Brooks, a longtime lawyer and human rights activist, serves currently as the President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice based in Newark.

A fourth-generation ordained minister, Brooks has worked to pass legislation enabling previously incarcerated men and women to rebuild their lives as productive and responsible citizens, called a model for the nation by the New York Times. He successfully pushed for state legislation to reduce the effects of widespread foreclosures. Mr. Brooks has worked to develop social impact investing tools to employ more people in higher wage work.

Brooks served as senior counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington and as trial attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He has also campaigned tirelessly as an advocate for public education, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead this historic organization,” said Brooks. “In our fight to ensure voting rights, economic equality, health equity, and an end to racial discrimination for all people, there is much work to do. I look forward to working with the dynamic board and staff, and continuing the important work of the Association in advancing racial and social justice and equality for all.”

Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts from Jackson State University, a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, and a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School.

The Hollins Group of Chicago, Illinois, conducted the nationwide search for the new President and CEO that included a review of over 450 applications; meetings with 30 semi-finalists; and interviews with the National Board of Directors.

Attorney Brooks will be formally introduced to the NAACP membership in July at its 105th National Convention in Las Vegas, NV.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, grassroots civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and its five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Prayer Vigil & March for Trauma Center as University of Chicago Preps Obama Library Bid

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Prayer Vigil & March for Trauma Center as University of Chicago Preps Obama Library Bid

Letters to Editors

CHICAGO, IL – Clergy and faith leaders from the Trauma Center Coalition will hold a Prayer Vigil and march May 20th to demand the University of Chicago open a trauma center. The Prayer Vigil will start at 5:30pm at University Church, 5655 S. University, the group will then march to 58th St and S. Maryland Ave where Clergy and faith leaders will urge the University to open a trauma center. Faith leaders will attempt to enter the hospital to pray in the hospital chapel.

Johnny Kline, minister for social justice at University Church, says “members of our group who come from a strong faith background started this out as a way to express their prayerful wishes. We have offered our resources, support and endorsement of the campaign for a trauma center.”

The Prayer Vigil comes as the University of Chicago is preparing to submit its bid to host the Obama Presidential Library. Victoria Crider, a high school senior, who goes to school just seven blocks from President Obama’s house, says “we are marching this week because we want the President to know that the University of Chicago should not get the honor and prestige that comes with the Obama Library when they are neglecting the needs of black and brown communities on the South Side.”

Ms. Crider notes that “President Obama has tried to stop gun violence and create opportunities for young black men, meanwhile the University of Chicago sits in the center of a gun violence epidemic on the South Side and has shown that it does not value black life, by refusing to open a trauma center and save the lives of the young black men dying at their door.”

The Prayer Vigil comes a day after 8 young people formed a human chain and blocked cement trucks and stopped construction at the University of Chicago’s new $700M hospital construction site to demand the University Hospital do its part to save the lives of south side youth, before the University submits its bid for the Obama Library. After halting construction for over 3 hours the protesters were brutally dragged away by University Police, one protester was hospitalized due to injuries. See the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_1zlVCDlMU.

The week of action also comes after the University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer, the highest paid University president in the country earning $3.4M per year, last week announced that the University has launched a $4.5 billion dollar capital campaign. Despite this capital campaign and the University of Chicago Hospital’s $782 million dollar endowment, they claim they do not have the resources to open an adult trauma center. Exactly one year ago Kenneth Polonsky Dean of the University of Chicago Hospital said that the University hospital would support a regional solution to the lack of a south side trauma center, however, they have done nothing to make this happen.

The community’s demand for trauma care was sparked by the death of Damian Turner, a youth activist, who was caught by a stray bullet in 2009 four blocks from the U of C but was taken 10 miles away to Northwestern where he died. The call for trauma care is also supported by new research by Dr. Marie Crandall of Northwestern Hospital on “Trauma Deserts” which shows that longer travel times to a trauma center increase your likelihood of dying.

The prayer vigil is part of an entire week of action. National Nurses United will hold a bus tour for trauma care on Wednesday 5/21 starting at 4pm at 59th and Maryland. University of Chicago Doctors advocating for a trauma center will hold a press conference at 12:15pm Thursday 5/22 at 58th and Maryland. A community protest march will take place Friday 5/23 at 4:30pm starting at 61st and Cottage Grove where a King College Prep High School student will deliver a personal letter to President Obama asking him to urge the University to open a trauma center, facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1412964022306386/

The Prayer Vigil and March will include leaders from University Church, Kenwood United Church of Christ, St. Sabina Church, Trinity Church, Lincoln Memorial Church, Good Shepherd Church, and more.

The Week of Action is being organized by the Trauma Center Coalition, which includes of Fearless Leading by the Youth, Students for Health Equity and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and allies.

WHO: Clergy and faith leaders from the Trauma Center Coalition.

WHAT: Prayer Vigil and March

WHERE / WHEN: May 20th at 5:30pm at University Church, 5655 S. University, then march to 58th Street and S. Maryland Ave.

VISUAL: Faith leaders hold prayer vigil and march under banner that reads: “Obama Cares, U of C Doesn’t – No Trauma Center, No Library”

Dance Center announces 2014-15 Season

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Dance Center announces 2014-15 Season

Urban Bush Women’s 30th Anniversary, David Roussève/REALITY, BalletX, Rosy Simas Danse, Heidi Latsky Dance, Shantala Shivalingappa and More for 41st Season

CHICAGO, IL —The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago announces its 41st season of presenting diverse international, national and regional contemporary dance. Subscriptions and single tickets go on sale July 7 at The Dance Center, 312-369-8330 and online at colum.edu/dancecenter.

American artists on the season’s roster include Philadelphia’s BalletX, Native American choreographer and dancer Rosy Simas, Heidi Latsky and her mixed-ability dancers, David Roussève and his racially and ethnically diverse company REALITY and Urban Bush Women celebrating its 30th anniversary season. From further afield, Indian Kuchipudi dancer Shantala Shivalingappa performs at The Dance Center, and Beijing Dance Theater, presented by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in association with The Dance Center, performs at the Harris Theater. Rounding out the season are Chicago companies Hedwig Dances, celebrating its 30th season and performing with Cuba’s DanzAbierta, and Chicago Dance Crash.

Community programs
Many of the season’s artists will participate in The Dance Center’s DanceMakers series, which features leading contemporary dance artists offering insight into their choreographic process. Discussions with the artists will follow most Thursday performances, and some programs will feature pre-performance talks with artists and Dance Center personnel or guest lecturers. Most out-of-town artists will provide learning opportunities for Dance Center students and conduct community-based residency and educational activities, which might include master classes, lecture/demonstrations, in-school and community-based workshops, professional development workshops for educators and service providers and panel discussions.

September 18–20
BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, is co-directed by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan. The 10-member company’s repertoire includes more than 45 works by Neenan and guest choreographers. The company’s Dance Center program will feature four ballets by Jodie Gates, Joshua Peugh and Neenan.

Hedwig Dances with DanzAbierta
Co-presented with Links Hall at The Dance Center
October 9–11
Celebrating its 30th season under the direction of Jan Bartoszek, the Chicago-based Hedwig Dances expands its multi-year collaboration with DanzAbierta, considered Cuba’s preeminent contemporary dance company, under the artistic direction of Guido Gali. Two interlocking but separately choreographed pieces—Trade Winds by Bartoszek and Aires de Cambio (Air of Change) by DanzAbierta’s resident choreographer Susana Pous—explore the relationship of cyclical time in two different cultures: north and south, temperate and tropical.

Rosy Simas Danse
October 16–18
Rosy Simas examines her matrilineal Seneca heritage in a mixed-media solo dance work, We Wait in the Darkness. Simas explores how ancestry, homeland, culture and history are stored in the body and expressed in movement. In collaboration with photographer/filmmaker Douglas Beasley and French composer Francois Richomme, Simas creates an environment of sound, photography, video imagery and movement. Using personal metaphor and story, she takes the audience on a journey through a contemplative and fierce Native American experience of displacement and homecoming. Simas’ work crosses and blurs the lines between indigenous folk and contemporary dance and the implications therein.

Beijing Dance Theater
Presented by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in association with The Dance Center at the Harris Theater
October 28–29
China’s leading contemporary ballet company performs Wild Grass (2012), a large-scale full-evening work in three sections, based on the poetry of Lu Xun (1881–1936), by female choreographer Wang Yuanyuan, a collaborator on the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Music is by Kangding Ray, Biosphere, Wang Peng and Cu Cong, 1987 Academy Award winner for Best Original Music (with Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Byrne) for Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor. Founded in 2008, Beijing Dance Theater has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center and London’s Sadler’s Wells.

Heidi Latsky Dance
November 6–8
Heidi Latsky, a former dancer with Bill T. Jones, is acclaimed for her work with mixed ability dancers. Solo Countersolo features Latsky as the counterpoint to the ensemble, weaving through a landscape of vigorously moving bodies to British composer Chris Brierley’s score, commissioned for the piece. Somewhere is set to wildly eclectic renditions of “Over the Rainbow,” using this iconic song to frame a series of intimate movement portraits that highlight a diverse unconventional cast. Her company’s residency coincides with the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) and National Dance Educators Organization (NDEO) joint conference in Chicago in November 2014.

David Roussève/REALITY
February 5–7
Stardust relates the travails of Junior, a gay disenfranchised African-American teenager. Described as “a coming of age story for the Twitter generation,” the work allows the audience to meet Junior only through his confessional text messages projected on a screen amidst glorious and pain-wrenching dance from African-American choreographer David Roussève’s 10-person company.

Chicago Dance Crash
February 19–21
FamilyDance Matinee: February 21
Chicago Dance Crash has emerged during the past decade as one of Chicago’s leading mid-sized companies. The work merges a variety of forms including hip-hop, capoeira, modern and ballet. A mixed repertoire program for the company’s Dance Center debut includes a new work by guest Chicago choreographer and former Hubbard Street Dance Chicago dancer Ben Wardell. Chicago Dance Crash also offers a FamilyDance Matinee, featuring a special one-hour family-oriented performance preceded by a free parent/child movement workshop with the artists.

Shantala Shivalingappa
March 5–7
Shantala Shivalingappa is an Indian Kuchipudi dancer who infuses her work with contemporary choreography and stagecraft. A “child of the east and west,” she was born in Madras, India, and was raised in Paris. Her gurus are Vempati Chinna Satyam and her mother, Savitry Nair, under whom she trained in Bharatha Natyam. She has performed for prestigious artists such as Maurice Bejart, Peter Brook, Bartabas, Ushio Amagatsu (Sankai Juku), and Pina Bausch. Akasha (which means “space”) is danced solo by Shantala with four accompanying musicians from India: a vocalist, flutist and two percussionists. Savitry Nair joins the company for The Dance Center residency. Deeply trained in classical Indian dance like her daughter, Savitry teaches, responds to and reflects upon Shantala’s work.

Urban Bush Women
March 19–21
Under the direction of African-American choreographer Jawole Zollar, Urban Bush Women celebrates its 30th season with a program of mixed repertoire, anchored by Walking with ’Trane: Chapter 2, part of a series of works based on the music and legacy of John Coltrane and inspired by the making of and the music from Coltrane’s 1965 album A Love Supreme.

The Dance Center
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. The Dance Center has been named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine and “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader, and Time Out Chicago cited it as “…consistently offering one of Chicago’s strongest lineups of contemporary and experimental touring dance companies.” Programs of The Dance Center are supported, in part, by Alphawood Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, New England Foundation for the Arts, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, National Performance Network and the Arts Midwest Touring Fund. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Special thanks to Friends of The Dance Center. For information, call 312-369-8330 or visit colum.edu/dancecenter.

Subscriptions and single tickets go on sale July 7 at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue, 312-369-8330 and online at colum.edu/dancecenter. All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities.

Topinka Recognized for Leadership

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Topinka Recognized for Leadership

Comptroller honored for support of community service providers

Envision Unlimited leaders present Comptroller Topinka with an award for her support of community service providers.

Photo by: Teresa Potasiak

CHICAGO – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka was presented with the 2014 Leadership Award by Envision Unlimited Saturday, May 19, at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School.

Topinka received the award for her support and prioritization of the expedited payment program for community service providers. The award is bestowed annually on the, “elected official who demonstrates courage, conviction, compassion, and most important, a firm commitment to empowering persons with disabilities.”

“It’s unconscionable that nonprofits are forced to wait months on end for payment from the state, and while we still have a lot of work to do on that front,” Topinka said, “this award lets me know that we’re doing something right. I am honored to be recognized by an organization like Envision Unlimited that does outstanding work for some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.

Envision Unlimited is a nonprofit human services agency that supports children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are currently serving 1200 individuals with 24-hour support in 27 Community Integrated Living Arrangements, Day Programs, Job Placement Programs, autism programs, senior services, early intervention and a foster care program.

Lt. Governor Simon-backed military education reform legislation advances

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Lt. Governor Simon-backed military education reform legislation advances

Measure to assist military students next returns to House for approval

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon applauded the Illinois Senate for passing legislation crafted by her office to ease the transitions of military students moving in and out of Illinois schools. Sponsored by state Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and state Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson (D-East St. Louis), House Bill 3939 will align Illinois with national standards on the treatment of military students, many who transfer schools three times more often than their civilian peers. The legislation now returns to the Illinois House for final consideration.

“This measure has the potential to ease the transition for military students and keep defense jobs in our state,”  said Simon, chairperson of the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee. “By better aligning with national standards, we can assist thousands of military students in Illinois and show how much we value their families. I commend Sen. Bush and Rep. Jackson for their work to pass this legislation.”

In 2010, Illinois joined the Interstate Compact for Military Children and adopted the state’s first-ever law recognizing the unique educational challenges of military students. In the 45 other Compact states, military students enter the same grade level at their new schools, retain previously earned credit and are offered opportunities for extracurricular activities. Illinois’ law does not currently offer the same assurances. The Simon-backed legislation brings Illinois into alignment with other Compact states, providing protections military students deserve while also preserving local control. They include:

• Grade Level: Students must be allowed to continue their enrollment at grade level in the receiving state at the time of transition; subsequent evaluation to verify placement is allowed.

• Course & Program Placement: Schools shall initially honor course and program placement for military students at the time of transition, including Advanced Placement and ESL, provided that the courses are offered and space is available; subsequent evaluation to verify placement is allowed.

• Extracurricular Activities: Schools shall facilitate the opportunity for inclusion in sports and other activities to the extent that children are qualified and space is available as determined by the school principal.

The state of Illinois is home to approximately 10,000 military students, most of whom have at least one parent on active duty at major installations in North Chicago, the Quad Cities and Metro East. They may transfer schools up to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation, a rate three times that of their civilian peers.

Simon added that with potential federal defense spending reductions and potential base closures on the horizon, this measure positions our bases for expansions, not drastic cuts.

During a series of listening posts hosted by the Simon-chaired Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC) held last year near Scott Air Force Base, Naval Station Great Lakes and the Rock Island Arsenal, families and military leadership consistently raised the issue of improving school transition.

As chair of the IMBSEDC, Simon helps coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois.

Illinois Department of Public Health Reports Negative Results for MERS-CoV

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Illinois Department of Public Health Reports Negative Results for MERS-CoV

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck today announced the Illinois resident who previously tested positive for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) antibodies in his blood, has again tested negative for the ability to spread the virus.

“The second round of test results from oral and nasal swabs show the Illinois resident is not infectious,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “What this means is, although the resident was infected at one time, if he sneezes or coughs, the virus is not in his nose or mouth and therefore cannot be spread to others. The risk of MERS-CoV to the general public remains very low. We will continue to follow-up with this individual.”

Health officials first tested this person using oral and nasal swabs for active MERS-CoV infection on May 5. Those test results were negative. On May 16, a blood test result was positive for the Illinois resident, showing that he had antibodies to MERS-CoV. Over the weekend, the resident was again tested using oral and nasal swabs and those have come back negative. Additional blood testing related to his positive MERS-CoV antibody test result is currently underway.

Health officials continue to follow-up with anyone who had close contact with the Illinois resident. Family members who had close contact with the Illinois resident have all tested negative, but will continue to be monitored.

The Illinois resident is considered to have had close contact with the first imported case in the United States, a Saudi Arabian resident who traveled to Indiana on April 24. All people considered to have had close contact with first case have been followed-up with and closely monitored.

“MERS-CoV is a relatively new virus and we still have much to learn about it, including how it is transmitted. The World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state health departments and local health departments continue to investigate this virus as well as identify new cases around the world, conduct testing and implement infection control practices,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “Additional cases are expected, but we are working diligently to eliminate the spread of this virus.” 576**14

As with other respiratory illnesses, IDPH recommends people take everyday preventive actions like washing their hands often; avoiding touching their face with unwashed hands; avoiding contact with people who appear sick; and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

IDPH has reactivated the expert medical staff at Illinois Poison Center to operate the MERS-CoV hotline. Illinois residents and medical professionals who have concerns or questions should call 1-844 565-0256.

For more information about the infected individual and the two confirmed MERS-CoV cases in the U.S., visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html. General information about MERS-CoV can be found on the IDPH website, including Frequently Asked Questions.

Don’t Kill the Internet: Sign the Petition

Posted by Admin On May - 20 - 2014 Comments Off on Don’t Kill the Internet: Sign the Petition
CREDO action
President Obama: Don’t kill the Internet.
The petition reads:
“President Obama: Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chair you appointed, has proposed rules that would kill the free and open Internet. Don’t sit on the sidelines and allow this to happen. You have promised to support Net Neutrality, now it’s time for you to keep your word.”
Automatically add your name:
Sign the petition â–º
President Obama: Don't kill the Internet -- Click here to take Action
On Thursday, President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed adopting rules that will kill the Internet as we know it. On a 3-2 vote, Democrats on the FCC voted to advance a proposal to end Net Neutrality.
Thanks to intense grassroots pressure, the FCC also suggested that the public should be asked to weigh in on an alternative that CREDO and Internet users have been advocating for — to overturn Bush-era deregulation and reclassify the Internet as a public utility.
The fate of the Internet at stake. We need President Obama to step in and take action now to save equality on the Internet.

Here’s what’s happening: The president’s newly appointed FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has put the FCC on course to allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to divide the Internet into fast lanes for wealthy corporations and slow lanes for the rest of us. If successful, this would amount to nothing less than the corporate takeover of the Internet and the death of Net Neutrality.
But because of a massive public backlash against the proposed rules, Chairman Wheeler was forced to keep the door open to the change we really need — undoing Bush-era deregulation and reclassifying the Internet as a public utility, which is the only way to establish Net Neutrality regulations with teeth.
As a candidate, President Obama promised to be a strong defender of Net Neutrality. With President Obama’s FCC Chair leading the charge to kill the Internet, the president has a responsibility not to sit on the sidelines and watch it happen.

In response to this vote, the White House issued a weak statement distancing the president from the FCC’s decision-making and stating that: “[The White House] will be watching closely as the process moves forward in hopes that the final rule stays true to the spirit of net neutrality.”

Sitting back and hoping everything turns out is not nearly good enough. This is President Obama’s chairman and his FCC. When he campaigned for the presidency he promised to protect a free and open Internet. And that promise is now being undermined by an FCC Chair he appointed — someone who now seems more interested in doing the bidding of a few large corporations than working in the public interest.
It’s time for the president to come off the sidelines and stand up for Internet users.

Net Neutrality is a principle that says that Internet users, not ISPs, should be in control. It ensures that Internet service providers can’t speed up, slow down, or block web content based on its source, ownership, or destination.
Net Neutrality is important because the Internet is an essential service Americans rely on to conduct our most basic daily affairs, from applying for a job to finding a home, to running a small business. And our right to communicate freely and be heard lies at the heart of our ability to participate equally in our democracy.
A string of federal court cases has made it abundantly clear that the FCC has the power to enforce strong Net Neutrality rules, but only if the FCC goes through the process of undoing a terrible Bush-era decision to deregulate broadband instead of treating it like the vital public utility it has become.
Re-regulating (in FCC jargon, “reclassifying”) broadband is the change we really need and is the only way to establish Net Neutrality regulations with teeth. But rather than take that clear (and clearly legal) path of re-regulating broadband as a public utility, the FCC is proposing sham rules championed by FCC Chair Wheeler that will allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to divide the Internet into fast lanes for wealthy corporations and slow lanes for the rest of us. This would amount to nothing less than the corporate takeover of the Internet and the death of Net Neutrality.
President Obama can’t be a strong defender of Net Neutrality, as he pledged to be, if he continues to sit on the sidelines. With this anti-Internet proposal moving through the approval process at the FCC — and the door open to the alternative path of reclassifying the Internet as a public utility — the time is now for the president to weigh in.

If he does get involved, he can stop the FCC’s tremendously dangerous and misguided plan. In short, a decision to sit out this fight is a decision to kill the Internet.

It’s obvious that the FCC is responding to the political influence wielded by the giant telecom companies who hate Net Neutrality and have a tremendous financial incentive to kill it.
President Obama’s strong support for Net Neutrality would be an incredibly effective counterweight to the small army of Big Telecom lobbyists swarming the FCC and Congress. Internet users need the president to make his position clear.
A strong stand by our president, along with the active participation of the massive amounts of Americans who care about this issue and don’t want to see the corporate takeover of the Internet is what is need to save the Internet as we know it.

Tell President Obama: Don’t kill the Internet. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Automatically add your name:

Sign the petition â–º

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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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