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Archive for June 12th, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia L. Fudge Responds to Alleged Divisions within the CBC Over Financial Services Legislation

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge released the following statement in response to articles alleging that differences in opinions over financial services legislation has caused severe division among Members of the CBC:

“Recent articles have claimed that there are intense divisions within the Congressional Black Caucus. Even to go as far as saying that the CBC went to ‘war’ with itself over financial services legislation. Let me be clear that each Member of the CBC remains united and committed to the mission of our Caucus – and that is to advocate for policies that empower and protect the interests of the communities we represent.

“The accusation that a difference in opinion among Members of the CBC on financial services legislation is in opposition to what the CBC stands for is both inaccurate and insulting. This charge pigeonholes Members of this Caucus in ways that it does for no other individual Member or Member organization in this Congress. Each Member of the CBC is committed to a system that is fair to and accessible by all Americans. Therefore it should be of no surprise that there is no unanimous approach for dealing with issues within our Caucus. Differences among CBC Members on legislation that affects social equity and/or the economic well-being of this nation and our communities do not divide us; these debates make our Caucus stronger.

“The Congressional Black Caucus is not a monolithic organization. Members of the CBC are and should be held to the same standard as every other Member of the House of Representatives. Each CBC Member has an opinion, a specific area of expertise, and a constituency to represent and to consider with every one of our votes. Though Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are African American, each one of our constituencies has varied and unique interests and it is our responsibility to be responsive to their issues and interests first. When there is no unanimity within the Caucus on an issue, our Members speak, act and to vote in any way his or her conscience or our constituents dictate. We do not and should not always be expected to vote unanimously. This is the way democracy works within this institution and it is no different within the CBC.”

Kirk Supports Increased Choice for Veterans and Greater VA Accountability

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the below statement  following the passsage of the bipartisan veterans’ bill, which allows for greater health care choices for veterans and more accountability within the VA. Senator Kirk is the ranking member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, and passed legislation through the committee earlier this month which restricts bonuses and gives the Secretary of Veterans Affairs expedited authority to fire senior executives.

Today’s bill also authorizes a lease at the Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA facility which will improve Illinois veterans’ care.

“This bipartisan bill takes the necessary and important first step towards ensuring improved care for Illinois’ 700,000 veterans and ending a culture of corruption at the VA. Recently I have heard first-hand from local whistleblowers and physicians at the Hines VA in Maywood, Illinois, regarding secret wait lists and a culture of misconduct that rewards falsified records with a corrupt bonus structure. This legislation abolishes scheduling and wait-time metrics as factors for determining performance bonuses, much like my Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill does. This bill allows our nation’s heroes to see their own doctor if they are denied care within 14 days or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, the “14-40” provision of the Senate Republican Bill. It also gives the Secretary the authority to fire the very senior executives who have established a culture of systemic corruption. I commend Senators McCain and Sanders on their work on this legislation, and I will continue to fight on behalf of our nation’s servicemen and women to ensure they receive the quality care they so rightfully deserve.”

Madigan Charges Ex-CTA Workers With Wire Fraud, Identity Theft

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Attorney General Indicts Married Couple for Scheme to Access Retirement Funds by Submitting Children’s Fake Death Certificates, Stealing Coworkers IDs

CHICAGO, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced charges against former Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) employees for a scheme to steal thousands of dollars from the agency’s deferred compensation program that involved submitting fake death certificates for their living children and stealing the identities of former coworkers.

Donella Anderson Watkins, 41, of Lansing, was charged with wire fraud, identity theft and continuing a financial crimes enterprise. Her husband, Sammie Watkins, 55, of Lansing, was charged with wire fraud and attempted identity theft. The couple, both formerly CTA employees, appeared earlier today in Cook County Criminal Court to formally face the charges before Judge Clayton Crane.

Madigan alleged that the Watkins submitted false documentation to their deferred compensation program administrators to seek emergency withdrawals from their accounts without incurring a tax penalty. The false documentation included submitting fake death certificates for their living children to create an “emergency need” for supposed funeral expenses. In addition, Madigan alleged the Watkins stole the identities of other CTA employees to submit false withdrawal forms on their behalf without the employees’ knowledge.

An investigation by Madigan’s Public Integrity Bureau revealed that Donella Watkins secured $18,000 in the name of a co-worker. Madigan said the alleged scheme was uncovered after Sammie attempted to make an emergency withdrawal in the name of another employee.

“The defendants took unthinkable steps to attempt to avoid tax penalties and steal retirement funds from their coworkers,” Madigan said. “My office will ensure they are held accountable for concocting this elaborate, illegal scheme.”

The public is reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

The cases were referred to Madigan’s office from the Office of the Executive Inspector General. Bureau Chief David Navarro, Assistant Attorney General Christina Chojnacki and Associate Director James S. Dorger are handling the cases for Madigan’s office.

Family of Ryan Harris at Odds with Chicago Park District

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 8 COMMENTS

Sabrina Harris, mother of 11-year-old murder victim Ryan Harris, is upset at being overlooked for a bathroom/small field house facility that has been promised to the family and the Englewood community since the park was renamed after her daughter.

Having received financial commitments from Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins ($300,000), State Representative Andre Thapedi ($12,500), and Alderman Roderick Sawyer ($200,000),  the family can’t understand why this park and this community has been constantly overlooked by the Chicago Park District.

“If the park district can find money for Maggie Daley Park and other parks in more affluent neighborhoods, why can’t they provide the monies for a bathroom facility for the children that frequent the park named after my daughter?”, asked Sabrina Harris.

The family along with members of the Englewood Political Task Force and from the Englewood community will convene at Ryan Harris Memorial Park to demand what was promised them almost sixteen years ago.

The family of Ryan Harris will hold a Press Conference today, Thursday June 12, 2014, 10:00 a.m., at Ryan Harris Park, 6700 S. Lowe Ave.

Dancing For A Good Cause

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Chicago’s iconic dance honors the legendary Mr. Herb Kent, “The Cool Gent”

CHICAGO, IL ― The Next Step College Readiness Program with mentoring support for teen moms and teen dads will hold its first annual “Stepping for the Children” benefit from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2014 at the Oak Lawn Hilton Hotel, 9333 S. Cicero Ave., Oak Lawn, IL. This fundraising event will honor Chicago radio icon and living legend Mr. Herb Kent, “The Cool Gent,” with a night of Chicago-Style Stepping. Proceeds from the benefit will establish an Educational Achievement Award in Mr. Kent’s name and raise funds for the Next Step program which is working to break the cycle of generational teen pregnancy. Mr. Kent will present this award to a Next Step college student. For ticket and donation information, contact Diane Deaderick-DeMartra, Next Step Program supervisor at 773-643-0452, ext. 2417 or you can log onto to the event website at https://nextstepping.eventbrite.com.

Next Step helps pregnant and parenting teens complete high school and go to college. Pregnancy is the foremost reason that teen girls drop out of high school; of the teen mothers that give birth before age 18, only 38% graduate from high school and less than two percent of teen mothers attain a college degree by the age of 30. Research has shown that teen pregnancy has a negative influence on the educational attainment of teen fathers making it difficult for them to be financially or emotionally supportive of themselves or their children.

Although the U.S. national pregnancy rate for all teens age 15-19 has declined, the pregnancy rate among black and Hispanic teen girls is more than two times higher than the rate for white teen girls. Given the increasing demands in schooling necessary to qualify for a well-paying job, high school completion and college-and career-readiness are critical to teen parents becoming self-sufficient. Teen pregnancy also affects the future prospects of the children of teen parents. Studies have shown that children of teen parents are more likely to do worse in school than those born to older parents, have a higher drop-out rate, be incarcerated during adolescence, and grow up in poverty. Many of the teen parents in Next Step are the children and grandchildren of teen parents.  Next Step works to break this generational cycle of teen pregnancy and low educational achievement that almost ensures a life of economic hardship.

Next Step is a program of Chicago Child Care Society, a 501(c) (3) organization founded in 1849 and recognized as the longest serving child welfare agency in the state of Illinois. Chicago Child Care Society promotes its mission―to provide innovative, community-based education and social service programs that address current and emerging needs of vulnerable children and their families.

For many Chicagoans, Herbert Rogers Kent, “The Cool Gent,” is one of the most important and legendary figures in Chicago radio history. Mr. Kent’s career spans over six decades as a respected radio personality. Mr. Kent also hosted s weekly TV show, Steppin’ at Club 7 (1995-97), which introduced Chicago-Style Stepping as a cultural form to a broad audience. For the past several years, Mr. Kent can be heard on his popular weekend broadcasts on WVAZ-FM (V103). Mr. Kent was declared the longest running DJ by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009. As the first African-American inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting Radio Hall of Fame, Mr. Kent coined the term, “dusty records” to describe old-time favorite hits that have catapulted yesterday’s and today’s African-American music sensations.

Born on the Southside of Chicago in 1929, Mr. Kent has explained how being raised by a single mother in the Chicago housing projects has greatly influenced his life. As a young teen, he studied classical music at Hyde Park High School. He has lectured at Chicago State University to students encouraging them to succeed in their careers and life.

State Board, IFT and IEA recognize almost 30 exemplary educators for their performance

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Teachers from across the state honored for their expertise and commitment to specific content areas

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education, along with the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) and the Illinois Education Association (IEA), will once again honor 29 educators whose professional education organizations selected as the best in their field of expertise during the 2013-14 school year. The educators, all of whom earned awards for teaching a specific subject, from mathematics to physical education, will be recognized during a luncheon today (Wednesday) at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.

“With Illinois implementing new learning standards to prepare students for a global workforce, the expertise and skills of these outstanding teachers is invaluable,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Their knowledge and passion for teaching in a variety of curriculum areas is an integral component of student success. We are pleased to have the opportunity to extend our thanks and appreciation for their commitment to Illinois’ students and education.”

Today’s event will be the fourth annual Exemplary Teacher Recognition Award Luncheon hosted by the State Board and the two state teacher associations.

“We are delighted to honor these educators for all they do for the communities they serve,” said Dan Montgomery, President of IFT. “We recognize how these dedicated teachers go above and beyond for their students every day and represent the high quality of teaching taking place throughout the state.”

Each fall, ISBE names one teacher of the year and recognizes more than 150 educators nominated by their own district or members of their communities for outstanding service through the Those Who Excel program. Second grade teacher Pam Riley was named the 2014 Illinois Teacher of the Year. Riley teaches at Woodbury Elementary School in Sandwich CUSD 430. The annual Exemplary Teacher Recognition Award Luncheon provides an opportunity to honor other award winning teachers from across the state.

“The Illinois Education Association is always proud to help sponsor the Teacher Recognition Luncheon, a wonderful way to thank and acknowledge Illinois’ many outstanding educators,” said Cinda Klicka, President of IEA. “The award-winners have shown exemplary teaching in each of their fields, and they remind us that great education is being delivered to our students every day in every school in Illinois.”

The following teachers will be recognized at Wednesday’s luncheon:

Educator Recognition Organization School

Joanna Angelopoulos

2013 Distinguished Service
in the Profession of Art Education

Illinois Art Education Association Gary M. Sanborn Elementary, Palatine
Eryn Blaser

Elementary Art Educator
of the Year

Illinois Art Education Association Meadow Ridge School, Orland Park

2014 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year

Illinois Farm Bureau Central Middle School, Burlington
Lindsey Dickinson

2014 Bob Haisman
Teacher of the Year

Illinois Education Association Evans Junior High School, Bloomington
Peter Duffer Outstanding Economic Educator 2013 Econ Illinois Buffalo Grove High School, Buffalo Grove
Tom Dwyer 2014 Illinois ProStart
Teacher of the Year
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Oswego High School, Oswego
Linda Egnatz

2014 National Teacher of
the Year for the American Council on the Teaching
of Foreign Languages

American Council
on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Lincoln-Way North High School, Frankfort
Patrick Fardy Outstanding Economic Educator Econ Illinois South High School, Downers Grove
Laura Font Illinois History Teacher
of the Year 2013
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Madison Elementary School, Lombard
Danielle Gladstone

Star in the Classroom

Econ Illinois Mohawk Intermediate Center, Park Forest
Kathryn Hillyer

2013 Illinois Art Educator of the Year, 2014 National Western Region Art Educator of the Year

Illinois Art Education Association, National Art Education Association Kipling Elementary School, Deerfield
Angie Hughes

Illinois Health Education Teacher of the Year

Illinois Association
for Health, Physical Education, Recreation
and Dance
Maine East High School, Park Ridge
Ray Kinzie Star in the Classroom Econ Illinois Hitch Elementary School, Chicago
Brittney Klemenswicz Young Professional Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Illinois Association
for Health, Physical Education, Recreation
and Dance
Wentworth Junior High School, Calumet City
Bryan Lake Presidential Award in Science Presidential Award
for Excellence in Mathematics and
Science Teaching
Urbana School District 116, Urbana
Adam Koester Star in the Classroom Econ Illinois Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville
Will Navis IAHPERD Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Illinois Association
for Health, Physical Education, Recreation
and Dance
Lincoln Elementary School, St. Charles
Justin Nowak Illinois Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Bateman Elementary School, Chicago
Jennifer Rambole Star in the Classroom Econ Illinois Kenneth D. Bailey Academy, Danville
Kyle Osborne Illinois VFW Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year, Grades 9-12 Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars Villa Grove High School, Villa Grove
Melissa Righter Early Professional Award Illinois Art Education Association Cicero West Elementary School, Cicero
David Schultz Outstanding High School Physics Teacher of the Year Illinois chapter of American Association of Physics Teachers Maine East High School, Park Ridge
Gustavo Silva IAHPERD Young Professional Elementary Teacher of the Year Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Richmond Intermediate School, St. Charles
Courtney Thomas Teacher of the Year Veterans of Foreign Wars Kingsley Elementary School, Naperville
Jeanette Thompson Secondary Art Educator of the Year Illinois Art Education Association CICS Northtown Academy, Chicago
Carrie Toth

Paul T. Griffith Illinois Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages Teacher of the Year

Illinois Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages Carlyle High School, Carlyle
Margot Van Dyke Presidential Award State Finalist in Science

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

O’Neil Middle School, Downers Grove
Rebecca Vieyra

Presidential Award State Finalist in Science

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Cary Grove High School, Cary
Deborah Zeilner

Star in the Classroom

Econ Illinois

Joseph Gary Elementary School, Chicago

Denzel Washington Applauds Brett Johnson for Supporting His Hometown Boys & Girls Club

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Menswear Entrepreneur, Brett Johnson, Donates Athletic Footwear to the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon

Brett Johnson

Bethesda, MD (BlackNews.com) — Brett Johnson, CEO of the Brett Johnson Collection, LLC, (BJC) today announced a donation of 100 pairs of athletic footwear from his menswear fashion line to young men participating in the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon. Brett Johnson is committed to giving back to the community and is making the donation to encourage the youth to continue to strive for success as they enter college in the fall.

“I am personally excited to make today’s footwear donation from the Brett Johnson Collection to the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon,” said Johnson. “When I began BJC, I wanted a way to connect to the younger generation to impart the importance of following your dreams regardless of your circumstances.” He continues, “The signature shoe from the Collection does just that and was designed with a footprint that signifies legacy and having the ability to leave an imprint in whatever you do. It’s a motto that I have to come to personally believe in for myself and want to share specifically with the young men participating in programs at the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon — to follow their dreams and never give up.”

“I am really proud of my son Brett for following his passion to create a successful clothing brand and athletic wear,” said Robert L. Johnson, founder of The RLJ Companies and Brett Johnson’s father. “His desire to give back to the community and to encourage young men that hard work and perseverance are the building blocks to success. As a young man, Brett realizes the importance of philanthropy and today’s donation of 100 shoes is the first step to his future involvement in giving back,” he concluded.

“I have known Brett Johnson and his father, Bob Johnson, for a number of years, and I am proud of him and the company he has created,” said actor Denzel Washington, National Spokesperson of Boys & Girls Club of America, who spent his formative years at the Boys and Girls Club of Mt. Vernon. “Brett has unselfishly decided to give back and have a valuable impact in the lives of young men. I share a personal connection with the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon and know Brett’s gift will inspire as well as ignite the passion for creativity in each of the Club’s young male participants.”

“By way of today’s announcement, Brett Johnson is making a local impact,” said Frank Sanchez, National Vice President of the Boys & Girls Club of America. “As the designer and architect of a successful brand, Brett is a perfect example of how we should all, regardless of our occupation, inspire our kids to strive for more. Brett is an example that many designers as well as companies should follow.”

“Recognizing the 100 young men who participate in programs at our specific club is truly significant and Brett and his Brett Johnson Collection team should be commended,” added Lowes Moore, Executive Director, Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club. “As administrators, we often seek new and creative ways that will inspire our boys and girls to fully realize their potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. It’s our mission.”

Founded by Johnson, the namesake collection offers a modern luxury brand for the world’s most fashionable men and will appeal to well-dressed men of every generation. The Brett Johnson Collection debuted in 2013 with a line of men’s shoes and apparel.
About The Brett Johnson Collection
The Brett Johnson Collection is a distinct brand which offers premium apparel that exudes style, sophistication, and edge for the global lifestyle.  Founded by entrepreneur Brett Johnson, the Collection offers a modern luxury brand for the world’s most fashionable man.  Brett’s vision positions the Collection to become one of the most iconic brands in the world, appealing to well-dressed men of every generation. For more information about the Brett Johnson Collection, visit http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001S7wWulGqKwPhDYKjuJ8w9vtT40pclMfmU9HCBnAkN9bArMaRAPZnb3GO3QgFLymthiU6hFm99k_2ATB6fp6LbZiIZu5l7HrOvSMYTAx2b1n4bh6Pk57kqBtWQ2_92GFu19RzFhOiwtul5x103FHtRLzHbJ8VhN8iWpjTfulooSg=&c=BcGBW3nLKHE8AIdX-X2j7-mBIiP2eTOyjooiWu1HCCTEncCq83V5UQ==&ch=NwUxCUnPAFz_4i0S36p9NcvilYnBx8XXIovoN4EKPDtdyiTy20NS_w==.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001S7wWulGqKwPhDYKjuJ8w9vtT40pclMfmU9HCBnAkN9bArMaRAPZnb3GO3QgFLymtjCV0Hg68MdhAY5OK9nkYWw026dWfCj1m5IgdE14v_T9HvaKkXwNnuj0BDDwx5bG-HRZRRowCPYwj3cccDp1f5106pf6YTJo13zfBJwOFMgu4McbP1m5XpQ==&c=BcGBW3nLKHE8AIdX-X2j7-mBIiP2eTOyjooiWu1HCCTEncCq83V5UQ==&ch=NwUxCUnPAFz_4i0S36p9NcvilYnBx8XXIovoN4EKPDtdyiTy20NS_w== and http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001S7wWulGqKwPhDYKjuJ8w9vtT40pclMfmU9HCBnAkN9bArMaRAPZnb3GO3QgFLymtV52IUNqq1gHXlL9cjIf6u1gjQLL98BT-5DPRBHMOF-XJ42TiWmj79ot4dUaS-744wAAhS_DgIRLs7skXMMf9ykO50VMMY5jZx9Nce9UjXGCcJkvaBdnzDA==&c=BcGBW3nLKHE8AIdX-X2j7-mBIiP2eTOyjooiWu1HCCTEncCq83V5UQ==&

ch=NwUxCUnPAFz_4i0S36p9NcvilYnBx8XXIovoN4EKPDtdyiTy20NS_w==.Photo Caption:Brett Johnson, CEO of the Brett Johnson Collection, LLC

Civic group to help suburbs develop next generation bike facilities

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Survey reveals people want protection from car traffic

CHICAGO, IL– The Active Transportation Alliance announced a new project that will help suburban communities in the Chicago region develop low-stress bikeways that are comfortable and safe places for people of all ages and abilities to ride. Active Trans calls these facilities “Family-Friendly Bikeways,” which include:

·         Trails that can be used for trips to school, work and other destinations as well as recreation.

·         On-street protected bike lanes that use parked cars, posts and curbs to separate bikes and car traffic.

·         “Bike Boulevards” on quiet residential streets that give priority to people biking and discourage cut-through motor-vehicle traffic.

In launching the project, Active Trans points to a recent Illinois Department of Transportation survey which found the public wants bikeways that provide protection and separation from cars.

“Studies find that less than 10 percent of the population feels comfortable biking in traffic on a typical street or bike lane,” said Ron Burke, Active Transportation Alliance executive director. “Family-friendly bikeways are low-stress facilities for the other 90 percent. Our goals is creating bike routes where you’d feel comfortable biking with your young child.”

The Chicago region has added hundreds of miles of important bike facilities over the past 30 years, and Active Trans has been a part of that progress by advocating for bike funding and helping communities develop bike plans. Unfortunately, most of the on-street facilities are traditional three-foot-wide striped bike lanes and “share the road” markings. These facilities work fine for the strong and confident 10 percent, but they don’t sufficiently remove the element of fear for others to ride more than occasionally. In addition, trails in the region are often difficult to access by bike and serve primarily recreational biking trips. Despite the considerable advances made in the Chicago region to advance bicycling, including hundreds of miles of bike infrastructure, concerns about safety still loom large.

The need for next-generation bike facilities that minimize interactions with car traffic is heightened by a significant increase in the number of cars on our streets. Between 1982 and 2012, the number of motor vehicles registered in Illinois increased by 3 million (42 percent increase) and vehicle miles traveled increased 65 billion miles per year, a 63 percent increase.

“All the additional car traffic has kept many people away from biking,” said Burke. “Biking is a fun and healthy way to get around, and it’s important to provide routes that people of all ages and abilities will use.”

Burke added: “Biking on most streets is actually quite safe when you bike responsibly, but for inexperienced people, cycling on a typical street feels like learning to ski on a black diamond slope.”

Since 2011, Active Trans has been working closely with the city of Chicago to develop next generation bike facilities, and Chicago is now a national leader. Progress in Chicago and other places is spreading to the suburbs. For example, Evanston is currently building its third protected bike lane, the Illinois Prairie Path through Wheaton serves as both a recreational destination and transportation corridor, and Blue Island recently declared its intention to move “toward a family-friendly bikeways system” in a mayoral proclamation.

Active Trans is offering to help suburbs with public outreach and planning to develop networks of Family Friendly Bikeways and to advocate for state and federal funding so suburbs can pay for the new facilities.

The public is urged to sign a petition supporting Family Friendly Bikeways in their community at www.activetrans.org/ffb.

For more information, suburban officials in the North and West Chicago Suburbs should contact Nancy Wagner at Nancy@activetrans.org, and officials in South and Southwest Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana should contact Leslie Phemister at Leslie@activetrans.org.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

IDHS and IDPH Join Forces to Help Control Prescription Drug Abuse in Nursing Homes

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

June is Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program Month

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) Long Term Care (LTC) initiative, an unprecedented opportunity to change the drug prescribing culture in nursing homes. Based upon concerns regarding substantial use of behavioral health medications within the nursing home population, IDHS and IDPH entered into an interagency agreement to reduce the use of chemical restraints and improve the quality of care.

“The Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is about to enter a new frontier that may drastically change the way drugs are prescribed in nursing homes,” said IDHS Secretary Michelle R. B. Saddler.  “The Long Term Care initiative is an important step in our efforts to better monitor prescriptions for controlled substances, especially among a vulnerable population such as the aging.”

The two agencies have designed, developed, tested and implemented an electronic means of data collection and review. This has resulted in the ability to take downloads from long-term care pharmacy operations (a total of 80,000 beds) on a weekly basis and develop a data warehouse on behavioral health medications by patient, by facility, by region and statewide. The tool will allow for identification of regions and facilities where prescribing may be outside of general community standards for evidence-based clinical practice.

The goal of the IDHS/IDPH interagency agreement is to work with the long term care industry to develop reports that will assist medical directors, nursing directors, consultant pharmacists and facility directors in evaluating the care they are providing to their patients.

“The Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program can help ensure the health and safety of long-term care residents by identifying medication errors and overuse or improper use of medications,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.  “IDPH is vigilant about the safety of all residents and this program is another tool in our toolbox to protect our loved ones.”

The Illinois General Assembly has also designated June Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program Month to highlight the achievements of the program.

The Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program began in 1986, and at that time monitored only Schedule II prescription drugs, including painkillers, such as morphine and hydrocodone. The PMP began collecting information electronically in 2000 and expanded to monitor Schedule III through V drugs, including Codeine, Vicodon and Valium, in 2007.

Last year, PMP collected 16 million prescription records and 22,000 doctors and pharmacists currently refer to that clinical data on a regular basis. Participating pharmacists and doctors complete about 150,000 PMP searches each month.

In 2012, the IDHS PMP joined a national data-sharing network that is providing for greater identification and prevention of prescription drug abuse.  The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s PMP InterConnect Program allows participating states to share information on prescriptions of controlled substances. Through this network, IDHS’ PMP is better able to identify when patients have been issued duplicate prescriptions for controlled substances across state lines. The program alerts prescribers and dispensers when patients exceed recommended limits on controlled substances, which helps to prevent prescription drug abuse.

For more information about the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program please visit www.ilpmp.org.

Better Business Bureau’s Top Five Summer Scams

Posted by Admin On June - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

To view our Top Five Scams of Summer Infographic online, click here.

CHICAGO, IL – Summer is a great time to take that long-overdue vacation or make much-needed home repairs, but as the weather heats up, so do scams. Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about these popular summer scams.

Beware of summer concert ticket scams. Before paying for concert tickets online, make sure the seller is reputable. Oftentimes, phony sellers will trick consumers into wiring money with no intention of sending real tickets. Most concert venues now allow ticket holders to print tickets from personal computers, which also gives scammers the opportunity to sell the same ticket over and over to unsuspecting consumers. Be wary of sellers who: offer a sad tale as to why they cannot use the tickets; only accept cash; want the money wired or transferred through a prepaid account; and/or pressure you to act quickly.

Be wary of high pressure door-to-door sales tactics. Many legitimate companies use door-to-door sales, and various city ordinances regulate solicitors to protect residents from unscrupulous individuals. However, consumers need to watch for individuals who try to work their way around the system to line their pockets. Many door-to-door salesmen offer deals for everything from driveway paving to air conditioning repair to security systems. Before saying yes, get all promises in writing, including start and finish dates. Never sign a contract that has an open-ended completion date or blank spaces

Keep your belongings safe during your move. Summer is the peak time of year for changing residencies, and unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage of the busy season. Always research the company and check out the mover’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Not all price quotes online or over the phone are legitimate (or binding), and crooks are not likely to send an estimator to your home in advance. Also remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more in the end.

Don’t let a scam ruin your vacation. Fake travel agents and websites are known for touting too-good-to-be-true deals in the hopes of getting your money in return. Whether it’s a fake timeshare rental or a falsely promised Disney vacation, don’t let a vacation scam take you for a ride. Make sure the offer is legitimate by checking bbb.org first. If there is no BBB Business Review on the company, dig deeper. Google the phone number or website to see if others report problems.

Beware of job scams that can turn a hot summer cold. Finding summer employment is a top priority for most college and high school students. Don’t let the seasonal job hunt turn into a huge waste of time and money. Always be wary of employers who require fees for training and background checks, or who tout “no experience needed.” BBB considers these red flags for employment scams.

Find out more about scams and sign up for scam alerts at BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). For tips you can trust, visit bbb.org and for the latest, check out our blog, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

The BBB is a non-profit, non-governmental organization.  It is supported by businesses to protect consumers against scams and other unethical business practices.  The group accomplishes this by educating both consumers and businesses, and by highlighting trustworthy businesses. By developing reports and ratings on businesses and charitable organizations, the BBB encourages people to use these as resources and referrals to utilize the free services before making a purchase or donation. The BBB helps resolve buyer/seller complaints through its alternative dispute resolution process. In 2013, the BBB provided more than 22,600,000 instances of service.  Over 80 percent of consumer complaints to the BBB were resolved. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois is a member of the international BBB system that services the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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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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