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Archive for July 19th, 2014

President Obama’s Statement on Ukraine and Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on President Obama’s Statement on Ukraine and Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

President Barack Obama:  Good morning, everybody.

Yesterday, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border.  Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken — men, women, children, infants — who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine.  Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions.

We know at least one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman, was killed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family for this terrible loss.

Yesterday, I spoke with the leaders of Ukraine, Malaysia, and the Netherlands.  I told them that our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and that the American people stand with them during this difficult time.  Later today, I’ll be speaking to Prime Minister Abbott of Australia, which also suffered a terrible loss.

By far, the country that lost the most people on board the plane was the Netherlands.  From the days of our founding, the Dutch have been close friends and stalwart allies of the United States of America.  And today, I want the Dutch people to know that we stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, in our grief and in our absolute determination to get to the bottom of what happened.

Here’s what we know so far.  Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine.  We also know that this is not the first time a plane has been shot down in eastern Ukraine.  Over the last several weeks, Russian-backed separatists have shot down a Ukrainian transport plane and a Ukrainian helicopter, and they claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian fighter jet. Moreover, we know that these separatists have received a steady flow of support from Russia.  This includes arms and training.  It includes heavy weapons, and it includes anti-aircraft weapons.

Here’s what must happen now.  This was a global tragedy.  An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries.  So there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened.  The U.N. Security Council has endorsed this investigation, and we will hold all its members — including Russia — to their word.  In order to facilitate that investigation, Russia, pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine must adhere to an immediate cease-fire.  Evidence must not be tampered with.  Investigators need to access the crash site.  And the solemn task of returning those who were lost on board the plane to their loved ones needs to go forward immediately.

The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that is necessary.  We’ve already offered the support of the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, which has experience in working with international partners on these types of investigations.  They are on their way, personnel from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board.

In the coming hours and days, I’ll continue to be in close contact with leaders from around the world as we respond to this catastrophe.  Our immediate focus will be on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts.

I want to point out there will likely be misinformation as well.  I think it’s very important for folks to sift through what is factually based and what is simply speculation.  No one can deny the truth that is revealed in the awful images that we all have seen.  And the eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine, and we are going to make sure that the truth is out.

More broadly, I think it’s important for us to recognize that this outrageous event underscores that it is time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine.  For months, we’ve supported a pathway to peace, and the Ukrainian government has reached out to all Ukrainians, put forward a peace plan, and lived up to a cease-fire, despite repeated violations by the separatists — violations that took the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and personnel.

Moreover, time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to deescalate the situation.  I spoke to President Putin yesterday in the wake of additional sanctions that we had imposed.  He said he wasn’t happy with them, and I told him that we have been very clear from the outset that we want Russia to take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine, but so far at least, Russia has failed to take that path.  Instead, it has continued to violate Ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists.  It has also failed to use its influence to press the separatists to abide by a cease-fire.  That’s why, together with our allies, we’ve imposed growing costs on Russia.

So now is, I think, a somber and appropriate time for all of us to step back and take a hard look at what has happened.  Violence and conflict inevitably lead to unforeseen consequences.  Russia, these separatists, and Ukraine all have the capacity to put an end to the fighting.  Meanwhile, the United States is going to continue to lead efforts within the world community to de-escalate the situation; to stand up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine; and to support the people of Ukraine as they courageously work to strengthen their democracy and make their own decisions about how they should move forward.

Before I take just a couple of questions let me remark on one other issue.  This morning, I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel about the situation in Gaza.  We discussed Israel’s military operation in Gaza, including its efforts to stop the threat of terrorist infiltration through tunnels into Israel.  I reaffirmed my strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself.  No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders, or terrorists tunneling into its territory.  In fact, while I was having the conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, sirens went off in Tel Aviv.

I also made clear that the United States, and our friends and allies, are deeply concerned about the risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life.  And that’s why we’ve indicated, although we support military efforts by the Israelis to make sure that rockets are not being fired into their territory, we also have said that our understanding is the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels, and we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and that all of us are working hard to return to the cease-fire that was reached in November of 2012.

Secretary Kerry is working to support Egypt’s initiative to pursue that outcome.  I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that John is prepared to travel to the region following additional consultations.

Let me close by making one additional comment.  On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, there were apparently nearly 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV.  These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence.

In this world today, we shouldn’t forget that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are people like these — people who are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed; people who are focused on how they can help people that they’ve never met; people who define themselves not by what makes them different from other people but by the humanity that we hold in common.  It’s important for us to lift them up and to affirm their lives.  And it’s time for us to heed their example.

The United States of America is going to continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose; that nations have the right to determine their own destiny; and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community stands on the side of justice and on the side of truth.

So with that, let me take just a couple questions.  I’ll start with you, Julie.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Just on a technical matter, does the U.S. believe that this passenger jet was targeted, or that those people who shot it down may have been going after a military — thought they were going after a military aircraft?  And more broadly, this incident does seem to escalate the crisis in Ukraine to a level we haven’t seen before.  Does that change your calculus in terms of what the U.S. and perhaps Europe should be doing in terms of a response?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it’s too early for us to be able to guess what the intentions of those who might have launched this surface-to-air missile might have had.  The investigation is going to be ongoing, and I think what we’ll see is additional information surfacing over the next 24 hours, 72 hours, the next week, the next month.

What we know right now, what we have confidence in saying right now is that a surface-to-air missile was fired and that’s what brought the jet down.  We know — or we have confidence in saying that that shot was taken within a territory that is controlled by the Russian separatists.

But I think it’s very important for us to make sure that we don’t get out ahead of the facts.  And at this point, in terms of identifying specifically what individual or group of individuals or personnel ordered the strike, how it came about, those are things that I think are still going to be subject to additional information that we’re going to be gathering.  And we’re working with the entire international community to make sure that the focus is on getting to the bottom of this thing and being truthful.

And my concern is obviously that there’s been a lot of misinformation generated in eastern Ukraine generally.  This should snap everybody’s heads to attention and make sure that we don’t have time for propaganda, we don’t have time for games.  We need to know exactly what happened.  And everybody needs to make sure that we’re holding accountable those who committed this outrage.

With respect to the second question, as you’re aware, before this terrible incident happened we had already ratcheted up sanctions against Russia.  And I think the concern not just of Russian officials but of the markets about the impact that this could have on the Russian economy is there for all to see.

I made clear to President Putin that our preferred path is to resolve this diplomatically.  But that means that he and the Russian government have to make a strategic decision:  Are they going to continue to support violent separatists whose intent is to undermine the government of Ukraine?  Or are they prepared to work with the government of Ukraine to arrive at a cease-fire and a peace that takes into account the interests of all Ukrainians?

There has been some improved language at times over the last month coming from the Kremlin and coming from President Putin, but what we have not seen is an actual transition and different actions that would give us confidence that that’s the direction that they want to take.

And we will continue to make clear that as Russia engages in efforts that are supporting the separatists, that we have the capacity to increase the costs that we impose on them.  And we will do so.  Not because we’re interested in hurting Russia for the sake of hurting Russia, but because we believe in standing up for the basic principle that a country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has to be respected, and it is not the United States or Russia or Germany or any other country that should be deciding what happens in that country.

Q    At this point do you see any U.S. military role that could be effective?

THE PRESIDENT:  We don’t see a U.S. military role beyond what we’ve already been doing in working with our NATO partners and some of the Baltic States, giving them reassurances that we are prepared to do whatever is required to meet our alliance obligations.

Steve Holland.

Q    Sir, thank you.  How much blame for this do you put on President Putin?  And will you use this incident now to push the Europeans for stronger action?

THE PRESIDENT:  We don’t exactly know what happened yet, and I don’t want to, as I said before, get out ahead of the facts.  But what I do know is, is that we have seen a ticking up of violence in eastern Ukraine that, despite the efforts of the Ukrainian government to abide by a cease-fire and to reach out and agree to negotiations, including with the separatists, that has been rebuffed by these separatists.  We know that they are heavily armed and that they are trained.  And we know that that’s not an accident.  That is happening because of Russian support.

So it is not possible for these separatists to function the way they’re functioning, to have the equipment that they have — set aside what’s happened with respect to the Malaysian Airlines — a group of separatists can’t shoot down military transport planes or, they claim, shoot down fighter jets without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training.  And that is coming from Russia.

So we don’t yet know exactly what happened with respect to the Malaysian Airlines, although obviously we’re beginning to draw some conclusions given the nature of the shot that was fired.  There are only certain types of anti-aircraft missiles that can reach up 30,000 feet and shoot down a passenger jet.  We have increasing confidence that it came from areas controlled by the separatists.  But without having a definitive judgment on those issues yet, what we do know is, is that the violence that’s taking place there is facilitated in part — in large part — because of Russian support.  And they have the ability to move those separatists in a different direction.

If Mr. Putin makes a decision that we are not going to allow heavy armaments and the flow of fighters into Ukraine across the Ukrainian-Russian border, then it will stop.  And if it stops, then the separatists will still have the capacity to enter into negotiations and try to arrive at the sort of political accommodations that Mr. Putin himself says he wants to see.  He has the most control over that situation, and so far, at least, he has not exercised it.

Q    Tougher sanctions in Europe — will you push for them?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think that this certainly will be a wake-up call for Europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine; that it is not going to be localized, it is not going to be contained.  What we’ve seen here is — just in one country alone, our great allies, the Dutch, 150 or more of their citizens being killed.  And that, I think, sadly brings home the degree to which the stakes are high for Europe, not simply for the Ukrainian people, and that we have to be firm in our resolve in making sure that we are supporting Ukraine in its efforts to bring about a just cease-fire and that we can move towards a political solution to this.

I’m going to make this the last question.  Lisa Lerer, Bloomberg.

Q    Do we know yet if there were other Americans on board beyond the person you mentioned?  And how do you prevent stricter restrictions, economic sanctions from shocking the global economy and —

THE PRESIDENT:  We have been pretty methodical over the last 24 hours in working through the flight manifest and identifying which passengers might have had a U.S. passport.  At this point, the individual that I mentioned is the sole person that we can definitively say was a U.S. or dual citizen.

Because events are moving so quickly, I don’t want to say with absolute certainty that there might not be additional Americans, but at this stage, having worked through the list, been in contact with the Malaysian government, which processed the passports as folks were boarding, this is our best assessment of the number of Americans that were killed.  Obviously that does nothing to lessen our outrage about all those families.  Regardless of nationality, it is a heartbreaking event.

With respect to the effect of sanctions on the economy, we have consistently tried to tailor these sanctions in ways that would have an impact on Russia, on their economy, on their institutions or individuals that are aiding and abetting in the activities that are taking place in eastern Ukraine, while minimizing the impacts on not only the U.S. economy but the global economy.

It is a relevant consideration that we have to keep in mind.  The world economy is integrated; Russia is a large economy; there’s a lot of financial flows between Russia and the rest of the world.  But we feel confident that at this point the sanctions that we’ve put in place are imposing a cost on Russia, that their overall impact on the global economy is minimal.  It is something that we have to obviously pay close attention to, but I think Treasury, in consultation with our European partners, have done a good job so far on that issue.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Kirk Calls for Additional Pressure on Russia

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Kirk Calls for Additional Pressure on Russia
Sector-Wide Sanctions Would Further Squeeze Russian Economy

Advanced Missile That Took Down MH17 Was Launched from Pro-Russian Rebel Territory

CHICAGO, IL - U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) called for the Administration to impose hard-hitting, sector-wide sanctions against the Russian energy and financial sectors following the attack of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 yesterday over Eastern Ukraine. 298 individuals, including at least one U.S. citizen, lost their lives and pro-Russian separatists are believed to have perpetrated the attack using an advanced, surface-to-air Russian missile system.

Tougher sanctions must be implemented if Russia continues to coordinate with separatists in Ukraine and refuse a ceasefire. Senator Kirk spoke with CNN anchor John Berman this morning regarding the tragedy:
Background:
  • Senator Kirk and 37 GOP Senators sent a letter to President Obama on March 26, 2014, requesting that any plans to share sensitive missile and defense information be canceled immediately, which can be read here.
  • Russia, like Iran, is a petrostate heavily dependent on energy revenues to prop up its economy.
  • In 2012, 52% of Russia’s budget was represented by oil and gas revenues.
  • On May 14, 2014, Senator Kirk penned an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times calling for more aggressive sanctions against the Russian government, similar to sanctions in place against the Iranian regime.
  • As part of the Russian Aggression Prevention Act, S. 2277, which Senator Kirk cosponsored, Republicans already outlined the next steps, which should include:
    • Cut all senior Russian officials, their companies, and their supporters off from the world’s financial system.
    • Target any Russian entities owned by the Russian government or sanctioned individuals across the arms, defense, energy, financial services, metals, or mining sectors in Russia.
    • Ban Russian banks from the U.S. banking system.

Simon launches virtual legal clinic in Danville

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Simon launches virtual legal clinic in Danville

Honors human service provider in Decatur

DANVILLE, IL — Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited a Danville human services agency to launch her latest Virtual Legal Clinic, a program that helps downstate domestic violence survivors access free legal counsel.

“Domestic abuse knows no economic, social, or geographic boundaries. Yet, in many areas of Illinois, domestic violence survivors have limited access to family law practices that can help them,” Simon said. “That’s where the Virtual Legal Clinic comes in, providing free, confidential consultation to survivors in areas where that specialized counsel is in shorter supply.”

Simon joined advocates at Crosspoint Human Services to demonstrate how domestic violence survivors in underserved communities can receive free legal consult from lawyers in urban areas online with a webcam. The program fills a gap in legal services in rural areas, Simon said.

Nearly 40 percent of Illinois women will experience domestic violence by an intimate partner, but there are 47 counties in Illinois with no attorneys practicing family law. An additional 33 counties have five or fewer attorneys practicing family law.

Simon spoke via Skype with volunteer attorneys Mark Nabong of Chicago and Lucinda Bugden of Rockford about why they volunteer their time and expertise to help domestic violence survivors through the clinic. They have helped clients navigate topics including child custody and visitation, marriage and divorce, elder abuse, immigration and property issues.

“The VLC is important because survivors are at a significant disadvantage if they can’t hire a lawyer,” Bugden said. “They need to understand their rights and the law. That way, when they go before a judge, they are more likely to prevail.”

The Virtual Legal Clinic is piloted by Simon’s office and the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. As of July 2014, it serves 20 counties, with growth projected into 40 counties by 2015, thanks to a $100,000 grant from Verizon Wireless. Clinics in Danville and Charleston came online this summer.

Earlier Friday, Simon delivered remarks at the Decatur Macon County Opportunities Corporation (DMCOC) ribbon-cutting ceremony on the 33rd anniversary of their headquarters’ opening. Simon honored the organization for its 50 years of helping children, seniors and residents.

The DMCOC administers Head Start, a program that provides education to 3 and 4 year-olds in preparation for kindergarten. The program serves as many as 350 children each year and operates out of two school buildings, said Robert Archer, DMCOC’s fiscal officer.

The organization is also active in allocating Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding and runs a nutritional assistance program for seniors.

Have Black Girls Been Overlooked: Why Are Only 18 Percent of Black Females Proficient in Reading?

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Have Black Girls Been Overlooked: Why Are Only 18 Percent of Black Females Proficient in Reading?
By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Why?
Why Are 40 Percent of Black Females Dropping Out?

By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Why has America and the Black community been silent about this epidemic? We hear so much about the 47 percent dropout rate among Black males, but I believe a 40 percent dropout rate among Black females is outrageous and unacceptable. Black males may be on life support, but Black females are in critical condition.What are the factors causing so many Black girls to leave school? Could one factor be that only 18 percent of Black girls by eighth grade are proficient in reading? Could another factor be that only 13 percent are proficient in math by eighth grade? What about the fact that 21 percent of Black girls are retained at least once? How does retention affect the psyche of Black girls?

What effect does Black girls’ suspension rate of 12 percent have on their dropout rate? Black girls’ pregnancy rate had been considered a factor in their dropout rate. But then in-school and alternative school programs emerged.

Are these programs succeeding at helping young Black mothers join the ranks of college students?

Are some schools hostile environments for Black girls? Do schools like Black girls? Do they respect Black females? Do they understand and appreciate Black female culture? Do they appreciate Black females’ hairstyles? Do they encourage Black female expression? Are Black females dropping out or being pushed out? Why are so many suspended Black females being moved to the juvenile justice system? Black girls should be treated like students, not criminals.

When Black girls encounter hostile, unrewarding school environments, what awaits them if they drop out? What is their likely short- and long-term future? Can they access highly paid jobs? How will they acquire skills for jobs? How will they access housing in safe, multi-functional communities?  What means will they have for establishing their own businesses, accumulating a financial portfolio and building toward their retirement years?

Black females are crying out for help. So much attention is being given to our males while our girls are being overlooked. Black girls need more Black female teachers. They need all teachers to give them higher expectations. They need schools to treat them fairly. Their suspension and dropout rates are four times greater than those of White girls. Black girls need Black female mentors. They need to be taught the beauty of their history. They need an education that embraces all determined efforts to keep Black girls in school, including: mediation, schools that feature alternative learning styles and STEM careers, all-girl schools that demonstrate high success rates of graduation and college entrance,and a change in school culture. Black females need to be encouraged not to drop out.

These issues and more are discussed in my latest book, Educating Black Girls.

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu is the author of more than 30 books including the national best sellers Raising Black Boys and Understanding Black Male Learning Styles. He has been a guest speaker at many universities and has been a consultant at most urban school districts. His work has been featured in Ebony and Essence magazine, and he has been a guest on BET and Oprah.

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson

Charlotte, NC (BlackNews.com) — Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a business executive, was installed as the 2014-2018 International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA), an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African-American college-educated women. Alpha Kappa Alpha is comprised of more than 265,000 members in approximately 986 graduate and undergraduate chapters in the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Africa.

She was sworn in during a ceremony culminating the Sororitys weeklong international convention held in Charlotte from July 12 – July 18. The installation took place at the Charlotte Convention Center before thousands of Alpha Kappa Alpha members, dignitaries, and loved ones.

In ascending to the Sororitys chief leadership position, Buckhanan Wilson makes history as the only member to serve four consecutive terms on its international board of directors.

I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to lead Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Its membership includes distinguished women who boast excellent academic records, proven leadership skills, and involvement in their local communities through advocacy and service. Over the next four years, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will deliver an unprecedented amount of high impact, hands-on service programs in our local communities, said Buckhanan Wilson.

As the 29th woman to lead the 106-year-old organization, Buckhanan Wilson will guide policy, develop programs and set the leadership tone for Alpha Kappa Alpha members and chapters worldwide.

Professionally, Buckhanan Wilson is a Senior Vice President at Goodwill Industries, where she is responsible for a $25 million dollar enterprise in southeastern Wisconsin and metropolitan Chicago. With more than 60,000 people served and 400 employees, she is one of the most senior officials at the largest Goodwill affiliate in the world. She has been a corporate leader for more than three decades, enjoying a distinguished career with companies such as the Xerox Corporation and S. C. Johnson Wax, where she was a marketing executive and the first African-American and one of youngest women promoted to brand manager.

Her service in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority began when she was initiated in 1978 at Benedict College, a historically black college and university in Columba, South Carolina. She rose along the ranks from chapter president to Central Regional Director, International Secretary, International First Vice President and now International President. She has also served as Secretary and First Vice President of the Housing Foundation and the Educational Advancement Foundation, which awards more than $100,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

An Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Life Member, she was the chartering president of Upsilon Mu Omega Chapter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and later organized the chapters nonprofit Diamond Jubilee Pearls Foundation.

In addition to her years of service to the sorority, Buckhanan Wilson is a member of The Links, Inc., the National Council of Negro Women and the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.

Buckhanan Wilson holds an MBA from Clark Atlanta University and graduated with honors from Benedict College, where she received a bachelors degree in business administration and economics. She has two children: daughter Courtney Renee, a 2014 Spelman College graduate and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and son Quinton Charles, a Hampton University senior.
About Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated:
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) is an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African-American college-educated women. Alpha Kappa Alpha is comprised of more than 265,000 members in approximately 986 graduate and undergraduate chapters in the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Africa. Led by International President Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is often hailed as Americas premier Greek-letter organization for African American women. For more information on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and its programs, log onto www.aka1908.com.

Photo: Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson
Credit: Powell Photography, Inc.


Prosecutors Secure Conviction in Suburban Human Trafficking Case

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Prosecutors Secure Conviction in Suburban Human Trafficking Case

Three Schiller Park residents charged last year with running a suburban prostitution ring that used drugs and violence to force vulnerable women into a life of prostitution have pled guilty in the case, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Keith Williams, 53, who also goes by the street name “Shampoo,” pled guilty to Involuntary Servitude (Class X felony) and was sentenced to 8 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Roman Kurek, 51, and Sylvia Topolewski, 38, each pled guilty to Promoting Prostitution (Class 4 felony). Kurek was sentenced to 3 years in the Illinois Department of Correction while Topolewski is awaiting sentencing, pending a pre-sentencing investigation.

The case was the result of a long-term joint undercover investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative, the Schiller Park Police Department and the Illinois State Police.  According to Alvarez, the investigation began in May of 2012, after Schiller Park Police developed initial information of possible drug activity and prostitution taking place at Williams’ Schiller Park residence.

According to prosecutors, Williams targeted and recruited vulnerable women, most of whom he met on the street who were poor or homeless.  He then brought them to live at the Schiller Park residence where they were hooked-on and provided with powerful narcotics, and thereafter forced to engage in prostitution on a daily basis, either on the street or through meetings arranged on the Internet or by telephone.

According to prosecutors, Kurek was responsible for driving the women to and from the Schiller Park residence to other locations for sex-trafficking.  Topolewski monitored the women for Williams providing them with heroin and crack cocaine two to three times every day in order to sustain their addictions under the control of the defendant.

The women were routinely beaten and randomly assaulted by Williams, who would punish them for so-called “bad behavior” with severe beatings or by withholding food or drugs.  Prosecutors said in some cases Williams would beat them, urinate on them and leave them for days without food as they became increasingly “dope sick” from drug withdrawal.

The case was handled by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative Unit, which works in partnership with law enforcement agencies to combat the problem of domestic human trafficking.  The State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit has designated prosecutors who are working with law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level to conduct long-term and proactive investigations.  The office is also working in partnership with social service providers to assist law enforcement and help provide services for children or others who become the victims of human trafficking.

Williams and Kurek pled guilty today while Topolewski pled guilty yesterday (July 17).  Both hearings were held before Cook County Judge Thomas Fecarotta at the Rolling Meadows Courthouse.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Brigid Brown and Mary Anna Planey, as well as the Schiller Park Police Department, and the Illinois State Police for their work on the case.

Hundreds of Thousands Can’t Bathe or Brush Their Teeth – Tell Detroit to Give Its People Their Water Back!

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Hundreds of Thousands Can’t Bathe or Brush Their Teeth – Tell Detroit to Give Its People Their Water Back!
Care2 Petitionsite Action Alert
action alert!
The city of Detroit, Michigan has abandoned its poorest citizens without access to water, often with no warning. We have to stand against this human rights violation.
Please sign the petition today! Detroit: Give Citizens Their Water Back

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Imagine waking up one morning and not being able to bathe, brush your teeth or even flush the toilet. There is no way to wash clothing or dishes; in the heat of the summer, your tap has run dry. And this continues for days — even weeks. It sounds like a nightmare, but for hundreds of thousands of Detroit residents, it’s a reality they can’t wake up from.

Last month, the city of Detroit began shutting off water without warning to houses who allegedly hadn’t paid their bills. But the price of water in the city has skyrocketed in recent years; over the course of the past decade, the monthly price for water has nearly doubled. This has left many of its poorest families unable to foot the extraordinary price, trapping them in a cycle the city has refused to help with.

To ma ke matters worse, mainstream media has found that leaky pipes have driven that price up even higher as gallons of water flood into unused houses or into the ground.

Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a human right; in the United States, it shouldn’t even be a question. But Detroit has abandoned its residents, many of them children or senior citizens, without that basic necessity.

This abysmal violation of justice must not continue. Tell Detroit to give its people their water back!

Kathleen
Thank you for taking action,

Kathleen J.
Care2 and ThePetitionSi

Grayslake Man Honored as Illinois Veteran of the Month

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Grayslake Man Honored as Illinois Veteran of the Month

CHICAGO, IL – Robert Krautstrunk joined the Navy in January, 1944 and served as a Radioman 2nd Class in the waning days of World War II on the USS Requin (SS 481).  While the Requin (ray-quin) was on its first combat patrol in the Sea of Japan when the war ended, for Krautstrunk, it was the start of a lifetime of service, accomplishments, and making a difference in his community.

“Bob Krautstrunk’s contributions to his community, his fellow veterans and our country are clear,” said Rodrigo Garcia, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “He volunteered for the Submarine Force in WWII, and once back home as a veteran, he was a business leader, entrepreneur, and a volunteer, making his community a better place.  He is a great example of how our veterans continue to serve and make a difference.”

The Requin was a Tench-class submarine and the only ship of the U.S. Navy to be named after the requin, a sand shark.  As a “plank-holder” on the Requin, Krautstrunk was a member of the initial crew who took the boat from its commissioning in April 1945 to combat patrol duty in the Pacific just as the Japanese surrendered, ending World War II.  He received his honorable discharge in May 1946 and returned to Chicago.

After discharge, he returned to his Bell & Howell job until hired by the Hawthorn-Mellody Dairy as a home delivery milkman in 1950.  In 1976 he left Hawthorn-Mellody as the President and General Manager of the Chicago Divisions, and entered into grocery store ownership that included Cary Finer Foods and Fairway Foods, and retired in 1990.

Krautstrunk also served his community through a wide variety of roles, including public speaking, more than 1,500 hospital and homeless shelter volunteer hours with Holy Family Hospital, five years coaching Little and PONY League teams, as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, completing handy-man projects for the Trinity Lutheran Church of Des Plaines, supporting the Food Pantry of Grayslake, and he was active in the Stephens’ Ministry Group.  His leadership and service in the veteran community included service as the State Commander, Submarine Veterans of WWII (SVWWII), organizer of community Memorial Day and memorial service events, and as a charitable donation coordinator to the Chicago Cubs, Bears and White Sox on behalf of the SVWWII.

Ruth, his wife of 68 years, and their children – Kent Krautstrunk and Gale Burke – attended the ceremony, in addition to friends, supporters and fellow veterans.   He was nominated for this recognition by Gene Weisbecker, the President, Submarine Veterans of WWII Greater Chicago Chapter.

He was honored at a mid-day gathering of the SVWWII Greater Chicago Chapter by IDVA Acting Director Garcia.  The meeting took place at the Silver Stallion Restaurant, Des Plaines, IL, today and was attended by more than 50 other veterans and community members.  During the ceremony Krautstrunk thanked and acknowledged his wife Ruth “…of almost 69 years…” for her support, his children and his fellow veterans as well.

About Veteran of the Month Program


The Illinois Veteran of the Month award highlights the work of great people who are also military veterans. Each month the Department recognizes a different person or group that contributes to communities across the state of Illinois. To nominate a veteran for consideration, please visit IDVA’s website at veterans.illinois.gov to obtain guidelines and a nomination form.

Hollywood Producers, Directors, & Industry Executives Give Back to the Entertainment Industry

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Hollywood Producers, Directors, & Industry Executives Give Back to the Entertainment Industry


Hollywood, CA (BlackNews.com) — Bro. Steve Enterprises along with American Family Media of Hollywood presents the ultimate exclusive INSIDE HOLLYWOOD ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY BOOTCAMP, coming to Hollywood, California in July 2014.

This intense boot camp will take place July 17-19th, 2014 at the Garland Hotel in Studio City, CA, moments away from Universal Studios. For 3 days, 13 hours a day, attendees will experience a boot camp conference like no other.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network and connect up close and personal with some of the Hollywoods finest elite legends, producers, executives and decision makers of the industry. This boot camp will be exclusive, intimate and set for under 50 attendees. Featured speakers will include representative and friends from ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Disney, MTV, the Grammys, the Oscars, Americas Got Talent, and various production and casting companies in Hollywood. This conference will deliver over 210 years of combined experience of industry professionals. As a special bonus, attendees will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and witness Hollywood in action at one of the biggest motion picture studios in the world. As a second bonus, every conference attendee will receive a 4 day vacation get away to Las Vegas and Hawaii, just for registering for the conference.

Attendees will learn radio, television, film, production, retail, distribution, marketing, social media, public relations, casting, acting, funding, reality shows, voice overs, animation, film scoring, music for television, self motivation, sales, and more.

This conference is like 5 entertainment conferences all wrapped up into one over 3 days. We call it the Pay it Forward Event of the year. This is where executives have the chance to give back, and help open the door for others coming up the ranks, says Dr. Steve Harris, conference co-chairman. No registration lines, no boring sessions, no speakers running out of the side door. The boot camp promises to deliver the facts not the fluff. Every attendee will have the opportunity to present and share their visions and dreams to the conference as well.

As a special feature on Saturday night, the conference will host the kick off event for The Hollywood Gospel Film Festival. Faith based filmmakers will have the opportunity to showcase and screen their film shorts in front of some of Hollywoods elite film executives, studio decision makers, and guest live at the luxurious Garland Theater on location at the boot camp.

Sponsors and corporations will have an exclusive opportunity to share their products and services to some of the most intelligent up and coming persons of our day. A portion of the proceeds from sponsorships and the boot camp will be given to a food distribution program in the San Fernando Valley, a media and entertainment scholarship fund at Kent State University and South Africa, and also members of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A detailed listing of classes and speakers will be released at a later date on the site.

Its your big break in the entertainment business youve been waiting for. Save the dates, text, tweet and share with your friends. Seating for the boot camp is limited and once all slots are filled registration will be closed. For more information, visit www.SurvivingHollywoodTV.com.

For sponsorship, group rate or media inquires, contact Cordell Stevens at AmericanFamilyMedia@me.com or call (888) 998-4677.

Nelson Mandela was a “…Personal hero of mine and countless others…” – President Obama on Nelson Mandela International Day

Posted by Admin On July - 19 - 2014 Comments Off on Nelson Mandela was a “…Personal hero of mine and countless others…” – President Obama on Nelson Mandela International Day

Today I join people around the world in celebrating Nelson Mandela International Day.  A personal hero of mine and of countless others, Nelson Mandela was one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly decent human beings to grace the earth.  A dignified warrior for justice and equality, he caused us to believe in the promise of a better world.  Today – Madiba’s birthday – is the first time we have marked this occasion since he left this world late last year, but his impact on our lives remains palpable and his inspiration endures.  A humble and committed public servant, Madiba said this day was not to be a holiday, but one devoted to service. It was his hope that people would dedicate their time and effort to improve the conditions within their community, stating there “can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.”  We may never see the likes of Madiba again, but we can honor and emulate him by taking time today, and all other days, to engage in acts of service.

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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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