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WASHINGTON, D.C. – CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) issued the following statement after CBC ...
By Chinta Strausberg    It was a peep back perhaps in the 1960’s when students led the ...
San Diego, CA (BlackNews.com) -- The Heartbeat Music Academy, located in San Diego, California, was ...
Everything's alright: Paramount Theatre presents Jesus Christ Superstar April 19 - May 28   ...
  Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) -- Actress Ella Joyce, remembered for her co-starring role of Eleanor ...
By Marc Morial President & CEO, National Urban League On behalf of the National Urban League, I ...
 The Cook County State’s Attorney's Office has been chosen as one of only four governmental ...
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 10:08 P.M. EST President Barack Obama:  As you know, a few ...
(From the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression)   Armando  Serrano   and Jose Montanez will have ...
The petition to Congress reads: "The Supreme Court’s Shelby County vs. Holder decision completely gutted the ...

Archive for August 23rd, 2014

‘This is Not the America We Want For Our Children’ – La June Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, on Ferguson, Missouri

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Statement on Ferguson, Missouri

From La June Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO,
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN -The Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, has once again focused attention on an unarmed person of color losing his life in a situation that certainly appears should have been avoidable. This has become an all too familiar scenario in America. The deaths of Fong Lee, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and countless others, demonstrate that the law enforcement and justice systems in our nation are broken, and must be immediately addressed.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) is saddened by this tragic loss of young lives, and also by the reaction – violence and looting by some protesters and the heavy-handed response from some authorities, scenes that have brought back visions of the 1960’s when civil rights activists were met with force in the streets.

This is not the America that we want for our children.

WKKF is working to create conditions where vulnerable children of all races can thrive and be successful. Since the birth of our nation, racial privilege and structural inequities have influenced the nation’s policies and social systems, from justice and law enforcement to healthcare, education and child welfare and other facets of everyday life. In America, those who differ from the majority because of race, color, sexual orientation, religion, gender, weight and other characteristics face a deluge of outright discrimination and unconscious bias.

As the nation addresses the system failures that have contributed to the deaths of Brown and the others, we must also acknowledge the role that racism plays in these tragedies. WKKF believes that racial healing must be a major component of the prescription that takes our nation on a course toward equality and justice for all. Our America Healing initiative has been helping communities bridge their racial divides and move forward together. We will continue those efforts through our grantees across the country. For instance, the Advancement Project works to end the “schoolhouse to jailhouse” track and has been instrumental in addressing the vast racial disparities in discipline at the nation’s public schools. In Mississippi, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation is bringing diverse communities together with programs such as the one that makes civil rights and human rights curriculum available for all students. And in Chicago, the North Lawndale Employment Network helps formerly incarcerated individuals transcend labels and stereotypes to become productive members of their local communities.

WKKF proudly supports the work of Phillip Atiba Goff, Ph.D., president
of the Center for Policing Equity, who is at the forefront in helping police departments understand how their officers’ unconscious biases can affect their police work and their attitudes toward the people they serve.

We want our law enforcement authorities to better understand that just because someone is of a different race, gender or sexual orientation, it doesn’t make them a criminal; it doesn’t give a license to end the life of an unarmed man or woman.

WKKF is a partner in the Executive Alliance, a collaboration of some 40-plus foundations focused on changing conditions for young men of color, and by extension, young women of color. These partnerships are important components of change. We must have communities working together with law enforcement, but that only comes when there is trust from both sides. We don’t have that today.

We can have the America that we envision. But it will take work from all of us. And it will take healing.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create the conditions where vulnerable children can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

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

Justice for Michael Brown

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
By Marc Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League

The events that have unfolded and continue to unfold in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown are nothing short of tragic. Yet, even in the midst of what I have called the most poorly handled situation I have ever witnessed, I must acknowledge a few beacons of light – notably the leadership and efforts of the St. Louis Urban League and its CEO, Michael McMillan, and the Urban League Movement across the nation.

Working with a coalition including NAN, NAACP, ministers, and other national and local leaders on a daily basis, the National Urban League and Urban Leaguers from coast to coast have been fully engaged on the ground, online and on pushing for legislation and other actions aimed at repairing, rebuilding and healing the formidable chasms and deep-rooted tensions in a community that has gained international fame for all of the wrong reasons – and in other communities like it.

From our uncompromising position on calling for the arrest, charge and indictment of Officer Darren Wilson to the local community efforts of the St. Louis Urban League, we are indefatigable on this issue. Our collective efforts include having a strong presence at demonstrations and observances including the Peace March, youth rallies, prayer vigils and moments of silence; attending meetings with Governor Nixon; soliciting donations for the Mike Brown Fund to assist with the family’s funeral, legal and other expenses; supporting coalitions providing hot meals, groceries, toiletries and other resources to the people of Ferguson and the surrounding communities; joining efforts to provide immediate relief to small businesses that were impacted by the looting and rioting and schools that need resources; and determining resources that can be allocated to fix the systemic, long-term issues that created an environment ripe for these occurrences.

At a national and local level, the Urban League is committed to justice for Michael Brown and his family and to addressing the challenges of the “Ferguson-like” cities and communities across the nation. We will not stop – until the killing does.

Another Reason We Need a Special Prosecutor

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

From the NAACP

Last night, Governor Nixon said he will not appoint a special prosecutor to lead a transparent investigation into Michael Brown’s shooting.

We cannot let this decision stand. Tweet Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster, and ask them why they won’t support justice and transparency right away.

It’s been 13 days since Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, and we still have an investigation being led by a man with personal, family, and professional ties to a local police department that has repeatedly failed its community. And the presiding prosecutor has not demonstrated a commitment to resolving previous civil rights complaints. There is nothing full and transparent about this process.

Send your tweet to Governor Nixon and A.G. Koster right now:

http://action.naacp.org/still-need-a-special-prosecutor

Thank you,

NAACP

Pfleger says Murder of 9-Year-Old Boy was an ‘Execution’, $13,500 Reward is a ‘Bounty’

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Smith’s dad: “End Code of Silence”

By Chinta Strausberg

With a $13,500 “bounty” on the head of the person who killed 9-year-old Antonio Smith, Father Michael L.Pfleger Thursday called on the community to help in identifying the shooter he said executed the child whose body was found in a backyard of a building located in the 1200 block of 71st Street in the Grand Crossing area.

Ironically,  the scene of the crime was 71st Street that bears the honorary name of Emmett Till,the 14-year-old young man from Chicago who was kidnapped from his grandfather’s Money, Mississippi home in the middle of the night by several white men, beaten, shot for allegedly whistling at one of their wives. They dumped his body in the Tallahatchie River. His murder sparked the Civil Rights movement.

Father Pfleger, who said they gathered to express their “outrage” over the murder of Smith and that he wants a “movement” to turn in the killers who are preying on children, announced that the reward for the arrest of the murderer has increased to $13,500 from $6,000. Saint Sabina donated $5,000, Pastor Ira Acree, $2,000, Pastor Cory Brooks, $5000, community activist Andrew Holmes gave $1,000, Bamani Obadele donated $500, “Let’s be clear,” Pfleger said, “It’s a bounty.”

“Turn in who ever did this. Who ever made this hit and decided you were going to use a 9-year-old boy as a pawn; well when you struck him, you struck every one of us and you’ll have to deal with every one of us,” Pfleger.

At the press conference, Father Pfleger was joined by: Brandi Murry, the mother of Antonio Smith, his father, Kawada Hodges, Wilma Walker, the aunt of Smith and her nephew, Cody Neusom, a cousin of Smith, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), Pastor Ira Acree from Greater St. John Bible Church, activists Andrew Holmes and Camiella D. Williams, Officer Richard Wooten, Rev. Flynn Rush, the son of Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st),  Dawn Valenta, had her arm around Darien Winberly, who held up a sign saying, “I am Antonio Smith,” and many others.

Reflecting on his son’s murder, Hodges urged people to “speak up because that same person…could victimize you and your kids. Silence is what’s killing everybody. To not say you may as well held the gun on him, may have supplied the bullet” if they remain silent. “Hodges said the death of his son “hurts.”

Hairston called the murder of Smith “senseless. It makes no sense that we will not talk. It makes no sense that we don’t put the guns down…. It makes no sense to talk about it amongst our neighbors and exclude the police…. I am asking you…if you have information ”to come forward with the name of the shooter, said Hairston.

Saying they should be angry about the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police, Pfleger added, “We must be just as outraged at what happened to Antonio Smith here in Chicago on 71st Street because at the end of the day, it’s the same thing a young black boy dead because of somebody murdered him and we want you.”

“You cannot kill children….If you kill a child, you are a terrorist in our neighborhood…. We want you locked up because if you would kill a 9-year-old, you’ll kill anybody, anytime, anywhere. You have no boundaries. You have no soul,” said Pfleger. He said someone knows you shot Smith and urged them to turn him in.

While holding the hand of Smith’s mother, her niece, Dorothy Woods, said she is hurting. “It’s not a time to be angry and bitter…. I pray for the person who did this,” she said calling for people to pray for the children and for peace.

Breaking down in tears, Wilma Walker, the aunt of Smith and her nephew, Cody Neusom, 22, a cousin of Smith, told this reporter Smith was “a happy boy” whose nickname was “Hamburger” because that was his favorite food.  “He was a nice, playful kid…nothing derogatory about him. I’m more mad than sad because somebody knows who did this and nobody talks. It’s like the code of the streets. People ought to talk so this family can get some justice.”

Walker said, “My heart is broken. I’m angry. If you knew him, he was so full of life. He was such a playful, caring boy who loved his mother deeply. He was not out here in the streets in no gang. Our family is very close. When they took him away, they shattered this family. No matter how many babies be born in this family…,” she said crying, “He can never be replaced.”

Obadele, a father of five, said,  “This child was executed. No one should sleep at night in their bed knowing that the killer of this child is out here on the streets…. I’ll walk the streets day and night, but the person who did this ought to be found.”

After reading a condolence from Baltimore Guardian Angels, Holmes called the shooter “dysfunctional.” “If  anyone knows of anybody who took part of this modern day execution,” turn them in.

Pastor Acree called the murder of Smith “a travesty…an execution…. When I heard the manner in which this kid was killed, it brought tears to my eyes.” Acree said he and other ministers were going to get a van and go down to Ferguson, MO to protest the murder of Michael Brown by a policemen. However, after Smith’s death he said, “It’s a better investment to stay at home…and get this criminal off the streets. We want to make sure that people see there is outrage across the city…one city bleeding.”

Father Pfleger led scores of supporters throughout the neighborhood passing out flyers that announced the reward for the arrest of Smith’s killer.

Accompanying him was Rush, assistant pastor of Beloved Community Christian Church of God in Christ, who lost his brother, Huey Rich, 29, to gun violence in 1999, said, “I’m tired of this senseless killing. It’s horrendous. It’s time for a change for everyone to put the guns down….”

At the end of the press conference, a few friends and family members went over to the spot where young Smith was shot. They made a circle and prayed others just stared at the ground that has been adorned by flowers and flower pots, white balloons that were later released.

Sgt. Shawn McGavock, a detective with the Chicago Police Department, also urged people to identify the killer and turn him in. He urged them to call: 312.757.8380 with any tips.
Turn in who ever did this. Who ever made this hit and decided  you were going to use a 9-year-old boy as a pawn; well when you struck him, you struck every one of us and you’ll have to deal with every one of us,” Pfleger. To the right, Dorothy Woods, the aunt of the slain boy, wipes the face of his mother who cried throughout the press conference held late Thursday in the 1200 block of 71st St.  (All photos by Chinta Strausberg)Turn in who ever did this. Who ever made this hit and decided you were going to use a 9-year-old boy as a pawn; well when you struck him, you struck every one of us and you’ll have to deal with every one of us,” Pfleger. To the right, Dorothy Woods, the aunt of the slain boy, wipes the face of his mother who cried throughout the press conference held late Thursday in the 1200 block of 71st St. (Photo by Chinta Strausberg)

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

Chicago Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for 2009 Car Crash That Killed a Woman and Injured a 6-Year-Old Child

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

A Chicago man who plowed into and killed a woman and severely injured her young child as he fled from police after a traffic stop was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison today, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Ralph Eubanks, 35, who tested positive for various drugs in his system including cocaine and marijuana, killed Maria Worthon, 48, and critically injured her six-year-old son with his vehicle as he traveled at excessive speeds during the crash which occurred on Dec. 21, 2009.  Eubanks had previously been convicted by a Cook County jury on the counts of First Degree Murder, Aggravated DUI and Failure to Report to An Accident.

According to prosecutors, on the date of the murder Eubanks was driving without headlights in the area of Greenview and Howard on Chicago’s North Side.  Chicago Police officers observed the defendant and pulled him over.   The defendant stopped the vehicle but as the officer’s approached his car on foot, Eubanks fled the scene at a high rate of speed.

According to prosecutors, Eubanks was driving at approximately 70-80 miles per hour when he struck the victims with his car a few minutes later as they were walking together in a residential area near the 700 block of North Greenview.  Upon impact, Worthon’s body hit the windshield and she was thrown in the air, landing more than 100 feet from where she was initially hit by the defendant’s car.  She suffered massive fatal head injuries. The six year-old child sustained life threatening injuries including swelling on the brain, brain contusions, skull fractures, facial fractures and broken bones.  The victim continues to suffer seizures as a result of this incident.

Witnesses at the scene of the crash indicated to authorities that Eubanks never stopped the car and continued driving after he hit the victims.  As police continued the chase, Eubanks’ crashed his car into several parked cars and attempted to flee police on foot.  He was eventually taken into custody by police.  Upon his arrest, an analysis of the defendant’s blood tested positive for four drugs in his system including cocaine and marijuana.

Cook County Judge Timothy Joyce sentenced Eubanks to 30 years for First Degree Murder, 6 Years for Aggravated DUI, and 4 years for Failure to Report an Accident all to run consecutive for a total of 40 years in prison during a hearing today at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago.  Eubanks has been held in Cook County Jail without bond since the incident occurred in 2009.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Ashley Romito, Charise Valente and Patrick Keane as well as the Chicago Police Department for their work on this case.

Ferguson Shows Failed US Policy and the Black-White Housing Gap

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Ferguson Shows Failed US Policy and the Black-White Housing Gap

New America Media

By Andre F. Shashaty

On the surface, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., was about local police using deadly force on an unarmed young man. But on a deeper level, it reflected the increasing poverty and economic decline that affects ethnic communities all over America.

Despite rosy reports in the media about the end of the national foreclosure crisis and the recession that followed, all is not well in our inner cities and suburbs with largely minority populations, like Ferguson.

The foreclosure crisis was hard on many Americans, but it was a disaster for communities of color, including the citizens of Ferguson.

Half of Ferguson Homes Underwater

In the zip code that encompasses Ferguson, half (49 percent) of homes were underwater in 2013, meaning the home’s market value was below the mortgage’s outstanding balance. This condition (also called “negative equity”) is often a first step toward loan default or foreclosure, according to the recent report, “Underwater America,” from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mortgage lenders targeted predominantly black and Hispanic areas for the highest-risk, highest-cost types of mortgage loans, such as adjustable-rate mortgages and loans with high prepayment penalties. This led to higher-than-average default rates, according to the Housing Commission established by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

Many of the families that were sold risky mortgages had good credit, decent incomes and everything else necessary to qualify for traditional long-term, fixed-rate loans. Yet, they were not offered those kinds of loans, but instead “steered into exotic and costly mortgages they did not fully understand and could not afford,” the commission said.

This “deliberate targeting of minority areas for the sale of risky and expensive loans,” as the commission described it, wreaked havoc on the financial wellbeing of affected families and undermined the stability of entire neighborhoods.

African-American and Latino borrowers were almost twice as likely to have lost their homes to foreclosure as non-Hispanic whites, according to the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).

“Communities of color got the worst of everything. They were given the highest-risk, most expensive mortgages, they received the worst servicing from their mortgage lenders, and they have suffered the most damage from the nation’s long economic slump,” said Liz Ryan Murray, policy director for National People’s Action, a Chicago-based group that has been fighting against discriminatory home lending practices since the 1970s.

Black-White Housing Divide “Historic”

The homeownership rate for African-American households peaked at 49 percent in 2004, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies report, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2013.” The rate of black home ownership–with all the potential for upward mobility it offers–fell to 43.9 percent in 2012. The homeownership rate among white households declined during that time, too, but remained at 73.5 percent.

“The black-white gap [in homeownership rates] has reached historic proportions,” Harvard’s report said.

There has also been a powerfully negative ripple effect on other property owners who never had a problem making their mortgage payments but owned property near people who did. The losses in household wealth that resulted from foreclosures and abandonment of nearby properties have disproportionately hurt communities of color, according to many sources that have studied the issue.

In ethnic neighborhoods, the average decline in home prices from 2006 to 2013 was 26 percent, according to Harvard’s 2014 report. That’s roughly three times the decline experienced in white areas.

Nationwide, about 27 percent of homeowners in minority areas had negative equity compared to about 15 percent of owners in white areas.

Little Prospect for Recovery

Lower-income areas have little prospect for home prices to recover soon, or for businesses or banks to start reinvesting in hard-hit neighborhoods.

“In some communities with many foreclosed properties, the crisis threatens to doom the entire neighborhood to a cycle of disinvestment and decay,” according to Chicago’s Business and Professional People for the Public Interest.

Their report goes on, “A cluster of vacant properties can destabilize a block. A cluster of troubled blocks can destabilize a neighborhood. The costs are substantial.”

Cities affected the most by foreclosures can’t afford to do very much to stimulate new investment or buy and fix abandoned properties. In many cases, they can’t even afford to board up abandoned properties or clean up trash left by vagrants and vandals.

Adding to the impact of foreclosures is the ongoing economic slump and the high rate of black unemployment. As a consequence, poverty and the despair and anger that go with it, are increasing in suburbs like Ferguson.

Between 2000 and 2011, the impoverished population in suburbs grew by two-thirds—more than twice the rate of growth in cities, according to Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, a 2013 book from the Brookings Institution Press.

50 Years Since Watts

The year 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of an explosive series of urban events in American history. An August 1965 traffic arrest in South Central Los Angeles lit the fuse on one of the most devastating civil upheavals in American history.

African-American residents of the Watts section of Los Angeles rebelled against a mayor and a police force many considered to be racist. The fires and the violence raged for six days, resulting in 34 deaths and the destruction, damage or looting of 1,000 buildings.

After more rioting in 1966 and 1967, a presidential commission on urban problems was convened and Congress enacted programs to provide affordable housing and revitalize cities. In 1968, equal access to housing regardless of race became the law of the land.

To a very large extent, most of those programs worked as intended, improving conditions for millions of Americans, many of them ethnic families.

Unfortunately, the United States government’s commitment to housing and cities has waned in recent years. The decline in funding and elimination of certain key programs could not have come at a worse time. Meanwhile, there has been a powerful backlash among mostly white communities against federal legal initiatives to enforce the fair housing and fair lending laws.

The U.S. Congress has been fixated on budget cuts, and with a contentious election coming up, much of the progress made since the 1960s is in jeopardy. President Barack Obama’s 2015 proposed housing budget would restore some of the cuts in funding for housing programs made in recent years. However, even if Congress accepted his plan, it would not restore all the cuts or provide resources sufficient to address the nation’s housing and urban problems.

‘Arrested Progress’ Against Poverty

After the riots in 1965, 1966 and 1967, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (known as the Kerner Commission) issued a report saying, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal. Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans.”

Today, ethnic communities are suffering setbacks again. Even as our population is becoming more diverse, our communities are becoming more segregated and income inequality is increasing.

“Arrested progress in the fight against poverty and residential segregation has helped concentrate many African Americans in some of the least desirable housing in some of the lowest-resourced communities in America,” according to a 2013 report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

In addition to much higher poverty rates, African Americans suffer much more from the concentration of poverty. Nearly half (45 percent) of poor black children live in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty, but only one in eight low-income white children live in similar neighborhoods, EPI said.

If the recent trends continue, the unrest in Missouri may not be an isolated reaction to a tragic shooting, but a harbinger of things to come.

Andre Shashaty is president of the nonprofit Partnership for Sustainable Communities and author of the forthcoming book, Rebuilding a Dream: America’s New Urban Crisis, the Housing Cost Explosion, and How We Can Reinvent the American Dream for All.”

Photo: A local organizer in a town neighboring Ferguson, Mo., shows a typical “porch.” (Courtesy, Silicon Valley De-Bug.)

Better Business Bureau Warning: Flood Victims Beware

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Homeowners and businesses who suffered flood damage due to the extremely heavy rains in the area should be aware so that they do not become victims of unscrupulous contractors.

“There will be dishonest businesses that will exploit the situation and try to scam homeowners and businesses that are in need of making repairs,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “While there may be a sense of urgency, we encourage consumers and business owners to carefully consider repair contracts and not rush into making expensive decisions that can aggravate an already stressful time.”

The Better Business Bureau provides a FREE online service “Request a Quote” to find local BBB Accredited contractors you can trust at www.bbb.org

There are a number of things that should be taken into consideration if your home or business has been damaged due to the rains. The first step is to immediately contact your insurance agent to file a claim. For flood damage clean-up follow these tips:

  • Where possible, take photos of any water saturation. An insurance adjuster may need to see what’s been damaged in order to process your claim.
  • According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as soon as the majority of water is drained away, all wet items should be discarded or cleaned and thoroughly dried within 48 hours of flooding to prevent the growth of mold.

Where more extensive repair is needed:

  • Do research – contact the BBB before you hire a contractor and avoid businesses who come to your door with a good deal. Go to our website at www.bbb.org and consider using the BBB’s FREE online service called Request a Quote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.
  • Request bids from three or four different companies.
  • Base all bids on the same criteria.
  • Don’t automatically pick the lowest bid.
  • Do not give into demands to make excessively large down payments. And don’t make full payment until all the work is done to your satisfaction. BBB suggests that no more than one-third be paid up front.
  • Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.
  • Ask to see any required state or local permits or licenses.
  • Work with contractors who have a verifiable track record.
  • Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.
  • Get all estimates in writing.
  • Require a written contract with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Any promises made orally should be written into the contract, including warranties on materials or labor. Be sure their name, address, license number and phone number along with a start and end date for the work is included in contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety, don’t sign a blank contract and a copy of the signed contract is to be given to you at time of signature. Illinois law requires a written contract for any work costing more than $1000.
  • Be wary of “Storm Chasers” individuals who go door to door offering great deals on repair work. They often claim to have left-over materials from a job down the street. Check that they are local and have a permanent place of business.

For more tips on protecting yourself against a data breach, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Visions Of Light: Inspirational Poetry & Stunning Photography Fuse in Sense-Dazzling Literary Masterpiece

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
What started as an experiment for photographer Raymond J. Klein has since grown into a compelling collaboration with four local poets and a resulting book that is garnering critical acclaim. ‘Visions Of Light: Inspirational Poetry. Stunning Photography’ contains forty abstract photographs and interpretations of light scenes, each accompanied by uplifting and inspiring verse. It’s the first book of its kind and one that will have readers exploring light and its hidden metaphors like never before.

Vancouver, WA – When it comes to photography, Raymond J. Klein has always been an experimenter. From his early days playing with cameras in the U.S. Air Force to his embracement of the digital age, Klein has built a solid reputation for pushing the boundaries of the still image. His latest book, ‘Visions Of Light: Inspirational Poetry. Stunning Photography’, achieves this goal with gusto.

This powerful new 144-page edition boasts forty stunning images, both originals and those inspired by existing works that reveal the entire spectrum of light with all of its glorious colors, patterns and hidden messages within. Taking this quest for exploration one step further, Klein invited four local Washington state poets to construct meaningful and thought-provoking verses to accompany each image.

Challenging exploration in photography, the second half of the book provides step-by-step tutorials and insights into the creative process. Those with a camera and computer are openly invited to join Klein on his amazing adventure and start creating their own spectacles of light.

“The book showcases both my own original scenes from humanity and nature, as well as the recreation of my previously-published famous images that have appeared in international publications,” explains Klein. “Things kick off to a bold start with a Biblical reference to the book of Genesis accompanied by an artistic photographic light image, in a totally black field double page spread, depicting the undulating wavelengths of light from ultraviolet to infrared in that first split second of the explosion. The Preface, on the next page continues the explosion with additional colors being present. The Introduction reveals the entire spectrum of light with all colors present. It really has to be seen to be believed.”

Continuing, “Each subsequent photo is either a traditional scene or abstract variation of a portfolio of light-induced experimental images. Each original image had to illustrate a phenomenon of a lighting condition; something I am hugely-passionate about capturing.”

Readers agree that the book is captivating, leaving a slew of positive reviews. For example, Holly comments, “This book is not just a basic, on the surface, picture by poem art book. It has a unique value and is definitely worth the hands on experience of reading and interpreting it. It is very relaxing and the beauty of the visuals are very hard to describe in words.”

Susan Robinson adds, “Career Searching? If you’re interested in photojournalism, advertising, or graphic art design, using photography as your means of expression, then the book Visions of Light by Raymond J. Klein, may just be what you are looking for! Mr. Klein’s narrative tells you what is necessary to prepare yourself for this exciting and expanding field of digital photography.”

Owl Lady writes, “Visions of Light” is a masterpiece that dazzles the senses! Mr. Klein has taken photography into a different dimension with unique light images, combined with poetic writings, and assembled a work of true artistry, which I think touches the soul!”

Klein and his poets are keen to meet the public. To that end, the group will be appearing at their local Vancouver (WA) Barnes & Noble bookstore on September 30th for an evening of “Open Mic Poetry”. The event starts at 1900HRS and ends at 2030HRS, Pacific Daylight Time.

‘Visions Of Light: Inspirational Poetry. Stunning Photography’, from Redemption Press, is available now: http://www.amazon.com/Visions-Of-Light-Inspirational-Photography/dp/1632323435/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408360547&sr=8-1&keywords=9781632323439.

For more information, visit the author’s official website: http://raymondjklein.com.

About the Author:

Born in 1932 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Discovery of my dad’s folding Kodak camera, at age 12, began an adventure that continues to this day. The high school I attended had a photography department which allowed an interest in the subject to bloom.

In 1952 a decision to enlist in the U. S. Air Force put me in a photo unit that provided an opportunity to learn how to use multiple types of still and motion picture cameras. Ending the service career, in 1956 at Orlando Air Force base in Florida, a job opportunity, with RCA optics division, was available. It required that I work at Cape Canaveral manning a variety of motion picture cameras at the beginning of the “Space Race.” Another job opportunity at the then Martin Company, now Lockheed Martin, in a new plant in Orlando FL provided me with a portfolio of still pictures of engineers at work. It was here a glimmer of my lighting concept first emerged.

This portfolio propelled me into the advertising field in 1958, where I landed a job with a top art and photography studio in the city of Chicago. Now my true love in the commercial advertising world would continue with additional experimentation on the lighting concept. This experimentation captured the minds of a variety of art directors at advertising agencies, magazines, music recording studios, and with company executives who desired to use a new and exciting approach to display their products in advertisements.

The studio was a member of the Professional Photographers of America, Inc. I was able to achieve a Master of Photography Degree in 1976 with my commercial advertising images.

During this time my fascination with light and lighting effects evolved with the use of multiple exposure on film. Using this unique approach allowed me to develop a series of images that are now sources to use in the art exhibition field which allows me to jury into exhibitions in several art galleries in the town where I am now retired, Vancouver WA.

The digital age opened up a whole new approach to these exciting images and allowed the designs to emerge out of their cocoons, taking on a whole new meaning. Now using these lighting concepts, in combination with the DSLR, has won prizes in contests sponsored by the international Popular Photography & Imaging magazine.

A chance meeting with a group of poets revealed an uncanny attraction the abstract and natural images had to the poetry I was hearing at their monthly meetings. Collaborating with them I have now completed a book. It is titled ‘Visions of Light,” combining these unique images and poems. The book gives me an opportunity to reveal how the experimental design images were conceived and how they relate to poetry.

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Urge President Obama to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline: Take Action

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
Care2 Petitions Action Alert
Action Alert!

Alberta’s tar sands produce some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet. President Obama made a commitment to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline if it would significantly worsen carbon pollution. The verdict is in, and environmental experts are calling the President on his promise. Don’t let President Obama go back on his word!
Please sign the petition today! Urge President Obama to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

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President Obama said that he would not allow the Keystone XL Pipeline if it would lead to a significant increase in greenhouse emissions. The environmental impact reports are in. Environmentalists warn against underestimating the effects from tar sands. The Keystone XL Pipeline will set us back years in the fight against climate change.

Don’t let Obama endorse the pipeline and its filthy fuel.

The time to act is now! Obama has postponed the final decision in order to account for the Nebraska lawsuit against the pipeline. Take the opportunity to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline!

The oil industry is dirty enough. Bring tar sands into the equation and the environmental damages skyrocket. Developing the tar sands is like building 46 new coal-burning power plants. The Keystone XL Pipeline will send us back into the past of fossil fuel development. Looking to the future of energy does not involve developing even dirtier forms of fossil fuels.

Tar sands are worse than crude oil and pipeline supporters want to let that stuff flow through your back yard. Three times more emissions than conventional oil is a significant impact.

Make sure than Obama sticks to his commitment to reject the Keystone Pipeline.

“Alex” Thanks for all you do,

Alex B.
The Care2 Petitions Team

Lt. Governor Donates Books to Springfield Schools

Posted by Admin On August - 23 - 2014 1 COMMENT

Hundreds of books collected at Illinois State Fair will go to area students

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon donated hundreds of books to Springfield School District 186 on Thursday. Simon’s office collected the books throughout the 2014 Illinois State Fair, which ran from Aug. 8 through Aug. 17. Simon is also sponsoring a back-to-school book drive at the DuQuoin State Fair, which begins Friday.

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Springfield students will find new books in their classrooms when they return to school this year,” Simon said. “We hope that by donating these books, we can help turn students on to reading at a young age and put them on a path of lifelong learning.”

“I am pleased to join the Lt. Governor this Thursday to accept a generous donation of new and gently used books for Springfield Public School District 186 students,” said Springfield Public School District 186 Superintendent, Mrs. Jennifer Gill. “Providing reading materials for students during the school day and materials to take home is essential in achieving their reading goals. I appreciate the Lt. Governor’s office in their endeavors to collect books during the 2014 Illinois State Fair.”

As an ambassador for Illinois Reads, Simon partnered with the Illinois Reading Council to hold the back-to-school book drive at her tent during the 10-day fair. Visitors could drop off new or gently used children’s books, and also register to win the 36 books selected for Illinois Reads 2014, a literacy project aimed at children and adults.

“The Illinois Reading Council is proud to call Lt. Governor Simon an Illinois Reads ambassador. As such, she has helped us to promote reading all across the state,” said Illinois Reading Council Past President Tammy Potts, committee chair for Illinois Reads. “With 36 titles by 36 Illinois authors, Illinois Reads has something for everyone, from read-alouds for babies, to interesting and thrilling books for students and seniors.

Lt. Governor Simon is encouraging visitors to the DuQuoin State Fair to donate new or gently-used books, which will be donated to DuQuoin schools. The Lt. Governor’s tent is located across from the grandstand and will be open Friday, Aug. 22 to Monday, Sept. 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekends. For more information about Illinois Reads, please visit www.IllinoisReads.org.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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