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Archive for January 23rd, 2015

Commerce Department to Review Proposals for Enterprise Zones

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on Commerce Department to Review Proposals for Enterprise Zones

Program Promotes Job Growth in Communities Across the State

SPRINGFIELD, IL —The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) said it has received 67 applications for Enterprise Zones from communities throughout the state. The department will now review the applications. State law requires proposals for new and existing Enterprise Zones to compete for up to 49 available designations.

Enterprise Zones encourage job growth and investment in economically depressed areas. Companies within a zone, or that agree to move into one, can qualify for tax incentives that include sales tax exemptions on purchases of building materials and manufacturing equipment and an exemption for utility taxes. Each zone is administered by a local official under rules set by the state.

Illinois law provides that 49 zones can be declared this year. The remainder of the state’s 97 available zones will be designated in 2016 through 2020.

Ten of the current applications call for new zones, while the rest seek renewal of existing zones. A listing of the applications received by the deadline of Dec. 31, 2014, is attached.

DCEO will score each application and submit its findings to a five-member Enterprise Zone Board by June 30, 2015. The board, to be appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, is expected to approve or deny the applications by Sept. 30, 2015, and the new zones will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

State law gives the new zones a 15-year term, with a review by the board after 13 years for a possible 10-year extension.

To be deemed eligible for a zone, applications will be measured according to 10 criteria. They are: 1) a relatively high unemployment rate; 2) potential for significant job creation and investment; 3) relatively high poverty; 4) abandoned coal mines, brownfields or federal disaster declarations; 5) major layoffs; 6) high vacancy rate of industrial and commercial buildings; 7) existing plans to improve the local tax base; 8) plan for improving public infrastructure; 9) career skills programs at high schools and community colleges; and 10) unusual changes in the taxable value of business properties.

For more information on Illinois’ Enterprise Zone Program, and for more resources about doing business in Illinois, visit www.illinois.gov/dceo.

Applications for Enterprise Zones (67 total). Boldface entries represent applications for new zones.

Cook County (13)

  1. Bedford Park, Bridgeview, Justice and Summit
  2. Cal Sag (Alsip, Blue Island, Calumet Park, Country Club Hills, Dixmoor, East Hazel Crest, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Markham, Merrionette Park, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Phoenix, Robbins, Worth, Cook County)
  3. Calumet (Calumet City, Dolton, Lansing, Riverdale, South Holland, Thornton, Cook County)
  4. Chicago I
  5. Chicago II
  6. Chicago III
  7. Chicago IV
  8. Chicago V
  9. Chicago VI
  10. Town of Cicero
  11. Franklin Park

Page 3

  1. Hodgkins and McCook
  2. Lincoln & 394 Corridor (Beecher, Chicago Heights, Crete, Ford Heights, Glenwood, Olympia Fields, Sauk Village, South Chicago Heights, Steger, Cook County, and Will County)

Collar Counties (Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Will) (5)

  1. Bensenville
  2. Des Plaines River Valley (Joliet, Lockport, Rockdale, Romeoville, Will County)
  3. Diamond
  4. Harvard, Woodstock, McHenry County
  5. Will – Cook (Matteson, Monee, Park Forest, Richton Park, University Park, Will County, Cook County)

Rest of Illinois (49)

  1. Alexander- Pulaski County (Alexander County, Pulaski County, Cairo, Mound City, Mounds)
  2. Belleville
  3. Bloomington/Normal/McLean County/Gibson City/Ford County
  4. Boone County (Boone County, Belvidere, Poplar Grove, Capron)
  5. Bureau/Putnam Area (Granville, Hennepin, Mark, Ladd, Princeton, Spring Valley, Bureau County, Putnam County)
  6. Canton/Fulton County
  7. Centralia, Wamac, Village of Central City, Clinton County , Marion County, Jefferson County and Washington County
  8. City of Champaign & Champaign County
  9. Clinton County (Clinton County, Carlyle, Breese, Trenton, New Baden, Germantown, Aviston, Albers, Damiansville)
  10. Danville/Vermilion County
  11. Decatur/Macon County (Decatur, Macon County, Forsyth, Long Creek, Mount Zion)

Page 4

  1. DeKalb County (DeKalb County, Cortland, DeKalb, Genoa, Sandwich, Sycamore, Waterman)
  2. Edgar County (Paris, Edgar County, Chrisman, Kansas)
  3. Effingham & Effingham County
  4. Fairmont City, Caseyville, Brooklyn, St. Clair County
  5. Fairview Heights
  6. Franklin County I-57 (Benton, West Frankfort, West City, Franklin County)
  7. Galesburg
  8. Greenville/Bond County
  9. Henry County (Annawan, Henry County, Atkinson, Cambridge, Carbon Cliff, Galva, Geneseo, Orion, Woodhull)
  10. Illinois Valley (LaSalle County, LaSalle, North Utica, Oglesby, Peru)
  11. Jasper County (Jasper County, Newton and Sainte Marie)
  12. Kankakee County
  13. Kankakee County, Manteno, Grant Park, Momence, Hopkins Park
  14. Kankakee County, City of Kankakee, Aroma Park, Bourbonnais, Bradley, Herscher
  15. Loves Park/Machesney Park
  16. Macomb, Bushnell, McDonough County
  17. Madison County Discovery (Collinsville, Village of Glen Carbon, City of Highland, Village of Maryville, Village of St. Jacob)
  18. Marshall County (Marshall County, Henry, Lacon, Sparland, Toluca, Wenona)
  19. Massac County (Metropolis, Brookport, Joppa, Massac County)
  20. Monmouth/Warren County
  21. Mt. Carmel/Wabash County
  22. Mt. Vernon/Waltonville/Dix/Jefferson County
  23. Nashville/Washington County
  24. Olney/Richland County

Page 5

  1. Ottawa Area (Grundy County, LaSalle County, Marseilles, Ottawa, Seneca, Channahon, Coal City, Morris)
  2. Peoria Urban (Peoria, Peoria County, West Peoria, Peoria Heights)
  3. Peoria Rural (Peoria County, Chillicothe, Princeville, Elmwood, Hanna City)
  4. Quad Cities (Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Silvis, Milan, Rock Island County)
  5. Quincy/Adams/Brown County (Quincy, Adams County, Mt. Sterling, Brown County)
  6. Riverbend (Madison County, Alton, Bethalto, East Alton, Hartford, Roxana, South Roxana, Wood River)
  7. Rockford EZ #1: City of Rockford
  8. Rockford I-90: City of Rockford
  9. Southwest Madison County (Madison County, Madison, Granite City, Venice)
  10. Springfield & Sangamon County
  11. Streator Area (Streator, LaSalle, County of Livingston)
  12. Southern Tazewell County (Pekin, Morton, Tremont, Tazewell County)
  13. Northern Tazewell County (East Peoria, Washington, Germantown Hills, Tazewell County)
  14. Urbana (Urbana/Champaign County)

President Obama Expresses Personal Condolences and the Sympathies of the American People to the Family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on President Obama Expresses Personal Condolences and the Sympathies of the American People to the Family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

President Barack Obama Statement on the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz:

It is with deep respect that I express my personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to the people of Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations.  He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region.  At home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.

As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship.  As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions.  One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond.  The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.

May God grant him peace.

Madigan: Bloomington Arrest in Child Pornography Operation

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on Madigan: Bloomington Arrest in Child Pornography Operation

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced charges against a Bloomington man on multiple counts of distributing child pornography as part of “Operation Glass House,” her statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.

Madigan’s investigators and the Bloomington Police Department arrested David R. Mariani, 30, after executing a search warrant at his residence on Wednesday on Chatsford Court. Mariani was charged in McLean County with 10 counts of distribution of child pornography, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison. A bond hearing was set for 1 p.m. Thursday.

“These offenders perpetuate the sexual assault of children when these horrific files are spread across the internet,” Madigan said. “Their criminal acts only cause further devastation to the lives of innocent victims.”

Operation Glass House has netted a total of 74 arrests since 2010, the year when Attorney General Madigan launched the initiative to investigate and arrest offenders trading child pornography online. The operation’s investigations are conducted by Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau and have revealed a disturbing community of criminals who are trading and viewing extremely violent videos of children as young as infants being raped and abused.

Today’s operation was assisted by the Bloomington Police Department. The McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.

“This crime doesn’t recognize county or state boundaries so we appreciate the cooperative work of the Attorney General’s Office to help local government go after child predators here in McLean County or anywhere else that we may find them,” said McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers.

“We are always working diligently to protect our citizens, in particular to protect our community against these atrocious crimes,” said Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner.

In addition to Operation Glass House, Madigan leads the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Task Force investigates child exploitation crimes and trains local and county level law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois to do the same. Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 893 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 400,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 18,500 law enforcement professionals.

The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

United States Attorneys John F. Walsh and Richard S. Hartunian to Lead Attorney General’s Advisory Committee

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on United States Attorneys John F. Walsh and Richard S. Hartunian to Lead Attorney General’s Advisory Committee

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the appointment of United States Attorney John F. Walsh for the District of Colorado as chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys (AGAC).  Attorney General Holder also appointed United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian for the Northern District of New York to serve as vice chair.  Both appointments are effective immediately.

“Throughout their respective tenures in Colorado and the Northern District of New York, John Walsh and Richard Hartunian have been thoughtful leaders of the United States Attorney community, fierce advocates for the citizens they serve, and champions of the cause of justice,” said Attorney General Holder.  “Each of them has been instrumental in addressing sensitive legal issues, handling difficult cases, and shaping and implementing critical Smart on Crime reforms.  I thank John and Richard for agreeing to lead the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee – and for lending their perspectives and deep experience to the pressing policy questions about which I, and Attorney General-designate Loretta Lynch, will surely look to them for guidance and counsel.”

U.S. Attorney Walsh previously served on the AGAC from February 2011 to January 2013 as the chair of the Medical Marijuana Working Group and co-chair of the White Collar/Fraud Subcommittee.  He replaces U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Attorney General nominee Loretta E. Lynch.

U.S. Attorney Hartunian was appointed to the AGAC in April 2013 and has served as the chair of the Border and Immigration Subcommittee in addition to serving on several committees.  He replaces Acting Deputy Attorney General and former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates.

Attorney General Holder also thanked U.S. Attorney Lynch and Acting Deputy Attorney General Yates for serving as chair and vice chair of the AGAC for the past two years.

“I want to express my heartfelt personal thanks to both Loretta Lynch and Sally Yates for their outstanding leadership of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee,” said Attorney General Holder.  “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work closely with them on a range of critical issues over the years.  I am both proud and deeply gratified that the American people will continue to benefit from their service in the new roles to which President Obama has nominated them.  And I am confident that the Department of Justice will only grow stronger under their leadership as Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, respectively.”

The AGAC was created in 1973 to serve as the voice of the United States Attorneys and to advise the Attorney General on policy, management and operational issues impacting the offices of the United States Attorneys.

Source: Office of the Attorney General

2015 Steve Harvey/Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Scholarship Program Now Open

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on 2015 Steve Harvey/Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Scholarship Program Now Open

This year’s Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Scholarship Program, sponsored by the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation, is now taking applications until March 31, 2015!

Steve Harvey's Pay It Forward Scholarship

Nationwide –  The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Scholarship Program offers scholarship awards and once-in-a-lifetime apprenticeship experiences to African American youth looking to pave the way for their futures. The program is under the umbrella of the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, and since 2012, the popular talk show host and best-selling author has been providing this opportunity.

Partnering with the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program builds on Harveys long-term commitment to mentoring youth. His foundation has long hosted mentoring camps for young African-American men. The camps promote educational enrichment, one-on-one mentoring and global service initiatives. Each year, the program impacts 100 youth in five cities across the country.

Winning students will get to participate in an apprenticeship allowing them to help with the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program, including working with members of Steve Harvey’s team and learning what it takes to run the Steve Harvey Morning Show and Family Feud. They also get an opportunity to meet and be mentored by Steve Harvey himself. The winning student will also be awarded a scholarship to help pay for college tuition.

The program is open to both teens and young adults between the ages of 16-21. Nominators must be 16 years of age or older. Eligible youth also may nominate themselves. Winners will be selected and contacted within two months after the deadline.

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2015.
For more details and/to apply, visit:

To search hundreds of other 2015 scholarships, visit:

A Small Business Solution to Shrinking Workforce–Hire Seniors

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on A Small Business Solution to Shrinking Workforce–Hire Seniors

A Small Business Solution to Shrinking Workforce--Hire Seniors

Yahoo Small Business/New America Media

By Mark Taylor

WASHINGTON, D.C.--As the U.S. economy heats up and successful companies consider expansion and new hiring, competition for reliable, experienced and skilled employees will grow more intense, labor market experts predict.

They caution small businesses against ignoring one source of potential employees: older Americans.

Older Americans

Millions of seniors who have retired or are approaching retirement from lengthy careers still need to work to maintain their families and lifestyles. Others crave the social interaction and sense of purpose employment delivers.

Peter Cappelli, professor of management and the director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said increased life expectancy and the maturing of the largest generation in American history—-the Baby Boomers—- will account for increased numbers of older Americans in the workplace. Cappelli, the co-author of Managing The Older Worker, (Harvard Business Review Press, 2010) said today’s seniors are staying older longer.

“If we think of old age as a period when people are no longer able to work, that group is shrinking,” he said. “Today’s seniors don’t want to just sit around. They want to work and they have a lot to offer. This trend is not going away.”

He said that small businesses should consider hiring seniors for a variety of reasons validated by research. “They don’t need much training. Business owners don’t have to worry about their conscientiousness and they’re less likely to switch jobs,” he explained.

He said studies confirm that seniors score higher on reliability and interpersonal skills and experience lower rates of tardiness and absenteeism. And he said research dispels several myths: that seniors incur higher healthcare costs and are more prone to accidents. “Because they are older, don’t have babies anymore and have fewer dependents, they have lower healthcare costs. Besides, most are on Medicare.”

And Cappelli said seniors also suffer fewer safety incidents because they are more careful.

Greg O’Neill, director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Academy on an Aging Society, said research lags behind on some trends surrounding the employment of seniors.

“We know anecdotally that turnover is lower among senior workers and that some jobs are performed better by people with experience,” O’Neill said. He pointed out that changing ergonomics in workplace and to accommodate older workers has shown increases in production.

“Someone transitioning out working with new engineers and sharing knowledge can be very effective,” he said. Most companies don’t think about all the knowledge walking out their doors. But they should.”


O’Neill said that one of the benefits of older age is that people move into positions using crystalized versus fluid intelligence. “That’s code for experience,” he said.

He added that small businesses can benefit from hiring seniors in customer contact positions. “People don’t get as angry at older people,” he said. “They’re less likely to shoplift around them.” And in sectors like financial services, he pointed out, high wealth clients are more likely to trust someone with experience closer to their age.

Ken Rone, 65, a retired vice president of manufacturing who lives in Vancouver, Wash., said he’s hired and worked with hundreds of older employees in his nearly 40 years in industry. Rone said a 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report found the median tenure of all U.S. employees is 4.6 years. He noted that employee tenure was generally higher among older workers than younger ones, with the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.4 years) more than triple that of workers ages 25 to 34 years (3.0 years).

So senior workers are more likely to stay longer and not jump ship as quickly.

In addition, Rone noted that seniors have longer track records for prospective employers to review. He said it’s easier to check references and the document trail for older employees is more robust. Small businesses can reference previous employers and contact more colleagues to gain a better view of senior employees in the interview process than their younger counterparts. And older employees know what it required to be a viable, stable employee.

He continued, “They’ve seen the slackers and unreliable employees and understand what to avoid and how to succeed: Be neat, respectful, don’t gossip, keep your nose to the ground and do the job.”
Michael Sarka, 70, agreed. He is a retired small businessman and now a counselor in Santa Cruz, Calif., for the national nonprofit SCORE, which helps small business. Sarka works for a small business tourism attraction, the Roaring Camp Railroad, in nearby Felton. The railroad is a steam engine that takes tourists into the mountains and to the beach.

“We find we have very good and reliable older employees who show up early, get the task done and exceed our employer’s expectations.”

Sarka, who grew up on a farm, said most seniors were raised with a strong work ethic. “I think that’s something that benefits our company and most of all, the consumer, because we’ve lived in this community and are knowledgeable about what’ going on and are able to communicate that to the tourists who visit us.”

He owned a small tourism consulting company with his wife and previously launched an outdoors adventure firm, hiring many seniors. He said older employees bring patience to their jobs. “They take the time to listen and act on what they’ve heard,” he explained. “That makes a strong connection to customers.”

Ann Fishman, president of Generational Targeted Marketing, consults with companies on issues of aging. Fishman advised small business owners against calling older Americans “seniors.”

“Call them experienced people. They like to think of themselves in the prime of lives,” Fishman said. “Baby Boomers in particular need the money. Many have not saved appropriately for retirement and some may have to work till the day they die. Though they may need the work, they appreciate flexibility. That gives them the freedom they want and some extra money.”

A Mix

Fishman said many younger people have lost the ability to read facial and word cues. “They’ve been looking at screens and not people’s’ faces,” she said. “But Baby Boomers are really good at reading facial expressions and vocal cues. They’re really good at listening. The best thing is when you can achieve a generational mix. Young people usually have stronger technology skills and Baby Boomers have strong people skills, crave social interaction and are very work-oriented.”

Laura Bos, manager of education and outreach and financial security for the advocacy organization, AARP, said many AARP members are still working, want to work and may even need to work.
“So they want to remain in the work force and we think they are a great asset for employers large and small,” Bos said. “Older workers have a certain level of maturity, and especially with companies needing strong customer service, they tend to be ranked and valued highly. They bring professionalism and great work ethic and are often lauded for critical thinking and problem solving skills.”

Bos said that older workers tend to have higher levels of engagement—-emotional and intellectual involvement with their company—- and are motivated to do their best work.

“You could say they’re more loyal and involved with their company and invested in wanting their company to do well, which can lead to less turnover,” she said. “And turnover costs employers money.”

Mark Taylor wrote this article through a John J. Curley Journalism in Aging and Health Fellowship of the John A. Hartford Foundation, a project of New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America.”

Child Predator Email Scam Preys On Concerned Parents, Warns Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on Child Predator Email Scam Preys On Concerned Parents, Warns Better Business Bureau

CHICAGO, IL – Fake email warnings about a child predator being in the neighborhood are the latest methods scammers are using to steal personal identity information, warns the Better Business Bureau (BBB). These “community safety” alerts are designed to look official.

The subject line of a typical scam email states “Alert: A child-predator just moved into your neighborhood. Alert #123107756”. The email claims to be a notification that is automatically generated and is being sent based on the recipient’s computer IP address as well as zip code. Included in the message is a link to click that will provide the reader with more information about the predator.

Clicking on the link takes the user to a series of redirected site. The first linked site infects the computer. The other successive link simply distract the user who eventually lands on the website for a BBB Accredited Business located in Santa Barbara, Calif., that sells localized reports on sex offenders.

“This Accredited Business is being used by the ID thieves as a way to lend credibility to their email and distract from the actual scam,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The first click of the scam email does the damage with malware that will attempt to search for stored information such as user names, passwords and credit card numbers.”

A general rule of thumb is to never click on links in unsolicited emails. For more information use the browser to search for the business.

Here are tips on how to spot an email scam:

  • Check out the “From” field: Scammers can mask email addresses, making them appear to come from legitimate sources. Look out for email addresses that don’t match the brand used in the email message.
  • Typos and grammar – Brand logos and email formats can easily be copied, but bad grammar and poor writing typically indicate that the message is a scam.
  • Check URL’s – Hover over URL’s to determine their real destination. Usually, the hyperlink text will say one thing and the link will point somewhere else.
  • Personalized emails – Scams often pretend to be personalized, but they are actually blast emails. If the receiver never signed up for custom email alerts, the person should not be receiving them.

For more information, visit www.bbb.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

New Hip-Hop Magazine Created to Empower Indie and Unsigned Music Artists – First Issue has Quickly Gained Thousands of Readers

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on New Hip-Hop Magazine Created to Empower Indie and Unsigned Music Artists – First Issue has Quickly Gained Thousands of Readers

Best Artist Rep Magazine

Fort Myers, FL (BlackNews.com) – TV producer, author and entertainment manager Steven Jennings has created a new music entertainment publication called Best Artist Rep Magazine, but Jennings isn’t new to the entertainment industry. In 2001, he created a hip-hop TV show called The Cipher Show, which went on to air on several TV stations in southwest Florida, including the former WB, the former UPN, Comcast and the current MyNetworkTV.

In 2004, he aired the show in Los Angeles on KJLA. He also created and hosted a radio show on the former WYBA/WYCA in Chicago. The TV show had over 20 celebrity cameos before it went off the air. He went on to pen several books during his hiatus from television which include a book of poetry and an urban science fiction novel.

In 2014, he got Royce Lovett signed to Motown Gospel, a major record label. After becoming Royces manager, Steven Jennings decided to create a new mechanism to assist artists of multiple music genres in getting record deals. He called the project BestArtistRep.com, and the Rep has multiple meanings, from repertoire to representation. The website was moving slowly, gaining a dedicated following when suddenly in August of 2014 Stevens wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor which required an immediate craniotomy. She later experienced complications which landed her on life support for several weeks. The entire experience forced Steven to spend many hours in the hospital, sitting by her side with nothing but his laptop computer. During this devastating period, Steven conceived the idea and created Best Artist Rep Magazine. His publication is intended to provide publicity for artists who have difficulty reaching the mass media with their message.

His wife eventually awoke, and as Steven nursed her back to health, he released his first magazine to the general public. Since its early release in December of 2014, the magazine has gained over 11,000 viewers and thousands of fans on social media. Steven intends for Best Artist Rep Magazine to become a trusted source of music news for the entertainment industry and the general public. His philosophy is based on the premise that over the years, and after working with hundreds of unsigned artists, he intimately understands what it feels like to be on the unsigned artist grind. Steven Jennings recently said in an interview, It doesnt always matter if you have talent, or a great idea, if you dont have a decent budget, investors or some type of vehicle to drive your message to the masses.

As a result, Steven Jennings can truly relate to the plight of both an unsigned artist and the hood entertainment industry entrepreneur behind them. Best Artist Rep Magazines formula involves keeping a finger on the pulse of the next generation in the streets, while keeping a foot in the office and bridging the gap between talented signed and unsigned artists. His next issue is set to be released in February of 2015.
About Best Artist Rep:
Best Artist Rep, created by Steven Jennings, provides marketing, public relations and A&R services for signed, indie and unsigned artists. Steven Jennings, A.K.A. Mikey Jukes, has a Master of Science degree from Illinois State University and 13 years of experience in TV production, special events promotions, public relations, artist promotions and marketing. For more details, visit www.BestArtistRep.com

Photo Caption: Magazine cover

Metro Chicago Exports Appoints Thomas Hulseman as First Managing Director

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on Metro Chicago Exports Appoints Thomas Hulseman as First Managing Director

Appointment Announced at the Third Meeting of the Economic Development and Political Leadership of the Seven Counties of Northeast Illinois and the City of Chicago

CHICAGO, IL – Metro Chicago Exports (MCE) announced the appointment of Thomas Hulseman as founding managing director. In this new role, he will help lead an unprecedented collaboration between the seven counties in Northeastern Illinois (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will) and the City of Chicago to increase exports from small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to support regional job growth.

“Leading Metro Chicago Exports is an extraordinary opportunity and we are pleased to have Thomas Hulseman on board,” stated Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.  “This is an entrepreneurial program.  His appointment represents continued progress in our efforts to accelerate export growth and jobs in our region.”

Hulseman’s appointment was announced during the third convening of the political and economic development leadership of the Chicago region held in Will County on Thursday, January 22, 2015. This group was formed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in December of 2013 to explore opportunities for collaboration to promote a stronger regional economy. Metro Chicago Exports, the first program to come out of the regional effort, was announced in September 2014. Other priorities include streamlining truck permitting and strengthening the metal manufacturing sector.

“This is the next step to helping ensure that Chicago’s small exporting businesses have access to the supports and resources they need to take their companies to the next level, ” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Metro Chicago Exports can serve as a springboard to help these businesses increase their global competitiveness, support local job growth and make Chicago a national leader in exports.”

Hulseman will be responsible for managing and facilitating MCE’s day-to-day activities and will be directly accountable to the Metro Chicago Steering Committee, which includes representatives of all seven counties and the City of Chicago. He brings 20 years of international experience partnering with major US corporations s including Starbucks, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Solo Cup and Costco. His background includes expanding exports of U.S. goods as International Director for Solo Cup, a Chicago manufacturer engaged in global expansion, cross-functional team leadership and development of new product initiatives.

Larry Walsh, Will County Executive said “I appreciated the opportunity to host the other County leaders and their delegations at the new Silver Cross Hospital.  The event brought together representatives from the public and private sectors to build momentum for county-led initiatives that foster regional cooperation and economic growth. Our efforts to increase exports and streamline truck permitting in the region are off to a strong start. I believe these initiatives will directly benefit business in Will County and make the entire region more competitive for jobs and investment.”

Metro Chicago Exports will assist manufacturers and business service companies to reach new international markets. This pilot program is focusing on three initial strategies:

•          Build the pipeline of export ready firms

•          Strengthen the export ecosystem

•          Reduce the initial business costs to reach new markets

Metro Chicago Exports builds on the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, that aims to catalyze a shift in economic development priorities and practices resulting in more globally connected metropolitan areas and more sustainable economic growth. For more information on Metro Chicago Exports, visit www.metrochicagoexports.com.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Introduces Resolution Urging the Illinois General Assembly to End the Automatic Transfer of Children to Adult Court

Posted by Admin On January - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Introduces Resolution Urging the Illinois General Assembly to End the Automatic Transfer of Children to Adult Court

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle introduced a resolution to the County Board urging the Illinois General Assembly to pass HB172. The bill would restore judicial discretion by ending the automatic transfer of young people charged with certain serious crimes to adult court. At a December 12th event, with the presence and support of representatives from the White House and the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Preckwinkle stated that ending automatic transfers is her top criminal justice priority in Springfield in the coming session.

The resolution, co-sponsored by ten Cook County Commissioners, was deferred to the Legislation Committee and will be voted on in the February meeting.

The automatic transfer law was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in 1982. Under the law, children, predominantly aged 15-17, but as young as 13 in some instances, must be prosecuted as adults if they are charged with certain serious crimes, including first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and armed robbery committed with a firearm.   According to the most recent data from the Public Defender regarding young people automatically transferred to adult court in the last 14 months, only 23% were charged with either first degree murder or aggravated criminal sexual assault, while nearly 50% were charged with armed robbery with a firearm.

“Before the misguided 1982 law was passed, judges decided whether a young person would answer certain serious charges as a child in need of intervention and rehabilitation or as an adult. Now, young people are automatically tried as adults based solely on the charge brought by the prosecutor.  The child receives no hearing to determine whether they are better served in the juvenile system or in the adult system,” Preckwinkle said.

“When judicial discretion is removed from the criminal justice process, as in the case in Automatic Transfers, the outcomes for individuals and communities are worse. Studies have shown that recidivism rates for young people who are prosecuted as adults are 34% higher than those with similar records who were prosecuted as juveniles. I believe that every child in Illinois deserves a fair hearing in front of a juvenile court judge to determine whether their case is more appropriately handled in juvenile or adult court.”

A three-year study of the Cook County court system conducted by the Juvenile Justice Initiative found that 50% more children were transferred to adult courts after the passage of the automatic transfer law, and for less serious offenses. Ultimately, 54% of all young people who are automatically transferred are convicted of or plead guilty to lesser charges that would have remained in juvenile court if those were the original charges brought.

The law also has a disproportionate impact on children of color. On October 31, 2014, 86% of the automatic transfer youth in the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center were African-American, and 14% were Hispanic. Of the 257 young people automatically transferred in the three years of the study; only one of them was white.

Preckwinkle also noted the increased costs associated with the automatic transfer law. Adult criminal courts take longer to adjudicate a case than juvenile courts. The average stay for a young person tried as a juvenile is about 25 days, which costs approximately $15,000. That same young person tried as an adult as the result of the automatic transfer law stays in the JTDC for an average of 220 days at a cost of $132,000. “That is money that we could be re-investing into community based programming, job-readiness and educational programs for our young people,” Preckwinkle said.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this important resolution with President Preckwinkle,” said Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (4th District). “As a member of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) Advisory Council, I have seen the enormous impact this policy has on our juvenile justice system and our youth. Every child, regardless of the crime, deserves a fair hearing before being prosecuted as an adult.”

HB172 was filed in the Illinois General Assembly by Representative Elaine Nekritz, and co-sponsored by Representative Barbara Flynn Currie. Preckwinkle pledged to work with Nekritz, Currie and any other interested party to end automatic transfers in the coming session.

“Passage of HB172 is one of my top priorities in this year’s legislative session. It places the decision about the appropriate venue to hear evidence and weigh penalties against a juvenile where it belongs – in the hands of a juvenile court judge,” Nekritz said.

The full text of the resolution is below.

Sponsored by:  Toni Preckwinkle, President, and Stanley Moore, JESÚS G. Garcia, Larry Suffredin, Deborah Sims, Bridget Gainer, Robert Steele, Luis Arroyo, Jr., Richard R. Boykin, Gregg Goslin and Joan Patricia Murphy, County Commissioners

Proposed Resolution Urging the Illinois General Assembly to Pass HB 172 to Restore Judicial Discretion in the Transfer of Juveniles to Adult Court

WHEREAS, the nation’s first juvenile court was created in Cook County 115 years ago, based on the understanding that children are different and should be treated differently than adults; and

WHEREAS, scientific research has proven that the adolescent brain is not fully developed in the areas that regulate rational decision making and impulse control; and

WHEREAS, 705 ILCS 405/5‑130 of the Juvenile Court Act, mandates that youth predominantly 15 and older, but as young as 13, automatically be tried as adults, in adult court, facing adult sentences, based solely on the charge brought, which is at the exclusive discretion of the prosecutor; and

WHEREAS, Illinois is one of only 14 states that do not require a hearing in front of a juvenile court judge before a child is transferred to adult court; and

WHEREAS, according to a study by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI), since the passage of the Automatic Transfer statute in 1982, transfers to adult court have increased from 57 annually to 86 annually as of 2012; and

WHEREAS, the number of youth charged as Automatic Transfers increased dramatically after the passage of “Raise the Age” legislation from 96 in 2013 to 178 in 2014; and

WHEREAS, Automatic Transfer of youth to adult court has a direct impact on the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) in which the average daily population of transferred youth has nearly doubled over the last year from 72 to 138; and

WHEREAS, according to the JJI study, the implementation of Automatic Transfer has resulted in more children being transferred to adult court for less serious crimes as compared to when judges made the transfer decisions; and

WHEREAS,  Automatic Transfer has an extreme disproportionate impact on children of color.  In a three year sample of automatic transfers in Cook County, only 83% of youth transferred were African American, and only one youth was white; and

WHEREAS, approximately 54% of Automatic Transfer youth in the three year study by JJI ultimately pled guilty to lesser charges that if originally charged would have been prosecuted in juvenile court; and

WHEREAS, Adult court cases are processed at a much slower pace than juvenile cases with an average time to disposition of 369 days for Automatic Transfer youth whose cases where disposed of in the last year; and

WHEREAS, according to a 2007 survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention children prosecuted as adults are 34% more likely to reoffend than children with similar criminal histories who are prosecuted in juvenile court for similar offenses; and

WHEREAS, “The Consequences of Transfer” a study published by the University of Chicago Press, found that children prosecuted as adults are more likely to commit more serious new crimes at a faster rate than those tried in juvenile court; and

WHEREAS, according to analysis by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice there is no correlation between the transferring of juveniles to adult court and the drop in youth violence across the country; and

WHEREAS, the United Nation Human Rights Committee urged the U.S. to end prosecution of juveniles in adult court; and

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of Illinois in People v. Patterson, urged the legislature to reform the automatic transfer statute in Illinois stating “While modern research has recognized the effect that the unique qualities and characteristics of youth may have on juveniles’ judgment and actions, the automatic transfer provision does not. Indeed, the mandatory nature of that statute denies this reality. Accordingly, we strongly urge the General Assembly to review the automatic transfer provision based on the current scientific and sociological evidence indicating a need for the exercise of judicial discretion in determining the appropriate setting for the proceedings in these juvenile cases”; and

WHEREAS, automatic transfer prevents any consideration by a judge of the particular characteristics of a child, the crime, or the child’s role in the crime in determining the appropriate venue for sentencing; and

WHEREAS, automatically transferring youth accused of certain crimes ignores the scientific research and the underlying philosophy of the juvenile court; and

WHEREAS, Every child in Illinois deserves a fair hearing in front of a juvenile court judge to determine whether their case is more appropriately handled in juvenile or adult court; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of justice to restore judicial discretion in all decisions relating to the transfer of a child to adult court;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Cook County Board of Commissioners does hereby urge the Illinois General Assembly to pass HB 172, which ends the Automatic Transfer of youth to adult court and restores judicial discretion, by requiring a hearing in front of a juvenile court judge to determine whether a child is suitable for the rehabilitative focus of the juvenile court or should be transferred to adult court and sentenced as an adult; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of the Resolution be tendered to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and the President of the Illinois Senate.

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