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Archive for August 10th, 2015

WE DON’T WANT IT!: A Rallying Cry From 8th Ward Residents Against a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Coming to Their Ward

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on WE DON’T WANT IT!: A Rallying Cry From 8th Ward Residents Against a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Coming to Their Ward

(CopyLine Magazine) – The message was loud and clear at two community meetings sponsored by the Eighth Ward Accountability Coalition (a community organization) where hundreds turned out in numbers:  8th Ward residents do not want a medical marijuana dispensary in their ward!!!! Several residents attending the meetings in opposition to the dispensary have lived in the area for 40 years or more. They were angry because there had been no public hearing by the alderman’s office to inform them of the dispensary coming to the ward. But they praised the Eighth Ward Accountability Coalition for being the catalyst in getting the message out to the community. If not for the Coalition (EWAC), most community residents would not have been privy to this transforming information regarding the area.

The proposed dispensary,  a joint venture of California-based Harborside Health Center and Illinois Grown Medicine (IGM), will be located at 1111 E. 87th Street.

Jerry Brown, an official with EWAC, as well as other attendees at the two meetings said the bottom line is transparency.

“It appears to us that the goal of this venture is not to provide medical marijuana to those who are ill and have legitimate medical prescriptions but to circumvent the laws and regulations as they do in California and elsewhere to make marijuana widely available to anyone who wants it. This is not good for our neighborhoods and we want the citizens of this area to know what is taking place,” Brown said. “Throughout the process, citizens have been kept in the dark by the company, the alderman and the zoning board.”

8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris is holding an 8th Ward Community Forum to discuss “a medical cannabis dispensary in the neighborhood”,Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at Olive Harvey College Gymnasium, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave., from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For more information, you can call the alderman’s office at 773 874-3300.

An application for a special use permit to locate the business at the proposed location was approved by the Chicago City Council and is now before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The board has deferred a decision on the matter for the second time. First, it wanted to ensure that Steven DeAngelo was not involved in the business. The second deferral was granted at the request of EWAC, which complained about the failure of the ward’s alderman to hold public meetings or post adequate notice of the proposed dispensary.

A meeting on the dispensary is scheduled before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Friday, August 21st at 121 N. LaSalle Street, Room 200 at 2 p.m. For more information on EWAC’s plans, you can contact Brown at 630-542-7320 or jrbcomm@yahoo.com.

Effective community organizations are worth their weight in informing the community about happenings that concern them which are not in their best interest. Just recently, Johnny Acoff, Vice President of South Shore Gardens Betterment Association, and members of his organization worked steadfast and were successful in keeping a pawn shop from opening its door in the community. Both Brown and Acoff should be commended for their tireless efforts in working with and keeping the community abreast of important and key issues affecting them and their neighborhoods.

Photo: By Clarence McMillan

(c) CopyLine Magazine

2,000 Will Stand Up to Governor Rauner! Today at a March & Rally at the Thompson Center

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on 2,000 Will Stand Up to Governor Rauner! Today at a March & Rally at the Thompson Center

Rally & March is being held today, August 10th, 10:30 a.m. at the Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph Street, in Chicago

Confirmed Speakers: Illinois Action for Children’s Maria Whelan, Father Pfleger, State Representative LaShawn Ford, State Senator Kimberly Lightford, Harold Rice (CEDA), State Representative Mary Flowers & State Representative LaShawn K. Ford.

CHICAGO, IL. — Springfield’s inability to pass a balanced budget is decimating social services providers, including those in the childcare industry. On July 1st, without the input of the legislature, Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration unilaterally changed the eligibility standards of the Child Care Assistance Program. This means 90% of usually qualified families are left without child care for their infants and children. The recent eligibility changes have made it impossible for low-income working parents to survive in Illinois. College preschools that were designed to assist young moms in continuing their education are not planning to reopen.  This month 3,000 centers will not be paid for services rendered in good faith on behalf of the state, forcing many child care facilities to turn families away, lay off staff, and potentially close their doors forever.

On July 2nd, CEDA laid off 200 employees and shut down the majority of its programs and services until further notice: LIHEAP, PIPP, ComEd Special Residential Hardship, Weatherization, Skills Training, and Dental, Vision and Water Bill Assistance. As the summer heat has turned-up, social services have  turned-down. Consequently, the sick and elderly are trapped, alone, in overheated homes, without the assistance of state-funded homecare health aides. The Rauner administration has destroyed the Meals on Wheels Program that gets food to the sick and elderly, and is also delivering a devastating blow to the federally funded WIC Program.  Recently, CEDA announced that they will be forced to suspend services to more than 50,000 low-income women and children, including more than 5,000 medically fragile children who require specialized formula survive.

On August 14th, Teen Reach programs that keep teenagers positively engaged and off of the streets will shut down in various Chicagoland communities. This collapse in this social service resource unnecessarily places our preteens, teens, and young adults in unsafe potentially hazardous environments.

Springfield’s budget impasses is forcing new moms to leave babies home alone; taking therapy away from special needs children; pushing teens to spend the summer on the streets; booting students out of college; strong-arming parents out of work;and trapping the sick and elderly in overheated houses!  It is time for us to SAVE ILLINOIS and stand up to the Billionaire Budget Bully!

Child Care Advocates United has registered nearly 2,000 people for the rally & march at the Thompson Center, Monday, August 10, 2015 at 10:30am. Attendance will be comprised of community organizers, parents, children, providers, and legislators.  Confirmed speakers are: Illinois State Representative Lashawn Ford; Illinois State Representative Mary Flowers; Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford; and Harold Rice, CEDA CEO

Participating Organizations Include: Child Care Advocated United (Convener), Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Inc (CEDA), Chicago Teachers Union, Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, Roseland Community Hospital, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana and Illinois Action for Children.

Other Guest Speakers Include: Parents, Children, and Child Care Providers

For more updates, visit www.facebook.com/fundchildcarenow

For more information contact Nakisha Hobbs at (312)-399-9727

Direct email to ccauillinois@gmail.com.com

Senator Chuck Schumer: Wrong on Iraq, Wrong on Iran, Wrong for Senate Democratic Leadership – Sign The Petition

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on Senator Chuck Schumer: Wrong on Iraq, Wrong on Iran, Wrong for Senate Democratic Leadership – Sign The Petition

Tell U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer:

“Don’t lead Senate Democrats into war with Iran.”

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º

Starting a war with Iran is apparently the top legislative priority for the next leader of the Senate Democratic caucus.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer just publicly declared that he will vote to kill the historic Iran nuclear peace deal and urge other Democrats in the Senate to do the same.1 There’s no excuse for any Democrat to oppose the deal – least of all Senator Schumer, who is in line to take over leadership of the Senate Democrats once Senator Harry Reid retires.

Every day, more and more Democrats are lining up to support the historic, including ones like New York’s junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who are under enormous pressure to oppose the deal..2

Chuck Schumer was wrong on Iraq when he voted for war and he is wrong on Iran. Schumer’s decision to join Republicans in attempting to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal once again shows that he is unfit to lead Senate Democrats.

Tell Sen. Chuck Schumer: Don’t lead Senate Democrats into war with Iran.

Schumer is already facing a massive backlash for his dangerous attempt to take us to war with Iran. Even the White House is piling on, with Press Secretary Josh Earnest saying “I wouldn’t be surprised” if Senate Democrats consider Schumer’s decision in picking their next leader.3

With Congress less than 60 days from voting on whether to seal the deal with Iran or sabotage diplomacy and launch a war, progressive activists can’t let Senator Schumer’s warmongering go unanswered.

Beating the drums for war in the Middle East is not a new role for Sen. Schumer. While he has been widely criticized as a tool of Wall Street banks, there has been much less notice given to the fact that Sen. Schumer voted in 2002 to give President George W. Bush a blank check for war in Iraq. 4

With President Obama on the brink of securing an historic deal to limit Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon, you’d think the next leader of the Senate Democrats would be organizing his fellow senators in the caucus to support the White House’s diplomatic efforts. But instead Sen. Schumer is rallying Senate Democrats to the warmonger caucus by joining Republicans in a rush to yet another war of choice in the Middle East.

Tell Sen. Chuck Schumer: You were wrong on Iraq, and now you’re wrong on Iran. This is not the Democratic leadership we need in the Senate.

Sen. Schumer is playing a very dangerous game with American blood and treasure. There are only two ways this can go. Either the deal President Obama and our allies secured blocks Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons without war, or we move down the path to almost certain war.

We are less than sixty days from one of the most important votes members of Congress will ever take: Whether to support peacefully dismantling Iran’s nuclear program or choose war. Sen. Schumer needs to decide if he wants to be the leader of the Democratic caucus or join the Republican warmonger caucus.

Thank you for speaking out to stop the next war.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º
  1. Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman, “Chuck Schumer Opposes Iran Nuclear Deal, Shaking Democratic Firewall,” New York Times, August 6, 2015
  2. Lara Friedman, “Members of Congress in Support of the Iran Deal,” APN
  3. Edward-Isaac Dovere, “Schumer, White House at war over Iran,” Politico, August 7, 2015
  4. Senate vote summary on H.J. Res. 114

Robert L. Johnson Applauds the White House and Xerox Corporation for Adopting the RLJ Rule Which is Based on the NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule’

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on Robert L. Johnson Applauds the White House and Xerox Corporation for Adopting the RLJ Rule Which is Based on the NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule’


Robert L. Johnson

Bethesda, MD — For the past four years, I have been urging the Congress and the White House to encourage corporate America to voluntarily implement and adopt the RLJ Rule1 – the RLJ Rule which encourages companies to interview qualified minority candidates and minority businesses for procurement opportunities is based on the NFLs Rooney Rule. I am therefore delighted that Xerox Corporation and the White House have agreed to adopt a version of the RLJ Rule which they call the Wilson Rule. As I have stated many times, it doesnt matter what name a company chooses to use to identify their commitment and support of the initiative, as long as it is consistent with the innovative spirit of the RLJ Rule to embrace creative ideas that support minority diversity.

As you know, I have been a proponent of the RLJ Rule which speaks to giving minorities an opportunity to prove that they can compete at the highest levels2 of business. In fact, on December 13, 2011, at a Congressional Black Caucus-sponsored meeting with the President at the White House, I presented the RLJ Rule3 personally to President Obama4 and he said he liked the idea and would give it to his then Jobs Council for consideration and today, I am pleased that the White House has now decided to put its weight behind the RLJ Rule5.

On July 22, 2014, seven bi-partisan Members of the U.S. Senate, led by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced Senate Resolution 511 (S.R.511)6 encouraging all U.S. companies and local and state governments to support the RLJ Rule7. Senate Resolution 511 states in part – the Rooney Rule and the RLJ Rule would improve the economy of the United States and the experience of the people of the United States; and whereas ensuring the increased exposure and resulting increased advancement of diverse qualified candidates would result in gains by all people of the United States through stronger economic opportunities.

The decision by Xerox today to implement their version of the RLJ Rule will hopefully motivate other Fortune 500 Companies to recognize the compelling need to encourage minority and ethnic diversity in hiring at every level and to encourage procurement opportunities for qualified minority businesses. The primary goal of the RLJ Rule is to make certain that minority Americans are given the opportunity to compete as equals and contribute with their talent to the growth of the United States economy both nationally and on a global scale.

Robert L. Johnson is Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies and Founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET).

1 (www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/robert-l-johnson-urges-us-corporations-to-establish-a-version-of-the-nfl-rooney-rule-toincrease-employment-and-business-opportunities-for-african-americans-130952493.html)
2 (www.rljcompanies.com/phpages/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Robert-L.-Johnson-Op-ed-How-Boards-Can-Make-the-RightCall-on-Diversity-featured-in-AGENDA.pdf)
3 (www.rljcompanies.com/phpages/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Robert-L.-Johnson-Announces-the-Congressional-BlackCaucus-Has-Issued-a-Letter-Strongly-Supporting-the-RLJ-Rule.pdf)
4 (www.rljcompanies.com/phpages/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Obama-and-Black-Caucus-reach-common-ground-publishedonline-at-TheGrio.pdf)
5 (www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/robert-l-johnson-calls-on-president-barack-obama-to-renew-his-commitment-to-closethe-employment-gap-between-blacks-and-whites-by-using-the-rlj-rule-to-increase-opportunities-for-african-americans- 183839931.html)
6 (www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-resolution/511)
7 (www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2014/08/ bet_founder_bob_johnson_touts_a_new_corporate_sector_rooney_rule.html)

About The RLJ Companies:
The RLJ Companies, founded by Robert L. Johnson, is an innovative business network that provides strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of companies. Within The RLJ Companies portfolio, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in a publicly traded hotel real estate investment trust, private equity, financial services, asset management, automobile dealerships, sports and entertainment, and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming. The RLJ Companies is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, with affiliate operations in Charlotte, NC; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; San Juan, PR; and Monrovia, Liberia. Prior to founding The RLJ Companies, Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET). For more information, visit: www.rljcompanies.com.

Photo Caption: Robert L. Johnson, Chairman, The RLJ Companies
Photo Credit: Melissa Golden

President Obama Remarks on the Voting Rights Act

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on President Obama Remarks on the Voting Rights Act

“…Some of the protections that had been enshrined in the Voting Rights Act itself have been weakened as a consequence of court decisions and interpretations of the law…”

South Court Auditorium

President Barack Obama: Thank you, everybody. Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Everybody have a seat.  Thank you.

First of all, I love John Lewis.  And I don’t know where he gets the energy, where he gets the drive, what stores of passion he’s still able to muster after fighting the good fight for so long.  I do know that many of us would not be here in this auditorium today had it not been for the heroism and dedication of Congressman John Lewis.  So I’m so appreciative of him.

I’m proud to be joined by our Attorney General.  Loretta Lynch has already shown herself to be a champion on behalf of not just the powerful but the powerless, and is, every single day, along with her team, fighting to make sure that we are all equal in the eyes of the law, and that everybody is getting a fair shot.  And so we are very grateful for her presence here today.

And I want to thank all of our partners, all the organizations, all the leadership from around the country that is represented in this auditorium but also are listening over this live feed as we reaffirm our commitment to one of the most fundamental, sacred rights of any democracy — that is the right to vote.

As John indicated, 50 years ago today, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law to protect this precious right.  It broke down legal barriers at the state level and at the local level that were keeping African Americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote.  And all of us have a great debt to not just John Lewis, but the thousands — many of them unnamed — who were courageous enough to walk up and try to register time and time again, that were threatened because of their efforts to register — sharecroppers and maids and ordinary folks.  Had it not been for them awakening the conscience of a nation, the President could not have mustered the political support that was required to ultimately get this seminal law passed.

We had the opportunity to honor some of the sacrifices that were made earlier this year in Selma, along with 100 members of Congress — Democratic and Republican members.  It was heartening to see the bipartisan attendance.  It signified that in the abstract, at least, everybody today believes in the right to vote.  Conceptually, everybody is in favor of the right to vote. You will not hear anybody defend the notion that the law can discriminate against persons because of their color, or their faith, or their ethnicity, when it comes to going to cast a ballot.  That’s huge progress, a normative shift in how we think about our democracy.  Everybody in theory is supposed to be included.

But part of the reason we’re here today, part of the reason it’s so important for us to focus attention on this right is because in practice, we’ve still got problems.

On the ground, there are still too many ways in which people are discouraged from voting.  Some of the protections that had been enshrined in the Voting Rights Act itself have been weakened as a consequence of court decisions and interpretations of the law.  State legislatures have instituted procedures and practices that, although on the surface may appear neutral, have the effect of discouraging people from voting, may have a disproportional effect on certain kinds of folks voting.

And if, in fact, those practices, those trends, those tendencies are allowed to continue unanswered, then over time the hard-won battles of 50 years ago erode, and our democracy erodes. And that means that the decisions that are made in the corridors of power all across this country begin to reflect the interests of the few, instead of the interests of the many.

So we’ve got serious business to attend to here.  One order of business is for our Congress to pass an updated version of the Voting Rights Act that would correct some of the problems that have arisen.

And I said when I was in Selma that we’re glad you’re here, members of Congress, but we’ll be even more glad, we’ll be in an even more celebratory mood, if you go back to Washington and reaffirm America’s commitment to what was fought for here at this bridge.

Now, so far, that hasn’t happened.  John Lewis is ready to do it.  There’s legislation pending.  There are people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle who are prepared to move it. But it keeps on slipping as a priority.  Part of the reason we’re here is to reaffirm to members of Congress, this has to be a priority. If this isn’t working then nothing is working.  We’ve got to get it done.

At the state levels, we’ve got some outstanding members of state legislatures — California, Florida — who have been championing mechanisms to get more people voting:  Early voting, online registration.  But sadly, too many states are making it harder for folks to vote — instituting photo ID laws that on the surface sound good; if you poll the average American, they’ll say, yes, you have to show your photo ID.  But in practice, it turns out that for seniors and for poorer folks, that’s not always easy to do.  And by the way, it doesn’t actually address a real problem because there are almost no instances of people going to vote in somebody else’s name. It’s just not a — it turns out it’s just not a common crime.

Folks, might think about shoplifting.  Attorney General, you know more about the crime statistics than I do, but I am certain, because we’ve actually looked at the data on this, that almost nobody wakes up saying, I’m going to go vote in somebody else’s name. Doesn’t happen.  So the only reason to pass this law, despite the reasonableness of how it sounds, is to make it harder for folks to vote.

You’ve got state legislatures that are rolling back early voting.  I don’t understand why anybody would be opposed to spreading out voting so that people can arrange to vote depending on their schedule.  Because it’s hard — if you are working the midnight shift, and got to get your kid to school, and had to travel by bus, and you’re a single mom — it may be difficult for you to be able to vote precisely in that window that’s provided. And there’s no evidence that, as a consequence of early voting, that has increased fraud; that people somehow have become less committed to democracy; they don’t feel that same sense of civic pride as they do if there’s just one day of voting.  There’s no evidence of that.  The reason to roll back early voting is because you want to make it harder for folks to vote.

So, in theory everybody is in favor of the right to vote.  In practice, we have state legislatures that are deliberately trying to make it harder for people to vote.

And some of them, frankly, are not that shy about saying so. Think about that.  Think about that.  How can you rationalize making it harder for people to vote?  How can you rationalize penalizing people because they don’t have a lot of money not being able to vote?  That’s contrary to who we are.  That’s not what we believe.  That’s not what John Lewis fought for.  In the United States of America, we should have no patience and no tolerance for laws that aim at disenfranchising our fellow citizens.

So we got to keep pushing.  At the federal level, we need a new Voting Rights Act passed.  At the state and local levels, we’ve got to fight back against efforts to make it harder to vote and we got to embrace those legislators that are prepared to make it easier to vote.

But there’s one last aspect to this, and that is the job of citizens in actually exercising the franchise.  This isn’t always a popular thing to say in front of progressive groups — everybody is fired up, and rightly so.  But the reason that the voting rate in the last midterm election was 30-something percent is not attributable to a photo I.D. law.  The fact of the matter is that far more people disenfranchise themselves than any law does by not participating, by not getting involved.

So, yes, we have to be vigilant in pushing back against laws that seek to disenfranchise people.  Yes, we should be fighting back against laws, for example, that say ex-felons, no matter how long they’ve been living a correct life, no matter how well they’ve paid their dues, that they can never vote again in that state.  There are all kinds of battles we have to fight.  But we miss the forest for the trees if we don’t also recognize that huge chunks of us, citizens, just give away our power.  We’d rather complain than do something about it.  We won’t vote, and then we’ll talk about the terrible political process that isn’t doing anything.

And I like barber shop talk. I like grumbling and complaining.  I can’t always do it in public. But what I know is it doesn’t get anything accomplished.  So the groups that are here today, one of the things that we’re looking forward to is how do we mobilize, how do we galvanize, how do we get people focused not only on laws but also on our habits — our habits of citizenship?  How do we instill in people a sense of why this is so critically important?

And that is why we are proclaiming September 22nd, National Voter Registration Day. September 22nd.  And we’re going to have groups fanning out all across the country.  And on September 22nd, we’re going to try to get everybody to register to vote.  We probably won’t get everybody, but we’re going to try.

I want to thank so many of you who are involved in this, including the NAACP, which started their Journey to Justice — a march from Selma to Washington earlier this week — because you’re shining a light on this issue.  And I want to make sure that we are fully mobilized across the country on September 22nd.

The bottom line is everybody here has a part to play.  Members of Congress need to do the right thing.  State legislators and governors, they need to do the right thing.  Businesses — make it easier for your employees to vote.  Do the right thing.  Universities, other civic institutions — help register people to vote; provide civic education.  Do the right thing.

Most of all, citizens — seize the power that you have.  Make this democracy work.  Do not succumb to cynicism.  Heroic things happen when people get involved.  Heroic things happen when a young man without any official title joins up with a bunch of other young and not-so-young people of every color and every persuasion and are willing to march across a bridge.  That’s the power that is in all of us.  We got to take advantage of it.

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

President Preckwinkle Names New Chief of Staff

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on President Preckwinkle Names New Chief of Staff

Tasha Green Cruzat to assume key Cook County position

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has named Tasha R. Green Cruzat as her new Chief of Staff. Cruzat has been Deputy Chief of Staff since joining the Preckwinkle administration in November 2013.

She replaces Kimberly Foxx, who has announced that she will run for Cook County State’s Attorney in 2016.

“I am pleased to name Tasha to this key role in our administration,” Preckwinkle said. “The Chief of Staff has myriad responsibilities in communicating with our numerous bureaus and departments, with other elected officials and in moving our agenda forward. Given her professional background and skill sets, Tasha is well-equipped to handle these tasks.”

Cruzat, 46, is a Chicago native and current resident of the Bronzeville neighborhood. As Deputy Chief of Staff she had oversight of the County’s Bureau of Administration, Asset Management, Economic Development, Finance, Human Resources and Technology.  In addition, she served as chair of President Preckwinkle’s Green Leadership Team, which champions efforts to reduce the County’s Greenhouse Gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

“It is an exciting and challenging time to step into the Chief of Staff role, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve President Preckwinkle and the citizens of Cook County,” Cruzat said. “I am looking forward to working closely with the President on advancing her priorities, and working with our talented staff to continue running a responsive, efficient and effective County government.”

Cruzat boasts deep experience in a variety of government posts. Before joining Cook County, she served as Senior Management Advisor to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, providing recommendations for establishing an efficient administrative structure for state government, along with advancing the implementation of a statewide performance management system.

She was also the Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, one of the largest state agencies, and oversaw the operation of programs and services that provided support and resources to numerous state agencies.

Prior to joining the State of Illinois, Cruzat was the Executive Director of High Jump, a non-profit organization devoted to providing enriched academic opportunities for talented, low-income middle school students in Chicago.  She also worked for Chicago Public Schools as a program manager in the Department of Human Resources.

Cruzat is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, with active duty service from 1987 to 1993. She earned a National Defense Service Medal, a Good Conduct Medal and a Marksman Medal during her service.

Her educational credentials include a BA degree in political science from Brooklyn College; an MA in Education, Leadership and Administration from University of Illinois at Chicago; and an MBA from University of Notre Dame.

“Kim Foxx has served me well as Chief of Staff and leaves big shoes to fill,” Preckwinkle said. “I have no doubt that Tasha, with her knowledge of government and the leadership abilities she possesses, will do an outstanding job as well.”


IDHS Names Interim Superintendent for Illinois School for the Deaf

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on IDHS Names Interim Superintendent for Illinois School for the Deaf

ISVI superintendent tapped for the position

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has named Serena Preston the interim superintendent for the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD). Preston is currently the superintendent of the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI) and will assume responsibility of both schools while IDHS continues its search to find a permanent replacement.

Preston has worked in several capacities at ISVI since 1997 and has served as superintendent since 2012. Her 18 years of experience working with students at a specialized school make her the ideal choice to bridge the leadership gap.

“I am completely supportive of Serena. She has demonstrated her competence to serve in a leadership role during her time as superintendent at ISVI, and I am confident she can provide the support and leadership while IDHS searches for a new superintendent of ISD,” IDHS Secretary-designate, James T. Dimas said.

Illinois Secretary of Education, Beth Purvis, concurs with Secretary Dimas’ assessment of Preston.

“During the time that I’ve spent with Serena Preston, she has shown to be highly capable and the clear choice for ISD during this transition period,” Purvis said.

Preston succeeds former ISD superintendent, Dr. Janice Smith-Warshaw, who resigned from her position at the end of June. ISD and ISVI are specialized residential schools under the Division of Rehabilitative Services in IDHS.

Medicaid Payments to Providers Will Continue During Budget Impasse

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on Medicaid Payments to Providers Will Continue During Budget Impasse

The Departments of Healthcare and Family Services and Human Services will process payments to Medicaid providers as if a budget had been enacted this fiscal year, the departments announced today. The decision comes after the departments reviewed relevant consent decrees and recent court rulings. The effect of today’s decision is to include providers beyond those who serve children. Details will be announced soon.

Two Choices – Diplomacy or War: The Choice is Clear, Congress Must Approve the Deal

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on Two Choices – Diplomacy or War: The Choice is Clear, Congress Must Approve the Deal
A Message From: Major General (Ret.) Paul Eaton, VoteVets.org

“And if the rhetoric in these ads, and the accompanying commentary, sounds familiar, it should — for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.” – President Obama, August 5, 2015

The President laid out the case for why Congress should approve the deal negotiated between the United States, our partners in the P5+1, and Iran.

The choice is clear: Congress must approve the deal.

Not only is a deal the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but if the agreement falls apart, Iran will get everything they want: sanctions will begin to unravel, America will lose some of its standing in the world, and Iran’s path to the bomb will only accelerate. In short, it’s almost everything the hardliners in Iran are hoping for.

As Congress heads home for recess before the September vote, they need to hear from veterans, military family members and VoteVets supporters on this issue.

Tell your representative and senators that you expect them to vote to APPROVE the deal negotiated with Iran that will prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

There are ultimately two choices here: diplomacy or war.

For some neoconservatives, they are happy to cast their lot with more war. For them, force is the only tool in America’s foreign policy arsenal. But we’ll be there to counter their worldview every step of the way in this debate.

We have a very unique voice in the conversation.

Make yours heard.

Major General (Ret.) Paul Eaton

Illinois Arts Council Agency Announces Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program Awards

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on Illinois Arts Council Agency Announces Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Program Awards

Master Artist/Apprentice Relationship Preserves Illinois’ Cultural Heritage

The Illinois Arts Council Agency is pleased to announce the recipients of the fiscal year 2015 Ethnic and Folk Arts Master Apprentice Program awards. Ten Master Artists received awards of $3,000 each to instruct their chosen apprentices in their art form through intensive one-on-one sessions.

The Master Apprentice Program recognizes the need for structured opportunities to pass on traditional and classical ethnic arts as part of the preservation of Illinois’ cultural heritage. The program fosters this traditional teaching and learning relationship by providing a $3,000 award to the master artist.

“Illinois is exceptionally rich in cultural heritage,” says Shirley R. Madigan, Chair of the Illinois Arts Council Agency. “Ethnic and Folk Arts Master/Apprentice Grants help to foster this learning arrangement and sustain the diversity of these traditional art forms.”

Traditional ethnic and folk arts eligible for support include those artistic practices which have a community or family base, express that community’s aesthetic, heritage and tradition, and have endured through several generations.  These art forms are expressions of the particular culture of the regional, national, ethnic, tribal, or language group from which they originate.

The Master Apprentice Program generally support art forms found in informal rather than institutional settings.  A “Master Artist” is an individual recognized within his or her community as an exemplary practitioner of his or her traditional or classical ethnic art form.  An “Apprentice” is an individual with some experience in a traditional, folk, or classical ethnic art form and who is committed to attaining mastery of that art form.

Awards are based on the recommendations of three jurors who are folklorists and cultural specialists: Mark Brown, Kentucky; Lisa S. Higgins, Missouri; and Matthew Meacham, Illinois. Clark “Bucky” Halker and Lisa R. Rathje, of Company of Folk, serve as program consultants to the agency’s Ethnic & Folks Arts Program.                                                             751**15

Master Artist City Apprenticeship Apprentice City
Tatsu Aoki Oak Park Shamisen
Japanese lute playing
Kiku Taura Chicago
Kathleen Keane Chicago Irish Traditional Music
Tin whistle
Chicago Nihon Buyou
Japanese classical dance
Rika Lin Chicago
Jovan D.
Chicago Serbian Folk Music
Serbian violin
Sam Hyson Chicago
Rajeswari Pariti Naperville Indian Carnatic Music
Veena playing
Divya Pariti Naperville
Hema Rajagopalan Oak Brook Bharatanatyam
Indian classical dance
Laxmi Siva Bolingbrook
Roger W.
“Bill” Robinson
Hammered Dulcimer
Technique and Performance
“ Katie”
Sokhna Thiam Rock
Traditional African Clothing
Construction and sewing
Paul Tyler Chicago Old Time Dance Music
Fiddle playing
Judy Higgins Chicago
Naperville Bharatanatyam
Indian classical dance

For additional information about the IACA’s Master/Apprentice Program, contact Susan Dickson, IACA Director of Ethnic and Folk Arts, by email at Susan.Dickson@illinois.gov or by phone at 312/814-6740 or 800/237-6994 (toll free within Illinois).  Individuals who are deaf or have hearing or voice impairments can call 312/814-4831 TTY.

About the Illinois Arts Council Agency: The Illinois Arts Council Agency was created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1965 to survey and assess the needs of the arts throughout the state; identify existing legislation, policies, and program which affect the arts and evaluate their effectiveness; stimulate public understanding of the importance of cultural institutions; promote an encouraging atmosphere for creative artists in Illinois; and encourage the use of local resources to develop and support the arts.

Funding for the Illinois Arts Council Agency and its programs is provided by the State of Illinois, and the Governor, through the appropriation of General Revenue Funds, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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