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College access, paid sick leave, living wage will help Illinoisans get ahead SPRINGFIELD, IL ...
Chicago, IL - Every year the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) ...
As national homicide rates climb, this group believes they have at least part of the ...
Nonprofits struggling mightily during budget impasse, Comptroller notes ELGIN, IL - Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger ...
Issue call to action around American Medical Association's declaration Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and ...
Insurers will now have the choice to extend transitional policies for an additional year to ...
 With significant changes in the health care marketplace across the country consumers are encouraged to ...
(From whitehouse.gov) President Obama has made clear that the United States will continue to support ...
Press Conference and Rally: Monday, May 2, 8:15 a.m. at the Field Museum, South Steps On May ...

Archive for October 15th, 2015

Munger: Cash Shortage Requires State to Delay Pension Payment

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Retirement systems to be paid in full by end of fiscal year

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Wednesday announced that a cash shortage caused by the ongoing state budget impasse will force Illinois to delay its November pension payment, but she stressed the retirement systems will be paid in full by the end of the fiscal year.

Without a budget in place, the state is operating under a series of court orders, consent decrees and continuing appropriations requiring it to pay bills at last year’s rates, despite projections showing a $5 billion decline in revenue. The resulting cash shortage has caused the state’s unpaid bill backlog to swell to $6.9 billion this month, and will force the Comptroller’s Office to delay a $560 million monthly pension payment in November.

Despite the delay in the state’s payment to the retirement systems, retirees will continue to receive their benefits checks as scheduled.

“This decision came down to choosing the least of a number of bad options and it saddens me that we’ve reached this point. But the fact is that our state simply does not have the revenue to meet its obligations,” Munger said. “We will use every available dollar in the higher revenue months this Spring to catch up with our commitments and ensure that our retirement systems are paid in full.”

Faced with the ongoing cash shortage, Munger has prioritized payments for nonprofits serving children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other most vulnerable residents. She is additionally required to ensure the state does not default on its debt service payments, and to meet state payroll.

Still, the consequences of the budget impasse are seen on a daily basis across the state, Munger added.

“Families, businesses and organizations are paying the price for inaction in Springfield every single day,” Munger said. “Nonprofits have had to shut their doors, our most vulnerable residents have lost access to services they depend on, college students are not receiving promised grant money and local governments are struggling to keep 911 Emergency call centers operating in the absence of funding.

“State government is not serving anyone well right now,” she added. “It is incumbent on the General Assembly and Governor to lock arms and pass an agreement that will allow Illinois to regain its fiscal footing.”

State Senator Raoul: “Continuing to Skip Pension Payments is not an Option”

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement in response to Comptroller Leslie Munger’s announcement today that the State of Illinois will skip its required November pension payment of $560 million:

Illinois’ sorry history of skipping payments to its pension systems has made its unfunded pension liability the highest in the country. The state has used its pension funds like credit cards to fund essential services because of a persistent unwillingness to face the fact that revenue isn’t keeping pace with the needs of its people.

I had hoped that by now, we all could at least agree that continuing to skip pension payments is not an option. Instead, we learned today that Comptroller Munger does not intend to make the state’s November pension payment on time.

On Aug. 18 and again on Aug. 28, the comptroller told a judge it would be “impossible” for her office to make court-ordered payments to providers of disability services. Yet, threatened with contempt of court, she found a way. Earlier in the fiscal year, Comptroller Munger and the Rauner administration claimed they could not pay for early intervention programs, but those services are now being funded. Today, the comptroller stated that “for all intents and purposes, we are out of money now.” Which is it? This has the feel of a manufactured crisis that is nonetheless all too real to its victims: single parents unable to work because they can no longer afford child care, low-income women waiting for cancer screenings that could save their lives, homeless youth, at-risk teens with no place to go but the streets and many  more.

We have a revenue problem – not a Democratic revenue problem, not a Republican revenue problem, but everybody’s problem. It’s time to end the sideshow and stop trying the same tricks that have held our state back for decades. We were able to come together and get creative about funding our priorities for Fiscal Year 2015. I challenge my colleagues on the right to answer this question:  Have those priorities changed? Are Illinois’ needs less urgent? If not, then we must focus on funding them while also meeting our pension obligations.

University of Chicago Students and Adjuncts Demand Union Rights and a Living Wage

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

At the University of Chicago, a coalition of undergraduates, graduate students, and adjunct professors demand union rights and a living wage

A coalition of undergraduates, graduate students, and adjunct professors will assemble on Friday at the University of Chicago administration office to demand a living wage of at least $15 an hour for all university workers, including graduate students, and a union contract for non-tenure-track faculty.

Protesters will assemble at the  Quadrangle side of Levi Hall, 5801 S Ellis Ave., in Chicago, Friday, October 16, at 3 p.m.

Organizers say the current minimum wage on campus of $10 an hour is a poverty wage that doesn’t allow workers, including low-income students, to support themselves. Fair Budget UChicago will demand a meeting with University Provost Eric Isaacs, who has so far been unresponsive to our requests to meet, to discuss our concerns. Representatives from SEIU’s Faculty Forward, Graduate Students United, and the University’s Socioeconomic Diversity Alliance will speak at the rally in addition to low-income working students affected by the poverty wages paid on campus.

In the last five years, just five of the top administrators at the University of Chicago have received a total of $7 million in raises. Currently, the University doles out tens of millions of dollars in fees every year to the hedge funds that manage just part of its $7 billion dollar endowment. People are getting rich off of this university. Meanwhile, undergraduates, graduate students, adjuncts and other University workers are struggling to get by on poverty wages. If there is enough money for a massive new dorm, then there’s money to ensure that students and other workers earn enough for food and rent. Fair Budget UChicago will continue to pressure the administration until it agrees to pay all of its workers, including students, a living wage.

Follow the hashtag #FairPayUChicago for updates on Oct. 16.

Fair Budget UChicago is a campaign of Southside Solidarity Network (SSN), a chapter of the IIRON Student Network (ISN), a student power organization that fights for racial and economic justice at campuses across Chicago

You can Find them on Facebook, or on the SSN or ISN twitter

 

Cook County Prosecutors Secure Natural Life Sentence for Attempted Murder of Chicago Police Officers

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

A Chicago man has been sentenced to Natural Life in prison for shooting multiple times at four Chicago Police Officers who were responding to a call of a man with a gun near a hot dog stand on the city’s South Side, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

 
Glenn Robinson, 42, was previously convicted of three counts of Attempted Murder of a Police Officer and one count of Attempted Murder for firing a gun more than 15 times during a late-night foot chase with the four officers in September of 2012. The officers were responding to a call of a suspicious person wearing a mask near the Maxwell Street hot dog stand in the 7400 block of South State Street when the incident began.

 
According to prosecutors, police arrived on the scene and observed the defendant wearing a mask and brandishing a gun toward an unknown individual next to the hot dog stand. After two responding tactical officers announced their office and told him to drop the weapon, Robinson turned toward the officers and fired multiple shots at them. Robinson then fled on foot toward the Dan Ryan Expressway and continued firing at the officers.

 
The responding officers pursued Robinson and exchanged gunfire. Robinson also fired at two uniformed officers who responded to the scene before fleeing through several residential yards and then being captured by officers on a porch trying to enter a residence. Police recovered the defendant’s gun, mask, gloves and black hoody in a gangway near the residence where he was arrested.

 
Cook County Judge Joseph Claps sentenced Robinson to a term of Natural Life in prison during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago.

 
State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorney’s Thor Martin and Jacqueline Kwilos as well as the Chicago Police Department for their work on the case.

Department of Insurance Adds Actuarial Valuations To Public Pension Division FOIA Portal

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Actuarial valuations are now available online at: https://insurance2.illinois.gov/Applications/Pension/FOIAReporting/FOIAPortal.aspx

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) Acting Director Anne Melissa Dowling today announced the addition of actuarial valuations to the agency’s Public Pension Division FOIA portal. The portal, which launched in early September, provides any member of the public access to information about public pension funds in the State of Illinois. The online portal is available at: https://insurance2.illinois.gov/Applications/Pension/FOIAReporting/FOIAPortal.aspx.

 

“Making the actuarial valuations available on our FOIA Portal is the next step in the Division’s ongoing transparency initiative,” said Acting Deputy Director of Public Pension Mary Jane Adkins. “The actuarial valuations are some of our most commonly requested public documents via FOIA, and making these available to the public will increase efficiency across the board.”

The actuarial valuations are performed by an enrolled actuary pursuant to the Illinois Pension Code and provide a suggested tax levy amount for the municipalities, which outlines the municipality’s minimum statutorily required annual contribution to the Pension Fund. Please note, the actuarial valuation performed by the Division may not be the actuarial valuation utilized by the municipality when determining their annual tax levy, as the Pension Code provides that a municipality may employ an independent actuary to perform an actuarial valuation.

 

For More information about the DOI Public Pension Division call 800-207-6958 or log on to the DOI Public Division website at https://insurance2.illinois.gov/Applications/Pension/Default.aspx

More Information

The Department’s mission is to protect consumers by providing assistance and information, by efficiently regulating the insurance industry’s market behavior and financial solvency, and by fostering a competitive insurance marketplace. The Illinois Department of Insurance assists consumers with all insurance complaints, including health, auto, life, and homeowner. Consumers in need of information or assistance should visit the Department’s web site at insurance.illinois.gov or call our toll-free hotline at (866) 445-5364.

Cast is Complete for Goodman Theatre’s 38th Annual Production of A Christmas Carol, Featuring Larry Yando in his 8th Year as Ebenezer Scrooge

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Three-Time Director Henry Wishcamper’s Cast includes newcomers Travis Knight as the Ghost of Christmas Past; Aaron Lamm as Boy Scrooge; Madeline Ruhl as Flautist; and Amaris Sanchez as Emily Cratchit

CHICAGO, IL -  “There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit” (Chicago Sun-Times) than Goodman Theatre’s annual holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol, now in its 38th year featuring new talent and Chicago favorites. Under director Henry Wishcamper, Larry Yando who “gets better every passing year” (Chicago Tribune) stars as the irascible Ebenezer Scrooge and Nathaniel Buescher returns for his second time as Tiny Tim. The cast of 25 (full list below) includes 21 returning cast members and welcomes four newcomers to the production: Aaron Lamm (Boy Scrooge), Travis Knight (Ghost of Christmas Past), Madeline Ruhl (Flautist) and Amaris Sanchez (Emily).

A Christmas Carol runs November 14– December 27 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre (opening night is November 22). Tickets ($25 – $102) can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org/Joy, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Discounted Group Tickets for 15 persons or more are available at 312.443.3820 or by emailing Groups@GoodmanTheatre.org. Purchase Goodman Gift Certificates in any amount at GoodmanTheatre.org. The flexibility of Goodman Gift Certificates allows recipients to choose the production, date and time of their performance. Artists, dates and ticket prices are subject to change. Fifth Third Bank is the Major Corporate Sponsor; PepsiCo is the Official Beverage Sponsor; Aon and KPMG LLP are the Corporate Sponsor Partners for A Christmas Carol.

Company of A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens, adapted by Tom Creamer, directed by Henry Wishcamper

Unless otherwise noted, performers live in Chicago.

 

Theo Allyn………………………………………………….Miss Ortle/Mrs. Creakle

Justin Amolsch…………………………………………….Musician

Kareem Bandealy………………………………………….Narrator/Young Scrooge

Nathaniel Buescher……………………………………….Tiny Tim

Andrew Coil………………………………………………..Musician

Paige Collins……………………………………………….Martha/Fan/Young Woman

Phillip Cusic………………………………………………..Peter Cratchit

Lisa Gaye Dixon…………………………………………..Ghost of Christmas Present

Joe Foust………………………………………………….Jacob Marley/Young Marley/Old Joe

Allen Gilmore………………………………………………Alternate Scrooge

Anish Jethmalani (Forest Park) ………………………….Fred

Travis Knight………………………………………………Ghost of Christmas Past

Aaron Lamm……………………………………………….Boy Scrooge

J. Salome Martinez………………………………………..Dick Wilkins/Pie Seller/Future

Larry Neumann Jr…………………………………………Schoolmaster/Percy/Undertaker

Ron Rains………………………………………………….Bob Cratchit

Malcolm Ruhl (Evanston)…………………………………Musician/Mr. Keys

Madeline Ruhl (Evanston)………………………………….Musician

Amaris Sanchez (Bolingbrook)…………………………….Emily

Kim Schultz………………………………………………..Mrs. Fezziwig/Charwoman

Skye Sparks ………………………………………………Belinda

Brett Tuomi………………………………………………..Mr. Fezziwig

Kristina Valada-Viars………………………………………Abby/Belle

Penelope Walker…………………………………………..Mrs. Cratchit

Larry Yando………………………………………………..Ebenezer Scrooge


More than 100 Chicagoland youth auditioned for A Christmas Carol 

Cook County’s Dr. Stephen Cina Named Vice President Of National Association of Medical Examiners

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
 

Chief Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina was elected this week as vice president of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) at the group’s annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

NAME is the country’s premier organization for medical examiners, those physicians who investigate sudden, violent and suspicious deaths and perform autopsies. NAME also serves educational, research and professional development functions, promotes the exchange of professional experiences for the betterment of the overall profession, and develops consensus around professional standards and guidelines for medical examiners.

Dr. Cina’s term begins January 1, 2016, and lasts for one year. His nomination was bolstered by his five terms on NAME’s Board of Directors, liaison work with the College of American Pathologists, and turnaround of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

“I am honored to be selected as vice president of NAME,” Dr. Cina said. “Being chosen by my colleagues for this office validates the hard work and improvements we have made in Cook County, as we strive to be the finest ME office in the country.”
Dr. Cina was appointed to his position by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in September 2012 after a nationwide search. Since assuming his position, the ME’s office has gained provisional accreditation from NAME (the office hopes to achieve full accreditation in the near future), constructed a new state-of-the-art cooler, migrated its data and daily operations to a cloud-based case management system, and significantly boosted staffing.

Dr. Cina took over the County’s ME office following the discovery of critical shortcomings in the office’s daily operations. He quickly acted as a change agent, modernizing systems and updating protocols and procedures to ensure smooth operations in what is the nation’s third-busiest medical examiner office.

“Dr. Cina has done an outstanding job in taking an office in need of strong leadership and providing just that,” said President Preckwinkle. “His creative approach and firm hand will ensure that the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office will serve as a national model of efficiency and excellence.”

In his capacity as NAME’s vice president, Dr. Cina will work with other national leaders to promote high-quality death investigations around the country and throughout the world.

6 Amazing Scholarships for Women in 2015 – There’s Still Time Left to Apply

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS


Women Scholarship Recipients

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Billions of dollars in scholarships have already been given away this year to students who need financial assistance, but the good news is that the year is not quite over. There are still quite a few programs available, especially for women, that are still giving away scholarship awards.

Here are six programs for women students that are still accepting applications:

#1 – Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: recipients will receive a scholarship award of up to $10K and an opportunity to attend the Google Scholars’ Retreat in Mountain View, California where they will participate in workshops with other computer science students for three days. Deadline is December 1, 2015.
Apply online at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/01/google-anita-borg-memorial-scholarship.html

#2 – Hallmark Mahogany & Blues Babe Foundation Scholarship Program: scholarship awards of up to $10K will be given away, and includes an all-expense paid three-day workshop in Hallmarks headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Deadline is October 30, 2015.
Apply online at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2015/09/mahogany-blues-babe-foundation.html

#3 – National Student Nurses Association Scholarships: for female students that are enrolled and/or plan to enroll in a nursing degree program. Also includes special scholarships available to students of racial or ethnic minorities. Deadline is January 29, 2016.
Apply online at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/07/national-student-nurses-association.html

#4 – Burger King Scholars Program: awards scholarships to students ranging from $1K to $50K, and can be applied to tuition, fees or books required for course load, but must not exceed the student’s educational costs. Deadline is December 15, 2015.
Apply online at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/03/burger-king-scholars-program.html

#5 – Microsoft’s Women Scholarship/ Fellowship Program: consists of a scholarship award of up to $15K plus a stipend toward conference and travel expenses for recipients to attend a conference in their field of study. Deadline is December 31, 2015.
Apply online at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/12/microsoft-research-graduate-womens.html

#6 – Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP): primarily for women who have critical financial need and a desire to complete their undergraduate education. Single mothers with young children are especially encouraged to apply. Deadline is December 31, 2015.
Apply online at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/05/womens-independence-scholarship-program.html


Find hundreds of other 2015-2016 scholarships for both men and women at www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

National Support Shown for Ida B. Wells Monument Through October Crowdfunding Campaign

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Will be the First in Chicago to Honor an African American Woman

CHICAGO, IL – The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee launched an online fundraising campaign at the beginning of October for a monument to honor the life and work of Ida B. Wells (1862-1931). Within the first 15 days of the campaign there has been tremendous support with donations from as far away as New York, California, Georgia, Mississippi and Massachusetts. The goal is to raise $100,000 to begin the creation of a monumental interpretative sculpture by world-renowned sculptor Richard Hunt.

“We are excited to see how far reaching the support has been for this project,” said Anthony Rogers, Co-Chair of the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee. “Despite the fact that Ida B. Wells was born a slave in Holly Springs, MS she made an impact on the world as a journalist, teacher, anti-lynching crusader, women’s rights activist and civil rights pioneer. She was an international figure who worked and raised her family in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago from 1895 to 1931.”

A decade after Ida B. Wells died, the Chicago Housing Authority named a public housing development after her in 1941 as a result of strong community pressure. That development is now gone, and the monument will stand at the center of Oakwood Shores, the mixed-income housing development that replaced it. “Today, we look forward to creating a monument to educate and inspire people with the life and words of Ida B. Wells for generations to come,” said Rogers.

“I lived in the Ida B. Wells housing community for over 30 years and was sad to see the homes go. But, I must say that having Ms. Ida B. Wells forever remembered through this monument for the work that she did is something that is very important,” said Sandra Young, Co-Chair of the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee. Once completed, the Committee will donate the monument to the City of Chicago’s Public Art Collection. It will be the first in Chicago, and one of less than 1% of monuments in the U.S., to honor an African American woman.

Those wishing to support the campaign can visit http://igg.me/at/idabwellsmonument where donations from $10.00 to $5,000 will to help fund this historic monument of national importance. The sculpture will be located on the winding path in the grassy median at 37th and Langley, a short walk from the house at 3624 S. King Drive where Wells once lived. It will include images, biographical information and excerpts of Wells’ writings.

The crowdfunding campaign will run through the month of October. More information about the project is available and donations can be made at http://igg.me/at/idabwellsmonument.

The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee is a subcommittee of the Oakwood Shores Working Group, a committee designated by the Chicago Housing Authority to oversee and provide input on planning, developing and maintaining the mixed-income community replacing the Ida B. Wells public housing development. www.idabwellsmonument.org

USA Today Recommends Black Author’s “When We Were One” as a Must-Read

Posted by Admin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

When We Were One by Zaji
Bookcover

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — Freelance journalist, author and poet Zaji, pens her first novel, When We Were One: The Story of an Ancient Race (Peace in the Storm Publishing), an insightful, thought provoking, and engaging work that takes readers on a journey through an unexpected world.

Inspired by authors such as Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and George Orwell, When We Were One transports readers to the far reaches of space in this imaginative speculative fiction novel.

USA Today writes, “…her story is a celebration of sisterhood and their connection with the physical world and beyond… Zajis imaginative tale will spur us to think and to be entertained.”

When We Were One honors women and their relationships, and it honors men and their connection to women, while taking readers on a tour through memories of days gone. It is a journey that uncovers the soul of women and the spiritual miles they have trodden.  When We Were One also honors nature and the vastness of the many universes that speckle the darkness.

When We Were One is Zajis effort to share something wildly inventive with readers, ensconced in something ancient and familiar. She is an avid reader, prolific writer and meditative pianist. She resides in Mississippi with her family. Zaji can be found online at www.thezaji.com.

To read the full USA Today review, visit http://usat.ly/1Leu0Rl

Available on Amazon at www.amazon.com/dp/0985076380

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