April , 2019

Sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company WASHINGTON, D.C. -Stellar award-winning gospel singer VaShawn Mitchell will ...
Remarks by CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield at Press Conference WASHINGTON, D.C. –  CBC Chairman G. K. ...
By Chinta Strausberg    It was a peep back perhaps in the 1960’s when students led the ...
The Illinois Tollway is hosting a free Construction Networking Event for firms involved in the ...
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced the appointments of Peter F. Neronha, U.S. Attorney for ...
  SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement: Yesterday, a ...
Hundreds of Black boys say they were "Modern Day Slaves" at a recently closed reform ...
Town Hall Meeting To Focus on Serious Challenges Facing Voters     WASHINGTON, DC - The Congressional Black Caucus ...
Clifford Law Offices, a nationally recognized firm that was just named one of the ...
 The Active Transportation Alliance and the League of Illinois Bicyclists Survey asks candidates about transportation ...

Archive for December 3rd, 2015

Top Cop Gone, But Heat Turns Up On Mayor, Alvarez

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Top Cop Gone, But Heat Turns Up On Mayor, Alvarez

Leaders want roots of corruption cut


By Chinta Strausberg

While the political heat escalated after the court-ordered release of the video showing officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times I5 seconds, the mayor’s asking Police Supt. Garry McCarthy to resign Tuesday won’t stop the protests because it’s not enough.

Emanuel asked and received the resignation of McCarthy who ironically spent Tuesday morning making the rounds on TV newscasts saying he was not going to resign and that crime is down. However, hours later, Mayor Emanuel held a press conference to announce McCarthy’s resignation and his forming a five-member police accountability committee. The mayor said McCarthy had become “a distraction” and his department “has been shaken and eroded” to say nothing about the lack of public trust. First Deputy John Escalante, a 29-year veteran, will serve as acting superintendent while the search goes on. The deadline for a candidate is March of 2016.

Ministers spoke out about McCarthy’s departure like the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Pastor Ira Acree, pastor of the Greater St. John Bible Church and Rev. Yehiel Curry a member of the Community Renewal Society and pastor of Shekinah Chapel. Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) and other elected and religious officials also agreed that McCarthy’s departure was just the beginning of a deeper systemic police problem they say needs fixing.

And, at 9 a.m., Thursday, December 3rd, Bishop Larry D. Trotter and Bishop James Dukes are holding an “accountability” meeting at Sweet Holy Spirit Church, 8621 S. Chicago Avenue, to demand answers from the mayor. They want to know the mayor’s alleged involvement with the tape showing officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 15 seconds. They also want the release of all similar tapes involving police shootings, an elected police review board release of all settlements and police brutality cases and a copy of agreement with the families.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rev. Jackson said, “Until we get the police culture challenge and a special prosecutor appointed, we cannot stop” the demonstrations.

He wasn’t alone in his reaction to McCarthy’s resignation. Illinois Attorney Lisa Madigan weighed in asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the police department. Madigan wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to investigate the police department’s internal review process and to see if there is a “pattern of discriminatory policing…and use of deadly force.”

Acree said getting rid of McCarthy “is a necessary step that the mayor had to take. He had no other choice. The people spoke. Corruption seems to be embedded from the top of the department all the way to the rank and file.

Acree said what the mayor has done is “not enough…too little, too late.” He wants to know all of those who knew about the tape including the nine other officers he said were on the scene when the teen was shot.

He wants an independent prosecutor because he suspects there is “collusion between the mayor’s office, the police superintendent’s office and that of the state’s attorney’s office. Acree also called for State’s attorney Anita Alvarez to resign. “Whether she resigns or not, we can take her out” come election time, he stated.

On Tuesday, December 8th, the Leaders Network of which Acree is co-chair, is holding a monthly meeting where Cook County Clerk David Orr will talk about voter registration. Acree wants 100 churches to each have two deputy registrars to register their members. He said this is the best way people can vent their feelings on what he calls a “betrayal of our trust” by the mayor, the top cop and Alvarez.

Cook County Comm. Richard Boykin said, removing McCarthy was necessary “but an insufficient first step because without systemic reforms, the divide between law enforcement and communities will not be healed.”

Illinois Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) called for the appointment of a special prosecutor. “To be effective, our outrage must be focused, our demands specific and sharp,” Collins said. “Charging Jason Van Dyke with first degree murder is not enough.

“There was a cover-up, and anyone involved in it must be held accountable. If we do not tear down the blue curtain of silence once and for all, Laquan McDonald’s will continue to die in our city. We must never forget that the videos, and the truth, were not simply handed to us. Instead, they were ripped from reluctant hands by journalists, citizens and the courts,” said the senator.

Collins introduced a bill calling for police reform. It provides a procedure to appoint a special prosecutor in cases like McDonald. Collins said the bill becomes law in January. “It must be used to help bring to justice rogue cops and those who over for them,” Collins said.

Collins also called for the resignation of States Attorney Anita Alvarez. “She has failed in her responsibility to timely, openly prosecute a heinous crime that not only took a Life but betrayed the public trust.”

As a board member of the Community Renewal Society, Pastor Curry said they want an independent auditor to look at the practices of the police department and all of its boards, make recommendations “without being controlled by those you are supposed to be policing,” said Curry.

Curry’s group has offered the Freedom Through Accountability, Investigation and Reform for Community Oversight of Policing Services (FAIR COPS) ordinance to the City Council “but they never acted or accepted the ordinance. It would have created a Police Auditor Office, which would inspect the entire system of policing patterns of misconduct, call for investigations of police abuse and implement policy change.

“This is a proposal that Community Renewal Society presented to the mayor three times over the last year. At our last meeting in October, we walked out of the meeting because of his refusal to even consider that change was needed,” said Curry.

He said the aldermen were more interested in trying to get someone else to replace McCarthy. Sources say that someone was former First Deputy Al Wysinger, an African American who recently retired. The mayor has launched an outside search with a March 2016 deadline.

On the police accountability the mayor appointed, Curry said, “We’ve seen that game before. They would basically do the same thing that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) board is supposed to do….” Curry said the new board “is another committee that’s running basically run by Mayor Emanuel. This is just a fourth group that is being dictated by the Fifth Floor. What we are looking for is real authentic change.”

Curry’s members said in a statement, “What happened to Laquan McDonald is not the result of a single bad police officer. It is a consequence of a broken system.” They criticized the mayor for not fixing the problem and for not making police more accountable.

“”Over the last five-years, the Chicago Police Department killed more civilians than any other police department in the country; yet not a single officer has ever been fired for an unjustified shooting,” Curry’s group said in a statement.

Referring to the department’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), the group said it “recommended discipline for a meager 128 officers out of more than 10,000 complaints of excessive force.” To add insult to injury, the Society said, “In the rare cases that IPRA and the superintendent agree that a police officer should be fired, the Police Board has overruled this recommendation and allowed an officer to return to duty more than half of the time.”

And Rose Joshua, president of the Southside NAACP chapter, wants to meet with the mayor and said the ouster of McCarthy “had nothing to do with police reform.” She said this is just the beginning of a long process to reform that troubled police department.



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

State Senator Raoul: Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Major Step Toward Systemic Change

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on State Senator Raoul: Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Major Step Toward Systemic Change

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement on the dismissal of police superintendent Garry McCarthy and the City of Chicago’s appointment of a task force on police accountability:

Yesterday’s announcements represent a positive step out of a dark time in our city. While no individual is solely responsible for the crisis of public confidence that has converged on the murder of Laquan McDonald and the culture of inaction and obfuscation that hid it from public view for more than a year, Superintendent McCarthy’s departure is a necessary step. It sends a signal of seriousness. But just as replacing a head coach does not automatically correct deeper weaknesses within a team, new leadership will not necessarily bring about the systemic change desperately needed in Chicago’s law enforcement and criminal justice apparatus.

That’s why I’m encouraged by the appointment of a police accountability task force made up of individuals with the integrity and experience to move beyond platitudes to real reform.

The choice of Deval Patrick, who was raised on the South Side, headed the civil rights division of the Department of Justice and served two terms as governor of Massachusetts, to advise the task force is a wise one. I’m optimistic that he will bring to the endeavor outside eyes but also a deep love for this city.

Inspector General Joe Ferguson, former State Police director Hiram Grau, Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, University of Chicago law professor and former Cook County public defender Randolph Stone and former federal prosecutor Sergio Acosta will round out the group, lending valuable experience and insight to the critical task of restoring public trust in the police. To move that process forward, they must determine patterns and practices that need to be overhauled. And our city’s leadership must exercise the will to follow their counsel.

I also stand behind Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to undertake a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department. Rep. Elgie Sims and I met with her yesterday prior to her announcement, and I look forward to continuing to work with her on statewide policy solutions that build on the landmark law enforcement reform legislation Rep. Sims and I passed this year. The road ahead is long, but the journey has begun.

Petition Calls for the Immediate Resignation of State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Petition Calls for the Immediate Resignation of State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez
From: DeAngelo Bester through MoveOn’s Public Petition Website.
After weeks of local protests and national outrage over the brutal murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has finally met one of our demands and fired Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy[1].

14 months ago Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 rounds into Laquan McDonald, an unarmed Black teenager presenting no risk to anyone. Despite having dashcam evidence of the murder, McCarthy’s press office issued a false statement claiming that McDonald lunged at police with a knife. This isn’t the first time Chicago’s police superintendent has demonstrated a lack of concern for Black lives. McCarthy also refused, for more than three years, to take disciplinary action against Dante Servin, the white police officer who murdered 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in 2012.

But firing McCarthy is just the first step. In order to ensure the safety of Black residents in Chicago and a fair and just judicial process, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez must also resign.

State’s Attorney Alvarez has a reputation for protecting criminal police officers and yet she is the attorney presiding over Laquan McDonald’s case. For over a year, Attorney Alvarez has known about the brutal murder of Laquan McDonald, and yet no actions have been taken to hold violent police officer Jason Van Dyke accountable.

Alvarez also is known for prosecuting and sending Black people to prison for misdemeanors while failing to prosecute cops charged with abuse. Black residents in Chicago are not safe under this type of negligent and corrupt leadership.

We are calling on you to ensure a fair and just judicial process for Chicago residents by doing the following:

  1. Sign our petition calling for the immediate resignation of State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/demand-justice-for-laquan?mailing_id=32134&source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=13955725 or share if you have already signed: http://petitions.moveon.org/thanks.html?petition_id=102737
  2. Call State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez office Thursday, December 3 at 10:00am (CST) and demand that she resign from office. Call at: (312) 603-1880

The Workers Center for Racial Justice and our allies are delivering the petition to Anita Alvarez’s office at that time, so your calls will coincide with our in person petition delivery.


[1] Emmanual fires McCarthy, Chicago Sun Times, December 1, 2015,  chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/1143320/sneed-exclusive-mccarthy-fired


FBI Offers $10,000 for Information in Baltimore Murder Investigation

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on FBI Offers $10,000 for Information in Baltimore Murder Investigation
The Baltimore FBI Safe Streets Task Force is asking for the public’s help in solving the murder of Larry Henderson, who was shot and killed in the 2500 block of Huron Street on May 3, 2014. Anyone with information leading to an arrest in the case could receive a reward of up to $10,000.

Henderson, who was 30 years old and went by “Boxx,” was found in the street by police and medics just after 6 p.m. He died later at the hospital. Larry was known to frequent the area around Carey and Laurens Streets in Baltimore.

Murder Victim Larry Henderson (12/2/15)

Anyone with information about Larry Henderson’s murder is asked to call the Baltimore FBI at 410-265-8080. You could receive a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case. Any information you give will remain confidential.

The Baltimore FBI Safe Streets Task Force is made up FBI agents and Baltimore Police Department detectives targeting violent gang members and drug traffickers in the Baltimore metropolitan area and works joint investigations with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Baltimore County Police Department; and Anne Arundel Police Department.

FBI Baltimore December 02, 2015
  • Public Affairs Specialist Amy Thoreson (410) 277-6689

Spiritual Life Coach and Acclaimed TV Personality, Iyanla Vanzant, Releases Latest Book Entitled “Trust: Mastering The 4 Essential Trists”

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Spiritual Life Coach and Acclaimed TV Personality, Iyanla Vanzant, Releases Latest Book Entitled “Trust: Mastering The 4 Essential Trists”
 Empowerment book features Iyanlas life-saving trust prescriptions
Trust by Iyanla Vanzant
New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — You just cant trust anyone! seems to be a constant refrain in the modern world. Indeed, learning to trust is one of lifes most difficult lessons. Thats because trust is not a verb, says legendary life coach Iyanla Vanzant, its a noun. Trust is a state of mind and a state of being.
Iyanla Vanzant, New York Times best-selling author and host of OWNs popular reality TV show Iyanla: Fix My Life, releases her latest empowerment book entitled TRUST: Mastering the 4 Essential Trusts on December 8th, 2015 published by Hay House, Inc. The book explains how to cultivate the liberating power of trust itself by exploring what trust really is, how to trust, and why to trust. She outlines the special rewards which come after mastering the four essential trusts: trust in God, trust in yourself, trust in others, and trust in life.
When we learn to trust others, it supports and eases the difficulty of lifes most challenging experiences. Trusting others gives you something to hold on to when it feels as if change is sucking the life out of you, Iyanla says.
Too often our fear of whether or not we can really trust an individual or an institution and what they represent erodes our confidence and undermines our relationships. When trust is broken or there is a betrayal, it can bring us face-to-face with our shadow, revealing that someone has failed to live up to our expectations and thus outs our hidden beliefs. You never get what you ask for; you always get what you expect, says Iyanla. When someone betrays our trust it reveals the high price paid for such deep disconnection.
The pragmatic trust-building prescriptions featured in the book demonstrate how communication, consistency, and cooperation can remedy trust-destroying behaviors, revitalize us with increased authenticity, greater resilience, and renewed peace in every part of our lives.

TRUST: Mastering the 4 Essential Trusts is available on December 8th, 2015. For more information please visit www.iyanlatrustlife.comAbout Iyanla Vanzant

From welfare mother to New York Times best-selling author, from the Brooklyn projects to Emmy Award winner, from broken pieces to peace, Iyanla Vanzant is one of the countrys most prolific writers and public speakers, and among the most influential, socially engaged, and acclaimed spiritual life coaches of our time. Host and executive producer of the breakout hit Iyanla: Fix My Life on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Iyanla Vanzants focus on faith, empowerment, and loving relationships has inspired millions around the world. A woman of passion, vision, and purpose, Iyanla is also the co-founder and executive director of Inner Visions for Spiritual Development.
About Hay House, Inc.
Hay House, founded in 1984 by Louise Hay, is the international leader in self-help and motivational publishing. Hay House features books, audios, courses and events by more than 300 authors and has a self-publishing division called Balboa Press. Please visit www.hayhouse.com.Photo Caption: Bookcover and author, Iyanla Vanzant


Justice Department Collects More Than $23 Billion in Civil and Criminal Cases in Fiscal Year 2015

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Justice Department Collects More Than $23 Billion in Civil and Criminal Cases in Fiscal Year 2015

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year (FY) ending Sept. 30, 2015.  Collections in FY 2015 represent more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

“The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding taxpayer resources and protecting the American people from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “The collections we are announcing today demonstrate not only the strength of that commitment, but also the significant return on public investment that our actions deliver.  I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible, and to reiterate our dedication to this ongoing work.”

The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal financial, health, safety, civil rights and environmental laws.  In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.

The total includes all monies collected as a result of Justice Department-led enforcement actions and negotiated civil settlements.  It includes more than $16.2 billion in payments made directly to the Justice Department and more than $6.8 billion in indirect payments made to other federal agencies, states and other designated recipients.

In measuring collections recovered in FY 2015, this figure necessarily includes some cases that were resolved in previous years but the proceeds of which were collected in FY 2015.

Among the top 20 debt collections, the largest came from financial institutions whose risky practices led up to the 2008 financial crisis and collapse of the U.S. housing market, including $8.2 billion of the settlement in August 2014 with Bank of America Corporation, which included $5 billion in penalties for claims under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) – the largest FIRREA penalty ever  – and $687 million from the February 2015 settlement with McGraw Hill Financial Inc. and Standard  & Poor’s Financial Services LLC.

The department continued to make polluters pay to safeguard the environment and the taxpayer, collecting $1.8 billion of the total $5.1 billion settlement of the Tronox Inc. bankruptcy in January 2015, the majority of which is being used for cleanups of Kerr-McGee sites, including on tribal lands and in low-income communities across the United States.  From the November 2014 settlement with Hyundai and Kia, the automakers paid $93.6 million to the United States, of a $100 million civil penalty owed to the United States and the California Air Resources Board, to resolve violations concerning the testing and certification of vehicles sold in America.

As in previous years, recoveries for health care fraud were among the largest, including $807 million from DaVita Healthcare Partners to settle two False Claims Act cases which involved kickback schemes and fraudulent billing of the federal government.

Growing out of the international scheme to manipulate the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR), the department obtained resolutions from several banks.  Notably, Deutsche Bank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in which it admitted its role in fraud and price-fixing conspiracies by rigging Yen LIBOR contributions with other banks and paid $625 million in penalties, in addition to regulatory penalties and disgorgements imposed by other agencies.  A Deutsche Bank subsidiary in the United Kingdom also pleaded guilty for its role in the rate manipulation.

Additionally, in March, Commerzbank AG, agreed to pay a $79 million fine to the department, in addition to a $563 million forfeiture, as part of a global settlement of charges for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Bank Secrecy Act.  For six years Commerzbank knowingly and willfully moved approximately $263 million through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned entities in Iran and Sudan.

The Swiss Bank Program yielded more than $350 million in penalties from dozens of Swiss banks that reached non-prosecution agreements with the department in FY 2015.

The department collected hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal fines and penalties from companies involved in conspiracies to subvert competitive markets.  Over the last year, the department collected fines greater than $10 million from nine companies involved in price-fixing conspiracies, including more than $200 million from auto parts suppliers and over $100 million from ocean freight companies.  The department has also brought civil suits to stop anticompetitive behavior and collected civil penalties and disgorgement that deprived companies of the proceeds of illegal pre-merger coordination.

Source: Office of Attorney General

19-Year-Old Jazz Vocalist Impresses Seasoned Professionals With Debut Album

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on 19-Year-Old Jazz Vocalist Impresses Seasoned Professionals With Debut Album

Ira Hill Releases “Tomorrow” 

Ira Hill, Tomorrow

Phoenix, AZ (BlackNews.com — Even as the title of Tomorrow the debut album from Phoenix’s Ira Hill hints at a bright future for the sensational 19-year-old jazz vocalist, it pays its dues to the past by means of an attentive and eclectic set list. In spite, if not also because of Hill’s gloriously extroverted vocalese, the album comes across as a vividly personal journey. Hill’s tender delivery is much more mature than his years, ensuring that Tomorrow is certain to invite a new generation of enthusiasts to appreciate the genre, while impressing scores of seasoned musicians and jazz aficionados. [Sample Tomorrow’s tracks at www.cdbaby.com/cd/irahill12. View video: “Billie’s Bounce”]”Ira Hill possesses all the ingredients that precede a rise to stardom as a jazz vocalist,” said internationally acclaimed jazz, blues and symphony pops vocal luminary, Dr. Dee Daniels. “The fact that he is only 19-years-old could lead one to believe in reincarnation. The composer, educator and mentor continued excitedly, “I suggest you keep your eyes and ears on Ira to witness his journey to global recognition!”

The albums core trio – pianist John Proulx, bassist Kevin Axt and gives young Hill all the space both he and hisdrummer Dave Tull listeners need to luxuriate in the breadth of his sound. With the trio alone, he turns evergreens like My Funny Valentine and Tomorrow’s Another Day even greener. The hallmark of any jazz singer is not only the way in which he lays out the melodies, but also the way in which he infuses the lyrics with soul. At a tender 19, Hill navigates a familiar songbook as if it were his own, singing as one who means every word. Balancing sophistication and fun, he brings his all to every tune with panache, gratitude and always with a smile.

But its really in Afro Blue, the albums slick opener, that one gets the immediacy of his feel for groove and atmosphere. Integrated seamlessly into the trio, along with vibraphonist Craig Fundyga, percussionist Alex Acuna and reedman Doug Webb, Hill buffs every edge until it fits flush with the next.

At every turn of Tomorrow, one can count on a rich, emotional directness in Hills singing. He incorporates several timeless favorites into the album’s repertoire, including an uplifting Billies Bounce; the scintillating staccato of Cloudburst in which he duets with The Manhattan Transfers Cheryl Bentyne; a swinging Ill Remember April and bright Youve Proven Your Point, which ends the album on a Latin vibe, paying tribute to Iras childhood, spent partly south of the border. In all of these, one encounters Iras gifts for rhythm and tonal color in spades. Tomorrow is certain to be a much-appreciated holiday gift-giving favorite!

“Ira Hill is coming out of the gate strong. Just in his first week at radio, his CD has hit the Most Added Charts at CMJ and Jazzweek, including the Biggest Gainer Chart,” hailed music promoter Kari Gaffney. “Tomorrow is showing significant promise among the crowded field of jazz releases primed for the end of year push at radio.” Most agreeable, Hill’s debut album is certain to be a much-appreciated holiday gift-giving favorite!



About the Artist:

Born 1996 in Bakersfield, California, Ira spent his earliest years shuttling between the United States and Mexico, before settling in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of seven. His father, a jazz enthusiast, introduced him to the Motown greats on which he, by age 10, Ira would be cutting his teeth. This was the foundation for Hill’s inevitable future His ever-supportive father brought 14-year-old Ira to hear Grammy-nominated Count Basie vocalist Dennis Rowland in concert. Before the show, dad introduced Ira to Rowland, who, upon discovering that Ira wanted to sing, gave him an opportunity to perform on stage. He sang the Temptations hit My Girl with Rowland’s jazz big band. The performance earned the youth a standing ovation, and opened his eyes to a wholly new possibility of self-expression.

After experimenting with other music genres, Hill finally landed smoothly in jazz. During this period of intense artistic development, he benefited immeasurably from mentors Rowland and Grammy-nominated pianist and vocalist Judy Roberts, another fixture of the Phoenix scene.

In addition to vocalists, Ira has learned much by proxy from the likes of Lee Morgan, Dexter Gordon and Bill Evans – musicians whose art allowed Ira to infuse his own musicianship with an instrumental flavor. This is most obvious in his scatting, which at once distinguishes him from his bandmates and humbles him as an equal improviser among them.
Ira Hill credits the time graciously given to him by greats who genuinely care about the up-and-coming generation of stars, and who instilled in him the confidence to brave his first solo. To that end, it was while participating in a Los Angeles jazz workshop that young Ira fatefully met Cheryl Bentyne of The Manhattan Transfer, who was so impressed by his singing that she invited him back to L.A. to lay down this full studio album, which she also produced. Hill has crafted a consummately individual statement that speaks true, sings truer, and promises to be the springboard to a prosperous career.

The new album is called Tomorrow, and with Ira leading the way, thats just what we have to look forward to from this young and very talented singer. To learn more about the sensational young vocalist, please visit www.irahill.com

Photo: CD cover




Illinois Student Assistance Commission Announces 2016-17 Illinois State Scholars

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Illinois Student Assistance Commission Announces 2016-17 Illinois State Scholars


Nearly 19,000 high school students recognized for outstanding academic achievement

DEERFIELD, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is pleased to announce the names of the 2016-17 Illinois State Scholars. This year’s honorees join the ranks of other outstanding Illinois high school students who have received the prestigious accolade since it was first introduced in 1958.

Illinois State Scholars possess strong academic potential and are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank. State Scholars rank in approximately the top ten percent of high school seniors, representing 652 high schools across the state.

“It is always an honor to announce another extraordinary group of State Scholars,” said Eric Zarnikow, ISAC executive director. “At a time when postsecondary education could not be more important to future job and career success, these students have demonstrated the kind of effort and dedication that will help them advance not only their futures, but the future of the state as well. We wish each of them the best as they pursue their chosen educational path.”

Congratulatory letters from ISAC have been sent to honorees, and the agency has provided personalized Certificates of Achievement to each high school for distribution. A list of current Illinois State Scholars can also be found on ISAC’s website. While this recognition does not include a monetary prize, Illinois State Scholars are encouraged to cite the honor on applications for college admission and scholarships. 

“In addition to congratulating our State Scholars, we would also like to recognize their parents, teachers, coaches and mentors for helping these students to achieve their goals—both personal and educational,” said Zarnikow. “Your constant support, encouragement and wisdom remain vital in helping students transition from high school and make well-informed postsecondary educational choices.”

ISAC encourages students interested in attending college next fall to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1, 2016 to determine eligibility for federal and state aid. ISAC offers free financial aid and college access events to assist students and families with the college-going process. Students can also visit the ISAC website and in particular the new ISAC Student Portal for college planning, financial aid and financial literacy information and  free tools, as well as information on how to contact the ISACorps, a group of recent college graduates who act as near-peer mentors, for one-on-one assistance and mentoring. 

About the Illinois Student Assistance Commission

The mission of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is to help make college accessible and affordable for students throughout Illinois. ISAC provides comprehensive, objective, and timely information on education and financial aid for students and their families—giving them access to the tools they need to help make the educational choices that are right for them. Then, through the state’s flagship Monetary Award Program and other scholarship and grant programs ISAC administers—totaling more than $380 million in academic year 2014-15—ISAC can help students make those choices a reality. www.isac.org

IDOT, ISP, Tollway Join Forces to Help Prepare Motorists for Snow and Ice

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on IDOT, ISP, Tollway Join Forces to Help Prepare Motorists for Snow and Ice

“Winter Weather – Get it Together” 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – As snow and ice season bears down on Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police and the Illinois Tollway are teaming up to alert motorists to be prepared and to remember: “Winter Weather – Get it Together.” By taking steps now to be ready to drive in wintry conditions, the traveling public can do its part to ensure a safe and successful winter driving season.  

“With temperatures dropping and some of the state already experiencing a first blast of winter, drivers should be aware of what they can do to keep safety their No. 1 priority,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “That means buckling up, slowing down, increasing traveling distances, and preparing to stay home if the weather is bad. By remembering the basic winter driving skills, together we can make this winter the safest one ever on Illinois roads.”


Throughout the winter, especially during adverse weather, motorists should be building extra time into their schedules before heading out. As part of the “Winter Weather – Get it Together” campaign, all travelers are encouraged to follow a few simple rules and tips during the coming months:


  • Always wear a seat belt. It’s the law in Illinois.
  • Slow down. Slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering and slower braking all are required in winter driving conditions.
  • Drop it and drive. Put down the handheld devices – it, too, is the law in Illinois.
  • Don’t crowd the plow. A snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see

him, but he may not see you.

  • Avoid using cruise control in snow and ice.
  • Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous.

  • Be especially careful approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas. All of them are prone to icing.
  • Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to make a

trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route. Consider

taking public transportation if it is an option.

  • Prepare an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors,

windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable

food and a first aid kit.

  • Carry a cell phone and a car charger in case of emergency.
  • Follow Scott’s Law. Slow down and move over for stopped emergency, construction and maintenance vehicles.

  • For a list of suggested maintenance for your car, visit the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration winter driving website.

  • For more winter driving tips, check out this short IDOT video.

“Motorists should take every precaution to be prepared when traveling Illinois roadways this winter,” said Illinois State Police Col. Tad Williams. “Reduce speed and avoid unnecessary travel during winter storms. Always check the latest weather condition information on your radio or television before heading out. Keep a charged cell phone with you whenever possible and let someone know where you’re going,”

At any time, motorists can check travel conditions by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or visiting gettingaroundillinois.com and clicking on the “Winter Road Conditions” icon. Illinois Tollway information is available at 1-800-TOLL-FYI.

“The Illinois Tollway encourages drivers to take every precaution when winter conditions threaten to make roadways hazardous,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “At the same time, we are prepared to act quickly to keep the Tollway system clear of snow and ice so our customers can enjoy safe and efficient travel regardless of winter weather conditions.”

For the upcoming winter, IDOT will have more than 1,700 trucks available for deployment to plow almost 16,560 miles of roads statewide, the equivalent of driving from Springfield to the tip of South America and back. Last year, IDOT spread more than 462,000 tons of salt statewide. This winter, salt domes throughout the state are at capacity, with almost 460,000 tons on hand. IDOT is preparing to have access to more than 710,000 million additional tons, if necessary.

The Illinois Tollway is prepared to mobilize its full fleet of 185 snowplows and has restocked its salt supplies so it has more than 84,000 tons available to keep its 286-mile system open and operating for the 1.5 million drivers who use the Tollway daily.

Please follow IDOT on Facebook and Twitter for updates on travel throughout the winter.

Free Winter Concerts Presented by Merit School of Music’s Top Conservatory Students Sure to Impress and Delight, December 11 and 12

Posted by Admin On December - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on Free Winter Concerts Presented by Merit School of Music’s Top Conservatory Students Sure to Impress and Delight, December 11 and 12
CHICAGO, IL – Make Merit School of Music, 38 S. Peoria in Chicago’s West Loop, your live music destination on Friday and Saturday, December 11 and 12, because top student musicians from all over the city will be ready to impress and delight, for free, at Merit’s always-popular Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-Free Conservatory Winter Concerts.
The music begins Friday, December 11 with a Merit Tuba Christmas at 6:45 p.m., when more than a dozen tuba players will serenade early arrivers with deep renditions of everyone’s favorite holiday tunes. The Conservatory Winter Band Concert follows from 7:30 to 10 p.m., showcasing the talents of Merit’s Trombone Choir, Junior Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony.
On Saturday, December 12, starting at 9:30 a.m., drop by anytime to enjoy carols, spirituals, pop standards and traditional and international songs performed by the full array of Merit’s top conservatory ensembles. The Concert Jazz Band, Honors Jazz Combo and Merit Jazz Ensemble start at 9:30 a.m., followed at 11 a.m. by the Brass, Guitar, Clarinet and Trumpet Ensembles. Voice students are featured at 1 p.m., with performances by the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Opera/Musical Theater Ensemble and Conservatory Choir. At 3:30 p.m., Merit’s String and Chamber Orchestras will wrap up a wonderful day of live music, free for the community.
Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory is home to some of the most talented, committed, passionate and disciplined youth musicians in the entire Chicago area. Conservatory students receive college preparatory level training from Chicago’s finest music instructors valued at $2,500 per year, tuition-free. Nearly 100% of the conservatory’s graduating seniors are accepted into college, and most continue their music studies at top colleges, universities and music conservatories.
Conservatory students meet on Saturdays during the school year at Merit School of Music’s state-of-the-artJoy Faith Knapp Music Center. For more information, including how to audition for the 2016-17 conservatory, visit meritmusic.org/alice-s-pfaelzer-conservatory, email studentservices@meritmusic.org or call (312) 786-9428.

About Merit School of Music

Merit School of Music is a nationally respected music school located in Chicago’s Near West Side. For 37 years, it’s been home to a diverse community of talented young musicians and a springboard for personal transformations. Known for providing access to high-quality music education, Merit serves over 4,000 students on site and off.


The school offers a continuum of programs, including early childhood classes, instrumental music instruction and private lessons. Training takes place at Merit’s Joy Faith Knapp Music Center and within local schools through the unique Bridges: Partners in Music program. More advanced student musicians can audition for the highest-level program, Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory.
Merit is devoted to giving students-especially those living in economically disadvantaged communities-the opportunity to grow through music. It provides substantial financial support so that motivated students can participate in every program regardless of economic circumstance.
To learn more about Merit’s music education programs, visit meritmusic.org or call (312) 786-9428.
Photos by Jasmin Shah

Recent Comments

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

Recent Posts