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Archive for February 3rd, 2016

New Report on Poverty Shows the Moral, Human, and Economic Toll of Racial Inequity in Illinois

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

woman opening curtainsPoverty rates are two to three times higher for Illinoisans of color, and they fare far worse on nearly every measure of well-being. In the latest of its annual reports on poverty in Illinois, “Racism’s Toll,” Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center lays bare the moral, human, and economic cost of the deep inequities in the state and calls out public policies that have and are actively creating these racial inequities.

The disparities are remarkably persistent on nearly all quality of life domains:

  • Black children in Illinois are nearly 4 times more likely to live below the poverty line than white children.
  • The Illinois school districts with the most students of color receive 16% less in funding per student than districts serving the fewest students of color.
  • Unemployment rates are far higher for black Illinois workers than whites at every educational level.
  • Illinoisans of color are 2 to 3 times more likely to not have health insurance.
  • Black Illinoisans on average live 6 years less than whites.
  • Poor black (16%) and Latino (22%) Illinoisans are more likely to live within a mile of a hazardous chemical facility than poor whites (13%).
  • Nationally, the median net worth for a white household is $110,500 versus $6,314 for a black household.

The consistency and persistence of these severe disparities by race in Illinois underscore how much more work we have to do. As the report makes clear, these inequities are the product of the public policies, market forces, and institutional practices of both yesterday and today, which systematically place barriers in the path of Illinoisans of color.

“Racism’s Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty,” related infographics, and data for all 102 of Illinois’s counties are available for download at www.ilpovertyreport.org.

Read the Report »

Munger: Illinois on Pace to Dig $6.2 Billion Deeper in Debt This Year

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Comptroller says costs of impasse even higher than initially projected

CHICAGO, IL – Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced Tuesday that the State of Illinois is on pace to spend an additional $6.2 billion more than it receives in revenue this fiscal year alone if the state continues its current rate of spending without a budget.


The state’s Chief Fiscal Officer, Munger said the deficit projection is higher than originally projected because court orders and consent decrees are requiring spending at FY 15 levels or whatever is required to maintain existing service levels, regardless of the cost. Specifically, the state Department of Human Services and the Department of Healthcare and Family services are on pace to exceed last year’s appropriations by $1.2 billion.


At the same time, Illinois is bringing in about $5 billion less in revenue annually primarily because of the sunset of the temporary income tax increase.


“When you put it together, it’s $6.2 million more in debt for a state that already had a multi-billion bill backlog,” Munger said. “The situation without a budget is a little like a credit card limit. You can spend until you hit that limit – but in this case, the courts have essentially removed the limit and the state has blown through the caps to the tune of $1.2 billion. Without a budget, the spending is open-ended and our fiscal path is catastrophic.”


Munger said a balanced budget is needed for the state to reclaim its controls over spending and revenue. She’s hopeful the Governor and legislative leaders can build on the agreement they reached in December that allowed state payments to flow again to domestic violence centers, 911 centers, Lottery winners, and struggling local governments.


“Now is the time to build on that momentum. It is time to set aside differences which have become all too apparent over the past year and reach an agreement that will allow Illinois to move past this budget impasse and ensure it can keep its promises to taxpayers and organizations for years to come,” Munger said. “I am an optimist. I believe it will happen. And my office will continue to provide information and resources to all involved in order to move Illinois forward.”

Small Donors Fuel Sanders Campaign, Clinton Bankrolled by Wealthy

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

From: Bernie Sanders Campaign


KEENE, N.H. – Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is funded by small donors who gave an average of about $29 each in the past year while Hillary Clinton has relied on the wealthy to bankroll her presidential bid, new financial disclosure reports reveal.The latest round of campaign finance reports filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission show the stark differences between the two campaigns.

In perhaps the major contrast, the disclosure forms show that only 649 of Sanders’ more than 1.3 million backers have donated the $2,700 maximum that an individual may give to a candidate to help fund campaigns in primary elections and caucus states. Only 2.3 percent of Sanders’ total money raised comes from maxed-out donors. With far fewer total donors, Clinton has tapped out more than 23,000 of her donors who have given to her campaign committee all that the law allows for the primary election and may donate no more. Her maxed-out donors provided nearly 60 percent of the primary money raised for her campaign committee.

Another way to gauge support is to examine donations of $200 or more, the legal threshold for which donations must be itemized in FEC reports. In Clinton’s case, 83 percent of her money came from donors who gave more than $200. In contrast, only 26 percent of the money raised for Sanders came from donors above the $200 threshold.

Tallying contributions from small donors is another yardstick that campaign finance analysts examine. Sanders reported more than $23.4 million in fourth quarter donations of less than $200. That’s out of a total $33.6 million raised in the last quarter of the year. Despite an aggressive online campaign designed to jack up the number of her small donors, Clinton’s total take for her campaign committee in the last three months of 2015 in un-itemized donations totaled only $5.7 million of her more than $38 million total haul for the quarter.

Sanders’ small-dollar donors continue to be the financial backbone of his campaign. Last month alone, nearly $21 million was donated to him. The money came in the form of 812,012 separate contributions averaging only $26 apiece. That brought the total number of donations since Sanders launched his campaign last April 30 to more than 3.3 million, a record for any presidential candidate at that point in a campaign.

Clinton has been criticized for her heavy reliance on donations from Wall Street and other special interests. For example, she left the campaign trail in Iowa one day last week to hold a fundraiser in Philadelphia sponsored by leading executives of a large investment firm. And The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the super PAC backing Clinton amassed $15 million of the $25 million it raised in the second half of last year from Wall Street sources.

To read Sanders’ FEC report, click here.

President Obama Proposes $1.1 Billion in New Funding to Address the Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Use Epidemic: Fact Sheet

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

President’s Budget includes new mandatory funding to help ensure that all Americans who want treatment can get the help they need

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families, while straining resources of law enforcement and treatment programs. More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that opioids—a class of drugs that include prescription pain medications and heroin—were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014.  In particular, CDC found a continued sharp increase in heroin-involved deaths and an emerging increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.

The President has made clear that addressing the opioid overdose epidemic is a priority for his Administration and has highlighted tools that are effective in reducing drug use and overdose, like evidence-based prevention programs, prescription drug monitoring, prescription drug take-back events, medication-assisted treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone. Under the Affordable Care Act, substance use disorder services are essential health benefits that are required to be covered by health plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The law also required that covered substance use disorder benefits are comparable to medical and surgical benefits.

The President’s FY 2017 Budget takes a two-pronged approach to address this epidemic.  First, it includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use. This funding will boost efforts to help individuals with an opioid use disorder seek treatment, successfully complete treatment, and sustain recovery.  This funding includes:

  • $920 million to support cooperative agreements with States to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. States will receive funds based on the severity of the epidemic and on the strength of their strategy to respond to it.  States can use these funds to expand treatment capacity and make services more affordable.
  • $50 million in National Health Service Corps funding to expand access to substance use treatment providers.  This funding will help support approximately 700 providers able to provide substance use disorder treatment services, including medication-assisted treatment, in areas across the country most in need of behavioral health providers.
  • $30 million to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment programs employing medication-assisted treatment under real-world conditions and help identify opportunities to improve treatment for patients with opioid use disorders.

This investment, combined with other efforts underway to reduce barriers to treatment for substance use disorders, will help ensure that every American who wants treatment can access it and get the help they need.

Second, the President’s Budget includes approximately $500 million — an increase of more than $90 million — to continue and build on current efforts across the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities. A portion of this funding is directed specifically to rural areas, where rates of overdose and opioid use are particularly high.  To help further expand access to treatment, the Budget includes an HHS pilot project for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment, where allowed by state law.

Building on Actions to Address the Opioid Epidemic

In October 2015, the President announced a number of new public and private sector actions to address this issue, including a Presidential Memorandum on prescriber training and opioid use disorder treatment. He also announced a commitment by more than 40 provider groups that more than 540,000 health care providers will complete training on appropriate opioid prescribing in the next two years. After just over three months, these groups reported that more than 66,000 providers have completed prescriber training to date, putting them on target to meet their goal.

In December, the President signed a bipartisan budget agreement with more than $400 million in funding specifically to address the opioid epidemic, an increase of more than $100 million over the previous year. The agreement also revised a longstanding ban on using federal funds to support syringe service programs, which can help reduce the transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis by confronting one major source of the outbreaks: injection drug use, including opioids.

These actions build on efforts that began in 2010 when the President released his first National Drug Control Strategy, which emphasized the need for action to address opioid use disorders and overdose while ensuring that individuals with pain receive safe, effective treatment.  In 2011, the White House released its national Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, which outlined goals for addressing prescription drug abuse and overdose.

Since then, the Administration has supported and expanded efforts to prevent drug use, pursue “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement, improve prescribing practices for pain medication, increase access to treatment, work to reduce overdose deaths, and support the millions of Americans in recovery:

Community Prevention and Overdose Response

  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), supports local Drug-Free Communities coalitions to reduce youth substance use through evidence-based prevention.  In recent years, hundreds of these coalitions have specifically focused on prescription drug misuse issues in their areas.
  • With support from the Administration, prescriber education programs have been developed to teach medical professionals skills such as how to start a conversation with patients about their substance use; managing pain appropriately; and treating patients using opioids more safely. In response to a Presidential Memorandum, federal agencies are leading the way by making certain that their workforce is properly trained. In addition, ten states have passed legislation requiring training for prescribers.
  • In FY 2016, HHS will implement the $10 million Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs to raise awareness about the dangers of misusing prescribed medications and to work with pharmacy and medical communities to address the risks of overprescribing to young adults. The FY 2017 Budget continues this effort.
  • With support from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other funders, 49 states have established Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs to help prescribers identify potential opioid misuse issues—up from 30 states at the start of the Administration.
  • The federal government is expanding access to prescription drug monitoring program data throughout federal agencies. The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Pharmacy Data Transaction Service automatically screens all new medication orders against a patient’s computerized medication history and permits DoD physicians to monitor for concerning drug usage patterns. The Indian Health Service has successfully piloted integrating this data into their electronic systems, and a pilot to integrate data into the workflow of physicians in the DoD health system is slated to launch in 2016.
  • Through the National Take Back Days to remove unused prescription drugs from communities, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has collected more than 5.5 million pounds of medication.  DEA also finalized a new rule making it easier for communities to establish ongoing drug take-back programs.
  • ONDCP has worked with federal, state, and local government agencies and other stakeholders to expand access to the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, including equipping first responders. Today, hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country carry and are trained to administer naloxone. Additionally, prior to 2012, just six states had any laws that expanded access to naloxone or limited criminal liability for persons who took steps to assist an overdose victim. Today, 46 states and the District of Columbia have enacted statutes that expand access to naloxone or provide “Good Samaritan” protections for possession of a controlled substance if emergency assistance is sought for a victim of an opioid overdose.
  • The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) supports the Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone distribution program to help Veterans at risk of an opioid overdose.  This program is a key objective of VA’s safety initiatives.  In the less than two years since the program was implemented, over 12,000 Veterans have received a naloxone kit, and there have been 141 reported reversals as of December 2015.
  • In September 2015, CDC launched a $20 million Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States initiative in 16 states to expand their capacity to put prevention into action in communities nationwide and encourage education of providers and patients about the risk of prescription drug overdose. In 2016, the initiative received a further increase of $50 million dollars to expand these state prevention activities to a national scale.
  • The DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance released a Law Enforcement Naloxone Toolkit to support law enforcement agencies in establishing naloxone programs. The toolkit has been downloaded more than 2,200 times in the last year.
  • DOD is ensuring that opioid overdose reversal kits and training are available to every first responder on military bases or other areas under its control.
  • In 2016, SAMHSA will provide a total of $12 million specifically to increase use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.  States can use these funds to purchase naloxone, equip first responders with naloxone, and provide training on other overdose death prevention strategies.  The FY 2017 Budget will continue these investments and includes an additional $10 million to address opioid overdose in rural areas, including through expanding access to naloxone.
  • In November 2015, the President signed bipartisan legislation, the Protecting Our Infants Act, to help identify evidence-based approaches to care for mothers and their newborns affected by the opioid epidemic.
  • In December 2015, the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced a new partnership to reduce opioid-related overdoses among American Indians and Alaska Natives. In 2016, the more than 90 IHS pharmacies will dispense naloxone to as many as 500 BIA Office of Justice Services officers and will train these first responders to administer emergency treatment to people experiencing an opioid overdose.
  • Using the most recent scientific evidence, the CDC has been working with clinical experts and other stakeholders to develop guidelines on prescribing opioids for chronic pain.  The guidelines will be used to help improve the way opioids are prescribed and help providers offer safer, more effective chronic pain treatment, while reducing opioid misuse, abuse and overdose.
  • Using its fast-track and priority review systems, FDA recently approved for the first time a nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride, providing an easy to administer way to deliver this lifesaving drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse helped develop this product through a partnership to apply new technology towards developing interventions for opioid overdose.


  • In FY 2016, SAMHSA will support grants to 22 States to support medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders in high need communities.  The FY 2017 Budget will expand the number of States that will receive funding to 45.
  • In 2016, the Health Resources and Services Administration will award up to $100 million to Health Centers across the country to improve and expand the delivery of substance use disorder services, with a focus on medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders.
  • HHS Secretary Burwell announced that the Department will engage in rulemaking related to the prescribing of buprenorphine-containing products approved by the FDA for treatment of opioid dependence to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders.  HHS will take a strategic approach in order to minimize diversion and ensure evidence-based treatment.
  • In conjunction with the Budget rollout, HHS also will release Medicaid guidance to States on best practices for addressing the opioid epidemic focused on Medicaid pharmacy benefit management strategies to manage and monitor prescription opioid prescribing, cover medication-assisted treatment, and increase the use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

Enforcement and Supply Reduction

  • The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program is funding an unprecedented network of public health and law enforcement partnerships to address the heroin threat across 15 states.
  • DEA has deployed a 360 Strategy targeting the opioid epidemic through coordinated law enforcement operations, diversion control and partnerships with community organizations following enforcement operations.
  • DOJ’s enforcement efforts include targeting the illegal opioid supply chain, thwarting doctor-shopping attempts, and disrupting so-called “pill mills.”
  • DOJ has cracked down on those who use the Internet to illegally buy and sell controlled substances.
  • DEA agents and investigators are integrating with other federal, state, and local law enforcement officers in 66 Tactical Diversion Squads stationed across 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.  Outcomes of this effort include the largest pharmaceutical-related takedown in the DEA’s history in an operation that resulted in 280 arrests.
  • Since 2007, through the Merida Initiative, the Department of State has been working with the Government of Mexico to help build the capacity of Mexico’s law enforcement and justice sector institutions to disrupt drug trafficking organizations and to stop the flow of illicit drugs including heroin from Mexico to the United States.

To learn more about the opioid epidemic or to find treatment options for patients, family or friends, visit www.hhs.gov/opioids.

Former Owner and Operator of California Medical Equipment Supply Company Sentenced for Their Roles in $1.5 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The former owner and the former operator of a durable medical equipment supply company based in Long Beach, California, were sentenced today for their roles in a $1.5 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Chris Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region, Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division and Special Agent in Charge Joseph Fendrick of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse made the announcement.

Amalya Cherniavsky, 41, and her husband, Vladislav Tcherniavsky, 46, both of Long Beach, were ordered to pay $614,418 in restitution.  U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. of the Central District of California ordered Tcherniavsky to serve 51 months in prison.  On Oct. 15, 2015, a federal jury convicted both defendants of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five counts of health care fraud.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that Cherniavsky owned JC Medical Supply, a purported durable medical equipment supply company that she co-operated with Tcherniavsky.  Evidence further showed that the defendants paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals and paid kickbacks to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions—primarily for expensive, medically unnecessary power wheelchairs—which the defendants then used to support fraudulent bills to Medicare.

Between 2006 and 2013, the defendants submitted $1,520,727 in claims to Medicare and received $783,756 in reimbursement for those claims, according to evidence presented at trial.

The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California.  HHS-OIG’s Los Angeles Regional Office, the FBI and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse investigated the case.  Attorneys Blanca Quintero and Kevin R. Gingras of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Van Pelt Has No Solutions to Crime as Shootings Soar

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Violence in Chicago is getting worse — reaching a 15-year high in January. Despite decreases nationally in violent crime, shootings and homicides, despite the improving economy, we had the most violent January in Chicago since 2000.

”Van Pelt has done nothing in her term in office to address this problem. She has sponsored no bills that address violence or guns, and offered no solutions to our violent crime rate,said Bob Fioretti. ”Her record of little impact is a problem. We need a State Senator who will fight to make things better in the 5th District, in the City and in the State.”

We’re making national headlines in a way that is sure to scare away companies and new residents, continuing this vicious cycle.

In Chicago 241 of our citizens were shot last month, compared with 119 last year. Murders soared to 51 in the month of January from 29 a year ago and 20 in 2014. That comes on top of a 12.5 percent increase in homicides to 468 last year, and a percent increase in shootings to 2,900.

It’s time to elect a State Senator who wants to push for a larger, better trained, more accountable police force, increase community policing and enhance the diversity of our police force through hiring that reflects our communities.

It takes more than that, though. We need a strong educational system and good jobs for our people — the first step toward reducing crime.

Bob Fioretti


Black Lives Matter Sues IPRA for Records of Cop Who Killed Rekia Boyd

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Despite the city’s paper thin promises of new transparency and accountability in policing, this morning a Black Lives Matter Chicago organizer had to resort to filing suit, to force release of FOIA’d information from the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), the City body charged with investigating alleged misconduct by police.

In November, BLMChi organizer Jason Tompkins filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), for investigative records relating to Detective Dante Servin, the Chicago Police officer who killed Rekia Boyd in March 2012. Under arguments that this request was too broad and “unduly burdensome,” the request was denied. Amazed, Tompkins believes that this is grounds to file suit.

Under the misleadership of Anita Alvarez, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office possessed full access of IPRA’s investigative records into the shooting, when they brought charges of involuntary manslaughter to Servin’s criminal trial in April 2015. Cook County Judge Dennis Porter acquitted Servin in that bench trial, via a directed verdict, arguing that Rekia’s killing was intentional. In September 2015, three and a half years after the shooting took place, and several months after the criminal trial ended, IPRA finally recommended Servin’s termination.  Yet, Servin is currently still on the force, and taxpayers continue to pay his salary of over $90,000 per year.

To be clear: it is due to the political courage of Rekia’s family that we, alongside BYP100, the Women’s Allpoints Bulletin, Assata’s Daughters, #LetUsBreathe Collective, the Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and many other allied projects and organizations, have uplifted the demand to #FireServinNOW and revoke his pension at monthly Police Board meetings, marches, rallies and actions. It is the political courage of Rekia’s family that has ultimately precipitated the resignation of former IPRA Chief Scott Ando, and the appointment of Sharon Fairley in December 2015.

As the suit notes, “There is a tremendous public interest in knowing whether IPRA should have previously disciplined Servin.” It is likely that the legal defense funds the city has recently allocated fighting other FOIA cases far exceeds the labor costs necessary for IPRA to comply with this request.  IPRA is literally arguing that this information isn’t important enough to justify two weeks of work.

Mr. Tompkins is represented by Matt Topic, of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law. Recently, Loevy & Loevy successfully obtained the release of the dashcam video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting death at the hands of Chicago police.

Black Lives Matter Chicago held a press conference to announce a lawsuit filed against the Independent Police Review Authority.

View the Complaint Filing Here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/n0v82ne7ru6cwy4/Filing.pdf?dl=0

CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield Commemorates Black History Month

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement in recognition of Black History Month:

“Opportunity and the chance for every individual in this country to achieve their full potential should be guaranteed to all citizens.  Yet, there are many challenges that African Americans continue to face – from high unemployment, disparities in health and education, voter disenfranchisement, mass incarceration, to persistent poverty.  It is not enough to simply reflect on the history from which we have come, but it is critical that we also recognize the importance of how these pressing issues will affect our future if not addressed today.

“So this Black History Month, and as we celebrate history and culture let us also take the time to recommit to working together to find real solutions to the problems that continue to plague African American communities across the country.  Together, we will ensure a better, brighter and more equitable future for all Americans.”

President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – On February 29, 2016, President Barack Obama will present the Medal of Honor to Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, U.S. Navy.  Senior Chief Byers will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as part of a team that rescued an American civilian being held hostage in Afghanistan on December 8-9, 2012.

Senior Chief Byers will be the eleventh living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.


Senior Chief Byers was born in Toledo, Ohio on August 4, 1979.  He graduated from Otesgo High School in Tontogany, Ohio in June 1997.

Senior Chief Byers currently holds a National Paramedics License, and will graduate from Norwich University with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis in early 2016.

Senior Chief Byers entered the Navy in September 1998, attending boot camp and Hospital Corpsman School at Great Lakes, Illinois.  He served at Great Lakes Naval Hospital, and then with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  In 2002, he attended the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course, graduating from Class 242, and completed the Special Operations Combat Medic course in 2003.  Senior Chief Byers has been assigned to various east coast SEAL teams, and completed eight overseas deployments with seven combat tours.

Senior Chief Byers’ awards and decorations include five awards of the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V device, two awards of the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor device, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V device, two additional awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two awards of the Combat Action Ribbon, three Presidential Unit Citations, two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, two Navy Unit Commendations, and five Good Conduct Medals.



The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while:

  • engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

There must be no margin of doubt or possibility of error in awarding this honor.  To justify this decoration, the deed performed must have been one of personal bravery and self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades, and must have involved risk of life.   It must also be the type of deed which if not done would not subject the individual to any justified criticism.

UC Announces DREAM Loan Program to Help Undocumented Students

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

More than 3,000 undocumented undergraduate students will have access to a system-wide student loan program for the first time as the University of California implements the California DREAM Loan Program it sponsored, UC President Janet Napolitano announced last Friday.

The financial aid offices of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses will be reaching out to undocumented AB 540 undergraduates with offers of loan assistance through the program, now available for the 2015-2016 academic year. Under Assembly Bill 540, qualifying undocumented students are charged resident fees and exempted from out-of-state supplemental tuition.

“By reducing barriers and expanding access to higher education for undocumented students, the University of California is investing not only in the future of these students, but also in the future of our state and nation,” said Napolitano.

The DREAM loan program, proposed by Napolitano in 2014, was authorized that same year when the Legislature passed SB 1210, authored by state Sen. Ricardo Lara. Funding was not made available until this academic year.

The initial $5 million for the California DREAM Program, equally funded by the University of California and state general funds appropriated to UC, will be distributed according to need across campuses.

“The DREAM loan program will grow our college-educated workforce and make good on the promise that a college degree is possible for all hard-working, qualified California students regardless of their immigration status,” Lara said.

Under current law, undocumented students who graduate from a California high school and meet the California DREAM Act requirements are eligible for state and university aid.

Their undocumented status, however, disqualifies them from receiving federal aid, which severely limits their access to student loans. In addition, they have difficulty accessing private loans.

“This new program will reduce that gap,” said Napolitano. “It will help even the playing field for undocumented students struggling to make ends meet.”

Some campuses have eased the financial burden on undocumented students with case-by-case loans from the institution, but the DREAM program provides assistance across the UC system.

Information for students seeking DREAM loans is available here.

Photo Caption: University of California, Merced.

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

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