February , 2019

Harvard's Dr. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. moderates Symposium supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates ...
The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) offers FREE business workshops ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan applauded members of the Illinois Senate’s Criminal ...
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) responded to the top priorities the American Israel Public Affairs ...
Preliminary Illinois Deferred Action Survey Results Show Importance of Access to Work Authorization, Driver's Licenses CHICAGO, IL ...
FWDnation.com is the online content aggregator and blog for the millennial generation Los Angeles, CA ...
The Second Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit will be held on Friday, ...
Written from the heart by Devon Phipps, ‘When I Sense Emotions’ reaches ...
  Madigan: Settlement Will Require Downstate Woman Reimburse Families Waiting for Service Dogs     SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois ...
Average Return $2,900; One Estate Bequeathed $1.5 Million   SPRINGFIELD, IL – The state treasurer’s office returned ...

Archive for February 9th, 2016

Father Pfleger Squares Off With White Cops, Racists, Vets Over Illegal Tickets and the Chiraq Flag

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Whites warn Pfleger not to come to Beverly


By Chinta Strausberg


Angered that a Chicago policeman has reportedly ticketed some of his members Sunday he thinks out of revenge because he’s calling for the prosecution of a cop who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Father Michael L. Pfleger is asking is members to bring their tickets to him today.

“I guess some cop is upset with me, and decided to take it out on my parishioners…,” Pfleger wrote on his Facebook page and also addressed his congregation Sunday on this hot button issue.

He said Saturday and Sunday during church service “a plainclothes cop with a gray SUV with M plates ticketed folks up and down Throop Street.

“If you are one of those who received a ticket bring it to me today…all this while the City left our main driveway to the parking lot tore up all weekend….

“I don’t know whether it is our flag at half-mast or me going to Beverly…but you have messed with the wrong church,” an angry Pfleger said. Thursday evening Pfleger instructed his maintenance man to remove the Chiraq flag and to post the U.S. flag at half-mast.

Pfleger is not sure if the parking tickets were a result of the flag or his invitation to St. Barnabus Church to discuss violence because he’s been threatened by whites on both of those issues.

Explaining, Pfleger said he was invited to be one of three panelists at St. Barnabus Church, 10134 So. Longwood, headed by Rev. William E Malloy, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, February 27, 2016, to talk about violence, but that, long with the flag incident, is when the hate calls and e-mails began pouring in for two-days and nights.

As a result, Father Pfleger was the victim of a triple verbal attack and threats by a white man and a bunch of bikers who came by the church around 6 a.m. Friday threatening to tear down the Chiraq and U.S. flag that was flying at half-mast outside of the Saint Sabina Academy, 7801 So. Throop St.


“The other day I asked our maintenance to put up the flag…put it half-mast. It’s a tradition in this country for us to lower the flag at half-mast whenever there is a tragedy or some serious death…an American tragedy…,” Pfleger told his congregation Sunday.


“It was my belief that when we had the highest murder and shootings in January in over 16-years, that is an American tragedy. We may not want to talk about it and we may not want to address it, but it’s a tragedy,” said Pfleger.


He was referring to the Chicago Police Department’s January report stating that there were 51 homicides recorded in January 2016 the bloodiest since January of 2000.


“Since November, the Chiraq flag has been hanging up there; so I asked the maintenance person to please put the American flag up at half-mast which he did,” said Pfleger.


However, Pfleger said that evening he received numerous calls claiming he had broken the law because the Chiraq flag was flying over the American flag. Pfleger said he told the maintenance man to change the position of the flag in the morning and to take the Chiraq flag down. “I certainly didn’t think it was worth asking him to come in from work in the evening to change the position of the flag.


“The next morning at 7 a.m. he was going to do that but at 6 a.m. I had a number of veterans and supremacists who came here. One man was in a truck with two other people came first before the bikers came. He told me he was about to come and rip down the flag and cut the rope and do this and do that.”


Pfleger told the man that he was not going to stand there and let him destroy his property. They exchanged a few words and Pfleger said, “He looked at me like I was crazy. He was right.” Face-to-face, Pfleger told him, “You’re looking at a really crazy white boy right now” and that is when a bunch of bikers pulled up. Father Pfleger stood his ground and they left.


Sunday, he told his members “every once in awhile my Martin has to step to the left while my Malcolm rises up,” he said referring to his mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Pfleger had the Chiraq flag removed and the U.S. flag erected at half-mast but that’s when the calls and e-mails began pouring in for two-days and nights complaining about the flag. “It’s flying half-mast, and it will continue to fly half-mast while violence rages in this city.”


“It’s funny, nobody was calling me about the violence…or how can we help with the violence or get involved, or how can we save lives, but sadly we’re more concerned about a position of a flag than bodies laying on our streets in Chicago and that is something really sick we need to deal with in America,” Pfleger said.


But that was the first insult. During Sunday’s worship service, Pfleger said a policeman ticketed a number of cars outside of his church. While he is not sure why, he said he did receive calls from white policemen who accused him of being anti-police.


Some group of police called him anti-police. He asked one of them why is he anti-police. “Where did you get that from”? asked Pfleger. The man told him, “When the video came out and you said Van Dyke should be taken off the street and any officer who lied on their report should be taken off the street. “


A stunned Pfleger said, “A guy who shoots somebody 16 times in the back and I say he should come off the street and that’s anti-police and people who lied on the report…. Tell me anybody here could lie on a report at your job and you would not be disciplined. So, if that is anti-police, I’m guilty. I’m anti-police because I believe bad police should be off the street just like bad people should be off the street, ” Pfleger said raising his hand.


“We cannot allow people to shoot and kill without responsibility,” he bellowed. “They asked me if I’m still going to go” to St. Barnabas Church. He responded, “Hell, yes I’m going to go unless you disinvite me. This shows you just how crazy we are.”


Pfleger said someone said that violence is not their problem. It’s not our problem. “Who are ‘their,’” he asked. “Our world is broken.”


Father Pfleger said the ticketing of the cars could be from his being invited to St. Barnabas church to talk about violence in the city. “I was asked to be on a panel in Beverly to talk about violence in our city. I’m just one person of a three-panel.


“All of a sudden there was this great Internet push, people calling up St. Barnabas” where people suggested they withhold their offerings, take their children out of the school and there would be a protest at the event if the priest of St. Barnabas didn’t disinvite him. “Really, to talk about violence…,” said Pfleger.


When asked by some whites who don’t want him to come to St. Barnabas, Father Pfleger, said, “Hell yes I’m coming unless I’m disinvited.”


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.

Preparing for and Responding to the Zika Virus at Home and Abroad: FACT SHEET

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Since late last year, the Administration has been aggressively working to combat Zika, a virus primarily spread by mosquitoes that has recently been linked to birth defects and other concerning health outcomes.  The Federal Government has been monitoring the Zika virus and working with our domestic and international public health partners to alert healthcare providers and the public about Zika; provide public health laboratories with diagnostic tests; and detect and report cases both domestically and internationally.

The Administration is taking every appropriate measure to protect the American people, and today announced that it is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to enhance our ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus, both domestically and internationally.  The Administration will submit a formal request to Congress shortly.

The Pan American Health Organization reports 26 countries and territories in the Americas with local Zika transmission.  While we have not yet seen transmission of the Zika virus by mosquitoes within the continental United States, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories in warmer areas with Aedes aegpyti mosquito populations are already seeing active transmission. In addition, some Americans have returned to the continental U.S. from affected countries in South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands with Zika infections.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 50 laboratory-confirmed cases among U.S. travelers from December 2015- February 5, 2016.   As spring and summer approach, bringing with them larger and more active mosquito populations, we must be fully prepared to mitigate and quickly address local transmission within the continental U.S., particularly in the Southern United States.

The requested resources will build on our ongoing preparedness efforts and will support essential strategies to combat this virus, such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs; accelerating vaccine research and diagnostic development; enabling the testing and procurement of vaccines and diagnostics; educating health care providers, pregnant women and their partners; improving epidemiology and expanding laboratory and diagnostic testing capacity; improving health services and supports for low-income pregnant women, and enhancing the ability of Zika-affected countries to better combat mosquitoes and control transmission.

There is much that we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas. We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus. Congressional action on the Administration’s request will accelerate our ability to prevent, detect and respond to the Zika virus and bolster our ability to reduce the potential for future infectious disease outbreaks.

Department of Health and Human Services – $1.48 billion

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – $828 million.  The request includes funding to support prevention and response strategies through the following activities:

  • Support Zika virus readiness and response capacity in States and territories with mosquito populations that are known to transmit Zika virus, with a priority focus on areas with ongoing Zika transmission;
  • Enhance mosquito control programs through enhanced laboratory, epidemiology and surveillance capacity in at-risk areas to reduce the opportunities for Zika transmission;
  • Establish rapid response teams to limit potential clusters of Zika virus in the United States;
  • Improve laboratory capacity and infrastructure to test for Zika virus and other infectious diseases;
  • Implement surveillance efforts to track Zika virus in communities and in mosquitoes;
  • Deploy targeted prevention and education strategies with key populations, including pregnant women, their partners, and health care professionals;
  • Expand the CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, improve Guillain Barré syndrome tracking, and ensure the ability of birth defect registries across the country to detect risks related to Zika;
  • Increase research into the link between Zika virus infections and the birth defect microcephaly and measure changes in incidence rates over time;
  • Enhance international capacity for virus surveillance, expand the Field Epidemiology Training program, laboratory testing, health care provider training, and vector surveillance and control in countries at highest risk of Zika virus outbreaks; and
  • Improve diagnostics for Zika virus, including advanced methods to refine tests, and support advanced developments for vector control.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – $250 million. The request seeks a temporary one-year increase in Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to provide an estimated $250 million in additional Federal assistance to support health services for pregnant women at risk of infection or diagnosed with Zika virus and for children with microcephaly, and other health care costs.  This request does not make any changes to Puerto Rico’s underlying Medicaid program, and the additional funding will not be counted towards Puerto Rico’s current Medicaid allotment. Puerto Rico is experiencing ongoing active transmission of Zika. Unlike States, Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funding is capped, which has limited capacity to respond to these emergent and growing health needs.

Vaccine Research and Diagnostic Development & Procurement – $200 million. The request includes $200 million for research, rapid advanced development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests for Zika virus. It includes funding for the National Institutes of Health to build upon existing resources and work to develop a vaccine for Zika virus and the chikungunya virus, which is spread by the same type of mosquito.  Funding will accelerate this work and improve scientific understanding of the disease to inform the development of additional tools to combat it. The request also includes resources for the Food and Drug Administration to support Zika virus medical product development including the next generation diagnostic devices.

Other HHS Response Activities – $210 million.  The request includes funding to establish a new Urgent and Emerging Threat Fund to address Zika virus and other outbreaks.  This funding would be available to support emerging needs related to Zika, including additional support to States for emerging public health response needs should mosquito populations known to be potential Zika carriers migrate to additional States.

In addition, the request includes funding to support Puerto Rico’s community health centers in preventing, screening, and treating the Zika virus, expand home visiting services targeting low-income pregnant women at risk of Zika virus, and provide targeted maternal and child health.

U.S. Agency for International Development$335 million

The request includes investments to support affected countries’ ability to control mosquitoes and the transmission of the virus; support maternal health; expand public education on prevention and response; and create new incentives for the development of vaccines and diagnostics.  The request would also provide flexibility in the use of remaining USAID Ebola funds.  Activities would focus particularly on South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and would:

  • Implement integrated vector management activities in countries at-risk of Zika virus;
  • Stimulate private sector research and development of vaccines, diagnostics, and vector control innovations through public private partnerships and mechanisms to provide incentives such as advance market commitments or volume guarantees;
  • Support training of health care workers in affected countries, including providing information about best practices for supporting children with microcephaly;
  • Support for pregnant women’s health, including helping them access repellant to protect against mosquitos.
  • Establish education campaigns to empower communities in affected countries to take actions to protect themselves from Zika Virus as well as other mosquito-borne diseases; and
  • Issue a Global Health Security Grand Challenge calling for groundbreaking innovations in diagnostics, vector control, personal protection, community engagement and surveillance for Zika and other infectious diseases.

U.S. Department of State – $41 million

The funding request includes support for U.S. citizens in affected countries, medical support for State Department employees in affected countries, public diplomacy, communications, and other operations activities.  State would also support the World Health Organization and its regional arm, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to minimize the Zika threat in affected countries while reducing the risk of further spreading the virus.  These resources will support critical public health actions underway, including preparedness, surveillance, data collection, and risk communication.  Activities would also include support for UNICEF’s Zika response efforts in Brazil; activities to bolster diagnostic capabilities through deployment of equipment and specialized training.

For more information on the Zika virus and CDC guidance about how Americans can protect themselves, visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.

Source: whitehouse.gov.

Former Police Department Employee Pleads Guilty To Computer Intrusion

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Tonia Bright (53, Tampa) pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining information from a protected computer for a fraudulent purpose.  Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.  Her sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Bright was a civilian employee of the Tampa Police Department and worked as a community service officer.  As part of her authorized duties, Bright took reports from citizens related to incidents not requiring the response of a sworn police officer.  In this capacity, she had access to local, state, and federal law enforcement databases, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computerized index that contains the personally identifiable information (PII) of millions of individuals. Bright’s use of these databases was restricted to the performance of her authorized duties.

Between 2009 and 2014, Bright accessed NCIC and other password-protected law enforcement databases to obtain PII, and then provided it to her friend, Rita Monique Girven, on at least ten occasions. Girven used the information to file fraudulent federal income tax returns and claim refunds to which she was not entitled. When Girven received the fraudulently obtained refunds, she shared some of the proceeds with Bright.  Girven previously pleaded guilty in a separate case. On November 20, 2015, she was sentenced to 12 years in federal.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mandy Riedel and Megan Kistler.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Knox County Court Imposes Penalty of $1,183,000 on Gas Station Operator

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced that on January 19, 2016, a Knox County Circuit Court issued a Default Judgment Order against T-Mart, Inc., a dissolved Wisconsin corporation, for $1,183,000 in civil fines and penalties. The order came in response to the defendant’s failure to remove abandoned underground petroleum storage tanks at a closed gasoline station, along with other violations of the Gasoline Storage Act.


“I commend the Knox County Court for holding T-Mart accountable,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Leaving fuel in abandoned tanks poses a great risk to public safety and our environment. This default judgement is a reminder that those who violate the Gasoline Storage Act will face repercussions.”

The abandoned gasoline station is located in Wataga, Illinois and was last in operation in 2005. The corporation’s employees and officers refused to remove significant amounts of fuel from both underground storage tanks at the facility. The underground fuel had the potential to cause soil and water contamination and thus posed a threat to human health and the environment. In addition, the two underground storage tanks had been out of service for over five years and were directed to be removed. T-Mart, Inc. repeatedly failed to respond to OSFM enforcement notices directing the company to remove the storage tanks, as well as provide the required documentation for the underground storage tanks and facility.


The OSFM requested that the Office of the Attorney General file a civil lawsuit against the defendant in October 2011. A lawsuit was filed and the defendant failed to file a notice of appearance. A Default Judgment Order was subsequently entered, imposing $1,183,000 in penalties and fines against T-Mart, Inc. as the owner and operator of record. The penalties and fines were assessed for the ongoing violations of OFSM rules concerning technical and safety requirements for the operation and proper temporary closure of underground storage tanks.

IVI-IPO Endorses Fioretti in State Senate Race; Cites Record of Ethics, Good Government Policy

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The IVI-IPO, a voice of good government, social justice and working-class issues for more than 70 years, endorsed Bob Fioretti for State Senator from the IL 5th District Monday.

“We are an agency of good government, and Bob Fioretti has always stood for good government,” said Betty Magness, an executive with the influential organization. “He’s overcome adversity and has always been a fighter.”

The endorsement came at a City Hall press conference with a slate of other candidates earning the support of the Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct organization.

“I’ve admired and worked with IVI-IPO and many of its members for decades,” said Fioretti, pointing out he worked with Secretary David Igasaki when they were college students organizing Democrats in the 1972 Presidential election. “I’m honored to have their endorsement because their work is so very important.”

By contrast, incumbent Patricia Van Pelt has been the subject of a recent investigation by the Better Government Association and has devoted most of her time to a pyramid scheme that has been roundly criticized by consumer groups and former members who lost money.

Urban Movie Channel, 6 New Streaming Premieres for Black History Month

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) RLJ Entertainment’s Urban Movie Channel (UMC) kicks off Black History Month with the premiere of the Underground Railroad drama, The North Star, on February 5, 2016. Based on true events, the film chronicles the perilous journey of two slaves, Benjamin Big Ben Jones (played by former Philadelphia Eagles Jeremiah Trotter) and Moses Hopkins (Thomas C. Bartley, Jr., Frat Brothers), who escaped from a Virginia plantation and made their way to freedom in Buckingham, Pennsylvania in 1849. A directorial debut by Thomas K Philips, the feature film also stars Lynn Whitfield (Hit the Floor, Madeas Family Reunion, Eves Bayou), Clifton Powell (35 and Ticking, Civil Brand, Moesha), and Keith David (Barbershop, ATL, Community).

On February 19, UMC will premiere Becoming Barack: Evolution of a Leader, a revealing portrait of President Barack Obamas formative years in Chicago, and Bound: Africans VS. African Americans, a hard hitting documentary that addresses the little known tension between Africans and African Americans, produced by Isaiah Washington and directed by filmmaker Peres Owino. Later in the month on February 26, UMC will feature untold stories of history with the premieres of An American Ascent, a documentary about the first black mountaineer group to climb Denali, the highest peak in North America, and the first two installments from legendary producer/director Tim Reids Legacy Documentary Series: Legacy of Blacks in Auto Racing and Builders of the Alaska Highway.

Available at www.urbanmoviechannel.com, UMC is the first urban-focused streaming service in North America showcasing quality and exclusive urban content designed for African American and urban audiences. Sign-up today for your free 14-day trial offer and join the conversation and follow @WatchUMC on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook (UrbanMovieChannel).



About UMC
UMC Urban Movie Channel was created by Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), UMC is an urban-focused subscription streaming service in North American and features quality urban content showcasing feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy, and other exclusive content for African American and urban audiences. New titles added weekly include live stand-up specials like Martin Lawrence Presents: 1st Amendment Stand Up and Comedy Underground Series, and performances featuring Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx and comedic rock star Kevin Hart; dramas including Blackbird starring Academy Award® winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington, and directed by Patrik-Ian Polk, and Playin For Love, starring and directed by Robert Townsend; documentaries including Bill Dukes Dark Girls and I Aint Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac; action/thrillers including The Colony starring Laurence Fishburne; and stage play productions including What My Husband Doesnt Know by David E. Talbert. For more information, visit www.urbanmoviechannel.com

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month: File Your FAFSA Now to be Eligible for Financial Aid!

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


 Illinois Student Assistance Commission promotes free financial aid events and resources

CHICAGO, IL – While the current budget delay has made this a challenging time for higher education in Illinois, financial aid is available to help make college possible for Illinois students—if they apply for it. As part of Financial Aid Awareness Month, students are reminded to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—the form that determines a student’s eligibility for most federal, state, and college financial aid programs. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state agency that works with students and families year-round to increase college access, is offering a host of free workshops and other assistance to assist students in completing the form as soon as possible.

“In the 2014-15 school year, students in Illinois received more than $1.5 billion in state and federal aid for college,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of ISAC. “We know that the delay in funding the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP) for the 2015-16 school year has created significant uncertainty for students and schools, but if students want to be considered for almost any form of financial aid, they should not delay in filing their FAFSAs for the upcoming school year.”

The 2016-17 FAFSA became available on January 1, 2016, and ISAC has been recommending to students that they file as soon as possible after that date. Here’s why:

  • Because of limited funding, MAP is offered on a first come, first-served basis, and demand has exceeded funding for the last decade. If you would like to be considered for MAP, don’t delay in filing the FAFSA, which is the only application you need for MAP.  Remember that you can file your FAFSA using your estimated income and update it once your 2015 tax information is available.
  • Although this year’s MAP funding has been held up in the budget delay, don’t assume that MAP won’t be available for 2016-17. The program has consistently enjoyed bi-partisan support, and while there isn’t yet a final appropriation for the current school year, the governor and legislators from both parties have expressed their interest in funding the program.  You won’t be eligible if you don’t apply—and filing is free!
  • When you file the FASFA, you’re not just applying for MAP.  The FAFSA is also used to help determine your eligibility for other financial aid, including institutional aid and federal student aid such as the Pell Grant. While MAP is an important source of financial aid for low income students, even after MAP funding runs out, federal financial aid like Pell remains available by filing a FASFA, and Pell can cover the full cost of tuition and fees at a community college.

ISAC is offering free FAFSA Completion Workshops across the state, as well as other events to help students learn more about how they can maximize their financial aid. Those attending the workshops are asked to bring records of income, investment and asset information, as well as Social Security, driver’s license and alien registration numbers (if applicable). In addition, students and families can take advantage of one-on-one mentoring provided by the ISACorps, a group of recent college graduates who act as near-peer mentors to help high school students navigate the college going process.

Personalized assistance is also available via text messaging, by signing up for ISAC College Q&A, a new free service for students to get their questions answered about college planning and financial aid, and receive important information about the FAFSA, college planning events and deadlines. Additional online resources, including tools to locate potential scholarship dollars, manage money and student loan debt, and career and job resources, are available through the new ISAC Student Portal. ISAC also offers assistance through the agency’s call center, 1-800-899-4722 (ISAC).

“Colleges, universities and agencies across the state are working to assist students so the current budget delay doesn’t control their destiny,” said Zarnikow. “Students can take the first important step in increasing their options by filing the FAFSA as soon as possible.”

About ISAC

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 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

Illinois State Museum to Reopen to the Public

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Director Rosenthal Announces Sustainable Model to Prepare the ISM System for the Future


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Wayne A. Rosenthal announced today that an agreement has been reached to reopen the Illinois State Museum to the public. IDNR has worked closely with Governor Bruce Rauner’s office to develop a new, more sustainable model for operating the museum that will save about $1 million per year by closing two museum branches, consolidating human resources and accounting functions within IDNR, and by development of a new management and organizational structure. The museum will also seek to improve revenue by charging an admission fee, and increase fundraising efforts through an improved partnership with the Illinois State Museum Society.


The timeframe for reopening will depend upon the Illinois General Assembly taking up the amendatory veto (AV) of SB 317 and implementing the suggested changes. Governor Bruce Rauner’s AV asks that the authority to charge an admission fee be placed in statute so it can be implemented immediately upon the acceptance of the amendatory veto.

“If the General Assembly acts quickly on the Governor’s amendatory veto, we believe we could reopen the museum in a matter of weeks,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal. “Without the General Assembly’s support, it could take months to get the museum reopened.”


Michael Wiant will become interim director of the Illinois State Museum immediately. Rosenthal will ask the Illinois State Museum Board to begin the search for a new director.  Rosenthal also will ask the Museum and Society boards to call emergency meetings so work to reopen the museum can begin immediately. 


“With challenge comes great opportunity, and the museum staff is grateful for this

tremendous opportunity to continue to share the art, history and culture of Illinois with its citizens,” said Dr. Michael Wiant, Interim Director of the Illinois State Museum.


“I applaud the Governor’s action as it creates a realistic path forward to reopening the Illinois State Museum,” said State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield). “Reopening the museum is vital to our community and the plan announced today will provide for the long-term viability and growth of the museum system. I look forward to working with the community, legislators, and the Governor as we again open the doors on a wonderful asset of our State.”

“I am encouraged that the Governor took careful steps in adjusting this legislation while maintaining the ultimate goal of allowing our State Museum to resume its important work.  We all want to see those doors open to the public once again, and this compromise could make that happen,” said State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Springfield).

“The Illinois State Museum Society is looking forward to the challenge of becoming a stronger partner and playing a greater role in the success of the Illinois State Museum,” said Karen Westbrook of the Illinois State Museum Society.

Jamaican Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Lottery Fraud Scheme

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Paul Laing, 31, of Sandy Bay, Jamaica, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, in connection with his leadership role in an extensive Jamaican lottery fraud scheme.  Laing was also ordered to pay $705,500 in forfeiture and restitution to victims of his offense.

Laing pleaded guilty on Oct. 16, 2015.  According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Laing admitted to defrauding numerous elderly victims, including an 85-year-old woman who resided in Great Falls.  Laing would contact his victims via phone calls and faxes and falsely inform them that they had won the lottery.  He would then tell them that in order to collect their winnings they would need to send money to him and his co-conspirators to pay various alleged taxes and fees.  Laing instructed victims to send funds through wire transfers, the US Mail and other means directly to him in Jamaica, or to co-conspirators in the United States.  Those co-conspirators would keep a portion of the proceeds and then transfer the remainder to Laing.

Through this scheme, Laing received hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims, several of whom depleted their life savings to satisfy his repeated demands for payment.  Meanwhile, none of the victims ever received the lottery winnings that Laing had promised them.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Maria L. Kelokates, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Terence S. Opiola, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha P. Bateman, Karen Ledbetter Taylor, and Gene Rossi prosecuted the case.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Goodman Theatre Launches a Free New Insiders Initiative, “Discover What’s Now,” to Connect Audiences with Artists and the Process of Creating New American Plays

Posted by Admin On February - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

New program stemmed from research supported by the Wallace Foundation’s building audiences for sustainability effort


CHICAGO, IL – Insights, opportunities and exclusive offers await members of “Discover What’s NOW,” Goodman Theatre’s free new initiative designed to bring its patrons inside the process of creating the relevant and topical plays of today. Free membership includes behind-the-scenes access, invitations to special events with artists and discounts on performances. The program acquaints audiences with new plays, which represent more than half of the total plays produced at the Goodman each year. “Discover What’s NOW” was developed through research during the first phase of the Goodman’s grant from the Wallace Foundation’s “Building Audiences for Sustainability” effort. The Goodman was one of only 26 U.S. arts organizations chosen to participate in the New York-based foundation’s six-year, $52-million initiative aimed at developing practical insights into how exemplary performing arts organizations can expand their audiences. The new plays of “Discover What’s NOW” include three world premieres and one second production of a new play: Another Word for Beauty by José Rivera (through February 21); 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, adapted and directed by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley (February 6 – March 13); Carlyle by Thomas Bradshaw (April 2 – May 1); and Soups, Stews, and Casseroles: 1976 by Rebecca Gilman (May 21 – June 19).

“Thanks to the Wallace Foundation and our ‘Discover What’s NOW’ program, we can give audiences the chance to hear, directly from the artists, the inspiration behind new works—and what it takes to bring a work from the page to the stage,” said Goodman Director of Marketing and PR Lori Kleinerman. “It’s a fascinating process that leads to relevant, vibrant and incredibly topical theater. And now we get to share it fully.”

“Discover What’s NOW” emerged through a series of focus groups and audience surveys in which Goodman patrons expressed curiosity about the development of new plays by contemporary American playwrights. Unlike a classic play with its known pedigree, a new play has less history (no or few previous productions) and less familiarity (fewer critical reviews) among audiences. However, “Discover What’s NOW” delivers what is often impossible with a classic work: interaction with a living playwright. Audiences can learn more and sign up to receive Goodman Theatre’s monthly “Discover What’s NOW” e-mail at GoodmanTheatre.org/NOW.

About The Wallace Foundation

The Wallace Foundation is an independent national philanthropy dedicated to fostering improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone. It seeks to catalyze broad impact by supporting the development, testing, and sharing of new solutions and effective practices. At www.wallacefoundation.org , the Foundation maintains an online library about what it has learned, including knowledge from its current efforts aimed at: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement, helping selected cities make good afterschool programs available to more children, expanding arts learning opportunities for children and teens, providing high-quality summer learning programs to disadvantaged children and enriching and expanding the school day in ways that benefit students, and helping arts organizations build their audiences.

About Goodman Theatre

Called America’s “Best Regional Theatre” by Time magazine, Goodman Theatre has won international recognition for its artists, productions and programs, and is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago. Founded in 1925 by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth (an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s), Goodman Theatre has garnered hundreds of awards for artistic achievement and community engagement, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards (including “Outstanding Regional Theatre” in 1992), nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards and more. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s artistic priorities include new plays (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past 30 years), reimagined classics (including Falls’ nationally and internationally celebrated productions of Death of a Salesman, Long’s Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy), culturally specific work, musical theater (26 major productions in 20 years, including 10 world premieres) and international collaborations. Diversity and inclusion have been primary cornerstones of the Goodman’s mission for 30 years; over the past decade, 68% of the Goodman’s 35 world premieres were authored by women and/or playwrights of color, and the Goodman was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Each year the Goodman’s numerous education and community engagement programs—including the innovative Student Subscription Series, now in its 30th year—serve thousands of students, teachers, life-long learners and special constituencies. In addition, for nearly four decades the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has led to the creation of a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. Goodman Theatre’s leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Swati Mehta is Women’s Board President and Gordon C.C. Liao is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

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