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Archive for January 3rd, 2017

Black Women Overrepresented in Solitary Confinement

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Race & Justice News

From: The Sentencing Project



Black Women Overrepresented in Solitary Confinement


A new report co-authored by the Association of State Correctional Administrators and The Arthur Liman Program at Yale Law School reveals significant overrepresentation of black women in solitary confinement across the United States. Among 40 jurisdictions providing data (38 states, the federal system, and the Virgin Islands), black women constituted 24% of the total female incarcerated population but comprised 41% of the female restricted housing population. The report documents smaller but substantial racial disparities in male isolation and estimates the disparities in each jurisdiction. Its authors define restricted housing as “the separation of prisoners from general population and in detention for 22 hours per day or more, for 15 or more continuous days, in single-cells or in double-cells.”
Featured in The Atlantic, “Aiming to Reduce Time-In-Cell” presents the results of a 2015 survey on the use of and efforts to reform restricted housing. Its authors note that although correctional administrators are working to reduce the number of people confined in restricted housing, “unraveling the practices of isolation requires sustained work.”

Racial Bias in Prison Discipline and Parole in New York

A New York Times investigation finds that blacks and Latinos in New York prisons were disciplined at higher rates than whites in 2015. “Bias in prison discipline has a ripple effect,” write Michael Schwirtz, Michael Winerip, and Robert Gebeloff, noting that disciplinary tickets limit access to jobs and educational and therapeutic programs, and ultimately narrow chances of being paroled. Based on an analysis of almost 60,000 disciplinary cases from the state’s prisons, the reporters find that black individuals were 30% more likely to get a disciplinary ticket than their white counterparts and they were 65% more likely to be sent to solitary confinement. Disparities in discipline persisted even after accounting for differences in the conviction offense and age of people of color, and were greatest for infractions that gave discretion to guards, like disobeying a direct order.
The reporters attribute these outcomes to the upstate versus downstate cultural divide. Interviews with incarcerated individuals—many of whom are black or Latino and from urban communities—revealed acts of overt racism from guards in upstate prisons—who are mostly white and come from the state’s poorer and less diverse communities. In contrast, blacks and whites were treated more equitably in Sing Sing Correctional Facility, which is relatively close to New York City and where black officers make up the majority of the uniformed staff. A related analysis revealed that fewer than one in six black or Hispanic men were released at their first parole hearing, as opposed to one in four white men. Following these reports, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched an investigation into the racial disparities in the state’s prison system and is taking steps to increase the racial diversity of parole board members.

Florida’s Sentencing System: Points, Power, and Prejudice

A Herald-Tribune investigation has found that although Florida uses a point system to ensure sentencing equity, inequality still persists. Prosecutors assign points based on the severity of the crime, the defendant’s prior record, and other factors. Judges can then depart from the recommended sentence. The newspaper’s comprehensive study of sentencing across the state found that “when a white and black defendant score the same points for the same offense, judges give the black defendant a longer prison stay in 60 percent of felony cases.”
While some judges attributed these disparities to implicit bias, others stated that they are simply approving sentences negotiated through plea deals. The Herald-Tribune notes: “The system still leaves judges with the discretion to show mercy. They just show it more often to the people who look like them.” The analysis also revealed that black judges, who are underrepresented in the state, imposed less biased sentences. The investigation has prompted lawmakers​ to call for more judicial oversight.​


The Challenges of Tracking Hate Crimes

In “Hate Crimes Are Up—But the Government Isn’t Keeping Good Track of Them,” ProPublica reporters A. C. Thompson and Ken Schwencke explore the rising number of reported hate crimes in the United States in 2015. The FBI’s recent release of national data showed an overall increase of 6.8% in reported hate crimes from 2014 to 2015, with a 67% increase in anti-Muslim crimes. However, not all local and state law enforcement agencies report hate crimes to the FBI and many do not accurately document these crimes, making it difficult to assess whether upticks reflect changes in crime or reporting practices. Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, states that the increase in reported hate crimes against Muslims “confirms what we’ve been seeing on the ground since late last year.”
The FBI does not have a legal mechanism to compel law enforcement agencies to disclose the number of hate crimes they record. California offers a model for effectively tracking these crimes: there, police officers receive training on hate crimes while at the police academy and state law requires police and sheriff’s deputies to monitor hate crimes and share their findings with the FBI and the California Attorney General. Hate crimes, as defined by the FBI, are offenses motivated by bias against ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, and gender identity.


Black Immigrants Are More Likely to Face Deportation than Other Immigrants

Black immigrants from African and Caribbean countries are much more likely to be deported due to criminal convictions than non-black immigrants, according to a report from Black Alliance for Just Immigration covered by The Guardian. The organization’s report, “The State of Black Immigrants,” reveals that blacks comprised over one-fifth of the population facing deportation on criminal grounds before the Executive Office for Immigration Review in 2015, even though blacks comprised 5.4% of the unauthorized population in the United States. 
The report’s authors, Juliana Morgan-Trostle and Kexin Zheng, note: “The criminal enforcement system—each stage of which has been shown to target Black people disproportionately—has become a funnel into the immigration detention and deportation system.” The organization recommends shifting away from the 1996 Immigration Law’s emphasis on criminal contact as the deciding factor for immigration status. 


Massachusetts Court Will Investigate Racial Disparities in Sentencing

The Supreme Judicial Court Chief of Massachusetts, Ralph D. Gants, has requested a review of racial disparities in sentencing, reports the Boston Globe. In announcing the review in his annual State of the Judiciary, Gants cited state Sentencing Commission data showing that Massachusetts imprisons African American defendants eight times more than white defendants, and Hispanic defendants five times more than white defendants—rates of disparity above the national level. 
Gants has requested that Harvard Law School conduct an independent investigation. His announcement comes weeks after the Supreme Judicial Court issued a much-discussed ruling that given the “recurring indignity of being racially profiled,” a black man walking away from the police does not signify guilt.

Los Angeles Police Commission Discusses Bias Within LAPD

The Los Angeles Police Commission recently dedicated a week to discussing how the LAPD handles allegations of racial profiling, reports the Los Angeles Times. Each year the LAPD receives a few hundred complaints of racial profiling, largely from African Americans. Yet, none of the 1,356 allegations from 2012 to 2014 have been upheld. 
During the public meeting, the Commission discussed a department-conducted survey finding that less than half of black residents consider the police honest and trustworthy and only a third believe that officers treat people of all races or ethnicities fairly. While officials said they were addressing these concerns by expanding existing programs, Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill, who had called for a thorough analysis of racial bias within LAPD, noted: “Doing more of the same, given where we are, may not be enough.”

Book Chronicles Black Civil War Soldier’s Battles

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
A Book, by Descendants of African-American Civil War Soldier, David Carll, Chronicles his Battle on the Field and with Society’s Fierce Racial Discord

 Meticulously researched by Francis S. Carl and Denice Evans Sheppard, contributors to an episode of the hit TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring their cousin Vanessa L. Williams. “Footsteps of a Forgotten Soldier: The Life and Times of David Carll” takes readers back one hundred and fifty years, as one brave African American signs up to fight in the civil war for the new Colored Regiment in the state of New York. However, returning from war brought the biggest battle of all – against a society that was growing increasingly intolerant with his interracial marriage. At a time when racial divides are once again growing, Carlls descendants are sharing his story in the hope the nation doesnt slide backwards into a state of irreparable damage.

Footsteps of a Forgotten Soldier by Francis S. Carl and Denice Evans

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) – While virtually nobody has heard of David Carll, his life story is a ground-breaking chapter in not only the nations history books, but in the fascinating wider civil rights movement. Before it risks getting lost forever, two of his descendants have put hundreds of hours into researching Carlls story in full, and publishing it to the world.

Footsteps of a Forgotten Soldier: The Life and Times of David Carll fuses a story of progressive military might with one mans battle not only for his country, but with his countrys own people and prejudices.


Take a remarkable and historical journey in the footsteps of a forgotten soldier. David Carll, an African-American Civil War Soldier, took those footsteps over a 150 years ago. Born in Oyster Bay, New York in 1845 David Carll fought with the 26th United States Colored Troop Regiment from New York. Now, his descendant are telling his story and the amazing life this man from Oyster Bay, New York lived. Take a journey back to 1863 to the small town of Oyster Bay, New York to deep behind enemy lines in South Carolina with David Carll and the 26th United States Colored Troop Regiment. A compelling story of a man and his determination to fight and survive a brutal war and return home to his beloved wife and town of Oyster Bay.

During the Civil War the country was not only divided from a political perspective, but also through the ongoing issue of race, explains Francis S. Carl. David Carll defied all societal norms to marry a white woman and raise a growing family without ever shying away from those who looked down on him. Were slowly beginning to once again drag up the racial divide which should have been squashed with the Civil Rights Act of 1866 shortly after the Civil War ended. Unfortunately, the racial divide has always been and continues to be a part of American society. I want Americans and the world to see how bad it could get and at the same time how the races managed to make it work, however turbulent.

Continuing, A large part of the story also focuses on the struggle to form a Colored Regiment in the state of New York. Like my relative, thousands of enlistees returned home from the war only to face yet another potentially deadly battle and all because of the color of their skin.

Since its release, the book has garnered a string of rave reviews. One reader comments, I have read many stories about the African-American experience during the Civil War. Slavery, despair and the down-right mistreatment of an entire race of people. This story is unlike any story I’ve read. This perspective and experience of one African-American during the Civil War goes against everything I expected. A very interesting true story of one African-American man’s experience during such a turbulent time in our history. A must read!

Footsteps of a Forgotten Soldier: The Life and Times of David Carll is available now at www.thebookpatch.com

For more information, visit the books official website at www.davidcarll.com
About the Authors:
Francis S. Carl and Denice Evans Sheppard are the great-great grandchildren of David Carll. Having strong roots on Carls Hill, property once owned by David Carll, now owned by David Carlls descendants in Oyster Bay, they have pursued his story for some time. Research work on this topic has taken them from research institutions throughout New York and to the National Archives in Washington D.C. Denice Evans Sheppard, author of The Constant Struggle Within has been working for years promoting, creating and establishing herself within the publishing arena. She initially started out with writing Multicultural Children Stories In All Forms. She has published along with a storytelling program for local school districts, children museums and libraries on Long Island.

Francis has been on a mission of discovery in respect to his great-great grandfather David Carll and the 26th United States Colored Troop Regiment from New York. It has led him and his nephew Gilbert Frank Mcdonald in gathering information and presenting it to the African American Civil War Museum in Washington DC. Francis S. Carl has gone on to present his findings to the Oyster Bay Historical Society alongside an esteemed panel which included a PHD in anthropology, re-enactors of the 26th USCT Regiment, author Denice Evans Sheppard and a descendant of the former President, Theodore Roosevelt, Elizabeth Roosevelt of Oyster Bay.

Francis has applied for and received a Presidential Certificate to honor David Carlls service to this county signed by President Obama. Together, Francis and Denice continue to provide ongoing presentations at libraries, historical societies, charity events and anywhere there is an interest in learning about African-American soldiers and how the Civil War affected the men who fought and their families left behind.


Photo: Bookcover, and authors Francis S. Carl & Denice Evans Sheppard


Education Funding Advisory Board Implores General Assembly and Governor to End State’s Failure to Adequately Fund Public Education

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

EFAB recommends raising per-pupil Foundation Level to $9,204


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) submitted its regular biennial education funding recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly, in accordance with the Illinois School Code. In its report, EFAB recommends increasing the statutory per-pupil Foundation Level from the current amount of $6,119 to $9,204 for fiscal year 2018. The Foundation Level establishes the mandated minimum per-pupil funding achieved through a mix of state and local funds. Statute requires the State to provide school districts with the difference between the Foundation Level and a district’s local wealth, as calculated by the equalization Formula Grant, in addition to providing the Supplemental Low-Income Grant, based on a district’s percentage of low-income students.


As stated in the report, in 11 of the past 15 years, the State has not met its statutory obligation to fully fund the Foundation Level and the components of the low-income grant, resulting in the State prorating or paying only a portion of the amount owed to districts through their General State Aid claims.


“EFAB renews its commitment to advocating for the state to end its failure to meet its constitutional responsibilities to adequately fund public education,” said Board Chair Sylvia Puente, echoing statements made by EFAB in its report. “Increasing funding for basic education in Illinois will be a challenge, but it is a challenge we ask every policymaker and citizen to embrace. The children of Illinois deserve no less. We ask our policymakers to note that in each of the years that the state has failed to meet its obligations, school districts must continue to meet all of the statutory requirements imposed upon them. This situation should not be allowed to continue.



EFAB’s recommended increase to the Foundation Level would require $4.6 billion in additional funding in fiscal year 2018, or almost double the current appropriation for public education.

In its report, EFAB acknowledges the efforts of both the General Assembly and Governor Rauner to increase funding in both FY 2016 and FY 2017 and to revise how the state sends funding to districts; yet, EFAB also implores the General Assembly and the Governor to work together to increase the resources available for public education, in order to offer Illinois children the tools they deserve and need to compete in a global economy. The General Assembly and the Governor last adopted the EFAB recommendation in FY 2002. Since then, the increases in the Foundation Level have failed to keep pace with EFAB recommendations. The current Foundation Level of $6,119 has remained the same since FY 2010.


Current members of the Education Funding Advisory Board include Sylvia Puente (executive director of the Latino Policy Forum; Chicago), Sheila Harrison-Williams (superintendent of Hazel Crest School District 152.5; Hazel Crest), Cinda Klickna (president of the Illinois Education Association; Springfield), and Daniel Montgomery (president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers; Westmont). The Board has one vacancy.

Composer of “The Cosby Show” Theme Song Launches Conference to Help Other Black Songwriters Get Their Music on TV

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Composer Stu Gardner receiving award

Virginia, Beach, VA (BlackNews.com) – Stu Gardner is the award-winning songwriter and composer of the theme songs for several popular television shows and films including “Point Break”, “The Cosby Show”, “Living Single”, and “A Different World”. To help others become professional songwriters and get their music on TV, he has announced the first annual I Write Music For Television Music Conference to take place on January 28, 2017 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The master class will be taught by Mr. Gardner himself!

All aspiring songwriters, producers, singers, recording artists, and entertainers are invited to attend the event, which will feature special presentations, community engagement efforts, and also an opportunity to learn more about the mission and goals of Mr. Gardner’s non-profit organization, The Stu Gardner Institute.

The Stu Gardner Institute provides financial, motivational and inspirational incentives to students, particularly from low-income households. Each year, thousands of dollars in scholarship funds provide educational opportunities for middle school, high school and college students. Gardner founded the institute in 1989 to raise the educational consciousness of youth in middle and high schools and provide scholarships for them to attend college.

The I Write Music For Television Music Conference event will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 3pm to 5pm at Meyera Oberndorf Auditorium, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23452. For more details on how to register, visit www.iwritemusicfortvmusicconference.com

(Members of the media wishing to cover this event must RSVP with Jacobby Debouvier at 757-618-8437 or via email to jacobby.debouvier@aol.com no later than 10 a.m. January 28, 2017.)


Photo Caption: Stu Gardner (left) receiving the Living Legend Award for Best Composer with Jacobby Debouvier (right) at the Black Man Rock Image Awards


Photo credit: Lawrence A. Beckett, Sr.



New Transitional Home for LGBTQ Chicago Youth Experiencing Homelessness to Open in 2017

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
Project Fierce Chicago’s North Lawndale Home aims to provide community- driven, identity-affirming housing on Chicago’s underserved West side. 


CHICAGO, IL –  In 2017, Project Fierce Chicago (PFC) will open a transitional housing program in North Lawndale for LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness. The organization aims to meet the need for safe, affirming housing in which youth can become stabilized, access resources and heal from institutional and interpersonal violence. With most services for the LGBTQ community concentrated on the north side, many young people have to travel outside of their community to access services in neighborhoods that are not always safe for LGBTQ youth of color and youth experiencing homelessness.

PFC was founded in 2012. In August of 2015 the group purchased a nine-bedroom house in North Lawndale for $70,000. They are currently completing construction, renovation and interior design. With continued community support, the house will open in the fall of 2017. PFC utilizes the rich skills, talent, dedication and financial resources of the LGBTQ community, rather than looking outward to institutions or the government for support. The group’s goal is to remain autonomous and accountable in organizational decision-making.

According to a Williams Institute study, 40% of youth served by homeless youth service providers identify as LGBTQ. A Windy City Times survey of LGBTQ young people in the Lakeview community of Chicago showed that 81% identified as a person of color; 12% identified as transgender and genderqueer; 46% were not in school; and 81% were unemployed.

LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness are at increased risk for violence from other shelter residents, strangers on the street, and police. Shelters and other organizations that are supposed to support them often do not. They experienced violence, theft, homophobia, and being banned from service organizations. Trauma caused by institutional and interpersonal violence places these young people at a higher risk for substance dependence, mental health challenges, and suicide.

The community has supported PFC by donating to crowd-funding campaigns; attending fundraising events; donating as a monthly sustainer; other donations; and volunteering. Continued support needed from community in 2017 includes donations (monetary and in-kind home furnishings from their wish list); monthly sustainers; hosts for house party fundraisers; new board members; and pro bono consulting and services.

Project Fierce Chicago 2017 Timeline:

Winter-Spring:      PFC will complete rehab of the home.

Spring-Summer:   Designs for Dignity will design, furnish and customize
the home.
Project Fierce Chicago, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is a grassroots collective of service providers, youth advocates and community members who are working together to establish community-driven, identity-affirming housing in Chicago. Project Fierce’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing transitional housing and support services to LGBTQ-identified young adults. ProjectFierceChicago.org 
Credit: Sarah-Ji  |  @sarahdashji  |  loveandstrugglephotos.com
Caption: Project Fierce Chicago’s 3rd Annual “Breakfast N Beds” fundraiser on November 13, 2016 at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center in Chicago, IL.

Corruption on the Border

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

New Campaign Enlists the Public’s Help

Red rectangular banner asking readers to report border corruption to tips.fbi.gov

The border awareness campaign includes publicity outreach efforts, such as the poster above, in 10 FBI field offices whose areas of responsibility include border crossings, airports, and seaports.

During his trial on public corruption charges in 2013, former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Hector Rodriguez admitted that he had been receiving bribes of cash and luxury items for two years in return for admitting illegal aliens into the U.S. through his inspection lane at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego, California.

While the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers and public officials who work at the country’s ports and borders are honest and dedicated, even one corrupt official like Rodriguez can pose a serious threat to the nation’s security—because what if one of those individuals smuggled through a port of entry is a terrorist carrying a bomb?

For that reason, the FBI—in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security—is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of border corruption so that citizens and government employees who see corruption or suspicious activity will call the FBI to report it.

“Public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal priority,” said Sergio Galvan, chief of the Bureau’s Public Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “It is critical for us to engage the public to help stop these crimes. We’re not expecting citizens to be detectives,” Galvan explained, “but if you see something that doesn’t seem right, report it. If you notice someone going through security without being searched, or if you work on the border and know someone in your agency that is looking the other way, call the FBI.”

The border awareness campaign will include publicity outreach efforts in 10 FBI field offices whose areas of responsibility include U.S. ports of entry such as border crossings, airports, and seaports. The cities are Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; El Paso and San Antonio, Texas; Fargo, North Dakota; Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Miami, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; and Seattle, Washington.

“The point of our public awareness campaign is that we need your eyes and ears to help keep the country safe.”

Sergio Galvan, FBI Public Corruption Unit

“We want to know what people are seeing and hearing,” Galvan said, “whether you are a frequent traveler, a truck driver, or a law enforcement official who works on the border.”

Hector Rodriguez pleaded guilty to receiving bribes and bringing aliens into the country for financial gain. In 2013 he was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of supervised release for receiving thousands of dollars in cash, along with Rolex watches and an expensive vehicle, for looking the other way. But public corruption on the border is by no means limited to the Southwest border.


Posters and banners in English and Spanish encourage the public to report suspected border corruption to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov. All posters are available to view and download at the bottom of this page.
English-Language Posters | Descargar en Español

The FBI has 22 border corruption task forces and working groups across the country staffed by 39 local, state, and federal partner agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Transportation Security Administration. More than 250 officers are working cases and gathering intelligence to stop public corruption along all U.S. ports of entry.

And while federal, state, and local officials who serve along our borders are working hard to keep the country safe from outside threats, “when even one of those individuals is compromised, it creates a grave situation,” Galvan said. “What I would like to say to the public and to individuals who work in agencies that serve at the border is that the FBI is here to help you—but we can’t help if we don’t get information. If you see something, pick up the phone. Call your local field office or submit a tip on our website. The point of our public awareness campaign,” he added, “is that we need your eyes and ears to help keep the country safe.”

Source: FBI


Illinois Department of Insurance Reminds Consumers of Their Rights When Joining an HMO

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

With an increase in HMO health plan offerings in the Illinois marketplace for 2017, consumers should be aware of their rights during transition of care.

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Insurance reminds Illinois consumers about their rights and legal protections related to HMO networks. Continuing health care services from a provider during an ongoing course of treatment is crucial. Illinois laws protect HMO members when their provider leaves a network and when members join an HMO, but the member must make a request within a certain timeframe.

Under the Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act of Illinois (215 ILCS 134/et seq) this is referred to as “Transition of Care.” Below are a few questions and answers to better help consumers understand their rights.

Who is eligible for Transition of Care?

Consumers who are receiving an ongoing course of treatment or have entered their third trimester of pregnancy are eligible for Transition of Care. Here are some examples of ongoing treatment: cancer treatments, physical therapy, chronic illness, hospitalizations, chemical dependency, infertility treatment, and invasive procedures such as surgery.


What happens if my doctor leaves my HMO network?

If you are notified that your doctor is leaving the network, but remains in the service area, you can request a 90-day transitional period. You must make the request within 30 days after notification that your physician is leaving the network.


What if I join an HMO, but my previous doctor is not in the HMO network?

If your previous doctor is not a member of your network, but is within the service area you can request a 90-day transitional period. You must make the request within 15 days of joining the HMO.


How long does the transitional period last?

The transitional period is approximately 90 days. If you are pregnant, your transitional period may be extended through the post-partum care related to your delivery.


What role does my physician have in this transition?

You are only eligible for transition of care if your physician agrees to continue providing care under your health plan’s guidelines during this transitional period. 

How can I request transition of care services?

Your HMO should provide details on this service in the policy, certificate, member handbook and/or website. You can also contact your HMO by phone through the number provided on the back of your member card. If your provider is leaving the network, or you are enrolling in an HMO that does not include your physician, and you want transition of care services, you should immediately contact your HMO and provide the following information:

  • A request for transition of care services;

  • Name of the physician with whom you want to continue care;

  • Your medical condition that requires ongoing care; and
  • Reasons you want transition of care.

    If you have questions about your rights under the Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act, call (877) 527-9431 or visit insurance.illinois.gov

Sole Remaining Defendant In Local 17 Prosecution Sentenced

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

BUFFALO, N.Y.– Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Gerald H. Franz, Jr., 54, of Eden, New York, who was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, was sentenced to time served by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.  He was further ordered to pay, jointly and severally with his codefendants, restitution in the amount of over $890,000.00.

Franz was the eighth and final defendant, of the twelve members of International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 17, AFL-CIO (Local 17) charged in a 2008 Superseding Indictment, to be convicted and sentenced.  Four Local 17 members charged in the Superseding Indictment were found not guilty following a jury trial.
The Local 17 members charged were alleged to have acted, between January 1997 and December 2007, as a criminal enterprise by extorting and attempting to extort construction contractors doing business in Western New York.



Among those Franz and others extorted or attempted to extort were Zoldaz Construction, in connection with that company’s efforts to demolish certain homes in Buffalo and to perform work at the Dunkirk Landfill in Pomfret, New York, and the Wadsworth Golf Construction Company, in connection with that company’s golf course construction efforts in Orchard Park and Cheektowaga, New York. The acts of extortion and attempted extortion committed by Franz and Local 17 members included damaging the heavy equipment of one of the companies by pouring sand into the oil box of such equipment, and making various threats to employees and representatives of such companies.

Earlier this year in August, Local 17’s former president and business manager, Mark Kirsch, was sentenced principally to three years in prison by Judge Skretny.  At that time, Skretny noted how the Local 17’s activities had far-reaching consequences on the region.  “I think it set back the development of the Western New York business community for decades,” Skretny said. “It slowed good job opportunities instead of creating good job opportunities.”
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the United States Department of Labor, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Cheryl Garcia; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam Cohen; and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Steven Nigrelli.

Source: FBI


A New Professional Baseball League Coming in 2017

Posted by Admin On January - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 Locations under consideration:

Mississippi * Arkansas * Alabama * Texas


National Urban Professional Baseball League “NUPBL” (a Replica of Negro League Baseball).


Baseball in innercities is dying. There must be an avenue to give African American baseball players something to look forward to. African American baseball players have been denied the opportunity to play baseball in most cases on the high school, the collegiate and professional level. The NUPBL would afford African American baseball players the opportunity to play baseball on a professional level while at the same time being financially compensated.


“A few years ago a little league baseball team from the Southside of Chicago by the name of Jackie Robinson West captured the hearts and soul of the nation. Most importantly they captured the heart and soul of the African American community around the world. We want this league the NUPBL to capture the heart and soul of the nation and mostly importantly the hearts and the souls of the African American community. We are looking for excitement, enthusiasm and support from the African American Community for this league from the East, the West, the North and the South,” said Coach Mike Mayden.


Mayden said the league will be dedicated to the generations of baseball players who were denied the opportunity to play baseball because of factors other than their ability to play the game of baseball. The African American baseball players have been limited in their opportunity to participate in the game of baseball “America’s Pastime”.

“While this league in ‘NO WAY’ will be limited to only African America players, we will seek out the best baseball players from across the United State and the World regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.  We will form the teams by selecting players from across the United State and the World to make up these teams by way of open try-outs to be held at a number of sites,” said Mayden, urging those interested to refer to their website for dates & locations.


“The creation of this League is a business venture designed to provide family entertainment. FACTS: over 1.2 trillion dollar in black wealth flows through the African American community annually. African American churches spend over $300 billion dollars annually in this economy. The black dollar is an untapped dollar in the professional sports market. The creating of this professional baseball league would allow us tap into the flow of that 1.2 trillion dollars in untapped wealth that flows through the black community annually, while at the same time creating jobs, economic development and entrepreneurship,” Coach Mike Mayden added.


General League Information: 

The league initial conception will consist of 4 teams (with future plans for expansion)

90-game schedule

May thru August in addition to league play-offs

45 away games/45 home games

6 games per week

Targeted ages are 17 years old and older (players which have completed or will be completing their high school eligibility)

The players in this League will be paid

Tryouts will start in June 2017

Fall team in Arizona September-October 2017

The league officially starts in the spring of 2018


All players interested in trying out for a team should visit our website at www.urbanbaseball247.com or call (773) 517-2175 for additional information.


Michael E. Mayden (The Coach)

(773) 744-1040 cell * E-mail: coachmayden@aol.com

Web-site: www.nupbl.com 



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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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