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Archive for February 2nd, 2017

Chicago Lawyers Prepare to Provide Free Legal Representation to Immigrants Caught in Trump’s Enforcement Net

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on Chicago Lawyers Prepare to Provide Free Legal Representation to Immigrants Caught in Trump’s Enforcement Net

CHICAGO, IL – A week after the president signed executive orders closing U.S. borders to refugees and laying the groundwork for mass detention and deportation of immigrants, more than 100 corporate lawyers will come together at a downtown law firm on Thursday to learn the basics of asylum law and prepare to provide free legal representation to asylum seekers and other immigrants in Chicago who may be targeted by the president’s harsh enforcement plans.

Before the training, representatives from host firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), and other pro bono immigration attorneys will hold a press conference to discuss the Chicago legal community’s response to the president’s immigration executive actions, and the need to expand access to legal services for immigrants vulnerable to due process violations.

A press conference about the Chicago legal community’s response to Trump’s planned mass immigration enforcement, preceding an immigration law training for 130 volunteer lawyers will be held Thursday, February 2, 2017, 12:15 p.m. at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, 77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3100, Chicago.
Greg Ostfeld, co-chair, Chicago Litigation Practice, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director, National Immigrant Justice Center
Juan Arguello, NIJC pro bono attorney from Jones Day who recently won asylum for a detained client will attend.

RSVP is requested (but not required) to facilitate access to the building. Please contact Tara Tidwell Cullen at ttidwellcullen@heartlandalliance.org.

With offices in Chicago, Indiana, and Washington, D.C., Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education. Visit immigrantjustice.org and follow @NIJC.


Attorney General Madigan and Civil Rights Leaders Condemn Jewish Community Center Bomb Threat and Hate Crimes

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on Attorney General Madigan and Civil Rights Leaders Condemn Jewish Community Center Bomb Threat and Hate Crimes

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined with the Anti-Defamation League and the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights to condemn yesterday’s bomb threat against a Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Lake Zurich.


The JCC Chicago reported that an employee of a JCC daycare facility in Lake Zurich received a telephone bomb threat Tuesday, resulting in an evacuation of staff and children at the facility. Authorities are investigating the incident and whether it is connected to similar incidents at JCC locations across the country in recent weeks, including over a dozen bomb threats against JCC facilities on Tuesday alone, according to media reports.


“Illinois law does not tolerate crimes fueled by hate,” Madigan said. “A threat against any person based on hate or bias is a threat to the safety of our communities and our country’s values.”


“We believe all threats must be taken seriously, including the calls received by the JCC of Lake Zurich, and although law enforcement has not determined that there is any physical danger or that there are explosive devices at the location, these threats are deeply troubling and are making a detrimental impact on the Jewish community,” said Lonnie Nasatir, the Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Greater Chicago and Upper Midwest Area.


“What makes Chicago strong is its racial and ethnic diversity. Caucasians, African Americans, and Latinos each make up roughly a third of our city’s residents, and our Asian-American and Arab-American communities are growing,” said Bonnie Allen, Executive Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “Hatred and intolerance will not thrive here. Our legal team stands ready to act on these threats, and our civic and elected leaders must come together to provide support and protect vulnerable people from hate crimes. These incidents are often underreported and they are intended to send a message and perpetuate fear. We cannot give any ground to bigotry and intolerance in our city.”


Under Illinois law, it is a felony to commit a variety of offenses such as assault or disorderly conduct because of a person’s actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability or national origin. Penalties are even stronger when the offense occurs in or near a place of worship, school, cemetery or park. Illinois law also empowers victims to sue perpetrators of hate crime for damages independent of any criminal prosecution.


According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 90 reported hate crimes in Illinois last year.


Illinois residents who experience or witness what they believe to be a hate crime should call their local police department or can also contact Madigan’s Civil Rights Hotline at 877-581-3692. Madigan urged residents to contact their local police department if they believe they are in immediate danger.



Maynard, the Documentary Film About the Life and Times of Maynard Jackson, the First Black Mayor of Atlanta, Moves Into Final Production

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on Maynard, the Documentary Film About the Life and Times of Maynard Jackson, the First Black Mayor of Atlanta, Moves Into Final Production

Maynard Documentary Film

Atlanta, GA (BlackNews.com)MAYNARD, the much-anticipated documentary film, which is being made about the life and times of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard H. Jackson, is turning the power on and moving full-steam ahead into post production.

Thanks to the award-winning documentary filmmaker, Sam Pollard, the work of Auburn Avenue Films, Inc. and the perseverance of Maynard Jackson III, Wendy Eley Jackson and the production team, final interviews have occurred in Atlanta, Jacksons home town. Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; Jacksons widow, Valerie Jackson; Jacksons children; Douglas A. Blackmon, former AJC reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Slavery by Another Name, his first law partner, Andrew Patterson; his former CAO at Atlanta City Hall, George Berry; and many other individuals who played major roles in the life of this giant of a man have been in front of the camera. The mayors aunt, June Dobbs Butts (the only living daughter of Jacksons grandfather, John Wesley Dobbs, who was often referred to as the mayor of Sweet Auburn Avenue), provided an applauded interview to round out the history on the Dobbs family.

Pollard, the films director and the creative mind that is leading the production, will continue filming evocative imagery in and around Atlanta in February. Other special interviews are in the works which include President William Clinton, former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, and Dr. Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund, who once served as a speech writer for the mayor during his first term in office, as well as the Commissioner of Parks & Recreation for the city. Post production is scheduled for the months of February/March; and then on to the plans of getting the film ready for submission at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2018.

The MAYNARD documentary trailer was recently presented during the Choose Georgia Film Making in the South event at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival recently held in Utah. We received outstanding support for our efforts while at Sundance, said Wendy Eley Jackson, with Auburn Avenue Films. We went to Sundance to have a presence at the table and to begin the process of making more connections within the industry which we accomplished, Jackson added.

MAYNARD the documentary will present an intimate view of Jackson from those who knew him best, such as Ambassador Andrew Young, Vernon Jordan, and his childhood friend Sammy Bacote. The film will include video archival footage and rare photographs. The interviews with family and co-workers who helped sustain the Maynard movement during his terms as mayor and beyond will detail the full story of Maynard — the man, the mayor, the game changer, and the politician.

How did Maynard do it? is the question that the documentary will answer. In addition to being referred to as Action Jackson from time to time, Mayor Jackson was known as an articulate, charismatic and compassionate leader who served a record three terms as Atlantas mayor. Among his many successes, he earned his place in Atlanta history books for building the world’s busiest airport and is known nationally for developing a model for affirmative action programs that was used in cities around the United States.

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) will serve as the presenting station for the film and an educational partner for MAYNARD. This partnership will insure that the history lessons of Jacksons three terms tie into GPBs extensive educational programming. These lessons, about Atlantas first African American mayor, will be provided in perpetuity for students through the GPB Education curriculum which is offered to both teachers and students.

A recently added plus for the MAYNARD movie production team was the Academy Awards Nomination, Best Documentary Film Feature Category, of I Am Not Your Negro in which Henry Adebonojo served as a part of the production team for this film. Mr. Adebonojo is the director of photography for the MAYNARD documentary and an award-winning filmmaker and photographer.

For more details about the film, visit www.maynardmovie.com
About GPB
As one of the largest PBS stations in the nation, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media), has been creating content worth sharing for over 50 years. With nine television stations, 18 radio stations and a multi-faceted web presence, GPB strives to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of our viewers and listeners with programming that includes statewide radio news, current affairs, high school sports, educational resources for teachers and students and enlightening programs about our state like Georgia Outdoors and Georgia Traveler.
About Auburn Avenue Films, Inc.
Auburn Avenue Films Inc. is an Atlanta based television and film company specializing in development, production, and post production of multi-cultural content for television, film and digital platforms. Their belief in collaborative storytelling allows them to develop high level scripted and alternative programming. For more information please follow our progress about the MAYNARD movie at #maynardmovie or contact Auburn Avenue Films at 404-505-8188. You may also visit the following website: www.auburnavenuefilms.com
About the MAYNARD film Director Sam Pollard
Samuel Pollard is an accomplished feature film and television video editor, and documentary producer/director whose work spans almost thirty years. He recently completed as producer/director a 90-minute documentary titled The Ground On Which I Stand: August Wilson for the PBS series American Masters. Pollard received an Emmy and Peabody respectively for his work on Henry Hampton’s Blackside production Eyes On The Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads and I’ll Make Me A World: Stories of African-American Artists and Community. As an editor some of Pollards credits include Spike Lee’s films Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers, and Bamboozled. Pollard along with Lee also co-produced Spike Lee Presents Mike Tyson, for HBO which Mr. Pollard received an Emmy; Four Little Girls, a feature-length documentary about the 1963 Birmingham church bombings which was nominated for an Academy Award; and When The Levees Broke, a four part documentary that won numerous awards, including a Peabody and three Emmy Awards. He also co-produced and supervised the edit on Lees If God Is Willing And Da Creek Dont Rise. Pollard also served as producer/director of Slavery By Another Name a 90-minute documentary for PBS and as editor for the feature length documentary Venus and Serena on Showtime.


Photo: Maynard Holbrook Jackson, the first African American Mayor of Atlanta, GA, served three historic terms.



NAACP Formally Opposes Price, Pudzer Nominations

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on NAACP Formally Opposes Price, Pudzer Nominations

Like DeVos and Sessions, Nominees Records are At Odds with Agency Missions

The NAACP released the following statement regarding the nominations of Andrew Puzder and Tom Price for cabinet secretaries:

“The NAACP announces its formal opposition to the nominations of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor and Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Like Sen. Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos, Puzder and Price’s policy records show an antagonistic and caustic approach to the missions of the agencies they are now seeking to head. Overall, they represent a disturbing pattern of nominees whose combined wealth, detachment from everyday issues progressive policies threatens to exacerbate the increasing levels of inequality in our nation.

As the secretary of labor, Puzder would be required to investigate any minimum wage and overtime conflicts that are brought to the Department of Labor. Puzder’s consistent opposition to raising the federal minimum wage clarifies that he has no interest in improving everyday life for working-class citizens. Puzder has also publicly opposed a revised overtime rule, paid sick leave for federal government contractors and the Affordable Care Act. As the CEO of CKE restaurants, Puzder has seen some of his restaurants be investigated by the Department of Labor. Many privately-owned CKE restaurants in addition to some CKE-operated restaurants were found to have violated wage and hour legislation by the Department of Labor. It is unrealistic to expect someone who has violated labor laws with their own employees to enforce these laws for all workers in America.

The NAACP also opposes the nomination of Rep. Tom Price as HHS secretary based on his consistent record of disdain for policies that beneficial to communities of color. While, the secretary of HHS is expected to preserve the health of every person in this country, Rep. Price has made it apparent repeatedly that he is not willing to do so. Although President Trump promised not to alter Medicaid and Medicare, Rep. Price refused to verify that this was still the case at his confirmation hearing. He has attempted to make Medicaid a block grant program which could lead to fewer low-income people having access to health coverage. As chair of the House budget committee, Rep. Price proposed over a billion dollars in cuts for Medicaid and Medicare combined. Rep. Price has made it his mission to take benefits away from the people who need it most. We cannot allow him to be confirmed as he will push this agenda while serving under the current administration.

These two nominees have repeatedly shown that they have no interest in doing what is best for all Americans and thus the NAACP stands against their nominations in the best interests of our communities and those committed to an inclusive society. We encourage you to contact your senators to ask them to vote against Andrew Puzder, Rep. Tom Price, Betsy DeVos and Senator Jeff Sessions. This country needs cabinet members willing to do what is best for the public. We urge the Trump administration to nominate qualified individuals who are committed to protecting the well-being of all Americans.”

Illinois Department of Insurance Levies $560,000 Civil Forfeiture Against California-Based Zenefits

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on Illinois Department of Insurance Levies $560,000 Civil Forfeiture Against California-Based Zenefits


Illinois becomes the 17th state to reach settlement with company for alleged insurance code violations


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) announced a Stipulation & Consent Order with YourPeople, Inc., (dba Zenefits FTW Insurance Services) whereby the California-based human resources software and insurance brokerage company will pay a civil forfeiture of up to $560,000 for the alleged insurance law violations.

The forfeiture, believed to be one of the largest in DOI’s history, follows a nearly year-long investigation by DOI’s Investigations Division in which Zenefits cooperated with DOI staff.  The investigation determined that an estimated 279 transactions concerning the sale, solicitation, or negotiation of insurance in 2015 and prior years involving Illinois-based small and medium sized business clients were conducted by Zenefits employees who were not properly licensed to sell insurance in Illinois.  In conjunction with the investigation of these practices by Illinois and other states, Zenefits has largely replaced its prior management team, including its former CEO, and has instituted new controls and procedures to ensure that its employees are properly trained and licensed.  DOI will continue to monitor the company’s practices to ensure compliance with Illinois law.

“The enforcement of compliance of insurance laws remains a top priority for (DOI),” said Acting Director Jennifer Hammer.  “Zenefits failed to comply with Illinois insurance licensing laws.  We are glad we were able to protect the citizens of Illinois in this case.”

During a parallel review, the Department did not uncover evidence that Zenefits engaged in unlawful rebating, which would have been a further violation of the Illinois Insurance Code.  As Zenefits’ current business model as presented includes the provision of free human resources software to anyone, and additional website features provided to businesses which purchase insurance through Zenefits are solely limited to the servicing of that insurance, the Department’s review concluded that no unlawful rebate or inducement is provided to the customer under Illinois law.  This determination remains subject to review in the future should further evidence be received or should the company’s business practices change.


Illinois becomes the 17th state to settle with Zenefits for its prior unlicensed activities.  Of the $560,000 civil forfeiture, $100,000 will be suspended pending the successful completion of a period of probation detailed in the order.

Top Black History Month Scholarship Programs for African-American Students

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on Top Black History Month Scholarship Programs for African-American Students

Black History Month Scholarships

(BlackNews.com) – Every year, many companies and organizations give away scholarships to African American students as a way of celebrating and honoring Black History month. Some of these programs have come and gone, while others have been very consistent throughout the years. Here’s a list of the programs that are open this February:


#1 – Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship: This program is for minority high school students in the United States. In addition to a financial grant, the foundation also provides its scholars with mentoring and leadership development opportunities, and internships. Apply now at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/03/jackie-robinson-foundation-scholarship.html

#2 – Fund II Foundation United Negro College Fund (UNCF) STEM Scholars Program: This program is open to African American students pursuing careers in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Scholars Program includes scholarships, internships, mentoring and other tools to help African American students reach their goals. Apply now at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2017/01/fund-ii-foundation-uncf-stem-scholars-program.html

#3 – National Association of Black Journalists Scholarships: These scholarships are offered to African American students interested in a career in journalism. The scholarship is for high school students and undergraduate college students who are planning to enroll or currently enrolled in college full-time and majoring in journalism. Apply now at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/05/nabj-national-association-black-journalists-scholarships.html

#4 – Regions Riding Forward Black History Month Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded each year to high school students and college students. Interested students may apply by writing an essay about African-Americans who have inspired them. Regions Bank awards 32 scholarships each year, two in each region where the bank has branches. Apply now at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/01/regions-riding-forward-black-history.html

#5 – Jerry Malloy Negro Baseball League Scholarship: This program is open to high school seniors who plan to attend college and work towards a college degree. Two scholarships will be awarded to the students who write the most compelling essay on a topic pertaining to Negro League baseball. Apply now at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/12/sabr-jerry-malloy-negro-baseball-league-scholarship.html

#6 – Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) Scholarships: These scholarships are offered to outstanding black high-school seniors who are interested in pursuing careers in technology. High-school seniors of African descent may apply (for example, African American, Caribbean, African, etc). Apply now at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2015/04/blacks-at-microsoft-bam-scholarships.html

For more 2017 scholarships, visit www.ScholarshipsOnline.org



Seven Sentenced in $6 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on Seven Sentenced in $6 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON – The final seven of eight convicted in a $6 million fraudulent Medicare billing scheme have been ordered to federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.


A Houston federal jury has returned guilty verdicts June 28, 2016, against Giam Nguyen, D.O.,47, of Houston; Benjamin Martinez, M.D., 35, of Dallas; Donovan Simmons, M.D., 43, of Austin; and Anna Bagoumian, 44, of Glendale, California, following an eight-day trial and approximately 13 hours of deliberation. Zaven Pogosyan, 38, Edvard Shakhbazyan, 41, and Seryan Mirzakhanyan, 32, all of Glendale, California; and Frank Montgomery, 67, of Houston; pleaded guilty prior to trial.


At a hearing that concluded late yesterday, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes handed Nguyen, Edvard Shakhbazyan and Pogosyan all sentences of 87 months in prison and ordered they pay restitution in the amount of $3.3 million. Martinez, Montgomery and Simmons were ordered to serve respective sentences of 28, 17 and 15 months, while Bagoumian will serve a 51-month-term of imprisonment. All were also ordered to pay varying terms of restitution ranging from $6,200 to $2.6 million.


Seryan Mirzakhanyan, 32, was sentenced earlier this month to a 28-month-term of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $1.48 million.


The scheme involved fraudulent billing for diagnostic testing done at three different clinics from September 2008 to May 2010. Patients were paid to come to the clinics, and the clinics then billed for tests that were either not performed or not medically necessary.


Pogosyan and Edvard Shakhbazyan were the former owners of medical clinics located at 2110 Jefferson, 2112 Pease and 6892 Southwest Freeway, Suite 2A, in Houston. Both admitted they opened the three clinics with the intention to defraud Medicare. The majority of the diagnostic tests allegedly performed there were either not done or not medically necessary. Further, the medical equipment, patient files and doctors were all there only to make it appear legitimate. The men also admitted hiring doctors for that purpose and that they paid marketers to bring patients to the fraudulent clinics.


Pogosyan hired Nguyen, who was the only doctor working at the clinics. Pogosyan also hired Martinez and Simmons to travel to Houston once a month to review patient files at the clinic located on Pease Street.


Patients were brought to the clinics by recruiters/marketers like Montgomery who were paid for each patient they delivered. Seryan Mirzakhanyan and Edvard Shakhbazyan paid the marketers for the patients as did Pogosyan and Bagoumian. Mirzakhanyan and Montgomery testified at trial about receiving the cash payments. The court also heard that Bagoumian participated in shredding all of the patient and business records of the Jefferson clinic.


Some of the Medicare beneficiaries also testified as to being paid approximately $100 to go to the clinics. They had primary care physicians, but they reported that they were not referred to the clinics by their physicians nor did they receive any of the test results.


During trial, a law enforcement agent testified about reviewing patient files seized during the searches of the Pease and Southwest Freeway clinics. The jury heard that 730 of the 1229 patients reported their chief complaint as back pain. Nevertheless, those patients were given ultrasounds of their kidneys, abdomens, thyroids, carotid arteries as well as allergy tests and anorectal tests. His testimony also revealed that not one of the files contained a plan of treatment or any indication that the test results were discussed with the patient.


Further, an expert witness told the jury that the anorectal manometry and EMG of the anal or urethral sphincter test results in the patient files were physiologically impossible and therefore could not have been done. He also said there was no medical justification in any of the files to do either of the tests.


The court also heard that Simmons had admitted being paid $40,000 for reviewing 20-30 patient files in less than four hours. Bagoumian received checks totaling $183,000 and cashed every one of them, according to testimony.


With the exception of Bagoumian and Montgomery, who were ordered into custody for violating the terms of their pre-trial release, all had been on bond. Nguyen was taken into custody following the sentencing where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. The remaining defendants were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.


Multiple agencies conducted the investigation to include The Texas Attorney General’s Office – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, IRS – Criminal Investigation, FBI, Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Al Balboni and Rodolfo Ramirez prosecuted the case.

Source: FBI

Call the Right Play for the Super Bowl

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on Call the Right Play for the Super Bowl

 Don’t drive if you will be drinking alcohol


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Football fans across the country will celebrate America’s most watched national sporting event this Sunday. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reminds you there is only one right play – pass your keys to a sober driver if you plan on drinking alcohol as part of your Super Bowl celebration.


“This Super Bowl Sunday, volunteer to be a designated driver to help get others home safely and help drive zero fatalities to a reality on Illinois roads,” said Priscilla Tobias, IDOT’s Director of Program Development. “Drunk and drugged driving lead to disaster. It is never worth the risk – if you plan to drink, make a plan to get home safely that doesn’t include driving.”


In addition to designating a sober driver, fans can secure a safe ride home by using public transportation or calling a taxi or rideshare program.

Even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction times, making driving unsafe. The Illinois State Police (ISP) and more than 100 local police departments and sheriff’s offices will be stepping up impaired driving enforcement efforts this weekend.

“Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most alcohol-infused celebrations of the year. If you drink and drive, expect to be pulled over,” said ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz. “ISP troopers will use roving patrols and roadside safety checks to stop intoxicated motorists. Everybody wins when you plan ahead by designating a driver.”

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Super Bowl Crackdown is funded with federal highway safety dollars and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

CCLBA Releases Over 4,000 Parcels of Vacant Lots to Help Reboot Rust Belt Communities

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on CCLBA Releases Over 4,000 Parcels of Vacant Lots to Help Reboot Rust Belt Communities

Also focuses on neighborhoods where it’s putting vacant homes back onto tax rolls through work with community-based developers

The Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) will release 4,437 parcels of vacant, tax-delinquent lots – the largest one-time release of real estate in county history – and will make the lots available to community-based partners. Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who also serves as Chairwoman of the Land Bank, announced the release of these lots on Monday at City Club, click here to view her speech.

Most of the 4,437 blighted properties are in areas once home to either bustling industries that suffered as a result of the manufacturing decline or dealt a blow during the foreclosure crisis in Chicago and suburban Cook County. These lots now will have an opportunity to transform communities via partnerships with community-based developers as well as local not-for-profits, block clubs, community organizations, homeowners and others to revitalize and reboot distressed neighborhoods, reduce unnecessary vacancies and fill unique community needs, whether it be community gardens, play lots, basketball courts, open space. Many such properties have been vacant for five to ten years, creating blight and dragging down the livelihood of their communities.

“This historic release will serve in part as a rust belt reboot and represents the next step in the Land Bank’s evolution as an organization focused on transforming communities from within,” Commissioner Gainer said. “We can use assets of our 20th-century economy to build a sustainable economy for the 21st century, all the way down to the local level.”

The 4,437 new lots will be sold based on size and location. These properties can be found listed online at: http://www.cookcountylandbank.org/tax-delinquent-properties-procedures/.

The release of these vacant lots is the first of two releases of CCLBA acquired properties this year. In Spring 2017, CCLBA will release 500 commercial and industrial properties that will be made available to community-based developers.

“This release marks a strategic step forward in our goal of thoughtfully engaging with community-based developers and other community partners to help unlock the potential of this land in order to support the community,” said Rob Rose, Executive Director of CCLBA. “The new uses of these properties will complement the work we have been doing with tax-delinquent homes across the city which is putting once-vacant homes back onto the tax rolls and help community-based developers grow their business and keep revenue in the community.”

In 2016, the Land Bank continued to grow and expand upon its work across key Chicago neighborhoods, with multiple milestones, such as: 206 homes sold (an increase from 33 sold the previous year); 192 percent increase in earned income from the previous year; and $5.4 million in market capitalization value (an increase from just $178,000 in 2015).

CCLBA was formed by ordinance of Cook County in 2013 to address the large inventory of vacant residential, industrial and commercial property in Cook County. The ordinance was created after two extensive reports conducted by Cook County and Urban Land Institute. CCLBA is a unit of Cook County government, funded primarily with grants, contributions and revenues from transactions. CCLBA is the largest land bank by geography in the country and is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, chaired by Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer and ran by Executive Director Robert (Rob) Rose. For more information on the CCBLA, browse its website at cookcountylandbank.org.


UMC – Urban Movie Channel’s February Slate Features Exclusive Streaming Premieres of Star-Studded Romantic Comedy and Inner-City Youth Documentary

Posted by Admin On February - 2 - 2017 Comments Off on UMC – Urban Movie Channel’s February Slate Features Exclusive Streaming Premieres of Star-Studded Romantic Comedy and Inner-City Youth Documentary


Romantic comedy, “No Regrets,” premieres February 10, 2017; Inner-city youth documentary, “Hatching Shakespeare,” to follow on February 17, 2017


No Regrets movie

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) – A celebration of black history and romance, Urban Movie Channel (UMC) presents two new exclusive streaming premieres fitting for both Black History Month and Valentines Day. Kicking off on Friday, February 10, 2017 comes the new romantic comedy from director Mark Harris (Black Coffee), No Regrets. Starring Monica Calhoun (The Best Man) and Brian White (Scandal, Chicago Fire, Stomp the Yard), the film follows Nina Thomas, a flight attendant who after 12 years of dating her college sweetheart (and rejecting his many marriage proposals), finally says yes. But after meeting a handsome divorcee during a long layover in Los Angeles, Nina finds herself in a compromising position that she never thought shed be in. Instantly smitten, the two of them spend an entire day together where they both begin to discover what their mates truly mean to them and what they mean to each other.

Also starring Emmy Award-winning actress Loretta Devine (Waiting to Exhale, The Carmichael Show), Sharon Leal (Addicted, Dreamgirls, Why Did I Get Married?), Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow, All of Us), Caryn Ward-Ross (The Game), and Amin Joseph (Dope), No Regrets first premiered at the Urbanworld Film Festival in September 2016. Its premiere on UMC will mark the first time the film has been made available for wide release.

Premiering on Friday, February 17, 2017, Hatching Shakespeare follows Dr. Melanie Andrews, the successful stage director of the Inner City Shakespeare Ensemble in Los Angeles, California. When she begins working on a new production of The Taming of the Shrew, she and her troupe of young actors face many unexpected obstacles and setbacks. As the possibility of getting the show ready on time dwindles, the documentary follows Andrews and her team as they work to achieve their goal. The result is a surprising turn for all.

Also coming to UMC in February, Breaking a Monster chronicles the journey of three 7th graders from Brooklyn, New York who spend their weekends playing heavy metal/speed punk music in Times Square as the band Unlocking the Truth.” When the band’s Internet fame explodes and the music industry comes calling, Malcolm, Jarad and Alec feel like anything is possible but are soon confronted with the realities that come with being rockstars. In their first year, the band goes from three kids just playing the music they love, to the very adult world of touring, managers and a $1.8 million record contract all in pursuit of living out their heavy metal dreams. Breaking a Monster first premiered at the 2015 SXSW festival and will be available on UMC beginning Friday, February 3, 2017. Available at www.urbanmoviechannel.com, UMC is the first premium subscription streaming service that showcases quality African American and urban entertainment across all genres from RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE).
About UMC – Urban Movie Channel
Created by Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Urban Movie Channel (UMC) is the first subscription streaming service created for African American and urban audiences in North America that features quality urban content and showcases feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy, and other exclusive content. New titles added weekly include live stand-up specials like Gary Owens I AGREE WITH MYSELF, and performances featuring The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and comedic rock star Kevin Hart; comedy films including #LUCKY NUMBER starring Method Man; dramas including KNUCKLEHEAD starring Emmy Award winning actress Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe and SECOND COMING starring Golden Globe Award winner Idris Elba and Nadine Marshall; documentaries including Tim Reid Presents: THE LEGACY DOCUMENTARY SERIES; action/thrillers including THE SIN SEER starring Isaiah Washington and Lisa Arrindell Anderson; and stage play productions including David E. Talberts ANOTHER MAN WILL. UMC offers a free 7-day trial and thereafter is just $4.99/month or $49.99/year.

Photo Caption: “No Regrets” premieres on UMC, February 10, 2017


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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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