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  By Rev. Harold E. Bailey   My heart is filled with grief and compassion for the Rev. ...
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CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka joined dozens of small business leaders ...
CHICAGO, IL - More than 450 needy families were gifted with turkey, trimmings and lots ...

Archive for March, 2013

Urban League will press key priorities, including more investment in social programs, during 10th Annual Legislative Policy Conference

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 

The National Urban League Wire

 

Against the backdrop of partisan budget wrangling and an uncertain future for many of the programs we offer, the Urban League will  bring members of its national leadership, including CEOs from its 97 local affiliates, Young Professionals and Guild auxiliary organizations and others to Washington, DC  for its 10th Annual Legislative Policy Conference from April 9-11, 2013.

This year, Urban Leaguers will meet with Members of Congress and federal officials to highlight the impact repeated cutbacks have had on the more than 2.5 million individuals we serve every year—and will have if proposed cuts are allowed to stand. We will press for funding to vital programs, including job training, housing assistance and education programs, that are necessary to help those still suffering the effects of the economic downturn.

A highlight of LPC has always been the opportunity for our attendees to engage with Congressional leadership, and this year we will hear from House and Senate leaders who will provide insight on the “inside game” of policy-making and how we can best leverage our efforts to achieve our policy goals.    We will also honor the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who have always stood firmly with the Urban League to support our agenda and priorities.

As we do every year, we will release key findings from the latest edition of The State of Black America—Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America.  This year we are holding two events to roll out the publication and its compelling analysis.  On Wednesday, April 10th we will hold a Capitol Hill press conference to unveil the surprising analysis from this year’s Equality Index.  Then, on Thursday, April 11th, we will host a State of Black America breakfast featuring a panel discussion with leading journalists and other thought-leaders on the overarching themes explored in the latest edition.

The Legislative Policy Conference is the opportunity for the Movement to demonstrate its strength and impact to lawmakers; and to underscore the important role we play to empower our communities to thrive in our economy 

10th Annual
Legislative Policy Conference
April 9 – 11th, 2013

Public Agenda
(As of 3/19/13 – Subject to Change)


Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

 
9:30 AM – 6:00 PM                       Registration
 
10:00 AM – 11:45 AM                   TASK FORCE MEETINGS
                                                       Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel
 

                                                       Education – Capitol Room

                               Jobs – Council Room 

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM                      OPENING LUNCHEON
                                                       Location: Blue Ballroom, Omni Shoreham Hotel
 
                                                       INVITED KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
                                                             ·       Senator Elizabeth Warren
 
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM                        NULPI POLICY SERIES
                                                       Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel
 

                               2:00pm – 3:15pm  (Hampton Ballroom)

                                                       A Primer on the Affordable Care Act and opportunities for Urban League
                                                       Affiliates
 
                                                       3:15pm – 4:00pm  (Empire Ballroom)
                                                       EEOC Guidance on Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment
                                                       Decisions
 
                                                       2:00 pm – 4:00pm (Capitol Room)
                                                       Young Professional’s: Emerging Leaders Explore Today’s Challenges
 
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM                        LEGISLATIVE UPDATE AND HILL MEETING BRIEFING (Delegates Only)
                                                       Location: Blue Ballroom, Omni Shoreham Hotel
 
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM                        LEGISLATIVE UPDATE BREAKOUT SESSIONS (by Regions)
                                                       ** Affiliate Congressional Packets will be handed out at this time**
 
                                                       Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel
                                                              ·       Eastern Region – Capitol Room
                                                              ·       Central/Western Region  - Empire Room
                                                              ·       Southern Region  - Governor Room


Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

7:30 AM – 12:00 PM                       Registration
                 
7:00 AM – 7:30 AM                         Buses will transport from Omni Shoreham Hotel to
                                                         Charlie Palmer Restaurant
 
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM                         SALUTING THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS BREAKFAST
                                                         Location:Charlie Palmer Restaurant
                                                         Corporate Host: Eli Lilly and Company
 
                                                         KEYNOTE ADDRESS:
                                                         Representative Marcia Fudge (CONFIRMED)
                                                         Chairwoman, Congressional Black Caucus
                                                         Representing the 11th District of Ohio
 
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM                          Buses will transport from Charlie Palmer Restaurant to Capitol Hill
 
9:30 AM – 12:30 PM                        Affiliate Congressional Meetings             
 
10:30 AM – 11:30AM                       MEET THE URBAN LEAGUE BRIEFING
                                                         Location: Longworth House Office Building
 
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM                      PRESS CONFERENCE WITH MARC MORIAL
                                                         Location: TBD (Capitol Hill – Outside)
 
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM                        EMPOWERMENT LUNCHEON       
                                                         Location: SR-325, Kennedy Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
 
                                                         INVITED KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
                                                              ·       Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President of the United
                                                                      States and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and
                                                                      Intergovernmental Affairs
 
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM                          Affiliate Congressional Meetings
 
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM                          CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS RECEPTION
                                                         Location: Art and Soul Restaurant
                                                         (Liaison Hotel, 415 New Jersey Ave, NW)
                                                         Corporate Host: Amgen
 
9:00 PM – 9:30 PM                          Buses will transport from Congressional Leadership Awards Reception
                                                         to Omni Shoreham Hotel
 


Thursday, April 11th, 2013

 
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM                          STATE OF BLACK AMERICA BREAKFAST
                                                          Location: Empire Ballroom, Omni Shoreham Hotel
                                                          Corporate Host: AT&T®
 
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM                          Buses will transport from SOBA Breakfast to each agency meeting                                                           **Buses depart promptly at 9am**
 
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM                        AOE AGENCY MEETINGS (1st Session)
                                                          ** BY RSVP FOR CEOS AND AFFILIATE BOARD CHAIRS ONLY **
 
                                                               ·       Department of Labor  (DOL)
                                                                       Address:
                                                                       200 Constitution Ave NW, Washington D.C.
                                                               ·       Department of Education (ED)
                                                                       Address:
                                                                       400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington D.C.
 
11:30AM – 1:00 PM                          AOE AGENCY MEETINGS (2nd Session)
                                                          ** BY RSVP FOR CEOS AND AFFILIATE BOARD CHAIRS ONLY **
 
                                                               ·       Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
                                                                       Address:
                                                                       451 7th Street SW, Washington D.C.
                                                               ·       Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
                                                                       Address:
                                                                       200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C.
 
 
* Buses will be transport from agency meetings to Omni Shoreham Hotel
 
2:00 PM – 4:00PM                              AOE TASK FORCE MEETINGS
                                                             Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel
 
                                                             Health – Cabinet Room
                                                             Housing – Calvert Room
                                                            

Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Teamwork Englewood, and Partner Organizations Kick-off Spring Break with Play Streets

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Community-Driven Event at 63rd and Peoria Promotes Fun, Safe Play

Powered by the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

Chicago, IL – The Active Transportation Alliance, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago and World Sport Chicago, in partnership with Teamwork Englewood, and seven other community-based organizations; will continue the Play Streets initiative launched last year by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the Chicago Department of Public Health through a community-driven Spring Break event for all-ages.

Teamwork Englewood will have several events accompanied by live music form Englewood’s resident DJ. There will be activities for adults such as Yoga and Zumba.

63rd Peoria St. and surrounding area will be opened to the community. Events are free and members of the community are welcome and encouraged to attend & participate in their much anticpated dance flash mob.

The Play Streets event will be held Friday, March 29th 2013, 11:00am – 2:00pm, 63RD Peoria Street., Englewood in Chicago.

Just one in three children in America engages in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day (Source: National Association for Sport and Physical Education). Last year

Play Streets events however, got the ball rolling and people moving. In 2012, 78 percent of kids attending Play Streets events were engaged in ‘moderate’ or ‘rigorous’ physical activity for at least 60 minutes.

Play Streets events in Chicago aim to tackle the various barriers to play including: promoting safety, opening public spaces, changing sedentary habits and providing resources and technical support for community-based organizations to facilitate play. Teamwork Englewood joins a local network promoting fun, healthy living, safer blocks and community cohesion.

The Chicago events this year will be among the first of a national, year-long movement to get community members outside and active. Play Streets events are taking place in ten cities across the country.

Other local community-organizers and events include: Beyond the Ball (Little Village), Near North Unity Program (Near North), Near West Side Community Development Corporation (Near West), Quad Communities Development Corporation (Washington Park), Southwest Organizing Project (Chicago Lawn), and Network of Woodlawn’s Public Safety Alliance (Woodlawn).

Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one in three Americans.

With 7.2 million members, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL remains member owned rather than publicly traded and is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities, fostering greater access to care, and working to lower the overall cost of care while improving the health care quality and patient outcomes.

Teamwork Englewood was formed in 2003 as part of the New Communities Program sponsored by the Local Initiatives support corporation (LISC) and the MacArthur Foundation. Comprised of residents and stakeholders, its goal is to unite the many organizations serving Englewood residents and work together toward the common goal of building a stronger community. Teamwork Englewood is committed to providing quality services aligned to best practices.

The mission of Active Transportation Alliance is to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. We advocate for transportation that encourages and promotes safety, physical activity, health, recreation, social interaction, equity, environmental stewardship and resource conservation.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) organizes capital and other resources to support initiatives that stimulate the comprehensive development of healthy, stable neighborhoods and foster their connection to the socioeconomic mainstream of the metropolitan region. Since 1980, LISC Chicago has infused more than $196 million into housing, human and economic development projects, leveraging a total of $4.8 billion in aggregate community investment. The results are quantifiable: with LISC Chicago support nearly 30,000 units of affordable housing and 5 million square feet of commercial space have been developed and more than 20,000 Chicago residents have been engaged in planning, provided training, or direct service to improve their quality of life.

World Sport Chicago (WSC) is an independent, non-profit organization that strives to teach life-enhancing values and character development through sport. We believe that sport has the power to strengthen individuals, and in turn, Chicago’s communities. This mentality is translated into programs and events designed to create opportunities and support our partnerships with civic agencies, other non-profit organizations and professional Chicago sports teams. WSC is the living legacy of the Chicago 2016 Olympic and Paralympic bid and is designated by the United States Olympic Committee one of ten national Community Olympic Development Program partners.
For more information, rashanah@englewoodportal.org
http://www.englewoodportal.org/index.html

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TODAY: Tenants tell Metrobank – “Don’t push us out of Pilsen!”

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Tenants at 1140 W. 18th St. say the building has fallen into disrepair since Metrobank assumed ownership last fall and now, the bank is threatening to evict them.

At 12:15 p.m. today outside the 1800 S. Halsted Metrobank, the building’s residents are fighting back. As supporters hold a rally and press conference, tenants will request a meeting with bank officials. They will ask the bank to drop the evictions and work with them directly to address problems in the building.

For months, residents have been asking their property management company to make basic repairs to wiring, plumbing and hot water, but have not seen significant progress. The bank has given several tenants notices that it plans to file eviction cases against them if they do not leave.

Residents are also concerned that the bank is marketing their building as a redevelopment opportunity or potential tear-down, setting the stage for more gentrification in Pilsen.

In protest of their living conditions, the building’s residents are refusing to pay rent. They have approached Metrobank with their demands, but have only received a response from Property Security Advisors, who told tenants that they are being evicted because it is cheaper to evict them than to make the necessary repairs.

“The bank finds it cheaper to remove people from their homes than to make their homes livable. We say – you’re the landlord with “community” in your name, do your job,” says tenant Haley Whiting. “If we can’t stay here, at the very least, we’d like to see this building donated back to the community.”

Adds tenant Ezra Arreola: “If Metrobank cared about this community, they wouldn’t be trying to evict us and sell the building. What is happening here is part of a trend of gentrification, and we will not let the bank displace us – or anyone else in Pilsen.”

The tenants will be joined by supporters from Occupy El Barrio, Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO), and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction.

“As an environmental justice organization, PERRO recognizes that issues of race, class and gender are intimately connected with issues of environmental contamination in working-class communities of color like Pilsen,” says Jerry Mead-Lucero of PERRO. “PERRO stands in solidarity with those fighting against evictions and those fighting against gentrification in our community.”

Occupy El Barrio has issued a solidarity statement saying that “The rising rents and increased cost of living in Pilsen is a form of economic apartheid that we are seeing in neighborhoods across the City of Chicago. The proud history of resistance in Pilsen shows us that taking to the streets and defending our communities is the only way to prevent this systematic dispossession.”

Cook County Assessor’s employee indicted in kickback scheme

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 6 COMMENTS

Store Owner Indicted in Separate Financial Investigation

An employee of the Cook County Assessor’s Office and a Chicago grocery store owner have been charged in separate financial investigations for stealing thousands of dollars in taxpayer money by diverting checks and accepting kickbacks in schemes involving homeowner tax exemptions issued by the Assessor’s Office, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.

Victor Benitez, 57, of Chicago, has been charged with Theft of Government Property, a Class 1 Felony. Benitez is alleged to have fraudulently applied for homeowner tax exemptions on behalf of unsuspecting Cook County property owners and directed more than $70,000 worth of the homeowner exemption checks issued by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office to his address, post office boxes or friends or family members. Benitez owns a grocery store in the Brighton Park community.

Also charged was Maria Gonzalez, 54, of Lyons, who worked as a Taxpayer Information Senior Specialist in the Assessor’s Taxpayer Services Department since 2001. Gonzalez, who is charged with Official Misconduct, a Class 3 Felony, is alleged to have accepted more than $9,000 in kickbacks from Cook County property owners in exchange for assisting them in obtaining Homeowner Exemption Certificate of Error refunds.

The case was developed by the Public Corruption and Financial Crimes Unit as part of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office ongoing operation against public corruption on the local level.

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez called the thefts “shameful,” and said her office will continue to crack down on public employees and others who steal funds or unlawfully game the system.

“There is simply no tolerance for the theft of public money anywhere in Cook County government and we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law,” Alvarez said.

According to prosecutors, between Oct. 26, 2009 and Oct. 7, 2010, Benitez is alleged to have stolen 48 Homeowner Exemption refund checks valued at more than $70,000. The refund checks stolen by the Defendant were for multiple years on seventeen different properties located within Cook County. The stolen checks were each mailed by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office to an address where the Defendant received mail. None of the property owners listed as payees on the stolen checks ever applied for these checks nor saw these checks before. All endorsements on the backs of the checks turned out to be forged.

Prosecutors allege that Benitez used the majority of the stolen checks to purchase items which he then sold in his grocery store such as prepaid phone cards, produce and grocery items.

In her role as a Taxpayer Information Specialist, Gonzalez processed applications for Homeowner Exemption Certificates of Error submitted by citizens to the Cook County Assessor’s Office. She was also responsible for assisting customers who walk into the Assessor’s Office with questions regarding property tax exemptions.

According to court filings, Gonzalez’ responsibility was to review the applications and verify that the property owner was entitled to the Homeowner Exemption. After she verified that the property owner was entitled to the Homeowner Exemption Certificate of Error, she was responsible for inputting the information into the Assessor’s Office Computer System, which is then electronically transferred to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office. The Treasurer’s Office would then issue a check to the property owner for the amount of the overpaid tax.

On four separate occasions between April 16, 2010 and Feb. 12, 2011, prosecutors allege that Gonzalez accepted a kickback from property owners in exchange for assisting them in obtaining Homeowner Exemption Certificate of Error refunds. In total, Gonzalez is alleged to have solicited and received over $9,000 from individuals for assisting them in obtaining Certificate of Error refunds. Gonzalez met each property owner at their home, told each property owner she worked for the Cook County Assessor’s Office, and then solicited and accepted a payment from each property owner in exchange for assisting them in obtaining Certificate of Error Refund Checks. The defendant asked for a kickback of twenty to fifty percent of the recovered funds.

In total, Gonzalez is alleged to have solicited and received over $9,000 from individuals for assisting them in obtaining Certificate of Error refunds. According to court filings, some of these property owners were not entitled to receive a Homeowner Exemption refund because their property was rental property.

A property owner in Cook County is entitled to a Homeowner Exemption credit on his property taxes if the property is the owner’s principle residence. A Homeowner Exemption is a credit that reduces the total property tax owed on a property for a specified tax year. If a property owner is entitled to claim the Homeowner Exemption, but fails to do so, the property owner has three years to claim a refund of the Homeowner Exemption amount.

The process for Cook County citizens to claim a Homeowner Exemption refund for a prior year is to submit a Homeowner Exemption Certificate of Error Application to the Cook County Assessor’s Office. If the property owner qualifies for the Homeowner Exemption for the specified years a Homeowner Exemption Certificate of Error is granted and the information is electronically transmitted to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office. The Treasurer’s Office then mails a Homeowner Exemption refund check to the property owner.

The State’s Attorney’s Office thanked the Cook County Assessor’s Office for their assistance during the investigation.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Panasonic designs, builds and installs State-Of-The-Art LED, Audio Systems at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

ROSEMONT, IL – Panasonic Eco Solutions North America (Panasonic) has designed, built and installed a cutting-edge, LED center-hung video scoreboard and a 360-degree ribbon display that will be integrated with a concert-quality Panasonic audio system at Allstate Arena, located in Rosemont, Ill. The improvements to the Arena are part of a multi-phase partnership with the Village of Rosemont that also will encompass improvements to the Rosemont Theater, MB Financial Park at Rosemont and Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The new installations have been custom designed to enhance live event viewing at the Arena by further engaging spectators in one of the Chicago area’s most vibrant and growing entertainment districts.

“We are grateful to Panasonic for their tremendous contribution to our community,” said Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens. “We are committed to bringing our residents and guests the finest in entertainment, and having Panasonic as a partner allows us to utilize the newest technological innovations available to enhance their experience as they visit our sports, performance, convention and recreational venues.”

Panasonic updated the Allstate Arena with a four-sided, center-hung, 6-mm pixel pitch Surface Mount Device (SMD) LED. Each side features a 9.4 foot-high by 12.58 foot-wide video board, complete with pyrotechnics, upper and lower 16-mm full-color halo rings measuring 2.1 feet-high by 62.99 feet-wide and 2.1 foot-high by 50.39 foot-wide respectively, and a decorative bottom cap with naming rights. For further enhancement, the installation included a 360-degree fascia LED video display, extending 680 feet-long and 2.1 feet-high, and four 85” flat panel displays were also installed in the concourse area. The complete LED solution immediately improves the fan experience by offering live action, replays, statistics, as well as graphics and animations. The entire project was implemented in three phases, with the final part, including Panasonic’s integration of a state-of-the-art premium audio system, with completion estimated for the end of the month.

“With expertise in the design, build and installation of A/V systems, our team came up with a solution that would meet the specific needs of Allstate Arena, which included as many legacy components integrated into the control equipment as possible. This system install also showed how we successfully face challenges associated with a very active schedule within a tight timeline,” said Richard Ballard, VP Sales & Marketing, Panasonic
Eco Solutions North America. “Providing a one-stop solution for our customers is just another way Panasonic adds value for its customers like Allstate Arena.”

Opened in 1980 and operated by the Village of Rosemont, Allstate Arena is a forward thinking facility continuously striving to improve the spectator experience and its environmental stewardship. The arena is located at the gateway to Chicago. Proud home to the Chicago Wolves (American Hockey League), Chicago Rush (Arena Football League), the DePaul University Blue Demons and the Chicago Sky (Women’s National Basketball Association), the arena also serves as a host to memorable music guests such as Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Billy Joel, Nickelback, Taylor Swift, and Metallica while also featuring shows like Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, World Wrestling Entertainment and Disney on Ice.

“Since opening more than 30 years ago, it has always been our goal to bring our guests the most engaging live entertainment experience. Panasonic’s recent improvements catapult the Allstate Arena far beyond what any home entertainment systems could offer, with state-of-the-art LED video boards and a premiere audio system,” said Patrick Nagle, Executive Director, Allstate Arena and Rosemont Theatre. “Panasonic worked closely with us to provide a solution custom designed to bring our fan engagement to a higher level, adding further incentives to come to live events.”

About Panasonic Eco Solutions North America
Panasonic Eco Solutions North America is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE:PC). The company develops and provides customized and integrated technology-based system solutions for enterprise customers in a variety of industries such as sports and entertainment, as well as education. Additionally, the company supplies renewable energy and energy-efficiency solutions to corporate and public sector organizations. For more information on the company and its enterprise solutions, visit tp://www.panasonic.com/business/enterprise/enterprise-solutions-company.asp

For more information, call (877) 438 7881 or email enterprise@us.panasonic.com.

Better Business Bureau identifies what paperwork to keep when Spring cleaning

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Although the temperatures are still low, spring has arrived and it is a good time to rid your home of the clutter and paperwork you have accumulated over the past year. However, when it comes to reviewing your financial records, it is important to know what to keep, what to discard, and when. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) offers advice on how to safely clear your clutter.

“Spring cleaning is a great time to reorganize and clear out,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is important to understand what you can get rid of and the BBB Shred Day offers a safe way to dispose of sensitive information.”

The Better Business Bureau suggests the following record keeping and removal tips:

  • Canceled checks: All canceled checks and related receipts or documents for a home purchase or sale, renovations, or other improvements to a property you own should be kept indefinitely. The same holds true for non-deductable contributions to a retirement account. Checks that support your tax returns must be kept for a minimum of seven years. All other checks may be discarded after a year.
  • Deposit, ATM, credit card and debit card receipts: Save them until the transaction appears on your statement and you have verified that the information is accurate.
  • Credit card and bank account statements: Save those with no tax or other long-term significance for about a year, but save the rest for up to seven years. If you get a detailed annual statement, keep that and discard the corresponding monthly statements. Also, be sure to mark closed deposit accounts as such.
  • Credit card contracts and other loan agreements: Keep for as long as the account is active; they may be needed in the event you have a dispute with your lender over the terms of your contract.
  • Documentation of your purchase or sale of stocks, bonds and other investments: Retain these while you own the investment and then seven years after that.

To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, be sure to shred any document that contains a Social Security number, bank account number or other personal and financial information before disposing.

The BBB offers its FREE shred day events in Chicago. On Saturday, June 22, our shred day event will be held at the United Center, on Wood St. between Madison & Warren Blvd., in Parking Lot E. For more information as well as a list of approved materials to shred, visit www.chicagoshreds.com

For more advice on safely discarding paperwork, visit www.bbb.org

Shortchanging the Sixth Amendment: New report reveals severe underfunding of Assigned Counsel Systems

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, DC – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) released a report revealing the woefully inadequate compensation rates received by assigned defense counsel across the fifty U.S. states. Prepared by NACDL’s Indigent Defense Counsel John Gross, Rationing Justice: The Underfunding of Assigned Counsel Systems documents the low rates paid to assigned counsel and how that results in defendants receiving inadequate representation. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright on Monday, March 18, this report serves as a stark reminder that much work remains to secure the meaningful protection of Americans’ Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin said: “When I talk to law students and young lawyers, many have a desire to practice criminal law. But when the rates barely cover the cost of overhead, not to mention student debt, young lawyers have no choice but to move away from criminal practice. Without adequate funding to the defense, the promise of Gideon rings hollow.”

According to the report, assigned counsel compensation rates often fail to cover basic overhead costs. Because of this, attorneys who work on indigent defense cases often lose money in the process. On top of low hourly rates, more than half of all states have maximum compensation fees, with any additional hours of work going uncompensated.

The report reveals how many states use “flat fees,” which result in attorneys receiving the same compensation, regardless of how much work they perform. In some places, attorneys are even paid based on the outcome of the case. Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit), actually pays assigned counsel $200 more for a guilty plea than for a dismissal.

As the report makes clear, the consequence of such fee structures is obvious: defendants do not receive the representation to which they are entitled. While some jurisdictions fund public defender offices, assigned counsel programs represent a significant portion of indigent defendants and are an essential component of an indigent defense delivery system.

In this report, NACDL documents how this severe and chronic underfunding is dangerous to the criminal justice system as a whole. According the NACDL’s Indigent Defense Counsel, and the author of this report, “The issue here is not just that assigned counsel deserve more money. When compensation rates are this low, private attorneys simply cannot afford to provide services to indigent defendants. Courts and the adversarial system cannot function without defense lawyers and the American people and our Constitution are paying the price.”

Rationing Justice: The Underfunding of Assigned Counsel Systems is the first part of NACDL’s new study, Gideon at 50: A Three-Part Examination of Indigent Defense in America.

A link to the report and an audio introduction by its author are available here. And to learn more about NACDL’s work in this area and access additional resources, please visit www.nacdl.org/indigentdefense.

Contact: Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL’s approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

History, Architecture and a Walking Game of Telephone

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — On Friday, April 5, Chicago Detours inaugurates their new quarterly, one-off “Detours” with a “Nonsensical Walk of Indoor Spaces.” This walk, which weaves through downtown lobbies, Pedways, short-cuts and corridors, will expand a person’s understanding of the geographical space downtown. Participants will get to experience architectural “eye candy” while playing a moving game of telephone that will share historic and contemporary background on the buildings as they walk through them.

These Detours are a new approach to a tour, so that beyond a tour guide sharing stories, guests will have experiences designed around a particular theme and often taking place at exclusive locations. In addition to Chicago Detours tour guides leading the Detours, other experts in cultural fields will share their passion and knowledge for niches of Chicago happenings and history.

Chicago Detours Executive Director Amanda Scotese will lead the first Detour. “Nonsensical Walk of Indoor Spaces” will be a fun, spatial experience of downtown. Unlike a regular walking tour, in which groups stop at each location for guide commentary, on this one-time-only walk, a continuous line of participants will zigzag through more than 25 different buildings while playing a sort of walking game of telephone with quick (and perhaps surprising) cultural and architectural facts about buildings and their tenants. Leading the line of participants, Scotese will verbally share a short message to the person behind her, and that person will tell the phrase to the person behind him.

For this “Nonsensical Walk of Indoor Spaces,” Chicago Detours has arranged for permission to bring the groups through a number of buildings with diverse architectural styles and functions, from wide open modernist corridors of condo buildings to ornate historic bank lobbies. The seemingly random walking route will expand one’s concept of geographical space in downtown Chicago by taking people off their standard pedestrian paths. It’s inspired by the urban theorist’s concept of flaneur as a walker who becomes aware of the psychological and social effects of the cityscape by venturing out of standard spaces and routes.

Ultimately, the route of the walk and the information shared in the game of telephone will expose participants to a story of the city as told through its interior spaces and their relation to each other in the cityscape.

The two-hour-long walk will be held Friday, April 5, 4pm-6pm. Group meets in the Pedway atrium of Block 37 at 108 North State Street and ends near the intersection of LaSalle and Jackson. Tickets are $20 and guests receive special gifts. Reservations are required through www.chicagodetours.com and group size is limited.

The second Detour, scheduled for Saturday, June 1st, will explore meat around the Fulton Market area. This Detour, led by Saveur Magazine editor David McAninch, will include visits to an old school butcher shop and a new-school artisan meats restaurant. The fall Detour will be during Chicago Artists Month (October) so an artist will curate an exclusive opportunity of engaging with visual artists that specifically interpret the city of Chicago. This Detour will also involve an artistic culinary experience created exclusively for the experience.

ABOUT CHICAGO DETOURS
Chicago Detours is a team of educators, historians, artists and storytellers, founded by Amanda Scotese, who honed her skills as a tour professional during the several years she has worked as a tour guide and guidebook researcher with the travel company of Rick Steves. Scotese studied architecture, urbanism, and art history through her interdisciplinary M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. The creative tour company blogs about Chicago architecture and history at blog.chicagodetours.com.

For additional information:
Amanda Scotese
312.350.1131
info@chicagodetours.com
www.chicagodetours.com

Piccolo Theatre announces its 2013/2014 Season

Posted by Newsroom On March - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

EVANSTON, IL – Piccolo Theatre, Inc. announces its dynamic thirteenth season of programming for the whole family, integrating classic favorites and new works into Piccolo’s own fresh blend of comedy entertainment and education.

Piccolo Theatre, Inc. is a 501c3 charity, and cultivates community development through the arts, and produces the Custer’s Last Stand Festival of the Arts, the Piccolo Theatre Company, Piccolo Theatre Comedy Arts Camps, and operates out of the Piccolo Theatre Arts Depot, a cultural center in south Evanston’s Main Street Shopping District. Easily accessible by the CTA and Union Pacific North Line Metra, Piccolo Theatre believes in affordable comedy programming for all audiences as a way to foster symbiotic relationships within the arts community. There is always something for everyone at Piccolo Theatre, where it is our mission to make you laugh.

Tickets for the 2013/214 season are now available by calling 847-424-0089, or online at www.piccolotheatre.com.

To enroll for all youth programming classes and camps, please call 847.328.2204, or email Education Director Tony Lawry at tony@piccolotheatre.com

Autumn 2013

The Mystery of Irma Vep, By Charles Ludlam

This satirical comedy combines elements of melodrama and farce. The ambitious production stars only 2 actors of the same sex who play 8 characters of both sexes, and is technically demanding with a large number of sound cues, set changes, properties, and around 35 quick costume changes!

Previews Aug 30 – Sep 1

Opening Sep 6

Run Sep 7 – Oct 12

All performances Fri & Sat at 8 PM, Sun at 3 PM

Fall Teen Improv

Saturdays, 2:30 PM – 4 PM

September 21-November 2 (8 weeks)

Class Showcase performance on November 2

$200/8 weeks

$150/8 weeks (before September 7 only)

Dates may be subject to change

Winter 2013

The Snow Queen, or When Christmas Freezes Over!, By Jessica Puller, Music & Lyrics by Rich Maisel

Piccolo presents its 13th annual holiday Panto, topsy-turvy re-telling of the fairy tale by beloved children’s author Hans Christian Andersen. An original musical play written by one of Piccolo’s ensemble members, The Snow Queen, or When Christmas Freezes Over! will feature original music, lyrics, choreography and magic.

Previews Nov 8 – 10

Fri & Sat at 7:30 PM, Sun at 3 PM

Opening Nov 15

Run Nov 16 – Dec 21

All performances Fri at 7:30 PM, Sat at 3 PM & 7:30 PM, Sun at 3 PM

Spring 2014

One-Act Play Showcase

Piccolo’s first one-act play festival will bring new theatre styles and companies to the south Evanston community.

January 17 & 18, 24 & 25

All performances at 8 PM

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare

This magical, classic comedy bridges the worlds of humans and fairies, and coincides with its scheduled time as part of the curriculum for the students of District 65. We are excited to bring one of Shakespeare’s most popular and enchanting masterpieces to the residents of Evanston and the Chicagoland area, as well as provide the students of Evanston with the opportunity to experience Shakespeare off the page.

Previews Mar 14 -16

Opening Mar 21

Run Mar 22 – May 3

All performances Fri & Sat at 8 PM, Sun at 3 PM

Girl Power Sketch Comedy

Saturdays, 2:30 PM – 4 PM

January 25 – March 15 (8 weeks)

$150/8 weeks

Spring Break Comedy Arts Camp

April 7 – 11, 9:30 AM – 4 PM

$200/week

$150/week (before March 15 only)

$50 single day rate

Spring Teen Improv

Saturdays, 2:30 PM – 4 PM

March 22 – May 10 (8 weeks)

Class showcase on May 10

$200/8 weeks

$150/8 weeks (before March 4 only)

Summer 2014

Custer’s Last Stand Festival of the Arts

June 14 & 15

Admission is free!

Summer Comedy Arts Camp

Dates TBD.

Tenants of Rogers Park’s Astor House are fighting to take back their building; say BJB has got to go!

Posted by Newsroom On March - 28 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Using signs and banners, as well as face paint to look like the mice and bedbug­s that plague their residence, the tenants will picket today outside the Astor House at 1246 W. Pratt to send the message that they’re not giving up.

A press conference is set for 10:30 a.m. where tenants will discuss the mass eviction that is currently under way in the building, as well as serious problems with their units — including bedbugs, mice, roaches, contaminated water, broken elevators, and inadequate heat.

Jamie Purcell, the developer who is the principal of BJB Properties, owns the building through a subsidiary. His company has filed over 40 eviction cases since it bought the building last fall; at least two residents who have been forced out by the current management are already homeless. Purcell is also trying to evict residents from the Chateau Hotel building in Uptown.

Residents will tell Purcell and BJB “that we’re not planning on leaving – that we’re planning to fight back,” says tenant Arbie Bowman, who has lived in the building for two and a half years.

They will be joined by neighbors and Loyola University students who are helping them fight back, as well as supporters from Northside Action for Justice, Metropolitan Tenants Organization and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction.

We are trying to get our building back for people to stay here, who can’t afford any other housing than what we have got now,” Bowman says.

Tenants and their supporters have launched a boycott of BJB Properties, asking Loyola students and other community members not to rent from BJB until the company drops eviction cases against Astor House residents and agrees to negotiate with all tenant associations in its buildings about keeping its apartments affordable.

For more information, contact : Arbie Bowman, 773-302-5171 or Melvin Jennings, 312-256-6772

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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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