CHICAGO – Mid-America Real Estate Corporation’s Net Lease Investment Group recently announced the $1.8 million sale of a triple net ground lease for a new 16,750 square-foot freestanding Aldi building in Chicago’s Chatham community. The buyer is a private California investor. According to Mid-America broker Bill Wright, whose firm was the exclusive representative for the seller, this transaction is another example of private investors putting their money into “hands-off” net leased retail properties that require no landlord maintenance. “This deal continues the trend of West Coast private capital seeking investment in solid ‘core’ Midwestern markets,” he says, “and this ground lease is a perfect example of what they’re looking for here.” The Aldi building was constructed in 2011, and is located at 8500 South Holland Road.
It can be said that 2011 will be seen as a year of tremendous challenges and opportunities for the 54 nations of Africa. With the world economy continuing unabatedly in the throes of global recession, African countries fought hard to soften the impact on their local economies while at the same time dealing with the various issues of increased democratization, good governance, healthcare, education and jobs for its people.
Many of the African countries that gained their independence in the 1960s, celebrated their 50th anniversaries this year. The 50-year mark triggered some serious analysis amongst African people as to what has gone right, what has gone wrong, and what needs to be done over the next 50 years!
In 2011 seventeen African countries, (including Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Tunisia), were slated to hold presidential election. Some of these elections, notably in Nigeria, Benin, Tunisia and Zambia went forward with the decision widely respected amongst the populations. While others, notably Cameroon, DRC, Madagascar, Malawi and Uganda were either deemed unfair by large segments of the populations or postponed altogether.
The “Arab Spring” an unprecedented effort to do away with tyrannical governments in the Middle East and North Africa, began in Tunisia, and quickly spread to Egypt, Libya and other countries in the region. Two of the governments and their leaders, Zine El Abidene Ben Ali’s in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, succumbed to the people’s pressure and shockingly collapsed in a short period of time. Rebellions in both countries were led by young people utilizing social networking technologies to mobilize. Both Tunisia and Egypt are now in various stages of democratic reform and trying to establish democratic institutions that would be more responsive to the people.
In Libya, the 30-year regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi came to an abrupt end in October, after a protracted civil war. Libya was also swept up in the winds of the “Arab Spring” with similar demands of the young people in Tunisia and Egypt for the tyrannical regime to step down. However, instead of leaving office, Gaddafi called out his military and began a brutal initiative to crush the rebellion. The United States and NATO responded by establishing a “no-fly” zone over much of the country, and provided assistance to opposition forces, which eventually lead to the deposing and killing of Gaddafi. As we head into 2012, many unanswered questions remain about the future of Libya, a wealthy oil-producing nation.
On July 9th, following a referendum on independence, the Government of South Sudan became the newest independent country on the continent, bringing to an end the continent’s longest running civil war. Independence for South Sudan comes after a protracted war with the north that lasted nearly 40 years and resulted in a purported 2 million deaths, millions more displaced, and a development starved economy. More than 75% of the oil reserves of the former Sudan (North and South), lie in South Sudan. In addition, the South is blessed with an abundance of other mineral resources, as well as water resources and fertile lands. Currently, it remains uncertain as to how this new nation will build a country virtually from scratch.
Once hailed as a model of stability, Cote d’Ivoire slipped into the kind of internal strife that has plagued many other African countries. Under the leadership of its first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote d’Ivoire was a model of stability for more than 3 decades after independence. The regime of Henri Bedie (who succeeded Houphouet-Boigny upon his passing), ended in a military coup in 1999, with Bedie fleeing to France. In an effort to remain in power, Bedie planted the seeds of ethnic discord by trying to stir up xenophobic behavior against Muslims in the north, including his main rival, Alassane Quattara.
In 2000, Laurent Gbagbo came to power. In October 2010, after a much delayed elections was held, he lost to Alassane Quattara. Rather than handing over power to the newly elected president, Gbagbo sought to remain in power by the force of the gun. The ensuing four-month stand-off ended only when Quattara’s forces overran the country’s south region, finally capturing Gbagbo and transporting him to the Hague to stand trial at the International Criminal Court.
Another major story in Africa in 2011 was the return of devastating episodes of drought and famine in Somalia and east Africa. This time around, the drought is exacerbated by the protracted 20-year civil war in Somalia, with a very limited central government in the country. Hundreds of thousands have already perished in this drought and millions more are at risk!
With the growing realization of Africa as a bastion for strategic minerals — it is now attracting unprecedented interest from most notably China, but also India, the United States, Russia, Japan, Brazil, wealthy Middle Eastern countries and other countries, who are now devising all kinds of strategies to access African oil, diamonds, uranium, kotan, bauxite, and other natural resources. If the negotiations with these countries are not well managed by the African Union and African nations, there is a legitimate fear that Africa could find itself in short order with a new form of colonization!
Despite these challenges, Africa is making remarkable progress towards promoting economic growth and sustainable development on the continent. Some of the highest rates of returns being recorded across the globe, are being found on the African continent.
Additionally, the well-regarded presidential elections that took place in Nigeria this year, combined with the highly impressive economic growth being reported there, suggest the “sleeping giant” is now ready to take its place as the economic engine on the continent in 2012!
African leaders are also working hard to promote inter-Africa trade between countries, with heavy emphasis on increasing agriculture production – another sign that bodes well for the entire region and the world.
Africa is aggressively turning towards her Diaspora in the United States, South America, Europe and elsewhere, to attract trade and needed investment, to promote innovation and to access technologies, and to effectively lobby and promote the cooperation of western governments in the continents development.
While much remains to be done in Africa to promote economic development, Africa and the African world has much to look forward to in 2012.
By Melvin Foote
Special to the NNPA for Constituency for Africa
Melvin P. Foote is the President and CEO of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), a 21 year old Washington, D.C. based education and advocacy organization. He is also a well respected expert on a range of issues and topics concerning Africa and the African Diaspora. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW YORK – Doing battle with the winter elements? After all, going from the warm house out into the cold air to the hot office and then dashing back outside can be tough not to mention a temperature-fluctuating airplane or subway car.
Maybe you’re one of the many adding a wicking shirt to your armor.
The functional under layer that over the last few years has become a favorite of skiers, hikers, runners and other athletes is finding new fans in urbanites, who find a fabric that draws out perspiration, serves as insulation from wind and keeps body temperature stable has purposes beyond the outdoors. It complements smooth, fitted silhouettes that fit nicely under other things, from a man’s button-down shirt to a ladies’ cashmere turtleneck.
“Research today shows that consumers will make apparel purchases based upon look, need and performance,” says Tom Julian, a New York-based trend and retail analyst. “I believe that `products that perform’ has been a marketing mantra ever since we saw smart-care clothes come to life as a result of casualization. I think the economy has made it inevitable that apparel has to do more than look nice, be on-trend.”
“I have found that men like to use these shirts as layering for travel perfect on the plane to keep one comfortable but warm and should the heat become an issue they allow for perspiration Julian says
They have additional life because they go under weekend clothes or be worn as workout wear, he adds, and they’re very malleable in a suitcase. AP
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On the afternoon of Dec.28, Glenise Rice will sit on a diversity panel at Rainbow PUSH Headquarters made up of returned Peace Corps volunteers to discuss the importance of international service and its role in creating global citizens.
Rice, a native of Glenwood, Ill. is a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama. She departed for Panama in April 2010 to begin Peace Corps pre-service language and cultural training. After graduating from volunteer training in July 2010, Rice was assigned to a local community in Panama where she is currently working as a community economic development Peace Corps volunteer, helping to build the capacity of the local people, in addition to improving business opportunities.
Her desire to learn about other cultures and share her culture with others is what inspired Rice to apply to Peace Corps. In Panama, she is currently involved in a variety of local projects, but focuses on education and development. Rice offers non-formal English classes and educational workshops to adults that focus on business and leadership topics in order to provide local entrepreneurs with sustainable development practices.
Rice’s Peace Corps experience has been rewarding thus far and she is looking forward to sharing her stories of living and working abroad, recognizing that Peace Corps volunteers should strive to bring their knowledge and understanding of new cultures back home to their U.S. communities.
During her visit home, Rice is looking forward to experiencing certain comforts that aren’t available in Panama, where she lives on an island with a population of less than 100 people that is only accessible by boat. “I have been a ‘city girl’ all of my life so it was quite an adjustment to live in a community without all of the amenities that I was accustomed to. It has been a very humbling experience and makes me appreciate the things that I have,” says Rice. “But the thing I miss most is not having hot water so the first thing I will do when I get home is take a hot bath.”
And while Rice is excited to visit home and see family and friends, she is also looking forward to her remaining time in Panama. “Throughout my service I’ve had to redefine success. Peace Corps volunteers experience many accomplishments, but they tend to be smaller and slower-coming,” notes Rice. “Success has become something as simple as a smile and a thank you, or having my counterparts use an agenda in a meeting, or watching a student figure out how to do a mathematical calculation to see if their business is making money. These things may not change the world, but they do touch and improve the life of that person.”
Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion’s death was ruled a homicide.
An autopsy conducted by the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner’s Office “revealed extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder, and back with extensive hemorrhage.”
The results of the autopsy showed that Champion, 26, died because of blunt-force trauma suffered during a hazing incident.
Even though there were no broken bones to 26-year-old Champion’s internal organs, there was “a significant rapid blood loss” due to the injuries he suffered, the report further stated.
The medical examiner added that Champion died as “the result of hemorrhagic shock due to soft tissue hemorrhage, incurred by blunt force trauma sustained during a hazing incident.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported that sheriff’s investigators said they will meet with the State Attorney’s Office soon to determine what, if any, criminal charges will be filed.
Champion’s mother, Pamela, reached at her Georgia home, said she’s “still trying to come to terms and absorb” the information contained in the report, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
A joint statement issued by Dr. Solomon L. Badger III, chairman of the FAMU board, and Ammons, called the autopsy information “extremely upsetting for all of us, even though it confirmed what we suspected.
“We again convey our deepest condolences to the Champion family. We will continue to cooperate with all agencies looking into the matter and are committed to creating a safe environment for the entire FAMU community and ensuring that this never happens again at FAMU.”
Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner officials said the autopsy found no evidence of a natural cause for Champion’s death, including disease, sickle-cell trait, drugs or alcohol.
“Immediately after the hazing incident, he complained of thirst and fatigue; minutes later, he noted loss of vision” and soon suffered cardiac arrest, the medical examiner said.
Gainesville lawyer Christopher Chestnut, who is representing Champion’s family, said, “It confirms our suspicions.”
The family is distraught, he said, and wants to put an end to hazing. The Champions have already filed notice of intent to sue the school, although they do not know who was involved, what was done or where.
Special to the NNPA from the Florida Courier
Information from The Associated Press and The Orlando Sentinel were used in compiling this report.
A campaign that urged Black Friday shoppers in the Chatham community to buy locally culminated Dec. 20 with a festive holiday celebration. The campaign and event were sponsored by the Chatham Business Association Special Service Area #51.
For eight hours last Tuesday, hundreds of merchants, business owners, residents and others served by SSA #51 in the South Side community were treated to free hot chocolate, food, a visit with Santa entertainment and more. The event was held in the parking lot of the Chatham Village Square Mall at 87th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.
CBA, which runs the SSA #51 program, continued its push to encourage Chatham area residents to buy locally by offering gift certificates to people who spent at least $100 with area merchants during the day after Thanksgiving shopping rush. CBA/SSA#51 used print, radio and other media, including posters in the windows of participating merchants, to spread the word about the special campaign. As part of its overall work throughout the year, CBA encourages shopping in the community. But a special effort was done for the busiest day —and official kick off—of the Christmas shopping season.
Melinda Kelly of CBA told the Chicago Citizen that statistics show how impactful to the community it is for its residents to shop locally.
“If you don’t spend with the businesses in your community, you don’t create jobs,” or help local schools, she explained.
The holiday celebration was a party with an economic purpose, she explained. It brought business owners and residents together under one festive setting to connect in ways that would benefit them both.
Kelly said it would be the small businesses like the ones in Chatham that would “help us keep our (national) economy strong.” But it would be up to residents to patronize the local businesses so that more money could stay in the community, she added.
To help keep the cash registers ringing and customers coming through local merchants’ doors, the Black Friday marketing campaign also included a “Your Vision for Chatham Cottage Grove SSA #51 Business Corridors Holiday Art Contest.” Also, a special wish list contest granted families’ holiday wishes using merchandise and services from participating CBA businesses.
Kelly said that some of the art submitted as part of the art contest would be used in 2012 “to market one of more of our vacant or underutilized commercial properties within the SSA #51 available for rent or purchase within our business corridors,” Kelly said.
By Rhonda Gillespie
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) released crash data showing a continual reduction in the number of alcohol-impaired motor vehicle fatalities in Illinois from 2006 through 2010. The measure of alcohol impairment involves at least one driver with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, or beyond the legal blood-alcohol limit in Illinois. IDOT and law enforcement agencies statewide are partnering this holiday season to boost safety and continue the fight against impaired driving.
“The reduction in impaired driving fatalities is due in large part to the team cooperation and dedication of IDOT, the Illinois State Police, and local law enforcement officers along with motorists who consistently comply with Illinois’ traffic safety laws,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “Even with these improvements, impaired drivers continue to wreak havoc and cause serious crashes and injuries on our roadways. This holiday season, the enforcement mobilization will continue to crack down on law violators and boost safety across the state.”
The Illinois State Police joins local law enforcement agencies throughout the state for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over/Click It or Ticket holiday campaign. Through New Year’s weekend, more than 200 local police and sheriff departments will partner with the Illinois State Police in conducting nearly 100 roadside safety checks, 400 safety belt enforcement zones (at least half of those during late-night hours) and hundreds of additional impaired driving and nighttime safety belt patrols. Motorists are advised that impaired driving or failure to buckle up will get them arrested or ticketed.
“Illinois State Police will continue to keep the roads safe during the holiday period. Officers will enforce the law and will implement several enforcement details, including roadside safety checks, saturation patrols, seat belt enforcement and other directed patrols,” said Illinois State Police Deputy Director of Operations Colonel Mark Piccoli. “Officers will strictly enforce FATAL 4 moving violations and arrest impaired drivers.”
According to data from IDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of motor vehicle fatalities involving an impaired driver declined steadily from 2006 through 2010. The greatest reduction in impaired driving fatalities took place between 2007 and 2008, with a decline of 83 fatalities, a reduction of about 19 percent. This positive trend continued through 2009 and 2010, with impaired driving fatalities declining by 15 fatalities or 5 percent overall. In addition, 298 impaired driving fatalities occurred in 2010, representing a 33 percent reduction compared to 2006, when the total was 446.
CHICAGO – The owner of a vacant building where a collapsed roof crushed and killed two Chicago firefighters last year now faces a criminal contempt of court action.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the charge, the eve of the anniversary of the firefighters’ deaths. Alvarez said the action sends an important message to other owners with vacant properties that could pose safety hazards.
A roof collapse killed 47-year-old Edward Stringer and 34-year-old Corey Ankum, and injured more than a dozen other firefighters called to battle a blaze at the vacant laundry facility on Dec. 22, 2010.
Chuck Dai, 62, of South Holland, is scheduled to appear in court on the charge. Prosecutors allege he had failed to comply with a court order requiring him to secure and repair the South Side property. The now-demolished building had been cited for sagging ceiling tiles, rotted roof trusses and other safety violations. Documents show it had 14 code violations in 2007.
“With the extensive amount of vacant and abandoned buildings as well as foreclosed properties in our communities right now, this action should also send an important message to property owners that they have a legal and a civic responsibility to maintain their property in a safe and responsible fashion,” Alvarez said in a statement.
In the years before the fire, Dai failed to appear at numerous court dates. He was eventually fined more than $14,000 for failing to address the violations. In October of 2009, Dai agreed to make all of the required repairs and secure the building from trespassers. But he still hadn’t made the repairs when the fire started more than two years later.
The Associated Press attempted to reach Dai but there was no answer at a phone number listed for him. He also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Stringer’s family in October.
A federal agency found a lack of radios contributed to the firefighters’ deaths. In a September report on the fire, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health concluded that only five of the 13 firefighters inside the building when the roof collapsed had radios, and none described to supervisors outside what they were seeing. So the supervisors had no clue the firefighters could see flames climbing wooden beams to the ceiling. AP
Youth at the non-profit K.L.E.O. Family Life Center received toys, games, stuffed animals and winter wear Thursday, at a holiday giveaway that included a special program. Just before the youth received gifts, distributed by K.L.E.O. Executive Director Torry Barrett, they spoke about what the center meant to them. For most of them, the after school haven has been a big help with homework, making new friends, and instilling values of friendship and respect, the kids said. Then it was on to the talent show where some kids recited original poetry, others danced and a few sang or rapped. In all, the day marked the spirit of the K.L.E.O. Center, an acronym for its theme and mission Keep Loving Each Other, according to Barrett. The organization, located at 119 E. Garfield, received a financial boost Dec. 20 when Barrett appeared on the morning television talk show, “Windy City Live.” The show provided K.L.E.O. Center with $500 to help spread yuletide joy to the youth who attend there.
The K.L.E.O. Center was established soon after the death of Barrett’s sister, Kleo, who was shot to death in a domestic violence incident.
Barrett said on Windy City Live that he and his family had only two choices when Kleo, a deputy Cook County sheriff, died.
“We could go on, or we could go off,” he said. “We chose to go on.”
The K.L.E.O. center offers an after school program, hosts a monthly food pantry giveaway and other community service events and efforts, according to its website.
By Rhonda Gillespie
Jean Claude Brizard landed at the helm of Chicago Public Schools seven months ago. He has encountered a firestorm of criticism mostly suggesting he is not improving schools but continuing the rhetoric of his predecessors which includes closing schools in poor Black neighborhoods.
A Chicago Board of Education meeting was recently shut down by protestors due to proposed School Actions up for vote in February. The School Actions are a group of measures that are aimed at providing the district’s lowest performing schools with higher quality school options, according to CPS. The Actions include two school closures and 10 school turnarounds.
Brizard met with the Chicago Citizen two days after the fiery board meeting. Before coming to Chicago, he spent three years as superintendent of the Rochester City School District in Rochester, NY.
“I’ve been around this work so long you that you sort of expect what’s going to happen,” Brizard said of the meeting. “I’ve seen this get much larger so unfortunately I’m getting accustomed to it. I don’t say that to be light about this but it has become a ‘script’ in other words,” he said.
The CPS chief said that the meeting was not actually ended. The board decided to meet in private—something that occurs at every meeting –to discuss issues that cannot be discussed in private. The board decided to hold an executive session early because of ruckus started by angry demonstrators.
“It’s interesting. People actually think the meeting ended. At every board meeting we always go into executive board session to talk about teacher terminations, legal issues, real estate issues and things that we cannot legally discuss in public. Our plan from the get go is that we wanted to hear the public’s voice. What is unfortunate is that 20-25 people decided they were going to shut down nearly 100 people who showed up to talk to us and the other 100 that came to listen. We decided that if we cannot get them to behave properly, because we had to do an executive session anyway we would go in to that and come back,” he said.
According to Brizard, people are so angry with the board of education due to a “lack of trust for the system.”
He said that he and his team are working tirelessly to do the right thing for students. Adding that, some teachers, parents and community members have all been jaded by past experiences with public school stakeholders.
“People are angry because they see what’s happened in the past. There is a lack of trust for the system. And don’t yet [know] that we are trying to do the right thing for our community. You have people who have been screwed (for lack of a better word) and are now angry because of past experiences. We are saying this is different, please give us a chance to do what we are trying to do,” said Brizard.
Brizard added some individuals are agitating the situation. He was referring to the Occupy Chicago protestors who joined Chicago Teachers Union at the board meeting. He said that he had never seen the demonstrators at a board meeting before and that he’s never seen them in the community either.
“A few people [are] manipulating a lot of people. When you see Occupy Chicago for instance. I’ve never seen these people in a board meeting before. I’ve never seen them in Austin, I’ve never seen them in East Garfield Park, in Englewood when a kid is shot and killed on the streets of our city, I don’t see them,” he said.
Brizard added that being an African American male who grew up in poverty, he appreciates when people are genuine, especially when it comes to the welfare of children. He did add that there were people at the board meeting who were there because they truly care about their neighborhoods.
Brizard believes people are happy with the job he is doing—at least that’s what he has heard on the street.
“Based on what I’ve heard from people that have talked to me people are pretty satisfied thus far. I would be the first to argue that we have not done a lot yet. We are seven months into the job. This is a generational fight to fix a wrong that has been in existence for a very long time. If people are waiting for Jean-Claude Brizard to fix all of it I think they are mistaken. My job is to lead, my job is to do work but I can’t do this alone. I joke that J.C. does not stand for Jesus Christ it stands for Jean-Claude. So none of us are super heroes. We need everyone in the community to actually work with us in getting this done,” he said.
Brizard contends that the overall goal for his team is to “improve the life for a lot of kids.”
CPS’ chief executive officer is quick to defend the highly publicized School Actions. He says that the board is not randomly going around closing schools. There is a reason for the closures and turnarounds: to make space to educate more children and provide them with a quality education.
“People are saying we are shutting down schools, we are not. We’re only closing two schools out of twenty actions. Most of them are turnarounds. We have a couple of phase outs but the only two closures are Guggenheim and Price. The others are schools that were closing already; we’re just finishing the job. The big story honestly with the turnarounds is we have to build capacity in neighborhoods that really have none too little. When you walk among these schools and you see little going on in terms of good instruction, you see kids who are floundering and failing you got to do something,” said Brizard.
By Thelma Sardin