If a bank or business has been is in possession of your unclaimed cash or property for over five years, then chances are your assets have already been turned over to the Illinois state treasurer’s office.
That is why dozens of people turned out to the south suburban Homewood village hall Friday – braving the snow storm – to find out if they had unclaimed property being held by the state.
Cash Dash, sponsored by the state treasurer’s office, seeks to reunite unclaimed property with its rightful owner.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford was at the Homewood Cash Dash event answering questions for would-be claimants. According to Rutherford, last year his office reunited over $101 million to owners after they had been separated from their belongings for more than five years, paying out more than 53,000 claims.
The program’s process was simple.
One-by-one hopeful claimants sat down with Alan Banks, a representative from Rutherford’s office on hand with his laptop chockfull of names associated with unclaimed property data. Individuals gave their name and even the names of the others they knew, and Banks searched the database for a match.
If a name match was found, Banks then completed a claim form which in some cases had to be
notarized before mailing back to the unclaimed property division of the treasurer’s office.
Banks explained that the unclaimed money or other assets could come from such sources as a banksafe deposit box, a deposit refund from a utility company, unpaid wages or commissions or even paid-up life insurance policies.
“They tried to give it back to you but were unable, for whatever reason, to reach you,” Banks told the Chicago Citizen.
After five years of going unclaimed, the property is turned over to the state treasurer’s office.
Rutherford boasts that the Cash Dash program isn’t paid for through taxpayer dollars, but rather from the interest earned on the property waiting to be claimed by its owner.
“Upon taking office, I made it a priority to get unclaimed property I was holding back in the hands of the rightful owners,” said Rutherford.
For more information on the Cash Dash program, or to search online for unclaimed property you think you may have, visit www.treasurer.il.gov.
By Rhonda Gillespie
Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company and former White House social secretary is one of seven speakers lined up for AT&T’s 28 Days — a Black History Month campaign with an objective to encourage consumers to be vocal and mobilize into action throughout the year.
This year’s AT&T 28 Days will feature a seven-city speaker series tour and a performance from award-winning hip-hop artist, actor, author and activist Common.
Rogers will speak on Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Park West Theatre, 322 West Armitage Ave. in Chicago.
The speaker series events are free and open to the public. Tickets are available at att.com/28days on a first come first serve basis.
Other speakers and stops on the tour include Holly Robinson Peete in Oakland, Calif., and Michael Eric Dyson in Detroit.
“We are now in the fourth year of AT&T 28 Days and we continue to recognize past achievements while engaging and challenging consumers to make their own history today,” said Jennifer Jones, vice president of Diverse Markets, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “We want to connect with consumers, especially youth, in relevant ways and extend the AT&T 28 Days live experience into new markets.”
The competition in the Cooking up Change contest was fierce, but the culinary team at Chicago Vocational Career Academy high school served up a local win and is now looking forward to shaking and baking their way to a national victory.
A crowd of family, community supporters and others, along with thousands of high school students around the city got a chance Thursday to taste why last fall, the cooking team of student chefs Diamonte Baugh, Sheanice Dishmon, Ciara Lawton, Kaliah Hunter, Tytionna Rice and Jerome Sims won the Healthy Schools Campaign’s Cooking up Change contest.
As their winning meal of sweet potato salad, oven-fried chicken and “cousins” collard greens and cabbage was served in the CVCA restaurant during a special ceremony honoring the team, students were enjoying the meal in cafeterias at other schools.
In this school year’s contest, 12 teams of high school student chefs were charged with the task of coming up with a meal that was health-conscious, cost-effective and delish. On the healthy side of things, the dish could only have so much saturated fat and salt; and the use of green and orange veggies was a must.
After four tweaks of their recipes, CVCA had the meal down pat, won the competition and will compete in Washington D.C. at the U.S. Department of Education in May. The student chefs seemed to have surpassed the taste-good requirement too, as evidenced by happy diners, who left only meat-less bones and soiled napkins on their trays.
“You guys just knocked it out of the park,” said the team’s mentor and owner of OON Chicago restaurant, Chef Matt Eversman.
In their individual remarks Thursday, the students talked about the impact that the contest and the culinary program had on them, and most of it didn’t have a lot to do with food.
“One thing I learned was team work,” said Sims, a 16-year-old CVCA junior. “Now I want to take my new skill to nationals and we can win there.”
Hunter, 17, who will graduate in May, said being on the team “takes a lot of hard work and dedication.” She got involved in the culinary arts program on a fluke but hardly regrets the decision.
“I was hungry when I picked my major. But in the end I love it,” she told the Chicago Citizen after the lunch event. “This program keeps you on the right track. It keeps me very limited, staying out of trouble.”
The head of Chicago Public Schools’ culinary arts program also paid compliments to the students, boasted about the program and its benefits to the students and urged support.
“The partnership with the Healthy Schools Campaign gives students the opportunity to exercise what they learn in the kitchen,” said Chef Dave Blackmon, CPS culinary arts program coordinator. He added that students in the program are certified in food services and have collectively obtained some $750,000 in scholarships to go on to culinary school.
“A total of 19 public schools offer the culinary arts program where they work in a hands-on environment, in real life-like industrial style kitchens and with tools of the trade,” Blackmon explained.
By Rhonda Gillespie
CPS CEO Jean Claude Brizard met with reporters from community newspapers at school district headquarters Thursday, a move to keep neighborhood press in the loop about CPS issues.
The forum came nearly two weeks after Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited Benjamin Mays Academy on Chicago’s South Side, on the first day of the longer school day schedule.
Mays is a “pioneer school”, a term used for schools that adopted the longer school day before the required system wide implementation goes into effect next school year.
The Chicago Citizen asked Brizard how Mays is responding to the longer school day.
“Every single pioneer school that I have visited, the process has been flawless,” Brizard said. “You expect hiccups when people are changing schedules… One, I found the kids to be extremely happy with what is going on. Second, the teachers were very happy and the principal was ecstatic.”
CPS is moving to a 7.5 hour day and 180 day year. According to CPS, students will go from having the shortest school day and year among the nation’s largest cities to leveling with the national average for instructional time in elementary and high school as well as length of the school year.
The school system also reports that its elementary students currently receive 22 percent less instructional time than the national average, while high school students receive 15 percent less.
CPS recently released parameters for elementary and high schools regarding the longer school day and its implementation for the 2012-2013 school year.
Elementary school students can expect 6.5 hours of instruction, 45 minutes for recess and lunch and 15 minutes for passing. High school students will receive 6 hours and 8 minutes of instruction, an increase of 46 minutes, a 46 minute lunch period and 36 minutes to get from one class to the other and building entry. Mandatory homeroom or “division” for high school students will be terminated.
“We are moving to a full school day to give children the time they need to focus on core subjects and ultimately provide students with the education they deserve,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Lengthening the school day gives our kids the time they need to excel in school and succeed in a global economy.”
According to CPS, the longer school day will enhance student achievement as students across the system are struggling. The district reports that more than 123,000 students-one third of all children- are in failing schools. In 2011, only 7.9 percent of all 11th graders tested college ready while the high school graduation rates stands at 57.5 percent and achievement gaps for Black and Latino students remain in the double digits, according to a CPS press release.
Brizard has drawn a conclusion from his time in Chicago.
“Every city has one metric by which it measures success,” the schools leader said. My assumption thus far in Chicago is that people care most about the neighborhood schools. It’s not about graduation rates, it’s not about reading and writing rates, although people care about that, but what they care most about is the ability to access a good school in their neighborhood.”
By Thelma Sardin
The storied run of the Tinley Park Mental Health Center in south suburban Tinley Park may soon come to an end as Gov. Pat Quinn readies to shutter the facility.
Quinn’s office announced Thursday that he plans to close the state-run Tinley Park mental hospital, along with a facility in rural Jerseyville, Ill. for people with developmental disabilities. Overall, the state is looking to move 600 patients from state hospitals over the next two years, according to the governor’s office.
But one elected official is speaking out against the Tinley Park closure, urging Quinn to keep all or part of it open so that low-income and uninsured patients may continue to have a resource for mental health treatment.
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (2nd Dist.) sent a letter to the governor dated Jan. 16 expressing his “deep concerns” about closing Tinley Park Mental Health Center and selling the land to private investors. His letter came days before the public announcement of the planned closures.
The 2nd Congressional District representative said in the letter that the hospital “is a valuable and necessary asset to the Chicago Southland.” The Village of Tinley Park and the mental health hospital are both in the Democrat’s area.
Jackson said the facility services mostly minorities who will have few choices for mental health
treatment if the center is closed.
“No health care facility in the area provides such extensive services to individuals who may pose a threat to themselves or society,” the letter reads. “I implore (Quinn) to search for alternatives that will provide health care services to needy people even while recognizing the tough economic times we live in.”
Jackson, who is up for re-election this year, also cited concern for job loss with the facility’s closing.
“The center also employs many of my constituents. The loss of these jobs would have devastating consequences on these employees and their families,” Jackson said in the letter.
The governor is reportedly set to close the state centers as part of budget savings and spending reductions. The closing of both facilities would put over 500 people out of work and the state says it would save about $20 million.
The governor’s office claims the state looks forward to moving away from the type of setup both the Tinley Park and Jacksonville centers offer, and more toward a move to group home-like environments with patients in the community instead of on the outskirts.
Quinn’s team said they chose the Jacksonville and Tinley Park facilities after ranking every other similar institution in Illinois on age, services, economic impact, likelihood of federal decertification and more.
“The rankings pointed clearly at which ones should go,” said Kevin Casey, director of the state’s Division of Developmental Disabilities. He noted the Jacksonville center uses a coal-burning boiler for heat that costs $1.2 million a year and is so old that replacement parts must be manufactured from scratch.
Tinley Park hospital was built in 1958.
However, Quinn isn’t releasing those rankings or the information used to calculate them.
“No public hearings are planned either,” said Quinn spokeswoman Brie Callahan. “And there’s no need for a review by the legislative panel responsible for issuing advisory opinions on proposals to close state facilities. Lawmakers and the public got their chance to speak out last year in a series of hearings on a broader Quinn closure plan that ended up being shelved,” she said.
“Ultimately, this is an executive branch decision,” Callahan added. “But we’ve done it with a lot of input from the General Assembly and a lot of responsiveness to the concerns they raised with us in the fall.”
Still, Jackson holds out hope that a “compromise can be reached.”
By Rhonda Gillespie
Latonia Partee, recently joined the ABC 7 Chicago account executive team, a “dream come true” for the Austin community native who interned in the community affairs department at the station while a student at Columbia College-Chicago. Partee boasts over twenty three years of experience in advertising and has worked at several corporations including GroupM, Burrell Communications and Zenith Media Services, Inc.
Vincent Sollecito, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at ABC 7 Chicago had only great things to say when he expressed how he felt about Partee joining his team.
“Latonia is a talented, savvy negotiator who engages her clients in new opportunities across all mediums,” said Sollecito. “With extensive experience in television, cable and radio, Latonia has earned an outstanding reputation for excellence in the market. Naturally, we are thrilled to have someone of her caliber as part of the team at the Number #1 station in Chicago.”
Partee is a proud West Side native. She attended grades K-8 at the former Resurrection Elementary School which is now the site of Christ the King High School, 5088 W. Jackson Blvd. While in high school, she attended Norte Dame High School for Girls on the city’s North Side.
When speaking with the Chicago Citizen, Partee reflected on her fond memories of growing up in Austin.
“I love my neighborhood,” Partee said. “I haven’t been over there in a while but growing up was really great.”
Like many other successful professionals, education is important to Partee and she feels that she would not be in the position she’s in now without it.
“I’ve been in advertising since I graduated college in 1988,” said Partee. “Without it (education) I wouldn’t be here. Had I not gone to college I wouldn’t have been able to start my career.”
The media expert told the Chicago Citizen that she encountered racism during her nearly two decades in advertising and there were times where she was the only Black person working in the media department at an agency.
“What I’ve found is that everybody does not like you because of the color of your skin,” Partee said. “…I have to stay professional; however, one instance I did come across a rep that was known to be racist. He didn’t want to shake my hand and didn’t want to work with me on the phone. So I told a manager and no longer worked with the person.”
In 2009, MarketingCharts.com listed key findings on its website from a study titled, “Research Perspectives on Race and Employment in the Advertising Industry,” conducted by research firm, Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants.
The study exposed several findings as they relate to minorities and their placement in the advertising business:
• About 16% of large advertising firms employ no black managers or professionals, a rate 60% higher than in the overall labor market.
• Eliminating the industry’s current Black-White employment gap would require tripling its Black managers and professionals.
Partee recommends that students who are interested in advertising should major in communications.
“You need to know by your second or third year in college what you want to do and focus on that,” she said.
She also emphasized the importance of internships and how networking can be beneficial.
“I had three internships in the business,” Partee said. She added that the exposure helped her land her first job in advertising in 1988.
Her internship at ABC 7 Chicago seemed to be a good omen which Partee said she loved and learned about how the entire station operated.
“I wasn’t paid but it did give me the opportunity to meet a lot of people at the station,” she told the Chicago Citizen.
Partee is excited and optimistic about her future at ABC 7 Chicago.
“It’s a wonderful place to work and I’m looking forward to many years,” she said.
By Thelma Sardin
Hairston’s 5th Ward hosts town hall in Hyde Park: Residents reject city’s plans for NATO, G8 Summits
The day before she voted against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal for security and other issues surrounding the upcoming NATO and G8 Summits, Ald. Leslie Hairston held a town hall meeting with her 5th Ward constituents.
Hairston joined her ward residents in fearing that changes to current city ordinances – or passage of new ones – surrounding the May 15-22 summits that would give the Chicago Police Department certain deputizing powers, and give the mayor unchecked authority regarding some summit hosting business, would not be good.
Dozens of people turned out for the Jan. 17 town hall meeting that was held at the International House on the University of Chicago campus. Also addressing the crowd of constituents was U of C political science Professor Bernard Harcourt and Attorney Thomas Durkin of Durkin & Roberts law firm.
The 5th ward alderman cited potentials for abuse and flatly opposed giving “carte blanche to the mayor and the police department for doing anything and everything without having to be accountable, a chance for private contracts to be abused and really, the lack of transparency and opportunity for people to weigh in.”
Despite her objections, two ordinances passed during the Jan. 18 City Council meeting related to the upcoming summits.
One ordinance which makes permanent changes to city laws, such as allowing CPD deputizing authority, passed by a vote of 41-5. The ordinance also ups the fine for resisting police officers or aiding escape from no less than $200 to a max of $1,000. Previously the fine was a minimum of $25 up to $500.
Additionally, the ordinance gives Emanuel contract-granting authority in procurement, bypassing the city’s normal bid process, for the summits. Though the special privileges expire July 31, per the ordinance, Hairston and her constituents see the potential for abuse.
Hairston was joined by Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd), Will Burns (4th), Sandi Jackson (7th) and Nicholas Sposato (36th) in saying no to the ordinance.
The second ordinance amended the city’s special events and recreation laws that deal primarily with parades and demonstrations, changing the city’s parks hours to 6 a.m.-11 p.m. (previously 4 a.m. – 11 p.m.). The same aldermen, except for Jackson who green-lighted this measure, voted against this ordinance.
Ald. JoAnn Thompson (16th) didn’t cast a vote for either issue.
The city expects protestors at the summits, per usual. Protest groups will be required to get a permit from the city and the ordinances passed last week will help to govern their behavior – or mete out punishment if laws are broken.
Hairston said the language in the special events and recreation ordinance, especially, has some far reaching effects. She called the fine increase a deterrent not against breaking the law, but in exercising rights to assemble.
“My concern is even greater than what’s going to happen here in May. I’m wondering about what happens with the Teachers Union decides that they want to march, when the labor unions decide that they want to march. Those are some of the things that I am concerned about,” she said at the town hall.
State Rep. Ken Dunkin stopped in on the meeting long enough to call the ordinance “insane” and urge constituents to turn to state lawmakers if recourse against the city ordinance is needed.
“Clearly this is a Constitutional issue,” he said. “I’m not sure if this isn’t unprecedented in America. I’ve never heard of this at all, this highly prohibitive approach.”
There were several sore spots for residents speaking out that the town hall. They expressed concerns that Constitutional rights of assembly could be infringed with the ordinances, and they were overly peeved at Emanuel’s move to have federal law enforcement policing the city.
Since the summits are international events, with foreign leaders and representatives around the world set to attend, they are designated National Security Special Events, according to the mayor’s press office. With that, the Secret Service handles security decisions. The mayor’s office anticipates a collaborate effort between CPD and federal law enforcement officials.
“Working collaboratively with our federal partners, we will provide public safety services for resident and visitors while fulfilling our obligation to protect the public and enforce the laws of the city,” said Emanuel.
Still, deputizing would be “a ridiculous expansion of federal authority,” Attorney Durkin said. “Why anyone would want to be inviting the federal government in to police us is a good question. To have Secret Service handling law enforcement for G8 and NATO, that’s a frightening issue for me and should be a frightening issue for anyone who cares about civil liberties.”
Christian Buford, 24, doesn’t live in Hairston’s ward but he was concerned about the powers local and federal police would have and how minorities might be affected. He travelled from his Chicago Lawn community to the meeting to find out what protections would be in place to keep “people of color from being unjustly detained or incarcerated, unrelated to the summits.”
“There is no protection from that,” Hairston replied.
By Rhonda Gillespie
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the QBG Foundation (QBG), the Chicago Citizen Newspaper’s non-profit arm, will commence its highly anticipated mentoring program.
The initiative is the brainchild of Larissa M. Tyler, QBG ’s executive director and will complement the organization’s philanthropic endeavors.
Tyler created and recruited the committee last spring and since then, the group has been tirelessly developing the committee’s infrastructure and programming schedules.
Over the last few weeks, the Chicago Citizen profiled QBG’s mentoring committee and the coverage motivated those far beyond the Chicagoland area.
An incarcerated man in Ohio said in a letter to QBG, that he enjoyed reading about the committee and is encouraged by its community work.
The hand written note was received from the Grafton Correction Institution in Ohio and was addressed to the committee’s chairperson, Gloria Batey.
“I have a subscription to the Citizen Newspaper and I read about your mentoring committee,” the letter read. “I too have dedicated my life in helping the youth of today to make better choice in their lives,” the note continued.
Batey was pleased to learn that the mentoring committee is already inspiring individuals and was moved by the inmate’s letter.
“It is my hope that the committee will continue to inspire those outside of QBG’s immediate community. I am also very interested in working with incarcerated youth and maybe one day the mentoring program will expand in that direction.”
The committee members are: Larissa M. Tyler, Dawn Hines, Debra Jackson, Gloria Batey, Laneen Blount, Gloria Collins, Judge LaGuina Clay-Herron, Mayor Deyon L. Dean, Monique Trujillo- Gary, Nathan Kirkwood, Jr., and Nathan Kirkwood III.
The professionally diverse group boasts numerous years of expertise in several fields including law, healthcare, government and education.
“This is a phenomenal group of professionals who have come together with one goal in mind… inspiring and encouraging the youth of our community into doing great things,” Tyler said. “They are all truly committed to giving back to the community and I am honored and privileged to have them as part of the QBG Foundation team.”
Recently, Tyler designed a crest which embodies the committee’s mission and goals and it also tells a story about each of the founding mentors. The insignia will be formally introduced at the committee’s inaugural session this Saturday.
“The crest will forever represent the mentoring committee’s developing legacy which we know will be a great one,” said Tyler who called on her hidden graphic design skills to create the design.
Essentially, QBG’s mentoring committee’s mission is to provide an environment for positive relationships between area youths, qualified mentors, the educational community, business organizations and society at-large.
These relationships are intended to encourage students to strengthen connections between their families, schools, communities and the world.
Students will be guided in developing their personal skills, academic achievement, self-esteem, social competence, career awareness and avoidance of high risk behaviors.
Once a month, the mentors will engage the youth in group sessions composed of writing exercises, public speaking, life coaching and much more. Moreover, mentors will conduct special events throughout the year as a way of broadening the mentees’ societal horizons.
For nearly 20 years, the QBG Foundation has awarded over one million dollars in college scholarship awards to minority students. To learn more or to enroll a student into the QBG Foundation Mentoring Program, please call Larissa M. Tyler at 773-783-1251 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Chloe Graham
Occupation: Editor of uStyleu Magazine
Why does she stand out?
Chloe Graham grew tired of flipping through magazines and not seeing an adequate representation of young women like herself.
That is why she created uStyleU magazine of which the first issue was published in July 2011.
“My parents always taught me to love me for me,” Graham, 17, told the Chicago Citizen. “I was one who could never follow the ‘in crowd.’”
Graham said the magazine dismantles the perception of what society defines as beautiful.
“It seems like people let others define their worth by what we look like and how much we spend on our clothes …but uStyleu says don’t let others set the standard, be above the standard,” she said.
The magazine uses photojournalism and fashion to appeal to its readers.
“uStyleu’s concept is a perfect combination for me because I love fashion and I’m very respectful of other’s opinions even if I don’t agree with them,” Graham said. “If a subject matter is relevant to our readers, it’s important to uStyleu.”
Outside of uStyleu, Graham is a member of Top Teens of America. With TTA, she participates in a host of health awareness campaigns. She also volunteers with senior citizens, food pantries and community clean-up initiatives.
By Thelma Sardin
MILAN – Gentlemen, things are going to get serious next fall and winter.
It could be the crisis gloom, but many Milan designers are thinking business. Double-breasted suits are a favorite in preview shows. As are flat leather bags, good for computers, or even newspapers.
Shoes are classics, oxford lace-ups, loafers, fringed moccasins or ankle boots, often with silver accents.
Suits are tailored, and colors are dark and sober, with luxury expressed mostly through the materials alpaca, cashmere and tweeds. There is little sportswear in this round of Milan menswear with the overcoat making an elegant comeback.
Scarves are also making a strong showing a layer of security, not only against the bitter winter nights but also the financial chill. AP
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By DANIELA PETROFF and COLLEEN BARRY