Dorothy D. Armstrong has officially become the Village of Dixmoor’s first elected female African American president.
Armstrong, who had served as a village Board Trustee for the past six years, defeated the incumbent President, Keevan A. Grimmett, in Illinois’ special election on April 9, by a small but decisive margin of six percent, and was sworn in last Wednesday at the Dixmoor Village Hall, located 170 W. 145th St. in Dixmoor.
“I continued to run for mayor because I felt that there was a [need] for change in leadership for the village of Dixmoor, so I kept running until the people here have gotten ready to make that change, I just kept doing it, I did not give up, I was consistent,” Armstrong told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper.
Dixmoor’s Village Hall was filled to capacity with citizens and well-wishers who came to witness and celebrate Armstrong’s swearing in as well as the swearing in of other elected officials there.
Armstrong is prepared to take on her new responsibilities stating, “I have knowledge of our finances [from being a trustee]; I also have knowledge of the projects we need to develop and bring to the village.”
The new village president has also recognized Dixmoor’s population is becoming more diverse and is therefore looking forward to developing programs and special events that benefit the village’s entire population.
Transparency and accountability is what Armstrong feels will distinguish her from her predecessor and she has already launched two initiatives which incorporate these values including an open-door policy for Dixmoor residents which allows them to discuss village issues directly with her and the dissemination of important village information through newsletters and other materials.
Dixmoor’s website will also now include village meeting minutes, direct messages from the Executive Board and upcoming events, which will help spread the information more quickly and easily to all residents.
Armstrong’s first day in office was May 9 and at the top of her to do-list was: focus on the village’s finances and study the requests of residents to demolish buildings that have become an “eye-sore” in the community.
Armstrong has already met with her board of trustees and she feels confident that they will support her plans for Dixmoor as well as the appointments to her cabinet offices. She also says that she has spoken with Illinois legislators with the goal of fostering strong partnerships with them.
In addition to close friends and family, Armstrong credits her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., of which she is a member, as key components to her success, siting both organizations produced fund raising events for her campaign.
Former Village of Dixmoor President, Keevan A. Grimmett, told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper, “The bottom line is we needed a new injection going forward. This gives us an opportunity to have some hope [going] forward.”
After learning that she had won the village presidency after several unsuccessful attempts, Armstrong stated that there were a lot of tears of joy. Her long journey had come to an end. Now, a new journey begins, that will blaze a trail not only for herself, but for all of Dixmoor.
By Lee Edwards
Former Heisman Trophy winner, Oakland Raider running back and White Sox outfielder Bo Jackson, will be launching the inaugural Bo Jackson Football Coaches Clinic this summer which will continue throughout the rest of 2013. The clinic will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9 at the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Complex located at 17130 S. Prime Blvd in Lockport, IL. Jackson told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper that interested youth applicants can go to www.bojacksonelitesports.com to apply or call 815-221-6001.
At a recent press conference about the clinic, held at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton, Jackson stated, “We’re doing a lot of good things in the department of youth athletics. I feel the need and the responsibility to go out and do something. I’m fortunate enough and blessed enough that I [have] a great group of people surrounding me that’s going to assist me. ”
Jackson released the names of former National Football League (NFL) players and coaches will take part in the sports clinic including former Pittsburgh Steeler and Cincinnati Bengal Oliver Gibson defensive tackle, former St. Louis Rams fullback J.R. Niklos and coach Tom Walsh.
Jackson says he has a desire to continue to give back to the community and wants to provide inner-city youth baseball players a place and opportunity to play and develop their skills. He feels his contributions will help increase the dwindling number of African-Americans playing Major League Baseball (MLB).
Jackson stated that young baseball players from the South and West coast benefit from playing year-round; by providing more opportunities at the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Complex he plans to level the playing field. “Doing this now gives me just as must satisfaction as it would to run a 90 yard touchdown or hit a 450 foot home-run,” said Jackson.
In conjunction with Bo Jackson Elite Sports, Jackson has established a foundation, Bo Jackson’s Give Me a Chance foundation. A 501(c)3 corporation, Jackson’s foundation works to encourage disadvantaged minority youth to be involved with baseball, provide them with the finest training and facilities, and emphasizes the value and importance of education.
Jackson highlighted that just last year, two baseball players involved with his organizations, received baseball scholarships; a positive sign of good things to come from his youth involvement.
“We’re going to have our 4th charity golf outing this year in Boiling Brook, IL and [within] four years it has become one of the top charity golf outings in the greater Chicago area. The kids that [will] benefit from it are right here from inner-city,” Jackson said.
“It’s not all about us as celebrities; it’s about what we do after the lights have been turned off, after we hung up our football pads and baseball helmets and whatever else,” said Bo Jackson, and Bo knows.
By Lee Edwards
The Village of Robbins Fire Department has established an on-going cadet program tailor-made for its residential youth. Led by firemen, Anton Sykes and Lt. Steve Wilson, the program’s curriculum allows youth to volunteer for several community “help” projects.
“Anything for the kids, I look at it as my way of giving back to the community, giving them a way out from the things that’s going on around them,” said Sykes, who in addition to being a fireman, has been an Illinois National Guard for the past six years.
Sykes told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper that he created the cadet program after Robbins Fire Department Chief, Charles B. Lloyd, Sr., approached him about developing a youth mentoring project. Sykes happily took on the assignment and the Robbins native even serves as the cadet program’s Program Coordinator.
However Sykes has a lot of built-in help because the entire Robbins Fire Department will assist with the program, lending hands-on training and instruction for the students.
The current eight member roster of new cadets include Jasmarihae Ratliff, Dai Jerne’ Slater, Dantzler Newell, Lawrence Mullins, Dai Treona Doty, Torriano Russell, Raymond Anderson, and Turon Windham all of whom are under 17-years-old. Ratliff, who is the Company Officer, told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper that the motto of the cadet program is, “Robbins Cadets, learning to put fires out the way they put work in.”
The students hail from Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory, Kolmar School, Hillcrest High, Alan B. Shepard High School, Eisenhower High School, and Harold L. Richards High School.
In addition to participating in several extracurricular activities via the program, all of the young cadets are working towards a similar goal; going away to a college or university.
The cadet program meets three days a week, Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm – 9pm, and Saturdays from 8am – 2pm. Interested applicants must meet certain criteria in order to join the program including but not limited to the following:
• Must be a Village of Robbins, IL resident.
• Must be between the ages of 15 to 18.
• Must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
Both young men and women are encouraged to join the cost free program.
Parents, too, are encouraged to get involved by assisting with fund-raising and by offering essential support and encouragement to the participating youth.
“I love this program, I’m glad they took the time to mentor these kids. They really need it…some of the kids are into sports, [ROTC] and other things and can use these different outlets,” said Lashawn Russell, a cadet parent.
The Robbins Fire Department Cadet Program is sponsoring a Stepper’s Set fundraiser. It will be held on Friday, May 31 at the Robbins Elks Lodge located at 13600 S. Sawyer Ave., Robbins, Il at 8 pm. For additional information please call 708-385-8940.
By Lee Edwards
In a proactive effort to respond quicker to emergency 9-1-1 calls involving missing and sexually exploited children, the Village of Richton Park Police have partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) 9-1-1 Call Center.
According to its website, The NCMEC opened in 1984 to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children. Today NCMEC is authorized by Congress to perform 19 programs and services to assist law enforcement, families and the professionals who serve them.
As first responders to missing and sexually exploited children calls, members of the Richton Park Police department along with members of the SouthCom Regional Dispatch Center (Southcom) completed the necessary training that equipped them with best practices on handling each unique case properly and immediately.
Currently SouthCom provides fire, police and emergency medical dispatching services for the Villages of Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest and Richton Park. The service area covers over 1,923 square miles within Cook and Will Counties and serves a population of approximately 65,000 citizens. SouthCom dispatched 65,155 calls for service and answered over 119,000 phone calls in 2010.
The two groups will also alert the public with information on what to do in the case of a missing child which includes the following:
1. Immediately call your local law enforcement agency.
2. After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
3. If your child is missing from home, search through: •Closets.
•Piles of laundry.
•In and under beds.
•Inside large appliances.
•Vehicles – including trunks.
•Anywhere else that a child may crawl or hide.
4. Notify the store manager or security office if your child cannot be found when in a store. Then immediately call your local law enforcement agency. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action in place.
Every year 800,000 children go missing in the United States. That’s more than 2,000 children per day. Calls about missing and sexually exploited children can become high profile events that have a devastating impact on the victim’s family, your community, and your call center. Every 9-1-1 call center must have in place policies and training to help ensure every missing and sexually exploited child is given the best chance to be found alive and unharmed.
The NCMEC is encouraging all Emergency Call Centers to become a NCMEC 9-1-1 Call Center Partner in order to obtain the skills and resources needed to respond to calls pertaining to missing and/or exploited children. To learn more about the 9-1-1 Partner Program, visit www.missingkids.com/911.
By Lee Edwards
Democratic candidate Riley H. Rogers has been elected mayor of the Village of Dolton, defeating long-time incumbent Ronnie C. Lewis, who ran under the Unified for Progress Party in the race.
The defeated Lewis had previously told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper that he ran his campaign based on, “honesty, integrity and transparency.”
“When its political season people will go out there and promise you the world, but when it comes down to producing that’s a different animal. One thing I will not do, I’m not going to lie to people and say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that,’” Lewis said. “I’ll tell them I’m going to do the best I can to give you the best service I can as your mayor and that’s what I plan to do. I’m not going to promise them and end up being a liar.”
But in the end, it was Rogers who emerged victoriously in the hotly contested and closely watched South Suburban mayoral contest, winning by 45 percent of the vote (at press time).
Rogers was elected as a trustee in the Village of Dolton in 2011 and trustee of schools for Thornton Township. In addition, he is currently the vice president of the Illinois Association of School Trustees in Springfield. Before taking office, Rogers was active in the United States Army Reserves as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics Instructor for seven years before being honorable discharged; served as a special agent with the Dept. of Law Enforcement for 12 years; was an Illinois state trooper; and for 14 years, beginning in 1986 and ending in 2000, Rogers was president and chief executive officer for regional trucking and transport company, Roger’s Transport, where he managed annual revenues $4 million and over 50 employees.
By Lee Edwards
South Holland mayor Don A. DeGraff successfully defeated attorney Michael “Mike” Stuttley in the village’s mayoral general election, winning by 80 percent of the vote (at press time). DeGraff ran under the Heritage Community Party.
DeGraff is president of the Southeast Region of MB Financial Bank, a member of the Metra Board, the Abraham Lincoln Airport Commission, is involved with the construction of the Metra Southeast Service Line and the proposed third airport in Peotone, according to online news source, Shopper Online.
Before retiring after 23 years from the bench in 2010 and returning to private practice, Stuttley, a democrat served as Presiding judge of Juvenile Justice for the 6th Municipal District in Markham, Illinois.
Robin Kelly has won the race to Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District seat, defeating GOP nominee Paul McKinley by a margin of 80 percent (at press time) in the special election to fill vacancy left by former U.S. Congressman, Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Kelly, a former state representative who spoke out against and quickly became the voice for gun control during the special election primary, gained huge momentum when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC poured $2 million into anti-gun television ads, won the special Feb. 23, 2013 primary with 54 percent of the vote in the very crowded race.
Kelly has championed gun control and the limiting of gun violence throughout her campaign, previously applying pressure to her political opponents in both the Democratic primary and in the general election to reveal their stance and voting record on gun control legislation and the organizations they have supported.
Already armed with heavyweight endorsements including those of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (Dist. 1st) and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (Dist. 7th), Kelly more than sealed the deal by picking up President Barack Obama’s endorsement last week.
“I share Robin’s passionate advocacy to end gun violence with common sense solutions because like her, I believe families impacted by gun violence—especially in my home city of Chicago, deserve a vote,” Obama said of Kelly. “As a member of Congress, Robin will help us get that vote and that’s why I urge you to elect Robin Kelly as your representative in the United States Congress.”
Kelly has known President Obama for years dating back to their time working together in the Illinois state legislature.
Robin Kelly has a history of serving the citizens of Illinois in several different offices; she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2003 to 2007; served as the Chief of Staff to Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in 2007; and in 2011 Kelly was appointed Chief administrative Officer for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle before quitting to run for Congressional office.
McKinley, Kelly’s Republican and primary opponent, is a convicted ex-felon who served 20 years in state prison for 6 felony counts of armed robberies, burglaries, and aggravated battery. McKinley won the Republican primary over Eric Wallace of Flossmoor, IL by a reported 23 votes. McKinley’s key campaign message was that he would fight ‘Machine controlled-Democrats’ if elected. McKinley stated on his campaign website, “I’m not running against a candidate, I’m running against the Machine.”
By Lee Edwards
Judge Maureen Kirby of the Circuit Court of Cook County ruled that District 205 violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act which prevented current Thornton Township High School District 205 Board President Kenneth Williams from being on the April 9, 2013 school board ballot.
Section 1. of the Illinois Open Meetings Act mandates the following policy:
It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business. In order that the people shall be informed, the General Assembly finds and declares that it is the intent of this Act to ensure that the actions of public bodies be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
The General Assembly further declares it to be the public policy of this State that its citizens shall be given advance notice of and the right to attend all meetings at which any business of a public body is discussed or acted upon in any way. Exceptions to the public’s right to attend exist only in those limited circumstances where the General Assembly has specifically determined that the public interest would be clearly endangered or the personal privacy or guaranteed rights of individuals would be clearly in danger of unwarranted invasion.
To implement this policy, the General Assembly declares:
(1) It is the intent of this Act to protect the citizen’s right to know; and
(2) The provisions for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings.
“They tainted the entire process,” said Williams’ attorney, Andy Finko in a released statement. “They did not follow the rules that all public bodies are supposed to follow. They hid the records and they defied the judge’s court orders on two separate occasions. The Electoral Board was supposed to file all the transcripts and documents that the Electoral Board reviewed. They came in today with a file that was a foot thick and even though it was a foot thick, they left out things that would have been favorable to Kenneth Williams.”
Elected in 2009, the court’s ruling was a triumph for Williams, as it prevents an appeal by the Electoral Board and Williams’ main detractors.
In addition, Finko stated that Williams and his running-mates want his name to be first on the ballot as it was slated to be before the court ordered to have his name removed.
“The original ticket had Kenneth Williams listed as number 1 on the ticket,” Finko said.
Williams’ two running-mates were also returned to the ballot as a direct result of the court’s ruling.
Current board member Judith Gibbs will be on the ballot with Williams. Gibbs was voted onto the school board in September 2010 to replace a resigning board member.
Running for the first time is Annette O’Neal, the third name to be returned to the ballot. O’Neal, a resident of Riverdale and has two children who have graduated from Thornton Township High School.
Outside of his duties as Thornton Township’s school board president, Williams, is a fixture within the South Holland community where he resides, coaching the Dolton Bears youth football team and as the founder of Silk n’ Classy Barber College. Through the college, Williams has donated over 6,000 free haircuts for back to school programs and events for seniors and veterans.
By Lee Edwards
South Suburban College has a new art exhibit on display through March 26.
The Art & Design Department of South Suburban College is presenting an exhibition of art works from Liz Lazdins entitled “Amongst Angels” in the Dorothea Thiel Gallery.
Illustrator and muralist, Liz Lazdins is also a poet and human rights activist.
Lazdins said of her work, “Action, voice, perseverance, resourcefulness, respect and memory are my angels. They are the angels of our city. They are ideas, but they are also alive in our loved ones and our mentors….Through portraiture, illustration, collage and graffiti–I pay tribute to the best of us. I challenge you to allow the influence and inspiration of these angels into your consciousness and ideally your actions.
Leaders are not always found where you would expect them–and sometimes the leader is you.”
With a BA in Social Welfare from the University of Washington, Lazdins is primarily self-taught, her works can be seen on the walls of Chicago and in her shared studio at the Zhou B Art Center, located at 1029 W. 35th St. The Zhou B Center provides galleries, studio spaces, and a collaborative creative environment as a way to nurture the creativity and growth of its nearly 50 resident artists.
One of Lazdins’ more recent paintings, entitled FLY Damien FLY, has a permanent home in the Woodlawn offices of FLY: Fearless -Leading -Youth; a grassroots organization.
Damian Turner (or Damian FLY) who was a founding member of the organization, died after having been caught in the cross-fire of a neighborhood shooting, and having to travel 45 minutes to receive medical attention.
In response, FLY has made it their mission to address youth violence and is demanding the University of Chicago Medical Center hospital raise the age of its trauma center policy to include children over age 15, in order to serve Chicago’s south side.
Turner is the focal point of Lazdins portrait that hangs in FLY’s office.
“I used flyers from various FLY actions in the background as well as my beloved Chicago stencil and some original art,” Lazdins said in a previous article. “I only knew Damian in passing, but I was always impressed by his and all FLY members’ courage to learn about social issues, protest in the streets and be leaders. What a perfect home for this creation.”
Lazdins South Suburban free exhibit is on display in the College’s Dorothea Thiel Gallery and a free closing reception is scheduled for at 1 p.m. on March 26.
The public is welcome to visit the art exhibition.
The Dorothea Thiel Gallery is located on the fourth floor of the college’s Main Campus at 15800 State St. in South Holland, IL. and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The galleries are closed on weekends and holidays, and are supported in part by the SSC Foundation.
For more information, contact Jack Kirkpatrick for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 596-2000, ext. 2445.
By Deborah Bayliss
Amid speculation that the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be one of the biggest job creators in Illinois this year, South Suburban College (SSC) received a sizeable amount in state funding recently for expansion of its health programs.
“South Suburban College has become the premier school in the southland for students who are preparing for 21st century jobs,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said. “This project will create hundreds of jobs now and lay the foundation for thousands more to get the training they need to become the next generation of nurses and medical technicians. By working together now, we can drive more economic growth in the future.”
Gov. Quinn held a press conference last month at South Suburban College, to announce a $52.5 million project for an Allied Health addition that will be supported by $41.6 million in funding from Gov. Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now!, capital construction program.
The project is expected to create new job opportunities while expanding the college’s wide range of Allied Health programs, providing significantly more educational opportunities for the in-demand healthcare jobs of the Chicago and south suburban region.
“As both a member of the medical field and Chair of the Board Finance Committee, I am truly thankful that Governor Quinn and the Capital Development Board have recognized the opportunity to invest in healthcare education here at South Suburban College through a project that would not be attainable without their support,” said Anthony DeFilippo, licensed pharmacist and SSC Trustee. “It is now our responsibility to ensure our students graduate with the hope of starting a successful career, and we are committed to this.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the health care and social assistance sector is expected to add 5.6 million workers from now until 2020. Construction is also expected to see a significant gain.
SSC educates more than 17,000 students annually, approximately 90 percent of whom are low-income, living with a disability or first-generation college students.
More than 25 percent of SSC students are choosing career pathways in nursing and Allied Health professions.
In addition to Nursing, SSC offers training in Echocardiography, Ultrasound, Medical Assistant, Medical Records Technology, Phlebotomy, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Radiologic Technology, MRI Technology, Pharmacy Technician, and is expecting to soon offer a new Speech Language Pathology Assistant program.
This project is expected to help SSC meet the growing demand by expanding classroom and laboratory space, and other technology and support facilities designed to help students receive the necessary training to become employed in the medical field.
By Deborah Bayliss