Friday, April 23, 2010


“I Wouldn’t Be Garrett Wolfe If It Wasn’t For LaFollette Park!”

With his parents and other family members present and the auditorium filled with a new generation of young athletes, Chicago Bears Running Back Garrett Wolfe returned to LaFollette Park where his football career began. The ceremony was arranged by Coach James to honor the successful professional athlete by retiring his jersey and inspire the current crop of football players on LaFollette Park teams.
    Coach James never had the chance to work with Wolfe at LaFollette Park, so he invited back the coach who did, and he reminisced about what it was like to coach the future college star and professional player.
    “Garrett was a strong willed kid who always wanted to have his way. So, when I wanted him to do something he didn’t like, I had to trick him into it by telling him he could be in charge and could do anything he wanted. This is how I got him to play quarterback.”
    After a current LaFollette Park star athlete read off the highlights of Garrett Wolfe’s high school, college, and pro careers, the guest of honor took the microphone.
    “Of course I had to come back,” Wolfe said, fighting back tears. “My mom and dad are here with my aunt. And, my best friend is here. This is where it all started. I wouldn’t be Garrett Wolfe if it wasn’t for LaFollette Park. Of all the honors and successes I have had, this means the most to me because this is home. I am so very grateful that you all would do this for me and honor me like this. Thank you so much. I will never forget you.”
    Coach James and other LaFollette Park coaches took the stage and presented Wolfe with an official LaFollette Park team jacket. A framed #25 jersey stood on an easel in the middle of the stage.
    Following the ceremony, Wolfe mingled with the park coaches and met the children who gathered to welcome him back and dream of following in his footsteps.

“Of all the honors and successes I’ve had, this means the most to me because this is home. I am so very grateful that you all would do this for me and honor me like this. I will never forget you.” (Photo by Brad)
Number 25 is retired forever at LaFollette Park in honor of favorite son Chicago Bears Running Back Garrett Wolfe. (Photo by Brad)


The visit of Sec. of State Jesse White to Jordan Temple in Austin promoting Donate Life Month takes on special significance because the church’s Pastor, Rev. Stephen E. Richardson (left), is alive today because he received the heart of an organ donor. Ald. Emma Mitts & Jordan Temple First Lady Cynthia Richardson join in welcoming Sec. White. (Photo by Brad)
     It is especially appropriate that Secretary of State Jesse White visited Jordan Temple M.B. Church, 900 North Lockwood Avenue in Austin, promoting April as Donate Life Month and encouraging the congregation to agree to be organ donors when they die. On November 11, 1996, Pastor Stephen E. Richardson of Jordan Temple was given the gift of life with a heart transplant made possible by a person who designated that his organs should be donated at the time of death. Reverend Richardson says bluntly that he would not be alive today without the gift of a new heart.
    For information on how to leave instructions for organs to be donated at time of death, contact the Illinois Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-210-2106.
 Coach James & fellow coaches present Garrett Wolfe with an official LaFollette Park team jacket. (Photo by Brad)

4/21/10 Poems

              (Part One)
Love Ain't What It Used To Be

Emotional bliss,
A smile branded on your heart,
Joy and trust built white creating ultimate memories.
Enduring struggles, forming a bond, staying committed till the end.
For better or for worse,
No sin, everyone in love would win.
Sharing of dreams, goals, less taking.
I'm here for you, you're here for me.
Do you take this man/woman?
        I do.
The scent, touch, vision, and sound of your
soul mate present when you're alone.
The shudder over your body from the back flash.
The closeness, the intensity on the journey together for the ultimate climax of passion.
U feel me?
Cause love...
Ain't what it used to be.
        To be continued...

            -Ya girl, Lyrique

Don’t Repeat It

In this dark place called my closet, I find solace.
I’m older now, but I come here to hear myself think and feel.
My past is locked,
I can’t find the key.
I am told over and over again my mommy has it.
I feel the pain from the cigarettes that
were embedded in my tiny thighs.
I would ask for my mommy and
I would scream out for her.
I was seven when I was given my
tattoos I didn’t ask for.
My mommy has not returned to this house.
Did she leave me?
Did she not know his sickness?
Perhaps his sickness took her away.
Now I’m seventy, my thighs still burn,
I cry; then I hide in my closet.

Symie-Dar Bertha

I want to merge so far over into the left lane
So that no one can see my tears or my pain
So that no one can hear my incessant cries
I want my hair to blow in the wind to cover my eyes
After our breakup I thought I'd be better off living in solitude
But this silence is overbearing and
all attempts to fill it have been crude
It seems that nothing is ever going to fill this void in my heart
I feel like my life was being destroyed from the very start.
Because we never came together on common ground
I wanted to make a home and you wanted to paint the town
Now all I have are memories of days gone by
Day where I jump into my car and hit the road and cry
And merge so far over into the left lane
Where no one can see my tears or my pain.
Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee

A salute to all poets

I salute each of you this exciting month of april for a job well done.  You took the time to share from your heart and did your part.

You didn’t make any excuse through the winter, spring, summer and fall.  You came to deliver and today you are remembered.

I salute all the poets in the world:  every boy, girl, woman and man.  I am a true fan.

Look around you, you have uplift with your god gift!

We can’t forget Shirley yee, she got a promotion and had to leave but mike is right there because he care.

My mother told me my father had a line in a play when they were young

  “speak up ike and express yourself”  I say to you this day “speak up poets and express yourself, you are one of a kind and thank you for your time!
Given By God to:
                         Frances Loretta Freeman #54


Drifting slowly through your memories
Watching scenes that burn my eyes
Trying to grab on to the good times
But they only pass me by

Like a cage, you have imprisoned me
So that I cannot take a breath
Your words hold me in a bind
Like they are trying to rush my death
It’s like racing through a maze
With only one prize in my sight
But my opponents are your
hate filled words
And they’re trying to steal my light

But I have the weapons to fight them
My heart and the dreams in my mind
Because unlike your attempts to destroy me
My weapons will outlast time

So with my sword and my shield
I prepare myself for war
Against the one true thing
I thought was real
And I know it will shake my core

And at the end of my battle
I stand bloodied by deceit
But when it comes to the heart I hold
I cannot accept defeat.

Patrick Tunis-Rogers


Ald. Deborah Graham (29) is pinned by a fellow alderman to mark the passage of a resolution proclaiming Mother’s Day to be Pin-A-Sister Sunday in the campaign against breast cancer in women of color.

    In a show of solidarity against a devastating disease, Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City Council passed a resolution proclaiming Mother’s Day, May 9, to be Pin-A-Sister Sunday. Council members wore pink for the session to display their support for the resolution. They decorated each other with pins of a woman in a pink dress and shared testimonies about how breast cancer has affected their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
    While medical advances have reduced the mortality rate for White women over the past two decades, survival rates have not improved for African American and Latina women. Despite the fact that African American women are far less likely to get breast cancer than White women, they are 116% more likely to die from it.
    With an initial reach of 67,000 women of color across Chicago, Pin-A-Sister went statewide in its second year and by 2009 reached 500,000 women in houses of worship and correctional institutions across Illinois and in other states.
    Persons wishing to participate should call 1-888-SAC-HOPE.
Ald. Emma Mitts (37) is accompanied by her mother, Betty Russ, to mark passage of the Pin-A-Sister resolution officially enrolling the Chicago City Council in the fight against breast cancer in African American & Latina women.


Richard Bullock, Jonol Morrow & Demetris Wyatt are charged with felony counts of Promoting Dog Fighting in an apartment in the 1000 block of N. Kilbourn Ave. Five other alleged gang members are charged with misdemeanor counts of Attending/Patronizing a Dog Fight.

Chicago Police arrested eight alleged gang members during a dog fight at a home in the 1000 block of North Kilbourn Avenue April 18. The 11th district officers responded to complaints by concerned citizens about the situation in the 2-story home where spectators watched pit bulls fighting inside the first-floor apartment.
    Officers arriving on the scene heard dogs barking and crying as they approached the home. Inside the first-floor apartment, officers discovered three pit bulls suffering from such extensive injuries that the animals had to be euthanized. Officers also rescued another pit bull that was locked inside the trunk of a 1985 Buick Regal.
    Richard Bullock, 28, of the 4400 block of West Madison Street, Jonol Morrow, 28, of the 4400 block of West Rice, and Demetris Wyatt, 23, of the 4900 block of West Augusta Boulevard, were each charged with one felony count of Promoting Dog Fighting.
    Antonio Curry, 29, of the 700 block of North Central Park; Pierre Dixon, 26, of the 1100 block of South Albany Avenue; Larry Green, 33, of the 1200 block of South Central Park Avenue; Yarmell Ruffin, 25, of the 5200 block of West Congress Parkway; and Austin Shaffer, 23, of the 1000 block of North Kilbourn Avenue, were each charged with a misdemeanor count of Attending/ Patronizing a Dog Fight.
    Several of the occupants of the house attempted to flee, but police were able to apprehend all of them. Two unregistered handguns were seized, along with crack cocaine, cannabis, and dog fighting equipment.
    Mental health experts warn that people who instigate dog fights and people who enjoy seeing animals hurt often have potentially dangerous psychiatric disorders that can be exhibited in acts of domestic violence and antisocial acts of violence directed at other humans. Many serial killers and sex offenders have histories that include torturing animals.


Chicago Police arrested and charged Steven Cannon of the 1100 block of N. Monitor Ave., with felony Possession of Cannabis & three gun offenses.

The Chicago Police Area 4 Gun Team executed a search warrant March 12 in the 1100 block of North Monitor Avenue that resulted in one arrest and the seizure of roughly 235 grams of cannabis with a street value of over $4,000. A semiautomatic handgun with ammunition of the same caliber, various items used for packaging narcotics, and cash totaling over $22,000 were also inventoried and taken.
    One offender, Steven Cannon, 31, of the 1100 block of North Monitor, was taken into custody and charged with felony Possession of Cannabis, as well as three misdemeanor firearms charges.


“We All Need To Eat!”

 Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park and allied protesters block the entrance to the Marshall High School Campus Park construction site. They charge the general contractor broke his pledge to hire minority subcontractors & workers from the community. (Photo by Brad)

Patience and tempers are wearing thin as the ranks of protesters swell at the construction site for the Marshall High School Campus Park and Sports Facility, being built south of the school on Kedzie & Adams. A coalition of community organizations led by Luster Jackson and the Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park are picketing the site in protest over the failure of the general contractor, John Keno Construction Company, to honor its pledge to include African American subcontractors and hire workers from the neighborhood surrounding the school.
    Luster Jackson charges that the contractor is playing games by hiring local laborers for three days and then laying them off. He says there are no Black-owned subcontractors involved in the project.
    “This is an African American community hard hit by unemployment and the recession,” notes Jackson. “Marshall High is a Black school, yet when the students and their teachers look out the windows at the construction of their new athletic facility, they see no Black people at work,” says Reverend Dwayne Hightower, Pastor of General Assembly Church and member of the L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network and Westside Baptist Ministers Conference. “What message is that sending?”
    Jackson notes that a portion of the land on which the new athletic facility is being built was partially owned by the historic Monroe Street Church of God in Christ, founded in 1908. The church land was acquired for the Chicago Public Schools through eminent domain.
    Jackson says Mayor Daley as Chairman of the Public Building Commission is ignoring community concerns and the Chicago Public Schools is also refusing to assert itself and demand that the general contractor take on minority subcontractors and hire from the Marshall attendance area. Jackson states, “Daley’s blatant disregard for community institutions is unconscionable.” He also criticizes Alderman Ed Smith for remaining silent and for failing to apply pressure on the City to ensure jobs for his constituents.
    Joining Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park are the Midwest Community Council, L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network, Community Advocates for Viable Employment, 25 block club presidents, John Marshall High School alumni, and Fifth City Reformulation Corporation. For information on the protest, call Luster Jackson at 773/230-2871.
Community leaders say a protester was assaulted by a worker at the entrance to the construction site. He reportedly filed a police report and is considering a lawsuit. (Photo by Brad)
Luster Jackson & protesters gather at 5th City to discuss strategy to force the general contractor to hire workers from the community to build the Marshall High School Campus Park & Athletic Field. (Photo by Brad)


Galewood Community Church, 1776 North Narragansett Avenue, is holding a Spring Rummage Sale at the church, beginning with a Pre-Sale on Thursday, April 22, 7-9 PM, followed by sales on Friday, April 23, 9:30 AM-1:00 PM, and Saturday, April 24, 9:30 AM-1:00 PM. Admission is free and the public is cordially invited to attend and shop.
    Donations of items are welcome. Drop off your contributions on Sunday, April 18, 12 Noon-4:00 PM, or Monday thru Wednesday, April 19-21, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM & 6:00-7:00 PM. The church will provide a tax letter upon request.


Final Explosion Performing Arts Team is presenting Battle of the Sides: South Side vs. West Side, at the Austin YMCA, 501 North Central Avenue, on Saturday, May 8, 6:30 PM. This dance troupe competition is offering prizes of $400 + a trophy for 1st Place and $200 + a trophy for 2nd Place.
    Special guest performers include Total Domination and DOC the Rapture. Competitors include Bangz of Terror, N’famous Bang, Hygh Definytion Dance Crew, and many more.
    Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For tickets and information, contact Latricia at 773/558-1813.


    The Chicago West Community Music Center is presenting its first Scholarship Concert featuring N2oon on Friday, April 30, 6:30 PM, at the Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 West Jackson Boulevard. Tickets are $10 at the door and all proceeds support the Chicago West Community Music Center Scholarship Fund for graduating high school music students. The public is invited to attend this event.


Residents of all ages are urged to participate in a Town Meeting being held in the Garfield Park Gold Dome, 100 North Central Park Avenue, on Saturday, April 24, 1:00-3:00 PM. The purpose is to analyze the root causes of the violence currently sweeping Chicago and to create an agenda for at-risk youth/young adults, including:
 •    Community Programs
 •    After School Programs
 •    Reducing Recidivism Rates
 •    Youth/Young Adult Employment
 •    Assessing the power of street gangs to
    lure children into their webs.
    In addition to the Youth/Gang Violence Panel Discussion, there will be entertainment and inspiration by choirs, Hip-Hop artists, praise dancers, poets, community leaders, clergy, and elected officials.
    For information, call Jim Allen at 773/824-6785.


The Austin Branch Library, 5615 West Race Avenue, is offering a workshop entitled, Money Smart: To Your Credit, Saturday, April 24, at 2:00 PM. This event is free and open to the public. It teaches the purpose of a credit report and how it is used. It also identifies ways to build and repair personal credit histories. For information, call 312/746-5038.

SISTERHOUSE: A New Direction

By Glenance Green

    After 28 years of dedication to the Austin community, SISTERHOUSE still strives to provide quality direct services to women in recovery. SISTERHOUSE prides itself on the Alcoholics Anonymous’ foundational approach to recovery and serves its residents with care while exercising practices that aid women in the process of establishing wholesome drug-free lifestyles.

The program begins with the three months of 12-hour intensive outpatient therapy and study of the first five steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, five to seven AA meetings per week, Adult Education classes, and an introduction to communitarian lifestyle.

The women set individual goals that help them to focus on recovery and gain a sense of community. The women of SISTERHOUSE are extensively trained and given best practices on how to dress for success, create/update resume(s), computer/typing skills and job training/search. The residents continue to study the Twelve Steps and attend four to six AA meetings per week. Residents also practice time and money management over the course of these 3 months.

Throughout the course of the program, the women develop a network of supportive relationships for their lifelong process of recovery as this aspect of the program focuses on job search, employment opportunities, finance management, housing search and the reunification of families. The elements of support and challenge continue as we assist the women in creating short and long-term goals for their future.

SISTERHOUSE espouses a holistic approach to recovery and works with a variety of different human services agencies, medical service providers and other institutions to facilitate women’s access to a personalized service plan, intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment and after care services, educational services (i.e. literacy class & GED preparation), medical, dental & mental health care and much more.

SISTERHOUSE believes in the value of inclusiveness and serves women from all walks of life regardless of their race, sexual orientation, religion or creed.

For information on SISTERHOUSE services for women, to contribute or volunteer, call 773/626-0525.


Dorothy Lee Simmons White, beloved mother of West Side political organizer and civic activist Tommie Simmons, died April 12. She was 79 years old. Ms White was born in Minter City, Mississippi, on August 4, 1930, the fifth child of Jimmie and Georgia Simmons. At the age of 18, she married John Wesley White and they had three children. In 1955, she moved to Chicago and in 1974 joined Gammon Memorial United Methodist Church.
    Dorothy worked for Standard Coleman Electronics and Ceco Steel. After retiring, she held a domestic position until her health declined. She took pride in her six children and provided for family members in need. Dorothy was famous for her pound cakes.
    Two sons, Leandrew White and Claudell Simmons, preceded her in death. She leaves one daughter, Darlene Carter; an adopted daughter, Deloris Ivy; three sons, Thomas Simmons, Lance White, and Glenn White; plus three sisters and a brother. She also leaves eleven grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren; plus a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.


    Get well wishes are extended to two friends of the community:
 •    JOHNNY PERNELL, President of The Tax Helper income tax service and a local landlord, is in MacNeal Memorial Hospital in Berwyn recuperating from a recent illness.
 •    MARJORIE COBBS, Executive Director of the Columbus Park Food Pantry, is recovering from surgery following a traffic accident.


    Chicago Police arrested and charged the manager of an illegal club March 27. Markley Jenkins, 33, of the 2700 block of West Polk Street, is charged with Reckless Conduct, Contributing to the delinquency of Minors, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, No Business License, License Required-Public Place of Amusement, No Occupancy Signs, and No City Tax Emblem, all misdemeanors.
    At approximately 12:45 AM, March 27, 11th district officers responded to a disturbance call while a crowd was dispersing from a vacant storefront in the 800 block of South California. Upon arrival, officers spoke to patrons who paid a cover charge to enter the club where alcohol was being served. However, officers were unable to locate a person at that time to conduct a license premise check.
    At approximately 11:30 PM that same night, police were informed that a large number of teenagers were seen entering the premises. Harrison district officers, along with the Mobile Strike Force, responded to that location and observed a man patting down patrons as they entered the club. Once inside, officers observed a club setting, including a DJ, two pool tables with coin slots, a jukebox, and a video game machine. During the course of the investigation, Markley Jenkins, a convicted felon and gang member, was identified as the manager of the club. He was subsequently taken into custody when he could not produce appropriate licenses. Officers also discovered that 61 patrons inside the club were in violation of curfew. The Chicago Fire Department responded after numerous fire code violations were discovered inside the club.
    “During the past year, we have seen numerous incidents of violence, including several shootings and a few homicides, at illegal clubs and house parties,” says 11th district Captain Roger Bay. “This is just one tool we use in an effort to keep our youth out of harm’s way.”


OPENING DOORS is the theme of the free Education & Job Training EXPO being held Saturday, April 24, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at Christ The King College Prep High School, 5088 West Jackson Boulevard, sponsored by State Representative LaShawn K. Ford and THE VOICE Newspapers.
    The EXPO has valuable help for West Side residents of all ages, from 14 to 84 and even older. For teenagers and young people 14-24, there is the opportunity to sign up online for Mayor Daley’s Youth Ready Chicago Summer Jobs program and the State of Illinois Hire The Future program. Applicants should bring their school IDs and Social Security numbers.
    Young people 18-24 looking for career training can meet with admissions officers and students from the Paul Simon Job Corps Center, located at 33rd & Kedzie on the West Side. Men and women up to age 41 can explore career training opportunities offered by the U.S. Army.
    Malcolm X College admissions counselors and Continuing Education advisors will be present to discuss course offerings and GED programs on the main campus and the West Side Learning Center. They can also provide information on career training offered at the college free of charge through the Workforce Investment Act, for those who qualify. These include such programs as Basic Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide, Medical Secretary, Mortuary Science, and a variety of medical technology specialties.
    The Illinois Student Assistance Commission will explain how to find the right college, university, or accredited career training program and how to obtain the money to attend. The Illinois Department of Employment Security will tell how to use your skills and training to launch the career you want.
    Rep. Ford will introduce his computerized Hot Jobs listings, provided free and e-mailed to anyone requesting them.
    Everyone seeking job training and employment preparation should attend this valuable free EXPO!