Thursday, December 23, 2010


Rep. La Shawn K. Ford with Columbus Park Food Pantry Director Marjorie Cobbs surrounded by more than 10,000 food items collected by local students for their neighbors in need. (Photo by Brad)Last month, State Representative La Shawn K. Ford (D-8) launched a campaign to collect food for families in distress this holiday season because of the nagging recession and high unemployment rate. He called on students in Austin’s public and parochial schools to take the lead in helping out their neighbors in need. Students from 15 schools, plus MacArthur’s Restaurant and generous people from two local social service agencies answered his call with more than 10,000 food items in less than one month – just in time for the holidays.
    Rep. Ford also made a commitment to help the Columbus Park Food Pantry, whose 79-year old founder and Director, Marjorie Cobbs, needs a van to pick up her weekly allotment of food items from the Metropolitan Chicago Food Depository. She has been renting a van each week but, because she lives on Social Security and depends upon an all-volunteer staff to operate the pantry, this is putting a major strain on her ability to serve the more than 400 families coming to her for help.
    Ford started a campaign to obtain a van for the Columbus Park Food Pantry and raise extra funds to pay the pantry’s assessments charged by the Food Depository for the food it distributes free to families in need. As part of these efforts, Ford added a food drive to help out struggling families.
    Rep. Ford notes that nearly 800,000 Illinois families received food stamp benefits this year, a record high number, up 12% from 2009. In addition, Austin’s unemployment rate is double the national level.
    “With the holiday season in full swing, we are so grateful for the overwhelming response from the community to help give Ms Cobbs the opportunity to deliver food and hope to families in need,” says Rep. Ford.
    “It’s harder to get food to feed the families that come to our pantry, and sometimes it is almost impossible to feed the new families that come to seek help,” explains Ms. Cobbs, who has operated the Columbus Park Food Pantry since 1993. She adds that Oak Park food pantries that are refusing to serve Chicago residents are making her job even more difficult. Ms Cobbs says no one in need is ever turned away from her pantry.
    Persons interested in donating money to assist the Columbus Park Food Pantry obtain a van, or who would like to volunteer at the pantry, should contact Rep. La Shawn K. Ford’s Constituent Service Office at 773/378-5902.
•    Louis Armstrong Elementary School
•    Michele Clark Magnet High School
•    George Rogers Clark Elementary School
•    Horatio May Elementary School
•    Henry H. Nash Elementary School
•    Herbert Spencer Math & Science Academy
•    Catalyst Circle Rock Elementary School
•    John Hay Elementary School
•    George Leland Elementary School
•    Ronald McNair Elementary School
•    Joseph Lovett Elementary School
•    Leslie Lewis Elementary School
•    Christ the King College Prep High School
•    St. Angela Elementary School*
•    St. Catherine-St. Lucy Elementary School
•    MacArthur’s Restaurant
•    Westside Health Authority
•    Circle Family Care Network
*Collected the most food of all schools and organizations.


Dr. Wylie R. Rogers, Jr., surrounded by the biggest influences in his life: proud parents Wylie Rogers & Beverly Rogers and uncle Kenneth Earl. (Photo by Brad)

He is a proud product of Chicago’s Austin community. The son of a Chicago Police Officer and Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy, Wylie Rogers, Jr., says he was allowed to follow his interests and had the opportunity to explore different paths. His road to medicine was a long and winding one.
    Dr. Rogers attended Our Lady Help of Christians Elementary School, graduated from St. Angela School in 1986, and earned his high school diploma from prestigious St. Ignatius College Prep in 1990. He worked at Rush Hospital in food service during high school. But, he never really thought he would go into medicine as a profession.

Dr. Wylie R. Rogers, Jr., credits his parents, St. Angela School, and his childhood in Chicago’s Austin community with guiding him into a successful and rewarding medical career and adult life. (Photo by Brad)He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana, majoring in English, with a Chemistry minor. He had the chance to participate in a special program called Minority Organization for Pre-health Services (MOPS). Rogers then entered a program of Med-prep for non-science majors pursuing a medical career at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Each step is drawing him closer and closer to a medical career, but he says he still did not fully realize it and he certainly wasn’t narrowing his focus on a specialty. He did learn, however, that some medical schools are seeking students with non-science majors because they often have better communication skills and greater abilities to relate to patients. They also have a broader world view.
    After graduation, Rogers spent the summer preparing to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). He entered medical school in Philadelphia in 1997 and graduated in 2001, serving his internship at Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago from 2001 to 2002.
    Dr. Rogers then went to The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., for an internship in Anesthesiology that lasted until 2005. He chose his specialty because of a supervising doctor who impressed him and influenced his decision.
    Currently, Dr. Rogers is in private practice and works primarily at GWU Surgicenter. He says he is exploring opportunities for going into the business and management side of medicine.
    When asked what advice he has for students, the 38-year-old physician urges young people to develop a love for learning and going to school. He says learning didn’t come easy for him. He says he studied 12 to 14 hours a day. So, he advises, explore all options. Be sure you enjoy what you are doing. Listen to other people’s suggestions, but don’t get pushed into anything. Make your own decisions at your own speed after gathering all the information you need.
    Looking back, Dr. Rogers says family, schools, and his Austin roots guided him into making all the right decisions.

Mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun Hosts Breakfast

James Williams of THE VOICE Newspapers discusses issues of the Chicago mayoral campaign with Carol Moseley Braun. (Photo by Walter Tidwell)
Chicago mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun addresses city issues at a media breakfast. (Photo by Walter Tidwell)

Austin Senior Leadership

Instructor Zakiyyah Wahid and students of the Austin Senior Leadership Class gather at the Malcolm X College West Side Learning Center, 4624 West Madison Street, to present the school with the gift of a portrait of Malcolm X. Ms Wahid says she prefers the photograph because Malcolm appears more studious and compassionate and less angry than in most pictures of him. For information about the class, call 773/378-4319. (Photo by Brad)


Commander Penelope Trahanas of the 11th Police District is asking for the public’s help in solving a homicide that occurred December 19 in the 900 block of North Harding Avenue. John Washington was murdered. Anyone with information is asked to call Area 4 Detective Division at 312/746-8252 and refer to RD#HS668190.