Friday, April 1, 2011


More than 200 members of the International Ministers Community Alliance traveled to Springfield to meet with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and state legislators demanding jobs, grants, and contracts. They said, “Our churches’ collection plates are getting smaller and our taxes are getting higher.”
The ministers and community leaders told the Governor, “We come to get your support as we gave you our support in the last election.”
The group was led by West Side businessman and philanthropist Willie L. Wilson, founder and CEO of Omar, Inc. Joining him were Pastor Johnny L. Miller of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Shani S.P. Smith of the Association of Block Clubs, Ziff A. Sistrunk, Kirby Puckett Boys Club, Inc., Dr. Sidney E. Grandberry of Gospel Temple COGIC, Mozo Construction, Inc., Michael Carruthers of Carruthers Construction & Safety Company, and more than 200 Chicago ministers.
The Governor appointed Darryl Harris, Director of Diversity Enhancement, and Andre B. Ashmore to meet monthly with the group and to report to the Governor on how the group is achieving its goals.
Early in the day, the group met with House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senator Mattie Hunter, Senator James Meeks, and Senator Jacqueline Collins, who offered their support for the group’s principles. The Governor answered questions from the group for more than an hour.
The next meeting of the group is Monday, March 28, 10:00 AM, at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, 2622 West Jackson Boulevard.


Jessica Klasek applies delicate chocolate designs to strawberries in Prosser’s commercial kitchen. (Photo by Isaac Jones)

They are preparing for an extremely difficult cooking competition with the prize being possible admission to the CIA. No, these aren’t junior spies. They are aspiring chefs who want to learn their art at the Culinary Institute of America, the most prestigious cooking school in America. Five Prosser seniors are competing at Washburne Culinary Institute in Kennedy-King College on April 2. The goal is grabbing valuable scholarships.

Each student chef is required to prepare the same recipes: a soup and Chicken Chasseur – pan seared chicken finished in the oven and folded in a crepe, with a sauce of tomatoes, mushrooms, shallots, garlic as a glaze, presented with a garnish. Students are making this dish over and over to guarantee they perfectly master the exact blend of ingredients, achieve the right consistency of the crepe and glaze, and control every nuance of the recipe.
The five student chefs representing Prosser are: David Orochena, who wants to attend CIA and eventually own his own restaurant; James Molter; Zarai Orroyo; Alice Hixson; and Veronica Chavez. They are preparing under the direction of Prosser Culinary Arts Instructor, Master Chef David Kulasik.

James Molter makes Ruben sandwiches for a student catering assignment. (Photo by Isaac Jones)

David Orochena keeps his eye on other ingredients he is cooking as he folds his chicken crepe. (Photo by Isaac Jones)

Voila! The finished crepe presented by David Orochena, Zarai Orroyo, and Alice Hixson. Veronica Chavez is also competing at Washburne April 2, but was not present for this photo. (Photo by Isaac Jones)


Master Chef David Kulasik stands proudly with his star student, Marlene Sanchez holding her $6,500 check from Chartwells Hospitality. She also won a $94,000 CCAP 4-year scholarship to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America beginning March 28. (Photo by Isaac Jones)
Marlene Sanchez is moving quickly to realize her dream of one day managing a major hotel. By writing a 1,000-word essay on Why I want to work in the hospitality industry, Marlene won a $6,500 scholarship from Chartwells Hospitality, the company that provides the meals for all Chicago Public School students.The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (CCAP), which provides $600,000 in scholarships annually to Chicago students planning careers as chefs, awarded Marlene $94,000, allowing her to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York for a full 4 years.
And Marlene knows where she wants to go and how she intends to get there! She interned at Girl & the Goat Restaurant in Chicago and worked in a catering company. Currently, she is employed at Prosser High School as a Culinary Mentor. On March 28, she starts her academic career at CIA.


Victor O, an African-inspired artist, is presenting zaardhi-N-designs, a weekly art exhibition every Friday, 4:00-8:00 PM, March 18-April 1, at the Austin Wellness Center, 4800 West Chicago Avenue. The public is invited to attend. This exhibition is offered in partnership with Westside Health Authority. Admission is free but donations are appreciated and will be used to establish a permanent art gallery in Austin.
Victor O is exhibiting a collection of sculptures entitled Wired Art. There will be a live Jazz band and light refreshments. Other local artists will also be featured in upcoming weeks.
For information, contact Victor O at 773/957-6510 or e-mail to


Jeff Potter, Chief Graphic Designer for THE VOICE, shows Job Corps intern Amber Scott newspaper layout techniques. (Photo by Isaac Jones)

Amber Scott came from Kokomo, Indiana to attend the Paul Simon Job Corps Center in Chicago on October 12, 2010. “I am a Certified Graphic Designer thanks to it,” Amber proclaims. She is serving her required Work-Based Learning Internship at THE VOICE Newspapers to gain practical experience in a business setting.
Amber is interested in pursuing a career in animation. When her uncle urged her to call the Job Corps, she was told the closest thing to animation that the Job Corps offers is Graphic Design training and the Paul Simon Center in Chicago is the only site in the country offering the course. Amber says, “The Job Corps has given me the chance to move closer to my goals. It is a very helpful program that gives young adults a way to move ahead toward achieving their goals. People can earn their high school diploma or GED while learning one of nine trades taught at the Paul Simon Center.”
The Paul Simon Center, located at 3348 South Kedzie Avenue, provides training in Carpentry, Painting, Certified Nursing Assistant, Office Practice, Pharmacy Technician, Bricklaying, Manufacturing, Computer Repair, and Graphic Design. There are 125 Job Corps centers across the country, with many vocational courses. Job Corps applicants can apply to any center and will be admitted to the location offering the course he or she is interested in pursuing. Job Corps students must be ages 17-24. For information on courses and admission, call 773/890-3131.
Amber has received her html and Xhtml web design certifications and also passed the certifying exam for ACA Photoshop utilizing the skills she learned in her Graphic Design course.
Amber is participating in the Job Corps college program and is looking forward to attending Harold Washington College studying animation. Graduates of the Paul Simon Job Corps are entitled to attend the Chicago City Colleges tuition free. 
She is also an artist and fiction writer who looks forward to having her fiction works published. Amber says she enjoys life at the Job Corps. The Rec Center offers movies, pool games, and trips to theatres, sporting events, and cultural attractions.
“I am enjoying my internship at THE VOICE, learning how a newspaper operates. It is also teaching me what it is like to have a real job,” Amber concludes.


Cliff Kelley talks with Darlena Williams-Burnett, Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr., and City treasurer Stephanie Neely. (Photo by Brad)

Don Reed, Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Boys & Girls Club, 2958 West Washington Boulevard, said the recent telethon staged by WVON Radio raised approximately $60,000 in contributions to keep the club’s doors open. The station broadcast all of its shows from the club on Friday, March 11, throughout the day, with hosts asking listeners to donate money to the West Side youth organization suffering severe money problems due to the recession, government deficits, and reductions in charitable giving. Reed says ticket sales are strong for the March 25 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Dinner: Transforming Dreams Across Generations.  He says the club expects to raise another $70,000 from the banquet. Although elected officials and celebrities generously donated to the club, Reed says the majority of contributions averaged $25 and came from local residents. Leading the way in donating to the club The Martin Luther King Boys & Girls Club employs a total of eleven people, including five program staff. Although the club expects to raise over $130,000 from the telethon and banquet, Reed notes that it ran at a deficit last year and needs to clear up that loss before meeting budget projections for this year. For tickets to the March 25 Legacy Dinner or to make donations to the Martin Luther King Boys and Girls Club, call Don Reed at 773/638-5464.

Martin Luther King Boys & Girls Club Director Don Reed welcomes his predecessor, Forrest T. Harris, to the WVON Radio telethon. (Photo by Walter Tidwell)

Cliff Kelley speaks with former 27th Ward Alderman Wallace Davis & 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti about the need for the Martin Luther King Boys & Girls Club providing safe, structured & supervised activities for West Side youth. (Photo by Brad).