Friday, May 6, 2011



Chicago Police Officer Justin Mielcarz was on patrol with fellow officers Babicz and Edwards when they observed several gang members congregating in front of a building in the 900 block of North Central Park Avenue. As the officers approached, an offender named Carter ran toward the entrance to the building. The officers pursued and prevented Carter from entering the building.
    During a protective pat-down of Carter, Officer Mielcarz felt a gun on Carter’s right side. As Mielcarz attempted to place Carter in custody, he broke free and fled south on foot on Central Park. All three officers pursued, during which time Carter removed the handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers.
    Fearing for his life and the safety of his fellow officers, Mielcarz drew and fired his weapon, striking Carter, who fell to the ground and was taken into custody. His gun was also recovered.
    Due to the action by Officer Justin Mielcarz in a difficult situation, an armed and dangerous offender was removed from the streets of Chicago.
    The Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge #7, presented Officer Mielcarz with the Distinguished Service Award.

Job Corps Reaches out!

Best of April's Poetry Month

Monday, May 2, 2011


By Andrew Griffin

    We all know about the Taj Mahal in India, one of the most beautiful structures in the world. Taj is also the name of Chicago’s beautiful and talented Princess of Fun!
    Taj is also an international jewel who has danced around the world, teaching movement classes to men, women, and children. She says she grew up a willful child, dancing on the freshly mopped kitchen floor with her arms extended, performing her own silent concert. As a teen, she began paying attention to her body and innate sensory awareness, which led her to take ballet, jazz dance, and tap dancing classes.
    While attending a workshop in California, Taj decided to take a belly dancing class on a whim. She was smitten and was drawn into the intriguing world of belly dancing. She explains that being a classically trained dancer actually worked against her. She had to relearn how to dance from an earthier center of gravity. She stayed with it and mastered the dance, as well as becoming a certified yoga instructor.
    Continued study with teachers internationally has broadened her scope and style to include other cultural dances, like Brazilian Samba and Hawaiian Hula. She also uses dances for fun and effective body-toning exercises with chair dances and pole dancing (which has less of a taboo now that it is under consideration as an Olympic sport).
    Because of their sensuous movements, some of these dances still are considered inappropriate for respectable women to engage in. But, they are gaining popularity to judge by the bookings Taj is getting for lessons, private parties, and special events throughout the year.
Taj is an independent thinker who cares about the well-being of others and our planet. She continues to study holistic science and massage therapy. Upon receiving her certifications, she worked for area hospitals and sports teams, but couldn’t resist the attraction of movement and dance.
    Taj explains that belly dancing is a classical technique that was originally designed for women to come together and celebrate special events in their lives. Belly dancing is very sensual, using eyes and gestures to bring inner feelings outward. The dancer explores the sensuality of being a woman. Every country involved in the dance has developed unique movements and styles.
    Is it difficult to teach women to dance? Taj says, “I love what I do because I don’t consider it teaching. I think of it as creating a space where women can feel comfortable enough to let their guards down and come into a space with like-minded women to explore who they are.” She adds, “I don’t claim to be anyone’s doctor, but a master of encouragement.” Taj emphasizes that dancing eases mental and physical stress.
    Taj smiles when she thinks about the initial comments she hears from hesitant women: “My husband signed me up for this class – I didn’t want to come, and now I love it!”
    Because of many people’s initial fear of trying something new, Taj encourages consultation before enrolling and feedback afterwards. Taj relies on her instinct and ability to read people very quickly. This helps her determine the direction to take her classes. Taj realizes she cannot take for granted that all women are comfortable with their bodies or that she can walk up and suggest physical adjustments to another woman’s body. It can be as simple as reminding people to breathe.
    Taj receives great acknowledgement from her students, thanking her for boosting their self-awareness, being more present in their bodies, and increasing their focus on their work.
    To further inspire people, Taj has taken the title of author, having written four books and narrating an audiobook based on the theme of human communication, with emphasis on gesture and movement. Another component is an instructional DVD she produced entitled, belly Dance With Me, an introduction to the world of belly dancing.
    For information and to register online or in person for ongoing classes at Little Black Pearl Design Center in Hyde Park and Levy Center in Evanston, log onto or email Taj says if there is enough interest, she would like to provide dance and movement classes on Chicago’s West Side.


The Westside Safe Passage Pastors convened a community meeting of residents, stakeholders, law enforcement, elected officials, Marshall and Orr High School administrators, Chicago Public Schools lawyers, and concerned citizens on March 25 at People’s Church of the Harvest COGIC, 3570 West Fifth Avenue. Purpose of the meeting was to report results of 700 surveys conducted in the East Garfield Park, West Humboldt Park, and North Lawndale communities about the impact of the Safe Passage Community Watch Program at the two high schools.
    It also raised awareness of the barriers faced by ex-offenders applying to CPS for employment, and to demand that legislators allocate funds to continue the Safe Passage Program for the next year.
    Many of the 32 community watchers and supervisors gave testimonials about the effectiveness of the program in keeping young people safe as they travel to and from school.
    Moderating the meeting and presenting results of the surveys was Dr. Patricia Van Pelt Watkins. Participating on a panel were Congressman Danny K. Davis, Alderman Jason Ervin, David Malone of Academy of Urban School Leadership, Commander Eric Washington, CPS Security Chief Michael Shields, James Bedley of CPS Legal Dept., and Ms Johnson, Vice Principal of Marshall High School.
    Next steps are to expand Safe Passage to area elementary schools, pursue changes in hiring practices, and continue the City’s Community Watch Program.


When it comes to get slim fast diets, take them with a grain of salt (figuratively speaking).  Generally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Losing and KEEPING weight off takes commitment and planning, so anything that promises 40 lbs gone in a matter of weeks is probably feeding you a load of bologna!  The public likes quick fixes but these types of diets usually only end up with more weight gained and unhealthy eating habits formed.  Here are some of the worse offenders:
1. One food only diets.
Cabbage diets, grapefruit diets, etc are a way to lose weight quickly but does it stay off?  Your body needs a variety of foods for nutritional value and you are more apt to get bored with it and give in to your cravings if you are only consuming one type of food.  Honestly, how long can you survive by eating only one food?  That will last for a week, tops, before you want to throw that food out of the window and maybe yourself along with it.

2. Raw foods only vegetarian diet.
Upping vegetable and fruit intake is certainly important and a good thing, especially in its raw state which keeps it packed with nutrients, but cutting out good fats, proteins, and all carbs could have bad long term effects. Your body needs protein to keep the muscles working, brain functioning, and for fuel, so why on earth would you cut that out completely?

3. Miracle juice or supplement diets.
Have you heard of diets where you can eat all that you want but as long as you add whatever miracle product is being touted (grapefruit juice, apple cider vinegar,
green tea, etc), you’ll lose weight in no time?  Those are all good things to add to your diet, but they certainly won’t let you eat chocolate cake all day every day and lose 40 pounds by drinking a bit of juice with it.  Some foods or drinks do speed up the metabolism, but they work best with a balanced diet.

4. The tapeworm diet.
Whoever thought of this one was one sick person!  It was super popular back in the early 1900’s, but so was heroine and cocaine as medicine so those were truly crazy times and it’s a miracle that anyone survived!  Basically, you ingest tapeworm eggs and let them eat what you eat and help you to lose weight, which could be accomplished by just starving yourself anyway as that is what you are doing!  Most people are trying to keep parasites and bugs out of their system, not put them in.

5. The junkfood diet (twinkie diet, bacon diet, the hollywood cookie diet, etc).
these diets just consider calorie count and say that as long as your caloric intake stays below a certain number, then you should lose weight.  Clearly you won’t be getting vital nutrients though and this diet is unsustainable for the long term.  Sure, you may eat 3 twinkies throughout the day and lose weight, but you are simply starving your system and are bound to become sick.
If it sounds too good to be true, think about it hard before starting a new diet!  Smart weight loss is key for weight that won’t come back and plague you indefinitely.  Get slim quick schemes are usually ways that won’t have any good long term effects and you’ll find yourself looking for the next fix shortly; instead, create a sound meal plan and workout regimen and get those pounds off the right way!


The Wiz
St. Angela School

Co-Directors: Yaguala Gant &
Lauren Fiorentino
Scenery: Lauren Fiorentino
Dancing: Laura Reese &
Homeroom Teachers
Costumes: Paulette Johnson
Music & Singing: Willie Jones &
Yaguala Gant
Drums: Michael Riendeau
Principal: Mary Kay O’Rourke