Friday, July 27, 2012


NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas tells young people, “I was you,” and urges them to dream, plan, and work for success.

Isiah Thomas shows 4th, 5th & 6th graders he’s still got the skills that made him successful on and off the basketball court.


With encouragement and rewarding educational enrichment activities from the “It’s So Cool To Be Smart” program, students of Lewis Elementary School are now proud to be smart. Shown are: Crystal Lujano, parent winner Ms LaShanda Williams, Whitney Rankins, Jayla Glanton, teacher coordinator Mrs. Shontrece Wilson, Keyshun Davenport, and Principal Dr. Sharon Brown-Haynes.

Middle school students from six Chicago Public Schools, including Leslie Lewis Elementary School and Horatio May Community Academy in Austin, have earned positions on their school honor rolls through a new program called, It’s So Cool To Be Smart, a project of Teach America’s Children.
    According to implementers of the program, “For many, this achievement required overcoming name-calling and rejection from their peer group.” Studies suggest that African American and Latino honor students often cave to classmates’ taunts that they’re “acting white.” To win their peers’ acceptance, they set aside schoolwork and their grades decline. This new program, It’s So Cool To Be Smart, has transformed studiousness into coolness.
    Since its introduction, schools report that they have increased the number of honor students since the first quarter of this school year. Teach America’s Children awarded grants of up to $10,000 to each participating school.
    The honor roll students are continuing to excel and many of their classmates now want to join the Smart Club and participate in academic enhancement activities, such as the Is It Cool To Be Smart? Essay contest. Ariel Thompson, an 8th grade student at Leslie Lewis, won 3rd Place in the essay contest.
    Students in the program attend special programs at area universities, math and science camps, and compete for scholarships. A Langford Elementary School 8th grader won a $4,000 scholarship to Providence-St. Mel High School. The award can be renewed annually.
    Parents of honor roll students are also recognized for their efforts, including LaShanda Williams of Leslie Lewis and Tiffany Shell of Horatio May Academy.
In one of their Smart Club activities, students from May Academy made a presentation to executives at Old World Industries in Northbrook, explaining the T-shirt business they created. Their plan is entitled SMART – Savvy Motivated Achievers Running Things.


Louis Armstrong Elementary School provides an intimate, small-school experience where all students receive the attention they require to excel, plus an array of enrichment and cultural programs. As a result, Armstrong has been designated a 21st Century School. (Photo by Brad)
Louis Armstrong Elementary School, 5345 West Congress Parkway, has long been one of the best-kept secrets on Chicago’s West Side. But now, the secret is coming out!
    The school of about 200 students in grades 3 through 6 has always offered small classes with teachers providing close attention to the educational needs of individual students. It also offers a unique array of cultural and enrichment programs to support classroom instruction and expand student horizons. Principal Demetrius Bunch announced that student scores on the most recent ISAT standardized achievement test increased by an amazing 9 points.
    Now, Louis Armstrong is recognized as a 21st Century School, a prestigious designation in partnership with Children’s Home + Aid, with a grant providing an even more extensive menu of learning and recreational opportunities for students and their family members.
    Mrs. Bunch explains that student and family wellness, plus other parent and family programs will be offered on a weekly basis, providing support for Armstrong students.
    New at Louis Armstrong this year is student Band instruction, building on the school’s popular Music Scholars Program. In addition, a Parent Resource Room is being opened with computer literacy training and Internet access to ensure that at Armstrong education is a family affair.
    Successful programs being continued and expanded include: Student Cheer Squad, F.R.E.S.H. health and nutrition program for students and parents, Gifted Classes, Big Ten-S.C.O.R.E. Program, Adult G.E.D. & Basic Skills Classes, free Parent Fitness Classes, and the popular Mother-Son and Father-Daughter Dances.
    An Open Enrollment Day with tours of the school is being held Tuesday, July 31, 9:00 AM-2:30 PM. No appointments are required. For information about curriculum, enrollment, and registration at Louis Armstrong Elementary School, call Mrs. Demetrius Bunch at 773/534-6365.



Mt. Vernon Baptist Church’s congregation turned out with family and friends of Mother Lee Della O’Neal recently to help her mark a milestone birthday – Three-quarters of a Century! 

Friday, July 20, 2012


     June 1 was a very special day for the Miller & Clear families. The matriarch of this large family, Essie Clear, whom everyone calls Dear, celebrated her 80th birthday and 150 family members arrived in Chicago from St. Louis, Memphis, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Williamsburg, Virginia, and New York to join Chicago-based relatives in throwing a huge party for Dear. Essie is mother to eleven children, all high school graduates who went on to attend college. They include three prominent ministers on Chicago’s West Side – Reverend Johnny L. Miller, Reverend Matthew Miller, PhD, and Reverend Leon Miller – a physician, Dr. James L. Miller; Colonel Samuel L Clear, U.S. Army; and a U.S. Naval officer with a PhD, currently serving in Afghanistan; plus five hardworking and successful daughters. Dear has 32 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. Essie may have come from humble beginnings in Mississippi, but her children remember her as a beautiful, strong woman singing hymns and cooking great meals. She delivered the same speech each morning as she sent her children off to school: “Go to school, listen and learn so that you can be successful.” They followed her orders. Happy Birthday, Dear!


Alarmed by the increasing epidemic of violence on the streets of Chicago, The L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network, a clergy-based social justice advocacy and disaster relief organization, called an emergency meeting with 60 ministers of different denominations, races, and cultural backgrounds from across the city working to determine how the faith community can respond to the escalating violence gripping Chicago’s neighborhoods this summer. The meeting was held at Greater St. John Bible Church, 1256 North Waller Avenue, Reverend Ira J. Acree, Pastor. The summit was facilitated by Pastor Cy Fields of New Landmark M.B. Church and President of The L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network.            
The pastors recommended creating a Faith Community Clearinghouse highlighting effective programs at other churches and faith-based organizations. Pastor Acree stated, “As I listen to the pastors talk about the number of youth and children’s activities that their churches currently host, I am pleasantly surprised. Many safe havens already exist, but are underutilized due to limited marketing.” This information will be gathered, posted on a website and constantly updated.
Father Michael Pfleger galvanized the clergy’s major concern about the easy availability and volume of guns on the streets, especially assault weapons that are frequently used in fatal shootings. He told the group that the NRA is quietly working to pass legislation that will effectively allow concealed carry of firearms in Illinois and urged the pastors to contact legislators to ensure the measure does not become law.
Pastor Slim Coleman observed that the lack of jobs has created a drug economy that is sustained by the use of guns. Pastor Marshall Hatch of New Mt. Pilgrim M.B. Church added, “Father Pfleger has been on point and passionate about this issue. Moving forward, we will put the support of this group behind him and fight vehemently for sensible gun legislation.”
Pastor Leslie Sanders moderated a discussion about the need for modifications in police strategy and structure to improve community relations and curb violence. Pastor Walter Turner expressed concern that Chicago Public Schools students may not start class on time and that budget cuts will prevent churches from keeping children out of harm’s way during the critical after-school hours. Pastor Jacques Conway challenged faith leaders to confront the entertainment industry about negative influences on youth from violent video games and music lyrics.
Pastor Hatch announced plans for a citywide multi-racial ecumenical Peace Weekend. The event will urge all Chicagoans to attend churches, synagogues, and mosques to promote respect for human life, moral regard, and community mobilization to stop violence. The clergy coalition will become a vehicle to inform the general public about what community-based organizations are doing to make Chicago a safer place.
Larry Greenfield of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago declared, “We’re looking forward to mobilizing our clergy group to help address the violence issue in our city.”
The clergy voted unanimously to adopt the strategic proposals and initiate an implementation plan of action. For information, contact Rev. Cy Fields at, Rev. Ira J. Acree at, or Rev. Marshall Hatch at:

They call Me Big Llou, On Sale Now!


Austin residents and parents joined students and community leaders from across the city at a recent rally demanding great schools. The parent-led Voice Your Choice for Great Schools Rally kicked off a series of community initiatives aimed at engaging community members in a citywide effort to give every child access to a quality school. “We need our kids to succeed in science and math, to be college-ready when they graduate, to receive an education that prepares them to compete with the best from around the world,” says LaKisha Taylor, a parent of two from Austin. “And to do that, we need more parents to join us and help us bring better schools to our community.” In the coming months, parents like Ms Taylor will work with their friends, neighbors, and leaders to find solutions for the education crisis in Austin and other communities, including Lawndale, Humboldt Park, Englewood, and Roseland. They will hold town hall meetings, house parties, and roundtable discussions to explore options and rally around quality school solutions. Earlier this year, about 200 parents from across the city gathered to discuss what they want from public schools, identifying specific criteria, dubbed the 5 Fundamentals of every Great School. The criteria include strong academic programs, high expectations and respect for every student, meaningful testing, quality instruction and supported teachers, and effective community involvement. “As parents, we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to make sure our kids get a good education,” explains Janise Collins, a parent of two. 
“Whether that is researching the best options or demanding better quality schools, I am going to do everything I can to make sure my children have the education they deserve. I’ve always lived in Austin, always worked in Austin, my kids go to school in Austin, and I want to continue that.” With more than 123.000 students attending low-performing or failing schools, Chicago finds itself in an education crisis. Parents and students who spoke at the rally called on their peers, city officials, and community leaders to join the effort to address and ultimately solve the crisis by making highly effective schools available to substantially more students. They pointed out that the movement has been quietly gaining momentum over the last few months. “We’ve gone from 27 parents connecting at a community meeting in March to more than 1,000 individuals and 100 organizations,” points out Chris Butler, Advocacy and Outreach Director of New Schools for Chicago. “We are at a tipping point and urge everyone who cares about public education to join us today.” For more information and to join the movement, go to or call 773/4-SCHOOLS. 


Friday, July 13, 2012



NEWS YOU CAN USE From 24th Ward Alderman Michael D. Chandler

TIF Neighborhood Improvement Program
Public Meeting

24th Ward Alderman Michael D. Chandler is pleased to announce a public informational meeting has been planned with the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) to discuss the program and grant application guidelines for the Midwest Tax Increment Finance - Neighborhood Improvement Program (TIF-NIP).
    The informational meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday, July 12, 2012, from 6:00pm-8:00pm at John Marshall High School Auditorium, located at 3250 W. Adams Street. Entrance to the Auditorium can be obtained from Kedzie Avenue & Monroe Streets.
    “I am pleased the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) are sponsoring this important informational meeting on the TIF-NIP program. This program will provide 24th Ward residents the opportunity to find out how the program operates and how to apply for this grant funding to address needed repairs and improvements to their homes,” stated Chandler.  
     The community meeting will allow residents to ask questions as well as provide information about: 1) Grant Funding Amounts; 2)Program Eligibility Requirements; 3) Types of Eligible Home Repairs; and 4) Program Administration.
    The TIF-NIP program provides grant funding, which does not have to be repaid, for home repairs on single-family residential properties. The program is open to eligible owner-occupants of one to four (1-4) unit residential properties located only within the MIDWEST TIF DISTRICT.
    Grants are primarily used for exterior repairs; however, up to 30 percent of the grant may be used for interior repairs that are health and safety related. Grant amounts are based on the number of units per residence. The TIP-NIP is administered by the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development.
    An informational flyer on this event can also be obtained through Alderman Michael D. Chandler’s website. The website address is:

Stop in at our Constituent Service Office, 1158 South Keeler Avenue,  call 773/533-2400, or click on

Welcome To Our Church!

Apostle Larry E. Tabron, Jr., Pastor of Everlasting Love Outreach Ministries, 124 S. Cicero Ave., and his congregation welcome a visit from Bishop Daniel Lee of Way of Truth Baptist Church. (Photo by Marilyn Hampton)


       LOOKING FOR A JOB? This is a tough economy this summer, and I know that people are looking for employment. That’s why I am pleased to announce that in a coordinated effort to build job skills and foster economic self-sufficiency, the New 37th Ward Democratic Organization is partnering with a local 37th Ward business, Neighborhood Surveillance Systems to offer an Employment Seminar on Saturday, June 30, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon, at 5346 West North Avenue. They are looking to train candidates for the possibility of employment in Customer Service, Sales and Marketing, Manufacturing and Installation positions. Call 773-889-1854 for more information. IMPORTANT – Candidates must be 37th Ward residents. This job opportunity is NOT available if you have a criminal background.
         STILL NEED TO PURCHASE YOUR CHICAGO CITY STICKER? Be sure to stop by the 37th Ward City Sticker Sale, which will be held on Saturday, July 7, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in partnership with the Office of City Clerk Susana Mendoza at my Community Service Office, 5346 West North Avenue. Call the office at 773-745-2894 for more information.
      GET READY FOR GOOD GOSPEL! Mark your calendars and get ready to join us for a spiritually sensational afternoon of music, food and fun for the entire family, during my annual “BACK-TO-SCHOOL GOSPEL FEST” Event On Saturday, August 4, 2012 at La Follette Park, 1333 North Laramie. The fun and FREE afternoon kicks off at 12:00 noon – 7:00 p.m., and will feature great music, food, entertaining activities for all, information booths and school packages and giveaways for kids to encourage them to start the school year of on the right foot! Be there early and get a good seat!!!

Need a service or have a question? Contact my ward office at 773-745-2894, or send an email:


The Children’s Theatre Company performed The Fabulous Fable Factory, by Joseph Robinette and directed by Dionne Hawkins at the Austin Town Hall Cultural Center, 5610 West Lake Street, on June 6. The story involves Monroe, who wanders into an abandoned factory and accidentally trips a lever activating a Fabulous Fable Machine. As fables are created, they are enacted and Monroe supplies the morals. Mr. Aesop and others are ecstatic at finding their “Moral Maker.” Elijah Sanders starred as Monroe and DeShawn Green was Aesop. (Photos by Walter Tidwell)

Pastor Hatch Works For Peace


            For the 22nd consecutive year, Austin Bank of Chicago awarded six $1,200 scholarships to outstanding local high school graduates accepted to colleges and universities in the fall. This expands the total amount of money given by Austin Bank to more than $100,000 over the more than two decades of the program. This was the seventh year that ABC Bank was joined by Loretto Hospital and its sponsoring corporation, Renaissance Hospital Management, Inc., in awarding five additional $1,000 scholarships to students planning to pursue careers in healthcare and medicine. This brings the total combined dollar amount of scholarships awarded this year by ABC Bank and Loretto Hospital to $12,200. Recipients of Austin Bank scholarships this year are: 
 • Teara Johnson, graduate of Austin Career Education Center, attending Malcolm X College to study Nursing. 
 • Imani Marshall, graduate of Whitney Young High School, attending Amherst College, with her career goals undetermined. 
 • Kameron Kimbrough, graduate of Providence-St. Mel High School, attending Alabama State University to study Business Management. 
 • Felicia Shaw, graduate of Providence-St. Mel High School, attending Vanderbilt University to study Political Science to pursue a career in Law. 
Precious Worsham, graduate of North Lawndale College Prep, attending Northern Illinois University to study Nursing. 
• Jamal Warren, graduate of Roberto Clemente High School, attending Northern Illinois University to study Business with a career goal of becoming an Accountant. Recipients of $1,000 scholarships from Loretto Hospital are: 
Ragine Gibbs, graduate of Michele Clark High School, attending Concordia University to study Nursing. 
Carnell P. McCoy, graduate of Michele Clark High School, attending Morehouse College to study Biology with a goal of becoming a Pediatrician. 
 • Latosha Hogan, graduate of Michele Clark High School, attending North Park University to major in Pre-Med with a goal of becoming an Emergency Room Physician. 
Iesha Wright, graduate of Michele Clark High School, attending Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville to major in Nursing. 
Dessiree Malone, graduate of Michele Clark High School, attending the University of Illinois-Urbana to major in Anthropology/Pre-Med with a goal of becoming a Physician.