The Chicago Municipal Run-off Elections are April 7th – please protect the elections for Chuy.

These events are being organized by Dr.Lora Chamberlain, in the 49th ward, in conjunction with the campaign.

Voters can come out to the polls but some get turned away – there is more to watch at the polling places than meets the eye.

There will be a short meetup on Wed, April 1st, 7p-9p at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N Glenwood Ave - for those who have poll watched before and do not need to be trained. Come have a cup of coffee, get credentials, and receive an assignment for a precinct or 2 to observe on election day. We will have election manuals for everyone. The Heartland Cafe is at 7000 N Glenwood Ave, and is one block north of the Morse stop on the Red Line in Rogers Park. I will be near the bar.

If you do not have experience poll watching then Dr.Lora will be training folks on Sat, April 4th, 9:30a-11:30a, (with plenty of time left over for you to hit the campaign trail). Come learn poll watching law and etiquette. What should you be watching for besides voters? How do you report irregularities? How can you assist in helping to get voters voting, and their votes counted? How do you avoid getting in a tussle with the election judges? And much more. Bring your notepads and pens – and if you have a 2015 election judge manual then please bring that too – if not we will have some to give out. This training is at the R Public House, 1508 W. Jarvis, near the Towbar coffee house, 1 block from the Jarvis stop on the Red Line in Rogers Park.

There is no charge for this training, limited to 60 people – please RSVP by joining the FB event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1561043607484324/

?s contact drlora2@yahoo.com

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Indiana-based Companies: Boycott

Until Indiana repeals their hate law please decline from doing business with or in Indiana, and with Indiana-based companies. Since we know that Gov. Mike Pence and other Oligarch puppets do not care what the people say and only bow to business, hit them in the pocket book. Stand fast. The next group those people come after will be you.

American Commercial Lines Inc
Angie’s List
Bell Industries.
Duke Realty Corp
Eli Lilly and Co.
Kite Realty Group
ITT Educational services
Kimball International Office, electronics and pianos
Wabash National corp trucking
Adler Seeds
Indiana Botanic gardens
Strack and Van Til
Three Floyds Brewing
Oliver winery

For additional companies based in Indiana, visit this site.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Shaming Indiana: No, Governor Pence, tolerance is not a two way street, when I am asked to tolerate your Bigotry and Oppression. Intolerance of intolerance is the true religious freedom. Intolerance in the name of religion is the true evil. Shame Indiana.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Epidemic of Death

Hidden from the news is a growing epidemic of violence by white hate groups. On Tuesday a Wisconsin State trooper was gunned down by a White Supremacist suspected in a bank robbery. Officer Trevor Casper died in a shootout with Snyder. A 59 year old bystander was also killed in the gun battle. Snyder reportedly is a member of “The Fond du Lac Boot Boys.” The secretive group is reportedly a skinhead affiliation. Snyder and 8 others were arrested in1996 after attacking Blacks and Hispanics. Snyder was carrying business cards for a West Virginia white supremacist organization, the “National Alliance.” Snyder also carried literature from the group which stated, in part:

“…we have a responsibility for the racial quality of the coming generation of our people. That no multi-racial society is a healthy society. That if the white race is to survive we must unite our people on the basis of common blood, organize them within a progressive social order and inspire them with a common set of values. That time to begin is now.”

The National Alliance splintered into several spin off organizations in 2003. In 2011, Kevin William Harpham, 36, of Addy, Washington set pipe bombs designed to cause mass casualties along the planned route of martin Luther King Jr. Memorial march. The bombs were discovered and diffused. Police also discovered links between the National Alliance and Harpham.

In March Ryan Giroux, a member of the Hammerskin Nation, a “notoriously violent” neo-Nazi group affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood killed one man and shot f others in Mesa Arizona. In stark contrast to quick and deadly police tactics with unarmed or less dangerous black suspects, police showed restraint with the still armed and defiant Giroux, who was captured using a taser.

The Wisconsin and Arizona incidents reveal a growing violent trend, virtually ignored by rightwing media sources, while relatively minor incidents involving minorities, or questionable uses of police force on minority suspects receives highlighted coverage in favor of authorities. FOX News and Salem Broadcasting, including former Illinois representative Joe Walsh covered extensively the shooting deaths of a black suspect in New York, but made little or no mention of violent attacks by white, particularly against Law Enforcement officers, which they claim to support. Some suspect Walsh of white power sympathies in his, in the view of some, apparent liberal editing of white supremacist crimes. Walsh sided with violent groups threatening violence against Law Enforcement officers during the Cliven Bundy standoff in 2014. He has been invited on numerous occasions to appear on the Revolution and Beer Show to defend his actions, but so far has not responded.

Since September 11, 2001, more Americans have been killed on US soil by white supremacists than by so-called Muslim extremists. White supremacist groups have been linked to the deaths of more than 400 Americans across the United States, including dozens of Law Enforcement Officers.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Murder Flight

The Crash of Flight 9525, and how the Aviation Industry weighs Profit over Safety.

2006. That was the last time anyone had a substantive discussion about cameras in the cockpit, CIRs, In the wake of this latest air disaster the time to rediscover that critical conversation is now. And while the likelihood that CIRs might have prevented the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, lessons and data learned from previous crashes continue to make flying the safest form of travel on the planet. The logic and arguments against CIRs simply do not stand scrutiny or make any sense.

At the time of this report investigators were leaning more and more to the stark and unsettling conclusion that the co-pilot, 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, deliberately crashed the aircraft in the French Alps during what would have been a very routine 2 hour flight between Barcelona and Dusseldorf. The aircraft, an Airbus A320, with 150 passengers and crew is operated by a subsidiary of Lufthansa, Germany’s national carrier. Indications are that Lubitz did not suffer any medical condition. The pilot could be heard knocking on the door, and then attempting to smash open the door in the seconds before the aircraft slammed into a mountainside, killing all aboard instantly.

The issue of CIRs, Cockpit Image recorders has never received serious or adequate debate by government regulating bodies, airlines or the public for that matter. The media also has failed in taking up the issue, even despite their general hysteria over security and terrorism. Rand Paul’s sales driven effort to arm pilots last year garnered far greater media attention. That virtual blackout leaves commercial airlines, their employees and most especially the flying public vulnerable to disaster like Flight 9525, and eliminates a critical tool for investigators.

Slow Progress

Despite recommendations from the NTSB, FAA, The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the nonprofit, nongovernmental body, the European Organization for Civil Aviation (EUROCAE), progress has been desperately slow in coming. Much of the focus was on real-time streaming of data from the aircraft, something that was deemed unfeasible and prohibitively expensive. The larger question of building upon data collection for crash and incident investigations was all but dropped. The necessity to augment with images/video current monitoring and collection systems like the Cockpit Voice Recorders, CVRs, and Flight Data Recorders, FDRs, the so-called Black Boxes, would seem to be elementary. Resistance to CIRs has been fierce.

A June 2009 FAA report, Federal Aviation Administration FDM Systems and NORSEE, estimated the cost of CIRs installed or retrofitted on commercial aircraft to be between $10 and 20 thousand Dollars USD per aircraft. That is indeed a sizeable price tag, but then so are catastrophic disasters and ignorance. Each carries a monumental price tag. However, a revolution in recordable media has occurred in the last 6-7 years since the FAA report was issued. There has been a substantial increase in storage capacity, quality, as well as reductions in weight, durability and size. More than that, speaking directly to financial considerations, there have been amazing reductions in the cost of that media, in some instances a doubling or quadrupling of storage capacity for a fraction of the cost. Given all of that, arguments and opposition to CIRs at the airline level become painfully thin and weak.

The airline Pilots Association, ALPA, the industry’s largest pilot’s union, with over 64,000 members continues to be the loudest opponent to CIRs. Their concerns center almost solely around privacy issues. Communications and actions by pilots in the cockpit are already recorded and preserved on the CVR and FDR. Numerous court rulings contradict the notion of blanket privacy in the workplace; the flight deck of a commercial aircraft should be no different.

Prevention

CIRs, like currently required CVRs and FDRs collect raw data for investigators after an incident has occurred. Innovation and understanding gleaned from previous incidents and the anticipation of future incidents feeds the body of data critical to designing safer aircraft and in preventing future accidents. It simply makes no rational sense to ignore a critical body of data. Such a system would have proved a powerful tool in determining in a timelier manner then destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over the Ukraine in July 2014. The lack of CIRs is rather like blindfolding law enforcement or playing only the audio portion of a bank robbery. It simply does not make any sense.

It is time to rekindle that conversation. CIRs would not have prevented to tragedy of Flight 9525, but it might help prevent future such disasters. What is required are not hollow recommendations by bodies without legislative or oversight authority. What is required is legislation that would require CIRs on all commercial aircraft as a first step. Next would be a global requirement by all commercial carriers.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Never a heaven such as this…

I am forever sitting upon that wall on Lido, overlooking the pastel blue-green waters of the lagoon. The Riva di Cortino is deserted behind us, but for the occasional passerby. The domes and towers of Venice are golden in the waning hours of the day. Slate blue curtains of showers sweep across the mountains silhouetting the mainland. Ana is silent beside me. Her legs are crossed, shoes set beside her where she place them. From a small plastic cup she is sipping red wine we purchased with an awful mix of sign language and badly broken Italian. Closing my eyes I seal this image, the memory, there where it shall remain when I should close my eyes to sleep or to leave this world. There I know it shall greet and comfort and soothe me.

There’s a world within that memory. I can hear the lonesome harbor bells, and the gentle slap of lazy waves against the wall. Lazzaretto Vecchio’s crumbling walls and failing terra cotta roofs all overgrown and green with moss and small trees stands amid the channel not a stone’s through like a soft and solemn mortuary. Ana giggles at the yelping of a small dog which trots and blusters laughably before the owner calls it back.

“Oh, I want it!” she exclaims just above a whisper, and with a certain longing. Ana loves dogs and laments there is no room in our tiny condo and with two gregarious cats. I make a face, which seems to entertain her as much as the little scamp. It’s the first I’ve seen her truly happy since the illness crippled her energy and stumbled her spirit. It haunts at the edges of her expression, but affords her this respite.

Some might wish of heaven from this life, but no heaven could ever compare to this moment. There is breath in my lungs, and the moment is as tentative as a dream. How many, I wonder, over the centuries sat upon this very spot and could count themselves as lucky. I might wonder that forever, but the wine is nearly gone. The wind has come up as well, and with it the scent of rain now moving in across the lagoon. The storm to come that night will fall with fury upon Lido. The wind will gush cold through the green painted wooden shutters of the old villa where we are staying. Ana will draw closer to me, mumbling something about the pelting sheets of rain thrown hard against the villa walls, the cacophony of thunder and the spectacular theatre of lightening. I’m biting my lip, fighting back emotion, recollecting the peace and perfection in her eyes. Indeed, there never was a heaven such as this…IMG_0361IMG_0335
IMG_0312

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The Writer Stands Alone

I am a writer, the author of 5 published books, 7 un published books, thousands of articles, 2 critically acclaimed plays-thank you Hanna, Celia, Erik and all those who contributed mightily-During the run of my first play, Occupy My Heart, A Revolutionary Christmas Carol, I told Thom Hartmann that the work embodied the struggle of the Occupy movement. I as the playwright represented the one percent. The play was a one dimensional collection of words upon a page. A community, the 99% if you will, came together to make the play real, from those who created the computer I wrote it on, to the printer, the paper maker, the director who further realized and structured the piece, the actors that gave it life and all those who packed theaters around Chicago to see the play. Occupy My Heart made national headlines and diverted the negative press for a time. Community made that possible.

As a writer my religion is truth, at least as best a truth that I can discover. The words of the late Yugoslav writer Danilo Kish are my gospel:

The writer stands alone.

Imbued within those deceptively simple words is the rejection of subordination. There is only truth and false truths. Left and Right are tribal affiliations, each demanding subordination, and each flawed in categorical adherence to their assumptive opposition. They are not yin and yang in that regard, but a continuum of one another. Yin and Yang are therefore calls to war, and war is the impersonal infliction of mass pain, and hence the affliction of mass falsehoods. Pain is the ultimate standard of truth; empathy the only pathway from that pain towards forging community. Community becomes the antithesis of pain.
And yet, amid those simple words by Kish, the writer stands alone still falls short. Nothing in those words describes community itself, or how we come together in achieving community. In that we all become writers; we are all creators of the better world we desire.

Throughout the siege of Sarajevo I stood by Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as their Christian, Catholic, Jewish and atheist neighbors, just as I stand in support and solidarity of Palestinian brothers and sisters, but I do not hate Jews or Israelis just as I did not hate Serbs. I want to see all people exalted.

I do not hate the police; I only want them to be better. I do not hate the America I criticize vehemently; I wish it to be better. I hold the liberal and progressive Left to a higher standard, because we must be the example of the better world we wish to realize. Innocent criticism cannot be translated as an attack on the movement. When we fail, we must endeavor to be better; a matter of constant vigilance as long as we remain human.

The writer stands alone.

Here is the ultimate issue with this sad event. Based upon all I have seen here and overseas and through two terrible genocides, and having talked intimately with Holocaust survivors, I am acutely aware that humanity is flawed. I have seen only too graphically how cruel people can be to one another. I have also seen another side, and that is the side I wish to exalt and support and defend. As a Catholic I was embraced nonetheless by Muslims in the town of Mostar despite a campaign to annihilate them by the surrounding Catholic Croats. I was embraced by Serbs, despite their belief that America was their sworn enemy. The reason is that sometimes in the fight we lose sight of the truth that the world is less a terrible place, but a place in which we are all looking for answers. Liberalism and progressivism I believe holds better answers, when we try.

I ready acknowledge that as a human being I fail sometimes in racial, ethnic and gender issues. Those who know me also know that I engage in that conversation regularly, eagerly and earnestly.
I was doing it long before Starbucks started putting it on cups!

The writer stands alone.

I acknowledge I am flawed, but attempting aggressively to ascend through that ignorance. The bully pulpit of my body and my history is painfully limiting and unaccommodating to truly embracing the intimate and sovereign perspectives of others without a great deal of self-accusation and self doubt; but so is every journey. Make no waste of your time for people who use hate to mask and deflect their own ignorance. Give them no power. Offer them every opportunity for reconciliation without further recompense. One day soon you too will be in their shoes.

I am ignorant, I readily admit, but unwarranted and baseless attacks force me to declare that I am not ignorant. That only regresses the conversations on race and community into these fortresses of self-interest. And so the journey continues…for each of us.

Just as the writer, so too the traveler stands alone.

Peace.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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We are nearing the final stretch of this race. Fifty one early voting locations open on Monday, March 23. Can you help us this weekend to spread the word to voters by knocking on doors or calling?

Our field operation has been steadily growing to accommodate the number of dedicated volunteers who come-in everyday. We now have 12 field offices. Let’s put them to good use this weekend. Help us reach voters in all across Chicago, at their door or on their phone, and remind them that voting is the only way to take our city back from the investment bankers and hedge fund managers who have hijacked city government by huge donations.

Will you give 2-3 hours of your time on Saturday or Sunday to help Chuy win? Can you volunteer this weekend at one of the offices below? What about on April 4, 5, 6 or 7?

Early voting questions?

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mRelief empowers students w/ food stamps eligibility info

mRelief | www.mrelief.com | bit.ly/mrelief-form
MEDIA ALERT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Genevieve Nielsen, 312-487-1319, genevieve@mrelief.com
mRelief empowers students with food stamps eligibility information

Mar. 20, 2015

Chicago — In partnership with the Harris School of Public Policy and other advocates in food stamps eligibility, mRelief has expanded eligibility determination to include more college students.

In recent years, studies have shown that the profile of the college student is changing. Shifting student demographics show that a typical student is no longer an 18 to 24 year old studying full-time on campus but that fewer than 20 percent of the roughly 20 million enrolled as of 2015 fit this traditional description. The average college student is older, working part-time, and often commuting, either by car or, increasingly, the Internet. Policies and outreach need to account for this demographic.

“There is a myth that financial aid is the primary support that students can access during times of need,” says Genevieve Nielsen, “With questions inclusive of a range of higher education institutions and students who work part-time, we are empowering students in need with more options.”

Eligibility determination expansion for students on mRelief.com was a product of mRelief’s Open Foodstamps Hackathon that took place on February 21-22. Hosted at the Chicago Innovation Exchange and with food and resources funded by Microsoft and Code for America, students and policy advocates gathered to expand the screening process with targeted, but brief questions.According to Lauren Pett, the Co-Chair of the Harris Food Policy Advocacy Group at the Harris School of Public Policy, “It is crucial that students eligible for SNAP should be able to access the program so their nutritional needs are met and they can focus on their education.”

mRelief is dedicated to fixing the broken American welfare system that leaves the most vulnerable without access to available public assistance. Starting with Chicago the organization, which receives its 501C-3 status through the nonprofit Good City, does this through modernizing eligibility determination by making it accessible through online and text messaging. Users who want to know whether they qualify for public benefits can do so by completing forms which ask questions about household size, age, income, and other basic requirements.

mRelief’s integration into Community Service Centers, social service agencies administered by the city of Chicago, has resulted in the eligibility determination time being reduced by 75 percent — from an average of 16 to 4 minutes for the session pertaining to checking eligibility. With support from Good City and the City of Chicago, mRelief launched a Southside and Westside bus campaign on 70 CTA buses to scale awareness.

mRelief emerged from the Open Government Hack Night that convenes weekly at Braintree. Mayor Emanuel’s office presented at a July 2014 meeting, issuing an open call for ideas to bring technology to social services delivery. Since then, the all-woman software development team has also forged partnerships with LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation), Purple Binder, Chicago Public Libraries, Smart Chicago Collaborative, the Center for Working Families, and most recently Food and Policy Group at University of Chicago Harris School.

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PETCOKE PILE PROGRESS

PETCOKE PILE PROGRESS: BUT SOUTHEAST SIDE STILL NEEDS HELP

NEIGHBORS OF OIL REFINING WASTE MOUNDS HOLDING EMERGENCY MEETING TO RAISE CONCERNS


OLGA BAUTISTA 773-712-4956
LYDIA JORDAN 402-730-4995
MEMO RODRIGUEZ 773-294-0111

A series of recent announcements regarding Chicago’s controversial petcoke piles signal significant changes on the city’s Southeast Side, where the oil refining waste has been mounded in close proximity to homes, parks and schools though the real impacts are not yet clear:

1. Voters overwhelmingly passed a resolution to ban petcoke from the city’s 10th Ward.

2. KCBX, the company storing and handling the petcoke at two sites along the Calumet River, announced that it would close one site and remove piles from the other, but keep the second site operating indefinitely as a transfer facility to shift petcoke between trains, barges and ships.

3. BP, whose refinery in nearby Whiting, IN is a main source of petcoke being piled in Chicago, announced they would cease storing the material in Illinois.

4. The City of Chicago denied a request from KCBX to delay enclosure of their controversial petcoke piles.

5. February 14 saw very cold temperatures and high winds in Chicago. According to monitoring data reported by KCBX to U.S. EPA, on this day PM10 levels at the North site reached 175 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over a 24-hour period, with hourly averages as high as 819 micrograms per cubic meter. The current National Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”) for PM10, for comparison, is 150 micrograms per cubic meter on a 24-hour average (not to be exceeded more than once per year on average over three years.

6. Similar particle pollution levels on April 12 and May 8, 2014, are at the heart of a legal action by the U.S. EPA, and support a parallel lawsuit by the Illinois EPA and Illinois Attorney General.

7. The February 14 monitoring data provides yet more justification for these actions – with the levels on Valentine’s Day by far the highest daily average monitored at the sites to date.

Southeast Side groups and neighbors are holding emergency community meeting to raise concerns about the future of their neighborhood in light of recent events.

WHO:

• Peggy Salazar and Tom Sheppard, Southeast Environmental Task Force

• Olga Bautista, Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke

• Neighbors of the petcoke mounds

WHEN:

Today, THURSDAY, March 19th at 6:30 PM

WHERE:

Eastside United Methodist Church 11000 S. Ewing Ave. CHICAGO IL 60617

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