Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview with Yolanda James: Insider News Wisconsin Publisher

We Are Back!

It has been awhile since I have been out in the bloggersphere. In fact December was my last posting and I had at that time 46,000 hits.

Much has happened in my life since then. The most important is that I am no longer the publisher and owner of the Insider News. It now is owned and operated by Yolanda James, a local pastor, and professional singer turned journalist.

In the past several months she has published some stunning publications, six to be exact. The newest one can be viewed at: http://www.insiderwisconsin.com/

I wish her the best and I know she will do an awesome job.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to meet her, below is one of my observation chats.

Below is also my take on how the Police and Fire Commission and our newly re-elected mayor are trying change the selection process of a new Chief in mid-stream.

Please share my return with a friend and don’t hesitate to comment on any article.

Friday, December 17, 2010

We are now online at:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Racine Senator wants to repeal racial profiling law

Recently my column in the Insider News entitled Neckbonology, I dove into the discussion of how the recent election of new conservatives and members of the tea party will impact minorities and especially African-Americans.

In the prelude of the article I suggested, "It is no doubt that the civil rights gained in the 60s and 70s will be repealed once these advocates of less government take office. The most likely results are that these cuts will create an even wider gap between the have and have-nots of this country. We can expect in the future the inability of poor people to be able to empower themselves in order to improve their condition in America.”

According to the Badger Harold website, senator-elect Van Wanggaard, a Republican from Racine, wants to repeal traffic stop race data collection law. “All that’s going to do is fuel more disconnection with the community and the law enforcement,” said Wanggaard, who has served 30 years as a Racine police officer.

Vanggard who was recently appointed chair of the state Senate Committee on Labor, Public Safety and Urban Affairs by new Republican majority leader Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, said the law would encourage the type of racial profiling it intends to resolve.

The new law effective Jan. 1 will require police officers to collect certain information at traffic stops, including the race or ethnicity of the driver of the vehicle, according to the Office of the Justice Assistant.

The law is intended to determine whether there is a disproportionate number of traffic stops between minorities and non-minorities.

City’s Crime Prevention Efforts Continue to Payoff

State Awards Grant for More Police Personnel, NNO wins 19th Award

RACINE – The City of Racine’s crime prevention efforts have recently been recognized both by the State of Wisconsin and nationally.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has announced the City of Racine has been awarded a Beat Patrol grant totaling $179,903.00 for additional police personnel.

“Crime prevention has always been one of our top priorities,” said Mayor John Dickert. “Creating a safer community involves the city and its residents partnering and working together. The award (NNO) is exciting and the grant will be very helpful in increasing our efforts which have resulted in the crime rate for Part 1 crimes being at a 73-year low in our city.”

Also, for the 19th consecutive year, Racine has been announced as a National Award Winner for its outstanding participation in the 27th Annual National Night Out (NNO) crime, drug, and violence prevention program held August 3, 2010.

Nearly 6,000 people enjoyed themselves and came out in support of the program at almost 60 events in the Racine area. NNO is coordinated in our city through Racine Neighborhood Watch, Inc.

Monday, December 13, 2010

David Maack will not seek a six term on Racine City Council

Alderman David Maack, right, holds an example of a bronze plaque that will be erected at the Racine Transit Center in honor of Corrine Reid-Owens. Maack led the crusade to have the building named after the longtime local civil rights leader

Statement By Alderman David L. Maack

Two years ago, as I began my fifth term as alderman for the 5th District, I made the decision that this would be my last term. However, many asked me to reconsider my decision so like we do every two years, I sat down with my family and we weighed the pros and cons of that decision. This is my daughter’s last year at home. My son is working towards his Eagle Scout and I would like to help him achieve that goal. Therefore, we have decided not to seek a sixth term on the City Council.

Read the entire statement…

Related story in daily paper…

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Corrine Reid-Owens hold back tears as she thank people for honoring her.

A small ceremony honoring Corinne Reid-Owens took place at noontoday, at the Transit Center on State Street.

The center was renamed the Corinne Reid-Owens Transit Center in honor of Racine’s long-time human rights and quality education for all activist. Saturday’s event commemorate the completion and installation of the lighted entrance sign to the Transit Center.

The Boy Scouts of America Troop & Pack 181 of Wayman AME Church assisted in the unveiling. 8th District Alderman Q.A. Shakoor II, who serves as Committee Chair, and other members of the Ad Hoc Committee were also present at Saturday’s ceremony.

“Every once and a while you get to meet a unique person like Corrine Reid-Owens who has had such a positive impact on so many lives,” said Mayor John Dickert to about 40 people who attended the event. “We are dedicating this center in her name so everyone who comes to Racine can see what an important person she was and still is.”

A larger, inclusive ceremony will take place in February of 2011 to dedicate the plaque that goes with the renaming of the center. Both ceremonies are open to the entire community

See additional pictures…

Friday, December 10, 2010

Three Black could be running for Alderman positions.

Alderman Michael Shields one of eight City Council members who are seeking to be re-elected. Shields, and most of the members of the Racine City Council who would be up for reelection in the spring say they plan to run again.
Shields has already taken his nomination papers out and has begun circulate them, according to state elections law. Candidates are required to get at least 20 signatures, but no more than 40 and be a residents in their districts in order to get on the ballot.
Shields, the veteran alderman on the council, have served 22 years after this term, say that he is running to finish some unfinished business in his diverse District. “We have to make sure that the businesses community in Racine continue to receive the resource they need to create jobs, while we maintain safe neighborhoods,” explained Shields, who have served on all of the city committee. The third district which covers wards 7 and 8 is roughly bounded by 21st Street, Washington Avenue, Spring Street, and Holborn Street.

Unconfirmed, Keith Fair, a formal Alderman and a downtown businessman, plan to make a stab at defeating Jeff Coe, for the 1st District Aldermadic seat. Incumbent Jeff Coe has been in the seat since 2001 except for a two-year term when Keith Fair defeated him in 2005. Now if true, the two are at it again for the fifth time. Fair have said that the he want the council to be more supportive to the businesses and the needs of neighborhoods.

The first district includes Downtown Racine as well as surrounding residential neighborhoods. It is roughly border by Holborn Street, 14th Street, Lake Michigan and the Root River.

Another African American who has hinted that he might be a candidate for the 13th Districted is real estate broker Kenneth Hamilton.

Hamilton would be seeking to unseat, James Spangenberg, who was elected Alderman in 2001. The 13th district which covers wards 29 and 30 is roughly bounded by Washington Avenue, 20th Street, West Blvd. and Oregon Street.

Aldermen are paid $6,900 annually. The city also makes an annual contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement System for each alderman - in 2011 it will be 13.3 percent of each alderman's city salary

David Sanchez, 18, of Racine Honored at White House Event

David Sanchez, 18, from The Prairie School in Racine, Wis., was among the fifteen inspiring young people named to PARADE magazine’s first-ever All-America High School Service Team, presented in partnership with The LEAGUE, who were honored yesterday afternoon at a private reception at The White House, attended by Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Earlier, team members received their awards at The LEAGUE’s third annual National Awards & Recognition event.
Sanchez, who was featured on the cover of the June 6 issue of PARADE alongside actor Matthew McConaughey, was named the First Team in the Economics category for his work on Job-Link Racine, an organization that helps homeless and at-risk teens find work.

Also on hand to honor the PARADE All-America Service Team: Celebrity presenters: Chris Draft, NFL; Jessie Vetter, U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey team; Jan Eliot, Cartoonist “Stone Soup”; Jeff Keane, Cartoonist “The Family Circus”; John King, CNN anchor and chief national correspondent; Jack Haire, CEO, PARADE Magazine; Chip Wheeler, Dir. of Community Relations, ING (event title sponsor) and Chris Park, President, New York Life Foundation (presenting sponsor for the PARADE All-America Service Team).
Photo Credit: Ray Stubblebine

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ceremony Saturday set to Honor Corinne Reid-Owens

RACINE – A small preliminary ceremony honoring Corinne Reid-Owens will take place at noon, Saturday, December 11, at the Transit Center on State Street.

The center is being renamed the Corinne Reid-Owens Transit Center in honor of Racine’s long-time human rights and quality education for all activist. Saturday’s event will commemorate the completion and installation of the lighted entrance sign to the Transit Center.

The Boy Scouts of America Troop & Pack 181 of Wayman AME Church will assist in the unveiling. 8th District Alderman Q.A. Shakoor II, who serves as Committee Chair, and other members of the Ad Hoc Committee will also be present at Saturday’s ceremony.

“Every once and a while you get to meet a unique person like Corrine Reid-Owens who has had such a positive impact on so many lives,” said Mayor John Dickert. “We are dedicating this center in her name so everyone who comes to Racine can see what an important person she was and still is.”

A larger, inclusive ceremony will take place in February of 2011 to dedicate the plaque that goes with the renaming of the center. Both ceremonies are open to the entire community

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top photo: A mother takes a box of toys to her car from the annual Racine's Tex Reynolds’ Toys for Tots giveaway, held at 800 Center Street. Above: Markeva Turner prepares to load two boxes of toys to brighten her kids Christmas this year.

Toys for Tots is a nonprofit organization with the sole purpose to ensure every needy kid in the Racine County area has a wonderful holiday season. It is a challenging goal that takes not only the hundreds of volunteers working at the Toys for Tots workshop and from home, but also the thousands of families that donate unneeded, unused or repairable toys to the program each year.

Ours is a story of helping hands trying to improve the quality of life in our community. We hope that you will read our story and join in our quest. There are many aspects of the Toys for Tots program where your skills and talents (regardless of what they might be) can be utilized. Our volunteers work hard throughout the year, but it is a fun journey.

Women’s Network group wants to raise community awareness

Racine-Kenosha Birthing Project USA initiative's member Ashley Johnson became overwhelmed with tears while telling her story about the positive birth of her child. With a strong desire to help reduce the infant mortality rate, the Racine African American Health Coalition works in conjunction with the community agent Professional Women’s Network for Service, Inc. and their local chapter, Racine-Kenosha Birthing Project USA, to pair up young pregnant women with older sisters. This year, the project paired 17 prospective mothers with volunteers. Over the past few years the project has helped over 60 young participants. Johnson spoke at the PWNS's annual holiday lunch, held at the Marriott hotel this past Saturday.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Aldermen eyes closing centers in next year’s budget

The mid-term election of new conservatives and members of the tea party will hold devastating consequences for the African-American community throughout the country.
It is no doubt that the civil rights gained in the 60s and 70s will be repealed once these advocates of less government take office. The most likely results are that these cuts will create an even wider gap between the have and have-nots of this country. We can expect in the future the inability of poor people to be able to empower themselves in order to improve their condition in America. Let’s put it this way, there will be no bootstraps for underprivileged Americans to lift themselves up by.

Already, new members of Congress are talking about repealing the healthcare bill, what they referred to as Obamacare.
Some of these newcomers admit that their attention will focus only on making sure that President Obama is not reelected. Whether or not poor people have adequate healthcare or other life needs, has been shown to be a lesser priority to these apprentices.
Because African-Americans have been brainwashed to believe that the only time they need to vote is during national elections, opportunities are missed which send a clear message that they are not a force in America to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, the only point made in the mid-terms were that blacks are a weak voting block, and politicians need not answer to them, or view them as constituents.

A few nights ago I spent several hours listening to budget discussions by city Aldermen. What was astonishing to me were the number of Republican and tea party supporters that sit on the council that brought up the idea of closing community centers that are partronized by African-Americans in order to plug holes in the city budget.
The community centers year after year have become an easy target for politicians that want to make a name for themselves by painting themselves as being fiscally conservative.
More than 10 times during the meeting, these devout Republicans, who are members of the Council, most noted Greg Helding and David Macck, described the community centers as nonessential. Lets look at the word. “Having little or no importance; not essential.”
Macck even suggested that the Dr. John Bryant Center be closed this year in order to save the city over $200,000.

If this is the view of some of our city’s influential Aldermen regarding the centers in the Black community now, it takes little imagination to figure out that these centers would be the first on the chopping block in next year’s budget.
2nd District Alderman Eric Marcus, said that he disagrees with his colleagues. “The community centers are essential, they keep kids engaged in positive activities,” he told me after the meeting.

He adds, “My only wish is that we have more young people participating in programs that the centers offers.” Marcus suggests.
As an elected official myself, I know the trend of politicians is to make cuts in areas where they feel they will receive the least resistance from voters. If in their minds African-Americans do not vote, then it is readily understood that they will get little or no resistance from the Black community if they close historical community centers within the inner city.

These are centers that civil rights leaders of this community fought to have built in the 70s. Today they are the widely used and have programs designed for the young people, middle-aged, as well as seniors of our community. However, the Martin Luther King Community Center, and Dr. John Bryant Community Center are the two centers these Alderman wants to targeted for closing.

I hope this article will serve as a wake-up call to the need for the minority community to come together to assure that these two historical locations in our community are not closed.
I strongly suggest that pastors and civil rights leaders begin now demanding from elected officials that these two centers are left alone. I would go as so far as to say that the community should demand that the city sign a contract of assurance guaranteeing that these centers will not be tampered with.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baby Express: Helping Mothers Keep Their Young Kids Healthy

Researchers and health experts have sought unsuccessfully for years to determine why African American women suffer significantly higher infant mortality rates than their white counterparts. As this gap between black and white infant deaths continues to expand, it is time to adopt new approaches towards addressing this issue.

Nicole Urquhart is doing her part to destroy the infant mortality rate by helping parents access healthcare and keep their children healthy. She is the founder and owner of Baby Express. This business is a non-emergency medical transport service for any individuals, adults and children, on Title 19 who need rides to medical appointments. Those appointments include eye, dental, regular physician, specialty, and counseling.

Urquhart started Baby Express in October 2010. She stated that Belle Urban System in Racine does provide door-to-door transportation for the elderly and disabled, but not pregnant women because it is not considered a disability. Her heart is to cater to pregnant women and moms and dads, who have trouble getting to appointments, which can be a factor in the infant mortality rate.

The service is free to those covered by Title 19. Others not covered can ride for a small donation, although transportation will not be denied if a donation cannot be given. The donations collected will go towards providing newborn baby packages. For moms, those packages include such things as socks, toiletries, a comb, and a hat for the newborn. For dads, it includes toiletries. This transportation service is available to fathers as well as mothers.

Urquhart said, “We encourage fathers to come along with the mothers to accompany them to their own appointments and the children’s appointments. We want them to be involved.”
Car seats are also provided as an extra benefit. Urquhart said, “I feel that customer service is key to this business.” Those interested in obtaining service can call 800-579-1145 to register.

Customers will need to provide their membership ID on their Forward card. In addition, to be eligible for service, you must be a resident of Racine County and your appointment must be authorized by a physician that is covered by title 19. Eligibility is determined by Racine County. The call center is open Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:00pm and transportation is provided Mon-Sat 8:00am-5:00pm anywhere in southeastern Wisconsin.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What you do not know about sagging

The Brooklyn New York politician, Eric Adams spreads his message in his community and the world about the negative image of sagging. Adam told the New York Daily News, "Children will be children. But as adults, we need to be on record and tell them they're doing something wrong." Adams' call for the end to the sagging trend comes on the heels of "American Idol" contestant Larry Platt's "Pants on the Ground" viral sensation in which he assailed people in song for wearing their pants too low. In his own video, Adams tells saggers, "You can raise your level of respect if you raise your pants.”

In addition, President Obama joined the fight against sagging. He made an adverse national appeal for young men to “pull up their pants” during a MTV program in November 2009. In support of the President's plea, community, business, education, and faith based leaders have launched the ‘No More Sagging' campaign led by bestselling author, activist and television talk show host JL King. The campaign encourages young men to dress with a positive purpose and relay favorable messaging through a classic public image.

To see if young urban Black males realized how they looked when sagging, King conducted a focus group of 10 young men ranging in age from 17 to 25 years old. Based on the discussion and survey results, most of the young men wore their pants below the waist because it was popular, trendy and it made them feel cool. According to them, sagging is a style and fashion statement. As a result of this focus group, being a father to two sons, a uncle to nephews and a mentor, King created the ‘No More Sagging' campaign to serve as a catalyst to change the fad.

Local related article

Monday, November 29, 2010

Scout Master Bruce Chaffee, right, of Racine Scouts Junior Corp-Troop 203, and his helpers Tom Chase and Joshuas Krezinski, prepare to deliver over 150 Poinsettias for Christmas. Proceeds from the fundraiser help the troop to buy instruments for their band. The troop meets weekly at the Flatiron Mall, 1661 Douglas Ave. For additional information call (266) 902-6803.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Top photo: Louise Hunter, founder of Love and Charity Mission, prepares candied yams, turkey and gravy, and other holiday items for the public on Thanksgiving day. Dozens of individuals and families showed up at the shelter located,1031 Douglas Avenue for a free meal. Above: Lynda Knustson, a volunteer, prepared a plate for one individual who came out for the delicous meal.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

70 volunteers hurry in preparation for an expected crowd of 1,100 people at tomorrow's Thanksgiving meal

Gloria Rogers and Devin Anderson, 15, a Park High School student, are among about 70 volunteers who are hurrying in preparation for an expected crowd of 1,100 people at tomorrow's Thanksgiving meal at Racine Festival Hall. Danny’s Meats & KZ Heating, Air Conditioning and Hydronics, will be giving away free dinners to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St.

The meal will consist of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberries, rolls, butter and pumpkin pie. Reservations are required by calling (262) 637-1190.

Dinner will also be served at Love and Charity Mission, 1031 Douglas Ave.. The mission is also offering a free Thanksgiving Day feast to the needy and those alone from noon to midnight Thursday. Musical entertainment and guest speakers will be featured from 4 to 10 p.m. Speakers will discuss “Helping One Another.”

Woman who questioned Obama’s handling of economy at town hall is laid off

Back in September, at a town hall meeting broadcast nationally by CNBC, Velma Hart became the face of Americans anxious for their future. Hart stood before the microphone and gave President Obama a dressing-down about the state of the economy.

"I am a chief financial officer for a veterans service organization, AmVets here in Washington. I'm also a mother, I'm a wife, I'm an American veteran, and I'm one of your middle-class Americans," Hart told the president. "And quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I've been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people and I'm waiting, sir, I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet."

You can watch the video of Hart's remarks in the clip above.
Hart also noted that she and her husband were worried about reverting back to the "hot dogs and beans era" of their lives, and asked the president a pointed question: "Is this my new reality?"

Sadly, it may be, at least for a little while, as Velma Hart has been laid off by AmVets.
"It's not anything she did," Jim King, the national executive director of AmVets, told the Washington Post's Michelle Singletary. "She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people. It was a move to cut our bottom line. Most not-for-profits are seeing their money pinched."

Saying that Hart had been a "good employee," King added that the move "was just a matter of looking at the bottom line and where could we make the best cuts and survive."

President Obama, in closing his lengthy response to Hart's "new reality" question at the town hall in September, assured Hart that the country is "moving in the right direction." That's probably an especially tough case to make to Hart today. (Hart told The Lookout through a friend that she's unavailable for comment Tuesday.)

Hart, did however, tell CNBC that her misfortune has again brought home the suffering of many other Americans struggling with the same circumstances. "What's in my heart is: Now -- even more than I did before -- I appreciate what millions of people who are in my condition now have been experiencing for the last two, three, four years," she said. "Of course I'm afraid. Everybody's a little afraid." She also stressed that she remains a supporter of President Obama.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Offical: Gloria Rogers to head Racine Branch of the NAACP

It official! The local branch of the NAACP has a new president. At the branch November membership meeting held Saturday at Southside Center, Gloria Rogers, who was the organization's 1st Vice-President, received the necessary votes in order to take the helm of the organization beginning in January.

She unofficially became the president weeks earlier after Alderman Michael Shields said he would not seek another two-year term, leaving her without opposition.

Others elected to office in Saturday's balloting were, President: First Vice President: Lawrence Terry, Second Vice President: Beverly Hicks, Third Vice President: Coleen Lassiter, Secretary: Carmen Lassiter, Treasurer: Ann Kirkwood, and Assistant Treasure: Jacqueline Pinager.

Rogers said that she would not make any comments on the organization future until January's meeting.

Over the past year, some members felt that the organization president Shields was not taking the group in the right direction. They snarled that the organization which roots date back to the mid 40’s, had become a dysfunctional organization.

Four of Johnson's employees wants to give families a joyful Christmas

The season is upon us where families are preparing for their Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities. Food, fun, and family are all a part of the joy of the season. This is a great time of the year for many. But imagine for a moment that you suddenly lost your job. Bills are mounting and you do not have a clue on how they are going to be paid. The holiday season is here and you do not know how you are going to feed your children from day-to-day, much less trying to organize a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. This is a reality for countless destitute families. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of four people, Al Johnson, Lemont Allen, John Carter, and April Boisseau, a program called “Friends of the Community” is on the scene to bring help to those who are hurting. They provide food baskets for families in November and December.

These caring individuals work for S.C. Johnson and received their start for this program from the African-American Business Council (AABC), a group that was birthed within the company to give minority employees a voice. The AABC started various projects in the community, and due to difficult economic times, was not able to continue funding some of their programs. However, Johnson, Allen, Carter, and Boisseau felt that this program was needed in the community and stepped up to the plate to continue it on their own.

Friends of the community have been in existence for over 2 years. Each year they give away 6 food baskets to people who are in need during the holiday season. Names are submitted to them through Social Services and other organizations that are in touch with families who need assistance. In addition to the food program, they also support small sports teams around the city and plan to have a cookout for the veteran’s hospital in the summer.

Friends of the Community hold several fundraisers throughout the year to bring in funds for the program including a wine tasting, which was just held at uncorked on Main St. in Racine and a gold outing.
Every gift you give and every prayer you offer makes a difference. You could provide hope an support to families this year through your generosity. Please, do whatever you can to help. You can visit the website: racinefoc.com or email: racinefoc@yahoo.com

Park 6 to remain open

Holmes stands behind his Park 6 bar

No action is being recommended against Thomas Holmes and his Park 6 nightspot in downtown Racine after some lengthy discussion and conflicting information about an incidence that occurred after the business was closed.

Some individuals apparently not wanting to leave and significant police time on the case caused the Public Safety and Licensing Committee to haul Holmes in before them. The committee is responsible for issuing liquor licenses to establishments.

Holmes, who got a 45 day shut down order for previous problems at the business, explained this happened by surprise but his security people dealt with it as part of the overall change in the operation of the club.

Alderman Aaron Wisneski said that the incident did not warrant a due process hearing, but it still causes some concern about how Park 6 is being run as it relates to public safety.

“I want to ask a lot of questions before I consider taking away a man’s livelihood as we have in lots of other cases,” said Alderman Wisneski, who chairs the committee. In this situation, the committee needs to address whether or not the business decisions of Holmes caused an undue expense to the city.

He said that he wanted to know if the business who sold alcohol that night helped to lead to 32 man hours to the entire city and police staff being called to one location as opposed to all 120 other bars that were open that same night.

Motions to have a due process hearing and defer to a January review was rejected by committee members and no other action was taken.

In a non-related item, Keith Fair, owner of The Place On 6, appeared before the committee, but no action was also taken on an incident that happened near his establishment. Fair objected to the committee asking him and his staff to patrol areas outside his bar. “Who will be responsible and who pay my workmen’s compensation if I am injured,” Fair asked the committee.